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Say Yes on HPOZ
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Click the “YES” button to send an automatic message to Councilmember Ryu, Councilmember Wesson, and the Planning and Land Use (PLUM) Committee expressing your support for HPOZ and for reinstating the historic areas excluded by the City Planning Commission.
Even if you have already signed the HPOZ petition or sent emails or letters, our elected officials need to know YES ON HPOZ!
Miracle Mile HPOZ to be Reviewed by PLUM Committee on March 21
Now playing on the MMRA Channel on YouTube:
Miracle Mile HPOZ Meeting
with Julia Duncan,
Council District 4 Planning Deputy
Duncan meets with tenants and owners of historic multi-family buildings that have been excluded from the Miracle Mile HPOZ by the City Planning Commission – an action that placed 500 rent stabilized units in jeopardy. Recorded Feb. 6, 2017.
Miracle Mile Renters Threatened
500 Rent-Stabilized Apartments Excluded
from the Miracle Mile HPOZ
On December 8, 2016, the City Planning Commission endorsed the Miracle Mile Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) and recommend its approval at its next stop, the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.
But, at the last minute, the Planning Commission rewrote the HPOZ boundaries – as approved by the City’s Cultural Heritage Commission [see map] – and excluded properties fronting on Olympic Boulevard, properties north of 8th Street, as well as properties on the west side of Orange Grove Avenue south of 8th Street.
The Planning Committee – appointees of Mayor Garcetti and cheerleaders for the Mayor’s densification policy – chopped out these areas so that they could be super-sized with new luxury market-rate developments. This jeopardizes nearly 500 rent stabilized apartments in dozens of historic multifamily buildings and undermines the historic preservation of the Miracle Mile. HPOZ protection would prevent these buildings from being demolished and would permanently preserve rent stabilized units.
These rent stabilized units are the only affordable, middle class, and work force housing in the Miracle Mile. Excluding 500 rent stabilized units from our HPOZ threatens hundreds of renters with eviction and dozens of historic multifamily buildings with demolition.
Renters in these excluded areas must fight to preserve their apartments and the history of our neighborhood. Contact Councilmember David Ryu and City Hall and demand that these areas be included in the Miracle Mile HPOZ. And please attend the upcoming City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee meeting (contact HPOZ@MiracleMileLA.com for more information or if you need transportation to the PLUM meeting).
Click here to print and distribute a petition demanding that these excluded areas be reinstated into the Miracle Mile HPOZ.
Send your email messages to:
(In your email refer to Council File # 15-0183-S1)
David Ryu: firstname.lastname@example.org (or call him at 213-473-7004)
Herb Wesson: email@example.com (or call him at 213-473-7010)
and also copy:
PLUM Committee Secretary Sharon Dickinson: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also contact PLUM Committee Members:
Gilbert Cedillo: email@example.com
Marqueece Harris-Dawson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Curran Price: email@example.com
Jose Huizar: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mitchell Englander: email@example.com
Welcome to the Miracle Mile HPOZ Website…
As many of you know, the Miracle Mile Residential Association (MMRA) is in the process of creating the Miracle Mile Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) to protect the character and charm of our community. As the Miracle Mile approaches the century mark we are threatened by McMansions that overwhelm our single-family homes and by new apartment projects that are devouring our stock of older and more affordable multi-unit rental buildings.
The Miracle Mile HPOZ will include all residential properties bounded by Wilshire Boulevard on the north, San Vicente Boulevard on the south, La Brea Avenue on the east, and Fairfax Avenue on the west – but will not include properties fronting on those streets.
We are proud that our nomination for an HPOZ was unanimously approved by the Los Angeles City Council and received the endorsement of the Miracle Mile Chamber of Commerce and the Mid City West Community Council.
The MMRA engaged Architectural Resources Group (ARG) to conduct a historic survey to determine which properties are “contributing” (historic) or “non-contributing” (not historic). We are fortunate that the majority of our homes and many of our multi-unit buildings are “contributing” and part of the original fabric of our community. This is why it is so important that we preserve the historic appeal and scale of the Miracle Mile now – before it is too late.
Nearby communities such as Carthay Circle, Windsor Square and Hancock Park already benefit from HPOZ status and this has placed a target on the Miracle Mile. We have become a hotbed of new developments and McMansions.
Once the property survey was accomplished, ARG finalized our HPOZ application and submitted it to the city for adoption. The city then held a series of public meetings to gather input from the residents.
An HPOZ will enhance the value of our homes and save rent-stabilized units in our historic apartment buildings and duplexes. It will preserve our history and protect our future by placing control in the hands of the residents.
An HPOZ would not interfere with changes to the interior of your residence or prohibit new additions. It would not require you to modify the existing façade of your property.
An HPOZ is the only way to level the playing field between the residents and powerful real estate interests. An HPOZ is the only way that you can have any say over McMansions or new super-sized “luxury” apartment complexes. An HPOZ is the only way to preserve the Miracle Mile.
Feel to conduct us via email at: HPOZ@MiracleMileLA.com.
With warm regards,
Chairperson, Miracle Mile Residential Association HPOZ Committee
Miracle Mile HPOZ Preservation Plan Revised
Just the Facts, Ma’am…
(HPOZ Lies Debunked)
Lately, residents have been receiving anti-HPOZ fliers that are chockfull of misinformation – and that’s putting it politely. The MMRA welcomes different points of view, but we strive to tell the truth and present the facts. So, let’s fact check the assertions made in one recent mailer, pictured below:
“We were told a HPOZ was the only way to stop McMansions. FALSE: The new baseline mansionization ordinance will pass by the end of the year, BANNING McMansions.”
That’s quite a whopper. The existing Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) is going through a lengthy and contentious review in an attempt to plug its numerous and infamous loopholes. A revised ordinance is yet to be finalized and brought to the City Council for a vote. Whether that will happen this year is anyone’s guess. It remains to be seen just how watered-down the final ordinance will be. Influential real estate speculators are lobbying City Hall to make the law as toothless as possible. If past is prologue, these developers stand an excellent chance of winning the day.
Whatever form it takes, the BMO will certainly not succeed in “banning McMansions” as HPOZ opponents assert. At best, a revised BMO will attempt to modify scaling and massing while still allowing for super-sized homes. We’ve reported at length about the reform of the BMO and done several YouTube interviews with Shelly Wagers, who has spearheaded the battle to fix the BMO.
Offering the BMO as an alternative to HPOZ is offering false hope. HPOZ is about the historic preservation of our neighborhood; the BMO will not stop the demolition of historic homes for the construction of over-scaled houses – nor would it inhibit the demolition of historic multi-family buildings for high-density apartment projects.
“We were told HPOZ rules would only affect the façade.
FALSE: The new HPOZ rules will control every park [sic] our home’s exteriors – even backyard doors, windows, and decks.”
The grammar and spelling of this statement are as impaired as its assertions, which have never been true. The Preservation Plan subscribes to the simple adage: “Out of sight, out of mind.” It does not regulate things that cannot be seen. This is being re-emphasized in the current revisions to the design guidelines, agreed to by both proponents and opponents.
“We were told the HPOZ wouldn’t touch front yard vegetation. FALSE: It will control everything we plant if front.”
What…? This assertion has no basis in fact. The Preservation Plan does not dictate what you plant in your front yard – it never did. If you like geraniums…plant geraniums. If cactus is your thing…go for it. Drought tolerant landscaping…good for you and the environment. The guidelines simply say that 60 percent of your front yard has to be plant matter of some sort. Period.
“The HPOZ will FORBID us from ever putting on a second
story even in the same architectural style.”
There’s no polite way to categorize this statement: it’s a lie. The Preservation Plan never banned second floor additions – and the language in the guidelines is currently being enhanced to allow more flexibility for such additions, as opponents wished and proponents agreed.
“THE HPOZ CONTROLS WHAT WE CAN DO
WITH OUR GREATEST INVESTMENT”
Reasonable people should consider an HPOZ based on the facts. But the facts are hard to find in fliers like this and, sadly, that is purposeful. These fliers are being written and distributed by realtors and property owners in the Miracle Mile whose bread and butter is real estate speculation. They are misstating the facts to promote their self-interests. They want to cash in and we want to preserve the stability of our neighborhood – and protect it from an onslaught of development from which they would personally profit. They are talking about their investments, when we our talking about preserving our charming and livable community. We live in historic homes and apartments – they live in investments.
The residents of Windsor Square, Hancock Park, Carthay Circle, and 30-plus other HPOZs in Los Angeles have seen the value of their “investments” improve because of the protections provided by historic preservation. Buyers are attracted to the stability of HPOZs. This is a fact, as testified to by Richard Barron, Chairperson of the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission.
So, whatever your position on HPOZ, listen to the facts – and ignore the fiction.
Miracle Mile DPR Forms:
8th, 9th, 12th
Boisterous Annual Meeting Leads to a Productive Summit on Clarifying HPOZ Guidelines
Both Sides Agree
that the Neighborhood Must be Protected
The 33rd annual Miracle Mile community meeting featured a sometimes noisy display of free speech as opponents to the Miracle Mile HPOZ made their case to keynote speaker, Councilmember David Ryu [photo above]. Tensions were high but Ryu and MMRA President James O’Sullivan encouraged civility and dialogue between residents on both sides of the issue.
This past September, shortly before the Cultural Heritage Commission recommended approval of the Miracle Mile Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ), a group of opponents led by local realtor Jay Schoenfeldt, distributed fliers and took to social media to lobby against HPOZ.
Their campaign has played fast and loose with the facts but their one accurate and salient attack was aimed at the somewhat obtuse language in the draft Preservation Plan, which serves as the design guidelines for the HPOZ.
It was the express intent of the Preservation Plan Committee – a group composed of a dozen community members working under the aegis of the city’s Office of Historic Resources – to devise a plan that was as unrestrictive and flexible as possible while still in compliance with the fundamental tenets of historic preservation. But the devil is always in the details and both sides agreed that the language in the Preservation Plan, as written, was too ambiguous and could be interpreted to be more restrictive than desired.
At the Los Angeles Central Planning Commission hearing in October, opponents expressed their discontent with the Preservation Plan. Councilmember Ryu then arranged a meeting between the “pro” and “con” camps to review and discuss the design guidelines.
Julia Duncan, Ryu’s Planning and Land Use Deputy, moderated the meeting which took place on November 7th. Ken Bernstein, head of the Office of Historic Resources, and Renata Dragland, City Planning Associate in charge of the Miracle Mile HPOZ, also attended. Representing the supporters of HPOZ were James O’Sullivan, Mark Zecca, Lisa Landworth, Ken Hixon, and Peter Haidos; representing the opponents were Scott Kelsey, Henry van Moyland, Jay Schoenfeldt, Randy Greenwald, and Curt Lukert.
The opponents brought a detailed list of criticisms of the Preservation Plan. What tensions existed between the two sides quickly dissolved as ready agreement was found over the lack of clarity in the guidelines. HPOZ supporters felt that the plan as written did not accurately reflect their objective to make the rules as flexible as possible. Opponents were pleased to have their complaints acknowledged. This resulted in a collegial and successful discussion of how to simplify and revise language in the plan to accurately reflect the will of the community. This task was delegated to Ken Bernstein and staff at the Office of Historic Resources, which is responsible for administrating HPOZs in Los Angeles.
Opponents raised a dozen specific issues, which they said needed to be addressed, to make the HPOZ acceptable. Proponents agreed to nearly every objection raised. Here are the bullet points that all parties agreed on:
No regulation of paint colors. Property owners are free to paint their homes and buildings as they wish without review.
Reiterate that the exteriors of all properties in their present condition are “grandfathered” once HPOZ is adopted. No changes of existing elements (windows, roofing, etc.) are required even if or when the property owner seeks approval to remodel a particular part of the exterior (HPOZ does not regulate interior remodeling).
No regulation or review of landscaping as long as at least 60 percent of the front yard is planted with some sort of greenery. Drought tolerant planting is permitted.
Allow second story additions as long as they are adequately set back from the front façade. Property owners will be free to expand their properties as long as they are sensitive to massing and scale so as not to have an adverse impact on their neighbors.
Permit solar panels on the front of the structure if that is the only place they can most efficiently operate. Ditto satellite television dishes. Also, do not regulate the placement of mechanical equipment, such as air conditioner units or electrical boxes. Most property owners display common sense in these matters, so there is no need to micromanage this.
Allow for modern designs and contemporary architecture on infill projects in vacant lots or as replacement structures for properties lost to fire or natural disasters as long as they are properly scaled to be sensitive to the existing historic homes in the immediate area. Both sides expressed a strong distain for “faux” period architecture.
Backyard additions and/or remodeling will be unregulated (other than by existing city building codes) as long as this work is not visible from the street. This work will be reviewed only to determine that it, indeed, qualifies for this exemption.
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) or “granny flats” are already permitted by law and cannot be prohibited in an HPOZ. As long as they cannot be seen from the street they will be exempt from the design guidelines.
HPOZ guidelines will only apply to those portions of a structure that are visible from the street. Both sides agreed that “sight visibility” should be defined as what is actually seen from the street and not what could be seen in the theoretical absence of fences, landscaping, driveway slope, and so on.
Clarify that in the event of a natural disaster any historic properties destroyed do not have to be rebuilt as replicas and can be replaced with structures of a modern or contemporary design.
Remove confusing and restrictive language from the Preservation Plan. This point was pressed by the architects on both sides: Lisa Landworth, Scott Kelsey, and Henry van Moyland. The group as a whole deferred to the architects’ practical experience and reached consensus that the guidelines should be as simple and practical as possible.
Ryu staffer Duncan emphasized, once again, the importance of having the HPOZ in place before the Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) expires in March 2017. The ICO was enacted to prohibit the demolition of single family homes and to stop their replacement by McMansions. Once the ICO expires the Miracle Mile will be unprotected. The Planning Department and Councilmember Ryu have stated that there are no other viable alternatives available to preserve our community from mansionization, small lot subdivisions, or density bonus apartment projects.
Another meeting is planned once the Preservation Plan is revised. This meeting will take place prior to the Central Planning Commission hearing to review the Miracle Mile HPOZ on December 8th.
Having found common ground on improving the Preservation Plan, and with members of the opposition in agreement that our community should be protected, there should be no further obstacles to adopting the revised HPOZ Preservation Plan.
The Silent Majority Speaks
The opponents of HPOZ have attempted to drown out the voices of those who support historic preservation of our neighborhood. It is time for the many hundreds of residents who have demonstrated their support for HPOZ at meetings large and small – and who have donated tens-of-thousands of dollars to the cause – to make their voices heard again.
The opposition bandies about how we can save our community via the promised reform of the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance or the menu of new R-1 zones the city has offered selected neighborhoods. But they conveniently ignore our unique and historic mix of single family homes and R-2 and R-3 zoned multifamily buildings (which comprise the majority of parcels in our community).
HPOZ is the only way to protect and preserve our neighborhood because these R-2 and R-3 zoned multifamily dwellings are interspersed throughout our residential area. We are also unusual in that the Miracle Mile has a surprising number of single family homes built on R-3 zoned parcels.
Many of our R-1 zoned single family homes abut or are near those single family homes on R-3 zoned parcels, as well as R-2 and R-3 zoned multifamily buildings (duplexes, fourplexes, and small apartment buildings). “Density bonus” laws allow developers of R-2 and R-3 zoned parcels to build new apartment projects that exceed existing height limits and parking requirements “by right.”
The historic duplex next door or behind your single family home could be easily replaced with a four story project as high as 52 feet with as many as six units.
These density bonus projects are allowed reduced setbacks from the property lines and feature balconies and rooftop patio/party areas to compensate for the lack of “green space” surrounding the building. The reduction in parking requirements (as few as 1.2 parking spaces per unit) would exacerbate demand for street parking.
The city also allows for “small lot subdivisions” where multiple townhouses (with just a few inches of clearance between the units) can be constructed on an R-3 zoned parcel. This means that an existing historic single-family or multifamily home can be demolished and replaced with a grouping of three-story townhouses.
So-called reform of Baseline Mansionization Ordinance, if or when it is enacted, would not apply to single family homes on R-3 zoned parcels or prevent them from being demolished and replaced with high density apartment projects or small lot townhouses.
Graphic depicting built and planned McMansions in the La Brea Hancock neighborhood.
The menu of R-1 zones that the city is offering selected communities only controls the scale of new single family homes. It would not prevent the destruction of the historic fabric of our neighborhood, nor would it prevent the demolition of existing R-2 and R-3 zoned multifamily buildings for the construction of density bonus apartment projects or small lot subdivisions.
This is why HPOZ is the only way to preserve the historic character, scale, and charm of our community. It is the only way to stop mansionization, density bonus apartment projects, and small lot subdivisions.
Make no mistake about it, with the advent of the Purple Line subway extension, deep-pocketed developers and speculators are targeting the residential area of the Miracle Mile for densification. Left unchecked our historic neighborhood will be replaced with McMansions, cheek-to-cheek townhouses, and super-sized luxury apartment projects. And even our opponents won’t be happy about that. HPOZ truly is the best and only hope to save the Miracle Mile.
This is why you must speak out now. It takes a village to save a village. Let your voices be heard. Contact Councilmember David Ryu today:
Miracle Mile HPOZ Updates:
MMRA Newsletter, Nov. 16, 2016: HPOZ Lies Debunked
MMRA Newsletter, Oct. 13, 2016: Planning Commission Delays Review of Miracle Mile HPOZ until December
Park La Brea News/Beverly Press, Sept. 21, 2016: Commission Recommends HPOZ for Miracle Mile
MMRA Newsletter, Sept. 16, 2016: Cultural Heritage Commission Recommends Miracle Mile HPOZ
Larchmont Buzz, August 22, 2016:
Miracle Mile HPOZ • Frequently Asked Questions
Miracle Mile HPOZ Chairperson Mark Zecca talks with Robby O’Donnell about how an HPOZ is administered and how it impacts property owners.
Miracle Mile HPOZ Community Meeting • 19 September 2015
Park Labrea/Beverly Press:
The Los Angeles Department of Planning
Office of Historic Resources Website
is the go-to place for HPOZ information:
It contains a wealth of information for property owners; information on special financial incentives and tax breaks to repair or restore historic properties; and other frequently asked questions.
Click HERE to visit
The Miracle Mile is establishing an Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) to protect our historic neighborhood from mansionization and overdevelopment. An HPOZ is based on an “Historic Resources Survey.” Here’s the survey team at work. (Recorded June 11, 2015)
“…historic district ordinances enable a local Historic Preservation Commission to deny inappropriate alteration or demolition of historic structures within district boundaries. They also allow for design review of new construction within the district, to help ensure that new development is compatible with the neighborhood’s unique historic character and context.”
~ Los Angeles Conservancy: Ability to Designate Historic Districts
Miracle Mile HPOZ Update – June 12, 2015. An interview with Katie Horak, Senior Associate, Architectural Resources Group. Katie provides a progress report on the Miracle Mile Historical Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ).
Index of HPOZ related articles that have appeared in the MMRA newsletter:
May 2014: Mansionization Threatens Miracle Mile / MMRA Board Creates HPOZ Committee – MMRA Mansionization-RFA-HPOZ Survey
June 2014: Preliminary Results of the Mansionization-RFA-HPOZ Survey
July 2014: Los Angeles Times Finally Starts to Report on Mansionization Story
August 2014: How to Bake an HPOZ: Robbie O’Donnell has the Recipe…
September 2014: MMRA Pursues “Reduced Floor Area District” for R-1 Zoned Properties
December 2014: Miracle Mile HPOZ Workshop and Community Meeting
January 2015: Strong Community Support for Miracle Mile HPOZ / Large Turnout at January 10th Meeting
February 2015: MMRA Board Endorses Miracle Mile HPOZ / Tom LaBonge Sponsors Council Motion Launching Adoption Process
March 2015: MMRA Makes Last Minute Push to Improve Temporary Ordinance Limiting Demolition and Remodeling of Miracle Mile Homes – Miracle Mile HPOZ Update
April 2015: Miracle Mile Demolition Ban Approved – Historic Resources of Miracle Mile Properties Launched
May 2015: Miracle Mile HPOZ Update: Historic Resources Survey Underway
June 2015: New Videos of Historical Survey Team at Work + HPOZ Progress Report from Katie Horak – HPOZ Packet Mailed to Miracle Mile Property Owners
July 2015: Reforming the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance, A Conversation with Shelley Wagers
Click on image to play video.
Miracle Mile HPOZ Meeting
We had a large turnout at our HPOZ meeting on January 10, 2015. It was hosted by Mark Zecca, chairperson of the HPOZ Committee and featured a panel with Shannon Ryan, L.A. Office of Historic Resources – HPOZ Unit, and Robbie O’Donnell, Wilshire Park HPOZ. The pros and cons of HPOZ are discussed and analyzed in detail.
“…as sales data bear out, homes within these historic areas sell at a premium over similar houses outside them and values outpace nearby neighborhoods…
~ Los Angeles Times: Banking on the Value of History