Planning Department

City of Los Angeles

200 N. Spring Street, Room 700

Los Angeles, CA  90012

Proposed Amendments to the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance

Dear City Planning Department,

The Board of Directors of the Valley Village Homeowners Association has reviewed the proposed amendments to the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance. The amendments have several desirable features that would (1) reduce the base floor/area ratio for the number of square feet permitted in single family homes from .5:1 to .45:1 for lots below 7,500 sq. ft. in area and from .45:1 to .4:1 for lots with more than 7,500 sq. ft., (2) eliminate the density bonuses for articulated facades and “green” energy and water conservation measures, (3) include the square footage of attached garages when calculating the size of a house that was previously excluded from the density calculation, and (4) eliminate the exemption of up to 100 sq. ft. for “double height” rooms, usually entryways.  

However, we have concerns about several provisions that are proposed to remain in the Baseline

Ordinance. They are:  

1. The 20% density bonus for second floors that are no more than 60% of the size of the first floor would still permit 40% of the 57 mansions in Valley Village identified by a survey done in 2008 to be built.  This would undermine the base floor/area ratio limits of 4.5:1 for lots under 7,500 sq. ft. and 4:1 for lots with more than 7,500 sq. ft.  In addition, the 60% limit for the second floor could be based on an inflated number of square feet for the first floor.  A separate limit, perhaps based on lot coverage, should be added to limit the size of the first floor.

2. The base floor/area ratios of .45:1 allowed for lots less than 7,500 sq. ft. and 4:1 for lots with more than 7,500 sq. ft. would still permit 16% of the mansions identified by the 2008 survey to be built.  To further reduce the number of mansions allowed, we think the base floor/area ratio should be lowered to .35:1 for lots less than 7,500 sq. ft. and 3:1 for lots with more than 7,500 sq. ft.  This would permit only 7% of the existing mansions in Valley Village, substantially solving the problem.

3. Uncovered “lattice roof” patios, breezeways and balconies are not counted as floor space

.

4. Adjustments of up to 10% can still be granted by a Zoning Administrator.    

                                       

Thus, while the proposed revisions to the Baseline Ordinance are an improvement, they still do not go far enough.  There are a few remaining loopholes in the proposed revisions, listed above, that need to be closed.                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                      Sincerely,

Paul Hatfield, President

Valley Village Homeowners Association