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Camerford Lofts -- the points we have to make at the rescheduled May 13 hearing

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  • euphoric52
    The developer of Camerford Lofts has made a new proposal. I ve posted a pdf of the developer s summary. It seems to say: --85 units, RAS-3 on the Melrose
    Message 1 of 1 , May 5, 2008
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      The developer of Camerford Lofts has made a new proposal. I've posted
      a pdf of the developer's summary. It seems to say:

      --85 units, RAS-3 on the Melrose side, RAS 4 on the Camerford side,
      --utilizing the alley & its overhead,
      --agreeing to the dedicated lane for turns, whether they construct it
      or the City does, which will depend on the imposition of a "B"
      permit(which mandates that developer not only pays but does the
      construction vs. right now City building dedicated lane for the
      Larchmont Lofts side of st.)
      --agreeing to the 15' setbacks on Melrose but none in alley;
      --agree to 10' sidewalks on the Melrose side
      --wanting extremely small units on Camerford side (735 s.f.), had some
      hard-to-understand rationale for the legality
      --replacing 63 trees 1:1 including the Calif. walnuts,(protectedl
      trees replaced at 2:1 ratio resulting in 6 I think)
      --contributing $800,000 to the city's (Hollywood) affordable housing
      trust for projects in CD13 (including unspecified portions of this
      $800,000 towards the restoration of the 42 units bungalow village from
      Serrano to Kingsley @ Fountain--evicting 100 people; and also another
      16 unit project w/o specified address on Alexandria),
      --parking to be 2.25 per residential unit and 21 spaces for the
      commercial units;
      --doing step-ups-downs in height corresponding to parcels & restrictions;
      --claiming their project won't be "viable" if they have fewer than 85
      units; "won't be viable if they can't build over the alley."

      Here's my personal opinion. This is not the LVNA talking. It's me.

      Our rights to due process are being subverted by a "moving target"
      rezoning process that ignores the role that the Planning Department
      and its staff are supposed to have in analyzing zoning change. Our
      tactic has to be to insist that the PLUM Committee doesn't have the
      right to approve a zoning change and a plan that was never presented
      to the Planning Department in the first place. We're amateurs, the
      other side is professional, and we're getting a fast shuffle from the

      1. THE BIG LIE. The developer's pitch is that it can build 33 units on
      Camerford and 66 units on Melrose "by right." No one seems to haved
      done the mathematical computation necessary to determine what the
      parcels actually support "by right." However, so far as I can tell,
      the developer's claim is untrue.

      In Los Angeles, three intertwined variables define the number of units
      that can be built on a parcel. The first is the zone, which dictates
      the required square footage of each unit. The zone is then always
      further constrained by either a height rule or a FAR rule (floor area
      ratio -- the total allowable square footage of the project); these
      latter two rules dictate the mass of a building. You must read all of
      these limitations to learn the development possibility for any parcel
      -- it is simply a LIE to state that your property's development
      potential is governed only by its "zone." And in this case, the height
      and FAR constraints on the properties are MAJOR:

      a) zoning: Camerford R-3 allows 800 square foot units; Melrose C-4
      allows 400 square foot units

      b) height limits: the Camerford parcels are limited to 30 foot and two
      stories; the Melrose parcels have no height limit (the north side of
      Melrose is in the Hollywood Plan which uses FAR to control mass; the
      south side of Melrose and all of Larchmont are in the Wilshire Plan
      which uses a 45 foot height rule to control mass)

      c) floor area ratio (FAR): the Camerford parcels have a generous 3:1
      FAR (the building's total square footage cannot exceed 3 times the
      size of the lot after you subtract out the required yards, but this
      generous measure is not usable here due to the significant height
      limit); the Melrose parcels have a hugely restrictive 1:1 FAR (the
      building's total square footage cannot exceed the size of the lot
      after you subtract out the required yards).

      2. THE DOMINO EFFECT. We can expect that any decision to change the
      zoning in this case will be freely applied to every other parcel on
      the north side of Melrose. When the color of an area changes on the
      zoning maps, planners will use the new intrusion to justify applying
      that changed color to all of the similarly situated neighboring
      parcels. The "justification" is to avoid spot zoning, which is illegal.

      3. STREET, YARDS, SIDEWALK, ALLEYS. The yard widths are dictated by
      zoning; the rest of these features are imposed by Q conditions or
      similar, on a case-by-case basis. Just as with zoning, however, once a
      new pattern is established in a region, you can expect that pattern
      to repeat on all neighboring parcels. So, the community must ask: what
      street width for Melrose? what sidewalk width on Melrose? how valuable
      is the existing alley in this case (usually, these alleys are HUGELY
      IMPORTANT to our trash, delivery, and circulation systems)? If trash
      trucks don't have an alley, they will use the streets. What will that
      do to traffic? We all know. How will retail establishments take

      4. RAS ZONING. This new zoning tool, being sought in this case, is
      poorly defined. It represents the largest zoning available in all of
      LA outside of downtown and central Hollywood. When you replace C-4
      zoning with RAS-3 or RAS-4 zoning, you triple the building size. C-4
      zones are limited to a FAR of 1.5:1 almost everywhere (though in this
      case, the even greater constraint of 1:1 applies). RAS zones
      automatically increase the FAR to 3:1 -- tripling the building size.
      There are NO GOOD RULES for where the RAS zones should be introduced.
      Logically, these zones would be appropriate at rail stops and in major
      commercial or employment centers; they may also fit at an intersection
      served by 2 Rapid Bus lines. None of these "mega" characteristics are
      present at Melrose and Larchmont.

      5. "Contribution" of $800,000: Is the destruction of an important
      part of our neighborhood for sale? It sounds like it.

      We need a phone campaign to Eric Garcetti/Kelli Bernard that
      emphasizes these points.

      Vincent Cox
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