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