Dear PICO Neighborhood Council Stakeholders,

As you may know, mansionization is a hot button issue in Los Angeles, and the city is currently engaged in a process to amend the failed 2008 Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO). Responding to Councilmember Koretz’s May 2014 motion to remove counterproductive exemptions and loopholes from the BMO, the Planning Department prepared and published BMO/BHO Draft Amendments and a Q&A Sheet, and organized a series of outreach meetings at which stakeholders can get informed and express input on the proposed amendments. Possible Council adoption of the amendments is anticipated next summer – following a public comment period, environmental analysis, a staff report, and hearings before various city committees.

Responding to broad and consistent feedback from our stakeholders, the PICO Neighborhood Council board adopted a Community Impact Statement (CIS) supporting meaningful reform of the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) and proposing some modifications to the BMO/BHO Draft Amendments. For your reference, a copy of the CIS is pasted below.

City Planning staff and City Council want feedback from individual stakeholders as well, so we write to highlight ways that YOU can be involved:

Learn more about the proposed amendments and express your opinions at upcoming community outreach meetings on:

Tuesday, December 15, 7–9pm: Ronald F. Deaton Civic Auditorium, 100 W First St (Corner of Main)
Wednesday, December 16, 7–9pm: Marvin Braude Constituent Service Center, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd

Attached please find a copy of the slides from the first such meeting, held on December 2. After an informational presentation, public comments will be heard. If you care about this issue – we encourage you to attend and express your opinions. Note: just because the amendments have been proposed, doesn’t mean they will be adopted. City Planning and City Council members want to hear how you feel about mansionization, and what you think about the proposed amendments.

Express your opinions on the current draft amendments. You may share some of your fellow stakeholders’ opinions below, or may have additional and/or different views. Send your comments to:
subject: BMO/BHO Amendments, Council File #14-0656

(If you live outside council district 5 or 10, also add your councilmember, but do still include Councilmembers Koretz and Wesson, who are very important to this effort. The most important recipient is Hagu Solomon-Cary, the planner with primary responsibility for the draft amendments.)

We encourage you to forward this email to anyone who is interested in this issue. Thank you for your interest and involvement with this important initiative.

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Copy of the PICO Neighborhood Council
Community Impact Statement regarding proposed Amendments to the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance

December 10, 2015

Re: Council File 14-0656

Dear Members of the Los Angeles City Council,

At its regular meeting on December 9, 2015, the PICO Neighborhood Council Board passed Motion 2015.12.09.12b: The PICO Neighborhood Council Board supports meaningful reform of the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) and proposes modifications to the 10/27/2015 draft amendments.

Mansionization is one of the top concerns of P.I.C.O. Neighborhood Council stakeholders. We are grateful to Councilmember Koretz for sponsoring the motion to amend the BMO, to Planning staff for drafting amendments, and to Council President Wesson for sponsoring the first of the public outreach meetings.

The draft amendments look positive overall. While we support its reasonable floor-area-ratios (FAR), counting attached garage space, and the elimination of some counterproductive bonuses and exemptions, we urge you to correct some loopholes that weaken the amendments proposed by Councilmember Koretz.

1. The draft still excludes from the FAR calculation lattice-roofed porches, patios, and breezeways, and sets no limit on this uncounted space. This is just the kind of loophole that can turn houses into McMansions. With or without a solid roof, these spaces add bulk and should be counted. This unlimited exemption for patios, breezeways, and balconies with open or lattice roofs should be eliminated.

2. The draft retains the proportional stories bonus and sets a tighter proportion (60%, which we support). The second floor calculation should be based on the net square footage of the first floor, not including any exempted space. And as with other “discretionary” matters, the planning department should handle bonuses in a properly-noticed public hearing, which would provide transparency our stakeholders seek.

3. The draft keeps the Zoning Administrator’s discretionary 10 percent “adjustment.” Given community concerns re: lack of transparency, we don’t need yet another adjustment that gets approved behind closed doors. As the city has existing processes for seeking variances and a wealth of flexible zoning tools currently in development, this provision should be eliminated.

We believe these changes respect the intent of Councilmember Koretz’s original motion, and ensure that the ordinance does not retain harmful loopholes – or worse yet, create new ones. We ask you to make these changes to the draft amendments. A stronger BMO will encourage responsible development compatible with the scale and character of existing neighborhoods; allow spacious homes that easily accommodate modern families; preserve existing affordable single family homes; foster environmental and economic sustainability; and nurture residential communities that are critical to the vitality of our great city.

This motion should be submitted as a Community Impact Statement to Council File 14-0656.

Sincerely yours,

Brad S. Kane
President, PICO Neighborhood Council

MANSIONIZATION: PICO NC Update, and Ways YOU can be Involved with the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance Amendment process