Monday, July 23, 2012

Blackbirds houses in echo park...

A message from Barbara Bestor encouraging more people to support urban infill development in Echo Park, California:

Dear friends-who-live-in-echo-park-or-adjacent.....basically in council
district 13,
We have done several community meetings with neighbors and echo park
activists about our small lot project, called "Blackbirds",  in echo park
_homes_for_echo_park.php for an image or two)
And now we have a grand finale meeting coming up this Tuesday with the
GEPENC ( neighborhood council) that I am hoping to recruit a few of you to
come to, to speak in support of our project.
*The meeting is at 6:30pm at the GEPENC office behind the Bank of America at
the corner of sunset and echo park avenue. *
The issue on the table is not the project itself- it is a 'by right' project
and actually much less dense than what is legally possible on the site ( see
echo park's 'chicken corner' development under construction for the standard
issue small lot these days!) but rather getting a voluntary vote of support
from the neighborhood council , which has TREMENDOUS clout in the planning
process. The developers are young progressive business people who want to
build a legacy, super 'green' project- they share my interest in making a
small lot project that demonstrates how to increase density without throwing
architectural character and community out the window. We are using the
'living streets' ( concept as a
model for a parking approach that does not have enclosed garages- decreasing
building mass and also - we think- greatly increasing off-street parking as
typically Americans do NOT use their garages to park their cars.
Architecturally, the project takes a stealth approach to density- where
duplex units appear to be a single family modern gabled house, and triplexes
look like one and a half. There are also three actual single houses in the
group. The developers agreed last week to reduce the amount of houses to 15
from 18 in exchange for community support ( the main community concerns are
increased traffic and parking problems) so we are hoping that it turns out

However, a small group of very vocal neighbors insist that they want only 10
houses to be built and that there should not be vote of support in the
council.  it is a frustrating situation.   Unfortunately, if the developers
don't get neighborhood support, they will likely just turn around and sell
the parcel to a regular developer who would likely do about 21 units ( there
are increased density bonus options for these projects) which would be a
major bummer!

Anyhow- if you are up for supporting the project but can't make it to the
meeting maybe you could fire off a short email to the council district folks
(one from each person in your household is ok too):

From local construct, our developers... Here is their plea!

"I would like to ask that you write a letter to Marcel Porras, Eric
Garcetti's Planning Deputy, encouraging him to stand up for infill, and not
to let the loud voices of a small minority drown out the citywide, region
wide, and statewide interest that we all have in seeing the creation of
high-quality housing in infill locations.

I hope you don't feel put-upon by this request but the unfortunate state of
the political process is that the squeaky wheels get the grease, and there
are some very squeaky people trying to foist some onerous conditions on a
project whose design we have worked tirelessly to perfect.  It is up to
those of us who care about good design and urban renewal to make our voices
heard as loudly as the NIMBYs' are.  To this end, please send separate
letters from every member of your household if possible.

Please consider writing on our behalf.  I am happy to send you an example
letter on request."
mike Brown <>

Please address and email letters to:

Marcel Porras <>
Alejandra Marroquin <>
Oliver DelGado <>

Office of Councilmember Eric Garcetti, CD 13

THANK YOU! And also- if you are against this or other development etc.
entirely - that is cool, and I am happy to chat about it- and what LA will
and/or COULD look like in the future, etc.
Also- If you know any other political-process oriented folks you think I
should contact please let me know.



1 comment:

  1. What is the purpose of the Yellow Line on the above photo?