West Hollywood West Residents Launch Petition for Moratorium on ‘Big Box’ Construction


Big box houseThe West Hollywood West Residents Association is petitioning the City Council to establish a 45-day moratorium on granting permits for the construction of new two-story homes and second story additions. WHWRA is also asking the council to reinstate so-called “neighborhood overlay” zones, under which the city’s Planning Commission can adopt neighborhood specific zoning regulations.

The petition can be viewed and signed online. As of early this evening, it had gotten 85 signatures.

Manny Rodriguez, WHWRA Vice President, said the neighborhood group launched the petition after a discussion with the city’s Community Development Department, which suggested it was one way to show the City Council that the neighborhood is concerned about the construction of so-called “big box” houses.

In a city where approximately 80 percent of residential units are in multifamily buildings, West Hollywood West stands out for its preponderance of single-family houses. There are approximately 1,000 single family homes and duplexes in the neighborhood, which is bounded by Melrose Avenue on the north, Beverly Boulevard on the south, La Cienega Boulevard on the east and Doheny Drive on the west. Many of those houses were built in the 1920s and 1930s.

The city has approved 22 applications for construction of new single-family homes since 2010, with eight of those applications coming in 2012 and 12 coming in 2013. What has concerned residents is the large size of many of those houses and designs that they believe don’t fit with the neighborhood’s overall aesthetic.

Rodriguez said a 45-day moratorium will give the Community Development Department time to formulate guidelines to address these issues for presentation to the City Council. “There’s some talk of people saying we won’t be able to build a second story,” said Rodriguez, who noted that he lives in a two-story house in the neighborhood. “That’s not true. This is a vehicle to encourage the City Council to look into a resolution of the issue of big box houses that are proliferating in the neighborhood…It’s a question of creating a more creative and diverse design style.”


Rodriguez noted that property owners who already have received a city construction permit would not be affected by a moratorium. The City Council in December authorized city planners to take into consideration compatibility with existing houses when approving new houses proposed in the neighborhood.

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