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Infill developments within the Brentwood - Pacific Palisades and West Los Angeles Community Plan Areas would be subject to new standards regulating building form, architectural finishes, open space and parking, should a proposed ordinance from the Los Angeles Department of City Planning be adopted.

The proposed standards read as follows:

Building Form

Setbacks and Yards

  1. Projects shall be set back within 5 feet of the prevailing front yard setback of the block face on which the property is located.  This setback requirement supersedes the front yard provisions for small lot subdivisions.
  2. Fences and walls in the front yard are permitted up to 42 inches in height, and must incorporate a minimum 18-inch-wide landscaped buffer area between the fence or wall and the front property line.

Entrances

  1. Street-fronting residential units shall have their primary entrance facing  the street.  Buildings without ground floor entrances for individual units shall have the primary building entrance, such as a lobby or atrium, facing the street.
  2. Primary pedestrian building entrances shall be emphasized through architectural features such as front porches, awnings,  columns and/or walkways from the sidewalk.
  3. Building entrances shall be placed at grade level or a maximum of three feet above grade level and shall be unobstructed  from view from the public right-of-way.  Entrances below grade level are prohibited.
  4. Access for pedestrians from the sidewalk to residential entrances shall be provided using a separated walkway, and not  exclusively through parking areas or driveways.

Massing

  1. When a new buildings or addition will be at least two floors higher than one or more.  Adjacent  sructures, a 10-foot stepback shall be required on the side fronting the public right-of-way above the number of floors of  the tallest ddjacent atructure.
  2. When a new building or addition will be at least two floors higher than one or more  adjacent  structures, a 10-foot stepback shall be required on the side(s) of the building facing the qualifying adjacent structure above the number of floors of the qualifying adjacent structure.
  3. No individual building shall have more than 150 feet of linear street  frontage.
  4. Pedestrian bridges across public rights-of-way, with the exception of alleys, are prohibited.

Architectural Treatments

Materials

  1. When stucco or plaster is used, it shall be limited to 75% of a building façade, applied in combination with at least one additional material on the façade, not including materials used in windows, doors, balconies, or railings, and applied as more than one color.
  2. The use of heavily textured stucco finishes, i.e. heavy dash, heavy lace, or heavy sand float, as a façade material is prohibited.
  3. The exterior finish on balconies shall be a material that is different from the primary finish material on the body of the building.
  4. Fences made of chain link or barbed wire are prohibited.
  5. A maximum of three complementary building materials shall be incorporated into the exterior façade of buildings, including but not limited to tile, terracotta, brick, stucco or stone materials used in windows, doors, balconies, or railings shall not count towards this maximum.

Articulation

  1. All exterior building elevations shall, at a minimum, provide a break in the plane every 15 feet in horizontal length and every 20 feet in height, created by a change in plane, architectural detail or a change in material.  Windows or doors that are flush with the plane of the building and exterior hallways and stairwells shall not constitute a change in material or break in the plane.
  2. Rooflines shall provide articulation in the form of vertical changes in plane or variation in roof types.

Windows and Doors

  1. Flush finish installations are not permitted.  Windows and doors visible from the street shall be recessed at least four inches from the building façade. The recess shall not be accomplished by the use of plant-on moldings around the window. 
  2. Exterior security bars or grilles on windows and doors are prohibited.
  3. Windowless façades facing the street are prohibited.

Lighting

  1. Exterior building and landscape lighting shall be directed away from adjacent properties.  In addition, no light shall be directed at the windows of a residential unit located either within or adjacent to a project.
  2. Exterior lighting shall be shielded to reduce glare and nighttime spillover light.
  3. Exterior lighting shall be provided along all vehicular access ways, pedestrian walkways, parking areas, open spaces, and building entrances.
  4. Lighting that uses flashing, motion, or multi-colored elements is prohibited.

Mechanical Equipment and Utilities

  1. All exterior mechanical equipment, including HVAC equipment, electrical transformers, utility meters, and exhaust fans, shall be screened from public view or integrated into the architectural design of the building.
  2. No mechanical equipment shall be permitted in window or door openings.
  3. Recycling and trash facilities and other service areas shall be located at the rear of the building, within parking garages, or otherwise screened from public view through gated, covered enclosures.
  4. For projects located within 500 feet of a freeway, locate air intakes for ventilation equipment as far from freeway sources as possible.

Open Space

Landscape, Hardscape and Irrigation

  1. A minimum of 80 percent of a Project’s newly landscaped area shall be planted with drought tolerant shrubs and groundcover identified as “California Friendly” by the Metropolitan Water District’s Be Water Wise program.  If turf is installed, a waterconserving species appropriate for the climate in Los Angles shall be selected.
  2. Hardscape areas shall include permeable paving for at least 50 percent of the area, except where not feasible due to water table levels, contamination, or permeability of the soil.
  3. Hardscape materials shall have a Solar Reflectance Index of at least 29.

Open Space Location

  1. Projects that are 500 feet or less from a freeway and containing sensitive land uses shall locate on-site open spaces and recreation areas as far from freeways as possible.
  2. Projects containing a sensitive land use abutting a freeway right-of-way shall provide a 10-foot-wide densely landscaped buffer between the project and the freeway.  Sensitive land uses include residences, schools, playgrounds, athletic facilities, and long-term health facilities.

Vehicle Access and Parking Design

Vehicular Access

  1. Vehicular access to parking areas shall be from an alley where feasible.  When no alley is available, vehicular access shall be from a local street.  When no local street is available, the driveway shall be placed along the side lot line of the property.
  2. On corner lots, vehicular access shall be located as far from the corner as possible and on a non-arterial street whenever feasible.
  3. Projects shall limit the number and width of driveways as set forth in the table below, unless otherwise required by LADOT.
  4. Driveways shall be located at least 50 feet from other driveways on the site and/or on adjacent properties.  When 50 feet is infeasible due to the location of existing driveways on adjacent properties, a minimum of 20 feet shall be allowed to separate the driveways.
  5. Porte-cocheres and other vehicular drop-off areas between the front of a building and the street are prohibited.  Drop-off areas shall be located along the curb where there is a full-time curbside parking lane or within parking facilities.

Parking Areas

  1. Parking areas shall be located underground, at the rear of the property, or at other suitable locations that are not visible from the public right-ofway.
  2. If parking is located at or above grade level, or partially underground, it shall be screened from the public right-of-way by architectural elements and/or densely planted trees or shrubs that are minimum of 2 feet in height. 
  3. Multiple garage bays or carports along the front of a building or surface parking areas and driveway “back-up” space between a structure and the public right-of-way (regardless of setback requirements) are prohibited.
  4. At least 50 percent of surface parking lot and driveway surfaces shall utilize light-colored materials, such as concrete, white asphalt, or lightcolored pavers with a Solar Reflective Index of at least 29 to reduce surface temperatures.

The proposed ordinance, which applies to multifamily residential units in Brentwood, Pacific Palisades and West Los Angeles, will be dsicussed as at a public workshop in Summer 2017.  It will later go before the City Planning Commission, and then the full City Council for final adoption.

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