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The Los Angeles Department of City Planning has unveiled a draft design ordinance which would reshape development along commercial corridors in the North Westlake area.

The proposed ordinance - which would affect properties lining Beverly Boulevard, Temple, 3rd and Alvarado Streets - has the stated goal of promoting pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use corridors and encouraging the reuse of existing buildings.  The subject area spans across several neighborhoods, including Historic Filipinotown.

Proposed policy shifts touch on a variety of topics relevant to the public realm, including building design, site planning, parking and signage.

Building Design

Under the proposed ordinance, buildings along the designated corridors would be required to:

  • have average ground floor heights of 15 feet;
  • set their ground floors back no more than five feet from the primary frontage;
  • use transparent glass or openings on at least 30 percent of the exterior wall;
  • have non residential uses on a minimum of 50 percent of the linear street frontage;
  • mask blank wall areas greater than 20 feet either either vertically or horizontally with green screen, vine pockets or murals.
  • Provide street-fronting entrances that do not conflict with driveways.

Site Planning

Under the proposed ordinance, buildings along the desginated corridors would be required to:

  • place vehicular access to off-street parking away from primary frontage unless infeasible;
  • place any surface parking at the back of the property;
  • screen any above-grade parking and enclose any at-grade parking;

Additionally, pedestrian bridges connecting two buildings across a public street would be prohibited.

Parking Requirements

Parking fornew buildings will be provided according to the municipal code, except for individual storefronts of 1,500 square feet or less used for neighborhood retail or neighborhood services, which would not be required to provide parking.  This exemption would apply only to 50 percent or less of a project's square footage, or 3,000 square feet, whichever is greater.

Additionally, although parking is still required for new construction, all developments covered by the design ordinance would be required to unbundle its parking.  This means that parking spaces could be sold or rented separatmently from residential units and commercial space, including for off-site uses.

Parking for new developments could also be provided at an off-site garage within 1,500 feet of the project site.

Signs

Promotional signage for local businesses would still be allowed under the proposed ordinance, with these exceptions:

  • Can signs
  • Illuminated architectural canopy signs
  • Monumentsigns Polesigns
  • Sail signs/wind banners
  • Temporary signs for which a permit is required:

The draft ordinance is subject to a public hearing, although a date is not specified.

A mixed-use development rising on Temple Street. Photo by Michael Hayes.
Image via LADCP

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