HPOZ.jpegThere's a war going on in the Miracle Mile of Los Angeles between residents. They are divided over what is the best and most effective way to stop unrestricted out of scale growth that up until now has had little or no concern for maintaining the intrinsic character and charm of this Miracle Mile neighborhood.

While there is general agreement among all Miracle Mile residents that some form of residential development restriction must be put into place immediately, that's where any consensus among competing Miracle Mile residents seems to end.

One faction, organized around those who have been active in the Miracle Mile Residential Association (MMRA) and its President James O'Sullivan and MMRA member Ken Hixon seem to have made up their minds that a Historical Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) is the only solution capable of controlling development and protecting the historical character of Miracle Mile residences... even though this is clearly not the case.

What goes unmentioned among these HPOZ supporters is that an HPOZ might be good for those Miracle Mile residents living in rent stabilized apartments, but that it is over-kill for single-family R1 residents that would see their costs for even the most modest maintenance and remodeling- consistent with the restrictions put in place by an HPOZ- double or even triple, when these R1 residence have to conform to even the most modest inherently protracted requirements of the proposed HPOZ.

In effect, it is as if the R1 residents through the imposition of a costly HPOZ are going to be subsidizing the continuance of rent stabilized multi-unit dwellings within the borders of the proposed HPOZ.

While there are clearly less draconian measures than an HPOZ, like an R1 Variation Zone that has 16 different neighborhood model designs possible to protect the character of different types of neighborhoods without becoming an impossible and prohibitively expensive burden on Miracle Mile residents, the MMRA leadership has up until now been against even considering them.

If you wonder why, it's because it is thought that none of the sixteen R1 Variations possible for implementation in the Miracle Mile do anything to protect residents in multi-unit smaller rent stablized apartments that are in abundance in the Miracle Mile.

Therefore, because of the adversarial interests between those Miracle Mile residents living in single family R1 houses and those living in mostly small presently multi-occupant rent stabilized buildings, it appears that O'Sullivan, Ken Hixon, and others heading the MMRA leadership have not been forthcoming with all the facts necessary for ALL the residents of Miracle Mile to make an informed decision as to what would be best for EVERYBODY in their neighborhood.

In fact, they seem to have actually manipulated the HPOZ process by alleging "facts" in supporting a proposed HPOZ that are completely and easily verifiable as to being untrue.

One such huge distortion that the folks pushing HPOZ are making can be seen in the video here linked to that claims "80% of the 1351 structures in the proposed Miracle Mile HPOZ are denominated "contributors" to the proposed HPOZ zone and only 20% are not."

And yet, when you look at the map and identify the specific residences at 5:06 minutes into this YouTube video link you clearly see that they have included in this 80% figure "altered contributor"(yellow) residences that already have radical deviations from their uniquely historical initial architecture that is supposed to have been a substantial prerequisite for an HPOZ. Why is that?

In fact, the vast majority of the supposed "contributor"(green) structures that they are basing their claim for HPOZ status on are actually significantly "altered contributor"(yellow) denominated properties.

Furthermore, when you aggregate those structures denominated "altered contributor"(yellow) and those denominated "non-contributor"(black) the claim of commonality for an HPOZ goes completely out the window, when one realizes that it is the "contributor" structures that are in fact in the clear and absolute minority.

Now here's a radical notion. Even at this late date when the HPOZ train seems to have already left the station, might it not still be possible for all residents of the Miracle Mile to come together in harmony as a community and propose a compromise alternative plan that attempts to reconcile the reasonable needs of both the single R1 residents with those of the rent stabilized multi-units residents? Isn't it still possible to come up with a plan that addresses all of their concerns, while incorporating all residents common concern of maintaining the quality and scale of this dare I say charming community?

Even historic preservationist Ken Bernstein of the Office of Historic Resources, Department of City Planning seem to agree in what he has said- if not in what he has done- that an HPOZ is not appropriate in certain circumstances that seem to pretty closely approximate the Miracle Mile reality:

"An HPOZ is also not the right tool for every neighborhood. Sometimes, neighborhoods become interested in achieving HPOZ status largely to stop out-of-scale new development. An HPOZ should not be seen as an "anti-mansionization" tool: other zoning tools may better shape the scale and character of new construction. An HPOZ is best utilized when a neighborhood has a cohesive historic character and community members have reached a consensus that they wish to preserve those historic architectural features."

Maybe you could give City Councilman David Ryu and Ken Bernstein a call to express your concerns and the fact that you vote:

City Councilman David Ryu

Los Angeles City Hall
200 N. Spring Street, Room 425
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 473-7004


Ken Bernstein

Office of Historic Resources, Department of City Planning

200 N. Spring Street, Room 559,

Los Angeles, CA 90012Phone (213) 978-1200 Fax (213) 978-0017

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