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Construction Curbs OKd for Pico-Robertson Area


Apartment and condominium projects in a 15-block neighborhood near the intersection of Pico and Robertson boulevards will be required to provide deeper front yards and additional landscaping under temporary building restrictions approved Tuesday by the Los Angeles City Council.

The restrictions, proposed by Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky because of complaints about a surge in building, are intended to prevent new projects from overwhelming duplexes and small apartments that make up the core of the neighborhood. The restrictions limit most construction to three stories and require developers of taller buildings to set back upper floors at least 10 feet.

"They are designed to improve the aesthetic quality of development and make it compatible in scale and mass with the existing units," said Vivian Rescalvo, planning deputy to Yaroslavsky. "People were just tired of seeing these buildings go in with no front yards and no landscaping."

The restrictions require developers to provide 20-foot-deep front yards, five feet deeper than normal. They also require a minimum of 100 square feet of open space for each dwelling unit and at least one tree for every three dwelling units.

Miriam Bertram, an official of the Crestview Neighborhood Assn., which first asked for building curbs in January, said the group welcomed the restrictions but had hoped they would be tougher. The association, for example, asked for a 25-foot front-yard setback, but the Planning Commission opted for 20 feet.

"We were extraordinarily discouraged before the Planning Commission," said Bertram, secretary for the 750-household association, which represents renters and homeowners south of the affected area. "But we are pleased that at least there is something."

Rescalvo said 20 new projects have been proposed this year for the neighborhood, which is bounded by Pickford Street and La Cienega Boulevard in addition to Pico and Robertson. In June, the council imposed similar restrictions in an adjacent neighborhood north of Pico and south of the Beverly Hills city line, where old apartment buildings were being demolished for condominiums.

The new limits will be in effect for at least one year while planning officials draft permanent guidelines for the two neighborhoods. Rescalvo said she expects those guidelines in large part to mirror the temporary ones.

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