Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) and Coastal Zone
In early 2021, new construction on the corner of Marquez and Ida kept growing in volume and in height to 42 ft. It loomed taller than anything else around, dwarfing the neighboring ranch-style homes and the Marquez School across the street. Taller than anything in the commercial district it now rises four stories above Ida. The neighbors complaint loudly. City inspectors came and went.
MKPOA and the Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) were approached for opinions. Each cautiously pondered over the so carefully drafted zoning code developed by the much beloved former Councilman, Marvin Braude with a 35 ft height limit.
City inspectors did find some violations but not with the floor area and not with the height limit. We heard the conclusion that its height and floor area are legal under current zoning laws and that its construction will continue.
The Area 3 Representative (which includes Marquez Knollls) on the PPCC kept pushing for answers for our residents.
Our own MKPOA President, Howard Robinson, a retired land-use consultant and chair of the PPCC Landuse committee discovered the anomaly.
In layman’s language the legality of the Ida home is based on the following: when the Baseline Mansionisation Ordinance (BMO), or better known as the flatland anti-mansionization ordinance, was implemented in the City of LA, the areas covered by the Coastal Zone in the non-hillside areas were exempt because Coastal was expected to undergo its own revision of the zooming codes. That never happened. It left the non-hillside R1 areas under Coastal with 40 year old antiquated zoning codes.
Coastal codes allow among others a 45ft heigh building and a building-site-x2 floor area which produces a massive volume for the building which is then higher than commercial structures in the Palisades. Those structures are limited to 35 ft. since the Councilman Braude era. PPCC unanimously supported the modification of the “Coastal donut holes” to align with the standard R1 regulations which limit the height to 35 ft. among other rules.
Interestingly, Mike Bonin introduced such a motion in early 2020 at the LA City Council. It passed unanimously but was never acted upon. MKPOA will continue to advocate that PPCC pursues our current Councilmember, Traci Park, to follow up on the unanimous Bonin motions toward implementation of that change. We have already planted the seed with Traci when she visited Marquez Knolls.
We already see building permits filed under Coastal rules in the Palisades. Actions to implement regular R1 rules in the Coastal Zone are urgent or sooner or later we will see giant structures lining Marquez Ave. and other areas of the Palisades.
P.S.: The LUC produced a comprehensive report on Coastal and all other zoning restrictions in the Palisades. It is published on the PPCC website www.PacPaliCC.org along with a map of other such area in the Palisades that currently allow this construction. The report is invaluable