How much longer will the public be able to enjoy the views from Flattop?

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Montecito Heights resident and photographer Martha Benedict has captured many panoramas of the city and mountains from Flattop, which consists of about 150 acres of  open land to the north of Lincoln Heights.  Here, on hills that rise nearly 800 feet high, one can find lots that have never been built upon and windswept property owned by the Echo Park church founded by evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson.  The 360-degree views from Flattop, also known as Mount Olympus, has over the years attracted attention from those who want to build homes as well as as parks, including a 2003 proposal to have the land purchased by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for public open space.  That proposal never went anywhere and the real estate bust has slowed private development. Still, those views and hills continue to draw attention. Benedict recently ran across a new sales listing for a half-acre property being offered for $60,000 on Von Keithian Avenue. The listing reads:

“Incredible opportunity to build 4 separate homes or create one large estate with views of downtown.”

“Development proposals crop up from time to time, but there’s usually something that derails them,” Benedict said. “However, there’s no reason to think that eventually someone may succeed in getting something going before the land can be protected fully.”


  1. I believe the organization you are referring to is the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. The Santa Monica Conservancy is a different organization which is focused on historic preservation.

    Carol Lemlein, President
    Santa Monica Conservancy

  2. Phew, I was scared when I saw the headline. But saw that lot the other day and it is not blocking any views. It’s at the base of the hillside down a little valley. Still worth 60K though!

    But BIG thanks to Martha for always fighting the fight for keeping open spaces, open. How do we get another Conservancy proposal started?

  3. People are really pushing these properties up on Flattop. But until MAJOR infrastructure is put in there will be no building up there. Paved streets with sidewalks, sewer system, utilities, streetlights and most importantly, fire hydrants MUST be installed to city standards before any building permits are allowed to be issued. Even properties with existing home foundations (that were burned years ago) are not entitled to build. That necessary infrastructure would amount to many millions of dollars. If ONE developer bought ALL the parcels and then did the work and sold them for significantly more money than they are now, then it MIGHT be worth it. But as it stands when you look at real estate in the middle of LA with 300* views and open land all around, all at rock bottom prices, and you say to yourself “Wow, that’s just too good to be true”, that’s because it is too good to be true.

  4. paradise hill is a hidden gem for us east siders. thats where i take all my visiting friends.

  5. What street takes you up there?

    Would love to see that view for myself!

  6. I really like the views and layout of Montecito Heights but I wonder if it would be my type of varrio, where you can hang out listen to music drink and smoke and hit the switches on a lowrider and make it bounce. What is Montecito Heights like..?

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