O.C. developer can’t get enough of Echo Park*

Conceptual rendering for 1516 Echo Park Ave. Renderings courtesy Planet Home Living

Last month The Eastsider reported that an empty Echo Park Avenue lot that could accommodate 12 units of housing – and what looked like a backyard stadium – was under contract to be sold. Now, the buyer of the property has been identified as Planet Home Living, the Orange County-based developer with three separate projects underway in Echo Park.  While plans for the Echo Park Avenue project remain in the conceptual stage, company executive Jennifer L. Chirco-Coker said her firm has a totally different development in mind for the lot than envisioned by the previous owners.  Instead of a dozen condos, Planet Home has proposed building only five, three-story homes as part of a small-lot development.

Chirco-Coker said the firm, which recently filed a proposal with the city to break up the approximately 10,400-square-foot property into five home sites,  plans to start construction next year.  No prices have been established for the two and three bedroom homes. The houses will be narrow, with some measuring less than 20 feet wide in some cases, but all will have tw0-car garages.  The project at 1516 Echo Park Ave.  is only one block south from where Texas home builder D.R. Horton is currently building 36 condominiums on Echo Park Avenue.

“We think it ‘s  a vibrant community and we think it’s a good investment,” she said.

In addition to the five homes on Echo Park Avenue,  Planet Home Living is preparing to build 17 homes in two separate projects on the eastern edge of Echo Park on Douglas Street.  Meanwhile, on the northern edge of Elysian Heights, the company has been grading a hillside parcel as part of a 15-home development near Allesandro Street.

[portfolio_slideshow id=36618 autoplay=false portfolio_slideshow carousel=false portfolio_slideshow carouselsize=4]

Conceptual drawings are subject to change.

* Correction: A previous version of this story said that the property to be developed totaled about 5,600 square-feet in size. That’s wrong.  The property is 10,400 square-feet.


  1. Someday everyone is going to regret all of this. Right now they seem to think its all an awesome idea. But what’s the point of west-side thick traffic if it’s not because you’re next to the beach?

    Echo Parking lot
    Echo (used to be a) Park

    • What’s to regret? Do we regret the tiny bungalow apartment complexes that used to be built 80 years ago? Most of them didn’t even come with parking.

      Now they’re adorable and we regret it when we lose one. These are much like those were. I just wish they worked on the facades to look more to my taste, but other than that they’re great. More units means more housing options, lower prices, etc.

      Worried about traffic? We need to keep building subways all over. Adding 1cent to the sales tax is not enough. We need a fat tax on gasoline of an additional 10cents per gallon. I’d pay it happily if it would build more rail to get more drivers off the roads and get me where I’m going faster…

      • Except that the expansion of rail at the expense of busses has decreased transit ridership, but don’t let facts stand in your way.

      • More units is fine, but if each one comes with two parking spots that generates a lot of traffic! This location could attract lots of zero car households, but not if you force them to pay for two parking spaces in addition to a house.

  2. Three-story tall trailers belong in trailer parks, not in the middle of a single-family home neighborhood.

    This is a VERY bad zoning law that allows this. Build them yes, but in their own zone no differently than a trailer park.

    • Thank Eric Garcetti.

      • You’re absolutely right about that — he got this law through.

        • Developers= campaign donations.
          Garcetti is glad-handing these guys because theyre the people who are going to donate $ to his war chest for the next mayors race- none of these people who are pushing this off on us live here- if they did, they wouldn’t let it happen and you can bet anything as trashy looking as those wont be going up in the neighborhoods they actually do live in.
          Lets see, 5+17+ 15+36= approx 73 units at 1.5 vehicals per unit= a consevitive guestimate of abot 100 plus new vehicles in a bottle neck. Just wait until rush hour on a game night… according to my math that equals gridlock, not “vibrant community”.

          “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of a cancer cell.”
          -Edward Abbey

  3. All of these projects (particularly 36 on Echo) should’ve had ground floor retail! That would make the EP Ave stretch much more vibrant! Missed opportunity.

    • Totally agree. I, however, happy to see new building going on instead of more empty lots to be tagged and whined about by Nimbys. Even though 36 echo is hideous.

      • 36 Echo is an eyesore and is totally out of place in the neighborhood. These Orange County developers must think very little of the people who live in Echo Park to leave us with such a giant piece of crap-itecture. I agree with Daniel, they could have at least included some ground floor retail; now it will be a giant dead zone. I’m not against developing the vacant lots in Echo Park, but I’d like to see something that fits into the scale of the neighbor and doesn’t look like a suburban town house development. The small lot ordinance needs to go!

  4. I think it’s vibrantly bullsh*t and at least in my humble opinion the phrase “small lot ordinance” should be a lot no less than 2,500 square feet (not the above 1,120 square feet per lot). I only use that figure because my tiny little bungalow rests on a 2,500 square-foot lot and I have enough free space to play with and a nice long driveway to keep my car off the street. How does one repeal the “small lot ordinance” law?

    • Well, as per above, for starters, don’t elect Garcetti as mayor!

      Instead, elect someone — at both the council and mayoral level — who will usher through an ordinance to stop this. As I said above, they could put through a law to relegate these to their own zone like a trailer park is.

      • He’s not the mayor now and this law exists, so while I understand your point about voting to discontinue the pursuit of cramped developments, there are other people to blame for the passage of such regulations. I’m not a city planner, but even if they re-zoned the same lot for a trailer park, the development would still be there. The small lot ordinance needs to be eliminated, period.

    • You think it should be illegal for anyone to live in a smaller house than yours? You say you have free space and a long driveway, so shouldn’t it be legal for people who don’t have a car and want to use parks as their free space to live in a smaller house, if they don’t want to pay for a big one?

  5. Trash, trash and more trash. I don’t care about your investment.

  6. I will use my body to block the bulldozers. Willing to lay down my life on this one.

  7. Love them. I’ll be first in line to buy mine!

  8. i’d rather have 5 units than the original 12. and, i’d rather have these than an empty lot full of trash. we can all be upset about echo 36. but i’d rather that, than the half built ruins that sat there for two years. as much as a corner market would have been nice across from chango on the echo 36 property , ground retail would have meant no parking garage for the people who will live there. i can only imagine the uproar if they were all parking on the street. by they way some people react to the loss of an empty paved lot , you would think they were building a skyscraper!

  9. Thank you for saying this! There are so many dumpy buildings on EP ave that do NOT honor the original character of the neighborhood.

    Let’s not forget, every new development is one less gangster in EP. Keep making it more and more hostile for these idiots so they go somewhere else.

  10. Never thought Echo Park could give Beverly Hills a run for its money in terms of NIMBYism, but you guys are proving me wrong.

  11. Trust me, there’s plenty of retail on that part of Echo Park Ave. (about 7 or so businesses between Scott and Chango Coffee, plus few great places up the street like Fix, Delilah’s, EP Market, Yoga studio, art galleries, etc. And not to mention everything two blocks down on Sunset.

    Unless you expect everyone here to take the DASH or Metro buses to subway, they will need parking.

    Density is good.

    • I have the feeling that Fran and a few others here are employees of the developer. Density isn’t great, especially if it’s your neighborhood that’s filling up with cars.

    • But there can always be more retail! And anyone who commutes to USC or anywhere along Santa Monica, Sunset, or Hill/Broadway can just take a single bus from here – no subway needed.

  12. Hi Neighbors,
    We plan to submit the following to the Mayor, Council Members and anyone else you recommend. If you’d like your name on it, or if you have comments, please email me at tamaroland@att.net. Thank you, Tamar

    Regarding new developments on Douglas and Montana Streets in Echo Park

    Dear Mayor,

    As developers successfully push through plans for 17 three-bedroom units with zero foot set backs in a single access neighborhood, the community asks the city require the developers to install additional fire hydrants. Last year, this small and isolated three-street area with only one way in and out had a house fire. The house was destroyed because parking is at peak on the three single-access streets and as a result, LAFD could not get a truck in close enough. For the second time in LA history, a helicopter air drop had to be utilized to stop the fire from destroying other homes in this small and congested area. This cost taxpayers money and a neighbor her home.

    Please understand we are at the mercy of current laws that are not set up to protect a small, single-access neighborhood where at least 35% of the dwellings have zero on-site parking and 25% have one space for multiple tenants. There are no laws on the books to protect us as we are the only neighborhood with single access and 100% parking density, so there is no precedent. We are also the only area where you cannot go to the next street to park. We have the park on two sides and no access, other than Sunset, to the next street, which is very steep. We have a large community of senior citizens living in modest duplexes with no off street parking. I can’t imagine them safely traversing the nearest street, the steep Quintero, just to find parking.

    While we are helpless in stopping the addition of 17 three-bedroom homes, we beg you to require the developers to add a fire hydrant on Montana Street, where there currently is none, as well as assess the fire hydrants on Douglas and Elysian Park Drive. We cannot afford another air drop and we do not want to see more homes destroyed because LAFD is unable to do their job.

    In an effort to protect the area, the developers have been told by the city to widen the streets, thereby destroying several seventy five year old trees that dot our small area. The developer is now polling residents, asking which they would prefer – loss of the trees or that they don’t widen the streets to keep the trees – even though the city clearly approved their ‘conceptual plans’ only if they agreed to widen the streets to relieve the high density community. The developer is Planet Home Living and here is a link below to an article about the opposition they’ve faced so far by taking advantage of the small lot ordinance. The small lot ordinance does not take into account our small, single access area, so the best protection we can ask for is the installation of fire hydrants.


    If there was any way to amend the small lot ordinance to protect our isolated three streets, it would be simple: to require three parking spots instead of two for the 17 three bedroom, three story units. That way, visitors and third tenant drivers would not compete with the limited parking for low income people and senior citizens in our area who currently have limited or zero onsite parking. Instead of zero foot setbacks being granted for the development, additional parking could be required instead.

    Please note there is no ‘go to next street over’ option to find parking. We are an island. The only option other than our own three streets (one of which has parking on one side only and no sidewalks) is Sunset Blvd. As you know, Sunset Blvd is impossible most evenings and during stadium events, and has time limits.

    Please understand we are an odd circumstance with no laws to protect us. Please require the developer, Planet Home Living, to minimally install new fire hydrants and at most, save our residents by requiring more parking for the anticipated 32 plus new residents.

    Thank you.


  13. is this happening still or just another flash in the pan idea that never took off?

  14. Several of us are drafting a letter to the city asking the developer be required to install fire hydrants on Montana, Douglas and Elysian Park Drive. If you would like to see the letter and add your name, please contact Tamaroland@att.net by Jan 20th to be included.
    Thank you,
    Tamar Halpern

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *