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Saturday, September 20, 2014

More development coming at you, Echo Park

Watch Out: Earth moving equipment at work on the site of Morton Village development.

Early rendering of Morton Village/15 Group

The roar of  earth moving equipment this week on Morton Avenue in Echo Park signals that work has resumed on Morton Village, an 18-home, small-lot development  that had been dormant for more than a year.

Miami-based developer 15 Group started work on the project in April of last year before it put the Echo Park property and another Silver Lake development up for sale.  Earlier this year, Southern California home builder Van Daele Homes announced it had agreed to build  Morton Village and the 33-home Silver Lake development on Rowena  in partnership with 15 Group.

Previous developers had agreed to restore the three cottages near the front of the Morton Village property while 15 new, three-story homes (depicted in the rendering)  would be constructed on the slope behind the bungalows.

How long before construction is finished and all the back-up warning beeps stop? The Eastsider is seeking to contact Van Daele Home to get an update on the most recent construction plans.

42 comments

  1. Look Out Echo Park A Nother West La development. Soon U All Will Liveng In A Big developed Area With No More Open Space Juse Crammeed Like Sardings . We Dont Want It To Happen Here In Rose Hills 90032′

    • Your hand must be sore from all the pearl clutching, Frank.

      • I’m stealing the pearl clutching line…

      • Echo Park resident

        Pear clutching aside, I do have to admit I’m pretty peeved about the style and types of developments being brought to the Eastside. Frank is totally right when he calls them “West LA” developments. What’s so bad about keeping things small and making sure new buildings match the look and feel of existing structures? It’s really easy to build a craftsman-style home or townhouse — so what’s with all the crappy, Brutalist ultra-modern crap?

        There’s a reason I don’t live on the Westside. Keep that stuff west of Vermont, thanks.

      • Lord how I wish articles such as this one would actually name the location of the development under discussion.

    • Rose Hills is not even a neighborhood…It’s El Sereno!

  2. glad I locked up my flat acre lot. Bigger lots keep getting chopped into smaller lots.
    Experiments on rodents have shown an increase in aggressive behavior as they cram more into a smaller living space. Fighting for resources and space become the norm. In LA, many people seem to behave like rodents. Not everyone wants to live in a box.

  3. “Miami-based developer 15 Group” – more like Pen-15. amirite?

  4. Great news. Good to see that vacant lot finally being turned into homes. Looks like a nice design, hope they hold true to renovating the cottages. it would be nice if the long row of cottages adjacent to that lot were also renovated.. Morton is a nice little street — some really cool houses, and some really dilapidated ones in need of some (a lot of) TLC. This will be a good companion to the 36 on Echo complex. Lot’s of comments about density — but it is the way things are heading — population isn’t getting any smaller and it isn’t like this is a 300 unit apartment complex or hi-rise next to single family homes — so while it is more dense, it is still scaled appropriately relative to the neighborhood (especially if you look around at the other multi-family dwellings). And it brings in more tax payers to the city and more people who want to have a stake in the neighborhood and see it do well and thrive.

  5. High density housing belongs on major roads like Sunset; not in this part of the neighborhood that already has parking problems. Echo Park Ave is the only way to get in or out of this area and there are already traffic jams during rush hour. I have no problem with developments in Echo Park, but they need to fit in with the scale of the neighborhood. Why not build half as many houses on bigger lots, something that fits in with the neighborhood… is Echo Park turning into Santa Monica?

    • These aren’t really high density, they are medium density at most. I personally haven’t seen any traffic jams on EP ave. maybe turning left onto sunset? even then it goes pretty quickly. I think the buildings at delta/EP ave look a lot better than a trashy lot, and these will look better than the same thing, and they’re preserving the historic cottages.

      Are these really any more dense than the many single family lots that built extra cottages to rent out and became multi family lots?

      The land here is expensive. The only way to make a profit is multi-units. Unless you’d rather have billionaires buying up multiple lots and building multi-million dollar mega mansions like on the westside. come to think of it… there’s your initial source of eastward gentrification right there!

      • Looking at a map of Morton Echo & Delta already already shows the area contains a dense mix of single and multi-family units (a couple of relatively large complexes) If anything. this new development is actually less dense that it than it has the potential to be given some of the other buildings on Morton. Also ir isn’t like they’re building a 24hr In and Out where there is a constant flow of traffic.

        http://goo.gl/maps/48H4W

        • Get out of here with your sound reasoning and concrete examples of existing densities. This is the Eastsider…a place reactionary NIMBYism.

    • I’m about to move right into this area of Echo Park from Silver Lake. I’m no stranger to the backup that already exists in the immediate area, and I’m not too pleased more developments are going up. I finally found a house I can afford, I’m finally getting away from Sunset and the noise of living on a major cut-through to Sunset — and now, it looks like I just wasted a lot of money to get into the same spot.

      The upside? I can finally join the Echo Park Neighborhood Council — and if I can get on, developments like this are going to be the first thing I tackle.

      • You’re a NIMBY before you ever even move in? that’s gotta be a new worlds record!

        I kid I kid. Even though I favor the small-lot ordinance (cause I live in one), I appreciate those who don’t. Because eventually there will be a ‘saturation point’. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I certainly don’t want every R2 lot to become small-lot subdivided. There will be a balance and people who don’t like small-lots will contribute to that balance, which I think will be great for the neighborhood.

  6. We need to repeal the small lot development ordinance. How do we go about that?

    • I agree with seeh2o, let’s repeal the small lot ordinance. These “small lot” developments are going to ruin the unique character and quality of life in our neighborhood as they gobble up every vacant lot in Echo Park. Just look at the high density mess that is Santa Monica to see what will happen.

      @really? Yes, the traffic really does get backed up during rush hour, right near the gas station on Echo Park Ave.

      • and it’s not just vacant lots. Someone can buy a lot, raze the house, and put up several in it’s place.

        One or two of these things won’t make a big impact. The problem is, is that they are popping up all over the place. It’s the net effect of many of these that will have deleterious effects on the neighborhood, traffic, etc.

      • a note, though, it is my understanding that the parcel has to already be zoned for multi-family dwellings to qualify (ie condos, duplexes, apartments).. then it can be broken up into small lots for individual houses.
        I’m not entirely sure if this really increases density over what *could* be built there with apartments. The question is if you’re allowed to increase the number of dwelling units with this ord

        • My understanding is that the law only allows for the land to be divided up differently. Instead of a single building with several owners sharing ownership of the land and dividing ownership of the building, each owner gets personal title to a fragment of the land and a complete (but small) building. It doesn’t change the laws about floor area ratio and total number of units allowed.

      • How many minutes of the day is it backed up there? How long does it take to get through the backup? Remember that if you don’t let these people live here, they’ll have to live somewhere else, probably in the suburbs, which could easily double or triple the length of their commute (and do much worse for their trips to food and shopping).

        • Echo Park resident

          Good! They can go live in the suburbs, or somewhere closer to their jobs! Honestly, how many people that live on the Eastside work in the Eastside? If you work in Culver City, but live in a Westside-style mega apartment on the Eastside, you probably would feel more at home back in Culver City.

          I moved here to get away from the crappy condos and major developments that litter Los Angeles. I’m going to fight to do all I can to keep this stuff out of Echo Park.

        • I drive thru there during rush hour everyday and it’s never more than a few cars deep. It takes a minute at most. Maybe It’s because I’ve dealt with much worse traffic in other parts of LA, but it’s really nothing at all to me, and I hate traffic to the point I design my whole weekends around not driving at all.

          True freedom/hillster/h2o are worried that their neighbors will sell to developers and they’ll have a bunch of townhomes next to them, hurting their property value, and/or privacy. That’s a legitimate concern, I’m not knocking it. I think it will just make SF properties more valuable. I look at small lots as in inevitable evolution of LA as a city. Will there be growing pains? of course. But like Kenny said, there really is not an alternative. LA needs more housing. A lot more. The days of the exurb commuting from the inland empire are over. There is no more room for SF homes. learn to share.

          Also: yes, they have to be built on R2 ‘multi family’ zones. if you look at a zoning map, that is most but not all of echo park. the higher hills are R1. But all announced developments are on lots zoned for it (or commercial lots).

          The ordinance’s minimum SQ FT per lot is 600, but builders are building 1200-2000 sq ft units in EP, bigger than many homes in the area. So not exactly a ‘cage’ as true freedom loves to sing about :)

  7. WHEN DOES THE NIGHTMARE END!!!!! AND WHY CAN’T PEOPLE WHO OWN THEIR HOMES JUST APPRECIATE WHAT THEY HAVE AND NOT COMPETE WITH THE NIEGHBORS WITH THEIR CONSTANT CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS? AS FAR AS THESE RIDICULOUS APARTMENTS THAT KEEP BEING BUILT, WHERE ARE YOU PEOPLE COMING FROM? DAMN G’S

  8. So, how do we go about repealing the small lot ordinance?

    I’ve seen a lot of agreement to repeal the ordinance and a lot of pissing and moaning, but no advice on how to repeal it. This is an actionable item. Who here knows how to get the ball rolling to repeal it and, if you know, please share so we can seriously start looking into it.

    • Its not going to be repealed. The reason it was enacted in the first place was to help comply with SB 375, the statewide law that sets stricter targets for greenhouse gas emissions.

      More density = more people, jobs, services, and retail in closer proximity = shorter car trips = less emissions.

      More sprawl = less people, jobs, services, and retail in closer proximity = longer car trips = more emissions.

      • Thank you for sharing your opinion, but I’m not interested in it.

        Who knows, or has a suggestion, on how to go about getting the small lot ordinance repealed?

        • Start by emailing our councilman and his Echo Park representative, Adam Bass?

          • Thank you. I just sent an email to one of our grassroots people who really help to get things done around here. Hopefully, I’ll get some direction and be able to share it here with those who are interested.

            Repealing or somehow amending the small lot ordinance needs to happen, our community is quickly becoming hideously over crowded, not to mention the eyesore(s).

      • Thank you for sharing facts, but I’m not interested in them Chris L.

      • @ Chris L – Geez you weren’t kidding about Eastsider being a haven (or is it a coven) for NIMBYism. It’s like watching the text version of Fox News. Hyperbole. Panic. Overreaction. Dismissive. Clinging to the past .. and that’s just your luvmuffins @Steve, @seeh2o & @True :)

        • Nice. Resorting to name calling and pejorative terms instead of engaging in debate.

          For the record, I’m not against re-development. I AM against OVER-development.
          and, I would not call myself the N-word (nimby); however, there are definitely things that I do not want in my back yard. I would imagine most people have things they don’t want in their backyard.. usually for good reasons.

          • @True – Debate implies one side hearing the other – a conversation. When the tone and content read: “I see you have been “greenwashed”” ; “Thank you for sharing facts, but I’m not interested in” ; “Thank you for sharing your opinion, but I’m not interested in it.” ; “his OPINION, not the facts.” — isn’t everyone entitled to their opinion? Plus I put a smiley on the end. And smileys make everything all better.

            PS I re-read all the posts, with the exception of just a few of them, I stand by my pejoratives: “Hyperbole. Panic. Overreaction. Dismissive. Clinging to the past” as pretty summary.

          • The quotes you use were not written by me, with the exception of the “greenwashed” comment… which is my opinion that the dude has been duped by specious arguments about the environmental benefits of high density here in LA.

            I fully welcome genuine debate. I can’t ensure that others feel the same.

  9. Why are these new developments so darn ugly? They don’t blend into the neighborhood. They look like brutalist fortresses. This is not the reason people move to Echo Park.

    And while we’re talking about this…does anyone know the story behind the single-family home going up on Park Dr at Morton right by the park? Apparently, the neighbors fought a larger development on that lot and won. What is the story here? How can we repeat this?

  10. Not Another Neighbour

    Dear eastsider… please find out how long the beeping will last. Its driving me crazy.

  11. @Chris L : I see you have been “greenwashed” (ie whitewashed with green arguments) by SB375.
    High density urban planning is not necessarily beneficial to the environment. If we were designing a brand new metropolis on top of green land, I would agree with many of the principles.

    But here in LA, where jobs, activities are highly distributed over a large area, and viable transit infrastructure is sorely lacking… adding new residents will only add more cars and more local (within LA County) miles driven. More people in LA == more cars in LA. Period.

    Also, remember, all miles driven are not created equal. Driving five miles on traffic/stop free roads has much less environmental impact as driving five miles in congested, stop and go areas.

    I work in Pasadena. There are tons of high density condos going up all over the place. Where are my co-workers choosing to purchase? Santa Clarita, Calabassas, Sherman Oaks, etc because they can by a single family residence with at least a little bit of room to breathe for less money.

    Additionally, thinking most people will live, work, shop in a small area is unrealistic.. unless you’re a young renter who’s mobile. Most people change jobs on average every 5 years. Your next job may not be next to where you live. Now, you either commute or move. People with families will likely not move, but stay put and commute.

    SB375 is not good for the environment when applied to LA. Wake up and smell the smog

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