ECHO PARK — The skyline of Echo Park is pretty much a low-rise affair, with only a few notable buildings, such as the dome of Angelus Temple and the Citibank office building, rising above two or three stories. Councilman Mitch O’Farrell would like to keep it that way and has proposed reducing the height limit in central Echo Park to 45 feet from 75 feet. The 75-foot limit that applies to a chunk of Echo Park along Sunset Boulevard is “completely out of scale with the neighborhood,” says his council motion. But fellow Councilman Gil Cedillo, who also represents a portion of Echo Park, apparently is not afraid of heights. He has backed an amendment that would keep the 75-foot height limit in his part of the neighborhood.
Last week, when Cedillo was in charge of the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee, he voted in favor of amending O’Farrell’s motion so that property owners would still be able to build as high as 75 feet on a single block that basically stretches on the south side of Sunset Boulevard from Echo Park Avenue on the west to Laveta Terrace on the east. It’s a block that contains the Bank of America branch and also the former Barragan’s restaurant, which closed and was sold last year.
Why did Cedillo support the amendment and who came up with that idea? It’s not clear but neighborhood activists who follow planning matters say Cedillo’s office introduced the motion. The Eastsider has contacted Cedillo’s office to get more information on his motion.
The motion, as amended, still needs to be reviewed and voted upon by the full City Council.
View Cutting down Echo Park’s building height in a larger map
The building height limit in the yellow areas would be reduced to 45 feet from 75 feet under the motion by Councilman Mitch O’Farrell. The area in blue, however, would retain the 75-foot height limit under an amendment supported by Councilman Gill Cedillo.
* Update on Tuesday, July 8: Fredy Ceja, spokesman for Councilman Cedillo, said the councilman requested the existing 75-foot height limit be be preserved within his district:
There is an existing Community Design Overlay Zone in this area that ensures any future design changes are compatible with the commercial district. The Bank of America building (which is in CD1) is already a designated City Historic-Cultural Monument which provides for its preservation. The property owners in this area did not reach out to my office asking for a reduction in allowable building height. The Council Office would like to see the revitalization of the former Barragan’s restaurant building and the continued economic revitalization of Sunset Blvd. in CD-1.