SILVER LAKE — Artist Anne Hars has devoted much energy fighting small-lot developers and defending the tenants who have had to move out for the pricey townhomes. Now, Hars has come up with a new way to focus attention on this issue: balloons. A committee of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council has approved spending up to $200 to tie bouquets of helium-filled balloons to the roofs of homes that are to be torn down for small-lot developments.
Har’s UpHouse Project was inspired by the 2009 animated film Up and the the story of Edith Macefield, an elderly Seattle resident who refused to sell her cottage to real estate developers. The developers ended up building around her property.
Silver Lake has seen numerous projects built and proposed under the small-lot ordinance, which allows builders to pack more single-family homes on a property than would normally be allowed. Supporters of small-lot developments say they create more options for home buyers and are typically smaller than apartment buildings. But many residents have opposed the projects as being too large and out of character in old neighborhoods and unaffordable to many exiting residents.
In January, balloons were attached to the roof of a home on Coronado Street that is slated to be demolished for a 10-home, small-lot project.
“By tying bouquets of balloons to the roofs, the UpHouse Project seeks to commemorate houses around the city which are slated for demolition by luxury small lot developers,” Hars said in an email. “The City of Los Angeles could benefit from learning about Miss Macefield’s legacy. She is considered a modern day folk hero, because she valued her home more than the large sums of money she was offered to leave it.”
Hars estimates that it would cost about $75 to commemorate each home through the UpHouse project.
The Silver Lake council’s Arts & Culture committee voted unanimously to support the project with up to $200 but the governing board has yet to vote on the matter.
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