By JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ
SILVER LAKE — The Silver Lake Neighborhood Council put its support and money behind an anti-development art project that will place balloons over homes that are to be demolished for larger and pricey residential developments.
The council on Wednesday night approved spending $200 dollars to fund the documentation of the Anne Hars’ UpHouse LA Project, which would include a website, photographs and mapping. The SLNC will be credited on the website.
Initially, the money was going to fund the bouquets of balloons, but council member Georgene Smith-Goodin noted that the council couldn’t legally fund that. The balloons would be on private property and anything the council gives money to must benefit the public.
“We are happy to support this and that we found a way to fund it,” says council member Heather Carson.
The photos and maps on the website are crucial to supporting UpHouse LA, Hars said.
“They put a lot of creativity trying to figure out how to fund this,” Hars said of the council. “ It felt good to get that support.”
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. The balloons serve as a symbol of protest against developers wanting to remove existing homes and apartment, many of them rent controlled, and build luxury small-lot complexes in their place.
Silver Lake has seen numerous developments built under the small-lot ordinance, which allows builders to squeeze more single-family homes on a property than usually allowed. While these homes are built very close together and have very small or no yards, they have proven popular with buyers looking for new housing in established neighborhoods like Silver Lake.
However, opponents feel these new homes are out of neighborhood character and aren’t affordable.
Ironically, after the council approved support for Har’s balloon project, the board members took up a motion to support the construction of a four-unit, small lot housing development. Many local residents came to voice their disapproval, echoing some of Hars’s sentiments. The council voted against supporting the development.
Jacqueline Fernandez is a Los Angeles-based reporter who’s written for various media outlets such as Los Angeles Wave, The Miami Herald and WLRN-Miami Herald News.
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