Affordable housing developer wants to build big on Eagle Rock Boulevard *

The builders of affordable housing  can of take advantage of city incentives – called density bonuses – that permit them to build bigger projects than normally allowed.  In the 4200 block of Eagle Rock Boulevard on the border of Eagle Rock and Glassell Park, affordable housing developers can use that density bonus to build up to 35% more space than normal. But at least one nonprofit developer, Women Organizing Resources Knowledge and Services (WORKS), said that 35% bonus is not enough.  Instead, the developer is seeking to build 56  units – which amounts to  a 77% bonus – on  the 20,000-square-foot site of Los Angeles Scaffolding.  Without an exemption, WORKS could build only 18 units. Today, the city’ Planning Commission is scheduled to review the WORKS’ request to build  a much more dense project in addition to  providing  less parking and open space than would be required of a typical development .

The four-story WORKS project near Eagle Rock Boulevard and El Paso Drive would provide much needed homes for those on very low incomes, including the developmentally disabled, veterans, and senior citizens. During a June 4 public hearing, no one spoke against the project; The planning deputy for Councilman Jose Huizar said the councilman  did not have an opinion on the development.

However,  the developer’s request to exceed current limits has the backing of the Planning Department staff. “It will help to revitalize the immediate area while providing affordable housing to a disadvantaged demographic,” according to a staff report.

* Update: The City Planning Commission approved the project with some minor additional conditions.


  1. why is the city pushing more ghetto housing? The goal shouldn’t be to push people together in as close an area as possible. That’s called a slum.

    Those apartments on Sunset and Figueroa are a prime example of the new urban blight. Overdeveloped with no architectural creativity or integrity.

    If you live there, you are probably going to be poor all your life. Stop buying in to your poverty.

  2. I don’t think we need Victorville in Eagle Rock

  3. Currently City of Los Angeles doesn’t provide high, quality city services; so why continue to push packrat housing on the Northeast communites? Elected Officials should be required to take URBAN PLANNING 101 to qualify to run and hold their elected positions. Poorly developed communities lead to further density, high crime, gang violence, and poor quality of life. Northeast welcomes good, quality housing that focuses on the aesthetic, greener space, and smart development versus the mighty dollar development for profit.

  4. Of course the idiotic city beauracy would pass this overcrowding bonus. How long did it take for the cops to get rid of the drew street retards?DECADES!!! Now they want to build new slums as the progress of the area has never been better. It is slow, ’80 & 90s were to get eagle rock back. This last decade was getting highland park back and next is to get glassel park back but they want to put this trash in? Makes no sense.

    Take back the neighborhoods!!!

  5. And one more thing, this is Southern California -THERE IS NO CHEAP HOUSING!!! If you don’t like that, get the hell out!!!!

  6. Does anyone know how we can protest this?
    Don’t we have city officials that will see this project as not advantageous for our neighborhoods?
    I just did a search and cannot find any other news on this proposed development…

  7. I know exactly what this type of thing can do to a neighborhood. Read the article about Garvanza fighting this sort of mentality. We will win ours as we are becoming an historic district. But it has been contentious at times but it’s worth it when you can stop these developments. Read on down below, this was posted to NELA List last week by Chris Howard.


    Información en Español acerca de esta junta puede ser obtenida Ilamando al (213)

    THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 2010, 8:30 A.M.

    William Roschen, President
    Regina M. Freer, Vice President
    Sean O. Burton, Commissioner
    Diego Cardoso, Commissioner
    Fr. Spencer T. Kezios, Commissioner
    Yolanda Orozco, Commissioner
    Barbara Romero, Commissioner
    Michael K. Woo, Commissioner
    Vacant, Commissioner

    S. Gail Goldberg, Director
    Vincent P. Bertoni, Deputy Director
    Eva Yuan-McDaniel, Deputy Director
    James Williams, Commission Executive Assistant I


    5. CPC-2010-846-CU-DB-SPR-CDO
    Council District: 14 – Huizar
    CEQA: ENV-2010-819-MND
    Expiration Date: 6-24-10
    Plan Area: Northeast Los Angeles
    Appeal Status: Appealable to City Council
    PUBLIC HEARING – Completed on June 4, 2010

    Location: 4258-4260 N. EAGLE ROCK BOULEVARD

    Proposed Project:
    The construction, use, and maintenance of a four story building consisting of a
    56-unit affordable housing development with 28 total parking spaces in the
    [Q]C2-1VL-CDO Zone. The building height will vary from approximately 42 feet
    along Eagle Rock Boulevard to 56 feet in the rear. The applicant will provide
    98% affordable units for Very Low Income households including the
    developmentally disabled, veterans, and senior citizens.
    Requested Actions:
    1. Conditional Use pursuant to LAMC Section 12.24-U,26(A) to allow a density
    increase over the 35% allowed per LAMC Section 12.22-A,25 thereby permitting 56
    units in lieu of the 13 units allowed by the [Q]C2-1VL-CDO zone.
    2. Affordable Housing – Density Bonus Incentives to allow three On-Menu
    Incentives to include: (1) Pursuant to LAMC Section 12.22-A,25(f)(4), up to a
    35% increase in the allowable Floor Area Ratio not to exceed 2.025:1 in lieu of
    1.5:1 otherwise permitted in the C2-1VL zone thereby allowing 40,500 square feet
    of building floor area in lieu of the 30,000 square feet otherwise permitted;
    (2) Pursuant to LAMC Section 12.22-A,25(f)(5) a height increase of 11 feet to a
    maximum height of 56 feet in lieu of the 45 feet permitted in the 1VL Height
    District; and (3) Pursuant to LAMC Section 12.22-A,25(f)(6) a 20% decrease in
    the otherwise required open space of 5,600 square feet to 4,480 square feet.
    3. Affordable Housing – Density Bonus Incentives to allow a Request for Waiver
    of Modification of any Development Standards not on the Menu of Incentives to
    include: Pursuant to LAMC Section 12.22-A,25(g)(3), (1) a reduction in parking
    to allow 28 parking spaces in lieu of the 37 spaces allowed pursuant to LAMC
    Section 12.22-A,25(d) Parking Option 2; and (2) a 100% residential project where
    otherwise prohibited by the existing [Q] condition established by Ordinance No.
    4. Site Plan Review, pursuant to LAMC Section 16.05, to allow an increase in
    development of 50 or more dwelling units.
    5. Community Design Overlay Plan Approval pursuant to LAMC Section 13.08-E to
    allow a Director’s Determination for Design Overlay Compliance.
    6. Pursuant to Section 21082.1 (C)(3) of the California Public Resources Code,
    the adoption of Mitigated Negative Declaration (ENV-2010-819-MND) and required
    findings for the above-referenced project.
    Applicant: Women Organizing Resources, Knowledge and Services, Channa Grace
    Representative: QES Inc. – Eric Lieberman
    Recommended Actions:
    1. Approve a Conditional Use to allow a density increase over the 35 percent
    allowed to permit the construction of 56 dwelling units in the [Q]C2-1VL-CDO
    2. Approve the following Affordable Housing – Density Bonus Incentives,
    concessions or waivers for a project that reserves 98% of its units for Very Low
    Income occupants: (1) a 35% increase in otherwise allowable Floor Area Ratio not
    to exceed 2.025:1; (2) a height increase of 11 feet to a maximum height of 56
    feet; (3) a 20% decrease in the otherwise required open space to allow 4,480
    square feet; (4) a reduction in parking to allow 28 parking spaces; and (5) a
    100% residential project where otherwise prohibited by the existing [Q]
    condition established by Ordinance No. 181,624.
    3. Approve Site Plan Review Findings for a development of 56 dwelling units.
    4. Approve Community Design Overlay Findings for Design Overlay Compliance.
    5. Adopt the attached Findings.
    6. Adopt Mitigated Negative Declaration No. ENV-2010-819-MND.
    7. Advise the applicant that, pursuant to California State Public Resources Code
    Section 21081.6, the City shall monitor or require evidence that mitigation
    conditions are implemented and maintained throughout the life of the project and
    the City may require any necessary fees to cover the cost of such monitoring.
    8. Advise the applicant that pursuant to State Fish and Game Code Section 711.4,
    a Fish and Game Fee is now required to be submitted to the County Clerk prior to
    or concurrent with the Environmental Notice of Determination (NOD) filing.

    Staff: Sarah Molina-Pearson (213) 473-9983

    posted to nelalist by c howard

  8. One more thing, Gail Goldberg who is the director of Planning for LA is pro-development. So you may want to direct your letters and messages to her directly. She is very supportive of multi-unit developments all over LA. Also, Jan Perry has been in that mindset as well.

    The more you make noise and show up at these meetings the more they will feel less likely to move ahead so comfortably with these projects. Sign up for NELA List as this list is a great way to stay in touch with city hall matters, our neighborhood residents have been much more diligent in doing so.

  9. Here’s another condo story that is proposed on Riverside Drive and Fletcher Ave. You can read about it and notice that they are going after every available city plot, lot, city parking lots and whatever the city can throw their way to build their massive developments.

    You wouldn’t believe some of the landlords that own property in Highland Park and what they say about our community and its people. They are so sure that we can be run over and then tortured to endure their building nightmares that they would never experience in a million years. I told a slum lord that I was going acquire the lot next to his house as I could raise the money and build a multi-unit apartment complex right next to him and would that be alright. He had nothing to say. I’m lucky I live in a decent neighborhood where the density isn’t bad at all, but that is because our residents fight off these developers that think otherwise.


    Another development is the Highland Park Transit Development, 101 units and 4 stories tall in a 2 story commercial district.


  10. Benjamin Mark Cole

    Actually, I think regs scaling back housing projects are stupid. Supply! The more supply, the more-affordable it becomes. If city regs crimp supply, then you get housing shortages–and higher prices.

    Frankly, if anybody wants to build housing in the City of Los Angeles, especially near any subway stop, if anything they should be told they have to build more than they want, not less.

    Regs crimpiong the supply of housing seem like very bad public policy.

    Even if developers throw up only luxury housing, that increases the supply and helps the middle-class.

    Take a look at office buildings–constantly glutted. New developers always build more luxury towers, glutting the market, and stealing tenants away from the older buildings. No shortage of office space in the city.

  11. Yeah, people making less than you are all criminals and gangsters, and they should all live in Victorville where they can assault and rob each other in peace. Geez, are you people serious? Let them build denser in general (not only for affordable housing), and make sure the buildings are attractive and cool, and the community will be much better off.

  12. @Tina

    As a planner myself, I take issue with labeling any planner “pro development”. Development is going to happen like it or not, as long as the population is growing. (Hint: Its growing.) Its a planners job to steer development into the the most appropriate areas. For the most part, that means taking already developed metropolitan areas, and making them denser. The alternative is to continue to develop undeveloped and agricultural land on the urban fringe, allowing sprawl to continue. Most planners I know are environmentalists, in that they’d much rather see denser development inside cities, and see suburban and exurban growth reined in. Growth up, not out. Tall, not sprawl.

  13. @TanyaT

    Since when is affordable housing for seniors, veterans, and the disabled considered a slum or ghetto? Density does not equal crime/slums/ghetto/violence/poor quality of life. I think it’s time to open a dictionary.

    @Gemma Marquez

    If you took the time to read the report you’d see that this project is precisely an effort to provide high quality services and housing for those in need.


    Do you really feel that seniors, veterans, and the disabled should move out of LA just because they can’t afford market rate housing?

    Please people have some compassion!

  14. More supply = a stabilization of runaway housing prices that block out the working and struggling classes. It’s precisely the aim of many of the commentors above who are against increased density to blanch the poor out of the city and place them in the ever increasing cheaper suburbs = the Paris model. It will soon be the LA model of the poor ringing the city while the gentried live in the easily accessible city center if we allow NIMBY’s on the rampage against the poor.
    More Density! Less Parking! More Transit! = Sustainable economic diversity in our city centers for generations into the future.

    With that said I don’t know how smart it is to build in no transit now and no transit planned in the future the bland over-hyped hell hole that is Eagle Rock.

  15. A building targeted for very-low-income seniors and veterans is probably a good thing – except that it only serves to push up housing prices for everyone else, and keeps productive, tax-paying citizens out of the neighborhood, instead, permanently creating a culture of dependency.

    And, my dear readers, is EXACTLY what your elected officials want.
    A whole city full of grateful subjects who will consistently vote for the mob boss.

    The only problem with this approach, as Margaret Thatcher observed, is that eventually, you run out of other people’s money to spend.

    For those who will claim lack of nuance, and point out that this is being built by an NGO, please, don’t bother – they’re all part of the same team, and there isn’t a single “non profit” builder in the low-income housing industry that doesn’t use tax money in some form.

  16. Don’t be duped!

    Developers will have a full-time facilitator(s) to process the LADBS maze of hurdles and permits necessary for a green light to build structures like this one. Usually local community housing activist and token (low income) residents are placed on payroll to appear at hearings and even post rebuttals on local blogs. They will use shameful tactics on the backs of the poor and needy! Northeast LA needs to wake up and research the difference between “Low Income Housing”, “Affordable Housing” and all the “density bonus” incentives. These loopholes are being abused by shady politicians and greedy developers!

    “Low and moderate income” housing refers to “subsidized” housing that eligible citizens may occupy. This means any housing subsidized by the federal, state or municipal government. This may occur under any program designed to assist the construction or rehabilitation of housing defined in the applicable federal statute, state statute or local ordinances. Development may be built or operated by a public agency, nonprofit organization, limited equity housing cooperative or any private developer. They, in turn, will guarantee this housing affordable for a predetermined period (i.e. 10 years) that is either agreed to by the applicant, city or state. Usually, written within a land lease and/or deed restriction or prescribed by a federal or state subsidy program.

    Whereas, “affordable” housing refers to housing, and related costs, that are affordable to citizens within certain income brackets. Affordable housing is a term used to describe dwelling units whose total housing costs are deemed “affordable” to those that have a median income. A commonly accepted guideline for housing affordability is a housing cost that does not exceed 30% of the local average household’s gross income. When a developer plans on potential revenue from a particular project (for marketability) they tend to use high end statistics based on local averages. Police officers are usually used to gauge this figure! Have you heard how much police officers make nowadays?

    Los Angeles’s physical framework (DWP, LAPD, LAUSD, Parks and Rec. and all other city services) is in shambles! At what point do we start addressing the fact that more “tax break development” will further strain our infrastructure into oblivion! Furthermore, do you actually think that this so called “Robin Hood Developer” is in this for humanitarian reasons?

    We (majority of property owners in Northeast L.A.) have expressed our desire to have affordable/low-income housing for all! While at the same time, preserving NELA’s character and the diversity of densities provided under current zoning ordinances. In other words, a mix of housing should be maintained at current levels to perpetuate the small-town personality of NELA. Developers will come and go but we have to live with these hideous structures for eternity!

    Frank Ormsby

  17. Billybob Carder

    Ok, so they pick NELA for more low income housing. Deal with it. But this proposed densely pack building is an insult to the community.

    Channa Grace writes this on her web page:
    “Join us in building healthy affordable housing communities where our children have a safe place to run and play; our elders live in comfort and security; and organic and nutritious food is accessible and affordable to people of modest means!”

    What a joke, she is a hypocrite. Where are these children supposed to play, on Eagle rock Blvd. or between the cars that have to be stacked parked to make room for all of the staff, visitors, tenets of this oversized building? How do you offer security to the elderly by putting a lock on the front door. You know that it is going to be held open with a brick after a year or two. Once they all take the money and run.

    She is CEO of a “nonprofit” (W.O.R.K.S), understand what she can pay herself. What is her take on this project/salary, has anyone ever asked her? Does she get more money per unit? Channa on the other hand enjoys her two sprawling yards in Mt. Washington nothing like the building her organization is trying to force on the rest of us. ( look carefully, Google her, http://images.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/fecimg/?26990182795 )

    What a shame someone will speak of helping the poor, but then fill their pockets with our money at the social cost to all of us. It is insulting to those she is claiming to help, by cramming 56 units into such a small plot. The “Very Low Income households including the
    developmentally disabled, veterans, and senior citizens”, deserve to be treated better than that, shame on you. Have some respect!

  18. The public needs to know the quality of the developer that wishes to build on this site. WORKS has transformed local slum-like apartments in Cypress Park and Highland Park (that I’m aware of and have visited) and restored historical spaces. They have a food program that provides organic, local foods to their tenants and the public (Equitable Roots), literacy and extracurricular programs for residents…

    WORKS is a forward thinking organization that is run by honest people. Hard to find these days. I mean, what kind of developer cares if the trees they plant on their sites give fruit year-round for the residents to eat? Details like that make me feel confident that WORKS will make a beautiful and safe location that will enhance the community, not make it “ghetto” as people have stated previously.

    Do your research folks…

  19. Talk to the people in Tujunga who say it was idyllic until the mid seventies when they started tearing down single family houses and putting in apartment buildings. They got a crime wave, noise and congestion.

    “Low income” housing is a joke. It only serves the high income developers. Yes, let’s fight this and any other zoning changes that add to Eagle Rock’s density.

  20. JC, let them renovate an existing blighted building, rather than mar the landscape with a multi story ugly building. We don’t need another monstrosity blocking out the view of the mountains like the mango colored one we have on Coloraodao Blvd. across from the mall.
    The high density developers are destroying Los Angeles.

  21. Concerned citizens:

    I’m currently working on an article regarding the WORKS development. If you would like to give a statement or voice your thoughts, send me an email at jordan.oxynews@gmail.com. Your participation would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

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