Planning Commission defers decision on Echo Park housing project*

The city Planning Commission this morning postponed taking a vote on a 62-unit housing project that would rise five stories above Sunset Boulevard, making it one of the tallest buildings in Echo Park. A vote was postpone for one month it became clear that the Sunset Flats development at Sunset Boulevard near Mohawk Street lack sufficient support  among the five commissioners. “I have serious reservations,” said commissioner Mike Woo. “I don’t feel I can vote for it.”

Representatives for the developer of Sunset Flats, which would combine 74,000 square foot of housing and storefronts, agreed to work with residents to deal with concerns about the height, density and traffic issues related to the project. The commission is scheduled to take up the issue again on April 14

The commission was voting on a request by the developer to build a project that was bigger and more dense than currently allowed. Many neighbors were concerned about the height and size of Sunset Flats.  One of the commissioners noted that a portion of Sunset Flats would appear as a nearly 60-foot-high mass on Sunset Boulevard; one resident said that one of the two buildings in the development would loom 30 feet over her backyard.  In addition, the only parking garage entrance  for residents who would live in the complex would be located at the top of the hillside lot on Elsinore Street, which would funnel more traffic into the residential neighborhood.

“We feel it’s going down the wrong road,” one resident told the commissioners.  “It does not define Echo park in anyway. This will be the new entryway to Echo Park.”

Architect Jay Vanos said that the project, which would include 10 units set aside for low-income residents, was stepped backed from the street to reduce the impact of its height.

Commission members suggested that Vanos look at ways to step back the project even further to reduce its mass. Also, they wanted changes in the complex’s underground garages to shift more traffic to Sunset Boulevard and away from Elsinore.

Kate Henigan, planning deputy for Councilman Eric Garcetti, told the Planning Commission that the council office had been working with residents to deal with their concerns about Sunset Flats. However, she did not say whether Councilman Garcetti supports or opposes the development.

* Correction: A previous version of this story said that Sunset Flats would rank as the second tallest development in Echo Park after the Citibank building on Sunset Boulevard. That’s wrong.   There are existing structures that are taller than the proposed Sunset Flats.  The dome of Angelus Temple,  for example, rises about 125 feet.


  1. GOOD!!! I am getting sick and tired of all this new development moveing into this place and rapeing it of its historic value. people if you dont want these dumb projects to come in and boot you out we need to be more active before its to late. theres to much development going on here already, the Prop O to drain the lake is going on in echo park, the senior housing on park ave and glendale blvd, and since 1985 the HOV lane to expand and complete the 2 frw on glendale blvd and now this…. I mean can you imagine the amount of traffic were all going to be faceing if it isnt already bad enough now…

  2. Good news. I am not against development – just out of scale development…

  3. This project is a disaster. The residents of Mohawk & Elsinore never gave up. Good for you.

    Ha, ha on Vanos.

  4. boombala March 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm
    Good news. I am not against development – just out of scale development

    Boombala your not against it because it doesnt affect you right now…but let there be a time when a project that wants to move into where you are and lets see if you will be happy to welcome them with open arms. I mean if re-development was actually a good thing wouldn’t we see it positive outcome since they started to re-develope in the 60’s through the 80’s in LA when they brought the freeways and devastated the local communities. you see all this new buildings just popping up in the mixture of where the older buildings are and they just dont fit in, but because our politicians are landbanking thats why they are popping up faster then what we can keep up with. but don’t beleive me, do your research!

  5. Angel: I respect your opinion re development, but I just want you to be very clear about what it means. You are implicitly saying that housing in LA (and Echo Park) should get more and more expensive over time. That is what happens if demand increases but supply does not.

    For everyone else: Sensible, walkable urban in-fill development is the only way to grow housing supply in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.

    This particular project may be poorly planned. But let’s not close our minds to other, better solutions.

  6. Sure, there may be some improvements made to this project. But, who are these people who buy homes directly adjacent to Sunset Blvd, a major transit corridor, who neglect to understand what can be built next door to them?

    I’m all for improving this project, but agree with Moses’ comment above. Where else should new housing go? Would you rather have this project in an established residential area, or on Sunset where this scale is more appropriate?

  7. …………And who the hell gave approval to build that monster aluminum garage on Effie ?

  8. Perhaps the developer should hand the project over to one of the local churches. They seem to have good luck promising one thing and then delivering something entirely different.

  9. Yep who can’t vote for it!

  10. boombala March 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm
    Good news. I am not against development – just out of scale development…

    I agree, Things are bound to change here and no its not the worst thing in the world as long as its done with good taste. And things like this do effect me I have this to look at across the street from me every day. I want it built just to get it over with. Now the 2 fwy off ramp needs to happen despite more traffic.


    Projects like this and the one on sunset are going to happen weather everyone agrees or not. Saying flat out NO is not gonna help , but making them change the plans a bit to make it in better taste will help.

  11. What will they do with the plants that were previously planted on this location?

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