Echo Park’s skyline is pretty much a low-rise affair, with only a few buildings, including the Citibank office tower and the silver dome of Angelus Temple, poking above blocks of mostly one and two-story structures. A newly introduced City Council motion would keep it that way by removing a provision from planning and zoning rules that allows the construction of building as high as 75 feet in the center of the neighborhood.
The proposal made by newly elected 13th District Councilman Mitch O’Farrell would apply primarily to several parcels between Echo Park Lake on the south and the Sunset Boulevard corridor on the north. It was in this area three years ago that the Church of the Foursquare Gospel built a five-level, 74-foot-high parking garage to serve Angelus Temple. Under current zoning, 75-foot-high buildings could also be constructed along a stretch of Sunset Boulevard that includes the parking lot of the Walgreens drug store, The Echo nightclub and other businesses without any additional public review.
The 75-foot limit “is completely out of scale with the neighborhood,” and reducing the height limit would support other planning guidelines and rules “that maintain a scale that is compatible with existing development,” according to the motion. Buildings are restricted to between 30 feet to 45 feet across much of the neighborhood.
The motion,which must still be reviewed and approved by the full City Council, directs the Planning Department to begin proceedings to allow for the reduction in building height.