Revised Atwater housing project plans win support of neighborhood council

Rendering of revised Atwater development presented at council meeting/Tony Cella

By Tony Cella

Despite concerns about the parking and traffic, the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council approved plans for a six-unit, small lot development next to the post office after the developers dropped a unit and added more open space.

Although he was still concerned about the lack of parking for a commercial unit in the project, board member Sergio Lambarri was encouraged by the changes the developers made. The project reflected the type of housing that will be more common in the future, he stated.

“We’re getting more people moving into the area,” he said. “Why not Atwater?”

ReThink Development reduced the number of three-story, 30-foot tall residential units from seven to six by removing an affordable housing unit.  Developer Steve Edwards said each home will have about 1,750 square feet, an increase of 200 from the previous designs, as well as larger yards. The units will be built on the approximately 13,700 square foot lot once used as a post office parking lot at the corner of Glendale Boulevard and La Clede Avenue

Each three bedroom and three bathroom unit will have two parking slots in narrow garages, where the cars will sit one in front of the other. In response to safety concerns raised at the last meeting, mirrors will be placed outside the garage to avoid collisions. The small lot subdivision, if approved by the city, will also have a central trash area managed by a private trash company instead of asking residents to place garbage cans on the street.

The commercial unit grew from 900 to 1,060 square feet that could be divided into two “mini-boutiques,” which the developers believed were popular today. The development does not provide parking for the retail space.

The council approved the measure with no votes against.

The Atwater project is one of several small lot developments that have taken advantage of a city law that permits lots to be carved up into smaller pieces for the development of single-family homes. The project failed to gain the support of the council last month after board members voiced concerns about the impact on traffic and pedestrian safety, as well as concerns about the large scale of the project. “We ran you guys out of town last time,” said board member T.J. Moss. “I didn’t expect to see you again.”

Board member Alex Ventura, who previously said the council’s development committee refused to approve small lot subdivisions as a policy, voted in favor of the development. During debate, however, he cautioned the board that future developers may not be as amenable to change as ReThink.

Frequent council critic Therese Dietlan asked the council to oppose the development because it was still out of character with the neighborhood, lacked parking spots and didn’t have enough retail space.

“We don’t need two more mini-boutiques. We need shops people will shop in,” she said.

Alicia Lambarri, daughter of Sergio, doubted the typical resident of Atwater Village would be able to afford the houses, which the developers said will cost somewhere in the $600,000 range.

“It’s not like VP’s of Starbucks and Jessica Simpson live here,” said the 14-year-old resident. “Atwater Village is blue collar. It’s small business owners, plumbers, teachers and librarians who live here.”

The developers estimated a pair of residents with incomes similar to entry-level police officers or inexperienced teachers could afford the mortgage rates for the residences.

Tony Cella is a freelance reporter who has covered crime and grime in Los Angeles, New York City and the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Click here to contact Cella with questions, comments or concerns.


  1. “It’s not like Giovani Ribisi lives here, oh wait……….” 600k for 1750 sq. feet is a bargain and they will likely sell for a much higher price. But the development looks good, build away.

  2. It’s unfortunate they nixed the affordable unit… but it’s nice to see small business storefronts added in a walkable corner of LA (presumably without the usual curb cuts and surface parking cluttering the streetscape!)

  3. The units look nice. Tandem parking is a pain however. $600K is the new normal I guess. Don’t the condos on Casitas go for over $1 million? Little Atwater is all growed up!

  4. Atwater plumbers and electricians….try artists, musicians and film people… What is she talking about? 600,000 for 1750 is a bargain now.

    • Yes we have recently added those in the performing arts but the majority of residents are blue collar. Not only are their plumbers and electricians, but we have a good number of carpenters, mechanics, and a host of service industry workers. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    • Emily. What I’m talking about, is about what I know, when was the last time you came to one of these meetings. You don’t know me. I’ve lived here all my life, I maybe only a teen, but I am aware of who my neighbors are. That is what I’m talking about. Artists and musicians? They aren’t new, but aren’t old either nor are they a large populous group here. My father for your information is a plumber, next time you question somebody, please have a look around and get to know your own community first.
      P.S don’t ruine my 15 seconds of fame, you turned it into more like 10.

  5. Cynthia de la Torre

    Developers should have been required to retain the affordable housing unit. Without inclusionary zoning, this development isn’t a model of urban planning best practices. Atwater is growing, yes, but this isn’t the direction I’d like to see the place I grew up in take.

  6. I agree Cynthia, it’s like the council is saying to developers: it’s ok to overbuild small lots if you get rid of the affordable housing unit. How about they get rid of one of the condos instead and have room for retail parking too? The council is supposed to consider impacts in future, particularly if it’s so close they can see the outcome. I agree there needs to be higher density housing, and the commercial mix, which is the major failing of the Echo Park Chicken Corner development, but in this case, the commercial is probably there to avoid additional parking – the council should insist on at least two parking places per unit regardless of whether it is residential or commercial.

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *