Small-lot developments popping up all over Silver Lake

Tony Cella

Small-lot developments, which allow multiple, single family homes to be packed into the same lot, are the big thing right now all over Silver Lake. In fact,  three separate projects – on Glendale Boulevard, Lucile Avenue and Waverly Drive – proposed under the city’s small-lot ordinance came up at a Wednesday night community meeting.   Here’s a run down of each project and the reaction from the neighborhood council members and residents:

Nine Houses Proposed For A Glendale Boulevard Hillside

Glendale project rendering/Marcus McInerney

The Silver Lake Urban Design and Preservation Advisory Committee approved a property owner’s plan to carve out a hillside along Glendale Boulevard to build nine houses on an approximately 21,500 square feet of  as long the developers come back with a design for further approval.

Architect Hunter Leggitt asked the committee to support their request to ignore a street widening measure that would create 17 feet of sidewalk and a retaining wall – in case the city decides to turn the boulevard into a highway –  in favor of  allowing room to provide front doors and steps, or possibly a front porch area, which the committee suggested.

An exemption to the measure would also allow the property owner to preserve a historic staircase running adjacent to the property along the non-existent stretch of Loma Vista Place, which the city planned, at some point, to run alongside the development site, which is located in the 220o block of Glendale between Earl Street and Cove Avenue.

Each house would have three stories, two bedrooms,  a two-car garage, rooftop deck but no visitor parking. The property owner owns a single house on the lot, which will remain after the construction. The architect guessed the estimated 1,800 square foot houses will sell for around $700,000. The dwellings will share a common recycling area and garden.

One neighbor raised concerns about building the houses on the hillside. “That’s a crazy steep hill,” he said. “It’s essentially a cliff.”

Leggitt countered the builders would use a combination of shoring and retaining walls to bolster the structures.

Five Homes For 2925 Waverly Drive

Waverly Drive project renderings/Marcus McInerney

A developer plans on building five, single-family homes at 2925 Waverly Drive through the small lot ordinance has stirred opposition from neighbors.

The size of each home will fall between 1,700 to 1,950 square feet,  with each squeeze three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage into the three story structures. The project for the lot, which  at present hosts one single- family home,  may require an exception from the city for guard rails enclosing the building’s rooftop terraces. The top of those guard rails  will exceed the height limit for the area, according to developer Sam Trude who has occupied a home adjoining the property since July.

Trude claims the project won’t affect neighbors’ views or impact parking because it isn’t quite the largest structure on the street, which he says is already home to dense condos in addition to smaller homes.

Neighbors dispute his claims, pointing out that many Ivanhoe Elementary parents in the area are already heated about the influx of traffic.  A woman who lives next to the potential development raised concerns the three story homes will block her “panoramic” view of the hills and Downtown, thereby hurting her property values.

Trude believes the homes, which he estimates will sell for between $700,000 to $900,000, are a “high quality” product, which will only enhance the price of adjoining lots.

The Waverly Terrace Homeowners Association, at a meeting of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council Urban Design and Preservation Committee, announced they had passed a resolution opposing the development.

Trude said the homeowners never invited him to speak at their meeting and did not respond to door-to-door outreach efforts, which the group denies happened.

Committee Chair Scott Plante, who introduced a successful motion to table discussion on whether to support the project, called on both groups to have a conference to discuss their issues. If the neighbors ignored the developer’s attempts at outreach, Plante said, they were disrespecting the committee’s process.

Grandma Stays In Silver Lake, If The Lucile Seven Are Built

Proposed Lucile Avenue project/Marcus McInerney

A developer plans on building seven single family homes at 722 Lucile Avenue, one of which will be occupied by a local sports coach and his mother, in her 80s, who own the lone house on the property. “I want my mother to live the rest of her live in a clean comfortable home,” he said.

The firm, Green City Building Company, said the three-bedroom houses will rise two stories with rooftop terraces. As part of the title agreements, the owners will be forced to store garbage bins in their two car garages.

When pressed, the developers said the buildings will probably sell in the $700,000’s, but cited the volatility of the housing market for providing general estimates.

The board raised concerns that the architectural style was “incompatible” with neighboring homes.

Dorit Dowler-Guerrero, who sits on the Urban Design and Preservation Advisory Committee that approved the plans, also described the subdivision, where houses will be only three inches apart and lined with five-foot passageways, as “claustrophobic.”

Green City Building Company representatives said the close quarters were typical of developments permissible under the small lot ordinance.

The developer countered that the market drove the aesthetics of the homes and that surrounding houses were old, “falling apart” and suspected most were not up to code.

Although he claimed not have heard complaints from any neighbors, the developers didn’t expect a lack of critique. “It’s Silver Lake. I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to make everyone happy.”

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.

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