The Downtown Westchester Community Design Overlay District (CDO) which was approved by the Los Angeles City Planning Commission earlier this year is expected to go to Los Angeles City Council for final approval this spring.

The commission, in a 6-0 vote January 24th, approved the design overlay district, adopted staff recommendations, approved a negative declaration and recommended that the Los Angeles City Council adopt the proposed district and the ordinance establishing the proposed boundaries as well as adopting the ordinance establishing [Q] conditions to be imposed upon the parcels.

The Westchester Community Design Overlay District generally covers properties with commercial plan designations along Sepulveda Boulevard between Los Angeles International Airport and 84th Place, bounded by Sepulveda Westway, Sepulveda Eastway, La Tijera Boulevard and Kittyhawk Avenue.

The Design Overlay District and the zone change are necessary to accomplish the goals of the community plan, improve design and encourage business vitality in the area, and the process is allowed under the municipal code, encouraged by the general plan and considered convenient to improving general welfare and good zoning practice, city planning documentation states.

The [Q] conditions are permanent zone changes which would restrict signage and place design controls on site planning, building design, architectural details, landscaping, signage and mechanical equipment, as well as limit specific land uses that are not consistent with the pedestrian-oriented intent of the overlay district, according to city planning documentation.

The proposed [Q] conditions are intended to prevent new construction and/or alterations to existing buildings which will have a degrading effect upon the community and are largely incompatible with the proposed design guidelines and standards, city planners said.

[Q] Condition 2 states that ground floor use shall be limited to retail, restaurant and community services, with no residential uses, medical uses or office use to be permitted on the ground floor.

[Q} Condition 3 states that surface parking lots shall not be located between the front property line and the primary building/storefront on Sepulveda Boulevard or Manchester Avenue, but rather to the rear of all structures, provided there is vehicular access from side streets or alleys to the rear of the lot.

[Q] Condition 4 provides that all buildings have a ground floor with a primary entrance oriented toward the major street, and the ground floor primary entrance shall be in addition to any rear entrance toward rear parking lots or alleys.

[Q] Condition 5 states that billboards, super graphics, off-site signs, pole signs, roof signs, flashing, moving or blinking signs and inflatable devices are prohibited, and no upgrading, modernization, electrification, digitizing or alteration to existing billboards shall be permitted.

In addition to the Westchester Community Design Overlay District, this proposal includes zone changes instituting [D] limitations, which restrict floor area on parcels located within Height District 2, with the floor area limited on parcels along Sepulveda Boulevard, and the proposed zone change assures that these prior development restrictions stay in place.

[Q] Condition 6 states that the parcel at the northwest corner of Manchester Avenue and La Tijera Boulevard shall have residential uses limited to the density provided in the R3 zone.

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