The second meeting on the proposed Westchester Community Overlay District (CDO) by the City of Los Angeles Planning Department — a formal public hearing before hearing officer Jim Tokunaga — drew approximately ten people.

The purpose of the Community Overlay District is to regulate the quality of the environment, provide design features and a distinctive character to the outward appearance of buildings, landscaping and the setback (orientation) of the buildings, according to Chris Koontz and Debbie Lawrence, who is the community planner for the Westchester/ Playa del Rey area of Los Angeles Department of City Planning.

One local business owner said she is concerned about a shared parking lot and doesn’t want parking broken up into bits and pieces.

The meeting was held Tuesday, December 11th, at the Westchester Senior Center at Lincoln Boulevard and Manchester Avenue in Westchester.

The first meeting, a public community workshop, was held in November.

The general consensus was that Westchester does need a Community Overlay District, something that had been determined in 2004 when the Westchester/Playa del Rey Community Plan was updated.

The meeting included a brief overview of the administrative procedures and design guidelines and standards followed by the formal public hearing.

The downtown Community Design Overlay District is based on the principles of compatibility, context, activity, interest and quality.

Design guidelines and standards include:

ß site planning;

ß parking and access;

ß architectural detailing and articulation;

ß massing and articulation of upper stories;

ß mixed-use residential and commercial structures;

ß parking structure design; awnings and canopies; security grilles;

ß utility and service areas/mechanical equipment;

ß fencing and walls;

ß landscaping and “hardscape” improvements; and

ß landscaping parking lots and structures.

After all the public meetings, public comments related to the Community District Overlay will be incorporated into other public and written comments.

The proposed design guidelines and standards will then be presented to the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission and then to the City of Los Angeles Planning Commission for review and approval, disapproval or modification.

The area generally covers properties with commercial plan designations along Sepulveda Boulevard between LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) and 84th Place, bounded to the west by Sepulveda Westway and the east by Sepulveda Eastway, La Tijera Boulevard and Kittyhawk Avenue, according to city planners.

The design guidelines affect only new development, not existing buildings, unless the existing buildings are being remodeled.

Future public meetings are to be scheduled in January and adoption of the overlay district is expected sometime next year, said Koontz.

Information about the draft Community Overlay District, Chris Koontz, Department of City Planning, Room 621, City Hall, Los Angeles, 90012; (213) 978-1193; fax (213) 978-1226, or