An Open Letter To Our Councilman

This is the text of an email I sent to our Councilman and his staff today, following last night’s Public Hearing on the ICO.**

Subject: Last Night’s Public Hearing On The ICO

Hi Team Mike! I wanted to share a couple of observations from last night’s public hearing. As Mike knows, I live in Kentwood, but my real estate business covers Silicon Beach and I pay particular attention to Venice and Mar Vista, so I stayed for all of those comments.

My biggest take away from the comments was that the ICO areas are too generally drawn. I hadn’t thought about it myself, but North Kentwood and South Kentwood are significantly different. Many of the North Kentwood homes were built large in the 1980’s by UCLA or have already been enlarged. I thought that was an interesting enough observation, but the Mar Vista and East Venice neighbors spoke next and said the same thing about their communities having different pockets.

My second observation is that it’s nice to see another option thrown in (the R1new), but it’s causing confusion.

My third observation is that several people spoke about wanting to go “back” to where we were before the ICO, without understanding that imminently, that place is not going to exist. Please don’t take those comments as being support for defaulting to the BMO. It was clear that those people did not understand what’s going on with the BMO.

One last observation is that several of the Mar Vista speakers spoke in favor of some kind of ownership restriction for remodeling to discourage developers. That would be a mistake. Developers come into a community and take the most rundown homes and turn them into product that the buying market wants. Certain speakers derided the “spec” builders as redeveloping homes that don’t sell, but that has nothing to do with the product and everything to do with the builder “pushing” the price and willing to wait some length of time to get that price. I know because I’ve watched those specific houses as they sit on the market.

My own family passionately wants R1V1 for Kentwood. I would challenge Mike to find any significant support for R1V2 in the under 50 (years old) demographic in Kentwood. Our community is changing with more educated professionals (especially tech and tech-related professionals) coming to our neighborhood to raise families. With telecommuting popular with that segment, the need for home offices in larger houses is even greater.

kentwood icoLastly, I would like to offer the attached photos for your consideration. This house was just built and, as far as I can tell, it’s built within ICO standards. It still towers over the neighboring houses. ICO/Amended BMO restrictions are not going to accomplish what the conservationists want. Also, I can’t in my wildest imagination see anybody suggesting that the boxes on either side of this new construction could be defended as historically significant. My family urges you to not myopically support an older generation that doesn’t want to understand that LA is in the midst of an exciting, dynamic time.


**As I’ve said before, I am a member of Kentwood Home Guardian’s Board, but the views expressed here on my personal blog are my own, not the Board’s.

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