Tracy Thrower Conyers is a long-time resident of Westchester 90045. Tracy closely follows local politics, political players and social chatter relevant to Westchester. You’ll frequently find her at Neighborhood Council meetings, as well as on all the social platforms where 90045 peeps hang out. Tracy loves a good conversation about our community, so don't be shy about leaving comments. 😊
Word is out in the development community that Westchester is commutable to Silicon Beach and property is cheap (ok, compared to other westside communities). The proliferation of multi-family units is mind-boggling.
I’ve been following one such proposed development extra closely because it falls within the boundaries of Kentwood Home Guardians, the HOA whose Board of Directors I sit on. The project, proposed for 8521 Sepulveda Blvd. (the site of the former Grinder restaurant), has been making the rounds of the neighborhood groups, trying to drum up support for the project ahead of City review.
Do I think the project is too tall for the neighborhood? Yes. Do I think this is a project to block? In the current political climate, no.
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.
This post has been updated at the bottom to reflect information provided at the September 13th public hearing on the ICO.
Much has happened in the 18 months since I first wrote about Kentwood’s ICO. The City of LA has been very busy cooking up restrictions for the entire City on what we can do with our Single Family Homes. Every time a restriction tightens, it means less that you can do to enhance your home and, consequently, a loss in potential value.
Historical R-1 Restrictions
Single Family Homes in Westchester and the rest of the City of LA are subject to zoning restrictions that limit size and use. First adopted in 1946, the current Zoning Code has grown from a simple 84-page document to an unwieldy 600+ page book. Even as recently as 2008, LA’s Code was very permissive. Height, floor area and required yard setbacks were the only provisions that addressed building mass and placement.
Update on 12/3/2015: A version of the new proposed citywide Baseline Mansionization Ordinance has been drafted and is currently the subject of public hearings. While I haven’t yet taken a deep dive into the proposed BMO, my preliminary read finds it to be similar but more restrictive than the ICO. The arguments in my original post below still apply. 🙂
I love Westchester. My family has called Kentwood our home since my daughter was born almost 13 years ago. We love our home and we love the sense of community here. I don’t want to see oversized houses ruin the character of our neighborhood, but my family opposes the Kentwood ICO.
This view is going to be unpopular with some of our neighbors, but let me explain.
First, by way of background, I am an attorney and I practiced law for almost 20 years. I can read a municipal ordinance at least as well as the next person. More recently, I’m a Coldwell Banker realtor focused on the beach cities, including Westchester. I fully understand the changes brought about by the growth of “Silicon Beach” and why our community is a target for developers. In fact, I understand the evolution of Silicon Beach better than most.
Also, my husband is a 30-year civil engineer who spent the early part of his career in land development. He, too, can read an ordinance.
Look for the table in the park on your way in to vote.
Please note that because this offer is not sanctioned by EmpowerLA (the group that oversees NCWP elections), the table will be at least 100 feet from polling in the Municipal Building at at 7166 W. Manchester Ave (next door to the Library).
Polling hours are 10 am to 4 pm. Don’t forget to bring evidence that you live, work or own property in Westchester, Playa del Rey or Playa Vista. A list of acceptable documentation can be found here.
If you’re in Playa del Rey, there is a shuttle running between Mo’s and the polls from 10:30 to 3:30.
My family and I have lived in Westchester for almost 12 years. I still remember when our realtor suggested we consider the neighborhood. Despite years of business travel and taking taxis between the Marina and LAX, I had no idea the neighborhood even existed, hidden as it was behind all those big, beautiful mature trees along Sepulveda Boulevard.
At first, we were reluctant to look at anything so “far” south. I’d always worked in Westwood and Century City, and my idea of “south” was Mar Vista. Comparing Mar Vista to Westchester, we quickly learned that the houses and lots are considerably larger for the same money, so Westchester it was.
We found ourselves a beautiful little updated bungalow in South Kentwood that we had all of 20 minutes to consider before writing our offer in the real estate frenzy of 2002.
It was a crazy time. Our closing kept getting pushed out and the NICU release date of uber-preemie baby kept creeping up (we definitely had no complaints on the latter event). We finally got our keys with one week to outfit the house before our very tiny bundle of joy came home.
It’s become the new buzz phrase in education: “Got grit?”
Around the nation, schools are beginning to see grit as key to students’ success — and just as important to teach as reading and math.
Experts define grit as persistence, determination and resilience; it’s that je ne sais quoi that drives one kid to practice trumpet or study Spanish for hours — or years — on end, while another quits after the first setback.
“This quality of being able to sustain your passions, and also work really hard at them, over really disappointingly long periods of time, that’s grit,” says Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania who coined the term “grit” — and won a MacArthur “genius grant” for it.
“It’s a very, I think, American idea in some ways — really pursuing something against all odds,” she says.
Duckworth says her research shows grit is actually a better predictor of success than IQ or other measures when it comes to achievements as varied as graduating from West Point or winning the National Spelling Bee.
Even the Obama administration is now on the “grit” bandwagon. A 2013 report from the Department of Education laments that kids are learning to “do school,” but aren’t learning the skills they need in life.
But can grit be taught?
I vote yes! Find out what the author thinks on www.npr.org.
“Imagine you’re sitting across from a reporter at lunch. You’re telling them what you do, your story, why they should care about your product. You have to convince this reporter to not only write about you, but that what you’re doing matters. That you’re going to be successful.”