An Open Letter To Our Councilman About Development of the Grinder Lot

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.

Let me explain.

In recent years, our State legislators have taken it upon themselves to legislate zoning density at the city level, ostensibly to alleviate California’s housing shortage. The problem is they sit in Sacramento and couldn’t possibly know what is going on in every city in the State. One recent law gives developers rights Continue reading “An Open Letter To Our Councilman About Development of the Grinder Lot”

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 Continue reading “An Open Letter To Our Councilman”

What Happens When Kentwood’s ICO Expires?

Kentwood ICO, say no to unreasonable restrictions on single family homes, R1V1 for KentwoodThis 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.

The BMO Is Born

The early zoning restrictions worked until land values started rising in the 1990’s. Then homeowners Continue reading “What Happens When Kentwood’s ICO Expires?”

We’re Not Fans of Mansionization But Here Are 6 Reasons My Family Opposes The Kentwood ICO

Say NO to the Kentwood ICO

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.

Together, we poured over the language of the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance ICO as it pertains to Kentwood and we see at least 6 reasons Continue reading “We’re Not Fans of Mansionization But Here Are 6 Reasons My Family Opposes The Kentwood ICO”

Let’s Get The Vote Out For Sunday’s NCWP Election

vote 3Local neighbors and business owners want to help get the vote out!

To enjoy a free beer or Playa Punch at Mo’s Place At The Beach in Playa del Rey or a free beer at Tompkins Square Bar & Grill, stop in at the My Vote Counts table on your way in to vote to get your sticker.

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.

Thank You To My Neighbors For Endorsing Me For NCWP

Thank you neighbors!

Click To Enlarge
Click To Enlarge

Thank you to my neighbors for endorsing my run for the Neighborhood Council Westchester Playa! Please know that your confidence is well-placed. I am completely committed to:

  • Being a voice for our community to City Hall
  • Putting my community’s interests first and above my own interests
  • Protecting and preserving the unique character of each of constituent communities
  • Being a leader for change and transparent communication
  • Putting families and safety first

I also plan on supporting these candidates who stand for my same principles: Continue reading “Thank You To My Neighbors For Endorsing Me For NCWP”

Guess Who’s Running For Neighborhood Council?

welcome to westchester, ca

Why Me? Why Now?

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.

We’ve loved Westchester and have been so happy that we landed here. Watching families walk the neighborhood with small children and dogs still brings Continue reading “Guess Who’s Running For Neighborhood Council?”

Playa del Rey Animal Shelter Drive

Saturday, Dec. 3rd 2011
Triangle Park
@ Waterview & Trask

Please bring: new or gently used blankets, beds, towels, washable cat & dog toys (large KONG toys are great), assorted treats for cats & dogs (avoid rawhide & pig ears), grooming items, travel crates, cat litter, unopened bags of dog & cat food, canned food, new collars and leashes.

Blankets and beds provide shelter animals warmth, comfort, security and a cozy place to snuggle, especially during freezing months in outdoor shelters. Questions? Call Donna @ 310 890-3881

Speak Up NOW For A Light Rail Train Station In Westchester

Posted today on Yahoo by the Westchester Neighbors Association

Posted by: “Judith Citrin” jpcitrin @

Tue Nov 8, 2011 10:20 am (PST)
We need your emails!! If we act now, Westchester can have a station on the new Crenshaw/LAX line that will link our community to a vast light rail system of the future—to downtown LA, the South Bay, the Westside and beyond.

The train will be going through Westchester along Florence and Aviation. But at this point, no Westchester station is planned. LA County Supervisor Don Knabe is asking the Metro Board to include an at-grade station at Hindry and Florence in the bid process. Our city councilman Bill Rosendahl has promised to help us find the funding.


E-mail the entire Metro Board at and copy Julie Moore of Supervisor Knabe’’s office The message can be as simple as “I support Supervisor Knabe’s motion for an at-grade Westchester station.” (see more info below)


Thursday, Nov. 17 at 10:30 AM, One Gateway Plaza, downtown LA (you can take the train or for carpool, contact me)


Judy Citrin


-bring community development and beautification

-increase property values

-take cars off our streets

-connect to LAX people mover

-allow people to visit our restaurants, businesses and playhouse

Transit for Westchester

Posted by: “Edgar Saenz” esaenz @

Tue Nov 8, 2011 10:56 am (PST)

Hello Friends, I totally agree with Judith.With your voice, Westchester residents can (in five years) ride a train on the new Crenshaw/LAX Line from a Westchester station to downtown LA, Staples Center, a future NFL football stadium, USC, MOCA, the
courthouse, the Dorothy Chandler, Disney Hall, Union Station, LAX, and eventually the South Bay. Please (1) e-mail the supervisor now, or (2) join me at the MTA next week.


The Crenshaw/LAX line is a new light rail line through Los Angeles and Inglewood. Its 8.5 mile route will connect the Expo Line with the Green Line over the Harbor Subdivision right-of-way. Ground will be broken in 2013.

Supervisor and MTA Board Member Don Knabe has introduced a motion that seeks design, bid, and construction of an at-grade Westchester station between Manchester and Hindry.

The Crenshaw/LAX line’s coming. The train’s going through Westchester. The question is whether it’ll stop in Westchester.

Action Requested:

(1) E-mail support. You may e-mail and copy Julie Moore of Supervisor Knabe’s office < . The message can be as simple as “I support the supervisor’s motion for a Westchester station.”

(2) Attend the Committee meeting on Thursday, Nov. 17.

The motion will be considered at the Construction Committee, which meets on Thursday, November 17 at 10:30 am, One Gateway Plaza , 3rd Floor Board Room, Los Angeles. (With this proposed station, in the future you could take a train to MTA meetings.) Knabe chairs that committee. Knabe’s office has written that “the community’s comments on the motion, as well as any support, would be greatly appreciated.” Your support will help him help us.

Since we can’t take a train (yet), let’s carpool. (Edgar’s no. 310-753-1668)

Yours for a better Westchester,

Edgar Saenz, Esq.
8939 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 102
Los Angeles, CA 90045
T (310) 753-1668