We have big news for anyone living in a single-family zone in Los Angeles or looking to build there. The Department of City Planning’s Neighborhood Conservation Initiative has announced several regulation code changes to existing single-family neighborhoods that go into effect today, March 17, 2017, and will impact the development of future homes in the area.

“This is the biggest code change that LA has seen in almost a decade,” says Shawn Peterson, CEO of UnderBuilt. “After the dust clears and the local real estate market digests these changes, it’ll be apparent that homeowners will be the ones impacted the most.”

Which is exactly why UnderBuilt is on it, incorporating these new zones and code changes into our property data reports. Don’t worry: We’ll give you a heads up as we roll out each area.

Who Came Up with this Idea Anyway?

The Neighborhood Conservation Initiative. They launched in August 2015 to address issues confronting single-family neighborhoods in LA and create permanent zoning tools to help combat changes amidst increased demolition and mansionization. The Initiative was primarily set up to protect LA’s unique residential neighborhoods and preserve the character-defining features of the city. While that’s always a good thing, these actions are changing the name of the game for anyone looking to develop in these areas.

Here’s what you need to know…

Say Goodbye to the Giant Next Door

Baseline Mansionization and Baseline Hillside Ordinance Code Amendment (CF 14-0656)

Single-family zones (RA, RE, RS, R1) in LA are referred to as Baseline Mansionization (BMO) and Baseline Hillside Ordinances (BHO). The new regulations amend the preexisting ordinances which dictated the size, bulk, and grading of new homes in those areas. These rules will rein in large-scale development projects and construction impacts. To learn more about the proposed changes, check out the amendment fact sheet.

Time to Break Up with Your Garage

R1 Variation Zones and Rear Detached Garage Supplemental Use District (SUD) Code Amendment (CF 16-1460)

This amendment seeks to uphold the diverse character of single-family neighborhoods in the R1-Zone. The goal is to offer more tailored development options while ensuring additions and new constructions remain consistent with each community’s predominate building designs. This includes preventing the proliferation of towering, “out-of-character” structures that the Initiative claims threaten public welfare, the neighborhood aesthetic, and potential future development. This change also mandates garages be detached and located at the rear of properties for R1, RA, RE, and RS zones.

Same Old Land, Brand New Zone

Neighborhood Conservation Zone Changes (CF 16-1470)

To better isolate the unique communities in LA, R1-Zone will be re-zoned into new R1 Variation Zones. These will act as a subset of R1-Zone and be applied to many single-family neighborhoods. The difference between the standard R1-Zone and the R1 Variation Zones? The latter contain more focused regulations pertaining to size, scale, and massing; regulations include maximum residential floor area ratios, maximum height, encroachment plane starting points, and maximum lot coverage.

For more details on R1 Variation Zones, check out the DCP’s recommendation report. For a listing of R1 Variation Zones with links displaying their map boundaries, see below:

There you have it! A breakdown of all the zoning and regulation changes from the Neighborhood Conservation Initiative going into effect today. If your head’s spinning, have no fear: UnderBuilt is doing the dirty work for you, incorporating the zones and code changes seamlessly into our system. Check the blog for updates.

So if you’re looking to develop in one of LA’s single-family neighborhoods, don’t forget to do one very important thing before breaking ground: Check UnderBuilt!