AR366 Contemporary Issues Fall 2014
While home ownership options are traditionally limited to single-family homes on 5,000 square foot lots, the passage of Los Angeles’ Small Lot Ordinance (No. 176354) in 2005 extended these options to include townhomes, row houses, and other types of infill housing on parcels as small as 600 square feet. Unlike condominiums, residents of Small Lot homes have complete ownership of their house and lot, thereby avoiding expensive condo association fees, creating a new and more affordable form of home ownership development type.
LA’s Small Lot Ordinance has proven remarkably popular, creating opportunities for a wide range of young developers, innovative design/build firms and small architectural practices. Inspired by the success of LA’s experience, the Glendale Planning Division prepared a draft Small Lot Ordinance, adapted to Glendale’s unique Zoning Code, which served as the basis for the course.
This course “field tested” Glendale’s draft Small Lot Ordinance through a series of investigative operations. First, the class visited a variety of Small Lot architects and developers to see first-hand how LA Small Lot projects are designed. Concurrently, students prepared a case study of a built Small Lot project and audit LA’s Small Lot Design Guidelines.
Next the class utilized the draft Glendale Small Lot Ordinance as the base zoning code. Students prepared basic schematic plans and wire-frame massing models of possible Glendale Small Lot projects for critique by key staff from the City’s Planning, Building & Safety, Fire, and Water & Power plan check team, replicating the real-world process of entitlement review. While students gained first-hand experience in the complicated reality that is a modern Permitting Center, their work assisted the Glendale team in isolating unforeseen holes and errors in the draft ordinance.
The course offered a “ground floor” or “front row” perspective on a development type popular in LA and likely to be popular in Glendale as well, opening potential doors for a post-graduation career. Students also received real-world experience of the permit process, learning to identify and address conflicting bureaucratic conditions as imposed by Planning, Building, Fire Departments, and other Agencies.
Co-taught with Siobhán Burke of Lyric Design & Planning