Lawndale Adopts New Rules for Apartments While Rewriting Code

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Lawndale City Council has unanimously approved a 45-day moratorium on construction of apartments under the current building code and has adopted interim standards for use while the city adopts a new code.

The moratorium, which is retroactive to Oct. 5 and expires Nov. 19, gives the city time to write building standards that would increase parking and open space requirements for apartments.

The interim standards require apartment developers to abide by the city's building standards for condominiums, which require more amenities, parking and open space. The measure was passed unanimously at Thursday's council meeting.

The city exempted from the moratorium four or five apartment developments whose plans were submitted to the Planning Department before the council first took up the issue Oct. 5.

City Manager Jim Arnold said he became concerned about the city's building standards after reviewing dozens of apartment plans. He said the city's construction standards for apartments are based on Los Angeles County building codes approved during the 1940s.

Last month the Planning Commission voted 3 to 1 to recommend the moratorium.

The moratorium would affect apartments in R2, two-family residential; R3, medium-density, and R4, high-density zones. City officials said most apartments have been built within R3 and R4 zones, which encompass 145 acres or almost 12% of the city's land.

Arnold and members of the City Council said they would like the new apartment standards to more closely resemble those for condominiums.

Apartments in the R2 zones have no open space requirements, but apartments in the R3 and R4 zones require 120 square feet of open space for each unit, city officials said.

On the other hand, condominiums in any zone are required to have 200 square feet of open space for each unit. Open space includes balconies, patios, courtyards and pools.

Apartments in any zone are required to have two parking spaces for each unit and one guest space for every five units. Condominiums must also provide two parking spaces for each unit but are required to have two guest spaces for every five units.

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