Building Limits May Be a Hardship

Building Guidelines:

1,500 square feet + 40% of lot size (Beverly Hills)

1,500 square feet + 30% of lot size (Culver City)

. . . Culver City is now more restrictive than Beverly Hills in the amount of structure that may be placed on a residential lot. There are, of course, other limitations and restrictive conditions in both places.


A couple in Beverly Hills have a Rolls-Royce, a Mercedes sedan and recently purchased another Mercedes, an SL . . . but they only have a two-car garage. Set-back requirements are such that a variance is required to make an addition to the existing garage due to the shape of their lot.

The city of Beverly Hills insists on very detailed information before it will grant permission to build anything, so it’s a time-consuming process that costs about the same as making the additional parking facility and takes a lot longer than doing the work. The couple want to protect a quarter-million-dollar-plus automobile investment and avoid having one of their cars setting in their circular drive overnight. Fortunately they can afford to do what they want.

Another man just bought a property zoned for two-family use in Culver City. There is a very small house on it that the new owner wants to expand. Additionally, there is a converted garage (illegal) that he wants to remove and replace with a second living quarters. It is possible to enlarge the existing house and put another unit above a new garage within Culver City buildable guidelines.

BUT . . . they have recently made, among other things, new designated requirements as to where “open space” has to be situated. This is a six-month trial ordinance subject to continuance, modification or cancellation. The only way this new Culver City resident can comply with this new ordinance is to demolish everything on the lot and start over. This would not be compatible with other housing in the area and certainly not economically feasible. So, Culver City has a new “homeowner” who can’t afford to comply with the new experimental code, probably can’t satisfy his monthly mortgage commitment without the rental income from the proposed second unit and really doesn’t care if his pickup truck is parked in a garage or on the driveway.


It might be nice for Culver City to have stricter building requirements than Beverly Hills, but the City Council may have overlooked a major consideration . . . in that the various property owners in the two cities won’t have the same economic base. It’s doubtful that anyone can create an ordinance that will correct that. The Beverly Hills couple have more money invested in personal automobiles than the value of the entire expenditure for the property in Culver City represents.


Los Angeles