Apartment Proposal Raises Zoning Question

The case of a homeowner on East Culver Avenue who wants to build apartments on his Old Towne property is still unresolved, but the dispute may lead to a neighborhood zoning change.

City Council members sent the proposal by Ralph Zehner, to build five units behind his 1904 Craftsman bungalow, back to the Planning Commission and the Design Review Board last week.

His proposal, permitted under zoning codes, has sparked a dispute among Zehner, his neighbors and some preservationists.

Zehner and his supporters contend that under zoning and the general philosophy of property rights, he should be able to build.

His opponents, along with the Planning Commission and the Design Review Board, have said the plan does not fit the single-family nature of the neighborhood and could affect the historic atmosphere of the Old Towne street.

Zehner asked for his plan to go back to the other boards after he reduced the height of the proposed duplexes from two to 1 1/2 stories. Under zoning codes, the shorter buildings do not require a conditional-use permit. The planning meeting is set for July 20.

Mayor Joanne Coontz said that the zoning on the street, which includes homes with large lots, should probably be changed.

"The current zoning allows too much density and that was not the intent," she said. "It is confusing. The neighbors don't understand it and we need to clean it up."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World