Home critics lose appeal in La Cañada

The La Cañada Flintridge City Council on Monday shot down an appeal from neighbors who oppose the construction of a new two-story house in the city.

The neighbors claimed that the project did not fit in with the character of the other homes on Noren Street, which are single-story ranch-style buildings. But council members said that the home met all code requirements and noted that the project was reduced in size after neighbors raised concerns at a public hearing in July.

Kent Frewing, one of the neighbors who filed the appeal, was one of several residents of Noren Street who spoke against the size of the project during the City Council meeting.

Frewing and others called the project the beginning of mansionization in the neighborhood.

“It seems that La Cañada Flintridge is becoming one of the mansionization capitols of Los Angeles County,” said Frewing, “probably because of the desirable real estate values.”

A city staff report stated the project was smaller than the allowed maximum house size for the lot. The applicant also reduced the size of the project, which would be located at the end of a cul-de-sac, by 10% from the original proposal.

Neighbors also maintained that the basement should have been included in the project’s total square foot calculation. Council members said they would be interested in exploring rules for basements in the future.

Councilman Michael Davitt, who was a member of the city’s Planning Commission for many years, said there is no rule that precludes residents from building a two-story home.

“From a policy standpoint, as I see it, it’s difficult for me to say that I don’t like the house because of it’s size or design, because I can’t really do that,” Davitt said. “They have abided by the rules. They are within the square footage [allowed].”

Councilman Donald Voss said the new home may look different from the current homes on Noren, but that is because those properties were built decades ago.

“Preserving this neighborhood as it was built in 1950 is not a… necessary objective,” said Donald Voss. “This doesn’t look like a mid-1950s house, but it’s not the 1950s, it’s the 21st century.”

Councilmen Jon Curtis and Dave Spence were also in favor of the project.

Mayor Laura Olhasso said that the project is an improvement from the current property. She also told attendees of the meeting that she doesn’t know of anyone interested in a building a new one-story home in the city. She predicted that the current look of Noren Street will be transformed in the future.

“Most of the homes will change in the coming years,” she said.


Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.


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