Renovated La Cañada home must return to previous form

A resident who

was denied a last-ditch effort to keep his home office Monday night, when the La Cañada Flintridge City Council adopted a resolution dictating the return of the home to its pre-existing condition.

The resolution was the result of a March 3 appeal hearing held at the last council meeting, in which members discussed which parts of homeowner Shaker Eissa’s years-long illegal renovations would be allowable and which would have to be undone.


The document also lays out conditions for compliance, including timelines for project completion and obtaining the necessary permits. For example, Eissa has six months to remove a bulk of the home additions built, three months to remove a sport court and one month to get an encroachment permit for a new driveway.

Attorney Kevin McDonnell addressed the council Monday on Eissa’s behalf. He asked council members to consider modifying their previous decision so his client’s first-floor home office, which had been converted from an enclosed patio, could be maintained.

“I’m here this evening to appeal to your sense of reasonableness on this matter of compliance,” McDonnell said, adding that his client was willing to meet all other requirements.

Jef Vander Borght, a Burbank architect working with Eissa, asked the council if his client could request time extensions on any of the projects highlighted in the resolution.


McDonnell’s request was denied after a brief discussion among the council members and city staff. Any modifications of the previous decision would have to be placed on a future agenda and reexamined, Mayor Laura Olhasso explained, further delaying the process.

Mayor Pro Tem Mike Davitt said he was happy with the work city staff had done so far and was not interested in reopening the issue to discuss modifications.

“I understand the concern, but I think in the best interest of the city, we need to move this forward,” Davitt said.

The council did, however, agree that the homeowner should be allowed to request time extensions. Language detailing the process by which that would happen, already included in one section of the resolution, was added throughout where time frames were described. Because of that, the council was able to approve the resolution Monday without having to reschedule it for a future meeting.


Echoing Davitt’s sentiments, City Atty. Mark Steres emphasized timely completion of the resolution’s requests was essential.

“The time frames are important, because we do need to keep them on track,” Steres said.