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On May 31, 2023, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved the Hillside Construction Regulations for our area! After 6 years of persistent advocacy our neighborhood now has the same commonsense rules that apply to hillsides in other areas of the City.

First, we thank Councilperson Hernandez, CD1 Planning Director Helen Campbell, CD1 Deputy Chief of Staff Helene Rotollo, and CD1 District Director Jose Rodriguez for their support in getting this law passed. We appreciate their recognition of the unique problems in hillside very high fire severity hazard zones.

And thank you to all of our members who participated and worked together for a safer community. A special thank you also to the Glassell Park Improvement Association for their support and advocacy in getting this law passed.

Here are some of the things we can look forward to:

  • The HCR law will be applied to new applications to build—it is not retroactive and will not affect construction which has already received approval from Planning. The law was effective July 24, 2023 and will apply to new applications filed after that date. However, for the past few years MWHA has attended as many hearings as possible and has asked that the HCR be applied to construction sites. Many hearing officers have included similar restrictions in their rulings—if you have questions regarding the rules applicable to a specific site check on ZIMAS, , click on “search” and type in the address, then click on “case number” and look for a “ZA” or “DIR” and click on that. In the window to the right will be a document called the “determination letter” which sets out the rules for that building project.

  • Builders must post the regulations at the building site with information identifying the appropriate city entity to contact with questions or complaints.

  • HCR applies to single family homes, ADUs and small lot developments

  • Single family homes larger than 2,500 square feet must have a Site Plan Review before issuance of permits and entitlements.

  • The maximum import/export of soil is limited

  • Trucks must stage off the hill—no convoys—and truck size is limited

  • Hauling operations can only occur Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m

  • Construction activity is limited to Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Interior work only may be done on Saturdays. No work on Sundays.

  • Exterior lighting after 6 p.m. is prohibited.

  • No grading or hauling on windy days or Red Flag days and all dust must be controlled

  • Streets must be cleaned at the end of each work day

  • Flagpersons are required to assist all trucks and signs must be posted 300 feet in advance of the project in each direction warning drivers or construction activity

  • Neighbors must be notified of haul route and demolition activities

This is not a panacea that will cure all construction problems. It is, however, a significant step to address the dangers of building in Very High Fire Severity Hazard Zones with critically inadequate infrastructure. It also puts the Northeast area, including Mt Washington, on a par with the rest of the City.

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