November 15, 2014
A nice letter from Fredonia Drive by Sarah Hunt & Melanie Contreras
To whom it may concern,
From: Sarah Hunt & Melanie Contreras. To: Whom it may concern. Re: Tomas O’Grady. Fredonia Drive is a narrow, leafy street that’s nestled in the Hollywood Hills. It’s comprised of mainly single-family homes and has a very rural feel. We have lived here for many years and really appreciate the sanctuary that our neighborhood provides. Recently a developer purchased the lot across the street, and due to an antiquated loophole, planning permission was granted to tear down the original property and build a massive apartment development.
We are a very close-knit community; we want to see our neighborhood preserved. Desperate for help, we reached out to the candidates running for City Council in District 4, as that is where we reside. Only one candidate, Tomás O’Grady, stepped up to the plate. Tomás not only responded, but worked with our neighborhood to create a robust appeal that was half technical, half emotional and totally compelling.
Working together with Tomás, his team of architects and researchers, as well as with Renee Weitzer, Councilmember Tom LaBonge’s planning chief, we prevailed. Last night, Nov. 13, 2014, the planning commission ordered the developer to return in January with the following instructions:
1) Bring back a plan that is compatible with our lovely little neighborhood, and
2) Work with the neighbors to create something that they can live with.
We have come to realize that the Tomás O’Grady campaign is a very different kind of operation to the ones we’ve seen in the past. Instead of serving us with platitudes and fake concern, Tomás has rolled up his sleeves and worked alongside us to see what could be done – and boy did we get something done!
We are apparently not alone. In the Hollywood Dell neighborhood we’ve learned that Tomás managed to secure a land purchase from a developer thus saving the community’s beloved La Rocha trail. Whilst up in Hollywoodland, we’ve heard from friends that he has drawn up a set of plans to restore some of the most sensitive parkland, that for years has been overrun by inconsiderate visitors.
We have always voted, but in the past we have been disappointed by the predictable rhetoric and lack of action. Next March, however, we will be excited to vote for Tomas O’Grady because he is a new and dynamic politician that has the passion and drive to make real changes to the district we call home.
As a neighborhood, we know that hard work still lies ahead in regards to ensuring the proposed development satisfies neighborhood compatibility concerns. We also know that Tomás will be with us every step of the way.
Sarah Hunt | 3701 Fredonia Drive | firstname.lastname@example.org
Melanie Contreras | 3700 Fredonia Drive | email@example.com
3696 Proposed apartment development
November 15, 2014
From the Neighbors of Fredonia Drive:
The proposed three unit building comprises of nine bedrooms and covered, semi-underground parking for six cars, which compared to many LA apartment blocks, sounds pretty insignificant, until one looks at this neighborhood it’s being built in!
Fredonia Drive is a narrow, rustic street, with single side of the street parking and mostly small (under 1,700 square feet) single family homes set on large leafy lots. In comparison the proposed apartment block is being built on just about the smallest lot in the neighborhood, yet the plans are for 4,100 square feet of habitable space, 2,017 square feet of parking garage and 140 square feet of covered balconies spread over two structures on a lot that’s just 7,100 square feet; the building is going to be just about as tall as the lot is wide!
3696 Fredonia Drive is a narrow triangle of land, not much over 35′ wide in many parts, and it only has a very slight downhill gradient. It is a substandard, non-conforming lot which doesn’t even come close to meeting the requirements of an RD1.5 designation under today’s rules, but due to a grandfather clause from the original lot cut date (which was prior to 1948), it seems the proposed development is a ‘by-rights’ project.
We appreciate that change is inevitable, and everyone in the neighborhood agrees that the property currently standing on 3696 needs developing, but not with a structure of this mass, and not with a structure that has a floor to area ratio and building design that does not demonstrate any neighborhood conformity.
We do have three apartment blocks on our street, two are near to the Cahuenga Blvd. end and one is closer to the Kentucky Drive end, however one looks like it was built in the ’60’s and is rather lovely, the second is on the hill side of Fredonia and was built so that it hugs the contours of the hill and therefore doesn’t look out of place, and the one by Kentucky Drive was designed by the noted architect, Lorenzo Tedescois, and is cleverly tucked away on the downslope with significant landscaping.
Our neighborhood doesn’t have an official historic status, however most of the homes have retained their original floor-plans and we have several beautiful mid-century modern homes, as well as a house designed by Harwell Hamilton Harris in 1939 (The Lee and Mary Blair House II, 3763 Fredonia Drive, Los Angeles CA) and quite a few film stars from the early days of cinema had homes on our street.