Site in context, bldg with outlines & name
Last Update: October 17, 2019, 6:00pm

Dear Mar Vista Neighbors,

THANK YOU to everyone who wrote letters and attended the various meetings and hearings in a well justified attempt to stop the 4.5 story monstrosity planned for McLaughlin and Charnock. My sincere apologies for the 2 1/2 hour wait for our appeal to be heard, during which many of you had to leave including our pro-bono attorney. If you left, you may have missed our last speaker Jason Douglas, Mike Bonin’s Planning Deputy who made good arguments in our favor. He and Len Nguyen, Mike's other Planning Deputy both stayed to the bitter end, about 9:00.

What went wrong in my opinion:
I think the 5 volunteer Commissioners were more swayed by what the City Planning Officials had to say than anyone on either side of the issue. They also denied the complicated appeal heard before ours, based on advice from the Planning Dept.Two of the Commissioners identified themselves as being from Mar Vista adjacent (Venice). The developer and his architect also both live in Venice as did apparently most of the 16 speakers that they bought along to say that they someday hoped to buy an “affordable” home in Mar Vista. (Note these new units are expected to sell for 1.5-1.9 million). I just wanted to shout out "Mar Vista is Not Venice!"

From a technical perspective:
1) In approving these Small Lot Subdivisions, the Planning Department relies on a check off list added to the SLS ordinance in 2018 to help developers get through the numerous requirements. This checklist does not include whether or not the project is "compatible with the existing neighborhood context”, even though that is an important premise of the original 2014 ordinance, and ought to apply everywhere. 2) Our argument in favor of public safety and against the multiple short driveways planned along Charnock also does not appear on the Planning checklist.3) Our argument that they were not applying the required 15 foot front and rear setback to the units facing Charnock was also shot down by Planning as a discretionary call on their part. They said that they determined the 15 ft setback on the McLaughlin side could be used to determine the setbacks for the entire subdivision, making Charnock a 'side yard'

Bottom line:
The side yard ruling by the City for corner lots allows developers to greatly increase the sheer size of the building, and results in very short driveways that mean that cars parked there will obstruct most of the sidewalk width. And, because of all the private driveways and curb cuts, there will no longer be space for parking along Charnock, where currently 4 cars can park. That is why we tried unsuccessfully to have Charnock declared as the front yard of the units that face onto it - the 15-foot front setback would have resulted in a smaller building, and safer parking in the driveway. We also unsuccessfully requested that all parking be moved to a half-level down. Bottom line - expect more Single Lot Subdivisions on corner lots, and more battles.

What can we do now?
1) An appeal to the LA City Council is possible. I intend to discuss that possibility with Councilmember Bonin.2) Our community Plan is in the process of being re-written and we currently have opportunities to impact what it says and to impact planning and zoning for the next 10-20 years. I think we need more protection for the residential character of Mar Vista. And perhaps a statement that "Mar Vista is Not Venice".

Thank you once more for all of your support,
Tom Ponton

Ps: A special note of appreciation to:
Kathryn Wheeler, our volunteer Webmaster
Neil Kritzinger, our volunteer Urban Designer
Michael Sinkov, our volunteer Legal Counsel

Pss: We must not stop! ANOTHER out of scale proposal for Mar Vista is in final review! Let your representatives know what we want in our neighborhood. Please help by clicking this link to sign a petition to stop builders who refuse to work with neighbors. Click here for more information. This construction is requesting many, many variances that the City does not have to approve. Let your voice be heard! Thank you! Public Hearing, Thursday, October 24 at 10:30am, 1645 Corinth Aven, Second Floor Hearing Room. Please sign petition whether you can come or not! Thank you!


Thank you everyone for all of your support in doing something about this out-of-place project at Charnock & McLaughlin. See the project plans.

More than 145 of your Mar Vista neighbors voiced their opposition to the Department of City Planning (DCP) regarding the construction of this 4.5 story high building with 6 Townhouses on the southwest corner of Charnock and McLaughlin.

In a 21 page "Letter of Determination", the DCP approved this project; fortunately, it is subject to appeals to the Planning Commission. A group of us has filed an appeal. The project does not comply with city guidelines in various respects, and creates dangerous traffic safety issues at that corner and in Mar Vista. LA City Councilman Mike Bonin agrees with us, read his letter.

During the past week, roughly 50 neighbors sent emails to the Board of Directors on the Mar Vista Community Council supporting our Stakeholder Motion Submission (i.e., our appeal), and more than 75 people attended their Tuesday (9/10) evening meeting.

Due to your efforts, the Board voted unanimously to approve the Stakeholder Motion and strongly supports our appeal to the West Los Angeles Planning Commission. We are hopeful that their support of our position (i.e., oppose the project), in addition to Councilman Bonin’s opposition to the project, will help us convince the Planning Commission to send the developer back to the drawing board.

This is no time to stop.


1) Attend the City Planning Commission appeal hearing in WLA this October-Scheduled for Wednesday, October 16, 2019, at 4:30pm. Notice here

2) Forward and share this message with your neighbors and friends as this involves them too. Or, ask that they visit the website to be a part of this decision-making process. It will affect the future of the Mar Vista Community and everyone who visits.

Thank you for helping.

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About the Developer: Futterman

Things you should know about the building...

MailPoet Image Building

6 Condos, 4+ Stories

Each Townhome will be excessively taller than any other building in this residential area--more than four stories high with an additional rooftop area, towering over single-family homes; likely selling >$1 mil
MailPoet Image Truck

6 Short Driveways

Cars parked in these driveways will block the sidewalk along Charnock; making them inaccessible to the disabled, dog walkers, & other neighbors. Imagine when these cars leave the garages to enter onto Charnock.
MailPoet Image Traffic

More Congestion

This project further complicates traffic at this overly-congested intersection. There have been numerous recent accidents here, including a death, and this project will only make the situation worse!
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