Mar Vista Tract
Los Angeles Historic Preservation Overlay Zone
In 2003, the Gregory Ain Mar Vista Tract became the first Post-World War II Modern historic district in the City of Los Angeles, officially known as a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (“HPOZ”). The HPOZ was created after a large majority of the tract’s residents petitioned the City with this request, and after the historic significance of the tract was established in a subsequent historic survey commissioned by the City.
HPOZs of Los Angeles provide for review of proposed exterior alterations and additions to properties within the district to assure that the architectural style and other distinguishing features of the community are preserved. Each has a five member Board that serves in an advisory role to the Department of Planning of the City in reviewing proposed projects within the HPOZ. At least three members of the HPOZ Board must be renters or owners of property within the HPOZ, thus assuring a local voice in the review of proposed projects. One of the members must also be a licensed architect. In addition to its formal role in reviewing and making recommendations on projects, the Board often serves as an informal source for technical expertise and guidance.
The Department of City Planning works with the community to create a Preservation Plan, which provides tailored design guidelines for each HPOZ. As we have not yet adopted a Preservation Plan, we are required to follow the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation as a framework for ensuring that exterior alterations and additions to the properties are pursued sensitively.
The HPOZs of Los Angeles apply the preservation rule of “rehabilitation.” This means that what is still existing of the original character defining features should be preserved if possible. Things that have changed over the years do not have to be brought back to what they originally looked like. Over the years, the needs and tastes of people living here have resulted in many changes. This concept of preservation allows us to let existing picket fences, etc. remain, even though they were not part of the original concept. Neither must trees that have been long gone be replanted, or original plants that are now gone be re-introduced, for example.
The public notices are posted at the offices of the Department of City Planning, their website: http://cityplanning.lacity.org/ . The meetings are regularly scheduled for the first and third Wednesday of each month and held at 6:00 p.m. at the Pen Mar Recreation Center “Sr. Lunch Room,” 1341 Lake Street (abutting Rose Ave. near Walgrove Ave.). Meetings are cancelled if there is no matter to be discussed and so it is best to check the Department of City Planning website 24 hours before the meeting to make sure there is one scheduled.
For information on scheduling your project for review, contact:
City Planning Department
For more information on HPOZs see: http://cityplanning.lacity.org/ and follow the links.