October 2008
About the Oaks Interim Control Ordinance

This page offers an overview of The Oaks Interim Control Ordinance (ICO), which the City of Los Angeles instituted on May 31st, 2008 . The Ordinance is intended to control out-of-scale development in The Oaks neighborhood. You can read the full and final text of the ordinance and view an exact map of the covered area here.

The Oaks Homeowners Association has worked with the City of Los Angeles Planning Department to develop the ICO. To learn more about the history of the collaboration as well as the concepts and intentions that shaped the final Ordinance, you can read a series of articles that have been posted on this website over the course of two years. Please see a list of links to these articles at the bottom of this page.

What the ordinance does

The ICO limits the size of houses that can be built in The Oaks relative to the size of their lots. Those limits are defined by the ordinance, and are based on a comprehensive survey of the existing homes in The Oaks. Because the language of the ordinance is not entirely easy to grasp, we have compiled some key points here.

The buildable floor area in relation to the lot size - which is referred to as the floor area ratio, or FAR - is determined by a formula stipulated in section 2.A) of the ordinance. There are three noteworthy additions to that formula:

1.) regardless of the lot size, an owner may add up to 250 square feet to the house (based on the house size at the time the ordinance became effective).

2.) the first 500 square feet of the garage are not counted in computing the floor area of the house.

3.) on any lot in The Oaks, regardless of size, a house of 1,600 square feet may be built.

Here is a graphical representation of the FAR limits imposed by the ICO:

Here is a table in 100-square-foot increments. Click it to download a pdf version.

Hardship Excemptions

Homeowners may request a hardship excemption from the limits imposed by the ICO, but such an exemption must be approved by the City Council. If so requested, the Oaks Homeowners Association may take a position for or against such an exemption. Below is a questionnaire that the board of the association uses in formulating its opinions regarding exemption requests. Download a pdf version of the questionnaire here.

Evaluation Questionnaire
for those requesting Oaks Homeowners Association  support for a Hardship Exemption to The Oaks Interim Control Ordinance

A.  What are the nature and extenuating circumstance of the hardship?  (For instance, increased square footage needed for growing family, unusual configuration of lot, etc.) 

Why will ICO-conforming plans not suffice?  Have all other alternatives been considered?  Could the project work within the requirements of the Ordinance?

B.  Would an additional square footage allowance remedy the hardship without significant impacts as follows:

        1. Does the project follow the intent of the ordinance?  That is, are the house-to-lot proportions similar to those of the neighboring properties?
         2. If the home’s proposed FAR is greater than the ICO allows, by how many percent does it exceed the limits set in the ICO?
         3. Does the project have the support of all adjacent property owners within 500 ft of the property?
         4. Does the project include extensive regrading?
         5. Does the project have adequate fire department access?
         6. Does the project involve permits for the removal of protected native trees?
         7. Does the project contribute to an existing local parking problem?

Previous Articles about the Oaks ICO on oakshome.org

Compatible Development in The Oaks - 6/20/06
Oaks Residents, Board, and the City Struggle With Out-of-Scale Development - 3/6/07
Workshop Planned for Interim Control Ordinance - 3/6/07
Planning Department Holds Workshop for Oaks Residents - 4/16/07
Interim Control Ordinance before Planning Commission on July 12 - July 2007
ICO Receives Planning Commission's Approval - 7/14/07
Oaks Interim Control Ordinance - Intro (The linked ICO pdf is now outdated) - October 2007
Oaks Interim Control Ordinance - Q&A - October 2007
Oaks ICO Moves Forward - 10/19/07
Revised Interim Control Ordinance Once Again Clears PLUM Committee - Next stop: City Council - March 2008
Oaks ICO Passes Council Real Fast - April 2008

Text of the Oaks Interim Control Ordinance.

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