Qualified Condition

September 17, 2008

More Rock Row

Filed under: Building Plays Well With Others — qualifiedcondition @ 1:37 am

    

Regularly, I drive/bike/walk/saunter past the Rock Row project that I mentioned a short while ago and each time I get a little more excited.  A few weeks ago, I stopped to snap a couple of pictures and the owner/developer fellows (brothers) were around and gave me a little tour.  They were experementing with a panel system on the exterior (hiding behind the orange fence thing, sorry) and it is a material that is not stucco and so I love it.

To me, the project is compelling for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, the developer seems to be a doing a number of thoughtful, green, well designed projects in the Northeast LA area.  Check out their website and you’ll see some in Lincoln Heights, Glassell Park and so on.  Honestly, these neighborhoods just don’t see a lot of great projects and so it’s refreshing to see developers that are trying to “do the right thing” and not just make a bunch of money by building stucco tenaments.  The other compelling point of interest is that “doing the right thing” has meant dealing with a lot of Heller-esque red tape vis-a-vis the LEED Certification process and the City’s Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance.

    

LEED:  I mentioned that the project is going to be LEED certified, and it seems that they’re actually going for “LEED Silver” (Gold is to tacky anyway)  Among the many green features on the project site, the permiable grass-crete driveway seems to have caused a bit of a hic-up with the Fire Department.  Evidently there was concern that fire trucks will be swallowed whole by grass-crete.  I understand the issues have been ironed out and the site will continue to soak up its own rain water as planned and consequently your grandkids will be happier and better adjusted.  Evidently the certification process is a little mysterious (the developer likens it to ordering from the “Secret Menu” at In-n-Out) and the point system is a little arbitrary.  Did you know that you can get the same number of points for a $10 bathroom timer that you can for a $5,000 roof garden.

Small Lot:  The project consists of 14 units that are, for all intents and purposes, single family houses.  It utilizes a newish subdivision ordinance that seems to have opened an unintended pandora’s box of red-tape insanity.  When you were a kid and you wanted to go to a party did you ever ask mom only to hear “ask your father” and when you asked your dad you got the same “ask your mom” response?  Basically that’s what happens; so any developer in LA who is hoping to throw a project up over night and make a quick buck (and that would be most) would be wise to stay away from the Small Lot ordinance.

The developers seem to be taking all of the hoop-jumping in stride and the project is soldering on.  I’ll be sure to throw up some more pictures a little further down the road.

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