Friday, December 4, 2015

Public Hearing on Draft BHO Amendments

Dear Bel-Air Association Members and Community,

Further to our blog post on Monday (, we attended the public hearing last night (Thursday, December 3) in Westwood on the draft amendments to the Baseline Hillside Ordinance (“BHO”). During the 1 minute that we were allocated to speak (each speaker was limited to 1 minute), we presented the following public comments:

We thank the Code Studies Unit, and Ms. Solomon-Cary in particular, for developing the draft amendments to the BHO.

The Bel-Air Association is in the midst of reviewing the draft amendments. But we are already concerned that the draft amendments do not address our primary concern: safety. Safety of our community and residents, and safety of our streets, particularly our Hillside Limited Streets.

Although the draft amendments have addressed some import/export through grading limitations, there are no proposed modifications or mitigation measures in these draft amendments that reflect a willingness to deal with haul routes, construction truck traffic, or appropriate staging and queuing of hauling and construction vehicles.

Shrinking the size of houses will not address the haul route issues that we are constantly dealing with. And trying to legislate safety through grading restrictions and smaller homes seems to avoid the core issue of safety.

We therefore ask that you incorporate provisions in the BHO that directly address the safety impacts of hauling and construction traffic, and mitigate their impacts on our community’s safety. Thank you.

A copy of the Department of City Planning’s presentation given at the hearing is available at

The Department has revised its “Q&A” document on the draft amendments. A copy is below. It is also available at One of the revisions is to the last sentence of the answer to the second question. That sentence now reads, “In the BHO, grading exemptions no longer apply to excavation underneath the footprint of the structure.”

The Department’s webpage on the draft amendments is located at

The Department is currently accepting comments for consideration in the staff report that it will prepare and submit to the City Planning Commission. Comments should be submitted by Monday, January 11, 2016 to Hagu Solomon-Cary by email to

The draft amendments are tentatively scheduled to be heard by the City Planning Commission on March 10, 2016 at 8:30 a.m.

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.


Your Bel-Air Association Land Use Committee