Coptic Church Planning Senior Home on Aldama Street

The 62-unit senior living facility would be accompanied by a new recreation center.

Holy Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox Church is seeking permission from the Department of City Planning to build a 62-unit residential development with an adjacent recreational facility on a swath of church-owned land on Aldama Street.

According to a notice distributed to nearby property owners on Friday, the church is seeking a zone variance to build a 62-unit development on a 26,922-sq. ft. piece of property located within a RD2 Zone. Current zoning law does not allow more than 13 dwelling units of that size.

A variance is also being sought to construct a two-story recreational facility and install 62 parking stalls on the adjacent 33,747-sq. ft. property, which is located in the R1 zone. The application also seeks permission to create 3,081-sq. ft. of additional open space beyond what is required by law on properties of its size.

The develoment would be located on eight church-owned lots at 763-775 N. Avenue 50 and 4967 Aldama St., about one-tenth of a mile from Aldama Elementary School.

The Office Of Zoning Administration will hold a public hearing on the development on Thursday, April 11 at 9 a.m. in room 1020 of City Hall, located at 200 N. Spring St. in Downtown Los Angeles.



BASIC Design March 18, 2013 at 05:40 PM
No noise - Folks have addressed your issue in kind and some have even offered advice. The constant cry of wolf, does not help your cause.
nonoise March 18, 2013 at 06:07 PM
If anyone cares they would call Father Marco Oritz.
BASIC Design March 19, 2013 at 12:59 AM
la-agog - The number of units is not the end all because it depends on the size of the units. A SRO unit is different than a 3 bedroom one. So the number can be misleading. The arrangement also dictates the 'look' of the development. So it is indeed possible to make a large number of units look like around half the amount if done right.
elmo March 19, 2013 at 02:11 AM
The North Branch Arroyo Seco runs right underneath those properties. It's a live stream that runs even in the summer but it's buried in a pipe. Let's '"daylight" the stream, exhume it, and build a park around it. Tear everything else down and plant trees.
BASIC Design March 19, 2013 at 02:32 AM
Of course you would be willing to do that with your property first, to show everyone how it's done.
BASIC Design March 19, 2013 at 03:06 AM
For those interested, get ready for a battle: http://highlandpark-ca.patch.com/articles/see-the-site-plan-for-coptic-church-s-planned-aldama-development#pdf-13707974
nonoise March 19, 2013 at 05:47 AM
la-a, Yes, I know about mediation. Father Marco Oritz REFUSED mediation. There is no hope with him. He is hopefully and clueless.
Hooper Humperdink March 19, 2013 at 09:55 AM
I rode my bike by this lot on Sunday and for the first time ever really took a considered look at this property and thought, "Wow, that house in the middle of that vacant land looks like something from old photographs of Los Angeles." I thought that it would be a great place to start a large-ish urban agriculture hobby farm with chickens, rabbits, and whatever small animals one can get away with in the city (I think we can do goats if our lots are big enough). Sure enough I log in tonight and see that the whole place is going to be razed for senior housing. Great for all those seniors to have convenient access to no transit, no hospitals, no post office, no grocery store, no library, no parks, but right next to a liquor store. Will the units also come with a slide into an incinerator and a noose pre-hung from the ceiling fan? I couldn't think of a crappier place to install massed senior housing which will require multiple ambulance visits and will force these folks into a car-only lifestyle at exactly the point in their lives when most cannot legally drive.
S. Beeching March 19, 2013 at 01:23 PM
My house backs up to this property. We bought here because we like the quiet atmosphere of single family homes. We already have light glare all night in our windows coming from the 14 unit building the church built on the corner of San Rafael and Aldama. Have you seen the condition of the properties fronting this block? The church owns all of them and does nothing to keep them up. This isn't a do-good project, this is a money maker and their attempt to expand ownership of the neighborhood. Regarding the apartment building on the corner they own, this is from their own website: "The need to expand the size of the church to accommodate the increasing number of the congregation became evident and appealing. The zeal of the church members has shown their love and generosity toward the construction of a large church. Meanwhile, in 1981 the church was able to construct a 13-unit apartment building at a short distance from the church for senior members’ housing. The property was built free and clear and it became a significant factor in financing and refinancing the church building. Over the years the church acquired a number of properties in the close neighborhood that are used for various related activities."
S. Beeching March 19, 2013 at 01:24 PM
As for the size of the development, BASIC design, it isn't just 3 lots facing Ave 50 and one on Aldama - it is 4 facing Avenue 50, 1 facing Aldama, and 3 large lots behind these that comprise more land than the others, and are zoned the more restrictive R-1. Which does not allow for the additional of another building unless they get a variance. And then they plan to pave over the majority of it with 66 plus 35 parking spaces (so it looks to me like parking for over 100 cars). Don't kid yourself - this is overflow parking for the church. My instinct is the attached recreational center will be for the use of the church, which already has huge, high flood lights on and gatherings until 10 a.m. several nights a week which has ruined the atmosphere of homes around them.
S. Beeching March 19, 2013 at 01:25 PM
Adding 62 units more than doubles the housing population on the surrounding neighborhood. The surrounding streets only have room for 1 car to pass now because of the needed street parking. They plan to cut down all the huge trees (some 100' high) which would help shield this monstrosity from the surrounding 10 homes it directly abuts. But if they replace said trees with 8' trees along their driveway, the zoning commission considers the negative environmental impact abated.
S. Beeching March 19, 2013 at 01:26 PM
The church has sent out a letter to neighboring properties asking them to come to a meeting they are holding at the church on the evening of April 2, “…due to other commitments, we know some of you may not be able to attend the City’s hearing.” They also mention that the city hall meeting is at 9:30 am, while the correct time is 9:00 a.m. Not only could this confuse citizens into thinking they’ll be getting an unbiased presentation, it also falls on the same night as the Highland Park Council’s meeting to determine their position on the matter. I’m sure it’s no coincidence. PLEASE COME TO THE MEETING ON APRIL 11, 2013, 9:00 a.m. LA City Hall 200 North Spring Street, Room 1020 Jason Chan, (213) 978-1320
Nimby pimp March 19, 2013 at 04:35 PM
Thanks for the additional information. We will be there.
BASIC Design March 19, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Yes. Seeing the site plan for the first time yesterday, it has become apparent that the there are additional lots. The initial premise was based on the article. There are however only 3 lots facing Ave 50 as indicated on the Assessor's map. Actually what they will do is combine all the lots and develop as an RD2 more than likely. Counting the parking spaces there are only 70, so not sure how you assumed 100+ stalls. Would be very interested in seeing exactly what that Rec Center (perhaps room) will be. How tall? How large? What it looks like?
BASIC Design March 19, 2013 at 04:54 PM
The Mt. Washington/Glassel Park Specific Plan directly addresses the issue of trees. Those large trees should not be removed at all. Any native species also can't be removed. Do we have any volunteer arborist who might be able to sneak a peek and see what exactly is there? Or perhaps if someone knows if the neg dec has the tree survey on there so we can know what's there?
BASIC Design March 19, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Actually there is a HHPNC meeting this Thursday (21st) at 7pm at the HP Senior Center (roughly York and Fig) so all interested parties should come out to that meeting to voice your concerns about this or any item which you feel the neighborhood should address.
BASIC Design March 19, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Once again, this has nothing to do with Divine Savior Catholic Church. Please find a new hobby as your comments are now beginning to border on insanity.
S. Beeching March 19, 2013 at 05:40 PM
BASIC, not sure if some of the trees are native, the largest is a non-n eucalyptus but it's huge and provides habitat and screening. Specific info. about trees is in the Mitigated Negative Report I have copy of if you want to see. Re: parking spaces and rec.building, in the public hearing letter it states, "...Section 12.21-C,5(h) to allow an accessory 62-stall plus 4 fractional stall parking lot, two-story, 3,780 square-foot accessory recreational building..." and "..Sections 12.21-A, 4(d)(5) and (u) to allow 31 parking stalls, 4 fractional stalls, and additional excess parking stalls (?what # is that?) to be provided in the R1 zone." If you would like a copy of this letter and accompanying zone variance map delineating the 8 lots (I recounted!) email me at beeching63@gmail.com. Thanks for the info. re: the HHNPC meeting this Thurs.
El Cid March 19, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Forgive me for what I am about to write, for I too sometimes may write and say "Nonsense!" But, most importantly, I also must try to forgive the nonsense of those that think they talk sense. Nonoise - You make no sense!
nonoise March 19, 2013 at 10:08 PM
To clarify, those that attend Divine Saviour think their noise is just fine. They are now finding themselves in the same position as me. What goes around comes around.
Marino March 20, 2013 at 02:27 AM
This is the type of project that should go to Transit Village. Close to the station, the library, the senior center, the market. Flat and walkable.
Chris Camacho March 20, 2013 at 06:33 PM
I live above the proposed project, on Aldama. Besides the vulgar and completely out-of-proportion building they want to build, which would look into my and my neighbors' yards and block our views, according to the Mitigated Negative Declaration for this proposed project filed by the City of LA, it poses significant risk to me and my neighbors properties with increased risk of off-site (me and my neighbors) landslide, lateral spreading, subsidence, liquifaction or collapse (geo/soil). I have nothing against the church as neighbors, but this proposal is vulgar on many levels, without any consideration for the immediate neighborhood.
Chris Camacho March 20, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Nonoise? Couldn't you start another thread and get off this one? This is discussion is about a wholly unrelated matter. I feel for you but, really?
nonoise March 20, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Chris this is related to my issue. A noisy, crowded church building where it does not belong. Same thing. Same issue. If you feel for me help like you are asking for help and call Concilmember Ed Reyes office and Father Marco. You are asking for help, well I am too.
nonoise March 20, 2013 at 09:48 PM
The relationship is noise. That's it.
Rev M G Martinez, ULC March 21, 2013 at 08:21 PM
I am in that neighborhood frequently, on walks... I have observed that church to be quiet, and unobtrusive, even on days when there have been services. That is exceptional, considering they are so close to residences. I do not think the planned retirement housing is going to result in the kinds of problems fear mongers go on about. Pisgah, on Echo St., was turned into such a community, and of course there were no manifest problems. I would imagine that given a choice, a retirement home for conservative church people is preferable to a high density, sec. 8 apt. I think the apt. bldg. on the corner is perferable to an empty lot, covered in weeds, with old trucks, seemingly dead in the dirt. And that bldg. is in no way an eye sore. Puhleese! Don't exaggerate. The issues that do exist, parking, traffic... Traffic especially, because many make the case that there already exists an untenable situation on 50 & El Paso, and I agree with them. So with ANY development, those issues will have to be mitigated. The owners have a right to build, but residents have a say what gets built, and how, etc., so does the city, obviously. There's been much hysteria, and false ifo. dessiminated. I suggest people show up to the neighborhood meeting they are hosting on the 2nd of April. See what they present, and then give your input, and share your concerns.
S. Beeching March 21, 2013 at 08:37 PM
@Rev MG Martinez, I agree with you that the church itself is quiet and maintain the immediate church property nicely. However, they do have powerful, tall floodlights installed now on their field which glare into neighboring homes until past 10 pm several nights a week. Additionally, I live directly behind the property in question and only recently has it been maintained on a more regular basis. Other neighborhood members have sent repeated letters asking the owners to clean up the lots and cover the graffiti on the walls, and it took several letters with cc's to elected officials and the press to see any action made. The variances they are requesting in the zoning codes for these properties will dramatically affect the feel of our neighborhood and the privacy of our own homes. They would like to cut down the large trees that shield our homes from Avenue 50 noise. They would like to pave over the property right up to our fence lines, and many of us live on hillsides, so our views would be of a parking lot. Yes, they do have a right to build on their property. But the proposal should be blend in with the residential community, not be so grossly oversized and present a parking lot of commercial property dimensions. I suggest people attend the unbiased Department of City Planning, office of Zoning Administration public hearing on Thursday, April 11, at 9:00 am, Los Angeles City Hall, 200 North Spring Street, Room 1020 (enter from Main Street).
nonoise March 21, 2013 at 08:42 PM
S, so you do care about noise? Are you one that think's other nieghbor's noise is fine as long as it is not in your backyard? Just wondering who else attends Divine Saviour and now they are concerned about noise, now that is in their backyard?
Chris Camacho March 21, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Rev Martinez, I have no problem with there being development of the property. My issue is with the scope and scale, which is grossly out of proportion with the rest of the block and neighborhood. It's a 4 story industrial/prison-like building, with commercial parking access on my residential street, and a building that would be twice the height of existing buildings, and blocking my vista, looking into my yard, and threatening the stability of the hill that I live on. There is no exaggeration. I worked as an electro/mechanical designer - studied architectural drawing as well, have played with the perspective from my house to the proposed development. It is not exaggeration that it would be a big eyesore. What type of other development would follow if the proposed development is is granted the zoning variance they seek? All the facts are on file, and have been been addressed in the Proposed Negative Mitigation Report. I live on Aldama, a few houses north of the proposed development. The neighborhood is zoned as it is for a reason, and my concerns are real. If you want such a development on your block, perhaps you should offer to host such. We will not only show up at the meeting you cite, but will be at the April 11 hearing, and are filing and voicing our concerns to all the appropriate parties, in accordance with established protocol.
Chris Camacho March 21, 2013 at 09:28 PM
In addition, the Church owns another multi-unit bldg.: 777 Ave. 50, 90042 - the property listed as a church and exempt from property tax, but it is a run down apartment building housing teanats. Not basless hysteria. Fact.


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