AIA|LA & DCP :: Improving The Retaining Wall Ordinance

Last Updated: July 28, 2011

AIA|LA & DCP :: Improving The Retaining Wall Ordinance


On Thursday, July 28 (10am), AIA|LA members met with David Olivo and Erick Lopez from the Los Angeles Department of City Planning (DCP) to provide input on revisions to the old Retaining Wall Ordinance. DCP is under the direction to reshape the retaining wall ordinance so that it complements and supports the recently adopted BASELINE HILLSIDE ORDINANCE, which became effective on May 9, 2011.

Specific issues that DCP wanted to address about retaining walls in Los Angeles included:

  • The number of retaining walls allowed on a lot.
  • The maximum length of a retaining wall.
  • The minimum distance between retaining walls.
  • The maximum wall height.

Additional concerns were expressed about possibly allowing for exemptions for garden walls, retaining walls that support/ stabilize/ improve the public right-of-way, and walls built at the direction of LADBS for safety consideration and/ or erosion concerns. There is also a possibility that a revised retaining wall ordinance can compliment, or work in concert with both the newly adopted Low Impact Development Ordinance and perhaps even the new Mural Sign Ordinance that is currently being discussed.

Essentially, DCP is open to hearing ideas for how to draft an ordinance that will incentive design excellence and, at the same time, support the efforts of the Baseline Hillside Ordinance.

If you have ideas, or would like to get further involved please reach out to Will Wright to request additional information.

Likewise, if you are experiencing any specific delays/ hardships/ or misunderstandings in your permitting process, please reach out to us so that we can serve as a direct liaison with DCP.

This is your chance as an architect passionate about improving the built environment to help shape public policy that not only effects the livelihood of your profession, but also impacts the specific design of your projects.

Your participation is highly encouraged!

Additionally, to help with the DCP's outreach process, they are trying to create a database of photos that demonstrate a variety of retaining walls in effort to assist in discussions and presentations. If you have any photos of walls (good or bad) that you would like to share please feel free to forward them to City Planner David Olivo directly. If you happen to know any details about the wall (e.g., height) please include in the email.

For more information, please contact:
Will Wright
Director, Government & Public Affairs
AIA Los Angeles
(213) 639-0764
email: Will Wright

Last updated: 12-Dec-2012 01:42 AM
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