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Barbara Bestor Designing 18 Small Lot Homes For Echo Park

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Tonight, the Echo Park Neighborhood Council will get a first look at plans for Blackbirds--a new small lot development on Preston and Vestal Avenues near their intersection with Baxter Avenue. The project is being designed by local architect Barbara Bestor, who has has a well-documented history of residential projects around the North Central area. LA-based developer LocalConstruct is developing the project with the help of the 2004 Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance, which allows for multiple small, detached units on a single lot (see Rock Row in Eagle Rock or the Edgecliffe Terrace Homes in Silver Lake).

The current plans would divide the one-acre parcel between 18 newly constructed units, including three 1,650 square foot, fully detached single-family houses, three side-by-side duplexes with 1,500 square foot units, and three side-by-side triplexes with 1,300 square foot units (that brings the average lot size to 2,100 square feet). Onsite parking is always a primary consideration for small lot developments--LocalConstruct is handling the problem by "un-garaging" some of the units (i.e., using outdoor carports) to reduce site mass and create more semi-public space.

And in case you are wondering about the name Blackbirds: "The blackbird shapes come through a combination of the rooflines and the way the units are positioned around the central motor court," says developer Casey Lynch.

According to a written statement, Bestor says small lots projects can "help add density to the city, but without sacrificing community and architectural quality," and that "The myriad small but unique homes and gardens found in Tokyo's residential neighborhoods are inspiring as a possible model for Los Angeles' future as a more pedestrian friendly, denser city."
*Disclosure: James knows the developers socially.
· Lot Ordinance Helps Developers Build Tidy Homes [Curbed LA]