With the sustained growth in residential real estate prices in Los Angeles, Echo Park is experiencing a building boom on a scale that hasn’t been repeated since the 1920s and 30s.
Unlike many communities in Los Angeles, Echo Park was once blessed with numerous vacant lots often undeveloped due to the topographical challenges these sites presented. Now, these verdant properties which have contributed to the rustic nature of Echo Park for over almost 120 years are slowly disappearing. While the purchase and development of these lots are a loss for the many, they’re a boon for the few individuals lucky enough to have purchased and who are now building on these rewarding sites.
While these properties may be lost as open space, the owners, architects and builders have the opportunity to contribute back to the community by constructing appropriately scaled projects that preserve as much of the topography and native flora as possible. In the short term, builders have the opportunity to construct a project in a professional manner and make a profit at the same time, all without becoming the bane of the neighborhood.
More often than not, builders, delivery truck drivers, City Council Deputies or LAPD officers are unaware of the rules governing the hours of work in the City of Los Angeles (regrettably Los Angeles doesn’t inform the permittee of these rules when a permit is pulled). On the other hand, the tractor operator that shows up at 6AM Sunday morning to tear down a turn-of-the-century cottage or lop 4-feet of dirt off a hillside to clear debris knows exactly what they’re doing! It’s with this type of builder in mind that I’ve put together some basic construction rules designed to protect the community from the either the unknowledgeable builder or the slash and burn developer.
What are the community’s rights and what can you do to have the rules enforced?
Below is a brief outline of the hours construction is permitted in the City of Los Angeles. I’ve also included this link to find permit information for a specific address that will provide contact information for the builder and building inspectors. [In Santa Monica, a builder is required to post a standardized sign that explains the hours of work]. I’ve also included this printable PDF that contain the abbreviated and specific language of the City of Los Angeles Municipal Code.
Hours of Work
Construction is limited to the hours of:
Monday – Friday: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday & Holidays: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, no construction allowed.
Same restrictions as above including operating equipment (this includes idling while waiting for 7 a.m. to roll around).
What to do if a builder isn’t following the rules:
* Talk to the builder. Approach the builder and inform them of the rules and that you’d appreciate it if they wouldn’t wake you up with a gravel delivery at 4.30AM. Have a copy of the rules printed out for them. Again, many builders have no idea what the hours of work are. It’s always best to have one point of contact and that person should be the job foreperson who’s responsible for the entire job.
* Talk to the Building Inspector whose name and number can be found on the Property Activity Report page described above. If you find that no permits come up for the address call 311 and ask to speak to a Building Inspector for Echo Park. Inform the inspector of the violation(s) and that you’d like the situation rectified. Note: Most building inspectors are only in the office first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon—their voicemail should inform you of their office hours.
* Call your Councilmember’s Field Deputy and inform them of the problems.
* Call the Police. This should be reserved for work on Saturday or Sunday when other city officials are unavailable. Call the Dispatch desk (not 911!) and be prepared to call back two or three times. Please note that the officers that arrive at the construction site will most likely have no idea what the hours of work are, hand them the rules and ask them to enforce them.
Remember: you have a right to peace and quiet! This is why the rules exist and should be enforced.