Our Ordinance

Section 1. Section 12.04.06 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code is added to read:


LW” Arts District Zone


Purpose: The purpose of this Zone is to regulate the design and construction of new buildings with industrial, commercial and/or live/work uses.

A.  USE.

  1. General Intent. The use regulations of this section are intended to delineate permitted, limited, and prohibited uses that are compatible with and serve to reinforce the creative and industrial character and productive function of the Arts District neighborhood. These regulations are intended to support the continued organic growth of traditional and creative industry and live/work uses that define the District.
  2. Permitted Uses. No building, structure or land shall be used and no building or structure shall be erected, structurally altered, enlarged or maintained, except in conformance with the list of uses established in Table 1.1.


Table 1.1

  Use   Note Permitted Uses   Prohibited   Limitation
EncouragedArts/ProductiveUse  Limited
Residential Uses
 Live/Work Type A(per Section 2.f.ii.1) R-2 Occupancy            ▪  
  Live/Work Type B(per Section 2.f.ii.2)R-2 Occupancy/Group B, F, or M Functions         
Residential Uses (Single orMulti-Family)        
Non-Residential Uses
Art Gallery & Exhibition Space        
Artisanal/Micro Manufacturing        
Artist & Resident Production Group F or M Occupancy      
Artist Studio        
Community Facility        
CoWorking Facility        


Creative Office            ▪      
Drive thru establishment            ▪  
Hotel Subject to 1.5 FAR productive space        ▪   70 room max
Light Manufacturing Uses Allowed in the M2 Zone          ▪      
M2 Uses            ▪             
M3 Uses Welding, casting, metal preparations, distilleries        ▪    
Media Production            ▪      
Research & Development            ▪      
Restaurant / Bar          ▪     6,000 sf max per establishment
Retail             6,000 sf Max per establishment
Standalone Parking        
Urban Agriculture / Community garden            ▪      
Academic institutions            ▪      
Museums            ▪      
Performance venue            ▪      



  1. Use Limitations.

(a)           Hotel Guest Rooms. Any individual hotel use is limited to a maximum of 70 total guest rooms. Hotel use shall be subject to other requirements of this chapter (up to 1.5 FAR of commercial/industrial productive uses etc…)

(b)         Restaurant/Bar. Any individual restaurant or bar establishment is limited to a maximum of 6,000 square feet and shall comply with code-required parking (1 per 100; less for small restaurants).

(c)         Retail.  Any individual retail establishment is limited to a maximum of 6,000 square feet, with the exception of grocery stores, unless the retail is considered accessory to a production use located on the same site.


  1. General Intent.

The development standards of this section are intended to facilitate the creation of new Live/Work, commercial and industrial space in the Arts District in a manner that enhances the neighborhood’s industrial and artistic character and culture, and supports enhanced street level activity. These standards are also meant to encourage the reuse of existing structures and to create a mix of productive and industrial spaces on or near the street level.   The ordinance gives preference to, through incentives, buildings that are constructed to allow for long term flexibility and adaptability of the District.

  1. Maximum Permitted Floor Area Ratio (FAR).

Base FAR is established at 1.5 times the lot area. Additional FAR is earned by utilizing either construction types or use incentives as designated in this ordinance.

As a prerequisite to introduce additional FAR and Live/Work use, 50% of the floor area (up to 3 FAR) shall be limited to non-residential productive use (Commercial/Industrial).

  1. Limitations on Type V and Type III construction.

Type V and Type III construction is limited to 1:1.5 FAR and 3 stories or less, unless the following requirements are met:

a.  Buildings which are framed with either wood or cold-formed steel and are 3 stories or more in height shall be limited to 3D space frame construction only, as defined by ASCE 7-10 section 11.2.

b.  New structures proposed under this code shall be built ensuring a durable and flexible building method. Building system shall require a minimum of 50 Lb/ft live load, all load bearing elements shall be restricted to columns. Lateral elements shall be moment frame, chevron brace frame or concrete shear wall.

  1. Floor Area Incentive.

FAR may exceed the base zone if new structures are constructed per the method in (3) or with Type I or Type II construction. The heights and areas allowed shall only be limited as defined by the LA Building Code and verified by LADBS. In such case, the maximum FAR shall only be limited by those provisions and by the height limitations outlined in this ordinance.  This FAR incentive is available for commercial/industrial as well as live/work projects.

  1. Height of Buildings or Structures.

The maximum height limit for building utilizing the Type I and Type II incentives shall be limited to 175’ and shall not be limited in the number of stories with that overall height. New structures utilizing combustible materials but that conform to item (3) built atop a base structure of Type I or Type II shall be limited above the Type I or II structure by the limitation of height and number of stories for Type V or Type III construction.

  1. Ground Level Uses.

A minimum of 70% of the ground level must be active, non-residential uses.  This area may be used for retail/ commercial as allowed by this ordinance, as well as, areas dedicated for production or industrial uses.  Storage and parking are not considered active uses. (Parking shall not be considered a use throughout the building.)

  1. Story Height.

(a)           Ground Level. The average height of the ground level story, measured from top of floor to bottom of structural ceiling, shall be no less than 16 feet clear to structure.   This allows for mezzanine and/or production and loading areas for the portion of any structure within 40 feet of any property line abutting a public street. In addition, no portion of the ground level story shall be less than 13 feet in height. No Live/Work use shall be allowed at the ground level with the exception of shopkeeper unit (living would be allowed on the 2nd floor while the store is on ground level and the space is interconnected).

(b)           Upper Floors. Excepting parking floors, the average height of any story other than the ground level shall be no less than 11 feet. In addition, no portion of an upper story (that is not parking) shall be less than 9 feet 6 inches in height.


  1. General Intent. This section includes standards for new Live/Work Units to ensure that space for employment continues to be maintained in the Arts District. Live/Work Units shall be designed with adequate workspace, higher ceilings, larger doors, sufficient natural light, open floor plans, and equipped with non-residential finishes and features.
  2. Unit Size.The average size of all Live/Work Units contained in a single development shall be no less than 1,000 square feet.
  3. Open Floor Area.

Excluding area used for bathrooms and storage, at least 70% of the floor area of all Live/Work Units shall be open with no interior separation walls or lowered ceiling areas.

4.  Occupancy.

All Live/Work Units shall be built in conformance with Section 419 of the Los Angeles Building Code and the provisions of this ordinance, subject to verification by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. In addition, Live/Work Units under the provisions of this ordinance shall be permitted to exist only as Type B Live/Work units as defined by Section 419 of the Los Angeles Building Code.                    

Type B (R-2 Occupancy/Group B, F, or M Functions):  Live/Work Units built in conformance with Section 419 of the Los Angeles Building Code built to a Group R-2 Occupancy such that sections 419.3 & 419.3.1 (Means of egress & Egress capacity), 419.6 (Structural), 419.7 (Accessibility), 419.8 (Ventilation), and 419.9 (Plumbing facilities) are built to accommodate a B, M, or F Occupancy as defined in the Building Code and can accommodate between 1 and 5 nonresidential employees.

  1. Open Space.

New construction (resulting in additional floor area and additional Live/Work Units) of a building or group of buildings shall include on-site open space, in any combination of public and private open space, at a minimum of 100 square feet per Live/Work Unit.

  1.  Massing.

No individual building shall be more than 250 feet in length along a continuous street frontage. Individual buildings must be separated by at least 15 feet.

  1. Buffer from Heavy Industry.

Any Live/Work Unit on a site abutting a heavy industrial use on an adjoining site (those first permitted in the M3 Zone with valid use permit as of January 1, 2014) shall be set back a minimum of 15 feet from the lot line shared by the property with the heavy industrial use.

  1. Façade Transparency.

(a)   Ground Level. A minimum of 50 percent of that portion of a street-facing exterior wall, which is between 2 feet to 12 feet above the sidewalk grade, must be comprised of transparent (un-tinted, un-frosted, non-reflective) windows or openings; except that for those areas of a building reserved for uses first permitted in the CM or any less restrictive zone, the required minimum shall be 30 percent.

(b)   Upper Floors. A minimum of 40 percent of the exterior wall of all upper floors shall consist of transparent windows and openings.

(c)   Glass Transparency. Glass is considered transparent where it has a transparency higher than 80 percent and external reflectance of less than 15 percent.

  1. Roof Treatment.

75 percent of the roof area shall be covered by one or more of the following roof types: roof garden, green roof, cool roof (high albedo). Roof structure shall be designed for live load of 40Lbs/ft + dead load (for having an urban garden on the roof).

  1. Trash Enclosures.

Recycling and trash facilities shall be screened from view.

  1. Street Trees.

Street trees shall be placed to meet spacing requirements per Urban Forestry Guidelines. Trees that cannot be provided to meet the total number based on the average spacing requirements shall be planted off-site within 1 mile of the development site by the Department of Public Works or an approved community partner, and the developer shall provide funds equivalent to those necessary for the planting and 3 years of watering and maintenance for each tree.

  1. Parking and Vehicular Access.

(a)   Parking Location.  No surface parking shall be allowed between the building and any street.  All parking shall be located at the rear of buildings on the site, enclosed within a structure (any building on the site), below grade or on upper floors. Below-grade parking may occupy the entire footprint of a lot.

(b)   Number of Automobile Parking Spaces. Automobile parking spaces shall be provided in the following ratios:

(1)  Live/Work Unit. At least 1 automobile parking space per Live/Work Unit.

(2)  Hotels. At least 1 automobile parking space per every 2 guest rooms. In addition, triple tandem spaces shall be permitted in conjunction with hotel uses.

(3)  All Other Uses. At least 2 automobile parking space for each 1000 square feet of floor area. Restaurant/Bar use shall comply with code required (1 per 100SF)

(4)  Existing Buildings Reuse. No parking is required for the floor area contained within existing buildings retained on a development site, regardless of the use of such buildings. Existing buildings shall be defined as those existing on a lot as of July 1, 1974, as evidenced by a valid Certificate of Occupancy. With the exception that if a change of use to a Restaurant/Bar, then parking shall be required per (3) above.

(c)   Unbundling. Parking shall be sold or leased separately from residential units and commercial spaces in perpetuity. Required parking may be rented for off-site uses.

(d)   Electric Vehicle Spaces. A minimum of 10% of automobile parking spaces provided on a lot shall include Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations.

(e)   Car-Sharing Spaces. For each automobile parking space reserved for a Car-Share vehicle, the minimum amount of required automobile parking shall be reduced by 5 spaces.

(f)   Off-site Parking. 50 percent of required automobile parking spaces may be provided off-site within 1500 feet of the development site.

If you are interested in signing and supporting this draft Ordinance, you can do so here




One Reply to “Our Ordinance”

Leave a Reply