In unincorporated Los Angeles County, a “Community Standards District” (CSD) is an addendum to the zoning code. It allows deviations and changes from County codes to be tailored to the needs, desires, and special circumstances of a particular community. A CSD overrides the general code, making regulations more or less restrictive, and adding special requirements and conditions.
The Altadena CSD was formulated by concerned Altadena residents, and adopted into the Los Angeles County Zoning Code in 1996. It was originally conceived to prevent “mansionization” – building homes too large for their lots – in order to insure “light, air, and privacy” in residential zones. In addition, a special district was specified for the Lake Avenue commercial corridor, which set strict requirements for new buildings and signage. Later amendments were added to govern the redevelopment area on Lincoln Avenue above Woodbury, and to regulate hillside construction.
In 2012, all of Altadena was invited to Visioning Sessions where we were asked to express what we liked about our community and how we hoped to see it develop in the future. Following this, a call went out for volunteers for a committee to propose changes to the CSD, and a group was selected by the Town Council chair.
After two years of regular meetings, the committee recommended the changes that are set forth in these presentations. The Town Council sent the recommendations on to the L.A. County Department of Regional Planning to be vetted and put into regulatory language.
Please note that this is an ongoing process. Citizens of Altadena will be asked to give their input on the proposed changes long before they become law.
Short CSD Update Narratives
Because county planning documents aren’t easy reading, Mark Goldschmidt has drafted two short narrative explanations of some of the changes in the CSD update, along with specific examples. Mark is a former chair and board director of Altadena Heritage who represented our organization on the CSD committee since its inception.
CSD Background Documents
The subcommittee of the Altadena Town Council tasked with updating the CSD documented its decision-making process two documents, one for commercially zoned areas, the other for residential areas. We post them here as background for those curious about the subcommittee’s rationale in formulating its recommendations.
The two summary write-ups evolved and grew during months of discussion. They were composed by different people who favored differing formats, but provide similar information.
For anyone wishing to review CSD regulations currently in effect click here.