Why Was a Two-Story House on Edgar Street Reclassified As a Three-Story Dwelling?

From Edgar Street the house appears to be two stories.

What happens if a single-family house structure, approved for two stories, suddenly “grows” and becomes an approved three-story structure? Some unhappy neighbors.

That’s what happened when a new home on Edgar Street in the Marquez area was reclassified from two the three stories in height by the L.A. Department of Building and Safety.

On Bollinger Street, which lies on the hill below Edgar, one can see the third story of the house peering over its neighbors yards and homes.

In a May 19 Circling the News story about oversized construction (“Neighbors Are Angry and Frustrated over Confusing Residential Building Regulations. What Can be Done?”), we noted that at 16820 Edgar , the permit was for a two-story, 31-ft. high, single-family dwelling. Neighbors told CTN, “It’s actually a 3-story, 37-ft.+ structure. Rather than remedying by having the rooftop tower’s size reduced, it looks as if Plan Check has erred and has recently, simply reclassified the structure as a 3-story SFD.”


One neighbor wrote that if this was the case, then findings made in the Determination for the Coastal Development Permit are no longer true and the CDP itself is invalid, which means the tower should be removed.

Kim Arther, Chief Inspector for the Code Enforcement Bureau and Public Information Officer for Building and Safety, responded to Circling the News’ inquiry regarding the Edgar home on May 22.

“The supplemental permit did change the permit’s structural inventory from two to three stories. However, this was due to additional space/area added to the stair shaft during construction,” Arther wrote. “Inspection required for a supplemental permit to be issued to capture this added landing area in the stair shaft. The stair shaft provides access to the roof deck.”

Arther continued, “The Coastal Development Permit (CDP) exhibits were reviewed by Planning staff and they indicated to our staff that the stair shaft appeared to be exactly as approved. However, because of the size of the landing area in the stair shaft, staff decided to change the number of stories in the permit from two to three.

“Therefore, although the permit says that this is a three-story building, this is only due to the stair shaft,” Arther said. “The house did not change. The house is a two-story building with a roof deck.”

Still, the resident who wrote CTN appears to be correct that the building was simply reclassified as a three-story building.

Arther didn’t comment on whether the added space was in the original plans or whether the building was not tagged during the inspection, resulting in a larger building than was originally approved.

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