"Flat" LA Skyline Under Scrutiny

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If you think LA’s skyline seems a little flat, you’re not the only one.  Apparently LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa thinks so too. According to LA Department of Building and Safety General Manager Robert “Bud” Ovrom, the Mayor was disappointed at how the skyline stood in comparison to what he saw in a recent trip to China. The city’s flat-topped skyline was investigated in a two part-series from Curbed LA. We followed up with Ovrom. The city skyline is perennially leveled off because of a 20-year old Los Angeles Fire Department code requiring helipads on all tall buildings, the only such code in any major city around the country. On Mayor Villaraigosa’s behest, Ovrom has been put in charge of talks between a seemingly intransigent LA Fire Department, which views the flat roofs as a progressive asset in fire safety and the Planning Department.

“It’s going to be a long and serious discussion,” Ovrom told AN. So far, only a three to four talks have commenced between the departments tackling a separate issue on robotic parking (also a no-no to the LAFD). He forecasts that discussions on flat top roofs will only begin after the holidays and before the fiscal year is over in June.

To aid LA skyline’s case, Ovrom is calling for support from the AIA Los Angeles chapter, as well as other professionals who have had experience working with other cities and codes. “If every other city can do it, why can’t we?” Parties with any suggestions or proposals can contact Ovrom directly at bud.ovrom@lacity.org.

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