The Los Angeles City Planning Commission has rejected an appeal seeking to half the construction of a multifamily residential development in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood.

The proposed apartment complex, which would replace two single-family homes at 1444-1450 S. Rexford Drive, calls for the construction of a five-story building featuring 29 residential units - including three set aside as extremely low-income affordable housing.

Architect Daryoush Safai is designing the podium-type building, which would offer a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom dwellings, as well as common open spaces such as a rear yard and a roof deck.  The project was approved with Transit Oriented Communities affordable housing incentives, allowing for additional height beyond normal zoning limits and a reduction in required side yard setbacks.

Developer Morad Harouni faced an appeal from Sanford Spielman, the owner of an adjacent 17-unit apartment complex, who argued that the reduction in side-yard setbacks will reduce rental income from his property.  Admitting a lack of familiarity with the TOC guidelines and the Class-32 exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act, but also acknowledging a need for additional housing in the area, Spielman instead proposed that the project be redesigned to feature setbacks on its upper floors.

A staff report to the Planning Commission noted that aesthetics, shadow impacts, and perceived negative impacts to property values are not factors which can be considered in approving or disapproving a TOC development, and recommends that Spielman's appeal should be denied.

Planning Commissioners agreed with the staff recommendation, but also voted to limit the amount of automobile parking to no more than 47 spaces.