#FBF The battle for the soul of Little Forest Hills

Photo by Jeanine Michna-Bales

Little Forest Hills is the funky little brother to Forest Hills’ grand estates just east of Garland Road. The neighborhood prides itself on being off-beat, with “Keep Little Forest Hills Funky” signs in yards throughout the tree-lined enclave.

But a yard sign isn’t enough to stop the migration of McMansions to the area, and some residents felt unregulated development would ruin the spirit of the neighborhood. That’s when neighbors got together to preserve what the area is known for: “Trees, friendly neighbors, eclectic architecture and local artists,” according to the neighborhood website. They began to push for a conservation district, which exists in other neighborhoods like Belmont Addition, Hollywood/Santa Monica and parts of Lakewood, in order to limit the size, set-back, and other aspects of new construction.

Unfortunately, with over 900 homes and varying architectural styles throughout the neighborhood, the conservation process faced an uphill battle. In the end, the city denied Little Forest Hills’ application to become a conservation district, but important lessons can be learned from their experience. Read the whole story here to see why the neighborhood wanted to do it and what it was up against.

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