Today my architect, Olympia Greer, and I appeared before the Planning Commission.
Click here to see the meeting (44 min / 26.8 MB) and YES I know I move around too much in the presentation so please don't tell me.
In addition to the architect, I appeared before the board to counter complaints by the house next door to the North. The complaint was that ambient light would be blocked by the new house. I didn't sleep well the first night after hearing of the complaint but on the second night at 3AM I woke up with an idea. I went online and downloaded sun position data for the darkest day of the year in Los Angeles, December 21. Since this is the lowest the sun will ever be in the sky I could see what the worst case situation would be for the blocking of ambient light. I charted the sun position on overhead as well as side view charts showing both houses. It clearly showed that on the worst day of the year, the sun would go behind the top corner of the house from 2PM. At the meeting I gave each commissioner a set of charts and walked through them. Some were shaking their heads and making facial expressions that seemed to say "get a life", and "you can't dispute the facts". One commissioner thought they meant their view would be blocked. Three things, I believe, helped me.
1) They don't really have a view,
2) The house isn't in the direction of their view to the west/southwest, and
3) The written letter specifically said "ambient light".
Another complaint was by a neighbor to the southwest who complained that the house would look like a big apartment building. We accommodated them and put in a window and balcony to soften the appearance. I think I got the better end of the deal on that one.
Needless to say it was a nail-biter but we won approval by 3 to 2.