By Levi Clancy for לוי on
In 1904, the City Council commissioned John Parkinson, JC Austin and five other building professionals to form a committee and develop building safety standards. The result was a law adopted in December 1904, effective February 1905, that notably included a height limit. While skyscrapers shot up in New York City, the height limit in Los Angeles grew more severe. In 1910 the City Planning Committee urged the City Council to reject all applications for variances for "the development of our great city along broad and harmonious lines of beauty and symmetry." In 1911 the City Council approved a 150 foot height limit as an amendment to the City Charter "so that any future change shall have to be decided by a vote of the people." Having the electorate be the final judge of variances in the city skyline had to do with the city's visual quality -- however, in retrospect it insulated Los Angeles from the brunt of earthquakes.