A monthly newsletter published by United Neighborhoods for Los Angeles.
UN4LA's mission is to bring communities together to plan for a sustainable future. This city's growth must be shaped by community engagement, not developer dollars.
DEVELOPER CHARGED WITH MAKING ILLEGAL CONTRIBUTIONS
The developer behind the controversial Sea Breeze project has been charged with campaign money laundering and bribery. The LA Times reported over a year ago that questionable campaign contributions totalling over $600,000 had been made to committees supporting local politicians, including City Councilmembers Joe Buscaino, Mitchell Englander, Jose Huizar, Gil Cedillo, Nury Martinez, and Mayor Eric Garcetti. The Times found evidence that developer Samuel Leung may have used intermediaries to funnel the money to elected officials while the project was being reviewed by the City. Read all about it here.
LA Developer Charged with Making Illegal Donations
PLANNING COMMISSION APPROVES TOXIC PROJECT IN HARBOR GATEWAY
On February 8 the City Planning Commission (CPC) heard a long and contentious debate about whether the new warehouse/distribution center planned for the intersection of Vermont and Redondo was a boon to the community or a poison pill. Representatives for the applicant, Prologis, union members, and the local chamber of commerce all showed up to talk about how great the project was. But area residents saw it differently. Numerous members of the community got up to talk about the impacts of noise and exhaust from diesel trucks travelling to and from the site 24/7. A consistent refrain among the critics was that the environmental assessment that had been produced was inadequate, and that the project required a full EIR. Many spoke of their concerns that the health of children and seniors would be impacted.
Did that sway the CPC? Of course not. They approved the project. Click below to see the statement from the Harbor Gateway North Neighborhood Council.
Harbor Gateway North NC Takes Position on Prologis Warehouse
FOLAR OPPOSES ATWATER PROJECT
Friends of the LA River (FOLAR) has joined with arts organization Clockshop to oppose a project that would include 419 apartments and 64,000 sq. ft. of commercial space. The project is planned for 2750 West Casitas Ave. in Atwater. Thirty five of the units would be reserved for low-income tenants.
There are a number of concerns about the project. It would be located next to the 2 Freeway, and decades of research have shown that people living near heavy traffic corridors are at higher risk of lung and heart disease, especially seniors and children. The project is also located near the LA River, and FOLAR says it could be susceptible to flooding during heaviy rains. There's also a concern that the 35 affordable units would not be enough to offset the project's gentrifying effect on the community.
Opposition to Huge Riverfront Apartment Complex
AFFORDABLE HOUSING MANDATE IS BACK
One of the solutions most often proposed for the shortage of affordable housing is the use of inclusionary zoning, in other words requiring developers to provide a certain number of affordable units in new multi-family projects. LA had tried this approach before, but was shut down by developer Geoff Palmer, who sued and won based on the argument that the practice violated state law. But last year Sacramento amended that law, and the City recently required a project proposed for the Westlake area to include a percentage of affordable units. The Real Deal gives details.
LA Officials Bring Back Affordable Housing Mandate
IN-LIEU FEES FOR CUTTING DOWN TREES?
Currently when trees are cut down as a result of new construction, the developer is required to purchase new trees, which would then be planted by the City's Urban Forestry Division (UFD). Unfortunately, the UFD no longer has staff to do the planting, which means the City has scores of trees sitting in storage. So now City Hall has proposed an ordinance that merely requires developers to pay a fee, which would cover purchase, planting and watering for three years. Will this solve the problem? Or is it just another way of avoiding the real problem?
The real problem is that the City is losing its tree canopy, in part because of new development. Rather than stopgap measures like this one, the City needs to take real, meaningful action. We need to undertake a complete inventory of our urban forest. Then we need to develop an Urban Forest Management Plan. Losing our trees impacts the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink, and contributes to higher temperatures. We don't need an easy fix. We need a real plan.
Here's the link to the proposed ordinance.
Tree Replacement In-Lieu Fee
If you want to talk to your City Council rep about this issue, the link below offers contact info. The council file number is CF-16-0461.
City Council Directory