(Pictured above, the recently completed Broadway Palace Apartments in Downtown LA.)
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.
CALIFORNIA'S FOURTH CLIMATE CHANGE ASSESSMENT
There wasn't a lot of good news in California's recently released Fourth Climate Change Assessment. The report predicts that the State's average daily temperatures will increase by 2.5 degrees fahrenheit over the next two decades, and possibly by as much as 8.8 degrees by the end of the century. It also says the we're likely to see an increased number of dry days, possibly resulting in more dry years. By 2050, the average water supply from snowpack is projected to decline by 2/3 from historical levels. And there's a good chance we'll see increasingly severe wildfires.
These changes will have serious impacts on Los Angeles. The resources we depend on for water are already declining, our urban forest is shrinking, and the heat island effect is worsening. We need to think hard about how we can plan to face these challenges. You can view a summary of the report below.
California's Fourth Climate Change Assessment
ORANGE LINE TRANSIT NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN
Earlier this summer the Department of City Planning (DCP) revealed that it was working to create the Orange Line Transit Neighborhood Plan (TNP). This is the DCP's latest tactic to promote upzoning to benefit real estate investors. They recently proposed a TNP to accompany the Purple Line extension, and they're also planning a TNP to run along Ventura Blvd. from Studio City to Woodland Hills. They will tell you they're planning for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) to get people out of cars and onto trains and busses. But they've been saying this for 15 years, and transit ridership is lower than it was in the 80s.
But the fact that the DCP has absolutely no evidence to show that this approach is working won't stop them from trying it again. The initial scoping meeting has already been held, and now they're working on the Environmental Impact Report. The link below will take you to an overview of the project.
Orange Line Transit Neighborhood Plan Project
A NEW NAME DOESN'T MAKE A BAD PROJECT BETTER
They're back. The same wacky folks who tried to push through the Millennium Hollywood earlier in this decade are ready to give it another shot. In case you've forgotten, a few years ago Millennium Partners filed plans to build two skyscrapers on the same block as the Capitol Records building. City Hall approved it (they'll approve anything), but the approval was overturned in court because the City failed to include comments from CalTrans about traffic impacts in the Environmental Impact Report. Gee, how'd that happen?
But traffic impacts aside, many people questioned the wisdom of building two towers on a site that's crossed by the Hollywood Fault. Not that a detail like that would concern Millennium Partners. They're the ones responsible for the Millennium Tower in San Francisco, which is both sinking and tilting at an alarming rate.
Of course, none of that bothers the folks down at City Hall. They're ready to give Millennium Partners, now calling themselves MP Los Angeles, another chance. And this time around they're calling the project the Hollywood Center. If you'd like to check out the Notice of Preparation, here's the link.
Hollywood Center NOP
And here's the info for the scoping meeting which is scheduled for later this month.
September 12, 2018
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, Henrietta Mears Center
1760 N. Gower
WHY SO MUCH PARKING FOR A "TRANSIT-ORIENTED" PROJECT?
The Department of City Planning has approved the demolition of an apartment building at 1920 Whitley that contains three rent-stabilized units to make way for a larger building that will contain 24 units, three of them affordable and 21 market rate. The approval was handled under the Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) Guidelines which were prepared as a result of Measure JJJ. Voters approved Measure JJJ with the promise that it would increase the supply of affordable housing and encourage the creation of jobs at fair wages for LA's work force. JJJ mandated the creation of the TOC Guidelines, which were intended to increase transit ridership by spurring new residential construction near transit hubs.
Unfortunately, this project doesn't do any of that. In the first place, there's no net increase in affordable housing. By replacing three RSO units with three affordable units this project does nothing to ease the housing crisis. The market rate units will inevitably accelerate gentrification in the area, leading to the demolition of more rent-controlled apartments. Also, the TOC Guidelines only ask that developers make a "good faith" effort to hire local workers at prevailing wage. They don't define what that "good faith" effort would be, and it doesn't say anything about enforcement.
But to show what a total scam this project is, take a look at the parking that's been approved. The TOC Guidelines require it to have 12 parking spaces, but the the DCP has approved 28. In other words, this "transit-oriented" project has more than twice the number of parking spaces it needs, showing clearly that the developer plans on marketing these units to tenants who drive rather than use busses and trains.
If you're wondering why a "transit-oriented" project has so much parking, write to Senior Planner Christina Toy Lee and ask her. Here's a suggested subject line.
"Why Does a TOC Project Have Double the Parking?"
Christina Toy Lee, Senior City Planner
TOO MANY TAX BREAKS FOR DEVELOPERS?
Earlier this summer Controller Ron Galperin issued a report questioning the City's approach to handing out tax breaks to developers, and asking for greater oversight. UN4LA is glad to see Galperin raise this issue. While incentives like this can be a useful tool to spur development when needed, we believe that City Hall has been giving generous breaks to projects that would be profitable without them. Here's an op-ed from the Times that echoes Galperin's concerns.
Too Many Tax Breaks and Too Few Questions from LA Times