Development in Los Angeles has been mushrooming like a forest floor in rainy season. Spurred by the need for housing and donations, City Council can't rubber stamp requests from developers to overlook certain requirements guiding responsible growth (called Spot Zoning or Zone Change), fast enough. Instead they have allowed many developers a 'get out of jail free' card as they grow their projects with impunity and no regard for the communities they are taking over. Recent press investigations inspired a City Council motion to stop donations to them from developers who have projects being considered by the Council.
Development in a big city is inevitable and welcome, often bringing amenities and much needed housing, but rampant irresponsible development in Los Angeles has spurred pushback. Residents organize and create groups like SLAG (Small Lot Action Group) “a growing group of Los Angeles residents who are united against the "Small Lot Ordinance"; a type of development whereby a single family home can be torn down and replaced with multiple houses. We are concerned about these large scale developments destroying the look and feel of our neighborhoods and displacing those who have helped make this a great place to live.” You can find them on Facebook. Many communities around Los Angeles have no clout to stop developers from bringing overparking, blocked views, out of control traffic, inappropriate development and displaced residents. Measure S provides that clout.
TNN first became aware of the problem when we got involved in reporting the ongoing conflict between the residents of 16th Place and the developers (CIM) of Midtown Crossing at Venice and San Vicente. Despite agreements and promises, the developers went ahead, ignored community agreements and did what they wanted to do. As our regular readers will remember, 16th Pl. woke up to a big cement wall (installed overnight)where their stunning views of the Hollywood Hills used to be. Something they were promised wouldn’t happen. It took over 100 emails from residents to CD 10 Councilmember & City Council President Herb Wesson and relentless begging before he would respond. Luckily elections came up, Wesson showed up and illegal billboards blaring into residents homes were removed.
Developers have rushed to the land grab along Adams Blvd attracted by the low costs, the new metro rail and it’s city central feature. No doubt Adams could use an infusion of new ideas. Developers like Fred Sutherland and Mike Ross of Delicious Pizza have brought art and excitement to the community but new developers, including notorious CIM, have been buying up buildings and evicting long standing businesses with a months notice. One of them, international artist Kenny Scharf was one such victim. It’s not a stretch to imagine what this kind of behavior bodes for the concerns of the surrounding community. We will be keeping an eye on things.
Our article about a beloved Koreatown park about to be sacrificed to questionably needed development can be found HERE
The developers seem to be adhering to the old adage, ”better to ask forgiveness than permission”. Only problem…they have not been forgiven. Instead, because of many developers total disregard for communities, along with City Councils unwillingness to update the old city wide vision for development, called a Plan, and in order to help slow down some development (not all as opponents would have you believe) the people have rallied and created Measure S for the March 7 election.
Yes development is inevitable and can bring things that communities look forward to having. But if it destroys the fiber of the communities, creates traffic and parking nightmares, destroys rather than compliments the visual integrity and community fabric of neighborhoods, then irresponsible developers must be brought to heel. Measure S is the leash in that fight.
PHOTO BY DAWN KIRKPATRICK COLLAGE BY D.V. LAWRENCE
Established in August of 2008 by writer, artist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.