How Neighborhood Councils Influence Quality of Life

Neighborhood Councils have a meaningful role in cajoling and persuading developers and architects to make lots of small changes that result in a big impact on the overall quality and value of the project. Almost every month, UNNC has an opportunity to influence some aspect of the quality of life in our community.

In particular, the United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Councils Planning and Land Use Committee, (led by Laura Meyers with her truly encyclopedic knowledge of Los Angeles city planning) can help us know what upgrades and detailing we can ask for, and when. At these committee meetings, held twice a month at the South Seas House, we have discussed architectural detailing, landscaping, and traffic patterns for each of the above projects over the last few years. I know that we as a community have had a meaningful and positive impact on each project.

Here are just a few examples. UNNC asked that the Fresh ‘n’ Easy located at Crenshaw and Jefferson, provide outdoor seating, bike racks, and something more than a blank wall facing Crenshaw.

UNNC influenced Jefferson Square to adjust the location of the outdoor terrace to align the building with the streetscape and provide summer shade for the tenants using the terrace. Both Kaifa Tulay and Thomas Safran Associates worked really hard to bring us a design that will be attractive and uses several visual tricks such as an articulated facade and multiple textures to visually break up the mass of the building.


Likewise we had many discusssions with Mercy Housing about designing Jefferson Park Terrace so that it wasn’t a pastiche of art deco elements, but would have an architectural integrity that would acknowledge the Paul Williams designed Golden State Mutual Building nearby. UNNC also attempted to address neighborhood concerns about parking impacts, as well as influenced the preservation of the original Fatburger building, which will be restored on the edge of the site.

Gus Harris, Jr. and Wesley Todd, UNNC Board members, have been working to get the Jefferson Park entry signs lit.

These signs were installed in 2003 with the assistance of LANI (Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative), and were originally intended to be lit so you could read “Jefferson Park” at night.

They have recruited Rev. Eugene Marzette to lead this sign lighting project. He is working with Greencrest Energy Solutions which has proposed energy efficient LED lights instead of the originally planned 42 watt incandescent bulbs.

The projected cost is $9887. Among other things, an electric meter has to be installed, and the Jefferson Park Improvement Project (JPIP) and Business Improvement District (BID) are agreeing to cover the cost of the ongoing electric bills, which hopefully won’t be too bad with LED lights.

At the October 4 meeting, the UNNC Govering Board agreed to fund $3000 toward the project cost. JPIP and the BID are applying to LANI for a $3000 matching grant. The JPIP and BID are putting in $4000. Jefferson Park neighbors are also putting in $200. LANI will announce the winning grants at the end of November.

Beer and Wine License denied for La Bodega on Western

In September, residents of Jefferson Park were alarmed that a market on Western had requested a permit for a beer & wine license. There are serious problems on Western right now, and residents thought that adding another location offering beer and wine for offsite consumption would have substantial negative impacts. After 1992, the city created the South Central Alcohol Sales Specific Plan so that our neighborhoods could have a say in the granting of alcohol sales permits. At a city hall hearing on September 18th, Officer Biondo testified very strongly against the permit, as did several Jefferson Park residents. The beer and wine permit was denied by the zoning administrator. (I created a two minute explanatory video that you can watch here: )

Note: The author is a Resident Representative board member of UNNC, for Jefferson Park west of Arlington.



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Established in August of 2008 by writerartist 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.

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