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Home / DTLA

Committee passes updated community plans for Hollywood, DTLA

Following almost four hours of discussion and public comment, a city council committee voted unanimously Tuesday to update plans for two of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods — Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles.

Although the Hollywood Community Plan and the Downtown Community Plan address specific local issues, both plans highlight the need to increase affordable housing, support business, introduce tenant protections, seek more open and green spaces and foster a greater sense of community.

The plans will move to the full City Council for consideration after Tuesday’s approval by the city’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.

“With 80% of the plan’s housing capacity within half a mile of major transit stops, the DTLA Community Plan update leverages LA’s transit-rich center to connect more Angelenos and visitors to housing, employment, health care, education and cultural events,” Planning Director Vince Bertoni said in a statement.

“The Hollywood Community Plan Update also encourages housing growth along transportation corridors, reinforces Hollywood’s media and entertainment jobs center, provides more mobility options and puts forward more sustainable solutions,” the statement added.

Priya Mehendale, a senior city planner, said the Hollywood plan was “35 years in the making.” Bertoni cited budgetary issues and litigation that voided a previous plan adopted by council to explain why it took so long to be updated.

“This is very unusual. It’s by far the oldest community plan by many years,” he said.

The Hollywood plan would accommodate approximately 58,000 new residents, 35,000 housing units and 29,000 jobs in the next 20 years. It would also direct growth around transit, bolster the neighborhood’s creative employment identity, provide more transportation choices and ensure hillside area development is protective of resources.

Mehendale also said the proposed plan would establish a review process for the rehabilitation of eligible historic resources.

Fran Offenhauser, a founder of Hollywood Heritage, said many people are upset that the city would bring forward a plan that creates a conflict between the “most important historic buildings” and affordable housing.

“By taking the geographic area of central Hollywood, where all of these historic buildings and neighborhoods are clustered, and then deciding that was the place to put their incentive program to effectively tear things down and build new apartments, low income apartments, is unnecessary,” Offenhauser said. “It was an outright mistake.”

Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky said the plan would reinvigorate the Hollywood community, including the areas in her district that comprise multifamily and single-family communities and commercial corridors in the Melrose arts district.

She encouraged her PLUM Committee colleagues to support the plan as well as several amendments introduced by council members Nithya Raman and Hugo Soto-Martínez, who represent parts of the Hollywood area, seeking tenant protections and extended affordable housing elements.

“I believe there doesn’t need to be a tension between housing density and housing affordability,” Soto-Martínez said. “If we adopt the plan that mandates the correct percentages of included affordable housing and all-for-profit project, we can benefit in the production of high density projects that work for everyone.”

The DTLA 2040 plan was presented by Brittany Arceneaux, senior city planner, who said the plan and new zoning codes have been in development for seven years. The plan is expected to create 100,000 new housing units, bring 100,000 new job opportunities and encourage 175,000 additional residents in DTLA through 2040.

“Downtown is envisioned to be the first area in the city to make use of the long-anticipated new zoning code,” city planning officials said in a statement. “The suggested plan also provides clear, standardized tools necessary to address the housing crisis equitably, and strive to support and sustain downtown’s ongoing transformation, with 20% of the city’s population growth projected to take place in just 1% of its land.”

In addition, the plan’s new community benefits program would allow the city to establish “base” development rights and affordable housing obligations throughout downtown, as well as “bonus” development rights for projects that provide specific public benefits such as increased affordable housing, public open spaces or community facilities within projects.

Craig Weber, principal city planner, said a majority of the DTLA 2040 plan would allow for a broad range of developments such as industrial mixed-use, commercial mixed-use, or residential districts, but Skid Row would be the only exception — which was amended from 100% to 80% affordable housing.

Incentives will be available for projects that dedicate space for garment manufacturing in the Fashion District.

Members of Protect LA’s Garment Jobs Coalition and Unite Here Local 11 filled the Council Chambers to call for more affordable housing and for protection of the Fashion District’s future.

“Garment and hospitality workers are united in ensuring that the Downtown Community Plan protects our communities from too much luxury residential and commercial development, like hotels,” the coalition said in a statement. “Garment and hospitality workers need affordable housing, not more development that could threaten where we live or work.”

Councilwoman Eunisses Hernandez, whose district encompasses areas of DTLA, said her office supported the land use recommendations to preserve the Fashion District while calling for a long-term program to prevent the displacement of district workers and local businesses.

Councilman Kevin de León, whose district also encompasses areas of DTLA, issued a statement following the PLUM Committee’s actions.

“(The) unanimous committee approval for the DTLA 2040 plan puts it on its way for final approval,” de León said. “We have taken an enormous leap forward in the city to provide affordable housing for all income levels, but particularly for working Angelenos, like housekeepers, janitors, and others that work throughout Downtown L.A. and citywide.”

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