Los Angeles

Garcetti bans private meetings between developers and planning commissioners

By Emily Alpert Reyes : latimes – excerpt

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has banned city planning commissioners from meeting or communicating privately with real estate developers whose plans they are vetting, following through on a pledge made last year.

The mayor, who signed an executive directive Thursday to halt the practice, said it would enhance trust in the planning process. Critics have argued that such private meetings tilt city decisions toward politically connected developers.

“We need to bring transparency and accountability to a process that, for too many, doesn’t feel like there’s enough,” Garcetti said. He signed the order two days after L.A. voters reelected him by a landslide and soundly rejected a controversial ballot measure that would have imposed new restrictions on development.

Garcetti had faced criticism for not barring such “ex parte” meetings sooner: The mayor had pledged to do so in a September letter urging AIDS Healthcare Foundation executive Michael Weinstein to abandon the push to pass Measure S, which called for a two-year moratorium on building projects that require zoning changes…

Although the ballot measure to restrict development failed, “this is not a time when we’re dancing and saying, ‘Hey, we won, we don’t have to do anything,’ ” Garcetti said Thursday…(more)

This is an example of the power of the election process, even when the measure loses. The media coverage on the underlying ethical problems inherent in the process, forced the Mayor move forward on his promise to curb private meetings between developers and planning commissioners. Read the article for more details and comment on the source if possible… (more)

 

vote-yes-on-measure-s

Preservationists in LA fight back with a ballot initiative to stop development:
http://www.voteyesons.org/

LA Projects to Watch in 2017 – LA Downtown News Online

It’s Not Easy Being Green: In April 2014, Los Angeles State Historic Park closed for what was supposed to be a year-long renovation. The project has been beset by numerous delays, including the discovery of contaminated soil and needing time to literally let the grass grow. Finally, the 32-acre attraction on the edge of Chinatown is nearly finished. The park is expected to open this month, according to a representative of the State Parks department, and the finished product is a far cry from the former flat, rustic expanse. Rolling landscape surrounds a central meadow, and there’s a visitor’s center, a lookout point, a promenade, bathrooms and a paved parking lot. Expect regular programming with music and activities. Expect it also to be one Downtown’s most popular new additions.

Road Diet: The delay-plagued project known as MyFigueroa finally broke ground in October, and is reshaping a long segment of the Figueroa Corridor from South Park to South L.A. near USC. The $20 million project will slash eight driving lanes to five on Figueroa Street, creating bike lanes with protected curbs and sidewalks that are friendlier to pedestrians and mass-transit users. Landscaping and new signage is also part of the package. MyFigueroa is scheduled to wrap construction in June, and could mean a new wave of Downtowners leaving the car in the garage and getting to and from Exposition Park on two wheels.

Dive Into the Reef: The $1 billion mega-project The Reef could transform a fairly quiet neighborhood on the outskirts of Downtown that is near major transit lines but lacking in new development. Owners Ara and Avedis Tavitian got a green light for the project at 1933 S. Broadway in late 2016, and this year could bring final designs and a groundbreaking. It would create a 208-room hotel and a seven-story building with about 100 apartments, plus retail space and a 17,000-square-foot plaza, on a lot that the existing Reef building sits on. Another parking lot east of Broadway would see mid-rise buildings with about 440 apartments, as well as 32- and 35-story towers with nearly 900 combined condos

A Streetcar They Desire: The Nov. 8 passage of the $120 billion tax Measure M means Metro has more money to allocate to regional transportation projects. That includes the Los Angeles Streetcar, which is slated to receive $200 million in funding — but in 2053, about 33 years after the streetcar is supposed to open to the public. A 2020 debut remains the goal for the nonprofit L.A. Streetcar, Inc. and City Councilman José Huizar, who has led the effort. In 2017, streetcar backers will push for expedited funding, though they could face competition from supporters of other proposed Metro projects. Additionally, an engineering analysis is underway and could be completed this year. The $266 million project has secured $65 million for construction from a tax on property owners along the route.

Rock Revival: Patrons of the all-ages music venue The Smell were shaken last May when the L&R Group of Companies, the parking lot operator that acquired the parcel the building sits on and several other adjacent lots, slapped demolition notices on several businesses at Third and Main streets. An uproar ensured, and though no buildings have been razed, Smell owner Jim Smith instantly began raising money to find a new home. While The Smell has been in Downtown for nearly two decades, rising rents could force it to a different neighborhood. That means Downtown could lose a vital underground rock and roll hub in 2017.

For a list of many other cities fighting development do a search for images for “save our neighborhood”