Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Neighborhood Integrity Initiative Discussed at GWNC Land Use Meeting

Projects like the The Palladium Residences have galvanized opposition to large upscale residential projects in Hollywood (photo from
Projects like the The Palladium Residences have galvanized opposition to large upscale residential projects in Hollywood (photo from

Neighborhood Integrity Initiative backer Jack Humphreville told the Land Use Committee of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council (GWNC) last night that he’s pleasantly surprised at how much attention the anti-development measure has received from the press and the community. He pointed to the editorial in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times and his column on  the Citywatch blog, which has received more than 150,00 page views. The decision to file the measure grew out of the frustration and anger about densification of the city in both Hollywood and Koreatown, explained Humphreville at the meeting.

Humphreville, who serves GWNC Board member from Windsor Square said, “we are protected by the Park Mile plan (the zoning ordinance that restricts development on Wilshire Blvd between Van Ness and Highland Avenues) but other neighborhoods are not so fortunate.”

“People are frustrated because it’s really hard to fight these projects one by one,” said Humphreville. “The Millennium project in Hollywood spread about $4.5 million in political contributions (to various elected officials).”

According to Humphreville the proposed measure has essentially three key elements:

“The first demands planning. Both (the City’s) General Plan and the 15 or so Community Plans have to be addressed. No more spot zoning. Planners have to look at 15 acres around the project so it has to be review in relationship to larger community and can’t be out of context of the neighborhood.”

“Also, the Environmental Impact Reports (EIR) will be handled by the city or by someone the city appoints, not the developer,” explained Humphreville.

Another key provision is the maximum 24-month moratorium on new developments, which could be shorter of the community plans are completed, said Humphreville.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), whose office is office located next door to the proposed Palladium project, is the leading organizer of the coalition of neighborhood activists backing the proposal, motivated in large part by the outsized scale of the Palladium project.

“We have more experience qualifying ballot measures, but this is a growing coalition,” said Ged Kenslea, AHF Dir. of Communications. “We live and breathe here, Hollywood is our home, we started here in 1988.”

AHF operates clinics, thrift stores and pharmacies, as well as offices in the neighborhood, and sees itself as contributing to the community. “Quality of life includes everything,” added Kenslea.

Humphreville told the Land Use Committee that AHF has a very successful track record of qualifying measures for the city ballot, including establishing a city health commission and requiring the use of condoms in the adult film industry, which is now scheduled to be on the state-wide ballot in November 2106. AHF is currently collecting signatures to qualify The California Drug Price Relief Act, a statewide ballot initiative that will revise California law to require state programs to pay no more for prescription medications than the prices negotiated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  In addition, Humphreville said, a new group has formed called United Neighborhoods for Los Angles, to discuss zoning issues across the city.

The measure is now at the City Attorney’s office where it will be given a title and summary. The next step is to gather more than the 61,000 signatures required for the measure to be placed on the ballot. The city could also consider adopting it as an ordinance, or place it on the ballot for a special election or the next general election in November 2016.

Critics say that ballot box planning is not the way to go, acknowledged Humphreville. But he’s pleased the measure has drawn so much attention and people seem to want to get the City Council to the table to discuss what can be done about the issues in question. But if the city doesn’t do it, Humphreville hopes the measure will offer some protection the neighborhoods.

In other business last night, the GWNC Land Use Committee struggled with the latest design concept presented by the developer the conversion of a 4-unit apartment building to a four-unit small lot subdivision at 6926 Clinton. In the exchange, committee members questioned the architect about his assertion that the latest design considers the neighborhood context. After substantial discussion, the architect said he would review the project and return to the committee with further revisions.

Other agenda items were not addressed as applicants were not available to present on the projects. The Committee confirmed its next meeting would be Tuesday, December 22 at 6:30 pm at the Wilshire United Methodist Church.

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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