Hollywood Residents Form Opposition Group to Community Plan Update

The group regularly updates its website SaveHollywood.org and has created petition.

Some Hollywood residents in opposition of the proposed update to the Hollywood Community Plan have organized into group and created SaveHollywood.org, a website with a petition to air their concerns.

They have spoken up throughout the review process and planned to speak up at the Planning Land Use and Management Committee meeting Tuesday afternoon.

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Fran Reichenbach, one of the group's organizers says its members live in Hollywood and span from the mid-Wilshire area to the Valley. They call themselves "People for Livable Communities" because of the far-reaching impact they believe Hollywood's proposed plan will have on future updates throughout Los Angeles.

"What were seeing is decaying infrastructure, a budget that's so very strapped we can't even afford the type of emergency response we need and yet [city planners] are adding density, adding people where they are not, to areas that cannot sustain that density. The Hollywood Community Plan does not mitigate or plan for improving the infrastructure or expanding emergency response for an overpopulated area... This is a community plan built for developers...that plan is a public safety hazard it should be blown up."

The group's online petition has gained more than 915 signatures since it was created on April 9. They hope to collect 1,000. It states:

Stop the Hollywood Community Plan in its current form. Help us maintain our community, and improve infrastructure and services rather than increasing density, traffic, noise and congestion.

The Hollywood Community Plan will diminish the quality of life for all residents — current and future. Variances and established height limits to protect environmental impact will be waived. Coordination with emergency services, public transportation and community facilities is a MUST. This is a developer's dream. Developers will be able to Manhattanize Hollywood with residents having little recourse to object.  The Plan is based on flawed data as the City of Los Angeles contends that the population of Hollywood will increase to 250,000 by 2030. When in fact it has steadily decreased — more than 7% over the last 20 years — with no indication of growth. 

Discuss: Planning to attend today's meeting? Are you in favor or in opposition of the proposed update? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. You may also submit "letters to the editor" to lindsey.baguio[at]patch.com.

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Chris Loos May 08, 2012 at 05:24 PM
"What were seeing is decaying infrastructure, a budget that's so very strapped we can't even afford the type of emergency response we need and yet [city planners] are adding density, adding people where they are not, to areas that cannot sustain that density. " The irony in this statement is that increased density IS the antidote to traffic and strapped budgets. What's cheaper: maintaining infrastructure for people spread out over a wide sprawling area, or maintaining infrastructure for people in a tightly knit community? What creates more traffic: putting people's homes and people's jobs far apart where they are forced to drive? Or clustering homes and jobs around transit where people can ride the metro to work, or even better- WALK to work? I'm starting to think they should teach a 101 level Intro to Urban Planning course in high school. It might give people a bit of perspective on these issues and prevent them from turning into NIMBYs.
Richard Johnson May 08, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Chris, the ship has sailed. We already have a wide sprawling area that will continue to need infrastructure support regardless. Are you suggesting that the city abandon support for the suburbs in the hope that people will leave and the land return to wilderness? More people in one place does mean more traffic. It is a fantasy to think people will give up their cars. By the way, some people have health issues that prevent them from walking to work. Enjoy your good health but don't presume we can all WALK to work.
BigB May 08, 2012 at 05:50 PM
As a 10 year resident and homeowner in Hollywood, I couldn't agree more with Chris. Hollywood has come a long way since the drug-infested hooker stroll it was in the 80's/early 90's. I'm looking forward to where it will be in another 10 years. The only thing Hollywood needs saving from is the "any changes are bad" crowd.
Philip Mershon May 08, 2012 at 06:18 PM
I may not know Urban Planning but I do know my average Angeleno and I sincerely doubt you'll find many, who have the money to buy a one bedroom apartment for three quarters of a million dollars, to abandon their cars and hop on buses and subways. Now even if I'm wrong here, with a couple of fifty story towers flanking the Capital building, a forty story one on the Columbia Square property and a twenty story on at Gordon St. - good luck finding space on the bus and subway in the first place! The other thing that no one seems to be taking into account when they talk about upping the density here is, hello, Hollywood is a world-wide tourist destination. On any given day, all year around, there are thousands upon thousands of extra people visiting here vying for space on our roads, sidewalks, buses, subways and taxis. To do "Urban Planning" based on actual resident counts alone is to cook the books in favor of the developers. And my, hasn't that been a busy kitchen.
Ethan Applen May 08, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Completely agree with Chris and BigB. As a homeowner in Hollywood, what I am confronted with as obstacles have more to do with the quality of development that's already there, or lack thereof. What the area needs is to be updated into an area that city residents want to visit, not just a tourist destination. In addition, it's possible the city will have to implement some sort of No Broken Windows policy, to stem the pervasive issues we see from homeless, graffiti, littering, and drugs. I'm not sure if it's a chicken or egg issue, but my hope is that new commercial ventures and residents coming in could spur the city to tackle some of the social and crime issues we're seeing in the neighborhoods, particularly if tax revenues rise as a result.
Colin Rutheford May 08, 2012 at 06:28 PM
More people and roads in horrible condition. Good times!
Chris Loos May 08, 2012 at 07:27 PM
"Are you suggesting that the city abandon support for the suburbs in the hope that people will leave and the land return to wilderness?" No, I'm not suggesting that at all. What I'm suggesting is that we steer the inevitable growth that LA County will take on over the coming decades into neighborhoods that are most able to absorb it. Neighborhoods that are already urban, that have rail transit, and are in the core of the metropolitan area. Neighborhoods like Hollywood, Downtown, and K-town for example. If you don't allow for increased density in areas like this, you get it in the form of new single-family home developments on the urban fringe. it's like squeezing a balloon. You can't stop population growth, nor would you want to. Just ask Detroit. All you can do is steer it where it most logically fits. The other thing I'd point out, is that density need not be scary. It means more, and better amenities. It means more vitality. It means more options. It mean Hollywood will even more of an activity center, and be that much more appealing to tourists, who come to LA and want to visit a neighborhood where they feel like they are in the heart of the city. Will it generate more traffic? Probably, but not nearly as much would be generated in aggregate if those same # of units were built in a far-flung neighborhood. And show me one city worth visiting that doesn't have traffic anyway: NYC? SF? Exactly. If it bothers you so much, why not skip it entirely and take the train?
Schelley Kiah May 08, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Hollywood does NOT need increased density or over-development. Yes improvement is needed but this plan is unrealistic and insensitive to the surroundings. Development needs to coordinated with public transportation, emergency services, community services and fortification of the infrastructure. Studies have shown that people who live near or above Metro stations use their CARS!!! The Metro is a long way from meeting many people's work, social or shopping needs. This plan is a developer's dream!!! Schhhhhhh
Wanda May 08, 2012 at 08:08 PM
As a homeowner in central, downtown Hollywood (a little 1916 craftsman duplex), and as someone who has lived as a renter in Hollywood for over a decade prior to buying, and as someone who studied architecture in college (it's not my career... that's another story) - I am in favor of additional development in Hollywood. I was here at the tail end of the sad wasteland Hollywood was in the 80s and 90s. It was an embarrassing, disgusting dump. It is vastly improved since projects like Hollywood and Highland and Sunset+Vine have been installed, no to mention the subway, which I use frequently and love. I work at home now, so I do indeed walk to work, or to the coffeeshop down the street for a change of scenery. I am not incredibly wealthy, and it's still possible to find a studio in my neighborhood as a young hopeful artist with a limited income, just as someone with lots more money can have the most fabulous luxury residence money can buy... also in my hood. Hollywood is *diverse* !!! I love living in a place that is dense, urban, and walkable - everything I could possibly need is within 1 mile radius. Bring more skyscrapers! Connect the metro all over the damn place! Shut down Hollywood Blvd between La Brea and Vine and make it like 3rd st. promenade! I am all for the Hollywood development plan and more. I want more density, more people, more infrastructure, more more more. More is more.
ruth May 08, 2012 at 08:16 PM
So many MORE than just 'SOME Hollywood Residents' are opposed to The Hollywood Community Plan.. Read the Petition.. almost 1,000 signers so far..FROM EVERYWHERE And it is growing..As KNOWLEDGE of The Hollywood Plan spreads.. City Planning said "we only had to inform those within a 500 foot radius of proposed changes so that is all we sent information to"..regarding the two public hearings in The Fall.. For a Plan that effects everyone in Hollywood and will change Hollywood forever if it passes. Villaraigosa thought he could rush, and slip this Plan through...unnoticed. Many are just 'catching on' now, and signing The Petition. http://signon.org/sign/save-hollywood-modify?source=s.em.cr&r_by=4130776&mailing_id=3822 Read the comments why people are opposed to The Hollywood Plan.. While there, feel free to sign it..AND Forward it.
Ethan Applen May 08, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Without really understanding what the traffic implications would be, I have to say I LOVE the idea of closing down Hollywood to become pedestrian only. Very cool idea! I know they've been looking at a similar measure in San Francisco, I think with Mission near the Embarcadero...
Wanda May 08, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Um, what is the point of having people who don't live here - who live as far away as the UK - sign that petition? Ridiculous.
ruth May 08, 2012 at 08:49 PM
GoodBye Hollywood Sign.. and The Hollywood Hills. Hollywood Blvd. shut down?..A PROMENADE is NOT in the HCP. Building over developments here instead of investing in what is already here is criminal. Hollywood Blvd., on The Historic Register, is a PIT. It is shameful that corrupt city politicos have chosen NYC developer's money, their campaign contributions, over REAL CITY PLANNING.. Not willing to invest in preserving, fixing, restoring, what is already here. GREED motivates them to offer up Hollywood to the developers who have staked claim here, about to create a 'New Manhattan' a 'skyscraper city' in a place that cannot sustain that type of higher density.. CORRUPTION to ignore every infrastructure agency that has weighed in and expressed concerns about this type of building here. People who buy million dollar condos ( they will sit empty), in over 55 story skyscrapers, are not going to leave their cars home for four subway stops.. MORE TRAFFIC..or to walk to Hollywood Blvd.. For what? PLAYTHINGS? THE CAVE? This thinking is delusional. Higher Density, Over Building creates more problems on already existing problems. Developers are waiting to start their massive projects, The Hollywood Plan allows them to build what they want. Villaraigosa,funded by them, will be gone. Garcetti's Mayoral Campaign depends on them, and he will do all he can to pass it. He will lie that it is all about jobs..When in reality it is about getting himself elected
HollywoodF1 May 08, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Mr. Johnson-- Mr. Loos is right (as usual). It is not a fantasy that some people from time to time not use their cars. It's a viable reality the world over. Angelelinos are not a separate sub-set of humans incapable of what millions of other urbanized humans do-- and in crappier climates than ours in most cases. Mind your inclination to disprove the rule by finding the exception. Just because some people are not ambualtory is no reason to limit the whole population all the time to their cars. Seriously-- what honest percentage of the population can not walk? We're talking about adding (not replacing) solutions for the bulk of the population here. I make a point of living in walkable areas. This means that I accomplish some tasks on foot (and transit), and drive for others. This also means that I drive fewer miles per driving trip, and fewer miles at the end of the year. The progressive goal is not to get everyone to give up his car. This is far too extremist a view, expecially for the Greater Los Angeles Megalopolis. The goal is that most people, when reasonable and possible, have the means of getting from here to there without being 100% committed to their cars. You must see that adding options will always benefit the consumer. Currently-- we are monopolized in our means of getting around. Let us design a populist Los Angeles for our future.
Wanda May 08, 2012 at 09:23 PM
I know that a promenade is not in the HCP, I'm just saying - it would be nice in the future. There isn't anything in the HCP that prevents it from happening. I don't see how the Hollywood plan prevents fixing and restoring what is already here... since when are new construction and revitalization mutually exclusive ideas? What is so wrong with more density? It will increase tax revenues for the city. What does it matter what people do with their fancy condos after they buy them anyway? You say in the same breath that these people will not use the subway - OR their expensive condo! Why would they buy their condos to leave them empty? Or are you saying no one will buy them? I'm confused. Who cares if they do buy them and don't use the subway? Whenever I ride the subway it's practically FULL! The subway is well used. Why can Hollywood not sustain higher density? What evidence of this do you have?
Wanda May 08, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Also - I don't recall seeing anything in the Hollywood Community Plan about removing the Hollywood sign or flattening the Hollywood Hills. Why are you saying goodbye to them? Because there will be a select few additional places from which you cannot see them anymore?
Philip Mershon May 08, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Since the city doesn't listen to/care about the concerns of it's constituents, what does it matter who signs it. We are a tourist destination and since people come from around the world to spend their money here, why shouldn't they be able to sign it and have their say?
Richard Johnson May 08, 2012 at 09:46 PM
@BigB & Ethan - As a 20+ year property owner in Hollywood, I have had the opposite experience. We have less "broken windows" now. This will responsible development keeping scale with the neighborhood. I do not know of this "any change is bad" crowd. All people want is a say in the future of their neighborhood. @Chris - "I'm suggesting is that we steer the inevitable growth" Then you should be calling for unlimited development in Studio City where the development has room to grow into the valley, not Hollywood butted up against an urban park that you will have no success at converting into apartments. This plan calls for squeezing the balloon. @HollywoodF1 - Ironic your screenname for someone opposed to automobile use. You need to visit the rest of our great country. Los Angeles is not alone in the love of the automobile. Your comment about the weather is spot on. People DRIVE in moderate climate parts of the world. When was the last time you rode a subway in Florida? Texas?
John Grier May 08, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Hollywood will change. Prepare for it and adapt. Change is the only thing you can expect in life, embrace it.
HollywoodF1 May 08, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Of course the people in proximity to Metro use their cars. And they use the Metro. They are lucky to have the choice. We should all be so lucky.
HollywoodF1 May 08, 2012 at 10:53 PM
I love your virve. And you seem to be really in touch with what a Hollywoodling ought to expect from our future city. About closing H'wood Blvd-- I think that would be great, but like Ethan said, the ripple through the traffic may be a bit grave during rush hour. What if it were closed during peak pedestrian times?
ruth May 09, 2012 at 12:57 AM
55 story and taller skyscrapers, no height limits, buildings proposed for Vine with promises of more along the Foothills of The Hollywood Hills.. a 'corridor of skyscrapers' along Sunset Blvd...with no height limits.. obstructing The Hills from view.. The developers don't care one iota about creating any Promenade anywhere here..No money is being invested except into building what a developer calls his 'new iconic Hollywood landmarks'.. skyscrapers..while the old iconic landmarks will be left to fall into worse disrepair until what is left will be razed to make way for more skyscrapers.. And with no mitigations in The Hollywood Plan for the increased traffic the Plan brings with it, , and increased need for more LAPD and LAFD (great response time so far!)... good luck getting around and good luck if you have a fire or a heart attack and on one can get to you.
Alex B May 09, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Only a thousand residents from across L.A.? We're talking a country of over ten million. You could get a thousand signatures for anything here!
Fran Reichenbach May 09, 2012 at 05:15 AM
It's clear that those who live in Hollywood should have the front and center response privilege in responding to this issue. We're at the threshold of infrastructure capacity and therefore should take a prominent stance of resistance regarding a plan that will overwhelm our feeble infrastructure. Another "no-brainer", planning department!!!!
Ethan Applen May 09, 2012 at 04:21 PM
In echoing a point Wanda said, development and redevelopment don't have to be mutually exclusive. I'd argue that the redevelopment happening in much of Hollywood now is a direct result of the some of development projects that have also happened, whether that's the initial Hollywood and Highland structure (which I have mixed feelings about based on its use, but that's another story), the W Hotel and Residences development, or Sunset+Vine. Based on traffic and residents that have come from those, the Cahuenga Corridor has been revitalized, the Arclight was renovated, and buildings that have long stood empty are finally being razed and rebuilt as new construction. This isn't a bad thing. Yes, there are still too many stores that seem to sell primarily stripper shoes or fake Oscars on Hollywood - BUT, in between them there are now exciting new restaurants (SupperClub, Loteria, Osaka, Wood+Vine, and many others), and stores are slowly moving in. We need MORE of that happening, not this strange argument that seems to stem from some of the community that the only way to "preserve Hollywood" is to do nothing to it, was Hollywood of the 80's really the one you want to keep around? Or is it something newer for this century?
Scott Zwartz May 18, 2012 at 02:03 PM
The facts have proven that people move away from density. The CRA building and the subway did not make Hollywood a better place to live and thousands of people voted with their feet (er, make that "their cars") by leaving Hollywood. The remaining population has a lower SES status. Dumb, poorly educated ppl do not attract employers. The subways are not intended for transporation. They are justification for more high density projects near the subways (TOD's) -- that is a gift to the 1% who bought land in the TOD's, but it back fired. There has been a huge net loss of population near the subway stations in Hollywood. The Hollywood Highland Project was the nation's largest real estate write down -- almost $1/2 BILLION. The W Hotel has sold only 29 of its 143 condos. The subways can never substitute for cars even if you live on top of the subway -- they cover only 5% of Los Angeles. Buses take hours. Carless people in LA are becoming Urban Serfs. Commercial real estate in Hollywood is in a huge bubble and whenever any bubble becomes unsustainable, tha is when many many people jump on board -- like many commenters here who do not know any of the facts of Hollywood's significant deterioration in the last 7 years.


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