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City Planner Responds to Public Input on Community Plan Update

Concerns about traffic, height limits and more were discussed at Tuesday's Planning and Land Use Management meeting.

Throughout the public feedback process on the proposed update to the Hollywood Community Plan the city's planning department has received "really really robust and rich feedback," as one senior city planner said at Tuesday's Planning and Land Use Management Committee meeting.

That senior city planner, Kevin Keller, took some time to run through a number of points raised by the public during previous PLUM meetings.

Ultimately, the PLUM Committee decided to move the proposed update to the City Council without reccomendation. .

Here's a look at a number of points Keller pressed:

  • The Hollywood Community Plan is the oldest and most dated of L.A.'s community plans. It does not contain the detail and comprehensiveness of current planning efforts. The original document is less than 12-pages of text with no direct policies or mentions of the neighborhood protection policies that have been enacted since its adoption. This includes no reference to the slope density formula, which serves to protect undeveloped hillsides, no language on mansionization, no ridgeline protection and no language calling for improving retaining wall provisions.
  • The existing plan contains no urban designs guidelines, no references to bike plans and pedestrian-oriented design tools and the creation of additional park land over the 101 Freeway.
  • In the hillsides, the existing community plan does not have some of the language to help guide and limit those developments on sloping lots. There are a number of lots and undeveloped tracts in the hills, part of the update directs a greater percentage growth to the central portion of Hollywood to help preserve those hillside areas. The plan serves a blueprint for directing growth and reinforces Hollywood’s role as a regional center.  It is not a transformational kind of discussion, the regional center concept was adopted in 70s and re-adopted in 1996 for the general plan framework. It says if growth occurs, directing growth to Hollywood’s regional center area and away from hillsides and lower density neighborhoods is the preferred model of growth.
  • We’ve had a really really robust and rich feedback loop over the last couple weeks. I really wanted to say a few people are saying it’s residents versus businesses, its businesses versus residents, a question of growth versus no growth. I think the majority of the testimony that is being heard is really well-intentioned testimony to help ensure so that the future of Hollywood is as rich and protected its the past. The planning department is trying to recognize that this is a not a question of growth or no growth, or businesses verus residents. It’s a balance consensus for the future of Hollywood. The plan provides expanded housing options and choice. It provides for the retention and expansion of Hollywood’s media and entertainment job base that’s so critical to the regional economy and the Los Angeles economy.
  • As a balance-growth vision, it directs growth around transit and away from lower density neighborhoods and existing communities.
  • Through the proposed update's evolution, it has been modified to retain exisiting development restrictions along many of key transitional boulevards such as the Franklin Corridor as well as maintaining all development restrictions along Barham and the Cahuenga Pass area, in response to the concerns about the difference in scale that the regional area of Hollywood is very different than the village components around itsperiphery.
  • On the issues of "Manhatanization" and height-limits: There’s been a lot of discussion about height and scale of the future of Hollywood. This plan adopts new lower height limits for many areas in Hollywood. The debate we’ve heard is: Does that go far enough? As planners we point out that, the do-nothing alternative does not have nearly the amount of height controls this plan puts into place. For example, the plan only raises height limits on two pieces of land in Hollywood community, one is a park, which is a technicality, the other one is a height limit increase from 45-feet to 60-feet to make an area consistent with a new 60-foot height north of Hollywood Boulevard in the historic Hollywood register district. Both the 1988 plan and proposed 2012 plan would permit larger scale development along the Vine corridor that’s not something new to this plan I want to be clear and fair that this is something proposed. This development would not be by right, it would trigger discretion.
  • On poplation number and forecast figures: The general plan framework is higher than our proposal. It projects 257,053 persons in their forecast. This proposed update in terms of residential population lowers that forecast to around 244,383 persons. 
  • On being growth-neutral or growth-positive: I want to be clear and on the record that the community plan brings that forward. The existing population is about 198,000 in 2010 census. These are projected population numbers throughout the life of the plan (2030). Yes, it does accomodate a level of development higher than the current population, in terms of residential planning the plan has a number that’s smaller than general plan framework, which is already adopted.
  • On traffic and infrastructure: A full traffic model was prepared looking at 2030 conditions and working with DOT. The model does project additional traffic congestion in 2030, however, with and without  the plan, traffic congestion models are essentially the same. That being said the majority of traffic in the region is generated by outside sources — although we will be having addition transit-oriented development, we do anticipate a reduction in trip generation for that new increment of growth. However overall traffic is not expected to shift that much with or without the plan.
  • Many of the infrastructure components in EIR continue to be serviced by customer fees including water, power, gas and wastewater. These may be  customer fees, residential-user fees or in certain cases both developer fees and user fees, which fund required investments in modernizations as development comes online or as residential or business customers use these services
  • Pubblic services are served by the city’s or state general fund. This includes police, fire, schools, libraries and parks. The plan EIR  includes an assessment of the projected long-term needs of each of these along with plan level mitigation measures. These inform city departments, their work programs, deployments and city’s annual budget process.
  • Some public services receive impact fees from certain types of new development such as schools and parks. Other public services are actively involved in approval and design of new development such police and fire through review, design and approval processes including subdivision processes.
  • Recognizing the impact that changing economic cycles have on governmentt, the plan allows the city to better prepare to meet infrastructure needs and maintain adequate service for the life of the plan than by not having this plan.
  • There a lot of concern about specific projects, this is a general plan. I’m not here to respond to specific projects items, but the plan does not raise the threshold for site-specific project review. The large towers that people have been discussing are not by right. The plan maintains a 6:1 floor-to-area (FAR) limit in central Hollywood. It does raise baseline FARs from around 2 to 3:1 to around to 3 to 4.5:1m but if you would like to above 4.5:1 floor to area, there’s still a discretionary process to move through. 
  • The city’s site plan review thresholds still trigger individual project analysis for any projects generally adding 50 new units or adding 50,000 square feet of non-residential floor area. 
  • Two subareas mentioned: At Serrano Ave near east Hollywood, there's down-zone of an existing community to maintain bungalow courts in that area. We heard: Does the down-zone encompass enough of the area? It is important to note the proposed plan is a balanced view point that allows some critical affordable housing to move forward. Down-zoning is arguably helping, but some people feel it is not helping enough.
  • On industrial land on La Brea Ave in the Willoughby area: There is a currently zoned MR1, which restricts retail uses. A a change to a proposed shift to M1 zone would be keeping in with industrial character of that area, but permit retail.
  • On one environmental issue: A number comment letters received suggested: Would it be appropriate to have a down zoning alternative to maintain neighborhood character? Planning staff is going to be looking at those materials. Down-zoning would achieve the goal of freezing neighborhood character, but the plan’s objectives are to accomodate a certain level of population growth, jobs and employment growth and vitality so that would be something that would not meet those projections that we have been given by SCAG.

Discuss: Have you been following the plan's approval proccess? Did the planning department's responses effect how you view the plan? 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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Scott Zwartz May 10, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Let's also remember that after Kevin spoke, Chairman Reyes violated the Brown Act rights of at least 30 citizens who had submitted Speaker Cards by not allowing a single community member to speak. Rather Chairman Reyes went into secret session to discuss the fact that the problems with the Plan are already so overwhelming that the City knows that it is facing more than one credible lawsuit. Let's be clear. No committee goes into closed session (assuming a committee can invoked this provision of the Brown Act), because a few people threaten frivolous litigation. Under the Brown Act, they may only go into closed session when the impending litigation is significant, i.e. it raises bona fide issues that pose a threat to the City's Plans. After they emerged from the closed session, no committee member voted to support the Plan. I believe everyone in the community looks forward to working with Kevin Keller when the City has to consider the Down Zoning Alternative.
Andrew Montealegre May 11, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Hollywood was my territory as a planner for the City and as a tenant and property owner during the 80's. I was hoping the document would reflect and encourage the efforts that led to its revitalization. This includes: Encourage and promote the history and function of Hollywood as a tourist magnet for the world, the state, and the region; Encourage the recent revitalization of Hollywood, Revitalization is not guaranteed, needs to be directed and fostered, should not be taken for granted. Goal needed for decision makers to cite for determining a project’s contribution toward revitalization as well as policies. Recognize and encourage independent, organic efforts to develop and revitalize Hollywood: -Development of Hollywood should embrace and foster non-corporate, “non-brand” efforts and establishments -They are one of the drivers in revitalization -Hollywood’s small storefronts and lots provide ample opportunities for independent efforts -Embrace non-franchise and non-theme park entertainments -Foster individuality and creativity in development proposals SUGGESTED POLICIES / PROGRAMS -Create an Entertainment/Hospitality District land use district that encourages restaurants, hotels, night clubs, tourist attractions (ie Burbank’s zone which facilitates CUP’s) -Create a parking/transportation policy and program that monitors and tracks impacts for facilitating new establishments (ie Hollywood parking authority) andrew montealegre
Albert Newman May 11, 2012 at 03:34 AM
The revisions made by City Planning at PLUM are now potentially gone. http://hollywood.patch.com/articles/city-planners-add-revisions-to-proposed-hollywood-community-plan
ruth May 12, 2012 at 08:58 PM
"On the issues of "Manhattanization" and height-limits:....proposed 2012 plan would permit larger scale development along the Vine corridor... I want to be clear and fair that this is something proposed. This development would not be by right, it would trigger discretion......the large towers that people have been discussing are not by right. .." DISCRETION????? Doubt it...VINE, will NEVER be scaled down.The biggest controversial developer, proposing projects there, is Hollywood Chamber's big Funder, contributed to many Council Members campaigns, is backing Garcetti's Mayoral campaign, funded Villaraigosa Campaigns, and a failed campaign, of a person later appointed CEO of the CRA....and the three member PLUM COMMITTEE, who acted stunned when shown their MASSIVE SKYSCRAPERS.. now cleverly being referred to as 'TOWERS" Talk about 'stacking the deck' for this developer..The PROJECTS FOR VINE will NEVER BE TURNED DOWN BY THE CITY.. The developer basically has BOUGHT OFF everyone in Hollywood AND Los Angeles... Ofcourse he 'is not here to respond to specific projects' They won't touch VINE.
ruth May 12, 2012 at 09:50 PM
'this is not a question of ..... businesses versus residents" Not til the Hollywood Chamber made it that..Lieing about the Hundreds of HCP Hearings that have occurred that residents knew nothing about. Records have been requested of the MYSTERY meetings from City Planning. So far, nothing. They have declared war on those THAT LIVE HERE, doing all they can to get the HCP passed.. They DON'T live here They don't CARE about the quality of life of those that DO.. Their biggest FUNDER is the developer waiting to build the most controversial massive projects on Vine. "As a balance-growth vision, it directs growth around transit and away from lower density neighborhoods and existing communities.' 'TRANSIT'? FOUR Subway Stops? OVER developed proposed 'growth' projects are only a few blocks away from lower density neighborhoods and residential communities.. AS IF, residential NEIGHBORING communities won't be impacted by them?
ruth May 12, 2012 at 10:00 PM
'The model does project additional traffic congestion in 2030'. I welcome you to come along and drive with me NOW..Forget about 2030. We are living with constant GRIDLOCK..we can't get to and from our neighborhoods now. 'However overall traffic is not expected to shift that much with or without the plan'..WHO says? With unlimited story skyscrapers, lining Vine, the Hollywood Foothills, Sunset Blvd....higher density everywhere else.. with skyscraper condos costing upwards of a MILLION dollars..does anyone believe million dollar condo owners will leave cars home in favor of a FOUR STOP stop subway system and buses that take an hour to get you? MORE TRAFFIC 'Public services... The plan EIR includes an assessment of the projected long-term needs of each of these' ..this is not a solution. The LAFD admits NOW that they can't get to people in EMERGENCY SITUATIONS. Recently in THE NEWS. And yet you plan a higher density city? FIX this HUGE problem we have RIGHT NOW, before creating higher density, where even more will live here at their own peril.' 'A number of comment letters received suggested: Would it be appropriate to have a down zoning alternative to maintain neighborhood character? Planning staff is going to be looking at those materials. IT'S ABOUT TIME.

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