The Hollywood Community Plan was officially applauded by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as he prepares to send the plan to City Council.
Villaraigosa voiced his support during a press conference on the roof of the Hollywood Tower on Franklin Avenue Monday morning. He was joined by Councilman Tom LaBonge, City Council President Eric Garcetti, City Planning Director Michael LoGrande and others, including representatives from the Department of City Planning and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
Villaraigosa referred to the plan as a “comprehensive blueprint” that Hollywood desperately needs.
“Up until now, projects have been done in a piecemeal fashion,” Villaraigosa said. “This drawn out, uncertain process was holding Hollywood up from reaching its full potential.”
The plan designates which land can be used for housing, business, industry or open space. It would also place new regulations on the height and footprint of new building projects coverings an area mostly north of Santa Monica Boulevard, east of West Hollywood, south of Griffith Park and west of Hoover and Hyperion avenues.
Associate Planner Mary Richardson, who oversaw the drafting of the plan starting in 2004, said it would allow for wider 15-foot sidewalks and would require developers to pay a traffic impact fee to help study and mitigate traffic problems in the area.
Councilman Tom LaBonge, who represents Hollywood, talked of the importance of having a plan to ensure Hollywood’s future success.
“We’ve got to balance it out and protect the needs of the neighborhoods,” LaBonge said. “We’ve got to make sure we have clear vision, community participation, and the joy of what a neighborhood is about.”
Garcetti referred to Hollywood as “our signature neighborhood” that has experienced an “incredible transformation over the past decade.”
“If we’re going to move forward in Hollywood to create jobs, to protect historic neighborhoods at the core as we’ve shown a way to do, to reduce traffic, we need a new community plan,” Garcetti said. “A 1988 plan just doesn’t cut it.”
While city officials and others applauded the plan, Villaraigosa conceded he is aware there are those who still oppose it.
“There are always going to be questions, concerns, opposition,” he said. “This plan has been thoroughly vetted.”
Not so, according to some members of the community who showed up to oppose the plan. Lucille Saunders, a local community activist who at one point during the press conference approached Villaraigosa at the podium, is not pleased with the plan at all.
“It is the Manhattanization of Hollywood,” Saunders said.
In addition, Richard Abrams, another Hollywood resident working with Saunders, said the priority is preserving their neighborhoods and their way of life.
“The Hollywood Community Plan and all community plans would make the city totally dysfunctional,” Abrams said. “There’s no provision for traffic.”
However, Laurie Goldman, who represented the Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council and chaired the council’s ad hoc committee on the plan, showed up to speak at the press conference and show that council's support.
“Ninety-percent of our recommendations were included in the plan that was approved, and we believe this is not only good for the business community but addresses quality of life issues for the residents within our boundaries,” Goldman said.
The plan will also be good for the business community in Hollywood, according to Leron Gubler, President/CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s extremely significant,” he said. “It’s been 23 years since the community plan has been updated. This is a huge win for Hollywood, and we’re excited.”
Fran Reichenbach, president of the Beachwood Canyon Neighborhood Association, still was not impressed. She called the press conference a “calculated” effort “to say this is a done deal.”
The Mayor will now send the Hollywood Community Plan to the City Council’s PLUM, or Planning and Land Use Management Committee, which will hold a public hearing before the plan then goes to City Council.
— City News Service contributed to this report.