The West Hollywood Planning Commission continues a series of public hearings tonight, Thursday, Sept. 23, on the draft General Plan — a blueprint for how the city should prioritize policy development over the next 25 years.
The document, once finalized, sets the agenda for future land-use and development, transportation, energy conservation, parks and public services for the two-square mile city that now has 37,000 residents.
The General Plan was first created when the city was founded in 1984, and needs to be updated every 25 years. It has taken the city a while to reach this point, said Bianca Siegl, an associate planner who has been ushering the voluminous document through the various stages over the last three years. The general plan update process allows city officials to reflect on challenges of the past to shape new policy, Siegl said.
After the planning commission votes on the proposed General Plan, it then goes to the city council, which is scheduled to hold its own public hearings in October. Community members have identified preserving and enhancing residential neighborhoods, as well as reducing traffic congestion and supporting alternative forms of transit, as top priorities. Increasing human services, having an open and accessible local government, economic development and historic preservation are also priorities. Some of the key issues included in the Draft General Plan include:
The Sunset Strip is recognized for its concentration of eye-catching signage, according to a staff report. But recently, the city has received requests for offsite signage from property owners outside the Strip. The plan addresses new methods for regulation in those cases, including strictly limiting the amount and location of new signage, requiring applicants to work with the city to create quality, designs, and minimizing the impacts on surrounding neighborhoods.
Long-term Transit Solutions
The plan addresses the possibility of subway service to West Hollywood, as part of Metro’s Westside Subway Extension. Although officials have said it may be 20 years or more before such a subway could be built, there is still broad community support for such a route through West Hollywood.
Parking: While the plan does not rule out additional parking lots or garages, the emphasis is placed on policies to make better use of existing parking resources. Some concepts include pursuing the joint use of private parking facilities for public parking, encouraging shared pools of commercial parking and shared valet programs.
Height and Density
The plan proposes modest increases to height and density requirements for developments in some areas of the city, generally within commercial areas and near transit hubs. The increase in density or height is meant to encourage mixed-use development along commercial corridors.
Neighborhood conservation overlays: Some members of the community asked for a strengthening of provisions relating to the conservation of certain districts or neighborhoods. Design compatibility issues in the past have been addressed, as well as residential design guidelines and other zoning regulations.
Public hearings with the planning commission are scheduled for tonight and the next Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at West Hollywood Park Auditorium, 647 N. San Vicente Blvd.
For information, call the General Plan Hotline at (323)848-6859, or visit www.weho.org/generalplan.