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The Mid-City West Community Council took further steps on June 16 to oppose the demolition of affordable housing in the Beverly Grove and Fairfax districts.
The community council’s planning and land use committee (PLUC) voted in opposition to the demolition and re-development of the property at 750-756 N. Edinburgh Ave. in the Fairfax District, owned by developer Matthew Jacobs.
Jacobs is co-managing partner of Bulldog Partners, LLC. He is also the chairman of the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA), a state agency that helps provide affordable housing.
In addition to the eight-unit Edinburgh Avenue property, Jacobs also owns a nine-unit property at 118-124 N. Flores St. in Beverly Grove, where all but one tenant has been evicted, Steve Luftman.
Luftman and the rest of the tenants at the Flores Street property were served with an eviction notice on Feb. 8 and ordered to leave by June 5 under the Ellis Act, which was enacted in the 1980s and enables landlords to sell their property if they are leaving the rental business. Luftman has decided to stay and fight the eviction order.
Larry Gross, executive director of the Coalition for Economic Survival (CES), said that developers, such as Jacobs, use the Ellis Act to eliminate affordable housing.
“These sorts of projects are helping to gentrify the community. These things have a spiral effect. It sends the message for other developers — that they can come in and do the same,” Gross said.
Neither Jacobs, nor representatives from Bulldog Partners responded to requests for comment.
He added that the Mid-City West Community Council sent a strong message to the community and other developers by opposing Jacobs’ project.
“This is a very strong statement from the community that they don’t want unjust projects in their communities,” Gross said.
The community council’s PLUC has also asked Jacobs and his associates to prepare an environmental impact report (EIR).
“It’s a detailed study of what impact this will have on the neighborhood, whether or not it will be eliminating historic buildings, eliminating affordable-housing apartments and other impacts,” Luftman said. “It’s pretty involved.”
Luftman said community support for keeping affordable-housing buildings in Beverly Grove and the Fairfax District has increased. He added that more people than usual attended Tuesday’s community council’s PLUC meeting.
“It’s not just the work I’m doing — [other residents also] don’t want to see these historic buildings destroyed,” Luftman said.
Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, Luftman received a notice from the Los Angeles Superior Court that he is named in an unlawful detainer lawsuit by Jacobs. However, Luftman said he has not yet been served with an order to appear in court.
“As far as I know, they have to serve [me],” Luftman said.
Councilman Paul Koretz, 5th District, introduced two motions on June 10 addressing affordable-housing and tenants rights. This was due, in part, to the efforts of Luftman, Gross and other concerned residents.
The first motion asked the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department to review the Ellis Act. The second motion asked for a multi-department review of rent-controlled housing to ensure units are not demolished. Both motions were referred to the city council’s housing committee and a report is expected within 120 days.
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