The Los Angeles Department of City Planning started the public and environmental review process Tuesday to update the sure-to-be scrutinized Hollywood Community Plan – the framework that will guide development – after it was sent back to the city for a redo.
After multiple lawsuits were filed against the 2012 the Hollywood Community Plan Update (HCPU), the Los Angeles Superior Court directed the city to rescind it and to prepare, circulate and certify an environmental impact report (EIR) consistent with the state’s requirements. Tuesday’s meeting gave the community a chance to provide input and discuss issues that should be analyzed in an EIR.
Approximately 80 people showed up at the scoping meeting at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood – in the same room where many began the process in 2012 – to learn about some of the specific aspects and to submit comments and suggestions.
City planning staff explained the goals of updating the plan. The HCPU will help the city accommodate projected population, housing and employment growth. The planning staff explained that Hollywood is growing, but at a slower rate than in the past. After dipping in 2010, Hollywood’s population has grown to approximately 206,000 people, with 104,000 units and 100,000 jobs. The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) predicts Hollywood will continue to grow to approximately 226,000 people by 2040. The proposed plan intends to prepare the area for 233,000 people by that year. One of the major sticking points in the 2012 plan was the data used by SCAG, which at the time estimated significantly higher rates of population growth.
“The projected number, some of you may notice, is different than the one that was considered for the previous plan and you may wonder what has caused this difference,” said Linda Lou, a planning policy assistant. “This is primarily because the average number of persons expected in housing units has changed. That number has gone down.”
Kerry Morrison, executive director for the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, said she was pleased the staff is paying special attention to ensure accuracy. She added that the group is grateful the planning staff is beginning the process and that they hope the plan is approved by the end of 2017.
The staff also said they are doing what they can to encourage more affordable housing development.
“During the last planning process, we heard your interest and concern regarding transportation impacts and affordable housing,” Lou said. “We are looking to incentivize affordable housing in the regional center.”
The HCPU is also aimed at directing growth away from hillsides and low-density neighborhoods to preserve single-family residential neighborhoods. Instead, it will encourage and promote mobility options and “make streets walkable.” It directs future growth into the center of Hollywood, and implements stronger subdivision controls in the hills.
Staff explained it will also promote the expansion of Hollywood’s entertainment and tourism industries and reinforce Hollywood’s role as a media and entertainment job center. It reserves the areas south of Santa Monica Boulevard for industrial and media uses where residential uses would be prohibited.
Another major goal is to protect the historic and cultural resources by establishing new lower height limits around historic districts. The plan also supports the Hollywood Central Park over the 101 Freeway.
The Department of City Planning will prepare the draft EIR during the rest of this year and release it in early 2017 for a 45-day public comment period. In mid-2017, they will prepare responses to public comments and prepare the final EIR. The department will host public hearings in mid-2017 before it goes through the city approval process later that year.
“The Hollywood Community Plan is the oldest community plan in the city and has outlived its purpose,” Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said when he announced the scoping meeting. “Change will always be part of a thriving city. My hope is that the HCPU will create the policies and tools the community needs to preserve our historic structures, promote transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly development, encourage production of affordable housing and provide the ability to re-imagine and repurpose our surface parking lots to make Hollywood more livable and more walkable.”
For information and to view the public notice, visit planning.lacity.org/eir/nops/HwdUpdate/nop.pdf.
Comments should be sent to Linda Lou at the Department of City Planning at 200 N. Spring St., Room 667, or by calling (213)-978-1473, or emailing email@example.com. The deadline for public comment is 5 p.m. on May 31.
Community councils are starting review process as well. Anastasia Mann, president of the Hollywood Hills West Association said new board members were sworn in Wednesday evening and the update will be on their agenda in June or July after they have time to review.
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