Wave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — Following almost four hours of discussion and public comment, a City Council committee voted unanimously April 24 to update the Hollywood Community Plan.
The plan will move to the full City Council for consideration after approval by the city’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.
The plan highlights the need to increase affordable housing, support business, introduce tenant protections, seek more open and green spaces and foster a greater sense of community.
“The Hollywood Community Plan Update encourages housing growth along transportation corridors, reinforces Hollywood’s media and entertainment jobs center, provides more mobility options and puts forward more sustainable solutions,” a statement by Planning Director Vince Bertoni said.
Priya Mehendale, a senior city planner, said the Hollywood plan was “35 years in the making.”
Bertoni cited budgetary issues and litigation that voided a previous plan adopted by council to explain why it took so long to be updated.
“This is very unusual. It’s by far the oldest community plan by many years,” he said.
The Hollywood plan would accommodate approximately 58,000 new residents, 35,000 housing units and 29,000 jobs in the next 20 years. It would also direct growth around transit, bolster the neighborhood’s creative employment identity, provide more transportation choices and ensure hillside area development is protective of resources.
Mehendale also said the proposed plan would establish a review process for the rehabilitation of eligible historic resources.
Fran Offenhauser, a founder of Hollywood Heritage, said many people are upset that the city would bring forward a plan that creates a conflict between the “most important historic buildings” and affordable housing.
“By taking the geographic area of central Hollywood, where all of these historic buildings and neighborhoods are clustered, and then deciding that was the place to put their incentive program to effectively tear things down and build new apartments, low-income apartments, is unnecessary,” Offenhauser said. “It was an outright mistake.”
Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky said the plan would reinvigorate the Hollywood community, including the areas in her district that comprise multi-family and single-family communities and commercial corridors in the Melrose arts district.
She encouraged her PLUM Committee colleagues to support the plan as well as several amendments introduced by Council Members Nithya Raman and Hugo Soto-Martínez, who represent parts of the Hollywood area, seeking tenant protections and extended affordable housing elements.
“I believe there doesn’t need to be a tension between housing density and housing affordability,” Soto-Martínez said. “If we adopt the plan that mandates the correct percentages of included affordable housing and all-for-profit project, we can benefit in the production of high density projects that work for everyone.”
Soto-Martínez said his support is conditional on the assurance that the city Planning Department is committed to updating the zoning for Hollywood and East Hollywood to include anti-displacement and sustainability measures.
“The uneven growth and increasing inequality across Hollywood in the 35 years since the last Hollywood Community Plan update has shown the desperate need for more equitable density,” Soto-Martínez said. “We have the opportunity here to set the roadmap for a more inclusive, sustainable Hollywood with the affordable housing that we need.”
Raman Yaroslavksy and Soto-Martínez requested three amendments to the plan is adopted. They are:
• Affordable tenant protections, including relocation assistance for renters forced out of their homes and a provision requiring no net loss of affordable housing units for new developments.
• Affordable housing covenants extended from 55 years to 99 years.
• And additional affordability requirements in some areas to promote equity and consistency across the plan’s area.
“We look forward to working with our partners on the council and the Planning Department to finally see this long overdue plan through to adoption,” Raman said in a statement April 21. “Adding the proposed recommendations around additional tenant protections and affordability will ensure community stability while also managing future projected growth.”
Soto-Martínez said he also wants to ensure there will be an opportunity to make changes to the plan after its adoption. He wants to incorporate East Hollywood into the plan, which is currently not included.
Specifically, he would seek to increase to affordable housing and density, anti-displacement measures, and sustainability and safety.
“Right now, renter protections incorporated in the plan only apply to communities west of the 101 [freeway], completely leaving out the predominantly working-class communities of color east of the 101,” Soto-Martínez said in a statement. “Our focus is reversing the decades-long disinvestment and neglect in the marginalized communities of our city.”
“We have the opportunity here to set the roadmap for a more inclusive, sustainable Hollywood with the affordable housing that we need.”
— Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez