New Community Plan Has Big Local Changes

A view of Los Feliz and East Hollywood from Barnsdall Art Park. A new community plan for Hollywood includes improving pedestrian access to the park. Photo: Erica Zabowski / Flickr Creative Commons

After years without an update, a new community plan for Hollywood is in the works, which includes such ideas as rethinking Los Feliz’s five-point intersection at Hillhurst Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard; the improvement of pedestrian access to Barnsdall Arts Park, as well as the possible naming areas of Los Feliz as historic preservation districts, including the garden apartments in Los Feliz along Rodney Drive and Lyman Place.

The plan, currently in draft form, also seeks to develop a former reservoir site at the base of Griffith Park in Glendale, near Forest Lawn Drive and the 101 Freeway, into parkland.

The 137 page plan is also in keeping with the city’s previously approved Mobility Plan 2035, which seeks to remake major streets throughout Los Angeles as more pedestrian and bicycle friendly and has named a portion of a number of local streets including Hollywood Boulevard, Edgemont Street, Finley Avenue, Rowena Avenue and Los Feliz Boulevard as well as creating more pedestrian and bike paths to Griffith Park.

The plan—which covers all 25 square miles of Hollywood and adjacent areas, like Los Feliz, East Hollywood and Griffith Park—is expected to be finalized by year’s end, following an environmental impact report due later this month.

The last time the Hollywood Community Plan was updated was 1988. Recently, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti set aside 3.5 million in the city’s budget to update seven of the city’s 35 total community plans by next year, one of which is Hollywood’s.

Much of the plan focuses on encouraging residential and commercial mixed-use development—and the relaxation of parking requirements and height restrictions—near the Hollywood area’s Metro Red Line stops.

Additionally, the plan calls for “protecting the existing scale and character” of neighborhoods, many of which were built the early part of last century.

For residential neighborhoods near commercial corridors, the plan also calls for “height transitions,” between the two, so site lines will not be jarring.

According to the plan, the population of the area is expected to increase by about 20,000 residents—or 10% to an estimated 226,000 by 2040—and the city anticipates some 15,000 housing units will be built during the same time frame.

To that end, the draft plan encourages the city to incentivize developers to build housing for all income levels, including permanent supportive housing to assist with the city’s current homelessness surge.

The plan also calls for the development of more plazas, green spaces and community gardens and the goal to name more homes and buildings as historic, which encumbers them from being demolished.

“The update to the Hollywood Community Plan will create the necessary tools to preserve our historic structures, promote transit-oriented and 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,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who represents the area, in an email statement. “I encourage my constituents to participate in the public process and provide input that will help create a plan that benefits every stakeholder in Hollywood.”

Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu echoed O’Farrell’s sentiment.

“While the community plan is not finalized, I am encouraged to see areas currently zoned for single-family residential uses maintained while providing increased protections for hillside residential neighborhoods,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu in an email. “Additionally, I am encouraged that the plan incorporates preservation tools for Hollywood’s historic neighborhoods.”

A July 8th presentation of the plan by city planners at the Los Feliz Branch Library, one of five such meetings held over the summer, was designed to both inform the public as well as glean public input, as is part and parcel of the process.

The public will once again have an opportunity to read and comment on the environmental review of the plan before it is finalized.

Michael Aushenker contributed to this story.


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