As expected, the L.A. City Council gave its final unanimous approval this afternoon to a new zoning code that will allow for the Manhattanization/Blade Runner-ization of Hollywood.
Opposition to the plan has been long and loud. Hollywood preservationists are hoarse from screaming at city leaders, who defend the plan as a much-needed step toward modernity. But protesters claim these new rules were ghostwritten by mega-developers, and will lead to over-stuffed residential streets…
… rotting in the shadows of skyscrapers.
Also as expected, opponents are planning to sue. Because, according to Richard Platkin, former L.A. city planner and current adjunct professor at USC:
These meetings are merely lightning rods for people who come, speak their mind and are ignored. Smart people understand that the only way to get the city to follow their own laws is to sue the city.
The basis for the “Save Hollywood” lawsuit will be that the city used outdated/incorrect population counts to justify the need for more density in Tinseltown.
But it could be months, if not years, before the suit gets anywhere — and lord knows City Council members are willing to spend infinite legal fees on their dream to turn Sunset Strip into its Vegas counterpart.
Some gory details on developers' new wiggle room, via LA Weekly print story “Should Hollywood Be Skyscrapers?” from January:
“Height districts” in Hollywood have long limited commercial, retail or mixed-use buildings according to a specified floor-to-lot-area ratio, or FAR.
The floor-to-lot-area ratios on some sections of Sunset and Hollywood boulevards would be doubled, from 1.5-to-1 to 3-to-1, or expanded even further, to 4.5-to-1. There would be no public hearings, preventing opponents from disputing these projects.
Developers also could seek special City Council approval for skyscrapers with a 6-to-1 FAR. A developer could stick a 60,000-square-foot complex on a 100-foot-by-100-foot lot (10,000 square feet). Think Hearst Castle or the White House — but squeezed into a towering high-rise on land not much bigger than somebody's yard.
Welcome to Councilman Eric Garcetti's gold-plated paradise.
For more on why the Save Hollywood group opposes the plan — including the scary fact that “it will be the template for updating all 35 Los Angeles Community Plans, starting with Granada Hills, Sylmar, South LA, Southeast LA, West Adams, and San Pedro” — see their very thorough website.
We've contacted them for more on their legal strategy against the city. Check back for updates.