Tomorrow morning, at the ungodly hour of 8:30 a.m., the L.A. Planning Commission will vote on a new “community plan” for Hollywood that could change our city as we know it.
It's not as glamorous, PR-friendly or conveniently timed as those other Department of City Planning shenanigans you've been hearing about — those that seek to lift the ban on street art in Los Angeles.
And for that, tomorrow's meeting may not be as well-attended. Here's where you come in.
City Hall's new guidelines for development would “allow for extreme density in Hollywood,” warns Richard MacNaughton, an attorney and longtime Hollywood resident.
Hundreds of jargony pages make up the commission's frightening new proposal, which opponents like MacNaughton feel could set a development-happy precedent for the rest of City Hall's upcoming “community plans.”
Thankfully for those of us without the time/knowhow to tackle such a beast, MacNaughton has been going through it with a fine-toothed comb. He says its most concerning bits “remove any realistic limitations” on the maximum height for new high-rises, and “insist that we must increase the density of construction in Hollywood because of an influx of people.”
However, he explains that said “influx” is based on Census numbers from 2000 and a Southern California Association of Governments report from 2005 — even though more recent polls show an outflow of residents, as well as a dip in their socionomic status.
As with every other shady move the L.A. City Council has ever tried to make, officials are justifying their futuristic vision by claiming it'll create jobs and transform Hollywood into a cozy, sustainable mini-Manhattan.
This all reeks so hard of City Councilman Eric Garcetti, who helms L.A.'s most iconic district and unofficial capital. He's long strived for “elegant density” in part-glitter, part-ghetto Hollywood — essentially just a fancy phrase for New York penis envy. (And leaving plenty of room for developer donations to his campaign fund.)
Hollywood doesn't need more skyscrapers to become a better neighborhood. Like most of L.A.'s rough parts, it needs nurturing from the ground up. A dazzling new office building with a quarantined parking garage isn't going to aid anybody but the real-estate giant who erects it — now, potentially, with more ease than ever.
MacNaughton adds that the notorious Community Redevelopment Agency projects in the area have actually “lowered the standard of living.” (More on that, here.)
Writes a grimmer-than-usual Ron Kaye, former editor of the LA Daily News:
“All that will be left if this goes through are playgrounds for the rich and slums for everyone else. It is the death knell for Los Angeles.”
We'll update tomorrow morning with the outcome of the meeting. But be forewarned: If this draft makes it through the Planning Commission tomorrow, it's headed straight to L.A. City Council floor, where our elected officials vote unanimously 99.993 percent of the time.
In other words, after tomorrow morning, there may be no stopping it.
So drag your lazy ass out of bed and join MacNaughton, possibly actress/activist Annie Gagen and probably perennial public commenter John Walsh — the anti-development hero with the mad-scientist hair and carney wear — in room 340 of City Hall, for to fight the 1 percent's very non-communal vision of elegance.