November 11, 1988 - From the November, 1988 issue

Land Use News in Review

Reduction at the Pavilion

Mayor Bradley, breaking with the Planning Commission and its unanimous approval of a 160,000-square-foot expansion of the Westside Pavilion, released a letter to the City Council calling for a one-third reduction in the size of the expansion. The Commission had initially approved the requested expansion by the developer, Westfield Inc., but Bradley sided with local homeowner groups and Councilman Yaroslavsky in their attempts to reduce the expansion to 105,000-square-feet. Some viewed the Mayor's move as an attempt to diminish his pro-growth reputation.

Slow Growth in Highland Park

An ordinance introduced to the Planning and Environment Committee by Councilwoman Gloria Molina would temporarily limit development in the historic sections of Highland Park which are part of the 1st Council District. The proposed ordinance is expected to be voted on by the council within the next two months and would be in effect for three years. Molina's measure would limit new projects as well as ban the demolition of tum-of-the-century houses and aging storefronts.

Fact or Fiction?: The Mini-Mall Moratorium

The July 1, 1987 City Council moratorium on new mini-mall development has not succeeded in slowing the growth of mini-malls in the city. Eight projects were approved before the law took effect because of city delays, eight new projects have received special city permits, and an additional eight have been exempted by the City Council. Further, the city's interim review process has failed to create standards of parking, landscaping, and sign requirements. However, some city officials claim that the recent number of new mini-mall projects has dwindled.

New Hotel on the Block, and City is Sued

Neighborhood groups near the Beverly Center, charging that a new hotel, Ma Maison Sofitel, was exacerbating traffic conditions, recently settled the dispute when the hotel agreed to spend an extra $800,000 on parking. Prior to the settlement, however, hotelier Severyn Ashkenazy, who owns seven first-class hotels in West Hollywood, has sued the city, charging it with "abusing its discretion" by approving construction of Ma Maison. Attorneys for Ma Maison believe Askenazy's suit to increase the amount of parking was an attempt to pressure the hotel into purchasing an adjacent property which Ashkenazy owns.

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Wasn’t the Supreme Court Supposed to be Conservative?

Any legal doubts about the increasing use of developers fees for municipal services were swept away when the Supreme Court upheld a San Francisco ordinance which orders owners of new downtown projects to subsidize the transit system. The Supreme Court, with only Chief Justice William Rehnquist dissenting, agreed with the contention of local governments that new development projects which place an additional burden on public services must be responsible for subsidizing some of the greater cost. The Metro Rail board in Los Angeles, meanwhile, already plans to levy fees on property owners close to new subway stations.

Downtown, Brentwood-Style

Lowe Enterprises, a Brentwood development company, has purchased 112 acres of industrial and commercial land in downtown Los Angeles for $131 million. The project, centered on Alameda Street, reflects the increased activity on the southern fringe of downtown. Lowe Enterprises plans to renovate the historic Seventh Street Produce Market as well as many of the aging industrial buildings within the area.

Council Approves all 27 Stories

Councilman Zev Yarolslavsky and two Westwood homeowner groups lost a decisive vote in the City Council, 8-5, when the Council voted final approval to Cal Fed Enterprises to allow the development of a 27-story luxury condominium project on Wilshire Boulevard. Yaroslavsky's alternative for the project would have chopped off six floors from the building, yet this council vote, 7-6, was one vote shy of the eight needed for approval. The condominium project had previously been approved in August by the Planning Commission after a recently-created citizens' panel, the Westwood Design Review Board, failed to agree on whether the height of the building should be reduced.

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