November 30, 1997 - From the November, 1997 issue

Inside Planning

Wilson Nixes Guardino Bill 

Gov. Wilson vetoed AB 1362 by Assembly Member Kerry Mazzoni (D­Novato). The measure would have specified that the State Supreme Court's decision in Santa Clara County Local Transportation Authority v. Guardino—which upheld Prop. 62's requirements for voter approval of local taxes—applied only after the Dec. 14, 1995 ruling. Prior to Guardino, many municipalities imposed new taxes considering Appellate Court decisions that had undermined Prop. 62, which passed in 1986. The Supreme Court's action in Guardino, however, threw those local taxes into question. It remains unclear whether Guardino applies retroactively—an ambiguity AB 1362 sought to resolve. 

LAHD to Take Over Inspections

As federal subsidies for new housing dry up and maintenance of existing stock becomes more important, the City Council approved the concept of shifting responsibility for multifamily unit inspection to the Housing Department (LAHD) from the Fire Dept. and the Dept. of Building & Safety. The LAHD, City Administrative Officer and the Personnel Dept. will report to Council in December on a plan to hire and train new inspectors, perhaps to be funded by a proposed $ 1 per month, per unit surcharge. 

Burbank Airport Update 

Judge Carl J. West rejected the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority's attempt to invalidate an element of the State Public Utilities Code requiring local planning authority approval of any airport expansion. The Court found that the Burbank City Council's authority over the proposed 27-gate expansion of Burbank Airport (which it opposes) is not preempted by federal legislation, as the Airport Authority had claimed. Neither the Airport nor the City has conceded overall defeat.

LAUSD: Trees Yes, Asphalt No 

The L.A. Unified School District will follow the recommendations of environmental advocacy group TreePeople and substitute up to 30% of asphalt planned for local schools with trees and other natural ground cover. TreePeople's analysis indicated that shade from the trees will result in 10% to 12% savings on projected air conditioning costs. Funds for tree maintenance remain to be found, however, as Proposition BB school improvement bond money cannot be used for operational expenditures. 

Partial LAUSD Win on Belmont 

Considering improved citizen oversight of Prop. BB-generated money, the United Teachers Los Angeles and the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union Local 11 agreed to accept a settlement from the LAUSD—$90,000 to cover attorney's fees—and drop a lawsuit that could have halted construction of the District's controversial, mixed-use Belmont Learning Complex. The game is not over yet, however, as Local 11 has not dropped its opposition to vital State matching funds for the project. 

Inglewood-Darby/Dixon Redevelopment

The City of Inglewood is still negotiating with Home Depot to locate a store in the troubled Darby/Dixon neighborhood, also known as Garland Village. Meanwhile, work continues on a specific plan for rehabilitation of a portion of the area's 920 residential units, and on an EIR for the project. Draft versions of both documents could be ready as early as December. 

Santa Monica Circulation Plan 

Officials have authorized implementation of changes to Fourth and Fifth Streets in downtown Santa Monica, in hopes of improving both vehicular and pedestrian circulation. Fifth Street will be opened to two-way traffic, and parking will be increased along Fourth Street along with other improvements. Work is expected to be complete by the end of November. 

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TrizecHahn Takes Hollywood Holiday Inn 

San Diego-based TrizecHahn centers will acquire the Hollywood Holiday Inn on Highland Avenue to incorporate the property into its proposed mixed-use development on adjacent land. TrizecHahn is currently finalizing negotiations with the MTA and the CRA to develop its Hollywood & Highland project over a future Metro Red Line station. 

Pacific Theaters Chosen for Village Center Westwood 

Following many months of confidential back-and-forth talks, Village Center Westwood developer The ARBA Group announced selection of Pacific Theaters over competitor Mann as operator for the project's 3,400-seat multiplex component. The 5.17-acre project will also include retail stores, restaurants, a grocery store, and senior housing. 

Regent Plans Westwood Development

Beverly Hills-based Regent Properties announced plans to develop a controversial 120,000 square-foot pedestrian-oriented shopping complex on a site bounded by Gayley, Broxton and Weyburn, dubbed Westwood Marketplace. Mann Theaters, which the developers of nearby Village Center Westwood had at one point hoped would operate their project's theaters, will run the multiplex in the Westwood Marketplace. 

LA Center Studios 

The City Planning Commission approved specific plan exceptions for Smith & Hricik Development Co.'s proposal to build six sound stages and other film/TV production facilities on the old Unocal site, west of Downtown. A City Council vote doesn't seem likely. If financing is secured in the next 30 to 60 days, groundbreaking could come in early 1998. 

Cinerama Dome Development 

As part of the current rush to add new entertainment/retail uses to the Hollywood area, Pacific Theaters Realty Corporation announced plans to construct the Cinerama Dome Entertainment Center on the 5. 75-acre site of the current Cinerama Dome. Plans call for a tri-level entertainment and retail complex (including a 15-screen multiplex) to be built on the parking lot currently surrounding the landmark movie theater.

Clarification

In last month's TPR interview with former Playa Vista Project Manager Doug Gardner, it was incorrectly indicated that litigation following phase one approval of Playa Vista resulted in changes being made to the project. The litigation in question was resolved in favor of Playa Vista without any changes to the project's plan.

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