Committee OKs Land-Use Plan for Hollywood

Times Staff Writer

A citizens advisory committee has approved a land-use plan to guide new commercial and industrial development in Hollywood, but Los Angeles Planning Director Calvin S. Hamilton has told the committee that changes are likely.

The 25-member Project Area Committee has worked for more than a year with planners from the Community Redevelopment Agency to set goals for seven districts in Hollywood.

The plan calls for a general lowering of density in commercial and residential areas in the 1,100-acre district. It also designates some sections of Hollywood for light industry and film-related companies and limits commercial development along Sunset and Hollywood boulevards.

"I think the plan represents the strongest effort I've seen in Hollywood to develop a consensus," said Marshall Caskey, chairman of the Project Area Committee. "There are probably elements of the plan that are not satisfactory to every member of the PAC, but I think that in general (most of their) interests are represented."

But Hamilton told the advisory committee that the plan is not set in concrete will probably be changed as it goes through the city's planning process. He said that he would like to see tighter restrictions on development in some areas.

After the redevelopment agency conducts an environmental impact review and traffic study, the city's planning department will review the redevelopment plan, which must be approved by the Los Angeles Planning Commission and ultimately by the City Council. According to city and agency officials, the council is unlikely to act before January, 1986.

'Muster Our Forces'

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President Bill Welsh said that he will support the committee's version of the plan as it goes through the process. "Hamilton's got a strong voice in city government and we're going to have to muster our forces so that we get equal attention from the City Council," he said.

Welsh, the committee's vice chairman, said that he expects some construction to begin in the area by the middle of 1986, and that eventually the Hollywood area will become "unattractive for porno theaters and shops."

But it may actually take a bit longer before any redevelopment programs start. City Planning Assistant Michael Davies said the plan is "going to have to pass muster. . . . We are concerned that what is being proposed permits a density that could not be supported by roadways, public service facilities and utilities."

Under the plan, developers would be allowed to create 4 1/2 to 6 square feet of building space for every square foot of land along the "commercial core" of Sunset and Hollywood boulevards. That would be a reduction from the current ration of 13 to 1.

The plan also would require the agency to develop an "overlay zone," or urban design study of the historical and architectural landmarks along Hollywood Boulevard within two years.

Frances Offenhauser, an architect and committee member, said she favors the study but wanted more specific safeguards for Hollywood Boulevard. She said she is afraid that the plan puts the "entire core of Hollywood up for grabs."

No 'Clear Signal'

"My difficulty with the plan is that it's not giving a clear signal about the uniqueness of Hollywood," Offenhauser said. "That Hollywood has a tremendous asset as an urban area with its historic buildings and entertainment areas is being treated as a liability, as vacant land for redevelopment."

Welsh said that he favors "saving anything that has historical or architectural value. I'm not in favor of saving everything on Hollywood Boulevard from Gower to La Brea."

Another controversial issue involves the reduction of the residential density along the north side of Franklin Avenue. Under the plan, the density would be reduced to 130 units per acre, but hillside residents have asked that the density be lowered to 80 units per acre.

Brian Moore, president of the Whitley Heights Homeowners Assn. and a member of the committee, said that the residents will continue to press for the reductions.

"There are all kinds of public hearings coming up and I can assure you that the community will be out in force to see that the density is lowered," Moore said. "We have gridlock on occasion as it is, especially in the Franklin-Highland area."

The plan also calls for the area around DeLongpre Park to be preserved as a single-family residential area. The area between Gower and the Hollywood Freeway south of Sunset would be designated as a place to attract film-related companies and light industry.

Richard Bruckner, senior planner for the agency, said the plan lays the groundwork for the redevelopment of Hollywood. "It provides planners with a good beginning," he said. "But as I said to the committee, it's a start, it's not a finish."

Flexibility Deliberate

After the land-use plan receives final approval from the City Council, the agency would be able to use financial incentives to channel investment into Hollywood.

According to Bruckner, the land-use plan was deliberately kept flexible. The planners divided Hollywood into seven districts and attempted to set goals for each. Bruckner said that the first goal was to decide basic land-use issues, such as the allowable density for each area and whether an area should be residential, industrial or commercial. He said the next step will be to develop more specific strategies for each district.

The Chamber's Welsh, who called the area "blighted," said the plan balances many competing interests.

"It's as satisfying to as many interests as it possibly could be," Welsh said. "It gets everybody some of the things they want but nobody gets everything they want. . . . I would like to have seen more latitude, more ability to do bigger things than this would permit. . . . But I realize there are a lot of people who would like to see no growth and they have a voice in the affairs of the city as well."

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