In Answer to Broker's Letter

In response to Eric Broida's amusing but misinformed letter, "A Vote Against a Moratorium" (Times, March 15), Friends of Westwood wish to set the record straight.

First, there is no proposed moratorium for the Wilshire Corridor. There is a proposal in the new community plan to reduce Wilshire Boulevard commercial density by at least 40%, as the Planning Commission recommended in 1984. This would affect the Murdock hotel site at Gayley and Wilshire, the Ship's site at Glendon and Wilshire and the Linde medical building at Gayley and Wilshire.

Second, the Cozy Corner site is not within the Westwood Community Plan, the subject of the article ("Westwood Zoning Plan Unveiled").

Third, Proposition U does not govern the Wilshire Corridor, the purported subject of Mr. Broida's letter, and it does not impose a moratorium. Friends of Westwood's 500 member families are flattered that Mr. Broida thinks we are the reason for passage of Proposition U, but to be fair, we must share credit for this landslide approval with 70% of the city's electorate.

Mr. Broida, a real estate broker for office space, cites three factors to justify high-intensity commercial development in Westwood: freeway access, "executive housing" and excellent shopping and restaurants in Westwood Village. Perhaps he has not visited Westwood for a decade.

What convenient village shopping is available for us, other than Bullock's and a few long-time merchants? All our markets have become movie theaters. Westwood cannot live on gelato and cookies alone. We need diversification, planning.

What freeway access is Mr. Broida referring to? The ramps are definitely there, but the capacity is not. Westwood is synonymous with gridlock. Who is Mr. Broida fooling?

The "executive housing" he alludes to belongs to our members, old-age pensioners, two-career couples and, yes, some executives. Our membership also includes renters who live in fear of eviction and demolition. Friends of Westwood's members, including the executives, care deeply about their community and have a great sense of loss as they reflect on the past decade. Ironically, Mr. Broida works in Santa Monica, a city known for pioneering land-use reform, but thinks Westwood residents should not seek planned development.

Regarding the Ship's site lawsuit, all we ask is that the city of Los Angeles obey the California Environmental Quality Act, a law that has been on the books for 17 years and is obeyed by all neighboring cities. There is no way a 26-story, 363,000-square-foot office project would escape environmental study in Santa Monica.

Under this law an environmental impact statement would be prepared that would identify project impacts and develop mitigation measures, such as lower density or, perhaps, a cul-de-sac on Lindbrook Drive, where over 5,000 additional daily car trips would enter or exit.

Friends of Westwood's lawsuit is supported by the attorney general of California, John Van de Kamp, the Sierra Club, the California Planning and Conservation League and the Los Angeles Federation of Hillside and Canyons Assns. No other city has joined Los Angeles in this case because, like Santa Monica, they obey the Environmental Quality Act.

Should Friends of Westwood prevail in the Court of Appeals, all major projects throughout the city, like the Beverly Center and the Westside Pavilion, which were built without any environmental review, would be required to prepare environmental studies and reduce the problems they create before construction.

Westwood's community plan is 15 years old. It never had an environmental impact study that would have shown that the permitted intensity of development would strangle streets and rob the community of architectural landmarks and the local shops and services necessary for residential life.

For the past three years Friends of Westwood's volunteers have worked closely with city Planning Department staff, our councilman's office, Gruen and Associates and Westwood homeowner associations to develop a community plan that facilitates development without destroying our residential community. Responsible developers, and they do exist in Westwood, are concerned for the long-term viability of Westwood. An investment here hardly makes sense if no one can move.

The roads to Westwood are paved with good intentions. We want protection, not wishful thinking. Friends of Westwood seeks a plan that accommodates the needs of developers and residents.




500 Friends of Westwood families

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