Westwood Zoning: 'Lack of Progress'

I have been following the newspaper accounts of the controversy regarding new commercial real estate development in Los Angeles, in particular that in the Westwood area ("Westwood Zoning Plan Unveiled," March 8). I am dismayed at the lack of progress that has been made to solve the problem.

It seems that the major complaint voiced is that of traffic congestion, yet no one seems to come up with a solution except to curb growth of new buildings. This solution, however, would adversely affect both sides. The homeowners, who are a part of the working force of the city, would possibly lose their jobs if they are in the development or any related industry. The developers, also part of the working force and who are responsible for the jobs and support of thousands of employees and their families, would have no business to conduct.

The City Council cannot come to a compromise within itself. With the power that they already have, now they want to have the additional power to veto developments even after the developer has complied with all requirements. That is not the American way.

Two years ago, the City Council considered downzoning Wilshire Boulevard. After deliberations they decided to impose substantial fees on developers to mitigate traffic. Having complied with all the rules, these developers appear to be facing another period of uncertainty. Is this the fair way to conduct our city policy? What kind of message are we sending out to people who want to invest in our city to sustain our economic growth?

Those council members who are for this have gotten carried away with their own personal agenda. They are all aware, as are most of the residents of Los Angeles, that our traffic problem is worsening rapidly and something must be done about it. Stopping construction and preventing orderly growth of the city, thereby endangering the economic well-being of the city, is not the answer. This is a meat-ax approach, and we expect more professional solutions to traffic problems of the city. The City Council members should get down to business and address the issue of traffic congestion.

In business, supply and demand will take care of itself. If it is not profitable to build in an area that has too many buildings, development will stop, as was witnessed in the condominium row of Wilshire Corridor. Not many more offices can be built in Westwood, since there are not many more buildable sites remaining anyway.

It just doesn't seem fair that after spending huge amounts of money investing in property and after going through all the trouble and time of complying with every city requirement, that these developers who have already been given the go-ahead are not stopped and left in limbo.


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