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Retroactive Tax Sought to Upgrade Ventura Boulevard

Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles planners want to take a trip back in time to find developers to pay a special “trip tax” they hope will help pay for $116 million worth of traffic improvements on Ventura Boulevard.

Builders who have constructed new offices and stores along the 17-mile boulevard within the past 44 months could be required to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars under a growth-control proposal unveiled Thursday night by city planners.

The proposal recommends controlling growth along the busy east-west thoroughfare by limiting future traffic flow.

It calls for new traffic signals and widened intersections to be paid for by developers’ fees based on the number of estimated vehicular trips that projects generate.

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In crowded areas such as Sherman Oaks and Encino, that fee could total as much as $6,610 per trip, according to a citizens committee that has worked 2 1/2 years on the plan.

The plan--to be presented to the city Planning Commission and City Council later this year--was outlined for about 100 people who attended a 4-hour workshop Thursday night in North Hollywood.

The crowd listened silently as city planner Gordon Hamilton explained that the proposal calls for trip fees to be collected from developers who have built on the boulevard since November, 1985. That is when the City Council enacted interim growth controls for the boulevard that eventually led to the current corridor study.

“We have a list of everyone who has developed there since then,” Hamilton said. “They’ll be charged.”

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Boulevard developers have grumbled over having to “sign a blank check” for future transportation improvements. But members of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. complained earlier this year that some builders were hurrying to start projects before controls were enacted.


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