Improve Westchester as Place for People to Live
Westchester is being riddled with new development projects. The Planning Department needs to look at the development in the entire community rather than approaching each project in a piecemeal fashion. Neighborhoods are forced to bargain with developers. This is a relationship where the developer sees negotiating as part of the development package and the neighbors spend their discretionary time and money protecting their right to the “peace and enjoyment” of their homes.
One place the Planning Department could exercise some vision is in the proposed development of 27 1/2 acres owned by Loyola Marymount University. The Westchester Plan of the Los Angeles Planning Department has the 27 1/2 acres west of Loyola Marymount University zoned for single-family dwelling units. LMU bought the property in the 1980s after beginning eminent domain action against Summa Corp. and is planning to develop it for student housing. The proposed density is approximately four times greater than if single-family residences were built on this acreage.
These 27 1/2 acres could be maintained as open space by the city. Open space is a community resource. Unfortunately, open space can’t be rung up on a cash register.
Councilwoman Ruth Galanter has encouraged the neighbors to negotiate with the university. I urge Councilwoman Galanter and the Planning Department to look at the Westchester Plan with an eye to making Westchester a community that can be improved as a place for people to live. The present relationship between the council and the Planning Department needs to be reconfigured to include vision and boldness rather than just responding to the marketplace.
CARRIE ANN BLACKALLER