By Dick Platkin –
Published in CityWatchLA.com –
THE CITY – The Update of the Hollywood Community Plan is not only opposed by every neighborhood council and resident group in Hollywood, but also by city planning professionals like myself. I was part of the team of Los Angeles city planners who prepared the General Plan Framework in the mid-1990’s, the adopted citywide plan which public officials, like Mayor Villaraigosa and Councilmembers Garcetti and LaBonge, claim the Update implements. (Link)
In fact, the Update totally conflicts with LA’s General Plan. It is nothing more than the city planning version of the fantasy film, Field of Dreams, in which an Iowa farmer built a baseball diamond that magically materialized high caliber baseball teams and games.
The politicians promoting this “plan” believe that a slew of mega-projects in Hollywood will propel economic growth. Nothing could be further from the truth, which is why the General Plan Framework is strongly opposed to such real estate bubbles.
First, Hollywood’s public infrastructure and services cannot support super-sized projects, a barrier clearly documented in the Update’s Final Environment Impact Report.
Second, there is no evidence that the upscale tenants, shoppers, and residents required to make these mega-projects succeed will ever materialize. LA is no longer a boomtown, but an old, deteriorating city, mired in poverty, inequality, and decay. Instead, like the Hollywood and Highland shopping center, the new skyscrapers encouraged by the Update will languish until their developers are forced to beg for public handouts to avoid bankruptcy.
If City Hall really wants to revitalize Hollywood and the rest of Los Angeles, it must provide amenities, not green light financial speculation. This city desperately needs code enforcement, bans on supergraphics and billboards, undergrounded utility wires, good schools, extensive transit and bike lanes, more parks and community centers, repaired streets and sidewalks, and an urban forest.
This ought to be the clear local lesson from the Wall Street financial crisis that began in 2008 and has yet to be resolved.
(Richard Platkin is a veteran planning professional and an occasional contributor to CityWatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org) -cw
Richard (Dick) H. Platkin, AICP