The proposed Hollywood Community Plan states that one of its primary aims is the
identification and preservation of those elements that contribute to the unique
character of different residential neighborhoods.
This is a goal that endorses the preservation of our historic district’s identity, and the plan embodies this objective whenever it addresses the Los Feliz community.
This is accomplished in our residential districts through the preservation of the scale of existing residential streets, maintenance of public view sheds, controlled hillside development through the Hillside Ordinances, beautification of streetscapes, and the
preservation and even expansion of open space and parkland.
Our business district benefits from a community design overlay on Hillhurst north of Franklin, promotion of pedestrian oriented changes, complementary commercial development in the Los Feliz Village, construction of new parking facilities in the business districts, and traffic mitigation improvements that allow for more flexible control of traffic flow in Los Feliz.
Nevertheless, there remain a few concerns that continue due to three former and continuing development templates that impact Los Feliz. First, the Hollywood Redevelopment Project extends south of Franklin Avenue and as far east as Serrano Avenue in Los Feliz. The stated aim of this initiative is to “encourage economic development…[and] expand housing for all income groups,” which seems to be at odds with preservation of the neighborhood’s character.
Second and third, the areas of Los Feliz west of Hillhurst Avenue to the 101 Freeway, and south of Franklin Avenue are part of the Vermont/Western Station Neighborhood Area Plan (SNAP) as well as the East Hollywood/Beverly-Normandie Earthquake Disaster Assistance Project. While these two special zoning districts seek to conserve the scale of existing residential neighborhoods, they also encourage increased density in the
The proposed relaxed zoning regulations in the three development templates would allow for increased concentration of both businesses and residences. Thus, they carry the potential to alter the character of those Los Feliz neighborhoods that abut the major east-west transit corridors, especially Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards.
The recommendations for nearby Hollywood are more controversial. The plan recognizes that “Hollywood’s renaissance over the past decade has been spurred by the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of its remarkable historic resources.” This has resulted from restoration (e.g. historic theaters), conversion of commercial buildings into new housing, and rehabilitation or replacement of blighted properties. Los Feliz has also enjoyed these trends over the last decades in the village business district as well as in our historic housing stock.
The plan becomes an issue for some in Hollywood in its future population estimates. It relies on the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) population projections which have not been shown to be particularly accurate in the past. The formerly predicted 235,000 residents in Hollywood in 2010 in reality only reached 198,228, based on the 2010 United States Census. SCAG now projects 244,602 Hollywood residents in 2030 despite recent trends for population reductions. These disputed data are the major basis for the plan’s adoption of increased housing density for Hollywood, and the city policy to encourage balanced population and employment growth along transportation corridors such as on Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards.
In response to local concerns, the Planning Department has recently recommended an
option for specific plans in Central Hollywood that would insure that an area is compatible with the community’s desires by allowing local residents to limit density through height restrictions and setbacks.
The proposed increased densification and accompanying traffic could impact Los Feliz. Easing of building height limits permitted in Hollywood might eventually spread to include the major Los Feliz commercial corridors. In the end, the character of Los Feliz could be drastically altered. Thus, it will be important that the LFIA with other neighboring area associations closely monitor the evolving community plan to minimize any adverse consequences as the plan is implemented.