THE LOS FELIZ IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION HELD ITS THIRD GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING OF 2012 at the Autry National Center on October 15. The evening began with a delicious “Oktoberfest” supper buffet staged by LFIA Hospitality Co-Chairs, Tess Nelson and George Pao, and their committee. The overflow crowd was greeted by the friendly welcoming Membership Committee, supervised by its chair, Nyla Arslanian.
The formal meeting began with announcements and introductions by current First Vice-President, Chris Laib. Spirited remarks to the audience were made by Council District 4 Councilmember, Tom LaBonge.
Three speakers then addressed future Los Feliz development trends in the business district (Brian Cornelius, Vice-President for Development, Caruso Affiliated), the restaurant and nightclub scene (Kerry Morrison, Executive Director of the Hollywood Entertainment Business Improvement District), and the impact of the recently approved Hollywood Community Plan (Bill Roshen, President of the City of Los Angeles Planning Commission).
Cornelius described early plans to redevelop the Los Feliz Post Office property. The proposal’s objectives are to beautify the Vermont Avenue site, create an opportunity for home-grown businesses, add parking for the neighborhood, and create a pocket park, all within a sustainable design. Single story shops would front Vermont Avenue with parking behind the stores. The post office would relocate to a below grade suite, with free parking directly opposite. The project would also include fifty residential units fronting New Hampshire Avenue with separate resident underground parking.*
Morrison described the unintended consequences of a successful Hollywood Entertainment BID initiative in 1999 to revitalize the district. Hollywood did become more trendy, but by 2006, the club scene became saturated, with a lack of consistency and supervision to the thriving nightclub scene. An increase in party busses and public intoxication has made the streets less safe.
Because Los Feliz currently appears to be experiencing new club development with later hours and heavier traffic in local restaurants, Morrison made several recommendations to our community. She strongly advised the enforcement of conditional use permits as new clubs open, the establishment of a ceiling on the number of nightclubs in the community, widespread video surveillance on the streets, regulation of club promoters through licensing requirements, and encouragement of staggered phased closing times so that not all late-night clubs close at once.
Roshen described the newly adopted Hollywood Community Plan where Los Feliz is the eastern most neighborhood included. This working template encourages future city development around many centers of varying densities with available public transportation opportunities. The plan is predicated on the fact that density should occur along transit corridors and be kept out of residential areas. The plan seeks to support development through community planning while recognizing the shifting trend towards city living and away from suburbs. Thus, it emphasizes walkable urban environments, preservation of neighborhoods, further limitations on mansionization, recreational development of the Los Angeles River, healthier living, and 113 new train stations over the next ten years.
Questions from the audience were addressed by the three speakers following the formal presentations, with all the proceedings moderated by LFIA Program Chair, Patti Ruben.
* Brian Cornelius is no longer with Caruso Affiliated, and the project is currently in flux.