The Los Feliz Improvement Association held its third general membership meeting of 2012 at the Autry National Center on October 15. There were three speakers presenting information on three aspects of future Los Feliz development: Brian Caruso, representing Caruso Affiliated, offered his preliminary proposal to rebuild the Post Office property on Vermont Avenue. Kerry Morrison representing the Hollywood Business Improvement District spoke about the challenges that expansion of restaurant and nightclubs brings to neighborhoods abutted by residential properties. Bill Roshen representing the City of Los Angeles Planning Commission, spoke about the impact that the recently adopted Hollywood Community Plan will have on future Los Feliz development. The following is a detailed summary of the information that they offered.
Brian Cornelius, VP Development, Caruso Affiliated
Caruso Affiliated has a plan in only the preliminary stages to redevelop the Los Feliz Post Office property. Nothing is yet determined, although inquiries have been made to purchase the property from the post office.
The goals of the plan are to:
• Beautify Vermont Avenue where Post Office is-from lot to lot.
• Create an opportunity for home-grown businesses.
• Contribute to the needs of the neighborhood.
• Support other merchants–especially by adding parking for the neighborhood.
• Improve relationship between residential and commercial services within walking distance of each other.
• Create a pocket park.
• Have a sustainable design.
The Current Plan Includes:
• Single story store-fronts on Vermont, possibly with an anchor that is a small gourmet or farmer’s market.
• Parking behind stores accessed from Vermont–cost equivalent to city meters.
• Post Office relocated to below grade, with free parking directly opposite.
• 50 residential units fronting on New Hampshire with separate resident parking underground. (Max height 60 ft).
To be realized, the Plan requires:
• Neighborhood support.
• Post Office support.
• Zoning variance to allow for expansive parking since the city’s Station Neighborhood Area Plan (SNAP) is designed to encourage walking and public transit and, therefore limits parking for developments.
During the Q and A session, Caruso also indicated that his goal is to provide the kind of stores and items that you cannot access on-line, and that they will work hard to ensure that traffic on Vermont Avenue does not worsen.
Kerry Morrison, Executive Director, Hollywood Entertainment Business Improvement District (BID)
In 1999-2000 the Hollywood BID encouraged the development of nightlife in Hollywood in an effort to revitalize the business district. Their efforts were remarkably successful, but as Hollywood became more trendy, it also became less safe because more people were out at night.
From 2004-2006 the club scene became saturated. The involvement of Club promotors brought a lack of consistency and supervision to the thriving nightclub scene. Lately, this has been aggravated by an increase in party busses and public intoxication.
Hollywood BID’s Goal for 2012 is to restore a safe and fun environment to the Hollywood night scene.
Los Feliz appears to be experiencing new club development with later hours and heavier traffic in local restaurants. Morrison’s advice to our community is:
• Enforce Conditional Use Permits as new clubs open.
• Establish a ceiling on the number of nightclubs in the community.
• Create video surveillance on the streets.
• Regulate promoters through licensing requirements.
• Encourage phased closing times so that not all late-night clubs close at once.
During the Q and A, Morrison advised us to ensure that restaurants know what they are allowed by their license and anticipate any changes in the restaurant’s character before they occur.
Bill Roschen, Architect and President, City of Los Angeles Planning Commission
The new Hollywood Community Plan has recently been adopted by the city. Los Feliz is the northeastern most neighborhood included in the plan. In creating this working template, the City Planning Commission has designed future city development around a “Center Concept” to create a city of many centers of varying densities with available public transportation opportunities. The plan is predicated on the fact that existing commercial corridors are insufficient for walking/use. The plan seeks to support development through community planning.
Elements of the plan include:
• Recognizing the shifting trend towards city living and away from suburbs.
• Emphasizing “walkable urbanism.”
• Utilizing volunteer architects and planners to offer initiate.preservation.
• Creating an Ordinance to further limit mansionization.
• Developing the LA River to emphasize bicycling and walking.
• Healthier living.
• Providing 113 new train stations over the next 10 years.