A Must-Know List for NC's: Community Plan Updates, COVID-19

LEANING RIGHT-Liberals and conservatives, young and old, and renters and homeowners need to come together in each community and neighborhood council to address the following "laundry lists" for their Community Plan Updates. 

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a few realities not previously anticipated, and therefore a reconsideration of the Community Plan Updates must be performed by the City, and with reanalysis of our future planning/transportation trends. 

Below is what the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) just passed, but it (for the most part) applies to all NC's and regions of the City. It is hoped that these motions can be of help to other NC's encountering their own Community Plan Updates.

So, feel free to "plug and chug" your own regional/local issues and neighborhood council names, as you see fit. Good luck! 

The Mar Vista Community Council strongly supports, and includes as official input to the Los Angeles Department of City Planning in the Palms-Mar Vista-Del Rey Community Plan Update: 

1) Inclusion of whether the City has sufficient electrical power supply to its Westside grid, and if all westside electric substations have reached their maximal capacity. 

2) Inclusion of whether the reduction of Exposition Light Rail trains and coordinating bus and Microtransit services (such as LANow and DASH) affect the Transit-Oriented and Affordable Housing Capacity in the Palms-Mar Vista-Del Rey region. 

3) Inclusion of whether the water supply and sewer system currently available to the Palms-Mar Vista-Del region is sufficient, including for the additional ADUs and Jr. ADUs already built, and if future densification will be sufficiently matched by increased water supply, water supply carrying and sewer system infrastructure. 

4) If the natural gas supply is currently sufficient and how new developments will be affecting the natural gas infrastructure. (For Bullet Points 5-8 below, it is emphasized that: 

  1.  a) the UCLA/ITS study sponsored by SCAG, the Southern California Association of Governments, noted that automobile use has steadily increased in Los Angeles County over the past 10-15 years, and 
  2.  b) the same study concluded that the single most important factor in transit use is NOT proximity to transit but access to an automobile). 

5) Inclusion of whether Mobility will be significantly and negatively impacted, in that the overwhelming majority of new residential housing will be Car-Oriented, and not Transit-Oriented, and will be Market-Priced, and not Affordable Housing which the community has stressed the need for: 

  1.  a) To date, the City of Los Angeles has allowed significant construction of developments that have NOT proven to be Transit-Oriented, sufficiently Pedestrian-Friendly, and encouraged creation of Affordable Housing. For over a decade, new developments have not led to increased transit use, and have not led to more pedestrian/bicycle mobility and have not led to more Affordable Housing. 
  2.  b) There is currently no proper outcomes-based metric to best ensure that Transit-Oriented Development is anything more than "transit-adjacent", and there is no outcomes-based metric that will ensure that such transit-adjacent development will not worsen congestion, and reduce easy access to walkable streets and bus/rail transit. 
  3.  c) Inclusion of existing, and implementing new, planned bicycle enhanced networks and neighborhood enhanced networks and what affect that has on mobility. d) how the implementation of Livable Blvd. Streetscape Plans will affect traffic and how adding a bus rapid transit line will affect congestion and mobility in the Plan Area. 

6) Inclusion of whether the increased congestion caused by both densification and road diets will create significant levels of pollution, with respect to air quality, light pollution, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. 

  1.  a) To date, the City of Los Angeles has allowed higher levels of pollution than normally accepted by state and federal agencies, and under the reasoning of "appropriate mitigation" that regularly has NOT held up when challenged in court. A consistent and appropriate level measurement of water, air, and soil contamination must be applied so that health of residents and neighbors is not subverted or ignored under the reasoning of "overriding considerations”. 

7) Inclusion of whether all City Council Districts and Community Plan Updates are equally-coordinated amongst all Westside communities with respect to increased development and densification, including the outlying regions of Los Angeles that have more space and opportunities for increased residential housing, as well as commercial and industrial space. 

  1.  a) There is no proper mention of an objective, accurate, and relevant Cumulative Effect for each Plan area, so that any "spot zoning" allowed for "overriding considerations" will be properly considered with all other developments and transportation/infrastructure to best determine the safest and most scientifically/ environmentally-viable capacity for the next 25 years in any Plan Update. 
  2.  b) There is inadequate identification of, and inadequate funding sources for, and inadequate Neighborhood Council participation in and access to, the Neighborhood Protection Plans and West Los Angeles TIMP (Transportation Improvement and Mitigation Plan) and West Los Angeles Coastal Transportation Plan funds already in the Palms-Mar Vista-Del Rey Plan that must be addressed in any effective and appropriate Community Plan Update. 
  3.  c) We request that the Neighborhood Protection Plan be re-established (LADOT required participation). 

8) Inclusion of whether sufficient local commercial- and industrial-zoned land will exist to create middle-class jobs, encourage domestic/local manufacturing self-sufficiency, and minimized commuting distance. 

9) Inclusion of whether electrical, Wi-Fi, cell tower, and affordable location/computer infrastructure will exist to support and encourage current and future telecommuting. 

10) Inclusion of whether sufficient open space exists at this time for individuals, families, and children for both health purposes and quality of life and provides for open space, including that which was to be created and provided in the last Community Plan over 15 years ago, which was never provided, at a calculation of 1 acre per 1,000 residents: 

  1.  a) Inclusion of potential partnerships, City renting, and/or City purchases of LAUSD property such as schools for increased parcels that create sufficient open space and possibly for more residential housing, specifically Affordable Housing. 
  2.  b) Inclusion of the open space and bikeways/walkways adjacent to local Los Angeles rivers and flood control channels to create new and safe avenues for both recreational purposes and multimodal transportation options, including designs for closure, privacy for adjacent land owners and to prevent the space from being used for other uses. 
  3.  c) Inclusion of unused rail rights-of-ways to create new bikeways/walkways to create new and safe avenues for both recreational purposes and multimodal transportation options. 

11) Inclusion of whether SCAG data and projections, measured with and/or against City data and projections, supports the densification that threatens middle and working class neighborhood transformation into under provisioned residential zones, and encourages developments that are of too great a height to promote environmental safety and quality of life. 

And the COVID-19 pandemic requires the following:

The Mar Vista Community Council also strongly supports, and includes for official input to the Los Angeles Department of City Planning in the Palms-Mar Vista-Del Rey Community Plan Update, the following: 

1) An appropriate assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic, which is and will remain of unknown duration even with potential future vaccines and/or treatments, will impact current and future Mobility, Housing, Environmental, and Health/Safety needs and concerns; and 

2) A 6-12 month delay in the Community Plan Update process, until such aforementioned needs and concerns, can be appropriately and accurately addressed in the Community Plan Update.


(CityWatch Columnist, Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He was termed out of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) twice after two stints as a Board member for 8-9 years and is also a Board member of the Westside Village Homeowners Association. He previously co-chaired the MVCC Outreach and Planning Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of the MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He was previously co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee, the grassroots Friends of the Green Line (which focused on a Green Line/LAX connection), and the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)