Mon, Apr

Councilmember Ryu Infects the Valley with ‘Spot Zoning’ … Adding Fuel to the Recall Fires


BEGGING FOR RECALL-We’ve all heard about the ruckus in Hollywood about spot zoning. That is the practice of councilmembers’ taking R-1 lots with single family homes and re-zoning them for large apartment complexes, often to be built with tax dollars as Affordable Housing. 

Hollywood got so fed up that it spawned the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative. Well, Councilmember David Ryu isn’t going to ignore poor old Sherman Oaks. Councilman Ryu has brought Spot Zoning to the Valley. 

Claiming to be the homeowner’s friend and to protect his constituency from the developers, Councilmember Ryu has not voted NO on a large development project since he was elected. 

Councilmember Ryu did vote YES on the gigantic Palladium Towers in Hollywood, and now he has moved on to destroying single family homes in Sherman Oaks. Approving Spot Zoning is a strange way to protect his district from Spot Zoning. 

When the neighbors told the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council that they wanted to retain the R-1 zoning for their homes along Magnolia Boulevard and in the nearby neighborhood, Ryu’s response was that the community should be glad that he let them know what was happening. 

It may sound strange for a councilmember wanting praise for not concealing when a developer seeks Spot Zoning. In the culture that permeates Los Angeles City Council, however, being deceptive and closing the community completely out of any and all input to major decisions like Spot Zoning is Standard Operating Procedure. So, councilmember Ryu does seem to be a little more open than the other councilmembers. Some think that it’s the same as the difference between a polite mugger who does pistol whip you and one who needlessly whacks you on the head after stealing your wallet. 

Spot Zoning can destroy the value of a family’s major asset, the home. 

But these enterprising families are fighting back. They got the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council to reject the project despite the developer’s renting a large bus to bring his friends and employees to stack the Neighborhood Council’s audience in favor of demolishing the homes. Perhaps, the SHNC Board member resented such crass manipulation. 

And now, these neighbors may sign on to the Recall Ryu campaign which grew out of his support for the Palladium Towers and his deception over putting a professional basketball court in the wilderness of Runyon Canyon. 

We can expect Ryu’s crocodile tears any time now. Nothing makes a Councilmember tear up faster than a Recall. 

But don’t be naive, that will not stop Ryu’s Spot Zoning of R-1 homes to Multifamily Affordable Housing. Ryu has promised this R-1 neighborhood to the developer, and Ryu knows on which side his bread is ultimately buttered. 

On the other hand, Ryu’s mega support for developers is earning him a lot of enemies. Along with Krekorian and O’Farrell, Councilmember Ryu may become prey in the Recall Games.


(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney. He can be reached at: [email protected]. Abrams views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

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