Sat, Apr

Westside Mega-Project Comes Under Fire


HUGH MARTIN EXPO PROJECT WILL OVERWHELM THE NEIGHBORHOOD--The Coalition to Preserve LA, a citywide, community-based group that seeks to reform L.A.’s broken planning and land-use system, has sent out mailers to Westside residents, denouncing the outsized mega-development Martin Expo Town Center.  The proposed project would create 16 new gridlocked intersections on the Westside’s already traffic-jammed streets and more than 7,000 car trips daily.

“The Martin project is overwhelming,” the mailer states. “But we can stop the overdevelopment avalanche.”

Martin Expo Town Center is proposed for the current site of the Martin Cadillac dealership on Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive. The Martin family, which operates Martin Automotive Group, is behind the mega-project. Through a company called Philena Properties, the Martin family is seeking a zone change and General Plan amendment from LA City Hall to build.

Since 2012, Martin Automotive Group and its representatives have contributed $3,650 to the campaign war chests of City Council and mayoral candidates, according the city’s Ethics Commission. In addition, since 2012, Philena Properties has spent $759,121 on politically connected City Hall lobbyists to win over politicians and bureaucrats.

That’s how things work in LA’s broken planning and land-use system — spread around the cash at City Hall and expect profitable favors in return. 

Coalition to Preserve LA mailer

As noted in the Coalition to Preserve LA mailer, Martin Expo Town Center will jam 516 residential units and at least 150,000 square feet of office space on the Martin Cadillac site, and will create 7,151 more car trips daily and 16 new gridlocked intersections. It also seeks a half-dozen on- and off-site liquor licenses and permits for live entertainment.

In other words, for the entire day and deep into the night, neighborhoods surrounding the project will be slammed with traffic jams and other quality-of-life impacts. Also, Angelenos who drive through the area will encounter a gridlock nightmare.

Community activists and such neighborhoods groups as the West of Westwood Homeowners Association, West L.A.-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council, Brentwood Homeowners Association and Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners Association are seriously alarmed by the mega-project.

West LA-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council member Xochitl Gonzalez notes, “The Coalition to Preserve LA mailer is great. People on the Westside know what this project means — a more dangerous place for us to live. It will make it more dangerous to walk across streets, to bike anywhere, to get emergency services.”

She adds, “Anyone on the Westside knows that, during traffic time, Olympic Boulevard becomes a parking lot. The streets cannot take the additional traffic this project will generate. The leaders of Los Angeles are short-sighted. Adding oversized projects like this makes our city a less desirable place to live.”   

Enough is enough. We need to reform L.A.’s broken planning and land-use system, which is what the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative will do. 

In fact, the Los Angeles Times, the LA City Council, Mayor Eric Garcetti and numerous neighborhood groups all agree that reform is desperately needed.

Join our community-based movement by clicking here right now to donate any amount you wish, and follow and cheer our efforts on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. You can also send us an email at [email protected] for more information.

Developers and their politician pals will do anything to defeat our movement and continue their wrong-headed policies. But together, we, the citizens, can create the change that LA needs!

(Patrick Range McDonald writes for the Coalition to Preserve LA.)

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