NEIGHBORHOOD POLITICS-Chair of the California Housing Finance Agency’s board, Matthew Jacobs' company presented plans for their controversial 750-756 N. Edinburgh Ave. project at Tuesday’s Mid City West Committee Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee. This project will use the Ellis Act to remove eight families from their homes. The result of the presentation was a motion passed to require a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and to oppose the project.
The California Housing Agency’s mission is to “support the needs of renters and homebuyers by providing financing and programs that create safe, decent and affordable housing opportunities for low to moderate income Californians.” Jacobs plans to build eight three-story houses that will sell for over $1 million each. This project is in addition to the 118-124 N. Flores St. project.
At MCWCC’s meeting Los Angeles City Counclilmember Paul Koretz was represented by John Darnell, his District Director. An audience of more than twenty stakeholders were present.
Representing the Jacobs’ 750 N. Edinburgh Ave Small Lot Subdivision was Guy Penini, Co-Principal, and Katherine Costa, a Project Manager and Architectural Designer. The developer was also joined by two people operating GoPro cameras.
Among those who spoke was Alisha Wainwright, a tenant who lives in the Edinburgh Ave building they plan on tearing down. She spoke emotionally about the impact of being evicted from her home. Her voice was joined by four of her neighbors who live within a few block radius of the endangered historic apartments—they eloquently spoke of the impact this oversized, overpriced project will have.
Of the many other stakeholders of Mid City West who spoke, none seemed to support the project.
During the meeting, the developer admitted that the city was probably going to require more from them to obtain a demolition permit, but he would not actually say they would do an EIR. He only said they would do what was legally required.
As it seems the approval process will take more time than they had been planning on, committee member Keith Nakata asked if they would allow the tenants to stay longer. Mr. Penini only said he would deal with each tenant individually.
After the public speakers, John Darnell said that while councilmember Koretz doesn’t usually take a position on projects at this stage, he encouraged those who spoke about the project to send letters to LA’s Planning Department to express their concerns.
Following a spirited discussion among the members of the Planning and Land Use Committee, board member Liza Gerberding introduced this motion:
Mid City West Community Council opposes the project as proposed, on the grounds that it would entail the destruction of 8 units of rent-stabilized, nearly 100-year-old, historic multifamily housing in the Beverly Grove area. We ask that the applicant prepare a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the project, including its impacts on rent stabilized housing, Ellis Act evictions, and the historic value of the existing structures.
The Committee approved the motion with 7 yeas, 0 nays and one abstention.
(Steven Luftman is media contact for Save Beverly Grove.)