A project of 80 apartments and condos planned for city parking lots near the Highland Park Gold Line station took another step forward on Wednesday after the Los Angeles City Council voted against an appeal brought by residents who said the project is too big and out of character with the neighborhood. The council also voted unanimously to back the Planning Commission that permitted the developer to build more housing units than would normally be allowed and also avoid a lengthy review of the project’s impact on the environment, traffic, city services and other issues.
A handful of Highland Park residents who brought the appeal spoke out against the Highland Park Transit Village at the City Council meeting, stating an environmental impact study was necessary to determine what effects the Transit Village would have on the area. One complaint was that the proposed project, which be spread over three separate sites, would bring more traffic, and a demand for more resources would strain the neighborhood.
“This will destroy the corridor. Things will change,” said Jesus Rosas, whose business is along Figueroa Street, near the proposed development.
The Transit Village will stretch from Avenue 56 to Avenue 59 and along East Marmion Way, with a promise from developers McCormack Baron Salazar, that there will be no loss of spaces in the city-owned parking lot. The project will be a joint private and public development, managed by the developers. The site will be built in two phases, with the first phase tackling a 50-unit residential building and a 10-unit multi-family building reserved for residents with low and moderate incomes. The second phase will focus on a 20-unit condominium.
Before the vote was taken, District 1 Council member Gil Cedillo, who represents the area, praised the development and played down the concerns that the new buildings – which would rise as high as 47 feet - would be out of place.
“It’s not a tower, it’s a two story structure,” Cedillo said. Someone from the audience shouted, “It’s three stories.”
“Obviously there are still some concerns,” he added.
Local advocacy group Friends of Highland Park requested an Environmental Impact Report from the developers and would like to bring up more issues about traffic, fault lines and the impact of adding so many residential units added to the area. Outside the council chamber after the vote took place, the Friends of Highland Park shook their heads, stated that they were considering possible legal action.
“I think it’s the wrong area to build something like that,” said Lisa Durado.