Muffler shops or cafes? East L.A. plans for the future

The range of possibilities for 3rd Street/L.A. County Regional Planning Department

By C.J. Salgado

EAST LOS ANGELES — About two dozen community members, mostly local business representatives, gathered last week  to review and sound off over the county’s plans to “create a more walkable, attractive, and thriving community” along 3rd Street and other portions of East Los Angeles.

Convened by the county’s Department of Regional Planning and Regional Planning Commission, the event included a public hearing on the 3rd Street Specific Plan  and also a separate presentation on the Community Standards District Update. The specific plan essentially addresses revitalization along  3rd Street, the Metro Gold Line and other commercial corridors in East Los Angeles, as well as the adjacent residential areas. A main component is setting new zoning codes to guide new development while using principles of transit-oriented development to improve traffic flows and pedestrian utilization.

Meanwhile,  CSD Update modernizes zoning requirements in the rest of unincorporated East Los Angeles – the first update since 1988. The goal of the update is to improve “architectural quality and urban design, including revised residential and commercial development standards, landscaping, landscaping, parking, and signs requirements.”

About eight people from the community provided public comment at the hearing held Thursday night at the at the East Los Angeles Public Library. What did they say? Well, there was quite a bit of diversity of opinions.  One  man  wanted the plan to provide for more law enforcement on the corridors while another said that  “lighting is super important” as is the need for more parking. One woman urged the Commission to support “jobs for local artists” and engage them in the work to be done so that the outcome reflects the cultural values of the community.

In addition, there was discussion on the draft Environmental Impact Report  for the Third Street Plan, which includes “analysis of potential impacts to traffic, air quality, noise, utilities, and land use.” Although traffic problems along 3rd Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue seemed to be hot topic at the hearing, there were other concerns, too. For example, others at the hearing called for more green space, less noise from the trains and better mixed-use development. One gentleman even questioned whether “radiation comes off the trains” of the Gold Line.

Moreover, there was some contention over the environmental report itself. For example, one woman was bothered by the lack of notice about the hearing (two days by one account) and wanted more time to review the draft report. This document easily fills up a 1-inch binder and has a “summary” running 28 pages. So, she may have a point.  Another woman seemed disappointed that the report was not available in Spanish.

Despite the numerous comments made at the meeting, the turnout reflected only a fraction of East L.A.’s 125,000  residents.  However, additional opportunity for public comment via other means will continue until June 30. In addition, there will be a public hearing on the CSD Update on July 23.

Click here for additional information about the plans and process.

East L.A. planning meeting | C.J. Salgado

C.J. Salgado is a resdent of East Los Angeles

For further information, go to http://planning.lacounty.gov/ela.

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