Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Large Echo Park housing project remains on hold even as new state law benefits big developments


A large residential project has been proposed for the site of Barlow Hospital


ECHO PARK — A new law could make it easier for large building developments across the state to move forward. But a spokesman for a long-stalled project at Barlow Respiratory Hospital says that, at this point, the new state  law isn’t reviving plans to turn part of the hospital campus next to Dodger Stadium into a large development with hundreds of residential units.

The law “has not changed anything in plans for Barlow,” said Jerry Neuman, an attorney who is acting as spokesman for the development. “The potential for change at Barlow is still under consideration. A revised project could come later. But it’s not there yet.”

The new law renews the governor’s power to streamline approval for certain large projects. This “streamlining” includes putting a nine-month cap on potential lawsuits under California’s main environmental law that applies to development, according to the L.A. Times. Barlow’s plans for a large residential community on its campus near Stadium Way and Scott Avenue was one of four Los Angeles “mega-projects” that would be able to get fast-tracked  under the bill, the Times said.

Senate Bill 734, which  was signed into law by  Gov. Brown’s, greases the wheels for building projects that draw an investment of at least $100 million and  create skilled, high-wage jobs that pay prevailing wages.

The Barlow project at least looked like it was big enough to qualify. Barlow originally sought to rezone its property in order to create a residential development of more than 800 homes.  The number of proposed residential units was then scaled back to about 400. When last heard from, the hospital had applied for permits to begin grading a corner of its property — not for the residential development, but for a proposed new hospital building. It was the proposed development of residential units, however, that was supposed to pay for new hospital construction.

Neuman said the project hasn’t moved forward since then.

With a renewed chance to simplify the approval process, could the Barlow residential project come back to life? Neuman said it’s still uncertain how the law might apply to Barlow.

Barry Lank grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, then went away for a seriously long time. He has worked in TV and radio, and currently helps produce The Final Edition Radio Hour.

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  1. I’m rooting for the NIMBY’s on this one.

    Seems like a poor location for infill development. Keep the focus on Sunset, where exiting infrastructure can better accommodate new residents.

    It’d be cool if the city could afford to purchase this property and expand Elysian Park… densify the flats with mixed-use and you increase the tax base for nice things like parks. Just saying…

    • Totally agree. This piece of land is one of the last large undeveloped sites left in the city and has continuity with Elysian Park. It’s an important wildlife buffer and area for residents to walk and enjoy some nature. Also the traffic disaster that Stadium Way already is during rush hours and during dodger season is unthinkable with 400 or more residences added to the mix. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Dodger organization contributed money to help the city buy the land as part of Elysian Park to be used by all citizens of Los Angeles. Might heal some of the bad juju created by the Chavez Ravine land grab. We need to protect what little is left of large undeveloped plots of land. Keep the growth on Sunset.

  2. The new law won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2017. But when it does, it is simply a time limit for the courts to resolve lawsuits over a project – but there are no repercussions if the deadline is missed, nothing to enforce it. And I would not for a minute expect that the courts will worry much about that deadline. In fact, I’m sure they will consider it as little other than a wish, just an unconstitutional statutory infringement on the judiciary.

    But while all the noise has been about this smoke-and-mirrors time limit on lawsuits, other parts of the new law will have great impact on smaller projects, lifting most of the CEQA requirements for those, which are the primary bases on which to challenge the projects.

  3. Im all for development but this one is a horrible idea and should not happen

  4. The “…hospital had applied for permits to begin grading a corner of its property…for a proposed new hospital building. It was the proposed development of residential units, however, that was supposed to pay for new hospital construction.” The link to a 2014 Eastsider story noted that only about three acres would be used for a hospital.

    Barlow’s local history is interesting, having been built in 1902 to care for TB patients. http://www.barlowfdn.org/about-us/history/

    Per the site, “…we are constrained by outdated and inadequate spaces, and a deteriorating and seismically inadequate physical plant.” It’s current iteration is as a Long-Term Acute Care Hospital caring for patients with chronic critical illness and complex respiratory conditions requiring a ventilator.

    Whatever happens re residential development, I hope someone steps up to the plate and offers support to those trying to rebuild a respected and needed facility, unique to Los Angeles.

    • The reason their facilities are deteriorating is because they want them too. All things deteriorate after time. That’s why there is a thing called maintenance. The board at Barlow refuses to put any money into basic upkeep on auxiliary structures because they resent agreeing to let the grounds and the bungalows to become a historical landmark as part of the agreement to build a new hospital.

      Barlow Hospital does serve a great need to it’s patients but it sure has disgraced the beautiful historic campus and disrespected the families who donated those bungalows in memory of loved ones.

  5. No. No. No. Never. I’m all for wise development, but I personally will fight, protest, whatever it takes to make sure a massive development such as a Palmer-built apartment complex NEVER gets built so close to our beloved park. The people of LA deserve better. Just like when we all fought the proposed football stadium in Elysian Park and WON, the people in the surrounding neighborhoods will fight this tooth and nail. This I know.

  6. Rest assured that if Gil Cedillo wins relection in 2017, SOMETHING is going in at the Barlow site, and it will probably be big. Vote JOE4CD1.com to protect the park and make sure Barlow can’t pull any of its shenanigans.

  7. We need cheaper, more affordable house, with no new development – makes perfect sense to me!

    • But why build deeper into the hills, when the flats of Central LA are still so underdeveloped?

      • Is this sarcasm? Honestly, I can’t tell because although the flats are fully developed, a lot of uninformed people argue for higher density. I’m not sure how that will be achieved since local residents don’t want it, the zoning doesn’t allow it, and there isn’t a lot of property for sale that is conducive for high-rise development.

        This is what cracks me up about LA…everyone wants everything without compromise…

        • Fully developed… hardly. Have you ever been to another big city? LA has near infinite room for infill development. Parking lots for days.

          Sure some residents don’t want it. But that’s typically those who own already homes and aren’t affected by rising rents. In fact, they stand to benefit since the less housing that is built, the more their’s is worth (and they don’t even have to lift a finger… younger generations be damned.)

          But most of LA is renters, so the political pressure to build more housing will only snowball. The zoning certainly is an issue, as it hasn’t been properly updated for generations. But that’s not really stopping infill projects… just slowing them down and making them less affordable.

          • I’m guessing that no one thought to contact the numerous parking lot owners about selling before going through the lengthy development process on the above property (stupid developers!) After all, why would they want to sell a vacant asphalt lot that appreciates double-digits every year and generates potentially thousands of dollars a day in revenue with nearly zero maintenance/overhead and has the added benefit of extremely low property tax (since the property has been in their family for decades and never gets reassessed)? I’m sure they wouldn’t even mind paying a couple million in capital gain tax either…who doesn’t love paying taxes?

            Brilliant! Solutions abound……….

          • And yet, papers are filed with the city to redevelop parking lots and low value strip malls every day in this city. Obviously many of these property owners see the value in it.

            Besides, who do you think is picking up the tab for all these low productivity empty lots served by gold plated infrastructure and city services? Take a long look in the mirror.

    • @VOR: Puzzled about your position here. Are you saying that you support building apartments on this hilltop, but think putting higher-density housing near transit corridors is a bad idea?

  8. I take the name grab of ELYSIAN PARK AVE TO VIN SULLY PLAZA AS the coming of future land grabs.
    I see a restaurant row where once community homes stood,
    Year round entertainment like Universal walk coming our way. Changes are not to our liking, after 50+ yrs. In E.P as a powerless person, I’m selling my home.

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