By BARRY LANK
LINCOLN HEIGHTS – There has been a lot of buzz in the neighborhood about what the city has planned for five public parking lots near the shops and restaurants of North Broadway. Some claim the lots will be turned into homeless centers and the sites for 1,000 apartments. While officials have refuted that number and other claims, it’s clear that city leaders want affordable housing built on those lots.
The plans for affordable housing were set in motion nearly two years ago by Mayor Eric Garcetti, who recommended that numerous municipally-owned properties across the city, including the Lincoln Heights parking lots, could used for housing. Since then, the city has been refining the list and seeking out proposals from developers.
The city wants housing built on five Department of Transportation parking lots near North Broadway:
216-224 S. Avenue 24
2331-2337 N. Workman and 2330-2338 N. Daly
154-164 S. Avenue 24
Some Lincoln Heights residents have begun to organize in opposition, saying the community has been left out of the process, including the selection of potential developers.
Building housing on the lots they say will eliminate needed parking spaces for North Broadway shops. One group, the Coalition to Save Lincoln Heights, has started an online fundraiser to wage a legal battle against the city’s proposal.
“This will impact the business district of Lincoln Heights, as well as drop the property value of the community,” said the group’s fundraising page.
In response, the office of 1st District Councilmember Gil Cedllo last week issued statements and fact sheets to update residents about the parking lots.
Under the current concept, the housing to be built in Lincoln Heights would include apartments that would be reserved for low-income tenants as well as units rented out at market rates. Some homeless people could end up living there as well for little or no rent and supported by social service programs, said council office spokesman Fredy Ceja
As to how many housing units will be built in Lincoln Heights, that has yet to be determined, say city officials. However, Ceja said that any parking spaces lost to housing will be replaced.
The City Administrative Officer – which is overseeing the Affordable Housing Opportunities Sites Initiative – estimates that a total of 500 units will be built over 12 city properties spread across town. It’s not clear how many of those 500 units would be in Lincoln Heights.
It’s not the first time a proposal to build housing on public parking lots has stirred up controversy on the Eastside. In Highland Park, the city’s plans to build a mix of housing on lots between Figueroa Street and the Highland Park Gold Line station has been tied up for years in the face of community opposition and legal challenges.
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