Boyle Heights - How will this neighborhood grow? Certainly, it’s going to grow. But how?
The Boyle Heights Community Plan is being updated by Los Angeles City Planning, more than 20 years after the last update. This means reexamining the neighborhood - if not street-by-street, then at least commercial corridor by commercial corridor. It will take into consideration everything from jobs and transportation to neighborhood identity and (especially this time around) housing.
At the time of the last Community Plan Update - adopted in 1998 - the neighborhood was preparing for the redevelopment of part of Aliso Village, and three new stations of what became the Metro Gold Line. Planners also presumed most of the new growth in the neighborhood would be along the Cesar E. Chavez corridor, and that industrial activity would continue along the L.A. River.
This time, a more environmentally friendly future is in store for the river, and development is foreseen for transit corridors such as First Street, Soto Street, and Whittier Boulevard, according to a Planning Department website. Planners are preparing for 11,000 new housing units in the area by the year 2040, according to Nora Frost, the public information director for L.A. Planning. Yet the city also wants to safeguard against oversized development.
How to do both?
In large part, by outlining some basic criteria for building plans, said Haydee Urita-Lopez, principal city planner for Los Angeles.
"Currently the Boyle Heights Community Plan does not have any design standards," Urita-Lopez said. "Now, zoning includes mass and scale and frontage requirements."
And one other thing can be added to the design standards, she said: Open space.
As where exactly the new housing can go, there seems to be no single answer. Planners are looking for opportunities where they exist - especially in areas that are accessible to buses and trains, Urita-Lopez said.
Deals could be worked out with developers in exchange for more affordable housing and more bedrooms in the units. Requirements could be relaxed for converting garages into living space and building new residences in backyards.
The standards would also have to be developed around the specific characters of different community corridors. The zoning for open space along Whittier Boulevard, for example, won’t be the same as along the Cesar Chavez corridor, Urita-Lopez said.
For this reason among others, the planning department is focusing heavily on community outreach as the plan is developed. That includes workshops and public hearings before a final plan is drafted and then reviewed by several city commissions and the full City Council.
“We want to hear from everybody,” Urita-Lopez said.
Those with questions about the plan and process can contact the following Planning Department staff members:
- Kiran Rishi
- (213) 978-1169