Ave. 34 project rendering

Rendering of the project planned for 135–153 West Avenue 34.

Lincoln Heights - The City Planning Commission today is scheduled to review a challenge to a giant apartment complex that is being opposed by residents.

Update: The issue has been continued to the Planning Commission's next meeting on Aug. 27.

The mixed-use project on Avenue 34 at Pasadena Avenue would be dominated by a trio of buildings with as many as five stories and 468 apartments. The development would include 66 apartment reserved for very-low income tenants as well as more than 16,000 square feet of commercial space.

An earlier decision by the Planning Department allowed the project to be much larger and dense than would normally be allowed since it would include affordable housing and is located near mass transit.

That decision has been challenged in an appeal that will be reviewed by the Planning Commission.

The appeal - officially credited to Patricia Camacho, who identified herself as a neighbor along Ave. 34 - said there are inconsistencies in the Letter of Determination that allowed for the density.  

Other residents have complained that the project provides insufficient parking in an area where street parking is already scarce and will generate more traffic congestion on narrow streets.

petition is also being circulated demanding a public meeting with L.A. City Councilman Gil Cedillo, LA City Planning and the Pinyon Group, a real estate entity associated with Jay H. Stark, who is identified in planning documents as the applicant for this project.

“This is the largest development in the history of Lincoln Heights and the community was never informed or included in the conversation,” the petitioning group said in a Facebook statement.

Indeed, no public hearing has been required for the project up to this point, according to Steve Garcia of L.A. City Planning.

“The previously approved entitlement requests of Transit Oriented Communities Affordable Housing Incentives, Site Plan Review, and Waiver of Dedication and Improvement did not require an initial public hearing,” Garcia said. “An appeal of that determination does require a public hearing.”

The staff report from the Planning Department recommends rejecting the appeal upholding the density increase.

Robert T. De Forest, a principal with the Pinyon Group, told The Eastsider, "We are proud to be proposing a more environmentally-friendly version of the previously-approved transit-oriented development - while providing more than double the number of affordable housing units - without displacing a single person."

The Planning Meeting will take place after 8:30 a.m. on Zoom, at planning-lacity-org.zoom.us/j/96883995963 - under the Meeting ID 968 8399 5963.

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