Lincoln Heights - A massive housing project along Pasadena Avenue is moving forward after an appeal against the development was rejected by planning commissioners today after hours of often heated public comments and testimony.
The L.A. Planning Commission voted 5-1 against the appeal on the proposed project at Pasadena Avenue at West Avenue 34. This allows the development process to continue on the five-story, 514,756 square-foot mixed use building with 468 dwelling units and 16,395 square feet of commercial space.
A large number of people called in during about about four hours of public comment to support the appeal and speak out against the project - occasionally in abusive language. They cited concerns over gentrification, traffic, and environmental issues.
But most of the Planning Commission members said the appeal could be granted only on narrow grounds, which had not been met. The appeal specifically addressed a 70% increase in density that had been allowed for the projected under a Transit Oriented Communities Affordable housing Incentive Program.
Addressing commenters who complained that gentrification threatened Lincoln Heights, Commissioner Dana Perlman said the appeal had to be decided based only on the impact this particular project would have on the community, and whether there was significant evidence of unavoidable impacts.
Commission President Samantha Millman agreed that the group did not have the discretion to stop the project. However, she did call for a state agency to study whether construction would send out toxic chemicals into the air.
The one dissenting vote, Commissioner Karen Mack, said she was sympathetic to the community, and talked of seeking larger answers for what was happening in Lincoln Heights.
“I’m skeptical of the developer that they connected with the community,” Mack also said, “because - they’re here.”
Sixty-six units are to be be set aside for the next 55 years as very low income housing.
The commission's vote had been delayed by several weeks after the developer was put under pressure to conduct more public outreach about the public.