Plan to add some density along the Expo Line wins full council support

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A plan to allow thousands of new apartments and condos to be built around some Expo Line stations on the Westside was approved unanimously today by the Los Angeles City Council.

Under the Exposition Corridor Transit Neighborhood Plan, taller, mixed-use buildings will now be allowed in a half-mile radius around five train stations in Palms, Rancho Park, Sawtelle, Mid-City, and Cheviot Hills.

With the goal of boosting transit ridership, reducing dependency on cars, and creating “vibrant neighborhoods,” the plan rezones 256 acres of land, mostly from industrial and light manufacturing uses to residential and office space.

But one of the more radical pieces of the plan changes single-family zoning on several blocks fronting Bundy Drive south of Expo Line’s Bundy station to allow “neighborhood-scale mixed-use development that creates ground-floor commercial activity” with the “capacity for multifamily housing.”

The plan estimates that between 4,400 and 6,000 new housing units and between 9,400 and 14,300 new jobs could be added across the entire plan area by 2035. Every new residential project built in the plan area that takes advantage of density bonus incentives will have to include “some level” of affordable housing.

Abundant Housing LA, a group that advocates for the construction of more housing in Los Angeles as a solution to the affordability crisis, says the plan “reorients development away from sprawl” and will help “thousands more Angelenos benefit from LA’s public transit” network.

It says parts of the plan that allow “hundreds of single-family parcels to be re-zoned for multi-family housing” are progressive.

But the group’s Westside advocacy coordinator Nick Burns says it doesn’t go far enough in every neighborhood.

At the request of Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, building heights were scaled back on a stretch of Pico Boulevard roughly between the Expo/Sepulveda and the Westwood/Rancho Park stations.

Burns says reducing the building heights means 987 fewer units of housing.

A statement from Koretz’s office says that change reflects input from residents after the city planning commission tweaked the plan in October to allow for taller building heights. That change, he said “contradict[ed] with what we believe are the appropriated capacities for the proposed change areas.”

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