Chances for City Council approval of a building moratorium in areas west and east of UCLA improved significantly this week, Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky said Wednesday.
Yaroslavsky is sponsoring the moratorium to halt replacement of low-rise apartments with high-density units. He said he was pleased by the City Council's planning and environmental committee's unanimous approval of the moratorium Tuesday.
Council President Pat Russell and Councilman Howard Finn, considered by residential groups to be lukewarm supporters of a building halt, voted for the moratorium.
"I now believe the moratorium will be passed by the council," Yaroslavsky said. "Several weeks ago, I took Howard Finn on a helicopter flight over the area to observe firsthand the demolitions taking place."
Aides to Russell and Finn said Wednesday that the two council members will support the moratorium when it goes before the City Council.
The proposed moratorium, which is backdated to take effect Aug. 15, is scheduled for City Council action either Friday or sometime after Labor Day. If passed, it will stay in effect for one year, with the possibility of an additional year's extension.
Residents of the area contend that the moratorium is needed to allow completion of a revised Westwood community plan. Unless the moratorium is enacted, the residents maintain, the current pace of redevelopment in the area will completely change the character of the community.
Of primary concern to them is the so-called North Westwood Village, an area bounded by Gayley, Veteran and LeConte avenues. Historically, the area has been dominated by low-rise apartments rented by students and middle-income people.
Over the past six months, developers have demolished several of the old apartment buildings and replaced them with larger complexes, charging rents as high as high as $1,500 a month per unit. Rents on the old apartment units range from $500 to $800 a month, according to the North Westwood Village Residents Assn.
Yaroslavsky said that a goal of any revision in the community plan is to encourage the development of affordable housing for students and faculty of UCLA.