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County Objects to Size, Cost of Hollywood Redevelopment Plan

April 24, 1986|KENNETH J. FANUCCHI | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles County will oppose the Hollywood Redevelopment Project unless the cost and size of the $922-million, 1,100-acre plan are reduced, according to a county redevelopment official.

Virginia A. Collins, who coordinates redevelopment policy for the county administrator's office, said this week that the project devised by the city Community Redevelopment Agency is too large and too costly to be effective.

The plan envisions rebuilding Hollywood's commercial core to rehabilitate deteriorating residential neighborhoods, preserve its historical landmarks, develop more art and entertainment facilities and, in general, rid the community of negative aspects such as crime.

"The size of the project is simply enormous, almost two square miles," Combs said. "We simply do not believe the redevelopment effort will be effective because of a lack of focus.

County's Concerns

"We would prefer a more site-specific project, whereby a plan for, say, a shopping center in a designated area is proposed and built. We believe that the agency would achieve more in that manner."

Collins said that the Board of Supervisors also is concerned because the county stands to lose as much as $415 million. Most of the financing would come from tax-increment funds generated by any increase in property taxes through the 30 years of the project's existence.

As a matter of basic county policy, the board voted in December, 1984, against releasing any tax revenues to finance redevelopment. But Collins said the county is open to negotiations with the city.

Collins refused to say how much tax increment money the county is willing to cede to the redevelopment agency. City and county negotiators are trying to agree both on the size and cost of the project before it comes before the City Council for final action Friday.

Certainly, Collins said, the amount will be substantially less than that given to the agency for the central city redevelopment project, the county's largest at 1,500 acres. The county turned over more than 99% of its tax increment money for that project.

"The proposed Hollywood project differs from the central city in many important ways," Collins said. "There is virtually no vacant land in Hollywood, property values are high and, while there is some blight, the deterioration of properties is nowhere what it was in the central city area."

City and redevelopment agency employees do not dispute Collins' assertions about differences between the central city and Hollywood projects. They say there was much more visible blight in the central city, including deteriorating buildings and more depressed property values, than there is in the proposed Hollywood redevelopment area.

But the city and agency planners contend that many of Hollywood's problems are below the surface--"not visible by driving through the community," according to Michael F. Davies, a city planner in the Hollywood area.

Davies said that several factors have discouraged private investor interest in Hollywood, among them multiple ownership of small lots, which makes it difficult to assemble large parcels for major development, and a crime rate that is double the rate for the city as a whole.

"There also are crowded housing conditions, with large, poor families living in one-bedroom and efficiency apartments," Davies said. "There are horrendous parking problems. These are serious roadblocks to attracting new development, but they are not the usual standards of blighted buildings used to form redevelopment areas."

Deteriorated Sections

Richard Bruckner, a senior planner for the Community Redevelopment Agency, said that the proposed project's boundaries were drawn to include most of the deteriorated sections of the community--Wilcox, Fountain and LaBrea avenues and Sunset Boulevard.

"Because of the widespread parcelization," he said, "the agency needs a large area to accomplish a positive change in the community. Just developing a small corner of the area will not have a major impact, which is needed, in enticing development into Hollywood."

He said that the city has tried everything else to refurbish the community, including establishing high-density zones to attract development, block grants for specific building projects and a revitalization plan that never got off the ground.

"Nothing has worked," Bruckner said. "The city has not gone into redevelopment lightly. It is, in a very real sense, the last resort to do something about a very serious problem area in Los Angeles."

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