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Coalition Sues to Stop Renewal in Hollywood

July 31, 1986|KENNETH J. FANUCCHI | Times Staff Writer

A coalition of renters, homeowners and environmentalists has filed suit against the Community Redevelopment Agency and the city of Los Angeles in an attempt to stop the $922-million Hollywood Redevelopment Project.

The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Save Hollywood Our Town (SHOT), claims that city enactment of the redevelopment ordinance was invalid, according to Susan B. Nelson, one of four plaintiffs.

Nelson, an Echo Park resident and longtime activist in seeking to preserve open space in the Santa Monica Mountains, said the group's primary goal is to reduce the density of buildings in the redevelopment plan and to increase the participation of Hollywood residents in the planning process.

"As the plan now stands," Nelson said, "there are no controls to prevent Hollywood from being overdeveloped with massive high-rise buildings. What exists is a patch job that gives the Community Redevelopment Agency too much leeway to approve large projects."

Not Representative

She also contended that the 25-member Project Area Committee, the official community advisory group on Hollywood redevelopment, is dominated by business representatives who do not live in Hollywood.

"We believe that Hollywood residents, who, after all, will be impacted most by redevelopment, should have the majority voice on redevelopment," Nelson said. "To this day, residents have been under-represented on redevelopment matters."

Nelson said her group includes about 100 members, most of whom live in Hollywood.

The group's lawsuit is the second by a community group against the project. Another coalition of property owners, residents and opponents of redevelopment filed suit against it early this month.

Glitter Is Gone

The City Council approved the redevelopment project April 30 for a 1,100-acre area encompassing the community's once-glittering but now shabby commercial district. It is bounded by Santa Monica Boulevard, Franklin, LaBrea and Serrano avenues.

The area was famous in the 1920s, '30s and '40s as the playground and working place for the motion picture industry. Since then, however, it has become run down and frequented by an assortment of street people.

The area is inhabited by 37,000 people whose average family income is $15,000 a year, compared to $26,000 citywide. About 46% of the residents are foreign-born, compared to 27% over the entire city.

Supporters of the redevelopment project, set to take place over the next 30 years, say that redevelopment offers the last best hope to recapture some of the community's lost glitter and arrest the deterioration and rot that has afflicted Hollywood for three decades.

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