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Westwood Zoning and Yaroslavsky

March 15, 1987

If Los Angeles wonders what Zev Yaroslavsky could do for the city as mayor, look carefully at what he has done to Westwood as councilman.

The headline of your story, "Westwood Zoning Plan Unveiled," (Times, March 8) suggests that the new Westwood Community Plan now in the works would cut urban growth and promote UCLA housing. Now Westwood is squarely located in Yaroslavsky's district, so the story looks like all is well in Westwood as the good councilman moves the city Planning Department toward less growth, and various other improvements, into a bright future.

The fact is that in essential parts, this "new" plan is primarily a correction of the original Westwood Community Plan of 1972. This very extensive plan, at that time, laid down objectives of what should become of Westwood until the year 1990.

The essence of these objectives was not only to develop Westwood as a major high-density center within Los Angeles, but to provide new public transportation systems, to improve the then-existing parking situation and the local street system, to incorporate the (once planned) Beverly Hills Freeway into the Westwood traffic pattern, to develop several recreational parks throughout Westwood, to preserve and enhance the distinctive character of Westwood, to enhance designs of building and to encourage programs of beautification, to bring in low- and moderate-income housing for students and faculty at UCLA, and to guarantee that the planned increase in development does not proceed faster than the necessary traffic improvements.

Yaroslavsky has been councilman throughout most of the time since the 1972 plan went into effect, and was more responsible and had more power than anybody in Los Angeles to see to it that the 1972 plan proceeded in an orderly fashion and that all objectives were met.

Except for the high-density commercial and residential development, none of the other objectives of the plan have been met. Hardly any street improvements have been made . . . the parking situation is ridiculous and aesthetics have been forgotten. Westwood has become a haven only for developers and cruisers.

Our once beautiful and characteristic North Westwood Village, a sub-area of apartment buildings next to UCLA, has been ruthlessly bulldozed to make room for indistinct human warehouses that are built up to the maximum allowable cubic foot and down to the minimum legal construction standards. Not one low- and moderate-income unit has been built for UCLA students and faculty, but many older inexpensive apartments have been destroyed. Our neighborhood already has more residents than projected for 1990 in the original plan, yet this "new" downzoned plan would allow for even several thousand more residents here.

The notorious Paul Amir and Homestead (also of recent Miracle Mile fame) companies, who buy, evict, demolish, build, sell and leave in rapid succession, have been the prime benefactors around here. We the citizens would like Yaroslavsky to publicly state how much money, if any, he has received in contributions or pledges from both Paul Amir and Homestead, either directly or indirectly, through third parties, law offices or political action committees.

Judging from our experiences from the past, Westwood needs a much stricter community plan, or a councilman much more responsive to his constituents.

WOLFGANG VEITH, director

North Westwood Village

Residents Assn.

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