Although the Community Redevelopment Agency welcomes the opportunity for scrutiny and public debate on the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan, The Times' Aug. 31 article, "Roles in Renewal Plan Led to Hollywood Land Profits," by David Ferrell is misleading and occasionally at variance with the facts.
Redevelopment offers Hollywood a workable alternative to continued stagnation and decay. The city's redevelopment plan is a balanced 30-year blueprint for Hollywood's future that incorporates public controls along with incentives for a $922-million investment in that community.
Contrary to the article, the plan calls for density substantially lower than that permitted under zoning and the Hollywood Community Plan. Far from granting developers license to build, the plan imposes restrictions on new development. These controls address environmental reviews, stringent historic preservation guidelines, transportation studies and traffic mitigation plans, outlays for public art, and minority contractor participation.
The process of scoping out a new Hollywood is now in its fourth year. When the first public hearings were convened in 1983, CRA took action beyond the legal requirement to notify all property owners; the agency distributed thousands of circulars door-to-door, placed newspaper ads, and notified various community organizations.
The plan itself was hammered out in more than 100 community meetings, and last year received the blessings of the mayor, the City Council, the county, and the City Planning Department--including the planning director at the time.
Hollywood's business community--including owners of small businesses--took the lead in getting an initial area study off the ground. This $150,000 investment in the future of Hollywood did not, however, influence or direct what proved to be an exhaustive agency examination of the area. In all, the agency spent roughly $3 million to prepare the mandatory studies.
Currently, no plans exist for eminent domain in any residential neighborhood. Although we cannot guarantee that such powers will not be used during the life of the project, built-in legal safeguards prevent the capricious use of eminent domain and guarantee residents just compensation.
The plan further mandates that housing be replaced on a 1:1.25 basis, thereby surpassing state requirements. Neighborhood protection extends to the creation of community-assisted Designs for Development, which will reduce the encroachment of commercial development on residential areas. In addition, at least 20% of tax-increment revenue will be used to fund low- and moderate-income housing in Hollywood.
Revitalizing Hollywood remains a community-wide goal and the redevelopment plan is a guide to achieving those improvements in a measured, responsive way.
JOHN J. TUITE