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Developer Should Consider the Public Good

April 21, 1988

Esther Schrader's article on the current controversy regarding the proposed mid-block, two-story mini-mall in downtown Eagle Rock sorely missed the point.

The Los Angeles City Council, in an action initiated by Eagle Rock City Councilman Richard Alatorre, placed a moratorium on highway-oriented mini-mall development along Colorado Boulevard.

The purpose of the moratorium is to give the city's Planning Department time to determine whether Colorado should be oriented to cars or to people. Generally, the two are mutually exclusive. Mini-malls with parking along the edge of the sidewalk are highway-oriented developments that cater to cars whizzing down the street. Mini-malls with their storefronts on the sidewalk are pedestrian-oriented, catering instead to people strolling down the street.

The issue is not whether Mr. Boiadjian is free to build on his own land. The entire controversy is whether his design could be "flipped" to include sidewalk retail and rear parking, and thus not need an exemption from the moratorium on highway orientation.

I, along with other community members, worked with Mr. Boiadjian to determine whether the project could be "flipped." After hours of investigation by architects, engineers, lawyers and economic analysts, it became clear that the project could indeed be flipped and still be economically feasible. In fact, one proposed scenario with storefront retail resulted in a higher rate of return!

Mr. Boiadjian is thus welcome to build his project in a manner that contributes to the spirit of our little town and ensures him the same, or better, return on his investment. But to accept Mr. Boiadjian's individual right to build on his land, without also requiring him to undertake some responsibility for promoting the public good, amounts to nothing more than indulging his stubborn selfishness.

C. HOWELL ELLERMAN

Eagle Rock

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