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Other Visions of Echo Park Development

February 25, 1993

We in the Echo Park community were disappointed by your overly glowing account (Jan. 7) of the exploits of Alice Chang. Many of us in Echo Park appreciate the efforts of people like Ms. Chang when they are working to help other people. Many of us feel a deep commitment to socially responsible activity.

The issues here are not whether or not it is good to help senior citizens or that Los Angeles needs more housing--this is merely the mask for another developer wanting to blow out a well-thought-out zoning plan for personal gain.

We in Echo Park are quite willing to have low-income senior citizen housing, but we have several problems with this project.

1. It is too large for the hillside street. If the city thinks we need large apartments on my street, then they should change the zoning for the whole area, not just for the financial benefit of one person. The law allows for 24 units; 62 or 86 units are not a credible increase.

2. The plan, as it now stands, does not allow for adequate parking. On a hillside street with houses only accessible by sidewalks and houses stacked three deep on a property, there is little enough parking now. The developer says that her tenants, whose ages start at 62 1/2 years, will not drive or own cars, even though Ms. Chang herself, at 78, drives her own car. Instead, the 70 to 90 residents will have all their needs taken care of with one passenger van. Remember, this is not supposed to be a nursing home but a residence for active elderly people.

3. The site being too small for the density proposed underscores the personal financial interest involved, because there are properly zoned sites nearby which are nearer to bus stops, stores and not up an isolated hillside street at a dangerous five-way intersection.

4. The promise Ms. Chang made to use her profit from the sale of the property to "provide educational opportunities for Chinese youth" falls on deaf ears. If she was sincere she would simply donate the land.

Let's build a senior citizens' home in Echo Park, but let's build one for everyone, not for one developer's narrow-minded and poorly thought out project.


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