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Redevelopment Panel Reassures Residents

March 13, 1994|JAKE DOHERTY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A residents' advisory panel working with the Community Redevelopment Agency reaffirmed last week that if a redevelopment project is established in Wilshire Center and Koreatown, residents will not be displaced under the power of eminent domain.

The Community Advisory Committee is considering several proposals prepared by the agency, including rehabilitation, development or construction of commercial and residential properties and improvement of public facilities. The committee's review is part of a process that could lead to the establishment of an agency-managed redevelopment project area.

Project manager H. Cooke Sunoo said the committee was adamant about avoiding residential displacement, and the agency agreed that if a redevelopment project is approved, it would defer to the committee.

"You can do redevelopment without displacement," Sunoo said. "There are enough opportunities to do things elsewhere. Sometimes it just requires additional creativity."

In April, 1993, the City Council directed the agency to work with residents in parts of the city affected by the 1992 riots to explore revitalization strategies.

To determine whether the nearly 1,800-acre Wilshire Center and Koreatown study area meets the criteria for a redevelopment project, the agency's staff has begun a survey to look for physical and economic blight. The latter includes buildings with high vacancy or depressed rental rates as well as demographic data indicating overcrowding and poverty.

The 11-member committee was appointed by City Council members John Ferraro, Nate Holden and Jackie Goldberg. Additional organizational representatives, residents and professionals who live or work in the areas and serve on committee task forces boost the advisory group's number to 35.

It meets monthly, and public participation is welcome. The next meeting, at 1 p.m. April 7 at Southwestern University School of Law, will focus on further review of the draft redevelopment plan.

Information: (213) 977-2633.

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