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NEXT L.A. | Dialogue

Abolish Zoning?

November 19, 1996

Apparently having no original ideas relating to creating a viable zoning ordinance and not interested in how other cities have resolved similar issues, Elizabeth Moule advocates eliminating the entire concept of zoning (Ideas, Nov. 5). No doubt that zoning causes delays and results in increased costs. However, the alternative is to eliminate community input and environmental protections in the development process.

Uncontrolled growth results in streets constantly shaded by high-rise construction, street and sidewalk congestion caused by increased density, higher taxes to pay for infrastructure and a myriad other problems. Contrary to her statements, zoning allows for dense urban areas to be planned in such a manner as to preserve property values, protect health and safety, and foster growth.

The failure of Los Angeles to develop a residential base in its downtown area is not an indictment of zoning as a working concept, but rather a failure on the part of its planners to enact a workable and understandable zoning ordinance.

The elimination of zoning would not result in diversified neighborhoods with more local control and vitality, but in control of neighborhoods by the large development interests. The local population would be at the mercy of real estate interests and the result would be a return to the failures of the 19th century: housing next to factories spewing toxins, schools next to trucking facilities and development decisions based not on what is in the best interests of the community.

JOSEPH DI MONDA

architect/lawyer

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