L.A. City Councilman Eric Garcetti, a candidate for mayor, supports the… (Courtesy of Eric Garcetti )
Three neighborhood groups are suing the city of Los Angeles over new zoning regulations that allow developers to build bigger and taller buildings in some parts of Hollywood.
In three separate lawsuits filed this week, the groups allege that the city's recently approved Hollywood Community Plan violates state environmental law because officials failed to consider the impacts on traffic, air quality and public services. One of the lawsuits says that recent questions over the accuracy of emergency response times at the Los Angeles Fire Department means the analysis of impacts to public safety used "erroneous baseline assumptions."
The zoning changes included in the Hollywood plan are part of a larger city strategy to concentrate new building around public transportation hubs. The plan was approved last month after concerted opposition by some who complained that it was based on exaggerated population estimates and would ruin the feel of the historic neighborhood.
The groups that took legal action — Fix The City, La Mirada Avenue Neighborhood Assn., and SaveHollywood.Org — have been fighting the plan for years.
Their lawsuits could emerge as an issue in the 2013 mayoral race, since candidate Eric Garcetti, a councilman who represents much of Hollywood, was a major supporter of the plan. He and city planning officials argued that the changes were sensitive to residents' concerns and were very necessary, given that the most recent updates to planning and zoning guidelines for the area had been made in 1988.
On Friday, Garcetti spokeswoman Julie Wong said the plan had the support of many residents.
"The Hollywood Community Plan protects the character of residential neighborhoods and tackles traffic head-on," she said.
Officials in the office of City Atty. Carmen Trutanich said they have not had an opportunity to review the cases. Michael LoGrande, the head of the city's planning department, had no comment.