Anti-Development Forces Strike at L.A.'s Transit Oriented Communities Program

There's a new front in the city of L.A.'s ongoing conflict between anti-development forces and efforts to add density at and around transit.

2 minute read

September 10, 2019, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Eastside Gold Line and Los Angeles skyline

JulieAndSteve / Flickr

"Fix the City filed a lawsuit last week targeting the city’s Transit Oriented Communities program, which has loosened planning rules for real estate developers who have projects near rail stations and major bus stops," report David Zahniser and Andrew Khouri.

Fix the City’s lawsuit is targeting one development in particular in its larger assault on the Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) program: "a seven-story, 120-unit residential building on Santa Monica Boulevard just west of Century City that relied on the city’s looser planning rules" in winning approval from the city recently. Fix the City has a track record of suing the city's signature land use initiatives, including successfully convincing a judge to overturn the Hollywood Community Plan as approved in 2012. Fix the City has also sued the city's Mobility Plan 2035 and the Exposition Corridor Transit Neighborhood Plan.

The TOC program was set into motion by voters' approval of Measure JJJ in 2016, although the entirety of the reforms implemented by Measure JJJ has produced mixed results over its short lifetime, the number of units taking advantage of the TOC has contributed to a steady stream of new developments around the city's expanding number of transit stations and routes.

Interestingly, a May 2019 report cites Measure JJJ's requirements for prevailing wages as the cause of its slow progress. In explaining the lawsuit, however, Fix the City board member Laura Lake "said she voted for Measure JJJ when it was on the ballot in 2016. But she contends that city officials have not made good on the ballot measure’s promise of higher wages for construction workers."

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