Some Residents Lament As Developers Reign In L.A.

Los Angeles faces projections of a population increase of up to 5 million people by 2030. The city's residents and planners are trying to come to terms with growth as a necessity, but the city's developer-friendly attitude has angered many residents.
July 25, 2006, 6am PDT | Nate Berg
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Many homeowners in Los Angeles are not particularly happy with what is going on around them. The neighborhoods they've inhabited for decades are changing rapidly. New projects are popping up all over the city, even moving into areas historically ignored by developers. As community activists voice concerns over the facelifts their neighborhoods are receiving, developers are garnering permit after permit, variance after variance. Some within the city government and planning agency see this as inevitable in a town where developers' interests have traditionally overpowered those of the citizens. But many residents are beginning to speak up.

"In the past 12 months, land use conflicts have triggered charges of anti-Semitism in Valley Village, dragged Montecito Heights residents into arbitration over the right to walk across one man’s lawn, and prompted Venice’s neighborhood council to question whether its neighborhood could just stop growing altogether, putting a temporary halt to all commercial development along its major thoroughfares."

"All over the city, this clash is repeated, in neighborhood after neighborhood. Why have things gotten so heated? Numbers tell the story: in 2000, the city issued 106,000 building permits. In 2006, it handed out 153,000. Developers have indeed reacted to a booming real estate market, but they are also finally accommodating a mushrooming population. In the last 20 years, some five million additional Angelenos took up residence here, while only one new housing unit was built for every two families. As of the 2000 Census, the Los Angeles area officially became the densest urban region in the U.S., besting New York City and its suburbs by nearly 2,000 people per square mile."

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Published on Thursday, July 6, 2006 in Los Angeles City Beat
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