Obviously, we’re well beyond the looking glass when a presumably rational developer proposes building a new mega-condo complex at the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards, the Bermuda Triangle of L.A. intersections.
Now that this ludicrous proposal is on the table, there’s no point in dodging the question any longer: Should a city of Los Angeles’s heft and loft allow developers to run free and have their way, without subjecting all proposed projects to the most rigorous review?
In the last several years, developers have torn up the mountain tops in Brentwood and Pacific Palisades to install overwrought and underthought “gated communities,” and, in the doing, have made life hell for all the people who live on the roads below and have suffered a definite and permanent diminution of their quality of life.
The Playa Vista outfit has literally paved over a portion of the priceless Ballona Wetlands in order to build a new mega-development in an area that’s already choking on traffic, and, according to NBC-TV News, is susceptible to emissions from underground pockets of methane gas.
And AIMCO, a Denver-based developer, wants to demolish a uniquely valuable and historic garden apartment complex, Lincoln Place in Venice, to make way for one more high end condo complex.
Built after World War II, as part of a federal effort to alleviate a national housing crisis, Lincoln Place wears its years very lightly, is vital to Venice, which has a chronic shortage of affordable housing, and is literally irreplaceable.
The Westside doesn’t need terminal commotion at Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards. It doesn’t need glitz on its mountain tops. It doesn’t need another new mega-development more than it needs Ballona Wetlands. It doesn’t need another upscale condo enclave as much as it needs well-made and affordable apartments.
In recent years, developers have behaved more and more and more like destroyers, and clearly it’s time for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and other cities in the L.A. nation to write new rules for developers.
A couple of years ago, a Brentwood man, whose serene residential street was turned into something like a monster truck rally by a developer, said that we needed to redefine property rights and to write new land use policies.We agree. L.A. is an extraordinary city and any developer who can’t add something extraordinary and useful to the mix should be sent packing.