Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan Addresses Affordable Housing Concerns | KCET
Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan Addresses Affordable Housing Concerns
When it comes to city planning, a myriad of interests have to be balanced. Just ask Claire Bowin, the city planner in charge of shepherding the creation and ultimate approval of the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan (CASP). It is a process that began in 2007 after the finalization of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan (LARRMP).
In an open house and public hearing right before Labor Day, City Planning unveiled the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) after some delays due its relationship with the now-dissolved CRA L.A. The FEIR represents a record of all the concerns received and City Planning's response about the proposed specific plan -- an ambitious project that covers a 660-acre area bisected by the Los Angeles River within Lincoln Heights, Cypress Park and Chinatown neighborhoods.
More on affordable housing
The CASP divides the area into four zones: Greenway, which provides for open space; Urban Center, which allows residential and employment within the same site; Urban Village, which allows commercial, residential and industrial uses within the same area; and Urban Innovation, which allows industrial employment uses.
The plan outlines a 15 percent open space requirement and even increases that requirement to 50 percent within 300 feet of the Los Angeles River or Arroyo Seco. The CASP encourages a more active street life by orienting buildings to pedestrians instead of parking lots, providing for retail uses on the ground floor and limiting block lengths. The plan also puts more emphasis on alternative forms of transportation by adding bike lines, providing car share and unbundled parking, and access to bus and Metro stations. Overall, the plan builds up to a denser, greener, more transit-oriented location. Perfect, right? Almost.
"The biggest concern was affordable housing. That the plan wasn't going to do enough," said Bowin. The previous version gave developers 3 Floor Area Ratio (FAR) or the right to build up to three times the area of their lot without having to build any affordable housing. A 100,000-square foot lot would then allow a maximum of 300,000-square foot of building to be constructed.
In the final version, FAR was limited to 2.5, especially in the Urban Village, one of the four zones meant primarily for residential purposes. Developers who include plans to build affordable housing would be eligible for FARs above 2.5.
"We think it's really important to incentivize affordable housing so we think 2.5 FAR is the right balance," said Bowin, "but I don't think that anybody in either camp agrees." Opinions from advocates on either camp differ. Developers would much prefer a 3 FAR, which would help them maximize returns on their investments in the property. Affordable housing advocates would like to maintain the extant 1.5 FAR, which would keep development at bay. City Planning however is confident it's struck the right balance.
Time will tell if the public agrees with city planners. The CASP is tentatively scheduled to go before the City Planning Commission on October 11. Bowin continues to take comments on the CASP.
If all goes very, very smoothly, we might see a final, approved specific plan before the end of June 2013. Good news for everyone who's been in limbo, sitting and waiting to see the final outcome before moving into the area. "We would like to get this done and get this implemented, so developers can come and work in this area," said Bowin, "Right now everything's kind of been in a standstill."
Read all about the CASP. Send your comments to Claire Bowin at email@example.com.
Connect with KCET
During a visit to Los Angeles to get updates on anti-coronavirus efforts, Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced the signing of an executive order barring eviction of renters affected by the virus.
Five more deaths due to coronavirus were reported today in Los Angeles County, raising the total to 26, and the county's mortality rate from the illness rose above the levels seen across the country and in New York City.
For Martini and the thousands of others in her profession, the future of the real estate market in Southern California is unknown. Experts say it's too soon to know what will happen to the market and how the pandemic will affect prices.
Check out this list of 122 insightful programs on KCET, all ready for you to stream online for free right now.
- 1 of 252
- next ›
The global demand for oil and gas has long-lasting impacts on the communities that supply it.
The global demand for avocados is having a devastating impact on a drought-stricken community in Chile.
Following groups like “Guardians of the Forest,” we explore illegal lumber poaching in the forests of Brazil and Oregon, where citizens and scientists are working together to combat the illegal lumber trade.
The realities of milk production are forcing dairy communities across the globe to rethink the dairy production process.
Solar power is changing lives in unexpected places. This episode visits with unique solar power training programs in Zanzibar and Los Angeles.
- 1 of 9
- next ›