L.A. Moves to Protect Downtown Space from Development

Los Angeles–Los Angeles officials announced Thursday that the majority of downtown industrial land being considered for development would be preserved to protect blue-collar jobs, allotting just a portion for residential and commercial use.Despite protest from local business owners and developers who had hoped to build in the area, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa supported the planning department and redevelopment agency joint directive, which would preserve roughly 2,633 acres of land zoned for industry and mark 261 acres for residential development, The Los Angeles Timesreports.Many developers and locals had hoped the city would begin rezoning larger amounts of industrial land to create growing metropolitan neighborhoods as other large cities, including San Francisco and Vancouver, Canada, have done in recent years.The City Council was also not entirely pleased with the directive. Two members said they wouldn’t heed the edict and would approve exceptions to continue residential development in the downtown area.The chief of the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency said the directive was designed to protect more than 40,000 blue-collar jobs and preserve land for future industrial use.Under the directive’s terms, some housing will be allowed within the industrial areas, most notably in “transition districts” where industry is fading. City agencies would refuse any proposals to add housing in industrial areas known as “employment protection zones.” The council will likely try to work around the directive, according to the city’s planning chief Gail Goldberg.”There’s a long history of project-by-project planning in this city, and we’re trying to change that,” Goldberg said.