The Los Angeles City Planning Commission voted last week to reject an appeal seeking to block non-profit developer Abode Communities from razing 18 duplexes to build new affordable housing near MacArthur Park.  

The proposed development, slated for a property at 714-760 S. Grand View Street, would replace 36 rent-stabilized apartments with a six-story edifice featuring 100 studio, one-, and two-bedroom dwellings.  The 120,000-square-foot apartment building would cater to households at the low- and extremely low-income levels, approximately half of which would be designated as permanent supportive housing.

Architectural plans show a contemporary five-story edifice with 25 parking stalls, two courtyards, and two roof decks.

The appeal, which was filed by a resident of one of the existing duplexes, contends that the project will contribute to gentrification in the Westlake community.

"The affordable units of the Proposed Project are not available to those who are not full citizens," writes appellant Alejandra M. Castro.  "While I agree we do need more affordable housing, we don't need affordable housing that is potentially discriminatory against those seeking citizenship."

A staff response to the appeal argues that the project is in compliance with the Westlake Community Plan, and notes that the issues of tenant eligibility fall outside the purview of the city's authority to regulate land use.

Though Commissioners expressed sympathy to the residents of the existing duplexes, they agreed with the staff assessment that many of the issues raised by the appellant were outside of their purview.

Commisioner David Ambroz was complimentary of the developer Abode, noting that they have agreed to provide three-and-a-half years of rental assistance and relocation assistance to current residents - without restrictions.

The vote by the City Planning Commission is considered final.  The project is not eligible for appeal to the City Council.

A handful of mixed-use and multifamily residential developments are planned around the perimeter of MacArthur Park, including an apartment complex that would replace a vacant lot one block west.

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