In a bid to prevent the reactivation of a troublesome oil well in South Los Angeles, a City Councilmember is pushing for the surrounding property to be acquired and redeveloped with park space and affordable housing.

In a motion introduced last week, 1st District Councilmember Gil Cedillo directs a report from the Departments of Recreation of Parks, Housing and Community Development, and Economic and Workforce Development on the feasibility of acquiring a property at 814 W. 23rd Street - the site of a currently suspended oil well owned by Allenco Energy.

The oil well has long been considered a nuisance by residents of South Los Angeles, with KPCC reporting that many neighbors of the oil well often complained of nosebleeds, dizziness, and breathing problems.  Those complaints eventually drew the attention of federal regulators, who were sickened while inspecting the site, prompting a lawsuit filed by the City of Los Angeles for violating state and city rules.  AllenCo settled the lawsuit for $1.25 million in 2016.

The issue once again reared its head in September, when AllenCo announced its intentions to restart drilling operations at the property.  Cedillo at the time countered asking for all legal measures to prevent the site from being reactivated.

Cedillo's new motion aims to eliminate the oil well while also providing two things which South Los Angeles has a lack of: affordable housing and park space.

Over 61 percent of renter households in Los Angeles spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent, according to Cedillo.  This problem has been exacerbated in recent years as rent increases have outpaced wages. 

Additionally, the City of Los Angeles - which is ranked 66th in ParkScore by the Trust for Public Land - provides .84 acres of park space per 1,000 residents citywide.  But in South Los Angeles, the lack of green space is even more apparent: there are only .40 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents.

Cedillo's motion has been referred to the Council's Housing Committee and Arts, Entertainment, Parks, and River Committee for consideration.