In a vote taken on May 12, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted the Connect Southwest L.A. specific plan, establishing new zoning for portions of the unincorporated communities of West Athens and Westmont.

The new specific plan, which was initiated in January 2016, covers a roughly 658-acre area bounded approximately by Vermont Avenue to the east, 110th Street to the north, 120th Street to the south, and Wilton Place to the west.  Notable landmarks within the district include Los Angeles Southwest College, and Metro's Vermont/Athens light rail station in the median of the I-105 Freeway.

Under a full buildout, the scenario envisioned by Los Angeles County Planners would allow for the development of over 4,500 residential units and nearly 3.5 million square feet of commercial space.  That growth would be funneled onto the plan area's two major north-south corridors - Western and Vermont Avenues - with existing single-family zones left unchanged.

The introduction of mixed-use zoning to Western and Vermont would allow for the development of four-to-six-story buildings containing multifamily housing above street-level shops and restaurants.  New housing and commercial uses are intended to complement community assets, including Los Angeles Southwest College, the Vermont/Athens Metro station, and a satellite civic center along Normandie Avenue.

Two mixed-use projects featuring subsidized affordable units are already planned or under construction near Southwest College, while a transitional housing complex broke ground last year on County-owned property along Normandie.  The plan also identifies a Metro-owned parking lot on Vermont Avenue as a future opportunity site for development.

While land use changes are the heart of the plan, the document also touches on issues including urban design, building form, open space, and mobility.  For more details, click here.

Connect Southwest L.A. is the third "Transit Oriented District" plan adopted by Los Angeles County, in an effort to capitalize on transit hubs.  The prior plans, which set zoning for the unincorporated communities of West Carson and Florence-Firestone, are oriented on light rail and bus rapid transit stops.