The controversial Village at Westfield Topanga, scourge of neighbors and Southern California taxpayer advocates alike, is shrinking.  According to an economic feasibility study commissioned by the LA City Council, the Australian mall developer has dropped its plans for a hotel as part of the first phase of their Warner Center mega-project.  The hotel, which Westfield may still pursue at a later date, would have risen 16-stories from the intersection of Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Erwin Street.  The Daily News reports that it had been envisioned as a 158-room Hyatt.  However, it's not all bad news coming out of the West Valley.  As an olive branch to the neighbors, City Hall and the Westfield Group have carefully negotiated a community benefits package to be included with the project.  These amenities include $3.325 million trust fund, a new location for the Valley's "Walk of Hearts," event, digital signage and public art.

Predictably, the feasibility study states that the amount of parking has decreased with the reduction of the hotel tower.  However, the report hints that the street fronting surface parking seen in renderings will still be part of the project.  Certainly a huge urban design flaw for Warner Center, which purportedly aims to be a "pedestrian and transit focused community."  The feasibility study also announces that the Village will implement a paid parking program, expected to generate over $2 million per year in revenue.  While parking fees have become the norm at other Southern California shopping centers (like Westfield's flagship Century City location), few malls in the San Fernando Valley have implemented such a program until now.  Regardless of these changes, the project is still moving forward, with permits for the controversial Costco outpost currently in the works.