In a city as large as Los Angeles, it would be nearly impossible to dictate land use policy at the General Plan level. As such, the city has been divided into 35 Community Plan Areas. The South and Southeast Los Angeles Community Plans are adjacent to each other and have been updated on a concurrent timeline, starting with extensive community outreach by City Planners from 2007 to 2009. A series of unforeseen circumstances resulted in delays to the updates, however in November 2016 the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was released for public comment.

The draft Community Plans and EIR were heard by the Los Angeles City Planning Commission on June 22, 2017 at the Crenshaw Christian Center, the first time a Commission meeting took place in South Central Los Angeles and a momentous occasion. Over 200 community members came out to the hearing which started at 8:30am and lasted most of the day. The Community Plan Updates are designed to consider population and economic growth into the land uses across South Los Angeles to ensure that development can meet growing demand. Planners have proposed to concentrate new development around transit corridors while preserving single family home neighborhoods and these plans include Community Plan Implementation Overlay Districts (CPIOs) as a tool for implementing the new plans and policies.

In addition to public comments, the UNIDAD Coalition presented The People’s Plan which was developed in partnership with local South LA stakeholders to guarantee that the people living, working, and playing in South LA (and across the city) are the top priority of the Community Plans. The People’s Plan prioritizes affordable housing, economic opportunities, and environmental health for South LA community members and is meant to strengthen the community and prevent displacement, and was introduced to the city planners earlier this month. During the hearing, the City Planning Commission and City Planners agreed to incorporate most of The People’s Plan into the South and Southeast LA Community Plan Updates. Some markups were made to the document publicly, and will be available online in the near future. This major win for South LA can be attributed to extensive community engagement, advocacy, and education about the planning process. When community-based organizations, community members, and public agencies work together, justice can be won!

Several community members expressed concern about the lack of community engagement and outreach on the part of City Planners. This concern can be at least partially attributed to the fact that the majority of community outreach took place up to 10 years prior to this hearing. We encourage our planners to continue to enhance their outreach efforts in this ongoing process. Ultimately, the City Planning Commission approved both Community Plan Updates with friendly amendments. The next step is to finalize the Draft EIR and send the plans to City Council Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee for review.  CHC will continue to monitor the process and provide updates as they unfold.