MAY 18 Motion to approve $105 million in TEFRA funding for unbuilt 468-unit residential and 16,400 sq-ft commercial development at 141 W Avenue 34 in Lincoln Heights
LA City Council will hear a motion to approve $105 million in tax-exempt funding for the controversial Avenue 34 development in Lincoln Heights on Tuesday, May 18. The motion deceptively calls this “an existing 67-unit residential housing project.” It is actually an unbuilt 468-unit luxury apartment + 16,400 sq-ft commercial retail project. The property is the subject of a State investigation for toxic contamination from a former industrial dry cleaner, diesel refueling, and electrical manufacturing, and City Planning is barred from clearing its construction while that investigation is underway. The project could release airborne toxins impacting neighbors and Hillside Elementary School which is directly across the street. See the letter below for more details, and feel free to share this email widely.
Please call in to the meeting on May 18th to give a public comment, asking the Council to vote NO. Tell them to ensure the safety of our neighborhood before giving these dishonest developers millions in tax breaks.
Tuesday, May 18 2021
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If you would like to submit a written comment. Please do so today, Monday May 3. Go to this link: https://cityclerk.lacity.org/
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Action Now * California Communities Against Toxics * California Safe Schools * California Kids IAQ * Clean Air Coalition * Coalition For A Safe Environment * Comite Pro Uno * Community Dreams * DelAmo Action Committee * EMERGE * Housing is a Human Right/AIDS Healthcare Foundation * Lincoln Heights Community Coalition * NAACP, San Pedro-Wilmington Branch # 1069 * Our Right To Know * Paramount Community Coalition Against Toxics * St. Philomena Social Justice Ministry * Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC) * Wilmington Improvement Network
May 3, 2021
Governor Gavin Newsom
1303 10th Street, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Mayor Eric Garcetti & Honorable Los Angeles City Councilmembers
200 N. Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Re: Council File 20-1359, Motion to approve $105 million in TEFRA funding for unbuilt 468-unit residential and 16,400 sq-ft commercial development at 141 W Avenue 34 in Lincoln Heights
Councilmember Gil Cedillo filed a motion on April 27, 2021 to be heard on May 18, 2021 to approve the issuance of $105 million in "revenue bonds or notes" by the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA) for what he describes as the "acquisition, development, improvement, and equipping of an existing 67-unit residential housing project located at 141 West Avenue 34" in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles. That language is deceptive and untrue. The property is currently occupied by single-story warehouses that were functioning businesses until the developer purchased the property in summer of 2020.The actual proposed project would be a 5-acre, 5-story 468-unit residential + 16,400-sq-ft commercial retail project which has not been built. The proposal would include 66 affordable units (only 14% of the 468 total units), the bare minimum required by LA in order for this project to qualify for 70% increased density and other entitlements under TOC guidelines.
The City of LA already approved $20 million in funding for this proposal in October 2020. Affordable housing projects financed by the California Statewide Communities Development Authority in the past year had an average cost per unit of $317,510. This motion adding another $105 million in funding would approve the absurd cost of $1,860,000 for each of the 67 units this is supposed to fund.
CSCDA requires a public hearing for funding proposals, at which members of the community may voice their concerns. No such hearing has been held for either the October motion or for this current motion. We vigorously support affordable housing, but this motion is stealing public funding from legitimate affordable housing projects which our community desperately needs.
City Planning is currently barred from issuing any clearances for the developer’s proposal until DTSC positively concludes that the site is safe for the developers' intended use. DTSC found the developers' Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment is erroneous and does not sufficiently address possible contamination from previous industrial uses at the site as well as from massive known releases from a former industrial dry cleaner operating since 1920 on the adjoining property. No contamination testing has ever been conducted on this property, despite conclusive proof of toxic contamination migrating from one side of this property through to the other side. Neighboring residents have expressed alarm at the proposal to excavate 90,000 cubic yards of this contaminated soil, as many in the community were sickened by the former dry cleaning plant in the 80's and 90's, including students at Hillside Elementary School across the street. The developer has lied in writing and at public hearings saying that more than 30 tests show that the site is not contaminated. However, the developer has recently entered into a Standard Voluntary Agreement with DTSC, in which both parties acknowledge the likelihood of contamination on this property and the lack of any testing. The City's environmental review for this project (a Mitigated Negative Declaration) did not address these hazards, omissions which require the preparation of a new environmental review under State law. An appeal that was successfully filed by the Lincoln Heights Community Coalition in Jan 2021 calling for a new environmental review (Council File 21-0024) is currently being unlawfully suppressed by the LA City Council.
Although this motion uses the guise of public subsidies to fight homelessness, it will instead build more than 400 market-rate apartments for private profit on a contaminated brownfield at taxpayer expense. There are currently people experiencing homelessness who have made homes built against the wall of 141 W Avenue 34. These people will be directly displaced by this demolition, exacerbating rather than helping to solve their situation. The 14% of units in this project that will be “affordable” will be rented at a tier that requires income higher than the median income in Lincoln Heights. This will not serve the needs of our community. Lincoln Heights is already one of the most economically and environmentally overburdened communities in Los Angeles, and this development would further the environmental injustice already visible here.
We urge you to vote against this fraudulent misappropriation of publicly subsidized funding for private profit. Look carefully at the deceptive language of this motion, the history of the site, the needs of the Lincoln Heights community, and the continuing investigation by the Department of Toxic Substance Control that has not determined if this site is even safe for residential use.
Michael Henry Hayden
Lincoln Heights Community Coalition
Los Angeles, CA
Angelo J. Bellomo
Former Deputy Director, LA County Department of Health
Los Angeles, CA
California Communities Against Toxics
California Safe Schools
Los Angeles, CA
Paramount Community Coalition Against Toxics
Jesse N. Marquez
Coalition For A Safe Environment
Joe R. Gatlin
San Pedro-Wilmington Branch # 1069
San Pedro, CA
Housing is a Human Right/AIDS Healthcare Foundation
DelAmo Action Committee
North Hollywood, CA
St. Philomena Social Justice Ministry
Mary Zakrasek, Ph.D.
Children’s Health Advocate
Sherman Oaks, CA
California Kids IAQ
Rhonda Jessum, Ph.D.
Founder and Director
Our Right To Know
Magali Sanchez-Hall, MPH
Clean Air Coalition
North Whittier and Avocado Heights
Anabell Romero Chavez
Wilmington Improvement Network
Comite Pro Uno
Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC)
Affordable Housing Projects Financed by the
California Statewide Communities Development Authority
May 1, 2020-May 1, 2021
Information from the California Communities Statewide Development Authority at https://cscda.org/news/.
The highest price granted in the past year for affordable housing was $713,273 per unit at the Grand & Linden Family Apartments by the California Communities Statewide Development. The average grant was $317,510 per unit. The Avenue 34 project in Lincoln Heights would grant $1,860,000 per unit by the City of Los Angeles and the California Communities Statewide Development Authority if the motion in front of the City Council is passed on May 4, 2021. The site is currently occupied by homeless people who would be displaced by the project.