SAVE NORMANDIE AVE. - KOREATOWN'S LITTLE NEW YORK IN HISTORIC NORMANDIE MARIPOSA DISTRICT
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The proposed development by Jamison Properties at 738 South Normandie Ave. jeopardizes the historical significance of the entire street, because it is entirely out of character with the existing block, which has not had any new construction in nine decades.
The block, which sits in the Normandie-Mariposa Historic Apartment District, was built at the same time as the Ambassador Hotel, a landmark which was demolished after a long preservation battle. Today, the 700 block of South Normandie Ave. is one of the City's most popular LA FILM locations due to its time capsule appearance.
I am asking that CD10 Council Member Herb Wesson and the rest of City Council allow the CEQA appeal for 738 South Normandie, to help preserve the historic fabric of the block by ensuring that any new construction respects the existing historic structures and blends in, rather than standing out. Please do the right thing and help preserve Koreatown’s Little New York Street.
We are solely in this fight because of a CEQA appeal we filed, now CF# 20-0087, against the 738 S. Normandie Ave. development on January 21, 2020 on behalf of the residents in my neighborhood. We filed a CEQA appeal because it was the only thing left to do at the time we found out. We as residents were denied due process and were not alerted legally of this new Jamison Properties’ development.
We have held a protest in February in front of Herb Wesson's office, and demanded sit downs with Jamison Properties as well as CD10. The City Council last week (4/29) at City Hall appeared to delegate to Herb Wesson the sole power to approve of the building design at 738 S. Normandie Ave. In other words Herb Wesson will have final say. The problem is Wesson lacks such power. So it was an abuse of discretion for the Council to give Wesson this kind of approval power . . . Los Angeles has had enough history destroyed and compromised because of political agenda carelessly pushing through projects and development.
Bottom line - this leaves us no choice. We are going to challenge the exemption. We also request that an impartial historic preservation architect redesign a new rendering of this project that will support the current historical significance of the street. The current proposed apartment complex would be the first new construction on the 700 block of Normandie Ave. in the last 9 decades.
The City gave Jamison Properties a CEQA exemption on this project - CEQA should not have been exempt, it should have been intact for this very reason. The design simply is inconsistent with the street context and the design needs to be modified to be consistent.
Normandie Avenue represents a moment in time in our City’s history, a time when The Ambassador Hotel was thriving and unfortunately is no longer standing because of our inability as a City to protect and support our historical landmarks. Placing a modern building in the center of Normandie breaks that chain and destroys the fabric.
The agenda of the City and the developer is very clear - instead of protecting the historical significance and resource of the Normandie/Mariposa Historic Apartment District they'd rather overlook it and push for it being reassigned as The Wilshire Center/Koreatown Redevelopment Project Area.
CEQA is there to protect the fabric of our community and not cause disruption to that moment in time. The historical context is supposed to be nurtured not destroyed.
The builders, Jamison Properties, are relying on technical arguments and derivations of certain aspects of CEQA. This is not the spirit of the law. It is supposed to be looked at all encompassing.
Again an aspect in this process that can't be overlooked is that we were denied due process because the City did not notify the residents, only the property owners were notified. We have appellant rights and those rights were denied because we were left in the dark.
We did our due diligence but we were purposely restricted from learning about this. Which brings up another point – what about these and other projects in our neighborhood? What other construction might come onto our block, or district without us knowing? How are we to respond if we don't know what's going on? And if we as residents don't stand up and protect Los Angeles' history - who will?
We need your help in getting this story out. Based on the efforts we've made to bring this story to light and the responses/support we have received locally and throughout the entire City, we know this is a story that resonates with many neighborhoods and residents throughout Los Angeles.
Thank you so much for your time - I know I have provide a lot of context about this project. Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions you may have and know that we are at the ready to have a conversation with you.
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