By ELLEN ENDO, Rafu Shimpo

Two rival Downtown Los Angeles advocacy organizations — Central City Association (CCA) and Central City United (CCU) — are both declaring victory after the City Council voted unanimously to approve DTLA 2040, a blueprint for future development that sets policy and zoning guidelines and requirements for the Downtown area through the year 2040.  

“Today we celebrate DTLA 2040’s approval by City Council,” said CCA Chief Executive Officer Nella McOsker, referring to the vote as “a landmark achievement.”

Similarly, a statement from CCU said the multiracial, cross-neighborhood coalition is celebrating a “big win.” The collaborative efforts of CCU were led by the Southeast Asian Community Alliance (SEACA), Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC). and the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN).

DTLA 2040 doubles the area in Downtown where housing can be built by-right, eliminates parking requirements, and implements the city’s new form-based zoning code for the very first time.

As part of its decision, the City Council requested a report on how the requirements within the Fashion District will impact housing production. The provision seeks better understanding of the consequences of the City Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee’s decision to increase industrial space requirements and how it can balance increasing housing supply with job protections.

Another coalition that includes the politically powerful hotel workers’ union, Unite Here Local 11, gained the addition of provisions in the council action that place new restrictions on residential development and new hotels in parts of the Fashion District. The Garment Worker Center sought to ensure sewing factories and other apparel-related businesses remained in the district. That group is part of a coalition that includes Unite Here Local 11.

McOsker added that DTLA 2040 “can and should be thought of as a work-in-progress as it will require continued engagement from CCA and its members as it enters form and legality review and nears implementation. CCA remains committed to this plan’s efficacy and to a more vibrant Downtown.”

CCA includes the Downtown L.A. business improvement districts (BIDs) and advocates on behalf of the L.A. region. Since 2017, CCU has been advocating for an “inclusive and equitable plan for Downtown L.A.”

Sissy Trinh, SEACA executive director, notes that “Skid Row, Little Tokyo, and Chinatown have historically been pitted against each other by race, language, and even a freeway. CCU worked to undo those barriers and built a powerful coalition where we were able to become neighbors and allies.”

The Los Angeles Times, in its coverage, said the council approved an “inclusionary housing system, requiring that newly constructed residential projects include at least a percentage of affordable units.” In many instances, developers would be allowed to make their projects larger as long as they incorporate a greater number of affordable units.

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