Recently there has been some civic discussion about the area where I
live and work, North East Los Angeles(NELA). Here is an extra large map
for your reference.
There is much chatter lately and some people are making waves to
improve the South Western border of NELA in the Cypress Park
neighborhood along the LA river. The Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles (CRA/LA) is currently seeking to create a redevelopment project here approximate funding $1,000,000. The so-called NELA River Redevelopment Project Area
would cover most communities that lie along the eastside of the Los
Angeles River, including significant sections of Atwater Village,
Cypress Park, Glassell Park and Elysian Valley. The area in question
starts at Figueroa and heads Northwest alongside the LA river to
Fletcher, then begins again in the north part of Atwater, above Chevy
Chase. To be able to create a redevelopment project area neighborhoods
within it must be declared â€œblightedâ€. Click here for a map of the proposed â€œblightedâ€ area (pdf file). The question becomes, should a neighborhood adopt a "blighted" status to get redevelopment money?
When it comes to creating a new redevelopment project area what does â€œblightedâ€ actually mean? Being a broker of Silver Lake Real Estate, I certainly don't like hearing my home town and my primary area of business referred to in such a context. According to California Redevelopment Law
for an area to be considered "blightedâ€ it must be predominantly
urbanized and have a combination of conditions â€œso prevalent and so
substantial that it causes a reduction of, or lack of, proper
utilization of the area to such an extent that it constitutes a serious
physical and economic burden on the community that cannot reasonably be
expected to be reversed or alleviated by private enterprise or
governmental action, or both, without redevelopmentâ€. This sounds very
familiar to me. Many large policies are made on a statewide or national
level. I have seen NELA be thrown under the bus with regard to the
appraisals of our many 80+ year old houses. Because real estate
appraisers must comment on properties based on a statewide or national
scale, these old houses in the hills of LA are often portrayed as
rickety and substandard. We who live, work and play here know otherwise
and the real estate market certainly validates the worth of these
properties, but when compared to much newer properties in less urban
areas on a standardized scale, NELA may not be favorable. Similar to any
major older city seeing gentrification like Brooklyn or Oakland, NELA
is penalized by broader standards without taking into consideration
California Redevelopment Law goes on to
list the â€œprevalent and so substantialâ€ conditions that must exist in
order for an area to be consider â€œblightedâ€. These conditions include;
buildings in which it is unsafe or unhealthy for persons to live or
work. Including buildings of substandard, defective, or obsolete design
or construction given the present general plan, zoning, or other
2) Adjacent or nearby incompatible land uses
that prevent the development of those parcels or other portions of the
3) The existence of small sized lots that are in
multiple ownership and whose physical development has been impaired by
their irregular shapes and small sizes.
4) Depreciated or stagnant property values.
5) Impaired property values due in significant part hazardous wastes on property.
6) Abnormally high business vacancies, abnormally low lease rates, or an abnormally high number of abandoned buildings.
A serious lack of necessary commercial facilities that are normally
found in neighborhoods, including grocery stores, drug stores, and banks
and other lending institutions.
8) Serious residential overcrowding that has resulted in significant public health or safety problems.
An excess of bars, liquor stores, or adult-oriented businesses that
has resulted in significant public health, safety, or welfare problems.
10) A high crime rate that constitutes a serious threat to the public safety and welfare.
---For more information about the proposed NELA River Redevelopment Project area visit CRA/LA website at: www.crala.org/nela or the LA City Clerks website at:http://cityclerk.lacity.org/lacityclerkconnect/index.cfm?fa=ccfi.viewrecord&cfnumber=08-3459.
To buy or sell property in NELA, contact Sky Minor at his website for Silver Lake Real Estate.