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After Two Hours of Hearings, Downtown Gets Good News

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2007, at 11:34PM

It took until 7pm to reach the final agenda item for tonight's Central Area Planning Commission meeting, in which commissioners were considering the appeal of Conditional Use Permits for the Santa Fe Lofts. It was another two hours before the meeting came to a close. Those giving public comments in favor of approving the permits represented a wide cross section of Downtowners, and their voices strongly outnumbered those in opposition. In the end there was no formal decision made, but the consensus of those coming away from the meeting was that the permits would be granted with some revision.

Assistant Zoning Administrator Daniel Green, whose July denial led to tonight's appeal, was clear in telling the commissioners that their actions on this case would set a precedent for Downtown development to follow. Also clear was that Green's views on Skid Row simply do not match up with what most Downtown believe.

Green pointed to CRA's recent unveiling of a $50 million plan to purchase SRO hotels as his proof that the agency "wants to continue Skid Row" and asked, "Is the planning department willing to follow?"

The continued item will be brought back up at the Commission's October 9th meeting, where the expectation is that the appeal will be granted and the permits approved. While this case frames itself well in the larger picture of Downtown development, it's important to remember that this is also about a building. Activating the ground floor in the Santa Fe is an important step in creating a link of activity up Main and turning the corner to take life toward Los Angeles street.

Reporting by Ed Fuentes, who gave up tickets to see James Ellroy in order to cover the meeting.

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