Last week, Bruins voiced their support for a project to increase student housing last week at a Westwood public hearing. The proposed project would add 6,900 beds to five different sites throughout Westwood to meet the demands of student enrollment and extend housing guarantees for undergraduates.
Westwood residents and property owners, on the other hand, strongly opposed the proposal, specifically the construction of a 20-story building on Le Conte and Gayley avenues. Opposers cited the loss of Westwood aesthetics and the obstruction of mountain views as reasons to stop construction.
But this is not the first time this debate has happened.
In 1980, UCLA lobbied for affordable student housing and supported the passage of the Westwood Plan Amendment, an amendment that would ensure that 40 percent of new condominiums built in the North Village would be sold to UCLA for student and faculty housing.
September 30th, 1980, the Daily Bruin reported that Ron Larpati, then-director of the lobbying group MetroLobby, supported the amendment because it would assure “the survival of the student community in Westwood for the next 70 years.”
The Westwood Plan Amendment was also supported by both land developers and UCLA administrators, including then-Chancellor Charles E. Young.
However, unsurprisingly, Westwood residents and property owners expressed their disapproval of the amendment.
The Westwood Hills Property Owners Association, led by then-president Harriet Miller, took a stance against the plan because she believed it would transform Westwood into another Wilshire Boulevard, due to the increase in building height the plan permitted.
“I feel really sorry for the people living in Westwood if the plan goes through,” Miller said, “Because then the only people who will be living in Westwood will be the people who can afford a condominium, and students.”
Contrary to Miller’s prediction, 37 years later, students aren’t the only people living in Westwood. But affordable housing and maintaining Westwood aesthetics continues to be an ongoing debate.