Westwood Village Improvement Association recap – May 7
May 7, 2020 7:13 p.m.
The Westwood Village Improvement Association is a nonprofit organization tasked with improving the state of Westwood Village business improvement district. Property and business owners created the association in 2011 to provide the Village with functions the city of Los Angeles could not provide. The WVIA board of directors held its May 7 meeting virtually over Zoom. All future board and committee meetings will be held virtually as well.
- A WVIA initiative to support local restaurants and offer free meals to frontline workers at UCLA Health raised over $13,000, said Executive Director Andrew Thomas. The initiative successfully started distributing food on April 23 and will engage in another round of distributions using excess funds soon, he added.
- Board member Paige Reilly resigned from the board to pursue other career prospects, Thomas said.
- Board member Kevin Crummy invited a new stakeholder to join the board. Renee Fortier, executive director of UCLA Events & Transportation, took over a merchant board seat previously held by Brad Erickson, an executive director at UCLA.
- The board unanimously declined to increase assessments, which are essentially association-managed property taxes for business in the Village. Thomas recommended the board not increase assessments, the primary source of income for the WVIA, because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on local businesses.
- Zuriel Espinosa, a city of Los Angeles city planning associate, presented options to alter the Westwood Village Specific Plan, a zoning and regulatory framework for the area. The options focused on altering definitions for food establishments and parking requirements, per a Sept. 13, 2019 city council motion.
- The board unanimously recommended city planning remove fast food and restaurant definitions from the Specific Plan to enable a variety of food establishments to set up in the Village. The board also unanimously recommended city planning remove ratios – restrictions on the number of different food establishments on a street – from the plan.
- The board unanimously recommended the removal of several parking requirements including those for historic buildings, parking replacement requirements and area requirements for hotels, motions pictures, nightclubs and offices. Additionally, the board asked for the removal of parking requirements when a location changes from one type of business to another. Rather than enforce these Specific Plan requirements, the board recommended city planning apply citywide general zoning code requirements.
- The board unanimously recommended city planning allow businesses to lease parking spaces rather than enter into stricter covenant agreements because leases would be more favorable to landlords. Likewise, the board unanimously recommended city planning increase the allowable distance for off-site parking options from 1,000 feet to 1,320 feet.