O’Farrell introduces motion to preserve HiFi identity while planning for future growth

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LOS ANGELES – LA Councilman Mitch O’Farrell introduced a motion on Wednesday which seeks to preserve the identity of Historic Filipinotown (HiFi) while concurrently preparing for future growth in the neighborhood.

In a statement on www.cd13.com, O’Farrell said that his motion “would establish long-range planning tools that will help absorb new growth, while preserving the distinct look and feel of the historic commercial corridors,” in HiFi.

The “historic corridors” that O’Farrell mentioned include the Temple Street, Beverly Boulevard, and 3rd Street corridors between Hoover Street and Glendale Boulevard in the Silver Lake-Echo Park-Elysian Valley and Westlake Community Plan Areas in Council District 13 (CD13).

In the motion, O’Farrell asked the Council to direct the LA Planning Department (with the assistance of the City Attorney) to “prepare and present an Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) to prohibit the issuance of demolition, building and any other applicable permits for the area.”

In his motion, O’Farrell cited the development of Design Guidelines that will inform [sic] a future Community Deesign Overlay (CDO) or Community Plan Implementation Overlay (CPIO) for the involved areas in HiFi.

O’Farrell said that these Design Guidelines are intended to promote the distinctive character, stability, and visual quality of the neighborhood.

“This will ensure that Historic Filipinotown will remain long into the future as one of the greatest neighborhoods in the City of Angels,” O’Farrell wrote on www.cd13.com.

Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA) Executive Director Joel Jacinto expressed his support for O’Farrell’s motion.

“I applaud and wholeheartedly support Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s motion to create a more pedestrian-friendly HiFi district and look forward to working with him and his office in creating a public-community partnership that realizes the vision, historical and cultural significance, and the business potential of our beloved part of Los Angeles,” Jacinto said in an email correspondence.

Arturo Garcia, community leader from the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) also expressed his general concurrence with the long range planning for HiFi.

However, Garcia said that he still has questions about the “distinct feel” that will be preserved in the neighborhood.

Garcia said that he previously made suggestions about developing historical tourism hubs in HiFi. But he said that those recommendations were not heeded by then CD13 Councilman and now LA Mayor Eric Garcetti.

In a statement made to the Asian Journal via email, Garcia hinted that Filipino-Americans had little say in the preservation motion.

However, according to O’Farrell’s spokesperson, Tony Arranaga, Garcia’s claim may be based on some misunderstanding.

“The motion simply directs staff to work on guidelines for future development in the area,” Arranaga told the the Asian Journal via email correspondence.

“During this public process, community stakeholders will have an opportunity to participate and provide input. We will be sure [to] notify our constituents when those meetings take place,” he added.

(LA Weekend October 5-8, 2013 Sec A pg.9)

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