Thursday, March 31, 2011

Joining with Community to Oppose Wyvernwood Project

Today, as we celebrate the birthday of Cesar Chavez, I joined with Wyvernwood residents to oppose a project that will vastly increase density and do more harm than good to a community that has existed since 1939. Thank you to our friends at ELACC, Healthy Homes Collaborative, Comite de la Esperanza and the residents of Wynvernwood for allowing their voices to be heard today. See press release below.

Huizar Joins Community in Opposing Wyvernwood Project

Councilmember cites importance of protecting and preserving current community, which would be dismantled under the proposed development and increase density nearly four-fold

LOS ANGELES (March 31, 2011) — Councilmember José Huizar joined residents, housing advocates and the Los Angeles Conservancy in opposition Thursday to a $2 billion Boyle Heights’ housing project that would increase density nearly four-fold and dismantle an existing community that has been in place since 1939.

Wyvernwood Garden Apartments is home to more than 6,000 mostly working-class residents. Its open-space design with vast expanses of grass and trees was considered a model when first designed by Architects David J. Witner and Loyall F. Watson and has in fact become a sought-after model in recent years. With many families living in the “community within a community” for generations, the proposed 4,400 unit remodeling project would mean a significant amount of them could end up leaving the only home they have ever known.

“In Boyle Heights, Wyvernwood is a community within a community with its own significant and rich history,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “I cannot support a project that would tear down this proud community one building at a time and replace it with a denser, lesser version of itself. Generations of families would be adversely affected by this community dismantling and today I am joining a vast majority of Wyvernwood residents in opposition to this proposal.”

Currently, Wyvernwood has 1,187 units on approximately 70 acres of land. The current model of 16 units per acre would jump dramatically to 55 units per acre under the proposed redevelopment plan by the developers, the Fifteen Group.

Boyle Heights is already one of the densest areas in the City of Los Angeles.

Also, in attendance Thursday was Linda Dishman, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Conservancy, which opposes the project, noting Wyvernwood’s community-building layout was the first large-scale garden apartment complex in the City, predating others like Park La Brea in the Fairfax District.

“We applaud Councilmember Huizar for supporting the preservation of Wyvernwood,” said Linda Dishman, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Conservancy. “This remarkable site is an irreplaceable part of our history. It has fostered a unique sense of community for generations and it deserves to be preserved for future generations.”

Councilmember Huizar has been considering the project since it was first proposed in 2006 and participated in several meetings with the developer, as well as hosted community forums in order to listen to all perspectives on the proposal.

The proposal is currently undergoing an Environmental Impact Review by the City of Los Angeles’ Planning Department.

To learn more about the effort to save Wyvernwood, including photos and a video history, please visit