Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that owns and operates LAX, is doing a little master planning around the airport. The Daily Breeze reports that the LAX Northside Plan Update would bring mixed-use development and open space to an area along Westchester Parkway from Pershing Drive in Playa del Rey to Sepulveda Boulevard in Westchester. The mostly vacant 358 acre parcel is currently home to the Westchester Golf Course, an airport employee childcare center, and Los Angeles City Fire Station No. 5. LAWA bought the land in the seventies and eighties in hopes of creating a commercial buffer between the airport and the surrounding residential areas.
According to the early versions of the plan, the western section of the site, north of Westchester Parkway, would be devoted to open space or other recreational uses; sections closer to Sepulveda would have retail, restaurant, hotel, and office uses; office, research and development, and civic uses would be slotted in between. All told, the plan would enable 1.5 million square feet of development north of Westchester Parkway, 400,000 square feet of airport uses south of the parkway, and about 127 acres of open space.
As the term "Plan Update" implies, this is not the first time at the rodeo for development in this area, but the update would mean a "significant reduction" to the approved, but never realized, LAX Northside Plan from 1984, which included more than 4.5 million square feet of commercial buildings.
The project area has the unique complication of requiring approval from the Federal Aviation Administration because of the project area's proximity to the airport. The FAA will be able to restrict building heights and landscaping, and other factors. Furthering the FAA connection, LAWA bought most of the houses and land in the project area using FAA noise abatement money. According to the DB, that history requires LAWA "to obtain fair market value for the properties and ensure proceeds support the same purposes."
LAWA is hoping to begin the environmental review process early next year, but public outreach has already begun, including an open house at Orville Wright Middle School tonight. The final plan will require approval from the Board of Airport Commissioners, the Los Angeles City Council, as well as the FAA.
· LAWA working on proposal to develop land north of LAX [Daily Breeze]