County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is the latest in a long line of people to raise objections to NBCUniversal's big Evolution Plan, which would bring housing, studio, and transit overhauls to Universal City. He wrote a letter to Universal Studios President Ron Meyer this week saying "l am asking you to reconsider that portion of your plan that involves developing nearly 3,000 housing units on a portion of Universal's back lot." The residential part of the plan is set to cover about 120 acres and include 2,900 condos and apartments, plus shops and restaurants (it's unclear if Yaroslavsky wants the whole thing gone or just the housing). The Evolution Plan's draft environmental impact report was released in late 2010; a final report is expected to be out this year and NBCU is currently addressing issues raised in response to the DEIR. Yaroslavsky is concerned that the project, which would reduce the backlot (but increase production facilities) would hurt film production and cost jobs, according to the LA Times--neighbors including Roy P. Disney made a similar argument in 2010.
He also wrote in his letter that people who move to Universal City won't like being so close to production: "The proposed specific plan would place nearly 6,500 residents only a few feet away from the studio and theme park?Such a development will most certainly create additional pressure on the studio to constrain and/or curtail some of its current production activity, threatening to shrink the studio and its related uses to a fraction of their current size." Neighbors, of course, also oppose the housing, and have concerns about traffic congestion.
Zev Yaroslavsky letter to Ron Meyer
· L.A. County supervisor opposes Universal Studios housing plan [LAT]
· Could Universal City Project Scare Away Local Production? [Curbed LA]
· Universal City Development Plan, Take Two [Curbed LA]