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Proposed San Pedro Plan Focuses on Downtown, Attractiveness

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For years, the city's job of updating its community plans, which govern planning and zoning in a particular area, has been slow-going, but the Planning Department seems to be a on a bit of a roll lately. The most recent to move forward is the San Pedro Community Plan--yesterday the department posted a draft of the plan (pdf) and its environmental impact report documents. The document sets a vision for San Pedro intended to guide development in the neighborhood for the next 20 years (the existing plan was adopted in 1999). As such, the community plan envisions, "a revitalized downtown with attractive design, more parks and open space, and increased neighborhood amenities while retaining its small-town charm," according to a Planning Department press release. While the plan itself acknowledges a certain amount of growth (about 1,000 people in 5,000 new housing units) and demographic change over the next twenty years, "[it] seeks to generally direct growth away from these existing residential neighborhoods towards transit-oriented districts and corridors in commercial centers."

To elaborate, the growth will be directed to Downtown San Pedro: "The Plan intends to accommodate much of San Pedro's projected population increase in the downtown, offering a unique urban lifestyle in a walkable downtown commercial district featuring restaurants, entertainment, shopping, an arts district, and a variety of waterfront amenities including the waterfront promenade, parks and open spaces." This all comes as the Port area struggles to gentrify, with new attractions including the USS Iowa battleship museum and the Crafted marketplace.

The plan focuses on three main themes: "expanding housing opportunities, strengthening the community's connection to the waterfront, and preserving industrial areas for local jobs including green industries." With those themes in mind, we perused the plan and found a few of the more notable of the recommended changes (pdf) to the zoning code proposed by the plan:

-- The plan adds more height restrictions, however, than it takes away. An area zoned for community commercial on Grand between Fifth Street and Eighth Street would add a 75-foot height limit. The area currently has no height restrictions. Height limits are also added in a section of Downtown San Pedro very near the water: Pacific Ave between Third Street and Tenth Streets and on Seventh Street between Mesa and one parcel east of Palos Verdes.

-- The words "Add design guidelines" appear frequently in the plan's proposed changes. Design guidelines would be new for parts of the Gaffrey industrial area, the light manufacturing areas of Northwest San Pedro, and some of the north-south commercial corridors in Central San Pedro.

-- The plan provides building height and floor area ratio benefits to green/clean technology uses in the North Gaffrey Industrial Area.

-- Recommendations for Downtown San Pedro would, "Add scale, massing, and site development regulations."

-- The plan would require pedestrian-oriented guidelines for Pacific Avenue between Ninth Street and Thirteenth Street, the Gaffey Commercial Corridor between Thirteenth Street and Nineteenth Street, and the west side of Pacific Ave between Tenth Street and Hamilton.

-- The plan would require ground floor commercial along Pacific Avenue, Alma Street, and Gaffrey Street, in both northern and southern parts of San Pedro.

-- Another especially common word in the Community Plan's recommended changes is "consistency," meaning no change. Many of the planning area's residential and community commercial neighborhoods, especially around Central San Pedro, would see no changes in zoning.

The San Pedro Community Plan joins the Hollywood Community Plan and a trio of community plans for South LA as the community plans to have hit the streets so far. The public has until September 24 to provide written comments on the DEIR for the San Pedro Community Plan, but more opportunities for comment will be available at the full gambit of City Hall approval hearings: Planning Commission, Planning and Land Use Management Committee, and full City Council.
· San Pedro New Community Plan [Planning Department]
· Huge South LA Plans Would Block Liquor Stores, Encourage Transit-Oriented Development [Curbed LA]