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Highland Park Transit Village hits a major snag

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City council suspends permits, its approval of the project

In a big setback for the proposed Highland Park Transit Village, the Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to suspend permits and its approval of the housing project until issues related to a lawsuit are resolved, Eastsider LA reports.

In 2013, the Highland Park Transit Village was moving forward. It was poised to bring 80 residential units (a mix of condos and affordable rentals) to three lots along Marmion Way, between Avenue 56 and 59, adjacent to the neighborhood’s Gold Line station. But then, says ELA, opponents of the project, Friends of Highland Park, filed a lawsuit and, "won a court ruling that has essentially put the project on hold."

Developers McCormack Baron Salazar completed a mitigated negative declaration for the project, instead of the more rigorous environmental impact report that’s required of large projects. Friends of Highland Park sued the city for failing to require the more in-depth environmental review, and ultimately, the court ruled that the city and developer had to throw out the former and conduct an environmental impact report instead.

Plans for the three-building development called for one 50-unit residential building, a 10-unit building for low- and moderate-income residents, and a 20-unit condo building. The developer has said it will replace the public parking that’s lost when the sites give way to the project.

A planning department official emphasized, "the court did not reject the city’s decision to grant the developer the right to build a project bigger than what existing zoning laws allowed," but also said the ball is now in the developer’s court.