Coalition to Preserve LA freeway-adjacent housing

L.A. Pols Reject Unhealthy Freeway-Adjacent Housing for Harbor Gateway

In Black Lung Lofts, City Hall, Harbor, News by Patrick Range McDonald

The Los Angeles Times reports that the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee recently denied approval for a housing development near a busy freeway in Harbor Gateway. Top researchers have long said that children, seniors and pregnant women who live in freeway-adjacent housing, also known as “black lung lofts,” are at high risk of serious health problems, such as asthma and premature births.

The rejection of the Harbor Gateway project was a rare move by the planning committee, which has a long track record of approving freeway-adjacent housing development.

In addition, the City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti have still yet to protect the public’s health through meaningful mitigation measures. Such as, creating a buffer zone for the construction of new homes so developers can’t build within 500 feet of a freeway and establishing a mandatory notification program so that developers and landlords must inform current and prospective tenants about freeway-adjacent housing health hazards.

The L.A. Times reports about the Harbor Gateway project:

“A key committee of the Los Angeles City Council rejected a plan Tuesday for putting 15 homes near a freeway interchange, in part over the potential health risks from car and truck pollution.

“The council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee unanimously declined the request from businessman Ali Awad to change the zoning on the site, a move that would allow housing to be built. The site sits next to the 110 and 91 freeways and previously was owned by the California Department of Transportation.

“California air quality officials have warned for more than a decade against building new homes within 500 feet of freeways, noting that residents in those areas have higher rates of asthma, heart attacks, lung cancer and pre-term births. A recent Times analysis found Los Angeles has nevertheless experienced a spate of home building in those locations, with thousands of units going up.

“Councilman Bob Blumenfield said he was “very uncomfortable” with the project — and the possible environmental issues that future residents would face.”

Blumenfield, however, supported a major luxury-housing project with 335 units next to the 101 Freeway in his district in Woodland Hills.

Known as Clarendon Apartments, the development — more than 20 times the size of the Harbor Gateway project — was approved by the City Council, including Blumenfield, and Mayor Eric Garcetti in March.

Read the full L.A. Times article: “Citing potential health risks, City Council panel rejects plan for homes near the 110 and 91 freeways.”

Photo by Prayitno/Creative Commons