City Council Says Proposed South Los Angeles Hotel Should Be Used for Affordable Housing – NBC Los Angeles

The City Council on Tuesday vetoed the denial of a permit for a 168-room Marriott hotel in South Los Angeles, sending the matter back to the South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission for reconsideration and the planning committee council for further review.

The proposed seven-story building would be located on a 34,000-square-foot city-owned site that has been vacant since 2010. It was previously the site of the Bethune Library and is located near USC.

The council voted 12-1 in favor of the veto, with councilwoman Mónica Rodríguez dissenting.

In 2019, the City Council signed an agreement with a developer to build the Marriott on the site. But last month, the local planning commission sided with the city’s zoning manager in denying a conditional use permit and site plan review amid concerns the lot should be used to provide affordable housing.

Several public speakers voiced their opposition to the hotel before the council.

“In the midst of a citywide housing crisis, we should be thinking about the renters and residents of our city and specifically South Los Angeles,” said Jessica Melendez, TRUST South LA Policy Director. “We should not be using this valuable public land for corporate development projects like luxury hotels, which would continue to gentrify and displace communities.”

Glafira López, a community organizer for Strategic Actions for a Fair Economy, told the council that “the most important thing is that members of the community have voted no” to the construction of a hotel on public land.

“Repeatedly, we have heard from community members that this hotel will not benefit them,” Lopez said. “It will bring more gentrification to communities that are already overwhelmed by the development that is causing gentrification.”

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents the area and chairs the council’s Planning and Land Use Committee, filed a motion for the council to “assert jurisdiction” over the local planning commission’s action. The motion, cited by other council members and committee member Heather Hutt, said the project “will spur further economic development” and that the developer was selected following a “highly competitive” process.

Council members said the project is expected to generate jobs, tax revenue and a “community benefits package.” They sought council action to ensure “community input is obtained and concerns are fully addressed.”

Henry Fan of Orion Capital, the developer of the project, told the council that the company does not deny or oppose the need for affordable housing in Los Angeles.

“But what we believe is that the development of an economic asset like a hotel will stimulate commerce throughout the Vermont corridor and provide jobs for people,” Fan said.

Fan added that economic development is necessary to keep people housed and off the street, and that the proposed project has received support from local businesses in the area.

Harris-Dawson, later addressing public opposition, said this was the “rare occasion” she would stand up “in defense of a private commercial development over affordable housing.”

“A lot of people have raised the question or made the point that because this is publicly owned land, the only thing that should go there is affordable housing,” Harris-Dawson said.

The councilman argued that the Eighth Ward already has as much or more affordable housing than every other ward, and that the Marriott presented an opportunity for the ward to “move away from an extremely
short list of boroughs in the city of Los Angeles that do not have a single union hotel.”

“A hotel is one of the things that not only creates permanent jobs, but creates permanent community benefits for a neighborhood that lacks them,” Harris-Dawson said. right in the heart of your neighborhood.”