The push is on to get the 20th Century Fox expansion approved before Mayor Tom Bradley passes the reins to Richard Riordan July 1.
At Wednesday’s Planning and Land Use Management hearing at City Hall, chairman Hal Bernson and Ruth Galanter voted to accept an agreement — rife with tough conditions — reached June 10 by Fox and Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, who reps the Westside neighborhood where the studio is based (Daily Variety, June 11 ).
The PLUM panel’s recommendation will be considered by the 15-member City Council Wednesday. Eight votes are needed for approval.
PLUM vice chairman Nate Holden abstained.
“Ordinarily we don’t rush through any project as major as this,” Holden said after the hearing of the three-member City Council subcommittee. “But the mayor wants it passed.”
No one at the standing-room-only hearing voiced doubt that it would pass the City Council, the last step before it reaches the mayor’s desk.
“The city is bending over backwards to keep employers like Fox in our city,” Bernson admitted.
Under the plan to be considered by the City Council, Fox would undertake the $ 200 million Century City expansion in three phases. Traffic — the biggest concern — will be monitored to measure impact on the neighborhoods and the environment.
The final phase is conditional and would only be greenlighted after more public hearings, Yaroslavsky reminded.
Fox Inc. senior veepee David Handelman said they’ll live with the conditions and that he was “happy” with the PLUM hearing. He said the abstaining vote will not affect progress.
Nonetheless, Holden said after the hearing: “I want to see a full, consolidated report,” not just “bits and pieces.”
The expansion plan has gone through so many revisions that there isn’t a single document or model outlining the full plan.
“I think this was convoluted and Mickey Mouse,” Holden said, referring to confusion over whether the project was “downsized” to accommodate opponents.
The plan continues to call for a 771,000-square-foot expansion. The new agreement simply adds conditions and rigid traffic measurements.
Opposition has waned considerably, and Laura Lake, heretofore the most visible opponent, was noticeable in her absence Wednesday.