CCA Reflects - DTLA 2040: Preparing for a Neighborhood with 250k Residents

CCA Reflects - DTLA 2040: Preparing for a Neighborhood with 250k Residents

Published Thursday, August 1, 2019

Downtown stakeholders have been anticipating the updated Downtown community plan, DTLA 2040, which sets the policy goals and land use framework that will guide the future growth and development of DTLA for the next two decades. CCA has been closely involved in the process and advocating for a plan that allows for more housing and greater flexibility of uses while also promoting new green space and community facilities like schools.

We were excited that the Department of City Planning (DCP) released the draft plan this month. We were encouraged to see a plan that supports the continued transformation of DTLA into a vibrant community and aims to create a more predicable zoning system that corresponds with the needs of our time. The plan importantly sets the foundation for DTLA's growth by creating capacity for an additional 176k residents, 100k units and 86k jobs by 2040, which is beyond the Southern California Association of Government's projections for DTLA of 125k residents, 70k units and 55k jobs.

DCP's vision for our city's urban center is ambitious, and this plan showcases that they are taking strategic steps to address our housing crisis. This plan vastly increases where housing is allowed, which is needed at a time when our region faces a deficit of one million housing units. It calls for a variety of housing types, including micro-units -- which we have been promoting as a way to unlock small development parcels near transit stations -- and multi-bedroom units for families. It eliminates parking minimums which is smart in a dense, transit-rich area like DTLA.

Still, there are many more pieces of the community plan that we will evaluate as they are released. We need to ensure that we have a flexible plan that allows different types of housing across Downtown. We also need additional clarity on the community benefits system, which is intended to incentivize the provision of on-site community benefits -- such as affordable housing, schools, parks and libraries -- in exchange for greater development capacity. We know schools and green space are two of the most important amenities that Downtown needs more of to attract and maintain families. DTLA 2040 is an important initiative to bring together Downtown's needs and present opportunities, and that's why we quickly pulled together a working group with DCP and our members to have this dialogue and will continue to in the upcoming months.

Downtown LA is a neighborhood that is full of optimistic residents who enjoy living here, and this is going to continue to grow. Downtown is the center of the city. It represents one percent of the city's land but is responsible for 12% of the city's jobs and 20% of new housing units. There's a lot upcoming in DTLA's future. Not only are we welcoming these new residents, amenities, jobs and housing, but we will be electing our new City Council District 14 (CD 14) representative next year. We will continue to collaborate with DCP and the City to have a plan that is structured for success, and we will initiate conversations with CD 14 candidates to ensure that the future councilmember is aligned with our vision for DTLA. CCA is hosting a CD 14 candidate forum on September 17 and we will be asking candidates for their thinking about the future of DTLA. We hope to see you there!