The Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council has decided it will not take a position on the proposal to redevelop the Wyvernwood Garden Apartments, a $2-billion plan to demolish the 1939 housing complex and replace it with over 4,000 units, including condominiums, offices, parks and shopping centers.
The issue, which was scheduled to be heard at this Wednesday’s General Board Meeting, was removed from the agenda after the board’s executive committee voted 5 to 1 in favor to postpone the vote indefinitely last Thursday.
According to Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council President Edward Padilla, the decision came after evaluating several questions raised, including designating an appropriate venue for the meeting where the vote would take place.
Board members discussed the importance of choosing a safe meeting location accessible to Wyvernwood residents and with enough capacity to accommodate a large turnout.
However, ultimately, members had to decide if the Boyle Heights community would benefit from the BHNC’s position, explained Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council board member Sierra Jenkins.
“This a critical issue, it’s very close to the heart of everyone in Boyle Heights and the neighborhood council has heard from so many people on both sides of this issue,” said Jenkins.
“Given how divided the community is right now, I didn’t think it would be possible for me as a board member to make a vote that accurately reflects the community.”
Opponents hope to preserve the historical landmark and fear the project will push out low-income residents. Supporters feel the housing complex desperately needs renovations and many claim the community will benefit from more mixed-income housing.
Just last month, the BHNC postponed a revote slated for Feb 27, a month after the board voted in favor of the proposal. The vote was annulled by the city attorney for failure to fulfill the appropriate 24-hour notice of location change once they were locked out of the meeting’s original location.
The BHNC’s vote was meant to be a recommendation to the city, it was not the deciding factor. The City Planning Commission is expected to hear the proposal on May 9.
See the BHNC General Board meeting agenda here.
Clarification: A previous version of this story stated “The BHNC’s vote would not make a final decision on the project but instead issue a recommendation to the City Council.” As corrected above, the now postponed vote would have served as a recommendation to the city.