Amid concerns, master plan vote delayed

Students reacted to news that a Los Angeles city committee decided to delay a vote on approving a plan to renovate the University Village until November and schedule a hearing on Sept. 18. Dozens of public comments raised concerns over the effect that the development would have on the community and current shop owners and certain budget allocations.

Master Plan · The large-scale project will include a housing complex, retail shops and a grocery store at the University Village. – Austin Vogel | Daily Trojan


The city’s Planning, Land Use and Management Committee postponed the vote on Aug. 21 to give more time for city planners to investigate concerns raised at the meeting, which ranged from a possible budget underestimate for the construction of bike lanes to inadequate measures to ensure jobs in the new center are filled by local residents.

Austin Coleman, a senior majoring in psychology and political science, said it is very important that the community is involved with the project.

“I’m glad they’re taking the community into consideration,” Coleman said. “We all agree the University Village needs to look better, but we need to work with the community to decide what should be a part of it.”

The renovations will replace the University Village, Cardinal Gardens and Century Apartments with a housing complex and shopping center, which would include a grocery store.

“When you think about it, it sounds awesome,” Coleman said. “But I think we’re forgetting about the people we share the neighborhood with. We’re in their neighborhood. We’re taking it away from them.”

Junior critical studies major Kiki Hallebo said the Village would benefit students but is unsure whether the renovations will benefit the community.

“It will bring in more jobs, but who are you actually giving jobs to?” she said.

About 70 people, fairly equally divided between supporting and opposing the plan, spoke over the course of 2 1/2 hours at the PLUM hearing. Those commenting included other councilmembers, local business owners, USC employees, nearby residents, employees, community priests, public interest groups, students and professors.

“USC wants the right to service the city,” said Councilmember José Huizar, PLUM vice chair. “This issue is that a project of a magnitude this size, people will expect more certainty in this process … we need more certainty.”

The additional time is partially the result of having fewer people to analyze the documents submitted by USC, several presenters said, after the department was downsized due to budget cuts. The Sept. 18 presentation could result in a vote, but Councilmember and PLUM Chair Ed Reyes said a November vote seems likely, and the presentation would give the project “more urgency.”

Craig Bunn, a senior majoring in English, said he hopes the committee continues to consider community input as they move forward with the vote.

“There’s no question that it’ll change the existing community, for the better of the students but not necessarily the better of the people living there,” he said. “It’s kind of unfortunate that they don’t have as much of a say.”

11 replies
  1. daniel rush
    daniel rush says:

    Wait a minute! The University Village will not be built with public funds!
    This is a private development – that will provide- something that the local
    community needs jobs, jobs and more jobs!

  2. CommonSenseThinker
    CommonSenseThinker says:

    anonymous… oh how wrong you are.

    Shame on you for jumping to conclusions as I am neither typical or snotty. Privileged? Yes, I’ve worked since I was 16 to earn every penny I have. I am not a USC student, I am a 51-year-old female commercial designer, northern California business owner who yes, has traveled extensively through work and pleasure. Our son is a student-athlete at USC and our daughter is being recruited. I have spent much of my life improving interiors so that people can live more comfortably and with beauty. And I can tell you that updating this center will rise all boats… it will create jobs, look more beautiful, ease traffic with better flow, be safer with improved lighting and become a jewel instead of an eye-sore. What could be wrong, in any way, with that.

  3. donald
    donald says:

    This is not about community input, this is ONLY ABOUT MONEY. The community is simply blackmailing USC in order to get more free housing. Low income housing is the Governments responsibility, not USCs.

    The article says we are taking away from the community–what are we taking away? The scholorships, the thousands of hours of voluteering, the millions of dollars in donations every year, the free summer camps, the free schooling, the security, the commerce we bring, etc…. Take USC out of the community and what do you have–not pretty.

    It is ludicrous to think that this developmetn hurts anyone and I have yet to hear one real sustainable argument to the contrary. This really is just a smoke screen to stick us up.

    Shame on these leaders for doing this. This development is everything they have been asking for: Jobs, jobs, and more jobs–that’s what USC can give to the communtiy–although we all ready are the largest private employer in LA. Use your brains not your bleeding hearts.

  4. Peter
    Peter says:

    Locals have had 60+ years to develop this community, if you look around are there are any instances where they have succeeded? Long term there is no doubt that this new University Village plan will both provide thousands more temporary and permanent jobs for locals and also provide housing and retail for students that are sorely lacking in the area. And will also replace that dumb we call the UV. This is a no-brainer to me.

    • anonymous
      anonymous says:

      “…that dumb we call the UV” LOL Trojans at their finest.

      You’re not even going to be at USC once this project is completed.

  5. ThinkAgain
    ThinkAgain says:

    People seem to forget USC has been in the neighborhood long before it was a neighborhood. Homes were developed and people moved in because of the university. Having the current residents complain about the university is analogous to people moving next to an airport and complaining about the noise and demanding change. Nevertheless, USC had continued to embrace the folks that decided to move to the neighborhood through jobs, access to education, and a catalyst for improvements to a crumbling neighborhood. Yet, these relative newcomers continue to demand more and more. The real issue here is not USC, but the developers that bought houses and converted them to housing for students (squeezing out local residents), along with the City Council that did nothing to stop it.

  6. CommonSenseThinker
    CommonSenseThinker says:

    Let’s get this project moving forward. The University shopping center is an embarrassment of poor construction, difficult pedestrian and vehicle access and weak retail. Common sense would tell us that improving this area automatically adds jobs to the community… both in construction and retail. And I don’t understand the concerns that the jobs may not be “local.” If the local residents are qualified, there is no reason they won’t fill most if not all of the positions as they do now. I am so tired of people in our country thinking stagnation is somehow a better choice than progession. Have any of you been out of our country lately? Canada, Germany, England, France, Sweden, Singapore, and others are whizzing by our country in the development of downtown areas creating vibrant, safe, pedestrian-friendly, beautiful shopping and open space areas… while our country continues to fall into further disrepair. They would laugh at our ridiculous view that some residents don’t want money brought into their communities for the improvement of all…

    • anonymous
      anonymous says:

      “If the local residents are qualified, there is no reason they won’t fill most if not all of the positions as they do now.”
      “Have any of you been out of our country lately?”

      Typical, snotty, privileged USC kid remarks. No wonder the community hates us.

      • Clickit
        Clickit says:

        There is nothing snotty about Thinker’s remarks. Locals are employed at the current shops at the UV. Why does anyone think that labor will be imported from somewhere else to fill the same retail jobs in a nicer looking store?

        I can see the perspective that visiting the countries listed could be considered “privileged.” It could also be a result of military deployment. Or just a trip with Google Street View.

        If the community hates us, it is because we don’t provide for all of their needs. We are not obligated to do so.

        • anonymous
          anonymous says:

          Let’s be real–Trader Joe’s doesn’t hire the same people as El Superior, The Magic Printshop doesn’t hire the same people as Urban Outfitters, etc etc

          “I can see the perspective that visiting the countries listed could be considered “privileged.” It could also be a result of military deployment. Or just a trip with Google Street View.” -___- Yeah, people who live in the area and work their butts off to make ends meet are surely browsing Google Street View to check out the sights of downtown areas in Singapore and Canada. Please.

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