Voices Are Being Heard

This blog is under construction and none of the comments (good/ bad/ neutral) have been posted here. This blog was created to help organize the Washington Heights Tract and to give a voice to a neighborhood of Echo Park whose concerns seemed to be overlooked by entrepreneurs and developers.

For example: many homes were destroyed to make way for the school being built on Alvarado/Sunset.  Nobody listened.  Those that did speak out in criticism didn’t get enough community support.  Now developers are trying to build a  5 Story,  64 unit apartment building from Sunset to Elsinore Street while destroying a community garden and 6 turn of the century homes.  Is anybody listening?  Also at issue is a liquor license protest for the 200 plus seat bar/ restaurant establishment seeking to operate 7 days a week with minimal parking provided. We hope that those that have cause for concern will speak out this time and get community support or solutions for their concerns.

As for the critics who are unsympathetic to those living in close proximity to this location, we get it, these issues don’t affect you.  This blog is not for you.  We have no need for your negative comments and it does nothing to serve this neighborhood.

A special thank you to neighborhood residents willing to contribute and send in their blog postings.

Admittedly none of us are “web designers” and since we are all volunteers, we are posting as we have time in an effort to reach out and talk about our concerns as residents of this particular neighborhood. And now it looks like people are finally listening. We are excited that other local blog outlets are picking up the following story and that people are getting involved in Echo Park community issues.

To clarify, none of the residents of this neighborhood are anti-development, but we are concerned about irresponsible development. We’d love to see businesses go up in these boarded up commercial spaces like the old Ramona Theater.

According to The Eastsider, the new business that is seeking to occupy the old Ramona Theater responded to some neighborhood criticism today.  See: http://www.theeastsiderla.com/2010/08/echo-park-restaurant-owner-responds-to-his-critics/

Here is a response to this interview from one of the residents of the Washington Heights Tract:

RE: PARKING ISSUES  The car wash at Sunset and Alvarado can fit about 80 cars for paid valet parking available after 5:30pm. We appreciate the effort, but that’s over 136 additional spaces plus employees that need a place to park at a 216 seat restaurant/bar. Also what is the lunch crowd going to do? For those walking or riding your bike to this location that is great.  What about the extra cars parking in residential parking spots?

RE: PERMIT PARKING  Permit parking is a last resort as not everyone in this neighborhood supports this idea. It is a long, time consuming process that falls on the residents and costs money. Permit parking merely displaces the problem. Customers of this establishment will simply have to drive to the “next block” to find parking. Perhaps that will be in front of your residence? The central issue isn’t being addressed. If you want to bring a large business operating for long hours into an already overcrowded area then take responsibility and provide enough  parking options. You may have to spend more money and make less of a profit, but in the long run everyone will be much better off.

RE: LIQUOR LICENSE The business at 2139 Sunset has applied for a full service alcohol license (beer,wine and liquor) with business hours from 11 am to 2 am Monday – Saturday and 9 am to 1 am on Sunday. These long hours point to the fact that it is not merely a restaurant. It’s a restaurant/bar that will be serving alcohol all day and all night. That means drinks from a full service bar at lunchtime while kids are at school 1 block away. That also means the drinks will keep coming after dinner service stops. For all intents and purposes this is a big bar. If they were really only interested in a restaurant then why apply for a license equivalent to that of a nightclub or bar?

There are many names signed to a petition of residents that live near and around 2139 Sunset. None of these people were contacted about this new business or the impending liquor license. If community outreach was done, then the people that would be MOST affected by a bar/restaurant at this location were not contacted.

We all want positive change but it can’t be one sided. Entrepreneurs and developers must take responsibility if they want to come into a neighborhood and make money.


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