Controversial Hawthorne residential project gains approval

The Green Line-adjacent project gained approval amid cries of corruption and corporate appeals

Oct.October 12, 2017 02:00 PM
Crenshaw Boulevard and Jack Northrop Avenue with Mayor Alex Vargas and City Council Member Angie English (Credit: Google Maps, City of Hawthorne)

UPDATED, November 14, 2017, 5:15 p.m.: In a contentious meeting filled with accusations of corruption and a heated debate, the council voted 3-2 on Tuesday in favor of Blackwood Real Estate’s hotly-contested residential project on Crenshaw Boulevard at Jack Northrop Avenue, Daily Breeze reported.

Located a half a mile from the Green Line station, the 230-unit, six-story project falls outside of the scope of several zoning restrictions, so it needed council approval to pass. The proposed project includes fewer parking spots than the amount required by the zoning code and its apartments are smaller than the Municipal Code permits. Its proximity to a major transit hub reduces its vehicle footprint, the developer argued.

But SpaceX, which, like Amazon, has operations next door, has been against the project, and its other opponents argued that the neighborhood as whole is unfit for an apartment complex, citing constant noise from industrial operations. The area is better suited for aerospace and industrial uses, councilman Nilo Michelin argued.

But despite the concerns, the council ultimately voted in favor of the development — an unprecedented move that has some council members raising their eyebrows.

Mayor Alex Vargas accused councilwoman Angie English of “entering into unilateral negotiations with the developer.” In retaliation, English accused the mayor of collusion. She was also quick to point out the conflict of interest in the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.’s opposition to the deal. SpaceX, which is digging a test freeway tunnel underneath Crenshaw Boulevard, is a member of LAEDC. [DB]Natalie Hoberman

Correction: A previous version of this story stated Amazon was against the project.

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