UCLA students are attempting to separate from the Westwood Neighborhood Council amid concerns that the group is thwarting affordable housing development in the upscale zip code, Curbed reported.
Graduate Students Association President Michael Skiles announced the plan at a graduate student government event on Wednesday, arguing the students want a greater say in neighborhood issues. The existing council has been “NIMBY and obstructionist” about new housing, Skiles said.
The council’s Land Use and Planning Committee recently opposed a plan to convert a UCLA extension building into housing, and in 2011, it withheld its support for the university’s plan to redevelop four residential properties into student housing. To much of the students’ dismay, the neighborhood group has also consistently opposed efforts to draw nightlife and trendy eateries to the area.
Westwood, like much of the rest of Los Angeles, has been grappling with an affordable housing issue. The median home price clocks in at $1.85 million, according to Redfin, which in turn causes many students to seek housing in other, more affordable neighborhoods. In fact, Westwood was rated America’s most expensive college town by investment firm HomeUnion in 2016.
In order to form their own council, students will have to apply to the city’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. If approved, it would then go to an election where UCLA students and neighborhood residents could vote. [Curbed] – Natalie Hoberman