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CRA

The Project Action Committee, a residents’ council working with the North Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency, has called a truce after battling for months over a streetscape design project. The controversy involved an $88,500 contract to create a street environment that would unify the appearance of the commercial area that surrounds the intersection of Lankershim and Magnolia boulevards in North Hollywood. The PAC on March 19 gave its approval to Irvine-based Urban Design Studio the only one of four finalists for the project chosen by the CRA that had also been on the recommendation list of the PAC. The selection process had drawn the ire of the community because, the PAC said, the CRA first asked the group to review the proposals submitted by designers and then ignored the PAC’s comments. “They led us to believe that we would be able to have a voice in the recommendation process,” said Glenn Hoiby, a North Hollywood attorney and PAC vice chairman. “Time and time again, it seems they are giving lip service to community involvement.” The CRA called the dispute a misunderstanding, saying that the agency had never intended to include the PAC in the selection process; the group’s role was as an overseer. But the PAC rejected the explanation, and in January the group called for an investigation of the bid process by the City Council and the Los Angeles Redevelopment Agency, as well as the ouster of the CRA administrators. The tiny contract had become the bone of contention in a larger battle to remove the CRA from the North Hollywood community. Since 1995, members of the PAC have filed two lawsuits in Superior Court seeking to prevent the CRA from extending for 12 years its redevelopment efforts in the area. In its complaints, the PAC said that the Amended Redevelopment Plan would increase the funding for CRA efforts from $89 million to $535.6 million over the course of that 12 years. Mildred Weller, third vice chairwoman for the PAC, said she decided to give the nod to the streetscape design contract because she wanted to move on with the project. “I didn’t see any reason to obstruct it by talking about dirty play,” Weller said. ? Shelly Garcia

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