Sunday, May 27, 2007


The City's approval process for Autry to relocate the Southwest Museum to Griffith Park has begun. This is not a "done deal", even if Autry makes it sound so.


Attached is the notice from the Department of Recreation and Parks announcing the first Public Scoping Meeting of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process for the proposed expansion of the Autry National Center. (May 29, 6:30 pm, Autry National Center). The Autry, a privately held institution, is situated on 10 acres of public land in Griffith Park which it leases from the City of Los Angeles for $1 (one dollar) a year. Both its location on dedicated parkland and its potential environmental impacts on its host, Griffith Park, make the Autry's expansion a matter of public interest. [CLICK READ MORE -- THERE IS MORE]

The letter and conceptual plan diagrams provided indicate that the institution is seeking to increase its built area by 129,000 square feet. Additionally, it is seeking to move a large portion of its parking to the south and east portion of its existing South Lawn thereby obliterating half of this green space and eventually, in Phase II of their conceptual plan, constructing an additional building above this newly created parking lot.

At first look, this seems to contradict assurances from the Autry that they do not intend to increase their footprint in Griffith Park, as was reported in the L.A. Times. The word footprint," however, which is commonly understood to mean the space a building occupies on a parcel of land, has been redefined admittedly by the Autry to mean the land itself -- all 110 acres of their leasehold. Contradicted as well, it seems is the Autry's longstanding and oft-repeated public promise never to remove the green space afforded by their South Lawn. By relabeling the leftover section of turf as "South Lawn" on the diagram, the reality that half the lawn has been lost is obscured.

Because this is a matter of public interest, the project will require various approvals which may include an amendment to its existing ground lease, a conditional use permit with a height allowance (does this mean a zoning variance?) and more. The potential environmental impacts are listed and they are considerable.

We urge you to attend the meeting and to voice and mail in your comments to the Environmental Supervisor.

Remember when the powers-that-be said the Cornfields would become warehouses... that the deal was done? Today, due to a determined group of community leaders, Los Angeles is blessed with a new State Park.

Take a close look at the environmental analysis just posted online today by the Dept of Recreation and Parks for the proposed Autry expansion project in Griffith Park. Object? Oppose? Attend the Public Meeting. A second meeting was just added for June 11th and the comment period extended until June 28.

Contact Zuma Dogg, ZAP (Zuma's Activist Program):

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