When a developer wanted to buy 24 homes right up against the 91 and 110 interchange, he was denied because of pollution concerns. The planning community really frowns upon having any homes within 500 feet of a freeway because the pollution poses significant health risks.
However, 5 years later, with LA in the midst of a housing crisis, the City Council is taking another look at a scaled down version of the project. Even Councilman Joe Buscaino, who sits on the South Coast Air Quality Management District, is seriously considering the project despite the fact some of these homes are only 60 feet from the freeway.
The Councilman reasons that so many other projects close to freeways have been approved, it would be hard to find a real justification to deny this one. Of course, this line of reasoning assumes the other projects should have been approved in the first place.
Many locals resist the project for the typical NIMBY reasons. However, they also point out their own state Assemblyman, Mike Gipson, is not representing their interests because he is being paid to promote the project.
The developer plans to mitigate the air quality issues with a barrier of trees, limiting freeway facing windows and installing high performing filtered air conditioning. Of course even these efforts who do little to guard against the city’s first concern when the evaluated the project in 2012 – cars flying off the freeway and landing on a house.
So I guess we all need to face the question: Is the housing so crisis so bad, the only thing the government can is weaken its protection of public health?