By Kristina Pritchett

A majority of residents who attended a Doheny Village meeting on Thursday, Nov. 17, said they were in favor of a project to make the neighborhood into a walkable urban area.

Opticos Designs was hired by the city last year to help refine what residents want the area to look like. The company held a design charrette over five days to discuss ideas.

In September, the company showed the public the concept of the area, and pinpointed four distinct environments, each with its own zoning code.

Dan Parolek, founding principal of Opticos, told residents they had identified different areas where parking currently exists and some where more could be created.

One concern brought up last week was whether the new zoning code would push out existing businesses.

“We’re not going to displace anyone,” Parolek said. “It’s up to the property owner if they want to do something different.”

Director of Community Development Ursula Luna-Reynosa said the businesses currently in the area will be able to stay as long as they want to.

“This is a zoning document, so it changes the land uses, so if you’re in business today, and you’re there legally, you are going to be allowed to remain as long as you want to,” Luna-Reynosa said. “You’ll be a legal non-conforming use.”

City officials wanted to know how the community felt before deciding anything.

“We don’t want to waste taxpayers’ dollars,” Luna-Reynosa said. “If there’s not enough community consensus, then we don’t want to waste any more money on it.”

Luna-Reynosa said if people are in support of the project, they should contact members on Planning Commission and Council.

The city will need to continue with the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The zoning changes will need to go to the Planning Commission, City Council and the California Coastal Commission before anything can be implemented.

Luna-Reynosa said, at minimum, this could take 18-24 months, and it could take at least four months before the city release the EIR draft.

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