WeHo eyes more ‘privately owned public spaces’

City Council is set to consider a novel way of creating public spaces within West Hollywood at their next meeting.

These so-called privately owned public spaces (“POPS” or “POPOS” for short) are already a major part of urban planning in New York City and San Francisco.

Essentially, POPOs are portions of new developments which their owners and developers have allowed to be accessed and used by the public. In return, the city offers the developers valuable zoning concessions and other incentives to participate in the program.

Crucially, the developers and property owners — not the city — would be responsible for maintenance and upkeep.

So what do privately owned public spaces look like in real life? Think plazas, rooftop terraces, atria and — the newest and buzziest of the POPS — the “pocket park.”

West Hollywood already has two of them: Formosa Park and Havenhurst Park. Both are unusually long and narrow for parks, and they almost appear like private spaces for residents of the property. But rest assured, they are very much intended for the public.

Not everyone is thrilled with the plan, which is the brainchild of Councilmembers Sepi Shyne and Lauren Meister.

WeHo resident Charlie Jasper expressed his concerns in a letter written to City Council.

“Regardless of who is responsible for the security and maintenance of the area in question,” Jasper wrote, “this program would encourage loitering and trespassing, additional security risks, smoking, etc. all of which would be extremely problematic for both new and existing neighbors. In addition, it would exacerbate parking issues for already dense neighborhoods.”

He recommended that the plan move forward for commercial and mixed-use properties while excluding residential properties until a proper ordinance can be written to include them.

City Council will decide whether to proceed with agenda item 5d at their upcoming meeting on Monday.

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[…] Council took up discussion Monday night about “privately owned public spaces,” a new initiative that would allow the city and property developers to create mini-parks, […]

Vigilent
Vigilent
6 months ago

The original Havenhurst Park was a lame example resulting from some convoluted arrangement between Richard Loring and the city. It has never has an inch of welcome to it as it resembles some type of incarceration perk.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
6 months ago

they just become homeless areas. this isn’t Copenhagen.

JJ1
JJ1
6 months ago

Not a good idea. What happens if a member of the public gets hurt on private land are they going to sue the property owner? Not well thought out. Nobody I know that lives in a condo building wants people from the public wandering around the property. Most condo buildings are secure for a reason.

Sammy Wammy
Sammy Wammy
6 months ago

ridiculous for cities to continue along acting as if nothings wrong, things will never be ok until the homeless are housed and off the streets. Urban Village indeed. WeHo area was lovely in the 70s when I grew up in it, small town feel, friendly neighbors, no fenced front yards etc. why? because things were different, until today’s issues are dealt with NO city or town will be an urban village not when people are suffering out in the open.

Last edited 6 months ago by Sammy Wammy
FYI
FYI
6 months ago
Reply to  Sammy Wammy

That’s true. All those 1960s buildings on Laurel have gated their “public spaces” aka courtyards for a reason.

JJ1
JJ1
6 months ago
Reply to  Sammy Wammy

And we need to be real -most of the homeless are drug addicts or alcoholics or people with mental illness. Trying to say that most of them or people just looking for affordable housing is ridiculous. 99.9% of the people I see wandering the streets are in search of their next high or talking to the shadow not in search of an affordable apartment. All these agencies that have been created all this money that has been collected from taxes should be put towards creating facilities where these people can get the help they desperately need. We also need to… Read more »

angry gay pope
6 months ago

The rich jerk who owns the PDC has an open fountain and park area where:
No kids playing in the fountain
No dogs in the fountain
No photography anywhere
And what a coincidence the place is empty of visitors all the time.

08mellie
08mellie
6 months ago
Reply to  angry gay pope

PRO TIP:
Fountains are often treated with chemicals to prevent such things as algae & pathogens. The water is not safe for dogs or people as the treatments are irritants. Stay out of fountains.

Vigilent
Vigilent
6 months ago
Reply to  angry gay pope

If Mr. Charles Cohen had any interest in providing access to the community, being the great philanthropist he fancies himself as, he might have considered offering his plaza as a marketplace for produce and flowers on the weekend as virtually every city in Europe and the UK does on a regular basis. An invitation to Elton John for his closed celebrity event does not quality but it does enhance his sense of importance.

Vigilent
Vigilent
6 months ago
Reply to  Vigilent

On the other side to my own comment, it seems possible that the city may have failed to engage Mr. Cohen as to the possibilities of having the Cesar Pelli PDC inspire a grander city center complex and plaza. Or worse yet the city did not have the knowledge or inspiration to engage Mr. Cohen in such a concept.

Either way, a lost opportunity. No vision only highly paid staff with no antennae.

Emilija Torbešic
6 months ago

More like a scam for the private sector to usurp the commons and, generate revenue. An example of the privatization of every aspect of life, and the transform­ation of every activity and value into a commodity. We’ve seen the devastating privatization of education, of healthcare, of natural resources but, the process is much vaster. In this case it includes the way powerful ideas are turned into advertising slogans and public streets into shopping malls; new generations being target-marketed at birth; schools being invaded by ads; basic human necessities like water being sold as commodities; basic labor rights being rolled back;… Read more »

carleton cronin
6 months ago

A step toward the day when streets in much of the R-1 areas to be devoid of cars and converted to common spaces for residents to garden or simply sit and enjoy along with friends and neighbors. Wider sidewalks, netter lighting and greenery to scale. Our “urban village” comes true???

Leslie K
Leslie K
6 months ago

Privately owned public spaces in return for zoning concessions? Maybe, if the public space is at ground level. Rooftop noise travels into adjoining neighborhoods. Restoration Hardware obtained zoning concessions in return for their rooftop public space, yet it’s rarely used by the public because it isn’t visible and access is inside the store. We need green spaces at street level, not on rooftops.

David Abrams
David Abrams
6 months ago
Reply to  Leslie K

Speak for yourself. The rooftop at RH is wonderful. I work on Melrose, and I often grab lunch/coffee from Urth or Joe & the Juice and take my break at the rooftop. Every time I’ve been there it’s been pretty busy.

Granted it would likely have been much more utilized at ground level, the rooftop gets much better views.

Passing the buck
Passing the buck
6 months ago

Where in West Hollywood would these go? So the homeless are pushed off the sidewalk to the private property owner to manage?

Joshua88
Joshua88
6 months ago

Screw the complaints about loitering, etc. Remember Zuccotti Park? They kicked out the Occupy people because it was a so-called private park. When private businesses begin to own our public spaces, watch out.

Joshua88
Joshua88
6 months ago
Reply to  Joshua88

CMs Shyne and Meister are acting like corporate Dems or Republicans (this is not the first time for our CC). Privatizing the Commons is one of the worst ideas in the US.

FYI
FYI
6 months ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Those protestors where not “kicked out”. Zuccotti Park was occupied and held hostage by protesters for two months.

Joshua88
Joshua88
6 months ago
Reply to  FYI

NYPD kicked them out.

William Seegmiller
6 months ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Thank you for this important reminder- these publicly subsidized private spaces have ominous implications, no matter how prettily designed. Let’s hope our council members can consider the bigger picture!

Last edited 6 months ago by William Seegmiller
Joshua88
Joshua88
6 months ago

You are welcome.

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