Boyle Heights property that will be converted into a pocket park. Photo by Antonio Mejías-Rentas for Boyle Heights Beat.

Several housing developments facing community opposition from the community are scheduled to be discussed at Thursday’s meeting of the Planning and Land Use Committee of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council.

The proposed housing and retail project by the East LA Community Corporation on Metro-owned land behind Mariachi Plaza – which sparked a protest last month – and the proposed conversion of the historic Sakura Gardens assisted living facility into multi-family housing complex are among hot-button items on the agenda. 

According to PLUC committee chair David Silvas, Thursday’s public meeting offers Boyle Heights residents and stakeholders a unique opportunity to hear from principal players about development projects that could potentially harm –or improve– living conditions in the community. 

“Protesting makes a great difference and a voice in the community, but to really make change at the government level, it’s so important for the community to participate at this level, so we can really hear it from the people, Silvas said.

The committee chair said that some of the items are on the agenda because of his own personal concerns. Silvas, who serves as vice president of the nonprofit Boyle Heights Community Partners, said that he invited the Sakura Gardens owners to the meeting out of concern for the facility’s residents.

“We need to know what’s going to happen to the Japanese American community that is still there,”  Silvas said.

He said he also wanted to find out about how the Mariachi Plaza development would affect musicians who work there, as well as area neighbors. “I myself am concerned about the displacement of the mariachis that are there, as well as the physical design of it and what will happen to parking in that facility.”

Silvas said that items on the agenda may be voted on and moved on for discussion at the Neighborhood Council level. Although decisions by this elected group are non-binding, the committee said that it’s proposals are taken into consideration by the city’s Planning and Land Use Management committee or by the City Council as a whole.

Some of the agenda items and speakers:

  • 325 S Boyle Ave. –  Ryley Webb, land development manager at Pacifica Senior Living will give an update on the conversion of the Sakura Gardens 48-unit and 90-bed intermediate care facility into a 45-unit multifamily building and the construction of a separate 50-unit, 40,000 square foot multifamily building and parking garage.
  • Pennsylvania Ave./Bailey St. – Presentation by ELACC president and CEO Manuel Bernal on the developer’s proposed five-floor, 60 unit housing complex and ground floor retail at vacant parcel adjacent to Mariachi Plaza.
  • 318 N Matthews St. –  Darryl Ford, management analyst in the Planning and Development section of the Department of Recreation and Parks, will give an update on the fire-damaged duplex owned by the city and is the future site of a small park.
  • 247 N Breed St. –  Stephen Sass, founder and Board President Emeritus of the Breed Street Schul Project will offer a presentation on the history, condition and future use of the historic, former Congregation Talmud Torah property.
  • 2500 E Whittier Blvd. – Park and Recreation’s Ford will give an update about the condition and future use of a vacant city property that was severely damaged in a fire in April that caused the death of a person. 
  • 2420 E César Chávez Ave. – Cassie Gogreve, project manager at Adobe Communities, will give an update on motion from July’s meeting, regarding the committee’s concern about exterior finishes, lighting and design textures in the proposed La Veranda Apartments considered out of sync with the surrounding neighborhood and the historic Brooklyn Ave. business corridor. 

A full agenda and information about accessing the meeting are available on the Neighborhood Council’s website.

The Thursday, Sept. 10 meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.; Spanish- and Japanese-language interpretation will be available.

The meeting can be accessed:

  • Via Zoom:
  • Via Phone: 888 475 4499 Meeting ID: 993 8576 7952


Antonio Mejías-Rentas is a Senior Editor at Boyle Heights Beat, where he mentors teenage journalists, manages the organization’s website and covers local issues. A veteran bilingual journalist, he's...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *