By Heather Duffy Boylston & Rebecca Hutchinson, Larchmont Village BID Co-Executive Directors
Happy New Year! The Larchmont Village Business Improvement District (BID), which runs on Larchmont Boulevard between Beverly Boulevard and 1st Street, has been working since 1998 to maintain our village and its unique charm and sense of community. Here are highlights of the BID’s 2018 work:
Communication with Merchants & Property Owners. The BID is in regular communication with the 80+ businesses and 25 property owners on Larchmont. We welcome new businesses and make sure they are fully informed about our village, and stay abreast of legislation and political issues affecting the BID and our stakeholders.
Holidays. The illuminated snowflakes, garland, gift boxes and the rotating snowflake lights on Rite Aid’s exterior continue to make our village festive for the holidays. To encourage merchants to decorate their storefronts, the BID organized the 6th annual merchant holiday storefront decoration contest. Congratulations to Village Heights who won this year’s contest!
PR/Marketing/Social Media. We work with the local media outlets to ensure they are up-to-date on all news within the BID. A few of the media outlets that have included Larchmont businesses this year are: The Larchmont Chronicle, Larchmont Buzz, Spectrum News Channel, KABC, The Los Angeles Business Journal, KTLA, Apparel News and Eater. The BID has a robust website that features a directory of all businesses within the BID and special events and offerings. We publish articles of our own and those written by local residents. Please let us know if you are interested in contributing any relevant articles to the site. You can find the site at www.larchmontvillagebid.com We also communicate current events and market our local businesses on Instagram @larchmontvillage and Facebook.
CD-4. We are in regular with contact with City Councilmember David Ryu and his deputy for our area, Rob Fisher. We worked with them this year on our sidewalk issues and our tree replacement plan. We also worked with them to improve security in the parking garage. We met with the entire planning department to express the need to revisit our outdated Q Conditions and to ensure that any development within Larchmont takes into consideration the delicate balance between our small town charm and our sophisticated shoppers and diners.
Trees & Sidewalks. Councilmember Ryu gave the BID a grant to commission a specialist in arboriculture and urban forestry to survey our BID and propose a sustainable master plan. The issues that drive all decisions on this are: sidewalk safety and ADA compliance, maintaining our canopy of trees and alleviating massive plumbing issues caused by aggressive tree roots. The issue of the sidewalks and trees is complex, and it’s important to understand that the primary goal is to maintain the canopy of trees. The plan is to begin to address an issue that we have been trying to solve for more than 20 years. We do not want the next generation to inherit a situation where all the trees will need to be removed at once because they will age out or they will no longer be structurally sound due to the constant root pruning that these trees require. We have looked into all solutions including the recent Cherokee block of trees that is implementing a test plan to attempt to keep the trees. Unfortunately, that plan is to severely prune the trees – eliminating the canopy. They will then wait a year and see if those trees survive the massive pruning. The other part of their plan is to reduce the sidewalk to only 3 feet, in an attempt to minimize the buckling of the sidewalk. They have that option since they are residential and do not have the pedestrian traffic that we have. We highlight this to communicate that we have looked at all options over the past several years with CD4 and the community stakeholders. The only phase of the plan we intend to implement this year is to work with a property owner to replace two trees and redo the sidewalk in that area. Additionally, we will add two more trees to the Boulevard in places where the city has removed trees that were no longer structurally sound and have sat without a tree since their removal by the City several years ago. The hope is that the new trees and sidewalk will serve as an example to the community of what could be implemented over the next 20 years to slowly address an issue that has been with us for two decades.
Sidewalk Washing/Tree Trimming. The BID budgets each year for sidewalk cleaning by a group called CleanStreets, litter pick-up, cleaning landscape wells, planters, and trimming the trees. The City holds street and gutter cleaning responsibilities.
Big Belly Solar Trash/Recycling. We maintain and empty the Big Belly solar trash and recycling containers. This year BIDs across the city have been hit by drastic increases in trash/recycling charges. Since the bulk our budget goes to these services, we are working with other BIDs and the City to see if we can come up with any solutions.
BID Consortium. The BID Consortium is a group representing the 43 BIDs throughout LA that meets monthly to discuss issues, opportunities and legislation affecting BIDs. Big topics last year: street vending, tree and sidewalk maintenance, illegal dumping and economic development. We created a subcommittee within the Consortium that advocated strongly for BIDs’ unique needs as the City created its historic Safe Sidewalks LA policy.