The downtown specific plan calls for the formation of more than a dozen districts in the downtown area, including an Alex Theatre district and a mid-Orange district that would emphasize the arts. It also envisions a gateway district that would cater to high-rise development and multi-storied towers.
The plan also calls for incentives for developers who offer public open space, affordable housing and the re-use of existing buildings, among other things.
But such a plan could have consequences, which is where the environmental reports comes into play, Loomis said.
Aesthetics, air quality, noise, population and housing, public services, recreation and transportation, among other things, would be significantly affected as a result of the plan, city senior planner Erik Krause said during Monday's meeting, as he gave a brief overview of the report and what it covers.
Commissioners questioned the details of both reports, including the methodologies behind them.
They also brought up concerns about how to make an unofficial arts district in the downtown area thrive.
"It's not just sufficient to say, 'Well this is an art district, come and do your art here,'" Arts and Culture commissioner Razmik Grigorian said. "We have to support, and make as much concession as possible to support and make these activities flourish."
City staff members will be making presentations throughout September to the commissions on what the specific environmental effects of the downtown specific plan would be to their relative areas of concern.
They will have a chance to comment on the report.
The public has 45 days from the report's release date — until 5 p.m. Oct. 2 — to also submit formal comments on the draft environmental report.
"Essentially, we are giving people the opportunity to see whether the [environmental impact report] addresses the concerns properly," Krause said.
A final report is scheduled to be completed on Oct. 26, which will then go before the planning commission for recommendations on Oct. 30, and then before the council for consideration on Oct. 31.
TANIA CHATILA covers City Hall. She may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at tania.chatilalatimes.com.