Editor's Note: This letter to the editor addresses Westfield Century City's decision to end free parking. Read more about this story here.
A quiet agreement between the Los Angeles City Planning Commission and Westfield allowing them to charge for parking will affect thousands of shoppers who regularly make purchases, go to restaurants or attend movies at Westfield’s popular Century City mall.
Not only were there no notices issued to our neighborhood, but more important was how those who patronize the mall on a regular basis will feel about shelling out parking fees every time they drive through the entry gates.
Westfield’s Plan Approval modifies what had been a long standing conditional use permit that mandated three hours of free parking and had been incorporated into Westfield’s 2009 approval for the New Century Plan.
Westfield is about to begin construction on a new parking structure next to Gelson’s Market. We neighbors and patrons will be helping to fund this project by providing a huge cash infusion from parking fees. In addition, we don't know what those fees will be. The city is allowing "market rate" fees. Who decides that amount? It would be understandable if there were only two hours of free parking, but paying at the gate every time you patronize the mall might make you think twice before even going there at all.
When economic times are tough, one would think the world's largest mall operator would be making gestures to the public to encourage them to visit, not drive them away.
—Jan Reichmann, president of the Comstock Hills Homeowners Association
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