Since you might not have had the chance to meet all the Zoning Advisory Committee (ZAC) members in person, we thought it would be fun to feature short profiles on each to help you get to know them better. We’d like to introduce Edgar Khalatian, one of the co-chairs of our ZAC.
Edgar has lived his entire life in and around Los Angeles. “You know, growing up in L.A., my parents both owned small businesses and we [lived] in various single-family neighborhoods,” he says, “As an adult, I’ve lived in a number of urban, high density neighborhoods near public transit.” Informed by his background, Edgar emphasizes the value of simplifying the review process for small businesses, including restaurants, so that they can do business in the City, “…without having to go through a complicated and uncertain process.”
Just as important to Edgar is allowing density in the right places in the City, while preserving single-family neighborhoods. “Los Angeles is a very big city…There are young and old people who want to live in your traditional single-family neighborhood. There are young and old people who want to live in an urban, high density neighborhood, and the City is large enough [to] accommodate both types of people, and anything in between.” He believes it’s necessary for parts of the City to be very high density, such as Downtown and Hollywood, as well as other appropriate areas that have the infrastructure, including public transportation, and jobs. Edgar says that while it doesn’t make sense to make places like Woodland Hills high-density, “Hollywood has a lot of public transportation. Downtown has a lot of jobs, a lot of transportation options.” He says these areas also “…have a lot of entertainment options so you can live, work, and play in your community,” so that density in those neighborhoods make sense.
As a land use attorney, Edgar’s practice focuses on obtaining land use entitlements and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance for development projects in the greater Los Angeles area, mostly in the City of LA. He has been involved in various business organizations, including serving on the executive committee of the Central City Association in downtown LA and on the board of directors, and as Chair of the Land Use Committee, of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA). His community involvement and commitment are not limited to business and land use, however. Throughout his life, Edgar has volunteered extensively with the YMCA in Glendale, and when he’s not busy working or volunteering, he enjoys hiking the various trails in our City.
About re:code LA and the ZAC, Edgar says “It’s just an exciting process and the ZAC has an opportunity to really lay the foundation for the City for the next 10, 15, 20 years.”
While it’s useful to talk about the issues our City needs to resolve, it’s a bit more fun to talk about some of the things we all have in common: namely, our Angeleno culture.
If you were a tour guide for a day, where would you take a friend visiting from out of town?
"I’m thinking, that's a ... where would I take them if they were here for a day ... probably the beach. If it's within the City of LA, it would probably ... oh boy, I don't know. You know the easy answer is Universal Studios or some amusement park like that. Let's just say general beach."
If somebody asked you to recommend a dish that could only be found in LA, what would you say?
"I’d say Pink’s Hot Dogs."
Lakers or Clippers?
"What are the Clippers? That’s the question I was waiting for! Of course, the Lakers. The Clippers don’t really exist."
Frozen yogurt, gelato or kale?
As you may already know, we selected our 21 Zoning Advisory Committee (ZAC) members to represent the diverse interests and various stakeholder groups of Los Angeles. Reading their biographies, you can see that each brings exciting viewpoints and experiences to the re:code LA project. The ZAC have been working closely with our team over the past few months, and have already had a valuable impact on the Zoning Code Evaluation Report that will now move forward to City Council.