Los Angeles Zoo Vision Plan

August 2022 Update: FOCUSED RECIRCULATED EIR

PUBLIC REVIEW PERIOD EXTENDED: The public review period for the Focused Recirculated EIR has been extended and will now close at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, SEPTEMBER 23, 2022. Additional comments may be submitted, even if comments have been submitted previously.

TO SUBMIT WRITTEN COMMENTS ON THE FOCUSED RECIRCULATED EIRYou may submit written comments no later than 5:00 p.m. on September 23, 2022, by mailing or emailing (please include “LA Zoo Vision Plan Focused Recirculated EIR Comments” in the subject line) to:

Norman Mundy, Environmental Supervisor II
Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, Environmental Management Group
1149 S. Broadway, Suite 600, Mail Stop 939
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Norman.Mundy@lacity.org

RECORDING OF THE PUBLIC MEETING ON SEPTEMBER 12:

A recording of the September 12 public meeting is available at:

Meeting Recording (Passcode: S$?0N4.w)

The presentation from the September 12 public meeting is available at:

Presentation

RECORDING OF THE FIRST PUBLIC MEETING ON AUGUST 15:

A recording of the August 15 public meeting is available at:

Meeting Recording 

The presentation from the August 15 public meeting is available at:

Presentation  

FOCUSED RECIRCULATED ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

The City of Los Angeles (City) Public Works Department, Bureau of Engineering (BOE) has prepared a Focused Recirculated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens (Zoo) Vision Plan (Project) consistent with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Focused sections of the EIR have been revised to address a new project alternative that has been prepared in response to public comments received by the City. As the CEQA Lead Agency, BOE has prepared this Focused Recirculated EIR in accordance with CEQA (Public Resources Code Section 21000 et seq.); the Guidelines for the Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA Guidelines) (California Code of Regulations Sections 15000 et seq.); and the City’s environmental guidance documents (i.e., Los Angeles City CEQA Guidelines and L.A. CEQA Thresholds Guide: Your Resource for Preparing CEQA Analyses in Los Angeles).

FOCUSED RECIRCULATED ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

The City of Los Angeles (City) Public Works Department, Bureau of Engineering (BOE) has prepared a Focused Recirculated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens (Zoo) Vision Plan (Project) consistent with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Focused sections of the EIR have been revised to address a new project alternative that has been prepared in response to public comments received by the City. As the CEQA Lead Agency, BOE has prepared this Focused Recirculated EIR in accordance with CEQA (Public Resources Code Section 21000 et seq.); the Guidelines for the Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA Guidelines) (California Code of Regulations Sections 15000 et seq.); and the City’s environmental guidance documents (i.e., Los Angeles City CEQA Guidelines and L.A. CEQA Thresholds Guide: Your Resource for Preparing CEQA Analyses in Los Angeles).

The Focused Recirculated Environmental Impact Report can be viewed via the links below.

PROJECT EIR BACKGROUND: In June 2021, the City published the Final EIR and Appendices. The Board of Zoo Commissioners reviewed and considered the Final EIR and proposed Project at their meeting on June 15, 2021. The City Council has not yet reviewed or considered the Final EIR and proposed Project for adoption and certification.

PROJECT LOCATION AND SETTING: The proposed Project site lies in the northeastern portion of Griffith Park at the base of the eastern foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains in the City. Griffith Park is bordered by the cities of Burbank and Glendale to the northwest and northeast, respectively, as well as communities within the City, including Los Feliz, Hollywood Hills, and Cahuenga Park to the southwest. The Project site encompasses the entire existing 133-acre Zoo, located at 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027. The Zoo is roughly bounded by the Golden State Freeway or Interstate 5 (I-5) to the east and the Ventura Freeway or California State Route 134 (SR-134) to the north. The Los Angeles River also forms the north and east boundaries of Griffith Park before continuing south and eventually flowing into the Pacific Ocean at Long Beach. Regional vehicular access to the Zoo is provided via I-5, located approximately 0.2 miles east of the Zoo entrance, as well as SR-134, which is located approximately 0.35 miles north of the northern boundary of the Zoo. Local access to the Zoo entrance within Griffith Park is provided by Zoo Drive from the north and west and via Western Heritage Way and Crystal Springs Drive from the south.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The proposed Project would guide future development and modernization of the Zoo for the next 20 years. The proposed Project would include comprehensive redesign and redevelopment of the Zoo to replace outdated buildings and infrastructure and upgrade animal care and guest amenities throughout the 133-acre Zoo. Improvements would include new and revitalized immersive exhibit space and animal habitats, new visitor-serving buildings, expanded and modernized administrative and maintenance service facilities, circulation improvements for access roads, pedestrian walkways and paths, an enhanced entry way and plaza, and new parking facilities. The proposed Project is projected to increase annual visitation by approximately 1.2 million visitors per year. This projected growth in visitation and expansion of facilities within the Zoo property would have commensurate increases in employment.

PURPOSE OF THE FOCUSED RECIRCULATED EIR: Following publication of the Final EIR in June 2021, the City continued to receive comments regarding the proposed Project’s impacts related to biological resources, transportation, and aesthetics. In response to these comments, a new project alternative, Alternative 1.5, the California Focused Conservation Alternative, was created and has been analyzed in this Focused Recirculated EIR in accordance with CEQA Guidelines Section 15088.5.

NATURE AND SCOPE OF THE FOCUSED RECIRCULATED EIR: To respond to public comments and questions received after publication of the Final EIR, the City has elected to revise and recirculate sections of the EIR related to the alternatives analysis and supporting technical memoranda. The Focused Recirculated EIR has been prepared consistent with the standards provided in the CEQA Guidelines Section 15088.5, which set forth the conditions governing the recirculation of an EIR prior to certification. The Focused Recirculated EIR includes only those sections of the EIR that have been revised to address the new project alternative. Consistent with the standards provided in the CEQA Guidelines Section 15088.5(g), the specific sections of the Final EIR that have been revised and are included in the Focused Recirculated EIR include:

  • Section 1.0, Introduction – This section has been modified to describe the Focused Recirculated EIR process and related CEQA requirements.
  • Section 4.0, Alternatives – This section has been expanded to describe and analyze a new project alternative– Alternative 1.5, the California Focused Conservation Alternative. When compared to the proposed Project and among alternatives, the California Focused Conservation Alternative has been identified as the Environmentally Superior Alternative due to its reduction in impacts related to aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, energy, urban forestry resources, greenhouse gas emissions, noise, transportation, and utilities. Alternative 1.5 would also achieve more of the Project objectives when compared to Alternatives 1 and 2. In addition, a new discussion has been added that provides an analysis of the space dedicated to animal welfare and care under the proposed Project and alternatives.
  • Appendix O, Alternative 1.5 Project Description – This new appendix contains a detailed description of the new California Focused Conservation Alternative. A copy of the planning document 2022 Vision Plan – Alternative 1.5 is also included.
  • Appendix P – Parking Analysis for Alternative 1.5 - is a new appendix to the Final EIR that provides a summary of analysis of parking demand under the new Alternative 1.5 and informs recommendations for development of a Peak Visitation Management Program, a key component of Alternative 1.5.
  • Appendix Q, Animal Welfare Area Assessment – Provides a comparative analysis of the area that would be dedicated to animal welfare under implementation of the proposed Project and project alternatives.

The numbering of sections in this Focused Recirculated EIR matches that in the previously published Final EIR. Section 1.0 and Section 4.0 replace in their entirety the corresponding sections of the original Final EIR.

Since the revisions are limited to specific sections of the EIR to address the new project alternative, only those portions of the EIR are included in the Focused Recirculated EIR. Pursuant to the CEQA Guidelines Section 15088.5(f)(2), the City requests that reviewers limit their comments to the revised sections that are included in this Focused Recirculated EIR as the City need only respond to comments on the sections of the EIR that are being recirculated. The recirculated sections upon which comments will be accepted include Section 1.0, Introduction, Section 4.0, Alternatives, Appendix O, Appendix P, and Appendix Q. All comments received during this period will be responded to in writing in a revised Section 8.0, Response to Comments and will be addressed as needed in those sections of the Focused Recirculated EIR that has been recirculated for public review.

Notice to Paid Representatives

If you are compensated to communicate with City personnel regarding this application or its process, City law may require you to register as a lobbyist and report your activity. See Los Angeles Municipal Code §§ 48.01 et seq. More information is available at ethics.lacity.org/lobbying. For assistance, please contact the Ethics Commission at (213) 978-1960 or ethics.commission@lacity.org.

For more information about the project, please contact:

Norman Mundy, Environmental Supervisor II
Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, Environmental Management Group
1149 S. Broadway, Suite 600, Mail Stop 939
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Norman.Mundy@lacity.org

Focused Recirculated Environmental Impact Report (complete document)

Section 1.0 Introduction

Section 4.0 Alternatives Analysis

Appendix O - Alternative 1.5 Project Description

Appendix P – Parking Analysis

Appendix Q – Comparative Analysis

 

July 2022 Update:

The City of Los Angeles (City) Public Works Department, Bureau of Engineering (BOE) has prepared a Focused Recirculated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens (Zoo) Vision Plan (Project) consistent with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Focused sections of the EIR have been revised to address a new project alternative that has been prepared in response to public comments received by the City. As the CEQA Lead Agency, BOE has prepared this Focused Recirculated EIR in accordance with CEQA (Public Resources Code Section 21000 et seq.); the Guidelines for the Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA Guidelines) (California Code of Regulations Sections 15000 et seq.); and the City’s environmental guidance documents (i.e., Los Angeles City CEQA Guidelines and L.A. CEQA Thresholds Guide: Your Resource for Preparing CEQA Analyses in Los Angeles).

The Focused Recirculated Environmental Impact Report can be viewed via the links below.

PROJECT EIR BACKGROUND: In June 2021, the City published the Final EIR and Appendices. The Board of Zoo Commissioners reviewed and considered the Final EIR and proposed Project at their meeting on June 15, 2021. The City Council has not yet reviewed or considered the Final EIR and proposed Project for adoption and certification.

PROJECT LOCATION AND SETTING: The proposed Project site lies in the northeastern portion of Griffith Park at the base of the eastern foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains in the City. Griffith Park is bordered by the cities of Burbank and Glendale to the northwest and northeast, respectively, as well as communities within the City, including Los Feliz, Hollywood Hills, and Cahuenga Park to the southwest. The Project site encompasses the entire existing 133-acre Zoo, located at 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027. The Zoo is roughly bounded by the Golden State Freeway or Interstate 5 (I-5) to the east and the Ventura Freeway or California State Route 134 (SR-134) to the north. The Los Angeles River also forms the north and east boundaries of Griffith Park before continuing south and eventually flowing into the Pacific Ocean at Long Beach. Regional vehicular access to the Zoo is provided via I-5, located approximately 0.2 miles east of the Zoo entrance, as well as SR-134, which is located approximately 0.35 miles north of the northern boundary of the Zoo. Local access to the Zoo entrance within Griffith Park is provided by Zoo Drive from the north and west and via Western Heritage Way and Crystal Springs Drive from the south.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The proposed Project would guide future development and modernization of the Zoo for the next 20 years. The proposed Project would include comprehensive redesign and redevelopment of the Zoo to replace outdated buildings and infrastructure and upgrade animal care and guest amenities throughout the 133-acre Zoo. Improvements would include new and revitalized immersive exhibit space and animal habitats, new visitor-serving buildings, expanded and modernized administrative and maintenance service facilities, circulation improvements for access roads, pedestrian walkways and paths, an enhanced entry way and plaza, and new parking facilities. The proposed Project is projected to increase annual visitation by approximately 1.2 million visitors per year. This projected growth in visitation and expansion of facilities within the Zoo property would have commensurate increases in employment.

PURPOSE OF THE FOCUSED RECIRCULATED EIR: Following publication of the Final EIR in June 2021, the City continued to receive comments regarding the proposed Project’s impacts related to biological resources, transportation, and aesthetics. In response to these comments, a new project alternative, Alternative 1.5, the California Focused Conservation Alternative, was created and has been analyzed in this Focused Recirculated EIR in accordance with CEQA Guidelines Section 15088.5.

NATURE AND SCOPE OF THE FOCUSED RECIRCULATED EIR: To respond to public comments and questions received after publication of the Final EIR, the City has elected to revise and recirculate sections of the EIR related to the alternatives analysis and supporting technical memoranda. The Focused Recirculated EIR has been prepared consistent with the standards provided in the CEQA Guidelines Section 15088.5, which set forth the conditions governing the recirculation of an EIR prior to certification. The Focused Recirculated EIR includes only those sections of the EIR that have been revised to address the new project alternative. Consistent with the standards provided in the CEQA Guidelines Section 15088.5(g), the specific sections of the Final EIR that have been revised and are included in the Focused Recirculated EIR include:

  • Section 1.0, Introduction – This section has been modified to describe the Focused Recirculated EIR process and related CEQA requirements.

  • Section 4.0, Alternatives – This section has been expanded to describe and analyze a new project alternative– Alternative 1.5, the California Focused Conservation Alternative. When compared to the proposed Project and among alternatives, the California Focused Conservation Alternative has been identified as the Environmentally Superior Alternative due to its reduction in impacts related to aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, energy, urban forestry resources, greenhouse gas emissions, noise, transportation, and utilities. Alternative 1.5 would also achieve more of the Project objectives when compared to Alternatives 1 and 2. In addition, a new discussion has been added that provides an analysis of the space dedicated to animal welfare and care under the proposed Project and alternatives.

  • Appendix O, Alternative 1.5 Project Description – This new appendix contains a detailed description of the new California Focused Conservation Alternative. A copy of the planning document 2022 Vision Plan – Alternative 1.5 is also included.

  • Appendix P – Parking Analysis for Alternative 1.5 - is a new appendix to the Final EIR that provides a summary of analysis of parking demand under the new Alternative 1.5 and informs recommendations for development of a Peak Visitation Management Program, a key component of Alternative 1.5.

  • Appendix Q, Animal Welfare Area Assessment – Provides a comparative analysis of the area that would be dedicated to animal welfare under implementation of the proposed Project and project alternatives.

The numbering of sections in this Focused Recirculated EIR matches that in the previously published Final EIR. Section 1.0 and Section 4.0 replace in their entirety the corresponding sections of the original Final EIR.

PUBLIC REVIEW PERIOD: The Focused Recirculated EIR will be circulated for a 45-day public review period, beginning on July 14, 2022 and ending on August 29, 2022.

A virtual public meeting will be held on August 15, 2022 at 6:00pm. At that time, you may use the link and information below to participate in the public meeting:

https://bit.ly/ZOO_PUBLIC_MTG
Meeting ID: 239 418 033 398
Passcode: eBqMNC

Or call in (audio only):
 +1 213-282-5170 (Los Angeles)   Phone Conference ID: 475 548 734#
(866) 670-1764  (U.S. Toll-free)   Phone Conference ID: 475 548 734#

COMMENTS ON THE FOCUSED RECIRCULATED EIR: All comments must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 29, 2022 by mailing or emailing (please include “LA Zoo Vision Plan Focused Recirculated EIR Comments” in the subject line) to:

Norman Mundy, Environmental Supervisor II
Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, Environmental Management Group

1149 S. Broadway, Suite 600, Mail Stop 939

Los Angeles, CA 90015

Norman.Mundy@lacity.org

Since the revisions are limited to specific sections of the EIR to address the new project alternative, only those portions of the EIR are included in the Focused Recirculated EIR. Pursuant to the CEQA Guidelines Section 15088.5(f)(2), the City requests that reviewers limit their comments to the revised sections that are included in this Focused Recirculated EIR as the City need only respond to comments on the sections of the EIR that are being recirculated. The recirculated sections upon which comments will be accepted include Section 1.0, Introduction, Section 4.0, Alternatives, Appendix O, Appendix P, and Appendix Q. All comments received during this period will be responded to in writing in a revised Section 8.0, Response to Comments and will be addressed as needed in those sections of the Focused Recirculated EIR that has been recirculated for public review.

Notice to Paid Representatives

If you are compensated to communicate with City personnel regarding this application or its process, City law may require you to register as a lobbyist and report your activity. See Los Angeles Municipal Code §§ 48.01 et seq. More information is available at ethics.lacity.org/lobbying. For assistance, please contact the Ethics Commission at (213) 978-1960 or ethics.commission@lacity.org.

For more information about the project, please contact:

Norman Mundy, Environmental Supervisor II
Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, Environmental Management Group
1149 S. Broadway, Suite 600, Mail Stop 939
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Norman.Mundy@lacity.org

Focused Recirculated Environmental Impact Report (complete document)

Section 1.0 Introduction

Section 4.0 Alternatives Analysis

Appendix O - Alternative 1.5 Project Description

Appendix P – Parking Analysis

Appendix Q – Comparative Analysis

 

June 2021 Update: The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Los Angeles Zoo Vision Plan project has been completed. The Final EIR can be viewed via the links below.

The Board of Zoo Commissioners reviewed and considered the Final EIR and proposed project at their meeting on June 15, 2021. Details regarding this meeting can be found on the website of the Board of Zoo Commissioners: https://www.lazoo.org/about/zoo-commission/.

The City Council will consider the certification of the Final EIR and project approval at a future meeting that has yet not been scheduled. The official schedule and meeting agendas for the City Council and applicable Council Committees are available at the City website: https://clerk.lacity.org/calendar.

The City of Los Angeles (City) Bureau of Engineering (BOE) has prepared a Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Los Angeles Zoo Vision Plan (Project) consistent with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). BOE is the Lead Agency under CEQA. As the Lead Agency, BOE has prepared the EIR in accordance with current City of Los Angeles Guidelines for Implementation of CEQA of 1970, Article I, and Section 15085 of CEQA Guidelines. The EIR addresses the proposed Project’s potential environmental impacts for the following resource areas:

  • Aesthetics and Visual Resources
  • Biological Resources
  • Energy
  • Geology & Soils
  • Hazards & Hazardous Materials
  • Land Use & Planning
  • Public Services
  • Transportation
  • Wildfire
  • Air Quality
  • Cultural and Tribal Resources
  • Urban Forestry Resources
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Hydrology & Water Quality
  • Noise
  • Recreation
  • Utilities
  • Cumulative Impacts

The EIR analyzes the environmental impacts of the proposed Project and alternatives.

The Final EIR can be viewed via the links below.

Also, an audio/visual presentation (approximately 25 minutes) that summarizes the EIR can be accessed via this link:  DEIR Summary Presentation

PROJECT LOCATION AND SETTING: The proposed Project site lies in the northeastern portion of Griffith Park at the base of the eastern foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. Griffith Park is bordered by the cities of Burbank and Glendale to the northwest and northeast, respectively, as well as communities within the City, including Los Feliz, Hollywood Hills, and Cahuenga Park to the southwest. The Project site encompasses the entire existing 133-acre Zoo, located at 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027. The Zoo is roughly bound by the Golden State Freeway or Interstate 5 (I-5) to the east and the Ventura Freeway or California State Route 134 (SR-134) to the north. The Los Angeles River also borders the north and east boundaries of Griffith Park before continuing south and eventually flowing into the Pacific Ocean at Long Beach. Regional vehicular access to the Zoo is provided via I-5, located approximately 0.2 miles east of the Zoo entrance, as well as SR-134, which is located approximately 0.35 miles north of the northern boundary of the Zoo. Local access to the Zoo entrance within Griffith Park is provided by Zoo Drive from the north and west and via Western Heritage Way and Crystal Springs Drive from the south.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The proposed Project would guide future development and modernization of the Zoo for the next 20 years. The proposed Project would include comprehensive redesign and redevelopment of the Zoo to replace outdated buildings and infrastructure and upgrade animal care and guest amenities through the 133-acre Zoo. Improvements would include new and revitalized immersive exhibit space and animal habitats, new visitor-serving buildings, expanded and modernized administrative and services facilities, circulation improvements for access roads, pedestrian walkways and paths, an enhanced entry way and plaza, and new parking facilities. The Project is projected to increase annual visitation by approximately 1.2 million visitors per year. This projected growth in visitation and expansion of facilities within the Zoo property would have commensurate increases in employment. See Section 2.0, Project Description of the EIR for a detailed description of the proposed Project.

Notice to Paid Representatives

If you are compensated to communicate with City personnel regarding this application or its process, City law may require you to register as a lobbyist and report your activity. See Los Angeles Municipal Code §§ 48.01 et seq. More information is available at ethics.lacity.org/lobbying. For assistance, please contact the Ethics Commission at (213) 978-1960 or ethics.commission@lacity.org.

For more information about the project, please contact:

Norman Mundy, Environmental Supervisor II

Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, Environmental Management Group

1149 S. Broadway, Suite 600, Mail Stop 939

Los Angeles, CA 90015

Norman.Mundy@lacity.org

Final Environmental Impact Report (complete document)

Final Environmental Impact Report (individual chapters)

Appendices to the Final EIR

Appendix A Vision Plan and Addenda
Appendix B NOP and IS
Appendix C Vision Plan EIR Scoping Report
Appendix D Air Quality and GHG Emissions Calculation Details
Appendix E Biological Resources Technical Memorandum
Appendix F Cultural and Tribal Cultural Resources Report
Appendix G Historical Resources Technical Report
Appendix H Energy Calculation Details
Appendix I Forestry Resources Technical Memorandum
Appendix J Geological Resources Technical Memorandum
Appendix K Hazardous Materials Evaluation
Appendix L Hydrology Technical Memorandum
Appendix M Noise and Vibration Technical Report
Appendix N Transportation Assessment