Bill targets commercial use of VA campus
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (DCalif.) has introduced legislation that would permanently prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from commercially developing any of its West Los Angeles Medical Center site.
“The Department of Veterans Affairs has allowed inappropriate uses of this site over the years, and many in the community believe there is more on the way,” Feinstein said in a statement.
“Allowing this land to be developed would be a disservice to our veterans and a disaster for the surrounding community, already beset by high density and heavy congestion.”
The bill, introduced Thursday, is a companion to legislation put forth May 8 in the House by U.S. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (DLos Angeles).
Feinstein’s legislation would specifically prohibit the VA from entering into “enhanced-use leases,” long-term arrangements that she said “could ultimately lead to parcels being sold to private developers.” Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Fox Entertainment Group are among private companies that have arrangements with the VA to use portions of the property.
The West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus sits on 388 acres on both sides of Wilshire Boulevard, west of the 405 Freeway. The landowners donated the property to the federal government in 1888 for the exclusive use of veterans.
Feinstein’s bill would require the VA to submit a master plan for the property within a year and would require Congress’ authorization to fund provisions of the plan.