Planners approve Los Angeles Holocaust museum expansion

The Los Angeles Planning Department has recommended approval of the Museum of Tolerance's controversial expansion, saying the benefits outweigh the "significant unavoidable impacts." A draft report by the planning staff, which was sent Friday to project opponents, concludes that the plan should move forward even though the 28,000-square-foot expansion will worsen traffic, create construction noise and contrast with the look of an adjacent neighborhood of single-family homes. The museum, the educational arm of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, plans to extend its hours significantly and replace a Holocaust memorial garden with multistory reception and banquet space that could accommodate hundreds of guests until as late as midnight six nights a week. The museum has asked the city to allow it immediately to extend its hours and to rent out space for private gatherings. The report says the museum project would maintain and enhance the economic vitality of the area, attract new visitors to Los Angeles, create high-paying construction jobs and allow the museum to expand its educational and training programs.