Tuesday, October 31, 2006

On Second Thought, It Really Is Apples And Oranges

After I wrote about the field trip I took with six other members of the Community Advisory Committee, Mr. Bisno, some members of his staff and some City of L.A. representatives, I thought more about whether it is good to compare Playa Vista to the proposed Ponte Vista Project. I tried to separate the similarities of the two projects and the differences between them.

I debated with myself. I now am of the opinion that it is probably not very practical to compare Ponte Vista to Playa Vista using an apples to apples analogy. I feel it is an apples to oranges comparison.

I wrote about the some of the amenities and transportation issues in Playa Vista. I wrote about the basic issues concerning the Ponte Vista Project. The more I thought about it, the more I found it difficult to compare the two projects, together.

Playa Vista started out many years ago as a site of more than 1,000 acres. Later, over 600 acres was sold off for the creation of the Balona Wetlands where there will be a nature preserve for generations to come. What remained of the original site is now approximately 400 acres. Of those 400 acres, only about 111 acres will have residential units of varying types. There will be large retail sites and business parks on almost 300 acres.

The folks building Playa Vista are making land available for an elementary school, public library, and fire station. Most of the roads through Playa Vista are public roads. It appears that the public will have access to many of the park lands throughout the site.

Playa Vista will have denser residential phases than Ponte Vista is planned for. In phase 1 of Playa Vista, there will be 3,246 units on up to 66 acres. Phase two will have 2,600 units on about 55 acres. Both phases will have retail businesses near or below residential units. Phase two will also have business parks nearby. A dream of many folks planning Playa Vista is for residents to work in the business parks at Playa Vista and just use Gem cars to get between home, work, and shopping.

Playa Vista will have "affordable" housing and Controlled Price Units. Some of the affordable housing will be rental apartments, and some will be small condos. Playa Vista has many different types of housing including detached single-family homes or "Patio Homes" as they are also known. The garages to many of these homes use a common driveway to a courtyard-like parking area.

There will be walls, fencing, and landscaping separating areas and boundaries around Playa Vista. The public will have access to almost every area of Playa Vista.

The designs and colors of the many buildings in Playa Vista are varied. a "Tuscany" style building can be seen right next to a "Modern" style building. Shapes, sizes, angles, views, and colors vary throughout Playa Vista.

If you have read previous posts within this blog, I have tried to describe the proposed Ponte Vista Project. I now find it hard to compare Ponte Vista with Playa Vista using any criteria.
Personally, what I like best about Ponte Vista compared to Playa Vista is that Ponte Vista proposes similar style and color schemes for the buildings within it's gated community compared to the "hodge podge" styles and colors of Playa Vista. This does not mean that I accept the notion of putting 2,300 homes on 61.53 acres in northwest San Pedro. It just means that I like the style and colors chosen by Bisno Development Corporation for their artist's conceptual drawings.

I found seeing Playa Vista and the drawings for Ponte Vista was an educational experience for me. The field trip showed me what types of multiple residence buildings are out there and how I don't like the confusion of multiple styles and colors. Perhaps readers of this post and blog might want to take a similar field trip to the home finder store by the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf store in Playa Vista to get a good sampling of different types of homes. There is at least one town home model now open in Playa Vista that folks can tour.

Some committee members, after touring Playa Vista, asked if there were any projects that they can visit having single-family homes presented. In my work life, I have visited Inglewood Renaissance, behindHollywood Park. It is a three-builder master planned community of single-family homes that are packed together like sardines. Some of these homes are placed at up to fifteen homes per acre, which is different zoning than the nine homes per acre-R-1 zoning. I found visiting Inglewood Renaissance equally educational to visiting Playa Vista because I got to see what a large group of single-family homes in a relatively small space looks like. At this project, the driveways are very short, it looks like you can't have your cars parked in the driveway, they have to be in the garage. The driveways are so close together and there is no real sidewalk to speak of, there is very little parking in front of homes. In San Pedro there is a similar, but much smaller site with multiple single-family homes. It is by 19th Street.

Members of the committee who went on the field trip will be asked to give their opinions about Playa Vista during the November 9 Community Advisory Committee Meeting. It should be an interesting meeting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wondering if anyone saw the Daily Breeze article (11/1) on Prop R that mentioned the "developer of the Ponte Vista project in San Pedro" (i.e., Bisno) has contributed to the Prop R campaign. If you don't know already, Prop R is the shady scheme that wants to extend LA City Council members' terms from two to three (for a total of 12 years as opposed to the current 8). FYI, Bisno has also contributed to the campaigns of both Janice and James Hahn, and other City Council members. I hope that our elected officials would not this influence their decisions.