Friday, November 10, 2006

More information about the D.E.I.R.

I hope this post allows folks to better understand the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), by addressing a few key points. I will allow myself to be subjective on the production and dissemination of the documents, but I will try to be as objective as possible on the content.

First, if you haven't taken the opportunity to look at any portion of the DEIR, I encourage everyone to visit: The folks at Ponte Vista provided a very quick and easy way to access the documents for viewing and/or downloading.

If you decide to try to download and/or prints the documents, please make sure you have several things: lots of space on your hard drive and the ability to save to CD or DVD. You will need probably about 4-5 reams of paper for your printer and restocked supplies of toner.

I found it easiest to request a copy from the site office at Ponte Vista. The phone number for the site office is 310-241-0699. I am sure if you give the Ponte Vista representatives a call, they can steer you to where you can pick up a copy. I also know that there were CD copies made available at Councilwoman Janice Hahn's San Pedro office. I hope that there will be CD copies available at the San Pedro Public Library.

The only paper copy of the main sections of the DEIR I have seen was at last night's meeting. The main section looks to be about 5 inches thick. Along with the main portion, there are three equally thick volumes of appendices. I imagine the entire stack of printing is at least 15 inches thick. I feel I can print only the portions I want printed from my CD and read the rest stored in my computer.

If you do undertake reading the DEIR, have fun. I found lots of information in the three volumes of appendices that accompanies the DEIR.

Another very important thing to remember is that you have until January 30 to place comments concerning any and all aspects of the DEIR. Your comments should be sent to:

Mr. Jonathan Riker
City Planning Department
200 North Spring Street, Room 750
Los Angeles, CA 90012

The comments you write to Mr. Riker will be included in documents related to the Ponte Vista Project and they will be made public.

The Table of Contents for the DEIR and the three volumes provide an easy way to navigate to sections of the documents you might want to read. When you visit you will see the documents listed by section and it is easy to scroll down and pick the section you are interested in reading. The DEIR documents issues, findings, and results.The three volumes of appendices provide the background and methodology for the issues, findings, and results.

The DEIR mentions and justifies the reasoning why the proposed L.A.U.S.D. South Region High School #14 is intentionally left out of the DEIR. It is easily and essentially stated that both a 2,300 home project and a 2,025 seat senior high school cannot be built on the amount of land inside Ponte Vista, so this DEIR does not include issues related to the proposed school. In addition, since the DEIR does not include any proposed high school at Ponte Vista, there are no issues related to traffic mitigation for the project AND a L.A.U.S.D. high school. Simply put, the two projects cannot be built on the available land.

The DEIR does include sections on schools in the area and has a good deal of information related to the new Mary Star of the Sea High School, now under construction. Mitigation of traffic which includes the new school is included.

To be fair to all sides, I will mention three issues I could not find addressed in the DEIR. Perhaps I haven't read enough of the DEIR, so if someone reads about these three topics, please let me know where I can find the information. The three topics I still wonder about are:

The omission of the intersection of Peninsula Verde Drive and Western Avenue.
Peninsula Verde Drive at Western Avenue is the first public intersection north of the northern boundary of Ponte Vista. There is an eastbound stop sign at Peninsula Verde Drive. Traffic on Western Avenue is not signalized, nor are there any stop signs for the Western Avenue traffic.
Peninsula Verde Drive is the main street for a neighborhood of single-family homes in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. The intersection was studied by the Western Avenue Task Force, but it has been ignored in the DEIR.

The omission of any studies about nearby parking lots.
I haven't been able to find any reference, study, report, comment, or mitigation to the prospect of overcrowded parking lots at nearby shopping centers, restaurants, and office buildings. This omission impacts the current residents of the area and all future residents of Ponte Vista. I cannot find any coordination between the Bisno Development Corporation and nearby business owners on how to mitigate the potential impacts of more cars attempting to be parked in lots that are currently sized for populations far less than what is expected in the future.

The omission of Middle School pedestrian traffic crossing Western Avenue.
When the Navy Housing was occupied, Junior High School age children from the Navy housing and some children from lower East View crossed Western Avenue at Avenida Aprenda or John Montgomery Drive. In my years of attendance at Dodson Jr. High, several children were struck by cars or buses while crossing Western Avenue. The Navy Housing has been closed for some time now and children from lower East View cannot walk through to Western Avenue via John Montgomery Drive. The DEIR estimates that there will be up to 50 children attending Dodson Middle school at any one time beginning in 2012 when the proposed project is finally completed.
There will be fewer children from Ponte Vista crossing Western than there were during the time the Navy Housing was occupied. The ages of the future middle school population inside Ponte Vista will be one year younger, on average, than the age of students who attended Dodson Jr. High because back then, Dodson was a 7th-9th grade school. Now, Dodson is a 6th-8th grade school.

There is also one omission I found that I feel will be mitigated by Mr. Bisno. Mr. Bisno told me his staff was working on the issue. Fitness Drive at Western Avenue does not appear to be mitigated in the DEIR. Fitness Drive is a private road intersecting Western Avenue just south of the southern boundary of Ponte Vista. Condominiums are constructed, or being constructed on Fitness Drive. Fitness Drive has a westbound stop sign at Western Avenue. Western is not signalized, nor are there any stop signs for Western at Fitness Drive. I have some confident that Mr. Bisno will mitigate this intersection by probably using the public road that will be constructed on the southern side of Ponte Vista. I feel Mr. Bisno will place an intersection of the new road to Fitness Drive so the residents living on Fitness Drive will have a signalized intersection at the new road and Western Avenue.

The DEIR also deals with alternatives to the proposed. Included in the alternatives are building alternatives at the current Ponte Vista site as well as alternative site locations in nearby areas.

At last nights meeting, the Traffic Engineer also included an alternative that was NOT included in the DEIR. His "Hybrid" alternative is for 1,700 condominiums with 50% being age-restricted, and the other 50% being non-age restricted. All other amenities would remain the same as Mr. Bisno's proposal.

Mr. Bisno has stated publicly and repeatedly that his project is for 2,300 homes. He provided his reasoning for his proposal and you can view that in the November 9 Meeting post further down the blog.


Anonymous said...

The "Hybrid" proposal talked about by the traffic engineer may be Bob Bisno's "ace-in-the-hole."
The Hybrid proposal is for 1700 condos with 50% senior housing and 50% regular condos.
Think about it, why did Bob allow his traffic engineer to describe an alternative to 2300 condos that isn't even in the EIR? Could this be the way Ponte Vista gets around R-1 zoning?
The traffic engineer gave traffic rates almost equal to R-1 zoning with the Hybrid concept. Bisno would still have to mitigate traffic, but he would get a project that included condos, but with much less population.
I think the hybrid concept is what Ponte Vista might become because of so many folks objecting to the increased traffic that 2300 homes would give us.
I think Bob Bisno repeated again that he has no interest in providing single family R-1 type homes on his property.

Dean Pentcheff said...

Addressing the omission of the intersection of Peninsula Verde Drive and Western in the traffic section of the DEIR: From the context, I think you mean Palos Verdes Drive and Western (just north of the proposed project). That is indeed one of the studied intersections. It's intersection #15 in Appendix IV.J-1 (page 8).

M Richards said...

Howdy Dean Pentcheff,

The intersection left out of the DEIR is Peninsula Verde Drive and Western Avenue.

Peninsula Verde Drive runs in a westerly direction from Western Avenue, and is the main street for the nieghborhood of Peninsula. In the DEIR, if is was included, it would fall between the intersection of Palos Verdes Drive North and Western Avenue, to the north and S. John Montgomery Drive/Green Hills access and Western Avenue to the south.

Anyone wishing to find the intersection of Peninsula Verde Drive and Western Avenue can do so looking at any number of maps and also by going to Google Earth and viewing the intersection from space.

Mr. Bisno and the traffic engineer admitted that the intersection was not in the DEIR, but gave no reasoning for its omission.