Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ponte Vista Advisory Board Meeting

First, let me thank Mr. Bisno and the members of the Ponte Vista Advisory Board for making me and my wife Terri, feel welcome on Tuesday Evening. Terri got to meet Mr. Bisno and I got to listen, learn, and share a few opinions.

Oh, I am going to be in sooooooooooooo much trouble!! There will be plenty of photographs circulating with me either standing next to Mr. Bisno or having our hands on each others' shoulders. If you see my big grin it is because I was telling him that I am doomed for the photos with him and other members of the board.

I asked to be invited to the various groups Ponte Vista Development supports because I really do want to hear what folks are thinking, whether they share my opinions or not.

The board did have focus groups and discussions about amenities they would like to see at Ponte Vista, and I hope they share them with all of us very soon so we all can move forward on making recommendations concerning the specific plan.

Mr. Bisno and his attorney had lots of information to share during the dinner meeting. Mr. Bisno told us about a meeting he had with Richard Vladovic, one of the three candidates to fill the L.A. School Board seat being vacated by Mike Lansing. Mr. Bisno said that Richard was absolutely opposed to a 2,025 seat high school at Ponte Vista and if he is elected, he would have the plans for the big high school withdrawn. Everyone at the dinner applauded and Mr. Bisno "suggested" that everyone votes for Richard and that Mr. Bisno would help support Mr. Vladovic's election.

There was some comment about the January 18 Public Forum. Mr. Bisno claimed that the counts for speakers showed that only 20 speakers from San Pedro spoke in opposition to his plans and 22 speakers from R.P.V. also spoke in opposition. Mr. Bisno claimed more that 80 commenters supported his plans and did not want R1 at Ponte Vista.

The written comments were given to the Bisno Development Co. with the names and addresses redacted, but Mr. Bisno said he found out the names and addresses anyway.

Mr. Bisno was praising all the supporters who turned out for the public forum and claimed that because so few folks showed up and spoke in opposition, that the opposition is not organized and they are probably much fewer in number than supporters. (As of this writing I don't know the counts of the R1 petitions that were supposed to be turned in tonight.)

Mr. Bisno's attorney, Alan, spoke about SCAG. He commented about a report dated January 30, 2007 from the Southern California Association of Governments that he claims agreed with the DEIR's finding. He also claimed that SCAG was an independent 3rd party agency and it also agreed with the DEIR just like L.A.D.O.T. and the engineer hired by three neighborhood councils, did. Alan did not mention the summary and the recommendations that the engineer produced.

I think there is still some misunderstanding by many supporters of Mr. Bisno's plans. Some folks I talked to tonight said that R1 is "moot" and that 2300 homes will be built.
I feel it is necessary for me to write the following:

R1 is the current zoning of the land designated for building residences on at Ponte Vista. A L.A City ordinance must be passed in order for any homes greater than up to nine per acre to be built at Ponte Vista.

Ms. Janice Hahn, the 15th District Council member has openly and repeatedly said that she does not support 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista.

Anyone who claims as fact that 2,300 homes will be built at Ponte Vista is either misinformed on incorrect. There is no human being on the face of this earth, at this time that has knowledge of how many homes will eventually be built at Ponte Vista.

While it is unlikely that R1 will be the final zoning at Ponte Vista, R1 is the current zoning and if there not appropriate mitigation to build a higher density of homes at Ponte Vista, the area will remain R1!

So now it is time to come together and brainstorm all the ideas for creating the best results at Ponte Vista for everyone.

Mr. Bisno did again state that there will be "more senior housing" at Ponte Vista. Whether this means raw numbers or a higher percentage compared to non-age restricted housing, I don't know. But it surely is a big issue we all can discuss.

Everyone should be willing to share their ideas for what should be in the specific plan. If you think there will be a number of homes greater than R1, but less than 2,300, it would be good to know what you would like to see at the development concerning real numbers of homes, amenities and mitigation.

There is a pretty easy formula to follow.

R1= very, very little mitigation, Mr. Bisno makes some profit.

1100 homes= a good bit of mitigation, senior housing and more profit for Mr. Bisno.

1500 homes= a great deal of mitigation, senior housing, more amenities, and really big profits for Mr. Bisno.

I dare not go higher because I personally don't feel there can be enough mitigation to allow for more than 1500 homes, which is far too many for a whole lot of people.

Now, here are some comments I have for the Ponte Vista Advisory Board members who are reading this, maybe for the first time.

Thank you again for making us feel welcome and I think we all had a good time. I am not a realtor as many, many of you are so pardon me if I ask more questions like who might qualify to live in senior housing.

Mr. Bisno has made some very valid comments that folks who are in opposition to his plans may be few in number or, perhaps not as organized as your groups. I have posted my opinions on this blog attempting to enliven opposition to Mr. Bisno's plans. I don't know why the opposition is not as organized as I feel they should be, but perhaps they will come out of their shell.

Mr. Bisno can claim a number of agencies and groups have found the DEIR to be a credible document, but it is also true that there are some serious issues with many of the findings and these issues are all going to be dealt with.

Everyone is welcome to submit a post contribution that I would post to state and back up any opinions you may have. Anyone can also Email me for a private discussion by using the address at the top of the blog.

Mr. Bisno and I basically disagree on just one thing. I find the idea of building 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista to be intolerable. There must be a number that everyone can live with, or if a compromise can't be reached, or appropriate mitigation can't be realized, then let the property remain with the zoning that was established by the L.A. City Council.


Anonymous said...

Man, sometimes i just don't know if you are starstruck with Bob Bisno.
He is right about one thing. The R1 supporters are not as organized as his supporters. That doesn't mean that more people would support his project if it were up to a vote. How about you suggest to Mr Bisno that he allow a community vote on his plans. Majority wins. Watch him clam up real quick. Also I think the reason why R1 supporters don't care anymore is because this whole act is a set up for the big developer to ultimately get what he wants. The CAC is the tool/forum that will get him there. All I can say is when the CAC and Bob Bisno and Janice Hahn decide on what is "best" for the community, we can all sit back when the damage is done and say, "damn, that was a big screw up" and then deal with it.

M Richards said...

Good points.

I am not star-struck with anybody. I will say that of all the famous folks I have come in contact with, working where I worked, the person I will always be honored to have met is John Olguin.

Don't give up on the CAC so easily. Sure opponents are great in numbers at this time, but there is a small band of very determined individuals who work tirelessly to gather all the facts and will be ready when necessary to apply more pressure against Mr. Bisno's current plans.

I would say that I am a bit afraid of a vote. Folks in my area of R.P.V. don't vote in their city's elections. If we did, all five council members would live on the east side of the hill. I don't know what the folks in S.P. will vote for and I think Harbor City and Wilmington residents, if they are not business owners or realtors, simply don't care.

If you think "damage" will be done, then why don't you get more involved to prevent the "damage"? We are losing the fight to keep Mr. Bisno partially bottled up with his fight against SRHS #14 because he has found a candidate who hates the idea of the big school.

There may be only a few folks now who don't want to see any "screw up" happen. I have commented on the need for more organization and commitment by opponents to Mr. Bisno's current plans. I wish there was more opposition now, and I can only hope that more folks will become involved as the process continues.

If anywhere near 2,300 homes finally gets built at Ponte Vista, I know that I have fought a little fight so far and will go down swinging.

What is it going to take to get more folks active in opposing 2,300 homes, or any number near that, at Ponte Vista?

mellonhead said...

Are most of the supporters real estate agents like you said? If so it would be nice to know who they are. For more participation move the meetings away from the hotel to Peck's Park or the Dodson School auditorium. The 98/99 SP Reuse Committee used to meet at the storage facility at 1891 N. Gaffey in a big meeting room. Also--the new GIANT condo on Fitness Dr., I haven't found anything about on the web. PLUS---simple math 2300 (Ponte Vista units) divided by 135 (new Fitness Dr. units) equals 17. Thats 17 GIANT Fitness Dr. size buildings to make up the 2300 Ponte Vista units--roughly speaking. WOW!

M Richards said...

Well it seemed to me that most of the women I met at the dinner/meeting worked in real estate, worked in a business that will make money from a big development, or worked for the developer. Many of the men seemed to be businessmen or represented business organizations.
There were some folks that were actually interested in buying a home at Ponte Vista and felt strongly enough to get involved without any promise of enrichment. I think these folks carry more weight in my book. Sure they may be a bit misguided about the word "affordable" but most of the "regular" folks I talked with can easily sell their big home in San Pedro or R.P.V. and buy a home in the senior section of the development, if a senior development is actually built.

I hope opponents of the project aren't scared of by having the meetings at the hotel. Mr. Bisno is paying for it, but that doesn't mean he get to control what the committee or anyone else does.

Refreshments are provided for everyone, without regard to their opinions.

I think as the weeks and months progress you will find Mr. Bisno getting more upset that the committee is resting control of the agenda and the happenings of the meetings. He hated the two meetings we had outside the public arena, but we felt they were necessary for our group to learn more of what we needed to go forward without any third party input.

Now that the comment period is over and our committee has learned what Mr. Bisno's proposals are, it would be more correct to consider him a third party to the issue. He will be asked many questions and his opinion will be noted, but the committee is very intent on having, keeping, and progressing the control we feel we must have to produce recommendations.

Our committee has come under attack from all sides and that hopefully means that we are doing at least a little something correctly. We are not here please any particular person or group and I feel we can handle ourselves quite well under any attack.

Mellonhead, you have made some great points about the monster on Fitness Drive. I have to admit, I wasn't involved like I probably should have been concerning the site of my old dairy and the calves I used to pet. It also appears it slipped through a lot of other folks' radars.

But just like "Highland Park", the 143 unit development approved for Gaffey Street near the DMV at the old petroleum site, and Target, the three developments will contribute massive traffic woes that weren't mitigated properly and we are stuck with them.

The only thing we can do now is make sure we don't repeat those mistakes while considering Ponte Vista. We burned ourselves and we will sting for a long time. That doesn't mean we should get burned again by a development that makes the two housing developments look like a single mobile home.

Target is really a big monster that will have to be dealt with. The traffic issues that thing raises will have traffic counts that make even the real Ponte Vista traffic counts look small. I don't know what, if anything can be done now about Target, but again, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on.......you don't get fooled again.

I would like to see Dodson Auditorium used as a meeting place, especially, but not limited to, folks who live on the east side of Rancho Palos Verdes. There are about 2600 homes, apartments and condos that will have residents who are greatly affected by something being developed in a nearby city.

Thank you Mellonhead for your ongoing thoughts. Please keep up questioning everything and stating your opinions.

Anonymous said...

Mark, I have just given up. This blog seems to be dieing. You are hobknobing with Bisno and quite honestly I don't know where you stand. You were the one who went through the effort to make R1 buttons and stand firmly for R1, but through your pledge to be impartial you are searching for the perfect compromise. Yes it will be a screw up if a compromise to R1 is reached. You and the CAC have the only chance to uphold R1. Nobody outside the CAC is doing anything to combat Bisno. What's Doug Epperhart doing? Nothing that I can tell. What's Andrea Adelman doing? Nothing. Any of the neighborhood councils? Nothing. I've contacted both Doug and Andrea and left information and they have done nothing to take the lead, yet they both have put themselves out there to lead. I give up on them.
So I put this issue squarely on the CAC. It's the CAC that will come down with the recommendation, not me or anyone else outside the CAC. The screw up will be on your CAC's shoulders. So go ahead and keep being impartial and keep getting cozy with Bisno. The end result is what will count. The CAC will bear the responsibility along with Hahn.

Sorry Mark, I appreciate the time you put into this, but what the hell is the CAC doing? Have you reached any conclusions about anything? Any consensus? What has the CAC concluded regarding the DEIR? Does the CAC EVER work without the presence of Bob Bisno?

jeanne said...

Long live R1 zoning. Why is it that some guy, whose only goal is to maximize his profit, can buy this property at very high cost and just expect that zoning change to accomodate his profit. What good is having 1500 or 3200 homes really going to to for "we the people" who are living in San Pedro?

Louis said...

The entire number of Board members who are realtors comes to 4. That is both the Senior Board and General Board. There were 3 male sttaff members from the Bisno Company. The entire board is totally volunteer, and I do not know any who will make any money off the project if it is built. I continue to notice that many of the anti Ponte Vista people continue to be from outside of San Pedro. The lady in yesterday's paper who said that the project was a Homeland Security problem because it would keep her from evacuating. Only she was from Lomita, north of the project, and would not be effected. And if I hear one more person who lives on the hill complain that the project will make it harder to drive on PV Drive North, I'll scream. These people have stopped any attempt to improve that road for years. One lane in each direction is nuts!

M Richards said...

Anonymous 8:48 PM, Jeanne, and Louis, Thank you all for your three great comments. I am going to elevate them to a post later tonight.

Thanks Louis for informing us on the make-up of the board. I did speak or was introduced to more than four women who claimed to be involved in real estate in some way or another on Tuesday night, but I do appreciate you informing this blog.

Jeanne, if the woman in Lomita was the same woman who wrote an earlier letter to the editor in the Breeze, then you can read my comments about that letter on this blog.

Now, Anonymous 8:48, your comments are excellant and you have every right to hold me and the committee to the fire.
I hope you read back on this blog and lear why I call for R1 at Ponte and the reasoning behind my conclusions. I am not wavering in any way my feeling that unless appropriate mitigation for some (as yet unknown) number of homes more than R1 zone density be approved of for Ponte Vista, the current zoning MUST BE MAINTAINED on the 61.53 acre site. I don't know how to write it any clearer.

I also value your comments about the CAC. We are positioned to make recommendations concerning the specific plan and I still find some value serving on the committee.

The CAC is attacked and threatened on all sides. The volunteers that make up the committee know this and are willing to serve dispite all the attacks on the credibility of the committee. I am still troubled by the fact that there is not more organization among opponents of the project and I still don't know why individuals opposed to Mr. Bisno's plans don't speak up in greater numbers.

I would like you to attend tonight's meeting. If you don't hear a statement constructed by the CAC at the meeting, see me at the end of the meeting and I will inform you of what the statement says and what it means to me. Since I am the author of the statement that was a motion carried by the CAC, I feel I have the best ability to explain my thoughts in the construction of the statement.

Again, I request that everyone give the CAC a fair chance to accomplish the tasks that are both very difficult and almost unheard of, at this time.

To get a bunch of volunteers for various communities together, why have different agendas, different distances from the project site, and different residents they represent, put them all in a room along with a multi-millionaire developer who doesn't live here but believes he knows what is best for OUR community, bring in a fair number of politicians and their underlings, add L.A.City bureaucrats and L.A.U.S.D., you can see that the CAC is trying to do its best in very uncharted territory.

The meeting tonight is with the Planning Department. They are the folks that will eventually draft the specific plan. Our committee had two non-public meetings and the last one of them, included a teaching process to move forward on finally issuing recommendations.

We are just 9-10 out of the comment period, so even though it may seem like we are moving at a snail's pace, we are moving forward and will be scheduling two or more meetings a month until we are finished. We will also be considering more community involvement in workshops and focus groups.

Folks, we have a giant project looming on the horizon. Bob Bisno claims in writings how many supporters he has and folks in opposition have not come forward in large enough numbers, in my opinion to challenge the current plans.

Let's allow Bisno Development to keep telling us that there WILL be 2300 homes built at Ponte Vista, because even Mr. Bisno knows that will never happen. That unwillingness to even consider compromise puts his position at greater risk of being found incredible or uncredible.

As long as opponents aren't willing to organize or come forward as individuals, the supporters of Ponte Vista will be able to continue to sit back and attack us and demand that their vision of the monster be approved.

My wife claims I am doing all I can to try to keep Ponte Vista R1 and still find the best possible solution for the community.

I didn't spend a whole bunch of hours creating my drawing I have on "Draw Your Dreams II" for nothing. That drawing actually really represents my ideal use of the site. But I have to be a realist and I know when Janice Hahn told the CAC that "A project will be built" at Ponte Vista, I have to take her word for it.

What is still in question and what the CAC is trying its best to do is find out the best size of the projece IF appropriate mitigation can be proposed and approved of. If there is not enough appropriate mitigation for a number of homes with a greater density than R1, then I know that the vast majority of CAC members would simply vote for maintaining the current zoning on the site.

Please always remember, it was the L.A.City Council that approved an ordinance establishing the current zoning on the site and it is only the L.A. City Council that can change the current zoning.

Pleas also know that the "A" in CAC is Advisory. For all the importance folks may bestow on our committee, in the end, we are all still subject to the whims of politicians and bureaucrats. But I still feel that my service on the CAC has some value to me, Mira Vista, and my community as a whole.

Being the "ranting elitist" that I have be claimed to be, I am off to my blue collar technician job now and have to stop writing.

mellonhead said...

This is for Louis. Imagine what life would be like for the residents of the immediate area of the proposed Ponte Vista housing project if there were SEVENTEEN (17) Fitness Dr. Condos built there. Imagine all the AIR POLLUTION and NOISE POLLUTION. BTW Lomita is just a block or so up Western--pretty close.