Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Friendly Debate

A very strong R1 support I will name "John" and I have been engaged in a friendly and very little debate as to what we both believe should be built at Ponte Vista.

I believe the debate is friendly because I like John, he make some really great points, and I am not that far off from agreeing with him and his arguments.

John believes that Bob Bisno would be required to build a public road to Mary Star High School, from Western Avenue, should the property remain R1. Sadly, he is mistaken in this belief. When the Navy owned the site, and on the occasion of the approval to build Mary Star High School, the public access road was deemed to be S. John Montgomery Drive.

When the land was sold at auction and remaining land purchased from Volunteers of America by Bob Bisno, the agreements to have S. John Montgomery Drive as the public access to Mary Star, ended. It was always agreed and part of the approval process for Mary Star, that once the school was built, vehicular access to that site via Taper Avenue, would be terminated.

Bob Bisno would be required to build a public access road from Western Avenue to Mary Star High School IF the zoning were changed from R1 to some other zone, on at least a portion of the Ponte Vista site.

Whether misguided or not, there appears to be a number of local residents of a certain age that would like to see a Senior Housing section at Ponte Vista. Any such housing, if greater than R1 density would require a zone change for that piece of property which the higher density Senior Housing would sit on.

John believes that Ponte Vista should remain with its current zoning. I don't really disagree too much with his ideas and his reasoning. But I feel that to get the public road to Mary Star High School built, and the rest of the other mitigation factors achieved, plus a couple more things I would like to see, I feel a development of some Senior Housing units, in a guard-gated community should be built. I also feel any other housing on the site, should be built on R1 sized lots.

I have changed my opinion a bit from when I last listed my thoughts. I thought that 920 units, consisting of Senior Housing, workforce housing, and other condominium-type units could be built on up to 40% of the available land at Ponte Vista. Now, I think that perhaps those 920 units should all be included in a guard-gated Senior community, complete with public Senior Center.

Workforce housing and non-age restricted units would allow more cars into that 920-unit than strictly Senior Housing would probably allow. But the community, according to the recent survey, suggests that workforce housing and units for middle and low-income units were more preferable to Senior Housing. I would still like to see the seniors who are strongly advocating for housing for them at Ponte Vista, get their way.

The rest of the site that would have housing built on it, should remain R1, I strongly feel. I think Bob Bisno can make profits on whatever he builds at Ponte Vista and I don't care if he loses money because he probably paid too much for the land in the first place.

"John" is not wrong with most of his thoughts about Ponte Vista, IMHO. He is among a surprising number of folks (to me that is) who do not want any compromise and demand that the property continue its current zoning.

"John" may feel that 500 homes at Ponte Vista is appropriate, but he and others who demand keeping the current zoning would not find 500 homes at Ponte Vista, should a development of market rate housing be built. The number of homes allowed for at the Ponte Vista site, under current zoning guidelines is up to 429. If the developer seeks to get a density bonus by supplying some houses to low-income families, he could then build up to 536 houses.

Something is going to get built at Ponte Vista, we all know that. What will be built there is still up in the air. Bob Bisno did practically shout that "there will be no single-family homes at Ponte Vista", even though he claims in his survey that there will be.

I wish all the debates about Ponte Vista were as friendly as the debate John and I are having. He is a wonderful guy with a high degree of intelligence and a great love for our community.

If John and others win out and Ponte Vista remains R1, I would have absolutely no problem with that. Seniors in our area would probably have to move to Torrance where many senior units are currently being built or sold. At least Torrance is closer to our community than Riverside, Hemet, and San Bernardino are.


mellonhead said...

The residents of the entire Taper/John Montgomery Navy housing used the Taper St. entrance for over 30 years. So why can't Mary Star High use it?

I will say it again. John Montgomery Housing is 245 units. R-1 doubles that. 245 to 429. R-1 is the compromise.

I live along Western Ave. I want two lanes in each direction with bike paths on each side. I want the median rebuilt and maintained.

If anything is built at the Ponte Vista property I want a a new freeway on and off ramp built on Gaffey. at Capitol or north of Westmont.

M Richards said...

Howdy Mellonhead,

One of the mitigations mandated for approval of Mary Star of the Sea High School was that it not be accessed by vehicles via Taper Avenue, once it is constructed and occupied.

Originally, S. John Montgomery was going to be the public access to
Western Avenue and the school. When the Navy sold off the land, the rights to use S. John Montgomery went away.

Bob Bisno is probably not required to build a public road IF R1 remains at Ponte Vista. He would be required to build such a road if any zone changes were approved for Ponte Vista allowing for more density than is already allowed for.

I have drawn an access road between Gaffey and the 110 freeway between the refinery and the warehouse. There is a very narrow road that the refinery owns that is already there. I don't know what it would take to build an access by extending Capitol, but that may be a better spot than mine because of where Target is going to go.

Your point about Western Avenue is very good but I fear more folks would rather have more lanes built for vehicles than bike lanes built.

mellonhead said...

"One of the mitigations mandated for approval of Mary Star of the Sea High School was that it not be accessed by vehicles via Taper Avenue, once it is constructed and occupied."

If this is true then with R-1 zoning John Montgomery will stay like it is now.

This should not be used as an excuse to change the zoning from R-1.

M Richards said...

Howdy Mellonhead,

Unfortunately, when the Navy sold the land, the requirments for keeping S. John Montgomery accessable by folks going to and from the new campus, ended.

It would be very difficult, in my opinion, to mandate that a public road be created through an R1 type of development, unless all the roads remain public and there is someway the folks from the high school and the developer get together and find a way to connect the public road to the parking lot for the school.

I will be posting an illustration of what the folks who came up with the DEIR show as their lots concept for an R1 neighborhood at Ponte Vista, with 429 lots. I will do that after April 1, because I want folks to know that it is a real illustration and not a joke for April Fool's day.