Thursday, March 08, 2007

Thursday CAC Meeting

Ms. Janice Hahn's Community Advisory Committee met on Thursday March 8, 2007.

The meeting consisted of public comment, which I will address later, and most of the meeting was spent involved with a workshop on urban planning.

Before the workshop began, Mr. David Olivo from the City Planning Department supplied committee members with facts and figures requested concerning the number of jobs per household in the harbor area.

At the last meeting, Mr. Olivo told our group that within the city limits of Los Angeles, there are approximately 1.4 jobs per household. That means that for each home, 1.4 jobs are in the Los Angeles area. Mr. Olivo told us that the ratio of jobs per household in the harbor area was less than the overall Los Angeles figure, but he didn't know that number.

At this meeting, Mr. Olivo supplied CAC members with the figures concerning the harbor area.
According to the documents presented by David Olivo, there are about 0.86 jobs per household in our area. That means more workers have to commute out of the area to work than there are jobs available within the area.

Of course, and totally expected, the folks from the Bisno Organization were already discounting Mr. Olivo's supplied figures and attempting to persuade CAC members not to believe the figures. I am now patiently waiting for another package from Bisno Development delivered to my front porch containing many documents critical of the Los Angeles City figures passed out at the meeting.

Having only 0.86 jobs per household in our area means most of the new residents of our area will be forced to commute to their work sites. It is true that some local residents may decide to move into Ponte Vista and they may work in the area. But, by in large, and if the figures are correct, more new residents will have to commute to work rather than working in the area.

The CAC members were separated into three groups. With each group there was a member of the Department of City Planning and another member who is assigned to the Urban Design Studio of the department.

Each group used a blank overlay of the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site and we were instructed to form concepts concerning what should be included in creating types of housing, open spaces, roads, pathways, park lands, retail usage, and other amenities that would be included in a large project. Each group used guidance from the Urban Planner and the City Planner to create what they felt MIGHT be included at Ponte Vista.

The results surprised just about everybody in the room.

All three groups drew different site plans that DID NOT include any R1 zoned housing. However, all three groups allowed for detached single-family housing that COULD remain zoned R1.

Two of the three groups did not draw a separate Senior Housing section. One group drew a "multi-family housing bubble" that could include a separate senior section. One group specifically decided not to include a separate section. One group not only drew a separate section, it included more Senior Housing that originally proposed by Mr. Bisno. The group that drew the separate Senior Housing section moved it from the north side of the property to the south side to allow for less of a walking distance for seniors to the shopping area to the south of the project.

All three groups included some retail, two groups favored the retail area along Western Avenue where everyone can have easy access to it. The third group viewed the retail area close to the park lands and closer to the Mary Star site.

All three groups set housing back from Western Avenue to allow for a greater buffer zone between the roadbed and homes.

All three groups include park lands. One group left it essentially where the original design puts it, one group put the park lands in the middle of the development site, and the third group put the park lands more adjacent to the Mary Star campus for more of a shared use scenario.

One group saw only one and two story townhomes and single-family homes. The two other groups saw more mixed housing types more like the surrounding buildings, condominiums, and single-family homes in the area. Two groups included large buildings, small buildings, and single-family detached homes.

All three groups favored bike paths and plenty of walkways throughout the site. The majority of CAC members thought about pedestrian traffic to Taper Avenue School that would not include the necessity to walk along Western Avenue.

All three groups thought that there should be a wide variety of sizes of houses and buildings, but one group thought that all the buildings and homes should look more similar than dissimilar.

At the table I was at, I felt compelled to let the Urban Planner and City Planner know that the site is still zoned R1 and that, if an ordinance is not passed changing the current zoning to some other zoning, the property would remain R1. I reminded the two that 61.53 acres would allow for up to 429 single-family, detached homes. The table I was at made sure to let the planning folks know what the zoning currently is and that there are many people in the community that demand that the current zoning be maintained.

After the groups reported out their views, it was back to public comment time. At this meeting we decided to have public comment periods both at the beginning of the meeting and at the end of the meeting.

As always, more supporters of Mr. Bisno's current plans spoke than did opponents. Every single supporter used the word "affordable" but could not or would not explain what that term meant to them. One supporter told the CAC that we should accept whatever Mr. Bisno's current plans are so he could move into a home at Ponte Vista. Perhaps he doesn't feel that there would be any affect to the community if 2,300 homes were built at Ponte Vista. As long as he gets what he wants, it seems, is quite alright with him, no matter how much negative impact it has on the community.

One supporter reminded the CAC members that the separate Senior Housing section was one of the most important components of the project and that many community members want to see such a component built. When I spoke to Mr. Bisno that I envisioned 600 senior housing units at Ponte Vista, his one word response was; "More!" I spoke to him a bit more and I got the impression that he is even more seriously looking at a higher number of Senior Housing units at Ponte Vista than I had envisioned. It appears by the number of supporters that also wanted Senior Housing, that the number of units may very well be increased.

The next public CAC meeting is set for March 22 at 6:00 PM at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Pedro.

The results of a telephone survey contracted by the Bisno Development organization have been compiled and will be released to the public sometime later next week. According to a retired lawyer who happened to get a call concerning the survey, it was a classic "push poll" with designed questions asked that limited the responses to those favorable to Mr. Bisno's vision.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The table I was at made sure to let the planning folks know what the zoning currently is and that there are many people in the community that demand that the current zoning be maintained."