Thursday, April 26, 2007

The April 26th CAC meeting

The CAC met this Thursday with more fun, debate, poor manners from some opponents, and a report by members of the Department of Transportation (DOT) that was confusing, maddening, questionable, and downright weird.

First, it comes as no surprise that the two fellas from DOT were late getting to the meeting, because of heavy traffic. That happened last time, too and is what is expected from DOT these days.

The report, given by Mike Bagheri's boss what listened to with most of the audience, including Ms. Hahn, I saw, having looks of confusion, bewilderment, and anger at the report.

The report itself was a recount done in March on three intersections along Western Avenue. The intersections where along Western at P.V. Drive North Avenida Apprenda, and Weymouth.
There have been no recent recounts done on Western at Delasonde/Westmont, Trudie/Capitol, or First Street, where many folks cross Western in east west directions.

The report found higher traffic counts at Weymouth and Avenida Aprenda, but some lower counts at P.V.Drive North.

What do these new recounts mean? Probably absolutely nothing because there were not more intersections recounted, and the report was only a partial report if you take into account all the intersections that should have been recounted. Janice Hahn asked to a new traffic study to be undertaken and we all got just three intersections.

One of the big disputes involves the number of trips to and from Ponte Vista that will actually be when Bob finishes his 2300 units. Bob was allowed to use a formula for "High Rise Condominiums" which is less than "Condominiums and Town Homes" which he is actually building. The difference comes in because his buildings will be 4-6 stories each and the highest buildings falling into the "Condominiums and Town Homes" category are not as tall.

If the number of trips per day were based on the "Condominiums and Town Homes" formula, the total number of trips in and out of Ponte Vista would increase about 46% over the formula Bob is allowed to use.

The two from DOT did apologize that they could not take into consideration the formula for more traffic, even though it was used for Playa Vista, which has 6 storey buildings in places, I believe.

The speaker apologized for just about everything in his tiny report. He complained that he didn't have enough resources and he couldn't answer questions from CAC members.

The fellow did say he would consider whether the formula that is more in line with what Bob is planning, should be used to calculate what may actually happen to Western. He has been asked to return to the CAC with a further report.

Some members of the audience, mainly opponents of Bob's current plans were somewhat rude and made remarks they probably shouldn't have.

I was, yet again, impressed by the large number of folks who support R Neighborhoods Are 1 showed up at the meeting. Again, that crowd was probably more than double or triple the number of supporters who showed up.

An wouldn't you know it, many folks got a brand new button! The new button read "R 1" and below that it read "NO COMPROMISE". It was a fine button and considering the price everyone paid for the button, it was well worth it.

The CAC FINALLY created two recommendations for Ms. Hahn. They supported having a separate Senior Housing section built at Ponte Vista, and they recommended that a public road be built from Western Avenue to the boundary of the new Mary Star campus.

Had I remained on the CAC, I would have voted for the Senior section, but after learning about the two routes to and from Mary Star, I would have voted against having a public road. A public road that feed only Western can only mean more traffic on Western. If the folks living near Taper Avenue allow faculty, staff, visitors, and delivery via Taper, then they should not burden the rest of us with having students use only Western Avenue to access the school.

One comical illustration that kept repeating itself in the DOT report is that there now appears to be a new intersection along Western, according to the visuals used in the report. Has anyone ever been on "Avenue Aprenda"?

Ray Patricio was back to provide even more humor to the meeting. I did not see Linda "Bob Bisno is going to save San Pedro" D'Ambrosi at the meeting. Perhaps she didn't have anything to wear to match her red face.

I want everyone reading this post to understand a couple of basic truths.

1. The Community Advisory Committee makes recommendations.
2. R Neighborhoods Are 1 makes demands.

R Neighborhoods Are 1 demands that Ponte Vista at San Pedro remain with its current zoning structure.

The Community Advisory Committee is nowhere in sight to making recommendations on density or zoning.

What seems to have more power, a recommendation or a demand? It depends on who is demanding and what are they demanding. If enough people let Janice Hahn know they demand that the current zoning be kept, and votes are riding on her decisions, then R Neighborhoods Are 1, and the growing number of OUR community members who support them, will have the power to have their demands met.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mark,

I think you missed one very important point in the confusing DOT traffic report. When one of the CAC questioned what was the simplest way to explain the difference in using townhome/condo as the method for trip generation instead of high rise (as is currently the case), the DOT guy said that the townhome/condo formula would predict 50% more trips per unit. That is very significant, especially considering that townhome/condo is much closer to the reality of what is being proposed than high rise.

tom said...


One thing which you did not mention in your report of the meeting is your own comment about the senior housing. I think "not tooting your own horn" as my mother used to say is commendable.

However, beyond that, getting up before an obviously hostile audience and supporting the proposal Bob Bisno made took a lot of guts. You and I might not agree on certain points of the project. But at least we have a healthy debate over those points, which is the way consensus is formed.

In addition, you have written in this blog that you thought 700 senior units would be acceptable and that is what you got up to say. Bravo for you! There usually seems to be a gap between what people write and what they actually will get up to say. In your case, you wrote it, you meant it, and you got up to say it. This demonstrates integrity.

I hope to continue our debate. Good luck to you since there will be people from the R-1 group who disagree with you.

Tom Field

M Richards said...

Thanks anonymous 10:18 AM,

You make a very, very good point!

If I state your point as a point of fact in attacking Bob's plans, a supporter, or someone who believes more is better than fewer will respond that Bob uses the table he is allowed to use, now get over it!

I have read this type of comments over and over again. The person who writes that has a valid point, according to the powers that be.

What we all need to demand is that DOT changes its use of which is the most accurate table, in dealing with THIS development.

The DOT guy also said he couldn't tell us WHY the High Rise table was abled to be used because the ITE claims confidentiality in that issue.

So DOT say they MUST use the table they use and that the reasoning is confidential, according to the creators of the table.

We should demand that the largest residential developmens planned since Playa Vista was planned, MUST use the table that more closely conforms to the condominium/town home table.

As Bob lowered his heights of the buildings VERBALLY, but NOT in writing, I believe the project would legally fall into the condominium/town home table and out of the high-rise table, because he lessened the height of the buildings, in verbal comments only!

So Bob uses the High-rise table, but now claims he will have the same number of units in shorter buildings. If we let this happen, we will all regret it.

M Richards said...

Thanks Tom,

I still believe there are enough seniors who really wish to buy one of the units to make it a good thing.

You also wrote that you recommend a 700-unit Senior Housing section. I am agreeing with you on this type of housing, and I credit you with coming up with a number between what Bob has written about, and his comments to make the section larger, to 40% of the total number, which would make 920 Senior units his new goal.

To me, providing the Senior Housing section means that Bob should be required to create all the mitigation necessary for the project, no matter what else is built on the site. In changing the density for the Senior units, that requires an ordinance change by the City Council. I feel that any ordinance creating higher density on any part of the site, should also require Bob to do all the mitigation that is planned for at this time.