Thursday, April 12, 2007

Some "Stuff"

This is my lawn sign. I want compromise, but I believe this organization will help all of us get Bob to move on his numbers and this group might allow our community to have the last large R1 development in the City of Los Angeles, and that wouldn't be too bad for all of us.

Look carefully at the More San Pedro this coming Saturday. Not only will you see some letter who take Mr. Field to task for his letter, there will apparently be another "Guest Column" from Bob Bisno. Let's see if he can come up with another catch phrase for our own use. Perhaps "ranting elitist" will have a "brother derogatory phrase" that we can make fun of.


Below is an item from a member of Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council.
It is more clarification about the possible number of students that might actually live at Ponte Vista.

Ponte Vista’s Public Schools

How many students will live in Ponte Vista? How much room is there for those students in our local schools? These are important issues that so far have not been addressed by either Ponte Vista or the City.

These are important questions. The Ponte Vista developer claims only 199 students will live in its 2,300 units. That is about one student for every twelve units. This is far less than the average for the harbor area, which is more than three students in every five households. That is almost seven and a half times the student generation rate that Ponte Vista claims it will have.

If Ponte Vista is like the rest of the harbor area, it will have 1,472 students, enough to fill 60 classrooms, not 199. That doesn’t count the students whose families will move into the houses in San Pedro sold by “empty nesters” moving into Ponte Vista. Those could easily number more than 300 additional students, sprinkled throughout our local schools.

There isn’t much room in Taper Elementary, Dodson Middle and Narbonne High School, the three schools that will serve Ponte Vista. According to the latest statistics, and based on expected future capacity, without any additional students Taper will have room for 61 more students. Dodson will be over capacity by 13 students, and Narbonne will be over capacity by 458 students.

By 2012, the earliest date that Ponte Vista will be done with construction, we will need room for an additional 410 students without Ponte Vista. Nowhere does Ponte Vista or the City address how to accommodate an additional 1,472 students from Ponte Vista.

Your Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council is seeking the answers. At its meeting on April 9th, the Governing Board passed a motion asking the Ponte Vista Community Advisory Committee and the Planning Department to take a look at the issue. So far, the City has been reluctant to consider the additional students, preferring to leave it to the school district. However, the NWSPNC comments on the Ponte Vista draft EIR pointed out that all significant impacts of the project must be considered, so the City cannot avoid its responsibilities by handing it off to the school district.

Your Neighborhood Council will be making sure that we all know the true impact of the various proposals that will be suggested for the site. We need an accurate picture of what will happen—particularly the impact of added traffic and added students.

There are many folks who don't get the Northwest newsletter or do not visit their Web site, which has lots of information about Ponte Vista within its pages. Ponte Vista is within this Neighborhood Council's area.

With housing prices falling, loan companies failing, and the housing market weakening, how might this all play out with Ponte Vista? Might "empty nesters" stay in their homes longer to get better prices in the future, rather than move into any Senior Housing section built at Ponte Vista?


skip said...

There is no requirement by any governmental body, nor can you reasonably expect, any builder to attempt to guess at this kind of nebulous number.

How can anyone put a handle on who MIGHT move into homes vacated by seniors selling so they could move. This is ridiculous beyond words and calls for pure speculation by the Planning Department, or LAUSD, or whoever might be tasked with this. It puts the builder in a bind because no matter what number he would come up with, it could be challenged and he would be labeled once again as spreading lies.

C'mon, you can't even figure out what the exact numbers are for Ponte Vista itself. Now you want to go to one step removed and try to estimate numbers? It is an exercise in futility. I've heard this spiel by Pat Nave before. It is just another thing to obfuscate the main issues and get everyone off-track. Stick to the issues.

Skip Robinson

M Richards said...

Howdy Skip,

The of the biggest issues are the numbers.

We can provide facts on all sorts of housing from the 2000 census. That gives us an idea of who is living where, how many people live in an area, how many students live where, and many other statistics.

When a developer builds a residential development, planners need to know how many folks might live there, how many students need accomodations, how many cars might need roadways, and what ifrastructure needs the residents will need. If you build a sewer system for 500 residents and 2,000 move in, then something bad is going to happen.

So we should agree that numbers are important.

Now, which numbers are to be believed and which numbers are shear speculation, now that is a good question.

When a developer suggests in one legal document that 7,343 folks might reside in his development, then using the same plans, suggests that only 4,313 folks might actually reside in the development, it brings up many questions.

When a developer uses numbers that are not used by other developers when figuring student population, traffic counts, persons per unit, and other factors, then those numbers too, come into question.

If you take two developments, both owner-occupied condominiums in buildings with 50 or more units per building, how come the student population in one development of 251 units is 98.5 and the development of 2,300 units is only 199? This is an apples to apples comparison and the student population is apparently way far off for the 2,300-unit development.

By looking at census records, we can get a pretty good handle on who might move into residential units abandoned by "empty nesters" because of the number of bedrooms in the housing and the overall student population in the area. We can look at populations by zip code, census tracts, and by other means to try to figure out who might live where.

All of this argument may actually become moot if the prices for housing keep falling, and the real estate market takes a big tumble. It may be just bad timing now that will change what may become of Ponte Vista in the future, and the current and future markets should become more important as we debate what should or should not be built at Ponte Vista.

Now, Skip, let me stick to an issue.

When Bob Bisno's description of his development included "single-family housing, condominiums, and town homes"... that means to the vast majority of people that three different types of housing will be built at Ponte Vista. Bob Bisno used the term "single-family housing" in the survey and in two full-page advertisements in two newspapers that I am aware of.

"single-family housing" to almost everyone means homes that are detached from one another. I don't believe there can be any argument that this description means "single-family, detached homes", at least to the vast majority of the population.

Bob Bisno has chosen to use those words multiple times yet he plans on not building any of those types of homes at Ponte Vista.

I am aware that he acknowledged the "error", but he continues to use the words in advertisements and he has not published anything on his Web site to acknowledge the "error".

When supporters continue to support a developer who is willing to continue to use the "error" to further benefit his cause, it makes those supporters look bad, in my opinion. Folks who follow a deceiver, are either being deceived or continue to deceive, and probably willingly.

When Bob Bisno had the DEIR published on November 2, 2006, the illustrations for the possible units were already completed. He could have included them in the DEIR, along with the possible numbers of each different floorplan that he gave me in the later November meeting.

This could be counted as deception by ommission. This is important because we all could have had much more information about the project at the time the DEIR was issued instead of having to fight to learn what little we could learn as the time went along.

Had the number of different types of units been issued, we would have known the number of bedrooms proposed for Ponte Vista, and thereby, using census data and other recognized statistical data, we all could have learned a more true set of numbers, rather than the numbers supplied by the DEIR.

In fact, many of the facts, figures, and numbers supplied by the Bisno organization are still in debate and that only prolongs the time it takes from application to vote by the Planning Commission and the City Council.

If any criticism should be leveled at anybody about any set of any numbers, then that criticism fall on Mr. Bisno and his organization.

skip said...

While we agree might agree that the numbers presented are ambiguous, and perhaps even that the telephone survey was faulty; don't you think it is creating even more problems to try to guess how many homes MIGHT be sold by San Pedro seniors to people that MIGHT have children. Isn't that taking it one step too far? We can't even get accurate numbers for the first tier. How can we get accurate numbers for something once removed?

M Richards said...

Howdy Skip,

Yes many numbers are ambiguous, and that is why it is so important to take the time and use all available resources to try and find the most reliable numbers for a development and the community of this size.

One of Bob's most important amenities is a Senior Housing section that he and others believe will be populated by folks from the immediate area who want to stay in the San Pedro area. He has a board of senior advisors and many folks who have written, either in the responses to the Initial Study, the January 18, Open Forum, the Senior Open Houses at the site, and other arenas, have indicated a very strong request for a secure, gate-guarded Senior Housing section at Ponte Vista.

This is one of the few areas I agree with Mr. Bisno on. I feel no matter what the survey says, there is probably enough seniors in our area who would buy up to about 700 units at Ponte Vista in a Senior Housing section. There are seniors who want to buy units at Ponte Vista in the non-age restricted portion, but many more seniors want the peace and security of a separate section of their own.

Now, if so many seniors in the immediate area are willing to sell their larger homes for a unit at Ponte Vista, somebody would need to buy those older homes the seniors now live in. So, within our community, there will be a shift in a portion of the population and an influx of others who will want the homes with more bedrooms than might be offered at Ponte Vista.

If a residential development for seniors like Leisure World were to go in at Ponte Vista and all the units were for seniors, I think we would not have the same amount of influx of the "empty nester" homes because seniors would have to come from a larger area to occupy a larger senior development.

I think there is some way we all need to figure that, if a Senior Housing section is built, (and I think it should be) and the majority of buyers into that section come from the local area, then the movement into the old "empty nester" homes should be included in calculations because it affects our community more than others. Using census data, real estate studies, school enrollment statistics, I think we could get a fair estimate of how many more students might need seats in local classrooms.

Incidently, Bob's projected student population for Ponte Vista is only 199 students, while the 251-unit Urban Village at Palos Verdes Street projects 98.5 students. Clearly somebody has miscalculated the number of projected students at one of these developments. I have to believe that Ponte Vista's proposed 2,300 units, 1,725 being non-age restricted would generate far more than 199 students.

skip said...


Perhaps I came on strong in my first couple posts. This was not my intent.

The number we already really with are tough enough to try to verify. I just think it is a waste to get off on against which may, or may not, wind up having any constructive use for us as residents.

M Richards said...

Howdy Skip,

I had a nice comment written at 2:45 this morning, but it didn't go through, so I am writing my comments to you on Sunday.

First, I appreciate you interest and concern for whatever happens at Ponte Vista. The fewer folks who are apathetic about the project, the better the chances are that there will be enough discussion and debate to provide a project that fits the best into OUR community.

Did you happen to read Pat Nave's letter to the editor in the April 15 edition of the Daily Breeze?

Pat provided a list of numbers that are more in line with reality than what is used in the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the project. Both Pat and I have loads of research material and independent facts stored that can be sourced to provide anyone with just about any answer to any question.

Whether you support Bob's current plans or not, I hope you would agree that this project is so big and will have such a large impact on our community, that you would want the best and most truthful set of statistics possible from which to make and defend whatever position you have.

The more supporters and opponents learn about the project, the better we all will be in discussing, debating, and arguing the issues, don't you think?

Thank you again for your interest in the Ponte Vista project. I hope you and everyone else will entertain the idea of providing this blog with your's and their particular wishes for what should be built at the 61.53 acre site.