Tuesday, July 24, 2007

July 24, 2007 CAC Meeting Notes

When I am wrong I will try my best to admit it as soon as I learn that I am wrong. Boy oh boy was I wrong in my guess about what the CAC would be doing at the meeting. Sometimes being as wrong as I was becomes a pleasing thing. This inaccuracy on my part was particularly pleasing.

Janice Hahn's Community Advisory Committee for the Ponte Vista Project met and made two motions that were passed by the members.

The first motion passed with 10-yea votes, one-nay vote, and one-abstention, (Jack Baric was out of the country) which basically stated that they rejected Bob Bisno's current plans for Ponte Vista because they were deemed not viable to OUR community. In a nutshell, there were some members who were so fed up with Bob's plans and his inaction's (my opinion) and unwillingness to present a reasonable proposal to the CAC, (again my opinion from listening to them) that they recommended rejecting Bob's plans outright, as they stand now.

The second motion had two parts. The first part dealt with proposing that the density of Ponte Vista be recommended to be equal to the density of R1. The second part of the motion concerned having the Ponte Vista area moved out of the Harbor City/Wilmington Community Plan and into the San Pedro Community Plan. That motion passed with eight-yea votes and four-nay votes.

So in motion number one, the CAC rejected completely, Bob Bisno's current plan for Ponte Vista. In the second motion they called for R1 density at the site.

Mr. Jerry Gaines started the evening out by reading the first motion in a demeanor that suggested to me that he was completely fed up with Bob. He used forceful language to create a picture, in my opinion, that Bob had so many chances, opportunities, days, months, and years to come up with a proposal that was reasonable, but the best he would do was a 350-unit reduction in total units.

You could hear in Jerry and John's voices how frustrated they were in what Bob has proposed and how far away it is from any reasonable, realistic, responsible and surely respectful plan that the CAC could have actually used.

It was also remarkable, in my view, to watch Ms. Hahn nodding in agreement when the frustrations with the Traffic Department and Bob's plans were discussed.

I know in the beginning of the CAC's mission we were asked to come up with recommendations to bring to Ms. Hahn for a development that best fit OUR community. We tried. The members of the CAC worked so very hard to try and use what they learned and knew, all the while being confronted by a developer who stood his ground and moved only on cosmetic items and not real numbers or a true lowering of density.

Tonight's votes were a clear expression that Bob had more than enough chances to come up with plans that the CAC could work with, but he didn't. You don't compromise using such a tiny difference in density, I feel. When I wrote that "Bob blew it" it now appears that the CAC backed me up on that statement.

The one CAC member who voted nay on both motions thought the CAC should have come up with the density numbers and let Bob agree or disagree with those numbers. Well, they did. The CAC, with its motion tonight set the density level at up to nine units per acre. In net terms and according to the DEIR, the net density is 7.0 units per acre and that equates to "about 429" units according to Ms. Betsy Weisman, the supervisor of the Planning Department for the Harbor and Wilmington area.

The next meeting of the CAC is August 20, 2007 where they will approve their 23-page report they will send to Ms. Hahn. It does appear to me, at this time, that the August 20 meeting will end the mission of the CAC.

So as of July 24, 2007 here is what we are looking at;

Bob Bisno still has not submitted an updated or amended application for the 1,950-units he promised to build last June 18.

Mr. Bisno has never had published the number of bedrooms count in his 2,300 0r 1,950-unit plans. He did promise in writing that the numbers were submitted, but several of us have been looking and we can't find them.

Bob Bisno's paid petition gatherers, at least one of them, continue to make false claims that both Mr. Bisno and Ms. Swanson have tried to get them from doing.

The CAC passed two motions; one rejecting Bob's plans from consideration and one stating that they are recommending density equal to R1 or up to 9.0 units per acre.

R Neighborhoods Are 1 and all the fine representatives of that group have collected over 10,236 signatures on petitions calling for keeping the current zoning at Ponte Vista or "R1".

Thousands and thousands of members of OUR community have had their representatives on the CAC truly represent their feelings and wishes.

I completely blew my idea about what the CAC would do tonight. For that, I very happily apologize. Of course I think Donna was also thinking as I was so we both tanked this one.


Anonymous said...

Hats off to the CAC for recommending 535 homes under existing zoning!! This is what the VAST majority of San Pedrans and others want, and the community is/was NOT fooled by the Bisno spin machine and the out-of-town residents and lobbyists who shilled for him.

This developer can accept defeat, accept that he has been rejected -- ACCEPT R-1 -- or LEAVE!!

M Richards said...

I need to point out a difference between what the supervisor of the San Pedro and Wilmington area of the Department of Planning said and what the Daily Breeze reported.

In Ms. Littlejohn's article she used the term "about 535" in terms of numbers of units.

Ms. Betsy Weisman, the supervisor for City Planning for the area stated as a "net" number, "about 429" units could be built at Ponte Vista, according to the current zoning, alternate option A of the DEIR, and a general concensus by those in the know.

535 units, or there abouts would be a "gross" number of units with an R1 density of up to nine units per acre.

With the streets, sidewalks, steep hillside along the northern border, the overall illustration for Ponte Vista in an all-R1 configuration is 7.0 units per acre or "about 429" units.

The illustration shows no public access to Mary Star, no ball fields, no other amenities besides a brand new, tree-lined neighborhood of lots of approximately 5,000 square feet.

Anonymous said...

if so, then so what? why is mary star being sceewed out of their access from western after making a deal with the navy? I really think this is a red hearing. 1: why do they need two road access to their property? the church has 660 million dollars to pay for their disgusting screw-ups but not enough money from the local community(i pay into the pot every sunday myself every sunday at 7:30) to deal with this issue when the deal was made? any fool who knows law knows that they have a case based upon detremintal reliance for their access. it cannot just be taken away by bob-o and his hooligans, but if it were then accurate, TOO BAD! sorry, sounds harsh, but can anybody from the church explain why they have no legal recourse? and, frankly, i don't care thatn it's a religious organaziton.my blood pressure is getting too high to continue for now, but the church needs to answer about this issue. don't play dumb. they have plenty of legal help when they need it, and they tried to make a deal about access to this property, without regard to me, and others in this area, after having no trouble taking my envelopes every sunday from me and my family. what do i tell my children now (they really dont like or under stand why they have to get up at such an hour every week and believe what we hear. excuse me if i sound hard, but what about a discussion of this issue among all the rest regarding this project? 429

M Richards said...

Thanks for your comments Anonymous 3:25 PM and I hope you can relax and find a bit of peace.

One thing you may wish to do is instead of filling the contributions at your church, you might want to give your donations to the Harbor Interfaith Shelter or some other worthy group.

The public access road to Mary Star from Western is and was to be used by students and parents. The access from Taper was slated to be used for faculty, staff, deliveries, emergency vehicles, and visitors.

When the Navy owned the land they gave permission to have S. John Montgomery opened up for the public access road from Western.

That scenario changed when the Navy sold the land. Now Mr. Bisno owns the land the road is sitting on.

The issue of the public road has a very slight chance of going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if BDC or others think it needs to go there.

Bob Bisno and Betsy Weisman have differing opinions about the legality of requiring public access over privately owned land for another privately owned piece of land. That requirement is especially true when you consider that the privately owned land who's owners are seeking access is a religious organization.

All of this fray is considering that no zoning change is approved for the site and Mary Star has no other remedy to get access to Western Avenue.

I think Mr. Bisno is on somewhat solid ground, as long as the zoning is not changed to reject any calls for him to provide an easement the size of a public road to another piece of private property, in the first place. Adding to that, if that piece of private property is owned by a religious organization, there are issues far outweighing simple private property issues, I feel.

When I finally signed the R1 petition I had to take into account that when the new Mary Star campus was approved, one very important question was probably not answered fully to avoid what we may be seeing in the future:

What would happen IF the 61.53 acre site was sold to a person and they chose NOT to allow for a public road to Western by not changing the zoning at all.

If Bob keeps the land as it is, I feel it is by his own graces that he allows use of the old S. John Montgomery Drive as public access to Mary Star from Western. I doubt highly that he can be mandated to allow access at this time unless he signed a document when he bought the property stating that he must provide access.

Would any of you not fight someone wanting to build a road across your property for their own benefit on their private property? I don't think so without you being paid a whole bunch of money.

Now add to that, the private property owner who wants access through your property is a religious organization. Can you smell first amendment problems cropping up all over the place.

Anyway, when I accepted R1 as my choice, I also had to accept the fact that a road to Mary Star from Western MIGHT NOT EVER get built. I had to weigh all of the traffic issues involving Western with the traffic woes the poor folks along Taper in the Westmont area are going to have to face.

It really wasn't that hard to choose Western over the Westmont neighborhood.

Sure it would be great to have R1 zoning kept at Ponte Vista AND have an access road from Western to Mary Star, but I fear you can have only one of these things and the community feels that R1 is more important than a second access to Mary Star.

Anonymous said...

then why can't mary star just use the access they already have to the property

M Richards said...

Thanks Anonymous 7:25 PM, you have raised a very difficult answer for our community.

The folks in the Westmont area worked extremely hard with planners for Mary Star to be able to consider the school where it was being built.

As I have learned, the struggles these good people has was to find ways to allow for the school and still not place all the traffic in the Taper/Westmont neighborhood.

Agreements were worked on with good thought when "everybody knew" that the Navy would allow for access from Western to the new campus via S. John Montgomery.

Sometimes we never see the train wrecks coming in time to create scenarios to prevent them, and we may be seeing a case of that, now.

One of the big reasons, if not the biggest reason to allow for zoning changes at Ponte Vista is to provide that public access from Western Avenue to the new campus.

My personal feeling is that I do not like the idea of having the youngest drivers on Western Avenue during the morning "rush" or anywhere near the evening "rush".

When I learned about the concept that Taper access would be left open to faculty, staff, visitors, and deliveries, as well as emergency vehicles to the school, I felt that the folks in the Westmont area, as wonderful as they truly are, were getting relief at the expense of all the other drivers on Western Avenue.

I do not feel we all should pay just so a portion of the 600-student population and/or their parents can use Western Avenue to get to and from the new campus.

Many, many individuals have wondered how Mary Star staff will enforse no students/parents from using the Taper access.

One other very interesting fact that the folks at Mary Star and Ponte Vista haven't informed the community about is that the roadways at the Mary Star Campus are slated to be private and no traffic from Ponte Vista residents would be allowed across their campus to get to Taper.

This is particularly distrubing when we consider that if a parent and child living in any configuration of Ponte Vista wished to drive to and from Taper Avenue School, which all those elementary school children will be attending, they MUST use at least a portion of Western whether any public road is built from Western or not, to the new campus, according to what I have learned.

Mary Star demands access to and from Western but has not agreed to allow elementary school children to be driven to Taper Avenue School without using part of Western. Now how is that a "community benefit" to potential residents of all those beautiful single-family, detached houses that are going to be built at Ponte Vista?

As you can read, the public road issue is still frustrating to me. I am very happy that Mary Star gets a new campus, but I do not believe it should come at the expense of the good folks who must use Western Avenue and do not have a second alternative.

I hope and wish the great neighbors in the Taper/Westmont area can work with the really good community members who are building the new Mary Star campus, to find a way to move everyone in and out of that campus without a road to Western.

Anonymous said...

this is exactly what eastview has been suffering with, especially since being swallowed up into r.p.v. 5500 cars a day come up trudie. a hugh number of them are people bring their kids to school to miraleste. so now the locals all use dapplegrey and we get tons of traffic from crestwood because nobody in the neighborhood uses the school anymore. i don't really have an opnion on where kids go to school, but this circumstance creates a hell of a lot of traffic. and mary star will do the same, as will rolling hills prep and any other new school on western. but let's just build, build, build. it will be all right, "just trust us"
HA! another note: people behind the counter at hillside say the walgreens deal fell through. thank god. why don't the city give us the time of day? maybe they can fit a home depot there.

Anonymous said...

why not have drop off points at home depot or target parking lots for buses to take them the rest of the way? don't these big box retailers want to help with traffic mitigation? lord knows they are going to creat some.