Monday, July 30, 2007

Some More Words About the CAC

First, I would like you to read an editorial from the Sunday Daily Breeze:

Ponte Vista panel's work is worthwhile

Daily Breeze editorial

Developer Bob Bisno continues to express optimism about his plans to build 1,950homes on surplus Navy land along Western Avenue in San Pedro despite an advisory committee's rejection of the project last week.

Bisno said the Ponte Vista Community Advisory Committee's work, which culminated in a 10-1-1 vote against his plans for a mix of town homes, condominiums and senior housing on the site, was "outside the process through which a development must go to get the entitlements."

It is certainly true that the advisory committee appointed by City Councilwoman Janice Hahn won't have the final word in this ongoing debate. The city's Planning Department, planning commission and the City Council ultimately will decide what type of development is appropriate for that part of San Pedro.

That said, however, we think the advisory committee deserves some respect and applause for reviewing this complex issue for the past year. The people who served on this panel, including Jerry Gaines and John Greenwood, have long records of community service. Their views, along with those of Councilwoman Hahn, will certainly hold some sway over city officials who will make the final decision.

We don't have any magic land-use formula that would carry the day in this case. Opponents and detractors have voiced arguments involving Western Avenue traffic, economic development, affordable housing, single-family housing, open space and the need for a new high school campus. But we do feel that the committee's review at least pushes the process along toward a resolution.

A compromise might be found between the 1,950-unit plan and the panel's leaning toward 535 units under the site's current single-family zoning.

Minimizing the value of the committee's work is not likely to move this debate further. By all means, let's hear from all the stakeholders. But we would warn against becoming too hung up on specific numbers at the extremes. That leads to a drawing of lines in the sand rather than finding common ground.

Mr. Jerry Gaines wrote a comment that deserves reading, too:

"Ponte Vista panel's work is worthwhile"

The Daily Breeze is to be commended for recognizing the efforts 13 citizens invested in time and study for a full year to review the proposed Ponte Vista project. John and I and other members worked to find a balance between environmental impacts (mainly traffic) and the economic goals of needed mixed housing for the community. I remain optimistic that at the end of the day the Bisno Development Company will refocus on the level of density a mixed housing project can utilize that will not add more traffic to Western Ave. than what traffic would be added from a single family detached home project of some 500 units. This can be achieved with a mix of condominiums with senior only housing. We have confidence that the Los Angeles City Planning Department will review our study materials that noted different housing projects at lower densities (between 900 and 1,300 units)than Bisno Development Company's 1,950 units, and determine that such a project is of merit for the community.- Jerry Gaines
posted: Sunday, July 29th at 15:58 PM

Now, here are some secrets about the CAC you might not know.

From the beginning of the tenure of the CAC, there were six members who leaned towards R1, myself included. I didn't demand R1, but there were four members who were leaning much more towards than two of us six.

I left the CAC after the March meeting, so that left five members, by that time, who were still very much considering R1 at the best result for OUR community.

One of those five really considered compromise, but grew more fed up with Bob and his attempts to control the CAC's mission that the member fell back into heavily supporting R1.

Folks five is less than thirteen, as far as I know. I and others thought that if a minority report was ever written by the CAC demanding the current zoning remain at Ponte Vista, it would have been these five members who would have stood by that report.

Two members of the CAC were pretty much on the side of Bob Bisno. Both individuals were in the business community and one represented a whole group of businesses. It is logical and quite understandable that these two members seemed to want a large development like Ponte Vista and in conversations I had with one of these two members, they pretty much told me that they favored a much larger project.

Five plus two is seven. Two of the seven were supporting a much larger density development than the five who wanted to keep the zoning current at Ponte Vista.

What about the other six members. I can't have any more pride and respect for the six members who tried their very best to find a range of numbers between 429 and 1,950 units at Ponte Vista. Al, Sal, Jerry, John, Dan, and Jack worked so extremely hard to understand the situations, discuss, debate, learn, teach, and work with OUR community in their best attempts to come up with a range of numbers of units.

I have strongly supported keeping R1 at Ponte Vista for two months now, but I did try to find compromise numbers myself and could have been swayed toward a development of up to under 1,200 units had I continued on the CAC, with the help of the six members who worked so hard.

I fully expected that there would have been a majority report written with the approval of the six members and the two members who supported a larger Ponte Vista than all of the rest of us did.

When anyone attacks the CAC, especially those members who worked so hard to try and find the best result for OUR community, not only do I get very defensive, but I feel I need to express the truth.

The passion that Jerry, John and Dan exhibited in trying so very hard to come up with something they thought would be acceptable to the members of OUR community demonstrated heroism that we rarely see around here. These three, along with Sal, Al, and Jack stayed in the trenches until the bitter end and they still managed to demonstrate their dignity, intelligence, grace, understanding, and vast knowledge of OUR community, while living almost under a microscope. Nothing anyone on the CAC could do would have pleased many members of OUR community, we all knew that going in, yet still we took on the challenge.

I thank the two members of the CAC for their effort in supporting what they wanted. They put out great effort, gave of themselves, and gave to the community they represented.

The eleven remaining members truly deserve our praise, out thanks, our pride in them, our acknowledgement that we know they went through hell and came back strong.

For those of us who support R1 and keeping the current zoning at Ponte Vista, I thank Rick, Richard, Leah, Lucie, and Chuck

For those of you that wish for a number of units between 429 and 1,500, we all should thank Al, Jack, John, Jerry, Sal, and Dan. These six gentlemen are the best for giving OUR community a view into the best we have.

If any single person is the reason that the CAC finally recommended keeping the density at Ponte Vista equal to the current density allowed for, the CAC strongly put that "honor" on Mr. Robert H. Bisno, himself.

For anyone in OUR community to blame any other individual for making sure the CAC would call for keeping the current density allowed for currently at Ponte Vista, Bob Bisno should take that blame and own it as his own, I feel.

Remember months ago when this blogger and others stated that Bob was running out of time in developing a plan that called for far fewer units than 2,300? Remember when he was told that he probably waited too long, and then he was told he waited too long. Guess what? He waited too long.

Remember when Bob was told that 2,300 units would not be approved of at Ponte Vista? Oh yeah, that was at the very first meeting of the CAC. Bob didn't listen, apparently.

Remember when Bob was warned that there would be a group created to try its best to stop him from continuing his plans for 2,300 units? I guess he only got part of that warning.

Now it seems, Bob is looking at more and more opposition from OUR community and folks in government, as well as, perhaps, other developers who are watching what happens here and how it might affect their plans for building something their community doesn't want.

Bob and his supporters can complain until hell freezes over and one fact will remain; Bob's wish to continue with plans that have met so much opposition from so many people in so many places, is doing nothing but harm to the genuine supporters of his who really want senior housing or a new place to call home.

Bob, like I have said from the beginning, it didn't have to be this way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

bob's flailing is a result of his complete lack of understanding about who he is dealing with. raffi cohen's project has a similar impact on congestion in san pedro, but he didn't seem to run into all these problems. why?

because he wasn't as much of a jackass about it.