Friday, August 31, 2007
It looks like last Friday found me missing concerning Odds and Ends. Probably the only excuse I will attempt is that I feel lousy on my "Fosamax Fridays".
Councilwoman Janice Hahn's "Comments From Our Councilwoman" in the September, 2007 San Pedro Magazine writes about her recommendations for the Ponte Vista at San Pedro project.
Basically, she supporters the recommendations of her Community Advisory Committee that studied the project for about a year and came up with two recommendations;
Oppose Bob Bisno's current plans for building 1,950 condominium units in northwest San Pedro, and support a density of construction equal to that of "R1" zoning.
Here is a paragraph from her comments:
"At this point, I am in agreement with my advisory committee. Traffic is just too much of a problem on Western Ave. and the project built on this site should not be any denser than its current R-1 zoning. There is no doubt that Los Angeles is facing a housing shortage, which is why I have been so supportive of new housing in downtown San Pedro, where we have the public transportation and roads to support it. But, increased density at the Ponte Vista site is clearly just the wrong fit for San Pedro."
There are so many things that can make a reasonable person go "HUMMMMMMMM" when considering what the folks at Ponte Vista come up with.
In the DEIR, it states that traffic would be improved on Western Avenue if 2,300-units were built on a site that currently has 245 abandoned dwellings, if all the mitigation proposed by Bisno were enacted. It doesn't state however, that the single most important part of the mitigation proposed by Bisno is already being installed!
For a development of 1,725 non-age restricted units, the DEIR claimed that there would be 199 school-aged students living in the project. Does this mean that now that there may only be 1,100 non-age restricted units, we should expect to see only 126.89 students?
By the way, at least three independent studies came to conclusions that in the 1,725-unit concept, at least 600 students would live at Ponte Vista.
With Bob's new 1,950-unit proposal, the folks at BDC are claiming that traffic counts will actually be less than if only single-family, detached houses were built at Ponte Vista. This may actually be true for the P.M. peak hour. I guess nobody told the folks at BDC that there are 23 other hours during the day when traffic counts will be higher. With a one for twenty-four batting average, I don't think I am going to be batting clean-up.
If you have visited the Ponte Vista Web site recently, I doubt that you will see any illustration of the smallest unit that they want to build on the site. Maybe it is not illustrated because you can visit the Centre Street Lofts Web site and see an illustration of a unit that is about 135 square feet larger than the smallest Ponte Vista unit. At Centre Street Lofts, the 735 square foot unit is their smallest unit.
Perhaps with Mark Waronek's bailing out from Ponte Vista, it is a true sign that supporting Bob's vision is not the best thing for a politician to do.
Now this next bit is just plain funny, to me at least.
Lots of L.A. residents living at Miraleste Canyon Estates on Miraleste Drive park their cars on the west side of Miraleste Drive, where the good residents of Rancho Palos Verdes can't park their cars on the street, because the parking has been taken up on the west side.
The City of Rancho Palos Verdes, specifically the Traffic Safety Commission may take up the idea of restricting parking on the west side of Miraleste Drive, from First Street to Rich Lane, because the west side of Miraleste Drive is in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, where R.P.V. residents live but can't park their cars or have visitors park their cars.
Limiting parking on the west side of Miraleste Drive may be a way for R.P.V. residents to have the parking they should have.
But now wait a minute....if you restrict the parking along the west side of Miraleste Drive between First Street and Rich Lane, there will be a lot of complaints from the folks living at Miraleste Canyon Estates, which mostly is in L.A.
O.K. folks complain away. Please remember however, both sides of Miraleste Drive, between First Street and Rich Lane are within the city limits of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, and I wouldn't want those folks to get so upset that parking on BOTH sides of the street gets restricted.
School is going back into session at Dodson shortly. Please watch for the students who cross Western Avenue either to walk towards their homes or to the folks waiting in the cars in the parking lots.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Mark's consulting firm had been working with Bisno Development Corp, BDC, since 2005.
Waronek is apparently running for reelection to the Lomita City Council and he claims he wants to devote more time campaigning. I suggest he campaigns for someone else, because there should be absolutely no way Mark would get enough votes to stay on the Council.
Councilwoman Margaret Estrada and former Councilman Ken Blackwood, and current Councilman Dom Suminaga are running with Waronek for two seats on the Council, according to an article in today's Daily Breeze. That article can be found at: http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/articles/9465727.html
Perhaps Mark learned very late in the game that supporting Bob's blight and too big adventure is not something a politician seeking reelection should do.
I hope to see a landslide defeat of Mr. Waronek in the upcoming election. There are many good members of R Neighborhoods Are 1 who live in Lomita who have not only volunteered their time, but have collected many, many, many signatures on R1 petitions. I bet when we finally get our breakdown of folks who signed the R1 petition by zip code and give that number to Mark, he will probably decide to save his money and just plain drop out of the race.
Mark's bailing out of supporting Bob's plans for Ponte Vista should not be forgotten as the election moves closer. If a politician can't learn very quickly what the folks he is supposed to represent really think about something, then he lacks the ability to serve the public he was voted in to represent.
Waronek didn't think Bob's blight would be as controversial as it became, and that also illustrates, I think, to how disconnected Mark is with the good folks in Lomita.
Like so many individuals, Mark and too many others, have pitched their tents in quicksand and want to get as far away from the muck as possible, all the while claiming something else when questioned about their support for Bob's Ponte Vista.
Perhaps Mark hired on as a deckhand on the Titanic because the money was so good. Now not only is he jumping off the ship, he doesn't seem to have a real lifeboat to drop in to.
Folks like Ms. Estrada, Mr. Blackwood, and Mr. Suminaga are going to fight for the last two seats in the boat and there will definitely be no room for Mark, and I hope he is a really good swimmer.
I wonder if Bob is even going to throw a life preserver overboard for Mark. I kind of doubt it.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
We are dealing with development in downtown San Pedro that is not selling, projects that have fallen behind their projected completion dates, a project that had to find new ownership and some other local issues like:
A proposed new cruise ship terminal in the outer harbor area of San Pedro.
A proposal for a 75,000 square foot conference center to bolster the businesses in downtown and at the port.
Two proposed LAUSD senior high schools in San Pedro.
If a conference center and a new cruise ship terminal are built in San Pedro, where are the hotel rooms that folks going to either of these new facilities going to be put?
It would be wonderful for a folks to come to San Pedro for a short stay and spend money in local businesses, but I have been repeatedly told by "experts" and developers that there is a real need for more permanent residential housing in San Pedro. I can't see where guest, staying only a few days and new permanent residents will stay.
If Ponte Vista is built with a higher density than The Gardens, then there will be tremendous infrastructure and traffic issues to deal with, throughout San Pedro. Please remember that Target is coming to Gaffey street and we need to remember what Elise Swanson correctly claimed that traffic for a business like Target is four times higher than for mixed-use, multi-family residences.
If a new cruise ship terminal is built in the outer harbor, I don't think anyone can even begin to imagine what traffic would be like having a terminal for the largest cruise ships in the world several miles away from any freeway, and on a peninsula, to boot.
A conference center might be nice, but San Pedro would probably benefit more economically if a Costco was built in place of any conference center.
A conference center in San Pedro also faces traffic congestion and hotel accommodation issues, just like a new cruise ship terminal will face.
San Pedro has seen at least one hotel go through many ownership changes due to many reasons.
San Pedro is a place you go to and not through. It is on a peninsula and at the end of the road, so to write. It is a great place to live and grow up in, but it is tough to get to, if you don't know where you are going and San Pedro is still thought of as a second class town according to way too many folks at L.A. City Hall.
We have other issues to contend with, too;
Eastview Little League
Field of Dreams
What to do in order to allow Angel's Gate to become greater than it already is.
Pacific Avenue Redevelopment Corridor
How to keep businesses afloat in these newly uncertain economic times.
What really to do about the Port and OUR waterfront.
We all have some pretty large land-use and economic issues to deal with, right now!
We have folks telling us that San Pedro NEEDS more housing, but they can't or won't provide reliable information to back up those claims. We have seniors wishing for more housing designed for senior citizens, yet no study has been produced to back up any real need or true wish for such housing in San Pedro.
We have creative folks who wish for San Pedro to be more tourist-friendly, yet there has been many ongoing talks without any real meaningful plans going forward to make this happen.
Now some folks want to create more traffic nightmares by placing a terminal for the largest cruise ships in the world at the end of town and expect that the residents will welcome such a development. Some of these same folks wand a conference center that is not near any decent transportation hub, miles from any airport, at the southern end of the City of Los Angeles, and quite some distance from downtown L.A. and most entertainment and business centers.
Could the economy of San Pedro benefit more from these two new proposals more that what the costs to all of us would be? Most of the employees of a conference center will not make enough in wages to buy any type of housing in San Pedro and this is also probably true of employees of any new cruise ship terminals built in the outer harbor. This means that most workers at those new projects would have to commute out of San Pedro and that spells even more concerning traffic.
OUR community is already going to have to face what will happen to Western Avenue and Gaffey Street with Ponte Vista, Seaport Luxury Homes, Highland Park, and Target. Adding insult to injury would come if any real consideration of a conference center or a new cruise ship terminal so far from any freeway, continues.
Thank you to those considering a new cruise ship terminal and/or a new conference center, but we have quite enough on our plates already. San Pedro and OUR community need to deal with what really is coming before we should entertain these two new thoughts.
I think OUR community may be able to support a big-box retail store and a new supermarket closer to the harbor than Vons is already at. These two ideas would help all of OUR community and be very welcome to the folks who will eventually (hopefully) move into the many, many units now being constructed or considered in downtown San Pedro.
"It is our recommendation, based on information received and analyzed, that the Ponte Vista project be a mixed-use, multi-family development with final density to be agreed upon after deliberations by Councilwoman Janice Hahn, the City Planning Department and Bisno Development. We further recommend that a majority of the units be restricted to seniors and that the development include all of the proposed traffic mitigation and public amenities. We strongly believe that this solution provides maximum benefit to the San Pedro Community and its potential residents, and is economically viable for the developer."
I disagree with much of what the five members of the CAC wanted to included in the Final Report, but I do strongly agree that they should have written what they finally chose to write.
It is remarkable for me to see that it wasn't the "R1 Gang" who wrote the minority report, like many of us had previously thought would be the case.
First and foremost that we should all be very critical of is any mention of economic viability for the developer. These five members who authored the minority report should have associated themselves more with the rest of the members of the CAC who should never have cared about the economic viability of the developer. The CAC was to represent OUR community and NOT the developer and for the most part all member of the CAC did just that. It is very unfortunate to read anything from any member of the CAC which puts the economic viability of the developer anywhere near the needs and wants of the community at large.
Bob paid 252% over the opening bid for part of the site which was sold at auction. He did this primarily as Gail Goldberg, the head of L.A. City Planning said that developers would pay prices for land well over and above its true value because they know they can get the zoning changed and make all their money back, and more. "Can you spell speculation", she said.
I was surprised to read that the minority report called for the majority of any units built at Ponte Vista go into Senior Housing. Absolutely nowhere did or does Bob Bisno consider that a majority of units be set aside for seniors. Having considered compromise proposals that included more Senior Housing and even a completely senior Ponte Vista, I found this part of the report refreshing even though that has been ZERO real studies to suggest that more senior housing is necessary in OUR community.
There has been nothing out of the Bisno camp to suggest that an objective study has or will be undertaken to determine whether more housing for senior citizens is necessary or even wanted in OUR community. To the contrary, studies have indicated that senior residents in San Pedro have historically remained in their homes longer that members of other communities and that San Pedro seniors, for the most part, wish to stay in their homes as long as they can.
Here is a link to that article: http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/articles/9305631.html
I do not reprint articles on this blog on the day of their issue.
Ms. Littlejohn spent what I feel is way too much print on a report by five members of the CAC who were in the minority of members of the 13-member group.
Not only did Ms. Littlejohn spend too much print on "An Alternate Option for the Site", she also failed to include the recommendation from those five members, which shows that they, too not only oppose Bob's current plans, but suggest something that Bob would most probably reject on its face.
here is the final paragraph of the "Alternate Option" which I feel strongly, Ms. Littlejohn should have included major parts of, as she chose to include other parts of the "option" in the first place:
"It is our recommendation, based on information received and analyzed, that the Ponte Vista project be a mixed-use, multi-family development with final density to be agreed upon after deliberations by Councilwoman Janice Hahn, the City Planning Department and Bisno Development. We further recommend that a majority of the units be restricted to seniors and that the development include all of the proposed traffic mitigation and public amenities. We strongly believe that this solution provides maximum benefit to the San Pedro Community and its potential residents, and is economically viable for the developer.
Personally I have great difficulty with the paragraph listed above, but to have it not appear in Ms. Littlejohn's article, when so much other information about the "Alternate Option" did appear, was a big miss for Ms. Littlejohn, in my opinion.
I feel Ms. Littlejohn should have spent the vast majority of the article dealing with what the CAC members who attended the press conference actually said. Only one of the five signers of the "Alternate Option" attended the press conference, in the first place.
I was pleased, however to not read comments made by members of the public, at the press conference. There appeared to be three members who have lots of B.s. (Bisno support) who spoke at the public, CAC press conference, and only one member of the public who supports R1 who chose to speak. I remained silent throughout the CAC's press conference, mostly because I have a blog dealing primarily with Ponte Vista and I get all the chances to "speak" and write whenever I wish to.
Usually I applaud just about everything Ms. Littlejohn writes. The article that appeared today is one of the few that Ms. Littlejohn has written where I find great fault in her reporting.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
At today's Press Conference she made reference to what she thought was one of the missions of the CAC. She believed that the CAC should learn about Bob's plans for Ponte Vista and make comments on those plans.
I strongly believe she was correct in that particular statement and the CAC, including Ms. Zimmer did exactly what she believed the mission of the CAC was.
Ms. Zimmer and the rest of the CAC studied Bob's plans up one wall and down the other. We all learned early on that the plans were very much incomplete. Nowhere during the year-long mission of the CAC were real numbers of bedrooms provided to the CAC, other than what Bob told me in January. How could any group whos mission was to study a project be able to accurately judge that project when such basic information was missing.
Arlene Zimmer was also very correct in her judgement that the CAC should work with Bisno and his team to accurately judge the plan. The problem here is that the CAC was continually confronted with presentations and processes that did not effectively allow the CAC to judge the plans on a truly objective basis. We always heard "There will be", "This will have", "is going to be" and other affirmations that would not allow for "perhaps", "maybe", "could have" in any real numbers.
Bob did finally bend to having an open development (non-senior) but only after the entire community, including many folks full of B.s. (Bisno support) chimed in.
In the end, the CAC actually did exactly what Ms. Zimmer wished for. They judged Bob's 1,950-unit proposal and found it flawed and well beyond anything that could ever be looked at as support. The vote of 10-1-1 told Ms. Zimmer and the rest of us that the CAC looked very closely at all the issues surround Bob's proposals and provided a resounding rebuke of those plans.
I know of where I speak in that there was probably no group of community members who looked at all sides of the Ponte Vista debate, larger or more informed than the CAC. Their learned analysis of the current proposal stated without question, that Bob's plans are NOT in the best interest of OUR community.
I also know this because I looked, listened, learned, and tried to suggest ways that good plans could be brought forth. I have been the only blogger to suggest more than several alternatives and compromises, and there is no group in OUR community with more true, factual, and objective information about Ponte Vista at San Pedro, other than the CAC.
Folks full of B.s. (Bisno support) and folks full of R1 are on opposite ends of the debate. Neither of those two groups have the objective information that the CAC was provided. The three Neighborhood Councils have the ability to tap into all the objective information and they are doing their job in service to San Pedro.
So Ms. Zimmer, you are partially correct in the mission of the CAC. That part of the mission was studied and completed with the information available to the members.
I contend that this part of the mission was a success for OUR community.
Donna Littlejohn attended the Press Conference, as a reporter for The Daily Breeze. This press conference was open to any member of the public and two folks who are full of B.s. (Bisno support) added comments and asked questions at this press conference.
There was also a reporter from the Random Lengths News on hand to write, but he didn't seem to ask any questions of the members of the CAC who attended.
Before I get a chance to read what Ms. Littlejohn writes, I want to give you a description of the members of the CAC who attended the Press Conference, because I will probably continue to read that the CAC was not representative of the community and/or the members were not qualified or were sufficiently trained enough to make comments.
The first member/former member I will write about is me. I was the least qualified person to sit on the CAC, and I know that. I am NOT a college graduate, and I am a blue-collar worker.
Here are some of the qualifications of some of the other members of the CAC, especially those who attended the Press Conference and made comments.
A home-builder and developer. Someone who has worked in many areas of L.A. to provide housing both as single-family units and multi-family units. This person is familiar with all the tactics of developers.
A retired aerospace engineer and activist in the Neighborhood Council system. This person has dealt with housing and business developments on an ongoing basis.
A retired Detective with the L.A.P.D. This CAC member is very active with homeowner associations on the peninsula
A retired worker who also works with his homeowner association outside the limits of San Pedro AND R.P.V.
A San Pedro business owner with a very long history in OUR community, currently a resident of Rancho Palos Verdes, but a true San Pedran at heart.
A Realtor who not only served on the LAUSD Board of Education, but was President of that Board. This person is active in OUR community and the Neighborhood Council system.
A former High School Teacher. This person chaired the Western Avenue Task Force, helped develop the Neighborhood Council system, and served on the Harbor Area Planning Commission, along with many other committees and groups seeking to better OUR community.
If ANYONE suggests that these great folks who volunteered their time and effort to serve OUR community the best way that could, were not qualified to represent all of us, then they are not only misguided by a greedy developer, they are JUST PLAIN WRONG!
There was a second "Press Conference" held at a table in the restaurant portion of the hotel where we all met this morning.
At this "Press Conference" which I did not attend, Donna Littlejohn was given the opportunity to listen to V.P. Elise Swanson of the BDC. She also had the chance to interview two of the folks who made comments and asked questions during the Press Conference held by CAC members.
Also sitting around the interview table with Donna were Board members and leaders of Bob's Advisory Boards. These folks have every right to be interviewed, but I feel it is necessary to reveal that there were two Press Conferences and folks who deal with B.s. (Bisno support) had the chance to be interviewed in public and private.
I expect to read in Donna's article that the CAC was "unfair", included "too many folks who live in R.P.V.", was "one-sided", and didn't include the "majority opinion" of the residents of San Pedro.
I also expect to read condemnation of CAC members for other reasons, too. I hope I don't, but I need to expect it from individuals spouting so much B.s. (Bisno support).
You all need to know that Rachel Viramontes, once a co-chair of the Ponte Vista Board of Advisors, lives in Rancho Palos Verdes. She my now be a single chair, but she still is one of the VERY FEW residents of R.P.V. that has a lot of B.s. (Bisno support) in her. Ms. Viramontes was at both events today and made comments at the public event.
Elise Swanson should have mentioned during the public Press Conference that there would be a second event, but if she did mention it, is was probably in a whisper to "special" folks.
I am hoping to read a balanced piece from Ms. Littlejohn. I attended the public Press Conference and made more notes than I usually do. I am very prepared to write quotes from CAC members who attended the public Press Conference.
Here again we got to witness folks who spout B.s. (Bisno support) demand everything being done in public, but practicing the use of privacy when it comes to their own issues. What are they afraid of, other than the truth?
If so many folks who believe in this B.s. (Bisno support) to having everything out in the open, why don't they practice it themselves? It takes an invitation to get into the inner sanctum of all the B.s. (Bisno support) and that is bad for OUR community.
The main purpose of the meeting was to finalize and approve the report the committee wrote for Ms. Hahn, OUR community, surrounding cities, and the greater L.A. area.
The final report was approved by unanimous vote of the 10 members present at the meeting.
I will try to get the report available via this blog as soon as possible and we expect that the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council will have it available on their Web site soon.
Many of the members of the CAC were very frustrated with the bureaucracies in the City of Los Angeles, and the entire committee found great fault in the Los Angeles City Department of Transportation.
Committee members were also very frustrated with the fact that no compromise proposal for the number of units the committee might have wanted at Ponte Vista, could be reached.
It is now time to reflect on the mission of the CAC and whether they were even able to do their intended mission in the first place.
I am inviting everyone to comment on what their own feelings are about the CAC and whether folks feel they were able to represent OUR community.
Of course, this being my blog and having the history I have, I will take some time to deal with how I saw the mission of the CAC and whether it had a chance to fulfill the mission that both Ms. Hahn and Bob Bisno charged us with, last September.
Compromise. The CAC couldn't come up with a compromise and I couldn't even get "XXX" to agree to a reasonable compromise.
One of the biggest problems with the CAC trying to find a compromise is that Bob chose not to effectively deal with compromise as far as the CAC was concerned. I think by looking back at all the meetings, it is quite evident that Bob had absolutely no intention of even pursuing any real compromise, both with the CAC or OUR community.
Bob made it almost impossible from the get-go to ever consider any compromise numbers because he was and is still seeking to build a giant project in northwest San Pedro.
Compromise was also found to be impossible because the departments within L.A. City government were not really considering the CAC as a truly viable panel, in my opinion. The Planning Department did have representatives at every meeting and they did supply information and some guidance, but when it came to "Planning 101" they only came up with ideas that suited their ideas and not what the CAC was attempting to suggest.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation was not only failing in all aspects of policy interpretation, but their personnel were condescending to the CAC and were not willing to actively work with the CAC or other departments within the L. A. bureaucracy, to come up with any sort of real information that the CAC could use in order to try to create a compromise in the number of units for Ponte Vista.
Five members of the CAC wrote a statement that is included in the final report critical of the CAC's recommendations for R1 or its equivalent at Ponte Vista. This group did seek to have a recommendation considered that would allow for a number of multi-family units IF the majority of units built at Ponte Vista consisted of Senior Housing units. I personally thought that their statement was relevant and their recommendation was not for R1 or any large number of units, unless Senior Housing was the majority of units constructed.
My comments about the CAC are based on the fact that I was a member of that body until I became a member of the Rancho Palos Verdes Traffic Safety Commission and I concluded that I could better serve if I chose only one master. I knew that my leaving would mean that there were voices remaining on the CAC that were superb in representing my own positions and views and my leaving didn't really amount to anything more than my having much less opportunity to speak at the meetings.
I attended every single meeting of the CAC, whether I was a member or not. I arrived before each meeting and left after every meeting had concluded. I listen, learned, and was very involved with the CAC as a member or a member of the audience. In all the meetings, I only chose not to speak one time, and at that meeting, I submitted written comments.
When it comes to the CAC, I know of where I speak.
Whether you want to believe it or not, the members of the CAC represented OUR community and there is absolutely nothing anyone can say or write that could ever disprove that fact. I am quite sure that had the CAC recommended 1,950-units, the supporters of Bob's blight would chime in that they represented the community.
Many individuals and groups were very surprised when the CAC resolved to recommend that the density at Ponte Vista remain equal to R1 density. That decision was extremely hard to reach for many of the members of the CAC who tried so desperately to find some kind of compromise numbers. It did not help that Bob spent the entire existence of the CAC unwilling to even respectfully discuss any sort of compromise. If anyone is to "blame" for the recommendations that the CAC made, that "blame" falls directly on Bob's shoulders.
The CAC served OUR community when so many others hid behind supporting whatever Bob wanted. I feel when you read the names of the members of the various Boards that Bob has, you should view those names as folks who had their own personal interests more in mind that what is best for OUR community.
One member of the CAC asked Jeff and David from City Planning what the path forward for the process is. Here is what was explained;
Now the City Planning Department will review Bob's new application for 1,950-units as they now have the tract map. The department will collect all necessary data and then work to come up with a specific plan they feel is for the best use of the property.
When the City Department of Planning is ready, they will hold meetings to consider their issues and then pass their recommendations on to the Planning Commission.
The Planning Commission will hold hearings and if necessary, move the issue back to the Department of City Planning, before the Planning Commission makes its recommendations.
Once the L.A. City Planning Commission has approved their recommendations, the process moves to the Los Angeles City Council.
The Los Angeles City Council may have a committee review the project and that committee can move the process back to the Planning Commission or the Planning Department staff.
Once everything is considered by committees, Commissions, and Departments, the Los Angeles City Council will be given a series of ordinances for approval or rejection.
The 15-member Los Angeles City Council will finally vote on ordinances that may become new City laws that might allow Bob build on the property, if the measures receive majority votes.
IF the Los Angeles City Council adopts ordinances for the Ponte Vista site, then many things could happen.
Bob could seek permits to start building whatever the L.A. City Council approves of. Bob may attempt to sell the property once the new zoning is enacted, IF it is. Bob may have other alternatives that we don't know about yet.
Whatever happens toward building anything new on the 61.53 acres, it is going to take probably at least 6 more months before the process gets to the Planning Commission.
There are many more things concerning Ponte Vista we still don't know. The only thing we really know now, is that the Community Advisory Committee has finished with its basic work at making recommendations for Ms. Hahn and other City Council members to look at.
Absolutely nothing is binding, nothing has changed legally, there is still no human on this or any other planet who knows how many units may be built at Ponte Vista.
The CAC has constructed a report that will go out into OUR community and many other communities that will state how difficult there tasks were and what lessons may be learned from this experience.
Please stay tuned. Nothing is over and we all have a very, very long way to go.
R Neighborhoods Are 1 is going, growing, and not about to let up in its quest to keep the property with its current zoning.
We should all keep OUR community second to none as we venture out and help the new movement grow that suggests that over development in the greater L.A. area must slow down and we all need to respond to what is truly happening in this entire area.
If and when all the new developments under construction or proposed are built, the entire San Pedro area will be beholden to other parts of the City of L.A. to finance the needed goods and services that San Pedro can't pay for already.
In reading about the new proposals for what to do with the port area, there was a suggestion that a 750,000 square foot meeting center be built near Ports-O-Call. What San Pedro really needs is a Costco. San Pedro needs businesses that will bring into it a greater Sales Tax revenue generation stream.
Why does the port need two cruise ship terminals when dredging the main channel will allow the largest cruise ships to dock at the World Center? Perhaps the area in the outer harbor where some folks want to build a new cruise ship terminal could be used for more amusement facilities that bring in more dollars into San Pedro. Having a second cruise ship terminal in the outer harbor means more traffic for Gaffey and Pacific and it looks like there is going to be a 1,210-seat senior high school at about the end of Gaffey.
Ideas. We need ideas for the growth of businesses in San Pedro and in the five-mile radius of new developments within the City of Los Angeles.
I think there is also going to be a great need for a large supermarket near Vue, 7th. Street and the new lofts and condos being built or planned in that area of San Pedro. Having Vons at 13th. and Gaffey will make driving in downtown worse than Western, perhaps. Food stores do not provide good sales tax generation for their size, but other businesses in a shopping area anchored by a major market would help.
It seems as we view all the construction and plans for residential units, we should be viewing construction and plans for more commercial businesses to deal with the added influx of residents, it seems. Where is that construction and where are the plans?
When my mother-in-law and father-in-law sold their home on Barrywood and bought a home in Moreno Valley, there was massive residential construction going on. Unfortunately the commercial and businesses to support all those new residents were not go in as fast as the residents moving in. Long wait times occurred for some time at restaurants, filling stations, supermarkets, and other businesses which were already there, but had to contend with a large influx of new residents.
Perhaps Domenic's should start their expansion sooner than later. Perhaps new restaurants should be considered all over San Pedro and R.P.V. A new car dealership in San Pedro would bring in one of the best sales tax generation businesses that can be found. We don't have the room, but San Pedro will need all the revenue it can get.
All of this development talk should also be looked at with all of our eyes focused on the economy and the lending industry. If Countrywide goes belly up, who knows what might happen to any and all the development in San Pedro?
OUR community is dealing with lots of issues, and development is just one issue. There are enough issues and programs to keep all of us active for a very long time.
Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council is going to reactivate their forum on their Web site. I am going to list just a few issues that folks may want to deal with on that forum. I think when you read what is happening around OUR community, you may understand more clearly the ancient Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.
Eastview Little League
Downtown condominium developments
Pacific Avenue Redevelopment Corridor
Possible TWO new LAUSD Senior High Schools in San Pedro
Whatever you wish to call the "Bridge to Breakwater" issues
Berths 97-109 China Shipping project.
Port pollution and truck traffic in San Pedro
Field of Dreams
20-year sanitation project and changes
Probable storm drain failures on Western Avenue (4 of 7 haven't been fixed yet)
Traffic throughout OUR community
These are just a few of the major issues confronting us. We can bury our heads in the sand and hope others take on the challenges of dealing with the issues, or we can work together on projects that will build OUR community and not continue to tear it apart.
"Sleepy old San Pedro" is not only not sleepy, but there are things around us that are not old at all. Some of the problems may have been around for some time, but when added to some newer issues, we all should consider that OUR community needs to work better together to come up with ideas, plans, and actions to make this the best place to live.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
I am very excited about the project. I am interested in buying one of the houses.I think is great.
I don't know if the author has been asleep for six months because it was written for "Odds and Ends #2 which was published on March 2, 2007. Perhaps the author may be stuck in a time warp because they write that they want to buy "one of the houses". I think it would be fair to not to this author that there will be zero houses at Ponte Vista if Bob gets his way.
I do hope the author really wants to buy a "house" at Ponte Vista, one of 429 beautiful homes that can be built there.
Sales tax revenue generation really comes into play when there are expensive things to buy, or there are speciality stores that provide goods that other stores don't sell.
Let's look at some of the goods and stores that are NOT within the limits of the City of Los Angeles, but are within the five-mile radius of Ponte Vista. These stores will be shopped in by Ponte Vista residents, but the sales tax revenues that will be generated will NOT go to the City of L.A.:
Costco, Sam's Club, two out of three Target stores, all the fine furniture businesses in Torrance, every single movie theater except the Warner Grand, Smart and Final, most fine clothiers, and many used car dealerships.
What Ponte Vista and other San Pedro residents need is a mall within the City of Los Angeles and within the five-mile radius of Ponte Vista to generate real revenues that will be needed. Residents of R.P.V. and other communities would buy goods in a new mall and create even more revenue for L.A.
I think we all should consider that downtown San Pedro and the Pacific Avenue Redevelopment Corridor really need to find many, many businesses to come to San Pedro and let it become a wonderful shopping area.
I shop in San Pedro and I think we all should support the businesses there, even though the C. of C. have their heads placed placed in the sand when it comes to Ponte Vista.
A large Ponte Vista will drain other local areas of funds they need for their infrastructure. We have seen that San Pedro seems to be in last place when it comes to L.A. City spending. A giant development down here would mean even more economic troubles for this area, I feel.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Perhaps it is now time to refer to the 61.53 acre site in northwest San Pedro as Bob's blight. Continuing to call it something akin to "bridge view" is less notable that referring to the site as it really is, right now.
Bob's blight diminishes any views of any bridge, as far as I am concerned. If Bob wishes to attempt to use truths in his commentary, then I feel it is reasonable, realistic, responsible, and even respectful to call the site what it now has truly become....Bob's blight.
I am glad to have read that the Harbor City Neighborhood Council's Board unanimously opposed Bob's plans to build 1,950-units on his property.
The Neighborhood Council fell one vote short of calling for R1 at the site. Perhaps a future vote will find that Board calling for R1 or some number of homes, far fewer than 1,950.
Again on Friday we found two letters to the editor in the Daily Breeze from opponents of Bob's blight.
Kyle Boone is a name I do not know, but the letter was insightful from a resident of Harbor City and bringing Kyle's issues into focus.
You need to know that when Rob Thorsen writes a letter to the editor, it is from another member of the Rudderless Steering Committee of R Neighborhoods Are 1. Letters from folks like Rob and I should be taken with the knowledge that we are both thick into dealing with Bob's blight. Rob, of course, makes great points, but he is not someone who isn't as involved with the issues as folks like Kyle Boone are.
It is always wonderful to read letters from folks who are opposed to Bob's blight.
It is also rather humorous to read letters from those who spout B.s. (Bisno support) who condemn folks living in R.P.V., when they themselves, live in R.P.V.
For those who know my wife Terri, her mother Patricia Ann Duffy Page passed away on Monday August 13, 2007. Pat had been in Hospice Care for just over a month and lived as long as she wanted to live. Patricia chose to live her life for as long as she wished to, and when she was ready to not live any longer, she didn't.
Pat lived and died with dignity.
The City of Rancho Palos Verdes will be holding an election in November which will include voting for three of the five seats on the City Council.
In the short future, I will be listing the candidates. I have my own personal recommendations, but those can wait, too.
Some of us are hoping for a candidates forum on the east side of R.P.V., like the one we had for the last City election to council seats.
It is now time to prepare for Eastview and eastern R.P.V. residents to come out and learn about the candidates and vote! Our area CAN make up a voting block that would not be ignored by anyone in R.P.V.
With what R.P.V. residents have done in dealing with Bob's blight, now it is time for us to come together in our own city and look for representatives who will listen very carefully to us and will do OUR bidding. It has always been our own residents' fault that we may have been ignored by our own City Government. Now that we have numbers of residents dealing with Bob's blight, we need to also focus on how our own government will assist us in dealing with Bob's blight, too.
If and when a candidates forum can be arranged, I will post information about it, on this blog.
The City of Los Angeles receives $0.10 of every Sales Tax dollar generated within the City of Los Angeles.
The City of Los Angeles receives $0.09 of every Property Tax dollar generated from properties within the City of Los Angeles.
These two amounts need to fund schools, fire, police, trash, other emergency services, and many other infrastructure needs the City has.
No matter how few residents ever move into Bob's blight, there will never be enough revenue generated by those residents to cover the added costs to the City for those residents.
The more residents of Bob's blight, the more the rest of the residents of Los Angeles will have to pay to cover the added costs.
With so few places to create revenue within the five-mile radius of Bob's blight, and still within the limits of the City of Los Angeles, Bob's blight will need to have revenue from other parts of the City, especially from the San Fernando Valley area, just to keep the goods and services the City of L.A. must provide, flowing.
Putting such a large development so far from real revenue generation streams within the City of L.A. and also so far from any real transit hubs that could accommodate a large development like Bob's blight, make any development the size that Bob wishes, much too costly to the rest of the area of Los Angeles, including San Pedro, according to knowledgeable sources.
The next CAC meeting seems to be the last one. At the meeting, the recommendations passed by the group at their previous meeting will be finalized.
I feel we all should attend this meeting and demonstrate our thanks to thirteen members of the committee who worked so hard, for so long, to consider what is best for OUR community.
The CAC spoke with almost one complete voice when they determined that what Bob wants is NOT in the best interest of OUR community.
I think Ms. Hahn, the Planning Department, and OUR community benefited greatly from the work the CAC did. They brought into focus what OUR community wants and needs, no matter what Bob thinks.
It appears we are still being victimized by paid petition gatherers who refuse to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Shame on all of them.
I guess Ms. Swanson's attempts went unheeded or she just gave up. Perhaps she now knows that she could not change the leopard's spots, so she just accepts half truth, misleading word usage, and other attempts by the paid petition gatherers to get as many signatures from unsuspecting victims as she can.
Please keep signing the R1 petition, if you haven't done so already. There is no need to repeatedly sign because we are going through and eliminating repeated signatures and names.
In the near future, we will be dealing more with traffic, revenue generation and spending, school enrollment and the need for more classrooms, environmental issues, infrastructure issues, and the general current climate in OUR community.
We are not just really starting to jump into the ring with round two. It appears that round one went to us and it looks like round two will further cement our position as the better fighter in the ring.
This fight may have 20-30 rounds and we are determined to win every single round. We need you help to do this. We ask that you stay informed and caring. We hope you understand that we are up agains not only an out-of-town developer, we are now having to deal with the greater L.A. area and the idea that many other developers have to provide weapons of mass development, that very few people want.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
This first image shows the Ponte Vista site in red and surrounded by about the five-mile radius that Bob believes so much revenue will be generated inside.
The light blue boxes represent new car dealerships within the five-mile radius and the green boxes represent major shopping malls or areas within the five-mile radius.
The light pink area shows the area within the City of Los Angeles, also in the five-mile radius.
Cities need sales tax revenues to fund infrastructure and other items vital to the residents of those cities. This is a fact that is also shared with Property Tax revenues. The City of Los Angeles receives $0.09 of every Property Tax dollar collected within the City of L.A., with $0.76 of each dollar going to schools.
This post focuses more closely with Sales Tax revenues, where they will be generated, and which cities and residents will gain the most, and lose the most, if a large development is built at Ponte Vista.
This second illustration shows that for every dollar in Sales Tax revenue generated within the City of Los Angeles, only $0.10 of each dollar of collected Sales Tax revenue goes back to the City of Los Angeles to help fund government costs and infrastructure .
Here is a basic problem with having a large development at Ponte Vista; The Sales Tax revenues generated by folks within Ponte Vista, and other parts of San Pedro, don't fund the necessary costs and infrastructure that this area needs now and into the future.
If you look closely at the first illustration, where can you find any new car dealerships, fine furniture stores, major malls or major shopping centers, of other businesses where higher amounts of Sales Taxes are generated within the light pink area of the illustration.
The City of Los Angeles, within five-miles of the Ponte Vista site, simply does not have enough businesses that can produce enough Sales Tax revenues to support the area.
All the real major Sales Tax generating businesses are outside the City limits and the cities where those businesses are will get the Sales Tax revenues given to them by residents of Ponte Vista and the rest of the five-mile area.
Who will pay for the goods, services, and infrastructure needed for a large Ponte Vista development, as far as Los Angeles goes? Large amounts of Sales Tax revenues generated within other parts of Los Angeles, specifically the San Fernando Valley, will be burdened with giving funds generated there, to areas like San Pedro, where there are much fewer funds generated.
There has always been ongoing complaints that San Pedro and the Harbor Area received less than "their share" of L.A. City spending. If the residents in these areas can't contribute to revenue streams the city needs, it may be no wonder why the area has been left out.
If a large number of units are built at Ponte Vista, then perhaps, even more of rest of San Pedro may suffer because of a larger concentration of residents at Ponte Vista demanding more services from the City of Los Angeles, that the rest of San Pedro can call for.
It is absolutely true that a new Target store near the Ponte Vista site will generate Sales Tax revenue for the City of Los Angeles. The new Target will be one of three within the five-mile radius, and the only one within the limits of the City of L.A. This new store will bring much needed revenue into the area.
The fact that there are no more new car dealerships in San Pedro and near the Harbor Freeway, within the limits of L.A., mean when you buy a new car, the Sales Tax you pay on such a major item, goes to other cities, unless you find a new car dealership where you buy a new car within L.A. City limits.
If you don't shop in San Pedro, you are also contributing to other cities and their Sales Tax revenue.
Ponte Vista will put a drain on the L.A. City economy. Not enough Property Tax revenue can mitigate that. Also, since so many seniors wish to move into a Senior Housing section at Ponte Vista and move their Proposition 13 entitlements with them, one time, that means that even less Property Taxes will come from Ponte Vista, and the rest of L.A., including San Pedro will have to suffer.
The City of Los Angeles can not afford such a massive residential complex in an area where there is not enough revenue generation for that city. We all already contribute to the revenues of Torrance, Rolling Hills Estates, Carson, Long Beach, and other areas, when we purchase new cars, new furniture, new clothing, and other goods in those cities.
In 2003, we bought our Saturn within the City of L.A., so at least we contributed some Sales Tax revenue for L.A. Of course we bought it in the San Fernando Valley, but hey, it's still in L.A.
Police, Fire, infrastructure, City goods and services will need to be provided to all the residents at Ponte Vista, and the City of Los Angeles simply cannot afford to have such a large development so far away from City commercial areas.
Friday, August 10, 2007
SRHS #14 is an 810-seat senior high school designed to ease over crowding at Narbonne H.S.
Currently its "preferred" site is at Ponte Vista, but a whole lot of us are joining together in opposition to putting the, now smaller campus, at Ponte Vista.
There are at least three sites in Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, and Lomita that have been "looked at" insofar as alternative sites for the school. Let us hope that LAUSD smartens up and builds SRHS #14 closer to where the majority of the kids who attend, actually live.
SRHS #15 is the newer bigger elephant. It is planned to be a 1,210-seat senior high school to ease the over crowding at San Pedro High School. Currently its "preferred" site is on the upper reservation area of the old Fort MacArthur site where LAUSD owns plenty of land, already, to build that school.
There are troubles, to be sure, with trying to get a 1,210-seat school built behind the homes on 30th Street, just east of Alma, and some distance from Gaffey. With traffic in north San Pedro getting worse with the new Target store, Ponte Vista, and other developments, creating a new traffic nightmare on the south end of San Pedro means that the majority of folks living in many areas of San Pedro will have gridlock on both ends.
I am glad to view comments and see that folks are visiting this blog and reading about the schools issue. This topic is important to OUR community, too and it should not be ignored.
If you remember "The Monster" which turned out to be Seaport Luxury Homes and how mad we are were/are about how it seems to have come in "under the radar", just think of all those folks in the area who are ignoring not one, but TWO new high school plans for San Pedro?
officially, they are all classified as condominiums and not "single-family" units.
With the change of plans by Bisno Development Corporation (BDC), there are many, many people who strongly believe that a new Environmental Impact Report (EIR) MUST be done.
Even though Bob will probably claim that a new EIR is not needed due to the slightly fewer number of units from his first plan, there are real changes that will happen because of the new plans and there are new situations that should require a new EIR be started.
Here is a list of SOME issues that should be considered for reasons to require a new EIR:
With Ms. Hahn calling for a new study being conducted from the original plans for 2,300-units, this is one reason.
A new traffic study will have to include the 136-units at Seaport Luxury Homes that was not included in the original study.
New traffic counts would need to be accomplished concerning the real impact of Mary Star, once it opens in September.
A reexamination of the formulas, factors, and findings, based on ALL available data is required.
A new traffic study should include all factors related to the probable failures of the remaining unrepaired storm drains under Western Avenue.
A REAL study should be conducted concerning a new road between Western Avenue and Gaffey Street.
With absolutely zero commercial malls and zero new car dealerships within the five-mile radius of Ponte Vista AND within the City of L.A. in that five-mile radius, there is very little expectation of large sales tax revenues coming into the City of L.A. by Ponte Vista residents to cover that added costs to the City for services and support. Simply put, tax payers in the other parts of the City of L.A. will have to pay for the support and services that will be enjoyed by everyone living at Ponte Vista.
No matter how much BDC suggests will be spent in the five-mile radius of Ponte Vista each year, only a fraction of that spending will be done in San Pedro/City of L.A. Most of the money will be spent in other cities and the sales tax revenues will go to those cities and not L.A., and especially because of L.A.'s current funding of areas, San Pedro will again lag far behind other areas of Los Angeles.
There needs to be some study of how humans affect or are affected by the environment in which they live or will live. The Berths 97-109 project (China Shipping) is going to add tons and tons of air pollution and other negative environmental impacts to nearby residents. Adding the kinds of numbers of residents at Ponte Vista, there needs to be a study done of the possible negative health impacts local pollution will cause these new residents to experience.
The impacts of the added population on the environments of the area needs to be studied, too. New residents bring into the picture new movement patterns, new pollution, and new requirements for the infrastructure of the local environment. Human impact on the environment needs to be studied.
The suggestion in the original DEIR that only 199-school age students would live in 1,725 condominiums is ridiculous on its face, and everyone knows that.
When the student population of Taper Avenue School, the elementary school that Ponte Vista kids would attend was conducted, only one student body was counted for that campus. The individuals who conducted the student body count did not use the student population of the magnet portion of that school and when they issued the original report that showed that Taper had room for Ponte Vista kids, it was not shown that Taper Avenue School is almost, if not already at overcrowding levels.
Middle School students living at Ponte Vista will have as their primary school, Dodson Middle School, in Rancho Palos Verdes. I was not able to find anywhere in the original DEIR any mention of the impact of students needing to cross Western Avenue will have. Dodson Middle School is also near its limit of student population.
Even though Mr. Bisno will tell you that no high school will be built on current Ponte Vista property, a study of having an 810-seat high school should be conducted because as late at July 2, 2007, the "preferred" site for SRHS #14 was still within the Ponte Vista site.
Traffic Impacts, Economic Impacts, Environmental Impacts, and Schools Impacts are just four areas that require that a new Environmental Impact Report be conducted. If Bob can pay for parties, open houses, petition gathering, and lots of dinners and giveaways, he can afford to do what is correct, and pay for a new EIR, many strongly feel.
I have learned that not one, but two out of the three who provided B.s. (Bisno support) in a letter to the editor of the Daily Breeze, complaining of the impacts of residents of R.P.V. on the Ponte Vista discussion, actually live in R.P.V. themselves.
Within the five mile radius of the Ponte Vista site, there will be three Target stores. Two of them are not in the City of Los Angeles. Sales tax revenues generated by the two Target stores, not in the City of Los Angeles will generate zero dollars to the City of Los Angeles.
Please visit www.rneighborhoodsare1.blogspot.com for information that came from the latest Rudderless Steering Committee meeting for that group.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
This is a quote from an L.A. City Planning Department member which I received in a reply to an Email.
"We are currently preparing the Response to Comments. Folks who submitted responses will be notified once they are completed, and will be able to review them. The Final EIR must be certified by a decision-making body or an advisory agency (e.g., Planning Commission) before any project can be approved.."
This is another quote from that same reply. I think it will be very interesting to read the Response to Comments, especially since they were submitted between November, 2006 and January, 2007. Six months may have changed a lot of things, or maybe we will be able to look back at those comments and see if anything has actually changed.
Oh yeah, about that school Bob claims is not going to get built at Ponte Vista?
The Web site for SRHS #14 was updated all the way back on July 2, 2007.
Here is the "preferred location" of the school, according to LAUSD:
"South Region HS #14, 56.40068
East of Western Ave. between Westmont Dr. and Palos Verdes Dr. North, San Pedro, CA 90732"
Board Member: Richard Vladovic
Local Superintendent: Dona Stevens
LA City Council: Janice Hahn
Comm. Outreach: Roberta Jones-Booker
Dev. Team Manager: Brian Eamer
Architect: Leo Daly
General Contractor: TBD
2-Semester Seats: N/A
New Classrooms: N/A
Site Acres: 8
Approximate Sq. Ft.: 89,155
CHPS Score: 28
Schools Relieved: Narbonne HS
Pref. Site Designated: Q4-2005
DSA Approval: Q1-2009
NTP Construction: Q2-2009
Substantial Completion: Q2-2012
School Occupancy: Q3-2012
Total Budget: $ 114,846,603
Everyone who is concerned as so many of us are concerning trying to relieve over crowding at a Harbor City high school by moving students into San Pedro might want to visit this link from time to time to see is things ever change.
There are thousands of Ponte Vista supporters and thousands of folks who oppose Mr. Bisno's current plans who do not want any high school built in San Pedro to ease over crowding at Narbonne. I am one of the many thousands of individuals who would willingly join with Mr. Bisno and his organization in opposition to any new school on the Ponte Vista site.
Here is one issue I feel the majority of the members of OUR community can come together and deal with. We don't need to aggree on the numbers of units at Ponte Vista as long as the number of LAUSD classrooms is ZERO on the site.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
There was a meeting of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Congress that the L. A. City Attorney has given his opinion as being a private organization.
The group had a meeting scheduled and it also had on its agenda some discussion of Ponte Vista at San Pedro.
Wouldn't you know it, the folks at Ponte Vista needed to write a letter and have it read at the meeting stating their belief that Ponte Vista should not be discussed at a meeting of this private organization, it seems.
You know what? There is even a video that you can watch our own Doug Epperhart explain the situation and it even shows the poor fellow reading the letter.
You can view the video by going to You tube via the following link:
Below, according to Mr. Epperhart, is the letter that was read at the meeting.
So let me see if I get this straight.
A private organization decides to have a meeting. At that meeting there is an item placed on the agenda concerning Ponte Vista. A lawyer writes a letter to the private organization and others stating that they should remove from the private organization's agenda, discussion concerning the Ponte Vista development.
How am I doing so far?
It may certainly be true that the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Congress has 40 current members. It also may be true that the 38 other members of the Congress have not convened to discuss any matters. The attorney wrote that the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Congress is a private organization, according to an opinion by the City Attorney. Can anyone explain to me why anyone in the Bisno organization should seek to have agendas changed at meetings of private organizations?
It seems to me that there are some folks representing Mr. Bisno who wish to insert themselves into organizations where they probably don't belong.
Should from BDC Ponte Vista Partners, LLC have the right to come into other private organizations and insert their wishes on folks belonging to those private organizations, without being invited?
I think what we are witnessing here is that the folks at Bisno Development are now resorting to going all over the greater L.A. area in attempts to get their project developed. R Neighborhoods Are 1 is also going to other parts of the City to seek assistance and provide assistance to others concerning what is quickly becoming a movement towards slowing down the over development of the entire area.
I know Bob needs to be with like-minded developers, just like members of OUR community need to work with many others to try and get some control back to the people and slow down the rush to develop everywhere, 24/7.
Such was the case of the article below. It appeared on Page One and above the fold, indicating that it was an important story or article to report.
I must state for factual basis, Ponte Vista at San Pedro is NOT slated to be a "high density" development. In the application for zoning changes, the developer is looking at having "medium density" at the site. While the article does not specifically name "Ponte Vista at San Pedro", it does consider condominium and town house developments.
Southern California is becoming a tight fit
As more apartments and condos are built, traffic won't be the region's only kind of jam.
By Sharon Bernstein, Times Staff WriterAugust 6, 2007
“What we have is a city in crisis. I don't know how long the homeowners are going to be able to stem the tide.”
— Ellen Vukovich, a member of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. Board
When Bing Crosby crooned that he would settle down and "make the San Fernando Valley my home," he wasn't singing about apartments.
The Southern California dream back then — exemplified by the World War II-era tracts popping up in the Valley and other places — was of an affordable single-family home, a little house on a patch of green where kids could play out back.
But today, construction of condos and apartments is rapidly overtaking that of single-family residences, even in suburbs known for spread-out living.
It's part of a broader shift to urbanized living in Southern California, a change that brings with it significantly higher density and concerns about overcrowding and traffic.
Consider the Valley: In the 1940s, developers there and throughout the region were putting up houses wherever they could, plowing under vegetable fields and planting that dream along streets and cul-de-sacs.
But over the last six years, Los Angeles has approved more than 14,000 condos and apartments for construction in the San Fernando Valley, according to city records, nearly three times the number of single-family residences.
It's a trend that is mirrored throughout the region, and it is expected to intensify as Southern California stretches to accommodate a crush of 6.3 million new residents over the next 30 years.
So many new apartments will be built that by 2035, the number of multi-family dwellings under construction will outstrip the number of single-family residences two to one, according to projections by the Southern California Assn. of Governments.
The shift is starkly obvious in Los Angeles County, where 60% of residences built in 1993 were single-family. Last year in the county, 38% of residential construction was single-family and 62% was apartments and condos.
The increase in apartment and condominium dwellings will dramatically reshape the way people live in Southern California, heralding an era of increasing urbanization for residents used to suburbia.Even in such traditionally wide-open areas as Riverside and Orange counties, the number of permits issued for multi-family housing has nearly tripled since 1999.
Apartments and condos have already overtaken the construction of single-family residences in Orange County, where so far this year developers have started work on twice as many multi-family units as individual houses.
The shift has implications for infrastructure, congestion, schools and even the style of neighborhoods, as apartments encroach on single-family enclaves.
Top planners say that if cities and counties are not careful about where they place these high-density projects, the development could overcrowd schools, burden water, sewer and power systems and make traffic worse.
Perhaps nowhere is this clash causing more controversy than along the southern stretch of Ventura Boulevard in the Valley.
In the Sherman Oaks-Studio City area alone, 2,300 apartments and condos were approved for construction between 2000 and 2006.
Neighbors there are already feeling cramped.
"What we have is a city in crisis," said Ellen Vukovich, a board member of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. "I don't know how long the homeowners are going to be able to stem the tide."
In Studio City, where mid-century houses and small apartment buildings are being replaced by mega-condo projects, residents are worried that the village-like nature of the community will be squashed under a crush of large new buildings and thousands of new residents.
As many as 1,600 new apartments or condos have been built or planned there in the last two years alone, and efforts are underway to produce 1,021 more units, according to figures gathered by neighborhood activists.
Already, traffic on streets leading to Ventura Boulevard in Studio City is backed up for several hours each day.
A Times search of city traffic records shows that at the same time many new developments were being planned and built in the southern end of the Valley, traffic at 10 major intersections along the boulevard worsened.
Ironically, residents along Ventura Boulevard nearly two decades ago fought construction of high-rise office towers there. The battle ended with stricter zoning rules, but they apply only to commercial development, not to residential.
"We're just trying very hard to preserve some semblance of human-scale life here," said Barbara Burke, who is a vice president of the Studio City Neighborhood Council but who said she was speaking as a homeowner. "The congestion is huge."
Similar debates are going on elsewhere in Southern California as more high-density projects take root.
In Orange County, builders have put up more apartments and condos than houses for nearly two years, said Kristine Thalman, chief executive of the Building Industry Assn.'s Orange County chapter.
Driving the shift, Thalman said, is affordability: Condos and apartments are cheaper to build than houses, largely because less land is required per unit.
They are also cheaper to sell or rent, and with the median price of a single-family residence in Orange County at $724,000, many potential buyers can afford only condos, she said. They also appeal to younger buyers.
"They can live in a high-rise, go downstairs to a bar and restaurant and go to the baseball game," she said.
For the most part, the shift has been embraced by planners, elected officials and developers, who say that despite the region's history as a haven for people who moved west to escape the cramped apartments of their metropolitan hometowns, Southern Californians should expect a future that is denser and more urban.
With new construction placed near transit hubs, schools and commercial districts, these officials say, traffic will be minimized, and the region will still be able to accommodate millions of new residents.
"We need to start changing our approach from a suburban model to an urban model," Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes told planners and housing experts at a recent conference.
But Mark Pisano, executive director of the Southern California Assn. of Governments, said many municipalities, including Los Angeles, have allowed significant amounts of very high-density development in places where there is little access to the types of amenities — like public transportation — that will encourage residents to get out of their cars.
However, evidence seems to suggest that even if such developments were placed near public transportation, the system in Southern California is so limited that most residents would use their cars anyway.
And that, Pisano said, could lead to serious problems as Los Angeles and other cities continue to concentrate dense development in places where public transportation is not efficient.
"If you put density everywhere, you get gridlock," he said.
According to the SCAG forecast, which was based on planned construction for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, about 2.5 million new residences of varying types will be built in the region by 2035.
The vast majority of the units will be condominiums, apartments and town houses. The trend is already evident.
In 1993, for example, the number of single-family residences under construction vastly outstripped the number of apartments and condominiums, as developers put up 22,414 houses and 8,662 multi-family units, according to the Construction Industry Research Board, which keeps records of building permits issued in the state.
In Los Angeles County that year, 60% of residences were single-family. And in less built-out areas like Riverside and Ventura counties, fewer than 300 multi-family units were built in 1993, compared to thousands of detached houses.
By last year, however, the percentage of single-family dwellings built in the five-county SCAG region had dropped to 64%, with 48,683 houses and 27,580 condominiums and apartments.Vukovich, of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn., said plenty of people still want to live in quiet single-family neighborhoods and worry that their ability to do so will be reduced as more condos are built.
"They've all bought into this idea that people are going to want to live in New York in Southern California," she said.
Others argue that changes are not as dramatic as some might fear.
Jane Blumenfeld, L.A.'s principal planner, said the city is not going down that road. She noted that for the most part, the city's plans call for buildings three to five stories tall along major streets where the existing buildings are one story tall.
"That's far from Manhattan," Blumenfeld said.
Monday, August 06, 2007
I am so very sorry to be so rotten to so many folks. I guess it was during my voluntary military service or my volunteering to teach C.P.R. so many years ago, or perhaps helping to provide a free picnic to several hundred alumni of S.P.H.S., or perhaps paying for and making all the buttons opposing Bob's plans for Ponte Vista, or perhaps joining with Bob in demanding that no senior high school on the Ponte Vista site, or perhaps my alerting L.A.U.S.D. to at least three possible sites in Harbor City or Harbor Gateway where an 810-seat high school will fit.
Oh, I know, many folks are mad at me for leaving the CAC and volunteering to become a member for a two-year term on the Rancho Palos Verdes Traffic Safety Commission. Maybe it is because I feel traffic safety is at least as important as Ponte Vista, or I want to work on traffic safety for more streets than just Western? When I left the CAC, I was extremely well represented in that group by some intelligent, trustworthy, and very competent volunteers who demonstrated that OUR community can win a round or two over out of town developers.
The results of the CAC's recommendations were more than I could have hoped for and I think we are all served better by an eastern R.P.V. resident on the Traffic Safety Commission looking out for traffic safety on the entire peninsula, including Western Avenue. If this is another reason I am such a terrible human being, then I plead guilty to being so very bad.
Whatever it was, I must have gone very wrong somewhere in life to be as bad as I am.
I write this knowing full well that I am not really as bad as many folks consider me. I am human, at least some people think so. I do know some individuals who appear to have a larger chip on their shoulders that some people claim I have. I think my biggest chip is about 61.53 acres in size and may only be eased by having as few houses built on it as possible.
One thing I am truly blessed by is all the great supporters of R1 at Ponte Vista and watching how that movement has grown. I am also extremely indepted to real friends who stand by me when the chips seem to be down. I am not perfect and I haven't met one single person who is. Mr. John Olguin comes pretty close, though.
So in the spirit of some comical satire, I give you my Email to enjoy.
It is time I offer a sincere apology and make some confessions to all of you.
I am so very sorry that I have kept the fact that I am actually the worst human on the planet from you, for such a long time.
Yes, gang, it is now time you all know what only a very, very, very, few highly intelligent people know: I am the worst of the worst, and I have been that way all of my life.
I don't really know how old I am. I visit a site that informs me that I am "403 ages" old and about 2% towards being 404 ages old. I don't know how long an age is, but as I confess things to you, you may get some kind of idea how long I have been as bad as I am.
About 2,000 years ago, I made sure, by booking some large tours of the Holy Land, that all the inns in and around Bethlehem were booked solid. Yup, that was me who filled all the inns.
I don't need to mention all the wars I personally han a big hand in starting, I am sure all the textbooks have all the facts on them, so I won't bore you.
There are some other things I need to get off of my chest and confess to you, to make you know beyond a shadow of a doubt how rotten I truly am.
I messed aroung with the compass on the Titanic and sent it too far north in the Atlantic.
I dropped something while onboard the Hindenberg and to try and find it, I lit a match.
I told Barry Bonds at the end of the 1998 season that if he wanted to be remembered, I had some "juice" for him. I also gave him some other stuff, too.
I am the reason Sunken City sunk.
A very long time ago I wanted to see if some folks could run really fast, so I set off a volcano or two around the world. The folks at Pompeii weren't as fast as others and I get credit for proving that.
I created the Edsel by planting the seed for the idea. I didn't think it would come out as ugly as it did, but it showed me that people will believe thoughts I just pop into their heads.
"New Coke".....my idea. I had been a Pepsi drinker for years and I just thought it would be neat to see if Coca-Cola could put out a drink that tasted more like Pepsi.
I get to take credit too, for giving the folks the will to colorize classic black and white movies.
Right now I am trying to popularize "designer dogs" because I think everyone should get rid of their purebreds and get dogs like our beloved Cookie. She is half lab and half chihuahua. Don't you all just love my creating puggles?
I created mutts to anger all those who love purebreds.
So now you know how mean, bad, and horrible I really am.
Now, can anyone tell me how to get my tongue away from my cheek?
aka M Richards.
Ms. Hahn is a leader in rescinding the $150.00 fee that is now required as a waiver by the City.
It looks like that entire ordinance was only used one time and it probably should be removed in favor of something else in attepts to find more housing for everyone trying to move into the greater L.A. area.
I decided to put part of a letter to the editor from today's Daily Breeze on this blog and include some of my own personal comments.
The letter was from two residents of Harbor City. I decided not to print their names because the letter look so "cookie cutter" in type that we have all seen this type of letter time and again in the newspaper, I strongly feel.
"In the article she (Councilwoman Janice Hahn) also states that housing will only be allowed around "transportation hubs." Well, the Ponte Vista project is providing shuttle service which will include shuttle trips to park-and-ride facilities, shopping centers and entertainment destinations."
I need to ask these two writers how long they believe this “amenity” will last once Bob receives his entitlements and leaves the actual building and management of the site to others? Who will pay for this “shuttle service”, all the homeowners or just from the kindness of Bob Bisno?
"The development will also have an Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus line serving the development and a carpool service for residents."
Again I must inquire of these two authors, are you stating that Ponte Vista will have its own bus line only serving residents of Ponte Vista? If so, will you please indicate any other developments of equal projected size that would have its own bus line?
"These are good traffic solutions that a development of single-family homes will not offer." Actually, the MTA will probably add stops on its regular bus lines that have been around for years, even if single-family housing is built.
"As a matter of fact, the community and Hahn should be aware that single-family homes generate a significant amount of traffic. Actually, more traffic per household than a senior condo or a non-age-restricted condo or town house."
Only the first sentence is true. Single-family homes do generate more traffic than “a senior condo” or “a non-age-restricted condo or town house”. The writers fail to tell you that there would be 800 senior condos, 100 town homes, and 1,000 condos if Bob gets his way. The only traffic count that would be larger in a single-family development would be PM peak hour. The other 23 hours of the day, Bob’s development would generate more traffic and Bob has stated as much.
"It's time to stop the sound bites and for our councilwoman to work with the developer of Ponte Vista to provide real housing solutions for our seniors, our children and our working families."
Please don't think I am singling out these to writers and attacking them personally. They are two individuals who might have enjoyed some compenstated entertainment or perhaps received vouchers for free dinners, I don't know. But if you read their "script" carefully, one cannot help to feel that they have swallowed some of Bob's special "Kool-aid".Well, there are thousands of individuals who have made up their own minds and have used their own words to challenge the B.s. (Bisno supporters) who seem to stick to word usage that looks suspiciously scripted. The last paragraph of the letter looks like it was taken directly from some printed material that has been seen time and again coming from BDC.
Do you see what happens when the B.s. (Bisno support) provided, is based on information provided by Bob and his bunch, without regard to true facts and real issues? Ponte Vista would never be able to fall under the “Smart Growth” plans because it is not and will not be close enough to transportation hubs that “Smart Growth” proponents use. There is no light rail nearby, other than the red cars, and the closest real transportation hub is about 7 miles away near the 110/91 interchange.
Friday, August 03, 2007
This is an very amusing line from a letter to the editor in the Friday August 3,2007 edition of The Daily Breeze. What makes it so darn funny is that the first person listed as writing the letter, Rachel Viramontes, and the last person listed as writing the letter, Linda D'Ambrosi live in, wait, wait, you guessed it, Rancho Palos Verdes.
Mr. Louis Dominguez was a co-chair of the Ponte Vista Advisory Board of the Ponte Vista Senior Advisory Board, but his name is not on the letter. He lives in San Pedro. I wonder where the other three persons who "signed" the letter actually live?
Oh by the way, authors of the letter, ATSACC, the traffic mitigation you wrote about, is going to be installed whether 429 homes or 1,950 homes are built.
We have read several letters to the editor this week and we have been provided with letters in support of and opposed to Bob's attempts to build 1,950 or 2,300 units at Ponte Vista.
We learned that not all members of the Mardesich family are opposed to the Ponte Vista development, but as that is a very large and prominent name in OUR community, it stands to reason that family members, whether they are closely related or not, can have different opinions. Thank goodness Mr. Andrew Mardesich is on the correct side of the issue.
We also we able to read for a separate source that the paid petition gatherers are still out there doing what Ms. Swanson instructed them not to do. Perhaps they need a time out. Let's give them all about five years of sitting in the corner. Those paid petition gatherers either don't care to listen, or can't understand instructions. Either way, I still have to thank Ms. Swanson for the attempt she made.
Writing of petition gathering, Taste in San Pedro is this weekend and I bet the folks at Ponte Vista will have a stall where they may give out goodies and try to get unsuspecting and ill informed "victims" to sign their petition.
Ponte Vista folks probably paid to have their booth there, and you are encouraged to go and learn their side of the issue. I hope someone will get one of those letter openers for me, I won't be able to attend. Please say "Hi" to Ms. Swanson for me. She actually seems fairly friendly and she has an extremely difficult job trying to "sell" Ponte Vista to OUR community. Please give her a break and be nice to her.
Of course you are most welcome to ask the folks at the booth questions like how come the report stating the types of units, numbers of bedrooms, and percentages of each type of unit hasn't been released to the public as promised by the folks at Bisno Development.
You might also wish to ask about how many school-age residents might live at a 1,950-unit development.
There was one member of the CAC who voted "Nay" to both motions the CAC eventually approved. That member represented business groups.....in Harbor City and Harbor Gateway. So when someone complains about all the folks living in R.P.V. who served OUR community as members of the CAC (you do know the member of the CAC who abstained on one vote and voted "Nay" on the other vote lives in.....do you need a hint?) just tell them you know and you are pleased OUR community came together and voted for the best result it currently could for San Pedro and surrounding communities.
(answer to the question, Rancho Palos Verdes.)
I have missed several weeks of trivia so I have a bit of trivia that is extremely trivial.
One of the surgeries to correct a vascular necrosis is an osteotomy, pelvis, bilateral.
The discussions and debates concerning the Ponte Vista at San Pedro are very serious at times. The plans that could change the very nature of northwest San Pedro and eastern Rancho Palos Verdes need to be completely examined and considered by everyone that will be affected.
However, sometimes I find, that supporters of Ponte Vista are quite funny and I can't help laugh a bit when residents of Rancho Palos Verdes condemn residents of Rancho Palos Verdes for their stance on a development in San Pedro.
I wonder why the Chairperson of the Ponte Vista Advisory Board wasn't someone who actually lives in San Pedro. Mr. Bisno, there are lots, and lots, and lots of great citizens of San Pedro. I think choosing the leadership of your Advisory Boards that actually live in San Pedro would not have been as hypocritical as lambasting folks living in Rancho Palos Verdes by folks living in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Of course I must remind everyone that I live in Rancho Palos Verdes, too.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Rebecca knows the housing market better than any other blogger I have read. She knows so much more about housing than I will ever learn and she provided information in a logical and understandable way.
Ms. Chambliss' blogsite for Ponte Vista issues is: http://activerain.com/blogs/bex29/tags/ponte%20vista
and her main blogsite is: http://activerain.com/blogs/bex29
Ms. Chambliss has given me permission to post two of her posts on this site. I thank Ms. Chambliss for the great priviledge of posting her posts, here.
Ponte Vista’s Low Income Housing
Rebecca Chambliss, Rolling Hills, CA
I've copied the low to moderate income housing regulations from the Los Angeles City site. Any new housing development in the city of Los Angeles is required to include 6% of Low income housing and another 9% of moderate income housing.
Low income is currently defined as households making 80% or less of the median local income, that is currently an income of $42,486 per year. Moderate income housing is defined as a household making 120% of the median local income a year. A moderate income household is making $63,729 per year.
This would mean Ponte Vista (if they were to build 1900 units) must make 114 units available for sale at $100,000 or less and 171 units available for sale at $191,824 or less (maximum affordable housing at those income levels with no down payment.)
These units must be "reasonably dispersed" throughout the development. So a developer can not segregate the "low income" housing from the non low income. Currently there is not anything from stopping a low income person from purchasing a low income property and then turning around to sell it at FMV, however developments must maintain the same 15% rate of low income housing.
If agreed apon with the developer, the HA can require that ANY of the units in the development be sold as low income housing to keep the number at 15%. So if a unit was purchased at a low income rate and that person turned it for a profit to sell at FMV, the neighbor who paid much more for his unit may be required to sell it for much less if the HA decides that one more unit is needed.
Something definitely to think about.
SEC. 12.39. LOW AND MODERATE HOUSING.
(Added by Ord. No. 145,927, Eff. 6/3/74.)
1. The developer of every housing development that is subject to the provisions of this section shall (a) make every reasonable effort to develop at least 6 per cent of the total number of units in the development at a cost which would allow them to be rented or sold as low-income dwelling units at the fair market value and at least an additional 9 per cent of the total number of units in the development at a cost which would allow them to be rented or sold as low or moderate income dwelling units at the fair market value, (b) if such units can be developed at such cost then make such units available at the fair market value of the Housing Authority or to low or moderate income households approved by the Housing Authority, and (c) execute such agreements with the Housing Authority as are appropriate to assure the continued availability of such units as low or moderate income dwelling units, which agreements shall be binding upon the developer and his successors in interest. In applying these percentages, any decimal fraction up to and including 0.5 may be disregarded and any decimal fraction over 0.5 shall be construed as requiring one dwelling unit. The requirements of this section shall apply to the developer of every housing development either constructed pursuant to a building permit issued after June 2, 1974, or converted to condominium ownership pursuant to a final tract map which is submitted for approval pursuant to a tentative tract map which was finally approved after June 2, 1974; provided, however, that the provisions of this section shall not apply to a housing development constructed pursuant to a final tract map approved before June 3, 1974, and/or tentative tract map wherein such tentative tract map was finally approved prior to June 3, 1974, and wherein in either event the construction of such development commences not more than six months after the approval of the Council of the final tract map and thereafter such construction proceeds in an expeditious manner as determined by the Housing Authority. (Amended by Ord. No. 147,691. Eff. 9/19/75.)
2. If the developer after every reasonable effort to comply with Subsection A 1 determines that it cannot so comply, then the developer shall grant to the Housing Authority in writing, on a form furnished by the Housing Authority, the continuing right of first refusal to lease at fair market value any of the units in the development, up to a total of 15% of the total number of units in the development. The developer shall execute and record an agreement to such effect running with the land. The Housing Authority may exercise its rights of first refusal at the then fair market value, whenever all occupants of any unit in the development terminate or give notice of intent to terminate their occupancy, and after such termination fewer than 15% of the total number of units in the development would be occupied as low or moderate income dwelling units. After the Housing Authority notifies the developer or owner that it may wish to exercise its right of first refusal, the developer or owner shall immediately notify the Housing Authority in writing of any such terminations or intents to terminate as they occur. Failure by the Housing Authority to respond within 7 days after receipt of the notice from the developer or owner shall be deemed a decision by the Housing Authority to not exercise its right of first refusal on that particular unit. (Amended by Ord. No. 159,162, Eff. 8/13/84.)
3. If the developer of a housing development of units for sale, after every reasonable effort to comply with Subsection A 1, determines that it cannot so comply, then it shall grant to the Housing Authority in writing, on a form furnished by the Housing Authority, the continuing right to require that any units in the development subsequently available for sale or resale up to a total of 15% of the total number of units therein, be sold at the then fair market value only to low or moderate income households approved by the Housing Authority. The developer shall execute and record an agreement to such effect running with the land. (Amended by Ord. No. 159,162, Eff. 8/13/84.)
B. Standards. Low and moderate income dwelling units required by this section shall:
1. Be reasonably dispersed throughout the development;
2. Generally reflect the average number of bedrooms per dwelling unit for the development as a whole; and
3. Be designed to harmonize with other residential structures and units in the development.
Ponte Vista and the Private Transfer Tax
Rebecca Chambliss, Rolling Hills, California
It seems that Bisno development has worked out deals on other projects that involve a Private Transfer tax. What does this mean? A "fee" is taxed onto each property that is charged every time the property is sold. The "fee" goes to a named party. It can be the builder, an environmental or historical group (who often bargan for it in exchange for green lighing a development project). This is a fee that does not have to be disclosed in standard Real Estate disclosures. There are no limits as to percentage of the fee and no limits as to where the fee can go.
Could this be the reason a higher number of units is so important to Bisno?
Certainly 500 SFR in a gated community would net the same sales amount as 1900 mixed use units however, the more units with a private transfer tax associated would be much more long term income, since condos tend to turn over more than SFRs. Imagine 1900 units, each with a 3% "tax" that is paid back to the builder each time that unit is sold for the rest of time....quite a bit of money to be made there.
So, is the real argument not that we NEED more housing (because that isn't true) but that more housing means a longer string of ongoing income for the builder or for groups pushing to get the building approved?
This is the first of two comments related to this post.
Is there any way of actually finding out if this is taking place with this development and what the details are?
This is Ms. Chambliss’ response to the first comment.
Unfortunately, not unless the developer is asked and responds honestly. The City Council person's office for the area response to that question was, "this has not even been discussed and we don't know." It is a common practice by developers and usually when one has utilized a private transfer tax (as this developer has) they do it for other projects. It is something that can be "tacked on" just before the sale of a property and added to the title, to be there forever. I do believe it is a question that should be asked of the developer, however the answer will likely be, "we don't know yet."