Tuesday, March 18, 2008

VDONAC Equals Victory!

Vista del Oro Neighbors Against Condos (VDONAC) won a major victory against an overdeveloper when the Harbor Area Planning Commission voted 3-0 to support a motion brought forward by Councilwoman Janice Hahn, which places a restriction on what can be built on three lots that formerly was the site of the McCowan's Market.

The three members of the Planning Commission were greeted by a standing room only gathering of concerned San Pedro residents who are determined to keep the three lots, currently zoned C1-1XL from having condominium or apartments units built on them.

Approximately 20 residents provided comments to the Planning Commission members and the rest of the audience as to why the three lots should only have single-family, detached houses built on them, one per lot.

The motion brought forth by Councilwoman Hahn was to place a Q Qualification Condition on three lots currently zoned as commercial lots.

The developer of the site, Mike Rosenthal tore down a much beloved and historical market he bought in 2007 and attempted to build between 15-19 units on the three, combined lots.

With the Q Qualification Condition now voted to be placed on the three lots, the developer is restricted to building residential units the conform to R1 standards which is one-single-family, detached dwelling per each lot of not less than 5,000 square feet.

In testimony given before the Planning Commission, Ms Betsy Weisman of the L.A. City Planning Department was asked by one commissioner if the Q Qualification Condition was common in other cities or unique to Los Angeles.

Ms. Weisman stated that this particular restriction is very unique to Los Angeles and most other cities, to her knowledge, have that exact type of restriction.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn attended the meeting and gave her remarks in great support for the motion brought forth to place the Q Qualification Condition on the three lots.

Mr. Rosenthal, who is already in the process of building 3-single-family, detached houses on the three lots already zoned for that type of residential building, will not have the opportunity to build three more of the types of houses that are found the neighborhood.

The Q Qualification Condition places a restriction so that only residential houses that conform to the majority of the houses in the surrounding, may be built.

The zone change will take the three lots currently zoned C1-1Xl and change them to QC1-1Xl.

Perhaps this change in allowing overdevelopment to spread into a largely R1 neighborhood, may have impacts on the Ponte Vista issue as well.

Ms. Elise Swanson, the Vice President in charge of the Ponte Vista Outreach Team was joined by two of her associates, at the Planning Commission meeting.

What might this denial of potential overdevelopment in one neighborhood, have on what the Planning Department and even the Planning Commission may now look at?

In the Vista del Oro neighborhood of San Pedro, attempting to build up to twenty units in a neighborhood of single-family homes, is a weapon of mass development, no matter that it was on a much smaller scale than what OUR community is facing with Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

Personally, I would like to first thank Barbara Dragich and her husband, Nick. They were the "Generals" in the central command of this fight. They both took on an issue they has very little knowledge of how to fight, and they rose to the occasion beyond imagination.

They are true San Pedrans and a great credit to all of us.

Ms. Michele Burk handled many details as a superior facilitator that she is. While continuing her services to OUR community as a Board Member of the San Pedro Pirate Lady Boosters, she took on many tasks with very little notice and help VDONAC immeasurably.

Next I need to put a great shout out to Councilwoman Janice Hahn and her fantastic staff, When presented by a flood of phone calls, Emails, and snail mails from her constituents, concerning the matter, she and her staff made quick work of researching the Q Qualification Condition and how it could be placed on the lots on the corner of 20Th Street and Walker Avenue.

Ms. Hahn brought forth a motion to go before the Planning Commission, and we are all grateful for he swift and decisive actions.

Next, it's the neighbors and the neighborhood which deserves a big hand. I doubt if there has ever been an issue that brought so many San Pedrans so quickly together with a common purpose to safe the quality of life in, at least, part of San Pedro.

I also want to give credit to the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council which sprang into action immediately upon hearing of the plight the stakeholders were being confronted with.
A special shout out need to go to Ms. Linda Marincovich, the chair of the Planning Committee for the Neighborhood Council. Linda dove into assisting anyone and everyone, taking her time to learn what VDONAC needed and making sure they were supported 100%.

It's San Pedro and San Pedrans at their finest! They encountered a developer who considered his profits before his citizenship, I feel, and the folks living in the area gave him a big check to the backboards.

Everyone in OUR community can feel pride in the accomplishments of the members of VDONAC and their supporters. They showed what is best in OUR community, and again and again, it's the people in OUR community that are simply the best!

Unfortunately the work of many concerned San Pedrans is far from being over. Weapons of mass development still loom on our horizon. Whether it is the proposed overdevelopment of Ponte Vista, the plight Palisades residents are facing with the fact that a school that is too large is proposed for their neighborhood, or whether we all have to do battle with the Port of L.A. and their mission of building a new cruise ship terminal at Kaiser Point, overdevelopments and weapons of mass developments need to be challenged no matter where they are.

The Vista del Oro Neighborhood can finally have a more peaceful night.

We all won this time.

1 comment:

M Richards said...

This comment is very unusual.

It is me commenting on this post I wrote.

Of course the motion passed by the Harbor Area Planning Commission must go forward to the L.A. City Council Land Use and Planning Committee, before it heads for a vote by the L.A. City Council.

But unless something extremely drastic happens, and that is not likely at all, when something is passed by a local Planning Commission, it almost always is enacted by the City Council.

This is especially true because the motion comes from a current L.A.City Councilperson and was seconded by another L.A. City Councilman and the motion passed through the L.A.City Council once already.

Mike Rosenthal simply doesn't have the time to receive a small subdivision permit and go through that process by the time the L.A. City Council enacts the zoning change on the three-C1 lots.

Of course he can go to court, but that will cost him time, money, and other factors.

Oh well, back to the SRHS 15 fight.