Friday, September 19, 2008

A News Release

For Immediate Release September 17, 2008

Broad Coalition of Neighborhood Groups From Across Los Angeles Sue the City For Violating Mandatory Duties Regarding Development and City Infrastructure.

Nine Groups Request the Court Halt Major Development Projects Until the Case is Decided.

Los Angeles, CA:Community groups and Neighborhood Councils across Los Angeles filed a lawsuit today demanding that the City of Los Angeles cease and desist from approving anymore upzoning ordinances, specific plan or general plan amendments, or development agreements until City planning officials take a hard look at the adequacy of existing infrastructure needed to support the major development projects.

At least nine community groups representing over 30,000 residents have joined in a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles to stop the City Council from approving developments until required annual reports regarding growth and infrastructure are produced.

The amended complaint (Saunders et al., v. City of Los Angeles, case number BS115435) was filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court and includes the following groups from across the City:

La Brea-Willoughby Coalition
Westwood South of Santa Monica Blvd. Homeowners Assn.
San Pedro Pennisula Homeowners Coalition
San Pedro Pennisula Homeowners United, Inc.
La Mirada Avenue Neighborhood Association of Hollywood
Granada HillsAlliance for Smart Growth Old Granada Hills Residents’ Group
Comite de La Esparza Hollywood Heritage, Inc.
R Neighborhoods Are 1
ReACT (Residents Against Cut-thru Traffic) Mar Vista

The groups say the City of Los Angeles is not complying with mandatory duties set forth in the City’s own General Plan (its “constitution” which guides land use planning within the City), and is therefore in violation of law.

These mandatory duties include preparing an annual report regarding the status of the City’s infrastructure to support development projects, so that City planning officials can make informed land-use decisions.

Despite the fact these reports are required on an annual basis, the City has not produced such a report for over 10 years. Thus, the groups say, the City cannot possibly know whether development is outpacing infrastructure capacity.

Although neighborhood councils (NCs) are prohibited from signing on to lawsuits against the City, several NCs, including the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition (LANNC), the Mar Vista Community Council, and the Venice Neighborhood Council have also drafted or passed resolutions echoing the requests of the plaintiffs.

The suit is not seeking a monetary settlement with the City. It merely seeks obedience to the law.

Pat Nave, Chair Executive of one of the suing groups, R Neighbors Are 1 ( represents over 500 property owners and over 2,000 residents between the Santa Monica and Culver City the Mar Vista area) says: "Without an updated infrastructure database, the City is driving our planning bus blindfolded and relying on developers to describe the road.”

Today, infrastructure capacity studies, when they are done at all (which is rarely) are put together by developers who do them to justify their projects and the densities they want to build. “All we are asking for is responsible, sustainable development,” says Lucille Saunders who is the lead petitioner in the case.

Bill Pope, Chair Executive of ReACT (a group of 200 property owners presenting about 2,000 residents) says that the traffic concerns around the City are well known.

“Development on the Westside without regard to transportation infrastructure has resulted in heavy congestion on roadways from Santa Monica to Culver City, leaving the Westside paralyzed.”

CONTACTS: Lucille Saunders Lead Petitioner/Plaintiff (323) 939-2754

Sabrina Venskus Law Offices of Sabrina Venskus (213) 482-4200 or (310) 985-3168 cell
Make of this news release what you will.

If the city of Los Angeles cannot manage itself, then something must be done and many somebodies must step in.

We need a 'bailout' from developers who have overdeveloped the greater L.A. area without existing regulations and laws having been enforced for far too long.

As the nation undertakes a turn around in its attempts to deal with the financial crisis, it is high time our area undertakes a turn around in attempts to deal with runaway over development and the misery it causes everyone.

If the government is compelled to step in where people have faltered with the economy, it should be people who step in where the government has faltered with development issues.

When one third of the groups bringing the lawsuit are concerned especially with the Ponte Vista at San Pedro project, it focuses more on Bob Bisno and his attempts to build a project that is simply too many units for the area.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is beauty! This lawsuit is a winner, accomplishing two things:
1)It might further delay Bisno and his plans, thus costing him more money. (how does this guy sit on so much money so long?)
2)Will force the city to take responsibility by producing the infrastructure capacity studies. The studies will show the obvious, that our infrastructure cannot handle the growth.