Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Was Not Invited

An Email was sent out to what seems to be a whole lot of people regarding two upcoming "Informational Sessions" being conducted by the Ponte Vista Outreach Team.

I asked that my Email addresses be removed from the list the Outreach Team uses because I believe the team uses Email addresses to indicate numbers of supporters and I think you know what I feel about Bob's current plans.

It took only about two months to get my address removed and now I no longer receive Emails unless they are from a particular individual or individuals at the temporary building on Western Avenue or from Century City.

According to the Email that was provided to me by a number of friends, there will be an 'Informational Session' at the Ports O' Call Restaurant on Wednesday, November 12, at 11:30 AM, LUNCH WILL BE SERVED.

The second 'Informational Session' is scheduled for Friday, November 14, at 8:30 AM, BREAKFAST WILL BE SERVED.

The Outreach Team want to brief attendees on the "upcoming events and hearings".

This is a very logical, correct, and worthy thing to do, by the Outreach Team to the supporters who choose to attend.

I do think however, the Outreach Team will put its 'spin' on the recent decision by the Advisory Agency of the disapproval of the Vesting Tentative Tract No. 63399 and that is also a good thing for them to do, to help supporters better understand the Outreach Team's logic.

It is true that IF the application, the change of zoning, and the acceptance of the project's 'Specific Plan' are approved, the recent disapproval would probably mean nothing.

But the most recent event and notification should be considered by supporters of the project as a piece of the puzzle that no longer quite fits well into the picture.

An article that appeared in today's Daily Breeze seemed to indicate that Bob may lower his total number of units to "1,700". Whether this number of units would assist in the approval of a new Vesting Tentative Tract is unknown.

What is known to me is that "1,700" is still more units than a member of the Outreach Team provided to one of my friends as the minimum number of units Bob would be willing to build and still provide the amenities he has promised.

I also want everyone to know and be comfortable with the facts that the R Neighborhoods Are 1's Steering Committee is meeting regularly, doing outreach, just like Ponte Vista does, and is very involved.

Both sides of the Ponte Vista issue are doing what they feel is needed to have their side victorious and that is expected and nothing to be worried about.

The ballots in the city of L.A. also had a measure that involved providing more 'low-income' housing and I believe it passed. Whether it may have anything to do with Ponte Vista is still unknown. But since Bob Bisno first applied to build at Ponte Vista, the units he wants have all be considered to be 'market-rate' housing, with no 'low-income' housing being provided.

Yesterday, the Ponte Vista Outreach Team sent out a document that had a sentence that stated that supporters should not 'panic' with the news of the disapproval. That was a true statement and one that I was glad they put out. Right now there is no reason for anyone to panic, unless they have invested monetarily in the project.

I still continue to WISH for some senior housing at Ponte Vista, just like so many supporters of the project want. Whether that will ever happen is in some doubt but I don't think it should be thought of as a dead issue.

Here again, I call on Bob Bisno to come up with a reasonable, realistic, responsible, and respectful compromise to allow so many of OUR community's seniors the real chance to continue wishing for some senior housing at Ponte Vista.

When I look at the pictures of local residents on the latest piece of information, I see that 75% of the photos depict individuals who are senior citizens.

If you decide to RSVP and attend either the lunch or breakfast briefing, please let me know how it went. If you can't attend, perhaps I will create a post that will help brief you as if somebody on the Outreach Team actually would have briefed you.

And if you attend one of the briefings, please enjoy the food!


spSenior said...

I'm glad that you are being reasonable in expressing a desire for senior housing at Ponte Vista. How do you reconcile that with the R-1 zoning activists? Many seniors like myself want more affordable housing, as well as a place to live where we don't have to worry about maintaining single-family home.

You mention how you want Bob Bisno to come up with something reasonable, and I think that he's doing that in creating Ponte Vista with something for everyone (seniors, working professionals at different income levels, etc.). R1 doesn't offer that kind of diversity -- it only creates tract homes that cater to a certain price range. Is that what you consider "reasonable"?

M Richards said...

Thank you spSenior, for your comment.

First, I reconcile with my other 'R-1 zoning acitvists' be continuing to call for the current zoning be left on the site as long as Bob Bisno continues to want a project that I find unreasonable, unrealistic, irresponsible and disrespectful to the members of OUR community.

Throughout this and other blogs I have stated: As long as Bob demands what he currently wants at Ponte Vista, the site must remain, R1, NO COMPROMISE!

Bob, as the developer must do the compromising to allow for a project that is best for OUR entire community and not just a select group.

My 'wishes' are personal to me, but that doesn't mean I could ever agree with having such a huge development in northwest San Pedro.

My most recent accounting for my 'wish' is for 500-Senior units, 130-upscale town houses, and 450-regular condominiums.

My 'wish' is not possible with the current zoning that is at the site, but I believe it would allow for a population density equal to what R-1 would have, at the site.

I consider 1,080-units, almost half of them being 'Senior Housing' would be reasonably equivalent to having all R-1 type houses on the site.

Second, the last tract of single-family, detached houses on lots of not less than 5,000 square feet was built in San Pedro in the mid-1970's.

For over 33 years, there has not been the option for families who want to move into our area, to be able to move into a new tract of homes.

For over 33 years, there has been less diversity in the type of housing people may want when they pick San Pedro as their home.

Bob Bisno and his backers were never obligated to place one bid at auction for the property.

There has never been a reputable study done to indicate whether senior citizens find a real need or want for more specialized housing in San Pedro. It would be great if an objective group did such a study to determine whether that type of housing is truly needed and I suspect, because of all of us 'Baby-Boomers' lunging towards retirement, a study may show some support for senior housing here, but we don't know yet.

I would also 'wish' that IF Ponte Vista were built according to my dream, it would include true diversity in the people who would buy units there.

There is no real economic diversity suggested by the developer when all the housing would be considered 'Market-Rate' housing, with only a few special units going to a very select group of potential buyers.

I understand completely that 'R-1' housing would create a more exclusive (economically) neighborhood than what a higher density neighborhood would create, but I feel the developer should have understood the posibility that something like that could happen before the first bid was placed.

Another thing I have found to be unreasonable is that members of the Outreach Team, or one member in particular, has known the minimum number of units Bob Bisno has been willing to build and supply all the 'amenities' he has offered.

Had Mr. Bisno, the Outreach Team, and the Development Company lowered the current number of units applied for, at least months ago, I strongly feel there would be much more support for the lowered-number-of-units project.

That number, which was provided to an individual by a senior member of the Outreach Team is LOWER than the "1,700" units written about in the recent Daily News article.

The last think I hope folks consider is whether Senior Housing at Ponte Vista would be truly 'affordable' to most seniors who would like to live there.

Bob Bisno has always suggested that seniors living in San Pedro, sell their homes that are already paid for and move into senior units at Ponte Vista.

The history of housing in San Pedro clearly indicates that would be a major change for many seniors who either stay in their homes until they can no longer care for themselves, or move in with relatives as they find need to do.

If folks stay in their homes until they need more care options, Ponte Vista is not really the type of place seniors should think about.

If folks sell their homes and move into Ponte Vista, there would be a back-fill of new families moving into the homes vacated by the seniors Bob wants living at Ponte Vista.

That situation would create even more traffic, need for more classroom seats, and infrastructure improvememts because of many peoples' movement within San Pedro and the new residents that will come behind them.

Once upon a time and in a post created some time ago, I opined that Ponte Vista could be built as an all-seniors type of project with a diversity of housing to include all types of care for seniors with both purchase and leased housing, as well as residential-care facilities.

Even though my 'dream' or 'wish' is for 1,080-units, my brain still tells me to work to keep Bob Bisno from building too many units in northwest San Pedro.

OUR community simply cannot deal with such a huge project on its far boundary.

spsenior said...

m richards,

I know many other seniors who are still independent and who would prefer to not live in a development with only other seniors. That would be depressing for me.

I like the option that Ponte Vista will afford in that I'm not stuck in a geriatric environment but can walk to nearby coffee shops, take a shuttle out of the complex, etc. The style of housing that they are proposing has been successful in other parts of the Southern California. I don't see why it wouldn't work here.

SPSeniorToo said...

I applaud SPSENIOR who has the guts to call you out on your diatrabe against the Ponte Vista project. I have read the rambling and often disjointed reply and disagree. I am also a San Pedro senior and I object to people who claim to speak for me. Your use of "OUR" over and over sounds more like "ME". I know you are not speaking for me and I am sure I am just as much a member of the communithy as you are, if not more. I'm not sure where you live, but since you mention the Northwest Neighborhood council I assume you are from that area. Unless you built your home, I suspect that you live in a home that was built by a develper, a name you are now trying to make sound dirty. I question where you ome up with your "dream" for 1,080 homes, especailly when you still say R1 NO COMPROMISE! On what do you base this number. Do you have a degree in economics? Are uou a contractor? I am not, but I do know the basics of mass production as taught by Henry Ford. Thingsw cost less if you make more of them. It is called economy of scale. How you can on one hand say that you want to see more affordable home for seniors, more diversity of income levels, but fewer homes, makes no sense in any economic model. I don't know if I want to move into senior housing, but I would like to be able to make a choice that I do not have now. If you really truly believe that you don't like what they want to build, you should get all the people who are against it and offer to buy the land. Then you can build whatever you want. I guess I am old enough that I still believe in property rights. I don't want you telling me what I can do with my home, and I won't tell you what you should do with yours!

M Richards said...

Thanks SPSeniorToo for your interesting comment.

Where to begin?

I live in the first tract of homes built between Western Avenue and Miraleste, in a home my father put the down payment on when it was still under construction.

I came to that home on May 4, 1955 at the age of one-day old. All this information has already been covered long ago.

The area the house is located in was annexed into the city of Rancho Palos Verdes after having been part of unincorporated L.A. County.

I ust the term "OUR" because the community I live in and love is larger than just San Pedro and it has NEVER been the home of Bob Bisno and Mike Rosenthal, two developers who tried or are trying to change the community.

You are correct that I do not have a degree in economics, my first wife does.

I use the number 1080 as an equivalent guesstimate for the number of SFR's at Ponte Vista WITH a density bonus granted.

I know Bob and Bob are not asking for a density bonus, but I afforded one in my 'dream' or 'wish' anyway.

I guess you do not object to an out-of-town developer speaking for you, do you?

The developers of the area I live in developed their sites in unincorporated L.A. County during a time when that really was plenty of available land. None of those developments have the population density Ponte Vista would have on available land that is now very scarce in the entire area.

There is no way to equate what was done when developments like the one I live is was built, compared to Ponte Vista because the Ponte Vista site is the last large area of land in OUR community where anything could be built.

I got my last comment incorrect though, and I apologize.

My 'dream' or 'wish is for 550 Senior units, not just 500. I guess I was a bit tired when I wrote that one.

SPSeniorToo, you have plenty of choices in obtaining Senior Housing if you are willing to drive about 6 miles away from San Pedro.

The new Senior Housing on the corner of Arlington and Sepulveda not only WAS for sale with prices LOWER than what Bob originally stated for Senior units at Ponte Vista, now they can be leased because the supply of Senior Housing in the area does not meet the demand by Seniors.

The Arlington/Sepulveda project is just one of several projects for Seniors that is having trouble.

I am glad you still believe in property rights. What about the property rights of all the folks living close to the Ponte Vista site whose property values will go down?

You probably value property rights enough that you want your rights even though you might have a neighbor who wants to use their right to do something with their property you might not like.

With property rights comes property responsibility. That responsibility does not allow property owners to do with whatever they want with their property. I am sure you already know that.

In using the economy of scale, Bob's current plans for Ponte Vista far outreach the scale of everything in the area.

It would be a highly developed project in a moderately developed area.

I don't know of any private roads that have some shopping along them, except perhaps, in the city of Rolling Hills.

The 'Tuscan' style buildings don't fit into the surrounding areas and there would be seventeen times the number of units on the site compared to the largest building on Fitness Drive, the now leasing Seaport Homes.

You are correct that 'things cost less if you make more of them'.

You do know that Bob's price for constructing each unit is approximately $550 per square foot, compared to about $375 per square foot that thing are being developed today at.

Bob is planning an 'upscale' project for an area that does not have 'upscale' types of housing and I bet you know that, too.

Also, placing such a large development on one of the only routes out of the San Pedro area means that if something really terrible happens, it would be more than extremely difficult for residents of just about all of San Pedro to get out of the area.

I am sure you have read about the risks to the ports and we still live in an earthquake zone.

I understand that many Seniors wish to continue to live in San Pedro, as long as they possibly can. But I also understand that there must be some real limits on how many units are built at Ponte Vista.

Should the project be approved per Bob's current wishes,approximately 1,700 Seniors would live at Ponte Vista, only the ones who could afford 'market-rate' housing.

That is not fair, correct, just, or reasonable, in my opinion to the rest of the residents in OUR area. Especially when there is already an all-Senior high rise in San Pedro and there are plenty of Senior Housing units available less than 10 miles away.

I know Torrance is beyond Pacific Coast Highway and many San Pedrans still feel the world ends at that highway. But it doesn't.

Unless and until Bob comes up with a compromise plan that is the best for EVERYONE in OUR community, the site must remain with its current zoning and R1, NO COMPROMISE!

Anonymous said...

Mark, you do realize who spseniortoo sounds like don't you? A very familiar line of questions and accusations.... Hillarious that he is now surfacing as a "senior".

M Richards said...

Thanks anonymous 12:34 PM.

SPSenior and SPSeniorToo can create blogs of their own and state whatever they wish too.

I do hope though, they are not as foul and disgusting as another Ponte Vista supporter who has sinced passed away.

That person certainly left bad feelings towards Ponte Vista supporters. If he represented even a small number of Ponte Vista supprorters, then there will some shame to go around.

When individuals have to lower themselves to personal attacks, rather than really debating the issues, they have lost their credibility.

I even knew that Africa was a continent.

spsenior said...

I have followed the Ponte Vista story for about a year now, and I sense that Bob Bisno and his team have done their homework on this project. I don't think that he is trying to speak for me, but I see the value in his plans for Ponte Vista.

You just wait until you get a little older and have to downsize and maybe you will change your opinion.

The Tuscan theme is not going to obstruct the current homes in the area either because it will be confined to that one area. Also, California's environment is similar to what you find in Southern Europe. This style would fit in fine.