Friday, February 20, 2009

Odds and Ends 105

Well, the interviews are not over yet and I am not very surprised with what I have learned.

Elise and the gang did not post the names of the "Community Leaders" that were interviewed.

Four of the five members of Councilwoman Janice Hahn's Community Advisory Board who all held the position that the current zoning must not be changed were also not selected to be interviewed.

The only one of the five members who continues to state that the site must remain R1 is the President of a Homeowners Coalition representing residents in both San Pedro and Rancho Palos Verdes.

One of the two members who supported anything Bob Bisno wanted was not only interviewed, but their spouse was interviewed too, according to that member.

At least two City Council Members will have been interviewed when all is said and done. You should not infer that the City Council Members are from the same city and there may very well be even more City Council Members interviewed.

I did get a reply when I Emailed Mr. Oswald at jim_oswald@gensler.com. I think if you, your friends and neighbors, and anyone else you can think of wish to offer your comments to Jim, you should probably do so.

It is also a bit funny to read the blog by Elise and the gang that offers the community a chance to comment on 'amenities and benefits' at the March 12 Open House event. There is no mention that Jim, Ted, Elise, or anyone else wishes to learn the number of units you feel might be successful at the site.
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I know this next bit has nothing to do with Ponte Vista other than the fact that there is no advertisement for the development on the program, however.....

The Relevant Stage Theatre Company is extending the run of its 2009 Season opening "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" at the historic Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro.

Please visit http://www.therelevantstage.com/ for more information.
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The development of a Senior Housing project on Hawthorne Blvd ended last month after the hillside on the site was stabilized.

Money ran out, interest in more senior housing has ebbed recently, and the plans finally fell through.

Whether this portends any type of delay in developing Ponte Vista is a question many members of OUR community can't answer.

The stability of Credit Suisse has also been discussed in articles and by folks recently, too.

It could very well come to pass that Ted Fentin decides to allow a long limbo period for the Ponte Vista at San Pedro development as so many other projects seem to be in, in the greater L.A. area these days and months.
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I did not attend the recent meeting dealing with building on hillsides in the city of Los Angeles.

I was not eager to step out to a meeting while I continue to live in a house built on a hillside and in the city of Rancho Palos Verdes.

Some humor may have been missed by me, but that was my decision to keep away from possible frivolity.

There is land on the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site that cannot be built on because of its steep hillside structure.

There has also been documentation provided concerning errors with regards to the amount and placement of the hillside areas that will not support residential construction on the site.

The errors are minor and deal more with the documented location of the areas.

Retaining walls in specific areas would have to be provided on the site to allow for residential construction closer to the hillsides near the fence line with the Defense Fuel Supply Point on the northwest side of the Ponte Vista property.
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There is a group call the Concerned Citizens Coalition/Marymount Expansion (CCC/ME? which is advocating for the Living Campus/Academic Campus Alternative to the Marymount College Facilities Expansion project.

The group is calling for denial of the College's plan to have a 255-bed set of residential halls built on the Rancho Palos Verdes campus and also the denial of the construction of a new gym, large field, and other athletic amenities on the main campus of the College.

CCC/ME supports the demolition of the existing off-campus housing units on the College-owned site along Palos Verdes Drive North between Western Avenue and Five Points.

That facility is called "Palos Verdes North".

CCC/ME also advocates the construction of more student housing on the Palos Verdes site, more than replacing the existing 86 units that currently hous about 300 students, faculty, and student advisers.

CCC/ME wants all the athletic facilities for the College built at the Palos Verdes North site, including a new gym and the large field.

Currently, CCC/ME does not have a well defined position on whether the College should attempt to purchase land and existing dwelling units the Volunteers of America currently own in the area adjacent to Palos Verdes North and Rolling Hills Prep.

All of this can and should be of concern to all sides dealing with Ponte Vista at San Pedro, in my opinion.

If the Preferred Plan is approved of with the construction of two residential halls on the Marymount Campus, there will be an increase of about 1,561 vehicle trips to and from the campus.

40% of that added weekday traffic would utilize Western Avenue from Crestwood Street, north along Western Avenue.

There is not sufficient documentation to consider the added daily trips of the Living Campus/Academic Campus Alternative.

Also, there were no trip generation studies or levels of service rates taken at the intersection of Western Avenue and Palos Verdes Drive North. This fact should be taken seriously by all of us having to discuss Ponte Vista and general traffic along Western Avenue.

I have spoken and been in written communication with many folks who consider on-campus housing to be beneficial for students, their parents, and others. I don't think there is a real dispute in that particular matter.

However, Marymount College is, by no means, a College situated where it is that, can provide reasonable and realistic on-campus housing for its students.

Marymount College is a private junior college in its second year of academic probation. Its student body consists of approximately 99% full time students. This is an extreme example of a vast difference between Marymount and other junior colleges that are also considered to be "commuter colleges" as Marymount continues to be.

The location of the main campus just above the switchbacks along Palos Verdes Drive East is another factor, as are the facts about the general size and condition of all of Palos Verdes Drive East.

The closest four-lane roadways to the college's main campus are Western Avenue and 25th Street.

With all of the issues surrounding on-campus housing, we all should not lose sight of the impacts many of us would face by having the Palos Verdes North facility expanded greatly.

The Marymount College Facilities Expansion project is closer to the approval or denial processes by the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council than the Ponte Vista at San Pedro project is to any decisions made by the Los Angeles City Council.

Right now, Marymount may be ahead in the race to see what get built in northwest San Pedro and it looks like neither projects will truly benefit the residents of northwest San Pedro, eastern Rancho Palos Verdes, south Lomita, south Harbor City, and west Wilmington.
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Anyone and everyone has the right to create comments and attend the Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission's meeting scheduled for March 10, 2009 when the Marymount comment period continues to be extended.
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Currently there is no name for the proposed residential development along Gaffey Street, on the site of the former Kinder-Morgan facility.

I talked with a representative of the 134-unit 'patio home' project and wondered if the development company might want to sponsor a development naming contest.

Once upon a time, Jimmy Cochran's mom entered the contest to find the name of a new hotel and golf course project above the corner of Western Avenue and Weymouth.

Mrs. Cochran won $100.00 in the early 1960's by creating the winning entry of The Hacienda Hotel and Golf Course. Back then $100.00 was quite an award for that contest.

Several years ago I heard that the new project on Gaffey would be named "Highland Park" and "Highland Park, San Pedro". I was wrong about that.

The "Highland" refers to the neighborhood that was constructed in about 1962 along Gaffey Street. I remember the name of that huge project was "The Highlands" is my memory is still correct.

When my first wife was young, she moved into a brand new house that was built west of Westmont. We called that smaller development just "Westmont".

I live in the tract of houses that brought the name "Eastview" into the area. Rancho Palos Verdes also includes housing in the Rolling Hills Riviera, Peninsula Verde, Palo de Encino, Strathmore, and Mira Costa Terrace neighborhoods.

I must admit that I still don't know the name of the tract of houses in the area of Crestwood Street School, but it just migh have been named "Crestwood" when it was begun around 1955-1957.

It is also semi-humorous that so many folks who live in Mira Costa Terrace don't know they live in Mira Costa Terrace. Perhaps they have never pondered the lettering on the wall on Caddington where the housing project begins.

The largest single condominium building along Western Avenue houses the "Crestwood Homeowners Association" and there are numerous other condo and apartment projects along Western between Avenida Aprenda and Summerland.

If you look around this blog, you will find the English translations for the Italian "Ponte Vista", including secondary meanings.

Of course, "bridge view" is the primary translation, but "bridge" can also mean where the Captain of a ship commands from.

I offered a tiny bit of humor with that particular post.
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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The RPV Planning Commission has already been shown incontrovertible evidence that the "alternative" campus plan for Marymount College is physically impossible to develop. CCCME has been touting this false option for months now and unfortunatley, misleading the public as to what is actually possible.

Anonymous said...

The RPV Planning Commission has already been shown incontrovertible evidence that the "alternative" campus plan for Marymount College is physically impossible to develop. CCCME has been touting this false option for months now and unfortunatley, misleading the public as to what is actually possible.

M Richards said...

Thanks anonymous 12:01 for your absolutely correct facts on the matter.

Even though I have spent time with members of CCC/ME and worked on many documents with them, it is as if none of them are willing to give any of us any credibility that we know what we are talking about.

It is exactly like talking to a brick wall with too many members of CCC/ME, concerning Palos Verdes North.

That demand what they demand and don't seem willing to accept any other opinions of the Palos Verdes North matters.

Even though I understand their plight and I also oppose on-campus housing at the main campus, I still don't understand why so many well educated individuals don't get it, regarding Palos Verdes North.

Some CCC/ME members repeat that Marymount has dealt with the city of Los Angeles on expansion at Palos Verdes North. But those same folks also don't wish to acknowledge that 'that was then, this is now'

The one thing I offered as a possible option is to have Marymount purchase the land and existing dwelling units now owned by the Volunteers of America. That would allow more students living along Palos Verdes Drive North and it may not entail any dramatic dealings with the city of Los Angeles.

It could also be an option supported by local residents who might rather have college students living near them over folks who are generally considered as 'homeless'.

Neighbors in and around northwest San Pedro sure put up one heck of a fight to keep 'homeless' families from living on the VOA land that is now part of Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

What might NIMBYS object more to, college students or 'homeless' families?

What might Northwest S.P.N.C. and the closest Harbor City N.C. support?
MW

Anonymous said...

why are we even still talking about ponte vista? Every street in san pedro has places to buy or rent, including businesses. who is goimg to buy them?

Anonymous said...

I would like to offer a few clarifying comments regarding CCC/ME and the ongoing Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission process that is discussed by M. Richard currently.

One concern regarding comments now is that the process in RPV is entering its final phase.

There are two comments to this latest article that mistakenly state that "The RPV Planning Commission has already been shown incontrovertable evidence that the 'alternative' campus plan for Marymount College is physically impossible to develop. CCC/ME has been touting this false option for months now and unfortunately, misleading the public as to what is actually possible."

I am not certain as to what the writer refers to regarding "incontrovertible evidence", but it is Marymount College that has submitted a statement by their Project Manager Michael Laughlin on August 27, 2007 to RPV that states their site at Palos Verdes Drive North has the potential for construction of more than 1.4 million square feet of facilities. That is about seven times the TOTAL facilities requested by the Marymount Expansion Project at its conclusion (210,000 square feet).

It is Marymount College that has submitted to the City (August 27, 2007) of RPV a Parcel Plan and outline containing 15.7 acres (lot PT -H) adjacent to the present Rolling Hills Preparatopry School (RHP), that is published by the LA City Planning Department.

In the most recent Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), that document, not CCC/ME, states that (Section 7.3) the 'alternative' Living Campus/Academic Campus Alternative is Superior to the Project itself.

Included in the documentation presented by Marymount College for the Acquisition of Surplus Property and submitted to the U S Department of Education, was an Environmental assessment that covered 130 housing units and 18 acres of surplus land that evaluated new construction proposed at PV North by Marymount College. That document concluded that there were no significant environmental impacts for the transfer to Marymount College of these living units and new construction.

It is unfair and erroneous to state that CCC/ME has made false and misleading statements regarding the feasibility of the 'alternative'. Any such allegations must properly be directed to Marymount College and to the authors of the EIR.

Such Alternative was first proposed by CCC/ME in 2002, and because it was judged to be "feasible", contrary to Marymount College's allegations to the contrary, the authors of the EIR determined that it was a "feasible" alternative and subsequently concluded in the FEIR that it was Superior to the Project iself (including new dorms at PV Drive East in RPV).

What has so far not been mentioned is the fact that RHP has no gymnasium on their site and that to have one built there would be a joint use and joint benefit project for both RHP and Marymount College.

Nothing in the above comments is intended to deny traffic impacts that may occur at PV North and adjacent intersections. However, to a large degree, such traffic has already been factored into the Environmental assessment based on the fact that there were already on site Military housing units at that location. Further, the construction of athletic facilities on a joint-use basis with RHP also has the potential effect of lowering traffic densities during peak periods because a number of those 1,561 projected increased trips with that facility at PV Drive East at the RPV campus, would not take place.

Overall, however, CCC/ME should not be faulted for simply stating the consclusions reached in the current EIR documentation, nor should CCC/ME be accused of spreading misleading information in this regard. That organization has simply been attempting to find a reasonable accomodation for a project that was initially proposed by the College, in many respects, to build new facilities at the PV Drive North site. The College has provided evidence that they have ample room (15.71 acres) on a site next to RHP which also needs a new Athletic Facility that could be jointly constructed and effectively utilized with great savings to both institutions.

For the record, the RPV Planning Commission (PC) has already indicated in a late 2008 meeting, at the request of the College, in a "straw vote" that the proposed Residence Halls at the PV Drive East site would not be supported.

The necessary and applicable Planning Staff recommendations have also shown that the affirmative "Findings" necessary for approval by the PC for these residence halls cannot be made, thereby realistically eliminating them from future approval.

So these are the facts on the record. Although CCC/ME may at this time be reluctant to make public statements regarding this ongoing process out of reasonable concern for inadvertently upsetting that process, I believe the record to date does stand on its own.

Jim Gordon

310-541-7336

M Richards said...

Thank you, Mr. Gordon

You and I have worked together on some of the problems faced with by Marymount wishing to do what many in OUR community believe is unrealistic.

I apologize if any misrepresentation of CCC/ME has occured.

This particular blog has dealt and continues to deal with one specific proposed site and that site's development and the effects of too great of population density would have on the immediate and surrounding areas.

Whether anyone or everyone has found or believes that the Living Campus/Academic Campus Alternative, I have to continue to suggest they would find a great deal of opposition within the northwest San Pedro, eastern Rancho Palos Verdes, southeast Lomita, south Harbor City and other locations.

To request, demand, lobby, attempt, and argue for any increases in the number of students currently residing at Palos Verdes North and the addition of athletic facilities, including a large gym, is not in the best interest of thousands of residents surrounding Palos Verdes North, in my and many others opinions.

I do understand that CCC/ME members do not wish to have residential halls on Marymounts' main campus, and I share that same opinion.

However in terms of numbers of folks supporting the Living Campus/Academic Campus Alternative, they are remarkably small in numbers that we would all see for folks opposed to any thing done to provide more housing and basically, an entire Athletic Department for Marymount, placed at Palos Verdes North.

If Rolling Hills Prep wishes to have more athletic facilities on land it owns, then that is quite fine with me and they would have the opportunity to build facilities and allow Marymount students the chance to use those facilities.

The folks who wished the main campus of Marymount College to be where it is currently located was not the responsibility of residents in three areas now being used by Marymount;
Their main campus, Palos Verdes North, and Pacific Heights
It is not the communities' responsibility to be subjected to Marymount's wishes if those communities and their residents oppose Marymount's plans in great numbers.

Representive of Marymount may not have calculated future problems when it took over the site it currently sits on, and that is none of our faults.

We should not be in the position of attempting to guarantee the success of Marymount College by being imposed upon by many factors detremental to our daily lives.

If Marymount College can't succeed with what they have currently, it is not our fault, responsibility, or real concern, I believe.

They made their bed and they either need to live in it or move somewhere else that is more suited for on campus housing any/or larger off-campus residential sites.
MW

Anonymous said...

MW

I believe that, based on the above commentary and reviews of the present circumstance regarding Marymount College and its Expansion Project, we are in violent agreement. I particularly appreciate your statement that "We should not get in the position of attempting to guarantee the success of Marymount College by being imposed upon by many factors detremental to our daily lives." That is the very essence of the problem we also face. e.g. "If Marymount College can't succeed with what they have currently, it is not our fault, etc." (We do, of course, and have from the inception of this Project in 2000, supported appropriate modernization of existing facilities at the PV Drive East campus).

Jim Gordon

310-541-7336

marry said...

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!
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