Friday, March 13, 2009

Odds and Ends 108

According to the new developer Mr. Ted Fentin, they will be appearing before the Planning Commission with a unit count of between 1,375 and 1,475.

If that is all you need to know to make up your mind about the project, thanks a lot. Have a nice day. See you later. Bye.

The Open House.

Lots of people came which increased traffic along Western Avenue during some of the busiest hours for traffic.

I was quite impressed with what I saw until the very end when a truth was revealed.

On March 28, 2009, at the Port of Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club in San Pedro, and between the hours of 1-4 PM, there will be another Open House dealing with the land use concept of the site.

According to folks representing Ponte Vista, a concept will be presented, based on input from folks who were interviewed by Mr. Jim Oswald and members of the public who attended the Open House, and others.

The concept may propose the exact number of units that will be discussed at the April 9 meeting of the city of Los Angeles Planning Commission.

What will probably NOT be proposed is the population density, number of bedrooms, number of residents' vehicles, and some other important information I feel we all need to know.

Ms. Elise Swanson repeated to me and others that we should fill out comment cards and place them at stations so they can be reviewed between now and March 28.

How much weight those comment cards will have is a matter of whether you trust the 'new' regime or not.

I went into the Open House and stayed through almost ALL of my time there trying to believe that everything was new. Unfortunately, I can only wish I could have written that it was.

The Good.

Actually, I found lots of things I considered to be good about the Open House and Mr. Fentin's interest in answering every question I had.

I am very grateful that the Ponte Vista folks have abandoned their claim that the project would be built as part of the "Smart Growth" concepts. I and other have been claiming for years that Ponte Vista at San Pedro has no business claiming to be part of the "Smart Growth" agenda and I am glad we finally got through to them about their former fantasy.

I enjoyed reading both the the positive contentions folks have that the warts the Ponte Vista folks were willing to reveal on the large information panels.

It does appear that things are now 'different' as far as appearances go.

It is also good to hear the acknowledgement that Bob's plans were far to much for this community.

I was very happy to see the publishing of the dwelling density of The Gardens. At that site, there are 1,100 units on 80 acres, with a dwelling density of 13.5 units per acre.

It allowed folks attending the Open House to figure if Ponte Vista is built with the same dwelling density as the Gardens, 831 units would be equivalent at Ponte Vista.

Why shouldn't Ponte Vista be built with the same unit density as The Gardens?

The interaction between all the people attending the Open House was wonderful and remarkable.

As I have been commenting lately, there really should be no "Supporters" and "Opponents" right now and OUR community came out and demonstrated we all could share ideas in friendship. I saw more smiles than frowns from the members of OUR community.

Mr. Fentin commented that IF the project were approved of with at least 1,375 units included, he would honor the Project Labor Agreements that have been made for union members to work on the site.

Mr. Fentin provided information about the 'new' financial arrangements he has been using.

Mr. Fentin is head of the new Ponte Vista Partners LLC, which is the 'new' group that replaced BDC Ponte Vista Partners LLC.

Mr. Fentin manages the equity fund that has been around for years to deal with financial matters regarding Ponte Vista.

In writing on a board was the following: "DLJ will NOT pursue any type or form of density bonus." That means no low-income or inclusionary housing is being currently considered.

I think there MAY have been some real two-way communication which is refreshing compared to the dogmatic approach during the The Bob Years.

The Bad.

1,375-1,475 units is still far too many units to be considered.

The boards compared the number of units using a density bonus of between 1,046-1,196, stated there would be NO DENSITY BONUS and then added units to come up with 1,375-1,475.

To be more honest, they should have compared apples to apples. 885 units is the maximum number of units the Planning Department suggested for a project having no density bonus.

It seems to me they should have compared 885 to 1,375-1,475.

For a project having no density bonus, they want 155%-167% of the maximum number of units the Planning Department wants.

Their breakdown of:
625-700 Town Houses
300-450 Senior Condominiums
350-425 Multi-family Condominiums makes for some even fuzzier numbers.

Using the least number of each type, we could have 1,275 units. Adding up the maximum numbers in each category, we could see up to 1,575 units.

I do not agree that the processes should not start over, as the developer contends.

So much has changed since the original (and considered flawed by many) studies were first undertaken.

Even though there is a claim that a new application is not required, there is a claim that the financial backers are different, the applicant is different, and the project falls within between 'No Project' and the applicant's original application.

Many of the representatives talking to folks at the Open House were not representatives of the developer's and I bet I know a whole lot more about the project and issues than they do.

The Ugly.

I was impressed with much of the overall look and feel during most of my visit. But in the end, I had to remind myself that there is still at least one person who is holding onto the old ways and not willing to be able to separate herself from some of the old ways.

I think when anyone representing Ponte Vista continues the pattern used for The Bob Years, it is a real sign that maybe too little has really changed.

At the very end of the meeting I asked whether the number of bedrooms and the projected population of the project would be revealed at the March 28 meeting and I was told that I should fill out a comment form and they will look into it.

Why could I not get a straight answer? Perhaps it is because they will not be willing to provide that vital information before they go to the Planning Commission, when they might not even reveal those numbers to the members of the Planning Commission.

Bob never published the projected numbers of bedrooms and that relates to the possible number of residents of the site, the number of vehicles, and the real congestion issues that may come about.

During my questioning, the person seemed peeved at me and tried to suggest that everything is different now.

This individual was very dogmatic when she related what would be at Ponte Vista during The Bob Years and stated her opinion that I/we should not deal with The Bob Years.

Nowhere has there been any atonement from this individual about her being the spokesperson for such a bad former project and her steadfast support to a developer who divided OUR community.

I can't trust that there really is a whole new development and team as long as she and folks like Steve Afriat and so many others that were connected during The Bob Years are still left around.

Only one individual is gone, but his subordinates are still around, claiming things in basically the same manner and form as before.

I also have some issues with there not being a density bonus applied when DLJ wants to build 279-392 MORE units than a density bonus would allow, according to Planning Department guidelines.

It seems DLJ doesn't want inclusionary housing residents close to residents of Million Dollar Town Houses. I don't blame them for that, but then they really should not have added units, don't you think.

As long as all but one of the old team is still on board, I don't think our trust has been sufficiently earned.

Mr. Fentin is a welcome difference as a developer compared to Bob, but is one person enough to wipe away all the foulness that went on for too many years?

The last of my comments on the Open House.

It is difficult to understand why Lt. Col Ramer, the Commander of the Defence Fuel Support Depot was not interviewed by Mr. Oswald.

Lt. Col Ramer is a powerful voice for what cannot be done, concerning a road to Gaffey and he should have been included as such a strong and long neighbor of the Ponte Vista site.

Even the minimum number of units Mr. Fentin is willing to go to the Planning Commission with is still far too many.

This may be a make it or break it issue. If the applicant can't get approval for at least 1,375 units, they may fold up their tent and head out of town.

Is that such a bad thing?

If there is not going to be R1 for the site, then 885 units should probably me the absolute maximum number of units on the site, unless they build equivalent to The Gardens, with 831 units.

The race continues between the Marymount College Facilities Expansion project approval processes and the Ponte Vista at San Pedro approval processes.

Marymount's public hearing with the city of Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission keeps getting continues, but there may be a public hearing on March 31 that will not have a vote by Commissioners, to move the process along.

Since DLJ is pushing ahead for the April 9 hearing with the city of Los Angeles Planning Commission, Ponte Vista has moved slightly into the lead.

It does not look likely that Marymount is going to receive approval to build on-campus student housing.

There backup plan is to expand facilities at it Palos Verdes North off-campus housing facilities on Palos Verdes Drive North.

The winner of the battle of the projects will, most likely, kill the plan or Alternative of the other project.

Whichever project wins, the drivers and passengers using Western Avenue will lose.


Anonymous said...

1,375 to 1475 is too high when the property is currently zoned R-1.

I think community advocate, Mr. Dan Dixon, and former CAC member summed it up the best in the Daily Breeze article.

“Dan Dixon, president of the Northwest Neighborhood Council, said he was impressed with the retooled display, but still believes the plan needs to have a new environmental impact study done before it moves forward.”

I concur that a new environmental impact report is needed and wish Ms. Hahn would spearhead this report.

M Richards said...

Thanks anonymous 2:28.

Your wisdom and intelligence is demonstrated by your comments.

I would hope that we all write to Ms. Gail Goldberg, the head of the Department of City Planning and demant a new environmental impact report and not simple hope that Ms. Hahn will spearhead everything on our behalf.

It would be great if Ms. Hahn showed more strength towards demanding a new EIR, but since she won in a landslide, she doesn't risk much in holding back a bit.

Anonymous said...

It appears Ms. Hahn has been hiding behind the CAC, Harbor Area Planning Commission and now the City Planning Commission. She needs to spearhead and demand a new EIR for Ponte Vista because it's the right thing to do for her constituents. Ms. Hahn should be reminded that she is the legislator for her district and Ms. Gail Goldberg needs direction from Ms. Hahn.