Sunday, April 26, 2009


DURANT, OK- It's one of Texoma's biggest attractions and today more than 200 people gathered to talk about future plans for Lake Texoma. City and state leaders from both sides of the red river say they'll work together to find the best way to develop it and our economy. Rita Kotey has the story.

"A success in Denison, Texas is also a success in Madill, Oklahoma as we share this asset of Lake Texoma.”

Jared Johnson a Denison city council member joined other city leaders from all over Texoma to talk about what they feel is Texoma's most important resource, the lake.

"Its good to have all the stake holders together talking about development because I think when the lake does develop it needs to be developed right and communication is key to make that happen, " said Scott Fisher.

Scott Fisher with the Pointe Vista Development says he was glad to get the opportunity to share with Texans his ideas about how Pointe Vista can benefit them.

"Oklahoma at this time does not have this kind of resort development it’s important for our state but it’s also important for south Oklahoma and north Texas. I think the timing will be right when Texoma develops I think we will be positioned right in the market and it definitely has the right demographic location between Oklahoma City,” Fisher said.

Developer George Schuler also made a presentation today about how the 2,500 acre Schuler Development will benefit Texoma, bringing visitors to the lake as well as jobs to the area, and money to the economy.

"We think we are bringing a unique product to the area we are working a joint venture with the city on developing that part of the city of Denison," Schuler said.

"Anytime we can get together collaborate with one another try to get on the same page, we are not always going to agree on everything but at the end of the day if our visions the same then we are moving forward," Johnson said. 



Thu June 19, 2008
Lake Texoma land deal OK'd for upscale resort

By Julie Bisbee
Staff Writer
MADILL  Private developers have control of 90 acres of state park land near Lake Texoma and want to purchase about 900 acres of land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The state Tourism Commission on Wednesday approved the sale of property to Pointe Vista Development. The move finalizes a land sale pending for nearly two years.

Pointe Vista plans to demolish the state park lodge and golf course as part of a $750 million plan to build an upscale resort and lakeside living complex.

The lodge has been closed since December 2006.

What are their plans?
The local economy and concessionaires that once relied on visitors struggled to stay afloat the past year.

Commission members waited to approve the sale of land to the developers, who plan to build a conference center, hotel and private residences, until Pointe Vista had reached an agreement with the three concessionaries who operated businesses on state park land.

The final agreement with the owners and operators of Catfish Bay Marina was reached earlier this week, said Scott Fischer of Pointe Vista Development.

The land around Catfish Bay, a popular marina and camping spot, will continue to be public and belong to the state, Fischer said.

Two other parcels of land where the Lake Texoma Fun Park and riding stables were located will now belong to Pointe Vista.

Visitors should see few immediate changes, said Hardy Watkins, Tourism Department executive director.

"There should be no impact through this travel season," Watkins said. "The state park services will not end."

Pointe Vista Development, which includes Aubrey McClendon, chairman and chief executive officer for Chesapeake Energy Corp., and Mark Fischer, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Chaparral Energy, will simply take over the lease at Catfish Bay.

"We're working to make the transition as comfortable as possible," Fischer said. "We plan to carry on the operations in the same fashion."


March 17, 2009

Friends of Lake Texoma Letter to the Editor 3.17.09

Dear Editor,

The Marshall County TIF review committee met in Kingston last week and heard Pointe Vista officials claim their development could bring in over $531 million in taxes over the next 25 years. But, under the terms of tax increment financing, this money doesn't benefit the whole county it stays within the development area to pay for their infrastructure costs. And, if they go bankrupt, it won't bring in a dime.

The Friends of Lake Texoma State Park (FLTSP) oppose corporate welfare for Pointe Vista's park conversion, because they haven't received approvals by the National Park Service (NPS), or the Corps of Engineers Environmental Branch for taking away our public recreation land. (As this paper pointed out in February, NPS’ Bob Anderson said, "We do not have an approved conversion. No conversion request has been submitted to us.")

We believe Pointe Vista's efforts to gain public funding prove they don't have the money to build, or, they aren't willing to risk their own money, in the event it fails. If they aren't willing to risk it, why should Marshall County?

When asked by one reporter at TIF meeting if Pointe Vista's presentation materials would be made available to her, at first they refused. When she persisted, they agreed to provide them. However, there is a serious problem with what they provided. It's not all there. They omitted something.

They left out an important map which incorrectly represented Pointe Vista project boundaries. That map included Area A The Chickasaw Pointe Golf Course, etc. (north of US 70), and Area B - Lake Texoma State Park (south of US 70). However, they also deceptively included Area C, the 1,000 acres of federal land which they do not own, and may never own.

We have been accused of standing in the way of progress, and delaying this project. The truth is, the state Tourism Department and Pointe Vista officials have mislead the public by failing to discuss the estimated 18 to 24 months required for the Corp of Engineers to complete their Environmental Impact Study (EIS) on Area C. It will also include a critical economic impact component which the TIF committee should review before doing anything else.

The Land Office Commissioners have the oversight authority and legal obligation to protect our state lands. They were in error when they sold the Park without assuring the state's compliance with the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act. They can void the land sale contracts with Pointe Vista, and take back the entire park, based on the developer's inexperience and deceptiveness.

Boyd Steele, President
Friends of Lake Texoma State Park



Just thought you might like a little light reading.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Odds and Ends 114

It's been fairly quiet this week on the Western Front.

It seems Mr. Ted Fentin, the Developer has been in N.Y.C. for meetings.

Mr. David Olivo the planner with the Los Angeles City Planning Department is waiting on items to come to him from the Development Team so the next phases of the EIR can begin.
_____________________________________________ has a new post you may want to read. It is the Development's Blog.

Many of us are reeling over the news that Union War Surplus may close. Most of us could not care less that the Starbuck's at Centre Streets Lofts will also become history.

For all the folks who really believe change is good may want to rethink things a bit.

Change occurs. 

Maybe we need to consider 'Workforce Housing' at Ponte Vista more. Is that type of housing only going to be marketed for the 143 units that will be priced to be the lowest at the project?

Or is it housing in the 'Multi-family condos" being considered? Should the Developer market any Senior Housing as 'Workforce Housing'?

I do fee everyone who has an opinion about Ponte Vista should call or write to the Outreach Team with their views.
____________________________________________ has my recent post about the 2010 Census. I have been hired as a replacement Quality Control Enumerator. I received the training but I may or may not actually do any more work as an Enumerator.

There are opportunities for work with the U.S. Census continuing until about September, 2010.

Will the work closing one southbound lane along Western near Avenida Aprenda ever be finished?

Maybe we are being trained to accept whatever the Sanitation District has in mind with their new Outfall System ideas.

Just kidding perhaps.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Odds and Ends 113

This week I haven't learned anything new directly relating to Ponte Vista at San Pedro but some new items indirectly relating to the project continue to move forward.

The Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission has rejected the proposal to have on-campus residence halls built at Marymount College.

The Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project includes plans to build on-campus housing for 250-students and five staff members. That portion of the Project was voted against at last Tuesday's R.P.V. Planning Commission meeting.

Commissioner Jeffrey Lewis and members of the main opposition group to the College's expansion project favor redeveloping the off-campus housing site along Palos Verdes Drive North.

Marymount owns and maintains Palos Verdes North, a site along Palos Verdes Drive North between Western Avenue and Five-Points. Currently there are about 300 students and staff members living in the 86 housing units at the site.

The Commissioner and the opposition group favor the Project Alternative called the "Living Campus/Academic Campus Alternative."

That Alternative would have all student housing at the Palos Verdes North facility along with almost all of the College's athletic facilities and programs.

The Planning Commission did adopt a plan for an athletic field on the College's Palos Verdes Drive East campus site, but that adoption isn't sitting well with Project supporters.

In the College's "Preferred Project" there would have been 624.4 additional vehicle trips along Western Avenue between Trudie Drive and Palos Verdes Drive North. This fact has not been taken into account by Ponte Vista planners and Ponte Vista has been basically ignored by Marymount planners.

It is expected that the R.P.V. Planning Commission will forward all of their recommendations to the R.P.V. City Council by late June, 2009.

I think that no matter what you may feel about Ponte Vista at San Pedro, you have the right and ability to make your feelings know to the R.P.V. Planning Commission and City Council no matter where you live.

The following is from an article published in Citywatch L.A. and authored by Mr. Doug Epperhart:

Planners Put Ponte Vista on a Diet
By Doug Epperhart

“Does this development make me look fat?”

That’s the big question Harbor area residents have been asking about the proposed Ponte Vista project. On April 9, the planning commission’s answer was, “Well, yes, it does. But, with the help of city planners, you can slim down in no time.”

“No time” being the 120 days commissioners gave developer DLJ Capital Partners, planning staff, and the community to forge a compromise.

Here’s the story in a nutshell: Developer Bob Bisno buys 60-acre site zoned R1 (single-family homes) in San Pedro; developer proposes 2,300 condos—too big, too much traffic; neighborhood councils oppose project; Councilwoman Janice Hahn forms advisory committee; community activists form RNeighborhoodsAre1 anti-Ponte Vista coalition; developer downsizes to 1,950 units—still too big, still too much traffic; Hahn advisors endorse R1 zoning; planning department recommends much smaller project (775-886 units); Bisno ousted by lender Credit Suisse First Boston; new project lead DLJ Capital Partners proposes 1,395 units, promises no density bonus; and then we all go before the city planning commission last week.

The developer presented its current plan for 1,395 townhomes and condos and asked for time to work out a compromise. Planning staff offered its recommendation for a smaller project which allows nearly 1,200 units if a density bonus is used.

Project proponents were mostly union personnel and members promoting the need for construction jobs and area chamber of commerce executives touting the benefits for business owners.

Project opponents included the adjacent cities of Rancho Palos Verdes and Lomita, homeowner groups, and the Northwest San Pedro, Harbor City, and Coastal San Pedro neighborhood councils. They cited inadequate environmental work, the project’s noncompliance with the community plan, and, of course, traffic.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn called for a new traffic study, fewer units, and voiced concern about the density bonus allowed under state law (SB 1818).

Ponte Vista’s developer has said no density bonus will be used and they are willing to sign a legal agreement to that effect. However, the assistant city attorney advising planning said “there’s too much uncertainty” whether such a contract would be legally enforceable. In other words, it’s a “trust me” situation in which the community could be left holding the bag.

The other elephant in the room is the traffic Ponte Vista will generate and whether it can be mitigated. The unique geography of the area means the site is essentially an “island on the land” where there’s only one way in and out. Even at R1 density, the project will result in thousands of additional car trips on Western Avenue, an already crowded thoroughfare. Commissioners made clear they want a new traffic study that takes into account the special circumstances in the area.

Commission chair William Roschen also told the developer, “Do not use senior housing for traffic mitigation.” Ponte Vista’s claim that residents 55 and over would generate far fewer car trips has been a bone of contention.

Commissioner Michael Woo objected to the portion of the project that would be closed to the public. “Gated communities are an antisocial act,” he said, pointing out he couldn’t ever recall voting to support a gated project.

Referring to what the new vision for Ponte Vista might be, one planning official said, “The ball’s in their court.” In other words, the department is in a holding pattern until the developer submits a new proposal.

So far, planning staff has done a good job of understanding the community’s stake in this project and responded by doing “real planning” according to city policy. If they can keep Ponte Vista on a diet, we’ll all be benefit.

(Doug Epperhart is a publisher, member of the Coastal San Pedro NC board and is a contributor to CityWatch. He can be reached at

CityWatchVol 7 Issue 31Pub: Apr 17, 2009

Here is another article dealing with that pesky SB 1818 Density Bonus issue:

Judge Invalidates Controversial Densification Bill; Citizens Win another Court Battle with City
Report provided by EAHCLA

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has ruled that the City of Los Angeles acted illegally when it approved a controversial “densification” ordinance without first conducting environmental review of the potential impacts of the ordinance. The coalition of community groups that brought the challenge hailed the ruling as an opportunity for the City to redraft the ordinance to advance the twin goals of affordable housing and environmental protection.

A state law (S.B. 1818) mandates that cities allow density bonuses to developers proposing to build a percentage of affordable units at a proposed development. The Los Angeles ordinance that was the subject of the lawsuit, filed by the Environment and Housing coalition Los Angeles (EAHCLA) in April of 2008, went far beyond the state mandate, in some cases allowing up to 300% of the bonus required by state law. EAHCLA’s lawsuit claimed that, because the City went beyond the requirements of state law, the City first had to study the environmental impact of the ordinance. The Court agreed, holding that those sections of the ordinance that go beyond State law are invalid. The Order issued on Monday by Superior Court Judge Thomas I. McKnew, Jr. prohibits the City from processing applications for density bonuses or incentives that exceed State mandates, and also invalidates approvals that already have been granted based on the ordinance.

“We are very pleased with the Court’s decision” said EACHLA spokesman Rob Glushon. “The judge clearly recognized that while the City had to do something to implement the state law, the City went about implementing the law in the wrong way, by approving a deeply flawed ordinance and illegally refusing to first consider the environmental effects of its approval. We now hope to work with the City in redrafting the ordinance so that both the environment and affordable housing are protected.”

The Santa Monica firm of Chatten-Brown & Carstens litigated the case. Doug Carstens, a partner at the firm, was pleased with the ruling. “The Court clearly understood that the City, by going well beyond the requirements of state law, incurred an obligation to first study what the environmental impacts of the ordinance would be. Not only were existing communities being adversely impacted by inappropriately dense development, but affordable housing has been lost as developers tear down apartments to build condominiums. This decision affords the City a great opportunity to correct the mistakes made the first time around, to implement a policy of no net loss of affordable housing, and to advance state policy on affordable housing in an environmentally sensitive manner.”

EAHCLA is a coalition comprised of a wide range of residential and homeowner associations, civic organizations, and concerned individuals.

The case is Superior Court Case Number BS114338.

From Thursday April 16, 2009.

R Neighborhoods Are 1 is not part of the lawsuit mentioned in the article above. It continues to be a party in the La Brea Coalition lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles regarding the city's General Plan.

R Neighborhoods Are 1 has retained a lawyer from the same law firm identified in the Citywatch article above.

If you have been fortunate not to have been bothered by lane closures along Western Avenue between Dodson Avenue and 9th Street, congratulations.

Folks dealing with the lane closure now on the east side of that portion of what was and still may be the longest 'Avenue' on the planet have been watching an underground conduit and guardrail placement happening.

It appears that the west side of that portion of Western Avenue will get the same treatment.

I can't say yet whether sidewalks will be constructed after the guardrails are placed.

(When the longest portion of Western Avenue was completed it formed a continuous stretch of 'Avenue' from Paseo Del Mar on the south to Los Feliz on the north, just at the border of Griffith Park. There is also a section of "Western Avenue" on the north side of Griffith Park extending into the eastern portion of the San Fernando Valley.)

The Census is coming, the Census is coming!

You may have been contacted by 'Production Enumerators' or 'Quality Control Listers' who are attempting to find all living quarters in the United States.

They (we) won't be asking you how many folks live in living quarters or who they are right now. We (they) will just want to know where all places where folks do or could live are located.

For the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site, it can be included in the current gathering of the Address List because while the dwelling units are vacant and boarded up, those units could potentially be used for living quarters by the time the actual 2010 Census is conducted.

If you find an 'Enumerator' or 'Lister' knocking on your door or standing near your living quarters, please be kind. They (we) are just trying to make sure we get the most accurate information and locations we can to provide the best Census information possible.

Remember, the U.S. Census is included in the U.S. Constitution. It began in 1790 and it must be completed and placed on the desk of the President of the United States by the end of December 31, 2010.

If you happen to hear loud noises coming from the Long Beach area this weekend, the races are in that area and you are hearing race car engines.

'Back in the day' many of us heard the roar of dragster engines coming from the old Lions Drag Strip or the drag strip that was on Terminal Island for a slight spell.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Senior Housing Article and A Bit About Lowest Pricing

This small article comes from the AARP Bulletin for April 2009.

Age-Restricted Housing Becomes Ageless

The market for age-restricted housing has gone bust as the economic downturn prompts many boomers, unable to sell their homes, to age in place instead.

In New Jersey, "it is much more difficult to find construction financing, and many banks are saying they will not lend at all" for such projects, says Jeffrey Otteau, president of the Otteau Valuation Group.

Meanwhile, sales of new homes have lagged so badly that many developers have asked to lift the age restrictions-typically requiring residents to be 55-plus that had imposed. Local officials have often granted the requests, rather than have near-vacant complexes.

It's and "issue that's going on across the country," says Jennifer Raitt, chairwoman of the housing and community development division of the American Planning Association. "For the last 10 years, there has been a huge influx of age-restricted housing built, or perhaps overbuilt.

Much of it is in the South, Midwest, and Southwest, where the National Association of Home Builders says not much is being built now. In at least two states outside those regions that joined the boom late, New Jersey and Massachusetts, some towns have lifted age restrictions.

Kenneth J. Cooper
There MAY really be a strong desire among a number of San Pedrans for Senior Housing. There hasn't been any scientific study to determine if there is a true need or how many folks in OUR community would be very interested in moving into Senior Housing of the type considered by the Ponte Vista Development team.

Would Senior Housing be financially viable for developers to seek approval for in the coming year or two?

The economy will turn around and I don't thing anyone can currently say how many of the potential 380 Senior Housing units at Ponte Vista would find quick buyers.

In trying to determine the possible prices for the least expensive units at Ponte Vista, I begin with what the Attorney stated.

At the Planning Commission meeting, Mr. Allen Abshez, representing the Applicant stated that 20% of the Senior Housing Units and Multi-family Units set aside as least priced would be for buyers who earned 180% of the Area Median Income.

According to County statistics, the Area Median Income for the Wilmington Community Plan Area is about $41,000 per year. This figure is used because Ponte Vista is located in the Wilmington/Harbor City Community Plan Area and not in San Pedro's.

The San Pedro Community Plan Area has an Area Median Income that is somewhat higher.

So, using 180% of the A.M.I. of $41,000, the minimum yearly requirement to purchase one of the 153-least priced units at Ponte Vista would be about $73,800.

That yearly income is $6,150 per month.

If one allows for 33% of monthly income to go to house payments and property taxes, those would total about $2,029.5 per month.

In 2009 and beyond, how much 'home' will $2030 per month, not counting HOA fees buy?

Right now some folks are telling me that it would actually take two incomes combined totaling about $90,000 per year to get into one of the proposed 153 units, if they are actually built.

I hope in the new spirit of revelations by the Development Team, we all get to learn about pricing, number of bedrooms, and probable population during the recirculation of the EIR.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Odds and Ends 112

To begin with, here is the statement from the Ponte Vista Outreach Team from their site:

Planning Commission Affirms Desire to Move Ponte Vista Forward

Apr 9th, 2009

This morning, following presentations from the Planning Department staff and Ponte Vista team, along with passionate public testimony, the Los Angeles Citywide Planning Commission directed the department staff to work with Ponte Vista to further analyze the department’s report and Ponte Vista’s revised Land Use Concept.

Ponte Vista is pleased by the Planning Commission’s decision, which not only recognizes the need for senior and workforce housing that is environmentally-sensitive, but also acknowledges the diligent efforts Ponte Vista has made to respond to the Planning Department’s staff report and the community feedback gathered in February and March, 2009.

Ponte Vista looks forward to working with the Planning Department and the community in the coming months to develop a plan that the Planning Commission can review at its meeting in mid-August.

Thank you to all of the many supporters who traveled downtown to show your enthusiasm for Ponte Vista, and to those of you who testified from San Pedro.

As the process continues, we are committed to being responsive to community concerns regarding traffic and density, while at the same time continuing to provide senior housing and homes for young professionals, first-time home buyers and working families.

I think it deserves repeating that there were some points made by the majority of Planning Commission members that can benefit OUR community whether one supports the current plans or not.

There is an interest in having some Senior Housing at Ponte Vista.
There was nothing basically mentioned about having the current zoning remaining at the site.
The creation of jobs was spoken about by just about every member of the Planning Commission.
Traffic continues to be the elephant in the living room.
The concept of having different housing types seemed favorable to the members.
There really was no discussion on the number of units for each type of housing.
The EIR needs to be recirculated with the new Proposed Project, the Planning Department's take, and the "No Project" Alternative which must be retained for legal purposes.

R Neighborhoods Are 1 representatives have already begun attempts to work with all groups in helping to create the best results for OUR community.

Very preliminary outreach attempts have been offered to work with everyone in a positive manner to get all the required studies done as completely as possible.

Offers have been sent out to assist in finding ways to get everything done as soon as feasible, too.

It would be a good idea to attempt to have the recirculation of the EIR completed within the time frame between now and the date for the project report so the plans can more forward with reasonable speed.

Even though so many of us may be weary of all the things that still must be done, we now have the real chance to get everything finished correctly.

I hope Mr. Fentin and the Outreach Team are as responsive as they have claimed they would be to all offers for assistance.

Maybe by the time the project receives the best entitlements, the economy will be sound enough for folks to really shop for a home at Ponte Vista they can afford and want.

All is not rosy though. There are still many hurdles to get over.

The traffic issues will not go away.

The realities of a density bonus must be thoroughly studied and dealt with.

Getting beyond the Planning Department's opposition for Senior Housing will continue.

The real numbers for the number of bedrooms, probable number of vehicles, realistic study results, prices and costs, and other things need to be known before entitlements are granted.

Can all of this get done in a timely manner? I hope so.

The auction ended for the original sale of the property on March 7, 2005. I think over four years of dealing with Ponte Vista at San Pedro is a long time.

But if OUR community is going to have to deal with whatever is built on the site for generations to come, perhaps five or six years of initial involvement will allow OUR community to have the best results possible.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Planning Commission Meeting Results

The Los Angeles City Planning Commission unanimously approved the recommendations by the Planning Department.

It also appears that many Planning Commission members support senior housing at Ponte Vista at San Pedro, when all is said and done.

The votes by the Planning Commission members reflected only their disapproval of the application, vesting tentative tract map, and other plans that were applied for.

The Planning Department is still in a great position to assist the developers of Ponte Vista and members of OUR community to provide the best results for the project.

A new EIR will be circulated if the current development team remains interested in the site.

The new EIR will probably focus on only three options:

The Proposed Project will probably be for 1,395 housing units as described by the development team.

The Planning Department's guidelines for a site having between 775-886 units, both with or without a density bonus.

The legal Alternative of "No Project" which means that the property remain with its current zoning.

The motion that provided for the acceptance of the Planning Department's recommendations included a 120-day period before the Planning Department, the developer, and others provide the Planning Commission members with a "progress report".

It could come to pass that all the studies and circulation of the new EIR will be finished before August 13 and that might help speed up the processes.

Expect to see lots of changes of attitudes and activities in the coming weeks and months.

It is basically a 'Start Over' but not really. We all have in place folks who are determined to work together to help develop Ponte Vista at San Pedro from a new Application and EIR, to the Entitlements.

The Planning Commissioners gave the Planning Department their 'marching orders' to work with the development team and the community to come up with a project that best fits what the majority of folks want to see.

Even though the Planning Department guidelines carry their issues regarding senior housing on the site, the members of the Planning Commission can overrule them and allow that type of housing.

There are still a fairly good number of folks, including me, who would not object to having some senior housing at Ponte Vista.

Commissioner Michael Woo was the only member who stated he did not like the idea of a gated portion of a project. He is only one vote though.

According to the Deputy Director of the Planning Department, he stated that his Department will stick fairly solidly behind their guidelines.

The work OUR community needs to do is to WORK TOGETHER to find the best project that we all can live with.

I am feeling warm fuzzies that we can work together for OUR community.

The average number of units between what the Developer wants (1,395) and what is at the upper end of the Planning Department's guidelines for a non-density bonus project (886) is 1,140 units.

Now about the density bonus issue.

According to a Deputy City Attorney, even though the developer now claims he will not seek a density bonus while he owns the property and he would carry that over to whoever buys the property, should he decide to sell it before building, the opinion is that the density bonus law will not allow that.

SB1818 is one issue that will need to be looked into further. It appears that the developer may not be able to give up a right to not have a density bonus.

If a density bonus is applied to the 1,395-unit proposal, that would allow for 1,883-units at Ponte Vista is 1,395 would be initially granted.

The Developer is proposing to set aside 20% of the senior housing and 20% of the Multi-family housing for "restricted to prices affordable to workforce housing" families.

In our area, the Area Median Income is approximately $41,000 per year.

The developer's workforce families housing would be priced to be so that someone making 180% of the Area Median Income would qualify to buy the least expensive unit.

180% of $41,000 per year is $73,800 per year.

If you currently make almost $74,000 per year, you may qualify for the least expensive unit at Ponte Vista.

76 Senior Housing units of the 380 proposed would fall into that income range.

77 Multi-Family units of the 385 proposed would fall into that income range.

A more subjective post follows this post.

A More Subjective Look at the Planning Commission Meeting

It is now time for me to allow R1 to fade into a wonderful memory.

Had it not been for so many fantastic folks demanding only the best for OUR community, we would be hearing construction equipment starting to build a 2,300+-unit monster in northwest San Pedro.

For R Neighborhoods Are 1, we were, are, and will be together to help create the best Ponte Vista possible.

Many of our members will change their focus and there will still be a number of folks who will continue to demand R1, but I think we can savor a real victory and help restore OUR community.

It is time for me to pull my R1 sticker off the back of my vehicle. It served me well and it demonstrated that there are folks who kept watch for OUR community.

Senior Units at Ponte Vista are not dead yet. Even though the City Planning Department does not want any segregated senior area, there is still a desire by many for that type of housing.

I will continue to defend those who wish for a separate Senior Housing area as I wish to see some built, too.

HOWEVER, there was some very outrageous things that occurred at the meeting that cannot go unwritten.

First, for those of you who want jobs now, where were you in 2005 when jobs could have been created for construction work at Ponte Vista?

Bob Bisno and Ted Fentin have ALWAYS been able to begin construction, hire folks, provide income to the community, and bring revenue into San Pedro had they wanted to.

It is Bob and Ted who have kept construction jobs from the site. It is Bob and Ted who have continued to keep revenue from San Pedro.

It is Bob and Ted who did not begin construction as soon as they could.

How much income has been lost in OUR community because Bob and Ted opted to not begin construction when they could have?

How much has the economy of OUR community suffered because of the jobs Bob and Ted refused to create when they could have?

People who don't understand that Bisno Development Co. LLC, BDC Ponte Vista Partners, LLC, and Ponte Vista Partners, LLC could have already have had units completed at Ponte Vista at San Pedro demonstrate their ignorance whenever they open their mouths.

Jobs should and could have been created, but they aren't yet.

Every single day a construction worker is not working at the Ponte Vista site is a direct result of decisions made by the current development team, now headed by Ted Fentin and formerly led by Bob Bisno.

Not a single person from R Neighborhoods Are 1 has kept one single person from having a job at Ponte Vista. In fact, an R Neighborhoods Are 1 member has allowed someone to take a job they were initially offered!

San Pedro's current Honorary Mayor doesn't seem to understand that he is the Honorary Mayor for ALL the residents of San Pedro and not just union members and proponents of Ponte Vista.

Joe used the words "affordable housing" when talking about Ponte Vista and that is another example of the ignorance of so many folks about the real truths of the project.

Stephanie Mardesich, another long time supporter of whatever may or may not be planned at Ponte Vista chimed in with the fact that San Pedro businesses would be helped by the "huge population" that would live at Ponte Vista.

I guess Ms, Mardesich lives nowhere near Western Avenue.

It is understandable that leaders of Chambers of Commerce endorse projects that may provide revenue to businesses which are members of the Chambers.

But within a five-mile radius of Ponte Vista and still within San Pedro/Los Angeles, there is little revenue generation that will come, no matter how many folks live in Ponte Vista. Factual statistics on file continue to point this out.

One of the fellows wearing a "Start Over" button provided some insight for some of the folks who came in support of Ponte Vista while wearing orange shirts.

The shirts had writing of union laborers. The fellow we spoke to noticed that very few of the individuals wearing the orange shirts had callused hands. Hands of union construction workers do not look like hands of folks who do not work construction jobs.

The "Start Over" fellow opined that many of the orange shirt-wearing individuals were probably not really employed construction workers.

There was also a report that the Outreach Team offered an 'outing' to residents of the Senior high rise building in San Pedro to attend the Planning Commission meeting.

Some of the supporters of the developer's position actually wore real buttons!

Most of the yellow circles viewed in the chambers were simply paper stickers though.

The Outreach Team supplied at least two buses for their folks while a group of us thanked Councilwoman Hahn for providing a bus for anyone and everyone.

The meeting was teleconferenced to the San Pedro City Hall. Only supporters of the developer's current plans spoke.

Jack Weiss, the candidate for City Attorney running against Carmen Trutanich walked through the Chambers trying to hustle votes.

I guess he still doesn't get that when you enter a room filled with members of OUR community, you had better be our own Nuch.

Councilwoman Hahn did the political thing and asked that there be a continuance on any decision by the Planning Commission. Thankfully that did not happen.

From sources I have been told that Janice is very tired of all of this and wants things settled as soon as possible.

As soon as possible may be at least 6-9 months, if the development team doesn't fold up their flying carpet and sail away.

There has been and always will be the distinct possibility that the developer will be granted entitlements that he will then simple sell off and not build anything.

We were very pleased by the reaction of Planning Department members who considered that a new traffic study must be accomplished. All of the members responding about traffic agreed that new studies must be done!

I think proponents of the current plans also came away from the meeting at least pleased about a few things.

There was no outright rejection of the concept of having a development at Ponte Vista that is not R1.

In fact, it appeared very obvious that there is no real support for R1 remaining by Planning Department Commissioners.

They also though Senior Housing and a walkable site were good things.

They all seemed pleased with the LEEDS Certification concept even though it will probably be mandatory by the time the first bulldozer moves earth.

Both sides can claim some victory.

But for R Neighborhoods Are 1 and supporters of a smaller development that the one applied for, it was quite a remarkable victory!

A whole big group of all volunteers, working on less that shoestrings, halted the largest residential development in the city of Los Angeles after Playa Vista.

Now we need to work on something we all can live with. We need to remember the past so nobody attempts to repeat it.

We need to understand that Ted Fentin's 1,395-units may actually be 1,883 units no matter what his current opinion is.

We've said "NO". We meant "NO". We won "NO" to a monstrous over development. It WILL NOT BE BUILT!

An L.A. Times reporter and photographer attended the meeting. There may also have been a sighting of the "Z-Man", David Zanhiser in the Chambers.

It will be interesting to see and read the reactions from so many others.

The Race Gets More Interesting

Which project will provide too many vehicles along Western Avenue first?

The Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project is dealing with adding about 625 vehicles along Western Avenue from Trudie Drive north, each day the College is in session.

The Ponte Vista at San Pedro residential development project will add an unknown number of vehicles each day along the same stretch of Western Avenue.

The Marymount EIR did not take into account Ponte Vista.

The Ponte Vista EIR did not take into account the Marymount project and its added traffic.

The Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission is continuing its hearing on the Marymount issues on April 14. It appears that Commission will have its work done by May 26 or soon thereafter.

The Los Angeles City Planning Commission has sent back to the Planning Department the issues revolving around Ponte Vista. A new EIR with a recirculated Traffic and Transportation Section has been called for.

Will the Ponte Vista studies include the Marymount numbers?

Will the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council take into account the Ponte Vista projections when it votes on the Marymount project?

If both projects are ignored by each other, what does that mean for Western Avenue?

The main opposition group to the Marymount Expansion project continues to feel we need to accept all student housing and the College's athletic facilities along Palos Verdes Drive North.

We haven't heard or read much from folks living in northwest San Pedro and eastern Rancho Palos Verdes about how the added vehicle counts for the Marymount Expansion might affect them.

We haven't heard or read anything from the Ponte Vista development about their take on the Marymount Expansion and its affects on traffic counts for Western Avenue.

Both Planning Departments have been having a dilly of a time with the respective projects.

If the Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project is approved as supported by the College, traffic will be negatively impacted along Western and at 25th and Western in San Pedro.

Even if no on-campus dorms are approved at Marymount, San Pedro drivers will continue to be impacted.

I hope that when the new EIR for Ponte Vista is circulated, there will be opinions and studies dealing with the potential impacts of the Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project accomplished.

Just when you think the meetings will be ending, more seem to pop up.

I'm giving this latest lap to Ponte Vista.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Bus Transportation to the Meeting!

Great! Grand! Glorious!

Councilwoman Janice Hahn is finalizing arrangements for bus transportation to and from the April 9 City Planning Commission Meeting in downtown Los Angeles!

Please call 310-732-4515 to reserve your seat on the bus!

The bus will depart from Peck Park at 7:30 AM on Thursday morning and it is expected to leave downtown L.A. around noon.

Everyone is welcome to take a ride on the bus supplied by the Councilwoman.

However, the Ponte Vista Outreach Team is also providing bus transportation for supporters, according to Outreach Team Member, Ernesto.

Please call 310-241-0699 for information about how to hitch a ride downtown on the Ponte Vista bus.

Thanks to both Councilwoman Hahn and the Outreach Team for their efforts at providing more of us the opportunity to attend the meeting so far from OUR community.

Below is Agenda Item #4 for Thursday's meeting.

Los Angeles City Planning Commission Agenda

8:30 A.M.

Item 4

CPC-2006-8043-GPA-ZC-SP-DACEQA: ENV-2005-4516-EIRPlan: Wilmington-Harbor City Related Case: VTT-63399Council District: 15Expiration Date: 04-09-09 Extended Appeal Status: ZC is appealable to City Council by applicant, if disapproved in whole or in part

PUBLIC HEARING – Completed on June 26, 2008Location:26900 S. Western Avenue

Requested Action:

1. Pursuant to Section 11.5.6 of the Municipal Code, a General Plan Amendment. to the Wilmington-Harbor City Community Plan From “Low Residential” and “Open Space” to “Medium” Density Residential land use.

2. Pursuant to Section 12.32 of the Municipal Code, a Zone Change from the existing R1-1XL and OS-1XL to a new Specific Plan Zone created as part of this action. (Ponte Vista at San Pedro Specific Plan)

3. Pursuant to Section 12.32 of the Municipal Code, the establishment of the Ponte Vista at San Pedro Specific Plan for the proposed Project.

4. Pursuant to Section 65864-65869.5 of the California Government Code and City implementing procedures, a Development Agreement between BDC Ponte Vista Partners LLC and the City of Los Angeles.

The Development Agreement is intended to provide reasonable assurances to the Applicant with respect to his ability to implement proposed Project approvals while providing the City with Public Benefits. The term length for the proposed Development Agreement is 25 years.

5. Pursuant to Section 2108 2.1(C)(3) Certification of ENV-2005-4516-EIR as the Environmental Impact Report for the above referenced Project, and Adoption of theMitigation Monitoring Program and the required findings for the adoption of the EIR, and Adoption of a Statement of Overriding Considerations setting forth the reasons and benefits of adopting the EIR with full knowledge that significant impacts may remain.

Proposed Project:

Establishment of a Specific Plan for approximately 61.5 gross acres to allow demolition and removal of 245 residential units, a community center, and commercial building (all a part of former U.S. Navy housing) for the new construction of 1,950 residential units and 10,000 square feet of commercial space.

The proposed Specific Plan residential component would be comprised of 1,000 condominium units, 100 townhomes and 850 senior condominium units (age restricted to those 55 and older).

Building heights would vary from three to four stories or from 50-65feet. Subterranean and semi-subterranean parking for residents and guests would be provided below the residential buildings and guest parking would also be available along the interior streets. An approximately six-acre public park is also being proposed.

Applicant: Bisno Development

CompanyRepresentative: Allan Abshez

Recommended Action:

1. Disapprove a General Plan Amendment to the Wilmington-Harbor City Community Plan from “Low Residential” and “Open Space” to “Medium” Density Residential land use.

2. Disapprove a Zone Change from the existing R1-1XL and OS-1XL to a Specific Plan Zone proposed to be created as part of this action.

3. Disapprove the establishment of the Ponte Vista at San Pedro Specific Plan proposed to be created as part of this action.

4. Disapprove a Development Agreement between BDC Ponte Vista Partners LLC and the City of Los Angeles.

5. Not Certify Environmental Impact Report ENV-2005-4516-EIR, Not Adopt a Statement of Overriding Considerations, and Disapprove the Mitigation Monitoring Program.

Staff: David Olivo, (213) 978-1197

City Planning Agenda

William Roschen, President
Regina M. Freer, Vice President
Sean O. Burton, Commissioner
Diego Cardoso, Commissioner
Robin R. Hughes, Commissioner
Fr. Spencer T. Kezios, Commissioner
Ricardo Lara, Commissioner
Cindy Montañez, Commissioner
Michael K. Woo, Commissioner

James Williams, Commission Executive Assistant I

S. Gail Goldberg, Director
Vincent P. Bertoni, Deputy Director
John M. Dugan, Deputy Director
Eva Yuan-McDaniel, Deputy Director

Monday, April 06, 2009

Planning Commission Information Update

Click over image to enlarge.

The following is from the body of an Email sent out to a large number of folks.

"The day of reckoning for Ponte Vista is fast approaching. Thursday, April 9 the Los Angeles City Planning Commission will consider this item. We need everyone who possibly can to attend the meeting and we need your help in getting the word out. A new flier is attached.

In spite of our requests, the Commission Meeting is being held in downtown Los Angeles, City Council Chambers, third floor, City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street. The meeting is scheduled for 8:30 am. Ponte Vista is the first item on the agenda.

The Council Office will arrange for free parking underneath City Hall East for anyone who phones their office before Tue, April 7. You will need to provide your care make, model, and licence plate number. The entrance to the parking is from Los Angeles Street. It is the second entrance, (the first one is marked Public Parking). When you get there, you will need to check in a the kiosk before entering the parking lot. If you are driving and have room for other passengers, please let me know. If you need a ride, please let me know- we will try to match folks up. Plan on arriving at City Hall early, you will probably need to wait in line to go through security. Be sure everyone in your car has some sort of photo ID with them.

What is the Latest? The developer has revised the proposal to approximately 1400 units which is twice as dense as the Gardens. Specific details of the proposal have not been worked out. We anticipate that the developers will ask for feedback from the Commission on the plan and will also ask for a continuance. We plan to oppose any continuance and ask that the staff recommendation to deny the project be adopted, thus requiring the developer to submit a new application and go through all of the public review that a new application would require. We also need to testify as to why 1400 units is still too many.

What can you do to help? Plan on attending the hearing and WEAR RED, forward this message to everyone you know feels strongly about opposing this project, print out the flier and distribute to your friends & neighbors or pick up copies of the flier from 1064 Via La Paz, call people you think might attend with a little encouragement, send your comments to and Put CPC 2006-8043 GPA-ZC-SP-DA in the subject line."

How many developers does it take to understand the word, "NO".

Both Bob and apparently Ted Fentin have problems understanding such a simple word.

The Planning Department has told both developers "NO" to their wishes.

Many members of OUR community have repeated "NO" in terms of having a giant project in northwest San Pedro.

If the developers and remaining team members want to hear "YES" let's allow them to learn.

YES to starting over! Since they aren't willing to listen and learn enough, let's allow them to begin again to create a project OUR community can live with.

YES to keeping the current zoning the way it is if the development team and the equity fund members continue to stonewall.

YES to the idea that Ponte Vista should probably have the same density as The Gardens. If the current crew proposing Ponte Vista hasn't been willing to really work, we can show them all how to successfully build no more than 831 town house condominiums and conserve equality.

Yes to allowing for two options; R1 or up to 831-town houses.

Yes to bringing OUR community back together.

But first and foremost on April 9, its Start Over!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Odds and Ends 111

I begin this post with comments from

"The development team has reduced the number of homes at the Ponte Vista residential community from 1,950 homes to 1,395 homes. The unit reduction is in response to comments received by both the Planning Department and various members of the community, who believe that a lower density development will be more in keeping with the surrounding community. In the new land use concept for Ponte Vista, two-thirds of the site will be townhomes that reflect an updated version of the popular Gardens community on Westmont in San Pedro."

Now, let me comment about "...two-thirds of the site will be townhomes that reflect an updated version of the popular Gardens community on Westmont in San Pedro."

Golly! Haven't I been considering that Ponte Vista should be built with the equivalent dwelling density of The Gardens for a bit now?

With residents of The Gardens having better access to Gaffey and the rest of San Pedro than residents of Ponte Vista would have, why not build out Ponte Vista with just 831-units to be equal in dwelling density as The Gardens?

Now even the developer and the Outreach Team are agreeing that The Gardens community is popular.

Still, it too almost four years for the team to get some kind of clue.

1,395-units is still too many units and the Planning Department set up guidelines that the developer and the Outreach Team simply ignored.

The guidelines stated up to 885-units in a non-density bonus project.

The Applicant wants 158% of that guideline.

The guidelines stated that no segregated Senior Housing for the project.

The Applicant wants 27% of the units to be for segregated Senior Housing.

The guidelines stated that only two access points be allowed for Ponte Vista.

The Applicant still wants 33% more access points than the guidelines called for.

Is the Applicant arrogant or ignorant? Our community has spoken and it has been backed up by the Los Angeles Planning Department. Maybe the Applicant believes we are all arrogant or ignorant.

The Daily Breeze brought news on April 2 that Vue is now another hybrid project.

Units once proposed for sale are now proposed for lease.

Our economy will be much different when Ponte Vista is built out. But at Ponte Vista there will always be the real probability that units there will also become leased or rented out.

This is the last "Odds and Ends" before April 9.

I called both Councilwoman Hahn's office and the Ponte Vista Outreach Team to find out if either entity would provide bus transportation to downtown L.A.

As of the writing of this post I haven't heard from either office.

Folks interested in attending the Los Angeles Planning Commission meeting when it may vote on the issues regarding Ponte Vista are encouraged to find ways to get to City Hall in downtown Los Angeles.

It looks more like the proposed 380-units of Senior Housing is more of a marketing tool than something the Applicant really wants to provide.

A great number of comments received during the two recent Open Houses were from seniors who continue to want that segregated type of housing at Ponte Vista.

Many of us wonder how much community support for Ponte Vista would still be seen if the Senior Housing component disappeared.

Some members of OUR community have suggested that if the Senior Housing went away, there would be almost no support by members of OUR community for a large residential project in northwest San Pedro.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Marymount/Ponte Vista Race Update

Marymount College has a facilities expansion project winding through the R.P.V. Planning Commission.

Ponte Vista is up for its meeting with the Los Angeles City Planning Commission on April 9.

It looks like a race to see which project wins approval first continues.

The Marymount College project is nearing the actual votes by the Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission on its project which could add 624.4 vehicle trips, per day, along Western Avenue from Trudie to Palos Verdes Drive North.

Staff members from the city of Rancho Palos Verdes are going to draft the necessary documents and resolutions necessary for the certification of the EIR for the Marymount project. Those documents may be voted on at either the April 14 or May 26 continuances of the public hearing on that project.

Ponte Vista proponents are hoping for anything other than complete repudiation of their applications and other documents at the April 9 meeting.

It is believed that Ponte Vista proponents will greet anything other than complete denial of the project as a victory.

The main opposition group to the Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project is the Concerned Citizens Coalition/Marymount Expansion, (CCC/ME).

That group firmly supports the expansion and the housing of students at the college's Palos Verdes North facility along Palos Verdes Drive North.

The Living Campus/Academic Campus Alternative supported by CCC/ME would have all student housing AND the athletic facilities along Palos Verdes Drive North between Western Avenue and Five Points.

It is almost comical to listen to that group completely ignore the residents living near the Palos Verdes North facility and disregard anything that would happen along Western Avenue, should their Alternative be approved of.

As to which project is ahead in the race, I am giving Marymount a slight lead.

No matter what happens on April 9, there are still very large hurdles the Ponte Vista folks have to find ways to leap over.

If Marymount is approved for its expansion, Western Avenue will find dirt-haulers traveling through portions of San Pedro taking away large boulders and bringing back crushed materials.

Right now it appears that the leanings go toward Marymount receiving approval for some on-campus housing, but not as many units as they would like.

Both projects may make for a newsworthy summer.