Friday, January 29, 2010

Odds and Ends 153

I ran across a video of some fellas inside on of the abandoned units at Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

The taping was done at night. It is very difficult to maintain security in such a large area at night. The tape was uploaded onto YouTube on October 16, 2009.
The Southbay Association of Chambers of Commerce is holding its installation luncheon on February 17, 2010.

Ponte Vista is listed as one of the sponsors of the events. It seems that the Outreach Team and developers are ratcheting up the processes and programs that should lead to an unveiling of their newest plans for the development and possibly the publication of the new Environmental Impact Report for community review.
Work is continuing on all five new eateries with Amalfitano's Bakery, Denny's, and Pavich's seemingly having more work done on them as opposed to Asaka Grill and Saladish.
The newest appendix for the Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project is currently offered for review.

The new appendix details changes in the expansion of the athletic facilities at Palos Verdes Drive East campus and has consideration concerning the College's application to become a four-year institution.

What is very important to learn about with this project is that if the college is granted the ability to offer four-year programs, then traffic congestion along Western Avenue will be increased in the future and this particular increase was not anticipated with the project before the college's administration applied to have the school become a four-year college.

This should be studied along with all traffic issues associated with Ponte Vista and Western Avenue no matter what side of any discussions as to the number of units that could be successful at Ponte Vista you have.
The cleanup of the old site along Gaffey Street continues. It is still expected that up to 134-patio units might still be built on the site.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Odds and Ends 152

The traffic counters were still around on Thursday. I don't know how many records will be used and for purpose this particular set of counts are being taken. It might be good to compare these most recent counts with counts taken over the period of time beginning in 2005. That year found the publication of the Western Avenue Task Force Study which predicted that traffic rates would be expected to grow at the rate of 1.0-1.1 percent per year until 2030.
Work continues on all five of the new restaurants and take out businesses along Western. There seems to be extensive work going on at the building designated to be the new Denny's.
I hope everyone keeps sharp eyes while driving or riding on Western Avenue in the coming days and weeks.
The recent rains have been very heavy and as so many of us remember, three storm drain conduits failed along Western Avenue.
Please watch for new and unexpected dips in the asphalt along with possible cracks appearing on the roadbed and sidewalks.
There were initially seven drainpipes placed under Western Avenue. Three have failed and that means four drainage conduits or pipes may collapse in the future.
The Torrance Planning Commission rejected a development of about 460 apartments and assisted living units that were planned for a parcel on Hawthorne Blvd.
The density of that project would be far greater than any density proposed for Ponte Vista at San Pedro.
It was interesting to note comments from folks and that they continue to be concerned about traffic congestion even along Hawthorne, which is at least three lanes along the stretch the project would have been built.
The area where the project was planned was very near the intersection of Torrance Blvd. and a row of restaurants was just to the west of the site.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Councilman Anthony Misetich Did a Good Thing.

I applaud and thank Councilman Anthony Misetich for withdrawing his name from the Ponte Vista Development Liaison, as the backup for Mayor Wolowicz.

Below is a portion of the minutes of the January 5, 2010 Rancho Palos Verdes City Council Meeting:

Councilman Misetich withdrew his name from the Ponte Vista Development Liaison assignment and stated that he would like to serve on a committee to address the Tarapaca Roadway Stabilization Project.

Councilman Stern withdrew his name from the West Basin Water Association assignment due to his inability to attend the meetings.

Mayor Wolowicz appointed Councilman Campbell and Councilman Misetich to the SBCCOG Transportation Committee.

I think Mayor Wolowicz also did a good job in naming Councilman Misetich to the SBCCOG Transportation Committee because he knows about traffic and transportation issues on the most traveled streets in our city, and especially Western Avenue.

I think Councilman Misetich is a good choice to work with the Tarapaca Roadway Stabilization Project because it is so connected with government in San Pedro which Mr. Misetich is keenly aware of and can work almost flawlessly with.

In February, we may all learn what the newest proposals are for the Ponte Vista at San Pedro Development. At that time I hope all council members and others in our community learn as much as they can and help assist the development staff and the residents of OUR community to find the best solution and bring the best possible housing types and numbers to northwest San Pedro.

As I have opined before, Councilman Misetich brings to our city a good deal of business relationships between our city and San Pedro and other local cities. I feel his knowledge and abilities to work with business relationships is a gift not seen on the council the way it will be now.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Odds and Ends 151

Since the is still the beginning of the new year, I thought it would be a good time for a review.
At this time, no zone changes have been approved to allow for new construction of any buildings outside of the current zoning of Ponte Vista at San Pedro.
The developers have every right to build residential structures according to the current zoning, which allows for single-family housing on lots of not less than 5,000 square feet in size.
However, it is very unlikely that the entire site would have those types of homes built on it.
No approval for any condominiums, 'patio homes', apartment buildings, or even retail space has been granted on the site.
I do expect that by the end of 2010, the zoning on at least part of the property will be changed to allow for new construction of multi-family dwellings. This will probably occur whether we like it or not.
However, depending on what the developer and Outreach Team formally apply to build, there could be litigation that could cause actual construction to be delayed or halted.
Robert H. Bisno is still out of the picture as far as I know and the new development team appears more reasonable and realistic than what we all suffered through during "The Bob Years".
It is also realistic to consider that newer plans for the project will be forthcoming in February and I hope they are respectful to OUR community and plans we can all truly consider and not fight too much over.
My contention remains that Ponte Vista at San Pedro should not have more than 831-units of housing because that is the number of units that would be equivalent to the housing at The Gardens. The Gardens has better transportation accesses than Ponte Vista's only outlet, Western Avenue.
I do not know if the entire Environmental Impact Report is being redistributed but I know there are sections that required new studies and review. I expect that the review process should match the review time allowed for the previous reports.
The Los Angeles City Council could eventually adopt ordinances which change the current zoning of the site and if the Mayor signs those ordinances into law, those are the instruments that would allow for new construction on the site, containing new zoning.
Now here is something I think we all should look for in the near future.
What might Ms. Hahn's position now be on new construction at Ponte Vista?
She is running as a Democrat for the statewide office of Lt. Governor and that means that she will have to mention her stance on new housing throughout the state.
Development of new housing is very important in this election year. I wonder if Ms. Hahn will call for new housing and housing sites with larger density to be able to offer new homes to the most number of people throughout the state.
How might that fly when considering Ponte Vista? I doubt that she can't say that she approves of greater housing opportunities for the masses yet call for keeping Ponte Vista at the lowest density possible, especially when it is in her district, or 'back yard' for that matter.
This will be interesting to watch and keep notes on. We all should remember what Ms. Hahn stated about what should be built at Ponte Vista in the past. Let us see if her words these days match what she said in earlier times.
And to review this particular matter, Ms. Janice Hahn is a politician with years of experience at that 'career'.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Traffic Counting Along Western Avenue

On my way to postpone my jury duty this morning, I passed over a bunch of tubes for counting traffic along Western Avenue.
The counters were on both sides of Western and I passed over them from just about Avenida Aprenda all the way north to just about the railroad tracks near Sepulveda.
So I wondered, were counts being taken for the Ponte Vista at San Pedro Project?
To find out the answer, I called Ms. Elise Swanson, the Vice President overseeing the Outreach Team. She said she didn't believe the current counts were being conducted for the project. She also said that counts for the new Traffic Study were taken late last year and that she would have been informed if these new counts were for the Ponte Vista project.
In our short but informative conversation, Ms. Swanson also said that more information about the project should be available in February and that the Outreach Team was just making sure they had "all their ducks in a row", according to Ms. Swanson.
I am pleased that things may be moving forward. As everyone should know, something will be built on the former site of Naval personnel housing.
It also means that not just new eateries will be in more development stages in 2010.
Now what I am now wondering if the counts being taken today and other recent days will mirror counts taken late last year for the Ponte Vista Environmental Impact Report. I also am wondering how all the more recent counts compare to the Western Avenue Task Force's studies that estimated that traffic along Western would increase by about one percent per year, beginning in 2005 and continuing on for the next 25 years.
There could some factors that both the Western Avenue Task Force and others could not have known about back in 2005. Since the decline in our economy, what might the more currents counts reflect in the fewer cars that may be traveling along Western because their drivers lost their jobs.
Other factors include the number of students attending the newer Mary Star High School and more students attending Dodson Middle School from out of the more local areas. I don't know if there has been a real increase in the number of students attending Rolling Hills Prep on Palos Verdes Drive North.
So I guess it is getting closer to the time to really consider how many units you feel could be successfully built and occupied at Ponte Vista at San Pedro. You are also most welcome to consider what type of condominiums should be offered for sale or lease.
2009 was a very sleepy year for the 61.53 acre site. The goats continue to graze and first responders continue to train.
2010 may bring more of that and quite a bit more discussion about the Ponte Vista at San Pedro Project. I think by the end of the year, we will all know when the old homes will be razed and when new construction will begin.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Not Four But Five. Can They All Survive

2010 will not be the year building necessarily starts at Ponte Vista at San Pedro but that does not mean there won't be a tiny surge in eatery construction and openings along Western.

Perhaps there is something in the air that indicates more folks are coming to OUR community or that our economy is ready to allow for more outside the home cooking and dining.
Let's review the new places that apparently are coming to our Avenue in the future.
Asaka Grill will be coming to the old site of P'Skettie and it may be a Japanese food drive thru that could succeed. KFC lasted for decades at that site before it moved north.
Pavich's Croatian Brick Oven Pizza is going in where the old pizza place was at Summerland and Western. This restaurant's pizzas are fantastic and are a must for everyone to try.
Amalfitano's Bakery. We are waiting and growing a bit impatient. I know I am not supposed to pick goodies from there but being that it is from the family that owned Ramona's Bakery, how can anyone resist?
There is another salad and sandwich shop on the lowest level of The Terraces under construction. The new sign reads "Saladish". There is Kobe Grill and Subs R Us already in that shopping area.
The posted rumor is that Denny's is coming to the former Planet Kids/Sizzler location. It would mark the second time for a Denny's to try for a go along Western in San Pedro/Rancho Palos Verdes.
Might we be ready for all these new dining choices and can we afford them all?
2009 was a tough year and experts are contending that 2010 won't be better and could be worse.
The new dining options provided needed jobs and that is good. Jobs will be lost when Papadakis Taverna closes at the end of this month in downtown.
What about the traffic generated for five new eateries. The new Denny's location has a terrible parking problem and I don't really want to see diners parking up Trudie and along Highmore.
Luck goes both ways for Terri and I. We are very close to all five new places so we can walk, but the tempting new foods weigh on our weight control thoughts for this new year.
I wonder if any and all of the new restaurants will still be in business when something is finally built at Ponte Vista and folks move in.
For now, I hope we are happy that growth continues and new options open for us. I also hope we don't forget the dining sources we have enjoyed for so long now and help keep them in business, too.
I wish all new establishments and every currently open restaurants much success in the coming year and beyond.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Odds and Ends 150

150 and counting. Thank you all for your viewing and your comments!
Asaka Grill will be opening soon in the former location of P'Skettie. I don't know yet what may go into the space next door to the new restaurant.
Amalfitano's Bakery and Pavich's Croatian BBQ Pizza should be opening this month or next so businesses are continuing to open and close along Western Avenue.
The Deli next to Azteca Restaurant didn't make it into 2010 and that is sad for many of us.
The server for seems to not be able to locate that site lately. This was seen before and may mean absolutely nothing. continues to be "Under Construction" and will probably remain that way for some time.
Is is just me or is the site of the sewage pumping station on Western becoming a permanent construction site? How many more years will we see the 'temporary' fencing around the site?
I looked up the "Clearwater Program" for the Los County Sanitation Districts and the Joint Outfall System that may come from the Carson plant to a new outfall in the Pacific Ocean and there seems to have been nothing updated in quite some time.
Perhaps it is yet another project placed on the back burner due to the economy.

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Post From an Associated Blog

I guess I am back to writing.
Here is my latest post on my blog:

Misetich is Wrong Choice for Ponte Vista Alternate

Happy New Year.
Councilman Anthony Misetich is currently being considered to be the alternate to Mayor Wolowicz as the Ponte Vista Development Liaison.
Mr. Misetich was an early supporter of Bob Bisno's plans to build 2,300 condominiums on 61.53 acres of land directly accross Western Avenue from homes in Rancho Palos Verdes.
While Mr. Misetich may continue to contend that he supported Bisno's plans so that Senior Housing Units could be built, it means that his support of such a large residential project on our border needs to be considered, even though the plans have changed.
Mr. Misetich is associated with former L.A. Councilman Rudy Svornich. Mr. Svornich was a paid lobbyist for Bisno Development Co. LLC and received payments from one of Bob Bisno's organizations.
I feel there could be an appearance of a conflict of interest having Mr. Misetich have any involvement while serving as a Councilman, with Rancho Palos Verdes and Ponte Vista at San Pedro.
Our city council's history concerning Ponte Vista at San Pedro was to oppose both the 2,300-condo project and the subsequent 1,950-condo plan offered by Bob Bisno, who is now the former developer of the project.
Currently the new development team for the project has yet to publish new plans for the project worked out with the Los Angeles City Planning Department. It is hoped those new plans may come forth by this Spring.
The latest print work used by the Ponte Vista at San Pedro Outreach Team illustrated a 1,395-unit project but it is not known what the final application will look like.
Mr. Misetich was the only candidate in the past election to have been a supporter of plans for Ponte Vista at San Pedro. While he claimed to me he hadn't been to a meeting of the Advisory Board his name was associated with, he didn't seem to feel it necessary to have his name and affiliation removed from the controversial project.
To be fair and open, I am a member of the Steering Committee of R Neighborhoods Are 1, the citizen-based group of volunteers who actively opposed, and continues to oppose, a large project consisting of condominiums along Western Avenue in northwest San Pedro.
I also currently believe that up to 831-units could be successfully built at Ponte Vista. This number reflects a dwelling density equivalent to The Gardens, the large condominium housing development almost next to the Ponte Vista site.
I wish Mr. Misetich would simply reflect that while an elected Councilman of the city of Rancho Palos Verdes, he should voluntarily refrain from any activity associated with our city and Ponte Vista at San Pedro. During the time Mr. Misetich belonged to the Advisory Board, our Council along with others in our city worked very hard against the very project Mr. Misetich was an Advisory Board member for and a supporter of.
I feel there are many other qualities Mr. Misetich can afford our city with his business knowledge and contacts in San Pedro. I do feel however, that it is in the best interest of our own city that Mr. Misetich not have any governmental dealings with Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

Since the Ponte Vista at San Pedro Project was first publicized, the members of the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council unanymously opposed whatever Bob Bisno tried to throw at us.
Mr. Misetich was a member of one of Bob's Advisory Boards and supported over 500 Senior Housing Units being built as part of a total of 2,300-condos at the site.
Mr. Misetich received the largest vote totals in the election to City Council and he as assisted by Mr. Rudy Svornich, a former paid lobbyist for one of Bob Bisno's organizations.
I do not want the appearance of any potential of a conflict of interest now that Mr. Misetich seems to represent the residents who, in great numbers, opposed what Mr. Misetich supported.
I hope Mr. Misetich removes himself for consideration as the alternate. If he does not, what might that reveal to all of us.
If Mr. Misetich doesn't step aside, I hope the rest of the council will vote to replace him as the choice of alternate.

Odds and Ends 149

Happy New Year with this, the 765Th post on this blog!
I hope everyone got through a very tough year as best they could and are entering the new year better prepared for whatever comes up.
To not remember history means there are chances to repeat it and with Ponte Vista at San Pedro, we all need to remember the history of what was and learn from more recent developments what could be.
I remember a developer stating as a matter of true fact that the first phase of the Ponte Vista at San Pedro project would be under construction in 2009. I remember how he and others on his team told us facts about what would be on the site, when things would happen and how everything would be taken care of. I remember hearing and reading that all traffic issues would be fully mitigated by the time the first buildings were under construction.
People tauted 'facts' as if they were true and that an out of town developer knew what was better for OUR community than OUR community members know.
OUR community came to learn that those 'facts' were not all that true and that we actually do know what is best for OUR community.
In remembering "The Bob Years" and keeping the documents produced during that era, we will now use what we have learned to help bring forth the best possible solution for all of us in OUR community.
So, how do you feel about Ms. Janice Hahn running for Lt. Governor?
First, I think that post could be deleted in favor of having the Speaker of the California Assembly act in place of a sitting Governor or take their place if something awful happens.
I feel the Lt. Governor position is not only useless but it costs taxpayer dollars our State doesn't have.
But if Janice wants to run for such a useless seat, then I hope she continues to listen to those in her 15Th District and be a full-time Council member, well as much as she has been lately, anyway.
I hope folks watch how she answers questions about development, especially high-density development. I hope her campaign staff knows that there will be many eyes and ears following her words and actions in the coming months.
I was a bit surprised that Ms. Hahn didn't wish to hold on and run for L.A.County Supervisor. Perhaps she eventually wants to be the Governor.
Throughout 2009, R Neighborhoods Are 1 has remained online and always ready to deal whatever came up. We were a bit like the National Guard. "They also serve, those who stand and wait." The group was OUR community's guard and it remains able to do what is necessary to protect OUR community from over development.
Great news! Pavich's Pizza is coming to Western Avenue!
This Croatian Pizza Restaurant is adding a site at Western Avenue and Summerland in the spot of the old Pizza Hut.
Along with Amalfitano's Bakery, opening in January, we add to businesses with strong bases in San Pedro and the surrounding communities.
I want to thank Ted, Tim, Elise, and the rest of the Outreach Team for the assistance they provided to OUR community throughout 2009.
They were all willing to answer questions during a very tough economic time for them and it seems they may still be working on something that will come forward, possibly in the Spring.
Of course I still maintain that Ponte Vista at San Pedro have no more than 831-total units, it will be very interesting to see what numbers come forward sometime in the new year.
It appears that their current number of 1,395-units is higher than what they will probably announce, but I think we can all appreciate that there is no chance for 2,300-units on the 61.53 acre site.