Saturday, December 29, 2012

Odds And Ends 200

First, thank you so much for reading this blog. There has been several stretches of time where I posted little and I appreciate everyone who visits this blog.

This is the 200th "Odds And Ends". I will continue posting these types of posts as well as other posts on this blog.

Please remember that the end date to submit your comments regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for The Ponte Vista Project, is January 7, 2013, which is now within 10 days.

I can now let everyone know that what was once called 'The Rudderless Steering Committee' for R Neighborhoods Are 1 is ready to start the new year. There is a lot of information and communication out there that will be brought into better focus for everyone to use to help each and everyone who cares about what is being planned for our community, has all the best and most truthful information possible.

Unlike during "The Bob Years" I have much more confidence in all the information coming from the 'new' development team to provide their best information to everyone, but as with so many things, there are always multiple sides to every story.

One of the issues I neglected to ask the great folks during my meeting with several members of The Ponte Vista Project's development team, was about 'Density Bonus' at Ponte Vista.

I think I remember during some community outreach gatherings, there was some talk about the current development team NOT seeking any density bonuses at Ponte Vista.

I may have remembered incorrectly, so one of the things I want to get clear about quickly, is whether we might see density bonuses being talked about, on all sides.

A Density Bonus allows a developer the right to built more dwelling units than they originally ask for, by providing some incentives in terms of 'affordable housing' in their project.

Typically, a Density Bonus could allow for up to 35% MORE housing units into a project than would otherwise be allowed for should the Density Bonus not come into play.

Let's say a developer is seeking approval for '1,135-units'. If the developer and/or community leaders and governors want to provide greater housing opportunities to more potential residents, a total of up to about 1,532 units could actually be approved for construction.

In a development of '830-units' there COULD be approvals for up to 1,120-units.

I write again that I don't remember well enough to state whether the current development team is or will seek Density Bonuses at Ponte Vista.

A Density Bonus also allows developers to use all the environmental information, studies and findings based on what they bring forth as their preferred project, and then have that information used to allow for up to 35% greater numbers of dwelling units.

I should have all this sorted out by the second week in January.

I have now witnessed TWO collisions involving vehicles happening in the 'slow' or outer lanes along Western Avenue, between Avenida Aprenda and Weymouth Avenue, in less than a week after the new white strips were painted.

A driver attempted to turn left into the south entrance of The Terraces, from the northbound left turn lane on Western Avenue.

The driver of a vehicle in the southbound 'inner' or 'fast' lane on Western, stopped to allow the driver to turn.

Another driver, in the 'outer' or 'slow lane of southbound Western Avenue ALSO stopped to allow the driver to turn into the driveway.

HOWEVER, since the outer or slow lane is so darn wide at that and other intersections, ANOTHER driver, attempting to PASS ON THE RIGHT of the one person already stopped in the outer or slow lane, did not stop or even see the turning driver and PRESTO, exactly what I have been warning about since I first saw the temporary lane lines painted on the roadway, happened.

The second outer or slow lane collision was on the northbound lane of Western Avenue at the entrance of the shops on the east side of Western Avenue and involved two drivers, both in the outer or slow lane, one trying to turn into the entrance and the other not watching that there was already a car in the outer or slow lane. It appeared the car more towards the inner lane tried to turn right and didn't see the car passing on its right, also in the outer or slow lane.


Both of those collisions happened while our schools were on Christmas Vacation. I am quite sure from having first driven along Western Avenue on May 3, 1971, that there will be some 'hotshot' drivers not wishing to get slowed down during morning or afternoon commutes who will try to pass on the right in the outer/slow lanes.

So with that, I end this 200th "Odds And Ends", except for:


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Today's Meeting Regarding The Ponte Vista Project

Today, I met with three members of the team representing The Ponte Vista Project and I can report that is was positive for me and I appreciated the way the meeting was held and turned out.

I met with Ms. Sarojin Lall, who is part of Strategic Communications for Marathon Communications, Inc.

I met also with Mr. Dennis Cavallari, the 'boss' if you will, of The Ponte Vista Project.

The last name I will add is Mr. Neill E. Brower, Attorney at Law. He is a lawyer representing The Ponte Vista Project.

On the outset I would like to thank the three team members for meeting with me and discussing with me many aspects of The Project.

I found the three to be friendly and ready to listen. Mr. Brower took notes but I don't think I have anything to worry about because everything I stated I would also put on this blog.

If any of you wish to speak directly to representatives of The Ponte Vista Project, especially to seek answers to any questions you might have, please contact Ms. Lall via Email at:

You can also reach a representative at:

All that being written so far, I have not changed my current considerations for what I feel could be successfully built at Ponte Vista.

I remain having no real objection to have no more than 850-dwelling units built at Ponte Vista and I do appreciate that one of the Alternatives is for "830-units".

I remain supportive of those who contend that the Alternative which would result in either a cleared site, with no building on it OR up to 429 Single-Family housing units, should be approved.

As explained to me by Mr. Cavallari, if any Alternatives are approved that would allow for new dwellings to be constructed on the site, iStar Financial would probably build the streets and other infrastructure elements and that the construction of new dwelling units would basically be 'farmed out' to builders who would build all or part of the approved units.

Ponte Vista is being proposed to have a "Specific Plan" type of zoning established for its site.

Currently the site only allows for new construction of up to 429-Single Family houses on lots of not less than 5,000 square feet. A Specific Plan Zone identification would allow the Developer to state where they want a type of dwelling unit, on land suitable for dwelling construction. (There is Open Space land that is not suitable for dwellings to be constructed on.

Specific Plan zoning also allows for open spaces to be established on land that could be used for dwelling construction.

A Specific Plan zone seems to allow more freedom by the Developer.

Traffic and traffic mitigation is always the main topic when considering what could be successful at Ponte Vista.

I found the illustrations of the proposed traffic mitigation elements to be refreshing, compared to those in the previous Draft Environmental Impact Report.

One thing I found interesting is that should the Project get approved for up to 429 units and the Developer actually starts with traffic mitigation efforts, fifteen elements would be dealt with.

However, should the Project get approved for 830 or 1,135 units, there would be just one additional traffic mitigation element  constructed. That actually does favor the Single-Family throughout Alternative, I feel.

As for the 1,135-unit Alternative, Mr. Cavallari stated that this is the Alternative he and his team will move forward and he will continue to advocate for that, unless and until he and his team decide not to.

He did mention that "830-units" is an Alternative that is still available to him and his team.

Of course I did my best to make my points that I am strongly against having 1,135-units approved for at Ponte Vista.

It was mentioned that the original time for the comment period for the DEIR was originally 45 days, but it was moved to 60 days, in part, because of the holidays.

I opined that I wanted 90 days for the comment period because some organizations are slower than others to move things along. I referenced my city's government as an example of a body that moves slower than some other groups.

Coming away from my experiences with this new development team and what we all went through during "The Bob Years", I think we have a marketing team that is more soft-sell than before and is working harder to make connections and meet with interested folks, too.

I hope all others interested in having their views heard by development team members, get the opportunity that I received.

Odds and Ends 199

As the year rolls to an end, I want to remind you that your comments regarding the new Draft Environmental Impact Report, (DEIR) are due by January 7, 2013.

The following are comments and an address to send your comments to:

Comments of the  Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Ponte Vista are due to the City by 4:00 pm Jan 7, 2013.  

We hope you will help on this project by commenting on the Draft EIR which is based on 1135 housing units.

It is not necessary for you to provide detailed comments.  It is important for you to say what concerns you have about the project [traffic, density, etc.] or what you would like to see built at the site [housing mix, single family, mixed use, additional open space, etc.] .  You should especially comment on the fact that the Jan 7 deadline is unreasonable, and requiring comments over the holiday season does not allow you sufficient time for review and comment.

The DEIR is available online at (click on “Environmental” then “Draft EIR” then Ponte Vista) or at the San Pedro Library.  It is as huge document so we suggest you look at the index and read the sections of specific interest to you.
They should be addressed to 

Erin Strelich, Planning Assistant
Los Angeles Department of City Planning
200 N. Spring Street, Room 750
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Fax: (213) 978-1343
They may be sent  by email to 

It is important to include the following in the subject line:  Ponte Vista ENV-2005-4516-EIR

We recommend that you also send a copy to Councilman Joe Buscaino, 638 S. Beacon, San Pedro 90731 or by e-mail to

Please pass this on to others who care about our community
I know the author of the comments and I absolutely concur that the January 7, 2013 deadline is unreasonable because of the holidays and because not enough organizations will have time to confer, construct and vote on comments being sent in on the behalf of members. I believe there should have been at least 90 days for the comment period.

I am still confused and ill at ease with the new striping of the center lanes along Western Avenue between about Avenida Aprenda and areas south of Weymouth.

What my fear is is that more reckless drivers will use the very wide outer lanes to pass on the right, especially during the after 2 PM drive time. One of Rpv's Council members is very concerned too and I have talked to the traffic engineer for the city of R.P.V. about this.

It appears to me that the center lanes along a portion of the State Highway are not wide enough, along a portion of Western Avenue.

I will be meeting with a group of individuals associated with The Ponte Vista Project, later today and I intend on writing a post about that meeting.

What I can tell you is that I am pleased with the 'new' outreach being shown by the folks at The Ponte Vista Project and it is more refreshing to me than what I dealt with between  2005 and 2009.

Terri and I still have a chuckle remembering when it was considered that Terri look for employment at the trailers during "The Bob Years" which began in 2005 and concerned the time and efforts of Mr. Robert H. (Bob) Bisno and his attempt to over develop the Ponte Vista site.

There has been some new delays established with Marymount College officials' attempts to continue to expand their Palos Verdes North off-campus housing site, along Palos Verdes Drive North.

I don't know many of the details but I did read that some things have been moved into an 'uncertain' category.

I have read the Traffic Study for The Ponte Vista Project and viewed the illustrations of the traffic mitigation being considered with The Project. There are still a good number of folks in our community who continue to question the Study. Many folks have a much better understanding of the Study and some of what they are concerned about. They should be considered our mentors because of their knowledge, history and dealings with traffic in our area.

There are members of The Western Avenue Task Force who have much more detailed knowledge than I do, about traffic and many of them are also concerned with the Traffic Study of The Ponte Vista Project.

Is it going to be a rainy and cold winter before Spring springs? It seems to me that we have been getting more rain than we have seen in recent years. I also wonder what it may be like when Spring has sprung.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Odds And Ends 198

So, how is everyone doing on reading the Ponte Vista Draft Environmental Impact Report, (DEIR)?

Are you making notes about what you wish to comment on? I sure hope you are and using the notes to create a fantastic set of comments, to the report.

I'm still trying to figure out what is going on with the new lane striping along Western Avenue between Avenida Aprenda and 19th Street.

by looking at the temporary lane (plastic reflective) markings and the short dashes of yellow and white lines which may be the route for the yellow and white stripes, it sure looks like the center lanes in both directions will be narrower than they were before resurfacing AND narrower than what is required for a State Highway Lane.

If it passes that those little dashes become actual lane markings, the outer lanes will be very, very wide.

If you look at the short white dashes as they get close to the intersection of Western Avenue and Avenida Aprenda, they seem to veer to the right to make better alignment with the permanent lane markings along Western Avenue, north of Avenida Aprenda. It looks pretty much the same on southbound Western Avenue, close to 19th Street.

With the center lanes so narrow and the outer lanes so wide, just imagine all those drivers who will create their own 'third lane' near the curb and I think we will see lots of problems when the curb 'lane' has vehicles moving in it faster than those who are moving closer to the lane lines, along Western.

This might be something that you should check and recheck your vehicle insurance coverage on.

State Highway lanes must be wider than lanes on County or City roadways. This is one of the reasons Western Avenue has not had a full third lane added already.

The Western Avenue Task Force, in its report from 2005 has a suggestion that Western Avenue need to become three-lanes wide by 2030. This would take much study and some changes in laws and regulations for State Highways, with Western Avenue being one in particular.

A meeting concerning the Final Report for The Clearwater Program was scheduled for today. I received my CD of that report the same day I also got my hands on the new DEIR for Ponte Vista.

The Clearwater Program's proposed Alternative 4 is to construct a new Joint Outfall System, a tunnel between the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant, (JWPCP) in Carson and an distribution piping system out into San Pedro Bay at Royal Palms.

The proposed route for the new tunnel will enter San Pedro along Gaffey Street, turn west at Capitol, turn south along Western at Capitol/Trudie, go under Averill Park and head out to sea, following must of the Western Avenue route of the two existing tunnels that have been under Western for decades.

At Royal Palms, a deep 'Exit Shaft' will be sunk at the bottom of the cliff and there will be many, many, many double-dirt hauler trips between the dig's site and out of San Pedro.

If you think there are problems right now at 25th and Western or on other streets intersecting Western Avenue, 'you ain't seen nothing yet'!

I expect that the proposed Alternative will be ultimately approved. it is the least cost of the construction Alternatives and is proposed to be half of what it would cost to put the Exit Shaft and Access Shafts on Terminal Island, close to rail access, freeway access and having no residences nearby, except for the prison and the Coast Guard base...oh well.

I have not heard yet of any new meetings by the many concerned with the number of units proposed for Ponte Vista. I'm still a proponent of the Alternative that allows for NO building on the site, complete removal of all existing structures and the POSSIBLE construction of up to 429 single-family detached homes. However, I still have to state that I could probably live with no more than 850 housing units on the site.

I made the original badges that showed a red circle with a red line on a diagonal with the number '2300' behind it. I still have enough button blanks to start working on NO 1135 badges.

Have a great beginning of December!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wait, Wait, There's More

I hope everyone is studying and mulling over your thoughts regarding the issues revolving around The Ponte Vista Project and your contemplations on what comments you are going to submit on that project's new Draft Environmental Impact Report.

But during your concentration, you may want to add some thoughts to another project that is being worked on, not all that far from the Ponte Vista Site.

Marymount College has an off-campus housing facility on Palos Verdes Drive North, between Western Avenue and 5-Points and here is a notice of a public hearing dealing with what Marymount officials and supporters want to do with the site they have been associated with, for some years now.

Click On Image To Enlarge It.

I have only posted the first page of the notice because I feel it is enough information for those interested and if folks want more information, they are able to find it out for themselves.

When you read what this project entails, please keep in mind what the developers of The Ponte Vista Project want and the four Alternatives dealt with in Ponte Vista's DEIR.

Besides Ponte Vista and Marymount's off-campus housing site, the new small lot houses along Gaffey Street are still being built. The largely uninhabited housing at 5-Points is still nearby and there are going to be a small number of large homes built along Palos Verdes Drive North, near its intersection with Palos Verdes Drive East.

Housing development is moving forward in what can be described as a small area that has not seen much residential development in quite some time.

Add to the housing, the new(er) schools and the new educational, parking and site concerns at Marymount's 'Palos Verdes North' site, we are all looking at more development in the area than has been done in decades.

I hope interested individuals and groups will look at 'the big picture' in terms of residential and other types of development and work to find ways to mitigate traffic concerns we all have and work to finding the best results for EVERYONE.

I will create a post soon that will lean towards pushing for Alternative B for The Ponte Vista Project and if this notice helps you and others to consider more carefully how much development at Ponte Vista is best for everyone, I think that is a good thing.

Friday, November 09, 2012

This Is Where I Begin Again

 The new Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for "The Ponte Vista Project" has been published and the (currently) 60-day review and public comment period has begun.

Everyone interested in any part of the project and/or its impacts on communities is encouraged to learn what they wish to learn about the project and submit comments for review.

Case Number: ENV-2005-4516-EIR

The comment period for review is from November 8, 2012 and (currently) ending on January 7, 2013

Please direct your written comments to:

Erin Strelich, Planning Assistant
Los Angeles Department of City Planning
200 N. Spring Street, Room 750
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Telephone Number: (213) 978-1343


Copies of the documents can be found at local libraries and there will be public hearings noticed and held, during the review period.

The DEIR is also available online at: On the left side of the homepage, scroll down to "Environmental" and under that icon, look for and click on "Draft EIR". Look for "Ponte Vista Project" click on that and you will go to access portals for the DEIR documents.

The applicant for the project is SFI Bridgeview, LLC. 'Bridgeview' is the English translation of Ponte Vista (Italian).

The NEW project consists of FOUR 'Alternatives'. I will provide an illustration for each and some facts and comments under each illustration.

Alternative A 

Alternative A is the 'No Project' alternative that is required for all projects.

Simply put, this alternative states that nothing will happen to the property, no development will occur and the site will remain as it looks today and it will continue to deteriorate into the future. 

Alternative B

Alternative B, as described in the DEIR is also a 'No Project' alternative, with a couple of twists.

If Alternative B is approved, the current applicant or another party would strip the site of all buildings and other structures and leave the property with its current 'R1-1XL' and open space zoning.

This Alternative allows for the applicant or another party to build up to 429 single-family, detached housing dwelling on lots of not less than 5,000 square feet in area.

When you hear "R 1", this is what the lots would be illustrated like. You will hear lots of comments about this alternative, both positive and negative. It would be a very, very long shot to have this alternative adopted, but it could happen.

Alternative C
Click on image to enlarge it. 

This is the alternative proposed by the Staff of L.A. City Planning.

It allow for '830' dwelling units and appears to be gaining favor by some in the general public.

It offers less dwelling density than found in The Gardens and because there is no direct vehicle traffic to Gaffey Street for folks who will live and work at Ponte Vista, this might just be what is approved of, down the road.

Alternative D 
Click on image to enlarge it

This is the alternative that the project's developers want to see approved.

It is the 1,135-unit project. It does have some type and size differences than we have seen in previous illustrations and documents from the new development team.

Since the dwelling unit density is greater than found at The Gardens, along with Western Avenue being the only access in and out of Ponte Vista, as well as some other reasons that I will comment on down the road, I do not support this alternative and suggest and hope you also find 1,135-units to be too many for Ponte Vista.

Major problems still loom for the developers and the community and finding and implementing solutions to those problems must come first, before any approvals are provided.

However, I feel there are two alternatives that should be more carefully studied and compared to each other so we can find the best outcome for our communities and for the new neighbors we will welcome at Ponte Vista.

I think we need to drop Alternatives A and D from much of the discussion and focus on comparing and approving either Alternative B or Alternative C.

We need to understand what folks said all the way back in 2005; Something needs to be built on the site. Whether is it vacant land, 429 upscale single-family houses or up to 830-units of multiple types, I feel it is about time we all band together and get something completed on the 61.53 acre site.

For those continuing to demand R1, I can certainly live with that. I do not believe our communities have mandates to provide housing to too many people in an area where traffic is such a concern and where the location is near refineries and storage tanks. 

In future posts, I will work on dealing with public access through the site rather than having a gated community at Ponte Vista. I think there is compromise on all sides that should allow for access to Mary Star High School and for visitors to the area.

Traffic. There, I wrote it again in this new era for Ponte Vista.

For more reasons than found in the DEIR, there has been not enough consideration with Ponte Vista and other developments in the nearby area, all having great impact on traffic and congestion.

There has not been and still nothing reasonable exists that deals with both the impact on traffic by Ponte Vista's development and the greatly expanded residential wishes by Marymount College via their Palos Verdes North off-campus housing and future teaching site.

While enrollment at Rolling Hills Prep seems to not be increasing as much as previously considered, we could find many more students on that site, as well.

I noted in a comment to my last post that yesterday also brought to my mailbox the Final EIS/EIR and Master Facilities Plan for The Clearwater Program of The Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County.

It is true that this project will progress well into the future and be underground for almost all the way from Carson to the Pacific Ocean, there will be some overland impacts and if something terrible happens during tunnel construction, I hope there is mitigation for that.

So it begins...again. It's back on...finally.

Your comments and inputs are welcome and you may constructs posts to the comments section and also write a post yourself, on this blog.

It's time to stop reading everything else and head into the DEIR. Happy reading, if that is possible.

Thank you.


In today's mail, I received two copies of the new Draft Environmental Impact Report for Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

I got them the same day as the release date of the documents to the public.

It's now 4:00 AM on Friday morning and I just got home for an overnight shoot for a T.V. pilot, so I will get into the new EIR and start posting some items, later on during the day.

The wait was very long and now it is over!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's Almost Here! Really, I'm Not Fibbing This Time

An article in The South Bay Daily Breeze stated that the new Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Ponte Vista as San Pedro could be published in "October".

Since there is only one day left in October, the chance remains that it could be already published or come out tomorrow.

What I can confirm is that it is going through its final editing for dotting the 'Ts' and crossing the 'i's and if it is already out, the time for its public publishing is very near.

The new Proposed Project calls for 830 dwelling units as I have been told by a reliable source and the the number of the different type of units is also changed from what the developers originally were considering.

There will be fewer of the 'low end' apartment units. There will be more single-family residential units on small lots.

It appears that the total number of dwelling units is below the maximum number of units I was considering.

While the total number of units is fewer and the overall makeup of the types of units may be better, I can still find some very significant issues that need to be addressed before the project goes through the voting process by the members of the Los Angeles City Council.

Traffic was and always will be the most significant element regarding Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

There are public access issues that need more work, I feel.

There is the disconnect between what is proposed at Ponte Vista and what is being considered for the Palos Verdes North off-campus housing area for Marymount College.

The Mitigated Negative Declaration being considered for Marymount College's north San Pedro facility has some real problems dealing with traffic issues, too. The issues related to traffic, access and transportation as it relates to two large project in close proximity to each other, along with a few other factors, will continue to be something we all need to be vigilant about, I believe.

What I can also reveal is something that has not been a secret for years. Most of us are sick and tired of dealing with having to pass by the site in its current condition and seeing what is there.

While I can easily continue to help fight alongside those who continue to demand that the site remains with it's current zoning, there now may be a far greater number of folks who just want something built and I feel the majority of those neighbors and friends won't put up much of a fight over what looks to be coming forth in the new EIR.

I hope diligent caution with experienced review and educated reasoning is used to provide the best outcome for everyone, including the new neighbors that will live in Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

I still have lots of buttons, though.

Thank you.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Odds and Ends 197

It's been about a week since I wrote more about Ponte Vista at San Pedro and this past week has been almost completely silent on the issues surrounding the northwest San Pedro development.

I did read comments related to the newspaper article and from "Topix" that seem to indicate that there are folks making comments that believe they know what it true, yet there are some errors that I will try to help everyone out with, in upcoming posts.

You might seem some information and opinion coming onto this blog and I am sure in other places, coming from Congresswoman Janice Hahn. I know the Congresswoman remains very interested in all the issues surrounding Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

I am not a constituent of hers because I live within sight of San Pedro, near Western Avenue in Rancho Palos Verdes.

I hope to also post opinions and comments for Councilman Joe Buscaino, who took over the seat formerly held by Ms. Janice Hahn.

'My' Congressman is Mr. Henry Waxman and I am pretty sure he will win reelection this coming November. I think he will become more interested in the issues as he becomes more familiar with the areas on The Hill he picked up via redistricting.

It will be VERY interesting to find out what the members of the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council think of the 'new plans' for Ponte Vista.

The current Mayor of Rancho Palos Verdes is Mr. Anthony Misetich. He and I had a strong disagreement about Ponte Vista at San Pedro during The Bob Years.

We met several times and I believe he supported Bob's plans that included housing for seniors as part of his membership on a Board for Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

That was then, this is now. I have great confidence that our Mayor and the rest of the RPV City Council will study all the issues surrounding Ponte Vista and they will defend the interests of residents of RPV.

The caveat here is that at least one of the members of the council is a real estate developer and there is a four-person majority of 'conservative' thinking members currently serving.  ***End of note.

I heard on the radio that Chipotle Grill was found to be rounding up with their prices and change. I don't know if our local eatery is doing that, so please make sure you watch you receipt, as you should everywhere, and enjoy some good food when you dine there.

One of the most wonderful persons I have ever known in my life still enlightens Trader Joe's Mrs. Dottie Hill was a close friend of my mom's even before I was born. She can teach everyone about feeling joy and everyone is so blessed whenever they talk to her and enjoy being around her.

Since I was a "First Presser" (baptised, grew up, first marriage at The First Presbyterian Church) our family know the Hills and I even remember Marshall Hill had a BMW Isetta, the little car with only one door as its front. I got a ride from the Hill home to my home in that little car, but that was just one of many treats I enjoyed knowing Dottie, Marshall, Bill, Mark and then Mathew came along a little later.

They're back! Yup, schools all over are open. PLEASE drive safely. I saw the excellent Deputy Chris Knox pull someone over, right on my block. With Chris, if he pulls you over for a violation, there is about a 100% chance you earned it.

As you enjoy Labor Day this Monday, please consider that you would not be able to have that holiday if unionized workers didn't see its creation. Please be safe that day, too.

Thanks for reading this post!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

1,135: Still Too Many!

Click on Illustration to Enlarge it.

1,135 total number of dwelling units is too many to be constructed at Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

The current zoning for the site allows for up to 429 single-family detached dwelling units, on individual lots of not less than 5,000 square feet of land. This is the basic information for the zoning designation of  "R 1" or "R1" in the city of Los Angeles.

To have any greater number of housing units, the zoning of the lots on the site would see a requirement by the Los Angeles City Council approving new municipal ordinances that would change the existing zoning to some other types.

"R Neighborhoods Are 1" was an organization of concerned residents established to try to keep from having the existing zoning changed from what the Los Angeles City Council approved in the past, to something else that would allow for greater dwelling density.

When you view the site now, you see duplex units there. When the U.S. Navy owned the property and build units there, they were and are not required to follow municipal zoning ordinances and the city zoned the property to what it is now AFTER the Navy built the duplexes.

Those of you considering that the duplexes should just be renovated and/or duplexes of that type and number are what you would like to see on the site, it can't be done.

The duplex units and other remaining apartment block units found further east, near the site are all not part of R 1 zoning. ***

I sat and still may sit on the Board of "R Neighborhoods Are 1" even though I no longer demand that the site remain with its legal zoning designations. I still feel strongly that if enough community members demand no change with the site's current zoning, I have no problem with that, whatsoever.

The Gardens, a nearby development, consists of 1,100 units on 80 acres of land, according to facts and figures published in many places.

The Gardens is comprised of condominium dwelling units with many having a small outdoor patio and easy access to garage spaces established for each unit.

The Gardens has been around for decades.

Using a calculator, divide the number of dwelling units at The Gardens, "1,100" by the acreage listed as making up the development, "80" and you should find that there are "13.75" dwelling units at The Gardens, per acre of land listed for The Gardens.

Ponte Vista at San Pedro, according to records created during the sale and auction processes consists of a land area of "61.53" acres.

If you multiply the total acreage of land at Ponte Vista at San Pedro, "61.53" by the number of dwelling units per acre found at The Gardens "13.75" the product is about "846".

I have strongly felt, for the last several years, that a reasonable number of dwelling units approved to be built at Ponte Vista should be equal to less than the same number of units per acre found at The Gardens.

The Gardens has Westmont Drive, a four lane road, going through is and all of the units there have access almost directly to Western Avenue AND Gaffey Street.

Every single resident or visitor to whatever is built at Ponte Vista at San Pedro MUST be transported, at least partially, along a portion of Western Avenue. There would be no direct access to Westmont Drive or Gaffey Street.

I posted the "Product Type" illustration above to give you an idea of the types and numbers of units currently planned for the site. Here too, we find far too many of several different types of units planned for the development.

With "392" units (Product Type 7)that have been designated as "Rental" units, along with the "161" units illustrated for Product Type 6, that totals 553 units out of the current 1,135 units now being suggested. When 48.7% of a development consists primarily of rental units (my thought is that a majority of the 161 units would also become rentals), what might that say about the other Product Types and whether a significant number of them would also become rental or leased units?

In the illustration there is listed "143" units of 2 and 3 story detached, single-family units. We can easily see a smaller development (135 units) of homes like this being constructed along Gaffey Street, south of the Ponte Vista site.

I wonder how many, if any, of these housing units being built there will be occupied by renters or those who lease. 

Product Types 2-5 consists of 439 'townhomes', 'duplexes', and 'flats'. It appears that the majority number of units of these types are 'flats'. How many people do you feel would be interested in being owner/residents in a development with so many rental and leased units? 

I feel there is a comparable development to what might occur at Ponte Vista, with the currently planned product types and it is called Miraleste Canyon Estates.

Miraleste Canyon Estates is a housing development originally called Laurel Tree Apartments and it is between Miraleste Drive and Western Avenue.

Some years ago, the housing site changed from rental apartments to a condominium, owner/occupied site. It is fairly old now. I don't know the ratio of owner-occupied units to leased or rented units there, but it might make a good study to determine what might occur for most of the 'flats' projected currently at Ponte Vista.

To me, the more rental units and leased out units there are in a development, the more transient the residential population becomes. I think there are more traffic issues to deal with than developments where the majority of the residents own AND occupy their spaces.

Some might offer a guess that, of the 439 units of Product Types 2-5 have 50% renters or leasees, then there could be as many as 219 units added to the 553 units of types 6 and 7.

I don't think it is unreasonable to suggest that at least 772 of the overall 1,135 units now planned would become rental or leased units and I know that the Traffic and Transportation section of the Draft Environmental Impact Report that will 'officially' be coming out this Fall does not take that into any consideration.

During The Bob Years, the developer came up with a percentage of condo units to be built and designated for seniors to live at. Of course Bob would not segregate seniors from living in other areas of the complex, but he did offer senior housing. My feeling on that was that it may have been a good idea, but I learned quickly that he probably offered that as a marketing incentive to get more support for an overly huge over development from seniors living in the area.

With the new plans, no 'senior housing' is illustrated or planned. As I have seen in the last few days, there are seniors out there who are writing negatively about not having senior housing at Ponte Vista and that seems to confirm my earlier opinion that Bob offered his senior housing as a marketing ploy.

I am quite sure that should the current developers change some of the types of housing to offer seniors housing meant specifically for them, there would be even fewer folks objecting to having 1,135 total units built, on the site.

It could be argued that should approvals be given to built 1,135 units, over 772 of them, 68% of the total number of units, would probably become rental or leased units within the first three years after the project is completed.

So now, is there wiggle room in the total number of units the developers would be willing to discuss? I hope so.

I will remain strong in my work to find fewer units being built at Ponte Vista at San Pedro and if the commuinity wants R1, I'm perfectly fine with that.

I do have my high end limits. I know there must be fewer than 1,135 units approved, at the sight. If R1 (429) gets rejected by the majority and L.A. City Councilman Buscaino, some other number should be put forth. I have offered my high end limit being up to 831, but perhaps because of some calculations in error, maybe no more than 846 units could be successfully constructed there.

I feel I am settled with 'fewer than 850 units' and must consider that all of them might become rental or leased out units. I can live with that or R 1 (429).

I hope most others learn more and conclude that the number of total units closer to my wishes becomes the best for our community.

What we see and will see with traffic along Western Avenue, as well as with other housing being planned or under construction in our area, is that Western Avenue and the residents and visitors who use it cannot help but to realize that it has become more of a parking lot than a reasonable access route.

Let's give the developers 74.8898678% (75%) of what they are asking for at Ponte Vista and then let's continue to move forward. 

Remembering The Past So We Don't Mess Up The Future

Ponte Vista at San Pedro is a housing development that has been around since 2005 and the former developer of the project created quite a stir in our community.

This post has been written to remember the past and work towards the best future possible for the greater community, including residents living at Ponte Vista.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"-George Santayana. Even though the 'new' details concerning Ponte Vista at San Pedro are different, I feel if we don't remember how the project got to this point, we may find that approvals for construction are given to housing our community does not want or need.

For references now and into the future, here are two illustrations you might find valuable and interesting.

Click over illustration to enlarge it.

Click over illustration to enlarge it.

These two illustrations might offer the best overall information readers may want to help them decide how they feel about the 'new' plans for Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

Now, back to some history.

The original developer of Ponte Vista at San Pedro was Mr. Robert H. (Bob) Bisno and I reference the past history while Bob Bisno was at the helm of his organization that sought to bring a 2,300-unit condominium project to the site and call it "The Bob Years".

Bob Bisno, possibly in a final move to seek approval for a project, lowered his overall number of units to 1,950, but it is still important to remember the "2,300" units he tried to get approval for, as we go forward.

I think I need to remind readers that there was a noticeable division in our community during the period between 2006 and late 2009 when there were discussions, arguments, both good and bad times and a number of thing separated our community more than find it coming together.

A 'grass roots organization' called R Neighborhoods Are R1 was formed to fight against over development of the Ponte Vista area and taking into account what became our 'friend', the crumbling housing market, together we and the economy dealt a death blow to Bob's plans for the site.

Of course we must never forget what many of us believe Bob did to our community back then and use that as a means to make sure no other housing developer comes in and tries to over build in our community, like was found during The Bob Years.

So, now some historic trivia that hopefully, you mind find useful.

The site where Ponte Vista at San Pedro now is located is former U.S. Navy property that was used by the Navy for a fire fighting school and for housing for decades.

The Navy moved the residents out of the site in 1998. The fire fighting school, boxing club and other buildings were long gone when the 'current' housing was built in 1962.

There were 242 duplex units and a number of block-type two-story apartments built on the site and when I was in the U.S.A.F. I shopped at the small convenience store that was also located on the site.

When the U.S. Navy deeded the property it actually 'gave away' many lots, not necessarily where Ponte Vista now stands, but in areas that we now find Mary Star of the Sea High School, Rolling Hills Prep School, the Palos Verdes North off-campus housing site for Marymount College and land set aside for Volunteers for America and their housing needs.

In 2005, Bob Bisno 'won' an auction where he paid up to 252% of the opening bid for land that would become part of Ponte Vista at San Pedro. He also was required to purchase property deeded to Volunteers of America to create the 61.53 acres of land we now call Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

Bob planned to build 2,300 condominium units and he included some units to be designated for senior housing as well as providing a small retail area and a '6 Acre' public park. He also offered access from Western Avenue to the campus of Mary Star of the Sea High School and there were discussions that he would also provide a secondary access road for those residing on Fitness Drive.

You are most welcome to read all sorts of facts and figures within the first posts of this blog and I will also include 'reminders' as we move forward.

When the U.S. Military owns land, they can build just about anything in the way of housing they wish to build. Municipal zoning laws do not apply to the type and number of housing the U.S. Navy built on its site and there was no requirement to have any city zoning applied to the site while the Navy owned and operated it.

However, even during the time the U.S. Navy own the overall sites that included the area now known as Ponte Vista, the city of Los Angeles did apply specific zoning ordinances to the area.

For what is now Ponte Vista at San Pedro, the Los Angeles City Council adopted two zoning types for that area:

R 1 is a zoning type designated for residential housing. It allows for one, single-family detached housing unit built on a lot of not less than 5,000 square feet in size. This is important to all previous discussions and many future discussions, many of us strongly feel.

OS 1 is a zoning type for open space in an area zoned around R 1 zoning. This type of zoning also includes areas where parks can be built as well as areas where no buildings are able to be built.

With the zoning designation approved for what is now the site of Ponte Vista at San Pedro, there can legally and easily be up to 429 single-family detached housing units built on the land WITHOUT any zoning changes/new city ordinances by the Los Angeles City Council.

Any developer wishing to have great than R 1 zoning for dwelling units MUST receive zoning changes , voted on and approved by the Los Angeles City Council.

Bob knew that going in, when he overpaid for the land, but he didn't seem to think that was a problem for him.

I don't think he nor anyone else could have imagined what was to happen in our community and the housing market, during The Bob Years.


I have had some real interesting discussions directly with Bob in the past. I know why '2,300' was the number of units Bob set his sights on. I included that information on at least one previous post.

I have also talked with member of the development team that is going forward with the 'new' details. They DO NOT seem to be like Bob Bisno was. I feel there is 'wiggle room' with these developers and I hope they wiggle more than I have to.

For those of you new to discussing matters related to Ponte Vista at San Pedro and to those more familiar than they originally wished they didn't need to be, this blog as history, details, opinions, facts and comments that might be useful as we go forward.

For those of us now needing to get back up on the saddle of a very grumpy horse just to have to slog our way through, I hope you don't forget what we went through, how we felt and how we helped to make sure Bob didn't get the monster begun, that he wanted.

It turned out that by 2009, there was simply no way Bob would be able to build anything on the site and I think he knew that.

Thanks for reading.

Odds and Ends 196

The last "Odds and Ends" was published in November, 2010. The vacation from that is now over.

"Odds and Ends" deals with more general issues. It was designed to touch on various matters but not deal with much of the specifics of any particular item or issue.

So, what have I been doing since November, 2010? Basically a whole bunch of old and some new things.

Many readers know that I was 'retired' by AT&T in 2008 because they no longer allowed me to do my job because of my right hip being replaced. I was quite thankful that AT&T sent me my retirement funds in March, 2009 when the stock market was at 6,500. Again, thanks AT&T, you have no idea how you helped me out.

2010 found me writing much less about Ponte Vista and more about the city I live in, Rancho Palos Verdes. That continues on, but writing about issues in R.P.V. did taper off, too. We'll see how it goes from here on out, especially with discussions about extending the timeline for The Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project.

Phil and I built too many theatre productions in 2010 but we 'setteled down in 2011 and now are very happy to consider that we should only build up to two productions per year, going forward.

2012 found up constructing the set for "Camp Logan" for the Robey Theater Company, in downtown Los Angeles and we just finished building the set and some props for "Oklahoma" with Scalawag Productions, at The Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro.

In 2011 and with fewer productions to build AND after about 45+ years dealing with behind the scenes of theatre, movies, television and associated things, I though about getting in front of cameras, just to see what that is like and to make some 'fun money' being a background artist and working on student film and TV productions.

I'm now in my second year of background artist work and I also continue to work with college and university students on productions they do. With T.V. and Film, you are not supposed to notice me in the background. Think of me as garnish rather than what's in the middle of your plate.

Unless you frequent film festivals, you probably wouldn't notice me, either.

No, I don't want to be anything other than a background player for films and T.V. or helping out on student productions.

One irony with all this is that I frequently question the motives and actions happening at Marymount College, Palos Verdes, but to date, I have done 16 film and T.V. productions associated with Loyola Marymount University.

Last February, we sent to rest in peace our beloved Cookie. She was our for seventeen years and naturally, we will miss her.

In March we met "Tessa" who is a rat terrier mix puppy, born in November, 2011.

What is the difference between a rat terrier and a terrorist? Scientists are still trying to figure that one out.

She has been a handful and she is trying to train us as we are trying to train her. At 9 months, she still has her puppy moments (too many) and we are learning more about terriers, especially rat terriers, all the time.

Chipotle Grill is now open, at Park Plaza. Goody!

PVPUSD schools go back into session this coming week. Oh Boy, so does Marymount College. Traffic/Western. Western/Traffic...try to avoid Western as much as possible.

I think 850, which is about 75% of 1,135 is a reasonable number if it can't be R 1 (429).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

It's Back!!!

Here we go again.

Look for the new Draft Environmental Report for Ponte Vista at San Pedro coming out.

1,135 units, 392 of them listed as 'rental' units.

Yes, they do plan on single family residences...about 49 of them on small lots.

There is quite a lot of history beginning with the earliest posts on this blog. Much of which is now trivial but hopefully funny to some.

Please don't be confused between Ponte Vista at San Pedro and the new Harbor Highlands condominium project now under construction just west of Gaffey Street.

You are, as always, free to post comments to this blog or Email me directly at:

Life for me is now a bit more than quite different than when we last were visited by goings on regarding Ponte Vista at San Pedro. That's something to explore on another of my blogs.

So, welcome back. UGH! Yes, it's back.

Be well and thanks for reading this blog!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

It's Not Here Yet...But Something Else Is!

Maybe. Hopefully. Perhaps. Sometime in the near future, we will see the new Environmental Impact Report for Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

So, while we all wait, how about practicing on another E.I.R., this time for The Clearwater Program?

The Clearwater Program is a project begun to create more capacity to move our 'stuff' from the Carson California waste treatment plant out to the Pacific Ocean.

A new 'Joint Outfall System; (JOS) is being planned to help support and bypass portions of the two old outfall systems under Western Avenue.

The new E.I.R. has for the 'recommended plan' a new tunnel deep under our areas from Carson to Royal Palms Beach where a secondary Outfall System Tunnel shaft would be sunk and retrieval of the tunneling equipment and debris would be accessed.

The E.I.R. has attachments and maps that clearly show the outfall tunnel going under San Pedro beginning at Gaffey Street, then heading west under Capitol Drive, then south again along Western Avenue, then under Dodson Avenue, back under Western, down to a tiny portion of Paseo Del Mar where it will be accessed at the bottom of the cliff on Sanitation Department land.

Now there will be far too many folks up in arms about the tunnel going under Gaffey, Capitol, Western and other streets, but Western Avenue has be the surface area for two existing outfall tunnels, one built in about 1938 and the other completed in 1957.

There really should be little to worry about with respect to tunneling under our areas UNLESS the engineers don't do their job and something 'odd' happens. Those of us living along the route probably won't notice anything unless we drive along 25th Street and Gaffey Street, during our daily drives.

The Sanitation Districts are recommending the least costly route that would certainly create the biggest headaches for those of us living on the surface.

Had the recommend site have been to place the outfall system access shaft on Terminal Island, not only would there be little residential and business traffic issues, it would be directly next to a rail line and very close to multiple freeway accesses.

You can find out more information about The Clearwater Program by visiting: You can find access to the Environmental Impact Report which should be constructed similar to how the Ponte Vista at San Pedro E.I.R. should look.

The comment period for The Clearwater Program's E.I.R. begins on February 10 and is currently scheduled to end on April 10, 2012.

I urge everyone to demand an extension of the comment period because of events that have changed the landscape and the transit options for everyone wishing to visit the area of Royal Palms.

Since the beginning of the studies for the E.I.R. and since the time the documents were initially prepared, a major transit option literally slipped away.

Fairly close to the location of the planned outfall shaft, a portion of the cliff and land supporting a segment of Paseo Del Mar failed and it took out a stretch of that roadbed.

I feel very strongly that before any shaft preparation begins and long before any dirt haulers visit the shaft site, Paseo Del Mar must be repaired to allow for traffic at least equal to what travel over it before the landslide occurred.

While the residents of South Shores and most of eastern Rancho Palos Verdes utilize services of the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, the Palisades neighborhoods and the vast majority of San Pedro residences and businesses send their 'stuff' to Terminal Island and the city's waste treatment plant.

What that means is that the residents and businesses that will suffer the greatest impacts of the thousands of truck trips though San Pedro and all the other construction traffic, will see no benefit from the Program.

Perhaps 'we', those of us who will benefit from what I feel is a worthy and needed Program, need to discuss what is really the 'least costly' and not necessarily just look at the dollar amounts. After what our good friends in the southern end of San Pedro have had to go through more recently, I think we all need to consider them.

Most residents of the Palisades who would like to send their kids to the new high school annex in their neighborhood, won't be able to. They have lost a major route to and from their homes and businesses and now some 'foreign' agency wants to disrupt their lives and traffic with a system that doesn't benefit them is something that need much more pondering.

We need the new Outfall System. The clock are running down on the stability of the existing tunnels under Western and we have already have more than enough experiences of storm drains failing so much closer to the surface.

Let's build the Clearwater Program but let's do it being the best environmentally conscious and friendly to our neighbors as we can.

Now watch, Maybe tomorrow I'll find out that the E.I.R. for Ponte Vista is just about out. I've done those multi-E.I.R. reviews and one's eyes get tired with all that reading.