PROTECT CALIFORNIA COASTAL ACT

May 5, 2020 Update 
FROM PPRA BOARD OF DIRECTORS:  STATUS OF PROPOSED ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY IN THE PALISADES HIGHLANDS


Pacific Palisades Homeowners,

For the past two years, The Pacific Palisades Residents Association (PPRA, http://palisadesresidents.com/2019/03/06/recap-on-1525-palisades-drive/) has dedicated substantial time, energy and money to support Palisades homeowners’ opposition to the construction of an 96-bed assisted living facility in the Palisades Highlands (corner of Palisades Drive / Vereda de la Montura) due to serious problems with the project:

     ·   NO meaningful account taken of additional traffic, noise. And now, developer Rony Shram’s attorneys announced at the March 12, 2020 CEQA trial that the 1525 Palisades Drive project will include a public bistro without providing studies on traffic and parking impacts. Why is it that the developer believes he can add a bistro this late in the project plan with no traffic plan and no parking studies?

     ·   Building is too large and too tall, fails to comply with local, state and coastal zoning laws.  The City of Los Angeles has failed to comply with its own building code and permitted the developer to build a facility 20% larger than allowed by its own laws.  Moreover, the City claims that because the ocean is not visible at the project site it is not within the coastal zone and coastal laws don’t apply.  That assertion is false.

     ·   Architectural style is incompatible with the neighborhood.

     ·   No account taken of project impact on use of surrounding parks and trails.

     ·   Fire risk to 96 elderly, likely infirm residents, as the Highlands is in a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, with one main road for ingress / egress.  In the event of disastrous fires fire resources would likely be diverted to evacuate elderly assisted living residents, leaving homeowners and their families in the lurch.

In 2018, the PPRA submitted an Appeal to the California Coastal Commission (CCC)  (http://palisadesresidents.com/2018/05/20/protect-our-parkland-and-stop-developer-overreach-join-the-appeal-to-california-coastal-commission/) and filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate against the City of Los Angeles and the CCC to oppose the eldercare project (http://palisadesresidents.com/2019/03/06/recap-on-1525-palisades-drive/ ).  A large number of Palisades residents (1600) petitioned the CCC against the project and have fought lobbyists and political influence every step of the way.

On March 12, 2020, Judge John Torribio presided over a hearing on the Writ, see Breaking News: Palisades Eldercare Update, http://palisadesresidents.com/):

   ·    Prior to the trial, the Judge issued a “Tentative Ruling,” which was in favor of the City.  But he did not address all issues raised by PPRA’s Petition.  During PPRA’s attorneys’ oral argument at the trial, Judge Torribio appeared to realize that the entire case had changed substantially and merited further review, “This whole thing has kind of changed from what I originally wrote — I may give another tentative and bring you back, because I’m thinking this has really changed a lot. It’s changed substantially more than what I normally see. That’s what I’m inclined to do….I’m just talking about after today’s hearing I am going to redo everything, and I think I’ll set it for — because it changed. First of all, I didn’t give1 a tentative. Secondly, even on the CEQA stuff and the plan interpretation, it’s changed substantially…”  [Pg. 64 – Transcript of Proceedings].

     ·   The PPRA understood that the judge would issue a new tentative ruling and reconvene the hearing at a later date.

     ·   PPRA was stunned to learn from a PPCC posting via the press that the judge would not set a date for the court to reconvene and instead issued a decision in favor of the City of Los Angeles and California Coastal Commission. When PPRA learned of the decision, even PPRA’s attorneys had yet to be notified.

In light of these circumstances and as urged by Highlands homeowners, PPRA seeks to appeal Judge Torribio’s Order.  This is the last opportunity to do so.

YOUR HELP IS URGENTLY NEEDED TO PROTECT AND PRESERVE OUR NEIGHBORHOOD.  TOGETHER WE WILL SUCCEED.

PLEASE contribute $100 to $200, $500, $1000 or more if you are able, spread the word and enlist your friends’ help.  Contribute NOW:

     ·      Go Fund Me: https://www.gofundme.com/f/protect-california-coastal-act

            OR:

     ·      Mail checks to: PPRA, c/o Joann Barry, 15000 McKendree Avenue, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, and made payable to PPRA. 

For questions or to help, please contact info@palisadesresidents.com.

PPRA Board of Directors:  https://palisadesresidents.com/about-us/#board
-------------------------------

 CALL TO ACTION

UPHOLD THE CALIFORNIA COASTAL ACT AND PROTECT TOPANGA STATE PARK AND THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS RECREATION AREA IN THE PACIFIC PALISADES HIGHLANDS
HELP PPRA FILE AN APPEAL TO PROTECT THE HIGHLANDS

30669790_1529430465147197_r.jpegIn the image above, perspective from Palisades Drive (which is officially classified as a public scenic route), we see how much the Santa Monica Mountains parklands would be molested by this Project. This public view shed destruction in a recreational area of the Coastal Zone is a violation of the California Coastal Act.

 

THE PROPOSED PROJECT THAT VIOLATES THE COASTAL ACT


A developer, who has no ascertainable track record in construction, is continuing an aggressive attempt to get approval for a huge, highly-intrusive, 24/7/365 for-profit dementia care / assisted living facility in the middle of the quiet, hilly, residential neighborhood of the Pacific Palisades Highlands.  The facility will border the immediately adjacent City of Los Angeles’ Santa Ynez Canyon Park and will lie only steps from the trails and trailheads of both that park and Topanga State Park. Besides its adverse effects on the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, the facility would put Seniors in an extreme fire danger area.  The facility itself will be four times larger than any other structure within a two-mile radius of its site.

Over one thousand voices have already spoken up in opposition to the Project.


WHY WE MUST ACT NOW...


Allowing the construction of this Project in the Pacific Palisades Highlands would be a PRECEDENT THAT WOULD ENDANGER THE COAST AND COASTAL RESOURCES, such as the Santa Monica Mountains, by allowing developers to build whatever and wherever they want -- without regard to the California Coastal Act and environmental law.


Respect for the California Coastal Act is part of the bigger picture:
Protection of the Environment and Unique Recreational Land.
It is now our collective responsibility to take on this issue and oppose the Project.


ABOUT US

Pacific Palisades Residents Associations (PPRA) is a volunteer-run charitable foundation that fights to protect and preserve Los Angeles neighborhoods and our unique coastal and mountain environments for future generations.

More information: https://goo.gl/s9fe6q 


DONATION REQUEST

If you are already convinced, please donate now!

If not, more information follows:

The California Coastal Commission has denied appeals of City of Los Angeles actions.  Misleading information provided by the developer’s lobbyists, lawyers, and supporters and mishandling of documents by the Commission’s Staff clearly dictated the outcome as evidenced by the statements of the Commissioners at the hearing on July 11.  Several timely PPRA filings were not given to the Commissioners by the Staff as the Commission’s procedures require. Moreover, while the developer’s filings were given to the Commissioners, they were not made available to PPRA in a timely manner as the procedures also require.  But most tellingly, despite the fact that certain appellants did not even receive proper notice of the hearing at the Coastal Commission, neither the developer nor the Commission extended the common courtesy of delaying the hearing for even the minimum amount of time. It became obvious that the outcome was predetermined -- to the detriment of the public and in clear violation of law.


If the project is allowed to proceed as proposed, terrible precedents for the entire State of California will be established: developers up and down the coast will be emboldened to run roughshod over the Coastal Act, and the Coastal Commission’s Staff will have little reason to act even-handedly with advocates seeking to protect coastal resources.


The next step is an appeal to the courts that lobbyists cannot influence.  PPRA intends to engage counsel to pursue a court appeal, and PPRA already has advisors with experience in land use planning and the California Coastal Act --  but PPRA alone cannot pay for the legal services and the consultants so desperately needed to fight the developer's well-funded effort to avoid Los Angeles’ land use ordinances and circumvent the Coastal Act and state environmental protections.

 


30669790_1529430563410489_r.jpegBlissful Highlands wilderness-edge coastal neighborhood


PROTECTED LOCATION

The Project is in the Pacific Palisades Highlands and is immediately adjacent to wilderness recreational areas within the Coastal Zone. The Project will impair the vistas for hikers on numerous, popular hiking trails and it would block scenic views from Palisades Drive, a scenic route, and from Vereda De La Montura and Michael Lane, which are adjacent local streets.


THERE ARE MULTIPLE PROBLEMS WITH THE PROJECT 

If approved, the proposed Project would:

➣  Operate as an institutional facility 24/7/365, with 96 Alzheimer’s and dementia patients and assisted living residents residing in 82 rooms, far from community amenities and services.  The patients and residents would need care, often constant care, requiring  a large staff, food and medical services, and the continuous delivery of supplies.  The site is over two miles from any type of public transportation, and the staff, vendors, personal caregivers, medical personnel, and visitors must all drive to and from the facility thereby creating traffic, noise, and parking nightmares.  No true traffic study has ever been performed, and the capacity of the facility’s minimally-sized, underground parking garage will be exceeded.


➣   Rise five full levels and 57 feet above Palisades Drive, a public scenic route, at the street’s lowest point fronting the building, not counting rooftop equipment and elevator/stairwell exits.  Plans call for a 110,000 square foot interior build-out on a less than a one acre lot, with two levels of underground parking and storage.  No other building in the Highlands is nearly this high, size, or mass.  There is no other subterranean parking in the Highlands, and there is no 24/7/365 operating institutional facility in the surrounding three-mile radius parkland area around this site.


➣   Eliminate the neighborhood’s woodland character and protected view sheds of and from protected wilderness, all of which would be lost for future generations. Views from public scenic routes and public hiking trails and trailhead areas would be impacted.  Trail views would be destroyed from below in the City’s Santa Ynez Canyon Park, where the massive Project would replace riparian oak, sycamore and underbrush.  From the surrounding ridgeline and ridge top trails, the once homogenous residential community would become dominated by the institutional facility -- with visual, air, and noise pollution -- which would impact the wilderness tranquility and serenity of the area.  Such view destruction and lack of conformity with the coastal woodlands character of the surroundings is a clear violation of the California Coastal Act.


➣   Reduce or eliminate parking for recreational access and increase local traffic congestion, which would impair access by hikers and park-goers from enjoying this unique coastal wilderness area.  The very popular Santa Ynez Canyon trail entrance to Topanga State Park is within a few hundred feet from the entry to the facility, and three other popular trailheads are within a few thousand feet from the site.  There are no parking lots for all but one of these trailheads, and it is a very small lot; overflow parking from the facility will consume street parking needed by hikers and park visitors.


➣   Destroy hillside landforms, parkland vegetation and wildlife in the Coastal Zone: the entire southwest side of the Project’s site abuts the Santa Ynez Canyon Park, which contains a year-round creek bed and an underbrush trail less than 200 feet from the lower edge of the property line.  All the adjacent parkland brush is considered a fire hazard and would be cleared away even though it is on public land. The creek maintains a large frog and aquatic wildlife population, which would be negatively impacted.  The site’s southwestern bluff landform would have to be completely altered for the Project’s driveway and a 15-20 foot retaining wall has to be erected, which may impact the entire watershed and perennial underground sources which feed the riparian habitat touching the site.  Such land transformation and negative environment impacts in a recreational area of the Coastal Zone do not conform with State laws: the Coastal Act or the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).


➣   Require massive construction and earth removal, unprecedented in scale for this neighborhood, for at least two years. The landform earth removal statistics would be staggering:  For more than 9 weeks: at least 30 dump trucks loading at a rate of 6 per hour, five days a week, using 10,000+ gallons of diesel fuel, with the trucks idling their diesel engines waiting to enter the site, and then hauling the excavated earth 42 miles to Moorpark.  


➣   Generally fail to satisfy numerous requirements of the California Coastal Act, the CEQA, City of Los Angeles Site Plan Review requirements and the clear requirements of the Brentwood-Pacific Palisades Community Plan, which prohibit eldercare facilities in remote areas away from public transport and services.  It even fails to meet the City’s own eldercare facility requirements.


We need your help to win the battle!

The developer is represented by an aggressive Century City law firm, a political PR firm, and has spent heavily to ramrod this Project through the approval process -- using every advantage money can buy.


PPRA seeks to raise substantial funds to preserve the Palisades’ community treasures, to defeat this, and to prevent a precedent for other developments adverse to the Coast and Coastal resources.


Please contribute to PPRA to pay for the legal efforts to appeal the City’s and Coastal Commission’s approvals and seek a use of the property that is fair and appropriate for the Highlands and the surrounding Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area.

 

Foundations or persons considering larger private gifts please contact PPRA at 1-310-67-COAST or via email: Info@palisadesresidents.com


THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Sincerely,

Pacific Palisades Residents Association, an IRS 501(c)(3) charity.



ADDITIONAL DIAGRAMS & PHOTOS

NEGATIVE IMPACT TO TRAILHEADS ACCESS & PUBLIC STREET PARKING:

30669790_1529431088910236_r.jpeg


ELIMINATION OF PROTECTED PUBLIC SCENIC VIEWS OF COASTAL PARKLAND
(All scaled renderings where done by an A.I.A. licensed architect based on developer’s plans):

30669790_1529443862240097_r.jpeg


TERMS OF DONATION:


Each contribution to PPRA will be greatly appreciated. PPRA and each contributor agree as follows:

1.   All contributions will be disbursed for the payment of legal and consulting fees incurred by PPRA and/or other coordinating parties in opposing the proposed eldercare Project.  The payment of costs incurred by PPRA associated with its opposition to the Project may include costs for filing fees, digitizing and reproduction of documents, postage and courier costs, local travel and the cost of retaining experts to compile and prepare information and provide testimony relevant to the opposition to the Project.  The disbursement of contributed funds for Project opposition purposes will be under the sole control of PPRA, which will not receive any compensation out of the contributions.

2.   The making of a contribution does not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the contributor and any lawyer employed by PPRA or between the contributor and PPRA.


3.   PPRA will endeavor to provide reasonable updates on the opposition status via social media, but it may not be able to disclose certain information due to the need to preserve privileged and/or strategic confidentiality.  Each contributor agrees not to contact PPRA’s lawyers or consultants without their request for such contact, and neither PPRA, its lawyers, nor its consultants are obligated to respond to unsolicited contact efforts by contributors.

4.   No assurance of success or any particular outcome with regard to the specific opposition efforts to this or other targeted developments is provided by PPRA, its lawyers, or consultants.  For instance, it is possible that the opposition efforts and the expenditure of contributed amounts will not have any effect on appellate bodies, the City of Los Angeles, or Coastal Permit applications submitted by the owner of the property or the proposed eldercare Project or future oppositions efforts undertaken by PPRA.

5.   Pacific Palisades Residents Association is a 60 year old, all volunteer non-profit community wide organization involved in land planning and the environmental protection of coastal and mountain resources while upholding the California Environmental Quality Act.  If the entirety of all contributions made to PPRA are not utilized for the fees and costs as described above, any excess will be used to support future PPRA efforts to protect the environment.

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Organizer

Pacific Palisades Residents Association Pacific Palisades 
Organizer
Pacific Palisades, CA
Pacific Palisades Residents Association Inc 
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