Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on efforts across California to preserve and connect our Parks & Wildlife Corridors



WE POST NEWS THREE WAYS:
1. long detailed stories on blogspot (here!)
2. short messages on Twitter
3. automated news feeds from CA enviro websites in the right-hand column which change frequently and are not archived by our website (that's why we now have a twitter account to permanently capture the memorable feeds)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

--------------------------------
L.A. City's Largest Development Wipes Out Before the Appeals Court


Ballona Developers Not Only Lose Their Building Permits and EIR, They Lose Their High Density Zoning

The court repeatedly called the City and developer’s statements “untrue”, describing the project’s environmental analysis as “illusory” and “materially misleading”.

The full 114 page ruling may be read at the Court’s website: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/nonpub/B189630.DOC


Read the full press release: http://ballona.blogspot.com/2007/09/playa-vista-loses-huge-case-to.html

The Court Ruled in favor of the environmental group plaintiffs on three issues. The following is the issue won by BEEP:

THE FALSE DOWNZONING (ISSUE IS IN BEEP’S CASE) :

The Land Use impact analysis that the court found so troubling was that the project was claimed as a huge downzoning, and therefore a huge down-sizing of impacts to the surrounding communities compared to a project Playa Vista claimed they were legally entitled to build. Playa Vista claimed they had the right to build a project including over 2.5 million square feet of office and retail space that would dump 36,000 cars a day onto local streets. In contrast, Playa Vista touted their proposed condominium and office/retail project as dumping only 24,000 cars a day onto local streets, and that this was a huge concession based on what they were legally allowed. The Court agreed with BEEP that Playa Vista was not allowed to build this threatened project, but only 108,000 square feet of office space on the 111 acre site. The actual zoning of the site allowed a development that would dump 1568 cars a day onto local streets, or a difference between what Playa Vista claimed they were entitled to and the true zoning of 15 to 1. So what Playa Vista and the City claimed was a huge downsizing of their project was in fact a huge increase in Playa Vista’s development rights. The public had a right to know the true project that was being considered by the City Council. The court repeatedly called the City and developer’s statements “untrue”, describing the project’s environmental analysis as “illusory” and “materially misleading”.

The reason Playa Vista claimed they were entitled to such a huge project was based on proposals they had made in the 1990’s. However, the Court agreed with BEEP that Playa Vista had used up those development rights in their 300-plus acre First Phase project approved in 1993 and 1995, , which was marked by controversies over wetlands, endangered species, traffic and a huge taxpayer-subsidized benefit package granted by then-Governor Pete Wilson and then-Mayor Richard Riordan.

Because Playa Vista and the City claimed that the zoning of the land allowed such a huge amount of development, it tainted the review of the legally mandated alternatives to the project, such as a regional park or wetlands restoration, by making them all “infeasible” due to the cost of buying the land.

The Court’s action returns the zoning on the land back to the 108,000 square foot office building that was the true zoning at the beginning of the EIR process.

Rex Frankel, Director of the Ballona Ecosystem Education Project stated, “If Playa Vista wants to build more than that, they will have to honestly admit to the public what they want and why they should be granted such a huge upzoning gift by the City Council, and why they deserve even more corporate welfare than they got in their first phase project. This victory for the people of Los Angeles is a victory for telling the truth on development decisions. The Court didn’t accept the developer’s masquerade about benefits to the public that didn’t actually exist. Playa Vista and the City threatened the public with a monster development that they could never build as a club to beat us into submission and accept a slightly smaller, but still enormous, project. In fact, the Court agreed with us that Playa Vista never had the right to build this monster project.”

Briefs in BEEP's case can be found on their website, http://saveallofballona.org/

Tax deductible donations to BEEP’s legal fund can be mailed to BEEP at P.O. Box 451153, Los Angles, CA 90045



No comments: