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Panel approves final phase of Playa Vista development

The Los Angeles Planning Commission voted unanimously today to approve the second, final phase of the massive Playa Vista development between the Westchester bluffs and Marina del Rey.

In casting his "yes" vote, commission President William Roschen praised Playa Vista as a "smart, sustainable project" and Phase 2, known as the Village, as "the key piece, the centerpiece of Playa Vista."

The 111-acre second phase, intended to complete the vision of Playa Vista as a live-work-play community, will be built between the existing mixed-use residential community to the west, now home to more than 6,000 residents, and the office campus to the east.

The Village will add 2,600 residential units, a shopping center, office buildings and parks.

This marks the second go-round for Phase 2, which the city originally approved in 2004. But opponents sued, saying the environmental analysis for the Village was flawed. In 2007, the 2nd District Court of Appeal agreed that the city should revise three sections of the environmental impact report. In May 2008, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ordered the city to vacate the approvals.

The city revised the environmental impact report, and the approval process must begin anew, with the commission's vote as the first step toward gaining the City Council's OK.

About 60 Playa Vista residents and fans traveled to City Hall to voice support for the project.

Rex Frankel, a longtime opponent who challenged the environmental impact report, said Playa Vista, by building Phase 2, was attempting to "empty out the vault that holds our quality of life."

—Martha Groves


Comments () | Archives (6)

Yes, they finally made the right decision.!

Let’s be clear: Playa Vista currently has the right to build something the size of a CostCo on their Phase 2 site. What they want to build would look more like Century City. I don’t dispute their right to provide shopping for their existing residents—something which they promised back in 1993 but did not deliver. We overturned the development plans for this 111 acres in the Ballona Creek floodplain because the last environmental impact report was profoundly dishonest – as the Appeals Court found in agreeing with our lawsuit.

When the city planning department now says the EIR has been “fixed”, it’s like saying the Bernie Madoff affair was merely a paperwork error. They’re saying if Playa Vista fills out the proper bank withdrawal slip—they can empty out the vault that holds our quality of life, our water supply, our remaining traffic capacity and pave the last big piece of privately owned open space left in the city. Playa Vista’s zoning bank account is empty. That’s why they are asking the city politicians to raid ours.

This is a $300 million gift of the public’s well-being that is being handed on a silver platter to super rich Wall Street investment bankers. What are we getting in return? Nothing. This is privatizing the profits—and socializing the costs. Where have we heard this before?

Rex Frankel—director, Ballona Ecosystem Education Project

The right decision? This is the wrong decision!

This area is just waiting to blow up; it sits atop the largest underground natural gas storage area in the world. It is wedged between some of the most densely populated area on the planet; already we cannot suport the traffic and pollution and this is just goig to make the mess unbearable.

Next to Guantanamo and Donald Sterling's catalogue of ugly tasetless buildings, I've always thought of Playa Vista as being about the worst example of urban design imaginable. I came here in the 50s during the time of Arts & Architecture and the case study houses. Playa Vista would never make it into that world. Maybe into THE UGLIEST PLACES I HAVE KNOWN. I think Playa Vista should have been turned down in the beginning. Oh well, maybe the subterranean gas will explode the whole thing some day.

This latest approval for an expansion of Playa Vista is another environmental tragedy in a series of tragedies which have plagued the airport area. First, in 2003, the same committee along with many environmentalists and politicians allowed the only open upland to the wetlands to be developed, the West Bluff.
The West Bluff now has crammed houses on its top. From the West Bluff's crammed houses, one can over-look the Playa Vista development, which is already massive and over crowded. Now, with this new approval, we will lose the last open space that the area desperately needs. This tragedy will be realized when the red tail hawks and the beautiful blue herons die because they can not sustain themselves in the diminished habitat. Meanwhile greed, and gridlock will prevail.

What about all the open area to the west of Lincoln Blvd.? That has remained untouched as it should.

The methane gas excuse is the biggest load of crap the opponents have drawn up. There is methane gas under most of Marina del Rey and Venice. If anything, Playa Vista is even more prepared with the millions of dollars they have spent (wasted?) building methane alarms.


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