AUGUST 2019: Jack in the Box Development and Rec Park Sewage

Movies in the Park attendees were treated to a beautiful sunset before the movie started.

Question: How many years has Movie in the Park been around? I know it’s free to spectators, but who pays for it?

This is the 16th year of free movies that are shown every Saturday night in August at the Palisades Recreation Center. Most are rated G or PG and are selected for family viewing. The first film this year was chosen by residents and was shown in honor of the long-time Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Arnie Wishnick, who passed away in April.

Answer: Movies in the Park was a nonprofit founded in 2004 by David Williams and John Wirth and then joined by Andy Frew and Brad Lusk. The men have led fundraising efforts (including writing grants), selected movies, created the on-screen and audio ads and announced. Donations from residents are always appreciated.

The DRB opposed the project along Sunset because it was not compatible with the one-story buildings. They also noted that the building across the street had setbacks which lessened the appearance of mass.
Photo: L.A. City Planning

Question: What has happened to the proposed project at the former Jack-in-the-Box location?

The proposed 60-ft., five-story mixed-use building consisting of 40 dwelling units and 2,900-sq.-ft. of retail space over one level of subterranean parking proposed at 17346 Sunset came before the Pacific Palisades Community Council on August 22. The project was also heard by the Design Review Board on August 28.

Answer: Neither board approved the current project. Circling the News is waiting to see how City planning and Councilman Mike Bonin weigh in about the development.

Question: Who cleaned up the sewage on the small gym floor at the Recreation Center.

The aging gym floor at the Palisades Rec Center was finally replaced in early July with money from the L.A. Clippers organization and team owners Steve and Connie Ballmer.

The Palisades Rec Center bathrooms backed up pouring sewage on the floors in the small gym and the officers.

The Clippers had made a multi-million-dollar donation to the L.A. Parks Foundation for the renovation of nearly 350 basketball courts in city parks. The Palisades Rec Center, because its two gyms and outdoor court were in such bad shape, was one of the first parks to benefit from the grant.

Unfortunately, on July 19, sewage backed up from the non-ADA compliant bathrooms and spilled onto the small gym floor, even seeping into the Rec Center office.

CTN contacted L.A. Rec and Parks Director Michael Shull and asked, “Do you know why the bathrooms backed up and if that problem has been resolved?”

Shull responded: “I was unaware of the issues related to the gym floor.  I would expect staff are aware and, if not, are included in this email and have a plan to repair. Kent [Hesselgrave] and Jimmy [Newsom]. Please provide update on repair.”

Newsom responded in a July 31 email: “Emilio is coordinating the floor repairs on Monday with Roy’s Flooring. Kent is currently investigating the sewer backup issue/s and will report back.”

Hesselgrave responded the same day by email: “The sewer blockage was addressed on two separate occasions. On Sunday, July 14, a plumber was dispatched for an emergency call. He was able to clear the blockage and drains to normal operation.”

Three days later, Hesselgrave wrote: “Another emergency call was placed, and plumbers responded . . . “Please be aware that the sewer system in a commercial/public setting is constantly subject to blockages from heavy use, vandalism, homeless misuse of facilities and of course the aging infrastructure and pipe intrusion.

“I am checking with Staff to see if anyone had knowledge of the water entering the gym floor and address the procedure for this type of issue with all parties,” Hesselgrave said. “The floor contractor has already been out to the site and will work to repair the floor as soon as possible.”

Answer: Park Director Erich Haas and park staff cleaned up the sewage twice. The boards on the floor were warped and had to be replaced. Supposedly the sewer system and the aging pipes were taken care of, so this won’t happen again… until the next time.

The developer did not have a permit to cut down the 100-year-old eucalyptus tree on Almar.

Question: Can you chop down a residential parkway tree without a permit?

A reader alerted Circling the News in a late July email, “This morning, at 725 Almar Ave., a beautiful, healthy eucalyptus was taken out. This tree matched all the others on this designated street and will be sorely missed. It was probably older than anyone in this town. This seems to be happening more and more lately with no one caring.”

L.A. City Department of Public Works public information officer Paul Gomez promised to check if there was a permit. On July 30, he wrote in an mail: “We checked and there was not a permit taken out for the tree at 725 Via Almar. The matter is being looked into.”

Answer: Please dial 311 or (800) 996-2489 to report a parkway tree being cut down and to check if there is a permit. If you plan to cut down a tree, you must receive a permit from the City.

Question: Whatever happened to the clock that PRIDE originally wanted to install on Swarthmore, back in the early 2000’s?

At an August Community Council meeting, Palisades PRIDE President John Padden, a realtor with Keller Williams, shared renderings of the clock, showing a traditional, four-dial Washington town clock in black and gold.

“My fellow colleague Sam Rubin has been working on this pet project for years,” Padden said. “Tonight, we’re picking it back up. There’s still a lot of development to do and we’re still talking to the City, but we wanted to give you an idea of what we’re working on.”

“I believe that the opportunity is finally upon us,” said Rubin at the meeting. “This clock will include a tribute to the late Arnie Wishnick [the 25-year executive director of the Chamber of Commerce]. The property owner who controls the US Bank site granted us authorization to use their corner to house this clock… It’s a slam dunk.”

Answer: Same clock, new location because there is no room for this clock on Swarthmore in Caruso’s Palisades Village area. PRIDE is still talking to the City.

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1 Response to AUGUST 2019: Jack in the Box Development and Rec Park Sewage

  1. Viana says:

    The new house on Almar where the tree was illegally cut down is now for sale for $6.1 million. For that money, one would think the developer could afford to replace the tree. I wonder if there were ever any consequences?

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