Caruso Responds to Sunday Construction and Parking Issues
By SUE PASCOE
Three weeks ago, residents contacted Circling the News to complain that construction on the Caruso project had started too early on Saturday. Those concerns were initially passed on to Community Council chair George Wolfberg and Area 5 representative Sue Kohl.
Kohl reached out to Michael Gazzano, Caruso’s VP of development and project manager, and he responded to her, “Our team is speaking with every contractor and reminding them of the rules.”
The next two Saturdays, August 4 and 11, construction, which is not supposed to start until 8 a.m.on Saturday, was already underway by 7:30 a.m.
This past Sunday, there was also construction. Sunday is supposed to be a construction-free day in the City of L.A.
One condo owner contacted the News on August 13 and reported, “People in the condos next door ARE upset about Sunday working. One lady tried to report yesterday to someone at the City and pretty much got blown off.”
The News contacted Mary Fontamilias, Caruso’s senior VP for marketing and communications, and said, “Residents are upset because it appears some construction people are not obeying City construction hours. (For at least three weekends in a row.) People are wondering if the project is behind schedule and if that’s why construction hours are not being observed.”
Although Fontamilias never answered the Saturday early-start question, she did address the Sunday construction.
“With regards to people who were working on Sunday, the Department of Water & Power was there this past Sunday and, unfortunately, we have no control over day or time that they perform work,” she wrote in an August 15 email to Circling the News.
The DWP was contacted, and its spokesperson replied on August 16, “It looks like I’ll be able to get back to you soonest is Monday (August 20). I’m just trying to get clarification on which projects are related to the Caruso project and which are being done by DWP for power reliability purposes.”
The DWP spokesperson was also trying to clarify if the municipal code (which bans construction on Sunday) was applicable to electric work when necessary for repairs as well as upgrades. (Circling the News also questioned the amount of money taxpayers paid for workers on Sunday. We’ll provide an answer when the DWP responds.)
Residents living near the Palisades Village project also complained that construction workers were parking on residential streets and in parking lots, such as the private lot next to Bank of America. Circling the News spoke to the BOA parking attendant on August 16 and asked if construction workers had parked in the lot.
“Not anymore,” he said. He confirmed that they had been parking in the lot up until the day before (August 15) and had paid by the day.
Several workers had received parking tickets, according to an August 13 email from a resident. “Saw lots of Caruso workers cars and trucks in the neighborhood and at meters in the village today. Three cars got tickets on my street. I feel bad for the workers. Maybe Gazzano will pay them?”
On the Palisades Village website under Project Updates & FAQ’s: What are your plans for parking? Although less than 400 parking spaces are required by City code, we will provide 560 spaces in a three-level underground parking structure. This represents almost five times the number of spaces provided on the previous surface lot. EV charging stations will also be available. All employees will be required to park in the three-level underground parking structure, and we will monitor that no employees park on neighboring residential streets. In addition, employees will be offered free transit passes and bike parking to further reduce parking impacts in the community.
Reportedly, close to 600 workers report to the Caruso site most days and Fontamilias was asked if construction employees were also required to park on site.
She said in her August 15 email, “We are able to be very efficient on parking because we are double and triple tandem parking all vehicles. And there are workers that also carpool. In addition, the number of workers fluctuates from day to day– some days the number of workers is much lower. So even on days where there are more than 560 workers, does not mean that we require more parking. We also have extra security guards to monitor and enforce our parking policy.”