Community Council Letter Presses Caruso
(The Pacific Palisades Community Council has posted the following letter to Caruso on its website, its Facebook page and on Nextdoor Palisades. It has been edited slightly for this space.)
After receiving numerous complaints from residents in Pacific Palisades, the Community Council sent the following October 6 email to Rick Caruso regarding his company’s newly opened shopping center along Swarthmore, Sunset and Monument:
“Our Village Project Community Liaison team [Sue Kohl and David Kaplan] advised Caruso Vice President Michael Gazzano of several concerns brought to us by community members, including complaints involving employee and customer parking on nearby streets and also the self-parking and validation policy.
“Gazzano stressed that since operations had just begun, the Caruso team would continue to assess these issues and inform us of your plans to address the neighbors’ concerns.
“We have been the target of relentless complaints via email and personal interactions with residents. We have observed that the problems have not abated and seem to be growing.
“Employees continue to park on neighboring streets, in violation of assurances that employees would be required to park in the garage. Some tenant employees claim that they are required to pay all or a significant portion of the “per stall” fee, and that they are unable financially to bear this cost.
“There is confusion over which tenants are providing validations, the amount of time that is validated, and the required purchase to obtain a validation. Several persons, including PPCC board members, report that the machines would not accept Vintage Grocers validation cards.
“Neighbors report that Palisades Village customers also continue to park on nearby residential streets rather than use the garage. The garage does not appear to be full even on weekends and other “high visitation volume” days. Many blame this on the cost of parking.
“Some residents maintain that at least two hours complimentary parking should be provided to all Palisades Village customers as an incentive for more garage usage; currently, it appears that the most amount of time that any tenants validate is for 90 minutes (it is understood that Caruso validates for “all day” upon proof of at least $250 in purchases).
“The validation policy as set forth on the website is unclear or wrong: it states that validation will be provided for two hours, with a $1 charge per ½ hour thereafter. However, no validations are being provided for two hours and all extended stays are charged at $2 per ½ hour, not $1.
“We believe that the employee parking problem could be addressed with stricter enforcement on tenants and the employees. We urge you to identify and implement a solution. The spacious parking garage that was so strongly advocated for by the community is of no use to neighbors if the cost of parking and the validation drive customers to neighboring streets.
“While it may be costly to offer longer complimentary parking, doing so would be of great benefit to the community. Some of our board members believe an hour or more of un-validated free parking would lure many visitors to the garage and presumably to the retailers.
“As you know, PPCC was not a party to the Protect Our Village agreement [see the signed agreement with Caruso, which specified parking and validation on this website]. PPCC takes no position on the enforceability of any of the POV agreement’s provisions.
“We cordially invite you or a Caruso representative to attend the PPCC board meeting on October 25 to provide an update and answer questions from the community about the problems identified above and other ongoing issues.”
The document was signed by the Community Council’s executive committee: Chair George Wolfberg; Vice-Chair Peter F. Culhane; Teasurer Richard G. Cohen; Secretary Chris Spitz; Chair Emeritus Maryam Zar; members David Kaplan and John Padden.