Construction Noise, Lack of Parking Has Upset Neighbors of Highlands Eldercare Building

The eldercare construction is occuring on the hill less than 50 feet from the Highlands Community Center, just beyond the tree. The photo was taken from the balcony of the Center.

Construction noise at the four-story, 64,646-sq.-ft. eldercare facility at 1525 Palisades Drive, which will have a 280-ft.-long retaining wall, has upset neighbors.

On August 5, Joe Cirillo, property manager of the Palisades Highlands Community Center just below the eldercare site, sent a second letter to tenants describing the upcoming construction. “The pile drilling will end approximately September 1,” he wrote. “During that time excavation will start approximately August 13, which will consist of heavy equipment and truck noises.

“This will end approximately October 15. During that time after the foundation opening is created, there will be foundation pile drilling, which will be the end of pile drilling.

“Noise levels from the foundation pile drilling will be reduced as it will be below the street level and transmit up and out with less lateral transmission.

“The foundation concrete and steel installation work will start during the third or fourth week of October.”

The tenants, who are within 50 feet of the project, had sent an August 1 letter to Cirillo, asking him to have the developer (Rony and his father Moshe Shram) install a sound-baffling/noise-reducing wall.

They wrote: “We are small business owners who rented space under the assumption and provision that a certain level of peace and quiet came with being here. Business cannot be professionally conducted when one can’t even properly hear the client or potential client, let alone concentrate on the work at hand.”

Tenants worried that the decibel levels will exceed OSHA and the CDC levels, and that the inevitable dirt, dust and debris from construction will coat the Community Center property.

Circling the News spoke to Cirillo on August 7. He said, “I have empathy for my clients, we’re all exposed to this.”

Instead of a noise-reducing wall, Cirillo said, the Shrams have agreed to put up sound-barrier mats. “They had to order them and hopefully they’ll be up by next week,” before dirt excavation begins.

Cirillo acknowledged that construction sounds couldn’t be totally blocked but that the “developer was following the sound level,” to make sure it was within OSHA and CDC acceptable levels.

Last week, resident Janis Gallo started an online petition on change.org asking that the City reduce the construction hours from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on those days, with no construction allowed on Saturday or Sunday. As of today Monday, 306 people had signed.

One resident wrote, “What once was a beautiful quiet neighborhood surrounded by nature, is now being disrupted by noise, pollution and adding to the already high volume of traffic.”

A 280-foot long, 10-foot high  retaining wall, when completed will abut the Santa Ynez park, a Los Angeles City park, used for hiking.

When the eldercare project was first proposed in 2016, about 1600 residents signed a petition fighting the size of the facility.

On November 2, 2017, the Pacific Palisades Community Council sent a letter to the L.A. Planning Department stating, “The PPCC finds that the proposed eldercare facility is an appropriate use. We note community concerns about height, safety, access, noise, disruption and proximity to zoned open space. The developer assures us that the Palisades Dr. driveway will be modified to exit only. Further, the developer assures us that he will be responsive to complaints about outdoor light.”

Hearings were held as local residents and the Pacific Palisades Residents Association continued to fight the size of the project. On July 14, the PPRA filed a notice to request the California Court of Appeals to overturn a Superior Court Judge’s March ruling on the project.

The PPRA said there was no meaningful account taken of additional traffic and noise. The developers revealed at the March 12, 2020 CEQA trial that the facility will include a public bistro on the first floor, without providing studies on traffic and parking impacts.

At the end of June, residents learned that the 280- ft., 10-ft.-high retaining wall will face state park property.

At the August 6 meeting of the L.A. Recreation and Park Commissioners on Zoom, at least five residents offered negative public comments about the proposed facility and the wall. All pointed out that the building is in a very high fire hazard zone, directly adjacent to the City’s Santa Ynez Park.

Commissioner Joe Halper noted that the Planning Department should advise the Department of Recreation and Parks when there is a large development in the works next to a City park.

Board President Sylvia Patsaouras said that proposed developments are the responsibility of Planning, and Halper said, “Unless they make an impact on a park, for example Potrero Canyon, and that would be good knowledge to have.”

Commissioner Lynn Chase asked if the Highlands item could be placed on the next agenda. “Could we get a more detailed report on the negative impact on a park?”

Councilman Mike Bonin has supported this project, citing a need for more housing for the elderly. Rooms are generally available at Atria Park of Pacific Palisades, located on Sunset.

The project is located in a very high fire severity zone.

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1 Response to Construction Noise, Lack of Parking Has Upset Neighbors of Highlands Eldercare Building

  1. P. Spiva says:

    In the past, I have fully supported Mike Bonin. However, his involvement in this completely out of place oversized 64000 square foot building in a high fire zone with no nearby services or medical care reeks of corruption. Is he playing with the same deck of cards as Huizar? I would hate to find out a once honorable man who I have supported and voted for has been corrupted by bribes.

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