Highlands Elder Care Appeal Funding Sought

The proposed eldercare facility is at the corner of Palisades Drive – the only road in and out of the Palisades Highlands.

(Editor’s note: There was a four-part series about the Highlands elder care project on Circling the News in 2018. Councilman Mike Bonin, who had received legal contributions from the developer, spoke to the Coastal Commission in July of that year.

On the Coastal Commission website, it stated that Commissioner Mary Luevano does not take ex-parte communications. Yet at the hearing she read a July 9 text message from L.A. Councilman Mike Bonin and said, “He just wanted to let me know he is in favor of the project and most people in the community are in favor of it and that we need it.”

When that statement was made, there was housing available at Atria Park, an elder care facility on Sunset, near Via de la Paz.

Additionally, there was a large outcry from the public who opposed the project because it put the elderly in a very high fire severity zone in the Highlands, which has only one road in and out of the area.

Many were concerned about the possible evacuation of 96 elderly residents, many of who might be Alzheimer/dementia patients.

In April, of 2018, more than 1,300 had signed a petition against the project. CTN contacted Bonin and asked how many were in support. He said he would give us a number, but never did.

In an May 15, 2020 interview on Nextdoor Palisades between Councilman Mike Bonin and the Santa Monica Mirror Media Group, Bonin said, “I do not think we should be adding more housing to High Fire Severity Zones because it’s inviting disaster.”

CTN is printing a September 20, 2021 appeal for money for legal fees from the Pacific Palisades Resident’s Association.)

Dear Community,

PPRA’s appeal of approvals of the Highlands eldercare project by the City, the Coastal Commission, and a lower court is in the briefing stage at the California 2nd District Court of Appeal.

PPRA is confident of the positions it has taken in its appeal, but now faces additional costs caused in part by the clerk of the lower court’s delays in transmitting the paperwork from the prior proceedings to the appellate court. Please donate today to support PPRA’s efforts in pursuing its appeal.  We truly appreciate everyone coming together to fight the good fight.

With so much gratitude for your generosity.

Our go fund me link is: https://gofund.me/d3aa959e

Jessica Rogers

Pacific Palisades Residents Association – President


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5 Responses to Highlands Elder Care Appeal Funding Sought

  1. Richard Andonian says:

    what are we going to gain by continuing the appeal process .. the building is half way up and looks like in a few months will be completed.. What is the point ?

  2. Stacey Henning says:

    Thank you for publishing this story about the elder care facility in the Highlands, Sue.
    I overheard a story about it, and I’ve been meaning to ask you or post on next door, but since I don’t have the facts, I’ve been hesitant to put it in writing. I was talking with some people in the village, and a gentleman told me that an elder care company is not building the building in the highlands, and that it’s city owned and he said no elder care company is even interested in using that building. He said the city is going to come out and say that they couldn’t find a company who is interested in renting it from the city to house the elderly there, and he bet me they are going to use that excuse to say because of that,?the city is going to use it to house homeless people. It seems like that couldn’t happen legally, but I bet Bonin could pull it off. Knowing how Bonin is, I can see this happening. The conversation slipped my mind until I was in the Highlands today. Have you seen the construction? It’s metal prefab rooms stacked. I don’t know much about building, so maybe this is really safe and fireproof, which could be good using in a high fire zone. What really shocked me is how tiny each “room” looked. It almost looks like a prison, and I would never wish for anyone’s sweet parents to be stuck in there. You can see what I saw from the Michael Lane side, go see it before it’s hidden from view. The Palisades Drive side is already covered with sheer walls. I’m not sure how accurate this story is, but if that’s what’s truly going on under everyone’s eyes, the story needs to get out ASAP.
    Thank you, Sue

  3. Sue says:


    This building was too big for the lot. If residents/citizens don’t challenge the City, then you give officials carte blanche to approve whatever they want–regardless of regulations.


  4. Natalie Tanner says:

    It’s great to see companies add additional elder care options in the Palisades. Stacey, I can’t imagine that story to be true. The building looks quite expensive to build and also is not owned by the city. I’m not sure how it would be used house people experiencing homelessness.

  5. HC says:

    A developer is apparently building the project on spec. The eldercare facility in the Village is not full. So far there has been no announcement as to who will operate the facility. Just staffing such a facility in the Highlands will be extremely difficult. Businesses in the Village are desperate for workers, and at least some public transportation is available there. The city owns land adjacent to the Highlands site, that land is not part of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. If no operator can be found, potentially the city alone could afford to operate the facility as housing at a loss. The adjacent city land could be used for additional housing. All a worst-case scenario, but these days nothing surprises.

    As for a possible reason for allowing the building to exceed zoning limits, Sue Pascoe has already provided some background elsewhere on Circling the News:

    Circling the News has learned from City records that Rony Shram has paid City lobbyist firm Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell nearly $500,000 to push this project through the City. In the second quarter of 2018, Palisades Drive, L.P. (1525 Palisades Dr., owned by Rony Shram) paid $85,449 to Jeffer Mangels and in the third quarter, Shram paid the firm $121,9388.

    In early 2016, Ben Reznick, a partner at Jeffer Mangels, donated nearly $40,000 to Bonin’s 2017 City Council campaign. The first amount was given on February 6, 2016 ($20,848) and the second donation was April 21 ($18,048 plus $700 for Bonin’s office account. An officeholder account is used by City Council members to pay for discretionary items.)

    For more, see:

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