Circling the News received the following notice sent to Tenants of the Miller Property on Palisades Drive on March 12: “The assisted living building construction will start up again Monday. The worst of the noise from drilling is over. On Monday they begin applying concrete to the foundation structure, which will take several weeks. You will hear that noise and the noise of trucks. The framing follows the concrete. Most of this will be the placement of prefab steel.”
Meanwhile, what has happened to the court cases surrounding the Highlands eldercare project?
Last July, Pacific Palisades Residents appealed Superior Court Judge Torribio’s decision (denying the PPRA’S Petition for Writ of Mandate) to the California Second District Court of Appeal. The Superior Court has not yet forwarded the record on appeal to the Court of Appeal, which would start the clock on briefing dates.
In August, the PPRA and resident Harris Leven filed challenges to the building permit and the permit for the 280-ft.-long retaining wall.
The L.A. Department of Building and Safety was to issue reports ruling on those challenges within 60 days under DBS procedures, but the rulings did not come out until December. The DBS claimed there were “complex circumstances” that prevented it from issuing the reports at an earlier time. In the end, the DBS reports denied the challenges, relying entirely on earlier decisions by the Department of City Planning
PPRA and Leven appealed the DBS reports to the City Planning Director on January 20. City procedures normally require that the Planning Director issue his ruling on appeals within 75 days (April 6) but because of the Mayor’s Emergency COVID orders last spring, all deadlines in the Los Angeles Municipal Code are suspended. Consequently, it is not now known when the Planning Director will issue his ruling.
Under the City’s Planning and Zoning Code, the proposed eldercare building exceeds the allowable square footage of floor space on its 0.99 acre lot by 20% or 10,793 square feet. According to documents that were uncovered in PPRA’s initial lawsuit, L.A. City Associate Zoning Administrator Henry Chu was unaware of the floor space limitation when he wrote the order first approving the project.
About 1,600 concerned Palisades residents signed a petition opposing the size of the proposed building. People were concerned that having upwards of 96 seniors, especially those with dementia and Alzheimer’s, living in a very high fire hazard severity area could present a problem if an evacuation was necessary.
Even though Councilman Mike Bonin was aware of the opposition from the community, he assured the Coastal Commission that the community supported it.