For Jack in the Box and Highlands Eldercare
I truly enjoyed reading your editorial / article in CTN #218 (August 20), particularly the quotes from Pacific Palisades Community Council Secretary Chris Spitz. Editor’s note: the quote was “Spitz who sits on the committee, wrote a letter to a local newspaper saying, ‘I continue to believe that demanding more parking than required under applicable law . . . is not a credible position to take in opposition to the project. In my 12 years on the Board . . . I can’t recall any instance when the Board demanded that a developer not adhere to applicable law (or based opposition on a demand that the developer should do something different than what the law requires).”’)
As you probably know, the proposed elder care facility to be located in the Highlands also “complies” with the City Planning and Zoning Code for off-street parking (the developer even bragged that the project has one more space than required), regardless of the fact that anyone familiar with senior housing knows that with 96 residents, 66 parking spaces is inadequate at most hours for the facility’s staff, other service personnel, private caregivers, visitors, and the few residents who will bring their cars.
As to the latter, the developer told Highlands residents in a letter that the seniors “do not drive,” but then in a filing with the Coastal Commission that was not initially given to the opponents of the project, he told the Commission that perhaps eight or so seniors would bring and park cars.
The developer also told Highlands residents in his letter that there would be a shuttle service for the employees thereby limiting vehicle traffic and parking needs, but that “promise” is illusory as it has never appeared in any filings with any government agency and cannot be enforced.
There is street parking in the Highlands near the site for the proposed facility unlike the situation on Sunset, but even that street parking in the Highlands is in short supply. Indeed on weekends, if not at other times during the week, the overflow parking from the proposed elder care facility will eliminate what little parking there now is for those wanting to hike the popular Santa Ynez Trail of Topanga State Park, the entrance to which is just a few hundred feet down the street from project’s site (there is no parking lot for that trail head).
I also find it most interesting that Ms. Spitz, an attorney, believes that developers only need to comply with “applicable law” while she heartily supports the elder care project as reflected in the comments she filed with the City last year as an individual (although she did not hesitate to cloak herself with the authority of her many years on the PPCC and LUC).
Putting aside for a moment the elder care project’s many violations of the Planning and Zoning Code, the community plan, and state statutes for which there may be doubts on both sides, there is no argument that the project is in direct violation of several provisions of the Code and at least one state statute. Is it Ms. Spitz’s contention that developers need only comply with “applicable law,” but are free to do far less?