LETTER: Regarding the City Planning and Parking

This drill rig was at the 1525 Palisades Drive site, trying to determine the depth of the fill, before the proposed Highlands Eldercare facility could go forward.

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?


Harris Levin

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3 Responses to LETTER: Regarding the City Planning and Parking

  1. Diane Bleak says:

    Thank you so much for this honest assessment.
    I am truly grateful

  2. Diane Bleak says:

    I am a concerned resident of Pacific Palisades. I live in the Highlands and I am unable to make the meeting tomorrow night due to work.

    I would like this letter read into the record regarding this proposed inappropriate building at the LUC meeting.

    Why in the world would anyone put a building at that location with no parking!!!!!!
    Furthermore, the public bus transportation does not even pass by this building!!!

    What are you guys thinking?

    This will be a SAFETY issue,
    people will be ran over who are walking in the street on Sunset Boulevard.
    People are going to be ran over….!
    The big blue bus stops at Marquez.
    It’s never gone all the way down to Sunset and PCH and it never will!!!!!!!!!
    My gosh, what’s wrong with you people?
    This type of urban planning is dangerous.
    People are going to hurt,
    Please read my letter into the record at the LUC meeting.

  3. Janis Gallo says:

    Thank you for this honest assessment of what city officials are trying to pass through regardless of the legal issues and the impact on the community here in the Highlands and on Sunset. One thing you did not mention is the possibility of a fire in Santa Ynez Canyon and getting non ambulatory patients plus the current residents out of the canyon with just a small fire road into another canyon and Palisades Drive. This is a real concern even if the building makes fire codes, we could have another tragedy like what happened in Northern California. These city officials and boards are not thinking of the community and I hope that they will not be re-elected.

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