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FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING & CODE ENFORCEMENT
DATE: DECEMBER 20, 2005
SUBJECT: LETTER TO THE DEVELOPER OF THE PONTE VISTA PROJECT REGARDING THE ROLE AND FUNCTION OF THE ADVISORY BOARD
Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, AICP, Senior Planner
Review the draft letter to be sent to the Ponte Vista developer, and provide direction to Staff as appropriate.
At Mayor Wolowicz’s suggestion at the December 6, 2005 City Council meeting, the City Council asked Staff to draft a letter to the developer of the Ponte Vista project regarding the project’s Advisory Board, based largely upon comments about the Advisory Board made by Ken Dyda that evening. Accordingly, Staff has prepared the attached letter for the City Council’s review and input.
Draft letter to Ponte Vista developer
20 December 2005
SUBJECT: Role and Function of the Community Advisory Board for the Ponte Vista Project
Dear Mr. Bisno:
As you may be aware, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes has carefully monitored the disposition of the former San Pedro Navy Housing site for many years, up to and including your purchase of the property earlier this year and the recent release of the Notice of Preparation and Initial Study for the project’s Environmental Impact Report. This monitoring continues today, as our City Staff reports to our City Council on important project updates and milestones on a monthly basis.
On 22 August 2005, our City Staff met with your representatives on the project site and received an overview of the proposed project. At that meeting, City Staff raised concerns regarding project impacts to Western Avenue, including increased traffic volumes related to the high density of the project and the design of the street entry points. Our City Staff was informed by your representatives that an advisory board, consisting of the project team and community members, would be formed to address public concerns regarding the project. Although our City Staff asked at that time—and again as recently as 9 November 2005—for a roster of advisory board members, no roster has been provided to the City.
On 1 December 2005, the City received the Fall 2005 “Ponte Vista at San Pedro” newsletter produced by Friends of Ponte Vista at San Pedro, which included a list of “Senior Advisory Leaders Who Endorse Ponte Vista.” This was the first “formal “ indication that the City received regarding the membership of the advisory board. However, in comments to our City Council on 6 December 2005, one of the listed “Senior Advisory Leaders”—Peninsula Seniors President and former Rancho Palos Verdes Mayor Ken Dyda—described his frustration that the advisory board was not addressing the community’s concerns about the Ponte Vista project, but was instead serving as a public relations tool for the project developer.
You are no doubt aware of the tremendous public interest and concern that your proposed 2,300-unit development has generated among residents in Rancho Palos Verdes, San Pedro and Harbor City. It was our City Council’s hope—and expectation—that the role and function of the advisory board would be to serve as a conduit for constructive criticism that could lead to a better final project for all stakeholders: the developer, the cities of Los Angeles and Rancho Palos Verdes, the existing neighbors and the future Ponte Vista residents. We are greatly concerned that the advisory board will instead serve as mere public relations “window dressing,” rather than as a vehicle for frank, constructive discussion and resolution of project issues.
My colleagues on the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council and I look forward to working with you to achieve a project of which we can all be proud. If you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact me at (310) 544-5207 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
cc: Rancho Palos Verdes City Council