Residents Battle Mansionization

By Cheryl Zomber

And they say all politics is local.” Never did I give much thought to this phrase, and not until I became a spokesperson for the Marquez Knolls Property Owners Association) did this phrase ring true.

MKPOA represents approximately 1,250 homes that are primarily one-story, mid-century or ranch style, less than 3,000 sq. ft. Open-air space, privacy, spectacular views and the joys of nature abound. It is a sanctuary from the stress of the city.

However, this sanctuary is threatened. Through our hotline and at meetings, residents complain that massive developments are creating a looming or lack of privacy effect and, in many instances, detracting or obstructing views, whereby causing a decline not only in their home’s use and enjoyment but also its value.

Based on these complaints, MKPOA passed a motion in support of amendments to the City’s Baseline Hillside Ordinance. The intent was not to discourage development, but rather to encourage development in line with Marquez Knolls’ character.

Other homeowners in Pacific Palisades experience mansionization as the norm and understandably want to preserve their property values by being able to build the same as their neighbors. Not so in Marquez Knolls, where mansionization is the exception not the norm.

Earlier this year, I discussed these concerns with Councilman Mike Bonin, who seemed surprised because he understood Palisadians were opposed to the amendments based on meetings at realtors’ offices with developers, architects and city planners (not with residents).

Tricia Keane with Bonin’s office subsequently visited our Marquez Knolls community and then stated she understood why MKPOA supported the amendments.

However, opinions that differ with Bonin appear to fall on deaf ears. Two hours prior to the start of MKPOA’s June 15 annual meeting where she was to present, Keane sent out a letter from Bonin indicating that the amendments create an “issue” for Palisadians.

Keane subsequently admitted that this letter did not take into account MKPOA’s position and promised to have Bonin clarify how his position differs from MKPOA. As of July 1, there is still no letter from Bonin.

I recently attended a City meeting in Cheviot Hills, where civility was at its best and differed from the openly hostile comments directed toward City Planning representatives at a meeting at Palisades High on June 2. At Cheviot Hills, Vince Bertoni, director of City Planning, stated his overriding goal was to respond to residents’ concerns and preserve neighborhoods. However, he noted, based on information from Bonin, Pacific Palisades was the exception in opposing amendments to curtail over-building.

After I explained that this was contrary to con- cerns of Marquez Knolls residents, City Planning said they are “tentatively” scheduling a meeting for July 13, one day prior to City Planning denying or accepting the amendments. Will the voices of Marquez Knolls really be heard, and, at this late date?

Save the Neighborhood. Voice your concerns to: vince.bertoni@lacity.org, tom.rothmann@ lacity.org, christine.saponara@lacity.org with a copy to mike.bonin@lacity.org and info@marquezknolls.com.

Cheryl Zomber is the vice president of MKPOA.

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