The California Coastal Commission sided with residents at a hearing in Ukiah on October 5, denying a developer’s appeal to build a five-story, 49- unit condominium building at 17000 Sunset Blvd. (just west of western Marquez Avenue, overlooking the ocean).
The hillside project was first proposed in January 2012 by developer Arman Gabaee, who presented his plans to the Pacific Palisades Community Council’s Land Use Committee in April that year and to the full council in March 2013.
In 2014, despite protests and overwhelming concerns from the community about geology, hydrology, traffic and easements, a city zoning administrator approved the project. Appeals were filed.
Gabaee and several residents met at Councilmember Bonin’s office, but nothing was resolved. A hearing in front of the West L.A. Area Planning Commission (WLAAPC) was postponed four times.
In December 2015, the applicant asked for yet another postponement, but that was denied. WLAAPC voted unanimously to deny the mitigated negative declaration and overturn the zoning administrator’s prior approval.
On July 17 this year, the zoning administrator finally issued a letter of determination from that December hearing, but it was inaccurate. Community members attended hearings on July 20 and Aug. 17 to ask for a correction. Eight days later, the WLAAPC issued a restated determination letter that accurately reflected the fact that the city had denied the project.
Gabaee then appealed that decision to the Coastal Commission in late August.
After discovering that the developer was appealing the case, residents who led the opposition campaign posted on Facebook: “We’re not giving up! The collective effort of Save the Palisades Bluffs, Pacific Palisades Residents Association, and Pacific Palisades Community got the city Planning Department to issue a revised determination letter that accurately reflects the findings of the WLAAPC against the 17000 Sunset project.
“We care about our coast. The proposed site is a fragile coastal bluff, designated scenic highway, and well-documented and well- known designated landslide area.” People were urged to send letters to the Coastal Commission asking them to deny the project.
After the final Coastal hearing, the following was posted: “Let’s hear it for the California Coastal Commission. At today’s meeting in Ukiah, they voted unanimously to deny Gabaee’s appeal which would permit him to build on a fragile, land-filled coastal bluff.”