(The following letter was sent to the West Los Angeles Planning Commission by the Pacific Palisades Community Council prior to the Commission’s April 18 hearing regarding the proposed Elder Care facility in the Palisades Highlands.)
On October 26, 2017, the Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) Land Use Committee considered the Eldercare Project and produced an advisory opinion to the PPCC Board that the Eldercare Project was an appropriate use for the Property. The full board of the PPCC then discussed the matter and passed the motion below, after hearing presentation from both sides and listening to testimony from residents.
PPCC finds that the proposed eldercare facility is an appropriate use. We note community concerns about height, safety, access, noise, disruption and proximity to zoned open space. The developer assures us that the Palisades Dr. driveway will be modified to exit only. Further, the developer assures us that he will be responsive to complaints about outdoor light.
Since that time, questions have been raised as to the breadth of the PPCC’s finding and the extent of the affirmation the finding conveyed with respect to the Eldercare Project. In the interest of full and complete communication, I now offer the following additional comments, which are intended to clarify and contextualize the PPCC Board’s action.
1.) With its motion, the Board intended to say only that we thought an eldercare facility was an appropriate land use at the Property. The finding was limited to the appropriateness of the use. The motion was not intended either to imply support for the design of the proposed building or to address the question of whether the Eldercare Project was in conformity with the California Coastal Act or applicable City of Los Angeles regulations including the required findings for approval of a Coastal Development Permit or Site Plan Review.
2.) The Board declined to consider, or make any determination, about the Project’s compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and whether or not the City acted properly in June, 2017 when determining the project was categorically exempt from the provisions of CEQA. The Board made clear that we lacked the requisite knowledge and expertise to engage in a well-informed debate on this aspect of the project.
3.) The Board and its Land Use Committee, in aggregate, spent approximately three hours on October 26, 2017 hearing from local residents and deliberating the Board’s position on the Eldercare Project. In its adopted motion, the Board noted “community concerns about height, safety, access, noise, disruption and proximity to zoned open space.” A large number of residents attended these meetings to express their support or opposition, indicating an extreme level of community engagement in this issue. Our intent in noting the areas of concern in our motion was to communicate the types of concerns expressed by many residents, to City decision makers.
4.) In our letter to the ZA, we noted that the developer acknowledged community concerns with respect to the height and scale of the building at the October 26, 2017 meeting, and made a verbal commitment to be mindful of those concerns. Our intent in making these statements was to bring the primary scope of community feedback to the attention of the City decision-makers, in case they had relevance in the ZA crafting of conditions or require- ments for the Eldercare Project, should it be approved.
5.) The PPCC Guiding Principles state in part, that “the PPCC maintains that planning and zoning regulations, building codes, rules, restrictions, and ordinances have been established for the good of the community. They should be applied, upheld and enforced by the Zoning Administrator, Building and Safety, and other governing bodies with jurisdiction over the approval, execution, and enforcement processes.”
It is my hope that this letter helps clarify the limited scope of the finding adopted by PPCC.
Maryam Zar, President, PPCC