The Community Council’s Land Use Committee (LUC) and the PPCC itself voted on February 22 to reconsider the PPCC’s previous description of the proposed Eldercare project as an “appropriate use” for the Highlands site, after project opponents pointed out that the LUC and PPCC’s earlier decisions on the matter failed to consider applicable Coastal Act requirements. When the Coastal Act requirements are considered, the LUC and PPCC should find that the proposed Eldercare use is NOT appropriate for the Highlands site.
State and local maps and the Brentwood-Pacific Palisades Community Plan make crystal clear that the Highlands is in the Coastal Zone and is governed by all Coastal Act requirements, which include not only the Coastal Act itself but also the protections of the California Coastline Preservation and Recreation Plan for the Santa Monica Mountains, the Coastal Regional Interpretive Guidelines (RIGS) and the Palisades Community Plan land use policies. Here are just a few examples of restrictions from those protections that render the use and the project NOT appropriate:
Palisades Community Plan Policy Guideline 2-3.1 states that “senior citizen housing projects [must be located] in neighborhoods within reasonable walking distance of health and community facilities, services and public transportation.” The Highlands area lacks any medical or community services, and is situated miles from any public transportation, so the project fails this guideline.
Palisades Regional Guideline B-1 requires that, “Commercial establishments should be public recreation and recreation supportive or otherwise coastally related facilities” (interpreting Public Resources Code Secs. 30222 and 30255). The Eldercare project, which is a commercial facility, does not meet this guideline requirement.
PRC Sec. 30251 requires development to be visually compatible with the character of the surrounding areas. The proposed huge four-story building, which would rise over 60 feet above Palisades Drive with only a 10-foot setback, would greatly exceed the visual impact of any other building in the Highlands by a wide margin.
The developer has continually asserted that because the L.A. Municipal Code includes eldercare within the current zoning classification of the site, eldercare use is allowed “by right.” To the contrary, City zoning does NOT supersede the protections afforded by the Coastal Act and related provisions. The fundamental purpose of the Coastal Act is to ensure that state policies prevail over contrary harmful local government policies. If Coastal Act requirements are properly considered, the Eldercare project cannot be allowed to proceed.
Robert T. Flick,
(Editor’s note: The News contacted the project applicant about the Highlands letter. He replied in a February 27 email: “Mr. Flick’s citations and interpretations are inaccurate and/or not applicable.” The applicant pointed out that L.A. Zoning had reviewed the application and determined that the project was in full compliance with all applicable regulations, including the Coastal Act and CEQA.)
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