Sent: Sat, 19 Apr 2008 11:20 am
Subject: Re: [LVNA90004] Digest Number 266
Thanks for forwarding Jane Usher's comments. What is missing from this exchange is information about:
1. The date for the public hearing
2. Who is going to be in charge to inform people exactly what they should be submitting and by when, i.e. before the hearing. Who will be gathering the petitions and bind them and put them before the council members. Jane has made detailed suggestions.
3. Garcetti's phone number and what each person should say when they call, maybe every day until the hearing.
Jane Usher has given detailed responses to Charlie, Vince and Rob- I guess my question is: What is the plan of action?
Sent: Thu, 17 Apr 2008 11:02 am
Subject: [LVNA90004] Digest Number 266
Larchmont Village Neighborhood Assn
Messages In This Digest (1 Message)
Time Urgent: Camerford Lofts From: jeusher@...
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Time Urgent: Camerford Lofts
Posted by: "jeusher@...
Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:44 am (PDT)
Dear Charlie, Vince, and Rob (and your neighbors) --
The following email exchange comes on the heels of literally dozens of
emails that I have received in this case. I write because I don't want your
community to wake up one morning to a huge development and ask "who let that
happen?" Here are my essential points:
1. The Process. This matter has left the jurisdiction of the CPC and the
Planning Department. We no longer have any influence over the outcome as this is
now a City Council appeal. NONE of your letters and petitions to Planning
will be placed before the Council members. You must prepare fresh copies, bind
them into an impressive booklet, and deliver these to each Council member
2. Personal Appearances. There is no substitute for a large public audience
at the hearings. If you believe that you can deputize one or two speakers, you
are considerably mistaken. It may be the case that only a few will be
permitted to take the microphone under the time limitations, but every single
person MUST submit a speaker card so that it is crystal clear that you are all in
3. The Substance. My email at the bottom of this correspondence is a fair
summary of the issues. Let me distill them further: the City has NEVER upzoned
an R-3 parcel to RAS 4, as is effectively being requested in this case.
Further, the C-4 parcels at issue are currently zoned to mass out at 1:1, which is
the most restrictive C-4 zoning possible. Such C-4 parcels have NEVER been
upzoned to RAS 4. The request by this applicant, if granted, would be
UNPRECEDENTED. Surely this domino should not fall without extraordinary land use REAL
4. The Council President. His office will control everything that happens
from this point forward in this case. I do wonder whether his planning deputies
understand the substance. I have routinely heard it said that the applicant
already has C-4 zoning and so his request is quite similar to his current
entitlements. If one were to probe the facts just a tiny bit further, it would
be evident that nothing could be further from the truth. The properties in
question are either C-4 with a 1:1 mass restriction or R-3 with a 30 foot height
limit. The zoning restrictions carry the same weight of law as do the zoning
Email to Ed Hunt dated 4/17/2008 8:05 A.M.
Dear Ed -- Forgive my bluntness, but you are unwise to stand on ceremony. I
cannot say whether the process will proceed in an orderly and useful way, nor
do I know whether the applicant will ever show the community his project.
Why wait for him since he has identified himself as uncooperative? You should
be barraging the Council President with an email and phone call campaign of
unforgettable proportions -- the community must turn out en masse. I am certain
that you realize that when only one person shows up to represent the
community (namely yourself), the community voice is materially discounted. There is
NO SUBSTITUTE for hundreds of emails, phone calls, and in person appearances
at public hearing. Jane
In a message dated 4/16/2008 10:59:52 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
Planning Commission President Usher,
Wonderful arguments and clarifications. Thank you.
Again, our major problem is that we still have no project, plans, or staff
report to critique or recommend other than some conflicting rumors and some
cryptic comments from Cerrell Associates that the Architects are redesigning
the project per a deal they have with Council President Garcetti for his
support in return for a large cash contribution to a Garcetti project in another
neighborhood and that they have nothing to show us.
So far, Eric’s planning staff says they know nothing about the deal or the
project. Eric has so far refused to meet with the affected NC’s or
neighborhood groups. Yet the public hearing has already been scheduled. Does this
make any sense to you?
We believe it would be logical to not schedule the public hearing until
there is a project to review, discuss and evaluate. There is no way our NC can
involve our stake holders if the developer’s team waits until the last minute
to reveal the project. We think this should be reevaluated. Cheers, Ed Hunt
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 5:19 PM
Subject: Camerford Lofts Project / Melrose at Larchmont
Dear Mr. Hunt and Mr. D'Atri --
Please excuse my intrusion into your email exchange.
1. Plan Compliance. All too often, the Planning Commission faces a project
that does not conform to either the City's General Plan or to the local
Community Plan. Yet, the law demands that projects conform and we must make legal
findings of conformity. The planning conversation in this City has shifted to
a topic that planning law does not support: the developer has in mind
something quite large and out of scale with the community because, in the
applicant's words, this is what will pencil out. Suddenly, the debate ignores the
essential questions of compliance with the General Plan and the applicable
Community Plan and revolves instead around what is economically desired by the
2. Sidewalks/Street Widths. You already know this, but here goes. If you
sacrifice sidewalk width for street width, you will gain faster moving cars and
a greater number of them. You will undermine the pedestrian experience. You
should not be forced to give up either if they are both essential to
3. Mass. If the lofts project were to be developed as an RAS 4 project, this
would be an unprecedented use of the RAS 4 zone. This Planning Commission
has never introduced RAS 4 zoning onto an R-3 lot. I have heard the argument
bandied about that this project should be RAS 4 because it is currently zoned
C-4. Please note that this argument is tantamount to a falsehood. Only the 4
lots fronting on Melrose are currently zoned C-4 and they contain a D
limitation that restricts their allowable mass (floor area) to 1:1; RAS 4 offers 3:1
(three times the current mass). Further, the 4 lots behind Melrose are
currently zoned R-3, but they too are highly restricted to a height limit of 30
feet. The applicant is seeking an unprecedented upzoning of highly restricted
C-4 lots and to introduce that mass over the entire 8 parcels.
4. Height. Please confirm this with Councilman LaBonge's office. I
understand that the Councilman is seeking a 45 foot height maximum for the commercial
stretches of Larchmont Boulevard (both north and south of Beverly).
Councilman LaBonge's effort is absolutely right-headed if one wants to upgrade/upzone
while still enabling some of the walkable charm to remain. The Camerford
project is one of a tiny handful of commercial parcels of Larchmont Village that
fall within Council President Garcetti's jurisdiction; by contrast, dozens
and dozens of companion Larchmont Village commercial parcels are under
Councilman LaBonge's jurisdiction. It makes NO SENSE for the end piece to be taller
than all of the remaining lots; there is no planning justification for this
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