The City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety has cited a residential housing project in the Oxford Triangle near Marina del Rey for violations of written development agreements, say department officials.
All inspections at 3721 S. Carter Ave., a 298-apartment complex under construction, have been suspended as of Tuesday, November 13th. The developer of the project, JPI West, is a Carlsbad-based real estate development company.
The order states that all inspections are suspended due to violations of conditions of the project agreement, which means that the developer will be permitted to perform only certain types of construction work until the violations are corrected.
“[JPI] is very limited in the scope of work that they can do,” confirmed Robert Steinbach, chief inspector of the Department of Building and Safety.
The order states, “A site inspection reveals that parking and staging of construction vehicles on 3200 Thatcher Ave., adjacent to the project, has occurred in violation of condition 23 of APCW 2002-7626 CDP-SPP-SPR-MEL and that truck traffic to the subject site has been through the Oxford Triangle Specific Plan residential streets in violation of condition 24 (construction-related access).”
Steinbach said that JPI trucks traveling to the construction site have been using residential streets — a major complaint of homeowners who live near the project.
“Apparently, some trucks have been traveling down Thatcher Avenue because it was difficult for them to make the turn from Lincoln Boulevard,” he explained.
Homeowners of The Oxford Triangle, a well-groomed neighborhood bordered by Washington Boulevard on the north, Lincoln Boulevard on the east, and Oxford Avenue, say that the real estate development company has not honored its development approvals agreements and has disturbed the once-relatively-quiet neighborhood by allowing construction crews to use their streets to gain access to the job site, a violation of the development conditions.
“This community has been fighting to see that the conditions hammered out by the developer are met,” said DeDe Audet, former president of the Venice Neighborhood Council, who lives on Thatcher Avenue where the majority of the project-related traffic is occurring.
Many of Audet’s neighbors had complained for weeks about the number of construction vehicles working on the development. Some say that one of the byproducts of this has caused a serious impact on their quality of life.
“The trucks have created a lot dust and dirt, and air quality is the pits,” said Reta Moser.
The construction site is directly behind Bartels’ Harley Davidson on Lincoln Boulevard. Glenn Bartels, the owner of the motorcycle store, says that he has complained to the supervisor at the site about the dirt and dust that accumulate in his store and on the merchandise.
“I’ve had to hire three extra guys to clean the (motorcycles) from all the dust,” Bartels said.
An inspector from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) was dispatched to Thatcher Avenue on October 17th after a resident filed a complaint with the agency.
“The inspector determined that at the time, the developer was operating in compliance,” said Tina Cherry, public affairs director of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
On Friday, November 2nd, four residents on Thatcher demonstrated in front of a Department of Water and Power barrier on their street to convey their anger and dismay at the lack of compliance on the part of JPI West’s drivers in using their street as a conduit to the project site.
According to Moser, JPI representatives called the police to have the demonstrators disbanded. The next week, Building and Safety chief inspector Thomas Scarin gave the project supervisors an order to comply with the conditions that the developer had agreed to earlier.
Arturo Pi“a, the field deputy for Venice-Marina del Rey for City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, and Heidi Llanos of the Pacific Division of the Los Angeles Police Department also visited Thatcher Avenue residents the day after the protest, said Moser.
“It’s very, very disappointing to residents who have taken time out of their busy lives to attend numerous meetings about this development and then to have this happen,” said Audet.
Moser thanked Scarin for his assistance in issuing the compliance order.
“He stuck his neck out for us,” Moser said.
The complex, called “Jefferson at Marina del Rey,” was approved in 2006. It spans approximately two blocks, from Carter to Thatcher Avenues, and features will include a fitness room, a conference room, a business center, a pool and a spa.
The Los Angeles Planning Department worked with the residents and developers to craft the conditions that JPI would have to abide by during construction.
“We enforce planning conditions; we don’t write them,” said Steinbach.
Oxford Triangle residents reported that although the truck traffic had decreased, they were still seeing the vehicles driving down their streets prior to 7 a.m., a violation of the agreement between the three parties.
Cherry encouraged any residents who live near the project to contact the South Coast Air Quality Management District with their concerns regarding air quality.
“We try to get an inspector out to the area as soon as we can,” she said.
Heidi Mather, area vice president of JPI West, had not responded to phone calls at Argonaut press time.