Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn has joined many residents of Playa del Rey and other local community members in supporting a full environmental impact report (EIR) for a proposed development project on what is popularly known as Toes Beach in Playa del Rey.
The project developer, Sea Glass Holdings, has proposed constructing 35 townhomes and 4,000 square feet of commercial or retail space along 3.3 acres of the beach at 6719-6823 Pacific Ave., Playa del Rey.
In a letter Thursday, February 3rd, addressed to city planning director Con Howe, Hahn recommends a “full and exhaustive” EIR before any proposed development takes place on Toes Beach.
“Toes Beach in Playa del Rey, features the last, remaining beachfront coastal dunes along the L.A. portion of the Santa Monica Bay,” Hahn wrote. “In short, this special area is one of L.A.’s natural gems.
“Toes Beach is a pristine, environmentally sensitive parcel of land and we must do all we can to keep it that way.”
The proposed project has been opposed by many residents and local community members who claim the development carries potential impacts on the Playa del Rey community and environment.
Residents and some community groups, including the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/ Playa del Rey have also requested a complete EIR for the project.
Sea Glass representatives have said the city is reviewing an environmental assessment of the project, but the developer has not prepared an EIR.
Hahn’s letter says the Toes Beach dunes provide an ecosystem for many birds and other species.
Save Our Dunes is one of the local groups that is opposing the proposed project and has demanded an EIR.
John Hughes, a Save Our Dunes member, said the group is pleased to have the support of Hahn, but is unsure of how the mayor’s support will affect the project.
“We’re very excited that Mayor Hahn should write the letter and we’re excited about his support,” Hughes said. “But our concern is what that really means.”
Hahn is seeking re-election and faces several serious opponents in the city primary election Tuesday, March 8th.
Hughes said he is unsure whether the mayor’s letter is a “genuine political statement or a political maneuver.”
Sahar Moridani, Hahn press deputy, said the mayor is aware of the importance of the land to the city and he supports preserving the precious beachfront dunes.
“He recognizes that families come from all over the city to enjoy the land,” Moridani said.
The Toes Beach property is privately owned and was purchased by Sea Glass in August.
While the mayor understands that the land is not within his control, he encourages the Los Angeles City Planning Department to request a full EIR, Moridani said.
Save Our Dunes sent a petition opposing the beach project to Hahn, the Los Angeles City Council and the Los Angeles Planning Commission.
Save Our Dunes has already collected 888 petition signatures and an additional 197 signatures through its Web site, www.saveourdunes.org
About 70 to 75 percent of the signatures have come from outside Playa del Rey, which Hughes said is “really impressive” because it shows how many people enjoy the beach and don’t want to see it developed.
Save Our Dunes and other community groups have not received any responses from the City Planning Department regarding the Toes Beach project, and this has created a “limbo situation,” Hughes said.
The developer’s plans to move the project forward will depend on the Planning Department’s initial response to the request for an EIR, he said.
“We’re hoping that the city will respect the mayor’s wishes and request an EIR,” he said.
Save Our Dunes is also continuing to work on a proposal to acquire the land or negotiate a land swap with the developer, he said.