Suggests leaving section of Playa Vista land as open space

To the Editor:

In regards to the March 11th Argonaut article “Current and past pledges come to forefront as council committee approves EIR for the Village:” The Sierra Club’s proposed alternative to the massive upzoning (30 to 40 times its current zoning) of this property is to approve the grocery and retail center that Playa Vista residents want clustered on Jefferson Boulevard and leave the rest of the land as open space with a water treatment wetland that would help handle the Playa Vista street runoff, reducing the amount that currently goes into the fresh water marsh west of Lincoln Boulevard.

The water treatment wetlands could be sports fields for the community in the dry season, and there could be a native plant garden and land for the Gabrielino Indians for a cultural center where they could respectfully bury their ancestors’ remains that were dug up by Playa Capital.

It is time to give this culture in our society the respect it deserves for its burial sites.

This proposal would also help support the Ballona Ecological Preserve that taxpayers bought in 2003. Already, wildlife is having a hard time crossing Lincoln, Jefferson, and Culver boulevards.

If Playa Capital is given a large upzoning to build another 2,600 condos and a large regional shopping center, it will reportedly bring an additional 24,000 car trips a day to this area. Such an intense type of development is incompatible in our opinion with a precious wildlife preserve.

Kathy Knight, conservation chair Sierra Club Airport Marina Group

Offers perspective on recent Argonaut stories

To the Editor:

Great article about all the outrageous development that is going on in the Marina (Argonaut March 25th issue). It even included a parcel map for those of us who are parcel-challenged.

I had to look up “massing” and “term sheet,” and when did “visitor-serving” creep into our lexicon? Now we can see Woodfin is east of Via Marina as pointed out in a letter.

The bike folks should look at the map to see that there is no Washington Boulevard/Admiralty Way intersection. That non-intersection is hardly the only one that connects to the beach bike path. And just because their count showed only 15 percent of riders are women does not mean that it is just a safety issue.

The bird folks should also look at the map to see that the least tern colony on Venice Beach is not north of the harbor and that the parking lot is not east of Oxford Basin. Maybe a compass rose would help them to be less geographically-challenged even though the map is oriented correctly.

What will happen to the birds in the trees at “Parcel OT” when the seniors move in? After all, birds should only be allowed to stay in the Marina “as long as their presence is compatible with humans,” unlike the Orcutt’s Yellow Pincushion, which seems to have stopped the Ballona Lagoon project.

How come the discovery of another patch of these flowers “shows that they are even more imperiled than we thought,” causing them to be upgraded on the endangered list?

Then the picture of Roy van de Hoek and Marcia Hanscom, co-directors of Ballona Institute, inside the protective fence just proves the point “that it will not dissuade anyone who wants to gain access.”

Finally, nice to see the county has money to squander on resurfacing/restriping the parking lot at Fisherman’s Village. What part of “fix potholes first” don’t they comprehend? And where is our bell?

Peter Crank, Marina del Reybell?

Claims hotel project does not meet Specific Plan requirements

To the Editor:

Last week, The Argonaut published a letter explaining how the 19-story Woodfin Hotel project (The Argonaut, March 18th) should not be permitted to be built on the east (water) side of Via Marina, due to aesthetic, practical, and even moral reasons.

I would like to add what I believe are some legal reasons why the Woodfin project is not permitted.

Sec. 22.46.1040 of Los Angeles County’s Marina del Rey Specific Plan (viewable online at http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/project/marina_specific-plan.pdf) clearly calls for “[a] modified ‘bowl concept’ consisting of a skyline of taller buildings around the outer and northern edges of the Marina, with lower buildings on the moles.

The concept will “enhance the image of the Marina and will ensure adequate sunlight and wind circulation over the water basin” (emphasis added).

The same section says, “[v]iew corridors to maintain and enhance public views of the harbor are a priority of this plan” (emphasis added).

Section 22.46.1050 defines a view corridor as “an area located between the water and the first public road open to the sky and allowing uninterrupted views of the harbor from the road to the waterside, at ground level.”

There is no way that building what I believe would be the tallest building in the entire Marina west of Lincoln Boulevard, on or near the inner and southern edges of the Marina rather than the outer and northern edges, could conceivably meet the Specific Plan’s “bowl” requirement for construction in the Marina, including the sunlight and wind circulation requirements.

The Woodfin project would literally turn the “bowl” concept upside down. Likewise, according to the Woodfin design drawings, it is difficult to see how this massive project could meet the Specific Plan’s “view corridor” requirement, given that the project would be located “between the water and the first public road,” i.e., Via Marina.

In short, as the Specific Plan makes clear, viewing and enjoyment of the Marina is for everyone, not just a chosen few who live around the water’s edge.

According to the Web site for the citizens group We Are Marina del Rey (http://wearemdr.com), an appeal has been filed with the county Board of Supervisors regarding the Regional Planning Commission’s approval of the Woodfin project.

It seems to me that a lawsuit to stop this alleged illegal construction project is also in order.

Matthew D. Emmer, Marina del Rey

Calls for law ending all jet traffic at Santa Monica Airport

To the Editor:

Regarding the article “Congresswoman Harman promises not to use jets at Santa Monica AirportÖ” (Argonaut March 25th issue):

Congresswoman Jane Harman has promised not to use Santa Monica Airport (SMO) for “personal” travel. That is a lawyerly way of avoiding a promise not to use the airport at all.

Since she is a public servant, much of Harman’s air travel would come under the heading of the people’s business rather than personal business.

Will she also make a promise not to use SMO for any of her jet travel?

The Hump restaurant at SMO voluntarily and rightly decided to close after being caught committing the unpardonable act of serving whale meat. Would Harman be willing to suggest to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) that SMO be closed to all jet traffic, not just the largest jets?

Allegedly, SMO is and has been committing another serious environmental transgression. SMO and the FAA have tried to ignore years of complaints from neighbors about the toxic jet fumes that have been blasting into their homes.

Although Harman backed the City of Santa Monica on its efforts to block the fastest jets from using SMO, what we actually need is legislation to end all jet traffic in and out of SMO.

Could or would Harman use her considerable power to make a real effort at protecting the health and well-being of her constituents?

Gwen Rinehart, West Los Angeles

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