The Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa del Rey’s Planning, Land Use and Development Committee will recommend a complete environmental impact report (EIR) for a proposed development project on what local residents call “Toes Beach” in Playa del Rey, after many community residents spoke out against the project.
Sea Glass Holdings, LLC, wants to construct 35 townhomes and 4,000 square feet of commercial or retail space on the beach at 6719-6823 Pacific Ave., Playa del Rey.
The Neighborhood Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee addressed the proposed project at its meeting Tuesday, December 14th.
After many Playa del Rey and Westchester residents expressed opposition to the beach project — most requesting an EIR — the committee voted to recommend to the full Neighborhood Council that a full EIR be prepared at the Toes Beach site.
Derek Jones, a land use attorney representing Sea Glass, said the city is reviewing an environmental assessment form, which looks at a variety of potential impacts, but that the developer has not done an EIR.
The lack of an EIR is a major complaint of many members in the community who oppose the project, including an organization of residents called Save Our Dunes.
John Hughes — a spokesman for Save Our Dunes — said the community requests a full EIR and wants to have input in the decision that could affect the Toes Beach dunes.
“The dunes are a significant part of the nature of our neighborhood,” Hughes said. “We’re asking for the committee’s support to demand an EIR.”
The Save Our Dunes group wants to acquire the 3.3 acres of land and put the land in public trust.
Hughes said Save Our Dunes is interested in arranging a land swap with Sea Glass.
“The intent and goal at this time is to develop the property,” Jones said.
He said that many community residents are unaware that the Toes Beach property, which was purchased by Sea Glass in August, has been “privately owned since the birth of Playa del Rey.”
Residents have expressed a major concern for the impact to traffic with the proposed development, but Jones said that a traffic analysis concluded that the levels of service would not worsen at any of the four area intersections.
“You insult our intelligence with that traffic data,” Playa del Rey resident Christina Machado told the developers.
“Every day the traffic is horrible because of a series of developments,” resident Ralph Shapiro said. “This is just for profit.”
While Sea Glass officials say their intent is to develop a small residential project that will enhance the community, residents respond that they are not interested in a project that carries potential impacts to the environment and community.
“We don’t want a Hermosa Beach,” resident Natalie Lasseff said. “Our community doesn’t want this project.”
Angela Reddock and Flora Gil Krisiloff, two candidates for the Los Angeles City Council District 11, attended the meeting in support of the residents’ argument.
“This is not just another three acres,” Krisiloff said. “This is oceanfront, and it deserves full attention and process.”
“This is about preserving the neighborhood and its quality of life,” Reddock said.
Many residents agreed with Reddock, saying the Toes Beach dunes are a part of Playa del Rey’s identity, which would be affected with the proposed development.
“The dunes are our gateway to the sea and part of what makes the center of Playa del Rey so unique and charming,” Westchester resident Frances Hawkings said.
“Our lives are made richer by the enjoyment of open spaces,” said Ryan Miller, who was part of a group of students wearing T-shirts saying “Save Playa.”
While the most popular request by the community residents was an EIR, Jones said the city environmental review should be finished within the next few months.
If the potential for significant impacts is found, then the city will ask for an EIR, he said.
Planning and land use committee chair Jim Ferro said the Neighborhood Council should address the EIR recommendation at its Tuesday, January 11th, meeting.
“One of the crucial elements to making Playa del Rey what it is are the dunes, but now they are threatened to be taken away forever,” resident Ken Anderson said.
“Once they’re gone they don’t come back again,” he added.