The Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa del Rey wants the California Coastal Commission to give speedy approval to a long-delayed pedestrian pathway project on Waterview Street between Pershing Drive and Vista del Mar in Playa del Rey.

The council is sending a letter to the coastal commission requesting that the commission “expedite” approval of the plan for the pedestrian pathway project that began in February 2000.

The project is proposed by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) — the City of Los Angeles department that operates city airports.

Wednesday, August 11th, a walk-through of the delayed project was scheduled to be conducted by California Coastal Commission members, Los Angeles World Airports community relations representative Gail Gaddi, civil engineering associate Ernie Robledo and an environmentalist.

A resident of the area, Bonnie Levine, had organized neighbors to meet with Gaddi and Barbara Yamamoto of Los Angeles World Airports, as well as Neighborhood Council Residential District One representative Val Velasco regarding the long delay of the project and what are described as the blighted conditions of the area, including overgrown weeds, rodents, snakes, trash dumped by people in cars along the streets, alleged drug use and graffiti, and general unkempt conditions.

Levine says she was notified Friday, August 6th, that the walk-through would take place.

The Neighborhood Council letter wants the California Coastal Commission to respond directly in writing to the Neighborhood Council.

Neighborhood Council president Gwen Vuchsas said a letter to the coastal commission “would go out right away.”

The project is bounded by the south side of Waterview Street, Rindge Avenue and Napoleon Street — between Pershing Drive and Vista del Mar.

Los Angeles World Airports’ representative Barbara Yamamoto said the airport has had a landscaping plan for some time and has only been waiting for the California Coastal Commission to approve the plan.

As an effort of good will, Yamamoto said “Team LAWA is volunteering to come pick up trash at 9 a.m. Sunday, August 22nd, in the landscaping project area,” and invites anyone willing to help to join the group.

Levine, Edward and DeeDee Callahan, Marlene Trice and other project supporters attended the Neighborhood Council meeting.

Edward Callahan spoke for the group, saying that they just want something done, the area is in such deterioration and it’s difficult to view day after day.

Levine said she and the neighborhood are tired of the messy, unkempt overgrown weeds, snakes and rodents, and the trash dumped by people who park their vehicles along the street.

“The area is attracting people using drugs, there are no streetlights, and graffiti is on the curbs,” Levine alleged.

Levine said some object in a plastic bag had been hanging on the fence of the airport-owned property for days, but she was afraid to go see what it was.

She said a workman who removed it told her it was a cow’s tongue, covered with maggots, and that this type of item was used in satanic rituals.

The footpath has been blocked and closed with a barrier for more than two years and the area is overgrown with weeds and brush, with only the palm trees receiving regular watering and tending, she said.

Approximately 90 Mexican fan palm trees were planted along the curbed area on the south side of Waterview Street, Rindge Avenue and Napoleon Street, next to a chain-link fence separating airport property from the street over two years ago.

A concrete-bordered sand and rock footpath was also carved out adjacent to the planted palms.

Yamamoto said the project was originally halted when neighbors with a view of the ocean complained that the trees blocked their view and were ugly.

The California Coastal Commission required the airport department to:

n plant vegetation on the site consisting of native plants typically found in Southern California dunes and prairies;

n select seeds and cuttings used in the project from sources in and adjacent to the El Segundo dunes;

n maintain available views to the beach and ocean; and

n remove all 90 of the existing palm trees in the proposed landscape area within 60 days after approval of the permit by the coastal commission.

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