|(April 14, 2021, 2:45 p.m.) -- At the April 13, 2021 City Council meeting, following a roughly 2 hour 40 minute hearing, Councilmembers voted 7-1 (Uranga dissenting, Saro recusing herself as employed by Rivers/Mtns Conservancy) with Mayor Garcia voicing no publicly stated position to deny an appeal by five grassroots groups who sought an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) as a means to ultimately acquire private property for a park instead of RV parking and commercial storage at 3701 Pacific Place.
The hearing item as agendised is visible here.
The appellants were the Riverpark Coalition; Ann Cantrell and Anna Christensen representing the Sierra Club Los Cerritos Wetlands Task Force; Corliss Lee representing Citizens About Responsible Planning; Juan Ovalle representing the Riverpark Coalition; Renee Lawler representing the Historic Equestrian Trail Association of So Cal; and Robert Gill representing the Los Cerritos Neighborhood Association.
The Council vote effectively approved the project...and the next step may now be litigation.
Attorney Doug Carstens (of the Chatten-Brown, Carstens & Minter law firm) submitted a 12 page letter to the City Clerk, City Manager, Mayor and all Councilmembers on behalf of the Riverpark Coalition, the River Project and LA Waterkeeper citing multiple legal grounds for requiring a full EIR (not a City Hall-proposed mitigated negative declaration.) To view the letter, click here.
The appellants found themselves in a City Council/Mayor conducted hearing confronting unsupportive city staff and CD 8 incumbent Councilman Al Austin likewise unsupportive of their appeal. In addition, someone consumed all the 20 City Clerk allowed public speakers testimony slots within less than three minutes on April 7 by submitting names of individuals who spoke in support of the project and some "ghost" speakers who ultimately didn't speak. (The telephone speaker maneuver was patterned after supporters of Mayor Robert Garcia used a similar phone-packing procedure to consume all public speaker slots to support using LB's Convention Center to house unaccompanied migrant children. There's no evidence Garcia was involved in the phone slot packing telephone maneuver on the Riverpark hearing, and he denied have done so during the April 13 hearing.
The result left appellants unable to rebut claims in an April 5 city staff report ("open space acquisition study") that Councilman Austin released on April 7.
On April 8, The Riverpark Coalition issued a blistering release charging that City Hall's report contained false and misleading statements, about the alleged infeasibility of the 3701 Pacific Place parcel. It called City Hall's report a "sham and cover-up" and said it "reveals itself as nothing more than a political weapon, a weapon against the activism of residents to save their river for parks and open space." LBREPORT.com coverage >heere. .
During the April 13 hearing,Councilman Austin opened his comments after the appellants' presentations by immediately asking city manager Tom Modica to discuss the city staff report's recommendations to acquire other LA river sites for parks. open space, including an 11 acre site just north of the 3701 Pacific Place site.
Garcia opened the hearing by allowing city staff to make a presentation. It recommending denying the appellants' appeal. City staff's presentation consumed roughly 14 minutes.
Garcia then allowed the developer/applicant to offer a presentation. This consumed roughly 18:30 minutes;
Garcia allowed each of the five appellants ten minutes each for their presentations, Despite some technical difficulties, they did so and consumed just under 50 minutes.
Garcia then gave the developer an opportunity to rebut the appellants' presentations,. This consumed roughly 9:20.
Garcia then gave the floor to Councilman Austin who opened his Council comments by stating: "As discussed by so many of the appellants in the narrative around this project, much of it has to do with park space and open along the LA river" and Austin asked City Manager Modica if city staff "can share some information about the park acquisition feasibility report and talk about opportunities the city staff report identified for acquisition as means to park equity. City staff did so, prepared with PPT slides. City staff's resonation at Austin's request costumed 9:13.
Councilman Austin made the motion to deny the appeals (seconded by Councilwoman Suzie Price.) Councilman Uranga indicated he dissents and supported the appellants' call for an EIR. Most Councillmembers (excluding Allen and Supernaw) took turns commending Austin and praising the city staff report. None moved to allow appellants an opportunity respond to the city staff report's claims -- made a hearing issue by Austin but their voices blocked by the telephone packing maneuver -- that acquisition of the 3701 Pacific Place site was allegedly infeasible. With the exception of Uranga) the Council voted 7-1 (Uranga dissenting, Saro recused) to deny the appeals and make zoning changes enabling use of 3701 Pacific Place for RV storage, commercial use, not park land.
Immediately prior to the vote, Councilman Austin asked a representative of the developer if he'd work with neighborhood and community stakeholders on buffering, aesthetics, sudying noise as project moves forward. The developer representative said they'd be willing to work with city staff and muttered something inaudible. Austin continued: would the developer include public access points from the 3701 Pacific Place parcel to the 11 acres of public land adjacent to it? The developer rep said there'd be parking access Austin asked if there's be a trail, to which the developer rep said it had been working with city staff to complete this.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Recommend LBREPORT.com to your Facebook friends:
Follow LBReport.com with:
Contact us: mail@LBReport.com