My objective in developing and monitoring this site is to insure that Our Neighborhood is informed about the developments regarding this expansion. EIR rules require that notifications be sent to an area of only 500′ around the site. With the Freeway on one side, the mall on the East side and Trader Joes on the north the number of residents notified is minimal (somewhere less than 100 buildings). I live within that radius so I will do everything I can to notify as many people as possible of what is happening. I will accept as much help as offered. Just drop me a line thru this site and I will add you to my list. This initial “Notice of Environment Impact Report Scope” for the meeting came with less than 2 weeks notice. I anticpate that this planning process will take some time to develop. This is a long term process.
I don’t fool myself into thinking that this project can be stopped. IMT owns a property that is over 8 acreas in a highly valuable location. By any standard it is under-developed and there is a bucket of money being left on the table. They have a right to take advantage of their asset.
However the proposed development creates such density and asks for so many variances of current zoning that it will significantly change the character of the neighborhood. I am not an activist NIMBY. I respect the rights of property owners to make the best use of their property. However, their rights cannot unduly impact my rights.
When I bought my house:
- I was aware I lived down the street from a park. I now accept the negative and positive impacts of the park
- I knew I lived near a very busy Trader Joes and retail center, I have never complained about the impacts of their customers and staff.
- I could not miss the fact that the Sherman Oaks Fashion Square was near. I try to deal with the added holiday traffic with grace (okay, I don’t always succeed at that)
- The 101 Freeway is an ever prevalent neighbor. I dust often and realize that there are certain health impacts from the freeway
- I was not quite so aware of the flight path over the freeway but I now know it was there and that helicopter traffic is a given.
- And I did know that a commercial office building (Sunkist) was in the mix. I knew that this property would create certain traffic and impacts upon the enjoyment of my home.
These were all know factors when I purchased my home. My value was affected negatively and positively by these factors.
I knew and accepted what I was getting into.
But here comes IMT wanting to drastically change the rules. They want variances to:
- change the zoning from commercial to residential uses. In most cases this would be a positive development. In this case, the incredible density of the units, 298 units in a very compact area make it a negative change to be sure. The residential area bordered by Riverside, Huston, Van Nuys and Hazeltine has less than 200 single family homes. This area is more than 10 times larger than the proposed 8 acres of Sunkist property.
- It will require building a large parking garage of over 1,345 parking spaces. This indicates the huge increase in vehicular traffic this development will dump onto the local streets. This is already an extremely congested area. With the mall and the Trader Joes, it can be very problematic, particularly during the holiday seasons. This is yet a further request from the current zoning. The fuzzy 8.5″x11″ diagram included in the notice does not even show that there will be any traffic lights added to help control this influx of congestion.
- the mixed use nature of this development is looking to change from their commercial zoning to one that will allow for restaurants. As would be expected these establishments will want to serve alcohol, yet another zoning and permit change. The addition of this retail space will bring a whole different type of activity to our neighborhood.
- the Notice lists “other discretionary and ministerial permits and approvals”. At this point it is too early for us, the neighbors, to know what other plans IMT has for this development.
The big point here is: This will almost surely have a negative impact on the livability of our neighborhood, and therefore negatively impact our home values. All because IMT wants to change the rules and build this massive project.
City policy for changing the rules allows that those affected have a say. But we have to be active and vocal. The meeting on July 15, is just the first step in the process. The neighborhood will need to be involved throughout so that we can minimize the negative impacts.
I intend to do my part by disseminating information and being sure that we are as informed as possible. This notice came with just 2 weeks notice that the meeting was to take place. I assume this is within the regulations, but it shows that they are not going out of their way to engage the community.