imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Progressive San Diego Council Candidate Takes On Developer

by Mark Gabrish Conlan/Zenger's Newsmagazine Sunday, Sep. 14, 2008 at 5:48 PM
mgconlan@att.net (619) 688-1886 P.O. Box 50134, San Diego, CA 92165

Progressive San Diego City Council candidate Stephen Whitburn held a press conference September 7 to protest a new development proposal for the Hillcrest area that would erect two high-rise towers in a small-scale, intimate neighborhood, adding to traffic congestion and destroying the community's atmosphere. Developer Bruce Lightenberger, also interviewed, said he couldn't care less; he claims that as long as it meets existing zoning, he has an absolute right to build his project and neither the city nor the community can stop him.

Progressive San Dieg...
whitburn___4th___univ.a.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x800

Council Candidate Whitburn Denounces New 301 University Project

Developer Claims Absolute Right to Build on Site Without Community Approval

by MARK GABRISH CONLAN

Copyright © 2008 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved

Flanked by about 20 community activists as well as city attorney Mike Aguirre, District 3 City Council candidate Stephen Whitburn called a press conference September 7 to denounce the latest incarnation of the controversial 301 University high-rise tower. Held in the parking lot of a mini-mall at 4th and University, one block away from the site of the proposed development, Whitburn and two community activists, John Taylor of Save Hillcrest and Nancy Moors of the Hillcrest Town Council and Hillcrest Business Association, said the new proposal for two separate towers on the site would add to Hillcrest’s already notorious traffic congestion and destroy the village-like character of the neighborhood.

The original 301 University project was proposed in 2006 and approved by the San Diego City Council on an 8-1 vote, with District 6 Councilmember Donna Frye the only vote against it. However, a group called Friends of San Diego sued the city in state court to block the project on the ground that no environmental impact report had been done on it and it would forever change the character of Hillcrest. San Diego County Superior Court Judge Linda Quinn agreed, and issued an order blocking the project from going forward.

“The people of Hillcrest fought successfully against the proposal for a huge 15-story building that would tower over everything in this neighborhood and make the traffic even worse,” Whitburn said in his press conference. “So what do [the developers] do? They propose two buildings that are even bigger, and the city government says that the neighborhood here, and the people who live here, have no say in the matter. Well, the people of this neighborhood have every right to have a say in this matter, and that’s going to start here today.”

The original proposal was for a 150-foot building; the new plans are for two towers on the same site, one 195 feet tall and the other 170 feet tall. Developer Bruce Lightenberger of La Jolla Pacific and its subsidiary, Urban Properties (UP), Inc., told Zenger’s that the project had been redesigned and made taller to reduce its “massing” on the site, so there would be a “punch hole” — a space — between the two buildings instead of a single frontage taking up the whole block. He also said that the new proposal would actually be smaller than the old one, even though it would be taller.

Whitburn argued that Judge Quinn’s decision meant that she agreed “that the project had not been given a proper environmental review; [that the city] had not had a chance to look at the traffic impacts of the project and how it would change the very character of the community of Hillcrest and the surrounding neighborhoods. The judge sent the developer, at that time, back to the drawing board. He told them to do a proper environmental review, and he ordered the city to pay the community’s legal bills.”

When Zenger’s associate editor Leo E. Laurence interviewed Lightenberger two years ago on the original project, he was openly contemptuous of the argument that his project would change the character of the Hillcrest area. Lightenberger said that an 83-year-old woman who’d complained that future generations would never know of the small-scale, pedestrian-friendly ambience Hillcrest had once had if his project was built was “absolutely right. We can go back to the Indians and say, ‘Gee, we’re sorry we’ve changed your neighborhood.’ The time has come and we are ready to go up.”

This time around, Lightenberger was less in-your-face but equally emphatic that the current character of the surrounding blocks isn’t a legitimate issue for the city to consider when approving his project. “It depends on what you define as ‘neighborhood,’” he said. “If you look at the five, six or seven blocks around the area, there are tall and massive buildings in the area.”

Lightenberger said he is having an environmental impact review done on the project, but that the other parts of the 2007 court ruling don’t apply to him or his companies because they weren’t parties to the action — Friends of San Diego sued the city, not the developer — and because this is an entirely new project with nothing in common with the old one except that it’s designed for the same site. In fact, Lightenberger said that because his project fits in with the current zoning for the area, the city has to let him build it regardless of what the neighborhood activists say.

Nor does the Interim Height Ordinance (IHO) passed on July 8 by the San Diego City Council to put a temporary (2 1/2-year) moratorium on high-rise projects in Hillcrest pending an update of the Hillcrest community plan, stop his project. The ordinance restricts new buildings in the Hillcrest/Uptown neighborhoods to 65 feet and in Mission Hills to 50 feet. “It clearly states,” said John Taylor of Save Hillcrest at Whitburn’s press conference, “that no permits or applications [for buildings taller than that] shall be issued after July 29. And this developer submitted an application on August 21.”

Not so fast, said Lightenberger. “We’re grandfathered in,” he claimed. His argument is that the IHO didn’t become effective until one month after its final approval by the city — which was August 29, eight days after he submitted his application. “One of the reasons we submitted it when we did was to protect our rights as a property owner,” Lightenberger told Zenger’s. There’s a 200-foot height limit [under the previous community plan] and we have certain rights as a property owner, and that is why we proceeded with the building design with this ministerial process.”

The word “ministerial” usually means that the property owner has an absolute right to proceed with the project, and the city has no discretion over whether or not it goes forward — and that, Lightenberger said, is exactly the claim he and his companies are making. “We submitted this to the Building Department rather than the Planning Department. There are no deviations or variances. We are in compliance with the zoning for the property.”

Lightenberger is also confident that even if the community files a lawsuit to block his new project, he’ll win. He cited a precedent for a project called Los Arbalitos at 6th and Upas, whose developer prevailed in a community lawsuit at trial and won again on appeal.

During his press conference, Whitburn noted that unlike the previous 301 University proposal, the new project offers no public parking. It was the prospect of additional parking in the neighborhood that persuaded the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) to endorse the original 301 University in 2006 — breaking ranks with the Uptown Planners, the city-credential neighborhood planning group for Hillcrest and its surrounding neighborhoods, who opposed it from the get-go.

Asked why the new proposal doesn’t include community parking where the old one did, Lightenberger said, “That was one thing I thought we had worked with the community on, and it came back in our face. By adding that [community parking], it added three stories to the design — and the community came back against us on that” [the total height of the building].

Lightenberger was also asked about the economics of his project and why he considers it feasible in the current housing-market bust. “We certainly think the market is going to change,” he said. “This project isn’t going to close units in 2 1/2 years at the minimum, probably closer to three years after we get documentation from the Building Department, and two more years for construction. I wouldn’t want these units on the market now, but we think the market will change.”

According to Lightenberger, the project will still contain commercial space on the ground floor of each building and residential units above — but the residences will be rental units, not condos as in the original project.

At his press conference, Whitburn focused less on the developer and more on the city. “How is it, I ask, that our city government thinks it’s O.K. for La Jolla Pacific Development to submit new projects that exceed the height limits in Hillcrest even before the height limits have taken effect?” he said. “How long have the city bureaucrats known that these developers were once again going to thumb their noses at the residents and the people of this neighborhood?”

Whitburn tied in his opposition to the new incarnation of 301 University to his City Council campaign, and in particular his call for the Council to pass a “Neighborhood Right to Know” law, requiring that neighborhoods receive word of future development plans in time to mount an effective community response and be in on the permit process from the beginning. “Let’s work together to make sure that whatever is built here complies with the new height limit; that the public is involved in the process; that any new project makes this neighborhood better … and that our city government is working for the people,” Whitburn said.

Report this post as:

Local News

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 12:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 12:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 4:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J10 11:58PM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M30 10:20PM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 12:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 1:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 2:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 3:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 2:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 1:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 1:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 4:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 1:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A26 10:37PM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

3 Essential Videos J19 3:53AM

The System Question as a Survival Question J18 8:54PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen J18 2:41PM

Nation's Largest Voting Machine Co., ESS, Admits Lying Re Having Installed Remote Control J18 11:55AM

Du pain et des jeux J18 9:53AM

Fbi joins with Facebook to remove this report J18 7:08AM

Paraphysique de martyrologie J17 8:00AM

Asian Countries:Cambodia, Vietnam, N. Korea do not permit unlawful immigration J16 8:06PM

Children Incorporated Earns 4-Star Rating on Charity Navigator J16 11:24AM

Democratic Socialists of America J14 4:57PM

Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's J14 4:18PM

Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento J14 12:54AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Cleanup J13 4:14PM

FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution? J13 3:52PM

Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians J13 2:59PM

The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally! J12 4:36PM

Social Policy as Social Infrastructure J12 3:38AM

Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud J12 1:50AM

Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner.. J11 6:48PM

June 2018 Honduras coup update J11 3:35PM

Maria Estrada doubles down on racist support J11 1:40PM

New York Women in Film & Television Announces 2018 NYWIFT Ha Phuong Scholarship Recipients J11 10:14AM

Trapps de la domination, trapps de l'aliénation J11 1:31AM

Please Work For The Defeat Of Brett Kavanaugh And Why J09 8:54PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 1:27PM

Transinhumanisme ( transe inhumanisme ) J09 12:44PM

Google, World's Biggest Censor, Was Founded By The CIA J09 10:25AM

For a World Free of Nuclear Risks J09 8:29AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy