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Working to save the San Fernando Valley's Last Remaining
16 Acres of UnprotectedOpen Space on the L.A. River
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Background

DEVELOPMENT THREATENS FUTURE OF LA RIVER OPEN SPACE

In 2008, the property owners and their development partners submitted to the City of Los Angeles a development proposal for a 200-unit senior residence condominium complex in six  four-story buildings 45 feet tall, plus 635 parking spaces. This development would have added to the over 150 multi-family units already constructed in the last five years alone in this area! Serious impacts from this proposed development include:
  • Increased traffic and congestion on already congested streets
  • Loss of best possible site for regional public access to L.A. River and river trails
  • Loss of important water quality improvement site to address polluted runoff
  • Obscured views and airflow
  • Increased urban heating
  • Development will result in serious “hole” in the 51-mile L.A. River Greenway
  • Prevent access to regional river trails throughout L.A. County
  • Loss of tennis courts
  • Main site access would share access with Fire Station

About the Development Process
The property is currently zoned Agricultural. Development of this property would require two major land use changes: a zone change and a general plan amendment. Development would also require L.A. City Council approval of the development. The owner and developer must follow a public process set out in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), often including the steps outlined below.

These items 1-4 have already taken place:
  1. Lead agency (L.A. City in this case) issues Notice of Preparation
  2. Public Scoping Hearing (not required; a hearing was held on this project due to huge community demand for one)
  3. Public Comment Period
  4. Pursuant to the public demand, an Environmental Impact Report was required

These are the next steps in the process.
  1. Developer/lead agency prepares Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR)
  2. DEIR is issued and circulated to the public.
  3. Comments are received by the Los Angeles Planning Department during a period of either 30, 45 or 60 which is decided on a case by case basis.
  4. Public Comment during this comment period by E-mail, in writing, personal delivery or by phone.
  5. Public hearing (depends on project – not required)
  6. Developer/lead agency responds to comments made to Draft EIR and prepares Final EIR
  7. Final EIR circulated by L.A. Planning Department including a staff report.
  8. Public hearings before L.A. City Planning Commission.
  9. Planning Commission makes a recommendation to the L.A. City Council
  10. L.A. City Council makes final decision after public comment

Why Water Quality Improvements are Important
in the L.A. River

Polluted urban runoff is a serious problem in the heavily paved San Fernando Valley. Additionally, the area around the project site has no storm drains, so dry weather runoff (from landscaping and other daily uses) and stormwater flow off these paved surfaces and directly into the L.A. River. Polluted runoff contaminates all 51 miles of the Los Angeles River, most of its tributaries, San Pedro Bay, beaches north and south of the L.A. River's mouth, and ocean waters.

All of the L.A. River and most of its' contributing waters are in violation of the U.S. Clean Water Act, with pollutant loads above state and federal standards developed to protect human health and marine and aquatic life. Local governments are under increasing pressure from the L.A. Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) to improve water quality in these water bodies. Pollutants in the L.A. River in violation of the U.S. Clean Water Act include: fecal coliform bacteria, nutrients, toxic substances, trash and metals, including copper, lead and selenium. The Regional Board has established Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for trash, nutrients and metals, and is in the process of developing additional TMDLs for other pollutants. The anticipated pollutants of concern from the tributary area that would be treated by the L.A. River Natural Park include trash and debris, nutrients, oil and grease, suspended solids, heavy metals, and pesticides.

background1
Polluted Waters of the L.A. River Watershed Polluted runoff
from urban areas flows directly into the L.A. River and to the ocean,
without treatment of any kind.

Why Regional Public Access to the L.A. River is Necessary
In the densely-developed San Fernando Valley, there are few places where the public can easily access the L.A. River, and extremely limited opportunities to create a centralized gateway to the river that can serve communities throughout the Valley. In most of the Valley, buildings exist up to the river right-of-way for nearly its entire length, severely limiting opportunities for high-capacity public access. Existing public access to the L.A. River in the Valley is largely along busy streets, with very limited parking and no improved crossings or other visitor-serving amenities that would encourage use of the L.A. River Trail.

How the L.A. River Natural Park Contributes to Regional Bicycle Transportation Networks
To help ensure that planned regional bicycle transportation networks succeed, there is a need for a regional bicycle hub and staging area that provides easy access to the L.A. River Trail, nearby visitor destinations and commercial areas, and safe connections to planned bicycle routes along surrounding streets. By providing bicycle-friendly parking, bicycle rental and related bicycle amenities at the public parking garage, the L.A. River Natural Park would help encourage regional bicycle use and reduction of car trips. Extensions of the L.A. River Trail would help create a contiguous, off-street bicycle path for riders of all ages.

 

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