September 30, 1997 - From the September, 1997 issue

Inside Planning: Playa Vista Update and more!

Playa Vista Update

Discussions between the Morgan Stanley-Goldman Sachs-led team that will take the lead on the Playa Vista project and project developers Maguire Partners continue. Although timing remains uncertain, final terms appear imminent. Meanwhile, the State Supreme Court reaffirmed the sufficiency of the City of L.A.'s environmental review of the Project by refusing last month to hear a challenge to an earlier appellate court decision that upheld the EIR.

San Pedro Marina Developers Chosen

The Port of L.A. selected Westrec Marinas and Koll Real Estate Group to develop a $50-million, 80 acre marina complex to be called Cabrillo Way. This project, the first L.A. marina development in 20 years, will include 60,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 700 boat slips and a dry warehouse that can accommodate up to 1,000 additional boats. Pending City Council approval, the four-year project could break ground in 1999.

Belmont Learning Complex Construction Management Deal 

The LAUSD unanimously passed a motion to hire a construction manager for the controversial Belmont Learning Complex, which is being developed by a Kajima Corporation-led team. The move pleases some School Board members who look forward to tighter controls over the notoriously costly project. Likely to win the bid is Hanscomb, Inc. a Downtown L.A. firm currently already managing another Kajima project, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. 

Phase II CEQA Guideline Revisions 

Following the lengthy and controversial completion of Phase I revisions to the California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines, the California Resources Agency held a preliminary meeting on August 20 to discuss proposed Phase II revisions. As proposed in late May, the revisions would impact 59 separate sections or subsections of the Guidelines.  

HUD's Section 8 Renewals 

As part of Secretary Cuomo's attack on abuse and waste in federal housing programs, HUD has issued much-anticipated renewal criteria for Section 8 contracts. HUD says that 450 projects with contracts expiring before Dec. 31 may not meet the physical condition requirements of renewal. These so-called "notice­projects" will be granted four-month extensions while HUD reviews them, with one-year extensions granted if they pass muster. Projects not on notice whose contracts expire after the notice date will also be granted one-year extensions. 

L.A. County Property Values Up


For the first time in three years, the County Assessor reported a 0.8% increase in Countywide property values during the last 10-month period. Leaders in valuation—all increasing at least 4%—were the cities of Manhattan Beach, La Canada-Flintridge, Hidden Hills and San Marino. The growth rates in the cities of L.A. and Glendale were flat. The total assessed value of L.A. County property is now $487 .9 billion. 

Beverly Hills Says ''No" To Senior Housing Project 

The Beverly Hills City Council rejected developer Ron Weiner's proposal to build a 67-unit group care home in their City. The project, slated for an area of mixed single-family and multi-family residences, was rejected in February by the City Planning Commission and went to Council on appeal. 

Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy vs. Newhall Ranch Company 

Hall & Associates, attorneys representing the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy sent a memo this month to the L.A. County Regional Planning Commission to air concerns about treatment of open space in the Newhall Ranch Specific Plan and the proposed development agreement. The memo says agreements between Newhall and its open space management entity, Center for Natural Lands Management leave open the possibility of inadequate or even "nonexistent" open space dedications in the pending Newhall Ranch project. The Newhall Ranch Company could not be reached for comment.

Santa Clarita Central City Specific Plan 

As Phase I of the City of Santa Clarita's Central City Specific Plan nears an end, the City will ink a memorandum of understanding this month outlining goals and procedures for future plan phases with Newhall Land & Farm and the Castaic Lake Water Agency. Newhall Land and the Water Agency are two primary land owners in the 1350-acre plan area on the north side of the Santa Clara River. 

Santa Monica Mountains Master Plan 

The National Park Service has begun the scoping process for a new Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area master plan. The Park Service, which is working closely with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, recently held a day-long seminar for representatives of public agencies. Public hearings will now begin.


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