2/8/07 LA City Beat article

[City Planning] Elephant Hill Under Review
In January, the Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management committee, affectionately known as PLUM, passed a motion directing various city departments to thoroughly review a 14-year-old environmental impact report used to approve a 24-home development over strenuous community objections in the Northeast L.A. neighborhood of El Sereno.
Despite assurances from developer Monterey Hills Investors that the city has no authority to ask for a supplemental EIR, council members Jose Huizar, Ed Reyes, and Jack Weiss approved the motion.
In addition to a room full of residents, officials from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Mujeres de la Tierra, and the Arroyo Seco Foundation joined a representative from state Assemblymember Kevin de Leon’s office and an attorney from the National Resources Defense Council’s environmental justice project in testifying to troubling changes in conditions surrounding the development proposal since its approval, such as the possible presence of an underground stream and a curiously expanding project footprint, as well as the overall urgent lack of open space in the area.
Community members have been fighting this particular development for over 10 years. Should city departments now report back that the original EIR was flawed and a supplemental study is warranted, El Sereno’s residents could end up with a powerful tool for ultimately blocking the proposal. Should the city not make that determination, community members might lose their last avenue of appeal.
“If it’s such a great project, why are [the developers] so afraid of doing a new environmental impact report?” asked Casey Reagan, an El Sereno resident. “What’s another five or ten thousand dollars to conduct the study, when they’re going to make millions off of these homes?”
The city now has 45 days to find out.
–Mindy Farabee

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