PLUM Meeting 9-25-2007

Today, September 25, the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee of the Los Angeles City Council held a hearing on Tract 35022. The Committee addressed both the 245 motion and NRDC appeal of the Board of Public Works action on the building permits.

Although Councilmember Ed Reyes was not present due to illness, the hearing went forward including testimony by the developer, residents as well as experts on the CEQA and hydrology issues central to this matter. Councilmember Huizar did a great job of chairing the meeting and managing the complexities of the issue and the legislative process.

The hearing included discussion about the technical issues related to the NRDC appeal and the 245 motion. The lawsuit filed by the developer was discussed in closed session. When the hearing resumed, the 245 motion was noted and filed; the appeal will continue to be addressed in the next PLUM meeting, 2 p.m., Tuesday, October 2nd.

The highlight of the hearing was the testimony by CEQA legal experts and Martin Kammerer, PhD, of Blue Green Open Space Planning and Design. Dr. Kammerer testified on the geomorphologic and hydrologic evaluation of Elephant Hill he conducted. He indicated that there is an intermittent spring and natural drainage and/or water course present at the site that was not adequately reviewed previously. He also indicated that these issues were not covered by environmental review leading up to the Draft and Final EIR.

Dr. Kammerer also found that the expansion of the project increased the unmitigated environmental impacts to surface waters, groundwater, plants, animals, air and other natural resources. These were not reviewed under CEQA and go far beyond the original EIR. He concluded that a supplemental EIR should be required.

Thanks to the representatives from GREEN LA, Sierra Club, Northeast Trees, Los Angeles Audubon, El Sereno Residents for Responsible Land Use and Development and other groups who came to the hearing. Many thanks to Tim Grabiel, NRDC; Doug Carstens, Chatten-Brown & Carstens; and Martin Kammerer, BlueGreen Open Space Planning & Design; and Paul Edelman of Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy who provided expert testimony during the hearing.

Please attend the next PLUM hearing where we anticipate the appeal matter will be voted upon with a recommendation to the full Council: 2 p.m., Tuesday, October 2, 2007, Room 350, City Hall.

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