I am pleased to report that today the City Council agreed with me that a 7 story apartment building should not be built in the middle of a single family neighborhood without any public hearings and without the possibility of appeal through the City or through the Courts.
As you may be aware, this proposed project located at 8217 Winnetka was slated for about 350 units. I say ‘about’ because the proposal had an inconsistent number of units — an oversight I rarely see and that indicates how hastily the application was put together.
The developer tried to apply utilizing the Mayor’s Executive Directive 1 (ED1) process which created a streamlined approval process for 100% affordable housing projects. Under this process, the City has no discretion over ED1 projects, meaning they are automatically approved if they meet some basic criteria. Unlike the regular approval process, the ED1 process has no public hearings, no appeals, is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and therefore is not subject to CEQA lawsuits.
The Planning Department, City Attorney, and Mayor’s office all had testified in support of denying the appeal for this case based on the facts of the application and the intent of ED1 which was to speed up projects on properly zoned multi-family lots and not for projects proposed in single family neighborhoods.
At both the Planning and Land Use Committee and full Council hearings, I asked my colleagues to deny the developer’s appeal based primarily on the facts of the case and the incomplete application documents that were filed. Fortunately, the Council listened and voted to deny the appeal. The developer could still sue or apply for a different project that would take advantage of state laws that allow large 100% affordable housing projects.
I have consistently opposed applying ED1 streamlining rules to the 5 applications for projects which have been proposed in our community located in the northern part of our district, in Reseda, Winnetka and Canoga Park. The other projects proposed in the district would be at 7745 Wilbur, 7947 Wilbur, 19448 Saticoy and 8550 Variel. I will continue to push for these projects to go through the regular entitlement process. And to be clear- I am in favor of ED1 to speed up the building of apartments in areas already zoned for apartment buildings. I cannot support 7 story buildings being approved in single family neighborhoods without public hearings and input.
Please contact me or my Planning Director, Elizabeth Ene, at [email protected], if you have any questions or concerns.
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