Los Angeles Planning Commission President Dan Garcia on Thursday dropped his request for a zone change that would have allowed construction of a Canoga Park apartment project with nearly twice the units permitted under the community's land-use plan, for which he earlier had voted.
Garcia had been severely criticized by Councilman Ernani Bernardi for seeking approval to build 42 units on the land, which would be zoned under the community plan for no more than 22 units. Garcia attempted to purchase the property, which was in escrow, but said Thursday that he was canceling the deal because of the controversy over his request for a zone change.
Cancellation of Deal Costly
Garcia said that exercising an option that allowed him to terminate the deal cost him from $4,000 to $5,000.
Bernardi also contended that Garcia received special treatment from the City Council's Board of Referred Powers, which voted, 3 to 2, Tuesday to recommend that the full council approve Garcia's request. The board, composed of five council members, acts on potential conflict-of-interest cases. Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores also had voted against the application, saying she was concerned about the timing of Garcia's request.
At Thursday's Planning Commission meeting, Garcia announced that he not only had withdrawn his application for a zone change, but also had abandoned his financial interest in the property on De Soto Street between Sherman Way and Valerio Street. He said he had done so, not because he had done anything wrong, but because the controversy had interfered with his pursuit of important commission business.