Two public hearings will be held this month to deal with parking and traffic problems in the increasingly congested Rancho Park area of West Los Angeles.
The Westside Homeowners Alliance will sponsor a community forum at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Timothy's Church to air neighborhood concerns about the impact of development in the area where the popular Westside Pavilion shopping center opened last June, spokeswoman Sara Berman said.
Many of those concerns center on parking. The city, acting on the request of residents, in November created a special district in which public parking on most residential streets is prohibited on weekends and is limited to two hours on weekdays except for residents with permits.
Fines Cost $28
But so many drivers have ignored the city signs posting the new restrictions that residents have nailed up handwritten signs warning that $28 fines are being levied against violators.
Wednesday's meeting also will focus on plans for a 165,000-square-foot commercial project to be built at Pico and Westwood boulevards, across the street from the pavilion.
There will also be a public hearing at 1 p.m. Jan. 21 at Los Angeles City Hall on a zoning variance sought by the developer of the Pico-Westwood project.
City officials said that the development complies with zoning laws, but is subject to the city's discretionary powers because a variance is needed for the proposed underground parking.
The project has drawn fire from residents because of its proximity to the Westside Pavilion, which has generated considerable traffic in the busy Pico-Westwood area. The $90-million mall is on Pico between Overland Avenue and Westwood Boulevard, just east of the proposed project.
The city of Los Angeles had no discretionary power over planning of the pavilion because the project met zoning requirements, and thus did not require public hearings or City Council approval, city officials said.
Developers voluntarily negotiated with city officials and residents, and as a result agreed to provide a supermarket and more than the required parking at the shopping center.
After the Westside Pavilion was built, six homeowner groups representing about 3,000 members organized themselves as the Westside Homeowners Alliance, and the organization is determined to have an impact on the Pico-Westwood project, alliance members said.
"This is a very large-scale project for a very congested area and for the kinds of uses which will generate lots of activity," Berman said.
She said that representatives of developer Alan Casden have told the alliance that plans call for five movie theaters with 2,000 seats, a restaurant complex and specialty food market.
Spokesmen for the developer and his associates were not immediately available to confirm details of the project.
Subject to Approval
Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky said the project will be subject to city discretion because the developer is seeking a variance for underground parking for the development.
Yaroslavsky said that the city will require the developer to provide about 1,200 parking spaces, three times the number required by law.
The ration of parking space to building area for the proposed development is almost double that at the Beverly Center and more than double that at the Westside Pavilion, Yaroslavsky said.
"This is the most . . . parking that any retail developer has ever been asked to provide in the history of the city of Los Angeles," he said.
Yaroslavsky criticized the parking at the pavilion, which has produced complaints from neighbors whose residential streets have been lined with the cars of shoppers and employees.
The problem at the Westside Pavilion is not just that there are not enough parking spaces, Yaroslavsky said. "The parking spaces they do have are inaccessible. You have to be a physicist or a cartographer to find your way through that garage. . . . We are going to have to sit down and talk about what we can do to solve the problems there."
In response to problems with major projects that escaped city discretion because they complied with zoning, the City Council recently passed a law making large projects subject to review by the Planning Commission and the council.