The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has asked county attorneys to seek an injunction to stop the federal government from advertising a two-acre parcel of land on Sepulveda Boulevard as being zoned for multiple-unit residential use.
The 2.13-acre parcel of federally owned land, formerly a bus terminal for airline passengers, is designated under the county's general plan for public or semi-public use only, county officials said.
But in newspaper advertisements during the past few months, the federal General Services Administration has said the land, which is part of the Veteran's Administration property in Westwood, can be used for multiple residential development, county officials said.
Mary Filippini, a spokeswoman for the General Services Administration in San Francisco, said she could not comment on the county's injunction until it is filed. However, she defended the advertisements, which she said describe the property as zoned for R-4 multiple-residential uses, but do not describe the public-use restriction.
The advertisements are "primarily designed only to generate interest," she said.
It is up to the companies who want to bid on the property, and not up to the General Services Administration, to "determine the uses allowed on the property," Filippini said. "The companies should contact the (county) Planning Department for that information."
John Stodder, an aide to Supervisor Ed Edelman, who sought the legal action, said the General Services Administration has launched "an incredibly slick campaign, mailing post cards out to get bids for the property, all the time giving developers the impression that they can build another high-rise apartment out there."
Stodder said the parcel, in unincorporated county territory, can be used only for public or semi-public development, such as senior-citizen housing or parking. He speculated that the General Services Administration is incorrectly advertising the property for a March 27 auction in the hopes that the county can later be persuaded to alter the zoning.
Edelman is adamantly opposed to that idea, saying that the public is "clearly being misled" by the advertising campaign.
"I feel it is necessary to pursue this issue so that the integrity of the county's land use process may be maintained," Edelman said.
Edelman has asked the General Services Administration to correct its advertising several times, and the county Regional Planning Commission sent the administration a telegram asking it to add the public-use designation to its advertisements.
The General Services Administration is seeking $7.5 million for the property, which Stodder said is worth far less than that because of the zoning restriction. County officials have offered the federal agency about $2 million to buy the land to develop public housing or other public uses, he said.
"Our zoning of the land makes their property worth a lot less than if it were zoned for high-rises, and they're trying to get around that," Stodder said.
Stodder said the feeling in the community, and in Edelman's office, is that, "they don't need any more high-rises in Westwood. They just don't."
The land is also being sought by the heirs of two pioneer families who donated much of the land surrounding the Veterans Administration complex, including the 2.3 acres. Attorneys for the heirs are investigating their claim that the land should revert to the families if the Veteran's Administration has no use for it.