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5 Existing Plants Nearing Capacity : DWP to Build Fairfax Electrical Station

May 01, 1986|MATHIS CHAZANOV | Times Staff Writer

The Department of Water and Power plans to build an electrical distributing station at Beverly Boulevard and La Jolla Avenue to relieve the demand on five existing stations in the Fairfax area.

Made up of transformers, capacitors and other equipment, the station will bring in electricity at a high voltage and distribute it at a lower voltage to homes, apartments and small businesses.

Construction is scheduled to begin in early 1989, with power lines to be located underground. The station, to be designated No. 94, is expected to go into operation by April, 1990. It will extend from La Jolla Avenue to Harper Avenue and from Beverly Boulevard to an alley 110 feet to the south.

Plans call for the compound to be surrounded by a 22-foot-high wall, said Jim Mieding, a civil engineer for the department.

"You won't be looking at the equipment. All you'll see will be the architecturally treated wall," he said. "There will be something pleasant to look at rather than that industrial look."

The site, now occupied by an office building and a parking lot, was purchased by the DWP about 15 years ago. Nothing was done with it until recently, when increased development increased the load on the five existing stations.

"It is anticipated that in the near future they will exceed their capacity," Mieding said.

Although a spokeswoman for City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky said there have been no protests, the manager of a nearby restaurant said the removal of the parking lot is sure to hurt his business.

"It will be a big problem," said George Desi, general manager of the Carriage Trade Bar and Grill, who leases 20 spaces on the lot for his valet parking service.

Once those are gone, he said, his customers' cars will have to be parked in the relatively few spaces available on Beverly Boulevard, since most side-street parking is restricted to residents who have permits.

Diana Plotkin of the Beverly-Wilshire Homeowners Assn. said she had asked the DWP to examine the possibility of including a public parking lot in the station design, but planners found it impractical.

Otherwise, she said, nearby residents have no problems with the station, which is not expected to generate any additional traffic because it will be unmanned. Also, she said, the DWP has done "a beautiful job" in camouflaging similar stations elsewhere.

An environmental impact report filed by the DWP said its surveys have found that "ample on-street parking exists" to handle short-term parking. Other lots in the area "should minimize any impact" on long-term parking, the report said.

The DWP said the increase in demand for electricity comes from recently built residential and commercial buildings, and more is projected from other projects scheduled to be built in the near future.

Although the new station would allow for even more development, "ultimately, DWP's construction of Distributing Station 94 would afford an opportunity for growth only if that growth is approved by the proper authorities," the report said.

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