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LETTERS : Neighborhood's Efforts 'in Vain'

September 21, 1986

On Sept. 2, 1986, the West Hollywood Planning Commission approved the Tropicana Motel Development on Santa Monica Boulevard by a vote of 5 to 2. This approval can only be considered a stunning affront to the local residents in that this development as approved will seriously impair the habitability of the entire adjoining residential neighborhood.

While it is true that the neighborhood attempted to participate in the planning process and it appeared as if the developer was listening, in fact, our efforts were in vain. Not only did the developer ignore our very legitimate concerns but, most shockingly, the Planning Commission did as well.

Our concerns are with the vast amount of new traffic the many fast-food and other retail shops will bring into the area; the totally inadequate parking provided on the property for visitors, and the environmental depredation of the community in which this large project is placed. The Planning Commission ignored it all.

The traffic study proved that the intersection of Santa Monica and La Cienega boulevards will become impassable and traffic will back up along Santa Monica Boulevard as a result of this development. The Planning Commission's solution is to cut through a large section of the median strip for yet another intersection, solely to accommodate the new motel and the parking garage of the Sports Connection. How this will reduce the traffic caused by over development is not explained. The parking study, as it is, provided no answers at all as to how the designers arrived at the number of parking spaces provided.

During the public testimony, the developer and his various parking consultants contradicted themselves wildly without being called to task by the Planning Commission. The questions from the neighbors were totally ignored and our conditions of approval to alleviate the danger to the environment due to bad design, were dismissed. For example, the exhaust from the parking garage will be blown through a vent directly into the residences on Westmount Drive, opposite the site. All neighbors could be subjected to uncontrolled use of a public address system and noises coming from the motel's pool area. Guests who leave the project and are eastbound will speed through our narrow residential streets. These are but a few of our concerns.

The neighbors never denied the property owner had a right to develop his property. All we asked for was that this development be done with respect for our property rights and regard for our living conditions. To this end we tried to cooperate with the developer and his attorney, a noted local firm, and got nowhere. We testified before the Planning Commission and commented on the environmental impact report. We provided the Planning Department, the Planning Commission and the developer with our concerns and proposals to make this large development a good neighbor.

We were treated as nuisances. The developer did not deal with us in good faith. And the Planning Commission ignored us and then sold us out.

The Tropicana, together with the Sports Connection expansion, is the largest development and the first major project considered by this Planning Commission. We believe the commission treated the local residents with barely concealed contempt and open disregard for the health and safety of our neighborhood. Yet, they certified what they themselves termed a barely adequate environmental impact report, but which, in reality, would have been unacceptable to anyone knowledgeable in the field because it should have, but did not, address the community's legitimate concerns.

We believe the process as it is now, to be a betrayal of the ideal of public responsibility and local control on which the city was founded. If these actions, the Tropicana and Sports Connection, are harbingers, then the Planning Commission has just signaled to any developer: Come to West Hollywood and rape us, please.


President, West Knoll Triangle

Residents Assn.

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