Plans for an addition to the Westside Pavilion on the southwest corner of Westwood and Santa Monica boulevards were put on hold this week by a Los Angeles Planning Commission officer who ordered the builders to prepare a limited environmental impact report.
Hearing officer Phil Lyou issued the ruling Monday after hearing nearly three hours of testimony by members of an overflow crowd of homeowners and merchants in the West Los Angeles Civic Center.
At the hearing, representatives of the builders, Westfield Inc., discussed the proposed building, which would be linked to the Westside Pavilion by a 120-foot vehicle and pedestrian bridge. They also presented a traffic impact study which they said has been approved by the city's Department of Transportation.
Zoning Change Request
Most of the testimony was from residents who object to the project because of a requested zone change and height variance, and possible increases in traffic, parking, noise and light. Later, in explaining his decision, Lyou said, "I felt there were too many unanswered questions. Based on testimony, petitions and review of the file . . . additional information is needed to make a decision."
Lyou said he has questions about whether the bridge should be placed across Westwood Boulevard, if it should be modified, or if the crossing should be placed underground. "In talking about the bridge," he said, "I feel they have to look not only at the pavilion area, but also the criteria of aesthetics, how it would affect traffic and people living in the vicinity."
Lyou said he has sent a letter to Westfield President Richard E. Green requesting that environmental impact reports be done on cumulative effects of the project, alternatives, land use, intensity, density and traffic circulation both area-wide and within the project. Lyou also requested more study of the effects of the connecting bridge across Westwood Boulevard in volving shadows, air quality and noise.
After the report has been completed it will be submitted to the Planning Department's environmental section, where it will be evaluated. The final environmental impact report will be returned to Lyou. "This information, plus the hearing and whatever research I do will be the source of my recommendation (to the Planning Commission)," Lyou said.
Green said he wants to complete the project, but "it's a little premature to say what we are finally going to do, either work out a compromise or sell the property."