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Soka Property and Babbitt's 'Lay of the Land'

June 06, 1993

I see that the long arm and considerable influence of Soka University has already made its way into the offices of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt (Times, May 20). In that article, reporter Alan Miller quotes Jay Ziegler, spokesman for Secretary Babbitt, as saying that his boss was "trying on many of these park-adjacent issues, to get a feel for what all the concerns are. . . . He's trying to get a better sense of the lay of the land."

I would like to offer the secretary some help in that area. Soka lies in the very geographic center of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, created by Congress in 1978. It is only "park-adjacent" because we, the people of California, have not been able to afford to acquire it yet as we were able to do with the Malibu Creek State Park property right across the street on Malibu Canyon/Las Virgenes Road.

The Soka (or King Gillette) land has always been on park agencies' top priority acquisition lists and is part and parcel of the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains. It belongs as part of the park, not as a part of a 3,400-student mini-city that Soka proposes to develop there. The very road that those two "park" and "park-adjacent" parcels share, by the way, would have to be turned into a six-lane thoroughfare if Soka's proposed development is allowed to go forward.

Take your time, Secretary Babbitt. Don't let Soka railroad you. Learn all you can about this proposed development before you are led astray by their offers of a joint-use proposal--which would create nothing more than a buffer zone between the road and their development, not a real park in any sense. Let's make the Soka property part of the park, not "park-adjacent."



Playa Vista Project Concerns Addressed

Playa Vista has answered all of its critics in the Final Environmental Impact Report on their project.

If Playa Vista's extraordinary mitigation measures in the draft Environmental Impact Report were not enough, they have now gone even further in addressing community members' concerns with the final document, among them greater commitments to road and highway improvements, affordable housing, bluff and wetland restoration, and open space.

Playa Vista officials have worked with all sectors of our community to ensure that the development reflects the needs and wants of our area. What has resulted is an impressive model for well-planned, community-supported, and environmentally sound urban development.

It is time that our public officials recognize that Playa Vista represents the best possible future for our area.


Marina del Rey


Finally! Your well-researched article, "Builder Alters Vast Playa Vista Project" (Times, May 27), has given us all a light at the end of the tunnel.

Since Maguire Thomas Partners took over the helm of the Playa Vista project nearly four years ago, I have attended every hearing presented by them or the city Planning Department regarding this project. I know firsthand that Maguire Thomas Partners has heard and addressed each and every concern brought up by community members during this long process. These community-centered changes have become the backbone of the project's comprehensive final environmental impact report.

Now it's time to approve this intensely mitigated project. As a 35-year resident of Playa del Rey, I for one am proud to have this project in my back yard. I certainly hope that members of the Planning Commission and City Council will be proud to have this project in our city.


Playa del Rey

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