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Playa Vista project wins court OK

A three-judge panel affirms the second and final phase of the Playa Vista development, but wetlands activists may challenge the ruling.

November 11, 2011|By Martha Groves, Los Angeles Times

A state appeals court has upheld the city of Los Angeles' approval of Playa Vista's second and final phase.

?Wetlands activists had challenged ?a revised environmental impact report for the Village, as Phase 2 of the big project south of Marina del Rey is known.

The Los Angeles City Council initially approved the environmental report for the Village in April 2004. Challengers sued, alleging that the EIR was flawed. In January 2006, an L.A. County Superior Court judge upheld the city's approval. The activists appealed, and a three-judge panel in the 2nd District Court of Appeals agreed that three aspects of the EIR should be revised.

The City Council approved the revised EIR in 2010. Activists once again challenged that approval in Superior Court. The trial court upheld the council's approval in January 2011, and the challengers appealed again. The three-judge panel that affirmed the trial court's ruling on Wednesday was the same panel that ordered the EIR revisions.

The wetlands activists have 40 days to petition the state Supreme Court for review. Rex Frankel, president of the Ballona Ecosystem Education Project, one of the Playa Vista challengers, said his organization planned "soon" to petition the state high court. He contends that there "is a good likelihood the Supreme Court will take our case."

Patti Sinclair, Playa Capital's co-president, said the company would vigorously oppose his group's filing. She added that the high court seldom takes rulings that are "unpublished," as this one is. She said the company expected to begin construction on the Village early next year.

The Village is intended to be the link between the Phase 1 residential community and the commercial campus that is home to Facebook, USC and a division of Fox Sports, among other employers. The Village will include retail stores and restaurants as well as parks, office space and multi-family residences.

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