The latest news from Studio City Residents Association
From Alan Dymond, President :
This holiday’s present arrived by notification from the President of Harvard Westlake that escrow had closed and ownership of the site transferred from the Weddington family to Harvard Westlake School.
The proposed uses of the property by Harvard Westlake are of a totally different nature from a condo development, however, it will be treated no differently from other iterations of the many development projects for this property that were presented to us over the years. We are confident that SCRA and SLAROS will be closely involved in the process with the new owners, Harvard Westlake.
Our confidence is based on the presentation made on December 11 by Rick Commons, President and Head of Harvard Westlake School, to the Board of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, entitled “Presentation by Harvard Westlake School concerning revised plans and acquisition of the Weddington Golf and Tennis Property, Studio City.” No revised plans were given, but SCRA and SLAROS will rely on, and respond to, the representations made by Commons. He explained,
“We are taking our identity and aspiration toward ‘purpose beyond ourselves’ seriously, and in our acquisition of the Weddington property, we want to do the same, to serve, we hope, the neighbors of the Weddington property. We hope that we can work together to find ways in which it is a win for Harvard Westlake, a win for our immediate neighbors around the upper school campus and a win for the residents around the Weddington property. If we can do that, we can of course, as an institution, do the things that our students and our graduates are describing. As an institution we can be a stronger citizen of Los Angeles, a better citizen of Studio City and a better neighbor. And that’s our aim.
“We want to begin this process of figuring out how to achieve our goals at Weddington in ways that are consistent with what our neighbors and other members of the Studio City community are looking to do.”
Presenting one of the most significant issues concerning this site, he continued,
“We’d like that to be a place where public access is certainly a primary objective. We’d like it to be a place where open space is a primary objective. We’d like to share use of that property with greater Studio City. In the process of making our plans, we aim to listen.”
A meeting was held at Harvard Westlake campus but again nothing was learned other than we were informed that escrow had closed, many sports fields were contemplated and Harvard Westlake was searching for an architect.
Issues that need to be addressed are: golf elements; water reclamation and clean up; infiltration to the aquifer; lighting; layout; sound; hours on the playing fields; parking access and public access to the property; compliance with the Los Angeles River Improvement Overlay. Tennis professionals, such as the Southern California Tennis Association, schools and others that use the courts need to be included in any discussions, and this must be part of the development process.
Hard work by our volunteers, generous donations by members and concerned citizens, coupled with support and donations from other non-profits, gave us the financial resources needed to continue our efforts over the past eighteen years.
A heartfelt thank you to everyone, and I hope you stay with us as we enter this next stage.
Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Board Meeting
December 11, 2017
Presentation by Harvard-Westlake on
Weddington Golf and Tennis Acquisition
As most members are aware, Harvard-Westlake is in escrow to purchase the Weddington Golf and Tennis property.
On Monday evening, December 11, the SCRA and Save LA River Open Space boards, along with Save Coldwater Canyon, attended a regularly scheduled Board meeting of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) to address Agenda Item 10: “Presentation of Harvard-Westlake School concerning revised plans and acquisition of Weddington Golf Course property, Studio City.”
Leaders from both SCRA and SLAROS spoke, emphasizing the importance of preserving open space with public access. Save Coldwater Canyon requested that Harvard-Westlake ease the fear in the community about their future plans to build the parking structure on Coldwater Canyon.
Harvard-Westlake’s presentation consisted of a testimonial by an employee and former graduate about the impact the school has had on his life, and a video of current students participating in community projects.
The SMMC Board nor the other three boards received any information on the proposed plans or goals of Harvard-Westlake for the Weddington property nor has confirmation that the plans for the parking structure at Coldwater been abandoned.
Harvard-Westlake said they were there to “listen” and wanted to continue “listening” to the neighbors. Harvard-Westlake has copies of SLAROS’s “LA River Natural Park Vision Plan,” and Alan Dymond encouraged them to read and become acquainted with it. The LA River Natural Park Plan is a regional park and water reclamation concept for the Weddington site that has garnered wide support from residents, river groups and elected officials throughout the city for its vision to protect and restore the unique LA River open space attributes of this property.
SMMC Board Member Steve Veres requested that SMMC, as well as LA Metro, play an important role in the process going forward.
No motion was taken by the SMMC Board.
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