For details of the Development
Click here: Initial Study.pdf
The next filing from Harvard-Westlake will be the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). When the DEIR is filed with the Planning Department the comment period will open. Responses to the DEIR can be filed by the public and SCRA, SLAROS will file challenges to this report. Public hearings will be conducted by the Planning Department. When the DEIR is issued there will be a link to the DEIR on this Website.
Below are the main objections to Harvard-Westlake’s Initial Study – Development Plans
Limited Public Access to the public
Harvard-Westlake states that it is providing 5.4 acres (235,224 square feet) of publicly-accessible open space. This open space is not contiguous nor parkland. It is a walking path on the perimeter of the property. The development would reduce the tennis courts from 16 tennis to 8 and these can only be used by the public when not in use by Harvard-Westlake. Other facilities are not for public use. This development is NOT a “River Park”. Our Open Space would be lost forever.
This is a residential neighborhood and if developed would generate an inordinate amount of noise from the middle school and high school sports activities and from spectators. The development describes: Two athletic fields with 743 spectator seats; Olympic swimming pool, with 348 spectator seats; multipurpose gym with 1,026 spectator seats. This development must be reduced. No spectator seating; one ballfield; eliminate the pool and the 116,500 sq. ft. Gym.
Parking for 2,217 spectators plus an unknown number of staff and students participating in sports activities. With only 532 parking spaces will cause havoc in the residential neighborhood and along the commercial corridor of Ventura Blvd.
The two entrances to parking facilities are both located on Whitsett Avenue. North and South of the Fire station. This would result in traffic congestion in and around the Fire Station entrance blocking emergency response vehicles from exiting and entering the station. From Ventura Blvd. north to the proposed garage there are at least 5 existing entry points onto Whitsett. This is the wrong project in the wrong area.
Harvard-Westlake development has applied for Special Events to be held throughout the year. Fifteen on weekdays, Ten on Saturdays, Five on Sundays. . Special Events will go past 6:00 pm, which is “beyond the standard hours of operation” Harvard-Westlake is applying to exceed the 30-foot height limit for light poles to have 15 poles at 50 ft. high, 6 poles at 60 ft. high, and 3 poles at 80 ft. high. There should be no Special Events permitted and no exemption to the zoned height limits. Also planned are three 15 x 10 feet scoreboards.
The Harvard-Westlake development would require excavation and grading of the Project Site to a maximum depth of approximately 21 feet below grade and a net cut/fill volume of approximately 250,000 cubic yards. 200 mature trees will be cut down to accommodate this carnage to the land. The Harvard-Westlake development will clear cut down a large number of Blue Gum Eucalyptus. Blue Gum of limited invasiveness, is excellent for carbon sequestration, lives for over 400-600 years, provides excellent wildlife habitat, control particulate pollution, provide sound control, and are excellent at slowing water run-off. This property is critical to the annual migration of the birds. It is also a major nesting site for local species.
8 of the current 16 tennis courts will be removed. The eight courts remaining will be available to the Valley neighborhood community but only when these courts are not being used by Harvard Westlake or other guests. Limited use of eight courts is no benefit to the community. These courts have been used since the 1950s by tennis enthusiasts from Studio City and throughout Southern California. It is a serious loss to the community when 50% of the tennis courts are being destroyed. Quote from the United States Tennis Association: “Southern California has always been synonymous with tennis. Participating in tennis comes with many health and fitness benefits. Playing competitively burns more calories than some other popular exercises, including aerobics.” It is imperative that 16 tennis courts open to the public, be maintained.
Gym and Spectator Seating
The Gym is not 80,249 sq. ft. as is stated in the Initial Study Documents. When the size of the basement is added, the size of the building is increased by 45% To 116.530 sq. Feet. The extra 36,281 sq. feet in area is excavated below ground. The building is too massive, too big, it must be eliminated or at least reduced by half along with removing the spectator seating. The 30 ft height limitation must be adhered to.
Harvard-Westlake’s development includes a 50-meter Olympic-sized pool, locker rooms, restrooms, changing rooms, and diving boards. Plus 348 permanent spectator seats with a 15 x 10-foot scoreboard. Swimming competitions will be totally disruptive to the residential neighborhood surrounding this site. During swim meets parking and traffic will be uncontrollable.
The development includes two fields with a 6 lane track surrounding one of the fields, 14 floodlights between 50 and 80 feet tall, 116,500 sq. ft. gym, an Olympic size swimming pool, 6,499 sq. ft. in ancillary buildings, spectator seating. Two billboard-sized scoreboards (25’ x 18’) and a 10 x 40-foot press box overlooking the playing fields.
The Harvard-Westlake plan of Water Reclamation has abandoned the Department of Sanitation approve study to capture 200 acres of dry runoff, filter and clean through the Weddington site to discharge the cleaned water directly into the Los Angeles River and instead will capture only 39 acres of dry runoff, use it on-site as needed then send it out to Whitsett to flow to the river. In this time of drought and Climate Change, the approved plan must be considered and implemented.