Update: New Documents:
Exhibit D - Addendum to EIR-Village at PR-August 2016.pdf
City Planning Recommendation on CPC 2016-837-SP-MCUP_DRB_SPP_SPR
City Planning Recommendation on CPC 2016-838-DA
The proposed Village at Porter Ranch was the subject of a public hearing by the Department of City Planning on July 13, 2016 in Van Nuys. The hearing was conducted by May Sirinopwongsagon, of City Planning and the purpose was for the public to be able to provide their input on the project. City Planning will take the public comments and consider them in making a recommendation in a staff report to the Planning Commission which is scheduled to meet on the matter August 25 in Van Nuys. Interested parties may submit comment in writing about the project or the staff report to May.Sirinopwongsagon [at] lacity.org.
The hearing began with a presentation by John Love, Vice President, Commercial at Shapell Properties, developer of the project. He began by clarifying that the hearing was only in reference to the commercial part of the proposal, not the adjacent apartments. Bifurcating the project into its two parts for approval became a point of concern identified by the public later in the meeting.
Love outlined the project describing it as the 3rd place for Porter Ranch residents to come, meet and relax, after home and work. He explained that the current plan calls for 353,000 square feet of building space, compared to the Porter Ranch Specific Plan allowed 2,050,000. The project is designed with pedestrian walkways with adjacent residential areas. Signals facilitate access across from Toys R Us on Porter Ranch Drive and at the center of the property on Rinaldi.
Community Room and Terrace facing the village green
His presentation identified areas for people to gather, including the village green, adjacent to the restaurants in the middle of the complex, in front of the movie theater, and at the corner. The community room is planned to be upstairs above retail facing the village green. It would include 4,000 feet of divisible space, a kitchen and a 1,800 square foot terrace overlooking the green.
Love acknowledged that sustainability has become a hot topic and discussed the LEED Certification for the three story office building, 140 bike spaces, 40,000 square feet of solar on both the grocery and theater, drought tolerant landscaping, and multiple storm water tanks designed to capture storm runoff and recycle it for landscape irrigation.
During the subsequent public comment, speakers wanted to ask questions and hear answers from the developer, but Sirinopwongsagon clarified that all comments were to be directed to her and she would pose questions to the developer at the conclusion of public comment.
About 35 people were present and the room was divided in its support for the project. Those in favor cited the need for this type of a local destination so they wouldn’t have to drive to the Calabasas Commons or Simi Valley. They spoke about waiting a long time for this project, which has been presented three times in the last eleven years. Further, the plan is significantly smaller than the Specific Plan allows, which will result in less traffic than anticipated by the Specific Plan. It was noted that all the parking spaces would be standard sized, not compact and the City of Los Angeles would benefit from Porter Ranch residents spending their leisure dollars in the city. They also noted the need for a local hotel, as there is none nearby.
Opponents to the project expressed their concerns about the anticipated impact of the project on increased traffic in surrounding communities. Nearby resident Walter Prince expressed concerns about the fact that the original project plan included a community room and a 2-acre site to be reserved for City facilities, a public library, and a child care center for 250 children. These items were negotiated between the City and the developer. However, they have been removed from the current plan and replaced with just a community room in the commercial development. In addition, the Specific Plan calls for an Art Fund to be generated from the permit fees and a community-based Arts Council to be formed, to manage and allocate those funds. He noted that there is no mention of those funds and that the Arts Council has not been formed. He also inquired about the location of trash enclosures, especially in light of all the restaurants.
A number of speakers expressed strong concerns that the project should include a number of sustainability measures to reduce its environmental impact. Speakers asked that carports should be included with solar panels, along with other solar panels on the roofs of all the commercial buildings.
Others spoke of not wanting a sign like a beacon next to the freeway, the need for schools and a hospital, revisiting the traffic study, and the high rate of speed of drivers down Porter Ranch Drive. Seniors living in Tesoro pointed out the need for a library, given that they are located a long distance from the Tampa Library and are not able to walk to it up and down steep hills.
A letter of support from former PRNC President Paula Cracium was read into the record. Interested parties are invited to send in their comments right away.
The Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council continues to be focused on ensuring that this project is a benefit to the community. The PRNC plans to discuss this project in the future and hear from the community.
More details on the project including schematics as presented to the PRNC September 2015.