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Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

High-density shills infiltrate Griffith Park NC

Guest editorial by Radio LosFeliz.

Another Vote for High Density

The Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council's new deceptive duet of Tomas O'Grady and Mark Mauceri are once again supporting code violating development in Los Feliz. Shortly after being seated to their questionably-won GGPNC board positions, the dirty tricks team of O’Grady and Mauceri wasted no time in voting in favor of a developer asking for a significant variance from the city to build a massive apartment complex across three existing lots on New Hampshire avenue.

The O'Grady and Mauceri vote on May 18th was in direct opposition to the GGPNC's own internal Planning and Zoning committee. But then why should they on the board listen to the committee’s recommendation? After all, the committee had only studied the issue in depth.

The design that developers hoped to force upon the neighborhood is in gross noncompliance with section 7A of the Vermont/Western SNAP (Station Neighborhood Area Plan) which mandates new development to: "maintain the current prevailing scale and character of these blocks and improve the pedestrian environment." Sub-area A of the SNAP sets the limit of construction at two lots. This large single structure across three lots is the poster child of the type of development the sub-area A was designed to protect against.  It only invites future high density monoliths to what once was a neighborhood filled with garden apartments.

The developer’s argument to the GGPNC was if their variance wasn't granted, then the alternative would be a really ugly one.  Apparently the firm can only make nice designs if the buildings violate city codes. O’Grady actually urged the GGPNC board to “give them a break,” suggesting that going back and designing something nice for the neighborhood that followed planning rules would be just too expensive for a real estate development firm.

O’Grady and Mauceri smiled broadly and were first to raise their hands as they voted to support this gluttonous precedent-setting compound to be located just a stones' throw from Los Feliz Elementary School.

This action follows a long list of pro-developer voting from O’Grady and Mauceri.  These two Los Feliz newcomers call themselves green in public, but time and time again in late night GGPNC meetings, after  most stakeholders have left, they have voted to support increased development in our neighborhood.  It is still not clear how a former adult entertainment executive who once proudly boasted of bringing porn into the mainstream and his developer buddy are now in the position to vote in support of a development across the street from our elementary schools.

Voting in lockstep with the seasoned O’Grady and Mauceri were their Los Feliz Forward accolytes: newly seated GGPNC board members  Masi, Van Keuren, Nubaravacharyan, and Khanjian.

It is perhaps only luck that the motion to support the developer's massive project actually died because newly-elected NC President Ron Ostrow shockingly declined his right to vote or give an opinion. That in itself was jaw dropping.  Ostrow's unusual inaction caused a death-nail tie, demonstrating that the remaining old board members still had some ability remaining to stand up to massive, inappropriate and unwanted development.  Unfortunately, the official position that was then signed by Ostrow proclaims the GGPNC takes no position on the high density project.

It is a shame that in a matter of a few weeks the GGPNC went from opposing this type of zoning violation to having "no position", and differing to city bureaucrats. 

The logical question with respect to the GGPNC and Los Feliz Forward is: what’s next?  What sort of lucrative development project can we expect to see coming to and around Los Feliz?  And who will be there next time to stop the destruction of the character of Los Feliz?

The O’Grady and Mauceri deception machine appears well-oiled and ready to kick ass.  I just wish they would quit looking at our neighborhood like it was a wet t-shirt contest.

Late word is that facing growing community opposition, the developer has withdrawn his current proposal.