I’ve been reminded that Los Angeles County supervisors are considering a “Clean Water, Clean Beaches Measure,” which would impose an annual fee on virtually all county property owners to pay for water remediation programs.

In November 2006, over two-thirds of Santa Monica voters approved “Measure V, the Clean Beach and Ocean Parcel Tax.” It raises property tax revenue to be used solely for implementing urban runoff water quality improvements in accordance with City Hall’s Watershed Management Plan.

The proposed county fee, if approved, would be collected in addition to the Measure V tax that Santa Monica property owners (and renters through a pass along) already pay to help clean up Santa Monica Bay water and beaches.

The proposed county fee would apply to property owners within the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, which includes most of Los Angeles County. Like Measure V, the county’s fee would generate dedicated funding for reducing pollution from stormwater and urban runoff from Los Angeles County waterways.

It must go through a two-step approval process, which includes both a public hearing and an election. If approved by the supervisors, it will be placed on the ballot in the next election where it must win voter approval.

One regular reader and homeowner in the Pico Neighborhood e-mailed me about Measure V. “In my case totaling (it’s costing) almost $140 a year,” he wrote. “The county will add another $50 a year. I am not against clean water or clean beaches, but shouldn’t there be some consideration by the county for city residents who have been and are still currently paying these fees?”

Absolutely! So, why hasn’t City Hall protested this double taxation? I don’t recall either city officials or politicians officially requesting, via letter or council resolution, Santa Monica property owners be exempt from the tax. Don’t hold your breath waiting for City Hall to do anything because there’s never too much of our tax money that can be spent on the environment.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors hearing to consider the new fee is Jan. 15, 2013. Property owners may testify or file a written protest prior to the hearing. For complete information, visit www.LACountyCleanWater.org, or call (800) 218-0018 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday) or e-mail: water.info@dpw.lacounty.gov.

 

Wilshire Boulevard redux 

 

If you live on the Eastside, there are three recent developments you should be aware of. The Albertsons at 3105 Wilshire Blvd. will be closing on Feb. 6, 2013. Bristol Farms market will move into the space.

Cypress Equity Investments, LLC., the firm behind the mixed-use project under construction at Seventh Street and Arizona Avenue, has filed for a development agreement (DA) to redevelop 2919 Wilshire Blvd. where Jerry’s Liquor is now. The request is for approval of a five-floor building with 83 units of housing, three floors of subterranean parking and retail frontage.

The previous developer, Wilshire Structures, LLC, notified City Hall last May they were withdrawing their development application for the site. They planned to build a new, four floor, mixed-use building with two levels of subterranean parking, a ground-floor specialty market and 26 market-rate apartment units. That project was met with fierce neighborhood opposition on a number of issues, especially traffic.

A draft environmental impact report (EIR) prepared on that original development proposal estimated that “the increase in vehicles traveling on the surrounding roadway network under cumulative plus project conditions would result in a significant traffic impact to the intersection of Stanford Street and Wilshire Boulevard … .

“Because no feasible mitigation is available,” the report continued, “impacts at this intersection would be … significant and unavoidable.” The draft EIR also mentioned significant impacts to Lipton Avenue to the north and Berkeley Street, one block east.

If these were the impacts resulting from a four floor, 26-unit building, imagine the traffic and other impacts resulting from a five-floor building with 80 units of housing, three floors of parking and a retail store.

But, as they say on TV, “wait, there’s more.”

One block away a DA application for another project from Cypress Investments has been filed for 3032 Wilshire Blvd. (at Berkeley), now occupied by Bank of America. It’s for a five-floor building with 100-units of housing, three levels of subterranean parking and the usual retail component.

Killefer Flammang Architects is the architectural firm for both of these two projects, the same firm that designed the ugly, 1970’s retro Trammel Crow proposal for 3402 Pico Blvd. the City Council rejected a couple weeks ago.

Let’s not forget that the Albertsons/Big 5 property at 3105 Wilshire Blvd. will also eventually be redeveloped. It’s almost a given that property owner Macerich will construct a mini-version of their Santa Monica Place, complete with market rate and affordable housing, although no specific plans or development timeline have been announced.

 

Pastry vendor given the boot

 

Farmers’ Market customers will be unhappy to learn that after Jan. 1, Mike Moessner will no longer be selling his delicious pastries at the Downtown Wednesday market. Lucky for us, his fruits and jams will still be available.

Despite supplying Danish at the Downtown market for 30 years, Moessner Farms baked goods are City Hall’s latest victim of the purge of long established, popular, prepared food vendors at all the Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets. I’ll have more to say about this in the weeks ahead.

 

Merry, merry 

 

Next Monday your New Year’s Eve treat. Yes, it’s, drum roll, please, “The 2012 Sammies” for all things good, bad and ugly by the bay. In the meantime, happy holidays.

 

 

Bill can be reached at mr.bilbau@gmail.com

 

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