The Moffat Street extension has been effectively postponed due to a large number of public comments discouraging a formal vote on the proposal during last week’s City Council Meeting on Wednesday, October 21.
The venture, overseen by Planet Home Living, a Newport Beach-based real estate development company, is no stranger to criticism and opposition as it was publicly denounced during another City Council meeting as a “highly unsustainable project” by resident Micah Haserjian in March of this year.
The plan oversees the construction of seven one-million dollar KTGY-designed modernist homes, each two-story, 2,300 square-foot structures on adjacent 5,000 square-foot lots it has acquired over the years in Los Angeles along the steep slope immediately south of the municipal border with South Pasadena. The extension would be built on five parcels held privately by existing homeowners in South Pasadena on the north side of the municipal line.
PLH has been labeled as a “known gentrifier” by opponents belonging to the group Residents Against the Moffat St Extension. Planet Home Living’s clientele consists of communities that are predominantly located in cities like Echo Park, Eagle Rock, and Silverlake, all areas known to have had their own set of rapid gentrification — and subsequent displacement — issues over the last 20-30 years.
Since the development affects two communities — South Pasadena and it’s southern neighbor El Sereno — the firm’s approach has been to reach out to residents of both cities, according to Michael Marini, CEO of project development at PLH.
Though Marini insists that transparency has been exercised, residents against the extension say otherwise, having compiled a sizable list of detrimental, long-term and short-term consequences they believe will result if the project were to succeed, this includes: “contribut(ing) to the extinction of the endangered Southern California Black Walnut tree, kill(ing) various native plant species, displac(ing) an array of native wildlife, creat(ing) water run-off issues for those at all ends of the bottom of the hill, creat(ing) foundation issues to the surrounding homes – including various culturally significant homes from the turn of the century, and would demand for a ridiculous amount of retaining walls to be constructed (some around 50ft deep that may create future problems due to its proximity to the Raymond Fault).”
Planning Commission meetings were oftentimes met with public comment consistently voicing disapproval for the project, with the June 9 and July 14 meetings bringing about delays for a vote until PLH returned with revised plans — which now aim to connect to the northern end of Lowell Ave in Los Angeles, rather than connecting the luxury homes in Los Angeles to Moffat St in South Pasadena — to submit and receive ultimate approval on August 11. However, residents were apparently not given proper posted times in which they could review plans earlier this year. This lack of transparency has only galvanized the momentum for disapproval of the project; whereas about a half-dozen people made public comment during the March meeting, over 40 were submitted to last week’s .
PLH has refuted many of the accusations against them, saying that they have made attempts to reach out to residents over the span of many months and have attempted to take proper steps with the City of South Pasadena.
The developer has also worked extensively with South Pasadena on water, excavation, fire, access and other issues. The city turned down the developer’s 2014 request for city water. Under the current plan, all water and utilities will be served from Los Angeles.