Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pondering "What Part Of No..."

What part of "NO" don't they understand?

At last Tuesday's Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission meeting, Commissioners voted against allowing on-campus housing at Marymount College in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Whether supporters of the College's plan to build on-campus residences halls on the Junior College campus will live with that part of no is yet to be seen.

But according to at least one Commissioner and the main opposition group to having on-campus housing, proposing that all student housing be along Palos Verdes Drive North in San Pedro is something too many folks don't seem to understand that "NO" means NO!

Commissioner Lewis and members of the Concerned Citizens Coalition/Marymount Expansion continue to claim that the superior environmental Alternative on on-campus student housing is redeveloping the Colleges site in northwest San Pedro to house all student housing AND the athletic facilities for a College campus at least five miles away.

What part of NO don't they understand?

Currently there are about 300 students and staff members living in 86 units owned by Marymount College along Palos Verdes Drive North between Western Avenue and Five-Points.

The College was given the land by the Federal Government for use as housing. The 86 units on the site are actually four units more than current L.A. zoning codes would allow for.

A variance was granted to allow housing on the four units exceeding the zoning.

The current housing site in northwest San Pedro is fenced in and across a major six-lane street from a residential neighborhood in Harbor City.

There is also an Apartment building the College owns and operates as student housing near the corner of 24th Street and Cabrillo Avenue in the southern part of San Pedro.

The College has stated on several occasions they want to close the 'Pacific Heights' building, but they have haven't done that and they probably won't no matter what they continue to claim.

So, the Planning Commission voted against on-campus housing as part of the Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project. There will be votes coming to formally accept and reject specific portions of the College's plans before those plans move to the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council for final votes.

Currently the College's Preferred Project consists of ADDING and additional 624.4 vehicle trips per day along Western Avenue north of Trudie Drive.

That may not seem much right now, but since the Planning Commission may make the Palos Verdes North site the primary place for more student housing, we really don't know who many more vehicles may travel along Western Avenue for the College's purposes.

Oh and please remember, there is that 61.53-acre project site along Western Avenue that really is the elephant in the living room.

Until now there really hasn't been a strong need for folks living in San Pedro, eastern R.P.V., Harbor City, Lomita, and other areas on The Hill to get bothered by the Marymount Expansion Project.

But between now and June I hope more folks inform the Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission and the members of the R.P.V. City Council that they are not going to be able to pawn off more student housing onto San Pedro no matter what the neighbors of the College want.

Marymount College was established as a private Junior College for day use. Even though folks at the College may have always wanted on-campus housing, their demands should fall on deaf ears because like Bob Bisno, they should have know what could occur.

Buying something with the intent to change it in the future doesn't mean you will be granted the right to change it.

There are still lots of hoops for the College to jump through and they have lawyers and some money to spend on them.

Dr. Michael Brophy the President of Marymount College and the supporters of the Expansion Project do not want the Living Campus/Academic Campus Alternative suggested by Commissioner Lewis and CCC/ME. I can't imagine anyone at the College wanting to deal with the Los Angeles City Planning Department, especially with the elephant in the living room so close to the Palos Verdes North off-campus housing site.

The part of "NO" that Commissioner Lewis and members of the opposition group need to learn is that there are many more of us living close to Palos Verdes Drive North that do not want any expansion of the College's off-campus site than there are members of CCC/ME.

We happen to have just worked through a major victory against the same elephant in the living room and the Marymount Project would be no sweat for us and R Neighborhoods Are 1.

We have the bureaucracy of the city of Los Angeles at our side and we have the fact that there seems to be some residents of Rancho Palos Verdes who want to dump their troubles onto us.

That simply is not going to happen.

If Marymount College wants to buy up houses near the campus for student housing, that may be a good idea.

If Marymount College wishes to buy the remaining structures now owned by the Volunteers of America along Palos Verdes Drive North, then that is something that could and should be pondered.

If anyone really thinks or feels that Marymount College should expand their current Palos Verdes North facility to allow more student housing and/or the athletic fields, then I think they need to learn more about the part of "NO" they are having trouble with.

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