Construction of Controversial Palisades Highlands Elder Care Facility Continues

Work continues at 1525 Palisades Drive development

Construction on the underground parking garage that would serve the controversial Palisades Highlands Eldercare Building continues, 

The hotly contested building is located at 1525 Palisades Drive and the development is being headed by Rony Schram of Shram Development LLC. The Palisadian Post quotes Shram as saying that, “In an effort to save time and minimize the impact of onsite framing, we have prefabricated nearly the entire steel portion of the building. This process significantly reduces the amount of work that would otherwise have taken place on the property.” Additionally, the website says that, “All walls and floor assemblies have been pre-fabricated into panels. These panels will be delivered multiple times per week and stored along Vereda de la Montura where they will be hoisted onto the podium by crane and installed in place.”

The development is strongly opposed by the Pacific Palisades Residents Association and they have been actively filing legal challenges to the building of the Eldercare Facility since 2018. Their objections are to the size of the building that they say would block residents’ views of the mountainside and that the 45 foot high structure is much larger than any other building in the area so it substantially changes the character of the neighborhood. There are additional objections to the generation of traffic and lack of adequate parking which they claim would cause issues for nearby homeowners. They claim that the City did not do a traffic study on how the neighborhood’s traffic would be affected.

Opposition to the project began in Sept. of 2017 with a posting to the Palisades Residents.com website that referred to the building as a “monstrosity” under the umbrella of a group called HUG or Highlanders United (For) Good

PPRA’s case was filed against the City of Los Angeles and the California Coastal Commission. A recap on the PPRA website states that, “Public views of the coastal hills and mountains are protected by the Coastal Act. The City refused to evaluate the Project’s effect on scenic public views solely because the Project is 2½ miles from the ocean, despite substantial evidence that these scenic views will be adversely impacted.” and that “The City’s finding of a Categorical Exemption is improper under CEQA and not supported by substantial evidence. The Project does not fit within a Class 32 exemption. It is inconsistent with the applicable general plan designation, applicable general plan policies and applicable zoning and regulations. The Project does not qualify as “infill development”; It is not located on a site of no more than five acres substantially surrounded by urban uses. Most of the Project site is adjacent to parkland. The City approved the Project without sufficient evidence relating to traffic, noise and water quality. The Project is also not consistent with numerous elements of the City’s Brentwood-Pacific Palisades Community Plan and its policies.”

The development was originally approved by Henry Chu, the City Zoning Administrator, in April of 2018 and lawyers from Luna and Gershon, Jonathan Klar and Robert Glushon, representing Robert and Sandra Flick, filed an appeal to the commission, according to Palisades News.com that was denied. A writ of mandate petition was filed in July of 2018 and that motion was denied by Judge John A. Torribio in April of 2021. 

According to the Palisadian Post, the appeal is still pending and is in the briefing stage. The Palisadian Post spoke to PPRA’s attorney Thomas Donovan and PPRA board member Harris Leven and quotes Leven as saying that, “The case is in the briefing stage, and PPRA’s Opening Brief is expected to be filed in November. Once that brief is filed, the developers, the city of Los Angeles and the Coastal Commission will have 30 days to file their brief or briefs … after the respondents’ … briefs are filed, PPRA will then have 20 days to file a reply brief or reply briefs.

“Sometime after all the briefs are filed, the court will schedule oral arguments on the issues raised.”

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