Palisades News Letters: Objections to Highlands Letter

Sad that in his letter in your December 5 issue, a Palisadian provided snarky unfounded opinions regarding the proposed senior-living project.

If he could not determine whether the project violated any “zoning ordinance,” perhaps it was because the News has trivialized project opponents instead of providing thorough and thoughtful analysis. A cursory review of the City file reveals dozens of ways the project fails to comply with the Coastal Act, CEQA and the Brentwood-Palisades Community Plan. Compliance with the zoning ordinance is only one of the tests that must be satisfied for the project to be “legal.”

As to alleged intimidation of interested parties, the letter’s author should consider the following. “Intimidation” is when a project supporter threatens to sue an opponent and take the opponent’s house and children, and tells a different opponent face to face prior to the ZA hearing on the project to “f ” off and flashes a specious “police auxiliary” ID, threatening to have the police throw him out of there. Both of the foregoing did occur.

Site of proposed development in the Highlands.
Photo: Bart Bartholomew

It is not “intimidation” to point out to the supporters who wrote emails to the ZA using their employers’ letterhead (very likely in violation of company policy), presumably to give themselves more credibility and imply that their employers endorsed the project, that such conduct was highly inappropriate. If those sup- porters suffered adverse consequences from their wrongful acts, that is “education,” not “intimidation.”

Finally, with reference to the letter author’s “clever” literary allusion, Highlanders United for Good is not “Orwellian.” A small-time unknown developer (who has not been vetted in any publication I have seen) who has hired a PR firm in desperation to help him tell half-truths and manipulate the city approval system to grossly enrich himself at the expense of homeowners is “Orwellian.”

Shame on all who sanctimoniously pontificate about issues without knowing the facts. To the rest of the News’ readers, Happy Holidays!

Robert T. Flick

(Editor’s note: The Highlands does not fall under the Brentwood-Palisades Specific Plan. Buildings in town must be no higher than 30 feet and buildings along Sunset can be no higher than 35 ft., but this proposed building does not fall under either code. Additionally, at the Pacific Palisades Community Council Land Use Committee (LUC) meeting held in October, members concluded that the proposed use is allowable according to the zoning code.

One question often raised in hearings for Coastal Development Permits is if the building is compatible with the neighborhood. LUC Chair Howard Robinson said at that meeting: “In my experience, compatible is a subjective term and has torn neighborhoods apart. If a developer is following code, then that is tantamount to compatible.”

The LUC recommendation then went to the community council, which agreed with the LUC hearing findings. Neither body addressed CEQA. We’ve offered to print letters from both sides, but so far no one has stepped forward.)

Palisades News welcomes all letters, which may be emailed to Please include a name, address and telephone number so we may reach you. Letters do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Palisades News.

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