A development company with three projects in the works in lower Playa del Rey met with community members Tuesday night to outline their plans for the vacant lot known as The Triangle.
Derek Jones, chief operating officer of developer Legado Co., told the members of the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa's Planning and Land Use Committee that the one-acre plot at 138 Culver Blvd. will be converted to a 72-unit residential complex with 16,000-square-feet of retail space, including two restaurants, a bike shop and a small grocery store.
The complex will have a roof line that's 45-feet tall with 45 one-bedroom units and 27 two-bedroom units, Jones said. The developers have not yet decided if the units will be rentals or condominiums, he said.
Plans do not call for any variances to height restrictions or parking requirements and is within the C-4 commercial zone, Jones said.
Committee member David Voss asked about traffic impacts from the proposed development and what will be done to ease any increased congestion.
Jones replied that traffic studies found the project would lead to modest increases during P.M. peak hours westbound on Culver Boulevard. He recalled that the mitigation called for improving the flow of westbound traffic on Culver Boulevard and/or southbound traffic on Nicholson Street by creating an additional left-turn lane from Culver Boulevard onto Nicholson Street.
The project also will include a two-level subterranean garage with 72 parking spaces with lower-level parking for residents and upper-level parking for retail patrons and guests. The only entrance and exit from the parking lot will be on Pacific Avenue. The underground garage will be built on sandy soil prone to liquefaction, but plans call for building a concrete waterproof foundation 25-feet below ground.
Jones said future plans could entail diagonal parking at the base of Culver Boulevard that would increase the number of spots and encourage more pedestrians.
Committee member Sibyl Buchanan asked if the project would make affordable units available as part of the state's 1982 Mello Act, which is intended to protect and increase the supply of affordable housing near the California coast. Jones said the project falls under the Mello Act since it's more than 10 units and they were aiming to provide eight affordable units either off-site or in the immediate vicinity of the project.
"I think everyone likes affordable housing in concept," Jones said. "But folks are not wild about having subsidized units in lower Playa."
The developers will have to check with the City Attorney's Office to determine how much flexibility they have in providing the required number of affordable units off-site.
Cheryl Burnett, a committee member and lower Playa del Rey resident, noted that Legado also was involved in two other developments in Playa del Rey; one at Toe's Beach and another at 230 Culver Boulevard, where Outlaws Bar & Grill restuarant currently resides. Jones said the two other projects are included in the traffic study for The Triangle property.
Burnett also asked that the developers adhere to the community's emerging Community Design Overlay (CD0), which provides design guidelines for builders.
"We're not in a position to wait on the sidelines while a CDO is formed or not formed, that wouldn't be an appropriate request to make to us," Jones said. "I've said before that if a CDO or guidelines exist at the time of this project going forward we will abide by those guidelines."
Daisy Allen, a graduate student at UCLA, said she's been working on the design guidelines for Culver Boulevard for about a year and said the project has included several community meetings. A draft of the design guidelines should be ready by April, Allen said.
The three projects planned for lower Playa del Rey prompted the community to kick-start the creation of design guidelines because none were in place, Burnett said.
The project at 138 Culver Blvd. has had most of its environmental reviews and analysis completed and will be available for public comment in a matter of weeks, Jones said.