July 13, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Bundy Village Draws Fire

The proposed Bundy Village at the corner of Olympic and Bundy is viewed by many as much too large for the neighborhood.  Bill Rosendahl recently came out against the project in its current configuration.For several months, Westside residents have voiced concern about a development proposed at the corner of Olympic and Bundy called “Bundy Village.”
The proposal, in the words of Lauren Cole, the Brentwood Community Council’s chair of the transportation committee, “is simply too big.”
After months of campaigning by opponents, the developer recently stated that it has decided it now wants to take extra time to review the concerns of those who live, work and drive in the area.
Prior to this announcement, it appeared the developer was simply going to forge ahead with all plans unchanged.
The website of the proposed Bundy Village and Medical Park (httpThe proposed medical facilities will comprise the biggest part of the project.://www.bundyvillage.info) envisions a happy oasis where children frolic in a fountain while seniors stroll tree-lined paths en route to doctor’s visits. All this while creating good jobs – and shopping too!
Opposition websites predict a traffic nightmare that will ensnarl the entire West Side in gridlock. One site vows to Stop Bundy Village (http://stopbundyvillage.com), while the other merely urges visitors to Fight Bundy Village (http://www.fightbundyvillage.org).
The Plan
Bundy Village was first proposed in 2002 by developer Stonebridge Holdings. The concept has evolved since then. Now, Bundy Village and Medical Park would convert a 12-acre parcel of land near Olympic Blvd. and Bundy Drive, previously zoned for “light industrial†use, into a commercial complex An aerial view of the 12-acre site, with the new development spliced in.featuring medical facilities, condos, retail space and parking.
The plan calls for two buildings described (by Stonebridge) as “world class medical office and research facilities.†Opponents note that this description could include almost anything, so pending a tenant list, it’s impossible to predict just who will open up shop. However, some have resorted to what are arguably scare tactics, raising the specter of a psychiatric treatment center at the location.
The plan also includes 385 condominiums. Of these, 208 are reserved for Seniors. Sixty-two units are designated “Moderate Income.â€
The scale of the retail space (and associated parking) was recently curtailed enough to chop three stories off the development’s central building when Stonebridge made tweaks to the blueprint, an effort to address opponents’ concerns about traffic. This didn’t do much to allay those concerns, however, because it’s the medical portion that nearby residents fear will generate even worse congestion on already clogged local streets.
The project’s Environmental Impact Statement predicts an increase of 21,000 car trips each day. Sixty-five percent of those additional trips would be to and from the proposed new medical facilities.
A Brentwood Community Council rep testified before the Los Angeles City Planning Commission that without their support, by-right development of the medical buildings would be limited to about a quarter of the current plan’s scale. He likened this discretionary quadrupling to jamming a size 12 foot into a size 6 shoe.
The southern edge of Brentwood is a mile north of the Bundy Village site, but the BCC and allied groups representing adjacent communities in places like Mar Vista and Santa Monica maintain that further exacerbating gridlock on the I-10 and on nearby surface streets will have a cascading effect. The BCC’s letter to the Planning Department gets specific:
“Currently, the gridlock on the I-10 freeway forces drivers onto surface streets such as Pico Blvd., Olympic Blvd., and Santa Monica Blvd. These streets become gridlocked as well, which forces drivers to reroute their trips further north onto Wilshire Blvd., Montana Avenue, San Vicente Blvd., and Sunset Blvd., all of which are in Brentwood.â€
This is the heart of the matter. The campaign against Bundy Village is about traffic. Neighborhood groups have attacked on multiple fronts – including the developer’s definition of “open and green space†as including rooftop areas. While any development draws some criticism, flat-out opposition to Bundy Village would not exist without the traffic issue.
Traffic in the area is bad, everyone agrees on that. Numerous nearby intersections are already at capacity or beyond, especially during rush hours. Bundy Village would add more intersections to that list, and thousands of additional car trips to the area’s daily load.
Stonebridge has laid out an extensive plan for mitigating traffic impact, including an Adaptive Traffic Control System, Traffic Demand Management with enforceable targets, rideshare matching, transit passes and parking cash-outs for employees, on-site grocery delivery – and even shuttles between other local job sites and the prospective Exposition Light Rail Transit Line station planned for the location.
It Takes A Village
The efforts of Bundy Village’s detractors have brought about significant changes in the plan. While falling short of satisfying the plan’s opponents, those changes impressed the Planning Commission as sufficient improvements to warrant unanimous approval of the project at its March 11 meeting. Commissioner Diego Cardoso said: “If we want to build a city based on mitigating every traffic trip that is generated, then we will never build a livable city.â€
Bundy Village is still far from a done deal. Next up are Planning and Land Use Management Committee hoops to jump through, and City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl (he represents the district in question) favors further downsizing before letting shovel hit dirt. Depending upon the types of medical facilities, state health agencies may also get involved. Stonebridge will need to drum up construction financing in an economy barely emerging from recession, and will likely face more appeals (or lawsuits) from the Stoppers and Fighters.
Rosendahl has been deluged with emails opposed to the project. His office sent out a press release on June 15 which stated unequivocally that he opposed the project, “as currently proposed.â€
He stated that, “In February 2010 I supported ‘in concept’ the development of senior housing and medical services at Bundy Village. I expressed my concern about the size of the project, and its traffic impacts. I made it clear that the project must be refined to address my concerns, and my constituents’ concerns, about the project’s traffic impact and scale. Since that time, the project has not been refined to do so.â€
The recent announcement by the developer that it will now take extra time to review community concerns sends the signal that changes more to the community’s liking might be in the offing. That, of course, is no assurance that the project will ever be viewed in a positive light by opponents. Then again, maybe enough compromises can be made that all parties to this conversation come away equally happy — or equally unhappy. Time will tell.

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