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RPV planners: Annenberg center is at odds with General Plan

The following are excerpts from a Daily Breeze article today regarding land use problems for the proposed Annenberg Center in Rancho Palos Verdes ( the entire article may be viewed at Annenberg project raises hackles
RPV: Commission says education center isn't the right fit for prime oceanview property
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RPV planners: Annenberg center is at odds with General Plan By Melissa Pamer Staff Writer
(Paul Penzella/Staff Artist)

An unusual proposal from the Annenberg Foundation for an animal-themed education center on a city-owned coastal bluff hit a couple of road bumps at a Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission meeting this week.

A majority of commissioners said at a Tuesday night meeting they did not believe the project at Lower Point Vicente is consistent with the city's planning guidelines, which say the site is open space to be used for passive recreation. The commission needs to find consistency with the city's General Plan, which guides development in the city, for the project to gain approval.

Commissioners weighed in on the project during a marathon session that lasted past midnight, after several hours of public comment for and against the proposal.  The initial focus was on recent revelations that federal officials have said the proposed Annenberg center is an inappropriate use of former military land.  That conflict, related to deed restrictions, will be addressed by the City Council in November.

The commission was tasked with deciding whether to grant several permits needed for the project. It did not make decisions on those items and continued the hearing to a later date. Commissioners stressed that they were grateful for the interest of the deep-pocketed, Los Angeles-based foundation. But some agreed with audience comments that the 51,000-square-foot educational facility was not well matched to the 26-acre site, an undeveloped field with expansive ocean views next to Point Vicente Interpretive Center.

The proposal includes state-of-the-art exhibit space, classrooms and an auditorium, plus adoption suites that would house up to about 20 animals. An outpost building would cater to outdoor exhibits that include an archaeological dig and Tongva Indian village. New trails and picnic areas would be built between human and animal experiences, foundation Executive Director Leonard Aube has said.

 

Flags mark a "silhouette" of the proposed Annenberg Foundation Project at Lower Point Vincente, with the Point Vincente Interpretive Center in the background. (Steve McCrank / Staff Photographer)

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On Tuesday, the commission sought to deflect attention from two letters sent to the city by the National Park Service. The federal agency oversees use of the former Army rifle range under a deed restriction imposed when the property was transferred in the mid-1970s to Los Angeles County - and more recently to the city.

"We do not deny that pet adoption and education regarding our relationship with domestic animals are important social needs," wrote David Siegenthaler of the park service's Pacific West Regional Office in Oakland in an Oct. 8 letter to the city. "The facility presented to provide those services simply does not belong on public parkland that is dedicated to public outdoor recreational use and that was obtained for the purpose of preserving open space," Siegenthaler continued. The City Council is expected to take up issues related to the deed restrictions on Nov. 16, Rojas said Wednesday. The commission will return to the Annenberg proposal after that, he said.

For more information about Palos Verdes and South Bay Real Estate and buying and selling a home on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, visit my website at http://www.maureenmegowan.com . I try to make this the best real estate web blog in the South Bay Los Angeles and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. I would love to hear your comments or suggestions.

Comment balloon 0 commentsMaureen Megowan • October 14 2010 07:37PM
RPV planners: Annenberg center is at odds with General Plan
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