LaBonge Rallies the Troops Against “Metro Universal”

9_4_08_labonge.JPGOutspoken City Councilman Tom LaBonge is taking a stand against the massive planned development at the Universal City Metro stop.  Citing concerns about traffic and whether the development will use up the "Park and Ride" spaces that are set-aside for transit users, LaBonge's office sent out a letter to his constituents providing them with information on where to find the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project and how to comment.

You can find the full text of LaBonge's letter after the jump.  Emphasis added by Streetsblog.

One of the most crucial public issues right now for residents of the East San Fernando Valley is the development project known as Metro Universal on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority site. The project, which is directly across Lankershim from Universal City, is proposed in two phases:

  • Phase I, to be completed by 2011, would include 1.47 million square feet of new commercial and residential space in a 24-story office tower and a ten-story production site; and two parking structures: one with 1,900 and the other with 1780 spaces including 800 for the Metro Station.
  • Phase II would be completed by 2015 and would include either a 24-story office tower OR a 34-story hotel and residential project with 300 hotel rooms, 400 residential units, up to 11,000 square feet of retail and almost 1,800 parking spaces.

You may be aware that the DRAFT Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for this project was released to the public on Mon., Aug. 25, 2008. It's important to note that this is a draft report, which means public comment is welcome for 90-days. I encourage you to read the report (posted online at: http://cityplanning.lacity.org/Click on "Environmental" on the left side of the page and then on "Draft EIR") and submit your comments to the public record. A copy of the draft EIR is also available at three branches of the Los Angeles Public Library: the North Hollywood Regional Branch (5211 Tujunga Ave., LA 91601); the Studio City Branch (12511 Moorpark St., LA 91604) and the Central Library (630 W. 5thSt., LA 90071).

For the record, I am opposed to this project as it is proposed. My key concerns are density and trafficmitigation. It is notjust the scopeof the developmentthat is overwhelming- 1.47million square feet -- but whether traffic improvements are in place before any buildings are occupied.

Another key issue is prioritizing parking for those using the Red Line. After all, this land is owned by the MTA and the MTA's mission is to accommodate commuters' needs. Of course, I welcome NBC back to the City of Los Angeles and look forward to working with them and their developers to build a complex that works well for them and everyone else.

Additionally, the draft EIR for the Universal City Vision Plan, a 1.56 million square-foot commercial and residential development on the Universal property, is a separate document which may be released in the next few months. Please watch my weekly newsletters for information on how to comment on that report. If you have any question, please call my Planning Deputy Doug Mensman at (213)485-3337. Thank you for taking an active interest in this important issue in your community and city.