Dear Friends and Neighbors:
Several months ago we were contacted by a consultant who is working with the owner of EZ Storage on Pico (across from Gateway). A few of us met with several of their representatives to review their expansion plans. We have decided that it is not in the best interest of Pico Beautification to support their huge expansion. We also feel that they will not provide enough parking and are not providing enough landscaping to visually improve their building. They also propose a large back lit sign that will be on the Pico side of their building. We feel that Pico certainly does not need any more large back lit signs.
EZ Storage has requested many variances from the zoning office to go ahead with their plans. PLEASE write a letter objecting to these variances. Scott MacGillivray has written a "model" letter that I will forward in a separate email. Please send your letter to the Zoning address and also fax a copy to Scott at 310-479-2174.
P.S. We hope to have a Community Design Overlay Zone in place on Pico by next Summer. All new businesses coming into our section of Pico will need to abide by certain design standards, color of building, signage, landscaping, etc. If any of you have any suggestions, we are in the process now of setting those standards. Please let me know.
Subject: EZ Storage
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2002 14:28:09 -0800
T. SCOTT MACGILLIVRAY, AIA, ARCHITECT
11022 SANTA MONICA BLVD., SUITE 300
LOS ANGELES, CA 90025
T: 310-479-1974 F: 310-479-2174
I hope you are having fun in S.F. I went to the EZ hearing today, stated my objections and gave the attached hand out to the Zoning Administrator, (Z.A.).
One thing has become very apparent over the course of our discussions with EZ is that the information that they gave us has not all been forthright or even remotely accurate in some cases.
There were 3 men at the hearing who live on Colby who were objecting to the lack of beautification and concern that current parking problems will be greater if this goes through. Two of the men are:
2432 Colby Ave., #100
Los Angeles, CA 90064
T: 310-478-1055; F: 310-479-2205
2436 Colby Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
The Zoning Administrator, (Z.A.), did say that whenever there are so many variances requested that there is something wrong.
She has taken it under consideration and will accept additional information for a short time.
In closing, EZ Storage said that the Westside Residents Association is going to submit a much more detailed endorsement of the project.
Please note that the Z.A. felt that the parking requirement described in my paragraph 3.1 was not correct. However, my other comments about their lack of parking are correct.
Cristi, it would help a great deal if you could send a letter concurring with my letter and if we could have several others. They are going to attack me as one person and our group as not being representative of just a few people.
November 14, 2002
Chief Zoning Administrator
City of Los Angeles
200 North Spring Street, 7th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90012
RE: CASE NO. 2002-3701 (CU)(ZV)
CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT - ZONE VARIANCE
WEST LOS ANGELES PLANNING AREA
DISTRICT MAP NO. 123B153
COUNCIL DISTRICT NO. 11
APPLICANT: EZ STORAGE PICO, LTD.
I am a member of the Pico Beautification Project which is a group of Pico property owners, tenants and neighboring residents who are actively making improvements to Pico Boulevard between Centinela Avenue and Sawtelle Avenue. The subject property is within that area.
I would like to object to the application because it violates so many code requirements by such gigantic proportions that it would invalidate the very reasons for their existence.
1.1 The request is for entitlements to allow doubling the size of the building. Roughly 60,000 SF existing plus 58, 560 SF new. It will exceed the F.A.R. by 40,000 SF when evaluating just the building area. It is too much; this is nearly an extra acre of building on an acre and a quarter site.
1.2 If the effects of the parking variance are accounted for, the requested entitlement is much more than the 40,000 SF.
2. NUMBER OF FLOORS
2.1 The proposal requests an additional floor not for a special circumstances as would be expected for a variance. It is specifically requested to couple with grossly exceeding the FAR and grossly reducing the parking to create a massive new building.
2.2 There is no reason to throw out all of the rules for this project.
The parking request appears to be double dipping into the code.
3.1 The zoning engineer at the West Los Angeles Building Department Counter told us that the parking ratio being proposed as the base line for this variance is wrong. He said, Public Storage requires 1 space per 500 SF with no reduction. That is 118,560 SF ? 500+ 237 spaces. A proposal for a reduction should start from there.
3.2 We have had meetings and correspondences from EZ Storage where they claim non-conforming rights to zero parking for the existing building. We have repeatedly challenged that. I donít know what they have presented to you therefore I would like to refute their claims made to us.
ß "their is no parking and never has been on the Tennessee Avenue lot". Not so.
ß "their traffic study given to us claims 15 spaces on the Tennessee lot at the same time they insisted there was none". Not so.
ß "their survey shows 30 existing spaces. Not so.
The enclosed photographs show 41 striped
and numbered spaces some of which are shown on the survey. Some are
3.3 In many cases I believe it has been established that Public Storage can need fewer than code parking requirements. A single study of this property is not a fair assessment. Another public storage lot a block away on Tennessee is reported by the neighbors to have such high traffic that it is a problem. Unless we understand more uniform standards and how to prevent the traffic problems of the public storage building down the street, we canít assess the appropriate standard to use in this case.
3.4 By this proposal EZ Storage is doing a massive expansion and lobbying hard to keep their multiple non-conforming signs presumably to stimulate a higher volume of customers. There should be requirements to prevent them from operating like the facility down the street. This should be researched.
3.5 The parking that they show on the MTA owned land should not be allowed as a consideration of a variance. The MTA offers this land on a month to month basis for a reason. That is so that the owner and City will not consider it permanent. Please do not leave the community with a negative legacy.
3.6 A layout is not shown how the Pico Boulevard parking lot can be utilized for legal spaces when the MTA develops their property. It appears that will be only 1 or 2 or zero if the loading area requirement is not eliminated by variance.
3.7 If any portion of the EZ proposal is approved it should not be used to imply endorsement of their plan. The plans and parking layout should still meet requirements of other code issues not specifically exempted or modified.
4. PUBLIC SAFETY
4.1 The 2 driveways on Tennessee appear to be very hazardous to pedestrians and should be made safe. A 5 foot setback from the sidewalk would seem to be a beginning.
4.2 The massive curb cut existing at the Pico entrance as well as the proposed curb cut erases the safety barrier between the pedestrian and car. The hazard is acute here because the traffic speeds by this spot, also due to the curve of the road, the narrow curb lane and free moving right turn on to exposition Blvd. A standard 20í curb cut or less would be in the interest of public safety. Being that EZ storage claims such low volume traffic and that they are prepared to loose this lot and function from the Tennessee entrance I see no reason for them to ask for such a wide curb cut.
5.1 They have proposed that their numerous yellow back lit signs are old, granted non-conforming rights and not approachable by their proposal. They look new. Has anyone looked for their permits? They are exactly what the neighbors donít like. If they are granted anything as part of this process, then they should be required to make all of their signs conform to current code and the Design Overlay rules when they are created.
6. DESIGN OVERLAY DISTRICT
6.1 A Design Overlay District has been in the works, it has a moratorium on Public Storage Permits and is anticipated to eliminate them or curtail them. EZ Storage claims that either by tremendous neighborhood support or by their filing date of this proposal that they will be exempt from the Design Overlay District moratorium and its eventual guidelines. I contend that they donít have a building Permit and therefore have no such exemption.
6.2 There are reasons for the negative view of Public Storage Buildings. There is no reason to circumvent the positive process now underway.
7.1 The landscape improvements now included in the Landscape Plan on the Pico Frontage and Parking Lot plus several others rejected by EZ Storage would be a very nice improvement. The other recommendations can be incorporated and resubmitted should this proposal go forward.
7.2 The 1 foot of landscape across a third of the Tennessee frontage is a tiny offering. Their reason is that it was impossible for them to include more because of configuration of the parking. I contend that there are no such restraints. If any of this proposal is granted then a 5í landscape buffer should extend across the Tennessee frontage as mitigation.
8.1 Very neat renderings have been presented to the community groups. In reality I believe that the charcoal and backlit yellow color scheme will not look anywhere as nice as the rendering. The colors and signage should follow the new C.O.D. Guidelines when established.
The token offerings that the EZ Storage proposal makes to the community is tiny to the gargantuan entitlements that they propose.
T. Scott MacGillivray, AIA, Architect
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