Rancho P.V. : View, Access Concern Panel

Traffic access and impairment of views are the Planning Commission's major concerns about a scaled-down version of the Golden Cove town-home project that in 1983 sparked the greatest land-use and density battle in city history. And in contrast to the time when 72 units were proposed for 6.1 acres of land on Hawthorne Boulevard that many thought should be held for commercial development, public opposition to the new 49-unit project was slight this week, as the commission held the first of two public hearings on the project. The second is scheduled for Feb. 25.

"I strongly support more than one access and will recommend this," said Commissioner Joan S. Ortolano as the commission questioned the developer's plans for a single access road from Hawthorne and a ban on left turns on to the boulevard. Developer Howard Adler said he, too, favored a better traffic circulation system but, he told the commission, a second road connecting to Palos Verdes Drive West was opposed by the church that abuts the town-home site, and the city public works director blocked left turns onto Hawthorne for safety reasons.

Commissioners made it clear that they would like more access to the project and city planner Steve Rubin said it may be possible to provide another roadway when Point Vicente Park directly to the south is developed.

Rubin told the commission that the elevation of some units along Hawthorne will impair views from new homes going up on the other side of Hawthorne. Adler said he is looking at a split-level design for the units to minimize impact on views.

The old issue of whether the Golden Cove acreage should be residential or preserved for expansion of the shopping center was reopened by Franklyn C. Weiss, president of the Rancho Palos Verdes Council of Homeowners Assns., who asked the commission to support commercial use of the property. After bitter controversy, the City Council in 1984 changed the property in the master plan from commercial to residential, but a zoning ordinance limiting density to eight units an acre has not yet been given final approval.

Some people, including Commissioner Luella Wike, called for even lower density, but the commission this week steered clear of that and the commercial land use question.

Citing a city report that all new development under way in the vicinity of Golden Cove will add 2,000 cars a day to Hawthorne Boulevard, resident Elizabeth Kelly said the boulevard will become a "freeway." Kevin Smith, assistant public works director, responded that even with the additional cars, Hawthorne and Palos Verdes Drive West will remain well below design capacity. He said, however, that additional cars will "contribute noise and pollutants."

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