Conflict of Interest Opinion Awaited : Planners Delay Porter Ranch Hearing


The Los Angeles City Planning Commission is postponing consideration of a $2-billion development proposal for Porter Ranch until June 8, city officials said Friday.

The commission was to hear the matter and possibly make a recommendation to the City Council on Thursday. But the body must wait for a legal opinion from the city attorney’s office on whether two commissioners have a conflict of interest because of investments they have made in land near the project, commission President William G. Luddy said.

Commissioners Theodore Stein Jr. and Suzette Neiman are partners in a 19-home development about a mile from the project. Thirteen of the homes have been sold, and the rest are expected to be sold within the next three to six months, Stein said.


If the commission cannot hear the case, the Board of Referred Powers would take its place. That board is chaired by City Councilman Hal Bernson, who supports most of the Porter Ranch proposal. The other board members are council members Richard Alatorre, Marvin Braude, Joan Milke Flores and Zev Yaroslavsky.

The Porter Ranch Development Co. wants to build about 3,000 residences and 7.5 million square feet of commercial space in the hills north of the Simi Valley Freeway in Chatsworth. Bernson last month recommended building 3,395 homes and building about 6 million square feet of commercial space in the area.

In another development Friday, the Chatsworth Chamber of Commerce called for building no more than 1.2 million square feet of commercial space in the project area. Chamber President John Halpin said the group believes the northwest San Fernando Valley does not need the amount of office and retail space proposed by the developer and a citizens committee appointed by Bernson.