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Key Council Panel OKs Playa Vista Development : Land use: Planning committee urges approval by full council next week. Galanter calls concessions by the developer the most far-reaching ever.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The vast Playa Vista development near Marina del Rey moved a step closer to reality Tuesday after winning the support of a key Los Angeles City Council committee.

By a 3-0 vote, the Planning and Land Use Management Committee recommended approval of the first stage of the proposed $7-billion residential, office, retail and hotel project, which is among the largest developments ever contemplated for Los Angeles.

The action clears the way for the full City Council to decide the matter next Tuesday.

“We’re almost there,” said a beaming Nelson Rising, general partner with developer Maguire Thomas Partners, after Tuesday’s four-hour hearing, which was attended by more than 200 people.

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The project, meanwhile, was endorsed by Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, whose district includes the 1,087-acre Playa Vista property. Galanter praised Playa Vista as “a model development,” adding that it “will play a major role in the economic revitalization of Los Angeles.”

Galanter said it is far different from a project promoted by Summa Corp. that she helped to block in 1987. She described concessions made by Maguire Thomas as “the most significant and far-reaching ever” for a Los Angeles development.

The first stage--which amounts to about a quarter of the entire project--would involve construction of 3,246 residential units, more than a million square feet of office space, 35,000 square feet of retail space and 300 hotel rooms.

Ultimately, Playa Vista would become a community of nearly 29,000 residents and a workplace for 20,000 people.

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The project, as envisioned by the developers, would consist of 13,085 apartments, townhouses and condominiums, 5 million square feet of office space, 595,000 square feet of retail space, 1,050 hotel rooms and a new yacht harbor with docks for up to 840 boats.

Among other things, Maguire Thomas has agreed to restore the Ballona Wetlands on the property, provide for on-site waste management and recycling operations and reserve up to 25% of the residential units as affordable housing. Critics, including some who have praised the developer’s innovative approach, say the project is too big and will create significant air and water pollution. They also complain that the traffic it will generate will overwhelm the already congested corridor between Santa Monica and Los Angeles International Airport.

Tuesday, Caltrans official Bob Goodell said the agency was satisfied that traffic mitigation measures agreed to by Maguire Thomas were adequate, but quickly added, “for Phase 1 and Phase 1 only.”


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