This commentary is in response to the commentary by Richard R. Robbins
Jr. concerning the Oakmont V project.
At the second public hearing, a real estate agent spoke in support of
the 572-unit project, claiming that the fair-market value for each of Mr.
Gregg's undeveloped lots would be about $350,000. She added, "It was
atrocious that the city of Glendale had only raised $8 million for a
Mr. Robbins, by no coincidence, is a real estate agent also, and Mr.
Robbins chose to include his occupation right under his name on his
commentary. Nice try, Mr. Robbins.
What is the value of the Verdugo Mountains to the Verdugo Woodlands?
The Gregg family claims that his land is worth more than $40 million. But
his project proposes blasting, ridgeline cuts and 100-foot-high retaining
walls, while other units will be built on 100 feet of fill. It will bury
a riparian stream, calls for a million-gallon water tower in plain view,
and will fill our air with soot and debris from grading for a decade or
more to come.
Mr. Robbins claimed that his concern was that the city of Glendale
would be responsible for having to pay damages if the 572-unit project
was voted down. He stated that his concerns arose once the judge ruled in
favor of the Greggs after a motion to dismiss was filed by the city. The
significance of this early ruling merely means that the Greggs might have
some merit to their lawsuit.
Mr. Robbins claims that it's a fight for a few at the expense of many.
The Glendale Hillside Ordinance was passed in 1993, and it's significance
limits any hillside development to only 12 units. Well ... this is the
last hillside project of such enormity that upon stipulation qualified
for the pre-1993 hillside ordinance standard.
Mr. Robbins stated in his commentary that there are 200,000 residents
of Glendale and only 200 to 300 people showed up at the public hearing.
(Glendale News-Press approximated that there were 400.) Still, this
statement is misleading. Last year, there was a hearing and around 800
people showed up to rebut the inadequacies of the first environmental
impact report only. The second hearing, which was the result of the first
hearing, was to address the revised environmental impact report only, and
like the first hearing was not to discuss the merits of the project. The
first EIR presented only five significant and unavoidable impacts, where
the revisions revealed more than 30.
Mr. Robbins commented that at the hearing there were parties arguing
for both sides. I was there until the wee hours of the morning, and let
me set the facts straight: Besides the developer and his relatives, there
were but a handful supporting the projects.
Mr. Robbins remarks that the project will generate $4 million in
developer fees, which can be used to help our schools. This project
proposes 572 units! The EIR claims the project will only produce 0.3 kids
per household, yet Mr. Gregg stated at the hearing that each house will
be approximately 4,500 square feet. Who, may I ask, is going to be living
in these houses? Singles or older couples who are downsizing?
The developer states in his project's commercials that the project
will be built in one of Glendale's most prestigious neighborhoods. I
agree. In spite of Mr. Gregg's Oakmont IV development, the Verdugo
Woodlands area is one of Glendale's finest, but take the wood out of
Woodlands and it won't be one of Glendale's finest any longer.
As the city prepares its final EIR and moves closer to the City
Council's vote, the Greggs will continue to think of only their
pocketbook instead of Glendale's residents, and they will continue to
advertise their project on cable news channels while Glendale residents
come home after work every day and attempt to catch up on this nation's
latest ordeals. I, for one, saw my first Gregg commercial on Sept. 12 on
MSNBC. If the Greggs continue to advertise this project even though it
still hasn't received a green light, then Mr. Gregg must remember that
before he claims all of his out-of-pocket expense and ties up our courts
further, the law states, just like the EIR, that one has a duty to
mitigate one's damages (both in court and to our community).
As for Mr. Robbins: Please quit trying to solicit business from the
Greggs at Glendale residents' expense. Most real estate agents rely on
mass mailings to get new business.