Land Use Committee Opposes Jack in the Box Site Project

By CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA | Reporter

After multiple hearings on a proposed commercial and residential project at the old Jack in the Box site, the Pacific Palisades Land Use Committee finally took a position against the development at its latest meeting on Thursday, June 27.

Held for the first time in the Swarthmore Room of Caruso’s Palisades Village, the committee, along with neighbors of the project site on Sunset Boulevard, voiced their opposition to height and traffic concerns that the 44-unit building would bring.

The board voted 6-1 to recommend that the Pacific Palisades Community Council oppose the project “as proposed,” stating that “the Project is more than twice the size otherwise allowed under the applicable Pacific Palisades Commercial Village and Neighborhoods Specific Plan.”

Developer Masoud Aminpour is hoping that, by providing four affordable housing units, he can take advantage of a state law that would allow him to build higher than 30 feet.

Also opposed to the project, representatives of the surrounding Edgewater Towers hired attorney Tom Donovan, who is also leading the fight against The Highlands eldercare facility, to express concerns that the height of the building would obstruct protected views of the ocean for some of their residents.

But Palisadian Mike Gonzalez, attorney for the developer, insisted the project would not interfere, showing renderings of the building and pictures of story poles to back up his argument. He cited the laws in question that would allow the controversial specifications of the building.

“I know there’s a desire to perceive reality differently, but this is reality,” Gonzalez said, pointing to his supporting evidence.

“Just because you say it’s the law and you say you’re a Palisadian, that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do for the community,” said Reza Akef, Area 8 representative and Palisadian developer, in a heated exchange with the attorney. He further argued that the 37 residential parking spaces and additional bicycle parking would not be enough.

“That means four of your tenants are going to have to park on the street,” Akef said. “At the end of the day, the coastal permit is an entitlement application … and we as a community have a right to say, ‘This doesn’t fit in our community.”

Howard Robinson, the LUC chair and the only vote against the motion, later presented the decision to the PPCC board, who will discuss the issue at a later meeting.