By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Updates regarding the forthcoming George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon were recently shared at the city of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks Facility Repair and Maintenance Commission Task Force virtual meeting on June 16.
“The landscaping phase of the park is approximately 50% through construction,” Kristen Ly, project manager for the park’s landscaping phase, explained. “The Palisades Recreation Center parking lot was open to the public at the end of May, and irrigation and landscaping efforts continue.”
Ly explained that approximately 10,000 plants have been placed in the canyon so far, and excavation and installation of shoring for a pump station along Pacific Coast Highway began this month and is ongoing.
When complete, the 46-acre passive park—which has been decades in the making and developed by the city—will feature picnic areas and provide a pathway from Palisades Recreation Center down to Pacific Coast Highway. There will be riparian landscaping, scenic ocean views, further access to nearby hiking trails, as well as fences and gates to ensure adherence to park hours.
Board of Recreation and Park Commissioner Joe Halper, a resident of Pacific Palisades, had requested an update on the status of communication between the California Coastal Commission and city of LA, which started with a letter in April of this year.
“Since April, the city has had multiple meetings with the Coastal Commission staff, and have provided all necessary documentation and information requested,” Ly said. “This includes a general progress report for the Potrero Canyon Park project, as well as a permit amendment application for the pathway leading down from Friends Street.
“Additionally, city staff has been working closely with the Coastal Commission and representatives from Caltrans to continue discussions regarding property rights for the lateral trail from the entrance of the park by PCH to the Temescal Canyon Road intersection.”
Ly explained that a gate on Friends Street was previously permitted but that the Coastal Commission has requested the Bureau of Engineering include an amendment to the Coastal Development Permit to address the inclusion of a pathway, which would, according to Norman Mundy, an environmental supervisor with the Bureau of Engineering, connect that path with the main trail within the park.
That application, Mundy explained, has been submitted, and the Coastal Commission has requested additional details about an irrigation system that will be installed in the park. Halper asked if there was anything that could be done to expedite the process, in the interest of saving time and funding, and Mundy assured the task force that the Coastal Commission has been working “constructively” to get the issues resolved as soon as possible.
The meeting then opened for public comment, with four residents speaking on the matter.
Jeff Spitz, a 30-plus-year resident of the area, explained that while he fully supports the park development and thinks it will be a “wonderful thing for the community and the city at large,” he shared that, along with at least 40 fellow residents, “strongly oppose the Friends Street entrance.”
“At the time, in 2008, the report issued by the [Potrero Canyon Community Task Force] said there would not be west rim access—which is what Friends Street is—absent public support,” Spitz shared. “And while I know there are certain individuals who support this … there is very strong opposition in the local community.”
Two people spoke in support of the Friends Street entrance: David Card and Anya Wolfberg McCann, citing the entrance as necessary for public safety, as it provides a point of emergency access, as well as to avoid finding parking at Palisades Recreation Center.
“There are thousands of people that live on that west mesa that would otherwise have to drive to the park at the Rec Center at the north end in order to try to find parking that is woefully inadequate and congested,” Card explained, “not only for the east rim residents there, but also for the park itself and the business district that are all tied together right there at the northern entrance of the park.”
Additional public comments may be sent to Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners via email: email@example.com.
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