By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
The Pacific Palisades Residents Association filed a notice of appeal in Superior Court on Tuesday, July 14, to overturn the ruling on the Palisades Highlands eldercare project to be constructed on Palisades Drive.
PPRA has been fighting against aspects of the development since 2018, appealing exemptions and approvals by the city and California Coastal Commission of the four-story, 45-feet-high, 64,646-square-foot project by Brentwood-based developer Rony Shram.
PPRA initially filed a petition for writ of mandate on July 24, 2018, and took the city to court earlier this year before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John A. Torribio—who denied the motion on April 21.
“This appeal challenges the rulings by the Superior Court judge that we firmly believe are contrary to law or are incomplete,” Sarah Conner, president of PPRA, wrote in an email. “The judge closed the trial in March with the understanding that he would issue a new tentative ruling and call the parties back for a continuation of the trial, but he never did so.”
PPRA previously reported that this challenged what they had initially understood: That the court would issue a new tentative ruling and a new trial date for the parties to return for further argument.
PPRA claimed that the eldercare case was halted on March 12 and PPRA’s attorneys, Thomas Donovan and John Murdock, were not allowed to complete their arguments. The court ruling stated the project was “expressly consistent with the site zoning designation.”
The ruling also stated that “substantial evidence supports [the] city’s findings that the project will not have a significant impact on traffic or noise,” and is consistent with the Brentwood-Pacific Palisades Community Plan.
Developer Shram told the Palisadian-Post that permits for the project were issued on Thursday, July 9. Work was put in motion and preparations for construction began the following week on Thursday, July 16.
The team began by clearing the brush and installing a new fence. Earthwork was scheduled to begin this week.
“This first phase will include exporting dirt for the underground garage, shoring and drilling the foundation piles,” Shram said.
Since pre-construction began last week, Conner explained that Highlands residents have questioned whether the construction can be halted while PPRA’s current appeal is ongoing—the answer being essentially no.
She explained that the Court of Appeals process is expected to be lengthy, and in order to halt construction while the appeal is pending, a restraining order or injunction in some form would be required. This would entail posting a bond in an amount set by the court—PPRA has been raising money to fund the appeal, but does not have the funds for a bond, she said.
“The developers have chosen to start construction now, which they can do under the law, but the developers could be required to dismantle or modify parts of the building later if PPRA prevails at the Court of Appeals,” Conner said.
Joe Cirillo, property manager for Miller Properties, located south of the eldercare site, sent a letter on July 14 to tenants regarding developments.
“There will be approximately 82 suites with underground parking,” Cirillo wrote. “All employees, visitors and services will enter through the underground parking, which will eliminate them from parking on the street where many of you park now.”
As the Post went to print Tuesday, a website with construction schedules and updates was slated to go live. More information can be found at 1525pali.com.
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