Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword
Like this
3Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Regional Connector Letter

Regional Connector Letter

Ratings: (0)|Views: 10,339 |Likes:
Published by curbedla

More info:

Published by: curbedla on Feb 23, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

02/23/2012

pdf

text

original

 
 
[Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project 2.14.2012.doc/4394.073]
G
ILCHRIST
&
 
R
UTTER
 
P
ROFESSIONAL
C
ORPORATION
 1299
 
O
CEAN
A
VENUE
,
 
S
UITE
900S
ANTA
M
ONICA
,
 
CA
 
90401(310)
 
393-4000
DLA
 
P
IPER
LLP
 
(US)
1999
 
A
VENUE OF THE
S
TARS
,
 
S
UITE
400L
OS
A
NGELES
,
 
CA
 
90067-6023(310)
 
595-3000
C
HRISTOPHER
S
UTTON
L
AW
O
FFICES
 
586
 
L
A
L
OMA
R
OAD
 P
ASADENA
,
 
CA
 
91105(626)
 
683-2500
H
ILL
F
ARRER
&
 
B
URRILL
L.L.P.
O
NE
C
ALIFORNIA
P
LAZA
,
 
37
TH
F
LOOR
 300
 
S
OUTH
G
RAND
A
VENUE
 L
OS
A
NGELES
,
 
CA
 
90071-3147(213)
 
620-0460February 14, 2012
V
IA
E-M
AIL AND
U.S.
 
M
AIL
 
Ms. Dolores Roybal SaltarelliLos Angeles County MetropolitanTransportation AuthorityOne Gateway Plaza, MS 99-22-2Los Angeles, CA 90012Email: roybald@metro.netMr. Raymond SukysOffice of Planning and Program DevelopmentFederal Transit Administration, Region IX201 Mission Street, Suite 1650San Francisco, CA 94105Email: raymond.sukys@dot.govMr. Ray TellisFederal Transit Administration, Region IX888 South Figueroa Street, Suite 1850Los Angeles, CA 90017Email: ray.tellis@dot.govRe: State Clearinghouse No. 2009031043
 
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation AuthorityRegional Connector Transit Corridor ProjectFinal Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report(January 20, 2012)Dear Ms. Roybal Saltarelli, Mr. Sukys and Mr. Tellis:This letter is submitted on behalf of Thomas Properties Group (“TPG”), which is the realproperty owner and property manager of the properties located at 515-555 South Flower Street,referred to as the “City National Plaza and Towers” in the Final Environmental ImpactStatement/Environmental Impact Report (“Final EIS/EIR”), and 400 South Flower Street,referred to as the “J-2 Garage” (collectively, the “TPG Properties”); Hines, which owns theproperty located at 444 South Flower Street (“Citigroup Center”); The California Club, whichowns the property located at 538 South Flower Street; and the Westin Bonaventure Hotel andSuites, which owns the property located at 404 South Figueroa Street (all collectively, the
 
Ms. Roybal SaltarelliMr. Raymond SukysMr. Ray TellisFebruary 14, 2012Page 2
[Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project 2.14.2012.doc/4394.073]
“Affected Property Owners” and the “Affected Properties”). The Affected Properties are allimmediately adjacent to portions of the proposed Los Angeles County MetropolitanTransportation Authority (“LACMTA”) Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project (“RegionalConnector” or “Project”), and are located on South Flower Street between 4
th
and 6
th
Streets (the“Financial District”). Together, the Affected Properties provide millions of square feet of officewith accessory retail uses, hundreds of hotel rooms and employ thousands of people in theFinancial District.Certain of the Affected Property Owners have previously submitted comments on theDraft Environmental Impact Statement/ Environmental Impact Report (" Draft EIS/EIR") and onthe Supplemental Environmental Assessment/Recirculated Supplemental Draft EIR. See, forexample, TPG’s letter dated September 1, 2011 and Hines’ letter dated September 2, 2011,included in the Final EIS/EIR as comment letter R-BU4 and R-BU6, respectively.The Affected Property Owners continue to be disappointed that LACMTA has failed tosufficiently consider the significant adverse environmental impacts of and feasible mitigationsfor the construction of the Regional Connector in the Financial District. In particular, the use of cut and cover construction in the Financial District, instead of the use of the tunnel boringmachine ("TBM") method, which is being used for virtually all other portions of the line, ishighly impactful and consequently violates the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Res.Code §§ 21000 et seq.; “CEQA”). The result of the proposed use of the cut and cover methodcan only be further delays and costs for the Project.
1.
 
The Failure To Mitigate Significant Adverse Environmental Impacts In TheFinancial District Is Contrary To The City's Goals Of Economic Growth.
The City of Los Angeles (“City”) has expressed its high priority for development of theFinancial District and surrounding downtown areas in its long-term plans and in its support of development projects located in those areas, including without limitation, the Wilshire GrandHotel project, LA Live, and the Grand Avenue project. Yet, the Project as currently designedwould create substantial unmitigated adverse impacts over a period of years on traffic, transit,vehicular and pedestrian access, local businesses, parking, and safety, all of which will serve tolimit leasing and rental opportunities and prices at a time when this area of downtown is juststarting to show signs of recovery. LACMTA’s refusal to avoid or mitigate these significantimpacts in the Financial District, as it has done in other areas, by refining the Project to use theTBM method of construction is squarely incompatible with all of the goals and policiespromoting downtown development.While future plans for the development of other districts in the downtown area, e.g.,Little Tokyo, should certainly be encouraged, at the same time it must be recognized that theFinancial District and its substantial infrastructure already exist and serve as a key economicdriver for the entire region. The continued revitalization of the Financial District is critical toany plans for renewing the greater downtown Los Angeles area and is the catalyst for the other
 
Ms. Roybal SaltarelliMr. Raymond SukysMr. Ray TellisFebruary 14, 2012Page 3
[Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project 2.14.2012.doc/4394.073]
developments along the light rail line. Damaging the vitality of the downtown core will hinder,not promote, economic renewal in the whole area. As such, it is puzzling that LACMTA shouldfocus its priorities elsewhere along the line.
2.
 
CEQA Mandates Mitigation Of The Cut And Cover Construction Impacts InThe Financial District, As Is Done For Little Tokyo.
The Affected Property Owners, who are developers, owners, and/or property managers of predominantly sustainable, transit-oriented developments, do support mass transit, and theRegional Connector, specifically, as an overall matter. However, the Affected Property Ownershave significant economic interests in ensuring that the construction impacts of the RegionalConnector on the tenants, employees, patrons, and visitors of their respective Affected Propertiesare avoided or at least minimized to the greatest extent possible.This is not just a matter of mistaken priorities on LACMTA’s part. As shown by thesignificant involvement of legal counsel, it should be recognized that CEQA
mandates
that thesignificant environmental impacts created by the construction of the Project be avoided orreduced through revisions to the Project, adoption of all feasible mitigation measures, andconsideration of alternatives. The Final EIS/EIR fails to meet these tests.The Final EIS/EIR acknowledges that the overall construction impacts of the Project havebeen reduced, many to a less than significant level particularly in Little Tokyo and in theFinancial District on Flower Street between 3
rd
and 4
th
Streets by eliminating cut and coverconstruction and replacing it with use of the TBM. As the Final EIS/EIR states, that“refinement” reduces the number of business acquisitions required, reduces the need for road andsidewalk closures, property acquisitions, job displacement and overall neighborhood disruption.In addition, mitigation measures have been refined and expanded in those areas.By contrast, however, the significant impacts in the Financial District created by the cutand cover construction employed along Flower Street between 4
th
and 7
th
Streets remainunresolved. In fact, the Final EIS/EIR’s conclusions that other impacts along Flower Streetbetween 4
th
and 7
th
Streets are less than significant are legally suspect, as they are not based onsubstantial evidence–either the mitigation is improperly deferred or the proposed mitigation is sovague as to be meaningless. The Final EIS/EIR’s excuse for failing to reduce or avoid theseimpacts is that the refinement to the Project and the mitigation measures employed in LittleTokyo and on Flower Street between 3
rd
and 4
th
Streets are “not practicable” or “not feasible” forthe Financial District, but, as with many of its other conclusions, the Final EIS/EIR fails tosupport these bald conclusions with substantial evidence.The failure to provide feasible mitigation for such impacts, and to evaluate alternatives toavoid those impacts, renders the Final EIS/EIR fatally flawed under CEQA. CEQA accords leadagencies discretion in environmental reviews, but “CEQA
compels
government first to identifythe environmental effects of projects, and then to mitigate those adverse effects through the

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->