Monday, March 17, 2008

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LAX Northside's 350 acres could be added to preserved Ballona open spaces....(November 21, 2006)

L.A.'s department of airports will post "preliminary concepts" for reuse of hundreds of acres of vacant land north and east of LAX ontheir website by November 28th. They will then hold public "outreach meetings" on December 6 and 9 to hear from us.The properties are known as LAX Northside and Manchester Square.The LAX Northside land is 350 acres spanning from Sepulveda Blvd. allthe way to Pershing Drive, around 2 1/2 miles long by 1/4 mile wide,that formerly contained 3500 homes that were removed due to airport noise during the 1970's. In the 1980s, a 4.5 million square foot commercial office and hotel project was approved by the City Council, although no developer chose to lease land from LAX to build anything. The extremely high commercial vacancy rate near the airport, which remains to this day, makes more commercial development there unlikely. Except for the construction of the six-lane Westchester Parkway down the middle of the land and a newly built fire station, the Northside land is almost completely vacant.Manchester Square is a 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile neighborhood of houses and apartment buildings which the airport department began purchasing inthe late 1990's. Most of the houses are gone, but the apartments which form the outer ring of the area remain. The land was acquired with varying purposes, first, to eliminate homes in the high-noise zone and to be replaced with airport-related. Later public parkland was the stated goal. However, neither of these has happened.Due to its location between sensitive natural areas such as the ElSegundo Dunes and the Ballona Wetlands, there is a lot of potential for open space restoration at the Northside site. Should the Northside property be reused as recreational fields, as native plant and wildlife habitat restoration, and as a treatment wetland for polluted stormwater in the LAX and Westchester areas? These are all possibilities which are needed by our communities, and in the case of stormwater treatment, required by the federal Clean Water Act. Being that expansion of the airport has not been an acceptable nor viable plan, now is the opportunity to plan for public needs on theseproperties.To read the concept plans posted by November 28th, go tohttp://www.laxmasterplan.org/publicMeetings.cfm?more info is available at 1-800-919-3766The meetings will be: Wed. December 6, 6 pm to 9 pm and Saturday December 9, 9 am to 12 noon both at the LAX Flight Path Learning Center 6661 w. Imperial Highway

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