CityWatch columnist Tim Deegan tackles the ongoing controversy over Harvard-Westlake’s plan to carve out a mountainside and build a huge parking garage. Neighbors and environmentalists are up in arms about the elite prep school’s plan, and the battle is not going away.
Deegan writes: “Their proposed plan has been meeting strong resistance from a coalition of environmentalists, homeowners, activists and others in the community since it was first announced in 2013. ‘Any project that removes a wooded mountainside and replaces it with a lit up concrete monolith taller than the mountain itself does not belong at a gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains,’ said Paul Edelman, the Deputy Director of Natural Resources and Planning at the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, about the destruction that would come so that a huge parking structure could be built into the hillside.
“It’s a first for the Valley: carving out part of the hillside to insert a concrete, multi-level parking structure. The possible precedent of hacking into the environment like this may concern residents from Sherman Oaks to Toluca Lake, and environmentalists everywhere. Their hillsides could be the next to be paved over.
“The Harvard-Westlake School wants to displace 137,000 cubic yards of earth to make way for their parking lot project. That’s 9 percent of the amount of soil displaced to create the Getty Center and, proportionately within the context of the site, just as large a relational displacement of earth. The structure’s mass will intrude with less grace than the Getty Center does, and would exist only to provide space for 750 more cars, not art, and with no public benefit.
“The installation, that some say is better suited for the Grove or a Galleria-type shopping mall, will have the height-scape equivalent of an eight story building comprised of the parking structure, topped by an athletic field, and crowned by a strong lighting system. The height from street level to light bulbs will be 80 feet…”
Read more at CityWatch.