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City Commissions New Designs for Plummer Park

Weho hires architects to develop alternative plans for the park's renovation and plans to reactivate subcommittee to oversee the process, in meetings that Councilman John D'Amico promises will be open to the public.

The Protect Plummer Park movement got an early Christmas present at Monday night’s City Council meeting when the city announced it had commissioned architects to come up with alternative designs for the proposed and will reactivate an internal subcommittee dealing with the park redesign.

“We just commissioned the architects to do some more renditions [of alternatives for the park redesign],” City Manager Paul Arevalo announced at the meeting. “We’ll have some concepts on costs and models on that within the next six weeks to two months.”

The cost of those alternative designs will be around $1 million, according to Arevalo.

The city is also reactivating an ad hoc subcommittee dealing with the park redesign. Councilman John D’Amico will join that subcommittee, which also includes Councilwoman Abbe Land.

D’Amico will replace Mayor John Duran on the subcommittee. Duran explained that D’Amico’s background as an architect and land use expert makes him a better choice for the panel.

The subcommittee was formed three to four years ago to meet on an as-needed basis, Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Prang told Weho Patch after the council meeting.

The subcommittee is not covered by the Brown Act, the state's open-meeting law, and therefore is not required to invite the public to its meetings. However, D’Amico said, the public will be included.

“There is every intention to hold public meetings, which Abbe and I will now be leading, rather than John [Duran] and Abbe,” D’Amico told Patch after the council meeting. “Abbe and I will meet first with the architect so I can get the history of the plan as it is."

"We’ll then have the city summarize for us what the concerns of the residents are as well as our own input," D'Amico said. "I met with residents. I know Abbe met with residents. Then we would begin a series of meeting with the public.”

D’Amico said a time line for those public meetings would be announced at the next council meeting on Jan. 17. He speculated the meetings could begin as soon as late January or early February.

In response to several boards and commissions saying they were not offered enough opportunity to give input in the planning of the Plummer Park redesign, D’Amico told Patch he intends to invite such groups to the public meetings.

“That way, we would make sure there were not boards and commissions that missed their opportunity,” D’Amico said. “I think it is very clear the set of things we need to do to make sure that people who were included stay included, and [those who] were not included are included.”

Arevalo also announced that a real estate broker representing the city had contacted owners of properties adjacent to the park about selling their land to the city for park expansion. However, none of those property owners were interested in selling to the city.

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Rudolf Martin December 21, 2011 at 07:19 AM
no need to get snippy now, matt. of course the total price tag will not be higher. it was the main contention of the overwhelming majority of the residents that the park could and should be improved without destroying it's main assets (old growth trees and neglected historic buildings). the park is a State Historic Landmark and should be treated as such. if there was money wasted it was done by those trying to push through a plan that ignored the resident's input and all common sense. this has been documented ad nauseum by now. I also look forward to Fiesta Hall becoming a state of the art performance space (as planned) and getting an exterior facelift worthy of the historic Vista district and I don't mind the idea of bringing back the sheriff's sub-station to the eastside to restore safety. Whoever is worried about money being wasted should welcome this latest decision to revisit the plan and try to get it right.
Rudolf Martin December 21, 2011 at 07:39 AM
I agree that commissioning "the architects" to do more renditions is raising all kind of red flags. They have made their proposal and it didn't work. We need "fresh eyes", as they say in Hollywood....
Cathy December 21, 2011 at 08:26 AM
Here, here martincomet, so well said. There was so much money spent already on this ill-fated plan. Clearly, the community has spoken & the city DID finally listen. As you said this historic park, & surrounding neighborhood should be respected & cherished. That is the next step. Every one of the city's goals can be accomplished with a redesign that focuses on historic restoration, preservation & respect of the community.
Pastor Scott T. Imler December 21, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Regret that I couldn't make it to the Council meeting. Congrats to Patch for their excellent coverage over the last several months and most importantly to the Protect Plummerr Park folks for taking the "bull" by the horns. As Scoop Nisker use to say, "If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own " I hope we can all get behind - and in front - of this new "open Process" that has been promised, not only for the Plummer Park Project but the other Eastside issues coming down the pike. Happy Holidays. Pastor Scott
Matt December 21, 2011 at 10:05 PM
Oh good. Continued surface parking. What an enlightened, modern approach to rebuilding a park with the intent of creating more open space. As to the price tag...guess it's ok to spend that money on the west side, but not the east, right Allegra? I guess I will live with an unsafe, unlit park crawling with homeless every day while west side residents lounge on the beautiful new plaza in front of the beautiful new library. I'll bet that Allegra and her group are also saddened to see Carl's Jr close because their commutes may be extended an extra 3 minutes.
Matt December 21, 2011 at 10:08 PM
Sorry for the ranting, but this just gets me really angry. Allegra, Steve Martin, etc...you DO NOT SPEAK FOR THE MAJORITY. You just SPEAK THE LOUDEST...even when they are mostly lies.
Mel Hagopian December 21, 2011 at 10:29 PM
Hey Matt, I am currently not living in WeHo, but have followed and supported Protect Plummer Park for several months. As far as I know, there has been no decision on what type of parking will ultimately be built, but please keep in mind that destroying historic buildings and Heritage trees is NOT logical. You mention "open" space, but that is not the same as "green" space, which is what parks are meant to be. The PPP team is not telling lies about the trees, buildings, or problems with the homeless. If you do some careful research, you will discover that there are alternative locations for parking - even the underground sort that you support. Keep in mind, that underground parking will only send the homeless underground. Drug dealers love those sorts of places, and the homeless find shelter there. I think that most folks agree that Plummer Park needs a respectable face-lift. Not to worry, the CIty Council has almost $10 million dollars built in as a contingency for changes and overages. If all else fails you, you can always move. I just think it's immature to get personal and rude with one another. Plummer Park will be better than ever once a better plan is in place. Smile, Matt, and be happy that people care about the esthetics and safety of their neighborhood. Have a Happy 2012!
Ali December 21, 2011 at 11:58 PM
While many of us have been discussing ways to improve the plan for months now, this Matt person comes in now and heaps all this derision on Allegra. Allegra has not been the center of all this. It sounds like Matt has a personal beef with her. Matt, if you really care about the plans, look around the patch's back issues about this issue and read all the comments and discussions many have had about the issue. Go to the facebook page and read the comments. Look at the petition and see the comments and how many signed. Nobody is lying about anything. And who the hell are you to come in at this late date and start mouthing off and accusing people? And if you really did a poll of people on the east side, we would probably be the majority. I don't think many would support the first plan. I know that when I've told some of my neighbors what the City planned, they asked me if they were nuts!?!?!?!
joninla December 22, 2011 at 01:36 AM
First - I find the 'dismissive' absolute statement that there has been an inquiry about the interests of nearby lndowners and NOBODY want to sell land. That was too short a period of time to do any real such property investigation. Just dismiss the most obvious and cheapest suggestions made by so many people. _ SECOND - the Movieland/old trader joes land WENT UP FOR AUCTUON SALE THIS WEEK! To say there are no interested sellers is a slap in the face to those who did believe the City had anything but the desire to engage in with it's chosen contractors to BUILD BUILD BUILD under the label of improving a public park. Before engaging a new architect, a City Council really concerned about the well known large and vocal opposition to a plan to destroy 54+ trees, a clear mutual understanding about what the plans for the park will be IN GENERAL should have been made BEFORE engaging an architect to redesign. it sounds like the city will redesign the ugly design for the building of the parks structures .... Without plans to abort the big dig of the origunal plan for the construction of an underground garage. If that garage is built, the trees will be destroyed forever and there will never be substantial tree growth, no matter how many years, since there will not be enough eatth to support latge tree growth over an underground parking garage .
joninla December 22, 2011 at 01:47 AM
'An Early Chrustmas Present' to rush in and start new plans after the Council Meeting cllearly led the observers that th Plummer Park Project design would be put off and rescheduled for January. The city rushes nothing that doesn't have a very specific intent to bypass any public controversy about what the City Council has already decided (and committed to in exchange for something ???). I feel more offended having taken the time to actually listen to the meeting that appeard and sounded to me to be a real intemt to stop the current plans and not take any further action until the next planned meeting as said n the record. Why did I even bother. Listening to so many people discussing the upcoming procedural calendar to avoid religious observations seems to have been nothing more than an opportunity for the City Council to move ahead as they have, knowing so many would be unavaialbe to stop this decision to plow through new plans without interference for residents very real concerns.
joninla December 22, 2011 at 03:13 AM
You may not be aware but the City Council just embraced with enthusiam an increase of $3 per parking ticket issued in WeHo. The Council was very pleased with themselves in that the $3 ticket increase would net the City an additional $500,000 annually. That was one of the sources the City purported to be used to build their $13 Million Dollar ROBO-PARKING-GARAGE behind city hall. There is always an effot to find ways to INCREASE the number of Parking Tickets in WeHo, which the Council then spends on insane projects to 'beneifit us all'
joninla December 22, 2011 at 03:14 AM
Check it out for yourself, fyi http://westhollywood.patch.com/articles/city-council-approves-increases-in-parking-fees
joninla December 22, 2011 at 03:20 AM
I wish it were true .... But the "Dog & Pony Show" that is called the Weekly City Council Meeting seems to be going as strong as ever. They hired a new Architect already? Shouldn't there have been a clear decision how the 'new plan' would be different from the old plan, before looking for an Architect who is a specialist in designing for that need (for public space maximizing, green cutting edge, cost efficiency, modern design with unique materials, preservation around existing trees, or the most plain functional utilitarian Public Use Structure.)
joninla December 22, 2011 at 03:35 AM
I would agree, the underground parking would attract more homeless and drug dealers seeking shelter or privacy in a public place. More significant, you can hide the cars underground, but once you do, there is only a thin layer of dirt/earth on top of the 'hidden' parking, which is not enough (depth and drainage) for trees to ever grow to anything close to the size and beauty of the existing park trees. (not even in 50 years - trees need massive root structures to grow)
Lynn Russell December 22, 2011 at 04:27 AM
Kudos to Stephanie and Cathy for setting the tone of the Protect Plummer Park efforts. Most of the supporters comments have been reasonable, rational, respectful and heartfelt with the intention of informing everyone involved and then some, of the unfortunate well meaning but misdirected project and seeking ways to remedy it. Often times decisions miss the mark due to lack of the correct information and things just go off track and sideways. Rather then continue to poke a stick in the eyes of the City Staff and City Council , the favorite tactic of some, this effort is fairly remarkable in the search for an agreeable solution on a high level through a conciliatory tone. Many have dug in according to their individual expertise or passion to come forward with ideas to present. This effort does not need to be marred by the continual photo op- seekers and caustic critics that just seem to perpetually show up everywhere. Protect Plummer Park has a real chance of getting the city and the community to function in an authentic way to make the park, its buildings and resources an outstanding jewel and a centerpiece for the Eastside without any destruction of trees, structures or banishment of the Audobon Society. Many thanks to all and to renewed spirit in the New Year.
Lynn Russell December 22, 2011 at 04:59 AM
Oops...did not intend to forget James Mills for his even handed reporting and for always showing up. Thank you.
Rudolf Martin December 22, 2011 at 07:02 AM
matt, your comments are truly bizarre. do you really think the homeless will be discouraged from "crawling" by the placement of underground parking in the center as opposed to the north or south end of the park? Do you really think the park must remain "unlit" if there is no underground parking in the center of it? i won't address the absurd thoughts you are projecting on others. but i'm happy to report that I was at the "beautiful new plaza in front of the beautiful new library" yesterday and didn't see any west side residents (or anyone else for that matter) lounging on it. maybe they were on a break.
Stephanie December 22, 2011 at 08:40 AM
Just curious Matt, do you live on the East side? Did you come to any meetings to discuss your feelings and ideas about the master plan? We kept waiting for someone to come and tell us why they liked this plan so we could hear all sides. We waited but you never stepped forward to partcipate in the process. 'Tis more the pity that you were not there to voice your opinions. Maybe next time.
Stephanie December 22, 2011 at 08:49 AM
There are over 1,000 signatures on the change.org petition opposing this plan and over 500 signatures on hardcopy petitions. The members of Protect Plummer Park welcome constructive input from all sides, Matt. Please let the community know your thoughts so they can be included in the renovation of California State Historical Landmark #160. Thanks.
Stephanie December 22, 2011 at 08:57 AM
Please join Norman Lear, Mike Farrell, Ed Asner, Elliott Gould, Ed Begley, Richard Chamberlain and over a thousand other concerned citizens in signing the e-petition on change.org [search: plummer park] opposing the Plummer Park Master Plan Phase I. For more info check out protectplummerpark.com. Save the heritage trees and the historic buildings. Thank you
Geoffrey Buck December 22, 2011 at 07:44 PM
PPP has always looked for ways to improve Fiesta Hall that many are desiring. Improving the park is in the best interests of everyone. I never understood why those in favor of the city's plan felt the underground parking was so desirable. There are alternatives. Regarding that there are no nearby properties for sale, the empty lot on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Vista Street had had a for sale sign for years. Although not contiguous to Plummer Park, it certainly could be used for a parking structure like the one on Kings Road. I think we had some good news at the last City Council meeting and we all must stay vigilant and involved. I hope Stephanie and Cathy can be included in the special subcommittee. They have been respectful and reasonable to all wishing to improve Plummer Park. They have been the voices for trees in the park.
joninla December 22, 2011 at 07:50 PM
I thought the meeting did go well, but I was left with what I thought was a clear understanding that the changes would be put off for a month, at which time Input would be gathered before proceeding with the Park Project. Unless I was not paying attention, there was nothing about a redesign being planned already, before the calendared next meeting for the Plummer Park Project. Is there a clarity that the new architect is redesigning the whole project, the structures and/or the underground parking garage (it didn't seem to me that there is any statement that the underground parking was scrapped, off the table or not part of this new Architects Plan. I may have missed it .... but when the city can move so fast, it scares me.
Chloe Ross December 22, 2011 at 10:47 PM
Matt - do you troll the park at night? Sounds like? Why the ugly, nasty cracks at people who have stood in the cold to save the park, gone to meetings to save the park and researched the history of the park to save the park. If you didn't like it - you should have said something to any one of us who was there and speaking publicly. Expressed your thought out views and position to give more input - pro or con. So I ask: Matt Who? Matt What? Matt Why? Matt Where?
Chloe Ross December 23, 2011 at 02:29 AM
Matt Who? - Ranter and raver, Matt What? - Disgruntled, Matt Why?- a closeted GOP, Matt Where? Hiding in the park, in the cold, in the dark.
joninla December 24, 2011 at 08:59 AM
It looks to me, more and more like the City is just lulling the Public's Voice as it continues with its plans. The same contractor for the library project (the whole current improvement project $125 Million) has on their website a page announcing it contract, including the garage at plummer park http://www.heery.com/portfolio/west-hollywood-25th-anniversary-capital-projects-program.aspx And the City has already Pre-Approved the Contractor for the Project back around the first of November (nov 2nd, application deadline, nov 10 I think HEERY contractors pre-approved). The City has contracted for a project for $41 Million Dollars and if history shows the City's willingness to change projects they want to do, there will be minor cosmetic changes made during a process drawn own and involving the outraged public, while the main, major Underground Parking (destruction of existing park), is finalized and approved. Re-Engineering is not required if the underground garage is not going to be built. And no matter where they may rearrange things, the garage can only be built with major tree removal. Go walk through the new West Hollywood Park (2x at least). The first time it might seem clean and nice. But it is cold, sterile, bleak and the few saplings planted only given the barren landscape a sad feeling. Or go on pretending the City will do what the protestors have made clear is their desires for the park.
joninla December 24, 2011 at 08:49 PM
For anyone who continues to believe the existing Process is one that provides the Residents the ability to affect major change, not withstanding my own personal observations over the last year or less, there is a good article in LA Weekly (2010) about exactly the ongoing (and I think worsening) problem trying to go through the public meetings and getting change. http://www.laweekly.com/2010-04-01/news/west-follywood/ "Not in my backyard" thinking keeps the the City's power in tact. How many people affected by the plans for Plummer Park have followed through on the other issues regarding spending and building in WeHo that may not be directly affecting your lives, but exist and need the whole city to come together to correct the situation. Otherwise, as the article points out, the result is always bad for the upset residents of any one project, but that's not enough to affect the active voting population of WeHo when the next elections come around.
Chloe Ross December 24, 2011 at 09:00 PM
Ladies and gentlemen: Do you think for a second - a Large Hadron Collider second - we will not be there every step of the way. Better not to give ideas to others who don't need anything new to offer that fits another purpose. Do you think the P3 will take all our efforts and hard work and just nod our collective heads and say - "Ooooh - a subcommittee - now we can all relax and let it fix it self?" Grow up. We are taking a few hard earned seconds off for a holiday that happens to fall on a Sunday. Nothing has stopped on the P3 end and for anyone at all to be so naive to think it has, needs to set out those cookies and milk and watch for the fat guy tonight. Your article is a year old, after all and the park IS in our backyards and if it's gonna look a leaf different - we intend to be in evidence. Don't believe everything the city thinks, either. If they thought - we wouldn't even be having this P3 issue. Happy Holidays. I am sick as a parrot and in bed. Hope your day is merry and bright.
Chloe Ross December 24, 2011 at 09:35 PM
And so many P3 elves were there every step of the way - Steph, Cathy, Allegra, Virginia, Geoffrey, Trevor, Taylor,Martincomet, Laura, Lynn, (why don't I have a list dammit?), tree guy, Sofiya, Russian citizens of WeHo, Steve, Shawn, Sofia, Summer, Jen (while pregnant), James Mills - the Bright Star of our Patch and Chapel Hill, Danielle, our podcaster and USC cinematographer, WeHo News, if I have left dear souls out - (and I have) start a new reply and add your name. I was there too and my husband. A neighborhood within a neighborhood was created. You had to be there. Join us in 2012 as P3 works to get our lovely, historic park back on the road to reflecting our history and our community. I have made seriously great new friends - perhaps the best part of all. Happy New Year - Chloe
joninla December 24, 2011 at 10:55 PM
That is seriously offensive. You neither own the right to determine who can oppose the park nor set your agenda as the only voice to be included in preventing the park. Clearly, you have become so involved with your new community that you have declared anyone not on board with what your 'new family' understands about local politics and the Political Procedures that have been consistent since that 2010 article. It took years of Legal Action to finally protect and preserve the 'tara' project - after the California Supreme Court ruled the City, following its regular notice procedure process was improper and invalid for the proposed project the city wanted. Had there not been the legal action, 'tara' would be gone. There is now legal precedent that the City fails to correctly follow notice procedures and if they do not cow-tow to your new little family, there would be grounds to stop them, were there informed, educated and thinkers taking part in efforts to save the park.
Chloe Ross December 24, 2011 at 11:14 PM
To whom is this addressed <<That is seriously offensive. You neither own the right to determine who can oppose the park nor set your agenda as the only voice to be included in preventing the park. Clearly, you have become so involved with your new community that you have declared anyone not on board with what your 'new family' understands about local politics and the Political Procedures that have been consistent since that 2010 article.>>

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