Lead Story West Edition

Supervisors to vote on View at Overhill condo project

LOS ANGELES — The county Board of Supervisors is expected to vote Nov. 21 on a proposal to build a condominium proposal that will bring 88 housing units into a five-story complex in the View Park/Windsor Hills neighborhood at the peak of Overhill Drive and La Brea Avenue.

View at Overhill, a new project developed by the Bedford Group, a Los Angeles film that specializes in urban infill development, would include a resort-styled pool, resident clubhouse, jacuzzi and fitness center. Condominiums would be built with one, two or three bedrooms that would sale for between $400,000 and $600,000.

County planners said the hillside project fits a need for denser housing in unincorporated areas to accommodate older residents, young individuals living alone and others looking for more affordable housing.

But many residents said the project doesn’t fit this historical neighborhood of single-family homes.

While the Bedford Group’s vision for the new community has been meticulously planned, many of the residents in the community aren’t pleased with the project.

Many of the resident’s concerns include project density, height, view obstruction, access to natural light, traffic, earthquake faults and sewer/infrastructure.

Damon Wilson of Baldwin Hills said, “The biggest issue for me would be view obstruction and access to natural light because that affects property value, but overall, if none of the above issues can be resolved with changes made to the condos, then the residents who’ll be affected need to be heavily compensated.”

Thomas Mitchell, a View Park resident who has lived in the area all his life, is against the project because, “it would cause too much traffic, block the view and throw off the eco system for the animals.”

Mitchell says he enjoys running through the neighborhood in the morning, inhaling fresh air and looking at the views.

“All of this is important to me, and I do not want the friendly neighborhood vibe to be thrown off by the condos,” Mitchell said.

In trying to sell the project to nearby residents, the Bedford Group has prepared an informational video to mitigate any concerns residents may have.

Another rendering of the View at Overhill shows what the project would look like from another side of the project. Opponents of the project say the five-story project would affect the views of other property owners. (Courtesy photo)

Charles Quarles, president of the Bedford Group, said he understands the concern that the community feels about the five-story building, but he said the project won’t be as high on the Overhill side of the project as opposed to La Brea.

He said his company was careful when it came to the view obstruction and also the placement of the building so it would not impact any views. The site is on a hill and there is no view to the north side so they and made sure it was protected and the views of the ocean were preserved.

Dozens of residents voiced opposition to the plan Oct. 24 when it first appeared on the Board of Supervisors agenda.

John Heath, who leads the United Homeowners Association II said the five-story building would “obliterate views” of several nearby homeowners. He was one of many who objected to the zoning exception granted to accommodate the five-story building.

“What justifies that exception?” resident Arti Bhimani asked. “This is not affordable housing. … This is not near transit, this is not helping to ease the transit burden, this is not consistent with the neighborhood.”

Many residents have lived in the area for decades and some cited its special qualities.

“None of these homes in View Park and Windsor Hills are alike,” said Art Fields, who founded the original homeowners association in 1979. “We do not intend to give up our homes. We want to keep our community. … We don’t want a change and we don’t want this project because it does not fit.”

A project architect told the board that the building had been moved as far north as possible to keep neighbors’ view corridors open and that numerous studies had been done to ensure that the structure wouldn’t cast a shadow on adjacent properties.

Several speakers said they wanted the opportunity to live in the neighborhood, which they currently view as unaffordable.

Odest Riley said he grew up about a mile away at Slauson and Alviso Avenue.

“You grow up and work hard so that you can move into Windsor Hills, Ladera, View Park,” he said. “Currently I make four times what my grandfather made and I work probably twice as many hours and I cannot afford anything in those areas. My grandparents dealt with red lining. … I feel like I’m dealing with green lining.”

Armen Ross, president of the Crenshaw Chamber of Commerce, said there had been no new market-rate housing in the area for the last 10 years.

“This community has been seeking an upgrade for many, many years,” Ross said. “It’s something that millennials will be able to step in to afford and … old dinosaurs like me … can have a place to go when I downsize from my house.”

A Bedford Group representative said the company was “sensitive to the community” and had collected 600 signatures of its own in support of the condominium construction, along with endorsements from the Los Angeles Urban League and the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce, among others.

But more than 1,000 residents have signed petitions against The View, according to the homeowners association. Many aimed their comments directly at Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who represents the Second District that includes the neighborhood.

“Do the righteous thing and stand with our hillside community in unity,” resident Joann Fountain pleaded. “Please do not ignore your constituents.”

City News Service also contributed to this story.