Save Westwood Village A B u s i n e s s - C o m m u n i t y A l l i a n c e D e d i c a t e d t o Q u a li t y R e v i t a l i z a t io n 1557 Westwood Blvd. #235, Los Angeles, CA 90024 SaveWestwoodVillage@hotmail.com
June 29, 2012 Ms. Tracy Dudman Senior Planner, UCLA Capital Programs 1060 Veteran Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90095-1365 RE:
Comments on UCLA DEIR Luskin Hotel &Conference Center and Request for New Analysis, Recirculation, and Amendment of 2002 LRDP
Dear Ms. Dudman: Save Westwood Village is an all-volunteer California nonprofit corporation dedicated to quality revitalization in Westwood Village. We thank the Luskins for their generosity to UCLA. We applaud the Regents Grounds and Building Committee for its due diligence and refusal to vote on the flawed business plan for this hotel. Sadly, the Luskin Hotel, as opposed to a Luskin Conference Center, will be a liability for UCLA, Westwood and the City of Los Angeles. It is possible that UCLA’s vast hospitality empire endangers the tax-exempt status of the University of California. Auxiliary enterprises are supposed to have a substantial contribution to the exempt purpose of the University, and not just a profit center. Furthermore, they must be limited to faculty, students and staff, not alumni, donors, parents of prospective students and athletic fans (UC BUS-72; UC Nonfinancial Questionnaire page 18: “The IRS has ruled that alumni should be treated the same as members of the general public since there is no stipulation in the IRC that alumni should be treated otherwise (PLR 8020010).”
Evidence of growing homeless presence in Westwood
Unlike UC Davis’s EIR for the Hyatt Expansion, UCLA has refused to analyze urban decay. Westwood is plagued by over 30 percent vacant storefronts and a large homeless population. A Business Improvement District has been formed to create a safe and clean appearance for this rundown area. If UC Davis addressed these indirect physical impacts, so must UCLA.
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Save Westwood Village A B u s i n e s s - C o m m u n i t y A l l i a n c e D e d i c a t e d t o Q u a li t y R e v i t a l i z a t io n
UCLA can have a world-class Luskin Conference Center without a 250/260 room hotel that will be environmentally superior, avoid debt, financial risk and the loss of 754 valuable parking spaces and not create urban decay. Suggested alternatives could benefit all stakeholders and make UCLA a respected leader and a good neighbor. Under CEQA, UCLA has an obligation to avoid environmental impacts by choosing an alternative project that achieves almost all of the stated objectives. Due to procedural and substantive deficiencies in this DEIR it will need to be corrected and recirculated. UCLA has: • • • • • • • • •
Failed to provide required notice to the public for the availability of the DEIR and the public hearing, Relied upon the 2002 LRDP EIR for determining the adequacy of LA infrastructure; Failed to amend the LRDP population that was increased by 5000 students and failed to mitigate their impacts; Failed to comply with UC BUS-72; Relied upon an outdated (2007) for Table 15 of related projects and thereby used an incorrect baseline for its traffic cumulative analysis; Incorrectly calculated traffic impacts by assuming if 100 pay stations are removed, the drivers will not use other nearby pay stations in Lot 8; Ignored its own consultant, PKF regarding parking requirements (468, not 130 spaces); Claimed that there is adequate fire protection: LAFD personnel, equipment, facilities and dispatch system are failing (see attached articles); Failed to provide a statement of overriding considerations for inadequate fire protection service as shown in the photo below.
LAFD Dispatch Center shows inadequate fire protection in Westwood. Source: Michael Eveloff.
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Save Westwood Village A B u s i n e s s - C o m m u n i t y A l l i a n c e D e d i c a t e d t o Q u a li t y R e v i t a l i z a t io n
• • • •
Failed to comply with UCLA policy to reimburse Parking Services for lost parking – a multi-million dollar hidden cost to campus of the project not disclosed to the Regents or the public, as required by UC BUS-55, IV.A.6 “replacement costs for parking....“ Failed to comply with UC BUS-72 and UC BUS-55 on the establishment of auxiliary enterprises and impact on the community (Section IV.A.8.k); Failed to disclose in the NHIP/LRDP 2009 Amendments and failed to analyze the parking and traffic generated by its new 450 seat NHIP banquet facilities. Ignored PKF regarding meeting space requirements for academic conference centers (50K SF, not 25K SF) Failed to submit GB-1 to “the UC Senior Vice President-Business and Finance for review at least two months in advance of the campus deadline for submission of the first Regents’ Item on the proposed project” (UC BUS-55, Section IV.B “Financial Feasibility Submittal Process”). The date of the financial analysis was February 9, 2012, not within the time frame required by UC BUS-55.
Was this DEIR distributed to the City of Los Angeles Planning Department, Department of Transportation, Fire Department, Police Department, and City Attorney? If not, why not. See distribution list for the NOP. Defective Public Notice of DEIR Availability Requires Recirculation. CEQA Section 15087(a)(1) “Public Review of Draft EIR,” requires: • •
“publication at least one time by the public agency in a newspaper of general circulation in the area affected by the proposed project” or posting notice on and around the site.
Please provide proof of required public notice for both the availability of the DEIR and for the Public Hearing. Save Westwood Village has not been able to find publication of the notice or posting of the site. The Los Angeles Times is the paper of general circulation for Los Angeles. Environmental notices for all levels of government are published in the Classified Section on Thursdays. No notice for the DEIR has been found. In addition, a visual inspection of Structure 6 and the area nearby showed no posting. Defective Notice for Public Hearing on June 5, 2012 Requires Recirculation. UC CEQA Handbook Section 2.3.10 Public Hearing, requires that the University “Publicize the location of the public hearing in community and student newspapers.” Please provide proof of publication in a community newspaper. UC CEQA Handbook Section 2.3.9:
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Save Westwood Village A B u s i n e s s - C o m m u n i t y A l l i a n c e D e d i c a t e d t o Q u a li t y R e v i t a l i z a t io n
“When scheduling the public review period, be cognizant of the academic calendar. Review periods during finals, the summer or over holiday periods may be criticized if faculty, students or the public do not feel they have had an adequate opportunity to comment.” If the notice publication requirements under CEQA and the UC CEQA Handbook have not been met, the DEIR must be recirculated with the necessary publication of notice and a new hearing conducted in the Fall of 2012, when the new academic year commences, in accordance with the UC CEQA Handbook. Print Point Size Too Small. CEQA requires that an EIR be prepared in a “clear format” which is readily readable and understandable by the public and by the agency decision makers. (CEQA Sections 15006, 15120, 15140). Unfortunately, many of the key tables in this DEIR are in such small print point size (8 or even 6 point) that they require enlargement on the computer screen to read. This is not making the document truly accessible to the public. A recirculated DEIR with a minimum 12 point print is required for this purpose. For example, Table 15, Related Projects, is in small, perhaps 8 point print and cannot be read without assistance of enlargement. This is a very important table, and as it turns out, filled with outdated information (2007 or earlier) that must be totally updated. The very first project, the Federal Building Expansion was stopped by the Coalition for Veterans Land in 2006. A 2008 list should not be used for a 2012 EIR. Likewise, traffic analysis tables presented in Appendix E are too small and light to read easily. It needs to be revised with current laws and current data and presented in 12 point print. SECTION 1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1.1 INTRODUCTION The principal objective of the project is to provide conference space for UCLA academic needs. The hotel is a secondary objective and is supported by conclusionary statements. Furthermore, the demand for academic overnight accommodations at the price proposed, is far beyond federal per diem limits for Los Angeles. Local hotels (Luxe, Angeleno, W, and Hilgard House) have testified that they provide a range of room prices and amenities and special rates for UCLA. What they lack is conference space. Project Alternatives have been requested to be analyzed that would achieve the primary mission – to provide a large conference venue but have not been analyzed, without an Page 4 of 40
explanation as required by CEQA and also UC BUS-55 Section IV.A.8.d: “Prices, rates or fees currently charged in the off-campus community for comparable goods and services such as those planned for the new project.” UCLA has failed to disclose “any past failure to meet net revenue assessments or other debt repayment schedules on time” (UC BUS-55, Section IV.A.8.g). The Westchester Bluff’s project was sold at a considerable loss. The Colina Glen Townhouses have had severe financial problems. UCLA has failed to disclose “Any atypical assumptions used in the financial feasibility analysis and explanation for their application....” (UC BUS-55, Section IV.A.8.f). Save Westwood Village has submitted extensive analysis by an independent expert, HVS, that the project is not economically feasible. Furthermore, the Regents have refused to vote on this project and requested more analysis and information. In the absence of this information, the DEIR is premature. UCLA has failed to “disclose “any non-University use of space that will occupy a portion of the project (e.g., retail, restaurant or any other third-party use that may not qualify for tax-exempt interest treatment)” (UC BUS-55, Section IV.A.8.h). Page 1-5 of the DEIR arbitrarily rejects scoping comments requesting analysis of the socioeconomic impacts of this project as they impact the local economy of Westwood, causing urban decay and indirect physical impacts on the environment (more vacant storefronts, businesses closing, more homeless persons congregating in Westwood). 1.
UCLA has failed to uphold its duty to prevent environmental damage when feasible alternatives exist and thus violates CEQA Section 15021 (see discussion of Alternatives later). Also, CEQA Section 15021(b) makes it clear that this analysis is required: “In deciding whether changes in a project are feasible, an agency may consider specific economic, environmental, legal, social, and technological factors.” The list of economic issues rejected on DEIR page 1-5 must be analyzed in order to determine if changes in the project are economically feasible. Thus a new DEIR is required to be prepared that provides this analysis and then it must be recirculated.
No basis for occupancy assumption. There is no evidence in the record that suggests demand for academic conference facilities will make up 66% of the room nights for the Luskin Hotel. Based on our research this is an unreasonably high number that throws into question the Project’s financial feasibility. Page 5 of 40
The 2009 PKF Study, Table 4-5, below, shows university conference centers have an overall demand of 53.2%, and this includes group, leisure and commercial individual travelers. What is the basis for assuming that the hotel will have 70% occupancy given the evidence in the record that occupancy is not as robust as assumed. Thus there is no evidence in the record that this hotel will be a self-sustaining auxiliary enterprise.
Table 4-5 Conference Demand Sources Type of Center
Colle ge/ All Execu Corpo Resort Univ tive rate ersity
34.8%36.3%53.3%53.7% 20.9 Business Organizations % Trade 8.3 10.0 9.3 10.5 6.8 Associations Academic 31.4 7.8 10.2 6.0 53.5 Institutions Professional 7.2 1.4 1.8 3.8 11.7 Source: UCLA-PKF, 2009, p. IV-6
Parking is inadequate. According to PKF the project should provide 468 parking spaces: “With their relatively larger inventories of meeting space, conference centers tend to experience greater visitation than traditional hotels of similar size, resulting in greater parking space requirements” (PKF 2009, p. II-7, emphasis added). Yet the Project as presented would have only 130 spaces at a cost of $83,000/space. A.
Why is there a parking deficit of 338 spaces and why are they so expensive when the site is already excavated? Since the economic viability of alternatives must be explained, the preferred project’s viability must be established. Otherwise, how does one compare and evaluate the alternatives?
What was the basis for overriding UCLA’s expert consultant to alter the assumed demand for this facility was on average 54 percent, not 70 percent?
Who made this decision and what were his/her qualifications?
Why is the parking dedicated to the project and not part of Parking Services? (DEIR p. 1-2).
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Inadequate meeting space. The Introduction states that the project would permit “UCLA to compete with other top tier institutions for major academic conferences” (DEIR p. 1-1). This is a conclusionary statement. There is no evidence in the record to support that there is demand or competition for major academic conferences and no definition of the size of a major academic conference. Given 260 rooms and only 25,000 SF, could the project actually accommodate a “major academic conference”? Provide examples of the meetings that UCLA could compete for hosting with this preferred alternative. To have major academic conferences, one needs adequate meeting space. PKF advised UCLA: “We recommend 35,000 square feet of meeting space or 127 square feet per guest room. The International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) requires 125 square feet of meeting space for a center to qualify for the prestigious IACC designation. This designation enhances a conference center’s ability to attract a wide range of group demand” (PKF 2009, p. II-9). Furthermore, PKF noted that: “university conference centers have the highest ratio of meeting space at 191 square feet per guest rooms, of the four types of conference centers” (PKF 2009, p. IV-4). The Luskin Hotel is severely deficient in meeting space by almost 50 percent. A university conference center with 260 rooms would be expected to have 49,660 SF of meeting space, not the 25,000 SF proposed. Since the Luskin Hotel does not qualify to be described as an academic conference center that meets IACC standards, as presented by UCLA’s own consultant, the description of the project as a conference center is inaccurate. Under questioning from the Regents on March 28, 2012, UCLA admitted that the conference space might not be adequate and that other nearby (unspecified) venues would be used. So much for all attendees being under one roof!
Who made the decision to scale-down the conference space from 35,000 SF as proposed for this project on the Faculty Center site to 25,000 SF on Lot 6? What is the justification for a substandard conference space? What were the qualifications of the person who made this decision?
Is there enough demand to support an academic conference center 365 days a year? For example, academic meetings are traditionally not held during the winter holiday season. The evidence in the record (the 2009 PKF Study) shows a huge variation in occupancy at academic conference centers. Since alternatives must be evaluated on the basis of their economic viability, to be consistent, so must the preferred alternative. Page 7 of 40
No evidence in the record supports the conclusion that the project is financially viable or complies with federal and state tax laws and UC policies. Most academic conferences are held when universities are not in session: summer. Given the seasonal availability of academics to travel, is there enough academic conference business to sustain a hotel that assumes two-thirds of its annual room nights will be for this category of guest? Since academics are traditionally free to travel and attend conferences in the summer, UCLA has ample accommodations in the residence halls and conference centers on campus. How many conferences are scheduled during the summer versus the rest of the year on a national basis? 7.
How will the UCLA Luskin Hotel impact Westwood Village businesses? For Westwood Village, with a 30 to 40 percent retail vacancy rate, removing guests from Westwood hotels is a job and revenue killer. This creates indirect physical impacts in Westwood Village that must be analyzed. DEIR p. 1-5 lists “Areas of Controversy” that the DEIR does not address, though Scoping comments requested analysis of these impacts. CEQA compliance dictates an objective analysis of economic and social impacts if they will lead to indirect physical impacts. Massive losses of hotel revenue means a decline in the economy of Westwood Village. These economic impacts include compliance with UC BUS-72, unfair business practices of not paying city transient occupancy tax, economic blight and urban decay, financial implications of the loss of 754 parking spaces, and compliance with UBIT. Since UC Davis had to conduct an urban decay analysis for its hotel expansion last year, so does UCLA. There is evidence in the record that just one unit of UCLA (Extension) presently spends over a million dollars a year hosting visitors who would no longer be in the Village. This is a major loss to the local economy, which already has a huge retail vacancy rate between 30 and 40 percent. UNFAIR COMPETITION: NO BED TAX: OPEN TO THE PUBLIC According to UCLA’s Conference Services website, UCLA’s hospitality empire is in direct competition with local hotels and restaurants for events such as weddings and special events. This has nothing to do with the exempt purpose of the University of California: teaching, research and public service. And it brags on its various website that its hotel rooms are not subject to the 15.5 percent local transient occupancy (bed) tax: A.
UCLA Guest House: “comfortable rooms at competitive prices and no local occupancy tax!”
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Courtside Collection: pdf attached: “ Competitive rates starting at $150 per room, single occupancy — no sales or occupancy taxes”
Lake Arrowhead Conference Center: “Arrangements are simple to make and conferences are easy to manage. The UCLA Lake Arrowhead Conference Center is open to conference groups with a learning purpose – no University affiliation is required.” http://www.lakearrowheadmeetings.com/
UCLA Conference Services: “ UC Los Angeles - The Perfect Location for Your Next Meeting, Conference, Wedding or Event!” http://map.ais.ucla.edu/vcm-static-files/UCLA/Images/Hospitality/Conference% 20Services/cs%20landing%20page%20photos/HH%20ILL%20CSLanding_2-08.jpg
This DEIR relies upon the updated PKF study (August 2011) which was based exclusively on the commercial hotel market demand forecast for West Los Angeles. Please provide a market demand study for academic conferences in Los Angeles. The market analysis presented by PKF and UCLA in its business plan relies on non-academic market analysis. Thus all conclusions provided here are conclusionary and speculative. What is the market for academic conferences here, and what would the occupancy be? The PFK study makes clear that UCLA proposes to cannibalize the local hotel market in order to meet its occupancy goals: “The remaining 40 percent of accommodated conference and group demand, or 18,500 room-nights, is estimated to come from non-University sources, the majority of which are now accommodated in the competitive local hotel and competitive conference center markets” (emphasis added, PKF p. V-12).
UCLA has many conference venues. The DEIR list omits several: “Existing uses on campus that can accommodate conferences and other events include: James West Alumni Center (approximately 9,070 asf), Ackerman Union/Kerckhoff Hall (approximately 26,550 asf), Sunset Village/Covel Commons (approximately 20,420 asf), and Faculty Center (approximately 9,435 asf)” (DEIR p. 4.8-2). There is presently under construction a bootleg banquet hall that was described as a “multipurpose space” in the Sproul Presidio. It can accommodate 450 banquet guests (posted Sept. 21, 2010 by UCLA Conferences and Catering, posted on UCLA Faculty Association Blog (http://uclafacultyassociation.blogspot.com/2011 /03 : /did-you-know-about-other-conference.html). This project is not even complete, and yet the campus claims it needs more conference space. Furthermore, no parking or traffic analysis was provided for the space as a banquet facility. It was assumed to serve exclusively students in residence. Page 9 of 40
Please provide a complete analysis of all conference facilities on campus (see attached map). Provide a summary of square footage, seating capacity, use, parking, traffic generation, and how guests go from one venue to another on campus. The LRDP is already being amended to move square footage – this amendment must be included as well. Because this space was not analyzed as a banquet hall (nor other conference venues on the campus constructed in the past), please amend the NHIP/LRDP 2009 Amendments to provide for full traffic and parking analysis of all conference facilities operated by Housing and Hospitality Services and ASUCLA.
The 100 Courtside Suites “deluxe private rooms” rented during the summer: “ Competitive rates starting at $150 per room, single occupancy — no sales or occupancy taxes” (http://map.ais.ucla.edu/portal/site/UCLA/menuitem.789d0eb6c76e7ef0d66b02ddf848 344a/?vgnextoid=0850244acdf14310VgnVCM100000e1d76180RCRD) Based on the advertising and promotional literature for this conference facility, the primary purpose of offering these 100 deluxe rooms is to make money, which is not an exempt purpose: “Support the ‘Bruin Bonus’ – Revenues generated from our hospitality services and programs subsidize the cost of room and board for UCLA students, keeping their housing costs more affordable” (“Introducing UCLA’S Courtside Collection”).
According to GB-1 presented to the Regents Grounds and Building Committee on March 28, 2012, the Luskin hotel proposes one third of its sales to non faculty, students and staff – the general public. And some of the conference clientele may also not be academic visitors. Since auxiliary enterprises are to be self-supporting (UC BUS-72), please provide an explanation for the assumption that two thirds of the room nights would be from university-related conference visitors.
Who is the general public? UCLA has claimed that the hotel will not be open to the public, but has failed to define the general public. UC Policy (UC BUS-72), Auxiliary Enterprises states: “auxiliary enterprises shall be conducted primarily for the convenience of University students, faculty and staff, and may only incidentally serve members of the general public” (UC BUS-72, p. 1). Incidentally is defined as less than ten percent. The DEIR states that the Project assumes that one third of its room nights will be from non academic visitors – the general public. The Luskin hotel would be open to alumni, donors, parents of students and prospective students, attendees at athletic and cultural events on campus, or professionals doing business with UCLA, etc. One third of room nights from non faculty, students and staff
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is far from “incidental” and thus violates the “incidental” limitation imposed by UC BUS-72, by tax-exempt financing and UBIT regulations. Keep in mind that in addition to the one third of room nights attributable to leisure and commercial travelers, 40 percent of the conference room nights is also attributable to leisure and commercial travelers. Thus far more than one third of the guest are nonacademic guests and thus members of the general public. 14.
Violating an established University of California policy is a significant adverse impact under the CEQA Checklist land-use section. The purpose of UC BUS-72 is to assure that the UC will not compete with local businesses and abide by UBIT regulations. Based on testimony presented at the public hearing for the Luskin Hotel on June 5, 2012, the local hotels will lose a substantial amount of income. Furthermore, the Dean of Extension testified that her school spends $1 million/year hosting visitors to UCLA and that this money would now stay on campus. This is a very significant loss to the local business district, which is suffering so much that a Business Improvement District was established to promote a cleaner and safer business district to encourage new retail.
Failure to comply with UCLA’s policy of Housing Reserves compensating Parking Reserves whenever parking is lost to the system (in this case, 754 spaces) violates an established policy of the lead agency, and has land-use impacts and financial that must be mitigated.
Westwood Village has over 30 percent (per LA Times 2011 attached) vacant retail space. It has been run down and required volunteer project to paint, plant and decorate empty store fronts (articles attached). These are indices of urban decay. The DEIR must address these impacts and mitigate them. Evidence of UCLA’s knowledge of urban decay problems in Westwood Village is the fact that UCLA helped organize and contributes to the new Westwood Village Business Improvement District. The University of California has always promoted the health and prosperity of its neighboring business districts. It makes sense: students are safer, faculty recruitment easier, and parents concerns for their childrens’ safety are mitigated by a prosperous business district. A prosperous business district helps the University.
The Mission of the University of California is research, teaching and public service, not to operate hotels for the purpose of making money at the expense of private local hotels. Please provide an analysis of the individual and cumulative impacts of UCLA’s hotels operated by Housing and Hospitality Services, an auxiliary enterprise. The indirect physical impacts of unfair competition not related to the mission of the University of California can result in the closure of businesses, a rise in the homeless population. CEQA requires that the lead agency analyze not only the direct physical impacts on the environment caused by a project, but also, the indirect impacts due to Page 11 of 40
urban decay, e.g., Bakersfield Citizens for Local Control v. City of Bakersfield (2004). Please provide an urban decay analysis and compare the alternative projects of a conference center without a hotel, either on Lot 36 or an enhanced Faculty Center. 18.
In addition, as a tax-exempt institution, UCLA is not permitted to exceed 10% of sales to the general public. No legal authority is provided to explain how the hotel can permit more than 10% of non faculty, students and staff to patronize this hotel. These guests are not the general public and make a substantial contribution to the research and teaching exempt purpose of the University of California.
Will the hotel host weddings and private events? How will be eligible to host these events?
Will the hotel restaurant be open to the public? How will records be kept to differentiate public and academic patrons and limit restaurant sales to less than 10 percent of the general public?
What record-keeping system will insure compliance with UC BUS-72, UBIT, and IRS 501(c)(3) regulations? UCLA reports income from parking sales to the general public for purposes of UBIT. Since these sales are subject to UBIT, why aren’t these guests’ accommodations subject to UBIT?
No evidence has been provided to substantiate that these guests are not members of the general public. The adopted policy of the University of California, as stated in BUS72, is that auxiliary enterprises are to serve the public in only an incidental manner, and that they are for the convenience of faculty, students and staff, NOT alumni, donors, parents of prospective students, etc. Please provide evidence to support the legality of renting at least one third of the room nights to those who are not faculty, students or staff or on official university business.
What type of record keeping exists now at the two affiliated facilities whose income is blended (co-mingled) with this project in the business plan? Note, according to the website for the Lake Arrowhead Conference Center, no university affiliation is required. Is Lake Arrowhead in compliance with UBIT regulations? While the Lake Arrowhead gift shop profits are reports under UBIT requirements, guests are not. Why is this? Doesn’t this violate the regulatory framework of IRS UBIT? See the UC Nonfinancial Questionnaire (attached): no hospitality venues are reported. Only the Anderson School reported rental of rooms to non-campus groups. Note that page 18 of the Nonfinancial Questionnaire makes it clear that for UBIT purposes, alumni are to be treated as members of the general public. Thus the Bruin Woods summer camp program, and other alumni sales at Lake Arrowhead must be reported on the Nonfinancial Questionnaire. Page 12 of 40
Please amend all Nonfinancial Questionnaires and IRS Form 990-T to report all sales to alumni and members of the general public for all hospitality services and athletic events, including Lake Arrowhead Conference Center, Tiverton House, and the Faculty Guest House, as well as all summer conference facilities and year-round banquet rentals. For example, UCLA PRA 12-594 provides copies of the Nonfinancial Questionnaire for Lake Arrowhead Conference Center: (1) Massage Services; (2) Sale of Bearwear Clothing; (3) Bruin Woods Alumni Camp; and (4) Non University Conferences. None of these activities are for members of the University (faculty, students, staff or patients). There is no determination on the first or last page as to whether or not these are exempt activities. Why? Since they do not appear to qualify as exempt from UBIT, why are they not reported on the UC list of UBIT activities? Why does the DEIR claim that attendees of athletic and cultural events are eligible to stay in the Luskin Hotel? See IRS Opinion Letter attached and Nonfinancial Questionnaire page 18. 24.
UC CEQA Handbook requires the feasibility of Alternative Projects to be assessed on their compliance with regulatory limitations (Section 3.3.25-3). The proposed standalone conference centers either on Lot 36 or at the Faculty Center would comply with UBIT. The hotel does not.
In the discussion of the new dormitories with conference facilities (NHIP) that was found last year on the UCLA Conference Services, the dormitories are rented for conventions, corporations, etc. There is no mention of an affiliation with UCLA. Rather, it promotes hosting wedding and special events – non academic events. How much business is generated from these guests? Does it gross at least $1,000? If so, why has it not been reported in the Nonfinancial Questionnaire and included in the 990-T filings of the University of California?
UCLA reports sale of parking spacesc for purposes of UBIT. Since UCLA admits that these attendees are members of the general public, they cannot stay at the hotel unless they are below the “incidental” or 10 percent threshold permitted by UBIT and taxexempt financing.
Competing with the Faculty Center: UCLA is cannibalizing its own conference facilities see map of campus conference facilities attached. “Most UCLA schools and colleges host annual award/recognition dinners with 100 to 250 or more attendees that could reasonably be accommodated at the Center” (PKF, p. V-1). Page 13 of 40
The UCLA Faculty Center can accommodate groups from 10 to 350 and presently hosts many such events. The Faculty Center has initiated a modernization fundraising campaign to make the Center a contemporary conference venue and received a pledge to underwrite the architectural, design and engineering costs of the remodel. The Faculty Center has relied upon departmental and college events to be self-sufficient and receives no subsidies from the campus administration. If the hotel competes with the Faculty Center, as proposed, it will cause urban blight and a loss of business for the Faculty Center. 28.
Urban Decay Analysis Required in a Recirculated DEIR. This DEIR has refused to study the urban decay the project is likely to cause and thus violates CEQA requirements to study the indirect physical impacts of a project’s economic and social impacts such as causing businesses to close (note that the Palomar Hotel is under reorganization and may close), loss of jobs, etc. Note: The FEIR for the UC Davis Hyatt Hotel expansion included an urban decay analysis. For UCLA to refuse to conduct such an analysis, and for the Regents not to require one, is arbitrary and capricious. CEQA Guidelines Section 15064(d) makes it clear that CEQA: “mandates that both primary (direct) and reasonably foreseeable secondary (indirect) consequences be considered in determining the significance of a project’s environmental effect” (Bakersfield Citizens v. City of Bakersfield (2004). CEQA Guidelines Section 15064(e) goes even further: (e) Economic and social changes resulting from a project shall not be treated as significant effects on the environment. Economic or social changes may be used, however, to determine that a physical change shall be regarded as a significant effect on the environment. Where a physical change is caused by economic or social effects of a project, the physical change may be regarded as a significant effect in the same manner as any other physical change resulting from the project. Alternatively, economic and social effects of a physical change may be used to determine that the physical change is a significant effect on the environment. If the physical change causes adverse economic or social effects on people, those adverse effects may be used as a factor in determining whether the physical change is significant. For example, if a project would cause overcrowding of a public facility and the overcrowding causes an adverse effect on people, the overcrowding would be regarded as a significant effect” (emphasis added).
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CEQA Guidelines require the study of the indirect physical impacts of a project, not just the direct impacts on the environment. UC Davis provided an urban decay analysis. It is arbitrary and capricious for UCLA to fail to provide such analysis. There has been a profound lack of transparency in the approval process, starting with violation of the Public Records Act requests for the Business Plan, followed by hiding approximately $62.6 million for the parking buyout from the budget (assuming $83K/parking space), and the source of “Campus Funds” (research grant overhead and Parking Reserves) for the bus stop reconfiguration. How much research grant overhead is proposed for the bus-stop? If Parking and Transportation Services is a self-sufficient auxiliary, why is any overhead being used for their project? SECTION 2. INTRODUCTION The following impacts must be analyzed and the DEIR must be recirculated with the new data and analysis. Each of the impact areas below are of concern because they were not disclosed to the public or relied upon outdated data and analysis (e.g., 2002 LRDP EIR). Is the project a 250 or 260 room hotel? Are 125 or 130 parking spaces provided? All UCLA publicity statements state it is 250 with 125 parking spaces. Please clarify. 1.
LRDP Population Projection Amendment of 2002 LRDP required. The claim is made on page 2-7 that the increase in campus population attributed to Luskin Hotel personnel would be within the campus population projections of the 2002 LRDP. This statement is not true because it omits the recent addition of 5000 students, increasing the student population from 35,000 to 40,000. Therefore an amendment of the 2002/2009 LRDP is required. UC CEQA Handbook, Section 2.3.11, ”Recirculation of an EIR Prior to Certification,” states: “If, subsequent to public review and interagency consultation but prior to final certification, the campus changes the project in a manner that may result in new or increased levels of environmental impacts, or if “significant new information” is added to the Draft EIR in response to comments, the campus may be required to recirculate a revised Draft EIR for additional comments” (emphasis added). This DEIR must be recirculated to include an analysis of the impacts of an additional 5,000 students on campus, such as transportation and parking impacts, demand for classroom space, FTE increases, residential requirements, and emergency public service requirements. Please include a geographic analysis of where these students located: how many on North Campus and on South Campus. The LRDP Amendment must provide mitigation for those impacts, if feasible. Alternatively, the DEIR should account for those new students instead of tiering off the older EIR. Page 15 of 40
All Public Service and Utilities Studies are out of date and thus the 2002 LRDP must be amended and recirculated. The 2009 LRDP Amendments relied on 2002 data. New data must be collected and analyzed to provide evidence to support the finding that the capacity of the infrastructure is adequate to accommodate this and related projects as well as cumulative impacts of future growth in the region. There is no evidence in the record that there is adequate fire protection staffing or facilities to accommodate the LRDP (2009). The 2009 LRDP relied upon fire service data from 2002. Changed circumstances and new information make it abundantly clear that fire department personnel and equipment and facilities are woefully inadequate. Tiering off the older EIR is therefore inappropriate for those impacts. Further, the LRDP must be amended to reflect the incorrect analysis based on old data. Articles are attached to document the disptach, equipment and personnel shortages and problems of the Fire Department that make it impossible to guarantee adequate service. Had the LRDP used more current information on LAFD, it would have been clear that the finding could not be made.
The The NHIP/LRDP 2009 Amendments failed to disclose and analyze parking and traffic impacts of bootleg conference facilities in the NHIP/LRDP 2009 Amendments. The “multi-purpose space” was not analyzed as a 450 seat banquet hall and conference center. A supplemental EIR is required to analyze the parking and traffic impacts of this conference center and other conference centers on campus that were represented to the public and to the Regents as student housing. A copy of the UCLA webpage describing the conference center (presently under construction) is attached.
Analyze the relationship and cumulative impacts of the Luskin Center with the NHIP Conference Center and all the related conference venues on campus. What are the total parking, traffic and economic impacts of these facilities?
Analyze as an alternative using the existing and facilities already under construction to achieve the project goals of hosting conferences. Perhaps a “conference city” approach rather than a hotel with a tiny meeting space, would be appropriate.
Analyze as an alternative the purchase of a local hotel, per Regent Wachter’s suggestion.
Significant adverse impacts that were not shown on the CEQA Checklist and must be analyzed in a recirculated DEIR. A.
Land-Use Planning (urban decay impacts, UCLA Capital Improvement Budget Policy of Parking Buyout, the Project Planning Guide (a part of CEQA per UC Page 16 of 40
CEQA Handbook), violation of UC BUS-72, General Plan Framework Infrastructure Report, the WLA-TIMP, a specific plan of the General Plan of Los Angeles). UCLA is acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner by ignoring the campus parking buyout policy which has followed for all other projects that removed campus parking, including this very project at an earlier site (Faculty Center). B.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The Regents’ policy requires reducing air travel. This project will increase air travel. This is not analyzed in the DEIR. This same policy encourages use of teleconferencing rather than driving/flying to a site. Please analyze.
Population/Housing: the LRDP must be amended to account for a 5000 student increase in enrollment.
Transportation/Traffic: the DEIR failed to provide an analysis of compliance with the WLA-Transportation Improvement Mitigation Plan and to analyze traffic generation according to the TIMP, a specific plan adopted by the City of Los Angeles. UCLA owes several million dollars in TIMP fees for the hotel guests it has on campus, including but not limited to summer guests in the dormitories, the UCLA Faculty Guest House and Tiverton House. It would also owe TIMP fees for the Luskin Center. The DEIR deducted 855 daily car trips (DEIR p. 5-17) from the traffic generated by the Project by giving Itself a credit for the removal of 100 pay station parking spaces in Structure 6. It is speculative and conclusionary that these visitors will not come to campus. Where will visitors park who come to campus to purchase tickets for athletic and cultural events park? Or visitors to Ackerman who want to purchase souvenirs or books, park? Bus traffic and fumes do not appear to have been analyzed. The list of bus routes that stop at UCLA does not show how many buses will arrive and what noise, air and fume pollution they will cause. How many of these buses are powered by diesel engines?
Pedestrian Safety: The DEIR failed to provide analysis of pedestrian safety regarding the frequent bus arrivals and departures from the Westwood Plaza Gateway Bus Depot. Thus there is no evidence in the record to support the finding on the Summary Table 1-1, Threshold 10.3: “Construction and operation of the proposed Project would not substantially increase vehicular or pedestrian hazards due to design features or incompatible uses” (DEIR p. 1-17).
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In fact, the constant bus traffic, coupled with commuter pick-up and drop off, and pedestrians is an incompatible use in this small, confined space. Providing signage and lighting does not address the safety of negotiating running between buses to reach the other side of the plaza. •
An engineering simulation to determine the safety of the bus-carpedestrian uses is required to make the finding that pedestrian hazards are not created, especially with the rerouting of Hilgard Avenue buses. Turning radius, fumes, noise, and extremely frequent bus arrivals/departures appear to be pedestrian hazards.
Is a traffic signal required to provide a safe gap for pedestrians?
Public Services: The 2002 LRDP is out of date for these impacts. Emergency service response, equipment, facilities and staffing are all in short supply. Please analyze the cumulative impacts UCLA places on these services, especially police and fire.
Public Utilities: Water shortages, rationing, sinkholes, etc. are indications of systemic infrastructure failure. Please analyze the current and future capacity of the Los Angeles infrastructure to accommodate UCLA’s cumulative impacts. The city has not provided an infrastructure report as required by the General Plan Framework. How will UCLA obtain the information to determine if the infrastructure is adequate? For example, is the treatment capacity of Hyperion sewage treatment plant adequate for cumulative citywide growth? Descriptions of the pipe dimensions are not sufficient to make the finding that treatment capacity is available.
Air Quality Analysis required for Sensitive Receptors: The air quality and noise analysis states that there are no sensitive receptors near or in the project (DEIR p. 4.9-5). This is incorrect. There are at least two sensitive receptor populations that would be adversely impacted: athletes using the adjacent practice field, and the occupants of the hotel, a residential facility. The SCAQMD considers residential facilities to be sensitive receptors (DEIR p. 4.2-5). The DEIR notes that Spaulding Field, the practice field adjacent to Lot 6, is a sensitive receptor (Ibid.). Yet the statement is repeated throughout the DEIR that there are no sensitive receptors nearby. This contradicts the evidence in the record. “Threshold 2.3: Construction and operation of the proposed Project would not expose sensitive receptors to substantial pollutant concentrations due to carbon monoxide hotspots, local emissions of criteria air pollutants, or toxic air contaminant (TAC) emissions” (DEIR Table 1-1, p. 1-10, emphasis added).
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The effects of air pollution, noise and vibrations on sensitive receptors in the area must be assessed and not ignored. The claim that the reconfiguration of the bus stop would not increase ambient noise levels for sensitive receptors (DEIR p. 4.9-11) ignores the proximity of the 260 room residential facility, the hotel. It also ignores the addition of over 80 buses rerouted from Hilgard Avenue. Please revisit this statement and conduct an analysis of the added bus traffic impacts on sensitive receptors. Likewise, please recalculate the additional traffic on p. 4.9-11 using the project traffic without a trip credit for the pay station spaces, and using ITE Code 310 for all hotel rooms. If traffic is presently predicted to be 4 to 7 percent increased, what would it be if the traffic generation were done correctly? I.
Mandatory Findings of Significance. This project has the potential to degrade the quality of the environment by creating urban blight and consequential unemployment, vacant stores (PKF, p. V-12, estimated that 18,500 room nights would be taken from local Westwood hotels. In dollars, assuming $180/night, this means that at a minimum, $3.33 million dollars would be removed from the local economy. This does not include the food and beverage revenue – just room cost); homeless population increases, reduction in funds available to provide basic emergency services, etc. In the absence of an urban decay analysis, there is no evidence in the record to support the conclusion that the quality of the environment will not be degraded. The cumulative impacts of UCLA’s unfair business competition are large, starting with the campus mall to new conference/banquet venues, hotels, etc. Past projects, current project and proposed projects must all be analyzed to determine the economic, indirect impacts on the environment due to urban blight. This project will cause substantial adverse effects either directly or indirectly by competing for emergency city services while not providing the funds to cover those services, creating a pedestrian safety hazard with the bus stop and large numbers of pedestrians, and by causing the loss of jobs and revenue for the City of Los Angeles.
SECTION 3. PROJECT DESCRIPTION The donor’s intention (DEIR p. 3-1) can be met by the construction of a conference center (without hotel) on Lot 36 adjacent to the subway on Wilshire Boulevard, or remodeling and expanding the conference facilities at the UCLA Faculty Center. It can also be met by purchasing a hotel in Westwood and remodeling to provide adequate conference facilities as required by the ICAA. Page 19 of 40
No evidence has been provided that there is demand from the faculty for this hotel. (DEIR p. 31). Administrative staff, not faculty, were surveyed. There were “focus groups” with faculty invited by Vice Chancellor Olsen a year ago. This involved a statistically insignificant number of participants, and no mandate for a hotel was expressed, according to faculty members who were present. Please provide a record of these discussions. Were they tape-recorded? Was a transcript made of the proceedings? Table 4-7 Scope of Conference Attendance By Center Type Type of Center Colle ge/ Type of All Execu Corpor ResortUnive Conference tive ate rsity 43.3% 58.6 59.6 76.1% Local 65.9% % % Regional 24.6 11.5 13.0 25.9 32.0 National 13.9 10.7 15.7 30.9 8.5 5.4 0.3 1.0 Internationa 1.9 1.8 Source: PKF 2009, p. IV-7
The UC CEQA Handbook Appendix B requires that the Project Planning Guide Outline, C. Capital Improvement Budget be included in the EIR. It is not included. Thus the DEIR violates the UC CEQA Handbook. No financial information or analysis is included. There is no evidence in the record that the project is self-sustaining, that it has complied with the Parking Buyout Policy, etc. There is no evidence presented in the DEIR to support the contention that there is demand for international academic meetings. The Project Description on DEIR p. 3-3 states that hosting international meetings is a major objective. However, according to PKF 2009, only one percent of academic conferences are international as shown in the table below: One of the stated purposes of the hotel is to “build a stronger base with its alumni, nonresident students and their parents” (DEIR p. 3-1). This is not a tax exempt purpose. It is a fundraising purpose which is not exempt under UBIT. If an outside operator is chosen, then the hotel will be subject to the Transient Occupancy Tax, property tax, parking lot occupancy tax, gross receipts income tax, etc. The hotel could not exceed 10% because of the use of tax-exempt financing. These taxes must be included in the analysis of the preferred project and the alternatives requested by the public. Show data to support the claim that local hotels will still attract the independent traveler and that they will benefit from overflow if the hotel is overcooked (DEIR p. 3-1). Based on the market analysis provided by PKF 2009, 2011, the DEIR and GB-1 (Regents submission, March 28, 2012), the Luskin Hotel would derive 40 percent of its conference room nights from local hotels, and one third of its guests would be individual leisure and commercial travelers who presently stay at local hotels. The evidence in the record demonstrates that the Luskin Hotel Page 20 of 40
will cannibalize the local hotels and deprive them of significant income, the City of significant tax revenue, and employees will lose their jobs. The DEIR states that last year the UCLA Catering Department catered 12000 events (DEIR p. 32). How many of these events were departmental recharges? How many were for off-campus hosts? Please provide the dollar amounts of department recharges versus off-campus hosts. Why were none of these off-campus events not reported in the Nonfinancial Questionnaire to comply with UC reporting requirements? The project description must include all discretionary approvals required for the project. 1.
ABC Permit required for restaurant. There is no mention of an Alcoholic Beverage Commission permit required for the restaurant. Since the hotel is to be operated by UCLA (although the Regents were told on March 28, 2012 that this is not a final decision), there can be no mini-bars in the hotel rooms, nor consumption of any alcoholic beverage outside of the dining room. Amendment of LRDP for an increased student population is required and must be included in the project description and all public notice. The DEIR failed to include a required amendment of the 2009 LRDP as amended because the student population at UCLA has increased by 5000. This increase in student enrollment requires an amendment of the LRDP with an analysis of the impacts of an increased campus population and mitigation of those impacts.
Amendment of the LRDP for public services and public utilities. Data for 2002 LRDP are no longer accurate or adequate. A new analysis and mitigations are required to be presented in a revised recirculated DEIR.
Amendment of the 2002 LRDP/2009 Amendments required for Northwest Housing Infill Project. The The NHIP/LRDP 2009 Amendments failed to disclose and analyze parking and traffic impacts of bootleg conference facilities in the NHIP/LRDP 2009 Amendments. The 6500 SF “multi-purpose space” was not analyzed as a 450 seat banquet hall and conference center. A supplemental EIR is required to analyze the parking and traffic impacts of this conference center and other conference centers on campus that were represented to the public and to the Regents as student housing. A copy of the UCLA webpage describing the conference center (presently under construction) is attached.
What are the cumulative impacts of the commercial enterprises located on campus (outside vendors for food, clothing, shoes, make-up, personal services) and the Luskin Hotel on the economy of Westwood Village? ASUCLA’s “mall” has eliminated the need to patronize the Village merchants.
Restaurant competition and cannibalizing the restaurant market. UCLA food service contracts have eliminated the need to dine in the Village as an alternative to dormitory Page 21 of 40
food. The campus has developed a series of food courts operated by large chains that compete with local restaurants, and sometimes, the even same chains. What is the impact on urban decay? How many stores have closed since UCLA turned its back on Westwood Village? How many more are likely to close due to reduced hotel visitors in Westwood Village? Westwood has a high concentration of homeless persons who find the vacant storefronts and alleys easier to use than an active business district. 7.
Please recalculate the traffic impacts for the freeway with the Montana ramps closed. Since the traffic analysis assumed that the Montana north and south bound ramps were open, the conclusion reached in the DEIR on p. 1-16 may not be true: “Threshold 10.2: Operation of the proposed Project would increase traffic at a Congestion Management Program (CMP) arterial monitoring station but would not cause a significant impact based on the CMP significance criteria. The Project would not add a significant amount of project-related trips at a CMP freeway monitoring station. (LS)”
SECTION 4.0 INTRODUCTION TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS SECTION 4.1 AESTHETICS The DEIR does not provide an aesthetic evaluation of the busy, noisy, smelly bus stop, filled with buses, and the entrance of the hotel. These uses do not appear to be compatible or attractive. SECTION 4.2 AIR QUALITY Was the noise from the constant bus traffic calculate to determine its impact on ambient noise standards? Please analyze the CO Hotspot levels for the busstop, taking into account idling and congestions due to the number of buses and queuing capacity for buses (DEIR p. 4.2-9). Please analyze the impact of the bus traffic in the Westwood Plaza Gateway for objectionable odors from buses (DEIR p. 4.2-9). There is no analysis of air quality impacts on sensitive receptors. The hotel is a residential facility, and as such, is a sensitive receptor for purposes of air quality analysis. Thus the thresholds of significance summary table is incorrect: “Threshold 2.3: Construction and operation of the proposed Project would not expose sensitive receptors to substantial pollutant concentrations due to carbon monoxide hotspots, local emissions of criteria air pollutants, or toxic air contaminant (TAC) emissions. (LS)” (Table 1-1, DEIR p. 1-10). In addition, athletes using the adjacent practice field are also sensitive receptors. Please analyze the air quality impacts of auto and bus traffic on these sensitive receptors. Page 22 of 40
SECTION 4.6 GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS The statement is made that a public comment requested that the DEIR analyze greenhouse gas emissions resulting from encouraging increased air travel (see DEIR p. 4-6.1). No such analysis was provided. Encouraging overnight visitors to the conference center involves an increase in air travel. Please provide the analysis of whether this project is consistent with the Regents’ Policy and the UCLA Climate Action Plan. We could not find any response to this request. DEIR p. 4.6-2 only addresses UCLA-financed air travel. It fails to provide data on air travel by visitors to UCLA and the projected increase in such visits. Furthermore, on DEIR p. 4.6-17 the discussion is speculative: “The Project has the potential to host conferences that otherwise might draw UCLA staff to another city. Local hosting of this type of event may reduce UCLA staff air travel and associated GHG emissions.”
The policy is intended to avoid travel. Clearly the project description shows that the purpose of the project is to bring new visitors to UCLA, and not just academics. What about air travel by donors, alumni, parents of prospective students, etc.? For reasons discussed in comment Section 4.10 Transportation (below), the assumption that removal of 100 pay station spaces in Lot 6 will result in lowered traffic generation on campus and lowered greenhouse gases is incorrect as these visitors will continue travelling to UCLA (DEIR p. 4-6.3).
SECTION 4.8 LAND USE Contrary to the statement made on Table 1-1, that the project would not conflict with an applicable land-use plan, policy or regulation of an agency with jurisdiction over the project....” (DEIR p. 1-14), this project violates the Los Angeles City General Plan (WLA-TIMP), the UCLA policy of parking buyout, the Regents Policy regarding Greenhouse Gas Emissions to reduce air travel, UC BUS-72, IRS UBIT regulations, California limitations of private sales in facilities financed through tax-exempt bonds, and the UC CEQA Handbook. Please correct this finding.
SECTION 4.10 TRANSPORTATION UCLA is to be commended for its outstanding van pool program. However, UCLA assumes that if it limits parking, it can limit traffic generation. This is like saying if you don’t build new cemeteries, no one will die. While it has not increased parking on campus, its traffic generation is estimated to increase between 2008 and 2013 by 6,397 trips (DEIR p. 4.2-16). It is its van pool system and not Page 23 of 40
limiting parking, that has kept UCLA from exceeding its traffic cap. But that does not mean that UCLA is not significantly increasing traffic in Westwood and causing significant adverse impacts that it is not mitigating. UCLA has acquired several large highrise buildings adjacent to campus. DEIR page 4.10-7 states that traffic from the Wilshire Center is included in the main campus cordon count using a formula approved by LADOT. Please provide this formula and the data. UCLA’s traffic analysis is not current. It assumes that both the Montana north-bound and south-bound ramps are open. One is already closed and the other is about to be closed. Therefore traffic at Sunset and at Wilshire will significantly worsen. This must be analyzed. Are the parking spaces in those buildings included in the campus inventory? The UC CEQA Handbook requires analysis of parking and traffic on and off campus (UC CEQA Handbook, Section 3.33.20 Transportation/Traffic, p. 3.3.20-1). 1. 2.
Lot 35 at 10920 Wilshire Boulevard contains about 500 parking spaces. Are they included in the campus parking cap? Likewise, UCLA just purchased 924 Westwood Boulevard. How many spaces are in that garage, and are they counted toward the parking cap?
UCLA’s claim that by not replacing 754 spaces, it will reduce traffic: “with the removal of existing parking spaces in PS 6, it is expected that the average daily trips on campus would be reduced compared to existing conditions” (DEIR p. 4.8-10), There is no evidence in the record to support this claim. DEIR p. 4.10-13 claims that this EIR does not have to analyze “would the project result in inadequate emergency access?” The project will add traffic to a gridlocked region. A statement of overriding considerations is required for the traffic impacts. Furthermore, analysis of emergency service in this DEIR is based on 2002 or older data, and traffic in Westwood is at gridlock, a reasonable person would want to know if an ambulance or fire engine could access campus given the local gridlock. Emergency access is more than roadway width. It has to do with being able to arrive at the scene in time to save lives. This is no longer a certainty in Westwood (see dispatch map on page 2 above and the LAFD calls to campus during 2011 that is attached). The evidence in the record indicates that access is impaired and that service is not always available. UCLA has not expanded parking on-campus but traffic has increased by about 6,397 daily trips (DEIR p. 4.2-16). Without its aggressive van pool program and bus pass program, there would be no parking surplus and there would be far more traffic. Also, UCLA has not accurately computed the traffic generation for this project, as discussed below. 855 Trip Credit Invalid. A trip generation credit of 855 cars was granted on the basis of the claim that 100 pay station spaces would be removed which generate 855 daily car trips (DEIR p. Page 24 of 40
5-17). On page 4-6.3, it goes even further, and states “the elimination of 100 pay station spaces [in Lot 6] is projected to reduce the number of average daily trips on campus.” There is no evidence in the record to support this conclusion. This trip credit was arbitrary and capricious. These visitors will not abandon coming to UCLA because 100 pay stations are removed. They will find other pay stations on campus, such as the 267 in Lot 8, which is adjacent to Lot 6. Table 4.10-4, “Net Trip Generation for Proposed Project” (DEIR p. 4.10-19) is incorrect and must be revised to use ITE Code 310 for all hotel rooms, not take a trip credit for removal of parking pay stations in Lot 6. It is missing the traffic generated by the catering kitchen. Please correct. In addition, the traffic demand created by bootleg banquet halls such as the NHIP 450 seat banquet hall must be included in a revised traffic analysis. To assist the public’s ability to evaluate the traffic forecast, please provide the square footage for each use, or the number of seats. ITE Code 310 Occupied Hotel Room Rate is Speculative and significantly underestimates the traffic generated by the proposed project. The trip generation rate used in the DEIR assumes a 70 percent occupancy rate, which is a speculative assumption used to calculate traffic generation. As a result, UCLA gave itself a 30 percent traffic generation discount. According to the ITE Code 310 for hotel rooms (8.17/room) must be used to provide the worst case traffic analysis – all rooms occupied. The result is that the hotel as proposed would generate 2,124 average daily trips, not the 870 daily trips stated in Table 4.10-4, “Net Trip generation for Proposed Project” (DEIR on p. 4-.1019). There is a significant difference which is compounded by the trip credit of 855 trips for removal of 100 pay stations. Please recalculate the traffic impacts using the ITE Code 310 rate for hotels and do not take a credit for removal of the Lot 6 pay stations. Note that if any of the alternative projects discussed below were fully analyzed, there would be no loss of pay station parking. Parking Shortfall of 338 Spaces Will Create Congestion and Circulation Problems. The traffic analysis failed to consider the congestion and circulation problems caused by a severe deficit in on-site parking. PKF recommended 468 spaces. But the project would have only 130 spaces, with a resulting parking deficit of 338 spaces. When the “Lot Full” sign comes out, where will guests be sent, especially when there are games or events at Pauley Pavilion and Ackerman Grand Ballroom? Please analyze the impact of multiple events on the parking in the immediate area. Loss of 754 Lot 6 Spaces will Create Congestion on South Campus. This parking shortfall would then be compounded by the loss of 754 parking spaces on South Campus, which has increasing, not decreasing demand given the remodeling of the old Hospital, the Wasserman Building, Engineering I and V, etc. Please analyze the congestion and traffic impacts of a parking
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shortfall on South Campus due to the hotel’s deficit of 338 spaces and the loss of 754 spaces. Include these UCLA projects in Table 15 Related Projects. WLA-TIMP Ignored. The DEIR ignores the WLA-TIMP and incorrectly states: “A comprehensive traffic mitigation program for the Westwood/West Los Angeles area has not been developed. Since most of these improvements have not yet been approved or funded, this EIR does not assume implementation of any such programs during the planning horizon” (DEIR, p. 4.10-34). This is incorrect. The WLA/TIMP, a specific plan is a part of the General Plan of the City of Los Angeles. Violation of the WLA/TIMP is a significant adverse environmental impact. It is also disingenuous to pretend ignorance of the TIMP when it is cited in the notes to the traffic study in Appendix B. Related Project Notes. See Note 4, which references the TIMP. Payment of TIMP Fees for Hotel Rooms Required. The TIMP has a list of capital improvements, and a trip mitigation fee for certain uses, such as hotel rooms ($1577/room). There are several hundred existing campus hotel rooms (Tiverton House, Faculty Guest House, Courtside Suites), plus summer hotel facilities, that have not paid the TIMP fee. Please analyze the traffic impacts and mitigation fees for full compliance with the TIMP for all hotel rooms on campus, banquet halls, etc. Table 15 Related Projects Out of Date. Table 15, Appendix E, pp. 45-48, is an outdated list of related projects. Thus the baseline for the traffic analysis is incorrect. Several have been built, others abandoned, still others changed uses. The list was prepared in 2008. Since this list is important for determining the cumulative growth for the area, it must be updated (e.g., 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., 10131 Constellation--office instead of condos, 2055 Avenue of the Stars, 2001 Avenue of the Stars (Century Plaza) and the traffic analysis recalculated and recirculated. The very first project on Table 15, Federal Building Expansion, was stopped by Senator Dianne Feinstein in 2006, and yet it is the first project listed. Table 15 also fails to include several UCLA projects listed in the EIR: Pauley Pavilion remodeling, the new Wasserman Building, Engineering I, Ostin Music Center, Engineering VI-Phase I Project, and the remodeling of the old Hospital site for laboratory and office use. It is not clear what the time frame for cumulative analysis is, and what the date of the baseline for this EIR is. Table 4.10-11, “Cumulative Analysis Peak Hour Level of Service Summary” (DEIR p. 4.10-33) is based on incorrect and outdated information in Table 15 and failed to address closure of the Montana ramps on Interstate 405. This must all be recalculated. Is Surplus Parking Just Unassigned, but Not Vacant? Are UCLA’s 1235 unassigned “surplus” spaces vacant? Where are the surplus spaces that Lot 6 permit holders will be assigned? Will they be on South Campus? Page 26 of 40
Parking Construction Costs Exorbitant: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Why was a parking buyout provided in the pro forma for the Faculty Center site ($4.5 million), but not for this site? If one uses the current price for parking space construction in this proposal, the replacement buyout would be $62.6 million â€“ more than the Luskin gift. Why did it cost $59K/space for two subterranean levels of parking the Faculty Center site last year, and this year $83K/space for one level of parking? Why does it cost only $25K/space off campus in the real world?
Limitations of ATCS and ATSAC for Intersections at Capacity. Did the Traffic Study Take Credits for ATSAC and ATCS at all study intersections? The 7 percent credit for the combined increase in capacity (ATSAC 4 percent, ATCS an additional 3 percent) cannot be granted for intersections with are balanced. Furthermore, a bus lane, as proposed for Wilshire Boulevard, eliminates the 7 percent bonus of ATSAC and ATCS. Please review the traffic analysis and make required corrections. Did the Traffic Analysis Assume that the Pico-Olympic One-Way Project was Approved? Please revise the traffic analysis if it assumed that Pico and Olympic Boulevards were made one-way, as proposed several years ago. Include Off-Campus UCLA-Generated Traffic in Traffic Analysis. Does the assumed campuswide vehicle trips between 2008 and 2013 of 6,397 average daily trips include trips generated by the Westwood Center or the newly-purchased 924 Westwood Boulevard office building (deir P. 4.2-16)? For the purposes of CEQA traffic analysis, please include all UCLA trips generated on and off campus, as required by the UC CEQA Handbook. Recalculate the traffic generated by the proposed project for each of its use areas: hotel rooms, catering kitchen, conference space, restaurant and gift shop. Count all cars diverted from the inadequate hotel garage to other garages as new trips. There is no analysis or discussion of the Westwood subway stop: construction impacts, subway use and the connection between the subway, the Westwood Flyaway and the Gateway Plaza. Please explain how the bus depot will be integrated with the subway. SECTION 4.11 PUBLIC SERVICES AND UTILITIES Inadequate fire protection requires statement of overriding consideration. The Luskin Hotel DEIR CEQA Checklist states that there is adequate fire protection based on a previous EIR (see page 56 of the Luskin Hotel NOP). DEIR page 2-7 states: â€œthe proposed Project is within the remaining development allocation evaluated in the March 2009 LRDP
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Amendment Final EIR and can be adequately served within the established response times and distances for police and fire services.” The 2009 LRDP Amendments relied on 2002 data regarding the adequacy of fire protection from the Los Angeles Fire Department. CEQA requires contemporary data, not 10+ year old data from two EIRs earlier. There is no evidence in the record to substantiate the finding that there is adequate fire protection. As early as September 2008, the Los Angeles City Fire Department could not sign off on the adequacy of its services for the area that includes UCLA: “The existing staffing levels [pre cut-backs], equipment inventories, and fire station facility space are not adequate to meet the project area’s current demand for fire service. Fire Station 37 is too old and small” (William N. Wells, Captain II-Paramedic, Planning Section, regarding Casden Sepulveda Project DEIR, 2008, Appendix IV.M, September 22, 2008, “Public Services Response Letters,” italics added). As recently as June 20, 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Fire Department’s response time database is flawed (Robert J. Lopez, Kate Linthicum and Ben Welsh, “Fire Department data efforts criticized,” (page AA-1). The DEIR must include an analysis of the adequacy of Fire Department capacity to meet city standards for response time, deployment, staff levels, facilities and equipment. Thus the finding that “the project and the cumulative build-out do not require new or physically altered governmental facilities [e.g., fire stations and equipment] in order to maintain acceptable service ratios, response times, or other performance objectives for any of the public services” cannot be made (DEIR Appendix A, p. 56). There is ample evidence that response times are below citywide and national standards. Even in 2006, the FBI Expansion DEIS admitted that emergency response time in WLA is 41 percent slower than the rest of the city. Attached is a report of LAFD visits to the UCLA campus, which shows response times far exceed the citywide standard. The evidence in the record, submitted by Save Westwood Village, shows that a Statement of Overriding Considerations is required for fire protection, after the database for fire protection is updated and analyzed by UCLA and its consultants, who utilized excessively old data for a 2002 EIR to make the finding that fire protection is adequate. In the photo on page 2 of these comments, the LAFD Dispatch Center, it is clear that if an emergency occurs in an area colored yellow, it will become red (no emergency service). Areas colored green are rare. Westwood in particular, is yellow for both Stations 37 and 71. Westwood is yellow and its neighbors are red. There is no green area nearby. Thus the finding cannot be made that fire protection is adequate. Recent public revelations about fire protection problems (see attachments) require a fresh analysis of the adequacy of fire protection and mitigation. If mitigation is not feasible, then a statement of overriding considerations is required. Page 28 of 40
LA City Emergency Service Infrastructure Not Adequate. What is the basis for the conclusion that there is adequate Fire Department service? Newspapers, television and the City Auditor have reported severe (deadly) dispatch delays, staff cutbacks, and equipment shortages. The finding cannot be made that there is adequate emergency service. Last year LAFD visited the campus over 1100 times, at great cost to taxpayers. In addition, the analysis of fire protection should include a report of all Los Angeles City Fire Department visits to both campus and all real estate owned or leased by UCLA within the City of Los Angeles, including but not limited to, married student housing on Sawtelle and Sepulveda, the Wilshire Center, 924 Westwood Boulevard, etc. A reasonable person would conclude that given cutbacks since 2008 and programmingreporting errors from Dispatch, fire protection cannot be guaranteed, even if UCLA paid its fair share of the costs of ambulance and firefighting services from the LAFD. Furthermore, cumulative impacts of the project, an addition of 5000 students on campus, and regional growth, must be analyzed. The city has failed to provide the annual infrastructure report as required by the General Plan Framework. A lawsuit is pending over this failure and the risk to the public attendant with permitting development without the safety net of adequate infrastructure. See Fix the City v. City of Los Angeles. As a result of inadequate fire protection services and inadequate facilities, a Statement of Overriding Considerations is required, unless these adverse impacts can be mitigated by UCLA. Los Angeles has suffered from drought and water rationing recently and experienced multiple large sinkholes. Please document the claim that there is adequate water supply for the project and the cumulative build-out. Sinkholes have appeared throughout the city due to a crumbling infrastructure. Evidence in the record does not support the finding that there is adequate public service and utilities. In the absence of the Annual Infrastructure Report mandated by the Los Angeles General Plan Framework, there is no basis for the claim that there is adequate service or utilities for this project and the cumulative build-out. SUPPLEMENTAL EIR FOR NHIP/LRDP 2009 AMENDMENTS REQUIRED C
The LRDP amendment of 2009 must be supplemented with a new EIR that addresses public safety infrastructure shortages, as well as a complete review of Los Angeles City infrastructure (e.g., sinkholes crumbling streets, etc.).
All of the data used to make the finding that the public services and utilities were sufficient are based on data that are over a decade old. New data must be obtained and analyzed in order to provide evidence in this record that there is sufficient fire, police and utility service available.
The NHIP/LRDP failed to disclose and analyze the bootleg 450 seat banquet facility available to the public for rent. Even in references to this project (DEIR p. 4-4), the Page 29 of 40
banquet hall is not disclosed. However, in a UCLA Conference Services website posted on the Faculty Association Blog, it is disclosed. Please amend the LRDP with an analysis of the parking demand and traffic impacts of the banquet hall during the school year. Also analyze how conferees will get from the Luskin Hotel to the Sproul Presidio dining room? Will a shuttle be provided?
SECTION 5.0 ALTERNATIVES Analysis of Alternatives failed to comply with CEQA requirements. The Alternatives proposed by members of the public but not further analyzed in this DEIR were feasible, saved money, avoided major environmental impacts and were debt free and risk free, as well as complying with all tax regulations. Based on the independent expert analysis of HVS (already submitted to Tracy Dudman), the Luskin Hotel on Lot 6 that is not economically viable. The Luskin Hotel will forever burden the financial resources of UCLA. UCLA has a duty to avoid or minimize environmental damage where feasible (CEQA Section 15021(a). The suggested alternatives are feasible and avoid both direct and indirect environmental damage. Contrary to the claim made in the DEIR, the preferred project cannot achieve Objective 11: “...provide overnight accommodations that become the economic engine that would enable the facility to be a self-supporting auxiliary enterprise” (DEIR p. 5-4). This is a conclusionary and speculative statement that has been challenged by the Regents on March 28, 2012 and by HVS on March 28, 2012. Not only does this project lack an economic engine, it never left the station. There is no evidence in the record to support the claim that the project can be selfsupporting. There is evidence in the record (HVS study for Save Westwood Village) that the project will not break even for 20 years. Furthermore, UCLA’s Business Plan submitted to the Regents (GB-1, March 27, 2012), shows that the Luskin Hotel requires a subsidy from other hospitality operations to make it pencil out. Also, on DEIR p. 5-6, UCLA argues that off-campus property could make the project financially infeasible. Quite the opposite: according to Regent Wachter (March 28, 2012), a hotel could be purchased for half the cost of this project. Purchasing an offsite property would save money. And there is always the option of eminent domain. So this is feasible and costeffective. The Palomar, for example, is in financial difficulty and might be available. This needs to be explored and compared. Converting a floor or two for meeting space is far cheaper than losing 754 parking spaces. The DEIR claims on page 5-10 that the alternative location for the project corresponds with the requests in NOP comments. It does not. The request was for a conference center without a
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hotel, and the location requested was adjacent to the subway stop on Wilshire, not a hotel at the corner of Veteran and Kinross. The statement is made in the DEIR on page 5-17 that there would be increased trip generation for the alternative hotel project on Lot 36 “because there would be no elimination of parking on campus.” This is not true. The site proposed for this alternative, the corner of Kinross and Veteran Avenues, contains parking as can be seen in Figure 5-1. All three alternatives discussed below would be significantly less expensive than the proposed project, are feasible, would prevent urban decay and are environmentally superior to the preferred project. Save Westwood Village requests three Alternatives be fully analyzed because they are feasible and mitigate the adverse environmental impacts of the preferred project. 1.
A 40,000 SF conference center without a hotel on Lot 36 adjacent to the subway (not at the corner of Kinross and Veteran);
Purchase a nearby hotel as suggested by Regent Wachter for as little as $200300K/room instead of $650K/room; and
Remodeling/expanding the UCLA Faculty Center conference facilities. This new Alternative Project, long advocate by the UCLA Faculty Association Blog, would involve no debt, no loss of parking, and a central location. If a central location is of paramount importance, as claimed in the project objectives, then spending part of the Luskin gift on upgrading and possibly expanding the Faculty Center’s conference capacity and amenities is an outstanding solution to the demand for a conference center.
ALTERNATIVE 1. REMODEL UCLA FACULTY CENTER CONFERENCE FACILITIES Ten of the 11 objectives for this project (DEIR pp. 5-3 to 5-4) would be met by the Faculty Center alternative. The only one that would not be met is hosting visitors over night. The tradeoff between Lot 36 and the Faculty Center sites are proximity to central campus versus proximity to nearby hotels, the subway and Westwood Village businesses. The objection that there would need to be a shuttle bus to take guests to hotels in the Village also applies to the need for a shuttle to take guests at the hotel with inadequate conference space to other conference spaces on campus. It also was requested for the earlier Faculty Center site per PKF: “Intra-campus transportation and accessibility were common concerns, with the desire for a dedicated shuttle service to transport meeting attendees between the proposed center and other locations on the UCLA Campus considered Page 31 of 40
important” (PKF 2009, p. V-2). For fifty years the Faculty Center has been a conference center for the campus. The Faculty Center has the central location, gracious outdoor space (every conference room has its own private patio) to enjoy the Los Angeles climate, and would not involve campus debt financing or operational deficits due to hidden expenses (debt during construction, failure to provide for the parking buyout to parking services by housing reserves). It would not cause urban decay by competing with local hotels. ALTERNATIVE 2. LOT 36 ALONG WILSHIRE BOULEVARD, ADJACENT TO SUBWAY STOP A joint venture, suggested by Holmby-Westwood Property Owners, during Scoping, for the Lot 36 site adjacent to the subway, would meet the objective of housing guests overnight. UCLA would build a 40,000 SF conference Center along Wilshire Boulevard, and the adjacent approved 250 room hotel could provide the overnight accommodations. The cost of development and the operational costs would be borne by the private sector, not UCLA. The DEIR, however, studied a conference center on Lot 6, with its attendant physical impacts (loss of 754 parking spaces) and ignored the request to analyze a larger conference center on Lot 36. No explanation was provided as required by the UC CEQA Handbook: “To determine the alternatives that are analyzed, a list of potential alternatives should be prepared, including alternatives that are suggested in the public scoping process. Each potential alternative should be evaluated to determine whether it would: 1) feasibly attain most of the basic objectives of the project: 2) have the potential to avoid or substantially lessen any of the significant effects of the project; and 3) likely be considered feasible” (UC CEQA Handbook, p. 3.3.25-2). The alternatives to the site and project would attain most project objectives (see DEIR p. 5-3 to 5-4). “The EIR should include a discussion of which alternatives were considered, but are not analyzed in the EIR, and should provide an explanation of why those potential alternatives are not analyzed in further detail” (UC CEQA Handbook, p. 3.3.25-3). No such explanation of why the Lot 36 location for a conference center was not further analyzed in the DEIR. One member of the public specifically asked about a joint venture with the adjacent hotel. Has that been explored? If not, why not? It would avoid the cost of building and operating a hotel, saving UCLA millions of dollars. It would preserve Lot 6. It would not contribute to urban decay, would not violate UBIT regulations, tax-exempt financing limitations and comply with UC BUS-72.
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ALTERNATIVE 3. PURCHASE A LOCAL HOTEL FOR HALF THE COST When UCLA first announced a hotel project, community leaders suggested buying a local hotel. UCLA refused to explore this option. UCLA has the right of eminent domain. It can determine fair market value and purchase a local hotel. Purchasing a local hotel would not meet the central location on campus but it would enhance the business climate in Westwood Village. The economic feasibility is clear: hotels are selling for under $300K/room. The Project would cost well over $650K/room. Alternatives are Feasible, Cheaper and Environmentally Superior The advantages of these three alternatives include: 1.
Remodeling the Faculty Center would provide a central campus location and mitigate the adverse environmental impacts of removing 754 parking spaces and causing urban blight and decay) and would be economically feasible.
Purchasing a local hotel would provide a conference center with overnight accommodations.
A Luskin Conference Center on Wilshire Boulevard, adjacent to the subway and the approved 250 room hotel at Gayley and Wilshire, would provide convenient accommodations without the financial risk or debt.
Would be adjacent to the Westwood Flyaway for visitors to Westwood.
would preserve 754 valuable parking spaces and the revenue they generate for the campus.
Would not cannibalize the Westwood business district’s hotels and cause urban decay.
Local hotels welcome this opportunity to host campus visitors and assume the risk of operating a hotel. The city benefits from the taxes generated by the local hotels, and Westwood Village’s economic vitality would be enhanced. A healthy local business district is an important asset for UCLA’S faculty, students and staff. Causing millions of dollars in lost income for local hotels will cause severe hardship for the hotels and their employees as well as for the City of Los Angeles. Alternative projects were suggested by members of the public but ignored by UCLA (a standalone conference center on Lot 36 at the subway stop). The alternatives presented in the DEIR were a hotel/conference center on Lot 36, far from the subway at Kinross and Veteran. While UCLA may reject proposed alternatives, it must provide an explanation for its refusal to analyze alternatives suggested by the public (per UC CEQA Handbook Section 3.3.25, “Alternatives”). No explanation was provided for rejecting proposed alternatives such as Page 33 of 40
remodeling of the UCLA Faculty Center, purchasing a hotel, or joint-venturing on Lot 36 (per Holmby-Westwood Property Owners Scoping Comments). Alternatives suggested above would save 754 parking spaces, involve no debt to the campus, and provide larger conference space, in contrast with the small space provided in the conference center in the Lot 6 Alternative. The economic viability of alternatives is a requirement of the UC CEQA Handbook. To fail to evaluate economically viable alternatives in favor of excessively costly options without compliance with the criteria of the UC CEQA Handbook violates the spirit and letter of UC CEQA compliance. The UC CEQA Handbook Section 3.3.25 Alternatives (pp. 3.3.25-1 to 3.3.32-3), requires that all alternatives must include an analysis of: 1. 2. 3. 4.
the economic viability of the project, the availability of infrastructure (e.g., proximity to subway stop and space of large bus depot), Regulatory limitations Please provide this analysis and evidence in the DEIR that the preferred alternative is economically superior and/or in compliance with the regulatory framework (UC BUS-72, IRS Unrelated Business Income Tax, limitations of no more than 10 percent sales to the public if tax-exempt financing is used, etc.).
UC CEQA Handbook, Section 3.3.20, LRDP EIR, states that traffic and transportation analysis “should examine all relevant elements of on- and off-campus traffic and parking.” UCLA limited its approach to parking and traffic by focusing exclusively on campus parking. Is Lot 35 included in the campus parking inventory? Will 924 Westwood Boulevard, with its heavy medical use, be included in the parking inventory and traffic generated included in the traffic count? To comply with CEQA, please revise the traffic analysis in this DEIR to address all traffic generation and parking spaces under UCLA’s control (lease or ownership) within a mile of campus. Traffic Generation Analysis Flawed. The DEIR p. 4.9-11 states that claims that only 870 new trips will be generated by this project. This based on occupied rooms (ITE Code 310b), a speculative assumption. By contrast, ITE 310a is based on all rooms 8.92 average daily trips, would generate 2,319.2 new daily trips, not 870 trips. That is a huge difference. Please utilize all rooms, not the assumptions that the Regents refused to accept on March 28, 2012. In addition, the DEIR failed to include the: • conference center space, • the restaurant space (open to the public), and • the approximately 66 daily catering trips from the catering kitchen (based on the claim that UCLA catered 12,000 events last year).
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Please calculate traffic based on all uses within the project and not just hotel rooms. Each use has an ITE rate. Are Unassigned Spaces Vacant? The DEIR claims that there is a surplus of 1235 unassigned parking spaces on the UCLA campus. Please identify where these spaces are, and whether unassigned spaces are occupied, e.g., are they public parking for purchase of a day pass or hourly rate (“metered parking”)? Just because these spaces are not assigned does not make them vacant and available to displaced Lot 6 parkers. If daily or hourly parkers are displaced, where would they park? Where are unassigned spaces located? How close are they to Lot 6? Parking Deficit of 338 Spaces Per UCLA’s Consultant, PKF. PKF, UCLA’s own consultant, recommended that “parking allocated to support the Center be sized at the higher end of the typical range” (1.3 space/room) (p. II-7). PKF also recommended .3 to .4 spaces for employee parking, or 104 additional employee spaces (p. II-8). Using PKF’s recommendation (UCLA’s consultant), the project should have a total of 468 spaces, not the 130 proposed. There is a deficit of 338 spaces. Please provide evidence that 130 parking is adequate and explain where the overall guests will park. Furthermore, note that a woefully underparked hotel will create delays and frustration for guests and undermine the economic viability of the hotel’s bottom line. 1. 2.
Identify the professional who recommended 130 spaces and contradicted PKF. Why did UCLA ask PKF to exclude parking analysis from its revised market study?
This project creates a parking deficit of 338 parking spaces and removes 754 parking spaces, for a total of 1092 parking spaces. The campus only has a “surplus” of “unassigned” spaces of 1235 spaces. Since many of these spaces may be occupied, but not assigned, there may be no capacity to park project-related visitors. Supplemental EIR Required for NHIP/LRDP FEIR for Bootleg Conference Center. The 2009 LRDP/NHIP EIR failed to disclose that the 6500 SF “multipurpose space” in the Sproul Presidio was actually a 450 seat banquet hall. No parking was provided for this banquet hall. In addition, no traffic analysis was conducted for this facility, which will open year-round. Finally, no parking has been provided for the summer hotel operations for this 1525 bed residential complex under construction, and again, no traffic analysis based on summer guests with cars. Based on changed circumstances and new information hidden from the public, a Supplemental FEIR for the LRDP must be provided. It should also address all infrastructure issues including emergency service, public utilities (sink holes with sewers), water rationing, etc. Save Westwood Village requests a Supplemental FEIR with mitigation of the traffic and parking impacts generated by this bootleg conference center and summer hotel. Include in this analysis the buses used by camps that park on public streets. Please recalculate parking demand during the summer and identify where those summer guests will park if staying overnight, and where the banquet attendees will park throughout the year (a minimum of 65 parking spaces are required for the banquet hall) per LA City restaurant Page 35 of 40
Save Westwood Village A Business-Com m unity Alliance Dedicated to Quality Revitalization
parking requirements). Provide this same analysis for all venues that are rented to the public during the summer or during the year. Identify the parking provided on-site or reserved offsite for the facility. Include Also, each car that is turned away from the hotel garage should be counted as a new trip, since its destination was the hotel, and it must drive elsewhere to park. Please correct traffic generation analysis to account for these parking-destination trips. Analyze Traffic Noise from Buses and Additional Rerouted Hilgard Buses. The claim is made on p. 4.9-11 that â€œThe reconfiguration of Westwood Plaza would not move traffic noise closer to sensitive receptors and would not noticeably change ambient noise levels in the Westwood Plaza area.â€? Is this true if the 80 buses rerouted from Hilgard are included? Sensitive Receptors are Within the Project and Adjacent. The claim is made throughout this DEIR that there are no sensitive receptors adjacent to the project. The project, as a residential project, is a sensitive receptor. Further, athletes using the practice field adjacent to the site are also sensitive receptors. Please revise the noise, fume and air pollution analysis in light of the presence of sensitive receptors. A Statement of Overriding Consideration Is Required for the Shortage of City Fire Emergency Service. The UC CEQA Handbook requires that the Availability of Infrastructure be analyzed (p. 3.3.25-3). This DEIR fails to provide evidence that there is adequate emergency public service from the LA Fire Department (response time, equipment, etc.). UCLA substitutes emergency access with the finding that there is adequate and timely emergency service available. Under current city conditions there is ample evidence in newspapers, television reports, and recent City Auditorâ€™s reports that there is a dangerous capacity shortage for Los Angeles from dispatching delays to shortages of staff and equipment. Thus a significant adverse impact for emergency service must be indicated on the CEQA Checklist, and mitigation measures must be developed, including, but not limited to, paying for the service that UCLA receives from the City of Los Angeles, so that it can increase service to a level where public safety is assured. Hotels have a higher than residential rate of medical and police emergencies. The Luskin Hotel will exacerbate the crisis in fire fighting capacity at the expense of the surrounding community. 1. 2.
Please compare emergency service demands of hotels versus academic activities. Please provide data that support the conclusion that there adequate fire fighting service and response time for both the campus and Westwood neighbors (business and residential). Please provide documentation for all LA Fire Department responses to all property owned or leased by UCLA within the City of Los Angeles, including and not limited to Wilshire Center, Security Pacific, married student housing, North Village apartment buildings. What is the cost of this service?
Economic Viability Data Required. We have submitted as part of the DEIR comment process a report by HVS Consulting & Valuation Services that was commissioned by Save Westwood Page 36 of 40
Save Westwood Village A Business-Com m unity Alliance Dedicated to Quality Revitalization
Village. This report relies upon UCLA’s own numbers. It concludes that the project will not pencil out for 20 years, and will be worth half of what it cost. Hotels in this area are selling for $300K/room. By contrast, the Luskin Hotel would cost well over $650K/room and drain precious campus resources. The Regents refused to vote on the business plan because of serious reservations about the economic viability of the project. If the project is not viable, it cannot achieve the objectives outlined in the Executive Summary. Economic data are also needed to evaluate alternatives in Chapter 5 and to justify not analyzing alternatives requested by members of the public. 1.
No data presented are provided for hotel demand for “major academic conferences” of this size (DEIR p. 1-1-). Is it enough to support 2/3 of the guest nights for this hotel? All data presented by PKF was for WLA hotel market for the general public. Please provide evidence that the faculty in focus groups indicated support for this project. Were there votes? Is there a transcript? What is the basis of this claim?
Gateway Plaza and Alternatives. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
How much research grant overhead would be used for the Gateway Plaza? Why is Gateway Plaza not financed totally by Parking and Transportation Services? Analyze Circulation, Air Pollution and Noise Impacts of Gateway Plaza Operation. How many buses per hour will arrive and depart from this bus stop? Include in this analysis the re-routing of Hilgard Avenue buses from the Strathmore Drive bus stop. Please clarify that the Hilgard buses will use the Gateway Plaza starting at 8 PM, not 10 PM as stated on DEIR p. 4.10-8. Is there space to accommodate these buses? Can buses turn within the small radius of the northern drop off area?
Reimbursing Campus for Lost Revenue and Parking Spaces 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
How much would it cost to replace Lot 6? How much revenue would be lost, including attendees at Pauley Pavilion games and events? Why was replacement parking provided in the earlier proposal for this project at the Faculty Center, and not on Lot 6? Was there a parking surplus last year? Why was replacement parking $59K/space last year and now $83K/space this year? Explain why off campus it would only cost $25K/space for one level of subterranean parking but $83K/space on campus.
Explain why there is no provision for reimbursing Parking Services for the loss of 754 parking spaces when the same project at a different location provided such a buyout.
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Save Westwood Village A Business-Community Alliance Dedicated to Quality Revitalization
Last year, parking for the Luskin Hotel was an exorbitant $59,000/space. This year parking would cost $83,000/space. This year, only one subterranean level is involved, so it should be cheaper, not more expensive. Please explain the sudden increase in parking construction. Explain why the campus would pay $83,000 per parking space when a private developer would only pay $25,000/space. Since CEQA requires economic feasibility as part of its analysis, this discrepancy is important. Inadequate Parking 1.
Please explain why UCLA instructed its consultant, PKF, to exclude parking analysis from the second Luskin Hotel project (PKF 2011, p. 2). Lack of adequate parking creates congestion and air pollution, physical environmental impacts that must be mitigated.
Please explain why UCLA failed to follow PKF’s recommendation to provide 468 parking spaces instead of 130.
Please identify the location of the 1235 “unassigned” parking spaces on campus.
Since the garage is inadequate for hotel guests, where will overflow guest parking be located? Please count the trips between arriving at the “Lot Full” hotel and the overflow parking facility as a separate trip. The destination was the hotel, not the remote parking lot.
Alternative to Westwood Plaza Gateway. Analyze a new bus depot at the Wilshire Subway as an alternative to the Gateway Plaza. Coordinate with Westwood Flyaway for an integrated transportation hub. Analyze Travel to Other Campus Conference Venues due to Inadequate Conference Space in Luskin Hotel. Please analyze travel between other conference facilities on campus, as shown on the attached map and include in the Traffic Analysis. In response to a Regent’s statement on March 28, 2012, that the hotel hardly could be called a conference center because there was so little conference space, UCLA replied that other conference space would be used to supplement the substandard conference space in the proposed Luskin Hotel. This means that all the conferees would not be under one roof, the stated raison d’etre for the project. Please identify those locations and include travel, parking and other environmental impacts of transporting hotel guests to these other campus facilities. Since one of the objectives of the project is to eliminate travel for visitors by creating a onestop venue, the inadequate conference space defeats the stated purpose of having the facility in the center of campus.
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Save Westwood Village A Business-Community Alliance Dedicated to Quality Revitalization
SECTION 6. OTHER CEQA CONSIDERATIONS Traffic â€“ Cumulative Construction. This finding is limited to campus construction impacts. Please include the cumulative construction impacts of projects proposed or approved offcampus in the area and prepare a contemporary list of Related Projects (Table 15). CONCLUSION Save Westwood Village incorporates by reference all comments submitted on this project and DEIR, including Thomas Winfield III, McKenna, Long and Aldrich, and HVS report prepared for Save Westwood Village. Please prepare and recirculate a new DEIR with required public notice that includes evidence to support the conclusions. To avoid urban decay select one of the three alternatives proposed in Section 5 discussion above. Sincerely, Laura Lake Laura Lake, Ph.D. Co-President SAVE WESTWOOD VILLAGE
ATTACHMENTS: Fire Protection Service Inadequate LAFD visits to UCLA during 2011 Auditorâ€™s Report on Dispatch Problems Timeline for Dispatch (Michael Eveloff) Articles on LAFD problems UCLA Hospitality Facilities and Services Map of conference venues on campus New Conference Center (website write up on new NHIP conference center under construction) NHIP Construction with reference to 450 person facility Courtside Collection flyer Urban Decay in Westwood Village LA Times article on Westwood Village vacancy rate (30%) and articles about Village cleanups and homeless problems. Tax Issues UBIT Regulations IRS Letter re. UBIT for Seminary hotel rentals to public Page 39 of 40
Save Westwood Village A Business-Community Alliance Dedicated to Quality Revitalization
UC BUS-72 UC BUS-55 UC Nonfinancial Questionnaire UCLA Project Documents PKF 2009 PKF 2011 GB-1, March 28, 2012 presentation to Regents UCLA Business Plan for Luskin Hotel
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Published on Jun 30, 2012
Neighbor Group Comments on UCLA Hotel Project 6-29-12. Protests seeming violation of tax-exempt status and deficits in the environmental rev...