Friday, September 26, 2014

An Open Letter to the Bel~Air Community: Somma Way Project Controversy

An Open Letter to the Bel~Air Community:

We at the Bel~Air Association are so saddened that some in our community have been grossly misled by a small group of reckless people harming our wonderful community through their unprofessional behavior and dangerous misstatements of fact.

For those of you who were duped by this group, we ask that you give us the opportunity to set the record straight and expose some of their many distortions, so that the next time you hear from these few misguided people, you will know first-hand as to their "truthfulness."

We invite you to verify all our statements with the City of Los Angeles Council District 5 Office and the Public Record from the Somma Haul Route Hearings.

We understand that this group asserted that the Bel~Air Association wrote a last minute letter of support for the 10697 Somma Way Haul Route in exchange for $30,000.  This grossly distorts the facts.
The truth is that at the original Somma Haul Route Hearing, the Bel Air Association, which has no control over project approvals (such power belongs to the City), understood from the City that the Haul Route was to be approved as it was "remedial" in nature, so the BAA had its legal counsel attend the hearing to demand a number of "Health & Safety Requirements" to best protect the Bel~Air Community during such substantial disruption.  
Members of the group making all these spurious claims against the BAA also spoke at the Hearing, objecting completely to the Somma Haul Route, and offered no alternative solutions or mitigating suggestions.
The Haul Route Commission completely rejected such group's position.  

Shockingly, the Commission also rejected most of the Bel~Air Association's requirements, and approved the Somma Haul Route nonetheless.
Regardless, the Bel~Air Association, due to its professional conduct and positive relationships in our community, was able to convince the Developer of the Somma Way Project to agree to the Bel~Air "Health & Safety Requirements" -- even when they had already received their City approvals and were in no way required to do so by any governing authority.  It is this letter of "support" that memorialized the developer's agreement that was submitted to the Somma Haul Route Appeals Hearing, the purpose being to ensure that the Somma Project would be held to the highest standards of Health & Safety when conducting its activities in Bel Air. (A Copy of such Letter is Attached Below.)

We were stunned to learn that this group went so far as to claim that the BAA received $30,000 in exchange for its support of the Somma Haul Route.​  This is an appalling lie.

The Bel~Air Association has never received ONE PENNY from the Somma Project.

The​ ​TRUTH of this matter is that the Bel~Air Association, in its Haul Route "Health & Safety Requirements" letter, requested "For every 500 cubic yards of earth materials moved from a project site, we ask that the developer contribute $500 to the Bel~Air Association’s  “Project Pothole”, which funds are specifically earmarked to repair potholes and other street issues exacerbated by the project dirt hauling and construction related vehicles" (underline added.)
​  ​
As the City of Los Angeles no longer adequately repairs our deteriorating ​infrastructure, the Bel~Air Association has​ been fixing Bel~Air streets and potholes whenever possible.  And this “Project Pothole” request is one that the BAA intends to make at EVERY haul route hearing involving Bel~Air -- the Somma Project being no exception.
It is plain to see by any thoughtful person that the Bel~Air Association has done the absolute BEST for our community, when, in the absence of the Bel~Air Association's ​efforts, and if left to this disruptive group's bridge-burning behavior, a much lower standard of health, safety and care may be imposed upon the Somma Haul Route, and by extension, all other development projects in Bel~Air.  

~ The Bel~Air Association

(Click Images to Enlarge)