PLAYA DEL REY (CBSLA) —LA City Councilmember Mike Bonin and Playa del Rey residents are demanding action after a developer bulldozed an environmentally sensitive area.
When local residents saw them clearing dunes, they called Bonin. He sent over his local field deputy, who on two occasions demanded the developer stop work.
It’s Bonin’s understanding the property owner, Legado Companies, was ordered to remove some rusty fencing surrounding the plot of beach property, but as far as he knows they are not permitted to grade the dunes.
“We have a problem in Los Angeles where developers think they have a right to do anything and they don’t,” says Bonin, who calls the grading an “outrage.” “What the community feels like is somebody’s sticking the finger in their face. We have a lot of people in this neighborhood who appreciate nature and the environment and the destruction that might have gone down here.”
An outrage. A developer has crews using heavy machinery to do grading in ecologically sensitive Playa del Rey dunes. My staff and residents stopped them – twice – and are watching the site. I will be demanding full investigation, complete restoration, & appropriate legal action. pic.twitter.com/7AOgfpg7Ow
— Mike Bonin (@mikebonin) August 10, 2019
The Councilmember believes the grading was done without authorization from the City of Los Angeles or from the California Coastal Commission, and without notifying the community.
An attorney for Legado Companies said in a statement to CBSLA, “The removal of the fencing and posts was ordered by the city pursuant to an Order to Comply because the fencing was rusty and dangerous to the public. Our client has no choice. No grading was done and no sand removed offsite.”
Bonin wants a full investigation, complete restoration of the area, and appropriate legal action. In the meantime, he says that members of the community and his staff are keeping a watchful eye on the dunes, which residents claim is a protected habitat.
Community advocate Julie Ross wonders if the land owner is willfully destroying protected land to clear the way for development: “You don’t send bulldozers out to mow down a protected dunes habitat, be told by the city to stop it and then come out the next morning and do the same thing all over again.”
There are no announced plans to develop the area yet, but the owner, Legado Companies, has a troubled history in this community. They already have a lawsuit with the city over a planned development just a few blocks from the location that has faced fierce opposition..