Story by Zoe Schlaak
Photo courtesy of Planet Home Living
Graphic courtesy of Brenda Contreras & Micah Haserjian
The South Pasadena City Council decided to postpone voting on the proposed extension of the private portion of Moffatt Street at its meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 21 due to residents’ extreme opposition to the project.
Developer Planet Home Living, which community members have decried as a gentrifier, plans to build seven luxury homes west of the terminus of Moffatt Street. The new houses would be located behind existing lots on Atlas Street in L.A. homes. A private road accessible only from Moffatt Street would be constructed leading to the new properties on a shared easement with South Pasadena. Currently, the land of the proposed construction is green space home to wildlife, which has led some to raise concern of environmental degradation.
Residents near the project site have vehemently opposed the development, creating the “Residents Against the Moffat St Extension” website. Wednesday’s City Council meeting featured 42 public comments against the construction.
“I oppose construction of a private road through El Sereno,” community member Mara Ruiz said. “This would displace homes and multiple endangered Southern California Black Walnut Trees. This construction would [also] displace vulnerable community members [and] increase traffic dramatically on an already very narrow street.”
The South Pasadena Planning Commission postponed voting on the project three times because of community opposition but ultimately approved it on Tuesday, Aug. 11. Following that decision, residents Micah Haserjian and Brenda Contreras — whose landscape the development would impede upon — submitted an appeal to the Moffatt Street extension on Wednesday, Aug. 26. They criticized the local government for enabling Planet Home Living to undermine the lives of current residents.
“South Pasadena is throwing the vulnerable community of El Sereno under the bus, there is not one reason at all for this project to be approved,” Contreras and Haserjian said in a rebuttal to the project. “[We] ask you to please listen to the community and deny this project. Shame on the developer for bringing this up and wasting all of our time during a global crisis.”
The overwhelming resident resistance to the construction influenced the City Council’s decision to postpone a formal vote.
“I think given the questions that were raised [by residents, the City Council should] go to the City of Los Angeles and get answers… first and continue this [discussion at] another meeting,” council member Steve Rossi said.