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Environmental Review for Proposed Stadium Will Key In On Smart Growth and Walkability

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, March 07, 2011, at 01:58PM
L.A. Event Center Proposal by Gensler Gensler

Rendering of AEG's proposed NFL stadium and events center next to Staples Center and L.A. Live

Calling for "smart measures" that "move mitigation into the 21st Century," AEG kicked off environmental review for Farmers Field on Monday by asking the city's planning department to issue a "Notice of Preparation" for the company's proposed stadium and events center project.

The two-page letter prepared by entitlement lawyer William Delvac of Armbruster Goldsmith & Delvac LLP rates high in the buzzwords of modern urban planning, laying out as goals adherence to the city's "Walkability Checklist" and "smart growth" through "environmentally sustainable design."

"For a project like this, they're not buzzwords," said Delvac this afternoon, calling out walkability and connections to transit as key principles. "We know that people are not all going to park on-site. We don't intend them to—there aren't the spaces.

AEG hopes that the city will issue the notice mid-month, allowing the project's first scoping meeting to take place at the end of the month. At that meeting, the city and project staff will take notes on subjects that the community feels the environmental study should address.

This is a neighborhood that the consultants the company has brought on-board for the project know well, having done the environmental work for Staples Center and L.A. Live.

"The studies are all going to be original and new because the issues are different," Delvac said, but "clearly in terms of the background and the expertise, we have that."

In the letter, AEG notes its desire to circulate the full draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) by the end of the year, a span of just nine months. While that may sound agressive to those familiar with the voluminous documents, the L.A. Sports and Entertainment District EIR that covers L.A. Live went from Notice of Preparation to draft EIR in just four months.

"It will take the time it will take," Delvac explained. "What we know is that we were able to get L.A. Live done quickly because we gave the City the work products they were looking for and the analysis was thorough."

The preparation of that work product is already underway. Over the weekend, traffic counters were deployed to gather baseline data for the study.

That data will show L.A. Live operating at full capacity. On Saturday, the Kings played in front of 18,000 at 1pm, while the Clippers hosted 19,000 for an evening game and Julieta Venegas performed across the street at Nokia Theatre.

While those numbers are far lower than the 60,000 to 80,000 who would gather for an event in the stadium, but Delvac believes that technology and smart planning can play a key role in helping to bring people in and out of the area.

"We do want to direct people to transit, we do want to direct them where to park," he noted. "There was a time when we didn't have these tools available, but now that we're in the information age we want to use them."

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