El Sereno mixed-use project meets with resistance

Proposed charter school/Eastern & Lombardy

Proposed apartments/Eastern & Lombardy

A hillside corner lot in El Sereno would become home to a charter elementary school, cafe and apartments if a developer is able to secure the necessary city permission to build the multi-use project.  Many neighbors, however,  fear the development on a vacant parcel at Eastern Avenue and Lombardy Boulevard is way too big and out of place.

The developer of  Eastern & Lombardy  – which would include a school for 530 students, 20 apartments, parking garage and a corner cafe – is scheduled to make a presentation  on Thursday night during a special meeting of the  El Sereno neighborhood council.  The LA-32 Neighborhood Council has already endorsed the project by Bancomer Construction and City Terrace LLC, and a public hearing has already been held before a Planning Department hearing officer to review the developer’s requests for waivers and variances from current zoning codes.

In documents filed with the city, officials with the developer say Eastern & Lombardy provides a school that is compatible with the existing neighborhood character, much needed new housing and  a cafe that will enhance and encourage pedestrian activity.

But residents continue to push ahead to oppose the project.

Melissa Kellogg said the five-acre project could set a precedent that might undermine ordinances designed to protect the over development of hillsides. The development’s buildings, which would rise more than 40 feet on the hillside, would loom over the nearby residential neighborhood. Kellogg,  said in an email:

The monumental scale of the project, the design as a series of two-story ridgeline structures, the general disregard for the abutting single family residential properties currently buffered by the existing hillside, and lack of awareness of the actual character and aspirations of the community has prompted a negative response from many members of the community at large.”

Project opponents have set up a website  to collect signatures against the Eastern & Lombardy.

Bancomer Construction has not identified what school might move into the project.

The public meeting on Thursday, July 25  will be held at 6 p.m. at 4927 Huntington Drive North — the Barrio Action/Constituent Building.  Officials with the developer are scheduled to make a presentation on the project.

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