Archive for the ‘2012’ Category

Castle Green Tour & Annual Mixer Summary – December 2012

January 13, 2013 in 2012 | Comments (0)

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Southern California Planning Congress
Event Summary – December 2012




Castle Green File Photo

The Southern California Planning Congress attended the holiday tour entitled “Dickens in the Castle” at Old Pasadena’s most dazzling Victorian, Castle Green. Holiday cheer followed nearby at The Otis Bar at La Grande Orange Café in the historic Santa Fe Depot.

The tour was a great way to kickoff the holidays, get in the spirit, and learn more about this treasured structure from the tour organizers and residents. The building was constructed in 1898 as the annex for the famous Hotel Green, and the architecture has Moorish Colonial, Spanish, and Victorian elements.

For the Tour, many units were open to the public, with some decorated festively for the holidays. We had a great time experiencing the rich history of Castle Green, and a merry time afterwards at the warm and welcoming La Grande Orange Café.


Tour Group at Castle Entrance


The exterior of the building has many unique features, including corner turrets, rooftop patios, and inviting balconies.

Castle Green - Roof Turret

Rear Facade and Balconies

The building interiors also have fine details found around every corner. The cast-iron fireplaces, window details, and prized corner units with round living rooms and plentiful windows are some of the highlights not available for public viewing except during the twice-annual tours .


Window Arch

Fireplace Detail

Interior and Ceiling Light

Window on Bridge

Bathroom Details

Window View of City Hall


The bridge between the original, eastern part of the Hotel Green complex (long since demolished) and today’s residential Castle Green (the second of three buildings) is now used as a reference library. It ends at the edge of Raymond Avenue in a large circular room. Rails can still be seen in the floor where luggage trolleys were once pulled between the two former wings of the complex.


Bridge Interior Long


A holiday choir greeted the group in the ballroom, as we toured the ground level. The singers dressed in period attire and the grand feel and sound of the ballroom made this a true highlight.


Holiday Choir in Ballroom


Lighting fixtures that transport one back to the Victorian age complement the architectural features of the historic building, which include a grand staircase and ballroom. The warm glow of the lighting and seasonal music emanating from various parts of the interior enhanced the holiday mood.


Lamp & Elevator Door

Ballroom Ceiling Lights

Stairs Landing Light

Chandelier Blue Ceiling

Hanging Light - Entry




Information on Castle Green, its history, and the twice-annual tour can be found on the building’s web site:

La Grande Orange Café:


SCPC Event Summary – “A 20-Year Blueprint For Universal City Hollywood”

December 1, 2012 in 2012 | Comments (0)

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Southern California Planning Congress
Event Summary – October 2012

A 20-Year Blueprint For
Universal City Hollywood



The Southern California Planning Congress met at Taix French Restaurant to hear about The Evolution Plan No Residential Alternative from the NBCUniversal project team. The following speakers were part of the program:


  • Corinne Verdery, Chief Real Estate Development & Planning Officer,
    Global Real Estate – NBCUniversal
  • Darnell Tyler, Director, West Coast Real Estate – NBCUniversal
  • Pat Gibson, Principal – Gibson Transportation


The NBCUniversal Evolution Plan includes upgrades and improvements to the site’s production and post production facilities, a revitalized entertainment destination, and modern office space, all without expanding the current property footprint. 

The  Evolution Plan No Residential Alternative also includes  more than $100 million dollars in  local and regional transit and transportation improvements, and a Transportation Demand Management program. Universal estimates that the project will create over 30,000 jobs during construction and operations. 



 Land Use Summary - Source NBCUniversal



The project was announced in December 2006 as a long-term plan for the 391-acre Universal City property. The project included upgrades and improvements to studio production and post production facilities, additional new media-related office space, enhancements to Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park and CityWalk, and the creation of a new 2,937-unit residential neighborhood, which would include 35 acres of new open space.

In 2007, the Evolution Plan entered into the environmental review process phase.  A number of comments were received on the Draft EIR from the community as well as from County Supervisor Yaroslavsky and City Councilmember LaBonge, requesting that the residential portion of the project be eliminated.  The no-residential alternative was analyzed in the Final EIR and subsequently chosen as the environmentally-superior alternative.

The stated outcome of the chosen project alternative includes the following:

  • Less intensive use of the property;
  • Less traffic, less significant impacts after mitigation; and
  • Less neighborhood impacts, with largely the same mitigation package as the plan with residential.


The next part of the team’s presentation focused on transportation improvements related to the 20-year plan. 



 Overall Improvements - Source NBCUniversal


While the Evolution Plan No Residential Alternative will generate less traffic, the 20-year project will include an investment of more than $100 million in transportation and transit improvements, including:

  • Adding a new southbound on-ramp to the 101 Freeway from Universal Studios Boulevard.
  • Improving the 101 Freeway interchange at Campo de Cahuenga Way.
  • Improving more than 120 intersections.
  • Upgrading and widening Lankershim Blvd., Barham Blvd. and Forest Lawn Drive.



Regional Access Enhancements - Source NBCUniversal


In an innovative application of mitigation measures, Universal has partnered with Caltrans to provide a catalyst to improve the five-mile stretch of 101 corridor from Highland Avenue to the 101/134 interchange.  Universal has agreed to prepare the construction plans and provide initial funding so that future transportation funding from the State or the Federal government can be applied to a shovel-ready set of projects when additional funding becomes available. 

The corridor improvements include an upgrade to the State Route 134 freeway in both directions at the US-101 freeway interchange, and upgrades to access ramps. 



Property Edge Improvements - Source NBCUniversal


The project will invest in transit improvements and programs to connect employees and theme park guests to the adjacent Metro Station at Lankershim Boulevard, including shuttles and a transportation demand management program.



Transit Improvements - Source NBCUniversal



Visit the project web site at



Thanks for a great SCPC Annual Holiday Mixer!

November 20, 2012 in 2012 | Comments (0)

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SCPC would like to thank the great group that came out for the Castle Green tour and our holiday mixer!

An event summary is posted here.



The Southern California Planning Congress
invites you to our



Sunday, December 2, 2012 – 2:00 p.m.





Please join your friends and colleagues at our annual SCPC Holiday Mixer, starting with the “Dickens in the Castle” tour of Old Pasadena’s most dazzling Victorian, Castle Green, followed by holiday cheer a short walk away at The Otis Bar at La Grande Orange Café.

Gather at 2:00 p.m. at 99 South Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, for the Castle Green tour. Immediately following, continue the “no host” celebration at La Grande Orange Café, at 260 South Raymond Avenue.

Tour tickets are $20 and must be purchased on your own, either online or at the Castle’s front gate. For tickets and more information:



Take the Metro Gold Line to the Del Mar Station, one block south of Castle Green, at 230 S. Raymond Avenue (between Green Street and Del Mar Street).

Park at the Schoolhouse Public Parking Structure at 33 E. Green Street (corner of Green Street and Raymond Avenue), or at the Del Mar Station Parking Garage at 230 S. Raymond Avenue (just north of Del Mar Street).

Related Links:

Castle Green:
La Grande Orange Café:
Metro Gold Line:
Old Pasadena Map:

 An event summary is posted here

Always Drink Responsibly



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Los Angeles Harbor Tour – July 2012 – Event Summary

September 8, 2012 in 2012 | Comments (0)

 Southern California Planning Congress Event –
July 2012

City of Los Angeles Harbor Tour Summary



The Southern California Planning Congress and its invited guests arrived at Berth 84 South in San Pedro, to embark on a 90-minute tour of Los Angeles’ great harbor, its history, and its current and planned projects. 



The sights witnessed from the top deck of the tour vessel included Port facilities, multiple cargo processing facilities, the harbor side of the USS Iowa (just recently opened that week to the public), and the San Pedro skyline. 

We are looking forward to hosting the Port planning staff, to discuss projects and planning for the future. Stay tuned for a future event announcement.





Thank you to all the attendees of “An Evening With Peter Dreier” on May 16th

April 18, 2012 in 2012 | Comments (0)

SCPC would like to send out a big thank you to all the attendees of our May 16th event.
You made it a success!


“An Evening with Peter Dreier:

Occupy Cities – A Movement for Equity”



Occupy LA Protest

Occupy Wall Street began in New York City and spread nationally as individuals gathered to highlight the consequences of excess and inequality. Cities became a forum for a movement that reshaped the public dialogue on the consequences of unchecked financial manipulation on behalf of a narrow few. As the Great Recession wreaked havoc on individuals and communities, the 1% prospered while the 99% struggled as cities shed revenues and opportunity. But there are glimmers of renewal. “Occupy” is heard in cities large and small as the movement continues and The Commons are redefined. How can the Occupy Movement reshape the city and how can we as citizens and professionals reform urban policy to ensure greater opportunity and justice, nationally and at the local level?


Guest Speaker: Peter Dreier

Chair, Urban & Environmental Policy Department,
Occidental College

 Peter Dreier

Professor Dreier served as Senior Policy Deputy for Boston Mayor Ray Flynn and as the city’s Director of Housing for almost a decade. He is the co-author of The Next Los Angeles: The Struggle for a Livable City and Place Matters: Metropolitics for the 21st Century.  His next book, The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame, will be published in June.  A scholar and activist, he also writes for the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, American Prospect and The Huffington Post, and has appeared on the “Rachel Maddow Show,” the “McNeil-Lehrer Report,” and “Which Way, L.A.?”



Dinner Menu Selections:

Dinner entrees include fresh French baguette, Soup of the day,
Organic greens with house vinaigrette dressing, Fresh vegetable,
and Rice or potato.

With one of the following selections:


Boneless Breast of Chicken –
Diable: Grilled, with lemon, butter, white wine, mustard, garlic, shallots and capers.


Filet of Sole –
Normandie: Braised, in Chablis, mushrooms and cream.


Pasta Monégasque –
Penne pasta with tomatoes, garlic, basil and olive oil.


All with Sherbet and Coffee or tea.






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Thanks to all who attended the “Powering Up Watts” event

December 14, 2011 in 2012 | Comments (0)

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The Southern California Planning Congress
would like to thank all of the guests that attended
our January event!

A meeting summary will be posted shortly. 


“Powering Up Watts:

The Jordan Downs Master Plan”


Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Meet and Greet at 6:30 p.m., Dinner at 7:00 p.m.

Taix French Restaurant: 1911 West Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90026




How can public housing be revitalized to
break the cycle of poverty and remain affordable? 

How can human capital be harnessed to improve
the community’s quality of life?


Master Plan Site MapIn the 1950s, former federal facilities for WWII workers were converted into the 700-unit, Jordan Downs public housing complex.  

Although it began as partially integrated, it was soon associated with societal ills: institutionalized racism, welfare state dependency, and disenfranchisement that contributed to its role as the Watts Riots flashpoint and a breeding ground for gang violence.

Watts Is Worth It GraphicThe City of Los Angeles has launched an ambitious $1 billion community-based master plan to redevelop aging Jordan Downs.  While it includes a denser mixed-income “new urban village,” the emphasis is not on buildings but innovative, inspiring programs aimed at investing in people.



Please join us to hear our first 2012 guest speaker

John R. King II
Director, Policy and Planning Department – The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles 




Dinner Menu Selections:

Dinner entrees include fresh French baguette, Soup of the day,
Organic greens with house vinaigrette dressing, Fresh vegetable, and Rice or potato

With one of the following selections:

Boneless Breast of Chicken –

Marsala: Sautéed, with a Marsala wine and mushroom sauce

Filet of Sole –

Normandie: Braised, in Chablis, mushrooms and cream.

Pasta Monégasque –

Penne pasta with tomatoes, garlic, basil and olive oil.


All with Sherbet and Coffee or tea.


On-line registration for this event has closed.



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