A Preservation Victory

WAHA is pleased to let you know that we have another reason to celebrate this holiday season. After several years of historic preservation advocacy by WAHA, Mount St. Mary’s College, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and many other concerned West Adams residents who wanted to keep the Chester Place Historic District intact and save the Zanja, Mount St. Mary’s College has stepped in and purchased the St. Vincent church parking lot. This will end a development proposal that would have significantly impacted the character-defining features of the historic setting by its massing, scale, and spatial relationships. At this time, the open space will be preserved.

As you can see from Mount St. Mary’s College announcement (below), the proposed development of student housing at Figueroa and Adams would have had many negative effects on Chester Place and its many historic structures, along with serious impacts on the students and the nuns who live adjacent to the property. WAHA has been equally concerned ever since the project was announced for this historically sensitive location in Historic West Adams.

We thank Mount St. Mary’s for being a great neighbor and a true partner in our historic preservation efforts.

The WAHA Board would also like to thank the members of WAHA’s Historic Preservation Committee (Jean Frost, Chair, Jim Childs, Laura Meyers, Mitzi March Mogul, David Raposa, Roland Souza, Eric Bronson), who worked tirelessly to prepare (literally) hundreds of pages of documentation and testimony in support of saving the historic district and opposing the project. It underscores the reason why WAHA, through its Historic Preservation Committee, takes the time to diligently review environmental documents and arrange for appearances at public hearings. In this matter, the proposed development began with a Mitigated Negative Declaration which was circulated for comment. The comment by WAHA and others was responsible for the City requiring an EIR. Later, the Draft and Final EIR provided the opportunity to scrutinize the true effects of the project. With the Final EIR being issued, WAHA was reaching a crossroad regarding what action might be necessary to prevent this insensitive and harmful proposed project. This will now be unnecessary. Many other WAHA members joined this effort, including John Arnold, Maggi Fajnor, Jim Robinson, Suzanne Lloyd Simmons, Terry Speth, and so many others too numerous to mention. We appreciate everyone’s effort to make this hard-fought victory a reality.

That said, it is truly Mount St. Mary’s College that deserves our special thanks today. Please join me in a big round of applause!!

My best regards this Holiday Season,

John Patterson, PresidentWest Adams Heritage Association

Mount St. Mary’s College announcement:

Dear neighbors:

Mount St. Mary’s College President Jacqueline Powers Doud just made the following announcement to the College community, and I wanted to make sure that you had also received the news.

Mount St. Mary’s College closed escrow today on the St. Vincent church parking lot, which had been purchased by a developer in March 2007. The building project that had been proposed for the lot would have adversely affected the surrounding neighborhood, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet at Stimson House and the College in several ways, including compromising privacy, elevated noise levels, shadowing and diminished views. One of the overriding factors in this decision is the adverse impact the building project would have had on the unique historical and cultural character of our neighborhood.

We do not have current plans to build on the lot, but will continue to use it for parking. We will also provide the St. Vincent parishioners with parking for liturgical services and other official Church functions on the site. Historical preservation of our Doheny campus is a priority to the College, and we are pleased to be part of the West Adams neighborhood.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Best wishes,

Debbie ReamDirector of Public Relations
Mount St. Mary’s College
10 Chester Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
213.477.2544 Fax

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