After seven years of off-and-on debate, a new downsized version of the proposed Ponte Vista housing development in San Pedro was rolled out Thursday.
The latest project, now under a new development team, will be presented in coming weeks at a series of public meetings, with the first set for 6 p.m. Monday at a meeting of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council.
Scaled down from an original 2,300 to either 1,135 or 830 homes, developers are confident they now have a plan that will pass community approval.
"We have an entirely new project," said Dennis Cavallari, project manager, adding that Ponte Vista has been "completely redesigned from the ground up."
Instead of what he called an "ultra-dense" project in its first generation, Ponte Vista now is a project that has the feel of a suburban - and specifically of a San Pedro - community.
Single-family homes, condominiums and apartments will be feature a Spanish, Mediterranean and California contemporary design.
Included are two outdoor pools, several pocket parks, a playground and clubhouse for Ponte Vista residents.
While the project - planned on 61.5 acres of former Navy housing property at 26900 S. Western Ave. - will be a gated community, there will be walking/jogging and bike trails around the perimeter that will be accessible to the public.
Two entry and exit ways will be included and an additional northbound lane will be added to Western Avenue to help accommodate the flow of motorists heading into the development.
The city's new draft environmental report for the project was released Thursday by the city of Los Angeles. It had been in the works for two years.
Members of the public now have 60 days to submit comments (the period ends Jan. 7) on the new plans that also will be the subject of several upcoming community presentations.
The plans include a new traffic study. Developers said all impacts on all affected intersections can be mitigated, according to the report.
As for density, the new proposal calls for 1,135 units. But a smaller alternative also studied - one that is preferred by the council office and no doubt will be more appealing to many of Ponte Vista's community critics - would build 830 units on the property.
Included in both plans are single-family homes with backyards and detached garages; multi- and single-story condominiums and townhomes with smaller units suitable for singles, retirees or empty-nesters; and a section at the south end of the property for new apartment buildings.
Mature trees and drought-resistant landscaping will be added and the housing elements are planned to best preserve views of the Vincent Thomas Bridge, developers said.
Ponte Vista was first envisioned by the Bisno Development Co., the property's first owner, as a 2,300-home project with flats along with multi-story townhomes and condominiums along with a retail center.
But the project received heavy criticism from the start after its public debut in October 2005.
The development was far too dense, many residents complained. The Gardens townhome development, for example - the most densely planned housing development in San Pedro - had 13.3 units per acre.
Under the Bisno plan, Ponte Vista would have had 37 units per acre.
But of even greater concern was how the project would affect traffic along an already crowded Western Avenue thoroughfare.
And traffic no doubt will remain the primary concern as residents begin a new round of discussions over the latest proposal.
In addition to the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council on Monday, future presentations will be planned at the Central San Pedro, Coastal San Pedro, Harbor City-Harbor Gateway and Wilmington neighborhood councils, developers said.
Developers also will make presentations to area chambers of commerce - the first one is planned for Tuesday morning at the San Pedro chamber - and appointments can be made by anyone to see the drawings and ask questions of the developers by calling the Ponte Vista office.
The property once was home to hundreds of Navy shipyard workers. When the shipyard was closed, the property was declared surplus by the federal government and Bisno Development paid $88 million in an online auction in early 2005 to purchase most of the property. The company later bought out owners of the rest of the land, with the total purchase price amounting to $125 million.
A later proposal for 1,950 homes also was rejected by the community.
The property was purchased by iStar Financial Inc. in 2010 and a new plan was then put in motion.
The land sits along Western Avenue mostly north of Avenida Aprenda and partially across from Green Hills Memorial Park cemetery.
The long vacant Navy houses are still standing on the land.
If agreement can be reached on one of the new plans to move forward, building could begin in 2014 and take five years for completion.
Projected sale prices for the homes will be determined by the housing market once the development is approved and built, Cavallari said.
Also studied in the city's draft EIR was a 500-unit single-family home option.
The 830-home alternative, however, would be the "only economically viable" alternative for developers, he said. Building iStar's primary 1,135-home option would cost less for the developer.
There is no estimated cost for building Ponte Vista at this time, Cavallari said.
The 830-unit alternative would include 208 single-family homes; 224 two-story townhomes with private garages; 180 multi-level and single-story "flat" condominiums; and 218 luxury apartments.
The larger 1,135-unit proposal calls for 143 single-family homes; 140 townhomes with private garages; 120 single- and multi-level condominiums; 514 single-level condominiums or "flats;" 218 luxury apartments.
The project also has been set back from Western Avenue by about 40 feet. Trees will be planted in front of the development.
The project, Cavallari said, took in feedback received from the community throughout the years and will bring needed new housing stock to the South Bay.
"It's a new Ponte Vista," Cavallari said.
Over the next few months, residents will have to determine whether the project is new enough to finally get their stamp of approval.
Follow Donna Littlejohn on Twitter at http://twitter.com/donnalittlejohn
What: Presentation on the latest Ponte Vista housing proposal at the monthly meeting of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council
Where: St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 1648 W. Ninth St., San Pedro
When: 6 p.m. Monday