D’Works, activists fail to resolve their differences

Officials from DreamWorks and representatives from environmental groups met last week, but the mini-summit failed to resolve differences with some groups who are opposed to current plans for the Playa Vista devel-opment.

Outside the 10 Universal City Plaza building, about 40 protesters waved placards as the meeting took place.

Reps from three groups opposed to the project — Marcia Hanscom of Wetlands Action Network, Bruce Robertson of Ballona Valley Protection League and Jerry Rubin of L.A. Alliance for Survival — attended the meeting.

Afterward, they outlined plans for an alternative to the project, in which the studio would be built on about 59 acres of paved land and the rest of the land would be preserved for conservation purposes.

But DreamWorks officials do not own the property. And although they originally were to be partners in the entire project — studio, homes and retail — they are unsure if that will be the case under a new financial structure that lead developer Maguire Thomas is trying to work out.

But some of the opponents say that DreamWorks nevertheless would be a “catalyst” for the entire project. “We call on DreamWorks to take a major stand on the environment,” Robertson said. Supporters have maintained the proj-ect will benefit the area because its developer has earmarked money for wetlands restoration.

The meeting of about 15 people also included groups that have either taken neutral positions or have, for the time being, resolved differences with the project’s lead developer, Maguire Partners. Among them were Friends of Bal-lona Wetlands, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the California League of Conservation Voters. But op-ponents complained that reps from other vocal groups were left out of the meeting.

Yet DreamWorks executive Andy Spahn said that there simply wasn’t enough time for everyone to attend. “How many people can you have in a room and have a meaningful discussion?” he said.

He added that more meetings are planned.

“This will be the beginning of the process,” he said. “It certainly won’t be the last.”

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