MINUTES FOR JANUARY 25th 2018
Voting Members in Attendance: George Wolfberg (acting Chair), Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz (acting Secretary), David Kaplan, Sue Kohl, Rick Mills, Danielle Samulon, Sarah Conner, Lou Kamer, Rick Mills, Cathy Russell, Richard Wulliger, Janet Anderson, Gil Dembo, Reza Akef, Bruce Schwartz, Peter Culhane
Voting Alternates: Jenny Hope Cote, Kelly Comras
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Richard Blumenberg, Carol Bruch, Brenda Theveny, David Peterson
1. Certification of Quorum. George Wolfberg (presiding officer in the absence of Chair Maryam Zar) called the meeting to order at 7:02 pm and certified that a quorum was present.
2. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. Reza Akef read the Mission Statement.
3. Introduction of the Board and Audience. The board and audience were introduced.
4. Approval of Minutes & Upcoming Meetings. 1) Approval of Minutes: Richard Cohen requested the following corrections to Item 6 of the minutes of January 11, 2018: “6. Treasurer’s report. Richard Cohen (Treasurer) reported that PPCC has a bank account balance of $40,910.18. Based upon preliminary data the event has netted about $4,700 which is generally sufficient to cover operation of PPCC for a year. Richard expressed relief that the wildfires that threatened neighboring areas did not worsen to threaten the Palisades and cause cancellation of the event. Had that happened PPCC would nonetheless have been obligated to pay almost all of the expenses of the event. In his view it is therefore necessary to maintain sufficient funds on hand to absorb such a loss and thereafter continue to fund PPCC’s activities for several years.” There being no objection to the corrections, the Chair deemed the minutes of January 11, 2018 approved as corrected. 2) Upcoming meetings: February 8, 2018 and February 22, 2018 (topics to be announced).
5. Consideration of Agenda. The Chair announced that the agenda was as distributed.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Richard Cohen (Treasurer) reported that PPCC has a bank account balance of $42,081.18. We have received additional payments for tribute ads in the awards gala event program and are currently netting about $4,500, but more payments are expected to yield an eventual net profit for the event of about $4,700.
7. General Public Comment on local issues – None.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair.
8.1.1. WRAC report: LA Innovation and Performance Commission (http://innovate.lacity.org).
Chair/President Emeritus Chris Spitz stated that she had attended the WRAC leadership meeting along with Chair Maryam Zar, where a presentation was made on behalf of the LA Innovation and Performance Commission. The Commission is actively seeking ideas from constituents to improve City government. Chris encouraged Palisadians to visit the Commission’s website and contribute ideas which may be put into action.
8.2. From Officers.
8.2.1. Chris Spitz (Chair/President Emeritus).
PlanCheckNCLA report; Short Term Rentals Ordinance Update. Chris reported that Tom Rothmann of the Planning Dept. gave an update at the meeting about several proposed Planning-related ordinances, including three that are of interest to our community (Short Term Rentals, Farmers Markets in R Zones, and Over the Counter Alcohol Permits/CUBs). Regarding Short Term Rentals, Chris explained that she learned that the Planning Dept. has recently reported back to the City Council Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee with responses to questions about possible further ordinance amendments, including elimination in some cases of the annual cap on the number of days that homes could be rented on a short term basis, and allowing for “self-certification” of residency by property owners (contrary to PPCC’s position); she provided further details at the LUC meeting held earlier in the evening; it is unknown when PLUM will be taking up the matter again (it had been scheduled for a 1/23 PLUM meeting but was continued for an indefinite time).
Regarding Farmers Markets in R Zones, Chris distributed a status report (see attachment below) and reminded the board that PPCC had taken a position in 2011 opposing by-right permits for this use in R zones and expressing concern about granting permission on a conditional use basis. Due to time constraints Chris did not provide further details but she encouraged members to review the attachment and indicated that this is a matter that the LUC or board may wish to take up at a future meeting.
Finally, Chris related that Mr. Rothmann advised that the Planning Dept. is now working on a new proposed ordinance, pursuant to a recent vote in City Council, to allow streamlined, “Over the Counter” CUBs (i.e., without notice or hearings but with agreement to abide by a list of conditions/performance standards) to be issued to certain specified small businesses such as restaurants and hotels. This matter was also discussed at the LUC meeting and the committee will monitor.
8.3. From At-Large and Area Reps.
8.3.1. Reza Akef (Area 8) announced that the Genesis Open PGA golf tournament will take place from February 12-18 at the Riviera Country Club. The tournament is sponsored by the Tiger Woods Foundation and Tiger will be playing. Large crowds are expected. There is no parking in the Riviera or the Polo Fields. Parking will be in Santa Monica with shuttle service to the event.
8.4. From Organizational Reps – None.
8.5. From Government Offices/Representatives.
8.5.1. LAPD SLO Michael Moore and SLO and former Narcotics Officer Chris Baker.
Officer Moore introduced Officer Baker, who was present to address any questions about marijuana law enforcement. Officer Moore first reported that things are looking good for crime in the Palisades, with the exception of vehicle crimes. Many cars are being broken into, with daytime vehicle break-ins mostly involving hikers and those at night involving residents. Vehicle break-ins are occurring at least once a week, and sometimes three times a night. The nighttime crimes tend to occur between roughly 10pm and 3am. The suspects for the nighttime vehicle crimes are 3 white males driving a BMW who have not yet been identified; there are no suspects yet for the daytime crimes. LAPD requests the community’s help in identifying and locating suspects. These vehicle crimes are occurring everywhere in the Palisades except for the Highlands.
Officer Moore was asked about incidents involving the Asilomar bluffs. He stated that LAPD has received complaints about smoking, drinking, marijuana use and other activities on the Asilomar bluffs and also at the top of Lachman Lane. The police have responded and citations have been issued. Undercover narcotics officers are involved. Rick Mills stated that residents of the Asilomar bluffs are appreciative of the LAPD’s attention to this problem. He asked whether there has been coordination with Palisades High School. Officer Moore stated that this has not occurred because the narcotics officers do not want exposure or identification, as this may impede their efforts. Some of the youth involved with activities on the bluffs are known to the High School administration.
Officer Moore also explained his jurisdiction in Area 8 in response to a question by Reza Akef regarding SLO representation in the Riviera and the Polo Fields. Parts of the upper Riviera are within SLO Maria Gray’s jurisdiction (Brentwood) while the lower Riviera is within SLO Moore’s purview. He explained that the SLOs do not have the ability to change their jurisdiction.
There were no questions for Officer Baker.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors – None.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. VPCLC (David Kaplan and Sue Kohl, Co-Chairs).
David stated that he and Sue had reached out to Michael Gazzano of Caruso to obtain a project update as to four issues. David relayed Mr. Gazzano’s responses as follows:
1) Crossing Guards – Caruso has received wonderful feedback from the community and will continue to provide crossing guards during construction at Sunset/Swarthmore and Sunset/Via de la Paz.
2) Security Guards – Caruso always has a security guard on site and has now expanded the security presence with additional guards to better cover the entire site 24 hours per day. The additional presence is primarily focused on Albright and Monument, which should also provide security for nearby residences.
3) Construction Update – The parking structure podium was completed in late December, which was a major milestone. Steel framing for the buildings is continuing, and Caruso will then start building out each building and turning over to tenants to begin their interior tenant improvement construction. Caruso appreciates the support and understanding of their neighbors and tries their best to minimize the impacts.
4) Alcohol – To date, the City has granted three (Vintage Grocers, FdeiM and Cinepolis) of the eight approved CUBs for the project. All eight were approved with the overall project in June 2016 and several public hearings were held at PPCC, with four additional public hearings with the City. The eight CUBs were always part of the project description and included in the City process and approvals.
Sue Kohl then reported that in response to a Nextdoor posting with comments about design changes made to the building at the SW corner of Swarthmore/Monument, Mr. Gazzano provided the following statement, which she has also posted on Nextdoor; Sue read the statement in its entirety to the board:
“Statement Regarding Architectural Changes
“We appreciate the inquiries about modern/mid-century modern facades within our Palisades Village project. First, we should provide some context, particularly concerning the tenant space at the corner of Swarthmore and Monument. That space was originally presented to the community as a two-story structure. The community expressed its concern with a two-story structure on that edge, so close to residential. As a result, we listened to the community and modified the space into a one-story restaurant use, using a mid-century modern treatment. That treatment with large expanses of glass along Monument worked well for a restaurant use.
“Just prior to our Planning Commission hearing, the community expressed its concern with having a restaurant on that edge, so we agreed to remove that use and again listened to the community. We also received comments from the community that they wanted buildings along the Monument edge to serve as a transition from the residential neighborhood to the commercial village. We responded to the community’s input by hiring a residential architect to design that storefront with more of a residential look and feel to better transition from commercial to residential. There are still a number of modern/mid-century modern facades throughout the project.
“You will note this evolution in the current construction framing at the project site. We feel the current construction clearly shows the lengths to which we’ve gone, in response to community input.
“It’s important to keep in mind that during the entitlement process, a project is in a conceptual design phase. This is customary for projects at this stage. Once we receive zoning approvals, an executive architect is hired and, working with structural, civil and mechanical engineers, final plans are drawn up for actual permitting by a range of City departments and other agencies. There are always going to be some tweaks to the conceptual design drawings as they become finalized for permitting.”
Following a brief exchange of opinions involving questions about project design and construction, David stated that Mr. Gazzano (who was not present) will attend an upcoming PPCC meeting (tentatively on February 22) and can answer any questions at that time.
9.2. LUC (Howard Robinson, Chair).
In Howard’s absence, committee member Rick Mills reported that the LUC had a successful meeting this afternoon prior to the board meeting. The committee heard several presentations about LUC agenda items. With regard to the proposed WRAC motion concerning SB 827, Rick announced that following discussion, the LUC voted unanimously to recommend that the PPCC board approve the proposed WRAC motion as drafted with the additional language proposed by Chris Spitz and George Wolfberg (see Item 11.1 below).
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. WRAC-Recommended Motion Opposing SB 827 (sponsored in PPCC by Chris Spitz and George Wolfberg).
Background: http://pacpalicc.org/wp- content/uploads/2018/01/WRAC20LUPC20AGENDA20JAN202018.pdf. Chris explained that because George Wolfberg was chairing the meeting, she alone was now making the motion. She stated that the motion was as contained in the agenda, and that she was proposing additional language in subsection vii, set forth in bold font as follows:
“(PROPOSED) MOTION: OPPOSITION TO TRANSIT-RICH HOUSING BONUS BILL [WIENER – SB 827]
- Whereas the City Charter-mandated Neighborhood Council system of Los Angeles, and the Community Councils of the City of Los Angeles, represent grass roots democracy,
- Whereas the newly introduced California State Senate Bill 827 [Scott Weiner] as written constitutes a top down pen stroke planning measure which completely removes land use and planning authority within one half mile of high quality transit from jurisdictions and charter cities,
iii. Whereas removal of said authority clearly abolishes local input into land use planning and therefore constitutes an attack upon local democracy, upon neighborhoods, and upon the Neighborhood Councils and Community Councils in the City of Los Angeles,
- Whereas SB 827 as written trashes the density bonus and wage provisions of the JJJ TOC ordinance which were recently enacted by the people of Los Angeles — in good faith — in order to guarantee transit close housing opportunities would actually be available to working and low-income persons and families in the City of Los Angeles,
- Whereas the lack of analysis of infrastructure and other costs associated with this pen stroke planning creates grave uncertainty that a local agency would be able to “levy enough service charges, fees or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code,”
- Whereas, given the aforementioned lack of fiscal analysis, Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution “No reimbursement” clause is cited inappropriately in this legislation,
vii. Therefore, Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) opposes SB 827 in its present form and requests that it be withdrawn. PPCC further calls upon the City of Los Angeles, through its official representatives, to vigorously oppose SB 827 and protect local authority and control over land use and planning.”
Richard Cohen seconded the motion as stated above. Chris then explained SB 827 as a bill that would completely override local land use control and undermine the City’s efforts to address the housing crisis. She distributed a report (see attachment below) and read from portions of the report, including the Los Angeles Times’ concluding paragraph in its recent editorial about the bill as set forth in the attachment. Chris also announced that Councilmember Bonin had advised her and Chair Maryam Zar that his position on the bill is the same as the Times’ concluding paragraph. Extensive discussion then ensued. Many board members expressed concern about the proposed preemption of local land use control, and indicated recognition that the bill would extinguish our local planning and zoning controls in large areas of the City and undermine the City’s own efforts to address the housing deficit with measures such as JJJ. Several members expressed appreciation for and agreement with an analysis that Jack Allen (a former board member) had distributed to various board members prior to the meeting. Strong opposition to the bill was expressed by all who spoke. There were no statements in support of SB 827. Following discussion, the board voted unanimously to adopt the motion as set forth above.
12. Adjournment. Meeting adjourned at 7:55 pm.
ITEM 8.2.1 – PlanCheckNCLA Report by C. Spitz; Status of Ordinance Allowing Farmers Markets in R Zones (CF 10-1832)
Nov. 2010: CMs Wesson and Koretz propose allowing farmers markets by right in R and other zones (goal: to provide greater access to fresh, high quality produce to under-served communities).
April 2011: PPCC opposes by right permit process for farmers markets in R zones and expresses concern about weakening protections for R zones via a conditional use or public benefit process (see prior submittals attached and/or at http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2010/10-1832_misc_4-26-11c.pdf).
April – May 2011: Pursuant to Planning Dept. recommendations, PLUM and City Council direct creation of a conditional use process for Certified Farmers Markets (CFMs) in R zones, with “500 ft. notification” and public hearing required.
Nov. 2011: CPC recommends draft ordinance, PLUM approves and City Council directs City Attorney (CA) to complete final ordinance; almost 6 years then pass with nothing further done.
May 2017: PLUM (via Chair Huizar) revives the matter, requesting further amendments, such as allowing some CFMs by right in R zones (proposed in parking lots next to churches and schools).
Sept. 2017: CA submits revised ordinance (key provisions listed below); does not include a by right process as requested by PLUM for CFMs in R zones (discretionary permits required in all R zones); recommends adoption of ND (finding of no significant impacts under CEQA).
Nov. 2017: PLUM directs further amendments, including removing annual review requirement and allowing Council Districts discretion to modify hours of operation; recommends adopting ND.
Dec. 2017: Item scheduled to be heard again in PLUM, but continued to a date to be determined.
Key Ordinance Provisions (as of Sept. 2017):
- CFMs allowed in R zones via a streamlined discretionary permit process (i.e., procedures for adjustments: notice only to abutting owners, on-site posting and public hearing); but hearing not required if written approval submitted from 1) all abutting and across street owners; and 2) 60% of owners within 300 ft. radius.
- Application to be provided to the relevant Councilmember.
- Operating hours: 7am-7pm (with 1 hour before and after also allowed for set up/clean up); 2x week only (but PLUM has now directed possible modification of hours by Council Districts).
- Other operating standards: any lights used are to be shielded from shining “directly or indirectly” on abutting properties or streets; trash containers must be provided; area used must be “cleaned;” noise levels must not exceed ambient levels in R zones under current Code requirements; all signage shall conform to Art. 4.4 of the Code.
- Violations: the ZA “may consider” revoking the grant for failure to comply with requirements.
- Annual review required (but PLUM has now directed removal of this requirement).
- Not included: any parking or toilet requirements; provisions for traffic or vermin control; requirement of notification to local organizations or councils; enforcement mechanisms, including monetary or other penalties, other than possible (discretionary) ZA revocation.
- By right process with performance standards: provided for CFMs in A, C. M and P zones only.
 Although not expressly indicated, it appears the ordinance was intended to apply to the use of private property, e.g., vacant lots and parking lots, rather than streets or other public property.
 Form language (signed by Planning Director Vince Bertoni) is included at the end, indicating disapproval of the ordinance on behalf of the CPC and a recommendation against approval (presumably because this latest iteration – 6 years later – was never presented to the CPC).
PPCC Letter of April 25, 2011 (attached to above report):
April 25, 2011
Councilmember Ed P. Reyes, Chair, Councilmember Jose Huizar,
Councilmember Paul Krekorian
Planning & Land Use Management Members
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012 Via e-mail
Reference: Farmers Markets CF No.10-1832, PLUM Committee Hearing, April 26, 2011, 2:30 p.m., Public Works Royball Hearing Room 350, CH
Dear PLUM Committee Members:
The Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) strongly opposes creation of a by-right permit process for non-profit farmers’ markets in residential zones.
While we recognize the benefit of providing more outlets for fresh food in under-served communities, we are very concerned about weakening long-standing protections for residential neighborhoods city-wide. Substantial caution should be exercised before initiating new, streamlined procedures applicable to all residential zones for special uses not otherwise permitted, whether by means of a conditional use/public benefit process or otherwise. We request sufficient time to investigate and comment on any proposal for a draft ordinance in this regard.
Janet Turner, Chair
Pacific Palisades Community Council
cc: Alan Bell, Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, Whitney Blumenfeld, Norman Kulla, Joaquin Macias
ITEM 11.1 – SB 827/PROPOSED WRAC MOTION
1) Los Angeles Times Editorial (published 1/22/18):
“California clearly needs to make it easier to build housing. And it makes sense to concentrate new housing near mass transit to encourage people to get around without cars. Surely lawmakers can come up with legislation to push cities to approve taller, more dense housing near transit without completely overriding local control or undermining existing efforts to incentivize the building of affordable housing.”
2) C. Spitz Letter to the Editor/Special to Palisadian-Post (submitted 1/20/18; edited version published 1/25/18):
Following up on the Post’s reporting, I want to alert the community to a dangerous bill, SB 827 (Wiener – San Francisco), sponsored by a YIMBY (Yes in My Backyard) lobbying group (cayimby.org), ostensibly to address the state’s housing deficit.
The stated goal of the YIMBY movement is to “reverse” long-standing zoning distinctions (particularly single-family/R1, which it regards as an exclusionary, antiquated relic) in order to achieve denser housing statewide.
SB 827 is the camel’s nose in the tent. It would completely override local land use controls in areas near major transit hubs in all California cities.
In large swaths of Los Angeles, new buildings 45 to 85 feet high would be exempt from local maximum height limits; density, design and parking requirements, R1 zoning and community and specific plans would be preempted within a quarter to half-mile radius of major transit corridors and rail/bus stops; and voter-supported initiatives to address affordable housing such as Measure JJJ would be made meaningless.
But don’t take my word for it. As a YIMBY supporter enthuses: “Yes, you read that right. SB-827 preempts a city’s restrictions on parking minimums, floor area ratio, and residential density” (Eastbayforeveryone.org).
This radical bill is causing great concern regionally. The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils’ leadership has recommended a motion opposing SB 827 to its 13 member-councils (including PPCC); Brentwood Community Council and others have already voted to oppose. Paul Koretz (CD5) has called the bill “devastating” and “the worst idea I’ve ever heard.” As of this writing, Mike Bonin is still studying it but indicates he has concerns.
Why should Palisadians care? After all, the bill may not directly impact us since we don’t seem to have major transit hubs – yet (I’m told that the City has been influenced to increase bus trip frequency and add stops on streets elsewhere; it could happen here on Sunset). Even so, most of us regularly travel outside the Palisades and would certainly be affected by the bill’s impacts on Brentwood, Santa Monica, West Los Angeles and beyond.
Ultimately, the bill is a slippery slope towards an even greater “top down” takeover of local control – with potential extinguishment of community and specific plans and single-family zones. Reasonable citizens want to solve the affordable housing crisis, but SB 827 – an unprecedented power grab that would force statewide zoning control – is not the answer.
Christina Spitz; for identification only: PPCC Chair/President Emeritus
3) WRAC councils voting to date to oppose SB 827 (5 of 13): Brentwood CC, Westwood CC, Westside NC, Bel Air-Beverly Crest NC, South Robertson NC; remaining councils are agendizing at upcoming meetings.