MINUTES FOR NOVEMBER 13th 2014
Voting Members in Attendance: Chris Spitz, Andrew Wolfberg, Jennifer Malaret, Richard Cohen, Barbara Kohn, Sue Kohl, Stuart Muller, George Wolfberg, Richard Wulliger, Kelly Comras, Donna Vaccarino, Greg Sinaiko, Gil Dembo, Paul Glasgall, Amy Kalp, Maryam Zar, Rick Mills, and Carol Pfannkuche.
Voting Alternates: Haldis Toppel, Steve Boyers, Susan Payne, and Brenda Theveny.
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: David Kaplan, Laura Mack, Barbara Marinacci, Schuyler Dietz, Brian Deming, Doug McCormick, Peter Culhane, Robin Meyers, Michael Soneff, Diane Bleak, Carol Bruch and Ted Mackie.
Start of Business Meeting
1. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. Stuart Muller read the Mission Statement.
2. Call to Order and Introduction of the Board and Audience. Chris Spitz called the meeting to order at 7:02 pm. Introduction of the Board and audience.
3. Certification of Quorum. Chris certified that a quorum was present at 7:05 pm.
4. Adoption of Minutes. The October 23, 2014 draft minutes were adopted as final with corrections. Next Meetings: December 11, 2014 (holiday party; presentation of Community Service Award (to be announced) and Board Member Recognition to Jack Allen, Harry Sondheim, Jim Rea and John Glasgow (posthumous)). January 8, 2015 (presentation and Q&A on LADWP recycled water use program). January 22, 2015 (forum on Pacific Palisades Design Review Board Proposed Design Guidelines for the Palisades Village/Specific Plan area (in the planning stage)). Topic for future 2015 discussion (tentative): presentation by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (“DONE”) regarding the certification process for City of Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils and how Neighborhood Councils differ from existing Community Councils. Chris reported that the City has advised of severe staff cuts at DONE which violate the City Charter; the availability of staffers is uncertain. Note: topics noticed in advance may change.
5. Consideration of Agenda. The President considered the agenda.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Richard Cohen reported the financial status as of November 13, 2014. The total account balances equal $37,255. There were no recent significant transactions to report.
7. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
7.1. Announcements from the President, Chris Spitz.
7.1.1. PPCC 2015 Outreach Committee – Volunteers Needed/Report on Outreach Efforts: Board members interested in supporting PPCC’s outreach efforts and participating on the 2015 PPCC Outreach Committee please contact Chris Spitz at email@example.com. Website, Facebook, Nextdoor, other social media to be explored in addition to Farmers Market (November 9th (held)) and other area outreach efforts during 2015. Monthly Farmers Market events are intended during 2015 if there is sufficient volunteer interest from the board.
7.1.2. PPCC 2015 Bylaws Committee: Jennifer Malaret (Chair), Reza Akef, Carol Bruch, David Kaplan, George Wolfberg and Ron Dean (ex-officio). Tentative: first meeting date is December 8, 2014 with monthly meetings and board updates/discussion. Initial study: (1) membership/residency, (2) election of PPCC officers, (3) elections of area/at-large representatives, (4) area/at-large representative alternate seat membership and (5) the addition (or not) of rules regarding conflict of interest/disclosure of direct financial interest. Please direct questions or comments regarding the existing PPCC bylaws and/or suggested changes to Jennifer Malaret at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7.1.3. PPCC Orientations for New Board Members – two sessions conducted by Chris have concluded. Thank you to all who participated.
7.1.4. PPCC Online Survey. Summary results and analysis to be presented by Jim Rea at a date TBD in early 2015.
7.1.5. PPCC Support of the West Los Angeles LAPD Food Drive – collection bins will be available for food donations from individuals, businesses, institutions and groups. Thank you to Paul Glasgall and Janet Anderson for helping LAPD in its collaborative efforts to end hunger. Please bring your items to the meeting and for more information contact 310-444-0735 or go to www.wlafooddrive.com. The event is on November 23, 2014 at the WLA Station.
7.1.6. Caruso/Village Update – Tentative community meeting in early December (3rd or 4th) at Palisades Charter High School. Watch for announcements from Caruso Affiliated.
7.1.7. Above Ground Facilities (“AGF”) Ordinance (regulating cell towers and other structures in the public rights of way (“PROW”)) Update. Chris stated that PPCC has long-supported much needed revisions to the AGF ordinance, including elimination of the so-called utility pole exemption for wireless antennas. A draft-revised ordinance from the City Attorney has been stalled in City Council committee for over a year. Last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a complex 155-page order imposing new federal requirements that will streamline the process of wireless facilities deployment on a nationwide basis. The cellular industry is calling the FCC’s order the “Super Bowl of wireless regulation,” while local governments are expressing concern about expanded federal preemption of local land use authority. The City of Los Angeles was in fact among many cities that filed comments in opposition to the proposed order. The City Attorney has now advised that he is analyzing the order to ascertain whether the AGF ordinance as revised complies with the new federal requirements. One of many troubling aspects is the FCC’s apparent decision to categorically exempt from federal environmental review all antenna deployments on utility poles in the public right of way nationwide. Translation: it is likely, in Chris’ view, that the City will ultimately decide that wireless antenna deployments on utility poles (i.e., many cell towers in the public right of way) must remain exempt from regulation and we will be back at square one in this regard. It is possible but probably unlikely that there will be an appeal of the FCC’s order. Stay tuned for further developments.
7.1.8. Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (“BMO”) (regulating single-family residential development outside of Hillside Areas and the Coastal Zone). Chris stated that in general, and depending on property location, residential development in the Palisades is governed either by the Baseline Hillside Ordinance, the BMO or the Coastal Act. The BMO applies mainly in the flat areas of the Alphabet Streets. Recently, the City Council directed the Planning Dept. to prepare amendments to the BMO in order to eliminate so-called “loopholes” that otherwise allow for construction of larger-in-scale homes. The expected timeframe for these amendments is 18 months. The amendments could include such things as eliminating some green bonuses and design exemptions, including exemptions for attached garages, porches and double-height entryways. A moratorium on the issuance of new building permits will also be put in place for certain neighborhoods (not including any Palisades neighborhoods) that have already applied for special zoning status. In the future we may review specific proposed BMO amendments to ascertain any potential impact on Palisades neighborhoods and to determine whether PPCC wishes to take a position. In the meantime, anyone interested can go to the Planning Dept.’s “zoning information” website, ZIMAS.org, and obtain details about the zoning laws that apply to your property. We are also attempting to arrange an informational session with Planning staff for our board and interested community members to take place hopefully in early 2015. The purpose of this session would be to clarify the various zoning laws and regulations that govern residential properties in the Palisades. Stay tuned for more details.
7.1.9. CD-11/Westside Winter Shelter Donation Drive – the Westside Winter Shelter Program offers hundreds of homeless people on the Westside a warm bed and is open from December to March. Donations of toiletries, clothing, personal and shelter items can be dropped off at CD11’s WLA office now and until December 20, 2014.
7.1.10. Los Angeles City Attorney, West Los Angeles Neighborhood Prosecutor. Veronica de la Cruz-Robles. Mike Feuer will be introducing her to the community on December 4, 2014 from 6:30 to 8 PM at the WLA Municipal Building, 1645 Corinth Avenue.
7.2. Announcements from Governmental Representatives.
7.2.1. Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) – SLO Officer Moore. Officer Moore (1) thanked the community for responding to the food drive; (2) Residential burglaries remain high for the Palisades with 8 happening last week. Alarm systems that are operative are effective in scaring burglars away. 9 AM to 2 PM is the active target period.
7.2.2. Los Angeles City Council, District 11; Councilmember Mike Bonin’s Office. www.11thdistrict.com. Norm Kulla reported that (1) the Homeless Task Force will be having a meeting 11/17/14 at 6:30 in the Palisades Charter Library. The first focus of the group will be a homeless count. Discussion topics: repaving Palisades Drive, patching of potholes, funding for road repairs throughout the City, debris on Palisades Drive,
7.2.3. Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Daniel Tamm Westside Area Representative, Mayor’s Interfaith Liaison (*attending on the 4th Thursday of each month). Mayor’s Website: www.lamayor.org. City Services webpage: http://www.lacity.org/CitywideServices/index.htm. MyLA Phone App: http://www.lacity.org//MyLA311/index.htm. Not in attendance.
7.2.4. California State Assembly, Office of Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s Office, Stephanie Cohen Field Representative. Website: http://www.asmdc.org/bloom. Email: Stephanie.Cohen@asm.ca.gov. Office: (310) 450-0041. Assemblymember Bloom will be sworn in December 1, 2014. Legislative proposals are welcome and will be accepted for the new term. Stephanie will be working on the Task Force regarding Homelessness with Maryam Zar as Chair. Assemblymember Bloom will be hosting a Food Drive within the district – please watch for details.
7.2.5. California State Senator Ted Lieu, ((Janet Turner; District Representative Janet.Turner@sen.ca.gov. Office: (310) 318-6994). Not in attendance.
7.3. Announcements from Board Members and Advisors.
7.3.1. Officers/Area Representatives. (1) George Wolfberg (At-Large), City Council Motion (CF 14-1496), sponsored by Mike Bonin, October 31, 2014 re: Murphy Ranch. Norm Kulla reported that the City has a $160K-$200K clean up bid however funding has not been identified.
7.3.2. Organizational Representatives – Report on Behalf of Organizations. (1) Chamber of Commerce (Susan Payne) reported that the Ho Ho Ho Holiday Event will be held December 5, 2014. (2) Haldis Toppel reported that the Women’s Club’s Home Tour November 16, 2014 at 11 AM, tickets are purchased at the club house on Haverford or on-line. Attendees will be shuttled to the various houses. The Women’s Club is in the process of raising $1.5 million for refurbishing the clubhouse. Thus grant applicants this year will likely be offered use of the facility rather than cash.
7.3.3. PPCC Advisors. (1) Laura Mack (Sustainability), update on developments regarding energy and the environment. Laura reported on an event December 13, 2014 regarding the establishment of a sustainability alliance and a meeting with the Mayor’s Office. Please contact Laura for additional information and meeting details.
8. Reports From Committees.
8.1. Community Service Award 2014 – Announcement of Award recipient (Sue Kohl, Chair). Sue announced that the Community Service Award Committee is proud to announce that the recipient of the Community Service Award for 2014 is Judi Watson. Judi is a long time resident of lower Castellammare – an area without a homeowners association or other organized residents’ group. For many years, Judi has played a pivotal role in her neighborhood, providing residents with information about important public health and safety issues and serving as a volunteer liaison with public officials on matters of community concern. One of her most important achievements was the lovely redo of the fence along the north parking lot of Gladstone’s, adjacent to the beach and visible from PCH – an improvement enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors who drive on PCH daily. Judi is truly an unsung community hero who well-deserves recognition for her many years of volunteer service for the benefit of her neighborhood and the entire Palisades community. Sue expressed her thanks to the committee and the board.
8.2. Holiday Party, CSA Award and Board Member Recognition Event – Jennifer Malaret updated the board as to board member RSVP and participation.
8.3. Task Force on Homelessness – Update; next meeting November 17, 6:30 pm in the Palisades branch library (Maryam Zar, Chair). The committee will be taking part in the 2015 homeless count. Other endeavors may include a public relations committee, an outreach committee, a best practices committee and other ideas under formation.
8.4. Three Chairs Committee – Status of nominations for alternates for Area 1 (second), Area 3 (first), Area 7 (second) and Area 8 (second) (Barbara Kohn, Chair). Barbara reported that the committee will be publicizing the current vacant seats in the local papers.
9. Old Business.
9.1. Archer School – Chris announced that the hearing on the final DEIR is on December 8, 2014. Please contact Chris for more details.
10. New Business.
10.1. “5 Steps To Neighborhood Preparedness.” www.5steps.LA. Presenter: Scott MacKay of Constant Associates, partners with the City of LA Emergency Management Dept. Presentation: All of the information in the presentation is on line. In sum the process is to: (1) define your area, (2) recruit leaders, (3) scout your area, (4) build your team and (5) plan your strategy. The website also has resources (videos, multiple languages, flyers, disaster plan templates, emergency door hangars, etc.) at no charge. Questions and Answer topics: how to activate school resources in a disaster and concerns about medical assistance. Contact information: email@example.com. www.constantassociates.com. 626-394-3210. Also presenting on fire preparedness: LAFD Battalion Chief Antoine McKnight. The Chief explained how battalions are determined in the City, ours is Battalion 9 having Fire stations 23, 69, 19, 71, 59 and 37 (Battalion headquarters). There are 3 Chiefs assigned to each Battalion for 24-hour coverage. If there is a large fire all resources are committed. In the event of a disaster it could be up to seven days before the Palisades is accessed. Contact information: Antoine.firstname.lastname@example.org. 310-575-8509. Also present as an important resource: Julie Thomas, CEO of the American Red Cross. Julie.email@example.com. 424-203-1102. www.redcross.org/ca/santa-monica.
10.2. Proposed Highlands Condominium Project, 1525 Palisades Dr. Presenters: Dave Dwyer (Chair, Palisades Highlands Presidents Council – “PHPC”). Dave reported that the PHPC had reached out to its member councils over the past two years regarding this proposed development. PHPC met and talked about a zoning change with a prior potential buyer and there was unanimous agreement that a residential project would be better than commercial and a letter was written with PHPC’s support for a residential development. Then the current (different) developers purchased the site and have been in similar discussions regarding support for a zoning change. In September 2014 there was a 13-1 vote by the HOA Presidents in favor of the zoning change. Rony and Moshe Shram (owner/developers) met with residents and their architect regarding the details and design of the project. Action: Chris reported that there has been a motion sponsored by Paul Glasgall for PPCC to support decision of the Presidents Council to support the developer’s request to the City for a zone change from commercial to residential. Paul Glasgall spoke in favor of the motion, stating that the commercial development is entitled up to 65,000 square feet and community meetings had been held. Richard Cohen stated historically that PPCC has generally not taken action in favor of developments. Discussion: Chris asked if there was a second on the motion such that discussion and public comment could proceed [no second]. Residents began stating that Pacific Palisades Country Estates HOA (nearest association to the proposed project) does not agree with the PHPC. A resident spoke out against 33 units on one acre. Residents stated that they opposed the project, are not represented by the PHPC and have not had adequate notice of the proposed development. Chris suggested that discussions among the parties continue before the matter would be agendized by PPCC in the future. The discussion concluded for lack of time.
11. General Public Comment.
11.1. Stuart asked if board members could work to have an outdated sign within the Marquez Knolls removed.
12. Adjournment. Chris Spitz adjourned the meeting at 9:04 PM.