MINUTES FOR APRIL 23rd 2015
Voting Members in Attendance: Chris Spitz, Andrew Wolfberg, Jennifer Malaret, Richard Cohen, Barbara Kohn, Cathy Russell, Greg Sinaiko, Nancy Niles, Brenda Theveny, Stuart Muller, George Wolfberg, Janet Anderson, Peter Culhane, Sue Kohl, Reza Akef, Amy Kalp, Rick Mills, Donna Vaccarino, Gil Dembo, Maryam Zar and Brenda Theveny.
Voting Alternates: Eric Dugdale, Doug McCormick, and Susan Payne.
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: David Kaplan, Laura Mack, Michael Soneff, Diane Bleak, Ted Mackie, Brian Deming, and Barbara Marinacci.
Start of Business Meeting
1.0 Reading of Community Council’s Mission: Richard Cohen read the Mission Statement.
2.0 Call to Order and Introduction of the Board and Audience. Chris Spitz called the meeting to order at 7:04 pm. Introduction of the Board and audience.
3.0 Certification of Quorum. Chris certified that a quorum was present at 7:08 pm.
4.0 Adoption of Minutes/Upcoming Meetings. Chris stated that the minutes of April 9, 2015 were adopted as corrected. Upcoming Meetings (Tentative): 5/14/15: Presentation by Richard Blumenberg, AIA, President of the Civic League and Tricia Keane, Planning & Land Use Director, CD11, regarding the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (“BMO”). Presentation/discussion regarding Short-Term Residential Vacation Rentals. Nominating Committee report to recommend PPCC Officers 2015/2016. 5/28/15: Presentation by Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness (PPHTF): status update and plans going forward. Stephanie Cohen (Field Representative, Assemblymember Richard Bloom) and Maryam Zar (Chair, PPHTF). 06/11/15: PPCC 2015/2016 Officer Elections. ** Note: topics noticed in advance may change.
5.0 Consideration of Agenda. The President considered the agenda.
6.0 Treasurer’s Report. Richard Cohen reported the financial status as of April 23, 2015 where the total account balances equaled $33,524.81. No significant transactions were reported.
7.0 Reports, Announcements and Concerns
7.1. Announcements from the President, Chris Spitz
7.1.1 Meeting Ground Rules. 1) Due to library rules, the meeting must end promptly at 9 pm; as needed, the President will stay after the meeting to answer questions. 2) The President conducts meeting order and may rearrange order of discussion at her discretion. 3) Board members and audience shall only speak when called upon by the President; there shall be no interruptions except to make a point of order. 4) The President’s role in maintaining meeting order shall be honored. 5) All discussion shall be civil, respectful and courteous. (PPCC Bylaws, http://www.pp90272.org/Bylaws22Feb15.pdf.)
7.1.2 PPCC 2015/2016 Officer Election Process: Chris announced that nominees would be announced by Nominating Committee on 5/14/15; interested persons could contact Chair Cathy Russell with any questions. Chris stated that after the announcement on May 14, 2015 any board member can nominate other candidates until 15 minutes before scheduled close of 2nd regular meeting in May (May 28, 2015).
7.1.3 Bylaws Committee: Chris reported that Carol Bruch is no longer able to serve. Maryam Zar, Organizational Representative/Education, has been appointed to the committee.
7.1.4 Letter to City Planning Commission regarding the Archer School project and update regarding 4/23/15 hearing. See attached. Chris reported that she attended the hearing today and spoke on behalf of PPCC to express concerns regarding traffic impacts. Chris reported that the project was approved with a few modifications and that CD-11 staff had expressed that Councilmember Bonin was looking at this (and all projects) “through the lens of traffic.” Chris reported that she is coordinating with CD-11 regarding whether the Archer start date would be after completion of the California Incline project.
7.1.5 Parking of Enclosed Storage Units (PODs) in the Palisades. Chris reported that to verify if PODs parked in public rights of way (streets) are permitted, residents should call 311 or Bureau of Street Services (800-996-2489) and report the address. Chris thanked Area 4 resident Karen Ridgley for this information.
7.1.6 Proposed La Cruz Parklet. Chris reminded the board of the status and history of this matter, including previous positions taken by PPCC. Chris referenced several letters and emails under Items 7.1.9 and 9.1 (Oct. 9, 2014),
http://www.pp90272.org/minutes2014.htm#09OCT14; see also discussions in July and September of 2014 as reflected in PPCC minutes (pacpalicc.org). Chris reported that the issue has come before the board several times in the past. Chris re-read the September 12, 2014 position. Since that time there have not been updates to the board but PRIDE has been working with LADOT to make modifications to the application. Jennifer Malaret reported that today there was a brief meeting at the parklet location where CD-11, LADOT, PRIDE, representatives from the Huntington HOA, Don Scott and concerned residents met to continue to provide input particularly about the need to enhance safety measures at the intersection and for cars turning off of Sunset Boulevard headed towards the proposed parklet location.
7.1.7 Proposed CUB’s at 544 and 548 Palisades Drive. Chris reported that tentative plans had been received for a proposed mini mart/gourmet grocery with full takeout liquor sales, hours 9 AM to 10 PM and renewal of Chez Mimi’s expired CUB to accommodate a new restaurant tenant (Highlands Plaza). A future presentation to PPCC is expected; if interested, please contact Area 2 Representatives Peter Culhane and/or Diane Bleak.
7.1.8 Suggestions, agenda items, PPCC operations. Chris encouraged input from the board and the public, i.e., send suggestions to: Jennifer Malaret (bylaws); Chris Spitz or Barbara Kohn. Board members are welcome to submit agenda requests pursuant to PPCC bylaws, Art. IX.5.A. In light of recent remarks at PPCC meetings and press reports, Chris invited anyone with lingering questions/concerns about PPCC operations (committee or Board meeting procedures, minutes, agendas, etc.) to contact her for fact-based answers.
7.2. Announcements from Governmental Representatives
7.2.1 Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) – SLO Officer Moore. Email:
email@example.com. SLO Moore reported that (1) there has been a cleanup of the transient location behind the Corona Del Mar Bluffs wall. SLO Moore encouraged residents to report if any of the camps return. Homeless occupants were talked to and given notice of a move out date. (2) There are new traffic signs and regulations in Santa Monica because of the California Incline closure. LAPD is getting used to current traffic patterns such that when violations are happening citations will begin. Questions: (1) what about the homeless in Potrero Canyon? SLO Moore replied that many of the property owners have signed legal documents to enable LAPD to remove them. LAPD is working to get organizations that help the homeless find housing in response to their effort. SLO Moore also reported that the 72-hour storage rule does not apply to private property and that the impact of recent removal efforts is that the homeless are increasing in number at the beach. (2) Can No-Trespassing signs be put on the barricades? Yes. (3) “No Camping Signs” have been installed at the top and bottom of the Recreation Center areas to facilitate enforcement.
7.2.2 Los Angeles City Council, District 11; Councilmember Mike Bonin’s Office. Website: www.11thdistrict.com. Norman Kulla, Senior Counsel. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Anna Kozma, Constituent Advocate. Email: email@example.com. (310) 575-8461. Not in attendance.
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. Stephanie Cohen, Field Representative. Website: http://www.asmdc.org/bloom. Email: Stephanie.Cohen@asm.ca.gov. Tim Harter, Case Worker and Field Representative. Email: Tim.Harter@asm.ca.gov. (310) 450-0041. Not in attendance.
7.2.5 California State Senate, Office of State Senator Ben Allen. Fernando R. Morales, District Representative. Website: http://sd26.senate.ca.gov. Email: Fernando.firstname.lastname@example.org. (310) 318-6994. Not in attendance.
7.2.6 United States Congress, Office of Congressman Ted Lieu. Janet Turner District Representative. Website: https://lieu.house.gov. Email: email@example.com. (310) 652-3095. Not in attendance.
7.3. Announcements from Board Members and Advisors
7.3.1 Officers/Area Representatives. (1) George Wolfberg, At-Large Representative. (A) There is a County of Los Angeles proposal in cooperation with the City of Santa Monica to apply for an active transportation grant for a separate walking path on the beach from California Ave. in Santa Monica north to the Temescal Parking Lot. The meeting was well attended and the LA County Department of Public Works has until June 1, 2015 to make their application. (B) Closure of the California Incline. George reported that discretionary commuters decided to take the 101 to the 405. Increased signage is intended to help reduce impact. (C) There are two beach pedestrian tunnels at West Channel Road and “Little Tunnel” at the base of Ocean Way. Because of runoff from 101 Ocean and a single-family residence, George reported that water runs down the steps and into the Little Tunnel. There is a sump pump that breaks and local residents are working with CalTrans to come up with a solution, along with having the City of LA determine if there is any illegal runoff. (D) Rustic Canyon Historic Clubhouse – there is a strong effort to rehabilitate the facility. The annual fundraiser will be June 6, 2015. Interested people can contact George. (2) Greg Sinaiko (Area 3) reported that the Marquez Beautification meeting took place and was well attended. The project will begin in the next week from 3 PM to 9 PM and then commence during regular workday hours in the summer months. The project is projected to be completed in November.
7.3.2 Organizational Representatives – Report on Behalf of Organizations. (1) Amy Kalp, Friends of the Library. Amy reported that the Pop Up Book Sale is tomorrow and Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM in the Library’s community room and the money goes to supplement the Palisades Branch Library and its sister branches. (2) Barbara Marinacci, Pacific Palisades Garden Club. The annual fundraising event, the Spring Garden Tour, is this Sunday 12 PM to 4 PM with an additional garden in the northeast canyon of Temescal Canyon Park being open for viewing until 5 PM. Barbara said that the money that is raised goes to community beautification and supporting school gardens. (3) Eric Dugdale, Historical Society. “Murder in the Palisades” will be on May 18, 2015 at 7 pm at Theatre Palisades. Roger McGrath and Randy Young will present famous cases of mystery and mayhem. The event is free and open to the public. (4) Janet Anderson, AYSO Region 69, reported that fall registration is now open and is either at Paul Revere this Saturday or available on-line www.AYSO69.org. (5) Maryam Zar reported that Homeless Task Force Meeting is next Tuesday here in the Palisades Library from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM.
7.3.3 PPCC Advisors. (1) Laura Mack, Sustainability. The City launched a Save the Drop Campaign to get people to cut water through outdoor landscaping projects and lawns. Please visit SavetheDropLA.org . Mar Vista has the largest collection of sustainable gardens in LA and Laura encouraged residents to attend their garden tour.
8.0 Reports From Committees
8.1 Bylaws Committee – Second reading of proposed changes to Article IX (Meetings). Discussion and vote were deferred by the President, to be rescheduled on a future PPCC agenda.
9. Old Business. None.
10. New Business
10.1 Presentation/Q&A re new LAFD operational system and fire season threat. Presenting: LAFD Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Castro. Chris reported that this item was CANCELLED as LAFD was unable to attend tonight and that the item will be rescheduled on a future PPCC agenda.
10.2 Presentation/Q&A concerning proposed Citywide Zoning Code Amendment to Allow “Backyard Beekeeping in Single Family Zones.” CPC-2-15-578-CA, Council File #12-0785. Presenting in support: Katie Peterson, Tom Rothmann, Dept. of City Planning; Erik Knutzen (HoneyLove Public Affairs; RootSimple.com; co-author of The Urban Homestead and Making It: Radical Home Economics for a Post-Consumer World; co-founder of the Los Angeles Bread Bakers). Presenting in opposition: Marcia Rozelle, Area 6 resident. Reference: http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/1084379/25956241/1423951975837/Beekeeping+Staff+Hearing+Packet.pdf?token=%2BtiBLvy1%2FKxdKgvfbiFxiAR2Kl8%3D; See attached motions below. Chris announced that these motions would not be heard tonight as agreed by the sponsors of the motion in the spirit of encouraging additional community input and work on the issue.
Presentation/City: Cities have supported beekeeping. The practice supports beekeeping and neighbors. Currently beekeeping is allowed in A and I zones. The City Council motion was to investigate beekeeping in all residential zones. Meetings in January 2015 were held with the food council and PlanCheck LA that had a total of roughly 50 attendees. There was a hearing in March 2015 by staff. The suggestion to Council from Planning was to focus on single-family zones rather than all residential zones. Planning has looked at other ordinances that address backyard beekeeping. Some regulations were pulled from other cities and were tailored to LA – the City of Santa Monica (2 hives per lot, typical lot 5,000 lot, 5 foot distance, 6 foot barrier unless height is 8 feet above grade; 1 violation reported since 2012) and the City of San Diego (similar requirements with additional set backs for more than 2 hives). Being proposed in LA are minimum distance limits, walls and guidelines for hive management, water and equipment storage. Registration with the County of LA would be required. A maximum of 1 hive for every 2,500 square feet of lot size is proposed. 5 foot set backs and 20 feet from public rights of way (PROW). Hives must face away from PROWs In the future terms need to be added within the zoning code (i.e., guidelines). Katie read the definitions in the ordinance of bees and the structure, i.e., a sound and useable condition, water must be kept and hive maintenance materials must be stored in an enclosure. The next steps are presentation of the staff report to the CPC on 5/14/2015, then to PLUM and to the full City Council. Presentation/Support/HoneyLove: Backyard beekeeping is something we can all do to improve our environment. Legalizing beekeeping encourages bees and pollinators and the fruit on our trees and bees do that. Erik thanked the Planning Department that has done an exhausting job of talking to beekeepers and considering other cities throughout the world such as London and Paris. Legalizing bees is like legalizing the sun because the bees are here. LA is a bee paradise because it is so sunny and nice here. We are better off in a city where beekeepers can keep an eye on the bees rather than the situation we have now with swarms and hives in people’s walls. Beekeepers can open walls and remove bees at no cost or a low cost and it is easier to do if bees are legal because beekeepers can take bees from where they are not wanted to where they are wanted. A hive is anywhere from a few thousand to 30,000 so the largest box would have 30-40,000 bees. All the bees together are not separate they are a single organism like a dog. They are not really individual. It would be common to have two hives. HoneyLove bought a “starter” box and perhaps 4-5 boxes would be stacked together.
Presentation/Opposing: the ordinance was just noticed to residents last week. The ordinance does not address training, notification of neighbors, the maximum size of a beehive, there is not a maximum per lot, there is no signage alerting emergency workers, outdoor workers, no distance limits, no best practices, the guidelines are not regulations, there is no oversight, enforcement, or defined liability. When the motion was proffered the City Council asked Planning to address hazards and allergies. When Planning was contacted they were asked if they contacted other agencies. The answer was no. Vector control receives over 7,000 calls per year for bees and swarms. To register as a beekeeper you fill out the form and you re-register every year and no regulations are required. Planning talked to beekeepers, HoneyLove and other cities for input. The City of LA is different than the City of Santa Monica. Local beekeepers are competent and support the existence of bees in Los Angeles. HoneyLove talks about how the bees in LA are thriving. HoneyLove wants to have more bees but bees cause more deaths than all animals combined. With 2 percent of the population allergic, approximately 80,000 people will be impacted. The City of LA has a duty to write a people supportive ordinance that protects public health and safety. Public Comment: (1) Opposing the ordinance, bees roam and how do I tell who should pay when my property is damaged? (2) Opposing the bees because 4 hives prevented backyard use and enjoyment, too many hives are allowed which can likely cause a private or public nuisance. (3) The park board opposed by straw poll the backyard bee ordinance. (4) If profit is not the reason for keeping bees why keep them? Bees increase fruit set and the production of fruit on a property. The way to prevent swarms is to have managed bees because managed bees do not swarm. (5) It is important to find out whether it is true that passing this ordinance will help the problem of colony collapse. (6) There is a concern about what causes a swarm. A swarm helps with the reproduction and is not dangerous because there is no honey to protect. (7) Why is this ordinance necessary and why does it have to be in the zoning here? (8) Not everyone is going to be an expert beekeeper and that is dangerous. (9) People here are too close and the houses are on top of each other. (10) Even professional beekeepers state that bees are unpredictable. (11) There is concern over communications between all of the different City and County agencies that would be required to enforce this ordinance. (12) There is concern that other ordinances in other cities are relatively new and have not been time tested so is that sufficient for the City of LA to move ahead with the idea of backyard beekeeping. Planning has talked to LADBS and Animal Services only because they are the 2 departments directed to enforce the ordinance. Swarms and feral bees are handled by other departments. (13) There is no distance limit from schools so bees could be 5 feet away if there is a single-family house next to the school. (14) Support for the ordinance, I would like to have a beehive in my backyard.
Board Questions: (1) the bee population is determined by the amount of available food. Richard Cohen asked if it the case that the bee population is fixed and if someone establishes a colony in their backyard then it is taking resources away from feral bees? Erik said the density of bees is fixed based on forage so we are better off having bees that are tended rather than in walls, hot tubs and feral bees. (2) David Kaplan expressed that the self-regulation of bees does not prevent a bunch of people on one block from registering to be beekeepers than there would be a bunch of bees without sufficient food and resources that would go elsewhere. Regulation is proposed pursuant the nuisance standards. (3) Reza Akef wondered whether as a responsible beekeeper why wouldn’t you want a responsible set of guidelines to be followed such as notice to your neighbors within a 500 foot radius – would you support firm regulations including notice, training, enforcement and regulations? It is already taken care of. (4) Donna Vaccarino spoke in support of bee behavior and education. She has personal experience as a backyard beekeeper for eight years. Donna claimed that in the Palisades there is nothing to be afraid of. (5) Sue Kohl asked about foraging, how are they contained, how far do they go and when they are out are people at risk for being stung? HoneyLove says they are not contained but they are not dangerous. They go 3-5 miles from the hive. There are 10 feral hives per mile in Los Angeles. (6) Maryam Zar reported that she advised LAUSD who will be making their Office of Environmental Healthy & Safety aware of the proposed ordinance. Can the process be a permitted process and notice provisions? Tom Rothmann said it could be a permitted process and that would come down to staffing and training. LADBS have large areas to cover and notification would be a huge undertaking. Truck gardening is allowed on SFR lots and home occupations are allowed on SFR lots so having regulations and enforcing them would have a revenue impact to the City. Comments can be sent to the CPC Hearing that is taking place on May 14, 2015. (7) Gil Dembo referred to a City Directory that has information regarding a bee problem. (8) George Wolfberg said that any ordinance is circulated throughout the city. How does the State Apiary Commission fit into all of this? The City did not know. (9) Stuart Muller did not think permitting would work, guessed that dogs are more dangerous than bees and would see a problem with LADBS enforcement. (10) Andy Schrader, Paul Koretz’s Office. Andy praised the efforts of HoneyLove’s outreach efforts and said there has been a lot of press. Andy claimed that Councilmember Koretz feels comfortable with the ordinance because is no more natural habitat so the hives per square mile will be controlled and will be safer. The ordinance does not cause more bees and colony collapse disorder is a huge problem. In Los Angeles where we don’t use pesticides we can support the bees because without bees we cannot have food. Andy claimed that Councilmember Koretz is satisfied with the ordinance and does not see the need to codify regulations. (11) Rick Mills stated that this ordinance does need more specific regulations. (12) Diane Bleak works in a hospital reported that when kids come in with allergic reactions they are sometimes tubed and sometimes not and that it is very serious and very frightening to treat these patients.
10.3Spotlight on Organizations (new continuing segment): As time allows, presentations by Janet Anderson, AYSO; Eric Dugdale, Historical Society; Gil Dembo, Temescal Canyon Association. The matter was deferred by the President due to lack of time and will be scheduled on a future PPCC agenda.
11. General Public Comment – None.
12. Adjournment. Chris Spitz adjourned the meeting at 8:58 PM.
ITEM 7.1.4 – LETTER FROM PPCC TO CITY PLANNING COMMISSION REGARDING THE ARCHER SCHOOL PROJECT
April 16, 2015
City Planning Commission
City of Los Angeles
Attn: James K. Williams, Commission Executive Assistant II
Via email to: James.K.Williams@lacity.org; firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: Case No. CPC-2014-666-VCU-ZAA-SPR; CEQA No. ENV 2011-2689-EIR; SCH No. 2012011001 – ARCHER SCHOOL FOR GIRLS (hearing date: 4/23/15)
In our written comment on the DEIR dated April 22, 2014 (attached for convenience), Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) stressed our concern about the potential for further increased levels of traffic congestion and negative impacts on Pacific Palisades (the community immediately to the west of Brentwood). PPCC emphasized the fact that Sunset is one of two primary routes of ingress and egress in the Palisades; that many community members travel that route regularly to and from work; and that traffic at peak travel times on Sunset, San Vicente and neighboring streets is already extremely congested. A particular concern expressed was the potential for an increase in the already lengthy emergency response time for locations in Pacific Palisades during peak hours. PPCC continues to have these serious concerns.
Pacific Palisades residents are naturally concerned about the start date for the newly proposed 3-year accelerated construction schedule. The Fehr & Peers memorandum of April 7, 2015 (part of Exhibit F to the staff report) indicates that one of the most impactful phases of the project (demolition and hauling) will not commence until 2017, yet the main body of the staff report contains no reference to a construction start date. If construction were to commence in 2015 or 2016, there would almost certainly be overlap with the California Incline replacement project, which starts on 4/20/15 and is planned to be completed by the end of May 2016. That completion date cannot be guaranteed, so other projects need to adjust their own schedules to accommodate projects already underway.
Substantial negative impacts on the Palisades community are anticipated due to the California Incline project. Forcing a community of 25,000 people to endure severe traffic congestion for several months along both of its primary access routes (Sunset and Pacific Coast Highway) as a result of significant overlapping construction projects is unacceptable. No plan should be approved for the Archer project without a thorough assessment of the potential cumulative impact of the proposed accelerated construction schedule along with impacts expected to be generated by the California Incline project or other major construction projects in the area.
Although PPCC has not yet taken a position on the proposed Archer project, we note with great interest that Brentwood Community Council (BCC) has passed a resolution opposing the project “due to the substantial number of adverse impacts it would impose on the community” and supporting observance of the current school CUP, provided that “authorized traffic levels cannot exceed current actual levels” (BCC resolution adopted 2/3/15). PPCC shares BCC’s concerns about traffic impacts and similarly urges that no plan be approved without verifiable assurances to the impacted neighboring communities that all negative traffic impacts – including those identified in the LADOT traffic study of February 7, 2014 – can and will be mitigated.
Pacific Palisades Community Council
Cc: Councilmember Mike Bonin, CD11
Tricia Keane, Planning & Land Use Director, CD11
Encl: PPCC Letter to Dept. of City Planning dated 4/22/14
PPCC Letter of 4/22/14 (enclosure to April 16, 2014 letter to City Planning Commission):
April 22, 2014
Department of City Planning
City of Los Angeles
Attn: Adam Villani – via email to email@example.com
Re: DEIR (ENV-2011-2689-EIR) – ARCHER SCHOOL FOR GIRLS
Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) has long been concerned with traffic congestion on Sunset Blvd. and surrounding Brentwood streets, including San Vicente Blvd., which negatively affects thousands of Palisadians on a daily basis. Sunset is one of two primary routes of ingress and egress in the Palisades, the other is Pacific Coast Highway; it is the most direct route to Brentwood, the 405 Freeway and areas north/east for many community members who travel that route regularly to and from work. Traffic at peak travel times on Sunset, San Vicente and neighboring streets is extremely congested creating potentially stressful driving conditions for commuters.
In reference to traffic conditions, PPCC notes the conclusion of the Department of Transportation (DOT) that six locations will be significantly impacted under certain scenarios by the project and that these impacts cannot be mitigated (DEIR Appendix P2, 2/7/14 DOT traffic assessment letter, pp. 3, 5-6).
We are concerned in light of the conclusion that the project as proposed may lead to further increased levels of traffic congestion and negative impacts not only on Brentwood but also on Pacific Palisades including potentially increasing the already delayed emergency response during peak hours.
We request that the final EIR specifically address:
1. potential traffic impacts on Pacific Palisades and whether or not any such impacts
can be mitigated;
2. the accuracy and/or validity of the DOT’s conclusions that six locations will be
significantly impacted, which impacts cannot be mitigated; and
3. the cumulative impact of the proposed project along with impacts generated by the
operations of nearby schools, including Paul Revere Middle School, St. Martin of Tours
Elementary School, the Sunshine Preschool, the Brentwood School (lower and upper
schools) and other nearby religious schools and facilities.
Pacific Palisades Community Council
cc: Councilmember Mike Bonin, CD11
Tricia Keane, Planning Director, CD11
ITEM 8.1.1 – BYLAWS COMMITTEE REPORT AND SECOND READING OF PROPOSED CHANGES TO BYLAWS ARTICLE IX (MEETINGS)
Sec. 1. MEETINGS SHALL BE PUBLIC. All PPCC and Board meetings shall be open to the public and to the press, except for confidential matters which relate to personnel issues or litigation.
Sec. 2. SCHEDULE. The regular meetings of the PPCC shall be on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month except when the Board has voted to cancel one or more of such meetings. The Chair, or in the absence of the Chair, the Vice-Chair, may call Special Meetings of the PPCC as the Chair or Vice-Chair deems necessary.
Sec. 3. MINUTES. Minutes of each PPCC meeting shall be  electronically available to Board members and the public.
Sec. 4. ORDER OF BUSINESS. The Order of Business for the Board shall be as follows, subject to the Chair’s discretion to rearrange the order of agenda items:
1. Reading of the PPCC’s Mission from the Bylaws.
2.Introduction of the Board and Audience.
3.Certification of Quorum.
4.Approval and Adoption of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting.
5.Consideration of the Agenda.
7. Announcements and Concerns from Board Members.
8. Reports of Committees.
11.General Public Comment
Sec. 5. AGENDAS.
Any member of the Board desiring to have an item included on the Agenda of a meeting shall make a request to the Chair at least ten days in advance of the meeting. The Chair shall place the matter on the Agenda. The member requesting that the item be placed on the Agenda shall furnish information concerning the request prior to the meeting, preferably by email. At the discretion of the Chair, an item requiring action by the Board shall be added to the agenda no later than four days prior to the meeting and the requestor shall at the discretion of the chair provide sufficient information regarding that item
A copy of the Agenda shall be  distributed to the PPCC email list, at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting except when a Special Meeting is called, in which case the Agenda will be  distributed 24 hours in advance of the meeting.
Sec. 6. PUBLIC INPUT. Subject to the Chair’s discretion to limit the total amount of time allocated on particular issues and for each individual speaker, every member of the public attending a PPCC Meeting shall have the opportunity to directly address the Board on any agenda item  at the appropriate time for such comment. General Public Comment shall be reserved for non-Board members to speak on any item of interest to the public  within the subject matter jurisdiction of the PPCC, provided that no action shall be taken on any item not appearing on the  distributed agenda.
ITEM 10.2 – MOTION IN SUPPORT OF BACKYARD BEEKEEPING IN SINGLE FAMILY ZONES.
PPCC MOTION: Letter of support re: Council File: 12-0785 Beekeeping / Single Family Residential (R1) Zones
SUBJECT: Council File: 12-0785 Beekeeping / Single Family Residential (R1) Zones
The Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) supports making the legalization of beekeeping and the establishment of a humane bee rescue policy one of the City of Los Angeles’ top priorities.
Bees are an essential part of our food system. According to the USDA, bees are responsible for the production of about a third of our diet. In addition, bees are a boon to local gardeners and urban farmers.
Honeybees worldwide are in crisis. They have fallen prey to the Colony Collapse Disorder at an alarming rate and are making beekeeping a serious food security issue.
In recent years, urban beekeeping has gained widespread attention and acceptance. For example, the Cities of San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Chicago, Santa Monica, and Redondo Beach have all taken decisive action to legalize urban beekeeping.
With all that in mind, the PPCC urges the City of Los Angeles to support efforts to: develop a new ordinance which will legalize beekeeping within R1 districts in Los Angeles; improve Bee Rescue policy; and create a legal bee yard within the city of Los Angeles that will operate as a secure, temporary holding area for feral honeybee colonies that are awaiting relocation to agricultural zones outside city limits.
REFERENCE: LA City Council File 12-0785
Thank you for taking the time to consider this globally important issue.
MOTION IN OPPOSITION TO “BACKYARD BEEKEEPING”
IN ALL SINGLE FAMILY (RESIDENTIAL, “R”) ZONES
by Jennifer Malaret & Barbara Kohn
“If you care about blueberries, you care about this.”
City Councilmember Mike Bonin quoted in support of exploring legalization for beekeeping in single-family homes & neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles, 02/12/2014.
“If we don’t vote FOR it it’ll be buzz kill.”
– City Councilmember Mitchell Englander joked, 02/12/2014.
“The swarm of bees darkened the sky above Rob and Chelsea McFarland’s backyard before settling into a football-sized honeycomb on a tree branch. Most people would find this sight terrifying but the beekeeping couple knew better than to panic . . .  as many as 30,000 bees call [one honeycomb] home”
– Rob & Chelsea McFarland, LA Non-Profit Organization “Honeylove”
“City staffers [must] make sure the report explains how hazards and potential heath issues such as bee allergies would be addressed.”
City Councilmember Bernard Parks, 02/12/2014
Blondie: “You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.”
1966 Movie, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
We care deeply about the preservation of R1 zones and the quality of life within them. We have watched allergic family and friends experience “Anaphylaxis” which is the inability to breathe and occurs within seconds or minutes of a bee sting. We knew nothing about this proposed ordinance until last week – the City has done no outreach, gave no notice to PPCC/the Palisades/the local press regarding the sponsoring motion (2012), gave no notice for the recent Planning presentation (March 2015), and the public comment deadline has now passed for the first public hearing (May 2015) .
So we decided to dig. And to keep digging until we understood how such a sweeping amendment to the zoning code had gotten seemingly so far with such little attention.
Backyard beekeeping is illegal in a majority (58%) of cities within Los Angeles County . In the minority of cities that do permit bees in R zones, there are large differences in how these cities regulate the practice, public opinion and municipal codes. Currently in LA, bees exist in a “legal grey area”, i.e., the County allows them but the City has no laws pertaining to urban beekeeping on private property. If bees are found on public property, the City must exterminate them. There is no overwhelming precedent to allow backyard beekeeping on private property in single-family neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.
The purpose of the City Council’s Motion (2012, Rosendahl) was to authorize the exploration of backyard beekeeping “in single family residential (“R1″) zones . . . as a practice to foster healthier bee population[s].” Supporting council file evidence was scant:
1. Santa Monica had passed an ordinance that allowed a maximum of 2 hives in single-family backyards. There were only three people keeping bees in Santa Monica; a fourth was removed after a swarm attacked a neighboring barbeque.
2. Mar Vista’s Stakeholder Beekeeping Survey, intended for a pilot program that garnered a mere 212 responses from the public. 173 people supported the idea. 89 of those people (51%) refused to participate and did not want to have bees.
3. “Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who [was] picking up greens for his turkeys and chickens and finches and cockatiels [didn’t] need to be lobbied about bees . . . “you got me, babe” he tells the McFarlands. “We’re with ya!” He puts forth a motion asking the City Planning Department to amend the zoning code to allow beekeeping in residential zones.”
Of course, the City of Los Angeles is very different than the City of Santa Monica or the limited area of Mar Vista. LA has almost four million people and one million children under the age of 18. The number of allergic persons is truly unknown, with estimates ranging from one or two people per 1,000 to between two and five percent of the population (ie, hundreds of thousands of people within the City of LA). In light of Planning’s assertion that “allowing backyard beekeeping in single family zones would help support the bee population” we dug for answers but didn’t get any: (i) how many backyard R1 beekeepers do there need to be to support the bee population? (ii) how many hives does the City look/need to add in the City of LA and within the Palisades? (iii) at an estimated 30,000 bees per honeycomb and colonies of up to 60,000 individuals what is the total amount of non-naturally existing bees projected to be added? (iv) how many adults and children live in R1 zoned areas and will be potentially affected? (iv) how are the bees going to get into single-family neighborhoods?
II. THE ORDINANCE FAILS TO PROTECT BACKYARD BEEKEEPERS
AND THE BEES.
Rosendahl’s motion claimed that it is “in the interest of the City’s residents to promote the growth of healthier honey bee colonies, to harvest honey bee by-products such as honey and wax, to increase pollination of local trees, vines and plants, and to decrease the inhumane removal of honey bees in the City.” There are current backyard beekeepers who are a small group of passionate, dedicated, well trained, responsible and considerate beekeepers who commit many hours a week to nurturing their backyard beehives and educating their fellow beekeepers. The LA movement is well funded and well organized and has been working towards this ordinance for at least four years (honeylove.org) .
We dug. We don’t understand why this proposed ordinance is completely void of any regulations to protect “good” beekeepers and fails to require best practices for backyard beekeeping. Backyard beekeepers, confident in the safety of their bees, should readily agree to follow regulations and accept liability. Thus, any ordinance considered by the City of LA must correct the following deficiencies of the current draft:
There are no educational requirements, no training requirements, no written test, and no minimum age limits. For $10 anyone can register with the County to be a backyard beekeeper .
No City of Los Angeles Planning Department Land Use sign off is required for this accessory use. Registration with the City’ Animal Control is not required.
No proof of ownership, property or bees, is required.
No proof of insurance is required.
There are no requirements for beekeepers to have the right clothing (bee suit, gloves, boots), right equipment (hive tool, honey extractor), moveable frames and combs, a bait hive (to prevent swarming by giving bees a place to reside outside of their normal hive), hives that are not infected or purchased second-hand, and sealed containers or other bee proof enclosures within which to sore hive maintenance materials .
“Even with a few colonies weekly inspections are needed.” There are no inspection requirements to ensure that barriers are in place, bees have fresh water so they don’t go elsewhere to hydrate, bees are not aggravated, that there is sufficient forage on-site and apiary hygiene is sufficient to prevent the spread of pests and diseases.
There are no requirements to have a queen bee present in the hive or to re-queen the hive to prevent swarming.
There is no requirement to have a bee smoker on hand to subdue the bees if they get out of control.
Registration does not include acceptance of liability by the beekeepers “for any personal injury or property damage that occurs in connection with the keeping and maintaining of bees, bee equipment, queen breeding equipment, apiaries and appliances” .
Registration does not require a backyard beekeeper to maintain medication on-site.
Registration does not put information in the emergency response system so that firefighters, police and paramedics know before hand that they might encounter bees at the property .
Registration does not enable the Department of Building & Safety to track hives in their own category so they cannot track complaints about managed hives.
Registered beekeepers do not have to agree to give the City or County a right of entry for removal of deficient or abandoned hives .
THIS ORDINANCE FAILS TO PROTECT RESIDENTS
The operation of backyard beekeeping can be “a highly impactful use in R zones” and thus any proposed change to the LAMC must “involve community input”. The trouble with honeybees, of course is that they sting and some people are extremely allergic. “That is a huge issue,” Rosendahl said, adding that any ordinance will have to deal with the issue of neighbors.” “And if Rosendahl was kismet [to the backyard beekeepers], neighborhood are a bitch.”
We dug. Based on a conversation with Planning we learned, in sum: (i) there are no guidelines developed, (ii) there is no definition for defensive or objectionable bee behavior, (iii) as for liability, how do you know who owns the bees? (iv) they do not know who is going to enforce the ordinance, (v) they did not talk with the Fire Department, (vi) they did not talk with Vector Control, and (vii) they did not consider schools or parks.
Planning claims to just write the amendment to modify land use. Planning asserts they do not deal with bee behavior. Councilmember Bonin has expressed support for this ordinance, stating in addition: “Currently, we allow single-family homes to do truck gardening — growing berries, flowers, fruits, herbs, mushrooms and nuts for private use or for sale at farmers’ markets . . . this proposal would afford the same opportunity for beekeeping. ” Pacific Palisades is a residential community, not an agricultural one. While we understand the necessity of bees in agriculture, the same is not true in residential neighborhoods. With all due respect to Councilmember Bonin, perhaps people are allergic to fruit or nuts but they don’t fly from house to house.
We oppose any effort to modify the existing Code and beekeeping in all single-family zones should remain illegal.
To the extent that any ordinance is considered by the City of LA, it should be on a “pilot program basis”, limited in scope (perhaps to “R zones that abut A zones” or “R Zones that abut I Zones”) and temporary in time .
To the extent this ordinance would apply to said pilot program, the following deficiencies in the current draft must be corrected:
Notice to adjacent and surrounding neighbors must be required. The prior feasibility study on which this ordinance is based concluded, “notification to abutting residents is a pre-requisite for obtaining clearance from the city to register with the county” thus there should be no dispute remedying this omission. Sign offs from immediate neighbors due to allergies and backyard enjoyment should also be required.
The ordinance must cap allowable hives per lot. The prior feasibility study on which this ordinance is based included a general requirement that no more than two hives may be maintained on any single-family residential property”. HoneyLove agrees there should be only 2 hives per lot. Santa Monica and San Diego both cap hives at 2 per lot. Other cities impose stricter regulations for more than 2 hives per lot. Inexplicably, the proposed ordinance allows 1 hive for every 2,500 square feet with no upward cap. There are many hillside and bluff properties in the Palisades with little flat land but due to large square footage calculations (due to up and down slopes) that could have a dozen or more hives 5 feet from their neighbors. There is no reason to allow an unlimited number of hives on a R1 lot particularly since the original feasibility study also found that two hives is sufficient for healthy beekeeping practices.
The ordinance must not allow hives to be mounted 8 feet above ground without barriers of any kind. Since the ordinance also proposes to allow hives behind a six-foot wall or vegetative barrier between hives and adjacent lots why isn’t that sufficient? There are no findings or compelling reasons given to also allow mounting of unprotected higher hives particularly since many Palisades neighborhoods have 2 and 3 story homes in close proximity to each other. Further, in a grid system of housing like the Palisades there is frankly no way to be “positioning hives to face away from neighbors” without the necessity of having the hives facing the sidewalks and streets. That should not be done without barriers given that children, the elderly and public walk expecting some modicum of safety from urbanized bees “carrying out their work of pollination.”
The ordinance must contain a concentration limit (“cap”) on how many beekeepers can be registered within a certain lineal foot distance of each other (or per square mile, zip code or other acceptable standard).
The ordinance must require distance limits from “sensitive uses” such as schools, public parks and churches .
Performance standards, guidelines and language for “objectionable behavior” must be written into the ordinance, and that language must be based on input from independent third party experts as well as ordinance sponsors and opposing residents. The original feasibility study on which this ordinance was based offered the following language for offenders, now absent: “1. Colonies of bees [that] exhibit defensive or objectionable behavior, or interfere with the normal use of neighboring properties. 2. Colonies of bees [that] swarm. 3. Bees or hives [that] do not conform to this code. 4. Hives [that] become abandoned by resident bees or by the owner.”
The ordinance must clarify liability for the City, the beekeepers and the victim resident(s). Are bees subject to a ‘one bite’ rule like dogs? In Santa Monica there is a $250 fine for an infraction; a misdemeanor infraction carries a fine of $1,000 and no more than 6 months in county jail .
The ordinance must clearly set forth meaningful enforcement authority and process . To wit: (i) currently the LA Department of Agriculture says to call them. Their rep said they have never prosecuted an insect case because “of course” it is difficult to prove whom the offending bee belongs to. (ii) since the ordinance changes the zoning code, calls to LADBS could enforce it. (iii) or bees could be treated like off-leash dogs, resulting in calls to LAPD. (iv) or bees could be treated like snakes, resulting in calls to Animal Control.
The ordinance must include fees to cover inspection costs (at minimum part of any future abatement order).
The ordinance must include language to regulate the “exit strategy” for registered beekeepers no longer interested in keeping bees. Although required by the sponsoring motion, there is no language for the “inhumane” removal of bees nor is there any mention of how the Bureau of Street Services (which handles calls about unwanted hives) relocates “nuisance” hives or promotes alternatives to extermination.
There needs to be a dialogue about whether the ordinance should prohibit feral bees (wild swarms) and chemical treatments. Should residents be allowed to catch a feral swarm in the wild for free or for around $100 have to purchase a hive from a breeder. The Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association favors purchased hives because their genetics are known and believes that feral bees are unpredictable (even some organic beekeepers like HoneyLove kill the feral queen when they first catch a swarm, replacing her with a selectively bred queen).
V. PROPOSED MOTION & CONCLUSION
April 23, 2015 BACKYARD BEEKEEPING IN SINGLE-FAMILY ZONES MOTION.
Jennifer Malaret and Barbara Kohn. Upon motion by _________,
Seconded by __________ the Council approved the following resolution:
PACIFIC PALISADES COMMUNITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION RELATED TO THE
CITY OF LOS ANGELES’, DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING, COUNCIL FILE 12-0875; CASE CPC-2015-578-CA. Now Therefore Be It Resolved that the Pacific Palisades Community Council OPPOSES the Ordinance as currently written.
We are done digging. If you have chosen to read this far, we trust you agree that it is irrefutable that this ordinance as presently written must be rejected on its face – notwithstanding the “blueberries and buzz kill.”
Jennifer Malaret, PPCC Secretary
Barbara Kohn, PPCC President Emeritus
i http://patch.com/california/venice/the-beekeepers-of-mar-vista’ http//articles.latimes.com/2014feb/12/local/la-me0213-bees-20140213.
ii Per 4/17/15 email from Norman Kulla, CD-11 will reach out to Planning Deputies to find out why PPCC, Brentwood CC and Westwood CC received no notice on this matter – particularly following CM Bonin’s motion to instruct the same.
iii The LA Times ran a single article in 2014.
iv A majority of cities (49 out of 84) expressly prohibit bees or do not mention bees (or apiaries) in their codes making backyard beekeeping illegal. Only 35 cities permit bees. 42 cities reference bees in their municipal codes and 21 cities reference them in zoning codes. Source: LA County Cultivate LA.
vi http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2012/12-0785_pc_12-10-13.pdf. A total of 2,886 signatures were received including on-line petitions in “local, national and international areas” through change.org.
vii http://www.laweekly.com/news/could-la-become-a-honeybee-mecca-the-backwards-beekeepers-are-on-it-2614312. “I don’t care if laws exist or don’t exist . . . anybody who doesn’t support this is crazy . . . Ed Reyes, Bill Rosendahl, brother! You know I did that motion – it has to do with beekeeping in single-family residences and I’m trying to make law out of it – I’d like to ask you to get it out of committee and get it before the full council.” “You know, I have three beehives in my property. One is already creating honey,” he tells Reyes. “Great. Great. Thank you babe.” “Rosendahl’s successor  Mike Bonin has agreed to take up the cause.”
xihttp://www.komonews.com/news/local/Millions-of-bees-swarm-I-5-in-Lynnwood-as-bee-truck-crashes-300280101.html. Yet, “Bees [are] very popular.” “It’s the adrenaline and a smile.” “The Griffith Park people said, ‘You are the most delightful agenda item we’ve ever had,’ Chelsea recalls. “We try to rock that.” “Chelsea McFarland, a dancer, sees a cooperative, all-female, vegetarian society communicating through dance. Rob realizes that bees are a ‘super organism.'” See FN #7.
xii LA County Beekeepers Association and the Backwards Beekeepers agree on one matter. “We are for urbanized beekeeping but we want to make sure it is done with the proper training.” “What constitutes proper training, however is the kicker. Do you chemically treat your bees and otherwise deploy the full range of technology available? Or do you call it “backwards”, trust in nature’s wisdom and  let the bees be bees?” See FN #7.
xiii “A HoneyLove staffer was stung 30 times on the face the first time she inspective a hive. She was new to beekeeping and cavalier about it . . . bees have facial recognition . . . so they know to go for your eyes . . . it was a good lesson . . . she experienced phantom pains.” See FN 7.
xiv http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?sectionnid=70. Santa Monica requires inspection of the property by Animal Control officers.
xv http://smdp.com/urban-beekeeping-taking-root-in-santa-monica/85256. The County of LA merely requires access (MVCC feasibility study, p.20).
xvi http://homeguides.sfgate.com/dangers-back-yard-bee-hive-56367.html. Santa Monica & San Diego require hives to be re-queened every two years. The MVCC Beekeeping Feasibility Study (p.21) recommended including a regulation that: “Colonies shall be re-queened following any swarming or aggressive behavior.”
xvii We note the council file contained a West Virginia committee bill & 2010 article reporting that West Virginia became the first state to pass a law giving bee keepers complete immunity from civil liability for ordinary negligence provided they follow 14 rules.
xviii The obvious analogy is that anyone registered to engage in a high fire risk activity would want/be required to have a fire extinguisher on hand.
xix Santa Monica gives registration information to emergency responders.
xx In San Francisco, the Department of Public Health can issue citations and require mitigation of any hazard including reducing the size of the colonies, moving the hives to another parcel or requiring that all beekeeping operations in an area cease altogether. Http//www.sfenvironment.org/article/animal-husbandry/regulations-on-beekeeping-by-the-san-francisco-department-of-public-health.
xxi LA Weekly, June 2013. We note also that HoneyLove says, “It’s like if you owned a vineyard, and within the community we share each others honey. It’s like fine wine.” We respectfully disagree. So does the City of San Diego that says, among other things: if you keep bees you will be stung . . . and other hazards clearly not present in grape growing.
xxiii See FN #7.
xxiv See FN#7. We asked Norman Kulla if Councilmember supports this ordinance “as written.” No reply was received.
xxv It is simply not appropriate to allow backyard beekeeping under undiscriminating practices and guidelines throughout all single-family zones of Los Angeles – which are nowhere near zoning where bees are legally permitted currently. Start small with a system for notice, tracking, complaints and effective enforcement and see how it goes. Paul Hekimian, also with HoneyLove, [would] like to see L.A. adopt rules similar to what his community has in place. “The ordinance here in Santa Monica is very simple,” says Hekimian. You are allowed to have two hives facing five feet away from your neighbor’s property line.” http://blogs.kcrw.com/goodfood/2014/01/can-l-a-become-a-bee-friendly-city/.
xxvi MVCC Beekeeping Feasibility Study, p. 20.
xxvii Page 1 of the DCP report also states that “requiring minimum distances from lot lines to public rights-of-way [results in] interactions between bees and neighboring humans [being] minimized.” No findings or studies are provided to evidence that bees understand 5-foot set backs, where lot lines are drawn and PROWs.
xxviii Kids cannot bring nuts and peanut butter to school . . . but an adjacent homeowner can keep hives next door to a school? How will the Department of Recreation and Parks be required to adjust their programming if homes adjacent to the park have bee hives less than 5 feet away? Has there been a Revenue Impact Statement done? What is the position of the Department of Recreation and Parks? Do they support the draft ordinance as written? Does it change school release policies? What are the risks to LAUSD and other schools if they release an allergic child to a backyard beekeeper? Does LAUSD support the ordinance as written?
xxix Urban Beekeeping – City Comparison Matrix (by Honeylove.org).
xxx Jan Selder, director of operations at the City’s Department of Animal Services, can’t remember enforcing a single beekeeping violation in her 18 years of fieldwork. Neither can anyone at code enforcement. No one really goes out on bee calls. See FN#7.