MINUTES FOR MAY 14th 2015
Voting Members in Attendance: Chris Spitz, Jennifer Malaret, Richard Cohen, Barbara Kohn, Donna Vaccarino, Amy Kalp, Kelly Comras, Stuart Muller, George Wolfberg, Maryam Zar, Peter Culhane, Reza Akef, Rick Mills, and Cathy Russell.
Voting Alternates: Ted Mackie and Brian Deming,
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Bruce Schwartz, David Kaplan, Doug McCormick and Barbara Marinacci.
Start of Business Meeting
1. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. Richard Cohen read the Mission Statement.
2. Call to Order and Introduction of the Board and Audience. Chris Spitz called the meeting to order at 7:01 pm. Introduction of the Board and audience.
3. Certification of Quorum. Chris certified that a quorum was present at 7:09 pm.
4. Adoption of Minutes/Upcoming Meetings. Chris deemed the April 23, 2015 minutes adopted as corrected. Upcoming Meetings. 5/28/15: (1) LAFD Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Castro – fire season threat and LAFD new operational structure. (2) 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 Candidates Forum (if applicable); 2015/2016 Officer Elections. 06/25/15 – California Walks Presentation (http://californiawalks.org). The July PPCC meeting will be held on July 23, 2015.
5. Consideration of Agenda. The President considered the agenda.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Richard Cohen reported the financial status as of May 14, 2015. The total account balances equal $32,844.56. The one significant transaction was $626 paid for web and email expenditures.
7. 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. Backyard Beekeeping Ordinance. Chris reported that the City Planning Commission (“CPC”) hearing was this morning and the draft ordinance was approved as written. The draft ordinance will move forward to the City’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee (“PLUM”) at some point in the future. PPCC has not taken a position on the ordinance and Chris stated that the topic may or may not be taken up in the future.
7.1.3. 16900-17000 Sunset Blvd. Apartment Project. Chris reported that the Coastal Development Permit (“CDP”) appeal hearing scheduled for June 3, 2015 has been postponed until September 2, 2015. Plans for a reduced project are to be presented at a future PPCC meeting. Chris reported that the date of the presentation is TBD.
7.1.4. Support for Senate Bill 218 (ending photo enforcement of stop signs in MRCA parklands). http://huff.cssrc.us/content/huff-weekly-capitol-comment-april-23-2015. See attached letter. Chris reported that the bill did not pass in committee (chaired by Fran Pavley) but the committee voted unanimously to reconsider it, perhaps in January 2016.
7.1.5. Suggestions/Complaints. Submit suggested bylaws changes to Jennifer Malaret. Submit other constructive suggestions for improvement and/or concerns/complaints to Chris Spitz or Barbara Kohn. Board members may submit agenda requests pursuant to PPCC bylaws, Art. IX.5.A. Board members are also requested to inform Chris of any complaints received from community members and to encourage anyone with concerns to contact Chris for accurate information about PPCC process and activities.
7.2. Announcements from Governmental Representatives.
7.2.1. Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) – SLO Officer Moore. Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org — Not in attendance.
7.2.2. Los Angeles City Council, District 11; Councilmember Mike Bonin’s Office. Website: www.11thdistrict.com. Norman Kulla, Senior Counsel. Email: email@example.com. Anna Kozma, Constituent Advocate. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. (310) 575-8461. (1) the VA hearing was very positive and (think these “outsiders” actually are staffers from outside of the local VA; one, I think from Arizona, you could double check with NK) outsiders have been brought in to help the veterans and take control of what is going to be done. In early June there will be an announcement about who the urban planner will be with the idea being to go back to the 1888 deed to create a home that is veteran centric with services at the VA campus. (2) Norman announced he will be retiring on July 1, 2015.
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.email@example.com. (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: firstname.lastname@example.org. (310) 652-3095.
7.3. Announcements from Board Members and Advisors.
7.3.1. Officers/Area Representatives. (1) Stuart Muller (Area 6) explained the geographical boundaries of Area 6. (2) Cathy Russell (Area 7) reported that the annual Rustic Nights will be in the clubhouse on Saturday June 6, 2015 at 6 pm and is a fundraiser to support the restoration of the facility. Interested persons should contact Cathy or rusticnight.org .
7.3.2. Organizational Representatives – Report on Behalf of Organizations. (1) Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club. Stuart Muller advocated the club’s free exercise class for seniors on Wednesdays and Fridays starting at 10:30 am. (2) Historical Society – Barbara Kohn informed the public about an upcoming presentation on Thelma Todd. (3) Chamber of Commerce – the Expo is this Sunday, an always popular event with classic cars.
7.3.4. Board Members, Other Reports. (1) Maryam Zar, PP Homeless Task Force. The next general meeting May 26, 2015, 6:30-8 p.m., Palisades branch library. Joe Castro will also be speaking. For more information contact email@example.com. (2) Jennifer Malaret, Pacific Palisades Park Advisory Board (“PP-PAB”). The Park Rangers are enforcing park regulations for the safety of everyone: it is illegal to have your dog off leash in the park, recent incidents have brought attention to safety of kids and all patrons, other regulations include no smoking anywhere in the park, parking in the park is for the use of park patrons, no alcohol is allowed and there is no camping or lodging permitted. (3) Barbara Kohn reported that the Design Review Board (“DRB”) met last night regarding a building identification sign request at 881 Alma Real Drive made by the Palisadian Post. The DRB did not support (approve?)the proposed signage.
8. Reports From Committees.
8.1.1. Nominating Committee – Cathy Russell (Chair). Cathy reported that the decision was unanimous to nominate as Officers for 2015/2016 Chris Spitz (President), Vice President (Maryam Zar), Secretary (Jennifer Malaret) and Richard Cohen (Treasurer). Chris thanked Andrew Wolfberg for his support and all of the work that he has done this past year for PPCC and announced that with Andrew’s regrets he will be unable to return. Cathy announced that the recommendations are nominations only and nominations of anyone else seeking an Officer position can now be made. Board members have until 8:45 pm at the May 28, 2015 meeting to nominate additional candidates.
8.1.2. Bylaws Committee – Jennifer Malaret (Chair). (a) The Committee met on May 7, 2015. (1) First Reading: the Committee unanimously recommends the proposed changes to Article IX (meetings); see attached. The language is the same as the most recent two PPCC agendas & readings except to codify in Section 2 (Schedule) the more than decade-long practice of PPCC to hold only one meeting during four months of the year and to correct a typo in Section 4 (Order of Business). (b) Input from two board members was discussed at length on topics including the Executive Committee, Secretary, Minutes, Composition of Committees, Agenda and Legal Advisor. (c) The Committee will be returning to other matters originally scheduled pursuant to and pending input from the Chair and Board: Organizational membership/ process/structure, Area & At-Large Representative elections including inclusion of the term “Primary Residence”. Long-term topics of consideration may be Discipline, Code of Conduct, addition of Conflict of Interest rules, and simplification of the overall document. For information, questions or comments, please contact Jennifer Malaret at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8.1.3. Outreach Committee – Like Us on Facebook: facebook.com/pacpalicc. Chirs reported that PPCC Farmers Market table events are continuing (next event: May 17, 2015, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.). To receive future PPCC meeting agendas and notices, send a request to email@example.com.
9. Old Business — None.
10. New Business.
10.1. Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) – Proposed Amendments. Discussion. Do we need amendments to close loopholes in existing law? Should or can any Palisades neighborhoods be included in the related Interim Control Ordinance? Do homeowners in affected neighborhoods (particularly the Alphabet Streets) want further restrictions on the size of home construction? Presentation: Tricia Keane, Planning & Land Use Director, CD11. Planners working on the ordinance are Tom Rothmann and Erik Lopez. Tricia stated that the BMO Interim Control Ordinance (“ICO”) was adopted for the two-year term allowed by state law. The BMO ICO does not apply to the Palisades, nor is there the opportunity to apply it. In CD11 it applies to Kentwood, Mar Vista and Venice east of Lincoln Blvd. The BMO does not apply in most of the Palisades. It only applies to SFR zoned properties, not in the Coastal Zone therefore it is relevant primarily to the Alphabet Streets in the Palisades. Tricia passed out a map. Tricia stated at this point there is no discussion within the City about expanding the BMO to apply to any area that it does not presently cover. The City’s ZIMAS system will disclose by address if any property is subject to the BMO. For properties where the BMO applies, nothing has changed as of today. For the BMO as it applies citywide there are things that are in the “works”. Changes began with the Kortez motion to “close loopholes in the BMO.” The BMO was adopted as a means to deal with out of scale development. The tool that the BMO uses to do that is the upper limit on the floor area ratios (“FAR”s). The FARs are the same throughout the city despite much different conditions. The exceptions and bonuses to FAR limits may not have achieved what was originally hoped to achieve citywide because some perceive that the context of the neighborhoods is ignored. The BMO was adopted in 2008 after the wave of development from the prior housing boom. When the BMO was put into affect the pace of development was much slower than it is today. The economic recovery is what prompted Councilmember Koretz to ask that the regulations be reconsidered. Part 1 of that reconsideration is the ICO – again not applicable to the Palisades. Part 2 is to prepare amendments to the citywide BMO that will then apply to everywhere the BMO applies. Planning still needs to develop the recommendations. The Kortez motion listed a number of things that Planning was directed to consider which was essentially to reconsider the entirety of the BMO provisions. Planning expects 18 months to work through this process and the public will be allowed to weigh in to the planners. The hope is that future changes would be sensitive to community contexts rather than the “one size fits all” approach that we have now. The city is also working on creating new single-family zones through the ReCodeLA effort. Those new neighborhoods will talk about building envelopes and other measures not just the FAR like we do today. Presentation: Richard Blumenberg, AIA, Civic League President. Richard reiterated that what was passed in terms of the ICO relate to five historic overlay zones. The other areas affected by the BMO had criteria not consistently applied and involving basements, the bonus and FARs. The Civic League believes that the BMO was a “rush to judgment” and that primarily further area restrictions should be included in the BMO. Richard said the height allowances in the BMO result in the ability of owners to have a box at the set back line and the Civic League would like to see a height envelope going from 22 feet at the setback to 28 feet maximum height in Tract 9300. The Civic League believes that the City should not reduce the base area of all lots including those less than 7,500 square feet to 45 percent. A 5,000 square foot lot would only allow a 2,250 square foot house. This is too small of an area for this size lot. Additionally the Civic League believes there is a problem in the Alphabet streets with second floor roof-decks and set backs that should be adjusted in response to concerns that neighbors have a loss of privacy. Richard encouraged the City to include the coastal zone in the BMO to primarily control the height of structures. Part of the ICO exceptions relate to covered porches and covered porches on the first floor; those eliminate the mass of a house and make the second floor step back and that is something positive. Richard passed out various handouts and a chart. Discussion: (1) are the values listed for the ground floor footprint? The BMO gives you a base percentage which is a percentage of the total lot and is for the first and second floor but in some cases a bonus area is possible. (2) in the height comparison chart are the side set backs different? Yes, 2 feet or so. So the width is not the same; as you go up the house gets narrower. Is it fair to say that existing rules do add contour to the existing house? The BMO has no envelope, the set back is based only on the height of the project. (3) a resident recalled a similar effort to regulate years ago. The three issues were loss of privacy, the loss of light and the loss of views. Do the regulations accomplish what we set out to do and put us where we want to be? Before we have more regulations let’s think about the unintended consequences. (4) any proposal should be closely examined and too much regulation that restricts the size of what can be built would effect property values and that could negatively affect the elderly and retired who want to sell their properties for the value they deserve. (5) BMO is a haphazard public policy. It seems like a reactionary step during a building boom to respond to a few but loudest voices. Not all large houses are ugly houses. The one size fits all attempt is a reaction to people complaining about large houses. Public policy has to address local standards and the feasibility of local implementation. (6) to build a new house, residents have to comply with new rules that are very tough and I cannot build what I have now and what my neighbors have and under the new rules I can build less than what I have now. It is not fair to people who have invested and then cannot build on a lot that costs so much or in comparable size to the neighborhood. (7) infrastructures are failing and the more we build big structures it exacerbates the problem. (8) houses in the Palisades are different. Why not focus on enforcements of permits first? Tricia stated that the compliance unit is being staffed up but initially it will be focused narrowly on certain conditional use permits. To enforce building size there are a lot of houses built prior to the BHO. Anything built before 2008 does not have the same FAR in place today. There are some projects in the works that were grandfathered in under the old rules which is consistent across the board as to how new zoning codes are applied. (9) does the table increase proportionally? The formula is based on a percentage times the area so it is proportional. (10) creativity goes into pushing the limits of the guidelines. A house with non-conforming set backs of 3 feet was used to grandfather in the setbacks even though the structure was not saved. Side yards are important because they allow safe access in emergency situations and landscaping for privacy concerns. The overall square footage should be calculated based on the gross square footage and not the net to reduce the bulk of new homes. Additional information about residential zoning and mansionization: (http://recode.la/sites/default/files/file_attachments/event/ZAC%20Presentation%2025Mar2015_Single%20Family%20Residential%20Zones.pdf (3-25-15 Power Point presentation to the Zoning Advisory Committee associated with the re:codeLA initiative to rewrite the Los Angeles Zoning Code). http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2014/14-0656_rpt_PLAN_04-17-2015.pdf (4-17-15 City Planning Dept. report re BMO amendment process; see pp. 2-3, Amending the BMO and Creating Contextual Single Family Zones (reference re:codeLA initiative)).
10.2. Short Term Residential Vacation Rentals. Are these forms of commercial activity allowed in low-density residential zones? Should they be regulated further and/or subject to transient lodging/local hotel taxes? Presentation: Tricia Keane, CD11. Tricia stated that in the City of LA the concept of short-term rentals was renting out a space in your house or home sharing which is different then renting out a home or apartment building you don’t live in. The CAO released a report about the impact on the shared economy from short-term rentals where the gist is that the CAO recommended that the City undertake a comprehensive outreach program to ensure that input is received about the real issues and what workable regulations could be. Likely in LA any regulations would likely be more broad than Santa Monica. Councilmember Bonin is most concerned with affordable housing and the amount/expense of rental housing stock. Tricia reported that Councilmember Bonin is concerned that a proliferation of short-term rentals means that housing stock is not available to regular homeowners and regular renters. Tricia suggested that maybe there is a limit on the total number of days a house can be rented out or how many rentals can be in a certain area. Discussion. (1) under the current zoning regulations if the property is being rented for less than 30 days that activity is not allowed in single-family residential zones. Some of the enforcement challenges relate to savvy platforms that don’t have identifying information until the property is booked. (2) the concern in the Palisades is quality of life first and quantity of housing stock second. (3) short term rentals are a business and are getting an unfair subsidy and advantage because legitimate short-term rental operators pay tax and legal wages to their helpers. (4) in a local apartment building two units were rented by someone never intending to live there and the impact on the quality of life was terrible for the actual residents with travelers coming and going every 2 days. (5) safety is a concern without fire and public health inspections. (6) a short-term rental is less than 30 days. (7) CC&Rs and homeowner’s documents can have limitations. For the City of LA there could be conditions put into permits for new condominiums or condominium conversions. (8) the City should get out ahead of the problem. (9) an example was given of a house and garage in the Palisades Highlands being rented out for weddings and proms. Additional information: (1) http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2015/15-0002-S31_reso_03-31-2015.pdf (3-31-15 Motion (Wesson-Bonin; adopted 5/8/15) calling for a City Council resolution to oppose AB 1220, which would prohibit cities from levying local hotel/transient occupancy taxes on short term rentals). (2) http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2014/14-1635_mot_12-02-14.pdf (12-4-14 Motion (Bonin-Wesson; in Council Economic Development and PLUM Committees) calling for review, input and investigation regarding possible preparation of City ordinance to regulate short term vacation rentals). (3) http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-santa-monica-council-votes-to-rein-in-shortterm-rentals-20150428-story.html (information about proposed new Santa Monica regulations).
11. General Public Comment – None.
12. Adjournment. Chris Spitz adjourned the meeting at 8:33 PM.
ITEM 7.1.4 – MAY 11, 2015 LETTER TO STATE SENATORS; SUPPORT FOR SB 218
May 11, 2015
To: Hon. California State Senators Robert Huff, Fran Pavley and Ben Allen
Senator.firstname.lastname@example.org; cc email@example.com.
Senator.firstname.lastname@example.org; cc email@example.com.
Senator.firstname.lastname@example.org; cc email@example.com.
Re: SUPPORT for Senate Bill 218 (Huff); in Natural Resources Committee 5/12/15
As the most broadly based organization in Pacific Palisades, Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) has been the voice of our community since 1973.
PPCC supports SB 218, which would end photo enforcement of stop signs by the Mountains Recreation Conservancy Authority (MRCA) within MRCA parklands. The legislative exception that MRCA carved out of the California Vehicle Code for itself several years ago was unwarranted and has been abused. This exception means that MRCA can install automated ticket issuing machines without measures required by the Vehicle Code including engineering studies, demonstration of need or any other justification for its stop sign photo enforcement. In fact, the two photo enforcement machines MRCA placed in Pacific Palisades’ Temescal Canyon Gateway Park are at intersections with no history of accidents or injury and very little traffic. As a result, PPCC has received numerous complaints about erroneous enforcement by these machines.
The reason that local entities were originally forbidden under the Vehicle Code from making their own traffic rules was to eliminate speed traps used by small towns in the Central Valley to raise local revenue through the unreasonable issuance of tickets. It should be noted that even the U.S. Air Force was required to comply with the Vehicle Code in a notable case. No entity should be exempt from the reasonable requirements of the Vehicle Code.
Thank you for your consideration and anticipated support of SB 218.
Pacific Palisades Community Council
ITEM 8.1.2 – BYLAWS COMMITTEE REPORT AND FIRST 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 during July, August, November and December when there shall be one regular meeting, or 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 [deleted: sent] electronically available to [deleted: all] Board members and [deleted: their Alternates and to such others in the Community as the Board directs, and shall be available to] 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.[Deleted: Reading and Adoption] Approval 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 [deleted: posted in the Pacific Palisades Public Library and Post Office, on the PPCC Website and] 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 [deleted: posted and] 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 [before or during the Board’s consideration of the item, and] at the appropriate time for such comment [deleted ,]. General Public Comment shall be reserved for non-Board members to speak on any item of interest to the public [deleted: that is] within the subject matter jurisdiction of the PPCC, provided that no action shall be taken on any item not appearing on the [deleted: posted and] distributed agenda.