MINUTES FOR OCTOBER 8th 2015
Voting Members in Attendance: Chris Spitz, Maryam Zar, Jennifer Malaret, Richard Cohen, Barbara Kohn, Nancy Niles, Bruce Schwartz, Kelly Comras, Richard Wulliger, Stuart Muller, Sarah Conner, George Wolfberg, Howard Robinson, Rick Lemmo, Rick Mills, Barbara Marinacci, Todd Wadler, Reza Akef and Peter Culhane.
Voting Alternates: Robin Meyers, Rick McGeagh, Ted Mackie and Steve Boyers.
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Kevin Niles, Eric Dugdale, Susan Payne, Michael Soneff, Quentin Fleming, Brian Deming, Laura Mack, Donna Vaccarino, Ron Dean, Dustin Hall and David Kaplan.
Start of Business Meeting
1.0 Reading of Community Council’s Mission: Chris Spitz read the Mission Statement.
2.0 Call to Order and Introduction of the Board and Audience. Chris Spitz called the meeting to order at 7:01 pm. Introduction of the Board.
3.0 Certification of Quorum. Chris certified that a quorum was present at 7:03 pm.
4.0 Adoption of Minutes/Upcoming Meetings. The President deemed approval of the September 24, 2015 minutes as corrected. Upcoming meetings: Regular Public Board Meetings, 7pm, Palisades branch library: 10/22, presentation/Q&A with California State Assemblymember Richard Bloom; presentation by Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homeless regarding fundraising and partnership with OPCC. 11/12, presentation/Q&A with Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. Special Public Board Meeting: 11/18, 6:30pm, Palisades Recreation Center “big gym”: VPLUC report and presentation/discussion/possible action by PPCC re Caruso Affiliated Village Project application and plans. ** 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 October 8, 2015. The total account balances equal $32,775.59. Richard thanked the community and board members for contributing their dues and donations.
7.0 Reports, Announcements and Concerns
7.1. Announcements from the President, Chris Spitz – Oral announcements were waived, due to time constraints. No written reports were submitted other than the President’s announcements.
7.1.1 Meeting Ground Rules. 1) Due to library rules, the meeting must end promptly at 9:00 p.m.; 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/BYLAWS%20JULY%202015.pdf).
7.1.2 Start of Fiscal Year Oct. 1. Welcome new Organizational Members for 2015-2016: Todd Wadler (Village School/primary), Dustin Hall (Canyon School/alternate) and Laura Mack (Palisades Beautiful/alternate).
7.1.3 Citizen of the Year/Sparkplug Awards Event – December 10, 2015, Gladstone’s. Nominations now open for qualified individuals for Citizen of the Year and Sparkplug honors. Deadline for submission of nominations: October 31. Submit nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about nomination requirements, go to http://www.pp90272.org and scroll down to Press Release re Citizen and Sparkplug Awards.
7.1.4 PPCC Website, Fundraising, Outreach Update. Submit tax deductible dues/donations (suggested amount: $25 individual/family, $50 business) to PPCC at P.O. Box 1131, Pacific Palisades 90272 or via Pay Pal at www.pp90272.org. Like Us on Facebook at pacpalicc.
7.1.5 Short Term Residential Vacation Rentals (STVRs) Update. The first Planning Dept. “listening session” took place on September 29 in Mar Vista. Hundreds of citizens from throughout the City attended and gave input, with the majority expressing support for legalization of STVRs. The Planning Dept. will prepare a draft ordinance with input received from community members, which will eventually be considered by the City Council. See PPCC letter below. Interested board members and residents are encouraged to take CD-11’s online survey using the link found in Councilmember Bonin’s newsletter found at http://www.11thdistrict.com/october_2015_neighborhoods_first_newsletter.
7.1.6 Councilmember Bonin Baby Gift. PPCC presented Mike Bonin with a beautiful baby gift basket for his new son. We received a lovely handwritten thank you note from the Councilmember expressing his appreciation to PPCC. Thanks to Maryam Zar for organizing and delivering the gift basket.
7.1.7 FAA Flight Path Matter (Metroplex). Congressman Lieu has written to the FAA requesting specific information on flight paths and an additional community meeting. Contact Chris Spitz for more information. email@example.com.
7.2. Announcements from Governmental Representatives Representatives (Note: Contact information at: http://www.pp90272.org/Governmental%20Reps.pdf). Oral and written announcements were waived due to time constraints.
7.3. Announcements from Board Members and Advisors – Oral announcements were waived, due to time constraints. No reports were submitted in writing.
8.0 Reports From Committees
8.1 VPLUC (David Kaplan, Chair): Report made in writing due to time constraints: Public Committee Meeting re Caruso Affiliated Village Project application and plans: October 29, 2015, 6 pm in the old U.S. Bank building. All interested Board and community members are welcome. A Special Public PPCC Board Meeting will be held on November 18, 2015, 6:30pm in the Palisades Recreation Center “big gym,” for a VPLUC report and presentation/discussion/possible action by PPCC on the Village Project application and plans. Note: Special Board Meetings are authorized pursuant to PPCC Bylaws Art. IX.2.
8.1 Bylaws Committee (Richard Cohen and Jennifer Malaret, Co-Chairs). 2nd reading of motion and proposed bylaws changes (org. membership) (continuation of discussion from 9/24/15 board meeting). Discussion and vote. Introduction: Chris Spitz narrated background information from the last meeting. Chris indicated that speakers would be called on and efforts would be made to allow persons who had not spoken to speak and to allow everyone to speak. (1) George Wolfberg objected to personal comments made at the last meeting because reports from the bylaws committee represent the unanimous agreement by all members after many hours of consideration, discussion, and give and take. PPCC has an unstated guideline whereby disrespecting one committee member disrespects all; or stated another way board members may disagree but should not be disagreeable in the process. George stated that he appreciated the energy, passion and caring attention showed by the board to the proposed bylaws changes. George noted that the process was appropriate and that if the board members do not like the proposal they are free to vote against some or all of the changes to Attachment “A”. However, as background, George articulated the following supporting facts in support of the motion: (1) PPCC’s Chair is responsible for making sure board seats are filled and that Chris has succeeded in filling a record number of positions and alternates. (2) From time to time organizations have been unable to find people to serve on the board, notably The Friends of Library and Garden Club. The Civic League representative was a frequent no-show and during his own tenure as Chair, his Secretary attended only one board meeting. In the past, PPCC attendance by the Chamber and PPRA has been less than desired and the schools have historically lacked representatives from year to year (George noted that currently the schools, Chamber, Civic League, Garden Club and Library have had robust representation). (3) In Dec 2006, after a 12-year absence, PPRA applied for reinstatement to the board. The resulting board contained five categories with only one member: Business and Commerce (Chamber), Historian (Historical Society), Civic Organizations (Civic League), Environment (Temescal Canyon Association), Residents Association (PPRA) while the Cultural, Education, Recreation and Service Clubs each had multiple members. At the time the 2005-06 Bylaws committee noted issues with Attachment “A”, reporting: “Should the organization structure set forth in Appendix A be subject to periodic review in light of changed conditions over time? For example, it was noted that some categories have only one representative while others have seven or more, perhaps resulting in the failure of the education organizations to actively participate. Was this because by the time a particular school comes up for its membership year, the historical relationship with the PPCC had evaporated? Or does the PPCC meeting night conflict with too many school activities?” George stated that when PPRA was being considered for reinstatement to PPCC board in 2006 after a 12 year absence there was much sentiment against giving PPRA its own single member category and several titles for an appropriate category were floated. The result was a 24 voting member board. (4) Eventually, in 2014, the vote was taken away from the Youth Representative reducing voting membership to 23 members. (2) Eric Dugdale recalled the positive historical contributions of organizational groups and residents. Organizational groups have members from across all geographical areas. The Historical Society opposed being grouped with ‘cultural’ because it works on environmental matters. They are digitizing over 10,000 documents so that brings something more than just cultural to PPCC. Standing members should not be modified lightly and they are not subject to political influence. There are other groups that may want to join the council and that is not particularly proposed here. Eric advocated a no vote and having the motion sent back to committee. (3) Adam Glazer, Chamber of Commerce President and Board Chair. The Chamber thanked the bylaws committee for its work and the current engagement of council members and the community. Adam stated that the Chamber supports the motion as written because short term desires of individual organizations should be set aside for the long term goals of the council. The Chamber will vote to support the recommendations to realign the organizational representation and their service terms. (4) Shirley Haggstrom objected to reducing the representation of TCA and the Historical Society based on their good works and historical involvements in the community and on the PPCC Board. Shirley stated that these organizations should retain their standing seats. Standing seats are necessary to retain the value of institutional memory on the PPCC board. Shirley said a no vote should be taken to keep the foundation of PPCC intact and noted that there are other measures such as adding more seats. (5) Marge Gold thanked the council for its hard work and noted that the council is strong now as a result of its additional representation. Marge urged a no vote because it would eliminate standing seats for organizations that do good work and go to court. Marge suggested that seats be added for the BID and for the homeless task force. (6) Elliot Zorensky stated that all tenants should be able to vote for seats on the council. Elliot stated that grouping the Chamber with the BID ( landlords) does not work because they may have diverse interests. (7) Richard Blumenberg stated that the Civic League opposes the bylaws change because they are in a two organization category and do not want to be in a three organization category. The Civic League opposes the appointment of faith-based representatives and an appointed business representative at the expense of standing organizations rather the number of voting seats should be increased. (8) Barbara Kohn wanted to sponsor a motion to sever the bylaws committee motion. Chris Spitz responded that Roberts Rules Sec. 24 prevented division of complicated bylaws amendments motions with intertwining provisions and noted that if members objected to parts of the motion then they can vote no and if 2/3rds vote of approval is not attained the matter would be returned to committee. Richard Cohen stated that the examples given do not go to the motion to sever rather these are debatable issues. No second was made. Barbara stated that she reserved the right to respond to the inaccuracies in the statements made by George Wolfberg. (9) Sarah Conner expressed that PPRA is a multi generational building block for the PPCC and residents in the Palisades and should retain its standing seat to serve Palisadians who care about the Palisades. There has not been a good reason given to take away PPRA’s standing seat. (10) Rick Lemmo thanked the bylaws committee for presenting at the Chamber meeting and expressed that the support for the motion is to help PPCC as an organization and the community to move into the future. Relative to the BID, either group can make a good argument in support of the business community and for why neither should be in rotation but including both organizations broadens representation. Kelly Comras and Rick Lemmo discussed the process of the Chamber’s decision-making process. (11) Reza Akef read an email received from an organization on PPCC stating that a standing seat is not necessary to the good work of an organization or the council. Times have changed and there is nothing that makes the historical contributions of four organizations more important then the contributions of other/current organizations and residents. The bylaws changes do not take away the ability of organizations to have a seat, participate and contribute. (12) Donna Vaccarino objected to the process from which the bylaws motion came about. Proper discourse has not been allowed. Straw polls are not a product of discussion and debate within the community itself. Donna thought the motion should be sent back to committee with an outside facilitator so the issue of what fair representation is can be examined. (13) Michael Soneff stated that the motion does not deal with the real problem and that is which organizations should be at the table rather than to simply reorganize defunct organizations that do not participate. (14) Richard Cohen stated that the process was done entirely by the bylaws and with the guidance of PPCC’s legal advisor so attacks on the process are totally misplaced. There is no rush to a decision, the process has been underway for seven months. The language in the motion will be corrected to state clearly that the appointment of the business representative appointed by the Chair will be subject to approval by the Board. The bylaws committee did not take up the issue of the wonderful nature of any organization. Being part of a rotation does not diminish in any way the ability of an organization to do its wonderful work. Within a category members do not need to have identical views. (15) Stuart Muller objected to the process because bylaws committee meetings are not open to the public and that the topic has not been open to appropriate discourse.
A. Background. On March 12, 2015, PPCC’s Board directed the Bylaws Committee to explore modifications to the Bylaws relative to Article VIII(1)(A) “Selection and Election of Representatives, Organization Representatives and Alternates” with reference to organizations eligible to send representatives as set forth on Appendix A. http://www.pp90272.org/minutes2015.htm#12MAR15. The Board directed three possible areas of amendment:
1. The four categories which currently have one organization (“standing seat”) should be reconstituted such that those categories have multiple organizations and rotate appointment as presently do the other five multiple organization categories.
2. Faith based organizations should be eligible to send representatives and have the opportunity for inclusion.
3. A process should be established whereby any organization not listed and that believes it is not adequately represented by an eligible organization, may submit an application for inclusion.
B. Motion. The Bylaws Committee unanimously agrees that modifications to the existing Bylaws as directed by the Board should be made to facilitate all three areas of amendments. Such modifications would be approved now and become effective for the organizational term beginning on October 1, 2016. Adoption of these modifications does not prevent further modification to the effected provisions as may be approved by the Board during the interim period, i.e., the 2015 date upon which this motion is approved and the 2016 effective date. The Bylaws Committee unanimously recommends that the Board vote to adopt the modifications as set forth in the draft revised bylaws (redlined) document distributed concurrently with this agenda (linked as “ProposedRevisedBylawsSept.2015” in PPCC email messages of September 21, 2015, September 7, 2015 and August 24, 2015) and further, to authorize the Bylaws Committee to correct any typos or informalities that may be discovered during conversion of the final draft.
9. Old Business.
9.1 No earlier than 7:45pm: Presentation/discussion/possible action by PPCC re the Village Shell Station proposed CUB/CUP (use/hours/beverage). Presenting: Saheed and Michael Kohanoff, owner/applicant/s; King Woods, land use consultant; Richard Finkel, architect; Neill Brower, land use attorney. Mel Kimman, Vice President, Via de la Paz HOA. Presentation/Owner: the owner and operator has been in the community for 25 years. A reduction in operating hours is something that, should the community desire, the owner is willing to consider. Richard Finkel stated that the plan had been adjusted in response to community concerns and the driveway has been moved off the corner. The project is over parked and is under the height limitations. No variances are being sought. DOT has reviewed the traffic study and found that there are no negative impacts. Trees and landscaping have been added. The tower design at the center has been taken down in response to concerns of the residents. CUP/CUB is being sought because of the sale of beer and wine. There is no hearing scheduled although one may be done after DRB approval and in approximately 8 weeks. Presentation/HOA: 107 residents are members of the HOA. The use of the property is the most important part. (1) the radius of the proposed use from the current location does not impact R zones but for one lot. Here the R zone is adjacent so many more neighbors are impacted by the sale of liquor. (2) a mini mart use will not serve residents, rather it will bring in users and cater to transient customers. (3) HOA supports the current hours of the gas station. (4) No liquor sales because there are adjacent grocery stores and restaurants. (5) the size of the building will affect the traffic ease of getting around and a turnaround must be done on the gas station property for those seeking to stay in the village (no U turns at Temescal). Questions: (1) What is the current status of conditions in terms of discussion with the City Attorney/zoning administrators and the ABC? Conditions have to be imposed by ABC. A conditional use permit does not give you the right to sell beer and wine, an owner still needs a license from ABC to sell alcohol. (2) Can the city regulate the hour of operation after alcohol sales have already stopped? The City has the right to say an owner cannot have a 24-hour operation and the City has the right of enforcement through the Department of Building and Safety. Twenty-four hour operation requires a conditional use process (as do operations past 11 p.m.). Hours requested now are 6 am to 2 am daily. (3) Sandy Eddy stated that a liquor license cannot be transferred from one location to another. Since a new license has to be obtained the new location should have the same hours and size of what business is there now. Over 280 opposing signatures have been obtained. Main points of opposition are alcohol sales, operating hours and size. (4) John Murdock the attorney for an adjacent building owner stated that there is a problem because the driveway will negatively impact ingress and egress to his client’s building. In 2007 similar findings for an expanded food mart could not be made. The project is not by-right because it requires permit. The current building proposed is a huge increase over what is there now. In addition there are concerns about the design. (5) Ron Dean said the traffic study does not change the grade but that doesn’t mean traffic won’t change, the categories are very broad. Mini marts are an encouragement for homeless to purchase things late at night. Ron urged the PPCC to reject the proposal. (6) The planning is poor, i.e., having this use so close to residences. The owner has been cited in the past for violating conduct regarding alcohol sales. The price paid was for a property that did not allow alcohol sales so this is an attempt to maximize profits at the expense of the community. (7) A mother spoke concerned about foot traffic and expressed that alcohol sales at night serve no good purpose. (8) Ted Weitz asked if this use at this location is good for the community. A mini mart’s top selling items are typically tobacco, beer and lottery tickets. Mini marts are quasi-public spaces because owners do not turn away kids and loiterers and police don’t come onto a property without a formal complaint. Kids walk by this location getting to local schools, particularly Palisades Charter High School. (9) A representative from Sunrise Assisted Living expressed concerns with the alleyway that they use to remove trash and also that has back doors to some of the units. (10) A concern was expressed about Prop 65 and the chemicals and materials used during construction. How does the owner guarantee that further harm won’t be caused to residents who live within seventy-five feet of this property? (11) Paul Glasgall opposed the 24 hour use because it may become a magnet for a bad ilk similar to problems that have taken place at other all night businesses throughout the City of LA. (12) the owner of the Ritrovo building spoke against the proposal because it impedes trash pick up and delivery for his building. Trucks backing up will not be able to see. (13) Reza Akef spoke in support of late night and early morning operating hours though not in favor of alcohol sales. What happened in 2007 does not apply to this current application. It is not fair for one property to have to assure trash take out and turn arounds for adjacent buildings. (14) Michael Kohanoff stated that he has served the community well for the past 25 years. His business license has never been suspended. He is not asking for two to three floors or subterranean building like other adjacent and area property owners. This is a simple request where he is moving his existing business one block over. In the past the current location used to have a 24-hour business and the current 24 hour business he has at the Mobil station does not cause any problems for the community. The private patrol companies patronize his business and provide additional security for his location and the community. The previous car wash was not denied based on size but because a zoning change was needed. A convenience store is not a criminal business and there are good businesses in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and other areas of the City of Los Angeles. His current business does not have homeless issues and the way that he does business does not attract additional homeless persons to the area. Richard Cohen sponsored the following motion: “PPCC requests that the owner of the proposed project revise the application and reconsider his development in consultation with affected neighboring residents and businesses.” Sarah Conner seconded the motion. Discussion: Howard Robinson suggested that the board give direction such as being against 24 hour operations, alcohol sold past 2 a.m., etc. The motion passed.
10. New Business – none.
11. General Public Comment.
12. Adjournment. Chris Spitz adjourned the meeting at 9:06 PM.
ITEM 7.1.5 – PPCC LETTER IN OPPOSITION TO COUNCILMEMBER BONIN’S MOTION ON THE LEGALIZATION OF SHORT TERM RENTALS IN R ZONES.
September 28, 2015
Councilmembers Jose Huizar (Chair, PLUM Committee and member, Housing Committee),
Re: OPPOSED – CF 14-1635-S2, “Short-Term Rentals / Transient Occupancy Tax / City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund” Motion
Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) is the most broadly based community organization and the voice of the Palisades since 1973. At its regular meetings on May 15 and September 24, 2015, PPCC’s board discussed short-term rentals in existing residential (“R”) zones where that activity is presently illegal throughout the City of Los Angeles. On September 24th, PPCC passed the following motion:
“PPCC opposes the Motion in CF 14-1635-S2, sponsored by Mike Bonin and Herb J. Wesson, Jr. PPCC opposes any change in the current zoning laws regarding short-term rentals.”
PPPC urges that you consider the following four (4) points of concern:
1. The City’s current regulations in fact do “anticipate” and “effectively” regulate short-term rentals. They are illegal in R zones for very good reasons. Pacific Palisades is comprised of cohesive residential neighborhoods with strategically located commercial zones. Our residential neighborhoods were never intended to accommodate hotel-like environments with transient occupancy by strangers and the noise, parking, traffic, litter and other activities not usual and customary. Safety of neighborhoods is threatened every time alarm and gate codes are given to strangers, Neighborhood Watch programs (founded on residents knowing their neighbors) are compromised and emergency responders are placed at-risk by having to respond to increased and unknown numbers of people coming and going out of what were meant to be single dwelling units. Furthermore, the Palisades has hillside areas, very high fire hazard severity zones, and areas with limited parking and narrow streets; these factors lead to increased risk for residents and short term renters alike — particularly since the Bonin/Wesson Motion does not call for fire and public health inspections or compliance.
2. The answer to technology, innovation, and the way that some people want to travel, make friends or make ends meet is not a blanket commercialization of the City’s neighborhoods, including Pacific Palisades. In response to allegations that the City does not have the resources or will to enforce existing zoning, PPCC suggests that the existing LAMC be amended to allow property owners a private right of action, with recovery of attorney’s fees, in response to the illegal operation of short-term rentals in residential zones. This amendment would help those Palisadians who told PPCC of negative impacts already occurring from short-term rentals in the Marquez Knolls, Palisades Highlands, Edgewater Towers, Via Mesa Bluffs, Riviera, and along the Sunset Boulevard corridor.
3. The way to preserve rental housing and protect the character of residential neighborhoods is not to legalize short-term rentals and collect a transient occupancy tax in order to pay for “crucial,” yet undefined, city services. PPCC is very concerned that residential zones will be negatively impacted as a “money grab” for the City. We are concerned that the City will be drawn to this proposal to achieve additional tax revenues, at the expense of degraded residential property values. It is reasonable for homeowners who are rightly concerned about property values and quality of life to be given, at a minimum, the right to prior notice of any application submitted and appeal of any short-term rental permit issued. Any ordinance should also require an inclusive and specific definition of the “hosts” that would pay the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), who collects the tax, how the tax would be assessed, where that tax goes and the remedy/enforcement against defaulters. Finally, any ordinance must require that the applicant, property owner and operator (if distinct) pay legal wages, abide by hotel employee protections, and register with California’s Employment Development Department.
4. The directive to authorize a “host” to rent “all or part” of their “primary residence” to short-term “visitors,” permitting “someone” to rent a “spare room,” a “back house,” or even their own home while they are “out of town,” is untenable. At minimum this ideal should apply to renting “part” of a primary residence that would support a true ideal of “home-sharing” in R zones. In addition, PPCC is well versed on legal challenges that likely will arise should the ordinance attempt to define terms such as “primary residence” or “spare room.” Limiting rentals to one or more rooms only when “hosts” “live” on the property is not realistically enforceable; what proof would be provided and deemed sufficient? What time and duration limits would be placed on the “hosts'” ability to travel “out of town” and what proof would be provided and deemed sufficient? None of these measures would prevent the adverse impacts (noise, cars, safety, parties) that accompany short-term rental activity in residential zones. PPCC is well aware of too many areas in which City enforcement falls woefully short. The vague words employed in the Bonin/Wesson Motion, if incorporated in any ordinance (e.g., “primary residence”), will likely lead to less, not more, enforcement and lack of protection for residential zones.
PPCC is extremely concerned about an increasing assault on low-density and in particular R-1 zoning by regulation and planning measures which erode traditional protections long relied-upon by homeowners. With respect and great urgency, we request that instead of legalizing short-term rentals, the City should take firm steps to enforce existing law.
Thank you for your consideration.
cc (via email):
Hon. Eric Garcetti, Mayor, City of Los Angeles