MINUTES FOR NOVEMBER 12th 2015
Voting Members in Attendance: Chris Spitz, Maryam Zar, Jennifer Malaret, Barbara Kohn, Barbara Marinacci, Janet Anderson, Richard Wulliger, Gilbert Dembo, Sarah Rena Conner, Reza Akef, George Wolfberg, Sue Kohl, Nancy Niles, Cathy Russell, Rick Mills and Bruce Schwartz.
Voting Alternates: Dustin Hall, David Kaplan, Linda Lefkowitz, Howard Robinson and Diane Bleak.
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Donna Vaccarino, David Peterson, Schuyler Dietz, Carol Bruch and Ted Mackie.
Start of Business Meeting
1. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. The Chair deferred reading the Mission Statement.
2. Call to Order and Introduction of the Board and Audience. The Chair called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm. Introduction of the Board and audience.
3. Certification of Quorum. The Chair certified that a quorum was present at 7:04 pm.
4. Adoption of Minutes/Upcoming Meetings. The Chair deemed the minutes of October 22, 2015 approved as corrected. Upcoming meetings: Special PPCC Public Board Meeting: 11/18/15, 6:30pm, Palisades Recreation Center “big” gym. Presentation of VPLUC report and public comment regarding Caruso Affiliated Village Project land use application. PPCC Holiday Dinner/Citizen of the Year, Golden Sparkplugs and Pride of the Palisades Awards Event: 12/10/15, 6:30pm, Gladstone’s Restaurant. Regular PPCC Public Board Meeting: 1/14/16. Briefing by FAA officials regarding new flight path over Pacific Palisades (Metroplex plan).
5. Consideration of Agenda. The President considered the agenda.
6. Treasurer’s Report. The Chair deferred the Treasurer’s Report.
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. 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 tab on PPCC website. Like Us on Facebook at pacpalicc.
7.1.3. Short Term Rentals Update. See letter and motion attached 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.
7.1.4. Sign Ordinance Update. On 10/22/15 the City Planning Commission rejected more lenient regulations proposed by the Planning Department and unanimously approved stricter rules, including “takedown measures” and denial of amnesty for unpermitted billboards; matter to considered by the City Council (date TBD). See minutes of 9/24/15 and 10/22/15 for past PPCC positions.
7.1.5. Sidewalk Vending Ordinance Update. On 10/27/15 the Council Economic Development Committee approved legalization of sidewalk vending and recommended establishment of non-vending zones; matter transferred to the Public Works Committee; Councilmember Bonin position: in favor of sidewalk vending but against blanket Citywide legalization, i.e., should be a matter for local community determination. See minutes of 9/10/15 for PPCC position (sidewalk vending should only be allowed on an “opt-in” basis for communities that want this activity).
7.1.6. Above Ground Facilities (AGF) Ordinance Revision Update. Council File 09-2645 pertaining to this matter had expired but is now extended until 2017 pursuant to recent motion by Councilmember Bonin. The City Attorney’s review of draft revised ordinance is still ongoing. PPCC strongly supports revision of the local ordinance regulating cell towers and other facilities in the public right of way.
7.1.7. 16900-17000 Sunset Blvd. Apartment Project. Coastal Development Permit appeal hearing set for 12/2/15 before the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission. See minutes of 1/8/15 for PPCC position (i.e., a focused EIR is required before a Coastal Development Permit is issued).
7.2. Announcements from Governmental Representatives Representatives (Note: Contact information at: http://www.pp90272.org/Governmental%20Reps.pdf).
7.2.1. Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) – SLO Officer Moore, Captain Tina Nieto.
SLO Moore reported that (1) LAPD did a homeless task force sweep this morning and three persons were physically arrested (repeat offenders). An encampment that was on the beach was removed. A sweep was done through the Via Bluffs area and located 8 active camps and 7 inactive camps with two persons found at the time, one warned and the other taken to jail. The Captain reported that extra resources, 10 officers, were committed to Pacific Palisades for this effort. With the signage and recent fires, LAPD is able to make arrests. The Captain told residents the homeless are here because people give them money and while it is personal choice to do that or not, giving money does encourage the homeless to congregate here. Phone calls to private security companies work but calls need to be made to LAPD else the radio call is not made and not counted towards LAPD’s counts. (2) The possible robbery call did involve two transients, one of whom had a loaded fire arm and he (Ted Hopkins) was arrested.
7.2.2. United States Congress, Office of Congressman Ted Lieu. Janet Turner, District Representative.
Janet Turner in attendance. (1) LAX flight path. Janet attended a
7.3. Announcements from Board Members and Advisors.
7.3.1. Officers/Area Representatives.
(1) George Wolfberg (At-Large); status of airplane noise in SM Canyon and elsewhere in Palisades. There will be a briefing January 14, 2015 to do with what flight paths are being used. The briefing will be about the big jets (not helicopters) that come down the coast and how turnarounds will be achieved near Santa Monica Canyon. George reported that the noise has increased over the last five weeks or more for Santa Monica Canyon residents. Meetings on the topics have begun and George Wolfberg and Janet Turner have been attending, including a meeting today at LAX. Noise has increased over Mar Vista as well. Questions: (1) were changes in aircraft discussed, i.e., more military aircraft over the Pacific? Yes, but those changes are very temporary, 1-2 weeks. (2) today’s WSJ reported this as a nationwide problem with other Cities having already sued the government. (3) Chris reminded everyone that the FAA would be presenting at PPCC’s 1/14/16 meeting on this topic.
7.3.2. Organizational Representatives. (1) Nancy Niles, PP Woman’s Club, announced the annual Home tour on Sunday November 22, 2015. There will be two-day boutique at Palisades Charter High School, open to the public on November 21st and 22nd. For tickets www.ThePPWC.org or call 310-454-9012.
7.3.3. PPCC Advisors — None.
7.3.4. Board Members, Other Reports — None.
8. Reports from Committees.
8.1. 2015 Awards Selection Committee (Jennifer Malaret, Chair; Rick Mills, Gil Dembo, Andy Frew, Randy Young, members).
Chris announced that the 2015 PPCC Awards Selection Committee had selected the following PPCC Awards Honorees for 2015 and made the following comments:
Citizen of the Year: Sharon Kilbride.
Pride of the Palisades:
Chris stated that PPCC congratulates all of the Honorees whose volunteer efforts have greatly contributed to the betterment of the Palisades. PPCC also invites all interested community members to join PPCC in presenting the Awards at PPCC’s Holiday Dinner and Awards event to take place on December 10, 6:30pm at Gladstone’s. Stay tuned for more details to come shortly!
8.2. Awards Event Committee (Peter Culhane, Chair; subcommittee chairs Maryam Zar and Sue Kohl).
Citizen of the Year, Golden Sparkplugs and Pride of the Palisades Awards Event – December 10, 2015, 6:30pm, Gladstones Restaurant. Chris announced that details and information about how to RSVP to be distributed shortly via evites/email and social media. All Board members are encouraged to attend this special PPCC Holiday Dinner and Awards Event and RSVP early!
8.3. VPLUC (David Kaplan, Chair).
Update regarding 10/29/15 Committee meeting. David announced that there will be a special Board meeting 11/18/15, 6:30 pm, Palisades Recreation Center “big” gym (presentation of VPLUC report to the Board and additional public comment).
8.4. Bylaws Committee (Richard Cohen and Jennifer Malaret, Co-Chairs).
First reading, oral and written, of Motions 1(A) and (2) regarding proposed bylaws changes (organizational membership, meetings). George Wolfberg, committee member, read the following motions and red-lined document distributed with the agenda:
Motion 1(A). The Bylaws Committee recommends that the Board vote to adopt the proposed amendments distributed with the agenda, referred to as “Organization Representatives Motion #1(A)”. The proposed amendments are now limited to: (1) improving calendaring of the process by which organization representatives and their alternates are selected, (2) providing a procedure for membership application by existing and new organizations, and (3) non-substantive corrective and clarifying language regarding vacancies and other matters.
*MOTION 2: The Bylaws Committee recommends that, to expedite and preserve efficiency at PPCC’s scheduled and public meetings, Article XII, Sec. 2(B) (Amendments) be amended as follows: “No amendment or new Bylaw may be voted upon until the entire text [delete “it”] has been distributed with [delete “read at”] the agenda for two consecutive Board [delete “council”] meetings.
9. Old Business.
9.1. Proposed BMO/BHO Amendments (“Draft BMO/BHO Ordinance”); CF 14-0656.
Motion for the Department of City Planning (“DCP”), with assistance from the Department of Building and Safety (“LADBS”) to prepared proposed amendments to the regulations established by the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) and the Baseline Hillside Ordinance (BHO) (collectively and commonly referred to as the “Anti-Mansionization Ordinances”). See prior Minutes http://www.pp90272.org/minutes2015.htm#14MAY15 (no position taken).
Background: The Draft BMO/BHO is being circulated by the City of Los Angeles for comment. These amendments are intended to address what some feel has been “a proliferation of out of scale development” in single family neighborhoods” which “has demonstrated a need to update the current rules.” These amendments will not rezone property, however they will further restrict building on property in Pacific Palisades zoned R1, RS, RE or RA that is located in Hillside Areas in all non-Hillside Areas outside of the Coastal Zone. The City plans to hold future “open houses” and staff hearings, as well as an eventual hearing in the City Planning Commission (all dates TBD). To receive updates directly from the Planning Department, email firstname.lastname@example.org and type “Add Me to BMO/BHO Notification List” in the subject line. To submit written comments on this proposed zoning code amendment contact Christine Saponara at NeighborhoodConservation@lacity.org. Presentation: Jennifer Malaret opened the discussion by noting the intent of the agenda was to present information to residents about the draft ordinance now proposing to change the existing BMO and BHO regulations. Discussion: (1) Donna Vaccarino stated that the majority of houses built in the Palisades are by developers and are flipped. People have demanded and asked the city for change. The Civic League has guidelines to mitigate development and the Civic League feels that this ordinance is over-reaching as to development. A smaller 5,200 square foot lot with a 2,400 square foot lot would be changed to a .45 development so the maximum house would be 2,400 including the garage leaving only 2,000 square feet of living area. So if a resident chose to add an extra bedroom or bath many would not be able to do so. The type of bonuses the Civic League looks at are second floor set backs in the front and an increase of side yards so total square footage without articulation is not a good thing. The ordinance that is before us is not well written and hopefully there will be a second draft. What would the Civic League suggest the maximum square footage be on a 5,200 square foot lot? 60% (2) Reza Akef suggested that homes are built following the building code and this ordinance takes away the ability to construct a home to an owner’s aesthetic pleasure. In CD5 and CD10 people are upset about homes losing their traditional feel and they are pushing for Citywide change. The proposed ordinance is aesthetic regulation/removal of choice or will diminish property values due to restricted size. (3) The modern family has more kids who want their own bathroom and offices, theaters and other uses that require square footage. (4) Development in the Palisades has increased property values where a lot bought 15 years ago for less than a million is now worth more than $2.5 million in Pacific Palisades. This ordinance caps values over time and will then limit tax revenue over time. The ordinance takes away roughly 1/3 of your value and buildable square footage. People in town are buying small homes on land value property because over time they want to build the house that their neighbor built. (5) a resident with a small house spoke against the ordinance because it would limit her property value and what she can leave to her kids, plus it would be fundamentally unfair for them not to be able to build what their neighbors have built. (6) Brenda Theveny stated that basement square footage is living space and should be included in FAR. Quality of life is not based solely on property value. Square footage should be limited based on lot size. (7) Haldis Toppel said that houses should not be able to build out to the lot lines and the amendment to include courtyard space in the FAR. (8) Rick Mills supports reasonable limitations on design by Tract 9300 and there should be design and building envelope standards on homes in R1 neighborhoods. (9) What happens in an earthquake, fire or flood and the property is destroyed? Can you rebuild the same large house you had before or will you be limited? (10) Howard Robinson doesn’t understand why basements would be included in FAR – who cares what is underground, what is size and bulk? Richard Blumenberg said in Hillside Areas that basements sometimes daylight out and can be seen. Jennifer Malaret stated that in Hillside Areas counting basements and garage space in FAR may not make sense because garage space should be encouraged due to often narrow and windy streets where residents don’t like to see street parking and it is often unsafe. Donna Vaccarino said how basements are used is important as to whether the space should be included. (11) Reza Akef stated that the first 2,000 square feet includes 2 parking spots with an additional space for each 1,200 square feet.
Key Provisions/Discussion Items: Intended as a guideline for discussion and potential action item on the question presented in whole, or in part, “Does the PPCC agree (roughly in sequential order of the draft ordinance) that:
Purpose: The fundamental premise of the ordinance is correct, i.e., that there has been “a proliferation of out of scale development in single family neighborhoods” which “has demonstrated a need to update the current rules”?
Size: Basements (“excavation[s] under the footprint of [a] structure”) should be included in FAR calculations for properties subject to the BHO? Note: basements not located in the Hillside Area or Coastal Zone are exempt from FAR calculations.
Height: The appropriate way to measure height/grade in Hillside Areas is the “[insert: Grade]Elevation, [insert: at the perimeter of the building] of the finished or natural surface of the ground, whichever is lower, or the finished surface of the ground . . .”?
Size: Garages should now be counted towards FAR – i.e., should there be a change to the exemption for covered parking (now 200 square feet per required covered space is not counted towards FAR) such that to (a) a total of 200 square feet would be exempted in non-Hillside Areas and Coastal Zones only if the garage is detached and is in compliance with the location for accessory use buildings and (b) in Hillside Areas a total of 200 square feet per required parking area not exceed 400 square feet would be exempted, detached or not.
Size: The existing exemption for covered porches, patios and breezeways should be eliminated such that this square footage is now calculated towards FAR?
Size: The existing exemption for “Over-In-Height Ceilings” (generally speaking those less than 14 feet) should be eliminated and such square footage now calculated towards FAR?
Size: The allowed Maximum Residential Floor Area should be reduced in non-Hillside Areas that are out of the Coastal Zone and restricted by lot size, i.e., 20,000+ sq.ft. lot size;19,999 – 15,000 sq.ft. lot size; 14,999 – 9,000 sq.ft. lot size, 8,999 – 7,500 sq.ft. lot size, 7,499 sq.ft. lot size and below? [Note: please reference the Ordinance for proposed percentages and square footage ‘whichever is greater’ maximums].
Size: “Bonus Options” for additional Residential Floor Area in non-Hillside and Hillside Areas should be limited, including the reduction of the proportional stories option and, in sum, the elimination of Bonus Options for (a) architectural setbacks, (b) cumulative side yard setbacks, (c) minimal grading and, (d) in the case of new construction, substantial compliance with the requirements for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (“LEED) at the certified level or higher?
Size: For R-1 lots in a Hillside Area or Coastal Zone there should be a uniform reduction of -.05 in each corresponding slope band used to calculate the allowed Residential Floor Area?
Setbacks: A minimum front yard set back of no less than 5 feet should be codified?
Size/Garage: in a Hillside Area outside of the Coastal Zone a garage in the front yard now needs to be “detached” to be allowed (under the same conditions that the current ordinance allows a private garage previously attached or detached)?
Size: the Guaranteed Minimum Residential Floor Area of 1,000 square feet should be eliminated?
Zoning Administrator’s Authority: the Zoning Administrator’s Authority should be expanded to approve additions made after August 1, 2010 to “Buildings” (strike: “One Family Dwelling”) under the stated conditions?
Size: In Hillside Areas, the calculation for the Maximum Envelope Height should be changed such that it originates from the “adjacent Hillside Area Grade” rather than the “lowest Grade within 5 horizontal feet” of the exterior walls of a Building or Structure?”
10. New Business.
10.1. Presentation/Q&A: Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer.
Mike introduced his staff in attendance: Janette Flinthoff a Palisades resident and attorney who assists with funding grants. Laura Schwartz, prosecutor. Veronica de la Cruz-Robles, neighborhood prosecutor for Pacific Palisades and two other attorneys Mrya and Alma. Tom Peters, a local Palisadian who is now in charge of the CA’s civil branch. Purpose: the CA’s office advises the Mayor and City Council on issues that have a legal dimension. The office is involved in ultimately every issue in the City. The CA defends the City when it is sued. Mike wants his office to solve problems such as resolving cases against the City, water issues related to the Owens Valley, patient dumping on Skid Row, and banks for predatory lending. The office prosecutes criminal cases such as child abuse, drunk driving, vandalism, petty theft and graffiti. The CA needs to find solutions other than sanctions so it has innovative programs such as the Neighborhood Justice Program. The CA takes low-level offenders and tries to figure out how the community could work with a person to lesson the likelihood that he/she will commit the crime in the future. The office wants to solve problems whether they are large such as the water supply for Los Angeles or turning one person’s life around who can work through the neighborhood justice program. Questions: (1) Can the CA still impose alcohol conditions for CUBs and is this 100 percent black and white or tell us about the nexus needed? Mike said that the state regulates alcohol sales in CA and the state entity performs a control function. Land use questions arise in individual proposals and cities do have a role to play in evaluating if the development can move forward and under what conditions. The state preempts cities from saying yes or no as to whether alcohol can be sold. There are issues such as noise and nuisances that Cities do have control of. Does the state preemption apply if local planning persons are attempting to link alcohol sales to something that residents cannot control like traffic or parking not accommodated? (2) How is the City moving into the next ten years, hotels and taxi-cabs pay the city millions in taxes and now we have AirBnb and Uber? The CA does not determine City policy; work is underway to create a taxing structure for short term rentals (STRs) and the CA does not know in what direction the Mayor and City Council are going to go. Transportation, i.e., Uber v. taxis, is on-going and the Mayor is in favor of these “new economy engines” while some City Council members are against the new business models. (3) What is the cost of litigation for LA City involving non-conforming development and is this a waste of money when the City has failed to enforce its own land use laws? Mike said that voters and planners have to think about land use, however litigation arises because of motives of owners or developers. There may be a time when the City supports development despite risks associated with it. The CA would like to be involved proactively in cases where there are contested developments that place the City at risk. The CA has an individual, Kelly Limporter, who is in charge of risk management – land use, street trees, sidewalks, LAPD, employment litigation, etc. (4) Are you going to change my R-1 zone to multi-use? The CA can’t do that, such a change would be up to City Planning and the City Council. (5) Would the City be willing to sue LAUSD for nuisance in regard to traffic and safety issues for the kids and residents who suffer around Paul Revere Charter School? The CA said litigation is a last resort and Paul Revere is not alone in having issues with traffic safety. LAUSD, Bonin and DOT should be deeply engaged. When constructive dialogue fails the CA would be willing to get involved in dialogue and Mike has been talking to LAUSD about issues such as where gang members are intimidating children and parents trying to get to school. (6) A resident demanded a meeting with the CA regarding the recent homeless fires and was upset that the City had not paid or installed signage. Who is going to enforce people who are there and what happens to their stuff? Mike said that LAPD and LAFD are going to enforce. LAPD has a challenge with their stuff and there will be a way to figure out how to handle it and the CA will help with prosecutions where they are needed. A resident spoke on how action that the City is saying will be taken and it is not being taken. Mike said that the CA will provide legal advice and will prosecute. Maryam Zar gave a summary of the fire event this past weekend and reiterated that signage is now installed enabling LAPD to remove persons without notice. Sanitation needs to come in with LAPD to assist with removal of homeless encampments. LAPD has promised more resources including air support to help monitor the bluffs before and during enforcement. (7) Why doesn’t the CA use gang injunction techniques regarding the homeless? The situations are different but there is one similarity – i.e., ‘stay away’ orders as part of the prosecution. Depending on the severity of the offense stay aways could be part of prosecution here. (8) A resident expressed anger about the homeless problem and the lack of response from the City. Mike said that making living on the bluff unlawful to begin with is the start of removing homeless persons, so what happens to the person who does not leave or starts a fire? Typically, someone who starts a fire is charged with a felony. An arrest for being where you shouldn’t be does not carry a severe penalty. Generally, the CA tries to solve underlying problems that vary from a stay away order and jail time to resources for homeless persons to go elsewhere and systematic enforcement when they come back. Enforcement is LAPD or Park Rangers assisted by LAFD, and the CA’s office once there is an arrest made.
11. General Public Comment – None.
12. Adjournment. Chris Spitz adjourned the meeting at 9:07 PM.
ATTACHMENT: ITEM 7.1.3 – PPCC LETTER AND MOTION REGARDING SHORT TERM RENTALS
October 27, 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 broad-based community organization and the voice of the Palisades since 1973. As explained in PPCC’s letter of September 28, 2015 (on file in the above-referenced Council File), PPCC opposes the Motion by Councilmembers Bonin and Wesson and opposes any change in the current zoning laws regarding short-term rentals.
PPCC now understands that an ordinance is being drafted that would legalize short-term rentals in residential zones. In light of this fact, at its regular meeting on October 22, 2015 PPCC’s board passed the motion attached to this letter (recommended to all member councils by the leadership of the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils, as amended by PPCC – “WRAC-Recommended Motion”). PPCC remains strongly opposed to legalization of short-term rentals and emphasizes that any ordinance now being drafted must, at a minimum, include language to effectuate all of the regulatory measures set forth in the WRAC-Recommended Motion.
Attachment: WRAC-Recommended Short Term Rentals Motion (as amended by PPCC), adopted 10/22/15
CC’s (via email):
Hon. Eric Garcetti, Mayor, City of Los Angeles
WRAC-RECOMMENDED SHORT TERM RENTALS MOTION (AS AMENDED BY PPCC)
Whereas under the City of Los Angeles present zoning code, short-term rentals [defined per the attached Alan Bell memo dated 4-19-2014 as “all or any portions of residential buildings that are designed or used for occupancy for a period of 30 calendar days or less”] are in fact prohibited in the following zones:
No rent stabilized units “RSO” shall be allowed to rent short term.