MINUTES FOR FEBRUARY 11th 2016
Voting Members in Attendance: Chris Spitz, Maryam Zar, Jennifer Malaret, Richard Cohen, Barbara Kohn, Reza Akef, Bruce Schwartz, Rick Mills, Greg Sinaiko, Susan Payne, Peter Culhane, Janet Anderson, Sara Conner, Cathy Russell, Nancy Niles, Richard Wulliger, Stuart Muller, George Wolfberg, Gilbert Dembo and Barbara Marinacci.
Voting Alternates: Diane Bleak, Robin Meyers, Doug McCormick, and Todd Wadler.
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: David Kaplan, Diane Blake, Carol Bruch, Linda Lefkowitz and Ted Mackie.
Start of Business Meeting
- Reading of Community Council’s Mission. Richard Cohen read the Mission Statement.
- 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.
- Certification of Quorum. Chris certified that a quorum was present at 7:06 pm.
- Adoption of Minutes/Upcoming Meetings. Chris deemed the minutes of January 28, 2016 approved as corrected. Upcoming meetings: 2/25/16. (Tentative) VPLUC update / report supplement / Board discussion re Village Project land use application (see VPLUC Preliminary Report, http://www.pp90272.org/VPLUC.pdf, and PPCC minutes of 1/14/16; expected public release of MND / traffic study: mid-February). 3/10/16. (Tentative) WRAC-sponsored motions regarding (1) CUB/alcohol conditions, (2) the VA Master Plan and related Sen. Feinstein Bill, (3) Zoning Code enforcement.
- Consideration of Agenda. The President considered the agenda.
- Treasurer’s Report. Richard Cohen reported the financial status as of February 11, 2016. The total account balances equal $38,712.74. Richard stated that this past week PPCC filed its federal, state and California Registry or Charitable Trusts annual returns and filings.
- 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/BylawsJanuary2016.pdf).
7.1.2. Short Term Rentals (STRs) Update.
Chris stated that PPCC is awaiting distribution and transmittal by the City Planning Dept. of draft ordinance to legalize STRs currently illegal in residential zones (draft now expected in late February). PPCC position: opposed to permitting STRs in residential zones. See PPCC minutes of 9/24/15, 10/8/15, 10/22/15, 11/12/15 and attached letters.
7.1.3. BMO/BHO Amendment Update. See PPCC minutes of 1/14/16 and attached letter.
7.1.4. Revised Draft AGF Ordinance Update. See attached letter (see also PPCC minutes of 1/28/16 and attached Talking Points and “the Skinny” documents).
7.1.5. LADWP – Pole-Top Distributing Stations Update. See LADWP Power Point posted at:http://www.pp90272.org/index.html. Chris announced that the DWP power point is on the council’s website. Chris read the PPCC announcement below for the record. See attached below.
7.1.6. Launch of new PPCC website (www.pacpalicc.org).
Chris stated that for a preview of the work in progress as of agenda distribution, go to: https://ppccwebsite.wordpress.com. Thanks to Michael Soneff for helping with this effort expected to launch within the next week or two. Special thanks to Ted Mackie, creator of PPCC’s original website and webmaster for over 14 years.
7.1.7. (Tentative) cancellation of March 24 Board meeting due to library staff unavailability. Chris explained that without staff there is a special $240 charge and the Executive Committee is not aware of any special matter that requires a meeting on that date. If any board member or member of the public objects, please let Chris know after the meeting or immediately otherwise.
7.2. Announcements from Governmental Representatives (Note: Contact information at: http://www.pp90272.org/Governmental%20Reps.pdf).
7.2.1. Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) – SLO Officer Moore.
SLO Moore reported that: (1) Crime is down 52% overall in the Palisades compared to last year at this time. (2) Homelessness and Enforcement. Not all enforcement results in an arrest and removal to jail, in fact 90% of enforcement against a homeless person is a citation that is signed. If they go to court it is taken care of or it turns into a warrant which after time the officers can take them to jail for not going to court. Questions: (1) Have neighborhood watch groups had an effect? Absoultely. (2) Car registrations. Criminals will take the registrations and then sell a car that they sold. Owners should make a copy of their registration card, block out the address and then the paper is useless to would be thieves. (3) RV Parking on Sunset and Palisades Drive, is that legal? Yes, it is being allowed unless there are posting against vehicle length and hours. Signs are needed for enforcement.
7.2.2. Los Angeles City Council, District 11; Councilmember Mike Bonin’s Office. Sharon Shapiro, Field Deputy — Not in attendance.
7.2.3. Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Daniel Tamm, Westside Area Representative, Mayor’s Interfaith Liaison — Not in attendance.
7.2.4. California State Assembly, Office of Assemblymember Richard Bloom. Stephanie Cohen, Field Representative — Not in attendance.
7.2.5. California State Senate, Office of State Senator Ben Allen. Lila Kalaf, District Representative.
Lila reported that (1) The legislature in in session in Sacramento and new laws are being introduced every day. The deadline for new legislation is February 19, 2016. Sen. Allen’s three priorities are homelessness (the No Place Like Home Initiative which funds permanent housing in cities using Proposition 63 funds instead of a new source; $200 million for transitional housing until permanent housing can be built), the environment (Porter Ranch; SD888 to deal with the climate change impact of the methane leak) and education (Ta-Da (theater and dance act) to allow for credentials to be offered in theater and dance for teachers in this specialty; measures to address teacher shortages; packages to address recruitment, training, credentials, and loan forgiveness). Also El Nino brochures are available along with cards to encourage outreach to Senator Allen’s office. Questions: (1) What is the status of curtailing photo enforcement by the MRCA? Senator Allen has been in Franklin and Temescal Canyon with the MRCA and other Senators. There has been a traffic study to make recommendations as to where the stop signs are located. Could PPCC get a traffic of the traffic study? Yes, MRCA did a traffic study that Senator Allen’s office will provide us with. (2) When funds are passed for homeless what is the intent? That has not been determined yet but details on distribution could be provided. (3) Prop 63 money is only being allocated at $2 million, where is the rest of the money going? What about the City of LA homeless money that is being budgeted? Where is it all going? Prop. 63 is generally for mental health services. Is there a website or somewhere to go to see where Prop. 63 money is going? Yes, Senator Allen’s office will forward that to PPCC. (4) Would the Senator be amenable to taking a look at penalties for hit and run drivers, particularly those who run over bicycle riders? Yes. (5) Please stress that this community is fed up with MRCA with regard to the stop signs.
7.2.6. United States Congress, Office of Congressman Ted Lieu. Janet Turner, District Representative.
Janet reported that: (1) Thank you for the effort to turn out for input on the final draft of the VA Masterplan including 1,200 permanent beds (490 to be completed in 30 months and 739 bridge beds), the Purple Line and the VA Secretary promised for a parking structure available for the Purple Line. There is going to be a community veteran engagement board with Ann Brown (the new director of the WLA VA) who would like to present to PPCC as to how this board will work. The VA did a traffic study and then the VA re-worked the Master Plan to address challenges revealed from that. There will be a second traffic study to see if measures are effective. UCLA’s agreement has been completed and is a benefit. Brentwood School and Brentwood Village (has formed a 501c3 to help train veterans). Soccer will continue as long as the land is not needed. The status of the dog park is not known. The legislation is needed to go through to provide permanent housing for veterans.
7.3. Announcements from Board Members and Advisors.
7.3.1. Officers/Area Representatives.
(1) Chris announced that the next PPTFH community meeting will be on 2/18/16, 3-5pm, Palisades library. Topics: Count Recap; LAFD, LAPD updates; keynote by Inner City Law Center Exec. Director Adam Murray (LAT Op Ed: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-1231-murray- myths-about-la-homelessness-20160101-story.html). (2) Reza Akef (Area 8) reported that the Northern Trust has broken their promises to CD11 and residents regarding mitigation to the community. Deliveries are taking place at 4 am and there are other violations of their Conditional Use Permit (“CUP”). Reza asked CD-11 to investigate and hold the Riviera County Club accountable to their CUP. Chris stated that PPCC could ask for a letter to advise of the parameters of the CUP and to encourage the Country Club and the sponsors of events to comply. Chris asked Reza to submit a draft letter.
7.3.2. Organizational Representatives – Report on Behalf of Organizations.
(1) Bruce Schwartz, PRIDE. Proposed streetscape safety enhancements (not parklet) at intersection of La Cruz and Alma Real. Bruce reported that PRIDE is in the exploratory stages of seeking support for this project and more information will be reported within the next several meetings.
- Reports from Committees.
8.1. Bylaws Committee (Richard Cohen and Jennifer Malaret, Co-Chairs).
Update on drafting of proposed bylaws amendments relative to elected Area and At-large representatives, election procedures and a minor adjustment to Area 3 and Area 4 boundaries (Bylaws Art. VIII.1.B and D; Appendix B and Attachment A). Richard summarized the report at the last meeting and reported that follow up communications had been made with residents as to adjustments to the Area 3 and Area 4 boundaries. There is affinity to the canyon which is Area 4 so the committee agrees that if that is what the residents want then they should have that. The committee feels that Baylor which extends off of Sunset is more aligned with Area 3 and the compromise has been discussed with all.
8.2. VPLUC (David Kaplan, Chair).
Update on status of Village Project land use application/MND/traffic study. David reported that since the last DRB meeting the developer has submitted a revised set of plans. The committee is reviewing those plans and will complete a revised report to include whatever those plans have adjusted though there are not many areas of the prior report that the plans impact. The traffic study is expected on 2/18/2016. Patti Post, PPCC’s traffic expert, will be involved and reviewing that study. The committee hopes to submit a revised report and a possible recommendation to the board at PPCC’s 2/25/2016 meeting.
- Old Business.
9.1. Further presentation / discussion re Village Starbucks Proposed CUB (onsite beer and wine sales).
Presenting: Spencer Regnery, Glassman Associates. (City file held open until Feb. 16 for potential input by PPCC.) Chris introduced the topic and summarized the results of her personal survey of Starbuck’s stores with evening programs in Torrance, Calabasas and Beverly Hills. [See: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Survey-of-Starbucks-Evening-Programs-2.pdf.] Presentation: Spencer referred to the correspondence and response from Starbucks in answer to the discussion from the last meeting and follow up correspondence. Photos from displays were exhibited. The atmosphere does not change between stores that offer the Evening Program and those who do not. The stores have large community tables that can be reserved. No draft beer is served and wine bottles are kept behind the counter for refills. Starbucks has table service where alcohol orders are taken at the counter and then brought to the table so people are not wandering around. Beer and wine sales are low at participating Starbucks throughout California and the real effort is to expand the food offerings and to give an option to people not wanting to drink coffee at 6 PM at night. Starbucks want to elevate the experience and encourage people to sit and enjoy the offerings and service rather than focusing on “to go” service and products. Questions: (1) Have the request for hours been adjusted? 12 PM to close have been asked for with the idea of flexibility. Just because those are the requested hours doesn’t mean that this is when Starbucks will be selling. This allows the flexibility for the store manager to make the determination what is best. Sales are 1 percent of sales which on average are 1,200 units so that translates into only 12 alcoholic beverages per day and PPCC’s survey showed less than that (3-4) being sold. It is not just about the alcohol it is about the food. (2) Concerns for the location in the Palisades as contrasted to Beverly Hills is that it has more than one entrance and exit and there is a line of sight from the baristas to the areas serving alcohol. The Palisades has schools around and homeless persons as well. Hours should be restricted from 4 pm to closing and no alcohol should be served on the patios. Holidays can result in more kids being in the store as do weekends such as after the Farmer’s Market. (3) Other stores have a dedicated staff member to monitor alcohol service. (4) at Santa Monica Civic Canyon Association’s meeting there was much opposition to the program. There are so many Starbucks all around the City, why here in Pacific Palisades? Torrance similarly is located by schools and fears were the same yet the program has been a success and the atmosphere has not changed. (5) Kay N Daves serves beer and wine from morning to the evening and there are no problems. Merchants have a responsibility to their Conditional Use Permits and they have an incentive to be responsible. The State has a responsible minor program to go into restaurants to make sure that sales are not being made to underage persons. A valid ID must be slid through the register before an alcohol purchase is made. (6) Gelson’s has promotions and tastings, this is nothing to be concerned with. (7) the Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously to support the Evening Program. Starbucks is a professional and responsible organization and the Chamber feels that this program will be implemented responsibility. (8) Tivoli across the hedge and other restaurants serve wine and beer at noon. The regulation by Starbucks is what is important. (9) Serving alcohol prevents Starbucks from hiring high school students and the jobs for kids are disappearing. (10) The homeless get free coffee at Starbucks. They should not get free wine or beer. (11) It is a philosophical discussion. There used to be one ABC license in town. That is changing and now there are more and the grocery stores and doing tastings. What is the future vision for the Palisades relative to ABC licenses? This council should have a philosophical discussion about that at some time. (12) ABC is an additional enforcement arm not just an allowing or enabling entity. Having another regulatory in place is a good thing. Once the CUP process has been approved then the ABC license is applied for. There is no hearing but it is a process. (13) There is concern with having alcohol sales at the existing Shell Station because of kids coming there to buy alcohol. Kids already come to this Starbucks and this community has a funnel of schools and as a result a large priority of unsupervised kids. (14) There was opposition to the program in Calabasas three years ago and now it is fine, the atmosphere is the same and nothing has changed. (15) A mom with young kids is concerned about the availability of alcohol at Starbucks and wondered what is the tipping point? How many places do we need to get beer and wine? (16) How can there be a fantastic food program when there is no kitchen at Starbucks? Wanting a license for 1% in sales does not make sense, Starbucks must want the program for something else. The evening program is being sought to elevate the food program which is projected to boost the sales of the store several hundred thousand dollars per year at each location; this is a business decision where the beer and wine is not the focus of the program (though as a sensitive use the beer and wine is the focus of this discussion). (17) How many applications is too many noting that there is no one thing about this application that stands out as negative? (18) This is not a complete restaurant, it is a hang out for kids sometimes at night and the patios are dark. The baristas do not control the patios. This location is being targeted because it is so successful economically. Action: Reza Akef moved to support the application provided that two modifications are made: (1) alcohol to be served only from the hours of 4 pm to closing, 7 days a week and (2) alcohol can only be served indoors and not on exterior patio locations. The motion was seconded by Rick Mills. Discussion: Gil Dembo opposed the motion limiting service to indoors. Diane Bleak suggested tabling the motion to have more discussion. Motion to table is out of order since this is not an urgent matter. Motion to postpone the matter was made by Diane Bleak. Richard Wulliger seconded the motion to postpone. Richard Cohen objected to the motion to postpone because it removes the voice of the board and Starbucks has been here twice – why wouldn’t the board express its opinion vis-à-vis a vote? Vote: the motion to postpone failed with one vote in support. Discussion on Original Motion: Starbucks does not oppose the hours but would oppose limiting service to the indoors only. Friendly amendment offered to amend the motion to call for a 5 PM start time. Vote: Friendly amendment failed with only one vote. Vote on the Main Motion: 10 in favor, 9 votes opposed. The motion fails. Motion: Gil Dembo made a motion to limit the hours to 4 PM. Greg Sinaiko seconded the motion. Vote: 14 votes in favor. 5 votes opposed. 19 votes total, the motion passed.
- New Business – None.
11. General Public Comment.
11.1. Re the DWP substation issue: a new distribution station should be built. Temporary pole top facilities should not be implemented that affect residents and certain issues deserve further exploration. (1) for safe, sustainable and affordable power the location at El Medio has a history of fire (car brush fire). (2) Palisades Charter High school is a busy parking lot. The 4th of July fireworks spark land on the sidewalk and this is a severe fire risk. (3) Was the safety of the proposed El Medio location shared with DWP when they presented? (4) How long is temporary? Are we guaranteed when they will be moved or removed when the permanent station is built?? (5) Any permits obtained? How many steps before ground has been broken? Has funding been set aside? Where will the station be built? Temporary often becomes permanent. (6) There are already distribution poles on Sunset so the idea that Sunset being a scenic highway is limiting in some way is not really valid. (7) There is visual blight associated with these pole top transformers.
11.2. Thanks to the PPCC for providing the forum last week and encouraging CD11 to come back to the community.
- Adjournment. Chris Spitz adjourned the meeting at 9:00 PM.
ITEM 7.1.4 – PPCC LETTER RE REVISED DRAFT AGF ORDINANCE
February 1, 2016
Hon. Mike Bonin, Councilmember, 11th District
Hon. Joe Buscaino, Chair, Public Works & Gang Reduction (PWGR) Committee
Hon. Jose Huizar, Chair, Planning & Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee
Hon. PWGR and PLUM Committee members: Martinez, Price, O’Farrell, Ryu, Harris-Dawson, Englander, Cedillo, Fuentes
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Re: CF-09-2645 – SUPPORT (with requested addition): Revised Draft Above Ground Facilities (AGF) Ordinance
Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) has been the voice of the community for more than forty years. At its regularly scheduled meeting on January 28, 2016, the PPCC Board unanimously passed the following motion relative to the above-referenced Council File:
“That PPCC support the AGF Ordinance revised as of December 8, 2015, but with a request that “Community Councils” be included among the organizations entitled to receive notice under LAMC Sections 62.08.VII.D.1(e) and 2(e).”
Since 2010, PPCC has called for and strongly supports necessary revision of the AGF Ordinance. We urge the Council PWGR and PLUM Committees to take this matter up at the earliest opportunity and to approve the draft AGF Ordinance revised by the City Attorney as of December 8, 2015, with the addition of “Community Councils” among the organizations entitled to receive notice under LAMC Sections 62.08.VII.D.1(e) and 2(e).
Thank you. Sincerely,
Christina Spitz, President
Pacific Palisades Community Council
cc (via email):
Ted Jordan, Deputy City Attorney
John White, Legislative Assistant, PWGR Committee Sharon Dickinson, Legislative Assistant, PLUM Committee w/ request for filing in CF 09-2645
ITEM 7.1.5 – LADWP POLE-TOP DISTRIBUTION STATIONS UPDATE
Subject: Proposed Pole Top DS in Pacific Palisades
Yesterday, numerous messages were posted on Nextdoor and sent via email, containing inaccurate information about proposed temporary pole-top DS installations (PTDS) and PPCC’s process to date. This will set the record straight.
PPCC is an all-volunteer community organization with its principal function to serve as a forum for the discussion of community issues. PPCC is not an arm of the City and does not participate with the City or any of its agencies, including LADWP, in decision-making. PPCC had no involvement whatsoever with the LADWP decision to locate PTDS anywhere in the Palisades.
LADWP asked PPCC for time to make a presentation at one of PPCC’s board meetings about the need to install temporary facilities to improve coverage and avoid continued power outages. PPCC provided advance notice to the community of the January 28 LADWP presentation, including in email blasts, in our meeting agendas, on our website, in social media and in newspaper postings.
PPCC had no advance knowledge about the scope or design of these installations or where they would be located. PPCC and the community learned for the first time, at the public PPCC board meeting on January 28, exactly what was being proposed and where the PTDS would be located (in the sidewalk area along Marquez Ave. across from the vacant lot and along the east side of El Medio just south of Sunset). This was a surprise to all, including the representatives of the two areas affected.
LADWP gave a Power Point presentation which can be viewed here: http://www.pp90272.org/DWPpowerpoint.pdf. (LADWP provided the Power Point for public dissemination the day after their presentation; for security reasons the maps showing the actual labyrinthine electrical circuits serving the Palisades were removed.) PPCC board members and residents in attendance on January 28 grilled LADWP representatives for over an hour about the reasons for the PTDS and why they had to be installed in the locations mentioned. PPCC will post extensive meeting minutes in the next few days on the PPCC website, pacpalicc.org, which will provide more information about the discussion. Those interested should check the website in the coming days in order to view the minutes.
Briefly, we were told that the PTDS are required because of the many power outages which are increasing in frequency due to overloading of the existing circuits and “feeders”; that heavy electrical loads are expected this summer; that a solution is needed to provide a more reliable power source before the summer; that the PTDS are temporary and will be removed once construction of a permanent substation is completed (length of time currently unknown); that the installations cannot be undergrounded because this would cost much more, would take much longer to build, and would be more disruptive because of the need to construct large vaults into and under the streets; and that the PTDS locations are critical because they need to be close to other, already established supply lines.
As to the Marquez location, we asked whether the facility could be placed further back on property owned by LADWP (more away from the line of sight) and we were told that this would involve a different process under the current Zoning Code and would take much longer and require additional permits. As to the El Medio location, we were told that the only other alternative would be on Sunset near the El Medio corner, but this was rejected by LADWP due to the sidewalk width and the fact that the locations would be in front of the two churches on a scenic highway.
There is no required public input or discretion as to where LADWP places utility poles; such poles are exempt from above-ground permitting under the relevant City regulations. LADWP was not required to come to the community to present any information about the PTDS, but did so as a courtesy. LADWP made it clear that by state law, they are required to provide facilities necessary to provide adequate, reliable electrical power. Public rights of way, including streets and sidewalks, are not just for pedestrians and vehicles but also for utility use. LADWP advised that the locations were chosen because they met a number of criteria, including placement within the community’s existing electrical system, various safety criteria, and where adequate pedestrian access could occur around the installations.
Following the January 28 meeting, consistent with their responsibilities area representatives, including Rick Mills of Area 4 (El Medio), sent email and Nextdoor postings with information about the LADWP presentation, including a link to the Power Point presentation. PPCC also did so. In addition, PPCC’s president Chris Spitz has requested that LADWP return and hold a community meeting to address concerns specifically from El Medio and Marquez residents; it is our understanding that Councilmember Mike Bonin has also asked LADWP to hold a community meeting. If that occurs PPCC will provide notice via email, social media, website postings and newspaper announcements.
In the meantime, residents should address concerns directly to LADWP, email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact our L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin and his District Director, Debbie Dyner Harris, at email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org.
While no one is happy about these temporary installations, at the same time we all want safe, reliable electrical service in our community.