MINUTES FOR MAY 26th 2016
Voting Members in Attendance: Chris Spitz, Maryam Zar, Jennifer Malaret, Richard Cohen, Reza Akef, George Wolfberg, Nancy Niles, Stuart Muller, Richard Wulliger, Barbara Marinacci, Kelly Comras, Sarah Rena Conner, George Wolfberg, Rick Mills, Sue Kohl, Gil Dembo and Cathy Russell.
Voting Alternates: Rick McGeagh, Susan Payne and Diane Bleak.
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Kevin Niles and David Kaplan.
Start of Business Meeting
- Reading of Community Council’s Mission. Maryam Zar 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. 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. (Bylaws, Appendix C, Standing Rule 8)
- Certification of Quorum. Chris certified that a quorum was present at 7:04 pm.
- Adoption of Minutes/Upcoming Meetings. Chris deemed the May 12, 2016 minutes approved as corrected.Upcoming meetings: 6/9/16. 1) Officer candidates’ forum (if necessary). 2) Election of officers for 2016-2017 term. 3) Spotlight on Organizations (as time allows): PPRA, Rotary Club. 6/23/16. 1) President’s “end of term” remarks and thank you to outgoing officers. 2) Other topics to be announced. Summer meeting dates: 7/28/16 and 8/25/16 (one meeting only in the months of July and August).
- 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 $35,998.27. Richard stated that there have been no significant transactions.
- Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
7.1. Announcements from the President, Chris Spitz.
7.1.1. Election of PPCC Officers, 2016-2017 term.
Chris reminded the board that officer nominations were announced by the Nominating Committee at the last PPCC meeting. Chris asked if there were any other officer nominations from voting Board members? Stuart Muller nominated himself for the office of PPCC President. Chris stated that she would revisit officer nominations 15 minutes prior to the close of this meeting. At 15 minutes prior to the close of the meeting Chris asked for additional officer nominations. None were made.
7.1.2. Elected Representatives Election, Summer 2016.
Chris explained that every two years, the community elects the PPCC area and at-large representatives who take their seats on October 1. The election occurs at the end of the summer and believe it or not, now is time for the President to appoint the Election Committee to oversee the process. Specifically, the Committee must be appointed and announced as of the first meeting in June. Chris has tentatively appointed the Committee as follows: Chris as Committee Chair, Maryam Zar, Richard Cohen, George Wolfberg, Michael Soneff, Brian Deming and Susan Payne. Some of these members are provisional in the sense that we must await the outcome of the officers’ election on June 9 to firm up their appointment. In addition, as previously announced in PPCC’s May 12 meeting agenda (distributed to all members and posted on the PPCC website), incumbents must advise the President in writing before the meeting on June 9 whether they are running again. Chris stated that she will be announcing the final Committee membership at PPCC’s next meeting. In a few weeks, a notice will go out via email blast, print media and social media, advising the public of the process required to become a candidate. All candidates will eventually be announced at the July PPCC meeting, which this year will take place on July 28. Meanwhile, the Committee will begin work soon and will be considering various options for voting, including involving the local newspapers in the process, possible online voting and in-person voting as PPCC did at the Farmers Market during the last election. The Committee will also be making decisions on the various required notices, the election newsletter, ballot format, in-person and/or online voting rules and the like. The Committee will keep the board apprised as they move along. If anyone is interested in more details about the election process, please go to the Bylaws, Attachment A, which is on the PPCC website at the Documents tab.
7.1.3. Home Sharing (Short Term Rentals) Ordinance Update.
Chris announced that she and Maryam attended the WRAC meeting on 6/23 when Matt Glesne of the Planning Dept. presented information about the ordinance. Chris, Maryam and other WRAC members advised Matt of the need to include more detail about how to report violations and how important it was to add a provision for a private right of action. Chris wrote a follow up email message to Matt to this effect. Chris was unable to attend the Planning hearing on 5/21 but has learned that it was heavily attended by hundreds of Airbnb supporters and the auditorium was not large enough to accommodate all attendees. Meanwhile Matt Glesne has assured PPCC that the Planning Department will seriously consider PPCC’s concerns and advised that there may be additional ordinance revisions. The CPC is expected to hear the ordinance on June 23 in Van Nuys; more details to come.
7.1.4. Village Starbucks CUB. Chris stated that there was no further update.
7.1.5. Fire Service Day Update.
Chris announced that after an absence of several years due to budget cuts (which were strongly opposed by PPCC and former Councilmember Rosendahl), Engine 69 has been restored to the Palisades (the fire engine and four additional firefighters each shift). Chris thanked Councilmember Bonin and LAFD Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas for their important roles in making sure the Palisades community has much-needed critical fire protection. Chris additionally recognized Maryam Zar who was appointed Honorary Fire Chief of the Palisades at the Fire Service Day event.
7.1.6. Sign Ordinance. Chris referenced the PPCC letter that again stressed PPCC’s position on this ordinance, which is attached to these minutes and is also posted on the PPCC website. No action was taken by PLUM at its May 24, 2016 meeting; the matter will be taken up again at a later PLUM meeting.
7.1.7. (ADD-ON ITEM) WRAC Brunch with Sen. Ben Allen. Chris reported that the WRAC leadership will be having brunch with Sen. Allen on June 4, 2016 at Lenny’s Deli in Westwood. Chris and Maryam will attend. Board members are invited to submit questions for Sen. Allen to either Chris or Maryam before June 4, 2016.
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 — Not in attendance.
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. Daniel Tamm in attendance. Daniel stated that the Mayor committed $138 million in his 2016/2017 budget to address homelessness. Daniel thanked the Palisades for their Task Force on Homelessness and the effort to take action against the problem. Daniel thanked Councilmember Bonin for working on the issue in Venice and around the district. Funding of $1.8 billion over the next decade is hoped for to build permanent housing for the homeless. Permanent housing with services is the long vision. Short term are emergency shelters and persons helping with outreach. Monies will be spent into adding more caseworkers to enable homeless persons to come into the system as eligible for help. “No one can do everything but everyone can do something.” Daniel encouraged each Angeleno to take ownership of this problem and encouraged people to become familiar with the “Welcome Home” Program which begins in June 2016. Welcome Home meetings are encouraged; baskets, pillows, kitchen and household goods are encouraged to be brought to fire stations and City Hall. Discussion: (1) Where is supporting housing located? All over Los Angeles either now or to be built. (2) Are homes for families versus single people? Family housing is a priority; veterans housing is a longer term process. However, the Welcome Home program policy is for all of those who are moving in during June 2016. Lamayor.org has a link to the Welcome Home project is where interested residents can obtain more information or please contact Daniel Tamm directly. Also PPCC’s website contains a host of governmental contact information. Maryam Zar encouraged residents to come on June 8, 2016 2-4 PM to the next PPHTF meeting where Daniel Tamm will be speaking and available for questions.
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 — Not in attendance.
7.2.6. United States Congress, Office of Congressman Ted Lieu. Janet Turner, District Representative — Not in attendance.
7.3. Announcements from Board Members and Advisors.
7.3.1. Officers/Area Representatives.
(1) Diane Bleak (Area 2) announced that there is an LAX Noise Roundtable meeting on June 8th meeting at 7 PM at the Clifton Moore building at LAX. Please look at NextDoor postings. A petition is being circulated. George Wolfberg reported that SMCCA has hired an independent noise consultant.
7.3.2. Organizational Representatives – Report on Behalf of Organizations.
(1) Dick Wulliger (Historical Society) reported on the Ruth Shellhorn presentation by Kelly Comras. (2) Susan Payne (Chamber of Commerce) – email@example.com. Please let the chamber know of information relevant for their calendar.
7.3.3. PPCC Advisors — None.
7.3.4. Board Members, Other Reports — None.
- Reports from Committees.
8.1. VPLUC (David Kaplan, Chair).
Village Project Update. CPC determination letters issued; City Council PLUM Committee hearing date pending as of agenda distribution. David reported that Caruso Affiliated made a significant announcement regarding the project which is to add a third level of parking to include 90 more parking spaces which will bring the parking up to 560 spaces (4.5x no. of current spots in surface parking lot). Caruso Affiliated is hoping to alleviate concerns. Second the 1,250 square foot community room will be added back to the project; PPCC’s committee was very anxious to see this room added back and the room will be open to civic and public groups. Third, the residential units will gain additional square footage towards closets and bedrooms. David reported that the VPLUC, having previously noted these concerns, was particularly pleased with this news. Discussion: Kelly Comras asked if there was an update to the right hand turn lane by the Mobil Station. David stated there was not.
- Old Business — None.
9.1. Presentation/Q&A with Civic League President Richard Blumenberg, AIA on new Baseline Mansionization-Baseline Hillside Ordinance (“BMO-BHO”) amendments.
Comment deadline 6/10/16. Prior PPCC position letter: http://pacpalicc.org/index.php/organizations/. There is a forum on June 2nd at Palisades High School on this topic; please see PPCC’s website for calendar information on this issue. Details: http://planning.lacity.org/ordinances/docs/baseline/bmo_bho_revised.pdf.
Presentation: Richard Blumenberg stated that the proposed ordinance is a disaster. Highlights: (1) bonus for R1 zone will be eliminated. RE zones still get the bonus. A 5,200 square foot lot could have 3,120 and the proposed would give 2,600 square feet. That is a loss of $520,000 in value using $1,000 per foot. A 6,500 square foot lot would lose 650 square feet. A 7,500 square foot lot has 4,500 square foot and 3,750 is allowed; value loss is $750,000. In the Huntington a 9,000 square foot lot will loose $810,000 in value. A 10,000 square foot lot can have 5,400 square feet; 4,500 square feet equates to a $900,000 lot. A 15,000 square foot lot loses $1,350M. Richard says that if people are buying property based on what you can build then people will pay less for your property. (2) the loss of the covered porch exemption is a bad choice because that reduces the aesthetics of a house in flat facades. (3) encroachment planes and height envelope adjustments are not good. (4) diagrams for height relative to existing or lower grades; height envelopes of HOAs are established as a point. This ordinance does not allow people to lower the grade to get a higher ceiling. If someone lowers the grade they are then tied to a maximum height based off that lower level. Richard illustrated calculations to show that the ordinance does not work at all and results in ceiling heights from 4-6 feet. (5) the driveway limitation won’t work. (6) if a house is greater than 45 feet long there is an existing 5 foot set back required. (7) grading is limited and there are penalties for dirt removal. (8) driveways are limited based on the width of the lot where the numbers don’t allow sufficient driveways. (9) for hillside properties there are no elevated porches and homes need to be pushed back further. The conclusion is that the Civic League opposes these amendments.
Reza Akef (Area 8) stated that this affects all of the Palisades that is in a R1 Zone. It doesn’t matter if you are a coastal zone or not, you are part of these changes provided you are in a R1 zone. Parts of the Riviera and Area 7 canyon areas are not zoned R1. Properties that are sloped at 10 percent or more are considered in grading calculations. It used to be that dirt export for driveways and pools was not included in export limits but it is proposed to be included with a 2,000 square foot cubic yard limit. So housing square footage is limited in proportion; caisson and dirt work gets counted against your grading so that 2,000 square foot limit gets smaller and smaller. Pacific Palisades is uncharacteristically different than much of Los Angeles and when asked Planning has not come to Pacific Palisades nor have they considered the economic impacts on the Palisades. The changes are designed to the areas that demanded the ordinance not Pacific Palisades.
Chris Spitz stated that Tricia Keane was requested to attend and provide a statement but could not. Chris encouraged residents to look at Zimas.lacity.org to ascertain their own property zoning information.
Discussion: (1) To what areas of the Palisades do these apply? Richard says it is hard to say; this may be applied citywide. (2) How do Granny Flats fit in? Can you have accessory structures? Yes, these are allowed; you can have two, 200 SF structures. (3) Have there been any class action lawsuits against this? No. (4) When will this be enacted? Feedback is due June 10, 2016. PLUM is set for July 12, 2016. Koretz has asked for the ordinance to be fast-tracked with the old language and this could go back into affect as early as August, 2016. (5) Has Bonin taken a stance? Reza said he did not second the Koretz motion today. (6) The issue goes both ways; some homes are built that are gigantic next to what is characteristic to the neighborhood. Others across the city have agitated towards these restrictions to preserve the neighborhoods and that is a notable endeavor. (7) The development horse has left the barn in the Palisades, I’m opposed because it will reduce property values. (8) Who do I contact? Niall Huffman – firstname.lastname@example.org. Case Number CPC-2015-3484-CA. (8) It might be worthwhile to look at smaller areas within the Palisades who have experienced development or not because restrictions might be more equitable in areas that have not already been developed. (9) MKPOA asked if the slope band analysis increased. No, the methodology is the same. What about grading and hauling? Numbers are increased but yardage under your house is not exempted so that is still a penalty. BHO/BMO restrictions should encourage character of the neighborhood for retirees on fixed income who cannot spend sums on lawsuits to prevent development. Richard pointed out that HOAs are there to establish protections for height, views, second floors articulation, etc. MKPOA stated that there are some areas within MKPOA boundaries that do not have protection afforded by CC&Rs and in those areas that have CC&Rs, the cost of litigation to enforce the CC&Rs would be prohibitive, especially for the retirees and residents on fixed income. MKPOA is working with Tricia Keane of CD11 to develop a proposal for separate zoning codes for the different areas within the boundaries of MKPOA, which Reza noted was an overlay zone. MKPOA is working to stop overbuilding that will change the character of the neighborhood. (10) At the West Valley meeting most of the people were in favor of passing the law and did not feel it goes far enough. Garage square footage should be added back. T-shirts and signs and organized support was evident. Only 600 people had gone to the website to express their feelings. Our area is already being mansionized and we are going to lose the value of our home. 191 have been mansionized and less than half have not been improved. One size does not fit all. A broad based exemption should be pushed for or for smaller neighborhood areas might be possible. (11) In the Alsilomar bluffs we have been waiting to build for 10 years because of termite damage and if these rules go through I will have to build a smaller house. Then I was told it didn’t apply to coastal. Tonight I am being told it will happen in August that is a huge difference. (12) I am troubled by the complete lack of data in this process. No property value assessment, no scale of neighborhood studies, no economic studies and this is all very disturbing. On my block 45% of the existing homes would not be allowed under the new ordinance. (13) Expressing the opinion has gone on for more than 10 decades. In the past the community voted against further regulation. The horse is out of the barn in the Alphabet streets. Most have been redone into a second story home. This regulation will be discriminatory against those 50% who have not expanded yet. One size fits all will be a disaster and have unintended consequences. (14) Is there a way to use PPCC Area reps to determine how many homes have been built up? A few letters here and there make no difference. (15) Bonin should inventory all the housing in the Palisades to find out which properties have been improved in the last 15 years to determine what percentage have or have not. (16) People should be encouraged to educate their neighbors and look at the PPCC website but there is very little time. (17) The Palisades should be its own section and not lumped in with the rest of Los Angeles. (18) The question is how many houses exist on a block that exceed these regulations? Action: Reza Akef sponsored a motion as follows: “PPCC opposes the Los Angeles City Planning Department BMO/BHO April 2016 code changes draft (BMO/BHO Code Amendment) with regard to R1 zoned properties because, as currently drafted, it fails to take into account the unique aspects and character of our community with particular respect to design, grading and effect on property values.” George Wolfberg seconded the motion. [Discussion of friendly amendment to add discriminatory language; the motion failed.] [Discussion of friendly amendment to strike the reference to unique; the amendment failed.] Discussion: (1) Richard Cohen spoke on both sides of the motions however as drafted the current ordinance is flawed in that it does not take into account the character of the Palisades. (2) technically the ordinance is defective and those miscalculations should be included. They are encompassed in design. Action: the motion passed unanimously.
- New Business.
10.1. Spotlight on Organizations – (1) Pacific Palisades Baseball Association (PPBA).
Presenting: Rick McGeagh. PPBA ran as a park league for more than 30 years and then affiliated with PONY baseball. PONY plays by MLB rules starting at 11-12 years old and the fields grow as the kids grow (contrast to Little League with static field sizes). In 2003, Bob Benton and Mike Skinner led the cause to create the Field of Dreams. PPBA has more than 300 participant families per year and 8 teams in the league. Pitching is limited to 65 per outing and there are no curve balls until the PONY divisions. Evaluations being in January with the goal of parity and it is hoped that all teams will have a 500 record. All teams are invited to the playoffs. Championship rounds are taking place now and closing ceremonies are June 4th at 9 AM. Playoff teams do play through July of each year. The Palisades is holding the District tournament this year. In August teams travel to Cooperstown, NY which is often the highlight of youth sports. PPBA fundraises for improvements to the park and maintenance towards the fields and park areas; monies total approximately $70K per year from PPBA and another $10K per year from AYSO. Please see ppba.net. Due to lack of time the Garden Club presentation was postponed.
11. General Public Comment — None.
- Adjournment. Chris Spitz adjourned the meeting at 9:01 PM.
ATTACHMENT: ITEM 7.1.6 – LETTER TO PLUM COMMITTEE RE SIGN ORDINANCE
May 19, 2016
Members of the Los Angeles City Council PLUM Committee: Hon. Jose Huizar, Chair, email@example.com; Hon. Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Co-Chair,firstname.lastname@example.org; Hon. Mitchell Englander, member,email@example.com; Hon. Gilbert A. Cedillo, member,
firstname.lastname@example.org; Hon. Felipe Fuentes, member, email@example.com
Hon. Mike Bonin, Councilmember, 11th District, firstname.lastname@example.org
Los Angeles City Hall
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012 Via Email
Re: Council File No. 11-1705; CITYWIDE Sign Ordinance; SUPPORT for Sign Ordinance Version B+ as approved by the City Planning Commission (CPC) on 10/22/15
Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) is the most broad-based community organization and voice of the Palisades since 1973. Consistent with the statements and information in PPCC’s prior letters submitted on this subject, including its October 19, 2015 letter to the CPC (filed in CPC-2015-3059-CA), PPCC hereby states its support for the new Sign Ordinance Version B+ as approved by the CPC on 10/22/15 and urges the PLUM Committee and the City Council to adopt a version of the ordinance that:
- Prohibits off-site signage in city parks and recreation facilities.
- Disapproves any amnesty for existing billboards that lack permits or have been altered in violation of their permits.
- Disapproves the “grandfathering” of any sign districts that weren’t approved or applied for in April 2009, when the CPC approved the initial version of the new sign ordinance.
- Restricts any new off-site signs, including digital billboards, to sign districts in 22 areas zoned for high-intensity commercial use.
- Requires existing billboards to be taken down before any new off-site signs can go up in sign districts. The takedown ratio of existing signs to new signs would be 5 to 1 for conventional and 10 to 1 for digital.
- Sets administrative civil penalties for sign violators that will act as a real deterrent to illegal billboards and other signage.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
President, Pacific Palisades Community Council
cc (via email):Tom Rothmann, Sr. City Planner, Department of City Planning, email@example.com
Phyllis Nathanson, Planning Associate, Department of City Planning, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Dickinson, Legislative Assistant, PLUM Committee, email@example.com