MINUTES FOR SEPTEMBER 22nd 2016
Voting Members in Attendance: Maryam Zar, George Wolfberg, Chris Spitz, Michael Soneff, Richard Cohen, Stuart Muller, Sue Kohl, Richard Wulliger, Bruce Schwartz, Nancy Niles, Barbara Marinacci, Sarah Rena Conner, Rick Mills, Reza Akef, Janet Anderson, Quentin Fleming, Cathy Russell.
Voting Alternates: Brian Deming, Diane Bleak
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Richard Blumenberg, Kevin Niles, Robin Meyers, Amir Ebtehadj.
Start of Business Meeting
- Certification of Quorum — The Chair Maryam Zar called the meeting to order and certified that a quorum was present at 7:03pm.
- Reading of Community Council’s Mission – George Wolfberg read the mission statement.
- Introduction of the Board and Audience
- Approval of Minutes/Upcoming Meetings. Maryam deemed the minutes of September 8, 2016 approved. Upcoming meetings: 10/13/16: (1) Board election of Alternate Area and At-large Reps. (2) Councilman Mike Bonin. (3) Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson on Prop HHH. 10/27/16: (1) Farmer’s Market. Q/A. (2) LAWA Airport Plan (3) Pedestrian safety and traffic plan discussion for Pacific Palisades. 11/10/16: (1) Citizen of the Year and Gold Sparkplug Honorees announced. 12/08/16: Holiday Party and Awards Event. * Topics noticed in advance may change. Discussion only unless otherwise noted in the Agenda.
- Consideration of Agenda
- Treasurer’s Report. Treasurer Richard Cohen reported that there was $34,358.81 in the account and no significant transactions in the last month.
- Reports, Announcements and Concerns
7.1. From the Chair
7.1.1. 2016 Congress of Neighborhood Councils event (http://www.nccongressla.com); Sat. Sept 24th, all day. Attendance by board members is encouraged.
7.1.2. Potrero Canyon, tour report & update – George Wolfberg organized a tour for Maryam and other interested persons, given by Rob Hancock, supervising engineer on the project for decades. The first priority right now, the group was told, is to restart grading and to put in the park. There is an approved plan that’s been made public, and is the final blueprint for construction and planting. In November and December they will be hauling in the soil (presumably from the Caruso village project). The haul route is still to be approved but likely in January they will use this soil to re-start grading. Estimated two years to completion – one year for grading, one year for planting. Maryam is currently attempting to schedule Rob and his team for a PPCC presentation in November.
7.1.3. LA RICS Tower. From CD11: The LA-RICS Joint Powers Authority intends to construct a lattice communications tower of up to 180′ feet on Temescal Fire Road, which is on State Parks property at a site known as “Green Mountain.” LA-RICS picked this location strategically. Councilmember Bonin has indicated that he will oppose the construction of this tower and will work with the community to object to further plans to expand the current use of this existing public safety communications site. This topic may be agendized for discussion at a later time.
7.1.4. Citizen of the Year and Golden Sparkplug Awards 2016. The Awards Selection Committee has been appointed as follows: George Wolfberg (Chair), Cathy Russell, Doug McCormick, Sharon Kilbride (past Citizen of the Year), Bruce Schwartz, Brian Deming and Bill Bruns (past Community Service Awardee). Awards nominations from the community are now open through October 29th. See attached notice.
7.1.5. New Organizational Members (agenda addition) – at Maryam’s request Chris Spitz read the names of the new Organizational Members for the coming term. See list attached.
7.1.6. WRAC Meeting update (agenda addition):
- A) There was a presentation by CM Harris Dawson on Prop HHH, the $1.2 Billion Bond measure that Angelenos will be voting on this November. It proposes to generate taxpayer money, matched by State and Federal grants (at a 3/1/ratio) for the construction of affordable housing across LA (not in one concentrated area but spread in diverse locales) by bringing in for-profit and nonprofit builders to drive prices down and make the project happen. The money is for permanent supportive housing to accommodate chronic homelessness, and reduce the numbers of people sleeping on the streets for more than one year. WRAC is proposing to sponsor a town hall meeting on the Westside on Prop HHH at the Henry Medina building (date TBD).
- B) LAX Landside Access Modernizations Program (a representative will join us on Oct 27th for a presentation before the comment deadline ends on Oct 31st). This is a new ground transportation network that includes an elevated automated people mover, better drop-off and pick-up facilities, a consolidated rental car area, and comprehensive roadway improvements that dovetail with Metro’s proposed Airport stop.
(C) Two motions we have been asked to weigh in on:
- Support the Draft Master Plan for the West LA VA Campus (Plan has passed the Senate and is awaiting signature or veto by the President – see Item 7.5.2).
- Amendment to the Small Lot Subdivision ordinance (amended and passed).
Maryam noted that because these matters have passed, it may not be necessary for PPCC to take them up in the future.
7.2. From Officers – None.
7.3. From Area & At-Large Reps
7.3.1. NA (no report on Chabad/Kelly Comras not in attendance).
7.3.2. Rick Mills — Asilomar construction update: Rick reported that residents along Asilomar Park are organized into a park advisory board to deal with an incipient landslide and a proposed retaining wall. The city does not deal with the mobile home park. The city will return in the coming months with plans for the wall. Signage has been an ongoing problem. There is a proposal to put signs on the curbs to protect views. The bluffs were designated a “dark skies” area years ago, which is why streetlights end there. Palisades Bowl Trailer Park had previously proposed installing 84 street lights, and there is discussion that the owners have dropped that proposal.
7.3.3. Reza Akef — PRMS update (LAUSD): Reza reported that strides have been made through cooperation, but problems continue with drop-off traffic. Residents want to put up gates. Residents want a town hall with the school principal.
7.3.4. Cathy Russell (agenda addition) – Cathy provided an update on the new procedures for LAX. LAX claims that there is no significant impact on Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica Canyon in terms of noise. Residents disagree. The NextGen plan should start in November. An FAA appeal is being considered.
7.4. From Organizational Reps
7.4.1. Sarah Conner/PPRA — Update on 17000 Sunset project. The Coastal Commission will be hearing the applicant’s appeal of the WLAAPC decision in Ukiah on October 6. See attached for update distributed at the meeting. MKPOA voiced support for the PPRA’s work on the issue. See most recent PPCC letter at http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/1700020Sunset20findings.pdf. The PPCC requested a focused EIR which has never been conducted. The PPCC has asked for additional work by the applicant. Maryam opened the matter up to the board for discussion about taking a possible position opposing the project.
Reza Akef asked that the EC write a letter protesting the project and expressing frustration with the developer’s actions, reiterating previously taken positions. The hearing location is inconvenient for the community to give input.
Sarah noted that Save the Bluffs has gathered over 2,700 signatures opposing the project. She also noted that the developer promised a focused EIR long ago, and the deadline on that promise has passed.
Chris Spitz noted that several position letters have been written by past and current PPCC presidents and we have offered the developer ample opportunity to attend one of our meetings and state his position. She also reminded the board that this cannot be taken up for new action at this time because it was not noticed as an action item in the agenda distributed 72 hours in advance of the meeting, as required by our bylaws.
Quentin Fleming expressed frustration with the lack of a response from the developer.
Howard Robinson from the audience asked if the hearing is a preliminary hearing or a full hearing on the merits of the project. Sarah Conner said that it’s not clear, nor is it clear whether the developer can cancel immediately before the hearing. Howard noted that if this is a preliminary hearing, the appeal seems like a long shot on the question of the presence of a substantial coastal issue, which in his experience the Commission never finds when an applicant appeals from a local decision denying a project. He suggested that someone contact Coastal Commission staff to clarify whether this is a preliminary hearing solely on the question of whether there is a substantial coastal issue. Sarah indicated that this would be done.
Maryam noted that there appears to be community consensus objecting to the project.
7.4.2. Nancy Niles/Woman’s Club (agenda addition) – Nancy announced the annual PPWC Home Tour on November 20, and that PPWC grant applications are now online for non-profits: theppwc.org, applications due on November 1, awards will be given on March 7.
7.5 From Governmental Representatives
7.5.1. Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) – SLO Michael Moore was not present.
7.5.2. United States Congress, Office of Congressman Ted Lieu. Janet Turner, District Representative. Janet reported that the Senate passed the VA Master Plan approval bill, and it is now on the way to the President for signature or veto.
7.5.3. City Council, District 11, Office of Mike Bonin, Sharon Shapiro, Field Deputy – Brentwood & Pacific Palisades. Sharon reported that the Council office had not supported the developer’s request for a continuance of a previous hearing regarding the 17000 Sunset project. Councilmember Bonin drafted a now passed proposal to support clean energy through the DWP. The goal is for DWP to chart a path to 100% clean energy. The Councilmember will be at the October 13th PPCC meeting. The Councilmember attended the WonderWoman Walk in the Palisades. The Councilmember will be attending the September 28 Coyote Wildlife Meeting at 6:30 PM at the Westchester Senior Center. Upcoming La Tijera Community Cleanup at the DWP facility.
Reza thanked the Councilmember’s office for their help with the Paul Revere Middle School traffic issue.
7.6. From PPCC Advisors
7.6.1. Youth Advisor, Amir Ebtehadj. Amir reported that the Pali High Tech Equity program ensures that every student has a device to use in the classroom. Should be achieved by the end of October. Residents can donate to the cause at Palihigh.org. On Friday next week 6-9 PM, Pali High Football Fest. On October 23 at 10 AM, 4th grade hunger walk at St. Matthews. October 16 pancake breakfast at Corpus Christi.
- Reports from Committees
8.1. Three Chairs Committee (Chris Spitz, Chair). Alternate Area and At-large Representative application process now open through October 7, 2016. Everyone who is interested and eligible should apply.
- New Business
9.1. LA Postmaster: (Ken Snavely was reassigned). Michael Coleman, Manager of Post Office Operations and Ayesha Denson, Postmaster, Pacific Palisades Post Office, attended.
Michael Coleman reported that the USPS has not been able to hire enough people as a result of competition with Amazon, particularly recruiting tech-capable college graduates. The USPS is the second largest employer besides the military. They are getting ready for the influx of political mail. Absentee ballots will be arriving on October 12 or 13th at the latest.
Carriers are supposed to pick up Amazon boxes as early as possible.
Richard Cohen and multiple board members thanked the post office for earlier delivery.
Sarah Conner noted that vacation re-starting has been an issue.
Reza noted that 90049 mail wasn’t being delivered timely. Ayesha noted that that is not within the Palisades jurisdiction (George Wolfberg said it was likely handled from the Barrington office).
Michael Coleman noted that it has been difficult to get people to work up in the hills, and that the carriers have limited discretion as a result of package delivery technology. Their goal is 100% delivery by 5pm. George Wolfberg noted that delivery is improved in 90402.
There were questions from the audience about bulk mail and about the rate of hand mail delivery. Michael Coleman said that those with questions about bulk mail should talk to him directly; he also explained that hand addressed envelopes have to be barcoded first, but it shouldn’t take more than two days. Hand addressing does take longer to process.
Michael Coleman can be reached at email@example.com or (323) 586-1206.
9.2. Palisades Recreation Center lead staff – Director Erich Haas and Recreation Coordinator Bill Maniscalco. Enrollment in activities has increased. Winter Basketball signups start October 1st. RecTrack is the new Palisades online enrollment system for activities and permits. The program will go up on Monday. To get the website, email firstname.lastname@example.org. “Spook-tacular” will be Saturday October 29 from 3-7 pm. Sponsors and volunteers wanted. The next Park Advisory Board meeting will be at 7 pm on October 19. Some trees have been removed from the island at the Rec Center. Two eucalyptus trees will be removed in the coming month. They have been watering the grass three times a week for 15-30 minutes. Maintenance has been done to save the remaining trees.
Sue Kohl asked about the bocce ball. Eric reported that they are attempting to put in bocce ball courts where the concrete picnic tables are currently located.
Bill Maniscalco spent 8 years at the Venice Beach Rec Center working with filming, permits and special events.
Maryam asked if there is a plan to plant more trees. Erich reported that the PAB will have community input before anything is planted. They hope to plant trees that are resilient.
Sue Kohl asked about the playground. Erich reported that there are plans in progress.
Lou Kamer asked from the audience what the process is for new plans, and whether there are plans for a community room or teen center. Erich said that the PAB held meetings two years ago for public comment on the Rec center. Bocce was requested by the public, and there was never opposition. The community wanted to build another gym (at the cost of about 12-20 million dollars) to replace the brick gym. The new gym would have had a second story with space for classes and community rooms. The current gym doesn’t have space for a mommy and me class or a pottery class. Community fundraising would be needed for any additional gym. The PAB vice chair Bob Harter can give the PPCC a full update. Chris Spitz noted that PPCC conferred a Golden Sparkplug Award on Bob Harter two years ago for his work in heading the PAB “PREMAP” Committee and developing plans for the proposed new facility.
Stuart Muller mentioned that the PPCC agreed that there should be a community center. Erich said the park is a direct cost recovery site – the city does not fund the staff salaries, uniforms, equipment or anything besides the lights and water. The revenue comes from sports, so the Rec Center has to focus on sports in order to keep the lights on.
9.3. Marilyn Wexler, SMCCA President, presentation on SMCCA and word about Rustic Night Event on Sept 24th. Marilyn gave an update on the history & work of the SMCCA.
SMCCA was incorporated in 1947 and is one of the oldest community organizations in the state. Governed by a Board of Directors elected to overlapping two-year terms at our annual meetings held each year in May. The board holds public meetings monthly at Rustic Canyon Recreation Center in the historic Clubhouse. Public invited to attend. Website, www.smcca.org. Represented at the PCH Task Force and attend C-PAB meetings as needed to advocate for local issues.
SMCCA brokered the donation of Rustic Canyon park from Mabelle Machris in 1953. A year later in 1954, SMCCA contributed to the City one-third of the purchase price of the historic eucalyptus grove site. This double-landmarked parcel was part of the first US Forestry Station. Recently made substantial improvements to the grove including new paths, stunning trellises, irrigation and landscape work.
Through the years, the association has been involved in many battles to protect our greater Palisades community including
- currently leading the fight to reverse actions of FAA rogue controllers who allow large passenger jets to short-cut over the Palisades and our canyon instead of continuing over the ocean, and also in past years;
- helping to wring concessions from Santa Monica to reduce the impact of the California Incline closure;
- supporting Proposition 20, the Coastal Act;
- fighting a proposal to construct a causeway in the ocean from Santa Monica to Malibu as well as a proposal to construct numerous condos each with a woodburning fireplace at the canyon mouth;
- supporting and participating actively in the No Oil fight and the fight against polluting leafblowers;
- monitoring efforts to clean up our ocean;
- advocate for improvements in bicycle and pedestrian facilities at the beach;
- working to provide safe routes for children attending our local Charter elementary school.
- vigilant when it comes to out of scale development.
- AND, Clean and safe beach tunnels for the use of the entire community, including advocating with city agencies for better signage to direct highway jaywalking pedestrians toward the tunnels.
9.4: Rich Wilken; Sept. 24th Big Band Dance Concert to Benefit Palisades 4th of July, PAPA. The Parade Association is self-funded, not funded by the City. They raise $150,000 for the parade. This Saturday evening at 7:30 pm there is a big band swing dance event at Palisades High School. $10 online and $15 at the door. The money goes to support the parade. Maryam pointed out that you can donate to the parade. The website is at palisadesparade.org.
9.5. Avery Keare, Music Student Service League of West Los Angeles and Palisadian teen resident. Avery presented information about the Daniel Pearl Memorial Concert on October 16 from 3:30-5:30 pm at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Santa Monica. The goal of the Daniel Pearl Concert series is to promote ideas of harmony and tolerance through the power of music. Daniel Pearl Concerts are admission free and everyone is welcome. The concert is hosted through the Music Students Service League, which is a student-run organization that serves the community by holding various musical activities throughout LA.
- Old Business
10.1. BMO-BHO Code Amendment and Rezoning public hearing of Sept 13th, recap from Board members and Board members-elect in attendance: Sue Kohl, Danielle Samulon, Reza Akef and Richard Blumenberg. Tricia Keane of CD11 was invited but could not attend.
Sue Kohl reported that Mike Bonin got a carve-out for the Palisades. Some people want stricter rules for the Palisades. R1V1 would be the most liberal zoning code possible. Richard Blumenberg reported that R1V1 is variable. R1V1 allows the addition to go anywhere on the second floor. Allowable area starts at 65% (floor area as a percentage of lot size) for 6,000 sq. foot lots and down to 55% for larger lots. The R1V is a new zone which ranges from 55% to 45%. The most restrictive zone goes from 45-35%. R1H1, the hillside option, starts at 65% and goes down based on the slope of the lot to 0% at a 45 degree slope. The new R1H1 changes those numbers. R1V1 is the least restrictive; R1V3 is the most restrictive. The BMO BHO planning meeting—garages in the back or detached garages get the current exemption of 400 sq. feet, but if it’s in the front, there is only an exemption of 200 sq. feet.
Reza noted that the new amendment is still doing away with canopy and covered patio exemptions. That area now comes out of the 65% allowance. Reza believes that these are predominantly code enforcement issues, and that BHO properties within the coastal zone are not affected by the recode process.
Maryam noted as related to the BMO conversation that one of the main reasons we as a community supported the idea of a carve-out for our neighborhoods was due to the hillside envelope profile which would render some 2nd stories unlivable. This must be an issue we insist on having addressed with recode, once they begin their work in the Palisades.
Cheryl Zomber of MKPOA in the audience stated that the BHO will apply to a large section of Marquez Knolls. The BMO/BHO does not apply to the following streets that are in the Coastal flatland section of Marquez Knolls: Bollinger, Edgar, Ida, Livorno and Marquez.
Sue Pascoe from the audience asked who the enforcement agency is going to be for these new plans.
Cathy Russell asked if there are going to be additional carve-outs, and how that decision-making is going to work.
Chris Spitz noted that there is a summary of rezoning proposals for the Palisades on the PPCC website.
Maryam reported that Tricia Keene is back in the Councilmember’s office and would be asked again to join us.
Sue Kohl said that the deadline is 9/25 for comments to the planner, but there will be additional comments during the planning commission phase.
- General Public Comment – None.
- Adjournment — The Chair adjourned the meeting at 9:01 pm.
ITEM 7.1.4 – PPCC AWARDS
Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) is pleased to announce that nominations are now being accepted from the community for the 2016 Citizen of the Year and Golden Sparkplug Awards, to be presented at the PPCC annual holiday party on December 8, 2016, at Gladstone’s Restaurant (event details to follow). Nominations should be submitted to email@example.com (email preferred) or to P.O. Box 1131, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. The deadline for receipt of nominations is midnight on October 29, 2016.
The Citizen of the Year Award honors long term, steady, reliable and continuing outstanding volunteer service as well as a recent extraordinary accomplishment by an individual that resulted in a substantial benefit to the Palisades community at large. The recipient must be an adult resident of the Palisades at the time the accomplishment and long term services were rendered.
The Golden Sparkplug Award honors those citizens who ignite original ideas and projects into community action that benefit Palisadians throughout the community. The project must have been initiated, in progress or completed during the current or prior calendar year. Adults and youth are both eligible, and must either own real property in, reside in or operate a business in the Palisades at the time the services were rendered.
In the case of both Awards, the services, accomplishment or project must have been voluntary and not related to the nominee’s business or occupation. Neither Award can be given to PPCC board members based on services directly related to their responsibilities as board members, although such services may be considered as a qualifying factor in the case of nominees for the Citizen Award. The Award recipients are based on the quality of work and benefits achieved, not the quantity of nominations.
ITEM 7.1.5 – ORGANIZATIONAL REPS, 2016-2017 TERM
Business & Commerce
Chamber of Commerce: Rick Lemmo
Alternate: Susan Payne
Culture, Ethics & Aesthetics
Palisades Beautiful: Barbara Marinacci
Alternate: Theatre Palisades, Andy Frew
Canyon Elementary School: Dustin Hall
Alternate: Seven Arrows, Margarita Pagliai
Historical Society: Dick Wulliger
Alternate: Eric Dugdale
Civic League: Richard Blumenberg
Alternate: PRIDE, Bruce Schwartz
PP Baseball Association: Rick McGeagh
Alternate: AYSO, Janet Anderson
Temescal Canyon Association: Gil Dembo
Alternate: Ted Mackie
Rotary Club: David Card
Alternate: American Legion, Kevin Niles
Pacific Palisades Residents Association: Sarah Rena Conner
Alternate: Barbara Kohn
Item 7.4.1 — Update on 17000 Sunset project from the PPRA
Significant Issues with 16990-17000 Project Cited by West LA Area Planning Commission (Findings Attached)
Geology – designated landslide area, expert geologists (Dale Glenn and Don Kowalewski) provided detailed concerns with Applicant’s reports and project design.
Planning Commission concerned with risks to Malibu Village, which sits on uncompacted fill directly below this site.
Hydrology – drainage issues on project site – former canyon with significant groundwater. Expert reports detailed concerns with the Applicant’s hydrology studies and project drainage design.
Traffic – project site near “deadman’s curve” – area on Sunset of high speeds and many accidents. Planning Commission found that “the project will have a significant adverse effect individually and cumulatively on safety and traffic flow on Sunset Boulevard, a designated scenic highway in the coastal zone.”
Cumulative Impact and Precedential Value – Planning Commission concerned that this out-of-scale project would set an improper precedent, since there is evidence that there may be future developments near this site.
City Zoning Violations – Planning Commission found many violations of Brentwood-Pacific Palisades Community Plan.
Coastal Act and Regional Interpretive Guidelines – Planning Commission found many violations of both the Coastal Act and the Guidelines.
Easements – Planning Commission found that there was a significant issue as to whether or not the Applicant could utilize the sewage and drainage easements required for the proposed project.
Hydrogen Sulfide Gas – Planning Commission found that the hydrogen sulfide gas risks may not have been adequately assessed and mitigated.
16990-17000 Sunset – M&A Gabaee Project History
January 18, 2012: Coastal Development Permit application filed.
April 23, 2012: First Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) issued – numerous comment letters submitted by community. See PPCC April 10, 2012 letter.
December 20, 2012: Applicant responded to those comments with consultant reports.
PPCC and other community members responded in detail to these reports.
See PPCC February 23, 2013 letter.
June 17, 2013: Second MND issued – numerous detailed comment letters submitted by community. See PPCC June 17, 2013 letter.
July 16, 2013: Zoning Administrator hearing – 3 expert geologists and many community members spoke in opposition to the proposed project.
George Wolfberg appeared on behalf of PPCC to request a focused EIR.
ZA asked Applicant to work with community to address issues.
August 13, 2013 – Applicant emailed PPCC and community members promising to address concerns and to provide them with copies of all future submissions to City Planning.
August 19, 2013 – Applicant mailed new reports and slightly revised plans to City Planning asking for permit approval, but did NOT copy PPCC or community members as promised.
February 2014 – John Glasgow checked City file and found the new reports had been submitted by Applicant in August 2013.
April 14, 2014 – Applicant representative called an appellant and stated that the Applicant was preparing a focused EIR and other studies requested by community, but NONE of these were ever produced.
October 2, 2014: CDP approval letter issued by Zoning Administrator.
October 2014: 12 appeals filed by community members. See PPCC January 6, 2015 letter.
January 8, 2015 and November, 30, 2015: Applicant and several appellants met at Councilmember Bonin’s office, but Applicant was not able to adequately address community concerns regarding geology, hydrology, traffic, easements and compliance with law.
January 21, 2015; March 4, 2015; June 3, 2015; September 2, 2012 – Applicant requested and was granted postponements of WLAAPC hearing of community appeals.
December 2014 to December 2015 – Save the Bluffs generated over 2,700 petition signatures and 867 Facebook supporters showing widespread Palisadian opposition to this project.
December 2, 2015: WLAAPC hearing (Applicant asked for another postponement on date of hearing, but it was not granted). WLAAPC UNANIMOUSLY votes to deny MND and overturn CDP approval.
July 17, 2016: ZA finally issues Determination Letter for December 2 decision, but it did not reflect the Commission’s findings as reflected in the hearing transcript.
July 20, 2016 and August 17, 2016: Community members attend WLAAPC hearings and request accurate Determination Letter. See PPCC August 11, 2016 Letter.
August 25, 2016: WLAAPC issued a restated Determination Letter issued that accurately reflects Commission’s findings (FINDINGS ATTACHED).
August 29, 2016: Applicant appealed WLAAPC decision to Coastal Commission.
October 6, 2016: Coastal Commission hearing in Ukiah, CA to determine if Applicant’s appeal raises a substantial issue regarding compliance with the Coastal Act.