MINUTES for May 11th 2017
Voting members in attendance: Maryam Zar, George Wolfberg, Allison Holdorff Polhill, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, Reza Akef, Rick Mills, Katie Braude, Cathy Russell, Danielle Samulon, Lou Kamer, Barbara Marinacci, Dick Wulliger, Gil Dembo, Rick McGeagh, Leiauna Anderson, David Card, Rick Lemmo, Sarah Conner, Richard Blumenberg.
Voting alternates: Alan Goldsmith, Robin Meyers.
Non-voting advisors and alternates: Carol Bruch, Dona Anselmo, Kevin Niles, Bruce Schwartz, Brian Deming.
- Certification of Quorum. The Chair, Maryam Zar, called the meeting to order at 7:03 pm and certified that a quorum was present.
- Reading of Community Council’s Mission Statement. Maryam Zar read the Council’s Mission.
- Introduction of the Board and Audience
- Approval of Minutes & Upcoming Meetings. 1) Approval of Minutes – Maryam deemed the minutes of April 27, 2017 approved. 2) Upcoming Meetings: 5/25/17: City Attorney.
- Consideration of Agenda
- Treasurer’s report. Richard Cohen reported that PPCC has a bank account balance of $39,556. There were no significant transactions since the last meeting. Richard also announced the passing on May 9th of long time PPCC Board member Ted Mackie — TCA Alternate, former PPCC Webmaster, Golden Sparkplug Awardee, PPCC “Treasurer Emeritus,” TCA board member and owner of Ted’s Palisades Bikes on Via de la Paz for many years. He noted that PPCC remembers Ted with fondness and gratitude for his outstanding service to the board and the entire Palisades community.
- Reports, Announcements and Concerns
7.1. From the Chair
7.1.1. Palisadian-Post Signage has been approved by operation of law (the Permit Streamlining Act), per court order, following the failure of City Planning Department to act timely.
7.1.2. Letter regarding motion to support Vision Zero was sent.
7.1.4. Maryam asked for volunteers from the board to serve on a newly forming Pacific Palisades Dog Park Working Group.
7.1.5. West LAPD Traffic Division has deployed several task forces to the Palisades on Wednesdays and Sundays to try and deter reckless driving/riding and cite violators. Capt. Thomas has been in touch; and has assigned a lead Sgt (Eun) to communicate with PPCC (through the Chair for now), and lead officer Michael Basaker as our Traffic division liaison.
7.2. From Officers
7.2.1. George Wolfberg (Vice Chair) gave a PCH Task Force Update. The Task Force meets quarterly and is chaired by state elected officials representing districts fronting on PCH between the McClure Tunnel and Ventura County. Meetings usually are held in a government building. Because of the dedication of a safety beacon light at the Malibu Village Mobile Home Park, the task force decided to meet at mobile home park. The beacon is a robust stop light to assist pedestrians crossing PCH. Sen. Stern, Sen. Bloom and Mike Bonin were present. Senator Stern chaired the meeting. Councilman Bonin attended the dedication and needed to attend the LA City Council meeting so missed the Task Force meeting. Meeting highlights included a progress report on the City of Santa Monica’s project to replace the bridge that goes to the pier. George briefed the Task Force regarding problems at the highway intersection with Chautauqua and West Channel Road. Drivers frequently end up in the incorrect turning lane. The City of Los Angeles is planning to improve signage on city streets leading to the highway. George urged that Caltrans look at signage on the highway which is Caltrans responsibility. Senator Stern asked Caltrans to report back at the next meeting. Caltrans will be widening the highway near the Bel Air Bay Club next year to enhance bicyclists’ safety. The LA City Engineer gave a brief update on the Potrero Canyon Park Project. All necessary sign-offs have been received except for a highway right-of-entry from Caltrans for a portion of the project which will be constructed on the former PCH right of way. The City hopes to award a construction contract in about one year. George also announced that Entrada Dr. in Santa Monica Canyon between Adelaide Dr. and Amalfi Dr. will be reconstructed and repaved on weekends through approximately the Memorial Day weekend and drivers are urged to avoid the area.
George also attended the monthly meeting of the WRAC Land Use Planning committee. Highlights of the May meeting included discussion of planning around Expo Line stations and also along Pico Blvd. where residents are pushing back against possible highrise residential construction. The project near Exposition and Sepulveda, formerly known as the “Casden Project” was discussed. It is not known who is the developer or whether their proposal will be moving residential units 500 feet from the freeway for safety of residents from air pollution. A project to construct four homes and an auditorium on Sepulveda between the Getty Museum and Mountaingate is also in the works. Finally, the City is moving along with an ordinance to regulate signs on construction fences.
7.3. From At-Large and Area Reps
7.3.1. Lou Kamer (At-large rep). The 4th of July Parade Committee is asking for different floats per area within the Palisades. Children will be encouraged to design and build floats. To date funds are not available. Daphne Gronich stated that the Parade Committee cannot fund the floats and many areas can fundraise independently.
7.4. From Organizational Reps
7.4.1. Dick Wulliger (PP Historical Society). An event will take place on May 15, 2017 at 7 pm in Theatre Palisades. There will be a Powerpoint presentation on Los Leones regarding its past, present and future.
7.4.2. Susan Payne (PP Chamber of Commerce; not present). Richard Blumemberg reported that the next Chamber mixer will be held at Taste; May 18 at 5 PM.
7.4.3. David Card (Palisades Rotary). The Texas Hold ‘em poker fundraiser will take place on Saturday May 20 from 5 pm until late, with a $200 buy in. There is a new fence and cactus weeding & clean-up has taken place at the pump station landscaping at PCH & Temescal; this was an Eagle Scout project – deterrent cactus.
7.5. From Government Offices/Representatives
7.5.1. Officer Veloz – Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”). Officer Veloz reported that crime is down. Burglaries are happening through the rear of homes. A surveillance system similar to Ring is advisable. West Traffic is working on the motorcycle issues. Officer Veloz provided a list with emergency phone numbers.
7.5.2. Debbie Dyner-Harris – Office of Councilman Mike Bonin, District Director. Debbie announced that the incoming Field Deputy Officer for the Palisades will be Lisa Cahill. Lisa was formerly with Tree People.
7.5.3. Janet Turner – Office of Congressman Ted Lieu, District Representative – Not present.
7.6. From PPCC Advisors – None.
- Reports from Committees
8.1. Nominating Committee (Richard Wulliger, Chair); Officer Nominations, 2017-18 term. Richard reported that the Committee met and recommended all current officers be re-elected to a new one-year term. The Committee’s officer nominees are: Maryam Zar, Chair; George Wolfberg, Vice Chair; Richard Cohen, Treasurer; and Allison Holdorff Polhill, Secretary. Richard also announced that nominations from Board members are open until 15 minutes prior to close of the meeting of May 25 (Bylaws VII, Sec. 2).
- General Public Comment — Paula Leonhausner outlined her timeline addressing alleged speeding Ruthless Ryders. She wanted to increase the police presence and ensure speeding was reduced. She presented a letter from Chief Charlie Beck acknowledging her outreach. There will be a “private” informational meeting organized by her in the near future (not open to the public). On Nextdoor, 50 to 100 people have expressed their concerns regarding Ruthless Ryders. Maryam stated that she is working on organizing a Town Hall – public meeting this summer – with Sgt Eun and relevant officers.
- Old Business – None.
- New Business
11.1. Maryam moved to support Councilmember Bonin’s motion to form a Pacific Palisades Dog Park Working Group & support PPPAB formation of such working group.
Motion to support Pacific Palisades Park Advisory Board on the formation of a Dog Park Working Group, in keeping with the Motion by Council Member Bonin instructing Department of Recreation and Parks to work with CD11 to establish a community-based Pacific Palisades Dog Park Working Group, in order to assess potential locations, identify potential funding sources, and conduct community outreach for the creation of a dog park.
Gil Dembo seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
11.2. LADWP & Bernheimer Gardens discussion on Pole Top Distributing Station (PTDS) progress (LADWP) and pad mount request (owners: Steve Sommers/Christopher Damon; additional speaker: Electrical Suntricity CEO Emil Khalil, Ph.D.)
Steven Sommers and Christopher Damon are new owners of a property adjacent to the PTDS location. They have accepted that there is going to be a PTDS adjacent to their property. Sommers suggested that rather than a PTDS they could have a pad mounted transformer system where power will be distributed on the ground on their property along Sunset. Sommers and Damon have agreed to grant an easement in perpetuity to the City of Los Angeles in order to distribute power on the ground. LADWP was about to put a PTDS in the public right of way adjacent to this property but did not have a coastal permit initially. 2,500 signatures have been collected to halt this project and look at the pad mount alternative. Sommers stated that the LA General Plan – Mobility Plan 2035 states “where undergrounding of such utilities is not feasible, all such new or relocated utility shall screened to reduce their visibility from the Scenic highway.” Specs for the pad mounted transformer were taken directly out of the LADWP handbook.
The LADWP rep presented regarding issues for the PTDS-198 Service Area. There is a need for reliable power but they are concerned about the amount of time. LADWP said they would have to re-engineer the substation if it were to be moved to a pad-mount at this juncture, and would have to re-start the permitting process, delaying the project in unforeseeable ways. The current path would be 3 months (without legal delays planned by the new property owners). DWP speculated if the pad mount is pursued it could take 12 months to three years before power is restored. Reza Akef disagreed with LADWP and indicated that this project could be green lighted. Reza disagreed that a CUP would be necessary. LADWP indicated it is possible for pad mounts to be used to service the larger area although LADWP will have to conduct further research on the required technology and engineering. LADWP also stated that here will be multiple PTDS, 3 or 4, coming to the Palisades in the future. The pad mount could be conceived as more of a permanent solution.
Sommers argued that a unique opportunity has presented itself here for LADWP to take advantage of available land to try a pad-mounted option, in a scenic location that impacts Palisadians daily. Some board members argued for quick reliable power and an unimpeded path for LADWP to finish this PTDS; while others advocated for protection of views along Sunset and the preservation of the character of the Palisades without electric poles overhead. The At-large rep suggested a continuation of the pole-top as planned with the promise of a pad mount at a later date, when LADWP can complete the necessary engineering work and dismount the pole top. After a pause in which the parties went out of the room to discuss the matter further, Debbie Dyner-Harris returned to the room and reported that the suggestion was met with positive reaction by the parties and they have begun discussion toward that end.
11.3. Palisadian Post signage – recap of recent events. Course of action/discussion. Maryam reported on the recent court order approving a sign permit application by the Palisadian Post, for signage atop the 881 Alma Real building, which had been recommended against by the DRB, denied by the Director of Planning, and denied again by the West LA Area Planning Commission (on appeal). The sign permit was nevertheless approved, by operation of law, in an LA Superior Court decision pursuant to a lawsuit brought by the Post, invoking an obscure state law called the Permit Streamlining Act, which was triggered due to the inordinate delay by the Department of City Planning to issue a determination. The City has now been ordered to issue the permit and the City Attorney has declined to appeal. After discussion Rick Mills moved that:
The Executive Committee of the Pacific Palisades Community Council write a letter to the owner of the Palisadian-Post asking him to show his support and respect for the community, which has demonstrated its objection to the signby the denial of his proposed large parapet-level signage at the top of the Palisades Village Center office building by both the Pacific Palisades Design Review Board and the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission.
Richard Blumenberg seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. Maryam stated that she would attend the WLA APC hearing on May 17th and speak on behalf of PPCC.
- Adjournment. Maryam adjourned the meeting at 9:00 pm.