MINUTES FOR FEBRUARY 22nd 2018
Voting members in attendance: Maryam Zar, George Wolfberg, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz (acting Secretary), Peter Culhane, David Kaplan, Sue Kohl, Rick Mills, Danielle Samulon, Richard Wulliger, Janet Anderson, Gil Dembo, David Card, Reza Akef, Cathy Russell, Sarah Conner, Lou Kamer, Margarita Pagliai
Voting alternates: Kelly Comras, Susan Payne, Richard Blumenberg
Non-voting advisors and alternates: Howard Robinson, Leah Cox, Alan Goldsmith, Carol Bruch, Barbara Kohn, Amir Ebtehadj, Howard Robinson
1. Certification of Quorum. Chair Maryam Zar called the meeting to order at 7:12pm and certified that a quorum was present.
2. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. Sarah Conner read the Council’s Mission.
3. Introduction of the Board and Audience. The board and audience were introduced.
4. Approval of Minutes & Upcoming Meetings. 1) Approval of Minutes – The minutes of February 8, 2018 were approved as corrected. 2) Upcoming Meetings – 3/8/18: Scott Sale, Safe Parking LA; Deborah Hong, Community Affairs LADWP; Stephanie Cohen, Office of County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl update. 3/22/18: Caruso update.
5. Consideration of Agenda. Chair announced that the agenda was as distributed.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Richard Cohen (Treasurer) reported that our bank balance is $41,952.18 and that there were no significant transactions since the last meeting.
7. General Public Comment on local issues.
7.1. Linda Deacon, resident, read a statement regarding Cosimo Pizzulli’s claims, in a letter to City official, that two unnamed PPCC board members and Howard Robinson had given verbal support for the project he is developing. Ms. Deacon noted that Howard Robinson has clarified that he made no such statements. The Chair reiterated that PPCC has never taken a position on the matter. She explained that seasoned City officials are unlikely to give much weight to the claimed verbal statements, but she will send an email to confirm that PPCC doesn’t have a position on the project. Rick Mills, Area 4 rep (where the project is located) also confirmed that PPCC has not taken a position. Audience question: What is the Pizzulli project? Rick Mills: Eight single family homes on eight lots near the west rim of Las Pulgas Canyon, below Sunset, plus a sewer extension.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair.
8.1.1. Community Safety Meeting. This meeting will take place on March 6 from 6:30-8:30pm in Mercer Hall at Palisades Charter High School. A flyer with more information will be sent out. Panelists will include LAFD Asst. Chief Armando Hogan; LAPD Officers Moore and Redican; Neighborhood Prosecutor Veronica de la Cruz-Robles; Carol Parks from City Emergency Management Dept.; LAFD Station 69 Captains Kitahata and Bates; and representatives of ACS and Palisades Patrol.
8.1.2. LUC and Eldercare comments. The LUC met immediately preceding this board meeting and a decision was made to look again at the Highlands eldercare project with a Coastal lens; the meeting will likely take place in March or April (date to be determined).
8.1.3. Beach Access Restriction from midnight to 5 am in jeopardy. The Coastal Commission had recently indicated they would like to see pathways on our beaches for the public to access the water overnight. We were told that it was likely they will not reaffirm continuation of the City of Los Angeles’ restriction on overnight use of the beaches. As a result, the Chair wrote a letter reiterating PPCC’s position in support of the curfew, which the Executive Committee approved. However, we have been advised by persons with knowledge of the situation that this alarm should be put on hold, so for now the letter is not being sent.
8.1.4. David Card announcement as new EC member, representing Organizational category. Chair announced that with the approval of the officers and Chair/President Emeritus, David Card has been appointed to the Executive Committee representing the Organizational category. Chair thanked Susan Payne, former EC member in that category.
8.2. From Officers.
8.2.1. Chris Spitz (Chair/President Emeritus) gave an update on SB 827. So far, ten (10) of the total thirteen (13) Neighborhood and Community Council members of WRAC have voted to oppose the bill; this is more than the required supermajority for WRAC positions. WRAC Chair Doug Fitzsimmons will soon be writing to the bill’s author and the Senate Housing and Transportation Committee, as did PPCC, to advise them of the Alliance’s position. Councilmember Bonin opposes the bill and has let Senator Ben Allen know this. Senator Allen also opposes the bill. He sits on the Housing and Transportation Committee with the bill’s author, Senator Wiener. The bill is not yet on an agenda for hearing in that Committee but is expected to be scheduled for sometime later in March. In Los Angeles, Councilmember Ryu has sponsored a resolution in City Council opposing SB 827. This is important because the Senate will want to know what the City’s official position is. The Ryu resolution is assigned to the Council Rules Committee but has not yet been agendized for hearing. We will monitor developments.
8.2.2. George Wolfberg (Vice Chair) announced that PCH Task Force kicks off new traffic safety program (which will extend from the Santa Monica tunnel all the way to Ventura) in the Temescal parking lot at 09:30 on Friday.
8.3. From At-Large and Area Reps.
8.3.1. Lou Kamer (At-Large) gave an update on the Pacific Palisades Dog Park Working Group. They held a public presentation and comment meeting attended by over 125 people on Feb. 7th. After hearing the presentation, the public attendees voted unanimously for the dog park to be located on Temescal Canyon Road. See item 10.1 below.
8.3.2. Sue Kohl (Area 5) gave an Area 5 security update. There is a movement in the Alphabet Streets to consider putting together a security package, including hiring a security patrol. This is still in the planning stage; there is so much crime in the area, and residents are trying to get organized. Information will be posted on social media and possibly the PPCC website. More details will be forthcoming.
8.3.3. Peter Culhane (Area 2) reported for Lisa Cahill of CD11 who could not attend. There was a fire last night at 6:30pm above Marquez that involved more than 60 firefighters and over 20 trucks at the top of the Enclave in the Highlands. There were no injuries and the fire was put out. The week before there was a townhouse fire on Michael Lane, which started in a garage from car. There were no injuries and the fire companies responded quickly.
Peter also reported on the concrete swales clean-out effort; this resulted in big pile of dirt on the on right hand side of Palisades Dr. He has been trying to get the City to remove the dirt. Two dumpsters are there now, both full. A third dumpster is full of cardboard, and there is concern that homeless persons might take the cardboard and built shelters. Peter also explained that on April 6, the last phase of asphalt renewal on Palisades Dr. will be completed.
8.4. From Organizational Reps.
8.4.1. David Card (American Legion) reported as follows:
American Legion: Sunday at 1:00pm the Legion’s Oratorical Contest 3rd round will be held at the American Legion Post 283 hall in Pacific Palisades (next to the Post Office). The very best high school orators from all over L.A. County will be vying for going on to the State finals in Clovis, and hopefully to the national finals in Indianapolis. The speeches are without notes or text, and they all focus on the U.S. Constitution. The 1st place speaker on Sunday will receive a $600 scholarship award.
Rustic Canyon Recreation Center: Last Saturday and Sunday we had a big turnout of community volunteers to the Big Bad Ivy Pull in the historic Eucalyptus Grove. We filled a 20 foot x 8 foot trash bin of the invasive weed, German Ivy or Cape Ivy, along with other weeds. A big THANK YOU to all who participated. George congratulated David and the volunteers on the great job done.
8.5. From Government Offices/Representatives.
7.5.1. LAPD SLO, Michael Moore – Not present.
7.5.2. Office of Councilmember Mike Bonin, CD 11 Field Deputy, Lisa Cahill – Not present. [See Item 8.3.3 above.]
7.5.3. Office of Congressman Ted Lieu, Janet Turner.
Janet announced that the Congressman is calling together the 3rd annual West LA VA Neighbors Community Roundtable on Monday, Feb 26th, 2018, from 7-8:30 pm, at the Belmont Village Sr. Living Center in Westwood, 10475 Wilshire Blvd. Open to the public. Space is limited. RSVP to email@example.com. There will be presentations and an update on the status of the Master Plan, and its EIR/EIS. Janet Anderson will represent PPCC at the Monday meeting.
Janet also passed out a flyer with information about the yearly Congressional Art Competition; the winner receives a scholarship and a trip to Washington, D.C., and their artwork is hung in the Capitol for a year. Submission deadline: April 6, 2018, 5pm. The judging will take place at the Wallis Annenberg Center on April 28, from 1-3pm.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors – Amir Eptehadj.
1) Following the Florida high school shooting event, the Pali High community was shaken and engaged in dialogue with counselors. Students have signed a large banner which they are sending to Parkland HS to show support. 2) A group of students is partnering with the Mayor’s Office with an initiative to bring a large voter pre-registration event for youth to the district in April. 3) Pali High ambassadors will be at the Pali Spelling Bee to partner with the Bee and the Palisadian-Post. Q: Will Pali High students participate in the gun control march on March 24th? A: They are working on logistics and haven’t decided on a date yet because there are different dates that different groups are using; Pali High students will participate in one of the marches.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. LUC (Howard Robinson, Chair).
Howard explained that in the committee meeting preceding the board meeting, the LUC adopted a revision to the LUC’s internal policies and procedures document. The final wording will be made available soon. During public comment many people asked the LUC to reopen the recommendation on the eldercare project. By a narrow vote of 5-4 with PPCC Chair and ex-oficio LUC Member casting the deciding vote, the LUC will reopen the committee’s recommendation at a future meeting, with the project use and related Coastal matters to be looked at again. It will be up to the PPCC board to decide whether it will reopen the matter of the board’s position.
10. Old Business.
10.1. Pacific Palisades Dog Park – Report from the Working Group.
Presentations: Lou Kamer is the PPCC Liaison to the PP Dog Park Working Group. He explained that the group was formed as a result of community interest, after CD11 encouraged the formation of the group and helped enable it to begin discussing plans for a Palisades Dog Park, following a motion Concilmember Bonin introduced at City Council. He went through a Power Point (available at the PPCC website under Resources/Presentation to PPCC) which described the members of the group, its mission, assessment of potential locations, identification of funding sources and outreach to the community to see if there’s interest and to take comments/concerns. They identified what makes a great dog park and looked at ten Rec. & Parks locations around the City. The location along Temescal Canyon matched all the criteria.
Leslie Campbell of the Working Group showed a petition signed by 3,000 plus residents who want to see a dog park in the Palisades. The proposed plan includes large and small dog areas, within 33,000 sq. ft., north of the playground on the east side of Temescal Canyon Road. The area will be fenced in, with sufficient parking, access to bathrooms, on-site drainage, irrigation lines, fountains that drain, and running water. The group thanks Rec. & Parks for offering the land. They worked with the Rec. & Parks architecture department on the designs. The groundcover will be mulch or woodchips initially. There will be benches and shade covers. They are now half-way through the steps in their plan; they will need to begin fundraising.
Lou added that the dog park will be open sunrise to sunset with electronic gates; there will be no nighttime use. There will also be a regular maintenance shift to clean the park one morning each week.
Carol Ross of the Working Group presented information regarding the costs. Rec. & Parks has no money to pay for maintenance so this will require private funding. If they keep costs under $399,000, they will not need a CDP. They don’t need to use Rec. & Parks contractors so this may help with expenses. They will try to add $100,000 in maintenance funds. The group is applying for 501(c)3 status. For now, pledges are being taken on the website. Next step: developing a maintenance plan and costs. They are seeking to partner with another Palisades group that is already doing landscaping. They are over half-way along in their process.
Lou explained why we should support the plan. We have no dog park anywhere near here. The plan has the support of Rec. & Parks and CD11, the PP-PAB and over 3,000 petitioners. This is the best location and the best opportunity in 35 years to do this. It will be a community facility to bring people together in the Palisades. At the February community meeting that was held to vote on the plan and location, 120 people unanimously voted in support.
Discussion: George Wolfberg stated that he worked with Norman Kulla on the dog park issue in 2005; he commended the current group for their efforts. George was also involved in the Brentwood Dog Park. He suggested the working group might want to consider the possibility of CD11 forming a Brown-Acted Advisory Committee for the park. He also expressed concern about the park’s size; is it large enough? Lou explained that this is the largest they can do at the site because they don’t want to overwhelm the area, and that other dog parks in our environs (for example Brentwood) are the same size, and seem to work well. The idea is integrating what they can do with the space available. Other possible options involved purchasing land or unfeasible sites. This was the only area that was considered viable. Leslie Campbell added that the Barrington Dog Park has been cut in half and the new dog park in Westwood is about the same size as the proposed park on Temescal.
Richard Cohen said he was involved as Chair from 2008-2010 when there were efforts to place a dog park on the west side of Temescal, south of the continuation school. There was puzzling opposition raised by residents on the ridge above (Temescal west side, south of continuation), with talk of negative impacts such as flying feces. He suggested that before we take a position we ascertain whether residents on the rim were notified and whether they are supportive of the project. He asked for an explanation of the outreach that was conducted. Lou explained that they held numerous meetings, including the recent community meeting, have posted information on Nextdoor, and have a Pali Dog Park Facebook page plus a website. There were some concerns expressed from residents about waste and noise. They spoke with some neighbors on the ridge. They were told that one woman had concerns. They went out and did noise tests – what do dogs barking at the bottom sound like at the top? Lou said it was similar to noise from cars. It will sound like a dog is barking from 10 houses down. They put a microphone in Barrington and he has data re the peak hours of barking, which he has shared with neighbors on ridge. David Kaplan (the Area rep) stated that no one had contacted him who was either for or against the dog park. He asked if the one neighbor’s concerns were alleviated? Lou replied that the dog park is beyond 150 ft. from homes (the Rec. & Parks rule). The Chair noted that experience has demonstrated when people are opposed to a community project, they tend to find out about it and make their opinions known. The fact that neither the PPCC, nor the dog park working group, nor the area rep had heard any complaints or misgivings indicates a comfortable measure of surety that there is not entrenched opposition to the possibility of a dog park in the contemplated area.
David Card remarked that the closest house by a Google Earth measurement is 218 ground ft. from the dog park. A question arose about traffic and safety issues from people parking across street and walking across Temescal Canyon Road. Lou: when full the dog park would be about 45 dogs; LADOT says there is plenty of available parking and this isn’t an issue. David C.: this would also involve people making U-Turns. Cathy Russell: She is concerned about the park being overrun by too many people and dogs, such as dog walkers with 10 dogs each. Leslie Campbell: The nature of the design of this park will eliminate dog walkers because it wouldn’t be safe; you can’t just open the gate and let dogs go in this park, due to the design. Danielle Samulon: how will people know to leave at closing time? Lou: He hopes people will know to leave when it turns dark. Regarding administrative details that may come up in Phase 2 in the future: Peter Culhane will introduce Lou to head of the Palisades Highlands recreation group which has a dog park. Gil Dembo: How do you prevent dog owners from utilizing public park space outside of the dog park area? George Wolfberg: Barrington Dog Park has a special regulation; owners will be cited if they use other areas. Reza Akef: what about the rule of one owner one dog? Who will be the enforcer? He also has environmental concerns (e.g., plastic bags may end up in the ocean and dirty run-off). Lou: Rec. & Parks has jurisdiction and has rangers there to enforce the rules. They will try to have biodegradable bags available and run-off will go into the existing treatment system. David C: He is concerned about the size, the fact that beachgoers from all over the City and region may want to use the dog park, which may lead to a desire to expand the park further and then bump up next to playground; he is against encroachment on the playground and picnic area. He also asked, what about bathrooms? Where will they tie up dogs? Lou: Hopefully if someone has to go to bathroom someone will watch dogs. Susan P.: From her own experience, people using a dog park usually don’t have to go to the bathroom; they don’t stay long. David Kaplan: How will they prevent the park from being overrun when there are 60 dogs? Leslie Campbell: People are managing very well with other parks of about the same size. Carol Bruch: Did you actually put notices out to people on the rim, such as flyers at every door? Lou: We had people who knew residents on the ridge go out and talk to their neighbors. We didn’t specifically notify each resident.
Motion: Lou made a motion for the PPCC to support the dog park proposed at this location so that we can move forward with all the steps needed to make the dog park happen. No additional discussion. Vote: Passed by unanimous vote of voting board members.
11. New Business.
11.1. Motions Proposed to WRAC Leadership by WRAC-LUPC.
Initial Remarks by George Wolfberg and Chris Spitz. These motions have been proposed by the Westside Regional Alliance of Council (WRAC) Land Use & Planning Committee to WRAC leadership; due to time constraints WRAC leadership has not yet considered the motions. Rather than wait for leadership to recommend, we are proposing the motions to the Board tonight because PPCC has already taken positions on these matters and the motions are consistent with PPCC’s position in each case.
1). Resolution to oppose SB 946 [Lara] (motion sponsored in PPCC by George Wolfberg and Chris Spitz; modifications in bold font):
“Pacific Palisades Community Council opposes SB 946 [Lara], in which the State of California would establish sidewalk vending regulations for local municipalities. The bill would require local regulations to permit vending in parks and public spaces and would not allow location restrictions unless ‘directly related to objective health, safety or welfare concerns.’ The City of Los Angeles is currently analyzing sidewalk vending options. Local control and jurisdiction over sidewalk vending is strongly preferred, and should be preserved.”
The Chair stated the motion to the board; no additional second needed since the motion was made by two voting board members.
Presentation by George and Chris: This proposed bill would require cities, on a statewide basis, to allow sidewalk vending in parks and all public spaces, with basically no provision for either an opt-in or opt-out process. It is another attempted state encroachment on local control. PPCCs position on sidewalk vending is as expressed in its previous letter: We oppose legalization on a citywide basis but if legalization is to occur we insist on certain conditions, including a opt-in procedure for those neighborhoods that wish to have this activity. A proposal to legalize sidewalk vending has been pending in City Council Committee for some time, under which certain areas might be allowed to opt-out and disallow the activity. Should an opt-in or opt-out procedure be instituted, they would come back to the community to determine what the community wanted and we would hear from all sides. This proposed local solution would be entirely overridden by SB 946. Consistent with PPCC’s longstanding support for local control and the position already taken on sidewalk vending, we urge the board to pass this proposed resolution.
Discussion: Eric Marshall (audience) urged the board to oppose this resolution. He believes the resolution is burdensome and the bill doesn’t violate local control.
Vote: Passed by a vote of more than 2/3 of voting board members.
2). Resolution to support a Short-Term Rentals Ordinance IF the following specific conditions are included (motion sponsored in PPCC by George Wolfberg and Chris Spitz; modifications in bold font):
“Further to the letter of 2/5/18 submitted to CF 14-1635-S2 by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC), Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC), a member of WRAC, resolves as follows:
“Any City of Los Angeles Short-Term Rentals Ordinance shall include the following:
- A cap on the number of nights that a room can be rented each year, and with no provision for a CUP or other process for individual hosts to receive permission to exceed the annual cap
- Requirement of proof of primary residence and liability insurance for the specific use.
- No self-certification.
- Short-term rental tax revenues shall not go into the General Fund. The highest priority for use of revenues shall be enforcement of the ordinance, and after that, revenues shall go to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
- Provision for a private right of action by adversely affected residents and all other conditions specified in the letter of 10/27/15 previously submitted to CF 14-1635-S2 by PPCC.
“PPCC notes that many NCs/CCs, including PPCC, prefer a full prohibition on short-term rentals in R zones, for reasons that include tranquil neighborhoods, impossibility of enforcement, and loss of hotel revenue and jobs. However, many Councilmembers support short-term rentals in R zones, and full opposition may not be feasible.”
The Chair stated the motion to the board; no additional second needed since the motion was made by two voting board members.
Presentation by George and Chris: This motion is a result of recent action in the City Council PLUM Committee, as previously reported by Chris, in which the Committee has directed the Planning Dept. to add certain provisions to the Home Sharing (STRs) ordinance which are not consistent with PPCC’s and WRAC’s positions. A letter has already been submitted by WRAC stating opposition to these proposed new provisions, which would include allowing individual property owners to apply for a CUP or other discretionary process to exceed the annual cap; self-certification of residency; and directing short term rental tax receipts into the City’s General Fund. WRAC LUPC members felt that it is important for WRAC members to pass this additional resolution for clarification and emphasis. You will note that we added Section 5 to re-emphasize PPCC’s position that the ordinance should provide for a private right of action.
Discussion: Peter Culhane remarked that the Highlands has CC&Rs that don’t allow STRs. Richard Cohen: we have previously discussed the issue of STRs turning into party houses and hotels in our residential neighborhoods. Rick McGeagh (audience) stated that he has an Airbnb next door to him, adjacent to Will Rogers State Park. Every Fri. and Sat. night there’s a party in the home. He is concerned about teenagers, partiers, wildfires, etc.
Vote: Passed by unanimous vote of voting board members.
3). Resolution to oppose the automatic renewal of the City’s Bus Shelter/Advertising 20-year contract with Decaux (motion sponsored in PPCC by George Wolfberg, Chris Spitz and Richard Cohen; modifications in bold font):
“Regarding CF 00 1073-S1: Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) opposes the automatic renewal of the City’s Bus Shelter/Advertising 20-year contract with Decaux. PPCC further requests the City to withdraw the renegotiation of the sidewalk furniture contract with Decaux from the City Attorney’s office, and to allow a process of community input which can culminate in an open RFP, awarded based on parameters laid out by community impact and ridership needs. The City should solicit comments from the community about problems/issues, and then issue an open RFP that addresses these issues/problems to numerous advertising firms. Problems noted include lack of bus shelters at mass transit stations and major arterials, which harms the rider experience during rainstorms and windstorms, and which may further reduce the already declining use of transit. PPCC also strongly urges that local control and Specific Plan, Scenic Highway and Coastal Zone protections be respected in connection with any contract that is eventually negotiated.”
Background: Numerous references to previous discussion and actions taken by the PPCC board regarding street furniture (2006-2012); see specifically: 1/12/06, Item 4.5.1; 2/9/06, Item 4.5.5; 6/9/06, Item 7.3.3; 6/22/06, Item 7.3.1; 7/13/06, Item 7.3.1); 2/28/08, Item 7.2.1; 3/13/08, Item 7.2.2; 3/27/08, Item 7.2.2; 6/12/08, Item 7.2.2; 6/26/08, Item 9.3; 7/10/08, Item 9.1; 8/14/08, Item 9.1); 1/8/09, Item 7.1.8; 1/11/09, Item 7.1.12; 7/8/10, Item 10.4; 10/27/11, Item 7.1.4; 2/23/12, Item 10.2.
The Chair stated the motion to the board; no additional second needed since the motion was made by more than two voting board members.
Presentation by Richard Cohen: Richard related PPCC’s extensive past history involving street furniture. The City wants the money that comes from advertising on the furniture. He explained that we are requesting by this resolution that there should be no automatic renewal of the Decaux contract and that it should be put out to bid with community input. The resolution also restates our additional concerns about local control with respect to the Specific Plan, scenic highways and coastal areas. This is completely consistent with a motion Richard made almost 10 years ago that passed unanimously.
Richard also explained that several years ago we joined with Brentwood CC, retained attorneys and threatened to bring the matter to the Coastal Commission if the City went forward with street furniture plans that were not acceptable to the Palisades. We argued at the time that this was a big enough project to require an EIR/CEQA review. Our firm pressure resulted in our then-Councilmember Bill Rosendahl supporting a carve out for the Palisades from the contract then being negotiated.
Discussion: David Kaplan reminded the board of the “harmonizing” project going on, spearheaded by PRIDE, for the redesign of various Village public right-of-way areas contiguous to the Caruso project. This will include areas with bus stops where street furniture might be placed.
Vote: Passed by unanimous vote of voting board members.
12. Adjournment. Chair adjourned the meeting at 8:58 pm.