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MINUTES FOR APRIL 26th 2018

Voting Members in Attendance:  Maryam Zar, Allison Polhill, George Wolfberg, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, Peter Culhane, Sue Kohl, Rick Mills, Danielle Samulon, Richard Wulliger, Cathy Russell, Lou Kamer, David Card, Bruce Schwartz, Margarita Pagliai

Voting Alternates:  Jim Kirtley, Andrew Wolfberg, Brenda Theveny, Doug McCormick, David Peterson, Barbara Kohn, Susan Payne

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Richard Blumenberg, Matthew Rodman, Howard Robinson, Andrew Sacks

1.    Certification of Quorum.  Chair Maryam Zar called the meeting to order at 7:02 pm and certified that a quorum was present.

2.    Reading of Community Council’s Mission.  Chris Spitz 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 April 12, 2018 were approved as distributed. 2) Upcoming Meetings – 5/10/18; announcement of Nominating Committee nominees for officer positions. 5/24/18; Chair announced that Stephanie Cohen of Supervisor Kuehl’s office and a representative of Beaches & Harbors will present at the 5/10 meeting, with information as to the beach access and Gladstone’s restaurant replacement matters. Additional topics to be announced.

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 $39,235.88 and that there were two significant transactions: the PO Box renewal and data processing charges. During reconciliation of our bank statement (done monthly) he discovered an outstanding check in payment of our general liability insurance premium. He contacted the agent and was assured that the policy is paid up and in-force and that the problem was due to late deposit by the agent. The treasurer has completed the accounting for this year’s tax reporting which is due 5/15/18. Returns will be signed and filed shortly.

7.    General Public Comment on local issues.

7.1.    Mr. Flick thanked more than 1500 people who signed an online petition opposing development of the Highlands eldercare facility.  He indicated displeasure with PPCC’s position and testimony individually made by certain Board members at the recent WLA APC appeal hearing.  A discussion ensued regarding what was expressed at the hearing regarding PPCC’s position and testimony by individual Board members.  It was clarified that the PPCC position had been properly and solely presented by LUC Chair Howard Robinson (as delegated by the Chair), and that our bylaws permit Board members to express individual opinions and to identify their PPCC and other affiliations, as long as it is clear they are not speaking for PPCC or misstating the PPCC position. The Chair suggested that the Board may wish to have a discussion in the future as to whether there should be any changes in the rules regarding speech by Board members.

8.     Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair – None.

8.2.    From Officers.

8.2.1.     Chris Spitz (Chair/President Emeritus).  Updates on SB 827, Short Term Rentals (Home Sharing) Ordinance and Sidewalk Vending Ordinance. Chris reported:

SB 827:  This is the dangerous “transit oriented density bill” which would eliminate local planning control and is opposed by LA City Council. The bill was killed in the Senate Transportation Committee recently, with Senator Allen voting No; however, it is subject to reconsideration in committee on a date to be determined; we will continue to monitor.

Short Term Rentals (Home-Sharing) Ordinance:  The City Council Housing Committee took this matter up yesterday on a referral from the PLUM Committee with a proposal for a process to allow hosts to exceed the annual cap, but with very limited notice requirements. This was opposed by a supermajority of WRAC members, including PPCC; Chris sent a letter to the Housing Committee on her own behalf indicating this opposition. The Committee yesterday voted to approve the ordinance with the proposed revisions, including the process for so-called “extended use permits.” Right now, the annual cap is proposed for 120 days, but under the revisions hosts can apply after six months for either an administrative permit or a CUP to allow them to exceed the cap. It appears that the only notice requirement for these permits would be to “abutting homeowners” and there doesn’t appear to be a ceiling on the possible extended use.

The Chair noted that PPCC’s position is against legalization of short term rentals, but that if legalization is to occur we insist on stringent rules, including no more than a 90 day annual cap, a provision to take impacted neighbors complaints into account, an a tougher mechanism to permissibly exceed the cap. She asked for the sense of the Board in order to clarify PPCC’s position as it relates to the proposed extended use permits. Board members indicated that consistent with PPCC’s position we should insist that the rules be more stringent; there was general agreement that if the City Council is intent on going forward with a process for extended use permits (as it appears to be), a broader notice requirement (250-500 ft.) should be imposed.

Sidewalk Vending Ordinance:  This draft ordinance had been pending for more than two years and recently went to the full City Council for approval. Previous recommendations had been to allow for an “opt out” process or other procedure whereby the Council offices would receive input from local neighborhoods and/or brick and mortar businesses as to where sidewalk vending should be permitted. At the last minute, a motion was introduced in Council that removed the opt out process; Councilmember Bonin was one of four councilmembers to vote No on this motion, but the motion did pass. The City Attorney has been instructed to draft the ordinance language and we are told that the public will be given thirty days to comment after the draft is finalized. Just a reminder: PPCC’s position is that special vending districts should be created with opt-in procedures for local neighborhoods. Our own BID and Chamber have indicated support either for an opt-in or opt-out process. The vast majority of organizations citywide that have submitted positions to the Council File indicate that they are either opposed to legalization of this activity or favor either an opt-in or opt-out approach. Under the current proposed version, sidewalk vending would be disallowed only under very narrow circumstances such as evidence of public health impacts or the like. Chris noted that the City Council appears to be moving in the direction of SB 946, a bill pending in the State Senate (which PPCC also opposes, by a resolution passed in February 2018; see here). We will monitor developments. The Chair announced that depending on how much time PPCC has in the future, we may revisit this issue again and bring in sidewalk vendors’ point of view.

8.2.2.    George Wolfberg (Vice-Chair). Recreation & Parks has put out a notice that grading bids for Potrero Canyon are due on May 10, 2018.

8.3.    From At-Large and Area Reps.

8.3.1.    Lou Kamer (At Large Rep).  LADWP is behind on the number of power poles they were supposed to replace. Large metal poles with electrical lines related to the Caruso project (located on Albright) are permanent. Lou asked what is being done in terms of “harmonizing” the south of Sunset Blvd. with the Caruso project. Members of the PRIDE-sponsored committee working on this issue (including Sue Kohl, David Peterson, Chris Spitz and Marge Gold) explained that the committee is discussing a long-term design plan for public areas of the entire Village, including the area south of Sunset. Caruso is underwriting the design team. Chris noted that the effort is consistent with the prior Board discussion and motion passed in 2016. The PRIDE-sponsored committee’s discussions are ongoing; at the appropriate time proposed plans will be presented to PPCC and other Palisades organizations for community input. Major fundraising will be required. Marge reported that the vision is very large and expensive and the entire project is not going to happen in the near future. Board members indicated that harmonizing of the south of Sunset should be a priority; the Chair asked if members of the committee, who are also PPCC Board members would report the status of the committee’s efforts to the PPCC soon. Chris stated she would report this to the committee.

8.4.    From Organizational Reps.

8.4.1.    Jim Kirtley (YMCA); YMCA/Optimist Club Track Meet. The 46th Annual Youth Track Meet sponsored by the YMCA and Optimist Club will occur on June 6th at the Pali High track from 11am-2:30pm. The event is for kids ages 3-15. Entrance fee $20.

8.4.2.    Richard Wulliger (Historical Society). The inaugural lecture of the Lorraine Oshins Speaker Series will take place on May 2nd at 6:00 pm at Theatre Palisades. The lecture topic will be “Domesticity and Resistance: Women and Activism in Early Cold War Palisades,” with guest speaker Janet Farrell, Palisades resident and Professor of History at Claremont Graduate University.

8.5.    From Government Offices/Representatives.

8.5.1.    LAPD Senior Lead Officer Michael Moore – Not in attendance.

8.5.2.    Office of Councilmember Mike Bonin, Planning Deputy Len Nguyen. (See Item 10.1 below.)

8.5.3.    Office of Senator Ben Allen, Allison Towle, District Representative.

Allison reported on several bills sponsored by the Senator: SB 933: bill supporting expanded funding for arts education; SB 936: bill supporting how we allow autonomous vehicles on the road; funds used from greenhouse gas charges to fund money into the conservancies to adapt to climate change; SB 961: bill aimed at financing major transportation projects; SB 934: bill creating violence intervention and prevention grant program. She invited members to contact her with any questions; Mellisa’s contact information is on the PPCC website under Resources/Government Contacts

8.5.4.    Office of Assemblymember Richard Bloom, Melissa Kaufler, Senior Field Representative.

The Assemblymember is sponsoring a bill for the West LA Courthouse to be sold to the City to be a regional homeless center. Melissa reported on the Assemblymember’s other bills: AB 3124, extending bike racks on articulated buses; AB 2998, removing toxic products from juvenile products; a bill for Arts Council Peer Review – allows peers to review the applications for arts programs; AB 2684, updating the Uniform Parentage Act. The Ellis Act allows residential landlords to go out of business; this is a legal way for landlords to take rent-controlled apartments off the markets. Contact information for Melissa is on the PPCC website under Resources/Government contacts.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors.

9.    Reports from Committees.

9.1.     Nominating Committee Update (Richard Wulliger, Chair).  The Committee is continuing to consider candidates and will announce its list at the first meeting in May.

9.2.    LUC Update (Howard Robinson, Chair).  (1) The LUC’s next meeting will be on May 7, 2018; (2) Howard presented the PPCC position, as expressed in its letters of November 2, 2017, and April 13, 2018, at the WLA APC hearing of the Highlands eldercare project appeal; he explained what occurred at the hearing and the express basis for the decision to deny the appeal, based on the required standard of review: the appellants had not presented sufficient evidence of error by the Zoning Administrator.

10.    Old Business.

10.1.    Riviera Country Club Plans regarding Longworth Gate.  Update, further discussion, possible motion. See Building & Safety Permits for the RCC here.

Don Emery, Riviera Country Club (RCC) General Manager, and Megan Watanabe, Executive Vice-President, were present.  Andrew Wolfberg (Area 8 Alternate) asked for clarification regarding the Longworth Gate. Mr. Emery reported that the RCC is not changing its footprint despite pulling permits. They are replacing an old sewage line, rebuilding a small guard shack and doing electrical work. The security shack will be rebuilt to secure the lower entrance of the Club. Having a guard at the entrance will not materially change the use of the entrance. RCC will control noise and speed of their staff members late at night.

Mr. Embury acknowledged that the RCC’s original CUP dates from the 1920s. Len Nguyen, CD 11 Planning Deputy, stated that his office has been researching the matter and is working with the Planning Dept. and LADBS to obtain information about all relevant permits. Mr. Embury stated that RCC is willing to create a traffic study that the City undertakes. Len Nguyen explained that LADOT will review appropriate traffic implications in the event there is something new. RCC does not have written policies regarding the gate. Neighbors are concerned regarding the use of the gate. Richard Cohen asked if there would be a policy established and published, limiting use of the gate. Mr. Emery relayed that there wouldn’t be. The Chair clarified that there would then be unfettered access to the Longworth gate. Mr. Emery said Riviera will comply with the law and the City’s analysis. Ms. Watanabe suggested that only the tennis members would be inclined to use the Longworth Gate. It was made clear that others could also use the gate. Mr. Emery repeated that RCC will undertake a traffic study and they will make the entrance more secure.

Mr. Emery maintained that he has not received requests from residents on the north (Capri entrance) side to open an additional access at Longworth. He stated that the Longworth Gate is not actively used. David Peterson stated that he felt that RCC should be more forthcoming. Nearby residents Richard Moss and Lorie Kraus, along with other Longworth residents, spoke about their concerns that the project will result in more traffic on their street. Matthew Rodman, a parent leader at Paul Revere who was honored by PPCC for his work to reduce traffic impacts in the area, also expressed concern with possible additional traffic and negative safety impacts in terms of the school.

Andrew Wolfberg made a motion to ask the RCC to (1) provide architectural plans to the neighborhood reps ; (2) allow the community leaders to include neighbor reps on tour of the premises; and 3) work on a policy that could limit the use of the Longworth Gate and communicate and negotiate with the neighbors. Richard Wulliger and Sue Kohl seconded the motion. Howard Robinson made a friendly amendment concerning negotiating in good faith and setting a time deadline which was accepted by Andrew Wolfberg and the Board. The Board asked that these steps be taken within two weeks, understanding that negotiations will begin to take place during that period. It was suggested that Richard Moss and Lorie Kraus be the neighborhood liaisons, and they agreed. Mr. Emery and Ms. Watanabe both indicated that they were supportive of the motion.

The motion was drafted and read by the Chair as follows:

“PPCC notes the legitimate concerns of the neighbors pertaining to the improvements proposed by Riviera Country Club.

“We urge the Riviera Country Club to contact the two neighborhood liaisons, Richard Moss and Lorie Kraus, within the next two weeks, to begin open lines of communication and engage with the neighbors in the following ways:

  1. Provide architectural plans for the contemplated improvements at the Riviera Country Club;
  2. Schedule a tour of the site, aimed at explaining the contemplated improvements, for the neighborhood liaisons and PPCC area representatives; and
  3. Begin to negotiate in good faith, within the same two-week time span, on all aspects of the contemplated improvements.”

A vote was taken and the motion passed unanimously.

10.2.    Citywide Sign Ordinance.   Update by Patrick Frank of Ban Billboard Blight (http://banbillboardblight.org/) — Deferred due to lack of time.

11.    New Business – None.

12.    Adjournment.  Chair adjourned the meeting at 9:11pm.

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