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MINUTES FOR NOVEMBER 8th 2018

Voting Members in Attendance:  George Wolfberg, Richard Cohen (acting Secretary), Maryam Zar, Sue Kohl, Rick Mills, David Kaplan, Joanna Spak, Steve Cron, Reza Akef, Haldis Toppel, Brenda Theveny, Bill Bruns, Duke Ostendorf, Richard Blumenberg, Ellie Jenkins, Steve Boyers

Voting Alternates:  Barbara Kohn, Eric Dugdale, Mary Mueller, Cathi Ruddy

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Howard Robinson, Steve Lantz,David Peterson,  Barbara Marinacci, Jan Ostendorf, Patti Post, Rob Weber

1.    Certification of Quorum.  The Chair George Wolfberg called the meeting to order at 7:00pm and certified that a quorum was present.

2.    Reading of Community Council’s Mission.  Patti Post 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 10/25/18 were deemed approved as corrected.  2) Upcoming Meetings – December 13, 2018:  Holiday Dinner Meeting and Awards Gala.  January 10, 2019 and January 24, 2019:  topics to be announced.

5.    Consideration of Agenda.  The Chair announced that the agenda was as distributed with the exception that item 11.1 will be heard earlier as the presenters from LA County Public Works have a long commute.

6.    Treasurer’s Report. The Treasurer Richard Cohen reported that PPCC’s bank balance is $31,681.58 and there were no significant transactions since the last report.

7.    General Public Comment.

7.1.    Marge Gold (resident).  The Village Green holiday tree will be lit at a mystery time; guess the time and win a prize from Vintage Market.

7.2.    Jay Handal (Co-Chair, NC Budget Advocates and WLA-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council board member).  Jay reported on the City Budget oversight process.  He explained that City expenditures have exceeded the budget by about $100 million and this will lead to spending cuts later in the year.  Much money is wasted, in Jay’s view.  There will be an online survey for the public to provide feedback on spending priorities.  The Chair lamented that DONE prohibited him from becoming a Budget Advocate a few years ago.

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair George Wolfberg.

8.1.1.    Thanks to Richard Cohen for stepping up to take the minutes.  News of Chris’ mother is not well.

8.1.2.    Thanks to the Awards Selection Committee, which will report later tonight.  The Committee did great work.

8.1.3.    It looks like two large pine trees may have to be removed to re-landscape Station 69.  The trees appear to be healthy.  Further comments from Lisa Cahill (CD11) below.

8.1.4.    There will be a Veterans Town Hall on November 11 at Los Angeles National Cemetery in West L.A.

8.1.5.    The Chair presented a plaque to thank Gil Dembo for his years of service to the PPCC.

8.2.    From Officers – None.

8.3.    From At-large and Area Representatives.

8.3.1.    Steve Boyers (Area 7 Representative) thanked Assemblymember Bloom’s office for their help in dealing with the DMV.

8.3.2.    David Peterson (Area 6 Alternate) reported that Steve Balmer of the LA Clippers has granted money for the Recreation Center gym floors refurbishing.  The floors look great and the work is being done in both gyms. Maryam Zar (Chair Emeritus) noted that the Clippers logo has been painted on each redone floor.  David asked that PPCC send a thank you to the Clippers.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives.

8.4.1.    Bill Bruns (Friends of Library) announced that the Friends will have a Holiday parking lot book sale this Saturday from 8:30am-1:30pm.

8.4.2.    Cathi Ruddy (Woman’s Club) encouraged everyone to attend the PPWC Home Tour this Sunday.

8.4.3.    Eric Dugdale (Historical Society) announced that December 6 is the Historical Society’s holiday party at Aldersgate.  Randy Young will be telling the story of what it was like to grow up in the Palisades.  6pm for socializing, 7pm for program and dinner.  Open to all with fee for dinner.

8.4.4.    Brenda Theveny (TCA) reported that Sunday hikes are starting.  The first one is the Venice Canals on December 9; check the TCA website, www.temcanyon.org. TCA’s annual meeting will be on December 3 at the Temescal Canyon dining hall. Joe Edmiston of  SMMC will be speaking.  Liberty Canyon overpass plans also will be presented.

8.5.    From Government Offices/Representatives.

8.5.1.    Lisa Cahill, Palisades Field Deputy, Councilmember Mike Bonin.

Lisa reported on urban forestry matters:  She announced that there are three motions at the Council.  One motion would eliminate forgiveness for removal of trees.  The second motion would switch the required removal replacement ratio to 4 to 1 if protected (2 to 1 if not protected), plus there would be an ecological value to be assigned and charged to developers.  The third motion would create a Director of Urban Forestry in charge of all issues for better coordination.

Lisa also reported on matters specific to the Palisades:  She has checked out the Station 69 tree situation and she will make sure that the trees are properly handled. The deadline for Potrero Canyon encroachment removals is the end of this month.  More than one-half of encroachments have already been removed.  The grading phase has begun.  Questions about drainage are being addressed.  Regarding the Alphabet Streets restricted parking district: Lisa hopes that the signs will go in by the beginning of December.

8.5.2.    Officer Ryan Basaker (LAPD West Traffic Division).

Officer Basaker reported that collisions and injuries are down YTD.  Motorcycles are being handled by the special problems group.  Sgt. Tameo is the new head of this group (33087@lapd.online), which deals with motorcycles, racing, etc.  Scooters are a problem in W.L.A. and Westwood.  LAPD is doing some enforcement against scooters, especially riding on the sidewalk or without helmets. Cathi Ruddy (PP Woman’s Club Representative) noted that there is illegal theft of electricity by persons doing unauthorized charging of scooters from outside outlets at the PPWC clubhouse.  Maryam Zar (Chair Emeritus) inquired about accident numbers at Chautauqua and Sunset.  Eric Bruins of CD11 stated that installation of a protected left turn signal is a very high priority and funding is being sought by the Council office. Sue Kohl (Area 5 Representative) asked whether speed surveys have been done. Eric Bruins (CD11 Transportation Deputy): Sunset is done; the Palisades Drive survey has been completed and does not support the existing speed limit so the Council needs to decide whether to increase the Palisades Drive speed limit, likely by 5 mph, to allow radar enforcement.  A website, www.gohumansocal.org, has information on regulations and scooter safety.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors– None.

9.    Reports from Committees.

9.1.    Awards Selection Committee (Sue Kohl, Chair; Richard Blumenberg, Bill Bruns, Daphne Gronich, Chris Spitz).  Sue reported that the Selection Committee is pleased to announce the 2018 Awards Honorees:  Co-Citizens of the Year:  Jimmy Dunne and Bob Harter; Golden Sparkplugs:  John Steadman and Dede Vlietstra; Pride of the Pallisades: Arnie Wishnick.  Sue read information about each of the Honorees’ accomplishments.  See attached Awards Honorees Information.  Sue advised that the Honorees are all thrilled and proud to be selected for these Awards and have thanked the PPCC for recognizing them with these honors. The website detailing the work of Dunne and Harter is www.veteransgardens.net.

9.2.    Awards Event Committee (Peter F. Culhane, Chair).  In Peter’s absence, Richard Cohen (Treasurer and Committee member) reported that the Event Committee is hard at work planning for the Gala, which will take place on December 13 at Gladstones.  The event host will again be Sam Lagana, who did such a great job at our 2017 Gala. The event will begin with a reception and cocktails at 6:30pm, and then dinner and awards presentations beginning at 7pm. There will also be silent and live auctions with unique items up for bid. Coming soon: invitations and information about how to RSVP and to submit tribute ads for the program book.  It will be a festive and fun evening and we hope to see everyone there to celebrate with our Honorees and the Palisades community.

9.3.    Village Project Community Liaison Committee (VPCLC; David Kaplan and Sue Kohl, Co-Chairs) – None.

10.    Old Business.

10.1.    Motion Regarding Marquette St. Residential Project (motion made and seconded on 10/25; postponed to 11/8 board meeting pursuant to Bylaws Art. X.2.B).

The Chair read a letter from Rick Lemmo (Chamber of Commerce Representative) to the board explaining why he had missed the meeting tonight and the background on his request for postponement of the motion at the last meeting.  See attached Rick Lemmo letter of November 8, 2018.

The Chair also reported that after the last board meeting the Executive Committee wrote a letter to the City requesting a 30-day extension of time to comment.  The City declined the request for an extension of time.  See attached EC Letter of October 26, 2018.

Cosimo Pizzulli (the developer) was present and requested to speak for a few minutes.  The Chair permitted him to do so.  Mr. Pizzulli stated that he was out of town at our last meeting and wants to set the record straight.  He explained that there are eight lots existing on the property.  All proposed houses are smaller than Code limits.  The setbacks are larger than Code in the front and sides.  The rear yards also exceed minimum size.  New street improvements will include sidewalks, curbs and parkways.  Mr. Pizzulli will fund a new sewer line.  He added that he had received many letters of support from neighbors.  There will be a new emergency vehicle turn-around at the end of lot #1. He received Civic League approval.  The MND process was completed with responses.

Following Mr. Pizzulli’s remarks, board members had numerous questions and made comments regarding several aspects of the project, including the sewer line, the extent of claimed support from neighbors, street repaving, disruption during construction, export of dirt, assumption of the risk regarding retaining walls, extent of required grading bond and lot line adjustments.  Mr. Pizzulli provided responses.

After the Q&A with Mr. Pizzulli, the board considered the motion that had been postponed from the last meeting.  Before voting commenced on the motion, Rick Mills (Area 4 Representative) moved to amend paragraph 2 of the motion by replacing the original language with the following new paragraph:

2) The PPCC notes that neighbors have questioned the use of sequential lot line adjustments for this development. We ask that the City consider the neighbors’ concerns about the appropriateness of the use of multiple lot line adjustments for the development of eight homes on three Assessor’s parcels, including a parcel which appears to have an existing Coastal Commission deed restriction related to future development. 

Second:  Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative).  Vote on the Mills motion to amend paragraph 2:  Passed.

Maryam Zar (Chair Emeritus) then proposed to add to paragraph #1 a request that the developer address the sewer needs of the neighbors.  Howard Robinson (Area Three Alternate) explained that each house will have a sump pump to take the sewage from each house up to the street and tie into the city sewer line.  The sewage plan is not public until the approved plans are done.

Reza Akef (Area Eight Representative) next moved to amend paragraph #1 of the motion by replacing the original language with the following new sentence:

PPCC requests that the developer provide all plans to the neighbors and to the community including sewer and sewer ejector plans.  

Second:  Maryam Zar. Vote on the Akef motion to amend paragraph #1:  Passed.

Rick Mills then moved to retain the original language of paragraph #1 and to add the new sentence proposed by Akef, instead of replacing paragraph #1 with the new sentence. Second:  Brenda Theveny.  Vote on the Mills motion:  Passed.

There were no amendments to Paragraph #3 of the original motion.

The question was called on the amended motion as follows:

  • The PPCC requests that the City look seriously and carefully at the detailed concerns presented in the “Recommendations Regarding Marquette Street 8-House Development and Sewer Extension” from the projects’ neighbors. PPCC also requests that the developer provide all plans to the neighbors and to the community including sewer and sewer ejector plans
  • The PPCC notes that neighbors have questioned the use of sequential lot line adjustments for this development. We ask that the City consider the neighbors’ concerns about the appropriateness of the use of multiple lot line adjustments for the development of eight homes on three Assessor’s parcels, including a parcel which appears to have an existing Coastal Commission deed restriction related to future development.
  • Finally, the PPCC asks that the City determine if Marquette Street has been withdrawn from public use and if so determine the ramifications on this project.

Vote:  Passed by a vote of more than 2/3 of members voting.

11.    New Business.

11.1.    Proposed New Beach Walk Path.  Presentation by Yggy Ruiz, Project Manager for the Marvin Braude Beach Trail Gap Closure Project, and Mateusz Suska, Bikeway Coordinator, LA County Department of Public Works.  See Power Point presentation at http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/MBBT20Presentation20PPCC.pdf.

Santa Monica will be constructing a beach walk path next year and the County the following year.  Funding has been secured.  The bike path is 22 miles long from our area south to Torrance.  After Santa Monica’s portion is completed there will be a 0.6 mile gap.  The County will close this gap.  Yggy Ruiz is the project manager.  The gap is from the north part of the Will Rogers Entrada parking lot to the Temescal Canyon parking lot.  It’s the skinny part of the path south of the Lifeguard Station, past West Channel to the parking lot.  There will be separate paths for pedestrians and bikes.  It will be much safer.  A berm will separate the bikes and pedestrians.  There will be a new bridge crossing the Santa Monica Canyon storm drain channel at West Channel Rd.  Construction will start in early 2020.  The paths will be mostly usable during construction.  The work will be done on short sections at a time.  Maintenance will be by the City of Los Angeles.  Configuration is designed to continue the alignment in Santa Monica.  The old path will become the pedestrian path and the new one will be for bikes so that the bike path can comply with current design specs for bike paths.  Work may be finished by the summer of 2020, in about six months.  Eric Bruins, CD 11:  Electric scooters are banned on certain parts of the Venice path.  Perhaps this will also happen for the new path.

11.2.    Los Angeles and Regional Policies/Regulation of Dockless Electric Scooters & Bikes.  Presentations by Eric Bruins (CD11 Transportation Deputy) and Steve Lantz (Area Four Alternate and Transportation Director, South Bay Cities Coalition of Governments).

Eric Bruins stated that these devices are useful but create problems. The City is trying to regulate the devices in the ways detailed in a handout that was distributed.  The City has set limits on the number of devices and operators will only be given permission to grow after they prove compliance. There are fees to the companies and that money will be used to regulate, enforce, educate, etc.  The operators must consult with local neighborhoods prior to permits being issued.  Steve Lantz explained that there are 15 different solutions in 17 cities.  He favors geo-fencing that allows tighter control. Is geo-fencing part of the City policy? Eric replied that that they will use geo-fencing to deal with certain specific issues.  Venice canals, the beach, some other areas are off limits to parking of the devices.  Patti Post (Transportation Advisor) inquired as to how the money will be used from fees and the process to evaluate the pilot.  This will be a one-year pilot program in the City starting January 1, 2019. Eric:  There is no formula for evaluation; it will be subjective.  Patti:  Will there be a community impact evaluation?  Eric:  Yes, but he isn’t sure how.  It is not clear how revenue will be used and allocated or what the costs will be for regulation.

12.    Adjournment.  The Chair adjourned the meeting at 9:21 pm.

ATTACHMENTS

Item 9.1 – Awards Honorees Information

2018 Awards Honorees

Five dedicated Palisadians will be honored at the PPCC annual Holiday Dinner and Awards Gala on December 13 at Gladstones Restaurant.

Jimmy Dunne and Bob Harter have received the distinct honor of being named Co-Citizens of the Year, following in the tradition of other Citizens over the past 71 years. Their vision, inspired leadership and hard work in advocating for the Veterans’ Gardens at the Palisades Recreation Center for over four years has been nothing short of amazing.  The story began in early 2014, when Jimmy brought the idea of renovating the dilapidated Upper Picnic area to the Park Advisory Board. The Board was enthusiastic, none more so than Bob, and Jimmy was asked initially to spearhead the creation of an inviting new Park venue that would feature a rejuvenated picnic area and bocce ball courts. Bob then stepped in to work side by side with Jimmy in the laborious process needed to turn the concept into reality.  The two put in endless hours in meetings and discussions with the City, Rec and Parks and the Park Board, working on the project plan and the funding needed to keep the project moving toward the final Park Board recommendation.  Working closely with American Legion Post 283, Jimmy and Bob secured the Post’s commitment to donate up to $400,000 as part of an $800,000 fund still growing.  Along the way, each of them demonstrated a passionate desire to serve our community through the creation of a place at the Park that would provide everyone – especially our senior citizens – an opportunity to gather together with friends and family. The entire story is told on a website Jimmy created for the project, http://veteransgardens.net/. Now called Veterans’ Gardens, the project is slated to break ground soon, with completion scheduled for mid-2019.

In addition to this extraordinary effort on behalf of the community, Jimmy and Bob have each contributed volunteer service to the Palisades for many years.  Bob has served a long stint as a member and leader of the Park Board and received Golden Sparkplug honors in 2014 for his work; he is also a long-time member of the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee.  Jimmy has been an active supporter of all things Palisades for several years, including creating and MC’ing many charitable fundraising events, especially those involving kids in Pacific Palisades.  As an award-winning, multi-platinum songwriter, Jimmy recently composed a song dedicated to the community he loves, which we expect to feature at the December 13 Awards Gala!  Citizen of the Year recognition in 2018 could not have been given to more deserving honorees than Jimmy and Bob.

John Steadman will receive a Golden Sparkplug Award for his ongoing, reliable and commendable voluntary work to clean and maintain numerous public areas of the community.  John is a fifty-year resident and true unsung hero of the Via Mesa/Bluffs neighborhood. Many neighbors know him as the guy who is always outside working on his own and others’ gardens; most don’t know just how extensive his work is.  Early in the morning, before most Palisadians have awakened, he brings his own tools and supplies – including an edger, electric blower, trash bags and other implements — to clean and tidy up portions of the neighborhood that can use loving care. He takes it upon himself to clean out trash and dead or overgrown shrubs from neighborhood street islands; he picks up palm fronds that fall onto Swarthmore during windstorms, neatly stacks and places them out of the way in the parkway, and calls the City for pick-up; he does the same on a regular basis on the landscaped slope on the Swarthmore side of Palisades Elementary, where he also installed a keyed hose outlet to assist with watering the area.  He recently used his skills to build a tool shed and to install the new sign on the Village Green.  He also regularly maintains the beloved park on the bluffs at the end of Via de las Olas, heading out early at least once a month to rake leaves, trim bushes, pick up trash, maintain the pathways and as necessary remove graffiti and repair and paint the fence.  John is indeed an angel of the extended Via Mesa/Bluffs community and a worthy Golden Sparkplug honoree.

Dede Vlietstra has been selected as a Golden Sparkplug Honoree for her exceptional work in devising and following through with a plan to monitor, clean out and keep the dense park areas and bluffs along Temescal Canyon Road free of homeless encampments, trash and combustibles.  Dede is a thirty-year resident who serves on the PP Task Force on Homelessness (PPTFH) Enforcement Coordination and Volunteer Recruiting Committees.  She was part of the original team that cleaned up thirty camps that lined both sides of Temescal in 2017.  She is responsible for overseeing that area and when she saw camps returning in 2018, she actively engaged with homeless individuals, offered services, and cleaned out each new camp.  She coordinates with PPTFH outreach workers as well as the LAPD beach patrol, and she also monitors Will Rogers Beach from Temescal north to the Bel Air Bay Club. Her strategy of finding camps, offering services and cleaning out encampments has greatly benefitted the community, in particular the residential neighborhoods on the bluffs above Temescal, by keeping the area safe and free of fire and litter.  She has been described as a warm, vibrant, energetic and inspirational member of the community, with an unparalleled dedication to protecting our quality of life.  Dede truly deserves Golden Sparkplug honors for her service as guardian of the parkland and bluffs along Temescal Canyon Road.

Last but not least, beloved community icon Arnie Wishnick will receive well-deserved Pride of the Palisades honors.  Arnie has been a true Pride of the Palisades for over four  decades, serving as Vice-President of two former Palisades Savings & Loan Associations for several years and then as Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce for 25 years; receiving a Golden Sparkplug award in 1980 and a Lion’s Club Citizen of the Year award in 1984; and giving thousands of hours of his time as an active member and/or officer of numerous Palisades organizations, including the Village Green Committee, the Teen Contest Committee, PAPA, PRIDE and the Optimists Club.  Arnie cares deeply about our community and has made many valuable contributions large and small – ranging from recruiting so many Honorary Mayors and 4thof July Parade Grand Marshals, to reviewing movies for the Palisadian Post for 12 years, recently co-producing the hit show “Bark! The Musical” at Theatre Palisades, and even taking responsibility year in and year out for the 4th of July porta potties!  His knowledge of, enthusiasm for and commitment to the Palisades are second to none.  We are very proud to bestow this special recognition upon Arnie this year.

Item 10.1 – 11/8/18 Rick Lemmo (Chamber of Commerce) Letter

November 8, 2018

Dear President Wolfberg, Pacific Palisades Community Council and PPCC Board Members,

I apologize for being unable to attend this evening’s meeting as due to the tragedy in my town of Thousand Oaks last evening and the fact that it has impacted students at California Lutheran University, where I am a member of the Board of Regents, it is important I attend our community vigil this evening.

However, after our discussion two weeks ago, regarding the Marquette properties and my request to exercise our by-law provision that allows an organization representative to delay a formal vote until after their board meeting reviewing the item, I thought it would be important to explain my request, the result of our Pacific Palisades Chamber board meeting and the rationale of our previously mentioned by-law provision.

With all due respect to our area representatives, you are elected to represent your district with your judgement.  If your district disagrees with you enough, they voice their displeasure at the ballot box. This by law provision exists because organizational representatives are appointed and our responsibility, unlike yours is to bring an issue to our board and confer by our vote, their decision as a board. It is not always possible to do so with our calendars and the timing of items on our PPCC agendas. So for that reason, I exercised that by-law provision as has been done before.

At our recent Board meeting, the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors unanimously voted to abstain from casting a vote on the Marquette development option.

In conclusion, I was disappointed to have been personally attacked and had my ethics and integrity challenged by some of our PPCC colleagues. Please take the time to know the history and intent of our by-laws, which will no doubt allow ALL of us volunteers to work together at the highest level.

Again, please accept my apologies for my necessary absence.

Sincerely,

Rick Lemmo
Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce
Organizational Representative   

Item 10.1 – 10/26/18 PPCC Executive Committee Letter

October 26, 2018

Kenton Trinh, City Planning Associate                 via email:  Kenton.trinh@lacity.org
Department of City Planning
City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street, #720
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Re:  Case Nos. DIR-2017-264, -268, -334, -336, -361, -366, -445 and -449 -CDP-MEL, and CEQA No. ENV-2017-1259-MND (project site 560 through 620 North Marquette St., Pacific Palisades –“the Marquette Project”) – Request for 30-Day Extension of Comment Deadline.

Dear Mr. Trinh:

Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) is the most broad-based community organization and the voice of the Palisades since 1973.  On October 25, 2018, PPCC held a well-attended public board meeting during which the Marquette Project was discussed. The developer Cosimo Pizzulli was invited to attend but was not present. A robust discussion ensued, including public comment that reflected community questions, input and concerns.

Concerns cited by neighbors during the meeting included geology, environmental impacts, sewer connection, public safety, building sizes and lot line adjustments.  Following discussion, a motion was proposed, but for procedural reasons as required by PPCC’s bylaws a board vote could not be taken on the motion. The motion was therefore postponed to PPCC’s next board meeting on November 8.

PPCC, acting by its Executive Committee,[1]now requests that the current comment deadline of October 29 be extended for 30-days, in order to allow the PPCC board sufficient time to consider the matter and vote on the motion referenced above at its 11/08 board meeting.

In any case, PPCC requests that the Department of City Planning apply, uphold and enforce all applicable City zoning regulations and provisions of the Coastal Act.  We further request that the concerns cited by neighbors described above be considered seriously in the determination of this matter.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

George Wolfberg
Chair
Pacific Palisades Community Council

cc:
Hon. Mike Bonin, Councilmember, CD11      via email:  mike.bonin@lacity.org
Krista Kline, Planning Director, CD11            via email:  krista.kline@lacity.org

Len Nguyen, Planning Deputy, CD11             via email:  len.nguyen@lacity.org

[1] Acting pursuant to PPCC’s Bylaws, Art. V, Sec. 3(B).

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