MINUTES FOR AUGUST 22nd 2019
Voting Members in Attendance: David Card, Richard G. Cohen, Chris Spitz, Joanna Spak, David Kaplan, Steve Cron, Rick Mills, Reza Akef, Alan Goldsmith, Brenda Theveny, Jim Kirtley, Ellie Jenkins, Sarah Knauer, Richard Blumenberg, Jean Sharp
Voting Alternates: Robin Meyers, Barbara Marinacci, Danielle Samulon, Marilyn Wexler
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Sharla Steinman, Zennon Ulyate-Crow, John Padden, Cathi Ruddy, Howard Robinson, Bob Benton, Mary Mueller, Andrew Wolfberg, Rob Weber
1. Certification of Quorum. Vice-Chair David Card (Presiding Officer in the absence of the Chair George Wolfberg) called the meeting to order at 6:00pm and certified that a quorum was present. He explained that the Chair could not be present due to recently-arisen medical issues; we wish for the Chair’s speedy and full recovery and hope that he will be able to return soon. We also extend best wishes to Dick Wulliger (PP Historical Society) as he too is experiencing medical issues.
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 7/25/19 were deemed approved as corrected. 2) Upcoming Meetings – September 12, 2019: Palisades Street Tree Committee [renamed the Palisades Forestry Committee with the permission of the Chair] presentation on a proposed urban forestry policy for the Palisades. September 26, 2019: (1) Guest speaker: Los Angeles Board of Public Works Commission President Kevin James; (2) new information about recycling from the Bureau of Sanitation. Additional topics to be announced.
5. Consideration of Agenda. The agenda was as distributed.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Treasurer Richard G. Cohen reported that the Council’s bank balance is $40,212.66. There have been no significant transactions since the last report.
7. General Public Comment.
7.1. Marge Gold (resident) asked about the status of the donor bricks along Sunset Blvd. in the Palisades Village area. John Padden, PRIDE President, explained that PRIDE has been working on installing all of the bricks; if anything needs correcting it will be rectified. 99% of the bricks are now installed.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair (Presiding Officer).
8.1.1. Reminder: new earlier PPCC meeting start & closing times: 6pm-7:50pm. All attendees must exit the meeting room before 8pm(library close), per new Citywide library policy. Before exiting, everyone is asked to stack chairs and Board members are asked to pass name cards down to Secretary Chris Spitz, who will place them in the file box. Please take all conversations outside the room promptly upon adjournment. Thanks to all attendees for your cooperation.
8.1.2. Appointment of Cathi Ruddy as PPCC Emergency Preparedness Officer. The Chair has appointed Cathi Ruddy (PP Woman’s Club representative) to serve as PPCC’s Emergency Preparedness Officer, in connection with an initiative sponsored by Mayor Garcetti. In this role, Cathi will act as our area’s liaison to the City’s Emergency Management Dept. and help develop emergency preparedness plans for Palisades neighborhoods. We thank Cathi for graciously agreeing to take on this important volunteer task for the community. She stated that she is available to help organize neighborhood meetings. Her work will involve preparedness for all types of emergencies (fire, earthquakes, etc.); she will coordinate with PPCC Wildfire Safety Advisor Miriam Shulman on wildfire preparedness.
8.1.4. Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) leadership meeting update. The Chair has appointed Chris Spitz (Secretary) and David Card (Vice-Chair) as the respective primary and alternate representatives to WRAC. They both attended the September 20th WRAC meeting. Members heard an interesting presentation on water quality in Los Angeles from LADWP. They were assured that the City’s water supply is at very safe levels. They also learned about ongoing construction around LAX. The Century Trunk Line is now being being built; this will result in a bigger, better water delivery line around LAX. There are various phases of ongoing construction, from 8am-7pm M-F, and 8am-6pm on Sat. Plan trips to LAX accordingly.
8.1.5. Congress of Neighborhood Councils. This is a worthwhile, annual all-day event held at LA City Hall on September 28. Interested community leaders can attend workshops on a variety of helpful topics, hear speakers and interact with public officials. Free breakfast and lunch are provided to attendees. The Chair has attended for several years and especially recommends engaging with City staff from various Departments who are present to provide information and answer questions; at the last Congress he was able to engage representatives of Urban Forestry about the need for an urban forestry plan for the Palisades. We encourage board members to attend the Congress. [Visit https://www.nccongressla.com.]
8.2. From Officers.
8.2.1. Chris Spitz (Secretary) announced changes in PPCC representatives and advisors: 1) Youth Advisor Eli Safaie-Kia regrettably has had to resign due to the press of his senior year obligations; Sharla Steinman and Zennon Ulyate-Crow remain as our Youth Advisors; she thanked Eli for his service. 2) The Chamber of Commerce has appointed Bob Benton to replace Marissa Hermer as the Alternate Chamber representative. 3) The YMCA has appointed Jim Kirtley to replace Duke Ostendorf as the YMCA representative. She thanked Marissa and Duke for their service and welcomed Bob and Jim to the PPCC board.
8.2.2. David Card (Vice-Chair) reported on LA Fleet Week. This event is on the PPCC website calendar. Sailors will be in town over the coming Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30 – Sept. 2. Fleet Week is a free, multi-day event at the Port of Los Angeles during which the public is able to see and tour U.S. Navy ships. There are many demonstrations throughout the day as well as other activities, entertainment, and flyovers by the Navy and other armed forces. [See more information at https://www.lafleetweek.com.]
8.3. From At-Large and Area Representatives.
8.3.1. Marilyn Wexler (Area 7 2nd Alternate) gave a shout out to the Presiding Officer (Vice-Chair David Card) for his work in preserving trees at Rustic Canyon Park. The Presiding Officer explained that a team of volunteers keeps an eye on the famous landmarked trees. He also thanked Park Commissioner Joe Halper for the Commissioner’s help in preserving the trees.
8.3.2. Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative) gave an update on the infamous Highlands trailhead and bathroom situation. Heather Johnson of the Coastal Commission has advised him that we may tentatively expect this issue to be on the agenda at the Commission’s December meeting in Calabasas. She believes it will be a contentious issue because the Commission is expected to require the absentee owner to bring the property up to speed. More information on the meeting will be forthcoming.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives.
8.4.1. Sarah Knauer (Chamber of Commerce) announced that the Chamber is holding several upcoming events: On Aug. 29, from 8-9:30am, there will be a speaker series breakfast event at the Bay Theatre in the Village; Sharon Keyser & Rick Lemmo, Sr. Vice-Presidents at Caruso, will be the featured speakers. There will be an Evening Mixer on Sept. 10 at 5:30pm at the Woman’s Club, co-hosted by the Palisades Rotary. The 1st annual Taste of the Palisades event will take place from Aug. 22-26. This will be similar to Dine LA, with participating restaurants offering special menus and/or promotions.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives.
8.5.1. SLO Michael Moore, LAPD. Officer Moore reported that crime is down in the Palisades. Reza Akef (Area 8 Representative) stated that kids are still jaywalking on Allenford. Andrew Wolfberg (Area 8 1st Alternate) explained that students jaywalk and are struck by cars once a year in front of Paul Revere. Officer Moore will talk to the traffic officer about the situation. Lynn Hylen (resident) asked about whether the speed limit survey on Sunset Blvd. has been updated. Officer Moore replied that he would have to ask traffic officers. The Presiding Officer noted that recent vandalism in the native plant garden across from Pali High hasn’t been reported yet. Officer Moore stated that residents can report vandalism online at LAPDonline.org. Zennon Ulyate-Crow (Youth Advisor) asked whether speed limits around Pali High can be better enforced. Officer Moore indicated that he will work with school police on enforcement.
8.5.2. Zachary Gaidzik, West LA/Metro Field Deputy (County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl) reported on upcoming events: 1) voter education forums explaining voting solutions for all LA County residents; one of the forums will take place on Tuesday August 27at 6:30pm at St. Paul the Apostle Community Church in Westwood; 2) an open house will take place at the West LA courthouse on Thursday, September 5, exploring the feasibility of the County purchasing the courthouse and possible uses for the facility. He distributed flyers for each of these events.
8.5.3. Ami Fields-Meyer, West LA Representative (Mayor Eric Garcetti) recognized Cathi Ruddy and the importance of her work to prepare Palisades neighborhoods for disasters. She will work with the City’s Ready your Neighborhood (RYLAN) program. Additional information: DASH buses are now free for LAUSD and community college district students. The Mayor’s office has received feedback from the public that the Shake Alert App did not work during the most recent earthquake. The App will now be set at a lower threshold (5.0 – 4.5) for notification. A City committee is working now through next May to make certain that everyone is counted in the census. They don’t want to take the Palisades for granted and will be hosting “census action kiosks” in central locations for people to fill out the census. The City will also be training census “good will ambassadors” who will be tasked with helping communities get counted. Finally, the Mayor’s Youth Council is now accepting applications. All motivated high school students in Los Angeles are encouraged to apply. Information about applying for the Youth Council is on the PPCC website calendar. The Presiding Officer has also sent information about the Youth Council to Pali High Principal Pam Magee.
8.5.4. Janet Turner, District Representative (Congressman Ted Lieu) briefly announced that helpers will be needed to assist the elderly who don’t know how to fill out the census online. The census will take place in March-April 2020. Rep. Lieu is holding his next town hall on Aug. 28 at El Segundo High School, from 7-8:30pm. Things are moving forward on the WLA VA and she will have more information for us in September.
8.5.5. Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation & Parks (RAP) representatives: Joe Halper, Board of Recreation & Park Commissioner; Darryl Ford, Superintendent, RAP; Erich Haas, Palisades Recreation Center Director. See Item 11.2 below. Commissioner Halper reminded everyone that we have two extraordinary parks in the Palisades — Palisades & Rustic Canyon Recreation Centers – with distinguished directors at each park: Erich Haas at Palisades Recreation Center and Paige Barnes at Rustic Canyon. He gave a shout out to Area 2 Representative Steve Cron for doing a great job. Commissioner Halper also thanked and introduced RAP Superintendent Darryl Ford, who was present to speak on the skatepark item.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors.
8.6.1. Sharla Steinman (Youth) reported that school has started at Pali High. Back to School Night and the College Fair are coming up. The Pali Ambassadors are willing to help with all Palisades groups that need help with meetings and events. The Palisades Y has started a new Teen Council. High school students are invited to become members. She is President of the Teen Council and will send a flyer to Secretary Chris Spitz with information on how students can become members.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. Three Chairs Committee (Maryam Zar, Chair; Chris Spitz; Richard Cohen). Nomination by the Committee and possible Board election of 2nd Alternate At-large Representative.
Secretary Chris Spitz explained that due to a conflicting event Committee Chair Maryam Zar was unable to attend tonight to announce the Committee’s decision. The Secretary then announced that the Committee’s nominee for the position of 2nd Alternate At-large Representative was Peter F. Culhane, past PPCC Vice-Chair. The Committee members believe that given his experience he is highly qualified for the position. She then moved on behalf of the Committee for the Board to approve and elect Mr. Culhane as 2nd Alternate At-large Representative (no second necessary as the motion was made by more than one voting board member). The Presiding Office asked if any board member wished to discuss the nominee. No one asked for discussion. A vote was thentaken. Result: Unanimous in favor of the motion. Mr. Culhane will serve the same term as the primary At-large Representative Alan Goldsmith (through September 30, 2020).
9.2. Palisades Street Tree Committee [renamed Palisades Forestry Committee (David Card, Chair).
Committee Chair David Card reported that with the PPCC Chair’s permission the Committee has changed its name to the Palisades Forestry Committee (PFC). The PFC is continuing to work on a proposed urban forestry policy for the Palisades, including street tree planting and removals. The members have agreed on a Mission Statement and are discussing finer points of the proposed policy. They have been meeting on a regular basis, with two meetings this past week. They expect to do a tree walk on Hartzell St. (as an example of a street with problems) with the City’s Urban Forestry Division liaison to the PFC. They will present the proposed urban forestry policy for the Palisades at the next PPCC Board meeting on September 12, 2019, for possible approval by the Board. The Committee Chair also reported that Libby Motika has resigned from the PFC and the Chair has appointed Cindy Kirven of the Garden Club to take Ms. Motika’s place as a voting member.
10. Old Business.
10.1. Consideration of mixed-use project proposed for 17346 Sunset Blvd. (old Jack-in-the- Box/JIB site). Motion by Richard Cohen, Reza Akef and Chris Spitz(see attachment below for text of motion). See also Letter to Editor: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Letter-to-the-Editor.pdfand LUC Recommendation: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/PPCC-Land-Use-Committee-Recommendation-nondraft.pdf.
The Presiding Officer noted that there will be a Pacific Palisades Design Review Board (DRB) hearing on August 28 to review the project’s design. He asked if any DRB members were present and wanted to recuse themselves. No current DRB members were present. He also noted that the project applicant’s attorney Michael Gonzales had been invited to attend and make a presentation to the Board, but had declined the invitation.
Treasurer Richard Cohen then described the motion [see attachment below] and provided background, including the fact that the former PPCC Land Use Committee (LUC) had considered the matter and had voted to make a recommendation which was substantially similar to the motion now before the Board. The motion opposes the project at the proposed height and density for the reasons stated, except that the prior LUC request for additional parking was removed. He explained that the project applicant had complied with the Code in terms of the proposed number of parking spaces and for that reason the motion does not include a request for additional parking. He moved that the Board approve the motion as worded in the attachment to Item 10.1 below (no second necessary as the motion was made by more than one voting board member). Discussion by the Board and audience ensued.
Howard Robinson (Area 3 2nd Alternate and former LUC Chair) described the purpose of the LUC and spoke about the two prior meetings in which the LUC had considered this project. Numerous community members attended the LUC meetings and expressed opposition to the project. He explained that committee members spent a great deal of time examining the project and the applicable law. The project is subject to state density bonus law which supersedes the Specific Plan, but it must also comply with the Coastal Act. The LUC members found in substance that the project did not comply with the “visual compatibility” requirement of the Coastal Act and they recommended on a vote of 6-1 that the Board oppose the project at the proposed height and density. The LUC recommendation also included a request for additional parking, although the applicant’s proposed parking complies with the Code. [See LUC Recommendation referenced above.]
Reza Akef (Area 8 Representative and one of the three sponsors of the motion before the Board) acknowledged that as a former LUC member he had originally proposed the request for additional parking when the matter was before the LUC, but he now agrees that for purposes of the City’s deliberations, a request for additional parking is not appropriate since the proposed parking complies with Code. However, he still believes that parking is insufficient despite meeting Code requirements; he encouraged residents to raise the parking issue in opposition to the project, and he may request that PPCC revisit the “parking issue” if the matter is eventually heard by the Coastal Commission. Zennon Ulyate-Crow (Youth Advisor) stated that Los Angeles and the Westside are in a housing crisis and he feels the community needs to show it is helping to solve the crisis. Lloyd Ahern (former resident, past Citizen of the Year) distributed a copy of a newspaper article recounting the 1992 passage of the 35 ft. height limit for residential areas which he and many other Palisadians championed. He opposes the current project at the proposed height and urged the Board to pass the motion opposing the project. Patrick Hart (resident) stated that he lives in the neighboring Edgewater Towers condominiums and that he and other Edgewater Towers residents also oppose the project. Chris Spitz (Secretary) explained that she was the principal author of both the original LUC recommendation and the motion now before the Board and she encouraged Board members to vote for the motion.
Following discussion, a vote was taken on the motion. Result: Unanimous in favor of the motion. A PPCC position letter will be submitted to the appropriate officials in due course.
11. New Business.
11.1. Proposed public “street clock” in the commercial Village. Presentation by PRIDE President John Padden (PRIDE rep to PPCC) and Sam Rubin (PRIDE board member).
John Padden provided background on PRIDE and introduced PRIDE board member Sam Rubin, who showed a brief Power Point with a rendering of the proposed clock. He explained that PRIDE had in the past proposed a street clock to be located in front of the old 31 Flavors store on Swarthmore. They received donations for the clock from community members, but the project didn’t get off the ground when the Caruso project began. The previous donors have been patient. PRIDE is now proposing a community clock in the commercial Village to be coupled with a possible tribute to the late Arnie Wishnick. They are also proposing a possible dedication plaque for donors. The property owner of the US Bank site has granted authorization to locate the clock at the corner of Swarthmore Ave. & Sunset Blvd. on the bank property (on private property, not in the public right-of-way). It will be a community clock with the words “Pacific Palisades” on the top. Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative) asked whether PRIDE had approached the Village Green. Sam Rubin: PRIDE had twice asked the Village Green, as they would love that location. Marge Gold (resident and Village Green board member) confirmed that her board voted “no” to siting the clock on the Village Green. Other locations in the commercial Village area are not feasible. PRIDE will insure the clock. Reza Akef (Area 8 Representative) suggested that perhaps PRIDE could find a more artistic design. Chris Spitz (Secretary) offered her opinion that the proposed design is beautiful. Padden and Rubin explained that PRIDE will continue to consider design options and will provide PPCC and the community with a status update at a later date. Chris Spitz stated that PPCC very much appreciated the advance presentation by PRIDE.
11.2. Possible location of a skateboard park in the Palisades. Invited discussion participants: youth resident & skateboard park proponent Max Burger; representatives of CD11, the Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation & Parks (RAP) and the Pacific Palisades Park Advisory Board (PAB). In attendance: Darryl Ford, RAP Superintendent (Planning, Maintenance and Construction Branch); Board of Recreation and Park Commissioner Joe Halper; Palisades Park Recreation Center Director Erich Haas; PAB members Bob Benton and Lynn Hylen; Zachary Gaidzik, West LA/Metro Field Deputy (Supervisor Sheila Kuehl); Max Burger, youth resident and skatepark proponent.
The Presiding Officer requested that Max Burger present first to the Board. Max explained that he is a Palisades resident and a sophomore at Pali High. His passion is skateboarding. He visits skateparks in the area and often skateboards around the Palisades. He is frequently met with hostility and is tired of being told that he is trespassing. He has met a great group of kids skateboarding and would like to propose a skatepark here. He realizes that Potrero Canyon will not be possible because it is to be a passive park with nature walks. Will Rogers Beach may be a problem with the Coastal Commission. He thinks the best space is right here: the pit/”bowl” behind the library at the Recreation Center. Max believes there would be many donors and he can help with fundraising. He proposes working with neighbors on opening and closing times. He will comply with any needs that anyone has and is happy to get feedback and assistance.
David Kaplan (Area 6 Representative) asked Max how many people would utilize the skatepark. Chris Spitz (Secretary) followed up by asking if he has numbers on how many core skateboarders would visit the skatepark during peak hours. Max: He believes that about 50 kids will use the skatepark all of the time during peak hours. Chris Spitz noted that she had distributed to the board a digital document with basic facts about other nearby skateparks, which included a link to a “public skatepark” website with information about how to calculate user numbers and skateboard size. An 8,000-10,000 square foot skatepark may be needed for a community the size of the Palisades (pop. 25,000). [See http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Other-Skateboard-Park-Facts.pdf.]
Daryll Ford, RAP Superintendent, then spoke. He emphasized that location is the most important factor when considering a skatepark for a neighborhood. There are three aspects to consider: security, use and most important of all, noise. There is a very steady clickety-clack on concrete and on rails in skateparks. RAP has a long history of constructing skateparks; two were just opened in the last few months. Capital funding can come from many sources: Quimby funds, park fees, Proposition 68 and Measure A. Donors can also provide funding. RAP looks for input from skaters themselves to design the parks. The closest LA City skatepark to the Palisades is Stoner Park: 20,000 square feet in area, $1.5 million to build. Treasurer Richard Cohen asked if there is a standard for how far RAP will build from residences. Mr. Ford: No, we don’t have a standard for that. In the Palisades, the “bowl” behind the library backs up directly on residences. Max Burger: Stoner Park is very close to houses. Mr. Ford: Stoner Park opens at 10am and closes operations at 5pm. In general, however, LA City parks close operations in the evenings but are not physically closed. Ford described two recently built parks near residences: one is on Lake St., in Historic Latino Town, south of Echo Park; there is an apartment building across the street from an active recreation center. In Harbor City, there is a park adjacent to residences which face a busy street. RAP tries not to locate too close to residences.
The Presiding Officer asked what issues would be involved with locating a skatepark on the beach or in the parking lot at Will Rogers State Beach; would there be issues with the Coastal Commission? Mr. Ford: the Venice skatepark is on the beach; it had a long development period and did get Coastal Commission approval. Zachary Gaidzik, Field Deputy with County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl: Will Rogers State Beach is operated by the County. The Coastal Commission will be very concerned about taking away parking spaces from the public in the Coastal Zone. There would also be environmental concerns with siting a skatepark on the sand.
Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative): Regarding siting a skatepark in the “bowl” behind the library, since some portion of this area is adjacent to residences, would it be feasible to add a soundproofing barrier on one side? Bob Benton (resident and PAB member), responded: For 25 years he has headed the PPBA and he has also been on the PAB for many years. During the height of the skateboarding craze, they looked into the possibility of a skatepark in 2002-2003 when they were also raising funds for the baseball fields and park. People refused to donate to the fields or park if there was going to be a skatepark. There was great concern about noise. A subcommittee of the PAB was then formed to raise money for a portable skatepark. It was a fiasco. The portable elements were too heavy, workers couldn’t lift them without special equipment and the portable skatepark experiment was eventually ended. Now, funds are greatly needed to address the many problems we have in the park – bathrooms, plumbing, non-compliance with ADA, inaccessibility of the children’s playground and the like.
Palisades Park Director Erich Haas then spoke. He has been Director since 2008. When he first arrived at the park, he saw a huge, solid wood portable skatepark. It was very cumbersome to move. They only put up the structure on Sundays for use from 10am-6pm. Six workers using pallet jacks were needed just to lift it up. It was horrible and they cannot do that again. There are safety issues involved with skateparks and the park has other important priorities and bigger problems which must be addressed: ADA-compliant bathrooms and a universally accessible playground (which right now is all sand) are both desperately needed. A plumbing/sewage problem has also ruined the playing court floors, including new flooring that the Clippers donated to the park just last year. Regarding the “bowl” area behind the library: He does not see a skatepark being placed there, due to the way it’s configured. It is also a picnic area which schools use, and the park receives funds for that. He would have to dedicate a staffer to watch over a skatepark. He asked where the money would come from for all of this. In addition, in his experience there are safety issues as kids don’t want to wear protective gear. Finally, skating is very loud and the area is surrounded by homes. Based on his experience the residents will strongly oppose locating a skatepark in this location.
Darryl Ford (RAP): Regarding the sound mitigation suggestion, he cautioned that it is best not to need a sound barrier in the first place. RAP will never use portable skateparks again. He reiterated that location is the most important factor – a site should be found that doesn’t need a sound barrier.
Max Burger then brought up other possible locations. What about Temescal Canyon Park? Response from audience: this is MRCA land and it won’t be allowed there. Max also mentioned the YMCA Pumpkin Patch, stating that he believes this is part of a master plan for the area. Response from Jim Kirtley (YMCA Director): He is unaware of any master plan, and the Y will not allow a skatepark in this area; it’s a liability issue for them.
The Presiding Officer asked if there are any rules required of users at City skateparks. Mr. Ford: Yes, rules are posted but they are not enforced. Mr. Ford then stated that he can return to give feedback in the future if we have ascertained any possible locations for a skatepark. We need to prioritize needs. His email is Darryl.email@example.com.
There was additional discussion about skatepark cost. In addition to the cost per square foot of construction, parks require fencing, lighting and other variables. Mr. Ford cannot estimate at this time what the likely cost would be for a skatepark in the Palisades. Lynn Hylen (resident and PAB member) reminded everyone that the sources of public funding that Mr. Ford mentioned earlier are already spoken for (for the proposed dog park, the necessary bathroom and playground improvements, etc.). Leslie Campbell (resident): She has been working for 5 years on the Palisades dog park project and described her extensive work to achieve this goal. Hundreds of people came to meetings and signed petitions that they want a dog park here. She wants to be sure that the dog park is the number one priority in any funding decisions.
Max Burger mentioned one more possible location: towards the top of Temescal Canyon Rd., towards Pali High. He thinks skateboarding should be included in PE at schools. He has talked to Pali High operations staff about the tennis courts and was told that yes, the courts do get used. The discussion then concluded due to lack of time. The Presiding Officer thanked all of the speakers.
12. Adjournment. The Presiding Officer adjourned the meeting at 7:50pm.
ATTACHMENT – Item 10.1:
Motion regarding the mixed-use project proposed
for 17346 Sunset Blvd. (former Jack-in the-Box site) – “the Project”
Richard Cohen, Reza Akef & Chris Spitz move that the PPCC Board adopt the following position with regard to the Project:
“Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) opposes issuance of a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for the Project as proposed at 5 stories and 60 ft., 9 in. in height, with no upper level set-backs along Sunset Blvd. and with a floor area ratio (FAR) of 2.15:1, on the following grounds:
1) Specific Plan Consideration. At the proposed height and density, the Project is more than twice the size otherwise allowed under the applicable Pacific Palisades Commercial Village and Neighborhoods Specific Plan (SP) — a maximum of 2 stories, 30 ft. in height and FAR of 1:1. Because the Project as proposed would provide 4 affordable housing units among its 40 dwelling units, state “density bonus” law permits the proposed Project height and density notwithstanding the SP limitations. However, because the Project is also within the Coastal Zone, a CDP is required and the provisions of the California Coastal Act (Public Resources Code, Sec. 30000, et seq.) therefore must apply.
2) Violation of Coastal Act (PRC §30251). The Project at the proposed height and density does not comply with the relevant provisions of Public Resources Code Sec. 30251, which requires that development in the Coastal Zone be “visually compatible with the character of surrounding areas.” The Project’s mass and scale are clearly out of proportion to all other similarly situated buildings which front the same (south) side of the street as the Project, and its visual impact on pedestrians as well as nearby residences is out of character and will be significant. While there are 6 and 9 story buildings to the south and north (on the slope to the rear and across the street from the Project), all adjacent or similarly- situated buildings fronting the south side of Sunset Blvd. are no higher than one story in height (including Vons Market and the Palisades Electric building to the west and a strip mall to the east). The proposed 5 story Project building situated in the midst of 1 story structures along the south side of Sunset Blvd. would be strikingly inconsistent, out of proportion in terms of mass and scale and visually incompatible with all other structures which front Sunset Blvd. in this location; the Project would therefore violate the Coastal Act.
3) Further Violation (PRC §30251). Because the Project does not include upper level set-backs (as does the 6 story mixed-use building across the street on the north side of Sunset Blvd.) and the plan does not appear to include any provision for trees fronting the building, the Project building would present a bleak streetscape and an imposing, monolithic façade along the south side of Sunset Blvd. which is inconsistent with the across-the-street building façade and is not visually compatible with similarly situated buildings in the surrounding area. In addition to upper level set-backs, at a minimum, at least two 15’ x 15’ x 15’ tree wells with appropriately sized trees should be required and included in the plan.
4) Environmental Impacts. The Project will provide required open space for residents by way of a roof top deck. As can be seen in Project renderings, at 5 stories in height the top story of the Project building (or a substantial portion thereof), including the roof top deck, will rise above open space areas of the residential tower immediately to the south and will be clearly visible to residents at the same or nearby levels of the residential tower. The use of the roof top deck at this height and in this location will potentially negatively impact nearby residents in terms of noise, reduction of privacy and quality of life. Such environmental impacts would be significant and cannot be adequately mitigated at the proposed Project height.
PPCC further advises that should the City or Coastal Commission decide to proceed with approval of the Project despite the above, the following modifications be considered as part of a conditioned CDP: a lowered Project building height, either 4 stories with upper level set-backs along Sunset Blvd., or alternatively 3 stories with no upper level set-backs, with a reduction in the number of dwelling units if necessary to accommodate the lowered height. In either scenario, at least two tree wells with appropriately sized trees as described above should be required and included in the plan. The Project at such an alternative height and configuration would more closely comply with the Coastal Act requirement of visual compatibility with the surrounding areas and would mitigate negative impacts from the roof deck.”