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MINUTES FROM MAY 20th 2024 (Special Meeting)

1.  Call to Order and Reading of Community Council’s Mission.  The President called the meeting to order at 5:05 PM.   Steve Cron read the PPCC Mission Statement.    

2.  Roll Call of Board Members and Certification of Quorum.
The President certified quorum. 

Voting members present:  Maryam Zar, Sue Kohl, Jenny Li, Beth Holden-Garland, Dave Card, Murray Levy, Steve Cron, Haldis Toppel, Lee Anne Sanderson, Cindy Simon, Julie Silliman, Andrew Wolfberg, Chris Spitz (partial attendance), Alan Goldsmith,* John Padden, Barbara Kohn, Aileen Haugh, Alisa Wolfson, Genevieve Bostic, Valeria Serna, Courtney Macker, Kevin Niles. *Became voting member upon C. Spitz’s departure (prior to discussion and vote on motion in item 11) 

Non-voting members present:  Joanna Spak, Cindi Young, Michael Edlen, Quentin Fleming, Andy Frew, James Alexakis, JoAnna Rodriguez, Jessica Rogers.

3.   Introduction of attendees – See item 11 below.  

4.    Approval of Minutes – deferred.  

5.   Consideration of Agenda & Upcoming Meetings – considered as presented. 

6.    Treasurer’s Reportdeferred.  

7.    General Public Comment – deferred.  

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns – deferred.  

10.    Old Business – none.  

11.    New Business.  

The President explained the purpose of this Special Meeting:  to provide a forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the Tramonto slide and the lane closure at PCH as a direct result of slope slippage from the slide, as well as discussion and possible action on the proposed construction of 4 large homes on Tramonto and Revello Drives above the slide (the Tramonto Project).  Government officials, the Tramonto Project developer, and area residents were invited to present information in light of the City Council Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee hearing concerning the Tramonto Project on May 21 (now expected to be continued).  [Background summary distributed with the agenda:] 

The President first introduced CD 11 Senior Planning Deputy Jeff Khau, who explained the status of the Tramonto Project and the considerations which CM Park is taking into account, including balancing the priorities of the needed PCH improvements, the impacts of the landslide and public safety concerns.   The hearing before the PLUM committee involves the CEQA appeal, by the Castellammare Mesa Home Owners (the Castellammare HOA) and other residents, of the West LA Area Planning Commission’s decision affirming adoption of a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for the Project.  Jeff Khau noted that there is still an opportunity for an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), and CD 11 is now in the information-collecting phase before taking a position.  He further confirmed that the developer has agreed to extend the deadline for action to be taken on the matter by City Council, and that the PLUM hearing will accordingly be continued to a date uncertain.  He also answered several questions.  

The President next introduced the developer, Greg Demos, and the developer’s representative, Tony Russo of Crest Realty, who gave a Power Point presentation of their proposed Tramonto Project and provided information about the plans for public safety that they have put in place over the course of repeated hearings and direction from both the City and the neighbors. Greg and Tony took turns to explain various facets of the project and the proposed hillside stabilization.  Using slides and commentary, they explained the Project plans, contending that the Project will result in a net benefit to the community in terms of public safety.  Questions from the Board and audience were asked and answered.   

The President then called on residents and representatives of the Castellammare HOA (the Residents) to present information about their concerns and position on the Tramonto Project.  The Residents presented an extensive and detailed Power Point, with individual residents in turn explaining, by topic, why they are concerned for public safety and why they believe an EIR is critically needed for the Tramonto Project.  They touched on concerns rooted in the environment and the natural habitat as well as landforms that would forever be altered, the public’s safety and the duty of the City to prioritize ensuring it, the downplaying of construction impact, as well as drainage, hauling, hydrology and excavation concerns.  

Discussion ensued following the Residents’ presentation, with Board members engaging in informed lines of questioning that were focused on the best means of stabilizing the slide, as well as serious concerns about community interests in safety and environmental impact. Attendees expressed their serious concerns about the landslide, the lane closure on PCH and the potential impacts of the Tramonto Project on ingress and egress as well as the long-term integrity of a slide that would remain partially unstabilized even after the years-long period of construction.   

Following the HOA’s presentation and some discussion, the Developer was allowed the time to rebut and he made clear that from their point of view, all the environmental concerns that may arise in an EIR had already been raised and addressed, with the oversight and affirmation of the City. The neighbors however restated their assertion that many of the concerns have been minimally addressed and their impact understated.   

Alan Goldsmith made a motion to support the HOA in their call for an independent EIR. The motion was seconded by Michell Edlen and Barbara Kohn simultaneously. The President then asked the board if anyone wished to make a motion to support the project, as the developer had asked. No such motion was made.  

The President then read a draft motion and suggested that the exact language would be finalized at the next meeting of the PPCC.  The draft motion agreed to in principle was as follows: In light of the factors raised today, coupled with the inherent concerns that come with being a hillside neighborhood entirely within the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ) with very few major arteries of ingress and egress, PPCC supports the appeal by Castellammare Mesa Home Owners of the adoption of a Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Tramonto Project and urges the City Council to require a full and independent Environmental Impact Report (EIR). PPCC also urges the City of LA to prioritize the stabilization of the Tramonto Slide as part of its mandate to protect the public’s safety and to partner with the County and the State if need be, to accomplish that goal.   

The Board voted unanimously in favor of supporting the appeal of the MND, insisting that the City require a full and independent EIR for this project, and that the stabilization of the slide be prioritized by the City as a matter of public safety.   

12.   Adjournment.  The meeting was adjourned at 7:20 PM.  

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