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MINUTES FOR MARCH 26th 2015
Voting Members in Attendance: Chris Spitz, Andrew Wolfberg, Jennifer Malaret, Haldis Toppel, Amy Kalp, Richard Wulliger, Brenda Theveny, Gilbert Dembo, George Wolfberg, Cathy Russell, Stuart Muller, Sue Kohl, Rick Mills, Reza Akef and Maryam Zar.
Voting Alternates: Rick McGeagh, Bruce Schwartz, Diane Bleak and Doug McCormick.
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Kevin Niles, Ted Mackie, Eric Dugdale, Barbara Marinacci, Michael Soneff and David Kaplan.
Start of Business Meeting
1. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. Sue Kohl read the Mission Statement.
2. Call to Order and Introduction of the Board and Audience. Chris Spitz called the meeting to order at 7:02 pm. Introduction of the Board and audience.
3. Certification of Quorum. Chris Spitz certified that a quorum was present at 7:07 pm.
4. Adoption of Minutes/Upcoming Meetings. Adoption of the March 12, 2015 minutes. Upcoming Meetings: 4/9/15: (Tentative) Further Revised Award Guidelines, Bylaws (Officer Election, Nominating Committee; possible discussion re term limits, second alternates). 4/23/15: Presentation by LAFD Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Castro. 5/14/15: Presentation by Richard Blumenberg, AIA, President of the Civic League and Tricia Keane, Planning & Land Use Director, CD11, regarding proposed amendments to the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (“BMO”). ** Note: topics noticed in advance may change. Chris encouraged all members and the public to like PPCC on Facebook and receive Emails and other important notices by receiving the council emails.
5. Consideration of Agenda. The President considered the agenda.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Richard Cohen reported (via email) the financial status as of March 25, 2015. The total account balances equal $34,482.61 with no significant transactions since the last meeting.
7. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
7.1. Announcements from the President, Chris Spitz.
7.1.1. Meeting Ground Rules. 1) Due to library rules, meeting must end promptly at 9 PM; as needed, the President will stay after the meeting to answer questions. 2) The President conducts meeting order and may rearrange order of discussion at her discretion. 3) Board members and audience shall only speak when called upon by the President; there shall be no interruptions except to make a point of order. 4) The President’s role in maintaining meeting order shall be honored. 5) All discussion shall be civil, respectful and courteous. (PPCC Bylaws, http://www.pp90272.org/Bylaws22Feb15.pdf.)
7.1.2. Area 2 (Highlands).
Chris reported that Paul Glasgall has resigned as the Elected Representative for Area 2, the Highlands. Pursuant to PPCC’s bylaws the first alternate Peter Culhane has now become the primary Area 2 Representative and the second alternate, Diane Bleak, has become the first alternate (with the second alternate seat now being open). Peter was unable to attend tonight so Diane is sitting as the voting member in his absence. Chris welcomed both Peter and Diane in these new capacities.
7.1.3. PPCC Executive Committee.
With Paul’s resignation, Chris stated that the Executive Committee became short one member. The officers and Chair Emeritus have unanimously voted to appoint David Kaplan as a member of the Executive Committee. Chris said that this appointment was pursuant to their authority under the bylaws (Art. V.3.A), as well as precedent and the advice of PPCC’s legal counsel Ron Dean – i.e., that alternates are eligible to serve on the Executive Committee under the bylaws. Chris said that David’s experience, judgment and advice on behalf of the Council and the community will be welcomed particularly as David is a new member to the Council and can bring a fresh voice and fresh ideas to the Executive Committee. Amy Kalp has recently suggested clarification of the bylaws regarding alternate eligibility for the Executive Committee, which Chris stated she appreciated and the bylaws committee will take up in due course. Amy also suggested suspension of this appointment pending a decision on a possible bylaws clarification or change; the officers and Chair Emeritus do not agree at this time to suspend the appointment, which again was made pursuant to the bylaws, precedent and advice of PPCC’s legal counsel. If anyone has questions about the Executive Committee’s authority, role or purpose, please see the President’s explanatory remarks to the Board contained in PPCC minutes for Oct. 9, 2014 and Feb. 26, 2015, which can be accessed online at the PPCC website.
7.1.4. Above Ground Facilities Ordinance (“AGF”) Ordinance, Cell Tower Upgrade at Via De La Paz and De Pauw.
Chris announced that some have probably seen the huge new T-Mobile cell facility at the corner of Via de la Paz and DePauw in Area 6. Chris passed around a photo. These are actually upgrades or extensions to an existing cell tower. Many people are expressing astonishment and concern over the size of this facility. The original cell tower was erected without notice or any required permitting, because it was subject to a so-called “utility pole exemption” under our current laws. The same is likely true of this new version. Chris is awaiting explanation from Councilmember Bonin’s office, which will be speaking with T-Mobile representatives. Chris is also still awaiting word from the City Attorney about the draft revisions to the Above Ground Facilities Ordinance, which that office has been sitting on for many months while it is ostensibly undergoing review of a related FCC decision that was issued last November. If and when these revisions are ever enacted, the utility pole exemption would be eliminated and facilities such as this would be subject to permitting, something that PPCC strongly supports. We are continuing to monitor the situation.
Chris stated that for the past several months, as reflected in PPCC’s minutes, we have expressly been asking the public and the board for suggestions for possible bylaws changes as well as broader policy or procedural changes. Chris has received several suggestions, which are appreciated. Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, questions have been raised publicly about whether the PPCC is interested in hearing from the public or even from the board about issues of concern to constituents/residents. Chris stated that she sought to clear up any misunderstandings tonight, if possible. PPCC has a Department of Suggestions. It’s here in this room, not in the press or anywhere else. There is a 24/7 window open for bylaws suggestions, headed by Jennifer Malaret, who is happy to receive your suggestions for the committee. There are now two windows open (24/7) for other suggestions, headed by Chris and our Chair Emeritus Barbara Kohn. If you aren’t comfortable making suggestions to Chris, you can choose Barbara’s window instead, or vice versa. All of our emails are on the PPCC website. Constructive, specific suggestions of all kinds are welcome from everyone at any time. We ask that you please refrain from using this process to air personal grievances or to make free-floating complaints or accusations of misconduct; there is a process required under the bylaws for the latter. Chris stated that if anyone would like to suggest a particular task or activity for PPCC to engage in, please offer to work on that task. If someone wants the President to agendize a particular item for discussion, that person must provide sufficient information about the item and assist in organizing the presentation, inviting any necessary speakers and the like. Sometimes a suggestion might require the approval of the board; whenever possible we will attempt to do that, or again, we’ll agendize the matter for a discussion as time allows. Of course, not all suggestions will be accepted; Chris said that sometimes in her administrative discretion she may decide not to follow a specific suggestion; at other times the Board will disagree, as we’ve seen happen in a few cases. Nonetheless, all suggestions are welcome in the first instance. Chris stated that she hoped the board and public can work together in a cooperative and positive spirit going forward.
7.2. Announcements from Governmental Representatives.
7.2.1. Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) – SLO Officer Moore. Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org. SLO Moore in attendance. See remarks below [Item 10.1].
7.2.2. Los Angeles City Council, District 11; Councilmember Mike Bonin’s Office. Website: www.11thdistrict.com. Norman Kulla, Senior Counsel. Email: email@example.com. Anna Kozma, Constituent Advocate. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. (310) 575-8461.
Norman Kulla in attendance. (1) Hike with Mike this Saturday at Temescal Canyon Park. (2) AGF – Ted Jordan is the City Attorney who is in charge of drafting the AGF ordinance. Ted wrote stating that that the ordinance continues to be a top priority and that the federal FCC ordinance presents complex issues that are not known. (3) Street Containers – for construction are allowed on the street for construction materials where there is no reasonable way to maintain the materials on private property. Plywood has to go underneath and reflective barricades on the ends such that the containers are visible at night are required.
7.2.3. Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Daniel Tamm Westside Area Representative, Mayor’s Interfaith Liaison (*attending on the 4th Thursday of each month). Mayor’s website: www.lamayor.org. City Services webpage: http://www.lacity.org/CitywideServices/index.htm. MyLA Phone App: http://www.lacity.org//MyLA311/index.htm — Not in attendance.
7.2.4. California State Assembly, Office of Assemblymember Richard Bloom. Stephanie Cohen, Field Representative. Website: http://www.asmdc.org/bloom. Email: Stephanie.Cohen@asm.ca.gov. Tim Harter, Case Worker and Field Representative. Email: Tim.Harter@asm.ca.gov. (310) 450-0041 — Not in attendance.
7.2.5. California State Senate, Office of State Senator Ben Allen. Fernando R. Morales, District Representative. Website: http://sd26.senate.ca.gov. Email: Fernando.email@example.com. (310) 318-6994 — Not in attendance.
7.2.6. United States Congress, Office of Congressman Ted Lieu. Janet Turner District Representative. Website: https://lieu.house.gov. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. (310) 652-3095.
Janet Turner in attendance, who reported that 12 postal complaints were received in the Palisades. The following report from Charles Hearne email@example.com was submitted regarding Pacific Palisades USPS 90272 complaints: “As you may know, I was in Washington last week meeting with the congressional members regarding Postal matters. I thank you for allowing me and my staff to share what the constituents here in the Palisades think about the service we are providing Good or Bad. I will address each and every complaint with the hope of fixing all of them soon. I have received additional staffing in the last couple of weeks and this should prevent late delivery. Please keep me posted regarding other issues I may not be aware of as we move forward with resolving all issues.”
7.3. Announcements from Board Members and Advisors.
7.3.1. Officers/Area Representatives — None.
7.3.2. Organizational Representatives – Report on Behalf of Organizations. (1) Gil Dembo, Temescal Canyon Association: The rocks at the waterfall in Temescal Canyon were covered by graffiti that TCA is trying to remove; please keep an eye out for new tags. Contact Gil at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7.3.3. PPCC Advisors.
(1) Laura Mack, Sustainability: State Water Board Expands and Extends Emergency Water Conservation Regulations; How Palisadians Can Help: As California enters a fourth year of severe drought, the State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday March 17 adopted an expanded emergency regulation to safeguard the state’s remaining water supplies. While Californians have made great strides to conserve water, more effort is needed. Palisadians can learn simple ways to help conserve water, at two upcoming local events: Sun, March 29: Water Wise Expo, Mar Vista. Hosted by CD 11 and the Mar Vista Community Council Green Committee. http://waterwiseexpo.blogspot.com. Sun, April 12: Water Wise Garden Tour, Brentwood. Tour begins at the beautiful Brentwood School at 1 p.m., and goes to several locations from there. Donation of $25 to Brentwood Beautiful. For tickets go to http://waterwisegardentour.eventbrite.com, or call 310-476-7234.
7.3.4. Board Members, Other Reports. (1) Jennifer Malaret: Pacific Palisades Recreation Center’s Spring “Eggstravaganza” will be held on Saturday April 4th from 10 am to 1 pm. The public is welcome.
8. Reports from Committees.
8.1. Outreach Committee – Andrew Wolfberg (Chair). Like Us on Facebook: facebook.com/pacpalicc. To receive future PPCC meeting agendas and notices, send a request to email@example.com. Farmers Market events to continue in mid-April.
9. Old Business — None.
10. New Business.
10.1. Presentation/Q&A re crime and related legal issues in the Palisades.
Presenting: Veronica de la Cruz-Robles, Deputy City Attorney and Westside Neighborhood Prosecutor (firstname.lastname@example.org) and LAPD Senior Lead Officer Michael Moore. Presentation: Materials were passed out to the board and public. Veronica provided her personal background and stated that her experience has always been in the criminal division focusing on safe neighborhoods. Most recently she has been a school prosecutor in WLA dealing with safety around schools, code enforcement, rent control issues and has been a Neighborhood Prosecutor since 2011. A measure of success is not determined by how many convictions there are or how many people are put in jail; it is about the quality of life in the subject neighborhood. Veronica stated that she emphasizes the “vacant building” (she said “broken window”) approach, i.e., helping what is happening within a community at ground level for purposes of identifying and solving issues at ground level. Proposition 47 was passed and is having effects on the courts that some may not have been expecting. Veronica’s office is being impacted because cases that used to be felonies are now for the Neighborhood Prosecutor to do. Veronica’s office is at the LAX Courthouse (Imperial Highway and La Cienega) and she is also at the WLA Division. New Programs: there is a free Dispute Resolution Program for neighbors and small business owners or others with small problems seeking resolution. There is a Neighborhood Justice Program for stakeholders to provide input on how criminal matters are affecting them and what punishment they think should be implemented. Administrative Citation Enforcement (“ACE”) offers an alternative method for property violations like giving people a ticket for violations rather than implementing a court case. ACE is a tool to be used along side with court proceedings, i.e., an ACE ticket is not mutually exclusive and does not prevent a subsequent misdemeanor filing. Another program is Preventing Fraud for Seniors. Also there is a Kids and the Law Guide that is put out by the California Bar Association that puts topics out for discussion between parents and youth. Case Law Effecting Encampment Laws: in sum, Jones v. City of LA prevents enforcement of overnight sleeping on the sidewalks until there is necessary housing stock provided for the homeless. LaVon v. City of Los Angeles prevents the City of LA from removing or destroying a homeless person’s property. The case relates to personal property and not bulky items but the issues arise when there is an abundance of personal property. LASA and the Bureau of Street Services are doing outreach and giving options to the homeless. Being homeless is not illegal; however laws (public intoxication, etc.) are still enforceable. SLO Moore: local issues include public urination that cannot be cited unless there is not an available restroom that can be used within 500 feet. Some communities have dealt with the issue by having permanent portable potties throughout their communities. Public indecency laws relative to a sidewalk have to include an act of sexual gratification for that persons’ self or someone else to be enforceable. Blocking the sidewalks: LAMC 41.18A, all of the sidewalk must be blocked whereby someone is forced to walk into the street. Photos are required to file a charge by a witness who was obstructed along with evidence of outreach to the offending individual. Sleeping on the sidewalks also requires evidence of outreach and photos to bring to trial. Leaf Blowers: LAMC 112.04 (c) – gas powered leaf blowers are illegal in a residential area; electric blowers can be used but not between 10 pm and 7 am. The issue is enforcement and it is hoped that more enforcement can be done through the ACE program. Door to Door Solicitation: permits can be issued for people seeking contributions to non-profits but those permits are not given to people selling or seeking services. A LAMC 21.02 “No Advertising” Sign should prevent people from coming onto your property. Legitimate people have a permit, information and are required to show identification. If someone comes to the door, acknowledge that they are there and then ask him or her to leave because this will prevent a potential burglar trying to break in. Parks: have very specific hours and individuals are prohibited from sleeping in the park overnight. SLO Moore reminded people to call LAFD immediately if they see fire activity.. Questions: (1) Doug McCormick asked about sleeping on the beaches and how those rules work with the Coastal Commission. Veronica stated that those issues have not been agreed. (2) Leaf Blowers – could we have public service announcements in English and Spanish so people know that the activity is illegal, along with animal control information? Citations have to be given out. (3) What is the status of sleeping in vehicles? Veronica said that an ordinance is being drafted in response to recent case law. (4) Dog pee on Antioch. Veronica stated that ACE would help with that situation because Animal Services could cite. (5) Motorcycle Noise on Sunset – SLO Moore responded that there are 2 reserve officers putting their service time on that problem. West Traffic Division is responsible for the enforcement and have a wide area to cover. (6) Residential Burglaries – what groups are these attributed to? SLO Moore said that there are South LA gang members who are targeting homes because of lesser legal penalties especially for daytime activity when people are at work and are not on site. (7) Homeless – it was suggested for LAPD and the press to give information to the public about how the case law works. SLO Moore spoke about visible bluff encampments that affect private and Caltrans property along PCH that are in process of remediation with multi-jurisdictional agencies such as Caltrans.
10.2. Presentation/Q&A re CUB/CUP application for mini-mart/beer & wine sales at Shell Station located at Sunset Blvd. & Via de la Paz.
Presenting: owner/applicant Saeed Kohanoff, architect Richard Finkel and land development consultant King Woods. Background: Chris welcomed the new owner of the Shell Station, Saeed Kohanoff, who was present with his architect Richard Finkel and land development consultant King Woods to present information about the proposed project and to answer questions. Chris emphasized that discussion and decisions about project design are within the jurisdiction of the Pacific Palisades Design Review Board; DRB members who are also PPCC board members will accordingly be recusing themselves from the meeting. Matters within the purview of the DRB are not the purpose of this meeting, which is to hear from the owner about the plans for the project and the proposed use and to obtain input from the community. Chris noted that Mr. Kohanoff and his team would be making a brief presentation of approximately 10 minutes, and then there would be an opportunity for public comment and questions. Presentation: King Woods articulated the purchase and sale history of the property. Because the Shell Station does not have a license to sell liquor that is why the application needs to be filed. The public hearing is expected within the next 4-6 months. The plan is to demolish the Shell Station and build a new station. A conceptual landscape plan and colored elevations were shown. Improvement in access is sought such that cars do not cue up on Sunset Boulevard and are directed to the alley behind the street. Light shields will be put in so the adjacent condominiums will not have light shining into their homes. The theme will be Mediterranean, tile, sympathetic colors, tower elements, real concrete, antique light fixtures of brown and cream to blend in with the community. The new station will have a store where people can buy amenities rather than car repairs. The owner wants to make the station better than what is there right now and the taller height of the building will help light intrusion and will be something that the surrounding neighbors may embrace. The operation of the new store will be the same as what is on the Mobil site right now except the size of the building will be larger (2,700 square feet v. 800 square feet). Operations would be 24 hours with beer and wine sales to take place from 6 am to 2 am though the owners are willing to reduce the hours of beer and wine sales. Public Comment: (1) Andy Frew spoke on behalf of the adjacent condominium in opposition to all three changes – the mini mart, 24 hours a day and beer and wine sales. The location is bad because there is no residential buffer zone rather than the 250 feet that exists currently. There are 9 facing bedrooms with no sound or light mitigation. Andy brought a petition signed by 82 residents. Andy said that there were inaccuracies in the application and that the community wants Eli (current mechanical operator) to stay. (2) Ron Dean opposed beer and wine next to an apartment building, is opposed to the beer and wine hours but also wants negotiation on the 24 hour operation because the new location is not strictly commercial. (3) Sandy Eddy asked if a traffic impact study has been done for this location. With the Mobil Station, people are constantly stopping and starting to get in and out of a gas station and traffic impacts from gas stations are known to be serious. (4) Hours of operation should stop at this location at 10 pm. Relative to beer and wine sales the location is closer to the high school so it will become a gathering place and is close to a number of schools and walkways for students. The prior license had 4 suspensions including under age sales. Relative to traffic the curb break presents a dangerous corner and needs to be pushed back to a reasonable amount of feet to eliminate diagonal traffic. (5) There is not an outcry in this community for liquor at 6 am or 2 am. Prior sales to minors is not something to support. The location will bring in more traffic and possibly may exacerbate the motorcycle issue. (6) The prior traffic study that was done for a car wash in this location had documented this being an extremely dangerous corner and did not support a use that increased traffic. (7) Current hours at the Mobil Station are 24 hours and there are 4 pumps with 2 nozzles on each side. The number of gas dispensers will not change. (8) How will the change affect Ritrovo? The arrangement is in place now but after construction there will be no more shared parking allowed. (9) Do homeless come to the Mobil Station? They do come and action that can be taken is limited under the law. (10) What is the increase in retail space? How much beer and wine is being sold? If there are 12 cooler doors then approximately 3 would be beer and wine. (11) How many employees will be there? 4 to 5 during the day and reducing 1 to 2 during the evening. (12) Beer and wine sales are currently 6 am to 2 am. Perhaps reducing the night sales by 2 hours. (13) Parking. There are 11 striped stalls and 8 spaces at the pumps total 19 available spaces. (14) A prior gas station at Entrada and PCH (per WLAAPC approval in 2008): got no alcohol sales, operating hours of 5 am to 11 pm daily, delivery hours between 7 am to 7 pm daily, and compliance with the applicable provisions of the Specific Plan was required. (14) Concern regarding operating hours. Starbucks agreed to close at 10 pm at their new location in the Highlands and will there be assurances that the location could not be converted into a 7-11 or some other use if the gas station aspect does not work out? The owner said the gas franchise is the business. (15) The application is misleading because it states that there is a mini-market at this site already and that is not true. What does the reference to “deviations from the code” mean? The requested operations past 11 PM require a deviation from the commercial corner ordinance. Relative to traffic, an Environmental Assessment Form was filed and to this date no traffic report/study/analysis has been required but it may be. (16) PPCC’s prior position on the Highland Starbucks had the same requested deviation from the applicant; the Council opposed the application with reduced hours of operation and restrictions on deliveries. For the prior proposed car wash, the Specific Plan prohibited the use and the CUP was also opposed on noise and traffic grounds and because there were inaccuracies/misrepresentations in the application. (17) The target audience for buying goods 24 hours a day might not be what the community is looking for. (18) Gas deliveries are within the control of the station owner and do not necessarily have to happen during high traffic or hours that would otherwise disturb residents. (18) The Via lot is slightly larger than the Mobil lot. (19) The trash dump area opens into the area next to the residences. There is a 20-foot buffer zone between the existing station and the condominiums. (20) The increase in square footage is intended to allow the owner to sell more goods and to increase the volume of people coming to the business during certain hours. The applicant stated that he appreciated the opportunity to present to the Council and would consider all the comments made.
11. General Public Comment — None.
12. Adjournment. Chris Spitz adjourned the meeting at 9:02 PM.