Return to Index of 2016 Minutes


Voting Members in Attendance:  Chris Spitz, Maryam Zar, Jennifer Malaret, Richard Cohen, Barbara Kohn, Reza Akef, Peter Culhane, Rick Mills, Sue Kohl, Barbara Marinacci, Kelly Comras, Richard Wulliger, Stuart Muller, Sarah Conner, Janet Anderson, George Wolfberg, Peter Culhane, Gilbert Dembo, Greg Sinaiko, Todd Wadler, Cathy Russell, Bruce Schwartz and Sue Kohl.

 Voting Alternates:  Elizabeth Shavelson and Susan Payne.

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Diane Bleak, Donna Vaccarino, Linda Lefkowitz, Patti Post, David Kaplan, David Peterson and Schuyler Dietz.

 Start of Business Meeting

1.    Reading of Community Council’s Mission.  Maryam Zar read the Mission Statement.

2.    Call to Order and Introduction of the Board and Audience.  Chris Spitz called the meeting to order at 7:04 pm. Introduction of the Board. Jennifer Malaret read the meeting ground rules (Bylaws, Appendix C, Standing Rule 8).

3.    Certification of Quorum.  Chris certified that a quorum was present at 7:07 pm.

4.    Adoption of Minutes/Upcoming Meetings.  Chris deemed the minutes of February 11, 2016 approved as corrected. Upcoming meetings: 3/10/16. (Tentative) WRAC-sponsored motions regarding (1) CUB/alcohol conditions; (2) VA Master Plan and related legislation, S. 2013 (Feinstein), H.R. 3484 (Lieu); (3) Zoning Code enforcement. 3/24/16. No meeting. 4/14/16. Topics to be determined. 

5.    Consideration of Agenda.  The President considered the agenda.

6.    Treasurer’s Report.  Richard Cohen reported the financial status as of February 25, 2016. The account balance is $38,658.74 with no significant transactions since the last report.

7.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

7.1.    Announcements from the President, Chris Spitz.

  • Chris announced that the March 24, 2016 Board meeting has been CANCELLED due to library staff unavailability.
  • Launch of new PPCC website – Chris directed the board and members and the public to the new website.
  • LADWP Pole-Top Distributing Stations (PTDS) Community Meeting. Chris announced that a date for the proposed LADWP community meeting has not been confirmed; per CD11 the meeting will not take place on 3/1/16; the new date will likely be 3/14/16 at Marquez elementary. Construction of the El Medio and Marquez PTDSs will not begin before the meeting occurs.
  • Short Term Rentals (STRs) Update. Draft ordinance expected in late February.
  • Village Starbucks CUB Update. See attached letter.
  • Palisades Alliance for Seniors Community Meeting 3/1/16, 4-5:30pm, Gilbert Hall, Pali High. Topic: Getting Around: Transportation Options for Palisades Seniors.

7.2.    Announcements from Governmental Representatives Representatives (Note: Contact information at:

7.2.1.    Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) – SLO Officer Moore — Not in attendance.

7.2.2.    Los Angeles City Council, District 11; Councilmember Mike Bonin’s Office. Sharon Shapiro, Field Deputy.  Sharon Shapiro in attendance; no report.

7.2.3.    Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Daniel Tamm, Westside Area Representative, Mayor’s Interfaith Liaison — Not in attendance.

7.2.4.    California State Assembly, Office of Assemblymember Richard Bloom. Stephanie Cohen, Field Representative — Not in attendance.

7.2.5.   California State Senate, Office of State Senator Ben Allen. Lila Kalaf, District Representative — Not in attendance.

7.2.6.    United States Congress, Office of Congressman Ted Lieu. Janet Turner, District Representative.

Janet Turner in attendance. Janet reported that today the House Veteran’s Committee approved moving forward with the Los Angeles Homeless Veteran’s Leasing Act (needed to enact the draft Master Plan for the Los Angeles VA). The bill received bi-partisan report. The bill still needs to move through Congress and the House. Letters in support are appreciated. Chris stated that this matter may be taken up by PPCC at is March 10, 2016 meeting.

7.3.    Announcements from Board Members and Advisors – None/Deferred.

8.    Reports from Committees.

8.1.    Bylaws Committee (Richard Cohen and Jennifer Malaret, Co-Chairs).

First distribution of proposed bylaws amendments relative to elected Area and At-large representatives, election procedures and minor adjustment to Area 3 and Area 4 boundaries (Bylaws Art. VIII.1.B and D; Appendix B and Attachment A); see minutes of 1/28/16 and 2/11/16 for summaries. The Committee recommends that the Board approve the proposed amendments as distributed. Richard Cohen stated that this first distribution of the proposed bylaws amendments was made and includes those topical amendments previously reported (i.e., Area 3 and 4 adjustments as agreed by the residents and elected representatives, modernization of election provisions and general clean-up). Richard encouraged board members and the public to read the materials distributed and to contact either Co-Chair with comments, questions and input.

8.2.    VPLUC (David Kaplan, Chair).

VPLUC supplemental report / recommendations re Village Project/Caruso Affiliated land use application and Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND). Attending: representatives of Caruso Affiliated. Introduction: Chris Spitz stated that she would like to say a few words about PPCC’s process regarding this matter to date. PPCC held well-attended public meetings focusing on the land use application for the project in October and November 2015. Anyone who wished to ask a question or make a comment at our past meetings did so, and public comment on the matter was closed at the end of the November meeting. Chris recalled that Rick Caruso attended both meetings, gave information about the project and answered questions. Chris welcomed Mr. Caruso back tonight and also introduced Michael Gazzano and Rick Caruso. Chris stated that PPCC is now returning to the Village Project for the purpose of discussing the VPLUC’s supplemental report and recommendations. Since there are three new motions on the agenda, Chris stated that she would allow additional limited public comment related to the motions as time permits. Chris said that pursuant to the agenda, PPCC will begin with a report by committee chair David Kaplan, then introductions of each motion would be made in order followed by remarks by Mr. Caruso, a representative of Councilmember Bonin’s office, board discussion and public comment. Chris reminded everyone that PPCC must end its meeting by 9 p.m. or shortly thereafter; with three motions to consider and discuss the Chair will have to set strict time limits on all comments. Chris also reported that she had asked all audience members who wished to speak to please fill out a speaker card and pass it up to the Vice President. Cards were available on the counter as well as on the podium.

Chris asked that board members and the audience keep in mind that there is an upcoming deadline of March 9, 2016 for comment on the Mitigated Negative Declaration, and the first City hearing on the land use entitlements application is March 24, 2016 with the DRB meeting on design aspects on March 2, 2016. Chris also reminded everyone of informational materials available on the counter, which anyone was welcome to take. Chris invited David Kaplan to give the VPLUC’s supplemental report.


David Kaplan read the VPLUC supplemental report. See attached below. David Kaplan then read Motion #1,

Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) recognizes that community opinion is generally supportive of the Palisades Village Project, as reflected by public comments at PPCC and other community meetings and input from constituents received by Council District 11 and PPCC Board members. PPCC therefore recommends that the City Planning Commission approve the following land use entitlements as requested by the applicant:

  1. 1) Specific Plan Amendments to the Pacific Palisades Commercial Village and Neighborhoods Specific Plan, as proposed by the applicant and which establish new North Swarthmore Subarea Regulations.
  2. 2) A Vesting Zone Change from C2-1VL and R3P-1VL to C2-1VL, for the existing surface parking lot areas.

Design aspects of the Project are being reviewed by the Pacific Palisades Design Review Board.”

Discussion: Chris directed board members and the public to information available on the land use entitlements requested. Chris stated that since the Motion #1 was made by a committee that includes several voting board members, per Roberts Rules it is deemed made and seconded and discussion would begin. Chris first called on Rick Caruso to give brief remarks. Rick Caruso declined to make remarks. Action: Dick Wulliger, Historical Society, invoked Article 10 of the bylaws to postpone any vote on Motion #1 to the next PPCC meeting. Chris reiterated the bylaws requirement. Dick asked for discussion to be allowed to proceed. Chris exercise her right as Chair to make the board an ad hoc committee so discussion could proceed. (1) Sharon Shapiro reported that CD11 and Planning Staff have received overwhelming support for the project. For those residents who are in opposition or have concerns, Sharon said that those are few and their concerns are concentrated (unlike other projects in the city that have varied topics for objection; here in the Palisades the same objections are heard over and over). (2) Gil Dembo expressed support for the project. (3) Sarah Conner stated that PPRA wants to meet and understand how these motions may affect larger areas of the City. Rick Caruso stated that the Village Project land use applications do not affect any other areas of the City as they are project specific. David Kaplan explained that the subarea includes open space and arguably could be precedent for any private developer not including significant (10,000 square feet of) open space. Howard Robinson stated that the VPLUC felt the way the application was filed is beneficial to the community because it reduces precedent setting standards (there are no specific plan deviations but rather an amendment which has been very rare and is only applicable to a specific situation with acreage as this; thus it is difficult to image another developer coming in and doing the same thing in commercial areas of the Palisades, i.e., the amendment to the Specific Plan sets less deviation then the alternative). Sarah Conner asked for the amendments for the Specific Plan to be made public like on the website. Chris Spitz and Rick Caruso told Sarah that those conditions have been on the Caruso website for a long time, available from the City, are on PPCC’s website, in the minutes, distributed this evening, discussed at prior public meetings, etc. (4) Susan Payne stated that the Chamber supports the project as a huge community benefit and substantial boost to the local businesses. (5) Stuart Muller observed that, in addition to the Caruso project, the Ralph’s and Norris Hardware sites are owned by a local family and could be developed. Rick Caruso responded that there is another 30 years on the Ralph’s lease and it is not likely to be developed. (6) Diane Bleak expressed concern about retail conglomerates. Rick Caruso reiterated that the plan is comprised of very small stores and that there will not be chains. Many local tenants are interested in staying. (7) Rick Mills expressed disappointment that the Historical Society invoked Article 10 to stop a vote on Motion #1; as a member of the Historical Society he stated that its members have been well aware of the project for a long time and was skeptical of the delay. Dick Wulliger stated that he needed to report what was said here tonight to his members to help them take a position or not. Public Comment:(1) Marice Michele (Swathmore business owner) supports the project and is in favor of Mr. Caruso. (2) Greg Schem supported the project and expressed that we need to help our businesses. Having a local developer is a benefit and we should thank our lucky stars. (3) Rena Repetti expressed support for the project but not a subarea that doesn’t have to follow the Specific Plan rules that the community created. Rena said the developer should follow the Specific Plan. (4) Mark Grinblatt opposes the development because there has not been enough dialogue between the developer and the public. The strip of land between the Mobil Station and US Bank is to be taken and moved so that it makes sense; the idea of it taking private should be discussed more before the council votes. (5) Robin Weitz opposes the project based on the number of alcohol permits being requested by Caruso Affiliated. Robin read a passage discussing findings for issuing ABC licenses. David Kaplan stated that Motion #1 does not include nor address the alcohol applications. (6) Nicole Howard supports the project and because of the overwhelmingly positive benefit for the community urged the project to move forward. (7) Jeffrey Spitz supports the project, urged it to move forward and challenged the Historical Society’s claim that it had not had an opportunity to consult with its members particularly given modern electronics. (8) Ted Weitz opposed the project and stated that the CUP is part of the subarea plan. Ted has expressed concerns because he lives adjacent and represents neighbors. Sue Kohl said that while Ted’s views may represent some residents but her email list has over 200 people who have supported the project and in her view most of the residents in the Alphabets support the project and the “life” that has been missing in Area 5. Rick Caruso said he has meet with Ted and his wife and will continue to do so and respond to their concerns. Rick Caruso further reported that he has met with the residents of Monument who overwhelmingly support the project and that his company would like to begin development of the stores, parking and open space. Rick also said that there is much to be done with existing businesses in their relocation and efforts to bring them back. (9) Rosalie Huntington asked how shoppers will be drawn to the Palisades if the only thing that is different is the Bay Theater and Trader Joe’s (supports). Will there be different stores on Swarthmore? Rick Caruso stated that there will be a theater and a specialty grocer with every store being unique. Existing tenants have been offered a prior rent to stay in the project. Other retailers and restaurant operators will supplement. Action: Chris stated that this motion would be back on the agenda on March 10, 2016.


David Kaplan read Motion #2. Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) recognizes that the City has determined, based on substantial traffic and other environmental studies, that the Palisades Village Project (the “Project”) will have no unmitigated significant impacts. PPCC also acknowledges community concerns that, as with any project of similar size built within an existing neighborhood village, issues warranting attention may arise on an ongoing basis. PPCC therefore supports adoption of the Mitigated Negative Declaration, provided that a new Village Project Committee is established under the auspices of Council District 11, to assess and address issues that may arise during construction and eventual Project operations. Such a committee should consist of one representative each from the applicant, Council District 11, the Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce and PPCC, and an area resident (to be appointed by Council District 11).”

Action: Same as above, Dick Wulliger (Historical Society) invoked Article 10. Chris asked Dick to withdraw the motion and abstain so the board vote could be taken; else pursuant to the bylaws the Executive Committee would be able to act for the board. Dick Wulliger refused stating that he had been instructed by his board to invoke a postponement of the vote. Chris exercised her right as Chair to make the board an ad hoc committee so discussion could proceed. Public Discussion: (1) Rick Caruso asked for a position of this board, by the Executive Committee, prior to the public hearing. (2) Patty Detroit wondered if the traffic study was relevant since it was done during the Thanksgiving holiday. Rick said only one intersection was studied on the day a school was closed; that intersection was restudied and reissued so the current report is completely updated and was not done in any way when school was closed. Patty asked about employee parking. Rick stated that the size of the parking accommodates employees on the property. Patty said a concerned resident should be appointed to any kind of citizen’s committee. (3) Sandy Eddy said that 200 people on the other sides of the Alphabet Streets have concerns. The MND has been available for two weeks and is very large. Bus schedules and bike racks would help mitigate traffic if for employees. There would be 150 employees coming into the community and Sandy wondered what peak time arrangements would be made. (4) Linda Andrews spoke in favor of the project and asked for more information on the traffic situation (peak volumes, more or another traffic study). (5) Kat Smitt supports the project and is concerned about the traffic with the addition of retailers in the project. (6) Carly Kamerman, Carly K owner, sees traffic all day long and wondered what does everyone want Rick to do? Not have a project? At this point the Village is at a standstill and it is not fair to just do nothing. More parking is not a solution because those costs will get passed on to tenants who need shoppers to support rents that are already so high. (7) Ted Weitz asked Rick Caruso to continue to talk and meet with residents and acknowledged that because of his meetings with Caruso Affiliated many of his concerns had already been taken care of. Ted said the committee proposed should not include the Chamber and would not really address resident concerns. Ted stated that the MND is a complicated document and there should be more time for the pubic to review it. (8) Mark Ginblatt objects to the project because it won’t reduce traffic and claimed that the study was inaccurate because it inappropriately compared existing to proposed traffic. (9) Nicole Howard supported the project, stating that the true traffic problem is not having traffic in the Village to support local businesses. Board Discussion: (1) Richard Cohen asked if trips coming to the project would be between the 2-3 pm peak hours studied. Rick Caruso stated that their peak period is not 2-3 and the Traffic Study which is online has been studied by the City and is in full compliance. (2) Gil Dembo stated that Mike Bonin’s traffic workshop determined that the majority of traffic generated is not from the Palisades and is something that Caruso has little control over. (3) Maryam Zar asked if CD11 considered the idea of a new citizen’s committee to be established. Sharon Shapiro said that she would find out. Maryam asked why Ted stated that such a committee would be ineffective since Caruso’s interaction with residents have been successful in working towards solutions. (4) David Kaplan re-read the portion of the VPLUC report that stated that traffic will be increased but that the standards per intersection can be mitigated or the results are still within acceptable parameters. (5) Barbara Kohn stated that based on her own prior personal experience, a citizen committee can be valuable if written into a CUP and that such committees typically meet monthly or less frequently. (6) Richard Cohen supported the committee concept based on past successes such as the Getty Villa and the YMCA Simon Meadow project. (7) Schuyler Dietz spoke in support of the project and does not think traffic will be impacted between 2 and 5 p.m.

See: (1), Documents tab/Minutes, and Resources tab/Reports & Summaries (PPCC minutes of 11/18/15, 1/14/16, 2/11/16 and VPLUC Preliminary Report) and (2) (FAQs tab/amended application documents, plans and MND). See also information distributed below. Note: MND comment period ends March 9, 2016, per notice published in the LAT on 2/18/16; first City hearing to occur on March 24, 2016. MOTION #s 1, 2 and 3 sponsored by the VPLUC:


David Kaplan read Motion 3. “The applicant has requested that the City approve a request for a parcel map to vacate public land to the applicant consisting of a 20-foot-wide alley extending north from Sunset Boulevard to the existing alley located behind the existing Mobil Station, the 20-foot-wide alley between Swarthmore Avenue and Monument Street and a lane of Sunset Boulevard, where it widens in front of the existing Mobil Station. Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) recommends approval of the parcel map, subject to the following:

  1. Since the proposed public land being ceded to the applicant has substantial economic value, PPCC recommends a condition of approval which will require the applicant, in exchange for the economic benefit being provided by the City to the applicant, to establish a fund in an amount to be determined.
  2. Said fund shall be specifically targeted to address the Purposes set forth in Section 2 of the Pacific Palisades Commercial Village and Neighborhoods Specific Plan, which are to assure all new development harmonizes with and enhances the surrounding neighborhood. To this end, the use of the fund shall include, but not be limited to, installation of compatible off-site streetscape improvements. Possible unifying items could include street furniture, street signs, exterior lighting and lampposts, sidewalk and crosswalk treatments, and plant materials. At a minimum, off- site improvements should extend to both sides of Sunset from La Cruz to Via de la Paz, around the perimeter of the Village Green, and on Swarthmore on the first block south of Sunset.”

Action: Same as above; Dick Wulliger (Historical Society) invoked Article 10; Chair allowed discussion to continue by making the board an ad hoc committee. Board Discussion: (1) Richard Cohen asked if the characterization of the “park giveaway” was accurate. Rick Caruso explained that they have been trying to get more parking and responded to community concerns that the alley should be maintained better. By vacating the alley parking can be placed underneath and Caruso Affiliated will have the burden of paying to maintain the area. Rick Caruso is willing to participate in a fund depending on the amount because they are happy to be a good neighbor. Richard asked about undergrounding utilities. Rick said yes the utilities would be undergrounded and existing utilities would be relocated to accommodate parking so that is also a community benefit. There is also to be an easement for public access and it can never be closed off. Caruso has to provide access to neighboring buildings that they don’t own into perpetuity. There is no intent to ever close the alley or make it inaccessible to cars. (2) Howard Robinson said that the committee is in favor of the project and wanted to get something in exchange for the reversion of public land to a private landowner. The idea is for the dollars to be used for things consistent with the Specific Plan and that Plan calls for coordination of improvements in the PROW throughout the entire village. David Kaplan reiterated the thoughts of the committee and encouraged that the fund would allow for the refreshing of areas next to the project that may not be owned by Caruso. (3) Diane Bleak expressed concern about the Disneyland unifying aspect of the project and if there would be piped in music. Rick stated that the design goal is very organic and something that fits with the community which is why Caruso is working with the DRB, residents and four architects. The buildings do not match and there is no ongoing theme. This is a street, a downtown in a coastal community and Rick Caruso wants it to look like a real street and not a theme park. Music is up to the community. (4) Rick Mills spoke to the Specific Plan as to the compatibility of development with the surrounding neighborhood. That would include the streets surrounding and adjacent but the motion attempts to address off-site areas as well which would benefit the community. Rick encouraged the developer and community to think about the benefit of this fund. (5) Richard Cohen questioned the legal argument about vacating the alley but that may be solved by a fund and wondered also about the BID. Richard noted that since the BID exists and there are other voices on the BID perhaps the money could be channeled through that because the idea of Caruso becoming responsible for fixing up other property owner’s store fronts doesn’t really work. Rick Mills suggested that PRIDE or the BID could advise. (6) Gil Dembo asked that funds be used to upgrade Sunset. Gil spoke in favor of Caruso giving us an organized structure and not what happens when there is fractured land ownership. Public Comment: (1) Lou Kamer supported the motion. How much? Is it appropriate to take an incoming development and apply those standards to the others? Can the requirement to upgrade other property be done by the BID? (2) Mark Grinblatt objected to taking away the asphalt by the Mobil Station and alleged that boundaries for the gas station had been misrepresented. Mark suggested to the council that those with conflicts of interest recuse themselves or ask someone else to vote on the motions. Rick Caruso said that the City is the one who asked Caruso to eliminate the asphalt and they are following the LADOT rules. (3) Kelly Comras asked Rick Caruso to repeat his statements about the LADOT process. Rick stated that there are concerns about people crossing Sunset so the idea is to narrow the sidewalks and to have a shorter distance to cross. Caruso thinks it makes sense to have crossings on Sunset be safer given the length of the crossing and the speed at which cars travel. The changes are consistent with improvements throughout the City including the safe streets program. (4) Frances Tibbits asked about how the amount would be set and asked again about the vacating of the alley. Rick stated that they are burdened by the cost of maintaining the land and there is no entitlement benefit/density from owning the alley land. The square footage is being taken out of their developable land area and Caruso is making the alley wider and widening the sidewalk to increase pedestrian safety. (5) Ted Weitz supports the concept of attempting to unify the Village and suggested that the DRB should oversee anything in the streets and PROW. (6) Rena Repetti doesn’t think that the asphalt should be taken away because it makes the street safer when there is a back up of traffic and because traffic patterns particularly with regard to Bashford would be negatively impacted. Rick Caruso stated that the roadway was in the original application and LADOT wanted it out with their rationale being set forth in the Traffic Study.

9.    Old Business.

9.1.    Southern California Gas Company Advanced Meter Project Update.

Presenting: Ray Verches, SoCalGas.  Presentation: this is the third year this topic has been presented. Two phases are updating the meters and updating the data network. There are two data collection areas left, 16969 Sunset Blvd (Sunset and Marquez) and the other at Sunset and Blue Sail. Approval from the Coastal Commission and the Bureau of Engineering for the final two phases was obtained yesterday.

10.    New Business — None.

11.    General Public Comment.

11.1.    Steve Lantz said there will be a meeting at 4 PM next Tuesday at Gilbert Hall, Palisades Charter High School. The topic is transportation options for Seniors. What is not being done in terms of transportation in the Palisades will also be addressed. Everyone from the public is encouraged to attend.

11.2.    Bicycling on Sunset is very dangerous and having bikes on Sunset slows down traffic.

12.    Adjournment.  Chris Spitz adjourned the meeting at 8:56 PM.



February 13, 2016

Development Services & Zoning Administration Division City Planning Department
Los Angeles City Hall
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012 Attn: Roxanne Wiles

Via email:

Re: ZA 2015-4233-CUB/15300 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades (proposed Village Starbucks CUB for onsite beer and wine consumption); file open for comment until February 16, 2016; SUPPORT application (subject to modification of operating hours).

Dear Ms. Wiles:

Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) is the most broad-based community organization and the voice of the Palisades since 1973.

The PPCC board heard presentations by the applicant’s representatives and held public discussion of this matter at two regularly scheduled board meetings, on January 14 and February 11, 2016. The PPCC board also considered (1) the applicant’s written responses (dated January 22, 2016) to a series of questions posed by PPCC in its January 19, 2016 letter to Ms. Wiles, and (2) a survey of Starbucks stores with the “Evenings Program” conducted by PPCC’s President (dated February 4, 2016).

After extensive discussion at its meeting on February 11, 2016, the PPCC board passed a motion to support the CUB application, subject to modification of the operating hours for the proposed “Evenings Program” (onsite beer and wine sales) from 4pm until the close of business, daily.

Thank you for your consideration.

Christina Spitz
Pacific Palisades Community Counci

cc (via email):
Hon. Councilmember Mike Bonin, CD11                    
Ezra Gale, Planning Deputy, CD11                                   
Joann Lim, Planning Case Manager, City Planning Dept.
Spencer Regnery, Glassman Associates                            

ITEM 8.2 – VPLUC (David Kaplan, Chair). VPLUC supplemental report / recommendations re Village Project/Caruso Affiliated land use application and Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND).  Additional information distributed prior to the meeting.

To view the existing Specific Plan:

§ 21082.2. Significant effect on environment; determination; environmental impact report preparation

(a) The lead agency shall determine whether a project may have a significant effect on the environment based on substantial evidence in light of the whole record.

(b) The existence of public controversy over the environmental effects of a project shall not require preparation of an environmental impact report if there is no substantial evidence in light of the whole record before the lead agency that the project may have a significant effect on the environment.

(c) Argument, speculation, unsubstantiated opinion or narrative, evidence which is clearly inaccurate or erroneous, or evidence of social or economic impacts which do not contribute to, or are not caused by, physical impacts on the environment, is not substantial evidence. Substantial evidence shall include facts, reasonable assumptions predicated upon facts, and expert opinion supported by facts.

(d) If there is substantial evidence, in light of the whole record before the lead agency, that a project may have a significant effect on the environment, an environmental impact report shall be prepared.

(e) Statements in an environmental impact report and comments with respect to an environmental impact report shall not be deemed determinative of whether the project may have a significant effect on the environment.


The Committee has previously reported its analysis of the applicant’s submission.

The Committee had indicated it was waiting for the applicant’s traffic study to become available for review before it would be in position to recommend any action that the Board should take with respect to the Caruso Village Project.

Several weeks ago the Committee reported that the applicant, subsequent to its initial DRB hearing, had submitted revised plans reflecting changes in design or style and a withdrawal of its previous requests to deviate from Specific Plan setback requirements and Specific Plan height restrictions, in addition to removal of certain uses such as a Pilates studio, a reduction in the total amount of restaurant space and a removal of a request for shared parking plan.

On February 18 the City released its MND (mitigated negative declaration) that included the City’s sign-off and approval of the applicant’s traffic study. This traffic study concluded that there were no unmitigatable traffic impacts occasioned by the development. The Committee engaged the services of Patti Post, PPCC Transportation Advisor. She reviewed the MND as well as the underlying documents reviewed by LADOT and City Planning and found that the conclusions of the MND were substantiated.

It should be understood that the MND is not suggesting that there will be no increase in traffic but that the increase in traffic does not create, based on the standards that the City requires developers to comply with, any increase which cannot be mitigated.

As further due diligence, Ms. Post spoke with two separate community leaders who were initially opposed or skeptical of the impact of Caruso projects in their areas (Glendale and Thousand Oaks). She learned that although there were similar concerns to those which our community has voiced, the Caruso assertions proved to be correct. These community leaders were extremely satisfied with the Caruso team during construction and after opening. They were unanimous in their belief that since Caruso does not sell his properties that these properties are managed well for the long term.

Consequently, it is the Village Project Land Use Committee’s opinion that the proposed project will on balance offer residents a thoughtfully and responsibly managed shopping, restaurant and theater district that will be approved and enjoyed by the vast majority of residents.

In that regard we offer the three motions which are set forth in the 2/25/16 PPCC Board meeting agenda.

List of Entitlements – Village Project

  1. Vesting Zone Change for a portion of two parcels from R3P-1VL to C2-1VL
  1. Project Permit Compliance Review and Design Review Board
  1. Specific Plan Amendment for the creation of the North Swarthmore Subarea
  2. a.Height – allow building height to a maximum of 34 feet to allow architectural variation and features. Height to be measured from adjacent sidewalk.
  3. b. Theater Signage – allow for a defining architectural element to exceed 100 square foot sign area limit
  4. c.  Bicycle Parking – to be in compliance with the recently adopted Citywide Bicycle Ordinance set forth in LAMC 12.21.A.16
  5. d. CUB – Define maximum number of licenses and type, define approval process for each establishment
  6. e.  Open Space – require 10,000 square feet of open space within the subarea
  7. Parcel Map – vacation of two alleys to provide for underground parking — Information provided by Caruso Affiliated, February 2016


David Kaplan (Chair): Area 6 Alternate Representative. Retired attorney and former Town Counsel to numerous Massachusetts municipalities/colleges and universities; extensive land use experience in that capacity.

Sue Kohl: Area 5 Representative. Long-time residential real estate agent and assistant manager of the Berkshire Hathaway office in Pacific Palisades.

Rick Mills: Area 4 Representative. Former Planner for the City of Santa Monica, handling planning and land use matters. Masters degree in City Planning, U.C. Berkeley. Long-serving past Chair of the Pacific Palisades Design Review Board. Real estate agent and condominium specialist with HomesUSA, Ltd. and the Law Offices of Paul DeSantis in Santa Monica.

Howard Robinson: Area 3 Alternate Representative. Professional land use consultant with more than 30 years of experience in real estate development, local government and the entitlement process. MBA degree (emphasis in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics), U.C. Berkeley.

Cathy Russell: Area 7 Representative. Long-time residential real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Pacific Palisades.

George Wolfberg: At-Large Representative. Retired City of Los Angeles official with extensive experience in local government process. Past PPCC President and Citizen of the Year. Chair of the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee (PCCAC). Past member of PPCC’s former Land Use Committee. Long-serving and current PPCC representative to the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils Land Use & Planning Committee (WRAC-LUPC).

Chris Spitz (ex officio/non-voting): PPCC President. Attorney specializing in business litigation. Past Chair of PPCC’s former Land Use Committee. Member of the PCCAC. Past steering committee member, PlanCheckNCLA (educational organization that provides information about City Planning matters to interested community members Citywide). Member of WRAC leadership committee and PPCC Alternate representative to WRAC-LUPC.  — February 2016

PPCC Transportation Advisor Patti Post

PPCC Experience

  • Voting member of the Board for 10 years as Area Alternate, Area Representative, Organizational Representative and Officer (Treasurer, 6 years)
  • Transportation Advisor for about 10 years, alerting the Chair to transportation issues that could affect Palisadians and advising the Chair on transportation issues as requested

Professional Experience

  • 30+ years as transportation planning consultant, specializing in public transportation planning and operations
  • Transportation planning for the LA Olympics
  • Planning and operations positions with the regional transit operator in Los Angeles County


  • B. A. from UCLA
  • Master of City Planning (MCP) from Harvard University –– February 2016

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