MINUTES FROM JANUARY 13th 2022
Voting Members in Attendance: David Card, David Kaplan, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, Joanna Spak, Steve Cron, Sue Kohl, Karen Ridgley, Haldis Toppel, John Padden, Brenda Theveny, Kevin Niles, Janet Anderson, Beth Holden-Garland, Jenny Li, Matt Quiat
Voting Alternates: Mary Mueller
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Jack Coleman, Jackson Walter, Nancy Niles, Michael Edlen, Melanie Bouer, Cathy Russell, Kimberly Bloom, Rick Mills, Don Scott, Richard Blumenberg, Rick McGeagh, Andrew Wolfberg, Pam McGranahan, Kasey Kokenda
1. Call to order and reading of Mission Statement. The Chair David Card called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm. David Kaplan read the Mission Statement.
2. Introduction of Zoom engineer. Zoom engineer Alex Ponting was introduced.
3. Roll call of voting members and certification of quorum. The Chair called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.
4. Approval of Minutes. The minutes of November 18, 2021 and December 9, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings: January 27, 2022: LAPD presentation on public safety and community/police engagement (1st in a series); February 10, 2022: LAPD presentation on public safety and community/police engagement (2nd in a series); February 24, 2022: LAPD presentation on public safety and community/police engagement (3rd in a series).
5. Consideration of Agenda. Agenda items may be taken out of order at the discretion of the Chair.
6. Treasurer’s Report. The Treasurer Richard Cohen reported that PPCC balance is $58,823.71. Since his last report PPCC hosted the Awards Dinner at the Bel Air Bay Club to honor our Citizen of the Year and the Spark Plug honorees. Due to COVID and unlike prior years, attendance was limited to just over 40 persons and we did not raise funds from sponsors. As a consequence of that and other factors the event was costly. Revenue amounted to $2,320. Costs totaled $6,323 for a loss of $4,003. All significant transactions since the Treasurer’s last report relate to the Awards Dinner.
7. General Public Comment – None.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair/Presiding Officer.
8.1.1. December meeting/Awards presentation recap. The Chair announced that the event was successful and described how it was held, split between an in-person gathering of awardees, their invited guests and the Awards Committee at the Bel Air Bay Club, and the Zoom portion of the meeting with presentation of the awards, attended by additional board members and the public. He thanked the venue host Jimmy Dunne; Kevin Niles, Joanna Curtis and Alex Ponting for handling the complex technical aspects of the hybrid event; singer/songwriter Matty Ridge, daughter of Mary Mueller, who provided special entertainment; and all the Awards Committee members. A special message from Congressman Ted Lieu was given by Janet Turner. Certificates were presented to the awardees from Senator Allen, Assemblymember Bloom, Supervisor Kuehl, Mayor Garcetti, City Attorney Feuer and Congressman Lieu. He also noted that he had acknowledged and read the names of past awardees, that Sharon Kilbride and David Kaplan assisted in presenting the awardee plaques, and that the awardees each gave impromptu remarks indicating gratitude for being honored. He hopes that the event can be conducted again next year entirely in person.
8.1.2. Redistricting update (City, County and State). The Chair explained the various redistricting changes. The Palisades will lose Ted Lieu as our congressman since his district has been shortened; we will be in a district that includes the Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air and much of the San Fernando Valley, but does not include Santa Monica or points south. Our congressman may be Brad Sherman. Our Senate district will remain virtually the same. The Assembly district will also be changed, similar to the Congressional district; our Assemblymember will likely be Jacki Irwin, who currently represents Assembly District 44. The Supervisorial district will also be changed; it will include the Palisades, Bel Air, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Malibu and most of the Valley. City Council District 11 will remain in almost the same configuration as it now is. The Palisades will not be split in half as had originally been proposed for some districts.
8.1.3. Pacific Palisades Centennial 2022 – event postponed to Spring 2022. The Chair announced that Friday January 14th is the 100th birthday of Pacific Palisades, which was founded on January 14, 1922. The event to celebrate the founding has been postponed to spring. He called on resident Jimmy Dunne to explain his idea for a community celebration on Friday evening. Mr. Dunne: Tomorrow night at 6pm folks will go out on front lawns and patios and bang pots and pans to celebrate the birthday. Churches will be ringing bells and LAFD will have sirens going at 6pm. News crews from Fox LA and KTTV will come out in morning to film citizens talking about the event and they will return at 6pm to film the activities.
8.1.4. PPCC position letter re vehicle dwelling motion (CF 14-1057-S9): https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/PPCC-Letter-Support-CF14-1057-S9.pdf. The Chair noted that PPCC’s support letter has been sent.
8.1.6 [no 8.1.5] PPCC advisors – status update: 1) New Homelessness Advisor appointments: Sharon Kilbride, Sharon Browning and Pam McGranahan; officers of PPTFH. 2) New Education Advisor appointment: Kasey Kokenda. The Chair announced all the new advisors and welcomed Pam McGranahan and Kasey Kokenda, who were both in attendance. He explained that all three of the homelessness advisors are key officers of PPTFH and one of them will be attending PPCC meetings going forward to report on homelessness matters. He also noted that Kasey Kokenda is replacing Allison Polhill as PPCC’s education advisor since Ms. Polhill is running for the Council seat. Ms. Kokenda is LAUSD Board member Nick Melvoin’s community engagement and policy advisor. The Chair invited both Ms. McGranahan and Ms. Kokenda to give advisor reports (see items 8.6.1 and 8.6.2 below).
8.2. From Officers – None.
8.3. From Area and At-large Representatives.
8.3.1. Rick McGeagh (Area 7 Alternate): report on mudslide/public safety hazard on Will Rogers State Park Rd. Mr. McGeagh explained that during the last big rainstorm large trees slid down the hill on Will Rogers Stat Park Rd., causing two wooden barriers on the street to give way and a 70-year-old water main pipe to break, which in turn caused a huge mud slide that threatened to reach Sunset Blvd. CD 11 was called and Palisades Deputy Noah Fleishman assisted in arranging for City workers to address the immediate situation and clear the mud. Mr. McGeagh understands that the pipe has been patched but he does not know if a new sleeve has been installed which would be required with this very old pipe. (See item 8.5.2 below.)
8.3.2. Jenny Li (Area 7 Representative). Ms. Li reported that at a recent SMCCA meeting, an issue arose regarding the Metropolis parking app, now used in the Palisades Bank of America parking lot in and also at Starbucks and Whole Foods on Montana. There are privacy concerns about data use. In addition, some people do not have cell phones and many aren’t tech savvy. Several PPCC Board members indicated agreement with these concerns and also raised questions about penalties for non-payment and enforcement. Ms. Li will inquire about inviting a Metropolis representative to attend a future PPCC meeting to answer our questions about the app.
8.3.3. Reza Akef (Area 8 Representative). Mr. Akef advised that there were also slides on Sunset between Amalfi and Chautauqua during recent rain events and nothing was done to mitigate them. There were three different slides on New Year’s Day. He asked for help from CD 11 Deputy Noah Fleishman. Mr. Fleishman: The Transportation Dept. came and closed down one lane and Bureau of Street Services removed the slides. He would need more clarification to determine who is responsible for shoring up the hillside along Sunset. The Chair noted that slides are safety hazards and potentially dangerous. Mr. Akef also stated that he wants to invite Genesis Open representatives to a meeting. Paul Revere Middle School isn’t offering parking on the school grounds and the Tiger Woods Foundation wants to close off streets in the neighborhoods. Mr. Fleishman: He understands that residents want to get notice of street closures and he will look into this. Karen Ridgely (Area 4 Representative): Area 4 experienced a similar incident in the El Medio area when streets were shut down for a charity race with insufficient prior notice; there must be a way to funnel these requests through the Council office so that anyone who tries to shut down streets will know in advance that they need permitting.
8.3.4. Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Representative). Ms. Toppel announced that recently, berms supporting Enchanted Way gave way during rain storms; residents are concerned that the next storm could wipe out the street. She will contact Mr. Fleishman about the best way to correct the condition.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives.
8.4.1. John Padden (PRIDE): update on STAP (street furniture program). Mr. Padden did not have an update, but Joanna Spak (Area 1 Representative) stated that the City was unable to get their Initial Study completed for the MND; the existing contract has been extended for twelve months.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives – Contact information available at: https://pacpalicc.org/index.php/government-contacts/
8.5.1. Len Nguyen, Senior Planning Deputy, CD 11: update on Riviera County Club/Longworth maintenance gate – Mr. Nguyen not in attendance. The Chair noted that there are ongoing problems with people using the Longworth maintenance gate to access the Club; we are told that the problem is getting worse. Current questions include: Did the club apply for an application to be able to use the gate for non-maintenance entry; will the City take enforcement action if the Club does not have permission; will there be a hearing of the matter? Mr. Fleishman: He has seen the cars on Longworth; Mr. Nguyen advised that the Club hasn’t yet filed the papers required by the City Planning Dept. CD 11 is trying to figure out enforcement. Lorie Kraus (resident): She communicated directly with the Planning Dept. The Club is not planning to apply for a variance; it is just doing what it wants to do. She explained the history of the matter and asked where is the enforcement for violation of the applicable zoning rule. Mr. Fleishman: The Club, like other institutions, predates zoning and falls into a different category. Mr. Akef then explained that there are two aspects to enforcement: LADBS would first would come out to observe the violations and then issue an order to comply; if they don’t comply then the City Attorney could file charges.
8.5.2. Noah Fleishman, Palisades Deputy, CD 11. Mr. Fleishman reported that Bureau of Engineering is working on the issue of the spill and water main issue in different phases. He described steps to be taken in the next couple of weeks and months. He suggests using 311 after large storms to report slides and other events, such as downed palm fronds and pot holes, and to make service requests. There is an app, phone line and website for 311. He also noted that LA Sanitation has been having staff shortages for bin pick-up, especially blue bins. Call the hotline to report any problems. We should expect pick-up delays in January. Regarding the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project: there will be a third scoping meeting on January 22 at 10am. Residents should let the Metro board and Caltrans know their opinions about how this might affect Sunset. The Chair spoke about positions PPCC had previously submitted. Mr. Fleishman also remarked that there have been safety improvements on Sunset: raised pavement markers have been installed along bends on Sunset (these are reflective dots that are elevated off the ground).
8.6. From PPCC Advisors.
8.6.1. Pam McGranahan (Homelessness): 2022 Homeless County/Kim Clary and David Moreno. Ms. McGranahan introduced herself and described her background and many volunteer activities in the Palisades; she is now Vice-President of PPTFH. She introduced Kim Clary, Chair of the PPTFH volunteer committee, who had led the homeless count in the Palisades with her husband David Moreno every year except during COVID.
Ms. Clary announced that the homeless count will take place this year on January 26 at 5:30 am at Corpus Christi Church, with volunteers gathering on the terrace outside. The count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Los Angeles conducts the count under the LAHSA auspices every year; it will be very important this year as the count wasn’t done last year due to COVID. The count tells us what type of people are in the area. It cannot take place without the help of volunteers. We need 50 volunteers for the count in the Palisades. Volunteers should sign up in advance with Ms. Clary and Mr. Moreno (her husband, also in attendance). They must form the teams ahead of time in the Palisades, who will go out in cars with their “pods” to various locations. This information is not on the LAHSA website. Contact email@example.com for more information and to volunteer. PPTFH will send out a link to a training video to the volunteers. It is safer to do the count at first light. LAPD will be there to help everyone. Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative): Is there a vaccination requirement and a limit on the number of people in cars? Ms. Clary: LAHSA is not requiring vaccines; masks are required; volunteers will use an app on their phone to conduct the count (less contact, no paper). They are trying to have people sign up in their own pods and ride in their own cars. Those going out as “singles” in cars will be assigned to areas of the Palisades where traditionally there have not been any homeless individuals, to verify that is still the case.
8.6.2. Kasey Kokenda (Education): Ms. Kokenda reported that LAUSD students are returning to school after a three-week break. There is required testing for all students and staff, which will continue throughout January. Current positivity rates are about 16 % for students and 14% for staff. She explained the LAUSD quarantine policy. LAUSD also has a new Superintendent, Alerto Carvalho (formerly with the Miami-Dade school district in Florida). She also announced that no schools in the Palisades complex are changing in the redistricting.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. Land Use Committee (LUC: Howard Robinson, Chair). Report on LUC meeting 11/1/22; (tentative) recommendation to the Board and/or motion by the Committee regarding possible changes in zoning regulations applicable to R1/non-hillside/coastal areas of Pacific Palisades.
Mr. Robinson explained that the LUC held a public meeting on January 11 on the issue of out of scale development; an exemplar case is the large home under construction at Marquez & Ida. A group of residents has been concerned since 2016 when a Coastal Development permit was applied for. For whatever reason, construction did not start until 2020. When neighbors saw the physical reality of what was being built, they were shocked; the building is 41 ft. in height, looming over other homes.
The LUC was asked to look into the matter and reported to PPCC previously on March 19 and October 29. Information about the LUC’s findings is on the website. The home is completely legal. The applicable zoning allows homes up to 45 ft. in height and with a 3:1 FAR. Mr. Robinson has reviewed zoning codes going back to 1977 and this was the zoning in the R1 zone throughout the City at that time (and might even go back earlier than that). The City has since passed a series of ordinances restricting what can be built. In 2008, it first passed the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) applicable to non-hillside, single family homes throughout the City (excluding the coastal zone). In 2011, the City passed the Baseline Hillside Ordinance (applicable to all hillside single family homes). In 2017, the City passed a second iteration of the BMO, and again excluded the coastal zone. We believe that is because City Planners felt that areas in the coastal zone would update their Community Plans and/or there would soon be Local Coastal Plans approved for these areas. As a result, we have an inadvertent donut hole affecting certain areas of the Palisades which are in the R1/non-hillside/coastal zone, and which allows for these large buildings. In the Alphabet Streets, by contrast, the maximum height is 30 ft., with an FAR of 55%-65% of the lot. For decades, this has not been a problem because owners/developers have simply not built homes as large as what is allowed. But now the land has become so valuable we see people building these large homes in our R1/non-hillside/coastal areas. Mr. Robinson and LUC member Richard Blumenberg prepared a Zoning Chart which is posted on PPCC website. If you know your lot’s zoning you can check the Zoning Chart and see what the development standards are for your lot. We also have maps of different zoning areas prepared by the Planning Dept. and will get these posted as soon as possible. These have been prepared as informational tools for the public.
Now, the question to be asked is: What are we going to do about this situation? The purpose of the 1/11/22 LUC meeting was to take input from the public. Fifty people attended and were first asked to participate in a straw poll. The result: 50 votes (unanimous) in favor of more zoning restrictions. Additional comments at the meeting as well as numerous email messages sent to the Chair and outreach by Area reps in affected areas (3, 4 and 6) confirmed that the public overwhelmingly wishes to see more restrictive zoning. Mr. Robinson then explained that the LUC has submitted its final report to the Board [see:
https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/PPCC-LUC-Final-Report.pdf] and is making the following recommendation:
“The PPCC Land Use Committee recommends that the PPCC Board pursue action by the City to close, as quickly as possible, the current zoning loophole which allows incompatible homes (up to 45′ tall and 3:1 FAR) in certain areas of Pacific Palisades by promptly implementing Council File 10-1058-S4. The subject areas are those with all three of the following zoning characteristics: R1 zone, non-hillside area and coastal zone. The implementation of the above-referenced Council File should be an interim program, in place until the adoption of an updated Brentwood-Pacific Palisades Community Plan and/or a Local Coastal Program.”
Mr. Robinson then explained the motion by CM Bonin that is the subject of the Council File. Should the Board approve of this recommendation we can ask for extension of the Council File (which expires in March, 2022). A motion to approve the LUC recommendation was placed on the table for a Board vote (no second was necessary as the motion was made by a committee of more than one voting member). Discussion then ensued. Reza Akef (Area 8 Representative): The Council office could have Planning write an Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) until this ordinance is adopted. We could also ask that the R1V1 variation zone (now applicable to the Alphabet Streets) be applied for consistency. Mr. Akef noted that the reason for the BMO not extending into the coastal zone was probably because the City would have had to get permission from the Coastal Commission for any zoning change. Mr. Robinson replied: That makes sense; he has discussed the possibility of an ICO with staff and was told getting an ICO adopted can take as long as a Community Plan update or a zone change. This is not off the table for future discussion and we can look into this again as we push forward. He also noted that the LUC did not have a substantive discussion about requesting application of the R1V1 variation zone. It was felt that procedurally, this would require a zone change in all these areas. The issue is not off the table (asking to apply the R1V1 variation zone at a later date is not excluded by this motion), but for now, neighbors made it clear that they want to do whatever can be done the fastest to obtain better protection for these areas. A vote on the motion to approve the LUC recommendation was then called. Result: Unanimous in favor of the motion.
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. See item 9.1 above.
11.2. (As time allows) WRAC-recommended motions, sponsored by the Executive Committee:
A) Support for CF 21-1115 (Buscaino); motion calling for drafting of an ordinance to ban bicycle “chop shops” on public property and in the public-right-of-way. Background information: https://westsidecouncils.com/motion/support-for-council-file-21-1115-buscaino/. Buscaino motion: https://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2021/21-1115_mot_10-05-21.pdf. The Secretary described the motion and noted that no second was necessary as the motion was being made by a committee of more than one voting Board member. Discussion was called but there was none. A voted was then called. Result: Unanimous in favor of the motion.
B) Support for CF 21-0002-S186 (Koretz); resolution calling for the City to support (as a state legislative policy) including SB 9 sites as an addendum to the Housing Element, so that these sites could in turn be added to the City’s “adequate housing sites” inventory – Postponed to next meeting due to time constraints.
12. Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 7:46 pm.