MINUTES FROM MAY 11th 2023
Meeting announced to be recorded for more than just secretarial purposes.
1. Call to Order and Reading of Community Council’s Mission.
The Community Council mission was read by Sue Kohl.
2. Roll-call of Board members and Certification of Quorum.
The President called roll and established that there was quorum. There were 50 people in attendance.
Voting board members in attendance: Maryam Zar, Randy Young, Beth Holden-Garland, David Card, Murray levy, Leeanne Sanderson, Kimberly Bloom, Cindy Simon, Julie Silliman, Chris Spitz, John Padden, Mary Schultz, Greg Heidt, Barbara Kohn, Richard Blumenberg, Bill Skinner, Shirley Haggstrom, Courtney Macker.
Non-voting board members in attendance: Cindi Young, Joanna Spak, Daphne Gronich, Sue Kohl, Quentin Fleming, Harlan Hogue, Rick McGeagh, Kathy Russell, Alisa Wolfson, Kevin Niles.
3. Introduction of attendees.
Jeff Khau, Sr. Planning Deputy CD11, Office of Councilmember Traci Park, attended the meeting and gave brief remarks, then took questions.
Jeff thanked everyone for hosting him and said he’d comment on three issues:
1) The ongoing Castellammare discussion over the four big mega-homes coming into Tramonto and Ravello – reported that CD11 attended the April 19th hearing at WLA APC. APC had serious concerns about the stability of the hillside. Determined that they’d like to see the homes scaled down, but decided that the stabilizing of the hillside will be a net benefit for the community. CD11 supports the building/development project, but wishes to see the homes scaled down. APC did not deny the project but asked to work with the developer to come up with a project that is “appropriate and suitable for the area”. The developer will be going back to APC in summer, likely July, for another review. The developer has submitted revised designs, but not much decrease in square footage or structural footprint. CD11 is a little disappointed, but the developer confirmed that they would be scrupulous about creating stability on the hillside, which is CD11’s main concern. They have also proposed more sidewalk, but the main focus of CD11 is on out of scale size of the proposed homes. The question arose regarding the EIR which this Council requested for this project. CD11 would like to push for an EIR for any big project, but are aware of streamlining options for developers, and are not going against those, at this time. That being said, they do want to address community’s safety concerns over this project. CD11 would like to see this project happen, but with safeguards and reinforced/safer hillside, in place.
2) Jeff then commented on the non-hillside coastal R1 streets and the out of scale homes that can be built in these “loophole areas”. We find that by reducing height and FAR restrictions, we can eliminate out of scale homes. But SB8 and SB330 intend to prevent local municipalities from creating laws that would get in the way of housing production. In an effort not to impede the development of housing density, the state set a law, that as of Jan 1st, 2018, any additional regulation which would decrease the intensity of capacity, would have to be accompanied with a “sister ordinance” that would up-zone building somewhere else in the neighborhood. The only bypass is environmental related regulations that are not intended to decrease density, but to help protect environment/wildlife. The right strategy for us remains to be determined.
3) The third point upon which Jeff commented was coastal access for Potrero Canyon Park (trail and bridge projects). Jeff said the park is continuously being improved. The bridge project is currently in its predesign phase. The city posted the Task Order Solicitation for consultants to undertake the project approval and environmental documents, which is required for the predesign phase. The solicitation was released on April 19. It will take a few months to select the consultant (which requires a sections process and board approval) and designate the consultant. We will then have a better idea of where the design phase is going to go, and we can start the “environmental” on the bridge. Sen. Ben Allen has strongly encouraged the PPCC to send in their letter of support “given the project was requested by the community” and the Sen. has received “strong support” from the community. Regarding the Trail, there is a request for consultants underway and Caltrans has agreed that they will assist the city with an “encroachment permit”, and work with BOE to align the trail with the proposed design. The CAO’s office is putting together a report to accept the money from the Omnibus bill, which will require a City Council motion and an approval from LA City Council. This process will soon be underway, and money for the trail study is already underway, even though the requested budget (request made by BOE for the funding shortfall to be secured in the city’s budget) was not allocated this year. However, BOE has enough funding to get the predesign phase of the trail going, so this is “underway”. The President thanked Jeff and noted that the access roads from Lachman to Enchanted matter is still outstanding and that she trusts work is being done to unearth the reasons why those crucial fire access roads remain blocked by private actors.
Jeff then welcomed questions:
a. Chris Spitz: Thanked Jeff and noted that the trail is required by the Coastal Commission. Glad to hear it is going forward. The bridge is not yet required by the Coastal Commission, but what is required is the feasibility study. Where does that stand? When is it expected to be submitted to the Coastal Commission? A new CDP is also required for the bridge. When will that process begin?
Jeff said the CDP will be applied for in due time by the Department of Public Works. Jeff will look into it and provide a tracking number for the permit when available. The feasibility study (BOE calling it a predesign report, which functions as their feasibility study) is part of the current predesign phase. This predesign phase encompasses a component of feasibility as well as alternatives to the bridge. BOE is confused about the term Feasibility Study, so they are calling it a project study/development report. This is the predesign phase that BOE is addressing.
The President clarified that there are two coastal access projects happening at the same time (perhaps unexpected that they are both at the predesign phase at the same time). She explained that the trail is required for Potrero Canyon Park as an element of coastal access and has CCC approval and a good chunk of funding secured by Rep. Ted Lieu, but not enough funding per BOE; whereas the bridge has no CCC approval and requires a feasibility study per the Coastal Commission, but presumably has enough funding though the $11M secured by Sen ben Allen. Noted that these projects are both now in their “pre-design” phase, with money having been procured by BOE for both.
b. Cindy Simon: Commented on Ben Allen’s office saying they have “strong community support” for the bridge. She contests that statement and feels that neighbors sense the project was partially presented many years ago without transparent discussion, and wants to suggest that there is not strong support for the bridge. If anyone can back up this conclusion of “strong support”, she would like to see documentation/expressions of it – but she is a longtime resident of Area Six (the neighborhood where the park resides) – and knows of no such strong support for the bridge.
c. Murray Levy: The Castellammare developer is only dealing with the top 1/3 of that landslide, and to stabilize a hillside, they have to start at the bottom and work their way up. This developer is starting at the top of the unstable hillside and only going a third of the way down. The community worries that this will trigger a landslide and jeopardize many homes, as well as PCH. They believe that an EIR is necessary, and disappointed that CD11 ignored this request at the hearing.
Jeff said the argument for the EIR is legitimate and the office does not oppose it. But they are concerned that the developer will abandon the project that the hillside will remain undeveloped, and by extension, un-stabilized. So, they are requiring the developer to stage their equipment in such a way that doesn’t block access to the roads or obstruct access in any way. They have asked for quarterly progress reports to neighbors within 500 feet of construction – this will pressure the developer to finish the project in a reasonable amount of time. He said he believes hillsides must be treated in a way that is more urgent than other areas where development takes too long. EIR probably won’t happen, but CD11 plans to impose other regulations that may take care of some of the concerns that the EIR would address. Offered to extend the 500-foot zone to more. The President urged Jeff to read our letter requesting the EIR, visit the neighborhood, and understand why we are asking for this EIR, and hope it is not ignored.
d. Rob Weber: This call for consultants for the predesign phase of bridge and trail – is there a public document where we can see what was requested by the city? Jeff said he knows of the Task Order Solicitation but will find out where it is posted and bring details. Also asked whether the funds received by the city for any project related to Potrero (coastal access in the case of current discussions) will be directed to the Potrero Canyon Trust Fund (as previous funds were). If funds are not specifically directed to that fund, please consider asking Council to pass a motion to deposit the funds into that account because this was a fund that was set up many years ago to ensure that money earmarked for Potrero Canyon are spent only on park efforts. There is a 2004 ordinance passed by LA City Council to set up that fund and the reason was to ensure that they money would be used for this project and not another. Rob also said there is a long history of support for the bridge to provide access to the beach. He said there has been “massive support” for this project through the years. Noted that in 2004, this board unanimously asked for a bridge in the design of the Park. Subsequent to that, articles have been in the LA times and CM Miscikowski established the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee (tax payers paid for the committee), which held over two dozen public meetings that were attended by hundreds of people, and the community input informed the final park (which is now open). One of the primary requests was ensuring safe passage to the beach.
The President asked Rob to wrap up his comments regarding support for the bridge as that discussion was still forthcoming, but did note that the motion passed by PPCC in 2004 was not a call for the bridge but a unanimous expression of support for the park, including a bridge component pending community input. She noted that that community input was to be sought by the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee, but that as Dave Card may be able to explain, those meetings were replete with various diverse points of view and the leadership of the committee at the time called off the public meetings, citing too much rancor.
e. Caroline Wittcoff: Respectfully disagreed with the comments that [there was] express widespread community support. She echoed the comments of Cindy Simon and said she is a resident of the community since the 1980’s who attended the PCCAC meetings in the 90’s and does not remember conversations about the bridge (just access points to park and other elements). She has recently spoken to community members who similarly have no recollection of any such discussion about bridge access to the county beach. She asked, how can we be driven by community sentiment in the 80’s or the 90’s or even the early 2000’s when so much has changed and we are living in a different city than we were back then, with circumstances surrounding public safety that are not nearly the same as they were when this park and its access points to the coast were originally contemplated. She suggested we need to assess what the current level of community support is. Today, she believes there’s significant opposition to the bridge. It is also appropriate to step back and ask, what is the need for this bridge? This is a lot of money to spend on something we don’t need or want, while economic disparity in the city is greater than it has even er been before. For us to justify spending $11M or more to build the bridge, there has to be a reason and a need for it. If the need is access to the park, we must consider that there are two public access points right now that are accessible to the public, and the CCC is requiring access to the coast from the Temescal Canyon Rd. stoplight/crosswalk. Why would we need a fourth access point? She asks, should we spend this money to provide parks to underserved areas, or even other park needs in the Palisades, rather than a bridge contemplated many years ago, under different circumstance, with no appreciable statement of broad community support.
The President thanked her and informed the board that Jake Ettinger was also on the call and wished to speak. She asked him to clarify why there is an end of May deadline for PPCC’s position of support. She called for questions for Jeff that are not related to Potrero, so we could thank and dismiss him and get to the bridge discussion. [See Item 8.1.6 below.]
f. Barbara Kohn: Noted that there are 100 single family homes just beyond the Castellammare area where the landslide stands to impact traffic and hundreds of homes and commuters which rely on the stability of the hillside and the flow of traffic. An EIR and a traffic study is mandated to look at the impacts of traffic and construction on PCH. She said from her experience, the quarterly meetings will hardly force the developer to correct course – we will need monthly meetings in order to keep the developers to their word and keep construction contained in a manner that is not highly disruptive to the immediate and adjacent communities.
g. Haldis Toppel: Noted first that she does not support mega-mansions in our community – but asks: how does a political climate that supports more density will oppose a lower FAR oppose our effort to reduce the size of homes? Jeff said that any regulation that impacts density (units per lot as well as square footage) triggers the “sister ordinance” rule. The more units they can allow per lot, the better, so the decrease of 3 to 1 FAR is a reduction of density, and the state currently asks for an up-zoning elsewhere.
The President thanked Jeff and wished the board’s best to Traci Park and staff.
4. Approval of Minutes: the April 27, 2023, were approved as distributed with note as to corrections that may be typographical and not yet implemented, be implemented and uploaded as corrected.
5. Consideration of Agenda & Upcoming Meetings.
May 25: Officer Nominations from the Board open until 15 minutes before scheduled close of meeting (our meetings are scheduled from 6-8pm). Captain Nassour and Inspector Warren of LAFD Brush Clearance Unit.
June 8: PPCC Officer Candidate’s Forum (if needed) and Officer Elections
June 22: Guest speaker: Councilmember Traci Park (possibly an in-person meeting at the library with hybrid remote feature)
Topics are only a partial list and may be amended.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Randy Young reported that we have a balance of $43,977.11 in our PPCC bank account.
7. General Public Comment. None.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair/Presiding Officer.
8.1.1. The President reported that some LADWP poles were scheduled for repairs and people can see which poles are scheduled. At least one Palisadian location is on the list: https://ladwp-water.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=f21352fbb8034402a2526abbae69bc2f
8.1.2. She shared an open call to those interested in Officer positions.
8.1.3. She reported that the Outreach Committee met for the first time and is making plans for the 50th anniversary celebrations.
8.1.4. She reported that CD11 has affirmed September 30th for a date PPCC 50th, from 11-3 pm. Our theme is “Where our community meets the coast”. She also said the committee had decided to have a presence at the Famers Market in the months leading up to our community celebration, as well as in the 4th of July parade, and have reached out to PAPA for a banner presence and a walking spot in the parade. Look for a report to come.
8.1.5. She informed the board that Michael Amster’s birthday is May 20th and we will celebrate from 3-5pm at the Draycott (Lounge Area reserved for PPCC and CD11 guests). She noted that he has been proactive and very helpful to us on many issues. Please come out and celebrate him.
8.1.6. The President conducted an update on funding for Bridge Feasibility Study and Trail progress. She gave the floor to Jake Ettinger following Jeff Khau’s presentation (see above).
Jake Ettinger, Sen. Ben Allen’s office:
Jake reported that they’ve been working on this bridge project for a while – it is a project that came from the community/from a PPCC Committee asking for funding for the project. The Sen. was able to secure that funding for a number of different reasons, including greater community access to this beautiful public park and to offer safe passage to the beach (given fatalities of people crossing PCH). He has since heard from “one community member” in opposition to the park but has overwhelmingly heard support for the pedestrian bridge, through the years. Today, they want to check in again, even though they have support from the Advisory Committee (the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee (PCCAC)) to make sure the community still wants the bridge.
He then clarified some comments made by Jeff: There is now no “feasibility study” (as required by the CCC) forthcoming. There is now a “project initiation document”, which they asked for when they met with the City and determined to put out a request for consultants. That consultant will be selected by the end of May. This will not be a feasibility study as in, can we build this, but rather what are the conditions that will make this build safe to build. Part of the process includes “a comprehensive community outreach program”. This is the formal consultation process which will take 12-18 months.
He further noted that the Coastal Commission will likely approve the bridge project (he had spoken to the Coastal Commission and they’ve affirmed that they would support it), and opined that the “lateral trail”, which is a trail slightly longer than half a mile, would not be as accessible, particularly for mobility challenged park-goers.
The President shared her screen with the board in order to explain that the process of the (now called) Project Initiation Study (not feasibility study) has begun, money has been procured to secure the consultant, and that an outreach component will unfold. Completion date is estimated for 2030. She said she wanted to hear from the board and wished for Jake et all to also assess whether there are points of view that have not yet been considered, and should be heard.
1) David Card: In 2004 the PCCAC met monthly for three years and their activities were reported on assiduously by the Palisadian Post (and others). Their finding was that this bridge would provide ‘safe and direct access’ to the beach. Nothing has changed, he says, as far as community support, from 2004. He thanked Sen Allen for the $11M. “Some of us worked very hard to get that money and we really appreciate it.” He thought this would be a great addition to the Palisades, and to the broader city, and would be great for the commercial village as well. He also noted the favorability of the bike path extending into Potrero Canyon Park, and made an argument for equity access, since taxpayers paid/will pay for this park from all over LA. He said security issues can be addressed with locking gates, and asked us to consider that the bridge may help the Park be designated as a “Regional Park” which he said would have twice as much access to Quimby funds that might help upgrade other facilities at the Pali Rec Center. He believes the people of the Palisades will support this bridge. Dave also reminded the board that the bridge project has been discussed many time though the years, and has been presented to this board in previous years, as well as to the Pacific Palisades Park Advisory Board.
The President noted that in 2017 (when she was then PPCC Chair) the City, under the project leadership of Rob Hancock, made a presentation to the PPCC presenting their plans for the Park, the riparian way and the schematics of a bridge across PCH. She also clarified with Jake that when he stated that a PPCC Committee requested the money for the bridge, he was referring to the Potrero Canyon Community Oversight Committee. He said he thought it was, but he would have to check. He asked Dave Card to clarify.
Dave explained that George Wolfberg chaired that committee and because it was such a long drawn-out process that was very contentious at times, he decided the committee would not continue to meet publicly. The fifteen members then continued to meet and came up with a consensus position, with which they were pleased. Thereafter, George invited members of the committee to meet with city officials to help shepherd the design they recommended, into reality. Over the last (more than) a dozen years, a small group of people have been continuing in that effort (never violating the Brown Act) by meeting with City officials and project managers to bring the project to fruition. Eventually, it became less than a handful of people giving feedback to the plans, as they developed.
2) Beth Holden-Garland: spoke about fire in the Palisades and wondered how are we going to protect the community? “We have to be safe.”
3) Leeanne Sanderson: Found it generous that ben Allen secured money for the bridge (said she was “actually shocked”) and appreciates the 15 people on the committee and their efforts, but “the world has changed”. She said she uses the crosswalk at the PCH crossing and finds it useful. Could that be a better way to cross, rather than to put up a bridge, she asked. Shall we first assess park usage to see if there is a need? She is very concerned about people coming over… worries about people stuck on the bridge or the park, and finds there to be a lot of issues with how the bridge will work, as well as concern among residents about the bridge as an access point. She suggests a Farmers Market survey of sorts to assess support, because her (Area Four) constituents are not aware of the bridge and when she mentions it to people, they are surprised. She suggested that the ideas of 15 people on the Community Advisory Committee cannot make up for the voice of 30,000 residents.
4) Chris Spitz: She would like to hear from the community about this bridge project in the present day, given changing circumstances and the prospects of the bridge being now practically at hand and not conceptual. The idea of equitable access should be weighed against the fact that there is already coastal access via the CCC approved trail (thanked those working to make that a reality) and that other areas of the city are park poor. This money should therefore be carefully used here [in the Palisades], if we do not need to spend money for the bridge when there is a lateral trail access point already funded and approved. This is a question of equity and justice as well, and should be addressed. There must be a community discussion surrounding the bridge.
5). Rob Weber: The bridge will save lives. The crosswalk could have been a good idea that was considered at the time, but Caltrans disagreed and opted for the bridge as the better form of crossing. People are still in favor of the bridge but a pedestrian-controlled crosswalk could still be considered. He clarified that the reflection of input that went into the creation of the Potrero Canyon Park was not just from 15 people – it was from hundreds of community members who attended public meetings far larger than anything he’s ever seen the Community Council host, and their collective input went into the recommendations sent to the city. Those should hold. No time should be wasted to get the bridge project underway.
The President wrapped up the discussion by affirming that she too has heard expressions of doubt from the community regarding the bridge and believed the conversation may need to be had at PPCC because there is a 2004 motion on record, where this board (previously constituted) has unanimously approved in concept the bridge over PCH access (from the beach to Potrero Canyon Park). Today, she said, Senator Allen would like a letter of support for the bridge, but she does not have one to send them. A letter was not written in 2004, because the motion, though unanimous, was contingent on community input. That decision stands, but today we must ask, was that input had. With the required “Feasibility Study”/”Project Initiation Document” in-hand, alongside an open Potrero Canyon Park does the community wish to consider matters of access, public safety, and park usage with experience and feasibility findings in hand? Today’s agenda discussion was not an action item, but a way for her to start this conversation and begin to hear from the board, as we prepare to receive the Project Initiation Document, and embark upon this 10-year project to see the bridge to fruition. She suggested that once the study comes out, she will refer it to the LUC or the PCOC to consider and make a recommendation to the full PPCC (as we always do) and thereafter, advise our findings to the Senator’s office.
She thanked Jake and offered him the floor one last time. Jake thanked everyone and focused on the equity access angle, concluding that this bridge will be a good thing. He noted the community outreach element of the Project Initiation Document and suggested we leave the outreach to those professionals. He acknowledged the public safety concerns of community and board members, and pledged that elements of public safety would be addressed with respect to the bridge. The President thanked him again and asked that he informs the PPCC when the PID is ready for the community to consider.
8.1.7. The President reported about a meeting with CD11, DCR and Carolyn Jordan about Cannabis (dispensaries and community review). Community review will from here forth be a part of any dispensary license granted in our two neighborhoods.
8.1.8. The President announced that a PPCC CD11 YMCA Safety Fair will be on June 10th at Simon Meadow.
8.1.9. She reported on:
ii. Street closures for Anniversary celebrations
iii. Palisades App
8.1.10. The President offered a Caltrans update regarding work on Chautauqua, which is to begin soon. They will take input and readjust as time goes on. She also informed the board that she has asked for the PCH Task Force meetings to start again (has urged the ASM’s office to restart those). She noted that the crosswalk referred to in discussions today was a safe crossing that was accomplished under the leadership of George Wolfberg as part of the PCH Task Force and similar good work (for example at Chautauqua) can be done again if the task force is reconvened.
8.1.11. She noted committee assignment updates – she asked people to look online and see those assignments
8.2. From Officers and Chair Emeritus
8.2.1. Dave Card said the PFC is working with Palisades Elementary and a family who lost their daughter and will be planting a memorial tree at the school. Thanked Bill Bruns and Nick Melvoin for their work to make this happen.
8.3. From At-Large and Area Representatives
8.3.1. Area Four: The President gave an update that Temescal Canyon Road and Jacon Way are both buckling (yet again) and reports have been made to My LA311, and been acknowledged.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives
8.4.1. PP Historical Society announced a lecture at their annual meeting at Theatre Palisades on May 23rd. RSVP at Historical Society website.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives
8.5.1. Brian Espin, LAPD Pacific Palisades SLO reported that we have been going well, crime wise. There was a burglary investigation on Sunset. Suspects had fled but had smashed back window, ransacked the house, and accessed the safe. Cameras were helpful, but the back yard camera wasn’t working. Has been conducting extra patrols in the Park as well as along PCH. Not too much activity.
8.5.2. Skylar Payab, Field Deputy from ASM Irwin’s office, reported that the PCH task force will get going again on June 8th. She also reported that ASM Irwin’s had a sidewalk session at Estate Coffee which went very well.
8.5.3. Rad Nowroozi, Sen. Ben Allen Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Westwood Field Deputy, reported that they plan to have fire and community safety meetings about which they will inform us.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors and WRAC Representatives.
8.6.1. Lou Kamer, PPCC Transportation Advisor. Not present.
8.6.2. Joe Halper, PPCC Parks Advisor. Not present.
8.6.3. Sharon Kilbride, PPCC Homelessness Advisor. Not present.
8.6.4. K.C. Soll, Emergency Preparedness Liaison.
K.C reminded all that Fire Service Day was coming up on Saturday and a CERT Community response team will be on hand to get to know community members. She has also organized another Cert training, in person, at Pacific Palisades Calvary Christian Church (701 Palisades Dr.) taught by firefighters, for seven weeks, which is free and very much worthwhile.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. Nominating Committee Report was given by Haldis Toppel, Committee member and Area Three Primary.
Haldis Toppel announced that The Nominating Committee, co-Chaired by Steve Cron and Sue Kohl, with members Haldis Toppel, Ryan Craig, Nancy Niles, and Rob Weber as Legal Advisor, nominated the following candidates for each of the officer roles for the 2023-24 PPCC term (July 1 2023- June 30, 2024):
President: Maryam Zar
Vice President: Sue Kohl
Recording Secretary: Beth Holden-Garland
Treasurer: Jenny Li
She reported that other nominations from the board (including those who wish to self-nominate) can be made up to 15 minutes prior to the close of the scheduled second regular board meeting in May (May 25, 2023).
10. Old Business. None.
11. New Business. None.
12. Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 8:08PM.
[Attachments: Item 8.1.6; see also Potrero Trail Bridge Updates]
Potrero Canyon Trail & Bridge Updates and Discussion:
On March 9, the City of LA CAO’s office authorized a Construction Projects Reports report authorizing BOE to enter into an agreement with Caltrans on the pedestrian bridge (please see pg. 3, section C).
BOE has confirmed that it IS technically feasible to build a bridge, the PID, which takes approximately 12-18 months, is intended to conduct a geotechnical study for the position of the bridge, basic design elements, among other engineering elements, and includes a comprehensive professional outreach campaign to ensure the community is engaged in project elements and able to weigh in with any views or concerns.
As this PID process is already underway, and a consultant will be selected in the coming months to realize the PID and the community outreach component, we are moving forward with this project. We strongly encourage the PPCC to send us their official position letter by the end of May. Given the project was requested by the community, we have received much strong support for the project, and we have been telling the community about the project for years (including in our 2021 Summer Newsletter which was sent to hundreds of thousands of constituents in the Palisades and beyond), we are operating under the assumption the community still supports the project.
Lateral Trail Project:
- In 2022, BOE requested $3.4 million in the City’s budget to cover their projected cost for the total project
- Thereafter, Congressmember Lieu secured $1.15 million in federal earmarks for the project
- BOE subsequently reduced their budget request to the City’s budget office to reflect the difference after the Federal funds were secured
- In April 20, the City budget will be finalized, and if money has been secured for this project, BOE will have access to those funds after July 1st 2023
- BOE is in charge of this project and will commence project plans as soon as they have funds (either after July 1st with City funds or in Fall 23′ once the Federal earmark funds have been received)
- Once project begins, there will be:
- Order for Design (several months)
- City-Caltrans work to secure encroachment permit or create a Joint Use Agreement
- Environmental and Design Phase (approx 2 years)
- Construction Phase (approx 1 year)
- Completion – estimated 2027
Pedestrian Bridge Overcrossing Project:
- The City has already received the $11 million in funds secured by Senator Allen’s budget request
- BOE and Caltrans are finalizing in the coming weeks an agreement so Caltrans can begin the PSR – PDS (Project Study Report Project Development Support)
- Project Steps:
- PSR – PDS Study which includes community engagement (takes about 1-2 years)
- Environmental and Design Phase (approx 2 years)
- Environmental and Coastal Commission permits
- Construction phase (about 2 years)
- Completion – estimated 2029/2030
While we know these timelines are much longer than we hoped for, we at least know that both projects are on track and moving along. All of the relevant Caltrans and BOE project managers are working closely together and we will continue to check in with both teams to ensure the projects are moving along. We will also have them reach out directly to the PPCC when they require community engagement.
- See also, Mayor’s proposed budget: https://cao.lacity.org/budget/
- See also, CAO, 2023 Construction Projects Report (Addendum), (page 3, Section C (Discussion)): https://lacity.primegov.com/Portal/viewer?id=426543&type=2
PPCC Past Discussion & Position:
MINUTES FOR MAY 27th 2004 (yellow highlight not original – added for ease of finding related passage(s)) [See yellow highlighted version at: Potrero Trail Bridge Updates]
Members in Attendance [including Alternates]: George Wolfberg, Margaret Goff, Kurt Toppel, Ted Mackie, Larry Jacobs, Norman Kulla, Norma Spak, Stuart Muller, Mark Kremer, Laurie Frost, Marguerite Perkins Mautner, Michael Kane
- Introduction of Board and Audience. The Chair called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Library Community Room. Ted Mackie read the Purpose of the Pacific Palisades Community Council. Members of the Board and audience introduced themselves.
- Adoption of Minutes. The minutes of May 13th were approved as submitted.
- Announcements and Concerns.
3.1. Treasurers Report. In the absence of the Treasurer, the Chair reported that the checking account balance is $10,192 and the savings account balance is $4,289.
3.2. Announcements from Councilwoman Miscikowski’s Office.
Asked for community input regarding location of bike racks [contact Laurie Frost our Board liaison].
Stated that De Pauw St. from Swarthmore to Earlham meets criteria for one-side-only parking,
That a request for one-side-only parking on Ravoli Dr. had been withdrawn, but would be considered if so requested by the Fire Department,
That repair of the cement stairway and the wood stairway from Adelaide to Entrada has been approved and work should begin shortly.
Reported that the City would reduce the number of bus benches, which have proliferated along PCH.
3.3. Other Announcements.
- Muller reported on the 6/18/04 meeting of the Palisades Rec. Center Park Advisory Board, when the concert issue was to be discussed. Only one PAB board member, Chairperson Stacey Feldman, and Park Director Cheryl Grey were present. In response to the question “Did the PAB vote to approve the Concert Series” Chairperson Feldman stated that the PAB doesnt vote to support anything. It exists to serve the Park Director and to provide advice that will help the Director achieve the goals she sets. Muller pointed out that the Director controls the agenda, and that the Board is chosen by, and serves at the discretion of, the Director. Director Grey stated that she felt that she had no need, and was not required by the Brown Act, to publicize the PAB agenda, other than to post a copy of it at the front entrance to the park office, in spite of The Palisadian-Post’s repeated requests over the years that copies of the agenda be regularly mailed to them for publication. Muller opined that the Rec. Center Director and the PAB are not functioning to protect the communitys interests, and that Park Directors do not really want public input in the decision making process, but rather want to operate with bureaucratic autonomy. Muller stated that L.A. Rec. and Parks and the local park have for years exhibited, a pattern of self-serving resistance to community input and involvement in the park management decision-making process that effects us all. Muller also pointed out that the main entrance to the Recreation Center is currently at times being restricted to one lane, creating a traffic and safety hazard. M. Ford will investigate.
- Muller discussed efforts to include an additional left turn lane going southbound on the PCH from Temescal Canyon Road during the redesign of the Will Rogers State Beach parking lot. County Beaches and Harbors, and L. A. DOT support the project. Caltrans is yet to be heard from. Laurie Newman, Senior deputy to Sen. Sheila Kuehl offered to assist in this effort and will contact appropriate city, county and state officials.
3.4. The Chair reported:
That the nominating committee had made its report per the bylaws on May 6th, and that additional nominations may be made until the election of Council officers on June 10th.
There will be a Coastal Commission hearing on the Bel Air Bay Clubs expansion plans on June 10th. Kurt Toppel will attend and represent the PPCC.
DWP is seeking a community representative to facilitate communication with the Department.
After a complaint re vehicles parking on the island in the Library Parking Lot creating a dangerous situation for legally parked vehicles attempting to exit marked spaces, the Library will have the curb painted red.
The City will conduct a training class on the Navigate LA geographic database program if there is sufficient interest.
The DOT/watch the road program will be set for a future agenda.
3.5. Filming Issues.
Larry Jacobs reported that since the City Attorney’s office has recently held that film production companies cannot be compelled to work through the EIDC, some productions may now be getting permits directly from the City. The EIDC now seems to be confused as to what its authority is [as well it should be]. This may now present us with the opportunity to seek redress through Cindy Miscikowski’s office.
- Old Business.
4.1. Potrero Canyon Development.
Stuart Muller distributed and discussed a map showing the boundaries of three adjacent open spaces in Area 6: Temescal Canyon Park, Potrero Canyon Park and the coastal area between them, from Via de Las Olas to the PCH. Muller urged the creation of the Palisades Bluffs Preserve in this last area, to protect it and maintain it in safe condition, and to create a place where people and nature can gently interact. Muller referred to the entire area as the Pacific Palisades Coastal Parks.
Los Angeles City Recreation and Parks representative Jane Adrian began by announcing that her branch of the Department of Recreation and Parks was being transferred to the Bureau of Engineering and that she may no longer be in charge of the Potrero Canyon project. Ms. Adrian went on to explain that Phase II, filling the canyon is complete except for the repair of two landslides, which will require about $1.2 million. The City, lacking funds, would like to sell the 33 properties it owns on the canyon rim, but is prohibited by the Coastal Commission from selling any of these properties until restoration of the canyon is complete. The City plans to ask the Commission to lift this requirement on the condition that the City agrees to place the proceeds from property sales in a designated account. Ms. Adrian distributed the draft of a motion proposed to be made to the City Council by Cindy Miscikowski to create this separate account.
Board members and the audience pointed out that the draft (a) did not specifically state that the sales proceeds are to be spent in Potrero Canyon, (b) that placing all 33 properties on the market at once would disrupt neighborhoods with dozens of near simultaneous construction projects, (c) that to date the City does not have a plan for the canyon, (d) in the absence of a plan there is a risk that the sales proceeds will vanish leaving the project incomplete.
The following motion of Norman Kulla, seconded by Ted Mackie, passed unanimously:
“The Pacific Palisades Community Council
1. Opposes the sale of 33 residential lots as presented in the draft motion received by the Board on May 27, 2004, under signature of Councilperson Miscikowski;
2. Supports the sale of a sufficient number, but no more, of the City owned developed (improved) lots in Potrero Canyon to fund the completion of Phase II, but not Phase III;
3. Supports the sale of such additional City owned lots in Potrero Canyon, incrementally and sequentially taking into account the environmental impact upon the surrounding neighborhood, as is necessary to fund Phase III only after further input from the community is sought by the City regarding the design and plan of Phase III, the PPCC Board approves such design and plan, and such design and plan includes, but is not limited to, the following particulars:
a) Entrance to the park
b) Permanent funding for park maintenance
c) Restoration of riparian habitat
f) Recreational pads
g) Construction of a walk bridge from the mouth of Potrero Canyon over PCH to beach parking
h) EIR of project upon abutting neighborhoods
j) Permissible uses
4. All funds raised by such lots sales shall be deposited into the proposed escrow account and all such deposits shall be used exclusively for the Potrero Canyon Project until completion of all phases.”
4.2. Consideration of Summer Concerts at Pacific Palisades Rec. Center.
A proposal to hold outdoor concerts at the Recreation Center for four hours on four Sunday afternoons is opposed by neighboring residents and the residents on Hampton Place are threatening legal action. A separate proposal has been made by the Chamber of Commerce to show films on eight Saturday nights on the Field of Dreams. The Palisades Rec. Center Director was not in attendance, for the second consecutive council meeting. S. Muller reported on the 6/18/04 meeting of the Palisades Rec. Center Park Advisory Board, as detailed under 3.3 above. A motion by Marguerite Perkins Mautner to oppose both proposals was tabled with her agreement pending receipt of more details of the proposals.
- New Business.
5.1. Assembly Bill 2702 — Proposed State preemption of local zoning to permit second dwelling units on R1 zoned property.
This proposed legislation is intended to increase the supply of affordable housing by preempting local ordinances that place restrictions on creation of granny flats in areas zoned for single-family residences. Assemblywoman Fran Pavleys’ representative Louise Rishoff began the discussion by announcing that although Fran opposes the bill, it has been approved by the Assembly. Laurie Newman, Senator Sheila Kuehl’s representative, told the Council that Senator Kuehl remains undecided on the issue. The Board and audience expressed concerns about the bill’s impact on the Palisades, particularly that the bill
-Does not require that the property be owner-occupied thus essentially legalizing duplexes in areas now zoned R1.
-Preempts local regulation of such matters as parking.
-In areas such as the Palisades largely zoned R1, the bill would nearly double the number of allowable housing units further stressing our traffic and infrastructure problems.
-By making no mention of CC&Rs the bill leaves these contracts in legal limbo.
No member of the Board or the audience spoke in favor of the bill.
Ted Mackie moved that the Council oppose AB 2702 and that the Council so notify Senator Kuehl, Assemblywoman Pavley and Governor Schwartzenegger. The motion passed with one abstention [Kremer].
The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.