Meeting Date: 11/27/06 06:30 PM
Meeting Type: Regular
Location: Universal City Nissan
3550 Cahuenga Blvd. West
Los Angeles, CA 90068
Details: Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council
Joint Meeting of:
Area 1 (Hollywood Knolls/Manor/Forest Lawn/Lake Hollywood) Committee
Area 2 (Cahuenga Pass/Universal City) Committee
Area 5 (Outpost/Cahuenga West) Committee
Housing and Human Services, Planning and Support Committee
Business Development, Planning and Support Committee
Monday, November 27, 2006
Universal CITY Nissan
3550 Cahuenga Blvd West
(Northwest building – above service department; second floor or through the showroom to the second floor conference room. Disable access through the office building up the elevator to the second floor conference room. Parking is free on the street or on-site to the right of the showroom, plus across the street in the strip shopping mall lot)
The public is requested to fill out a “Speaker Card” to address the Board on any item of the agenda prior to the Board taking action on an item. Comments from the public on non-agenda and agenda items will be heard during the Public Comment Period and, within the discretion of the presiding officer of the Board, when the respective item is being considered. Comments from the public on other matters not appearing on the Agenda that is within the Board’s subject matter jurisdiction will be heard during the Public Comment period. Public comment is limited to 2 minutes per speaker unless waived by the presiding officer of the Board. Agenda is posted for public review: on bulletin boards at the top and bottom of Runyon Canyon Park, and electronically on the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council website ww.hhwnc.org and on the Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment (www.lacityneighborhoods.com). As a covered entity under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Los Angeles does not discriminate on the basis of disability and upon request, will provide reasonable accommodation to ensure equal access to its programs, services, and activities. Sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices, or other auxiliary aids and/or services may be provided upon request. To ensure availability of services, please make your request at least 3 business days (72 hours) prior to the meeting you wish to attend by contacting the Neighborhood Council Project Coordinator at (213) 485-1588 or e-mail to [email protected]
1. Approval of Committee Minutes from prior meetings -Area 2 June 28, 2006
2. Restaurant Robberies – Security Information Item
3. Nicely’s/Casting Office Lounge- Preserve historic business – Information Item
4. Highland/Franklin Project Update – Locations of advance warning signs – Information Item
5. Mansionization/Big House Issue
Discussion of a proposal to require any proposed new house or expansion of an existing house in the Mulholland Scenic Parkway area larger than 3,500 square feet to be presented to the HHWNC in order to receive approval/support.
Possible Motion and Vote
6. Cahuenga Lofts (formally the Banana Bungalows) – Presentation by DS Ventures
The proposed project consists of a 5.99-acre site located at 2775 Cahuenga Boulevard. DS Ventures proposes to build 75 residential condominiums with 188 parking spaces. Request for a Zone Change from RE15-1-H to R3-1-H. At the recent Tract Map Hearing, DS agreed to limit the density. The City has not reported their final recommendations.
Possible Motion and Vote
7. New Business:
A. Adopt a trash receptacle.
B. Update on Club Ice
Food will be catered by NICELY’S RESTAURANT
PROCESS FOR RECONSIDERATION: The Board may reconsider and amend its action on items listed on the agenda if that reconsideration takes place immediately following the original action or at the next regular meeting. The Board, on either of these two days, shall: (1) Make a Motion for Reconsideration and, if approved, (2) hear the matter and Take an Action. If the motion to reconsider an action is to be scheduled at the next meeting following the original action, then two items shall be placed on the agenda for that meeting: (1) A Motion for Reconsideration on the described matter and (2) a Proposed Action should the motion to reconsider be approved. A motion for reconsideration can only be made by a Board member who has previously voted on the prevailing side of the original action taken. If a motion for reconsideration is not made on the date the action was taken, then a Board member on the prevailing side of the action must submit a memorandum to the Secretary identifying the matter to be reconsidered and a brief description of the reason(s) for requesting reconsideration at the next regular meeting. The aforesaid shall all be in compliance with the Ralph M. Brown Act.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Joint Area 1,2,5 Housing and Business Committees Meeting
Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council
Location: Universal City Nissan
3550 Cahuenga Blvd. West
November 27, 2006
1. Call to order: 6:50 by Michael George, home and business owner, Vice President, Cahuenga Pass Neighborhood Association. Michael George offered thanks to Nicely’s for providing the food, welcomed officers Munkel and Kirkman, and introduced Joan Luchs, President of the Cahuenga Pass Neighborhood Association and Area 2 Chair of HHWNC.
2. Announcements: Joan Luchs clarified that the gathering is a Neighborhood Council Meeting, and thus she was a chair amongst twenty-three other members. Joan Luchs introduced the three other chairs of the committees present: Area 5 chair Michael Meyer, Area 1 chair Paul Ramsey, and Frank De Foe, Housing Chair, and welcomed everyone present. Ms. Luchs then introduced Chris Silviera from Nicely’s, thanked him for the food, and also welcomed Tina Iverson, owner of the Casting Office Lounge. She also introduced the dignitaries present, including Stacey Marble, CD4 Field Deputy for Councilmember Tom LaBonge; Anne Marie Lardeau from Hollywood Manor, also chair of the HHWNC Environment, Beautification, Preservation and Aesthetics Committee; Daniel Savage, the President of Hollywood Knolls and Lake Hollywood; Florence Blecher; Kevin McCarney, Cahuenga Pass Merchants Association and owner of Poquito Mas; Joe Miceli, owner of Miceli’s restaurant; Rafael Viegas from the city of Los Angeles; Mark Annotti, owner of the development Cahunega Lofts; Officers Munkel and Kirkman. Stacey Marble, CD4 Field Deputy, invited everyone to the Councilmember Tom LaBonge’s annual Christmas party on Riverside Drive, Friday, December 1st from 4:30-7:30, and introduced Dennis Lytton, Transportation and Housing Deputy for Councilman LaBonge’s office.
3. Restaurant Robberies: Security Information Item. Joan Luchs informed the attendees that there have been more than fifty robberies of restaurants in the valley in the last two years by bandits wearing ski masks. She invited Kevin McCarney to come and speak on the matter.
Kevin McCarney, Cahuenga Pass Merchants Association and owner of Poquito Mas, advised merchants to take the following precautions:
1. Use as much light as much as possible without shining into people’s homes.
2. Use security cameras. Digital cameras are much better for police use as they have a much higher resolution
3. Employee’s shouldn’t take trash out alone at night, should not take trash out the back door, and should not use any doors to back alleys.
4. If there is a robbery, remember the big three: give them the money, protect employees, protect customers. Tell employees not to be rash for a couple hundred dollars.
Mr. McCarney advised merchants to look at the website dailynews.com/behindthemask for more information and a video link, and introduced Officer Kirkman with more information.
Officer Kirkman suggested that homeowners not leave anything in their cars at night, especially as crime spikes during the Holiday season. He also recommended that shoppers take just one credit card or enough cash to cover purchases into malls when shopping, and also that they take note of their surroundings and park in well-lit areas. Home owners should take any mail with identification or billing information to the post office to prevent mail theft, and should not touch or move anything if their home is burglarized. To combat restaurant burglaries:
1. Businesses should be well-lit in the rear.
2. If owners or patrons observe any suspicious looking vehicles or any vehicles present for an extended period of time, record the license plate number and inform the police.
4. Approval of Minutes from the June 28, 2006 meeting
Joan Luchs asked stakeholders from Area 2 to identify themselves for the purpose of voting to approve the minutes from a previous Area 2 meeting. After stakeholders reviewed the minutes, Michael George, Vice President of the Cahuenga Pass Neighborhood Association, moved to approve the minutes. Geralyn Stapleton seconded. The motion carried and the minutes were approved.
5. Nicely’s/ Casting Office Lounge: Preserving historic businesses joining together as one – Information Item. Joan Luchs explained that Nicely’s has been in the neighborhood for 30 years, while the Casting Office Lounge, a locale visited by famous figures of past and present, has existed from the late 1960’s. The two establishments are being evicted by the owner of the shopping center, who is evicting all current tenants. Joan Luchs invited the owners of the two businesses-Chris Silviera from Nicely’s, and Tina Iverson from the Casting Office, to come speak on the matter.
Tina expressed her sadness that the businesses were not given an opportunity to stay in their current locations, and that the center would be changed into a center of corporate franchises with no personality. One attendee asked if letters could be sent from the community, and Joan Luchs recommended visiting both Nicely’s and the Casting Office to sign books that would eventually be given to Gary Mull, the owner, from Orange County Developers. She also said that Gary Mull’s number (949 473-9600) was written on the windows of the empty stores in the development and recommended calling. Tina Iverson requested that should anyone think of a current location with a beer and wine license only (e.g. an existing restaurant or bar)- they call Joan, Tina or Chris. Chris Silviera spoke of the closeness of the neighborhood and the role of the restaurants as local gathering places. Florence Blecher brought up the point that Gary Mull had to follow restrictions per the Ventura/Cahuenga Specific Plan Ordinance on what types of businesses would be allowed into his development because of the parking requirements, and that his plan most likely would not be allowed. However, there is no way of restraining his choice to evict tenants. Joan Luchs mentioned the possibility of moving the Casting Office to the Thai Barbeque location, but said the current owner doesn’t want a full bar, but a restaurant with a beer and wine license only.
6. Highland/Franklin Construction Project: Locations of advance warning signs -Information Item.
Rafael Viegas, an engineer from the City of Los Angeles, gave an update on the construction at Highland and Franklin. Rafael Viegas reported that there was lots of work taking place on the East side of Highland Avenue, and Franklin Avenue heading out towards Las Palmas. The construction is scheduled to finish by the end of February.
Michael Meyer explained that the project will extend Franklin eastbound from two lanes to three, and also involves a widening along the strip mall to accommodate a right turn lane and 2 left turn lanes. Also, the project will include aesthetic improvements to the area , i.e. trees.
Michael Meyer observed that because some property owners didn’t approve paying a monthly assessment for electricity, pedestrian scaled lighting was no longer a part of the plan for the area. Michael Meyer said he was planning to lobby the council office to set up the lights, hoping that once the lights were put in, they would be able to find a way to pay for electricity. An attendee asked why the business owners were responsible for paying for the lights, and Rafael Viegas answered that the city charter provided for sufficient lights for traffic, but beyond the existing street lights, business owners would be required to pay for the proposed adjacent pedestrian lights, which are lower in height. An attendee asked Stacey Marble if Councilman LaBounge was doing anything about the public sidewalk, and Stacey Marble answered that the Councilman’s office was working to find funding sources for the lights.
Joan Luchs announced that she had stakeholder registration forms for anyone who wanted to register, and passed the forms out, as well as information on the location of warning signs for the Highland/Franklin construction project.
7. Mansionization/Big House Issue: Discussion, Motion and Vote. Proposal to require any proposed new house or expansion of an existing house in the Mulholland Scenic Parkway area larger than 3,500 square feet presented to the HHWNC in order to receive approval/support.
Michael Meyer explained that when new houses are proposed in the Mulholland Scenic Parkway area, notices are posted only two weeks in advance, making it impossible to have an HHWNC area meeting, discuss the proposal, take it through the full board, and take a position on the project (a process which takes several months). Therefore, the proposal under discussion was to adopt a position that the HHWNC is opposed to any house larger than 3,500 square feet unless the project presents itself to the council and is approved before going to the Mulholland Scenic Parkway Design Review Board. Michael Meyer made the motion, and an unidentified stakeholder seconded it. Discussion followed.
Florence Blecher asked if it would be better to use a house-to-lot ratio. Michael Meyer replied that the ratio is variable depending on the site, and because each case is site-specific, the board wants the opportunity to take a position on each individual project. Paul Ramsey brought up the concern that 3,500 square feet is not an exceptionally large house, and that because the city is not construction-friendly, adding another hearing to a typical family house would add to the already expensive cost. Michael Meyer offered to amend the number, but stated that as the chair of his area, it was frustrating to be unable to speak as a representative of his council when that was the desire of his neighbors. Frank De Foe suggested that the Mulholland Board have more advanced noticing guidelines, and also suggested that the HHWNC adopt different bylaws so that the chairs would be able to speak on behalf of the councils without going through the full process. Michael Meyer responded that he had already attempted the second suggestion and that the city attorney had told him that positions had to go through the full board and not just the area committee in order to be official. Joan Luchs explained that the process of the Mulholland Design Review Board, of which she was a member, was based on the average house-to-lot ratio of the area. Michael Meyer stated after a comment from an attendee that he didn’t know if it was possible to change the notification process of the Design Review Board, but reiterated that this proposal would enable him to take an official position on behalf of his neighborhood.
Anne Marie Lardeau called the question, and Michael Meyer read the motion:
“We are requesting that the council adopt the position that any new house or expansion of an existing house in the Mulholland Scenic Parkway Design Review Board area larger than 3,500 square feet be presented to the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council to receive its approval, otherwise we would not approve the project.” The motion carried: 16-4-0. Michael Meyer stated that there would be more discussion when the full board received the forwarded motion.
Note: Since Area 1,5, Housing and Business did not have a quorum, the vote by Area 2 moves this motion to the next board meeting.
8. New Business:
A. Adopt a trash receptacle
Joan Luchs stated that there haven’t been large garbage container baskets on the corners for years, and that there was now an opportunity to address the problem of accumulating garbage. It is possible to adopt a trash receptacle through the city for free. Responsibilities include buying plastic bags for the receptacle and emptying them when full. Joan Luchs passed out forms giving the name and phone number of who to contact in the city.
B. Update on Club Ice
Joan Luchs announced that in February, the council began the conditional hearing process to get rid of Club Ice. Joan Luchs had a copy of the hearing results, which allow Club Ice to remain in operation as a restaurant, but no longer as a dance club. There will be a review process in six months.
C. New Feature at NBC/Universal- Sky Diving Simulator
Joan Luchs announced that in January a new attraction is opening at NBC/Universal, and that they are currently in the process of finishing and completing the sky diving simulator.
9. Cahuenga Lofts (formarly the Banana Bungalows): Presentation by DS Ventures, Motion and Vote. The proposed project consists of a 5.99-acre site located at 2775 Cahuenga Boulevard. DS Ventures proposed to build 75 residential condominiums with 188 parking spaces. Requested a Zone Change from RE15-1-H to R3-1-H. At the recent Tract Map Hearing, DS agreed to limit the density to 75 units.
Joan Luchs recused herself from the presentation, as the project would eventually come before the Mulholland Design Review Board, of which she is a member. Mark Annotti from DS Ventures gave an update on the status of the project, stating that the project hadn’t changed much since the last presentation, although six single family homes had now been removed from the plan.
Alyssa Carlin from Cerrell Associates presented the project. Alyssa Carlin explained that the city has not yet issued a letter of decision, and that the project is still subject to the Mulholland Design Review Board. Lot coverage of the project is twenty percent of the six acre site. A traffic signal will be installed on Cahuenga Boulevard West, and DS Ventures is also proposing three landscaped medians to both calm traffic and promote a pedestrian friendly atmosphere.
Paul Ramsey had concerns regarding slope density, the number of retaining walls, and the issue of highway dedication. Mark Annotti, owner of Cahuenga Lofts, said he could discuss the technical issues with Paul Ramsey. Florence Blecher also raised a concern about the lack of a sidewalk along Cahuenga, and requested that the sidewalk continue on the other side of the street down to Hollywood Boulevard.
Navy Banbard, the architect, gave a presentation on the architecture of the project. An attendee asked how far back the building is from Cahuenga. The answer was fifteen feet. Another attendee asked if there were trees to buffer the building. The answer was yes. A third question concerned the open space behind the condo buildings. The answer was that any space that was natural before would remain natural, and that the building is going to be placed where the Hollywood Bungalows were formerly located. A concern was raised that DS Ventures was requesting a zone change to R3, and that someone could therefore go back at a later time and build 320 or 330 units. Florence Blecher stated that the city will be placing a condition on the site that would limit the density to 75 units at most. A concern was raised about traffic. Mark Annotti said that the landscape medians would dissuade commuters from cutting through by making the route slower, and that the medians would also encourage slower driving speeds.
Michael Meyer stated that the Neighborhood Council could make a motion to indicate they approved of the architectural style, but had certain concerns. Mark Annotti responded that DS Ventures was seeking the input of the Neighborhood Council, so that if they had a caveat to the approval, that could be passed along to the Planning Department and City Council office.
Michael Meyer motioned to make a recommendation to the full board that they submit a position to the Mulholland Design Review Board, essentially endorsing the architectural look of the project and the size of the project, but with conditions to run with the property: that it would never be more than 75 dwelling units, as currently proposed, and with the following concerns:
1. Highway dedication for the sidewalk. No additional retaining wall behind the sidewalk.
2. Whether or not the slope density ordinance applies to this project
3. Whether or not the project meets the retaining wall ordinance requirements and whether or not it needs a variance
4. That the developer continues committing to provide neighborhood traffic mitigation through funding, landscape median islands and traffic signals.
Mark Annotti offered the amendment “if applicable” to the second and third conditions. Amendment accepted. Frank De Foe seconded. The motion carried: 9-2-0.
8. Adjournment: Meeting Adjourned at 9:50 p.m.
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