Meeting Date: 01/07/15 06:00 PM

Meeting Type: Special

Location: William & Ariel Durant Public Library

Details: HOLLYWOOD HILLS WEST NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL
PLUM COMMITTEE
 
SPECIAL MEETING AGENDA
 
8150 SUNSET BLVD.
MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT DEIR
Wednesday, Jan. 7, 6pm
 
William & Ariel Durant Public Library
7140 Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90046
 
The quorum for Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council Planning, Land Use & Management committee is three. Public comments on agenda items will be heard when the item is considered. Public comments on other matters within the committee's jurisdiction may be made during the Public Comment period. Public comments are limited to two minutes per speaker; That limit may be modified at the discretion of the committee. Speakers are requested to sign in at the meeting. Action may be taken on any agenda item except Public Comment, announcements and reports. You may request a copy of printed materials that are distributed at the meeting. You may record the meeting by audio, video or photographic means as long as it is not disruptive. Meeting notices and agendas are posted at the William and Ariel Durant Public Library. If you need translation or accommodation for a disability, please call the city Department of Neighborhood Empowerment at least three business days in advance (213-978-1551, or toll-free 3-1-1). The city is a covered entity under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you believe the council is not following the law or its own rules you may file a grievance in writing with copies to both the Chair and the Secretary. The HHWNC bylaws can be found at www.hhwnc.org. Please be respectful of others, even when you differ with them.
 
AGENDA
 
1. Call to Order
 
2. Establishment of meeting goals
1) Identify areas of concern and need for further research in the 8150 Sunset DEIR; 2) Identify areas of agreement and areas of possible compromise on the project.
 
3. Presentation by AG SCH 8150 Sunset Boulevard
 
4. Comments by invited guests
·      Jonathan Brand, office of Tom LaBonge
·      LA Department of Transportation
·      LAPD
·      Other Los Angeles & West Hollywood City Officials
·      Save Sunset
 
5. Public Comments.
Comments from the public on the DEIR of the proposed project at 8150 Sunset Blvd.
 
6. Adjournment.
 
The next regular HHWNC PLUM Committee meeting will be held Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 6pm at the Durant Library.

 
HOLLYWOOD HILLS WEST NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL
PLUM COMMITTEE
SPECIAL MEETING
 
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
 
Minutes
 
 
PLUM Members Present: Cyd Zeigler (Chair), Jim Geoghan, Oren Katz, Casey Maddren
 
Also Present: Carl Ripaldi
 
PLUM Members Not Present: JoAnn Koplin
 
 
The meeting was held at the William & Ariel Durant Public Library, 7140 Sunset Blvd..
 
The meeting was called to order by Chair Cyd Zeigler at 6:02 pm.
 
Zeigler explained that the purpose of the meeting was to meet with members of the team working on the proposed 8150 Sunset project in order ask questions and express concerns.  He emphasized that all questions and comments should be focussed on the Draft Environmental Report (DEIR) for the project.  He also emphasized that, while it is understood that many stakeholders have concerns, it was also important to find common ground.
 
Zeigler had prepared a worksheet listing all the alternatives for the project.  Attendees were asked to indicate their preferred alternatives and to return the worksheets by the end of the meeting.
 
Gabe Kramer, representing the developer, was introduced and gave some background on the project. 
 
Bill Roschen, of Roschen Van Cleeve Architects, was introduced.  He explained that the architects' intent was to create a project that would serve as a "gateway" to the community.  He spoke of the character of the neighborhood, and emphasized the importance of finding the proper "syntax" in the design in order to incorporate the architectural language of the existing environment
 
Jay Ziff, of PCR, spoke about the process of creating the EIR, and of the importance of complying with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
 
Dave Crook,  of PCR, spoke about the information contained in the EIR, stating that for the most part impacts regarding traffic, noise and views were found to be less than significant.  He also talked about the process of review different alternatives.
 
Ron Hirsch, of Hirsch/Green Transportation Consulting, spoke about the traffic study.  He explained that no significant traffic impacts were found, except for the intersection of Havenhurst and Fountain, and that the developer will try to mitigate those impacts.
 
Zeigler invited comments from the members the PLUM Committee.
 
Geoghan
Q: How it was determined that there would not be traffic impacts?
A: There would be impacts, but except in case of Havenhurst/Fountain, all were less than significant.
Q: How was it determined that there would be no impacts in terms of views?
A: Representative views were selected, and it was determined that from those vantage points there would not be significant imapcts.
 
Ripaldi (Environmental Chair)
Q: What about mitigation of shadow impacts?
A: Impacts not significant.
Q: There are 40 to 60 projects being considered for the Hollywood area.  What is the City of LA doing to coordinate scheduling to minimize impacts during construction, traffic flow, safety and damage to infrastructure being primary concerns?
A: Project representatives explained that they are not qualified to discuss City planning in this regard.
 
Zeigler
Q: Did project studies include impacts related to specific turns in and out of project site?
A: Yes.  These types of turns are "self-regulating".  People will choose not to make these turns in heavy traffic.
Q: If bus stop is placed in front of 8000 Sunset Bldg., will it cause back-ups by vehicles attempting to turn right on Sunset?
A: Bus stop will be placed far enough from the corner to avoid stopping traffic.
 
Katz:
Q: Parking in neighborhood is difficult already, and given the fact that most tenants of 8150 will be in upper income brackets, it's unlikely they will consistently use public transit.  Would the developer consider adding more parking?
A: Study says that parking planned for site is above code requirements and the impact on parking is determined to be less than significant, but the developer might consider adding more parking.
 
Maddren:
Q: Bureau of Street Services map shows Sunset in fair to poor condition, Havenhurst in poor condition, Crescent Heights north of Sunset in poor condition.  What will be done to prevent further degradation of street condition due to additional traffic, especially during construction?
A: Not germane to EIR.
 
Q: City of West Hollywood has expressed concern about sewer main not having capacity for additional flows.  Will this conern be addressed?
A: This will be evaluated when permits for the project are sought.
 
Q: LAFD code requires that four hydrants at site deliver 9,000 gallons per minute (gpm) for high-rise alternatives.  Current water main only has capacity to deliver 3,750 gpm.  The DEIR refers to DWP Service Advisory Request 38449, but it is not contained in DEIR.  What is the DWP's timetable for making upgrades to infrastructure required by code?
A: Suggests submitting that question as a comment.
 
Jonathan Brand, representative from Councilmember Tom LaBonge's office, was introduced.  He stated that LaBonge made suggestions during the completion of the Notice of Preparation.  Thanked the HHWNC for holding this special meeting.
 
Officer Ralph Sanchez, of the LAPD, was introduced.  He explained that he was attending only to observe.
 
Representatives of Save Sunset were introduced. 
Stated that Save Sunset is pro-development, but residents insist that development must improve quality of life.  The group has concerns about the design of the project.  Because the area is a historic district, they hope the structure will enhance the area's reputation as an iconic part of LA landscape.  The mass and scale of the project needs to be in harmony with existing structures.
Save Sunset would like to see the traffic island preserved.  Believe that island is important part of pedestrain crossing, though the group is open to some improvements that keep some form of right-hand turn lane before the traffic light.
Concerns expressed about employee/patron parking.  It is common practice for people to avoid cost of valet parking by parking in the surrounding neighborhood.  More research is requested to mitigate impacts.
Additional vehicular traffic is a concern.
Request additional study of impacts to emergency response times.  Extremely concerned about response times for fire department units to hillside areas, since the hillside above Sunset is at extremely high risk for fires.  Concerned about the fact that the data in the EIR is from 2011, and does not reflect current conditions.
Group expressed the project should be no higher than the Granville Tower (1424 Cresecent Hieghts), and should not be visible over the roof of the Lytton building when viewed from the north side of Sunset.
Group is concerned about construction impacts, and believes that trucks involved in construction should not be entering/leaving site at rush hour.
The view of the Chateau Marmont from area south of Sunset should not be blocked.
Requests actual traffic counts to determine how many vehicles entering/leaving site.
 
Zeigler invited comments from others attending.
 
Comment: After looking at actual parking numbers, parking for project is inadequate.
C: Parking will offer extensive parking for bicycles, but there are no bike lanes on Sunset and heavy traffic in the area will discourage people from riding bikes to project site.
C: Concerned that State of California designation of project as an Environmental Leadership Development Project will allow developer to avoid addressing significant concerns.
A: ELDP designation has no bearing on entitlement or CEQA processes.  It only allows for streamlining the judicial process in case of litigation.
 
C: Appreciate work done by project architect.  Believes design is sensitive to context.  Concerned that base zoning of 1:1 is being increased to 3:1.  Believes that LA Municipal Code limits height when project is adjacent to R2 zone.
A: This only applies to on-menu requests, does not apply to off-menu requests.  Developer is seeking a variance.
 
Q: Does City Planning Commission or the City Council make this decision?
A: Planning Commission will make this decision, but it could go to the City Council.
 
Q: Other projects are being planned for the area, in addition to what the EIR discusses.  Are cumulative impacts from addtional projects being considered by developer?
A: CEQA only requires developer to take into account projects being considered at time EIR is being prepared.
 
Q: Is there proposed traffic light at Sunset/Havenhurst?  Seems like a short distance between Havehurst and Crescent Heights.
A: It is common to place lights that close together, signal will be timed.
 
Q: Area residents are concerned about traffic on Havenhurst.  Speed bumps and chokers are already in place to reduce use of Havenhurst.  How can developer be sure of controlling direction of additional traffic on Havenhurst? 
A: Measures proposed by DEIR are adequate.  Project will only increase traffic on Fountain.
 
C: The LA Dept. of Transportation (LADOT) currently says Level of Service (LOS) at Sunset/Crescent Heights is graded F.  Does not believe that traffic impacts will not be significant.
C: Residents of hillside will lose views of surrounding area, which will reduce value of property.
 
Q: How will hillside residents get emergency help when Sunset/Crescent Heights intersection is already very congested?  Reiterated fact that hills are fire danger zone.  Also expressed concern that residents will not be able to evacuate easily due to additional traffic from project.
A: Construction traffic management plan will address this.  Can't do anything about existing traffic.  There will be no significant traffic impacts, so the project will not contribute to worse emergency response times.
 
C: Traffic on Hollywood Blvd. north of project has quadrupled in last ten years.  Traffic is unbearable and affecting property values between King's Road and Queen's Road.
A: Impacts on Hollywood Blvd. were not considered during preparation of DEIR.  Suggests that would be a good comment for DEIR.
 
Q: The DEIR mentions amplified music, live entertainment and audience noise.  Will outdoor areas be rented for entertainment events?
A: No specifics considered.
 
C: Existing noise is already a concern.  Would like developer to consider not allowing live music at project site.
 
C: At previous scoping meeting, 3 alternatives were suggested by stakeholders that were not included in the alternatives presented by developer.  Believes that DEIR should have also included a mixed-use alternative with a 1:1 Floor Area Ratio (FAR), and a mixed-use alternative with a 1:1 FAR with additional affordable housing.
 
Q: Reiterating surprise over the incorporation of bicycle parking even though no bicycle lanes exist leading to project site.  Questions the validity of a planning process that results int this seeming contradiction. 
A: The planners were trying to incentivize using alternative modes of travel.
 
C: Not logical to offer parking for bikes without considering safe routes to reach site.
A: Planners didn't get into those details.  City requires certain number of bike parking spaces.  City has proposed many bike lanes in the Hollywood area.
 
Q: How can a height of 216 feet not be considered as significant impact in terms of aesthetics?
A: Using adopted methodology, it was determined that the majority of views from perspectives surrounding the project area were not significantly impacted.
 
Q: Where can traffic study be found?
A: On-line.
 
Q: Traffic study looked at streets/intersections well west of project site, but did not adequately consider streets/intersections to the east.  These include some of the most congested areas.  Why were these areas not included?
A: LADOT determined scope of study.
 
Q: When are meters counting traffic?
A: Traffic counts collect data over a series of days, 3 hour counts in AM & PM peak hours,
7:00 – 10:00 in AM and 4:00 – 7:00 in PM.
 
Zeigler said that DEIR mentions the importance of maintaining the character of the neighborhood with respect to design, and also the stability of the neighborhood.  Expressed concern that not all residents have had a chance to be heard, but explained that limitations on time restrict opportunities for comment.  Hopes that stakeholders and the developer can find compromise they can all live with. 
 
Meeting adjourned at 7:50 PM.
 
The next regular HHWNC PLUM Committee meeting will be held Wednesday, January 17, at 6:00 PM at the Will & Ariel Durant Library.
 
Minutes submitted by Casey Maddren.
 
 
 

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