Meeting Minutes for Area 7 meeting 6/26
Rebecca Arce, Maris Clement, Liza Amtmanis, Cabbot Larout, Larry Hoffman, Melody St. John, Elena Glaviano, Dee Ellis, Tracey Ellis, Amit Mehta, Marilyn Wall, Cheryl Holland, Bruce Remick, Chris Kaufman, Valorie Keegan, Harlan Flagg, Vincent Longobardo, Alexis Moore, Elizabeth Valerio, Serena Reid, Jim Tartan, Christina Tartan, Stuart Fine, Jim Nelson, Shawn Bayliss, Peter Spire
Rebecca Arce (RA) called meeting to order at 2:10.
RA introduced herself as the newly elected chair of Area 7 and thanked Cinematographer’s Guild for hosting.
RA reads first agenda item CUB application for on-site sale and consumption of alcohol (beer, wine and pre-mixed margaritas; Mon-Sun, 11am-10pm) at Chipotle, 7660 Sunset Blvd. and introduces Elizabeth Valerio (EV) of Valerio Architecture and Interiors, SoCal architects for Chipotle.
EV briefly describes Chipotle Mexican Grill as a Colorado based, fast casual restaurant focused on high quality food, contracting with local farmers to supply organic meat and produce. Locations have already been opened at Sunset and Vine and on Ventura in Studio City.
EV explains that the CUB application for the 7660 Sunset location is a type 47 ABC license for beer, wine and liquor, because the margaritas contain tequila. The margaritas are described as pre-mixed, there is no bar or mixing on site. Says space has met all code requirements, parking, exiting and so forth. They are proposing a few tables and chairs outside, within the property, not on the public sidewalk.
EV passes out schematic renderings, describes modern buildings with new landscaping. Describes new signage as not neon, not brightly lit. Acknowledges that there had been illegal use of parking lot before demolition, but it has since been chained off.
EV concludes presentation and stakeholders are encouraged to ask questions.
Stakeholder, referencing renderings, asks that outdoor tables and chairs along Spaulding Ave be removed. EV agrees. States that these renderings are about 6 months old and there may be slight changes since they were submitted.
Stakeholder question re: signage on Spaulding side. Points out that this is an HPOZ and they don’t want brightly lit signs. EV thinks it is most likely "internally illuminated", which is not neon, but light behind the sign. Stakeholder asks if sign will be shut off at 10pm, EV confirms that it will be. Stakeholder also questions security of parking lot and whether or not they will be renting out their parking lot. EV says that the managers will be locking lots at closing and they will not be renting out their parking lot.
EV confirms that entrance and exit are both on Sunset Blvd and the driveway formerly located on Spaulding Ave is closed off.
Stakeholder question size of parking lot and asks where employees will park. EV responds that there are 14 parking spots total in the lot and that half of the employees will take the bus, some will ride their bikes and a few will park in the parking lot. EV states that the company does not approve of employees parking on the residential streets.
Stakeholder question re: location of bike racks. EV states that locations have not been chosen, will most likely be facing Sunset Blvd.
Stakeholder, referencing renderings, questions a green wall that looks like it will be blocking the windows of mixed use building located on the SW corner of Sunset and Stanley. EV states that it was constructed so that the building occupants did not have to look out on the parking lot.
Stakeholder question regarding hours of trash pickup and location of trash bins. EV says that the truck will come into the parking lot to access bins and she has not confirmed hours yet, but that can be one of the conditions that we put into the CUB application. RA confirms that if/when a motion is drafted all the requests will be included as conditions on which permit is or is not approved.
Stakeholder question regarding odors ventilating and brightness of security lighting in parking lot. EV says that they prefer to have lights on in the parking lot and that they can be angled to illuminate the lot, not the buildings around it. Venting system is state of the art, minimal noise, and minimal smell.
Stakeholder comment about trash from Chipotle being thrown onto residential streets. EV says employees will sweep the area on a regular basis, and they can put signage reminding patrons to throw away trash in trash cans. Stakeholder also asks about possible water and grease run off into the street. EV says there is a grease interceptor underground that gets emptied a few times a month and there should not be any liquid run-off in the street.
Stakeholder also requests no amplified music outside. EV agrees.
A stakeholder proposes Chipotle buy trash cans up and down Spaulding Ave, but residents do not want this. Instead they propose an additional can on Spaulding, but on Chipotle property so that Chipotle is responsible for emptying it. EV agrees.
EV says patrons tend to spend 30-40 minutes eating and therefore the restaurant has a small capacity.
Stakeholder asks for clarification that alcohol is food sales only. EV confirms. Stakeholder brings up that someone could buy one taco and multiple drinks. EV confirms but reminds stakeholders that alcohol is not take out. Stakeholders still express concern, but it is pointed out that someone can go to the liquor store and do the same thing.
Stakeholders theorize whether or not the same clientele who frequented All American Burger will frequent Chipotle and be allowed to drink.
Stakeholder requests signage to remind patrons of neighbors and keep down noise and throw away trash.
Stakeholder asks that beer and wine bottles not be thrown out at night, due to noise and asks that washing of mats occur within certain times, due to noise as well. EV agrees.
Stakeholders still worried that people will be coming to eat and drinking too much too quickly. EV points out that sale of alcohol makes up less than 1% of gross sales, but they sell it because there is a core group of customers who like to have it available and because it is often identified with the type of food that they serve. EV confirms that only people 21 and over will be serving alcohol and they will have alcohol training and also that drunken patrons are a liability for Chipotle and they don’t encourage it.
Stakeholder questions how alcohol is served. EV says that servers uncap the beer bottle or uncork the wine bottle and serve the bottles; margaritas are served in a clear plastic cup. They are not allowed off the property or ordered as take out. Servers will not sell to inebriated persons.
Stakeholder asks RA to include a one-year review in conditions.
RA runs down list of conditions as follows:
No dining (tables and chairs) on Spaulding
No neon lights on Spaulding and lights shut off at 10pm
Locking parking lot at 10pm and not renting it out as a valet lot
Trash pick-up not to start before 8am
Directed lighting in parking lot only (not to face residents)
Trashcan on Spaulding on Chipotle property
No amplified music outside
No throwing out bottles or washing mats before 8am
Bike racks on property, not in public right of way
Signage reminding patrons to respect neighborhood
Stakeholder asks is there can be a "no bottle" policy on the patio. EV says that she could propose it, but she is not sure.
Stakeholder reminds everyone that when a restaurant serves alcohol they must post a phone number of a responsible person (usually a manager) at the register so if there are any issues, neighbors can call that number.
EV reminds everyone that they will have an opportunity to review this in a year and find out what is working and what is not. Also that the city is starting to put expiration dates on CUPs, so usually within 4-7 years a business will have to reapply for a new one.
Stakeholder asks if they will ever be adding additional tables on the sidewalk. EV says never.
EV says there’s no hearing date yet. RA reminds stakeholders that if they disagree with the way the majority votes at this meeting she will let people know when the hearing date is so that they can make a comment if they wish.
EV says they have an end of August opening date and they will open and operate without serving alcohol and wait until the permit comes through.
RA makes motion to approve CUB application for on-site sale and consumption of alcohol (beer, wine and pre-mixed margaritas; Mon-Sun, 11am-10pm) at Chipotle, 7660 Sunset Blvd. with aforementioned conditions. Motion seconded. 15 in favor, 2 oppose, 2 abstain. Motion passes.
EV mentions that they usually have a free burrito day when they open and she will notify people of that.
RA introduces second agenda item of variance requests for construction of three story mixed use building on the Laugh Factory valet parking lot at 1544-1546 N Crescent Heights Blvd. and discussion of parking/noise issues on same property with regard to current use as valet lot.
RA starts to give history of parking lot, which operates in a residential area but asks Shawn Bayliss (SB) from Council District 5 to help explain. SB explains there was an application approx. 21 years ago to use it as a valet lot. Zoning Administrator denied the application and it was also denied on the applicant’s appeal before the Board of Zoning Appeals (now Area Planning Commission). The Councilperson at that time "245’d" it, exerting control over the matter and voiding all previous decisions and heard the case themselves. They agreed to allow the conditional use of the lot, as a valet lot, for one year and ordered him to apply for an extension, which was never done.
Jim Nelson (JN), who is speaking for The Laugh Factory, gives his personal background as a community activist and member of various neighborhood organizations. Announces that Jamie Masada (Laugh Factory owner) has formally withdrawn the application referenced in the agenda, there will be no construction on that property. He says that he was given bad information by a consultant who was sent to him back Jack Weiss’s office. He says that he spoke with Jamie Masada the previous day about opposing the project and that Mr Masada told him he didn’t know what project he was talking about.
RA point out that if mixed use project is not going on anymore then the meeting should move onto the valet lot issues. JN says that he still has more to say on the subject, says that Mr Masada has taken care of the lot, but up fencing, cleaned up trash, and that the lot is a vast improvement over what it was 30 years ago. Says he is in favor of the parking lot and he hasn’t known it to be a problem. Says that an owner of an adjacent property has told Mr Masada that she would like to purchase the valet lot and combine it with other lots to build an apartment building and that neighbors should consider their options.
Stakeholder points out that part of the application for the mixed use building contains a request for a continued use permit to operate the valet lot in an R-1 zone, so if this application is being withdrawn, they will need to reapply to operate the lot. SB confirms this. SB asks if they are scrapping the entire project. JN says yes.
RA reiterates that the application is broken into two phases with phase one referring to the operation of the parking. JN again confirms the whole application is withdrawn. SB asks when the owner is going to reapply. JN asks SB to recommend someone to help Mr Masada with the application or for SB to help him. SB says that he can’t do either. JN says that Mr Masada did not grow up in the US so he doesn’t have the sensitivity to navigate this process as well as people who have grown up here. Stakeholders point out that he must have some savvy to have overcome the two previous denials for the project.
Stakeholder asks about getting notification about this project. RA reminds attendees that this is not discussion about a hearing, just the application and SB confirms that residents will receive notices when a hearing takes place, but not when an application is filed. RA advises that neighbors can still make a public comment on this application. There is some confusion as to what the process is since the application is being pulled. RA asks that JN take these comments back to Mr Masada.
Stakeholder asks that we make a motion anyway, even if it is going away just so there is a record of the way the meeting attendees felt.
JN makes one last statement that on behalf of Jamie Masada as far as he’s concerned the application has been withdrawn and whatever steps he needs to make to withdraw it he will.
A stakeholder gives a history of the issues surrounding the operations of this parking lot. They range from car alarms, yelling and screaming, honking of horns, cars racing up the street and no lighting on the lot. Stakeholder points out that since SB negotiating fewer cars (25) be parked in the parking lot, there have been less problems.
Stakeholder says that they don’t so much have a problem with the lot being used as a valet lot, but is unhappy with the way it is being operated. That the people who operate the lot, show little respect for the neighbors, parking cars in the red zones with emergency lights, and using high beams as they are coming in and out of the lot. Says that reducing the capacity has helped and also suggests that there is a lack of decorum that comes from the top and it won’t help to tell the individual workers, but that there needs to be an attitude adjustment from the top.
Stakeholder also adds that no adjacent owners have ever made an offer to buy the property in question from Mr Masada and that fear of development shouldn’t dissuade neighbors from pushing that have valet lot properly permitted.
Stakeholders reiterate that they do not oppose the lot, but they want limits on capacity, attendants on the lot and a contact person who can deal with issues.
Stakeholder points out that all of these are a moot point and we shouldn’t be talking about it anymore. RA says that she wants to let residents speak because it is important for Mr Masada’s representative and the councilman’s office to know that the residents are not interesting in shutting down the lot, but rather want to owner to obtain a CUP where they can have input on the conditions of use.
Motion made to oppose the application in its entirety. Seconded. 21 in favor, motion passes unanimously.
RA introduces third agenda item: Discussion of variance requests for sidewalk dining at 7950 Sunset Blvd (Fresh Bites, Pizza Fusion, Sansai).
RA says that Fresh Bites had a hearing for a variance to permit an outdoor dining area (beer, wine and food) within the public right of way (sidewalk). The variance was denied, citing noise and safety issues, and there is an upcoming hearing is an appeal to that decision. RA gives location and date of hearing.
Stakeholder mentions that the building is built all the way to the property line and there isn’t enough room for walking if there are tables there. Numerous stakeholders mention The Griddle as an example and how difficult it is to walk by there and they don’t want any more of those.
Stakeholder gives a description of the area and says that they have met with the owner on the sidewalk and that the measurements on the application didn’t match the actual measurements, and didn’t mention that the patio area would be on the sidewalk. Safety issues of not being able to walk down the street without stepping into Sunset Blvd are mentioned. Stakeholder mentioned that they took a poll of about 30 people coming in and out of the building and walking down the street, and all agreed that there would not be enough space with tables and chairs and partition (needed to serve alcohol outside), to walk down the street.
Stakeholder adds that other businesses that are pedestrian destinations (like Trader Joe’s) say that it is already hard enough for people to walk down the street because of The Griddle blocking the sidewalk and they don’t want any additional obstacles.
Questions arise about The Griddle and people do not think that it is permitted either.
Stakeholders request a motion.
Motion to support ZA decision to deny CUP for sale and service of alcohol on dining patio that encroaches on public right of way. Seconded. 19 in favor. Motion passes unanimously.
Motion to oppose dining area that encroaches on the public right of way. 19 in favor. Motion passes unanimously.
RA asks if there are any additional Area 7 issues.
Harlan Flagg from Hollywood Electrics speaks about his electric bicycle that he is looking to sell to LAPD. Mentions that Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council has already purchased one. Valorie Keegan EMS chair for HHWNC, says that she has already talked to Hollywood Division and these bikes would be in use along the Hollywood Business District, which overlaps with just a small portion of HHWNC.
Meeting adjourned at 4:00pm