At last night’s monthly meeting of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, its Board of Directors passed two new resolutions recommended by the GWNC Sustainability Committee, and seven resolutions on local land use issues. Prior to those big votes, however, the Council also took care of a bit of housekeeping with announcements and information on:
- Upcoming board member elections, which will be held on March 31, 2018, and for which candidate filing opens on December 16, 2018. This year, for the first time in several election cycles, the election process will be overseen by the City Clerk’s office instead of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, which runs the Neighborhood Council system.
- The resignation of Renter Representative and Board Secretary Joe Hoffman, and the appointment of board member Max Kirkham to the Secretary position. Conrad Starr, who was the Alternate representative for the Renter seat, will now become the Renter representative, and the Alternate position for that seat is now open (along with alternate representative positions for the Country Club Heights and Western-Wilton neighborhoods, and the Business, Education and Religion seats).
- The resignation of Transportation Committee chair Julie Stromberg from that position as of November 1 (though she will continue to chair the GWNC Sustainability Committee, and to represent the Windsor Village neighborhood on the board). Starr will take over the Transportation Committee Chair position after Stromberg steps down.
- A reminder that the GWNC will host a booth at the upcoming Larchmont Family Fair on Sunday, October 28, from 12-4 p.m.
- A reminder that the GWNC Sustainability Committee will host a Rain Barrell workshop on Saturday, October 27 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Memorial Library). Representatives of Rain Barrels, Intl. will provide information about how to acquire and use rain barrels for stormwater capture, and how to secure the barrels so they don’t become breeding places for mosquitoes.
Moving on to more outward-directed issues, the board approved two motions proposed by its Sustainability Committee. The first was in support of the upcoming ballot Measure W, which will institute a parcel tax to encourage property owners to increase surface permeability and groundwater capture on their properties and to decrease stormwater runoff. The second motion was to support a recent measure passed by the Los Angeles City Council, which would require 20% of parking spaces in new construction to be adaptable for electric car charging…but only IF that body amends the measure to a more aggressive target of 90% of parking spaces in new construction being adaptable for electric car charging.
Finally, in Land Use issues, the Board voted unanimously to:
- Oppose as currently presented a 5-unit small lot subdivision project planned for 250 N. Wilton, and to recommend that the project:
- Be referred to the Urban Design Studio for re-design counsel
- That any new project on the site assume the footprint, massing, character and setbacks of the pre-existing single family historic structure there.
- That the Planning Department not find the project exempt from CEQA requirements
- That the Planning Department determine whether an Environmental Impact Report should have been required to demolish the previous structure, which was a contributing element to the North Wilton Historic District
- That any proposed development at the site comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s standards for the treatment of historic properties and that it would be compatible with the local historic district as viewed from Wilton Place and/or Beverly Blvd.
- And that 15-foot sidewalks be provided along Beverly Blvd., consistent with the city’s Mobility Element requirements for that type of street.
- Request that the city Attorney’s Office and the City Administrative Officer, research and propose a set of actions that would:
- Establish effective penalties for the unapproved or unpermitted removal of City parkway trees, to help discourage removal of such trees
- Establish a staff unit in the City Attorney’s Office to prosecute illegal tree removals or damage of city trees, and to recover restitution
- Establish reporting and response mechanisms to alert the city about trees being removed in time to deter further destruction
- Provide an ensured funding resource for the measures above
[Note: the Buzz heard from a GWNC board member, after this story was published, that the correct recommended language was not included in the tree motion voted on last night, so the vote will be repeated, with the corrected language, at November’s board meeting.]
- Oppose, as currently presented, the proposal for an 18-unit apartment building at 850 S. Gramercy Pl.
- Oppose, because the applicant did not respond to an invitation to appear before the Land Use Committee, an application to allow the continued sale of beer and wine for both on and off-site consumption at the Mozza to Go restaurant at 6610 W. Melrose Ave.
- Support appeals filed by neighbors living at 5050 W. Maplewood Ave. of a project at 5058 W. Melrose because the owner has not done neighborhood outreach for the new project, has not sought neighborhood input, and has not properly maintained the current property since purchasing it a number of years ago.
- Support an application to allow the use and maintenance of an accesory dwelling unit with reduced side yard setbacks at 628 S. Orange Dr.
- Oppose an application to allow the continued sale of beer and wine for on-site construction at the Cafe Gratitude restaurant at 639 N. Larchmont Blvd., because the representatives did not respond to the Land Use Committee’s invitation to present details of the application to the committee.
Finally, one other land use case – an application to subdivide the lot for rental duplex project already under construction at 5123-5125 W. Clinton St. for two condominium units instead – was referred back to the Land Use Committee for further discussion. Land Use Committee Chair Caroline Labiner Moser noted that while the specific details of this project haven’t yet sparked any major disagreements, there is a larger issue of builders going through a simpler permitting process (which requires no neighborhood review) to build a rental property, and then shifting gears once construction has already begun and trying to get re-permitted as condominiums (which do require neighborhood review) when it’s too late for neighbors or the Neighborhood Council to weigh in on things like neighborhood context and other important issues.
The next GWNC Land Use Committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 23, 6:30 p.m. at Marlborough School…and the next GWNC Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 14, 6:30 p.m. at the Ebell of Los Angeles, 743 S. Lucerne Blvd.