GWNC First Meeting of New Year

GWNC Secretary Max Kirkham welcomes La Brea-Hancock resident Cathy Roberts as a new Alternate to the GWNC Board

In its first meeting of the new year, held last night at the Ebell of Los Angeles, the board of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council seated a new member, voted to move ahead with an outreach program for the upcoming GWNC election in March, and approved all the recommendations of the board’s Land Use Committee.

La Brea-Hancock resident Cathy Roberts was seated as the Alternate representative for that neighborhood’s seat on the board, replacing Tammy Rosato, who became the new Board Member after Brad Jewett resigned at the end of last year. Roberts also serves as a member of both the GWNC’s Land Use and Sustainability Committees, where she co-chaired last year’s garden tour.

Outreach Committee

In other business last night, the board voted to approve plans by the Outreach Committee to promote greater awareness of the March 31 election (all 21 board seats will be on the ballot). The first phase of the effort will focus on recruiting candidates to run for the available seats: 15 by geographic region and 6 by special interest category (representing Renters, Business, Education, Religion, Other Non-Profit groups, and an At Large representative). Those elected will serve two-year terms, beginning in April, 2019.

There are no formal qualifications for candidates, other than being age 18 or older and living, working or owning property within the GWNC boundaries. Board members run the gamut from curious newcomers to folks with several decades of community service experience.  Everyone is welcome. If you live, work, own property or have an ongoing relationship with an organization that fits into one of the special interest categories and is located in the GWNC area, and if you are 18 years old by election day, you are eligible to run and vote. Interested candidates can register at https://clerkappsele.lacity.org/nccr/#/login.  The deadline for candidate registration is January 15, 2019.

The election will be held on March 31, 2019 at the Barking Lot, 336 North Larchmont Blvd. Look for more information and reminders about the election on social media and in the Buzz. The next meeting of the Outreach Committee will be on Saturday, February 2, 2019, at 9am, at Bricks and Scones Café, 403 N. Larchmont Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90005

Transportation Committee

Conrad Starr, chair of the Transportation Committee, reported that the next meeting of that committee will be on Monday, January 28, 2019, 7:00 p.m., at Marlborough School. Starr will moderate a panel discussion titled “Improving Neighborhood Safety through Traffic Mitigations: Best Practices for Working with LADOT.”  Panelists include Bhuvan Bajaj, Transportation Engineer, Hollywood-Wilshire District Operations, LA Department of Transportation; and Rob Fisher, Field Deputy/Community Planner, Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu.

“Panelists will address various traffic engineering mitigations including road narrowing, “bump-outs,” stop signs, center striping, speed humps; as well as the review process, timelines, justification requirement, and source of funding; additionally the panel will look at recent success  with community-driven speed awareness campaigns,” explained Starr.

The meeting will take place at Marlborough School at 250 S. Rossmore Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90004. Onsite parking for car and bikes is accessible via the 3rd St. entrance; rideshare drop-off is on Rossmore; Metro buses 16/17/316 and 210 provide service to the school.

Sustainability Committee

Marilee Kuhlmann, President/CEO, One Water Group, Inc. will present on “Understanding Drought Tolerant Gardens,” at the  next meeting of the GWNC’s Environmental and Sustainability Committee on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 7:00pm, at Marlborough School. Ms. Kuhlman is a landscape consultant and sustainable garden designer.

Also in the area of sustainability, the board last night unanimously (18-0-0) approved sending a letter drafted by GWNC Board member Greg Wittmann requesting that the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services and Urban Forestry Division (UFD) adopt a formal 60-Day Notification Period for Proposed Removal of All Street Trees. Currently, UFD’s unofficial notification policy for tree removal requests is three days, unless the removal is for three or more trees.  In addition, the letter requests that the department adopt an Opt-In Notification System for tree removals for the general public.

“Although we commend the efforts of DONE and UFD in creating a program to disseminate the tree removal notices to the appropriate neighborhood councils, this program should not be considered a substitute for the public at large to have the ability to access the same information. The public has the right to know what is going on in their communities, including the removal of trees. The public should not be limited to relying on their neighborhood council for information that the City should be readily providing them. To that end, we recommend that UFD adopt an opt-in notification system for all tree removals,” reads the proposal, signed by GWNC President Owen Smith.

Land Use Committee

Finally last night, the board unanimously (by votes in each case of 18-0-0) approved the following recommendations by the GWNC Land Use Committee:

  • 840 N. Orange Drive: To write a letter opposing the removal of a large, mature, healthy parkway tree.
  • 545 S. Gramercy Pl. To reiterate the board’s opposition to an application and later appeal for a zone variance for a proposed an office use on the first floor and residential use in other space at an existing two-story duplex building.
  • 3477 W. Olympic Blvd. To oppose to oppose an application for a CUB to allow the sale of beer and wine for off-site consumption at an existing 2739 square foot convenience store (7-Eleven), operating 24 hours daily in the C2-1 zone. (In 2014, during the original application for the CUB, the applicants stated that they would not ever sell alcohol at the location.)
  • 474 N. Western Ave. To oppose an application for a CUB to allow the sale/dispensing of beer and wine for on-site consumption at an existing 1535 sq. ft. restaurant (Jae Bu Do) with 44 indoor seats and a 218 sq. ft. patio with 14 seats. Hours are 11 am to 12 am Monday-Wednesday, and 11 am to 1 am Thursday-Sunday, in the C2-1 zone. (The board had previously voted on 12/12/2018 to oppose the motion, as is its policy, because the applicants did not respond to an invitation to present details of the application to the LUC.)
  • 4749 W. Elmwood Ave.  To oppose the project, as per LUC policy, because the applicant did not respond to invitations to present details of the application to the LUC.
  • 222 N. Manhattan Pl. To oppose a Demolition Pre-Inspection application, because the applicant has not done any outreach about the project in the surrounding neighborhood.
  • 829 N. Orange Drive: To oppose a Demolition Pre-Inspection Application, because the applicant did not respond to invitations to present details of the project to the LUC.

Also, in the matter of 300 N. Plymouth Blvd., currently owned by a company called “Mansion Mates,” which sublets rooms and dorm style beds at the home in the R1-R3-RG zone as “off-campus housing” (it’s listed on Hot Pads, Trulia and other sites), Larchmont Village Neighborhood Association representative Charles D’Atri requested that the board not take action yet, as the company has not yet been able to meet with the LVNA to discuss parking and other issues raised by neighbors. GWNC Land Use chair Caroline Moser said the company has appeared before the GWNC Land Use Committee twice, and had been “very good at listening, but not as good at answering the questions, repeatedly deferring to discussion with their attorneys.” Moser also said the zoning for the property does not explicitly prohibit the current use, and the company may be trying to fit into the area as a “family.”

Sycamore Square representative Steven Senigram noted that a similar boarding house on the 900 block of S. Citrus Ave. in his neighborhood (first marketed as a sober living home, and then as a hostel), was finally closed down by the Department of Building and Safety after repeated calls to city inspectors.  Non-Profit representative Tucker Carney also said that he believes there will be more and more of these “co-living” situations appearing in single family neighborhoods. He cited the recent decision by the Cty of Minneapolis to completely abolish single family residential zoning as an example of trends across the country to address housing availability. [Note:  Minneapolis native and Buzz Co-Publisher Elizabeth Fuller recently visited her hometown, and is currently working on a story about the “Minneapolis 2040” vote and the ideas it might hold for Los Angeles.]

Finally in the Land Use category last night, Moser noted that interested residents may wish to attend the City Planning Department staff-level public hearing on CPC-2018-4660-CA, also known as the Restaurant Beverage Ordinance Program, designed to expedite liquor licensing for restaurants. The hearing will be held on January 31st at 6:30 p.m. Written comments on the issue may also be sent to esther.ahn@lacity.org.

The next meeting of the Land Use Committee meeting will be at 6:30pm on January 22, 2019 at Marlborough School, 250 S. Rossmore Ave, the Collins Room, 200-D, Los Angeles, CA 90004.

Announcements

Michelle Sy, a Ridgewood Wilton neighborhood resident and parent of a student at Melrose Elementary School, asked the board to express its support for teachers in the current contract negotiations with the Los Angeles Unified School District. The board was unable to take official action on the item, because it was not on the meeting agenda, but individuals were invited to write letters or make calls to LAUSD Board members. Sy said more information on how stakeholders can support teachers can be found at https://wearepublicschools.org/ or by following @utlanow on Twitter.

The next meeting of the GWNC Board will be held on Wednesday, February 13, 2019

This story was updated clarifying the comments of Caroline Moser regarding 300 N. Plymouth.

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About Patricia Lombard

Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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