GWNC Hears from Metro, Installs Kathleen Mulligan, Approves Land Use Committee Recommendations

Metro officials Michael Cortez and Billy Parent present to GWNC
Metro construction representatives Michael Cortez and Billy Parent present to GWNC at its August meeting on Wednesday.

Metro construction representatives Michael Cortez and Billy Parent presented an overview of the progress of Phase 3 of the construction of the Metro Purple Line extension, including the weekend decking closures of Wilshire Blvd., to the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council at its monthly on Wednesday evening. The closures of Wilshire Blvd. east of La Brea. to Highland, now start every Friday at 8 p.m. and end on Monday morning at 6 a.m.  The closures of this section of Wilshire will continue through the fall.

Starting Monday, August 22, Metro will also begin jet gouting activities on Wilshire, between Rossmore and Lucerne. Jet Grouting is a process that uses high-pressure air and grout to create a deep soil-concrete block to reinforce and strengthen the soil, so it can support tunneling and cross-passage construction. The process is expected to take 6 weeks to complete.

Kathleen Mulligan is installed as the Area 10 - Ridgewood-Wilton/St. Andrews Square alternate board member
Kathleen Mulligan is installed as the Area 10 – Ridgewood-Wilton/St. Andrews Square alternate board member

In other business, on Wednesday, the GWNC Board installed Kathleen Mulligan as an alternate for Area 10 (Ridgewood-Wilton/St. Andrews Square).

Also, after much discussion of various ways to reduce expenses, the Board adopted a revised budget for the next fiscal year.

Joe Hoffman, chair of the Outreach Committee, reported on his attendance at the Neighborhood Council Emergency Preparedness Alliance. That group is working to provide training and materials for Neighborhood Councils to engage residents on emergency preparedness. Committee member and board member Nancy Kim, from Area 9 (Oakwood/Maplewood/St.Andrews), is also helping on this effort, according to Hoffman.

Hoffman also reminded everyone that there is free Yoga in the Park, 7 days a week, at 7 a.m. at Robert Burns Park. Hoffman then asked for a motion to approve the appointment of committee member and board member Barbara Savage (representing Area 6, La Brea-Hancock) as social media manager for the Outreach committee. The motion was approved.  In other outreach action, the GWNC approved a motion to use the September 2016 Larchmont Ledger ad to promote the GWNC Transportation Committee’s Town Hall meeting on Highland Ave. (in between Olympic Blvd. and Melrose), traffic issues and possible related mitigations.

In her report,Transportation Committee Chair Julie Stromberg stated the Highland Ave. Town Hall will feature a panel including John Darnell (Council District 5), Nikki Ezhari (Council District 4), and Jeannie Shen (Los Angeles Department of Transportation). The event will be held on Wednesday, September 7, 2016, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at The Ebell of Los Angeles, 743 S. Lucerne Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90005. Parking is available in the Ebell’s West Lot and attendees are encouraged to enter via the Porte Cochere.

Finally, in a series of votes, the board approved the following recommended motions from its Land Use Committee:

The GWNC voted to support an application for the demolition of an existing single-family dwelling and the subsequent construction of four Small Lot Subdivision units on a 6,625 square foot lot in the R3-1 (multi-family) zone at 421 S. Wilton Pl. The motion passed with 12 in favor, none opposed and 3 abstentions.

The Board voted to oppose the application for a Tentative Tract Map for a 5-unit condominium project at 5019 W. Maplewood Ave. The motion passed with 12 in favor, none opposed and 3 abstentions.

A motion to oppose the application for a Tentative Tract Map for a 6-unit Small Lot Subdivision project, with a height of 33.5 feet in lieu of the 30 feet allowed in height district 1XL, at 507 N. Sycamore Ave., passed with 11 votes in favor, 3 opposed and 1 abstention.

The GWNC voted to support a Hardship Application (#14-0656-S27) in a current Interim Control Ordinance area, which would allow the addition of 432 square feet to the back of a house at 743 N. June St., by a vote of 12 in favor, none opposed and 2 abstentions.

The Board also voted to re-affirm its position on the Small Lot Subdivision Code Amendment and Policy Update, with the same stipulations as recorded in a March 22, 2016 letter. The vote was 13 in favor and none opposed.

The GWNC board also voted to support the city’s suggested revisions to its Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) Ordinance.  The revisions would allow greater flexibility in the creation of new HPOZ Boards, clarify procedures for technical corrections to historic resource surveys, create more proportional thresholds for Conforming Work (e.g. to replace fixed square-footage thresholds), improve regulations on Conforming Work on non-contributing properties, and address non-permitted demolitions. Three local residents spoke on this issue, urging the GWNC to oppose the revisions because they do not go far enough to protect neighborhoods. The motion to support the revisions passed  with 11 in favor and 3 abstentions.

Debra Willis, president of the St. Andrews Square Neighborhood Association, asked the GWNC to support her neighborhood’s request to the City planning department to keep the case open for an 8-unit Small Lot Subdivision a 117 N. Manhattan Place. Willis said the developer has presented the four story 10,000 square foot project to her neighborhood, which is currently opposing it because it will be much larger than the current two-story buildings in the neighborhood, with larger set-backs.  Willis said she hopes to have the project reviewed by the GWNC’s Land Use Committee before the city issues a determination on the project.  However, since the SASNA meeting, the Planning Department scheduled an August 25 hearing on the project, which doesn’t allow enough time for the GWNC to weigh in.  In response to Willis’ request, the GWNC Board approved a motion to write a letter to the planner on this project asking that the case be kept open for comments so the board can take action. The motion passed wth 12 in favor, none opposed and 2 abstentions.

The meeting adjourned at 9:37 pm. The next meeting of the GWNC Board will be on Wednesday, September 14, 2016, 7:00 pm at the Ebell of Los Angeles.

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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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