Larchmont Village Neighborhood Association (LVNA) members got some good news last night from LAPD at their semi-annual meeting, held at Van Ness Elementary School. After an impressive and comprehensive update from Principal Pauline Hong on programs at the school, LVNA President Charles D’Atri introduced LAPD officers to address the neighborhood.
Senior Lead Officers Dave Cordova and Chris Landry told residents that crime is down in both the Wilshire and Olympic Divisions.
Violent crimes are down 5% and property crime is down 7% in the Wilshire Division, reported SLO Dave Cordova. Similar reductions were reported by Olympic Division’s SLO Chris Landry, who was filing in for SLO Joe Pelayo, who was unable to attend the meeting. Violent crime is down 8% for an overall reduction in crime of 6% in compared to last year at this time.
Burglary from a motor vehicle is the most common property crime, according to SLO Landry. In the last week, six crimes were committed according to Landry. Of those, five were car break-ins.
“If we can figure out a way to prevent that from occurring, we would have almost no crime in the neighborhood,” said Landry.
Both Landry and Cordova said the best way to avoid being a victim of crime is to make sure to remove all items of value from your car, even small amounts of change.
“Don’t make it easy for people to steal stuff from your car,” said Landry. “That’s why we say, ‘lock it, hide it, keep it’.”
Rob Fisher, Field Deputy for CD4 was the next speaker who offered his assistance to residents on a wide range of issues. Fisher said he works in the field office on Fountain Avenue and can easily be reached by email or phone at (213) 473-7004
“My job is to connect city services and residents,” said Fisher. “MyLA311 is both an app and a website, and a good place to start because the operators are quite knowledgeable, and all the calls are logged so you will get a tracking number for your service request, which will enable me to follow up.”
Fisher also suggested residents use MyDOT for issues regarding speed humps, traffic safety and stop signs.
“Things take time, but it can be done,” said Fisher.
Fisher took questions from residents, addressing a number of issues including parking enforcement. According to LVNA President Charles D’Atri, the neighborhood already has four parking districts and residents can get signs for their street if additional signs are needed.
In response to a question about short-term rentals or home sharing, Fisher said the new city ordinance will take effect on July 1, 2019, and should make enforcement much easier. The new rules limit rentals to six months of the year and owners can only rent out one unit in a building where they live.
Fisher said he was responding to a request from LVNA board member Karen Gilman to enforce the city’s new R-1 zoning rules for the neighborhood. The new rules require that the bulk of massing for new additions be placed in the back of the residence. Two houses at 445 and 436 N. Plymouth Blvd., appear to be in violation. Fisher said he was working with LA Building and Safety to address the issue and may require the owners to change their projects.
LVNA President D’Atri and board member Karen Gilman passed out information on grass roots action efforts to oppose the passage of SB50, a housing bill currently pending before the state legislature, which would effectively eliminate all single family zoning in the state. The objective of the bill is to make it easier to build high density housing projects (building up to 55 feet tall) near transit corridors and jobs. D’Atri said Melrose Avenue is considered one of those corridors. He pointed to the project at Melrose and Beachwood as an example of what could be permitted throughout the neighborhood, and urged residents to become informed and express their views to their local representatives. Gilman handed out copies of an email circulated by the Windsor Square Association, which has started a yard sign campaign to draw attention to the issue and attract the attention of one very influential resident, Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Fisher reported that negotiations are continuing with the bill’s author Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco), to exempt historic neighborhoods and those threatened with gentrification. He added that Councilmember David Ryu is very opposed to SB 50, as is the rest of the City Council.
In other business, the following were elected to serve as the board of the Larchmont Village Neighborhood Association: Wally August, Charles D’Atri, Tom Carroll, Vince Cox, Sandy Fleck, Karen Gilman, Mike Gilman, Eileen Lanza, Stuart Melvin, Adam Rubenstein and Bruce Walker.
Lastly, Karen Gilman reported the association’s Larchmont HPOZ Steering Committee mailed out surveys to all neighborhood residents, owners as well as renters, to determine the level of interest and support for forming a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone covering the 1,200 or so properties in the area, from Melrose to Beverly, and from Arden to Wilton. An informal survey was conducted earlier, which found that some 75-80 percent of the structures and homes can be deemed historic (as originally built or only minimally altered) and will qualify the area for HPOZ status. The new R-1 zoning rules preserve only the scale and mass of the neighborhood, but an HPOZ would help to preserve the historic details and facades.
Gilman reported that so far, 100 surveys have been returned supporting the HPOZ, several came back asking for more information, and five were opposed to the idea. Gilman said they would like to get one survey from every household. Contact LarchmontHPOZ@gmail.com to get a copy of the survey.