Saturday, April 21

Westwood Neighborhood Council recap – Dec. 13


The Westwood Neighborhood Council meets monthly to discuss issues pertaining to Westwood Village and the surrounding areas.

Comments by public officials

  • Marco Perez, a representative from UCLA Government and Community Relations, said campus parking will be free during UCLA’s closure from Dec. 23 to Jan. 1, 2018. However, parking will not be free during UCLA’s two basketball games on Dec. 29 and Dec. 31. Perez added Parking Structure 5 will be closing down for construction in January, and permit holders will then need to park in Parking Structure 3.
  • Gibson Nyambura, a neighborhood council advocate from the Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, said the department has been in the process of advising student leaders on their proposal for a new neighborhood council for Westwood. He added Westwood Forward, the coalition behind the proposal, did not invite the department to any of the town hall meetings the coalition hosted to engage with the community.

Discussion

  • Lisa Chapman, council president, said she wants the council to host their own town hall meeting to discuss the new neighborhood council proposal because she thinks Westwood Forward has only presented a one-sided view of the proposal. Peter Clinco, owner of Skylight Gardens, where a previous Westwood Forward-hosted town hall took place, offered his restaurant as a venue for the council-hosted town hall. Graduate Student Association President Michael Skiles, one of the leaders of Westwood Forward, said he supports any efforts to increase community dialogue around the proposal. The town hall will likely take place in February, Chapman said.

Motions

  • The board approved a motion requesting the city to amend the Westwood Village Specific Plan to make it easier for restaurants to move into the Village. The proposed amendment would require restaurants to meet only three of the currently five characteristics outlined in the plan to be considered a food establishment. The Westwood Village Improvement Association had previously proposed requiring restaurants to meet only two of the five characteristics. Some board members, including Stephen Resnick and Marcello Robinson, wanted to postpone the agenda item so the council’s land use committee could review it and make a recommendation before the board approved it. However, other members said they think that was unnecessary.
  • The board rejected a motion to eliminate several of the sample alcohol conditions which new businesses must adhere to when they apply for an alcohol permit in Westwood. Chapman said she thinks the conditions give Westwood the perception that it is strict and not welcoming of entertainment in the Village. Resnick, who said he thinks it is up to the association to improve how the Village is perceived, motioned for the item to be postponed to another meeting so the land use committee could review it, but his motion failed. The motion to change the sample conditions did not pass because the vote was tied with two abstentions.
  • The board unanimously approved a motion calling on LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz to ask the city to enforce laws that require food deliverers to receive food handling permits. Roozbeh Farahanipour said restaurants are still liable when food deliverers mishandle food.
  • The board recommended that Gene Fong be appointed a member of the Westwood Design Review Board, which evaluates whether Westwood projects’ designs meet specific plan requirements. Koretz’s office will review each applicant and select the new member.
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City and crime editor

Preal is the assistant news editor for the city and crime beat. He was previously a news reporter for the city and crime beat.


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  • Hooraj

    Making it easier for fast casual restaurants to come in means that landlords will no longer face pressure to lower rents to a level that retail wants in at–they will be able to fill the vacancies with restaurants. Without attracting and now disincentivizing retail, Westwood will just be a version of what it now is on steroids–there will still be no reason for anyone who already isn’t in the area between 12pm to 2pm and looking for lunch to come into town.

    By asking for the loosening of these regulations, both Westwood Forward and the current neighborhood council are giving the landlords an out to a problem that’s been created by those same landlords. Short term profit for them and an equally unhealthy, bland Village for all of us. Look at the type of food that comes into the area, that is exactly what you can expect more of–I have no idea why all the neighborhood and business groups think this is a good thing. Filling up the empty spaces with more poke isn’t going to bring people.

    Retail is necessary if Westwood is going to have life outside of lunch hour, and allowing fast casual food to fill up those empty spaces to keep up appearances is going to allow landlords to avoid finding a realistic rent price where retail starts taking a chance on Westwood. The York Report covered all of this and the other bad choices landlords have made that increase their short term profit, but lower the sustainability of the Village (like putting cellphone stores on the major corners where there should be attractive retail). Why the various factions want to help speed up these poor choices is a mystery.