Westwood Neighborhood Council recap – Sept. 14
By Jacob Preal
Sept. 16, 2017 2:36 p.m.
The Westwood Neighborhood Council meets monthly to discuss issues pertaining to Westwood Village and the surrounding areas.
Comments by public officials
- Brian Wendling, captain of the West Los Angeles Community Police Station, said Westwood Village saw an increase in robberies at the beginning of the year, but the numbers have since died down. Councilmember Philip Gabriel requested LAPD to conduct foot patrols for Westwood storefronts from 1 to 10 p.m.
- Jasmine Shamolian, field representative for Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, said city officials will be removing fencing around the trees at the Westwood Recreation Center dog park in order to free up space in the park. Shamolian added that Koretz’s office persuaded Verizon to modify its proposal to create a new phone pole to instead utilize a pre-existing pole in the Village.
- Marco Perez, a representative from UCLA Government and Community Relations, said UCLA will be hosting a block party in Westwood after students move in next week. He added that the UCLA Anderson School of Management will be constructing an additional building on UCLA’s Parking Structure 5. Perez said he did not have any information about relocating parking spaces displaced by the construction.
- Perez also said that UCLA, along with other campuses across the country, will be observing Freedom of Speech Week starting Oct. 16. Perez said UC Berkeley student groups have already invited high-profile speakers, including Milo Yiannopoulos and Stephen Bannon, and added UCLA will inform the council if it invites similar kinds of speakers.
- Connie Boukidis, land use and planning chair, said the Land Use and Planning Committee voted against supporting converting a UCLA Extension building into UCLA dorms, which would hold up to 1,350 students and be constructed on Le Conte Avenue. Boukidis said the board sympathized with UCLA’s need for more student housing, but opposed the construction project because they felt the building was too tall and was surrounded by smaller, iconic buildings. Boukidis added that since UCLA is constructing five new dorm buildings, she thinks the university could make one of the other dorm buildings larger in order to maintain the aesthetic of the area where the UCLA Extension building is located.
- Many students said they were frustrated with the council’s decision. Chloe Pan, undergraduate student government external vice president, said students pay for their own housing, and said she thinks a building’s functionality is more important than its aesthetics. Sandy Brown, board secretary, said the board should also consider the views of homeowners who spend a lot of money to live in the village.
- The council discussed the Westwood Village Improvement Association’s plans to redefine restaurants and fast food establishments in the Westwood Village Specific Plan to attract more renters into the Village. Brown said she thinks the association is moving too fast to update the specific plan, which is updated every six years because the city has little funds to allocate to neighborhood specific plan updates. Brown added that Westwood is considering asking groups like UCLA and Metro to help finance more holistic specific plan updates that would take place every two years.
- The board selected Naomi Kisel, a third-year political science and Russian language student, to fill the board’s vacant renter seat. Kisel previously ran for the position when it was vacant last year, but the board then felt there would be a conflict of interest because she was interning for Koretz’s office at the time.
- David Lorango, outreach chair, requested $1,000 from the council’s budget to create a meet and greet for students to meet with council members in a more informal setting. The council approved Lorango’s request but asked him to present a specific budget to be approved at a later meeting.