Friday, August 28, 2015

Tortuoso Way Project Conditions Update from President Ron Hudson

Dear Bel-Air Association Community,

The Bel-Air Association’s Land Use Committee today successfully completed an agreement with the Tortuoso Way developers (The Park Bel Air Holdings LLC) for a large number of conditions that will substantially mitigate the impacts that the dirt hauling and construction of this project of 3 very large single-family residences will have on our already overburdened community.

The conditions are as follows:

1.    No crossing of two hauling vehicles shall be allowed in Bel-Air. (Once one hauling vehicle leaves Bel-Air, the next hauling vehicle may enter.)
2.    All hauling vehicles must be identified by a unique placard prominently identifying the project address and prominently displayed in the front windshield of such vehicle.
3.    The hauling operations are restricted to the hours between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays only. No hauling is allowed on Saturdays, Sundays or federal or state holidays. Haul vehicles may not arrive at the site before the designated start time.
4.    The Park Bel Air Holdings LLC shall use its best efforts to obtain from the Hotel Bel Air a projected schedule of events and periodic updates, and will coordinate with the Hotel Bel Air regarding the hours of hauling on event or event preparation days.
5.    All clearing, earth moving, or excavation activities shall be discontinued during periods of high winds (i.e., greater than 15 mph), so as to prevent excessive amounts of dust.
6.    All dirt/soil loads shall be secured by trimming, other appropriate means (other than watering) to prevent spillage and dust.
7.    All dirt/soil materials transported off-site shall be securely covered.
8.    General contractors shall maintain and operate construction equipment so as to minimize exhaust emissions.
9.    No haul truck staging or queueing shall occur on streets within the Bel Air neighborhood, with the exception of Tortuoso Way. Trucks having no current hauling activity shall not idle but be turned off.
10.  All flagmen shall be properly trained.
11.  All flagmen shall be prohibited from smoking or consuming alcoholic beverages while on duty.
12.  All flagmen shall remove their trash from their stationed location upon being relieved of duty for any period of time.
13.  The Park Bel Air Holdings LLC shall mix concrete on-site unless, in its reasonable judgment and after consultation with the Bel-Air Association, ready-mixed concrete delivery would reduce potential community or site operational impacts to below the potential adverse effects that would occur or do occur as a result of bringing and maintaining mixing equipment and batching materials—including but not limited to sand, gravel, cement, and water—to the site.  This condition is not and shall not be construed as a condition of the hauling operation.
14.  Following completion of construction of all residences at 780, 788, and 800 Tortuoso Way, but prior to issuance of the first certificate of occupancy for any residence on the site, The Park Bel Air Holdings LLC shall place a new slurry coat and yellow centerline stripe on Stone Canyon Road from Tortuoso Way to the beginning of Stone Canyon Road at West Sunset Boulevard. This condition is not and shall not be construed as a condition of the hauling operation.

As can be seen from the last condition, we reached an agreement with the developers to slurry coat and centerline-stripe Stone Canyon Road all of the way from Tortuoso Way to Sunset Boulevard at the end of construction, not just from Tortuoso Way to Bellagio Road.

This list of conditions that will strongly protect our community could not have been obtained without our diligent work in providing detailed comments within the 20-day statutory period after the project’s Mitigated Negative Declaration (“MND”) from the Planning Department was published. (We posted our comments on August 12.) In exchange for the agreement that we reached today, we today withdrew our comments. A copy of my letter to the Planning Department withdrawing our comments is below.

Importantly, and at our insistence, these conditions of approval will be recorded against the project as covenants and agreements, so that they will be binding on subsequent owners. This is important to make these conditions enforceable in case ownership ever changes, as it previously has during the development of this site.  A copy of the letter is enclosed below for your review.

Sincerely,
Your President,
Ron Hudson





Tuesday, August 25, 2015

CURRENT HAUL ROUTE STATUS TABLE - Presented by the Bel-Air Association Land Use Team


The current table of haul routes from the Department of Building and Safety’s Board of Building and Safety Commissioners, dated August 21, is below.

A PDF is also available from the Department’s website at http://ladbs.org/LADBSWeb/LADBS_Forms/Misc/haul_route_status_table.pdf.

Sincerely,
Your Bel-Air Association Land Use Committee














LATEST PERMITS MATRIX LA DEPARTMENT OF BUILDING AND SAFETY

Latest Permits Matrix from LA Department of Building and Safety

The latest matrix of building permits in our Council District 5 from the Department of Building and Safety, dated August 21, is below.

A PDF is also available from the Department’s website at http://ladbs.org/LADBSWeb/LADBS_Forms/InformationBulletins/CD5-PermitsMATRIX.pdf.

Sincerely,
Your Bel-Air Association Land Use Committee











Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Letter to the Department of City Planning - 11005 Bellagio Place President Ron Hudson

Dear Bel-Air Association Members and Neighbors,

Today the Bel-Air Association submitted a letter enclosed below to the City Planning Department regarding a proposed single-family home at 11005 Bellagio Place.  

In summary, the Bel-Air Association is currently focused on addressing the concerns raised by our members about hauling on our streets - both the impacts on safety and access as well as the damage done to our roads.  

As you will see in this letter, and was detailed in our letter on the Tortuoso site, the Bel-Air Association is working to achieve standard conditions which protect us as neighbors with regards to how the hauling is done to ensure the utmost safety for drivers in our community.

In addition, in this letter specifically, we have raised the issue of the bonds that haulers are required to obtain prior to moving dirt on and off site.  

The City requires that bonds be obtained to guarantee that if repairs are needed to the roadways once the hauling is completed that it is done at that time.  Unfortunately, frequently, the City releases these bonds without requiring any repairs.  

To that end, our most recent letter demands that the City hold these haulers accountable and utilize the bonds that are posted by these contractors to do roadway repairs once the project is completed. 

We feel strongly that if hauling must continue, we should at least see repairs getting done!

_______________________________________________

August 19, 2015

Ms. Darlene Navarrete
Department of City Planning
200 N. Main Street, Rm. 750
Los Angeles, CA 90012

RE:     ENV-2014-3665; 11005 Bellagio Place 
(MND-NG-15-339-PL)

Dear Ms. Navarrete,

Please find below the comments of the Bel-Air Association regarding the published Mitigated Negative Declaration for the project located at 11005 Bellagio Place in the Bel-Air community of the City of Los Angeles.

In reviewing the document, the first item of concern is the cumulative impact finding on page 52 (item XVIII-b). The conclusion to this potentially significant finding is simply that there will be “no net increase in the number of dwelling units” and “the project site is located in an urban setting which [was] already developed primarily with single-family residences.” However, nowhere in the document does it consider the cumulative impacts of hauling in this community by this project, ones that have come before it and ones that will follow. It appears that no analysis was performed at all but merely a box was checked and a statement made that the impacts were resolved.
This data is critical. 

This issue alone encompasses the recent concerns surrounding hauling projects in our community. Many haul routes exist in this community today, some that overlap with this one, or could in the near future. Bel-Air is a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone and has numerous Substandard Limited Hillside Streets, including the street that the project is located on and that the haul route is proposed for. For the safety of our community, this must be considered by this document. 

These very issues have been detailed in projects at 944 Airole Way (BBSC File 130109 and ENV-2013-1578-MND, CF 13-1716 and 10697 Somma Way (BBSC 140029, ENV-2014-197-MND, CF 14-1211). This cumulative impact of projects requires that an EIR be completed on this project.
In addition to these concerns, the MND incorrectly analyzes the traffic impacts, erroneously concluding that the proposed project would “not generate or cause a diversion or shift of more daily a.m. or p.m. peak hour vehicle trips on the street system” merely because “[t]he project will replace an existing 73-year old single family dwelling with a new single-family dwelling.” (Page 46, item XVI.a.) 

The replacement of a single-family dwelling is not an analysis of the haul route’s heavy dump-truck traffic impacts. The haul route includes Bellagio Road from Bellagio Place to Sunset Boulevard. That portion of Bellagio Road is heavily traveled by traffic during peak hours to access Roscomare Road, as an alternate route to the I-405. Additionally, the questionnaire indicates that the hauling will be accomplished with trucks with trailers, a more impactful traffic hazard on Bellagio Road. The haul route should be limited to the least impactful 10-wheel dump trucks, as other Bel-Air haul-routes have. Furthermore, the impacts of this heavy dump- truck traffic has not been properly analyzed alone, nor in conjunction with cumulative impacts from other past, current or future projects, as required by CEQA.

While it is true that this project appears to have been submitted before the current Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) went into effect, the ICO’s prohibition of dirt export above 6,000 cubic yards from Bel- Air, and the City Council’s findings made in support of the adoption of the ICO, show there is an impact here and that it cannot simply be overlooked because they filed a request before the implementation of an ICO. If the conditions exist whereby the Council adopts an ICO with an urgency clause due to the serious impacts on these communities, then clearly a significant impact exists and that must be reviewed in a full EIR.

All of the mitigation measures adopted in the haul route approvals for the Bel-Air projects at 944 Airole Way and 10697 Somma Way should be mitigation measures required in any CEQA approval of this project, in order to mitigate the same substantial effects that this haul route project will have on the health, safety and welfare of the Bel-Air community. Those restrictions include, but are not limited to, the following:

1.    No crossing of two hauling vehicles shall be allowed in Bel-Air. (Once one hauling vehicle leaves Bel-Air, the next hauling vehicle may enter.) (BBSC letter dated September 2, 2014, page 2, BF#140029);
2.    All hauling vehicles must be identified by a unique placard prominently identifying the project address and prominently displayed in the front windshield of such vehicle. (BBSC letter dated September 2, 2014, page 2, BF#140029);
3.    The hauling operations are restricted to the hours between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays only. No hauling allowed on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays. Haul vehicles may not arrive at the site before the designated start time. (BBSC letter dated September 2, 2014, page 1, BF#140029);
4.    All clearing, earth moving, or excavation activities shall be discontinued during periods of high winds (i.e., greater than 15 mph), so as to prevent excessive amounts of dust (ENV-2013-1578- MND and ENV-2014-197-MND, page 2);
5.    All dirt/soil loads shall be secured by trimming, other appropriate means (other than watering) to prevent spillage and dust (modified from ENV-2013-1578-MND and ENV-2014-197-MND, page 2);
6.    All dirt/soil materials transported off-site shall be securely covered to prevent excessive amounts of dust (modified from ENV-2013-1578-MND and ENV-2014-197-MND, page 2);
7.    General contractors shall maintain and operate construction equipment so as to minimize exhaust emissions (ENV-2013-1578-MND and ENV-2014-197-MND, page 2); and
8.    Trucks having no current hauling activity shall not idle but be turned off (ENV-2013-1578-MND and ENV-2014-197-MND, page 2).

Further, we feel strongly that due to the nature of the hauling we have seen in our community these additional conditions must be added:

1.    All flagmen shall be properly trained, not construction workers taken from a job site and just given a vest and handheld traffic sign;
2.    All flagmen shall be prohibited from smoking or consuming alcoholic beverages while on duty;
3.    All flagmen shall remove all of their trash from their stationed location upon being relieved of duty for any period of time.
In closing we would point out that the project description is incomplete because it does not disclose the total amount of dirt that will be exported as part of the project. It only discloses the amount of dirt for which a hauling permit is required by the Los Angeles Municipal Code.  This is a concern because we are aware that there are amounts of dirt that are considered “exempt” under the Code and regardless of that exemption, ALL hauling causes impacts on circulation, safety and the condition of our streets.  To that end we would also like to request that once the hauling is complete that a thorough review of the route be conducted by Public Works prior to the bond being released by the City.  

It is our experience that our roads are left pock marked with potholes and other damage from these trucks.  However, it is also our experience that the City does not hold these contractors accountable for the repairs.  The City has the capability through the bonds held to make sure these repairs are done.  It is imperative that the projects be held accountable for the damages.

We would appreciate your attention to and response to all of the above comments.

Respectfully submitted,
Ron Hudson
President



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tortuoso Way MND Update from President Ron Hudson

Dear Bel-Air Association Neighbors, 

Today on behalf of the Bel-Air Association membership I submitted a comment letter on the proposed project at 
780, 788 & 800 Tortuoso Way. 

In summary, it is the belief of our Board of Directors and Land Use Team that this project requires a more thorough environmental review than the proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND).

The Somma Way project was approved for hauling 25,000 cubic yards and a superior court judge found that project required a full Environmental Impact Report. 

This project is proposing to haul approximately 60,000 cubic yards, 3 times that of Somma Way, and, therefore, should be reviewed at the same standard.

In addition, I should point out that the MND fails to perform a cumulative-impacts analysis to explore how the hauling from this project will impact Bel-Air as a whole due to the many other previously approved haul routes in this area. 

The Bel-Air Association feels strongly that it is important to stabilize this hillside and correct the illegal grading for which the applicant was cited in a recently issued Order to Comply by the Department of Building & Safety. 

However, correcting grading activities that should not have occurred in the first place is not a platform for approving extensive hauling for the construction of three homes. 

This project needs further review and that should not interrupt their ability to remediate the current concerns on the site.





Friday, August 7, 2015

BEL-AIR BAR & GRILL UPDATE



The Bel-Air Bar & Grill has filed for an approval to permit the continued sale of a full-line of alcoholic beverages in conjunction with their restaurant and the sale of off-site beer and wine for The Shack.

In their request to the City of Los Angeles, Bel-Air Bar & Grill has requested an extension of The Shack hours of operation, to include Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., to allow the Bel-Air Bar & Grill to serve food and alcohol on the 2nd floor balcony, to provide live music in the restaurant and, to increase the percent of alcohol content in the wines they sell.

Background:
The City of Los Angeles approved the Bel-Air Bar & Grill Conditional Use Permit (CUP) in 2011 to allow for a new 5,929 square foot restaurant, the sale of and dispensing of a full-line of alcoholic beverages for on-site sale, and to allow the sale of off-site beer and wine.

The Bel-Air Bar & Grill went through a transformation in 2012 with a newly constructed Gold LEED's certified building with a state of the art kitchen, updated interior design, 35 new parking spaces, with the addition of the Sunset Room for private events.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

TORTUOSO WAY PROJECT UPDATE FROM PRESIDENT RON HUDSON

Dear Bel-Air Community,

I informed you last week that this project is seeking environmental and 
haul-route approvals to export 60,000 cubic yards of dirt. We understand that misinformation has recently been circulated that incorrectly represents the amount as 55,000 cubic yards. The precise number is 59,920, which is clearly not the substantially lower number of 55,000 that has been misreported.

We will continue to be transparent with you on all of the conditions that we seek on any approvals, by posting our specific written comments on our blog. We will also continue to be transparent with you if any contributions are made to Project Pothole by the developers in exchange for any support from the Bel-Air Association. 

Please remember that all contributions to Project Pothole go directly to the City to share in the cost of repairing our streets, so that the City makes our streets a priority for its overdue maintenance.  None of the contributions to Project Pothole go to the Bel-Air Association for any purpose, not even for legal fees.

Our Land Use Team always solicits your feedback and thoughts, so that we can take them into account as we prepare our comments in response to this and the other major projects that continue to excessively overburden our community.

Very truly yours,
Ron Hudson
President