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EIGHT IMPORTANT COMMUNITY STORIES
YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT FOR AUGUST
 
 
Wildlife Ordinance Being Shaped by City
Council Expresses Concern about City Animal Shelters
Water Restriction on Hillsides Poses Fire Danger
Council Supports Prohibition of Camping Near Libraries
Council Elects New Officers For 2022-23
American Jewish University Selling all or Part of Campus
Summer Events at Getty Center and Skirball
Scrapbook: From Orange Groves to a World Class Garden
 
 
Scroll Down for Details
 
NEW WILDLIFE ORDINANCE BEING SHAPED BY CITY PLANNING
 
Background
For as long as hillside community organizations have been in existence, a common complaint has been that developers have the ear of the City and its Los Angeles City Planning Department, which is not sensitive to the unique needs and concerns of hillside homeowners or to preserve the special character of the hillsides.

With the proposed Wildlife District Ordinance, City Planning is acknowledging that our hillside needs are different from the needs of the flats -  that the preservation of wildlife, fauna, and open space matters.

Los Angeles is losing critical habitat at a rapid pace due to development.  The Planning Department states that the intent of this ordinance is to construct a set of building regulations that “balances wildlife habitat and connectivity with private property development thereby achieving more sustainable outcomes in the hillsides and habitats of Los Angeles."
 
 
The History of the Proposed City Planning Wildlife Ordinance
The current proposed ordinance is the combination of two different ordinances that had been previously released to the public in 2021 – the Wildlife Pilot Ordinance and the Ridgeline Ordinance.  

The Wildlife Pilot Study was first initiated in 2016 in response to a motion made by Councilperson Koretz to create a set of land use regulations that would preserve wildlife connectivity in the city. It was decided to begin with a “pilot study area” which could then be expanded to other parts of the City with critical wildlife habitats. 

Ridgeline Ordinance
As various districts in Los Angeles and the Mulholland Specific Plan adopted specific ridgeline protections, in 2006 Councilperson Jack Weiss of CD 5 introduced a City Council motion asking the Planning Department to prepare a report discussing the feasibility of drafting a citywide ridgeline protection ordinance.  Consequently, at the City Planning Commission’s meeting on May 27, 2010, the commission recommended new hillside regulations and encouraged the creation of citywide protections for ridgelines. After many years of study and analysis, and after conducting public outreach, the Planning Department finally published a Ridgeline Protection Draft for a Pilot program. It was released to the public for review and comment on April 4, 2021, and subsequently, the current draft of the Wildlife Ordinance was published in April in 2022, which incorporates ridgeline protection provisions.

The Planning Department ultimately decided that the two ordinances should be combined into one ordinance; it was determined that this approach would be more efficient and would avoid confusion and duplication.  (For the record, the BABCNC was opposed to combining these two ordinances.)
 

The revised draft, now called the Wildlife District Ordinance, was released to the public on April 22 of this year. City Planning is currently analyzing potential changes to the draft and incorporating feedback received from public comment.
 
Neighborhood Council Studies the Proposal

The Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council has just completed a thorough process of reviewing the proposed Wildlife District Ordinance for well over twenty-five hours in fifteen meetings devoted to the ordinance and hearing many hours of public comments. Furthermore, many previous meetings were held by committees on the previous draft of the Wildlife Ordinance as well as on the previous draft of the Ridgeline Ordinance.

The meetings and their supporting documents can be viewed on the BABCNC Website:  https://www.babcnc.org/committees/viewCommittee/ad-hoc-subcommittee-on-proposed-wildlife-district.

During these meetings, committee members carefully reviewed the language of the current draft and its ability to preserve our treasured wildlife and fauna while balancing the new regulations and its implications for our stakeholders.  Committee members delved deeply into topics such as fencing, windows, grading, landscaping, ridgeline and resource buffers, and residential floor area  – to name just a few.


 
Stakeholder Comments
Throughout the review process of the current draft of the Wildlife Ordinance there has been very strong community involvement.  Some stakeholders have been strongly opposed to the Ordinance. They feel the regulations are too stringent and feel that the Planning Department has not given the public sufficient notification.

Other stakeholders have been very supportive of the Ordinance and embrace it wholeheartedly and some even feel that the regulations don’t go far enough.

The BABCNC attempted to listen to all voices in drafting its letter of recommendation to the Planning Department.  The BABCNC has supported both the Wildlife Ordinance and the Ridgeline Ordinance since their inceptions; while it supports the intent of the Wildlife District Ordinance, it has recommendations for improving the ordinance and making it more equitable.  A copy of the BABCNC comment letter can be read here.

This is a major piece of legislation and, as a result, it is not surprising that there has been a lot of misinformation circulating about this ordinance.
 
The BABCNC urges all stakeholders to read the ordinance in its entirety before forming an opinion. The Revised Ordinance can be found here https://planning.lacity.org/odocument/706b2aa2-4b3b-43c4-8aeb-b5cc378e36cd/2022_City_of_LA_Revised_Draft_Wildlife_Ordinance_Public_Release.pdf

The deadline for your comments has been extended until 5PM on August 22nd. Anyone wishing to make a comment on the ordinance or ask a question, can contact the Planning Department directly at ourla2040@lacity.org
Be sure to reference in your email: #CPC-2022-3413-CA and CPC-2022-3712-ZC


Mindy Rothstein Mann
 
COUNCIL SUPPORTS BAN ON CAMPING NEAR PUBLIC LIBRARIES
 
The Neighborhood Council has expressed its support in Council File 20-1376-S3, introduced by City Council Member Joseph Buscaino, to create an ordinance which would prohibit sitting, laying, sleeping and storing personal property in or upon any street, sidewalk or other public right-of-way within 500 feet of a library.
 
 
                
                 COUNCIL EXPRESSES GREAT CONCERN ABOUT

                                    CITY ANIMAL SHELTERS
 
 
The Neighborhood Council is sending a letter to the Mayor, Chair of Personnel, Animal Welfare Committee and Board of Animal Services Commissioners expressing “great concern about the treatment of animals in shelters as reported in the Los Angeles Times.”
 
The Council requested immediate action to provide adequate staff, volunteer support and protections for whistleblowers with the Department of Animal Services.
 

           NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL SENDS MAYOR GARCETTI
           A LETTER OF CONCERN ABOUT WATER RESTRICTION
                        ON HILLSIDE RESIDENTIAL ZONE

 
“The speed of wildfires is determined in large part by the water content of vegetation in their paths,” wrote Travis Longcore, President, on behalf of the Bel Air Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council, expressing concern for severe water restrictions in the hillsides.
 
“It is important to keep vegetation healthy with a high moisture content around residences in hillside areas which the watering restrictions impede.”
 
The letter asks for the establishment of a Blue Ribbon Panel including DWP, LAFD, LAPD, and planning and environmental horticulture specialists to consider appropriate balance of water use for ornamental vegetation, especially trees.
 
The entire letter, dated July 24, can be found here.
 
OFFICERS ELECTED FOR 2022-23 NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL YEAR
 
At the July public Board meeting the following officers were elected by the Board for the coming year:
 
President: Dr. Travis Longcore
 
Vice President for Operations:  Robin Greenberg
 
Vice President for Legislative Affairs: Jamie Hall
 
Secretary:  Nickie Miner
 
Treasurer:  Vadim Levotman



 
 
          AMERICAN JEWISH UNIVERSITY SELLING ALL OR PART
                                   OF BEL AIR CAMPUS
 
 
Your Neighborhood Council’s long time pre-pandemic home for in-person meetings, American Jewish University, may be closing its doors soon. According to a story in the Times of Israel, The University plans to sell “all or part” of the 35 acre campus in Bel Air it has occupied for 45 years.
 
University students received a letter stating that the sale would help pay for more academic offerings and community programs as the institution turns digital.
 
AJU President Jaffrey Herbst called the decision by the university’s board to proceed with the sale “Bold” and “Strategic.”
 
The sale only includes the Sunny & Isadore Familian Campus in Bel Air and not the Brandeis-Bardin Campus in the hills of Simi Valley.
 
 
                   SKIRBALL AND GETTY CENTER OFFER
                    TWO LOCAL OUTSTANDING EXHIBITS

 

The Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049
 
"I’ll Have What She’s Having”: The Jewish Deli
 
Now through September 18, 2022
 
The Skirball describes the Jewish deli as "More than a place to get a meal, the Jewish deli is a community forged in food."

The exhibition is full of photos of delis from New York to Los Angeles and artifacts from the same delis such as neon signs, menus, advertisements, uniforms, photographs, and film and TV clips from delis throughout the US.
 
The exhibition, named for the famous Billy Chrystal film, When Harry Met Sally, “I’ll Have What She’s Having” explores the important journey of Jewish immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe to the United States who imported and adapted traditions to create a uniquely American restaurant - the deli.

There are also many interactive activities for people of all ages in the exhibit. A favorite activity of those who attended included writing down your own memories of your favorite  deli on a menu pad just like your deli waitress would use to write your order down to give to the cook. There are also fun photo ops and an all-ages gallery guide.
 
Admission:
$18 General
$15 Seniors
$13 Full-Time Students with ID and Children over 12
FREE to all on Thursdays

 

The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 9004 m
 
Working Together: The Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop

 Now through October 9, 2022. This is the first major exhibition about the Kamoinge Workshop, a collective of Black photographers formed in New York in 1963. The group is credited as portraying Black life in the mid-20th century with powerful images. 
 
The exhibition explores Kamoinge’s photographs from the 1960s and 1970s and shows the group's true collaborative nature. The works also center on Black life and the group's commitment to community.
 
Free Admission, but The Getty temporarily requires a timed-entry reservation
 
Parking:
$20 per car or motorcycle
$15 after 3pm
$10: Evening events and Saturdays
$10 after 6pm
 
Hours:
 
Tuesday–Friday and Sunday: 10am–5:30pm
Saturday:10am–8pm
Monday: Closed
 
Maureen Smith
 
 
SCRAPBOOK: 
The history of our BABCNC Community
FROM ORANGE GROVES
TO WORLD FAMOUS GARDENS
 
 
The lure of California and Navel orange growing was too great in 1882 for Joseph Winchester Robinson.  He came all the way from Waltham Massachusetts to Riverside California to make his fortune as an orange grower. He had left the dry good business,where fashion ruled, to pursue oranges.
 
Eliza Tibbits and her husband had planted the first Navel orange tree in Riverside (it is still there) with such success that many, many people visualized their futures growing oranges.

On a trip to Los Angeles, Robinson saw something that intrigued him.  He saw the most fashionably dressed Los Angeles women were not wearing the latest fashions. Robinson knew this for a fact because he knew style. What Robinson knew was dry goods and high fashion. Now, he saw an opportunity to reenter his old business in a new city.
 
 
The Boston Dry Goods Store was formed by Robinson in 1883. Using his many contacts in the dry goods business he was able to advertise “fine stocks and refined Boston service".

The business was such a success that it moved to larger quarters 4 years later doubling is space from 1,700 to over 3,000 square feet.

The business was a success but sadly Joseph did not live to enjoy the success. He died, suddenly at the young age of 45 in 1891. His widow and other family members took over the enterprise renaming the company J.W. Robinson in honor of the founder. The dry good store developed into a full Department Store.
 
 
By 1915 Robinsons had become a major Department Store, located on Seventh Street in downtown Los Angeles

The heir to the Department store was Harry Winchester Robinson who took over the management of the company. 

Harry enjoyed the company of a smart young woman he had grown up with, Virginia Dryden.

The Dryden family, Nathaniel, his wife Helen, and their two daughters Virginia and Ada, arrived on Los Angeles in 1887.  Virginia met Harry Robinson just after her family moved to the area.
 
“Harry and I grew up together. We used to ride horseback up Cahuenga Pass,” Virginia told the Herald Examinor, “Harry always told me he was going to marry me but I had any other suitors.”
 
Six days after Virginia returned from a trip to see her sister in New Mexico, she made her choice. Virginia and Harry were married in 1902, and went on a 3-year traveling honeymoon.
 

 
Los Angeles Country Club around 1911 before Century City and Fox studios.  Note the oil wells, which were everywhere in Los Angeles at the time.

When they returned to Los Angeles everyone was talking about the new Los Angeles Country Club which had moved from many locations in Los Angeles, to the western outskirts along Wilshire Boulevard.  Virginia and Harry decided to drive out and see the country club for themselves. They drove out along Sunset Boulevard and became totally lost.
 
“We never found the club, but we did find ourselves on a slight hill with a lovely view." Harry said, "this is where we are going to live,”  according  to a news story in the Glendale News Press
 
They bought a number of acres of land from Burton Green who was in the planning stages for his new city of Beverly Hills.  The Robinsons built the first house North of Sunset in 1911.
 
The house that Harry and Virginia shared was built by her father in a Beaux-Arts style. But the home was more than a house – extensive gardens were planted over what eventually grew to become 6 acres just north of the Beverly Hill Hotel.
 
Over time the garden grew more extensive and complex.  There is an Italian Renaissance garden, a formal Mall garden with perennial flowers, a Rose Garden, a Kitchen Garden, and a Tropical Palm Garden.  Known today as the Virginia Robinson Garden, it has become one of the most spectacular gardens in Southern California.
 
From the very beginning, Virginia was part of the Robinson Company. After Harry died in 1932 she took over as Chairwoman of the Company, which she ran for 30 years.
 

Virginia Dryden Robinson died in 1977, willing her home and gardens to the County of Los Angeles as a gift to all people. It is available to viewed to this day on a limited basis so as not to disturb the neighbors. To visit and for more information: https://www.robinsongardens.org/contact/

Andre Stojka
 
THE LOS ANGELES NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL SYSTEM
 
Because of the size of Los Angeles, each Los Angeles City Council member represents around 250,000 people. To keep City officials in closer touch with the neighborhoods of the City, in 1999 Los Angeles adopted a Neighborhood Council system to advise the City Council members of local issues.
 
There are 99 separate Neighborhood Councils in the City of Los Angeles. Members of the Neighborhood Council are considered City employees without compensation of any kind. They are formally elected by the public or communities and must live, work or own property in the area they represent.
 
The Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council represents approximately 28,000 people in a beautiful mountain and canyon area of the City of Los Angeles bounded on the West by Sepulveda Boulevard, on the North, Mulholland Drive, on the South by Sunset Boulevard and the East by Laurel Canyon.

 

San Fernando Valley at night, viewed from Mulholland Drive,
part of our Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council community

 

The Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council Community News is published by the Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council Outreach Committee:
Robin Greenberg, Mindy Mann, Nickie Miner,
Robert Schlesinger, Maureen Smith, Patricia Templeton
Andre Stojka, Chairperson and Newsletter Editor
BABCNC President: Travis Longcore
Newsletter (c) 2022 Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council
Scrapbook (c) 2022 Andre Stojka
Photo Credits: Getty, Skirball, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, National Park Service, Shutterstock, Parks Conservancy, Virginia Robinson Gardens, Wikipedia

Your comments are solicited and appreciated.
Please contact us at:  outreach@babcnc.org

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Bel Air/Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council · PO Box 252007 · Los Angeles, CA 90025 · USA

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