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Council Supports Rescinding Plan for Hotel In Benedict Canyon

Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky Visits Neighborhood Council

Ad Hoc Committee On Home Sharing And Party House Ordinances Renewed

No Building Permits for Bribers
Council Supports City Attorney As Administrative Officer
Planning And Land Use Committee Approval
Neighborhood Council Election Results
Brush Clearance and Defensible Space
Springtime Is Not The Time to Trim Your Trees

Animal Shelter Task Force
Scrapbook: Arcadia Bandini Stearns Baker
and The Old Soldiers Home
Pet Adoptions

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Protesters opposed to the proposed Bulgari Hotel in rural Benedict Canyon.

The Neighborhood Council voted to support the motion to the City Council CF 23-0249 which was submitted by Councilmembers Yaroslavsky and Raman to ask that the Council request the Director of Planning to consider rescinding the initiation of a General Plan Amendment for a hotel in the middle of Benedict Canyon. According to the motion, the plan should be rescinded because the proposed amendment does not reflect the land use patterns, trends, uses, and environmental and safety concerns and does not further the intent, purposes, and objectives of the General Plan, including the Community Plan, the Framework Element, and the Safety Element.


Katy Yaroslavsky, the new councilperson for CD5, was the guest speaker at our last monthly meeting, which was held virtually on March 22nd.
Katy outlined her top three priorities –
  • Protecting the Santa Monica Mountains and stopping the Bulgari Hotel project in Benedict Canyon.
  • Enforcing the rules that are in place for short-term rentals, and ensuring that there are consequences for party houses
  • DWP infrastructure – ensuring that DWP is held accountable for improving aging infrastructure in the hillsides and ensuring that DWP has better communication with residents when issues arise
Katy also talked about making certain that she had adequate staffing in her office to respond in a timely manner to her constituents when they contact the office.

After her brief comments, Katy graciously answered questions from our board and from the public for almost 30 minutes. She fielded questions about various topics including safety issues, air traffic from Van Nuys and Burbank airports, supporting the LAPD and protecting open space (including Hoag/Senderos Canyon).


Her transportation deputy/senior field deputy - Jarrett Thompson - was also in attendance. Jarrett can be contacted with any questions or issues at, and can also be seen regularly at our monthly meetings.

If you would like to be kept informed on current affairs, sign up for Councilmember Yaroslavsky’s weekly newsletter at

General Inquiries to the Councilmember’s office can be sent to

A wealth of information can be found at the Councilmember’s website:

Mindy Rothstein Mann
The Council voted to renew the Ad Hoc Committee on Home Sharing and Party House Ordinances for a year. This will enable the committee to continue development of community resources to address the impacts of home sharing and party houses, coordinate with City officials on enforcement of home sharing and party house ordinances, and make recommendations to the Board on actions regarding these topics.

The Council voted to support the City Council motion CF 23-0249 (Government Code Section 1090) submitted by Councilmembers Harris-Dawson and Krekorian to prohibit property owners or developers from obtaining permits if they have previously induced or conspired to cause a violation of the law prohibiting public officials from acting on matters in which they have a financial interest, have engaged in illegal demolition or otherwise have engaged in criminal conduct to defraud the City or any other government entity.


The Neighborhood Council voted in support of the resolution in CF 23-0244 Administrative Citation Enforcement (ACE) Program / City Attorney / Enforcement Officer / Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) submitted by Councilmembers McOsker and Harris-Dawson.

The administrative enforcement program  (ACE Program), under the umbrella of the Outreach and Restorative Justice Division, is a non-criminal approach to nuisance abatement and quality of life offenses using fines (instead of arrests, incarceration and criminal records) for people who violate the Los Angeles municipal code.
This resolution asks the City Council to add the City Attorney as an Enforcement Officer empowered to enforce certain provisions of the LAMC, and that the City Attorney be authorized to modify the processes set forth in ACE to implement the ACE program, as appropriate, for the addition of the City Attorney, including implementing citation forms, administrative procedures, protocols, appeals to a hearing officer and designation of a citation processing company as the City Attorney determines is necessary or appropriate for Administrative Citations issued by the City Attorney.


BABCNC recommended approval for a building permit for:
2727 N BENEDICT CANYON DR 90210 Project Description: 4,079.8 sq ft addition to be permitted for SFD to result in greater 17,500 sq ft in residential floor area in HCR zone Removal of existing pool, new pool, paved motor/entry court, landscaping, grading and 650 cubic yards of export, soil nails for hillside stabilization and debris diversion system.
That BABCNC supports the project because of the grading it is in safer condition; the square footage seems to be added in appropriate places, not making the house and footprint too much larger; that the applicant will reflect in the drawings the measures to protect existing remaining trees during construction; and BABCNC finds that the required findings can be made because of the size of land, the residential floor area that is allowed, the pre-existing size of the home, which is an indicator of minimal increase of footprint and minimal impact, the fact that there are no native trees being removed and no fencing, and the support of adjoining land owners.
DIR-2022-8707-DRB-SPP-SPR ENV-2022-8708-EAF

                Voting stations at Harvard Westlake School set up by
                          the office of the Los Angeles City Clerk
                      BEL AIR-BEVERLY CREST ELECTION
                               FOR BOARD MEMBERS

All members of the Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council Board are either elected directly by the community, appointed by Homeowner/Resident Associations or appointed by the Board. Council elections were widely publicized. Voters could choose to vote by mail or vote in person. In person voting took place Sunday March 26 at the Harvard-Westlake School from 10AM to 2PM.  This election was independently supervised by the Los Angeles City Clerk.
Officials from the Los Angeles City Clerk verify a stakeholder address and relationship to the community before giving out a ballot
Bel-Air Glen District:                         Timothy Steele
Franklin-Coldwater District:               Steven Weinberg
North of Sunset District:                    Aaron Kamin
                                                          Vadim Levotman
                                                          Angela Roessel
Pubic Educational Institutions:          Kristie Halsey Holmes
Commercial or Office Enterprise:      Maureen Smith
At-Large Traditional Stakeholder:     Shawn Bayliss
                                                          Mindy Rothstein Mann
At-Large Community Interest:           Ellen Evans
At-Large Youth Representative:        Alonzo Wickers

Jon Wimbish, Head of Middle School at Harvard-Westlake, welcomes voters to the campus
Annual notices from the LAFD are in our mailboxes now. GIS technology and mapping programs allow the fire department to identify all parcels within fire hazard severity zones. Prior to the use of GIS technology, structures were identified though fire history and visual identification FHSZ Viewer (
Fire hazard severity zones indicate the potential fire hazard on an area of land, based on vegetation, topography, worst case weather conditions, fire history, predicted flame lengths, burn probability and ember cast. CAL FIRE is mandated to classify all lands within the state by California Public Resources Code 4201-4204.
If your property is located within a designated fire hazard severity zone, an inspection is required. Due to ember cast, this includes structures inside developments without open land (native vegetation) immediately adjacent to the structure. Inspections for non-compliance in our Neighborhood Council area will start in May 1. You can avoid the $31.00 inspection fee by properly clearing your hillside on time.

If your property fails the inspection, you will have a minimum of 30 days to complete corrections. Prior to your inspection please call the Brush Clearance Unit at 626 969 2375 for clarity on requirements. The second inspection fee will be $674.00.

The LAFD requires 200 feet of brush clearance.  From 0 to 20 feet, homeowners must create a “lean and green” zone by trimming trees so they don’t hang over roofs and clearing dead grass and brush. Between 30 and 100 feet, they must keep shrubs spaced apart and grasses mowed to 3 inches or less.
Adequate defensible space acts as a barrier to slow or halt the progress of a fire. The State has verified fire science that indicates structure loss can be reduced when homeowners harden their home and reduce vegetation closest to the home. Assembly Bill 3074, which became a law on January 1, 2021, requires a 5’ ember resistant zone around all structures in a fire hazard severity zone It will not be enforced until the State approves vegetation clearance requirements that is expected in the fall of 2023. Full enforcement of the 5 foot ember resistance zone on existing structures will not be required until one year after the State approves final requirements. This is expected for inspections that will occur in 2024.
Full enforcement on new construction will take effect immediately upon approval of final clearance requirements. After the State approves final Zone 0 requirements, it is expected that very few plants will be allowed within the first 5’ of a structure. Trees with large trunks must have all lower limbs removed within the first 5’ of the structure. All tree canopies must be removed for the first 10’ above the roof.
Assembly Bill 38 (AB38) requires all real estate sellers with structures in a FHSZ to ensure compliance with defensible space requirements The requirement for real estate defensible space compliance inspections took effect on July 1, 2021. Link to LA County Fire-Fire Hazard Reduction Programs: https://fire.lacounty.gove/fire-hazardreduction- programs/
Robin Greenberg

Unfortunately, spring is also the time when hillside residents receive notices for brush clearance.
Birds bring us joy, beauty, wonder, and a connection to our place on Earth.  They play a critical role in pollination, seed dispersal, nutrient cycling, pest control, and improved human mental health. It is incumbent upon us to do our best to protect them and ensure their survival. Now that spring and nesting season is upon us, here are a few simple guidelines and regulations to bear in mind.
Spring is the height of nesting season for most of our Southern California birds. If you have branches that overhang your roof or are low to the ground, remove these to comply with LAFD brush requirements, but hold off on any other major tree trimming until fall or winter when the major nesting season is over. Severely cutting, trimming, and topping trees, bushes, and other greenery in the spring and summer can destroy nests and eliminate valuable nest sites.
Spring is the time when trees use their energy for new growth. In general, heavy pruning during this time can limit a tree’s bloom potential for the year, especially if it is a species that blooms on the previous year's growth. In addition, thinning or pruning many species of trees during the growing season can expose them to harmful pests and diseases which are more active during warmer weather.  October to late January is the best time to prune most of your trees.

Denuding the hillside harms nesting birds and all wildlife. It deprives them of their food sources as well as shelter and cover from the elements. Many birds build their nests in shrubs and bushes and even on the ground. Furthermore, denuding the hillside is dangerous - it destabilizes the hillside and leads to erosion.


In Los Angeles, we now have 6 protected trees/shrubs: Valley & Live Oak, Western Sycamore, Black Walnut, Bay Laurel, Mexican Elderberry and Toyon.  Native birds need places to forage, and research shows that our native trees are the best providers. Remember that it is illegal to remove these protected trees without a permit  LAMC 46.00-46.06
Only hire licensed, insured, and experienced companies who have an arborist on staff. Many companies who advertise low-ball prices will denude the hillside during brush clearance, will trim trees incorrectly, and are unaware of the rules regarding the protection of our nesting birds.
Mindy Rothstein Mann
The history of our Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council
communities and the communities around us

Born Arcadia Bandini in San Diego in 1827, she married young and married well. Her father Juan Bandini had been a rebel, a fighter and eventually a huge landowner. During the Mexican America war, he sided with America. Her mother was Maria de los Delores Estudillo, the daughter of one of the founders of San Diego.

Arcadia’s first marriage, at the age of 15, was to one of the most successful businessmen of the time, Abel Stearns, builder of the Stern Block in downtown Los Angeles (now covered by the 101 freeway) and Sterns Wharf in Santa Barbara. Sterns and her father had been friends.

As the wife of Abel Stearns, Arcadia became a socialite. She was rich, beautiful and knew the most important people in California at the time. She was proud of her Spanish lineage and conducted all her business dealings in Castilian Spanish. She learned business from her husband and became a shrewd and successful businesswoman. Sadly, in 1871 her much older husband died during a business trip to San Francisco. Abel and Arcadia had no children. She inherited all his properties and his businesses.

                                            Colonel Robert S. Baker

At the age of 43, Arcadia was single again. A new phase of her life opened when she met Colonel Robert S Baker, a man who had made his fortune in mining supplies during the Gold Rush and was the founder of the City of Bakersfield.
Baker owned Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica. The couple moved to Santa Monica where Arcadia was known as the “godmother of Santa Monica”. They owned land stretching from Pacific Coast Highway to Sepulveda Boulevard and from Pico to the mountains.

The Arcadia Hotel in 1890 was Santa Monica's first upscale  hotel and was named for Arcadia

Their development of the City of Santa Monica was successful on the Westside of their holdings. however there was very little public interest in buying land on the Eastside of their property next to what is now Sepulveda Boulevard.
In 1888 the solution to their development dilemma came from far away - Washington DC and the Federal Government. Twenty-three years earlier, in 1865 President Abraham Lincoln signed a law establishing a National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.

                             Old Soldiers Home in 1890 in Sawtelle

Most of the Old Soldiers Home activity took place on the east coast where most of the Civil War had been waged. But after time, people began to migrate west and the need for an Old Soldiers Home in Los Angeles arose. Arcadia and Robert looked at this as a combined patriotic act and as business opportunity, because the area outside such a home would grow in value because of families wishing to live near the residents of the home.
Arcadia and Robert donated 300 acres of land to the Federal government and $100,000 cash to establish a reservoir in the hills above the development. This is the land we see today as the Veterans Home.  The land on the east side of Sepulveda to the street known today as Veteran Avenue, where the cemetery lies, was donated by the owners of Wolfskill ranch. The Home opened in 1888 with the original buildings designed by the noted Gilded Age Architect Sandford White.


A new town was created on Arcadia and Robert's land, named Sawtelle (the name of the project Manager), to accommodate the people attracted by the new Soldiers Home.  It served its purpose and became populated.

                 Japanese gather at the Ikkanda Nursery, Sawtelle 1915

Because there were no racial restrictions or redlining, anyone of any national origin could buy land in the new community.  This attracted many Japanese people who were prohibited from buying land in Los Angeles and a strong Japanese community developed.
They established another town named West Gate that was later developed as Brentwood.
                Advertising land for sale in Brentwood, formerly
                                  known as West Gate.
In 1884, Robert Baker died, leaving Arcadia a widow again. Prior to his death he had transferred all his property and holdings to her so that she controlled everything. She lived in a cottage in Santa Monica on Ocean Avenue across the street from Palisades Park that she created and gave to the public. If you visit, you will find a statue of her in her honor.
           Statue memorializing Arcadia in Santa Monica's Palisades Park
                                           which she created..

When Arcadia Bandini-Sterns-Baker passed away in her home in 1912, her legacy was that of a dynamic woman who was an important part of the development of Los Angeles and Southern California. She also left a legacy of employment to many, many lawyers for many, many decades - because she left no children and she left no will.
Andre Stojka

                                   ANIMAL RESCUE TASK FORCE
Recently, a neighborhood kitten found her way into the canopy of one of our tall Canary Island Pines. The kitten had spent a couple of days trapped in the tree and could not find her way back down – she was frightened and needed to be rescued.  That’s how I learned about the amazing members of the Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team – aka SMART.

This Elite Team of Animal Rescuers was created as a special department within Los Angeles Animal Services because there was a demand for a team dedicated to rescuing animals stuck in extreme situations. SMART will respond 24/7 and will rescue all small animals whether they are stray, wild, or owned.

In my case, a team of four arrived to rescue the kitten from the Canary Pine.  After several hours of preparation and planning, one member hoisted himself almost 100’ up into the top of the pine, rescued the kitten from the end of a long limb, and safely lowered her down in a net.

I learned during the rescue effort that the specially trained members of SMART take modified concepts and equipment designed for human urban search and rescue and apply them toward assisting animals.
Learn more about SMART  If you need their services, call (888) 452-7381.
Adopt, Don’t Shop! Visit West Los Angeles Animal Shelter
Consider adopting one of the wonderful animals at our local animal shelter! The animals pictured above were some of the animals available at the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter as of April 3. Other animals are available at this branch and other shelters.

The City's shelters are suffering from extreme overcrowding and hundreds of beautiful animals desperately need new homes -- dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, turtles, chickens, and more.

If you can’t adopt, consider volunteering, fostering an animal for a period of time, or providing items from the shelter’s Wish Lists. Every bit helps!
Visit the Shelter
Tuesdays and Thursdays  8 a.m.—5 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays  11 a.m.—5 p.m.
West Los Angeles Animal Shelter
11361 W Pico Blvd (just west of the 405)
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Phone (310) 207-3156
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. All Board and Committee meetings are open to the public.

Bel Air
one of our Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council communities


The Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council Community News is published by the Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council Outreach Committee:
Robin Greenberg, Mindy Rothstein Mann, Nickie Miner,
Robert Schlesinger, Maureen Smith, Patricia Templeton
Andre Stojka, Newsletter Editor and Outreach Chair
BABCNC President: Travis Longcore, Ph.D.
Newsletter (c) 2023 Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council
Scrapbook (c) 2023 Andre Stojka
Photo Credits: Shutterstock, Wikipedia, CBS News, City of Los Angeles, Andre Stojka, Santa Monica Museum, Robin Greenberg
City of Santa Monica, Mindy Rothstein Mann
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Bel Air/Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council · PO Box 252007 · Los Angeles, CA 90025 · USA

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