2015 News

HeliTracker-IconFED UP WITH HELICOPTERS? HELP US STOP THE NOISE!

HERE ARE THREE WAYS TO SUBMIT HELICOPTER COMPLAINTS

The HeliTracker app is available for $0.99 and lets you quickly and easily submit helicopter complaints from all your mobile devices. Search “HeliTraker” in your “app store” to download to your device.

1. See the HeliTracker Demo Video (clicking on this link will download the video to your computer).

2. Online Website (heli-noise-la.com)

Fill out the Complaint Form

Use the Interactive Map (this often does not show all helicopter activity)

3. Phone
Call (424) 348-HELI (4354) and follow the voice prompts.


OAKS HALLOWEEN WALK A SPOOKTACULAR SUCCESS

Well over 100 kids and families roamed the Oaks 2015 Halloween Walk and had a great time without having to worry about safety or cars.Thanks to the volunteers from the OHA, the evening was bigger and better than ever. Click on the images to enlarge.

Zombies Skeletens Repair Guy PacMan
Outer Space LegoMan Doggie and FireHydrant Crowd
Bobs Big Boy Bjork Beetlejuice 3 Musketeers

 


HalloweenWalkMap2009 v1JOIN US FOR THE OAKS 2015 HALLOWEEN WALK ON OCTOBER 31st!

Saturday, October 31st from 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Ghosts, goblins, pirates, princesses and all are invited to begin the Halloween Walk at the intersection of Alto Oak and Hill Oak. A table of holiday treats and beverages marks the meeting spot. Trick or Treating will be better than ever and the walk ends at Spring Oak and Park Oak Drive.

Park Oak Drive will be closed to traffic from the intersection of Spring Oak Drive to the 5 corners from 6pm to 9pm. Should you need to drive in or out of your house during that time, we ask that you please park your car on Canyon Oak or Spring Oak temporarily and enjoy the Halloween festivities. The Homeowners Association apologizes for any inconvenience and sincerely hopes residents agree that this short closure will make the Halloween night safer and more fun for everyone. Thank you!


A NIGHT AT THE SPEAKEASY

On Saturday, September 26th the Oaks Homeowners Association will host a unique architectural tour of a classic Oaks 1923 home and art collection, including an original speakeasy bar, bespoke cocktails and gourmet appetizer and finger foods. The evening is limited to 25 people, so sign up today so you don’t miss this special event. If you pay online with a credit card (via PayPal), we will send you detailed information by email regarding the event location and parking.




website page - final


Verde Oak ProjectVerde Oak, Briarcliff, and Upper Valley Oak
Will See Major DWP Work
from August Through December

Starting on August 31st, the LA Department of Water and Power will begin a major project on Verde Oak Drive, Briarcliff Road, and upper Valley Oak Drive to replace sections of the pipes that bring water into the Oaks. Many of the iron water pipes under Oaks streets date back to the late 1920s; some have developed leaks and most are corroded. To prevent future pipe breaks and improve water service, DWP will be replacing them with new, stronger pipes that should last for decades.

While this work is extremely necessary and very important for our neighborhood in the long run, the construction process will likely be very disruptive to residents on the streets affected. DWP has broken the project into five phases (corresponding to sections of the three streets), and each phase will last three to four weeks. During the construction period, residents on the street under construction may be unable to access their homes by car between 9am and 4pm. However water service will be largely uninterrupted and trash will be picked up as usual.

The construction phases are as follows:

Phase 1:  Verde Oak (North) — August 3rd to August 21st dates tbd
Phase 2:  Verde Oak (Central) — August 24th to September 18th dates tbd
Phase 3:  Verde Oak (South) — September 21st to October 9th dates tbd
Phase 4:  Briarcliff Road — October 13th to November 13th dates tbd
Phase 5:  Upper Valley Oak Drive – November 16th to December 22nd dates tbd

Below is a link to the presentation made by DWP personnel to Oaks residents at a meeting of the Hollywood United Neighborhood Council on June 8th. It contains most of the information you’ll need about the project. If you have questions, you may contact the following people:

Eric Shavely
Western District Superintendent
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
213-367-5676
Eric.Shavely@ladwp.com

Jesus Gonzalez, P.E.
Western District Engineer
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
213-367-1218
Jesus.Gonzalez@ladwp.com

For more info, please see the attached pdf here.



Great Fun At the Oaks Summer Picnic – See Photos!

The 2015 Oaks neighborhood Summer Picnic enjoyed exceptionally good weather this year.  The happy vibe was enhanced by a large turnout of people and a low turnout of yellow-jackets.  Both outgoing City Councilman Tom LaBonge and incoming Councilman David Ryu stopped by to chat with Oaks residents and enjoy the barbeque chicken legs, macaroni ‘n cheese, and southwestern salad.  New Oaks HOA President Linda Othenin-Girard awarded raffle prizes donated by local businesses Tailwaggers, Little Doms, Trails Cafe, and Oaks Gourmet, while immediate past President Caroline Schweich led the youngest picnic attendees in a tug-of-war and sack races.  It was an excellent summer Saturday as you can see in all of the pictures below.

 

View Tug O War Three Legged
Slide copy La Bonge Group
Games Family Beads
Slide Sack

Sunset and BronsonTHE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT
AT SUNSET AND BRONSON

For the last several years, the Oaks Homeowners Association has been hearing complaints from residents about the difficulties of getting in and out of our neighborhood — specifically how the intersection of Bronson and Franklin has almost ceased to function because of increased traffic on Franklin Avenue and the surrounding area. The Association has sought relief and solutions to these problems (to no avail) from our council office and from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Recently we learned (quite by accident) of a large new development proposed for the northeast corner of Sunset Blvd and Bronson Avenue that promises to worsen further the traffic congestion at Franklin and Bronson. We sought out a copy of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for this project — known as 5901 Sunset – and this is what we learned:

At 300,000 sq ft, the proposed development is five times larger than what is allowed by current zoning. The project is comprised of an eighteen story office tower with ground floor retail space. There will be seven levels of above-grade parking and two levels of below-grade parking — with a total of 1118 parking spaces. The surface parking lot currently on this site holds 200 cars.

All of the garage parking will enter and exit on Bronson Avenue (there would also be a service exit on Sunset Blvd).

According to the developer’s traffic study, the project will generate 3,839 daily vehicular trips, and will create unmitigated negative effects at several intersections including one in front of our local fire station. Several of these intersections will operate at an F level of service (meaning gridlock).

The city required no analysis of traffic impacts from the proposed project on the Bronson/ Franklin intersection or on Franklin Avenue.

Across the intersection from the 5901 Sunset Project, Sunset Bronson Studios has a new office building and parking structure under construction that will add 1,399 parking spaces. Further adding to the potential congestion the new Sunset/ Gordon apartment project (the old Spaghetti Factory building) will house an additional 543 cars when occupied.

If you’ve been doing the arithmetic, these projects that have been completed, are under construction or are proposed within a one block radius of Sunset and Bronson will add 2,860 parking spaces to the area. The traffic generated from these projects will certainly have a negative impact on local streets, particularly Bronson Avenue and the unmitigated extra traffic will negatively affect the mobility of surface public transit (buses) and private vehicles alike. With these impending problems in mind, the Oaks Homeowners Association board has sent a detailed letter to the city responding to the DEIR for 5901 Sunset with the following comments:

  1. It is not credible to assume that traffic impacts from the 5901 project at Sunset and Bronson will extend only as far north as Hollywood and Bronson, especially considering that the project will generate 3,839 daily vehicular trips, that all of the vehicular entrances to the project are located on Bronson Avenue, and that all but one of the service exits are located on Bronson Avenue. At minimum, a revised traffic report including the Bronson/ Franklin intersection should be prepared.
  2.  The City should not change zoning in a piecemeal fashion, one project at a time thereby benefiting an individual property owner at the expense of others. Rather, if zoning changes are to be made, they should be made in the context of a new Hollywood Community Plan.
  3. The project is inconsistent with the transit-oriented goals of the City’s General Plan. Considering the location of the project – one-half mile from the closest regional bus stop (metro rapid bus) and seven-tenths of a mile from the nearest subway stop — and given the size of the garage, the project is really a high density auto-oriented project.
  4. The DEIR should not give the project a 15% traffic credit on the basis that the project is within ¼ mile of a Metro Rapid line. While a Metro Rapid bus may pass within ¼ mile of the project, the nearest stop for a Metro Rapid bus is ½ mile away. The next nearest stop is 7/10 of a mile away.
  5. Public safety needs to be considered when discussing negative traffic impacts. Our local fire station will be located at one of the gridlocked intersections, and there are three local schools located within close proximity to the project. The access point for the project’s 3,839 daily vehicular trips is located on the same street and only one block away from a middle school where last year a truck struck and killed a mother and injured her daughter as they were crossing the street.
  6. Traffic mitigations for the proposed project need to be real mitigations that have performance standards which are measurable, enforceable and not deferred. While providing money to the city’s bicycle fund is admirable, it is impossible to measure that this has any real impact on reducing negative traffic impacts for this project.
  7. Ingress and egress for the project is exclusively on Bronson Avenue which has a single lane of traffic in each direction. Having all the traffic from this project enter and exit on Bronson creates the strong likelihood that Bronson will become gridlocked. One option that the developer should consider is to have traffic exit the project on Sunset. While such a modification of the project may not completely alleviate the congestion impacts on Bronson, it likely would reduce those impacts.

We also proposed the following alternatives to the project as currently envisioned:

  1. A project which provides one-half as much parking, or about 550 parking spaces. Such an alternative could rely on remote parking outside of central Hollywood with shuttles bringing office users to the project. This alternative could also provide a shuttle between the Metro Red Line station at Hollywood and Vine and the project. We know that businesses in downtown Los Angeles are currently using remote parking and shuttles, so this is a feasible approach for reducing traffic impacts not only for this project but also for other developments in Hollywood.
  2. Reducing the size of the project, or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR). Much of the parcel currently has an FAR of 1.5 to 1. We have proposed an alternative that would use the 1.5 to 1 FAR for the new development. While this would reduce the size of the development, the resulting building would still be large enough to provide viable working space for media companies. Such an alternative would also create a project that is much more in keeping with the existing mixed-use development on Sunset Boulevard in this area. It would also greatly reduce the environmental impacts of the project both in terms of traffic and access.

In addition to pointing out the project’s deficiencies and suggesting alternates, we have asked that the city not move forward with the proposed plan without correcting these deficiencies. We want to be clear that the Oaks Homeowners Association is not opposed to development; we are for responsible development that conforms to the current zoning and the city’s general plan — development that does not negatively impact the mobility or quality of life of the residents of our neighborhood.


low-water-landscape

LANDSCAPING
IN A LOW WATER ERA

By Johanna Woollcott Owner of Wild Gardens
Member Association of Professional Landscape Designers of Greater LA

The California drought is big news. We are being asked to reduce our water usage now and it is likely that we may face even tougher constraints in the future. It is estimated that 60% of the average household’s water goes for outdoor use. Grass is considered the main culprit in water usage and waste, and grass often steers the frequency in which the whole yard is watered.

Since the drought isn’t going away, why not get out in front of the problem? Embrace the change. See the challenge as a way to give your home’s landscape a fresh update. And you don’t have to say goodbye to “green” at all. There are many gorgeous plants that are drought tolerant.

Embracing a new water-wise design approach not only helps the environment, it allows you to use your property to its full potential. Utilize the new space to create new destinations in your garden.

If you need even more reasons to get out of the grass business LADWP, through its Be Water Wise program now gives you a financial incentive: For replacing turf with water wise landscaping features LADWP’s single-family residential program provides $3.75 per square foot for the first 1,500 square feet and $2.00 per square foot thereafter with no cap.  (See the links below.)

For help on how to remove your grass, see link from Sonoma master gardeners and G3 homeowner guide below.)

As you consider a new approach for your yard, here are a few ideas and tips:

  1. Capture water. Get rain barrels. They will store the water from your gutters for use later. They’re an inexpensive way to save for the future. (See links below on LA Storm Water)
  2. Control water. Consider installing Smart Timers that adjust to the weather on your property (they read humidity, heavy dew days and rain days). If you use spray heads for your irrigation, convert to the new smarter high efficiency micro heads. Or convert to drip irrigation. Group plants together that have similar water needs. The goal is no run off when you irrigate.
  3. Avoid water waste at all cost. Carefully watch when your faucet is on. Use catchment to collect and waste not.
  4. Slow the flow of water. You want water to stay on your property. Your yard and plants will filter the water and feed the aquifer. For years urban policy encouraged piping all water OFF to the street, to the river, and to the ocean — which has created a pollution problem. We can be much better watershed managers. Disconnect your down spout and put on a rain chain. Design a rain catchment area in your garden. It is easy to add an emergency overflow to the street but your yard should be designed to percolate and absorb all of the water that comes its way. (See link below on rain garden)
  5. Restore your soil. Good soil is alive and should absorb like a sponge. Don’t use chemical additives with your drought-tolerant plants. Put your money into building content and caliber in your soil. Soil needs biology. Use good compost. At least once a year, lay a thick blanket of mulch (3-4”). This helps keep the moisture where it’s needed.

Most important have fun and make something beautiful. Good gardens make everyone happy.

BeWaterWise.com
SoCalWaterSmart.com
ucanr.edu/sites/scmg/Lawn_Replacement/Grass_Removal_Methods
LAStormwater.org/wp-content/files_mf/homeowner_howto_guide.pdf
MetroBlooms.org/what-is-a-raingarden.php
GreenGardensGroup.com/programs/homeowner-programs/


Michael Finizio Oaks NeighborOAKS NEIGHBOR BELIEVES IN HEALTHY WALKS AND CLEAN STREETS

When Michael Finizio moved to the Oaks thirteen years ago from Woodland Hills with his wife Erin, he continued his healthy lifestyle by taking a two-mile walk every day. Then he noticed a few pieces of trash in the streets. So he picked them up and deposited them in the closest trashcan.

This soon became a habit, along with his cheery hello to anyone and everyone he met. It wasn’t long before he started to bring along his own trash bag (and a plastic glove because “Yuk!” who knows where that trash had been?) and began a thirteen-year long quest to give back to his new neighborhood by cleaning up the streets.

Michael says he does it because it’s the right thing to do and he enjoys adding a little clean up work to his daily walks. He loves the Oaks and really appreciates the beauty and serenity so close to the hustle and bustle that is Los Angeles. And his cheery hello to anyone he sees is not just being friendly (though he is SUPER friendly) it’s a way to let people know that he’s paying attention and detering any strangers from doing mischief in our neighborhood.

We’d like to thank Michael Finizio for all his good work help to keep our neighborhood clean, and for being a wonderful symbol of all this is right and caring about our neighbors. So, when you see that guy in the big straw hat, trash bag and plastic glove in hand, give him a “Hello” right back. Oh, and if you’ve got a little trash on you – he’s happy to take it!


Mt Hollywood OpenOAKS OPPOSES
OPENING UP MOUNT HOLLYWOOD DRIVE TO PARKING

The Oaks Homeowners Association has taken time to carefully consider the proposed opening to vehicular traffic of Mount Hollywood Drive in Griffith Park for parking and viewing of the Hollywood sign.

We have multiple concerns about the proposed parking program and have communicated these to the Parks and Recreation Department personnel who are overseeing the pilot test for the plan. In summary, the Oaks Homeowners Association opposes the use of Mount Hollywood Drive for parking because it removes precious recreational land from park users, hikers and cyclists, and turns it over to vehicular traffic and parking.  We feel this isn’t good for park users and isn’t good for the Park.

As we have observed during the recent test, allowing motorists to park on Mount Hollywood Drive has created a hazard for fragile park habitat and degraded the hiking and cycling experience on the road and surrounding trails.  We realize that the Department has taken steps to mitigate these problems by placing fences and barriers where necessary and by putting park rangers in place to protect park habitat.  But that level of intrusion simply exacerbates an already troubling situation.

We are aware of the larger picture here. We understand that this pilot program was created in part as a response to the difficult conditions in Beachwood Canyon where a multitude of tourists were arriving daily seeking the Hollywood Sign. And while we are extremely sympathetic to the plight of our neighbors living near the Sign, we feel that putting hundreds of motorists on Mount Hollywood Drive doesn’t seem the most efficacious way to address the situation in Beachwood, especially since other measures have already been taken (including parking restrictions, new signage and greater police enforcement).

For these reasons, we have urged the Department to adopt a well-considered traffic management plan that includes baseline vehicle counts and a willingness to restrict vehicular traffic in the park when the number of cars exceeds the limits.  The plan would also utilize paid parking and off-site parking facilities for tourists and park users who could be transported to Hollywood Sign viewing areas (including on Mt. Hollywood Drive) via shuttle buses.  We know this sort of plan will not be easy to adopt but if you consider how other major cities are attempting to limit vehicular traffic in core urban areas and parks, the trend is clearly in this direction.

Your Oaks Homeowners Association Board will continue to monitor the situation and keep you advised of any developments.


PicnicSAVE THE DATE: OAKS ANNUAL PICNIC IS SATURDAY, JUNE 20th

Summer wouldn’t be complete without the annual Oaks Summer picnic in Bronson Park. This year the picnic will be on Saturday, June 20th from 11:30am – 2:30pm.

The menu will include deviled eggs, teriyaki chicken drumettes, BBQ chicken drumsticks, mac & cheese, quesadillas, southwest salad, summer salad, caramel almond bars, watermelon, and three flavors of gelato! There will be kids games and entertainment, a bouncy bounce and arts and crafts. 

Meet new neighbors and connect with old friends. Free for all OHA members and their families.


Helicopter

ARE YOU ANNOYED BY HELICOPTER NOISE?
LET THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION KNOW ABOUT IT!

Use FAA’s Automated Complaint System to report any helicopter noise you experience.

You can do that by either

– filling out a complaint form on heli-noise-la.com

or by

– calling (424) 348-4354

or by

– tracking and reporting the flight at heli-noise-la.com/webtrak


Mt Hollywood OpenGRIFFITH PARK’S MT. HOLLYWOOD DRIVE RE-OPENED FOR PARKING

After 23 years of being closed, a portion of Mt. Hollywood Drive has been re-opened to vehicle traffic. The City is letting cars on this road during a three-week “pilot” to add remote parking for Hollywood Sign sightseers and to attempt to alleviate traffic congestion. Some question how traffic may be relieved by allowing cars to go further into the interior of our favorite urban wilderness. While the parking is free now, future fees for parking are planned.

When the road closed in 1992, besides making the park less prone to brush fires and crime, it provided a new outlet for SAFE recreation: hikers, bicyclists, and families pushing strollers. Benefits have accrued to wildlife, and habitat has been better protected.

The Oaks Homeowners Association favors a well-considered traffic management plan with a baseline vehicle count going into the park and a commitment not to exceed those levels. Alternative transportation modes should be provided and could be supported by parking fees.

Your comments should be voiced during this current 3-week pilot project! We invite you to participate by doing the following:

Please send your comments soon to:
Michael.A.Shull@LACity.org – General Manager, Recreation and Parks
RAP.Commissioners@LACity.org – Recreation and Parks Commissioners
Tom.LaBonge@LACity.org – Councilmember


2015 OAKS ANNUAL MEETING ADDRESSES KEY NEIGHBORHOOD ISSUES

Annual Meeting Photo

The Annual Meeting of the Oaks Homeowners Association was held at Immaculate

Heart High School Cafeteria on Monday evening, March 9th.  An excellent turnout of about 75 neighbors attended and heard about a number of issues important to our neighborhood.  Co-President Caroline Schweich opened the proceedings with welcome remarks, and then introduced Mike Shull, General Manager of LA’s Department of Recreation & Parks as well as Joe Salices, the Griffith Park Superintendent.  Mr. Shull discussed crowd and traffic control issues in Griffith Park, including those in Beachwood Canyon.  Restricted parking has been instituted on the weekends and holidays in Beachwood, and traffic is being directed to other areas of the Park for viewing of the Hollywood sign.  However, the traffic and parking situation on Western Canyon Road leading up to the Observatory is a major problem each weekend.  A three-week “pilot program” will allow cars to park on Mount Hollywood Drive, which has been closed to vehicular traffic for 23 years and widely used by park hikers and bicyclists. During the pilot, Western Canyon Drive, from One-Mile Tree upward, will have parking on only one side of the street. No shuttles will run during the parking pilot, but the DASH line will continue as always.  After the pilot is declared successful, the Department would like to implement parking fees as the next step for parking on Mount Hollywood Drive, Western Canyon Road, as well as at the Observatory parking lot.  Members of the audience had numerous questions about the plan and other possible solutions, but everyone agreed that some way of mitigating traffic issues in the park must be found.

Outgoing Councilman Tom LaBonge spoke to the group and presented the Oaks Home Owners Association with an official City of Los Angeles proclamation, which was most appreciated.  He also promised to pay for the permit fees for the Traffic Circle to be constructed at Bronson and Canyon Drives.

LAPD Senior Lead Officer Ralph Sanchez spoke about crime issues in the area and encouraged everyone not to leave any valuables in cars and to look into security systems for their homes.

Alexander Von Wechmar discussed the increasing problems and traffic issues at Franklin and Bronson.  LA’s Department of Transportation has denied a request for a new traffic light at Franklin and Canyon Drive, but will paint “Do Not Block” stripes at the Bronson & Franklin intersection.  The OHA is looking into other ways to ease traffic congestion and safety hazards at the intersection.

Co-President Bob Young spoke briefly about the number of streets that have been repaired in the Oaks, and the priority list of those that still need to be repaved.

Caroline Schweich spoke briefly about the Oaks Film Guidelines and our desire to manage the filming process in the Oaks so that it is less disruptive to residents.

Caroline introduced our incoming President, Linda Othenin-Girard, and a vote was taken to re-elect the other members of your Oaks Homeowners Association Board.

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