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Oaks News Archive 2009
The Oaks Hillside Regulations Go To City Planning Commission
December 2009
The permanent development regulations for the Oaks are poised to take the next step. They are scheduled to be on the agenda of the City Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, December 10, downtown in City Hall. The Planning Department's staff will present a report to the commission, which will then vote to make a recommendation to the City Council regarding the proposed regulations. The meeting will start at 8:30 am and could last the entire day. Once the meeting agenda will be published it will be available on the web at, under "Meetings & Hearings".

The new regulations, which have been in the works for over 3 years now, are designed to reign in out-of-scale development in The Oaks. The history of this effort can be traced right here, on the Oaks' website, in our News Archive. The Planning Department's staff report to the City Planning Commission can be found here. The full text of the new regulations is included in the report.
Thousands of gallons of water came gushing down the hillside at the end of Locksley Place this past Thursday morning (11/12/09) turning the street into an alpine river.

The source, according to Anthony Logston, an inspector of the Department of Public Works, who came out to investigate the problem, was a broken water supply line on Hollyridge Drive. A work crew of a private contractor, who has been hired by the LADWP to upgrade the street lighting on Hollyridge, had accidentally cut a main water supply pipe.

As to be expected, the drainage system on the hillside was totally overwhelmed by the huge amounts of water, and it certainly did not help that one of the drainage pipes there is clogged. As a result, most of the water found other ways to rush downhill. Everybody now hopes that it did not compromise the stability of the hillside.

The Department of Sanitation has promised to send out a crew next week to have the clogged pipes cleaned out. [See more photos here]
For this year's edition the Park Oak Drive portion of the of the Oaks' Halloween Walk was closed to traffic - a first for this event. Hundreds and hundreds of kids, many as little as one year old, and all their parents and grandparents were filling Park Oak Drive for several blocks on Halloween Night and nobody had to worry about cars. It was great -- all the trick or treaters' parents really enjoyed having the street closed off and appreciated not having to look out for traffic for the first time. Street Services sent two officers who blocked off each end of Park Oak Drive with their City cars and stood patrol -- in the friendliest, nicest way.

Having the street closed made it almost like a block party and the whole neighborhood turned out. A lot of us ran into people we hadn't seen in months. And an amazing amount of candy was handed out, too.
[... Continued here]
Map of the area affected by the proposed regulations
When you read this you should have had in the mail an invitation to attend a Public Workshop about the proposed Oaks Hillside Regulations, scheduled for Wednesday, October 7, 2009, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the American Film Institute. The City Planning Department has made their draft available to the public ahead of the meeting. You can find it on the city website and here.

At first glance the language might be somewhat overwhelming. So here is a laymen’s attempt at a translation into plain English. This is intended to help you wrap your mind around the text, and there is no guarantee that it is flawless. It is merely meant to be a starting point for the discussion at the workshop.

To start out, it might be worthwhile to remember that the proposed regulations do not require any changes to existing homes whatsoever. They will apply to new construction, including additions to existing homes, only.

The draft language starts with a couple of introductory sections stating the purpose and intention of the ordinance, namely to control out-of-scale development, as well as to reduce the impact of excessive grading. [... Continued here]

Oaks Permanent Regulations Moving Forward -- Two Public Meetings Scheduled for October
September 2009
We are nearing the end of a long process that began several years ago when Oaks residents first approached the Planning Department about out-of-scale development in our neighborhood, and will result soon in new permanent regulations for hillside development in The Oaks. The last time you may have seen any tangible progress was this past spring when the City Planning Department hosted a public meeting (at Immaculate Heart High School) that explored what permanent regulations could look like.

The reps from the Planning Department took the feedback provided by those who attended the public meeting back to their offices and now they tell us that they will make the resulting guidelines available to everyone very soon. (In the meantime the proposed guidelines have become available on the city website and here.) Also to be published soon is an environmental review.

Two public meetings, both to be held at the American Film Institute, are now scheduled. The first is a Workshop on Wednesday, October 7 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. This gathering is meant to familiarize residents with the proposed regulations and allow for residents' questions.

The next meeting, on Wednesday, October 28 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, will begin with a shorter question period, to be followed by a hearing for official comments at which speakers may orally recite their comments (or leave them in writing) for the record and to considered by a Planning Department Hearing Officer.

The Planning Department will mail out official meeting notices. After those meetings the new regulations will go before the City Planning Commission, as well as the City Council.
On September 10th, Councilmember Tom LaBonge invited representatives of neighborhood organizations and stakeholders to a walk-through of the west side of Western Avenue between Franklin Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. The participants of the walk-through included representatives from Immaculate High School, several Neighborhood Councils, The Los Feliz Improvement Association, The Oaks HOA, and several City departments such as the LAPD, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), the City Attorney’s office and the MTA.

The area on Western Avenue has recently became the focus of concern because of a vacant motel that has attracted homeless people and drug dealers. The property belongs to the CIM Real Estate Group which took a long time before finally demolishing the building just last week. A September 2 story in L.A. Weekly casts a harsh spotlight on the maneuverings. [... Continued here]
Draft of New Hollywood Community Plan Published
Summer 2009
The Los Angeles Department of City Planning has just published the 205 page draft of the new Hollywood Community Plan on its website (navigate to "New Community Plans" - "Hollywood" - "Latest Plan Update" - "What’s New").

This rather large document (13.8 MB) is also available right here on the Oaks website. In announcing the draft, the Planning Department’s Mary Richardson stated that in the next few months Planning will post other documents related to the Community Plan Update. These documents include:
  • Draft Land Use and Zone Change Map
  • Draft Matrix of Existing, Planned and Proposed Land Use
  • Draft "Q" Qualified Condition and "D" Development Limitation Appendix
  • Draft Environmental Impact Report
  • Transportation Improvement Mitigation Program

Once all of these documents are complete and online, the Department will begin scheduling briefings with neighborhood councils and other major stakeholder groups in Hollywood. The purpose of these briefings will be to present the major points of the Plan Update and answer questions community members may have. These briefings will be followed by an Open House/Public Hearing sometime this fall.

If you have questions about the Hollywood Community Plan please contact Mary Richardson at (213) 978-1205 or Jon Tanury at (213) 978-1214.

On June 27th the Oaks Homeowners Association held the 2009 edition of its renowned Summer Picnic. About 100 Oaks neighbors came out for a beautiful afternoon under the trees in Bronson Park. This year's picnic menu included barbeque ribs, roasted chicken and a variety of sandwiches, as well as an extensive selection of ice cream. For the kids there was a new variation of the now-familiar Bouncy Castle, and an array of games and activities directed, as well as narrated, by the Oak’s own James Rubin. After the tug-of-war contest ended in a tie between the kids and the ‘adults’, James announced that there will be compulsory training sessions scheduled for the adults next spring. [... Continued here]
Spring 2009
Dan Cooper, a local biologist doing work for the Griffith Park Natural History Survey, has been trying to find a horned lizard in Griffith Park for about three years now. So when he finally found one last month, and then I found one the very next morning, lots of people were thrilled about the lizards’ continued presence in Griffith Park.

I was on a trail high above the Oaks near Brush (Bronson) Canyon, directly East of the Hollywood sign when I found my horned lizard. It being high on my list of non-native species to locate in the Park, I was intentionally looking in all the right places that Saturday morning in April, especially sun-exposed ridge line trails with loose soils. But when the sighting happened, I was still shocked to the point of almost not believing my eyes. I saw him from a pretty good distance. After quietly switching my camera lens to telephoto (with hands shaking), I snapped a few shots thinking that he would run into the brush if I got any closer. [... Continued here]
March 2009
On March 16, more than fifty  Oaks members and residents gathered at the American Film Institute for our annual meeting.  Bob Young, President of the Oaks Board, kicked the evening off by introducing our guests from Council District 4 (Council member Tom LaBonge and staff members Renee Weitzer, Sharon Shapiro, Doug Mensman and Jullian Harris-Calvin), the Los Angeles Police Department (Senior Lead Office Mike Shea), and Natalie Freidberg from All Shades of Green. [... Continued here]

2009 Oaks Night At Vermont
March 2009
There’s no denying: Oaks board members just get better every year… at waiting tables, that is. We donned our white aprons once again on Tuesday March 24th for the sixth (or is it seventh?) yearly fundraiser at Vermont Restaurant which included a mouth-watering menu and wine pairing. Truly delicious, lots of fun and our tips – your generous contributions – yielded over $1,200 for the association. These funds will go towards the upcoming summer picnic, the Halloween Walk and the Holiday Party.

Ponet Drive sent out a challenge to all Oaks residents to see who could book the largest table. Ponet won hands down with a huge table of 17! (And I’m not exaggerating—I should know, I was their waitress.) Thank you, Ponet Drive, for your generosity and Oaks team spirit.

A big thanks as well to all who attended and tipped so generously, and of course, to Manuel, Eric and the whole team at Vermont. See you next year!
January 2009
The following are rules and restrictions that film companies must observe if they wish to shoot in our neighborhood (or in any other part of the city):
  • Production companies are required to obtain a permit from FilmLA, the City agency responsible for issuing film permits. Such permits are required even if the filming takes place on private property.
  • Film companies are required to inform residents within a radius of 400 feet of the film location about any scheduled filming at that location.
  • Permits issued by the City usually restrict any production activities to the hours of 7am to 10pm on weekdays, and 9am to 10pm on weekends. Production vehicles need to arrive at the location and leave the site within those time frames.

Questions or complaints about film shoots in our neighborhood should be directed to the Community Relations Office of FilmLa. That office can be contacted by phone (213 - 977-8600) or by e-mail (

A Blow To Leaf Blowers
Spring 2009
Every week the peace and quiet of our neighborhood is interrupted by leaf blowers routinely used by gardeners who take care of our yards.

Many residents don't know that Section 112.04 (c) of the Los Angeles Municipal Code (L.A.M.C.) prohibits the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers "within 500 feet of a residence". The only exemptions from the regulations are "leaf vacuum devices which operate at a sound level not to exceed 45dB," and electric blowers.

Both the operator of a gas-powered leaf blower as well as the property owner who allows his gardener to use them can be cited and fined up to $100 for a violation. Penalty assessments added to the fine can bring the total to $270.

Offenders will only be notified about a possible violation of the ordinance if the City receives a complaint from another resident. For more information you can call the Street Use Investigation and Enforcement Division of the Bureau of Street Services at (213) 847-6000.

After receipt of a complaint, the City will issue a written warning to the property owner and inform him about the violation. If his gardener continues to use the illegal gas blower and is caught in the act, a citation will be issued to the owner and the gardener.

But before you make such a call, you should consider talking to your neighbor first, and let him know what bothers you. A friendly and well-meant word may not only put an immediate end to the nuisance; it will also help maintain and nourish harmonious relationships between neighbors - another quality of life in The Oaks that we all value.
Blake Kendrick, Jon Tanury and Kevin Keller of the City’s Planning Department led a public workshop on Monday, March 2nd to solicit comments from residents of the Oaks regarding proposed planning department regulations for the Oaks. The proposed permanent regulations are a direct outcome of the Oaks Interim Control Ordinance which has been in place since May 31st, 2008. The Oaks Homeowners Association initially approached the Planning Department, asking that it help develop the ICO in order to curb out-of-scale development in the Oaks. For more information on the ICO and its history you can go to this page.

The March 2nd meeting was a first step on the road to creating permanent regulations, and thus the Planning Department was very much in listening mode, looking for input from homeowners and residents. [... Continued here]
Much effort went into the creation of the Oaks Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) which helps curb out-of-scale development in our neighborhood. Oaks residents strongly rallied around the fundamental principles of preserving the character of our neighborhood. Supported by our Council District and crafted by professionals in the City's Planning Department, little opposition surfaced, and most residents rejoiced at the ordinance's passage. As these regulations are on the books for only a maximum of two years, the focus now has shifted to assisting the Planning Department in its effort to develop an Oaks Hillside Ordinance, tailored to Oaks particular needs, which is will be implemented for permanency. [... Continued here]
Approximately 40 neighbors, mostly from the area around lower Canyon Drive, attended a crime and security meeting held February 19th at a home on Canyon Drive. LAPD Captain Beatrice Girmala and Senior Lead Officer Mike Shea spoke to the gathering of residents, and were followed by Neighborhood Prosecutor Will Rivera and Council District 4 Field Deputies Sharon Shapiro and Jullian Harris-Calvin. It is reassuring to know that although we are only two months into the year, there is no discernable spike in crime in 2009 thus far and the violent crime in our neighborhood is historically negligible.

Car break-ins and home break-ins are the most frequent crime here and the recent shooting near the park was in fact an isolated incident. In this case, alleged gang members kidnapped another person (believed to also be a gang member) and drove to the entrance of the park. When they found the park closed they ordered the man to get of the car, shot him several times and left him there. The victim survived but would not press charges, as often happens in gang-related incidents. There was no police chase involved as was rumored. [... Continued here]
Griffith Park designated a Historic Cultural Monument!
January 2009

Celebrating, among many others, are Council Member Tom LaBonge and Van Griffith. Behind them is the Oaks' own Gerry Hans. Click here to see the full photo.

On Tuesday January 27th, Los Angeles City Council approved the Historic Cultural Monument status for the entirety of Griffith Park. The designation is being hailed as a major victory in protecting the natural as well as historic and cultural features of the Park. This designation, along with a (hopeful) Master Plan for the Park, will make Oaks residents feel more comfortable knowing that we can expect few surprises in the Park well into the future.

After the Council vote, Van Griffith, great grandson of Colonel Griffith J Griffith, celebrated the event receiving a commendation from Councilmember Tom LaBonge. Park advocates, Recreation and Parks staff, consultants and others involved in successfully moving the motion forward joined in.

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