Los Angeles River Artists and Business Association

Minutes for LARABA Board Meeting @ArtShareLA 801 E. 4th Pl, L.A., CA 90013
prepared by Angel Castillo


I. Roll call 6:35
In attendance: Joseph Pitruizelli, Tom Minkler, Mark Walsh, Heath Satow, Jamie Bennett, Vivian Um, Yuval Bar-Zemer, Tyler Stonebreaker, Justin Schenkarow, Cindy Schwartzstein, Andrew Kasdin (6:44 arrival) Gabrielle Newmark (6:45 arrival) Deborah Meadows (6:50 arrival)


Quorum is one third of Board Members in attendance = 7 people (21 members total)
September minutes
Motion to approve:Jamie Bennett
Seconded:Tyler Stonebreaker
Outcome: 3 abstained: Cindy Schwartzstein/Justin Schenkarow/Joseph Pitruizelli


III. LAPD SLO Chris Jarvis (did not attend)

IV. Public Comments (none)

V. Officer’s Report (President, VP, Treasurer, Secretary)

PL everything looks good in proper accounts
ADFM – breaking even through July
City Hall FM – 11k through July
Totals: Checking 61244.85
Savings: 5501.59


The efforts for creating a new land use policy for the Arts District specifically started about two years ago when representatives of the Planning department (Eck, Marcicich and Diefenderfer) approached community members and suggested that the current situation that allows spot zoning in the neighborhood is out of control and providing better guidelines for ground up construction would be better for the community.

The initiative was met with a positive reaction from LARABA LUC and the planners were provided with copies of Common ground workshops summery as well as lists of ideas on how to guide development that would be complementary to the Arts District trajectory.

Over the following months the Planning department conducted two community workshops and two public meetings to collect feedback from stakeholders.

Throughout this process the majority of stakeholders in the community where very clear and articulate about their wishes which revolved around how to make sure the community keeps growing around the Arts, Innovation and creativity while preserving some of the unique Architectural features that define the area.

In August 2014, the planning department released the initial draft of the Arts District Ordinance which was a proposal for a limited experiment capped at 1500 residential units and governed by a map that loosely resembled the Arts District boundary. It was stretched in areas that Developers requested to build residential projects)

What was clear from the draft was that it was written to cater the needs of a number of specific development projects that were going to ride along the ordinance approval process and receive their entitlements. (Camden project on Alameda & Industrial (Technically not in the AD) and a residential project on the corner of Alameda and 4th next to Beacon lofts).

The ordinance language also allowed the construction of ground up apartment buildings in the typical Type III  (wood and stucco construction) with a small apartment size as an average (750SF) and low requirement for creating commercial productive space.

LARABA and other grass root organization in the neighborhood that saw the danger in this type of legistlation went on the offensive and got a petition with over 500 signatures sent to our council office and the planning department.

As the result of the pressure and due to the upcoming election for CD14, Councilman Huizar asked the planning department to remove the item from the Planning commission agenda that was scheduled for October 2014 and wait until after the elections.

In the time that was created by the postponement of the ordinance, LARABA LUC members took the initiative and with the help of principals from Works Partnership in Portland, a proposed land use policy for the Arts District was drafted. The draft was based on goals of the community as were represented in Uncommon ground and the various community workshops.

The draft was circulated among all interested stakeholders in the Arts District and all community groups including the neighborhood council voted in support. LARABA, HCNC and ADCC sent a letter with the proposed policy to the Mayor, Councilman Huizar, the Director of the Planning department and the chair of the planning commission, recommending that the planning department use the proposed draft that the community created as a path for thoughtful planning of the Arts district.

Unfortunately, the planning department chose not to embrace the work that many of us have worked on for so long and decided to change their strategy. The planning department decided to abandon the idea of creating an ordinance for the Arts District and rather invent a new type of Zone that could be used on any site in the city that is zoned for Industrial use. It was clear that the planning department was not ready to sit down with the community and discuss the specifics of their proposed ordinance and elected to circumvent this dialogue.

The process moved ahead and the Planning department scheduled their new zone for a hearing at the Planning commission which voted unanimously to adopt the zone. It was then brought in front of the Planning and land use management committee (chaired by CM Huizar). To our astonishment, CM Huizar asked the planners to further dilute the commercial and productive requirements and to come back to PLUM in two weeks with a new version.

In the short period of time the community organized over 120 members of the community to come in and protest the ill-conceived policy. This did not seem to affect our councilman that seemed to be played by the economic interest of few developers and property owners that stand to make millions from selling their properties.

The policy was then brought to a vote at city council and it was voted unanimously by the council although CM Krekorian asked for findings that the policy does not displace jobs.

Currently the legistlation is being reviewed by the City attorney’s office before a final format can be adopted by the city council.

Throughout the administrative process LARABA was represented by legal counsel John Given that submitted to the file all our objections. This was done to preserve our legal ability to challenge the city process.

Community members emphasized 5 main points that the city policy fell short:
1. Mandate that affordable housing will be dedicated to Artist
2. Average lot size should be 1000 SF
3. 1.5 Floor area ratio will be maintained for commercial productive uses
4. Building should be constructed with a flexible column beam system (Type IV, type II or type I)
5. No demolition permits will be allowed unless a replacement project is approved.

Our request fell on deaf ears.

We will continue to challenge the city process based on CEQA guidelines that provide that the city cannot make such vast changes without providing any economic study or Environmental impact report.

VI. New Business
1. Street light banners ADFM / BID – Miguel Vargas (5 min)
Proposing community street banners to identify AD neighborhood, ADFM area (day/time), BID contact info.

Daniel Martin:
Wants to highlight artists in the community on backside of banner. Is LARABA interested in partnering with the ADLA to split cost?
Estimated cost: Minimum is 50 banners, must be installed by city approved vendor, approx $5500-6500 dollars (print, install, permit, all maintenance, price varies by style of banner)
Important note: If you need to change out, you need a permit to do so.(Bureau of Street and Lighting)
LARABA needs to decide if medallions are above banners or are banners to replace medallions?

ACTION: Sub committee to formed to examine and report back to board with recommendations (Justin, Cindy, Joseph and Heath)


2. METRO update – Jeanmarie Hance (5 min.)/Matthew – construction update

Marketing and Advertising program going on in Little Tokyo ( to promote new gold line station. Goal is to develop a picture of the Little Tokyo experience (community events, cultural events, transportation)
Many people ask how to get to the A.D. From Little Tokyo, so the GoLittleTokyo initiative wants to find out what A.D. Message needs are, to include into this initiative (provide A.D. links to for a curated A.D. experience on their site)
Jeanmarie extended an invitation extended to speak to the GoLittleTokyo committee to co-market on website (pedestrian linkages/curated guide or walking guide – METRO has ability to eblast for events)
Jeanmarie suggested that LARABA decide what is the communication message that the AD wants addressed for the second year of the marketing for GoLittleTokyo?
Proposed station name is: Little Tokyo/Arts District
1st and Central station has not been named

ACTION: Angel reviewed with Yuval at end of meeting and will meet w/ Jeanmarie and report back details for Christopher to relay to board at next meeting


Matthew (construction update):
1st will be reduced to one lane and will be completely closed Oct.24/25th.
Will be sending an email to LARABA with specifics


VII. Committee Reports
1. Assets / Marketing Lindsay Hollister (absent)
Susan Hutchison (ADFM mgr) spoke about incidents at ADFM, requesting additional BID presence between 7-9. Yuval suggested we call Jarvis for more presence. Joseph P. said he would reach out to Jarvis.

2. Budget Joseph (covered in Treasurer’s statement)

3. Bylaws & Elections Tom
Suggested to decline vote on bylaws since 2/3rd majority isn’t present, but recommends discussing election terms as policy instead of bylaws.

Motion to approve: Joseph P. makes motion to accept the language of 701a
Second: Heath Satow
Outcome: vote was unanimous


Group discussion on Elections, led by Joseph P.
Need to discuss 1,2 and 3 year terms with regards to nomination committee.
Feels it’s VERY important to consider since this committee is shaping the community.
Bios for anyone wishing to be considered for election need to be submitted to Christopher ASAP, but no later than Nov 2nd.
Each candidate needs to submit their snail mail address
each candidate must self designate whether they are artist or business.

4. BID rep Yuval Bar-Zemer (no update)

5. Dog Park Dawn Cody (absent) Heath presenting notes on her behalf:
Tree in park has termites and large branches have been falling off (very dangerous)
Service said that trees might live another 5 years.
Should trees be taken out now or wait?
Gabrielle suggested getting a second opinion from an arborist
Joseph P. relayed AD Dog Park current budget to take into consideration before making a decision: DOG PARK (through July) $1,030. profit, $3,019. expense

ACTION: Heath to relay request for an arborist second opinion to Dawn
6. Greening Gabrielle (no update, writing a grant)

7. Land Use Tyler Stonebreaker (no update)

8. River Yuval Bar-Zemer

Reviewed influx of new construction in AD. Noted that every developer needs to provide a 30 day notification of construction intent. Yuval requested anyone contact him immediately if they’ve received a notice so that he can take action.
Presented progress on safety monitoring system
METRO analyzing increase points of access to bike path
Fundraiser to FANDANGO, Yeval extended invitation to any board member that would like to attend.
Discussed Arbor study: Alternative 20 discussed additional of “piggy back yards”. Final decision at Federal level will happen in Dec. 2015. Bike path is mostly outside of this area.

Gabrielle Newmark:
Westbound Restaurant requesting alcohol permit, consultant requested GCA waive public application. Gabrielle suggests LARABA send letter requesting chief ZA to rescind waiver of no public hearing
Motion to approve: Gabrielle Newmark
Second: Cindy Schwarzstein
Outcome: vote was unanimous

Gabrielle suggests LARABA write a letter stating we will no longer accept Master CUP’s
Motion to approve: Yuval
Second: Deborah Meadows
Outcome: vote was unanimous

Yuval reviewed previous discussion of Verizon Wireless “smoke stack” tower. Verizon did not want to change it’s location since building would change its appearance (existing building leveled for new building construction in 3 years and at that point, tower would be placed on top of building)
Motion: Yeval to ratify letter sent
Second: Justin Shenkarow
Outcome: vote was unanimous

VIII. 5-10 minute break

IX. Executive Meeting (LARABA members only)
1. Bylaws and Election

2. Committee Budgets

3. Film Revenue

X. Adjournment