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North Hills West Neighborhood Council MEETING MINUTES


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									              North Hills West Neighborhood Council
                     MEETING MINUTES
          Veterans’ Administration, Recreation Hall Building 22
                   16111 Plummer Street, North Hills
                            August 16, 2006

  Lewis Brown called the meeting to order at 7:09 pm, and invited stakeholders to
  bring issues of concern to his attention via speaker cards.


  No new issues were noted.


  a. Valley Park Baptist Church/T-Mobile announces new cell tower

     Lewis Brown introduced Frank Koppala, T-Mobile representative, who spoke
     briefly about T-Mobile’s planned improvement of coverage in the area; Mr.
     Koppala outlined the process by which sites for cell tower location are chosen and
     how government approval is obtained. Mr. Koppala assured stakeholders that
     there are no health concerns that need to be addressed. The cell sites are low
     power, low frequency transmitters, and compared the tower’s probability of
     exposure to a AM/FM radio. Mr. Koppala noted federal government standards
     which indicate that there are no health dangers. Mr. Brown noted that
     stakeholders had expressed interest in speaking.

     Mr. Workman, stakeholder, asked why the tower is located on church property
     (instead of on commercial property), and noted airplane flight pattern hazards (the
     tower’s 55 foot height). Ronald Forbes, stakeholder, voiced his concern about the
     tower’s height as well. Estelle Goldman listed the reasons for her objection to
     cell tower installation, stated that stakeholders should voice their objections to
     section 704 of the Telecommunications Act and asked how the proposed cell
     tower would benefit the neighborhood. Gary Sorenborger, stakeholder, noted a
     nearby airplane crash in that occurred in 1984 that was the result of contact with
     35’ power lines and offered to place the 55’ tower on commercial property he
     owns. Peggy Burgess, stakeholder, voiced her opposition to the tower being
     placed on the subject property. Ms. Burgess asked what relationship exists
     between T-Mobile and Cingular, if the tower will end up becoming a Cingular
     facility, how many T-Mobile facilities are located in the Northridge area and their
     locations, how many Cingular facilities are located in the Northridge area and
     their locations, which facilities are jointly held by T-Mobile and Cingular, why
     church and school properties are being targeted, where the subject proposed tower
     will be placed on the church property, and what plans are proposed for screening
     the tower. In addition, Ms. Burgess reported that the Telecommunications Act
     does not mandate seamless coverage. Ernie Hilger, stakeholder, asked if FAA
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August 16, 2006
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       releases and reviews have been obtained for the positioning of the tower,
       including EMFs and future EMFs generated from the site, what compensation will
       be given to the church for placing the tower at this site, and has the community
       relations impact and the negative publicity that can result been considered. Mr.
       Hilger pointed out that the charter school does have LAUSD teachers and
       therefore the cell tower placement could be in violation of the LAUSD ruling.

       Frank Koppala provided a copy of the site plan, noting his role was informational
       only, since he did not develop the subject site. Mr. Koppala described the process
       by which a site is developed and noted that the first choice for a site is
       commercial. With reference to the FAA, Mr. Koppala stated that a 2C letter must
       have been obtained for the site, remarking that the proximity to the airport would
       have required that a 2C letter be obtained. Mr. Koppala reported that the
       additional cell tower will enhance communications for stakeholders. Mr. Koppala
       described cooperative efforts between cell phone carriers, and stated that T-
       Mobile and Cingular have no other affiliation than professional courtesy. Mr.
       Koppala stated that he had no idea how many carriers have towers in the area.
       Mr. Koppala described the EMF study and stated that he will provide a copy to
       the Board. Mr. Koppala stated that he could not pass on confidential information
       regarding how much compensation the church will receive for the cell tower

       Lewis Brown requested that Mr. Koppala provide responses to pertinent questions
       regarding site selection, planning and height. Lionel Sterne asked if Cingular and
       T-Mobile are joint venturers in this project. Mr. Koppala stated that the two
       companies are not affiliated in that way. Mr. Koppala reported that the license to
       operate using specific frequencies granted to individual wireless companies
       precludes individual companies being able to use the same equipment. Daniel
       Villegas asked Mr. Koppala to provide the frequencies and power output at which
       T-Mobile cellular phones operate. Mr. Koppala will provide the requested
       information to Kenny Beardsley via e-mail. In answer to Mitch White’s question,
       Mr. Koppala stated that, even after rigorous questioning, there is no proof that the
       technology is a health hazard. Mitch White stated that there is no conclusive
       proof that the technology is not a health hazard either, and that the placement of
       the tower at issue near residences and a school is therefore ill-advised. Mr.
       Koppala described the rigorous process by which approval is obtained from the
       Zoning Administrator, the Planning Department or the Los Angeles City Council.
       Mr. Brown stated that a letter of response on this issue is being considered by the


   a. Proposed donation motion: Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies
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August 16, 2006
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       Lewis Brown opened discussion on the requested donation by describing the
       Neighborhood Councils’ mission and charter. Daniel Villegas introduced Mark
       Johnson (representing Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies), presented
       information about the magnet school, and noted that approximately 20 students in
       the band program are from the NHWNC area. Mr. Johnson noted that creative
       ways are being sought to store equipment and that shelving would help this effort.
       Mr. Johnson provided a proposal and budget for building the shelves. Mr.
       Johnson listed some of the achievements and recognition the school’s bands have
       received. Mr. Johnson noted that bids from two manufacturers have been
       obtained and that approximately $3000 will be needed.

       Lionel Sterne voiced concern about the expenditure of public funds for facilities
       outside the NHWNC neighborhood.

Daniel Villegas moved to become a partner with the Sherman Oaks Center for
Enriched Studies and to commit to the school the money needed to build shelves for
storing students’ instruments, in the amount of $5500; seconded by Mitch White.

       Mitch White asked if other Neighborhood Councils have been approached; Mr.
       Johnson reported that other Neighborhood Councils have been approached for
       other purposes, not for the subject request. Lionel Sterne stated that the amount
       provided should be no more than $500. Daniel Villegas stated that $500 is not
       enough and would not agree to an amendment to his motion. Lionel Sterne
       advised that the student body represents all of the San Fernando Valley, and
       therefore all the Neighborhood Councils should be petitioned for funds, and
       suggested that funding be offered contingent on participation from other
       Neighborhood Councils. Lewis Brown reiterated that there are no funds currently
       available for this purpose; funds will not be available until October 2006.

       Ron Wood noted that he had researched the school, questioned the precedent
       being set and the amount being requested, noted that the school is located in
       Reseda, not Sherman Oaks, stated that approximately 7% of the student body live
       in NWHNC, and noted the difficulty that had occurred when the issue arose of
       donating $500 to the police. A stakeholder asked if parents of the students had
       been asked for their assistance to build the shelving. Daniel Villegas stated that,
       after consideration, he would accept the amendment. Mark Johnson reported that
       on the LAUSD standards that must be kept with regard to facilities’
       improvements and noted that 15% of the student body live in NHWNC.

Daniel Villegas moved to become a partner with the Sherman Oaks Center for
Enriched Studies and to commit to the school the money needed to build shelves for
storing students’ instruments. This money is provided contingent on contributions
being made by at least five other Neighborhood Councils served by Sherman Oaks
Center for Enriched Studies in the amount of $500; seconded by Mitch White.
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August 16, 2006
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VOTE: Daniel Villegas—yes, Charles Walker—yes, Mitch White—yes, Jeanette
Andreas—no, Lewis Brown—no, Lionel Sterne—no, Edgar White—yes. The
motion passed.

   b. Proposed cell tower facilities

       i. New Horizons

Mitch White moved to readdress and relabel the letter of opposition regarding the
New Horizons cell tower application to send to the appeal board; seconded by
Jeannette Andreas.

           Fran Potaski and Peggy Burgess voiced their approval of the motion; Ernie
           Hilger suggested the addition of information regarding the three LAUSD
           teachers that work at the NH school and advised that research of the
           prohibitions LAUSD has in place regarding placement of cell towers near
           LAUSD facilities. Lewis Brown stated that additions to the letter must be
           made today, and suggested Mr. Hilger send a letter on his own. Mr. Hilger
           stated that he could not; Peggy Burgess volunteered to research the issue and
           respond on her own to the Appeal Board. Edgar White opined that the issue at
           hand should be followed through as had the previous form of the letter.

VOTE: Edgar White—yes, Lionel Sterne—abstained, Lewis Brown—yes, Jeanette
Andreas—yes, Mitch White—yes, Daniel Villegas—abstained, Charles Walker—

The motion carried.

       ii. Valley Park Baptist Church Application

           Lewis Brown noted that copies of a letter proposed to be sent to the Zoning
           Administrator regarding the application to locate a cell tower at the Valley
           Park Baptist Church site were provided to meeting attendees, and that copies
           to Board members had previously been provided.

Mitch White moved to adopt the letter as the position of the North Hills West
Neighborhood Council; seconded by Charles Walker.

           Peggy Burgess asked that the letter be approved. Fran Potaski asked if
           speaker cards could be made available to stakeholders on the NHWNC
           website. Mr. Workman suggested mention be made of the proximity of the
           charter school to the proposed tower, and noted that there was insufficient
           time to mail the letter to be of use at the August 18th meeting. Peggy Burgess
           reported that a fax number is available for the Zoning Administrator. Lionel
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August 16, 2006
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           Sterne opined that the Zoning Administrator will not make a decision at the
           meeting, and suggested that there is sufficient time.

           Mitch White provided an amendment to the letter, which reads as follows:

           We are opposing the location of this cell tower, which would be located
           within the direct flight path of the Van Nuys Airport and located inside the
           school yard of a charter school of the LAUSD. This is in direct violation to
           previous school district policy opposing cell towers on school sites or school

VOTE: Jeanette Andreas—yes, Lionel Sterne—yes, Edgar White—yes, Lewis
Brown—yes; Daniel Villegas—abstained, Mitch White—yes, Charles Walker—yes.

The motion passed.

   c. Election Report and Announcements

       Kenny Beardsley asked if meeting attendees received copies of a saturation mailer
       and noted that another mailer will be sent out at the end of August. There are 8
       board seats up for reelection and 11 candidates. Mr. Beardsley stated that there is
       ample time for write-in candidates and that candidate information was requested
       to be provided by today. Mr. Beardsley noted that Maria Carrillo and Edgar
       White had yet to provide biographies and application forms. Mr. Beardsley
       summarized the steps yet to be taken in the election process. A stakeholder
       reported that he has not received copies of the information sent out. Mr.
       Beardsley asked that stakeholders who have not received copies of the election
       information contact him after the meeting to research the issue. Mr. Beardsley
       introduced Cindy Cleghorn and Mark Segal, owners of the mailing business and
       noted that Mr. Segal is now serving as an Independent Election Administrator.
       Flyers with election information were made available to meeting attendees.

   d. LANCC report

       Daniel Villegas provided an update on the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council
       Congress, noted that participation is increasing summarized the reasons for the
       Congress’ existence (one voice for issues such as LADWP, elections, LAUSD,
       sanitation). Mr. Villegas reported on issues discussed at the latest Congress
       meeting—the affordable housing bond measure on the ballot and automatic
       enrollment of Neighborhood Councils in the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council

       Cindy Cleghorn, 912 Commission member, reported on USC research data
       provided regarding LANCs, an RFP for an Executive Director or consulting
       company to oversee 912 Commission operations, items of general interest, and
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August 16, 2006
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       what material the 912 commission will review. Ms. Cleghorn encouraged
       stakeholders to attend Commission meetings. 912 Commission meetings will
       take place on the first Thursday and third Tuesday, will be aired on Channel 35,
       and a PDF format meeting transcript will be made available. Ms. Cleghorn
       reported attending a City Council meeting, and reported that the Rules and
       Elections Committee is considering a motion with regard to Neighborhood
       Council initiating or impacting City policy. Ms. Cleghorn advised stakeholders to
       speak with Congressman Smith regarding support of the issue. Lionel Sterne
       remarked that the Council favors more than three councils’ assent. Ms. Cleghorn
       discussed the mechanics behind coordination of effort among Neighborhood

   e. Councilmember’s NC Cabinet Report

       (Taken out of order) Lewis Brown described the Cabinet meeting with
       Councilman Greig Smith and noted that Mr. Sterne and Mr. Villegas alternate
       attendance at the meetings. Daniel Villegas reported on the most recent meeting,
       where DWP described the reason for a recent power outage, the proposed maglev
       train between Palmdale, the LA Basin and San Diego, and tree trimming and tree
       replacement in the area.

   f. Land Use Committee Updates

       i. Sikh Temple CUP Appeal letter


       ii. 15807 Rayen Street letter

           Jeanne McDonald, stakeholder, listed her concerns and objections to the
           proposed development, noting that the property is currently used as a half-way
           house, that the structure does not conform to the neighborhood. Daniel
           Villegas reported that the developer had made a presentation to the Land Use
           Committee and that similar concerns were voiced at that meeting. Ernie
           Hilger reported another neighbor had attended that meeting and suggested Ms.
           McDonald contact her neighbor. Mitch White suggested that a covenant be
           made with the owner that the house not be used as a half-way house.

           Loyd Ray, a stakeholder, voiced his opposition to the project noting that
           changing the zoning would violate the integrity of the neighborhood. Mr. Ray
           stated that higher density will cause the neighborhood aesthetic to change.
           Mr. Ray stated that the NWHNC area is sufficiently developed. Mr. Ray’s
           experience as a developer, broker and real estate appraiser was used to justify
           his opinion that further development in the area will work to the detriment of
           current stakeholders. Mr. Ray stated that he does not particularly oppose the
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           Rayen Street development, so long as a single family home can be built there.
           Mr. Ray voiced opposition to zone change, or anything that increases density.

           Ernie Hilger stated that creation of a half-way house cannot be stopped,
           however he felt that a concerted effort should be made by the community and
           the Board to approach the Planning Department and the developer.

           Peggy Burgess reported that there has been no appeal on the Sikh temple or on
           the Haskell Avenue property. Ms. Burgess provided an update on the Rayen
           Street property, that the property’s zone was changed from RA to RS1 in 1962
           by the Zoning Administrator. Ms. Burgess reported that the zone change
           meant that a SEQUA report is not required and that any efforts to stop this
           development may prove fruitless.

           Daniel Villegas provided an update of Land Use Committee activities to date,
           noting that its charter is to function in an unbiased manner, to represent
           interests of stakeholders inclusive of those doing business in the area within
           NHWNC, and to get stakeholders involved in their government. Mr. Villegas
           stated that a level of understanding and focus as a committee should be
           reached, to establish and re-establish a network with neighbors and
           stakeholders. Mr. Villegas reported that there is a legal difference between
           pro-activity and reactivity. A cautious position has been taken with regard to
           publication to protect the Neighborhood Council and its Committee members,
           that the Neighborhood Council is not protected by the City Attorney’s office
           in case of lawsuit by a stakeholder, developer or business owner. Mr. Villegas
           stated that a reserved position was held until a legal exposure finding was
           determined by the City Attorney’s Office—the Land Use Committee does not
           have control over NHWNC web site policy or any NHWNC publication;
           blanket indemnity for Land Use Committee actions does not exist. Mr.
           Villegas reported that the City Attorney’s office stated “that potential legal
           liability exists for NHWNC and its Land Use Committee members, whether
           elected or appointed, and individual stakeholders operating independently of
           the Land Use Committee where there is failure to show all legal guidelines
           and also statutes of the City, State and Federal currently in place to protect
           citizen stakeholders and business residing within our boundaries.” Mr.
           Villegas recommended that all “correspondence is to be screened for
           conformance to the Neighborhood Council Code of Ethics, legal guidelines
           utilizing the resources of Mr. Darren Martinez, Deputy City Attorney, Los
           Angeles Attorney’s Office, Neighborhood Advice Division, General Counsel
           Practices Group, whenever a question of suitability of content arises.”


Daniel Villegas moved to adopt the minutes as presented; seconded by Mitch White.
North Hills West Neighborhood Council
August 16, 2006
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VOTE: The Minutes were approved by common consent. The motion passed.


(Taken out of order) Bernice Sterne reported that emergency preparedness is still a major
concern that has gone unanswered. Although some stakeholders are in the process or
have attended CERT training, Ms. Sterne encouraged everyone to consider preparing for
the occurrence of an emergency. Ms. Sterne stated that a group of people working
together on this issue is an important community function. Daniel Villegas suggested
agendizing this issue for the next meeting. Lewis Brown noted that the information Ms.
Sterne discussed is available on the NHWNC website, and thanked Ms. Sterne for her
concern. Mr. Brown emphasized that this is a long-term commitment from the
community, encouraged stakeholders to attend the September Committee meeting, and
advised the subject of the next meeting.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:38 pm

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