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Oaks Residents Gather for First In-Person Annual Meeting since 2019

On March 13th more than sixty Oaks residents met at the Immaculate Heart High School Cafeteria for the Oaks Association’s Annual Meeting.  This was the first time since the COVID pandemic that Association members met in-person as had always been done prior to 2020. 

 

Association President Marisa Schwartz opened the meeting by welcoming residents, remarking how wonderful it was to have so many people at the meeting and to greet so many we haven’t seen in several years. 

 

There was a smorgasbord of important information to share with residents:

 

·       Mike Lyons told the group about the progress of the new Oaks digital Archive, a project we began creating to celebrate the centennial of the Neighborhood.  Mike told us that the Archive group will begin collecting photos,  documents, and stories submitted by  residents in the coming months.  These will be posted into an online registry of all the homes in the Oaks neighborhood.  It’s an exciting project!

·       Gerry Hans and Friends of Griffith Park showed materials about the Fern Dell water reclamation and recirculation project that we hope to get Measure W funding for. 

·       ACS Security answered questions about the Oaks Security Patrol service

 

There was also a Question & Answer period with Mehmet Berker, Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Space Director for Council Office 4, and Heather Mata, Senior Lead Officer of LAPD.  The session was moderated by Oaks boardmember Caroline Schweich.  The topics included:

 

·       Abandoned vehicles.  Following the fire that consumed an RV on Canyon Drive in late February, there has been renewed interest in getting abandoned and damaged vehicles off of that street.  Residents are encouraged to phone in information to DOT’s Abandoned Vehicle Hotline: 800-222-6366 (800-ABANDON).  It was asked whether a PPD (Preferential Parking District) might solve the problem, but Officer Mata replied that RVs can park even in a PPD, so the creation of such a district would not likely

help. 

 

·       Short-Term Rentals violations.  For the last several years Oaks residents have been clamoring for more effective registration, on-line visibility, and enforcement of short-term rentals.  Violations of the Short-Term Ordinance are constant and enforcement is feeble.  It’s also not clear which City Agency is principally charged with enforcement.  There is a new City ordinance that makes it easier to close a rental house where there’s been criminal activity.  But for more mundane violations, residents are encouraged to call the Short-Term Rental Violation Hotline: 213-267-7788.  Complaints can also go directly to the LA Department of Building & Safety.  For party houses, neighbors should call the LAPD non-emergency line; they should also take photos and videos of nuisance behavior at any house which violates the Unruly Gathering Ordinance.  Residents asked why enforcement is in the hands of the Planning Department, an agency which seems to be least effectively equipped to deal with it.  It was also stressed that regulation and enforcement should be self-sustaining through permit fees and fines, as is the case in other cities where short-term rentals are handled more effectively.

 

·       The Beachwood Gate closure. Residents asked about efforts to restore pedestrian access to Griffith Park at the Beachwood gate which remains closed after seven years due to the City’s misapplication of a judicial ruling.  Mehmet explained that three possible access solutions are being explored: a switchback trail up the hillside just inside the gate; a dedicated pathway along the east side of the access road; and a transit system bus or shuttle.  He said a transit study needs to be done, perhaps by the Bureau of Engineering.  As regards the Hollywood Sign, a resident asked about plans for the influx of tourists that will arrive with the 2028 summer Olympics. 

 

·       The poor timing of the traffic signals at Franklin & Western and at Los Feliz Boulevard & Fern Dell Drive.  Mr. Berker told us that signal times have been adjusted by the Department of Transportation which is the responsible agency.

 

·       Repair of neighborhood sidewalks.  The City has agreed to fix a certain percentage of the sidewalks each year, but the current queue is at a six-year wait for repairs.  Berker stressed that most sidewalk repair is now “access-requested,” that is, disability-oriented and that if a request is made by a resident who is a member of a disability class, the request will be prioritized. 

 

We also heard from LAFD Battalion Chief Wikstrom (Fire Station 27) and Captain Rupright (Fire Station 82) about their concerns for the neighborhood.  Asked by residents what the heavy rains of the first months of 2024 portend for fire risk, the officers characterized the recent  rainfall to be both a blessing and a curse for the hills: The moisture prevents wild fires, they said, but it also promotes more-than-usual vegetation growth which, once it has dried out, will provide more fuel in the event of a fire.

 

After the Fire Department officers spoke, Marisa thanked the many residents for attending and the assembled Association members voted another one-year term for our boardmembers.

 

Providing a lovely cap to the evening of community, Joshua Marin-Mora, Field Representative for our State Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur presented the Association Board with a Certificate of Commendation for the Oaks Neighborhood on the occasion of its Centennial Celebration, specifically recognizing the Association’s initiative to create a Digital Archive of the homes, people, and stories of the Oaks Neighborhood over the last one hundred years. 

 



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