(Editors note: The Palisades Park Advisory July 19 meeting lasted more than two hours. This will be a two-story report, with the next story reporting on restrooms and a possible dog park. It will run on July 25.)
The Palisades Park Advisory Board (PAB) met on July 19 for its quarterly meeting. Prior to the meeting, a neighbor had sent a note to the PAB Board President Andy Starrels and cc’d this editor. The email included 13 photos of parties that took place on weekends in June.
The neighbor wrote in the email to Starrels, “To be clear these parties are not occasional, they are frequent and RAP permits reflect it. I would estimate there were 12-15 private, large events held in the picnic area during June alone.”
The neighbor’s property is adjacent to the park, and the neighbor wondered if there could be a cap on the number of parties held in the upper grass area and at the bocce courts.
In April, another resident had asked “Why has an out-of-state, private business (Super Soccer Stars) been allowed to overtake the only flat, open space in the Palisades Recreation Center for their for-profit use? This is a public space, and they are paying a very small amount to lease the space for their private classes. I was told they used to lease for a few hours—it is now 32 classes per week. There are over 20 classes on Sunday, in our park alone!”
Most people understand if they live next to a park, they will have occasional noise and celebrations. But nonstop noise and a constant party atmosphere, including amplified music and battle air-horns, is not allowed, according to the Facility Rental Agreement.
Some Palisades residents might think there is an advantage to having numerous parties at the Rec Center. That the money from permits and fees from those parties go back to the Rec Center, but they do not. Instead that money ($175 to $235 for a permit) goes to the City Recreation and Parks Department.
The following is a list of the dates that events took place on dates in June: 1, 4, 9, 10 (two events held), 11, 12, 16, 24, 25, 26 and 28 (with photos).
It was not only June that nonstop parties were being held, a public records request for parties in September showed events on September 1, 3, 6, 9, 11 (two events) and 25.
Neighbors say that amplified music and propane tanks are not allowed but when they call the Rec office on a Saturday or Sunday to complain, the response is, “call the west LA supervisors office when it opens on Monday.”
At the meeting Park Director Jasmine Dowlatshahi, was asked by Starrels, if maybe a supervisor should be on site for the numerous parties.
Dowlatshahi wanted to know who was complaining, “Was it THAT neighbor?” she asked.
A park neighbor has become the scape goat, and vilified for asking the park to observe hours, stopping unsupervised teens setting off fireworks after hours and the excessive amount of drinking, and the noise which is above city regulations.
City parks must follow the Noise Element of the Los Angeles City General Plan, which is state law. The City’s plan was adopted in 1975 and updated February 1999.
That plan (https://planning.lacity.org/odocument/b49a8631-19b2-4477-8c7f-08b48093cddd/Noise_Element.pdfis the City) states that Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 63.44 regulates use of recreation and parks department facilities, and that Park rangers and staff enforce regulations on sound amplification systems within parks.
According to that plan, Rec and Parks is required to design facilities, locate activities within park sites, enforce park use hours and have operational policies that minimize potential noise and activity impacts on surrounding neighborhoods.
Starrels told Dowlatshahi that he had been told that the parties, “Happen a lot.”
“It’s not true,” Dowlatshahi said. “Ask Rob [Weber].” (Weber’s house is on the perimeter of the park and he is a member of the park board.)
Dowlatshahi said, “There was only about one event in June.” She also said that she has started charging $30 an hour to permittees (on top of the regular fee, and that money goes back to the Palisades Rec Center).
She was asked how much party operators are fined if they do not abide by the rules.
“They’re on our list,” she said.
The Palisades Recreation Center is a cost recovery center, which means the fees collected from sports leagues and other activities pays the salaries at the Center, as well as DWP costs.