CITY HALL — The City Council moved to loosen proposed restrictions on private exercise instruction in public parks Tuesday night by allowing limited group trainings and heavier equipment in some parks and charging less for the privilege.

The council requested that city officials return with an ordinance that would leave the door open to some group exercise in historic Palisades Park, as well as allowing weights heavier than 25 pounds in Clover Park and the beach.

Additionally, trainers would only have to pay 10 percent of their gross revenues to City Hall rather than the 15 percent proposed by city officials.

The vote brought applause from some in the council chambers, which had been full of trainers and their clients asking for the right to continue exercising in Palisades Park and with little restriction in other areas.

The original concept included banning all group exercise from Palisades Park, instead allowing one-on-one and one-on-two training to continue there, and banning equipment weighing over 25 pounds in all parks except the beach.

That didn’t sit well with Councilmember Gleam Davis, who felt that the parks should be open to group exercise, if in a more limited sense than the current free-for-all.

“These are public spaces, and public spaces are to be shared,” Davis said.

At the same time, restrictions on noise, the size of those classes and some percentage of proceeds — as well as existing requirements on business permits, insurance and other standards — could be welcome and necessary, council members said.

Two smaller parks, Ashland Park and Goose Egg Park, would go on a list of nine spaces in which no trainer could hold class under the proposal.

Officials will return with an updated ordinance at a future council meeting.


Airport commissioner


The City Council unanimously appointed scientist Suzanne Paulson to the open seat on the Airport Commission Tuesday night.

Paulson, a Sunset Park resident, is known for conducting a study around the airport which measured certain kinds of air pollution emitted by airplanes.

She will take the spot vacated by long-time commissioner Ofer Grossman, who announced his resignation in March.

This is a momentous time for those interested in Santa Monica Airport. The City Council will hold a meeting next Tuesday solely on airport issues in the run-up to 2015, the year in which many city officials believe that City Hall will get some measure of control over the airport from the Federal Aviation Administration. Officials with the FAA have said repeatedly that their agreement with City Hall goes beyond 2015.

The Airport Commission has been very active in proposing potential restrictions — like stopping the sale of aviation gasoline — that could restrict the number of planes taking off and landing at the airport.

Currently there are no pilots serving on the commission.



Green development


Council members want to set the ecological bar higher for new development by requesting more solar panels and higher standards for car pooling.

Councilmembers agreed to a request by colleagues Ted Winterer and Kevin McKeown to get “the greatest amount of (solar) panels feasible” from new development.

That caused some heartburn on the council from those who feared that adding new restrictions on development might eventually make Santa Monica an unattractive place to invest.

The flexibility of the language ultimately won the day, with officials convinced that they could request the extra green-energy infrastructure without it being a hard and fast requirement.

McKeown, Winterer and Davis also asked for a more aggressive carpoolig approach to encourage workers in developments restricted with certain vehicle ridership targets to fit more than one person in a car when they come to work in Santa Monica.

They also requested performance reviews, and potential penalties when businesses fall short of those goals.

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