D R A F T
M I N U T E S
RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
ADJOURNED REGULAR MEETING
MAY 7, 2002
The meeting was called to order at 6:07 P.M. by Mayor
McTaggart at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, notice
having been given with affidavit thereto on file. After the Pledge of
Allegiance, roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT:Ferraro, Gardiner, Stern, and Mayor McTaggart
PRESENT: Jon Cartwright, Chair; Susan Cote, Tom Long,
Frank Lyon, Craig Mueller, Clara Duran Reed, and David Tomblin
Finance Advisory Committee:
PRESENT: Stephen Wolowicz (Chair), John Curtis, Bill Smith,
and Rick Wallace
ABSENT: Earl Butler, Becky Clark, and Gina McLeod
Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant City
Manager Carolynn Petru; City Attorney Carol Lynch; Director of Planning,
Building, and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas; Director of Public Works Dean
Allison; Finance Director Dennis McLean; Deputy Planning Director Greg
Pfost, City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and, Deputy
City Clerk/Recording Secretary Jackie Drasco.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Mayor pro tem Stern moved, seconded by Mayor McTaggart,
to approve the agenda. Motion carried 4-0-1.
Recess To Closed Session and Reconvene: At 6:08
P.M. the meeting recessed to a closed session on motion of Mayor McTaggart.
At 6:25 P.M. the meeting reconvened.
City Attorney Lynch reported that regarding a new lawsuit,
the Council voted 3-1-1 (with Mayor pro tem Stern abstaining, Councilman
Clark absent) to indemnify Mayor pro tem Stern; and the Council voted
3-0-1 (with Councilman Clark absent) to indemnify City Attorney Lynch.
She indicated that regarding future litigation plans, Mayor pro tem Stern
would take the lead with her office on that matter.
(1) Overview of existing land use
on Crestridge Road;
(2) Overview of undeveloped land
on Crestridge Road. A) The Belmont – formerly Marriott project site, B)
the privately held, un-entitled vacant property, and C) the RDA owned
(3)Overview of allowed uses in the
Deputy Director Pfost described the size,
location, zoning, permitted uses of the properties and entitlement process
and provided information on neighboring developments and vacant lots.
He then gave a history of the properties which explained why the workshop
Deputy Director Pfost raised the issue of
affordable housing requirements; deadlines; surplus funds; and, how these
properties might help meet the requirement.
A discussion then followed between the Deputy
Director, staff, the City Council, Planning Commission, and Finance Advisory
Committee regarding affordable housing.
Deputy Director Pfost said that the Redevelopment
Agency bought the property in 2000; a decision had to be made regarding
how it would be developed by 2005; that affordable units would be low
to very low income; that five of the 13 units required could potentially
be built on this property; and, that Ocean Trails was responsible for
developing the remaining 8 units;four units could be on the Ocean Trails
site and four units elsewhere in the City.
Councilman Gardiner asked how firm was the
requirement of 13 units and if the units had to be built in the City.Deputy
Director Pfost said that 13 was the requirement shown in the City's Housing
Element and was firm for now but that there was pending litigation filed
by SCAG against the State that could change the required number.
Mayor McTaggart said that the Housing Element
had been conditionally approved but depending on the outcome of the SCAG
lawsuit, it was possible that each city would be given an increased number
Councilman Gardiner asked if it was required
that the units be located in the city.
City Attorney Lynch said that the units had
to be in the city and she added that there were restrictions on in-lieu
Mark Mandell from the City Attorney’s office,
said the goal is to have the affordable units and that it did not necessarily
matter which funds were used.
City Attorney Lynch said that even if the
housing set-aside money was given to the County, this would not change
the number of affordable units required within the City.
Mayor McTaggart mentioned that if the obligation
is met within the City, additional units could be placed within ten miles
of the City.
Councilman Gardiner thought a summary indicating
constraints would be helpful to show the goal to be achieved.
Councilwoman Ferraro pointed out that a regional
approach would be helpful, particularly for cities which are completely
built out, but thus far, this concept had always been defeated.
Planning Commissioner Reed asked if the City
could subsidize existing housing.
Deputy Director Pfost said that of the 13
units required, 25% of them could be accomplished through subsidy and
that since Ocean Trails plans to have four onsite affordable units and
four offsite subsidized units, for a total of 8 units, the next five will
have to be new.
Mayor McTaggart felt that a clarification
of the current law as it applied to all affordable housing activities
in the City would also be helpful.
Deputy Director Pfost explained that recent
legislation required the expenditure of RDA set-aside funds for family
housing, rather than senior housing, based on the City’s population determined
in the 2000 census. He said that details were in the staff report.
Councilman Gardiner asked who made up the
difference between the actual cost of construction and the affordable
price and could the unit be sold immediately.
City Attorney Lynch said that the RDA could
make up the difference and that the restrictions run with the property
for 30 years.
Deputy Director Pfost clarified that a General
Plan amendment would be required to make the units multi-family and that
if the City purchased the site from the RDA, a senior housing project
could be allowed. He said that staff did not expect a decision this meeting
but merely a consideration of options.
Mayor pro tem Stern asked for an explanation
of the option of the use of the City’s in-lieu funds.
Deputy Director Pfost said that an affordable
senior housing project could be used if the City used in-lieu funds to
buy the property from the RDA.
Mayor pro tem Stern said it appeared that
this action would not insure meeting the requirement for the number of
Deputy Director Pfost said that if in-lieu
funds were used to purchase the property from the RDA, there would not
be enough funds to use for building the structure.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that he was concerned
about the 18% senior population which meant that senior housing would
not count toward meeting the affordable unit requirement.
Deputy Director Pfost clarified that the
in-lieu funds were separate from the set-aside funds and units built with
in-lieu funds would count toward the 13.
Councilman Gardiner asked if the restrictions
applied only to senior housing.
City Manager Evans said that restriction
applied only to set-aside funds.
Councilwoman Ferraro’s understanding was
that if the City bought the property from the RDA with other funds, then
these would have to go back to the RDA.
Mayor pro tem Stern said he understood that
the in-lieu funds were not restricted and could be used for senior housing
and the in-lieu funds would go to the RDA which would take the set-aside
funds over the one million dollar limit. However, he wondered what the
purpose of the RDA set-aside funds would be since the affordable housing
needs would be met by using the in-lieu funds.
City Manager Evans said that those funds
could be used to subsidize homes or funds could be turned over to the
County to bring the balance below one million dollars.
Mayor pro tem Stern asked if that meant that
new housing was not necessary.
Mayor McTaggart replied that 25% of the RDA
set-aside money could be used to refurbish sub-standard housing in the
Planning Commissioner Tom Long asked if the
restriction against using the RDA set-aside funds applied also to the
affordable units for disabled persons or for assisted living for ADA identified
Mark Mandell said that he would have to look
Chair Wolowicz, asked if there was a clock
running for use of the in-lieu funds.
City Attorney Lynch said there was a time
period during which in-lieu had to be used but she did not know the information
off the top of her head.
Chair Wolowicz asked what triggered the beginning
of a time restriction and suggested that this type of information could
be placed on the summary chart also.
Mayor McTaggart asked if any other clocks
Mark Mandell, said that the five-year clock
is the only one running right now and that applied to holding property
without taking any action toward affordable housing.
Councilman Gardiner said that to maintain
the most flexibility, the Council should take no action at this time.
Presentation by Parties that have submitted
Statements of Interest in the RDA owned property (Palos Verdes Art Center,
Exceptional Children's Network, Standard Pacific, Peninsula Seniors, Affirmed
Housing Group, Corporation for Better Housing, and a City Park).
Robert A. Yassin, representing the Palos
Verdes Art Center, 5504 West Crestridge, explained that the center needed
to be expanded to continue and expand its activities. He described the
international competition online for the best design for the expansion
and the elements hoped to be included. He felt that use of the properties
in question would provide the extra space the Art Center needed and improve
traffic flow because the new driveway would be placed on Crestridge further
Jack Downhill, 20 Vanderlip Drive, representing
the Exceptional Children’s’ Network, explained activities by this group
headed by Corinne Hickson and Claudia Krikorian. He explained that Ms.
Hickson had just given birth the day before and Ms. Krikorian was unavailable
also so he was speaking for them. He expressed interest in the use of
properties being discussed for a facility to include 20 classrooms with
40 to 50 parking spaces. He said that a complete presentation had not
been prepared but if the Council had an interest, this would be done.
Alan Boeker, representing Standard Pacific
Homes, 1983 West 190th Street, Suite 250, Torrance, CA 90504,
provided background on the company and a history of their actions taken
to develop this site. He felt that their proposed project would be good
for the neighborhood and said that it would include a public park buffer
along Crenshaw Boulevard that would be owned and maintained by the homeowners
association that would be formed.
Dan Withee, architect for Standard Pacific
Homes, 1983 West 190th Street, Suite 200,Torrance CA 90504,
reported that he had been involved with this site for eight years and
he felt their development would fill a need for residents who wanted to
move to a new home without leaving the community. He made reference to
large drawings posted on an easel and described the facility and amenities
which would be available for residents. He explained that traffic, aesthetic,
and view issues had been considered and that the buildings were designed
to be small with low-pitched roofs to fit into the natural slope to address
grading issues. He also felt the small buildings designed in a Santa Barbara-type
architectural style would be less institutional than one large building.
He expressed a desire to assist with providing a senior center between
their proposed facility and the one proposed by Belmont with a single
driveway at the far western portion of their land to improve traffic egress
and ingress. He asked the Council to think of all these parcels as one
large piece of property.
Steve Kaplan, Real Estate Land Use Counsel
for Standard Pacific Homes, 1983 West 190th Street, Suite 200,
Torrance, CA 90504, said that they were seeking clarification on age restrictions
for their proposed condominium project and said that Standard Pacific
Homes was willing to provide a building pad for the Peninsula Seniors
to build a Senior center, to purchase the parcel on the corner to replenish
the City’s affordable housing funds, to take steps to mitigate traffic
issues and to include five affordable units. He realized that age restrictions
and zoning were issues.
Peninsula Senior President Bill Baum and
Vice President Gene Hollander said that the site was ideal for a senior
center and suggested that a joint powers group could be formed for funding.
Mayor pro tem Stern asked who would make
up the Joint Powers group.
Gene Hollander said that it was hoped it
would be the four Peninsula cities and possibly Los Angeles County and
he explained that their first choice for location would be on the corner
but the second would be the proposition offered by Standard Pacific Homes.
Councilman Gardiner said that he was amenable
to more than one use on the site, if the details could be worked out,
and this might include a Senior center, affordable housing, and possibly
a park with art work sprinkled through it.
Mr. Hollander said that street parking could
be eliminated with the proper parking facility and it was hoped that this
parking might serve the Palos Verdes Art Center as well because most of
the Art Center’s activities were on the weekend and most of the Peninsula
Seniors activities were during the day on weekdays.
Ginger Hitzke, Affirmed Housing Group, 200
East Washington Avenue, #208, Escondido, CA 92025, presentation focused
on affordable rentals and for sale housing. In response to a query from
Councilwoman Ferraro, she provided annual figures for a family of four
for middle, low, and very low-income categories.
Charles Brumbaugh, representing Corporation
for Better Housing and Indian Ridge Crest Gardens, L.P., 100 West Broadway,
#1250, Glendale, CA 91210, discussed the circumstances which led to the
lawsuit he had filed against the City for what he considered to be injustice
in the City’s refusal to sell the property back to him. He understood
the requirement to build affordable family units, rather than affordable
senior units and felt that type of project might be more successful as
well. He reiterated his desire to repurchase the property to develop a
project which would meet zoning and other restrictions and said that in
spite of the financial strain caused by the City, he was ready to develop
a project the City could be proud of.
Planning Commissioner Reed asked Mr. Brumbaugh
if he had spoken to the Peninsula Seniors lately. Mr. Brumbaugh said that
he had not had any contact with the group after they decided not to participate
in his plan.
David Lamb, representing Simpson Housing
Solutions, 320 Golden Shore, Suite 220, Long Beach, CA 90802, stated that
should the City need assistance with affordable housing, he would appreciate
the opportunity to work with the City Council and staff.
Ray Mathys, 5738 Whitecliff Drive, said that
many proposals have come and gone and it appears that there might be an
opportunity to meet many needs with a combination of uses by different
developers and he was in favor of this type of plan.
Libby Aubrey, 29433 Indian Valley, said that
she represented an informal Rancho Palos Verdes cultural group made up
of City residents. She provided the Council with a written description
of a proposed cultural center and asked them to consider such a project.
Barbara Arbuthnot, 28856 Crestridge Road,
was pleased that the properties were being considered together and thought
that many interesting concepts had been presented. She was in favor of
a park and preserving open space.
Jim Hathaway, 28955 Crestridge Road, was
concerned about providing an aesthetically pleasing development that would
be the first sight when motorists entered the City on Crenshaw Boulevard.
He favored a park and open space or maybe the Standard Pacific Homes with
less density. He felt confident that the Council would approve a plan
that would be acceptable to the residents.
Linda Puentes, 5575 Mistridge Drive, said
that she looked down at this corner from her home and she favored a natural
setting that she felt would be an enrichment for the City and its children.
Presentation and discussion of issues
identified by the City Council, Planning Commission and Finance Advisory
At this time City Manager Evans gave a presentation
on the possibility of a park at this location. He discussed the section
of the property along Indian Peak, which was a narrow highly traveled
street that could provide no on-street parking. He said that this portion
of the site had unstable, steep slopes. He said access would have to be
from Crestridge and he referred the Council to a drawing in the staff
report that showed a possible decomposed granite trail on a gentler slope.
He said that possibly a park similar to Lower Hesse Park could be developed
for little cost except for the $702,000 to purchase the land from the
RDA. He explained that there was little habitat value and the Palos Verdes
Peninsula Land Conservancy was not interested in the site as open space.
Councilwoman Ferraro asked if such a park
would require a zone or General Plan amendment and City Manager Evans
Mayor pro tem Stern felt that Standard Pacific
Homes’ concept of two parcels being considered as one might be feasible
and he wondered how a City park might be included in that plan.
City Manager Evans said that he had met with
Standard Pacific Homes but this concept had not been discussed in detail
until possible Council interest could be determined.
Mayor McTaggart felt it was important to
determine the current geology of the site.
Councilman Gardiner requested that a matrix
be created for comparison of the alternatives, to show their consequences,
funding options, effects of affordable housing, and possible combinations
Mayor pro tem Stern agreed it was important
to know the consequences of actions taken.
Chair Wolowicz added that possible conflicts
between a combination of two proposed uses could be shown in the matrix
Mayor McTaggart asked the Planning Commission
Planning Commission Chair Cartwright stated
that the City had much experience with potential development on the Crestridge
properties and that each time the same issues arise, such as aesthetics,
traffic, parking, the mass of the structure and it was also important
to define the acceptable uses. He said that the City should investigate
other possible sites to accommodate senior housing or affordable housing
needs and agreed that a matrix would be helpful. He said there was not
enough information on any of the plans presented to make specific comments.
Planning Commissioner Long said that from
a Planning Commission perspective, it was hoped that this workshop would
make a start to identify the needs of seniors, not just of the Peninsula
Seniors group but all seniors in the community. He suggested that a survey
be taken of the elderly in the City.
Councilman Gardiner asked for suggestions
on how the Council could evaluate the various options without starting
the clock ticking.
City Attorney Lynch replied that the Council
could identify what it felt were the best options and ask staff to seek
Councilman Gardiner said that for him the
appealing aspects of a project would include a park, a feeling of openness,
a lack of structures, and a cooperative effort with the Palos Verdes Art
Mayor McTaggart suggested that further discussion
of possibilities be agendized after Councilman Clark has an opportunity
to view the tape of this meeting. He wanted to make sure that actions
taken by the Council do not unintentionally start a clock running. He
found the idea of a joint powers authority to be nebulous and wanted to
make sure that the affordability concept was maintained. He said that
the County has a system for maintaining affordable housing; that he had
asked Supervisor Don Knabe if that group would be willing to work with
the City; and, it appeared that they would. He wanted to avoid any situation
that would result in the City becoming a landlord for units.
Planning Commissioner Tomblin thought a matrix
would be very helpful because of the different restrictions and consequences.
Commissioner Reed stated that she liked the
idea of a number of projects on one site and a tangible comparison like
a chart would be of assistance.
Planning Commissioner Mueller, said that
he had envisioned the workshop to include a closer look at acceptable
uses for these properties and he agreed that there was a need to determine
how many other properties in the City might be available for similar uses.
He added another use of youth recreational facilities, which would not
necessarily have to be on this site but somewhere in the City.
Planning Commissioner Lyon emphasized the
need to determine if the proposed projects were economically viable, stating
that some of them probably were more like wish list items.
Planning Commissioner Cote liked the idea
of looking at all the properties at once, rather than piecemeal, especially
for combining uses.
Councilman Gardiner felt that determining
what City property was available overall was good idea, as well as non-City
property which might be available and he agreed that financial analysis
was important but he did not want to discourage dreams because the money
will be available if it is the right vision.
Mayor McTaggart asked for comments from the
Finance Advisory Committee.
Chair Wolowicz agreed that an inventory of
properties for various uses was important and that the commercial viability
of projects should be analyzed.
Mayor pro tem Stern agreed that thinking
of the properties as one parcel and combining projects would be a good
idea if it is feasible, and would likely improve the difficult ingress
and egress on this site. He mentioned a catchall provision in Section
17.26.030, Paragraph "N" of the code regarding institutional
use which stated "such other uses as the director deems to be similar
and no more intensive" and he thought could be a loophole for allowing
Councilwoman Ferraro supported the concept
of multiple use and felt it was important to maintain the institutional
zoning since there was so little in the City. She felt a combination of
a park, affordable housing, and a senior center would be great for the
Mayor McTaggart said that he would consider
a zone change but only if it was the only way the City was able to meet
its affordable housing requirement and he reiterated that it was important
to maintain the affordability aspect of the units so that the City did
not have to become a landlord. He agreed with Mayor pro tem Stern’s comment
that there was a possible loophole in the code which gave discretion to
the Planning Director.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that the provision
seemed to be a good idea but it might give the impression that a loophole
might be the way to go.
Mayor pro tem Stern said he not necessarily
think the code should be changed but it could be.
City Attorney Lynch pointed out that the
Director said that condos were not appropriate in that zone.
City Manager Evans suggested that staff bring
back a project that meets the zoning, incorporates a senior center and
a park and, suggested that RDA set-aside fund restrictions be ignored
for the moment. He said that he did not see the Council changing the zoning
or giving up the idea of some multi-use project. He felt use of the property
was most important and that the issue of the set-aside funds could be
dealt with later.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that there was a
possibility that the PV Art Center might need a certain amount of space
and it could be fit into this development. The Art Center would have the
financial resources to pay for what they want but funding could become
an issue for a "wish list" item.
City Manager Evans questioned if the site
was large enough for multi-use without being bulky.
Councilman Gardiner felt that the Planning
Commission could make this determination and he did not want to stifle
Discussion between Staff and workshop
members, led by a professional meeting facilitator with the goal of either
reaching closure on this issue and/or identifying a next step.
Lou Hexter, the facilitator the City hired
to assist with this discussion then presented his conclusions and the
next steps that should be taken. He felt that the presentations helped
define the vision for these properties. He saw the value of opportunities
in combining uses on the site. He noted the discussion of acceptable uses
for the site and said it was important to keep in mind the goal to be
accomplished and felt that the forum worked well to focus on the goals
and to point out restrictions and potential problems resulting from certain
developments. He stated that the presentations were concise and the public
comments indicated a well-informed citizenry. He felt that if the groups
assembled continued as a joint group, the next discussion could be focused
on few options. He felt that the partnership of the public and private
sector could complete a project that either group could not accomplish
alone. He said that he would be available after the meeting if needed.
Mayor pro tem Stern suggested that staff
facilitate communication between any of the parties who made presentations
who have a desire to work together.
meting adjourned at 8:40 P.M. on motion of Mayor McTaggart.