Rancho Palos Verdes City Council






JANUARY 21, 2003

The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor Stern at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, and was immediately recessed to a closed session per the Brown Act Checklist. At 7:03 p.m., the meeting was reconvened.

Roll call was answered as follows:

PRESENT: Clark, Gardiner, McTaggart and Mayor Stern

ABSENT: Ferraro

Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant City Manager Carolyn Petru; City Attorney Carol Lynch; Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas; Director of Public Works Dean Allison; Director of Finance Dennis McLean; Senior Planner Kit Fox; Administrative Services Director/City Clerk Jo Purcell; and Minutes Secretary Dianne McGivern.

Director of Public Works Dean Allison led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mayor Stern honored and congratulated all who had served on the View Restoration Committee with engraved tiles.


Maxine Barron and Alice Daly were selected as recyclers of the month. Mayor Stern thanked all who participate in the recycling program.

Mayor Stern informed the public about the possibility of the City losing the revenue from vehicle license fees (VLF) to the state.


Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner to approve the Agenda as follows:

Councilman McTaggart requested that Item No. 3, the claim against the city by Georgianna Ezzo, be removed from the Consent Calendar

Mr. Sutton requested that Item No. 6, the Review of Large Domestic Animal Nonconformity Statement No. 26 (Sutton, 16 Peppertree Drive and adjacent vacant parcel) be continued to February 18th due to pending medical procedure he was about to undergo.

Councilman McTaggart indicated that Item No. 9, the Engineering Services for City Hall Elevator, be continued due to Councilwoman Ferraro’s absence.

No objections noted.


Mayor Stern requested to remove Item No. 3, claim against the City by Georgianna Ezzo.

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman McTaggart, to

approve the Consent Calendar as amended.

Motion to waive full reading.

Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at this meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all council members after the reading of the title.

Minutes of November 19, 2002 Regular and January 7, 2003 Adjourned

Regular Meeting.

Approved the minutes.

Mini Grant for Seat Belt Compliance Campaign

Authorized the City to act as the pass-through agency for a $13,226.02 mini-grant awarded to the Lomita Sheriff’s Station by the State Office of Traffic Safety for the 2002-2003 Seat Belt Compliance Campaign.

Resol. No. 2003-04: Register of Demands.


Motion to approve the Consent Calendar was carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Gardiner, Clark, McTaggart and Mayor Stern

NOES: None

ABSENT: Ferraro

# # # # # #

Claim Against The City By Georgianna Ezzo.

After a brief comment about the truck that was the cause of the alleged debris which hit the claimant’s car.Councilman McTaggart moved for adoption of staff recommendation to reject the claim and directed staff to notify the claimant. seconded by Councilman Clark No objections noted.


Review of Large Domestic Animal Nonconformity Statement No. 26 (Sutton, 16 Peppertree Drive)

Senior Planner Kit Fox presented the staff memorandum of January 21, 2003, and the following recommendation: Determine the maximum number of large domestic animals that may be "grandfathered" for keeping and/or boarding on the property at 16 Peppertree Drive.

Mr. Fox explained the 8-step procedure required to be in conformance with the existing ordinance. He stated that the Mayor had requested staff to contact the Suttons to provide additional documentation regarding their boarding activities for the period in question. He stated that the July 14th letter that contained a 30-day allowance for time to respond to the request had expired.

Mayor Stern requested Staff to submit another letter to Mr. Sutton attaching the July 14th letter.

Mr. Fox stated that additionally, the City requested Mr. Sutton to provide information regarding boarding activities as they occurred in the past. He stated that to-date there has been no response to the City’s request.

Robert Maxwell, 7 East Pomegranate Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, presented the Council with photographs of the Sutton property. He pointed out the appearance of the property in the various photographs as being shoddy and overgrown. He referenced poor housekeeping of the area and the neglect of the horses.

Mr. Maxwell encouraged the Council to deny Mr. Sutton’s request.

Joseph Deeble, 3 East Pomegranate Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated that in 1977, there was one horse on the Sutton property. He stated that there was one horse in 1975 and four horses in 1997. Mr. Deeble commented that the Suttons had imported horses to be in their property at the time the City made its inspection. He stated that four horses have been kept at the Sutton property over the course of many years.

Mayor Stern asked Mr. Deeble to point out on a diagram what he could see from his property. Mr. Deeble explained that except for the strawberry plants that have grown over the years, he has had a clear view of the property.

Councilman McTaggart questioned Mr. Deeble about horses in distress on the Sutton property in the past.

Mr. Deeble commented that because of the tractors and automobiles located on the Sutton property, it was difficult to see. He indicated that people had asked him for permission to enter his property to view the horses and that those people always left in revulsion. Mr. Deeble stated that the horses never left their stalls.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Councilman McTaggart, to continue the matter.

Mayor Stern continued the public hearing to February 18th, 2003.

Oceanfront Estates: Appeal of Denial of Planning Case No. ZON2002-

Senior Planner Kit Fox presented the staff memorandum of January 21 and the recommendation to adopt the proposed resolution DENYING THE APPEAL WITHOUT PREJUDICE AND UPHOLDING THE PLANNING COMMISSION’S DENIAL OF THE REQUESTED CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT REVISION (PLANNING CASE NO. ZON2002-00282)

Senior Planner Kit Fox reminded the Council that this item was continued so that the developer could provide additional photographic simulations. He also stated that revegetation of the City’s Lot 80 was an issue. He indicated that the current proposed plans would be bulkier and wider than the previously approved plans.

Councilman McTaggart inquired about the offensiveness of a two-story home. He stated that when looking up the hill, there were many two-story homes. He also asked whether there would be landscaping in the back yard facing PV Drive South.

Mr. Fox demonstrated the vegetation via simulation.

Councilman Clark opined that the vegetation masquerades the fact that the house is two stories.

Mr. Fox then explained the 3-phase method of managing the revegetation of Lot 80.

Councilman Gardiner asked if the Planning Commission had previously made a decision.

Mr. Fox indicated that they had; however, it had been rejected. He stated that the Planning Commission had viable alternatives that were undesirable to the developer. He stated that the developer had indicated that the prior plans were unwanted by the consumer; that they had difficulty marketing those floor plans.

Councilman Gardiner asked whether there is a landscaping requirement currently in place for the proposed project.

Mr. Fox indicated that there was not one specifically for the individual residential lots, but that there was one to revegetate the open space areas.

City Attorney Lynch indicated that such a requirement could be added.

Councilman Clark asked why the condition to revegetate Lot 80 had not been complied with to date.

Mr. Fox explained that there was not a specific timeline requirement for implementation of that condition. He stated that the developer did begin revegetation of the bluff top open space lots, although some of it has not taken as well as expected.

Mayor Stern presented the pictures that he had taken of the proposed site.

RECESS AND RECONVENE: Mayor Stern recessed the meeting at 8:34 p.m. and resumed at 8:42 p. m.

Tim Hamilton, Capital Pacific Homes, 14100 MacArthur Boulevard, Newport

Beach, first requested to defer a vote until all five members of the Council

were present to prevent what appeared might be a 2-2 tie.

Mayor Stern and Councilman McTaggart both indicated support for Mr.

Hamilton’s request.

Councilman McTaggart requested that the developer return with a grading plan and a revegetation plan.

Councilman Clark requested an overlay of both proposals for illustrative purposes.

Councilman McTaggart moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to continue the discussion to February 18th meeting; that the applicant present grading and revegetation plans at next meeting; that the applicant explain why they did not explore alternatives suggested by staff; and, that the applicant present overlay of original Plan 6 with overlay of model 14. Motion carried.


Mayor Stern described a trip to Sacramento for the Contract Cities meeting. He indicated that they met with legislators, assemblymen, state senators, and also the Speaker of the Assembly. He stated it was a very productive meeting.

Mayor Stern stated that on the 11th he attended the Sanitation District meeting where he obtained information regarding rail service to haul trash out into the desert. He also attended the Mayor’s breakfast where the topic of discussion was the parking of big recreational vehicles on neighborhood streets. He mentioned attending the Ocean Trails Liaison meeting with Councilman Clark where landslide rebuilding and road improvements were discussed.

Councilman Gardiner reported attending a meeting of the subcommittee on the City Ed channel. Councilman Gardiner then discussed petitions that were being circulated in his neighborhood about possible restrictions being placed on RV’s. He cited the misinformation contained in these petitions, and requested that some information about what is really being considered by the Planning Commission for RV’s be put on the City’s website.

Councilman Clark requested the Planning Commission to review the current code regarding RV’s and provide that information to the Council. He also suggested posting that information on the website.

Mayor Stern suggested creating a listserve system to accommodate that issue.

Councilman McTaggart stated that he attended the Contract Cities Trust Fund Oversight Committee where discussion of sheriff’s deputy driver liability was had. He indicated that the discussion remains confidential until a settlement or judgment was reached. He stated that the fund boats over 20 million dollars. Councilman McTaggart then reported attending the CDHD Committee meeting on the 9th. He then reported that there have been no more cases of Lyme’s Disease nor the West Nile Virus, according to the information supplied at the L. A. County Vector Control Board meeting.

Councilman McTaggart stated that on the 10th he attended the St. John Fisher’s Girl Scout meeting and talked about utilizing recycled materials in their projects. He indicated that he passed out recycling kits. He then reported that the County City Integrated Waste Management Task Force met and discussed pending legislation.

Councilman McTaggart stated that on the 16th he attended the PV Transit meeting where new buses and CNG buses were discussed. He commented that the CNG buses appear to be problematic, but that the CNG bus is what the City will employ, with the exception of the large diesel buses.

Councilman Clark commented that the League of Cities meeting in San Francisco was very productive. He stated that the budget deficit represents cuts in services and infrastructure. He indicated that a service tax was being discussed as a new revenue stream.

Councilman Clark mentioned that at the Ocean Trails meeting, Donald Trump announced that a driving range would not be built.


Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke to a variety of subjects: the Abalone Shoreline Park exhibit in the showcase at Hesse Park; that the man who spoke against horses had painted his house pink and green; and, that she buys carrots for the horses in the stables and she thinks the stables are wonderful.

Geri Chaudby, spoke about sponsoring a workshop in behalf of the bicyclists. She requested support in sponsoring the workshops.

Mayor Stern suggested contacting Director of Public Works Dean Allison.

Libby Aubrey, 24933 Indian Valley Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in support of the bicycle workshop. She suggested that having the cities connected by bikeways would assist in the event of an emergency. She requested a location, a time, and a date for the workshop.

Mr. Allison suggested Ms. Aubrey contact him.


Appointment of Chair for the Equestrian & Financial Advisory Committees

Administrative Services Director/City Clerk Jo Purcell presented the staff memorandum of January 21, 2003 and the following recommendation: Appoint a chair for the Equestrian Committee and for the Financial Advisory Committee.

Ms. Purcell reported that Steve Wolowicz and Gina McLeod had interviewed for chair of the Finance Advisory Committee; and, that Richard Bara had withdrawn his name from consideration for chair of the Equestrian Committee and that Gordon Leon had interviewed for that position.

Councilman McTaggart moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to appoint Mr. Gordon Leon to chair the Equestrian Committee. The motion was unanimous.

Councilman McTaggart moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to nominate Steve Wolowicz as chair of the Finance Advisory Committee.

Councilman Clark nominated Gina McLeod, seconded by Mayor Stern as chair of the Finance Advisory Committee.

Councilman Gardiner stated that Steve Wolowicz had only served 8 months in his capacity as chair.

After a brief discussion, Councilman Clark withdrew his motion.

Mayor Stern named Steve Wolowicz chair of the Finance Advisory Committee. The motion was unanimous.

Engineering Services for City Hall Elevator

Director of Public Works Dean Allison presented the staff memorandum of January 21 and the following recommendations: (1) Award an engineering contract to John Cruickshank Inc. for preliminary engineering services for the design of an elevator at City Hall, in an amount not to exceed $6,400; and (2) Authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a contract with John Cruickshank, Inc.

Mayor Stern recommended continuing the issue until Councilwoman Ferraro returns.

Councilman McTaggart asked whether there would be a loss of federal funding if a decision is not reached by a certain time.

Director of Public Works Dean Allison indicated affirmatively.

City Attorney Lynch agreed that if the funds are not used, they would be lost.

Councilman Clark requested Staff to investigate discussions of the proposed elevator within prior City Council meetings.

It was the consensus to continue the item to a future date.

Proposed Modifications to the Monopole at City Hall

Assistant City Manager Carolyn Petru presented the staff memorandum of January 21 and the following recommendation: Authorize SpectraSite Communications to submit an application for a Revision to Conditional Use Permit No. 119 to modify the existing telecommunications facilities on the monopole at City Hall.

Ms. Petru reminded the Council that SpectraSite Communications submitted a proposal to modify the monopole. She then displayed photographs depicting the pole as it currently appears.

Councilman Gardiner inquired why Southern California Edison’s antenna must remain as a whip antenna.

Scott Gobble, 505 Maple Avenue, Torrance, indicated that changing from a whip antenna to a panel antenna would compromise their existing service to current subscribers.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Councilman McTaggart to approve staff recommendations. No objections noted.

Clarification of a Condition of Approval for Grading Permit No. 1928-Revision ‘B’ (Abdalian, 30025 Cachan Place)

Senior Planner Kit Fox presented the staff memorandum of January 21 and the following recommendations: That Council clarify their intent and expectation regarding Condition No. 5 of Grading Permit No. 1928-Revision ‘B’, and determine if the current site conditions are in substantial conformance with this condition so that the building permit for the project can be finalized.

Mr. Fox directed the Council to a condition on the subject property to return the side retaining walls to their original configuration upon completion of construction. He demonstrated by a slide presentation the current status of the property and the lack of compliance with the condition previously imposed.

Adelaida Abdalian, 30825 Mark Drive, stated that the house is complete. She indicated that it had been inspected and that all conditions of approval had been met. She pointed out that following the final inspection and approval, the landscaping and sprinkler systems were installed. She further stated that following the final approval Mr. Rojas visited the home for an inspection. She stated that Mr. Rojas indicated that the plans had to be compared to the house as built, and later returned requesting a fee be paid. She indicated that the great profile at the rear of the house might not be acceptable to City Council. She indicated that after six months, the slope is beginning to look green. She talked about their plans to add trees, if necessary.

Mayor Stern opined that the finish contours appear to be only a cut horizontal grade.

Ms. Abdalian responded by stating she didn’t know; that that was what they did.

Councilman McTaggart asked whether the subject property is a two or three-story house.

Ms. Abdalian indicated it was a three-story. She pointed to the lower crawl space that was attainable through an exterior door.

Mr. Rojas stated the door was approximately 5 feet tall and that the height of the crawl space was approximately 6 feet.

Mr. Fox indicated that habitation of the crawl space had been prohibited.

Arik Abdalian, 30825 Mark Drive, stated that the City required the crawl space to be less than seven feet, and that was complied with. He stated that the crawl space contained a heater and a water heater.

Mr. Abdalian verified Ms. Abdalian’s explanation of events regarding the inspections and the landscaping.

Mayor Stern inquired of Mr. Abdalian whether instructions were given to the grader to meet the 980-foot requirement.

Mr. Abdalian stated that the back yard was always very level except for the north corner.

Councilman Gardiner questioned whether the current appeal is an attempt to obtain a third story.

Councilman McTaggart agreed.

Eric Paris, 29234 Stadia Hill Lane, stated that the applicant was aware that the landscaping was placed on an improperly graded area. He indicated that the project had been the subject of discussion for years. He stated that the applicant’s intention was to have a three-story home with a swimming pool in a flat yard. He stated that the applicant will not rest until he converts the crawl space into a habitable area. Mr. Paris demonstrated how high the ceiling was in the crawl space and opined that it is approximately 8-1/2 feet.

Mr. Rojas commented that currently the crawl space has been reduced to less than 7 feet.

Mr. Fox indicated that the floor of the crawl space is dirt.

Mayor Stern moved, seconded by Councilman McTaggart, that the applicant must comply with the slope as outlined on the 1997 plan, including the contouring to give a more natural appearance. No opposition noted, the order carried.

City Council and Planning Commission Joint Workshop.

City Manager Les Evans presented the staff memorandum of January 21 and the following recommendation: that Council consider rescheduling the February 8th date for the Joint City Council and Planning Commission meeting. Mr. Evans stated that Councilwoman Ferraro requested this reconsideration of the date because she had a conflict on that date.

Mayor Stern indicated that since the majority of the attendees are able to attend on February 8th, that the date should remain unchanged.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:38 P.M. on motion of Mayor Stern.



City Clerk