Rancho Palos Verdes City Council




MAY 20, 2003

The meeting was called to order at 7:03 p.m. by Mayor pro tem Barbara Ferraro at Fred Hesse Community Park 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes.

Roll call was answered as follows:

PRESENT: Clark, Gardiner, McTaggart and Mayor Pro Tem Ferraro

ABSENT: Mayor Stern

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

Councilman Gardiner led the Pledge of Allegiance.


Ted Vegvari of P.V. Net (PVN) presented a check for $1,000 to Diane Weinberger, President of the Pet Protectors. This check represented funds raised from donations received for video "It’s a Dog’s Life which was jointly produced by PVN and the Point Vicente Animal Hospital.


Norman Kajikawa and James Packcharis were selected as recyclers of the month. Mayor Pro tem Ferraro thanked all who participate in the recycling program.


City Manager Evans requested on behalf of Mayor Stern that Item No. 14 on the agenda be continued until he could attend to discuss the matter.

City Attorney Lynch requested an urgency item related to the possible removal of habitat be placed on the agenda.

It was the consensus of Council to place the item on the agenda and make it the first matter after the public hearings.

Councilman McTaggart moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the agenda as amended. Motion carried.

Presentation By So. Calif. Edison

Scott Gobble of Southern California Edison addressed the meeting in reference to the power grid serving Rancho Palos Verdes and how it relates to circuit outages in the area.

He explained that the hill is serviced by a variety of high voltage circuits, both overhead and underground, coming from different local areas. Because there is not one centralized system serving the hill, a "mish-mash" effect is created, thereby allowing neighbors on the same street to be affected or unaffected by a single outage.

He stated that there are several reasons for outages, including vehicles that strike utility poles, weather-related conditions, equipment failure, wildlife, and trees.

He stressed that SCE maintains stringent records to address maintenance issues, hopefully before a problem occurs, and stated that money is being spent to replace or upgrade the equipment.

He urged residents to cooperate in SCE’s ability to properly maintain the power lines by keeping pad mounts and underground equipment boxes clearly visible. He explained that, by cleverly disguising these structures, it makes it extremely difficult to gain access to the lines to quickly restore power.

He also stated that the single largest factor in outages is trees. He recommended that residents trim or "lace" their trees every two to three years.

Councilman Clark queried what percentage of power lines were overhead as opposed to underground. He also mentioned that Council had sponsored a resolution that was adopted as a major policy statement by the California League of Cities that encouraged the California Public Utilities Commission to work with the power companies to find more creative ways to move the overhead to underground. He asked what steps SCE was taking to address this issue.

Mr. Gobble answered that in RPV approximately 30 percent of the lines are underground and 70 percent are overhead. He mentioned that SCE is currently mortgaged out from previous projects but believes they receive approximately $250,000 a year that is applied to undergrounding. He stated these funds could be used any way the Council sees fit. He also brought up Rule 20A Funds, which can be used by the City as a guarantee for engineering advances on community projects. Additionally, he mentioned an "overhead equivalency" program, under which the C.P.U.C. has directed utility companies to credit money to any community installing an underground system because less maintenance is required initially. He said there has been a decrease of 12 to 17 percent in the cost of these projects in 2003 but they are still very expensive.

He mentioned that there was an accident recently in which a couple employees were injured. In response to questions by Council members regarding their condition, he reported that they were at Sherman Oaks Hospital being treated and their prognoses were good.

In summation, he advised residents to stay away from any fallen lines and to call the 800 number on their utility bill to report trees down, lines down, or any unusual noises related to power outages.


City Clerk Jo Purcell advised Council that there were three speakers who wished to address the Parking Regulation Ordinance, which was a Consent Calendar Item. It was the consensus of Council to remove that item from the Consent Calendar and discuss prior to the Public Hearing section of the agenda.

Councilman McTaggart moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the Consent Calendar as follows:

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. (301)

Approved the minutes of April 14th and April 26, 2003. .

Resol. No. 2003-32: In-lieu Affordable Housing Fund Program. (701 x 1203)


General Services Agreement with the County of Los Angeles. (308)

Approved the General Services Agreement (GSA) between the City of Rancho Palos Verdes and the County of Los Angeles and authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the Agreement.

Ordinance No. 389: Neighborhood Compatibility. (1801)


Resol. Nos. 2003-33, 34, and 35: Citywide Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance District. (901)


Resol. No. 2003-36: Register of Demands.


The motion to approve the Consent Calendar carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Clark, McTaggart, Gardiner, Mayor pro tem Ferraro

NOES: None

ABSENT: Mayor Stern

# # # # # # # # # # #

Ordinance No. 390: Regulating Parking Of Certain Vehicles. (1801)

Ernie Giannioses, Rancho Palos Verdes, reiterated that data on the effects of Ordinance No. 390 should be collected and reviewed in six months. He suggested Council implement a mediation process to help keep complaints to a minimum. He recommended that, if special on-street parking permits were to be issued to visitors, the process be kept simple and free of charge. He also voiced concern that perhaps the ordinance would force vehicles to the street, creating the need for a future street ordinance.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro commented that the ordinance did not address street parking.

Councilman Gardiner remarked that the ordinance does not deal with street parking but added that the Staff had been directed to provide input to the Planning Committee on its impact.

Councilman Gardiner queried whether data was going to be collected and how meaningful comparisons were going to be made in six months.

City Manager Evans replied that data would be collected by the Planning Department that would consist of whether parking problems had been created, the number of complaints received, and the numbers of citations and permits issued.

Councilman Clark expressed concern over the legislation of specific standards for vehicle covers.

City Attorney Lynch stated it is more of a property maintenance issue than one of esthetics, with the deciding test being whether there is an adverse impact on the neighborhood. She advised Council could eliminate that particular standard if they found it unreasonable.

Sunshine, Rancho Palos Verdes, questioned whether a directive would address the specific issue of parking on a paved driveway in the landslide areas, where many residents find it difficult to maintain paved driveways. She also queried whether the ordinance applied to horse-drawn vehicles.

City Attorney Lynch responded that the ordinance does not specify driveways but that vehicles must be parked on paved surfaces. She stated that the section applies to motorized and non-motorized vehicles and said that any operational vehicle in good condition does not have to be covered or stored in a fully enclosed structure; on the other hand, if it is in pieces or in a dilapidated condition it must be covered or stored in an enclosure.

Ralph Ortolano, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed concern about subsection 6-A as it relates to prohibiting the parking of a carriage, horse trailer, etc. on unpaved land or an undeveloped lot regardless of property ownership. He stated that if the actual reason for this was prompted by owners creating areas for others to store vehicles on their land, that specific issue should be addressed

Councilman Gardiner asked if Section 1, Part 6-A affected the ability of persons to park their family and commuter cars on the street. He also inquired on the point of creating an unreasonable burden on certain residents in areas where the pavement is not always stable.

City Attorney Lynch responded that family and commuter cars were allowed to park on the street.

City Manager Evans explained that the ordinance is not a new one, having been in effect throughout Southern California cities for quite some time. He added that it is not unreasonably enforced.

Director Rojas explained that parts of the ordinance were written in response to complaints.

Councilman McTaggart expressed concern that the full Council was not present to vote on the ordinance and requested that Mayor Stern be in attendance for any further decision.

Councilman Clark noted that the City had gone through a very thoughtful and deliberate process to review this, and he found it to be a reasonable refinement to the code. He mentioned that it had been assigned to the Planning Commission more than a year ago, adding that they had spent considerable time with Staff, received input from the Good Neighbor Sam Club, and looked at benchmark cities that had already dealt with the matter. He agreed that the matter should be reviewed in six months not only by the Planning Commission but the City Counsel as well to determine if the code refinements are operating and having the desired effect.

Councilman Clark also mentioned that his understanding at the last meeting was that Mayor Stern was supportive of the code refinements. As such, he felt his absence should not delay the enactment and the matter should move forward. He concurred with Councilmen Gardiner and McTaggart’s position regarding the "legislation of esthetics" and suggested the language be improved in Paragraph 6-D, in relation to design for a particular type of vehicle. He stated that he would not object to refinement of that wording to include the ability to get a generic cover for the vehicle to be stored on a paved surface. With that exception, he expressed satisfaction with the ordinance.

City Attorney Lynch stated that it would be very easy to delete the language about "that was designed for the particular type of vehicle," and say the vehicle must be kept in a well-maintained condition or be covered with a vehicle cover provided that the cover is maintained in good repair.

Councilman Gardiner queried what "maintained in good repair" means. He stated that he found it too broad. He brought up the original reason the matter came to the attention of the Council and stated he was unclear as to the extent of the problems of some of the other issues being addressed. He made reference to an earlier discussion that brought up the issue of anticipating problems and solving them before they occurred. He stated he suspects the City gets more complaints about barking dogs than it does some of the things being addressed by the ordinance.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro commented that it was initiated originally to address specific complaints by residents.

Director Rojas explained that if a complaint is received saying a house is unsightly or in need of repair, the City performs an inspection. If the property is in obvious disrepair, a letter is sent requesting it be cleaned up; if it is minor or not obvious, it is not pursued.

City Attorney Lynch brought up the existing language in Paragraph 5, recommending that Council could make the distinction between "abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, or inoperative," by keeping those vehicles inside and everything operable could be kept outside. She added that paragraph D could be deleted and, if a problem ensued, the issue could come back to Council. She stated the code enforcement problems brought to the City Attorney’s office dealt specifically with noncompliance related to abandoned, dismantled, or inoperable vehicles.

Councilman Clark expressed interest in the genesis of the aesthetics condition. He explained that he has received numerous complaints from residents about the esthetics of parked vehicles that are left at length on properties. He deemed it a reasonable approach to do something for the whole community.

Councilman Gardiner questioned again if Council was clear on whether they have the right to talk about aesthetics.

Councilman Clark stated the if Council did not have this right they would not have the code enforcement ability to cite properties that had become totally ill maintained in terms of landscaping.

Councilman Gardiner wondered whether that would be a safety issue rather than one of aesthetics, adding that he is trying to determine what the City can legitimately do and properly articulate that to solve a problem.

City Attorney Lynch responded that the test is whether a property is kept in such a terrible condition that it becomes an issue of public safety or public nuisance because of its adverse impact on the adjacent properties and their values.


City Attorney Lynch suggested making a revision to Paragraph C by adding the word "overnight" to the language "any vehicle shall be parked or stored on a driveway or other lot with an installed paved surface." She stated this would address the parking issue raised earlier.

Councilman Clark reiterated that his motion is to strike the words "designed for a particular type of vehicle" so that the required vehicle cover is generic and universal.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro directed the Staff to review the matter in six months.

The motion to approve the reintroduction of Ordinance 390 as amended carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Clark, McTaggart, Mayor pro tem Ferraro

NOES: Gardiner

ABSENT: Mayor Stern

Lois Larue, Rancho Palos Verdes, mentioned concerns about the warrant register and suggested that Council consider more cost-effective alternatives to certain expenditures. She mentioned that Cornerstone and a few other schools had been granted $100 each for Earth Day. She also stressed the importance of voting.

Councilman Clark explained that the grants for Earth Day were for recycling and that Waste Management matched the grants; so each school received $200.


Review of Large Domestic Animal Nonconformity Statement No. 26. (1804)

Mayor pro tem Ferraro reopened the public hearing.

Senior Planner Fox presented the Staff Memorandum of May 20, 2003 and sought direction from the Council on the following questions: (1) how many horses should be allowed to be kept on the property; (2) how many of the horses allowed to be kept on the property can be boarded horses; and, (3) may the nonconforming boarding of horses, if permitted, be allowed to continue in perpetuity or will it be subject to the provision in the City's municipal code? He noted that based upon the City Council's direction, Staff would prepare an appropriate resolution to memorialize this action for adoption at an upcoming City Council meeting.

Councilman Gardiner expressed concern that the Council had already heard the matter, made a decision and was now being asked to reopen it and consider letters correcting previous deficiencies.

City Attorney Lynch explained that it was at Council’s discretion to determine the credibility of the evidence.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro reminded Council that one of the reasons for the rehearing was that Mr. Sutton claimed to be unaware of the prior hearing and was not present to provide evidence. She stated this was an opportunity for him to prove his case and clarify the inconsistencies. She remarked that she was interested in hearing any speakers providing new evidence before deciding whether or not to change Council’s previous action.

Daphne Clarke, Rancho Palos Verdes, reiterated her previous testimony that from 1975 to the present she had never seen more than four horses on the Sutton’s property at any that time.

Jeanne Smolley, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that she has never observed more than five horses on the Sutton’s property except for a brief occasion when horses were brought in in 1997.

Robert Maxwell, Rancho Palos Verdes, testified that Mr. Sutton neither had horses on the dates or in the numbers required and pleaded for a denial of his application. He commented that the slide area has seen horse usage increase from a very few horses belonging to residents to an ever increasing number from outside the community. He concluded by stating that the situation is creating a decline in property values and had gone well beyond what the community desired or its esthetics could sustain.

Madeline Ryan, Rancho Palos Verdes, admitted that she couldn’t speak specifically to Mr. Sutton's property. She mentioned that until March 18th, Staff had recommended ten horses for his property and then changed it to four despite conflicting evidence. She opined that the land could accommodate ten horses and expressed dismay over preservation of the horse keeping tradition if large parcels were not protected through grandfathering. She stated it would be a loss to future property owners and would promote a decline in the equestrian population and lifestyle. She concluded by requesting Council reconsider the number of horses permitted on the Sutton’s property.

Joe Deeble, Rancho Palos Verdes, mentioned that his observations of the Sutton’s property were already on record. He stated that his homeowner’s association had taken a vote regarding developing properties for commercial boarding and an overwhelming majority decided they did not want the renting of space for horse boarding in the community. He said the Planning Commission had been informed of the community’s desire not to commercialize the vacant properties for any reason.

Sunshine, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated that her concern had more to do with how the issue impacts the viability of horse keeping in the City in general. She disagreed with the City's original horse-keeping ordinance as far as the cap on numbers of horses regardless of the size of the property. She concluded by saying the question of how many horses may be allowed on a property in perpetuity should be answered by how many horses can be safely and sanitarily kept in the existing facility.

Richard Barra, Rancho Palos Verdes, testified that since 1979 he has seen six, eight, or ten horses at the Sutton barn. He explained that it is the nature of horse keeping for the numbers to go up and down. He agreed that perhaps the Suttons had gone down to four horses but that was after the date of February 1, 1997 and, as such, should not affect the application. He stated that grandfathering began as the result of a new law drastically reducing the number of horses that could be kept and, it was determined by Council at that time, that the people already in possession of horses should be allowed some sort of process to allow them to continue.

Ed Sutton, Rancho Palos Verdes, testified that he had 10 animals in 1975 and 10 or 11 in February of 1997. He said he could provide evidence showing a continuity of boarded animals on the property from '76 to '86. He stated he arrived at these figures using letters from previous boarders. In response to the testimony by others disputing the number of horses on the property, he stated that his first corral was behind the house and is not viewable from the street because it is below grade on both parcels.

Councilman Gardiner inquired whether any of the authors of the revised letters were in attendance.

Mr. Sutton replied that for various reasons none of the authors were available to attend. He added that he thought the letters would stand on their own merit and he was not aware of the need to provide witnesses to attest to their veracity.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro remarked that she felt it was made clear to Mr. Sutton upon his request to reopen the matter that he should bring any witnesses he had to testify about whether or not their horses boarded on his property.

Councilman Clark requested Mr. Sutton clarify the photographic evidence which appeared not to show any corral or barn in the 1975-1976 time frame. He also asked for an explanation of why of some of his neighbors had testified they had never seen more than four of five horses on the property.

Mr. Sutton responded that he did not have a barn and never maintained that he did. He stated he had open corrals with a two-rail fence and some stables in back of one of the properties until approximately 1971. He added that his neighbors were in error because in 1981 and 1983 he was issued citations for having too many animals. He reiterated that the area where the horses were kept was not viewable from off the property.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro requested verification of the revised statements that implied that five horses were boarded on the Sutton property. She commented that, assuming these statements were taken at face value and adding the three horses Mr. Sutton purported to own at the time, there were eight horses.

Senior Planner Fox mentioned that at the March 18th meeting Council had accepted a statement from Adrienne Murray as being validated, indicating she had one horse there during that time period.

Council members and Staff discussed the issue of the trigger dates of 1975 and 1997 and their relationship to the matter.

Councilman McTaggart took issue with Mr. Sutton’s claim that his neighbors were unaware of the number of horses on his property because they could not see them and commented they would have been aware of their presence by means other than visual observation. He stated that he remained unconvinced.

In response to a question from Councilman Clark, Senior Planner Fox represented that a best guess by Staff on the numbers would be between three and five boarded horses and three horses owned by the Suttons on the property in1997. He stated he was unsure of this number because Code Enforcement Staff did not inspect the site until 1998, adding that only four horses were verified on that date. He pointed out that there is no direct evidence to substantiate the numbers in 1975 and referred to a Staff Report for a Special Animal Permit that made reference to there being one horse on the property on that date in August 1976. He concluded by saying a "best guess" for 1975 would have been six horses.

Councilman Gardiner expressed discomfort at Staff’s "best guess" of the numbers and reiterated that he would have preferred the direct testimony of witnesses rather than unsubstantiated numbers and the uncorroborated evidence of revised letters.

Recess and Reconvene: Mayor pro tem Ferraro recessed the meeting at 9:15 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 9:25 P.M.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro stated that Mr. Sutton had some horses in both 1975 and 1997 but agreed that the actual number was difficult to determine. She added that the original nonconformity statement requested ten horses.

Senior Planner Fox replied that in 1997 Mr Sutton requested that seven horses be grandfathered in perpetuity under the 1975 exception. He noted that the original statement was that they had kept as many as twelve on the property at that time and had between five and twelve in 1975.

City Attorney Lynch advised that according to the Staff Report being referenced the City would have legally construed only six to him at that time and in no event should the number in 1975 exceed six.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro recommended grandfathering six boarded horses in perpetuity from 1975. She inquired if that number included any horses owned by Mr. Sutton. Attorney Lynch responded that the total number would be six horses, all or any of which could be boarded.

Senior Planner Fox noted that it would depend on the number present in 1997 because the 1975 date only relates to boarding in perpetuity and not the overall number kept.

Councilman Clark pointed out that Staff’s estimate was three to five horses and the ordinance states five or more.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro commented that her understanding is that Mr. Sutton is entitled to four by right with the ability to file for a Special Use Permit if he wished to have more based on his acreage.

Senior Planner Fox responded that the Council must be convinced that there were five or more horses boarded on February 1, 1997; otherwise the whole argument is moot.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro remarked that in 1997 there were six boarded horses and three of the Sutton’s own, concluding that was one more than the trigger number required. She added that he owned the property in July 1975 and legally boarded five or more that would allow boarding to be grandfathered in perpetuity.

Senior Planner Fox replied that if Council determined that there were six horses boarded in 1997 and that there were six or more boarded from 1975, then six could be boarded in perpetuity. He added that number does not include any horses that the Suttons owned; so if they owned an additional three horses in 1997, they could keep those in perpetuity as their own horses.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro announced that she would be willing to grant eight horses.

Councilman Gardiner reiterated the importance of the hearing and the fact that letters had been presented which were adjusted in a non-pejorative sense and that no one was available to answer questions about those letters. On the other hand a number of residents had come forward, and he found no reason to doubt their testimony.

Councilman Clark agreed, adding that he also had a problem with the fact that Staff was not sure of the actual number in 1997, which would make the whole argument moot. He opined that there was no substantial evidence that corroborated the five or more horses in 1997, saying Council should revert to its previous conclusion.

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman McTaggart, to reaffirm the Council decision made on March 18, 2003 that the maximum number of large domestic animals that may be "grandfathered" for keeping and/or boarding on the property at 16 Peppertree Drive is four.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Clark, Gardiner, McTaggart,

NOES: Mayor pro tem Ferraro

ABSENT: Mayor Stern


Councilman Gardiner stated that he went to the PV Transit meeting where budgets were being discussed. Since the operation is heavily subsidized, he questioned a line item in the budget containing a sizable sum from the County, asking if they had done some contingency planning in case that funding gets cut. He stated he received a letter from the Coastal Land Coalition, which mentioned an Assembly Bill 947 that restricts and ultimately prohibits coastal protected areas such as sea walls and bulk heads from being used for public roads, sewers, storm drains, parks, parking lots, and private homes. He was uncertain of the validity of this information but expressed concern at the implications.

City Manager Evans assured everyone that the bill died in committee.

Councilman Clark attended the California League of Cities Legislative Days in Sacramento with Councilman McTaggart. He stated they interfaced with a number of state legislators and elected officials from throughout the state who were in Sacramento to ensure that the State budget not be solved on the backs of local government, cities or counties. He stated that a resolution providing direction and authority to the League to pursue budget solutions protecting local government was unanimously approved. He mentioned that it was one of the most forceful voices of local government to the State Legislature and the Administration in terms of making sure the cities and counties don't get short shrifted.

Councilman McTaggart met with the new head of the Sheriff’s Training and Loss Prevention Organization. He reported that Lakewood had asked for some funds to support their 50th anniversary, which was voted down by the Executive Board of Contract Cities. He also attended the West Vector Control District meeting in Culver City on May 8, 2003. He happily noted that no new cases of the West Nile virus had been reported in the area. He attended a meeting of the MTA Sector Council on May 9th and the RPV Community Leaders’ Breakfast and the budget workshop on the 10th. He stated the Budget Workshop went very well with many tough decisions being made. He was impressed by how much was accomplished.

Councilman McTaggart also met with Mary Roderman on May 12th concerning the Historical Society vacating the Malaga Cove School site. He stated that as founder of the Rancho de Los Palos Verdes Historical Society, he is concerned about what happens to their collection. On May 12th he also attended a Cable Committee meeting. He also met with attorney Bill Ruddell.

Councilman McTaggart expressed pleasure at the numbers of people energized on the budget issues when he attended the California League of Cities Legislative Days. He was very appreciative of all the support among the attendees.

Councilman McTaggart presented a public service announcement on the e-waste and toxic waste roundup scheduled for May 15th. He stated that he participated and found it very successful. He also took a tour of Ocean Trails on May 19th to get some additional engineering information on the water features. He spoke to the construction manager and Vincent Stellio while he was there. He mentioned that later that day he signed up for a couple of clinical trials at R.E.I., expressing support that R.E.I. stay open.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro mentioned that she was honored to start the PV Marathon race the previous Saturday. She stated that the race starts at Point Fermin in San Pedro and comes through RPV along PV Drive South.

She did a taping of RPV City Talk on the City’s 30th Anniversary Celebration, and she reminded everyone to save the dates of September 6th for a barbecue at City Hall and October 17th for a dinner dance at the Los Verdes Country Club. She mentioned attending a committee meeting and said Carolynn and Holly Starr are on the ball with getting the plans done.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro also attended a Girl Scout Career Fair at Miraleste Intermediate School where she spoke about what it’s like to be an elected official.

Councilman Clark briefly mentioned that it appeared the Governor was supporting VLF returning to the previous license fee rates. He said, if that happens and there's not a gap in terms of the money coming to the cities, the budget the City has constructed could be refined, prioritizing items for reconsideration. He explained this was good news because the baseline budget was constructed presuming that VLF would not be available.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro mentioned that she met with Carolynn on the items in the budget for the City’s grants. She said that in spite of the fact that there had been reductions, matters would be coming back to the Council for further consideration.


Shirley Bender, Rancho Palos Verdes, as president of Las Condalistas thanked the Council and Staff at City Hall for allowing the use of the City Hall site for their fund raising event Walk on the Wild Side. She also extended thanks to Holly Starr from Parks and Recreation for all her assistance and a very special thanks to Larry Stills and Armando, from the Public Works Department. She said their help and hard work made the City Hall grounds both beautiful and safe for all attending the gathering.

Joe Deeble, Rancho Palos Verdes, suggested that the City Council consider adopting a fee structure for the boarding of horses similar to that of bed and breakfast establishments. He recommended a fee of 25 percent per stall or $75.00, whichever is greater, and an annual fee in the sum of $10,000. He said the money could then be used to supplement Staff’s work in regulating, inspecting, and mediating disputes in the equestrian areas.

Lois Larue, Rancho Palos Verdes, thanked the City Council for keeping the public up to date on their activities. She mentioned that she is in favor of the celebration of city’s’ birthdays. She also suggested the Council reconsider their use of certain vendors for things such as photocopying, automotive repair, etc., and focus more on using merchants in RPV who might be able to offer a cost saving on some of these smaller items.

Councilman McTaggart responded that they reason for denying Lakewood’s request for their birthday celebration was because every city has one, plus they wanted $10,000 from Contract Cities which everyone agreed is too expensive in the current economic climate.


Rate Adjustments for Waste Management of Los Angeles for FY 03-04. (1301)

City Clerk Purcell reported that notice of the public hearing had been duly published and that no written protests had been received by the City.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro declared the public hearing open on this request for approval of a rate increase of 1.2% for Waste Management of Los Angeles single-family customers for FY 03-04:

Councilman Clark motioned, seconded by Councilmen McTaggart and Gardiner, to waive reading of the staff report. Motion carried.

Sunshine, Rancho Palos Verdes, voiced concern on the proposed increase in trash collection fees and mentioned that it was her understanding that the $200 prize for the recycling drawing reflected the cost of a year's worth of trash collection. She said her cost was much higher and stated the prize should be the actual cost of a year's worth of trash collection or the minutes be changed to reflect that.

Councilman McTaggart stated that the recycling prize is actually $250.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro suggested that the minutes reflect that a prize of $250 is given for recycling.

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the staff recommendation: (1) Approve a rate increase of 1.2% for Waste Management of Los Angeles single-family customers for FY 03-04: (2) Approve a rate increase of 1.3% for Waste Management of Los Angeles multi-family customers for FY 03-04: (3) Close the City trust account, turnover proceeds to Waste Management of Los Angeles, who in turn will credit customers for the amount of FY 02-03 overpayments; (4) Increase the amount of Collector Fee paid by Waste Management of Los Angeles to the City by $3,600 to reflect the rate increases; and, (5) Approve a change in the distribution of the amount of City's Collector Fee among several City Funds. The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Clark, Gardiner, McTaggart, and Mayor Pro Tem Ferraro

NOES: None

ABSENT: Mayor Stern

Rate Adjustments for Ivy Rubbish disposal for FY 03-04. (1301)

City Clerk Purcell reported that notice of the public hearing had been duly published and that no written protests had been received by the City.

Mayor Pro Tem Ferraro opened the public hearing on the matter of approving a rate increase for Ivy Rubbish Disposal customers for the Fiscal Year 2003-04.

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to waive the staff report. Motion carried.

Councilman McTaggart moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to close the hearing and adopt Staff recommendation to (1) Approve a rate increase of 2.7% for Ivy Rubbish Disposal customers for FY 03-04; (2) Increase the amount of collector fee paid by Ivy Rubbish Disposal to the City by $324 to reflect the rate increases; and, (3) Approve a change in the distribution of the amount of City's collector fee among several City funds.

No objection being noted, the motion carried.


Proposed Amendments to the Ocean Trails Project. (1411)

Deputy Planning Director Gregory Pfost presented the memorandum of May 20, 2003 and recommended that the City Council conditionally approve the proposed water features at the Ocean Trails project.

Planner Pfost responded to Council members’ concerns about the noise impacts that might be generated by the waterfalls. He said some conditions had been added such as regulating their use to daytime hours only and requiring the noise level not to exceed 65 decibels measured at the property lines of the golf course.

Planner Pfost clarified some inaccurate calculations on circle page 8 of the report, saying in the last column identified as "additional water added per day" the numbers should be changed as follows: 160 gallons not 16, 10 gallons instead of 1, and 200 gallons instead of 20.

He concluded by saying staff felt all issues related to the water features had been addressed through the conditions of the project and that Staff’s geologist, the Ocean Trails geologist, and the Ocean Trails biological consultants were available to answer any specific questions regarding geology or biology.

Councilman Clark requested an update on the status of the project.

Mr. Vincent Stellio, on behalf of the Trump organization, responded that the completion of the repair of the slide area was approximately two to three weeks away, after which the grading process would be initiated and the approved course holes would be put in. He stated that by expediting approval of the water features, their designer could move forward with the wall fabrication and engineering work could be completed. He mentioned this would allow them to continue aggressively with the repair, reconstruction, and additions simultaneously, adding that work had already begun on the actual lake liners and everything should stay on or move ahead of schedule.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro commented that not only are there monitoring wells but the water usage is constantly monitored over the entire golf course. She noted that the habitat acreage had actually increased rather than suffer a loss.

Mr. Stellio described the various monitoring systems in place. He noted that the existing lakes had not been refilled since last October, using only drainage and rainfall to replenish the evaporation, and added that strict controls on water levels would be maintained. He explained that they had worked with their biologist and Fish and Game to increase the habitats in certain areas, creating corridors and connecting sporadic areas, adding that this enhanced the quality of the habitat not just the acreage.

Councilman McTaggart requested additional information on the clay caps and drains being placed under the water features. He and Mayor pro tem Ferraro expressed interest in seeing the actual design, and he mentioned that the building of the caps, particularly the fact that polypropylene was being used rather than PVC, is extremely important to the security of the features making the liners less permeable by water, less affected by UV and chemicals, and far more desirable.

Mr. Stellio addressed some questions about the structural integrity of the liners by assuring Council members that the commitment of the Trump organization is to build safe, long-lasting features, using the best design, technology, and materials to achieve those goals. He also described the filtration system being used, which relies on constant water movement rather than the introduction of chemicals. He continued by describing the lakes and waterfalls and outlining many of the project’s esthetic attributes.

Mr. Stellio spoke to concerns about security of the habitat areas by explaining that design safeguards were being employed to limit access, adding that extra security measures would be provided if necessary.

Diane Weinberger, Rancho Palos Verdes, as co president for the Sea View Home Owner's Association, expressed strong support of the proposed improvements on behalf of herself and the many residents she has spoken to. She voiced appreciation for the sincerity and integrity of the people involved in this project and mentioned that the ideas and suggestions being put forth by the Trump organization are a great mechanism for keeping people in RPV as well as attracting new businesses and people to the area who will benefit the community. She added that a project of these fine standards will make an excellent addition and urged the Council to move forward with their approval.

Tammy Longworth, Rancho Palos Verdes, complimented the Ocean Trails people on their professionalism and responsiveness. She remarked that there is the feeling that everyone associated with the project is dealing in good faith and that they have the community interests as well as their own in mind. She concluded by stating that the project would be an asset to the entire community and urged the Council to support the project.

Tim Burrell, Rancho Palos Verdes, as co president of Sea View Residents Association, stated that he agrees with the Ocean Trails staff and supports their recommendations. He outlined the precautions being taken to ensure the safety of the water features. He also mentioned the financial benefit of having the Trump organization build the golf course rather than contracting the work out. He spoke of the concept of progression -- when something else in the neighborhood that's really elegant uplifts property values. He concluded by stating that having a world-class golf course in the community would definitely be an asset.

Irwin Devereaux, Rancho Palos Verdes, concurred with the opinion that the project will enhance the area tremendously. He mentioned Mr. Trump’s good reputation and the fact that since he has taken the project over things seem to be running smoothly. He concluded by saying this is a plus for Rancho Palos Verdes.

Councilman Clark stated that the project appears to be on a timely course towards success and based on the documentation, Staff recommendations, and the detailed conditions, he supported conceptual approval.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to support conceptual approval of the project. The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Clark, Gardiner, McTaggart and Mayor Pro Tem Ferraro

NOES: None

ABSENT: Mayor Stern

Recess and Reconvene: Mayor pro tem Ferraro recessed the meeting at 11:00 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 11:10 P.M.

Expenditure Plan For The Community Development Block Grant Program. (601)

Director Allison provided the staff memorandum and made the following recommendations: (1) place the Alta Mira Canyon Channel project on hold; (2) authorize staff to request a proposal from GeoSyntec Consultants for a ground water investigation in the Abalone Cove project area; (3) establish a new joint project with the Abalone Cove Landslide Abatement District to develop three dewatering wells in the Abalone Cove project area; (4) award an engineering contract to John Cruickshank Inc., in the amount of $6,400 for preliminary engineering services for the design of an elevator at City hall, and authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the contract; and, (5) request staff to investigate the potential sale of excess Community Development Block Grant Funds.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro inquired why Council should sell the funds when they could be used for things such as the City Hall elevator and assisting with ADA compliance. She further inquired how much revenue return there would be if they were to be sold.

Director Allison responded that the value of Block Grant programs seemed to be dropping as the Federal Government placed more and more restrictions on them but estimated $0.50 to $0.60 on the dollar, which could then be used as general funds.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro and Councilman Gardiner said they would much rather have the entire dollar to spend than a portion of it.

Councilman Gardiner queried whether the anticipated revenue from the sale of these funds had been placed in the general fund stream of the budget Council had just prepared. City Manager Evans stated that it was not part of the baseline budget.

Director Allison explained that Council had directed Staff to meet with ACLAD and the geotech people to determine if a project could be created that would meet the funding restrictions yet achieve the goal of reducing the amount of drainage into the Alta Mira Canyon. For a number of reasons, they all recommended putting that project on hold. He added that Alta Mira should never be funded with Block Grant money because technical information is lacking. He stated that by considering a smaller project, the goals might still be achieved; however, there are time constraints because the construction must begin by March 2004.

Councilman McTaggart inquired about the dewatering wells that were discussed a few years back.

Director Allison replied that by focusing too much attention on the Alta Mira project others were not considered because there were no funding alternatives. He stated that, if the project were put on hold, the dewatering wells would be Block Grant eligible and would assist with water abatement in the Abalone Cove landslide area.

Councilman McTaggart expressed the opinion that the Alta Mira Canyon project is very important because it reduces danger to residents and their homes.

Director Allison responded that the cost for the project is $1.3 million only $900,000 of which is available. He added that attempts had been made to find additional participation, but there was not enough support in the community to dedicate property or assist with the cost differential.

City Manager Evans explained that the eligible projects are limited to ADA or the redevelopment/landslide areas; for services, 20 percent is allocated to social programs such as Reach. He stated that there is a limit on administrative money of 15 to 20 percent. He reiterated that doing a capital project allowed for more choices, but the expenditures must be in an identified project area.

Councilman Gardiner requested clarification on the acquisition of real property and public facilities and improvements.

City Manager Evans responded that, again, these applied only to the target redevelopment/landslide areas. He further explained that there is a long list of ADA projects that could be considered.

Councilman Clark outlined the issues to be resolved:(1) should the City continue to accumulate funds for Alta Mira; (2) should the City pursue an alternative project to Alta Mira; (3) What ADA projects should be pursued; and, (4) should the City consider the sale of excess CDBG Funds. He opined that the Mayor should be present to discuss the undecided issues and that Staff should present some alternatives on ADA and Alta Mira Canyon at the next meeting.

City Manager Evans suggested directing Staff to create a plan to provide rest rooms at Del Cerro Park and Ocean Front Estates, adding it would involve the sale of some CDBG Funds.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro urged moving forward to authorize the preliminary engineering services for the elevator design.

Councilman McTaggart motioned, seconded by Councilman Gardiner to authorize $6,400 for preliminary engineering services for the design of an elevator at City Hall; to authorize preliminary engineering services for the design of rest rooms at Del Cerro Park and Ocean Front Estates; the deletion of the Alta Mira Canyon project; and, to direct Staff to provide a mini budget with the items Council deemed important for further consideration.

The motion was carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Clark, Gardiner, McTaggart and Mayor Pro Tem Ferraro

NOES: None

ABSENT: Mayor Stern

Sunshine, Rancho Palos Verdes suggested Staff consider installing a glass elevator on the view side of the building in the new City Hall complex so people could enjoy the scenery.

Lois Larue, Rancho Palos Verdes inquired about CDBG Funds and their allocation to the Reach program.

Director Allison responded that each year a public hearing is held to consider alternatives for the expenditures of program money and Reach rises to the top each and every year.

City Manager Evans added that Reach is funded by private contributions and payments by families of participants as well as CDBG Funds.

Neighborhood Compatibility Committee Appointment. (1801)

Continued to June 3, 2003 Council meeting.

Various State Legislative Bills. (306)

Councilman Clark commented that he brought these various legislative bills before Council because he thought they were meritorious and deserved support.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro and Councilman McTaggart agreed they would not support AB 1544 (Mail Ballot Elections) because it created the potential for election fraud.

Councilman Gardiner inquired why the Automobile Club was opposed to AB 872 (Speed Limits).

Councilman Clark commented that he no longer supports that bill.

Councilman McTaggart suggested supporting Lowenthal's Bill and requesting that he propose and support a bill allowing cities to set additional fines in school zones.

Councilman Clark commented that Lowenthal's Bill is fundamentally a public safety issue and deserves support.

Councilman Clark motioned, seconded by Councilman McTaggart, to support Lowenthal's Bill and to request that he consider sponsoring a bill providing flexibility for municipalities to increase traffic fines for speeding in school districts; and, to remove AB 872 and AB 1544 from consideration. Motion carried.

Consider Supporting Los Angeles Air Force Base Modernization Effort. (306)

City Manager Evans briefly outlined the Staff Memorandum of May 20, 2003 and recommended Council prepare a letter of support for the project.

Councilman Clark recused himself from being a signatory on the letter on advice of counsel.

Councilman McTaggart moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Ferraro, to send a letter of support. Motion carried with Councilman Clark abstaining.

Ordinance No. 391U: Weed Abatement Removal on York Property. (1405)

Director Rojas introduced the proposed measure by explaining a weed abatement project was scheduled in an area of concern. He explained that the majority of the area was not coastal sage scrub habitat but there are remnants and it is very close to known occupied habitats. He stated the City had requested a biological report to ascertain if it is occupied habitat. Since the intent of the property owner was to move forward with the clearing without providing the biological report requested, the City Attorney’s position was to give timely information to Council and request the adoption of an urgency ordinance which would prohibit the removal of habitat and/or non habitat next to habitat without submittal of a biological report along with certain exemptions like emergencies, fire orders, and the usual exceptions.

In response to questions from Council members, Mr. Rojas responded that the measure was drafted to address vacant parcels that exist in around and the preserve area and would apply to all undeveloped lots greater than two acres.


AYES: Clark, Gardiner, McTaggart and Mayor Pro Tem Ferraro

NOES: None

ABSENT: Mayor Stern


The meeting was adjourned on motion of Mayor pro tem Ferraro at 12:00 A.M.