Rancho Palos Verdes City Council





APRIL 29, 2003


The meeting was called to order at 6:54 p.m. by Mayor Stern at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes.

Roll call was answered as follows:

PRESENT: Clark, Ferraro, McTaggart, Gardiner & Mayor Stern


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; Deputy Planning Director Gregory Pfost, City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and Minutes Secretary Dianne McGivern.

Councilman Clark led the Pledge of Allegiance.


Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Ferraro, to approve the agenda. Motion carried.


Councilman McTaggart moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Ferraro, for approval of the consent calendar. Motion carried.

Minutes of March 18th and April 1st.

Approved the minutes as amended.

Mayor Stern abstained from the minutes of March 18th due to his absence.

Draft Staff Report for the Tactical Planning Workshop.

Ordered received and filed the draft staff report for the Tactical Planning Workshop.

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Proposed Amendments to the Ocean Trails Project

Mayor Stern announced that the purpose for the presentation and update on the Ocean Trails project was to educate the public on the progress of the plans. He stressed that approval would not be sought for any of the proposed changes presented at this meeting.

Councilman Clark shared "The Avenue," a magazine featuring Donald Trump’s golf courses in New York and Weschester.

Mayor Stern invited the public to sign up for the listserv where they can receive updated information through email.

Vincent Stellio, Executive Vice President of Development, Trump Enterprises, presented the intention on making Ocean Trails a world-class golf course.

Mr. Stellio gave an overview of the information he would present: golf course enhancements; existing clubhouse enhancements; and lastly, the addition of a practice facility driving range.

Councilman Clark asked whether the lengthening of the first hole would present delays in play.

Mr. Stellio stated that the golf course would be difficult; however, water features would not hinder the play.

Councilman McTaggart inquired as to the source of the water for these features.

Mr. Stellio answered that the main line that services the irrigation would initially fill these features.

Councilman McTaggart expressed concern over the evaporation of the water in addition to the calcium and magnesium particles that might build up.

Mr. Stellio indicated by example the water feature in Westchester is approximately 120 feet wide by 100 feet in height, circulating 5,000 gallons per minute. He stated that significant evaporation is absent from that feature. He further indicated that shallow pool features are easier to feed small amounts of water. In addition, he stated that the rocks are designed to minimize splash and evaporation.

Mr. Stellio explained that the water features are not located on any of the landslide areas. He stated that in addition to a clay cap, technology would allow for monitoring leaks.

Councilman Clark inquired into the space available for spectators within a tournament.

Mr. Stellio responded that televised events would be primarily held at the golf course rather than huge gallery events, such as the LPGA tournaments.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro inquired into the use of PV stone on the course.

Mr. Stellio stated that in the interest of making the course as natural as possible, Mr. DiGiacomo would make castings and molds of the PV stone and replicate them.

Mr. Stellio stated that Hole Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 16 would gain an additional tournament tee. He indicated that Nos. 6, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, and 18 would remain as currently designed. No. 10, he stated, would have a convertible platform with a bench for viewing. He indicated that No. 10 would be a signature hole. No. 11 was changed from par 4 to a par 3 and the hole shortened to prevent damage to property. He stated that No. 17 would acquire a water feature.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro asked whether a special use permit would have to be obtained for tournaments.

City Attorney Lynch responded that six events per year are allowed under the current condition.

Mr. Stellio indicated that a dual-function pump operates the waterfall that falls into a lower pond. He stated that the upper pond would fall in and recirculate while the other pump would work the stream into a pond.

Councilman Clark inquired into the height of the waterfalls.

Mr. Stellio indicated that one is 25 feet at the top and the other is 6 or 7 feet.

Councilman McTaggart commented that noise from a waterfall might disturb nearby condominium owners.

Mr. Stellio indicated that all water features shut down upon closing for the day. He stated that sometimes the water is a deterrent to noise from traffic during the daytime. He indicated that it is only a 3 to 4-foot drop.

Michael Sweezey, Dudek & Associates, indicated that his comments would apply to holes 1-9 and 12-18. He stated that originally the H.C.P. for Ocean Trails required 20 acres of coastal scrub mitigation on the golf course. He further indicated that upon completion of the golf course in 1999, 22.41 acres of habitat had been installed.

Mr. Sweezey stated that east of the golf course, including holes 9 and 12, .97 acres would be removed. He said that 1.17 acres would be temporarily impacted and 1.2 acres of new habitat would be installed. He summed up the balance as a .23-acre increase in habitat within the golf course.

Councilman McTaggart asked for clarification on the amount of water being utilized in the water features.

Philip DiGiacomo, waterfall architect, responded that on Hole No. 1, 3,000 gallons per minute; Hole No. 4, 600 gallons per minute; Hole No. 17, 300 gallons per minute. He stated that ½ to ¾ of an inch per week of additional water is required to keep them full.

Councilman Clark inquired as to the frequency of draining and cleaning the ponds.

Mr. DiGiacomo responded that once every five to ten years would be sufficient.

Mr. Stellio outlined the proposed changes to the clubhouse. He demonstrated trees, and a cast rock feature on the building corners and windows. He also demonstrated the addition of a terrace, enhancing the views for the general public. The plan also included a windbreak to protect the terrace.

Mr. Stellio indicated that currently, the clubhouse lacked an area for the golfers once they finish playing. He pointed out the currently the facility lacked space to eat and drink and that the dining room, usually fills up with residents. He stated that the proposal included eliminating the offices on the second floor and relocating them below the new terrace. He indicated that consideration is being given to moving the restaurant up to the second floor, thus leaving the first floor available to expand the Peninsula Grill, renaming it the Café Pacific and that it would include a golfer bar and grill.

Mr. Stellio stated that for women golfers, the current deli area would be incorporated into the locker facility, which would include showers, sauna and a day spa. He indicated that the men would be welcome to use the day spa as well.

Mr. Stellio moved on to the driving range. He stated that the addition of the driving range was imperative to attract tournament play, promote youth and senior golf programs, and to facilitate golfers in general.

Mayor Stern asked how long the driving range would be.

Mr. Stellio answered that it currently was at 957 feet. He stated that the driving range would use low impact balls and the golfers would be hitting into the wind. He stated that the tee configuration would be on two levels and would be fully staffed.

Mayor pro tem Ferraro inquired into the number of lots that would be sacrificed.

Mr. Stellio stated that originally, 40 lots were proposed; however, in building the driving range, nine ocean front lots would be sacrificed.

Mr. Stellio indicated that due to the building of the driving range and re-grading of roads, that the number of lots would be decreased. He stated that the lower road would be eliminated.

Councilman Clark asked whether the lots would be reduced in size.

Mr. Stellio indicated that indeed some would be decreased, some would be lowered and some would be reconfigured.

Mayor Stern asked whether the pads for the newly configured lots were lower than the presently approved lots.

Mr. Stellio responded affirmatively, an average of six to two feet, depending on the area.

In closing, Mr. Stellio stated that the roadwork is underway, the affordable housing is almost complete and the maintenance building is under construction.


Mayor Stern declared a recess at 8:37 P.M. The meeting reconvened at 8:49 P.M.

John Clayton, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed a desire to move forward with the plans as proposed.

Diane Weinberger, Rancho Palos Verdes, President of the Seaview Resident’s Association, expressed support for the project. She shared her view of the Trump organization as being one of world-class excellence. She also indicated support for the water features and stated that water features encourage wildlife.

Laurie Hughes, Rancho Palos Verdes, Seaview Homeowner’s Board, expressed support in redeeming the city’s name from a landslide area to one of a world-famous golf facility. She indicated that public hearings are important, but too many of them can drag down a project. She stated that she hoped this project would move forward with expediency.

Ed Vincent, Rancho Palos Verdes, recited an article regarding the geological conditions of Ocean Trails.

Robert Nelson, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated a concern for parking, as well as encouraged the Council to take their time in their deliberations.

Jabe Kahnke, Rancho Palos Verdes, emphasized quality process in the council’s decisions so as to prevent mistakes. He expressed a desire to know what the impact would be to him as a result of the practice range being proposed.

Chip Zelt, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed support for moving forward with the project. He stated that particular attention needed to be paid to the grading to ensure its accuracy. He indicated support on behalf of the Portuguese Bend Club.

Jeffrey Sax, Rancho Palos Verdes, reminded the Council of his vociferous opposition to the project; however, he stated that he is pleased with the public relations efforts being made by the Trump organization. He indicated that the golf course and the homes must be considered diligently. He requested computerized projections of the proposed changes.

Mayor Stern inquired how long it would take to process the proposed changes.

Director Rojas stated that it would be sometime in May.

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Ferraro, approve the decision matrix presented on Page 4 of the staff report, with the proviso that water feature holes 1, 4, and 17 be brought to the Council for review. Motion carried.


Robert Nelson, Rancho Palos Verdes, recognized and congratulated Joel Rojas for completing the Boston Marathon.


Budget Policy Workshop

Discussion of the budget policy issues was set for Saturday, May 10th at 10:30 a.m.

Myrian Joseph, Shakespeare by the Sea, requested $2,000 for summer 2003 and an additional $1,000 for summer 2004.

Madeline Sokolsky, So. Bay Chamber Music Society, requested funding for performances.

Mayor Stern indicated that this year $87,000 is the amount being requested compared to $46,000, which was last year’s granting.

Dian Weinberger, Pet Protectors League, requested $4,000 for 2003-2004, and $5,000 for 2004-2005.

Bob Nelson, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in favor of photo traffic enforcement to raise funds.

Ken Dyda, Peninsula Seniors, requested $10,000 for 2003-2004.

Robert Miller, Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay, requested $1,500 per year.

John Williams, Peninsula Symphony Association, requested $1,500 per year.

Julie Brown, Mothers Advocating Prevention, requested continued funding.

Jann Hamilton Lee, South Bay Family Healthcare Center, requested $5,000 for the year 2003-2004.

Ed Long, Healthcare and Elder Law Programs, requested $5,000 for 2003-2004 and $6,000 for 2004-2005.

Connie McFall, SHAWL, requested $3,000 for 2003-2004.

Karen Carr, South Bay Youth Project, requested continued funding.

Libby Aubrey, School of Champions, requested $10,000 for 2003-2004.

Recess to Closed Session:

Council recessed to a closed session at 10:50 P.M. and reconvened at 11:21 P.M.

City Attorney Lynch reported that no action would be taken regarding any current litigation.

Budget Policy Workshop

It was the consensus that discussion of the budget policy issues would be set for Saturday, May 10th at 10:30 a.m.

Future Budget Workshops

It was the consensus to reserve Tuesday, July 29th, and Tuesday, September 30th as date for possible City Council Workshops.


Councilman McTaggart attended a Contract Cities meeting in Sacramento to testify on AB 1221. He stated that AB 1221 is a bipartisan bill relating to taxing issues.


At 11:30 P. M. Councilman Clark moved to adjourn.



City Clerk