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RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
SEPTEMBER 16, 2003
The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Mayor Stern at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Ferraro, Clark, McTaggart, Gardiner, Stern
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; Director of Finance Dennis McLean; Associate Planner Dave Blumenthal; and, Minutes Secretary Debra Presutti.
Director McLean led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor Stern briefly thanked all those serving on the City’s 30th Anniversary Committee and reminded everyone that, as part of this ongoing celebration, the City will be hosting a formal dinner/dance at the Los Verdes Country Club on Friday, October 17, at a cost of $70 per person. The theme of the event is a "Salute to the Land and Sea," and is a tribute to the city’s natural history and compelling beauty. He noted that anyone who does not receive an invitation and is interested in attending the gala affair should contact the City’s direct number at 310-544-5205. He encouraged everyone to attend.
Mayor Stern acknowledged members of Scout Troop 783, including Eagle Scout Greg Winkler, Darryl Chan, Tommy Mueller, Devon Scherm, Connor Mackin, Gregory Rivel, Nicholas Levy, Justin Lees, and Christine Rivel and presented each with a certificate in honor of their participation in a general cleanup project at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park. On behalf of the City, he extended sincere thanks to each of the participants for their hard work.
Amy McPeak, a senior at Peninsula High School, made a presentation of her recent scientific research project examining business trash recycling in the Palos Verdes area, for which she was awarded second place in the Environmental Science category in the L.A. County Science Fair as well as an Earthwatch fellowship study. She thanked those who assisted her, including Lauren Ramezani, of the RPV City Works Department; her teacher Mr. Startup; and, 7-11, Highridge Car Wash, and Ralph’s for their participation.
Mayor Stern and the other Council members thanked Ms. McPeak for her articulate presentation, commended her initiative and creativity, and congratulated her for her award-winning project.
Jacki Bacharach, Executive Director of the South Bay Council of Governments, presented the I-405 Arterial Improvements Initiative. She thanked Council members Clark and McTaggart for serving on the board and bringing this item before Council. She explained that because the South Bay portion of the I-405 runs through so many different jurisdictions, no one city had taken the initiative to study the matter and implement improvements; so the SBCOG, in recognition of this problem, decided to examine how the freeway operates, how it affects the surrounding arterials, and how the city streets access the freeway. She indicated the project received a Caltrans planning grant as well as a consultant who was very well versed in freeway traffic matters.
Utilizing a PowerPoint presentation she illustrated the study area, which included the region from Western to La Cienega, and explained that the focus was on six major areas of concern: congestion along the corridors leading to the freeway, congestion at critical intersections, access to and from the 405, managing the trips that go through the South Bay, the narrow roadways in certain locations, and infrastructure maintenance. The findings showed that by implementing relatively low-cost changes, such as converting some right-turn lanes into through lanes, creating dedicated right-turn lanes in certain locations, and widening corridors and ramps, significant improvements could be realized. She noted that these improvements impact not only the free flow of traffic but air quality as well.
Ms. Bacharach indicated that SBCOG is continuing to work on bringing attention to this issue by encouraging member cities affected by the 405 to speak to members of Caltrans and send letters when funding opportunities present themselves. She noted that although there is currently a shortage of money to spend on these types of projects it is not a bad time to be pursuing them because by being prepared and in line for funding, when the money is available, the projects will move forward.
R.S. Hardin was chosen as recycler of the month.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Staff requested that Item No. 3, the Commercial Refuse and Collection Agreement with JJK Roll-Offs, Inc. be removed from the Consent Calendar to be reintroduced at a later date and, secondly, to reposition Item No. 5, the Traffic Monitoring Services for 2003-2004 School Year: Amendment No. 12 to All City Management Services Contract, to be considered after Consent Calendar.
In regard to Item No. 5, City Manager Evans explained that the Public Works Department had some minor changes to make in the form of including some additional contractors that the City has worked with in the past who were late submitting their proposals.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the Agenda as amended. Motion carried without objection.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Mayor pro tem Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the amended 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.
Approved the minutes of August 5 and August 19, 2003, as amended.
Mayor Stern abstained on the minutes of August 5, 2003.
Commercial Refuse and Collection Agreement with JJK Roll-Offs, Inc.
Removed at the request of the applicant.
Parkland Dedication Fees For Final Parcel Map No. 26692. (Landowner/Applicant: Mahmood Forouzesh; Address: 7455 Via Lorado).
Accepted the Quimby parkland dedication fee for Final Parcel Map No. 26692 pursuant to the City’s parkland dedication fee formula in the amount of $41,135.50.
Traffic Monitor Services For 2003-2004 School Year: Amendment No. 12 to the All City Management Services Contract.
(1) Authorized the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute Amendment No. 12 to the agreement with All City Management Services, Inc. (All City), for an amount not to exceed $5,745.60 to provide traffic monitoring services at Vista Grande Elementary School for the 2003-2004 School Year.
2002-2003 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan.
Directed Staff to forward the City’s 2002-2003 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan to the State Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and to the Department of Housing and Community Development regarding the current status of the General Plan and the progress on its implementation during the 2002-2003 fiscal year.
Award of contracts for on call professional services.
(1) Awarded a three-year contract for on-call professional services to Jon Cicchetti and Associates, John M. Cruickshank, Inc., Group Delta Consultants, Willdan and Associates, Inc., Helix Environmental, Inc., Cotton Shires Associates, Inc., Harris and Associates, Inc., Trans Tech, Inc., GeoSyntec Consultants, SA Associates, Shirley Bennett, Vandermost Consultants, CBM Consultants, Zeiser Kling, DMC Engineering, Charles Abbott Associates, Berryman & Henigar, Inc., and RBF Consulting; (2) Authorized the expenditure of up to $60,000 with each of these firms, for the not-to-exceed amount of $25,000 for a single project, and; (3) Authorized the expenditure of up to $ 275,000 for ‘on-call’ services for Fiscal Year 2003-04 and the amount included in the adopted budget for FY 2004–2005 and FY 2005–2006.
Award of professional services contracts for engineering services for the Storm Water Quality Program.
(1) Awarded a three-year contract to Hunter-Kennedy and Associates, Inc., for engineering services for the Storm Water Quality Program and authorized the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute contract documents; (2) Awarded a one-year contract to Kathleen McGowan, P.E., for engineering services for the Storm Water Quality Program, and authorized the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute contract documents; and (3) Authorized the expenditure of up to $80,000 for engineering services for the Storm Water Quality Program for FY 2003-04.
Register of Demands.
ADOPTED RESOL. NO. 2003-76, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ALLOWING CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEMANDS AND SPECIFYING FUNDS FROM WHICH THE SAME ARE TO BE PAID.
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Extension of Conditional Large Domestic Animal Permit No. 5 (Case NO. ZON2003-00198), for the Portuguese Bend Pony Club.
Mayor Stern recused himself from the public hearing. He stated that, although he is not required to do so, he is more comfortable abstaining since his daughter is a member of the Pony Club.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro declared the public hearing open.
Associate Planner Blumenthal presented the staff memorandum of September 16, 2003.
Councilman Gardiner requested information regarding the financial status of the Pony Club, saying the request for additional horses is purportedly being made to help offset costs and allow more funds for on-site maintenance, but he finds no substantive financial data in the materials submitted to support this. He also queried whether there is an existing agreement between Pony Club and its neighbors regarding the number of horses and expressed concern over the possibility of an adverse impact being created for those neighbors if there is any further increase.
Associate Planner Blumenthal responded that staff has no additional financial information for the Pony Club. He noted that in researching the previous hearings for the original approval no type of agreement or negotiation between the Pony Club and its neighbors on the allowable number of horses was found.
Gordon Leon, Portuguese Bend, as co-District Commissioner of the Pony Club and Chairman of the Equestrian Committee, stated that prior to their conditional large domestic animal permit application, the Pony Club was required to move from their previous 30-year location. He noted that in the last two years, they have undertaken a significant amount of development to accommodate the activities that occurred at their previous site and have made a number of improvements such as adding sprinklers for dust control, removing stalls adjacent to one of the neighbors, putting in plants to screen the site, and installing composting bins. He indicated that the Pony Club makes every effort to work with their neighbors and the community as a whole in implementing improvements and coordinating their activities.
Councilman Gardiner queried how the addition of four horses would offset the fixed costs of the Pony Club.
Mr. Leon explained that since Pony Club runs a cooperative barn, they try to keep their costs down to make membership affordable. He indicated their fixed costs represent things such as gardening and track ring costs and their variable costs include things such as feed and stall maintenance, which vary on a per horse basis. He said the revenue generated by increasing the number of horses would offset some of these costs and allow them to do more in the way of grounds care and continued improvements to the facility.
Councilman Gardiner explained his dilemma in deciding to generate the increased revenue by adding more animals, impacting the surrounding residential community, as opposed to increasing membership fees, which would affect only Pony Club members.
Mr. Leon responded that membership fees have already been raised three times in the past year. He noted that there are currently 19 members of the club, only 3 who live outside the community, and 12 prospective members.
Councilman Clark questioned whether the Pony Club has a business projection which might include the addition of more horses in the future.
Mr. Leon replied that the number being requested at this time is what Pony Club management and a number of neighbors believe can be accommodated on the site, adding he does not believe the club could support more than 21 horses.
Councilmen McTaggart and Gardiner each raised the issue of the composting bins on the site, saying reports have been received charging that the manure is not being properly composted, exacerbating the problems of flies and odors.
In response to this concern, Associate Planner Blumenthal indicated that staff had gone to the site to examine the composting bins and noticed no massive amount of flies or offensive odors other than what is to be expected standing in direct proximity to the bins.
Mr. Leon explained that they follow the composting procedure guidelines in the Equestrian Code.
Councilman Gardiner reiterated that because Pony Club is located in the middle of a residential area the issue becomes a serious question of the benefits versus the cumulative impact. He opined that a compelling case had not been made to increase the number of animals, adding that his concern is the issue of growth rather than the permit extension and has nothing to do with the merits of the Pony Club.
Mr. Leon contended that any negative impacts are minor and are mitigated through procedures already in place, adding that having new stalls and the resulting new members would increase their monthly income and allow them to do more kinds of maintenance, making the facility and the neighborhood a better place for everyone.
Jeanne Smolley, Portuguese Bend, noted that she was on the Equestrian Committee when Pony Club made their original application requesting to go from 14 to 17 horses, which was agreeable to the residents who participated in the hearing at that time. She noted that the size of a property is irrelevant in determining how many horses can be properly accommodated and what impact that might have on the neighbors, explaining that the impact to residents is determined by how the horses are kept. She expressed concern over the method of composting being employed at the site, noting that bins are not an adequate mechanism for composting manure. She suggested that Council extend Pony Club’s permit but urged against increasing the number of horses. She commented that Pony Club’s fees for boarding horses are extremely reasonable in the current market of $280 to $300 a month and suggested they raise their rates rather than bring in additional animals to offset their costs.
Richard Barra, Portuguese Bend, Vice Chair of the Equestrian Committee and a neighbor of Pony Club for the last 24-years, entreated Council to approve their request for a permit extension, approve increasing the number of horses to 21, and approve a grading permit to improve their facilities. In his position as a neighbor, he opined that the composting being done at the facility is proper and has created no negative impact that he is aware of. He mentioned that his boarding rate, like Pony Club’s, is $250 a month. He voiced strong support for the changes being proposed and improvements being made at the facility, noting that Pony Club is a positive influence not only for its members but for the community and the city as well.
Roxanne Raksnys, Rancho Palos Verdes, one of the head instructors at the Pony Club, said that she has seen mass improvements at the facility which are being made to enhance the safety of the horses, the riders, the kids, the neighbors, and anyone wishing to visit the site, adding that everyone is welcome. She explained that the purpose of Pony Club is to provide an option for people who cannot afford to own a horse; to give parents the ability to lease a horse so their children can know the enjoyment and benefits of riding and horsemanship without the expense and responsibility of ownership. She encouraged Council to make it possible for those kids on the waiting list to be able join.
Ashley Mahaffey, Rancho Palos Verdes, a senior member of Pony Club, indicated that Pony Club is very different from the other equestrian centers around the community. She stated that the kids coming to the club all have direct relationships with their horses, they enjoy the facility and spend a great deal of time there, and they learn much more than simply how to ride a horse. She commented that it is a community facility with public trails that accommodate runners and provide scenery for painters. She opined that increasing the number of horses would not increase traffic in the area but would increase the participation of those wishing to enjoy the benefits of horsemanship. In conclusion she noted that everyone at Pony Club does their utmost to provide the highest level of care possible to the animals and to maintain the facility in a fashion that benefits the community.
Betty Strauss, Portuguese Bend, stated that she is in favor of Pony Club, having two daughters who are members. She commended them for the many things they are doing and for the lovely opportunities they provide children. That said, she requested Council consider the cumulative impact that the 52 permitted horses already in the area are having on the community. She indicated this is a residential community where the majority of residents do not own horses. She described how the number of flies and the odor of manure have on occasion forced her to change her plans for entertaining in her own backyard. She disagreed with the opinion that the aggregate number of horses is not the inherent cause of this negative result, noting that when you have that number of animals within a very small residential community, it does create problems. She noted that the number of boarding stables and the larger Pony Club have also brought increased traffic to the Peninsula. She recommended Council renew Pony Club’s permit to operate but strongly urged the members to consider what impact the cumulative number of animals is having on the environment.
Councilman Clark suggested that the new equestrian center the City is contemplating might help alleviate many of these problems.
Joe Deeble, Portuguese Bend, stated that he hoped the Pony Club’s permit renewal would be approved but that he would like to see their increased number go to the new equestrian park. He commended the Pony Club for the great service they provide to parents and children, noting they help make the community what it is. He stated that efforts would be well spent to move the equestrian park along in order to make available to more children the type of program Pony Club provides.
In response to Councilman McTaggart’s question about his having a problem with dust and flies, Mr. Deeble responded that his major concern is the amount of traffic being created by people boarding horses on the Peninsula not the flies and dust which are to be expected in an equestrian area.
Patty Mahaffey, Rancho Palos Verdes, District Commissioner of the Pony Club, stated they have tried very hard to improve a property in a very short period of time to meet the needs of their neighbors. She mentioned that Pony Club is sympathetic to traffic concerns, adding that many of their members carpool. She indicated that the increased number of horses being requested is basically to accommodate people interested in joining, noting that she would love to see a great equestrian park in RPV but, in the meantime, Pony Club has a 13-acre facility and many young children wishing to join. She reiterated that Pony Club provides a lease option to people who cannot afford to participate in the sport in the traditional fashion by purchasing a horse.
Councilman Gardiner queried whether any of the prospective members would be bringing their own horses to be kept on the Pony Club property.
Ms. Mahaffey responded there are two who would like to board their horses on the property.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro clarified that two of the horses would simply be relocated to the Pony Club site; so two would be coming from Portuguese Bend and would not increase the cumulative number in the community.
Councilman Clark asked Ms. Mahaffey her reaction to some of her neighbors’ who say they support the club but as nearby residents are concerned about the cumulative impact of more horses as far as flies, odors, et cetera.
Ms. Mahaffey replied that they are doing a variety of things to improve these conditions many of which are a function of economics. She indicated they have hired a gardener to come in weekly to make sure the facility always looks nice; they have put in plants to shield the area and applied for a grading permit in order to add sand to the arenas to help alleviate the dust problem; they would like to build more barns in which to keep the horses to help handle the flies more efficiently, and they have contacted a service with a method for eradicating flies using a derivative of the chrysanthemum thereby causing no harm to the children or the environment. She reiterated that they have tried to make vast improvements to their site in a very short period of time, which has been very costly and time consuming. She noted that if permitted they will continue to make improvements that will make the neighbors happy and provide a great and safe place for the children to ride.
In response to Councilman Clark’s reiteration of the question of additional horses being requested in the future, Ms. Mahaffey responded that the facility and the topography are such that 21 horses is really the optimal number both in terms of safety for the children and the configuration of the stalls. She indicated that they are not making this request in order to make a profit but to provide the best environment possible for all concerned. She said they are doing everything they can to improve a property that they do not own without raising their fees, which would create a huge financial disadvantage for some families, particularly those where siblings are involved. She added they would be satisfied if Council put a limit on the 21 horses with the proviso that no more could be added in the future.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman McTaggart, to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2003-77, APPROVING A TWO-YEAR EXTENSION TO CONDITIONAL LARGE DOMESTIC ANIMAL PERMIT NO. 5, (CASE NO. ZON2003-00198), WITH NO INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF HORSES AND TO GRANT A FEE WAIVER FOR A GRADING PERMIT FOR THE PORTUGUESE BEND PONY CLUB.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro noted that she would rather approve the request for the additional horses with a review in six months to ascertain whether or not any problems had occurred.
Councilman Clark mentioned that he would like to see some further improvements in terms of the environment and that, if those transpire, he would be willing to revisit the topic of additional horses.
Councilman McTaggart agreed, saying there is no one on the Council who does not recognize the value of the Pony Club in terms of providing wholesome recreational activities for the youth in the community.
Councilman Clark proposed amending the motion by adding an opportunity for the Pony Club to return in six months if they believe they have substantive evidence of improved conditions warranting Council’s reconsideration of increasing the 17 horse limit to 21.
Councilman Gardiner indicated he would accept that amendment if the wording include with the support of the neighbors.
The amended motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Gardiner, McTaggart, Clark
Councilman McTaggart voiced concern over a letter alleging illegal dumping on the Childs’ property and charging that a code enforcement officer was instructed to ignore the complaint. He indicated that given the serious nature of the allegation, it should be investigated.
In response City Attorney Lynch assured him that the matter is being investigated.
Recess and Reconvene: Mayor pro tem Ferraro recessed the meeting at 9:23 p.m. and Mayor Stern reconvened the meeting at 9:37.
Lois Larue, Rancho Palos Verdes, brought to Council’s attention that despite signs on Palos Verdes Drive South saying that the bike roads are closed, people are continuing to ride their bicycles there. She also reported some cracks in the road near the benches in Abalone Cove that should be investigated.
Russell Rhodes, Rancho Palos Verdes, a 30-year resident of RPV, spoke to Council regarding the issue of equal protection of the law as it relates to view restoration. He complained that the view restoration infrastructure is based on citizen complaints rather than the City’s providing an investigative unit to patrol the city, identify obstructed views, and negotiate solutions for the common good. He indicated he has sent a letter to the City Manager regarding the fact that both his city lights and ocean views have been obstructed for many years. He said he voted for the current ordinance and has no problem paying for trees to be cut but feels the City needs to be proactive in enforcing the cumulative effect of foliage growth and view impairment.
Councilman Clark explained that when Proposition M was adopted by the voters in 1989 it was envisioned as a mechanism for residents with view impairment issues to have those views restored or preserved rather than as a process in which the City staff would do a sweep of the city to uncover possible view obstructions. He further explained the two parts of the ordinance are 1) that an individual can preserve a view based on what it was in November of 1989 by submitting documentary evidence and that so notified the City would enforce the preservation of that view; and, 2) an individual has the right to come before the City to seek restoration of a view if they cannot negotiate a suitable agreement with a neighbor regarding that view. He indicated that, hopefully, most residents are attempting to balance the enjoyment of views with the enjoyment of foliage by negotiating among themselves, adding that when that does not work effectively, the City can step in as a third party to assist in the negotiation process.
Mr. Rhodes responded that he understands the concept but disagrees with it, saying the City uses a balancing act rather than valuing the fundamental right of equal treatment by virtue of the fact that an individual must bring a complaint before the City for redress rather than the City acting as an enforcement entity to seek out view infractions and address them.
Mayor Stern indicated that Mr. Rhodes has the same right to pursue remedy under the ordinance as anyone else, saying it is applied equally to all. He noted that his understanding of Mr. Rhodes’s position is that the City in essence go out and foment disputes over issues that the residents involved in do not necessarily perceive as problems.
Councilman McTaggart pointed out that the law is that City staff cannot go onto an individual’s property to check for view obstructions or anything else unless they are invited to do so.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro reiterated that the current ordinance affords Mr. Rhodes the right to redress regarding his view, saying that a process has been established that treats everyone equally. She noted that while some residents prefer to have unobstructed views others choose not to have trees cut that are in front of them for a variety of reasons, thereby making the issue one between neighbors and not something the City is in a position to enforce.
Councilman Gardiner indicated that if this is an item of concern it should make its way onto the agenda so Council members could properly digest the merits and legal arguments involved.
Mayor Stern thanked Mr. Rhodes for his comments and, taking note of the fact that he disagrees with the basic philosophy and structure of the ordinance, encouraged him to invoke it so that he might receive the full benefit of it as would anyone else in the city seeking remedy of a view obstruction issue.
Scott Gobble, Torrance, announced that as of August 1, 2003, Southern California Edison’s electric rates have come down for residents and businesses in RPV. He indicated that those SCE customers who received the highest increases at the onset of the energy crisis would receive the largest decreases, noting that those paying $50 to $60 a month will see no change in their rates. He stated that customers would also receive a one-time rebate. In conclusion he noted that there is good news on the horizon: rates are coming down; rates have stabilized; and the power grid has enough power to generate for the state of California.
Charlene O’Neil, Rancho Palos Verdes, rushed to the meeting after viewing a portion of the televised public hearing on the Pony Club and voiced support for approval of their requests. She indicated that she and other members of the Equestrian Committee inspected the entire Pony Club site when their application first came through. She explained they very carefully examined the staff report and recommendations, noted that no complaints had been received, no code enforcement issues had come before them for investigation, and the neighbors attending the hearing of the matter expressed no opposition. She mentioned that Pony Club is not a moneymaking venture but instead concerns itself with providing an affordable opportunity for children interested in riding horses.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
Mayor pro tem Ferraro commended Holly Starr, Carolynn Petru, and the other members of the City’s 30th Anniversary Committee for all their diligence and hard work and for orchestrating a wonderful event, which she very much enjoyed.
Councilman Clark attended the League of California Cities’ Annual Convention in Sacramento and reported that a constitutional ballot initiative sponsored by the League which would prohibit State legislators from robbing the coffers of local cities and counties as they have done in the past is still on track. He said the issue now is successful campaigning to assure the victory of this state-wide ballot initiative, adding that the League is estimating it will need between $8- and $9 million to accomplish that end. He informed Council of the League’s request for all elected officials who endorse the concept to contribute to the fund and promote the initiative.
Councilman Clark mentioned that currently the L.A. Division of the League is attempting to resolve the issue of representation on the City Council in the Air Quality Management District for the 25 western cities. He noted that a stalemate has been created for this seat and advised that an ad hoc committee would be meeting on September 19th to attempt to develop a workable strategy to resolve this representation issue.
Another item of interest Councilman Clark brought from the League’s annual conference was a presentation by the City of Santa Ana on neighborhood traffic plans in which a process has been created by the City working in conjunction with the residents of pass-through traffic neighborhoods to develop and create traffic plans for those areas. He indicated this has turned out to be a very successful endeavor.
He strongly encouraged other Council members to attend the League’s annual convention next year in Long Beach, saying there are numerous worthwhile seminars and many excellent exhibits.
Councilman Clark also indicated that he contacted Donald Trump on behalf of the City to express concern over rumors that the future name of Ocean Trails would be Trump National at Los Angeles. He indicated this would be a serious negative for the community and the Peninsula. Mr. Trump has agreed to reconsider.
Councilman McTaggart attended a meeting of the California Contract Cities Liability Trust Fund Oversight Committee on September 17th where no new cases were reported. He also attended a meeting of the California Contract Cities Executive Board on September 17th where a discussion was held on ways to deal with the Political Action Committee and the way money is donated to elected officials at the State level. On September 18th he attended a SCOG meeting regarding protections for housing.
Councilman McTaggart attended the City’s anniversary celebration on September 6th. He participated as an MTA South Bay Governance Council member at a public hearing on the proposed route changes for Lines 225 and 226. He mentioned a letter from the El Segundo Employers’ Association concerning cuts to Routes 625 and 626, which are the shuttle routes that provide transportation from the Green Line to the aerospace facilities in El Segundo. He noted that, unfortunately, many other proposed cuts to these vital transit resources are being considered. He indicated that for the time being a commitment has been made to keep the 225 and 226 lines open during heavy loading hours and suggested having PVTA run a shuttle to help get people up the hill from PCH.
On September 10th he attended a meeting of the LAX Noise Round Table where ongoing talks regarding noise abatement of low-flying aircraft continued. On September 11th a SCOG Regional Transportation workshop was held to discuss the regional transportation plan. He also participated in a meeting of the MTA Sector Governance Council where MTA’s use of electronics to keep statistics and reduce maintenance and labor costs was presented.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (cont’d.):
Use Of Federal and State funding for supplemental police services – CORE Police Team.
Mayor Stern opened the public hearing. There being no response to his call for public testimony, he declared the public hearing closed.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Ferraro, to waive the staff report. Motion carried without objection.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Ferraro, to approve staff recommendation to the continued use of LLEBG (Local Law Enforcement Block Grant) and COPS (Citizen Option for Police Services) funds in FY 03-04 to pay for the CORE Police Team to perform enforcement and crime prevention duties at the schools and commercial areas in the Region and in the parks and open space areas adjacent to and south of Crest Road.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, McTaggart, Gardiner, Ferraro and Mayor Stern
Award professional services agreements for final plan preparation of the Point Vicente Interpretive Center Expansion Project.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Ferraro, to waived the staff report. Motion carried without objection.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman McTaggart, to approve staff recommendations to (1) Award a Professional Services Agreement to Ron Yeo Architects, Inc. in the amount of $16,540 for plan revision, plan check and code update and authorize the May or and the City Clerk to execute the Agreement; (2) Award a Professional Services Agreement to Harris and Associates in the amount of $8,000 for construction and bidding review of the expansion plans and authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute the Agreement; (3) Award a Professional Services Agreement to Merit Civil Engineering, in the amount of $5,000 for Professional Engineering Services and authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute the Agreement; (4) Award a Professional Services Agreement to Group Delta Consultants in the amount of $2,000 for Geotechnical and Geological consulting services and authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute the Agreement; (5) Award a Professional Services Agreement to The Source Group, Inc., in the amount of $7,500 for environmental monitoring and consulting services and authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute the Agreement; and, (6) Award a Professional Services Agreement to Jon Ciccetti Landscape Architects, in the amount of $3,000 for landscape irrigation consulting services and authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute the Agreement.
Before the vote was held, Councilman Clark commented that he had been unable to participate in Council’s previous discussion of the Interpretative Center and the possible Council chambers and noted that, in their reporting of the matter, the local papers portrayed the idea as being his; so to clarify things, he indicated that although he would like to be able to claim credit, he wants to make it clear that the idea actually came from the City’s Director of Public Works, Dean Allison, who deserves full recognition for the concept. He also clarified that all five members of the Council unanimously supported investigating the alternative.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Ferraro, Gardiner, McTaggart, Clark and Mayor Stern
Award of Contract for Storm Drain System Video Inspection.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Ferraro, to waive the staff report. Motion carried without objection.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve staff recommendation to (1) Authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute a contract for video inspection services of the Storm Drain System with National Plant Services, Inc., for a not-to-exceed amount of $25,000; and (2) ADOPT RESOL. NO. 2003-78, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING RESOL. NO. 2003-42, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2003-04, FOR A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT TO THE CITY’S INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (CIP FUND). The motion carried without objection.
Staffing in the Public Works Department.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Ferraro, to waive staff the report. Motion carried without objection.
Councilman Clark inquired whether the position basically memorializes a position that was held by someone in the department who recently retired.
Director Allison responded that the position is new. He explained that staff is preparing to take on some very large projects and the position is really a creative solution which will cost the City significantly less than it would to hire a consultant.
City Manager Evans indicated that this position is being created now because staff is hoping to bring recommendations before Council sometime around the first of the year to reinstate some of the capital projects that have been delayed.
Councilman McTaggart inquired whether the Tarapaca Road situation is being considered as a landslide abatement matter. He expressed concern that the liability risk is great and that swift action should be taken.
Director Allison replied that it is being considered and a meeting will be scheduled to get the County of Los Angeles involved so that a solution can be reached.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Ferraro, to approve staff recommendation to (1) Authorize the City Manager to recruit a limited term full-time employee for a maximum term of 18 months to meet the current staffing needs in the Public Works Department; (2) ADOPT RESOLUTION 2003-79; A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING RESOLUTION 2003–43, AND CREATING A SALARY RANGE FOR THE NEW POSITION OF PROJECT MANAGER; and (3) ADOPT RESOLUTION 2003-80; A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING RESOLUTION 2003–42, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2003-04, FOR A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT TO THE CITY’S GENERAL FUND.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Ferraro, Clark, McTaggart, Gardiner and Mayor Stern
Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Ferraro, to waive the staff report and to approve staff recommendation to (1) Agree to accept applications for the various City Commissions and Committees immediately after the November election and make new appointments in late December or early January; and (2) Approve revision to City Council Policy No. 6 to memorialize the process for accepting applications for Commissions and Committees. Motion carried without objection.
Recycled water for golf courses.
Councilman Gardiner made a brief presentation of the staff memorandum of September 16, 2003 and recommended that Council consider whether or not to direct staff to arrange for testimony by experts regarding the safety and advisability of utilizing reclaimed water in various applications.
Councilman McTaggart stated that the water being used has been certified for body contact and presents no danger.
Councilman Gardiner said that while he has no reason to doubt this, since conflicting evidence has been brought to his attention, he would rather hear from experts on both sides of the issue in order to reach an informed conclusion.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro suggested that Councilman Gardiner take a tour of the reclamation plant as she did this summer, adding that it is very informative and answers many questions.
Councilman Gardiner commented that the information coming from the reclamation plant would necessarily be advocating the use of reclaimed water rather than presenting an unbiased opinion, noting that the method of operation of the Council has been when there is a question raised to bring in information from both sides of the issue so everyone is informed as a group rather than individually.
Councilman Clark indicated that the use of reclaimed water for golf courses has been a practice that has been used extensively in California for at least the last 15 years.
Mayor Stern stated that he is not eager to have people coming in to give their opinions as testimony, saying that if people have materials substantiating a concern, they should be allowed to present them and if that brings about substantial credible information on which to conduct a hearing he would be in favor.
Councilman Gardiner said he is in favor of gathering further information and would be happy with that approach.
City Manager Evans mentioned that staff had done some research on the Internet in response to this matter and discovered that Redwood City has a panel of experts they feel have acceptable credentials who assert that reclaimed water is hazardous; and that Joan Davidson, who brought this to Councilman Gardiner’s attention, presumably has an expert who would concur. He added that since there is a huge body of information promoting reclaimed water, it would probably be very difficult to find additional experts who disagree.
Councilman Gardiner opined the reason for this is the proponents are well funded by public bodies. He indicated there have been many instances where something has been introduced into the public arena, which was purportedly safe, and then years later enormous problems have been discovered. He reiterated his position that he would rather err on the side of caution by contacting these experts who purport to have evidence contrary to popular opinion to see if there are valid scientific studies to support their contentions.
Mayor Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to direct staff to collect data submitted on reclaimed water for inclusion in a future Administrative Report, which could then be agendized if so desired by a Council member.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, McTaggart, Gardiner and Mayor Stern
CLOSED SESSION REPORT: No action taken.
ADJOURNMENT: At 11:09 the meeting was formally adjourned.