Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER

DATE: NOVEMBER 5, 2003

SUBJECT: AUTHORIZATION FOR CALIFORNIA WATER SERVICE COMPANY TO FILE A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT APPLICATION FOR A MOBILE RADIO ANTENNA AT CITY HALL

RECOMMENDATION

1. Authorize the City Manager to sign the Conditional Use Permit application to allow California Water Service Company to seek approval for a mobile radio antenna facility at City Hall.

2. Consider whether to waive all or part of the application or penalty fees associated with the after-the-fact permit applications.

3. Provide staff with direction regarding whether to charge a lease amount for the proposed use of City property.

BACKGROUND

Although the City has a separate policy for telecommunications facilities that are placed in the public-right-of-way, the Municipal Code requires a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for installations on all other types of property, including those placed on property owned by the City. One of the requirements for filing a complete CUP application is the landowner’s signature on the application. In cases where the City is the property owner, the City Manager needs City Council authorization to sign the CUP application.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Over a year ago, a subcontractor for California Water Service Company began installing a radio antenna on the west side of the Administration Building at City Hall. Unfortunately, City staff was required to stop the partially completed construction because no Conditional Use Permit or building permits had been obtained for this antenna. California Water Service Company has now retained the services of Palos Verdes Engineering Corporation to assist them in obtaining the necessary permits and approvals to complete the installation (see attached letter from District Manager Terry Tamble). The existing installation consists of an equipment cabinet located at ground level and a metal conduit that runs partially up the side of the building as shown in the photograph below:

If the City eventually approves the installation, the construction would be completed by the addition of a radio whip antenna, which would extend above the top of the roof by three or four feet.

DISCUSSION

In order for California Water Service Company to proceed through the required Conditional Use Permit application process, the City must first agree to sign the application forms as the landowner. The application would then be subject to a noticed public hearing before the Planning Commission, with the possibility of appeal to the City Council. Notice of the public hearing would be mailed to all property owners within a 500-foot radius of the exterior boundary of the Upper Point Vicente property.

Because the majority of the equipment required for the radio antenna has already been installed at City Hall without permits, this application would normally be subject to the payment of penalty fees, in addition to the application fee. The fee for a Conditional Use Permit is $2,400 and the penalty fee would be an additional $2,400. Considering the circumstances that the application is a private utility company and the application would normally be subject to the payment of penalty fees, staff is seeking direction from Council as to whether the City should waive all or part of the application and penalty fees associated with this request. Staff does not recommend waiving any part of the plan check and building permit fees because a portion of the fees is used to pay for the services of the City’s Building and Safety contract with Charles Abbott and Associates.

If the City ultimately approves the Conditional Use Permit request, staff would then return to the Council with the necessary lease agreement. A few years ago, the City approached California Water Service Company about the possibility of installing an antenna at one of its reservoir locations. At that time, the water company indicated that it would not charge the City any rent to use its facility. Although the City did not end up installing the antenna, staff raises this issue for the Council to consider whether or not the City should charge the utility a rental fee for use of City property, if their CUP application is eventually approved. If the facility were located on private property, a reasonable ground lease amount would be $200 per month or $2,400 annually.

ALTERNATIVE

Allowing the utility company to go through the permit process does not obligate the City in any way to approve the project. However, if the City Council is opposed to allowing this type of equipment to be placed on City property, the Council can deny the requested authorization to proceed. This action would prevent the applications from being filed with the City. The California Water Service would then have remove the existing equipment that has been installed on City property and seek other sites in the area, most likely on private property, to accommodate their equipment.

FISCAL IMPACT

There is no fiscal impact associated with allowing the Conditional Use Permit application to be filed and processed. However, if the application is eventually approved, the City will then negotiate lease agreements with California Water Service Company. Any lease payments would result in new General Fund revenue to the City; however, the amount of the payments would be subject to negotiation only after a final decision has been made on the CUP application.

Respectfully submitted: Reviewed:

Carolynn Petru Les Evans

Assistant City Manager City Manager