Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS

DATE: NOVEMBER 18, 2003

SUBJECT: ESTABLISHING A FEE TO APPEAL A DECISION OF DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS REGARDING AN ABOVE GROUND FACILITY WITHIN THE PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY

RECOMMENDATION

Adopt Resolution ___, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes establishing an appeal a fee for decisions by the Director of Public Works regarding a permit for an aboveground facility within the public rights-of-way.

BACKGROUND

This evening, the City Council also is considering an ordinance that will establish procedures for the installation of aboveground facilities within the public rights-of-way. The procedure includes a process by which an appeal can be filed to the City Council from a decision by the Director of Public Works. The attached resolution establishes a fee for the appeal process.

DISCUSSION

This public hearing is scheduled to set a fee for the City to recover some or all of its cost for activities related to processing an appeal. Staff proposes an appeal fee in the amount of $100.00. Staff makes this recommendation based on the discussion of the City Council at the City Council meeting of October 21, 2003, when this item was last considered, since the City Council stated that the fee should not be so high that City residents are discouraged from using the appeal process.

Following that Council meeting, staff re-evaluated the amount of the appeal fee (originally estimated to be approximately $800) in light of the City Council’s direction. The staff time that is spent in reviewing the application and the site where the facility is proposed, including any time spent by City consultants, will occur before the Director’s decision is issued and, accordingly, is part of the cost of processing the application, which is paid for by the applicants.

Since the meeting on October 21, 2003, Section 12.06.060 E of the proposed ordinance has been amended to require the Director to include in the Director’s decision the basis of the decision and a discussion of the evidence upon which the decision is based. Thus, the majority of the City Attorney’s time that will be spent on a particular application also will occur prior to the issuance of the Director’s decision and will be included in the cost of processing the application. The only remaining City Attorney time will be spent in reviewing the staff report for the appeal and the resolution that is prepared for adoption by the City Council. With this restructuring, the actual cost to the City of processing most of the appeals is likely to be in the range of $300 to $400 per appeal. If the appellant pays an appeal fee of $100, then only $200 to $300 of the City’s cost to process the appeal will be borne by the City’s general fund.

It is possible to restructure the appeal hearing process, as was suggested at the last meeting, so that hearings before the City Council would be allowed as a matter of right, unless no one requests a hearing, and the cost of the hearing would be included in the application fee. However, when the relatively small amount of money that would not be covered by the appeal fee ($200-$300 per appeal) is compared with the extra staff time that would be required for the Public Works Department to track applications where a hearing is not requested and process refunds to applicants through the Finance Department, it appears that it really is not cost effective for the City to restructure the process. Staff has reached this conclusion because the staff time to process refunds is likely to be equal to the amount of the additional appeal fee so that the general fund would be impacted by that amount in any event. Accordingly, staff does not recommend restructuring the appeal process.

The attached ordinance proposes an appeal fee of $100. Like appeals of decisions of the Planning Commission, the appeal fee would be returned to the appellant if the appeal is successful and the City Council reverses the Director’s decision. The proposed ordinance allow for an appeal by the City Council in which case there would be no fee.

CONCLUSION

Adopting the staff recommendation will adopt a resolution to set a fee for the appeal of a decision of the Director of Public Works with respect to applications for aboveground facilities within the public-right-of-way. The amount set for the fee will simply allow the City to recover a portion of its expenses for processing an appeal.

FISCAL IMPACT

The general fund would bear approximately $200-$300 for each appeal that is filed.

ALTERNATIVES

The City Council could increase the amount of the appeal fee to any amount that does not exceed $300.

The City Council could direct staff to further study the issue and bring back more information to the City Council at a future City Council meeting.

Submitted by,

Dean E. Allison

Director of Public Works

Reviewed by,

Les Evans, City Manager

Attachments:

Resolution

RESOLUTION NO. ___

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ESTABLISHING AN APPEAL FEE FOR DECISIONS OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS REGARDING APPLICATIONS FOR PERMITS TO CONSTRUCT ABOVEGROUND FACILITIES WITHIN THE PUBLIC RIGHTS-OF-WAY

THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

    1. Pursuant to Chapter 12.06 of Title 12 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code and Ordinance No. ___, adopted concurrently herewith, the City established a comprehensive regulatory scheme to govern the installation of aboveground facilities in the public rights-of-way (the "Regulations").
    2. The Regulations establish procedures for the installation of aboveground utilities within the public-rights-of way and vest the Director of Public Works ("Director") with the authority to issue or deny an application for a right-of-way use permit to allow an aboveground facility within the public right-of-way. In addition, the Regulations establish a process by which the decision of the Director can be appealed to the City Council. Pursuant to its police powers, the City desires to establish and implement a fee to offset its costs to process such an appeal. The estimated staff services and costs to process an appeal of a decision by the Director are $300 to $400 per appeal.
    3. The establishment of appeal fees to be charged to appellants will offset a portion of the City’s costs to process the appeals and will not generate additional revenue to the City.
    4. The City Clerk caused notice of the public hearing on the adoption of the proposed new fees to be duly published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News on October 7, 2003 and October 11, 2003.
    5. The City Council held a public hearing on the adoption of the proposed new fees on October 21, 2003 and November 18, 2003. At the public hearing, the City Council heard and considered all testimony that was presented regarding the new proposed fees.

Section 1: Based on the foregoing, the City Council hereby establishes the fee to appeal decisions of the Director of Public Works rendered pursuant to Chapter 12.06 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal at $100 per appeal. The City Council hereby directs the City Clerk to add this new fee to the table that sets forth the other fees that have been approved by the City Council.

Section 2: The City Clerk shall certify to the passage, approval, and adoption of this resolution, and shall cause this resolution and her certification to be entered in the Book of Resolutions of the City Council of the City.

PASSED, APPROVED and ADOPTED this ____ day of November 2003.

_____________________________

Mayor

ATTEST:

_________________________

City Clerk

State of California )

County of Los Angeles ) ss

City of Rancho Palos Verdes )

I, JO PURCELL, City Clerk of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, hereby certify that the above Resolution No. 2003- XX was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting thereof held on November __, 2003.

______________________________

City Clerk