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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The general fund would bear approximately $200-$300 for each appeal that is filed.
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.
Dean E. Allison
Director of Public Works
Les Evans, City Manager
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:
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.
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.