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RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
NOVEMBER 18, 2003
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Mayor Stern at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Clark, Gardiner, McTaggart, Ferraro, and Mayor 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; Senior Planner Kit Fox; Senior Planner Ara Mihranian; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and, Minutes Secretary Debra Presutti.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro proudly introduced the Cub Scouts of Pack 435, Cody Bergstrom, Christopher Sorenson, Matt Montaldo, Tom Cochran, Drew Knolls, Nicholas Carlson, Jim Matsumoto, and Charlie Wood, who led the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the singing of America the Beautiful.
Mayor Stern reminded everyone that applications were being accepted for various City commissions and committees, including the Planning Commission, the Traffic Committee, the Finance Advisory Committee, and the Equestrian Committee. He noted this is an opportunity for residents to work for their community and fellow residents. He advised anyone interested in serving to fill out an application on line at the Palos Verdes.com website by clicking first the City Council option, next choosing the City Clerk from the title bar located at the top of the page, and then selecting the Rancho Palos Verdes Recruitment for Advisory Boards option on the left side of the page; or by phoning the City Clerk’s office at (310) 544-5208.
Joseph A. Morgan was selected as the recycler of the month. Mayor Stern thanked him for recycling and encouraged everyone to participate in the City’s recycling program.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Mayor Stern requested that Item No. 10, the Ganado Trail matter, be removed from the Agenda, stating that since no staff report was included as part of the Agenda packet it would be best to postpone discussion of the matter.
Councilman McTaggart stated he placed the matter on the Agenda to air the matter publicly and to furnish the residents who live adjacent to the trail an opportunity to provide their input since many of them learned only recently of the possibility of the trail’s closure.
Mayor Stern responded that without the benefit of a staff report outlining the details of the matter, Council’s ability to make meaningful decisions would be severely limited, adding that it was extremely important to address an issue with knowledge of all the pertinent facts rather than hearing public comment with no proper understanding of those facts and circumstances.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro queried why a report was not provided.
City Manager Evans responded the matter was added after the Agenda had already been published.
Councilman Clark commented that he understood Councilman McTaggart’s reason for bringing the matter forward but concurred with Mayor Stern that, without a common foundation of information, it would not serve the Council nor the community well to discuss the item at this time.
Mayor Stern pointed out that one of the problems with proceeding is a discrepancy concerning what is being referred to as the Ganado Trail. He mentioned his understanding that most people are speaking about a trail that begins at the rear of a lot where a building permit for a home has been issued. He added that a meaningful discussion, which accurately assesses the situation, cannot be had without a quality report allowing the public to provide input based on the realities of the situation.
Councilman McTaggart stated that as one of the signers of the acquisition of that property it was his hope that the City would be concerned with its preservation, adding that a message should be sent to the Usage Committee informing them that trails are very important to the people of RPV and any proposed elimination of them should be done in an adequately noticed open public process.
Councilman Gardiner agreed that a hearing of the matter should be postponed; adding that a draft staff report should be made available to members of the public wishing to comment and those comments should be appended to the report received by Council when the matter is subsequently addressed as an agenda item.
Councilman Clark suggested that each member of the Council who will ultimately deal with this issue make a visit to the site to familiarize themselves with the character and physical dimensions of the location so they can better understand and appreciate the comments of the neighbors and property owners.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro commented that the petition containing 104 signatures should also be included in that report.
Mayor Stern entertained public comment on the matter but requested it be limited to whether the matter should be agendized for the future or heard at this meeting.
Ralph Ortolano, Jr., Rancho Palos Verdes, requested that Council hear the matter now since many people in attendance came specifically to address this issue. He stated that certain easements were accepted at the October 7, 2003 City Council meeting which, once recorded, will bind Council in ways they might not be if the matter is aired forthwith.
Barbara Dye, Rancho Palos Verdes, agreed that a good report needs to be presented before the issue can be fully addressed. She invited anyone interested to walk the site with her and offered to discuss some of the thought processes that went into the Steering Committee’s proposal of another trail to substitute for the one that will be blocked.
Nick Trutanich, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke on behalf of the residents of the last 12 houses on Coolheights Drive and strongly recommended that the Ganado Trail remain open.
Richard Stark, Rancho Palos Verdes, Community Representative on the Forrestal Steering Committee, agreed that without a staff report the matter could not be meaningfully discussed.
Ralph Ortolano, Sr., Rancho Palos Verdes, voiced his strong support for trails and the preservation of open space.
Sunshine, Rancho Palos Verdes, suggested Council solve this particular problem by treating it the same as Rockinghorse Road and Sunnyside Ridge Road and leaving all available unbuildable land designated on the map as trail area open until everything can be properly addressed. She noted that the Conceptual Trails Plan was designed to make staff aware of the trail situation and strongly urged Council to hear the matter now, saying a procedure is in place that has not worked correctly in this case and Council should take the opportunity to make the necessary corrections to assure that it will work in the future.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he visited the site but in a different context and that, without diagrams or anything else to help him assess the situation, he is very uncomfortable moving forward. He suggested stopping the clock on any irreversible action and continuing the matter to allow Council the benefit of reviewing relevant information, making appropriate site visits, and hearing input from the various parties involved.
City Attorney Lynch informed Council that subsequent to their last meeting the City had recorded the easements that were accepted on the trails and issued grading and building permits to Mr. Nassiri. She indicated the problems regarding legal descriptions pointed out by Mr. Ortolano’s engineers have been corrected and revised documents have been transmitted; therefore, the ten-day period for the parties to review those documents has already begun and Mr. Nassiri is free to begin construction.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro questioned whether a trail easement had been vacated so these permits could be issued.
City Attorney Lynch replied that no trail easement has been terminated, closed, or extinguished but as part of the adjustments to Mr. Ortolano, Jr’s. property the rerouting of an easement was necessary. She further clarified that there was never a trail easement on the Nassiri property.
Barbara Sattler, Rancho Palos Verdes, as a member of the Forrestal Steering Committee, said she is not surprised that this issue has become so controversial since issues of access, habitat impacts, and the complications of private property have all been commingled. She requested that because of the complexity of the matter Council continue it until they have had time to carefully review a detailed staff report.
Barbara Dye, Rancho Palos Verdes, suggested scheduling and publicly announcing a site visit so everyone interested in the matter has the opportunity to see the site and understand what is occurring there.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to continue the matter to December 16th and to schedule a site visit for Council and interested members of the public prior to that date. Motion carried without objection.
Mayor Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to approve the Agenda as amended. Motion carried without objection.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Councilman Clark requested that Item No. 4, the Pavement Management Project, be removed from the Consent Calendar for discussion.
Councilman McTaggart moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, 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 October 21, 2003.
Council members Clark and Gardiner abstained on the minutes of October 21, 2003.
Extension of Lease for Palos Verdes On-The-Net.
Authorized the extension of the lease agreement with Palos Verdes On-The-Net for use of the portable building at City Hall until May 6, 2008.
Pavement Management Project.
Councilman Clark stated he understands the reason for doing the Pavement Management Program update is to comply with the periodic requirement under Proposition C and queried what constitutes a regular updating and why the City looks to an outside firm to perform that rather than the Public Works Department assuming the responsibility.
Director Allison explained that Proposition C requires that an update occur every two years, which turns out to be an optimal time for the City to review roadway conditions and determine which streets should be overlaid and which should be slurried. He added that, since roads decay and there is a need to quantify that deterioration, the two-year requirement is a useful tool in providing the data necessary to make informed roadway maintenance decisions. He further explained that the Public Works Department is not organized or staffed to the degree which would allow the level of attention required for a project of this scope and magnitude.
Councilman Clark questioned whether this particular update would minimize the need to perform subsequent updates every two years or if it would downsize that requirement since the City will have a digitized database outlining the existing quality of the roadways.
Director Allison responded that the need would remain fairly constant necessitating an expenditure of between $15,000 and $25,000 every two years to properly assess and maintain the roadways.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman McTaggart, to (1) Award an engineering service contract to Harris and Associates for engineering services related to the 2003 update of the City’s Pavement Management Program; (2) Authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute a contract with Harris and Associates; and (3) Authorize the expenditure of up to $19,700.
Resol. No. 2003-94: Register of Demands.
ADOPTED RESOL. NO. 2003-94, 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.
The motion to approve the amended Consent Calendar carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Ferraro, Clark, McTaggart, Gardiner, and Mayor Stern
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Establishing a fee to appeal the decision of the Director of Public Works on public right-of-way permits.
Mayor Stern announced that this was a continued public hearing from the October 21st meeting.
Director Allison presented the staff report of November 18, 2003 and noted staff’s estimate that the City’s cost for an appeal would be between $200 and $300. As such, staff recommended a fee of $100 be paid by anyone appealing a decision.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro clarified that in the event a resident’s appeal prevails, their $100 fee would be refunded.
Councilman McTaggart said his understanding was that the appeal fee would be front-loaded into the application.
Mayor Stern indicated the administrative costs incurred by the City to refund money when no hearing is requested would negate the benefit of charging that fee up front, adding the City would spend money to return money and thereby bear the cost in every situation where there is no appeal.
Councilman Clark commented that he could not understand how sending a check can cost $200.
City Attorney Lynch explained that the cost includes any consultants retained by the City to perform analysis of a site, the City Attorney’s time to review the legality of the Director’s decision prior to its issuance, and the preparation of a staff report to present to Council.
Councilman Gardiner queried how many applications and appeals come up in a given year.
Director Allison answered that in the last two years roughly 25 applications have been made of which none have been appealed.
City Attorney Lynch indicated that an appeal was recently filed by a telecommunications provider whose site was denied.
City Manager Evans clarified that the $100 appeal fee is not meant as a revenue generator for the City but as a nominal fee to discourage frivolous appeals, adding that most other cities have a modest appeal fee in place for this reason.
Ardis Prescott, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed appreciation to the Council for considering a lower fee and asked if the Planning Commission is addressing whether providers will be limited to one site on a given street or if residents will have to appeal the same company or potentially a different one in the event establishment of a location is denied and they subsequently decide to move down the street a few doors to attempt relocation of that site.
Director Allison said this entire issue is still a work in progress. He noted the question is a very valid one and answered he would be hard pressed to request another appeal fee from a person in this type of situation.
Councilman Clark queried if the City has any right to automatically deny succeeding applications on a site that was previously denied.
City Attorney Lynch said the City has no right to a blanket prohibition which would preclude providers from establishing a site somewhere in close proximity to one that was previously denied. She added that the provider would be informed of the history of a prior negative ruling of the site by Council and, hopefully, choose not to pursue it further.
City Manager Evans noted it would be highly unlikely that Director Allison would approve an application for a site he had previously denied.
Kathleen Kitagawa, Rancho Palos Verdes, said that although she is pleased that Council has worked to lower the appeal fee she objects to the premise of that fee being the responsibility of the residents. She opined it is unfair that residents are forced into the position of fighting multi-million dollar corporations to preserve the safety and integrity of their neighborhoods. She expressed concern over possible risks of emissions from telecommunications facilities and what effect they might have on the children and the community and strongly urged Council to stand up for their constituents.
Mayor Stern said his understanding is that Congress has specifically legislated that cities are prohibited from basing their decisions on any possible impacts from electromagnetic radiation. He indicated that legally Council has no authority in this regard.
David Kitagawa, Rancho Palos Verdes, noted his strong displeasure with the approval process, saying since the City is receiving tax dollars from the residents they should not be required to pay a fee for disagreeing with rulings which have an impact on the quality of their lives, families, and the community as a whole.
Hideo Kikomoto, Rancho Palos Verdes, suggested placing these contested telecommunications antennas in parks rather than in residential neighborhoods, saying this has been done in various other parts of greater Los Angeles. He also expressed serious concern about the possible harmful effects if they are placed next to houses.
Councilman Clark indicated that, unfortunately, federal law preempts local jurisdictions from dictating the rules in telecommunications issues. He noted that some years ago, RPV was one of the first cities to devise a set of guidelines in their Development Code specifically for wireless communication providers, prompting them to consolidate their antennas and keep them out of residential neighborhoods whenever possible. He encouraged those residents who feel passionately about this to contact their local Congressman, Dana Rohrbacher, and State Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and entreat them to push for a change of the governing federal statutes. He added that despite the fact Council agrees with the residents on many of these issues they are not in a position of control.
Mayor Stern noted that the City has worked diligently within the confines of its limited jurisdiction to try to keep these facilities away from homes and direct their placement in areas where they will have minimal impact on communities. He reiterated the point that it is not a matter of disagreement, lack of will or desire but a lack of legal authority as defined by Federal law.
Angelie McDowell, Rancho Palos Verdes, commented that she is relieved to know that the City and the residents are not working against one another in this matter and inquired if Council has the ability to require the providers to use the smallest most up-to-date equipment available.
Councilman Gardiner answered that the City can make suggestions but, ultimately, cannot require providers to use specific types of equipment. He assured everyone that the City works very hard within the constraints of money and the regulations placed upon it to look after the best interests of the community.
Councilman McTaggart stated emphatically that he would rather front-load the cost and make the providers pay rather than roll over to them and place the burden on the City’s residents.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to approve staff recommendation and ADOPT RESOL. NO. 2003-95, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ESTABLISHING APPEAL FEES FOR DECISIONS OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS DENYING OR GRANTING APPLICATIONS FOR RIGHT-OF-WAY USE PERMITS.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Ferraro, Clark, Gardiner and Mayor Stern
Mayor Stern declared the Public Hearing closed.
Recess and Reconvene: Mayor Stern recessed the meeting at 8:49 p.m. and reconvened the meeting at 9:02 p.m.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
Mayor pro tem Ferraro said it was her privilege to deliver the proclamation of the City to the honorees of the Educator of the Year Dinner at the Los Verdes Country Club, adding it has always been one of her favorite events. She mentioned that she attended the Lomita Sheriff’s Open House and conveyed that the deputies are very grateful to the City Council for restoring the third CORE deputy. She declared her appreciation for the Sheriff’s Department and commended them for all they have done and continue to do for the City.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he had the opportunity to attend the swearing in ceremony for the new Governor of California and commented that it was a very uplifting and extraordinary event which left him with a feeling of future cooperation between the State and local government.
Councilman Gardiner informed that progress is being made at the Cable TV Subcommittee meetings and that a collective program is being drafted for Channel 3. He noted that progress is also being made to substitute the logo on Channel 33 with live programming.
Mayor Stern mentioned that he and Councilman Clark met with representatives from Ocean Trails regarding the Concours d’Elegance. He assured residents that the City would continue to impose conditions to mitigate any negative impacts that might be created by this project such as dust and parking problems.
Councilman McTaggart attended a SCOG Housing Committee meeting on November 6th which focused on the future of the Compass Project. He noted that Operation Jump Start, which includes a controversial double-decking plan for the 710 Freeway, was discussed as part of the Regional Transportation Plan. On November 7th he attended the Cable Committee meeting.
November 8th Councilman McTaggart attended the Lomita Sheriff’s Open House, taking the opportunity to thank many of the officers he has worked with over the years for their service to RPV. On November 12th, at an LAX Round Table meeting, he discussed the yet unresolved issue of over flights of the Peninsula and participated in the planning strategy for next year’s work program.
He reported on statistics from the November 13th Regional Sheriffs’ meeting in Rolling Hills, showing that injury collisions in RPV are down for the second year in a row. He also reported that a second confirmed case of the West Nile Virus was
announced at the L.A. West Vector Control Board meeting on November 13th.
Councilman McTaggart met with Tom McFadden at Marymount on November 13th where he viewed the latest campus improvement designs.
On the morning of November 18th he and Director Allison accompanied City maintenance workers to assess the drainage problem he previously reported in Klondike Canyon. He stated they discovered an eight-foot section of pipe that needs to be replaced and believes this could be an inexpensive solution to the problem.
Councilman McTaggart expressed sincere gratitude to all those who have supported him over the years and commended the new Council members in their upcoming task.
Councilman Clark described his visit with City Manager Evans to the City Council in
La Canada/Flintridge where they made a presentation of the City’s Neighborhood Compatibility Ordinance and guidelines. He noted that their presentation resulted in a letter of appreciation from Mark Alexander, the La Canada/Flintridge City Manager, and an article in the local paper complimenting the City of RPV. He stressed the importance of exchanging strategies and ideas with other cities in the region to help maintain the quality of life for residents of all these respective communities.
On November 6th Councilman Clark attended the monthly L.A. Division meeting of the League of California Cities Executive Board, where the guest speaker, Mark Pisano, the Executive Director of SCAG, discussed the challenges faced by the entire region in the coming years, including air quality, income levels, housing assessments, transportation, and mechanisms for increasing revenue in these times of severe budget constraints. He suggested Council invite him to present an overview of his assessment of the regional outlook at a future meeting.
Councilman Clark stated that he met with Vincent Stellio and toured the affordable housing units and maintenance facility at Ocean Trails, which he found quite impressive. He stated that the Trump Organization is currently interested in having the City and Council address how to move forward effectively on installing a driving range at the facility.
On November 9th he attended the Palos Verdes Land Conservancy City Picnic, a fund-raising event celebrating what the Conservancy has done so far and what their future plans are for the acquisition and preservation of open space in the community.
Councilman Clark attended the League of California Cities Leaders’ Workshop from November 13th to the 15th and participated in a discussion of strategies and priorities for the coming year. He outlined the League’s priorities as follows: 1) raising funds and awareness for the success of the November 2004 ballot initiative to constitutionally guarantee local revenues; 2) expanding the supply of housing and transportation in balance with job creation; and, 3) continuing to restore public confidence in government particularly at the local level by focusing on education, ethics, and awareness of the roll of elected officials.
Janice Lamont, San Pedro, addressed Council regarding damage to her car which occurred at a Colich & Sons work site on April 24, 2003 and a problem she subsequently encountered with their insurance department. She stated that she originally brought the matter before the Council in July 2003 where it was determined the City bore no responsibility for the incident and her claim was forwarded to Colich & Sons for resolution. She informed Council that her treatment by Colich & Sons has been extremely unprofessional; that she has received neither redress nor disposition of the matter; and requested the City’s assistance in determining if any other claims for damage at the time and place of her accident have been filed.
City Manager Evans indicated that he was not aware of any other claims but would have staff investigate the matter.
Mayor Stern commented the City prefers to deal with reputable companies acting in good faith and, understanding there are two sides to every story, recommended that staff make appropriate inquiries into the matter.
Councilman Gardiner concurred with the Mayor’s position, saying the City does have the right to consider a company’s actions and integrity when making decisions regarding future contracts and employment.
City Clerk Purcell indicated she would forward Mrs. Lamont’s information to the City’s Risk Manager.
Lois Larue, Rancho Palos Verdes, reiterated her concerns regarding bicyclists continuing to ride on Palos Verdes Drive South despite signage informing them that there is no longer a bike lane.
Establishment of the process to approve aboveground facilities in the public right-of-way.
City Attorney Lynch presented the staff memorandum of November 18, 2003. She stated that a meeting was held with a number of cellular providers, the gas company, the water company, Southern California Edison, and some of the landline providers and that all companies requested extra time to allow them to make suggestions and provide additional input to staff. She noted that some of the primary concerns mentioned include time frames for application processing and issues about technical feasibility.
Director Allison indicated that he had a very constructive meeting with the President of the Council of Homeowners regarding some of the resident issues such as notification and the time allotment for providing mock-ups and added that input from a variety of sources will be beneficial in drafting the ordinance.
Mayor Stern reiterated his suggestion to include a provision in the proposed ten-year renewal of these permits setting a fixed date ten years hence for review of all permits issued within the next five years and five years hence for those issued beyond that, saying this would provide a logical time for the City to address them as a whole rather than permit by permit.
City Attorney Lynch stated she mentioned the Mayor’s suggestion to the providers and a number of them took issue with it, saying they believe the word "term" should be rewritten because they contend, probably correctly, that once the permit is issued they have a vested right.
Mayor Stern, appreciating the fact that input from the providers has yet to be received, stated that he will request, absent a convincing argument to the contrary, that the ordinance as ultimately written provides a consistent review date, saying, if the City has the right to review, the timing for that review should make no difference.
Mayor Stern requested clarification on the bond mentioned in the staff report.
City Attorney Lynch replied that some of the cellular and utility companies have complained that the City should not be allowed to address their financial capability with respect to transfers or buyouts by other companies, believing this protection to be afforded them by Federal law. She explained that other cities have dealt with this by requiring a bond be posted so the proceeds of the bond can be used to remove a facility in the event a company goes out of business or is not properly maintaining it.
Mayor Stern opined that residents are entitled to that protection and their tax dollars absolutely should not be used to remove improperly maintained or abandoned sites.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to continue the matter to January 20th. The motion passed without objection.
Technical Review of the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Proposed South Coast County Golf Course at the Former Palos Verdes Landfill.
Senior Planner Fox presented the staff memorandum of November 18, 2003.
Mayor Stern indicated that, although he had a very productive conversation with Supervisor Knabe, the County had not yet extended the December deadline for the DEIR comment period and advised all concerned to get their comments in by that time.
Councilman Gardiner strongly recommended the City hire its own consultant to guarantee that the City’s specific interests and questions are properly addressed. He explained that the Palos Verdes landfill has applied for a Title V permit under a section of the Federal Clean Air Act which pertains to sites that are considered a major source of pollution because they discharge ten tons or more of toxic emissions a year. He mentioned that the results of an air monitoring study performed in the landfill area near Rancho Vista were flawed and inconclusive and stressed the importance of gathering facts in order to understand the underlying landfill and what, if any, possible health risks might be imposed on persons in that vicinity.
Councilman Clark opined that since the issue is of great concern to both this City and the City of Rolling Hills Estates this would be an ideal opportunity for the sister cities to commit resources and collaborate with a team of consultants. He countered that hiring a separate consultant might have the unintended consequence of creating "a war of the wizards" where competing consultants might take diametrically opposed positions, leaving both cities with conflicting information and no comprehensive direction in which to proceed.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro commented that she was not compelled at the outset to spend money to evaluate a project outside of the city; however, knowing that many students at Rancho Vista are residents of RPV, she recommended the City hire its own consultant to address those questions which may concern RPV but are not necessarily an issue for Rolling Hills Estates.
Mayor Stern concurred that hiring a separate consultant would provide the City the opportunity to focus attention on its specific questions and also, hopefully, provide a collaboration of experts to share information on the common interests of the two cities.
Councilman McTaggart emphasized the importance of safeguarding the community and noted that the additional cost incurred by the City to hire its own consultant would be money well spent to ensure the protection of its residents.
Councilman Clark reiterated his concern over conflicting information from competing consulting teams and stated he remains unconvinced that the two cities cannot work in an integrated fashion to consolidate a team of consultants.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to (1) Review the staff report and the City’s options for reviewing the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed South Coast County Golf Course; and (2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2003-96 APPROVING A $5,000 BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR PROFESSIONAL/TECHNICAL SERVICES RELATED TO THE REVIEW OF THE DEIR to be used to retain the services of The Source Group, Inc. for technical review of the DEIR.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Gardiner, Ferraro, McTaggart, and Mayor Stern
Neighborhood Traffic Calming Study – South Eastview Community.
Director Allison presented the staff memorandum of November 18, 2003 and mentioned that he received late correspondence from the President of the Homeowner’s Association voicing support for the action.
Councilman McTaggart pointed out that he recently viewed videotape from 1985 where the City Council agreed to spend $6,000 for a traffic study in this same area. He noted the area was studied again in 1991, resulting in stop signs being installed which have not solved the problem. He stressed the importance of fully addressing and resolving the matter once and for all.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he is in favor of solving the problem but queried what information could be acquired from a third study that has not already been learned from the two previous studies or those done in other areas. He suggested employing random speed enforcement to help curtail the incidence of speeding.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro mentioned that great concern over the situation was expressed in a recent discussion with a group of residents from the area. She noted that new data is needed to compare whether to employ speed humps, additional signage, no left turns during certain hours, traffic circles, et cetera because things are very different than they were in 1985 and 1991, rendering data collected from those previous studies irrelevant.
Councilman Clark concurred, adding that the studies of the past are outmoded by the dynamics of the community today. He noted that there are probably three or four feasible approaches to solving this problem and strongly advocated proceeding with a study including a traffic engineer working in conjunction with the stakeholders, the community, staff, and the Traffic Committee. He stated that the residents of the South Eastview community have a near crisis on their hands with issues of cut-through traffic, safety, and speed and added that it is important for Council to learn from what occurred on Via Rivera which is that there needs to be a thoughtful, comprehensive analysis of all the meaningful alternatives rather than a point solution.
Mayor Stern also expressed support, saying the City needs to obtain the data in order to understand what options are available based on the area’s specific configuration and traffic flow to be able to provide a viable solution. He stated traffic issues cannot be addressed citywide on a "one size fits all" basis but rather need to be tailored for the situation of a given community with its unique set of circumstances.
Councilman Gardiner pointed out there had been a great deal of speeding around the Marymount area of PV Drive East until Sergeant Lopez arrived on the scene and began issuing tickets, noting that many people complained but the speeding stopped. He stated his belief that you don’t need a study to prove enforcement does work and that placing someone in an area to write tickets will indeed reduce speeds. He said that although he does not oppose neighborhood-by-neighborhood solutions he questions whether or not traffic matters should be addressed and implemented citywide at a policy level.
Mayor Stern reiterated that a citywide solution would inherently fail because of each area’s unique configuration and circumstances.
Councilman Clark indicated that there are traffic problems throughout the city, but this particular community has waited for quite some time for City leadership to effectively deal with their specific issues.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman McTaggart, to (1) Authorize the expenditure of $9,870 for traffic engineering services related to the South Eastview Neighborhood Traffic Calming Study; and (2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2003-97, APPROVING A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT OF $9,870 TO THE TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT BUDGET FOR PREPARATION OF THE SOUTH EASTVIEW NEIGHBORHOOD TRAFFIC CALMING STUDY. The motion carried without objection.
Continued to December 16th; staff to finalize a report and make it available to the public; December 16 staff report to include public comments and analyze the process followed in this matter to see if it can be improved.
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
Approved settlement agreements with CJPIA re San Ramon and with the County of Los Angeles for Pt. Vicente cleanup.
Mayor Stern concluded the last meeting he will preside over as Mayor by thanking the Council members for all their support during his term, saying it has been a very good year.
The meeting was formally adjourned at 10:39 p.m.