|Back To Agenda||Print Page|
TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF CITY COUNCIL
FROM: DIRECTOR OF RECREATION AND PARKS
DATE: DECEMBER 16, 2003
SUBJECT: PROPOSED CONCEPTUAL PLAN FOR UPPER POINT VICENTE AND OPEN SPACE PLANNING AND RECREATION & PARKS TASK F0RCE UPDATE
Staff Coordinator: Matt Waters, Administrative Analyst
5. Adopt Resolution No. 2003- ; amending Resolution 2003-42, the budget appropriation for FY 03-04, authorizing a budget increase in the amount of $25,000 for RRM Design Group to continue their support of the Open Space Planning, and Recreation & Parks Task Force.
The City’s existing Parks Master Plan was adopted on October 17, 1989. Now nearly thirteen years old, the Plan was created by a 15-member Ad Hoc Committee established by the City Council. The Ad Hoc Committee, which divided itself into three 5-member subcommittees each assigned to study a particular region of the City (Westside, Coastal and Eastside), worked over a six month period to solicit input from the community in a variety of ways, including a citizen survey, public workshops, meetings with special interest groups, written correspondence, contact with homeowners’ associations and contacts from individual residents. The resulting Plan contains an extensive list of policies, goals and recommendations regarding the park and recreational needs of the community, as well as factual information and prioritized recommended improvements for each park site in the City.
In the intervening years, the City has acquired several new park sites and open space areas, including Shoreline Park, Ocean Front Park, Forrestal Nature Preserve, and the Barkentine property, which need to be incorporated into the Plan. Most recently, the City has been approached by various community groups regarding unmet recreational needs in the community, such as an equestrian center and fields for girls softball. Therefore, on May 21, 2002, the City Council temporarily expanded the seven-member Recreation and Parks Committee into a thirteen-member Open Space Planning, and Recreation & Parks Task Force (Task Force). The Task Force, whose membership includes a broad spectrum of interests concerning the recreation, parks and open space issues currently affecting the community, was charged with investigating all of the City’s existing resources and unmet needs, and advising the City Council on updating the Parks Master Plan, including recommendations for utilization of City parks and open space properties.
At its first meeting on August 14, 2002, the Task Force reviewed a list of tasks related to open space and recreation that was prepared by Staff, based on City Council discussions and input from the community. The Task Force modified the original work plan in a number of ways, including the creation of eight subcommittees and developed procedures as to how the subcommittees’ work would be reviewed and considered by the entire Task Force and staff. The City Council approved the Task Force’s revised work plan at its January 7, 2003 meeting. At that time, Council also awarded a professional services contract to RRM Design Group to assist the Task Force, and authorized staff to work with RRM Design Group to conduct a global needs assessment survey. The end product of the Task Force will be the submission to Council of a recommended update of the Parks Master Plan, transforming it into the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan.
The Discussion section is divided into five sub-sections: Public Outreach, Upper Point Vicente, Lower Point Vicente, Task Force Update and Consultant.
1. PUBLIC OUTREACH
From its inception, the Task Force has recognized the impact its recommendations could hold for the future of open space and recreation in Rancho Palos Verdes. Therefore, the Task Force has focused on developing a process to insure that the needs and desires of the community are addressed as accurately as possible through a combination of survey and public input. The following is a list of methods used to maximize the Task Force’s public outreach efforts.
5. List Serve
2. UPPER POINT VICENTE
Project Site Description
The subject property is bounded on the north by Hawthorne Boulevard, on the south by Palos Verdes Drive West and South, on the west by the Villa Capri condominium project and on the east by the Salvation Army. The property was acquired from the federal government in 1979 after the Nike Missile Site had been declared surplus property. The entire site is 73.35 acres in size. The City owns in fee title 8.23 acres of relatively level land on the hilltop adjacent to Hawthorne Boulevard, which was acquired from the federal government for the development of a Civic Center. This developed portion of the site includes the existing City Hall buildings, a telecommunications monopole, two smaller buildings leased by Palos Verdes on the Net for its computer center and multimedia studio, the Public Works Department’s maintenance yard and an informal village green which includes one tennis court. The remaining 65.12 acres of City-owned property is largely undeveloped and generally slopes down towards Palos Verdes Drive, although an approximately 5.5-acre portion of this area adjacent to the Salvation Army facility has been leased for many years to a dry farming operation. The U.S. Coast Guard also owns a 3.93 acre parcel located on the west promontory overlooking the Point Vicente Lighthouse, which is the site of several communications towers and an abandoned WWII-era artillery bunker.
It should be noted that, except for the size of the area being dry farmed which is an staff estimate, the acreages identified in the paragraph above are taken from a composite map of the Upper Point Vicente property that was prepared by a civil engineer in 1978 and is on-file in the Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Department. These acreages also match the numbers shown in the Los Angeles County Tax Assessor Map records. Later in this report, under the discussion of the site’s Program of Utilization, slightly different acreages are referenced which are taken from the City’s earlier application (1976) to the federal government to acquire the property. Staff cannot rectify the slight difference in the acreages between the two documents, but has relied on the later composite map as being the most accurate source of information.
Conceptual Project Description
The Upper Point Vicente Subcommittee (UPV SC) was formed to study and develop a plan for Upper Point Vicente Park. Initially, the UPV SC developed a conceptual plan for the site, which consisted of an extensive list of potential uses for the property. This conceptual plan was presented to the Task Force on December 11, 2002 and unanimously approved at that time. Since that time, the UPV SC has continued researching and analyzing possible uses for the Upper Point Vicente Park site, including reviewing the results of the stakeholders meetings, conducting a subcommittee workshop on March 11, 2003 to solicit input from the immediately adjacent neighbors, meeting with potential partners such as Palos Verdes Art Center and the San Pedro and Peninsula YMCA, and considering the input received at the general public workshop held on June 11, 2003. Based on this input, the UPV SC worked with RRM Design Group to create a conceptual design drawing for Upper Point Vicente Park, which was presented to the Task Force at its October 8, 2003 meeting. Although the precise dimensions of the various components has not been established, the proposed conceptual design for Upper Point Vicente, which is attached for the Council’s information, includes the following elements:
A. Gymnasium Complex with:
B. Palos Verdes Art Center
C. Outdoor Athletic Facilities including:
D. Other Amenities
F. Remodeled City Hall with possible amenities to include:
Task Force Recommendation
At its October 8, 2003 meeting, the Task Force heard a presentation from the UPV SC regarding the conceptual design of Upper Point Vicente, as well as a presentation from a representative of the San Pedro/Peninsula YMCA regarding the organization’s desire to operate the gymnasium and pool facility proposed on the site. Following the presentations, the Task Force passed the following motion on a 9-1 vote, with three members absent, requesting that City Council adopt the following recommendations regarding the conceptual design for Upper Point Vicente:
Rancho Palos Verdes City Council approves, in concept, the tentative plan for the development of the flat "City Hall" portion of Upper Point Vicente Park. The recreational aspects of the plan are contemplated to include a joint venture between the City of Rancho Palos Verdes and the San Pedro YMCA. This approval is not a commitment to move forward with the tentative plan as presented or as it may later be modified. Nor is this approval a commitment to move forward with a joint venture with the San Pedro YMCA. It is merely recognition by City Council that this is a plan it would consider for Upper Point Vicente Park. The City Council has no objection to the YMCA proposal to bring a more detailed project plan to the Task Force and the City Council in the future.
Staff Analysis of Upper Point Vicente Conceptual Design
In order for the City Council to better evaluate the Task Force’s recommendations, staff has prepared an initial analysis of the conceptual design for Upper Point Vicente Park. For the purposes of this report, staff’s comments are focused on the underlying land use constraints on the property, the proposed joint uses of the property and the physical design of the conceptual plan. Cost estimates and financing plans have not been addressed at this time.
The General Plan Land Use Map appears to designate most of the level area on the hilltop at the Upper Point Vicente site as "Institutional – Public" (see attached map excerpt). More precisely, the Zoning Map designation on the 8.23-acre portion area owned in fee title by the City is Institutional (I) (see attached map). The Urban Environment Element of the General Plan defines activities allowed in "Institutional – Public" as those involving city, fire, county, state and federal facilities (page 86). Specifically regarding the Upper Point Vicente site, the General Plan states: "It is the City’s intent to use the (Upper Point Vicente) site for a civic center and parkland. While the Nike Site is not the geographic center of the City, it has the potential for becoming a strong focal point for the community. A civic center . . . ringed with parkland, would be a good focus for the City." In addition, the discussion of Institutional land uses on page 197 states: "Recreational activities are generally compatible with institutional uses and are often part of such uses."
The General Plan Land Use Map designates the land the surrounding the Civic Center parcel as "Recreational – Passive" (see attached map). The Zoning Map designates the 62.75-acre portion of land (surrounding the Institutional zone referenced in the paragraph above) as Open Space Recreational (OR) (see attached map). The Urban Environment Element states on page 94: "passive recreational facilities are mostly unstructured in order to allow natural ecosystems to function with the least amount of human disturbance. Passive sites are usually used for nature studies, hiking trails, limited picnicking areas, etc." In contrast, the General Plan states on page 94 "active recreational uses are highly structured and designed with specific activity areas, such as recreation buildings, tennis courts, baseball fields, children’s play apparatus, etc."
In the conceptual design prepared for Upper Point Vicente, most of the major elements appear to be situated within the area shown on the General Plan Land Use Map as "Institutional – Public" and appear to be compatible with this designation. However, because the General Plan contemplated governmental agencies as constituting "public institutional uses" (see page 86), the City should consider whether the proposed Palos Verdes Art Center, which is a private non-profit organization, would also be a compatible with this land use designation. In addition, some significant elements, such as the gymnasium, most of the various sports courts and the combination baseball/soccer field and a portion of the semi-subterranean parking structure, appear to be located in the area shown on the General Plan Land Use Map as "Recreational – Passive." It appears from the definitions of active and passive recreation included in the General Plan on page 94 that these uses would not be compatible with the passive recreation designation on this portion of the property. However, the General Plan and Zoning Map can be amended if the Council wishes to pursue this plan.
When the City acquired the parcel on Upper Point Vicente that is zoned Open Space Recreation (OR) from the federal government, the quitclaim deed included several deed restrictions. One of the restrictions required that the Program of Utilization (POU), previously submitted by the City to the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service in March 1976 and amended in April 1978, govern the future use of the property.
As discussed on page 4 of this report, the POU uses slightly different acreages (74.7 acres) in describing the deed-restricted property than are shown on City and County Tax Assessor Maps (65.12 acres). For the purposes of this section of the report, staff will use the acreages discussed in the POU. Part of the discrepancy might be attributed to U.S. Coast Guard property being included in the POU calculation.
The POU divides the 74.7-acre deed-restricted portion of the site into two parts: a 6.6-acre active recreational area and a 68.1-acre passive recreational area. The POU describes 6.6-acres of "potential active recreational area" as intended to "complement the proposed Los Angeles County Department of Beaches development on the coast side of Palos Verdes Drive and provides needed open space for this part of the City." The document goes on to further state "Eventually, this area might contain picnic areas, tennis courts, and an athletic field. " Although the map is missing (see further discussion below), based on other referenced in the POU, it appears that the County development referenced in this section of the POU is the Lower Point Vicente property, rather than the Fishing Access. However, in either case, the language indicates that the active use area contemplated in the POU is located on the lower portion of the site adjacent to Palos Verdes Drive West or South, and not on the level hilltop adjacent to the Civic Center.
The POU describes the 68.1-acre portion as "passive open space (that) surrounds and complements the proposed administrative center and provides needed open space for this part of the City." The POU further states "The 68.1-acres of land surrounding the proposed administrative areas is to be left essentially in its natural state with no active recreational facilities proposed for this area. Because of slope stability and topography considerations, development would include initially only vista and picnic areas and trails. Additional landscaping would be planted to enhance the native growth. A parking area would be added in the future. All existing structures on this portion would be demolished. The missile storage and launching area would be used at ground level for a vista area, with the addition of telescopes and benches. It could also be used by organized groups as well as individuals for such activities as whale watching, coastal study, etc."
Based on a review of the City’s records, it appears that the parcel owned in fee title by the City and zoned Institutional, is not subject to the deed restrictions and therefore the Program of Utilization discussed above. However, the City’s copy of the POU is incomplete. For example, an important map attachment (Figure 6) is missing, which shows the boundary between the active use area and the passive open space area on the property. In addition, there is a reference in the quitclaim deed to an April 15, 1978 amendment to the 1976 POU that is not in the City’s files. Staff is also troubled by the fact that the POU discusses the "missile storage and launching area" as being part of the passive open space area, when this area is part of the 8.23-acres owned in fee title by the City. Therefore, whether any development confined to this portion of the Upper Point Vicente property would be exempt from the POU requirements needs to be verified. Unfortunately, based on previous staff contacts with the National Park Service, it appears that this agency’s file is incomplete as well. In addition to this issue, several elements shown on the Task Force’s conceptual design, including the gymnasium, outdoor pool, sand volleyball court, paddle tennis court, handball court, basketball courts, combination baseball/soccer field, a portion of the semi-subterranean parking structure and a new dry farming site adjacent to the Villa Capri condominiums are definitely located in the deed restricted portion of the site. Because these uses are not located in the 6.6-acre active use area contemplated in 1976, their location would likely require an amendment to the POU. Based on past contacts with the National Park Service concerning the Long Point project, staff feels that it would be possible to amend the POU if the Council wishes to pursue the conceptual plan or some variation thereof.
In addition to housing the City Hall offices, the City currently shares the use of the Upper Point Vicente property with three lease tenants. The first is Palos Verdes on the Net, which occupies a portable building adjacent to the Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Department’s building and is used as a computer-learning center. Palos Verdes on the Net also leases the old Cable Television Studio previously occupied by Cox Communications and is using this building as a multimedia studio. The second lease is the 90-foot high monopole and its associated support equipment, which currently supports antenna equipment for two commercial telecommunications carriers and one utility company. These two tenants are located on the portion of the site that the City owns in fee title and is zoned Institutional. The third lease is to the last remaining Japanese-American farmer on the Peninsula, Mr. James Hatano, who dry farms an approximately 5.5-acre area on the south slope adjacent to the Salvation Army property. Mr. Hatano’s lease pre-dated the City’s acquisition of the property in that he has been farming on the property at least since 1973 when it was still an active military site. Mr. Hatano’s farm is located in an area of the property that is zoned Open Space Recreation (OR) and subject to the federal deed restrictions and Program of Utilization.
About the time that the UPV SC was beginning to study the Upper Point Vicente property, the City was separately approached by two non-profit organizations looking for property in the City on which to develop new facilities – the San Pedro/Peninsula YMCA and the Palos Verdes Art Center. These two potential joint uses have been incorporated into the conceptual plan approved by the Task Force and are discussed in more detail below. During the early development stages, the UPV SC was also in discussions with the Salvation Army about linking the recreational facilities on its property with those proposed on the City’s property. However, the Salvation Army ultimately decided not to pursue a joint venture with the City at this time. More recently, the City has been approached by two additional organizations that are interested in developing facilities on the Civic Center property – the Zenith Aquatic Program (ZAP) and the Rancho de los Palos Verdes Historical Society. The potential uses joint uses are discussed further below.
The UPV SC met on a number of occasions with representatives from the San Pedro/ Peninsula YMCA to discuss their possible involvement in building and operating recreational facilities on the Upper Point Vicente site. Based on the YMCA representatives’ initial interest in the joint venture, the UPV SC incorporated the proposed gymnasium and public pool facility into the conceptual design for Upper Point Vicente in the level area adjacent to Hawthorne Boulevard between the main entrance to the site and the Peninsula Racquet Club located on the Salvation Army property. While the YMCA representatives have expressed initial interest in the project, they would prefer a measure of assurance from the City Council that it conceptually supports this project before they take the next step of committing any YMCA funds for initial marketing and feasibility studies. In considering this request, staff has identified the following issues of concern related to the proposed YMCA facility:
Palos Verdes Art Center
The Palos Verdes Art Center has also expressed an interest in the Upper Point Vicente site as a potential location for a new and expanded facility. The Art Center has outgrown its current facility at the corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Crestridge Road and proposes to locate their new facility on the south promontory of the Upper Point Vicente site, adjacent to the existing missile silos. The Palos Verdes Art Center staff previously presented their proposal for use of the site to the UPV SC. The subcommittee advised the Art Center that their proposal would be considered, but that it was still premature for the Task Force to make any recommendations to the City Council. On May 6, 2003, the City Council considered a request from the Palos Verdes Art Center to investigate the feasibility of converting the former Nike missile silos into a museum use. At that time, the City Council was concerned that an outside agency would be conducting sensitive environmental testing on City property and directed staff to work with the Art Center on an arrangement where the City would administer any testing activities, but the Art Center would finance them.
The Art Center staff has met with City staff several times since that time, and has now developed an alternative proposal. The proposed site investigation would not focus on the silos, but would include the entire Upper Point Vicente site. The primary purpose of the investigation would be gathering of existing information from the City, environmental agencies and the military. Attached is a proposal from the firm of Jones & Stokes to perform the investigation. Jones & Stokes is a well-known environmental firm and was involved in the evaluation work performed at the Nike missile site at White Point. The arrangement between the City and the Art Center would require the City to contract with Jones & Stokes for the site characterization study with the Art Center providing the funds to meet the contract obligation through a trust deposit account. The Art Center understands that the City is making no commitment regarding the future use of the property by authorizing the study.
Staff has identified the following issues of concern related to the proposed Palos Verdes Art Center facility:
Other Potential Joint Uses of the Property
As mentioned previously in this report, two additional groups have recently approached the City expressing interest in locating facilities on the Upper Point Vicente property. The Zenith Aquatic Program (ZAP) has submitted a proposal to the Task Force, a copy of which is attached to this report, to construct and operate a pool and gymnasium facility. In addition, the Rancho de los Palos Verdes Historical Society has contacted the City Manager’s Office about the possibility of relocating its museum to the Upper Point Vicente site. The Society’s existing museum is located in the Malaga Cove School campus in the City of Palos Verdes Estates, but has been notified by the Palos Verdes Unified School District that their lease has expired and they must vacate this location in the near future. Although neither of these groups has made presentations to the Task Force regarding their proposals, both have been notified and invited to attend this evening’s meeting.
Separate from the land use issues discussed earlier in this report, staff has reviewed the conceptual design developed by the UPV SC and forwarded to the City Council by the Task Force, and has identified the following issues that would need to be further defined if the City Council decided to proceed with this proposal.
The City Manager, Assistant City Manager and Director of Public Works had an opportunity to meet with School District Superintendent Ira Tobin and the new District Facilities Manager Gary Matsumoto. The meeting included a discussion of issues of mutual interest to the City and School District, including recreations facilities that might impact the development of Upper Point Vicente. The following items were discussed:
Mr. Tobin indicated that the School District is expecting to receive a proposal from the "Swim Boosters" to rehabilitate, expand and re-open the swimming pool at Palos Verdes High School. The School Superintendent indicated that the new pool would be a much larger facility than previously existed and would offer the Peninsula a third swimming pool (in addition to the ones at Peninsula High School and Miraleste Intermediate School) that he felt could meet all of the demands of the schools and the community for such facilities.
Mr. Tobin felt that the most critical athletic facility needed in the community is more gymnasium space. The School District is hard pressed to find court time for all of the school basketball, volleyball, etc. teams to practice and play their games, leaving virtually no time for community groups to use these facilities. Mr. Tobin supported the concept of a YMCA facility at Upper Point Vicente.
Palos Verdes High School has recently completed construction of a new girls softball field and is about to begin construction on a second field adjacent to the first. Mr. Tobin feels that these two fields, plus two more girls softball fields at a nearby location, such as Lower Point Vicente, would meet the needs of Girls Softball for tournament facilities.
Mr. Tobin feels that the current School District offices at Valmonte School in the City of Palos Verdes Estates will soon need to be relocated in order to re-open this campus as an active school site. The idea of a joint City/School District administrative facility at Upper Point Vicente made a lot of sense to the management staff from both agencies. The Schools District’s administrative staff is about one third the size of the City’s staff. If the School District relocated to Upper Point Vicente, each agency could potentially have its own building and share a City Council/School District Board meeting room, main lobby, conference rooms, restrooms, kitchen facilities, lounge and other public areas.
4. LOWER POINT VICENTE
Project Site Description
The subject property is bounded on the north by the Ocean Front Estates residential project, which is currently under construction, on the south by U.S. Coast Guard’s Point Vicente Lighthouse, on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the east by Palos Verdes Drive West. The property is currently owned by Los Angeles County and was acquired by that agency from the federal government in 1979 after the property had been declared as surplus. In 1979, the City entered into a 55-year lease of the property with the County. The site is 28 acres in size. The developed portion of the site, which lies parallel to the bluff top, includes the Point Vicente Interpretive Center museum, two paved parking lots, open lawn areas, picnic and vista areas and a trail along the length of the bluff top. The remaining portion of the site east of the main parking lot is largely undeveloped and slopes gently up towards Palos Verdes Drive. An approximately 8.5-acre portion of this area has been leased for many years for a dry farming operation.
Update on Task Force Review of Lower Point Vicente
Besides Upper Point Vicente, the site that has received the most public attention and debate during the Task Force’s work effort is Lower Point Vicente. Mayor Pro Tem Clark asked that staff include an update on the progress of this particular property as part of this evening’s agenda item.
Both the Maintenance & Improvement and the Athletics Subcommittees have looked closely at this property. Representatives from Girls Softball and the Los Serenos de Point Vicente Docents have met with the Maintenance and Improvement Subcommittee to discuss their proposals for the site. Girls Softball has expressed a strong interest in the possibility of a softball complex consisting of four fields arranged in a cloverleaf pattern using the upper portion of the site where the dry farming operation is currently taking place. On the other hand, the Docents have put forward a proposal for the site which calls for expanding the existing museum facilities to the entire site, including a native plant garden, a Tongva Indian gathering area, an interpretive Midden dig area, and a dry farming area, which would all be interlaced with connecting trails (see attachments). Attempts at the subcommittee level of create a compromise for a shared use of the site between these two groups has been unsuccessful.
At the September 24, 2003 public workshop, hosted by the Task Force and facilitated by RRM Design Group, have of the time was used to focus on the issue of Lower Point Vicente. RRM Consultant Keith Gurnee presented a plan that incorporated two girls’ softball fields and all the elements of the Docent plan to the public for comment. RRM Design Group’s follow up report on the results of the workshop indicate decidedly mixed support for a compromise plan, with neither group significantly budging from their position.
The Task Force heard presentations from both the Palos Verdes Peninsula Girls Softball League and the Los Serenos de Point Vicente Docents at its December 3, 2003 meeting. Todd Anderson, speaking on behalf of Girls Softball presented a plan called for the construction of four regulation softball fields, two soccer fields, a snack shack and restrooms on the upper portion of the site. The Docents said their design for the site would not be compatible with the softball proposal. After extensive public comment, the Task Force considered a recommendation from the Maintenance and Improvement Subcommittee calling for two softball fields with the rest of the site reserved for educational purposes. The recommendation failed on a 7-5 vote with one Task Force member absent from the meeting. Several Task Force members expressed concerns that other potential sites had not been fully investigated while others asked for more information regarding deed restrictions, NCCP boundaries, and consistency with the City’s Coastal Specific Plan. Therefore, the Task Force has not made any recommendations to City Council for the site at this time.
Staff Analysis of Lower Point Vicente Conceptual Design
The following section contains staff’s initial analysis of the conceptual design for Lower Point Vicente Park prepared by RRM Design Group. For the purposes of this report, staff’s comments are focused on the underlying land use constraints on the property, the proposed joint use of the property and the physical design of the conceptual plan. Cost estimates and financing plans have not been addressed at this time.
The General Plan Land Use Map designates the entire property as "Recreational – Passive" overlain with a Socio-Cultural Control District. As mentioned earlier in this report, the Urban Environment Element of the General Plan states on page 94: "passive recreational facilities are mostly unstructured in order to allow natural ecosystems to function with the least amount of human disturbance. Passive sites are usually used for nature studies, hiking trails, limited picnicking areas, etc." In contrast, the General Plan states on page 94 "active recreational uses are highly structured and designed with specific activity areas, such as recreation buildings, tennis courts, baseball fields, children’s play apparatus, etc." The General Plan defines the Socio-Cultural Control District on page 204 as "land with areas within this district shall preserve, protect and maintain land and water areas and improvements which have significant historical, archeological or cultural importance to the public."
The Coastal Specific Plan land use designation for the property is "Recreation – Parkland" overlain with a Natural Control District. The Coastal Specific Plan also identifies the need for a public parking area on the site and a trail corridor along the bluff top connecting the trail system on the Ocean Front Estates property to Palos Verdes Drive West adjacent to the Point Vicente Lighthouse. The property is also located in an "appealable" area of the City’s Coastal Zone. Therefore, any approvals granted by the City for development on this property could be appealed to the California Coastal Commission and would be subject to the requirements of the state Coastal Act. Although the Coastal Commission’s views on the proposed conceptual plan can not be determined with certainty at this time, based on past experience, staff has learned that the Coastal Commission and its staff tend to favor uses in the Coastal Zone that are available to the general public, are visitor-serving in nature and provide additional public parking. Conflicts most often arise between the Coastal Commission’s desire to protect natural resources, such as habitat areas, and the desire to increase public access to the coastline.
The City’s Zoning Map designation on the property is Open Space Recreational (OR) with Natural, Socio-Cultural and Urban Overlay Control Districts. The Overlay Control Districts dictate that when the City contemplates any proposed development or improvements on the site, it should consider maintaining and enhancing the property to support native wildlife and vegetation, preserving significant historical, archeological and cultural resources, and protecting the recreational, aesthetic and scenic qualities of the site. Chapter 17.40 in the City’s Municipal Code contains specific performance criteria for each of the three Overlay Control Districts identified on the property.
As the Council is aware, the City is in the process of acquiring the Lower Point Vicente property from Los Angeles County as part of the settlement agreement concerning the lead contamination on the site discovered in 1999. Because the County originally acquired the property from the federal government in the same manner that the City acquired the Upper Point Vicente site, the City understands that the quitclaim deed contains the same restrictions that require the National Park Service to approve a Program of Utilization for the site and authorize any subsequent amendments to the POU. The City would need to review the existing POU on the site, which was probably prepared by Los Angeles County when it acquired the property from the federal government, to determine how it might impact the various development proposals suggested for the site.
The following section outlines staff’s initial reaction to the proposed conceptual design prepared by RRM Design Group for Lower Point Vicente Park, which was presented at the September 24, 2003 public workshop and considered by the Task Force on December 3, 2003. Again, staff comments are focused on site plan design and logistic issues and represent general impressions rather than an in-depth analysis. Cost estimates and financing plans are not addressed at this time.
6. TASK FORCE UPDATE
Due to the large workload required to complete its mission, the Task Force has organized itself into the following eight subcommittees:
To facilitate the completion of the work plan, the Task Force adopted the following format and procedures for the subcommittees:
Except for the activities of the Upper Point Vicente Subcommittee, which was discussed earlier in this report, provided below is a brief description of each of the other seven Task Force subcommittees. In addition, written updates from some of the subcommittees are attached to this report for the Council’s information.
Athletic Facilities Subcommittee
The Athletic Facilities Subcommittee is focused on developing a plan for improving athletic facilities within Rancho Palos Verdes, with a particular emphasis on youth athletics. The Athletics Subcommittee has met with sports leagues regarding several issues, including their needs, field specifications, funding for field development, cost estimates, and funding commitments by the leagues. The Athletic Facilities Subcommittee has also worked with the Maintenance & Improvement Subcommittee to identify sites within the City that could be developed into softball, soccer, football, or multi-use fields. Both subcommittees proposed the development of softball fields at Lower Point Vicente. This proposal was defeated at the December 3, 2003 Task Force meeting. The Athletics Facilities Subcommittee has regularly updated the Task Force on its progress and will continue to prepare more detailed plans for eventual review by the Task Force.
Maintenance & Improvement Subcommittee
The Maintenance & Improvement Subcommittee has studied active and passive park sites within the City and reviewed recommendations made in the 1989 Parks Master Plan produced by the Recreation and Parks Ad Hoc Committee. The Task Force approved the Maintenance and Improvement Subcommittee’s preliminary report at its November 13, 2002 meeting. In its update report submitted to the Task Force in August 27, 2003, the Subcommittee made numerous recommendations for improvements to existing City parks and open space areas. These recommendations are currently undergoing staff review. The Subcommittee recommended that at least two softball fields be developed at Lower Point Vicente site with the remainder of the site to be set aside for Docent educational purposes. The Task Force rejected this proposal at its December 3, 2003 meeting.
Open Space Subcommittee
The Open Space Subcommittee is primarily focused on reviewing city-owned parcels that may be designated as open space in order to assure the preservation of natural habitat and wildlife corridors, restore disturbed areas, educate the public, and encourage passive recreational opportunities for the entire community. The Subcommittee has examined all open space and passive parks owned by the City. In addition, the Subcommittee has studied a number of issues, including public trail maintenance, updating the Conceptual Trails Plan, monitoring specific habitats, and the distribution of open space within Rancho Palos Verdes. The Task Force approved the Open Space Subcommittee’s conceptual plan on December 11, 2002. On May 14, 2003 the Task Force unanimously approved a proposal submitted by the Open Space Subcommittee to include the northern part of Grandview Park in the NCCP Reserve design. The Open Space Subcommittee has regularly updated the Task Force on its progress and plans to submit detailed recommendations in the future.
Land Acquisition Subcommittee
The primary goal of this Subcommittee is to identify and inventory parcels of land that the City may wish to acquire. The Subcommittee is still in the process of identifying and studying numerous parcels that potentially could be acquired and used for open space preservation, passive recreation, or active recreation. The Subcommittee has updated the Task Force on their proposed plan of action, but has not yet made any formal recommendations to the Task Force for its review and approval.
Equestrian Center Subcommittee
The Equestrian Center Subcommittee has worked closely with the City’s Equestrian Committee to develop plans for an equestrian park within the City. At its August 27, 2003 meeting, the Task Force endorsed the Subcommittee’s proposed concept for an equestrian park to be built at the Active Use Area (the Sandbox Area) of Portuguese Bend as delineated by the Natural Communities Conservation Plan (NCCP). The Subcommittee continues to work with the Equestrian Committee to research and draft more detailed plans, and to update the Task Force on its progress.
Senior Citizens Center/Cultural Development Subcommittee
The Senior Citizens Center/Cultural Development Subcommittee has met with the Peninsula Seniors and the Palos Verdes Art Center regarding their interest in constructing new facilities. At its October 8, 2002 meeting, the Task Force voted to endorse the Peninsula Seniors’ concept for a seniors’ center to be built on the site located at the corner of Crestridge and Crenshaw. The Subcommittee continues to both monitor and support the Peninsula Seniors efforts to build a senior center. The Subcommittee also recommends measured support for the Art Center’s proposed building site for Upper Point Vicente Park pending more detailed plans from the Art Center and results from the proposed inspection of the silo area. The Subcommittee will continue working with the Peninsula Seniors and the PV Art Center, and to update the Task Force on its progress.
Crestridge Ad Hoc Subcommittee
The Crestridge Ad Hoc Subcommittee was created in August 2003 on a temporary basis to study the Crestridge property located at the corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Crestridge Road. The subcommittee studied various proposed uses for the site including the preservation of open space, expansion of trails, and the development of a seniors’ center by the Peninsula Seniors. At its November 12, 2003 meeting, the Task Force approved the Ad Hoc subcommittee’s proposal to preserve the Crestridge property either as open space with a senior center, or to require any future developer to set aside a sufficient area to accommodate a senior center, an access road to this site, accommodate trail concerns, and provide an amount of property to be determined to accommodate affordable housing units (see attached subcommittee report). The Task Force disbanded the Crestridge Ad Hoc subcommittee after its proposal was approved.
At its January 7, 2003 meeting, the City Council awarded a professional services contract in the amount of $100,000 to RRM Design Group to conduct a global needs assessment survey and to assist the Task Force in preparing the draft Open Space, Recreation and Parks Master Plan for presentation to City Council. Since that time, RRM Design Group has conducted interviews with stakeholders, conducted two public workshops, prepared base maps for the City’s major park sites, and prepared site plans for both Upper and Lower Point Vicente parks. In addition, RRM Design Group, working with its subcontractor, Fairbanks, Maslin, Maullin and Associates, completed a needs assessment telephone survey of 500 randomly selected RPV residents.
RRM Design Group’s expertise and experience has been instrumental to the success of the Task Force’s efforts to date. RRM’s final goal, according to their scope of work, is the preparation and completion of a new Parks Master Plan to be presented to Council. The complexity of the Task Force’s mission, the breadth of the public outreach effort, and the additional expense of preparing and revising site designs for Upper Point Vicente Park necessitates additional funding to achieve this goal. Staff concurs with RRM’s estimate that an additional $35,000 is needed to complete a thorough and thoughtful revision of the Parks Master Plan.
As discussed in the section above, staff is seeking additional funds for the contract with RRM Design Group, which were not anticipated in the adopted FY 03-04 Budget. RRM Design Group’s original contract to support the activities of the Task Force was for $100,000. $32,500 was spent in FY 02-03; leaving $67,500 budgeted for consultant services to assist the Task Force in FY 03-04. At this time, approximately $12,000 remains in RRM’s contract. $35,000 in additional funds is being requested, which, if approved, would increase RRM Design Group’s total contract to $135,000. An additional $10,000 in Consultant Services is available in the existing FY 03-04 Recreation Budget, the remaining $25,000 to come from the General Fund. The attached budget resolution increases the appropriation by an additional $25,000.
At the beginning of the fiscal year, the FY03-04 estimated General fund revenues in excess of adopted expenditures were $83,510. The calculation of available anticipated revenues is presented below. Appropriations that cannot be funded within this year’s available anticipated revenues will have to be drawn from the General fund reserve. The calculation of the projected General fund reserve available for appropriation is also presented below.
Since their first meeting in August 2002, the Task Force has worked diligently on addressing the future of park, recreation and open space needs in Rancho Palos Verdes. While still working on an overall update of the 1989 Parks Master Plan, the Task Force decided at their October 8, 2003 meeting that the issue of Upper Point Vicente merited direction from City Council, especially with regards to the question of tentative support for a potential City/YMCA joint venture. Staff informed the UPV SC that any form of assurance or support for this project would have to be approved by City Council following a Task Force recommendation. Task Force Chairman Yourman, who is also Chair of the UPV SC, has prepared the attached report in support of the Task Force’s recommendation. Also related to this item are the requests from the San Pedro/Peninsula YMCA to proceed with a market study of locating a new YMCA facility on the Upper Point Vicente property and from the Palos Verdes Art Center to conduct an environmental review of the entire property in anticipation of including a new Art Center facility as part of the development plan for the site.
At the request of Mayor Pro Tem Clark, staff has provided the Council with an update on the status of the Lower Point Vicente property and reports on the overall progress of the various Task Force Subcommittees. In addition, staff is seeking additional funding in the amount of $35,000 ($25,000 via a General fund budget adjustment) for the City’s consultant, RRM Design Group, in order to complete the Open Space, Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
Director of Recreation and Parks
Assistant City Manager