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TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL
FROM: ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER
DATE: JUNE 15, 2004
SUBJECT: AUTHORIZATION FOR VERIZON TO FILE A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT APPLICATION FOR AN UPGRADED TELEPHONE FACILITY AT LADERA LINDA COMMUNITY CENTER
Authorize the City Manager to sign the Conditional Use Permit application to allow Verizon to seek approval for an upgraded telephone facility at Ladera Linda Community Center.
Although the City has a separate policy for telecommunications facilities that are placed in the public-right-of-way, the Municipal Code requires a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for installations on all other types of property, including those placed on property owned by the City. One of the requirements for filing a complete CUP application is the landowner’s signature on the application. In cases where the City is the property owner, the City Manager needs City Council authorization to sign the CUP application.
In November 2001, Verizon approached the City about upgrading an existing telephone equipment facility located at Ladera Linda Community Center. The equipment is located inside a fenced area at the west end of the parking lot, adjacent to the driveway leading to the paddle tennis courts. According to representatives from Verizon, the equipment was originally to be installed on a vacant lot owned by the telephone company in the adjacent Seaview tract. However, objections from the neighborhood resulted in the equipment being placed at the park in 1989. Verizon later sold the vacant lot and it has subsequently been developed with a new single-family residence. Although the City apparently gave its approval for the equipment to be installed in its present location, no records have been found to explain why the City did not require the telephone company to obtain a Conditional Use Permit or enter into a lease agreement for the use of the land. When City staff informed Verizon that a lease agreement would be required in conjunction with the upgrade of the equipment proposed in 2001, Verizon abandoned its plans to modify the facility at that time.
Following the failure of the telephone service in the Seaview tract over the Winter Holidays in 2003, Verizon approached the City again about upgrading the equipment. As before, staff informed the telephone company that a lease agreement, as well as a Conditional Use Permit, would be required to change out the facility. However, in order to preserve the City’s options regarding the Ladera Linda property, staff is suggesting that the lease be short in duration, conceptually five years in initial length with possibly two one-year extensions. The intent is that this term would allow Verizon to depreciate the new equipment and would allow the telephone company adequate time to find another location for a new facility that is preferably located within the public right-of-way, rather than encumbering City parkland. City staff is currently exploring some possible locations along Palos Verdes Drive South with the telephone company.
The area where the existing equipment is located is approximately 499 square feet in size and is immediately northwest of the paved parking lot in front of the Ladera Linda Community Center. The unpaved driveway to the upper parking lot and paddle tennis court runs along the north side of the equipment area, and several classroom buildings are located to the west and south. A 6-foot high chain link fence with wood slating encloses the equipment area. A total of eight aboveground utility boxes of various sizes are currently located within the fenced area. The tallest box is seven and a half feet high.
With the exception of changing the existing swing gate to a rolling gate, Verizon is not proposing to make any changes to the size or configuration of the fenced equipment area. In side the fenced area, the company is proposing install a new MESA 6 cabinet, which is a little bit larger than the existing two "Urban" cabinets. The new cabinet would have a footprint that is approximately 9 feet by 4 feet in size, or 36 square feet in area. The overall height of the new MESA 6 cabinet would be 6 feet high. Once the new cabinet and related equipment has been installed and brought on-line, the remaining utility boxes will be removed from the fenced area. The existing equipment area is not readily visible to the public because a fence and some shrubbery surround it. The change over of the cabinet and related utility boxes will not result in a material change to the appearance of the equipment area.
Because it will take three to six months to process the CUP and lease agreement, staff is currently working with Verizon to allow the telephone company to install some temporary equipment on a trailer next to the existing equipment enclosure. If the existing equipment were to fail again while the City is considering the CUP and lease agreement, the temporary equipment would be able to continue to provide telephone service to the Seaview tract until the matter is resolved.
In order for Verizon to proceed through the required Conditional Use Permit application process, the City must first agree to sign the application forms as the landowner. The application would then be subject to a noticed public hearing before the Planning Commission, with the possibility of appeal to the City Council. Notice of the public hearing would be mailed to all property owners within a 500-foot radius of the exterior boundary of the Ladera Linda Community Center property.
Because the telephone equipment was apparently originally installed with the City’s knowledge and tacit approval in 1989, staff does not believe that the Conditional Use Permit application should be subject to the payment of penalty fees. However, it would be subject to the normal application fee of $2,400, which is consistent with similar requests to locate telecommunications equipment on City parkland.
If the City ultimately approves the Conditional Use Permit request, staff would then return to the Council with the necessary lease agreement. Staff is currently analyzing what the appropriate lease amount should be for this type of facility.
There is no fiscal impact associated with allowing the Conditional Use Permit application to be filed and processed. However, if the application is eventually approved, the City will then negotiate lease agreements with Verizon. Any lease payments would result in new General Fund revenue to the City; however, the amount of the payments would be subject to negotiation only after a final decision has been made on the CUP application.
Assistant City Manager