|Back To Agenda||Print Page|
TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL
FROM: ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER
DATE: SEPTEMBER 7, 2004
SUBJECT: NEW LEASE WITH DOUG HATANO FOR ANNIE’S SHORELINE PARK STAND AT ABALONE COVE
1) Approve the new lease with Doug Hatano for Annie’s Stand at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park; and 2) Authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the lease agreement.
Annie’s Stand at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park has been closed since mid-2002. In June 2004, Douglas Hatano contacted staff about the possibility of re-opening the stand to resume selling fresh flowers and produce. Douglas Hatano is the son of James Hatano, who is the last Japanese-American commercial farmer still in business on the Peninsula (see attached Peninsula News article). Staff suggested that Mr. Hatano prepare a written proposal, which could then be presented to the City Council for consideration. The attached proposal is the subject of tonight’s agenda item.
Japanese-American families have farmed on the southern slopes of the Palos Verdes Peninsula since the early 1900’s. As the Peninsula began to develop rapidly in the 1950’s and 1960’s, several of the families operated roadside stands along Palos Verdes Drive South, selling their fresh produce and flowers to passing motorists. James Ishibashi and his family operated Annie’s Stand, named after his wife, at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park from 1978 until 2002. The earliest lease found in the City’s records was executed on May 30, 1978 between Los Angeles County and Mr. Ishibashi shortly after the County acquired the property as a public park. The lease was renewed on September 3, 1981 for an initial term of two years and then converted to a month-to-month arrangement thereafter. In 1983, the City entered into an agreement with the County to operate and maintain the Abalone Cove property. On January 10, 1984, the City sent a letter to Mr. Ishibashi indicating that the terms of the County lease would continue to remain in effect under the City’s management. In 1988, the City assumed ownership of the property from the County.
James Ishibashi passed away in early 2002 at the age of 83. Although his daughter, Yvonne Yamashita, continued to pay the monthly rental fees to the City, she only operated the stand intermittently in the months following her father’s death. In June 2002, staff contacted Ms. Yamashita about the status of the lease. At that time, Ms. Yamashita indicated that she is interested in entering into a new lease with the City and continuing to operate the produce stand at Abalone Cove. On July 16, 2002, the City Council authorized staff to approve a new lease agreement with Yvonne Yamashita for the continued operation of the stand. However, Ms. Yamashita never executed the new lease agreement and finally notified the City in August 2002 that she was no longer interested in operating the stand. Annie’s Stand has remained vacant since that time.
Following the closure of the stand, staff asked the Los Serenos de Point Vicente docent organization if it would be interested in converting the stand into an interpretive display and bus turn out area to use in conjunction with the many school tours of the tide pools that it members conduct at Abalone Cove each year. While the Docent Board was not interested in this idea, it did express an interest in moving the stand to the Point Vicente Interpretive Center and integrating it into the plans for an Outdoor History Museum on this site. Based on this request, future use of the property was been put on hold, pending a decision on the grant application for the Outdoor History Museum, which was submitted to the state in January 2004.
Nevertheless, over the last two years, staff has been contacted from time to time by individuals interested in leasing the site from the City for a variety of commercial uses. Proposals have ranged from selling orchid plants and artwork to converting the site into a South African-style tea garden. Staff has discouraged these inquiries because, with the exception of Annie’s Stand, the City has not permitted commercial businesses to operate in its public parks. Staff considers Annie’s Stand to be a unique situation for several reasons. It was a pre-existing use on the property when it was acquired from the County in 1978. It was also the last remaining produce stand in the community still operated by one of the original Japanese-American families. And finally, unlike other commercial businesses, its continued existence was consistent with the policy of the General Plan to "encourage continued operation of existing produce and flower stands" (General Plan Page 100).
The existing approximately 300 square foot stand is situated adjacent to Palos Verdes Drive South between the intersection of Seacove Drive and the entrance to the upper parking lot at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park (see attached Exhibit "A" to Draft Lease Agreement). A large tree shades the open wooden structure and has a freestanding two-sided sign located immediately to one side of the structure. The stand has its own access from the circular driveway on Palos Verdes Drive South is right turn in and out only onto the southern barrel of the divided arterial roadway, although U-turns are permitted at Seacove Drive and at the entrance to Wayfarer’s Chapel. The stand, driveway and unmarked parking area are fenced off from the remainder of the park site and the driveway entrances can be chained off at night.
Douglas Hatano was born and raised on the Peninsula. He farmed along side his father James from 1979 to 1984. He subsequently moved to the California central coast and continued to farm in Arroyo Grande from 1984 to 1991. He and his wife Shirley are interested in relocating back to the Peninsula to be closer to their family. Douglas Hatano has submitted a proposal to the City to lease Annie’s Stand and use it to sell fresh flowers and produce grown by local farmers, including but not limited to Hatano Farms (see further discussion below). He would like to modify the name of the business to "Annie’s by Hatano Farms" to maintain the historical identity of the stand, while acknowledging the new ownership.
Initially, Mr. Hatano is proposing to operate the stand four days a week, Thursday through Sunday. The hours of operation would vary on holidays and/or by season. In addition, operation of the stand would be dictated by weather conditions and harvest time of particular crops. Mr. Hatano would also like the flexibility to increase the operating schedule based on consumer demand. The City had not previously specified any hours of operation to the Ishibashi family. Staff has no objection to this request and would simply suggest limiting the hours of operation of the stand from 9:00 AM to dusk. In addition, staff would recommend that no significant structural changes be allowed to the stand. In addition to routine maintenance and repairs, Mr. Hatano has asked to add shutters to the front of the stand in order to secure it when the business is closed. Staff has no objection to this request, provided that the City Manager’s Office and the Building & Safety Division approve the final design. Any changes to the existing signage on the property would be subject to review and approval by the City’s Planning Department.
As mentioned previously, Douglas Hatano intends to grow a portion of the flowers and produce to be sold at the stand at Hatano Farms. Hatano Farms consists of two parcels, both located on City-owned property. James Hatano cultivates 5.5 acres at Upper Point Vicente Park and 8.5 acres at Lower Point Vicente Park. He has leased a portion of Upper Point Vicente Park since at least 1973, when it was still under control of the United States Army. He has leased land on Lower Point Vicente since 1982, when the City first took over the management of the property from the County. Both of Mr. Hatano’s leases with the City are up for renewal on March 31, 2006. Currently, his predominate crops are fresh flowers and prickly pear cactus.
Because staff had previously approached the Point Vicente Docents about the possibility of moving Annie’s Stand to the Point Vicente Interpretive Center, staff contacted Docent President Vic Quirarte to discuss the proposal lease the stand to Douglas Hatano. Mr. Quirarte indicated that the Docents were initially interested in moving the stand to Lower Point Vicente in order to preserve the structure for its local historic value. However, he indicated that the Docents would much prefer to see the stand re-opened at it current location, in keeping with the tradition of Japanese-American farming on the Peninsula.
Japanese-American farmers have a long history on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Once the most predominant land use activity on the hill, development pressures have caused agriculture to diminish over the last few decades to the point where only a few acres remain under cultivation. Because publicly owned property has sheltered them from the private development pressures found elsewhere in the community, Abalone Cove and the parks at Point Vicente still retain the last remnants of this local heritage. Further, since its closure in 2002, the City has received many calls from residents expressing regret over the closure of the Annie’s Stand. It is apparent that this small family-run business was a cherished community institution. Entering into new lease with the Hatano family to re-open and operate the stand at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park would help to preserve the last remaining roadside produce stand in the City. Therefore, staff recommends support for this proposal.
The City’s records show that James Ishibashi leased the property for $275.00 per month, or $3,300 per year. By entering into new lease agreements with Douglas Hatano, the City will again receive General Fund revenue for the use of this property. Due to the City’s long-term relationship with the Hatano family and the fact that this is the last remaining flower and produce stand in the City, staff is not recommending an increase in rent. As required by state law, the Hatanos would be required to pay property taxes on the property directly to the Los Angeles County Tax Assessor. For reference, when James Ishibashi previously leased the property from the City, it was assessed at a rate of $277 per year.
Assistant City Manager
Draft Lease Agreement for Produce Stand at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park
LEASE AGREEMENT BETWEEN
THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AND DOUGLAS HATANO
AUTHORIZING THE LEASE OF CITY PROPERTY
AT ABALONE COVE SHORELINE PARK
FOR A FRUIT, VEGETABLE AND FLOWER ROADSIDE STAND
THIS LEASE AGREEMENT ("Lease"), is made and executed as of the ___ day of ________________, 2002, by and between the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, a municipal corporation of the State of California, hereinafter called "City" and Mr. Douglas Hatano, hereinafter called "Lessee," who agree as follows:
9) There is no water, gas, sewer or telephone service to the Premises and the existing electrical service may need to be upgraded. Any new utility service or upgrade of existing service to Premises shall be provided at the Lessee’s sole cost and expense, subject to the approval of City.
d. The subject of the insurance;
e. The type of coverage provided by the insurance;
City: City of Rancho Palos Verdes
30940 Hawthorne Boulevard
Rancho Palos Verdes, California 90275
Attention: City Manager
Lessee: Mr. Douglas Hatano
c/o Ms. Mica Mullin
608 Camino de Encanto
Redondo Beach, California 90277
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have executed this Lease as of the day and year first above written.
Dated: ________________ LESSEE
Date: _________________ CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES: