TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL
FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT
DATE: JULY 19, 2005
SUBJECT: FORRESTAL MANAGEMENT PLAN - (APPLICANT: CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES)
Staff Coordinator: Ara Michael Mihranian, AICP, Senior Planner
Staff recommends that the City Council:
On Saturday, December 4, 2004 the City Council held a special meeting to review and consider the Forrestal Steering Committee’s recommended amendments to the Forrestal Management Plan. The amendments to the Management Plan and other related matters were presented to the Council as five action items under Staff’s
recommendation. However, due to the number of public speakers who attended the meeting to speak on the trail routes and uses proposed for the Preserve, the Council was only able to review the Trails Network Plan. At the December 4, 2004, the City Council accepted an amended version of the Trails Network Plan and continued the remaining items to a later meeting.
On March 15, 2005, the City Council continued its discussion on the outstanding items remaining from the December 4th meeting and after considering public testimony, the City Council adopted amendments to the Forrestal Management Plan. Included in the adoption of the Management Plan was the final Trails Network Plan that incorporated the changes made by the Council at the December 4th meeting. At the March 15th meeting, a concern was raised by a member of the public that there are discrepancies between the final Trails Network Plan presented to the Council on March 15, 2005 and the Council motion regarding the Trails Network Plan described in the December 4, 2004 adopted minutes. In response, the Council indicated that the Trails Network Plan presented to them accurately reflects their December 4th motion and if the minutes do not capture the intent and spirit of the motion, the Council directed Staff to bring back the minutes from the December 4, 2004 meeting with the appropriate corrections. As such, the Council is being asked this evening to affirm the Trails Network Plan adopted on March 15, 2005 and amend the December 4th minutes so that they accurately reflect the Council motion. The City Council is also being asked to approve minor modifications to the alignment of two trail routes identified on the Trails Network Plan.
In accordance to the terms of the Operating Agreement between the City and the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (PVPLC), the PVPLC is required to submit Annual Reports on the management of the Forrestal property for Council approval. Therefore, the Council is also being asked to accept the PVPLC’s 2004-2005 Annual Report.
Final Trails Network Plan
The amended Trails Network Plan was presented to the City Council for adoption at its March 15th meeting along with the Management Plan. It was reported to the Council that evening that the Trails Network Plan was based on Staff’s interpretation of the Council’s December 4th action as documented by Staff’s review of the December 4th meeting video. Staff also reported to the Council that for implementation purposes, the beginning and ending points of certain trails routes were slightly modified to reflect the Council’s action, but in no event were the trail routes or uses re-designated. The City Council adopted the final Trails Network Plan on March 15, 2005. The approved Plan is attached to this Staff Report.
Recently. Mr. Bob Mucha, a resident in the Ladera Linda neighborhood, submitted comments regarding what he describes as inaccuracies and unintended changes to the Trails Network Plan. Essentially, his concerns are that the adopted Trails Network Plan does not contain all of the Council authorized trail changes and contains unauthorized trail changes. His specific concerns are listed as bullet point items below, and are followed by Staff’s response:
The final Trails Network Plan presented to the City Council on March 15th was based on the Council’s action at its December 4th meeting as documented in the meeting video. Modifications to the Trails Network Plan were made by Staff to implement the intent of the Council’s December 4th action. The modifications made by Staff were minor adjustments to the trail configurations and numbers to make the actual trails consistent with ground conditions. Furthermore, the modifications were meant to clarify the permissible users per trail segment so that one trail segment would not have different user restrictions. The clarifications made by Staff do not change the intent of the Council’s action, but rather allow the City to effectively implement the trail uses dictated by the Council.
The modification made by Staff that prompted Mr. Mucha’s concerns involves ending Trail A13 at the point where the Council agreed that bicycles should be prohibited and designating the segment where bicycles are prohibited as part of A14. In this manner, you have a clear distinction between the multiple use trail (A13) and the bicycle prohibited trail (A14) as opposed to keeping one trail (A13) with two different types of uses. The portion of the A13 trail segment designated as the A14 is what is referred to as "the upper portion of Trail A13" in the attached December 4, 2004 Council minutes. A similar change was made to Trail L3 due to the Council’s decision which resulted in two different types of trail uses on one trail segment. In order to prevent confusion as to where one trail use begins and another ends, Staff shortened the length of Trail L3, where pedestrian use is permitted, at View Point No. 4 and renumbered the remaining portion of the trail segment as L4 where pedestrian and equestrian uses are permitted. This modification is consistent with the Council’s motion that the upper portion of Trail L3 be designated for pedestrian and equestrian uses.
Additionally, the Council’s decision on December 4th designated the back half of the Forrestal Trail (L5) as multiple use (pedestrian, equestrian and bicycle). Therefore, for equestrians to use this trail segment does not require City approvals. However, as a separate issue, the parking of trailers along the back half of the Forrestal Trail (L5) does require City approvals. This is a policy adopted by the Council that is to be implemented by Staff through the posting of signs and other informational materials. It should be noted that the adopted motion, as reflected in the minutes from the December 4th meeting, does not accurately reflect this action. However, Staff has corrected the minutes to clarify the motion. The corrected minutes are attached to this Staff Report for consideration by the Council this evening.
The Trails Network Plan originally presented to the Council on December 4th proposed to allow pedestrian and bicycle uses on Trail L11. However, it was noted that because of the safety concerns and the current condition of this trail segment, that the trail should remain closed until further trail improvements are completed. The Council accepted L11 as a trail segment with the caveat that it remain closed until repairs are completed. The Council also felt that bicycle uses along this trail segment posed a safety concern and the trail does not connect to an adjoining trail at the upper point that permits bicycle use. Therefore, the Council decided to remove bicycle use from this trail segment. In doing so, the Council also agreed to allow equestrian use, in addition to pedestrian use, on this trail segment because the trail connects to an adjoining trail that permits both pedestrian and equestrian uses.
As previously stated, the minor modifications to the Trails Network Plan, as described above, were presented and eventually adopted by the City Council on March 15th with the adoption of the Management Plan.
December 4, 2004 Minutes
At the March 15, 2005 City Council meeting, it was brought to the Council’s attention that the adopted motion, as reflected in the December 4th minutes, does not correspond to the Trails Network Plan adopted by the City Council. In order to clarify any discrepancies between the minutes and the Trails Network Plan, the Council directed Staff to bring back corrected minutes for consideration at a future meeting. The Council also mentioned that the adopted motion in the December 4th minutes should be corrected to reflect the adopted March 15th Trails Network Plan.
As such, Staff has reviewed the December 4th minutes in relation to the adopted Trails Network Plan and the December 4th meeting video and believes that the December 4th minutes need to be corrected to reflect the Council’s intended motion. Attached to this Staff Report is a redlined version of the December 4th minutes for the Council’s review with Staff’s suggested changes. The corrections made to the minutes are limited to the adopted motion as it relates to the adopted Trails Network Plan. The underlined words represent additional text and the strike-out words represents deleted text. Staff has attached the December 4th minutes in their entirety for informational purposes. If the Council finds the corrected minutes acceptable, staff recommends adopting the corrected December 4th minutes so that the record accurately reflects the intended motion.
Minor Modifications to the Trails Network Plan
After the Council’s adoption of the Forrestal Management Plan and the Trails Network Plan on March 15, 2005, Staff discovered that two trail segments were incorrectly plotted on the Plan. In order to address this matter, Staff has modified the Trails Network Plan to accurately plot the location of two trail segments. The following discussion describes the proposed changes to these two trail segments.
Crystal Trail (L11)
The Council adopted Trails Network Plan designates Trail L11 for Pedestrian and Equestrian uses, provided that the drainage swale improvements could be designed to accommodate a trail for the combined uses. However, until the improvements are completed, this trail route is to remain closed. Staff has been working with engineering consultants to devise a plan that would repair the drainage swales so that they are operable again with the least amount of impact to any surrounding sensitive habitat. Furthermore, Staff has been working with the consulting engineer so that the trail route can be designed within the general location of the drainage swales to limit disturbance to the site.
Since the March 15th meeting, Staff has come to learn that the location of this trail on the Trails Network Plan does not accurately reflect the planned trail route. Therefore, Staff proposes an administrative clean-up item to the Trails Network Plan so that Trail L11 is accurately plotted in the location of the planned trail route. As depicted on the attached Trails Network Plan dated July 19, 2005, the location of Trail L11 has been slightly reconfigured to follow the existing topography.
It should be noted that until extensive repairs can be made to the slopes with minimal impacts to the surrounding environment, Trail L11 (Crystal Trail) is to remain closed, as indicated on the Trails Network Plan, until further notice. Nonetheless, a trail can be constructed through the general area adjacent to the swales at the same time that work for the swale project is being done. Any future improvements in this area will undergo the appropriate environmental review in accordance to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
Cristo Que Viento Trail (A16)
On July 6, 2005 the City was informed by a Rolling Hills resident (77 Crest Road) that the Trails Network Plan adopted by the City Council plots the Christo Que Viento Trail (A16) across private property in the City of Rolling Hills. The letter requests that the Trails Network Plan be corrected so that the trail is not shown as traversing private property nor entering the City of Rolling Hills. After researching this matter, it appears that Trail A16 was inadvertently plotted on private property in the City of Rolling Hills which was not the intent of this trail route. Therefore, Staff proposes a minor clean-up modification to the Trails Network Plan so that the route of Trail A16 is shown as being entirely within the City’s Forrestal Nature Preserve and linking to the common open space area for the Palos Verdes Estates residential tract at the top of Crest Road in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. This correction is reflected in the attached Trails Network Plan dated July 19, 2005.
In should be noted that a letter was sent to the resident informing them of the pending correction to the Trails Network Plan (see attachment). Additionally, the City and the PVPLC have temporarily removed the Trails Network Plan from their respective websites until the Plan is corrected.
Staff recommends that the Council review and accept the minor modifications made to the Trails Network Plan. If accepted, the modified Trails Network Plan will replace the Plan currently included in the Management Plan, as noted in the following sections:
The Operating Agreement between the City and the PVPLC requires the PVPLC to submit an Annual Report to the City Council on routine inspections of the Preserve. The Annual Report is to cover inspections of all facilities, improvement projects, habitat restoration projects, and other activities identified in the Management Agreement. In accordance with the Management Agreement, attached is the Annual Report for the reporting period of May 2004 and April 2005 for review by the City Council. No significant issues or concerns are identified in the submitted Annual Report. The document contains a summary of the trail improvement and habitat restoration projects completed to date, inspection reports, and a photo documentation of the Preserve. Staff recommends that the City Council receive and file the submitted Annual Report.
A public notice announcing the date and time of the public meeting was published in the Peninsula News and posted at City Hall, Ladera Linda, Hesse Park, and the entry points to the Forrestal Nature Preserve. Additionally, a public notice was sent to interested parties, list-serve subscribers, and the Ladera Linda HOA, Sea View HOA, and Mediterrania HOA presidents.
Joel Rojas, AICP
Director of Planning, Building
and Code Enforcement
ATTACHMENTS (to view the attachments see City Staff)