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The meeting was called to order at 9:35 a.m. by Mayor Wolowicz at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center, 31501 Palos Verdes Drive West
Present: Councilman Clark, Gardiner, Stern, Mayor Pro Tem Long, and Mayor Wolowicz
Also present were City Manager Evans, Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru, City Attorney Lynch, Director of Finance/IT McLean, Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Rojas, Interim Director of Public Works Ray Holland, Deputy Director of Finance/IT Downs, Senior Administrative Analyst Waters and Recording Secretary Peterson.
City Manager Evans led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
The Agenda was unanimously approved as presented.
Michael O’Sullivan, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed his concern regarding the equity of the City’s View Restoration process. He felt that the staff report for his case to the Planning Commission contained numerous errors and he was not allowed to provide a rebuttal during the hearing. He explained that he received only modest mitigation and that staff had refused to abide by the requirements of the adopted resolution. He asked Council to address the issues of equity in the View Restoration process, as he felt the rights of tree owners were trivialized.
Councilman Stern suggested that Mr. O’Sullivan put his comments and concerns in writing for the City Council to review. He indicated that it was important to have a more clearly delineated statement so that Council could understand what Mr. O’Sullivan thought was wrong with the process and what should have happened instead.
Mayor Pro Tem Long added that Mr. O’Sullivan should, in fairness to his neighbor who requested view restoration, submit a copy of this letter to this individual, thereby allowing them an opportunity as well to respond to the concerns raised.
Councilman Gardiner clarified that a decision on Mr. O’Sullivan’s case had been made and that the purpose of writing the letter would be to suggest some improvements to the View Restoration process, rather than rehash Mr. O’Sullivan’s specific case. He suggested that the letter should also specifically address Mr. O’Sullivan’s concerns regarding the staff.
Councilman Clark noted that the City now used a mediation process to resolve these types of cases, which had been very successful.
1. Tactical Plan for 2006
City Manager Evans presented the staff report, reviewing the 2004 Tactical Plan and what had been accomplished in the prior two years. He noted that all of the goals were well on the way towards completion or had been completed. He explained that the staff report included some suggested new goals that Council may want to consider.
Councilman Stern suggested hearing the public comments before Council discussion of the goals.
Councilman Gardiner referred to the goals laid out in the staff report and suggested using those goals as a benchmark and either adding to or subtracting from that list.
Mayor Pro Tem Long stated that he felt Council should not be locked in to the goals suggested in the staff report or prior goals set by the Council. He indicated that many of the prior goals had been achieved or were at a stage where they only required monitoring, and that Council’s attention should move forward to something new. He stated that some of the goals presented in the staff report could simply be monitored, some were not as important, and some could be combined with each other. He stated that he had additional goals he would like to see added to the list. He agreed with hearing from the public before Council began its discussion.
Councilman Clark agreed that a number of the objectives had been accomplished or were on the path to being accomplished. He stated that he wanted to assess where things currently stood and move forward from there, but not be constrained by what was presented in the staff report.
Mayor Wolowicz agreed that Council should hear from the public before beginning its discussions, as the public may have input that would change Council’s current thinking. He felt that Council should begin with the suggestions given by the City Manager and go on from there.
Mayor Wolowicz called for the public speakers.
Tom Redfield, Rancho Palos Verdes, speaking as the Chairman of the Renaissance and Renewal Coalition, congratulated the City Council on the four goals chosen two years ago. He encouraged the City Council to continue working on these four goals, as there was still much work to do on them and then move into Phase 2 of those goals. He hoped that Council would discuss and consider the new issue of the Eastview schools.
Erin LaMonte, Rancho Palos Verdes, reminded Council that Rancho Palos Verdes was home to 64% of the children on the Peninsula and that 27% of the City Council’s constituents were under the age of 18. She stated that was a great need for active recreational facilities in the City. She thanked the City Council for the progress made so far, but pointed out that there had only studies and no action taken to date. She asked Council to consider the City parklands that were designated as active parks and to develop a plan construct active recreational facilities at these locations.
Councilman Clark noted that the City had completed a master parks study, but had not proceeded with a comprehensive plan to implement active recreational facilities on the identified parklands.
Councilman Gardiner agreed with Councilman Clark, but noted that the largest landholder on the Peninsula was the PVP School District, and questioned how the City could prepare a master parks plan without the participation of the School District and the other cities on the Peninsula.
Mayor Pro Tem Long agreed with his colleague’s comments, noting that cooperation with the PVP School District was vital in developing a master plan for active recreational uses.
Leah Marinkovich, Rancho Palos Verdes, speaking on behalf of Girl Scoot Troop 489 and as a resident, read a petition from the Girl Scout Troop requesting that the City designate a location and build a scout house in the City, and asked that this request be included in the Council’s discussion of its goals.
Bill Lama, Rancho Palos Verdes, explained that he served on the PVP Library District Board and, in that capacity, had come into contact with many of the young people on the Peninsula. He supported the suggestion that more active recreational facilities were needed, as well as the idea of a scout house. He explained that there were other children on the Peninsula who were not active in sports, but also need to be included in the discussions. He noted that there were many children between the ages of 11 and 16 who went to the library after school to do homework and stay to hang out for several hours afterwards. He stated that these children needed a place to go, with some supervision, where they could interact socially. He informed Council that the PVP Library Board had discussions with the Boys and Girls Club of the Harbor Area, and was now considering renting storefront space next to the Main Library in the Peninsula Center and equipping it as a pre-teen library annex. He explained that they had found it to be very important to coordinate closely with the PVP School District, and stated that it had been quite easy to communicate with the School District.
Ann Shaw, representing Helen Coffey of the League of Women’s Voters, stated that she supported the idea of providing some type of youth center in the City, particularly at the Upper Point Vicente site. She indicated that there was no local point of access to the area’s Congressman and wondered if Council was in a position to put some pressure on Congressman Rohrabacher to provide better public access for his constituents living on the Peninsula.
The Council had a brief discussion regarding gerrymandered district boundaries and the lack of state and federal representation for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Councilman Gardiner stated that no Congressman would want it to be known that they were not accessible to their constituents, and he encouraged the public to call Congressman Rohrabacher’s Orange County office to find out what was going on.
Barbara Gleghorn, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that the residents approved and applauded what Council had accomplished in the City. She indicated that residents felt they could relax with this City Council and that the Council carefully considered each problem, how best to correct them, and continued to look to the future with vision and wisdom.
The City Council discussed a procedure on how to begin the discussions and establish the next set of goals. Mayor Wolowicz asked the Council members to write out a list their top priority goals on their respective easels.
RECESS AND RECONVENE:
At 10:55 a.m. the City Council took a short recess until 11:10 a.m. at which time they reconvened.
REGULAR BUSINESS (continued):
Councilman Gardiner stated that he liked all of the goals listed in the staff report, except the goal to Institutionalize Channel 33, as he felt it would be better to wait for another year of operation before taking such a step. He indicated that he would also favor adding to the list a goals the notion of bringing the Eastview area into the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District and looking into the idea of a youth center in the City in cooperation with other governmental agencies.
Mayor Pro Tem Long stated that his top four goals were to 1) protect and rehabilitate infrastructure; 2) implement the NCCP, which included trying to acquire the Upper Filiorum property; 3) improve emergency services, which included the need for more paramedic services on the south side of the City and being prepared for any emergency that may take place at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Port, and; 4) explore bringing Eastview into the PVPUSD. He explained that the City did not have even half of the annual revenue of the average California city, and that this fact must be kept in mind when structuring the Council’s goals. He concluded that he had more goals than the City had revenue to support.
Councilman Clark listed his goals as infrastructure renewal; a new City Hall/Civic Center; open space acquisition and continuation of acquiring the open space targeted for the Portuguese Bend Nature Preserve; providing more active recreational facilities including bringing to reality the approved softball fields at Upper Hesse Park; bringing Eastview into PVPUSD; new youth and senior centers; Western Avenue revitalization, which included taking a comprehensive look at Western Avenue and visioning what it should be like in the future, including the possibility of mixed use developments; telecommunication options to increase competition within the industry and improve the range and price of services available in the community, Citywide traffic safety; on-street parking policies; and, updating the General Plan and Coastal Specific Plan. When asked by his colleagues to pick his top goals, Councilman Clark chose infrastructure renewal, a new civic center, active recreational fields, bringing Eastview into PVPUSD, and a youth and/or senior center.
Councilman Stern began by stating that it was important to realize that the goals listed by each Council member were important, but that it was also important to take into consideration the City’s funding and staffing resources. He noted that some of the goals listed were capitol intensive and some were staff intensive, and some goals would require both. He listed his top goals as storm drains/infrastructure renewal; land acquisition for open space, particularly Upper Filiorum and completion of the City’s NCCP; traffic safety; active recreation areas, including development of a Civic Center Master Plan, institutionalizing Channel 33, and developing a strategy for bringing Eastview into PVPUSD.
Mayor Wolowicz listed his top goals as storm drain repairs; assessment of law enforcement and traffic enforcement needs; increased needs for City staffing and funding, and active land usage. Other goals that he felt worthy for consideration included a Civic Center Master Plan; addressing the backlog of capital projects; purchasing Upper Filiorum; emergency preparedness; coordination with PVPUSD to resolve the Eastview issues; getting the City’s fair share of property tax revenues and Fire District funding; and, developing a City Foundation.
Mayor Pro Tem Long stated that if a new revenue source came into being, he would add the following goals to his list: 5) expanding active recreational opportunities in the City; 6) preparing a Civic Center Master Plan; and 7) updating the City’s land use plans.
Councilman Gardiner stated his comments were based on several factors, including how well defined something was, whether there was money and staff to make it happen, and whether the goal could be realistically competed in the next 12 months. He stated he was willing to accept the implementation of the Storm Drain Master Plan, as this goal was well defined. He also included acquisition of the Upper Filiorum property, controlling speeding, completing the agreements to operate and administer the NCCP preserve, and looking into including Eastview in the PVPUSD. He discussed emergency preparedness and stated that, while he thought it was a very important topic, he did not think the City had the staffing or budget to do most of the things that would be required. He suggested producing programming for Channel 33 and the video bulletin board on Channel 35 that contained suggestions as to what individuals and households could do to prepare for an emergency.
Councilman Stern stated that just because a project or suggestion was not well defined was not sufficient reason to remove it from the list of goals. He felt that if it was an important concept and a worthy goal, Council could be willing to direct staff to look into the concept and provide Council with the information needed to move forward. He reiterated that it was important to consider what items would be staff time intensive, whether there was adequate staffing to perform the necessary tasks, and identify what items would be budget intensive.
City Manager Evans summarized the discussion by stating that Council seemed to agree on the following four goals: 1) implementation of the storm drain master plan; 2) acquiring the Upper Filiorum property and completing the NCCP; 3) reducing speeding and controlling parking in residential neighborhoods, and, 4) preparing an Active Recreation Plan and a Civic Center Master Plan.
Mayor Wolowicz called for the public speakers.
Sherry Twidwell, representing the Zenith Aquatic Program (ZAP), indicated that there had been a great deal of interest in private donations for building a public aquatic center at Upper Point Vicente, but questioned how to continue raising money if an aquatic center was not going to be one of the City Council’s top priorities, and if ZAP should start looking at alternate sites.
Councilman Clark commented that this item needed to be in the Council’s top four goals, noting that it was important to discuss how to progress to the next phase of a vision for the Upper Point Vicente property that Council had already agreed to.
Sunshine, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated that the Open Space, Planning and Recreation & Parks Task Force had already completed the Master Plan for the Civic Center. She stated that, in addition to the organizations that had already come forward to partner with the City on developing the property, there were many other groups that were ready, willing, and able to negotiate with the City and to help build desired facilities at the Civic Center.
The City Council members discussed various different ideas on how to proceed with the planning of the proposed Civic Center.
Craig Mueller, Rancho Palos Verdes, felt there were many projects that had been started that should be finished. He agreed with the suggestion that emergency preparedness information should be broadcast on Channel 33. He felt that the City should consult with the PVPUSD regarding the Eastview area in order to work out a strategy that would not aggravate LAUSD, noting that this effort would have a low impact on the City’s budget. He felt that it was important to prioritize the Civic Center design process, cautioning the Council not to make the usage on the property too dense. He again emphasized the City Council should finish the work it has already started before moving on to tackle new goals.
Shane Ruffin, Associate Executive Director of the San Pedro YMCA, stated that the YMCA was still very willing to work with the City to develop one of its facilities at the Civic Center site.
Mayor Wolowicz discussed the potential need to increase City staff and funding for many of these projects.
Councilman Stern agreed, noting that Council could not continue to add new goals to the list without knowing if they could be adequately funded and staffed. He felt that the Civic Center project would be a very intensive project in terms of time, money and staff resources, and indicated that Council needed to focus on that issue.
Councilman Clark agreed with Councilman Stern and suggested the possibility of hiring another City employee to act as the project manager for the Civic Center Master Plan.
Councilman Gardiner suggested an option that would not require a significant amount of staff time would be to draft and release a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) or Request for Information (RFI) for the Civic Center Design, which could be paid for by the organizations interested in developing facilities on the site.
RECESS AND RECONVENE:
At 12:30 p.m. the City Council took a lunch break until 1:04 p.m. at which time it reconvened.
REGULAR BUSINESS (continued):
The City Council reviewed the master list of goals and added emergency preparedness and bringing Eastview into the PVPUSD to finalize the list at six items. The Council members unanimously agreed to address staffing issues during the FY06-07 Budget process.
The City Council then reviewed the milestones for each goal, with the caveat that additional milestones may be added in the future. Council unanimously agreed on the goals listed on circle pages 3 – 5 of the staff report, which were:
The City Council then discussed the Civic Center Master Plan goal, noting that the goal should be augmented to address active recreation needs.
Mayor Pro Tem Long suggested adding as a milestone to this goal to obtain private funding to construct and/or repair the fields previously designated, noting that no funding was currently committed to this effort. The other Council members agreed.
Discussing the Traffic Safety goal, Mayor Pro Tem Long suggested adding a milestone to explore a regional approach to traffic enforcement by February 21, 2006. The other City Council members agreed.
Councilman Clark suggested modifying the second traffic milestone to re-visit the City’s policies regarding the on-street parking. The other City Council members agreed.
City Manager Evans discussed the goal of improving emergency services and indicated that staff would provide a report to the City Council by April 18, 2006 discussing the current level of service provided by the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the current cost of these services and the possible need for additional services.
Mayor Pro Tem Long stated that a report should be prepared assessing the need for a Sheriff’s substation on the south side of the City, taking into account the anticipated opening of the Terranea resort hotel.
City Manager Evans stated reports on law enforcement and fire service needs could be prepared and presented to Council by April 18, 2006.
7. School District Boundary Legislation
Councilman Clark gave a brief account of his efforts to date to advance this item to the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District and the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Council discussed whether it should take the lead on this item and how best to proceed in order to garner a favorable result.
Mayor Pro Tem Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern to 1) Appoint Mayor Wolowicz and Councilman Gardiner to an ad-hoc committee to meet with members of the PVPUSD and the LAUSD to attempt to resolve the issues related to proposed legislation revising the boundaries between the two school district; 2) Authorize the Mayor to send a letter to the PVPUSD and LAUSD Boards initiating the dialog on this topic; and 3) Authorized Councilman Clark to provide the transition to the LAUSD when the as hoc committee takes over.
Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.
2. Water Quality and Storm Drain User Fee Issues
Councilman Stern moved to discuss this item at the February 7, 2006 City Council meeting, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Long. Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.
3. Upper Point Vicente Park Civic Center
City Manager Evans stated that many of the issues addressed in the staff report were addressed by the City Council or speakers. He noted that staff had recently received a proposed lease agreement from the Palos Verdes Art Center, which was distributed to Council.
After some discussion with staff, Mayor Wolowicz suggested continuing this item to April 18, 2006 City Council meeting. There was no opposition from the other members of the City Council.
4. New Business Items Proposed for 2006 City Council Agendas
City Manager Evans and Mayor Wolowicz asked that each Council member provide feedback on this item to the City Manager by February 6, 2006.
5. City Manager Succession Plan
Councilman Stern moved to continue the item to the March 7, 2006 City Council meeting, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Long. Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.
6. Formation of a Legal Advisory Committee
Councilman Gardiner moved to received and filed the staff report, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Long. Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.
8. City Council Rules of Procedure
Councilman Gardiner indicated that his understanding of Council Oral Reports was to give each City Council member the opportunity to indicate that they had met with someone for some purpose or to report their attendance at a meeting that may impact the City. He felt that there was currently a tendency for the City Council members to recite their meeting calendars, and did not think that this exercise was useful. He recommended discontinuing Council Oral Reports, rather than moving them up on the agenda, and if a Council member met with someone regarding an agenda item, the Council member could disclose that fact when the item was taken up.
Councilman Stern stated that he did not think it was a good idea to hold off providing disclosure on an item until it was agendized, as people tended to meet with City Council members well in advance of an item being placed on an agenda and that the meeting should be disclosed as soon as possible in fairness to all the parties involved.
Mayor Wolowicz felt that it was important to disclose the conversations and meetings the Council members had with others on topics that would then come before the entire Council. He also felt these disclosures helped to keep the general public informed on what meetings Council members had attended and who they had been talking to.
Councilman Stern moved to adopt Resolution No. 2006-06 thereby amending Rule 5.1 of the City Council Rules and Procedures regarding the Order of Business on the Agenda, seconded by Mayor Wolowicz. The motion passed by the following roll call vote
AYES: Clark, Stern and Mayor Wolowicz
Mayor Wolowicz declared the meeting adjourned at 2:28 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on February 7, 2006 in the Fireside Room at Hesse Park for Planning Commission interviews