Rancho Palos Verdes City Council




DATE: MARCH 7, 2006


Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, AICP, Associate Planner/Equestrian Committee Staff Liaison


Provide Staff with direction on the status of the Equestrian Committee.


On March 1, 2005, the City Council determined to continue the Equestrian Committee for a period of one additional year, and to re-examine the need for the Committee at the end of that period. Inasmuch as the one-year period has expired, Staff has agendized this item for the City Council’s consideration. Based on the Council’s previous action on March 1, 2005, Staff is seeking the City Council’s direction on the status of the Equestrian Committee.


On February 3, 2004, as a result of lack of interest in the recruitment for new Equestrian Committee Members, the City Council agendized a discussion item to determine the future status of the Equestrian Committee. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Council adopted a motion stating:

“[that] the Equestrian Committee continue for one more year; that it meet as often as its members and Staff determine it is appropriate, up to once a month; that the meetings not exceed the amount to operate as is reflected in the present budget for this Committee; that the formation of this Committee will be re-examined in one year to determine if this body is needed; that Staff will solicit more applications to bring the membership up to 9 members, who will serve one year on this Committee; that the City Council will reserve judgment on the size of the Committee until such time as all applicants have been interviewed, interviews/appointments to be done as expeditiously as possible; that in addition to the Committee’s existing charter, that the Committee would not be given the authority to make final decisions on any matter; that the Committee will provide advice on land use issues to the Planning Commission; that it will provide advice on an equestrian center and other equestrian-related issues to the Open Space Task Force; that it will provide advice to the City Council and Staff on horse care and issues concerning the handling of manure; that it will provide advice to the City Council and Planning Commission on trails, the preservation of trails, and that it will attempt to coordinate with other Peninsula cities on the preservation of trails; and that the City Council will look at the progress and reports relating to the issues set forth in its charter and re-evaluate the Committee one year from now.”

On March 1, 2005, the City Council considered the accomplishments of the Equestrian Committee during the period since February 1, 2004, and authorized the Committee to continue for another year, subject to further City Council re-authorization. The purpose of tonight’s item is to request direction regarding such re-authorization.


Equestrian Committee meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month. In 2005, the Equestrian Committee held eleven (11) meetings (the December meeting was canceled due to lack of quorum). During these eleven (11) meetings, the Equestrian Committee accomplished the following tasks:

 Provided input to Staff on several trail issues, including:
o Private development encroaching into trails;
o Safety issues with the trail on Palos Verdes Drive East;
o The reestablishment of the Sol Vista Trail;
o Maintenance and repairs to the Martingale and Cayuse trails; and,
o A proposal by the Sunnyside Ridge homeowners’ association for neighborhood entry improvements along Palos Verdes Drive East.
 Worked with the Public Works Department to develop a plan and budget for trail improvements on Upper Palos Verdes Drive East to include a crossing in the vicinity of Headland Drive.
 Monitored adoption of the NCCP in order to facilitate the design of the future equestrian park, including preparations for the review of the Public Use Master Plan (PUMP).
 Continued to participate in the City’s Forrestal Steering Committee.
 In an effort to preserve equestrian uses, the Equestrian Committee established a subcommittee to develop strategies to preserve areas for horse keeping on properties in the City’s ‘Q’ Districts. The subcommittee developed a set of recommendations to the City Council, which were presented on February 7, 2006. The City Council subsequently endorsed the preparation of a code amendment to implement these recommendations.
 In response to a presentation by the Los Angeles County Equine Response Team, the Equestrian Committee established a subcommittee to develop an Equine Evacuation Pre-Plan for presentation to the City’s Emergency Preparedness Committee. The Emergency Preparedness Committee subsequently adopted the plan.
 Reviewed the Equestrian Committee’s charter for recommendation to the City Council.
 Reviewed and commented upon the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Point View project, focusing on ensuring that any future residents lots be large enough to accommodate horse keeping, and that connectivity to and implementation of the Conceptual Trails Plan be included as a part of the project.
 Began consideration of the second extension of the Conditional Large Domestic Animal Permit for the Pony Club.

The Equestrian Committee has also identified several goals and objectives for 2006, including:

 Continuing to develop a plan for a City equestrian park.
 Working with Staff and the Planning Commission on the code amendment to preserve the integrity of the ‘Q’ districts.
 Reviewing the final EIR for the Point View project and any subsequent development entitlements.
 Encouraging the implementation of the Palos Verdes Loop Trail.
 Working with the City and the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy on the PUMP.

As noted in last year’s report, Staff continues to take steps to reduce the City’s cost of maintaining the Equestrian Committee. These steps include the elimination of a recording secretary and having the Staff liaison prepare meeting Minutes. Additionally, Staff continues to mail agenda packets rather than having Public Works Staff deliver them. These actions have effectively eliminated the need for overtime to support the Equestrian Committee, with exception to overtime required for attendance at the monthly meeting (approximately 3½ hours per month). Nevertheless, including overtime, Staff spends approximately eight (8) hours per month to support the Equestrian Committee.

It should be noted, if the City Council determines the best course of action is to disband the Equestrian Committee, Staff recommends that a code amendment be prepared to address the transfer of the Committee’s permit-granting authority to the Planning Commission, and remove references to the Equestrian Committee from the Development Code.


If the City Council’s action on this matter were to disband the Committee then it would have a slight a positive fiscal impact upon the City. Disbanding the Committee will save approximately eight hours of Staff time per month, which includes roughly 3½ hours of Staff overtime.


The alternatives available for the City Council’s consideration include:

1. Extend the role and function of the Equestrian Committee for one (1) additional year, subject to further City Council extension at the end of that period.
2. Extend the role and function of the Equestrian Committee for two (2) additional years, subject to further City Council extension at the end of that period.
3. Extend the role and function of the Equestrian Committee for an indefinite period, subject to further City Council review only if deemed necessary by the City Council.
4. Disband the Equestrian Committee and transfer its role and function to the Planning Commission.

Respectfully submitted:
Joel Rojas, AICP, Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement

Reviewed by:
Les Evans, City Manager


City Council Minutes of March 1, 2005 (excerpt)