Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

MARCH 7, 2006 APPLICATION TO THE ANNENBERG FOUNDATION FOR PLANNING GRANT FUNDS MARCH 7, 2006 APPLICATION TO THE ANNENBERG FOUNDATION FOR PLANNING GRANT FUNDS
MARCH 7, 2006 APPLICATION TO THE ANNENBERG FOUNDATION FOR PLANNING GRANT FUNDS



TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING, AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: MARCH 7, 2006

SUBJECT: APPLICATION TO THE ANNENBERG FOUNDATION FOR PLANNING GRANT FUNDS

RECOMMENDATION

1) Approve the grant application to the Annenberg Foundation for planning grant funds to create a “Vision Plan” for the City’s key open space areas; and 2) Authorize City Staff and the City Council’s Open Space Acquisition ad hoc sub-committee to participate in the planning process.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On December 20, 2005, the City Council authorized staff to coordinate with the PVPLC and prepare a joint RPV/PVPLC application to the Annenberg Foundation for funding of a public use planning study that would cover the NCCP Preserve and the coastal open space areas.
As envisioned, the grant proposal would include assistance for preparation of the Public Use Master Plan (PUMP), which is required by the City’s approved NCCP. In addition, the grant would cover the cost of preparing a “vision plan” that would link the NCCP Preserve with other key open space parcels as a single continuous vision of public resources. The application, which includes the proposed scope of work and public review process for creating the “vision plan”, is now being presented to the City Council for review and approval before it is formally submitted to the Annenberg Foundation.

BACKGROUND

The Annenberg Foundation, established in 1989, is the successor corporation to the Annenberg School at Radnor, Pennsylvania founded in 1958 by Walter H. Annenberg. Serving as Ambassador to the Court of St. James from 1968 to 1974, Ambassador Annenberg enjoyed a distinguished career as a publisher, broadcaster, diplomat and philanthropist. The Annenberg Foundation exists to advance the public well being through improved communication. As the principal means of achieving this goal, the Foundation encourages the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge. The Foundation's primary grant-making interests are in education, culture, the arts, and community and civic life. It provides funding for programs likely to produce beneficent change on a large scale.

In 2004, through the leadership of Wallis Annenberg, the Foundation moved into the environmental grant-making arena. The Foundation’s Blue Planet Initiative includes air and water quality and land conservation and stewardship projects. Hence, in 2005, at the direction of Wallis Annenberg, the Foundation provided a $1,067,000 challenge grant for the acquisition of the Portuguese Bend property. This grant enabled the PVPLC to succeed in meeting its commitment to provide $4 million in private funding toward the acquisition cost.

Wallis Annenberg had visited the Peninsula in the past and was familiar with the area. However, when she made a tour of the coastal parts of Rancho Palos Verdes as part of her consideration of the land preservation grant, she was impressed by the beauty of the site and the opportunities that the City has for planning this unique coastal area. Through her staff, she expressed interest in assisting the City to think of its remaining undeveloped land as one planning area, and to bring new resources to creating a master plan. This is very consistent with the "values and principles that have characterized [the Foundation's] giving over the years: fostering community partnership, demonstrating special concern for youth, and funding the best ideas from a wide range of high quality organizations" (from the Foundation's 15th Anniversary Report).

DISCUSSION

The RPV Vision Plan

The funds that are being requested are for a comprehensive planning process that would target key open space areas in the City, which would result in a plan called the RPV Vision Plan. The RPV Vision Plan will encompass the following key open space areas:

 The entire NCCP Preserve, which includes the following properties
 Shoreline Park
 The Switchbacks parcel
 The Trump habitat preserve
 The Forrestal Nature Preserve
 The Portuguese Bend parcel (former Hon property)
 The coastal Abalone Cove and adjoining RDA parcels
 The Barkentine parcel
 The Fishing Access parcel
 Portions of Lower and Upper Pt. Vicente
 The Oceanfront habitat preserve
 Agua Amarga Canyon
 Portions of the Crestridge parcel
 Lunada Canyon (PVPLC owned)

 The “developable” (non-NCCP Preserve) portion of Upper Point Vicente

 The “developable” (non-NCCP Preserve) portion of Lower Point Vicente

 The Point Vicente Lighthouse property (U.S. Government owned)

 Portions of the Terranea property (for trail connection purposes)

 Del Cerro Park

 The 25-acre Active Recreation Area (gateway to the NCCP Preserve)

 The Coastal Zone (for the purposes of establishing a coastal trail)

These properties were selected because they serve as key open space parcels and/or because they provide ideal public use opportunities. Although several of the identified properties have had some planning and community input on their uses, there has never been a public process to consider all of the properties together.

The goal will be to create a coordinated master plan for these areas, with public access, interpretive materials, recreational amenities, and other facilities to improve the experience of the coast and open space for residents of and visitors to the Peninsula. The Plan will identify program, design and linkage concepts for the entire area. In addition, the process will consider the possibility of locating an animal care and rescue center on one of the properties, a project of interest to the Annenberg Foundation.

In addition to providing program, design and linkage concepts for the project area, the planning process will also result in the creation of the Public Use Master Plan (PUMP) for the Preserve, as required by the NCCP. In accordance with the City’s approved NCCP, the PUMP must be prepared and submitted to the resource agencies within 2 years of the NCCP Implementing Agreement being signed by all parties. Preparation of the PUMP will be a major undertaking and any financial assistance to help with the preparation of the PUMP will be invaluable for completing the effort within the required time line.

The proposed Letter of Intent to receive grant funding for the proposed planning effort (attached) was prepared by City and PVPLC Staff, with the help of Melani Smith of Melendrez, a landscape architecture and urban planning firm with which the Annenberg Foundation has worked to implement many of its grants and projects. It is envisioned that

Melendrez would take the lead with respect to integrating the existing planning documents, soliciting public input and working with the City/PVPLC staff to create the RPV Vision Plan . Attached to the Letter of Intent application is the formal scope of work proposal submitted by Melendrez. As detailed in the attached Melendrez proposal and summarized in the attached flow chart, Melendrez will lead the planning process, with coordination and input provided by PVPLC and City staff and oversight provided by the City Council open space acquisition ad hoc subcommittee of Councilmen Clark and Stern. Essentially, the planning process will involve the following steps:

 Gathering Data Phase

 Public Workshop No. 1

 Creation of Plan Alternatives

 Public Workshop No. 2 and Trail Committee Workshop

 Final Alternative Refinement and PUMP Development

 Final Plan Creation and City Council Review/Adoption

Of note is that the determination of trail uses within the Preserve would be handled by a separate process, still managed by Melendrez, and would involve a committee of residents to provide input. Toward the end of the process those recommendations would be integrated into the Vision Plan. In addition, to assist with development of the PUMP, a PUMP steering committee will be formed during the Gathering Data Phase. While the selection of PUMP committee City will be done by City and PVPLC staff, the City Council will review and approve the make-up of the PUMP steering committee.

Administration

The grant would be awarded to the PVPLC, which would administer the funds as detailed in
the application. Representatives from the PVPLC will be present at the March 7th meeting to answer any questions on their role in the planning process.

FISCAL IMPACT

As described in the attached grant application, the overall planning effort is estimated to cost $175,000. This will include the cost of all the consultants (Melendrez), sub-consultants (PVNet), and PVPLC administrative overhead costs. As such, no expenditures
of City funds will result. There will be an allocation of staff time devoted to the planning effort since staff from the Planning, Recreation and Parks, and Public Works departments would likely serve on the design team to draft certain portions of the Plan. However, since the development of the PUMP is required by the NCCP, receiving this grant to fund the process would help offset the staff costs the City would have had to incur to fulfill its NCCP obligations.

Respectfully submitted,

Joel Rojas
Director of Planning, Building,
and Code Enforcement

Reviewed by:

Les Evans
City Manager

Attachments:

Letter of Intent
Melendrez proposal
Flow chart
Aerial Map of NCCP Preserve Properties