|Back To Agenda||Print Page|
TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL
FROM: DIRECTOR OF RECREATION AND PARKS
DATE: APRIL 4, 2006
SUBJECT: FACILITY RENTALS AT FOUNDERS PARK
Staff Coordinator: Matt Waters, Senior Administrative Analyst
Provide direction to staff on options for managing rentals at Founders Park.
Founders Park’s tremendous views, location, and landscaping make it an attractive location for wedding ceremonies and other events. This report examines three different approaches to managing rentals at that site.
Option 1. City Staff Management Option: City staff to schedule, coordinate and manage rentals at a rate of $420 for each resident rental and $750 for each non-resident rental. The City does not currently have adequate staff to tour the facility, schedule events, assist with event planning, and oversee the actual events.
Option 2: Trump National Golf Course Management Option: Trump National has submitted a proposal, stating that if a portion of Founders Park is available for rentals, it would prefer to function as the managing entity. The City would receive $420 for each resident rental and $750 for each non-resident rental.
Option 3: No rental option: Under this option Founders Park would not be available for events. This approach would be consistent with other City passive park sites such as Eastview and Del Cerro.
In accordance with the Final Conceptual Public Amenities Plan for the Ocean Trails Project approved by the City Council on October 15, 1996 and revised in 2000, Trump National developed a 5.5-acre parcel adjacent to the Trump National Clubhouse. The City Council named the park "Founders Park" in honor of the City’s founders who led the effort to incorporate the City of Rancho Palos Verdes more than 30 years ago. The grant deed for the park was formally accepted by the City on January 17, 2006.
Staff met with Trump National staff on a number or occasions to discuss possible guidelines for managing events at Founders Park and related issues of concern such as fee structure, coordination of events, and rental procedures. Trump National has the event staff and resources on site to coordinate and manage rentals. The City does not currently have sufficient staff to effectively monitor and coordinate rentals at Founders Park. City staff and Trump National representatives also discussed the importance of protecting public access to the park and ensuring that the policies and guidelines regulating other City-owned parks would be uniformly applied to the Founders Park site. Trump National’s preference is for the site to remain passive to allow for a tranquil, undisturbed setting for park visitors and golfers.
The terms of Trump National’s Coastal Permit allows for the closure of Founders Park up to six times a year for special functions, e.g. a golf tournament or City special event. The six closures are subject to City authorization, public access to the bluff-top corridor needs to be maintained, bluff top trails and the bluff edge of Founders Park need to remain open to the public, and a minimum of 50 free public parking spaces need to be kept available.
Founders Park is available as a location for film shoots. Many of Rancho Palos Verdes’ parks are occasionally used as backdrops for student productions, commercials, and television and feature film productions. Film permit requests are processed through the City Manager’s office and coordinated with Trump National staff, following established guidelines.
This issue of Founders Park rentals was submitted to City Council on March 21, 2006 with two options for consideration: no rentals and rentals managed by Trump staff. City Council directed staff to expand the options to include management of Founders Park rentals by City staff. Council also directed staff to research rental rates at comparable, public ocean-view, bluff-top locations.
Current Rental Policies at City-Owned Facilities
The City operates and maintains five active, i.e. staffed, park sites. Public organizations, private parties, youth athletic leagues and class instructors utilize the facilities at those active park sites so staff can have oversight and can monitor rental activities. Residents and local non-profit groups receive a discounted rate on rentals. Limiting the nature and size of facility uses at park sites, particularly in outdoor areas of the parks, ensures public access and allows for casual drop-in park use. Facility rentals occur primarily at Hesse Park, Ryan Park, Ladera Linda, and at Point Vicente
Interpretive Center when it reopens. Typical indoor rentals include such activities as private parties, exercise classes, art and music lessons, senior bridge, and community-related meetings. The outdoor fields are regularly used by youth sports, camps, classes and athletic leagues.
The City also co-sponsors public events at its park sites for groups such as Las Candalistas, Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, Coast Walk, and
Shakespeare by the Sea. The Point Vicente Interpretive Center’s grounds, terrace, and multipurpose room will be available for rental events, ceremonies, and other functions.
Unstaffed parks such as Del Cerro and Eastview are not made available for rent in
order to keep them open to the public for informal, drop-in use. Current rental fees and a schedule for future fee increases were established by the Council after an extensive fee study was completed in 2005.
Table A: Comparison of Founders Park Rental Management Options
CITY STAFF MANAGEMENT OPTION
Proposed Founders Park Rental Rates
Since Founders Park and PVIC are both coastal parks with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island, staff is proposing charging the same rates at both sites. The City Council approved rates for all City fees in 2005 and again in 2006. Outside rental rates for weddings and other events at Point Vicente Interpretive Center were set at $420 per three-hour block of time for RPV residents, and $750 per three-hour block for non-residents. PVIC’s fees were based upon a survey of comparable Southern Californial coastal sites. Table B shows updated pricing and information on both public and private coastal locations. PVIC rental rates include use of chairs. Proposed rates for Founders Park, however, do not include rental of chairs or other amenities since there is no storage space at the site. Prospective renters would have the option to bring in their own supplies or rent them from an outside agency. The existing gazebo on site would be available for use. Liability insurance naming the City as an additionally insured party and a security deposit would be required. Estimated Founders Park annual revenue, based on 30-40 events a year at an average of $420 per resident rental and $750 per non-resident rental, is approximately $20,000.
Table B: Comparison of Coastal Ceremony Rental Rates
Ceremony Rental Rates at Public Coastal Locations
Limitations on Founders Park Rentals
The following limitations on the size, scope, and frequency of Founders Park rentals are suggested in order to protect public access, minimize the impact of rentals on other
park patrons, and preserve the character of the park.
Size: Number of guests limited to 300.
Area: Rentals would be restricted to the eastern half of the large grass oval directly behind the Trump National clubhouse. This half contains the existing gazebo. The rest of Founders Park would be open during rentals.
Frequency: Number of events would be limited to one event per day with a total
time limit of three hours. The three-hour limitation includes time needed for setup and cleanup.
Scope: Rentals would be limited to events that fit within the area and time limitations. The intent is to have low-impact events at the site. Moon bounces, carnival rides, amplified sound, tents, and canopies will not be permitted.
Currently, only the City’s active parks are available for rent, because full-time and part-time staff are available to schedule and facilitate park rentals at those locations. Prospective renters can tour Hesse Park , PVIC or Ladera Linda and ask questions of staff during regular park hours. Due to aesthetics and geologic considerations, no on-site staff building was planned for Founders Park. The City does not have adequate staff to effectively manage rentals at a remote location.
The demands of managing rentals at Founders Park would be best handled by a
full-time Recreation Program Supervisor. Coordinating weddings and other events is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process requiring refined customer service skills to both meet the high expectations and also reduce the anxieties of prospective brides, grooms and other renters. Staff would need to be available to meet with prospective renters on short notice to tour the site, answer phone calls, coordinate with other events, assist with advance planning and logistics, and oversee the actual events. Most prospective renters consider a number of sites for their events. Hesse Park staff, for example, respond to multiple phone inquiries and lead multiple site tours for every booked event.
The annual cost in salary and benefits for a Recreation Program Supervisor is approximately $70,000. The projected revenue of $20,000 from City-managed Founders Park rentals falls far short of covering the additional staff expense. Staff did not include this option in its March 21, 2006 staff report for that reason. If Council wants to proceed with this option, the proposed rental rates would need to be increased four times at Founders Park in order to offset the additional staff expense. Presuming a modest drop in the number of rentals due to the price hike, 30 events at $2340 per event (an average of $1680 per resident rental and $3000 per non-resident rental) would generate $70,000 in annual revenue.
The Recreation Program Supervisor’s primary responsibility would be to schedule and
coordinate rentals at Founders Park. Since no City staff would be at Founders Park, staff would need to be readily available to go to the site in order to provide a level of customer service equivalent to what Trump National staff could provide or what renters have come to expect from other City-staffed parks such as Hesse Park . They would see the process through from an initial phone or email contact, to site tours, contract completion, fee collection, event planning, and staffing during the actual event. They would coordinate with Trump staff to ensure that scheduled events would not overwhelm parking capacity or inhibit public access to the site, and that the Park is returned to its pristine state. Staff coordination of events at Founders Park would be complicated by the need to coordinate with private rentals at Trump National. While some parties would opt just to rent Founders Park, other renters would likely want to combine a Founders Park ceremony with a reception at the Trump National clubhouse.
The Recreation Program Supervisor’s scope of duties could also logically extend to weddings and rentals at Point Vicente Interpretive Center when it opens this Summer. Staff anticipates that PVIC will be an extremely popular location for weddings and other events. Numerous phone calls are fielded every week about possible wedding dates. The Recreation Program Supervisor would function as a single point of contact for City-managed coastal weddings and events, able to review and book either site with prospective clients. Additionally, they would free up existing staff resources to concentrate on docent and staff training and the significant increases in public visitation and school tours anticipated when the Interpretive opens it doors. The five-acre bluff-top site adjacent to the Terranea development is slated to become City-owned parkland when that project is completed. That location could also be an attractive potential rental location in a few years for the Recreation and Parks Department to oversee.
TRUMP MANAGEMENT RENTAL OPTION
Trump National is equipped to coordinate park rentals, answer questions of prospective renters, provide tours of the site, assist would-be renters in planning their events, and avoid conflicts with other events. Impact on City staff resources would be minimal; no additional staff person would be needed. Trump National staff are entirely responsible for Founders Park maintenance.
The proposed management plan presented by Trump National outlines event pricing
and policies for rentals of the upper portion of Founders Park. The proposed fee
structure includes the City’s portion of rental fees that mirror outdoor rental rates at the
soon-to-be-reopened Point Vicente Interpretive Center. For a three-hour rental period, RPV resident renters would pay a discounted fee of $585, of which the City would receive $420. For the same three-hour rental, non-residents would pay a total of $915, of which the City would receive $750. The remaining fees would be collected by Trump National, for their administrative, security and setup/cleanup costs.
Trump National would send a payment check, copies of rental contracts, and evidence of renters’ insurance to the City on a monthly basis, and make records available for review by the City’s auditors. The proposed contract (see attached) is for an initial term of three years. The City may cancel the agreement without penalty upon ninety days written notice to Trump National. Exact revenue can only be estimated at this time. 30-
40 events a year, calculated at $585 per event (the average of resident and non- resident rates) would generate approximately $20,000 a year.
Renting parties could also purchase optional packages from Trump National that
include chair rental, the services of an audio technician, and a ceremony coordinator; or
rent those items and services on an a la carte basis. Beyond the City’s portion of the Founders Park rental fee, the City would not receive any money for larger packages or additional amenities rented from Trump National. Renting park patrons would also have the option to bring in their own decorations, chairs, tables, and other amenities. Rentals would be limited to a maximum of 300 guests per event.
Trump National event staff would act as the primary site coordinator of Founders Park and guide patrons through the rental process. Their event coordination and site management would minimize City staff costs for security, upkeep, and maintenance and reduce the possibility of concurrent events that could potentially exceed parking capacity and impede public access to Founders Park. To ensure Trump National’s
compliance with the proposed management plan and to disseminate park rental information, contact information for the City will be posted on Trump National’s website and included in their event package literature. City staff would work closely with Trump
National staff to resolve any concerns or complaints regarding park rentals. Information about Founders Park rental procedures and policies would also be posted on the City’s website and available in hard copy at City Hall and other park sites. Trump’s proposal
contains the same limitations on usage as the City-managed option; one event per day, 300 people maximum, and limited to the eastern half of the grass oval containing the gazebo.
PASSIVE PARK OPTION
A third option for managing rentals at Founders Park is to simply not have them at all. This policy would be consistent with current policy at the City’s other passive, unstaffed parks such as Del Cerro, Vanderlip, and Eastview. Park patrons would have year-round access to the park, the public parking lot, and nearby trails for picnics, family outings, and hiking. No scheduled events would take place at the park other than the six allowable closures per year, subject to the City’s approval.
Trump National’s preference, as stated in their proposal, is for Founders Park to be a
passive site available only for casual, unscheduled uses such as picnics, family outings, and hiking. It would "ensure the serenity of the location, maintain the integrity of the game of golf, and provide a composed location for customers and residents using public walking trails and park facilities."
Residents or non-residents looking to have a wedding ceremony or other outside event at a Rancho Palos Verdes Park will have an attractive, affordable alternative available when Point Vicente Interpretive Center re-opens this Summer. Staff anticipates that PVIC will be an extremely busy site for weddings, receptions, and other events.
A number of local private coastal sites are also available for weddings and other ceremonies, including La Venta Inn, Wayfarers Chapel and Trump National, itself (see table b).
The sweeping vistas and location of Founders Park make it an appealing locale for weddings and other ceremonies. Staff requests direction from Council on the three presented options for management of rentals at Founders Park.
City Staff Managed Rental Option. Total revenue from rentals estimated at approximately $20,000 per year based on staff’s recommended rental rates of $420 per resident rental and $750 per non-resident rental. The City does not currently have adequate staff to support rentals at Founders Park. In order to effectively manage the site, a Recreation Program Supervisor would need to be hired at an estimated cost of $70,000 per year. Proposed rental rates would need to be increased 4 times in order to offset the additional staff expense.
Trump Managed Rental Option: There would be minimal additional staff expense. The City would receive $420 per resident rental and $750 per non-resident rental. Total annual revenue from rentals estimated at $20,000 per year.
Passive Founders Park Option: There would be no significant additional expense to the City and no anticipated revenue.
Director of Recreation and Parks
Trump National Proposal for Management of Rentals at Founders Park
Agreement for Management of Rentals at Founders Park
Agreement to Comply With California Labor Law Requirements
Map of proposed rental area.