Rancho Palos Verdes City Council


NOVEMBER 15, 2005

The meeting was called to order at 7:20 p.m. by Mayor Clark at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes.

Roll call was answered as follows:

PRESENT: Stern, Wolowicz, Long, Gardiner and Mayor Clark

Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Carolynn Petru; City Attorney Carol Lynch; Director of Finance Dennis McLean; Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas; Interim Director of Public Works Ray Holland; Director of Recreation and Parks Ron Rosenfeld; Associate Planner Eduardo Schonborn and Recreation Services Manager Holly Starr.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru.


Dr. James E. Lyons, Sr., President of CSU Dominguez Hills, noted they are extremely proud of all their alumni, saying that he was very honored to recognize Mayor Clark as an alumnus and to commend him on his appointment to the California Coastal Commission.

Mayor Clark indicated he received his MBA from CSU Dominguez Hills, said that the university does a tremendous job educating a number of local California residents as well as out of state and international students. He thanked Dr. Lyons, noting he was very moved by the honor.


Mayor Clark announced Lisa Dickerson as the winner of Waste Management’s pilot program survey raffle, indicated that she would receive a year of free trash and recycling service worth approximately $250 for completing the survey and participating in the pilot program testing automated trash and recycling.

Mayor Clark invited audience members to participate in the evening’s Did You Know presentation featuring a question and answer session on the history of the City’s Mayors and Mayor pro tems.

Mayor Clark congratulated Councilman Gardiner on his reelection to City Council and commended the City’s residents for being a very engaged community with a record number participating in the recent City election.

Councilman Gardiner in turn congratulated Mayor Clark for his reelection.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz extended congratulations to both his colleagues, commenting he was heartened to see the election process unfold.


Mayor Clark announced Elaine Chen and Cathryn Lewis as the City’s recyclers of the month. He encouraged everyone to participate in the City’s recycling program.


Councilman Gardiner suggested polling the audience in order to reorganize the agenda and provide those in attendance the opportunity of speaking early in the proceedings.

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz, to place Item 14, Proposed Exhibit Funding for Point Vicente Interpretive Center; and, Item 17, Consideration and Adoption of an Urgency Ordinance Establishing a Moratorium on the Issuance of Certain Permits and Processing of Planning Approvals in a portion of the Landslide Moratorium Area immediately prior to the Public Hearing.

Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.


Mitzi Cress, Rancho Palos Verdes, advised Council that she and her family have lived at 2125 MacArthur Street for the past 23 years, noting that they are currently residing at the Residents Inn in Torrance as the result of a California Water Service water line breaking on the hillside behind their home in the early morning hours of October 18, 2005. She indicated that the water ran unabated for six hours, saying this is the second occurrence of such an event, resulting in extensive damage to their home and property. She reported that there have been additional breaks in the same line over the past ten years; that no one answered the California Water Service 24-hour emergency phone number; that responding local firemen did not have a copy of the water line schematic for the area; that the California Water Service employees who initially responded were unfamiliar with the lines in the area; that the CWS employees who came later in the day to perform cleanup activities stated they knew where to shut the line off but were not contacted because the company did not want to pay their overtime; and, that the lines are encased in asbestos creating concerns about environmental safeguards during their repair.

Ms. Cress reported they are unable to return to their home until the line is either replaced or rerouted and noted that their insurance carrier has indicated that their home is at risk for being uninsurable. She urged Council to ensure that each local fire station has schematics for all water line shut-off points in the City; that California Water Service has a working 24-hour contact number that is well advertised and easily accessible in an emergency; that emergency response teams familiar with the territory be sent out immediately; that appropriate environmental safeguards be utilized when repairs are made to asbestos encased lines; and, that CWS quickly replace or reroute the water line running adjacent to and behind their home.

Hobart Cress, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated that a picture is worth a thousand words and ran a videotape capturing the incident described by his wife.

Sam Sidhu, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated that he lives next door to the Cress family on Trudie Avenue, saying that his family was also awakened in the early morning hours to find their entire backyard filled with water. He asked if the Planning Department has studied the situation to determine what might be done to prevent a recurrence. He indicated that he is particularly concerned because a sewage line crosses through the same area.


City Manager Evans advised Council that a representative from California Water Service was present to address the broken water main incident on MacArthur Street.

Terry Tamble, District Manager for California Water Service Company, advised Council that CWS has served the Palos Verdes Peninsula for approximately 35 years, saying that, although this particular family has experienced a water line break twice, it is a very unusual event. He explained that the water main in question travels through a one foot-wide easement between the Cress’s garage and the wall of their neighbor; that it is a high-pressure line that supplies water for fire protection purposes; and, that it was installed in 1955 by PV Water Company. He indicated that the December 2002 leak was not caused by a malfunction of the line but rather by roots from a tree planted in the easement that eventually broke the line. He speculated that the pipe’s coming out of position due to ground movement caused this recent leak.

Mr. Tamble explained that their emergency response system has been working quite well until this incident. He reported that they checked their phone logs for October 18th and found no record of any after-hours call received and believe that the Cress family may have called the Palos Verdes field office where after-hours calls are supposed to roll over to a 24-hour emergency response line at their East Los Angeles district office. He explained that they recently upgraded their phone system, saying that to their knowledge this was the first instance where the call-forwarding feature did not work properly and they are diligently working to rectify the problem and to ensure that all calls are properly forwarded after 5:00 p.m.

Mr. Tamble reported they have performed fire flow tests in the area and cannot eliminate this particular line until a bypass line is installed; that they have started designing another six-inch main running from Trudie through Trotwood and over into MacArthur; and, once that installation is complete, they will be able to eliminate the line running through this easement.

Addressing the difficulties completing the shut down on the night of the incident, Mr. Tamble indicated that the local fire department contacted the East Los Angeles number where the supervisor has access to on-call field personnel to respond to emergencies; that the first responders received the call around 4:00 a.m. and arrived on scene at approximately 5:00 a.m. but were unable to make the shut down because it was dark and raining, which prevented them from locating the valves inside the easement.

Mayor Clark inquired what was being done to remedy the damage caused to the Cress’ home.

Mr. Tamble indicated that CWS is working to address the claim filed by the Cress family and is attempting to get them back into their home as soon as possible, noting that the contractor working on the project has had varying degrees of success as far as satisfying the Cress family and making certain their needs are taken care of. He indicated that the environmental report prepared by their structural engineer is unsatisfactory to the Cress family so they are currently working to resolve that issue.

Councilman Long asked if CWS has considered including the East Los Angeles phone number on its bills or substituting that number for the one that is not forwarded the emergency calls consistently.

Mr. Tamble explained the problem with including that number is that local customers would contact East L.A. and those calls would have to be transferred back to the local office during regular business hours. He indicated they want people to call 257-1400 for emergencies, saying the key is for CWS to make certain that number is working properly.

Councilman Long inquired about the life expectancy of the line installed in 1955 by PV Water Company.

Mr. Tamble explained the pipelines are Transite or AC pipes which are made of asbestos cement with a concrete coating. He said that this type of pipe is excellent for conveying water and was used by many utilities from the 50’s through the 70’s, adding that, because it is non metallic and does not rust or deteriorate, it can last for quite some time. He reported there are approximately 348 miles of pipeline in the Palos Verdes Peninsula system and over 250 miles of that is AC pipe. He indicated that the primary causes of leaks are pipelines slipping out of place or tree roots cracking them, which can also happen with cast iron main lines. He noted that the industry now generally uses ductile iron and PVC pipe since AC pipes are no longer manufactured due to the hazards of asbestos.

Councilman Stern, noting that the firemen who first responded to the incident had no knowledge of the shut-off valve locations, inquired if a more timely resolution to the problem might have been possible if the local fire stations were provided schematics showing shut-off valve locations. He indicated that local fire stations are likely to be the first to respond in the event of some significant disruption such as an earthquake so it makes sense for them to have that type of information.

Mr. Tamble responded that over the years the fire stations have been given maps of the system and, since this incident, supervisors’ phone numbers have also been provided in the event there is another problem with the emergency response line.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz inquired if California Water Service is regulated by the PUC and whether it is required to pass some type of annual emergency preparedness inspection.

Mr. Tamble indicated that CWS falls under the auspices of the Department of Health Services, saying that they do perform routine inspections and CWS does have an emergency response plan although it is geared towards larger scale disasters and emergencies.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz remarked that Ms. Cress made some very well thought out and reasonable points. He remarked that the Peninsula has some very unique geologic and geographic issues which require it to have a greater degree of self-sufficiency in an emergency and that, given the coordination necessary in an emergency, it is critical that the people responding are not only well-trained but familiar with the area. He suggested that CWS take that into consideration in addition to the points made by Ms. Cress and send a representative back to address the Council on these issues.

Councilman Gardiner stated that in the interest of time he would refrain from going over the management lessons that could be learned from this incident, noting there are obviously many things California Water Service’s quality control people need to examine carefully. He remarked that it is a well-known fact that most bad things occur on weekends and between 1:00 and 4:00 in the morning. He agreed that the points made by Ms. Cress were very useful, saying that there are things that can be done cooperatively to spotlight emergency preparedness and help address some of these issues. He suggested that CWS coordinate with the City’s Emergency Preparedness Committee to compile some information appropriate to disaster planning and emergency preparedness that could be placed on the Channel 33 video bulletin board or perhaps could be featured on an episode of the RPV City Talk program.


Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru advised the public that items previously discussed and continued to a future meeting are available on the City’s website at www.palosverdes.com/rpv.



Councilman Stern requested that Item No. 5, Southern California Gas Company Franchise Renewal - Resolution of Intention, be removed from the Consent Calendar.

Councilman Gardiner requested that Item 10, Update to the Pavement Management System Report, be removed for questions.

Mayor Clark requested that Item 10 and Item 11, Grant Funds From the California State Coastal Conservancy for the Purchase of Real Property, be removed from the Consent Calendar.

Motion to Waive Full Reading

Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at this meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all Council members after the reading of the title.

Approval of Minutes

Adopted the Minutes of May 17, 2005 and May 31, 2005.

Repair of the Tarapaca Storm Drain

Reviewed and reconfirmed by a four/fifths (4/5) vote Council’s previous action on December 21, 2004 to authorize staff to conduct an informal bid process to repair the Tarapaca Storm Drain.

Interim Improvements to Barkentine/Seacove and Other Miscellaneous Drainage Improvements

Reviewed and reconfirmed by a four/fifths (4/5) vote the Council’s previous action on October 18, 2005 to authorize staff to conduct an informal bid process to construct interim improvements to Barkentine/Sea Cove and other miscellaneous drainage improvements.

Southern California Gas Company Franchise Renewal – Resolution of Intention

Removed and discussed immediately following approval of the Consent Calendar.

Claim Against the City by Mercury Casualty Company for Grant Aheran

Rejected the claim and directed staff to notify the claimant.

Claim Against the City by Arthur and Janetlou Connor

Rejected the claim and directed staff to notify the claimant.

Claim Against the City by Century National Insurance for Anza Rents Tents

Rejected the claim and directed staff to notify the claimant.

Parkland Dedication Fees for Final Parcel Map No. 25896 [Applicant: Wertheimer]

Approved the acceptance of parkland dedication (Quimby) fees for Final Parcel Map No. 25896, pursuant to the City’s parkland dedication fee formula in the amount of $9,146.66.

Update to the Pavement Management System Report

Removed and discussed immediately following approval of the Consent Calendar.

Grant Funds From the California State Coastal Conservancy for the Purchase of Real Property

Removed and discussed immediately following approval of the Consent Calendar.

Register of Demands


Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve the amended Consent Calendar with Items 5, 10, and 11 removed.

The motion to approve the Consent Calendar as amended carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Wolowicz, Long, Gardiner, Stern and Mayor Clark
NOES: None


Southern California Gas Company Franchise Renewal – Resolution of Intention

Councilman Stern queried staff’s rationale for suggesting a 25-year term.

City Attorney Lynch indicated the Gas Company originally requested an unlimited franchise term and finally agreed to scale it down to 25 years. She explained that the Gas Company indicated it would like the franchise agreement to be as long as possible based on continuity of service, it infrastructure already being in place, and the fact the company has had a good working relationship with the City.

Councilman Stern, noting that the notice indicates a franchise period of 25 years from and after the date or until voluntarily surrendered, indicated that he assumed that to mean the lesser of the two and directed staff to include that clarification.

Councilman Gardiner stated that it would be helpful to know the best practices utilized in similar communities with like circumstances.

City Attorney Lynch explained that very few communities have franchise agreements with a specified term, saying that most have an indefinite term; therefore not many have negotiated renewal agreements with the Gas Company.

Councilman Stern inquired if those “indefinite” terms are terminable on 180 days’ notice.

City Attorney Lynch said that they are basically terminable on provisions of breach, noting that the Gas Company essentially has very favorable franchise agreements in most communities.


With motion passed without objection.

Update to the Pavement Management System Report

Mayor Clark, noting that it would have been helpful to have a summary matrix comparing the two quotes in order to gain insight into staff’s recommendation, inquired if there was a substantial difference in price between the two received.

Interim Director Holland advised that staff’s primary considerations were the scope of work proposed, the qualifications of the consultants, and their experience performing this type of work, saying that Willdan’s proposal far exceeded that of Harris & Associates in each of those areas. He reported that staff has been dissatisfied with some of the work performed by Harris & Associates in the past and advised that Willdan’s proposed system has been employed for a number of years and has proved very valuable to the cities that are using it.

Mayor Clark asked whether there was a substantial difference in price.

Interim Director Holland answered that the costs did not differ substantially.

Councilman Gardiner questioned the rationale of requesting a proposal from an organization if the City was unhappy with their previous performance and noted that he, too, would appreciate seeing a complete array of information when more than a single bidder is involved.

Mayor Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to 1) Authorize staff to negotiate a professional services contract to update the Pavement Management System Report with Willdan for a not to exceed amount of $40,000; and, 2) Authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute professional services contract documents with Willdan.

Grant Funds From the California State Coastal Conservancy for the Purchase of Real Property

Mayor Clark stated that this item marks a very significant milestone in the City’s collaborative efforts with the PVP Land Conservancy and the entire community to acquire open space property in Portuguese Bend, saying that the $1.55 million grant from the Coastal Conservancy is an example of the tremendous effort put forth by the City’s representatives, staff, and the PVPLC working in concert with the State agency. He extended kudos to everyone involved in this momentous occasion.

Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz, to 1) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-121, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING THE APPLICATION AND ASSURANCES FOR $1.55 MILLION IN GRANT FUNDS FROM THE CALIFORNIA STATE COASTAL CONSERVANCY FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE “PORTUGUESE BEND” AND “AGUA AMARGA CANYON” PROPERTIES; 2) Authorize execution of the SCC grant agreement, including approval of all terms and conditions; and, 3) Approve an Irrevocable Offer to Dedicate, agreeing to dedicate said land for public use.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Stern, Gardiner, Wolowicz, Long and Mayor Clark
NOES: None

# # # # # #


Proposed Exhibit Funding for Point Vicente Interpretive Center

Director Rosenfeld and Recreation Services Manager Starr provided the staff report with the assistance of a slide show presentation.

Mayor Clark proclaimed that PVIC is not only a City asset but also a Peninsula-wide asset. He suggested approaching Rancho Palos Verdes’ sister cities as well as seeking sponsorship from the business community as part of the City’s outreach to raise funds for underwriting the museum exhibits, saying that this facility will be a wonderful gathering place and visitors’ destination, and he predicts a positive response to the fundraising efforts.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz prefaced his remarks by indicating that while he supports the project he is also acutely aware of the financial issues confronting the City. He requested clarification as to whether the $519,000 is being requested to accelerate the process is actually a loan that will be repaid through fund-raising efforts.

Director Rosenfeld indicated that programs are already in place to raise the $500,000 necessary to offset the cost of the exhibits, and that enabling the project to move forward now will actually save money in the long run.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz inquired if there is any prior precedent in which the City loaned money to a specific project from the General fund.

City Manager Evans responded that a no interest loan of approximately $1 million was provided to the Portuguese Bend Club for construction of a sewer system in this neighborhood.

Director McLean indicated that staff is recommending a budget appropriation from the General fund of between $500,000 and $600,000 with the expectation of that money will be reimbursed through private contributions over the next several years.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz expressed concern regarding the funding commitment, noting that there seems to be some misunderstanding by the PVIC docents as far as their involvement in the fund-raising activities. He stated he is prepared to personally assist in the fund-raising process but wants to make absolutely certain prior to proceeding that the City’s expenditure will be met by a well thought out and organized fund-raising campaign. He indicated that he also is not convinced that a six-year repayment period is appropriate, saying he would prefer a 12- to 18-month commitment to reimburse City funds.

Councilman Gardiner recalled that approximately $2.4 million in unanticipated revenue recently came into the General fund.

Director McLean explained that the audited financial statements for the year ending June 30th 2005 have not been finalized but that staff is very confident the results will reflect an increase in General fund reserves of about $2.8 million over what was expected.

Councilman Gardiner declared that it makes no sense for the City to put up such a magnificent building and then have nothing in it in the way of exhibits. He stated that he would favor providing $302,864 to get things started with the other necessary funding to be raised by the docents.

Recreation Services Manager Starr responded to the Mayor Pro Tem’s fund-raising concerns by advising Council that the docents had already been instrumental in procuring a $25,000 donation. She explained the rationale behind the projected six-year repayment schedule is that the docent organization is committed to raise an additional $40,000 with the remainder to be raised by City staff; that instead of bringing in special grant writers or fund-raisers, staff would be taking on the task with existing personnel; and, that the process could be accelerated if an individual was dedicated solely to fund-raising.

Councilman Long expressed gratitude to the Long Family Foundation for their generous contribution, noting that there is no relation. He wondered if there might be some mechanism to make the City’s contribution more directly helpful to the fund-raising effort such as a matching program. He observed that there is a favorable variance in the budget and that this is a one-time expenditure, noting that prior Council’s have committed $564,000 from the General fund to this project and that dedicating the entire $519,000 being requested now would equate to about $1.4 million or 20 percent of a $6.5 million project.

Councilman Long indicated he found Councilman Gardiner’s comment regarding opening with an empty building most persuasive, saying that it seems highly illogical to spend $6 million to construct a building and then, even though the City realizes an unanticipated surplus, withhold $519,000 and leave devoid of exhibits. He opined that this decision would likely cost more in the long run by depriving the City of revenue from visitors who otherwise would come more quickly, saying that he does not envision the facility being fully utilized without installation of the displays.

Councilman Gardiner agreed, saying that it is a magnificent facility with an adjacent kitchen and patio area that would lend itself beautifully to weddings and other special occasions. He noted that these types of events would provide an opportunity for revenue that he has not seen included as part of the equation.

Director Rosenfeld indicated that staff has taken that into consideration, noting that plans are in place to rent the facility for special events to provide additional revenue.

Mayor Clark reiterated that reaching out to the private and business sectors could also dramatically accelerate contributions.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz disagreed with staff’s comment regarding the need to dedicate a staff member to fund-raising, saying that the President of the docents is currently following up on his suggestion to contact some businesses in the area to help accelerate the process. He agreed with his colleagues about the dollar amounts involved, noting that his major concern is making certain that steps are not overlooked in the zeal to occupy the building.

Vic Quirarte, President of Los Serenos de Point Vicente, advised Council that the docents have always worked with City staff to raise funds and they will continue to do so, saying that, while that is not their particular area of expertise, there is such expertise within the community, with that guidance and the Mayor Pro Tem’s assistance, every effort will be made to raise the necessary funds. He opined that with some intensive fund-raising the pay back period would likely be less than six years, noting that this is his third and final year as President of Los Serenos, and that he is committed to taking on the fund-raising effort and moving this project forward.

Councilman Gardiner voiced support for the idea of creating some type of matching fund.

Mr. Quirarte remarked that he has spoken to some of the individuals responsible for the fund-raising efforts for the Portuguese Bend land acquisition, saying that they have been very forthcoming with advice and ideas that might be applied to this situation, including a matching program.

Councilman Long stated he would like to create some type of incentives for donating to the museum. He suggested the possibility of the City’s committing $519,000 and, rather than reimbursing the City with the money raised, those funds would be matched dollar for dollar by the City to provide a jump start on the Phase 2 exhibits and, when that phase is fully funded, additional donations could be used to pay back the money used for Phase 1. He speculated that no one wants to wait six years to begin Phase 2, saying that the distraction of paying back the money used for Phase 1 would likely delay getting Phase 2 started.

Mayor Clark, noting that the staff report indicates that the exhibits for Phase 2 are still conceptual at this time, inquired if there is any estimate of the prospective cost.

Recreation Services Manager Starr responded that there is a conceptual design but no mechanical drawings in part because staff has been unsure of the funding source.

Director Rosenfeld stated that Councilman Long’s suggestion to provide matching funds to move the project forward to the next phase is a good idea and would certainly act as an incentive for further donations.

Councilman Stern wholeheartedly agreed that this is a magnificent building, saying that it seems obvious to make sure it can be utilized quickly which essentially means getting the exhibits in place. He inquired if staff is concerned that the projected $200,000 shortfall in the proposed contract with Taylor Studios for Priorities 1, 2, and 3 of Phase 1 will create a gap in the contract or will necessitate the contract being cut back. He stated that he would like to get things up and running, noting that, while creating incentives is a great idea, he would rather not do anything which could prevent things from moving forward now.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz stated that Councilman Stern’s point is quite valid, noting that Priorities 2 and 3 have a shortfall of $216,000 regardless of how the numbers are manipulated. He stated that his understanding is these particular exhibits are not necessary to open the facility and get things started.

Director Rosenfeld concurred.

Councilman Gardiner suggested that, since Priorities 1, 2, and 3 appear to be mutually exclusive projects, the City could fund Priority 1 with the $500,000 and any additional money raised could be used to address Priority 2. He noted that, while he is uncertain of the going rate, 20 events at $5,000 each would provide $100,000 in revenue so it seems logical to put money forward now to enhance the facility’s draw for events. He noted that the question is how much money is necessary to make it attractive for hosting events because the rental revenue in combination with the fund-raising could provide the resources for Priorities 2 and 3. He inquired what the anticipated time frame is to create the exhibits in Priority 1.

Bill Longfellow, Taylor Studios, advised Council that they are committed to a 180-day turnaround for the Priority 1 exhibits.

Councilman Gardiner asked if the price would change if the contract were not funded in its entirety.

Mr. Longfellow indicated that their bids are typically good for 30 days but, because of market fluctuations, cost of materials, shipping, and remobilization, the price would likely increase 10 to 15 percent if they had to split the Priority 1 into three separate contracts.

Mayor Clark asked where some of the exhibits they have designed are located.

Mr. Longfellow answered that their work has been displayed all over the country as well as internationally, noting that they currently have projects in Guatemala and Bermuda and in major museums throughout the U.S., including the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans.

Mayor Clark queried if Taylor Studios had done any work for aquatic museums.

Mr. Longfellow indicated that one of their most recent projects is located at a National Estuarine Reserve and Research site in St. Augustine, Florida. He reported that, although they were invited to bid on approximately 200 projects this year, they only bid on about 140 which they considered to be high-profile works that would further their reputation. He stated that they consider PVIC to be a distinctive project because of its location and subject matter, noting that they aggressively pursued this contract and have done everything possible to be competitive with pricing because they believe the project will be a proverbial feather in their cap.

Joan Barry, Los Serenos de Point Vicente, stated that the docents are extremely excited and confident that the facility will be a huge public draw once it has opened. She reported that members of the community want to contribute; that they want their names on some of the exhibits, the plaques and the bricks; and that many companies on the Peninsula would be very pleased to have their names on some of these things as well. She advised Council that she and her husband have been docents for twelve years and have concentrated their energies on the Interpretive Center the majority of that time, noting that her husband was one of a group who restored an authentic whaling boat and they are most anxious to get installed at the museum. She maintained that everyone is going to be as enthusiastic as they are, once they have seen this gorgeous facility.

Councilman Long asserted that advancing the money with the expectation of being repaid will slow the process of getting the next step underway, saying that the City could instead jump start things by funding Priority 1, setting aside the existing $194,000, then using that to fund the Priorities 2 and 3 exhibits. He reiterated that his inclination would be to fund the $519,000 and apply the additional money raised to Phase 2.

Councilman Gardiner noted he would happily support front funding the project with $519,000.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz voiced support for Councilman Gardiner’s original idea of funding the $302,000 to get things started, saying that this approach would set a fund-raising goal of roughly $220,000 for Priorities 2 and 3. He stated that he does not believe that would create a delay because of the nature of installing the Priority 1 exhibits. He noted that once the fund-raising is underway, the City will be in a better position to determine whether the remaining $216,000, or some portion thereof, is actually necessary, saying that he would prefer to revisit that issue at some later point.

Councilman Stern stated that he would like to make certain the project moves forward and voiced support for staff’s proposal, saying that it means the project will be fully funded, that it will be under one contract, and that it will be completed in an orderly manner. He expressed concern that spending too much time considering the best funding mechanism will create a contract with either a gap in it or one that is cut into pieces, increasing the cost 10 to 15 percent. He opined that, since there is roughly a $200,000 shortfall, it seems imprudent to increase the price if it is anticipated it will be funded anyway and the question is merely whether the money comes in directly or whether it is fronted for some period of time. He indicated that he would support Council’s authorizing funding for the full amount and signing the contract now rather than risk the possibility of creating problems getting things done in an organized and cost-effective manner later on.

Mayor Clark stated that several of the ideas presented were very intriguing and indicated that he is supportive of the City taking the lead to help launch this project financially. He maintained that, since Priority 1 sets the tone for opening the museum and would build momentum for the facility, he would favor Councilman Gardiner’s proposal of funding $302,000 for the Priority 1 exhibits and then instituting a dollar-for-dollar matching program for Priorities 2 and 3 which would provide the impetus to move forward with the essential core exhibits and fuel continued funding raising efforts.

Councilman Long moved that Council authorize staff to enter into a contract with Taylor Studios in the amount of $713,279; to use $194,000 of available existing funds; and, that additional contributions be used to repay the City’s contribution up to one half of the $713,279, at which point all additional contributions be devoted to future exhibit phases. He indicated that, if fund-raising proceeds as he anticipates, this would achieve the goals of partially repaying the City’s contribution, not unduly delaying Phases 2 and 3, providing a good jump start to move things forward, and it would guarantee the current contract amount.

The motion failed for lack of a second.

Councilman Gardiner moved to authorize that the City contribute $519,279 combined with the $194,000 of existing funding; that any necessary revenues in excess of that amount would be the responsibility of the docent group to raise through various funding mechanisms; and, that after paying for direct costs any revenues from events held at the facility are to be returned to the General fund.

Councilman Long seconded the motion for discussion.

Councilman Stern inquired how the revenue generated from renting the facility would be handled.

City Manager Evans responded that it would be included as revenue in the General fund budget.

Mayor Clark asked what the implications to the General fund budget would be.

City Manager Evans indicated that this would be a one-time expenditure of approximately $519,000 from the General fund reserve, reducing it from an estimated $13 million to $12.5 million.

Mayor Clark inquired if that $13 million includes the unanticipated $2.8 million revenue.

Director McLean responded that the $13 million included that favorable variance.

Councilman Long remarked that the $13 million does not include the unfavorable emergency storm drain repairs which developed over the past few weeks.

Director McLean stated that Councilman Long is correct, saying that those emergency repairs amount to approximately $600,000.

Councilman Stern expressed enthusiasm about the facility, saying that, although it is gorgeous, he would prefer not to reduce the General fund reserve by a half a million dollars. He reminded his colleagues that, as originally contemplated, the money would be returned to the City over a period of time, saying that, while he is willing to front the money to get all three priority exhibits in Phase 1 installed, it is quite a sum of money and he would like to see at least some of it repaid.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz stated that his inclination would be for the City to commit $302,000; that fund-raising for the additional $216,000 or so be undertaken over the next 12 to 18 months; and, if there is some foundering in the fund-raising effort, the City could come back and commit the additional funds. He advised that in his previous experience with fund-raising he has noticed that it is difficult to raise money after funds have already been dedicated from another source, saying that a commitment from the City would provide a target for fund-raising without inhibiting it.

Councilman Gardiner noted he was happy with the $302,000 commitment before Councilman Stern’s reminder that piecing together the contract would raise the costs. He indicated that he is still persuaded that the $519,000 commitment is appropriate as a contracting vehicle to avoid the additional cost, saying that, if one considers it as a ten-year investment, it is actually only $50,000 a year which is not that much.

Councilman Stern concurred with Councilman Gardiner’s statements.

Mayor Clark commented that Councilman Stern also reminded everyone that the staff’s original request was for advanced funds, which would be paid back. He noted that it appears Council unanimously approves making a contribution to initiate the installation of exhibits, saying that his recommendation would be to contribute $302,000 which would pay for the core exhibits needed to get the museum up and running and would also provide the momentum for additional fund-raising.

Councilman Long spoke in favor of Councilman Gardiner’s pending motion, saying that he, too, favored the initial concept of reimbursing the City’s contribution but recognized that this would split the contract up in a way that will increase the cost significantly. He indicated that his own motion was crafted to ensure that the City would be paid back as well as guarantee the entire contract, saying that, if that is not acceptable to his colleagues, his inclination would be to support Councilman Gardiner’s motion rather than committing only $302,000 and leaving the remaining exhibits hanging in the balance.

Councilman Stern moved to substitute the pending motion with Councilman Long’s earlier one.

Councilman Long seconded the motion.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz requested an explanation of Councilman Long’s motion.

Mayor Clark stated that he felt an explanation was already provided, adding that he would not support the motion. He indicated that the commitment to fund the Priority 1 Phase 1exhibits would be a generous contribution to the museum and would provide a tremendous initial opening of the facility. He reminded his colleagues of the many pressing obligations on the City’s General fund, saying that, as enthusiastic as he is about PVIC, the discussion has gone far beyond what the docents and staff originally proposed.

Councilman Stern reiterated the importance of entering into the contract in its entirety, saying that he now agrees with Councilman Long because his suggestion enables the City to regain what will amount to half its contribution back, that it guarantees the Phase 1 exhibit Priorities 1, 2, and 3 will be completed, and it eliminates the inefficiencies and additional costs which would be incurred if the exhibits were built separately.

Mayor Clark called the substitute motion.

The motion failed on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Stern, Long
NOES: Gardiner, Wolowicz, Mayor Clark

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Long to 1) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-122, AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2005-53 THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FY 05-06, AUTHORIZING AN INCREASE IN THE AMOUNT OF $713,279 FOR FABRICATION/INSTALLATION OF EXHIBITS AT THE POINT VICENTE INTERPRETIVE CENTER BY TAYLOR STUDIOS, INC. AND CITY STAFF AND AN INCREASE IN REVENUE OF $194,000 IN DONATIONS FOR EXHIBITS; 2) Award a Contract to Taylor Studios, Inc. in the amount of $562,279 for Phase 1 exhibit fabrication/installation at Point Vicente Interpretive Center; and, 3) Award a contract to CBM Consulting, Inc. in the amount of $70,000 for structural plan review/construction management services for Point Vicente Interpretive Center Phase 1 exhibit fabrication/ installation project.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Gardiner, Long, Stern, Mayor Clark
NOES: Wolowicz

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz noted it pained him to vote against the motion, saying that he would, however, dedicate himself to assist with the fund-raising effort.

Mayor Clark reiterated his preference would be to fund the $302,000 but, since the majority of his colleagues had spoken, he voted in favor of the motion. He congratulated everyone involved saying that it is now time to move ahead as quickly as possible in anticipation of the Interpretive Center’s grand opening, which is expected to take place close to Whale of a Day in March 2006.

Councilman Gardiner remarked that PVIC is most certainly going to be a world-class facility and its location near the Trump National golf course and the planned destination resort at Long Point will create a magnificent stretch of roadway in the City.

Mayor Clark mentioned that, in light of the Mayor Pro Tem’s offer of advocacy and fund-raising expertise, he would move to designate Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz as the City’s representative to present this opportunity to Rancho Palos Verdes’ sister cities and invite them to contribute to the museum.

The motion was seconded by Councilman Gardiner and passed without objection.

Recess and Reconvene: Mayor Clark recessed the meeting at 9:45 p.m. and reconvened the meeting at 9:55 p.m.

Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to address Item No. 16, Storm Drain Rehabilitation Project Update; PV Drive South, Crest/Crestmont, Hawthorne/Silver Arrow next. Without objection, Mayor Clark called for this item.

Storm Drain Rehabilitation Project Update; PV Drive South, Crest/Crestmont, Hawthorne/Silver Arrow

Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to waive the staff report.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz inquired if the FEMA funds received for the Western Avenue sinkhole repair had been subtracted from the City’s total expenditures.

Director McLean explained that the City was reimbursed in excess of $600,000 by FEMA, which was currently recorded as revenue in the CIP fund, saying that staff has yet to reconcile the exact details but the intent is to then transfer those funds from the CIP back to the General fund.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz, noting that the Palos Verdes Bay Club had agreed to contribute up to 25 percent of the cost of the storm drain repair in their neighborhood if a maximum cost was established, inquired what the total was anticipated to be.

Director McLean explained that the project was budgeted at $200,000, which would be financed with a $140,000 transfer from the General fund and a maximum contribution of up to $60,000 from the Palos Verdes Bay Club.

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to 1) Find that an emergency exists which will not permit the delay resulting from a competitive solicitation for bids and that the actions recommended below are necessary to respond to the emergency; 2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-123, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2005-53, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005-06, FOR A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT TO THE CITY’S WATER QUALITY FLOOD PROTECTION PROGRAM; 3) Approve Change Order Number 2 to the Construction Contract with Sancon Technologies, Inc. in the amount of $459,700, for the Rancho Palos Verdes Storm Drain Rehabilitation Project; 4) Authorize extending the contract completion date to January 14, 2006; and, 5) Authorize the Director of Public Works to execute the approved change order for the emergency repairs.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Stern, Long, Gardiner, Wolowicz, Mayor Clark
NOES: None

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to bring Item 15, Disaster Communications Facility Proposal, forward and to waive the staff report. Without objection, Mayor Clark called for this item.

Disaster Communications Facility Proposal

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to 1) Approve Plan “B” to establish a new facility for disaster communication operations on City Hall grounds and to connect this facility with a modular office proposed by Palos Verdes on the Net; and, 2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-124, AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2005-53, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FY 05-06, TO INCREASE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM BUDGET IN THE AMOUNT OF $52,338.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Gardiner, Long, Wolowicz, Stern, Clark
NOES: None

Consideration and Adoption of an Urgency Ordinance and Introduction of a Non-urgency Ordinance Revoking Section 15.20.040 K. of the Municipal Code Related to Construction of Certain Structures in the Portion of the Landslide Moratorium Area, as Outlined in Blue on the Landslide Moratorium Map on File in the City’s Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Department, Which Includes Portions of Dauntless Drive, Exultant Drive, Admirable Drive and Palos Verdes Drive South, and Revoking Certain Permits Issued Pursuant to Section 15.20.040 K

Director Rojas presented the staff report.

Mayor Clark requested that Jim Lancaster, City Geologist, Zeiser Kling Consultants, Inc., provide a summary of the situation.

Mr. Lancaster reported that a number of issues with the utilities and the street were discovered in May 2005 and brought to his attention. He stated that the movement is indicative of landslide movement and is very similar to what has previously been seen in the area; that initial movement was noticed in approximately 1979 when it was determined there was a landslide in Klondike Canyon adjacent to Portuguese Bend and that the movement was the result of ground water accumulation and drag from the Portuguese Bend landslide moving just west of the area. He advised Council that physical movement of two to four inches could be observed in the cracked areas within the street, noting that the GPS monitors indicate about one inch of land movement in the last nine months. He reported that this particular landslide is estimated to have moved approximately two-and-a-half feet; that the majority of that movement occurred prior to 1979; and, that current indications show some movement in May and/or June of 2005, which probably happened very quickly and then subsided.

Mr. Lancaster indicated that there is no apparent enlargement of cracks in the area, noting that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the movement occurred since the GPS readings are accumulated over a lengthy period of time. He indicated that the movement does not appear to be catastrophic but rather a very slow movement similar to past movement on the Klondike Canyon landslide. He explained that historically this landslide is translational, moving as a mass unit, unlike the movement in Portuguese Bend which experienced movements in excess of ten feet a year in certain areas, two to three feet in others, and less than a foot in still others. He noted that the Klondike Canyon landslide has acted more like a unit, which does not experience the stresses seen elsewhere in the landslide moratorium area.

Mr. Lancaster reported that based on earlier analysis the toe of the Klondike Canyon slide appears to be locked in place approximately 100 feet below ground near the beach, and that it has a factor of safety well above 1.5 as analyzed from top to bottom. He clarified the 1.5 factor of safety was given because the movement appears to be a consequence of the Portuguese Bend slide which moves rapidly and actually drags and pulls this area along, causing it to move in small jumps rather than in one continuous movement. He indicated that there is no evidence of other movement or cracking except this one isolated area, opining that it does not appear to be the type of landslide which would quickly destroy homes or come down the hill in a catastrophic manner.

Councilman Gardiner thanked Director Rojas and the Mr. Lancaster for accompanying him on a site visit to the area, saying that it was very helpful to see the area firsthand and to hear some of the neighbors’ comments. He requested Mr. Lancaster’s input on whether there is any relationship between this occurrence and the large-scale construction of a residence on the seaward side of PV Drive South, saying that some individuals have expressed concern about a causal relationship.

Mr. Lancaster stated that he saw no relationship between the two, noting that the movement appears to be the result of increased groundwater caused by heavy rains combined with increased movement within the adjacent Portuguese Bend landslide.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz stated that knowing exactly how much movement has occurred in the area over the last six to eight months would be very beneficial and inquired if staff was aware of any structural damage to the interior or exterior walls of any residences during the period from May 2005 to the present.

Mr. Lancaster indicated that he was not aware of any such damage to residential structures, noting that there had been damage to sidewalks, the street, water lines, and possibly a sewer line.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz inquired if there is any mechanism to inspect the storm and sewer drains in the area to ensure that any necessary remedial action be performed in a timely manner.

Mr. Lancaster replied that video devices can be sent through the lines to inspect them, saying that, while that is not always definitive, it can determine the current condition of the lines and indicate any additional cracking or movement should it occur.

Councilman Long requested clarification that the movement has apparently slowed or possibly stopped and that there is no risk of catastrophic damage to homes or infrastructure there beyond what it was prior to this latest occurrence.

Mr. Lancaster reported that the movement has definitely slowed down, adding that he would conclude there is no risk of catastrophic damage.

Councilman Long, commenting that there is geologic risk everywhere in the City, inquired if Mr. Lancaster believed the level of risk in Klondike Canyon is different from the risk in Portuguese Bend.

Mr. Lancaster indicated that there is a much higher risk in the Portuguese Bend area.

Councilman Long, noting Mr. Lancaster was not available for staff to consult when preparing their report, inquired if they had any change in their recommendation in light of the information just provided.

Director Rojas indicated that, after discussing the matter at length with Mr. Lancaster, staff believes a temporary suspension of permits rather than a permanent revocation would be appropriate to allow Mr. Lancaster time to examine the data and recheck the reports.

Councilman Stern, noting that many e-mails were received on this item, indicated that one of the emails suggested that the cracking might be the result of a water main and sewer line which broke in May 2005 rather than the landslide causing the breakage to those lines. He asked if Mr. Lancaster was familiar with this situation and could determine which event actually occurred first.

Matt Rogers, Zeiser Kling Consultants, Inc., remarked that the proverbial chicken or the egg question is raised any time landslide movement occurs and broken utilities are involved. He indicated that they did not examine where the breaks were and how they happened but, given the prior history of movement at this location, it is more likely the landslide movement caused the break rather than the other way around. He explained other evidence supporting this conclusion is the angle of the breaks on the street being across from one another, saying that would be an odd shape if the movement were caused by a water line break.

Councilman Gardiner, noting that there seems to be a hypothesis that what is happening is a repeat of some prior events, indicated that it would be prudent to take some time to collect more data and, if the data confirms that hypothesis, the proposed temporary moratorium on the issuance of building permits could be rescinded.

------------- Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated that he has lived at this address in the Blue Zone for 25 years and that he has experienced firsthand the panic sales which resulted when the moratorium went into effect over 20 years ago. He noted that there are myriad issues involved, saying that the most important one to him is that the Blue Zone in Sea View is not part of the Red Zone that includes the Portuguese Bend homes, which have obviously experienced substantial movement. He reported that he is unaware of any houses in the Blue Zone that have sustained anything other than normal settlement cracks with the exception of the two mentioned on Dauntless Drive that have breaks in the sidewalk and street in front of these homes. He emphasized that the two fissure lines in the street were there when he moved into the tract, saying that he is not arguing that there has been no land movement, but that it is not as if those crevices suddenly opened up.

-------------commented that a fair ordinance requires permit applications in the Blue Zone undergo heightened scrutiny when securing remodeling permits, saying that he recently secured unanimous approval for his project from the Planning Commission after working with them for nearly four years. He reported that his deadline to begin construction is next month, noting that he coincidentally received a letter from the Planning Department just that day, indicating that his current approvals will become null and void, which means his family will lose the $50,000 in fees spent on the architect, geologists, soils engineers, surveying fees, structural engineering, and City application and review fees. He implored the Council not to act precipitously, saying that his rights are not protected if a delay period is implemented and the result would be catastrophic for him. He contended that property values throughout Sea View would diminish overnight if an urgency ordinance is enacted and urged Council to treat the Blue Zone as it has in the past and to consider protecting residents in the area who have invested substantial time, effort, and money into their home improvement projects.

Councilman Stern inquired whether applications could also be frozen in the event Council decides to impose a temporary moratorium on the issuance of building permits.

City Attorney Lynch confirmed that this could be done.

Mauricio Arregoces, 4380 Dauntless Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes, explained that his house is specifically referenced in the staff report on this item, saying that the geologist who performed the analysis and provided the report from which comments were quoted was present to speak to the matter. He indicated that he moved into his residence in 2003 and has observed no land movement; that he has not noticed any cracks in his home or any others in the area; and, that, while he believes the event which occurred sometime in May 2005 is related to the aforementioned water pipe breaking, it is impossible to determine which actually happened first without further analysis.

Mr. Arregoces reported that the crack referred to in the McCoy’s driveway is documented to have been there for at least 20 years yet the residence has suffered no other damage, adding that it seems logical there would be visible signs of distress elsewhere if a mass movement were occurring. He suggested that there is insufficient evidence at this point to pass an ordinance which will affect an entire community, saying that hard data and GPS analysis would be far more appropriate than anecdotal evidence and simple observations. Regarding the proposed suspension period, he stated that as a homeowner he is very concerned about investing a large sum of money into a property whose value will ultimately be diminished, noting that, while his inclination is to support the temporary moratorium, he is concerned it could become a permanent measure.

David Hamilton, introduced himself as the geotechnical engineer hired by Mr. Arregoces to prepare the report for proposed additions to his residence. He said that he was very surprised to discover that a sentence from his report was used as justification for the staff’s recommendation. He advised that he was never called upon to study the landslide and that he did not perform any study of the landslide nor write anything in his report or response letters that can or should be used in making any decision about landslide movement in the area. He indicated that his report encompassed two test pits in the proposed location of the additions which were used to collect information for soils and other analyses pertinent to determining load bearing capacities and other engineering data; that he provided his report solely as a service to Mr. Arregoces; that he did a thorough review of the history of the residence, including reviewing all previous geology reports; and, that he investigated the standard of practice for engineering in the area. He reported that he found four or five reports over the years specifically relating to Mr. Arregoces’ residence and brought to the property owner’s attention their conclusions and his own that continued movement could have a negative impact on the residence and any proposed addition.

Mr. Hamilton noted that his report was approved by the City but that one comment came back regarding landslide potential accompanied by a request to furnish a geological map depicting the location of the site in relation to the Klondike Canyon landslide and the location of any noticeable distress in the street, curbs, et cetera in the vicinity. He explained that he called the City to request clarification and was told that some cracks had been discovered up the street and he was asked to comment on their severity and potential impact on the subject site. He stated that he was very troubled by this request, saying his preference is to do things scientifically rather than merely commenting on cracks, but on October 15th he went to the site to observe any noticeable distress in the curb or sidewalk and, from these observations, found distinct patterns of cracking which he described, including their size; that the patterns were in approximately the same location and orientation as the Klondike Canyon landslide boundary described in 1999; and, that “cracks like this are indicative of landslide movement.” He advised that the quote was taken from his description although it was not based on any scientific analysis or evaluation of the landslide, saying that detailed methods including ground water monitoring, optical surveys, surface extension meters and inclinometers are needed in order to make an accurate assessment. He noted that he saw markers typically used for these types of surveys in place in the area.

Mr. Hamilton reported that the Klondike Canyon landslide extends over a large area and is part of a very complex system, saying that it should be noted that no unusual cracking patterns were observed in the neighborhood where the landslide boundary is mapped across Admirable Drive to the west. He indicated that a comprehensive evaluation of the landslide is outside the scope of his work, reiterating that his report was not a landslide study but merely a report provided to his client for additions to his residence and cannot be used by other parties for any other reason. He stated that engineers and geologists do extensive evaluations and intrusive investigations and those are the types of studies he would recommend before making a judgment about landslide movement in the area.

Gene Landen, Lodi, California, indicated that he received a permit to build on October 18, 2005 for the vacant lot located at 4369 Dauntless Drive and has proceeded to obtain bids and sign contracts for construction. He stated that his lot is divided into two pieces; one within the Klondike Canyon landslide and the other outside the landslide; that his house will be built on piles reinforced down to bedrock and will not be connected in any way to the slide itself; and, that the only issue confronting him as a result of the landslide was placement of the utility lines. He stated that his project has been reviewed 15 times over the past 13 years and he is very concerned about the impact the staff’s recommendation might have on his project. He reported that he plans to install a concrete wall to help alleviate any potential slide above his house as well as dewatering the slide plane so that his project will actually assist in stopping further movement of the Klondike Canyon landslide.

Councilman Gardiner asked if a suspension period of two to three months would cause him financial damage.

Mr. Landen answered in the affirmative. He stated that he has ordered special steel for the pilings and signed contracts to begin the grading, saying that it would cost him in excess of $10,000 per week to delay the project.

Keith Tucker, Huntington Beach, advised that he has worked as Mr. Landen’s geotechnical engineer over the last 13 years, preparing all 15 of his geology reports. He reported that Perry Ehling looked at this area; that trenches have been dug; and, that the landslide fault was located and traced across the street from Mr. Landen’s lot; so everyone should agree that none of this is new information. He indicated that movement has been monitored at this site for approximately 50 years, noting that in the 34 years from 1956 to 1990, two to four inches of movement were detected or one-sixteenth to one-eighth inch per year averaged over that entire period. He explained that in the mid ‘90’s two monuments were placed for GPS satellite monitoring, saying that the movement measured over the ensuing ten-year period was less than three-sixteenths to one-quarter inch a year with some of those years being the wettest in recorded history.

Mr. Tucker stated that the City approved the soils report for the project in March 2004 but 15 months later a letter was sent to the property owner requesting that the cracks in the street be reviewed again. He indicated that they positioned several new monuments all the way up the street in response to the City’s request and detected no movement from June through October 2004, saying that the last GPS shots of the area were taken in February of 2005. He reiterated that the data accumulated over ten-and-a-half years indicates there has been less than a quarter inch of movement and that no movement has been detected in the last four months.

Councilman Gardiner, noting that it appears the data the City needs has already been collected, asked if using that information and the readings from the instrumentation currently in place would essentially be the same as the City’s imposing a suspension period for three months to collect additional information.

Mr. Lancaster indicated that information could certainly be used at Council’s direction.

Donald Norton, 4040 Admirable Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes, opined that there is insufficient data to support staff’s recommendation, which is a very extreme measure that will affect all of Seaview to some degree and significantly impact those with permits approved or close to being approved. He urged Council to exercise caution, saying that the financial impacts to the area are considerable. He suggested that the City procure some of the required data rather than making it the responsibility of individual property owners, saying that having individual homeowners hire geologists and engineers to map entire neighborhoods appears to be more of a City obligation. He recommended that more data be collected to determine why damage appears to be concentrated in one particular area, saying that it would seem to be more indicative of a landslide if damage had occurred farther down in the neighborhood as well. He further noted that the curb breaks which have been attributed to land movement actually occur about every 15 to 20 feet on each street in the neighborhood, saying that is the result of expansive clay soil not land movement.

Nikki Noushkam, 4354 Exultant Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated that she recently purchased her home, which is in the moratorium area. She thanked staff for their attentiveness to what is happening there, saying that, as much as she appreciates her neighbors being able to build and beautify their homes, she would prefer to err on the side of caution. She spoke in favor of using the information that has already been collected or gathering new information in a way that will not place unnecessary financial burdens on her neighbors, saying that acquiring better data about the geology in the vicinity seems to be the prudent course of action.

Donna Lauck, Prim Hamilton, and Lowell Thomas, Rancho Palos Verdes, each asked to donate their time to Tim Burrell.

Lenee Bilski, 42501 PV Drive South, Rancho Palos Verdes, noting that the City Council agenda which included this urgency item came out on November 11th, the first day of the three-day Veterans’ Day weekend, stated that she found that not only distressing but quite unreasonable since the cracks have been there for many years and the City has known about them for many months. She agreed that, if new land movement has occurred recently, it is important to determine the cause, saying that, while the staff report points to last winter’s heavy rainfall, the City has experienced many heavy rainfalls in the past without triggering movement in this neighborhood; that rainfall statistics indicate extreme amounts of 25 to 33 inches of annual rain in ’78, ’80, ’83, ’93, ’95, and ’98; and, that above average amounts of 16 to 24 inches in ’86, ’92, 2001, and 2003. She reminded Council that the residents living within the Klondike Canyon Landslide Abatement District, including those in the Blue Zone, are assessed extra fees on their tax bills to remove underground water accumulation and other landslide abatement measures, saying that it is therefore unreasonable to restrict construction if rain is the cause of the problem.

Ms. Bilski remarked that it would be better to have stricter standards if construction itself might be the cause, saying that one variable between this year and the previous heavy rainfall years might be large construction projects such as the one at 2 Yacht Harbor Drive. She reminded Council that this project involved 40,000 cubic yards of earth movement, the placement of fill both inside and outside the moratorium area, heavy vibrations for many months as tons of soil were compacted, the weight of tons of rock piled high on the landslide area, and huge quantities of cement poured for building foundations. She noted that this activity accounts for a considerable amount of weight being placed on the toe of this landslide area. She urged Council to direct that a more thorough investigation be conducted and to gather additional data before making such an important decision.

Frank Matura, 4394 Dauntless Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes, reported that he was scheduled for a hearing before the Planning Commission on November 22, 2005. He queried what would happen to his project if it is approved and Council authorizes this temporary suspension, wondering if he, too, would be subject to it and would then be able to resume his project once it had been lifted.

City Attorney Lynch responded that Mr. Matura’s project has an application pending and is subject to the State Permit Streamlining Act, saying that her recommendation to the Planning Commission would be to deny his project without prejudice if Council decides to implement the suspension period.

Councilman Long inquired why his hearing could not go forward to allow the Planning Commission to decide the merits of his project and then delay issuance of the permit.

City Attorney Lynch explained that the project would be deemed automatically approved under the Permit Streamlining Act, saying that the process is either suspended or not and, if it is suspended for this one application, her recommendation would be to deny the project without prejudice. She explained that doing so would eliminate any time period precluding him from re-filing his application, saying that Council could direct that he would not be required to pay any additional fees to re-file.

Tim Burrell, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated that the other members of the board of directors of the Seaview Homeowners’ Association asked him to speak on this matter because he lived in the community when the original moratorium was created. He stated that his most important request to Council is to maintain the area in the Blue Zone. He explained that the Klondike Canyon Landslide is very different from the Portuguese Bend Landslide; that it is transitional in nature; that it moves laterally and on occasion uphill, rather than down towards the ocean; that it does not create all the rubble seen in the Portuguese Bend area but instead is actually one large mass with a 1.5 factor of safety; that those characteristics are not present in the other landslide; and that is why this particular area has been distinguished from the other landslide area and why it should remain so.

Mr. Burrell stated that he respects this Council for not wanting to act precipitously and mistakenly enact an ordinance that will have a tremendous impact on the affected property owners, saying that it appears data is available from a number of measuring points that can be obtained quickly to answer many of the questions that have arisen. He indicated that most of the lots in Seaview were compacted to 959 standards, which are certainly not up to today’s requirements, and as a result the neighborhood settles when it gets wet and there have been slope failures. He contended that it seems most prudent to procure some methodical and scientific analysis based on measurements rather than observations. He suggested that the City take action to repair the curb directly in front of Mr. McCoy’s property, saying that water accumulates in this one spot for lengthy periods of time. He noted that Mr. McCoy has requested that it be repaired, saying that it would be a proactive gesture and might also provide a good test of whether land movement or a broken pipe caused the most recent cracks to appear. If a temporary suspension in put in place, he urged that it be done in a manner that does not do any dramatic harm to the area and summarized his four requests of the City as follows: 1) that the area remain in the Blue Zone; 2) that a decision be based on actual data rather than anecdotal information; 3) that the curb in front of the McCoy residence be repaired; and, 4) that everyone cooperate and work together if a temporary suspension period is deemed necessary.

Mayor Clark observed that not so long ago cracks appeared at Trump National; that the geotechnical experts indicated there was nothing to worry about; and that three days later a major landslide occurred on the property. He requested that Mr. Lancaster explain the difference between that situation and the one currently under consideration.

Mr. Lancaster responded that the situation at Trump National occurred very rapidly whereas the cracks in Seaview were first observed in early June 2005 and no acceleration or continued movement has been observed since that time. He explained that this particular landslide is very different in nature, saying that a catastrophic failure on the Portuguese Bend Landslide would have to occur before a similar failure would occur in the Klondike Canyon Landslide and, while that is still a possibility, it is highly unlikely.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz inquired if staff foresaw any problem with issuing a 60-day moratorium to allow the City’s Geologist an opportunity to examine the situation and shortening the time period if he thought it was advisable.

City Manager Evans stated that the matter will likely come back to Council on December 6, 2005 with a proposal from the City’s Geologist including a schedule and a request for additional funding, saying that this exercise alone will consume three weeks of the proposed moratorium period.

City Attorney Lynch suggested a longer period for the moratorium because of the upcoming holidays and the fact City Hall would be closed during this period.

Councilman Gardiner stated that he found the public’s presentations to be extremely helpful. He suggested that the data the City needs might already be available and asked if there is sufficient money in the City Manager’s discretionary fund to request the City’s Geologist to coordinate with the other geologists to determine if their readings are scientifically accurate, saying that this could dramatically shorten the length of the temporary suspension because reviewing that data could provide the necessary answers and eliminate the need to collect further information. He expressed concern regarding individuals such as the gentleman with signed contracts and others with pending or approved permits, saying that he would like to make certain they do not suffer any negative consequences as a result of the action taken by Council.

Councilman Long suggested establishing a 90-day moratorium, authorizing a not-to-exceed budget amount for the additional work, and instructing staff to gather the data and bring it back to Council as soon as possible.

Councilman Stern agreed that the public’s presentations were very helpful in Council’s understanding of some of the complexities of the area and spotlighting the differences between the Klondike Canyon and the Portuguese Bend landslides, saying that, although the conclusions might be different, the one thing that has come up repeatedly is the need for further investigation. He concurred with Councilman Gardiner that imposing the shortest suspension period possible to gather and analyze the data while not allowing anything negative to happen in the interim would be most prudent, noting that the situation dictates caution to make absolutely certain the correct decision is made.

Mayor Clark, observing that the staff report was done very quickly and without an opportunity to obtain input from the City’s Geologist, inquired if staff’s conclusion and recommendation were modified by the review and input just received.

City Manager Evans stated that, while staff certainly has better information and is more comfortable with the situation than the previous week, GPS data received earlier in the day indicates there have been changes in that area and that something different has occurred over the last ten months. He noted that it is perhaps nothing to be concerned with but, since he has already been involved in one catastrophic landslide and would prefer not to experience another, he would not change the recommendation for a 90-day moratorium to study the issue further.

Councilman Gardiner maintained that unless there is data showing there is a problem he wanted to make certain that whatever action is taken is temporary and that no property owners are inadvertently injured. He stated that he is personally risk averse and would prefer to err on the side of imposing a moratorium that was not needed rather than not instating one that was, noting that, although he has no reason to doubt the geologist who reported that nothing catastrophic is happening, it seems much more appropriate to task the City’s Geologist with examining things as expeditiously as possible and reporting back to Council.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to direct a 60-day moratorium on the issuance of permits within the Blue Area of the landslide moratorium; to direct the City’s Geologist to study the status of the movement on Dauntless Drive within a 60-day period or less time if possible, using all relevant data sources; to exempt the building permits for the new residence at 4369 Dauntless Drive but delay action on all other planning approvals and building permits until the study is completed; and, that Council take final action on this matter with further direction to staff to assist all property owners to the fullest extent allowed by law to minimize the impact of the temporary suspension.

Recess and Reconvene: Mayor Clark recessed the meeting at 11:29 p.m. and reconvened the meeting at 11:35 p.m.

City Attorney Lynch, noting the legal requirement to read any Urgency Ordinance into the record, read the changes to the ordinance as follows: The City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby declares a 60-day moratorium on the processing and issuance of building, grading or other permits and landslide moratorium exception permits in the processing or approval of environmental assessments, environmental impact reports, CUP’s, height variation applications, tentative maps or parcel maps in the Blue Area unless otherwise exempted from the moratorium permit pursuant to Sections 405 below; that this moratorium shall not apply to the project at 4369 Dauntless Drive for which building permits have already been issued; in Section 2, that Section 15.20.040 K of the RPV Municipal Code is hereby suspended and no permits or other approvals shall be processed or granted pursuant to that section; in Section 3, that notwithstanding any other ordinance or code of the City, no building permit, grading permit or landslide permits shall be issued for processing approval pursuant to Section 15.20.040 K of the RPV Municipal Code; and, that notwithstanding any other provision of this ordinance other than Section 15.20.040 K of the Municipal Code, all other provisions of Chapter 15.20 shall continue to apply to any property in the Blue Area.


The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Stern, Long, Gardiner, Wolowicz, Mayor Clark
NOES: None


Case No. ZON2003-00520 (General Plan Amendment, Zone Change and Environmental Assessment ) [Applicant: City of Rancho Palos Verdes] [Property Addresses: The upper portion of San Ramon Canyon, which encompasses the following properties: 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682, Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive] [Continued from September 20, 2005]

Mayor Clark noted the Public Hearing remained open from September 20, 2005.

Associate Planner Schonborn provided the summary staff report.

Mayor Clark noted the presence of the Vice-Chair of the Planning Commission as well as the City’s Geologist and Geotechnical Engineer.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz indicated that he would like to make certain the City’s Geologist’s conclusion is exactly the same as staff’s statement that the improved stability of the upper canyon justifies a modification of the Open Space Hazard (OH) zoning boundary in upper San Ramon Canyon.

Mr. Lancaster indicated that the conclusion is the same. He noted that AMEC recommended a ten-foot zone as essentially a buffer zone at the top of the slope, saying that he would recommend that it be located farther back rather than exactly at the top of the slope so that no building could occur within that ten-foot area.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz queried whether the four specific lots identified reduced the scope of what is being re-zoned.

Mr. Lancaster advised that they do not.

Councilman Gardiner, noting that there is language indicating the fill slopes are considered stable for the intended use and with adequate planting, proper maintenance, and under normal circumstances should remain so, inquired who is ultimately responsible for that maintenance.

City Attorney Lynch advised that the City is responsible for maintaining the vegetation on the fill slope.

Councilman Gardiner remarked that the comment under Laboratory Testing stating “During the course of construction, availability of borrow soils meeting the cohesion and friction angle requirements for the required stability were found to be problematical,” sounds to him like they were unable to find the correct type of dirt so they changed the specifications. He inquired why they were allowed to change the specifications, saying the implications of that trouble him because it seems highly unfair to someone who might have lost the contract because they submitted a higher bid in order to provide the proper soil.

City Attorney Lynch reported that Mark McLarty, of AMEC, advised her that the specifications did not change and noted that Mr. McLarty was present to answer any questions.

Councilman Gardiner wondered how else one was meant to interpret the statement “The originally specified shear strength criteria for import material were reassessed to develop a range of acceptable values …”

Mark. McLarty, AMEC, explained that the specifications were not changed but modified, saying that a specific angle of internal friction and cohesion was initially decided upon and, in order to make it easier to bring materials on site, they provided a range of cohesion and angles of internal friction equivalent to the same total strength. He further explained that the cohesive element of the soil changes if the angle of friction is slightly altered, noting that one also needs to keep in mind that the entire embankment is zoned for different strength materials in different areas.

Councilman Gardiner questioned how the specifications were not changed if they were modified.

Mr. McLarty responded that they remained exactly the same, but were simply made more specific.

Clara Duran Reed, Rancho Palos Verdes, thanked Council for authorizing an independent study of the geology, noting that she found it very helpful. She stated that she did, however, find the report somewhat troubling, specifically the comment “The buttress fill should provide long-term gross stability to the slope and properties located at the top of the slope.” Noting that only 4 of the 15 properties affected by the proposed rezoning are discussed in the report, she expressed concern about the other 11 lots. Additionally, she voiced concern about the statement “Although the stabilization project provides adequate overall gross stability to the area, local smaller cut, fill and/or natural slopes may be subject to instabilities and/or settlement. To this end all proposed projects within the area should be subject to the normal geotechnical review process required by the City.” She indicated that her concern with that statement was due to the fact that there is currently only one property with plans to redevelop at 30650 PV Drive East, saying that this property is located on the slope and has very unstable soil as evidenced by the eight-inch drop in the roof line. She reminded Council that when this issue was last discussed, the architect indicated that the property is on eight to ten feet of fill, saying that based on the language in this report it seems that property would be subject to instabilities or settlement due to this condition. She proposed that anyone expanding or developing a new home be required to determine whether the lot meets the characteristics of the Open Space Hazard zone, opining that, if one of those characteristics is that the land is stable, a project on land that is unstable should certainly require separate review. She voiced concern that because her home is at the very top of the slope, she has no assurance that her property will not slide down if extensive grading or building takes place below her lot.

Ms. Duran Reed stated that she would appreciate hearing from the City’s Geologist as to whether all the properties in the area meet the 1.5 factor of safety, noting that this information was not specifically addressed in the report, rather it seemed to be simply a review and reiteration that there was no need for concern.

Councilman Long asserted that the evidence suggests the landslide repair was successful so it makes logical sense that the zoning boundary line should be drawn where the City Geologist recommends. He opined that, if there are doubts about that and it is concluded that the repair has not been entirely successful, it would seem the previous Open Space Hazard line is still not correctly positioned; that it was arbitrarily drawn and inaccurate to begin with; and, that it should be redrawn to encompass all properties which might be affected were the stabilized slope to fail, which would include Ms. Duran Reed’s property as well as a number of others.

Ms. Duran Reed indicated that her property is currently in the OH Zone, saying that she has no problem with that unless a geologist under her direction advised her that it is stable, meets a 1.5 factor of safety and, as such, is improperly within that zoning classification.

Councilman Long commented that he understands Ms. Duran Reed to say the line is where it should be for as long as her neighbor has a permit application pending but once that is resolved she will likely come back and request the line be relocated where the geologist currently suggests it be drawn.

Ms. Duran Reed disagreed, indicating that she has no plans to re-build her home. She reiterated her concern is not with the 4 properties which the City Geologist reports are stable and meet a 1.5 factor of safety but with the other 11 properties that are not mentioned and the fact the City Geologist’s report indicates that properties on fill or natural slopes may be subject to instability, hence her concern with the property at 30650 PV Drive East. She noted that on one hand the reports indicate the area is stable and, on the other, they question the stability of the other properties, saying that she is having difficulty understanding whether the area is stable or unstable.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz inquired if the property at 30650 PV Drive East, with the sway in the roof line which Ms. Duran Reed is contending to be unstable, has been addressed or whether that is a separate issue, saying that he would not like to cloud the overall decision with one lot that may or may not be safe to build onto due to unsuitable fill.

Associate Planner Schonborn indicated that the site-specific geology report for the new construction at 30650 PV Drive East has been reviewed and approved by the City.

Councilman Gardiner noted that there may be disagreement among the experts from one lot to another but noted that this is a separate issue from what is currently under consideration and that there are mechanics in place to address those disagreements.

James Wolf, 30650 PV Drive East, Rancho Palos Verdes, noting that he was pleased to have the opportunity to clarify matters, informed Council that the actual bedrock beneath his lot is grossly stable. He reported that when the house was constructed in the 1960’s the science of building structures on fill was not developed to the point it is today, saying that the soil was not properly compacted which does not mean there is any slippage but that some of the soil has settled, creating a sway in the middle of the home’s roof line. He stated that his project would address that problem by installing caissons. He noted that several geologists have given the project a green light and reiterated it is simply a matter of addressing badly compacted fill; that the project has been reviewed and re-reviewed by the City and each time the same conclusion has been reached; that the property is stable enough to be classified RS-2.

Mayor Clark closed the Public Hearing.


The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Wolowicz, Stern, Long, Gardiner, Clark
NOES: None

Councilman Stern stated that he supports staff’s recommendation because under the City’s Code the Open Space Hazard zoning classification is meant to apply to land containing the characteristics that define OH; that it is not a discretionary zone like commercial, industrial, or residential; that it is inappropriate to mislabel property; and, that properties should not remain in the OH category if the characteristics to support that classification are not present.

Councilman Long remarked that a key issue in this discussion appears to be that some soil was not compacted to current standards, saying that, if that and expansive soil were enough to qualify properties as Open Space Hazard, the City could very easily zone virtually every property in the City as OH. He indicated that he has not seen any evidence to persuade him that the repair to stabilize the upper San Ramon Canyon was unsuccessful and that this is what the Council’s decision should be based on.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz stated it was abundantly clear during the previous discussion of this item that an independent geological study was needed as well as clarification of what areas were actually being removed from the OH zoning classification. He suggested that it would be highly appropriate to present this information and an explanation of what has transpired at a local homeowners association meeting or by sending some type of literature to area residents.

Director Rojas indicated that notifications to the immediate neighborhood have been provided throughout the process and that a notice of decision would also be sent out. He suggested that notice might include a statement indicating that staff is available to meet with anyone desirous of further information.

Associate Planner Schonborn reported that residents have received notification throughout the process, including decisions, continuances, et cetera, saying that they have also received the same information packet that Council receives each time there has been a meeting on the subject.


Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz reported that at a meeting of the Palos Verdes Regional Law Enforcement Committee on November 10th the other cities expressed interest in participating in the City’s new traffic deputy as well as the prospect of hiring a second deputy to be shared as part of the regional contract. He credited Councilman Long for his insistence on enlarging the scope of this effort to include the City’s sister cities. He stated that there was also a presentation made regarding red light photo enforcement at intersections, noting that this is something Mayor Clark has long advocated, and adding that he believes it would be appropriate for the Traffic Safety Commission to review and provide a report to Council on that topic.

The was concurrence among the Council to directed the Traffic Safety Commission to consider red light photo enforcement and provide a report to City Council on its findings.


Proposed Exhibit Funding for Point Vicente Interpretive Center

Discussed immediately following Items Removed From Consent Calendar.

Disaster Communications Facility Proposal

Discussed immediately after Item 15, Storm Drain Rehabilitation Project Update, and before Public Hearings.

Storm Drain Rehabilitation Project Update; Palos Verdes Drive South, Crest/ Crestmont, Hawthorne/Silver Arrow

Discussed immediately after the recess taken prior to Public Hearings.

Added the following item to the City Council Agenda with an Amended Addendum:

Consideration and adoption of an urgency ordinance and introduction of a non-urgency ordinance revoking Section 15.20.040 K. of the Municipal Code related to construction of certain structures in the portion of the Landslide Moratorium Area, as outlined in blue on the landslide moratorium map on file in the City’s Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Department, which includes portions of Dauntless Drive, Exultant Drive, Admirable Drive and Palos Verdes Drive South, and revoking certain permits issued pursuant to Section 15.20.040 K.

Discussed immediately following Item 15, Disaster Communications Facility Proposal, prior to Public Hearings.




City Attorney Lynch reported that no action was taken on the item concerning potential litigation; that Council voted unanimously on Item No. 1 to appoint Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz and Councilman Gardiner to meet with the property owner to negotiate terms and price of the property acquisition; that Council unanimously decided to ratify the City Manager’s decision not to proceed with obtaining appraisals or acquiring easements on the properties in Item No’s. 2, 3 and 4; and, that no action was taken regarding the Addendum Item.


Mayor Clark adjourned the meeting at 12:15 a.m.




City Clerk