Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

SEPTEMBER 5, 2006 RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL AGENDA-JUNE 20, 2006 DRAFT M I N U T E S SEPTEMBER 5, 2006 RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL AGENDA-JUNE 20, 2006 DRAFT M I N U T E S SEPTEMBER 5, 2006 RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL AGENDA-JUNE 20, 2006 DRAFT M I N U T E S

DRAFT
M I N U T E S
RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
JUNE 20, 2006

The meeting was called to order at 7:13 p.m. by Mayor Wolowicz at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes.

Roll call was answered as follows:

PRESENT: Gardiner, Clark, Long, Mayor Wolowicz
ABSENT: Stern (excused)

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 Parks and Recreation Ron Rosenfeld; Senior Administrative Analyst Matt Waters; and, Associate Planner Kristen Sohn.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by former Rancho Palos Verdes Mayor Ken Dyda.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA:

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported that a corrected Agenda had been distributed to Council and copies had been placed in the lobby for members of the public.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to amend the Agenda to reflect that a Closed Session would be conducted at the midpoint of the open proceedings.

MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Mayor Wolowicz extended birthday wishes to Councilman Gardiner.

He announced with great pleasure that a team comprised of Mayor Pro Tem Tom Long, Director of Finance and IT Dennis McLean, and Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas recently completed the second annual Redondo Beach Triathlon and made the City of Rancho Palos Verdes proud by finishing in first place. He extended congratulations to the team members on behalf of the City.

RECYCLE DRAWING:

Mayor Wolowicz announced Ian MacDonald and Yvonne Goppert as the Recyclers of the Month winners, thanking them for their participation and urging everyone to participate in the City’s recycling program.

PUBLIC COMMENTS:

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru stated that that there were two requests to speak.

Marianne Hunter, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated that she and many other residents were becoming increasingly concerned about the Monks vs. City of Rancho Palos Verdes lawsuit. She noted that two recent news articles spawned a number of multi-neighborhood meetings, saying that the number of people attending those meetings was rising along with the level of concern. She remarked that residents are increasingly frustrated to find the only available information on this extremely important matter coming from newspaper articles, saying that it is clearly evident the community does not have adequate information and that quickly spreading rumors need to be replaced with factual information.

Ms Hunter urged Council to provide City residents with access to any and all information of public record regarding the case, including the name of the firm representing the City, their arguments, which experts have been called; as well as copies of correspondence, court proceedings, and other relevant documents. She suggested posting this information at City Hall so those interested would have easy access to review it. She stated that, while the residents of Portuguese Bend recognize that they are not a named party to this lawsuit, they are in essence part of it by virtue of the geology and geography of their properties in relation to the plaintiffs. She stated that the residents want to help the City prevail in the interest of the safety of the City, especially the most alarmed residents living in Portuguese Bend, the City of Rolling Hills above the area in question, and the Sea Cove area located below it.

Mayor Pro Tem Long stated that, while he believes it would be possible to share some of the documents with the public that Ms. Hunter requested, many items such as correspondence between the Joint Powers Insurance Authority (JPIA) and the attorney representing the City, as well as Council’s closed session deliberations, cannot be shared without the potential of adversely impacting the City’s attorney-client privilege and the very real risk of such information falling immediately into the hands of those bringing suit against the City. He remarked that the community’s level of interest and concern is certainly understandable, saying that Council will take steps to ensure residents are as informed as possible. He advised everyone to be mindful that rumors are not accurate sources of information and that the press has no more access to information than the residents and are, therefore, not providing the complete picture in their articles.

Councilman Clark concurred that the public’s interest in keeping apprised of the situation is understandable, saying that he would look for guidance from the City’s legal counsel to make information available to the public that would not open anything to discovery that could potentially harm the City’s case or its residents.

Ms. Hunter indicated that a number of City residents are very informed and interested about the conditions in the landslide area, saying that many have very long memories and have kept records of the area’s history dating back several decades. She stated that they are eager to assist in the case and would be glad to meet with Council and/or staff to provide additional insight and information that could benefit the City and its legal team.

Councilman Gardiner related that he initially ran for public office because he felt uninformed about certain issues of great importance to him concerning the School Board, saying that it is difficult to imagine having virtually no information other than what appears in the newspapers. Noting that this is a very important case with long-term implications, he recommended placing all public domain documents on the City’s website so interested individuals would have easy access to accurate information concerning the lawsuit.

Mayor Wolowicz requested a response from the City Attorney.

City Attorney Lynch indicated that arrangements could be made to place items of public record on the City’s website. She reported that her office is not defending the case but that she would speak to the attorneys representing the City and request that they provide copies of the various pleadings and other pertinent documents. She noted that she had received e-mails from a couple of interested residents, that she had passed the information provided in them on to the defense attorneys and would gladly do that for anyone else with information they would like to share.

Mayor Wolowicz requested that the City Attorney coordinate the dissemination of available information and make certain that it is forthcoming to the community.

Mel Hughes, representing the Emergency Preparedness Committee, announced two upcoming events on the Peninsula related to emergency preparedness. The first is the Rancho Palos Verdes Amateur Radio Club’s participation in “Field Day” on Saturday, June 24th at Peninsula High School where they will practice operating various types of ham radio communications for a 24-hour period. The second event is the City’s Fourth of July Celebration where the Emergency Preparedness Committee will again sponsor a booth to provide information to the public on ways to prepare their homes and families in the event of an emergency. He invited everyone to attend these two events.

Mayor Wolowicz requested that Director McLean to post any information provided by the local Amateur Radio Club regarding the “Field Day” event on the City’s website.

CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:

Due to the number of issues remaining, Mayor Wolowicz suggested that it would be most judicious for Council members to share only their most significant reports at this juncture and then determine whether to revisit this item following the closed session.

Councilman Gardiner presented a videotaped public service announcement highlighting the Peninsula Recycling Center. He announced it was produced by the inaugural class of RPV Channel 33 interns in conjunction with Gabriella Holt and remarked that the video showcased the remarkable capabilities of these young interns. He noted that one of the primary reasons for creating the cable access channel was to provide such opportunities for local youth.

Councilman Clark reported that on June 9th he met with former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan to explore the feasibility of acquiring open space property; on June 12th he attended a League of California Cities State Board of Directors meeting to discuss the Speaker of the Assembly’s bill on telecommunications and the League’s position and strategy to ensure that California cities retain the ability to regulate that industry; and, that Terranea’s proposed amendments received approval by the Coastal Commission at its monthly meeting held the previous week.

Mayor Pro Tem Long reported that on June 10th with the Mayor and Councilman Gardiner he attended a luncheon honoring the Docents at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center; a homeowners association meeting in the Eastview area; and, a retirement function for Marymount President Dr. Tom McFadden held at the Norris Center.

Mayor Wolowicz reported that on May 3rd he attended with Council members Stern and Clark the Annenberg Visioning Grant kick-off community workshop sponsored by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (PVPLC) at Ridgecrest Intermediate School; on June 7th he attended a presentation at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park where the Alcoa Company awarded a $240,000 grant to the PVLC; on June 10th at Point Vicente Interpretive Center he presented the Docent of the Year award to Vic Quirarte, the outgoing President of the Docents’ organizations; and, on June 13th he met with Jim York regarding his proposed plans for the Filiorum properties.

CITY MANAGER REPORT:

Councilman Gardiner requested an update on the status of providing water and power in the parkway at the intersection of Palos Verdes Drive East and Palos Verdes Drive South.

City Manager Evans, noting that the matter was extremely complex, offered the following synopsis: the Trump organization advised the City approximately a year ago that they were unable to complete landscaping along the realigned section of Palos Verdes Drive South because they could not get power to their irrigation system; that personnel changes at the Edison Company caused the situation to remain static for a number of months until recently when Regional Manager Scott Gobble offered to take charge again and resolve the situation; that the Edison Company subsequently advised the Public Works Department that the problem is due to a road separating the irrigation system from the power source; that boring beneath the road is necessary to connect that power; that the City is responsible to pay the cost of that boring; that the Public Works Department has advertised for bids to complete the work; and, that the work will hopefully be completed in the next few weeks so that the City can reschedule with the Edison Company to connect the power under the roadway.

Councilman Clark queried why the boring and electrical connectivity issues were not addressed when the Trump organization originally performed the roadwork to realign Palos Verdes Drive South.

City Manager Evans explained that the boring needs to be done beneath Aqua Vista Drive not Palos Verdes Drive South, saying that he has a limited understanding of the history of the matter since the individuals who oversaw the project in its initial stages no longer work for the City.

OLD BUSINESS:

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru informed the audience that items previously discussed and continued to a future meeting could be viewed on the City’s website at www.palosverdes.com/rpv.

NEW BUSINESS:

APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:

Mayor Wolowicz requested the removal of Item No. 1 (Notice of Completion of the Pontevedra Storm Drain Repair) and Item No. 10 (Purchase of the Property at 6359 Tarragon Road).

Mayor Long requested that Item No. 9 (Claimant Maron’s Application for Leave to Present a Late Claim) be removed for discussion.

Notice of Completion of the Pontevedra Storm Drain Repair (604 x 1204)

Removed and discussed immediately following approval of 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 the Minutes (301)

Approved the minutes of May 16, 2006.

Award a One-Year Extension to On-Call Maintenance Services Agreement with Los Angeles Conservation Corps (602 x 1705)

1) Awarded a one-year extension to on-call maintenance services contract for At-Risk Youth employment to the Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC) in an amount not to exceed $50,000 for FY 06-07 for Measure A grant funded projects; and, 2) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a one-year extension to on-call maintenance services contract for At-Risk Youth employment to the Los Angeles Conservation Corps in an amount not to exceed $50,000 for FY 06-07 for Measure A grant funded projects.

Professional Services Agreement for FY 2006-07 and 2007-08; National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)/Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Implementation (1402 x 1204)

1) Awarded a professional services contract to John L. Hunter and Associates, Inc. (JLHA) for FY 2006-07 and 2007-08 for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for a not to exceed amount of $28,280 for FY 2006-07 and $31,380 for FY 2007-08; and, up to $5,000 each fiscal year for nonspecific services related to Sanitary Sewer Overflows based upon time and materials; and, up to $7,500 annually for services related to Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) implementation; 2) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute an agreement with John L. Hunter and Associates, Inc.; and, 3) Authorized the City Manager and Director of Pubic Works to award a one-year extension (FY 08-09) upon successful completion of the tasks of the first two years.

Award Contract for Custodial Services for City Facilities (1201 x 302)

1) Approved the Plans and Specifications for the Custodial Services for City Facilities; 2) Awarded a contract to Coastal Building Services, Inc. in the amount of $72,060 for the custodial services for City facilities; and, 3) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a custodial contract with Coastal Building Services, Inc. for custodial services for City facilities.

Approval of Membership for the Marin County Major Crimes Task Force in California JPIA (902)

1) Authorized the City Council delegate to sign the ballot on behalf of the City; and, 2) Directed the City Clerk to notify the California Joint Powers Insurance Agency that the City approves the Marin County Major Crimes Task Force as a new member.

Claimant Maron’s Application for Leave to Present a Late Claim (303)

Removed and discussed immediately following approval of the Consent Calendar.

Purchase of the Property at 6359 Tarragon Road (1101 x 604 x 1204)

Removed and discussed immediately following approval of the Consent Calendar.

Register of Demands

ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2006-46, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ALLOWING CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEMANDS AND SPECIFYING FUNDS FROM WHICH THE SAME ARE TO BE PAID.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to approve the amended Consent Calendar.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Gardiner, Clark, Long, Mayor Wolowicz
NOES: None
ABSTAIN: None.
ABSENT: Stern

ITEMS REMOVED FROM CONSENT CALENDAR:

Notice of Completion of the Pontevedra Storm Drain Repair (604 x 1204)

Mayor Wolowicz noted that both items he removed from the Consent Calendar were related to unanticipated cost overruns for storm drain repairs. He stated the nature of repairing storm drains is, unfortunately, not an exact science and is subject to unexpected discoveries as pipes are unearthed. He requested a brief report on the matter, saying that he was most concerned by the significant cost overrun on what was originally budgeted as a $100,000 project.

Interim Director Holland recounted that the failure of a corrugated metal pipe caused a sinkhole on Western Avenue; that the upstream extension of that pipe traveled into a City easement between homes on Pontevedra Drive; that the original plan was for Caltrans to utilize the contractor it had used on the Western Avenue project to perform the easement work; that officials at Caltrans subsequently questioned the wisdom of performing work in the City’s easement and requested certain assurances from the City under the threat of closing down the project when it was already underway; that staff advised Council on December 6th that the City was unable to grant those assurances and that the Western Avenue repairs remained incomplete; that a $100,000 estimate was presented based on the best information available at the time; that work was resumed with the same contractor, but at the City’s expense; and, that unanticipated problems were subsequently discovered which increased the total cost of the project.
He stated that staff was unaware of the exact cost of the project until May of 2006, explaining that, once the project was completed, staff needed to ascertain that everything was properly accounted for by compiling all the costs and coordinating the records with the contractor and Caltrans to make certain the City was not billed for work the contractor had performed for Caltrans. He indicated the City was able to maintain the time and materials costs that Caltrans had negotiated for the larger $1.6 million project, saying that the City had a good contractor, a good inspector, and, although the cost was more than estimated, the price was reasonable given the difficult circumstances.

Councilman Gardiner queried if records were being compiled as storm drain repairs were made so that the City would be better informed about its drainage system in the future.

Interim Director Holland assured Council that all appropriate data was being compiled and recorded regarding these storm drain repair projects.

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Long, to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2006-47, 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; 2) Accept the work as complete; 3) Authorize the City Clerk to file a Notice of Completion with the County Recorder if no claims are filed within 35 days after recordation; and, 4) Authorize the Director of Public Works to release the 10% retention payment to Peterson & Chase 35 days after recordation of the Notice of Completion by the County Recorder contingent upon no claims being filed on the project.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

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

Claimant Maron’s Application for Leave to Present a Late Claim (303)

Mayor Pro Tem Long explained that the rationale for denial of the claim, saying that it was not simply a matter of the claimant’s late filing and that the issue had been discussed extensively, but explained that Council’s conclusion was based on the finding that no purpose would be served by allowing the claimant to bring the claim; that the City was immune from the claim by statute; and, that the claimant’s difficulties were actually with her neighbor rather than with the City. He encouraged the claimant to spend more time trying to resolve the matter with her neighbor and seek legal advice in the event that effort fails. He concluded by noting that granting permission to file this late claim would result in money being expended on both sides with the claimant being left in no better standing in the end.

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to reject the claimant’s application for leave to present a late claim and direct staff to notify the claimant. Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

Purchase of the Property at 6359 Tarragon Road (1101 x 604 x 1204)

Mayor Wolowicz stated that this was another item related to repairs of the City’s storm drain system. He reminded his colleagues that a significant amount of street damage resulted from the failure of the storm drain at McCarrell Canyon during the winter storms in 2005. He reported that, despite several attempts by the City to negotiate with the property owner, a stalemate has been reached in the negotiations and a significant amount of funds must be dedicated to obtain the property in order to make the repairs and protect the residents of the community from a similar recurrence.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Wolowicz, to 1) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2006 -48, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING RESOLUTION 2005-53, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FY05-06 FOR A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT TO THE CITY'S GENERAL FUND AND WATER QUALITY FLOOD PROTECTION FUND; and, 2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2006 -49, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2006-41, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FY06-07 FOR A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT TO THE CITY'S GENERAL FUND AND WATER QUALITY FLOOD PROTECTION FUND.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

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

# # # # # #

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

Citywide Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance District (901)

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported that notice of the public hearing was duly published; that no written protests were received; and, that there was one request to speak on the item.

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to waive the staff report.

Mayor Wolowicz declared the public hearing open.

Sunshine, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that there was a discrepancy in either the language or the interpretation of how the funds in this maintenance district should be spent. She remarked that instead of cutting down trees that continually grow into the roadsides, the Public Works Department repeatedly trims them back, often several times a year. She noted that this situation applies specifically to acacias, many of which are located along Palos Verdes Drive South, but also to several other areas where the trees and shrubbery growing along roadsides and/or sidewalks is cut back repeatedly rather than being removed entirely. She indicated that many roadsides that should have public trails along them are poorly maintained and overgrown, impeding or preventing pedestrian access. She opined that this type of maintenance should be included in the funding mechanism provided by the Citywide Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance District.

Mayor Wolowicz entertained questions and/or comments from the Council, saying that perhaps a brief response from the Director of Public Works might be appropriate.

Interim Director Holland reported the intent of the Citywide Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance District is to pay the budgeted expenses related to trimming and maintaining vegetation within the public rights-of-way. He stated that wholesale removal of trees is a major policy issue that he has not heard Council express any desire to engage in, saying that diseased or damaged trees that might cause a safety problem are routinely cut down, but that the budget does not currently provide for the removal of healthy trees.

City Manager Evans explained that the costs are very well defined, saying that money would have to come from somewhere other than this assessment district if Council wished to expand the program.

Councilman Gardiner queried if the cost of trimming shrubbery intruding into the sidewalk area along PV Drive East was included.

Interim Director Holland answered affirmatively.

City Manager Evans noted the areas where maintenance work can be performed through this district assessment are legally defined.

City Attorney Lynch concurred, saying that the work can only be done on public property.

City Manager Evans indicated that staff would research the question and report back on the specific areas covered in the Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance District.

Mayor Wolowicz closed the public hearing.

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2006-50, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES MAKING CERTAIN FINDINGS AND CONFIRMING A DIAGRAM AND ASSESSMENT FOR THE 2006-07 FISCAL YEAR IN CONNECTION WITH THE CITYWIDE LANDSCAPING AND LIGHTING MAINTENANCE DISTRICT PURSUANT TO THE LANDSCAPING AND LIGHTING ACT OF 1972, PART 2 OF DIVISION 15 OF THE CALIFORNIA STREETS AND HIGHWAYS CODE.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

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

Abalone Cove Sewer Maintenance Fee (1900)

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported that notice of the public hearing was duly published; that no late correspondence had been received; and, that there were no requests to speak on the item.

Mayor Wolowicz opened the public hearing.

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Long, to continue the public hearing to July 5, 2006, per the staff recommendation. Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

Case No. ZON2006-00188 (Special Use Permit and Coastal Permit), Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, 5970 Palos Verdes Drive South [Applicant/Appellant: Peninsula Seniors] (1201 x 1804)

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported that notice of the public hearing was duly published; that late correspondence had been received and distributed; and, that there were four requests to speak on the item.

Mayor Wolowicz declared the public hearing open.

Ken Dyda, Rancho Palos Verdes, President of the Peninsula Seniors, stated that their appeal was filed based on what they believed to be material errors in the Planning Commission’s denial of their Special Use Permit and Coastal Permit. He enumerated responses to the various objections that had been raised about temporarily locating the Peninsula Seniors’ trailers in the parking lot at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, claiming that there is adequate parking and circulation available to accommodate the use and that the trailers would not create adverse noise, visual impacts, air pollution, traffic, loss of habitat or interfere with the public trails and recreational uses on the park site. He indicated that a great deal of concern was expressed at the Planning Commission hearing that allowing the Peninsula Seniors to operate on public land would create a bad precedent. He stated that it would not create a precedent because Hesse Park and City other facilities are currently utilized by organizations that are not affiliated with the City. He reported that Peninsula Seniors is a nonprofit corporation with a tax-exempt 501c3 status; that it is not limited to a membership; and that every adult in the community is welcome to participate in its programs and services. He concluded by stating that, in response to staff’s initial recommendation, the Peninsula Seniors came before the City requesting permission to file for the appropriate permits for use of a portion of Abalone Cove Shoreline Park on a temporary basis. He explained that a more in-depth review by staff following the Planning Commission hearing has lead to the identification of a viable alternate location at Upper Pointe Vicente, the Peninsula Seniors was now withdrawing its appeal and was looking forward to working with the City on the Upper Pointe Vicente site.

Councilman Clark queried if the withdrawal of the Peninsula Senior’s appeal rendered the item moot in terms of Council’s action at this juncture.

City Attorney Lynch confirmed that withdrawal of the appeal did render the decision that evening moot, with the exception of the request to authorize the Peninsula Seniors to proceed with an application to place the trailers at the City Hall facility.

Bill Swank, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that the City’s Special Use Permit process is opaque; that adequate public notice is not provided; and, that making public comment is very difficult. He expressed hope that in the future proper notice will be provided to the public along with an opportunity to comment on the proposal.

Councilman Clark inquired if staff was aware of any noticing issues related to the matter.

Director Rojas indicated that staff was unaware of any noticing problems, saying that notices went out to all property owners within 500 feet of the subject site as required by the City’s Code; that some comments were received which had been addressed in the staff report; and that residents attended a public hearing.

Councilman Clark requested Mr. Swank to provide further illumination of his comments.

Mr. Swank indicated that a 500-foot radius in the case of the Upper Pointe Vicente site, for instance, would essentially not provide notice to any City residents, adding that a broader notice seems to be warranted; and, that the findings for a Special Use Permit are limited and seem ill-suited for the proposed use.

Sunshine, Rancho Palos Verdes, said that City-owned vacant property is available at the corner of Crestridge Road and Crenshaw Boulevard, adding that the site is level, has access to utilities, and is closer to where the Peninsula Seniors ultimately desire to locate its permanent center.

Lynn Swank, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated that her residence is on Sea Cove Drive next to Abalone Cove Park. She opined that the Special Use Permit (SUP) process is flawed and lacks transparency, noting that other private organizations will be presenting Council with requests to use public land in a similar manner, but that the SUP process is not the proper mechanism to handle use of a public park by an outside organization. She urged Council to provide some direction for addressing this issue in the future, noting that it will certainly come up again. She also voiced concern at the use of the term “temporary,” saying that two-and-a-half years did not seem to be temporary.

Councilman Gardiner remarked that, while he is uncertain whether the process is complicated or simple, opaque or transparent, it seems appropriate to investigate the Special Use Permit process to see what, if any, improvements might be made.

Mayor Wolowicz invited Mr. Dyda to return to the podium for rebuttal.

Mr. Dyda indicated that, while he appreciated Sunshine’s suggestion, the area she mentioned contains a very steep slope going down to Crenshaw Boulevard and that the level area is composed of improperly compacted fill, saying that it would not be an appropriate place to locate any kind of structure. In response to Ms. Swank’s comment regarding the word “temporary,” he stated that, while the City’s Code may not provide a definition of that term, it does define “permanent” by indicating that a permanent structure has a foundation. He stated that the trailers proposed by the Peninsula Seniors do not have foundations, adding that they has no interest in staying in the trailers indefinitely and are very anxious to relocate to their own facility. He reported that their current schedule envisions that occurring sometime in the spring or summer of 2008, noting that they ran the time line forward to December of that year in anticipation of any possible delays.

Mayor Pro Tem Long agreed that the City’s notice provisions seemed to be somewhat lacking in certain instances, saying that, while 500 feet in one neighborhood would be ample and provide notice to a number of nearby homes, in an area such as the one under consideration, 500 feet might provide notice to no one. He stated that he felt it would be appropriate to expand the scope of notice in light of this fact. Responding to the comment regarding private use of public parks, he reported that Rancho Palos Verdes has approximately one quarter of the per capita funding of the average city, saying that the City has a responsibility to choose whether its parks and public lands should remain largely unused or determining whether entering into partnerships with non-profit organizations might assist in making better use of those lands for the benefit of the City and its residents as a whole. He stated that he believes Council has spoken to that issue on a number of occasions by choosing the latter course with no negative reaction from the community. He indicated that extensive use of private funds has also played a role, noting the Palos Verdes Interpretive Center expansion project was financed by private contributions in concert with federal and state grants. He commented further that, recognizing that use of the City’s public lands must be compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods, it is a delicate balancing act between the interests of those residents who live near the parks and the interests of the remainder of the City’s residents because the parks belong to them just as much as they belong to those who happen to live adjacent to them.

Councilman Clark indicated that this issue certainly warrants further exploration. He suggested taking steps to clarify the Special Use Permit process for residents either at a future Council meeting or on the City’s website and stated that it would be helpful to know if other jurisdictions have alternative mechanisms for authorizing use of their parks and public lands by outside groups and organizations.

Councilman Gardiner agreed with Mayor Pro Tem Long that much of the City’s park land will lie fallow unless the City engages in public/private partnerships, saying that a mechanism needs to be put in place to address the issues that have arisen with this application in order to best serve the interests of all in the future. He stated that he views seniors in a slightly different category from everyone else, saying that the Peninsula has a very high percentage of senior citizens who should be given as much consideration as other groups.

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved to permit the Peninsula Seniors to proceed with a Special Use Permit application to place temporary trailers at Upper Pointe Vicente Park and to direct staff to extend the public notification radius from 500 feet to 2,500 feet.

Councilman Clark seconded the motion for discussion purposes and requested staff’s reaction to broadening the notification area.

City Attorney Lynch responded that 2,500 feet exceeds the required statutory notice of 500 feet and would certainly increase the cost of processing the application.

Mayor Pro Tem Long noted that the distance itself is not as much the issue as how many people would actually be reached and asked what the cost would be to the City to increase the mailing list.

Director Rojas guessed that about 100 residents would be included in the expanded notification radius and indicated that the applicant is responsible for compiling the list of properties to be notified and submitting the labels to the City for mailing.

Councilman Gardiner suggested that public notices could be posted on the RPV Channel 33 video bulletin board.

Councilman Clark noted that, unfortunately, not everyone tunes in to RPV Channel 33.

Director Rojas proposed continuing to provide the current 500-foot mailing in conjunction with posting the information on RPV Channel 33, in the local newspaper, and on the Breaking News section and list serve groups on the City’s website.

Mayor Wolowicz favored the ideas of broadening public notification to make it more inclusive, as well as allowing public property to be used by various community organizations. He stated that he strongly supports more active uses of the City’s parks, such as softball fields, and looks forward to other activities at Upper Pointe Vicente Park such as a public pool and an art center. He inquired if future uses at Upper Point Vicente will be held to the same standard as being applied to the Peninsula Seniors since there was no noticing requirement in the past.

Mayor Pro Tem Long commented that the Palos Verdes Art Center is currently requesting a land lease, but has not gotten to the stage of proposing a building and noting that it is the placement of the structure that triggers the City’s permit process and public notification. He indicated that in neighborhoods where the homes are within 40 or 50 feet apart, the current notification process works very well, but in areas with no residents within 500 feet of the property, that number seems rather arbitrary. He favored expanding the notice to 1,500 feet or whatever distance would provide ample notice to the people living in the surrounding area, noting that one of the primary reasons for having a Special Use Permit application is to provide notice to those individuals who might be affected. He remarked that Mr. Swank’s point that the 500-foot radius in certain instances would provide notice to no one was most persuasive.

Director Rojas clarified that residents would receive notification if the 500-foot radius were applied, explaining that, since the proposed location for the trailer crosses two parcel boundaries, staff would require the radius be drawn from the perimeter of the larger property, which would provide notice to residents in the adjoining neighborhoods.

Councilman Gardiner indicated that after listening to the comments on this matter, he would oppose placing any special requirements on the Peninsula Seniors, saying that one could probably place 20 trailers on the area under consideration with no one even noticing. He stated that he did not view the matter as much of a problem.

Mayor Pro Tem Long indicated that he would be satisfied if the 500-foot radius actually provides notice to the closest residents, saying that his uneasiness stemmed from the thought of providing public notice without anyone actually being receiving it.

At Mayor Wolowicz’s request, Mayor Pro Tem Long clarified that he modified his earlier motion to only require the standard 500-foot notification radius.

As the seconder of the motion, Councilman Clark did not object to the modification, but remarked that when this topic originally came before Council in March 2006, he questioned why other sites such as Upper Hesse Park and others were not being considered for this worthwhile interim activity. He declared that it is unfortunate that the feasibility of placing the trailers at Abalone Cove Park was not apparent at that time, saying that it might have prevented the subsequent angst experienced by the nearest neighbors and the Peninsula Seniors.

Mayor Wolowicz closed the public hearing and, without objection, declared that the motion was approved by acclamation.

Mayor Wolowicz thanked Planning Commission Chair Knight for his attendance at the Council meeting while this topic was discussed.

REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:

Appointment to the Finance Advisory Committee (602 x 106)

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Long, to appoint Amar Moon to the Finance Advisory Committee to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of William Smith; said term of office until February 2010. Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

Proposed Moratorium on Certain Development Within the Entire Landslide Moratorium Area Outlined in Red and Blue Pending Review of Additional Information and an Upcoming Study Session (1801 x 1203)

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to waive the staff report and hear from the public speakers.

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru informed Council that that late correspondence on the matter had been distributed.

Charlotte Pesusich, Rancho Palos Verdes, reported that her home at 86 Yacht Harbor Drive is within the red area of the landslide moratorium area and that her home is on the same street as a newly completed 13,000-plus square foot home and three other homes which completed additions of over 1,000 square feet in size within the last three years. She advised Council that her home currently sits in a framed, but unfinished condition with a fence around it; that in 2001 she attempted to obtain permits for a 1,200 square foot addition which was later reduced down to 600 square feet and then down to zero with the implementation of this recent moratorium; that in January of 2006 she was informed that she could complete her home; and, that now she understands that she may never be able to complete her home. She stated that three separate geological reports indicate that her home has not moved a quarter of an inch over the last 40,000 years and implored Council to consider granting building permits to homes in the red area on an individual basis.

David Boyd, Torrance, architect for Martha de la Torre and Joe Badame at 31 Narcissa Drive, reported that they began their remodel process nearly three years ago and were informed by the City they could add 600 square feet to their house. He indicated that on subsequent visits to the City, old permits were pulled and they were advised that the addition was not permitted because a 600-foot addition had been completed on the property years earlier. He said that the house was in dire need of repair so the owners decided to apply for a foundation repair permit while the problem with the addition was sorted out; that plans were drawn, engineering and soils reports were obtained and submitted; and, that a permit was granted for the foundation repair. He reported that in late 2005, records were obtained showing a discrepancy between County records and the building permit the City had on file; that City staff agreed the new 600 square foot addition could be allowed; that an application for a Moratorium Exemption Permit was submitted for the addition while the foundation was being repaired; that new geology reports were obtained and submitted to the City for review; and, that the recent building permit moratorium was then extended from the Seaview area to include Portuguese Bend and that his client is now prevented from moving forward again with their project.

Mr. Boyd opined that the situation was actually an administrative error resulting from incorrect paperwork, saying that, if not for that inaccurate documentation, the addition would be nearly complete rather than halted because of the recent moratorium. He indicated that the house now sits in an incomplete state in anticipation of the addition going forward, saying that the owners believe they have a vested right to proceed with the project and request the Council to make a ruling to exclude them from the recent moratorium and allow them to continue with the 600-square foot addition.

Mayor Wolowicz inquired whether the original foundation repair was made in response to a safety issue.

Mr. Boyd responded that the plans initially presented were prepared for the 600 square foot addition and foundation repair work to be done concurrently, saying that they subsequently discovered the paperwork discrepancy and removed the addition from the project, leaving only the foundation repair portion, which was reviewed, permitted, and is nearing completion.

Councilman Gardiner stated that he would appreciate a written opinion from the City Attorney indicating who is vested and who is not, saying that this information would certainly be useful since it appears to be the distinction between those who’s building permits are in suspension and those who were allowed to move forward while the matter is being sorted through.

Mayor Pro Tem Long commented on the difficulty of the situation, saying that Council, unfortunately, cannot make decisions on a case-by-case basis because of the very significant possibility of exposing the City to liability. He reminded his colleagues that the City is in the midst of a lawsuit, saying that, while not necessarily at liberty to discuss the implications of that, one of them is unquestionably that cases cannot be considered individually. He indicated that there are no guidelines for handling land use planning issues in a landslide area that treats everyone fairly while protecting the City from liability, therefore, while this litigation is underway, no matter how sympathetic the cases nor how difficult the situations, it ultimately comes down to who got to a certain stage at a certain point in time, which determines who is vested and who is not. He stated that he was not sure what purpose would be served by requiring the City Attorney to write opinions on each case, suggesting that it would be more useful to push the matter forward and obtain guidance from the Court, which will allow Council to make decisions in a way that best protects the City from liability.

Councilman Gardiner indicated that, while he agrees fundamentally with the Mayor Pro Tem’s perspective, it is not a matter of treating cases on an individual basis but rather knowing who is actually vested and who is not. He stated that he did not believe staff nor Council could make that decision absent an opinion from the City Attorney, adding that he would prefer not to make an erroneous judgments because of incomplete information.

Councilman Clark stated that he, too, was unsure that a formal legal opinion from the City Attorney was necessary, saying that he would rely on the advice and counsel of staff with respect to the facts in these cases.

Councilman Gardiner noted that, while sympathetic to his colleague’s position, he would rather not go into a court with only the decision of a junior staff member. He remarked that a very small group comprised of six cases is involved, saying that he is by no means denigrating staff but would prefer to have an opinion on each of the cases from someone with legal training.

Councilman Clark clarified that he was referring to input from senior staff in consultation with the City Attorney

Mayor Wolowicz requested that two items be factored into a report either in the form of a legal opinion or a joint report between senior staff and the City Attorney. One being the issue of safety, meaning any building currently deemed unsafe or in need of structural repairs; and, secondly, those buildings where some type of construction was already underway. He stated that it was unclear how these issues were being measured as far as the vesting determination. He noted that facts regarding each one of the properties were beginning to surface and that this type of guidance from staff might help clarify Council’s position.

Councilman Gardiner declared that one thing he has learned in the past few months is that the landslide area requires a heightened level of scrutiny. He maintained that, in light of possible consequences, he would be uncomfortable making decisions absent a formal opinion on letterhead from the City Attorney.

Mayor Pro Tem Long stated that he assumed decisions were already being made by the Director of Planning in consultation with the City Attorney and that those decisions followed the guidelines of vested rights, i.e., permits had been issued and construction allowed to proceed; that certain sections of the City’s Code apply to things other than additions, i.e., safety and repair issues; and, that construction to make repairs and eliminate safety issues was not being forbidden. He maintained that, if these assumptions were correct, it would be counterproductive and potentially harmful to the City to consider each property on a case-by-case basis.

Councilman Gardiner reiterated that only six specific cases were involved, saying that these cannot all be treated the same because each one has its own unique set of circumstances. He indicated that the one common element is whether or not the permits are vested, saying that he is merely requesting assurance that determination was made by someone with the legal background and competence to declare it with authority.

Mr. Boyd urged Council to consider the extenuating circumstances behind some of these cases. He stated that when laws are made there are often allowances built in for extenuating circumstances, i.e., a variance, a waiver; noting that there would be no need for City Councils and Planning Commissions if no exceptions to the rules were allowed.

Martha de la Torre, Rancho Palos Verdes, owner of 31 Narcissa Drive, reported that she and her husband purchased their home in May 2002; that prior to closing escrow they visited the City to learn about the landslide moratorium and verify they would be allowed to repair the property which had a broken foundation and virtually no repairs made to it since the original 1978 Abalone Cove Landslide; and, that the Planning Department confirmed that a 600 square foot addition could be made if the required soils and geology tests were met. She further reported that an issue regarding the square footage arose on her third visit to the Planning Department, saying that two major safety incidents occurred at the house during this time which involved personal injury and forced them to move forward reluctantly to repair just the foundation. She said that the architectural plans were subsequently redrawn to exclude the addition in order to obtain a permit to fix the foundation and repair the house.

Ms. De la Torre indicated that the safety issues were not related to recent land movement but to repairs not being performed after the property was damaged during the landslides of the 70’s and 80’s. She stated that these repairs included a new foundation, installation of sewer and water pumping systems as well as grading corrections recommended by Geologist Dr. Perry Ehling to abate damage from future hazardous conditions. She reported that they bought the property aware of its history and prepared to make a major investment to restore the house and re-grade the property; that all the plans and work followed the landslide moratorium guidelines; and, that in July 2005 after, again, obtaining successful soils and geology reports, they were granted a foundation repair permit. She indicated she subsequently discussed the property’s square footage with the original realtor who insisted that the house qualified for the 600 square foot addition, saying that her research of County records validated this, to which Director Rojas agreed in November 2005, thereby reinitiating the permit process. She recounted that they obtained new geology reports and redesigned the house a third time while their contractor continued to build the permitted foundation providing as much allowance as possible to prepare for the addition. She reported that they were informed days before the April meeting there was now a new issue with the property.

Ms. de la Torre made an impassioned plea to be allowed to move forward with the addition, reporting that they have spent over $300,000 repairing the foundation, duplicating soils and geology reports, and redesigning their architectural drawings; that they have been provided no opportunity to appeal Council’s situation to enact the new moratorium; and, that they are currently living out of boxes not knowing when they will be allowed to return home. She concluded by imploring Council to reconsider their case and apply the rules in existence when they began the process, saying that they believe they are vested and would very much like to return home.

Joe Badame, Rancho Palos Verdes, husband of Martha de la Torre, stated that they feel like pawns in a huge game of chess involving the City and various litigants. He urged Council to allow them to meet with the City Attorney to present their case. He noted that, although only six properties are currently involved, there were initially ten, saying that individual considerations have been made in four cases and that they would appreciate the same opportunity.

City Attorney Lynch clarified that the only reason the number of properties had been reduced was because a couple of those originally listed were proceeding under different sections of the landslide moratorium ordinance.

--------------, Rancho Palos Verdes, opined that allowing six projects to proceed would not open the door to large-scale development. He reminded Council that his project was approved and in the plan check correction stage when the moratorium was passed in November 2005; that Council granted an exemption to Mr. Landon, the owner of the vacant lot on Dauntless Drive; that neither he nor Mr. Landon was vested at that point; that the difference between the two projects was that his architect was in the process of submitting corrections while Mr. Landon had already obtained a permit; and, that the night the moratorium took effect, Council discussed Mr. Landon’s project with his geotechnical engineer and concluded that it was a matter of equity and fairness to exempt him. ------------- declared that fairness clearly factored into Council’s decision at that time. He further reminded Council that he appeared before it twice before in regard to this matter, saying that he and his wife had a glimmer of hope at the last meeting when, at the end of his presentation, Councilman Gardiner inquired if something could be done to assist him and his family which, again, signaled that equity and fairness should be factored into the process.

------------- reported that Zeiser-Kling’s report concluded unequivocally that his project would have no impact on the landslide, noting that the project’s location in the main block rather than within the landslide boundary should make it generally immune from distress; and, that the City’s geotechnical advisor also determined the project would not aggravate the existing situation in accord with the ordinance requiring heightened scrutiny of applications in the Seaview area. He voiced his frustration, reporting that he has invested nearly seven years and $50,000 in this project; that he has lost favorable interest rates as well as having to sell income property; and, that he is facing possible legal action from his contractor as a result of this situation. He indicated that he was not merely making an emotional plea, but was attempting to provide an analytical point of view for Council to approach his situation the same way it did for Mr. Landon, looking at the equities and providing special consideration based on money spent and years involved in a project. He indicated that he was not asking for favorable treatment but requesting no less than the same consideration given to Mr. Landon the night the ordinance was passed. He reminded Council that, unlike the other applicants, his property, like Mr. Landon’s, is in the Seaview tract, which has a special ordinance that applies specifically to that area.

Councilman Gardiner asked if the Landon property was vested when Council allowed it to proceed.

City Attorney Lynch advised that it was not.

Councilman Gardiner inquired what distinguished the Landon property from ------------.

City Attorney Lynch responded that Mr. Landon had placed foundations and caissons in the ground, noting that the doctrine of vested rights relies on aboveground construction or above-foundation construction in reliance on a permit.

Councilman Gardiner queried the basis for Council’s approval of one and disapproval of the other.

City Attorney Lynch stated that she could not answer that question.

Councilman Gardiner declared that he was not sure he could either, saying that it troubled him and is one of the reasons he was requesting an opinion letter. He stated that he found it very disturbing to be in the position of saying “yes” or “no” to people with enormous financial investments at stake, noting that he could only begin to fathom what these individuals must be suffering. He reminded those presenting their cases that Council is tasked with the obligation of representing the interests of the entire City as best it can, saying that makes this situation extremely difficult territory.

Mayor Pro Tem Long indicated that he was mindful of his colleague’s sentiments, adding that issue can and should be addressed in more detail in closed session. He asserted his belief that reasonable distinctions exist between the old and the new when dealing with safety regulations. Using automobiles to illustrate his point, he noted that new cars are required to have seat belts, air bags, et cetera, while cars built before a certain year are allowed to operate under a different set of standards. He indicated that applying that same distinction to this situation would mean someone with a preexisting home who takes steps to prevent water intrusion or implements other landslide abatement measures should be allowed a greater degree of latitude while new developments should be required to meet current standards of geologic safety including a factor of safety of 1.5 which was not a requirement in the 50’s and 60’s.

Mayor Pro Tem Long observed that the City is embroiled in a lawsuit with various owners of undeveloped real estate including some with greater financial power than the City itself. He declared that, if he could guarantee that the decisions and laws determining the City’s liability in that pending litigation would be written the way that he just described, that is exactly how Council would proceed, however, under the circumstances, Council is not at liberty to move forward. He concluded by reassuring the residents that there would be more discussion of the matter, noting that those affected should know what he and his colleagues would like to do, which, unfortunately, they cannot at this juncture.

------------ indicated that his project is new construction. He explained that he worked with the City planners for years and ultimately decided the best course would be to build a new house rather than remodeling his existing home, which would adversely impact views and create a neighborhood compatibility issue. He indicated that, while it is new construction, the decision was made in reliance on the law, as it existed when his family initially began investing time and money into the project, saying that he remained hopeful Council would take that into consideration.

Lenee Bilski, Rancho Palos Verdes, noted that this situation began in November 2005 in response to changes observed in a 25-year-old crack in the pavement on Dauntless Drive. She urged Council to consider that the pending litigation between the City and some property owners in the red zone was becoming the deciding factor for those in the blue zone even though the two situations are very different. She noted that the issue in Portuguese Bend involves vacant land that people want to develop versus a developed community whose residents merely want to remodel or build additions to their existing dwellings; and, that there is constant land movement in Portuguese Bend as evidenced on Palos Verdes Drive South versus no observable land movement in the Seaview community and no reports of structural damage.

Councilman Gardiner requested a response from the City Attorney.

City Attorney Lynch explained that arguments in the litigation assert that land movement is occurring in the Seaview tract as well as other areas of the blue zone; that the City has treated the blue area more favorably than the red area; and, that the blue area should be treated the same as development in the red area. She reported that the defense to that argument was that no detectable land movement had occurred in the blue area for many years, noting that it was brought to the City’s attention in October 2005 that the blue area apparently was experiencing renewed land movement, bolstering the plaintiffs’ contention the areas should be treated the same i.e. that new development should be allowed in both areas.

Councilman Gardiner observed that the renewed land movement is the reason the permit moratorium has been imposed while these issues are being sorted out.

Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz stated that the common thread binding the issues together is the fact that a major lawsuit is confronting the City. He explained that it is Council’s responsibility to act as stewards for the City as a whole and to protect its residents collectively. He sympathized with the speakers’ compelling stories, saying that, while Council might prefer to make decisions based on individual merits, that ability is severely limited in this instance because an erroneous decision could harm the entire City.

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to close the public hearing and adopt staff’s recommendation.

City Attorney Lynch suggested striking the language exempting certain previously constructed projects at the end of Section 4 of the draft ordinance. She explained that two minor projects were constructed without permits prior to enactment of the ordinance, saying that, given Councilman Gardiner’s request for an opinion, those properties should be included in the same category as the others since permits were not issued, there are no vested rights, and it would provide Council with a more concise understanding of each of the eight projects.

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to ADOPT ORDINANCE NO. 440U AS AMENDED, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES EXTENDING URGENCY ORDINANCE NO. 427U AND URGENCY ORDINANCE NO. 439U, ESTABLISHING A MORATORIUM ON THE ISSUANCE OF CERTAIN PERMITS AND THE PROCESSING OF PLANNING APPROVALS AND SUSPENDING CERTAIN PREVIOUSLY ISSUED BUILDING PERMITS AND APPROVALS IN THE LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM AREA OUTLINED IN RED AND BLUE ON THE LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM MAP ON FILE IN THE CITY’S PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT DEPARTMENT, EXEMPTING CERTAIN PREVIOUSLY CONSTRUCTED PROJECTS FROM SAID MORATORIUM AND DECLARING THE URGENCY THEREOF; and, 2) Reschedule the Study Session to Saturday October 7, 2006 at 9:30 a.m.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

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

Palos Verdes Art Center Lease Agreement (1201)

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to continue the consideration of the lease agreement with the Palos Verdes Art Center to the Council meeting of July 5, 2006. Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

Recess and Reconvene:

Mayor Wolowicz recessed the meeting to a Closed Session at 10:14 p.m. and reconvened the meeting at 11:43 p.m.

Cable Television Studio Lease (305)

City Manager Evans presented the oral staff report indicating that cable television studio lease would be modified to allow the Southern California Regional Occupational Center (SCROC) to teach video production classes at the City’s multi-media studio.

Councilman Gardiner asked the City Attorney if a late addition has been included in the lease agreement regarding registration priority for the proposed classes.

City Attorney Lynch responded that the lease now stipulates that enrollment preference will be given to residents within the 90274 and 90275 zip code and residents within SCROC’s Joint Powers Authority boundaries.

Councilman Gardiner reported that SCROC would provide approximately $10,000 worth of equipment to add to the studio, saying that SCROC would also assume responsibility for the maintenance of any broken equipment. He noted that two superb instructors were lined up to teach in the studio during the fall semester, saying that the video presentation shown during his City Council Oral Report earlier in the evening was a fine representation of what these young people are capable of producing if given the opportunity.

Councilman Clark said that he would like to understand why Palos Verdes on the Net was relinquishing its existing lease and turning over its equipment to SCROC.

City Manager Evans indicated that Ted Vegvari was present to respond to that question directly, but adding that his assessment was that Gabriella Holt’s cable production program had grown significantly; that Mr. Vegvari had worked very diligently to provide the services for RPV Channel 33 while pursuing his own programming endeavors; that SCROC would like to utilize the studio during the times that Mr. Vegvari is not utilizing it; and, that Mr. Vegvari was willing to make the studio and equipment available for Ms. Holt’s program in exchange for the ability to direct more time and attention to his computer animation program.

Councilman Gardiner explained that Ms. Holt’s program was experiencing exponential growth, saying that this arrangement will make it easier for Mr. Vegvari and Ms. Holt to focus on their individual strengths and create a more efficient utilization of the facilities involved. He stated that it was extremely gracious of Mr. Vegvari to make the studio and equipment available to SCROC, saying that there is a quid pro quo because Mr. Vegvari, in turn, will receive something of benefit from the City through a modification to his lease agreement.

Ted Vegvari, Palos Verdes on the Net, stated he was very grateful for the multi-media studio and the opportunity to work with the City and the local youth. He explained that his goal three years ago was to step in to prevent a valuable community resource from disappearing, saying that he did that fully aware that it might be a placeholder for bigger and better things in the future which would allow more people to enjoy the City’s cable television station and its programming. He indicated that there was a synergistic relationship between Palos Verdes on the Net and the City, adding that he fully supports the long-term aspirations of the City and believes it is in everyone’s best interest for him to step out of the management of the multi-media studio at this juncture. He expressed satisfaction with the proposed arrangement, saying that it provides him with the opportunity to pursue other ventures while maintaining him as a nearby resource in the event his services are needed at the multi-media studio.

Councilman Clark asked about the City’s long-term vision for RPV Channel 33.

Councilman Gardiner indicated that this topic was discussed at the last Cable Television Ad Hoc Committee meeting, which the Mayor attended, saying that preparations were underway to brief Council on the status of the channel. He indicated that all of the goals identified in the Channel’s initial six-month charter had been completed, noting that Ms. Holt has been very consistent about following Council’s direction. He reported that the station is now running 24/7 with new programs being broadcast each week, and that more programming is becoming available. He explained that the report would identify sources of funding and available options, a proposed organizational structure and budget, which would be presented to Council for further direction in the near future.

Mayor Wolowicz indicated that he, too, questioned the long-term goals and direction of the cable television station, saying that it is a very powerful communication tool and that he wanted to make certain the collective vision of the Council is incorporated into the process as it moves forward.

Councilman Gardiner stated that there are basically two fundamentally interrelated questions involved: 1) What is necessary to maintain regular programming on RPV Channel 33; and, 2) What is necessary to produce local programming. He indicated that it is much easier to air pre-produced programs on the channel, since local programming is a function of available resources and trained individuals, which is why the proposed arrangement with SCROC is so important.

Mayor Wolowicz redirected the discussion to the proposed lease and transition, saying that he would appreciate clarification about the extent of the “evergreen” renewal provision included in the amendment to Palos Verdes on the Net’s lease agreement.

City Attorney Lynch reported that a similar issue came up that same day in regards to the negotiations between the City and the Palos Verdes Art Center (PVAC). She explained that the PVAC has expressed concern about its environmental mitigation responsibilities which might include a portion of the area proposed for the new Palos Verdes on the Net trailer, saying that PVAC would like assurance that the trailer and any related structures can be relocated to accommodate any required remediation associated with the new art center building. She advised that, with Council’s approval, she would like to include a provision clarifying that the trailer can be moved to another appropriate location on the Upper Point Vicente Park site if necessary.

City Manager Evans stated that he believed that this provision was already included in the agreement.

City Attorney Lynch indicated that the current provision is rather narrow, currently applying only to new construction, and saying that she would like to expand it to cover any required environmental remediation or other reasons that might necessitate relocation of Palos Verdes on the Net’s existing and new trailers. She added that the evergreen clause is somewhat unusual, suggesting it might be appropriate to insert a more standard termination provision in the agreement.

Mayor Wolowicz stated that, while his intent is not to close off the possibility of renewal, given the City’s long-standing relationship with Palos Verdes on the Net and the likelihood the agreement will be renewed, he would prefer not to set a precedent which others might compare their own situations against. He stated that there is a reason the City has a standard three-year term in its lease agreements.

Councilman Gardiner asserted that Mr. Vegvari’s proposal is of great benefit to the City and the youth of the community, saying that there needs to be some mechanism to accommodate the interests of both parties. He inquired about the City’s proposed lease agreement with the Palos Verdes Art Center.

City Manager Evans indicated that the draft agreement includes a 99-year lease with options to renew.

Councilman Gardiner noted that, while he is not suggesting that such a long term be applied to this situation, it certainly indicates that there is already a precedent for longer time periods in the City’s lease agreements.

Mayor Pro Tem Long and Councilman Clark said that they believed the agreement with the Palos Verdes Art Center was going to be limited to 50 or 55 years.

City Attorney Lynch advised Council that the City does have a 55-year limit. She explained, however, that her research of the issue indicates that there is a provision in the law that would allow a use like the art center to be extended to 99 years if certain findings can be made, saying that she believes Council could make those findings.

City Manager Evans noted that the Palos Verdes Art Center is very firm about wanting a 99-year lease.

Councilman Clark recalled that Council’s discussion regarding that lease was based on staff’s input that the term could not exceed 50 to 55 years in length.

City Attorney Lynch agreed that the information previously provided to Council indicated 55 years as a maximum, saying that she advised Council during that discussion that she would further investigate the issue and report back. She indicated that she has now determined that the lease can be extended to 99 years, although Council has not yet authorized it.

Mayor Wolowicz recalled that Council was collectively uncomfortable with the idea of a 99-year lease during its previous discussion.

Mayor Pro Tem Long noted that, although the term “evergreen” was being used, Council had the option to refuse renewal of the lease at the end of a year, saying that, in essence, it is a one-year lease with the default being automatic renewal if no action is taken. He declared that he did not find a problem with such a provision and recommended that it be included in the lease agreement with Palos Verdes on the Net.

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to 1) Approve the Lease Agreement, as amended, between the City of Rancho Palos Verdes and the Southern California Regional Occupational Center for the Cable Television Studio; 2) Approve the Lease Agreement between the City of Rancho Palos and Palos Verdes on the Net terminating their present lease of the Cable Studio and entering into a new lease of a site for a modular building; and, 3) Approve a fourth amendment to the Lease for the Building where the Palos Verdes on the Net offices are located to extend that agreement through June 20, 2009, which is a thirteen-month extension, and to revise the methodology for further extending that lease.

City Attorney Lunch clarified that the evergreen provision as currently written included a 15-month termination period. She recommended a roll call vote on the matter since it involved a contract.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

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

Mayor Wolowicz stated that the City owed Ted Vegvari a debt of gratitude for all he had accomplished in creating the multi-media cable television studio and adding that he looked forward to the continuation of this relationship.

New Telecommunications Service (1601)

City Manager Evans provided a brief oral staff report

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to send a letter to AT&T and Verizon encouraging the companies’ venture into the video service market in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

“No” on AB 2987 Coalition (306)

Councilman Clark presented a summary staff report and advocated that Council adopt a formal position in opposition of A.B. 2987 and to alert local community stakeholders, i.e., homeowners associations, the Chamber of Commerce, rotary, et cetera, of the issues associated with this proposed legislation.

Councilman Gardiner strongly supported Councilman Clark’s position, saying that, while the argument in favor is that the measure will increase competition and offer consumers lower rates and better service by providing a new statewide franchise video and cable service, it will actually abolish local control and limit competition.

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to 1) Join the League of California Cities’ “No” on AB 2987 Coalition; and, 2) Direct staff to disseminate information generated by the League of California Cities to local stakeholders who may be interested in joining the coalition. Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

JPIA Claims Handling Authority (902)

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru indicated that late correspondence had been distributed on this item.

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to continue the matter to July 5, 2006. Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

COUNCIL DISCUSSION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS & SUGGESTION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:

Councilman Gardiner requested adding Closed Session Minutes to the next meeting’s agenda.

Councilman Clark asked that an item supporting additional funding for the California Coastal Commission be included on the next meeting’s agenda.

CLOSED SESSION REPORT:

City Attorney Lynch reported that in response to Council’s direction she would send letters to Kutak Rock and the CJPIA regarding the Monks case and provide recommendations on additional advisory counsel; and, that no action was taken with respect to any of the other items.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mayor Wolowicz adjourned the meeting at 12:25 a.m.


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Mayor
Attest:

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City Clerk