Rancho Palos Verdes City Council


OCTOBER 3, 2006

The meeting was called to order at 7:03 P.M. by Mayor Wolowicz at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.

City Council roll call was answered as follows:

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


Also present were Les Evans, City Manager; Carol Lynch, City Attorney;

Carolynn Petru, Assistant City Manager/City Clerk; Joel Rojas, Director of

Planning, Building and Code Enforcement; Jim Bell, Director of Public

Works; Dennis McLean, Director of Finance/Information Technology; Roy Bronold, Building Official, Gina Park, Assistant to the City Manager; and Kit Fox,

Associate Planner.


The Flag Salute was led by Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputy Greg Evans.

Mayor Wolowicz welcomed Deputy Evans as the community’s new regional traffic deputy.


Moved by Councilman Stern and seconded by Councilman Clark to approve the Agenda as presented. Hearing no objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.


City Manager Evans reported that the Water Replenishment District had to cancel their presentation and would like to reschedule for November.

Mayor Wolowicz extended get-well wishes to Traffic Safety Commission Chair Ava Shepherd and condolences to the family of Rolling Hills' City Manager Craig Nealis on his untimely death.


Mayor Wolowicz announced Recycler of the Month winners Mrs. Ferrin and Bruce Bradford. He indicated that all winners received a check for $250 representing a year of free refuse service and he urged everyone to participate in the City’s recycling program.


Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported no requests to speak.


Councilman Stern reported meeting with Mayor Pro Tem Long and members of the Trump Organization and he indicated that an item would be coming forward at the meeting of October 17 regarding their operating permit. He indicated that a number of different proposals will be presented at that time to address logistical problems and he encouraged the other Council members to visit the site.

Mayor Pro Tem Long deferred his report.

Councilman Clark thanked his colleagues for coming to his retirement ceremony from the United States government after 35 years of service and reported being honored to receive several proclamations. He reported attending the Sanitation District meeting in Torrance and indicated that he was asked to be a speaker at the Dana Point Harbor celebration in his capacity as Coastal Commissioner for the launch of the new Harbor Master Plan Renovation.

Councilman Gardiner stated that he had met with the Crestridge Homeowners Association and they discussed issues regarding peafowl trapping, traffic issues on Crenshaw Boulevard between Crest Road and Crestridge Road and the proposed development on Crestridge that involves the use of City property.

Councilman Stern reported that he and Councilman Gardiner were interviewed by several students taking a class at the City’s multimedia studio.

Mayor Wolowicz apologized for missing Councilman Clark’s retirement party.

Mayor Wolowicz indicated that Council members look to homeowners associations for input and he encouraged these groups to request meetings with Council members to facilitate better communication.

Councilman Gardiner clarified that when he meets with homeowner associations he is clear that he is not speaking for the entire Council.

Mayor Wolowicz reported discussing naming opportunities with the Pointe Vicente Interpretive Center Fundraising Committee and he encouraged any interested parties to contact City Hall about participating in this program.

Mayor Wolowicz indicated that he and Councilman Clark had attended the League of California Cities annual meeting and expressed hope that the issue regarding which Council members was the voting delegate would be resolved. He also attended a lunch meeting at the Palos Verdes Peninsula Coordinating Council held at the main library where each city was allocated five minutes to give discuss the state of their respective jurisdictions.

Mayor Wolowicz pointed out that he had been recently misquoted in a newspaper article about overturning the City’s approval of the Terranea project. He explained that what he actually said was that the City was looking forward to placing a shovel in the ground to turn over the dirt to start the project. He also extended an apology to the Pointe Vicente Interpretive Center, which he had misidentified as the Palos Verdes Interpretive Center.

Mayor Wolowicz reported on attending a South Bay Cities Council of Governments meeting where regional housing allocations were discussed. He indicated that he had learned of an effort by Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to have the allocation efforts pushed down because SCAG does not have the money to defend themselves against the lawsuits that are likely to result from the quotas. He indicated that significant numbers would be assigned to the City and hoped that cities within the South Bay region that are running out of room would be allowed to transfer of funds to cities where the funds can be put to good use.

Mayor Wolowicz stated that he had met with former Mayor Ken Dyda to discuss the status of the Crestridge project, which includes plans for a new senior center.

Councilman Clark reported attending a session at the League of California Cities convention in San Diego conducted by the City of Palo Alto and two coastal cities in the San Diego area regarding the issue of “mansionization.” He said that he found it interesting and in line with what this City has done with regard to neighborhood compatibility and development standards. He said that he asked the speakers for more information, as he felt what they had done was thoughtful and something the City might want to pursue.


City Manager Evans reminded Council that there were six more regularly scheduled Council meetings left in 2006. In addition, he noted the Landslide Moratorium Workshop at 9:30 A.M. on Saturday, October 7, 2006 at Miraleste Intermediate School; a Community Leaders Breakfast on October 21 at 9:00 A.M. regarding the Annenberg Visioning Plan, followed by a public workshop at 12:30 P.M; and the Mile Long Picnic co-sponsored by the City and the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy at the Civic Center on October 22. Lastly he noted that the Mayor would present his annual State of the City address at a joint meeting of the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club on Friday, October 27, 2006.

Councilman Clark referred to attempts by the City to open up dialogue with the Palos Verdes Unified School District (PVPUSD) about the fact that one sixth of the City’s population is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. He expressed disappointment with comments PVPUSD Superintendent in a letter to the Mayor dated September 21, 2006 indicating that he did not see any realistic solutions to the identified problems. Councilman Clark indicated that he appreciated Mayor Wolowicz’s response in a letter dated September 25, 2006 that suggested a meeting to find and better define the areas of disagreement.

Mayor Pro Tem Long endorsed Councilman Clark’s comments and reminded his colleagues that not long ago they received a letter from Los Angeles School District Superintendent Roy Romer that appeared to be receptive to what the City was proposing, provided the PVPUSD was involved in the process. He observed that if the PVPUSD would not get involved in the process, the City could not move forward and he shared Councilman Clark’s disappointment that the PVPUSD did not seem interested in resolving the issue.


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


Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported distributing late correspondence to Council on items 2, 3 and 5 and stated that she had four requests to speak on Item No. 3 (Border Issues) on the Consent Calendar.

Mayor Wolowicz pulled Item No. 3 due to the requests from the public to speak on the item.

Councilman Clark requested that Item Nos. 5 (Palos Verdes Drive South Speed Zones), 6 (Letter of Support for SEA Lab) and 7 (FY 05-06 Year-End Budget Adjustments) be pulled for questions or comments.

Mayor Pro Tem Long reported questions on Items No. 7 (FY 05-06 Year-End Budget Adjustments) and 8 (City Investment Policy). He also asked that the minutes be approved with the amendments he proposed in late correspondence.

Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner to approve the Consent Calendar, excluding Items No. 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8. The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Clark,* Gardiner, Long, Stern, and Mayor Wolowicz

NOES: None

*Councilman Clark abstained from voting on the minutes of August 29, 2006, as he was absent from that meeting.

Motion to Waive Full Reading

Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at the 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

Approved the minutes of August 29, 2006, as amended.

Border Issues Status Report

This item considered separately.

Salary Resolution - Permit Technician Job Classification


Approve Palos Verdes Drive South Speed Zones

This item was considered separately.

Letter in Support of SEA Lab Abalone Enhancement Project

This item was considered separately.

FY05-06 Year-End Budget Adjustments

This item was considered separately.

City Investment Policy – FY06-07

This item was considered separately.

Additions to the Consolidated Loan Between the City and Agency for Expenses Incurred During FY05-06

Received and filed the staff report, which provides information regarding the loan additions to the Rancho Palos Verdes Redevelopment Agency (“Agency”) in the amount of $80,498 for expenses incurred by the City during FY05-06. The Consolidated Loan Agreement dated December 1, 2003 authorizes the loan additions.

July 2006 Treasurer’s Report

Received and filed the July 2006 Treasurer’s Report for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

Register of Demands



Border Issues Status Report

The Council discussed issues related to the effect of the local offshore DDT spill on efforts to replenish the abalone supply on the coast.

Mayor Pro Tem Long volunteered to assist Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission staff in presenting the issue in the hopes funding can be authorized.

Councilman Gardiner expressed concern that the City was not being advised as to what is going on with the former Palos Verdes/County of Los Angeles/Rolling Hills Estate landfill and referred to a recent letter from Senator Feinstein also expressing concerns about the site. He also voiced concern that the City did not have the opportunity to provide input on a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) about the Berth 97109 Container Terminal Project at the Port of Los Angeles. He questioned whether a letter was available for the Council to decide whether to take action on the issue.

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru indicated that the letter had been included with the late correspondence.

Councilman Gardiner discussed ten new cranes proposed for the closest border to Rancho Palos Verdes and air pollution generated by ocean going vessels from the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach.

Councilman Clark commended Jody James, an environmental activist concerned with the effects of port pollution on the Peninsula and invited her to address the Council to voice her concerns.

Mark Wells, Ponte Vista Community Advisory Committee, Rancho Palos Verdes noted that the Ponte Vista project and the proposed SRHS 14 High School were two important issues in the Border Issues arena. He indicated great concerns with traffic impacts of the Ponte Vista project and requested that the Council implore CalTrans, the City of Los Angeles and others to facilitate and construct a new road between Western Avenue and Gaffey Street to the Harbor Freeway. He invited everyone to visit and contribute to his blog at www.pontevista.blogspot.com where additional information is available.

Janet Gunter, San Pedro/Peninsula Homeowners Coalition, San Pedro, pointed out that the City had been left out of the loop for decades regarding development within the port and the proposed development would dramatically impact views along with traffic and air pollution. She suggested that the City consider having Dr. Froines from UCLA present his findings to the Council about air pollution because the portion of Rancho Palos Verdes on the east side of the hill has an elevated health risk. She said that she was pleased to see the letter that would be submitted before the end of comment period and hoped the City’s concerns would be brought into the equation.

Andrew Mardesich, San Pedro Homeowners and Peninsula Coalition, expressed concern with the intrusion of visual blight on adjacent residential neighborhoods and light blight, which the port has refused to address in the EIR. He reported that the California Supreme Court had rejected overturning the decision in their favor because the judge determined that the EIRs were not objectively done. He added that they were looking to request a quality of life study be prepared by a third party to address issues in Wilmington, San Pedro and the east side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and he invited the City to participate in the formation of the study.

Responding to Councilman Clark, Mr. Mardesich explained that because there is a master plan for the ports they are exempt from the Coastal Commission’s jurisdiction.

Councilman Clark clarified that amendments to the plan had to come through the Coastal Commission.

Jody James, San Pedro Peninsula Homeowners Association, indicated that the Los Angeles Port had special permitting power over its own projects. She expressed great concern with air quality and reported that they had been petitioning the port and Air Quality Management District (AQMD) to get monitoring done in Rancho Palos Verdes. She reported that UCLA Health Department Head Dr. Froines has participated in a combined UC Particulate Matter Study and has indicated that the air quality issue is a state of emergency with ultra fine particles being the most dangerous to public health.

Councilman Clark pointed out that the air pollution must also affect the City of Rolling Hills Estates and he hoped they were also outreaching to this city.

Moved by Mayor Pro Tem Long, seconded by Councilman Stern, and hearing no objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered to: 1) Receive and file the current status of border issues; and, 2) Authorize staff to send a comment letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the Draft EIS/EIR for the China Shipping Project at the Port of Los Angeles.

Approve Palos Verdes South Speed Zones

Councilman Clark observed that improved road conditions increased speeds and expressed concern that 20% of the traffic traveled at speeds of 50 mph to 60 mph on Palos Verdes Drive South. He reported hearing increasing requests from residents about having a traffic signal at the intersection of Palos Verdes Drive South and Palos Verdes Drive East, and he was concerned that the additional traffic generated by Trump National Golf Course and the Terranea resort hotel would increase the potential for traffic fatalities.

Director Bell explained that the trouble spots had been identified and that City’s resources were being effectively used to help improve public safety.

Moved by Mayor Pro Tem Long and seconded by Councilman Clark to: 1) Establish speed limits of 35 MPH on Palos Verdes Drive South through the landslide and 40 MPH east of the landslide to the City Limit; and 2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2006-77, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ESTABLISHING SPEED LIMITS ON PALOS VERDES DRIVE SOUTH.

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru explained that Council was adopting the resolution that was distributed as part of late correspondence

A roll call on the motion reflected the following:

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

NOES: None.

Letter in Support of SEA Lab Abalone Enhancement Project

Councilman Clark commended Mayor Pro Tem Long for his proactive initiative regarding this project.

Moved by Councilman Stern, seconded by Councilman Gardiner and, hearing no objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered to authorize the Mayor to sign a letter expressing the City Council’s support of the proposed SEA Lab Abalone Enhancement Project.

FY05-06 Year-End Budget Adjustments

The Council discussed the year-end budget adjustments and Director McLean indicated that the adjustments were housekeeping items to either cover several line items that exceeded initial estimates or to reallocated money to create more flexibility of use between restricted and non-restricted funds.

Director McLean acknowledged that ending General fund reserves had decreased but it was too early to know whether that was a trend. He indicated that more information would be available with the annual report in December and added that the impact of any trends would be presented to Council during the first or second meeting in February 2007 during the mid-year review for FY 06-07.

Councilman Gardiner clarified that no money had been spent that the Council had not previously authorized. City Manager Evans indicated that there were only some minor exceptions to that statement.

Moved by Mayor Pro Tem Long and seconded by Councilman Stern to


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

NOES: None

City Investment Policy – FY06-07

Mayor Pro Tem Long withdrew his question and moved to adopt and file the FY06-07 Investment Policy for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. Councilman Clark seconded the motion and hearing no objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.


Appeal of Approval of Planning Case No. ZON2006-00227 (Non-Commercial Amateur Radio Antenna Permit): Request to Overturn the Planning Commission’s Approval of a 69.8-Foot-Tall Amateur Radio Antenna Tower and 280-Square-Foot Emergency Communications Center Adjacent to the “Palos Verdes On The Net” Studio Building in Upper Point Vicente Park

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported that notice of the public hearing was duly published, all written protests were provided to Council and that late correspondence was distributed on this item.

Mayor Pro Tem Long recused himself from participating on this matter, as he had not had a chance to make a site visit. City Attorney Lynch clarified that it was not necessary for Mayor Pro Tem Long to recuse himself, however, he chose to do so anyway and vacated the Council Chambers.

Associate Planner Fox provided a summary of the material of record and presented photos to illustrate possible view impacts.

Council discussion focused on the optimum height of the antenna to enable communication with residents in all areas of the city, the effects of painting the antenna black, the proposed location of the antenna, alternate locations, whether a repeater would be needed for alternate locations, telescoping the antenna, available emergency power to raise and lower the antenna, and view impacts.

Councilman Gardiner questioned when Council would discuss the merits of having a taller antenna since it was not part of the appeal or the proposal.

City Attorney Lynch indicated that would be part of the Council’s discussion of the item and if they chose they could send it back to the Planning Commission or direct that the application be amended to the increased height, which would then be reviewed by the Planning Commission. She indicated that this is typically how things are handled when a project is modified and exceeds the scope of the original request.

Mayor Wolowicz opened the public hearing.

Will Bollard, an attorney representing the La Cresta Pointe Homeowners Association, presented a slide show presentation illustrating their reasons for opposing the tower which included view impacts; decreased home values; that the tower would mostly benefit hobby HAM radio operators; conflict of interest with the City; already adequate antennae in place to contact the Lomita Sheriff Station which can then contact the County; that the proposed antenna will make the area look like an industrial park or antenna farm; the relevance of the FCC’s PRB1 Regulations; and the past practice of requiring retractable towers on non-commercial antennae. He indicated that they favored additional review of alternative sites and he suggested a smaller retractable tower or co-locating on the existing monopole tower. He presented photographs of current views and proposed views, and he strongly urged the City to grant the appeal to modify the project to find less visually intrusive methods, including an alternative location or a retractable tower.

Council discussion focused on the fact that the antenna would be on City-owned land, the relevance of PRB1, and the differing presentation of the visual impact in City photographs vs. Mr. Bollard’s photographs and the location of the tower.

Speaking in support of the tower were: Alan Soderberg, Peninsula Volunteer Alert Network (PVAN); Tim Weiner, an officer on a Federal Emergency Management Association Disaster Medical Assistance Team and member of the Emergency Preparedness Committee; Dale Hanks, Disaster Communications Service; Richard Smith, Chairman of Emergency Preparedness Committee; Jack Karp, Ex Officio Member of the Emergency Preparedness Committee; Bob Nelson, Rancho Palos Verdes, and Mel Hughes, Emergency Preparedness Committee.

These speakers focused on: the necessity of providing communication in an emergency; the possibility that radio communications could be the only source of communication for a long period of time in an emergency; the benefit of increased security; line of sight frequencies; the importance of proximity of this tower to the City Emergency Operations Center; concerns with alternate locations including the need for additional equipment and the increased potential for problems; a larger tower that would enable communication with the County; view impacts; the impact on property values; alternative communication methods such as satellite phones and mobile cell phone towers; motorized provisions for raising and lowering the tower; issues raised by tower co-location on the monopole; maintenance of the tower; and the fact that painting the tower black would necessitate etching which would weaken its resistance to the elements.

Responding to inquiry from Councilman Gardiner, Mr. Hughes explained that tests had been conducted using radios positioned around the Peninsula at various heights which confirmed that while a higher antenna is better; there are some areas that would always remain inaccessible, such as within the shadow of San Pedro Hill. He felt that increasing the height of the antenna to 100 feet would enable communication to twice as many people than would be covered by the current project.

Responding to Councilman Stern, Mr. Hughes explained that they had selected 70 feet instead of 100 feet in an effort to be budget conscious, and while that height is not ideal, it meets minimum requirements. He added that a retractable tower is bigger at the bottom and the part that extends into public view is the smallest part of the tower. He noted that one of the goals of the City’s award-winning Neighborhood Watch program is to have at least one HAM radio operator in every neighborhood.

Mr. Bollard, speaking in rebuttal to the comments from the other speakers, asserted that feasible alternatives did exist and noted that in some respects San Pedro Hill would be a preferable location. He suggested looking at emergencies realistically, noting that sufficient communications in the area are available to notify nearby authorities and it is not necessary to contact Sacramento as there are other entities available to do that. He pointed out that at the prior hearing before the Planning Commission it was noted that the tower would be used for emergency and recreation uses and he received clarification that it would only be used for emergencies. Mr. Bollard observed that most of the speakers were either Ham radio operators or on City committees and he felt that this was a conflict of interest.

Councilman Stern pointed out that the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is at City Hall and locating the tower elsewhere would create more links in a chain, which could disrupt communication in an emergency. He asserted that a San Pedro Hill location could introduce complexities, which could eliminate communication during an emergency.

Mr. Bollard stated in response that methods were in place to communicate from San Pedro Hill to City Hall. In response to a question from Councilman Gardiner, he indicated that the presence of the new tower would further degrade the cluttered appearance of the City Hall property.

Mayor Wolowicz agreed with Councilman Stern’s point about the need to locate the antenna tower near the City’s EOC and pointed out that the City has no control over the Coast Guard site, which currently gives the City Hall property the look of an antenna farm.

Mr. Bollard suggested that since a retractable tower was an option, the actual tower should be lower than 70 feet.

There being no further public testimony, Mayor Wolowicz closed the public hearing.


Mayor Wolowicz called a brief recess from 10:15 P.M. to 10:30 P.M.

Councilman Stern moved to deny the appeal and eliminate the condition that the tower be painted black. He opposed taking action to increase the height of the tower as the public expected that the tower would be denied or lowered but not raised. He felt that if PVAN wanted a higher antenna, it could go back through the process to have a higher one considered. Councilman Clark seconded the motion.

Councilman Gardiner proposed an amendment to direct that the item be returned to the Planning Commission to explore the option of a 69.8-foot antenna that had the ability to be extended to 100 feet. Mayor Wolowicz seconded the proposed amendment for discussion purposes.

Councilman Stern opposed the amendment because although there had been some input on that concept, it had not been sufficiently proposed or evaluated. He felt it better to require PVAN to go through the process so the public would have the chance to evaluate the revised design and provide comments.

Councilman Gardiner asserted that the professionals had stated their opinions that they would prefer to have a tower extendable to 100 feet and he wanted to see the Council be proactive in providing better emergency communication facilities. He felt the item should go back to the Planning Commission, where the public would be given the opportunity to comment on the higher tower.

Councilman Clark expressed support for Councilman Gardiner’s view.

City Manager Evans stated that if the matter went back to the Planning Commission the project would be put on hold until it could be considered at the beginning of the next year.

Mayor Wolowicz reopened the public hearing.

Mel Hughes suggested approving a tower that under normal circumstances nested at the currently proposed height but could be raised higher in the event of an emergency. In response to a question from Councilman Gardiner, he indicated that PVAN had initially proposed a shorter tower due to cost considerations.

Councilman Gardiner agreed with Mr. Hughes suggestion.

Mr. Bollard stated that the proposed change would require a visual impact assessment because the thickness of the tower would be increased to accommodate the retractable portion, which therefore would increase the visual bulk of the tower and create even more of a view impairment.

Responding to Councilman Gardiner, City Attorney Lynch expressed concern about the due process rights of the appellant to analyze what the parameters of the new structure would be, as they do not match the current application. She was not sure whether the antenna tower was the least visually obtrusive available and she felt the idea of sending it back to the Planning Commission would ensure that the adjacent neighbors’ rights had not been obstructed.

Councilman Clark noted that in the past the Council had sent instructions to the Planning Commission for appropriate reconsideration with guidance.

City Attorney Lynch suggested that, if Council favors a higher tower, specific instruction should be given to the Planning Commission, as Director Rojas has expressed concern that it might be inclined to deny it otherwise.

Councilman Stern did not like the notion of directing the Planning Commission to a conclusion since the Council had not considered all the information yet and he reiterated his support for denying the appeal and allowing the proponents to come back with a new plan to be considered.

City Attorney Lynch clarified that she did not mean the Planning Commission should be directed toward a particular outcome but rather be directed to consider the new design.

Councilman Gardiner expressed support for his original amendment, as he wanted the alternative of a higher tower to be looked at, rather than to have the construction of the shorter tower started immediately.

Mayor Wolowicz said that he did not want the opportunity for additional height to be lost if it would significantly improve communications.

A vote on the amendment to remand the item back to the Planning Commission to reconsider a nesting tower with a height of 55 feet and an overall height of 69.8 feet which can be raised to an overall maximum height of 100 feet during a declared emergency was taken as follows:

AYES: Clark, Gardiner and Mayor Wolowicz

NOES: Stern


A vote on the original motion to deny the appeal with the amendment that the tower not be required to be painted back but be left with the galvanized metal finish was taken as follows:

AYES: Clark, Gardiner, Stern and Mayor Wolowicz

NOES: None


City Attorney Lynch indicated that the resolution would be brought back with the amendment incorporated on October 17, 2006.

Mayor Pro Tem Long returned to Council Chambers.


Mayor Wolowicz reported concerns raised by Councilmembers about the late hour. The Council decided to consider Regular Business Item No. 20 (Marijuana Dispensaries Ordinance) out of order.


Consideration of an Ordinance in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes Amending Sections of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code Relating to the Issuance of Business Licenses and an Urgency Interim Ordinance Prohibiting the Establishment of Marijuana Dispensaries, Stores, or Co-ops in Any Zoning District Within the City

Detective G. Rezulli, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, provided a brief report on his experience with marijuana dispensaries in the City of West Hollywood. He reported security issues with the dispensaries, a slight increase in parking tickets, loitering, increased foot traffic and several robberies and burglaries.

Mayor Wolowicz suggested these businesses were not as well regulated, as they should be.

Detective Rezulli indicated that most of the people who run medical marijuana dispensaries are very nice and are willing to do whatever the City asks them to do, but they are not very savvy about security.

City Attorney Lynch explained that the proposed ordinances would prevent the establishment of those types of facilities in the City. As an alternative, she said that Council could adopt ordinances to regulate those facilities. She explained that these facilities currently violate federal law and that the City could deny them a business license on these grounds. She also indicated that the City could adopt a land use moratorium creating a permanent ban or could adopt a two-year moratorium, thus allowing the City an opportunity to re-evaluate its options over the next two years.

Mayor Pro Tem Long questioned City Attorney Lynch about the interaction between the current state laws and Federal laws governing medical marijuana; the differences between regulating marijuana dispensaries through a City business license or a City business permit; and the fact that state law prohibits prosecution of individuals or medical marijuana cooperatives possessing and using marijuana for their own medical use with a doctor’s authorization.

Moved by Councilman Clark and seconded by Councilman Gardiner to accept the staff recommendation.

Mayor Pro Tem Long proposed an amendment to the motion on the floor to also direct staff to bring back a fourth ordinance at the next meeting that would move the regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries from the business license section of the Municipal Code to the Business permit section and to allow Council a further opportunity to consider alternatives to amending the City’s Zoning Ordinance regarding medical marijuana dispensaries.

Councilman Stern advocated leaving the zoning restrictions in place due to the possible impact of Proposition 90 concerning eminent domain and other “takings” claims, should it pass on the November 2006 ballot.

Mayor Pro Tem Long restated his proposed amendment as a substitute motion, incorporating Councilman Stern’s suggestion in his substitute motion.

City Attorney Lynch clarified that the effect of Mayor Pro Tem Long’s motion would be for Council to adopt the three ordinances presented by staff, with direction to staff to bring back a fourth ordinance, which would repeal and replace the first two ordinances.

Councilman Stern seconded the substitute motion, as clarified.

Councilman Gardiner asked and received confirmation from City Attorney Lynch that the maker and seconder of the original motion could incorporate Mayor Pro Tem Long’s proposed substitute motion as a friendly amendment.

Councilman Clark and Councilman Gardiner accepted Mayor Pro Tem Long’s substitute motion as a “friendly amendment” to the original motion on the floor.

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru clarified that the amended motion included introduction or adoption of the three ordinances presented in the staff report, plus direction to staff to bring back a fourth ordinance to address marijuana dispensaries in the business permit section rather than the business permit license section of the Municipal Code.


The motion passed on the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: None

Mayor Pro Tem Long stated that he was voting in favor of the motion because he felt compelled to do so by the supremacy of Federal Law, even when it is not particularly wise.

In anticipation of inquiries, Mayor Wolowicz requested a single page summary of the Council’s action on this topic be posted on the City website so that people could be directed there for information.


Code Amendment (Case No. ZON2004-00265): Amendment to Various Sections of Title 17 (Zoning) to Regulate the Use of Cargo Containers on Public and Private Property [Continued from August 15, 2006]

Moved by Councilman Stern and seconded by Mayor Wolowicz to continue the public hearing to November 7, 2006. Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

Moved by Mayor Pro Tem Long and seconded by Councilman Stern to suspend the rules to commence new business after 11 p.m. Hearing no objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

Claim Against the City by Patrick Kelsey

Pat Kelsey, Rancho Palos Verdes, reported that the most recent property owner adjacent to the City street tree at 2127 General Street had asked the City several times in the past few years to remove the tree and they had not been allowed to remove it. He reiterated his assertion that there was just cause for a claim; presented photographs to illustrate the size of the tree and pointed out that the tree was not on adjacent to his property but across the street from his house

Responding to Councilman Stern, Mr. Kelsey reported that he had received a letter from the law firm representing the City.

Mayor Pro Tem Long reported being advised by the claims adjustor from the Joint Powers Insurance Authority (JPIA) that insures the City that the tree was not the cause of the rupture in the sewer line, but rather the rupture in the line is what attracted the roots of the tree. He indicated that the Council had to defer to the advice received from the JPIA advice until proven otherwise, as the JPIA is the entity that pays claims on the City’s behalf. He encouraged Mr. Kelsey to continue to present his evidence because if he can prove he is correct, the JPIA will pay the claim, but explained that the City is not in a position to support a claim when JPIA says the City is not liable.

Moved by Mayor Pro Tem Long and seconded by Councilman Stern to reject the claim and direct staff to notify the claimants. Hearing no objection Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

Utilities/Maintenance Cost for PVAN and PVNET Modular Buildings

Moved by Councilman Gardiner and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Long to continue the item to October 17, 2006. Hearing no objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

Cable Television Committee

Moved by Mayor Pro Tem Long and seconded by Councilman Gardiner to waive the staff report and proceed to public comment.

Mel Hughes, Rancho Palos Verdes, suggested creating a broader committee to utilizing the knowledge and talent in the City residents, rather than just having Council members serve on the committee.

Mayor Wolowicz agreed with Mr. Hughes’ comments.

Richard Smith, Rancho Palo Verdes, asked that Council consider the local cable television system to be an extension of the City’s emergency communications capabilities, as it may be the only local access point available during an emergency and may be required to perform a significant amount of work beyond what is currently defined.

Councilman Gardiner suggested having two Council members serve on the committee and changing the name from the Cable Television Committee to the Channel 33 Committee, as the focus is not the local cable television provider, but is strictly concerned with RPV Channel 33. He indicated that the two Council members could consider options for the committee’s composition going forward and come back with alternatives recommendations for the entire Council to consider.

Mr. Smith pointed out that providing an emergency power supply for the multimedia studio and the adjacent disaster communications center could provide an opportunity to accomplish two things at the same time.

Mayor Pro Tem Long commented that he felt Council subcommittees should exist primarily for the purpose of gathering and presenting information to the Council, and not to make policy, but rather to implementing it. He added that everyone should have a chance to serve on the committee and he volunteered to serve.

Councilman Stern agreed that it is a good idea to periodically rotate Council members on the committee, especially as this is a learning experience.

Mayor Wolowicz said that it was a benefit to the community to have RPV Channel 33 fully operational but noted that finding product, producing product and integrating the current management style with the City’s was a significant task. He acknowledged that there was much work to be done, felt a proper budget should be assigned to realize the channel’s real potential and felt a City staff member should be assigned to the program.

Councilman Stern moved to appoint Mayor Pro Tem Long to the Channel 33 Committee and Mayor Pro Tem Long seconded the motion. Hearing no objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

Mayor Pro Tem Long requested that an item be agendized for a future meeting to allow Council to provide direction to the Committee.

Information Technology Ad Hoc Committee

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved to waive the staff report and hear public comment.

Councilman Gardiner suggested that the subcommittee should make a recommendation to the Council, rather than allowing the subcommittee to select the firm that would gather information and develop recommendations.

Mayor Pro Tem Long expressed concern as to whether the ad hoc committee was even necessary.

Ted Vegvari, Palos Verdes on the Net, welcomed any audit or reviews of his organization and said that he looked forward to the results, which he believed would show that they have a great relationship with the City and provide great service.

Councilman Stern agreed with Mayor Pro Tem Long that another committee was not necessary but he felt it was appropriate for staff to look into the issues with the assistance of other professionals if need be.

Councilman Clark expressed agreement with Councilman Stern’s comments.

Mayor Wolowicz pointed out that staff had suggested in the report that it could prepare a draft scope of work and the Request for Qualifications, both of which could be presented to the Council for modification or affirmation.

Mayor Pro Tem Long suggested that staff’s recommendation presupposed Council wanted to put out an RFP to look for alternatives. He thought Council should instruct staff to review all of the City’s Information Technology services, compare them with the alternatives and report back to Council with results and any recommendations.

Councilman Gardiner felt it useful to gather the information since the contract with Palos Verdes on the Net has not been put out to bid since around 1998.

City Manager Evans indicated that staff would prefer to bring in an outside firm who is objective and understands financial matters and the types of services being considered, pointing out that staff has worked with Palos Verdes on the Net for over seven years and has developed a great working relationship with this organization, which could call staff’s objectivity into question.

Moved by Councilman Clark and seconded by Councilman Stern to direct staff to retain an independent consultant to review the level of service and costs associated with the City’s current agreement with Palos Verdes on the Net. Hearing no objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

Moved by Mayor Pro Tem Long and seconded by Councilman Stern to suspend the rules to commence new business after 12 p.m. Hearing no objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

Neighborhood Beautification Grant Awards (Cycle 17)

Director Bell provided a brief staff report, noting a slight change to the staff recommendation. He said that the original recommendation was to approve forty-eight grant applications and to deny one grant application. He indicated that staff was now recommending approval of the grant requested by the Rancho Crest Homeowners Association because staff had recently verified that there was no agreement between the Cities of Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates to limit the use of white three rail fencing in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Ted Paulson, President of the Rancho Crest Homeowners Association, Rancho Palos Verdes, commented that the application they submitted was for $3,100 with a $100 matching grant and they hoped it would be funded.

Bob Nelson, Sea Bluff Homeowners Association, thanked the Council and recognized the amount of time that goes into administering the beautification grants.

Moved by Councilman Stern and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Long to approve forty-nine grant applications for the Neighborhood Beautification Program. A roll call on the vote reflected unanimous approval.

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

NOES: None

Minutes of Closed Sessions

Moved by Councilman Gardiner and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Long to continue the item to October 17, 2006. Hearing no objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

City Webpage for Pending Lawsuits

Moved by Councilman Gardiner and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Long to continue the item to October 17, 2006. Hearing no objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

Storm Drain User Fee

Mayor Pro Tem Long explained that he and Councilman Gardiner were requesting Council authorization to allow the City Attorney to provide the Council subcommittee with more assistance because the exploration of alternatives for the Storm Drain User Fee could involve a considerable amount of research. He suggested that it could be possible to gain broader base of public support for the fee if it was collected over a shorter time period, albeit at a higher rate, and if it involved a citizen oversight committee. He indicated that because he and Councilman Gardiner had been at different ends of the spectrum when the Storm Drain User Fee was first proposed, when Councilman Gardiner indicated that he would be willing to formulate an alternative to the current fee in light of the repeal initiative, it prompted Mayor Pro Tem Long to suggest that he and Councilman Gardiner work together in the hopes of finding an alternative that would be agreeable to the entire Council and, therefore, hopefully the public as well.

Councilman Gardiner said that he did not want to go into the next election with an initiative to repeal the current user fee on the ballot without any alternatives for the public to consider. He agreed that restructuring the current user fee would be valuable in order to address concerns raised by the public, as well as increased construction costs. He said that he favored a 10-year sunset provision because in that time the City would have a better understanding how much new revenue would be generated by the Terranea resort. He suggested finding an outside consultant to help the City analyze the program and perhaps even monitor its progress regarding cost, schedule and performance, as the City staff was already overburdened.

Council discussion focused on the preference to develop a single alternative to the repeal initiative, rather than having several competing alternatives on the ballot, none of which would garner enough votes to pass; the fact that the type of solution the subcommittee formulates depends in large part to how much time they have to place a counter measure on the ballot, i.e. whether it would be on the ballot for the March, June or November 2007 election; and the need to decide whether the alternative would be another user fee or a parcel tax.

Councilman Stern stated that he was still in favor of a proactive program to repair the City’s storm drain system and expressed disappointment over the fact that the opponents to the Storm Drain User Fee did not propose an alternative funding mechanism as part of their repeal initiative. He made a motion for the staff recommendation, subject to an initial $15,000 spending cap.

Councilman Clark observed that the affected property owners self-imposed the fee on themselves; that the opponents were only required to gather a low percentage of signatures from the general electorate to place the initiative on the ballot; questioned how many of the repeal signatures were actual property owners who would pay the fee; expressed concern about over reacting to a few discontented opponents; and noted that even though it was close, the user fee still passed by a majority vote. He suggested examining what the City of Palo Alto and other communities have done to educate the public and secure that passage of their user fees. He expressed concern about sending mixed signals to the residents by offering an alternative plan.

Mayor Pro Tem responded by explaining that the strategy he and Councilman Gardiner had been discussing was to present an alternative to the public sometime before the November 2007 election and if it is rejected by the voters, then the residents would have to choose between the existing user fee and having no fee at all when the repeal initiative appears on the ballot. He noted that many residents still believe that the City has sufficient funds to make the necessary repairs if the City makes cuts to and reallocates its current budget.

Councilman Gardiner stated that if such an alternative was put before the voters and failed, he would support the existing user fee, which he had previously opposed.

Councilman Stern asked staff to agendize the issue of creating an oversight committee for the existing storm drain user fee on an upcoming meeting agenda.

City Attorney Lynch affirmed that Councilman Stern’s proposal was feasible and also indicated that a provision could be placed on the ballot that amended the existing fee to add an oversight committee or shorten the sunset or both.

Mayor Wolowicz stated that he worked on the Storm Drain User Fee for 3 ½ years and was troubled by the entire preceding conversation, as he felt the City had ended up with a good proposal. Although he did not believe it was explained well to the community, he was willing to proceed with the mechanism currently in place because he felt that the City’s storm drains needed to be repaired.

Councilman Clark asserted that the Council was negotiating against itself. He stated that he wanted to see an oversight committee added immediately and for Council to revisit the sunset provision. He stated that if these two changes were made to the existing program, the City would not have to exercise another ballot initiative.

Councilman Gardiner noted that there was some probability that the voters would overturn the user fee, leaving the City with insufficient remaining revenue to complete the needed repairs. He stated that, by presenting an alternative, it gives the voters another choice to consider and, if it were defeated, would provide a hedge against the existing fee from being tossed out as well.

Councilman Clark received clarification from Director McLean that a state bill introduced to move storm drain user fee initiatives into the same category as those proposed for sewer and water systems had stalled in committee.

City Attorney Lynch indicated that she would investigate whether the recent California Supreme Court decision on the Bighorn case would effect this proposed legislation.

Councilman Clark cautioned his colleagues against confusing the public with too many gyrations on this issue.

Mayor Pro Tem Long said that Council needed to proactive in shaping public opinion rather than being shaped by it. He pointed out that the existing fee was reduced several times from its initial amount, with insufficient contingencies to fund increased costs and no money for unexpected problems like those encountered on Western Avenue and Priority Three projects, but at least it had a 30 year sunset to borrow against in case of an emergency. He asserted that if the 30-year sunset were removed there would be nothing left to fall back on and noted that the existing program has a yearly review, thereby allowing the fee to be sunsetted at any time.

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru noted that there was a motion on the floor made by Councilman Stern that lacked a second. She stated that the current motion was to authorize the City Attorney spend up to $15,000 to explore legal issues related to various alternatives suggested by Council members with any additional expenditures requiring prior City Council authorization

Councilman Gardiner seconded the motion.

Councilman Clark asked staff to see what other cities in similar situations have done and to see what lessons could be learned from these case studies to help the City with the process of formulating an alternative.

Councilman Stern and Councilman Gardiner agreed to incorporate this amendment to his motion.

Moved by Councilman Stern and seconded by Councilman Gardiner to 1) Authorized the City Attorney spend up to $15,000 to explore legal issues related to various alternatives suggested by Council members with any additional expenditures requiring prior City Council authorization; and 2) Directed staff to investigate the experiences of other cities in similar situations in an effort to learn from their experiences. A roll call vote reflected the following:

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

NOES: None.

Nomination for the League of Women Voters’ Certificate of Commendation

Moved by Mayor Wolowicz and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Long to continue the item to October 17, 2006. Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.


Mayor Pro Tem Long requested that the Council agendize 1) taking a position on Proposition No. 90; and 2) providing instructions to the Channel 33 Committee at the next meeting due.

Councilman Clark requested consideration of a ban on overnight on street parking to be agendized prior to the end of the year.


City Attorney Lynch reported that no action had been taken on either item.


At 1:04 AM, the meeting was adjourned to Saturday, October 7, 2006 at 9:30 A.M. in the Theater Arts Building at Miraleste Intermediate School, 29323 Palos Verdes Drive East, for a Landslide Workshop.





City Clerk