M I N U T E S
RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
MARCH 6, 2001
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 P.M. by Mayor Lyon at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard. After the Pledge of Allegiance, roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Byrd, McTaggart, Stern, and Mayor Lyon
LATE ARRIVAL: Ferraro at 8:44 P.M.
Also present were City Manager Les Evans, Assistant City Manager Carolynn Petru; City Attorney Carol Lynch; Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas; Director of Public Works Dean Allison; Director of Finance Dennis McLean; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and, Deputy City Clerk/Recording Secretary Jackie Drasco.
The winner from the last drawing was J. S. Barrett, who will receive a check for $250, which represents a year of free refuse service. Another card was selected.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Councilman Byrd moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart, to approve the agenda. Motion carried.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart moved, seconded by Councilman Byrd, to approve the Consent Calendar as follows:
Adopted the minutes of January 30 and February 20, 2001, as amended.
Resol. No. 2001-22 - Arterial Rehabilitation Program (1204 x 1403)
(1) Awarded a professional service contract to Nichols Consulting Engineers, Inc. for pavement testing services related to the Citys Arterial Rehabilitation Program. (2) Authorized the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute a contract with Nichols Consulting Engineers, Inc. for a not to exceed amount of $17,895, and authorized the expenditure of up to an additional $2,105, for a total authorization of $20,000. (3) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2001-22, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING RESOLUTION 3000-33, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2000-2001, FOR A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT TO THE CITYS CAPITAL PROJECTS FUND.
Funding Request for Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Cleanup Activities FY 2000-2001 (1204 x 1301)
(1) Authorized the submittal of the funding request form to the Department of Conservations Division of Recycling for funding programs related to beverage container recycling and litter cleanup activities for FY 2000-2001. (2) ADOPTED RESOLUTION 2001-23, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AUTHORIZING THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS TO EXECUTE ALL NECESSARY FORMS FOR THE PURPOSES OF SECURING PAYMENTS, AND IMPLEMENTING AND CARRYING OUT THE PROGRAMS.
Professional Services Agreement with Helix Environmental Planning, Inc. (1101 x 604)
Awarded a Professional Services Agreement to Helix Environmental Planning, Inc. in the amount of $33,700 to prepare the CEQA documentation and to obtain federal and state permits for the San Ramon Drainage Project, and authorized the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute the Agreement.
January 2001 Treasurers Report (602)
Ordered receive and filed.
Resol. No. 2001-24 - Register of Demands (602)
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2001-24, 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.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Byrd, McTaggart, Stern, and Mayor Lyon
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Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) Comparison of Preserve Design Alternatives (1203)
Director Rojas presented the staff report of March 6, 2001 and the recommendation to (1) Review and discuss the three draft alternative preserve designs, along with the information regarding implementation of the NCCP. (2) Direct staff to proceed with the NCCP Program by initiating a biological and economic analysis of the three draft alternatives.
Director Rojas summarized the three NCCP alternatives detailed in the staff report using a computer generated visual presentation. He explained that from the five NCCP alternative plans discussed in the past, these three were being considered and that Alternative 1 was now "A", Alternative 3 was now "B" and Alternative 5 was now "C".
Council discussion focused on the importance of maintaining space to be used for public recreation such as soccer fields, etc. and the possibility that Upper Point Vicente Park might be used for such purposes; the resource agencies and other environmentalists being concerned that habitat be preserved at Upper Point Vicente Park; and, the need for criteria to determine the boundaries for the "bubble" areas
Mike Mohler, 11777 San Vicente Blvd., #900, Los Angeles, CA 90049, spoke in support of Alternative "C" but said he was in favor of advancing the NCCP process and urged the Council to consider the needs of non only environmentalists and developers but also those of the City, recreational organizations, and current and future residents. He noted the success of the gnatcatcher existing and multiplying on the Ocean Trails development, which he said proved that development and the environment could co-exist with careful management.
Mike Walker, 25200 La Paz Road, #250 Laguna Hills, CA 92653, supported the concept of additional analysis and said that the NCCP was much more than simply preserving pieces of land. He discussed revegetation, acquisition, and management and the need to have a plan which was affordable. He felt that the "bubble" concept was feasible; that this concept would not necessarily require disturbing all habitat in the areas; and, agreed that the environment and development could co-exist.
Bill Tippets, 4949 Viewridge Avenue, San Diego, CA 92123, California Department of Fish and Game, felt that a good effort had been made; encouraged movement to the next phase; and discussed problems with Alternative "C" such as no criteria for the "bubble" areas, edge effects from developments such as golf courses and the need to minimize such effects. He was opposed to fragmentation of preserve areas and removing all habitat from a bubble area to then be restored. He felt that some variation of one of three plans submitted would be feasible; and discussed the importance of considering costs.
Vic Quirarte, 29319 Quailwood, questioned concepts in the staff report that seemed to pit conservationists against developers and felt that the City had been allowing developers to slow the NCCP process. He felt that the majority of residents were opposed to using City property for a portion of a golf course and compared this concept to Ocean Trails, stating that Mr. Zuckerman had not requesting the use of City land for his development.
Dena Friedson, 1737 Via Boronada, felt that Alternative "A" was the only plan which met the conservation goals of the NCCP and was concerned about maintaining links between habitat areas and protection of native vegetation. She urged the Council to include Upper Point Vicente Park in the preserve regardless of the plan approved.
Barbara Gleghorn, 28850 Crestridge Road, speaking for the Steering Committee for SOC II, stated that the resource agencies considered Upper Point Vicente Park to be an important area for protecting the gnatcatcher. She stated that keeping public land for public use would minimize acquisition costs; maximize conservation; and, continue compliance with the agreement with the federal government when the land was granted to the City. She said that she favored Alternative "A" but urged the Council to consider the SOC II proposal if the Upper Vicente Park was not included in the NCCP. (A letter including Ms. Gleghorns comments is on file with the City Clerks Office.)
Jim Knight, 5 Cinnamon Lane, spoke in opposition to Alternative "C" because it not include Upper Point Vicente Park and he wondered if it was because of the proposed golf course. He emphasized that the NCCP plan adopted should protect the gnatcatcher and preservation of Upper Point Vicente Park would contribute to this protection. He felt that if the NCCP was going to be successful there needed to be a balance between development and the needs of the City and the environment and he urged the Council to consider the proposal presented by SOC II at the January 16, 2001 Council meeting. (A letter including Mr. Knights comments is on file with the City Clerks Office.)
Angelika Brinkmann-Busi, 2141 West 35th Street, San Pedro, South Coast Chapter of California Native Plant Society, spoke in opposition to Alternative "C" because it did not include Upper Point Vicente Park in the preserve and said that this area was important for the gnatcatcher and for a connection to other habitat areas. She was concerned about the bubble concept because it had no clearly defined criteria and because of the plan to remove all habitat in the bubble areas and then restore part of it which would greatly impact the quality of the habitat. She also felt that the development would the bubble areas should be reduced to 25%.
Jess Morton, 787 West 4th Street, San Pedro, CA 90731, Endangered Habitat League, agreed that 50% development in the bubble areas was too much and he was opposed to disturbing existing habitat which he felt would take decades to restore to its current condition. He felt that any NCCP plan should designate Upper Point Vicente Park as part of the preserve and that the plan should also analyze revegetation costs.
Allen Franz, 1336 26th Place, San Pedro, CA 90732, endorsed Alternative "A" for its size, and lack of fragmentation and wondered if Alternative "C" might allow for a portion of golf course to be placed on public property.
Council discussion focused on the merits of analyzing all three plans versus only Alternatives "A" and "C". It was argued that Alternative "B" seemed to be favored by no one. However, it was noted that there would not be a significant reduction in cost to include all three plans and that CEQA review would require the analysis of multiple plans. Further Council discussion included the sources of funds for acquiring open space; the concept of including in the NCCP preserve property which the City did not own; and the difficulty of removing land included in the preserve should the Citys needs change in the future.
Councilman Stern moved to analyze Alternatives "A" and "C" only. The motion died for a lack of a second.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart moved, seconded by Councilman Byrd, to adopt the staff recommendation to direct staff to proceed with the NCCP Program by initiating a biological and economic analysis of the three draft alternatives.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Byrd, McTaggart, Stern, and Mayor Lyon
RECESS & RECONVENE:
At 8:32 P.M., Mayor Lyon declared a recess. The meeting reconvened at 8:44 P.M.
Councilwoman Ferraro arrived at 8:44 P.M.
Janet Gunter, 358 West 6th Street, San Pedro, CA 90731, presented copies of a video, as well as the introduction to a report on air pollution. In particular, she was concerned about the impact that the enlarging of the Port of Los Angeles would have on air quality in this immediate region. Although the video described the conditions resulting from a similar port in the State of Texas, Ms. Gunter requested that the Council have the video aired on the Cox local government access channel so residents could be made aware of the hazard that might result from the L. A. Port project. (Literature giving further details of Ms. Gunters comments is on file with the City Clerks Office.)
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, related incidents during the groundbreaking for the expansion of the Point Vicente Interpretative Center and at the recent Whale of a Day event; praised the City for awarding a contract to women engineers; and reported that there was going to be a meeting at Rolling Hills Estates City Hall to protest increased water rates.
Kathy Snell, 8 Vanderlip Drive, stated that annually 900 wild animals are trapped in the City by Los Angeles County and euthanized. She requested that the City newsletter advise residents how to avoid attracting wild animals to their property.
Richard Bara, 1 Peppertree Drive, reported, not as Chair of the Equestrian but as a private citizen, that an unofficial sub-committee was working on the establishment of a Rancho Palos Verdes Equestrian Center. He emphasized that this planning incurred no cost to the City and no City staff time and that the subcommittee would report its findings to the Equestrian Committee which would then report to the City Council. Mr. Bara indicated the tentative 30-acre location on a map and explained that the purpose of the center would be to ensure that the Ride to Fly to Fly and Pony Club programs would have a site to continue their operations.
Rowland Driskell, 30 Via Capri, representing the Villa Capri development, said that a petition signed by homeowners indicated that almost all of the residents felt the City should not give up public land at City Hall to a private developer.
Removal of Debris from a Canyon Outside the City Right-of-Way (1204 x 1200)
Council consensus was to continue to the meeting on April 3, 2001 to provide an opportunity for the residents in that particular area to speak.
Landslide Geology Zone II (1101 x 1801)
City Manager Evans presented the staff report of March 6, 2001 and the recommendation to authorize the expenditure of $30,000 of general fund reserves for a review by Cotton, Shires and Associates of existing geologic and geotechnical documents to determine whether the data is sufficient to support the conclusions of the Peer Review Group to allow development in Zone II under certain conditions. Using a computer generated visual presentation, he showed a map with the eight zones in the moratorium area established by Dr. Perry Ehlig.
Council discussion centered on a comparison of Zones One and Two, regarding current development or lack of development, geological studies performed, and stability. Comments were also made regarding whether the City should fund geological studies on privately owned land and the possible effect on the stability of Zone Two from the sewers currently being installed and from the proposed Altamira Canyon storm drain project.
In response to a Council query, City Manager Evans replied that there would most likely be sufficient funding for the Altamira Canyon drain project from County donations, CDBG funds, and remaining funds from the sewer project.
Keith Ehlert, 927 Deep Valley Drive, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274, said that until the early 1990s, he was a City geologist and that he had worked with Dr. Perry Ehlig since 1970. He felt that the overall stability of Zone Two was not as significant as the local factor of safety on individual subdivided lots and he compared conditions in Zones One and Two, describing studies conducted by Dr. Ehlig.
The following persons spoke in opposition to the staff report recommendation:
Tom Redfield, 31273 Ganado Drive; Joan Kelly, 6 Fruittree Road; Maureen Griffin, 5 Ginger Root Lane; Bill Griffin 5 Ginger Root Lane; Marianne Hunter, 1 Cinnamon Lane; Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road; and, Carole Davis, 27402 Sunnyridge Road, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274.
A summary of their comments is as follows: It was important to postpone any review until the effects of the sewers and the proposed Altamira Canyon storm drainage project can be determined. There was a concern that the request for individual vacant lot owners to develop their property would lead to requests for new housing tracts by developers, or would lead to higher prices for open space. There was opposition to spending City money to determine conditions on private property and to risking litigation against the City if new construction causes land movement. An opinion was expressed that some of the vacant lot owners bought their land knowing that construction would not be allowed so it was incorrect to say that their rights had been taken away. There was a request that a notice should be placed in the newspapers and letters sent to property owners in the moratorium area when a hearing regarding development in the moratorium area was scheduled. Even though it had been stated that the land in Zone Two has not moved in 100,000 years, the same thing was said of Zone Five and there was movement in 1974 and 1978. It was noted that a study performed in January 1996 by Impact Science suggested that an EIR be performed before any development was allowed in Zone Two. There was an opinion expressed that the panel of experts and Dr. Perry Ehlig did not agree about the stability of Zone Two and that there were videotapes of the meetings were available for loan to substantiate this. It was felt that vibration, not just ground water, could cause land movement.
RECESS & RECONVENE:
At 10:22 P.M., Mayor Lyon declared a recess. The meeting reconvened at 10:32 P.M.
The following persons spoke in support of the staff recommendation:
Tracey LeRoy, 7936 East 3rd Street, Downey, CA 90241; John Monks, 32200 Schooner Drive; Jesus Gutierrez, 1324 W. 35th St., San Pedro, CA 90731; Greg Clark, 1456 Silvius Drive, San Pedro, CA 90731; Jack Monks, 32200 Schooner Drive; Chris Haber, 8720 Bleriot Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90045; Mike Ahahee, 1917 Via Tampa, Lomita, CA 90717; Lisa Dennen, 32200 Schooner Drive; Michael Kiss, 616 N. Paulina Ave., Redondo Beach, CA 90277; Aerial Cruce, 17 Swift Court Newport Beach, CA 92663; Richard Cruce, 17 Swift Court Newport Beach, CA 92663; Kathy Snell, 8 Vanderlip Drive; and, Christopher Smith, 1236 Via Landera, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274.
A summary of their comments is as follows: A request was not being made to lift the moratorium but merely for the City to grant exceptions, 15 of which have been granted since the moratorium was established. When some lots in Zone II were purchased, buyers believed that information from Dr. Perry Ehlig and the panel of experts indicated that this area was stable enough for lots to be developed if the individual lot had a safety factor of 1.5; that Zone Two had not moved in 100,000 years; that it was not part of any slide; and that its inclusion in the moratorium area was cautionary until additional studies could be conducted. Vacant lot owners felt it was unfair that they had to pay ACLAD fees, property taxes, mortgage payments, weed abatement costs for fire safety; and, that they received no benefit from owning their property. Vacant lot owners also felt that they had not contributed to the landslide but homeowners in Zone Two had because of the septic tanks adding to the ground water and yet these same homeowners were receiving free sewers and the right to enjoy their home and the privately owned vacant lots which constituted parkland for the homeowners. It was opined that the City was in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution because the vacant lot owners had been denied use of their land. To mark the distinction between Zones One and Two, it was noted that Zone Two is not raw land but an already subdivided, existing neighborhood. The question which needs to be answered by a respected geologist is whether individual lots with a safety factor of 1.5 can be developed without causing land movement on that lot or adjacent properties.
The Council called Keith Ehlert to the podium to inquire if he felt that development of homes on lots with at least a 1.5 safety factor would cause movement to adjacent properties.
Mr. Ehlert replied that he was not aware of any way that development would trigger movement and that it might help.
Although it was argued that Cotton Shires should review the studies in the way they felt best, Council consensus was to direct the review by Cotton Shires to answer the specific question of whether development of homes on lots with at least a 1.5 safety factor would cause movement to adjacent properties.
Other Council discussion topics included exceptions permitted in the past; whether the City or owners of vacant lots in Zone Two applying for an exception should pay for the review of past studies; and, whether the review should be postponed until the effects of the sewers and the proposed Altamira Canyon drainage project are known.
Councilwoman Ferraro moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart, to (1) Authorize the expenditure of $30,000 of general fund reserves for a review by Cotton, Shires and Associates of existing geologic and geotechnical documents to determine whether the data is sufficient to support the conclusions of the Peer Review Group to allow development in Zone II under certain conditions. (2) Request that staff give direction to the consultant as follows: (a) Review to include lots 8, 10, 22, and 98 Vanderlip Drive. (b) Review to determine if it is safe to build on lots with a localized safety factor of 1.5 assuming that the gross area factor is not that high and to determine any cumulative effect by development on the 40 vacant lots.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Byrd, Ferraro, McTaggart, and Mayor Lyon
ORAL CITY COUNCIL REPORTS:
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart reported that on March 1 the City Selection Committee met in conjunction with the League of California Cities but an election could not be held because for the third consecutive meeting there was no quorum.
ADJOURNMENT: Adjourned at 11:20 on the motion of Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart.
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