M I N U T E S
RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
OCTOBER 2, 2001
The meeting was called to order at 6:30 P.M. by Mayor Lyon at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard and was immediately recessed to a closed session per the Brown Act Checklist. At 7:05 P.M. the meeting reconvened.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Brittany Arick, Theresa Branconier, Kristin Braun, Karen Ching, Jacqueline Delcarson, Grace Poon, Nadia Shahin, Marissa Simmons, and Emily Wratschko of Girl Scout Troop 875, roll call was answered as follows:
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; Senior Planner Kit Fox; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and, Deputy City Clerk/Recording Secretary Jackie Drasco.
The winner from the last drawing was Gary Long, who will receive a check for $250, which represents a year of free refuse service. Another card was selected.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Mayor Lyon announced that the Improvement Authority and Redevelopment Agency meetings would be held after Public Comments at approximately 8:30 P.M. and that Councilmember Gardiner had requested that the item regarding Guidelines for Residential Undergrounding District be removed from the Consent Calendar for discussion.
City Clerk Purcell reported that there had been two additional requests to remove from the Consent Calendar the items regarding the 2001 Progress Report on the Implementation of the Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan and the Arterial Rehabilitation Program.
Council consensus was to hear these three items before the Public Hearing.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Councilmember Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve the amended Consent Calendar as follows:
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 councilmembers after the reading of the title.
Resol. No. 2001-79 - Peninsula Seniors Grant (1101 x 602)
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2001-79, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO EXECUTE A NEW CONTRACT WITH THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF AGING TO OBTAIN THE REMAINING BALANCE OF A $25,000 GRANT FOR THE PENINSULA SENIORS DURING FISCAL YEAR 2001-2002.
Appointment of members to the Miraleste and Ridgecrest Recreation & Park Districts (301 x 1201)
Made the following appointments: Miraleste Recreation & Park District: (1) Appointed Peter D. Glusac and Dawn E. Henry for a full term ending December 2, 2005. (2) Appointed Keith Harter to the unexpired term ending December 5, 2003. Ridgecrest Recreation & Park District: Appointed Victor Hansen, Gwynne Shaw and Dolores Pittelkow to a full term ending December 2, 2005.
Informal Bid and Pre-Ordering of HDPE Pipe for the Palos Verdes South Drainage Repair Project (1204 x 604)
Reviewed and reconfirmed by 4/5 vote the Councilís September 18th action to authorize staff to conduct an informal bid process and pre-order HDPE drainage pipe for the Palos Verdes Drive So. Drainage Repair Project.
July and August 2001 Treasurerís Reports (602)
Ordered received and filed.
Resol. No. 2001-80 - Register of Demands (602)
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2001-80, 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 to approve the Consent Calendar carried on the following roll call vote:
Gardiner, McTaggart, Stern, and Mayor Lyon
Staff recommendation was to direct staff to forward the Cityís Annual Progress Report on the General Plan to the Governorís Office of Planning and Research and to the Department of Housing and Community Development regarding the current status of the General Plan and the progress on its implementation during Calendar Year 2000 and through June 30, 2001.
Mayor Lyon said that she asked to have this item removed from the Consent Calendar to emphasize the good job the City is doing in following the General Plan.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart moved, seconded by Councilmember Gardiner to approve the staff recommendation. Motion carried.
Arterial Rehabilitation Program: Crenshaw and Hawthorne Boulevards (1204 x 1404)
Staff recommendation was to (1) Award a $634,534 construction contract to Sully-Miller Contracting Company to overlay portions of Crenshaw and Hawthorne Boulevards and authorize staff to spend an additional $63,453 for possible extra work, thereby approving a $697,987 construction budget. (2) Authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute a contract with Sully-Miller Contracting Company. (3) Award a $43,600 professional services agreement to DMc for construction management and inspection services. (4) Authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute a contract for a professional services agreement with DMc Engineering.
Director Allison described the three alternatives considered, the level of work, materials used, and funding.
After a brief Council discussion regarding the cost and benefits of the rubberized asphalt to be used for this project, Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart moved, seconded by Councilwoman Ferraro, to (1) Approve Alternative Action Number Two which authorized a $919,727 construction contract to Sully-Miller, plus an additional $91,972 for possible extra work; thereby approving a $1,011,699 construction budget. (2) Award a $55,700 Professional Services Agreement to DMc Engineering for Construction Management and Inspection Services. (3) Direct staff to prepare a Resolution amending the current project budget to include an additional $187,399 to cover the cost of overlaying Segments Two and Three of Hawthorne Blvd.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
Gardiner, McTaggart, Stern, and Mayor Lyon
Guidelines for Residential Undergrounding District (1204 x 901)
Staff recommendation was to adopt the proposed resolution establishing guidelines for residential underground districts.
Councilmember Gardiner stated that he had asked for this item to be removed from the Consent Calendar for discussion because he was concerned that some homeowners may not be able to afford the cost of approximately $25,000 per home and may not have voted for undergrounding. He asked if the deferment of payment was automatic if someone was 62 or older; mentioned provisions for blind or otherwise disabled homeowners; and, wondered what provision were made for younger people, especially with the recent possibility of increased unemployment. He also mentioned the upgrading by Edison, with a portion of that cost being paid by Edison but he felt the public was being asked to pay for this upgrade without requesting it even though there would be a public benefit from the upgrade.
Director Allison said that he would rather Edison comment on this.
Councilmember Gardiner was concerned that we would have only the bid from Edison and he wanted to make sure the Cityís residents get the most cost effective bid.
Director Allison said that it was his understanding that the deferment was automatic but he had not seen it in writing so was reluctant to confirm that information but said he would investigate. He said that it was possible for the City to work with Edison to obtain a competitive bid.
Councilmember Gardiner asked if the resolution contained this language
Director Allison replied that it was silent on this issue
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart inquired whether the assessment district would be taxed over and above the undergrounding.
City Attorney Lynch said that she was not aware of any additional tax but it would best to ask Edison. She added that there were exception categories for homeowners who were blind or otherwise disabled, as well as those over 62 years of age. She indicated that this was an automatic exception set forth by state undergrounding provisions.
Councilman Stern remembered that Scott Gobble from Edison said Edison would make a small contribution and that Edison was paying for the upgrade.
Councilmember Gardiner remembered that they would pay some portion only but not a very large amount.
Councilman Stern shared Councilmember Gardinerís concerns about the financial impact of homeowners and wondered if the City could investigate some type of financing mechanism for people who have a financial need. For those who have sufficient equity, it may be possible to do a reverse mortgage or something like that. This would enable them to enjoy the benefit, including increased property value, and pay the undergrounding cost, with interest, when they sell their house. He thought perhaps the City could set aside funds to assist with this payment deferment.
City Attorney Lynch replied that this could be accomplished with City funds with a lien placed on the property but the assessment canít be spread across fewer homes so that one homeowner is paying more than another.
Councilman Stern suggested that there might be lenders who would be willing to participate with the funds secured by property.
City Attorney Lynch was not sure if the lending industry would be interested since the City would be issuing bonds but it could be investigated.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart asked the source of the funds to replace those deferred.
Councilman Stern replied that this cost was not being paid for all at once; that there would be bonded indebtedness for 20 years. Although he said that he did not know all the legal aspects of how the bond would be set up, the bond would be on the home and homeowners could borrow against their home. He added that if the City established the financing mechanism, it would not affect the bond and a new loan could be arranged to fund that portion of property tax.
City Attorney Lynch agreed that this could be done.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart brought up a scenario in which a retiree receiving social security might have all their funds invested in an IRA which has 50% of their future income eliminated by terrorist activity. He said that the structure established would have to take into account this type of situation so that this person was not even more financially hurt.
Councilmember Gardiner did not envision an escape hatch against unreasonable burden.
Councilman Stern disagreed, saying that we do have an escape hatch because the City Council makes the decision and if we perceive a hardship situation, we could hear the case and make a decision before imposing a financial burden but the City would need some kind of financing.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart was concerned that this arrangement would not work with seniors.
Mayor Lyon said that she would not want to make the undergrounding process cause senior citizens to sell their homes.
Councilman Stern felt that a seniorís home could provide the funding and that the financial consequences would be minimal.
Mayor Lyon suggested that this item be brought back and to direct staff to provide advice from experts in the field for potential financing mechanisms and to have an Edison representative present to answer questions.
Council consensus was to continue this item to November 7.
Mayor Lyon opened the public hearing on this request to consider a Resolution Adopting a Fee in Connection with Petitions to Commence the Process to Establish an Undergrounding Assessment District
City Clerk Purcell announced that notice had been duly published and that there were no written comments received by the City.
Staff recommendation was to adopt the proposed resolution adopting a fee to be submitted in connection with petitions requesting advance funding by the city for formation costs for establishing Undergrounding Assessment Districts pursuant to the proposed resolution to establish undergrounding procedures.
Since the item establishing Guidelines for Residential Undergrounding District was continued to November 7, the public hearing was continued to November 7.
City Attorney Lynch presented the staff report of October 2, 2001 and the recommendation to RE-INTRODUCE ORDINANCE NO. 370, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING CERTAIN PORTIONS OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE REGARDING THE CITYíS GOLF TAX. She explained that the ordinance was being re-introduced because substantial changes had been made at the last Council meeting and she said there was a further definition of the operator of the golf course to include whomever might sell blocks of tee times and that there was a new Paragraph G requiring that accounting principles acceptable to the Cityís Finance Director would have to be used by any golf course operator paying City golf taxes.
Mayor pro tem McTaggart asked if the City had a "scalping" ordinance and wondered if someone other than Ocean Trails sells blocks of tee times would violate any County ordinance if they sold the tee times for more than they paid.
City Attorney Lynch said that was no such City ordinances, nor did she think the suggested practices would violate any County ordinance.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart to RE-INTRODUCE ORDINANCE NO. 370, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING CERTAIN PORTIONS OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE REGARDING THE CITYíS GOLF TAX.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
Gardiner, McTaggart, Stern, and Mayor Lyon
Planning Case No. ZON2001-00005: a Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit for a 1,045-square-foot two-story addition for an existing single-family residence in the Portuguese Bend Club community. (Applicant: Len Cushman, 113 Spindrift Drive) (1203 x 1801)
Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report of October 2, 2001 and the recommendation to conditionally approve the requested landslide moratorium exception permit.
Mayor pro tem McTaggart asked if a height variation permit and variance were required as well.
Senior Planner Fox said yes.
Gary Wynn, 27525 Valley Center Road, Valley Center CA 92082, structural engineer for the project, said that a view analysis was required but it was a non-issue and that the variance was required because the property was in the Coastal Zone.
Mayor pro tem McTaggart asked if views to the side were considered as well.
Mr. Wynn replied that views from the side and from below were considered. He indicated that the property owners met with their neighbors and worked for 1-Ĺ years to ensure neighborhood compatibility.
Kathy Cushman, 113 Spindrift Drive, said that her family was expanding but they wished to stay in the neighborhood and they asked Mr. Wynn to design a project that would maintain the beach cottage theme and beautify the neighborhood.
Randee Wood Leegstra, 111 Spindrift Drive, spoke in support of approval of the landslide moratorium exception permit and said that the applicant had done an excellent job working with the neighbors to achieve neighborhood compatibility and to mitigate privacy and view issues.
Mayor pro tem McTaggart asked if the Coastal Permit application was submitted after City approval.
Director Rojas indicated that the applications were considered concurrently.
Councilman Gardiner said that he had asked for a copy of the geology report, which was not included in the reference materials. He said that the report indicated that the property had a safety factor greater than 1.0 and that it was not moving currently. He asked how this was determined, on the lot itself or underground, and asked if an approval were given in this area, what affect this approval would have on making other decisions in the moratorium area. He asked about the geological standard and if these projects were considered one at a time or if the cumulative affect considered.
Mayor Lyon said that geologist Bill Cotton said that the weight of new construction does not cause sliding but that the water seeping under the ground does, and she indicated that this area is on a sanitary sewer system.
City Manager Evans said that the policy of approving moratorium exceptions for existing structures in the slide area is consistent but that there were different standards for vacant lots, such as those in Zone II as compared to a developed lot in this case. He said that the factor of safety is above 1.0 but less than 1.5 but the whole area is not sliding so the factor is greater than 1.0 and he noted that the geologists feel that adding on to an existing structure which is connected to an existing sewer or holding tank does not add water to the slide and therefore does not make things worse. He acknowledged that this was a "gray area" but it had been addressed by geologists in the past and was codified in the municipal code.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart asked the city attorney if she felt that developed and undeveloped lots were treated equitably by the Cityís moratorium regulations.
City Attorney Lynch replied that with a developed lot anyone could apply for a Moratorium Exception Permit and the criterion is that the addition cannot exacerbate slide conditions. She said that the geology report associated with these requests would address this.
Councilmember Gardiner said that he understood the conclusion regarding this project but could not see the facts supporting the decision.
Councilman Stern was concerned that the safety factor of 1.0 was lower than the standard of 1.5.
City Attorney Lynch said that the standards for an addition to an existing structure compared with those for a new structure were different, but that the Council could change this if they so desired.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart moved, seconded by Councilwoman Ferraro, to conditionally approve the requested landslide moratorium exception permit. Motion carried.
Planning Case No. ZON2001-00004: a Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit for a 575-square-foot two-story addition and a 166-square-foot second-floor deck for an existing single-family residence in the Portuguese Bend Club community. (Applicants: Andrew & Kelly Ely, 112 Spindrift Drive) (1203 x 1801)
Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report of October 2, 2001 and the recommendation to (1) Conditionally approve the requested landslide moratorium exception permit. (2) Authorize Staff to prepare a notice of termination for an existing covenant related to a previous, expired moratorium exemption permit for the property.
Mayor pro tem McTaggart suggested that to keep bureaucracy at a minimum, some of the covenants required for the permit might be eliminated.
Senior Planner Fox said that many of these covenants were only required for properties without sewer connections.
Carol Lynch reminded Council that there are some areas in this part of the City without sewers.
Councilman Stern asked the applicant if he had read his title policy and was aware of the covenant because, even though the Council was willing to lift this covenant, it might not be willing to eliminate other covenants.
Andrew Ely, 112 Spindrift, said that since he bought the property eight years ago, he had married and had children, was more aware of restrictions on the property but needed more space. He explained that he had worked with the Homeowners Association and his neighbors, considered neighborhood compatibility and his neighborsí views and had made adjustments regarding his neighborís privacy.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart to adopt the staff recommendation. Motion carried.
Border Issues Status Report (1101 x 306)
City Manager Evans presented the staff report of October 2, 2001 and the recommendation to review the current status of border issues and provide direction to the City Council Committee and staff. He said that the staff report included the status of Harbor Hills and the Garden Village Shopping Center but that Mayor Lyon and Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart had attended a County Board of Supervisors meeting earlier in the day and could provide updated information.
Mayor Lyon reported that Supervisor Don Knabe was instrumental in getting a 60-day extension before construction of Harbor Hills project to provide time to work out concerns, such as cutting into a steep slope below homes in Rancho Palos Verdes for a parking lot. Other concerns were lighting and noise and the fact that we were not notified early in the process. She said that a public meeting had been scheduled at 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday, October 9, at City Hall with Dick Simmons and Angie Valenzuela from Supervisor Knabeís office, and residents were encouraged to attend to provide input to be returned to the Supervisor. She added that she and Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart would be present also and it was hoped that they would be able to affect change before construction begins.
Councilman Stern asked if the Council needed to authorize any action to help the ad hoc committee follow through.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart indicated that the geology report needs to be reviewed to determine if it is safe to build the parking lot into the slope and it is possible that the parking lot may not built in this location anyway but he said he would feel more comfortable if this location change was put in writing.
Councilman Stern suggested that staff be directed to provide another status report in two weeks while we determine what our City can do.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart mentioned the meeting the following Tuesday and said that City Attorney Lynch was reviewing the environmental deficiencies and the notification process of Los Angeles County to eliminate the clandestine nature of this project.
Mayor Lyon emphasized that if this item needs to be on a future agenda, the Council will have a serious discussion at that time depending on what happens during this 60-day extension.
City Attorney Lynch said that she would review the environmental documents and she had the name of the person in charge of these documents but there was no extension by CEQA and they were proceeding forward even though there was a 60-day extension before construction started.
At this time, City Manager Evans reported on the status of Garden Village Shopping Center, stating that he had received a letter from Bill Cotton at Cotton Shires regarding the existing geology report that they were studying. Mr. Cotton also referred to a report from Leighton & Associates which indicates that possibly leaking from a sewer line caused settlement in the shopping center and maybe in surrounding areas. This is being investigated by the L.A. City Public Works or Planning Departments. He said that he had spoken to Gwen Butterfield, who had been helpful, and also to a member of L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahnís staff and that he would continue to work toward making sure the Rancho Palos Verdes residentsí interests are protected.
Councilman Stern wondered why the staff report indicated that the Los Angeles City Council had to be involved.
City Manager Evans answered that because the City of Los Angeles is huge, finding the right person to speak to is difficult and that assistance from Councilwoman Hahn was being sought just as Mayor Lyon and Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart were asking for assistance from Supervisor Knabe.
Councilmember Gardiner asked about a project on the Councilís agenda of September 4, 2001, regarding a Rancho Palos Verdes home near the border of Palos Verdes Estates. He said that there was a question about whether trucks hauling dirt for this project would be allowed to drive on streets in Palos Verdes Estates
Mayor Lyon said that she understood this was resolved because the trucks simply needed to turn around on a street in Palos Verdes Estates.
Councilwoman Ferraro recalled that the applicant Mr. Esfahani said that he would work out the issue with the City of Palos Verdes Estates.
Director Allison said there was a meeting scheduled with the applicant and the City of Palos Verdes Estates and he would find out the results and report to the Council.
There were no questions or comments regarding the Chadwick School and the Covenant Church projects.
Booth Tarkington, 1902 Peninsula Verde Drive, representing a homeowners association overlooking the Harbor Hills development, thanked the Council for their interest and help so far. He was concerned about the lack of an Environmental Impact report and the comment that it was not required. He stated that verbal promises had been given for mitigation of environmental issues but with no EIR, these cannot be reviewed officially and he was curious about the environmental reports that City Attorney Lynch said she was reviewing because he was told there were none. He said that Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart had referred to this project as a Recreation Center and another group calls it a Community Center but he saw it as an Activity Center and that the terminology used was significant to receiving Federal funds. He mentioned sports and child care and thought that probably sports should be in the schools instead of having a sport venue for basketball at which other teams would compete and create crowds which would require parking. He also expressed concern about the steep slope adjacent to Rancho Palos Verdes which would be cut into to make a parking lot which he feared would cause drainage problems from homes built on fill at the top of hill. On an unrelated matter, he gave a commercial for the Harbor Free Clinic, which he said was available to all people in the area, and he expressed appreciation to the Council for financial support.
RECESS & RECONVENE:
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, pointed out the poor condition of Palos Verdes Drive South, asked about the status of the sewers in the Portuguese Bend Club, and felt there too many American flags in the room.
RECESS & RECONVENE:
Peninsula High School Yearbook Advertisement (1101)
Assistant City Manager Petru presented the staff report of October 2, 2001 and the recommendation to consider whether to place an advertisement in the 2002 Palos Verdes Peninsula High School Yearbook.
Mayor Lyon felt that the Cityís logo, a scenic photo of the City, and the Cityís website address be included in the ad.
Mayor pro tem McTaggart asked if this ad could be placed annually without it appearing as an item on a Council agenda.
Councilwoman Ferraro suggested that annual funding for the ad could be included in the City budget.
Councilman Stern said that it could be a Consent Calendar item.
Councilmember Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilwoman Ferraro, to place a full-page color advertisement with the Cityís logo and a scenic photograph in the 2002 Palos Verdes Peninsula High School Yearbook for a cost of $400.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
Gardiner, McTaggart, Stern, and Mayor Lyon
Resol. No. 2001-81 - San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project (1101 x 604)
Assistant City Manager Petru presented the staff report of October 2, 2001 and the recommendation to (1) Award a contract to construct the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project to Colich and Sons, Inc., for an amount not to exceed $2,250,556 and authorize staff to spend an additional $157,540 for anticipated extra items of work for a total authorization of $2,408,096. (2) Award a professional service contract to Harris and Associates for an amount not to exceed $349,300 for inspection services for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project. (3) Amend the professional service contract to AMEC Earth and Environmental, Inc. for an amount not to exceed $194,918 for geotechnical inspection services for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project for a total contract amount of $279,025. (4) Amend the professional service contract to Helix Environmental Planning for an amount not to exceed $31,100 for mitigation monitoring services for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project for a total contract amount of $79,300. (5) Amend the professional service contract to DMc Engineering, Inc. for an amount not to exceed $ 16,000 for engineering services for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project for a total contract amount of $140,610. (6) Adopt the proposed resolution approving a budget adjustment to increase the capital improvement project budget for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project by $1,150,000 from $2,000,000 to $3,150,000.
Assistant City Manager Petru mentioned two additional items which arose after the staff report was submitted to the Council. She said that additional funds of $18,000 were being requested for colored concrete for the surface drainage structures to blend into the hillside to look more natural and to comply with conditions imposed on private developers. Also, she said that additional funds of $13,000 were being requested to add to AMECís to contract to include two more properties in the pre-construction geology study. She concluded by stating that the work was scheduled to begin on Tuesday, October 9.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart noted a typographical error on circle page 3 in which the Phase number should be "One", not "Two".
Councilmember Gardiner asked why there was only one bidder.
Assistant City Manager Petru explained that there was another bidder but the cost of dirt at $30 per cubic yard caused this company to drop out at the last minute.
Councilmember Gardiner asked if there was a penalty clause if they donít finish on time.
Assistant City Manager Petru said that there were liquidated damages that the contractor must pay to the City for every day the work ran past the specified deadline in each phase. She added that Phase 1 should be completed by December 9 and it was hoped that the rainy season would not have begun. She directed Council to a chart on circle page seven which shows funding sources for this project.
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, said that she was overwhelmed by the cost of this project but she felt it was necessary to make these repairs. She expressed concern that Colich & Sons was granted the contract because she was not impressed with their work on the Abalone Cove sewer project and was opposed to the Cityís use of Helix as well because she felt their report on the Palos Verdes Drive South drainage was poor. She asked how inspection costs were calculated.
Mayor Lyon said that staff could explain the calculation to her after the meeting.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart to (1) Award a contract to construct the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project to Colich and Sons, Inc., for an amount not to exceed $2,250,556 and authorize staff to spend an additional $157,540 for anticipated extra items of work for a total authorization of $2,426,096. (2) Award a professional service contract to Harris and Associates for an amount not to exceed $349,300 for inspection services for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project. (3) Amend the professional service contract to AMEC Earth and Environmental, Inc. for an amount not to exceed $207,918 for geotechnical inspection services for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project for a total contract amount of $279,025. (4) Amend the professional service contract to Helix Environmental Planning for an amount not to exceed $31,100 for mitigation monitoring services for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project for a total contract amount of $79,300. (5) Amend the professional service contract to DMc Engineering, Inc. for an amount not to exceed $ 16,000 for engineering services for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project for a total contract amount of $140,610. (6) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2001-81, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT TO INCREASE THE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT BUDGET FOR THE SAN RAMON DRAINAGE AND LANDSLIDE STABILIZATION PROJECT BY $1,150,000 MILLION, FROM $2,000,000 TO $3,150,000. (7) Approve an additional $18,000 for colored concrete pipe for the surface drainage structures to blend into the hillside to look more natural and to comply with conditions imposed on private developers; and, an additional $13,000 to include two more properties in the pre-construction geology study - for a total expenditure of $3,181,000.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
Gardiner, McTaggart, Stern, and Mayor Lyon
Format of City Council Minutes (301)
City Clerk Purcell presented the staff report of October 2, 2001 and the recommendation to provide direction to staff for preparation of a policy describing preparation, format and changes to City Council minutes.
Mayor Lyon asked Director McLean if the cost of webcasting would be less expensive as times goes on.
Director McLean said that it would and the current cost was estimated to be $3,000 per month. He added that he had been working with Ted Vegvari at Palos Verdes on the Net to try a pilot program with the bandwidth. He said that the City currently has a T1 connection and he was not sure how many users would connect but that it might work.
Mayor Lyon said that a lot of people donít have cable television and this would be another way for them to view meetings live using their computer.
Councilman Stern said that online video streaming showed a small picture, although it can be expanded to full screen, however; there were problems of clarity with the picture and sound. He wondered if webcasting would have these same problems.
Director McLean said it would depend on how the frame speed was set. He said that most users have a 56K modem and so the movement was jerky.
Councilmember Gardiner said that a 56K modem or high speed would produce about 15 or 30 frames per second.
Director McLean replied that he would defer to Ted because he did not know if the broadcasting software would give us a choice.
Councilmember Gardiner said that this type of software was available but he did not know if the City would want to pay the cost.
Tom Redfield, 31273 Ganado Drive, representing the Coalition Striving to Improve City Government, pointed out that two years ago there was unacceptable video and no PowerPoint presentations, an ineffective setup for the public, Council and staff. He complimented the City on its email, website and other high-tech elements, however, he did not think there were enough people who have access to everything and that there is value in detailed minutes that may be used by other organizations and for the public, Council, and staff who can research topics through written records indicating what each of the Councilmembers contributed. He felt this was preferable to watching a long video tape and was in the interest of Council so that they are misquoted, whether deliberately or not, and to indicate how they voted. He noted some concerns he had after reviewing two years of minutes, including caustic and inappropriate remarks made. He said that he had spoken to the Finance Director who said that the City was not set up to provide detailed records at this time but a resource person could be provided to accomplish this. Mr. Redfield felt that more detailed minutes would build effective relations with the community and provide information to those without high-tech resources. He closed by saying that maybe in five years this wonít be needed but he felt that right now, researching the minutes as current prepared were of little value in doing research and encouraged the Council to experiment with detailed minutes.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart said that he was happy with the status quo and reviewed a joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Commission which indicated who was present and participated. He felt the important points were covered even though all the details of the discussion were not included. Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart said that he had reviewed minutes of other cities and ours were superior as they stand.
Councilman Stern said that he had submitted a memo which set forth his thoughts. He gave an example of Item No. 20 on tonightís agenda which would have been better served by more detailed minutes such as the ones prepared for Planning Commission meetings. The topic was neighborhood compatibility and he found that the minutes from December 1999 did not indicate what the prior City Council had done and it would have been helpful, especially to those who have not been on the Council for a long time, to read the flow of conversation, with questions, topics, address, and comments to understand the final conclusion. He then read examples from a set of Planning Commission Minutes and from a set of City Council minutes to illustrate the difference. Councilman Stern expressed his appreciation of the discussion on technology but felt that this technology is not available to all residents and even for those who do have access, it is usually faster and more understandable to read information from a written record and to go directly to the topic of interest. He also believed there was a public benefit from knowing questions and comments received by individual Councilmembers so that it is known who is participating and who they might agree with. He closed by stating that this method of minute preparation can be done because it is already being done for the Planning Commission.
Councilmember Gardiner felt that the advantages of minutes prepared for the Planning Commission, which have much more detail but not verbatim, were that the sometimes a Councilmember might want something said in the record and also a person reading the minutes could see how possibly a Councilmember changed his mind as the discussion progressed.
Mayor Lyon agreed that expanded summary minutes might be helpful to showing the Councilís tossing around ideas to see how a balanced decision was made.
Councilmember Gardiner moved, Councilman Stern seconded, to direct staff to prepare the City Council minutes in the same format as the Planning Commission minutes, as "expanded summary" minutes, for the next three meetings.
Councilman Stern said that he envisioned minutes like the Planning Commission has.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart was concerned that more detailed minutes would encourage pontification and prepared speech making.
Councilman Stern disagreed and asked Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart if he thought Cable TV coverage had changed this.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart replied that there had been a prepared inquisition a couple of times and he thought detailed minutes would have been embarrassing to the perpetrator.
The motion carried 3-2 with Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart and Councilwoman Ferraro dissenting.
Establishment of a Schedule and Venue for the Long Point Project City Council Public Hearings (1203 x 307 x 1804)
Director Rojas presented the staff report of October 2, 2001 and the recommendation to provide staff with direction as to when to begin hearing the Long Point project applications and where to conduct the public hearings.
City Manager Evans indicated that the Planning Commission will have completed their work on the Long Point project by October 9 and the EIR should be certified by then. He said that the next step was to bring the project to the City Council. Staff felt that a larger facility would be required and that Long Point should be the only item on the agenda because the number of interested parties who would probably want to provide public comment and Mr. Evans said that the School District had agreed to allow the City to use the Miraleste School auditorium which would accommodate 400 people. He said that Assistant City Manager Petru had spoken to Cox Cable and they agreed to televise the meeting.
Mayor Lyon suggested November 7.
Councilman Stern referenced the October 1 letter from Mike Mohler, project manager for the Long Point Project, which stated that they would prefer October 16 but that November 7 would be acceptable.
City Manager Evans asked City Attorney Lynch what the consequences would be if the EIR were not certified by November 7.
City Attorney Lynch said that under CEQA there was no penalty for failing to certify the EIR within one-year period.
Mayor Lyon understood this to mean that by missing this date, there was not a de facto approval of the project.
Councilman Stern said that it seemed odd to have the EIR coming up while the project was still being formed at the Planning Commission level and he said that, due to the thickness of the volumes, he did not relish the thought of going through this.
Mayor Lyon asked Mike Mohler to comment on the scheduling of this item for Council hearings.
Mike Mohler, felt that the item could not be agendized for October 16 because there would not been enough time to prepare after the Planning Commission meeting on October 9, assuming the Commission completed that work at that time, however he said that he was anxious for the process to move forward.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart to hold the Long Point hearings at Miraleste Intermediate School, the first one being scheduled on November 7. Motion carried.
Disclosure of Contact with Major Landowners/Developers (310)
Councilman Stern presented the staff report of October 2, 2001 and the recommendation to adopt a City Council Policy that: Members of the City Council and the Planning Commission shall publicly disclose in writing to the City Clerk the existence of all communications between such person and a major landowner or major developer of real property within the City, which communication relates to such real property. A "Major Landowner" or "Major Developer" shall mean any person or representative of a person or entity who owns or has an interest in, or is attempting to develop any parcel in excess of 10 acres. Such contacts must be reported in writing within 30 days of the date of such contact. The writing need only identify (1) the parties to the communication, (2) the real property involved, (3) the date, and (4) include a very general statement of the topic of the communication. Such report shall be maintained by the City Clerk and be available for review by any person.
Councilman Stern remarked that the Council of Homeowners Association had made a similar request a few years ago which, along with the large turnout when major development items are on agendas, he felt shows a public interest in these developments. He hoped that this disclosure would make information available to the public early in the process. Acknowledging that Council contact with the developers outside a meeting is legal, he thought that disclosure would give the public more information to lobby the Council and increase confidence and respect toward the Council. He addition, he believed there would be a benefit to the Councilmembers also because there would be nothing to challenge our integrity. Making reference to a written disclosure he had provided to the City Clerk, Councilman Stern then disclosed a meeting on September 6 with Rob Katherman who represents Belmont Village proposed to be constructed at the previous Marriott Assisted Living Center site. He reported that Mr. Katherman provided updated information on the proposed project.
Councilman Stern moved to adopt the policy he had submitted regarding his proposed Council disclosure policy.
Mayor Lyon understood that ex parte communications required a statement at the Council meeting when a Councilmember speaks to anyone outside a meeting on a subject germane to an agenda item
City Attorney Lynch advised that if any information is provided to a Councilmember, or a Planning Commissioner, regarding an item that is the subject of a hearing and that information is not already included as part of the record, that information must be disclosed so that all will know what might affect a decision. It does not matter who the source is, proponent or opponent, but if it is germane and the decision maker thinks it should be part of record, it should be revealed.
Councilmember Gardiner asked if he spoke to 20 people, was he required to name all 20 people. He said that this is a frequent occurrence.
City Attorney Lynch clarified that if a person comes to a Councilmember and that says and something happened on a particular site and the Councilmember believes it might be important for staff to investigate, it should mentioned at the Council meeting. If 19 other people agreed, the Councilmember does not have to disclose all those contacts. If this information is already part of the record, the Councilmember does not have to mention the contacts.
Mayor Lyon commented that if a Councilmember sends and receives email and the other Councilmembers are not privy to the recipient lists, maybe that needs to be disclosed as well.
City Attorney Lynch said that if the identity of the speaker is not part of record, it needs to be addressed to all parties.
Councilman Stern asked if City Attorney Lynch was referring to disclosure of information at the time it comes to us not when the item is on an agenda.
Mayor Lyon wanted to know what made a communication ex parte.
City Attorney Lynch replied that ex parte communication was information provided outside a public meeting.
Mayor Lyon referred to the Long Point agenda which has been on many Council and Planning Commission agendas and which was the subject of many people in the community talking to Councilmembers and she asked if those conversations should be disclosed.
City Attorney Lynch replied that the Council might wish to establish a policy for all contacts which might affect a decision, however, if the people who speak to a Councilmember are not disclosing facts outside the record, a Councilmember is not required to disclose that conversation.
Councilmember Gardiner asked how one would know what was part of the record.
City Attorney Lynch said that at the end of a hearing if a Councilmember has not heard anyone speak about an important piece of information that he or she has received away from a public meeting, the Councilmember should mention it at the meeting. She suggested that one safeguard would be to ask the person who provides the information to put it in writing and it will come to the meeting as part of the record.
Councilmember Gardiner thought that this would not foster residents talking to Councilmembers.
City Attorney Lynch said that due process was the issue and just because someone says they are in favor or against an issue does not mean that facts have been supplied that are not part of the record.
Councilmember Gardiner was concerned that, as a new Councilmember, he would not be as likely to know what already been said.
City Attorney Lynch remarked that this was a different issue than the one raised by Councilman Stern.
Councilman Stern emphasized that he was asking for disclosure before an item was on an agenda to provide information to the public before the meeting.
Councilman Stern Ďs motion died for lack of a second.
Mayor Lyon remarked that sometimes the public actually knows more than the Council and she referred to meetings being held regarding Marymount College project. She said that she learned at a Homeowners Association meeting she had attended the previous evening, that that association members have attended several presentations by Marymount and she found it hard to believe that the Council has not been privy to that. She added that it was a common occurrence for proponents of projects to come out into the community long before the item is on a Council agenda.
Councilman Stern said that possibly in that particular case the public does have information but he thought that probably they did not regarding the proposed Belmont Village.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart stated that the assumption ought to be that the Council might not know about either one.
Councilmember Gardiner felt this could be considered an early warning system and he thought email was a good idea for notification because, for example, when he had a tour of Ocean Trails with Ken Zuckerman, he could send it in right away to the City Clerk and not have to remember at a Council meeting.
Councilman Stern agreed email was a perfect means of disclosing these contacts.
Mayor Lyon thought it was still important to say something at the time a decision was being made and suggested these disclosures also be made during City Council Reports.
Councilman Stern concurred, and said that the policy he was suggesting would provide information to the press and the public from the City Clerk.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart said it was hard to know when to disclose information. He gave an example of a phone message left by Mike Mohler, who represents the proposed Long Point project. He called Mike back but Mike said he was too busy to talk at the time. Did he have to disclose that to the City Clerk, and how about the lunch he had with members of SOC II?
Councilman Stern replied that it would be up to the individual Councilmember to make that decision. He described the public misperception that the proponent of a proposed project advances their cause with Councilmembers away from public meetings and the public feels they are behind in the process.
Mayor Lyon stated that she did not feel there was a problem.
Councilwoman Ferraro felt the policy was unnecessary.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart stated that the original request from the Council of Homeowners Associations did not define the term "major developer" and he said that the currently proposed policy defines a major development as ten acres or more and he wondered why that project size was chosen.
Councilman Stern said it was to lighten the burden.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart pointed out that under this policy a conversation with Charles Brumbaugh who proposed the Senior Affordable Housing project would not have to be disclosed because the development was less than ten acres.
Councilman Stern said that the line had to be drawn somewhere.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that she was Mayor when the request for disclosure with major developers came from the Council of Homeowners Association and she was quoted as saying this would be busywork for nothing and not necessary, and she still believed that.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart said that this policy indicated that if you spoke to a developer and did not report it, you were hiding something. He was concerned that this increased bureaucracy would not be helpful.
Tom Redfield, 3127 Ganado Drive, said this policy and expanded minutes were both supported by the Coalition Striving to Improve City Government and, and he felt that both contributed to improved confidence in City government and to track talented people to serve on the City Council and on Commissions and Committees.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart asked if the Coalition Striving to Improve City Government was a non-profit, secret organization.
Tom Redfield said that the Council had information regarding their organization. He then spoke in support of Councilman Sternís disclosure policy, stating that it was not cumbersome, required little paperwork, and merely required common sense and sensitivity to the publicís desire to be informed. He was concerned that there seemed to be a reluctance to adopt the policy and stressed that it would be for the Councilís own protection, would help the City Attorney defend their actions, and that the Planning Commission made these types of disclosures and recused themselves from certain items when appropriate. He said that the Council had been having discussions with Marymount for years.
Mayor Lyon said that the consideration of each proposed development in the City is treated equally and that all had to go through the complete process. She took offense to his implying that the Council had made decisions before an item was on the agenda and said that she had not been discussing anything with Marymount.
Mr. Redfield said that one member of the Council has.
Councilwoman Ferraro and Mayor Lyon asked him to name this person.
Mayor Lyon felt that this Council has always done a good job handling comments from people and if appropriate, a Councilmember has recused himself or herself. She asked City Attorney Lynch how many other cities had a policy like the one being proposed.
City Attorney Lynch said that she did not know of any but she had done any research. When the Mayor asked her if the other City for which she served as City Attorney had such a policy and she said no.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that she had always reported at Council meetings what she considered significant contacts and she would continue to do so without adopting his unnecessary policy.
Councilwoman Ferraro moved, seconded by Mayor Lyon, not to adopt the recommendation.
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, spoke in support of Councilman Sternís policy and felt that it was particularly important regarding Long Point because this project would have a great impact on City and that everyone in the community knew how the Council was going to vote.
Mayor Lyon replied that the Councilmembers themselves did not know how they would vote because they did not have the final form of project.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart said that he did not have a problem with some type of formal disclosure procedure that makes sense but he felt that Councilman Sternís proposed policy was not in the Cityís best interest. He said that he was disgusted with the innuendos at the speakerís podium that impugn the Councilís integrity without evidence or details.
Councilmember Gardiner supported the concept of an early warning system to the public. He moved that, rather than a written system, we ask Councilmembers to mention at council meetings when they are approached by a developer which would put the Council into a position of self policing. He felt that would take care of the intent without irksome details.
Mayor Lyon said that she could accept this and withdrew her second to Councilwoman Ferraroís motion.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that the Councilmembers were already following the procedure in Councilmember Gardinerís motion.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart said that this would formalize this action into a written Council policy.
Mayor Lyon said that this policy would fit in nicely with the agenda rearrangement that she and Councilmember Gardiner were working on which would relocate City Council Reports to the beginning of the meeting.
Councilwoman Ferraro withdrew her motion.
City Clerk Purcell stated Councilmember Gardiner Ďs motion: The City Council, using their own judgment, when they encounter developers or groups on something that seems important enough to bring to the City Council, shall report during the City Council Reports section of the City Council meeting agenda.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart seconded Councilmember Gardinerís motion.
The motion carried 4-1, with Councilwoman Ferraro dissenting.
Proposed Amendment to the Cityís Neighborhood Compatibility Ordinance (1203)
Director Rojas presented the staff report of October 2, 2001 and the recommendation to provide staff with direction as to whether to initiate code amendment proceedings to consider amendments to the Cityís existing "neighborhood compatibility" review procedures.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart explained an instance of how neighborhood compatibility had worked in his neighborhood. He said that an applicant with a second story project had been told an analysis of neighborhood compatibility and a view analysis would be required along with a hearing before the Planning Commission. They asked staff how they could avoid a Planning Commission hearing and they were told they could design the second story as a mezzanine and make the addition less than 16 feet high. Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart said that this was a loophole that gave the Planning Department more authority than probably was intended and there was no notification to the neighbors. He felt the code should be revised to define second story more accurately and close this loophole.
Councilwoman Ferraro said she was not sure what the solution was but that there had definitely been problems with consistency in neighborhood compatibility.
Councilmember Gardiner agreed that there seemed to be a need to tidy up the code. He described a conversation with a resident regarding back yard and side yard setbacks, the side yard setback being smaller, and an instance in which a back yard and a side yard of two homes met, the smaller setback was applied. He thought possibly there were anomalies and that the code should swept for these and brought to the attention of the Council.
City Attorney Lynch said that if was difficult to address every conceivable instance in the code but she felt the Council was struggling with the possibility of every application being analyzed for neighborhood compatibility.
Councilwoman Ferraro asked what triggers neighborhood compatibility now.
Director Rojas said a second story always does and a one-story addition if the increase in square footage is greater than 25% of the original home size.
City Attorney Lynch clarified that this percentage was chosen to try to avoid having minor additions analyzed for neighborhood compatibility. She suggested that the Council might like to set a different percentage.
Councilman Stern thought that instead of a code amendment, staff might focus on specific problems which the Council could address. He thought possibly requiring a neighborhood compatibility analysis for all additions might be appropriate to avoid the "piece-meal" approach.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart added that the situation which resulted from the 25% approach was that a larger house could have a much bigger addition before the requirement for a neighborhood compatibility analysis was required, whereas a smaller house could have a very small addition and this requirement would be triggered.
Councilman Stern said that more information was required to make a decision on this apparent problem.
Councilmember Gardiner noted that it seemed that there were at least two instances before them currently which needed to be addressed.
Mayor Lyon was concerned about slowing the process with more red tape.
Councilwoman Ferraro agreed that applicants would not be happy with more delays in processing their applications.
Councilmember Gardiner asked if neighborhood compatibility was not an issue if neighbors on all four sides approved the project.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart indicated that sometimes applicants specifically made their additions just under the 25% to avoid the extra time and expense.
Councilman Stern said that this type of situation would always exist unless all additions were subject to the same requirements but he did not feel this was the best solution because of the additional burden on the community.
Director Rojas agreed that applicants usually did what they could to avoid a two-month long review process.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart raised the issue of privacy when huge windows were installed.
Councilwoman Ferraro agreed and said that the current procedure seemed to require neighborhood compatibility when maybe it was not needed and vice versa.
Councilmember Gardiner suggested that staff discuss these problems with Planning Departments in other cities to try to determine a solution.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart suggested that it would have to involve cities with view issues and many second story addition applications.
Mayor Lyon suggested that Palos Verdes Estates would be a good place to start.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart, to direct staff to provide more information to the Council based on their experience and to contact other cities to see how they handle similar situations. Motion carried.
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
CITY COUNCIL REPORTS:
Councilwoman Ferraro added that election of officers was held and that Rosemary Humphrey was still the head of the group.
Councilman Stern stated that he had attended an Ocean Trails meeting the past Thursday.
Mayor Lyon said that former Mayor Tom Hollingsworth had concerns about Palos Verdes Drive South and it was suggested that he bring this matter to this meeting.
Relative to the Ocean Trails meeting, Councilman Stern reported that repairs were to be completed on La Rotunda in October and November before the rainy season and that in the period of June through November 2001 Palos Verdes Drive South from La Rotondo west to Schooner was scheduled to be rebuilt. He said that a number of residents were concerned about when the condition of the streets would improve because of Ocean Trailsí bankruptcy.
Mayor Lyon asked when the unattractive chain link fence at Ocean Trails would be removed.
Councilman Stern replied that he would ask Deputy Director Planning Greg Pfost to put this on the next agenda.
Councilwoman Ferraro inquired when the mounds of dirt at Ocean Trails would be lowered.
Councilman Stern said that a timetable for addressing all these major items was requested and there should a checklist on the agenda to make sure the appropriate timely action was taken.
Mayor pro tem McTaggart described a Vector District field trip regarding African Honey Bees the next Thursday and asked anyone interested to call him for details. He added that other Councilmembers attending would not constitute a violation of the Brown act.
Mayor Lyon announced that she presented a proclamation the previous evening at a celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the Admiral Risty, the oldest restaurant in the City.
Mayor pro tem McTaggart added that it had been an interesting evening, with lots of reminiscing.
ADJOURNMENT: Adjourned at 11:19 P.M. on motion of Mayor Lyon.