RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
NOVEMBER 7, 2001
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 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 7:14 P.M. the meeting reconvened.
After the Pledge of Allegiance led by Peter Palett of Webelos Tiger Pack #970, roll call was answered as follows:
Gardiner, McTaggart, Stern, and Mayor Lyon
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; Senior Planner Ara Mihranian; Senior Administrative Analyst Gina Park; and, Deputy City Clerk/Recording Secretary Jackie Drasco.
Mayor Lyon presented a proclamation to Town Sheriff Randy Oviedo upon his promotion to another assignment within the Sheriff’s Department. She read the proclamation, which listed his accomplishments on behalf of the City.
The winner from the last drawing was Mark Ziobro, who will receive a check for $250, which represents a year of free refuse service. Another card was selected.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilwoman Ferraro, to approve the agenda, as amended. Motion carried.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Councilmember Gardiner requested that the minutes be removed from the Consent Calendar for discussion.
Councilwoman Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve the Consent Calendar with the Minutes removed, as follows:
Resol. No. 2001- 90 - Health Insurance Contributions
(1) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2001-90, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING THE CITY’S MAXIMUM MONTHLY CONTRIBUTION AMOUNTS FOR EMPLOYEE HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS. (2) Directed the Finance Department to reimburse staff members who paid additional PERS Care health insurance premiums during 2001.
Resol. No. 2001-91 - Point Vicente Interpretative Center Exhibits Grant Application
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2001-91, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AUTHORIZING STAFF TO PURSUE AN URBAN RECREATIONAL AND CULTURAL CENTERS GRANT FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION TO FUND FUTURE EXHIBITS AT POINT VICENTE INTERPRETATIVE CENTER.
September 2001 Treasurer’s Report
Ordered received and filed.
Resol. No. 2001-92 - Register of Demands
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2001-92, 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.
Councilmember Gardiner and Councilman Stern provided suggested changes and corrections to the Minutes.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilmember Gardiner, to adopt the minutes as amended. Motion carried.
Director Allison presented the staff report of November 7, 2001 and the recommendation to continue the Public Hearing to the December 4, 2001 City Council meeting.
Councilwoman Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilmember Gardiner, to continue to December 4, 2001. Motion carried.
Director Allison presented the staff report of November 7, 2001 and the recommendation to provide staff with direction regarding assessment deferrals for undergrounding districts.
City Attorney Lynch described programs which she outlined in a memo attached to the staff report.
Councilman Stern noted that the state program had limited potential but if residents qualified by age or disability, the deferral was automatic and the City took no action and did not provide funds. He compared this plan with the 1913 Act Funding which allowed the City to set the criteria but which required City funds to establish the fund initially. He asked if this money would come from the General Fund or from the creation of a bond issue.
City Attorney Lynch clarified that deferred assessments could not be spread over the district.
Councilman Stern asked if a bonded indebtedness could be secured by the homes needing assessment deferral with a lien to be paid when the home was sold in order to avoid Proposition 218 issues.
City Attorney Lynch said that under the 1913 Act Funding the money would simply be forwarded and secured by a lien on property.
Councilman Stern stated that a bond issue would establish a fund which would provide seed money and then the program would fund itself.
City Attorney Lynch felt this would work as long as liens were placed only on properties subject to that.
Councilmember Gardiner asked about homeowners in a bind who did not qualify under age or disability, some type of perpetual undergrounding fund which would indicate how many projects could be approved.
Councilwoman Ferraro asked if this fund would be established by bonding.
Councilmember Gardiner said bonding or some other type of mechanism. He asked if the undergrounding was about $9.00 total per foot.
Scott Gobble, Southern California Edison, 505 Maple Avenue, Torrance, CA 90503, said that the average in Rancho Palos Verdes was approximately $300 to $350 per foot.
Councilmember Gardiner asked if Edison paid $9.00 per foot.
Scott Gobble said that the Public Utilities Commission set the figure and that it could vary slightly depending on the voltage of the poles.
Councilmember Gardiner said that he understood Edison does not make the rules.
Councilman Stern suggested that the Council create a goal and guidelines and direct the Finance Advisory Committee to research the structure of a revolving fund, taking into account legal constraints.
Mayor Lyon agreed that this would be good idea and would also provide an opportunity for public input.
Councilwoman Ferraro asked if the 1913 Act Funding would replenish the money eventually when the lien was paid at the time the house was sold.
City Attorney Lynch said that the funds would be replenished when the house was sold, or at the end of the program when the bonds were paid off.
Councilwoman Ferraro understood that the program was self-sustaining but that the City would have to provide the initial money for the pool of funds.
Councilman Stern asked if interest would be earned, the amount and whether the City would set it or was it statutory.
City Attorney Lynch said that she believed it was statutory but that she would investigate.
Councilman Stern moved that the Council direct the Finance Advisory Committee to review the discussion of the Council and meet the goal to create a structure, possibly by bonds, that creates some kind of revolving fund of approximately $500,000 to allow people to use this fund to pay their yearly assessment if they meet the criteria and to be replenished when liens were paid at the time the house was sold.
City Attorney Lynch clarified that the City would set the criteria under the 1913 Act Funding program.
Councilmember Gardiner seconded the motion if it included the $5,000 connection fee as well. Motion carried.
Long Point Resort Project (Conditional Use Permit No. 215, et. al)
Senior Planner Mihranian presented the staff report of November 7, 2001 and the recommendation to (1) Grant the applicant’s request to place the Long Point applications on hold; and (2) Establish a maximum period of six months at which time the applicant must either withdraw the project applications or present the revised project to the City Council.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart referenced Councilmember Gardiner’s motion in which he mentioned City assistance in the success of developing the Long Point project.
Councilman Stern asked why a deadline was necessary and how Mike Mohler felt about this deadline.
Senior Planner Mihranian replied that it was merely to keep the project from lingering indefinitely.
Vic Quirarte, 29369 Quailwood, suggested that, for clarity, an actual date be established as a deadline rather than a deadline of six months.
Mayor Lyon asked if there was someone from Destination Resorts who wished to speak.
Mike Mohler, representing Destination Development Corporation, 11777 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049 said that he was in agreement with the staff recommendation.
Councilmember Gardiner said that he agreed that an actual date should be established for the deadline.
City Manager Evans suggested May 7, 2002.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart, to (1) Grant the applicant’s request to place the Long Point applications on hold; and (2) Establish a date of May 7, 2002, which time the applicant must either withdraw the project applications or present a revised project to the City Council. Motion carried.
Proposed Modification to the Wireless Telecommunication Facility (monopole) at City Hall
Assistant City Manager Petru presented the staff report of November 7, 2001 and the recommendation to (1) Determine whether to allow AT&T Wireless Services to proceed with an application for a Conditional Use Permit Revision to modify existing wireless telecommunications facilities on the monopole at City Hall. (2) Determine whether the City should conduct an overall review of Conditional Use Permit No. 119 (monopole at City Hall) at this time. She said that AT&T informed staff earlier that day that they wanted to install the new equipment on the monopole by the end of the year. Because there was not sufficient time to process the CUP revision application before that time, they were no longer interested in moving forward at this time but that they might ask again later. Assistant City Manager Petru explained that SpectraSite was interested in modifications to the monopole to improve aesthetics and she modified her recommendation as follows: (1) Direct staff to work with SpectraSite Communications to develop alternatives to improve the aesthetics of the monopole, without degrading telecommunication service to the community. (2) Authorize staff to spend up to $3,000, if necessary, to retain a consultant to analyze the alternatives proposed by SpectraSite Communications. (3) Deny AT&T’s request to file a Conditional Use Permit application to modify their existing equipment on the monopole until the overall review of the facility is completed.
Kathleen Hill, SpectraSite, 2301 Dupont Drive, #200, Irvine, CA 92612, clarified that they are not a carrier but a manager of towers. She said that they had purchased the monopole from Verizon two years ago and were studying ways to improve all their towers and hoped to maintain a good relationship with all the cities. She indicated that she was not aware of AT&T’s request and was in agreement with Ms. Petru’s modified recommendation, as these actions would tie in perfectly with their master plan.
Scott Gobble, Southern California Edison, 505 Maple Avenue, Torrance, CA 90503, reported that Edison is also a tenant on monopole and said that for the last seven years, they had used the pole for emergency and day-to-day routine communication with their field crews. He expressed interest in working with SpectraSite and urged the Council to protect Edison’s continued effective use of the monopole.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart asked how Edison would maintain communication while modifications might be made to the monopole.
Scott Gobble described the history of their use of the pole and said that they had preferred using the monopole already in place to placing another tower on the Coast Guard property below City Hall to minimize the visual impact of two poles. He indicated that timing was essential so that they would be able to relocate their facilities to maintain constant communication with their crews on the RPV City Hall side of the Peninsula.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart asked if temporary poles might be necessary.
Scott Gobble said that the safety of the public and Edison crews was most important and that he did not have enough information to discuss their specific needs but he knew that they had contingencies for situations such as earthquakes which might temporarily disrupt their communications.
Councilman Stern felt that the issue of continued service was implied and that there might be just a small gap in usage due to construction and felt it made sense to evaluate aesthetics as well as technical aspects of the monopole.
Scott Gobble said that SpectraSite had not contacted Edison.
City Attorney Lynch emphasized that it would be in the interest of SpectraSite to work with their lessees on the pole.
Councilwoman Ferraro was glad aesthetics were being considered but expressed her opposition to any type of "stealth" design which would make the monopole look like a tree, clock tower, etc.
Councilmember Gardiner assumed that the modified antenna would be made ready first so that the service could be merely switched over to the original antenna after modifications were made. He was concerned that the Telecommunications Act might overrule action the City might approve.
City Attorney Lynch clarified that the City has control over aesthetics and interference with adjacent users but not the more technical aspects of the antennas and stated that SpectraSite as the major lessee would have to address all issues with their sub-lessees.
Councilmember Gardiner asked whether the City could require that the most advanced technology be used.
City Attorney Lynch said there is a presumption that favors technical advances but the City, as landowner, has control over the aesthetics and some control over technology depending on its impact on aesthetics.
Councilman Stern asked if the City could refuse to provide City land for the antennas, as it was the landowner, not merely the regulator.
Councilmember Gardiner inquired about the City’s ability to require a different type of antenna.
City Attorney Lynch said that the lease had a section on aesthetics which outlined the City’s authority.
Councilmember Gardiner felt it was important to take an inventory of the lessees on the pole since SpectraSite was unaware of AT&T’s application and since they had not contacted Southern California Edison.
Councilman Stern agreed that it was important for SpectraSite to honor their contractual commitment to the tenants on the pole.
Councilmember Gardiner assumed that SpectraSite would clear the proposed modifications with their tenants on the pole.
Councilman Stern clarified that that the City had the ability to ask for revisions if the Council did not agree with their modifications.
Councilmember Gardiner said that he was against making the pole look like something else like a tree.
Councilmember Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to (1) Direct staff to work with SpectraSite Communications to develop alternatives to improve the aesthetics of the monopole, without degrading telecommunication service to the community. (2) Authorize staff to spend up to $3,000, if necessary, to retain a consultant to analyze the alternatives proposed by SpectraSite Communications. (3) Deny AT&T’s request to file a Conditional Use Permit application to modify their existing equipment on the monopole until the overall review of the facility is completed. Motion carried.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart asked Assistant City Manager Petru if AT&T had officially withdrawn their application.
Assistant City Manager Petru replied that by telephone that day she had informed AT&T of staff’s modified recommendation to deny their request at this time and AT&T had expressed no objection to this action, although there was nothing in writing to that effect.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
Gardiner, McTaggart, Stern, and Mayor Lyon
Request to Abandon View Covenant Recorded Against Property at 3027 Crest Road (Requestor: Mr. & Mrs. Robert Scalfaro-property owners)
Director Rojas presented the staff report of November 7, 2001 and the recommendation to (1) Consider the property owner’s request for the City to abandon the view covenant that was recorded in December 1990 against the property known as 3027 Crest Road. (2) Provide staff with direction on whether to amend City Council Policy No. 30 to establish a process for dealing with any future requests from property owners to abandon recorded view documents.
Councilman Stern disclosed that he is one of the 900 homeowners in the City who signed a view covenant when he remodeled his home a few years ago. He noted that there was no view analysis at the time the covenant was signed and yet the view owner can invoke this document to obtain a view. He noted that he did not find the distinction noted by staff to be material.
Director Rojas said that in 1990 the Code allowed covenants to be filed in lieu of a view analysis.
Councilman Stern asked if it was significant to staff that private legal proceedings had begun to enforce the covenant recorded on the property. He noted that he did not view it as material.
Director Rojas noted that in 1997 there was a threat of litigation but no lawsuit had been filed.
Councilwoman Ferraro noted that the applicant’s attorney said in his letter that the City would be interfering in a court case and she asked City Attorney Lynch if she agreed with that statement and if the Council could do this and, if so, should it be done with all covenants as a matter of policy.
City Attorney Lynch responded that it was the Council’s decision whether to handle the covenants on a case-by-case basis or to establish a broader policy. As to whether there was interference with a case, the covenant says the Council has the ability to remove the covenant at any time. If it were removed, there would be no covenant to enforce so it would interfere with a lawsuit, as it would likely end the legal proceedings.
Councilman Stern agreed but felt the interference with the lawsuit does not answer the questions.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that the covenant would be rendered unenforceable and it becomes a moot point.
City Attorney Lynch agreed and said that the situation has changed since the Council started imposing view covenants in an effort to simplify the view process which was in its infancy. Since then the process has been developed successfully and these types of covenants are no longer required, however, she clarified that the existing covenants were left in place so the homeowner could enforce them even though the City had stopped enforcing the covenants.
Councilmember Gardiner felt that everyone should be treated the same and there should not be an alternative method and if a legal case was eliminated, it was all right. He believed that it would be best to address the covenants as a whole, rather than one at a time.
City Attorney Lynch reiterated that the Council could remove the covenant at any time but someone could file a small claims action to recover costs, however, it might be difficult to win.
Mayor Lyon said that the view process according to the City ordinance was another remedy.
Councilman Stern said that the view ordinance is unique to our City and the system should have consistency and the View Restoration Commission handles these cases routinely, therefore, he found it troubling that possibly someone who was not familiar with the City’s procedures might tell a resident what his view rights are.
Larry Burge, 22930 Crenshaw Boulevard, Torrance, CA 90510, attorney for Robert Morrell, submitted a letter with photographs prior to the meeting and noted that staff said there were 900 of these view covenants and he felt the City should establish a procedure to deal with them. In the meantime, he asked that the Council not interfere with the court process which had begun. He said that at the time the parcel map was requested, it was the duty under the ordinance that the trees be trimmed to bring them into conformance. He said that his clients could have insisted that this happen but did not recognize that at the time and instead relied on the covenant, which allowed them to recover costs. If the Council is entertaining to remove the covenant and take rights from the owner because he gave up something he was legally entitled to, he has the right to either go to the View Restoration Commission or to sue in the court. The reason the court approach was taken was because up until recently, the view restoration and view preservation process was not in force and the client made this choice. He discussed a similar case of a covenant on a home on Arrowroot Lane and referred to Exhibit 1 of his colored exhibits. He said that there were two photos, one as the actual view in January 2000 and the other is a computer simulation of what view the view should be, with the trees erased and the view inserted. He said that the difference with the Arrowroot situation was there is significant view impairment from the master bedroom. He was confused by the fact that Proposition M was codified in 1989 and this particular view covenant was signed in 1990. He noted that the ordinance was amended in 1996 to insert the word "significantly" impaired view. He believed that rights should not be taken from the homeowner simply because the City decided to no longer enforce these view covenants.
Councilman Stern asked if the speaker was under the impression that there will be a different result from going to court than from following the City’s procedure under the view ordinance.
Mr. Burge said that he believed that.
Councilman Stern asked if Mr. Burge did not think that the City should strive for consistency so that all residents would have equal rights.
Mr. Burge said that not all residents had a view covenant and that trees could be trimmed as a result of a permit issued if a person did not wish to enter into a covenant.
Councilman Stern clarified that under the City’s procedure, the owner of foliage would have to pay for the trimming and he asked what legal fees his client incurred so far.
City Attorney Lynch said that under the alternative remedy, the view applicant would pay for the tree trimming.
Mr. Burge said that it was his understanding that under the ordinance his client would have to pay and under a court remedy, he would not.
Councilman Stern asked the cost of trimming the trees.
Mr. Burge said that based on three other cases he had handled in Rancho Palos Verdes, he was estimating about $8,000 every other year.
Robert Morrell, 3126 Corinna Drive, said that he had contacted Mr. Song, the previous owner, by mail in May 2000 and asked him to remove his foliage, composed of about 20 huge pine trees. He said that Mr. Song’s daughter wrote back a week later asking for photos of the trees obstructing the view. Mr. Morrell said that he received photos from seven neighbors and sent them to her but because of the large quantity of trees could not circle any specific trees. He said that he heard nothing from Mr. Song or his family and some time later spoke to Mr. Scalfaro, the current owner who said he would trim the trees but never to the level of the utility lines. Mr. Morrell said that he asked Mr. Scalfaro to come to his property to see the view impairment. After seeing the situation, Mr. Scalfaro said that Mr. Morrell would have to do what he needed to do to restore his view and that he would not help. Mr. Morrell said that Mr. Scalfaro had trimmed the trees slightly and he distributed to the Council a photo taken earlier today of the view from the sliding door of his bedroom and another from the back of his property showing the detail of the trees blocking the view.
Councilman Stern asked him why he decided not to follow the City’s view procedure and noted that often mediation between the two parties results in a satisfactory solution.
Robert Morrell said that he had tried to be a good neighbor but that after a year and a half, there was no solution. He felt that the City process would take too long.
Councilman Stern asked how soon he thought he would get results from a lawsuit.
Robert Morrell said he estimated June 2002.
Warren Sweetnam, 7 Top Rail Lane, as a member of the View Restoration Commission for ten years, he had discussed the view covenants many times and he explained that the covenants were required when someone modified their home in order to eliminate all view-impairing trees. After the ordinance went into effect, residents modifying their homes were given the choice of signing a view covenant instead of trimming their foliage at that time. In 1997, the Council realized that these covenants really were not accomplishing their goal and at that time the City no longer enforced or required view covenants. When a covenant was removed, the foliage owner could no longer claim that the foliage existed before November 1989 because he should have removed I when he got his permit. Therefore, a request to trim the foliage must be considered a preservation not a restoration.
Robert Scalfaro, 3027 Crest Road, agreed with the comments of the City Council and said that previous speakers had made incorrect statements. He said that there was a letter dated 1990 in his file in the Planning Department thanking his in-laws the Songs for trimming their trees in accordance with the covenant. He felt that Mr. Morrell's photographs were not meaningful because it was impossible to know the vantage point from which they were taken. He further stated that Director Rojas had attempted to visit the Morrell property and was not permitted to do so. He hoped that the Council would abandon the covenant.
Lee Lubin, 22900 Ventura Boulevard, #110, Woodland Hills, CA 91364, attorney for Robert Scalfaro emphasized the Council’s ability to abandon a covenant at any time. He disagreed with the opposing attorney’s opinion about how this matter should be handled and he said that even in a court case, the City would be asked to provide information regarding the viewing area. He felt that no matter which remedy was sought, the fact was that there was no significant view impairment.
Councilman Stern said that Mr. Burge had mentioned costs incurred by his client and he asked Mr. Lubin if his client would be willing to reimburse him.
Mr. Lubin replied that when he was first aware of the lawsuit, he called Mr. Burge and asked that any legal action be postponed until this item appeared on a City Council agenda, therefore, he did not feel that reimbursement of legal costs was appropriate except for possibly the initial filing fee.
Mayor Lyon pointed out that if a resident was not in agreement with the decision from the City’s view procedure, he still had the option of going to court.
City Attorney Lynch explained the difference between Court review of a City decision and the Court handling a suit on the covenant. She said that if there were not substantial evidence before the City, the court might remand the case back to the City.
Mayor Lyon asked if that would be a loss of due process.
City Attorney Lynch said the dispute could ultimately be challenged in court.
Councilman Gardiner asked the estimated time for this resident to complete the City’s view procedure at this time.
Mayor Lyon said it would probably take longer than the June 2002 time mentioned for the completion of the court case.
Director Rojas said that possibly with a solution through pre-application mediation, the process would take a considerably shorter time and, depending on the merits of the case, the view procedure might take the same amount of time.
Councilman Stern said that appeals in court could lengthen that process.
Councilman Gardiner guessed that there would be less out-of-pocket cost using the City’s process.
Councilman Stern believed the savings would be substantial.
City Attorney said that the cost using the City’s process could be increased if legal counsel were required but this was not usually the case.
Councilman Gardiner felt that removing the covenants was the best approach but he was not sure how exactly this case would be affected, although he thought it would not be affected significantly.
Councilman Stern stated that for consistency, a review by the City’s View Restoration Commission would be preferable to a review by a jury from out of the area and that the system is working well. He did not understand why Mr. Morrell felt going to court was a better remedy and guessed possibly he thought the covenant might have more power. He suggested that the Council abandon the covenant and direct the parties involved to meet to try to resolve the situation because he said that the ultimate legal expenses were going to be much more than the $5,000 already incurred.
Mayor Lyon agreed and she pointed out that the cost of the early neighborhood consultation process was absorbed by the City and the taxpayers, whereas with a lawsuit, Mr. Morrell was paying the entire cost.
Councilman Gardiner said that he was not entirely sympathetic regarding the legal costs incurred.
Councilman Stern asked about costs for beginning the City’s process.
City Attorney Lynch said that this case would likely be considered view preservation but it could be view restoration and the cost would be affected by the appropriate procedure.
Councilman Stern asked if the Council had the ability to waive fees.
City Attorney Lynch said the Council could waive filing fees.
Mayor Lyon thought that might be appropriate.
Mayor pro tem McTaggart thought the covenant approach was somewhat Pollyanna and it did not work as was expected and he felt at this time it would be helpful to know if there was evidence that there was not blockage at the time the ordinance was passed. Lacking this information, it was difficult to decide what was equitable.
Councilman Stern pointed out that if the Council had to make a decision regarding the covenant and unless it is abandoned, the case would be prosecuted.
Councilman Gardiner asked if they would apply for view presentation or restoration if the covenant were abandoned.
Director Rojas said that if Mr. Morrell submitted documentation that he had a view in 1989, it would be preservation and if not, it would be restoration.
Mayor pro tem McTaggart said that in restoration the foliage owner pays for the trimming and in preservation the view owner pays.
City Attorney Lynch added that a trust deposit would be established because staff has to perform a view analysis.
Director Rojas stated that a pre-application meeting might eliminate the case going to the View Restoration Commission.
Councilman Stern said that this process had been very successful in solving many problems.
Mayor pro tem McTaggart asked to see the letter Mr. Scalfaro spoke about.
Mr. Burge produced a copy of the letter.
Mr. Scalfaro said that the letter was addressed to Mr. Song, his father-in-law and he said that he saw the letter in his file when he met with staff member Steven Jones at City Hall in August.
Councilman Stern moved that this item be continued to give the parties a chance to meet and attempt to resolve the equities issues, and bring it back in one month. He guessed that the Council was going to abandon the covenant.
Mr. Lubin expressed concern that a postponement of the decision regarding abandonment of the covenant could result in further legal fees.
Mr. Burge stated that if the Council wished to postpone the decision on abandonment of the covenant, he would withhold further legal action. He was under the impression that this item would not come to the Council for a very long time.
Mayor pro tem McTaggart seconded the motion if it could be brought back in one month.
Councilman Gardiner said that the Council still needed to address the 900 covenants currently recorded.
Councilwoman Ferraro asked if the waiving of filing fees would be included.
Councilman Stern said that this could be decided later.
The motion carried with no objection.
Councilman Gardiner moved that staff propose a procedure for Council’s review to remove all the view covenants.
Mayor Lyon said that the procedure would have to include notification to all 900 property owners.
City Attorney Lynch pointed out that a document would have to be recorded for each covenant removed although there would be no recording fee.
Mayor pro tem McTaggart seconded the motion.
The motion carried 4-0-1, with Councilman Stern recusing himself because he has a recorded view covenant on his home.
RECESS & RECONVENE:
Vic Quirarte, 29369 Quailwood, agreed with Ms. Shaw and suggested that the Council establish a task force of interested groups in the City to come up with a master plan for Upper Pt. Vicente Park, similar to the committee which discussed plans for the Forrestal properly.
Jim Knight, 5 Cinnamon Lane, also agreed that an enhancement plan for Upper Point Vicente Park should be developed.
Joint Lawsuit Investigation Against the FAA
City Manager Evans presented the staff report of November 7, 2001 and the recommendation to approve allocating $22,000 from the Fiscal Year 2001-2002 City Attorney Budget for the joint lawsuit investigation.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart said that the extra cost was caused in part by the FAA’s being recalcitrant in providing information requested and then providing information in a non-useable form. He estimated that the process had been going on for about a year and emphasized that the money was necessary to pay the unpaid bills and for other necessary expenses.
Councilwoman Ferraro clarified that the other cities had to agree to provide these funds as well.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart moved, seconded by Councilwoman Ferraro, to approve allocating $22,000 from the Fiscal Year 2001-2002 City Attorney Budget for the joint lawsuit investigation.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
Gardiner, McTaggart, Stern, and Mayor Lyon
Architectural Service Contract for Civic Center Project
Sr. Administrative Analyst Park presented the staff report of November 7, 2001 and the recommendation to approve Execution of the Professional Services Agreement with Johnson Fain Partners to Provide Architectural Services for the Civic Center Improvement Project.
Councilmember Gardiner agreed that air conditioning should be installed but he was not sure about the other modifications.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that the elevator was essential.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart agreed that the elevator would satisfy ADA requirements.
Councilmember Gardiner was concerned about a project being started which did not have a broader goal. He wanted to avoid spending money to re-do areas when plans changed as time went on. He suggested the use of virtual reality and thought Ted Vegvari of PV on the Net might be able to help. He discussed the flat area of the City Hall property as well as the downslope areas and thought building could be carried out in phases under Council guidance with a master plan for such amenities as a Council chamber, Seniors facility, Children’s Theater, athletic playing fields, etc.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart mentioned that the Council had made the decision to integrate the existing buildings into one structure.
Councilmember Gardiner said that this might be one possibility.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that this was the plan which had been discussed by the Council in previous years.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart felt that action needed to be taken with the concepts already developed by the Council and staff in order to expedite Civic Center improvements.
Councilmember Gardiner felt that the proposed project could be canceled and new ideas discussed.
Mayor Lyon felt strongly that the plans go ahead as proposed because improvements were sorely needed and soon. She mentioned the lack of sound quality for Council meetings on cable television, the inconvenience of residents having to go from one building to another to process an application and she felt the time had come to take action.
Councilman Stern believed that the proposed plan did not negate anything that Councilmember Gardiner said and he agreed that a master plan would be a good idea. He suggested that the project be delayed for a few months so that discussions could be held for improving the entire facility. He saw the Council Chambers and a one-stop center for processing applications as priorities but could see no benefit in beginning the design process that might have to be changed within a few years.
Councilwoman Ferraro felt that there had been sufficient discussion to determine what was needed.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart agreed that more talk would simply further delay improvements for residents and he discussed the more convenient, user-friendly City Halls which most other cities had. He felt there was enough information to avoid taking a wrong step which would have to be corrected later.
Councilmember Gardiner reiterated that he was concerned about a "piece-meal" project
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart said that the plan proposed was to remodel the existing facility rather than start from scratch and that this would be the most efficient use of the City’s funds. He felt that there was not in-house expertise to design the project and favored hiring one of the firms investigated by staff.
Kevin Tyrell, of John Fain Partners, described their firm and introduced Dan Janotta and Pat Shigetomi.
Dan Janotta gave a PowerPoint presentation which provided an overview of the firm and illustrated some of its recent projects. He stated that there were three principle disciplines within the firm, architecture, planning, and interior design. He explained their method of working and reported that they had developed three concepts to incorporate Council Chambers into the current facility, one with the chamber in the middle of the two current buildings, another with the chambers toward the rear of the property facing the ocean, and another with the chambers at the front of the current facility.
Pat Shigetomi showed examples of interiors of recent projects on an easel and described her concept of incorporating an attractive interior with retrofitting, ADA upgrades, and efficiency.
Kevin Tyrell described their vision of the project proposed at this time and potential consideration for future project expansion in the future.
Councilman Stern asked about the scope of his work in light of Council concerns about a master plan.
Kevin Tyrell said that he believed the short-term project could be accomplished with no conflict for a grander facility planned for the future.
Councilwoman Ferraro asked if amenities mentioned by the Council such as a Senior facility, a shell for summer concerts, and recreational fields for children were being considered in their vision.
Kevin Tyrell said that any identified amenities could be considered as part of the master plan for the site.
Councilwoman Ferraro asked about the topography and the habitat and wondered if they had considered whether it should be left alone or enhanced.
Kevin Tyrell said that they had considered this situation and it was certainly an important aspect of the property.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart asked how they would make the rectangular box-like buildings interesting.
Kevin Tyrell said that they would use the rectangular nature of the current facility as a background to support a jewelpiece.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart wondered if it would be possible to create a Mediterranean style to soften the boxy nature of the buildings while developing the first phase of the improvements.
Kevin Tyrell said that the budget would be a determining factor but that they could make the facility more attractive.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart mentioned that the Peninsula Seniors group were looking for a permanent facility to conduct business and he wondered if the Council chambers could serve a dual purpose to accommodate the Seniors as well.
Kevin Tyrell said that this could be studied but he was concerned that if the two uses were too diverse, the facility might not be ideal for either use.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart thought it was worth considering.
Councilmember Gardiner felt that the Council’s guidance should be at the beginning of the process to provide a vision of what the Council wants, not just its approval at the end of the process.
City Manager Evans responded that the Council has been providing guidance to staff on this project for several years and staff is now carrying out the Council’s directives. If there is to be a change from that original direction, the Council may make that decision. He was concerned about making the Council Chamber serve another purpose because the same problems will be experienced at that facility as are being experienced now in the multipurpose room at Hesse Park where meetings are currently held. He thought that the current meeting place might even be considered as the Senior Center. He felt the project had been well thought out and this is the first phase which was relatively inexpensive and which could realistically be accomplished. It was part of a much larger plan for Civic Center improvement.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart stated that in his 27 years in facilities design and construction, he learned that the first thing is to go to the customer and ask him what he needs and tell him what he can have and find out what he can really live with. This would be what was convenient for employees and in this case each department head had to determine the needs for his department.
Councilmember Gardiner replied that he was not contemplating telling the staff where to put the phones, filing cabinets and toilets, but he was thinking about major design parameters such as where the Council chamber and the band shell would go and whether there would be a conflict with the locations selected. Then, after Council set these parameters, staff could flesh out the plan.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart felt that it was important to have guidelines from the people who would be using the buildings, not from the architect or the Council, and he thought it was logical to have the staff put together the proposal for a facility used by staff. He believed that there is an opportunity before the Council to have professionals with vision to assist us, to provide expertise that the City does not have in-house.
At this time there was another presentation by Jerry Sturm, president, architect and principal of JSA. Mr. Sturm expressed his excitement about the possibility of modifications which would provide a workable City Hall. He said that staff has researched his credentials and found them favorable. He stated that he did not have an elaborate presentation, that the Council had a choice between a large firm and a small firm, and that he had worked as an architect for these type of projects for 30 years and for the last 15 years had principal of his own company. He explained that most of his work had been for City and County governments, school districts, banks, colleges, military facilities, retail centers, etc., and he was proud of his team who had worked well together for years. Mr. Sturm stated that every architectural job presented a challenge and that he looked forward to providing his pride of workmanship to the City. He presented evidence of customers returning to him for additional projects as proof that he worked well with clients and met their needs. He distributed to the Council a hard copy of the PowerPoint presentation he had made to staff.
Councilman Stern suggested that the Council Chamber be built first and then if the facility can have other uses without detracting from its primary purpose, it can be used for other purposes. He agreed that the plan should begin for a better City Hall to improve efficiency for serving residents but he also preferred a master plan for the use of the whole property, which would mean a delay of a few months. He was not sure that the current modifications proposed would not conflict with future plans.
Councilwoman Ferraro asked Councilman Stern why he would want to delay the process since City Manager Evans had explained that the Council had discussed this project completely in the last several years.
Councilman Stern said that the project was never discussed in the context of the whole property. He repeated that he thought this first aspect of the project was not in conflict with future plans but he was not sure and would like to wait a few more months.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart said that he felt the band shell was not feasible because of the way the sound would carry and a study would need to be performed to determine the acoustics of the terrain.
Councilmember Gardiner felt it was important to determine what the City’s residents wanted in the way of a Civic Center and then create it. He expressed the need to provide an opportunity for notions to surface instead of modifying the Civic Center in a piecemeal fashion. He compared the situation to the appearance of a house for which an addition was planned well or not.
Mayor Lyon recognized the Shakespeare by the Sea performances this past summer on City Hall property which were successful without a band shell. She was not sure a Senior Center at City Hall would provide a convenient location for seniors on the Peninsula. She referenced the many years of discussion to provide a basic efficient City Hall to make the best use of the space available and said she would like to see the plan move forward along with parallel action by the Parks and Recreation Committee to determine public wishes and needs for Upper and Lower Point Vicente Park and to bring this back as a future Council agenda item. Mayor Lyon felt that gathering this public input did not preclude the Council from approving work to begin to improve City Hall.
Mayor Lyon moved, seconded by Councilwoman Ferraro, to approve execution of the Professional Services Agreement with Johnson Fain Partners to provide architectural services for the Civic Center Improvement Project and to request that staff direct the Recreation and Parks Committee to gather public input for use of Upper and Lower Point Vicente Park.
The motion carried (3-2) on the following roll call vote:
McTaggart, and Mayor Lyon
Border Issues Status Report
City Manager Evans presented the staff report of November 7, 2001 and the recommendation to review the current status of border issues and provide direction to the City Council Committee and staff.
City Manager Evans added that Mayor Lyon and Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart had been meeting with the County regarding Harbor Hills which resulted in some modifications such as moving the 75-car parking lot to the western end of the property and agreeing that they would not cut into the slope below RPV homes. He explained that Peninsula Verde Homeowner Association President Dick Brunner and Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart had been active in the discussion, had studied the plans, and that that not all RPV requests for modifications had been granted.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart stated that designers said there would be additional cost if the gym building were moved further from RPV residences but they did consider turning the building at an angle to give the appearance of more space between the building and the homes. He said that he also had been concerned that the on-site probation office would bring felons onto the property but said that he learned the office was for at-risk youth who live at the site and added that he would like to see this commitment in writing. Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart said that RPV residents had first been made aware of this development by trenches being dug practically in their back yards and an investigation revealed that there were construction drawings already prepared when there had been no environmental hearings and no compliance with CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) or NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act).
Dick Brunner, 1906 Peninsula Verde Drive, President of the Peninsula Verde Homeowners Association, said that he was out of town and unable to attend the last meeting so he brought Daniel and Booth Tarkington to give a report.
Daniel Tarkington, 1902 Peninsula Verde Drive, reported that a proposal was made to move the parking lot closer to the buildings on the site but the City of Lomita Planning Department had not received any modified plans so he was not sure if this would actually happen. He understood that the plans had already been approved by the City of Lomita and by the County.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart felt that the City of Lomita staff did not care about moving the building but that nearby RPV residents did and he said that there was still one more opportunity to ask the County Board of Supervisors to relocate the building.
Daniel Tarkington was concerned about the potential for extreme erosion because of the water tanks on this property. He said that rainwater ran down the slope and the slope should have vegetation planted on it.
Councilwoman Ferraro asked Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart if he had spoken to the City of Lomita.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart responded that some of the residents in the nearby condos seemed concerned but had not attended meetings.
Daniel Tarkington stated that the City of Lomita said they had placed articles about the project in the Daily Breeze but there was no map and no one knew anything until two months ago. He felt Lomita residents were unaware of the proposed project.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart asked Dick Brunner if he had spoken to the condo Homeowners Association president.
Dick Brunner indicated that the condo Homeowners Association president had attended the first meeting and that condo residents were concerned and perturbed that the City of Lomita had not notified them.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart was not sure that the County felt that notification to anyone was necessary and he wanted to change this policy but needed the cooperation of the Supervisor to take this matter to the Board to make sure that neighbors were informed.
Councilman Stern was pleased that the border issues were being discussed once a month and he asked the committee if the Council could assist in any way.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart suggested that a letter describing the conditions and concerns would be helpful.
Booth Tarkington, 1902 Peninsula Verde Drive, shared Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart’s concerns about the probation office and he wondered about the traffic caused by the day care and sporting events and whether these uses justified the large parking lot. He also wondered if residents in Rancho Palos Verdes or Lomita would be using these facilities and if the City of Rancho Palos Verdes had any influence over these uses.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart replied that the day care center is mostly drop off so few parking spaces were needed but he felt sure that the number of parking spaces was determined by the building code and the City of Lomita. He stated that the day care and sporting events uses would be for the general public. He shared Mr. Tarkington’s concern about the water tower on the hillside and said this was one of the issues which would be raised with the County. He was unclear about why the County seemed to have autonomy and did not have to provide environmental documents and notification.
City Attorney Lynch pointed out that the sports facilities were not on a regulation size so tournaments would not be held at this site.
City Manager Evans agreed that the City of Lomita required a certain number of parking spaces and the developers of the project did not feel the large parking lot was needed.
Mayor Lyon suggested that issues be enumerated in a letter to Los Angeles County Don Knabe and request that assurances of modifications be provided in written form.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart suggested that environmental issues should be researched by City Attorney Lynch.
Dick Brunner came to the podium again and asked if the letter could please state that the surrounding community is uncomfortable with outsiders coming in.
Councilman Stern suggested that the Border Issues subcommittee could work with staff to make sure the letter addressed all concerns.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that the letter should be signed by the Mayor.
Mayor Lyon mentioned the probation office issue and requested that assurances of onsite clients only be put in writing.
On another subject, Councilmember Gardiner raised the issue of heavy trucks bring allowed to enter Palos Verdes Estates to turnaround.
City Manager Evans said that Mr. Esfahani had not resolved the issue as yet but was working on it and he was expecting a positive outcome.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart felt that trucks en route to other Peninsula cities should not be allowed to use Rancho Palos Verdes streets just because those cities did not allow heavy trucks to use their streets.
City Manager Evans mentioned that Don Shults was present to discuss the Garden Village Shopping Center and said that he (Mr. Evans) felt confident that the key people with the City of Los Angles had been identified for each aspect of the project, although no one was aware of a geological report on the storm drains and sewer lines. Mr. Evans reported that he would going to write a formal letter to each of the City staff identified to make sure that this geological report is made available and to turn the matter over to City Attorney Lynch if they did not respond in a timely manner.
City Attorney Lynch suggested that a closed session be held before adjournment this evening to determine if additional action is required.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart asked that a copy of any correspondence be sent to RPV residents April Sandell and Don Shults.
City Manager Evans said that he had left a message for Erwin Busey of Regency Realty and that he hoped to speak with him soon.
Mayor Pro Tem McTaggart asked about Cotton Shires response.
City Manager Evans said that they underlined their concerns in the letter provided.
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
RECESS & RECONVENE:
ADJOURNMENT: City Attorney Lynch indicated that the Council had taken no action in the second Closed Session and the meeting was immediately adjourned.