M I N U T E S
RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
MARCH 19, 2002
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 P.M. by Mayor McTaggart at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, notice having been given with affidavit thereto on file, and was immediately recessed to a closed session per the Brown Act Checklist. At 7:20 P.M. the meeting reconvened.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Clark, Ferraro, Gardiner, Stern, and Mayor McTaggart
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; Finance Director Dennis McLean; Senior Planner Kit Fox; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and, Deputy City Clerk/Recording Secretary Jackie Drasco.
Presentation of proclamation by Mayor McTaggart to Eric Randall
Mayor McTaggart read the proclamation presented to Mr. Randall as President of the Los Angeles County Board of Real Estate
Winners were Neil Katz, Donald Ritter, Harry Keches, each of whom will receive a check for $250, which represents a year of free refuse service. Another card was selected.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilwoman Ferraro, to hear the Public Hearings in this order: (1) the Abrams antenna item, (2) the Kay antenna item, (3) the PVIC item. Motion carried
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Councilman Gardiner and Mayor Pro Tem Stern asked that the San Ramon Geotechnical Services item be removed from the Consent Calendar for discussion. Councilman Clark asked the same for the item regarding revisions to City Council Policy Manual.
Councilwoman Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to approve the Consent Calendar, as follows:
Waiver of Full Reading
Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at this meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all council members after the reading of the title.
Gifts for Parks (1201 x 602)
Accepted the Gifts for Parks donations and direct staff to prepare letters for the Mayor’s signature expressing the Council’s thanks.
Approval of Contract between the City of Rancho Palos Verdes and the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort for Expenses Related to Youth Activities at the California Contract Cities Conference (1201 x 1102)
Authorized staff to sign the proposed contract between the City and the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort related to youth activities during the annual California Contract Cities Conference, May 30-June 2, 2002.
Approval of Matching Funds for School Recycling Drive (1204 x 1301)
(1) Approved a recycling match for Point Vicente ($100) and Cornerstone Elementary Schools ($100) as part of their November 2001 America Recycles Day, recycling drive and fundraising efforts. (2) Approved additional matching funds, up to a total of $600, to be used for future recycling drives at City schools.
Gift for the Public Works Department (1204 x 602)
Accepted a gift for the Public Works Department and direct staff to prepare a letter of appreciation for the Mayor’s signature.
Acquisition of Vehicle for the Public Works Department (1204)
(1) Authorized the Department of Public Works to purchase a new vehicle. (2) Authorized the Mayor and the City Clerk to enter into a purchase agreement with Golden State Truck Center in the amount of $ 21,737.
Release of Bond Posted for Vantage Point (1204 x 1404)
Authorized the City Clerk and the Director of Public Works to release a bond posted by Cayman Development Company for the construction of a traffic signal on Crest Road.
Resol. No. 2002-20 - Register of Demands (602)
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2002-20, 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:
Geotechnical Services for the lower San Ramon Canyon Regulations (1204 x 604)
Director Allison provided a brief summary of the staff report and the recommendation to (1) Award a professional services agreement for geotechnical engineering services to GeoSyntec Consultants, Inc. (2) Authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute a contract with GeoSyntec Consultants, Inc. (3) Authorize the expenditure of up to $30,000 for engineering services for a geotechnical review of the lower San Ramon Canyon.
Councilman Clark asked if there were potential problems from the situation in this area upslope permeating back into the San Ramon development or Marymount and whether the consultant will investigate this risk.
Director Allison said that this was a possibility and that the consultant would investigate although it was not known if all questions could be answered.
Councilman Gardiner asked which areas were public and which were privately owned.
Director Allison replied that the switchbacks were public land and to the east were private lands.
Councilwoman Ferraro asked the location and the effect on the Tarapaca homes.
Director Alison said that the large lot at the end of Tarapaca all the way to Palos Verdes Drive South were part of this situation.
Mayor pro tem Stern added that the map distributed shows the lot lines and the location of the canyon relative to switchbacks.
Councilman Gardiner asked about surveys on privately-owned land and noted that most of the slipping was on private land.
Director Allison agreed with Councilman Gardiner’s assessment and replied that if there were a need to go on private property, permission would be sought from the landowner.
Councilman Clark asked if this area was the subject of potential residential development about three years ago and Director Allison said yes.
Mayor pro tem Stern supported this investigation and asked if lot owners had been contacted.
Director Allison said that no contact made yet but that would be happening soon.
Marty Redfield, 31223 Ganado Drive, encouraged the Council to be pro-active about investigating this potential risk to homes; said that residents in the area have been watching this earth movement and that many feel that only the light rainfall for the last couple of years has kept the situation from worsening; expressed concern about unstable land nearby in various directions and how the possible expansion of Marymount might worsen conditions; and, asked if it might be possible to reduce costs by joining forces with Marymount since their EIR requires exploring the unstable canyon.
City Manager Evans said that sharing of information might be helpful but that the City would want its own consultant and so would Marymount.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilwoman Ferraro, to adopt staff recommendation.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
Revisions to City Council Policy Manual (1101 x 306)
Staff recommendation was to adopt amended policy Nos. 1 (Video Tapes of City Council And Committee/Commission Meetings), 9 (Advertising in the Recreation Brochure), 10 (City Council/Committee/Community Recognition Program, 17 (Procedure for Audience to Address City Council, 24 (Commission and Committee Chair Attendance at City Council Meetings), and 25 (Policy Against Harassment in the Workplace); and, to adopt new policy no. 36 (Policy Against Workplace Violence) in the City Council Policy Manual.
Councilman Gardiner said that, regarding Policy No. 1, he preferred all material be converted to DVD or its equivalent as technology changes and he asked why the medium determined how long the record was kept.
Assistant City Manager Petru replied that storage had been a factor and also the City did not have ownership of the tapes because members of the Amateur Radio Club manned the cameras. Another factor is that videotape is not as durable as DVD’s. She added that possibly tapes could be converted to DVD format.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that we was not aware that the City did retain a video record of meetings and asked how many tapes the City currently has.
Assistant City Manager Petru said that she would have to check but she thought maybe from February 2002 but there were early records of meetings on the City’s website.
Mayor pro tem Stern stressed the importance of retaining a record of meetings and asked how quickly DVD’s could be burned.
Assistant City Manager Petru replied that she had spoken to Cox Cable and they are currently testing different burners to decide which product to buy. They estimated that they would be ready within the next month or so.
Councilwoman Ferraro suggested that tapes could be saved until that time.
Assistant City Manager Petru said that Cox would burn the DVD’s directly from the live feed and the City would most like have to outsource the conversion from tape to DVD.
Councilman Clark thought the DVD library should be permanent rather than holding the DVD’s for only five years.
Assistant City Manager Petru said that this was the intent and that changes would be made as technology changes.
Mayor pro tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilwoman Ferraro, to adopt Policy No. 1, as amended, and direct staff to investigate converting videotapes to DVD.
Mayor pro tem Stern referred to Policy No. 24which required the Chair of the Planning Commission to attend City Council meetings to answer questions and noted that staff was asking if the Council wanted to continue this policy.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that this applied when a Planning Commission decision was appealed to the City Council.
Mayor pro tem Stern noted that this was not being done.
Councilman Clark suggested that the policy be amended to require the Chair of the Planning Commission to attend only as requested by the City Council.
Mayor pro tem Stern agreed that there was not a need to ask the chairman to come to every time there is an appeal.
Councilman Gardiner discussed the difficulty of making this decision at a Council meeting and suggested that this would be the call of the Mayor or the Mayor pro tem.
Mayor pro tem Stern felt any Councilmember could make this request to the City Manager who would then relay the information to the Planning Commission Chair.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilwoman Ferraro, to (1) Adopt all amended policies, with Policy No. 1 and Policy No. 24 being amended further by Council. (2) Adopt the new Policy No. 36. Motion carried.
Reconsideration of the Decision on the Appeal of Conditional Use Permit No. 207 (Appellant: Mark Abrams, 44 Oceanaire Drive) (1203 x 1801)
Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report of March 19, 2002 and the recommendation to adopt (1) adopt the proposed resolution adopting the Mitigated Negative Declaration prepared pursuant to Environmental Assessment No. 720; and (2) adopt the proposed resolution conditionally approving Conditional Use Permit No. 207.
Mayor McTaggart opened the public hearing on this request to reconsider the decision on the appeal of Conditional Use Permit No. 207. City Clerk Purcell announced that notice had been duly published and that all written protests received by the City were included in the agenda packet or provided to the Council at the outset of the meeting.
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
City Attorney Lynch felt it was appropriate to give this report at this time because it directly related to the item. She reported that no action was taken on the Kay or Abrams lawsuits, except that the Council unanimously directed the City Attorney’s office to file an appeal to the Federal District Court’s decision. The City Manager evaluation will be continued to a later meeting, as there was not time for the Council to address this at this time.
Continuing with the antenna item, Mayor Pro Tem Stern asked if a commercial antenna installation is permitted in an RS2 zone.
City Attorney Lynch said that it was a permitted use with a Conditional Use permit (CUP).
Mayor Pro Tem Stern understood that the reconsideration of this CUP approval was per a Court Order.
Wilkie Cheong, 10100 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90067, attorney for Mark Abrams, made reference to correspondence from his office and said that Mr. Abrams was before the City Council because the court ordered to City to grant his Conditional Use Permit (CUP) with reasonable conditions. He felt that most if not all of the City‘s proposed conditions were unnecessary and that three of them were particularly onerous. He listed these three specific conditions as painting of the tower, maintaining the tree as screening, and the indemnification of the City by Mr. Abrams in a challenge to the CUP. He felt the conditions were unfair and discriminatory.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that he had not had a chance to read Mr. Cheong’s letter but he asked why painting the antenna and maintaining the tree were unreasonable conditions, especially since the court stated that the City could address aesthetics issues.
Wilkie Cheong replied that painting the antenna would make grounding
more difficult and that since the screening tree is deciduous, it would
provide less screening in the winter when the leaves fall off and Mr.
Abrams did not want to be accused of being in violation of one of the
conditions during the winter.
Councilman Clark suggested that a non-deciduous tree could be planted in place of the current tree.
Mayor McTaggart questioned that paint would interfere with grounding since grounding is done with a screw.
Wilkie Cheong said that there technical reasons that the paint interfered.
City Attorney Lynch suggested that Mr. Abrams, or perhaps Dr. Richter could explain.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern pointed out that there two different staff analyses, one deals with whether the City has the legal right to apply conditions and the other deals with which conditions the City should impose even if they are legal.
Sanford Samuels, P.O. Box 1189, Northridge, CA 91328 confirmed that the grounding accomplished by screwing into the antenna would not be as good if the antenna were painted.
Mayor McTaggart questioned that statement.
Sanford Samuels replied that sometimes grounding was accomplished by clamping onto the antenna.
Mayor McTaggart noted that the antenna tower at City Hall was required to be painted; and that Mr. Abrams was not being treated differently.
Mark Abrams, 44 Oceanaire Drive, said that he objected to all of the
proposed conditions. He said that not only grounding was affected when
a tower was painted but also a painted tower became a maintenance problem
and the current dull gray color was actually less intrusive. He felt
that the request for him to indemnify the City was unreasonable because
this was not normally a condition of approval and it invited the filing
of frivolous lawsuits that would make him the fall guy for everything
that happens in the neighborhood. Regarding the issue of regular maintenance
on the tower, he said that there had not been any complaints and that
ham radio operators would have to take time off from their jobs to comply
with the restricted maintenance schedule. He stated that the City keeps
saying the tower is new but it is the same one. He objected to the tree
maintenance condition because he had maintained it since he purchased
the property and he could have taken it out but left it for screening
in deference to the neighbors. He noted that the tree did adversely
affect the antenna because the branches hit it and must be pushed aside
for maintenance of the antenna. He was concerned that neighbors would
poison the tree to force him to replace it. Regarding service vehicles
restricted to driveway parking, he stated that this was not a normal
requirement and he asked if this meant that if he had a plumber come
to his home for repairs that he was forced to park his vehicle, possibly
leaking oil, on his new driveway.
Mayor pro tem Stern replied that this condition referred to service vehicles related to antennas.
Mark Abrams inquired if his friends came to his home for a barbecue
and decided they wanted to do something on their repeater, would they
have to move their cars into driveway to get wrench out of their toolbox.
Mark Abrams replied that parking would not be adversely affected because there would not be more than one service vehicle per month.
Mayor pro tem Stern stated that if maintenance is that infrequent, why would parking off the street be unreasonable.
Mark Abrams objected to the noise suppression condition and said that the Code did not mention noise suppression for transmitter equipment and that other roof equipment, such as air conditioners, was not subject to this restriction.
Mayor McTaggart said that the CUP permitted conditions on commercial uses.
Mark Abrams asked how the level of 65 decibels was determined.
Councilwoman Ferraro replied that it was standard.
Mark Abrams objected to the restrictions on lights on the tower and
asked if he would allowed to use a flashlight if he heard a strange
noise on the roof in the middle of night.
Mark Abrams asked if he could put Christmas lights on the antenna.
Mayor pro tem Stern thought no lights should be allowed.
Mark Abrams objected to being required to obtain a business license because he said that the Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Communications Commission defined his use as a public utility. He said that since the conditions were unreasonable, there should be no conditions, and therefore was opposed to a six-month review.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that six months was a standard review period
for CUPs. He then asked Mr. Abrams why he felt it was inappropriate
for him to incur the cost of defending his commercial antenna.
City Attorney Lynch said that this condition was applied to Ocean Trails.
Mayor pro tem Stern added that the City had been indemnified in one other lawsuit.
In reference to painting the antenna structure, City Attorney Lynch suggested that the condition be changed to require only parts of the structure that are white to be painted gray or grayish blue.
Mayor pro tem Stern suggested that staff evaluate whether painting the entire tower would make it appear more visible and if so, this would not be required.
City Attorney Lynch felt that the service vehicle parking condition
could be clarified to indicate that the restriction did not apply to
Mr. Abrams’ guests and language would be added to address a vehicle
that did not look like a service vehicle.
Mayor pro tem Stern asked Mr. Abrams when he had trimmed the tree last.
When Mr. Abrams replied that it had been about a year, Mayor pro tem Stern said that the condition to maintain the tree could not be too onerous if trimming were required only annually.
Councilman Gardiner was concerned about establishing a standard by which to determine if the tree is being trimmed properly for screening purposes and he asked if the condition of tree was adequate in the photograph dated March 14, 2002.
City Attorney Lynch said that language would be prepared to address this issue.
Mayor pro tem Stern asked Mr. Abrams if he objected to a photograph being used to indicate the degree to which the tree should be trimmed.
Mark Abrams said that he objected to the condition in general because he had been maintaining the tree for screening purposes.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that the photograph was not the only means of establishing a standard by which to adhere but that in this type of instances, pictures are generally better than verbiage. He asked Mr. Abrams if he had a photograph that might be used for this purpose.
Mark Abrams that he was not sure; that he had not been prepared to provide a photograph.
When Mayor McTaggart expressed appreciation of the tree for screening purposes, Mr. Abrams added that he had improved the property from the eyesore that it was when he had purchased it.
City Attorney Lynch said that she and Senior Planner Fox would work
together using photographs and crafting language to provide a standard
by which to measure tree maintenance.
City Attorney Lynch said that she could not think of any another without doing some research.
Mayor pro tem Stern felt it was a reasonable condition since the Court had ordered the City to issue the CUP and that in a sense it was not the City’s approval, but Mr. Abrams’ approval.
Councilwoman Ferraro agreed.
Councilman Gardiner asked how PRB-1 and the Telecommunications Act of 1996 applied to this approval.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that PRB-1 did not apply because this was a commercial facility.
Councilman Gardiner said that he understood it was both amateur and commercial.
Mayor pro tem Stern stated that the CUP is for commercial use and that he did not find it inappropriate that Mr. Abrams indemnify the City since approval of the CUP was not a decision of the City Council.
Mayor McTaggart mentioned a request for indemnification when a huge wall was proposed on Silver Spur because of potential danger. He said that the wall was never built but this indemnification had been one of the conditions.
Mark Abrams felt there was a significant difference between his situation and the far more extensive Ocean Trails golf course project.
Councilman Clark said that he agreed with Councilman Gardiner that the condition might not be reasonable.
Mayor pro tem Stern asked Mr. Abrams’ attorney if Mr. Abrams would be an indispensable party to a lawsuit challenging the CUP approval and would he not want to be in charge of its defense.
Wilkie Cheong said that the resolution stated that the City would select counsel and Mr. Abrams would pay the cost. He said that Mayor pro tem Stern was assuming that both Mr. Abrams and the City would be joined in lawsuit, but this would not necessarily be the case and that the City and Mr. Abrams had different interests.
Mayor McTaggart suggested that language could be added to indicate this indemnification would apply if both Mr. Abrams and the City were sued.
Wilkie Cheong believed that were still different interests and a conflict
of interest could exist.
City Attorney Lynch felt that Mr. Abrams would have to be an indispensable
Mayor pro tem Stern asked if Mr. Abrams would like to control litigation
if the CUP had to be defended.
City Attorney Lynch pointed out that, in addition to 500 Silver Spur already mentioned, that moratorium exception permits routinely required indemnification.
Councilman Clark asked how many moratorium exception permit applications the City had received.
Director Rojas estimated about 50 to 60.
Councilman Clark felt that with this new information, he was included
to agree with Mayor pro Stern that the condition was appropriate and
RECESS & RECONVENE:
Karyl Newton 46 Oceanaire Drive, promised that she would not poison
any trees and she thanked the City Council for making the decision to
appeal the court’s decision because she felt that commercial antennas
had many negative impacts on the community
Rick Kulis, 15 Coveview Drive, thanked the Council for its decision to file an appeal and thanked Mayor pro tem Stern for his helpful email updates on city matters that allowed networking and mobilization for residents to speak on important issues.
Douglas Marston, 14518 Daphne Avenue, Gardena, CA 90249, listed his credentials as a person knowledgeable in the matters being discussed, including teaching at El Camino College; said that he believed in the principles set forth by PRB-1 to support the rights of amateur ham radio operators; and, stated that he had a repeater at Mr. Abrams’ house. He reported problems with the effectiveness of antennas caused by the tree which was in place for screening purposes. He asked the Council to take into consideration that most ham operators work during the day and that their only opportunity to visit this repeater site was during the evenings and on weekends and the fact that sometimes their visits were social as well.
Mayor pro tem Stern asked how much tree trimming would be appropriate.
Douglas Marston said that it needed to be cut back from the structure so that it did not come into the antennas.
Mayor pro tem Stern asked how often Mr. Marston had to visit Mr. Abrams’ site for maintenance purposes.
Douglas Marston said that he had been there within the last month but that it had been about a year since his last maintenance and that he estimated about once a year.
City Attorney Lynch noted that the condition on maintenance hours was intended to prevent work during the evening hours when it might be disruptive to neighbors but that weekend work might be reasonable.
Mayor pro tem Stern agreed and suggested that the condition could distinguish between emergency and regular maintenance.
Douglas Marston asked if restrictions were being considered on maintenance work inside the house.
City Attorney Lynch said that the condition would be clarified to indicate exterior maintenance.
Councilman Gardiner asked where the antenna began on the lower end
and by what means how the signal was carried.
George Papps, 25 Oceanaire Drive, expressed his appreciation of the Council’s decision to appeal the court’s decision.
Robert Moore, 10 Amber Sky Drive, from the Del Cerro neighborhood, thanked the Council for its decision to appeal what he considered an inappropriate commercial enterprise being operated in a residential neighborhood and he thought the proposed conditions were reasonable. He felt this site represented intense usage and crossed the line from recreational to commercial, providing services for people in other cities and counties, and that the applicant had applied for one thing and was doing something else.
Mayor McTaggart wondered if the framers of PRB-1 intended for someone to install antennas in a city and then say that the city has nothing to say about them.
Councilman Gardiner suggested that a summary of PRB-1 and the Telecommunications Act of 1996 would be helpful because this was a hybrid case.
City Attorney said that possibly could be together for the next meeting.
Mayor pro tem Stern asked Mr. Abrams if it was his intention to broadcast amateur signals from the existing antennas or would they be converted strictly to commercial use.
Mark Abrams replied that the amateur equipment would continue to function for people who use his facility and for his own use as an active ham radio operator himself and, although he said he objected to conditions in general, maintaining the amateur equipment would not be an onerous condition.
Mark Lidikay, 520 East Carson, #43, Carson, CA 90745, President of the South Coast Amateur Network, reported that he has equipment at Mr. Abrams' site and that he objected to the condition regarding maintenance time restrictions because he would have to take time from his job to comply. He also was concerned about the City's definition of a service vehicle and said that he had radios in his personal vehicle but this is the same vehicle he would use if he were merely visiting Mr. Abrams. He said that Mr. Abrams had taken down certain antennas that were no longer available for use to appease the neighbors and that coverage was decreased.
Councilman Clark brought up the condition that restricted additional antennas being added and pointed out that amendments or revisions to the CUP by a formal request to the City Council.
Mark Lidikay said that the benefits of ham radio during a disaster were for the benefit of the public and equipment should be provided for adequate coverage. He said that he would be happy to have a repeater at his house but the location would not provide adequate coverage.
Mayor pro tem Stern asked how often he was required to perform maintenance at Mr. Abrams' site and Mr. Lidikay said the last time was about two years ago but he objected to the fact that the proposed condition would mean that he had to take time from job to perform maintenance.
Mayor McTaggart asked Mr. Lidikay if his vehicle has commercial license plates because he used it for business.
Mr. Lidikay said that commercial plates were required and that his job required him to carry computer tools in his car for serving computers in offices. However, he said how would one of Mr. Abrams' neighbors know whether the tools in his car were for working on computers or on antennas.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that it should not be a problem to add language to amend the condition requiring that maintenance vehicles be parking off the street and restricting maintenance hours for a reasonable accommodation for amateur radio operators who are using Mr. Abrams' site.
City Attorney Lynch suggested tailoring these conditions to be more accommodating and that the six-month review would indicate is there had been unreasonable maintenance in the middle of the night or other action that might disturb the neighbors.
Ian MacDonald, 47 Oceanaire, agreed with the Council's decision to appeal Judge Wilson's decision and described the history of Mr. Abrams' antennas. He thought it was important that Mr. Abrams trim his tree so that the antennas would be screened while still protecting his antennas.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that the City had not been given access to the property to get a sense of the tree size and that it would be helpful if Mr. Abrams would grant access.
City Attorney Lynch said that it was possible to get a good view of the tree from a neighbor's property and deferred to Senior Planner Fox as to whether access to Mr. Abrams' property was necessary.
Senior Planner Fox indicated that a site plan had been provided with the original application.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern’s preference was that staff gain access to site to fully appreciate the situation.
Wilkie Cheong said that he would confer with his client Mr. Abrams.
Councilman Gardiner asked if the Federal Court judgment could be placed on the website and City Attorney Lynch said yes.
Peter Von Hagen, 32426 Conqueror, explained that he and his wife are amateur ham radio operators and he described their disaster assistance activities with the Sheriff’s Department and local and national organizations. He stated that the indemnification condition bothered him but the proposed solution seems acceptable. He described the components of Mr. Abrams facility, including lines running from the antennas on the roof to equipment inside. He thought it best to remain the antennas unpainted as the oxidized aluminum blended well with the sky. He said that Mr. Abrams’ antennas do come under the auspices of PRB-1 because they are amateur radio antennas but with commercial activity as well and he felt that Mr. Abrams had incurred cost above what was appropriate. He explained that the amateur radio hobby is one of experimentation and as different antennas became available, modifications need to be made and it was a hindrance to Mr. Abrams to ask him to come to the City each time he wanted to make a minor change. He felt this approval should be reserved for major changes.
Councilman Gardiner asked if was satisfied with the definition of antenna restricted to equipment outside the house.
Peter Von Hagen said in addition to the radiating element there was also a feed line and matching devices, a coupler, and a tuner inside the house.
Councilman Gardiner said that because there was conflicting information, it was important to have a clear definition of an antenna.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern did not see the ambiguity and had no problem limiting discussion to the exterior portion of the antenna.
Margaret Zinn, 22 Oceanaire, said she was speaking for a number of neighbors in the Del Cerro area and she thanked the Council for appealing the court’s decision.
Meredith Eick, 2066 W. 226th Street, Torrance, CA 90505, thanked the Council for their decision to file an appeal and said that he was the owner of 6 Cove View Drive that shared ten feet of the lot boundary with 44 Oceanaire. He explained that he was a licensed amateur radio operator and a registered electrical engineer consultant for communication systems. He described interference caused by Mr. Abrams’ facility that hampered his enjoyment of his amateur radio hobby and was saddened by the problems caused to amateur radio operators in the City by this commercial facility. He disagreed that repeaters would be useful for a disaster.
Councilman Gardiner asked if the condition requiring that Mr. Abrams comply with FCC regulations was adequate.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern said that the problem was the City could not require anything more.
Councilman Gardiner asked about frequency allocations and City Attorney Lynch said that Mr. Abrams was assigned certain frequency allocations for commercial use and he had to comply also with FCC regulations regarding emissions but she would defer to Dr. Richter for further details.
RECESS & RECONVENE:
At 9:35 P.M., Mayor McTaggart declared a recess. The meeting reconvened at 8:42 P.M.
Mayor McTaggart suggested that the public hearing be continued.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern suggested that a condition be added that required Mr. Abrams to maintain his amateur radio equipment and that Mr. Abrams had said he would have no objection to this condition.
City Attorney Lynch said this would be added.
Councilman Clark thought it would be useful to explore further screening with additional trees.
Councilwoman Ferraro was in favor of continuing the public hearing.
Councilman Gardiner asked for a clarification of the effect of PRB-1 and the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
City Attorney Lynch asked that Mr. Abrams’ permission for access to his property be sought.
Council consensus was to continue the public hearing to Monday, March 25 at 7:00 P.M.
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, spoke to the following items: Councilwoman Ferraro’s photo in the L.A. Times regarding her activities in The Republican Woman’s Club and a questionnaire/bulletin sent out regarding the item on tonight’s agenda on the cleanup of Pt. Vicente Interpretative Center.
Appeal of Planning Commission’s conditional approval of Conditional Use Permit No. 230, requesting elimination of certain conditions imposed by the Planning Commission for the use of commercial antennae within a residential zone. (Applicant/Appellant: Schmitz & Associates representing James A. Kay, Jr., the owner of the property at 26708 Indian Peak Road) (1203 x 1801)
Mayor McTaggart opened the public hearing on this request to hear the Appeal of Planning Commission’s conditional approval of Conditional Use Permit No. 230. City Clerk Purcell announced that notice had been duly published and that all written protests received by the City were included in the agenda packet or provided to the Council at the outset of the meeting.
Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report of March 19, 2002 and the recommendation to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2002-__, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES MODIFYING CERTAIN CONDITIONS AS RECOMMENDED BY STAFF, DENYING THE APPEAL, AND CONDITIONALLY APPROVING CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 230.
Councilman Clark said that the proposed resolution indicates that the project qualified for a categorical exemption from CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and he felt that the aesthetic impact was of potential significance which would require further investigation under CEQA.
Mayor McTaggart agreed.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern asked if much of the broadcasting took place from the interior of the home.
City Attorney Lynch said allegedly so.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern asked why requiring the use of interior antennas would not comply with PRB-1.
City Attorney Lynch stated that testimony and evidence before the Planning Commission indicated that Mr. Kay’s representative said that the antennas on the roof were solely for amateur use and that the commercial antennas were located inside the house but the record does not indicate that the interior antennas could be used for amateur broadcasts.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern said that if the interior antennas could not be used to broadcast an amateur signal, then there is nothing restrictive by having the commercial antennas located to the interior with reasonable conditions.
City Attorney Lynch said there was concern about the record and that allegedly the exterior antennas were for amateur use and that the commercial frequencies licensed at this location indicate that all antennas are15 meters above the ground.
Senior Planner Fox indicated that the ridgeline of the structure is less than 22 feet.
City Attorney Lynch felt it was likely that the commercial broadcast was being conducted from the roof since the commercial license says broadcasting was from an exterior structure on the property. The license does not mention anything about interior antennas.
Councilman Gardiner said that a legal brief was delivered to City Hall at 3:25 P.M. and he received it about 5:00 P.M.; therefore, he was not prepared to make a decision.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern agreed, and indicated that he received the brief at 6:20 P.M.
Mayor McTaggart suggested that the speakers be heard and that the public hearing continued to March 25.
Chuck Michel, Trutanich-Michel, LLP, 407 North Harbor Boulevard, San Pedro, CA 90731, attorney for James Kay, apologized for the late delivery of the brief and said that this was the quickest response possibly since they had received the staff report on Friday. He indicated that there were some additional exhibits which were not included and he distributed those at the meeting. He explained that the brief addressed three restrictions on the CUP. These were the quantity of antennas, the requirement that the antennas be installed inside the structure, and conditions imposed on the exterior antennas. He said that Mr. Kay has been sued by the City; that the City had prevailed; and, that there was an injunction against commercial use. He said that Mr. Kay had looked at the City’s commercial antenna regulations and saw that all restrictions for a commercial frequency were based on aesthetics for exterior antennas and since his commercial antennas were inside the structure, he thought he was in compliance with the law. Mr. Michel said that when the City prevailed in its lawsuit, Mr. Kay was forced to consolidate his amateur antennas and that under the Code, he could have more antennas if they were less than 12 feet in height. He said that a recent revision to the law was a retroactive law and was not enforceable. He added that the interior antennas were unsafe to workers currently remodeling the home and that Mr. Kay did not want his family exposed to the radiation produced by the interior antennas. (The brief mentioned by Mr. Michel, a document from the FCC entitled "A Local Government Official’s Guide to Transmitting Antenna RF Emission Safety: Rules, Procedures, and Practical Guidance", and a letter dated February 27 from his firm to City Attorney Lynch, are all on file in the City Clerk’s Office.)
Mayor Pro Tem Stern noted that Planning Commission minutes indicated that Mr. Kay’s representative Mr. Schmitz had said that Mr. Kay would have someone living in the home but now it was stated that this condition is not acceptable.
Chuck Michel said that might have been true if he was allowed to have the 20 antennas.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern asked why the applicant was no longer agreeing to having the home inhabited.
Chuck Michel said that if a person has other homes, living in this home would not be a high priority and he mentioned the constant, if sporadic progress in remodeling the home and the difficulty in obtaining a building permit from the City because it was said that Mr. Kay was in violation of the law. Mr. Kay believed that he was not in violation because there was no commercial broadcasting from the roof.
Mayor McTaggart asked how many commercial licenses were attached to the subject property.
Chuck Michel said that he recalled there were three and that one of them was issued to the Getty Center. He explained that the license need not be issued to the person who lived at the address and that he could research the subject further.
Mayor McTaggart asked why someone would obtain a license and not broadcast.
Chuck Michel replied that the license could be obtained for a repeater.
Mayor McTaggart asked if the interior antennas created an unsafe condition for the adjacent neighbors if there were in their yard.
Chuck Michel said that anyone outside would not be in danger.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern stated that staff said there were antennas added recently.
Chuck Michel confirmed this and said they were added on the same day as the Planning Commission meeting and that the City’s code does not restrict amateur antennas.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern said that when Mr. Kay applied for the commercial antenna permit, those additional antennas were not present.
Chuck Michel repeated that there was no regulation to stop the addition of more antennas as long as they were less than 12’ high.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern asked if Mr. Kay wanted to broadcast commercially.
Chuck Michel said that he did want this.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern asked how the City would be violating the Telecommunications Act of 1996 if it denied Mr. Kay the right to broadcast commercially.
Chuck Michel indicated that the only difference in commercial and amateur broadcasting was in the frequency and, except for the new ordinance adopted recently by the Council, the current antennas were in compliance with the law.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern said that a statement was made when the CUP application was submitted that there would be no changes but there have been changes.
Chuck Michel replied that it would depend on whether broadcasting was commercial or amateur and if it were amateur, they would be allowed.
Councilman Gardiner asked if Mr. Michel was saying that as long as they were amateur antennas only, the City could not restrict the number of antennas.
Chuck Michel said that according to the FCC, the City would not interfere was long as the amateur antennas were less than 12 feet high.
Councilman Gardiner noted that the FCC’s PRB-1 allowed the City to consider aesthetics.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern noted an application for a Conditional Use Permit allowed the cities to impose conditions.
Don Schmitz, 29350 Pacific Coast Highway, #11 & 12, Malibu, CA 90265, representing James Kay, said that Mr. Kay’s antenna structure and array complied with what was City code and that the additional antennas were added with no secrecy and that there was never any letter issued from the City to indicate that the additional antennas were in violation of the code. However, he said that since the Council adopted the new ordinance, the City was reaching back in time, coincidentally to the time Mr. Kay made his application. He said that they were not seeking a fight with the City and that things would be better left to the attorneys. He presented a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate details of the project, including proposed screening of the antennas.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern asked why Mr. Kay had agreed to some conditions previously and now he was not. He reference painting the antennas, landscaping, painting the house, and having the home inhabited.
Don Schmitz said that that landscaping and painting the house were acceptable conditions, however, painting the antennas and habitation of the site were not. He said that Mr. Kay has other residences and he was not enthusiastic about being forced to live in this house or having someone else live there but he did intend to maintain the house in a condition which met City standards.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern asked about a condition limiting the hours for antenna maintenance which apparently was not acceptable and he said it was hard to determine the issues because conditions previously agreed to were now not acceptable.
Don Schmitz said that Mr. Kay did not wish to have commercial frequency or amateur ham radio antennas on the second floor of the home and that limiting the antennas to five was not acceptable because the existing array was legal per the ordinance which was in place at the time the antennas were installed. He said that Mr. Kay did not wish to live in the home but would maintain it properly and said that screening of the antennas would address the aesthetics issues.
Chuck Michel returned to the podium to report that there were three licenses attached to the address of this house and that that they were not Mr. Kay’s licenses.
Mayor McTaggart stated that this was a commercial business in a residential neighborhood and that a CUP was required.
Chuck Michel said that Mr. Kay believed that he was in compliance.
City Attorney Lynch said that the City never distinguished between interior and exterior antennas but that during a Planning Commission site visit in November 2001, workers were observed installing interior antennas which now they are taking out again.
Chuck Michel said he was aware that Planning Commissioners had seen the interior antennas when they visited the home but he knew nothing about installation occurring during their visit and they have been removed now.
City Attorney Lynch asked if Mr. Kay would object to a stealth antenna structure, a monopalm or monopine, which would have less visual impact than the proposed screening and she asked if the proposed screening would screen the antennas on the front of the home only.
Don Schmitz said that they had contemplated screening on one side only but it could be on both sides.
Larry Helfman, 26716 Indian Peak Road, next to the subject property, felt that Mr. Kay wanted to have the rights of an amateur license while actually broadcasting commercially and wanted the benefit of the Telecommunications Act; however, at the Planning Commission meeting his representatives could provide no evidence that this property was ever used for amateur broadcasting and Mr. Kay’s declaration indicates that he has never lived there and that he has used these antennas for commercial broadcasting in the past. Further, even if Mr. Kay’s antennas were for amateur use and exempt from a permit, the City could still impose reasonable conditions for commercial use. Furthermore, this site was a vacant antenna facility, not a home and because it is a two-story structure on the highest point the street, it impacted aesthetics and property values in the neighborhood and screening methods were unacceptable. He urged the Council to adopt the alternate draft resolution because he felt this was a proliferation of antennas and a legitimate concern for the City.
RECESS & RECONVENE:
At 11:00 P.M., Mayor McTaggart declared a recess. The meeting reconvened at 11:05 P.M.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to continue the Public Hearing to Monday, March 25, 2002. Motion carried
Point Vicente Interpretive Center (1201 x 1204)
Mayor McTaggart opened the public hearing on this request to reconsider the decision on the appeal of Conditional Use Permit No. 207. City Clerk Purcell announced that notice had been duly published and that there were no written protests written by the City.
Director Allison presented the staff report of March 19, 2002 and the recommendation to receive testimony from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Toxic Substances Control, and the public regarding the soil remediation project at the Point Vicente Interpretative Center. He presented a PowerPoint presentation giving details of the steps which have been taken to lead to eventual cleanup of the site.
Tawny Tran from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers described the team who has made a cooperative effort to work toward the goal of cleanup of the Pt. Vicente Interpretative and gave a PowerPoint presentation illustrating how eligibility and responsibility were determined, and an organization chart.
Joyce Clarke, SAIC, gave a history of the site and provided a PowerPoint presentation showing infrared photographs, locations of the highest concentration of lead, the conservative approach to tolerable levels of lead in the soil, and the plan for cleanup.
Marsha Mingay, Department of Toxic Substance Control, said that she was available to answer questions.
Mayor McTaggart asked if it was likely that the site would not have to be posted with signs about soil contamination when cleanup is complete.
Ms. Mingay said that it was anticipated that there would be no needs for such signs.
Councilman Clark asked if there would be no attempt to remediate the soil under the current structure and Director Allison said that was correct.
Vic Quirarte, 29369 Quailwood, expressed his appreciation to Director Allison, the Department of Recreation & Parks, and the City Council for their efforts to clean up the Pt. Vicente Interpretative Center and urged the Council to go forward with Plan No. 5.
Joan Berry, 30770 Ganado Drive, president of Los Serenos de Point Vicente, the docent org for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, said that the docents were present this evening to show their support.
There being no further public testimony, Mayor McTaggart closed the public hearing.
RECESS & RECONVENE:
At 12:00 Midnight, Mayor McTaggart declared a recess. The meeting reconvened at 12:06 A.M.
City Advisory Boards: Appointment of Traffic Committee Members; and, Interview of Parks & Recreation and Equestrian Committee Applicants (301 x 106 x 1502)
Staff recommendation was to (1) Appoint seven members to the Traffic Committee: Four members with a term of office until March 2, 2004; and three members with a term of office until March 7, 2006. (2) Set a date to interview the Chair. (3) Set a date to interview Parks & Recreation Committee and Equestrian Committee applicants.
The votes cast for the candidates for Traffic Committee Commission
were as follows:
Mayor Pro Tem Stern – Libby Aubrey, Barbara Covey, Barry Hildebrand,
James Jones, William Schurmer, Ava Shepherd, Thomas Wall.
Councilwoman Ferraro – Ken DeLong, Barry Hildebrand, Charlotte Iseda, James Jones, William Schurmer, Ava Shepherd, Thomas Wall
Councilman Gardiner – Libby Aubrey, Barbara Covey, Barry Hildebrand, James Jones, William Schurmer, Ava Shepherd, Thomas Wall.
A second ballot was taken with the votes cast as follows:
Council voting by written, open ballot appointed the following to serve on the Traffic Committee: Libby Aubrey, Barry Hildebrand, James Jones, William Schurmer, Ava Shepherd, and Thomas Wall. A second ballot was necessary to select Barbara Covey.
Mayor pro tem Stern suggested that that Barbara Covey and Thomas Wall serve two-year terms.
Councilwoman Ferraro added Libby Aubrey to that list because she is new to the committee and moved that Barbara Covey, Thomas Wall and Libby Aubrey serve two-year terms and that the remainder of the appointees serve four-year terms.
Mayor pro tem Stern seconded the motion.
Councilman Clark disagreed and felt that the determination of the terms should be based on the same criteria of longevity of service which were used to determine the terms for the Planning Commission and the Finance Advisory Committee.
City Manager Evans pointed out that Barry Hildebrand had served on the Traffic for the longest period of time.
Mayor pro tem Stern suggested that staff provide the data as to the longevity of each returning committee member and the decision could be made quickly at the meeting on March 25.
There was no vote on Councilwoman’s Ferraro’s motion.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner to continue the selection of terms to March 25, 2002.
Council consensus was to interview interested appointees for chair of the Traffic Committee before the Council meeting on April 16.
Next the Council considered setting a date to interview applicants for the Recreation & Park Committee and the Equestrian Committee.
Mayor pro tem Stern noted out that there were only five applicants for the Equestrian Committee, which normally was made up of nine members, and he wondered if the size of the committee should be reduced.
City Clerk Purcell pointed out that the committee had been operating with seven members for sometime, as there were two vacancies.
Director Rojas said that seven members would probably be sufficient.
City Attorney Lynch stated that it was important to make sure that committee members be distributed between the two equestrian areas of the city to avoid a lack of quorum because of recusals when a member lived too close to a property which was the subject of an agenda item.
Mayor McTaggart suggested that this information be provided and a decision made at the meeting on March 25.
Mayor pro tem Stern suggested that a date for interviewing could still be set and he suggested April 6.
When it was determined that this date was open for some Councilmembers and because it was during Spring break for schools, it was the consensus of Council to hold these interviews after the Community Leaders’ Breakfast on April 27.
Councilman Clark asked about the continuation of the View Restoration Commission.
City Manager Evans said that this item was on the agenda for the Council meeting on April 2.
An issue was raised as to whether applicants which had been interviewed for an Advisory Board and not selected who wanted to be considered for another Board should be interviewed again, and Council consensus was that this would not be mandatory but the applicant could choose to be interviewed again if they wished.
Request to Extend the Use of Temporary Personnel (1101 x 1202)
Assistant City Manager Petru presented the staff report of March 19, 2002 and the recommendation to adopt the proposed resolution requesting the Board of Administration of the Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) to approve an extension of allowed employment for a retired employee pursuant to the California Government Code.
Councilwoman Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2002-21, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES REQUESTING THE BOARD OF ADMINISTRATION OF THE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM (CalPERS) TO APPROVE AN EXTENSION OF ALLOWED EMPLOYMENT FOR A RETIRED EMPLOYEE PURSUANT TO THE CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT CODE.
Modification of Rule of Procedure 3.2 to Eliminate Rescheduling of Meetings on Election Dates other than City Election Dates (306)
The recommendation was to (1) Modify existing Rule of Procedure 3.2 (Regular Meetings) subpart to 1 so that the City Council does not automatically change its regular meeting date when there is an election, but instead only does so when there is a City Council election. (2) Consider introduction of the proposed ordinance establishing regular meeting days and amending Chapter 2.04 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to Modify, with further changes suggested by the Council, existing Rule of Procedure 3.2 (Regular Meetings) subpart to 1 so that the City Council does not automatically change its regular meeting date when there is an election, but instead only does so when there is a City Council election.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, TO INTRODUCE ORDINANCE NO. 375 OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ESTABLISHING REGULAR MEETING DAYS AND AMENDING CHAPTER 2.04 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE.
The motion carried (4-1) on the following roll call vote:
Construction Activity at 5888 Mossbank Drive (1203 x 201)
Director Rojas presented the staff report of March 19, 2002 and the recommendation to receive and file information regarding the construction activity at 5888 Mossbank Drive.
Mohamad Chahine, 7460 Alida Place, owner of the property in question said that with patience from neighborhood, he would conform to the cities wishes.
Councilman Gardiner said that although he appreciated assurances from the applicant that he would comply, the work must stop until there is compliance.
Mayor McTaggart explained that he had received a phone call that there was still wall construction on the site.
Director Rojas said that an inspector had gone out and stopped all work yesterday.
Mr. Chahine said that he believed he was permitted to work on the walls on the south, east, and west of the property but not on the wall in the center of the property and that these were the instructions he gave the workers.
Mayor McTaggart said that this was not what the inspector said.
Bryan Zuppiger, Building Official for the City, said that there three walls that need to be backfilled, on the west, east, and south sides of the property and that this had not been accomplished.
Councilman Gardiner asked how there could be different information that he and Mayor McTaggart had been told when the visited the property.
Bryan Zuppiger said that the discrepancy was discovered the next day and that his superior was informed.
City Manager Evens said that there was an email but unfortunately it was not picked up until Monday morning.
Councilman Gardiner said that the solution should be simple at this point, simply to fix the wall that is not right.
Mr. Chahine said that he had not realized there was a problem and when he learned that there was, he had intended to add a safety rail to make the wall safe for his neighbors. He explained that he applied for a variance and paid the fee of $630 but then was told by the Planning Department that the variance would not be granted and he withdrew the application.
Councilman Gardiner asked when this took place and Bryan Zuppiger said it was on December 11, 2001.
Mr. Chahine said that he would take down the wall if that was what was required.
Director Rojas confirmed that this was the requirement
Mayor McTaggart stated that the backfill of the wall was for engineering design purposes.
Bryan Zuppiger agreed and said the backfilling served as a buttress.
Mayor McTaggart informed Mr. Chahine that if there were further illegal construction the Sheriff’s Department would be called.
Mr. Chahine asked for a clarification of when he could begin construction again.
Director Rojas said that when the walls match, he could begin construction on the rest of property.
Mr., Chahine said that he would take down the wall the following morning as he had been told to do nothing until after direction was given by the Council at tonight’s meeting.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that it appeared that the applicant and staff had a clear understanding of what the approved plans called for and what Mr. Chahine must do to comply.
Director Rojas confirmed that there would be no toleration for deviation.
ORAL CITY COUNCIL REPORTS:
Councilman Gardiner reported that a recent neighborhood compatibility meeting he recently attended was very lively.
Mayor pro tem Stern reported that a recent Ocean Trails meeting he attended focused on the impact of the trustee being named and dealings with the bank. He said that Deputy Director of Planning Greg Pfost would provide details in meeting minutes.
ADJOURNMENT: Adjourned at 12:46 A.M. to Monday, March 25, at 7:00 P.M. at Hesse Park.