M I N U T E S
RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
ADJOURNED REGULAR MEETING
JUNE 12, 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 7:08 P.M. the meeting reconvened.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Lauren Whiteley, a student at San Pedro High School, roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Ferraro, Gardiner, Stern, and Mayor
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; Senior Planner Ara Mihranian, City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and, Deputy City Clerk/Recording Secretary Jackie Drasco.
Mayor McTaggart presented a proclamation in memory of Jeannette Mucha to Valerie Mucha, and said that he was going to propose to the Council that the Forrestal Preserve be renamed the Jeannette Mucha Preserve.
Mayor McTaggart announced that there was no winner for the last drawing. Two more cards were drawn.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
City Manager Evans said that Betty Strauss had requested that the equestrian item be delayed. After input from applicants present, Dick Bara and Jack Downhill, indicating that they would prefer to move forward and after Council discussion, it was the consensus to hear the item because of delays in the past and the fact that Ms. Strauss had given testimony many times and it was felt that her viewpoint was known to the Council.
Councilwoman Ferraro moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Stern to adopt the agenda. Motion carried.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Mayor pro tem Stern said that he had a question about Participation in the Los Angeles Area Regional Agency and that he would like the resolution concerning Zone 2 findings removed from the Consent Calendar for discussion. He said that he understood the benefits of the City's participation in the proposed joint powers regarding the waste diversion legislation AB 939, and asked about the downside.
Director Allison explained that if Rancho Palos Verdes had more than 50% diversion, the overage could be applied to a City which did not meet that requirement but, if this was not the case, the City could opt out of the program. Therefore, there was no disadvantage to participating.
Mayor pro tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilwoman Ferraro to adopt the Consent Calendar as follows:
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, noted that the Minutes of the Adjourned meeting of May 21 and the meeting of June 4 were not included in the agenda packet, and she asked questions and provided suggested corrections to the minutes of April 16.
Learning that copies of the minutes had inadvertently been omitted from the agenda packet, Mayor pro tem Stern amended his motion to approve the Consent Calendar to delete approval of these minutes.
Minutes of Meeting of April 16 (301)
Approved the minutes of April 16 as amended.
Contract Addendum No. 6 for the Long Point Resort Hotel Environmental Impact Report (1203 x 1804)
Approved Contract Addendum No. 6 to the Agreement for Consulting Services between the City of Rancho Palos Verdes and Robert Bein, William Frost & Associates (RBF) for preparation of additional environmental studies for the Long Point Resort Hotel project, in the amount of $23,010.00.
Resol. No. 2002-40 - Participation in the Los Angeles Area Regional Agency (1204 x 1301)
(1) Authorized staff to begin the process of joining the Los Angeles Area Regional Agency for AB 939 diversion and disposal reporting purposes. (2) Approved an amendment to a professional services agreement with SCS Engineers, for consulting work related to joining the Los Angeles Area Regional Agency, and approved expenditures in an amount not to exceed $2,000. (3) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2002-40 OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, AMENDING RESOLUTION 2001-43, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2001-02, FOR A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT TO THE CITY'S SOLID WASTE FUND.
Resol. No. 2002-41 - Annual Appropriation Limit for Fiscal Year 2002-2003 (602)
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2002-41, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ESTABLISHING THE CITY'S APPROPRIATION LIMIT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2002-2003.
April 2002 Treasurer's Report (602)
Ordered received and filed.
Resol. No. 2002-42 - Register of Demands
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2002-42, 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:
AYES: Ferraro, Gardiner, Stern, and Mayor McTaggart
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Resol. No. 2002-43 - Resolution Regarding Zone 2 Findings (103 x 1801)
Mayor pro tem Stern commented on the changes in the revised staff report and resolution which were presented to the Council at the outset of the meeting. He said that there was a correction of the year referenced in the first paragraph of the resolution and that other changes were underlined for clarification and he read these revised portions.
City Attorney Lynch noted that typographical errors were corrected and some reordering and minor changes were made.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that changes were incorporated to be consistent with Council action at the May 20 meeting.
Councilwoman Ferraro asked why a resolution was being adopted.
City Attorney Lynch said that the Council typically documents its action in this manner and it would make the action easier to locate in the future.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that the documents said that information attributed to Dr. Perry Ehlig was based on experience and intuition. She suggested that it should say education and experience since he was an expert in this field and the current language made it sound like the information was not based on documentation.
City Attorney Lynch said that this change could be made.
Mayor pro tem Stern said the words came from the report from Bill Cotton.
Councilman Gardiner said that it appeared that Dr. Ehlig's comments were based on subjective judgment rather being supported by data.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that just because Cotton Shires uncovered no geotechnical slope stability analysis did not mean that Dr. Ehlig did not have some data. She said that the wording almost implied that he made it up and that he certainly did have expertise and knowledge.
Councilman Gardiner said that an example to illustrate this was that the depth of the slide was twice what Dr. Ehlig had estimated. This meant that some data was incomplete or in error and he was using subjective judgment, which was perfectly acceptable and used by experts all the time.
Mayor McTaggart said that the issue seemed to be that data could not be found, not that it was never discovered, and that it was appropriate to use expert judgment in this case.
Councilwoman Ferraro confirmed that Dr. Ehlig said that this data was not in his files.
Mayor pro tem Stern had no problem with making the changes suggested by Councilwoman Ferraro and believed that the major concepts were presented.
City Attorney agreed that because Dr. Ehlig had studied the area for years that he had expertise and she suggested that the words judgment and experience could be used.
Councilwoman Ferraro asked if there was GPS data related to movement in this area.
Director Allison responded that there was.
City Attorney Lynch said that there was evidence of minor creep but no major event.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that he agreed that it was hard to connect cause and effect and that Bill Cotton said there was no quantitative data on the effectiveness of mitigation measures.
Councilwoman Ferraro asked if the GPS data was not significant.
City Attorney Lynch said that it was not significant in reference to cause and effect.
Mayor pro tem Stern asked if there was GPS data to indicate possible benefits of the sewer system being on line.
Director Allison said that there was raw data but no analysis had been performed.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that the installation of dewatering wells was based on GPS data.
Mayor McTaggart said that water was extracted and there was a slowdown in movement so how could it be said that there was no cause and affect.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that it was not possible to determine if improvement was caused by the dewatering wells or by the lack of rain.
Councilman Gardiner stressed the importance of learning the cause of this slower movement.
Mayor pro tem Stern reiterated that the resolution reflected what the Council had adopted with slight revisions made by City Attorney Lynch for clarification.
Councilman Gardiner questioned Bill Cotton's statement regarding response to public comments.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that public comments were taken into account when Bill Cotton's final report was prepared but he did not necessarily address these comments point by point.
Councilman Gardiner said that the language inferred that he actually responded.
City Attorney Lynch said that a change would be made to indicate that public comments were reviewed and considered by Cotton Shires and also the change suggested by Councilwoman Ferraro regarding Dr. Ehlig's experience and judgment would be incorporated into the resolution.
Mayor pro tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2002-43, as amended, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES SETTING FORTH CERTAIN FINDINGS REGARDING “ZONE 2” OF THE LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM AREA BASED UPON THE REPORT THAT WAS PREPARED BY COTTON, SHIRES & ASSOCIATES. Motion carried.
Resol. No. 2002-44 - Citywide Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance District (1204 x 901)
Mayor McTaggart opened the public hearing on this request to consider the proposed levy and collection of assessments within the Citywide Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance District for Fiscal Year 2002-2003. City Clerk Purcell announced that notice had been duly published and that there were no written comments received by the City.
Presentation of the staff report was waived.
Staff recommendation was to (1) Conduct a public hearing on the proposed levy and collection of assessments within the Citywide Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance District for Fiscal Year 2002-2003 and the Engineer's Report prepared in connection therewith. (2) Adopt the proposed resolution confirming a diagram and assessment for the 2002-2003 Fiscal Year in connection with the Citywide Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance District pursuant to the provisions of Part 2 of Division 15 of the California Streets and Highways Code.
There being no response to the Mayor's call for public testimony, he closed the public hearing.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Stern to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2002-44, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES CONFIRMING A DIAGRAM AND ASSESSMENT FOR THE 2002-2003 FISCAL YEAR IN CONNECTION WITH THE CITYWIDE LANDSCAPING AND LIGHTING MAINTENANCE DISTRICT PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF PART 2 OF DIVISION 15 OF THE CALIFORNIA STREETS AND HIGHWAYS CODE. Motion carried.
Appeal of Planning Commission's Approval of Height Variation No. 930 and Grading Permit No. 2279 (6528 Nancy Road) (1203 x 1804)
Mayor McTaggart opened the public hearing on this request to hear the appeal of the Planning Commission's Approval of Height Variation No. 930 and Grading Permit No. 2279. City Clerk Purcell announced that notice had been duly published and that all written comments had been forwarded to the Council and made a part of the agenda package.
Senior Planner Mihranian presented the staff report of June 12, 2002 and the recommendation to adopt the proposed resolution approving, with conditions, Height Variation No. 930 and Grading Permit No. 2279, and denying Minor Exception Permit No. 596, to allow the demolition of an existing single-family residence to accommodate the construction of a new 3,921 square foot, two-story, single-family residence on property located at 6528 Nancy Road.
He added that there were two properties which were not considered in the analysis of the ten closest on the street for the purposes of neighborhood capability. Nonetheless, the revised neighborhood compatibility table had been revised to include these properties not mentioned in the staff report. He said that the green silhouette flags indicate the structure by right and the multicolor flags indicate the structure as approved by the Planning Commission.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that it appeared that even construction by right would impair views and she asked the height of the current structure.
Senior Planner Mihranian agreed with Councilwoman Ferraro's evaluation and said that the current structure is approximately 12 feet from the highest grade on the pad on which it sits. He said that the lot slopes and the 16 feet allowed was measured by the highest existing grade covered by a structure.
Councilman Gardiner noted that if the proposed home was compatible with the neighborhood why were so many neighbors opposed. He felt that there would be significant view blockage and asked if any other home on Nancy Road had been dug down four feet.
Senior Planner Mihranian said he was aware of none.
Councilwoman Ferraro suggested that the structure itself could be made lower, rather than digging down four feet.
Councilman Gardiner said it appeared the house would be a big box on a small lot and he said that two out of the three Planning Commissioners who had visited the site had voted to deny the project.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern felt that more houses should have been included in the neighborhood comparison, including homes on Lorraine.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that the houses on Lorraine seemed larger and she asked if the lots were larger.
Senior Planner Mihranian said that those properties had not been analyzed but it was possible the homes and lots were larger.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that this was a small lot and unusual in size.
Senior Planner Mihranian said it was the smallest lot included in the analysis.
Councilman Gardiner asked where the height was measured for a sloping lot such as this.
Senior Planner Mihranian said it was measured from the existing building pad to the top of the highest ridgeline.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern agreed that views were impaired but he wondered at what point was the impairment considered significant.
Senior Planner Mihranian said that a viewing frame was established to determine how much view was lost and that even if the proposed structure were lowered, views would be impaired to some degree.
Councilman Gardiner said that when he stood on the property at 6521 Nancy Road, it appeared that the flags (multi-colored) blocked the harbor view completely.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern said that it appeared it would be difficult to design any house on this lot without some view impairment.
Mayor McTaggart said that the lot size should be a determining factor in the size of the house allowed.
Ron Kuwai, 6533 Nancy Road, felt that the Planning Commission did not properly assess the situation and that not all of them had visited the site, although Mr. Rojas was helpful in providing guidance. He referenced the Municipal Code and did not feel the project was in compliance. He mentioned that there were houses in the neighborhood which should have been included in the comparison; he discussed the massiveness of the proposed home and its incompatibility with the rest of the neighborhood. He said that the whole neighborhood objected; that the silhouette did not illustrate all aspects of the project; and, that the required excavation would require too many trucks traveling over the streets.
Mayor pro tem Stern asked Mr. Kawai about Commissioner Vannorsdall's comment that this was a neighborhood in transition.
Mr. Kawai said that it appeared to some of the Commissioners that the neighborhood was in transition which seemed to mean that compatibility was not important.
Councilman Gardiner said that when he visited the neighborhood he did not sense that it was in transition.
Jane Anderson, 6517 Nancy Road, was concerned about safety issues originating from the large house which she felt would obstruct the view of traffic on this tight corner. She felt the large house on the tiny pie-shaped lot was not compatible with the neighborhood and blocked the neighbors' views. She did not feel the neighborhood was in transition.
Bob Ciriello, 6545 Nancy Road, said that he had lived in the neighborhood for 40 years; did not feel it was in transition; and, that he was amazed that the Planning Commission has ignored the basic issues of the large house on the small lot; the blocking of neighbors' views; and, the large volume of earth to be removed. He felt that the City's job was to protect neighborhoods.
Al Hutchings, 6520 Nancy Road, who lives next door to the proposed structure, said that he followed all the codes when he built his home in 1994 in this neighborhood that he really liked; said that people were outraged by the Planning Commission's approval of this project; and, did not begrudge a homeowner making money, but not at the expense of his neighbors.
Councilwoman Ferraro stated that she visited Mr. Hutchings' home and from his kitchen, it appeared that all light coming in would be blocked by the proposed home.
Councilman Gardiner asked if the property owners of this lot planned to live in the home they built.
Al Hutchings said that he had heard they had a number of houses.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that he understood the house was being built for a son or a son-in-law.
Mary Bradanovic, 6505 Nancy Road, said that in the past she wanted to add a second story so that their mother could live with them and even though the neighbors did not object, the City and the Art Jury did not approve their plan. She felt the proposed structure was too large for the lot and she objected to someone building a home, which was incompatible with the neighborhood and then not even living in it. She read from a booklet published in 1935 by the Art Jury, which assured homeowners of a bright, open neighborhood with sunshine and the avoidance of the jamming of one house against another that has spoiled so many residential developments.
Bonina Bradanovic, 6505 Nancy Road, said that even though they could not see the property from their home, they thought the neighborhood was beautiful and wanted to keep it that way.
Victor Furriel, 6521 Nancy Road, said that the flags indicated that he would lose his view if this house were built.
Horst Gerjets, 4112 Miraleste, opposed the project because of view impairment and he referenced 30 written objections and 60 speakers at the Planning Commission meeting. He did not understand why the large home was approved.
Nancy Sheps, 4101 Lorraine Road, was concerned about her loss of privacy if the proposed home was built and she compared sizes of homes in the neighborhood in ratios of structure size to lot size and said that this would not compare favorably. She objected to the excavation of four feet of soil for the building pad and to the massiveness of the proposed structure.
John McKeel, 4105 Lorraine Road, felt the proposed home would look like an apartment building on a very small lot and would not be compatible with the neighborhood.
Blanca Letvin, 1821 Leland Street, San Pedro, CA 90731, owner of 6528 Nancy Road, said that she and her husband had been waiting for two years to remodel this home in order to live near their grandchildren and she said that they would be good neighbors.
Ron Letvin, 1821 Leland Street, San Pedro, CA 90731, owner of 6528 Nancy Road, said that they lived in West Covina for 30 years and had a home that was 2800 square feet with a two-car garage, which was similar to the one they wished to build. He explained that his children who moved to the Palos Verdes Peninsula several years ago had been asking them to move down to be near the grandchildren and they finally agreed and purchased a residence on Nancy Road. He said that they were excited about building and did not perceive any problems since one neighbor was well below the property, the rear property was about 25 to 30 feet below, the neighbor to the west was about 10 feet above the property, and the house of the neighbor across the street protruded only about eight to ten feet above street level. He said about a year later they had received approval from the Art Jury; had done everything by the book; had tried very hard to please everyone; and, thought they were ready to build their dream house and become upstanding members of the community.
Larry Peha, 67 14th Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254, architect representing Mr. and Mrs. Letvin, said that the ridge height had been dropped 4.5 feet from the original silhouette but the grading only reduced the pad 2.5 feet.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern said that he had understood the grading would lower the pad four feet.
Larry Peha said that this was not true and that additional reduction in height had been achieved by lowering other elements of the house such as ceiling heights and the pitch of the roof.
Senior Planner Mihranian confirmed that the proposed grading was not four feet but 2.5 feet, and that the roof ridge was lowered two feet by the Commission.
Larry Peha said that an attempt was made to minimize grading and maintain views and that the lot created a challenge. He explained that the lot was pie shaped, narrowing to the rear of the property, but that there was 153 feet of frontage that made the lot look larger from the street and mitigated the appearance of a large house on a small lot. He added that the buildable area on this lot was actually larger than most of the larger lots in the neighborhood and that there were plenty of two-story homes nearby.
Councilwoman Ferraro asked if he knew the size of that existing two-story home.
Larry Peha said that he did not know but he estimated about 3100 square feet. He emphasized that the home he had designed at 3,195 square feet was not a mansion, that it was a normal size home for today and that many of the homes in the neighborhood were much older. He said that building smaller homes would reduce property values.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern said that the size of the proposed home was impacting residents who had lodged complaints.
Mayor McTaggart stressed that the Code did not take into account economic considerations.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that the home was not large by Rancho Palos Verdes and Peninsula standards but it was a large home for this small lot.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern noted the wonderful, quaint characteristics of the older homes in the Miraleste community which defined the neighborhood and even though times may change, it should not mean that those who live there should be forced to see their established neighborhood change.
Larry Peha said that he, the applicants, and the Art Jury had all been sensitive to this.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern said that he imagined the concern had been to build a home with a style compatible with the neighborhood.
Councilwoman Ferraro agreed that the focus of the Art Jury was on style but that in Rancho Palos Verdes views were very important and that the View Ordinance was not something created by the City Council but an initiative that the residents had put on the ballot. She said that when she sat on sofas in the current homes, she saw nothing but flags from the silhouette of the proposed structure and she felt the house needed to be designed so that current neighborhood views were not impacted.
Larry Peha said that meetings had been held with the neighbors but the only type of home that seemed acceptable was a single-story one and this would restrict the home to about 1800 square feet. He reiterated that there were other two-story homes in the neighborhood, one only three houses away and he felt that this lot could not developed without impacting someone.
Nick Mowlds, 6832 Verde Ridge Road, former Planning Commissioner, offered his assessment based on his experience and felt that the house should be redesigned.
RECESS AND RECONVENE:
At 9:15 P.M. Mayor McTaggart called a recess. The meeting reconvened at 9:27 P.M.
Councilman Gardiner thought it was appropriate to uphold the appeal and remand the project to the Planning Commission.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that the project should be denied without prejudice so that the applicant would not have to wait a year to resubmit a new design.
Mayor McTaggart added that denying without prejudice would mean that additional fees would not have to be paid.
After additional input from staff, it was decided that the project should not be remanded to the Planning Commission.
There being no further public testimony, Mayor McTaggart closed the public hearing.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilwoman Ferraro, to uphold the appeal and to deny the project without prejudice. Motion carried.
Resol. No. 2002-45 - Adoption of the City Budget for Fiscal Year 2002-2003 (1101 x 602)
Mayor McTaggart opened the public hearing on this request to adopt the City Budget for Fiscal Year 2002-2003. City Clerk Purcell announced that notice had been duly published and that there were no written comments received by the City.
Assistant City Manager Petru presented the staff report of June 12, 2002 and the recommendation to adopt the proposed resolution approving a Budget Appropriation and adopting the Operating and Capital Improvement Budget for Fiscal Year 2002-2003 after conducting a public hearing on the proposed Fiscal Year 2002-2003 budget and after any further additions or deletions to the proposed budget. She added that a revised budget resolution had been presented to the Council at the outset of the meeting.
City Manager Evans explained the apparent 10.2% increase in Sheriff's Department costs and said that the increase was not really that high. He explained that the situation was not as dire as it had originally seemed and the fault did not lie with the Sheriff's Department. He said that Lt. John Herrara was present to answer questions and that a contract with the Sheriff's Department would be brought back at a later date. He described the effect of the funds reimbursed to RPV by other Peninsula cities who used the Sheriff's Department services and suggested that the Council approve the budget in reference to Sheriff's Department costs and he and the Finance Director were convinced that the situation would be worked out satisfactorily.
Lt. John Herrera discussed the percentage of costs to the three Peninsula cities that used the Sheriff's Department for law enforcement and how the percentage was recalculated each year based on the prior year's experience of incidents in each City.
In reply to Mayor McTaggart's inquiry, City Manager Evans replied that funding for the Joint Powers Liability Trust Fund was covered by a 6% surcharge on all costs.
Councilman Gardiner asked if a speeding ticket was added to the record of the City in which the resident lived or to the City in which the violation occurred.
Lt. Herrera said that it was charged to the City in which the violation occurred.
Mayor pro tem Stern asked how the percentage tracked with the population of the cities.
City Manager Evans said that the expenses are divided 60% for Rancho Palos Verdes, 30% for Rolling Hills Estates and 10% for Rolling Hills.
Lt. Herrera said the population broke down as 65% for RPV, 30% for Rolling Hills, and 5% for Rolling Hills.
Mayor McTaggart commented on the efficiency created by the Joint Powers situation.
City Manager Evans said that additional details would be brought back to the Council regarding the actual increase in cost for the Sheriff's Department services.
A discussion between Councilman Gardiner, Assistant City Manager Petru, and Finance Director McLean resulted in the decision to attach the Five-Year Model spreadsheet, showing the City Manager's proposed budget, to the budget resolution. Councilman Gardiner asked that the five-year budget model be attached so that the decisions for one year would not be made in a vacuum. Also, the numbers for the year had to “fit in” with the numbers in the five-year model. In his view, the council needed the entire picture in order to understand how any given year's budget fit into the five-year model. From the budget resolution, it was not entirely clear how the budget resolution “fit” the five-year budget model. By attaching them both together, it should be clearer what the city council intended to occur financially.
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, commented on a number of items: the Mayor's picture on the front page of the Palos Verdes Peninsula News, the budget in reference to the Sheriff's Department, the concept of a two-year budget, and the five-year model.
There being no further public testimony, Mayor McTaggart closed the public hearing.
Councilwoman Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2002-45, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING A BUDGET APPROPRIATION AND ADOPTING THE OPERATING AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2002-2003, with the five-year model spreadsheet, showing the City Manager's proposed budget, attached as an exhibit.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Ferraro, Gardiner, Stern, and Mayor McTaggart
Review of Large Domestic Animal Nonconformity Statements No. 19 (Downhill, 20 Vanderlip Drive), No. 8 (Sunshine, 6 Limetree Lane) and No. 3 (Bara, 1 Peppertree Drive). (Continued from April 16 meeting) (1203 x 1804)
Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report of June 12, 2002 and the recommendation to determine the maximum number of large domestic animals that may be “grandfathered” for keeping and/or boarding on the properties at 20 Vanderlip Drive, 6 Limetree Lane and 1 Peppertree Drive. He provided a PowerPoint presentation illustrating the history of the Code and boarding and summarized the requests in these three nonconformity statements.
Mayor pro tem Stern raised the issue of legal boarding and inquired if the Council might want to consider asking the speakers to address this, including submission of a statement that there was no payment received other than to cover expenses.
Councilman Gardiner felt there were two things to consider in these applications. First, there is the issue that grandfathering is based on the number of horses legally on a site at the time when the count was to be made. Legally meant they were not boarded for profit. If they were boarded for profit, then they were boarded illegally. The second issue is to treat each applicant under the same set of rules. The rules cannot be changed partway through a process so that different people are treated differently. In this case, the City had not asked for information that would permit conclusions about the legality of horses on site. No financial information or other information was asked for. Therefore, in this case, it was unfair to request financial information. Being consistent in how we treat people in the process is more important and therefore trumps the issue of legality. In the abstract, legality of boarding may be an issue, but if this had not been raised previously for other grandfathering applicants, it would not be fair to raise that now and ask for all sorts of information not requested from others.
Councilwoman Ferraro agreed and said that given the history and all past hearings, she did not see how the Council could require this type of information.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that the Council advised staff not to ask questions of the applicants regarding the profit or non-profit status of boarding but to consider what is legal nonconforming because it seems this information would be relevant even though the current code does not address the legality of boarding by these standards.
Councilman Gardiner reiterated that it would not be fair to change the rules at this time.
Richard Bara, 1 Peppertree Drive, spoke in support of Alternative No. 1 in the staff report and felt it was important the Council not change the rules for analyzing these statements. He pointed out that letters submitted at the previous Council meeting had become part of the agenda packet for this meeting and these letters consisted of statements from several people who formerly boarded at their site and who now boarded their horses at the Portuguese Bend Riding Club and pointed that that these letters contrasted the concept of backyard boarding with a commercial boarding operation. He said that the nonconformity statement he and his wife had submitted was based on how many horses were allowed before and the count of the number of horses present and which of these were boarded, and that made up the request submitted in their statement.
Kay Bara, 1 Peppertree Drive, said that the prior code allowed 17 horses on their property and the new code allowed four. She said that their request was for ten horses and without grandfathering, they suffered a substantial loss of property value and she emphasized that the concern was with horse keeping, not horse boarding. She said that since the last Council meeting on April 16 when their nonconformity statement was discussed, she had attended a Peninsula Emergency Response Team (PERT) class, and participated in the Equine Response Team sponsored by Los Angeles County Animal Control to protect animals in the event of a disaster. She said that their property was listed as one of the sites where horses could be relocated temporarily in the event of a fire or other disasters, and that grandfathering would allow them to help with this effort.
John Downhill, 20 Vanderlip Drive, said that with his seven acres, he felt that keeping 11 horses was a modest request.
Sunshine, 6 Limetree Lane, said that she supported Alternative No. 1 in the staff report and that even though she probably would be justified to ask for even more horses, she was content with seven being allowed to be boarded.
Robert Maxwell, 7 East Pomegranate Road, submitted photographs taken that morning to indicate, in his opinion, that horses being kept in slide areas should not be allowed. He was opposed to grandfathering and to turning Portuguese Bend into a commercial stable. He made reference to ads placed by the Baras which indicated to him that they had a commercial boarding operation. He felt that corrals were an eyesore and lowered property values, and asked the Council if they would like them to be on a property in their neighborhoods. He referred to his photographs again and expressed his opposition to the proposed Community Horse Park, Pony Club, and Ride to Fly. He felt that the decrease in property value was reason to deny their legality, and noted that the Portuguese Bend CC&R's prohibited commercial activity.
Joe Deeble, 3 East Pomegranate Road, concurred that the number of nonconformity statements represented a small number of people and said that the reason the statements submitted by the Baras and Sunshine were contested from the beginning was because of the commercialism in which they were engaged, whether or not they made a profit. He felt that instead of grandfathering, the Baras and Sunshine should submit an application to the Equestrian Committee to explain why they needed to be allowed more horses than the Code allowed.
Mayor pro tem Stern stressed that Council is not legislating at this time, nor adopting any rules, but merely applying the rules to the circumstances and he felt that Mr. Deeble's comments did not address the proper issues.
Joe Deeble said that he felt a new category was being created for the Baras and Sunshine which was commercial but not like the Pony Club or the Portuguese Bend Riding Club which required monitoring.
Toni Deeble, 3 East Pomegranate Road, said that she regretted that she did not have tapes of all the meetings because if she did, these nonconformity statements would not be considered. She spoke in opposition to commercial horse boarding or any other commercial endeavor in this residential area and said that it was impossible to prove which horses were being boarded; therefore, the old code was abused by illegal commercial boarding. She said that when it was announced that any disputed nonconformity statements would be coming before the City Council, she knew which properties would be involved. She said that if legality could not be proven in the past, grandfathering should not be allowed and she said that City Attorney Lynch had written a letter to the Mayor years ago which said that the Baras and Sunshine were not legal at the time.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that there was never any proof submitted that these were illegal operations and that she had not seen any indication of massive commercialism.
Toni Deeble said that there had been 17 horses on the Bara property and the neighbors had been up in arms about the situation. She said that ads were submitted to the Council to prove commercialism.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that she had never seen 17 horses on the Bara property and that she saw ads for other properties but not for the Baras' property.
Sherrie Greenwood, 2543 Sunnyside Ridge Road, said that she was an Equestrian Committee Member but was also speaking as an individual, and that she supported Alternative No. 1 and felt that this action would result in fair resolution at last. She discussed the equestrian lifestyle available in the City and activities for students of all ages which contributed to the ambiance on the Peninsula which in addition to equestrian activities included a loving family upbringing and good schools. She felt that the establishment of the Equestrian Committee had improved equestrian conditions and taken care of major complaints even though some people did not acknowledge that there had been changes.
Discussion ensued between Mayor McTaggart and Ms. Greenwood in which she stated that she was not boarding horses at the moment and would not mind if her neighbors were boarding horses as long as they had ample room for the number of horses on their property. Mayor McTaggart felt it was irrelevant to bring up the value of equestrian activities to children and that the question for him had always been about commercialism in a residential neighborhood.
Ms. Greenwood said that the Pony Club and Ride to Fly had cooperated with the community but there were personal conflicts between neighbors in the Equestrian area which had drawn the City in. She said that the result of past hearings and adoption of the new Code has resulted in the reduction of the number of horses in the City and that every time there was one less horse, the dream of the equestrian lifestyle was diminished.
Mayor McTaggart asked if Ms. Greenwood would want a commercial venture next door to her home.
Ms. Greenwood said that there was a horse next door to her and that there were things that were more irritating than that situation. She urged the Council to make a good judgment call on the cases before it.
Madeline Ryan, 28328 Palos Verdes Drive East, said that she did not support or oppose the applicants with their respective issues because she was not sure which code, which date, what number of horses applied and would trust the Council to decide what was right. However, she felt that if the size of a property could accommodate a larger number of horses this should be an element in the Council's decision. She supported the concept of an Equestrian Park and believed it might solve the boarding issue. She praised the Ride to Fly program, which was reviewed every six months, and said that homeowners in the area felt the property had never looked as good.
Charlene O'Neil, 38 Headland Drive, spoke in support of Pony Club and the Ride to Fly programs and urged the Council to approve the requests submitted in these last three nonconformity statements using the same judgment which permitted approval of other prior statements.
Mayor pro tem Stern reiterated that the Council was not legislating and that appeals to what should have been done in the past were of no value, but only whether the law was being applied fairly and consistently to everyone. He felt that staff performed the correct analysis and that possibly the only issue which might be helpful to determine if the operations were legal in the past would be the profitability issue, but the new Code did not address that issue so it was not part of the analysis. Therefore, he felt that adoption of Alternative No. 1 in the staff report was the appropriate action.
Mayor pro tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilwoman Ferraro to adopt Alternative No. 1 in the staff report which is to grant the property owners' request to “grandfather” the requested numbers of animals for the subject properties as follows: 20 Vanderlip Drive-11 horses, all of which may be boarded in perpetuity; 6 Limetree Lane-12 horses, seven of which may be boarded until February 2007 or the sale or transfer of the property, whichever occurs later; 1 Peppertree Drive-10 horses, six of which may be boarded until February 2007 or the sale or transfer of the property, whichever occurs later.
Mayor McTaggart said that to him important issues were the effect of commercialism in a residential area and if it would increase traffic and parking. He said that these were issues that had to be addressed when approval of a home business was being considered. He said that he was not anti-equestrian but he felt that the number of horses requested was a little high.
Councilwoman Ferraro felt that Mayor pro tem Stern was correct in saying that the Council is not legislating at this time. She noted that it was the same people arguing the same issues and in a sense they had prevailed because the code was changed due to their complaints. She said that these were properties located in the equestrian zone and therefore it was appropriate to allow horses and, in a way, property values were diminished when fewer horses were allowed with the new code. She stated that the previous Council could not resolve the issue of legal boarding four years ago, so the nonconformity statements were a way to try to achieve some kind of equity.
Councilman Gardiner asked for a clarification of the concept of boarding in perpetuity.
City Attorney Lynch said that boarding in perpetuity would effectively be allowed if the property was never sold or transferred.
Senior Planner Fox added that even then only the number of boarded animals would be reduced.
Councilwoman Ferraro noted that the old code allowed a certain number of horses per parcel that the new code allowed a certain number of horses per property owner and said that the properties in question were large.
Councilman Gardiner asked if the smaller properties in the equestrian zone on the east side of the City were allowed the opportunity for grandfathering.
Mayor pro tem Stern said that they were but the opportunity to apply for grandfathering had expired.
Senior Planner Fox said that the deadline had been extended twice.
City Attorney Lynch said that there was a concern that people were not aware of the opportunity because of the small number of applications received.
Mayor pro tem Stern added that the application did not ask for financial information but only if horses were boarded.
Councilman Gardiner was satisfied that everyone was treated in a consistent manner and he then asked about the issue of adequacy of care for the animals.
Councilwoman Ferraro said that this was an issue for code enforcement and she called for a vote on the motion.
Mayor pro tem Stern agreed that safety and health issues were not relevant in the item before the Council.
Mayor McTaggart said that he believed there was commercial boarding taking place and he was not sure the horses were being treated well.
Mayor pro tem Stern reiterated that these were not relevant issues and the Council must simply apply the law as it related to these nonconformity statements.
The motion carried 4-0-1 (Councilman Clark absent.)
Recess And Reconvene: At 11:25 P.M. Mayor McTaggart called a recess. The meeting reconvened at 11:38 P.M.
(Councilwoman Ferraro left the meeting at this time.)
Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) Update (1203)
Director Rojas presented the staff report of June 12, 2002 and the recommendation to receive an update on the NCCP program and direct staff to proceed with completion of the draft Plan with the new Alternative C as the basis for the plan.
Larry Vivien, 2324 West 37th Street, San Pedro, CA 90732, said that he was still receiving NCCP staff reports even though the new Sierra Club Conservation Chairman was Barry Holchin. He provided Mr. Holchin's address (3949 Via Valmonte, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274). He congratulated the City Council on NCCP progress and felt the program was moving in the right direction.
Mayor pro tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner to direct staff to proceed with completion of the draft Plan with the new Alternative C as the basis for the plan. Motion carried 3-0-2. (Councilmembers Ferraro and Clark absent.)
Resol. No. 2002-46 - Additional Grant Funding for the Expansion of Point Vicente Interpretive Center (1201 x 1204)
Presentation of the staff report was waived.
Staff recommendation was to adopt the proposed resolution authorizing the application for grant funds from the County Of Los Angeles Regional Park and Open Space District for additional excess revenue grant funds in the amount of $120,000 for the expansion of the Point Vicente Interpretive Center.
Councilman Gardner asked why the Point Vicente Interpretative Center was chosen to receive these funds in contrast to using the extra funding to support some other activity such as girls softball for example.
City Manager Evans explained that because of restrictions on funds, it was appropriate to use these funds for a project like Point Vicente Interpretative Center and retain unrestricted funds for other needs.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Stern to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2002-46, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AUTHORIZING THE APPLICATION FOR GRANT FUNDS FROM THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES REGIONAL PARK AND OPEN SPACE DISTRICT FOR ADDITIONAL EXCESS REVENUE GRANT FUNDS IN THE AMOUNT OF $120,000 FOR THE EXPANSION OF THE POINT VICENTE INTERPRETIVE CENTER. Motion carried 3-0-2.
Resol. No. 2002-47 - Trail Repairs, and Fencing Construction at Inspiration Point and Shoreline Park (1204 x 1201)
Presentation of the staff report was waived.
Staff recommendation was to (1) Award a contract for trail repairs and fencing construction at Shoreline Park and Inspiration Point to Ryco Construction for an amount not to exceed $54,287 and authorize staff to spend an additional $5,428 for possible extra work for a total authorization of $59,715. (2) Authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute a contract with Ryco Construction, Inc. (3) Authorize the expenditure of up to $3,500 for inspection services with SA Associates. (4) Adopt the proposed resolution amending Resolution No. 2001-43, the Budget Appropriation for Fiscal Year 2001-2002, for a budget adjustment to the City's General Fund.
Council Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Stern to (1) Award a contract for trail repairs and fencing construction at Shoreline Park and Inspiration Point to Ryco Construction for an amount not to exceed $54,287 and authorize staff to spend an additional $5,428 for possible extra work for a total authorization of $59,715. (2) Authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute a contract with Ryco Construction, Inc. (3) Authorize the expenditure of up to $3,500 for inspection services with SA Associates. (4) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2002-47, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2001-43, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2001-2002, FOR A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT TO THE CITY's GEN ERAL FUND.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Gardiner, Stern, and Mayor McTaggart
Border Issues Status Report (310)
Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report of June 12, 2002 and the recommendation to review the current status of border issues, and provide direction to the City Council Committee and staff.
Details of his report included RPV representatives attending the Lomita Planning Commission meeting at which the Commission approved the Harbor Hills project, adopting a resolution in the month of July which will start the 15-day appeal period. He said that RPV had influenced some of the conditions of approval having to do with lighting and geotechnical investigation. He said that LAFCO had put a hold on the secession of the Harbor Area from the City of Los Angeles so this portion of the status report would be put on hold until the issue is taken up again. He said that the Garden Village shopping center would continue to be monitored as conditions of approval were established for renovation.
When Mayor McTaggart inquired about the proposed office at 5883 Crest Road in Rolling Hills Estates, Senior Planner Fox replied that it was not known if there would be an impact to RPV but the City would be receiving a copy of the initial study.
Senior Planner Fox said that at the Council meeting on May 20th, Mayor McTaggart mentioned his meeting with Mayor Seamans from Rolling Hills Estates regarding the slope problems above and behind the businesses on little Silver Spur Road. The City Attorney mentioned also at that meeting that there was a civil lawsuit and a settlement between the owner of the slope, Pemba Properties in Rancho Palos Verdes and the owner of the properties on Silver Spur. According to the settlement agreement the property owner on Silver Spur must repair the retaining wall on the lower portion of the slope but it appears that this property owner does not want to begin these repairs without some commitment from the owner of the upper portion of the slope to regrade that area, but since Pemba, the owner of the upper slope, is not compelled by the settlement agreement to do anything, they have not. He stated that staff has had some discussions to try to broker some kind of resolution and discussed with Pemba the submittal of a grading plan to regrade their portion of the slope but at this point Pemba has not submitted anything officially. He stated that since this is a civil matter between two property owners and there is no known code violation or threat to public safety in Rancho Palos Verdes, staff has not taken a more proactive role in trying to force Pemba to regrade the slope.
Mayor McTaggart asked about access to this property from Little Silver Spur.
Senior Planner Fox replied that a portion of the property comes down and abuts the Little Silver Spur right of way, in the curve to the west, and he believed that there was a blanket use restriction over the whole property.
Mayor McTaggart commended Senior Planner Fox on his presentation to the Lomita Planning Commission.
Councilman Gardiner asked about the project kitty corner from Ralph‘s on Hawthorne and Crest and asked if there would be an exit on Crest as well as on Hawthorne. He said that without a Crest exit, it would be impossible to make a left turn onto Hawthorne.
City Manager Evans said that there would be no exit onto Crest as the concept was rejected at all levels at the City of Rolling Hills Estates.
Mayor McTaggart said that Rolling Hills Estates residents were opposed to the plan and he felt it was important to make sure that views in the Monaco housing development in RPV were protected.
Director Allison reported that the Traffic Committee had reviewed the situation but that the access issue was not before the City of RPV.
Applicants for View Restoration for Mediator Positions – Set Date to Interview (106)
City Clerk Purcell presented the staff report of June 12, 2002 and the recommendation to set a date to interview the applicants for View Restoration Mediator positions.
Council consensus was to continue this item to enable absent Councilmembers to participate.
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
City Attorney Lynch reported that the City Council voted unanimously (3-0-2; Councilmember Ferraro had not yet arrived, and Councilmember Clark absent) to add an item to the Closed Session agenda regarding the cleanup of the Pt. Vicente Interpretative Center. The issue came up after the agenda was posted and there was an immediate need for the Council to take action due to information that was received from the Army Corps of Engineers.
City Attorney Lynch reported that regarding the Kay lawsuit, the Council voted unanimously 4-0-1 (Councilmember Clark absent) to indemnify individual Councilmembers and the Planning Commissioners and direction was given to the City Attorney's office not to enter into any sort of stipulation with Mr. Kay.
The Council voted unanimously 4-0-1 (Councilmember Clark absent) to proceed with an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to settle the City's claim against the Corps so that the cleanup of the site by the Corps can proceed. She said that this agreement would be placed on the next Council agenda.
ORAL CITY COUNCIL REPORTS:
Mayor McTaggart mentioned that he and Mayor pro tem Stern, along with their families, had attended the Green Hills Memorial Day service. He also reported on a meeting with APA Region 9 regarding NPDES permits. Mayor McTaggart thanked the Council and staff members for the great success of the recent California Contract Cities event in Indian Wells, which was hosted by the City. He learned at the June 3 MAX meeting in Torrance that there were surplus buses for sale at low prices, and that could possibly be used by the City's Reach program. He said that at the June 5 meeting of the L.A. County Liability Trust Fund Oversight Committee it was reported that the disaster on September 11, 2001 had had a strong impact on excess insurance, which explained why the cost for excess insurance doubled, but he explained the critical need for this excess insurance because of situations such as the $26 million the City of Cerritos incident had and he felt the group was lucky to get the coverage at all. Mayor McTaggart described a tour of the new Cerritos Library where a League of California Cities meeting was held on June 6. He also discussed a meeting with speaker Herb Wesson attended by Gina McLeod of RPV's Finance Advisory Committee and he commended her on her volunteerism. Lastly, he said that on June 10 he had attended his second meeting of the Composting Authority and that he had also attended the previously mentioned Lomita Planning Commission meeting.
Councilman Gardiner said that he learned at its last meeting that the Palos Verdes Transit Authority is holding in abeyance introduction of camera use on their buses until information was forwarded to the Council for evaluation.
The meeting adjourned at 12:08 A.M. in the memory of Jeannette Mucha to 6:00 P.M. on June 18 for interviews of candidates for the chair of the Emergency Preparedness Task Force.