RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
MARCH 4, 2003
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 P.M. by Mayor Stern at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, and was immediately recessed to a closed session per the Brown Act Checklist. At 7:02 P.M., the meeting was reconvened.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT:Clark, Ferraro, Gardiner, McTaggart, and Mayor Stern
Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant City Manager Carolynn Petru; City Attorney Carol Lynch; Director of Finance Dennis McLean; Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas; Director of Public Works Dean Allison; Senior Planner Kit Fox; Senior Planner Mihranian; Deputy City Attorney Mark Mandell; Advisor Joan Cox, Harris & Associates; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and Recording Secretary Bothe.
Director Allison led the flag salute.
Mayor Stern announced that this past Saturday, he attended the Whale of a Day festivities at the Point Vicente Park Interpretive Center; and explained that while the Interpretive Center is not yet open, a portion of the grounds/trails are open to the public. He encouraged residents to visit the site.
Mayor Stern advised that the public may obtain information on the City’s website regarding emergency preparedness and issues concerning terrorist threats.
Mayor Stern presented a proclamation to Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year, Cindy Jezak, in appreciation of her hard work and dedication as a teacher at Mira Catalina grade school. He added that Ms. Jezak grew up in RPV and is also a City resident.
Mayor Stern announced the two February recycle winners, Jim Harble and Hershel Owens, who will both receive a check for $250, which represents a year of free refuse service. He encouraged everyone to recycle.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
City Clerk Purcell advised that the February 8, 2003, Minutes had been pulled from the Consent Calendar and that they would be placed on the next City Council agenda.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro noted the request to continue Agenda Item No. 9 from the Consent Calendar -- Resolution Upholding Appeal of the Planning Commission’s Denial of Planning Case No. ZON 2002-00282 (Applicant/Appellant: Makallon RPV Associates, LLC).
City Clerk Purcell stated that two audience requests had been submitted to speak on Agenda Item Nos. 8 and 9. With regard to Agenda Item No. 9, she added that written correspondence had been received late from the developer of Ocean Front Estates asking to continue the item. No objection was noted with regard to continuing Agenda Item No. 9 to March 18.
Mayor Stern mentioned that he most likely would not be able to attend the March 18 City Council meeting.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman McTaggart, to approve the Agenda as amended. Without objection, Mayor Stern so ordered.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
City Clerk Purcell noted that Councilman Clark had submitted minor revisions with regard to the January 21, 2003 and February 4, 2003 Minutes following the delivery of the Agenda packet, and that these revisions had been distributed to the Councilmembers at the outset of the meeting.
City Clerk Purcell stated that one speaker card had been received for Agenda Item No. 8, Amendment to Ocean Trails Development Agreement.
Jabe Kahnke, 4003 Palos Verdes Drive, RPV, urged the City to keep the residents fully informed of the activities on the Ocean Trails property; and stated that it is essential the adjoining property owners not be adversely impacted by these activities.
Mayor Stern explained for Mr. Kahnke that he and Councilman Clark have emphasized to the Trump organization the need for them to communicate to the public what their complete plans are for this property so that City staff and RPV residents know the complete picture of what will be done on this site. He added that Deputy Planning Director Pfost is closely working with representatives at Ocean Trials to continue to obtain as much information as he can and to relay that information to the public. Mayor Stern stated that he and Councilman Clark routinely provide the public with updates of the Ocean Trials project during the Council Reports section of the meetings.
Councilman Clark added that once the Trump organization formally submits its comprehensive proposed changes for Ocean Trails, that those changes will come in the form of a project amendment package, which will be analyzed by staff and then by City Council in public hearings; and at that point, the public will have ample opportunity to provide input.
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, commented on her suggested revisions to the January 21, 2003 and February 4, 2003 Minutes.
Motion to Waive Full Reading.
Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at this meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all Councilmembers after the reading of the title.
Approved the Minutes of January 21st and February 4th as amended.
Claim against the City by David Larson. (303)
Rejected the claim and directed staff to notify the claimant.
January 2003 Treasurer's Report. (602)
Received and filed.
Resol. No. 2003-12:Used Oil Recycling Block Grant for FY 2003-04. (1301 x 1204)
(1) Authorized the application of the FY 2003-04 Used Oil Block Grant to continue the Used Oil and Filter Recycling Program for residents of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes; and, (2) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2003-12, AUTHORIZING THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS TO EXECUTE ANY AGREEMENTS, CONTRACTS, AND REQUESTS FOR PAYMENT AS NECESSARY TO IMPLEMENT THE PROGRAM.
Ryan Park Improvement Project. (1201 x 1204)
(1) Accepted work as completed; (2) Authorized the City Clerk to record the Notice of Completion with the County Recorder; and if no claims are filed 35 days after recordation, notify the surety company to exonerate the Payment and Performance Bonds; and (3) Authorized the Director of Public Works to release the 10% retention
payment to Vido Samarzich, Inc., 35 days after recordation of the Notice of Completion by the County Recorder contingent on no claims being filed on the Project.
Notice of Completion - PVIC Storm Drain Project. (1201 x 1204)
(1) Accepted the work as complete; (2) Authorized the City Clerk to record the notice of completion with the County Recorder’s Office; and if no claims are filed 35 days after recordation, notify the surety company to exonerate the Payment and Performance Bond with SRD Engineering, Inc.; and, (3) Authorized the Director of Public Works to release 10% retention payment to SRD Engineering, Inc., 35 days after recordation of the Notice of Completion contingent upon no claims being filed against the contractor.
Adoption of Ordinance No. 388: Amendment to Ocean Trails Development. (1411)
ADOPTED ORDINANCE NO. 388, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING AMENDMENT NO. 2 TO THE OCEAN TRAILS DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT. (This Ordinance was introduced at the February 18th meeting.)
Resol. No. 2003-13: Register of Demands.
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2003-13, 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.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the Consent Calendar as amended.
Councilmen Gardiner and McTaggart noted that they would abstain from the approval of the February 4, 2003 Minutes.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro stated that she would abstain from the approval of the January 21, 2003 Minutes.
AYES:Clark, Ferraro, Gardiner, McTaggart and Mayor Stern
ABSTAIN:Ferraro – January 21, 2003 Minutes
Gardiner, McTaggart – February 4, 2003 Minutes
# # # # # # # # # # # #
Financing Alternatives. (602)
The staff recommendations were as follows: (1) Receive and file this report; (2) Authorize Public Works staff to proceed with the preparation of an update to the 1996 citywide storm drain plan, including estimates of the cost of drainage improvements and repairs. $100,000 is included in the FY 2002-2003 budget for the cost of the preparation of proposed storm drain plan update; (3) Authorize Finance and Public Works staff to proceed with the preparation of an Engineer's Report for the possible formation of a storm drain user fee. A sufficient amount is included in the FY 2002-2003 budget for the cost of the preparation of an Engineer's Report; (4) Authorize staff to proceed with the partial sewer system cleaning and video filming, which will lead to an evaluation of the condition of the citywide sewer system and consideration of adopting a sewer user fee. $350,000 is included in the FY 2002-2003 budget to conduct the sewer study. (5) Direct staff and/or the FAC to take other action regarding financing of infrastructure and open space and park facilities as the City Council deems appropriate.
Mayor Stern commended staff for its comprehensive report; and thanked the FAC members for their superb work on this critical issue.
Director McLean noted that FAC members were present, along with Deputy City Attorney Mark Mandell and Consultant Joan Cox with Harris & Associates, who assisted the subcommittee in fine-tuning the financing alternatives, along with himself, FAC Members Clark and McLeod and Director Allison. With the aid of a Power Point presentation, Director McLean reviewed the financing alternatives, along with the possible use of long-term debt. He went on to describe the possible establishment of a user fee to help fund the cost of storm drain improvements.
Director Allison noted for Councilman Clark that the $10 million estimate did not include the work at San Ramon. Director Allison advised that the storm drain system is in worse shape than the sewer system.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro asked when a survey of the storm drain and sewer systems would be done.
Director Allison noted for Mayor pro tem Ferraro that there were two items in the budget for the study: the update of the citywide storm drain master plan and the cleaning and video inspection of a portion of the sewer system. A separate storm drain system study was conducted along Palos Verdes Drive East, which had concluded that the improvements were necessary on Palos Verdes Drive East. He advised that this study was done from the roadway surface, not inside the pipes; and stated that the approximate $10 million in repairs of the storm drain system could climb once the cameras are sent into the system. Director Allison stated that the $40,000 citywide study has not yet commenced, but that it has been budgeted; and stated that $350,000 has been budgeted to answer some questions with regard to the condition of the sewer system. He explained that the sewer system will be randomly selected for internal sampling of the sewer conditions and that some conclusions of the overall system will be made with this sampling.
Councilman McTaggart questioned whether grant money could help fund the storm drain system as part of the NPDES planning and questioned how many of the dry weather systems will be imposed on the City.
Director Allison explained that there currently is grant money available but that the specifics of the grant program are not yet known. With regard to the dry weather systems, Director Allison estimated that 6 to 10 systems might be imposed.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro questioned whether any of the $350,000 budgeted for this current fiscal year had been expended for the study of the sewer system.
Director Allison stated that none of the $350,000 has been spent, that a study has not yet commenced.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro expressed her belief that the condition of the sewer system should first be assessed before the City attempts to address how to fund the repairs.
Councilman Gardiner briefly addressed the millions of dollars needed to repair the City’s infrastructure and the current lack of City revenues to complete these repairs.
Councilman Clark questioned whether random testing of the City’s sewer system is the best approach; and suggested a systematic approach to the sewer system study, looking at where the City thinks there may be a worst case conditions and then to extrapolate from that finding the condition of the sewer system.
Director McLean resumed the Power Point presentation.
With regard to storm drainage improvements and repairs, $800,000 was required annually for the cost of completing the storm drains, Director Allison stated that some deficiencies have been taken up by Public Works projects and that some have been taken care of by developers, such as Ocean Front Estates and Ocean Trails. He estimated that it would take approximately one year to complete the reports of the sewer and storm drain systems.
City Manager Evans explained for Councilman Gardiner that L.A. County would repair the sewer system when it breaks, but that the County does not do any preventative maintenance. He added that if the sewer system leaks, it could create a hazardous waste problem for the City, not the County. He added that the County would not do any detailed monitoring or inspection of the lines.
Director Allison advised that there have been 12 sewer overflows in the last 24 months. Director Allison explained that leaks could occur out of the manhole into the City’s catch basin and into the storm drains – pointing out that it generally leaks out into one of the tanks. He added that if the flow is not moving along, the County will jet pressure the system and clean out the line; and that if the County sees the flow running above the spring line, then the line becomes a candidate for pressure cleaning. Director Allison advised that the City tries to prevent the sewers from entering the storm drain system as much as possible. He advised that when these overflows do happen, an assessment is made of the canyon on how best to clean up the canyon, whether it will be with chlorinated water or with removing material and disposing of it, or in some cases, the system will clean itself – pointing out that the City has experienced all three circumstances. He stated that the City has averaged one sewage overflow every 2 months for the past 3 years; and noted that these occurrences happen when a system does not receive preventative maintenance and is allowed to deteriorate.
Director Allison, addressing Councilman Gardiner’s inquiry with regard to the County’s responsibility, explained that for the $18 that is collected from each property owner once a month, the County will do an on-site visual inspection by opening the manholes to see if the sewer lines are flowing properly; and advised that if one breaks, the County will repair it with County funds. He added that no one entity has been doing routine maintenance of the City’s sewer or storm drain systems.
Responding to Mayor pro tem Ferraro’s concern of water quality regulations, Director Allison explained that staff is very concerned with these sewage overflows; commented on the stringent water quality regulations and the possibility of the Regional Water Quality Control Board ultimately requiring that the City conduct a capacity and condition analysis of its system to make sure the pipes are large enough to adequately handle the flows. He reiterated the City’s plan to conduct the $350,000 analysis regarding the condition of the sewer system. He added that with next year’s budget, staff would be increasing the water quality program because the City will be involved in a joint program with other cities to monitor the water quality up and down the coast.
Councilman McTaggart pointed out that this City enjoys one of the lowest sewer fees for a municipality, $84 a year; and highlighted the fact that the condition of these systems cannot be adequately maintained on this low fee.
Director McLean noted for the City Council that once the study has been completed of the storm drain system, the likelihood is high that more lines in the system will need repair than what was originally anticipated in the 1996 Storm Drain Plan.
Councilman Gardiner expressed his belief that the lack of maintenance of these systems has gone on for as long as possible and that it is time for the residents to understand that the City does not have enough money in its General Fund to pay for this maintenance and repair and that it’s time to seriously consider implementing a user fee.
Director McLean mentioned that the State Water Resource Control Board is interested in helping the City to finance the storm drains and sewers with low-interest, long-term debt.
Deputy City Attorney Mark Mandell noted for Mayor Stern that the interest rate on the long-term debt financing is in the range of 3 to 4 percent; and added that the rate would be based on the State’s general obligation rate, which is usually very low.
Addressing Councilman Gardiner’s inquiry with regard to how the user fee program would work, Director McLean explained that a user fee is a dedicated revenue stream that the City would, perhaps, receive into an enterprise fund and would be restricted to make payments on the debt; and stated that a portion of the user fee would be used to maintain the system and that a portion of the user fee would be used to make principal and interest payments for long term debt issued.
Mayor Stern addressed the fairness of long-term debt financing, stating that if the City pays for long term infrastructure improvements by saving current revenues until the funds are available to pay the cost in cash, then the generation paying for the improvements is not necessarily the generation that is benefiting from the improvements. Paying for future improvements using current funds results in the present residents not getting the present benefit of their tax dollars. Instead, they fund the benefit for the future residents. If, however, the City employed a long term financing strategy, then the generation that benefits from those improvements is also the generation that is paying for the improvements, since the benefits can be paid for as they are enjoyed in the future. Mayor Stern stated that he believed that such financing of long term infrastructure makes sense for this reason as well as others.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro questioned whether a user fee would apply evenly across the board for all residents.
Advisor Cox explained that when looking at a user fee, one would look at how much each property could potentially use the system, so that the fee would not be evenly applied across the board; that it would be applied per parcel and not a flat rate; and that the attributes of the parcel would be taken into consideration and then an appropriate fee would be calculated. She noted that the attributes taken into consideration when looking at storm drains would be how much water would run off that property -- usually a function of how much impervious area is on the property -- how much building area, how much asphalt; and then using the County’s standards for hydrologic percentages and averages, a fee would be based on that engineering analysis of how much water would run off that property.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro expressed her belief that it would benefit everyone to maintain and repair the storm drains regardless of its location in the City and that an across-the-board flat rate fee would be more equitable.
Advisor Cox explained that Proposition 218 requires that a storm drain fee needs to be proportionate to the service received; stated that they generally look at the service received from a storm drain; and noted that the service level is measured by how much one is contributing to the storm drain system. She indicated that she and staff would be studying different alternatives to address what the benefit is per property, noting that there are other technical parameters to consider. She stated for Mayor pro tem Ferraro that the size of the property is a good indicator of how much water will flow off the property, and that that is just one of the parameters that will be considered. She added that they calculate the area of the property and that they use the County standards and its hydrology manual to look at averages for how many impervious areas there are.
Councilman Clark requested that the alternatives that were considered and not preferred for this approach be shared with the City Council in a more intense financing alternatives workshop.
With regard to the two alternatives to the user fee for storm drains, Director McLean explained that the most common one is the assessment district concept, which was quickly dismissed as not being viable for legal purposes, for one reason; and that the second alternative was the concept of a parcel tax, with the use of obligation bonds or something similar to it. He stated that it was clear to the FAC, after receiving in-depth input from its advisors, that the user fee structure was the best approach.
Deputy City Attorney Mandell noted that the aspects of the alternatives are listed in a chart at the back of the staff report.
Concluding that the City may go down the path of long-term debt financing, Councilman Clark stated that he would like a better understanding and appreciation of the facts that went into the alternatives.
Director Allison noted for Mayor Stern that a typical clay sewer pipe in this City lasts approximately 50 years.
Deputy City Attorney Mandell explained for Councilman Gardiner that storm drain fees and sewer fees have different legislative processes; advised that a storm drain fee would be put up for vote by the property owners in the City; that it could be an election by mail ballot, mailed to the property owners; and stated that this process would require that 50 percent of those property owners who returned the ballots would need to approve that fee. Deputy City Attorney Mandell stated that if this 50-percent approval is not obtained, that the City could initiate another election to attempt to get it passed.
Councilman Gardiner commented on his concerns with the public’s acceptance of sewer fees, storm drain fees and the school board’s recent consideration of a parcel tax.
With regard to the passage of a sewer fee, Deputy City Attorney Mandell advised that the City Council could impose this fee following a public hearing process.
Recess and Reconvene: Mayor Stern recessed the meeting at 8:15 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 8:22 P.M.
Mayor Stern reminded the viewing public that all this information in regard to financing alternatives is available on the City’s website as part of the staff report included in the agenda package; and he requested that staff place the financing alternatives agenda item as a separate topic on the City’s website. He added that the staff report was comprehensive in reporting on the magnitude of this issue.
Finance Advisory Committee Member Becky Clark explained that from the beginning of this project, what occurred to her was the magnitude of the maintenance and repair issue with both the sewer and the storm drain systems and what needs to be done immediately to protect the City from any potential future liabilities. She expressed her belief that it is incumbent upon the City Council to act quickly and to spend some time and make a thoughtful decision, pointing out the analogy that a dollar spent today can save $5 down the road.
Finance Advisory Committee Member Gina McLeod explained that the financing is limited depending on the type of project the City is proposing; and highlighted the tangible fiscal benefits the City has gained from its 7-year plan for its street overlay program, a program implemented to review, repair and maintain in a methodical manner the City’s roadways. She addressed the City’s great success with its street overlay program, which provided a comparison for the FAC in its understanding of how the proposed financing alternatives can benefit the City over a period of time.
Councilman Clark thanked and commended the FAC and staff for its hard work and efforts in this endeavor that is critical to the well being of this community and to the City itself; and thanked staff for providing its presentation of this complex matter. Councilman Clark highlighted the fact that this City Council will have to deal with this issue in a reasonable and responsible manner; that it will need to completely understand the alternatives that are presented to make a decision with respect to long-term debt financing, if that is the route the Council chooses for infrastructure repair and maintenance.
Councilman Gardiner reiterated his concern with implementing multiple tax/fee hikes at the same time; and suggested that this very important issue be dealt with in a timely manner.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro questioned whether provisions could be included to exempt a senior citizen from paying a fee if they are not able to afford the fee.
City Attorney Lynch explained that as long as an exemption clause is included, a senior citizen who could not afford the fee could apply for hardship exemption, that exceptions could be granted as long as the costs that would be financed by the fees are not spread to others who are not exempt.
Director McLean explained that possibly some consideration could be given to incorporating a loan procedure into the policy guidelines applicable to user fees; that it might enable one to request a loan, borne by the General Fund; and that upon the sale of the residence, that loan would be repaid.
Assistant City Attorney Mandell explained that an exemption or a reduced fee concept could be done on a grant basis.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro questioned whether the ballot would include some information on hardship.
Assistant City Attorney Mandell stated that the ballot is mailed to each property owner; that the ballot typically contains elaborate information about the expected assessment that will be paid by that parcel and accompanied by a detailed notice of how the assessment is levied and includes all the formulas that are used for computing the parcel assessment. He stated that the assessment would be voted on by property owners only.
Advisor Cox explained that Proposition 218 dictates that a park assessment has to be based on the benefit received from the property; that they would have to conduct a benefit analysis for the properties; and pointed out, for example, that it is not how much one uses the park, but that it is more a function of does the desirability of a property increase because safe, well-maintained parks in the neighborhood. As far as paying a higher fee is concerned, if one lives closer to a park, Ms. Cox explained that that could be one of the parameters they could look at, but that it is not necessarily a correct statement – pointing out that a number of these assessments do no use a proximity concept. She stated that she and staff would look at a couple of alternatives and present to the City Council for consideration.
Assistant City Attorney Mandell explained that one thing that applies to both the assessment and the fees is that what the City is looking at with regard to the assessment is the benefit to each parcel, not necessarily to the people who live on that parcel; and that it is more about having these improvements and what benefit these amenities have upon the value of the property and the value of the services that one is receiving from improvements as opposed to whether specific people are using it.
Councilman Gardiner pointed out that a lot of people use the parks that are not residents of RPV; and suggested that consideration be given, for example, to a parking or entrance permit for its residents to use at the City parks. He stated that those who live outside the City limits and who use the RPV parks should somehow help support the funding and maintenance of RPV’s parks.
Ms. Cox clarified that as far as the parks are concerned, staff is talking about a benefit assessment, not a user fee.
City Attorney Lynch explained that there are some situations where the City could charge a differential amount -- for example, in connection with the monies that the City received from the state for the Forrestal properties; and noted that there is a specific requirement that these properties have to be equally available to everyone.
Mayor Stern commented on the possibility of implementing a peninsula-wide recreation entity; concurred with the statement that a lot of people on the peninsula use RPV’s parks and benefit from these amenities; and that a peninsula-wide recreation entity would create a more equitable way to allocate the expenditures.
Finance Advisory Committee Member Steve Wolowicz highlighted the sense of urgency that exists in making the residents aware of the financing demands of repairing and maintaining the sewer and storm drain systems and other financing demands that are going to be made on the citizens.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro thanked and commended staff and the FAC for the chart that was provided in staff report, stating that it made this complex issue much easier to understand. The City Council echoed her comments.
Mayor Stern stated that there are two major pieces of this issue to understand: an initial appreciation of the significant infrastructure needs and the City’s present lack of revenue sources to fund these projects; and, secondly, figuring out the best way economically and the most palatable way for this City’s residents to finance these improvements.
Councilman Clark pointed out the need to understand that these significant infrastructure improvements are not discretionary; and stated that if the City’s residents were to do nothing to improve these systems, it would be irresponsible and ultimately could pose catastrophic damage to the City.
Councilman McTaggart stated that it is imperative to find out what exactly the City is dealing with in these systems; and noted his support for the financing alternatives workshop wherein these alternatives can be re-addressed in order to get a clear indication of where the City stands.
Councilman McTaggart moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve Recommended Action No. 1, Authorize Public Works staff to proceed with contracting the preparation of an update to the 1996 citywide storm plan, and No. 3, Authorize staff to proceed with the partial sewer system cleaning and video filming, which will lead to an evaluation of the condition of the citywide sewer system and consideration of adopting a sewer user fee. He stated that the City should find the least expensive way to video film these lines.
Councilman Clark requested that the motion include Recommended Action No. 2, Authorize Finance and Public Works staff to proceed with contracting the preparation of an Engineer’s Report for the possible establishment of a storm drain user fee, and to schedule a focused workshop with FAC to thoroughly discuss the alternative approaches and implications of various long-term financing mechanisms. No objection was noted.
Councilman Gardiner stated that it would be useful for the City Council to know the least expensive ways to get these jobs done and for the City Council to be provided various options to consider as well.
Mayor Stern stated that the City Council will, in its workshop, work through the financing alternatives in a methodical way in order to make sure the Council clearly understands the complex set of circumstances; and requested that the workshop be televised for the residents.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro pointed out that the money for these improvements will go directly back into this community.
AYES:Clark, Gardiner, Ferraro, McTaggart, and Mayor Stern
Mayor Stern stated that on Tuesday, February 25th, he attended the meeting to discuss the City’s 30th anniversary event; and advised that the Committee has adopted two events: a family barbeque to be scheduled for September 6 and an evening banquet – noting that a date for the banquet has not been set.
Mayor Stern advised that he and Councilman Clark met with representatives from Ocean Trails to address some concern with the geology in the Landslide A area, which is located west of the clubhouse; and he indicated that the purpose for this was to make sure, to the extent possible, that the Ocean Trials owner understands and appreciates the concerns that the City has with the geology at this site. He stated that it was a good meeting with a lot of sharing of information on both sides; and advised the residents that the City is very careful with the geology of this situation. He stated that there basically is no significant change on site due to the recent rains having slowed progress.
Councilman Clark stated that he and Councilman McTaggart attended the Fourth Annual South Bay Council of Governments General Assembly last Thursday; and advised that the assembly theme was homeland security. He indicated that a representative from the United States President’s Homeland Security National Council gave an impressive talk on the national perspective of what communities and municipalities should be doing in this area; and he requested that staff invite this speaker to a future City Council meeting to give a presentation on homeland security. He advised that he attended the Mayor’s breakfast this month.
Councilman McTaggart stated that he attended a Contract Cities meeting in Palmdale to address the various activities that are taking place in Antelope Valley, stating that Antelope Valley is doing very well in bringing businesses into its city; advised that he attended the Independent Cities Conference in Santa Barbara, wherein the theme of the conference was protecting children in the community; and he noted that he would provide staff with some helpful materials that were provided at that conference. He indicated that he attended the Ad Hoc Cable Committee meeting on February 25th; that he attended the SCAG Growth Visioning Committee meeting on February 27th; and that he and Councilman Clark attended the COG General Assembly.
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, noted her delight that City Manager Evans had visited with Mr. Nasser, the owner of the 76 gas station at the corner of Hawthorne Boulevard and Palos Verdes Drive, to address the owner’s concerns with the construction near his station and its possible impact upon his business. Ms. Larue questioned when the traffic signal at Vallon and Hawthorne Boulevard would be put into operation.
Director Allison noted for Ms. Larue that Southern California Edison anticipates putting the stoplight in operation at Valon and Hawthorne Boulevard in two weeks.
Resol. No. 2003-14: San Ramon Drainage. (1204)
Director Allison presented staff report and the recommendation to (1) Amend the professional service contract to Harris & Associates for an amount not to exceed $123,590 for construction management services for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project, for a total contract amount of $469,595; (2) Amend the construction contract for Colich & Sons for an amount not to exceed $147,644 for additional construction related activities as related to the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide stabilization project, for a total contract amount of $2,634,347; and, (3) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2002-14, APPROVING A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT OF $491,067 TO THE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT BUDGET FOR THE SAN RAMON DRAINAGE AND LANDSLIDE STABILIZATION PROJECT TO COVER ADDITIONAL PROJECT CONSTRUCTION COSTS OF $271,234 AND A FY 2001-2002 BUDGETARY SHORTFALL OF $219,833.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman McTaggart, to concur with staff recommendation. Motion carried as follows:
AYES:Clark, Ferraro, Gardiner, McTaggart, and Mayor Stern
Coastal Sage Scrub & Habitat Ordinance. (1203)
City Attorney Lynch advised that staff had received correspondence requesting additional time to comment on this proposed ordinance; and advised that staff will attempt to work with the resource agency and some of the affected property owners in the meantime.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Ferraro, to continue this matter.
City Attorney Lynch stated that she expects this matter will return on the agenda in approximately a month.
Mayor Stern briefly addressed his anticipated absences from the next two City Council meetings and requested that he be in attendance when this matter is addressed.
Barbara Sattler, South Coast Chapter California Native Plant Society, deferred her comments to the meeting wherein this matter will be addressed.
Gary Weber, York Long Point Associates, deferred his comments to the meeting wherein this matter will be addressed and stated that he would submit a letter to staff.
City Attorney Lynch advised that staff had received a letter from the Long Point company indicating that they will not be removing any habitat from their property for at least 60 days, allowing more input to be generated from all affected parties.
Without objection, Mayor Stern so ordered a continuance.
Final Tract Map No. 52666. (1411)
The staff reported recommended the following: Approve parkland dedication (Quimby) fees for Final Tract Map No. 52666 pursuant to the City's parkland dedication fee formula in the amount of $116,804.51; direct staff to execute and file a Subdivision Improvement Agreement; consider the applicant's request to accept an Affordable Housing In-Lieu Fee; and approve Final Tract Map No. 52666.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to waive staff report. No objection was noted.
Senior Planner Mihranian informed Councilman Gardiner that the City Council has the option to require the developer to provide an affordable housing unit rather than accepting an in-lieu fee.
Sidney Croft, attorney representing 3200 Palos Verdes Drive West, LLC, expressed his belief that this site is not suitable for low-income housing because it is not easily accessible to public transportation, neighborhood and public services; and explained that providing one unit on vacant land would be extremely difficult in RPV and that the best alternative for the applicant would be to pay an in-lieu fee that can be combined with other City in-lieu fees for affordable housing in a more appropriate area within the City.
Mayor Stern stated that he would prefer that the applicant provide the low-income housing; questioned whether the applicant could provide a low-income unit offsite; and noted his opposition to the applicant paying the in-lieu fee and the City being straddled with providing the low-income housing unit elsewhere.
Councilman McTaggart questioned whether the applicant has explored the opportunity to work with another developer that has a requirement to provide for low- to moderate-income housing, suggesting that the developers cooperatively work to provide this low-income housing unit.
Mr. Croft stated that the applicant would welcome that opportunity.
Councilman McTaggart stated that he would like to see this opportunity fully explored before the City considers taking an in-lieu fee from this applicant.
Councilman Clark, echoed by Mayor Stern and Councilman McTaggart, stated that the developers need to bear the burden of providing the low-income housing units and not to place that task on the City in its acceptance of in-lieu fees.
Councilman McTaggart stated that the Long Point project may have a requirement, due to the number of jobs that it will generate in the City, to provide some low-to moderate-income housing on site, or at an offsite location; and, that this applicant might be able to work with that developer.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro questioned how an in-lieu fee of $77,000 can cover the costs for constructing a low-income housing unit in this City.
City Attorney Lynch noted for Councilman McTaggart that staff does not have a problem with the developers working together to address the low-income housing needs; and suggested that this developer might want to contribute funds to develop a unit on the Crestridge site, for example.
Mayor Stern requested that staff work with the developer to provide some of this information so that more creative options are explored without the City having to wrestle with this requirement.
Mr. Croft addressed the applicant’s full support in working with staff to come up with some creative options to explore.
Senior Planner Mihranian noted for Mayor pro tem Ferraro that the City has now collected approximately $900,000 in in-lieu fees.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro suggested that staff explore mixed use developments, a livable communities concept.
Director Rojas noted that staff has explored the potential for mixed-use projects on Western Avenue.
Councilman Gardiner requested that the Planning Commission be apprised of this discussion.
City Attorney Lynch stated that it may be possible if Ocean Trails, in connection with its contemplated project site modifications, reduces the number of homes, thereby decreasing the affordable housing requirement. She noted that in this case, the applicant might be able to convert an existing residence to an affordable housing unit, thus providing another option for Mr. Croft’s client.
Mr. Croft stated that he would prefer the conversion option for his client; however, he understood that this option is only available if Ocean Trails does not use the maximum allowable conversion units.
Councilman McTaggart requested that staff work with Ocean Trails on this consideration.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro questioned whether the City could buy down rents for apartment units.
In response, City Attorney Lynch indicated that the City could do a rent write-down, but that it won’t receive the same credit.
Deputy Director Pfost advised that the City can do up to 25 percent of its credit counting towards rent write-downs.
City Attorney Lynch noted for Mayor pro tem Ferraro that the rent write-downs typically require a 30-year commitment.
Mayor Stern moved, seconded by Councilman McTaggart, to accept the parkland in-lieu dedication fee of $116,804.51.
Based on the Council’s discussion to move away from the affordable housing in-lieu fee, City Attorney Lynch suggested amending the Subdivision Improvement Agreement to require the provision of one offsite affordable housing unit.
Mayor Stern requested that the motion include Item 4, Authorize the recordation of the final map with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office; and to include Item No. 2, as amended, direct staff to execute and file the Subdivision Improvement Agreement.
City Attorney Lynch stated that the Subdivision Improvement Agreement should be revised first, which would take a day or two, before the Council authorized the execution of the agreement and the recordation of the map.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro questioned if the apartment would have to stand-alone.
City Attorney Lynch stated that there was no requirement on the design of the structure, just compliance with state standards; and advised that the unit must be a certain size, approximately 800 square feet, and able to accommodate a certain number of people.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro suggested Golden Cove as a possible option for the applicant’s low-income housing unit as a mixed unit development.
Director Rojas noted for Councilman McTaggart that neither the Western Avenue Specific Plan nor the Golden Cove Shopping Center has a mixed-use option and that the zoning would need to be amended to include the mixed use.
Without objection, Mayor Stern so ordered the approval of the parkland in-lieu dedication fee, directed staff to amend the subdivision improvement agreement to require the construction of an affordable housing unit by the applicant, and to bring back the agreement and the final map for consideration by the Council at a later date.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Stern recessed the meeting at 10:05 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 10:11 P.M.
General Plan Update Steering Committee. (701)
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Ferraro, to waive staff report and to adopt the staff recommendation: 1) Reduce the Quorum for the General Plan Update Steering Committee from eight members to six members, 2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2003-15, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES REDUCING THE QUORUM LEVEL FOR THE GENERAL PLAN UPDATE STEERING COMMITTEE FROM 8 MEMBERS TO 6 MEMBERS.
Without objection, Mayor Stern so ordered.
Border Issues Status Report. (310)
Director Rojas reviewed the current status of border issues.
Councilman McTaggart had questions about several of the responses to the City’s comments in the Final EIR for the Rolling Hills Covenant Church Project.
Comment RPV-7: Councilman McTaggart questioned how the placement of fill in Green Hills is going to be monitored so that RPV can make sure a new problem is not created with instability.
Director Rojas advised that within the past two weeks, Green Hills had submitted its application that is supposed to coincide with this information, and that those issues have yet to be addressed by staff and the Planning Commission.
Comment RPV-6: Councilman McTaggart expressed his belief that the following statement is not an acceptable response: "As indicated on page 4.4-15 and in Table 4.4-4 on page 4.4-16, the proposed project’s construction emissions would only exceed the SCAQMD daily emissions threshold for ROG." He requested that it be sent back for a more appropriate response.
Comment RPV-7: Councilman McTaggart stated that the following response is not acceptable: "If such an incursion were to occur, the liquefaction potential is not necessarily increased."
Comment RPV-8: Councilman McTaggart questioned what type of testing will be required of the earth materials to verify that the materials are not contaminated before the materials are exported from the project site, and if contaminated materials are found, where will this material be taken.
Comment RPV-9 regarding stockpiling: Councilman McTaggart questioned where they plan to stockpile the dirt.
Comment RPV-10: Councilman McTaggart questioned if they have adequately addressed the exportation of dirt; and questioned how they will deal with vibration and its effect upon the neighbors that are adjacent to the site in RPV and Lomita.
Comment RPV-12: Councilman McTaggart expressed his belief that the answer is non-responsive with regard to the intersection identified in the study analysis.
Director Rojas advised that staff would follow up on Councilman McTaggart’s concerns.
NPDES Program. (1402)
Director Allison briefly presented the recommendation to request that staff work with the County of Los Angeles, other cities in the watershed, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board to explore alternatives to a City program of NPDES compliance.
Mayor Stern expressed his belief that the point is well taken that the proposed numbers are not realistic and that this issue will not be taken seriously; and that he concurs with the proposed letter.
Councilman McTaggart expressed his belief that the USC study is credible, well done and that it adequately addresses the result of noncompliance.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to approve staff recommendation. Without objection, Mayor Stern so ordered.
Resol. No. 2003-15: Expenditure Plan for Proposition 12, Proposition 40, and Measure A Bond Funds. (1201 x 1204)
Director Allison presented the staff recommendation to (1) ADOPT RESOLUTION 2003-16, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING THE APPLICATION OF GRANT FUNDS FOR THE PER CAPITA GRANT PROGRAM UNDER PROPOSITION 12, THE SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS, CLEAN WATER, CLEAN AIR, AND COASTAL PROTECTION BOND ACT OF 2000; AND (2) ADOPT RESOLUTION 2003-17, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING THE APPLICATION OF GRANT FUNDS FOR THE ROBERTI-Z'BERG-HARRIS URBAN PROPOSITION 12, OPEN SPACE AND RECREATION PROGRAM UNDER THE SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS, CLEAN WATER, CLEAN AIR, AND COASTAL PROTECTION BOND ACT OF 2000; (3) Approve an expenditure plan that programs Proposition 12 Bond Act funds, Proposition 40 Bond Act funds, and remaining Measure A funds to the building expansion project at Point Vicente and the acquisition of open space in the Portuguese Bend area; (4) Re-program Measure A funds currently programmed for the Abalone Cove Beach project to the building expansion project at Point Vicente Interpretive Center; (5) Delete the Abalone Cove Beach Improvement project from the Capital Improvement Program, until an alternative funding source is identified; and (6) Authorize staff to formally withdraw the Abalone Cove Beach Improvement project from review by the California Coastal Commission.
Councilman McTaggart questioned if this plan will work.
In response, Director Rojas explained that staff has restructured the funding and that staff believes the proposal is the best alternative.
Councilman Clark commented on the possibility of the Interpretive Center being built as a multi-public, multi-serving task facility, such as being internally configured to accommodate the RPV City Council meetings.
Mayor Stern noted his support of staff’s proposed allocation; and addressed the great benefit that this facility will provide to the community.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro moved, seconded by Councilman McTaggart, to concur with staff recommendation. Without objection, Mayor Stern so ordered.
Educational Access Channel. (1101 x 305)
City Manager Evans presented staff report and the recommendation to (1) Authorize the expenditure of $25,000 of Building Replacement Funds for the rehabilitation of the former Cable Television Building; (2) Authorize the expenditure of $10,000 of General Fund reserves for the purchase of television production equipment; (3) Authorize the inclusion of $10,000 in studio operating funds in the FY 2003-04 City budget.
Councilman Gardiner stated that this educational/government channel would make it easier for the City to inform its residents of various issues going on in the City; noted that the City’s current reader board would be able to be shifted to this proposed channel, which would help to fund part of the ongoing expenses; and noted that scheduling problems would cease with the City’s own cable channel.
Councilman Gardiner noted for Mayor Stern that the $10,000 will cover the cost to bring in the other equipment that will make it become a production facility; he explained, for instance, filming City Talk, one has to physically sit in the Cox studio for filming and that this cannot be done if Cox does not have any flexibility or an open time slot; and advised that if the City has its own facility, this problem will cease.
Councilman Gardiner stated that it is his understanding this facility has an adequate lighting system; that it has two cameras, an editing system, and a system that would make the programming available with Cox. He added that they are proposing to have an adequate, but limited, production facility at this site and that the product of the high school, Harbor and El Camino Colleges would come in various forms. He commented on the control box/equipment and the training that would allow for independent programming – pointing out that he would like the control box to be located in the Cox building.
Mayor Stern questioned if a sense has been reached as to how difficult it will be to input at the Cox facility and whether there will be a scheduling problem.
Councilman Gardiner stated that those issues have not been raised at this point in time and stated that because the hours at the building are somewhat irregular, he anticipates there might be a scheduling problem.
With regard to this channel, City Manager Evans explained that Cox would provide the cabling but that the City will have to somehow get its material into Cox’s cable, which means that a special box will have to be obtained.
Councilman Gardiner explained that there is no expressed obligation on Cox’s part to give the City access to the box that allows the City to put its material onto the television; and stated that it is not yet clear what type of access the City will have.
Councilman Gardiner stated that the City has got the channel but that it has not yet requested the special box which converts the media; and explained that the committee is optimistic that it can either persuade Cox to be sufficiently flexible or persuade Cox that it might enjoy contributing towards the City’s acquisition of such capability. Councilman Gardiner stated that what the Committee is requesting tonight is focusing on the ability to produce programming, the studio, the production, just having the ability on the City’s schedule to produce programming that the residents and various organizations would like to see or utilize.
Mayor Stern questioned what equipment is needed for the $10,000 that will allow for the filming.
Councilman Gardiner stated that the $10,000 would cover the cost of a lighting kit, the cameras, the editing equipment, the computers, the storage space, and the video editing. He added that additional details would be sought.
Councilman Clark stated that he is in favor of the proposal but addressed his concern with the timing and its relationship to the current budget situation. He noted his appreciation for the donation that will be provided by Mr. Ted Vegvari, which makes this an attractive proposal at this time.
Councilman Gardiner reiterated that shifting the readerboard programming would basically fund the on-going cost of $10,000 to do this programming.
Mayor Stern questioned why the City could not do the reader board itself at this time and have it on channel 3 and not spend the $10,000.
City Manager Evans explained that the person who was doing the readerboard work is no longer doing so; and that staff is currently working with Cox to find some alternatives to do it differently than was done in the past. He added that it is not clear whether the City will save any money at this point.
Councilman Gardiner stated that money will be saved on the production if this is done by the City; noted that it costs approximately $5,800 for production to do an additional remote show; and that the City will not have to pay this fee if it is done at its own facility. He expressed his opinion that the $25,000 is consistent with what it would cost to maintain that proposed building at some point down the road if it were not to be used for this purpose.
City Manager Evans noted for Councilman McTaggart that the building is located on property that the City owns.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro expressed her concern with spending $45,000 at this point in time due to the State and City budget concerns; and commented on some of the City Councilmembers’ unwillingness to make City Hall ADA compliant – expressing her opinion that ADA compliance is more important than creating a television studio. She advised that Cox and the school district already have established an educational channel that they don’t currently use.
Councilman Gardiner stated that the Mr. Vegvari would be providing data storage, the computers for editing, cameras, some lighting; and that he would maintain the archives.
Councilman Clark reiterated his concern with launching the station at this time with the current economy, but noted that the offer by Mr. Vegvari makes it a more palatable proposition. He addressed the ability and willingness of Mr. Vegvari to not only help underwrite the startup costs, but to also underwrite on a continuing basis a big portion of the operating costs.
Councilman Gardiner stated that Mr. Vegvari would absorb the on-going operating costs and on-going equipment replacement.
Councilman Clark questioned what would happen with the channel and programming if Mr. Vegvari were no longer able to underwrite the cost of operating the station.
Councilman McTaggart noted his enthusiasm with the opportunity of the City not funding the entire project, stating that it is a win-win situation for the City and Mr. Vegvari.
Councilman Gardiner explained that it would not be a total access channel and will be for governmental and educational use.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Stern recessed the meeting at 11:08 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 11:11 P.M.
Councilman Clark stated that he would support this proposition as long as this activity could be frozen until another feasible financial structure could be found if Mr. Vegvari were no longer able to provide assistance. He stated that he would not like to see unintended consequences of launching this and then have some financial burdens that are well beyond $45,000 a year for a number of years.
Mayor Stern echoed Councilman Clark’s comments and stated that he would support this proposal as long as the programming and costs could be frozen if something unforeseen should happen.
Councilman McTaggart moved seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to concur with staff recommendation.
Councilman Gardiner noted for Mayor pro tem Ferraro that the educational programming would include topics such as emergency preparedness, open space and parks, land acquisition, etc.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro expressed her belief that the time for this proposal is off and that spending the money of a television studio is frivolous at this time.
Mayor Stern expressed his belief that this proposal has a lot of potential; noted that he too is concerned with the budgetary aspects in these uncertain times; and stated that the City can make a lot of strides in passing information on to the public through this process.
Councilman McTaggart stated that before the City accepts the equipment from Mr. Vegvari, that an agreement be created to address the concern of what would happen in the event of him not being able to continue to underwrite this project.
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, mentioned that Mr. Vegvari does not pay any rent for the building he uses at City Hall.
The motion carried as follows:
AYES:Clark, Gardiner, McTaggart, and Mayor Stern
Rescheduling of March 24th Budget Meeting. (1101)
City Manager Evans asked that the City Council select another date for the March 24th City Council Budget Policy Issues Workshop.
Mayor Stern stated that he might miss the next two City Council meetings.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Stern recessed the meeting at 11:27 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 11:30 P.M.
It was the consensus of the City Council to schedule the Budget Policy Issues Workshop to Monday, April 14, 2003 from 6:30 P.M. until 9:30 P.M.
Mayor Stern and Councilman Clark advised that they would not be able to attend the April 1st meeting.
Mayor Stern suggested that the April 1st City Council meeting go on as scheduled, but that the agenda be limited to consent calendar items only. No objection was noted.
CITY ATTORNEY CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
City Attorney Lynch advised that the City Council unanimously voted to purchase the three properties that are listed on the agenda; that the City Council voted 3/2, with Mayor pro tem Ferraro and Mayor Stern voting no, not to sell the Tyler* property at 30678 Palos Verdes Drive East; and, that the City Council conducted the City Manager’s Employee Performance Evaluation and unanimously directed the City Attorney to draft an amendment to the agreement, which will be put back on the next agenda.
Mayor Stern commended Mr. Evans and staff for doing an excellent job.
Mayor pro tem Ferraro moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:36 P.M.
/s/ Douglas W. Stern
/s/ Jo Purcell