RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
JANUARY 6, 2004
The meeting was called to order at 7:48 P.M. by Mayor Gardiner at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard. The Mayor noted that Council was getting a late start because they were interviewing candidates for the Planning Commission.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Gardiner
Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant 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; Assistant to the City Manager Gina Park; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and Recording Secretary Denise Bothe.
Councilman Wolowicz led the flag salute.
On behalf of the City Council, Mayor Gardiner wished everyone a Happy New Year. Mayor Gardiner highlighted the additions to the Agenda setup; and explained that the time limits indicated in the parentheses are rough estimates of how much time should be needed to address each item. He stated that he arrived at these numbers, in consultation with City Manager Evans. Mayor Gardiner requested that the Councilmen pencil in the 5th Tuesdays of each month for additional City Council meetings should the need arise.
Mayor pro tem Clark, with the assistance of Councilman Stern presented Mayor Gardiner with automobile license plate frames reflecting his term in office as Mayor of Rancho Palos Verdes.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
City Clerk Purcell noted the addendum to the Agenda, New Business Item No. 6, the report from the president of Los Serenos de Pt. Vicente and Executive Director of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy concerning an application for grant funding. She noted that this item was properly noticed.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to approve the Agenda as amended. Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, noted her objection to the meeting not starting at 7:00 P.M.; and she thanked Peter Michel from Cox Communications for bringing in donuts for this evening’s attendees. She noted her delight with staff’s quick attention in fixing the bump on Palos Verdes Drive South after she had complained about it and urged the City to fix the rest of the City’s roads.
Mayor Gardiner explained that the agenda was properly published for a starting time of 7:40 P.M. because the Council had to conduct the interviews of applicants for the Planning Commission.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
Councilman Wolowicz stated that he toured the weed abatement area for the lower Filiorum property with Mr. York; and stated that he received from South Bay COG a questionnaire asking for feedback on legislative matters – noting that other Councilmen should have received this same questionnaire. He stated that he would forward any of the Council’s comments to the South Bay COG if they so desired.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that he met with the executive director of the San Pedro and Peninsula YMCA to discuss their proposed partnership with RPV with regard to the Upper Pt. Vicente site; and stated that he is one of many on the peninsula who is interviewing for the YMCA needs assessment. He stated that the League of California Cities Los Angeles Division dinner meeting would be held this week and that Sheriff Lee Baca would be the guest speaker; the Sheriff would discuss the budget crisis and its impact on safety services to the County of Los Angeles.
Councilman Stern stated that he enjoyed the holidays.
Councilman Long stated that he met with Mike Gin, Field Deputy to Supervisor Knabe; that he viewed a videotape of this City’s 25th anniversary celebration; and that he suggested that Mr. Gin also watch the anniversary tape to familiarize himself with the struggle of this community to incorporate 30 years ago. He noted that he discussed with Mr. Todd Anderson softball league issues; that he met with representatives of the teen and master’s aquatic program, ZAP Swimming, to discuss their concepts; and that he received some emails and materials from Barbara Dye – noting that this material was included in the packets for this meeting. He stated that he attended the California Contract Cities meeting.
Mayor Gardiner noted his opposition to the Sanitation District’s requirement that the Mayor needs to attend the meetings on behalf of the City.
In response to Mayor Gardiner’s statement, City Manager Evans stated that he talked with Jim Stahl, with the County Sanitation Districts, who indicated that the City would be permitted to appoint another representative to the Districts.
Mayor Gardiner stated that he and City Manager Evans met the president and Chairman of the Board of Marymount College for purposes of expressing his personal opinion that it would be useful to create a vehicle to discuss Marymount’s upcoming application– believing that this application has the potential to be a divisive issue; and stated that it may be helpful for this body to be proactive in expressing its concerns. He noted his belief that the Marymount representatives were receptive to the idea of a subcommittee of the Council, with members from the Planning Commission and some members from the community.
Director Rojas noted for Councilman Long that technically, there is an application submitted by Marymount, but stated that it is not complete; and advised that the environmental review is on hold until staff sees a revised/complete application.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that if the Marymount matter comes before this body, he would recuse himself from that issue due to the close proximity of his residence to the school.
OLD BUSINESS/CITY MANAGER REPORTS:
No City Manager report given.
Miscellaneous Items for Action:
Resol. No. 2004-01: ZON 2003-00634 (WEED ABATEMENT REQUEST FOR LOWER FILORUM). (1203 x 1405)
Staff recommended that Council ADOPT RESOL. NO. 2004-01, UPHOLDING THE APPEAL AND DENYING THE APPLICANT’S WEED ABATEMENT REQUEST.
Mayor pro tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve staff recommendation.
City Manager Evans noted for Councilman Wolowicz that he spoke with a Fire Department representative who indicated that it would not be a problem to conduct additional fire inspections on this site.
Councilman Wolowicz asked for a status report of the DEIR.
In response to Councilman Wolowicz’ inquiry, Senior Planner Fox stated that the comment period of the Notice of Preparation for the DEIR ended in mid/late November and that the final version of the EIR is being prepared at this time. He noted staff’s belief that the EIR will be ready by late February, early March.
There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Continued Items for Action:
County Golf Course: Review of Draft Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report. (310)
Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report and the recommendation to (1) review staff’s draft comments on the DEIR for the proposed South Coast County Golf Course and provide feedback to staff to finalize; (2) if the City Council directs TSG to conduct additional analysis of the DEIR, ADOPT RESOL. NO. 2004-02, APPROVING AN ADDITIONAL $5,000 BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR PROFESSIONAL/TECHNICAL SERVICES RELATED TO THE REVIEW OF THE DEIR.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned if the City’s consultants have indicated the need for any additional work.
In response to Councilman Wolowicz’s inquiry, Senior Planner Fox stated that the City’s consultants have not indicated the need for additional work and that they believed that the DEIR was fairly comprehensive and was a complete document.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to approve staff recommendation No. 1, but stated that at this time, he would not include in the motion the further authorization of funds. (A substitute motion ultimately superceded this motion.)
Mayor pro tem Clark expressed his belief that staff’s letter was a well-written letter that reflects some important key points.
For the record, Councilman Wolowicz advised that his firm was involved in preparing the financial projections for this developer approximately four years ago.
With regard to Circle Page 7, Paragraph 6, Councilman Wolowicz stated that one of the things he does not recall in the proposal was the transfer of ownership of the property to the developer; and stated that his understanding is that ownership of the land would remain with the County or with the Sanitation District. He stated that he understood it was never contemplated that there would be a transfer of ownership to the developer; and requested that if this statement is incorrect in No. 6, that it be deleted from the January 6, 2004 letter. He requested that this transfer of ownership issue be reaffirmed.
Councilman Long stated that it was his understanding that the developer would, regardless of obtaining ownership of the property, have some sort of interest in the property such that the developer would be assuming certain liabilities, providing certain guarantees to the County; and that his understanding of No. 6 was that the DEIR should include full discussion and disclosure of the project proponent’s ability, financial and otherwise, to fulfill all the recommended mitigation measures and full documentation thereof.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that once it is determined that transfer of ownership is not an issue, then the County should make sure that the financial responsibility is well defined.
Mayor Gardiner asked if all members of Council received the letter from the Sierra Club. Some members had indicated that they did not have a copy of the letter. Mayor Gardiner expressed his concern that the Sierra Club letter raises many questions that are not addressed in the draft comments. He noted that he has not seen some of the reports that are cited in the Sierra Club letter.
City Manager Evans expressed his belief that the reports the Sierra Club is referencing are reports done by other consultants; he stated that the City’s consultant has access to those other reports; and pointed out that this City’s consultant was asked not to duplicate anything anybody else was doing in the way of research and reports.
Mayor Gardiner stated that the City’s letter/comments should somehow incorporate items of concern that have been raised elsewhere, but, of course, not duplicating what’s already been done by someone else. Mayor Gardiner expressed his concern with the very small particulate matter that is 40 times the allowed maximum; and noted his concern with the mitigation measure with the street sweeper.
Since there was additional time to comment on the draft EIR, Councilman Long suggested continuing this matter to a date certain, but far enough in advance to get comments in before the deadline.
Councilman Wolowicz suggested that this City’s consultant highlight the issues that have already been addressed by someone else and the relevancy of those issues.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that he did receive the email from the Sierra Club outlining their concerns; and stated that if those issues had not been addressed by any of the consultants working on this issue, that those issues in that email should be investigated. He suggested that this comment letter be finalized; get it in so that these issues can be focused on; and that an additional paragraph be added in the letter to indicate that additional comments may be forthcoming.
Councilman Stern stated that he is satisfied with the comment letter and that he would support a second comment letter should the need arise.
City Manager Evans stated that in the past, one approach the City has taken when working with various agencies on the same project, is the City would reference other consultants’ and other agencies’ materials when the City was in concurrence; and suggested that staff could submit this letter and then write another letter referencing the Sierra Club’s comments, for example, and some of the other comments.
Mayor Gardiner noted his support to go back to the primary documents that are germane to the probability that the material in this landfill will escape and those related to health implications; and stated that he would support more than one letter if necessary.
By way of a substitute motion, Mayor pro tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to adopt submitting the letter of comment as proposed by staff with the caveat that it should be amended to include the indication that there may be subsequent formal comments coming from the City; that staff would review the Sierra Club letter and other pertinent comments to see if the matter should be brought back in the future to the City Council for consideration of additional submittal of comments; and to revise, if necessary, Paragraph 6 to accurately reflect the transfer of ownership issue and to explicitly state the concerns about whether the developer of the project has the sufficient ability, financial and otherwise, having sufficient proof of that, to carry out its obligations for any liability and risk. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
FY 02-03 comprehensive annual financial report, audit management letter and independent auditors’ report. (602)
Councilman Long thanked Director McLean and Finance Manager Downs for meeting with him to review these materials.
Staff recommended receiving and filing the following: (1) the FY 02-03 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes; and (2) Independent Auditors’ Report on Compliance and on Internal Control over Financial Reporting. (3) Staff to publish matrix of the budget on the City’s website.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to approve staff recommendation.
Mayor pro tem Clark requested that staff place on the City’s website from Circle Page 3, the matrix that shows the City’s budget, the actuals and the variances.
Councilman Long noted that City Attorney Lynch had advised him that there have been amendments to the law by the legislature, effective January 1, 2004, specifically stating that the Local Agency Investment Funds (LAIF) are held in trust; that they are the property of the City; that they can be withdrawn by the City at any time; that they cannot be invaded, impounded, or seized in any way by any state officer or state agency; and stated that because of this new law, he now feels more comfortable with these funds.
City Attorney Lynch noted for Mayor Gardiner that the statute requires the Controller to maintain a separate account for each governmental unit having a deposit in the fund.
There being no objection to the motion, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Continued Items Listed for Information Only:
Tabled Items Listed for Information Only
Councilman Stern noted his preference that items be taken off this list if they are not addressed within two meetings; and stated that he is not comfortable keeping things rolling from agenda to agenda because the public will never know for certain when a particular item is to be discussed. He asked that if after two meetings an item is not addressed, that it be removed and re-agendized when it is ready to be discussed.
Councilman Long stated that he concurs with Councilman Stern’s concern. Councilman Long expressed his opposition to forming ad hoc committees as a matter of routine. Councilman Long indicated that such bodies were appropriate means to gather information and report back to the Council as a whole, but not appropriate for making final decisions or giving direction to other City bodies or staff, things which are the prerogative of the Council as a whole.
Mayor pro tem Clark commented on the numerous ad hoc committees that have been put together in this city and their usefulness and effectiveness.
Mayor Gardiner, echoed by Councilman Wolowicz, pointed out that the ad hoc issue could be addressed at the Tactical Planning Workshop.
There was no objection to removing these two Tabled Items from the Agenda.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to approve the Consent Calendar as follows.
Adopt a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at this meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all council members after the reading of the title.
There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Resol. No. 2004-02: Increased Massage Technician Examination Fee and Massage Facility Inspection Fee. (801 x 202)
Staff recommended that Council ADOPT RESOL. NO. 2004-02, ADOPTING THE FEE INCREASES FOR MASSAGE TECHNICIAN EXAMINATIONS AND MASSAGE FACILITY INSPECTIONS TO OFFSET THE CITY’S INCREASED COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH PROCESSING BUSINESS PERMITS.
Mayor Gardiner opened the public hearing on this proposal to increase the City’s fee for the health inspection of each massage establishment and the fee for Massage Technician Examination.
There being no public input, Mayor Gardiner closed the public hearing.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve staff recommendation. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
ADDED THE FOLLOWING REGULAR NEW BUSINESS ITEM:
Application for Grant Funds to construct the Docent-proposed "Educational Triangle" on a portion of the Lower Point Vicente property. (602 x 1201)
Vic Quarte, president of the Los Serenos de Pt. Vicente, stated that this grant would be for $500,000; and stated that with these funds, the Natural Living History Museum would be developed within the educational triangle.
Barbara Dye, Executive Director of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, stated that the Conservancy is assisting the docents with writing an application for $500,000 in Urban, Recreation grant funds from Proposition 40. She highlighted the short deadline for this application, stating that it is due no later than January 15, 2004. Ms. Dye advised that there is $130 million in the grant pool and that this is a one-time opportunity to be used for historical and educational development, and acquisition of property in urbanized counties, which include Los Angeles County. She stated that there is a good chance that the docents’ proposal for the educational triangle would qualify for this grant. In order to file this type of grant application, she explained that it is important that there be land tenure, that the property owner has to agree to have a long-term lease agreement. She stated that the Land Conservancy could play several roles in this process, such as coordinate the grant application, manage the grant funds that would be awarded to a non-profit group -- or that the City could manage it -- that they could do habitat restoration, which is a component of the grant; and that they could provide part of the matching funds -- adding that no match is required of these grants. She indicated her willingness to work with staff and the docents to put this complicated application together.
Mayor pro tem Clark questioned if the Council were to support the forwarding of this grant application, would it restrict the City’s ability downstream to consider other uses for this property.
City Attorney Lynch stated that it is her understanding from the materials she has read that the use of the designated land would not preclude other uses of the property or other adjacent areas of the property; but that it does have commitment strings with it in terms of the site usage. She stated that it would allow for other uses of the site.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that while he is in support of submitting this application, his support of the application should not be interpreted to mean he is making a decision on the Lower Pt. Vicente property.
Ms. Dye noted that if the Council were to make its decision not in favor of the Living History Museum, that the application could be amended or withdrawn. Ms. Dye stated that the application would have to reflect where these plans are to be located; and noted that the application will not include the dry farming proposal. She stated that no applications would be accepted after January 15, 2004 for this pool of grant funds, reiterating that this is a one-time offer. Ms. Dye stated that the decisions for the grant funds may be ready by June, but definitely sometime this year; and added that there will be quite a bit of time to implement the environmental reviews before any work gets started on this property – noting that this leaves plenty of time for the Council to render its decision on this property and plenty of time to amend or withdraw the application should it become necessary.
Bill Lama, Pt. Vicente docent, stated that this proposal is not to pre-empt the City’s land use decision for this project, but that it is only before the Council because of the impending deadline. He added that if the future decision of the Council is to have a dual use for Lower Pt. Vicente park, it would then violate their position, that it makes no sense to have a living history museum in conjunction with a softball field; and stated that if that should happen, they would at that time withdraw their support of this application.
Todd Anderson, representing Peninsula Youth Sports Council and the Palos Verdes Peninsula Girls Softball League, expressed his support for this proposal; reiterated the League’s interest to place a softball field in the triangle dry farming area; and asked that the application include the dry farming area. He requested that the application request be increased to $1.5 million, with the $1 million going toward the development of the softball fields on the dry farming site. He noted that the selection for this grant funding places a heavy emphasis on recreational uses for youth. He commented on the inadequate youth recreational areas on the peninsula and believes that adding this component to the application will increase the chances of funding.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, for adoption of the recommendation as reflected in the January 5, 2004 staff report, without the suggestion of Mr. Todd Anderson; and with the clear indication that any and all funds received be administered by the City. Councilman Long noted that it was important that the grant not include making the farm at Lower Point Vicente a permanent feature and that he had not been persuaded in his questioning of the docents and others that it was worthwhile to permanently devote the land currently being farmed in Lower Point Vicente to farming.
Councilman Wolowicz noted that he was troubled with committing to this request for grant funding before the Council makes it decision on this property; and noted that his support of this application will not dictate his decision on what will happen with this property.
Councilman Long concurred with Councilman Wolowicz’ comment that the Council is not making land use decisions with its support of this application; and he noted his understanding that if the need arises, there will be plenty of time to amend or withdraw the application. With regard to Mr. Anderson’s request, he noted his opposition because approval of his request would require this body to make an irrevocable decision as to multiple uses on this site, which he is not prepared to do at this time.
Councilman Stern noted his opposition to adding things into the application that would lock this Council into a decision.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted his opposition to RPV carrying the entire burden of solving the peninsula’s recreational facility shortage; and stated that he remains an advocate to solve peninsula wide problems with the communication and interaction of other electeds and peninsula jurisdictions. He stated that he would support the grant application with the understanding that this body has the flexibility to make a change.
Councilman Long expressed his belief that RPV should try to work with the other peninsula cities for solutions; but if that fails, he stated that RPV has to be prepared to then implement the solution itself.
Ms. Dye asked that the City work with her to address issues concerning administering of grant funds and what role the Land Conservancy would play.
Councilman Long stated that it was his understanding Ms. Dye had indicated she was indifferent which entity would administer the grant funds.
Ms. Dye reiterated her desire to confer with staff on the administering of grant funds and the Conservancy’s role.
Councilman Stern questioned if it is necessary at this point for the application to define how the administering of funds will take place.
In response, Ms. Dye stated that that information would have to be included in the application.
Councilman Long amended his motion by removing the specifics as to who would administer the funds and that the Council would adopt the Resolution as proposed. There was no opposition to this amendment.
Ms. Dye stated that there is time to work with staff and get the application in before the deadline; and noted the need for the application to be specific on roles and responsibilities.
Councilman Stern pointed out that the Council is meeting this Saturday and questioned if that would be enough time for Ms. Dye to work with staff and present the remaining information to the Council at that meeting.
Councilman Long withdrew his previous motion.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to adopt the recommendation in staff report as stated on January 5, 2004, with the instruction to staff to negotiate with the Palos Verdes Land Conservancy and the docents with regard to who will administer the grant funds and to determine what roles will be played in connection with the grant for the purpose of defining whatever needs to be defined within the application; and then to present the results of that negotiation to Council for further action at its January 10th, 2004 meeting. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
COUNCIL DISCUSSION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS AND SUGGESTION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS.
Councilman Long asked that words/acronyms be spelled out when they first appear in staff reports; and requested adding to the list below to formulate a plan for upgrading the decaying City infrastructure and financing of the same.
Mayor Gardiner explained that the initial intent for this item is to show things that are pending and in various stages of preparation; and invited the Council to add to this list or to the agenda.
Councilman Wolowicz suggested that this body send their recommended lists to City Manager Evans and asked that the lists be compiled and sent back to the Council members.
Mayor pro tem Clark requested adding annual workshops with the Planning Commission -- noting that a workshop should soon be scheduled once the new Planning Commission is seated.
Councilman Wolowicz commended Mayor Gardiner for moving this meeting along in an efficient manner.
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
The meeting was formally adjourned at 9:57 P.M. to Wednesday, January 7, 2004, at 6:00 P.M., Fireside Room, to interview Advisory Board candidates.
/s/ Peter C. Gardiner
/s/ Jo Purcell