RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
MARCH 2, 2004
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 P.M. by Mayor Gardiner at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, and was immediately recessed to interview the Planning Commission applicants. At 7:18 P.M., the meeting was reconvened for regular session.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Gardiner
Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant City Manager Petru; Assistant City Attorney Carol Lynch; Assistant to the City Manager Park; Director of Finance Dennis McLean; Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas; Director of Public Works Dean Allison; Deputy Planning Director Greg Pfost; Senior Planner Kit Fox; Project Coordinator John Alvarez; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and Recording Secretary Denise Bothe.
Mr. John McTaggart led the flag salute.
Mayor Gardiner reminded the Councilmembers to make it clear as they proceed through the agenda their desire for additional information or clarification on various topics.
Recognition of Outgoing Commission and Committee Members.
Each City Council Member stood in line to recognize the following individuals for their service as Commission and Committee members:
Jon Cartwright -- Planning Commission
Frank Lyon -- Planning Commission
Dave Tomblin -- Planning Commission
Tom Long -- Planning Commission
Jack Karp -- Emergency Preparedness Task Force Committee
Sherree Greenwood -- Equestrian Committee
Earl Butler (not in attendance) -- Finance Advisory Committee
John Curtis (not in attendance) -- Finance Advisory Committee
Steve Wolowicz -- Finance Advisory Committee
Barry Hildebrand (not in attendance) -- Traffic Committee
Barbara Covey (not in attendance) -- Traffic Committee
Mayor Gardiner mentioned that some of these individuals who had left these various advisory boards had gone on to other endeavors; and, on behalf of the City Council and the residents of the City, he thanked them for their valuable service to the City.
Report on the Los Angeles County West Vector Control District activities by former Councilman John McTaggart. (106)
Mr. John McTaggart, Chair of the Board for the West Vector Control District (District), advised that the District is responsible for public health within its boundaries that may be affected by dangerous insects, such as mosquitoes, ticks, red fire ants, Africanized bees, etc.; and stated that the District runs from the Peninsula to Agoura Hills, Calabasas and approximately the Harbor Freeway to the east. He stated that currently, the District is fighting to control the mosquitoes that can carry the following diseases: St. Louis Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, etc.; and mentioned that there has been an outbreak of Yankee Fever in Baja, Mexico, and in Texas – highlighting his assumption that California might also experience such an outbreak. He stated that the West Nile Virus (WNV) has been detected in the Counties of San Diego, Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles, Imperial, and San Bernardino; and explained that the West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne virus that has been found in parts in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East; and noted that the virus was first detected in the fall of 1999 in New York City and that it had spread to 46 states by the end of 2003. He mentioned that the red fire ants have been spotted in Riverside County.
Mr. McTaggart stated that the majority of humans and horses that are infected with the WNV by mosquitoes have only a mild illness or no symptoms at all; and that in more rare cases, the virus can cause the serious condition called encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain. He advised that the WNV is primarily transmitted among wild birds by infected mosquitoes; and that the virus is most prevalent from May through October when the mosquitoes are most abundant. He stated that there were 9,175 cases of WNV reported in 2003 in the United States; that of those cases, 230 resulted in deaths, which are slightly down in number from the prior year.
Mr. McTaggart stated that the District’s programs have been extremely effective, and explained that the District has had 4 years to prepare to fight the incursion of the WNV disease with the use of biodegradable materials that protect the waterways. He added that mosquito fish are available from the District for people who have water ponds in their yards; stated that the best way to prevent becoming infected with WNV is to take precautions to decrease exposure to mosquitoes and for residents to eliminate all standing water on their property, which is a prime mosquito breeding area.
Mr. McTaggart stated that a new protocol has been added to the existing surveillance system to report and run tests on dead birds – highlighting the phone number for residents to use if they find a dead bird, 877-968-2473. He stated that the District must remain efficient to assess the new threats; and noted that the District is considering an increase in the Parcel Assessment Fees this coming year above the current $4 – pointing out that the maximum permitted is $20. He commended the District’s Board for being careful with keeping the fees low, but stated that the fees will have to be raised by $2 or $3 because the State will be taking money away from special districts. He cautioned that anyone finding a dead bird should not touch it with their bare hands; and that it should be placed in a double plastic bag for disposal or examination by a lab. Mr. McTaggart stated that the virus could only be detected in a dead bird if it has only been dead for one day or so.
Mr. McTaggart commented on the threat of Lyme Disease from tick bites; noted that several local cases have been reported; and stated that antibiotic therapy is imperative for anyone who has been bitten by a tick.
Mr. McTaggart stated that his term on the as the City’s representative to the District ends in July, but requested that his term be extended through February 2005 so he could finish his term as Chair of the Board. If his term was extended to that date, then there would be no disruption created by a mid-year change.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned if Mr. McTaggart believed the Peninsula cities were doing as much as they could for vector control.
Mr. McTaggart noted for that anyone with ponds should be using the pods to treat the water for mosquitoes.
City Manager Evans noted for Councilman Wolowicz that articles are routinely in the City’s Newsletter pertaining to vector control.
Mr. McTaggart stated that there is more information on the Internet at lawestvector.org.
Mayor pro tem Clark requested input on the status of Africanized bees in the community.
Mr. McTaggart stated that by the end of 2003, it was determined that 94 percent of the area in Los Angeles County had Africanized bees; that there are very few European bee colonies left in their natural state; and that everyone should consider every bee incursion onto their property as being Africanized bees.
City Manager Evans noted that the phone numbers for Vector control are routinely placed in the City’s Newsletters and that information is available on the City’s website, with a link to the Vector District website.
Mayor Gardiner announced that there were no winners for last month.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Mayor pro tem Clark requested that Agenda Item No. 15 (Ordinance No. 401, clarifying findings required for height variation and grading permit applications) be considered immediately following the approval of the Consent Calendar.
Councilman Long noted his objection to any consideration of this proposed ordinance at this time, preferring instead that it be removed from the Agenda altogether and considered at another date.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to remove Ordinance No. 401, clarifying findings required for height variation and grading permit applications. (This motion ultimately carried.)
Councilman Long stated that when Council last discussed this matter, it was on the Consent Calendar; that until reviewing his packet for this meeting, he was not aware that it was brought off the Consent Calendar; and expressed his belief that many other people were not aware of its move. He stated that if the Council was to substantially discuss this item, it should be publicly noticed so that the public can be prepared to provide input. He asked that when it is ultimately to come before the Council, that it be early in the agenda.
Mayor pro tem Clark requested input on how this matter was moved off the Consent Calendar.
City Manger Evans stated that normally, when an ordinance is introduced and received by unanimous vote, it is then placed on the Consent Calendar on the next Agenda for adoption; and that in this case, a week after the Council meeting, Planning Director Joel Rojas advised him that the Planning Commission heard the report on the Council action for this ordinance and that there was an interpretation question that the Planning Commission wanted to ask the City Council. He stated that the Planning Commission is questioning what happens if one has an existing home 18 feet high, then tears the ridgeline off the house and rebuilds it back up to 18 feet, how will the City address that. He noted his belief that a representative of the Planning Commission was to be present at the meeting and that the item would be removed from the Consent Calendar to address the question.
Councilman Stern stated that he would support the motion to pull this item completely from the agenda because of the need to address an issue that has yet to be considered; and noted that there is no report that addresses the Planning Commission’s question.
Councilman Wolowicz noted his desire to revisit this issue due to some questions and comments he still had; and stated that this issue needs full and complete discussion before finalization.
City Attorney Lynch stated that there was enough time to notice this matter for the next agenda; and explained that it would be necessary to also place the urgency ordinance on the agenda at the same time.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that he had been contacted by members of the public who were concerned that the action taken by the City Council was too hurried on such an important matter with respect to the City’s Development Code and view impairment as it applies to the Development Code. He explained for the public that the action needs a second reading for it to be final.
Councilman Long stated that he was urging the continuance of this matter because this was the first time he had heard that the Planning Commission needed clarification; and noted that if the Planning Commission has a question, it should raise the issue with City Council in a report; and that this report should be available to all concerned, including the public. He questioned why he did not get the same advanced notice that was given to some members of the public and other members of the Council with respect to removing this item from the Consent Calendar. Continuing, he stated that he was not pleased with the process by which the prior City Council handled this issue in July 2003 when he felt that the City Council did not wait for the Planning Commission report, even though the Planning Commission had specifically advised that the report was forthcoming; and that he sent an email to those members of the City Council addressing his concerns, which were included in the agenda packet.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that he would support bringing this issue back at another date if the community believed further public input was necessary.
There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
City Manager Evans advised that this matter would be continued to the April 6, 2004 City Council meeting.
Councilman Stern noted his preference to pull Agenda Item No. 7 (Policy on Disclosure of Personal Information for Elected and Appointed Officials) from the Consent Calendar.
Councilman Wolowicz requested that Agenda Item No. 9 (January 2004 Treasurer’s Report) be pulled from the Consent Calendar.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve the Agenda as amended. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Craig Mueller, Planning Commission Chairman, 3559 Seaglen Drive, stated that Ordinance No. 401 was a property rights issue, protecting the residents’ views; noted that he had not changed his position on supporting the 16-foot height limit when it came to view impact; and advised that there were some cases coming up for consideration and that it was unclear to the Planning Commission what to do when the view was below or above the 16-foot range of the ridgeline of the structure. He stated that the language in the Urgency Ordinance is unclear and hard to apply.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
Councilman Wolowicz noted the following events he attended:
Mayor pro tem Clark noted the following events he attended:
Councilman Stern noted the following events he attended:
Councilman Long noted the following events he attended:
Mayor Gardiner stated that there was very productive discussion at the Mayor’s Breakfast and that he believed this would be a useful activity every other month.
OLD BUSINESS/CITY MANAGER REPORTS:
City Manager Evans noted that on February 26th he attended the South Bay City Council of Governments 5th Annual General Assembly that was featured Partnerships, Building Better Communities; advised that RPV featured its partnership with the Land Conservancy and Open Space Acquisition, its partnership with other cities on regional law, its partnership with PV on the Net for the studio, as well as training young people on the use of computers, and noted that it featured the docents and the volunteer efforts in RPV.
He announced that Whale of a Day would take place at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center on Saturday, March 6, 2004, 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.; and that parking would be available at City Hall with shuttle buses to the site.
Miscellaneous Items for Action:
Continued Items for Action:
Representation on the West District Vector Control Board of Trustees. (106)
City Clerk Purcell advised that Mr. McTaggart’s present term ends July 2004.
Mayor Gardiner questioned whether the position should be advertised.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to continue this matter to April 6, 2004.
City Clerk Purcell noted that the Director of the District informed her that Mr. McTaggart’s term ends July 16th, 2004.
City Manager Evans noted that there appears to be some confusion on the issue of when Mr. McTaggart’s term expires and whether it can be extended; and stated that staff will bring back a more definitive report on April 6 regarding this matter.
Councilman Stern requested that the report include an answer as to whether Mr. McTaggart can serve at the meeting in July.
Councilman Long requested that the report include an answer as to whether Mr. McTaggart’s term would automatically be extended if no action is taken for 8 months.
Mayor pro tem Clark requested that the Director of the District provide in writing when he believes Mr. McTaggart’s term is up.
There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner moved to place this matter of appointment to the District on the April 6th agenda.
Continued Items Listed for Information Only:
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
City Clerk Purcell advised that she is recommending that the January 12, 2004, Minutes be removed from the Consent Calendar and returned with corrections at the next meeting.
Councilman Stern requested pulling Agenda Item No. 7, City Council Policy on Disclosure of Elected and Appointed Officials’ Personal Information, Including Disclosure on the City Website.
Councilman Wolowicz requested pulling Agenda Item No. 9, January 2004 Treasurer’s Report.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the Consent Calendar as amended.
Motion to waive full reading.
Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at the meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all Council Members after the reading of the title.
Minutes of January 12th, January 20th and February 17th Adjourned Regular Meeting. (301)
At the request of staff, the Minutes of January 12th were removed. Approved the remaining minutes as corrected.
Resol. No. 2004-14:Proposed Upgrade of Accounting Software. (602)
(1) Authorized Staff to upgrade the City’s accounting software from SunGard HTE CitySoft to SunGard HTE Financials; (2) ADOPTED RESOLUTION 2004-14, AMENDING RESOLUTION 2003-42, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FY 03-04, TO INCREASE BUDGETED APPROPRIATIONS IN THE EQUIPMENT REPLACEMENT FUND IN THE AMOUNT OF $80,000 FOR THE COST OF PERFORMING THE UPGRADE FROM SUNGARD HTE CITYSOFT TO SUNGARD HTE FINANCIALS; and, (3) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the proposed agreements between the City and SunGard HTE, Inc., for H.T.E., Inc., for the upgrade from SunGard H.T.E. CitySoft to SunGard H.T.E. Financials.
Ordinance No. 403: Ordinance for Claims and Taxes. (303 x 1501)
ADOPTED ORDINANCE NO. 403, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF TITLE 3 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE TO CLARIFY THE PROCEDURES RELATING TO THE SUBMISSION OF CLAIMS AND THE PAYMENT OF CERTAIN TAXES. (This ordinance was introduced on February 17th.)
Resol. No. 2004-15: Appeal of a Grading Permit and Site Plan Review. (1203 x 1801)
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2004-15, DENYING THE APPEAL THEREBY UPHOLDING THE PLANNING COMMISSION’S APPROVAL OF GRADING PERMIT AND SITE PLAN REVIEW (CASE NO. ZON2003-00039) TO ALLOW THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE AT 30637 CALLE DE SUENOS.
Resol. No. 2004-16: Lot Line Adjustment at 30678 Palos Verdes Drive East. (1203)
ADOPTED RESOL. NO. 2004-16, AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO COMPLETE A LOT LINE ADJUSTMENT BETWEEN THE PROPERTY OWNED BY JOHN AND MINNIE SMITH LOCATED AT 2809 SAN RAMON DRIVE AND THE CITY-OWNED PROPERTY LOCATED AT 30678 PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST.
Resol. No. 2004-17: Register of Demands.
ADOPTED RESOL. NO. 2004-17, 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 amended Consent Calendar carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
ABSTAIN: Mayor Gardiner (Grading Permit and Site Plan Review)
# # # # # #
Policy No. 38: Disclosure of Elected and Appointed Officials’ Personal Information. (306)
Adopted City Council Policy No. 38 (as amended) regarding the posting of City Council and appointed officials’ personal information.
Councilman Stern suggested breaking the three bullet points into four, breaking up Point No. 2, stating that it is not necessary to reveal private home addresses, but asked that each Councilmember be able to have a separate e-mail address for individuals that wish to contact selected members of the Council, not the Council joint e-mail address as a whole.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to adopt the revised draft of the Council Policy No. 38.
City Attorney Lynch noted for Mayor pro tem Clark that she does not see any issues of concern with regard to the amendments proposed by Councilman Stern.
There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
January 2004 Treasurer’s report. (602)
Councilman Wolowicz questioned where the City stands with regard to its budget in overall terms.
Director McLean explained that nothing has occurred since the mid-year report that leads him to believe that there is any change, any additional variances favorable or unfavorable that are material.
City Manager Evans noted that staff is preparing a better way to answer that question on a regular basis.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to receive and file the January 2004 Treasurer’s Report. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Ocean Trails - Conditional Use Permit No. 162, Revision "V." (1411)
Deputy Planning Director Pfost presented staff report and the recommendation to adopt the proposed Resolution approving Addendum No. 17 to Environmental Impact Report No. 36 for Revision "V"; and adopt the proposed Resolution approving Revision "V," an amendment to CUP NO. 162 for requested changes to Condition Q-2, and denying requested changes to CUP No. 162, Conditions S-2 and S-3 and the Grading Permit (Case No. ZON 2004-00078).
Mr. Pfost stated that Tract No. 50666 is not finaled; that the one-story lots within Tract 50667, which this amendment would apply to, are finaled; and that staff believed the Trump organization would request to reconfigure Tract No. 50666.
Mayor pro tem Clark questioned if there are other units where the City had approved mechanical devices to move water from the garage instead of gravity flow.
Mr. Pfost stated that yes, the City had approved similar uses for sump pumps; and advised that there is a down-sloping property on the coastal bluff where the City approved the installation of a sump pump that pumps the water back up the slope. He stated that the City typically approved sump pumps in cases where the topography is going down slope, where there is no way to provide any type of gravity flow back to the street.
In those cases where the City has permitted it as part of the approval of the development of the home, Mayor pro tem Clark questioned if the City had requested a release of liability for the City.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated that no, the City had not requested a release of liability.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned if the applicant had stated what the square footage would be for Tract No. 50667; and he questioned if the basements would be at the same level as the driveways and below street level.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated that the applicant had submitted applications for the first 5 homes, Lots 1-5, but that no other plans have been submitted for the remaining lots. He stated that the basements are below the driveways, at a lower level than the driveways in all cases, except for Lot No. 2, where they are proposing to do the subterranean garage where the driveway goes down; and he stated that the basements would be below street level.
Councilman Stern highlighted the email from Planning Commissioner Jim Knight, questioning when a basement becomes a split-level structure; and he questioned the possibility of breaking through the slope in the future.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated that Lot Nos. 1 through 5 are all flat; that there is no possibility of breaking out unless they have subterranean garages; advised that if one wanted to break out, it would create a two-story façade; and explained that because of the building height restriction, one would have to apply for a conditional use permit to break out.
Mayor Gardiner questioned if there is anything in the City’s codes that prohibit the use of sump pumps.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated that the City is not opposed to the use of sump pumps.
Councilman Long expressed his understanding that the City is immune from liability in permitting sump pumps.
City Attorney Lynch stated that the City does have immunity from liability for discretionary decisions for these types of applications.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost noted for Councilman Wolowicz that the total habitable space for the 75 lots is less than what was approved in 1992 with the 83 lots.
Councilman Stern questioned why the City Council is being asked to address Tract No. 50666 at this time; and noted his concern with the conflicting figures in the table.
Mayor Gardiner opened the public hearing.
Vinnie Stellio, Executive Vice-President of Development for the Trump organization, with the aid of the power point presentation, provided an overview of the minor adjustments being requested for the first 5 homes; and explained that they are not proposing to increase the footprint on the basement levels, but that they are attempting to increase the square footage on the homes. Because they are desirous of installing a driving range on the property, Mr. Stellio explained that this would eliminate a number of homes. He concurred that the table is a little confusing. He expressed his belief that in 1992, when this condition was adopted, the applicant had not anticipated any subterranean living spaces; and advised that the basements would include theatre rooms, wine cellars, possibly billiard areas or gyms – pointing out that secondary living spaces are becoming very popular.
Mr. Stellio stated that on Lot No. 2, they are requesting to put the subterranean garage in; noted that the garage had a minimal opening of 14 feet; advised that the remaining percentage of the lot is at grade and does fall into the 16-foot ridge elevation; and mentioned that because this home is very visible when coming down the road, he believed it would look nicer to have the cars out of view. Mr. Stellio advised that they are proposing to use a double sump pump system in the homes, with an interior sump pump and an exterior sump pump in the garage, powered by electrical and backup generator; and stated that if both the mechanical devices were to fail, the only impacted area would be the garage area, and none of the other living spaces. He stated that they are requesting the sump pumps for this lot only. Mr. Stellio advised that at this point, they only have envisioned the 5 proposed style homes for the project.
Councilman Stern questioned why the applicant believed there is no potential for flooding other than in the garage area.
Mr. Stellio explained that the garage would be stepped down by two steps, giving an additional 2 feet in concrete area; highlighted the double sump system and the generator backup system; and expressed the applicant’s belief and confidence that this will be adequate. He noted that the use of this system would be disclosed to the buyers. Mr. Stellio explained that the sump pumps are designed to pump 65 gallons per minute, stating that this is adequate for a large/major rain event; advised that if the first system outside were to fail, the water would back up into the garage, wherein the secondary pump would pick it up and pump it out; and that if there were a loss of power, the generator would power the exterior pump and uniformly pump the water out.
Mr. Stellio stated that a lot of time and effort was spent selecting these 5 home styles for this tract; noted that he would agree to a condition wherein the applicant would not be permitted to exceed the proposed footprint for other tracts; and stated that he would be willing to draft a new table – pointing out that the applicant is not challenging the figures in the table.
Jeffrey Sax, resident on Admiral Drive, stated that from his home, he overlooks Tract 50666; addressed his concern that what happens with Tract 50667 not become a precedent for what happens with Tract 50666; stated that the lots are different and that everything has the potential to affect views; and he urged the City Council to keep its decisions narrow in scope and to make sure there are independent studies and view impact studies conducted. He questioned whether a view impact study has been done for this project, questioned how the lot sizes are calculated, questioned what happens to the dirt that gets misplaced, and questioned if the pad heights are going to increase or decrease.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated that the pad heights had not changed and that the applicant would have to come back to ask for any changes.
Kay Bara, 1 Peppertree Drive, representing Coastal Conservation Coalition, presented a letter on behalf of Jess Morton which stated his concern about a flaw in Tract 50667 because a non-golf setback open space had not been recorded as deeded to the City. (Mr. Morton’s letter is on file with the City Clerk’s Office.)
In response to Mr. Morton’s letter, City Attorney Lynch advised that staff was very close to coming to resolution on those issues when the property changed hands and an effort made to clean it up with Tract Nos. 50666 and 50667. She noted staff’s discomfort with trying to address this with respect to Tract No. 50666 because the open space areas that would be dedicated to the City involved the landslide; and she stated that there is nothing at this time that prevents staff from finalizing the issue as to Tract No. 50667. She noted that staff would follow up on the issues concerning the driving range.
Diane Weinberger, 4206 Exultant Drive, stated that the originally proposed project had been causing view concerns; advised that Revision V changes for the first phase of the plans could restore and protect sweeping ocean views and corridors; and urged the City Council to move this project forward with these revisions. Ms. Weinberger stated that she is confident with Mr. Stellio’s follow-up to his promises.
Tom Redfield, 31273 Ganado Drive, expressed his support for staff recommendation; and stated that he is impressed with the steps the Trump organization has taken with their work to move this project forward.
Jabe Kahnke, 4003, Palos Verdes Drive South, stated that he lives across Tract No. 50666; noted that he has been involved with the plans for this project since 1996; and expressed his appreciation for the time and effort of all involved in getting this project moved forward. He urged the City to be vigilant in verifying all information. He commented on the number of changes that have occurred over the years and the accommodations made for the developer; and asked that future phases take into serious consideration view impacts.
Uday Patil, 4011 Palos Verdes Drive South, noted that he lives across the street from the Ocean Trails project; stated that he felt optimistic with the progression of this project; and urged the City to make sure that all studies have been adequately conducted, addressing landslides, view impacts, and hill stability.
Mr. Stellio noted his appreciation of staff’s guidance since the inception of this project; and advised that they are still working on the second tract to fit in a driving range with new concepts. Mr. Stellio provided a status report on the current activities, estimating that the golf course grass will be installed in March; and advised that he is waiting for staff to finish their review of the structural engineering so that he can commence with the water features – noting that the water features should be completed by June. Mr. Stellio stated that he would not be opposed to the City Council conditioning approval of the modifications he was now seeking on the satisfactory conclusion of the issue related to the non-golf setback.
In response to Councilman Stern’s inquiry regarding the potential for water damage to the structure, Mr. Stellio explained that his organization has a lot of experience with constructing basements; advised that basement walls are typically water-proofed on the exterior; and noted that it would take years to cause any damage to the rebar in the walls if water were to penetrate the cement.
There being no further public input, Chairman Gardiner closed the public hearing.
Mayor pro tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to adopt Alternative No. 2, Page 15; that Council approve the change to Conditional Use Permit No. 162, Condition Q.2 pertaining to "Maximum Habitable Space"; to approve the request for the change to Conditional Use Permit No. 162 for Conditions S-2 and S-3, along with the Grading Permit; to make these approvals contingent upon the resolution and recording of the non-golf setback open space; and to request that staff bring a resolution of approval to the next meeting for Council consideration and adoption.
Councilman Stern offered an amendment that the motion be limited to Tract No. 50667; and that the motion include that no basement may be outside the original footprint of the first floor.
Mayor pro tem Clark accepted the amendment and there was no objection,
Councilman Long stated that he would support the motion solely because he is convinced the change to the square footage is not going to affect view issues, mass or anything else; explained that his support should not be understood as creating any type of precedent for the other tracts; stated that he does not accept the interpretation that the developer offered on the table with some of the columns; and that it is his understanding the developer has proposed no increase in any of the outward features of the structure that will in any way change the footprint, the ridgeline, the pad levels or heights.
Councilman Wolowicz requested that the chart be redefined.
City Attorney Lynch advised that staff is amending the table and clarified it as part of the motion; stated that staff has already attempted to do that on Page Nos. 35 and 44; and that staff will make further changes for this tract based upon Council’s comments.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated for Councilman Wolowicz that there were no changes being proposed on any of the pad elevations or ridgelines.
Chairman Gardiner re-opened the public hearing.
Mr. Stellio questioned that if the Trump organization did not deviate from these 5 style homes, could they continue to utilize these same amendments as being drafted on other lots in this tract.
Councilman Stern stated that the motion applies to all lots in Tract No. 50667, with Lot 2 being the only one that can have a garage underground.
Councilman Long stated that if the applicant goes outside these 5 floor plans, then the applicant would have to come before the City Council with the request.
There being no further public input, Mayor Gardiner closed the public hearing.
City Attorney Lynch noted that the conveyance issue only addresses Tract No. 50667.
There being no objection to the amended motion, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Recess And Reconvene: Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 9:48 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 9:58 P.M.
Appeal of View Restoration Permit No. 138 [Appellant: Rancho Palos Verdes Estates Homeowners Association (HOA)]. (1806)
The staff report of March 2, 2004 recommended continuation of the public hearing to the May 14, 2004, City Council meeting.
Mayor Gardiner opened the public hearing.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to continue this matter to the May 14, 2004 City Council meeting. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Appeal of View Restoration Permit No. 157 [Appellant: Mr. Yoshiya Watanabe, 15 Amber Sky Drive]. (1806)
The staff report of March 2, 2004 recommended the following: adoption of the proposed resolution Denying The Appeal, Thereby Affirming The Decision Of The Planning Commission And Approving View Restoration Permit No. 157 Upon Finding That All Applicable Findings Have Been Correctly Made And All Provisions Of Section 17.02.040 Have Been Complied With.
City Clerk Purcell advised that the applicant, Mr. Watanabe, has requested a continuance of this matter to April 6, 2004.
Mayor Gardiner opened the public hearing.
Councilman Stern highlighted the two reasons for Mr. Watanabe’s request for a continuance of this matter, as reflected in his March 1st letter; and questioned if staff ordinarily considered new information at this point in the procedure – noting his concern that new information was being brought forth during this stage of the procedure.
City Attorney Lynch noted that new information had been considered in the past with various cases, but stated that the Council is not required to consider the new information.
Councilman Stern stated that the City should have in place a firm procedural rule that mandates that individuals need to make their entire case before the body that has been set up to hear that particular matter; and expressed his belief that the City Council should not ordinarily be considering new information.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted that in his experience, there have been times when information of a new nature becomes available or comes to light after consideration by a Commission; and he asked that this City not limit the reporting of new information that becomes available after the fact.
Bruce Bailey, 201 South Lake Avenue, Pasadena, the appellant’s attorney, stated that he is in favor of the continuance because his client was not able to attend the Planning Commission hearing – pointing out that the meeting date had been changed three times; and advised that he would like to see this information be presented to the Planning Commission. He stated that because he had received the 89-page report from staff just this past Friday, he would need more time to review and respond to that document.
Yoshiya Watanabe, 15 Amber Sky Drive, RPV, applicant, urged a continuance of this matter.
Naveen Reddy, 14 Amber Sky Drive, RPV, expressed his belief that Mr. Watanabe is unwilling to compromise; and he noted his opposition to continuing this matter. He stated that all people involved were given adequate notice; that most parties compromised on this issue; and stated that Mr. Watanabe was the only party who did not attend the Planning Commission meeting.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to continue this matter to April 6, 2004.
Councilman Long stated that many items have already been addressed by citing controlling case authority; and urged the applicant to keep his appeal focused on issues that have not already been disposed of and to not make statements that are incompatible with the SLAPP statute.
Councilman Stern urged the applicant to clearly and comprehensively identify his opposition.
There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered the continuance.
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
Appointment of Equestrian Committee Members. (106 x 1808)
The staff report of March 2, 2004 recommended the following: 1) Appoint members to the Equestrian Committee; and, (2) Make said appointments for the period of one year to March 2005.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, that the Equestrian Committee be comprised of 9 members who are appointed for one year.
Mayor Gardiner explained that the 9-member body is necessary because there are times when a member or members have to recuse themselves from consideration.
Sherree Greenwood, 2543 Sunnyside Ridge Road, volunteer in the equestrian community, noted her support for a 9-member Equestrian Committee; commented on the plans for the equestrian community to participate in the City’s Emergency Response program; suggested that a member from the Equestrian Committee participate on the Emergency Response Team; and asked that the Equestrian Committee members be appointed for a 2-year stint so that the Emergency Preparedness plan can be completed with their aid.
There being no objection on the motion, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
City Attorney Lynch noted for Councilman Wolowicz that there is no problem with relatives serving on the same committee.
City Clerk Purcell stated that there are already two members on this Committee.
Voting for the candidates was as follows:
Councilman Wolowicz: Richard Bara, Joan Kelly, Charlene O’Neil, Madeline Ryan, William Simpson, Ray Van Dinther, Jan Winter.
Councilman Stern: Kay Bara, Richard Bara, Joan Kelly, Charlene O’Neil, Madeline Ryan, William Simpson, Ray Van Dinther.
Councilman Long: Kay Bara, Richard Bara, Joan Kelly, William Millico, Charlene O’Neil, Madeline Ryan, William Simpson.
Mayor Pro Tem Clark: Kay Bara, Richard Bara, Joan Kelly, Charlene O’Neil, Madeline Ryan, William Simpson, Ray Van Dinther.
Mayor Gardiner: Kay Bara, Richard Bara, Joan Kelly, Charlene O’Neil, Madeline Ryan, William Simpson, Ray Van Dinther.
The following individuals were appointed to the Equestrian Committee: Richard Bara, Kay Bara, Joan Kelly, William Simpson, Ray Van Dinther, Charlene O’Neil and Madeline Ryan.
South Coast County Golf Course at the Former Palos Verdes Landfill. (310)
The staff report of March 2, 2004 recommended the following: that Council review staff’s supplemental draft comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed South Coast County Golf Course and provide feedback to staff to finalize these comments prior to their submittal to the County.
City Clerk Purcell noted that late correspondence had been provided to the City Council in regard to this matter.
Mayor Gardiner expressed his belief that it was important that the cover letter be no longer than one page.
Mayor pro tem Clark expressed his belief that the questions are comprehensive, well articulated, and represent the interests of this community; and that he is satisfied with forwarding this document.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that he did not have an opportunity to read the entire document; noted his discomfort in signing the document before he had a chance to completely read it; and stated that he did not want to send the message that he is either for or against this project. He stated that in principle, he would support the idea of listing the questions, but noted that he is not comfortable at this time with all the other items that are appended.
Responding to Councilman Wolowicz’ comments, Mayor Gardiner explained that the questions evolved from the attachments; that the attachments are included for backup; stated that the Council is not taking a position on the golf course itself with this letter; but that this letter is indicating that the City believes there are some deficiencies that need to be adequately addressed.
Councilman Long stated that he does not construe the letter as indicating a position, but that the letter is highlighting a list of questions that need to be addressed and adequately clarified.
Councilman Wolowicz noted his discomfort the entire City Council signing the letter – expressing his belief that the entire body signing the letter would add additional emphasis and create an inference that the City has made a decision.
Councilman Stern stated that at this time, he did not see a benefit to everyone signing this letter and that it would be appropriate for the Mayor to sign; and reiterated his desire to make sure things are carefully analyzed and that adequate feedback is given/obtained.
Mayor pro tem Clark suggested that additional language be added so that the letter is explicit that Council has not yet taken a final position.
With respect to the subject line on the cover letter, Councilman Long suggested adding "…comments and questions on the Draft EIR"; to delete the third line of the subject; with respect to the second paragraph, second line, that the word "unacceptable" be deleted and replaced with "incompletely evaluated"; and to delete the last sentence of the second paragraph.
Mayor Gardiner expressed his belief that the third line in the subject was necessary for those people who typically won’t read past the subject line.
Various suggestions were given for amending the cover letter.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that the letter should explicitly indicate that the City Council had not individually or collectively come to a position or decision on this proposed project; and suggested that the letter be signed by the Mayor and Mayor pro tem.
Mayor pro tem Clark moved that the subject line be amended as follows: comments and questions regarding 84 serious deficiencies identified in the DEIR; to remove from the subject line "that are putting our children and residents at risk"; to replace the word "unacceptable" with "incompletely evaluated and addressed"; and to add the following at the beginning of the last sentence, "While City Council has not individually or collectively taken a position or made a decision on this proposed project, we are not..."
Councilman Stern offered an amendment to the motion that the Mayor and Mayor pro tem sign the letter.
Mayor pro tem Clark accepted the amendment.
Councilman Long seconded the motion.
There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Border Issues Status Report. (310)
Councilman Stern asked that the City’s website on the agenda item staff report make reference to the location of the entire Border Issues Status Report.
Mayor pro tem Clark questioned if there was any new information available on the former Navy housing property.
Senior Planner Fox indicated that there was nothing new to report, but noted that staff is periodically checking for updates.
Senior Planner Fox highlighted the late correspondence regarding the notice of decision for the Garden Village Shopping Center and stated that the appeal period for the project will end on March 11, 2004. He advised that the Rolling Hills Estates City Council and Planning Commission conducted a joint workshop to discuss the Rolling Hills Estates Downtown Master Plan – highlighting some concern for RPV residents that some of the commercial development along "Little" Silver Spur Road would potentially be converted to a more intensive mixed-use type of development than what currently exists. He stated that this matter would be placed on the Border Issues Status Report.
Councilman Wolowicz asked staff to contact the congressional offices of Dana Rohrabacher and Jane Harman to determine if any further action has been taken on the Navy housing issue.
Coyote Population. (104)
The March 2, 2004 staff report recommended that Council direct staff to implement a program of public awareness and coyote monitoring.
Questioning whether any human beings on the Peninsula have been threatened by the coyotes, Assistant to the City Manager Park noted for Councilman Stern that staff is not aware of any case where contact has been made upon an individual on the Peninsula, but she noted that family pets have been attacked and killed.
Mayor Gardiner questioned the balance of predator and prey on the Peninsula.
Ms. Park stated that the Department of Fish and Game advised that many of the problems are manmade, with residents leaving small pets and their pet food outside all night; stated that no predator/prey count is available; and noted that the County Department of Agriculture estimated the coyote population on the Peninsula at a dozen.
Councilman Wolowicz expressed his belief that there are ways of estimating how many coyotes are on the Peninsula; stated that the City needs to take a more proactive stance other than telling its residents not to place pet food or small pets outside in the evenings; and stated that the City should make the effort to obtain a count of the coyote population on the peninsula.
Lois Karp, 31115 Ganado Drive, stated that she has lived in this neighborhood for 30 years and that the coyote sightings are increasing; and advised that L.A. County is inundated with a growing coyote population because of a change in trapping laws in the past four years. She stated that at the request of the City, the Department of Agriculture will come in to trap the coyotes; and noted that these trapping activities are currently taking place in Rolling Hills. She expressed her belief that more needs to be done than just taking small pets and their food indoors.
Al Sattler, Rancho Palos Verdes resident, expressed his support of staff recommendation; and stated that the best way to manage wild animals is for residents to act responsibly by keeping pet food and small pets indoors. He commented on successful educational programs and stated that a lot of helpful material is available on this subject. He addressed the significance of having some coyotes on the Peninsula in order to keep the pesky critter populations down, such as skunks, opossums, raccoons, imported red fox and feral cats.
Tom Redfield, 31273 Ganado Drive, stated that the coyote population is out of control on the Peninsula; noted his support for a sensible approach to educating the residents on improving the safety of their pets; and stated that he disagrees with the idea of spending a lot of effort on counting the coyote population. He noted his support for decreasing the population – pointing out that he is not asking for extermination of the coyotes.
Brighid Desmond, 1731 West 251st Street, Lomita, requested that the City consider having the Fish and Wildlife Department provide a presentation to the community on the larger picture of the benefits of having a coyote population, a presentation by those who do this for a living and know much more about controlling various animal populations.
Recess And Reconvene: Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 11:24 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 11:25 P.M.
Councilman Long advised that his neighbor reported observing four coyotes in the their neighborhood, two of the coyotes being comfortable enough around humans to sit on the deck and watch the children inside the house.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to start with a public awareness and monitoring program as a first measured step in this endeavor.
Councilman Stern highlighted the need for a balance of wildlife on the Peninsula.
Because Rolling Hills had been dealing with this issue for some time, Mayor pro tem Clark suggested that staff contact that city to obtain information on what steps they have taken.
Councilman Long offered an amendment that staff be instructed to look at similar cities, such as Rolling Hills, that have trapping programs, to get an assessment of whether those trapping programs have achieved anything and what the different options of the trapping programs are and to provide that information to Council.
Councilman Stern accepted the amendment.
Councilman Wolowicz noted his understanding that the coyotes are trapped and destroyed; and suggested that staff contact other organizations that have wrestled with this issue.
It was the consensus of the Council that the safety of the residents is of utmost importance.
Mayor Gardiner noted the need for the City to have the ability to take action when necessary.
There being no objection to the amended motion, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Retention of Public Information Campaign Consultant. (602)
The March 2, 2004 staff report recommended the following: (1) Approve the selection of Moore Iacofano Goltsman, Inc., as the City’s Public Information Consultant for the Infrastructure Renewal and Maintenance Project; and (2) Approve the proposed professional services agreement with Moore Iacofano Goltsman, Inc., for public information consulting services.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve staff recommendation. The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
Closed Session Report:
City Attorney Lynch stated that Councilman Long recused himself and was not present for the negotiations with Cox; and that direction was given to the City negotiators on a 3-1-1 vote (Gardiner voting no, Long having recused himself). She stated that the City Manager’s performance evaluation issue was continued; and that a brief update was given on the Abrams matter and that no action was taken.
Council Discussion Of Future Agenda Items & Suggestion Of Future Agenda Items:
Mayor pro tem Clark requested a workshop on the Marymount College proposal.
City Clerk Purcell advised that Mel Hughes has requested that the City Council continue the interview process for the Emergency Preparedness Committee to a time when he is back in the country, which is expected to be March 22, 2004.
Mayor pro tem Clark supported the request. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner approved Mr. Hughes’ request.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:40 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. on Tuesday, March 16th to interview the applicants for chair of the Equestrian Committee.
/s/ Peter C. Gardiner
/s/ Jo Purcell