RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
ADJOURNED REGULAR MEETING
APRIL 6, 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 a Closed Session. At 7:05 P.M., the meeting was reconvened.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Gardiner
ABSENT:NoneP ALIGN="JUSTIFY">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 Pfost; Senior Planner Ara Mihranian; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and Recording Secretary Denise Bothe.
The flag salute was led by Councilman Wolowicz.
Mayor Gardiner advised that a free composting workshop would take place in the Hesse Park’s Activity Room on Saturday, April 17, 2004, from 9:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M.; and stated that residents may purchase discounted composting and worm bins at the workshop.
Mayor Gardiner announced that anyone wishing to dispose of household hazardous waste and e-waste may do so on Saturday, April 17, 2004, from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. at the Compton Airport, 901 West Alondra Boulevard.
Mayor Gardiner announced the recycle winner for the month of February was Mrs. June Sharp who will receive a check for $250, which represents a year of free refuse service. He encouraged everyone to recycle.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Councilman Stern moved to approve the Agenda as submitted.
Mayor pro tem Clark suggested that Agenda Item No. 18, Appointment of Chair to the Emergency Preparedness, be taken up after Public Comments.
There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered the approval of the Agenda as amended.
Jack Downhill, 20 Vanderlip, commented on the many varieties of native plants on the peninsula which have not been considered in the NCCP; and expressed his belief that there are a lot of other flora that deserves attention or protection, such as the lemonade berry, California lilac, California holly, acacia -- pointing out that some acacia is too prolific and grows too rapidly.
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, expressed her belief that the Public Comments item should be located elsewhere on the agenda; stated that the meeting was supposed to start at 6:45 P.M.; happily announced that she celebrated her 82nd birthday yesterday; and noted her delight in being the mother of Mr. Dave Larue, the geologist who discovered the Abalone Cove Landslide. She stated that Mr. Dave Larue had written a letter to the Council.
Mayor Gardiner confirmed that the Council was in possession of the letter written by Mr. Larue.
The City Council wished Lois Larue a happy birthday.
Mayor Gardiner, in response to Ms. Larue’s comment regarding the start of the meeting, noted that the City Council did meet at 6:45 P.M. and that the regular session started slightly after 7:00 P.M.
Appointment of Chair to the Emergency Preparedness Committee. (106)
City Clerk Purcell advised that with the completion of the interview of candidates Mel Hughes and Richard Smith for chair of the Emergency Preparedness Committee, the Council should now make an appointment to that position. She distributed ballots to the Council members.
Voting was as follows:
Mayor Gardiner – Mel Hughes
Mayor Pro Tem Clark – Mel Hughes
Councilman Long – Mel Hughes
Councilman Stern – Mel Hughes
Councilman Wolowicz – Mel Hughes.
On behalf of the City Council, Mayor Gardiner noted his admiration for both Mel Hughes and Richard Smith; and he congratulated Mr. Hughes on his appointment as chair of the committee.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
Mayor pro tem Clark commented on the successful City Council Community Leadership Breakfast on Saturday; and he highlighted the fact that there were a good number of community leaders and elected officials from the entire peninsula present at this event. He thanked and complimented School Board President Barbara Lucky, along with Board Member Dave Tomlin, and, in particular, Rolling Hills Estates Mayor Judy Mitchell, Mayor pro tem John Addleman, Councilwoman Susie Seamans, Councilman Steve Zukerman -- highlighting his desire to see an established peninsula wide leadership breakfast event one day. He advised that Chris McKenzie, Executive Director of the League of California Cities, spoke about the League’s sponsored ballot initiative for November, which is the Local Taxpayers and Public Safety Protection Act -- an initiative that is fundamentally structured to preserve in the future local revenues staying local at the county and city levels. He stated that the ballot initiative is in the process of attempting to qualify for the November ballot; and that by April 15th, it will be known whether enough signatures have been gathered for support of this measure. He advised that Sheriff Lee Baca also addressed those attending the Community Leaders Breakfast meeting about his County ballot initiative for November, which is to increase the county sales tax by one-half percent; and advised that these funds would be dedicated to local safety protection, both County, City of Los Angeles, and surroundings cities.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that on Thursday, March 18th, he attended the L.A. Division’s League of California Cities dinner meeting in Lakewood, commemorating this month the 50th anniversary of Lakewood’s incorporation; advised that City Attorney John Todd gave a touching tribute and historic presentation – pointing out that Mr. Todd has been and currently is the only City Attorney Lakewood has had, starting his service to Lakewood in 1954. He noted that Mr. Todd is considered the father of the Lakewood Plan that developed into Contract Cities. He mentioned that he obtained a disc reflecting the actual City Council meeting in 1954 where the City Council, City Manager, and City Attorney were discussing the incorporation of that city; and he congratulated the City of Lakewood on this anniversary and thanked Lakewood for pioneering the way for cities such as Rancho Palos Verdes to venture into contract service.
Councilman Stern stated that on Friday, March 19th, Mayor pro tem Clark, himself, and City Manager Evans met with Robert Lowe, Sr., and Robert Lowe, Jr., to obtain an update on the progress of the Long Point Hotel project; and advised that there is not a lot that has changed on the project; advised that the Lowes are currently seeking funding for the project; and mentioned that the Lowes were encouraged to provide a more detailed report to the City Council within the next couple months.
Councilman Stern advised that every Thursday, the Open Space Acquisition group conducts a telephonic meeting to make sure things are adequately moving forward; advised that Mayor pro tem Clark, along with staff representatives, and himself all participate in these telephonic discussions along with the Land Conservancy; and noted that there was nothing new to report at this time.
Councilman Wolowicz highlighted the following events/meetings he attended:
Councilman Long highlighted the following events/meetings he attended:
Having recently been out of the country, Mayor Gardiner noted that Prague is a lovely city.
OLD BUSINESS/CITY MANAGER REPORTS:
City Council agenda format and procedures. (307)
Barbara Sattler, RPV resident, stated that she read Councilman Stern’s memorandum regarding the proposed changes in the procedure; and noted that she agrees with all the points that Councilman Stern addressed in his memo. She stated that it was of particular importance and value to her for the Council to continue the procedure wherein the Council raises issues and asks questions before the public hearing is opened for public comment -- expressing her belief that this enables the public to prepare themselves to speak on various matters and that in some cases, it allows the public to decide if they want to address the Council at all. Ms. Sattler stated that she is not supportive of requiring a second on a motion before discussion; noted her belief that it tends to prematurely focus the discussion; that it loses very important aspects of an item up for discussion by focusing it on a motion that is very tightly defined. She noted her preference that Council members flush out the full range of an issue prior to putting forth a motion.
City Clerk Purcell advised that Council members were provided late correspondence from Councilman Wolowicz and Councilman Long on this matter.
City Manager Evans stated that on December 16, 2003, the City Council had adopted the new agenda format and a new way to conduct its meetings; and that the Council had agreed to revisit this issue for the purposes of addressing its effectiveness down the road and to decide whether or not to maintain the changed format.
Mayor Gardiner advised that Councilman Stern prepared a 16-page memorandum on this matter, a memo which suggests a number of changes; and stated that the Council would deliberate on which of the changes Council wanted and how to proceed. He pointed out that reasonable people can differ on this topic; and noted the importance in finding the best way to get the Council’s work done without running the risk of doing things too business like, too quickly, or conducting a seminar versus a meeting.
Councilman Stern noted his support for having Public Comments more towards the beginning of the meeting.
There was unanimous agreement to keeping the Public Comments at the beginning part of the agenda.
Councilman Stern noted his support for placing City Council Oral Reports after the first break, believing that this would launch this body a little faster into the business at hand. He noted his concern that the current agenda is front-loaded with comments and reports and that Council doesn’t seem to get into business very quickly.
Hearing no objection, Mayor Gardiner ordered the City Council Oral Reports to be placed after the first break, which is typically around 8:30 P.M.
Councilman Stern noted his support for a City Manager’s Report item, but expressed his belief that the Old Business category serves no purpose; and stated that it should be deleted.
Councilman Long noted his concurrence with Councilman Stern’s comment concerning the Old Business category, believing that it can lead to some confusion and impression that Council will substantively address a particular item on the list of Old Business at that meeting. He stated that the genesis of this topic was to put in place a mechanism for keeping track of things as they were progressing through.
Councilman Wolowicz noted his support for finding a mechanism to track items for old business, but suggested that the item be renamed "Topics Previously Discussed and Continued or Tabled to a Date Certain."
Councilman Stern questioned the need for such an item, including the subcategories Miscellaneous Items for Action and Continued Items for Action, and stated that these are things Council will not be acting on at that particular meeting and that it should not be on the agenda.
Mayor Gardiner noted his support for Councilman Wolowicz’ suggested language; stated that it was his intent to keep before the Council and public business that has not yet been finished but is intended to be finished; explained that after 2.5 years on the Council, he is not sure what items were supposed to come back to Council for reconsideration; and stated that there is a need for a mechanism to keep track of these items. He reiterated that Council and the public should be able to view a list which reflects what items have yet to receive closure.
Councilman Long stated that he shares Mayor Gardiner’s concern for keeping track of unfinished items; noted his concern with including items on an agenda where there is no intention to discuss that item; and suggested that this category be removed from the Agenda, but that it be placed on the Council’s website for unfinished agenda items, a location next to Council’s goals.
Councilman Wolowicz suggested that if not on the agenda, that these items then be an attachment for Council.
Noting his concurrence with the need for tracking, Mayor pro tem Clark stated that he would be amenable to placing this list on the Council’s website; but suggested that language could be added to the agenda that makes it clear that these are items that will not be dealt with at that particular meeting; that they are used as a tracking list for future items that will be considered at a different meeting and then to follow with the list, thereby leaving it on the agenda.
Councilman Stern noted the value in keeping track of these items, but reiterated his opposition to including them on the agenda. He pointed out that the agenda is a legal document that defines what can be addressed at that meeting -- noting that a resident may address any agenda item. He noted his support for placing this information on the Council’s website, believing that it will improve the clarity of agenda items to discuss.
City Attorney Lynch confirmed for Councilman Stern that even if listed under this category, a public speaker may address the item.
City Manager Evans suggested that it be included under the Consent Calendar.
Councilman Long noted his support for taking it off the agenda; and that the agenda include the following language: "For City Council goals and future agenda items or tracking items, visit the Council’s website at…"
There was concurrence to maintain a City Manager’s Report category.
Councilman Wolowicz noted his preference that the agenda reference the location of future agenda items on the Council’s website and that it also be included somewhere in the Council’s packet. He noted his support for City Manager Evan’s suggestion to place it under Consent Calendar.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to exclude the Old Business item from the Agendas; to leave City Manager’s Report on the agenda; to place the Old Business item on the City Council website and to list on the agendas an indication that the City Council goals and Old Business items are available on the Council’s website, indicating the links; and to adopt the new wording "Topics Previously Discussed and Continued or Tabled to a Date Uncertain." Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Councilman Stern stated that he supports the agenda item "Council Discussion of Future Agenda Items & Suggestion of Future Agenda Items."
Mayor Gardiner explained that this category allowed the Council to discuss something that one would like to see on the agenda.
There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered the title "Council Discussion of Future Agenda Items & Suggestion of Future Agenda Items" to remain on the agenda.
Councilman Stern stated that he does not see a value in listing the approximate times next to each agenda item.
Mayor Gardiner expressed his belief that the estimated times are a handy way for the Council to pace itself; noted that he started this procedure with having himself and Mayor pro tem Clark work with City Manager Evans to prepare an agenda item for its estimated discussion time; and stated that if they have estimated approximately correct in the aggregate, the meetings should run around 3 hours – pointing out that so far, this body is not doing very well at keeping the meetings around that estimated time. He reiterated that the intent is to provide some guidance for the length of Council discussion; that if the Council spends twice as long on one topic, this body needs to either spend half as long on another topic or the meeting will go much longer than is reasonable; and he stated that it is sensible to pace the discussion of this body.
Councilman Wolowicz noted the importance of giving everyone an opportunity to speak; stated that there is a necessary and practical requirement that is incumbent upon the management in its leadership role; and expressed his belief that it becomes insensitive to the public not to have some expectation as to when an item is going to be discussed and that this body should attempt to stay on track. He suggested inserting on the agenda, "The times presented are only for purposes of estimate in order to aid in the monitoring of the process of the respective meeting." He noted that there may be times where the meetings will be shorter and longer than expected; and reiterated that in his leadership role, Mayor Gardiner is charged with keeping this body on track; and he commended Mayor Gardiner in this effort.
Councilman Long stated that it is a noble quest to keep the meetings from going into the morning hours – noting that it is certainly something worth pursuing; that on the flip side, no matter how many times Council tells the public that the times placed next to a particular agenda item do not mean that Council will not take any more testimony after the allotted time, the public will still get that impression. He suggested that it would be nice if the City Council could view an agenda that has the times on it and that the agenda the public views be void of these estimated times – noting his preference that the public be free to spend the Council’s time, but he thought that such an approach might not be permitted by law. He stated that he would like to know what the estimates are; and that despite this noble goal, it is his belief that no matter how many disclaimers there are on the agenda, he believes it will create a problem for the public.
Responding to Councilman Long’s suggestion on an agenda void of the estimated times that the public will view and an agenda that will include the estimated times that the Council will view, City Attorney Lynch confirmed that the agenda would have to be the same for the public and the City Council.
Mayor Gardiner pointed out that of all the things said about this City Council, he is not aware of anyone stating that this body works too quickly.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that he can see the merits for both sides of this issue; suggested that for the time being, the agendas continue to indicate the estimated times, but to put in a statement to explain for the public that the times are estimates; and that if it is determined down the road that this is truly confusing to the public in terms of the intent, that this issue be readdressed.
Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered the estimated times to continue to be reflected on the agenda with an annotation on the agenda that the times are estimates posted only for the intent to aid in monitoring the progress of the meeting and that this item be reconsidered if some confusion should arise in the future.
With regard to the intent to complete the City Council meetings around 10:00 P.M., Mayor Gardiner pointed out that the intent is to keep the meetings from going into the to late hours sometimes up until 2:00 A.M.; stated that no one is served well by conducting the meetings into the late hours; expressed his belief that staff is presumably exhausted the next day after the meeting; and that the Council members’ decision-making is not as keen at those late hours into the morning. He noted that the public who attends the Council meetings have an expectation of being able to speak on an agenda matter – pointing out that he has personally seen audience members who intended on addressing the Council give up at the late hour and go home without speaking. He noted that he does not expect every meeting will end at 10:00 P.M.; but expressed his concern that if the target is moved later to 11:00 P.M., then it will be stretched to 12:00 A.M.
Councilman Stern stated that this body needs to find an acceptable way to get out of the meetings a little earlier and suggested that additional meetings be added if necessary.
Councilman Long expressed his belief that a more realistic goal to end the meetings is midnight; explained that the Planning Commission usually achieved this same midnight goal by not taking on any new business after 11:00 P.M. and no business after midnight, albeit if they were nearing a finishing point. He stated that around 9:00 P.M., the Commission would look at what was remaining on the agenda and that they noted for the audience members whether or not their agenda item of interest would be heard that evening – pointing out that this rule would provide a framework to end the meetings at a time when the members were effectively able to make decisions. He stated that his effectiveness after midnight is often impaired.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that in terms of the decision-making process, conducting meetings late into the evening and early morning hours does not serve this body well nor staff or the community; explained that a late-ending meeting has a lingering effect on Council members and staff – pointing out that for many, it takes a day or two to completely rebound from the late meeting. He noted his concurrence with Councilman Long’s comments of the Planning Commission’s rule to end by a certain time and not to take on any new business, but pointed out that even with this rule, the Planning Commission meetings continued to go beyond the targeted time. He noted his preference that this body institute a firm rule that it absolutely conclude the meeting by 11:00 P.M.; that in so doing, this body have another rule that if Council is to do that, that they continue the unfinished agenda items to the next night – noting that there are other cities that conduct the remainder of their meetings the next evening. He expressed his belief that if this body tries this, two things would happen: 1) Council, staff and the audience members would not be exhausted the next day or two and, 2) it would focus this body more with respect to business that is to be accomplished between 7:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M.
Councilman Wolowicz noted his concurrence with Mayor pro tem Clark, but noted that continuing the meeting to the next evening may conflict with other scheduled meetings and other calendars. He stated that he would be amenable to trying the Planning Commission’s model for a while to see how it works, with the objective of incorporating Mayor pro tem Clark’s timeframe. He noted his support for the idea that Council has a certain stopping point along the way for announcements of whether an agenda item is likely to be considered at that meeting as agendized or continued to another agenda. He noted his support to set a limit as to a cutoff period for taking on any new business.
Councilman Long stated that technically, whatever rule this body chooses in a sense will be a fairly hard rule unless there is consensus to change it; that if Council says no new business after 11:00 P.M., if someone wants to take the item up after that time, Council has to suspend the rule with a two-third’s vote; and that except in circumstances where there is a strong consensus, Council would not be taking up new business after 11:00 P.M. and it would be finishing up by midnight. He stated that he would like to see what this would achieve; that if it does not achieve the desired effect, that he would propose Mayor pro tem Clark’s suggestion to end the meeting at 11:00 P.M. and find another meeting date/time to finish the agenda items, be it the next day or the following Saturday.
Mayor Gardiner stated that this is a talented body that should be able to spend a reasonable period of time to complete an item in the approximate allotted time; explained that the challenge is to get the business done with sufficient discussion, to receive sufficient input from the public; that barring an unusual meeting wherein many members of the public want to speak to the Council, where the meeting would be expected to go longer because the public wants to speak and they should have the opportunity to speak; this would not be the usual case. He expressed his belief that if this body plans for a 3-hour meeting -- realizing full well that it may go to 4 hours -- it can discipline itself to get the business done in the allocated timeframe, given that the agenda has been prepared properly and if it is not overloaded with items. He reiterated that no one has accused this City Council of under-discussing an item; and expressed his belief that there is a need for this body to be self-disciplined in getting its work done in an efficient and timely manner. He suggested that if unfinished business piles up, that the 5th Tuesday be utilized to complete the unfinished agenda items; and stated that he is not in favor of continuing the meeting to the following evening.
Councilman Stern noted his support for Councilman Long’s suggestion concerning the Planning Commission’s rule; stated that properly setting an agenda, assuming this body is disciplined, to him implies that there will be business that this body chooses not to take up because it will cause Council to go beyond that time; and noted his concern that if Council has enough business on an agenda, more time may be necessary to complete business and stated that it may then be necessary to conclude the remainder agenda items on the following evening. He stated that he does not believe this body can manage the agenda by delaying things to any significant degree.
Mayor Gardiner illustrated a case in point with Councilman Stern having written one memorandum with 12 sections in it relating to the agenda; and pointed out that at this point in the meeting, this body has only discussed the first 6 and the memorandum of how to conduct the meeting was taking much longer than what was expected.
Councilman Stern pointed out that the agenda estimated this topic to take 20 minutes.
Mayor Gardiner noted his expectation that discussion of this agenda could have been more time efficient; stated that while this body is having a meaningful discussion, he stated that this body needs to come to grips with its use of meeting time; and noted that if everyone on this body agrees with the need to shorten the length of the Council meetings, he questioned why this body is having difficulty with coming to an agreement on improving the situation. He stated that he is in favor of attempting to end the meetings by 10:00 P.M., realizing that sometimes the meetings will have to go to 11:00 P.M.; and that if the public wants to address the City Council, then the meeting will go longer until the public has had their input. He urged this body to make a strong effort to become more effective and efficient with the meetings.
Councilman Stern noted his support for Councilman Long’s suggestion to use the Planning Commission’s model.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to adopt the rule that Council will not take up any new matters beyond 11:00 P.M., absent suspending the rule by way of vote; that this body not take up any business after midnight, absent suspending the rule by way of vote; and that Mayor Gardiner and City Manager Evans do whatever they can to shorten the meetings even further.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted his support for the motion; asked that this situation be monitored and that if it is determined the rule is not being adhered to, that this matter be readdressed.
Councilman Long noted his concurrence with the suggestion to monitor the adherence to the rule and suggested that this be reviewed in 6 months to determine its success.
There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Councilman Long stated that Councilman Stern’s discussion was persuasive regarding the difficulty with starting off a discussion with a motion; and expressed his belief that what this body has gone through with the previous discussion was an illustration of how helpful it can be to first have discussion and then a motion.
Mayor Gardiner expressed the opposite position, pointing out that this body had taken approximately 50 minutes to discuss Item No. 1, City Council Agenda Format and Procedures for the Conduct of Business; and that not having a motion to focus the discussion, the Council’s time is not well spent. He explained that it is not always possible to have a perfect motion first off, but reiterated that a motion focuses the discussion. He pointed out that Robert’s Rules of Order allows one to amend the motion and fine-tune it as a result of discussion.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that he likes the formality of first having a motion, but noted that there are times when he needs to formulate his thoughts more prior to participating in the conversation that would follow a motion.
Mayor Gardiner stated that in his experience with public hearings, it is useful to have the motion first; advised that after the motion is made, there are only two bases for stopping discussion: 1) Council moves for the question and votes, or 2) the Mayor states that the body is repeating itself and asks for a vote. He stated that after a motion is made, there is no limit on the ability to amend it or discuss it. He highlighted an example of a recent City Council workshop, wherein the Council worked for two hours and only put forth two motions because the discussion was not focused.
Councilman Stern stated that there are times when it is helpful to first start the discussion, hear the public’s input, address various ideas/positions before a motion is made; expressed his belief that it is very beneficial to have discussion before a motion; and stated that this body is focused by staff report, focused by public input; and stated that he has not found that this body’s discussions are so unfocused that the motion makes it all clear, but quite the opposite – highlighting recent history of this Council making motions first that, in his opinion, focused this body too narrowly and created a need for numerous amendments which created lack of clarity. He stated that when this body needed a broader approach to see where the consensus seemed to be on some of the more difficult issues, there has been tremendous benefit in this body putting its ideas on the floor and seeing what the reaction is and letting it build from there, ending up with a neat and concise motion.
Mayor pro tem Clark commended Mayor Gardiner for this recent experiment of first putting forth a motion; but expressed his opinion that for this group, based on his experience on various bodies, he does not believe this body is well served by putting forth a motion prior to discussion.
Councilman Long stated that the discussion first helps him to see all sides of an issue as opposed to his coming in and making a motion from the outset; and expressed his belief that this body needs to have deliberation before a motion.
Councilman Stern stated that this body should not be required to discuss a matter before making a motion; that if a Council member feels he wants to make a motion before discussion, that he be able to do so; and expressed his belief that in the past three months, he has not seen a benefit to first putting forth a motion prior to discussion.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to continue with the procedure that existed prior to December 16th, that after this body has heard from the public, had its questions answered, that it could either make a motion or discuss the matter. The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 8:35 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 8:50 P.M.
Councilman Wolowicz moved that the Council suspend further discussion of Agenda Item No. 1 until the next meeting. Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Update on Girls' Softball Fields. (1201)
City Manager Evans reported that staff was working on the Girls’ Softball Fields site study; that staff had received some site plans from the engineer; that those site plans have been provided to Mr. Anderson, who is representing the girls’ softball league; and advised that because Mr. Anderson is out of town this week, staff hoped to have a final report ready for the City Council meeting on May 4, 2004.
There was no objection to receive and file this report.
Miscellaneous Items for Action:
Continued Items for Action:
Continued Items Listed for Information Only:
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Mayor pro tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to accept the Consent Calendar as submitted.
Councilman Stern questioned if City Clerk Purcell received his suggested revisions to the Minutes.
City Clerk Purcell noted that she had not received any revisions from Councilman Stern.
Councilman Stern asked that the Minutes be pulled from the Consent Calendar and considered at the next meeting.
With regard to the materials distributed this evening, Councilman Stern asked that staff take another look at Item No. 7, Professional Services Agreement, stating that Paragraph 4.1 needs to be looked at, referring to Article 6.12.
Councilman Stern requested moving Item 11, Professional Services Agreement with Emergency Planning Consultants to Prepare the Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan, from the Consent Calendar.
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 Council Members after the reading of the title.
NCCP Phase 3 Contract Amendment. (1203)
Approved an amendment to the contract with the City's NCCP consultant (URS Corporation) in an amount of $27,304 for completion of the third and final phase of the City's NCCP.
Claim against the City by Werner Meissner. (303)
Rejected the claim and directed staff to notify the claimant.
FY 03 - 04 Arterial Slurry Program. (1404 x 1204)
(1) Approved change order number one to an existing professional service agreement with Harris & Associates for additional services related to the FY 03 - 04 arterial slurry program; and, (2) Authorized the expenditure of up to $10,160 for this effort.
Resol. No. 2004-23: Funding request for beverage container recycling and litter cleanup activities for Fiscal Year 2004-05. (1301)
(1) Authorized the submittal of the funding request to the Department of Conservation's Division of Recycling for funding programs related to beverage container recycling and litter cleanup activities for Fiscal Year 2004-05; and (2) ADOPTED RESOL. NO. 2004-23, AUTHORIZING THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS TO EXECUTE ALL NECESSARY FORMS FOR THE PURPOSE OF SECURING PAYMENTS AND IMPLEMENTING AND CARRYING OUT THE PROGRAMS.
Authorization for Cingular Wireless to file a Conditional Use Permit Application for a telecommunications facility at Ryan Park. (1203 x 1804)
Authorized the City Manager to sign a Conditional Use Permit application on behalf of the City for a telecommunications facility proposed by Cingular Wireless at Robert E. Ryan Park, thereby allowing the application to proceed through the required permit review process.
Awarded Professional Services Contract for Engineering Services. (1204 x 1405)
(1) Approved the selection of Harris & Associates for the preparation of a Preliminary Methodology and Rate Analysis for the possible formation of a storm drain user fee; and, (2) Approved the proposed professional services agreement with Harris & Associates for performing the Rate Analysis.
Change Order to Storm Drain Investigation. (1405)
Approved change order number one to a contract with AKM consultants in the amount of $13,196 to provide additional engineering services to the update to the storm drain master plan.
February 2004 Treasurer's Report. (602)
Received and filed the February 2004 Treasurer's Report for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Resol. No. 2004-24: Register of Demands.
ADOPTED RESOL. NO. 2004-24, 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 Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to approve the Consent Calendar as amended. Motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
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Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan: Professional Services Agreement. (401 x 1101)
Recommendation to (1) Authorize staff to work with the City of Rolling Hills Estates on a multi-jurisdictional Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan; (2) Award a Professional Services Agreement to Emergency Planning Consultants in the amount of $8,000 to prepare the City's portion of the Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan; and, (3) Authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the Agreement with Emergency Planning Consultants.
Councilman Stern questioned the dramatic disparity in the bids that were submitted.
Assistant City Manager Petru explained for Councilman Stern that the difference in the bids was attributable to various factors; advised that the four firms with the high bids are large consulting firms that have a lot of staff members, a lot of overhead, as opposed to the company that staff is recommending, which is essentially a one-person operation; advised that the four firms with the high bids proposed very elaborate processes to create the Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan, which would include a lot of meetings; and explained that the firm staff is recommending offered a very streamlined approach to preparing the plan, minimizing the number of meetings, and heavily relying on the workgroup to do a lot of the work. She added that the four high-bidding firms proposed very elaborate and new GIS mapping in association with the preparation of this plan, which is very costly. She advised that the person staff is recommending has applied this same streamlined approach to a number of other cities. Assistant City Manager Petru stated that Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates will also be using this same consultant; advised that Rolling Hills has recently decided not to participate in the multi-jurisdictional plan, but to prepare its own separate plan – noting that this venture will be shared between Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates. She added that some of the remaining monies that the City has in its Emergency Preparedness Program will be used for some of the GIS mapping as well as for some additional data gathering the City needs to complete the plan.
Councilman Stern noted his delight to see the lower bid.
Councilman Stern moved to approve staff recommendation.
Mayor pro tem Clark complimented staff for their work on this project, expressing his delight with the out-of-the-box thinking and problem solving and for not only saving the City money, but also for putting the City in the position for possibly obtaining future grant monies.
Mayor pro tem Clark seconded the motion. The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
# # # # # #
Because of the large number of audience members wishing to speak on Item No. 16, Mayor Gardiner requested that it be the next order of business. No objection was noted.
ZON2003-00417 (16-FOOT HEIGHT CODE AMENDMENT). (1203 x 1801)
Councilman Stern pointed out that one of the things the Planning Commission has indicated is that it would still like to work on this issue; expressed his preference that the Planning Commission continue to work on this matter; and stated that the audience comments were welcome but that the Planning Commission should keep this item until it has a final recommendation to City Council.
Councilman Long noted the Planning Commission’s desire to do further work on this issue and to further comment on this issue; stated that he is inclined to concur with Councilman Stern that this matter be returned to the Planning Commission for further recommendations; and questioned if there is a compelling reason for the City Council to undertake this matter as opposed to sending it back to the Planning Commission for a final recommendation to City Council.
Noting that it may take the Planning Commission one or two meetings to resolve the issues of concern to the Commission, City Attorney Lynch questioned whether the City Council would like to repeal Urgency Ordinance No. 400U in the meantime so that the old rules continue in effect while the deliberations are ongoing. She stated that this would be beneficial because of the historic process; that whatever the Council ultimately decided would be a matter of policy; and that by repealing the ordinance, the City will not be having an intervening period of time where different rules would apply to some residents that would not apply later.
Mayor pro tem Clark expressed his belief that Urgency Ordinance No. 400U should be repealed if this matter is to be debated further; and stated that there is a great deal of consideration that needs to be undertaken and settled before this fundamental policy issue is adopted.
At this time, Senior Planner Ara Mihranian presented the staff report and the following recommendation: (1) Determine whether to continue the discussion on the proposed code amendment language, as recommended by the Planning Commission, and the amendments that were introduced at the City Council meeting, until after receiving a comprehensive recommendation from the Planning Commission; and, (2) If the Council wishes to discuss the matter this meeting, review the Planning Commission's concerns, as summarized by Staff, and provide Staff with further direction regarding specific language amendments.
Councilman Stern noted his understanding that the tear-down/rebuild issue is a pre-existing issue that was not clear even under the old code.
Senior Planner Ara Mihranian stated that in the original language, prior to the adoption of the urgency ordinance, if someone was voluntarily proposing to tear down and rebuild a two-story structure, that portion above 16 feet would be subject to a height variation application and a view analysis, but not that portion below the 16 feet; and advised that the property owner did not have the right to rebuild up to their old envelope.
Senior Planner Mihranian noted for Councilman Long that the 3 major issues of concern by the Planning Commission were the tear-down/rebuild structures, phasing a project, and the ambiguity with the term "proposed construction."
Councilman Long inquired of staff that looking at the chart on Circle Page 4, one of the Planning Commission’s concerns is that with the tear-down/rebuild, if the existing residence within the chart is torn down as part of the remodel, because it goes above 16 feet currently, would the view analysis would be required if it went outside the pre-existing envelope as a voluntary tear-down/rebuild?
Senior Planner Mihranian noted for Councilman Long that even if the existing structure were over 16 feet in height, it would not be subject to the view analysis; if it was an involuntary situation, as long as the structure is rebuilt within exactly the existing envelope, it would not require a view analysis; however, if just a small sliver of additional square footage extended beyond the original structure, a view analysis would be required for the entire portion over 16 feet, including the previously existing structure.
Jon Cartwright, 30630 Calle de Suenos, highlighted his privilege in serving on the Planning Commission for the past 8 years; and thanked the City for allowing him the opportunity to serve his community. Mr. Cartwright noted his pleasure that a view analysis is not triggered on the grading permit when the grading is proposed to grade down; noted his pleasure that at the July 15, 2003 City Council meeting, it had reaffirmed the historic interpretation that one had the absolute right to build to 16 feet and that the Council had adopted new language codifying that right in February of this year; but noted that he is concerned if the City is now saying that one does not have the absolute right to build to 16 feet if an owner has to do so at the same time that a height variation applies. He stated that in his opinion, this action is inconsistent with what has been approved and that it erodes the 16-foot- by-right rule. Mr. Cartwright stated that this logic is tough to follow, believing that one either has the right to build to 16 feet or does not have the right to build to 16 feet; he highlighted his support for protecting views, but asked that the City reconsider the decision to require a view analysis below 16 feet on a height variation as well as a view analysis on any other unrelated structure below 16 feet if applied for at the same time as the height variation. He stated that this decision is a major departure from the current code; that it takes away property rights and misses the mark of the intent to protect views from a proposed structure; that it is also in conflict with Proposition M, which applies to one having a right to build or grow foliage to 16 feet before it encroaches onto a view. He stated that every reference to height in Proposition M is above 16 feet and that the new language in the height variation findings is in conflict with the purpose of Section 2 of Proposition M which was to retain the pre-existing right to build to 16 feet. He stated that if City Council wishes to eliminate the right-to-build- to-16-foot rule, it would be his opinion that it would require voter approval.
Mr. Cartwright noted that since the City’s inception, over 1,000 height variation applications have been processed and approved by staff, the Planning Commission and by City Council on appeal; and stated that view analyses were not required below 16 feet on the height variation, nor were they required for any other structure below 16 feet that were applied for at the same time. He stated that this allowed applicants, staff and the Planning Commission to consider everything at once in a very efficient and cost-effective way. He explained the irony of all this is that the decision which requires a view analysis below 16 feet on a height variation or any other unrelated structure below 16 feet applied for at the same time as the height variation can be circumvented simply by processing the permits one at a time – pointing out that this will result in the applicant and the City spending additional time and money processing permits sequentially as opposed to at the same time. He urged the City Council to reconsider the decision to analyze views below 16 feet and to re-establish the historic interpretation that views below 16 feet are not considered on the height variation, that doing so will allow a 16-foot-by-right standard as well as protect a homeowner’s right to improve his/her property.
Mr. Cartwright provided his own power point illustrations (see Exhibit A) for the Council, which he believed showed the impacts of Urgency Ordinance 400U. He advised that the first graph is a takeoff of the graph shown in the staff report. Referring to the first graph, he stated that there is no view impairment in the height variation segment; that before this ordinance was put in place, if one applied for a height variation and the proposed room extension, it would have been approved; that after Urgency Ordinance 400U was adopted, it would have been denied; that if one then went back and processed an application for the room addition, it would have been approved; that if one applied for a height variation, it would have been approved. He stated that there would be no views saved; and that there would be considerably more time and cost on the part of the applicant and staff. He stated that the chart indicates what would happen when an applicant had the right to develop to 16 feet, he could do it; that when that right was taken away and given to the neighbors as view rights across his entire property from ground level to 26 feet, he lost that right to build. He stated that one has to ask, did it make sense to deny a height variation when view impairment is in an unrelated structure not attached to the height variation; and expressed his belief that in the future, the City will only see one permit submitted at a time.
Councilman Stern noted the helpfulness of Mr. Cartwright’s presentation; highlighted the proposed ordinance language that came before the Council about a month ago, wherein the Planning Commission was suggesting that the City would do the analysis of view impairment below 16 feet in that area – referring to the graph that says "height variation" to the right; and questioned if Mr. Cartwright would feel that to be inappropriate.
Addressing Councilman Stern’s inquiry, Mr. Cartwright stated that yes, it would be inappropriate. Mr. Cartwright explained that this whole discussion started over 4 years ago; advised that the Planning Commission has gone through 4 years of these same discussions when then Planning Commissioner Long was advocating views below 16 feet and the rest of the Planning Commission was not; and stated that it eventually became an operational problem because the discussion of height variation would come up. He stated that the Planning Commission then asked for a joint workshop with City Council in order to gain some clarification on this issue – pointing out that by that time, there were various problems with issues such as build-by-right. He stated that at this workshop, there was concern on the Council’s part that the Planning Commission may have been negotiating views below 16 feet and that Council believed that if this were true, that it should be codified and put into the code. He stated that he personally does not believe that the Planning Commission ever negotiated a view impairment below 16 feet; explained that oftentimes, there were a couple of Planning Commissioners who would ask if an applicant would be willing to move their house or structure, willing to get with their neighbor to work out an issue; but advised that as a Commission, they never negotiated below 16 feet. He stated that nevertheless, that concept went forth. Mr. Cartwright stated that when this got to the City Council in July 2003, Council affirmed the absolute right to build to 16 feet; that at that time, there was discussion about whether the Council should remand the matter to the Planning Commission; and stated that it is his recollection that the City Council did not believe that the Planning Commission could resolve the matter after 4 years of discussing the it; that there was no reason to remand it to the Planning Commission at that point; and that it should be kept at the City Council level. He stated that it was extremely important to some of the Planning Commissioners to put this issue in the hands of the City Council because of the Planning Commission’s dissension on this issue.
Councilman Stern noted his recall of the discussion and stated that the word "may" has caused some of the confusion in the decision.
Referring to Chart No. 6, lot 2, Councilman Long questioned whether Mr. Cartwright is assuming that the ridgeline on the house is also 16 feet.
Mr. Cartwright stated that Proposition M states that one can grow foliage to 16 feet before it encroaches into a view; that the City now has view restoration guidelines that state that one can grow foliage to 16 feet or the highest roof ridge line, whichever is lower; that the guidelines for the structure state that if a view is impaired at 2 feet, then it can be denied; that foliage and structures now lack harmony when considering the guidelines; and stated that he would prefer that structures and foliage be harmonious, that there be an absolute right to either build a structure to 16 feet or to grow foliage to 16 feet.
Ted Paulson, 5248 Valley View Road, former Planning Commissioner, stated that this issue was discussed and debated many times by the Planning Commission, with the consensus almost every time that the 16-foot rule should apply and that it should not be changed. Mr. Paulson noted his concurrence with the statements made by Mr. Cartwright. He stated that he is not aware of any great groundswell in the past, which dictates that this needs to be changed, and noted his confusion in why it keeps getting revisited – pointing out that City Council had previously approved the 16-foot-by-right rule. He expressed his belief that at this point in time, this has become a policy issue that needs to be taken up by City Council. Mr. Paulson noted his concern that if this is sent back to the Planning Commission for further debate, it will open up new public hearings on this matter and that it will not just be taken up as a discussion item; and he noted that it was his understanding that the proper process was followed and that Council had already decided the matter, but that he understood what was passed by the City Council at the last hearing, based on the discussion dialogue, was not what was submitted for recommendation by the Planning Commission.
Referring to the first chart, Councilman Long asked Mr. Paulson if his biggest concern is that the extension below 16 feet would be considered as part of the height variation permit.
Responding to Councilman Long’s inquiry, Mr. Paulson stated that in the first chart, yes; noted that the way he understands the new ordinance as rewritten is that the height variation issue would now address everything on this chart below and above 16 feet; stated that his concern is if one were submitting a plan to build a two-story house, automatically it would be subject to height variation review; and that if the view impairment was below 16 feet, one could be denied under the proposed ordinance.
Mayor Gardiner asked Mr. Paulson if he believes some property rights have been taken away by the urgency ordinance.
Mr. Paulson stated that yes, he believed some property rights had been taken away by the urgency ordinance; that the City would be taking away property rights because the City could deny a project with a view impairment below 16 feet; and stated that he does not believe this matter should be debated any further by the Planning Commission, believing that the Commission cannot resolve this issue.
Mr. Paulson noted for Mayor pro tem Clark that his primary message is that the City should revert back to the old code, and that the City should only take into account a view above 16 feet.
Councilman Stern asked Mr. Paulson to ignore the portion on the diagram to the left where the room extension was placed, and to assume the view was directly underneath the portion where the height variation was sought, the box that goes from 0 to 16 feet where one wants to build up. He asked Mr. Paulson if it is his belief that the City should ignore what falls below 16 feet even though it will block the view and is obviously part of the height variation of that structure.
Responding to Councilman Stern’s question, Mr. Paulson noted his belief that the process which is currently in place, prior to City Council making the changes, adequately addresses that type of situation to be addressed by the Planning Commission as it is evaluating a project; and stated that if a project, as noted on the first chart, came before the Planning Commission for consideration, if there was a view impairment defined by staff under the view review process, that particular project -- forgetting existing residence and room extension -- would probably be recommended for denial because of view impairment.
Councilman Stern stated that in his hypothetical example the view impairment appears from 0 to 16 feet underneath the part that is built up to 26 feet and questioned if staff would have denied that. Councilman Stern noted that he understood Mr. Cartwright’s statement regarding his understanding of the ordinance to have a different outcome and expressed his belief that because of this confusion, this is why it is necessary to send this back to the Planning Commission to clarify the matter.
Bruce Franklin, 15 Oceanaire Drive, former Planning Commissioner, stated that he concurs with Mr. Cartwright’s statements; expressed his belief that every resident should have the right to build to 16 feet under all conditions; otherwise, the City would be subjecting its residents to a 2-step process and add additional cost and time to complete a project. He urged the Council to maintain the 16-foot-by-right rule, as approved by the City Council last July.
Don Vannorsdall, 29513 Windport Drive, former Planning Commissioner, read a message faxed by former View Restoration Commissioner Gil Alberio stating his opinion that there were issues with the urgency ordinance and that any major changes of Prop M should be made under due process. (Mr. Alberio’s fax is on file with the City Clerk’s Office.)
Mr. Vannorsdall stated that he concurred with Mr. Cartwright’s statements and those of the previous speakers; advised that he served on the subcommittee that considered the entire code many years ago; noted his recollection that this issue was thoroughly addressed at that time; and he urged the City to keep the code as written.
Referring to the first graph, Councilman Stern asked Mr. Vannorsdall to ignore the structure to the left, to assume the view is to the right, that the applicant has an existing building up to 16 feet, that the applicant is requesting to go up to 26 feet; and questioned of Mr. Vannorsdall if the view is between 0 and 16 feet directly beneath the portion where the height variation is sought, based upon his experience, what would have been the outcome under the old code before the urgency ordinance.
In response to Councilman Stern’s inquiry, Mr. Vannorsdall stated that the Planning Commission would not have disapproved anything below 16 feet; that they could not have approved it above 16 feet.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that if the new portion of the house were two stories, but there was no view impairment that was determined above 16 feet, would Mr. Vannorsdall have denied the case if there was a view impairment below the 16 feet.
Mr. Franklin cited a case that was considered, wherein the owners of a house 13 feet high wanted to build to 20 feet; that there was a view between 13 and 15 feet, with no view above that; and he indicated that the Planning Commission approved it.
Craig Mueller, 3559 Seaglen Drive, Chairman of the Planning Commission, commented on the history of this issue, the various discussions that have taken place thus far; and stated that the Planning Commission came up with a recommendation, passed 4-3, to recommend that City Council adopt certain language. He stated that that recommendation was ignored by the City Council and that the Council had sent the matter back to the Planning Commission for further consideration. He urged the Council to carefully consider sending this matter back to the Planning Commission; pointed out that there are five new Planning Commissioners; and noted his belief that this Council will not accept the ultimate decision of the Planning Commission. He stated that there is not likely to be a unanimous decision on the part of the Planning Commission. He urged the Council to put themselves in the place of a homeowner who is attempting to make improvements and rebuild his/her home.
Mr. Mueller stated that in addition to supporting the repeal of the urgency ordinance, he was present to advocate two things. He asked the Council to modify the grading permit when pertaining to grading down, which is a recommendation of the Planning Commission. He stated that it is important to allow a homeowner to grade down and still have his/her home 16 feet above the existing grade, believing that this would encourage the homeowner to grade down. He stated that the residents should be discouraged from building artificial ridges or promontories, believing that they have a negative impact upon the landscape contours. Mr. Mueller stated that the second-story trigger should be deleted and highlighted the existing neighborhood compatibility rules that were adopted in 1996; and he encouraged the Council to make these two small corrections to the code. Mr. Mueller stated that if Council chooses to send this back to the Planning Commission, Council should keep in mind that this will take some time for discussion and public input; that the Planning Commission meetings will go longer and that debate will continue for some time before a recommendation is made to the Council; and reiterated his concern that the Planning Commission may not come up with a desirable solution for the Council – believing that the Planning Commission cannot come up with a better solution than what is outlined this evening.
Councilman Stern stated that the staff report indicates that "therefore the Planning Commission is recommending that the City Council continue this item to allow a second opportunity for the Commission to provide more comprehensive input"; and questioned what was the vote of the Commission.
Mr. Mueller stated, "5 new Commissioners in favor, 1 experienced Commissioner dissenting."
Councilman Stern questioned Mr. Mueller if he felt the prior code was so clear that everyone knew the outcome for that homeowner wanting to build the structure – now referring to the right of the first diagram. Councilman Stern expressed his opinion that the outcome is not clear under the old code; stated that he has faith that the Planning Commissioners will listen and reason through a well-thought out recommendation; and stated that there has been some ambiguity in the statements of some of the speakers. He noted that staff has identified some of the things that need to be clarified, for instance, the situation where there is a present ridge line of 18 feet, where the homeowner wants to tear down and rebuild; stated that the existing code would trigger an analysis; and noted the Planning Commission’s desire to look at this issue. He expressed his belief that this matter should not have come before the Council before a final and complete recommendation had been made by the Planning Commission – pointing out that the Planning Commission had not fully addressed some of the issues of concern prior to it coming before City Council.
Mr. Mueller stated that cumulative view impairment needs to be addressed and its relation throughout the neighborhood; and suggested language for modifying the urgency ordinance, which incorporates his concerns with the grading permit and the deletion of the second-story trigger. He stated that he is in favor of repealing the urgency ordinance; and stated that if it is the Council’s desire, the Planning Commission will take up the matter once again. Mr. Mueller stated that many of the view lots have unusable land, buildable space, with setbacks that cannot be built upon because of restrictions; and noted that it should be realized that it might not be fair for all residents depending on the topography of their lots.
Paul Tetreault, 32232 Phantom Drive, new Planning Commissioner, noted the necessity to clear up this matter; stated that Mr. Cartwright brought forth many of his same concerns and problems that he envisions in the urgency ordinance; commented on residents who are denied a project, only to redesign their homes to be more expansive one-story structures, creating smaller setbacks; and stated that time and time again, he sees examples where the urgency ordinance as presently worded fails to protect valuable views. He stated that the ordinance encourages applicants to phase in the construction projects; and expressed his belief that the City needed to reword the ordinance so that it eliminated this phasing of projects that would otherwise have been denied if submitted at the same time.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Chairman Gardiner recessed the meeting at 10:14 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 10:20 P.M.
Pang Mueller, 3559 Seaglen, noted her concern with the length of time the Planning Commission has already spent on this issue; addressed her concern with the increasingly more complex municipal codes developed under the urgency ordinance, stating that the ordinance seems to protect views in some instances and not in other instances; and stated that such complexity could lead to more interpretation problems. She expressed her belief that the City Council members have enough knowledge and understanding of this issue to make a sound policy decision at this time. She stated that it is not a productive use of time and energy to send this issue back to a fairly new Planning Commission to start the proceedings all over again -- pointing out that the previous Planning Commission had thoroughly discussed this issue for many months. She urged the City Council to reaffirm the historical interpretation of the existing ordinance and to repeal the sections in the urgency ordinance that address the view impairment in the 0 to 16-foot areas; stated that she does not believe it is necessary to include the language "may" or "shall" to create an opportunity to consider views in the portion below 16 feet; and urged the City Council to make a decision on this policy, one that is not complex.
Ken Dyda, 5715 Capeswood Drive, stated that this City has dealt with view issues for many years; advised that one of the first principles that Council made clear was the by-right-to-build-to-16-foot rule outside the required setbacks; noted that the setbacks are there to provide the possibility for corridor views; mentioned that the development code also indicates that there are limits to lot coverage; and that anyone coming to the City wanting to build new or add-on can interpret the code clearly that they can build anything up to 16 feet outside the setbacks on the property so long as they follow all the other building codes and that they will not fall into any other traps/triggers. Looking at what was structured in the urgency ordinance, whether rebuilding voluntarily or involuntarily, he stated that the expectation is that one should at least be able to build what they had prior, whether 16 feet or 17 feet – pointing out that the neighborhood has lived with that building for many years; and that it is unfair to say that the City must review everything. He stated that allowing phasing costs both the applicant and the City additional time and money and noted the importance of completing a construction project in a timely manner. He stated that the rule should be maintained at 16 feet.
Councilman Long noted Mr. Dyda’s involvement with the creation of the code from the outset; stated that the ordinance requires that findings be made as to the degree of view impairment, but noted that there is nothing in the ordinance that says view is only that which is above 16 feet; and questioned Mr. Dyda if that wording was just adopted or left out when one analyzes view in a height variation.
Mr. Dyda stated that if the City says one can build to 16 feet and not have any problem, an applicant could have built a one-story and wider house; and that if a structure is up to 16 feet within permitted setbacks and lot coverage, the neighbors don’t have a right to a view.
Sunshine, 6 Limetree Lane, advised that when the view ordinance was first drafted, the language indicated that there is no significant view in the space between 0 and 16 feet; that no one had any opportunity to address a view within the 16 feet – stating that the code was specifically developed for that purpose. She stated that it was understood that if someone purchased a property, they would have the right to build up to 16 feet regardless of view impact. Sunshine noted for Councilman Long that the ordinance defined the view to exclude everything below 16 feet.
Councilman Long questioned if specific wording is so indicated in the original ordinance to exclude everything below 16 feet.
Sunshine noted for Councilman Long that excluding everything below 16 feet was the intent of the ordinance and she apologized if the original ordinance is not clear on that fact.
Mr. Cartwright noted his complete concurrence with Sunshine’s statement; and stated that it also is staff’s interpretation that view impairment cannot be considered below 16 feet. Mr. Cartwright stated that since all the triggers are above 16 feet, it is the view of the majority of people who read the language that the language indicates the significant view is above 16 feet.
Councilman Long noted that staff has used the term "protected views" in its staff reports as an excuse for refusing to provide view protection but that the ordinance did not contain any reference to or any definition of "protected views": and instead merely required by its plain language a view analysis of all views anytime a structure exceeded 16 feet.
Mr. Cartwright stated that the language should then be changed, not the ordinance; and expressed his belief that most everyone on the Planning Commission knew what the historic interpretation was.
Mr. Dyda stated that the original intent was to allow people to build homes up to 16 feet within the setbacks and the lot coverage; that any foliage which fell within that envelope did not affect the view, therefore it was permitted; that if foliage outside the envelope could impact the view, such as the ocean or Catalina, it would not be permitted outside of that 16-foot envelope.
Mr. Paulson pointed out that the Council has heard comments from people who were involved in writing the original material that set the ground rules for the ordinances that exist; and he urged Council to listen to these people who have been responsible for operating and implementing these rules under the ordinance. Mr. Paulson stated that looking back on what he had said earlier this evening, the 16 feet applies all the way across the property; and he encouraged the Council not to send this back to the Planning Commission, but to keep it at the Council level and do what needs to be done as a matter of policy.
Mr. Mueller asked that as the Council considers what to do, that it not throw out all the language in the urgency ordinance should this body decide to repeal the ordinance; commented on his proposed changes to the ordinance; explained that when reverting back to the original ordinance, the Council could get there by simply deleting the reference to the portion below 16 feet and basically retain the remaining flow of the language, and to take the 3 findings and put them in logical order. He suggested leaving Nos. 4 and 5 in the ordinance, but to place them in a different order; and reiterated his suggested change to delete the reference to the portion below 16 feet in all clauses, including Finding No. 6; that the grading permit sections be included as modified by the Planning Commission, which relate to grading down, and to delete the reference to the two-story trigger below 16 feet with a 20-foot requirement.
Councilman Long asked for a hard copy of Mr. Mueller’s proposed language for the urgency ordinance.
Mr. Mueller stated that altering the ordinance and including his proposed language would create an alternative to either leaving the urgency ordinance in place as it’s written or to repeal the urgency ordinance altogether.
Councilman Long noted that the current recommendation of the Planning Commission, 5-1, is that Council send this matter back to the Commission.
Councilman Long stated that in the chart that Mr. Cartwright used, the recommendation of the Planning Commission immediately prior to the adoption of the urgency ordinance, the 4-3 recommendation, was that the City should not include the area of the room extension to the extreme left in the diagram in the view analysis, but that the City should include the entirety of the structure to the right, which is the portion directly below the portion for which a height variance is sought.
Responding to Councilman Long’s statement, Mr. Mueller indicated that, yes, the Planning Commission vote was 4-3 in September.
Councilman Long stated that the chair of the planning commission made a comment about the Council not accepting the Planning Commission’s recommendation in adopting the urgency ordinance; but questioned if the chair of the Planning Commission wants Council to follow that recommendation now.
Chairman Mueller had no response to this inquiry.
Councilman Wolowicz asked Mr. Mueller if he approves of the language contained in Finding No. 4 of the February staff report.
Responding to Councilman Wolowicz’ inquiry, Mr. Mueller explained that the recommendation was only reached in order to come to some sort of a compromise in September 2003; that the Commission believed that was the best it could do based upon the information they had; and stated that as a citizen instead of a Commissioner, he would not be supportive of the recommendation.
Councilman Stern asked if Mr. Mueller had discussed his recommended language with the Planning Commission prior to this meeting, and, if not, would he be opposed to having the Planning Commission review his recommended language.
Mr. Mueller stated that he had not reviewed the proposed language changes with the Planning Commission; noted that the proposed wording could be presented to the Planning Commission, but reiterated that these are policy decisions that need to be made by the City Council.
Councilman Stern noted that the Planning Commission is in concurrence with the grading issue; noted his support for deleting the reference to the two-story trigger; but with regard to the 16-foot rule, he stated that the Planning Commission should reconsider it and come back to the Council with its best recommendation.
Mr. Mueller stated that if it’s the Council’s decision to send it back, the Planning Commission will take on the challenge; but noted that in the meantime, the Planning Commission needs something in the ordinance so that it can continue to process applications.
Mayor pro tem Clark questioned that if it was the inclination of the Council to reaffirm the policy on the 16-foot rule being the point at which the City considers the view impairment, did staff have suggested language based upon the discussion.
City Attorney Lynch suggested the following language: Circle Page 17, Section 8Cii, "The portion of a new structure that is above 16 feet does not significantly impair view…"
Circle Page 17, Section 8Civ, "The area of the proposed new structure or addition to an existing structure that is above 16 feet," and to strike everything else up to "when considered exclusive…"
Circle Page 17, Section 8Cv, "…addition to an existing structure that is above 16 feet is designed and situated in such a manner…"
Circle Page 17, Section 8Cvi, "…view impairment caused by the proposed structure that is above 16 feet."
Circle Page 17, Section 8Cix, "The proposed structure above 16 feet does not result in an unreasonable..."
City Attorney Lynch clarified that it is the voluntary demolition that is not addressed; stated that Council has the option of repealing the urgency ordinance, sending this back to the Planning Commission or to make the amendments as described above.
Councilman Long noted that some of his concerns and questions have still gone unanswered, for example, the burning down of a house, proposed to be built precisely within the pre-existing envelope with no expansion, believing that this is an approved situation; but that if one goes outside the envelope at all, a height variation permit is then required that then takes into account a view analysis of the existing structure above 16 feet. He stated that this becomes problematic and that he would like the Planning Commission to take a look at it -- noting that this is one of the issues he addressed in his memorandum. He stated that the same issue is apparent all across the board on the voluntary teardown.
Councilman Stern stated that he is coming to the conclusion that Council should stick to something more closely akin to what Mr. Cartwright articulated, however, he questioned if there is some way to give the Planning Commission the authority not necessarily to deny the permit, not necessarily to review the view impact in terms of denial, but some authority to make a suggestion when it sees that moving a building a couple feet might help a situation.
In response to Councilman Stern’s inquiry, City Attorney Lynch stated that she did not see that as an option; and pointed out that in that particular circumstance, the applicant had worked with the neighbors for negotiation; and that it was not something that was insisted upon by the Planning Commission.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted that in the 12 years he served on the Planning Commission and View Restoration Commission, there were oftentimes when applicants would negotiate with their neighbors prior to coming before the Planning Commission, many times an applicant would be willing to modify plans in order to minimize view impairment to the surrounding neighbors.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that this body owes it to the former Planning Commission that discussed this issue at length, a blue ribbon panel or former and current members who spoke this evening, to support their recommendation.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Chairman Gardiner recessed the meeting at 11:10 P.M and reconvened the meeting at 11:13 P.M.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to rescind existing Urgency Ordinance No. 400U and introduced Ordinance 404U; that the City revert back to the original language presented to Council on February 17, 2004, by staff and the Planning Commission, along with the proposed changes as reflected above by City Attorney Lynch.
Councilman Wolowicz clarified the motion to include the adoption of the resolution, excluding reference to considering views under 16 feet.
Councilman Long expressed his belief that what the motion proposed to do is actually reject the Planning Commission recommendation because the area marked "A" should be considered under that recommendation; and noted his concern that the motion proposed to add language to the ordinance that is incompatible with Proposition M, possibly constituting a major change in the ordinance, which would compel future Planning Commissions to routinely grant the vast majority of height variation permit applications. He expressed his belief that the proposed change to the ordinance will seriously dilute an important protection of views adopted by the majority vote of this City; and urged the Council to vote against the ordinance. He stated that nothing in the ordinance and nothing in Proposition M that was originally passed stated that the City should ignore the view below 16 feet; pointed out that he is not challenging the absolute right to build to 16 feet in the absence of a need for a height variation permit, but stated that at some point, a line needs to be drawn and that at that point, the project should be discretionary. He noted his concern with the ordinance being diluted/weakened on the appearance that there was never any protection for views under 16 feet was simply false since the ordinance clearly protects view obstructed by foliage that exceeds the ridgeline of a house even when a house is less than 16 feet in height and that the ordinance at one time required height variation permits and view analyses for two-story structures that were less than 16 feet. The ordinance was designed to allow someone to build a one-story house up to 16 feet without accommodating their neighbors’ views but not more. Now the majority of impaired views will be routinely ignored.
Councilman Stern stated that he would take responsibility for the development of the urgency ordinance; noted that it was a good trade-off to see if Council could minimize impact on views below 16 feet when someone is asking for permission to go above 16 feet; and advised that he will be voting in favor of the motion that puts in place the expressed language to consider portions only above 16 feet because he believes some of the arguments that have been presented and some of the unfortunate loopholes that people may exploit, that it makes sense to essentially block out that area below 16 feet, believing that this also will create more clarity.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted that he was one of the drafters of Proposition M; explained that it was not the intent to bring view impairment under 16 feet; and expressed his belief that supporting the motion is the right direction.
Councilman Long stated that because the rest of Council will be supporting the motion, he suggested taking the motion one step further to specify that foliage be permitted to grow to 16 feet regardless of what improvements are present on the property so that the public knows there is absolutely no protection of views under 16 feet. He mentioned that making this suggestion does not indicate he is in support of the motion but that it would be consistent with the views of some of the speakers and would provide a consistent means of disregarding views.
City Attorney Lynch explained that staff will bring back at the Council’s next meeting the altered ordinance or the second option of an urgency ordinance that would amend the prior one, making the changes that were read above.
Councilman Stern noted his preference to repeal the urgency ordinance and to allow staff to bring back the new ordinance with suggested language and to go on from there.
Mayor Gardiner noted his preference to amend the existing urgency ordinance, deleting the below 16-foot view consideration.
Councilman Wolowicz amended his motion to include the teardown items that need to be addressed further and the two-story trigger and to have staff bring back all the language at one time.
City Attorney Lynch suggested adding in the issue of what happens when there is a voluntary tear-down versus an involuntary tear-down as well as a couple other issues that were mentioned; and noted that it would be her recommendation to repeal the urgency ordinance at this meeting and allow staff to bring back everything to the Council, not the Planning Commission.
Councilman Wolowicz amended his motion by rescinding the existing urgency ordinance and to direct staff to redraft the ordinance, including the proposed changes discussed this evening.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted that the primary effect is to take out of the code the review of view under 16 feet.
Mayor Gardiner noted that the ordinance should maintain the beneficial features, such as the grading issue.
City Attorney Lynch read into the record Urgency Ordinance No. 404U.
The motion to repeal the original urgency ordinance carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Gardiner
City Clerk Purcell noted her understanding of Councilman Wolowicz’ prior motion to go back and adopt Section 17.02.040C-1-4, reverting to the original language presented to Council on February 17, 2004, but to exclude the boundaries of the additions up to 16 feet, including both Part A and B.
Councilman Stern noted his understanding that the grading issue will be addressed so that a view analysis will not be necessary when grading down; that consistent with staff recommendation, a new provision will be included making it clear that the voluntary demolition will allow a homeowner to build back into the existing envelope; and that the two-story trigger will be eliminated.
Councilman Long suggested that if there is voluntary/involuntary removal of a structure, that even if the replacement structure goes outside the envelope, the portion of the replacement structure that is within the envelope – regardless of how high it may be or what it is – should not be considered in any height variation analysis – stating that he would support that component of the motion.
Councilman Long reiterated that in his judgment, this City is in the process of significantly diluting and weakening the ordinance for years to come.
The second part of the motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Gardiner
Councilman Stern requested that Mr. Cartwright’s graphs be attached to the minutes. Without objection, the Council agreed.
Appeal of View Restoration Permit No. 157 [Appellant: Mr. Yoshiya Watanabe, 15 Amber Sky Drive]. (Carryover from March 2nd.) (1203 x 1806)
Recommendation to accept the withdrawal of the appeal, thereby letting the Planning Commission decision on View Restoration Permit No. 157 be the final decision on the matter.
No objection was noted.
Appointment of Chair to the Equestrian Committee. (Carryover from March 16th meeting.) (106)
Staff recommendation was to make an appointment for Chair of the Equestrian Committee.
The Council noted that the candidates are very talented and qualified to serve on this Committee. Voting was as follows:
Mayor Gardiner – Gordon Leon
Councilman Stern – Gordon Leon
Councilman Long – Gordon Leon
Mayor pro tem Clark – Richard Bara
Councilman Wolowicz – Richard Bara
Gordon Leon was selected as the Chair of the Equestrian Committee.
Los Angeles County West Vector Control District - City Representation. (Carryover from March 2nd.) (306)
City Manager Evans briefly presented staff report and the recommendation to (1) Decide who is going to represent the City on the West Vector Control District Board of Directors for the new term of office beginning July 16, 2004, said term to run through July 16, 2006; and, (2) Direct staff to notify the District of the Council's decision.
Councilman Stern noted his interest in serving as the City’s representative to the Los Angeles County West Vector Control District, assuming the position in June 2004.
Mayor Gardiner expressed his support of keeping John McTaggart as the City’s representative until January 13, 2005.
Councilman Stern stated that one of the consequences of allowing Mr. McTaggart to remain as the representative would put the appointment process on a different cycle; explained that currently, by and large, Council appoints members to various organizations when a new Council is seated; that if Council delays this and throws it into next year, the City will be on a cycle that is almost a year out of sync with the seating of a new Council.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to appoint Councilman Doug Stern to the Los Angeles County West Vector Control District in June 2004 and to serve a 2-year term. Motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern and Wolowicz
Councilman Wolowicz, echoed by the rest of Council, expressed appreciation of John McTaggart for his service to the Vector District, both during his tenure on Council and after.
Border Issues Status Report. (310)
Recommendation to review the current status of border issues, and provide direction to the City Council Committee and Staff.
Sunshine, 6 Limetree Lane, requested that staff include in its Border Issues reports the issues concerning the City of Rolling Hills policy to block all the trails that lead out of their City, other than at their gates -- noting her interest in keeping informed on this issue.
Director Rojas advised that staff has prepared draft comments in regard to the Los Angeles Unified School District Draft Program EIR for the New School Construction Program; and stated that staff included comments that the School District consider some mitigation measures that would obligate them to go through the appropriate planning process.
Mayor Gardiner stated that the United States Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to Mr. James Stahl, Chief Engineer and General Manager of the County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, dated March 16, 2004; and requested that the letter be included in the record as follows:
"Dear Mr. Stahl:
"It has come to our attention that various parties seem to be misinterpreting the conclusion reached by EPA in the July 2003 Superfund Site Reassessment Report for the Palos Verdes Landfill site. The Reassessment was conducted to determine whether the Palos Verdes Landfill qualified for inclusion on the Superfund National Priorities List. We concluded that while the site does have groundwater contamination and generates landfill gas, the site does not, at this tie, qualify for federal Superfund intervention. We did not assess whether the landfill is an appropriate location for a golf course nor did we conclude that the site was ‘safe’ for development as has been reported in the press and on the Meritage Golf website. Further, our conclusion that the site does not qualify for the NFL was based on our assessment of current conditions, and did not anticipate future uses. Your cooperation to assure that our report is interpreted correctly for the limited purposes for which it was designed is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions, please contact Jere Johnson, Site Assessment Manager, at 415-972-3094. Sincerely, Betsy Curnow, Chief States, Tribes and Assessment Section."
Councilman Wolowicz briefly commented on the Los Angeles Unified School District’s plans regarding the expansion at the Dotson School; and urged the City to see what can be done about the District’s lack of concern with the complaints regarding the on-going construction and the lack of site maintenance.
Mayor pro tem Clark suggested that staff meet with School Board Member Mike Lansing.
Councilman Stern noted that since Councilman Wolowicz is acquainted with Mike Lansing and is aware of the concerns, that Councilman Wolowicz accompany staff to meet with Mr. Lansing.
Mayor pro tem Clark offered to accompany Councilman Wolowicz on his visit to meet with Mr. Lansing and is also familiar and has met with Board Member Lansing on other matters.
Open Space, Park and Recreation Master Plan. (1201)
City Manager Evans presented the staff report and the recommendation to (1) Receive the Open Space and Park Planning Summary Report and direct staff to post it to the website; (2) Determine whether to continue with the current Task Force or recruit new members; and (3) Set a Joint Workshop with the Task Force (or successor to the Task Force) for a date to be determined.
City Manager Evans suggested that the joint workshop be scheduled for the 5th Tuesday in June.
Mayor Gardiner stated that Council could either meet with a reconstituted task force or meet with a re-established Open Space and Parks Committee.
Councilman Long stated that Council should select from one or two options; noted that he does not believe he has enough information presented to him to figure what options are being offered; suggested that it would be logical to say here is the work product we have, that it is sufficient for Council to take action, and that here is a proposal as to when and how it can be agendized and to note precisely what issues need action based on the work product; or to say the work product is not sufficiently complete for Council to take action and here are the additional things that need to be done to finalize the work product. He stated that right now, no other approach seems logical.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted the necessity to comprehensively help City Council assess what open space, parks and recreation Rancho Palos Verdes has in its inventory and what could be done to effectively meet the community needs in the future with respect to that total inventory; stated that the Council did not delegate to the Task Force the responsibility or the authority to make decisions on how that inventory of open space and parks ought to be used; and he pointed out that clearly, the Task Force went through a great deal of work. When the Council decided as a first order to focus on Lower Point Vicente and for the purposes of policy decision to rule out active recreation, it was an appropriate first step, but noted that there are more steps to be taken; and he expressed his belief that the City’s inventory of open space and parks is one of the most important issues that this Council will be considering over the coming years; and that it is one of Council’s goals to work systematically through this process. He stated that before Council proceed any further, that it ought to have an engagement with the members of the Open Space Task Force; and recommended that the Council schedule that meeting with the Task Force and then make a decision with respect to whether there will be a subsequent committee, a reconstituted Task Force, or whether staff will assist Council in following the path that has been laid out in terms of Council’s goals.
Councilman Stern noted his concurrence with Mayor pro tem Clark’s comments, stating that a lot of time has been expended and a lot of hard work has been done thus far, but noted that Council does not have any work product. He stated that there is value in conducting a short meeting, getting the value and the ideas of the committee; and stated that he would be willing to chair the group in order for it to produce a final product.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted his support of Councilman Stern chairing the committee in the interim.
Councilman Long stated that if the concept of the Task Force is to be independent and to give Council independent advice, that he would not be supportive of appointing a Council member to the Task Force; and suggested that the best way to address that is to have the workshop as expeditiously as possible so that Council as a whole can give direction.
Councilman Wolowicz noted the necessity to at least schedule a meeting; and noted that because of Councilman Stern’s ability to coalesce a group so that they can make their presentation, he would support appointing him to the committee.
Mayor Gardiner noted his support for Councilman Stern’s offer to chair the group, guiding it and bringing the work product forward to Council; and explained that Councilman Stern will not interpose his ideas upon the group, but that he will be using his organizational skills that will get them focused and get their work product ready for Council consideration.
Councilman Stern stated that he envisions just working to try and pull together whatever the group has developed so that the joint meeting can be a productive one.
Sunshine, 6 Limetree Lane, stated that the Task Force has been spending its time gathering information and essentially waiting for the consultant to finish the results of the community outreach assessment; that once the Task Force gets those results, they will be ready to make their priority decisions and generate a list of properties to be acquired, prioritizing potential acquisitions. She stated that the Task Force is ready to pull its information together as the Updated Open Space, Parks and Recreation Master Plan, but indicated that the group has not been allowed to hold any meetings due to the lack of a chair.
Barbara Sattler stated that Councilman Stern’s suggestion to chair the committee for the short term would be acceptable; noted that she has lingering concerns with the balance of the representation on the committee among active recreational use, more passive recreational use, and open space preservation – pointing out that the committee is strongly weighted towards active recreational use. She noted the need to work together with the NCCP program, passive recreation, and preservation of habitat, which are key parts of what the committee has to be aware of and consider. She stated that another complication is that in that context, the committee has to be coordinated with other committees, such as the Forrestal Steering Committee, and that the members of the Task Force have found this to be somewhat tricky -- noting that the individuals are not working together on the trail issues; and suggested that this might be a good time to review the makeup of the committee.
Sunshine stated that the Task Force will be basing its decision on the input from the consultant; and expressed her belief that it doesn’t matter who is most interested in which topics.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, that he serve as the interim chair of the Task Force for the purpose of allowing the committee to finalize its work product; that the joint session be scheduled for the fifth Tuesday in June, with the idea of having the work product presented; and at that time, the Council will make whatever appropriate decisions there are on a going-forward basis.
Councilman Long stated that there is no question that Councilman Stern would be excellent at chairing the committee; but noted his concern with creating a precedent that takes a committee or task force that was originally established to be independent from the Council and removing that independence; and, similarly, he noted his concern when workshops do not just give general guidance as to what the deliverables are to be, but
try to shape or guide the committee’s decision -- stating that he would want to avoid shaping or guiding what the particular outcome is. He stated that if Council does not want a committee or commission to be independent, the Council should dissolve it and take the decision back into its own hands or establish it as dependent in the first place; that if Council wants the committee or commission to be independent, the Council should make it truly and completely independent; and reiterated his concern with this process and the precedent it would set.
Commenting on a meeting wherein Council considered the Task Force’s report, Mayor pro tem Clark stated that there was a sentiment in the community a couple months ago that Council was not willing to deal with all that it had asked the Task Force to undertake -- pointing out that this was clearly not the case; and explained that it was not appropriate for Council to deal with the magnitude of the scope of work in that one evening. He stated that one of the lingering facets of that can be put to bed by what is been proposed by Councilman Stern, that someone from this body work with the Task Force as it moves towards a product, clearly not steering it towards personal bias but just leadership. He noted his support of Councilman Stern’s motion.
Mayor Gardiner noted his support of the motion, and requested that an agenda be prepared for the joint workshop.
The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Gardiner
Letter of Support for the State Assembly Bipartisan Group. (1101)
City Manager Evans presented staff report and the recommendation to consider authorizing the Mayor to send a letter in support of the California State Assembly bipartisan group. He advised that he added into the body of the letter Councilman Long’s recommendation in the last paragraph, which states, "While we are not endorsing any of the specific positions of your group on any particular issues, we applaud your bipartisan approach to addressing the issues on behalf of the residents of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. We commend you for your political courage and will to lead in the informal bipartisan group."
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to send the letter as amended. Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Request to Support Los Angeles County Public Safety and Homeland Security Sales Tax Initiative. (1101)
City Manager Evans presented staff report and the recommendation to consider authorizing the Mayor to send a letter in support of the Los Angeles County Public Safety and Homeland Security Sales Tax Initiative.
Councilman Wolowicz noted that he is not supportive of raising taxes, but stated that he believes protective services loom large in the responsibility of government; and that of all the things government provides, this needs to be the highest priority. He noted his concern with the cutting of budgets from both the police and fire departments throughout the state; and stated that these funds will go directly to these agencies, that they will be specially earmarked for protective services. He noted that he had hoped for a sunset on the tax increase.
Councilman Stern concurred with Councilman Wolowicz’ concern with having adequate public protective services; but noted his concern that the City’s budget with the Sheriff’s Department is a bit under $3 million; that this initiative would raise that allocation by $2.35 million -- pointing out that the initiative also requires that the City may not substitute these funds for the $3 million; and that RPV’s Sheriff Department budget will be $5.3 million. He noted that the City will be able to bank the unused funds and hopefully be able to spend the remainder wisely; and stated that one of the by-products of the way this initiative is formulated because of politics is a great potential for wasting additional money that is earmarked for this cause.
Mayor Gardiner stated that as a matter of principle, he does not believe City Council should recommend or endorse tax matters; that if Council members want to do this individually, that is fine, but that the Council as a whole should not be taking a position on this initiative and be speaking on behalf of all of the residents of the City.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that he listened to Sheriff Baca’s presentation on this initiative; noted that he signed the petition supporting the initiative; commented on Councilman Stern’s excellent observation that the City does not have the ability to substitute funds, but mentioned that what came to mind is that the leftover funds may be able to support traffic-related issues of concern to RPV.
Councilman Long stated that there are times when the Council should take a position on state issues that affect cities; noted that the funds may possibly be more than the City can reasonably use; and suggested that surpluses possibly could be used for a police substation in RPV.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Long, that the City indicate its support of the Los Angeles County Public Safety and Homeland Security Sales Tax Initiative.
The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz
City Foundation. (1101)
Recommendation to consider formation of a City non-profit foundation to receive donations.
Due to the late hour of the meeting, Councilman Wolowicz requested that this item be continued to another meeting date.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to postpone discussion of this matter to a future agenda. No objection was noted.
City Council Team Building Workshop. (1101)
City Manager Evans presented staff report and the recommendation to set a date for a City Council/Senior Staff Team-Building.
Councilman Long stated that he would not be able to attend any meetings scheduled for June 26 through July 1st and July 17th through July 30th.
It was the consensus of the Council to contact City Manager Evans about Council availability.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to support scheduling the workshop.
The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
Council Discussion Of Future Agenda Items & Suggestion Of Future Agenda Items:
Closed Session Report:
City Attorney Lynch stated that no action was taken.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:53 A.M.
/s/ Peter C. Gardiner
/s/ Jo Purcell