RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
ADJOURNED REGULAR MEETING
MAY 5, 2004The meeting was called to order at 7:00 P.M. by Mayor Gardiner at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Gardiner
Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant City Manager Petru; Assistant City Attorney Carol Lynch; Director of Public Works Dean Allison; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and Recording Secretary Denise Bothe.
Councilman Stern led the flag salute.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Councilman Stern requested that Agenda Item Nos. 10 and 11 be pulled from the Consent Calendar: 10) Residential Street Overlay and Slurry Seal Project; 11) Arterial Rehabilitation Program: Crest Road from Hawthorne Boulevard to the City’s eastern limits.
Councilman Long requested that Agenda Item No. 16 be considered subsequent to Agenda Item No. 21: 16) Cox Communications hearing regarding Notice of Non-Compliance; 21) City of Palos Verdes Estates Weight Limit Ordinance.
Councilman Wolowicz requested that Agenda Item Nos. 6 and 9 be pulled from the Consent Calendar: 6) Citywide Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance District; 9) Border Issues Status Report.
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.
Approval of the Minutes. (301)
Approved the minutes of February 17, 2004 as amended.
Claim against the City by Vlasta Yanko. (303)
Rejected the claim and directed staff to notify the claimant.
ORDINANCE NO. 405: AFFIRMING THE CITY’S HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION OF THE 16-FOOT HEIGHT REQUIREMENT. (1203 x 1801)
ADOPTED ORDINANCE NO. 405 AMENDING TITLE 17 OF THE CITY’S MUNICIPAL CODE REGARDING THE 16-FOOT HEIGHT LIMITATION FOR RESIDENTIALLY ZONED PROPERTIES AND CLARIFYING THE FINDINGS REQUIRED FOR HEIGHT VARIATION AND GRADING PERMIT APPLICATIONS. (This ordinance was INTRODUCED at the April 20th meeting.)
ORDINANCE NO. 407: MAKING REVISIONS TO CHAPTER 15.20 (MORATORIUM ON LAND USE PERMITS). (1801)
REINTRODUCED ORDINANCE NO. 407, AS AMENDED, TO ADOPT REVISIONS TO CHAPTER 15.20 (MORATORIUM ON LAND USE PERMITS) OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE. (This ordinance will be presented on May 18th for ADOPTION.)
Animal Control Service Contract Renewal. (104)
Authorized execution of a five-year renewal contract with Los Angeles County Animal Control and Care Department for animal control services.
Resol. No. 2004-33: Used Oil Recycling Block Grant for FY 2004-05. (1301)
(1) Authorized the application of the FY 2004-05 Used Oil Block Grant to continue the Used Oil and Filter-Recycling Program for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes residents; and, (2) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2004-33, AUTHORIZING THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS TO EXECUTE ANY AGREEMENTS, CONTRACTS, AND REQUESTS FOR PAYMENT AS NECESSARY TO IMPLEMENT THE PROGRAM.
Professional services agreement with TWR Consultants for City Council and senior staff team building workshop. (1101)
(1) Awarded a Professional Services Agreement to TWR Consultants in an amount not to exceed $12,000 to conduct a City Council/City Manager Leadership Development and Team Building Workshop; (2) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the Agreement with TWR Consultants; and, (3) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2004-34 APPROVING A $12,000 BUDGET APPROPRIATION TO COVER THE COST OF THE CONSULTING AGREEMENT.
March 2004 Treasurer’s Report. (602)
Received and filed the March 2004 Treasurer’s Report for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Resol. No. 2004-35: Register of Demands.
ADOPTED RESOL. NO. 2004-35, 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.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Gardiner, to adopt the Consent Calendar as amended. Motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
NOES: Long (Ord. No. 405 Height Code Amendment)
Because of additional input, Councilman Long moved, seconded by Mayor Gardiner, to suspend the motion to approve the Consent Calendar. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
City Clerk Purcell noted that Council had been provided with a copy of a letter dated May 5, 2004 letter from Matthew and Kim Nelson in regard to their petition for the landslide moratorium exception permit which would be impacted by Council action on Item No. 5 (Landslide Moratorium Exception).
Kim Nelson stated that she and her husband are new homeowners in the Portuguese Bend area, having moved there from Palos Verdes Estates; and noted that they purchased this home so that they could have more livable space and to be able to shelter their horses on their own property. She advised that the house was built in the 1950’s and that it had never been updated. Mrs. Nelson stated that they plan on adding onto the home, remodeling it and creating a space for their horses. Mrs. Nelson explained that she and her husband had talked to staff on several occasions before and after the purchase of this home, and that they kept staff apprised of their desire to build an addition up to 600 square feet to the house and to build a detached accessory building of up to 600 square feet; and noted that they were advised by Director Rojas at their November 7, 2003 meeting with staff that their proposal would be consistent with the Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit (LMEP). She pointed out that staff had been advised that the purchase of this property was contingent upon the ability to make these improvements to the property; and that they were assured by Director Rojas that the application was accurate and in line with the permit process. She stated that because of their discussions with staff, they purchased the property in January 2004, hired an architect and engineer, submitted to staff the appropriate plans; and advised that once the plans were submitted, they were once again assured by staff that everything looked fine. She stated that only yesterday did staff advise her that Council was to consider clarifying the LMEP code and that under the new code provision, they would not be permitted to proceed with their project as planned. She respectfully requested that their project be considered under the laws that were in place when they submitted their application in February 2004.
Matthew Nelson explained that he and his wife have done everything possible to understand and follow the guidelines of the code; and stated that they have spent a significant amount of time meeting with staff to understand what they were permitted to do. He explained that their plans are modest, adding onto an existing 2,300-square-foot house on a 46,000-square-foot lot; and he requested that he be allowed to move forward on the project within the code guidelines that were expressed by staff when they submitted their application.
Mayor pro tem Clark asked if the Nelsons had submitted an application and whether that application had been deemed complete.
Mrs. Nelson responded that they had submitted an application on February 10, 2004, which was determined by staff to be complete; and that they were in the process of getting that approval when Director Rojas advised them that Council would be considering a clarification to the code.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted his experience on various bodies that when the City experiences a development code change, the City usually differentiates between property owners/applicants who have successfully submitted applications under those existing codes at the time of their applications; and that if the code is changing, those applications are typically considered to be grandfathered under the old code versus the new code.
Director Rojas concurred with Mayor pro tem Clark’s recall with past grandfathering practices; explained that the Nelson’s application had been deemed complete; and expressed his belief that this was not so much a code change, but more of an interpretation of the language that staff believed the City Attorney would need to clarify. He stated that by clarifying the language, it would make the code more restrictive; and that because the Nelson’s were at the end of the process, he noted staff’s recommendation that the Nelson’s be exempt from the new language/change. Director Rojas explained that the change in interpretation deals with the LMEP categories for allowing additions to existing homes in the moratorium area; stated that additions are allowed based on a cumulative total when a house is rebuilt; but noted that what isn’t clearly reflected in the code is whether the 600-foot rule needed a category for additions, another category for garages, and another category for barns/out-buildings, whether it was to read for all 3 areas or a total of 1,800 square feet.
Councilman Stern expressed his belief that the debate and discussion for the ordinance was clear that it was a total, cumulative 600 square feet; that the residents in this area were told they can’t build unless they meet the standards; and that the intent of the ordinance was to give an acceptable level, some minor flexibility for existing homes. He stated that it is unfortunate staff had given the wrong advice/information in this case; and he noted that in other situations where an application was grandfathered, it was where the City changed and adopted a new code provision after an applicant had submitted an application.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that he would support considering this matter if it should be placed on a future agenda.
City Attorney Lynch stated that there is no exception process and that the only way Council can help this applicant would be to change Section 7, Page 4, to say that this ordinance shall apply only to LMEP’s for development applications that have not been deemed complete – noting that this project was previously deemed complete; and clarified that the ordinance is 600 feet of detached or attached structures, plus 600 square feet of garage.
Mayor Gardiner questioned if this application was sufficiently far along in the process so that the Council could reasonably consider grandfathering under the old rules.
Responding to Mayor Gardiner’s inquiry, Director Rojas confirmed that the application process was definitely far along in the completion process.
Mayor Gardiner noted his support for adopting the ordinance but to specifically grandfather the Nelson’s application.
City Attorney Lynch stated that that would be possible and stated that staff could return at the next meeting with an ordinance for adoption; and suggested that if it is the Council’s desire to grandfather the Nelson application tonight, that Council should re-introduce the ordinance and have the second reading at the next meeting.
Councilman Stern asked if staff had specifically researched the records to make sure that there are no other applicants in the same position.
Director Rojas confirmed that staff was sure the Nelsons were the only applicants in the process with a complete application that would be affected by this code change.
Councilman Long stated that this is an awkward position the Council has been placed in to amend this because of an error, but expressed his belief that this does not create a precedent, that it only involves one situation; and stated that he would support this amendment.
Mayor pro tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, that ORDINANCE NO. 407 be re-introduced as amended, grandfathering the Nelson application, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ADOPTING AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 15.20 (MORATORIUM ON LAND USE PERMITS) OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE; and that the ordinance come back at the next meeting for a second reading. The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Wolowicz and Mayor Gardiner
Because of additional input, Councilman Long moved, seconded by Mayor Gardiner, to reconsider and suspend the previous action on Ordinance No. 407LMEP decision. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, read a statement prepared by Kathy Snell. Said statement expressed disagreement with the adoption of this proposed ordinance and requested that the restrictions of this ordinance be restricted to homes that do not have sewers. (Ms. Snell’s statement is on file with the City Clerk’s Office.)
Kathy Snell expressed her disappointment with Council’s decision on this matter, questioning what geology they had in making their decision that would help her understand the basis for their decision. She advised that all geologists who have looked at this area indicate that adding on does not cause the land to slide. She reiterated her opposition to not being permitted to add onto her home that she purchased in 1973 – pointing out that her house is on stable land. She stated that she is only asking for a 3-car garage for people in Zone 2, not on Clove Tree, which is next to the active slide area, 600 additional square feet to the house, enclose the patio with another 600 square feet or put up a barn. She pointed out that she does not believe homeowners should be able to build in an active landslide area, including Seaview. She stated that geologists who have looked at this area indicate that water is the cause for the landslides and advised that the previous Council told the residents that they would get their rights back to add on as long as a sewer system was installed – noting that they now have a sewer system in place. She stated that this rule is unfair to those homeowners whose land is not moving.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to remove Agenda Item No. 5 from the Consent Calendar; to adopt Ordinance No. 407, the Moratorium on Land Use Permits ordinance, with amendments to Section 7 as articulated by City Council; and that the ordinance be returned to the next meeting for second reading.
Councilman Stern noted for Ms. Snell that a year and a half ago, Council conducted extensive hearings on the lack of stability throughout the area; and stated that the decision Council made in regard to that area was driven by the geology, with a desire not to place people and buildings at risk.
Mayor Gardiner noted his support for the ordinance, but questioned how homeowners who live in an area that has more of a slide threat can build larger additions than those homeowners who live in the Portuguese Bend area.
City Attorney Lynch explained that when the former Council determined the Portuguese Bend area to be within the landslide area, Dr. Ehlig had distinguished the Seaview area from other areas within the landslide, saying it was a very distinct area; that the Seaview area had slid once due to an accumulation of ground water; and that Dr. Ehlig found this to be a one-time occurrence. As a result, she explained that two dewatering wells were installed to extract that water so that this would not occur again and that a pipe was also placed in Klondike Canyon to keep the water from going into that area. She stated that the former Council based its decision on Dr. Ehlig’s opinion that this was a very distinct, one-time episode; that the factor of safety in that area was 1.5 and that it is the basis upon which the Council treated that area differently from other areas within the landslide moratorium.
Mayor Gardiner questioned if the City is legally in a position to support its decision in regard to the landslide area.
In response to Mayor Gardiner’s question, City Attorney Lynch stated yes, that she agrees the decision was geologically based; and stated that until there is a different geologic opinion placed in the record which the Council chooses to rely upon, there is evidence to support the former Council’s decision.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated if that portion of Seaview was put into the landslide moratorium because it slid once and yet the geologist advising the City stated that the Seaview area landslide moratorium area has a stability of 1.5, he questioned why it is in the moratorium.
City Attorney Lynch explained that because of ground water build-up and the fact by having it within that area, this allowed the Klondike Canyon Geologic Hazard Abatement District to be formed under state law; and that it allowed the formation of that district to undertake certain landslide measures, such as assessing property owners and the ability to install certain improvements.
Mayor pro tem Clark questioned whether it would be advisable to revisit why a portion of the Seaview area is not within the landslide moratorium.
Councilman Long, echoed by Mayor Gardiner, expressed his belief that the conversation is going beyond the scope of the agenda item.
The motion to remove Agenda Item No. 5 (Ordinance No. 407) from the Consent Calendar; to adopt Ordinance No. 407 with amendments to Section 7 as articulated by the City Council; and that the ordinance be returned to the next meeting for second reading carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, Long, Wolowicz and Mayor Gardiner
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to adopt the amended Consent Calendar. The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Gardiner
NOES: Long (Ordinance No. 405:16 Ft. Height Code Amendment)
Resol. Nos. 2004-36. 37 and 38: Citywide Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance District. (901)
Director Allison noted that this item was scheduled for a public hearing at the Council’s June 15th meeting.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned whether the fee allocations in the formulas were consistent with those in prior years.
Director Allison responded that the fund had remained stable for the last 7 years in each area and stated that there were no challenges.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned if the reserves could be used in other applications within the budget.
Director Allison explained that the approximate reserve account of $956,000 could only be used for improvements to for maintenance of the existing street lighting system. He stated that this reserve account is stable. With regard to the lower reserve account of $44,000, he explained that the City uses this fund for cash flow purposes when bills are paid, used to maintain medians, traffic signals, street trees – noting that this fund is not stable. He stated that the 1911 account is more restrictive.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that based on the numbers that were in this proposal and looking at the budget items, if the City continued with the same basic number, it appeared that for this time next year, there may be a requirement for the use of $55,000 coming from the General Fund reserve in the 2005-2006 budget, questioning if that will occur.
Director Allison explained that from time to time, staff does have to take from the General Fund to put into this funding plan.
City Manager Evans noted that these assessment district funds and the demands for funds from the General Fund are reflected in the 5-year model.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to adopt staff recommendation: (1) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-36, INITIATING PROCEEDINGS FOR THE LEVY AND COLLECTION OF ASSESSMENTS WITHIN THE CITYWIDE LANDSCAPING AND LIGHTING MAINTENANCE DISTRICT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2004-2005 AND ORDERING THE ENGINEER TO PREPARE A REPORT IN CONNECTION THEREWITH; (2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-37, APPROVING THE ENGINEER’S REPORT IN CONNECTION WITH THE LEVY AND COLLECTION OF ASSESSMENTS WITHIN THE CITYWIDE LANDSCAPING AND LIGHTING MAINTENANCE DISTRICT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2004-2005; AND, (3) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-38, DECLARING THE CITY COUNCIL’S INTENTION TO LEVY AND COLLECT ASSESSMENTS WITHIN THE CITYWIDE LANDSCAPING AND LIGHTING MAINTENANCE DISTRICT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2004-2005 AND SETTING A TIME AND PLACE FOR HEARING OBJECTIONS THERETO.
There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Border Issues Status Report. (310)
Councilman Wolowicz stated that if this item was left on the Consent Calendar, how could this enable Council to provide direction.
City Manager Evans stated that staff recommendation should be modified to include "if deemed appropriate" at the end.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to accept the report, providing no direction. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Residential Street Overlay and Slurry Seal Project. (1404 x 1204)
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that the staff report did not mention why this program was being started up once again.
City Manager Evans explained that in 2003-04, staff did not budget any money for the overlay projects; that staff also did not budget any money for the next fiscal year; but that before the City adopted the 2003-04 budget, there were funds budgeted for a residential overlay program of approximately $900,000. He explained that because of the threat to reduce the VLF’s, this money was set aside, that the $900,000 expenditure was adopted in the budget for 2002-03, but deferred. Because the City now has a $12 million-plus General Fund reserve, he explained that staff believes it is a good time to spend this money that was budgeted in the 2002-03 budget – noting that it was never taken out of the budget, that it was only deferred.
Mayor pro tem Clark pointed out that there is a negative consequence to deferring the slurry projects in the pavement management program; and stated that this program was brought into existence to systematically and proactively go through the City to deal with road wear, which reduces costs and minimizes the amount of repair that has to be done to the roads on a continuous basis.
Councilman Wolowicz requested that staff provide a report to indicate the nexus among the various funds and the related projects.
City Manager Evans stated that as a general rule, Proposition C funds could be used on any road that has a fixed bus route service line on it. Based on the 2004-05 budget, he explained that this slurry activity is only for a one-time expenditure; and noted that the City is not predicting enough money in next year’s revenues to continue this program, noting that staff is not proposing a revenue stream from the VLF fund.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to concur with staff recommendation: (1) Approve the construction plans. (2) Award a contract for the construction of the Residential Street Overlay and Slurry Seal to Sequel Contractor Inc. for the contract bid amount of $858,170, and authorized staff to spend up to an additional $85,817 for possible extra work or unforeseen conditions, for a total authorization of $943,987; (3) Authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a contract with Sequel Contractors, Inc.; (4) Award a contract to HY-COM & Associates for the Contract Management and Inspection services in an amount not to exceed $70,000; (5) Authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a contract with HY-COM & Associates; and, (6) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-39, AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2003-42, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2003-2004, FOR A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT TO THE CITY’S PROP C FUND.
The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Gardiner
Resol. No. 2004-40: Arterial Rehabilitation Program: Crest Road from Hawthorne Boulevard to the City’s eastern limits. (1204 x 1404)
Director Allison having combined this report with the previous item, recommended the following: (1) Approve the construction plans and authorized staff to proceed with the overlay of Crest Road from Hawthorne Boulevard to the City’s eastern limits; (2) Award a $561,008.02 construction contract to Hardy and Harper, Inc. Contracting Company for the overlay of Crest Road from Hawthorne Boulevard to the City’s eastern limits and authorize staff to spend an additional $56,100.80 for possible extra work, thereby approving a $617,108.82 construction budget; (3) Authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a construction contract with Hardy and Harper, Inc. Contracting Company; (4) Award a contract to Willdan for the construction management, inspection, and Federal compliance services in an amount not to exceed $71,550; (5) Authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a contract with Willdan; and, (6) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-40, AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2003-42, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2003-2004, FOR A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT TO THE CITY’S PROP C FUND.
Councilman Wolowicz so moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to concur with staff recommendation. The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Gardiner
# # # # # #
Ordinance No. 408U: Extension of the City’s Urgency Ordinance relating to the conservation and management of coastal sage scrub habitat. (1203)
City Clerk Purcell noted that late correspondence regarding this matter had been distributed to Council this evening.
Addressing the April 19, 2004 letter from the attorney representing York Long Point Associates, Councilman Stern questioned if City Attorney Lynch perceived there to be a problem with this ordinance.
In response, City Attorney Lynch stated that she disagrees with Mr. York’s contention that there is a taking of property; that all the City is trying to do is keep this moratorium in place to basically allow vegetation removal in accordance with Fire Department orders while staff works to reformulate the permanent ordinance, believing that a proposed ordinance will be presented to Council in the next couple of months.
Councilman Wolowicz asked for staff input on York’s claim of improper cutting by the City.
Director Rojas stated he learned from the Public Works Department what was done was annual weed maintenance in the picnic area near the parking lot; that there is no habitat in that particular area; and noted he advised the York representative that was recently the only work which was done in Abalone Cove.
City Attorney Lynch explained that staff proposed in the draft ordinance that areas where there had been routine mowing and weed abatement activity, it goes beyond the Fire Department orders and it would be excluded from that ordinance, but that staff is attempting to devise an appropriate category to address this activity that meets all competing concerns.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned if the City had received the developer’s EIR.
Director Rojas noted that the EIR for the Point View project is still being prepared and that staff expects it to be complete sometime in June.
Kathy Snell, RPV, addressed her concern with the 6- to 8-foot tall mustard grass that has not been disked for 3 to 4 years; stated she was advised that staff had told the Fire Marshall not to do any disking on Hon’s property, not the York property; and noted her concern with the safety of the residents, their homes and the lives of animals. She stated that she is requesting the removal of the weeds, not the coastal sage scrub.
Barbara Sattler, representing the South Coast Chapter of California Native Plant Society, strongly encouraged the Council to support staff recommendation; and stated that she recognizes the importance of fire safety and expressed her belief that the ordinance controls unnecessary clearing of vegetation.
Lowell Wedemeyer, 13 Clipper Road, stated that disking activity produces a whole series of events which lasts for many years; that the year following disking, the area affected will get the most rapidly growing weeds; and explained that if one established a proper vegetation community and it was appropriately maintained, it does not need to be abated on an annual basis. He noted his disagreement with the notion that annual weed abatement is the safest or best way to reduce fire hazards. He asked that Council support the moratorium and that the City adopt a more appropriate weed abatement program.
Bob Nelson, 6612 Channel View Court, noted his opposition to the ordinance; stated that the City should not be able to deny a property owner’s right to clear their land; but noted that he would support some conditions.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned if it is the responsibility of the Fire Marshall to determine what areas need to be cut back or disked on any land that is not in the purview of City staff.
Director Rojas noted that the Fire Department, not City staff, makes those decisions.
In response to Councilman Wolowicz’ inquiry regarding the last time the Fire Marshall was at this property, City Manager Evans stated that on January 15, 2004, the Fire Department evaluated the York property and determined that Mr. York was only required to maintain a buffer around the exterior of the property and to remove brush clearance around several structures on the property; and that the Fire Department did not require Mr. York to disk his entire property in the future.
City Attorney Lynch noted for Mayor Gardiner that the City had satisfied its legal requirements.
Mayor Gardiner questioned if staff had studied alternative approaches, more environmentally friendly ways of maintaining the vegetation, such as described by Mr. Wedemeyer.
Director Rojas stated he would be happy to sit down with Mr. Wedemeyer to get some input on his ideas on how to deal with the vegetation.
Ms. Sattler stated there are more environmentally sound ways to clear the brush and not disturb the soil.
City Attorney Lynch mentioned that staff is evaluating the idea of doing more mowing as opposed to disking.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 8:58 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 9:03 P.M.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to adopt urgency ordinance. NO. 408U EXTENDING URGENCY ORDINANCE NO. 391U FOR ONE YEAR TO MAY 16, 2005.
Councilman Wolowicz noted that he was still concerned with the exposure to fire, the potential to homeowners, and what the City could do to mitigate this exposure without disturbing all the other issues of concern. He stated that he would like to see this matter back on the agenda with staff recommendation once the York EIR is complete and available.
City Attorney Lynch noted her concern with Councilman Wolowicz’ request because staff had planned on bringing back the new ordinance without dealing with the York EIR – pointing out that the new ordinance applies to brush clearing activities citywide, on numerous properties, and is not directly related to the York property; and stated that she would recommend Council not defer action on a future ordinance until the York EIR is done.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that he was not proposing to defer action on this ordinance; but explained that he was still placing a lot of weight on that EIR because of its uniqueness with this particular piece of property and the issues of concern regarding fire mitigation.
City Attorney Lynch explained that the City could not require Mr. York to do anything more than what would be required of any other property owner.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that he would like to understand the extent of Mr. York’s EIR that will help guide him as to what should or should not be done.
Councilman Stern stated that he did not want this discussion linked to the York property because this ordinance applies to the entire City, not specifically an ordinance for Mr. York’s property.
Mayor pro tem Clark recommended that San Diego Councilman Jim Madaffer, who is the lead Council spokesman on major fires, be invited to speak at the next Leadership Breakfast, asking that Councilman Madaffer provide some insight on what he learned from that County’s fires.
The motion to adopt the urgency ordinance carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Gardiner
There was a request to reopen Public Comments. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Kathy Snell stated that she could see on Palos Verdes Drive South where the earth is moving; commented on the slide area in the Seaview area, noting her belief that those residents were allowed to build because of their existing sewer system; and urged the City to be proactive in getting rid of the escalating coyote population on the peninsula.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
Councilman Stern stated that he, Mayor pro tem Clark and City Manager Evans met with representatives of Ocean Trails who provided a presentation of the preliminary diagrams for a very significant/dramatic change on Tract 666, which is on the west side of Ocean Trails. He stated that at the present time, the plan has residential single-family lots with a driving range proposal; and that they are tentatively proposing to change the homes to allow approximately 23 units to be located in the area directly across the street from Seaview. He advised that a full presentation of the new plans would be made before City Council.
Mayor pro tem Clark added that a suggestion was made that the Trump representatives make the same presentation before the Council of Homeowners Association in the future; and noted that the new plans will likely require a zone change, General Plan amendment, a new CDP, an extensive EIR, going through the approval process, which includes the Coastal Commission. He noted his optimistic expectation that the approval process could take a couple years to complete.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted that he attended the following events:
April 21st, guest Council speaker at the RPV Council of Homeowners Association, provided an update on a variety of issues of concern to the group;
April 22nd, stated that he was the first elected guest speaker at the monthly P.V. Chamber Mixer;
April 30th, attended, along with Councilman Wolowicz, the Annual South Bay Women of the Year Switzer Center Awards Luncheon, noting that this is an outstanding event that is worth attending. He encouraged nominations of women from RPV.
Councilman Wolowicz noted that he attended the following events:
April 21st, attended the Palos Verdes Transit Board meeting and received its annual financial statement; and stated that budget restraints may result in increased fees;
April 27th represented this City at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Chambers of Commerce for Ladies Express in Golden Cove Plaza;
April 29th, attended the Medal of Valor Luncheon, which recognizes deserving police and fire personnel from the entire South Bay area;
April 29th, attended the Ladera Linda Homeowner’s Association meeting and discussed topics of concern to their residents; and he encouraged residents to participate in their homeowner’s association events;
April 30th, attended the Annual South Bay Women of the Year Switzer Center Awards Luncheon.
Councilman Long noted that he attended the following events:
May 4th, participated in a regional jury for the American Planning Association, noting that the Los Angeles Air Force Base was one of the nominated projects;
April 17th, attended the Sheriff’s Volunteers Luncheon;
May 1st, attended the Peninsula Education Foundation’s main event.
Mayor Gardiner questioned if staff had received the videotape of the meeting that was conducted regarding the proposed golf course over the landfill.
City Manager Evans responded that a few months ago, staff had made that request in writing at the direction of the attorney representing the developer of the golf course; and he advised that the City has not received any response to that letter. He stated that he has followed up on this issue and that it appears a videotape of that meeting will not be made available.
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
Recruitment for View Restoration Mediators. (1806)
City Manager Evans presented staff report and the recommendation to approve a trial program for the View Restoration Pre-application process utilizing trained mediators rather than volunteers.
Councilman Stern asked why the statistics have fluctuated with the success versus failure rate; and stated that he would like to see a quantifiable result on the activities if Council is to appoint people to this body.
City Manger Evans stated that staff could provide some statistics on the mediating activities.
Mayor Gardiner noted his support for seeking those experienced individuals who volunteer for this body.
Councilman Wolowicz suggested that consideration be given to hiring a skilled mediator who can train others in the mediation process.
City Manager Evans mentioned that the South Bay COG has offered this type of training in the past.
Councilman Long commented on his experience with the View Restoration Commission and the rotation process with the alternates; expressed his belief that the decline in success rates is due to the abolition of the View Restoration Commission because no longer can a mediator speak with the authority that someone would have with Planning Commission experience; stated that he understands the enthusiasm for trying something that will bring fewer cases forward, but noted he is not sure that hiring professional mediators is the right solution. He questioned if this is a systemic problem and whether the City should consider re-establishing the View Commission or instituting a mediation program that involves the members of the Planning Commission who now decide the view issues; but pointed out that the Planning Commission currently has a full load to handle. He noted the helpfulness of the alternates, which made it easier to spread around the workload.
Mayor Gardiner expressed his belief that staff recommendation is a good place to start, the simplest solution to start with; and that he would support a trial program and see where it goes from there.
Councilman Wolowicz suggested that formerly experienced and skilled members from various bodies be sought to participate.
Mayor pro tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve staff recommendation.
Motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Stern, Wolowicz, and Gardiner
Councilman Tom Long’s visit with legislators in Washington, D.C. (1101)
Councilman Long advised that he and his would be taking a trip to Washington, D.C., next week for a few days, and noted his interest in meeting with various electeds to talk about matters of concern to RPV. He advised that he was able to get a meeting with staff from the offices of Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, and Dana Rohrabacher; and asked the Council for suggestions on what to discuss with these individuals.
Councilman Wolowicz asked that he urge great support for the L.A. Air Force Base and to comment on what the City has done in this regard and how the issue impacts the City’s residents; and he suggested that he discuss HUD’s control over the Navy housing and the manner in which the additional 78 homeless housing units were arbitrarily decided without much discussion or input from the local residents. He suggested that tax reform might be a topic to address.
Councilman Long requested that Councilman Wolowicz provide him with an outline of points to discuss concerning the Air Force base.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that he would prepare some background information for Councilman Long’s visit to Washington, D.C., regarding the Air Force base.
City of Palos Verdes Estates Weight Limit Ordinance. (1101)
City Manager Evans presented staff report and the recommendation to get the history on the PVE development that dictated the use of RPV streets for trucks and to write letter to PVE stating this is not an appropriate condition and that RPV would not like to see on future proposals.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted his discomfort to see a sister peninsula city take what he views as an offensive action to not allow pass-through trucks using their streets to come into RPV for various future projects that would be enjoyed by all peninsula residents; and he stated he finds this action to be troubling given that it was done without first consulting RPV. He pointed out that he routinely sees residents from Palos Verdes Estates enjoying RPV facilities.
Councilman Stern questioned if there have there been any complaints from the residents of Palos Verdes Estates that has resulted in this action. He expressed his belief that most trucks do not need to utilize the streets in Palos Verdes Estates to get to RPV, believing that the trucks either come from San Pedro or come from Torrance on Hawthorne Boulevard; and that he does not see this action as a problem. He noted that Palos Verdes Estates (PVE) is largely residential and that it is not unreasonable for that city to protect its neighborhoods.
Councilman Long stated that he sees both sides of this issue, but expressed his belief this ordinance is reflective of a poor peninsula wide community spirit, noting that trucks have traveled through RPV to get to projects in PVE. He noted his inclination to file this matter away, keeping a wait-and-see attitude should some problem arise in the future.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned if this ordinance could cause a problem for RPV residents, whether it be moving vans, trash trucks, or for business projects, such as Long Point or Ocean Trails.
City Manager Evans expressed his belief that this ordinance probably would not cause a problem, noting that most truck traffic entering the City comes in from San Pedro or from Torrance on Hawthorne Boulevard.
Councilman Stern noted his concurrence that the ordinance is not a neighborly attitude to take; and stated that PVE should not be shifting their trucks into RPV.
Mayor Gardiner requested that staff be alert to any complaints that arise from RPV’s residents where this ordinance has caused a problem, and that further discussion ensue if a complaint arises in the future.
Councilman Long noted his support for staff to research the history on the PVE development that dictated the use of RPV for trucks.
Councilman Stern noted his concurrence with staff recommendation.
With regard to a past Palos Verdes Estates project that required the trucks to utilize RPV’s roads, City Attorney Lynch explained that there was a mitigation measure to repair any damage to RPV’s streets as a result of those project activities in Palos Verdes Estates.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to support staff recommendation. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
COUNCIL DISCUSSION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS & SUGGESTION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:
Mayor pro tem Clark requested that a future agenda include discussion of Seaview’s status in the moratorium area.
City Manager Evans noted for Mayor pro tem Clark that staff has already placed that issue on the City Council’s website as unfinished business, Item No. 2.
Mayor pro tem Clark requested a future invitation for the P.V. Chamber Leadership to provide before City Council an overview regarding ideas in which the Chamber could collaborate with RPV on improving the business environment in the City and on the peninsula.
Citing the lengthy City Council agendas, Mayor Gardiner noted his opposition to any lengthy presentations by the Chamber at City Council meetings; and suggested that RPV City Talk be utilized for that particular discussion – pointing out that he is not opposed to any brief presentations at City Council meetings.
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
With respect to the City Manager’s performance evaluation, City Attorney Lynch stated that this matter was concluded and that Council gave her direction to bring back a contract agreement to be placed on the agenda for consideration and adoption.
With respect to the issue concerning the franchise agreement, City Attorney Lynch stated that further direction was given to the City’s negotiators.
City Attorney Lynch stated that no action was taken with respect to the possible litigation from York Long Point.
Cox Communications hearing regarding Notice of Non-Compliance. (605 x 1101)
Councilman Long explained that he would recuse himself from consideration of this matter because his firm does work for Cox Communications, albeit out of another location than where he works, and that the work is unrelated to RPV, however, he chose to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Councilman Long then left the Council Chambers.
Assistant City Manager Petru presented staff report and the recommendation to receive testimony on the Notice of Non-Compliance to Cox Communications.
Mayor Gardiner questioned if Cox had responded to the City’s April 8, 2004 letter.
Assistant City Manager Petru stated that to her knowledge, Cox has not responded to that letter nor provided the customer response statistics for the second half of 2002. She stated that Cox did fulfill its obligation of the franchise in 2001 by creating a segment of must-carry stations on one of its commercial programs on Channel 12; and noted that because 3 years have elapsed since that segment, there would be another opportunity for them to do a similar show as part of their broadcasting on Channel 12. She noted that another option might be for Cox to provide an insert in their billing statements to customers or perhaps including something on their website; and indicated that she can offer a few suggestions if Cox is interested. With regard to Item No. 3, she noted that Cox has complied with the requirement of posting information on the Channel 3 reader board regarding the procedure for filing a complaint, but questioned whether that is the best way to relay that information.
Assistant City Manager Petru stated the only thing Cox has done since its franchise agreement was renewed in 2001 was to include a small segment in one of their commercial programs about must-carry stations; advised that Cox has not done anything since that she is aware of and that the one thing Cox has done within the last month is to place a small blurb on the City’s reader board on Channel 3 at the head of the scroll, giving a brief description of a must-carry station and a reference to the FCC website. She noted that it does not list the must-carry stations. She noted that Cox has complied with No. 5.
Art Yoon, representing Cox Communications, stated that it is the opinion of Cox Communications that it is in compliance with the agreement; and noted that there is room to improve in some areas and that Cox is working closely with staff to improve in the areas cited by the letter issued to Cox by the City Manager. He noted that he is now in possession of the information requested by the City, and he distributed those materials to the Council at this time. He stated that Cox has exceeded Federal Communications standards and stated that Cox is in compliance with Exhibit B, Item Nos. 1 and 2; and noted that Cox is available to its customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
With regard to Exhibit B, Item No. 3, Mr. Yoon stated that in Cox’s view, the agreement does not indicate there must be on-going public education; and that Cox had minimally satisfied this requirement in 2001; but noted that Cox is willing to do more if the City so desires.
With regard to Exhibit B, Item No. 4, Mr. Yoon stated that Cox has been providing this paid service voluntarily to the City, without charge to the City, and that this information has also been sent to the customers in the annual reports.
With regard to Exhibit B, Item No. 5, Mr. Yoon stated that because of the large amount of paperwork, Cox had submitted only the top page of the materials and had indicated the corresponding codes for clarification. He added that Cox responds fairly quickly to all calls and satisfies the needs of its customers.
Highlighting the numerous information/materials provided by Mr. Yoon at this meeting, Councilman Wolowicz asked that a report be provided to Council which categorically explains and clarifies the technical data provided and to report any improvements or trends moving in a positive/negative manner.
Mr. Yoon offered to clarify for staff and Council any data reflected in the materials; and reiterated that customer care is very important to Cox.
Because of the submittals from Mr. Yoon at the meeting, Mayor Gardiner stated that additional time would be needed to evaluate whether Cox has complied with the requirements.
Councilman Stern questioned why it took Cox this long to generate the requested information.
Mr. Yoon stated that he was hired by Cox in 2003 and advised that at the end of 2003, there had been a large number of staff cuts; pointed out that Cox responds to numerous requests from the City on a daily basis; that Cox is expedient with its responses; and that this untimely response is not something that typifies the work done by Cox.
Mayor Gardiner questioned why Cox had not responded to the City’s April 8th letter.
Addressing Mayor Gardiner’s inquiry, Mr. Yoon stated that Cox did not agree with the City’s assertions of noncompliance and that Cox believed this forum would be the appropriate place to respond to the City’s letter. He added that Cox did respond to the first letter, but after the second letter from the City had not changed in its presumption of noncompliance, it was Cox’s desire to address the issue in a hearing.
Councilman Stern questioned Cox’s intent to meet the minimum requirement of posting the required information only once.
Responding to Councilman Stern’s question, Mr. Yoon noted that Cox has met its minimum requirement; that Cox has not charged the City for the reader board activities as a gesture of charity, but that Cox may have to review the practice of this charitable contribution if the City has a problem with this effort.
Mr. Yoon stated that it was Cox’s goal to find out exactly what RPV is seeking and how the City wants Cox to respond, whether it be on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis.
Mayor Gardiner stated that he is pleased Cox is willing to cooperate.
Mr. Yoon suggested that Cox meet with the Cable Subcommittee to provide further information and clarification.
There being no further input, Mayor Gardiner closed the public hearing.
City Attorney Lynch suggested that the public hearing remain open if staff is to provide a report concerning the data submitted by Mr. Yoon this evening.
There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner re-opened the public hearing in regard to this matter.
Mayor pro tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to continue this matter to the July 6, 2004 City Council meeting. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 P.M. on motion of Councilman Stern.
/s/ Peter C. Gardiner
/s/ Jo Purcell