RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
MAY 18, 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 7:15 P.M., the meeting was reconvened.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Gardiner
Also present were Assistant City Manager Carolynn Petru; City Attorney Carol Lynch; Assistant to the City Manager Gina 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; Administrative Assistant Carla Morreale; and, Recording Secretary Dianne McGivern.
Assistant City Manager Carolynn Petru led the flag salute.
Mayor Gardiner thanked all those involved with the production of City Talk for their diligent work. He mentioned that the program might be an effective way to communicate the development of the new prescription drug card available to those under Medicare.
Mayor Gardiner announced the recycle winner for the month of May was Mrs. Iran Piot, 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, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the Agenda as submitted. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Kathy Snell, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed grave concern over the arrival of the mosquito carrying the West Nile Virus. She cited statistics divulging 65 positive findings of the virus in wild birds. She recommended screening in patios and decks, keeping animals inside. She warned that chickens can carry the virus and should be secluded from others.
Ms. Snell also cautioned about standing water and its attraction to the mosquito.
Lois Knight LaRue, Rancho Palos Verdes, thanked the City for the signs posted regarding
the landslide. She opined that the paving of the road is incorrect.
Rod White, Miraleste Hills, Rancho Palos Verdes, complained about an ongoing construction project adjacent to his property. He inquired as to the permission of the landowner from the City to conduct such extensive work. He claimed no knowledge of any geological testing and expressed concern that the work may compromise the stability of the land.
Director Rojas suggested meeting with Mr. White to determine what his specific concerns were in an effort to address them.
Mayor Gardiner requested to review the photographs Mr. White had provided for illustration.
Councilman Stern requested a short synopsis of the meeting between Mr. Rojas and Mr. White once it is concluded.
Mayor pro tem Clark indicated that he had received an email regarding the issue. He asked whether he could review the photographs that Mr. White had provided.
Mr. White explained that the photos reflected the condition of his property currently and a month prior to the excavation of slopes.
CITY MANAGER REPORT:
City Assistant Manager Carolynn Petru announced that there would be a Traffic Committee Meeting held on May 24th to discuss the Mira Vista Traffic Calming Plan. She indicated that an overview of the plan as well as proposed amendments and modifications to the plan would be reviewed. She directed the public to call the Public Works Department or to visit the Cityís website for further information.
Mayor Gardiner asked whether there would be adequate space to accommodate all of the attendees and also sufficient time for all those who wish to speak.
Director of Public Works Dean Allison indicated that the meeting would be held at Hesse Park in order to accommodate the expected larger attendance.
City Assistant Manager Petru advised that, according to the technician, an adjacent room could be equipped with a monitor and chairs for the overflow crowd.
Councilman Stern requested minimally an audio feed to a second room in the absence of obtaining a dual monitor feed.
City Assistant Manager Petru offered to look into it.
Councilman Wolowicz proposed pulling Items 4 (Professional Services Agreement with SRRE) and 6 (Appointment to Ridgecrest Recreation & Park District Board) for clarification.
Councilman Stern indicated significant revisions to the minutes before they are approved.
He suggested discussing it after the break. Councilman Long indicated that he had provided some revisions as well. Mayor Gardiner suggested deferring approval of the minutes to the next meeting. Councilman Wolowicz agreed that in the absence of the City Clerk, it would be advisable. Mayor Gardiner removed approval of the minutes and deferred it until the next meeting.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the consent calendar as amended.
Motion to waive full reading.
Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at this meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all Council Members after the reading of the title.
Claim Against the City by Willdan Corporation. (303)
Rejected the claim and directed staff to notify the claimant.
Commercial Refuse and Collection Agreement with Abel Roll-Off. (1301)
Authorized the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute a Non-Exclusive Franchise Agreement for Commercial Refuse Collection and Disposal Services with Abel Roll-Off to be effective through December 31, 2004.
Amendment to the City Managerís Employment Agreement. (1101)
Approved the Fifth Amendment to the City Managerís Employment Agreement.
Resol. No. 2004-41: Register of Demands.
ADOPTED RESOL. NO. 2004-41, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ALLOWING CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEMANDS AND SPECIFYING FUNDS FROM WHICH THE SAME ARE TO BE PAID.
The motion to approve the amended Consent Calendar carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
# # # # # # #
Item Nos. 4 and 6 removed from the Consent Calendar.
Award a Three-Year Professional Services Agreement for Source Reduction and
Recycling Element (SRRE) and Used Oil Block Grant Implementation, and Support Services. (1301)
Councilman Wolowicz inquired as to whether senior staff had seen the written questions he had submitted.
Director of Public Works Dean Allison confirmed that staff had reviewed those particular questions.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned how much the City received on the used oil block grant.
Director Allison indicated that approximately $15,000 per year was received by the City.
Councilman Wolowicz queried whether the instant proposal was to use those allotted funds for the proposed Service Agreement. He indicated additional reserve funds totaling $591,000.
Director Allison indicated affirmatively; that the consultant the City uses is focusing on increasing recycling and reducing sources. He suggested using part of the block grant fund and the waste reduction fund to pay for the $3,000 contract.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned how K.J. Services was selected as they had not submitted a bid.
Director Allison responded that K.J. Services was selected based upon their qualifications for the contract. He stated that the contract was for time and materials, so selecting the most qualified firm was the priority.
Councilman Wolowicz asked about the WRAP Awards for potential businesses. He inquired whether they were businesses operating within Rancho Palos Verdes.
Director Allison confirmed that the merchants reside within the City. He stated that to date no merchants have qualified to receive the grant, but they are pursuing the funding to help the R.P.V. merchants.
Councilman Wolowicz further inquired into the S.C.S. obtaining grants.
Director Allison reported successfully obtaining a $50,000 grant for food reuse. He stated that the basic premise is to pick up unwanted food from restaurants and supply it to charitable organizations. He added that it also diminishes the amount of refuse from the City.
Councilman Wolowicz expressed approval noting that receiving benefit while ensuring positive cash flow is worthwhile.
Director Allison outlined the AB-9 issue in that it will reduce the amount of construction disposal to the city, as it is extraordinarily high, by means of a recycling of some materials.
He stated that five years prior green waste recycling was implemented and as a result today the City enjoys a 52 percent reduction in green waste.
Councilman Wolowicz suggested posting the information on the website.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Gardiner, to accept the recommendation. The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
Commercial Refuse and Collection Agreement with Abel Roll-Off. (1301)
City Attorney Lynch reminded Mayor Gardiner that there was an amendment contract to Consent Calendar Item No. 5, which was previously approved.
Councilman Stern asked whether it included changes.
City Attorney Lynch described one change on the term issue.
Councilman Stern explained that the contract was scheduled to end December 31, but the verbiage was ambiguous. He also described missing letters on Page 11 of the handout.
City Attorney Lynch stated that that item was already in the packet.
Ridgecrest Rancho Recreation & Parks District. (1200)
Councilman Wolowicz expressed concern that the appointment of Mr. Carter would be in the absence of a resume or a summary questionnaire.
City Attorney Lynch confirmed that the task of verifying a personís qualifications to sit on a city committee is not within the City Councilís purview. She stated that the board is authorized to make their own appointments. She further clarified by stating that the only time the Council steps in is when the board fails to make a timely appointment as required by law.
Mayor pro tem Clark asked whether the staff report was inaccurate in its statement that the Council confirmed the appointment.
City Attorney Lynch indicated that in some respects that is true, but that it was more to acknowledge the fact that an appointment had been made.
Councilman Stern moved to reject the recommendation because it does not contain the discretion of the City Council.
City Attorney Lynch suggested changing the word to "acknowledge" rather than "confirm."
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Chairman Wolowicz, for staff approval with the amendment.
Mayor Gardiner so ordered, hearing no objection.
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
Authorization for California Water Service Company to File a Conditional Use Perm
Application for a Mobile Radio Antenna at City Hall. (605 x 1101)
Councilman Stern inquired as to why the California Water Service was exempt from the penalty for installing equipment without a permit.
City Assistant Manager Carolynn Petru stated there was no specific reason. She indicated that California Water Service had a representative present to answer questions.
Councilman Wolowicz clarified that the installation of the antenna was to allow California Water Service to communicate with their employees rather than for revenue-producing purposes. He asked whether other entities have installed antennas for similar reasons.
City Assistant Manager Petru responded that Edison maintains a similar antenna on the monopole at City Hall. She further stated that the antenna was installed based on a miscommunication between California Water and City Manager Les Evans.
Councilman Wolowicz inquired into the purpose for the fees.
Ms. Petru confirmed that the fees the City is seeking are the application fee and the penalty fees, which include calculated fees for building inspection and plan check.
Councilman Wolowicz inquired whether the water pressure problem as mentioned in the staff report had been satisfactorily resolved.
City Assistant Manager Petru indicated that the County Fire Department and California Water have met and Fire Officials have indicated they are satisfied that there is adequate emergency water. She also stated that California Water has plans to check the valves that service RPV to address the surging issue.
Councilman Stern recollected that California Water installed the antenna without permits or any written permission.
City Assistant Manager Petru confirmed.
Mayor Gardiner inquired into past practices of waiving fees.
City Assistant Manager Petru explained that there had been requests in the past, but that there was no pattern or precedent to granting or denying them.
Mayor Gardiner asked if waiving the fee would affect public funds.
City Attorney Lynch indicated that as long as it does not cost the taxpayers any more money, that it would not affect public funds. She indicated that the Council had discretion to decide to waive the fees.
Mayor Gardiner asked what the fee was.
Ms. Petru stated that the C.U.P application was $2,400 and that the penalty was the same amount.
Councilman Stern recalled that there were standards that were applied in consideration of waiving fees, although he noted that none had been claimed in this circumstance.
Ms. Petru responded that California Water had not raised the issue of fees. She stated that staff initiated the discussion as it would be an issue at the time of filing an application.
Mayor Gardiner inquired into the factors employed to waive fees in the past.
Councilman Stern stated that even though there had been requests while he has been on the Council, there had been none granted.
City Assistant Manager Petru cited financial hardship and staff error as being on the list of factors.
Ross Moilan, California Water Service, confirmed that the antenna was being used for communication between its employees. He confirmed that there was miscommunication between a former employee of Cal Water and the City. He also indicated that a long period of time elapsed between that conversation and the installation of the antenna. He stated that California Water was not seeking special treatment and would be willing to pay the fees.
City Assistant Manager Petru stated that if they were successful in their C.U.P. application that a lease agreement would be required with the City.
Councilman Stern asked of staff whether California Water would be able to use the antenna for personal use or just for company use.
City Attorney Lynch suggested specifying conditions within the C.U.P. that the antenna is solely for communication among the employees within their scope of work.
Mr. Moilan indicated that California Water would be amenable to such a condition.
Councilman Long asked whether the Federal Telecommunications Act had any governing effect.
City Attorney Lynch stated that because it is private property, it is exempt from the actís purpose.
Mayor pro tem Clark moved for staff recommendation to authorize the City Manager to sign the Conditional Use Permit application to allow California Water Service Company to seek application for a mobile radio antenna facility at City Hall.
Councilman Stern moved that California Water be subject to all after-the-fact permit penalty fees.
Councilman Long seconded the motion, as amended.
Mayor Gardiner so ordered the motion as amended, without objection.
Abalone Cove Sewer Maintenance Fee. (1900 x 1204)
Director of Public Works Dean Allison presented the staff report and the recommendation to (1) Request staff to prepare an annual report for FY04-05 that includes a City subsidy of $10,540, and (2) Request staff to modify the FY04-05 budget to include a General Fund appropriation of $10,540 for the Abalone Cove Sewer Maintenance District.
Director Allison stated that staffís further recommendation was to establish fees in accordance with the maximum allowed and to do a ballot vote next year to stabilize the District budget and reduce the subsidy to zero.
Councilman Stern asked how it could cost $10,000 to do a ballot for 160 homes.
Director Allison indicated that the estimate and report was forwarded by the Engineering Department and that he had no personal knowledge of its details.
Councilman Wolowicz expressed concern over the decision whether or not to maintain subsidies for storm drains and sewers. He asked for clarification of staffís recommendation to have a yearlong study reduced to two to three months.
Director Allison confirmed and stated that the City would be locked into the rates until next year.
City Attorney Lynch stated that the information had to get to the County by August 10, 2004 for it to appear in the tax roles.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that performing the study in an abbreviated manner might not be fruitful as the issues have not yet been defined.
Mayor Gardiner asked how long the system had been in place.
Director Allison responded three years and added that for the first year the maintenance was the responsibility of the contractor and the supplier of the grinder pumps.
Mayor Gardiner inquired what the contract price was for maintenance the first year. He suggested doing research into other entities that have the same system to find out what their operating costs are and if there is a pattern. He also recommended finding out what the lead-time is to repair and the cost of labor.
Mayor Gardiner indicated the cost of doing the ballot is significant compared with the yield of knowledge it will generate.
Director Allison stated that having the ballot would serve to notify the neighbors to give them assurance that their costs will not increase.
Mayor Gardiner indicated that there are various ways to gain confidence in numbers. He inquired as to what would happen if half of the voters voted no.
Director Allison responded that then the current budget would have to suffice, perhaps sacrificing some maintenance in the face of the system malfunctioning.
Mayor Gardiner indicated the importance of the voters understanding the compromise in maintenance they would make if they decided not to further fund the project.
Kathy Snell, Rancho Palos Verdes, reminisced that when sewers had been discussed regarding Abalone Cove that the City would subsidize certain parts of it. She stated that they were put in for slide abatement and the stabilization of P.V. Drive South. She reminded the Council that when the vote was taken that the residents living higher up on the hill were guaranteed gravity flow. She stated that instead many pumping devices were installed that pumped the water someplace else.
Ms. Snell encouraged the Council to review the records of maintenance to establish that the current system has had more review than any other system in Los Angeles. She indicated that the fees of $6-700 per year were set aside for maintenance compared to the $18.00 that is spent.
Mayor Gardiner requested the minutes of the meeting where the system was originally discussed.
City Attorney Lynch indicated that they are available. She clarified that the subsidy was established to bring equality to people that would end up having to pay more. However, that subsidy was dependent on a yearly approval by the City.
Mayor Gardiner asked whether the City benefits financially in maintenance as a result of the sewer being installed.
Director Allison confirmed the accuracy of Ms. Snellís statement that the sewer was installed primarily as a landslide mitigation device.
Mayor Gardiner asked for specific numbers to evaluate whether the installation of the sewer has made a difference in maintenance.
Director Allison stated that the cost for maintaining the 8/10ths of a mile on P.V. Drive South has increased since when the road was put in.
Councilman Stern asked when the road was rebuilt.
Director Allison responded that four years ago the road was built as a cost of a million dollars.
City Attorney Lynch suggested consulting GPS data for clarification of which part of the road was rebuilt.
Councilman Wolowicz indicated the need to evaluate a comparison of benefit between the utility of the road and the use of the sewer.
City Attorney Lynch stated that the maintenance sewer fee has not yet been established as the report from the engineer is not complete. She clarified that it was based on E.D.U. equivalent dwelling units and an examination of the type of sewer system they had. She stated that some sewers are completely gravity, some have a combination of gravity and pump, and some are entirely a pressure pump, the latter being the most expensive.
City Attorney Lynch described that the calculation of the fee was based on the type of system and the usage rather than district assessment. She stated that the fee cannot exceed the cost of the system; otherwise, it would be a tax.
Mayor Gardiner stated that the City ought to subsidize the cost if it benefits the City as well as the instant residents.
Councilman Stern asked whether an analysis could be done to determine whether proportionately it would be feasible for the City to subsidize.
Councilman Stern remembered that when the sewer was installed that the subsidization of fees would be temporary at best.
Assistant City Manager Petru stated that the minutes from the original discussion were not as detailed as they are currently and may not reflect the discussion.
City Attorney Lynch stated that the sewer was built with funds from a settlement relating to a landslide. She indicated that despite the various options for the use of the funds, the Council decided to put the money towards the sewer. She stated that since the sewer was paid for, it was thought at the time that the residents utilizing the system would bear the responsibility for maintenance.
Mayor pro tem Clark responded to the speaker indicating that the $18 sewer fee was an aberration; that it falls significantly below what the actual costs for maintaining the sewer are.
Councilman Stern requested Staff to obtain detailed data to allow the Council to analyze and get the vote to ballot next year.
Councilman Wolowicz also requested a report from Staff.
Mayor Gardiner expressed interest in the cost to mail out and have returned the ballots.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to accept the recommendation. The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
Code Amendment (Planning Case No. ZON2004-00142): Landslide Moratorium Exception Clarification and Revisions. (Continued from May 5, 2004.) (1801)
City Attorney Lynch explained that this reintroduction of the ordinance was to ensure that the urgency ordinance had been adopted.
Mayor pro tem Clark confirmed that the ordinance had been adopted.
Councilman Stern inquired into Section 6 of the Ordinance, paragraph 15.20.040H, as to what it might encompass.
City Attorney Lynch gave examples of detached garages, some stables, barns, storage sheds.
Kathy Snell, Rancho Palos Verdes, confirmed Councilman Sternís comment regarding the settlement money used to re-contour P.V. Drive South near Wayfarerís Chapel.
Ms. Snell requested that the moratorium exception ordinance be preserved as West Seaview is still moving, despite the 20 years of additions onto properties in that area.
She presented pictures depicting cracks in the roadway. She stated that with the repeal of the ordinance homeowners still have rights.
She cited the West Nile Virus as very dangerous and encouraged the Council to leave the ordinance as it is to allow people to install patio covers and screens as protection from the virus.
Mayor pro tem Clark moved, seconded by Council Wolowicz, to accept Staff recommendation. The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
CITY COUNCIL REPORTS:
Councilman Wolowicz reported that former Superintendent of Schools for Torrance, Dr. Prank, had passed away. He indicated that Dr. Prank had made a significant contribution to the South Bay.
Mayor pro tem Clark reported on the League of California Cities L.A. Division dinner meeting; that the speaker was the Director of Traffic and Commerce. He stated that Mayor Hahn was launching a new program called "Watch the Road" which attempts to change the behavior of travelers for speed-calming purposes. He explained that the program has been pilot-tested and the City of Los Angeles has spent significant resources for this program.
Mayor pro tem Clark reported on his attendance at the Legislative Days in Sacramento where the initial meeting featured the governor addressing the protection of local revenues. He indicated that he had sent out a report summary of the covered topics.
Councilman Stern reported participating in the Open Space Conference Call. He also attended the L.A. Division League Meeting previously mentioned by Mayor pro tem Clark.
Councilman Long reported meeting with Congressional representatives in Washington D.C. while on vacation.
Mayor Gardiner reported filming an episode of City Talk with City Manager Les Evans.
Council Discussion Of Future Agenda Items & Suggestion Of Future Agenda Items:
Councilman Stern suggested agendizing Brown Act Issues such as inadvertent use of email.
City Attorney Lynch reported meeting with various City committees to update their members on procedures when committee members are turned over or added. She indicated all but the Traffic Committee and the Open Space Task Force have been informed. She indicated she was drafting a Council Policy to be in effect in addition to the Brown Act.
Councilman Long requested adding a noise ordinance to a further agenda.
Mayor pro tem Clark indicated that Bob Lowe from Lowe Enterprises requested a spot on the agenda for the first meeting in June for an update on the status of Long Point.
Closed Session Report:
City Attorney Lynch reported continued negotiations with Cox. She stated that Staff would responded to the letter from Ocean Trails, as directed by the Council, to address certain procedural geologic issues that had been raised.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m. on motion of Councilman Stern.
/s/ Peter C. Gardiner
/s/ Jo Purcell