M I N U T E S
RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
JULY 20, 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.
PRESENT: Clark, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Gardiner
ABSENT: Long (excused)
Also present were City Manager Les Evans; City Attorney Carol Lynch; Deputy Planning Director Greg Pfost; Director of Finance Dennis McLean; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; Senior View Restoration Coordinator Trayci Nelson, Senior Planner Ara Mihranian, Associate Planner David Blumenthal, and Recording Secretary Carla Morreale.
The Mayor invited Cub Scout Pack 435, Den 11 to present the colors and lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Recognition of Cub Scout Pack 435, Den 11.
Mayor Gardiner and the City Council presented a proclamation and City pin to each of the members of Cub Scout Pack 435, Den 11 for their courageous actions in assisting Mike Townsend after he experienced a bicycle accident near Peacock Flats. The Cub Scout members witnessed the accident while on a scouting trip, went to the aid of the semi-conscious man, called 911, and treated him for shock until expert help arrived.
Mike Townsend, the victim of the bicycle accident gave brief details of the accident and thanked the scouts for their life-saving efforts on his behalf.
Mayor Gardiner had no announcements.
There was no recycler of the month for July. Mayor Gardiner encouraged everyone to recycle.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Councilman Stern moved approval of the agenda, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Mel Hughes, Rancho Palos Verdes, chairman of the Rancho Palos Verdes Emergency Preparedness Committee reported that he and committee members had a booth at the July 4th celebration at City Hall where they had the opportunity to share with several hundred people information, materials, and handouts related to preparation for an emergency. He stated that they were able to instruct numerous people on the correct way to turn off the gas valve in the event of an emergency and looked forward to further educating the public in the local neighborhoods.
Jerry Duhovic, Rancho Palos Verdes, president of and representing the Nautilus Homeowners Association and representing the Seaview Homeowners Association on behalf of Tim Burrell, spoke regarding the intersection of Conqueror Drive and Palos Verdes Drive South. He stated that he had several traffic concerns including the traffic patterns to manipulate turns at this intersection, traffic convergence problems, and speeds traveled on the roads in relation to the proposed parking lot for the lookout area near Conqueror Drive. He stated that he believed the entrance to the parking lot should be moved for reasons of safety.
City Manager Evans stated that the scenic park and the turnout was part of the original approved plan in 1992 and a later approval in 1998 where the final design of the park was approved. He stated that the traffic engineers studied this situation as part of the original proposal and believed that the location of the entrance of the parking lot was decided to be the most safe and suitable location for the negotiation of turns.
Councilman Wolowicz asked Deputy Planning Director Pfost to take a second look at the situation and review possible median changes and/or signage to alleviate some of the concerns raised tonight.
Mayor pro tem Clark asked the City Manager if the Public Works Traffic Engineers had felt that from a traffic safety standpoint this did not represent an unusual safety issue.
City Manager Evans confirmed that point and stated that moving the location of the driveway to the parking lot would cause further problems and suggested that the driveway location be either left where it is or deleted.
Mayor Gardiner stated that the item should be agendized at a future meeting when a map to scale of this area and a discussion of the City’s position on this matter can be brought back to Council.
City Manager Evans stated the problem with putting it on a future agenda is that the parking lot was scheduled to be paved this next weekend.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that he believed the City Council could not unilaterally decide to delete this parking lot because the park and parking lot were approved by the City as well as the Coastal Commission as a public service amenity for members of the general public related to the Ocean Trails project.
City Attorney Lynch agreed and said that any change could only be made after a public hearing on this issue.
Councilman Stern stated that he felt that the project should go forward and be completed as is, that Council receive an update on the status in the Friday report, and that the item be agendized in the future if there are problems once the parking lot is built.
Mayor Gardiner suggested that staff review the situation and give an update in the Friday report regarding the matter since City Council was unable to take official action that night.
Lois Larue, of Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that she has become aware that people in the surrounding communities watch the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council meetings and she complimented Councilman Wolowicz for his thoughtful questions asked regarding different items on the agenda.
CITY MANAGER REPORT/OLD BUSINESS:
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the Consent Calendar, as amended.
Motion to waive full reading.
Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at the meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all Council Members after the reading of the title.
Minutes of June 1, 2004. (301)
Approved the minutes.
ORDINANCE NO. 409: RELATING TO PURCHASE ORDERS. (602)
Adopted Ordinance No. 409, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITYOF RANCHO PALOS VERDES RELATING TO PURCHASE ORDERS AND AMENDING SECTION 2.44.070 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE.
Resol. No. 2004-62: Register of Demands.
ADOPTED RESOL. NO. 2004-62, 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 Consent Calendar carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
# # # # #
Resol. No. 2004-63: Appeal of View Restoration Permit No. 161 (Appellant: Michael and Barbara O’Sullivan. (1806)
Mayor Gardiner declared the public hearing open.
Senior View Restoration Coordinator Nelson gave a brief staff report and visual presentation giving a history of the View Restoration Permit No. 161 case and the trees involved. She stated that in April 2004, the Planning Commission ordered the lowering of or removal and replacement of two trees (a Canary Island pine and a eucalyptus tree) on the O’Sullivan property. She reported that at the public hearing the O’Sullivans raised issues about a deck that existed on the Van Klooster property. She reported that the deck was permitted in 1979, the O’Sullivans inquired as to the legality of the deck in 2001, and after a Code Enforcement investigation, staff concluded the deck was legal as-built although there had been an error in citing the square footage of the deck when the building permit was issued and finaled. She stated that the Planning Commission could make no connection between the deck and the matter of the view, and made their ruling pertaining to the view issue alone.
Councilman Stern stated that one of the grounds for appeal was that the O’Sullivans stated they were not allowed a rebuttal period at the Planning Commission meeting and he asked if staff was aware of an argument that the O’Sullivans wished to make other than the ones presented before Council this evening.
Senior View Restoration Coordinator Nelson stated that she was not aware of anything.
Councilman Wolowicz asked if the consensus was that the lowering of the Canary Island Pine would kill the tree and asked if a larger replacement tree than the standard 24-inch box size could be used.
Ms. Nelson replied that the tree would die if severely lowered and that the decision to replace the tree with a 24-inch box tree was based on the fact that the larger the tree is, the slower the growth process and that the 24-inch box tree would be an adequate size tree allowing more of the screening that the O’Sullivans were looking for. She also stated that more than one tree can be planted to replace the one removed to help screen the privacy of the O’Sullivan’s viewing area.
Councilman Wolowicz shared pictures that he took from the site which showed the trees involved in the view restoration permit, the deck belonging to the Van Klooster property, and the viewing areas from the homes of the Youngs, Van Kloosters and O’Sullivans.
Mayor Gardiner stated that 4 of the 5 issues raised as the basis of the appeal were not valid regarding the matter of appeal dealing with the View Ordinance or the decision as a result of the View Ordinance.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that having served as the Chairman of the View Restoration Committee in the past he believed that there were a few cases involving decks and the screening of decks for privacy.
City Attorney Lynch stated that the only time the privacy issue would have come up is when the foliage is located between the upslope home and the rear yard or rear windows of the down slope home.
Councilman Stern stated that the screen was not for privacy but for aesthetics.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that he thought it was an important issue that the deck in question would not be allowed under current development, but that it was allowed under the development standards at that time.
Mike O’Sullivan, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that he and his wife have lived in their home for nearly 43 years, and that they do not want to lose their pine tree since they have substantial investment in the landscaping around their home. He stated that the pine tree screens the Van Klooster deck from their viewing area, and provides privacy in their front yard. Mr. O’Sullivan commended the Planning Commission and Ms. Nelson for their complete review of the issues at hand. He reiterated the items for the basis of his appeal which he stated as the following: 1) the guidelines indicated that one of the purposes of the view ordinance was for neighborhood compatibility; 2) the Van Klooster’s deck was not in compliance with the building code; 3) the fact that he was not allowed a rebuttal at the Planning Commission meeting; and, 4) the relationship between the deck and the tree and solutions to resolve the screening issues related to the deck. Mr. O’Sullivan gave a presentation of photographs displaying different vantage points of the Van Klooster deck and the foliage that screens the deck from view from his property.
Councilman Stern asked Mr. O’Sullivan if he felt he had the opportunity to bring up any information now that he was unable to raise since he was not allowed a rebuttal period at the Planning Commission meeting. He asked how the issue with the deck is related to the view permit before the Council, which is the right to a view from the Van Klooster and Young properties.
Mr. O’Sullivan stated that he felt he was able to address the points he wanted to address in his rebuttal, and that he wanted to make sure there was screening of the view of the deck from his property if his tree is removed.
Mayor Gardiner stated that Mr. O’Sullivan would be granted a three-minute rebuttal after the remaining speakers. He stated that a great deal of Mr. O’Sullivan’s comments tonight were related to the deck, but that if the deck were removed completely the same view issues would remain from the Van Klooster and Young properties.
Mr. O’Sullivan stated that the tree currently provides screening of the view of the deck from the street and their home.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 8:30 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 8:37 P.M.
Barbara O’Sullivan, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that the guidelines of the ordinance "insures the development of each parcel of land, or additions to residences or structures that occur in a manner which is harmonious and maintains neighborhood compatibility" and that the removal of their pine tree would take away from the harmony of the neighborhood. She stated that the removal of the tree would cause the 65-foot deck to be seen from their driveway as well as the cul-de-sac street entrance. She also stated that she is concerned with retaining the privacy of their front yard afforded by the canary pine in question and that if the tree is removed, it should be replaced with another tree to screen the deck from the neighborhood and provide the function of privacy for their front yard.
Mayor Gardiner asked if she would be satisfied if there were a smaller tree or shrub in the front yard to restore the privacy of the front yard and one or two trees planted close to the deck affording screening.
Mrs. O’Sullivan stated that she would be satisfied with that, but that she still felt the code compliance of the deck is an issue that has not been addressed appropriately.
Mayor pro tem Clark asked if screening of the bottom of the deck would help the situation.
Mrs. O’Sullivan stated that screening of that nature would help.
Allen Young, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that he purchased his home in 1968 and that his view of Catalina has been mostly to completely blocked for over 15 years. He requested that the issues regarding the deck be dismissed and that the center portion of their view be partially restored, and that staff’s recommendations be adopted to that end.
Mark Van Klooster, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that the case before the Council is an appeal of a view restoration case not a building code case. He stated that this was not the appropriate venue for the discussion of the code issues related to the deck that was built 24 years ago and that they have always been willing to pursue the planting of foliage to screen the underpinning of the deck. He strongly urged the City Council to uphold the Planning Commission’s decision regarding View Restoration Permit No. 161.
Councilman Wolowicz asked about the screening and noise issues related to the deck.
Mr. Van Klooster stated that they were willing to plant foliage to screen the underpinning of the deck.
Mayor pro tem Clark asked if the Van Klooster’s would be willing to agree to a condition in the approval which required the screening of the underside of the deck with vegetation.
Mr. Van Klooster stated that he would be willing to plant foliage in the spirit of good neighborliness to screen the underside of the deck, but that he was not comfortable with a condition that would not only affect his family but also any future owner of his property.
Mayor Gardiner asked for clarification as to how the requirement to plant foliage to screen the deck when the large tree comes down would work without making it a condition in perpetuity on the property.
City Attorney Lynch stated that she believed there would have to be a condition in place in order to require screening once the tree is removed if the Council made such a decision. She stated that if the foliage is placed voluntarily and the owner wants to remove it later, without the condition they can do so.
Mr. Van Klooster stated that he was not comfortable with placing conditions on future owners although he believed that future owners would want to maintain the screening foliage for reasons of amenability.
Councilman Wolowicz reported that since the property is for sale, the transfer of this type of condition certainly looms large in his mind, but that Mr. Van Klooster’s comments helped in this understanding.
Dale Levander, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that his main concern is to protect the neighbors’ views as they look up at this large deck.
Mr. O’Sullivan stated in his rebuttal that it is not just the underpinning of the deck but also the entire view of the deck that is an issue that easily could be screened by putting trees on the slope. He stated that in View Restoration Case No.145 the applicant agreed to screen for privacy in perpetuity with the land. He stated that another deck above them came before the City Council in 1978 where it was stated that proposed housing must insure the existence of neighboring site privacy and the General Plan states that "housing has been interpreted as to relate also to structures such as decks, balconies, and additions." He stated that in this case, adequate landscaping was required of the applicant for City approval. Regarding the softening of the sound of activity on the deck, Mr. O’Sullivan stated that acoustical material is available at a moderate cost to cushion the deck. He opined that the view restoration process has devastated the neighborhood, because one neighbor had to cut down 18 pine trees eliminating all privacy for three nearby homes; and, he discussed the reduction of the size of the Van Klooster’s deck in order to bring it into compliance without the need for total redesign. He concluded that if his trees are to be removed, he would like to see a requirement for screening of the deck on the applicant’s property.
There being no further speakers on this matter, Mayor Gardiner declared the public hearing closed.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, that the recommendation by staff should be adopted with some modifications. He stated that the O’Sullivans have the option to trim their trees to the specified height or have them removed; and if they opt for removal, the tree, root ball, and stump be completely removed so that any replacement trees have a better chance of survival. He stated that the replacement trees be something larger than the two 24-inch box size to replace the removed tree and he believes the screening of the deck by Mr. Van Klooster should be a requirement.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that it was his understanding that larger trees do not grow faster, and he believed that the 24-inch box trees would serve the purpose better than a larger tree.
Ms. Nelson confirmed that the arborist has always indicated that the smaller the tree, the more heartily it grows because it is attempting to establish itself.
Mayor pro tem Clark requested that the replacement tree size be that which the Planning Commission recommended and echoed his agreement with the required screening of the deck as a result of the removal of the canary pine.
Councilman Wolowicz agreed to modify his motion so that the removed tree be replaced with 24-inch box trees and he agreed to the City staff recommendation of five 5-gallon trees on the slope adjacent to the deck of the same variety that is currently there to be used for the screening of the underpinnings of the deck.
Councilman Stern said the case before the Council was a view restoration case and that the discussion of the deck was irrelevant and that he felt the motion was appropriate.
Mayor pro tem Clark agreed with Councilman Stern.
The motion before the Council was to adopt Resolution No. 2004-63 with the following modifications offered by City Attorney Lynch:
1) A finding be added which states "The issues regarding the Van Klooster’s deck are completely irrelevant to the application to restore the Young’s view. In addition, since the viewing area is in the interior of the Van Klooster residence, as well as from the deck, the issues about the deck and its status are not relevant to the determination of the issuance of the View Restoration Permit."
2) On circle page 13 of Exhibit A to the Resolution, under Pine Tree, Option 2, to read: "Should the foliage owner choose to remove said tree, then two (2) replacement trees, no larger than a twenty-four inch box size, selected by the foliage owner and approved by the View Restoration Arborist, shall be provided by the applicants in the area where the pine tree is located. In addition, the applicants/owners of the property at 7264 Berry Hill Drive also shall provide five, five-gallon plants, which are to be planted on the slope that is adjacent to the deck on that property sufficient to screen the underpinnings of the deck that currently are not screened by existing foliage. The new vegetation is to be of the same variety as the existing vegetation on the slope adjacent to the deck. The owner(s) of the property at 7264 Berry Hill Drive shall maintain all of the foliage that screens the deck, including both the existing foliage and the new foliage that is to be planted, so that the underpinnings of the deck are screened from view."
3) Under Eucalyptus Tree, Option 1, if the eucalyptus tree is to be trimmed and stay in place, she suggested the word "biannual" be replaced with "semi-annual."
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2004-63 AS AMENDED; DENYING THE APPEAL, THEREBY AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION AND APPROVING VIEW RESTORATION PERMIT NO. 161 UPON FINDING THAT ALL APPLICABLE FINDINGS HAVE BEEN CORRECTLY MADE AND ALL PROVISIONS OF SECTION 17.02.040 HAVE BEEN COMPLIED WITH.
Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Tract Map No. 52666 Revision ‘B’ (Applicant: 3200 PVDW, LLC). (1203 x 1411)
City Clerk Purcell stated that there was late correspondence regarding this matter.
Mayor Gardiner declared the public hearing open.
Councilman Stern asked for a brief staff report and asked if a revision was made to the table on circle page 18.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that the revision made to the table on circle page 18 will be presented in the Power Point presentation and proceeded to give a brief staff report and Power Point presentation explaining the applicant’s request for a modification to the grading application to reduce the quantity of earth movement and export; the modification of five pad elevations of Lot Nos. 1, 9, 10, 12 and 13 to be increased; and, the modification of the maximum roof ridge height of Lot 1. He further stated that the City Engineer had reviewed and approved the proposed plan and that his letter of approval was included in the late correspondence package. He also commented on four additional letters of late correspondence from residents on Via Victoria who expressed concern in the event the roof ridgelines were to be altered, which they are not. He stated that one additional resident on Alida Place had submitted late correspondence expressing his concern over the finished grade of the pad elevation next to his home and concern over trickling water that he witnessed in the area that was being graded. Senior Planner Mihranian stated that the City Geologist was in the office on the day the complaint regarding the water was received and that he and the Building Official investigated the situation the same day and concluded that the running water was not a creek or underground spring, but rather the result of the over irrigation of two nearby properties on Alida Place.
Councilman Stern stated that he felt it important to understand that with the exception of Lot 1, the ridgeline was not changing on any lot. He asked if the location of any of the homes was moving on the pads or if that issue had been addressed yet. He asked if the raising of the pads would impact walls, fences, or vegetation as far as the view impairment potential.
Mr. Mihranian responded that the house plans were in the conceptual stage. He noted that the proposed homes would be placed in essentially the previously approved pad area and that the proposed increase to the pads would not create potential view impairment as the roof ridgelines as previously conditioned were not being changed. He also indicated that the homes are subject to neighborhood compatibility and public noticing.
Councilman Wolowicz asked if there is the likelihood of additional changes in elevations on other lots proposed since the elevation had been changed on Lot 1; if the grading would resulted in a decrease in the amount of exported material would cause less disruption in the neighborhood; and asked what assurances staff could give to the neighbors who were raising concerns over design specifications of the homes.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that under this application there would not be changes in the elevations to the other lots; that the reduction in the quantity of earth moved is from 3100 cubic yards to 900 cubic yards; and that specific standards were adopted as part of the conditions of approval of the tract including maximum structure size, and basic footprints. He stated that a site plan review with neighborhood compatibility would be required for each of the lots including the construction of a project silhouette and public notice. He further stated that there would be opportunities for the public to comment on and review the designs for the proposed lots based on the neighborhood compatibility criteria.
Mayor Gardiner asked about the letter from Mr. Aube regarding the concerns he had raised and suggested that perhaps this item should be continued to further investigate the matter.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that the City Geologist was present to answer questions Council might have regarding the alleged water on the site.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 9:50 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 9:55 P.M.
Mayor Gardiner asked the City Attorney if the Council was obliged to hear the speakers present because the matter was a noticed public hearing.
City Attorney Lynch stated that the speakers should be heard unless the matter was to be continued to another meeting. She explained that if continued the date should be stated so that any speaker present who would not be able to attend that meeting would have the opportunity to speak at the present meeting.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that he would be in favor of continuing the item to a date specific.
Councilman Wolowicz asked staff if there was any sense of urgency in this matter and how quickly this item could be brought back to the City Council if continued.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated he would be prepared to bring this matter back to the next Council meeting and that he did not see a sense of urgency or foresee potential delays to the project.
Councilman Stern stated that he was not against continuing the matter but that he was in favor of hearing the information staff and the geologist had to present so that he would be able to significantly process the material and have a better understanding of the matter before the next meeting.
Mayor Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark to continue the matter to the next regularly scheduled City Council meeting of August 3, 2004.
Councilman Stern stated that he was against the motion because he felt it was important to hear the information and speakers present and felt all of the next meetings will be busy and that it would not save time to continue the matter.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that he would like to hear the information.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated he would like to hear the information, but that if it comes to 11:00 P.M. the item will be continued to the next evening.
Mayor Gardiner stated he objected to hearing information about an item he is not prepared to make a decision on due to the receipt of last minute information. He stated that he felt it was not worth taking up valuable Council time to hear information on an item that they were not going to make a decision on that night.
The motion failed on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark and Mayor Gardiner
NOES: Stern and Wolowicz
Senior Planner Mihranian showed a series of slides related to the underground watercourse that Mr. Aube claims to have seen. Senior Planner Mihranian stated that the City Geologist witnessed pooling of water, mold on the façade of the exterior wall of the property, pooling of water around the sump pump drains that are piped to the street. Mr. Mihranian stated that based on the investigation done by the City Geologist and the Building Official illustrated through the slide presentation, the Geologist believed that over irrigation of the Aube property and another property located above Mr. Aube’s was the cause of the water he witnessed on the adjacent lot.
Tony Asahi, architect, stated that he got involved with this project after the tract map and grading plans were approved by the City Council in 2001 and that there were two major changes that he recommended when he joined the project He suggested changing the orientation of the homes on the lots so that the backyards faced the ocean and the garages faced Via Victoria which reduced grading and eliminated the need for a 14-foot retaining wall next to neighboring houses. He stated that this component of the plan was good for the project, the City, Via Victoria residents, and the neighbors immediately adjacent to the property. He stated that there would not be changes in the heights of the houses or fences, nor would the homes be built larger than the boundaries originally approved. He continued that the other proposed change was in the height of the pad of the house on Lot 1 to allow for more privacy for the home off Palos Verdes Drive West. He stated that the view from the house behind Lot 1 would lose a little bit of view but that would be a compromise they were willing to make. He continued to explain that raising the height of the pad of Lot 1 would also afford the continuity of a wall, which already existed on the adjacent property on Alida Place. He stated that the recent issue related to Mr. Aube’s property and the drainage or grading issues involved with that property have nothing to do with the upper four lots.
Sidney Croft, the applicant’s attorney, stated that while designing the homes, there were ways to improve the tract and that the changes proposed to Lot 1 were very minor in nature. He stated that the alleged underground creek is without merit and has been refuted by the City Geologist and the applicant’s geologist.
Hal Arafat, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that he lives across the street from the project and that he was pleased to see the reduction in grading, but asked about the size of the roofs of the homes that he will be looking down on. He asked if there would be conditions put on the project regarding the size of the homes.
Councilman Stern asked staff if there were plans to evaluate the issue at this time.
Senior Planner Mihranian replied that there were no final plans available for the proposed lots at this point, but that when the plans are deemed complete, there will be a public notice sent out and a silhouette erected and the public will have an opportunity to comment on the project and neighborhood compatibility issues.
John Aube’, 7420 Alida Place, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke regarding the new residential construction project under discussion. He stated that he had issues regarding the elevation changes of the adjacent property because the elevation would be significantly higher than his property. He stated that if his neighbor to the north decided to build a wall, it could leave them in a pit, which would destroy their privacy, eliminate light, and decrease the value of their home. He also stated that he had concerns regarding the water that is running near the surface of the land and that he felt the burden of the water could cause a large wall to collapse. He showed four photographs that illustrated changes in elevation and excessive water that he stated could not have come from his yard sprinklers. He stated that there was a great deal of clay soil in the adjacent development, the City’s photographs illustrated that the sump pumps on his property work and drain into the street as they should, and that the patio subsurface drains are working. Mr. Aube stated that his request is to amend the grading plan and elevation that is adjacent to his property.
Councilman Stern asked if Mr. Aube was next to Lot 1.
Mr. Aube replied that he was not and stated that he is next to Lot 3.
Councilman Stern stated that there was not a proposed change to the elevation of Lot 3 and asked the City Attorney if the developer has a vested right in the elevation.
City Attorney Lynch replied that the developer does not have a vested right, and that he has approval to construct on the lots as is. She stated that the applicant is requesting a modification of the Tentative Map and that once the map is opened up, other issues can be examined to see if other adjustments should be made.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that the speaker’s input regarding the elevation approved is not contestable.
Mr. Aube stated that when new information comes to light, such as the discovery of a watercourse that was not there before, previous approvals should be voided.
Mayor Gardiner stated that he noticed in one of the pictures that the sprinklers were on and that he felt that was not a good time to investigate and draw conclusions about water.
Jim Lancaster, City Geologist, stated that when the sprinklers are operating is actually a good time to see how the water flows; how much is entering the ground and how it is running off. He stated that it is not just Mr. Aube’s property that water is being generated from, but the entire area of Alida Place. He stated that the property above Mr. Aube’s appeared to have been over watered due to the water exiting the area drains, even though they had not been watering while the site was being investigated. He continued to explain that when water in the subsurface reaches a point where it can exit, it will do so. He stated that in investigating the outside edges of the walls in that area, the only areas where there was seepage was right below the sump pmp on the Aube’s property, which could mean the sump pump was leaking or had a gravel backfill around it which allowed water to seep out once it was excavated to that point. He stated that the amount of water that was flowing into the excavation was very minor and that he believed the water Mr. Aube spoke about during grading might have been applied water by the grader to keep dust down. He also explained that when fill is being compacted, water has to be added to every piece or lift of dirt that is placed on it in order to be effective.
Councilman Wolowicz asked if Mr. Aube desired the project to come to a complete halt.
Mr. Aube stated that he did not expect that, but stated he had major concerns including the creation of a cliff by the grading that was going on.
Councilman Wolowicz asked the geologist about the hydrology of the lots.
City Geologist Lancaster stated that one of the requirements in a project like this was the placement of sub-drains. He stated that he originally went out to examine the water issue on the grading and was told that a sub-drain system was being placed in the area where the seepage was evident so that any water that would enter that area would be intercepted and taken off-site. He reported that this is a standard procedure in a grading operation. He continued to explain that actually determining where the water was coming from would be very difficult and costly, requiring pits in numerous locations across the area, examining the chemical composition of the water, and putting dyes into the ground with irrigation to determine the exact location it was coming from.
Councilman Wolowicz asked if there had been any other indications that had come to the attention of staff from any of the neighbors indicating water problems.
City Geologist Lancaster stated he was not aware of any complaints from neighbors in the area. He stated that 18 pits had been dug in the original geological investigation and there was no evidence of seepage although there were some moist soils found. He reported that the area had layered materials including fill, topsoil, alluvian soils, and bedrock. He stated that to his knowledge there has not been any seepage noticed in that area. He stated he felt the seepage was caused by irrigation because it was isolated to one location and it did not show up all over the place.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that they have had no other indication of this type of problem from any of the neighboring properties.
Mayor pro tem Clark asked if staff was aware of any concerns regarding the elevation issues when the original project was approved.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that there were no concerns raised at the time the Tentative Tract was being considered. He stated that there was a great deal of thought put into the terracing and the placement of the pads with transition slopes so that the situation would not be like the one that exists at Alida Place, where lots, boundary lines, and walls are right next to each other. He stated that the transition slopes were put in place to create more of an open feeling that followed the natural topography and that there were adopted project conditions prohibiting development on the transition slopes. He further explained that Mr. Aube’s property was originally a split-level lot, but that when the lot was proposed to be developed, a height variation and a grading permit was approved to lower the low allowing for the existing two story-structure.
Mayor Gardiner stated that he has some concerns about the water and that he intends to take another look at the situation.
Tony Asahi, architect, stated that the project has three different aspects and he requested a separation of the project so that grading work could proceed.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that instead of piece-mealing the project, it would make more sense to keep the project intact and continue it to the next meeting so that resolutions and conditions can be brought back that reflect what had been discussed.
Mayor pro tem Clark concurred and stated that he would like to go out to the location and see the current status of the subdivision.
Mayor Gardiner asked if any of the neighbors have been talked to regarding the issue of the water.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that the neighbors on Alida Place have all received notices regarding the development of the tract and that staff has not received any correspondence from them.
Mike Cooper, grading contractor, stated that when they excavated Lot 3, the ground was saturated. He reported that when the sprinklers were running on Mr. Aube’s property they could see the water trickling through the bank and after the sprinklers were off for approximately 40 minutes, the water would stop running through. He stated that during one period the sprinklers were turned off for 3 or 4 days and everything dried out and they were able to recompact Lot 3. He stated there was a direct relationship between the sprinklers and the flowing water.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to continue this item to the next Council meeting of August 3, 2004, so that staff could return with a report to address all of the issues mentioned tonight.
Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
Councilman Wolowicz noted that he brought materials from two meetings he had previously attended, the 40th anniversary celebration at the City of Lomita and an event at the Sheriff’s Department Headquarters. He reported that the Palos Verdes Transit meeting scheduled to be held on July 15th was cancelled due to the ongoing illness of President and General Manager John Meyers.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted that he attended a Special Meeting of the South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG) Board of Directors where the budget was adopted for this year except for one project which will be coming back to the Board. He noted that he was elected the Second Vice-President of the SBCCOG. He reported that he and Councilman Wolowicz represented the City Council at the City-sponsored Palos Verdes Chamber Mixer on July 15, 2004, at the new television station at City Hall.
Mayor Gardiner reported that he attended a Cable Subcommittee meeting before he left for the East coast but had no progress to report.
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
Status of City Council Tactical Goals for 2004-2005. (306)
Mayor Gardiner requested a brief staff report.
City Manager Evans stated that the City Council was 6 months into its work on the Core Tactical Goals and he suggested three milestones that the Council might wish to amend. The first was a recommendation to change the date from February 1, 2005, to June 1, 2005, to Purchase the Portuguese Bend Open Space Properties. He stated the second milestone was regarding the Open Space, Park and Recreation Master Plan and the recommendation "That by December 31, 2004, the City Council will approve a Master Plan for Upper Point Vicente Park and Lower Point Vicente Park as well as locations for up to four Girls’ Softball fields and direct staff to recommend phasing of the Plans." He stated that the last milestone was also regarding the Open Space, Park and Recreation Master Plan Space, Park and Recreation Master Plan and the recommendation to change the milestone to read: "By June 1, 2005, the City Council will approve a phasing program for Upper Point Vicente Park, Lower Point Vicente Park and up to four Girls’ Softball fields and direct staff to proceed with design and financing plans to implement the phasing programs."
Councilman Wolowicz stated that there were a number of other points not addressed because the City Council ran out of time at the June 29, 2004 City Council meeting including the following issues: the NCCP boundary and buffering requirements; minor improvements for the City park sites; and, work on the Conceptual Trails Plan. He stated that he had identified other items that were not yet addressed including Abalone Cove, Shoreline Park, Lower Hesse Park, the buildings at Ladera Linda, Lower Pt. Vicente outdoor area uses, Del Cerro Park, Wallace Ranch, and the potential sale of a portion combined with the development of a park at the Grandview Park site.
Mayor pro tem Clark commented on action taken at the meeting of June 29, 2004. He stated that he believed the Council had approved in concept the vision of a new Civic Center and City center at Upper Point Vicente with the idea that the actual components needed to be worked out. He stated that he felt that was the most important decision made by the City Council that evening.
Tom Redfield, Rancho Palos Verdes, commented on one Strategic Goal of the four that were approved. He stated that he felt that after working for two years with staff, the Sheriff’s Department, various committees and commissions, and HOAs, he has found that the Traffic Committee is a reactive committee dealing with individual issues, but not dealing with Citywide traffic calming issues. He stated that unless the City Council approves the addition of three more full-time Sheriff Deputies, there is no way there will be significant traffic calming Citywide.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted that regarding the Citywide traffic and parking issues, the first milestone had been met in that the City Council and Traffic Committee held a joint workshop by March 30th, where the motion was adopted to have the Traffic Committee review the TEAM RPV project as proposed by the Sheriff and to return with a report to the City Council to address a plan to control speeding in residential neighborhoods.
Mayor Gardiner stated that he believes the Traffic Committee views itself as reacting to specific complaints from specific areas as its charter.
City Manager Evans reported that the Traffic Committee is meeting on July 26, 2004, to address the TEAM RPV project, but that he suspected the Traffic Committee would need more than one meeting to address this issue.
Mayor Gardiner stated that he was in favor of immediately hiring three new full-time Sheriff Deputies to address the traffic enforcement issues at hand.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 11:15 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 11:17 P.M.
Mayor Gardiner asked for comments on the Infrastructure Renewal and Maintenance.
There were no comments.
Mayor Gardiner asked for comments on the Citywide Traffic and Parking action plan.
Councilman Wolowicz queried as to why the Citywide Traffic and Parking action plan will not be able to be brought to Council until September 21, 2004.
City Manager Evans replied that the Mira Vista item was placed on the September 21st agenda because there had been criticism in the past when a controversial item was put on the agenda during the month of August when many people are on vacation. He stated that the Mayor had suggested having the TEAM RPV presentation on the agenda at the same time.
Mayor Gardiner stated he believed TEAM RPV and the Mira Vista issues should be on the same agenda because he felt TEAM RPV would offer the pros and cons of traffic calming Citywide which could potentially encompass the solution in the Mira Vista issue. He stated that he was concerned with traffic problems on the switchbacks as well as other areas of the City and was in favor of something that had a reasonable chance of succeeding Citywide.
Mayor pro tem Clark agreed that he would like both the Mira Vista and TEAM RPV items on the same agenda so that Council has input from the Traffic Committee, staff, and TEAM RPV.
Mayor Gardiner asked for comments on the Purchase of the Portuguese Bend Open Space Properties.
Councilman Stern stated that he accepted the recommendation of staff to change the date.
Mayor pro tem Clark concurred.
Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Mayor Gardiner asked for a briefing on the financial matters concerning the costs for the purchase of the Portuguese Bend Open Space Properties and future expenses.
Councilman Wolowicz asked about the status on the NCCP boundary and buffering requirements, the issue regarding Girls’ Softball Fields, and the Conceptual Trails Plan.
City Manager Evans stated that the issues of the NCCP boundary and buffering requirements and the Girls’ Softball Fields are being worked on by staff now. In addition, he stated that staff and Sunshine are working on the Conceptual Trails Plan.
Mayor Gardiner suggested that Council receive monthly updates on the outstanding goals.
Horse Manure Composting Guidelines. (1808)
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to approve staff recommendation as amended.
City Manager Evans stated there was a question about the interpretation of the location of the compost bin from a structure.
Associate Planner Blumenthal stated that staff has minor recommended changes to the wording in item 2 under the heading Location, Location, Location. He stated that staff recommended the wording in item 2 to read: "The compost bin shall not be located closer than 35-feet to …" and recommended the deletion of the words "whichever is less" at the end of the paragraph.
Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
City Attorney Lynch reported that no action was taken on either of the items in closed session.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:40 p.m. on motion of Mayor pro tem Clark.
/s/ Peter C. Gardiner
/s/ Jo Purcell