AUGUST 17, 2004 RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL M I N U T E S

M I N U T E S

REGULAR MEETING

RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL

AUGUST 17, 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 7:10 P.M., the meeting was reconvened.

PRESENT: Long, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Gardiner

ABSENT: Mayor pro tem Clark (excused)

Also present were City Manager Les Evans; City Attorney Carol Lynch; Assistant City Manager Carolynn Petru, Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas; Director of Public Works Dean Allison; Director of Finance Dennis McLean; Deputy Planning Director Greg Pfost; Senior Planner Ara Mihranian; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and, Deputy City Clerk Carla Morreale.

FLAG SALUTE:

The Mayor invited City Clerk Purcell to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

RECYCLE DRAWING:

Mayor Gardiner announced two recycling winners for the month of August; Barbara Meskin and Ken Swain will each receive $250.00 for recycling. Mayor Gardiner congratulated the winners and reminded residents they are eligible to win $250 by participating in the City’s recycling program.

MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Mayor Gardiner announced that in a portion of the City there have been four incidents of someone placing nails in the roadways. He stated that as the City discusses issues and makes decisions there is a proper forum for residents to state their views and that he hopes that there are no repeat incidents of this manner.

Councilman Long endorsed the Mayor’s comments and commented on the danger to cyclists when nails are placed in roadways.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA:

Councilman Stern moved approval of the agenda, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.

PUBLIC COMMENTS:

Lois Larue, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke about how much she enjoyed the Poetry by the Sea program that took place at one time at the Pt. Vicente Interpretive Center. She commented on receiving a notice that the address numbers would be painted on the curbs in her neighborhood, but subsequently has been notified that the person proposing to do the work was not authorized to do so by the City.

John Aube’, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke about the proposed development bordering his property on the north and the decrease in value and the marketability of his home if the elevation of the adjacent properties are not changed before they are developed.

City Attorney Lynch commented that the public hearing for the matter that Mr. Aube’ raised will be held on October 5, 2004, and that he should attend that meeting or submit his comments in writing so that they can be submitted as part of the permanent record.

Scott Manlief, Rancho Palos Verdes, a volunteer representing Proposition 71 requested formal endorsement from the City Council for funding and infrastructure of proposed stem cell research to assist in debilitating diseases experienced by children and adults.

CITY MANAGER REPORT/OLD BUSINESS:

City Manager Evans reported that Mayor pro tem Clark was absent due to illness.

Mayor Gardiner reminded the public that a listing of Old Business can be found on the City’s website.

NEW BUSINESS:

APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:

Councilman Wolowicz requested that Item No. 3, Fiscal Year 03-04 budget adjustments, and Item No. 5, Gifts for Parks, be pulled from the Consent Calendar for discussion.

Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to approve the Consent Calendar, as amended. Motion carried without objection.

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 29 and July 20, 2004. (301)

Approved the minutes.

Commercial refuse and collection agreement with West Coast 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 West Coast Roll Off to be effective through December 31, 2004.

Resol. No. 2004-66: Traffic And Engineering Speed Surveys. (1502 x 1204)

ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2004-66, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ESTABLISHING SPEED LIMITS ON VARIOUS STREETS.

Resol. Nos. 2004-67 and 2004-68: FY03-04 Continuing Appropriations (602).

(1) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2004-67, AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2004-45, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FY04-05, TO CONTINUE CERTAIN EXPENDITURE APPROPRIATIONS FROM FY03-04; (2) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2004-68, AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2003-42, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FY03-04, TO REDUCE THE BUDGET FOR CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS THAT WILL BE RE-BUDGETED AND INCLUDED IN THE FY04-05 BUDGET.

Rejection of bids for slurry seal of Palos Verdes Drive East. (1404 x 1204)

(1) Rejected all bids received on July 13, 2004 for the slurry seal of Palos Verdes Drive East; and, (2) Requested staff to revise the project plans and re-advertise.

Resol. No. 2004-69: Register of Demands.

ADOPTED RESOL. NO. 2004-69, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ALLOWING CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEMANDS AND SPECIFYING FUNDS FROM WHICH THE SAME ARE TO BE PAID.

The motion to approve the amended Consent Calendar carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner

NOES: None

ABSTAIN: None

ABSENT: Clark

# # # # #

Removed from Consent Calendar:

Resol. No. 2004-70: Fiscal Year 03-04 budget adjustments. (602)

Councilman Wolowicz stated that he previously queried as to the reason the budget is being adjusted after the close of Fiscal Year 03-04 and explained that he thought the answers were significant enough that the residents should be informed.

Mayor Gardiner asked why the budgeting form agreed upon earlier was not attached to this report.

Director of Finance McLean explained that the Schedule of Estimated General Fund Reserves was not attached to this report because this was considered a clean up budget adjustment for the previous fiscal year, but that it will be attached to every staff report requiring a budget adjustment from this point forward. He explained that two of the budget expenses have offsetting revenues such that the net effect of the General Fund reserves for the four items will be increased, but the final net amount is not known at this time. He stated that the two budget adjustments and the net effect of the total budgeted expenditures and total revenues will be shown when the year-end is closed and the audited financial statements are completed, as a line item in the Schedule of Estimated General Fund Reserves.

Councilman Long stated that he understood the concepts presented and wanted to make certain that the written explanation would still be presented with the addition of the spreadsheet requested by Mayor Gardiner.

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to accept staff’s recommendation to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-70, AMENDING RESOLUTION 2003-42, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FY03-04, TO INCREASE BUDGETED APPROPRIATIONS IN THE GENERAL FUND AND SUBREGION ONE MAINTENANCE FUND.

Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.

Gifts for Parks. (1201)

Councilman Wolowicz stated that he pulled this item from the consent calendar because he wanted to bring to the attention of the residents the generous donations made by individuals, organizations, and businesses to the City’s Fourth of July celebration. He welcomed donations of this type from any person or organization.

Councilman Long stated that a tax-deductible donation would be accepted by the City at any time and encouraged this type of donation.

Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve staff recommendation to accept the Gifts for Parks donations and directed staff to prepare letters for the Mayor’s signature expressing the Council’s thanks and appreciation.

Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.

# # # # # #

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

Appeal of a Grading Permit (Case No. ZON2003-00088), for property located at 49¼ Rockinghorse. (1801)

Mayor Gardiner declared the public hearing open.

Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to continue the public hearing to November 2, 2004.

Without objection, Mayor Gardiner continued the public hearing to November 2, 2004.

City Manager Evans reported that the presenters of the Long Point project had been delayed and that they requested being placed later on the agenda.

Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered the reordering of the agenda.

Resol. No. 2004-71: Congestion Management Program (CMP), and adoption of the 2004 Local Development Report (City). (1505 x 1203)

Mayor Gardiner declared the public hearing open.

Councilman Long requested a summary staff report.

Director Rojas reported that each year the City is required to report to the County MTA those projects approved by the City which might create traffic impacts. He reported that this year 15 permits were issued for new residential dwelling units as well as two demolition permits for a net total of 13 new single-family residences. He reported that the debit and credit type of program previously used has been suspended, since the MTA is looking at possible alternatives that may penalize cities through the payment of fees when approving projects that create traffic impacts.

Councilman Stern recollected that the City had a very high level of credits and asked if the alternatives might cause the City to lose some of the benefits of the credits.

Director Rojas stated that last year’s credits were approximately 12,000, and that it is not known at this time what will transpire but that the City does not what to lose credit for what the City has done through the years.

Councilman Long asked if staff could obtain the reports for Congestion Management Programs (CMP) for any of the adjoining cities, specifically Rolling Hills Estates, and asked if staff knew if the adjoining cities had positive or negative balances.

Director Rojas reported that Rolling Hills had a balance of 66 credits last year, Rolling Hills Estates 1,757 credits; Palos Verdes Estates 1,169 credits; and the City of Los Angeles 2,121,631 credits. He stated that he believed staff could obtain the reports from either the MTA or directly from the City.

Councilman Wolowicz asked about the term "deficiency report" and if there were outside expenses associated with the completion of this report. He queried if this report was audited by the County.

Director Rojas stated that the term "deficiency report" was originally created in the early 1990’s when it was projected that there would be deficiencies in the roadway system to address traffic impacts. He reported that City staff has been able to complete the report with the aid of the City’s permit tracking system and that he is not aware of any formal audits by the County, but that there may be spot checks.

There being no further speakers on this matter, Mayor Gardiner declared the public hearing closed.

Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to adopt the staff recommendation.

Without objection, Mayor Gardiner ordered the ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION NO. 2004 -71, ADOPTING THE CITY’S 2004 LOCAL DEVELOPMENT REPORT (LDR) AND SELF-CERTIFYING THE CITY’S CONFORMANCE WITH THE 2004 CONGESTION MANAGEMENT PROGRAM (CMP) FOR LOS ANGELES COUNTY.

CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:

Councilman Wolowicz noted the following meetings/events he attended:

  • August 5, 2004, met with Mike O’Sullivan.
  • August 6, 2004, attended the Mayor’s breakfast which was chaired by Mayor pro tem Clark in the absence of the Mayor, where Committee and Commission members reported on the activities of their boards.
  • August 9, 2004, met with Councilman Long and other committee members of the City Committee on Residential Standards Updates, where upcoming topics of interest were discussed and placed on the calendar.
  • August 12, 2004, along with Councilman Stern, attended the Regional Law Enforcement Committee meeting, where Student and the Law classes held at the high school level were discussed. He explained that these classes were funded by the cities of Rolling Hills Estates, Rolling Hills, and Rancho Palos Verdes and that an explanation of the content of these classes will be discussed at a future meeting.
  • August 16, 2004, spoke at the meeting of the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission which sat as the Airport Land Use Commission where the LAX expansion, airport noise, and the Environmental Impact Report were among the items discussed.

Councilman Stern noted the following meetings/events he attended:

  • August 12, 2004, the quarterly meeting of the Peninsula Regional Law Enforcement Committee meeting where crime and traffic citation statistics were discussed, as well as the content and effectiveness of the Student and the Law classes.
  • August 12, 2004, the Los Angeles County West Vector Control meeting, where the levels of authority dealing with the West Nile Virus problem was discussed. He stressed the importance of avoiding standing water where mosquitoes can breed.

Councilman Long noted the following meetings/events he attended:

  • August 9, 2004, the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum where Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo spoke.
  • August 9, 2004, the Residential Standards Update Committee where there was a discussion of topics related to density, setbacks, and lot coverage.
  • Had a brief discussion with Mike O’Sullivan regarding View Restoration Permit No. 161.
  • August 11, 2004, a breakfast meeting with Mr. Lowe regarding the Long Point project.

Mayor Gardiner noted the following meetings/events he attended:

  • Breakfast meeting with Mr. Lowe regarding the progress on the Long Point project.
  • Received a letter of resignation from Tracy Bristol from the Traffic Committee and thanked her for her service on the Committee.

  • Technical meeting with Cox to discuss equipment.

Long Point Resort Hotel Project: ZON2004-00309 (Revision ‘A’ to Conditional Use Permit No. 215, et. al). (1804 x 1203)

Mayor Gardiner declared the public hearing open.

Councilman Stern requested a summary staff report.

Senior Planner Mihranian gave a brief staff report outlining the proposed changes to the Long Point Resort Hotel project by the applicant. He stated that the revisions included improvements to the financing mechanisms of the project and the conversion of some of the hotel rooms and some of the bungalows to units that would be privately sold. He explained that the applicant’s request included the following two components: (1) the modification or amendments to the condition to allow the bungalows and 50 hotel rooms to be converted to privately sold units with deed restrictions on the use for the owners; and, (2) the establishment of a 1% property transfer fee and a non-profit corporation to be used for the maintenance and enhancement of public open space or streets within the City. He explained that 16 suites would have an additional room added that would allow for two keys; 19 suites would be single-keyed; and, 15 guest rooms would be single-keyed.

Councilman Wolowicz asked if there was an overall net decrease of 16 units.

Senior Planner Mihranian confirmed that there was a net decrease of that amount.

Bob Lowe, representing the Long Point Resort Hotel project, stated that the proposed changes would make no change to the physical plans of the hotel; no change to the high quality full-service operation of the hotel; continuation of the same restrictions of the new proposed investor owned units as on the existing investor-owned units; no change to the public access or public benefit facilities as part of the resort; and, an insignificant change in the economics to the City by connecting a transfer tax when investor-owned units would be sold with the proceeds to fund a non-profit corporation to benefit public use facilities of the City. Mr. Lowe suggested one change to circle page 5, 35.B. where the last two sentences would allow for some flexibility in the exact number of each of the keyed units at the time of the filing of the tract map.

Councilman Long proposed the deletion of the last two sentences and the revised condition to read: "The 50 hotel suites and guestrooms that may be sold to individual persons or private entities will consist of a mix of single-key suites, suites with two keys, and/or single-key guestrooms, but in no event shall exceed 66 keys total."

Councilman Stern asked about the establishment of a non-profit corporation that would be the recipient of a 1% property transfer fee for the maintenance and enhancement of the public open space or streets within the City. He asked if the owner intended the non-profit corporation to be set up and run by the City or the hotel.

Mr. Lowe stated that they would work with the City to help establish the non-profit corporation, but that the non-profit would be self-administered in operation by a contract manager.

Councilman Stern asked Mr. Lowe if it was his understanding that the City Council would appoint the board of the non-profit corporation.

Mr. Lowe replied in the affirmative.

City Attorney Lynch stated that it is up to the City Council’s discretion to have either the City or the City’s applicant set up the non-profit corporation.

Mayor Gardiner asked if the City would be setting up a new 501(c)3 corporation or if they could reorganize and use the one that is already in existence.

City Attorney Lynch said that the non-profit corporation could be one and the same and that the City Council would have the option.

Councilman Wolowicz asked if the existing corporation was used, would the pooling of funds be a source of future problems.

City Attorney Lynch stated that it was best to have the non-profit corporation function independently based on the type of allocation of expenses that is authorized within its charge. She stated that the funds could be used anywhere in the City and that the City would let the non-profit corporation know at some time in the future where it would like the funds to be used.

Councilman Wolowicz asked how problems regarding non-payment of transfer fees and the related litigation costs would be handled.

Mr. Lowe stated that if this type of situation arose, there would be lien in place which would secure reasonable collection costs and legal fees so that the non-profit corporation would not be at risk.

Councilman Long stated that one of several things is going to be true - the parties buying the properties would be on notice of the CC & R’s, which are private contracts and that they are certainly free not to sign them and therefore avoid the so-called forced contribution. He stated it was just like any other fee in the CC & R’s. He continued that as a practical matter that he didn’t think there was any real risk that it is going to be challenged, but that if it is challenged he stated that he believed it wouldn’t be a horrible set of fees. He stated that either there will be insufficient equity in the property to make the lien worth pursuing at all and that would be apparent immediately and so it won’t be pursued; or, there will be ample equity there in which case if the owner resists collection of the fee, because there will be an attorney’s fees clause, ultimately the association will get its money. He perceived the risk as being fairly small in the overall scheme of things. He recognized that it could happen, and if it happens it then results in a loss of revenue, but then again the potential loss of revenue here is also small.

Councilman Stern stated that his understanding was that the transfer fee would be recorded as part of CC & R’s, handled and paid as part of the escrow fees. He stated that the validity of the fee in its entirety was a bigger concern, and that the City should be careful in the way it is set up, so that it is not challenged in court. He suggested that he felt it would be preferable to establish a separate 501(c)3 to handle the funds so that they are not commingled with the City’s existing non-profit corporation.

City Attorney Lynch confirmed that the more distance between the City and the entity, as far as control, the stronger the argument is that it is an independent entity; and that was the reason the creation of the non-profit entity was left open while the items for which the expenditures could be made were more specific.

Councilman Long stated that there could be a legal challenge, but that the City Attorney will do everything possible to prevent it from going down a path where the validity could be effectively challenged, but we will always be in the position if we conclude somehow the structure was improperly set up, the worst case scenario is at an early point in evaluating it, we simply decide to give up and lose a relatively small stream of revenue.

Mayor Gardiner stated that the City could come out ahead financially in the long run and the probability was low that the potential problems discussed would become reality.

Councilman Stern stated that if the transfer fee helps the development become a reality then the City can withstand that possibility.

Jack Downhill, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in support of the Long Point project in terms of benefits to the City regarding finances, recreation, and beautification of the location. He stated he would like to see the project move forward.

Ruberta Weaver, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in support of the Long Point Resort. She stated that she felt the creative financing being proposed was a wonderful opportunity for one to invest in property instead of the stock market.

Norma Knowles, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in support of the Long Point project and their proposed financial means for the development. She stated that she felt the benefits the resort would bring were positive including coastal protection, improved facilities, and new tax revenues.

Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to approve staff recommendation with amendments establishing the 1% property transfer fee and the non-profit corporation. He added that the subcommittee be directed to work with staff to bring recommendations to Council regarding the formation, purpose, and the structure of the non-profit corporation with the goals to maximize the potential that it would withstand challenges and enhance the ability to collect the property transfer fee.

There being no further speakers on this matter, Mayor Gardiner declared the public hearing closed.

Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.

City Attorney Lynch stated that the resolutions would be brought back to Council for adoption at the September 7, 2004 meeting.

RECESS AND RECONVENE

Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 8:50 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 9:00 P.M.

REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:

Noise Ordinance Alternatives. (1801)

City Attorney Lynch gave a brief report on the various standards that can be used in noise ordinances. She stated that there were two standards utilized, the first one based on subjective standards and the second based on decibel levels. She stated that subjective standards such as "plainly audible," "loud and raucous," "noises that disturb or tend to disturb the peace and order," and "excessive and unusual noises" have been upheld in court as being adequate to provide notice to people of the conduct that is prohibited. She stated that the decibel based standards, which have been used in some of the City’s already existing ordinances, were attractive because they were very precise in nature, but that they require obtaining the equipment to measure the decibels, training of personnel, and calibration of the equipment. She reported that staff prefers the more descriptive and non-decibel related noise ordinances but that this topic was being presented to Council for their consideration and direction.

Councilman Long asked staff if there were reasons to coordinate, consolidate and modify the ordinances, or if staff has identified areas of concern that do not seem to be covered by what the City currently has in place.

City Attorney Lynch stated that she would defer to Director Rojas because she was not aware of any problems that the City was presently having. She stated that unless the City has a decibel meter the City is better off to consider modifying the decibel-based ordinances on the books.

Director Rojas reported that he is not aware of any issues or areas of concern regarding the City’s current noise ordinances. He stated that in terms of enforcement, the decibel levels are somewhat problematic to enforce because the City does not have equipment. He reported that when there is a new development, the City places a condition on the developer to measure noise levels; the developer must supply the consultant to conduct the noise testing since the City does not have decibel meter equipment.

Councilman Long stated that it seems the field is covered broadly, there seem to be few code enforcement problems, and that it might be desirable to modify the few ordinances the City has that specify decibel limits to adjust to a different standard. He stated that he understood that staff would not recommend any changes to the existing ordinance.

Mayor Gardiner stated that the only noise issues he had heard of were related to refuse trucks off of Western Avenue and asked how the City could deal with that.

City Manager Evans stated that he believed the issue had been settled but that the complaint had been regarding a trash hauler coming into the residential areas too early in the morning.

Councilman Stern stated that he felt decibel measurements were not practical as desirable as they sound. He stated that the City’s present manner of dealing with development noise was a good one and that as far as he was aware, noise had not been an issue in the five years he had been on Council.

Councilman Wolowicz stated that people will live with certain noises as long as they were not too early or too late and inquired about noise issues related to building standards.

City Attorney Lynch explained that certain noises such as a malfunctioning air conditioning unit could be addressed through a noise ordinance rather than a construction issue. She stated that there are some commercial projects with mechanical equipment that are brought back to the Planning Commission for a six-month to one year review, at which time light and noise concerns can be addressed and modified if necessary.

There were no responses to the Mayor’s call for public testimony.

Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to have staff: (1) review the ordinances written with a decibel basis to recommend if they should be rewritten or not; and, (2) review whether there should be an effort in a construction standard to address noise issues if there is not already sufficient provision in the City’s ordinances to do so. He requested that staff examine alternatives from other cities in dealing with noise issues.

Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.

COUNCIL DISCUSSION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS & SUGGESTION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:

Councilman Long addressed the request brought before Council relative to placing Proposition 71 on the agenda for endorsement. He stated that he was concerned that there could eventually be a long list of requests of this nature and recommended that only those items of immediate local concern that may affect the City should be placed on the City’s agendas.

Councilman Wolowicz agreed that items related to City business, budget issues, and property controls under the Council’s purview should be the issues addressed by Council and that it would not be appropriate for the City Council to deal with issues that do not directly affect the City.

Councilman Stern agreed that the Council has plenty on their plate and that as a general proposition any Council member can request that an item be agendized.

CLOSED SESSION REPORT:

City Attorney Lynch reported that Council gave unanimous direction to the City negotiators to reject an offer made on the property located at 30678 Palos Verdes Drive East. She reported that Mayor pro tem Clark was absent.

ADJOURNMENT:

Adjourned at 9:28 P.M. to Tuesday, August 31, 2004 at 6:00 P.M. for a Work Session on the NCCP.

/s/ Peter C. Gardiner

Mayor

Attest:

/s/ Jo Purcell

City Clerk