RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
SEPTEMBER 7, 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 closed session. At 7:00 P.M., the meeting was reconvened for regular session.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant City Manager Carolynn Petru; Assistant City Attorney Lynch; Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas; Director of Public Works Dean Allison; Finance Director Dennis McLean; Associate Planner Eduardo Schonborn; Associate Planner David Blumenthal; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and Recording Secretary Denise Bothe.
The flag salute was led by Erica.
Mayor Gardiner announced the names of the two recycler winners for the last meeting in August. Lilavati Makineni and Nasim Amin will each receive a check for $250, which represents a year of free refuse service. He encouraged everyone to recycle and advised that a new batch of cards has been placed inside the drawing container.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve the Agenda as submitted. Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Lois Larue, Rancho Palos Verdes, distributed to the Council a copy of the poem she wrote on July 16, 1998, about the Portuguese Bend landslide area and noted that she has lived in this house in Portuguese Bend since 1963. She stated that the landslide began when a water pipe erupted on August 29, 1956.
CITY MANAGER REPORTS:
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR
Councilman Wolowicz requested removing from the Consent Calendar Item No. 4, Retention of Outside Legal Services; No. 5, Increase to City Manager’s Budget for Professional and Technical Services; and No. 11, New Lease with Doug Hatano for Annie’s Stand at Abalone Cove Shoreline.
Councilman Long requested removing from the Consent Calendar Item No. 3, Annual Destruction of Records.
Councilman Stern requested removing from the Consent Calendar Item No. 10, Long Point Resort Hotel Project: ZON 2004-00309 (Revision ‘A’ to Conditional Use Permit No. 215, et. al.)
Motion to Waive Full Reading.
Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at this meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all Council Members after the reading of the title.
Approval of the Minutes. (301)
Approved the Minutes of March 30, Joint Meeting with the Traffic Committee, and July 6th Regular Meeting.
Border Issues Status Report. (310)
Reviewed the status of border issues.
Resol. No. 2004-73: EPA Grant Application for Targeted Site Investigation of Upper Point Vicente Park Area. (1201 x 602)
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2004-73, APPROVING THE APPLICATION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY GRANT FUNDS FOR TARGETED SITE INVESTIGATION OF UPPER POINT VICENTE PARK AREA.
FY 04-05 Additions to the Consolidated Loan Agreement between the City and Agency. (602)
Received and filed the staff report, which provides information regarding the FY 04-05 advance of $60,907 to the Rancho Palos Verdes Redevelopment Agency ("Agency"). The Consolidated Loan Agreement dated December 1, 2003 authorizes the FY 04-05 advance.
Treasurer's Report for the Month of July 2004. (602)
Received and filed the Treasurer's report for the month of July 2004.
Resol. No. 2004-74: Register of Demands.
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2004-74, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ALLOWING CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEMANDS AND SPECIFYING FUNDS FROM WHICH THE SAME ARE TO BE PAID.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve the Consent Calendar as amended, removing Item Nos. 3, 4, 5, 10 and 11. Motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
REMOVED FROM CONSENT CALENDAR:
Resol. No. 2004-75: Annual Destruction of Records. (301)
The staff report of September 7th recommended that Council ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-75, AUTHORIZING THE DESTRUCTION OF CERTAIN CITY RECORDS AS PROVIDED BY SECTION 34090 OF THE GOVERNMENT CODE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, MAKING CERTAIN CHANGES TO EXISTING RETENTION SCHEDULES AND AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2002-92.
Councilman Long stated that the City has copies of insurance policies, additional insured endorsements, and certificates of insurance and stated that he did not clearly see what category those fell into. He noted his preference to make sure that all these items fall into a category and suggested they fall into the same category to be retained indefinitely, or for a very long period of time.
City Clerk Purcell stated that she would need to look at the schedule, but she stated that these items are kept for a very long time, that they may be permanent, but that she’d have to review the schedule in giving a final answer.
Councilman Long stated that it would be satisfactory if these items were kept for a very long time; noted that if a policy provides coverage based on when a condition occurred, even if the claim may not be made until many decades after a condition, say 50 years from now, the relevant policy might be the policy in force today. He stated that he would like to see insurance policies, additional insured endorsements, and certificates of insurance and other evidence of insurance classified for permanent retention.
City Manager Evans stated that he would assume this would fall under the City Manager’s Office and noted that language could be added to be specific about long-term retention.
City Attorney Lynch suggested adding that under the Risk Management category.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to adopt staff recommendation with the specification that staff amend the document retention policy under the appropriate categories discussed; that insurance policies, additional insured endorsements, and certificates of insurance and other evidence of insurance to the benefit of the City be retained permanently.
Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Resol. No. 2004-76: Retention of Outside Legal Services. (103 x 1101)
The staff report of September 7th recommended the following: (1) Approve the Retainer Agreement with Baker Botts, LLP, to represent the City of Rancho Palos Verdes in connection with the Abrams v. City of Rancho Palos Verdes case; (2) Authorize the City Attorney to execute the Retainer Agreement; and (3) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-76, AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2004-45, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FY04-05, TO INCREASE THE CITY ATTORNEY BUDGET FOR PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL SERVICES.
Councilman Wolowicz explained that he, Mayor Gardiner, Director McLean and Accounting Manager Downs met to develop a reporting form that would indicate the impact of various changes as the City does its business throughout the year. He explained that this reporting form would make it easier to know how a proposal affects a budget change – highlighting beginning reserves, revenues, expenditures, net transfers, etc., and stated that the form will improve throughout the year and that this will enable Council to keep an ongoing record of budget impacts.
Director McLean stated that what is currently being displayed on the video screen is the same information that has been distributed to Council as late correspondence; explained that based on a conversation he had with one of the ad hoc members, Councilman Wolowicz, as well as City Manager Evans, it is their intention that anytime a proposed budget adjustment is presented to Council staff will: 1) have the Schedule of Estimated General Fund Reserves, an Excel sheet, available for review and discussion, and 2) as a matter of late correspondence to Council for viewing prior to the meeting, reflect the fiscal impact that a proposed budget adjustment has. He explained that there are logistical issues as to why staff is proposing to present this information to Council as late correspondence rather than as a part of an attachment to a staff report in the agenda package that is distributed to Council prior to a meeting. He advised that everyone involved is attempting to improve the way staff provides fiscal information to Council, and that at this time, it is a work in progress.
Director McLean stated that what is presented this evening in the far left column under "Proposed Budget Adjustments" are five individual items that are included in the agenda packet tonight, two of which are proposed budget adjustments on the revenue side; that Council may not see a proposed budget adjustment for revenue again until mid-year; and explained that there are three separate budget adjustments: one for outside legal services, a nominal one for aircraft tracking link, and one for preliminary softball field design. He noted that on a go-forward basis, staff would make the schedule available, put it up on the screen upon request, and enable Council to visually see what the fiscal impacts will be for proposed budget adjustments.
Mayor Gardiner stated that this effectively enhances Council’s ability to trace how the budget is impacted throughout the year.
Councilman Long noted that he did not find in the staff report a draft agreement to authorize the City Attorney to execute a retainer agreement.
Responding to Councilman Long, City Manager Evans expressed his belief that one was approved in closed session in June.
City Attorney Lynch stated that staff will be bringing this back to memorialize the document and added that it will not be any different than the one Council previously viewed in closed session.
Councilman Wolowicz thanked Director McLean and Accounting Manager Downs for their assistance in providing this helpful financial excel spreadsheet. With regard to Item No. 4, Outside Legal Services, he stated that $250,000 is a significant increase and he suspected that later this year, there might be additional increases in this number.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted the intent to use this as a tracking tool for many staff reports in the future, and requested that explanatory footnotes be embedded to explain what the columns are and what the approach is.
Resol. No. 2004-77: Increase to City Manager's Budget for Professional and Technical Services. (1101 x 602)
The staff report of September 7th recommended that Council ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-77, AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2004-45, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FY 04-05, TO INCREASE THE CITY MANAGER'S BUDGET FOR PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL SERVICES.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to adopt staff recommendation on Item Nos. 4 and 5.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that the aircraft tracking device is unique to this City.
City Manager Evans advised that while the aircraft tracking device is unique to this City, it will be shared with Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach, noted that the City only recently installed the necessary cable connection that will hopefully allow the City to receive information here rather than having to visit the facility in Hermosa Beach to obtain the information.
Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Resol. No. 2004-78: Long Point Resort Hotel Project: ZON 2004-00309 (Revision 'A' to Conditional Use Permit No. 215, et. al.) (1203 x 1804)
The staff report of September 7 recommended the following: (1) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-78, APPROVING REVISION 'A' TO CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 215, and ET. AL., TO AMEND THE PROJECT'S CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL TO ALLOW A MIX OF 50 GUEST ROOMS OR GUEST SUITES (MAXIMUM 66 KEYS) AND 20 BUNGALOW UNITS (MAXIMUM 40 KEYS) TO BE SOLD TO INDIVIDUAL PERSONS OR PRIVATE ENTITIES WITH DEED RESTRICTIONS LIMITING THE DURATION OF USE; AND, (2) TO ESTABLISH 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.
Councilman Stern explained that this relates to the 1 percent transfer fee on the sale of the property. He questioned how the City will deal with situations where the property may be owned by an LLC, partnership, or something similar, cautioning the City not to allow for a major loophole. He suggested that the City create wording that will cover that issue. He noted his assumption that staff is not concerned with having a transfer fee when there is a transfer between family members, either by divorce or inheritance.
City Attorney Lynch stated that she reviewed the document the developers prepared, the agreement between the developer and this newly established nonprofit, and she noted it was designed to track the same exemptions that are under federal and state law. With respect to the other issue, City Attorney Lynch noted that while she had not spoken with counsel about this issue, she believed she could incorporate into that same document the entity transfer issue and how much ownership interest would be at stake.
Councilman Stern stated that this should be easy to avoid, and noted his belief that a lot of people would put this into an entity for various reasons.
City Attorney Lynch stated that staff can work this issue out in the subsequent documents.
Timi Hallem, attorney for Lowe Enterprises, stated that they can just add direct or indirect to the definition of transfer and that it can be worked out in this document, noting that this is an early draft. She stated that they basically track the things that do not cause reassessment. She indicated that they have not exempted an estate sale or other transfer upon death.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned whether anything in the nature of this transfer fee could be challenged by the treasury as unrelated business income.
Addressing Councilman Wolowicz’ inquiry, Ms. Hallem explained that the entity will be set up as a nonprofit and advised they are not necessarily anticipating that this will be a 501 C(3), so that the payments would not necessarily be tax deductible as charitable contributions. She noted that they may apply, but that it is up to the entity. Ms. Hallem noted that one can be a nonprofit without being a 501 C(3) and noted that these payments would be deductible as a business expense if someone owns this unit as a second home or as a business. In terms of unrelated business income, Ms. Hallem stated that she did not think so because they have one purpose – to collect these funds and use it for the purposes specified in its articles and bylaws. She indicated that they’ve completed a draft of the articles that clearly track the resolution and specify what the money can be used for; that the unrelated business income would be to collect these transfer fees and spend them in the way specified. Ms. Hallem stated that with the way the CC&R’s are set up, the operating expenses come first.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned what would happen if this were challenged by the treasury three years afterwards and there was no cash to pay it.
In response, Ms. Hallem explained if that were to happen, they most likely would enter into some kind of payment plan since it is not an intentional violation of the code. She stated that this will be a nonprofit and that it will be up to the nonprofit to decide if it wants to be a charitable foundation or not, a 501 C(3).
Councilman Wolowicz stated that it would helpful for those down the road to see a memorandum attached to the documents to reflect that this Council has addressed this issue and the various considerations.
City Attorney Lynch explained that it would be better to use a different entity than this and she questioned whether the City’s General Fund would be at risk with respect to any of this.
Ms. Hallem stated that because this is a completely separate entity, any liabilities of the entity should not transfer through to the City at all.
Mayor pro tem Clark complimented Councilman Stern on bringing this issue forward. He questioned why staff is recommending not putting this in the CUP revision but in the subsequent nonprofit entity agreement.
City Attorney Lynch noted the advantage was having the documents relating to the nonprofit be more self-contained.
Councilman Stern questioned whether the proposed language was broad enough to allow Council to define in those subsequent documents what constitutes a transfer.
City Attorney Lynch indicated that yes, the language was broad enough.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted that he was not present when Council endorsed this proposed revision to the conditional use permit. With regard to the resort/hotel, based upon Mr. Lowe’s ability and experience in similar projects where he has done this kind of thing, where he has provided some additional benefits to the community, he questioned if it is Mr. Lowe’s intent to use that same approach in this community in terms of providing benefits to the residents.
Bob Lowe stated that out of the approximate 200 conditions of approval, there are two conditions that relate to community programs, Nos. 19 and 20. He explained his intent to establish programs that encourage the use of the hotel facilities by local residents.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to approve Item No. 10 and to direct the City Attorney to work with Mr. Lowe’s attorney regarding transfer language, as addressed this evening.
City Attorney Lynch stated that a list of minor changes to the resolution had been distributed to Council this evening; that the motion should be subject to those amendments, with the inclusion that all references to privately owned unit, hotel, or bungalow will be reflected as "condominium unit."
Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
New Lease with Doug Hatano for Annie's Stand at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park. (1101)
The staff report of September 7th recommended the following: (1) Approve the new lease with Doug Hatano for Annie's Stand at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park; and (2) Authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the lease agreement.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned if any other families, former partners, members of the Japanese-American families, etc., have asked to lease this stand or this location for similar operations and questioned whether Hatano Farms is planning to request an expansion of their farming operations to provide produce.
Assistant City Manager Petru explained that since this stand closed in 2002, she has received a number of calls from individuals interested in the property; stated that approximately five of those individuals have indicated they would like to reopen it as a produce and fresh flower stand; that four individuals and one homeowner’s association have called with that same request; and advised that none of those people indicated they had any ties to the Japanese-American families who have historically farmed on the peninsula. She added that when these individuals were asked where the produce and flowers would come from, one stated they would provide it from their private garden (they live on the east side of the hill); some didn’t know; and the rest said they would purchase the produce and flowers from the wholesale markets in Downtown Los Angeles. Assistant City Manager Petru stated that James Hatano currently leases two plots of ground from the City: one at City Hall and one at Lower Point Vicente Park. She noted that Mr. Hatano plans to redo the operation there, not to increase the amount of acreage they have under lease with the City, but to broaden the variety of produce and flowers they are growing on this property to sell at the stand; and noted that they would also go to other local sources for produce/flowers if needed.
Councilman Stern noted his preference that language be added to remove the City from any obligation to rebuild the produce stand should it become damaged or destroyed.
Councilman Long asked what the current term of lease is that the Hatanos have on the other City properties.
Assistant City Manager Petru advised that there are five-year leases on the two plots and that they would be renewed at the same time, ending December 31, 2006.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to approve the staff recommendation, with the amendment that the City have no obligation to rebuild the stand should it be damaged or destroyed.
Councilman Long requested a friendly amendment to have the stand lease terminate at the same time as the two leases on the existing parcels.
Councilman Stern did not accept Councilman Long’s request for a friendly amendment, stating that since the lease can be terminated with 30 days’ notice, it would not make any difference.
Notwithstanding the terminable 30 days’ notice, Councilman Long stated that he would not like to see a situation where the tenant would have an expectation when it comes time to renew the lease on the property that is being farmed to get more time because the other leases are still in effect. He stated that a clear way to send this message is to make the termination of all leases co-terminus, noting that the City may not re-lease the land come December 31, 2006 for farming if the City finds other suitable uses.
Councilman Stern stated that the tenant knows he has different periods of time on the leases; that if he wanted to make sure he was covered in having the ground lease for the growing of items that he will sell at his stand, he noted his belief that Mr. Hatano would have so indicated; and because either party can walk away from the leases within a 30 days’ notice, he reiterated that it would not matter. He stated that if the tenant wants five years under this lease, he would support that under this agreement.
Councilman Long expressed his preference to make it clear that come December 31, 2006, the City is not making a commitment or setting a precedent as to the use of the property being leased to Mr. Hatano.
Mayor Gardiner stated that he would not object to making the leases expire at the same time if they are set to the longest period of time.
Assistant City Manager Petru noted for Councilman Long that the lease for farming is terminable on 30 days’ notice.
City Attorney Lynch pointed out that those items are not on the agenda this evening, that if Council desires to change the length of leases, that it would be put on a future agenda for discussion/consideration.
Councilman Long explained that he will be voting in opposition to Councilman Stern’s motion because he does not want to create a precedent, even recognizing the 30 days’ cancellation policy.
Motion carried, with Councilman Long voting no.
# # # # # #
General Plan Amendment Initiation Request (ZON2003-00520), involving properties at the upper portion of San Ramon Canyon. (701 x 1203)
Mayor Gardiner opened the public hearing.
Mayor pro tem Clark moved to approve staff recommendation.
Councilmen Stern and Wolowicz asked for a brief staff report.
Associate Planner Schonborn presented the staff report and the recommendation to direct staff to proceed with the proposed change in General Plan Land Use Designation for the subject area from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (1 to 2 dwelling units per acre); and a proposed change in the zoning from Open Space Hazard (OH) to Single-Family Residential (RS-2).
Associate Planner Schonborn traced the boundaries on the map, noting that the boundaries resemble the boundaries of the completed San Ramon Canyon Stabilization project, that the new boundary line will primarily follow the boundaries of that stabilization project.
City Attorney Lynch advised that those properties which go down into the canyon will have a divided designation because the geologist has always made it very clear that he did not want development down on that new slope, that it will remain Open Space Hazard even though it may be a lot with two designations.
Mayor Gardiner questioned what liability the City could sustain if something ends up not being stable.
City Attorney Lynch advised that there are immunities under the Tort Claims Act for various decisions, including discretionary decisions by City Councils for land use items; explained that if this area ends up failing, the City will be subject to liability issues regardless of whether the City rezones or redesignates this area because of the City’s widespread Public Works project in this area.
Mayor Gardiner questioned what the benefits are and who will benefit by this change.
Councilman Long noted his understanding that the homeowners will benefit from the change to the zoning, allowing for more flexibility to use their property.
City Attorney Lynch noted for Mayor Gardiner that the situation gets no worse if Council approves this item; and explained that since the area is stable in the geologist’s opinion, it seems like an undue constraint to not allow the homeowners to make a minor addition on their properties.
Highlighting a late email correspondence he received from a resident, Councilman Wolowicz explained that this matter was not motivated to benefit any one particular homeowner, that this is an overall approach by the departments involved.
City Attorney Lynch noted her concurrence with Councilman Wolowicz’ statement.
Councilman Stern stated that he is not aware of any late correspondence.
Councilman Wolowicz noted that the email stated this was specifically for the benefit of one resident in this area. Councilman Wolowicz stated that he would like to see a formal geotechnical evaluation/written statement on this rezoning once it is provided to staff.
Director Rojas explained that by initiating this item, this will go before the Planning Commission for review and that all information obtained through the public hearing process and the Commission’s recommendation will be brought back to Council for review and approval, including the geotechnical evaluation. He reiterated that some of the properties will be dual-zoned; that the canyon/sloped areas will remain Open Space Hazard; that the flat pad will be designated residential; and noted that the line will more closely correspond to the slope versus the pad.
City Attorney Lynch stated that staff has already recorded restrictions against the properties to prevent development into this restricted area and that this is memorializing the existing restrictions to prevent development in that area.
Mayor Gardiner closed the public hearing.
Mayor pro tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to approve staff recommendation.
Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 8:14 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 8:24 P.M.
Resol. No. 2004-79: Appeal of a Height Variation (Case No. ZON2004-00041) for property located at 27010 Springcreek. (1804 x 1203)
Associate Planner Blumenthal presented the staff report and the recommendation to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-79, DENYING THE APPEAL, THEREBY UPHOLDING THE PLANNING COMMISSION'S APPROVAL OF HEIGHT VARIATION (CASE NO. ZON2004-00041).
With the aid of photographs, Associate Planner Blumenthal highlighted the view corridor the applicant is seeking to improve.
Councilman Wolowicz advised that he had visited the subject site and had taken photographs and questioned if staff believes this proposal is in compliance with neighborhood compatibility.
Associate Planner Blumenthal advised that staff had found this to be in compliance with neighborhood compatibility.
Councilman Wolowicz asked for clarification on the windows.
Associate Planner Blumenthal stated that the windows on the north side of the residence facing directly towards the Kikuchi’s yard and the windows facing easterly towards the upslope will have opaque glass.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that he and Councilman Long are co-chairs of a Residential Development Standards Update/Review Committee and questioned if this type of proposal is becoming the trend in this type of area.
Associate Planner Blumenthal noted for Councilman Wolowicz that staff is seeing the typical request for additions of 1,000 square feet as an average.
Associate Planner Blumenthal noted that the applicant is proposing 24.5 feet from the lowest grade and 20 feet from the highest grade and advised that this proposal did go through the neighborhood compatibility process as part of the height variation process.
Director Rojas explained that it is typical for a second story addition to be somewhere between 22 and 26 feet in height and that the project had been downsized a bit to 3,448 square feet.
Mayor Gardiner pointed out that with this addition, this house will become the largest house in the neighborhood and questioned how this can be compatible.
Councilman Long stated that there did not seem to be any view issues identified, noted that the proposed scale may be on the outer edges of what is suitable for this size lot, but he accounted for the sufficient reductions made to address scale issues, as recommended by the Planning Commission. He asked for input on the Planning Commission’s findings for privacy.
Councilman Stern requested and received photographs that give a sense of how the building will look when it is completed.
Associate Planner Blumenthal advised that there is another two-story house down the street, estimated to be 24 to 26 feet in height.
Associate Planner Blumenthal, with the aid of photos, highlighted the placement of the proposed addition.
Mayor Gardiner questioned if the existing second story house on the same street impacted the neighboring homes as far as privacy.
Associate Planner Blumenthal stated that there is no privacy impact and that it was ruled compatible with the neighborhood, according to the Planning Commission.
Robert Beck, attorney representing the Hughes and Kikuchi’s with respect to their concerns with this proposed addition, highlighted his concern with the impact on the neighborhood and the long-term impact on the City’s development of various neighborhoods; advised that the Hughes and the Kikuchi’s are concerned with neighborhood compatibility, bulk, mass, and privacy. He expressed his belief that this is a 3-story house, not a 2-story house according to the City’s code definition. With the aid of his own photographs, Mr. Beck indicated that the new imposing addition will impact the neighbor on the north elevation, pointing out how the Kikuchi’s will lose privacy to their main living quarters and their backyard. He also noted that the bulk creates a huge wall effect that closes in the Kikuchi’s view to the sky and he noted great concern with the sliding glass doors and the proposed balcony. He noted that the kitchen is very much impacted by this view and advised that the Kikuchi family spends a lot of time in the kitchen. He reiterated his belief that this addition is not compatible with the rest of the neighborhood and stated that the City will be setting a "dangerous precedent" that could create a domino effect for the residential neighborhoods in the City.
Mayor pro tem Clark asked for clarification on a 3-story remodel versus a 2-story step structure.
Associate Planner Blumenthal explained that by code definition, this actually is a 3-story structure; however, he advised that it was important to note that no single portion of the structure as proposed exceeds a 2-story appearance.
Councilman Long questioned under what circumstances does the City’s ordinance allow 3-story structures; and how many occasions prior has the City approved height variation permits involving 3-story structures.
Associate Planner Blumenthal stated that the ordinance does not address the number of stories but, instead, regulates by height.
Director Rojas stated that there are certain projects that go through approval with three stories, but that he is not aware of the number or the locations.
Councilman Long questioned if there was any consideration given to putting the addition at another location on site.
Director Rojas stated that the addition is going on the lowest level.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted that the proposal for 24.5 feet is below the 30-foot limit.
Jenny Kikuchi, 27002 Springcreek Road, stated that this addition will reduce the privacy and sunlight to her home and that the addition will impact the privacy and sunlight to her kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom and backyard. She noted that her property is located on a lower elevation than the subject site. Ms. Kikuchi noted her disappointment that the applicants had not consulted with her on their plans and she urged the applicants to alter their plans and build toward the back of their property. She noted that the applicants have a 270-degree view; that they were able to get the City to remove four or five pepper trees on the street to improve their view; and expressed her belief that the applicant is seeking these changes at the expense of their neighbors. She urged Council to support her need for privacy and offered the following compromises for the applicant to make: to reduce the third story by half; to move the third story to the south side by 10-15 feet; and that no window or balcony be installed on the north side.
Sally Kikuchi, 27002 Springcreek Road, addressed her concern with the lack of neighborhood compatibility and the lack of privacy; stated that the size of the addition is too imposing on their property and this neighborhood; and noted her disagreement with the Planning Commission’s findings for neighborhood compatibility.
William Hughes, 26951 Whitestone Road, with the aid of his photographs, highlighted his two objections: loss of privacy and excessive square footage. He stated that the addition will allow individuals from the applicant’s house to see into his backyard and through his picture windows into the family room, living room, and kitchen, all west-facing windows. He advised that his house is approximately 100 feet from the applicant’s house; that the applicant’s line of sight is approximately 45 degrees from his backyard property line and the elevation; noted that at the pitch of his roof with the new addition, the applicant’s home will be even with his grade level. He stated that he would lose a portion of his view if he were to install a 5-foot high, 30-foot long hedge along the west property line. He asked that the applicant remove the north-facing balcony and urged the City to place limits on the size of additions. He mentioned that those in support of the applicant are seeking additions on their own homes.
Carol-Ann Hughes, 26951 Whitestone Road, stated that this addition will destroy the privacy she enjoys on her property; and noted her concern that this will set a precedent for building larger homes and cramping space in RPV’s neighborhoods.
Beverly Rhodes, 26829 Hyte Road, neighbor to the Hughes, expressed her belief that the proposed addition is too large for this neighborhood. She highlighted two of the Planning Commissioners’ comments: 1) Commissioner Knight’s dissenting vote that the proposal does not meet his criteria for neighborhood compatibility; that he suggested the applicant explore the possibility of adding more toward the back side of the house; and, 2) Commissioner Karp questioned if a 3-story home is an appropriate action/method of enlarging homes. Ms. Rhodes noted that other homes with additions in Grandview are not visible from the front of the street and she noted her concern that approval of this project will set a precedent.
Frank Buzard, 26961 Springcreek Road, stated that he lives directly across the street from the Kikuchi house. He explained that the existing 2-story house on his street does not impact the views of the neighbors because of the way it is oriented, advised that there is one other huge house on the street, and that it was built before RPV was formed and was permitted under the County codes. He advised that he had added 400 square feet onto the back of his house and noted his concern that these large additions will change the character of the neighborhood.
Luis DeMoraes, applicant, stated that he has designed several houses located in RPV and advised that he understands the need to alleviate the neighbors’ concerns. He explained that because of the slope in his back yard, there is not enough room to build onto the back and stated that this addition is being placed over the lowest part of the house, believing that it is the most reasonable and creates less of an infringement upon the neighborhood. He advised that the house currently occupies a footprint of approximately 2,100 square feet, which is smaller than most of the houses around the area. He added that he attempted to approach several of the neighbors to address their concerns with the loss of privacy and that he made changes in the plans to accommodate those concerns. He noted that Mr. Hughes’ house is about 50 feet above his pad and that it does not abut his property. He stated that he was unsuccessful in meeting with Mrs. Kikuchi. He stated that there are not three levels of living space and that he disagrees that it is technically a 3-story house. Mr. DeMoraes explained that in order to get this project to meet all the criteria, he pushed the side of the house further back by 9 feet; that there is no window looking into the backyard; and pointed out that these things were done to address Mrs. Kikuchi’s concerns. He added that he lowered the plate line on the upper level to 7’6", which is the minimum allowable by code and noted that the lower level is 8 feet. He reiterated that he has done everything possible to address the neighbors’ concerns; explained that the design is consistent with the original design; and mentioned that the windows are placed up high and that he has agreed to use opaque glass. He urged Council to support the Planning Commission’s decision and noted that there were neighbors present who are in support of his project. He reiterated that there is no room in the backyard to place the addition because of the slope.
Mayor pro tem Clark asked Mr. DeMoraes if there is anything more that can be done to lessen the impact to the neighbors. In response, Mr. DeMoraes explained that this location was chosen to have the least impact, that it is the lowest side of the house, and that this is the only way to expand given the footprint of the existing house.
Stephanie DeMoraes, applicant, stated that she and her husband are busy working, going to school, and raising their two active daughters, noting her disappointment with the neighbors believing she would infringe on their privacy; and expressed her belief that this project does meet the guidelines for neighborhood compatibility. She pointed out that there is a lot of remodeling in this neighborhood, that it is a neighborhood in transition; and she urged Council to support the Planning Commission’s decision.
Mark Olsen, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that this neighborhood was built in the 1960’s; commented on the growing demand for more square footage; and expressed his belief that Mr. DeMoraes has tastefully designed this addition that will enhance the neighborhood. He noted a need to beautify and update neighborhoods that have been around for 50 years.
Lani Luedde, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that her home is south of the DeMoraes’ home; advised that she remodeled her home approximately three years ago; and that they were able to put the addition in their sizeable backyard and give the front of the house a facelift. She stated that this neighborhood looks old and tired and stated that she supports the desires for a fresher look. She expressed her belief that this proposal is not out of line with what is being built in this area and stated that it will enhance the neighborhood. She advised that there is a very large home (4,000 square feet) three streets over that was built approximately 8-10 years ago and stated that the DeMoraes have tastefully designed this addition.
Director Rojas noted that staff is seeing a fair amount of remodeling in the City’s neighborhoods.
Mayor Gardiner questioned the average size of addition proposals.
Director Rojas stated that staff is seeing, throughout the City, additions anywhere from 250 to 2,000 square feet or more.
John Crump, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that this is one of the smallest housing tracts built on the peninsula; advised that his home, which is similar to Mr. DeMoraes’, was recently appraised and described as a one-story house, split level home. He stated that he would be opposed to sacrificing his backyard for an addition; and he commented on the growing vitality in this area and noted that Mr. DeMoraes has scaled this project back to accommodate the neighbors’ concerns.
Steve Chelebian, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that he lives next door to Mr. Crump; noted that this is a nice neighborhood and that its vitality is growing; and noted his support for tastefully created projects, as this one.
Joe Serritella, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed his opinion that this addition is not too large, stated that these older homes should be remodeled and freshened; and highlighted the need for larger homes.
Dr. Kirte Celly, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed her belief that the DeMoraes are only building what they need, that the addition is not too large; commented on the property rights to build responsibly; and noted the need to see a fresher look in this neighborhood.
Councilman Stern asked if Mr. Hughes is able to look down from his property into the neighbors’ backyards.
Mr. Hughes stated that he can see into the neighbors’ backyards if he is standing at the edge of his property. He noted that recently, the Kikuchi’s removed a big tree and that their backyard is more visible at this time.
Mr. Beck noted the need to balance the applicant’s rights to build to suit with the needs of the neighbors; and stated that while the project might meet certain development standards, it does not meet neighborhood compatibility in his opinion. He pointed out that the Planning Commission struggled to make a finding that this proposal was compatible with the neighborhood.
Mr. DeMoraes stated that he was constantly complimented by the Planning Commission for going far beyond what is required to accommodate the concerns of neighbors; noted that he has designed this addition in compliance with City codes; that he has addressed everyone’s concerns; and he urged Council to support the Planning Commission’s decision.
Councilman Stern questioned how far back the upper floor addition will sit from the street.
Mr. DeMoraes stated that it is 32 feet from the street.
Mayor pro tem Clark questioned if staff believes any new testimony provided this evening would change staff recommendation.
Associate Planner Blumenthal stated that no new information has been provided that would change staff’s recommendation.
Mayor Gardiner questioned if staff ever found this project to be compatible.
Director Rojas explained that the neighborhood compatibility process is applied on a case-by-case basis; that in this case, initially when the application came in, the proposed project was substantially over the average – pointing out that almost every application is over the average; that staff had originally determined it did not meet the neighborhood compatibility finding; that when it went to public hearing, staff made that recommendation; and that the Planning Commission agreed with staff and directed the applicant to address those issues. He advised that the applicant then came back with a redesigned project that staff presented to the Planning Commission and that the Planning Commission believed then that it addressed all concerns. Director Rojas stated that staff believes the findings can be made for neighborhood compatibility; and noted that it is not out of range and is within what the Commission is approving throughout the City.
Mayor Gardiner noted his concern that these type of proposals have a way of snow-balling and questioned at what point the City will halt expansion.
Councilman Long stated that the question should not be how big this home is in relation to other homes, but that it should be is enough open space being preserved and is the bulk and mass in line with the lot size. He noted his interest in discussing at some point in the future the issue of applying floor area ratios (FAR).
Mayor pro tem Clark commented on the need to update aging housing stock on this peninsula and meet the desires, demands, and needs of the residents within the community. He highlighted the numerous hours that went into studying neighborhood compatibility last year and improving it dramatically; and pointed out that as Council has found this evening, what it gets down to is a judgment call and advocation of the code, that it is never an absolute situation.
Mayor Gardiner noted his concern that the City is going to be constantly asked to draw the line further and highlighted the need to balance between the need to expand and grow and maintain the look and feel of Rancho Palos Verdes. He expressed his belief that the City can accommodate reasonable needs of residents for living room without sacrificing the ability to look at a map and see where RPV starts.
Councilman Stern stated that the mass, bulk, look and feel is more subjective than the numbers; noted his appreciation for the Kikuchi’s concerns for privacy, but pointed out that their home is situated in a lower position and that this creates a situation where residents living at a higher elevation are able to look down onto their home. He stated that the view from this additional height is at the front of the house and that he does not believe it would affect the privacy of their backyard, that it will not be creating any greater loss of privacy – noting that most of the side windows are blocked out. He added that the applicant has moved back the addition adequately enough to address most of the concerns for bulk, mass and privacy and noted his support for the project.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that it is apparent the entire City is in transition and commented on the reduction in the project plans to accommodate the neighbors’ concerns.
Councilman Long noted his desire to maintain the rural look and feel of RPV. He thanked those present this evening for their input, expressed his belief that the development code is incomplete, and that the City has yet to have an image of how the neighborhoods will ultimately look. He stated that he would like to see a square footage limitation based on the size of a lot; expressed his belief that the bulk and mass of what is now being proposed is sufficient and that the privacy concerns have been sufficiently addressed – pointing out that because of different elevations, all privacy issues cannot be alleviated; and noted his belief that the Planning Commission appropriately made the findings in this difficult case.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to adopt staff recommendation and to deny the appeal.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that all parts of this City that were subdivision tracts built in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s will ultimately be faced with how to refresh those properties; and noted that people are not going to be satisfied with what was built 50 years ago. He stated that he does not support total transformation of all properties, but that there is a need to support a vibrant community.
Motion carried, with Mayor Gardiner voting no.
Mayor Gardiner thanked the speakers for their input.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 10:55 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 11:05 P.M.
Resol. No. 2004-80: Six-month review of Conditional Use Permit No. 195, Revision "A" (Case No. ZON2004-00455) for property located at 5701 Crestridge Road. (1804 x 1203)
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to suspend the rules of taking up new business after 11:00 P.M.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that one of the things done in the past was to move everything else on the agenda to the next evening; and that while he is not proposing that be done, he noted his preference not to run this meeting into the morning hours.
Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
The staff report of September 7th recommended that Council ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-80, CONDUCTING A SIX- MONTH REVIEW OF CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 195, REVISION "A" (CASE NO. ZON2004-00455), AND MODIFYING THE CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL THEREOF.
Mayor Gardiner opened the public hearing.
Councilman Stern questioned why staff is suggesting this review and questioned if it would make more sense in bringing this up for review after the facility is in full operation when the City would have a better understanding of issues of concern.
Associate Planner Blumenthal explained that staff is recommending deleting the annual review, advised that this site has more than adequate parking, and noted that the 6-month review was a requirement of a former Council.
Director Rojas stated that the applicant originally proposed a lot with extra parking, believing that the residents would bring vehicles to store and noted early indications reflecting that parking will not be a concern. He advised that staff is proposing to review the parking in three years as opposed to annually.
Josh Johnson, Belmont Village administrator, noted that he concurs with staff’s comments; and advised that out of the 70 residents living on site currently, there are four cars in the parking lot.
Mayor Gardiner closed the public hearing.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to approve staff recommendation, bringing back the parking review in three years.
Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
City Attorney Lynch stated that Condition 22 will be amended to reflect the 3-year review requirement.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
Appointment of Members to the Geotechnical Board of Appeals. (201 x 1203)
The staff report of September 7th recommended the following: (1) ADOPT URGENCY ORDINANCE NO. 410U REGARDING THE GEOTECHNICAL BOARD OF APPEALS, AMENDING CHAPTER 2.40 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE AND DECLARING THE URGENCY THEREOF; (2) INTRODUCE ORDINANCE NO. 411 REGARDING THE GEOTECHNICAL BOARD OF APPEALS, AMENDING CHAPTER 2.40 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE; and, (3) Appoint a Geotechnical Board of Appeals, pursuant to Chapter 2.40 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code.
Councilman Long questioned staff’s reasoning with requiring the quorum to be two individuals instead of three.
City Attorney Lynch explained that in case one person became ill, staff changed this to a three-member board, with two alternates, and then of the three members, two would constitute a quorum. She advised that the alternates can make up the quorum, that staff wanted to make sure that there was maximum flexibility to have a quorum.
Councilman Long questioned if he as a member of Council were dissatisfied with a decision, would he have to pay a fee for the appeal.
City Attorney Lynch indicated yes.
Councilman Long questioned if the City allows Council members to appeal other decisions without having to pay a fee.
City Attorney Lynch indicated not Council members individually, but the Council as a whole could appeal, for example, decisions of the Planning Commission; and that the Council as a whole is not able to appeal this item as currently comprised.
City Attorney Lynch highlighted a suggestion raised by Councilman Stern that an appeal be supported by some sort of geologic or geotechnical recommendation in order to avoid a situation whereby someone could delay the process simply by appealing, without having a geologic/geotechnical basis for doing so.
Councilman Stern noted that the recommendation should be given by someone with a proper professional background to support the fact that an issue needs to be addressed.
Mayor Gardiner pointed out that the candidates have not been interviewed by Council.
City Attorney Lynch explained that staff spent much time in finding qualified individuals/firms, but noted that if Council desires, they may interview the candidates.
Mayor Gardiner questioned if staff is satisfied with the opportunity of this potential pool.
City Manager Evans explained that these are people who were already familiar with the City, people who City staff had worked with over the years; advised that staff contacted them, told them what the City was looking into, and that they were asked about their interest in participating. He added that City staff chose those individuals they felt most comfortable in working with. He stated that if Council wishes, it may interview these individuals.
City Attorney Lynch stated that one of the things added to the existing ordinance was to allow for "arbitration" of disputes between various geologists and technical engineers, and noted that staff had planned to have the members all serve concurrent terms, which would expire concurrently.
Don Smaltz, attorney representing Mr. and Mrs. Briles, who live on Marguerite Drive, commented on the crumbling edge of the cliff; and noted his concerns with the proposed procedure. He advised that the City already has a procedure in place, noted that it hasn’t been utilized recently, but that there is an existing statute to provide that there should be a border review process. He noted his concern that this new procedure is being applied after his clients have filed their appeal and that it is not fair to his clients to change the rules after they have filed. He stated that in his judgment, there is a problem with the proposed list of technical people, and he urged the City to put together a larger talent pool of geotechnical engineers and engineering geologists.
Councilman Stern questioned if Mr. Smaltz believes that what staff is proposing changes any of the substantive roles as to what the board will be doing, given the current ordinance.
Mr. Smaltz stated that it could.
With regard to the technical expertise under the ordinance that exists now, Councilman Stern questioned if that is changing that at all.
City Attorney Lynch stated no and added that currently, the pool is weighted towards the geologists and not the geotechnical engineers.
Mayor Gardiner suggested that the panel have a chairman and pool of people the chairman can draw from, stating that depending on a particular situation, that chairman can draw on the expertise that is relevant to each case.
Councilman Wolowicz suggested a pool of approximately 5 to 7 individuals.
Mayor Gardiner asked Mr. Smaltz if Council waives his client’s fee, would he believe the procedures staff is proposing are sufficiently similar in function with the procedures currently in place.
Mr. Smaltz stated that there is not enough history with the review procedure to answer that question and noted a level of comfort if the City were to establish a talent pool that is going to be able to address the issue that is presented.
In response to Councilman Stern’s inquiry of appeal fees, City Attorney Lynch advised that there are fees with every type of appeal; noted that the ordinance was drafted in 1986 when $50 per meeting was sufficient to retain professional help; but she expressed her belief that this $50 fee would need to be raised to get the level of competent people that Council would want on this panel.
Councilman Stern noted that he appreciates Mr. Smaltz’ concern with the fee, but pointed out that he is essentially asking the taxpayers to bear the cost of his appeal, noting that normally the appeal cost is borne by the appellant.
Mr. Smaltz stated that his concern is that the existing procedures do not require the proposed fee; reiterated that his clients filed the appeal under the existing procedures; and stated that this is not an equitable situation to change the rules after filing.
Vincent Robino, geologist for GeoKinetics, located in Irvine, stated that it is a standard in other cities and fair to have a board as part of the review process; suggested that these projects be treated on a project-by-project basis versus just having a board comprised of seven; and noted the importance of selecting from a pool of licensed individuals that can fully investigate and work on projects that pertain to their expertise.
Councilman Long noted his support for Mayor Gardiner’s suggestion for a larger pool; stated that he is less comfortable with asking the chairman to keep track of the criteria for selection of the right professional for a particular project; and he suggested that the Planning Director and City Attorney appoint the members to hear each appeal, applying whatever standards are deemed appropriate on a case-by-case basis.
City Attorney Lynch suggested that at least one member would be an engineering geologist and at least one member would be a geotechnical engineer; and that those two members would then decide whom the third person would be depending on the balance of the case, that it could be done in concurrence with the Planning Director.
Councilman Wolowicz suggested that the decision remain in the City’s hands, that the Planning Director work with the City Attorney in counseling with the potential members.
Mayor Gardiner expressed his preference that there be no permanent members. Since Mr. Smaltz’ client appealed under a process that had no fee, Mayor Gardiner asked if there was any support for waiving the new fee.
Councilman Wolowicz noted his opposition to changing the rules on someone after they have filed an appeal; stated that there is certain merit regarding the fee proposal and not having the taxpayers pay for a private individual, and suggested that the City split the difference with this applicant.
Mayor Gardiner stated that he is not inclined to split the difference, pointing out that it is not this appellant’s fault that this matter has been neglected.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to adopt staff recommendation subject to the modification that the pool be expanded as appropriate to the discretion of the Director of Planning, to include additional professionals as appropriate; that the board will still be three members; that there will be no permanent members; that on a case-by-case basis, according to the criteria and the facts specific for each case, the Director of Planning would make the final selection of the three members, consulting with individuals in the pool and consulting with the City Attorney as the Director of Planning deems appropriate; that there can be multiple members from the same firm in the pool, but that no two members from the same firm will serve on the same hearing; that all appeals should be supported by the appropriate geologist’s and/or geotechnical engineer’s opinion, with the exception of any appeal taken by the City Council itself; that City Council itself could appeal any ruling; and that there be no waiver of the fee for Mr. Smaltz’ client.
Councilman Stern reiterated that he does not want to see this as a tool to delay.
In response to Councilman Stern’s comment, Councilman Long amended the motion to include the same requirement on City Council for appeal, same obligation.
Councilman Wolowicz noted his support for the friendly amendment.
City Attorney Lynch explained that in her opinion, it is best that City Council stay out of this because where this is likely to come up is with possible disputes between the City’s geologist and the applicant’s geologist. She advised that Council will ultimately get the case if it gets to that point at the development stage; and reiterated that including Council in the motion would put Council in an awkward situation, especially in those cases where the City’s own geologist’s decision is being challenged. She suggested that this matter be brought back at the next meeting, believing that she has adequate direction from Council for the ordinance.
Councilman Long withdrew the pending motion.
City Manager Evans stated that the next meeting agenda will be a lengthy one, and he suggested another meeting.
Mayor Gardiner questioned if there is a matter of urgency for this particular appeal.
City Attorney Lynch indicated yes.
Councilman Long stated that Council could always add, if Council disagrees, a right to appeal for Council later during the development phase. He reinstated his motion, but with the amendment to delete any Council appeal.
Councilman Stern seconded the motion.
Mayor Gardiner requested that the motion be split so that the issue of waiving the fee for this appellant is separate.
The motion with regard to all issues except to waive the appellant’s fee carried without objection.
The motion for the appellant to pay the fee carried as follows:
AYES: Stern, Long, Clark
NOES: Wolowicz, Gardiner
Resol. No. 2004-81: Budget Adjustment for Preliminary Design of Girls' Softball Fields. (1201)
Assistant City Manager Petru presented the staff report and the recommendation to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-81; AMENDING RESOLUTION 2004-45, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2004-2005; FOR A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT TO THE CITY'S GENERAL FUND TO PREPARE PRELIMINARY DESIGNS FOR GIRLS' SOFTBALL FIELDS.
With regard to the proposal being considered at Hesse Park and Ryan Park, Councilman Long questioned if staff is recommending just one field at each park.
Assistant City Manager Petru stated that there are existing baseball fields at both locations; advised that the proposal is to convert those to girls’ softball use and then build a new one at each site – pointing out that cumulatively, the City would end up with potentially two at either site, a net addition of two at either site, or both.
Councilman Stern noted that Council received an email from Todd Anderson in regard to this proposal; stated that he was not able to attend this evening’s meeting; and advised that Mr. Anderson did not indicate enthusiasm with either site. He questioned if staff had any communications with Mr. Anderson other than this one.
Assistant City Manager Petru stated that she and Mr. Anderson did exchange emails the prior week regarding this topic and that he expressed similar sentiments to her as he did with his email communication to Council. She added that the League is still very interested in trying to find at least four fields at the same location.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted his recollection that Mr. Anderson indicated a willingness to compromise; and pointed out that this Council is attempting to find feasible locations to withstand a number of sports fields for the youth and the community.
Councilman Wolowicz urged that this matter be moved along with speed; and he questioned staff about the environmental concerns at the Upper Point Vicente and what the expected timeline will be.
Assistant City Manager Petru stated that as was learned with the Lower Point Vicente site when the City started building the addition to the Interpretive Center, it is important to know what the City is working with at Upper Point Vicente, particularly with the soil; that since this was part of that same military installation, the City needs to determine what type of hazardous materials, if any, exist on site and where those materials are located before the City starts laying out a master plan or starts doing major construction outside the existing building footprints on site. She stated that Phase II environmental will involve a lot more soil testing, going down into the silos for air samples and noted that it will take approximately a year to complete Phase II environmental.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned if it is known for certain that the City needs a Phase II report on Upper Point Vicente.
City Manager Evans stated that staff did do an investigation earlier this year; and that the consultant who did the investigation recommended that a Phase II be done, that he had identified certain areas of concern.
Councilman Wolowicz requested that Upper Hesse Park be included on the study for these fields and stated that he would like to see two fields at Upper Hesse Park. With regard to Ryan Park, he noted his concern with the parking and questioned whether including at least one field would influence the cost of the study.
Assistant City Manager Petru stated that RBF was not asked to give a quote to simply convert the one field.
Mayor pro tem Clark pointed out that Ryan Park was the least expensive of all the prospective sites, the most unimpeded in terms of topography to accomplish transformation in a fairly rapid manner. He noted that the parking has always been an issue, but pointed out that he would like the City to pursue this site.
At this time, Councilman Long moved to suspend the rules for considering new business, Nos. 18, 19 and 23. No objection was noted.
Wendy Klashman, Rancho Palos Verdes, co-president of PV Girls’ Softball League, noted that at the last meeting there was discussion about softball field development and talk of parallel plans; expressed her understanding that it meant the City would look at Ryan and Upper Hesse Park as short-term solutions to meet the immediate needs for fields while still having Upper Point Vicente as an option for a longer-term solution if it is deemed appropriate. She advised that Mr. Anderson has been working for several years to get four fields at one location and that it is still their desire to have a large sports complex. She reiterated her desire for a four-field complex at Upper Point Vicente as part of the sports complex; added that she believes they can support a field at Ryan Park as long as something is done to improve the parking situation, highlighting her concern for vehicular and pedestrian traffic on Hawthorne Boulevard. She indicated support for a second field at Upper Hesse Park, assuming an engineering study is favorable. Ms. Klashman stated if this resolution is passed, the League would like to meet with staff and the consultants to work together and make sure the field designs meet the needs. Ms. Klashman stated that if it is a choice of this now or only Upper Point Vicente later, the board would have to discuss that before she could answer.
Mayor pro tem Clark highlighted the statement that Council was on a parallel track, at the same time trying to preserve land and create new sports fields. He noted that while there is a sense of frustration in the community for tangible action, he cautioned those in limiting the preferred location as Upper Point Vicente – pointing out that it can be years before anything is realized at that site. He stated that he has not yet given up on Eastview Park, which can easily accommodate three fields; advised that this week, he and City Manager Evans will be meeting with the Sanitation District Director to discuss more in depth what is going on in terms of its plans at Eastview Park, perhaps trying to stimulate a more near-term decision making process by the County on the work at this site.
Mayor Gardiner stated that he would support two fields at Hesse Park; that he would support one or two fields at Ryan Park, depending on safety, but he cautioned those to not raise any expectations that they’ll get three or four fields and then an additional four fields somewhere else. He noted that there are a lot of other competing demands and that the City is not necessarily talking about eight girls’ softball fields.
Ms. Klashman stated that the League is not asking for eight and that his point is understood.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that the League should also be approaching Palos Verdes Estates, noting that George Allen Field has already been identified as an underutilized field from some perspective in the community; and that other cities on the peninsula should be contributing to the new fields. He noted that while this City is under-prescribed for its size, this issue is being seriously addressed.
Gary Tavetian, Rancho Palos Verdes, echoed Ms. Klashman’s comments and he highlighted the safety concerns for pedestrians utilizing Hawthorne Boulevard to play at Ryan Park. Mr. Tavetian noted for Mayor Gardiner that the girls’ softball season begins in February.
Assistant City Manager Petru stated that it would take almost a year to complete the easiest project, noting that fields could potentially be ready in 2006.
Mayor Gardiner questioned where the funding will be obtained for these projects.
Councilman Long noted his understanding of Mr. Anderson’s prior statements that once the land has been devoted, private money is there for the asking.
Councilman Wolowicz requested that a timeline be developed; that the City work with the League where it is appropriate; and for the League to discuss with themselves and report to Council their plans for funding.
Councilman Stern cautioned the City in moving too quickly, urging that no money be wasted and that everything be done properly.
Mayor Gardiner noted his support for staff to prepare a timeline, working back from the season that begins in 2006 to see what has to be done and when.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted his support for the City providing some funding to this cause.
Councilman Long highlighted Mr. Anderson’s desire to see multiple fields at one site because they are typically self-sustaining financially.
Mayor Gardiner noted his understanding from Mr. Anderson’s statements that a snack shack and associated activities generate enough money to maintain the fields if there are at least two in a cluster at one site; and noted the difficulty in generating funds to sustain a one-field park.
Councilman Stern stated that he is very concerned with Ryan Park, with the limited parking and the need for park users to utilize Hawthorne Boulevard; and he stated that he does not want to meet one need while displacing another need. He noted his support for two fields at Upper Hesse Park, but stated that he is not comfortable with moving forward with two fields at Ryan Park.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned if it is possible in the study to address the safety issue at Ryan Park.
Assistant City Manager Petru advised that the proposals the City has received are only for the design of the fields, that it does not include any funds to study safety or parking issues.
Councilman Wolowicz asked if internal staff can provide a study on the safety issue at Ryan Park.
City Manager Evans stated that the City’s traffic engineer could look at that issue and report back to Council, but noted that the study would probably cause the City to run over on the City’s traffic engineering consulting budget and that a budget adjustment would ultimately be necessary.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to go forward with a further study on Upper Hesse Park; to have the fee negotiated to cover Upper Hesse Park and have staff come back to Council with a separate proposed budget adjustment to look at Ryan Park, but to look at Ryan Park in a way that would also address the safety issue as well as the design.
Director Allison noted that it will cost approximately $3,000 to $4,000 to study the safety issue at Ryan Park.
Councilman Wolowicz moved that Council move forward and commit $5,000 to study the safety issue at Ryan Park.
Councilman Long stated that he would accept Councilman Wolowicz’ request to commit $5,000 as a friendly amendment to his motion, up to and not to exceed further adjustment of $5,000 to look at safety alternatives at Ryan Park, specifically exploring alternatives of one and two field alternatives at Ryan Park.
Councilman Stern noted his support for the friendly amendment.
Mayor Gardiner noted his concern that only providing one field will make it difficult to sustain maintenance costs and reiterated that revenue from two fields is easier to obtain. With regard to the study, he pointed out that parking is already a problem at Ryan Park.
Mayor pro tem Clark expressed his belief that Ryan Park should not be eliminated from the equation at this time, pointing out that he is not aware of any traffic fatalities of those using the park. He stated that he is not yet convinced that safety is an absolute inhibitor at Ryan Park.
Councilman Long stated that he would not like to lose the opportunity for what is understood as potentially the least expensive site for fields without having studied the safety issues.
Councilman Stern reiterated that he does not want to displace others from these sites.
Councilman Long concurred with Councilman Stern’s comment and included his statement in the motion.
Assistant City Manager Petru advised that currently the Youth Volleyball League and the Peninsula High Girls’ Lacrosse are using the field at Ryan Park for practice.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned if the seasons overlap.
Assistant City Manager Petru stated that between these two, they are able to work out their schedules, but that she is not certain if the seasons overlap girls’ softball, noting that she will obtain that information and report to Council.
Councilman Long summarized his recommendation to approve staff recommendation, commit $5,000 to study the safety at Ryan Park with both the one and two field alternatives, and to have a thorough understanding of what sports will overlap at this park.
Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Resol No. 2004-82: Restricted Parking Zone on Hawthorne Boulevard between Indian Peak Road and Woodbrook Road. (1502 x 1204)
The staff report of September 7th recommended the following: (1) Establish No Parking Anytime zone on Hawthorne Boulevard from Indian Peak Road southerly to Woodbrook Road; and, (2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-82, ESTABLISHING RESTRICTED PARKING ON HAWTHORNE BOULEVARD FROM INDIAN PEAK ROAD SOUTHERLY TO WOODBROOK ROAD.
Eric Lee, 5520 Zau Claire Drive, noted his support for this recommendation; advised that his property is at this corner; and he highlighted his concerns for pedestrian and vehicular safety. He advised that motorists pull over and park their cars in the red zone while looking at the cars for sale and he noted that it blocks the view of those trying to exit off his street. He added that the doors of these cars are wide open when a potential buyer is looking at the interiors and that this creates another traffic hazard.
Lorraine Bagi, Rancho Palos Verdes, provided some background on the unsatisfactory traffic condition at the corner of Shorewood and the Hawthorne frontage road; noted that it is very difficult to see oncoming traffic without having to come out onto Hawthorne; and she requested that the red zone area on Hawthorne Boulevard be extended. She asked that no parking be permitted on Hawthorne Boulevard from Indian Peak Road to Woodbrook Road.
Jeff Ginsburg, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that there is a serious problem with safety on this area of Hawthorne Boulevard; advised that the cars being offered for sale are from areas outside the City and that this is becoming an eyesore. He noted his support to not allow any parking and noted his support to implement a bike lane through this area, which automatically creates a no parking zone.
Director Allison explained that if a bike lane is established, there will be no parking allowed as opposed to a bike route, which does allow for parking.
Barry Titlebaum, Rancho Palos Verdes, noted his concurrence with the comments made; he distributed to Council photographs he had taken of the cars that are for sale on Hawthorne Boulevard; and stated that these cars are blocking the view of oncoming cars, making it dangerous for everyone traveling this roadway.
Director Rojas confirmed for Councilman Wolowicz that the high school expressed little or no concern with the potential of losing the parking spaces on Hawthorne Boulevard.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned if staff has any concerns with making this a bike lane.
Director Rojas stated that there may be some concern and noted that the safest route to take at this point is to establish a "No Parking" boundary, but stated that it is worth exploring the implementation of a bike lane in this area. He added that if it is stripped for a bike lane, the City will have an added potential liability, and that he would like the traffic engineer to look at the possibility first.
Councilman Long noted his belief that the cycling traffic will be the same regardless of putting in a bike lane.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve staff recommendation.
Councilman Long noted his support of the motion; asked that staff look at the possibility of providing a bike lane; and asked that the City enforce its parking regulations on Silver Arrow. Depending on what the impact is on high school parking, he stated that he would like to see staff bring back at some point information on what the City can do with the problem created by high school parking and the failure of the school district to provide any constructive solutions.
Mayor pro tem Clark asked that the parking for Marymount be included with the Silver Arrow issue.
Given the late hour, Councilman Wolowicz asked that Council move on the motion.
Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Planning Commission Vacancy: Appointment Process. (106 x 1203)
Recommendation to decide whether to conduct a new recruitment or appoint one of the candidates who participated in the interview process in January 2004.
Councilman Stern questioned if staff had conferred with any of the people that had applied for an appointment earlier this year.
City Clerk Purcell stated that she had not contacted any of the previous applicants.
Councilman Stern expressed his belief that this is not a good way to proceed and stated that when there is a vacancy, the City should fill the vacancy with interested individuals.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to implement the appointment process consistent with Council Policy No. 6 and that Council disregard the possibility of making an acting appointment or emergency appointment of any sort.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that he does not understand what Councilman Long characterizes as a normal process. He noted that there have been times when Council has appointed someone when there has been a vacancy created in a relatively contemporaneous time with a full-out recruitment process for appointments. He stated that given the fact that Council went through a fairly involved process at the beginning of this year, he is not adverse to seeking out applicants from the Planning Commission, noting that there was a tremendous turnout of talented individuals, and he expressed his belief that Council does have the option, as evidenced from past practice by previous Councils.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that he had asked staff if there is any precedent to choose a replacement from the applicants who appeared at the last annual set of interviews, and noted that staff’s answer was that they checked the record for the last ten years and that they had not found an incident where Council appointed someone without conducting another interview of the candidate.
Councilman Stern stated that he does not like the idea of going to a group that had applied before just because they applied; explained that circumstances change and that others may now wish to serve; and he asked that in fairness, every new event should be opened to all in order to obtain the best group possible.
Councilman Long stated that he would prefer sticking with Council Policy No. 6, and added to his motion that staff contact prior applicants and advise them that they simply have to approve their application be included if they want to apply.
There was no objection by Councilman Stern to amend the motion.
City Clerk Purcell advised that this term is to end January 2006 and noted that the applications should be ready for Council’s review at the October 5th meeting.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to direct City Clerk Purcell to follow the established procedure to get the applications in time for Council’s review at the first meeting in October.
Roll call vote on the motion carried as follows:
AYES: Stern, Long, Wolowicz
NOES: Clark, Gardiner
Ordinance No. 410: Adoption of County Fire Code. (603 x 1103 x 201)
The staff report of September 7th recommended the following: (1) INTRODUCE ORDINANCE NO. 410, OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ADOPTING BY REFERENCE TITLE 32, FIRE CODE, OF THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY CODE, AS AMENDED AND IN EFFECT ON DECEMBER 25, 2003, WHICH CONSTITUTES AN AMENDED VERSION OF THE CALIFORNIA FIRE CODE, 2001 EDITION, AND AMENDING CHAPTER 8.08 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE; AND, (2) Direct the City Clerk to set a public hearing on the adoption of the Ordinance for October 5, 2004 at 7:00 P.M. in Council Chamber and to advertise the public hearing according to Government Code Section 50022.3.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to adopt staff recommendation.
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
Ordinance No. 411: Adoption of Animal Control Ordinance. (103 x 1103 x 201)
The staff report of September 7th recommended the following: (1) INTRODUCE ORDINANCE NO. 411, OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ADOPTING BY REFERENCE TITLE 10, ANIMALS, OF THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY CODE, AND AMENDING CHAPTER 6.04 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE; and (2) Direct the City Clerk to set a public hearing on the adoption of the Ordinance for October 5, 2004, at 7:00 p.m., at City Council Chamber and to advertise the public hearing according to Government Code Section 50022.3.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to adopt staff recommendation.
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
Mayor Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to continue to a future meeting Agenda Item No. 22, 2004 Five-Year Financial Model - Revision 1. Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Consider Support for Constitutional Amendment 1A-Protection of Local Government Revenues. (306)
The staff report of September 7th recommended that Council consider taking a City position in support of Proposition 1A.
Mayor pro tem Clark commented on Proposition No. 65 that the League of California Cities initially sponsored and stated that as a consequence of seeking the Governor’s and the Legislation’s support, an alternate proposition, No. 1A, was written. He explained that the Governor wanted contributions from cities and counties towards the year-end budget shortfall for the next two years in return for moving for constitutional protection in the future in taking money from cities and counties. He advised that the Legislature additionally wanted the ability twice within a 10-year period to be able to take local revenues only after the first time declaring a budget crisis; after a second time, it would require that the first be paid back with interest; and noted that this would take a 2/3rds’ majority vote of the legislature to declare a crisis. He advised that the League of Counties and the League of California Cities is now supporting Proposition 1A and not supporting Proposition 65. He added that many cities throughout the state have already endorsed Proposition 1A as the future to protecting local revenues.
Councilman Long noted his opposition to both propositions but added that Proposition 1A is the lesser of two evils; and stated that this is a second-rate solution to the problem, but that it is better than nothing.
Mayor pro tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to adopt the resolution to support Proposition 1A.
Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:56 A.M.
/s/ Peter C. Gardiner
/s/ Jo Purcell
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