OCTOBER 5, 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 7:07 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 Petru; Assistant City Attorney Lynch; Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas; Director of Public Works Dean Allison; Finance Director McLean; Senior Planner Fox; Senior Planner Mihranian; Project Coordinator Trayci Nelson; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and Recording Secretary Denise Bothe.


City Manager Evans led the flag salute.


At this time, Mayor Gardiner turned the microphone over to Mayor pro tem Clark for a special introduction.

Mayor pro tem Clark introduced the current president of the Los Angeles County Division of the League of California Cities, Dennis Washburn, and added that he also is a Councilman for the city of Calabasas. Mayor pro tem Clark advised that Councilman Washburn is one of two remaining founding members of Calabasas and the first Mayor of that city – noting that he currently is in his fourth term as Councilmember. He added that Councilman Washburn has provided a tremendous amount of vision and insight into that beautiful community of 22,000 residents. With regard to the Los Angeles County Division of the League of California Cities, Mayor pro tem Clark noted he recently had the pleasure of joining Councilman Washburn as he was inducted as the Los Angeles County Division president; and stated that Councilman Washburn has been an instructive and instrumental force with the Los Angeles County Division of the League of California Cities, which includes 88 member cities. Mayor pro tem Clark stated that he has enjoyed working with Councilman Washburn over the last few years with the League.

Councilman Washburn thanked Mayor pro tem Clark for his glowing introduction; noted his delight in attending this evening’s meeting; and commended the activities of this community in its significant participation with the L.A. Division League of California Cities. He showed a video which reflected the history and incorporation of Calabasas, highlighting its many parkways, recreation spaces, natural streams, open spaces and parklands growth, the city’s school district, its new Civic Center plans, and its seasonal celebrations and cultural arts festival.

Councilman Washburn explained that there is a very significant challenge ahead of all cities/counties in California because of a need to protect the revenues of the cities/counties; stated that it’s important for voters to get educated on the importance of passing Proposition Nos. 1A and 65 and other measures that will help with local financing; and he urged the citizens to become well-informed and make the right choice for the continuous prosperity of local commerce. He suggested that those interested obtain the following book: The Price of Government -- Getting the Results We Need in an Age of Permanent Fiscal Crisis. He wished RPV the best of fortune in the coming year.

Mayor pro tem Clark commended Councilman Washburn for an excellent presentation and video of his city; and presented him with a coffee mug with RPV’s logo and an RPV City Council sterling silver lapel pin. He thanked Councilman Washburn for visiting RPV.

Councilman Wolowicz commended Councilman Washburn for the significant amount of time he dedicates to volunteering; and he commended both Councilman Washburn and Mayor pro tem Clark for their efforts with the League of California Cities.


Mayor Gardiner announced the names of the two recycler winners for the last meeting in September: Ken Christing and William Lewis, both who will receive a check for $250, which represents a year of free refuse service. He encouraged everyone to recycle, and he mentioned that a new batch of cards has been placed inside the drawing container.

Mayor Gardiner stated that at a recent gathering of the Coordination Council, he thanked the city of Rolling Hills for endorsing and adopting a resolution in support of the Portuguese Bend Nature Reserve; and noted that he errored in failing to mention that Palos Verdes Estates had endorsed and supported RPV’s acquisition of the Portuguese Bend Nature Reserve a couple years ago – highlighting his appreciation of that city’s support. He added that recently, Rolling Hills Estates had also passed a resolution endorsing its support of the Portuguese Bend Nature Reserve and stated that at this time, all cities on this peninsula are on record in support of this acquisition.

Mayor Gardiner announced that he and Mayor pro tem Clark would need to leave the meeting this evening at 11:00 P.M. due to a busy schedule tomorrow.


Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the Agenda as submitted.

Mayor Gardiner stated that he received some audience requests to move up on the agenda Item No. 23, Position on Proposition 71—Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, suggesting that the item be considered immediately before Public Hearings.

There being no objection to amending the order of the Agenda, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.


Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, stated that she was invited to the September 17th sunset party of the Point Vicente Docents; advised that she is a lifetime member; and noted her delight that Sunshine and John McTaggart are taking steps to become docents at the Interpretive Center. She stated that what she has mostly viewed on peninsula television are the events which are going on in RPV.

David Kuntz, RPV, noted his desire to enlist the assistance of RPV in reducing the amount of aircraft noise residents are experiencing in this community; and stated that he needs the City’s help because he does not think the residents alone are able to adequately deal with this issue – pointing out the necessity to obtain the assistance of both local and national governments. He explained that the problem with aircraft noise began around 1997; and stated that some air traffic at the time had been re-routed around the peninsula, but that in the intervening years, most of that re-routed air traffic is now going back over the peninsula. Mr. Kuntz pointed out that the LAX Roundtable is not able to help because it has no authority to make any changes in air traffic patterns. He stated that another problem is the constant turnover of employees at the FAA; and explained that just about the time that employee understands the nature of the problem and is about to pose a solution, that employee is transferred elsewhere and the process must start all over. He stated that turnover is also the same problem that is being experienced with all levels of state representatives. Mr. Kuntz advised that he has not been able to get Dana Rohrabacher’s attention in any form. He stated that while he does not expect to fully eliminate all air traffic over the peninsula, he believes the problem can be alleviated to an acceptable level. He added that the biggest problem is the FAA seems to be moving air traffic from other parts of the basin toward RPV.

Councilman Stern questioned if anything had changed in the last couple of years. In response, Mr. Kuntz explained that he is not able to get a straight answer from LAX or the FAA.

Mayor pro tem Clark thanked Mr. Kuntz for his input and stated that he has personally experienced these loud aircraft over his home during the evening hours. He stated that these activities take away from the tranquility and semi-rural environment that homeowners on the peninsula expect in this area; and he asked Mr. Kuntz if he has any specific recommendations on what this body can do to help.

Mr. Kuntz stated that the core problem is the FAA ultimately has the responsibility for not only determining what airport routes there are, but also for the moment-to-moment, actual directing of planes into those routes. He pointed out that it costs time and money to fly a few extra miles; and expressed his belief that until someone who is a heavyweight on the national level is ready to take on the FAA, this problem will not improve and may grow worse.

Mayor pro tem Clark noted the necessity of engaging the support of the Congressional representatives for this area.

Beverly Ackerson, RPV, stated that she serves on the LAX Roundtable and noted that body can only give recommendations. Ms. Ackerson advised that the routing has drastically changed in the past two years, noting that July was the worst month. She stated that the routing loops had supposedly been improved but that she also is not able to get an answer from anyone on this issue. Ms. Ackerson advised that residents have called LAX to complain; and she that the peninsula is not only experiencing the noise from aircraft departures from LAX, but also departures coming up from a San Diego airport going north to Oakland/Sacramento, many during the evening hours. She explained that in the past, it had been very advantageous to put together a mass writing campaign to the FAA and the DOT about these concerns.

Council thanked the audience members for their input.




Mayor Gardiner reminded the residents they can view Old Business on the City’s website.



Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve the Consent Calendar as presented. Motion carried as follows:

AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner

NOES: None



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 August 31, 2004.

Ordinance No. 413: Geotechnical Appeals Board. (201 x 1203)


Appointment to the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County. (306)

Appointed Mayor Pro Tem Clark as the City’s representative to the Los Angeles County Sanitation District Number 5 and the South Bay Sanitation District.

Claim against the City by Yvonne Stotts. (303)

Rejected the claim and directed staff to notify the claimant.

Border Issues Status Report. (310)

Reviewed the current status of border issues.

Amendment No. 1 for Contract to Prepare the Environmental Impact Report for the Point View Project (6001 Palos Verdes Drive South). (1801)

Authorized the Mayor and the City Clerk to sign an amendment to the professional services agreement with PCR Services Corporation (PCR) in an amount not to exceed $38,980 to complete the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Point View project, located at 6001 Palos Verdes Drive South.

Resol. No. 2004-85: Budget Adjustment for RPV TV Channel 33. (305)


Storm Drain Rehabilitation. (1405 x 1204)

(1) Rejected all bids received on September 22, 2004, for the rehabilitation of two storm drainpipes in the Miraleste area; and (2) Requested staff to revise the project plans and specifications and re-advertise the project.

Resol. No. 2004-86:Trudie Drive Stop Signs. (1502 x 1503 x 1204)

Approved the (1) Establishment of four-way stop controls and associated pavement markings at the intersection of Trudie Drive and Highmore Avenue; and the (2) Installation of "Stop Ahead" warning signs and pavement markings for motorists on Trudie Drive in advance of Highmore Avenue; and, (3) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO 2004-86, ESTABLISHING FOUR-WAY STOP CONTROLS AT THE INTERSECTIONS OF TRUDIE DRIVE AND HIGHMORE AVENUE.

Treasurer’s Report. (602)

Received and filed the Treasurer’s Report for the month of August.

Resol. No. 2004-87: Register of Demands.


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The following item was considered out of Agenda order.

Position on Proposition 71—Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative. (306)

Staff recommendation was to consider taking a City position on Proposition 71.

Arthur Smith, RPV, thanked Council for allowing him to speak on this matter and for moving it up on the agenda. As a father of two insulin-dependent children and a family member of one who suffers from multiple sclerosis, Mr. Smith stated that he is well aware of the need for additional medical research; advised that he supports stem cell research, but not how it is proposed in Proposition No. 71. He stated he is particularly concerned with the financial aspects of the program; and that his main concern is the size of the program in these days of limited budgets. Mr. Smith advised that a writer from the Los Angeles Times wrote that it’s hard for voters to grasp the vastness of this financial commitment; that it would allocate nearly twice as much money to one scientific field as the University of California has spent on all its research facilities over the last 25 years; and that the program cost is estimated to be $6 billion over the 30-year replacement period, which is 30 times the national commitment under discussion by the presidential candidates today. Mr. Smith noted his concern with the weak accountability and oversight provisions that are being proposed; and stated that there is too much authority given to the institute and an inability of state legislators to control the bureaucracy once it’s created. He noted his concern with the impact this will have upon other necessary programs; advised that if Proposition No. 71 passes, funding by the state legislature for other programs, such as high construction, school room renovations, would be severely constrained by this $3 billion in state debt capacity allocated to stem cell research.

Mr. Smith expressed his belief that the benefits to help cover the cost of this program have been overstated; advised that the National Academy of Science reported there is an unwarranted impression that widespread clinical application in new therapies is certain and imminent; that, in fact, stem cell research is in its infancy; that patent royalties, new businesses, and health care savings derived from stem cell research results, if any, can therefore be slow to develop and require additional funds to service the bond issue; and that those funds will not be produced in a timely fashion to cover the cost. He concluded that Proposition No. 71 is far too burdensome for California’s taxpayers in these days of severe budgetary restraints, and he urged those to oppose this proposition.

Joana Livoti, Lomita, speaking as a registered nurse with a clinical background in emergency nursing, noted her opposition to Proposition No. 71, stating that it is wrong and unjust to launch a costly, new state bureaucracy when vital state programs for health, police and fire services are being cut. She pointed out that approximately six trauma centers and emergency rooms had been closed within the past month; and expressed her belief that the money should be going to provide for these emergency services and centers. She advised that the Robert F. Kennedy Emergency Room will be closing by December 23, 2004 and that the rest of the hospital will close a week later. She reminded everyone that Harbor UCLA had narrowly been saved from closure just two years ago, but noted that it can still be closed in the future. She pointed out that the citizens must be prepared to meet every emergency, be it natural disaster, health emergency, germ warfare or bioterrorism and that the resources need to be allocated to local communities to maintain emergency facilities.

Sara Bowlus, RPV, expressed her belief that Proposition No. 71 is a bad initiative for the California taxpayers, believing that it throws money at a narrow focused field of research. She pointed out that there is no peer review; and that it authorizes and creates an Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC), which shall govern the institute and is listed with full power, authority and jurisdiction over the institute. Ms. Bowlus explained that this initiative allows embryonic research; and that it leaves out adult stem cell research. She advised that writers of Proposition No. 71 state that it does not leave out adult stem cell research; but explained that the initiative talks about precluding any research that’s funded by the National Institutes of Health – pointing out that adult stem cell research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and that it, therefore, precludes any adult stem cell research. Ms. Bowlus advised that there are two different types of stem cell research: embryonic and adult. She noted that adult stem cell research is the one that has shown success, that it is the one being used to date. She noted that there is no success with embryonic stem cell to date. She reiterated that what has been successful is not being proposed to be budgeted in this initiative.

Ms. Bowlus stated that there are too many exceptions to the open meetings that the committee will hold, that the committee wants to protect their resources; and she noted her concern that the committee gets to decide what California taxpayers will get back in return if there are any patents and licenses. She urged everyone to oppose this initiative.

Mary Sheridan, RPV, retired school teacher, noted her opposition to Proposition No. 71 for two reasons: 1) it uses deceptive language to hide the truth from the voting public – pointing out that it will prohibit funding of human reproductive cloning research; but she explained that they get around this because the reproductive clone is destroyed following testing; 2) it excludes funding for adult stem cells and core blood stem cells; that it is only proposing to test frozen embryos and cloned embryos; and advised that in 20 years of research in that area, there have been no successful treatments developed. She mentioned that there have been over 100 successful treatments using adult and core blood stem cells.

Scott Manlief, RPV, urged the voters to visit www.yeson 71.com to get a thorough understanding on the cost benefit study that was commissioned by Yes on 71. He advised that the analysis proved there would be a return on this investment; that the range of return on investment ranges anywhere from 120 percent to 200 percent over the payback period of the bond issue; and that the return on investment to Californians comes to $12 billion at the low end of this estimate. He explained that funding will come from outside investments, tax revenues, royalties, cost savings on health care, etc.; and he mentioned that embryonic stem cell research is in its infancy and not a mature technology as in adult stem cell.

Councilman Wolowicz expressed his belief that the City should not take a position on this matter, pointing out that the initiative does not materially impact the City’s revenues, as in the case of Proposition No. 1A, which does impact municipalities.

Mayor pro tem Clark advised that Proposition No. 71 did come before the South Bay Cities of Government Board of Directors at the last meeting; and that after a spirited discussion and a vote, the position of the South Bay COG was neutral on this ballot initiative. He added that the League of California Cities’ position on this ballot initiative is no position at this time; and reported that Rolling Hills Estates City Council took a neutral position on this initiative. He stated that he would support a no position.

Councilman Stern stated that he does not want anyone to conclude one way or another what his personal position is on this initiative and expressed his preference that the City not take any position and that Council move on with the rest of the agenda matters. He stated that this is not the proper forum for this initiative.

Councilman Long explained that when it was previously discussed about placing this matter on the Council agenda, he noted his belief that it would not be the proper forum, that it would require a lot of debate for this body to reach some decision as a Council and that it would not be worth the time for the reasons already expressed. Since it has made its way to the Council Agenda, he explained that his personal position would be to endorse Proposition No. 71; and he urged everyone to give it very serious consideration. He stated that there has not been sufficient time or opportunity for embryonic stem cell research to be done; expressed his belief that the opposition to this research has been based upon religious values; stated that he respects the rights of people to make their own decisions in medical treatment and religious values; however, he stated that he does not respect their decision to attempt to impose those values on the rest of society. He stated that while he acknowledges Proposition No. 71 carries with it certain costs, he believes those costs ultimately are simply the cost of religious freedom and that a vote for Proposition No. 71 is a vote for religious freedom. He pointed out that that is his personal opinion and that he is not suggesting Council take a position on this matter. He reiterated that this is not an issue for City business.

Mayor Gardiner explained that this item is on the agenda because of a request to place it on the Council’s agenda; and that this body had previously made it clear Council was not interested in it being on the agenda, but noted they could not vote on the matter since it was not agendized.

Mayor pro tem Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Gardiner, that the Council take a neutral position on this initiative.

Councilman Stern, echoed by Councilman Wolowicz, noted his preference not to take any action, period. Councilman Stern stated that the merits of this issue have not been discussed or studied and that it would be more appropriate not to have any vote on this matter.

Mayor Gardiner noted his preference that Council decline to take a position.

The motion failed as follows:

AYES: Clark

NOES: Stern, Gardiner

ABSTAIN: Long, Wolowicz


Resol. No. 2004-88:Joint Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan. (401 x 601)

Mayor Gardiner opened the public hearing.

Staff recommended (1) adoption of the proposed resolution ADOPTING THE JOINT NATURAL HAZARDS MITIGATION PLAN; and (2) Council direct staff to submit the adopted Joint Plan to the state Office of Emergency Services and FEMA by November 1, 2004.

Councilman Long questioned if any thought had been given to setting up a mitigation program for tsunamis, either the possibility of sirens or various publications for evacuation plans for certain areas.

Assistant City Manager Petru advised that there were tsunami mitigation measures in Section 9 of the plan, which included the development of a warning system and a public education program for those residents that would likely be impacted by this type of natural hazard.

Councilman Long noted that the telephone books in Hawaii have evacuation plans published and suggested that that be considered for the peninsula, in addition to other methods. He questioned what modeling staff had included in the plan.

Assistant City Manager Petru explained that the worst-case scenario modeling was based on a landslide in the Catalina Channel, based on an event that happened approximately 5,000 years ago.

Councilman Long questioned if any Pacific-wide possibilities were considered.

In response to Councilman Long’s inquiry, Assistant City Manager Petru stated that to staff’s knowledge, no modeling has been done relating to a Pacific rim tsunami’s impact on the City’s coastline. However, she advised that staff looked at occurrences around the Pacific rim for some idea of what might be encountered; and mentioned that one of the mitigation measures which had been identified for tsunamis is trying to participate in other research efforts that are being conducted elsewhere. She added that the largest tsunami on record is 100 feet high; and noted the one staff modeled on the Catalina Channel landslide scenario was a 50-foot high wave.

Councilman Wolowicz noted that the study indicated the probability of tsunamis in this area is low. Highlighting the Federal mandate for this plan and qualification for FEMA assistance, he addressed his concern that Council has been given too short a time to digest the information provided. He noted his preference that the plan in its next update includes all peninsula cities under one umbrella, if possible, and that Council has adequate time to study the information. He expressed his belief that there is too much general and historic information included and that as a resident, he stated he is not sure he would get a lot out of this document at this time. He requested information on the state’s emergency action plan, noting that he is looking more for information on strategic locations for water access, automatic delivery of housing supplies to pre-established central shelters, advanced planning for portable bathrooms, downed electric lines, etc. He noted his support for Councilman Long’s suggestion that an evacuation plan be included in the local telephone books.

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to adopt staff recommendation.

Chairman Gardiner closed the public hearing.

Councilman Wolowicz reiterated his preference to establish a peninsula wide committee for the next update.

There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.

Ordinance No. 410: County Fire Code. (603 x 1103 x 201)

Mayor Gardiner opened the public hearing.


Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve staff recommendation.

There being no response to the Mayor’s call for public testimony, he closed the public hearing.

The motion carried as follows:

AYES: Clark, Gardiner, Long, Stern, Wolowicz

NOES: None



Ordinance No. 411: County Animal Control Ordinance. (104 x 1103 x 201)


Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve staff recommendation.

There being no response to the Mayor’s call for public testimony, he closed the public hearing.

The motion carried as follows:

AYES: Clark, Gardiner, Long, Stern, Wolowicz

NOES: None



Reconsideration of the Decision on the Appeal of Conditional Use Permit No. 230. (1801)

Mayor Gardiner opened the public hearing.


City Attorney Lynch advised that the applicant, James Kay, has requested this item be continued until November 16.

City Manager Evans stated that the November 16 agenda should be relatively light.

Tom Maciejewski, RPV, stated that he was not opposed to continuing this matter.

Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to continue this matter to November 16. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.


Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 8:36 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 8:41 P.M.

Appeal of View Restoration Permit No. 123 [Appellant: John Zaccaro]. (1806)

Councilman Long recused himself from this matter, noting that he did not have enough time to conduct a site visit.

Mayor Gardiner opened the public hearing.


Councilman Wolowicz stated that he visited this site this afternoon and had an opportunity to see the foliage in question.

Ms. Nelson noted that the trim line starts to the right of the deck; and highlighted on the photographs the location of the overgrowth and offshoots from the various trees/bushes. She noted that the wall is approximately 6 feet high from Mr. Zaccaro’s property.

Director Rojas explained that for a rear yard wall with grade infringement, the wall is permitted to be 8 feet high on the low side and 6 feet high on the high side. He noted that the foliage growth could be 2 feet above the wall, which is equivalent to the trim line.

Ms. Nelson noted that the cost for the initial trimming or removal is borne by the applicants, the Whites.

Councilman Wolowicz commented on his concern with the short period of time given for Council to conduct a site visit, noting this past weekend most Councilmen attended a City event. He requested that when possible, Council be advised at least two weeks before any view restoration matters that will be presented to Council.

City Manager Evans mentioned that this matter could be continued if Council believes there has not been enough time to consider this case.

John Zaccaro, 28531 Palos Verdes Drive East, stated that he has lived at this site for 36 ½ years; advised that his appeal check for $940 was delivered to the City Clerk’s Office on June 29th, along with his stated reasons for Council to consider the appeal; and he stated that the facts he will present this evening will make it evident the resolution should either be repealed or continued since only one member of this body was able to conduct a site visit – pointing out that this is a very complex situation and that the properties need to be physically viewed by Council. He highlighted several primary reasons he believes Council should repeal the recommendation. He advised that the tree cutting called for by this resolution imposes a significant and ongoing lien on his property; and stated that after Mr. White pays for the initial trimming, a lien will be placed on his property. Mr. Zaccaro stated that over the years, he has spent thousands of dollars in trimming fees; and noted that at a minimum, it costs $5,000 to $6,000 each year to maintain. He pointed out that staff report calls for twice-a-year trimming to be done in some cases; and noted his concern with the lien that will be placed on his property and that would be passed to his heirs and/or any potential buyers of his home. He stated that the average stay in a newly purchased home is about 10 years – noting that this would cost a new owner approximately $50,000 to $60,000 during the course of that 10-year stay. He questioned if the view restoration ordinance authorizes Council to place a lien on his property. He stated that the Whites never had a view when they purchased their property.

Mr. Zaccaro stated that on June 22nd, the Planning Commission chose to ignore much of the documentation he presented, such as the letter (of record) from a well-known ReMax broker which stated that cutting the trees and shrubbery on his property would severely affect the value of his property and virtually destroy what took he and his wife 36 years to build. He stated that his property has a very pleasing park-like setting because of the mature trees and reiterated his confusion on how one can restore a view that was never there in the first place. He provided photographs to support his claim that no view existed on that property as far back as 1955. He pointed out that for the past 7 or 8 years, he has provided the Whites, at his expense, a good view by heavily lacing and trimming his trees. He added that he advised the Planning Commission he would continue to volunteer to this trimming and much more in order to keep this matter out of the political arena; and he expressed his belief that he and the Menjou’s have become victims of the White’s misleading statements.

Mr. Zaccaro explained that he dropped his appeal that was in place in 2002, which would not permit a variance to build a 900-square-foot addition virtually on his property line, stating that he dropped the appeal because the White’s agreed not to ask that the foliage be trimmed. He stated that a letter was delivered to him that he assumed covered this agreement. He stated that he later learned the foliage the White’s were talking about was on the easement where the hay is delivered for the horses – pointing out that he never would have agreed to that, that it isn’t even in his view, the Menjou’s or the White’s view. He stated that Planning Commissioner Karp concurred with his belief that the White’s letter was misleading to that affect, but that Commissioner Karp was gaveled to silence by Chairman Mueller – noting that he takes great exception that Chairman Mueller was permitted to do that. Mr. Zaccaro stated that simply put, the White’s agreed not to ask that foliage be removed along their boundary lines in exchange for the variance; and advised that within days of that variance being granted, the White’s pulled out two very large oleanders and that days later, they presented a view restoration appeal to the City.

Mr. Zaccaro noted his concern with his privacy, stating that this resolution will literally open the White’s pool area and their primary view area directly into his master bedroom and bath. He noted that Chairman Mueller said that privacy is not an issue; that Chairman Mueller suggested he consider changing his clear glass windows to translucent glass, that he keep his bedroom windows and shades closed and consider planting new foliage close to his house so that he wouldn’t see the Whites – pointing out that he was outraged with these remarks.

Mr. Zaccaro noted his concern with staff recommendation, believing that there have been some changes made to the conditions that he had not agreed to. He stated that staff and the Planning Commission had acknowledged the complexity with the wording of the conditions; and stated that his copious notes do not mesh with what is in the conditions. He reiterated that with the help/advice of an arborist, he is volunteering to provide the Whites with a substantial view which would not harm his mature trees but provide him with his right to privacy. He noted his opposition to cutting the top of every tree to one level to afford the Whites a view; and noted that virtually everyone on the hill has a view looking through trees and questioned why the Whites should have something more than what other residents are afforded. He advised that he would remove the Chinese Elm, providing the ash tree can be laced – noting that this will provide the Whites with a nice view. He urged Council to set aside this resolution until all members of this body have had an opportunity to visit both properties; and he strongly urged the Whites to meet with himself, the Menjous, a neutral/licensed arborist, and a professional mediator to negotiate a plan for tree trimming that works for everyone – pointing out that he has always been open to that.

Referring to the September 6 letter, which referred to "along our southerly property line," Councilman Stern, questioned what Mr. Zacarro understood that wording to mean.

Mr. Zaccaro noted his understanding that it was not the small portion behind the White’s house, down towards the Menjou’s driveway; and advised that the Whites did not even see that foliage. He stated that the property line runs north/south, but that that area is not anywhere near his house, that it has passed his horse coral. Mr. Zaccaro stated that the Whites agreed not to remove the foliage in that area.

Mayor Gardiner questioned if Mr. Zaccaro believed this matter can be negotiated further.

Mr. Zaccaro expressed his belief that further negotiations would be successful.

Addressing Councilman Stern’s understanding of the View Ordinance, City Attorney Lynch explained that the ordinance takes into consideration if the foliage existed at the time when the lots were created, noting that pre-existing foliage can remain; and that any foliage that was not pre-existing is subject to view restoration.

Mayor Gardiner questioned if Council is to consider the issue of the lien in making its decision. In response, City Attorney Lynch explained that the ordinance does not specify that Council consider financial ramifications; and that should someone choose to allow for foliage removal if a tree is removed, that is at the cost of the applicant and there is no future maintenance costs. She stated that there is nothing that requires someone to trim only to the minimum amount; and that if someone chooses to have more trimming, they can reduce their maintenance costs in removing more growth.

Mayor Gardiner stated that regardless of the merits, persuasiveness and argument, Council’s job is to interpret the ordinance and apply it in this setting; noted the fact that the Whites never had a view is not relevant to Council’s decision making; and that the financial implications are not relevant to Council’s decision making.

Councilman Wolowicz questioned if view restoration decisions to require the continuance of pruning, lacing, toping foliage on whatever periodic basis attaches to a property.

In response, City Attorney Lynch explained that frequently a tree/shrub would be removed and replaced with some type of vegetation that does not grow to the same height and that does not require the same maintenance. She added that in those instances, the applicant pays for the replacement foliage.

James White, 28541 Palos Verdes Drive East, clarified that the wall is his and not Mr. Zaccaro’s, that it is on his property; stated that both houses were built in the late ‘50s; noted that Mr. Zaccaro’s house is at a lower level than his and that Mr. Zaccaro has a beautiful view which he has used to maintain through the View Restoration Committee over the years – pointing out that this is all he is attempting to do. He advised that when he purchased the house, there was foliage existing and that there was some view; explained that the oleander bush and the pittosporum are quite a ways from his wall, but that Mr. Zaccaro has let these grow wild to encompass a great deal of space. He noted that part of the pittosporum is approximately 8 feet on his side of the wall. He stated that Mr. Zaccaro has not maintained any agreements he has had with him and that he saw no other choice but to take this to the City for resolution.

Mr. White expressed his satisfaction with staff’s input and assessment of the situation, noting that he did not get everything he was asking for; and noted that once these bushes/trees are trimmed, there will be more that needs to be addressed, such as a palm tree with fronds that come down almost to his wall. He expressed his belief that now; he is not able to deal with Mr. Zaccaro. He advised that his architect worked with Mr. Zaccaro on the requested variance, sought his input and they hashed out this agreement – pointing out that he was never involved in that part of the agreement except to say yes or no. He stated that Mr. Zaccaro agreed to this addition being 10 feet from the property line; and he stated all that was discussed was the foliage on the driveway side.

Referring to the September 6, 2001 letter, Councilman Stern asked what Mr. White meant by the reference "along our southerly property line."

Mr. White stated that he understood it to be the driveway; and that the eastern side of the Menjou’s property that abuts his, he stated that he agreed not to cut that. He advised that he did not remove two oleander bushes.

Mayor Gardiner asked Mr. White if he believes further negotiations amongst the parties involved would be successful. Mr. White stated that further negotiations would not be successful given his experience with Mr. Zacarro. Mr. White urged Council to uphold the Planning Commission decision.

Diana Menjou, 1 Bronco Drive, RPV, stated that she has lived at this address for 17 years; advised that she has never spoken to Mr. White in this 17-year period and that the first time she was ever asked to do anything to her foliage is when she received a letter from the City. She noted her complete support for the statements made by Mr. Zaccaro and supported his comment that 2 to 3 oleander bushes had been removed when Mr. White started construction. She expressed her belief that what was agreed upon was different from what staff has enumerated in the conditions. She stated that following the first Planning Commission meeting, she spoke with the Whites to arrange to improve their view and noted that she was not opposed to trimming her trees. She expressed her belief that Mr. White has not been truthful with his neighbors and noted that she is not able to work with him.

Mr. Zaccaro invited Council to view the large holes in the foliage area where the oleanders had been removed; stated that he did not agree to a variance that would allow a large overhang onto his property; and reiterated his preference to mediate the resolution of this matter. He reiterated his agreement to do more trimming than what is called for in the resolution, but to take a different approach than hacking the vegetation. He urged Council to physically view the property first to see what he is proposing and asked that this matter be continued until such time that Council has had a chance for a complete site visit. He stated that Mr. White was in on the negotiations, that he was sitting in the room along with Planning Department staff when negotiations for the variance were taking place. He stated that there is great misunderstanding in what is being proposed versus what he believed was being agreed upon.

Mayor Gardiner questioned what different approach Mr. Zaccaro is proposing. In response, Mr. Zaccaro explained that he is suggesting to leave the tops of the trees, to open the entire area to a view above his roof; to take the two giant trees up high and open the view. He mentioned that he has not done any trimming because Planning staff asked that all trimming cease until this matter was resolved. He stated that many of the Planning Commissioners were in agreement with his approach to providing a better view, but that what came out in the proposed resolution does not resemble what he had volunteered to do.

Ms. Nelson clarified that Condition No. 1 does not require the trimming down of all trees, that the trees in the foreground are having the crowns raised to a height of 6 to 10 feet above the ridge line. She added that Condition No. 4 deals with foliage that cannot yet be seen; clarified that the crown will be raised on the pittosporum and the oleanders to create that window; that some of the palm tree fronds would be removed; and added that Mr. Zaccaro has agreed to remove the Chinese Elm.

City Attorney Lynch explained that the changes to the resolution are only discussing some of the finding issues, that there are no changes to the conditions that are being suggested by staff or the Planning Commission.

Mayor Gardiner noted his concern that there appears to be a disagreement in what is being asked to be done; and asked for clarification on the wording that trimming be done every 6 months.

Coordinator Nelson explained that the first time around, staff’s wording called out for trimming when needed, but that it was the Planning Commission’s desire to change the wording that trimming be done every 6 months.

Councilman Stern expressed his belief that the entire Council needed to make a site visit, along with staff and the affected parties and he questioned if there were any time constraints.

City Attorney Lynch advised that there are no time constraints at this time.

Councilman Stern noted that he was troubled that there did not seem to be a meeting of the minds as to what the solution is; and stated that it is not necessary to have everyone in agreement, but that it is necessary for everyone to clearly understand what is being required.

Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to continue this issue to December 21, allowing the Council to conduct a site visit with staff and all affected parties.

Mayor pro tem Clark echoed the concerns with the ambiguity in this matter.

Mr. White stated that some of the oleander bushes were trimmed but not removed; and reiterated that he was not able to work with Mr. Zaccaro.

Craig Mueller, Chairman of the Planning Commission, explained that the 6-month trimming wording was reached after considering the various types of foliage on site, believing that 6 months was a reasonable trimming period for the foliage and how it sits in the view window.

Having participated in view restoration matters in the past, Councilman Long stated that it has been his experience that hearing and deciding a view restoration matter without a site visit in most cases is not productive, believing that tonight is good a demonstration of that belief. He noted his support for a continuance.

Mayor pro tem Clark offered a friendly amendment to the motion that Council do the site visit on Saturday, November 13.

Councilman Stern accepted the friendly amendment to his motion that Council do its site visit on November 13th; but suggested that this matter be continued to the next meeting to make sure that the November date works for everyone involved – noting that if that date needs to be changed, there will not be a need to renotice the hearing. He amended his motion to continue the hearing to October 19 so Council can determine if Saturday, November 13 is available for a site visit by all involved.

Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.

Councilman Stern suggested that staff and Council look into whether there is a mechanism for the City to enforce these agreements when people voluntarily agree to resolve view issues.

City Attorney Lynch commented on the past use of recording view covenants against a property.

For the record, Councilman Wolowicz stated that the comments made by Mr. Zaccaro about Planning Chairman Mueller were out of character for Chair Mueller and he noted that it is the duty of Commission Chairs to keep the meetings focused and on schedule.



Chairman Gardiner recessed the meeting at 10:06 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 10:13 P.M.

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to consider Agenda Item No. 19, Planning Commission Appointment, at this time. Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.

Planning Commission Appointment. (106 x 1203)

Staff recommendation was to make an appointment to the Planning Commission to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Samuel Van Wagner. Said appointment to be for a term of office to January 20, 2006.

Mayor Gardiner noted his pleasure with the number of well-qualified and talented individuals who have expressed an interest in serving the City.

Council echoed that sentiment and urged those individuals to continue applying for other opportunities to serve this community.

Voting for the candidates was as follows:

Mayor Gardiner – Stephen Perestam

Mayor Pro Tem Clark – Stephen Perestam

Councilman Long – Stephen Perestam

Councilman Stern – Stephen Perestam

Councilman Wolowicz – Stephen Perestam

Stephen Perestam was unanimously appointed as the new Planning Commissioner.

Mayor Gardiner stated that his decision was not an easy one.

Resol. Nos. 2004-89 & 90: Tract Map No. 52666 Revision ‘B’. (1203 x 1411)

Senior Planner Mihranian presented the staff report and the recommendation to (1) Review the applicant’s proposed revision to the approved grading plan and ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-89, ADOPTING ADDENDUM NO. 2 TO MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION / ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO. 708; and, (2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2004-90, CONDITIONALLY APPROVING REVISION ‘B’ TO TRACT MAP NO. 52666 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2282.

Councilmen Long, Stern and Wolowicz advised they had visited this site.

City Attorney Lynch explained if Council was going to redesign the entire tract, the applicant has the ability to simply withdraw the application and go back to their original approval for this project.

Steve Kuykendall, RPV, representing the applicant, explained that the proposal is to change three of the tract’s 13 lots from pad lots to split level lots; and advised that grade elevations on the roofs are not changing in any case except for the first lot, in which case it’s a two-foot change higher. He noted that this change makes the lot relatively similar to the elevation of the next-door neighbor. He advised that the geotechnical consultant reviewed the water/drainage issue and that he suggested mitigating this by putting in a trench drain that runs along the boundary line on Lot Nos. 1 through 5. He added that this drain is below level and surrounded by gravel; and he noted that staff has reviewed and approved this plan to address drainage. He stated that when one looks at the pre-existing slope before there was any grading, Lot 3 ranged from 292 feet to 298 feet; and that its finished grade now ranges from 298 to 300 feet, noting that they did not materially change the elevation of that lot from what it was before anything was done. He stated that it had some dirt taken out and recompacted for the building pad.

Andrew Mottram stated that he owns the property at 30103 Via Victoria, RPV, and noted that he supports a reduction in grading activities. He expressed his concerns with the lack of subsidence insurance being provided.

In response to Mr. Mottram’s comments, City Attorney Lynch advised that she did review the language in the insurance coverage policy; and explained that the policy has the $5 million limit required and that it does cover grading on the property. She added that the policy does satisfy the conditions imposed to cover grading, that it does satisfy the monetary amount. After communicating with several insurance brokers, City Attorney Lynch explained that it is no longer possible for contractors to get insurance from carriers in California to cover construction activities and that, therefore, it is not a condition staff is continuing to impose. She advised that the applicant does exceed the A-VII requirement that was imposed by the City, which means that the company has assets in excess of $100- to $250 million, expressing her comfort level that this company is well covered as far as having the amount of coverage necessary to deal with construction and grading activities on site. She stated that there is no endorsement that says neighboring properties are insured under the policy, only that the grading and construction activities are covered.

John Aube, 7420 Alida Place, thanked Council for visiting his property; noted his disagreement with the comment that the topography of the original contour of the land is similar to the elevations that are being proposed, pointing out that his photographs depict the original topography of the land being adjacent to Alida Place prior to the graded elevations on the property. He noted that the original elevations were not recorded on Valentine’s Day, as noted by staff, that the Chicago Title Company advised him that an extensive search of the public records found no information in regard to a recording of Tract Map No. 52666 and that the only items available are the plot map and tract map, which do not show elevations.

Mr. Aube stated that when he compared the Alida Place topography map against the elevation proposal for Tract No. 52666, it indicated that every parcel was going to be at a higher elevation than parcels on Alida Place. He stated that Lot 1 would be 4 feet higher than the adjacent property; that the elevation modification proposed to add an additional two feet to lot height and two feet for pad height, for a total of 8 feet in lot height to that next door parcel, a home that was built in 1999. Mr. Aube stated that Lot 2 would be 4 feet higher and that that home was built in 1994 on a split-level lot. Behind his 6-year-old home, Mr. Aube stated that Lot 2 is level for approximately 8 to 10 feet in length; that Lot 3 is 11 feet higher; and that Lot 4 is 22 feet higher than the elevation of his home. He pointed out that if someone wanted to build a 26-foot tall home, it would roughly be five stories higher than his property lot line and abutting his property, questioning how this is in conformity with the neighborhood and in compliance with the City’s development standards.

Mr. Aube stated that he views soil from the interior of his first and second level windows and stated that this development would basically place his house in a pit if the adjacent property builds a retaining wall 17 to 28 feet higher than the grade of his property. He stated that the soil is higher than his first story roof and that it is not in conformity with the neighborhood. He commented on the various grade elevations with the neighboring properties; and stated that Council must not look at current elevations as decided today, that they must look at the plot map, compare the topography to the proposed tract map, and look at the disparity in elevations. He stated that most the disparities in elevations are based on the original elevations; he noted that the current elevation modification proposal does not stipulate the exact lot elevations after modifications have been taken close to some of the parcels; and as a result, approval of this modification proposal will give the developer carte blanche to raise the pad elevations at his discretion. He stated that these unnatural elevations and unnatural excavations as currently proposed should not be permitted. Mr. Aube noted his concern with obtaining affordable future insurance on his property and stated that this project will decrease the value of his property and those of the neighboring homes.

Councilman Stern questioned if the home directly to the east at the end of Alida Place had been a problem for Mr. Aube, the home that is roughly 50 feet above Mr. Aube’s home.

Mr. Aube explained that that home is set back quite a distance from his; advised that he did consider the placement of that house when he purchased his parcel, but concluded that it is common to have one home above the elevation. He stated that when he looked at the back of his property and the natural contour of the land, he assumed the elevations on Alida Place would be the same as the new development next door.

Councilman Stern stated that Lot 4, which is directly adjacent to the neighbor above Mr. Aube, is at elevation 310 feet; staff advised that Mr. Aube’s neighbors are at an elevation of 312 feet; and advised that when he conducted his site visit, it appeared to be at the same grade. Understanding there is a grade difference, he questioned if Mr. Aube would disagree with staff in that his lot had been sunk down to make it a two-story, artificially lowering the house in a sense.

Mr. Aube stated that staff was not taking into consideration the surrounding houses/parcels, noting that some parcels will be 40 feet higher than his, such as Lot 11. Mr. Aube stated that his elevation is the same as Mr. Reaves’ elevation.

Mayor Gardiner asked Mr. Aube his choice for the better of two proposals. Mr. Aube would not indicate, noting that he loses either way and expressed his belief this was poor planning on the City’s part.

John Simich, RPV, Alida Place, stated that his home is adjacent to Lot No. 1; and noted that he is not opposed to this modification if Lot 1 remains at the same elevation as his property.

Senior Planner Mihranian explained that the proposal is to increase the pad elevation by 2 feet.

Mr. Simich stated that he would be opposed to anything higher than his property, opposed to anything that affects his view and privacy. He addressed his concern with drainage.

Senior Planner Mihranian explained that the modified drainage plan has been reviewed and approved by the City. He noted that every lot at a later point in time would have a silhouette constructed as part of the neighborhood compatibility requirement and the public would have an opportunity to comment on the design of each residence in terms of neighborhood compatibility.

Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to adopt staff recommendation. Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.

Councilman Stern expressed his belief that the proposal was sticking pretty close to the natural grade; and stated that while the situation is not optimal, he did not believe this is something that should fall on the back of the developer.

Councilman Long stated that "if" there was a problem, the problem was not in approving the grading here or the amendment; the problem was in approving this as not being split level and allowing it to be cut out. He stated that Mr. Aube has a very steep rise up to this property, allowing this to be something other than a split-level, which arguably was a mistake when it was done. He noted that what would have been optimal is when the original owner did this, that the subsequent owner was placed on notice of this unusual situation, that it was made clear to the subsequent owner, which was created by the prior owner, not the developer/ applicant.

City Attorney Lynch added to page 14 an additional whereas clause: "Whereas none of the conditions set forth in the CEQA Guidelines Section 15163, which would trigger the need to prepare a subsequent Mitigated Negative Declaration, are present in this case. Only minor technical changes or additions are necessary to make the prior documentations sufficient for the proposed revision of Tract Map No. 52666. Preparation of an addendum to the previously adopted Mitigated Negative Declaration pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15164 is proper." She also added to the resolution the approval of these changes, at Council’s direction, no revisions proposed to the grade of Lot 3 that was previously approved.

There was no objection to this amendment.

Motion carried to adopt the amended resolutions as follows:

AYES: Clark, Gardiner, Long, Stern, Wolowicz

NOES: None



Mayor Gardiner and Mayor pro tem Clark departed the meeting.


Councilman Stern recessed the meeting at 11:12 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 11:14 P.M.

In response to Councilman Wolowicz’ request, Agenda Item No. 22, Position on Los Angeles County Public Safety, Emergency Response and Crime Prevention Measure, was next for consideration. No objection was noted.

Position on Los Angeles County Public Safety, Emergency Response and Crime Prevention Measure. (306 x 1206)

Staff recommendation was to consider taking a City position on the Los Angeles County Public Safety, Emergency Response and Crime Prevention Measure.

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Long, that the City take a position in supporting Measure A, Los Angeles County Public Safety, Emergency Response and Crime Prevention Measure. Without objection, Acting Mayor Stern so ordered.




Code Amendment Regarding Disclosure of Landslide Remediation Activities Projects. (1801)

Acting Mayor Stern presented a brief report to refer the Draft Ordinance, proposing revisions to Section 15.20.100 (Moratorium on Land Use Permits), 16.20.120 (Soils/geology report), and 17.76.040 (Grading permit) of the Municipal Code to the Planning Commission for review and recommendation at a noticed public hearing. He explained that there exists numerous areas in the City where geology is a significant question, where there are situations in which the soil has been re-engineer to bring it up to strength to allow for building; and he noted his interest in this type of information being afforded to potential home buyers. He stated that this code amendment is not meant to create more bureaucracy, but to give fair notice to a potential buyer so that they are able to make an informed decision when purchasing a property. He stated that the proposal is to require if one does the requisite remedial work that hits a significant threshold, that would be recorded against the property and a notice would be on record for potential buyers to consider.

Acting Mayor Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, that this matter go to the Planning Commission to work out the details and that it come to Council for final consideration and approval.

Councilman Wolowicz applauded Councilman Stern’s effort in this matter; and questioned whether the word "significant" could cause any misrepresentation or misinterpretation.

City Attorney Lynch explained that this would be recorded if one was to perform an excavation, fill or combination in excess of 1,000 cubic yards in any two-year period or an excavation 10 feet or more of natural grade and a residential subdivision or a moratorium exclusion approved.

Councilman Long noted his support of this amendment and suggested specific wording on the preliminary title reports.

City Attorney Lynch stated that it would be listed as remedial grading on the title reports.

The motion carried 3 – 0 – 2 Mayor Gardiner and Mayor Pro Tem Clark having left the meeting.

Neighborhood Beautification Grant Awards (Cycle 15). (1301)

Director Allison briefly presented staff report and the recommendation to (1) Award fifty-one of fifty-three Neighborhood Beautification Grants totaling $193,170; and, (2) Deny two grant applications for reasons that the requested improvements do not follow grant guidelines.

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to adopt staff recommendation. The motion carried as follows:

AYES: Long, Stern, Wolowicz

NOES: None


ABSENT: Clark, Gardiner




City Attorney Lynch advised that no action had been taken during closed session.


At 11:29 P.M., the meeting was adjourned to the Community Leader Breakfast to be held on Saturday, October 16 at Hesse Park from 9:00 A.M. until 11:00 A.M.

/s/ Larry Clark



/s/ Jo Purcell

City Clerk