RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
ADJOURNED REGULAR MEETING
MARCH 29, 2005
The adjourned regular meeting was called to order at 6:00 P.M. by Mayor Clark at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, notice having been given with affidavit thereto on file, and was immediately recessed to closed session.
INTERVIEW FOR EQUESTRIAN COMMITTEE CHAIR
At 6:45 P.M. Council interviewed for Chair of the Equestrian Committee.
The adjourned regular City Council meeting commenced at 7:07 P.M.
CALL TO ORDER:
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Gardiner, Long (arrived at 7:20 P.M.), Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Clark
Mayor Clark advised the audience that Councilman Long was in route to the meeting.
Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Carolynn Petru; City Attorney Carol Lynch; Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas; Director of Recreation and Parks Ron Rosenfeld; Administrative Analyst Matt Waters; and Recording Secretary Denise Bothe.
Ken Zuckerman led the salute to the flag.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Councilman Gardiner requested that Agenda Item No. 7, RPV Cable Television Channel 33, be considered following Agenda Item No. 2, City Advisory Boards, to make sure that this item was addressed that evening.
City Manager Evans suggested delaying consideration of Agenda Item No. 2 until all the Council members were present that evening.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve the amended Agenda. Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
For the benefit of the audience, Mayor Clark advised that Council may not get through the entire agenda in one night; and he proposed not to allow the meeting to go beyond 11:30 P.M. He mentioned that Council and staff had been working a record-breaking number of meetings recently and stated that no one was well served by attending another late meeting.
No objection was noted.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz asked that any agenda items not addressed that evening be placed on the next agenda, if possible.
Tarapaca Storm Drain (604 x 1204)
The staff recommendation was to review and reconfirm with a 4/5ths vote the City Council's action on December 21, 2004, to authorize staff to conduct an informal bid process to repair the Tarapaca Storm Drain.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to approve the Consent Calendar as presented. Motion to approve the Consent Calendar carried as follows:
AYES: Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Clark
ABSENT: Long (not yet arrived)
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
RPV Cable Television Channel 33 (305)
City Manager Evans presented the staff report and the recommendation to approve policies and procedures for the production, operation and selection of programming for RPV Cable Television Channel 33. He added that this item was placed on the agenda because Channel 33 was expected to be up and running soon before the end of April 2005. City Manager Evans stated that the guidelines were prepared by Gabriella Holt, Manager of RPV Public Television Productions; that the guidelines were reviewed by Councilmen Gardiner and Stern, members of the City’s Cable TV Ad Hoc Committee, and reviewed by the City Attorney; and he added that the initial guidelines were brief and possibly more restrictive than they might need to be in the future, as the City goes through the learning process in the coming months of this new operation.
Councilman Gardiner advised Council that the proposed guidelines and policies were interim measures that would guide the City’s cable channel for approximately the first six months of operation; he noted that Council would be provided with an update at the end of the initial 6-month period; and he highlighted the various goals and objectives of RPV-CTV Channel 33, as outlined in staff report.
Councilman Stern noted that this was a starting point from which to learn how the channel would operate and to determine possible improvements of the channel operation during the interim period; and suggested that everyone pay close attention to functioning of the new channel, so that feedback could be given for improvements in the future.
Mayor Clark complimented Gabriella Holt, the Council subcommittee and staff for a well-written set of policies and procedures.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz echoed those sentiments.
Mayor Clark questioned when the full Council would become involved if there was a disagreement with a programming decision and it was appealed to the subcommittee.
Councilman Gardiner explained that the guidelines were originally drafted so that the subcommittee would make its recommendations to Council; that because there could be so many issues in the initial startup phase, the subcommittee and staff thought it would not make good use of the full Council’s time to discuss every matter; and that if there was a serious situation, it would be presented to the full Council for consideration.
City Manager Evans noted that with the implementation of the channel, the subcommittee would take on the role of a standing committee and advised Council that minutes would be taken from that point forward in order to keep the entire Council apprised of all matters addressed by the subcommittee.
Mayor Clark questioned if there were other subcommittees in the City that had the sort of discretionary authority described for the Channel 33 Subcommittee.
City Attorney Lynch indicated that no other Council subcommittees had similar authority.
Noting that Council would be presented with an update in six months, Mayor pro tem Wolowicz indicated that he was in support for approving the proposed policies and procedures.
Councilman Stern suggested that wording be added to the policies and procedures that the Channel 33 Subcommittee was to refer a matter to the full Council if it found it necessary.
City Attorney Lynch stated that that requested wording would be added to the policies and procedures.
At 7:20 P.M., Mayor Clark noted that Councilman Long had joined the meeting.
Councilman Long advised that he had no questions on this issue and that he would abstain from voting on this matter because of his late arrival to the meeting.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to approve the amended RPV Cable Television Channel 33 Policies and Procedures. Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered; with Councilman Long abstaining.
City Advisory Boards (106 x 1808 x 1203 x 1502)
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru presented the staff report and the recommendation to: 1) Appoint a Chair for the Equestrian Committee; 2) Make an appointment to the Planning Commission to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Susan Cote; said term of office until March 2006; and, 3) Appoint one additional member to the Traffic Safety Commission, with a two-year term of office until February 2007. City Clerk Petru indicated that Council completed its interview for the Equestrian Committee Chair earlier in the evening.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Wolowicz, to re-appoint Gordon Leon as the Chair of the Equestrian Committee.
Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered. On behalf of Council, Mayor Clark congratulated Gordon Leon on his re-appointment.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru explained that at the March 15th meeting, only four Councilmembers were present and that no candidate for Planning Commission and Traffic Safety Commission received three votes, thus necessitating continuing these appointments until the full Council was present.
The following vote was taken for the Planning Commission vacancy:
On behalf of Council, Mayor Clark congratulated Jay Golida on his appointment to the Planning Commission.
The following vote was taken for the Traffic Safety Commission:
The outcome required another vote for the Traffic Safety Commission:
Because of the outcome of voting, Mayor Clark asked City Clerk Petru to review the votes from the March 15th meeting. She advised that Mr. Higgins received two votes, Mr. Jones received two votes and that the other candidates did not receive any votes at that meeting.
A repeat vote for the Traffic Safety Commission was counted as follows:
On behalf of Council, Mayor Clark congratulated Gus Mevers on his appointment to the Traffic Safety Commission.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz asked that the candidates who were not appointed not be discouraged in applying for future appointments and stated that he was grateful to all who volunteered their time to serve the City.
Mayor Clark stated that the City was fortunate to have a tremendous talent pool of those wishing to serve their community.
Girls' Softball Fields (1201)
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru presented staff report and the recommendation to: 1) Approve the development of two girls' softball fields at Upper Hesse Park; 2) Decide to leave Ryan Park in its current configuration to accommodate some of the recreation uses displaced from Upper Hesse Park; and 3) Direct staff to negotiate financing arrangements with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Girls Softball League to construct the fields at Upper Hesse Park.
Mayor Clark asked if temporary fencing would be utilized in the outfield at Upper Hesse Park.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru responded that permanent fencing would only be placed on the baselines and that there was enough distance between the two fields to not require outfield fencing. She advised Council that staff and the City’s consultants had worked very closely with the representative from the Girls’ Softball League to make sure the field design met with their requirements for minimum dimensions and other specifications.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz noted his understanding that displacement of other recreational uses may occur due to two seasons being contemplated for girls’ softball: their regular softball season, February through May, and then the contemplated extra season in fall/winter; and noted his understanding that if the fall/winter girls’ softball season was removed, the displacement of other sporting programs may not occur.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru directed the Council’s attention to Circle Page No. 6 of the staff report, which discussed the displacement issues.
Councilman Gardiner questioned to what degree the schedule had been cross-referenced with the School District’s activities on the peninsula and whether there was a master plan that cross-referenced all these sporting activities.
City Manager Evans indicated that there was no master plan that cross referenced all the sporting activities taking place on the peninsula; but advised that staff had conducted a lot of research on these activities; and stated that the draft Open Space, Planning and Recreation & Parks Strategic plan contained a spreadsheet, which was part of the attachments to this report, that listed all the various sporting activities and where they are played/practiced throughout the peninsula.
Councilman Gardiner expressed his preference for every sporting entity to get together and coordinate the use of the existing peninsula facilities and to develop an optimal allocation of facilities among themselves. He noted his belief that the needs of some of the youth sports groups could be met in this manner.
Mayor Clark urged all sports groups on the peninsula to get together to address this issue in a peninsula-wide basis, commenting on his disappointment in the lack of coordination among the various entities on the peninsula; and stated that initially there was a positive response from the School Board, but that there had been no further reaction to the City’s attempt to schedule a joint School Board/RPV City Council meeting to discuss common issues.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz advised his colleagues that there was a peninsula-wide coordinating council for youth activities; he noted his past efforts with coaching the youth on the peninsula; commented on the limited number of sporting venues available in the community; commented that the City of Rancho Palos Verdes does not have any park or other land on which organized softball and baseball is played; and noted that Hesse Park is the only Rancho Palos Verdes field used by organized youth sports leagues.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he would like to see an inventory of the sporting venues, would like to know what the demand was for those facilities and to match that demand to the available capacity in the most effective way. He added that, if there was not enough capacity, then the competing uses needed to be prioritized; and stated that these activities and venues needed to be sorted out and allocated in a systematic manner.
Councilman Long noted his understanding that most of the existing recreational fields were built when there was little, if any, organized girls’ sports programs and that this needed to be taken into account; expressed his belief that RPV would not be able to persuade the other entities on the peninsula to act in a collaborative manner on this issue, but noted his hope that this situation was not an insurmountable barrier to proceeding. He pointed out that RPV did not have the land nor the money to develop the kind of additional facilities the girls’ softball league envisioned, which was four softball fields at one location with a lot of additional parking; and therefore, the City was looking at the possibly of an incremental solution.
Mayor Clark asked staff for an update on the communications with the School District Superintendent on this matter.
City Manager Evans indicated that he believed the School Board would be willing to meet with Council on this issue – pointing out that it had been proposed by RPV; and advised that the School Board was considering the possibility of putting some girls’ softball fields/youth sports fields on one of its school sites in Palos Verdes Estates. City Manager Evans noted his concurrence with Councilman Long that this matter can be studied for many more years, but that it wouldn’t get the City much more information than was currently available. He added that staff and the interested entities had been looking at this issue for 2-3 years and that he was not sure much more information could be obtained than what currently existed. He noted that a summary of all youth athletic leagues in the City was included on Circle Page 22 of the staff report for Item No. 5 (Parks, Recreation and Open Space Strategic Plan), which identified what fields each group used for practice, how many players they had, what their season were, etc.; and expressed his belief that the youth leagues and/or the high schools would have to provide the information Councilman Gardiner was seeking, if for no other reason than RPV had the fewest opportunities for youth sports than any other peninsula city.
Councilman Gardiner noted his hesitation in piecemealing this effort, expressing his belief that the City provided opportunities that were not provided by other peninsula cities.
Mayor Clark indicated that he was recently contacted by Erin La Monte, president of the Council of PTAs, who indicated that the PTA leadership was struggling with this same issue; and that Ms. La Monte also indicated they have taken it upon themselves to try and combine all of the needs and requirements across the peninsula and weigh those needs against the assets; and he encouraged anyone who had the power on the peninsula to bring all of the stakeholders together in order to comprehensively study this matter and solve the problem.
Councilman Long stated that any further attempts to meet with the School Board and/or the other cities unnecessarily delayed this effort – pointing out that there had yet to be a favorable response from other cities to this request; expressed his belief this was a deficiency the City needed to take a proactive position on; and pointed out that RPV had over 60 percent of the population on the peninsula and that RPV was providing far less than 60 percent of the active recreational facilities. He added that it was unfortunate the various entities on the peninsula were fragmented on some issues and reiterated his doubt that all parties would ever be able to meet to work out the perfect solution to this particular problem.
Mayor Clark noted his concurrence with Councilman Gardiner’s comments regarding the need to get all the stakeholders to meet and confer on this issue. With regard to Ryan Park, Mayor Clark asked staff for additional input on the drainage deficiencies on the site.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru noted that during the recent winter storms, a lot of water flowed across this property; that staff had received some calls from adjacent residents suffering water damage to their properties; noted that the source of most of the runoff was the Los Verdes Golf Course; and stated that the current surface/drainage ditches in the park were too small to handle the volume of storm water and that a larger underground pipe was needed.
With regard to Mayor pro tem Wolowicz’ inquiry regarding the existing field on the east side of Ryan Park, Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru explained that it would be moved over and rotated to the west in order to minimize earth movement and correct an existing outfield deficiency. She added that the tot lot will be relocated and that the new fields will meet ADA requirements.
Mayor Clark thanked staff for a comprehensive report.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru thanked the Recreation and Parks Department and the Public Works Department for their assistance with the girls’ softball fields project.
Councilman Stern noted his concern with the steep slope close to the outfield area.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru noted that the slope was 3:1 in steepness, adding that it originally designed at a 2:1 slope, but was reduced to minimize the visual impact of the fill as seen from the adjacent residential properties
Councilman Stern stated that he was concerned with this slope being close to the adjacent residential area; and asked how people would get to the southwest corner of the park, which was shaped like a panhandle, when a game was being played on the field.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru noted that there was a small area to get between the baseline fence and the golf course fence, but that it would be difficult to get to the southwest corner of the park when a game was being played – pointing out that the most logical way to get to that area was to walk across the outfield. According to her understanding, this remote area of the park was not heavily used.
Addressing Councilman Gardiner’s inquiry regarding the cost thus far to undertake this study, City Manager Evans estimated that between $30,000 and $40,000 had been spent.
Councilman Gardiner highlighted for the public the City’s ongoing work on this issue; and he questioned who would pay for the construction of the fields; and whether the City had negotiated with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Girls’ Softball League on the financing.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru responded that the girls’ softball league had represented that it would provide the funding or in-kind services to help offset the construction and maintenance costs of the fields.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz stated that there needed to be participation from the girls’ softball league to help the City with financing this effort.
Councilman Long indicated that his participation in this venture had been in reliance on the comments made by the league that it would be able to raise the money to help fund these fields.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reminded Council that the City had applied for a $383,000 state grant to build two girls’ softball fields at the Upper Hesse Park site and stated that staff expected to hear whether the City was successful or not with that application in June 2005.
Councilman Gardiner cautioned Council to make it clear that the City would provide the land, help with funding, but that these facilities would not become the possession of the girls’ softball league, and that multiple uses would be permitted to use these facilities.
Todd Anderson, Rolling Hills Estates, representing the Palos Verdes Girls’ Softball League, expressed his belief that staff had done a good job designing regulation softball fields at the two park sites; pointed out that the effort to provide regulation sized fields for the girls started in 1999; and explained that the need for girls’ softball fields was unique. He stated that the league did not come before Council for its sole interests, but to also promote additional facilities for all organized youth recreational needs on the peninsula. He explained that sports leagues had grown dramatically in size from when the existing fields were built 30 to 40 years ago; and that more girls were participating than ever before, quickly approaching equal numbers to boys’ sports. He stated that the recreation leagues routinely and proactively coordinated field uses on the peninsula to accommodate the various needs. He added that installing lighting would extend the hours of play and allow for more availability of the facilities; stated that he accepted that Council was not amenable to putting four fields on one site in RPV; and mentioned that it was likely in the near term that some of the School District’s fields would be put out of commission due to potential construction. He noted the league’s efforts to bring this issue to all cities and the School District on the peninsula; noted that he was grateful to see the movement in RPV on this matter; and given the continued cooperation and coordination of the recreation leagues to take advantage of every available field on the peninsula, he urged Council to vote in favor of the plan, and noted that the league would gratefully accept any additional playing fields.
Councilman Stern stated that he wanted to maximize the use at all facilities as much as possible, but stated that the allocation needed to be equitable across the board for all sports, especially when considering the issue of displacement.
With regard to Hesse Park, Mr. Anderson acknowledged that when multiple groups were using the same facility, there would be some displacement – noting that if a soccer game was going on, neither softball field could be used; and stated that the sports leagues would cooperate with all interested parties to maximize game and practice time at the facilities for all youth sports teams.
Councilman Gardiner asked for additional input on the funds needed to operate and maintain the fields.
Mr. Anderson advised Council that the funds generated by the snack shack sales supported the operating and maintenance expenses; explained that generally the manual labor was free; advised that various sport leagues used the snack shacks to generate funds; explained that the recreation leagues voluntarily maintained just about every playing field on this peninsula; and that these fields were maintained throughout the year and that this had been done for at least the past 30 years. He added that the recreation leagues had tremendous capability to generate funding for capital improvements to make this venture happen, but noted that the land was the most difficult component to obtain.
Mayor Clark noted his support for the staff recommendation; stated that he was intrigued with the leagues’ optimism for fund-raising; and noted that if the state grant moneys were obtained, a good deal of the financing would be covered. He asked for Mr. Anderson’s thoughts on the possibility of providing 2 to 3 fields at Eastview Park for a limited 3- to 5-year period of time before the Sanitation District was expected to use the site as a construction staging area for a new sewage outfall facility.
Mr. Anderson stated that the league would gladly use fields at Eastview Park for whatever time was allotted; expressed his belief that it would be more cost effective to design fields for football, soccer or volleyball, rather than softball – noting that it would cost a lot of money to reinstall softball facilities if they were displaced during construction of the new sewer outfall; but he reiterated that any additional fields would be welcomed given the desperate need for sports venues. He added that the sports leagues would be happy to work with staff on these matters.
Art Connor, Rancho Palos Verdes, asked that the City get a definite answer as to the league’s funding of this project, how much it would provide and from where the funds would be obtained.
Barbara Sattler, Rancho Palos Verdes, thanked staff and Council for their efforts in this endeavor.
Jim Moore, Rancho Palos Verdes, representing the Pacific View Homeowners Association, stated that the association was strongly against the extra ball field being proposed for Upper Hesse Park, but noted that because it was likely that an extra ball field would be placed at Hesse Park, he offered the following suggestions that would help alleviate the neighboring residents’ concerns about the increased parking demand, traffic and trash: 1) suggested expanding the parking lot north of the existing community building, believing that this could add 20 to 40 more onsite parking spaces; 2) suggested the City establish operating rules/regulations for the snack shack; 3) that strong regulations be put in place to keep the park free of trash; and 4) that proper drainage of the park be installed so storm water runoff did not go down the hill. He expressed his belief $486,000 was excessive for this project on this small area. Mr. Moore stated that Lower Hesse Park could use some minimal improvements, especially with regards to drainage and trails.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru advised Council that drainage improvements were incorporated into the plan for Upper Hesse Park; and noted that staff would explore the possibility of providing additional parking onsite.
Wendy Klashman, Rancho Palos Verdes, co-president of the PV Girls’ Softball League, on behalf of the league, she thanked Council and staff for their efforts and for allowing them to be involved in the planning process. Ms. Klashman stated there was support for the staff recommendation; advised that the league made a big effort in being good neighbors; and that they were accustomed to cleaning up after all games, being very sensitive to leaving the areas cleaner than before they arrived. She stated that it had been a struggle that season to find enough practice fields due to the growing league membership, and she urged support of staff’s recommendation.
Dave Kadota, Rancho Palos Verdes, noted his support for staff recommendation.
George Uraguchi, Rancho Palos Verdes urged support of staff’s recommendation, adding that this would help enhance the talents of those players who aspire to obtain sports scholarships for college; commented on the sports organization’s funding of improvements at various venues; and he urged dialogue between the league and the homeowners association to make this a successful effort.
Larry Vandenbus, Rolling Hills Estates, soccer coach and representative of AYSO, noted his support of the proposal; and expressed appreciation of Council and staff for their efforts in finding a solution for girls’ softball. He noted his concerns with displacing AYSO activities at Hesse Park, advising that AYSO did not use the field in spring, that it only used the field in fall; and noted his desire to cooperate with all sporting leagues.
Anne Marie Risquez, professional softball instructor, noted her pleasure with the progression of the efforts to provide new girls’ softball fields in the community; and stated it was time for the girls to have their own fields, adding that more teams were being formed each year.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to approve the staff recommendation; with direction to staff to work with the Palos Verdes Girls’ Softball League to develop a plan for project cost sharing; and to work with the Girls’ Softball League and AYSO to minimize scheduling conflicts on the new fields between the two sports leagues during the fall/winter season
Mayor Clark requested a friendly amendment to the motion to direct staff to continue to explore with the County Sanitation District the possibility of providing additional sports fields at Eastview Park for use in the next 3- to 5-years.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz accepted the friendly amendment to his motion.
Councilman Gardiner asked that the friendly amendment be treated as a separate motion.
Councilman Stern agreed with Councilman Gardiner, stating that because Eastview Park was not specifically related to this agenda item, it should be dealt with separately.
Councilman Long requested a friendly amendment to Mayor Pro Tem Wolowicz’s motion to direct staff to study the possibility of adding additional onsite parking spaces at Hesse Park, as suggested by Mr. Moore, and that staff obtain public input on the appropriate rules for snack shack operations.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz accepted Councilman Long’s friendly amendments.
Mayor Clark agreed to have the issue of exploring the provision of additional fields at Eastview Park considered as a separate motion.
Mayor Clark clarified the motion on the floor as follows: to adopt staff’s recommendation; and to direct staff to negotiate financing arrangements with the Palos Verdes Girls’ Softball League; explore the possibility of providing additional parking at Upper Hesse Park; obtain public input on appropriate rules for the operation of the snack shack; and work with the sports leagues to minimize the scheduling conflicts during the soccer season in order to limit displacement.
Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Clark, to explore the placement of 2 to 3 youth sports fields at Eastview Park; and to address cost sharing of this project with various youth sports leagues. Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Clark recessed the meeting at 9:12 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 9:25 P.M.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz noted his concern that the left outfield on the existing ball field at Ryan Park sloped down, creating a less than optimal design; and asked what the estimated cost would be to level the area to provide better play and improved safety.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru stated a rough estimate would be $25,000 to $27,000 to correct the deficiency in the left outfield at Ryan Park. The estimated cost breakdown was $10,000 for re-grading, $6,000 for replacement of sod, $5,000 for reorienting the irrigation and possibly $6,000 for outfield fencing. She noted that the cost could possibly be reduced if the construction was coordinated with the construction of the two new fields at Hesse Park.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz noted that the City had the opportunity at a rather nominal cost to obtain an additional field while the City was exploring other options and would at least improve an existing field for drop in use. He questioned if staff needed the Council to take a particular action in order for staff to further pursue this issue and whether the work needed at Ryan Park could be coordinated with the construction of the new softball fields at Hesse Park, thereby improving an additional field for perhaps under $20,000.
Director Rosenfeld stated that staff would study the matter, and noted in answer to a question from Councilman Stern, that the main deficiency of the field was the left outfield slope, but that staff could look at the entire field and determine if there were other minor items that should be included in any proposed improvement plan.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz moved to direct staff to study the existing conditions at the Ryan Park and to come back to Council at a future meeting with recommendations for possible improvements to the existing field, most notably the left outfield, but also any other minor repairs that may be deemed necessary.
Councilman Stern noted that the Open Space Planning and Recreation and Parks Strategic Plan included a study of the various parks and made recommendations for various improvements.
Director Rosenfeld noted the Strategic Plan did not include any particular recommendations regarding the ball field at Ryan Park.
Councilman Stern seconded the motion.
Councilman Gardiner questioned if the field at Ryan Park would be improved as a softball field or if it would be available for other sports activities.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz amended his motion to include multipurpose sports.
Councilman Stern accepted the amendment to the motion.
Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
Mayor Clark advised Council that there were two fairly weighty items following Agenda Item No. 4 and reiterated his intent to adjourn the meeting no later than 11:30 P.M., noting his expectation that the next item would be the last one considered for the evening.
Councilman Long noted his support to adjourning the meeting no later than 11:30 P.M.
With regard to Agenda Item No. 6, Update of the Conceptual Trails Plan, Councilman Gardiner requested that staff provide a simplified map indicating specifics such as labeling, indicating the ownership and the location of the individual trails.
Upper Point Vicente Park Civic Center (1201)
Assistant City Manager Petru/City Clerk Petru advised Council that late correspondence was distributed earlier in the evening regarding this matter.
Administrative Analyst Waters presented the staff report and the recommendation to approve the conceptual plan for Upper Point Vicente Park; or to direct staff to develop a process to assist the Council in developing a plan. He thanked the Task Force members for their energy and creativity in tackling this difficult and challenging assignment.
On behalf of Council, Mayor Clark thanked the members of the Open Space, Planning and Recreation & Parks Task Force for their efforts.
James Cheney, Chairman of the Palos Verdes Art Center, advised Council that the Art Center had been in RPV for 74 years; stated that each year, the Art Center conducted various classes for thousands of people; that the Center’s art programs were presented at peninsula schools and other school systems in the South Bay; and he added that they had outgrown their present facility in RPV. Although they had other options, Mr. Cheney expressed the Art Center’s desire to stay in RPV, specifically to locate to Upper Point Vicente Park. He added that the Art Center was probably way ahead of any other group or organization wishing to locate to the Upper Point Vicente site in a joint effort with the City. He expressed his belief that the Art Center was an appropriate use for the property, that it was compatible with the other uses being considered for that site; and suggested that the Art Center be included in Option Nos. 3 and 4, as presented in the staff report. He advised Council that the Art Center would need approximately 3 to 4 acres for its new facility; and noted it did not foresee a problem with parking.
Mr. Cheney explained that the Art Center was financially sound due to its recent fund-raising successes; noted his concurrence with verifying that the use was compatible with the existing Program of Utilization (POU) for the site; advised that he had served on various private nonprofit boards which had facilities on city or county owned properties, where the nonprofit had raised the money to build buildings that were then donated to the city or county, the nonprofits then leased the facilities back on a long term basis from the local government agency, which would then allow the nonprofit to charge admissions fees and exhibition fees. He stated that this arrangement was quite normal and that there was great benefit to the City in this type of situation. He noted that the lease agreement would require further study and negotiation and mentioned that approximately 200 volunteers would manage/operate the $15 million building. He stated that both Bob Lowe and Donald Trump had agreed to provide at their expense a tram service from their facilities to Upper Point Vicente should the Art Center be approved for this site. He stated that he has volunteered to serve as the chairman of the development committee for the PV Art Center for this project.
Maude Landon, President of the Palos Verdes Art Center, stated that the Art Center was a public benefit organization; and advised that numerous classes were offered each year to children and adults of all ages and were open to the general public, not just the members. She added that the annual art exhibitions and receptions were free of charge to the general public. Ms. Landon stated that the Art Center provided numerous outreach programs in the community and the Greater South Bay area, bringing art experiences to various student groups, such as children with disabilities, children with special needs, at-risk youth, etc.
Ron Barnes, Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the Palos Verdes Art Center and Executive Director of the Norris Foundation, advised that the Art Center had the financial strength to support a project at Upper Point Vicente; commented on the Art Center’s successful fund-raising events over the previous two years; advised Council that the new Art Center would be self-supporting and would not seek funding from RPV; stated that the Art Center already had the seed money to start a capital campaign; and that it had the funds available to prepare a Phase 2 environmental study of the subject property.
Barbara Sattler, Rancho Palos Verdes, President of the South Coast Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, stated that she did not have adequate time to fully review the study and various options that were suggested; but asked that all amenities be located so the impact to the surrounding habitat areas could be determined; and suggested that Council review each item one by one and set a list of the most appropriate uses for the site. She expressed her concern that Option 1 was too dense; and noted her concerns with the loss of open space and increased traffic congestion. She urged Council to be cautious in overloading this site with too many uses, reminding Council that there were major projects already approved in that general vicinity that were already going to dramatically change the character of the site. She noted that her group would want an environmental review for any configurations that were suggested, not only for habitat impact to plant species but also for noise and traffic impacts.
Sunshine, Rancho Palos Verdes, asked that Council not use the site map attached to the staff report, believing that it did not fully represent what the Task Force had approved, noting that the Task Force had drawn its own site map. She asked that all options avoid conflict with the NCCP; and urged Council to maintain an open feel to this site, especially regarding the village green area, which was an area that could accommodate a variety of functions. She stated that the City should be obtaining the services of a consultant at this point to help in coordinating with the various groups that had expressed an interest in the site. She noted that the Task Force developed a plan that included every use the public had expressed an interest in seeing on this site.
Shari Twidwell, Rancho Palos Verdes, representing the Zenith Aquatic Program (ZAP), commended staff on their exhaustive efforts, detailed report and continued commitment to this effort; noted her preference for Council to continue its work with the Task Force on this effort; and urged Council to support the placement of a public pool on this site. She noted her support for Option No. 1, stating that it was the most comprehensive and responsive to the needs expressed by the community during the Task Force meetings.
Ms. Twidwell, in addressing Mayor pro tem Wolowicz’ inquiry regarding the tax status of the group, stated that ZAP represented two entities -- a for-profit swim school and a 501 3(c) foundation. She added that ZAP was a pre-competitive and competitive swim program, a swim school which offered free swimming lessons for the community, and that it offered a master’s swim program as well.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz asked if ZAP was prepared to assist in funding a pool facility at this site.
Ms. Twidwell stated that funds could be raised to build the pool and that ZAP would need to study further the Task Force’s suggestion of helping to fund a gymnasium in conjunction with the public pool.
Councilman Gardiner commented on the scientifically proven fact that art and music had an enormous educational impact on children; and expressed his belief that the Art Center would be a great use of the Upper Point Vicente property. He noted his support for remodeling the existing City Hall and adding on a new Council Chambers. He stated that he would not like to see a huge expanse of concrete and buildings on the site, that the openness and views should be maintained as much as possible, and that a low profile should be preserved. He stated that he was not in agreement with locating the PVP School District’s administration offices to this site, but that he could support the new Council Chambers, maintenance yard, Art Center, amphitheater, band shell and village green.
Mayor Clark echoed Councilman Gardiner’s support for allowing the Art Center on the Upper Point Vicente property.
Councilman Long noted his support for the Art Center on the Upper Point Vicente property because he felt that there were certain uses of this property that best suited the site’s unique location; and stated that the Art Center should have a dramatic setting, one that would have a commanding view of the Pacific Ocean. He stated that there were other uses proposed for the site that didn’t necessarily need to be in this setting and didn’t gain as much from being at this setting as would be the case for the Art Center.
Councilman Stern noted his support for the Art Center locating to this unique location.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz noted his support for the Art Center, as long as its footprint was not massive.
Councilman Gardiner noted his interest in Mr. Lowe’s and Mr. Trump’s offers to provide a tram system to this site and noted that a scaled model would be helpful to depict in three dimensions what was being considered for the site.
Mayor Clark noted unanimous consensus to support the Art Center at the Upper Point Vicente site.
Mr. Cheney advised that the new facility would allow the Art Center to display permanent art exhibitions, artwork that had and would eventually be donated to this foundation; and stated that raising money beyond the $15 million and obtaining additional art donations was likely. Mr. Cheney advised that the Art Center conducted an international contest four years ago that involved entries from architects all over the world, designing models and rough drawings for a new Art Center. He stated that the board selected over 200 entries that can be provided to the City, should it so desire. He noted the Art Center’s intent was to build a facility that would easily and tastefully fit with the architecture found on the peninsula. Mr. Cheney noted for Mayor Clark that the Art Center leadership was willing to share their recommendations and any suggested alternatives with the City. He added that the organization preplanned their rotation of officers six years ahead, creating stability in their organization for many years to come.
Ms. Landon added that the Art Center would be a low profile building and facility that fit well into the community.
Sunshine reminded Council that the Task Force provided input on the City Hall building/remodeling and the overall master plan for the property.
Mayor Clark pointed out that an opinion survey indicated the City’s residents were more in favor of a City Hall renovation than a teardown and rebuild.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to explore remodeling City Hall and the addition of a new Council Chambers that could also function as a multiuse room. Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Clark recessed the meeting at 10:25 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 10:30 P.M.
Mayor Clark noted that thus far, Council had indicated support for a new Palos Verdes Art Center/museum and a remodeled City Hall with new Council Chambers on the Upper Point Vicente site.
Councilman Stern noted his objection to trying to cram every possible use onto this site.
It was the consensus of Council to maintain the openness of the site with the inclusion of a village green and amphitheater, thus allowing the area to be used for a variety of public events, with a great view of the ocean.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz stated that the village green, the amphitheater and band shell components should be viewed as being integral to this location.
Administrative Analyst Waters stated that both types of facilities, an amphitheater and/or a band shell, could be designed to work with the existing sloped terrain.
Councilman Long asked that trail heads be placed in strategic locations on the site to provide access to the adjacent natural open space areas. He noted his preference for some type of active recreation on site, believing that an outdoor pool and gymnasium complex with a limited footprint would be amenable; and he added that this would require a smaller footprint than putting in some sports fields.
Councilman Gardiner noted his support for an outdoor pool that overlooked the Pacific Ocean, adding that the outdoor pool can be used at night as a reflecting pool. He stated that because the gymnasium was more of an indoor activity, he did not feel that it was preferable for this site; and added that the schools in the community already had gymnasiums.
Councilman Stern noted his concurrence with Councilman Gardiner’s comments and added that he did not want parking to become a problem for this site.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz stated that he would like an outdoor pool to be situated on the east side of the complex; and expressed his belief that a minimally sized gymnasium could be used as a multipurpose building, with partition walls. He cautioned against creating a massive building; and he questioned whether a pool and gymnasium could be located to the Ladera Linda site.
Mayor Clark stated he could support an outdoor pool with a multipurpose gym, properly designed, sized, located and built. He noted it would be helpful to have the gymnasium accommodate lockers and a changing area for use by those who used the outdoor pool. He noted his opposition to an underground parking structure and various ball courts for this site.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he would support a multipurpose gymnasium as long as it was properly designed, sized, and located, suggesting that it be placed at the east end of the property near the Salvation Army and that parking be accommodated in that same area. He questioned whether the maintenance yard could be relocated to the Ladera Linda property, believing it did not fit with the overall concept of this new complex.
There was consensus among the Council members to add an outdoor pool with a multipurpose gymnasium to the master plan.
City Manager Evans briefly commented on the difficulty of relocating the maintenance yard, noting that various neighborhoods would be in opposition to having the maintenance yard in their areas. With regard to the underground parking facility, he noted that such a structure would be cost-prohibitive to build.
Councilman Gardiner asked that ingress/egress to this site be improved.
Mayor Clark noted that Council had reached a consensus on the major components to be considered for the Upper Point Vicente site, including a remodeled City Hall with new Council Chambers, a new facility for the Palos Verdes Art Center, an outdoor pool, a gymnasium, a village green, an amphitheater, a band shell and trail heads; and asked staff to look at the site map and determine how it might all fit together and report back to Council. Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered. He asked that staff work with the representatives from the Palos Verdes Art Center to bring in an architect to help out in this initial planning phase, and noted that this was not intended to be a full scale development project at this time.
On behalf of Council, Mayor Clark thanked everyone involved for their efforts and input on this item.
Parks, Recreation and Open Space Strategic Plan (1201)
The staff report of March 29, 2005 recommended the approval of the Updated Open Space, Planning and Recreation and Parks Strategic Plan, which would replace the 1989 Parks Master Plan, and serve as a guiding document for the future of recreation and open space planning in the City.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to continue this item to a future Council meeting. Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
Update of the Conceptual Trails Plan (701)
The staff report of March 29, 2005 recommended that Council direct staff to 1) Redraft the Conceptual Trails Plan into a document that was more reader-friendly and usable by the City and the public; and 2) Prepare a status report.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz indicated that the Conceptual Trails Plan was a patchwork document that had been developed and changed over many years. He highlighted that staff was asking Council to direct it to redraft the Conceptual Trails Plan into a document that was more reader-friendly and useable by the City and the public before embarking on a larger policy analysis of the document.
Barbara Sattler, Rancho Palos Verdes, noted her confusion with the City’s Trails Map and applauded Council’s motion to have the map clarified.
Sunshine, Rancho Palos Verdes, asked that Council address each of the 11 policy items recommended by the Task Force’s Open Space Subcommittee and forwarded to the City Council by the Task Force, as reflected on Circle Page No. 6 of the staff report.
City Manager Evans indicated that staff wanted the opportunity to clarify the trails map before asking the Council to comment on the 11 policy issues.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to adopt staff recommendation to direct staff to rework the Conceptual Trails Plan to clarify the maps in the Conceptual Trails Plan regarding uses, locations, ownership, conditions, status, type, etc.
Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
Councilman Stern clarified that he would like staff to review the 11 policy issues as part of this effort in preparation for the next phase of the update to this plan. Mayor Clark confirmed that this was part of Council’s intent.
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
City Attorney Lynch advised that no action was taken with respect to the Abrams or Kay matters; that a status update was given with respect to potential litigation; that Council agreed to refund money to the Whites for their deposit on the foliage removal/trimming and to give the foliage owner until April 29th to have the work performed. She advised that Councilman Long was not in attendance during Closed Session. The vote was 4-0 to approve the refund to the Whites.
Mayor Clark thanked staff and Council for their time and efforts at the numerous meetings held during the month of March.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:10 P.M.
/s/ Larry Clark
/s/ Carolynn Petru