The meeting was called to order at 6:00 P.M. by Mayor Clark at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, and was immediately recessed to closed session. At 7:22 P.M., the meeting was reconvened for regular session.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Gardiner, Long, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Clark
Also present were City Manager Evans; City Attorney Lynch; Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru; Director of Public Works Allison; Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Rojas; Director of Finance/Information Technology McLean; Deputy Director of Planning Pfost; Senior Planner Mihranian; Associate Planner Blumenthal and Recording Secretary Bothe.
The Flag Salute was led by Director of Public Works Dean Allison.
Recognition of Salute to Service Family
Mayor Clark announced that Sergeant First Class William J. Kopti was being recognized and honored as part of the City’s Blue Star program. Members of the Kopti family joined Mayor Clark at the front of the dais to be recognized into the Blue Star program
Bill Lama, Peninsula Library Board member, joined Mayor Clark at the front of the dais and stated that he was grateful to Sergeant First Class William J. Kopti for his service to the country.
Mayor Clark presented to the Kopti family with a City Certificate of Appreciation, the Palos Verdes Peninsula Salute to Service Blue Star placard and a variety of RPV and peninsula commemorative articles.
Presentation of a Proclamation to Green Hills Memorial Park
Mayor Clark presented a City Proclamation to Ray Frew from Green Hills Memorial Park recognizing the cemetery’s annual Memorial Day Observation event and mentioned that it was the largest Memorial Day Observation celebration west of the Mississippi.
Ray Frew, Green Hills Memorial Park, stated that he was honored to receive the Proclamation; that this event not only recognized those who have given their lives for the country, but also those who continue to serve; and noted that uniformed Public Safety Officers were added a few years earlier for their significant service to the community. He echoed the Mayor’s comments in encouraging everyone to attend the Green Hills Memorial Day Observation event.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz stated that Mr. Frew was well known within the greater South Bay area for his participation in various causes and foundations; and that he was grateful for Mr. Frew’s service to the community.
Mayor Clark stated that Mr. Frew was also a Vietnam Army veteran.
Resignation of Director of Public Works
On behalf of Council, Mayor Clark bid farewell to Public Works Director Dean Allison who was leaving the City after 12 years of service; noted that Director Allison started his career at the City as a Senior Engineer; that his efforts and accomplishments had been extraordinary; and highlighted his efforts during the previous year during the severe winter rain storms, noting that for weeks, Director Allison went beyond the call of duty during some of the major storms. On behalf of Council and the City, Mayor Clark wished him well in his new endeavors in the City of Pinole, CA, and presented Director Allison with a City tile recognizing his dedicated service in the community.
Director Allison thanked everyone for their kind comments, noting that he appreciated his Department’s farewell luncheon that day; stated that he was looking forward to new challenges in Northern California; and extended an invitation to everyone to visit the City of Pinole.
City Manager Evans introduced Ray Holland, who will serve as the City’s Interim Director of Public Works; indicated that Mr. Holland was the retired Director of Public Works Director from the City of Long Beach; and that he had an impressive background. Mr. Evans noted that Mr. Holland would fill the position until it could be filled on a permanent basis.
On behalf of Council, Mayor Clark welcomed Ray Holland to Rancho Palos Verdes.
Mayor Clark announced the names of the two recycling winners from the August 16, 2005 meeting – Mrs. Leonard Sadellos and Ms. Susan Divo; stated that each winners would receive a check for $250, which represented a year of free refuse service; and encouraged everyone to recycle.
Mayor Clark highlighted that evening’s topic, which was the canine flu. He stated that there were suspected cases of canine flu in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; noted that the disease was highly contagious in dog populations; and advised that it had not infected humans. He described the symptoms, indicated that treatment was symptomatic, much like the human flu; stated that there was no vaccine for it or immunity built up in the pet population; and made suggested on ways to avoid infection and spread of the disease. Mayor Clark stated this information would be placed on the City’s website; and thanked Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru and Dr. Cassy Jones of the Point Vicente Animal Hospital for providing the information for that evening’s Mayor’s Announcements.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Wolowicz, to approve the Agenda as presented. Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
CITY MANAGER REPORTS:
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reminded viewers a list of items previously discussed by Council and continued to a future date was posted on the City’s website at www.palosverdes.com/rpv.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Councilman Long requested to remove the following items from the Consent Calendar: Item No. 4, Border Issues Status Report, and Agenda Item Nos. 6 through 11 (No. 6: Claim against the City by Greg Duke; No. 7: Claim against the City by Lynn Hardwick; No. 8: Claim against the City by Richard and Lisa Carl; No. 9: Claim against the City by Soo Chul Chung; No. 10: Claim against the City by Patricia Clark; and No. 11: Claim against the City by Shane, Tanner and Corinne Hickson).
Referring to the late correspondence, City Attorney Lynch stated there was a request by the plaintiff’s attorney to pull and continue Item No. 7, Claim against the City by Lynn Hardwick, to October 18, 2005.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to approve the Consent Calendar, as amended, pulling Item Nos. 4, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11 for discussion, and continuing Item No. 7 to October 18, 2005. Motion carried as follows:
AYES: Gardiner, Long, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Clark
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 Minutes (301)
Adopted the Minutes of April 19, 2005 and August 30, 2005.
Repair of the Tarapaca Storm Drain (604 x 1204)
Reviewed and reconfirmed by a four/fifths (4/5) vote the Council's previous action on December 21, 2004, to authorize staff to conduct an informal bid process to repair the Tarapaca Storm Drain.
Appointment of Emergency Preparedness Committee Member (106 x 401)
Appointed Shari Weiner to the Emergency Preparedness Committee, with a term of office until June 21, 2009.
Professional Services Agreement with Gerard J. Quinn & Associates for Disaster Grant Management and Recovery Services (401)
1) Awarded a Professional Services Agreement to Gerard J. Quinn & Associates in an amount not to exceed $25,000 for disaster grant management and recovery services; 2) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the Agreement with Gerard J. Quinn & Associates; and, 3) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2005-103, AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2005-53, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FY 2005-2006, TO INCREASE THE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM BUDGET FOR PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL SERVICES.
Revision "X" to the Trump National Golf Club Project (1411)
1) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2005-104, APPROVING ADDENDUM NO. 18 TO ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT NO. 36 FOR REVISION "X"; and (2) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2005-105, APPROVING REVISION "X," AMENDING CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 162 (CASE NO. ZON2005-00248-254).
Register of Demands
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2005-106, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ALLOWING CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEMANDS AND SPECIFYING FUNDS FROM WHICH THE SAME ARE TO BE PAID.
Border Issues Status Report (310)
The staff report of October 4, 2005 recommended that Council review the current status of border issues and to provide direction to staff, as appropriate.
Councilman Long questioned when the trash pickup pilot program in the area around the Peninsula Center would be brought to Council for consideration.
Director Allison stated that the item was anticipated to be brought to Council at the end of November 2005; indicated that, at that time, Council should be in the position to decide whether the City should modify the trash pickup schedule; stated that staff was still working out some of the details with Waste Management, noting that the company was in the midst of some staffing transitions; and stated that staff would keep the Council ad hoc committee apprised of any changes.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Wolowicz, to receive and file the Border Issues Report.
Don Schultz, Rancho Palos Verdes, representing the Rolling Hills Riviera Homeowner’s Association, addressed the proposed development of the former Navy housing property in San Pedro. He urged the City Council to send some representatives to the scoping session scheduled on Thursday, October 6, 2005 at 4:30 P.M. at Ports o’Call in San Pedro and indicated that the Los Angeles Planning Department and the developer had coordinated this meeting. He highlighted the plans to build 2,300 condominiums on the site, expressed his hope that the ultimate project would be of benefit to the peninsula; and briefly commented on other developments planned for the Navy housing property.
Director Rojas indicated that City staff planned to attend this meeting, as indicated on Circle Page 2 of the staff report.
Mayor Clark expressed his understanding that in the near future, there may be a direct liaison with Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who had embraced the idea of collaboratively dealing with this border issue because it concerned both the City of Los Angeles and the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered the approval of the motion to receive and file the Border Issues Report.
Claim against the City by Greg Duke (303)
The staff report of October 4, 2005, recommended that Council reject the claim and direct staff to notify the claimant.
Claim against the City by Richard and Lisa Carl (303)
The staff report of October 4, 2005, recommended that Council reject the claim and direct staff to notify the claimant.
Claim against the City by Soo Chul Chung (303)
The staff report of October 4, 2005, recommended that Council reject the claim and direct staff to notify the claimant.
Claim against the City by Patricia Clark (303)
Claim against the City by Shane, Tanner and Corinne Hickson (303)
Councilman Long stated that Agenda Item Nos. 6 through 11 were a series of claims that had been filed against the City; that Council had no more information about these claims than what was included in the agenda packet; that typically Council accepted the recommendation to reject the claim and that it was likely Council would take such an action concerning these claims. He reported, however, that he and Councilman Stern had met with the CJPIA in an effort to receive more information about the way claims were handled and expressed his hope that Council may be receiving additional information on this topic in the future. He explained that the recommendation to reject the claim was simply an indication that the CJPIA was not prepared to recommend that the City accept the full amount of the claim stated in each case; and that it did not necessarily indicate the final outcome of the claim. He noted that the meeting also included a discussion of some litigation fees the CJPIA could potentially reimburse to the City.
Councilman Stern pointed out that this group of claims was related to the failure of the City’s storm drains during the last winter rains and that the claims totaled $12.1 million.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to continue Agenda Item No. 7 to October 18, 2005 and approve staff’s recommendation on Agenda Item Nos. 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11. Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru advised Council that she had received a request from a member of the public to speak on Agenda Item No. 13, Revision “X” to the Trump National Golf Club Project.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to revisit Agenda Item No. 13. However, because the individual withdrew his request, the motion was withdrawn.
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Use of State Funding for Supplemental Police Services - CORE Police Team (1206)
The staff report of October 4, 2005, recommended that Council approve the continued use of the COPS (Citizen Option for Police Services) grant in FY 05-06 to partially fund the CORE Police Team.
Mayor Clark opened the public hearing. There being no public input, Mayor Clark closed the public hearing.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to approve the continued use of the COPS (Citizen Option for Police Services) grant in FY 05-06 to partially fund the CORE Police Team. Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
Long Point Resort Hotel Project: ZON2005-00482 (Revision 'C' to Conditional Use Permit No. 215, et. al.) (1804)
Senior Planner Mihranian presented staff report and the recommendation to 1) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-107, APPROVING REVISION 'C' TO CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 215, ET. AL., TO PROVIDE MORE SPECIFIC PROVISIONS FOR VALET AND COMPACT PARKING AND TO ELIMINATE THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A CLASS I BICYCLE PATH; 2) Review the applicant's Water Quality Plan pursuant to Condition No. 171, Public Amenities Plan per Condition Nos. 62 and 70, and Uniform Sign Program pursuant to Condition No. 86, and if deemed acceptable, direct Staff to file said plans; and, 3) Review and file the applicant's one-year time extension request, thereby extending the project approvals to October 7, 2006.
Highlighting the applicant’s request to increase the number of compact parking spaces, Councilman Stern questioned if this change would result in less land being devoted to parking or if it would result in additional parking because of the smaller spaces.
Senior Planner Mihranian explained that the compact spaces would be used for valet parking and that there would still be the same number of parking spaces provided.
Councilman Stern asked when staff received the SUSMP (storm water quality) plan, questioning if staff felt the City’s consultant had been given adequate time to fully review and understand the materials. He indicated that Council received the materials the prior Wednesday evening, noting that there were many things about the plan that he did not understand. He reiterated that he wanted to feel as comfortable as possible that staff and the City’s consultants/experts had enough time to make sure everything was in order on this $300 million project.
Director Allison stated that staff received the document approximately six weeks earlier; and that he, City staff, and the City’s consultants had completed a thorough review of the materials. He explained that the City hired, at the applicant’s expense, various experts in the fields to review the materials; explained that the expert in this case was John Hunter; stated that document went through several rounds of comments from the City and responses from the application until the plan was revised to the City’s satisfaction. Mr. Allison indicated that this was the typical process and invited Mr. Hunter to the podium to provide additional input concerning his review of this document.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz echoed Councilman Stern’s concern regarding staff’s comfort level with this document.
John Hunter, City consultant, explained that he had exclusively worked with local municipalities in the storm water field for the past 20 years, stated that the Long Point project had best thought out storm Water Quality Plan for a major development he had seen in those 20 years; noted that he was impressed with the plan, especially given the infancy of the NPDES program; and stated that it met the level of satisfaction – pointing out that the applicant did not scrimp on the level of water treatment and went well beyond what he typically saw in this field. He explained that the plan called for all the bi-weather flows to be diverted to the ponds at the facility so that during dry weather, when most people would be using the beaches, there would not be any pollutants reaching the ocean – pointing out that he rarely saw diversion projects such as this because they were expensive to build and operate. He explained that the treatment system the applicant had chosen was fairly extensive and that on the whole, he reiterated this was one of the best thought out plans he had every reviewed.
Mr. Hunter explained that this did not mean, however, that he did not have any questions or comments about the document; that he had generated over three pages of comments; and that for the most part, his questions were answered, but that he still had some concerns. He noted, for example, that the filter cartridges would be interchangeable, but that the exact type cartridge had not been specified, so this remained an open question, although it was admittedly a technical detail. He noted that the applicant had indicated the SUSMP would be revised, that those revisions would be incorporated into the plan; and clarified that the SUSMP was the post-construction document, that the SWPPP and the LSWPPP were the documents that would control the construction of storm water management system and that these two documents would be submitted along with the grading plan, which had not yet occurred.
Director Allison explained that several City Departments would still need to sign off on various requirements in the process, such as the grading plan – noting that the City would not sign off on the grading plan until Mr. Hunter was comfortable with the type of filter cartridges that would be used, and stated that this was not the final approval of the Water Quality Plan and that there were other thresholds that would follow when the engineering became more precise.
Mayor Clark asked if Council should take special note of any of the comments raised by Mr. Hunter concerning the Water Quality Plan.
Mr. Hunter stated that he was confident that the developer would be able to satisfactorily answer all of his questions; with regard to the SUSMP, he explained that there were specific guidelines as to what constituted adequate water treatment; noted that the guidelines required the system to be capable of treating the runoff from a storm of 0.2 inches per hour, which was a relatively small storm and would encompass 85 percent of the storms that occur in this area. He noted that runoff generated by a storm over that amount, such as a half-an-inch to an inch of rainfall per hour, would be allowed to by-pass the treatment system; that if there was another deluge like what was experienced during the last rainy season, pollutants could be washed out into the ocean – pointing out that this situation would still meet the requirements of the permit the City was currently operating under.
Mr. Hunter noted for Mayor pro tem Wolowicz that in his opinion, the SUSMP would meet all the professional standards the City was required to comply with. Mr. Hunter reiterated that during the dry season, any runoff water generated would be directed to the ponds where it would be allowed to evaporate, so there was no discharge into the ocean; that during periods of rainfall, all of the water generated by an up to 0.2 inches per hour storm would be treated, which was the statutory requirement; that anything above that -- for example, if a storm generated 0.4 inches of rainfall per hour, only half of the runoff water would be treated because that was the design standard. He mentioned that he did not have the final design plans, so he could not say definitively that the runoff from storms with 0.25 or 0.3 inches of rainfall be hour would be treated, but indicated that there would be a point where only a portion of the water would be treated before being discharged into the ocean.
Councilman Gardiner indicated his understanding that, at this point in the process, the City was not at the level of detail yet to be 100 percent specific on all items, but that it would develop over time as the project moved forward.
Director Allison stated that Councilman Gardiner’s statement was correct.
Mr. Hunter stated that even in the conceptual stage, with a few minor exceptions such as the type of filter cartridges that would be used, the Water Quality Plan met the SUSMP standards; and noted that the level of detail for the cartridges would emerge at the next level of review as the project proceeded through the process. He added that, in his opinion, the level of detail being presented that evening was at an acceptable level at this stage of the process.
Director Allison stated that the applicant would be required to indicate the type of cartridge to be used when the time was right for this level of specification.
Mayor Clark noted that the signage plan for the project had specific detail and appeared to be complete.
Director Allison stated that Mayor Clark’s observation was correct.
Referring to the bike trails, Class I and II, on circle page 14 of the staff report, Councilman Stern questioned if staff was recommending the elimination of an off-road bike path on Palos Verdes Drive South.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that this was correct; explained that a Class I bike trail was an off-road path, which was usually parallel to the roadway, but separated from it by landscaping or a grade differential; noted that staff had observed from past projects that Class I paths were not typically used by bicyclists; that pursuant to this observation, staff was requesting the Class I bike path along Palos Verdes Drive South be deleted from the project, but that the Class II remain in place, which was a bike lane designated within the paved area of the street along Palos Verdes Drive South.
Councilman Stern questioned if staff was imposing that perception on a situation that was likely to change, noting that the hotel project was anticipated to generate additional traffic and increase the number of visitors in the area. He suggested that there might be some justification for having an off-road bike path in that area.
Director Rojas noted that Council could defer its decision on this matter; and stated that for the past year, bicyclists had not been using the Class I bike path at the Trump National project.
Councilman Long indicated his understanding that the City did not have plans to provide a continuous Class I bike lane along Palos Verdes Drive South from the Palos Verdes Estates border to the Palos Verdes Drive East switchbacks.
Director Allison stated that Councilman Long’s understanding was correct.
Councilman Long stated that it was too late to provide a Class I bike path along the frontage at Ocean Front Estates; that there were other places where the City did not have the proper easements to build a Class I path; and that the most the City would get by requiring a Class I path at Long Point would be a segment approximately one mile in length.
Councilman Long asked if this segment would connect to the existing segment at the Trump National property.
Director Allison stated that the segments would not connect.
Senior Planner Mihranian pointed out that there was still a Class II path on Palos Verdes Drive South, which made the whole connection from the City of Palos Verdes Estates to the PVDE switchbacks; and noted that the Class I bike path at Trump National was heavily used by pedestrians.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz asked for clarification regarding the level of inspection that the City and its consultants used to ensure that the guidelines were adhered to, and how the City monitored and verified the accuracy of the work performed by the developer, both during the construction period and the monitoring afterwards on an on-going basis.
Mr. Hunter stated that he had not yet seen the construction plans for the project and was therefore not able to give specifics, but explained that in general, there were certain project milestones, such as the completion of rough grading, finished grading, building foundations, etc., and that at each one of those points, the water quality permit requires an inspection; and that the City was separately required to make a minimum of one inspection per year for any project over one acre in size to review storm water concerns. In addition to the regularly scheduled inspections, he noted that key City staff have been trained and are knowledgeable about water quality issues pertaining to construction sites and how to prevent erosion problems; and that staff would be making a number of inspections throughout the project’s construction. He explained that it was generally acceptable for construction wash water, such as from hosing off a vehicle, to go straight down to the ground and infiltrate the soil; and explained that if this washing activity took place next to a storm drain inlet, that construction wash water was not permitted to enter that drain system, because it eventually flows into the ocean; and that no gasoline or solvents could be used to wash the construction vehicles. He stated that the inspections were always unannounced, with the exception of when samples need to be collected. He explained that the City required the developer to use State certified laboratories; that there were very specific criteria for how the laboratory tests were conducted. He stated that the results of the tests must be submitted to the City within 30 days after taking the samples and noted that the waters off the coastline were also being regularly monitored by the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts for bacteria levels.
Director Allison confirmed that all the City’s inspectors were very knowledgeable in water quality issues; that staff held yearly meetings to discuss water quality issues and modify its procedures to improve water quality; that staff knew when to call in the experts; and expressed his belief that the use of both staff and the experts complimented each other very well in the process.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that the Water Quality Plan before the Council was submitted to staff at the end of June 2005; that staff had reviewed the document with its consultants and developed comments; that those comments were then given to the applicant who then responded in a separate memorandum; but that the document itself had not been changed to reflect those responses. He added that once the applicant’s responses had been received, staff will then transmit the document with the responses to the interested parties and the public for review and comment. He mentioned that the minutes located in the Council’s binder sleeve were not generated by the City, that they were generated by Jim Knight before he was a member of the Planning Commission; and indicated that once Council approved the Water Quality Plan in concept, the entire plan would be updated to include all of the referenced corrections.
Referring to Node #1 in the Public Amenities, Plan Mayor Clark questioned whether any consideration had been given to providing public restroom facilities at this trailhead location.
Senior Planner Mihranian responded that the applicant had agreed to modernize the existing restroom facility at the adjacent The Point Vicente Fishing Access property.
Referring to Node #7, Mayor Clark asked what public amenities would be provided at this major vista point, which would be located adjacent to the hotel’s lower pool facility.
Senior Planner Mihranian indicated that the applicant was required to provide a public component to the lower pool facility, which is located adjacent o the trail that leads down to the shore. Included are public restrooms, a snack bar with dining tables, shaded seating areas, picnic benches, showers, bicycle racks, an ADA accessible trail to the shore, and viewing binoculars.
Mayor Clark asked staff to describe the concerns relating to Node #9.
Senior Planner Mihranian indicated that Node # 9 was a new node that staff had requested be added to create more of a destination associated with the main public parking lot adjacent to the hotel and noted that it would have public amenities similar to those found at the node adjacent to The Point Vicente Fishing Access.
Mayor Clark called for the public speakers.
Bob Lowe, Long Point Development LLC, applicant, stated that his team had been working very hard on satisfying this complex project’s 228 conditions of approval; that since his last appearance before Council, the Coastal Commission had decided to review in greater detail the approved plan for independently owned casitas and villas; that he had appeared before the Coastal Commission to explain the program; and that in the end, the Coastal Commission had unanimously voted to approve that part of the project. He thanked Director Rojas for being present that entire day at the Coastal Commission to support the project. Mr. Lowe stated that he was now before Council regarding five items related to the conditions of approval; stated that Council’s review and approval of these items was extremely important; and indicated that in addition to being approved by the City, these items must also be approved by the Coastal Commission. He added that the Coastal Commission would not begin the process of issuing the Coastal Permit until its file was complete, so that any delay at the City level, even on one item, would prevent the Coastal Commission from moving forward on their project. He reiterated that they could not begin building the project without the Coastal Commission permit, and urged City staff and its consultants to continue to work with him in a proactive manner. He mentioned that City staff, the consultants, and his team now agreed that there were no outstanding issues remaining. Mr. Lowe added that he was experiencing extreme cost increases for construction materials and noted that any changes in the project plans would further increased costs and that any unexpected delays could make the project infeasible. He stated that this was an extremely well thought out project and that they had a lot of work to do to keep the costs in line and make it a feasible project. He asked that Council deal with the time extension first, followed by the request to increase the number of compact parking spaces, mentioning that the project would have 200 more parking spaces than what the City required, and finishing with the Water Quality Plan.
Mayor Clark asked for Mr. Lowe to explain the reason for the increase in the number of compact parking spaces and indicate whether those parking spaces were for the resort patrons or the public.
Mr. Lowe stated that the amendment would bring the parking space ratio into conformance with the City’s Code; noted his belief that the ratio of 20 percent compact spaces and 80 percent standard spaces provided a more than adequate balance; and that he believed increased fuel prices would result in a greater number of smaller cars. With the help of an associate in the audience, he clarified that all of the public parking spaces would be full size.
Keith Lamparter, development manager for the Long Point project, in response to a question from Mayor pro tem Wolowicz, stated that the compact parking spaces would be related to the valet area; that all of the public and self-parking spaces would be full-size; expressed his belief that the valet section needed to accommodate more cars, thus prompting the inclusion of more compact spaces for this use; and stated that the proposed compact spaces were in between the size of the compact spaces and the full sized spaces allowed by the City.
Councilman Stern questioned if the conditions of approval clearly designated that the valet area was where these compact spaces would be located.
Mr. Lamparter indicated the location of the compact spaces was clearly designated in a very detailed parking plan submitted to the City.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru advised Council that Ms. Sattler had provided written correspondence that evening related to this project and that this correspondence had been distributed to Council.
Barbara Sattler, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated that she was speaking for herself and not representing any group. Ms. Sattler stated that it was not clear if anything was going to be monitored on this site for water quality, expressed her belief the plan was difficult to follow; and stated that there were a lot of open-ended issues about what chemicals or substances might be used on this site. She stated that there was no justification of the effects the project would have on biological systems, that it was unpredictable when looking at this plan; and that she did not see any thresholds or objectives in terms of evaluating those pollutants, and asked what would happen if pollutants reached a certain level. She expressed her belief there should be some additional monitoring sites other than the seven sites identified in the plan; that it was not clear if there would be additional monitoring sites; stated that the ponds and swales themselves should be monitored for water quality; and stated that she was very concerned about the impacts to wildlife that would be using the site’s water features. Ms. Sattler pointed out that the drainage system designed to handle the nuisance drainage off of Nantasket Drive had no storm filters; stated that the Coastal Commission had required the project to restore the riparian habitat at this location; noted that this type of habitat was very sensitive to water quality and expressed her belief that filtering mechanism should be incorporated at the head end of that habitat restoration site to protect it from harmful pollutants. With regard to the Public Amenities Plan, she noted her disappointment with the proposed addition of turf in the draft plan, such as in the native plant transition area in the bluff top park, believing that turf was not necessary for the picnic area; stated that it would cause a lot of negative impacts because it would require more irrigation and more pesticides, and would be difficult to manage without impacting the surrounding drought tolerant vegetation. She noted her objection to transforming the rocky beach to a sandy beach, believing that this change needed further environmental review in terms biological impacts to both the terrestrial and marine resources.
Jim Knight, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that he was there as an individual citizen and not representing any group or as a member of the Planning Commission. He noted his concern with the Storm Water Quality Management Plan being treated as a separate item; stating that the plan was dependent on other plans; and adding that the preferred method was prevention first and treatment second. He stated that what was presented was a treatment plan, but that it was important to understand what preventative measures would also be taken. He reiterated that there was a real need to integrate all of these various plans. He stated that the Water Quality Plan was a good plan; that the standards were established to reduce the impacts to the extent practicable; and stated that it was very important that the performance criteria specify that the environment does not deteriorate. He stated that the City was being asked to tolerate a certain amount of contaminants coming off the property and that the City needed to have very strong performance standards to assure the community at large that the coastal and marine environment was not deteriorated; noting that it was important to establish the proper baseline for what would be tested during construction and post-construction; that there was a need for more information on the bio-swales, questioning whether the dredged materials would be transferred in containers to a certified landfill; questioned if the scope of the monitoring would include analysis of the level of toxins in the insects that may affect insectivores in the region and asked whether the bio swales would be equipped with hydraulic liners, indicating that he had heard conflicting opinions on this point between the geologist and the biologist. Mr. Knight concurred with Ms. Sattler’s comments regarding the southeast corner of the property needing appropriate filtration devices and monitoring to protect the habitat in that particular area.
Regarding the Public Amenities Plan, Mr. Knight stated that, to his knowledge, no copy of the plan was made available for public review – noting that the first time he had seen the plan was during staff’s presentation that evening; and stated that it was unfair to proceed when the public had not been given a chance to see the plan before the meeting. He asked that this matter be deferred until there had been proper public review. Mr. Knight noted that he had also emailed his proposed changes/comments regarding the Water Quality Plan to Council and Senior Planner Mihranian.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz asked for input from staff on how Ms. Sattler’s and Mr. Knight’s comments and questions would be addressed.
Senior Planner Mihranian explained that as soon as staff received both Ms. Sattler’s and Mr. Knight’s comments, they were forwarded to the City’s consultant as well as to the applicant’s consultant for response; that the City would have an opportunity to review the responses, and that if Council approved the plan in concept that evening, any changes would be incorporated into the final document.
Councilman Gardiner pointed out that the review of the Water Quality Plan was an ongoing process, and noted that the question was whether the City should stop the process while these issues were sorted out or if they should be sorted out as the process moved forward. He noted that staff and the City’s consultant had explained that the issues raised so far were normal at this stage and were expected to be sorted out as the process moved forward; and that if they did not get sorted out properly, then Council would further address them. He stated he was mindful of the need to move ahead; that part of the process required all of the plans to be linked together at some point; and that he believed the concerns raised by the speakers would be addressed as the process moved forward and that there was no need for Council to hold up the project schedule at this point.
Director Rojas stated that Councilman Gardiner’s comments were correct, but explained that the intent moving forward was to resolve the remaining issues at staff level and that the Water Quality Plan would not come back to Council unless Council specifically requested it. He stated that if Council decided to approve the plan that evening, contingent upon the identified issues being resolved, staff would make sure that this happened.
City Manager Evans noted that the original staff recommendation was to find the plan acceptable; that it would not be brought back to Council; and that staff would work through the remaining issues with the applicant and resolve them to staff’s satisfaction. He stated that if Council wanted the issues resolved to Council’s satisfaction, then staff would need to bring back all of the issues Ms. Sattler and Mr. Knight had identified at a future meeting.
Mayor Clark requested input from staff on the public’s ability to view the Public Amenities and Trails Plan prior to that evening’s meeting.
Director Rojas indicated that a public notice was sent out identifying that the Public Amenities Plan was available for review at City Hall, and noted that one individual did come into City Hall to review this document.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that the Public Amenities Plan available at the public counter was in draft form; indicated that staff did not have additional copies of the final version, but that the changes had been marked on the draft plan. He explained that staff showed Ms. Sattler the changes that were made from the first version to the final version that was now being presented to Council; and that typical to any development application, the plans were available at the counter for public inspection. He pointed out that in this case, staff had additional copies of the old version and that he gave one of these to Ms. Sattler with the corrections marked on the plan. He stated that there was public notice that the Public Amenities Plan would be before Council this evening; and that notice was sent to all interested parties, as well as to property owners within 500 feet of the site, as per Development Code public notice procedures, as well also the City’s List Serve email subscribers.
Melvin Pasley stated that he was an avid scuba diver who used the Long Point property on a routine basis; indicated that the scuba diving community in general welcomed this development as a mixed blessing – noting that it would result in needed improvements to the site, new facilities and places to purchase food. He explained that this was a pristine dive site visited by divers from all over California; that he would like to see a copy of the Public Amenities Plan; and noted his opposition to converting the pebble beach to a sand beach, explaining that it would have a negative impact on the clarity of the water in this area. He added that the sand would not remain on the beach because the inter-tidal area had a steep drop-off and added that murky water would harm the marine life in this area.
Councilman Long requested input from Mr. Pasley on his thoughts for a more user-friendly location for the public showers.
Mr. Pasley stated that it would be helpful for the public showers to be located close to the water.
Senior Planner Mihranian explained that the proposed sand beach was not part of the original Council approval; that it is a new feature the applicant is considering; and that the applicant is aware this new feature would require additional environmental review and an amendment to the Coastal Permit, noting that at this point, it should not be considered part of the Public Amenities Plan and should not be included in any approval granted this evening.
Mr. Lamparter clarified that they were not proposing to change the existing rocky shoreline, but that they were proposing to restore the large sandy area above the shoreline. He explained that the sandy area had been largely eroded by runoff over the cliffs from above; that there were a lot of invasive plants which needed to be removed; that the restoration of the sandy beach was addressed in the project’s Biological Resource Management Plan; and that the Water Quality Plan addressed slowing the flow of water coming over the cliffs, so that it would no longer erode away the cliff face or the sandy beach area below.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz requested input on the provisions that would be made for public safety provisions for people using the beach area, and whether the existing path along the shoreline would be improved.
Mr. Lamparter indicated that during public hours, there would supervision for the hotel guests and that cautionary signage would be installed to inform people who were not familiar with the area. Regarding the path along the shoreline, Mr. Lamparter stated that the trails would be modified to comply the required width as conditioned both by the City and Coastal Commission and noted that the site plan reflects the location of the trails.
Mr. Lamparter thanked Ms. Sattler and Mr. Knight for their comments, stating that the applicant had not had adequate time to address their comments on such short notice. He indicated that all the drainage and biological plans would eventually be integrated into one large document; explained that each plan was prepared independently; that each plan was not required to be reviewed by every agency and that it was necessary to submit these plans first to the City and then to the Coastal Commission for approval. Contrary to some of the public’s comments that evening, he stated that the Water Quality Plan was not a conceptual plan, but was an extremely detailed document; and although the plan did not show the exact size of the pipe and how deep the pipe was buried in the ground, it was quite detailed in how the system would work. He added that the plan had been submitted to the Coastal Commission; that they had received comments on the plan; and that he was proud to say that the Coastal Commission had approved the overall concept of the Water Quality Plan and that its comments related to the details of the Best Management Practices regarding the operation of the hotel and how the hotel staff would be trained. He stated that portions of this plan had also been submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Corps of Engineers for review, making the point that there were several other agencies reviewing the plan in addition to the City.
Mayor Clark questioned if any of the regulatory agencies had raised questions about the southeast drainage course and the possible need for monitoring and restoration of the riparian habitat in this area.
Mr. Lamparter confirmed that they had a fairly extensive dialogue with the Coastal Commission about this area; indicated that the project EIR required that this drainage area be widened; that the water flowing through it be slowed down; and that the area be enhanced as a riparian habitat, noting that this was reflected in the Water Quality Plan. Mr. Lamparter indicated that in addition to dealing with storm water issues on their own 100 acres on-site, they were also required to address an extreme amount of water entering the site from an approximately 500 acre area located upstream. He reported that the Coastal Commission’s biological team had visited the site to better understand the plans for this area; and that its team determined that the native plants were all thriving in this area, which led one to believe that if there was something bad in the water coming from upslope, which had been the case for approximately 30 years, the habitat would have been significantly deteriorated by this time. He stated that the project would ultimately increase the amount of riparian habitat to filter the water rather than rely solely on mechanical treatment, believing that this was the better option and the right thing to do.
Mr. Lamparter stated that concerns had been raised with bio-swells, the wetlands and the adequacy of the liners; and indicated that they would be submitting their geotechnical report to the City in the next few weeks. He pointed out that one of the pleasant things they had discovered about the property was that it’s a giant pile of rocks; that it’s composition was much different than the conditions found elsewhere along the coastline; and that they were not trying to stop all the water from leeching into the site, but rather trying to limit it to the current level of infiltration. He noted they would be coming back with specific recommendations on this point.
Mr. Lowe pointed out that a huge amount of detailed work had gone into this process.
Following staff’s input on the public notice and availability of plans, Mayor Clark stated that there appeared to have been adequate public availability of the plans.
Mr. Lowe stated that these plans had been approved for 5 or 6 years; that there had been approximately 30 public hearings held on this project and that at this point, the applicant was required to respond to 228 conditions imposed by the City. He noted that the Water Quality Plan was nothing new, that it had been reviewed and tweaked by staff for several years; stated that the Public Amenities Plan was in accordance with the plans that were approved two years earlier by Council; that they were before Council that evening to present the required details; and that they had complied with the City’s rules for public review of those plans. He concluded that they had met the conditions and that they were asking for Council to approve the plans so that the applicant could move forward.
Councilman Gardiner agreed with Mr. Lowe’s comments on the need to press forward; noting that as far as he could tell from staff, the City’s consultants and the developer were all in agreement; that if there were some additional questions that had been raised, staff and their experts could work with the developer and those who had raised the questions; and stated it was unreasonable for Council to stop the process at this time. He highlighted the fact that this was an ongoing process with many checkpoints along the way; that Council was able to approve something conditionally; and that if staff had a major disagreement with the developer based on input from the public, the matter could be brought back to Council. He observed that there had been no objection to the valet compact parking spaced and that it should be approved; stated that Council should approve the one-year extension; and that Council should approve the Uniform Sign Program. He noted that the City provided an opportunity for the public to provide comments/questions and get answers on an ongoing basis; and that if a major issue needed to be resolved, it could be brought back to Council.
Councilman Long expressed his belief that the issue of public notice had been satisfactorily addressed, that there was a set of the final plans properly made available to the public. He pointed out that it just so happened that there were extra copies of draft plans with notations made on them of the changes, but that the final plans were also made available to the public. He noted his concurrence with Councilman Gardiner’s summary of the items that were non-controversial and stated that there was no reason for Council to not approve them. He stated that the only question remaining was what, if any, problems there might be with the Public Amenities Plan and what issues, if any, there might be with respect to the Water Quality Plan; and stated that the most significant issue with respect to Water Quality Plan had been adequately answered for him.
Mayor Clark noted his concurrence with his colleague’s comments; highlighted staff’s intent to work through any issues of concern with the applicant, including those raised by the public. Mayor Clark asked if there were any serious issues regarding any of the three plans before Council that evening for approval.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that there were no significant issues.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he wanted the public to continue to bring important issues forward as the project progressed and stated that Council should only take up those matters that staff could not resolve on its own.
With respect to testimony from the public regarding the Water Quality Plan, Mayor Clark noted his assumption that if the plan were approved that evening, there was still the ability for this input to be integrated into the plan.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that Mayor Clark’s statement was correct.
Councilman Gardiner asked that the latest versions of the project’s technical reports be provided on the City’s website in a downloadable format.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz urged everyone involved to provide information in a timely manner so that there would be adequate time for everyone to digest all the information.
Mayor Clark noted that Council had proactively worked with the developer to move this project along and stated that Council looked for and appreciated input from the public input and proper responses by the applicant and staff.
Councilman Gardiner indicated that it was unreasonable to expect Council to read and fully comprehend the voluminous materials presented, noting that Mr. Hunter, the City’s expert, had 30 years of experience in this field and that it had taken him approximately one week to review the documents; and stated that at some point, Council needed to listen to it’s experts and comments from the public, then rely on that interaction to draw its attention to the areas where Council should provide direction.
Mayor Clark concurred with Councilman Gardiner’s comment regarding the need to rely on the experts and staff with regards to the technical data and reiterated his encouragement to the public to continue to provide input.
Councilman Long stated that Council needed to be mindful of the issue of timing and its effect on the project’s feasibility, but noted that, thankfully, Council was in a position to make decisions on this project at a pace that was appropriate for the City and that, while the City would welcome the revenue generated by the project, it was not dependent on this project for its financial well being.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to adopt the staff recommendation to approve Revision “C” to Conditional Use Permit No. 215 regarding valet and compact parking; deem the Uniform Sign Program to be acceptable; approve the one-year time extension to October 7, 2006; deem the Public Amenities Plan to be acceptable, subject to removing the proposed artificial sandy beach and determining the location of the Vanderlip Trail (later clarified to be the Flower Field Trail) in compliance with staff’s recommendation to keep the trail on private property, unless golf safety issues require otherwise; deem the Water Quality Plan to be conceptually acceptable, with direction to staff to incorporate comments and revisions in the Plan as staff and City’s consultants deem appropriate; and grant staff the discretion to bring back to Council any policy issues that may arise regarding the Water Quality Plan.
Councilman Gardiner asked Mr. Lowe if the stated motion would allow him to maintain the timing of his schedule.
Mr. Lowe responded that the motion was acceptable because it was a conceptual approval of the Water Quality Plan with all remaining issues to be worked out with staff, noting that he was not aware of any outstanding issues that still needed to be resolved.
Mayor Clark noted the potential for further refinements to the design regarding the southeast drainage area.
Mr. Lowe stated that this issue had been resolved and was reflected in their study.
Director Allison clarified that most of the water impacting the southeast drainage area came from off-site and that staff did not find it appropriate to require the developer to take full responsibility to treat water that was not generated by the project, which accounted for why this aspect was not fully addressed in the Water Quality Plan.
In response to Mayor Clark’s comment regarding the Public Amenities Plan, Mr. Lowe indicated that the final location of the Vanderlip Trail (later clarified as Flower Field Trail) would be worked out with staff, taking into account the golf safety issues. He indicated, however, that he was not sure why approval of the sandy beach had been excluded from the motion.
Director Rojas stated that staff had no objection to the rehabilitation of the upper beach area, but indicated that an environmental review would be necessary in order to import sand to the site.
Councilman Stern asked if the applicant could come back later with the specifics of that plan, assuming that the sandy beach rehabilitation could be dealt with separately and did not impact the applicant from moving forward with the Coastal Commission at this point.
Mr. Lowe indicated that he was unaware of the fact that the sandy beach required additional review until that evening.
Mr. Lamparter stated that the rehabilitation of the sandy beach area would be addressed in the Biological Resources and Habitat Management Plan, including the removal of certain non-native species and replanting with other native species. He reiterated that they were not proposing to place sand at the water line and that the restoration of the beach would be above the tide line.
In response to a question from Councilman Stern, City Attorney Lynch stated that no action should be taken regarding the beach restoration until an environmental review of that proposal had been completed.
Councilman Long stated that the motion to approve the Public Amenities Plan excluded approval of the beach, rather than an outright denial at this time.
Mr. Lamparter stated that one of the conditions required them to file a Habitat Restoration and Management Plan, which would include a complete marine resource survey and address all of the issues associated with the sandy beach.
Mayor Clark clarified that the motion on the floor excluded the beach area.
Senior Planner Mihranian clarified that Revision “C” also included an amendment to the condition pertaining to the elimination of the Class I bicycle lane on Palos Verdes Drive South.
Councilman Long and Councilman Stern accepted the clarification to the motion.
Senior Planner Mihranian clarified that the Vanderlip Trail was referred during the Council’s discussion, but the actual trail in question was the Flower Field Trail.
There was no objection to staff’s clarification.
Councilman Gardiner stated that the City would welcome the Transient Occupancy Tax of approximately $4- to $6 million a year for the hotel once it was in operation; and stated that the City should encourage and do whatever it could to help the hotel move forward to completion, consistent with good decision making in the areas of concern.
Mayor Clark echoed Councilman Gardiner’s comments.
Councilman Stern noted his appreciation for the comments and input provided that evening.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru stated that this motion included the adoption of the Resolution No. 2005-107, as presented on circle page 19 of the staff report.
Mayor Clark closed the public hearing.
Roll call vote reflected approval of the motion as follows:
AYES: Gardiner, Long, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Clark
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Clark recessed the meeting at 10:15 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 10:24 P.M.
Tract Map No. 52666 [Applicant: 3200 Palos Verdes Drive West, LLC] (1203 x 1411)
Mayor Clark declared the public hearing open.
Councilman Stern requested a summary staff report.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that the applicant was requesting to increase the approved tract grading quantity by 1,149 cubic yards in order to expand the buildable area on each lot; increase the pad and maximum ridge heights on Lot Nos. 6 and 8; amend Condition No. 7 which limited the height of the residence on Lot No. 7 to 16 feet and to one story unless a height variation was subsequently approved; relocate and establish private driveway easements; and amend the Affordable Housing Agreement.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that when the project was first presented to Council in 2001, the language in Condition No. 7 was the result the Planning Commission’s decision to preserve the views from the spa/deck area at 30011 Via Victoria. He noted that the property had subsequently changed hands and the developer was now requesting permission to build a two-story residence on Lot No. 7. He indicated that staff had conducted a view analysis from the property at 30011 Via Victoria and determined that there would be no view impairment of the ocean as a result of a two-story structure requested by the applicant. He added that there would be view impairment from the spa area, however, this was not a protected viewing area as defined by the Development Code; and noted that the applicant was requesting Council require that only protected views taken from the defined viewing area of the residence be preserved. He indicated that staff had not received any response from the new property owners at 30011 Via Victoria following the public notice, which prompted him to go to this site and make sure the neighbors had received the notice. He stated that the new owners invited him into their home; and that they did not express any concern regarding view impairment to the spa area, only concern for the views from the interior of the structure.
Councilman Stern questioned if Council had the ability to direct the developer to make improvements to the median on Palos Verdes Drive West.
City Attorney Lynch stated that Council had that ability, but indicated that there had to be some nexus between the project and the median.
Councilman Stern indicated that he had received a call the prior week from the landowner’s representative, former Congressman Kuykendall, who explained some of the developer’s concerns regarding the affordable housing. He also highlighted staff’s concern about the administrative requirements of tracking the affordable unit if it was a rental and difficulty associated with guaranteeing that it continued to be used in that manner over time.
City Attorney Lynch stated there were no overwhelming concerns with this approach, but noted that it definitely imposed a larger burden on the City as far as keeping track of the affordable unit. She noted for Councilman Stern that she was not aware that the City had ever untaken this type of program in the past.
Councilman Stern stated that the City would have to devote some additional staff time to figure out the protocols; noted that he had some concerns with the request to delay providing the affordable housing unit until nearly the end of the project, believing that this request was unreasonable and not fair to the City.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz suggested offering some type of economic incentive to the developer to provide the affordable housing earlier in the process, such as by allowing them to show incremental evidence of progress towards providing the affordable unit as the project moved forward.
City Attorney Lynch stated that it would be possible to incorporate an earlier trigger, such as the purchasing the property for the affordable unit or the commencing the construction of the unit at a specified point in time.
In answer to a question from Councilman Long, Director Rojas clarified that the View Guidelines stated that there could not be a protected outdoor view if there was no primary view available from inside the residence; and noted that due to its distance from the residence, the spa was not considered to be a protected viewing area.
City Attorney Lynch indicated that the primary viewing area was considered to be the area within the residence where the best and most important view was taken.
Councilman Long stated that there was a jogging path in the median from Paseo Del Mar in the City of Palos Verdes Estates to the border with Rancho Palos Verdes, then the path moved to the seaward side of the street in front of the Lunada Pointe development in Rancho Palos Verdes and continued on that side of the street well past the Long Point property, and questioned if Council could require the developer to modify the median in front of this project to join the two segments of jogging paths, including the possible installation of a crosswalk.
Director Rojas noted that there was some grade differential within the median, that there might be sight distance issues and that the proposed improvement would be located off site of the subject tract development.
City Attorney Lynch stated that Council could require some changes to the median if those changes were reasonable and there was some nexus with the project.
Councilman Long asked for input as to why staff believed Council should agree to the proposed modifications regarding the affordable housing requirements.
City Attorney Lynch explained that the reason staff did not object to the request was due to the cost of purchasing land in RPV. She noted her understanding that the applicant was going to purchase a lot and build both a primary and secondary unit on it, which given current land values in RPV, made more sense than purchasing a lot and building only one affordable house on it; and this approach didn’t seem that much more burdensome on staff.
Mayor Clark opened the public hearing.
Sid Croft, representing the applicant: 3200 PV Drive West LLC, assured Council that they did not have the slightest incentive in delaying any aspect of this project, particularly the low-income housing component; explained that the whole purpose of holding back one market-rate unit was to guarantee that they would perform as promised. He noted that locating property in this City for low-income housing was a real challenge; indicated that they were currently in escrow to buy some property; and that they would complete that escrow as rapidly as they could and do everything possible to expedite the approval process. He stated that they were already under construction at the subdivision site. In terms of guaranteeing performance, Mr. Croft stated that they would post a $500,000 bond; stated that if the City allowed them to wait until the 12th house, the City would have a house that was probably worth $2.5 million, plus a $500,000 bond, which he believed was reasonable. He expressed his belief that tying up over $3-plus million was enough to guarantee performance in a timely manner; and that freezing $5.5 or $6 million of their assets rather than $3-plus million would put an unnecessary burden and hardship on them. He urged Council to allow them to sell 12 units, in the hopes that low-income housing unit would be completed beforehand. He added that they did not fully appreciate how difficult it was going to be to find property in RPV to provide this low-income housing when the subdivision was first approved, given the ever changing economic and real estate climate in the area since 2000.
Councilman Gardiner questioned why this request was coming forward at this point and why the City should agree with it. He also asked if a rental counted the same as an affordable house.
City Attorney Lynch stated that new construction of a rental unit would count the same as an affordable house; and mentioned that the City could require the applicant to post some sort of trust deposit to cover the City’s cost of monitoring the unit’s affordable status over time.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he was not in favor of having the City undertake any additional burden at all with regards to affordable housing.
Mr. Croft reiterated that they thought this approach would be faster; that they wanted to get this done as quickly as possible; that it had taken more time than it should to find a suitable piece of property; and noted his willingness to provide security on the last market-rate house sold.
Councilman Gardiner questioned what mechanisms would protect the City.
Mr. Croft answered that the City would have a $500,000 bond for a $2.5 to $3 million house.
Mayor Clark questioned if staff had considered the advantages and disadvantages between low-income rental unit and a low-income house that someone would own.
City Attorney Lynch mentioned that the developer’s proposal was to build a second unit on a main parcel; that the person renting the affordable unit could possibly be a caregiver or domestic help.
Councilman Stern stated that the public should not be burdened with the expense of the administrative costs and suggested that the applicant pay for the monitoring of rents.
Mr. Croft stated that they were willing to make a reasonable contribution to whatever was required to monitor the paying of rent.
Marshal Esfahani, project developer, stated that this would not just be a rental, but that there would also be a for-sale home on the same parcel.
Mayor Clark questioned what incentive there was for the homeowner to rent out the affordable unit, believing this could become an enforcement issue for the City.
City Attorney Lynch stated that a deed restriction could be recorded against the property.
Mayor Clark questioned if the restriction could be structured in such a way that if the City found out that the owner was in violation, the unit could be automatically converted into a for-sale low-income house.
City Attorney Lynch stated that it would not be possible without a parcel map. She suggested including an automatic penalty provision so that there would be monetary damages against the homeowner, noting that whoever purchased the property was the one who would be ultimately responsible for renting out the unit.
Councilman Long suggested that, if possible, verbiage be included to have the City recover the cost of enforcement from the homeowner.
City Attorney Lynch stated that this would be possible.
Hal Arafat, Rancho Palos Verdes, asked if the developer would consider a crib wall instead of a retaining wall as part of the revision to the Grading Permit.
Senior Planner Mihranian explained that the retaining walls being proposed were all located at the back of the lots and would not be visible from the street; that they would be screened by the height of the structures; and advised that crib walls were not engineered walls and, therefore, the City would not issue permits for crib walls.
There being no further input, Mayor Clark closed the public hearing.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz noted his approval of all the items, as long as staff could provide a recommendation for the City not to be encumbered by the enforcement activity.
Councilman Stern noted his concern with the rental aspect of this proposal; explained that if the City used the mechanism suggested, a new owner would step into the developer’s shoes and would then have to perform all of the developer’s obligations with regard to the rental unit, which created a strange dynamic that may cause a negative impact on the City. He stated that he would consider this further if staff and the landowner could come up with a more detailed proposal to answer these concerns, but noted that at the moment, he was not inclined to accept an administrative problem that could last 30 years.
Mayor Clark stated that, in general, he was in agreement with his colleague’s comments; noted that he had difficulty with the rental concept and waiting until the end of selling the market-rate units, although he was willing to consider requiring the developer to provide the affordable housing at the sale of the sixth or possibly the eight or ninth market-rate unit.
Councilman Long stated that, in general, he concurred with the sentiments that have been expressed by the other Council members, but noted that it was necessary to be mindful of the fact that the cost of the affordable housing to the developers in the City ultimately became part of the cost of new housing, and so he was not opposed to all rentals. On the other hand, he stated that there were difficulties with the way this particular affordable unit was being created because it was just one rental unit that would be attached to one for-sale house. He concluded that this proposal had peculiarities that made it a difficult proposition.
Mayor Clark closed the public hearing.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to approve the amendments to the conditions of approval for Tract Map No. 52666 and Grading Permit No. 2282 to increase the permitted grading from 22,100 cubic yards to 23,140 cubic yards (net increase of 1,140 cubic yards) of earth movement; to amend Condition No. 5 of the Residential Development Standards for Individual Lots to allow changes to the approved pad elevations and maximum ridgeline elevations; to amend Condition No. 7 of the Residential Development Standards for Individuals Lots to allow Lot No. 7 to be developed with a two-story residence at a maximum height of 26 feet; to allow the relocation and establishment of shared private driveway easements for Lot Nos. 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11; and that the affordable unit be provided prior to the eleventh house within the tract being sold.
The motion included the adoption of RESOLUTION NO. 2005-108, ADOPTING ADDENDUM NO. 3 TO MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION/ ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO 708 and RESOLUTION NO. 2005-109, CONDITIONALLY APPROVING REVISION 'C' TO TRACT MAP NO. 52666 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2282.
The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Gardiner, Long, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Clark
General Plan Amendment Initiation Request and Zone Change Initiation Request (Case No. ZON2005-00318), for the Trump National Golf Club (701 x 1411)
The staff report of October 4, 2005, recommended that Council provide feedback to the applicant regarding a proposed change in the General Plan Land Use and Coastal Specific Plan Land Use Designation for the subject site from Residential 1 dwelling unit/acre to Commercial Recreational, and a proposed Zone Change for the subject site from RS-1/RPD (Single-Family Residential/Residential Planned Development) to CR (Commercial/Recreational).
Mayor Clark opened the public hearing.
Vince Stellio, representing Trump National, stated they were intent on working with the neighbors to understand their concerns, but noted that he needed more time to address their issues before bringing this request back to Council at a later time.
George Fink, Rancho Palos Verdes, representing the Ladera Linda Homeowner’s Association and himself, read into the record the following letter submitted by the Ladera Linda Homeowner’s Association, dated September 30, 2005:
“The Ladera Linda Homeowner’s Association opposes amendment of the Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan to permit construction of 225 bungalows in lieu of eleven single-family residences presently approved for Lots 1 through 11 of Vesting Tentative Tract Map No. 50666. The reasons are many.
The reason for incorporating the City was to preserve the low-density housing character of the area, and very specifically, to thwart carpeting the bluff area on which the very high-density dwelling structure clusters would be erected with high-density dwelling structures. The General Plan goals include assuring (new) projects “retain the present predominance of single-family” dwelling. Since all of the bounding communities are comprised of single-family dwellings (except for the condominiums on Paseo Del Mar, the existence of which ignited creation of our city), erection of 225 clustered bungalows crammed onto 11 building lots would be completely out of character with all elements of the surrounding community.
The General Plan requires that all new housing be developed to include suitable, adequate landscaping, open space, and other amenities to meet City standards. Presumably allowing 11 single-family dwellings on the lots at issue resulted in sufficient open space, landscaping and other amenities meeting City standards. Unless the City standards were grossly over-satisfied by the plans for the 11 single-family units, no plan placing 225 units on the same acreage could possibly satisfy City standards.
The General Plan provides that the “rural, open character” of the City be preserved. The character of 225 bungalows crammed onto 11 lots, no matter how cleverly disguised, destroys the “rural, open character” of the affected part of Rancho Palos Verdes.
The recently adopted General Plan update adds: 1) Require all new housing ---consider neighborhood compatibility.” Two hundred and twenty five bungalows on 11 lots are not compatible with the existing neighborhood.
Under “Visual Aspects” 4., in the same update, the City is to consider visual character of neighborhoods consistent with the General Plan and neighborhood compatibility. In no way is a 225-bungalow complex visually compatible with impacted (i.e., adjacent) neighborhoods.
The applicant seeks revision of the General Plan without providing an EIR or any vestige thereof. In addition to the foregoing, there will be a severe traffic impact at the intersection of Forrestal Drive and Palos Verdes Drive South (the only ingress/egress available to Ladera Linda). The impact is unacceptable to Ladera Linda. We are a rural community. Transforming us to a densely populated urban area, even if traffic problems were to be mitigated by installation of a traffic light, moves us to 25th and Western. If we wanted to live there, we would have bought there.
We are very strongly opposed to violating the provisions (by amendment or otherwise) of the City’s General Plan and to breaking trust with those who formed the City to preserve our low-density rural, open character and entrusted us to preserve it.”
Mayor Clark asked how many homes were are in Mr. Fink’s association.
Mr. Fink stated that there were 174 residences in the Ladera Linda Homeowner’s Association.
Lois Karp, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that the current General Plan was a wonderful plan that has served this area very well and would continue to serve them well in the future; expressed her belief this City should not be amending the General Plan for the Trump project; pointed out that Mr. Trump bought the property with all its entitlements, and he knew that the lots there were for single-family residences. She stated that multiple dwelling units did not belong at this site and that this was a site for low-density development. She stated that it would not be compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. She pointed out that this land was sacred because of the legal battle the residents won against the County of Los Angeles years ago; that County wanted the property full of condos and apartments; and noted that RPV was started as a fourth city on the peninsula fighting over that land. She added that increasing the number of units from 110 to 225 drastically changed the traffic conditions and stated that 225 units of any size on 11 lots that was approved for only 11 houses was not acceptable. Ms. Karp noted for Mayor Clark that she was the President of the Mediterranean Homeowner’s Association; and that that evening, she was speaking on behalf of herself because the board had yet to vote on this matter; but indicated that many of the 239 homes in this association had expressed opposition to this proposal.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Clark recessed the meeting at 11:26 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 11:30 P.M.
Don Ershig, Rancho Palos Verdes, addressed his concern with the impact that would be placed on the infrastructure in this area if 225 units were approved; and suggested that it may have a negative impact on the value of his property. He stated that recently, the community members pooled their money and purchased some land in order to maintain it as open space; and pointed out that approval of this project would go against the philosophy of this community, which was to maintain open space and a rural atmosphere.
Barbara Sattler, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that the General Plan was the articulation of the goals and objectives of the entire community; that the point of the General Plan was to maintain the City’s vision for the community and to hold to it; and she cautioned Council against making any change to the General Plan.
Joseph Wang, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed his belief that every time the General Plan was changed, the community loses something; stated that 11 single-family houses generated 111 vehicle trips a day; that 225 units created 3,055 trips a day, which would greatly impact their neighborhood and the air quality in the area. He indicated that the golf clubhouse was right in front of his house and he questioned the validity of the viewing area that had been established.
Mary Casaburi, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that she lived two houses away from Mr. Wang; that she and her husband were very concerned with the proposed amendment to the General Plan, believing that it was a good plan; she noted her support for the one-story casitas units, but stated that 225 was excessive; advised that the clubhouse and parking lot lights remained on all night during the recent golf tournament; and noted her concern about the amount of lighting that would come from 225 units. She added that there was music coming from the clubhouse at 12:30 A.M.
Betty Riedman, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that her house overlooked the Trump Golf Course; concurred with the concerns of the prior speakers; and indicated her concerns with the traffic that would be created by the current proposal.
Mr. Stellio expressed his belief there were some misconceptions in the community about the proposed project; indicated that the existing 11 lots would not remain vacant and were approved for seven 2-story homes; explained that one of the reasons they were considering modifying the project to build bungalows was due to the view concerns expressed by the adjacent Seaview neighbors when they first purchased the property; mentioned that any homes built on the lots would generate light and noise; and pointed out that the proposed facility would be a 5-star facility and that guests would not be allowed to cause any problems. He added that 24-hour security would be provided and that the security would make sure the 5-star ambience of the facility was maintained at all times. He noted that an intensive traffic study would be submitted; and mentioned that with 40,000 people on the site during the recent golf tournament week, there were no traffic problems, that they worked hard to make sure there were no backups on Palos Verdes Drive and no parking on the adjacent residential streets. He stated that the event was very successful. He expressed his belief that having the bungalows/villas would enhance the property and make it more of a destination resort; pointed out that there was a lack of hotel facilities in this area, but that there was a large demand for this type of facility. He reiterated that he would take the neighbors’ concerns into consideration and would address them with his consultants.
Mayor Clark encouraged the Trump organization to meet with the various homeowners associations prior to the next Council meeting on this item.
Councilman Long encouraged the Trump organization to consider all residents’ input when considering modifications to their proposal, not just those that had homeowners associations to represent them.
Mr. Stellio commented on their continuing efforts to hold various community meetings at the site to inform the public about the project and seek their input.
Councilman Stern expressed his belief that the request was not consistent with the City’s vision, as he understood it, both when the residents formed this City and currently; he noted his appreciation of Mr. Trump’s desire to make the property a destination resort, but doubted whether this was the vision for the Ocean Trails project when it was approved. He added that there were public amenities tucked into this property (the park, the trails); that turning the site into a hotel/country club would make it difficult for the City’s residents and others who wished to enjoy the parklands and the trails to gain access; and stated that the resulting situation would be inconsistent with the vision that the City’s residents still held for this coastal property.
Mr. Stellio asked how the Long Point project got approved with the same issues.
Councilman Gardiner noted his appreciation for Mr. Stellio’s working with the community, but doubted whether the Trump organization understood that this property was considered to be the City’s “ground zero” because high density development once proposed on this particular property was what caused the City of RPV to get founded. He reported that he had received more emails on this topic than any other since he had been on Council; and that out of the 200 emails, two of them had been favorable and 198 had been strongly against this proposal. He concluded that the community did not want to see such a dense project developed on this site.
Councilman Long stated that one of his concerns regarding the proposal was its overall density; noting that approximately 200 units would accommodate 400 or 500 people; and expressed his discomfort with an incremental approach to development requests. He pointed out that Long Point did not require a General Plan Amendment; and that based on everything he had heard thus far, he stated that he was not inclined to vote for a General Plan Amendment, but added that he was willing to continue to listen.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz concurred with the statements made about the history of the founding of the City and its relationship to this property.
Mayor Clark stated that he also had received over 200 emails on this topic.
Mr. Stellio reported that the golf tournament held the previous week went well; that they were close to completing all of the improvements and that they were waiting for some signs that had been ordered to delineate the new public trails. He stated they had issued the final report on landslide repairs; that the main reports would arrive that Friday; that the water feature signoff/final would be completed by that Friday; and he questioned if there was a way they could open the facility to the public while the geology reports were being finalized. He indicated that they were still working out the geology on the terrace expansion to the golf clubhouse, believing that it shouldn’t be a problem since the City’s geologist had been involved during the entire process; and expressed his belief that no major issues concerning the landslide repairs would be forthcoming.
Councilman Stern stated there had been a lot of input from staff over the years in helping the Trump organization to understand what had to be done in order to open the golf course. With regard to the issue of the geology review taking so long, he indicated that one of the reasons they were behind was because the City’s geologist wanted more information; that the Trump organization did not want to provide more information; that this matter went through the peer review process to decide whether the additional information was needed and the peer review team determined that it was required; and that, in essence, it was the Trump organization that caused an approximately 6 to 8 months delay in the process, which was ill-advised in his opinion. He expressed his belief that these conditions had been in place for a long time and that they should be satisfied before the final permit was issued; and stated that he was not in favor of opening the golf course before these issues were signed off.
Councilman Long stated that because the issue of the temporary occupancy permit had not been agendized, it should not be discussed at this time.
City Attorney Lynch concurred with Councilman Long’s assessment.
Mr. Stellio indicated that he had submitted a letter to the City requesting that the topic of the temporary opening of the golf course be agendized.
Councilman Gardiner expressed his belief the applicant’s letter adequately requested that this topic be addressed this evening.
City Attorney Lynch stated that the applicant’s letter did not provide the two-week notice required for this issue to be placed on the agenda as a public hearing item.
Councilman Stern expressed his belief that the agenda as presented did not provide the public with enough information to conclude that Council may be taking action regarding opening the golf course as part of that evening’s meeting.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz expressed his belief that this was a legitimate request, especially in light of the economic impact to the applicant; that Council should listen to the request; and perhaps consider taking action on it at a future meeting.
Mayor Clark stated that the primary purpose of the request was discussed this evening; noted that Councilman Gardiner already pointed out that the request by the developer was to give an update on the project and request the opening of the 18-hole golf course; and that he concluded that the applicant had every right to make the request that evening, but that Council did not have the ability to take any action that night because the public noticing requirements had not been met.
Councilman Long asked for input on the procedure for applying for a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy.
Director Rojas explained that it would require a two-week notice of public hearing and an amendment to the Conditional Use Permit.
Mr. Stellio clarified that he was seeking guidance from Council on a way to allow the golf course to open in case there was a roadblock with the final paperwork, pointing out that all of the work on the site was complete. He stated that they were trying their best to satisfy all of the conditions; and noted that if the golf course could not open, the park could not open because the approvals were intertwined.
Deputy Director Pfost stated that the City did not officially own the park yet because the developer had not signed the necessary documents in order for them to be recorded.
City Attorney Lynch stated that a week earlier, the recordation documents had been sent back to the applicants; and that it was entirely in the hands of the applicant at this point.
Mr. Stellio explained that the park was part of the final landslide repair report; and that changes were made to the park, such as extra back-cuts made to improve the safety of the area.
Mayor Clark questioned if the landslide repair report had a nexus to the opening of the public park.
City Attorney Lynch stated that the opening of the park had a greater connection with the opening of the golf course.
Deputy Director Pfost stated that in a sense there was a nexus with the park because the as-built grading report that Mr. Stellio referenced included portions of the park; noted that the applicant needed to submit this report and gain approval from the City’s geologist for the as-built geotechnical report of the entire golf course, including the park, before the City could allow it to be open to the public.
Mr. Stellio added that the report also included a portion of the public trail, which ran around the perimeter of the park; noted there were issues with the trail being too close to the bluff and that it had to be moved, which required approval by the Coastal Commission to relocated the trail within the park – noting that the original conditions stated that it had to be outside of the park. He noted that the Coastal Commission had granted approval to put the trail in the park.
Mayor Clark stated that the City had already dedicated and named the park, but questioned if the public was permitted to use the park at this point.
City Attorney Lynch reiterated that the City did not technically own the park at this point in time; and that it would probably be another 10 days before receiving the documents from the applicant for recordation with the County.
Councilman Long expressed his belief that the difficulty caused by the delay in this chronology was the responsibility of the applicant; stated that the only leverage the City had in getting the conditions satisfied was the opening the golf course; noted that if Council granted a temporary permit, ultimately it would have to have an expiration date; and suggested that if the golf course was to open, it should stay open and have no threat of closing hanging over it because of not meeting these conditions. He indicated that his preference was for the applicant to meet the conditions instead of taking the risk of having the temporary permit expire and then face having to close down the facility.
Councilman Gardiner noted that the golf course had already been opened for the LPGA tournament; highlighted the probable revenues the City would receive from this activity; and stated that he was supportive in granting a temporary permit for a reasonable timeline to allow the applicant to get the final paperwork completed.
Mayor Clark stated that if Council were to go down the path of a temporary opening of the golf course while the conditions were still being finalized, Council could put in some milestones and expiration dates by which certain conditions needed to be met.
City Attorney Lynch stated that if this was Council’s direction, the matter could be placed on the agenda for a public hearing on November 1st and the applicant could submit a request to amend the Conditional Use Permit to provide the opportunity for Council to grant approval. She stated that, currently, the Conditions of Approval require that the golf course could not open until the as-built grading and geology plan was approved; and stated that staff could add another condition saying “Notwithstanding that, the Council can grant a Special Use Permit or Limited Temporary Use Permit for the golf course.”
Councilman Stern stated that he had seen numerous documents that clearly delineated the requirements for opening the golf course; expressed his disappointment that a lot of the amenities for the City’s residents were not completed for many years because there was no incentive for the developer to move forward and that the City didn’t have the ability to compel them to be done. He noted his concurrence with Councilman Long’s comments regarding the temporary opening and stated that he would not be voting to give the applicant any relief in this regard.
Councilman Gardiner noted that some of the things Councilman Stern was frustrated over were done by the prior owner and expressed his belief the entire blame should not be placed on the Trump organization, noting that there had been a remarkable amount of work done since the Trump organization purchased the property.
Mr. Stellio pointed out that the Trump organization took over a bankrupt project that was stalled out; that the Trump organization did everything it could to complete the project at the highest quality; and commented on the difficulty of rebuilding a large arterial roadway like Palos Verdes Drive South without any means of efficiently detouring the traffic. He added that the reason no landscaping had been installed in the median was because of issues with Edison and Cal Water that were beyond his control, noting that there were still issues remaining with Edison that had not been fully resolved. He reiterated that all of the construction was complete and asked that there be no further delays.
Mayor Clark requested input from staff on how long it would take for the final paperwork to be completed and the opening of the golf course to occur.
Deputy Director Pfost stated the applicant needed to submit a final as-built geology report for the golf course, noting that part of it was submitted the day before this meeting; and indicated that this portion had been sent to the City’s geologist, who would need no more than 3 weeks to review it. He stated that Mr. Stellio had indicated that the other parts of the as-built report would be submitted to the City within the next week and that these would also need to be reviewed by the City’s geologist. He mentioned that staff had asked the City’s geologist to move on this matter as quickly as possible, and that the geologist indicated it would not take longer than 3 weeks to complete the review once the remaining parts are received.
Mr. Stellio stated that the final report encompassed many years of work on this project, that it was a voluminous document; and reiterated that he was worried that if the City geologist took issue with anything in the final report that it would further delay the opening of the golf course.
Councilman Long pointed out that part of this golf course slid into the ocean; that the Trump organization wanted to repair the 18th hole; and that the City’s conditions related to the safety of that repairs. He noted his objection to opening the golf course before it was deemed to be safe by the City’s geologist.
Councilman Gardiner noted his objection to the characterization that some were advocating opening the golf course before it was deemed safe. He highlighted the applicant’s request to be given a temporary permit while the final paperwork was completed, with an expectation of this occurring within 30 days to 90 days; and stated that whatever that timeframe was, Council should be free to decide after discussion whether the request for a temporary operation permit should be granted.
Councilman Stern questioned if there were any other conditions that were still open.
Deputy Director Pfost stated that the developer needed to submit the as-built geology report; that staff was scheduled to conduct a final inspection with the City’s landscape architect the next day to check the trails for the proper signage; explained that everything appeared to be moving forward during the next month to potentially complete the entire project. He reiterated that the as-built geology report was the biggest remaining issue and added that the other issue outstanding was that the Coastal Commission had its own conditions that needed to be satisfied prior to opening the 18-hole course, and that some of those conditions were related to the City’s acceptance the dedication of the public trails, noting that Council had yet to accept them.
Mr. Stellio pointed out that he was not looking to shortcut the system, that he intended on fulfilling his responsibilities; that the Trump organization had fulfilled its responsibilities by finishing the project, but in lieu of waiting a very long time to work their way through some of the remaining conditions and potential complications, he was hoping that there was a way to grant a temporary permit for the golf course.
In response to a question from Mayor Clark, Mr. Stellio expressed his understanding that the Coastal Commission would be supportive of the City granting a temporary permit.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz asked for advice from staff on how to move this project forward as quickly as possible.
City Attorney Lynch recommended that Council schedule the request for a temporary opening of the golf course for November 1, 2005.
Mayor Clark confirmed with the City Attorney that no motion was required on this item.
General Plan Initiation Request and Zone Change Initiation Request (Case No. ZON 2005-00359), for Property Located at 32639 Nantasket [Applicant/ Property Owner: Dana Ireland] (701 x 1802)
Mayor Clark recused himself from consideration of this matter because the applicant was a personal friend of his.
Associate Planner Blumenthal presented staff report and the recommendation to provide feedback to the applicant regarding the proposed change in General Plan Land Use and Coastal Specific Plan Land Use Designations for the subject site from Commercial Recreational to Residential (2 to 4 dwelling units per acre) and a proposed Zone Change for the subject site from Commercial Recreational (CR) to Single-Family Residential (RS-4).
Councilman Stern noted that this parcel abutted the Long Point project; and questioned as a practical matter what commercial-recreational use could be made of this property given that its access points were limited to the adjacent residential area and that everything around it was residential.
Associate Planner Blumenthal indicated that staff had not analyzed exactly what could be developed on the property under the current zoning; explained that that analysis would take place as the applicant proceeded with the formal application; and staff would then be able to look at the potential use of this site.
Director Rojas noted that the Development Code listed all the types of permitted uses in the CR zoning district and stated that to make one of those uses fit on this awkward site would take a lot of analysis because one would need to deal with parking, access and where to site the building.
Councilman Stern stated that he doubted that this site would work as commercial-recreational as a practical matter.
Director Rojas explained that this parcel was created when this area was previously zoned agricultural; that the City allowed the lot to be created with the idea that it wasn’t going to be developed for commercial or residential; stated that originally, it was part of the Long Point project; that it somehow got carved out and Destination Resorts did not end up with ownership of it; and noted that this orphan piece was located in the CR zone and had street frontage in a residential area. He suggested the only thing that could go there to compliment the Long Point project would be some type of small bed and breakfast or restaurant.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz asked why a long, thin lot was created in the first place if the City did not intend for it to be used in a different manner than the larger adjacent CR property.
Associate Planner Blumenthal explained that when the subject property was subdivided from the larger lot, the Palos Verdes Unified School District, which owned it at the time, sold the parcel to Hanna Barbara Marineland; and that the intent at the time was to use the land to provide a parking lot for the apartments across the street on Nantasket Drive, noting that the parking lot was never developed.
Councilman Gardiner questioned if a hotel could be placed on this property if it were zoned Commercial-Recreational.
Associate Planner Blumenthal confirmed that a hotel would be permitted on this site.
Councilman Gardiner requested input on the maximum building height allowed in both zoning districts.
Director Rojas indicated that the height limit by right for both Residential and Commercial Recreational would be 16 feet.
Councilman Long stated that the only issue in front of Council this evening was whether Council believed there was enough reason to consider changing the zoning designation, expressing his belief that Council did not need to have all of the information at this stage in the process.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz opened the public hearing.
Dana Ireland, applicant, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that the subject property was at one time part of the larger adjacent parcel; was owned by the Palos Verdes Unified School District and was to be developed as the Abalone Cove School. He explained that the larger site was subsequently sold to Hanna Barbara Marineland, which then subdivided the property and sold the small strip of land to owners of The Villas Apartments in 1980. He expressed the opinion that at the time of lot split, the zoning should have been changed on the parcel because it created a substandard lot; and added that at the time of the lot split, the minimum size for a CR lot was 5 acres, noting the subject parcel was only 1.5 acres. He stated that The Villas was granted CUP No. 62 by the City in which the subject property was to be developed as a parking lot to support an RS-4 utilization, and it would have been logical at that time to rezone the property to RS. He stated that the Development Code currently required a CR lot to be a minimum of 20 acres. He stated that he was simply asking Council to give him some direction as to whether this parcel was viable for residential development versus commercial development; and noted that he would make the argument that residential was a very low-impact use of this parcel. He reported that he had canvassed the neighborhood and noted that the neighbors seemed to be mainly concerned with the height of any building and any impact to their views. He pointed out that the property had the same 16-foot height limitation with either zoning designation. He added that a CUP controlled the height in the CR zone.
Bob Nelson, Rancho Palos Verdes, representing the Seacliff Homeowner’s Association, indicated that two votes were taken by the HOA related to the suggested zone change, noting that the results were 58 to 2, with 58 in opposition; and that another vote was taken with regard to should this orphan strip of land be developed, noting that the vote was identical, 58 to 2, with 58 in opposition.
Councilman Stern asked Mr. Nelson if it was his perception that the parcel should be kept undeveloped and that position was what the vote reflected.
Mr. Nelson explained that some of the concerns had to do with view impact; that the homeowners who were opposed lived on Beachview Drive and were concerned with the elimination of their views; and added that there were four homes on Channelview that may also have impacted views.
Director Rojas reiterated that both zones would allow 16 feet high structures by right; however, in residential areas, in order to build above 16 feet, a Height Variation would be required, which could allow up to a maximum of 26 feet; whereas in commercial zones, building over 16 feet would require a CUP and there was no maximum height specified in the code. He added that if the lot were zoned residential, the landowner would be allowed to build homes on the property by right, whereas if it was zoned commercial, the Code required all new commercial buildings to go through a discretionary CUP process.
Councilman Gardiner stated that it was conceivable that the homes would be less obtrusive compared to a hotel constructed at the same height.
Mr. Ireland stated that the lowest point on the lot was 125 feet above sea level; that at the top of the lot, it was 165 feet above sea level, noting that there was a 40-foot grade change measured across the length of the lot; added that there was a 300-foot separation from the highest point on the lot to the back of the homes on Channelview Court; and that within that 300 foot distance, the elevation increased an additional 35 feet and therefore these homes were 75 feet higher in elevation than the lowest point on the subject property.
Mr. Nelson stated that the HOA did not want to see any of the homeowners lose their views and thus did not want to see any development on this parcel.
Councilman Gardiner questioned if the homeowners would rather look at a residential development on this parcel rather than a commercial development.
Councilman Stern expressed his belief that the property should be residential because it fronted on a residential street; that it would be more compatible with the existing neighborhood; and that residential use would have less of an impact in terms of the intensity of the use than what could be built under the CR zone.
Dave Emenhiser, Rancho Palos Verdes, noted his opposition to changing the General Plan; stated that his home had a view corridor over the subject property; and that putting homes on this parcel would impact his views. He expressed his belief that if a residential use was placed on this parcel, that it may be too close to the golf course at the Long Point hotel.
Councilman Long asked Mr. Emenhiser if he would prefer a residential use to a commercial one.
Mr. Emenhiser explained that leaving the zoning as was would make it difficult for anything to be built on the site and that he would prefer it not be rezoned to residential.
Councilman Gardiner stated that, in general, he was hesitant to change the General Plan, but indicated that it might be the correct action in this instance, thereby making this parcel more consistent with the adjoining residential area and keeping within the vision of the City’s founders. He added that the neighbors were running the risk that some kind of hotel could be built on the lot, noting that the large air conditioning units and other equipment that are typically on hotel roofs may be more objectionable than seeing residential rooftops in their views.
Mr. Emenhiser expressed his belief that it would be harder economically to develop this site if the current zoning remained.
There being no further input, Mayor pro tem Wolowicz closed the public hearing.
AYES: Gardiner, Long, Stern, Wolowicz
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz recessed the meeting at 1:11 A.M. and reconvened the meeting at 1:16 A.M.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
Vacation of City Right of Way at Nantasket Drive (1408)
The staff report of October 4, 2005, recommended that Council provide direction to staff as to whether the City should proceed with the request to vacate public easements over a parcel on Nantasket Drive.
Councilman Stern asked what the easement was for on the south end of the lot.
Director Allison indicated it was not clear at this time.
Councilman Stern questioned how Council could decide whether to vacate an easement if Council did not know the intended use of the easement.
Director Allison explained that staff was recommending that this matter be further studied and that the applicant should pay the City’s costs to begin this process, if he wishes to move forward with the easement vacation.
Councilman Stern stated that he was not usually in favor of giving up a public asset and that he felt unable to vote on this matter because he did not fully understand the purpose of the easement that was the subject of this request.
City Attorney Lynch stated that staff also needed additional information and that a study would be necessary to provide that information. She explained that typically in an easement vacation, Council had to make a finding that there was no present or future prospective use of the easement by the City; in other words, Council must make a finding that the easement was of no value to the City; and that there was no monetary compensation to the City for vacating the easement.
Councilman Stern expressed his belief that the value of the easement was irrelevant, that it was only of value to the person who was seeking the vacation from the City; and stated that he wanted to know more about this before being asked to vacate the easement on the property.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he was not opposed to proceeding with exploring this option.
Dana Ireland, applicant, Rancho Palos Verdes, explained that the easement was a 30-foot wide, ran from Nantasket Drive to the back of his property and that it was 91 feet long.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to explore this further, getting clarification on what the easement was for and to allow the applicant to proceed at his own expense. The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Gardiner, Long, Stern, Wolowicz
Citywide and Neighborhood Traffic Enforcement (1502)
Mayor Clark returned to the dais.
City Manager Evans presented staff report and the recommendation for Council to consider upgrading the City’s current traffic enforcement program.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to continue this item.
Councilman Gardiner indicated his opposition to continuing this matter, stating that this issue had been the subject of another public meeting; that the matrix provided in the staff report was clear; that the dollar cost was reasonably affordable and that he believed the matter could be dealt with that evening.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz concurred with Councilman Gardiner’s comments.
Councilman Long stated that he did not see information in the staff report regarding the fiscal impact of this proposal on the City’s operating budget, the General fund reserves and the Five-Year Financial Model; and noted his support for continuing this item in order to gather additional public input.
Captain Jay Zuanich, Lomita Sheriff’s Station, stated that he was looking for direction from Council; noted that the issues were presented to Council at a prior public workshop; and that, at this point, he would like to know where Council was headed with this issue.
Councilman Stern stated that if the City wanted to provide weekend traffic coverage under the Regional Contract, RPV would be pay 60 percent of the cost of one traffic deputy; and questioned if any input had been obtained from the other two contract cities in regard to this matter.
Captain Zuanich indicated that input had not been sought from the other two contract cities and clarified that $84,000 would be the City’s 60 percent share of one regional traffic deputy with a patrol car.
Mayor Clark asked why the staff report did not include an option to take the program the City used during the past summer on the Palos Verdes Drive East switchbacks and extrapolate it into a roving special team that could do traffic enforcement on a year-round basis.
Captain Zuanich explained that the enforcement on the switchbacks was only a summer effort.
City Manager Evans added that the summer program was only possible because the City relied on the CORE deputies who were not involved with the schools during the summer recess, noting it was not an option that would be available to the City on an on-going basis.
Captain Zuanich added that the program also involved Reserve deputies that were not available on a regular basis.
Councilman Gardiner questioned if the City could purchase only 60 percent of one deputy’s time.
Captain Zuanich explained that the City could only do so through the Regional Contract.
City Manager Evans stated that if the City hired the traffic deputy on an overtime basis, it could only do it when the deputies were available.
Captain Zuanich explained that he was able to make the summer program work because he was able to fill all of the spots with the CORE deputies because they did not have school commitments and as many quality of life issues to deal with during that time of year; but indicated that he could not guarantee consistency on an overtime basis because it was strictly voluntary. He added that some of the officers he used were from other Sheriff’s stations and therefore his control of that group was diminished. The motion to continue the matter carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Mayor Clark, Gardiner, Long, Stern
The October 4, 2005, staff report recommends that Council 1) Adopt and File the FY 05-06 Investment Policy for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes; and, 2) Retain Fieldman, Rolapp Financial Services, LLC, as the City's Investment Advisor to Assist Staff with the Development of Possible Revisions to the City's Investment Strategy for a Not to Exceed Fee of $7,000.
Councilman Gardiner moved to approve staff recommendation.
Councilman Stern questioned if the cost to the City for the consultant was one fee of $7,000.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz seconded the motion.
The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Mayor Clark, Gardiner, Long, Stern, Wolowicz
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
With respect to Item No. 1, City Attorney Lynch reported that Council approved the appraisal amount and authorized the City’s negotiator to submit an offer to the property owner to purchase the property at the appraised value. With respect to Item Nos. 2, 3 and 4, she advised that Council authorized an appraisal fee to be performed. She added that on the first item, it was a 3-2 vote, with Council Members Gardiner and Wolowicz voting no; and that the second vote was unanimous.
At 1:42 A.M., Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to adjourn the meeting to the Redevelopment Agency meeting. Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
------ /s/ Stefan Wolowicz
----/s/ Carolynn Petru