M I N U T E S
The meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m. at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Stern, Gardiner, Clark, Long, Mayor Wolowicz
Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Carolynn Petru Petru; City Attorney Carol Lynch; Director of Finance/Information Technology Dennis McLean; Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas; Interim Director of Public Works Ray Holland; Deputy Planning Director Greg Pfost; and Associate Planner Kit Fox.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Knox.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Councilman Stern made a motion to approve the agenda. Seconded by Councilman Clark.
Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz declared that the agenda stands approved as presented.
Mayor Wolowicz announced Stuart Bisk and Selbert Chernila as Recyclers of the Month and urged everyone to participate in the City’s recycling program.
Public Works Director Holland announced that on May 6, 2006, the City would host the annual free Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Waste Round-Up.
Councilman Clark added that it is no longer legal to throw away batteries in the trash, and this event is a perfect opportunity to dispose of this type of waste.
Councilman Gardiner suggested posted an announcement on the Channel 33 video bulletin board regarding this event.
Tom Redfield, Rancho Palos Verdes, encouraged residents to attend the City Council’s annual budget workshops. He also encouraged the Council to have the workshops filmed and to provide a better microphone system in the future for meetings held at locations other than Hesse Park. He supports what City Manager Evans stated at the budget workshop that the entrance to the City at 25th Street and Palos Verdes Drive South is unsightly due to the utility poles and the tangle of wires and suggested that it is in the best interest of the Trump Organization help the City places these utilities underground. He also thanked City Manager Evans for following through with the Edison Company regarding the delay in providing electrical power for the irrigation system at the intersection of Palos Verdes Drive East and South. He indicated that he would like to see beautification of this intersection added to the list of things the Trump Organization should address.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
Councilman Gardiner reported that he met with Gabriella Holt and the Superintendent of the Southern California Regional Occupational Center (SCROC) regarding setting up a satellite campus for SCROC at the Channel 33 studio to teach video production. He indicated that SCROC would be providing some equipment for the studio in conjunction with the shared use and felt that it will be a win-win all around if it comes to fruition.
Councilman Clark reported that on the April 4th he met with the President of the Board of the Palos Verdes Art Center regarding the future of the museum at the Civic Center. He also met with Councilwoman Janice Hahn on a number of topics, and of particular note he indicated that she is forming a citizen’s advisory oversight committee for the Ponte Vista residential development project on Western Avenue in San Pedro and has invited Council to name up to three members from Rancho Palos Verdes to participate on this committee. Councilman Clark reported that on April 13th and 14th, he participated in the California Coastal Commission hearings in Santa Barbara. He noted that there was an item on the Commission’s agenda regarding dredging in the Santa Barbara Harbor area. On April 25th, he had a meeting with the Mayor and City Manager of El Segundo and talked about some of the issues and challenges relative to on-street parking with respect to recreational vehicles and observed that many South Bay cities are dealing with this issue. On May 28th, he joined the Mayor in hosting a lunch for the business community at the Pointe Vicente Interpretive Center as part of the capital campaign to raise donations to complete the exhibits at the museum and commended the Mayor’s efforts in this regard. On April 29th, he attended the Council budget workshop, which he felt was very productive. Finally, on April 30th, he attended the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy reception at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center.
Mayor Pro Tem Long reported that on April 1st he met with Maude Landon to discuss issues related to the Palos Verdes Art Center. In addition to the budget workshop, he reported that the only other meeting he attended in April was the reception for the newly appointed General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District. He noted that the MWD might have grants and loans available to the City if it decides to create a commercial water source from the de-watering wells in the landslide area. Mayor Pro Tem Long reported that he also had the opportunity on two separate occasions to speak to a consultant hired by the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission. He noted that Rancho Palos Verdes is in this watershed and, with the exception of Malibu, is the city with the longest coastline. He indicated that this Commission has control over tens of millions of dollars of funds, which it can allocate to local cities, but noted that its governing board seems to be controlled by a Los Angeles City Council member. He reported that the consultant told him that the Commission recently concluded that this agency is not allocating enough of its money to the South Bay, created a task force to study the problem and that the Commission is interested in funding habitat restoration projects. Mayor Pro Tem Long indicated that he contacted Barbara Dye of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy and asked City staff to help formulate a list of projects that can be presented to the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission. He also offered to serve on the task force, noting that the first meeting is on May 25, 2006.
Councilman Stern indicated that he had nothing to report.
Mayor Wolowicz reported that on April 19th he attended the monthly Mayor’s lunch, where he reported receiving many questions about what has been going on in Rancho Palos Verdes and noted that there was extensive discussion of Rolling Hills Estates’ Peninsula Village project. On April 20th, he along with City Manager Evans met with Bill Baker, President of the West Basin Water District, at the request of Mr. Baker. Also on April 20th, he chaired the Palos Verdes Transit Authority meeting and noted that beginning next year the County will start to gradually reduce one of its subsidies to this program so that the cities served by this system will bear a greater financial burden placed for its continued operation. He reported that the Palos Verdes Transit Authority would also be taking over a bus route from the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority. Mayor Wolowicz reported that he and Councilman Clark attended the dedication at the Los Angeles Air Force Base of the Space Management Complex on April 24th and observed that Rancho Palos Verdes stood behind the BRAC closure group that was formed in the South Bay to retain Los Angeles Air Force Base.
Mayor Wolowicz reported, that on April 26th, he had an opportunity to speak to seniors at Belmont Village. On April 27th, he attended the South Bay Council of Governments meeting, which is made up of elected Council members from throughout the greater South Bay. There are a number of reports given about that, and the initiative for putting a South Bay representative on the AQMD is quite significant. There was a presentation by members of the MTA in Los Angeles, and the issues of particular interest had to do with legislative issues. Mayor Wolowicz had the opportunity also to express his great disappointment with the California League of Cities for the position they have taken regarding pension reform within government. Mayor Wolowicz did not repeat the reports already given on the April 28th, 29th, and 30th event, but noted that all three of those events occurred at the Palos Verdes Interpretive Center. On May 1st, he heard a presentation from Mr. Steve Kinney representing Marymount College and on May 2nd, visited the property at 6010 Ocean Terrace Drive.
Councilman Clark also reported that at the California Coastal Commission’s upcoming May 10th meeting in Orange County, the Terranea resort hotel would be back on the agenda. He encouraged the Council members to attend the meeting and speak on behalf of the project.
CITY MANAGER REPORTS:
City Manager Evans reported, in reference to the status of the lease agreement with the Palos Verdes Arts Center, the he and the City Attorney met with PVAC’s attorneys, and that they believe that they will shortly have a document that all the attorneys and staff agree on that can then be brought back to the Council for consideration.
Councilman Gardiner asked about the status of creating a tracking mechanism for storm drain improvements, including a description of the project, the estimated budget and a running total of the actual cost, and the project’s progress to date.
Director McLean responded that a status report has been posted on the City’s website with the tracking of the storm drain projects. He added that staff is approximately one to two weeks away from including pictures and/or drawings of the various drainage improvement projects that have been completed and or that are currently under way.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru informed the audience that items previously discussed and continued to a future City Council meeting can be viewed on the City’s website at www.palosverdes.com/rpv.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Pontevedra Emergency Storm Drain Repairs (604 x 1204)
Reviewed and reconfirmed by a four/fifths (4/5) vote, the Council’s previous action on December 6, 2005 to authorize staff to conduct an informal bid process to repair the Pontevedra storm drain line.
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.
Used Oil Recycling Block Grant for FY 2006-07 (1301)
1) Authorized the application of the FY 2006-07 (12th Cycle) used oil block grant to continue the used oil and filter recycling program for City of Rancho Palos Verdes (City) residents; and 2) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2006-27, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AUTHORIZING THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS TO EXECUTE ANY AGREEMENTS, CONTRACTS, AND REQUESTS FOR PAYMENT AS NECESSARY TO IMPLEMENT THE PROGRAM.
Release of Trust Deposit 413 (1204)
Released balance of funds in Trust Deposit No. 413 for Tract No. 38512 in the amount of $30,520 for construction along Palos Verdes Drive South.
American Cancer Society/Palos Verdes Peninsula Relay for Life (1101)
Considered approval of the City’s participation in publicizing and participating in the 2006 Palos Verdes Peninsula Relay for Life.
Budget Adjustment for Purchase of Studio Equipment (305)
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2006-28, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2005-53, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FY05-06, TO ADJUST APPROPRIATIONS IN THE CHANNEL 33 BUDGET.
Port Pollution Reduction Senate Bills 764, 763, 762, 761, and 760 [sponsored by Senator Lowenthal] (1101 x 310 x 101)
Received status update on Senator Lowenthal’s port pollution reduction legislative bills.
This item was pulled from the agenda.
March 2006 Treasurer’s Report (602)
Received and filed the March 2006 Treasurer’s Report for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Register of Demands
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2006-29, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ALLOWING CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEMANDS AND SPECIFYING FUNDS FROM WHICH THE SAME ARE TO BE PAID.
Councilman Gardiner made a motion to approve the Consent Calendar with Items 3, 4, and 7 removed for discussion. Seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Long
The motion to approve the Consent Calendar, as amended, carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, Gardiner, Stern, Long, Mayor Wolowicz
# # # # # #
ITEM REMOVED FROM THE CONSENT CALENDAR
Approval of the Minutes (301)
Mayor Wolowicz indicated that he received an e-mail complaining about the delay in the preparation of the minutes, and that there were two parts of the correspondence that he thought warranted a response. One was the reason for the delay in transcribing the minutes and the second was a comment as to whether or not this was Council’s way of deliberating trying to withhold information from the public. He observed that the full content of each Council meeting is available to the public virtually instantaneously via the live cable broadcasts and at no time should there be any doubt that the Council wants this information in the hands of the public. He noted that some time ago Council adopted a detailed minutes format, and accordingly, preparing the minutes to the level expected takes some time. He indicated that several transcribers have been used at different times and that the draft minutes must go through several iterations before they are presented to Council for adoption. He concluded by stating that the City has every intention of getting the minutes out as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible.
Councilman Clark added that individuals could go to the City’s web site and view any portion of any meeting as many times as they like via video streaming. He echoed Mayor Wolowicz’s comments that information with respect to City Council meetings is continuously available to the public.
Councilman Stern said that he was disappointed the individual who wrote the e-mail apparently did not know about the live cable broadcasts or the City’s web site. He emphasized that Council wants people to know what is going on, but agreed that it does take a while to prepare the written minutes.
Mayor Pro Tem Long commented that on page 23 of the draft October 18, 2005 minutes the comments attributed to him in the fourth paragraph down regarding the value of regional law enforcement in terms of traffic safety stemmed from the fact that in several neighborhoods of Ranchos Palos Verdes the arterials where speeding occurs happen to be in another city. He asked that this explanation be added to the minutes. He also noted that on page 25 of the same set of minutes, the sentence read, “Mayor Clark noted that although Councilman Long offered a compromise to move the City in the direction of interacting with other Cities, he…” noting that “he” is indistinct, and should refer to Mayor Clark. Mayor Pro Tem Long did not want it to appear that he had supported the motion.
By acclamation, Council approved the minutes of October 4, 2005, as presented, and the minutes of October 18, 2005, as amended.
Border Issues Status Report (310)
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru noted that late correspondence was distributed on this Item.
April Sandell, Rancho Palos Verdes, asked if Item No. 17 (Community Advisory Board for Ponte Vista) could be moved under this heading because she believed that it is a border issue.
Mayor Wolowicz said that Council preferred to discuss Item No. 17 separately.
Councilman Stern moved to adopt staff recommendation to review the current status of border issues and provide direction to staff, as appropriate. Seconded by Councilman Clark.
Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.
Budget Adjustment for Additional Geologic Services Related to the Current Landslide Moratorium Area Geologic Study (1203 x 1801)
Frank Kostrencich, Rancho Palos Verdes, asked if the City planned to use an independent panel of geologists landslide workshop scheduled in June 2006, or if not, could the Seaview residents make recommendations regarding the appointment of the geologist.
City Attorney Lynch said that staff had planned on using independent geologists.
City Manager Evans stated, however, that all geologists are welcome to participate in the workshop.
Mr. Kostrencich noted that the draft resolution indicated that Zeiser Kling was going to be one of the geologists, and expressed concern that this firm had already formed an opinion about the situation in Seaview.
Mayor Wolowicz pointed out that they are representatives of the City.
City Manager Evans said that staff will hire geologists whom it believes are specialists in various areas to attend the meeting, but noted that he was aware of three other geologists who live in the City who have already weighed in on this topic.
Mr. Kostrencich said that one of the Seaview residents has put together a list of specialists, and that some of the residents would like to involve them in the workshop.
City Manager Evans clarified that the City would not pay the fees for any geologists that the Seaview residents brought in to participate in the workshop.
Mayor Pro Tem Long said that this resolution is to simply allow for payment of the City’s Geologist and not to add additional geologists to the panel.
City Attorney Lynch clarified that it is to pay for the additional services of Zeiser Kling plus pay for the services of one or two additional geologists. She stated that any other geologic opinions could also be presented during the workshop.
Mr. Kostrencich questioned if the opinions of any independent geologist would have much weight because the City’s panel would obviously make the final recommendation.
Councilman Stern said that the geologist is to provide input to the City Council. Everyone is entitled to present whatever information is helpful, and it will be weighed accordingly. This is simply a budget item to pay the people the City hires. There is no “final” recommendation. It is a workshop where the City Council will hear whatever opinions are expressed, which does not mean the City is going to hire a geologist for everyone who would like one. However, the City Council can’t say in advance whose opinion will carry more weight. The Council needs to hear the facts.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the staff recommendation.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Gardiner, Stern, Clark, Long, Mayor Wolowicz
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2006-30, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING A $50,000 BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR ADDITIONAL GEOLOGIC SERVICES RELATED TO THE CURRENTLY ONGOING LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM AREA GEOLOGIC STUDY.
Trump National Golf Club - Revision "Z" - Request for a modification to the Golf Course to allow an increase in height for Waterfall #1 and a new back tee for Hole #2 [Continued from April 18, 2006] (1411)
Deputy Planning Director Pfost reported that Council review is required for any changes to the approved 1996 site plan that are not in substantial compliance with that plan. He indicated that in May 2003 Council approved the construction of waterfall at Holes Nos. 1 and 17 and at that time there was a condition that the waterfall height be lower than some existing mounds. He reported that Waterfall No. 1 ended up being constructed slightly higher in some places, and after it was completed, the applicant made revisions to the back tees of Hole No. 2, which are immediately adjacent to Waterfall No. 1 and that Waterfall No. 1 is up to three feet higher than the existing mounds, but is approximately two feet lower than a mound that previously existed in this area. Mr. Pfost noted that there is about an eight-foot elevation difference between the back tee for Hole No. 2 than what was originally approved by Council, which creates a steeper grade and pushes the tee closer to Ocean Trails Drive, resulting in a small amount of view impairment, which staff does not find significant and supports the increase in height
Mayor Pro Tem Long asked if the city geologist had looked at the changes.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost reported that the City geologist is looking at the entire as-built geology report, which would include these changes.
Councilman Stern asked if staff inquired of the applicant how the tee was raised by roughly eight feet.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost explained that the applicant purposefully raised the height of the tees in order to provide a better shot for Hole No. 2 and pointed out that typically an applicant should request the change prior to actually doing it.
Councilman Stern asked if there is anything that would prevent the applicant from making the driving range essentially closed to the public by way of pricing.
Councilman Clark said that the City did not regulate the prices charged at the golf course and explained that it was essentially market driven.
Councilman Stern stated that he believes there should be some kind of restriction that prohibits exclusivity by pricing.
Vincent Stellio, Trump National Golf Course, said that the golf course currently charges $6 and $10 for a bucket of balls, which is relatively low for a driving range.
Councilman Gardiner pointed out that as of April 29th, the golf course’s web site referred to it as “Trump National Los Angeles” instead of “Trump National Palos Verdes Peninsula.”
Councilman Clark said that one of the issues he raised the last time this item was before Council was the possibility of reduced green fees for peninsula residents; that the applicant had indicated at that time that there were discussions under way with the California Coastal Commission regarding different rate structures that are used on other public courses on the California coast and asked for confirmation from the applicant.
Mr. Stellio said that Councilman Clark’s statement is correct.
Councilman Clark made a motion to approve staff recommendation. Seconded by Councilman Gardiner. Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz declared that the motion passed and staff recommendation was approved as follows:
1) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2006-31, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING ADDENDUM NO. 21 TO ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT NO. 36; and 2) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2006-32, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 163 TO PERMIT AN INCREASE IN HEIGHT FOR WATERFALL #1 AND A NEW BACK TEE FOR HOLE #2.
Appeal of Planning Case No. ZON2003-00620 (La Charite, 6010 Ocean Terrace Drive) (1804)
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru indicated that notice of the public hearing was published, no written protests were received; late correspondence was previously distributed to Council, including a resolution and a substitute set of plans; and there are seven requests to speak on this item.
Councilman Gardiner said he thought the issues associated with this item had been resolved, and if so, there is no need for an oral staff report.
Associate Planner Fox reported that the applicant had provided staff with revised plans addressing the three main issues associated with the appeal, including the elimination of 803 cubic yards of non-remedial cut for the lower level garage and basement, thus eliminating the need for the height variation as well as any conflict with tract conditions which stipulate that grading within the Building Grading Restriction (BGR) line should be “minor in scope.” Mr. Fox noted that the Planning Commission had approved a concrete patio slab that was outside the BGR line near the rear of the property, and that it had been eliminated so that there was no longer any conflict with a tract condition that discourages grading on slopes outside the BGR line. He indicated that staff has reviewed the revised plans and concluded that it meets all of the required findings for approval of a grading permit to prepare the lot for development including the required finding that the project is compatible with the character of the surrounding neighborhood. He concluded that the appeal could be dismissed as moot and the matter remanded to staff; but noted that staff believes that it would be more expeditious for the City Council to simply approve the revised project. With that action in mind, he explained that staff distributed a resolution for Council’s consideration as part of the late correspondence.
Mayor Wolowicz asked if there was agreement from all of the participants on the proposed changes to the project, and whether staff had spoken with the appellant, Mr. Beggans.
Associate Planner Fox indicated that staff had spoken with Mr. Beggans, but has not talked with any of the other neighbors.
Councilman Gardiner said that his understanding is that the substitute plan meets all the code requirements, and asked staff what happens to the fee that the appellants paid and does the person have to go back to square one who wants to develop the property or can they consider just picking up and continuing.
Associate Planner Fox said that if the appeal was determined to be moot, the appellants would receive a full refund of the appeal fee. He explained that regarding the project, Council could remand the project back to staff for a Director-level decision, which would trigger another review process where the Director’s decision could be appealed to the Planning Commission and then possibly appealed again to Council. He indicated that another option would be for the Council to approve the distributed resolution and incorporate the revised project plans.
Councilman Stern asked if the proposed revisions are totally consistent with what the Planning Commission approved, deleting only the objectionable items
Associate Planner Fox indicated that this is the case.
In response to a question from Councilman Stern, Planning Commission Chair Knight indicated that he had not seen the revised plans and would have to rely on staff’s opinion regarding their consistency with the Commission’s decision.
Councilman Stern indicated that, if the revised plans were totally consistent with the tract conditions and the Development Code, he would be in favor of just approving it and moving on. He asked if staff is absolutely certain that the plans are consistent and if they are stamped approved now, no problems will be created later.
Associate Planner Fox indicated that staff was provided with a copy of the site plan and floor plans the prior week, although elevations were received the day of this meeting in order to make the set of plans complete, and noted that staff is confident that the plans comply with the City’s requirements.
Mayor Pro Tem Long said that his preference would be to determine the appeal to be moot, refund the appeal fee and, if what staff said is right, there will be no appeal made to the Planning Commission and or Council. He did not see any particular need to have Council approve the project now. He observed that while it may be expedient, it may also unnecessarily prevent everyone from re-examining the plans and that hastens the decision when there is no particular need to do so.
Councilman Clark said that he supports Mayor Pro Tem Long’s position.
Councilman Gardiner asked if Council remanded the project back to staff whether the applicant would have to resubmit application fees, or if they would carry on as if it were simply a change to the plan.
Associate Planner Fox indicated that the applicant would not have to pay new fees.
Councilman Gardiner asked about the amount of time needed to process the revision.
Associate Planner Fox said that it was just a matter of preparing a revised staff report for the Director’s review.
Mayor Pro Tem Long moved to 1) Declare the appeal moot; 2) Direct staff to refund the appeal fee to the appellant; and 3) Remand the revised project back to staff for review.
The motion was withdrawn to allow the speakers to address Council.
Mark La Charite, applicant, Rolling Hills Estates, said that he essentially let Mr. Beggans design his home and removed the items that were causing conflict. He said that feared that the project would be appealed again and he questioned why Council could not make a decision that evening so that he could move forward.
Jan Trobaugh, project architect, Torrance, confirmed what Mr. La Charite’s comments that the plan had been revised to resolve all of the conflicts with the neighbors.
John Muckel Rancho Palos Verdes, said that he sympathized with the applicant because he was in the same position about 24 years ago. He indicated that he is in favor of resolving the matter that evening, if possible, so that the applicant can move forward with the project.
Stan Michota, Rancho Palos Verdes, said that he thinks this matter could have been resolved earlier if one of the parties had been listening to the other. He expressed his desire that the matter be resolved that evening.
Mayor Pro Tem Long modified his motion to adopt the resolution with the caveat and warning that Council did not have an opportunity to review the revised plans.
Councilman Gardiner suggested that it might be useful to call a short recess so that the Chair of the Planning Commission could confer with staff to see whether or not he can come to the same conclusion as staff.
Councilman Stern said that he appreciates everyone’s desire to bring this matter to closure, but is convinced by Mayor Pro Tem Long’s initial comments that it is important for staff to adhere to the standard process. He stated that it would not add a significant amount of additional time, but would generate a staff report that would carefully examine all of the issues. While he sincerely hopes that no one appeals the Director’s decision, he indicated that he did not think it is a good idea to short circuit the process in any way on a new project.
Councilman Clark expressed his support for Councilman Stern’s comments and suggested supporting the initial motion, rather than the modified motion.
Councilman Gardiner said that if all of the concerned parties are at the meeting and they all support the revised plans, he did not see the need to sent the project back to staff to repeat the process over again.
Mayor Pro Tem Long said that he is persuaded that, as Councilman Gardiner pointed out, the outcome will ultimately be the same. He indicated, however, that it is an issue of process, and that it would be unprecedented for a new project to be proposed and approved by the decision-making body all on the same night. He pointed out that the process has been designed to protect all of those involved.
Mayor Pro Tem Long renewed his initial motion. Seconded by Councilman Stern.
Councilman Clark made the point that notwithstanding the good intentions of the parties in this particular case, there is a public noticing requirement, and the Council would not want to do a disservice to the public as a whole by short circuiting that process.
Councilman Gardiner observed that this is not a new project, and stated that it is inconceivable to him why it should be forced back through the process to obtain the same result.
Mayor Pro Tem Long said that experience has taught him that people who think they agree when they discuss things orally sometimes don’t agree when they see it in writing. He expressed concern that if the ultimate outcome is different that people’s recollections, the Council will bear the blame and not the interested parties.
Councilman Stern reiterated that he expects no different outcome will result from the process, but if one of the parties involved sees something wrong on the revised plans, they should have the right to raise it whether they are at the meeting or see the revised plans tomorrow.
Councilman Clark said he does not necessarily consider it to be a new project, but noted that it has been revised. He commented that during his four terms on the Planning Commission he had seen many projects evolve during the hearing process, but could not think of a case where there were substantive changes and staff did not bring the project back to the Commission after a complete analysis for final approval. He asked that the process be consistent with what is typically done.
Councilman Gardiner said that he found the situation interesting because if the appeal was still intact, Council could make a decision that evening, but if all the interested parties agreed and the appeal has been withdrawn, some members of Council feel that no action can be taken that evening.
Jim Beggans said it is important to note that the changes to the plans are all staff-level approvals and would not require further review by Planning Commission. He said that there is no way to appeal it because there are no longer any variances or other permits being requested that are outside of the requirements of the Municipal Code.
Planning Commission Chair Knight said that it seems to him that what is before Council is essentially a new plan. He noted that it is not the Planning Commission’s usual policy to approve plans the night they are presented and that it normally asks for a staff analysis of the project before taking action. He explained that often times the details of the project need to be worked out and clarified at the staff level.
Mayor Wolowicz said that he found Councilman Gardiner’s comments quite compelling because the Council should not shrink from the responsibility of making decisions. He noted, however, that two former chairs of the Planning Commission and the current Chair have all voiced their opinions to follow the established procedures, which underscored to him the importance of doing so.
Mayor Pro Tem Long restated the motion, which Councilman Stern seconded.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, Stern, Long, Mayor Wolowicz
Recess and Reconvene: Mayor Wolowicz recessed the meeting at 8:49 p.m. and reconvened the meeting at 9:00 p.m.
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
City Manager Succession Plan (1101 x 1202)
Councilman Gardiner made a motion to approve the staff recommendation. Seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Long.
Councilman Stern pointed out that a Council subcommittee had been appointed on this item, and noted that if Councilman Clark and he could get together with City Manager Evans in the next two weeks, they would come back with a proposal on how to proceed.
Mayor Wolowicz asked if one month would be adequate to get the process started.
There was agreement among the Council subcommittee members and City Manager Evans that one month would be an adequate amount of time.
Councilman Gardiner withdrew his motion on the basis that he simply wants to approve the strategy as presented in the staff report and get the process started immediately.
Councilman Clark made a motion that the Council Succession Planning Subcommittee meet with the City Manager to further develop a recruitment strategy, including identifying potential recruitment firms, to assist the City in the recruitment and selection of a new City Manager, and to report back to Council by June 6, 2006.
Mayor Pro Tem Long seconded the motion.
Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz declared that the motion stands.
Community Advisory Board for Ponte Vista (1101 x 106)
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported that she had received two requests to speak on this item.
City Manager Evans reported that this opportunity arose from a meeting between Councilman Clark and Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn in which she indicated that she would be forming a ten-member citizen’s advisory committee to advise her and the Los Angeles City Council on the specific plan for the Ponte Vista project on Western Avenue. He indicated that Councilwoman Hahn offered Rancho Palos Verdes the opportunity to appoint three members to that committee. He indicated that he had received some input on possible candidates, but noted that it might be advantageous to appoint them as soon as possible so that they could fully participate in the committee.
Councilman Gardiner said that it seems to him that the project affects the residents living adjacent to Western Avenue the most; observed that there are two Rancho Palos Verdes homeowners’ associations in that area, and suggested that the president of each HOA nominate one individual and the Council appoint the third member at large.
Councilman Stern said that he is willing to nominate someone who has approached him.
Councilman Clark agreed with Councilman Gardiner’s suggestion, but also wanted to hear from the public speakers. He suggested that the third appointee that he had in mind is someone who served three or four terms on the Planning Commission and noted that there are a lot of planning issues associated with this project. He explained that the individual is currently the president of the RPV Council of Homeowners’ Associations and is known throughout the community to be a wise and fair individual.
Mayor Wolowicz said that he was looking for the Chair of the Planning Commission and the Chair of the Traffic Safety Commission either serving on the advisory board directly or selecting a designee of their choice.
April Sandell, Rancho Palos Verdes, reported that she spoke with the City Manager earlier in the day to get a better understanding about the purpose and function of the advisory committee and whom it would be advising. She indicated that the Los Angeles Planning Department has said that it already knows what the community does not want on the subject property and that this committee will allow them to find out what the community does want. She indicated that she is absolutely opposed to a zone change on the property and cited excerpts from an article produced by the Northwest Neighborhood Council of San Pedro regarding the zoning issue. She stated that she did not think this advisory board is going to make any difference.
Councilman Clark emphasized that from his interaction with Councilwoman Hahn it is clear that she wants to provide the community with a formal voice in the process.
Lucie Thorsen, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that she is absolutely opposed to the prospect of 2,300 new homes being constructed in the area. She stated that traffic is a nightmare as it is and that it would be unbearable if this project were to go through. She indicated that she was discomforted by the statements she has heard that “zoning is irrelevant” and stated that the developer was trying to candy-coat the plan by referring to ball fields and other amenities that will benefit the community. She expressed hope that the advisory committee goes on record as opposing the density of homes and the zoning change. She indicated that she would like to be appointed to the committee and that she would fight vigorously against the current proposal.
Councilman Stern asked if there had been any formal action taken by the Rolling Hills Riviera Homeowner’s Association to nominate a representative.
City Manager Evans indicated that there has not been.
Councilman Stern said that the City’s appointees should be individuals with the depth of background and experience necessary to not only advocate the positions that the residents want, but be as good at it as possible. He said that Gina McCloud has contacted him and volunteered to be on the committee, and that he thinks she would be an excellent choice, explaining that her background as a lawyer working for an accounting firm and her proven leadership ability would allow her to superbly represent the City and the point of view of the residents.
Councilman Stern nominated Ms. McCloud to be on the advisory board. Mayor Pro Tem Long seconded the nomination.
Councilman Gardiner reiterated that the homeowner’s associations and their boards have the most at stake and certainly would nominate individuals who could represent them well with passion and the appropriate credentials. He indicated that he would prefer to leave it to them to make their own nominations by a set deadline and if they fail to make the nominations by a certain time, the Council will. He indicated that he thinks John Cartwright, President of the RPV Council of Homeowners’ Associations, is also an excellent choice, along with two nominees from the adjacent homeowners’ associations.
Mayor Pro Tem Long said that he prefers the candidate that Councilman Stern has recommended. He pointed out that about 60% of the City’s neighborhoods are not represented by a homeowners’ association and that he believes the at-large member should not be a member of the homeowners’ association but someone to represent the City as a whole.
Councilman Clark pointed out that the one of the strengths Mr. Cartwright would bring to the advisory board would be his four terms on the Planning Commission, twice chair, and also two terms on View Restoration Commission, including serving as chair of that body. He also pointed out that Mr. Cartwright served on the City’s Neighborhood Compatibility Subcommittee.
Mayor Wolowicz asked if there is a consensus to allow each homeowners’ association to choose one person to represent it on the committee.
Mayor Pro Tem Long expressed his support for the Mayor’s suggestion.
Councilman Stern agreed, but suggested directing staff to contact the homeowners’ associations immediately and to continue this item for two weeks to allow the HOAs time to make the nominations. He observed that Council would then know exactly how many nominations it would need to make to fill out the City’s representation on the advisory committee.
Mayor Wolowicz suggested that Council ask for nominees from the two homeowners’ associations, which he was confident would be provided. He expressed concern regarding the timeliness of the nominations so that the City does not miss the opportunity to participate on the advisory board.
Councilman Gardiner asked that staff work with the homeowners’ association presidents in accordance with their boards, and that the individuals selected be eligible to attend the advisory board meetings as soon they are appointed.
April Sandell, Rancho Palos Verdes, pointed out that there are actually three homeowners’ associations within proximity of the Ponte Vista project.
Mayor Pro Tem Long made a motion to continue the item to May 16, 2006, with direction to staff to ask the presidents of the Rolling Hills Riviera, Mira Vista and Peninsula Verde HOAs in consultation with their respective boards to each nominate one representative to serve on the Ponte Vista Community Advisory Board for Council’s consideration; and directed the City Manager to update Councilwoman Hahn’s office on the status of the appointments. Included in the motion was a two week deadline form nomination and that if the homeowners’ associations did not provide any nominations, Council will then make the necessary appointments at the meeting on May 16, 2006. Seconded by Councilman Gardiner. Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz declared that the motion passed.
COUNCIL DISCUSSION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS & SUGGESTION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:
Councilman Clark stated that he would like to have an item on the next Council agenda regarding Speaker Nunez’s proposed telecommunications bill (AB 1987). He further asked for an item regarding Senate Bill 1778 on the next agenda, which proposes to place restrictions on recycling of green waste materials as alternative daily cover (ADC) at landfills.
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
City Attorney Lynch reported that no action was taken with regard to the Monks case, but that a report was given. With respect to the other two items of pending litigation, she reported that Council gave direction to staff to send a letter to the two affected property owners and to prepare a further report for the Council. She indicated that no action was taken on the City Manager’s performance evaluation.
Councilman Stern made a motion to adjourn. Seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Long.
Without objection, Mayor Wolowicz adjourned the meeting at 9:39 p.m. to Saturday, May 13, 2006 at 9:00 A.M. for a Community Leaders’ Breakfast at Fred Hesse Community Park.
/s/ Stefan Wolowicz
/s/ Carolynn Petru