APRIL 17, 2007 CITY COUNCIL MINUTES APRIL 17, 2007 CITY COUNCIL MINUTES















APRIL 17, 2007 CITY COUNCIL MINUTES

MINUTES

RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL

REGULAR MEETING

APRIL 17, 2007


The meeting was called to order at 7:08 P.M. by Mayor Long at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.   

City Council roll call was answered as follows:

PRESENT:    Clark, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Long

ABSENT:      Gardiner (excused)

Also present were Carolyn Lehr, City Manager; Carol Lynch, City Attorney; Carolynn Petru, Deputy City Manager; Joel Rojas, Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement; Jim Bell, Director of Public Works; Dennis McLean, Director of Finance/Information Technology; Greg Pfost, Deputy Planning Director; Lauren Ramezani, Senior Administrative Analyst; Ara Mihranian, Principal Planner; and Carla Morreale, City Clerk.

FLAG SALUTE:

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by City Clerk Carla Morreale.

Cans for Cash Presentation

Director Bell reported that the City had received a certificate of participation in the Cans for Cash City Recycling Challenge.

MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Mayor Long asked for a moment of silence in remembrance of the victims and their families at Virginia Tech.

RECYCLE DRAWING:

Mayor Long announced recyclers of the month Paula Hawkins and Roger and Joyce Bost from the meeting of March 20, 2007.  He indicated that all winners received a check for $250 representing a year of free refuse service and he urged everyone to participate in the City’s recycling program. 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA:

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the Agenda.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: 

None.

CITY MANAGER REPORT:

None.

NEW BUSINESS:

APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:

Mayor Pro Tem Stern commented on Item 8 regarding the extension of the current solid waste contracts and urged staff to consider bringing the renewal of the waste contracts to Council a few months earlier in order to allow enough time to handle any issues that come up regarding the matter.  

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the Consent Calendar with item 10 pulled for separate consideration immediately after the Consent Calendar.  The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES:            Clark, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Long

NOES:           None

ABSENT:      Gardiner

Motion to Waive Full Reading

Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at the 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

Approved the minutes of August 1, 2006, November 7, 2006 and April 3, 2007.

Adoption of Uniform Public Construction Cost Accounting Ordinance

ADOPTED ORDINANCE NO. 456, “AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING TITLE 2 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE BY ADDING CHAPTER 2.42 TO PROVIDE FOR BIDDING PROCEDURES FOR PUBLIC PROJECTS UNDER THE UNIFORM PUBLIC CONSTRUCTION COST ACCOUNTING ACT.”

Hesse Park Restrooms ADA Compliance – Budget Adjustment

ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2007-35, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING RESOLUTION 2006-41, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2006-07 FOR A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT OF $5,000 TO THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) PROGRAM FOR REPAIRS TO THE HESSE PARK RESTROOMS ADA COMPLIANCE PROJECT.

Salary Resolution – Building Inspector I/II and Building Official Job Classifications

ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2007-36, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2006-42 CREATING CERTAIN SALARY RANGES FOR BUILDING INSPECTOR I, BUILDING INSPECTOR II AND BUILDING OFFICIAL.

Underground Service Alert of Southern California (DIGALERT) Membership

Approved the City of Rancho Palos Verdes becoming a member of Underground Service Alert of Southern California (USA-SC) commonly known as ‘DIGALERT’ and authorize the Mayor to sign the Associate Member Agreement form.

Approval of Membership in the California JPIA for the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority

Authorized the Mayor, as the City Council’s delegate to the California Joint Powers Insurance Agency, to vote in favor of the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority being accepted as a new member.

Extend Current Residential Solid Waste Contracts, and Reject Proposals for New Commercial and Residential Solid Waste Services

1) Exercised the option of the remaining two one-year extensions as provided for in the current residential solid waste contracts with USA Waste of California dba Waste Management, and Universal Waste Systems, Inc., and send notices to the two haulers informing them of the new expiration date of June 30, 2010; 2) Rejected proposals submitted on September 26, 2006, by USA Waste of California dba Waste Management and Universal Waste Systems, Inc. for new solid waste services, and return their Proposal Bonds; and, 3) Received and file comments made by prospective bidders on the City’s previous Request for Proposals (RFP), and suggestions given for improving a future RFP.

The Green Line Coalition

Authorized the Mayor to join The Green Line Coalition on behalf of the City and to endorse the completion of the extension of the Green Line to the Los Angeles International Airport.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns

This item was removed from the Consent Calendar and considered separately.

San Pedro Eastview Little League

Authorized the Mayor to sign a letter supporting the effort to “Save Eastview Little League.”

Register of Demands

ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2007- 37, 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.

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Items removed from the Consent Calendar:

Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Mayor Long stated that he believed in consulting with his colleagues on the Council before signing a letter of importance on behalf of the City.  He read into the record the letter that had been sent to the City requesting his signature for the benefit of the Council and the public.

Councilman Clark read into the record the vision of the campaign that was provided in the Council’s materials to prevent gun violence and indicated his support of the letter.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern stated that he had received several emails against the item.  He noted that he was in support of the letter and the vision of the campaign since it was against illegal guns and illegal trafficking of guns.

Mayor Wolowicz stated that he disagreed with limiting access to firearms but was opposed to illegal firearms.  He supported Mayor Long signing the letter but was not in support of endorsing the complete legislation without being able to examine it.

Mayor Long pointed out that the letter was not a proposal to change existing laws, but rather to support enforcement.  He indicated that this was not a policy making issue and did not view it as partisan or as anything more than encouraging illegal gun enforcement.  He added that the item had been placed on the Consent Calendar of the agenda more than 72 hours prior to the meeting because he did not believe it was a controversial item.

Ken Fish, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke against the initiative noting that while he supported punishing criminals and believed that irresponsible, illegal gun dealers should be targeted, he opposed restricting rights to access, use and share trace data.  He read a quote from Kristen Rand of the Violent Policies Center indicating that the primary legislative objective of the entire gun control movement was to remove trace data limits which he believes would lead to a curtailment of civilian ownership of firearms.

Paul Blumstein, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that many gun control laws were well intentioned but shifted the balance of power from law abiding citizens to the criminals and he did not support the Mayor signing the letter on behalf of the City.

James Ma, Local Chapter President of the National Rifle Association (NRA), expressed concern about the implications of endorsing the letter which he felt would associate the City with Mayor Bloomberg’s coalition and the Brady Campaign.  He indicated that some actions of the Bloomberg Coalition were questionable and he cautioned that there was more to the issue than was highlighted in the statement of principle. 

Councilman Clark stated that he appreciated the public input but was not persuaded against supporting the statement of principles which he believed were appropriate.  He indicated that signing in support of the statement of principle would not lead to limiting firearms for private citizens and more violence, nor would it align the City with any organization. 

Mayor Pro Tem Stern agreed with Councilman Clark.

Councilman Wolowicz stated that he was troubled about supporting a document that could have hidden meanings or implications, but noted that the Council was very diligent about scrutinizing any document that sought their support.

Mayor Long pointed out that the position of the campaign was not to restrict ownership of guns but to more effectively enforce existing laws.  He continued that this was the premise behind the statement of principle outlined in the letter before Council.  He pointed out that signing the letter was not a policy decision nor did it align him or the Council with the NRA or any other organization.  He indicated the letter supported better enforcement of existing laws and pointed out that at least 17 mayors in California had already signed a similar letter.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to authorize the Mayor to endorse the “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” campaign on behalf of the City and sign the Mayor’s Summit Statement of Principles form.

Mayor Long received a request for and allowed an additional public comment.

Earl Eichorn, stated he was the last remaining Federal firearms dealer in the City and expressed concern that signing the letter could open the gate for people to try to pull a sting on him.

Mayor Long indicated that Mr. Eichorn had little to worry about.

Councilman Clark clarified that this was not legislation, but rather a statement of principle surrounding existing law and adding governance over the sale and movement of illegal firearms.

A roll call vote on the motion reflected the following:

            AYES:            Clark, Stern and Mayor Long

            NOES:           None

            ABSTAIN:     Wolowicz

            ABSENT:      Gardiner

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PUBLIC HEARINGS:

Revision "FF" – A Revision to the Trump National Golf Course Project – Extension to the Opening of the Golf Course and Driving Range (1411)

City Clerk Morreale reported that notice of the public hearing was duly published, written protests were included in late correspondence prior to the meeting, and she had no requests to speak on the item.

Mayor Long inquired if there was a request for the staff report.  Hearing no request for a staff report, Mayor Long moved to waive the staff report.  Hearing no objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern inquired if staff’s request for a two-week extension to the opening of the Trump National Golf Course and driving range project would allow enough time to  enable their staff additional time to complete the necessary work.

Responding to Councilman Wolowicz, Principal Planner Mihranian indicated that the geology issues related to the golf course were close to being approved by the City Geologist, but the driving range was still an issue, with the City waiting on a response from the developer’s geologist.  He added that when the item returned to Council on May 1, 2007, there would be a more detailed description regarding any remaining outstanding issues.

City Attorney Lynch explained that the Geology Panel had weighed in on all of the remaining geology issues regarding the driving range and the landslide area.  She noted that ramifications of the geological determination regarding those issues could affect future development of the area above the driving range. 

Councilman Clark indicated it was his understanding that the Council would be the body to approve the permanent opening of the driving range and golf course.

City Attorney Lynch clarified that if all the conditions of that portion of the project were satisfied, there would be no need for the item to come back to the Council, the determination regarding the permanent opening of the golf course would be made at the staff level.

Council and staff discussed the procedures and requirements for the permanent opening of the golf course.

Mayor Long clarified that Council was in agreement that the temporary opening should be a Council consideration and if the Council desired a staff report before the temporary opening, that request should be included in the motion.

Mayor Long opened the public hearing.

Scott Yarnell, Project Manager, Trump National, reported that it was his understanding that the City Geologist had signed off on the final issue for the permanent golf course opening and they were preparing their letter for submission in the next couple of days.  He indicated that they had asked to return on May 1st and at that point the permanent opening of the course would be resolved and they would request an extension for the driving range.  His understanding was that once the conditions were satisfied, the permanent opening would occur, but he noted that he did not have problem discussing that aspect of the project with the Council on May 1, 2007.

Councilman Clark reported the receipt of a picture from a neighboring property of the Trump National Golf Course.  He stated that the owner noted that some of the sensitive habitat on the property had been replaced with sod. 

Mr. Yarnell explained that the re-landscaped area was part of the approved landscaping plan, not a part of the natural habitat area.

Mike Vandergoes, Trump National, reported meeting with staff and taking pictures of the common area.  He indicated that staff had requested that they submit a landscape revision plan since this was a common area, not a habitat area.  He added that golfers were required to sign a golf cart release form indicating they were not to go into the sensitive habitat areas of the property.

Responding to Mayor Pro Tem Stern, Mr. Vandergoes clarified that the plants that were taken out were not part of the natural habitat preserve and they were replanted in another area as landscaping.

Councilman Wolowicz inquired about the status of the reading on the water barrier and the clay cap issue.

Mayor Long reported that his understanding was the readings were being taken, the reports were being prepared, and the information would be available shortly.

The Council discussed scheduling and approval of the project and Trump National staff indicated that an extension of two weeks would be sufficient.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to 1) Approve a four-week extension on the Special Use Permit for the Driving Range; 2) Continue the public hearing for review of the Revision “FF” to the May 1, 2007 City Council meeting; and 3) Direct staff to bring back the permanent opening of the Golf Course to City Council for final approval.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

Long Point Resort Hotel Project: ZON2007-00094 (Revision “F” to Conditional Use Permit No. 215, et. al)

City Clerk Morreale reported that notice of the public hearing was duly published, no written protests were received, and there were three requests to speak on the item.

Principal Planner Mihranian provided a brief staff report.

Responding to Mayor Pro Tem Stern, Principal Planner Mihranian explained that a certificate of occupancy would not be issued for the Long Point Resort Hotel project until a maintenance agreement was finalized and the public amenities are in place.

Responding to Councilman Wolowicz, Senior Planner explained that the original requirement was tied to the public amenities plan that came before Council for approval in 2005.  He noted that part of the Council’s review was a conceptual maintenance agreement, but it was premature to discuss the details of the maintenance agreement at that point in time.  He indicated that he believed staff had included language to cover all of the pertinent issues and noted that there would be no certificate of occupancy issued, nor could the final map be recorded, without the maintenance agreement in place.

Councilman Clark stated that he supported the staff recommendation and noted he had been working closely with the Coastal Commission on the matter.

Mayor Long opened the public hearing.

City Clerk Morreale reported that the applicant’s representatives were available for any questions.

Sunshine, Rancho Palos Verdes, observed that the developers had not proposed to modify Condition No. 62 which meant that the public amenities plan was supposed to be approved before the grading permit was issued.  She noted that someone needed to be responsible for maintaining the public amenities.  She also indicated that access to the coast and public amenities were supposed to be maintained during construction and the perimeter of the grounds should be improved and maintained during construction.

Principal Planner Mihranian clarified that the public amenities plan was approved by the City Council on October 4, 2005 and Condition No. 62 had already been satisfied.

Mayor Long closed the public hearing.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2007-38, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES  APPROVING REVISION ‘F’ TO CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 215, ET. AL., TO AMEND CONDITION NO. 10 TO DEFER THE TIMING OF THE CONDITION COMPLIANCE FROM “PRIOR TO ANY GRADING OR BUILDING PERMIT ISSUANCE” TO “PRIOR TO ISSUANCE OF ANY CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY” FOR SATISFYING THE PUBLIC AMENITIES MAINTENANCE AGREEMENT REQUIREMENT.

A roll call vote reflected the following:

            AYES:            Clark, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long

            NOES:           None

            ABSTAIN:     None

            ABSENT:      Gardiner

Mayor Long called a brief recess from 8:19 P.M. to 8:30 P.M.

Appeal of Planning Case No. ZON2005-00554 (Site Plan Review with Neighborhood Compatibility) / 30065 Via Victoria [Lot 13 of Tract No. 52666]

Principal Planner Mihranian presented the staff report and noted that the applicant disagreed with the staff recommendation.

Responding to Councilman Wolowicz, Principal Planner Mihranian indicated that in order to address the neighbors’ concerns, the developer had to do a substantial amount of grading in order to lower the pads for the houses.  He added that the three lots along Via Victoria were all graded down by approximately 15 feet.

Mayor Long received clarification that the development never involved the requirement for a height variation and he questioned why the developer agreed to lower the grade when they could have built on the original grade to 16 feet without a problem.

Principal Planner Mihranian explained that the developer was trying to be a good neighbor by addressing their concerns. 

Mayor Long commented that since there was no height variation permit involved, he was not inclined to agree with the staff recommendation.

Mayor Long declared the public hearing open.

Tim McElroy, Rancho Palos Verdes, provided a brief history of his experience with the project.  He stated that the situation was unfortunate for everyone involved and noted that the neighbors did not understand that when they agreed to street level height that there were references made to 400 feet which was a different measurement.  He noted that the neighbors were concerned about their views, the density and size of the structures, and the fact that chimneys would extend above the street level and block their views.  He noted the developer could reduce the ten-foot ceilings to minimize the impact and suggested the Council’s consideration of the entire project this evening so all three projects could move forward.

Mayor Long clarified that Council could only consider items on the agenda.

Responding to Mayor Pro Tem Stern, Mr. McElroy indicated that the neighbors had realized there would be some impact on their views, but not to the degree that was now anticipated.

Rich Sittel, appellant, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that he had been working hard for years to come to agreements and compromises and striving for consistency.  He expressed concern with the precedent being set with Lot 13 noting that he had agreed to a site plan location to push the houses out further from the street in order to move the project forward.  He noted that the neighbors understood that they would lose a portion of their views, but based on the current silhouette flags it appeared that 50% of their views would be lost.  He expressed concern with the changes, cited foliage issues and commented that the impact of the chimneys was significant.  He asserted that the Planning Commission had denied their appeal because they felt the City Council was the only body that could reopen the tract map plan; and he noted that the emphasis of the decisions by the Planning Commission and City Council in 2001 was on protecting the views.  He added that the view corridors between the houses would be completely lost if the location of foliage was not restricted.

Responding to Councilman Wolowicz, Mr. Sittel acknowledged that construction of the house on Lot 13 would not impede their view, but they wanted the projects to be consistent.

Hal Arafat, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that after the Planning Commission and City Council review of the tract map there was an unwritten contract that the neighbors’ views would be preserved.  He explained that the neighbors supported the 13-lot subdivision as long as the views were preserved and the applicant planned accordingly.  Mr. Arafat expressed support for the project as long as the ridgelines of the homes were not above street level, foliage was limited to the top of the ridgeline plate, there was a 19-inch drop in the ridgeline elevation, and the chimneys were made smaller.

Steve Kuykendall, representative of the applicant, Rancho Palos Verdes, summarized the history of the project and asserted that prior to the proposed development none of the houses had ocean views.  He presented the original engineer’s drawing noting that it was well documented that there was a house at an elevation of 399 feet which was

16 feet tall directly across the street from Mr. Arafat’s house and noted that the house had foliage.  He indicated that the developer had initially proposed garages on grade with the rest of the house below grade and view corridors between them which was compatible with the neighborhood.  He presented the current plans noting that they had worked hard to satisfy the neighbors and give them a larger ocean view then they had to begin with.  He commented that there had been no opposition to the project until the present time and noted that the development was the result of compromises made five years ago.  He asked that the appeal be denied so the developer could continue building what was approved in the first place and was discouraged that the neighbors were not happy with the situation.

Responding to Councilman Clark, Mr. Kuykendall explained that lowering the roofline by one foot at this stage would be consequential to them, but rather inconsequential to the view.  He added that the chimneys were a building code issue and should not be considered in view restoration or in view corridors.  

Councilman Clark received clarification that there would have been nearly complete view blockage if the development had proceeded according to the original plans and elevations on the existing grade and with the City’s Development Code allowing 16 feet by right residential development. 

Staff and the Council discussed the possibility of lowering the chimneys two feet to meet minimum requirements and lessen view impacts.

Mr. Kuykendall indicated that at a certain point aesthetically and per the Building Code they could not be lowered.  He noted that chimneys were not one of the criteria to be considered in the view ordinance.

Councilman Wolowicz noted Mr. Arafat’s concerns regarding foliage on the eastern exposure and received clarification that there would not be an intrusion into the view corridor.

Tim McElroy stated that he would like to see the homes designed with a 9-foot interior ceiling in order to keep the pad at its present height with a two-foot chimney.  He commented that this would create a win-win situation with minimal impact on the developer while preserving the view for the neighboring homes.

Rich Sittel pointed out that there was an error in perception that there was no preexisting view at the site.  Using slides he pointed out that Lot 9 had no foliage in the past and that the foundation for the house that was previously there had a garage below grade that did not block the view.  He added that the developer had agreed to the conditions because he wanted a certain number of lots to be allowed on the parcel and noted that the Council was in favor of view preservation.  He indicated that the silhouettes erected at the site make minor problems apparent and noted that a one-foot drop in the ceiling would not seem to materially affect the quality or the profit of the project.  He indicated that he agreed with the staff recommendation and supported moving the project forward.

Mr. Arafat reported that he had paid to remove foliage that blocked his view in the past and reiterated his request that foliage be limited to the height of the ridgeline plate.  He discussed the situation of shared driveways and noted that chimneys would affect him the most as they were at a height of six feet above the home. 

Mr. Kuykendall asserted that they were building within concurrence of the conditions and would like to continue the project.  He reported that they had expended a lot of time and effort working toward the project approval and meeting the Development Code standards.

Councilman Clark received clarification that the first floor ceiling was designed at 10 feet in height and the second floor ceiling was 9 feet in height for the homes currently constructed. 

Mayor Long closed the public hearing.

Mayor Long received clarification that the Council did not have the authority to revoke the tract map and questioned the basis of the appeal noting that the decision the Planning Director approved had been previously approved by the Planning Commission in 2001 and recorded in the tract map.

Principal Planner Mihranian explained that the appeal had been made in regards to neighborhood compatibility with regard to the height of the structure.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern observed that everything in the plan was consistent with the view ordinance.

City Attorney Lynch added that there was no height variation application associated with the project.

Mayor Long questioned the implications if the Council modified the conditions of a tract map without having some basis to do that in a City ordinance.

City Attorney Lynch explained that the developer has a final recorded tract map, they have commenced construction with reliance on that map and have a vested right, and the Council has no jurisdiction to amend the tract map conditions.

Mayor Long observed that staff had made a proposal for a compromise but there was no basis to impose that compromise on the developer if they were not willing to do so.

City Attorney Lynch noted that the Council could amend the chimneys as they were more of a site plan design issue.

Responding to Mayor Long, Principal Planner Mihranian explained that Condition No. 20 had not changed and was consistent with the Director’s approval which would scale the chimneys back to the minimum height requirement by the Uniform Building Code.  He noted that such a change could be made without making a change to the tract map.

Councilman Wolowicz wanted assurance that foliage would not become an issue.

The Council discussed the possibility of requiring changes to the chimneys.

Mayor Long called at brief recess from 9:52 P.M. to 9:57 P.M.

City Attorney Lynch reiterated the proposed revisions to the resolutions.

Mayor Long moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2007-39, AS AMENDED, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES UPHOLDING THE PLANNING COMMISSION’S APPROVAL TO ALLOW, WITH CONDITIONS, THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW 3,326 SQUARE FOOT SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE ON AN UNIMPROVED LOT AT A MAXIMUM HEIGHT OF 15-FEET, AS MEASURED FROM THE POINT WHERE THE LOWEST FOUNDATION MEETS GRADE (385’) TO THE HIGHEST ROOF RIDGELINE (400’), EXCEPT FOR A MODIFICATION TO CONDITION NO. 20 TO ALLOW FOR STAFF REVIEW OF THE REDESIGN OF THE CHIMNEY HEIGHTS.

A roll call vote reflected the following:

            AYES:            Clark, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long

            NOES:           None

            ABSTAIN:     None

            ABSENT:      Gardiner

The Council discussed waiving the appeal fees and City Attorney Lynch pointed out a provision for half of the fee to be refunded if there was a modification which could be administratively processed without going to Council.

PAUSE TO CONSIDER THE REMAINDER OF THE AGENDA:

REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:

Equestrian Committee Appointments

By unanimous acclamation (absent Councilman Gardiner), the City Council appointed nine members to serve on the Equestrian Committee: Kay Bara, AnnaMaria Chu, Gordon Leon, and Lynn Swank were appointed for two-year terms of office until April 2009, and Richard Bara, Charlene O’Neil, Lynn Petak, Madeline Ryan and Ray Van Dinther were appointed for four-year terms of office until April 2011.

Oversight Committee for Water Quality & Flood Protection Program Appointments

The Council discussed the merits of a five-member committee as compared to a seven-member committee and agreed to appoint a five-member committee.

By unanimous acclamation (absent Councilman Gardiner), the City Council appointed five members to serve on the Oversight Committee for the Water Quality and Flood Protection Program: Frank Lyon and Lowell Wedemeyer were appointed for two-year terms of office until April 2009 and John Constantino, John Curtis and Henry Ott were appointed for four-year terms of office until April 2011; and Frank Lyon was selected as Chair.

Traffic Safety Commission Chair

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to appoint Ava Shepherd as Chair for the Traffic Safety Commission.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

Consider Waste Management’s Request for Revisions to the Current Residential Solid Waste Contract and to Current Practice

Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to combine Items 19 and 20.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

Senior Administrative Analyst Ramezani provided a brief staff report noting that the pilot programs would not be affected by the proposed changes.

The Council discussed limits on the amount of green waste collected, the necessity of brush clearance, concerns with less brush clearance if additional charges are imposed, concern with green waste accumulating in front of homes, the abuse of senior citizen discounts, and alternative methods of addressing non-payment of refuse fees rather than adding the delinquent amount to a resident’s property tax bill. 

Senior Administrative Analyst Ramezani explained that properly bundled green waste would be picked up, but the refuse companies did not like to pick up green waste in plastic bags.  She indicated that multiple containers of green waste would be picked up, but she noted that some residents were leaving so much that it filled half of the truck.  She noted that residents were encouraged to arrange for a dumpster if a large amount of green waste clearance was going be performed.

Mayor Long inquired if better coordination of refuse pick-ups on boundary streets was possible.  He indicated that he agreed with the recommendations of the subcommittee except for the issue of accumulating trash.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern stated that Waste Management should bear the entire cost of publishing a notice regarding collection of delinquent accounts in the local papers as it was not the City’s responsibility.  He indicated that he thought an annual review of senior citizen accounts was the most efficient method. 

Mayor Long agreed and noted that due to health issues Waste Management should keep servicing residents whether they paid or not.  He indicated that they should be able to recoup their expenses.

Councilman Clark stated that he was interested in an air quality initiative on behalf of the City if Waste Management was going to save money on truck trips, especially given the growing concern about air quality as a consequence of proximity to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.  He indicated that he was not against early discounts but did not think it was fair unless it was consistent and he asked for clarification on the proportion of clients on Producer Price Index (PPI) instead of Refuse Rate Index (RRI).

Mayor Long acknowledged that the reorganization would yield savings but noted that an extension period was not practical for a large capital expense to be made unless there were existing Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) trucks that could be used.  He suggested using a better method for pick up of brush clearance as an offset to share some of those savings during the extension period. 

Susan Moulton, Director of Public Sector Services, Waste Management, indicated that they would make sure that trash outside the carts in the pilot area was picked up.  She noted that the tax roll billing would help to mitigate some of the bad debt accounts and noted that they were willing to pay for the advertisement.  She outlined several options for dealing with brush clean-up including extra charges for brush over one cubic yard or programs of brush clean-up weekends in certain communities.  She presented proposed changes to billing for senior citizens and explained that they would not know exactly what savings would be realized until the new system was implemented.  She reported on the company’s efforts to improve air quality, noting that they had a fleet of LNG trucks that were having maintenance issues so they were exploring alternative compliance by using landfill gas to fuel their trucks which in some cases has lower emissions than LNG vehicles.  She also addressed the used of the different rate adjustments used by the surrounding cities based on the RRI, CPI or PPI rate.

Councilman Wolowicz agreed that residents should be charged additional fees for additional green waste but wanted assurances that it would be picked up each week so that it did not pile up. 

Lenee Bilski, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed concern that there would be additional paperwork and forms imposed upon senior citizens on an annual basis in order for them to qualify for discounts.  She pointed out that they remain seniors unlike those who receive low income discounts who may earn more money from year to year.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern assured her that the change would not impose too much of a burden and there would be a mechanism in place for senior citizens to get the discount they were entitled to under the contract.

Mayor Long called a brief recess from 11:16 P.M. to 11:23 P.M.

Ms. Moulton reported on a new regulation effective July 2008 regarding sharps not being allowed in the landfill and noting that early compliance could be something to offer to the large number of senior citizen residents as a trade-off.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern suggested working with staff on that matter.

Senior Administrative Analyst Ramezani indicated that staff was setting up a meeting with the Peninsula Seniors group to offer assistance in helping the seniors fill out the discount forms.  She added that forms would be available on the website and at the Public Works counter.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to 1) Adopt the Council Subcommittee’s recommendation to re-route and make changes to the collection schedule, and direct staff to work with Waste Management on implementing air quality improvements; 2) Approve the Waste Management request for bad debt collection and review the situation on an annual basis; 3) Approve the senior discount age of 65 with annual verification requirements with encouragement to Waste Management to place the required verification forms online; 4) Allow for pup route’s backyard collection with the resident to pay for such use; 5) Take no action regarding City Services; 6) Approve the rate change from the Producer Price Index to Refuse Rate Index; 7) Approve the Subcommittee recommendation regarding extraordinary rate adjustment for fuel/energy costs; and 8) Instruct staff and Waste Management to explore options to address the issues related to the treatment of non-containerized green waste and bring the options back for Council approval.

Without objection, Mayor Pro Tem so ordered.

Consider Universal Waste Systems Inc.’s Request for Revisions to the Current Residential Solid Waste Contract and to Current Practice

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to 1) Consider Universal Waste System Inc.’s request for addressing issues and revision to the current residential solid waste contract, and approve contract amendments to current practices for agreed upon items; 2) Authorize the City Manager to execute contract amendments and revisions to current practices for agreed upon items; and 3) Consider Universal Waste System Inc.’s request for extraordinary rate adjustment in the amount of $1.36/month/account for fuel costs.

Councilman Wolowicz agreed that residents should pay for extra waste but he expressed concern with any waste being left at the curb.

Mayor Long moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to instruct staff to explore the issue and return with options to address the concerns. 

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

Extension of Moratorium on Certain Development Within the Entire Landslide Moratorium Area Outlined in Red and Blue Pending Review of Additional Information

City Attorney Lynch provided a brief staff report.

-------------------, Rancho Palos Verdes, provided a history of his experiences trying to remodel his home noting that two geologists, the City’s consultant, and the Planning Commission determined that there would be no detrimental effect as a result of his home remodel project.  He pointed out that they were allowed to continue through the planning approval process and that 13 of 16 houses on his street had added on including his immediate neighbors.  He noted that the process had taken a toll on his family and had caused severe financial difficulties. He asked for the Council’s consideration as his project was the only one in the Blue Zone of the Landslide Moratorium area that was being held at the plan check phase.

Joe Badame, Rancho Palos Verdes, distributed handouts to the Council and summarized his financial difficulties as a result of the City’s decision to deny their permit for an additional 600 square feet in 2004.  He read portions of a letter sent by the City Attorney explaining the reason his permit was denied in 2004 noting that she supported the Director’s initial decision and his reinterpreted decision years later.

Mayor Long indicated that within a couple of months the City would have the geological basis to make decisions on the issue.

City Attorney Lynch agreed and noted that the geological decisions might be made even sooner if the geological consultant panel could be convened more quickly.

Mayor Long received clarification that the current interpretation would say the baseline square footage was determined as of November 2002 and if that interpretation had been applied when Mr. Badame first applied he would have completed his project before the temporary moratorium on 600 square foot additions went into place.  He noted that the current interpretation was reasonable and consistent with the ordinance because the ordinance did not expressly indicate the timeline to pick for the baseline. 

City Attorney Lynch indicated that staff did not see the current interpretation of the ordinance changing and added that since the moratorium has been in place there have been no approvals of additional square footage at all.

Mayor Long received clarification that Mr. Badame was in a unique situation of not being vested because of the City’s use of a different interpretation of the ordinance which they no longer use.

City Attorney Lynch added that since more than 50% of the interior walls were brought down during foundation repair, he lost the ability to go forward with the remodel without the additional square footage.  She reported that he had since gone through the neighborhood compatibility process, received approval, they were about to finalize approvals, and he would be allowed to proceed with his project except for the 600 square feet because of the moratorium.

Responding to Mayor Long, City Attorney Lynch explained that they had allowed a person with an application for a new house in the blue zone to proceed because although he was not vested, he had received all of his approvals.  She reported that the City Geologist had advised her that he did not see a geologic basis to prevent 600 square foot additions to existing homes or to treat the blue zone and red zone differently and that would come out in the report and be subject to peer review.

Mayor Long stated that would lead to recommendations that could include ending the temporary moratorium on 600 square foot additions. 

City Attorney Lynch indicated that she believed that Mr. -------------’s addition exceeded 600 square feet.

Mayor Long noted that once they had the geological reports and peer review there would be nothing to constrain the Council from taking action as there would be a geologic basis for Council decisions.  He noted that the Monks’ court lawsuit could impose restraints of its own.

City Attorney Lynch suggested that the Council might want to expand the geologist’s questioning to consider whether more than a 600 square foot addition would be allowable.

Lenee Bilski, Rancho Palos Verdes, objected to the extension of the moratorium for the Seaview/Klondike Canyon area as she did not believe it should be in the same category as Portuguese Bend and Abalone Cove.  She asked for fair and equitable treatment for the homeowners and urged the Council to allow the Badame and ------------ projects to go forward.  She noted that speakers at the workshops had questions that were not answered and she added that Keith Tucker, the geotechnical expert, had presented the City with 25 markers indicating that the Seaview area was not moving.

Councilman Clark received clarification that the agendized item was extending the moratorium, not considering exceptions to the moratorium on a case by case basis.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to 1) ADOPT ORDINANCE NO. 457U, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES EXTENDING URGENCY ORDINANCE NO. 427U AND URGENCY ORDINANCE NO. 439U TO JUNE 22, 2007, THEREBY EXTENDING A MORATORIUM ON THE ISSUANCE OF CERTAIN PERMITS AND THE PROCESSING OF PLANNING APPROVALS IN THE LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM AREA OUTLINED IN RED AND BLUE ON THE LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM MAP ON FILE IN THE CITY’S PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT DEPARTMENT, AND DECLARING THE URGENCY THEREOF; and, 2) Instruct staff to ask the City Geologist if there was a geological reason to differentiate between 600 square foot additions to existing single family residences and additions of other sizes within the landslide moratorium area.
 
A roll call vote reflected the following:

 

            AYES:            Clark, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long

            NOES:           None

            ABSTAIN:     None

            ABSENT:      Gardiner

 

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to suspend the Rule of Procedure and continue with business after midnight.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

Third System Performance Audit of the 2000 Cable Television Franchise Agreement with Cox Communications

Mayor Long recused himself from discussion of the item and Mayor Pro Tem Stern took over the meeting.

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to 1) Continue the third system performance audit of the 2000 Cable Television Franchise Agreement for ninety (90) days; 2) Direct Cox Communications to provide staff with Service Level data for the period between November 2006 and May 2007; and 3) Postpone the decision regarding extending the current Franchise Agreement until the City completes the third system performance audit.

Without objection, Mayor Pro Tem Stern so ordered.

Councilman Clark left the meeting at 12:06 P.M.

Mayor Long returned to the dais.

Upper Point Vicente/Civic Center Master Plan Council Ad Hoc Subcommittee

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to establish the Upper Point Vicente/Civic Center Master Plan Subcommittee and appoint Mayor Long and Councilman Wolowicz as the two members of the City Council to service on this ad hoc body.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

Proposed “Management Achievement Plan”

Mayor Long moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to continue the item to May 15, 2007 when all five Council members would be present.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

City Attorney Lynch pointed out that although the item was to be continued, City Manager Lehr had complied with her contractual obligation by delivering the item within the required time frame.

CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to defer City Council Oral Reports until the next meeting.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

COUNCIL DISCUSSION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:

None.

CLOSED SESSION REPORT:

City Attorney Lynch reported that with respect to the James Kay Case, the City Council unanimously authorized the City Attorney to dismiss the cross-appeal; and, regarding the conference with Real Property Negotiators, the Council provided unanimous direction to the City’s negotiators (with Councilman Gardiner absent on both matters).

ADJOURNMENT:

At 12:13 A.M., the meeting was adjourned to Saturday, April 21, 2007 at 9:00 A.M. for the Community Leaders’ Breakfast at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center.

 

                                                                                      /s/ Thomas D. Long

                                                                                                Mayor

Attest:

 

/s/ Carla Morreale

      City Clerk