MAY 15, 20077 CITY COUNCIL MINUTES MAY 15, 2007 CITY COUNCIL MINUTES







MAY 15, 2007 CITY COUNCIL MINUTES

MINUTES
RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
MAY 15, 2007

The meeting was called to order at 7:22 P.M. by Mayor Long at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.
 
City Council roll call was answered as follows:

PRESENT:   Clark,* Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Long
ABSENT:      None

                        *Councilman Clark left the meeting at 9:01 P.M.

Also present were City Manager Carolyn Lehr, City Attorney Carol Lynch, Deputy City Manager Carolynn Petru, Director of Planning, Building & Code Enforcement Joel Rojas, Director of Public Works Jim Bell, Director of Finance/Information Technology Dennis McLean, Associate Planner Kristen Sohn, Assistant Planner So Kim, Assistant Engineer Bindu Vaish, Associate Planner Kit Fox, City Clerk Carla Morreale and General Manager Channel 33 Gabriella Holt.

FLAG SALUTE:

The Flag Salute was led by Councilman Gardiner.

Ceremonial:

Jackie Bacharach, of the South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG), explained the composition of the organization, briefly summarized their programs and noted that they were interested in receiving feedback from the Member cities.  She indicated that they were open to member requests and she touched on Regional Housing Needs Assessment issues, air quality issues, energy saving requirements and the joint procurement program.  She pointed out that by working together small cities could receive some benefits only available to larger cities and she asked Councilmembers to email suggestions and ideas to her.

MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Mayor Long reported that the City would host its annual free Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics waste roundup on May 19, 2007, at the City Hall site.
 
RECYCLE DRAWING:
Mayor Long announced Joseph A. Morgan and Ray Knauss as recyclers of the month from the May 1, 2007 Council meeting.  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:

City Clerk Morreale noted that staff had requested that Item 12 be removed from the agenda and returned on a future agenda.

Mayor Long suggested that Items 20 and 21 be moved to follow immediately after the Consent Calendar.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to approve the Agenda as amended. 

Hearing no objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: 

None.

CITY MANAGER REPORT:

Melani Smith, Melendrez Consulting Firm, summarized the planning process, schedule and the contents of the Vision Plan for the coastal areas of the City and the Portuguese Bend Nature Preserve.  With the aid of slides, she discussed the progress made so far and the remaining tasks noting that they were working with the City, the Council subcommittee, the Land Conservancy, and the Public Use Master Plan committee.  She reported that the Annenberg Foundation was investigating the possibility of a companion animal facility at the Lower Point Vicente site and they were working with consultants and a community advisory group on further developing this concept.  She indicated that a public workshop related to the Public Use Master Plan (PUMP) was planned for the summer of 2007 followed by a public workshop in September 2007 where a draft revision plan will be reviewed, and a PUMP element will be provided along with a conceptual plan for Lower Pointe Vicente Park and that the plan approval process was expected to begin by the end of the year. 

Ms. Smith reported that staff was evaluating the idea of a donor recognition site, an outdoor education component spearheaded by the City’s docents, and an equestrian center, but noted that further conversations with the City geologist were necessary regarding this last facility.

Councilman Gardiner noted that certain areas of the City were not included and Mayor Long expressed hope that the Vision Plan was mindful of what had already been approved.

APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:

Councilman Gardiner asked that Item 7 be removed from the Consent Calendar for separate consideration.

Councilman Wolowicz inquired if the revised agreements for Items 3, 5, and 6 had significant changes.

City Attorney Lynch explained that the changes not were not significant and reflected a request from the Council to change the insurance references from Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s to Best Insurance Guide.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the Consent Calendar with Items 7 and 12 removed. 

The roll call vote reflected unanimous approval.

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 the Minutes

Approved the Minutes of November 21, 2006, December 5, 2006, December 19, 2006 and January 27, 2007.

Award a Three Year As-Needed Maintenance Services Contract for At-Risk Youth Employment to Los Angeles Conservation Corps for FY07-08 through FY09-10

1) Awarded a three year as-needed maintenance services contract, as amended, for At-Risk Youth employment to the Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC), in the amount not to exceed $25,000 per year for FY 07-08 through FY 09-10, for Measure A grant funded projects; and, 2) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a three year as-needed maintenance services contract for At-Risk Youth employment with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC), in the amount not to exceed $25,000 per year for FY 07-08 through FY 09-10, for Measure A grant funded projects.

Used Oil Recycling Block Grant for FY 2007-08

Authorized the application of the FY 2007-08 (13th 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. 2007-53,  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.

Professional Services Agreement – Community Development Block Grant Program Administration

1) Approved a professional services agreement with Diana Cho and Associates, as amended, to administer the Community Development Block Grant Program for a not-to-exceed amount of $17,500 for FY 2007-2008, a not-to-exceed amount of $17,500 for FY 2008-2009, and a not-to-exceed amount of $17,500 for FY 2009-2010; and, 2) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the proposed Agreement with Diana Cho and Associates.

Professional Services Agreement – Home Improvement Program

1) Approved a professional services agreement with MDG Associates, Inc., as amended, to administer the Home Improvement Program for a not-to-exceed amount of $30,000 for FY 2007-2008, a not-to-exceed amount of $30,000 for FY 2008-2009, and a not-to-exceed amount of $30,000 for FY 2009-2010; and, 2) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the proposed Agreement with MDG Associates, Inc.

Award of Professional Services Contract for Independent Auditing Services

This item was removed from the Consent Calendar for separate consideration.

Notice of Completion for the Hesse Park Retaining Wall Waterproofing Project

1) Accepted the project as complete; 2) Authorized the City Clerk to file a Notice of Completion with the County Recorder and if no claims are filed within 35 days after recordation, upon the contractor posting an acceptable warranty bond, notice the surety company to exonerate the Payment and Performance bonds; and, 3) Authorized the Director of Public works to release the 10% retention payment to Kronos Painting, 35 days after recordation of the Notice of Completion by the County Recorder contingent upon no claims being filed against the contractor, and the contractor posting an acceptable warranty bond.

Notice of Completion for the Hesse Park Restrooms Accessibility Compliance Project

1) Accepted the project as complete; 2) Authorized the City Clerk to file a Notice of Completion with the County Recorder and if no claims are filed within 35 days after recordation, upon the contractor posting an acceptable warranty bond, notice the surety company to exonerate the Payment and Performance bonds; and, 3) Authorized the Director of Public works to release the 10% retention payment to Creative Home Interiors, 35 days after recordation of the Notice of Completion by the County Recorder contingent upon no claims being filed against the contractor, and the contractor posting an acceptable warranty bond.

Approval of Membership in the California JPIA for the City of Los Alamitos
Authorized the Mayor, as the City Council’s delegate to the California Joint Powers Insurance Agency, to vote in favor of the City of Los Alamitos being accepted as a new member.
Claim Against the City by George Hanna

Rejected the claim and directed staff to notify the claimant.

Award Construction Contract for Sunnyside Ridge Storm Drain Project

This item was removed from the agenda for consideration at a future date.

Channel 33 Expense Reimbursement to General Manager

Approved the reimbursement of expenses to the Channel 33 General Manager in the amount of $4,149.56.

Acceptance of Maintenance Responsibility for Open Space Lots in the Oceanfront Estates Community (Tract Map No. 46628)

1) Acknowledged that the responsibility for maintaining the revegetated habitat on Lots 80 through 86, inclusive, of Tract Map No. 46628 (Oceanfront Estates) is being transferred from the developer, Capital Pacific Homes (CPH), to the City in accordance with the 1999 Development Agreement between the City and CPH; and, 2) Authorized the Mayor to sign an amended Operating Agreement with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (PVPLC) to assign the habitat maintenance responsibility for the portions for these lots that are part of the Natural Communities Conservation Plan (NCCP) preserve to the PVPLC.

Budget Adjustment to Complete the Acquisition of the Property on Tarragon Adjacent to Palos Verdes Drive South

ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2007-54, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2006-41, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FY06-07, FOR BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS TO THE GENERAL FUND AND THE WATER QUALITY FLOOD PROTECTION FUND.

Register of Demands

ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2007-55, 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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Appointments to the Emergency Preparedness Committee

The Council unanimously appointed Jennifer Boudreau, Melvin Hughes and Richard Kimball Smith to the Emergency Preparedness Committee, each with a four-year term of office until May 2011.

2007 Rancho Palos Verdes Pavement Management Update

Public Works Director Bell provided a brief summary of the staff report.

Councilman Clark pointed out that the development of the Terranea project would create much wear on Palos Verdes Drive South (PVDS) and he inquired if the maintenance of the road was a condition of approval of the project.

City Attorney Lynch indicated that it was not.

Planning Director Rojas agreed to check on a requirement to document the existing condition of the road.

Public Works Director Bell explained that maintenance of PVDS was not a condition of approval, but he felt it was something that the City and Terranea should be concerned about because even if it is not a requirement Terranea’s customers would be affected by a damaged road and they should think about assisting to provide a first class roadway.  He indicated that there could be money available from Prop 1B funds as the arterials badly needed some work.  He observed that if there had been more consistent funding toward arterials the City would be in a better situation, but stated that it was caught early enough to make a difference.  He presented several maintenance alternatives and proposed budgets. 

Responding to Councilman Wolowicz, Assistant Engineer Vaish explained that pavement maintenance of arterial streets require more money and are generally dependent on Federal money or Prop C funds.  She indicated that the City is requesting more funds for arterial improvements and the aggregate total costs including maintenance of PVDS will be $2.1 million or more. 

Public Works Director Bell explained that the current proposal did not look dramatically different from the previous model but it worked better and spent money more efficiently.   He noted that the frequency of paving was the same as the prior model, but residential street expenditures were reduced by balancing the zones where work was performed in a more logical program.  

Finance Director McLean explained that the previous model for pavement management had dramatic swings from one year to the next, while the new model balanced the work to be performed in the seven zones and smoothed out the costs more evenly.

Mayor Long inquired if the swings in the pavement management program were the reality of what maintenance the streets required and if the model should be adjusted to the budget or the budget to the model.

Councilman Gardiner stated that he understood the proposal to be that the streets would look the same but there would be a savings in expenditures, but he suggested continuing the item to give Mayor Long an opportunity to discuss his concerns with the consultants.

Finance Director McLean offered to meet with Mayor Long and Public Works Director Bell to better explain the program.

Councilman Gardiner suggested approving Year 1 of the Pavement Management Program since it was not a huge departure from the past program and holding remaining years of the program for approval until outstanding questions were answered.

Councilman Clark suggested approving the motion, subject to a revisit during budget adoption, and in the interim allowing time for Mayor Long to meet with staff regarding his concerns with the necessary changes to the program.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to: 1) Receive and file the 2007 Pavement Management Report; 2) Direct Staff to include the estimates of cost for the arterial and residential roadway overlay and slurry seals presented in the Fiscal Impact section of the report in the draft FY07-08 budget and draft 2007 Five-Year Financial Model; and 3) Establish the improvement of the arterial roadway condition as a high priority for the use of future funds as they become available (i.e., the City’s $1.4 million share of Proposition 1B transportation funds).

A roll call vote reflected the following:

            AYES:            Clark, Gardiner, Stern, and Wolowicz
            NOES:            Mayor Long
            ABSENT:      None
            ABSTAIN:     None

Councilman Gardiner suggested reordering the Agenda to move up Item 22.

RECESS AND RECONVENE:

Mayor Long called a brief recess from 8:47 P.M. to 8:58 P.M.

After the Recess, the agenda was reordered, bringing Item 22 to be heard prior to the Public Hearings.

Councilman Clark left the meeting at 9:01 P.M.

Channel 33 Equipment Purchase and Service Contract with TelVue Virtual Television Networks (TVTN)

Gabriella Holt, introduced Dave Moody from the Princeton Server Group.

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to approve the Princeton Server Group quotation in the amount of $26,131.34 and authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the service and support agreement with TelVue Virtual Television Networks (TVTN) with the City Attorney’s revisions, in the amount of $4,200 in order to implement digital operations and broadcasts support for Channel 33. 

City Attorney Lynch reported that there were still negotiations ongoing with TVTN regarding the agreement, and if the concerns were not resolved, the item would be brought back to Council.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

Case No. ZON2005-00536 (General Plan Amendment, Zone Change, Coastal Specific Plan Amendment, Vesting Tentative Tract Map No. 67532, Coastal Permit, Variance, Grading, and Environmental Assessment) and Case No. ZON2006-00180-182 (Height Variation for Lots 3 through 5); Property Owner: Dana Ireland; Site Address: 32639 Nantasket Drive, a Vacant Lot between Beachview Drive and Sea Cove Drive

City Clerk Morreale reported that notice of the public hearing was duly published and written protests were included in the late correspondence distributed prior to the meeting. She indicated there were eight requests to speak.

Planning Director Rojas introduced the item noting that the project was a request to build five homes which required a land use decision from Council.

Associate Planner Sohn provided a summary of the material of record.

Councilman Wolowicz received clarification that the Planning Commission had not seen the revised plans for the project.

Planning Chair William Gerstner explained that a series of decisions were made by the Planning Commission, each dependent on the previous decision with the focus on whether the recommendation for a zone change was appropriate; and the Planning Commission reached the point where they were not able to prove the compatibility of three of the homes.  He indicated that if the Council approved the zone change, the Planning Commission could then consider the last three homes and make the final decisions without Council involvement.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern inquired if other alternatives had been considered by the Planning Commission, noting that the RS-4 homes in the area average about 3000 square feet; the RS-1 areas have larger homes on large lots; and, that adding the 80,000 square foot apartment building into the calculations skewed the numbers, so none of it matched. He acknowledged that the project was complicated and that the Planning Commission did a good job addressing the issues. 

Responding to Mayor Pro Tem Stern, Planning Chair Gerstner reported that several alternatives were discussed but since the neighborhood was predominantly RS-4 and the property was large enough to support four houses, the Planning Commission decided that RS-4 seemed appropriate.  Planning Chair Gerstner reported that the Commission came to their conclusions after analysis of the information, extensive discussion of the nature of the neighborhood, and extensive examination of the square footage of the proposed homes with the numbers analyzed relative to the homes presently in the neighborhood.

Responding to Councilman Gardiner, Planning Chair Gerstner reported that the Commission had not concluded that the project consisting of five houses created its own neighborhood.

Councilman Gardiner inquired if preexisting non-conforming buildings could or could not be used in the analysis, as cited in the Hamilton vs. Board of Supervisors Case.

City Attorney Lynch explained that the issue in the Hamilton Case was about perpetuating a zoning variance by approving an addition.  She indicated that there were different issues involved with this project including the legislative issue of what zone the homes should be placed into and if the Council wished to grant a variance, noting that those decisions were up to the discretion of Council. 

Councilman Gardiner received clarification that the Council had the discretion to maintain the current zoning or to change the zoning to RS-2 which would go back to the Planning Commission for consideration.

Mayor Long commented on the uniqueness of the lot and expressed dissatisfaction with the neighborhood compatibility process.  He reported that a number of cites have a formula whereby there are limitations to the allowable square footage of houses based upon the square footage of the lots. 

City Attorney Lynch and Mayor Long discussed Prop M and its implications. 

Mayor Long asserted that the ordinance was a violation of the intent of the voters and City Attorney Lynch observed that the majority of the Council disagreed with him on that point.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern inquired if staff had a particular view as to what an appropriate residential zoning for the area would be.

Planning Director Rojas explained that staff did not think RS-4 was inappropriate since the majority of the actual zoning and densities in the area were RS-4.  He indicated that there was some discussion of comparing the project to RS-1 homes, which are also nearby but not in the same zoning district, which the guidelines do not allow.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern noted that legal non-conforming was not what Council wanted to see propagated and the City zoning was changed because they did not want to see more and more high-density apartments.  He questioned why staff would want to approve something the City conceptually rejected as the way to evolve.

Planning Director Rojas clarified that, in making its recommendation, staff had separated the two distinct issues of land use and structures.  He stated that in assessing the appropriate land use or zoning, staff relied on the existing land use in the area.  Staff noted that the founding fathers, in creating the City’s first Zoning Map, had zoned the area including the apartment buildings as RS-4 which staff deemed appropriate for the applicant’s property as it would match the adjacent zoning and residential developments at that density.  However, in terms of assessing how large of houses should go on the RS-4 zoned lots, staff did not believe it was right to factor in the size of the apartment buildings.

Responding to Mayor Pro Tem Stern about the affordable housing issue, Planning Director Rojas explained that staff had made it clear to the developer that the provision of one affordable unit was required per the ordinance, and that at some point in the future the developer would like to demonstrate that it is not feasible to provide the unit, but until that action is taken, staff is conditioning the project such that the unit be built on site.

City Attorney Lynch clarified that what is before them is a condition that says the developer shall provide an affordable housing unit.

Responding to Councilman Gardiner, Planning Director Rojas explained that staff’s position was that five lots were appropriate, but the homes were too large.

Planning Chair Gerstner explained that the decision was based on predominant land use in the area and clarified that when considering land use, zoning is the issue, not the structure on the land.

Councilman Wolowicz inquired if there were any variances regarding setbacks on lot coverage.

Planning Chair Gerstner clarified that there were no variances regarding setbacks or lot coverage.

Mayor Long opened the public hearing.

Dana Ireland, applicant, provided a project booklet with additional information, a copy of the site plan, a copy of the unanimous vote of the Council for a zone change of the site, and copies of comments which he took as direction to define a detailed project.  He acknowledged that an error had been made with a deficient lot line in the rear and he noted that they were trying to look at property rights to move forward on the project. 

With the aid of slides, Mr. Ireland discussed sizes of the proposed homes and other homes in the area noting that given the context of the 80,000 square foot apartment building across the street, the proposed homes would appear in context.  He asserted that neighborhood compatibility should include the consideration of the appearance of the structures and not just the total square footage.  He indicated that they were asking for four units per acre while there were 40 units per acre across the street.  He presented slides of views and view impacts noting that the negative votes were about neighborhood compatibility, not about height.  He reported reviewing the tape of the meeting, taking all suggestions into consideration, and making changes to the project accordingly.

Responding to Mayor Pro Tem Stern, Mr. Ireland explained that they looked at the appropriate width and depth of the lots and concluded that five lots was the optimum number for the site.  He added that they had also taken the appropriateness of the side yard setback into consideration.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern expressed surprise that there was no request for a variance for a front-yard setback and opined that the flags were right on top of him when he viewed the development site. 

Mr. Ireland asserted that was the nature of the silhouette and flags and that it was not an accurate representation of how the project would look upon completion.

Responding to Councilman Wolowicz, Mr. Ireland explained that Lots 1 and 2 would be filled to create a level yard and clarified that all the calculations were made from the existing grade, rather than from finished grade.

Mayor Long received clarification that staff had reviewed the elevations, and the profiles accurately represent how the Terranea development would affect the views. 

Mr. Ireland reminded that the Terranea project has a 65-foot tall five-story hotel.
Michael Finnegan, asset manager for Pacific Property Company, the owner of the Villa Apartments, asked for denial of the project due to the mass and bulk. 

Responding to Mayor Pro Tem Stern, Mr. Finnegan indicated that it was his understanding that the Pacific Property Company did not object to having the property rezoned from commercial to residential.

Bob Nelson, Rancho Palos Verdes, reported that the Seabluff Homeowners Association voted unanimously against the project.  He indicated that he had attended all of the meetings and had heard no one but the developer speak in favor of the project.  He quoted the Planning Commission minutes where speakers expressed strong opposition to violating the provisions of the General Plan by amendment or otherwise, noting that every time the General Plan is changed the City loses.  He asserted that neighborhood compatibility guidelines did not exist when one could declare five houses a neighborhood unto itself and asked that the matter be sent back to the Planning Commission with the applicant redirected to meet with the neighbors to formulate a satisfactory plan.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern pointed out that the property was presently zoned commercial recreation and he questioned whether the preference was to leave it that way with a conforming utilization of that property or to change it to residential which would require a General Plan amendment.

Mr. Nelson indicated that he personally would like to see four one-story homes at the site and noted that if Lot 1 were eliminated, Seabluff views would be preserved.  He agreed with excluding the Villa Apartments from the neighborhood compatibility analysis and indicated that he did not have a problem with the closeness of the homes to each other, but had a problem with bulk, mass and view impairment.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern pointed out that the by-right area of 16 feet in height was excluded from the view analysis and inquired if Mr. Nelson believed that there was a significant view impairment of the area in excess of the by-right.

Mr. Nelson stated that while he did not have a problem with a by-right height of 16 feet, he explained that he has a 6 foot pad on Lots 1 and 2 and it was his understanding that he plans to build on top of that pad.  He opined that the view as presented was erroneous and while he agreed that something should be developed on the site, he did not want to see total view destruction. 

Lisa Brant, an attorney representing clients on Sea Cove Drive, noted they objected to the current proposal of five very large homes on a single lot requiring eight applications, an amendment to the General Plan, an amendment to the Coastal Specific plan, rezoning, and variances to existing zoning, all indicating that the project is inconsistent with community standards.  She commented that the Planning Commission appeared to be bending over backwards to maximize profits over the good of the community and reported that her clients intended to fight the approval of the project to the full extent of the law, including going to court.  She pointed out that pursuant to the Government Code, the General Plan can only be amended if the amendment is in the public interest and no argument has been made to that effect.  She asserted that the proposal was injurious to surrounding neighborhoods and greatly diminished views.

Ms. Brant reported that the Planning Commission had indicated that the project was consistent because of the Villa Apartments but non-conforming uses cannot be considered under the law.  She felt that declaring it a neighborhood unto itself illustrated a type of mental gymnastics and pointed out the high standard under California law as to when variances are allowed to be granted.  She asserted that no variances were needed for Mr. Ireland to develop his property and he had submitted alternate proposals to develop the property that would not require variances.  She asserted that just because the property would be more valuable to Mr. Ireland was not enough of a reason to grant variances and maximizing his profits above the interests of the community would be inconsistent with the laws of California, and the planning and zoning that the community worked so hard to put in place.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern inquired what zoning the residents of Sea Cove believed to be the appropriate zoning. 

Ms. Brant felt the zoning should stay commercial as that would be in the better public interest but if it was changed to residential it should be RS-1.

Councilman Wolowicz expressed concern that if were to be turned into a public place there would be parking and traffic issues, as the owner could build a 150-unit Bed and Breakfast structure on the site.

Ms. Brandt pointed out that what would be allowed for commercial recreational would be rather small and noted it was proper to consider residential zoning as RS-1 not RS-4, while including open space issues in the analysis.

Responding to Councilman Gardiner, Ms. Brant indicated that her clients would prefer RS-2 over RS-4. 

Councilman Gardiner noted that their intent was to balance concerns. 

Paul Wright, Rancho Palos Verdes, indicated that their view would not be impacted but he opposed the project as it would create a densely populated neighborhood.  He noted that he supported the rezoning of the site to RS-2.

David Emenhiser, Seabluff Homeowners Association President, Rancho Palos Verdes, observed opposition on three sides of the project and he expressed concern with blocked views, negatively affected home values in the area, overflow parking into their neighborhood and a project that differed greatly from what Mr. Ireland discussed with the Association one year ago.  He wanted to see the Council send the project back to the Planning Commission or to have the opposition sit down with Mr. Ireland and work out a compromise.

Councilman Wolowicz commented on suggested parking ordinances and Mr. Emenhiser provided statistics about the number of cars in the area noting that the Association had not discussed the possibility of a commercial venture.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern pointed out that under the present proposal, staff believed that Lots 1 and 2 were within the by-right area and did not require a variance, or under the ordinance, cause a view blockage. 

Councilman Gardiner suggested that if more houses were built, the more views would be blocked.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern indicated that was not the issue and the view impairment depended on the size of the homes.

Mr. Emenhiser explained that neighbors were told that the by right construction could be to 16 feet, but the silhouette flags on the site were at the height of 30 feet and they were worried their views would be blocked.

Juan-Carlos Monnaco, Rancho Palos Verdes, opposed the project due to substantial view blockage and the resulting negative economic impact.  He asserted that photos were taken from angles which reduced the appearance of the actual view obstruction and disagreed with the way grading was allowed to affect the view so that a 16-foot structure becomes a 30-foot structure.  He opined that the houses should have been required to have height variation permits.

Ranjan Bajaria, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed opposition to the project due to concerns with view blockage, traffic and parking.

Mayor Long stated that views from second stories were not protected under the view ordinance; and Ms. Bajaria acknowledged that her first story view was not affected and they used a bedroom on the second story for their living area as it received more light.

Councilman Wolowicz noted that Ms. Bajaria’s home was located across the street from the apartment building and it was not easy to see Lot 2 from her driveway.

Councilman Gardiner received clarification that if the Council approved the changes and allowed RS-4, the developer could by-right block the view.  He inquired if the Planning Commission could ask the developer to move the house to the right or left to preserve view corridors. 

City Attorney Lynch clarified that only public view corridors would be protected.

Dana Ireland believed the public interest was being served by taking the conflict of commercial and residential traffic off of the same streets; noted that there would be a requirement for a variance for the development of the Commercial Recreational (CR) zone since the minimum lot depth is 250 feet and they were asking for less than that; noted that his project would be woven into a very comprehensive and complex public use facility with Terrenea as the next door neighbor and the Vanderlip trail that goes along the bluff top.  He indicated that he has observed that people from the apartments park on the street because it is more convenient, not because the lot is full and that is a use issue as opposed to a zoning issue.  He acknowledged that Mr. Monnaco had the most impacted view, and they had tried to address the project so that it minimizes that impact and he disputed the accuracy of the unanimous vote cited by Mr. Nelson.

RECESS:

Mayor Long called for a brief recess from 11:23 P.M. to 11:29 P.M.

The Council agreed upon the order in which to consider the issues, discussing the legislative items first including the General Plan Amendment, Zone Change,  and Coastal Plan Amendment; received clarification that they had the discretion to determine the zoning on the property, with the understanding that the decision could not be arbitrary or unreasonable; decided that the issue would be required to be returned to the Planning Commission in order for them to discuss the less dense residential standards for consideration; and decided they would not proceed with the other components of the project, as they would be moot.

City Attorney Lynch explained that the City Council could either decide to rezone the property or leave more of the decision to the property owner by allowing him to decide to leave the property at Commercial Recreational or change it to a lesser density Residential zoning designation.

Councilman Gardiner stated that he appreciated all the work the owner had put into the development of the property and would like to allow the owner the maximum flexibility for the property, but believed the homes were too large for the size of the lots.  Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to deny the current application and send the matter back to the Planning Commission with instructions that the zoning be changed from CR to RS-2 zoning, which would allow for three homes on the site.

Councilman Wolowicz commented that the parcel was of an awkward configuration and that Mr. Ireland had followed everything by the book.  He believed it would be difficult to approve any kind of commercial recreational business at the site, since it is in a residential area, but he did not think any apartment buildings had been approved since the incorporation of the City.  He acknowledged other neighborhoods with apartment buildings next to homes and opined there was a need to change the General Plan although he was not sure whether he supported RS-2, RS-3 or RS-4 at this particular site.

Mayor Long stated that he did not support the motion, because he believed the decision of zoning was a legislative decision and the Council’s to make.  He opined that residential zoning was the most appropriate designation, but did not favor RS-4; was not persuaded that view issues were significant because of the Terranea development; believed Council’s mandate was not to place large houses on small lots and stated this was a classic example of why the City needed square footage limitations specific to lots.

Councilman Gardiner indicated that he would not be opposed to changing the zoning to RS-2 residential, but he believed the applicant was not playing by the rules, since he wanted to change eight of them.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern stated he believed the property was mis-zoned and no one was trying to change the rules, but he wanted to know if Mr. Ireland wanted the latitude suggested by Councilman Gardiner.

Mayor Long reopened the public hearing.

Mr. Ireland indicated that he took property rights seriously and had made an application based upon meetings with staff of what was deemed to be appropriate.  He inquired if the RS-4 zoning was the real issue or if the issue was the size of the homes.  He reported taking due diligence by speaking to operators of boutique hotels and there was some interest in that idea, but they had not pursued that idea because they went forward with the staff recommendation.  He indicated that he wanted to understand Council’s concerns and would attempt to address those concerns within reasons.

Council Members indicated that the mass of the project was the main issue.

Planning Director Rojas commented that neighborhood compatibility was at play and the City could limit the homes to 1,000 square feet. 

Mayor Long disagreed and he stated that the precedent being set would be to use the 80,000 square feet structure to inflate the numbers. 

Mr. Ireland pointed out that the Code limited the amount of lot coverage available and if Council wanted the lot coverage to be decreased he could do that.  He stated that if the zoning was changed to RS-2 he would be limited to three houses which would be an undesirable project from a builder’s or owner’s perspective.  He indicated that RS-3 was more manageable and would provide the open space Council and the residents were looking for and noted he would have to reexamine the CR possibilities.

City Attorney Lynch pointed out that the one aspect of the project that Council could not consider was the issue of economic viability.

Councilman Wolowicz stated he realized Council could not consider the economic viability, but he expressed concern that at some point the developer might decide to put up a hotel.  He indicated that he preferred an RS-3 designation.

Councilman Gardiner observed that most of the time there was not much the City could do to prevent mansionization, but this was a case where a zone change is being requested and the Council has the opportunity to help preserve some open space.  He indicated that RS-2 would accomplish that goal while RS-3 would not, but if Council changed the zoning to RS-3 he believed the owner should also have the option to reevaluate the desirability of retaining the CR zoning. 

Mr. Ireland clarified that they were proposing 4 homes of 6000 square feet on 12,000 to 14,000 square foot lots.

Mayor Long closed the public hearing.

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to deny the current applications and remand the item back to the Planning Commission with instructions that consideration be given to rezone the project from CR to RS-2 or RS-3.

A roll call vote reflected the following:

AYES:            Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
            NOES:            None
            ABSENT:      Clark
            ABSTAIN:     None

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to suspend the rules and conduct business after 11:00 P.M.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

Tract Map Amendment (Case No. SUB2006-00020): Amendment No. 3 to Tract Map No. 31617 to Permit a Wider Range of Minor Accessory Structures Outside the Building/Grading Restriction (BGR) Line on Lots 42 through 46, Inclusive (Ocean Terrace Drive and Pacifica Drive)

City Clerk Morreale reported that notice of the public hearing was duly published and no written protests were received.  She indicated there was one request to speak.

Without objection, Mayor Long waived the staff report.

Mayor Long opened the public hearing.

Linda Muckel, applicant, stated that she concurred with staff’s recommendation.

Mayor Long closed the public hearing.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2007-56, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, THEREBY CONDITIONALLY APPROVING THE REQUESTED TRACT MAP AMENDMENT (CASE NO. SUB2006-00020).  A roll call vote reflected the following:

            AYES:            Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
            NOES:            None
            ABSENT:      Clark
            ABSTAIN:     None

General Plan Amendment & Zone Change Initiation Request (Case No. ZON2007-00134) (Applicant: Gulian Design; Landowner: Jovan & Lisa Vavic; Property Address: 3324 Seaclaire Drive) 

City Clerk Morreale reported that notice of the public hearing was duly published and no written protests were received.  She indicated there was one request to speak.

Without objection, Mayor Long waived the staff report.

Mayor Long opened the public hearing.

Edward Gulian, applicant, expressed support for the staff recommendation.

Mayor Long closed the public hearing.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to allow the applicant to submit the necessary applications and proceed through the review process for a proposed change in the General Plan Land Use and Zoning Designation for a portion of the subject site.  A roll call vote reflected the following:

            AYES:            Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
            NOES:            None
            ABSENT:      Clark
            ABSTAIN:     None

REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:

Proposed Ordinance to Address Targeted Residential Picketing

City Attorney Lynch noted that a revised ordinance with a very minor change was distributed as part of the late correspondence prior to the meeting and presented the staff report.  She indicated that the ordinance had been reviewed by a First Amendment expert and was modeled after an ordinance upheld by the courts in San Francisco and San Diego.

Councilman Gardiner inquired if the fact pattern was the same between the situation in Rancho Palos Verdes and the citied cases and expressed concern about the 300 foot limitation. 

City Attorney Lynch explained that in one case the court commented that 300 feet might be too large depending on the area of issue.  She reported meeting with affected residents who experienced distress and anxiety disorders from the noise of the picketing and they requested that the City use the maximum setback that could be proposed.

Mayor Long indicated that he could think of some cases where 300 feet would not be enough and suggested accepting the proposed ordinance and dealing with a challenge if it arises.

Councilman Wolowicz commented on an instance where picketing was harassing a resident and the surrounding neighbors and indicated the proposed ordinance was intended to provide some protection. 

Councilman Gardiner noted that a 300-foot buffer resulted in moving the picketers to someone else’s house and inquired if governing the conduct of the picketers might be a better approach.

City Attorney Lynch reported that the ordinance limited loud and raucous noise within 300 feet of any residence which is intended to harass, threaten or intimidate; and residents were advised by the Sheriff not to engage with protesters who may attempt to provoke them into behavior that the picketers can use against the residents.  She acknowledged that intent to harass was very difficult to prove.

The Council discussed whether the ordinance would leave the City open to dispute but concluded that since the ordinance was modeled after a previously defended ordinance it was reasonable and sufficient for the City.

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to adopt the staff recommendation to Read Ordinance No. 458, “AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, AS AMENDED, AMENDING TITLE 9 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE TO ADD REGULATIONS GOVERNING PICKETING IN RESIDENTIAL ZONES IN THE CITY” by title only, waived further reading, and introduced the Ordinance.

A roll call vote reflected the following:

            AYES:            Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Long
            NOES:            Gardiner
            ABSENT:      Clark
            ABSTAIN:     None

Items removed from the Consent Calendar:

Award of Professional Services Contract for Independent Auditing Services

Councilman Gardiner indicated that he believed seven years was too long to use the same auditing service.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern pointed out that staff was recommending an extension to the contract because they did not have enough time to prepare an RFP.

Councilman Wolowicz acknowledged Councilman Gardiner’s concerns and indicated that the contract should be sent out to bid next year.  He expressed confidence in the ability of the firm the City uses and indicated that their fees were quite reasonable. 

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to approve the attached Professional Services Agreement for Independent Auditing Services with Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co., LLP (“VTD”) for an amount “not to exceed” $35,000 with the recommendation that staff leave sufficient time to send out an RFP next year.

A roll call vote reflected the following:

            AYES:            Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
            NOES:            None
            ABSENT:      Clark
            ABSTAIN:     None

CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:

Mayor Long asked that Oral Reports be deferred to the next meeting. 

Councilman Wolowicz commended City staff on its presentation to the Appeals Board of the South Bay Cities Council of Governments regarding the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation, which resulted in a 1/3 reduction of the requirement for affordable housing for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, from 90 units to 60 units.

COUNCIL DISCUSSION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS & SUGGESTION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:

Councilman Gardiner asked that the Eastview and school district matter be put on a future agenda.

CLOSED SESSION REPORT:

City Attorney Lynch stated that a report was given to the Council regarding price and terms of payment negotiations regarding the Crestridge property; and further direction was given to the City negotiators by City Council with Councilman Gardiner expressing opposition.

ADJOURNMENT:

At 12:34 A.M., the meeting was adjourned to Tuesday, May 29, 2007, at 6:00 P.M. for an Adjourned Regular Meeting and Budget Work Session at Point Vicente Interpretive Center.

 

                                                                                                          /s/ Thomas Long
                                                                                                                     Mayor

Attest:

 

/s/ Carla Morreale
      City Clerk