The meeting was called to order at 6:00 P.M. by Mayor Long at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard and was immediately recessed into Closed Session. The meeting reconvened at 7:01 P.M.
PRESENT: Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
Also present were Carolynn Lehr, City Manager; Carol Lynch, City Attorney; Carolynn Petru, Deputy City Manager; Joel Rojas, Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement; Dennis McLean, Director of Finance/Information Technology; Jim Bell, Director of Public Works; Greg Pfost, Deputy Planning Director; Leza Mikhail, Associate Planner; Siamak Motahari, Senior Engineer; Jack Rydell, Traffic Engineer; and Carla Morreale, City Clerk
The Flag Salute was led by Victoria vonBergman, President, Palos Verdes Peninsula
Victoria vonBergman, President, Palos Verdes Peninsula (PVP) 4-H Club, gave a brief history of the PVP 4-H Club and presented the Council with coffee mugs commemorating National 4-H Week from October 7 to October 13, 2007.
Councilman Wolowicz talked about the importance of the farming community, and the values gained by growing up in rural areas.
Mayor Long announced Recyclers of the Month from the September 18, 2007 City Council meeting, Pat Kelsey and Sophie Shiang. He indicated that all winners receive a check for $250 representing a year of free refuse service and 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.
Stan Miles, Public Affairs Specialist/South Bay Representative, South Coast Air Quality Management District, spoke in support of the Clean Air Congress, and asked for the City’s support on SB1028 and SB886.
Robert Maxwell, Portuguese Bend Community Association, Rancho Palos Verdes asked that the City increase its efforts to divert runoff water that increases land movement in the Portuguese Bend area, particularly on Pepper Tree Drive.
CITY MANAGER REPORT:
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to approve the Consent Calendar. The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
EMERGENCY STORM DRAIN PROJECT:
Mossbank Storm Drain Rehabilitation (1204 X 604)
Reviewed and reconfirmed by a four/fifths (4/5) vote, the Council’s previous action on August 21, 2007, authorizing staff to proceed with emergency repairs to the Mossbank Drive storm drain.
OTHER CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS:
Motion to Waive Full Reading
Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at this meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all Council Members after the reading of the title.
Claim Against the City by Eva Kolosvary-Stupler (303)
Rejected the claim and directed staff to notify the claimant.
Border Issues Status Report (310)
Reviewed the current status of border issues.
Neighborhood Beautification Grant Awards (Cycle 18) (1204)
1) Approved forty-five grant applications for the Neighborhood Beautification Program totaling $168,191.00; and, 2) Denied one grant application from Palos Verdes Seacliff Hills HOA for reasons that the requested landscaping improvements at Palos Verdes Drive South and Palos Verdes Drive East are being addressed by a programmed Public Works Department project.
Acquisition of Three Vehicles for the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement (302)
Authorized the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement to execute the purchase contract for three new vehicles at a total cost of $67,154.11.
Appointment of Board Members to the Miraleste Recreation and Park District
Appointed Keith Harter, Nancy Otto, and Carol Swets to full four-year terms of office until December 2, 2011, and David Feldman for the unexpired term ending December 4, 2009, on the Miraleste Recreation and Park District Board.
Appointment of Board Members to the Ridgecrest Ranchos Recreation and Park District (106 x 1200)
Appointed Sherry Skari and Julie Sulman to full four-year terms of office on the Ridgecrest Ranchos Recreation and Park District Board until December 2, 2011.
2006 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Rancho Palos Verdes Housing Element (701)
Directed staff to forward the City’s Annual Progress Report on the implementation of the Rancho Palos Verdes Housing Element for the 2006 calendar year to the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).
Nomination for the League of Women Voters’ Certificate of Commendation (305)
August 2007 Treasurer’s Report (602)
Received and filed the August 2007 Treasurer’s Report for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Register of Demands
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2007-107, 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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Revision "GG" to the Trump National Golf Course Project – Proposed Ficus Trees Near Driving Range (1411)
City Clerk Morreale reported that notice of the public hearing was duly published and written protests were included with the staff report and late correspondence distributed prior to the meeting and that there were 13 requests to speak on the matter.
Mayor Long summarized the public rules of speaking.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern announced that he and Councilman Gardiner had met with residents and Trump representatives in the Portuguese Bend Area and had observed the ficus trees in the area in question.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost provided a staff report, including a history of the project, slides of the area in question, and staff’s recommendations. He reported that the Trump National organization had requested a continuance of the item due to the sudden illness of their key representative, Mr. Russo.
City Attorney Lynch clarified for Mayor Long that granting a continuance of the item was a matter for the City Council to decide and suggested that speaker testimony be taken. She noted that it would be appropriate for Council to consider the continuation of the item due to Mr. Russo’s illness.
Council and staff discussion included the following topics: 1) the public trail on the Trump National property; 2) clarification of the height and position of the wall to be built as part of the original conditions of approval for the Trump National project; 3) the height and location of the ficus hedges on the Trump National property and trees on adjacent properties; 4) the permanence of the driving range and the possibility of that area being converted to residential lots; 5) implications of using the word “significant” in the conditions of approval; 6) the future ownership of Lot D by the City and the ability of the City to remove any trees on the property once the City owns the lot; 7) the number of residents whose views are affected by the hedges in question; 8) the enforceability of view obstruction as currently written in the Municipal Code; and, 9) the fact that ficus trees are neither native, nor drought-resistant vegetation as was called for in the conditions of approval of the project.
Mayor Long declared the public hearing open at 7:50 P.M.
Mayor Long stated that he was not persuaded about the view issue but opined that the planting of ficus trees was not in compliance with the conditions of approval and wanted to see drought resistant foliage instead.
Mike Vandergoes, General Manger, Trump National Golf Club, clarified information for the Council regarding the hedges and walls on the property, but stated that he was unable to answer many questions as Mr. Russo was the Trump representative involved in the matter.
Council and the applicant discussed the potential of changing the driving range to housing with Mayor Pro Tem Stern asserting that Mr. Trump claimed to have the right to do so. Mr. Vandergoes reiterated his request to continue the item so that Mr. Russo could give Council a more informed reply.
The following residents spoke in support of the staff recommendation: Elizabeth Sax; Edward Stevens; Jeff Sax; George Fink, Ladera Linda Homeowner’s Association; Barbara Sattler, President South Coast Chapter, California Native Plant Society; Joseph Wang; Craig Douglas, Co-Chair Nautilus Homeowners Association; Mary Casaburi; Ali Derek, Nautilus Homeowners Association; Robert Voll; Jessica Leeds; Uday Patil; Lenee Bilski; David Gakenheimer, President of Portuguese Bend Club; and Richard Meyer. Their comments focused on the following concerns: the nature of ficus trees and their adverse effects on people and surroundings; a lack of faith in Trump National’s maintenance of the vegetation; view impairment as a result of the ficus trees; use of the word significant in the condition and the implications; the flagpole incident as a reason not to trust the developer; the lack of a landscape plan by the developer; and, the view impairment’s potential negative impact on home values.
Chip Zelt, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in opposition to the staff recommendation as he felt the ficus trees provided privacy.
RECESS AND RECONVENE:
Mayor Long called a brief recess from 8:38 P.M. to 8:47 P.M.
Mike Vandergoes, applicant representing the Trump National organization, reiterated that Trump National representative Ed Russo who was the lead on the issue was not able to be in attendance due to a heart attack that he suffered the previous Friday. In response to a question from Councilman Gardiner, he indicated that the Trump National organization would be willing to work out a plan with the Portuguese Bend Club Homeowners Association.
Council and staff discussion included the following issues: previous conditions of approval made under Revision W; the pros and cons of agreeing to a continuance; the developer’s violation of good faith with residents; and, the burden on the Trump National organization to resolve the matter.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern suggested that the Council continue the matter because of the Trump National representative’s heart attack. He asserted that it was reasonable to accommodate the applicant and important that Mr. Russo have an opportunity to respond to Council’s questions and concerns.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to continue the item to December 4 or 18, 2007.
Council discussion focused on the continuance, December’s busy schedule, November as an alternative, and Mayor Long’s objection to granting a continuance of the item.
Mayor Long offered a substitute motion to direct staff to enforce a previous condition to remove the ficus trees. The motion died for lack of a second.
Discussion of the original motion focused on the proposed date with Mr. Vandergoes, who suggested that it would be necessary to continue the item until December in order to give Mr. Russo time to recuperate and then have time to participate in discussions with staff and residents in the area.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to continue the item to the December 4, 2007 City Council meeting.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Wolowicz, Gardiner, and Stern
RECESS AND RECONVENE:
Mayor Long called a brief recess from 9:48 P.M. to 9:58 P.M.
Use of State Funding for Supplemental Police Services – CORE Police Team
City Clerk Morreale reported that notice of the public hearing was duly published and no protests were received and there were no requests to speak on the item.
Mayor Long opened and closed the public hearing with no public speakers.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to waive the staff report and approve the continued use of the Citizen Option for Police Services (COPS) grant in FY07-08 to partially fund the Community Resource Police Team (CORE).
The roll call vote on the motion passed unanimously.
PAUSE TO CONSIDER THE REMAINDER OF THE AGENDA:
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
Speed Zone Surveys, Various Rancho Palos Verdes Streets (1502)
City Clerk Morreale reported that late correspondence was distributed prior to the meeting and there were no requests to speak on the item.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to waive the staff report and adopt the staff recommendation.
Councilman Wolowicz inquired if representatives of the Sheriff’s Department, who were present, wished to speak on the item.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern inquired as to the timeline for implementation of the Speed Zone Survey resolution.
Deputy Chris Knox, Sheriff’s Department, Lomita Station, reported that the updated traffic surveys would assist him in the performance of his job.
Traffic Engineer Rydell clarified certain specifics of the staff report and responded to Council’s questions.
Councilman Gardiner left the meeting at 10:05 P.M.
City Attorney Lynch read the Speed Zone Resolution into the record.
Before leaving the meeting, Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to 1) Approve Speed Zone Limits as approved by the Traffic Safety Commission at the August 27 and September 24, 2007 Regular Meeting for Portions of Palos Verdes Drive East, Crenshaw Boulevard, Crest Road, and Hawthorne Boulevard; and, 2) Adopt Resolution No. 2007-108 as read into the public record by the City Attorney to approve speed zone limits as recommended by the Traffic Safety Commission.
A roll call vote reflected the following:
AYES: Wolowicz, Stern, and Mayor Long
City Council Meeting Schedule (307)
Mayor Long suggested that the item be continued to a meeting when all Council members are present.
Mayor Long moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to continue the item to the October 16, 2007 City Council meeting.
Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
Councilman Wolowicz reported on his attendance at the following meetings: the Contract Cities meeting at the County Fire headquarters facility in East Los Angeles on September 19, 2007; a visit to City Hall where he addressed a troop of Boy Scouts on September 25, 2007; the 50th anniversary celebration of Rolling Hills Estates on September 25, 2007; a special Closed Session meeting of the City Council regarding open space on September 26, 2007; the Grand Opening of the new field office of the State Board of Equalization on September 27, 2007; a site visit regarding ficus trees at Trump National Golf Course on September 30, 2007; and, an interview session with Management Partners, Inc. as part of the management assessment on October 2, 2007.
Mayor Long reported on his attendance at the following meetings: the 50th anniversary celebration of Rolling Hills Estates on September 25, 2007, where he presented a plaque to commemorate the occasion; and, the Peninsula Coordinating Council meeting on September 26, 2007, where he presented a state of the City speech, noting that Supervisor Knabe was also in attendance.
COUNCIL DISCUSSION & SUGGESTION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
City Attorney Lynch reported that no action was taken in Closed Session.
At 10:23 P.M. Mayor Long adjourned the meeting.
/s/ Douglas W. Stern
/s/ Carla Morreale