The meeting was called to order at 9:33 A.M. by Mayor Long at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center, 31501 Palos Verdes Drive West, notice having been given with affidavit thereto on file.
City Council roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Clark, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Long
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 Finance/Information Technology Dennis McLean, Principal Planner Ara Mihranian, Senior Administrative Analyst Matt Waters, and City Clerk Carla Morreale.
The Flag Salute was led by Deputy City Manager Carolynn Petru.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the Agenda.
Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.
Diane Hayden, Peninsula Neighborhood Girl Scouts, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke about her efforts towards building an outdoor education center and campground and asked the Council to provisionally reserve a space in the Rancho Palos Verdes Coastal Vision Plan for the project.
Shera Domatz-Finkle, Girl Scouts, Rancho Palos Verdes, asked that the Rancho Palos Verdes Coastal Vision Plan include an outdoor campground.
Sunshine, Rancho Palos Verdes, mentioned that California Coastwalk has camped at the Ladera Linda Community Center’s lower field for several years and suggested that the Girl Scouts consider this location. She indicated that a complete alignment of the California Coastal Trail was not included in the current draft of the Vision Plan.
Joe Fierstein, South Bay Astronomical Society, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in favor of an astronomical observatory being provided on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
City Clerk Morreale reported that she had one request to speak on Item 1 of the Consent Calendar.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to approve the Consent Calendar with Item 1 removed for separate consideration.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Long
EMERGENCY STORM DRAIN PROJECT:
Mossbank Storm Drain Rehabilitation (1204 X 604)
This item was removed from the Consent Calendar for separate consideration.
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.
Adoption of Ordinance No. 464, A Zone Change for a Portion of 3324 Seaclaire Drive from OH to RS-3 [Applicant: Gulian Design; Landowner: Jovan & Lisa Vavic] (1203 X 1802)
ADOPTED ORDINANCE NO. 464, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, APPROVING A ZONE CHANGE (CASE NO. ZON2007-00134) FOR 3324 SEACLAIRE DRIVE (THE EXISTING BUILDING PAD PORTION OF THE PROPERTY) FROM OPEN SPACE HAZARD (OH) TO SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL (RS-3).
Register of Demands
ITEMS REMOVED FROM THE CONSENT CALENDAR:
EMERGENCY STORM DRAIN PROJECT:
Mossbank Storm Drain Rehabilitation
Robert Maxwell, Portuguese Bend Community Association, Rancho Palos Verdes, presented the Council with a handout and spoke regarding the Portuguese Bend Landslide and attempting to control outside water from contributing to the movement in the landslide area.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to review and reconfirm 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.
The motion carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, Wolowicz, Stern, and Mayor Long
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
Rancho Palos Verdes Coast Vision Plan – Final Public Workshop (1201)
Mayor Long explained that the purpose of this meeting was for the public and Council to hear the Vision Plan as presented by Melendrez, a consultant paid for by a grant from the Annenberg Foundation.
Director of Planning, Building & Code Enforcement Joel Rojas provided a history of the Vision Plan and the grant awarded to the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (PVPLC) by the Annenberg Foundation.
Barbara Dye, Executive Director, PVPLC, provided an overview of the role of the PVPLC in the Vision Plan process.
Director Rojas explained that the formulation of the Vision Plan has been a collaborative effort with input from many stakeholders including City staff, the Public Use Master Plan (PUMP) Committee, City docents, the findings of the former Open Space Task Force, Equestrian Committee, PVPLC, and the Bureau of Land Management. He explained that the purpose of the meeting was to review the draft Vision Plan which is made up of two components:
Melanie Smith, Partner with Melendrez, an Urban Planning/Design Landscape Architecture firm, presented an overview and slide presentation of the concepts and suggested enhancement aspects of the Vision Plan.
Lower Point Vicente (including the Companion Animal Center)
Ms. Smith, presented an overview and slide presentation of the specific proposal for Lower Pointe Vicente.
Howard Litwack, Annenberg Foundation, provided a history of the Annenberg Foundation’s involvement in the Vision Plan and the creation of a potential project for the undeveloped portion of the Lower Pt. Vicente site, the Companion Animal Center.
Leonard Aube, Annenberg Foundation, provided a history of the Annenberg Foundation, presented the master plan, and highlighted the Annenberg Foundation vision for a Companion Animal Center in partnership with the Peninsula community.
Susan Liberati, Assistant Superintendent/Curriculum and Instruction, Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District (PVPUSD), spoke in favor of the proposal citing the augmentations to the PVPUSD curriculum, and potential benefits to the students and educators in the PVPUSD.
Cassie Jones, Veterinarian, Point Vicente Animal Hospital, spoke in support of the Companion Animal Center and highlighted the benefits to the community, including retention of local history, the possibility of educational programs, and the preservation of the natural flora and fauna on the Peninsula.
Mr. Aube provided an in-depth presentation on the proposed location and amenities of the Companion Animal Center in connection with the existing facilities and trails at Lower Point Vicente.
RECESS AND RECONVENE:
Mayor Long called a brief recess from 11:09 A.M. to 11:20 A.M.
Mayor Long explained the rules of addressing the Council and invited public comments.
Linda Retz, Rolling Hills Estates, spoke in support of the Companion Animal Center.
Vic Quirarte, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in support of the Companion Animal Center facility and outdoor museum.
Betty Riedman, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in support of the Companion Animal Center project as she believed it would be good for the community and would compliment the Lower Pt. Vicente site.
Lynn Swank, Open Space Task Force, Rancho Palos Verdes, reported that in the recent past the Open Space Task Force and the City Council rejected a proposal to place a Girl’s Softball Field in Lower Point Vicente because it was not a passive use of the property. She opined that the current proposal for the Companion Animal Center was not a passive use and requested that the Council carefully consider the retention of raw nature and open space.
Lynn Petak, South Bay Wildlife Rehabilitation, Rancho Palos Verdes, asked that a wildlife rehabilitation center or at least a receiving center be included in the Vision Plan, and that public education be included regarding the coexistence of domestic animals and wildlife.
Ruth Hattersley, Palos Verdes Interpretive Center Docent, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in opposition of the Companion Animal Center.
Barbara Sattler, Rancho Palos Verdes, expressed concern with the proposal and the obligation implied by accepting a grant from the Annenberg Foundation. She added that the community had not asked for the Companion Animal Center and opined that it belonged at another site, not Lower Pt. Vicente, which should be preserved as open space.
Ken Dyda, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke about the Vision Plan in general, voiced concern with preserving the City's open space, and suggested Council's careful consideration of future growth and providing adequate parking for future uses.
Alfred Sattler, Rancho Palos Verdes, asserted that the coastal area was not the right place for the Companion Animal Center.
Kay Bara, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in support of the project on behalf of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Horseman's Association.
In response to questions from Councilman Wolowicz, Mr. Aube reported that the size of the Pt. Vicente Interpretive Center (PVIC) building is approximately 10,000 square feet and the size of the proposed Companion Animal Center is between 25,000-28,000 square feet. He noted that the facility would be able to hold approximately 25 animals at a time and clarified that the Center would not be in competition with the local veterinarians, and would only provide necessary medical care to the animals at the facility. Mr. Aube noted that the Lower Pt. Vicente site was selected for the project because of the already existing educational components of the PVIC.
In response to questions from Councilman Clark, Mr. Aube noted that one of the goals of the project was to put a bright spotlight on the indigenous wildlife of the Peninsula area as part of the educational component of the facility, but there would not be care facilities for the local wildlife because of the many issues related to the mixing of wild and domestic animals. Mr. Aube reported that the concept for the parking facilities would be to create a circular point of entry with the surface parking area being beautified; the overall parking spaces on the site would be increased from 65 to 130 parking spaces; some of the parking spaces would be moved closer to the PVIC building; and, one third of the parking would be hidden under the Companion Animal Care building.
Mayor Long recessed the meeting for a lunch break and Closed Session at 12:04 P.M.
City Attorney Lynch announced that Council was recessing into Closed Session to discuss the City Manager's Performance Evaluation.
RECONVENE TO OPEN SESSION:
Mayor Long reconvened the meeting from Closed Session into Open Session at 1:08 P.M.
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
City Attorney Lynch reported that Council discussed the City Manager’s Performance Review, no action was taken and the item was continued to the next Closed Session of the City Council.
Lower Point Vicente (including the Companion Animal Center)
Mayor Long announced that additional public comments would be taken regarding the Lower Point Vicente site.
Sil Quirarte, Los Serenos docent, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in support of the proposal, and asserted that the outdoor museum would be an asset to the community.
Greg Thomsen, California Coastal National Monument and Bureau of Land Management, provided a history of the organization and explained its purpose, to protect and coordinate partnerships in the management of the coastal monuments which are exposed reefs above mean high tide along the California coast. He voiced support for the RPV Coast Vision Plan and looked forward to working with staff.
Jim Knight, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in support of an animal care center and its educational value, but stated that he did not agree with the proposed location for the facility. He noted that he had concerns regarding the maintenance of the native habitat and wildlife corridor on the Peninsula.
Beverly Ackerson, Rancho Palos Verdes, voiced concern with modification of animal behavior, over-development on the Peninsula, loss of open space, and liability issues if the animals in the Companion Animal Center cause injury.
The Gateway Park (including the Equestrian Center)
Ms. Melanie Smith provided a slide presentation and explanation of the proposal for the Gateway Park site.
Director Rojas reported that the Gateway Park site is a 25 acre portion that has been carved out of the Portuguese Bend Nature Preserve acquired by the City in 2005 from Mr. Hon, to serve as a gateway to the Preserve. He noted that the conceptual plans for the site have a visitor parking component and commented that there were constraints for this site since it is in the active landslide area. He stated that this would be a possible site for an educational component for school groups and/or a scout house for the Girl Scout Association.
Barbara Dye, Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, reported that the park would be available for various uses and that the educational component of the site would need additional input and planning.
Kathy Johnston, Rolling Hills Estates, Girl Scout Leader, asked for the Council’s support in the creation of a scout house at Upper Pt. Vicente and camping facilities at Gateway Park.
Kay Bara, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in support of the Gateway Park and Equestrian Center on behalf of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Horseman's Association.
Al Edgerton, Rancho Palos Verdes, voiced concern with extreme bikers’ use of the Gateway Park site.
Councilman Clark spoke in support of the proposal and asked about the geological instability of the land; whether the educational center on the site was to be a portable structure; if the educational component would include information about the history of the Peninsula; and, the potential need for enforcement and rangers in the Portuguese Bend Nature Preserve and surrounding areas.
Councilman Wolowicz asked about parking and circulation of traffic at the Gateway Park site and inquired if there would be too much at the site with the portal and Equestrian Center.
Del Cerro Park
Ms. Melanie Smith provided a slide presentation and explanation of the proposal for Del Cerro Park.
Principal Planner Mihranian added that the conceptual design being presented will be revised to incorporate the concerns and issues recently raised by neighbors and others who utilize Del Cerro Park.
Barbara Dye, Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, reported that the design concept presented was not a final design and highlighted some of the proposed changes to the design.
John Spielman, Peninsula Silent Flyers, Rancho Palos Verdes, reported that the site was currently used by the Peninsula Silent Flyers Club and outlined the Club's efforts with the Land Conservancy in order to accommodate the utilization of the park site for their continued activities.
Iva Hackwell, Rancho Palos Verdes, voiced concern with the increasing uses of Del Cerro Park, the size and location of the proposed donor recognition site and the related safety and privacy issues.
Thomas Olson, Del Cerro Homeowners Association, Rancho Palos Verdes, reported on the history of the park and its intended use as a passive park, with no benches, tables, etc. His concerns included night use of the park; parking related issues; lack of traffic and landscaping studies related to the proposed donor recognition site; the vast scope of the proposed donor recognition site; aircraft safety problems; and the lack of timely response by the Sheriff's Department to reported security issues.
Al Sattler, Rancho Palos Verdes, asserted that Del Cerro Park was an outstanding site to view astronomy events and asked for an allowance from the City and neighbors for the site to be used occasionally for nighttime astronomy observations.
Council and staff discussed issues related to security problems, the Sheriff Department's response, and potential problems for vandalism at Del Cerro Park. Councilman Clark noted that the proposed donor recognition site at Del Cerro Park was wonderful in concept, but the application would prove to be a challenge.
Mayor Long asserted that there was a great need for a donor recognition site and asked that staff work with the community and the Sheriff's Department to resolve the issues at Del Cerro Park.
Upper Point Vicente
Ms. Melanie Smith provided a slide presentation and explanation of the proposal for Upper Pt. Vicente.
Staff reported that they were waiting for the results of several studies and title information for the Upper Pt. Vicente site before moving forward with further work on the Master Plan of the site.
Laura Raab, Palos Verdes Hills Girl Souts, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in support of including a scout house at the Upper Pt. Vicente site.
Sunshine, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in opposition to the conceptual plan for the Upper Pt. Vicente site, voicing concerns with buildings and parking lots on prime open space area.
Barbara Sattler, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in support of an unobtrusive approach to building on the Upper Pt. Vicente site.
Council and staff discussion included the following topics: Upper Pt. Vicente Master Plan; support for active park uses; relocation of the maintenance yard; a parking structure on the site; the possibility of a new City Hall building; underutilized active use City parks; the accommodation of requests for a scout house and scout campgrounds; and, the due date for infrastructure studies of the Upper Pt. Vicente site.
RECESS AND RECONVENE:
Mayor Long called a brief recess from 3:05 P.M. to 3:23 P.M.
Mayor Pro Tem Stern left the meeting at 3:05 P.M.
Mayor Long announced that there would be a reordering of the remaining items to be addressed, with the Review of Design/Sign Guidelines to be discussed first to be followed by discussion of Abalone Cove.
Review and Provide Feedback on the Vision Plan Design/Sign Guidelines
Rebecca Finn, Urban Designer, Melendrez, provided a slide presentation and Review of the Vision Plan Design and Signage Guidelines.
Tracy Albrecht, Interpretive Specialist, California Coastal National Monument, Bureau of Land Management/U.S. Department of the Interior, presented informational materials regarding signage design to inform the public about the rocks and reefs off of the coast of Rancho Palos Verdes which are a part of California's national monuments and the goals of the organization.
Council discussion included the use of the City logo on signage and architectural style of buildings in the Rancho Palos Verdes Coast Vision Plan.
Ms. Rebecca Finn provided a slide presentation of the proposal for Abalone Cove.
Joan Kelly, Rancho Palos Verdes, asserted that the Abalone Cove and open space areas in the Portuguese Bend Nature Preserve need time to heal from bike use and suggested the Companion Animal Center could be located at Upper Pt. Vicente.
Betty Riedman, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke in support of the use of native plants in the Abalone Cove area and suggested signage for the tidepool areas.
Council discussion included the following topics: rehabilitation of the trails; unintended or unwanted results of increased public access; the relationship between the Public Use Master Plan and the Vision Plan; a catalog of the concerns and desires of the community; community awareness of the Vision Plan; and, the next steps for the Council in the approval process of the Vision Plan.
Mayor Long requested that staff provide the Council with specific issues and decision points, a budget adjustment to complete the Vision Plan, and an outline of the guidance staff needs prior to the adoption of the Vision Plan in February 2008 or later.
Barbara Walsh, Rancho Palos Verdes, asked to whom the public should address their comments.
Mayor Long reiterated that there were comment cards available for suggestions and comments from the public that should be forwarded to Principal Planner Mihranian.
Mayor Long adjourned the meeting at 4:29 P.M.
/s/ Douglas W. Stern
/s/ Carla Morreale