DECEMBER 4, 2007 CITY COUNCIL MINUTES DECEMBER 4, 2007 CITY COUNCIL MINUTES







DECEMBER 4, 2007 CITY COUNCIL MINUTES

MINUTES
RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
DECEMBER 4, 2007

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 7:00 P.M.
 
City Council roll call was answered as follows:

PRESENT:    Clark, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
ABSENT:      Gardiner (excused)

Mayor Long reported that Councilman Gardiner absence was excused due to a family illness.

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, Deputy Planning Director Greg Pfost, and City Clerk Carla Morreale.

FLAG SALUTE:

The Flag Salute was led by Mayor Long.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA:

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to approve the Agenda with Item 14 moved to be heard immediately prior to Item 12.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

CERTIFICATION OF ELECTION:

Certification of Election Results (501)

City Clerk Morreale reported that the County Clerk had certified the results of the General Municipal Election held on November 6, 2007, declaring Steve Wolowicz,
Tom Long, and Douglas W. Stern as receiving the highest number of votes respectively, and noted staff’s recommendation to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2007-123, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, RECITING THE FACTS OF THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION HELD IN SAID CITY ON NOVEMBER 6, 2007, DECLARING THE RESULTS THEREOF AND SUCH OTHER MATTERS AS PROVIDED BY LAW.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to approve the staff recommendation.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

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

Swearing in of newly elected Council Members Long, Stern, and Wolowicz

City Clerk Morreale administered the oath to newly elected Council Members Long, Stern, and Wolowicz.

Council Reorganization

Selection of Mayor

City Clerk Morreale called for nominations for the selection of Mayor.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern provided a presentation reviewing current nomination procedures.

Mayor Long nominated Mayor Pro Tem Stern for Mayor.  Councilman Wolowicz seconded the motion.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

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

Selection of Mayor Pro Tem

Mayor Stern called for nominations.

Councilman Wolowicz nominated Councilman Gardiner to serve as Mayor Pro Tem. 

Councilman Long nominated Councilman Clark to serve as Mayor Pro Tem.

A roll call vote on the nominations reflected the following:

Councilman Wolowicz voted for Councilman Gardiner.
Councilman Clark voted for himself.
Councilman Long voted for Councilman Clark.
Mayor Stern voted for Councilman Clark.

Councilman Clark was selected to serve as Mayor Pro Tem.

CEREMONIAL MATTERS:

Remarks by Council Members

Councilman Long thanked the community and the Council for the opportunity to serve the residents as both a Council Member and Mayor for the past year and shared his gratitude for being re-elected for another four years.  He thanked his wife for her support over the years that he has served on the City Council.

Councilman Wolowicz thanked the residents for their support in his recent campaign for re-election and extended special thanks to his wife and family.  He pledged as a steward of the residents to be fair, impartial, and open-minded in an attempt to reach the best possible solutions for the community.   

Mayor Pro Tem Clark congratulated the newly re-elected Council Members and commented that he looked forward to effectively pursue the business of the community and residents.  He thanked his wife for her continued inspiration and support of his involvement in serving the City.  

Mayor Stern extended congratulations to his colleagues and noted that he looked forward to the next four years because this Council has demonstrated that they participate, listen to each others views, and work well together.  He thanked his wife for allowing him to participate in serving the residents of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.   He highlighted some of the City’s accomplishments including the following:  open space acquisition; additional traffic enforcement and continuing to have one of the lowest crime rates in the County; the successful Storm Drain User Fee initiative; continuing strong fiscal management and better utilization of technology to make public information easily accessible; the opening of Founders Park; progress on the Terranea resort hotel project; and, the successful resolution of lawsuits against the City. 

Mayor Stern presented a gift to former Mayor Long.

RECESS AND RECONVENE:

Mayor Stern called a recess from 7:33 P.M. to 7:57 P.M.

#          #          #          #          #          #          #          #          #          #          #          #

MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS:

None.

RECYCLE DRAWING:

Mayor Stern announced Recyclers of the Month from the November 20, 2007 City Council meeting, Lloyd Yuan and Laverne Strange.  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. 

PUBLIC COMMENTS: 

Michael O’Sullivan, Rancho Palos Verdes, spoke regarding the City’s view ordinance and remedies noting that while many cities were planting trees to combat global warming, Rancho Palos Verdes was removing mature trees to protect views.  He felt many views of unsightly properties could be remedied by planting foliage to screen the views.

Ron Smith, representative on the West Basin Water District Board of Directors, invited the Council to the 60th anniversary celebration of the West Basin Water District.

Mayor Stern commented on an editorial in the Daily Breeze, which indicated that most public officials would do away with the Public Comments section of the City Council agenda if they could, but noted that the City of Rancho Palos Verdes encouraged public input and involvement .

CITY MANAGER REPORT:

City Manager Lehr reported on the City’s receipt of an extensive public records request covering eleven years of documentation, made by an anonymous party through their attorney.  She noted that City Attorney Lynch was trying to keep the scope of the request as narrow as possible in an effort to cap the cost to the City in staff time at $20,000.  She indicated that if the City is compelled to meet the original, broader request, the cost will be many times that and she would have to return to Council with a request for a budget adjustment to cover the cost.  She added that the broader request could potentially affect the City’s ability to continue to provide services in an uninterrupted manner.

Mayor Pro Tem Clark voiced concern that the request mirrored recent campaign issues and was disturbed by the time and money wasted.  He asked if staff could find out who was behind the request and if there was any recourse to recoup money spent on the request under the Public Records Act.

City Attorney Lynch explained that staff had inquired who had made the request and the legal representative declined to reveal their identity.  She added that the Public Records Act would only allow the City to recover reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses such as photocopies or postage.

Further staff and Council discussion focused on whether there were any laws allowing the City to limit the scope of such requests; the burden on staff time and the related expenses to the City to search for and produce the requested records; any knowledge of a request for these particular records prior to the law firm’s request; and, the suggestion that state law should be amended so that it is not punitive to cities.

NEW BUSINESS:

APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:

City Clerk Morreale noted a request to speak on Item 8. 

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to approve the Consent Calendar with Item 8 removed from the Consent Calendar for separate consideration.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

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

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.

Border Issues Status Report (310)

Reviewed the current status of border issues.

Adoption of Ordinance No. 466 - Clarifying that the City’s Redevelopment Plan Does Not Include the Power of Eminent Domain (1900 x 103)

ADOPTED ORDINANCE NO. 466, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CLARIFYING THAT THE REDEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY’S PROJECT AREA DOES NOT INCLUDE THE POWER TO ACQUIRE REAL PROPERTY BY EMINENT DOMAIN.

Contract Addendum No. 2 for the Marymount College Facilities Expansion Environmental Impact Report (1804)

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

September 2007 Treasurer’s Report (602)

Received and filed the September 2007 Treasurer’s Report for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

October 2007 Treasurer’s Report (602)

Received and filed the October 2007 Treasurer’s Report for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

Register of Demands

ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2007-124, 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.

ITEMS REMOVED FROM THE CONSENT CALENDAR:

Contract Addendum No. 2 for the Marymount College Facilities Expansion Environmental Impact Report (EIR) (1804)

Mayor Pro Tem Clark indicated that he would abstain from discussion of all Marymount College items as the proximity of his residence to Marymount presented a defined conflict of interest and he left the dais at 8:25 P.M.

Councilman Wolowicz received clarification that the expenses related to this item were paid for by the applicant.

Shaida Kafe-ee, Marymount College, voiced concern with the increased cost of the additional work to complete the Draft EIR and asked the City to monitor the process and maintain the costs at a reasonable level.

Planning Director Rojas clarified that all costs had been reviewed with Marymount College.

Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to approve Contract Addendum No. 2 to the Agreement for Consulting Services between the City of Rancho Palos Verdes and Robert Bein, William Frost & Associates (RBF) for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Marymount College Facilities Expansion project, in the amount of $126,740.00.

The motion passed with the following roll call vote:

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

RECESS AND RECONVENE:

Mayor Stern called a brief recess from 8:29 P.M. to 8:35 P.M.

Mayor Pro Tem Clark returned to the dais at 8:35 P.M.

#          #         #          #          #          #          #          #         #         #         #         #

Update of Crime Statistics from Lomita Sheriff’s Station Captain Anda (1206)

Captain Ronene Anda, Lomita Sheriff’s Station, provided a report on recent deployment strategies and updated crime statistics.  She asked that the Council consider a commendation for a resident whose observations and action led to the arrest of three suspects involved in a residential burglary.

Council and Captain Anda’s discussion included the following topics: the trend of an increase in burglaries County-wide; drug use as the usual motive in burglaries; redeployment of Sheriff’s resources to combat burglaries; responsibilities and accessibility of the Community Resource Deputies (CORE); successful Neighborhood Watch programs; new camera and database crime prevention technologies and the cost to implement such programs; compliments to the Sheriff’s Department for helping make the City of Rancho Palos Verdes one of the safest in the County; a report on motorcycle racing on the Palos Verdes Drive East switchbacks; and, a reminder to residents to be vigilant, lock their doors, and keep valuable items locked in car trunks, not visible to others.

Councilman Wolowicz suggested that a license plate recognition program and the commendation for the brave woman whose action led to arrests be added to a future agenda.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

Revision “GG” to the Trump National Golf Course Project – Proposed Ficus Trees Near Driving Range [Continued from October 2, 2007] (1411)

City Clerk Morreale reported that the public hearing was continued from the October 2, 2007 City Council Meeting, written protests were included as part of the staff report and late correspondence distributed prior to the meeting, and she had received 13 requests to speak on the item.

Deputy Planning Director Pfost provided a staff report and Power Point presentation updating the Council on the changes since the October 2, 2007 Council meeting.  He reported that the applicant had met with residents, trimmed some of the hedges in the driving range, and was working with the residents in Portuguese Bend Club regarding a lot line adjustment.

Council and staff discussion included the following topics: current height of the hedges; the use of native, drought-resistant plants instead of ficus trees; the use of ficus trees as safety measures; potential problems with the agreement between Mrs. Leeds and the applicant; “significant” view impairment versus any view impairment; and, ficus trees being non-compliant with the conditions of the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the golf course project and the main argument for denial.

Ed Russo, Trump National Golf Club, thanked the Council for the extension on the time period for this matter.  He stated the Trump organization was satisfied with the agreement with Mrs. Leeds; they felt the lot line adjustment made sense, but the exit off of Palos Verdes Drive South did not make sense and they were proposing another entrance; they want to enhance the view for residents by lacing trees; and, their conflict with regard to the non-native vegetation.  He noted that they were open to ideas to make improvements to the area.

Council and applicant’s discussion included the following topics: tree lacing problems; applicant’s intent to block a view that is 360 yards away; types of golf balls used at the driving range; the amount of time it would take to remove ficus trees, if so ordered; the date and circumstance of the original revision to the Conditions of the Conditional Use Permit that added the word “significant” as a qualifier; and, the legal brief that was submitted just prior to the start of the meeting.

Martin Howard, Trump National Golf Course, spoke about drought tolerant vegetation.

Speakers in support of staff’s recommendation were:

Mickey Rodich, President, Ladera Linda Homeowners Association
Barbara Sattler, California Native Plant Society
Robert Voll, Portuguese Bend Club
Lenee Bilski, Rancho Palos Verdes
Uday Patil, Rancho Palos Verdes
Richard Meyer, Rancho Palos Verdes
Jessica Leeds, Rancho Palos Verdes
Mary Casaburi, Rancho Palos Verdes

These speakers voiced the following concerns: protection of the views and vistas; the use of non-native and non-drought resistant vegetation; and, a lack of communication and cooperation by the Trump National organization with surrounding residents.

Mike Vandergoes, Trump National Golf Club, requested time to come to an agreement with the residents so the applicant would not need to seek the removal of the word “significant” regarding views.

Chuck Michel, Trump National attorney, clarified his client’s position on the CUP and the word significant regarding views, and asked the Council to give them time to bring back a modified proposal with changes to be incorporated.

Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the staff recommendation. 

Further Council discussion included the following topics:  the basis of the motion being non-compliance with the native, drought-tolerant vegetation requirement; the request for a further extension as being discourteous to the Council and residents; timelines for removal of the ficus hedges/trees; and, a threat of litigation by the Trump National organization contained in the late correspondence brief.

Mayor Pro Tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to adjourn to Closed Session to discuss the threat of litigation contained in the applicant’s brief.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES:            Clark, Wolowicz, and Mayor Stern
NOES:           Long
ABSENT:      Gardiner

CONVENE TO CLOSED SESSION:

Mayor Stern recessed the meeting to Closed Session at 11:12 P.M. to discuss the threat of litigation mentioned in the Trump National brief.

RECONVENE TO OPEN SESSION:

Mayor Stern reconvened the meeting at 11:17 P.M.

Councilman Long moved, seconded by Mayor Stern, to reconsider the motion to go into Closed Session as a 4/5 vote is required to convene the meeting into Closed Session. 

The motion passed with the following roll call vote:

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

Mayor Pro Tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to recess into Closed Session.
The motion passed with the following roll call vote:

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

City Attorney Lynch reported that Council was recessing into Closed Session to discuss a threat of litigation received at the meeting and there was an immediate need to take action to discuss this item.

CONVENE TO CLOSED SESSION

Mayor Stern recessed the meeting to Closed Session at 11:19 P.M. to discuss the threat of litigation.

RECONVENE TO OPEN SESSION:

Mayor Stern reconvened the meeting to Open Session at 11:33 P.M.

Councilman Long withdrew his original motion with the permission of the seconder, and introduced a new motion.

Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to 1) Deny in concept the applicant’s request to retain the ficus hedges; 2) Instruct Staff to prepare resolutions with findings regarding view impairment and non-native, non-drought tolerant plant species to memorialize Council’s action for adoption at the December 18, 2007 City Council meeting; and, 3) Upon adoption of the resolutions, the applicant will have 3 weeks to remove all ficus trees/hedges near the Driving Range.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

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

CLOSED SESSION REPORT:

City Attorney Lynch reported that no action was taken in Closed Session although the Council did discuss the threat of litigation.

Revision "KK" to the Trump National Golf Course Project - Extension to the Opening of the Driving Range (1411)

City Clerk Morreale reported that the notice of the public hearing was duly published, no written protests were received, and she had received 1 request to speak on the item.

Mayor Stern declared the public hearing open.

Mike Vandergoes, General Manager, Trump National Golf Course, reported on a pending geological report and future necessary geological action.

Council and staff discussion focused on the implications of granting the extension and staff’s contact with the geologist.

Mayor Stern declared the public hearing closed.

Mayor Pro Tem Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Stern, to 1) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2007-125, AS AMENDED, APPROVING ADDENDUM NO. 31 TO ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT NO. 36; and 2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2007-126, AS AMENDED, AMENDING GRADING PERMIT NO. 1541 TO ALLOW AN EXTENSION TO THE OPERATION OF THE DRIVING RANGE TO JANUARY 18, 2008.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES:            Clark, Wolowicz, and Mayor Stern
NOES:           Long
ABSENT:      Gardiner

Councilman Long requested that the agenda be reordered to move up Council Discussion and Suggestion of Future Agenda Items for consideration because he would need to recuse himself from discussion of the one remaining Regular Business item, Extension of the Cable Franchise Agreement.

COUNCIL DISCUSSION & SUGGESTION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:

Councilman Long reported that he would like to see the following items on future agendas: the license plate recognition technology program as described by Capt. Anda; a status report in light of the letter from the Trump organization attorneys regarding the status of the Trump flag issue; and, a report from Finance staff regarding the status and stability of the State of California’s local agency investment funds, in light of the collapse of the Florida local agency investment fund due to that state’s budgetary problems.

Councilman Wolowicz requested the following items be placed on future agendas: storm drain policy issues; active sports field issues; appointment process for a vacancy on the City Council and/or clarification of the appropriate state law; and, a report on pension reform after the State of California’s Special Committee issues its report. 

City Attorney Lynch stated that she would like to address the appointment process for a vacancy on the City Council in a confidential memorandum to Council.

Mayor Pro Tem Clark requested the draft agendas for the Sacramento League of California Cities Legislative Days be placed on the next agenda with items regarding the Eastview school district boundary adjustment into the PVPUSD, and an amendment to the state statute regarding the Public Records Act statute. 

Mayor Stern suggested that Council Members discuss future agenda items with the City Manager in order to have them placed on the schedule.

Extension of the Cable Franchise Agreement (305)

Councilmember Long recused himself from discussion of the item and left the meeting at 11:58 P.M.

Deputy City Manager Petru provided a brief staff report.

Council, staff and consultant discussion focused on the following issues: the loss of control by the City under the new state franchise rules; the erroneous assertion that the state franchise would provide the City more Public, Educational, and Government (PEG) access channels than the current agreement; the net benefit to the City of Rancho Palos Verdes for the five-year extension; and, the ways in which Cox Communications could amend their agreement even if the contract is extended.

Michael Friedman, City consultant, Telecommunications Management Corporation, commented on the availability of three PEG channels under the state franchise agreement.  He noted that the trigger for the use of a third PEG channel would be dependent upon certain required levels of usage. 

Ken Dyda, Rancho Palos Verdes, voiced personal frustration with his Cox cable service and digital television control box.  He inquired about performance requirements under the franchise and welcomed competition to Cox Communications.

Mayor Pro Tem Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Stern, to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2007-127, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, EXTENDING THE 2000 CABLE TELEVISION FRANCHISE RENEWAL AGREEMENT AN ADDITIONAL FIVE YEARS UNTIL OCTOBER 17, 2015. 

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

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

CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:

None.

CLOSED SESSION REPORT: 

City Attorney Lynch reported staff was given unanimous direction (absent Councilman Gardiner) to decline to sell the property to parties listed on the agenda page; and that the City Attorney was directed to send a letter to the affected parties to inform them of Council’s decision.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mayor Stern adjourned the meeting at 12:24 A.M.

 

                                                                                                /s/ Douglas W. Stern
                                                                                                             Mayor

 

Attest:

 

/s/ Carla Morreale
      City Clerk

 

W:\City Council Minutes\2007\20071204 CC MINS.doc