CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
JANUARY 28, 2003
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Long at 7:05 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.
City Attorney Lynch led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Present: Commissioners Cartwright, Lyon, Tomblin, Chairman Long. Vice Chairman Mueller arrived at 7:10 p.m. and Commissioner Cote arrived at 7:25 p.m.
Absent: Commissioner Duran Reed was excused.
Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, City Attorney Lynch, Associate Planner Schonborn, and Recording Secretary Peterson.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Vice Chairman Mueller moved to approve the agenda as amended to hear items 2, 5, 3, 4, 1, and 6, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved without objection.
Director/Secretary Rojas confirmed that the joint workshop with the City Council would be held on February 8, 2003. He distributed 14 items of correspondence relating to Agenda Item No. 3 and 11 items of late correspondence relating to Agenda Item No. 3.
Chairman Long stated that he had received a number of e-mails regarding the RV issue and felt that several of them reflected a misunderstanding of the process and how the Planning Commission would be proceeding. He explained why the item was on the Agenda and that the Planning Commission would be making no decision, rather taking public input and sending a recommendation to the City Council for their consideration.
Commission Tomblin reported that he had a phone conversation with Mr. Ortolano regarding the RV issue.
COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE
1. Height Variation Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00249): 30778 Ganado Drive
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that this item had been continued to this meeting with direction for the applicant to have their architect to the meeting. Unfortunately, the architect and some of the neighbors could not attend the meeting so staff was recommending the item be continued to February 11, 2003.
Commissioner Tomblin moved to continue the item to February 11, 2003, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Approved, (5-0).
2. Encroachment Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00527): 62 Oceanaire Drive
Associate Planner Schonborn presented the staff report, explaining the request was to legalize two pilasters in the public right-of-way. He stated that staff was able to make the necessary findings to grant the Encroachment Permit, and therefore recommends the Planning Commission approve the Encroachment Permit, via minute order.
Commissioner Lyon moved to approve Case No. ZON2002-00527, thereby approving the Encroachment permit, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin. Approved, (5-0).
Commissioner Cote arrived at 7:25 p.m.
3. Proposed recreational vehicle residential storage and street parking regulations (Case No. ZON2002-00580).
Director/Secretary Rojas presented the staff report. He stated that in accordance with the Planning Commissionís direction, staff looked at other Cityís Ordinances, received public comments, and reviewed the suggestions of the Planning Commission from the previous meeting in preparing their proposals. He explained that staff tried to minimize the changes and work with the existing property maintenance chapter of the Code, proposing possible changes that could be made to the chapter. He explained the following proposed changes: Inoperative vehicles, of any kind, are prohibited to be stored on private property unless in an enclosed structure; Vehicles should be parked only on developed properties and not on vacant lots; If RVís, boats, or trailers are parked on the private property, they not overhand into the public right-of-way or into the landscape area; Maintenance requirements for the RVís and motor homes parked on private property; Vehicles be parked perpendicular to the street; Language prohibiting the vehicles from being occupied or used as a second unit; and a definition defining motor homes. He explained that most of the language was similar to the language in the Palos Verdes Estates Ordinance. He noted that the Planning Commission had suggested language the would prohibit or restrict parking the RVís in the front or side setback, however staff has not included that as many RVís are currently in the front or side setback with no problem or complaints to staff. Regarding street parking, he explained that the Traffic Committee was only going to focus on safety and traffic visibility issues. He explained that staff was recommending the Planning Commission review the draft Ordinance which was drafted solely for discussion purposes, take public testimony, and provide staff with direction on how to proceed. Finally, he showed slides depicting several instances of RVís, motor homes, and boats on private property.
Commissioner Long asked staff to explain the existing regulations for parking RVís on private property.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that RVís must currently be parked on a lawfully paved surface and inoperable vehicles must be enclosed and abide by the standards set in the Code.
Chairman Long asked staff if they knew the approximate number of complaints received regarding RVís per year.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that staff receives approximately 4 to 5 complaints per year on RVís on private property. He explained that complaints regarding street parking are usually made directly to the Sheriffís Department.
City Attorney Lynch stated that this staff report was prepared as a preliminary discussion item, and noted that staff was trying to deal with a host of different vehicles that could be parked on private property, and that these vehicles were parked and stored in an appropriate manner. She stated that there had been one complaint from a resident about RVís parked on a private street, and noted that this was not subject to the City Ordinance unless the homeowners go through a particular hearing process and petition process to ask to have the Vehicle Code requirements imposed upon their private street. She stated that the City had received no petition from the residents on this particular street to begin such a process.
Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if they knew how many complaints the Sheriffís Department receives regarding the 72-hour street parking regulations.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that he did not know, but staff would try to request that information from the Sheriffís Department.
Commissioner Tomblin stated that his company owns three RV parks, however he does not get into the sales of RVís.
In looking at one of the slides, Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the large RV parked in front of the home had been looked at as a public nuisance, and felt there may be a safety issue from the Fire Departmentís point of view. He asked if there was anything in the current Code that addresses RVís blocking access of emergency crews to a structure.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that there was nothing addressing that in the current code.
Commissioner Cote asked staff why there was nothing addressing height or size of vehicles parked in the front and side yard setbacks.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that staff has found there are many RVís parked in the side and front yard setbacks with no problems, and rather than try to get into an issue of what is an acceptable height, staff felt there were other ways to regulate the parking of the RVís.
Vice Chairman Mueller stated that there was a reference in the staff report to parking RVís overnight, and asked if there was some intent on the staffís part to limit the time a vehicle can be parked on private property.
City Attorney Lynch answered that the intent was that any vehicle parked overnight or stored would only be on residential property, and was not intending to limit the time in any way.
Commissioner Tomblin stated that he would like to have more input from staff on the possibility of screening the RVís in the front yard and side yard setbacks.
Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if they had considered the possibility of permit parking on the street for RVís that will only be there for a limited time, such as out of town visitors.
City Attorney Lynch answered that staff had started with a preliminary step and was, at this point, trying to keep the process as simplified as possible.
Chairman Long opened the public hearing.
Ralph Ortolano Jr. 3778 Coolheights Drive stated he was speaking on behalf of the Rancho Palos Verdes Parking Rights Coalition and that it was their intention to work together as good neighbors in a community and solve the neighborhood problems. He asked that anything the Planning Commission consider include a recommendation for neighborhood mediation, which he felt would help resolve issues very quickly and maintain dialogue. He also asked that, since HOAs exist to enforce CC&Rís, there be some prerequisite that HOAs, through the Code Enforcement Department, have a showing that there has been an attempt to enforce the CC&Rís. Finally, he stated that he has a neighbor storing a trailer on his undeveloped property for 15 years instead of parking it in his front driveway where all of his neighbors would have to look at it, and noted that would be illegal under what has been proposed. Therefore, he asked that screening be acceptable.
Tom Dosdall 3534 Hightide Drive stated that nobody questions the rights of residents to use the City streets for movement of large RVís and almost everyone uses the 72 hour rule for parking on the street as it was intended. However, a small number of residents flagrantly abuse the regulations and have chosen to permanently store oversize campers on their property, which he felt were eyesores and reduce property values in the area. He stated that on Hightide Drive they had burdened for 2 Ĺ years with dealing with a 31-foot camper parked crosswise across the front yard. He stated that this oversize RV is not used for camping and is a permanently parked across the drive and connected to the house for electricity. He felt the City regulations must be amended to prevent such misuse of residential property, as well as addressing the question of parking such oversize vehicle on City streets.
Annella Dosdall 3534 Hightide Drive stated her biggest concern was the loss of property value when a neighbor has their RV permanently parked in the front yard. She too felt the City needed to address the 72-hour parking on the street, as she felt it was easily abused. She felt that a permitting process should be looked into to see if that could help the situation.
Ernie Giannioses 5344 Manitowac Drive stated that he was representing Good Sam and Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) and was speaking in opposition of more restrictive RV standards. He explained that before purchasing his home he checked his CC&Rís regarding RV parking and after purchasing his home spent quite a bit of money to provide off street parking for his RV that would not be offensive to any reasonable neighbor. Now, because of one incident, he felt that he and other RV owners in the City
May be legislated out of existence. He stated that Good Sam had informed him that are approximately 1,500 to 2,000 RV owners in the City, and noted that 63 percent of RV owners are over the age of 55, however young affluent families are realizing the advantages of camping as a family function. He noted that the Good Sam Club had provided the City with Ordinances that have worked well for over 20 other California cities, and FMCA was willing to do the same. He stated that many RV owners have gone to great trouble and expense to be good and considerate neighbors, and legislating the majority of the Cityís RV owners out of existence to solve the problems of a few shows a City without direction. He felt that the idea of mediation coupled with a few reasonable ordinances that have worked to bring other cities together should resolve the RV parking problem for this City. He stated that health, safety, and welfare were solid reasons for Ordinances, however aesthetics was not. He stated that he has offered before and will offer again to work with the staff, Planning Commission, and City Council for a speeding resolution to the issues.
Commissioner Tomblin asked Mr. Giannioses if there were any recommendations he had that he could make regarding the issue.
Mr. Giannioses answered that the recommendation to have the entire vehicle be on a paved surface was a good recommendation. He stated that there are so many little things that could be done if the City and neighbors all work together.
Chairman Long asked Mr. Giannioses how he felt about long term parking of RVís on streets and if he felt the current Ordinance was sufficient, was it being enforced properly, or should it be changed.
Mr. Giannioses answered that if a person really wanted to play the game, it would be almost impossible to enforce any street parking Ordinance. He cautioned that changing the street parking law would apply to all vehicles, not just RVs.
Tasia Giannioses 5344 Manitowac Drive stated she was adding her voice opposing over regulating RV parking and storage on private property.
Jon Nicholas 30819 Casilina Drive stated he was against proposed restrictions on RVs, and noted that he was a boat owner. He stated that from what he has read, new restrictions would force him to move his boat from his property. He stated that he has called several storage facilities in a ten-mile area and there doesnít seem to be any place available to store it.
Commissioner Tomblin asked what part of the proposed Ordinance was forcing Mr. Nicholas to move the boat from his property.
Mr. Nicholas answered that he would not be able to park his boat perpendicular to the street.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Nicholas what should be done about the large RV shown in the slide.
Mr. Nicholas answered that it was private property and should be left alone, whether or not the neighbors like it.
Shelley Stockwell 30819 Casilina Drive stated that she was vehemently opposed to the City telling her that her choice In her environment, called her home, is considered a public nuisance, not well maintained, sightly or unsightly in nature, an eyesore, inappropriate, or unaesthetic on her own land. She proposed to keep the Ordinances as they stand and for the City to mind its own business.
Mike Nitz 26129 Birchfield Avenue stated that he parks his RV at his home and keeps the RV clean and good condition and is used regularly. He noted that he has never received a complaint or negative comment from any of his neighbors. He agrees that parking restrictions on public streets should be considered and certain restrictions should be applied to RV parking on private property. He stated he has read the proposed Ordinance and agrees with most of it. However, he did not think it was possible to require the RV be parked perpendicular to the property if they have a circular driveway or a garage that doesnít enter directly from the street.
Barbara Franzreb Wanamaker 4 Surrey Lane stated she was against changes to the City Ordinance regarding RVs. She stated that at the last meeting the Planning Commission heard from one of her neighbors regarding the parking of a motor home on Surrey Lane. She stated that she lives directly next to the motor home and has no problem with it. She noted that her neighborhood has very large lots and the impact of an RV is not the same on a half-acre parcel as it is on a small lot. Ms. Wanamaker stated that a neighbor, Sally Adams, had spoken at the last meeting and she wanted to correct some misrepresentations that she made. She did not feel the neighborhood was a mess because of RV parking as Ms. Adams did. She noted that there are only two RVs parked on the street, and one of them was hers. She explained hers was on the street only temporarily while the driveway was being redone. She stated that the RV questions were really one of perception. She stated that she looks at an RV and sees something that facilitates good family times and fun recreation.
Ed Houston 7025 Maycroft Drive stated that his RV is perpendicular to the street, setback even with the face of the garage, and is unobtrusive to anyone. He felt that some of the restrictions being proposed were too restrictive and unreasonable. He felt that parallel parking with some sort of screen might create a conflict with other regulations, such as height restrictions. He felt that the best solution might be a case-by-case basis. He did not thing RVs should overhang the sidewalk.
Bernard Prior 27511 Littlewood Drive stated that he has owned various motor homes for thirty-five years and they have been parked on his property, perpendicular to the street and off of the sidewalk. He stated that he has had no complaints about his motor home the entire time. He felt that motor homes should be dealt with on a case-by-case complaint basis, and if something is truly an eyesore or hazard it should be moved.
Kevin McGowan 2138 Fairhill Drive stated he was in favor of stricter codes for RVs, boats, trailers, etc. He felt that the comment that there were only four or so calls to code enforcement per year regard RVs was very deceptive, and noted that many of the complaints are referred to the Sheriffís Department. He felt RVs are unsightly, decrease neighborís property values, and are a hazard when parked on the street.
Chairman Long asked Mr. McGowan a preferable solution would be to remove the RVs and other vehicles from the street and store them in the front yards.
Mr. McGowan answered that by parking the camper or RV in the driveway, then there would be no way to properly store the car in the garage and it would have to be parked in the street. However, if it was parked legally on the property and properly screened, it would be appropriate.
Joe Stanovich 2028 Trudie Drive felt that the Planning Commission was wasting time discussing RVs, and stated he felt it would be more appropriate to put speed bumps on Trudie Drive to slow people down. He stated that he had spent considerable money and gone through proper City permits to build an area at the side of his house to store his RV.
Jan Van Leeuwen 31033 Hawksmoor Drive stated he was also speaking for June Haskell and stated that they do not own an RV or boat, but was in opposition to any further restrictions to his personal freedom to enjoy the use of his property.
Chairman Long referred to the slide of the large RV parked parallel to the street in the driveway and noted that under the current regulations that RV is parked legally. He asked Mr. Van Leeuwen if he felt that RV was an eyesore or if he felt it was parked satisfactorily.
Mr. Van Leeuwen asked why the RV wouldnít be considered a public nuisance or hazard. He felt that if the City felt that the RV was parked legally he would favor adjustments to the law that would make the RV parked illegally.
Jane Rothschild 3914 Dauntless Drive felt that with only a limited number of complaints received by the City per year, she felt the current codes were effective. She was in favor of arbitration on a case-by-case basis.
Don Ott 3450 Hightide Drive stated he was an RV owner, but felt that the City needed laws to regulate the storage of the RVs. He suggested making a more restrictive Ordinance, but allow for people to apply for a variance if needed.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
At 9:15 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 9:35 p.m. at which time they reconvened.
CONTINUED BUSINESS (CONT)
Wesley Martin 6846 Abbottswood Drive stated that he too has remodeled his property so that he can legally park his RV on his property. He felt the current regulations were reasonable.
Don Schultz 2929 Velez Drive did not think there was anything the City could do that would satisfy everyone. He stated that he has talked to many people in his neighborhood and most are happy with the current regulations. He felt that a lot of attention has been given to this subject mainly because of the way one particular motor home is parked. He felt the City should concentrate on the one particular case and see what they can do with that motor home. He suggested the City take an inventory of their property and see if there isnít a place that can be used for storing RVs.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Schultz if he was representing his HOA.
Mr. Schultz answered that he was not representing his HOA.
Russell LaRose 6111 Arrowroot Lane wondered if the complaints received by code enforcement were made by the same people or if they were several different people. He felt that the item the precipitated all of the commotion and time was really one resident with his motor home parked in his front yard. He agreed that the motor home was an eyesore and sympathized with the neighbors, however he did not think laws should be changed for one specific case.
Commissioner Cartwright did not feel that this was before the Planning Commission because of one RV and noted that the issue came to the attention of the City Council, who directed staff to get input and bring the item to the Planning Commission.
Mike Mallory 5313 Ironwood Street felt the comment made that this was not before the Planning Commission because of one incident was incorrect. He was in favor of some type of mandatory neighborhood mediation. He felt that there really was not a problem with RVs, but rather a lack of communication between two neighbors which has blown into a situation where one became upset and did what he felt he could do to upset the neighbor. He suggested leaving the Ordinance as it is, and felt that any restrictions made to private property parking would only make problems for street parking.
Mark Abrams 24 Oceanaire Drive felt that this proposed Ordinance reminded him of what happened between his neighbor and himself regarding his radio antennas. He felt it was a far better idea to mitigate issues with the neighbors than trying to enact an ordinance just because one person does something that another does not like. He felt that people were entitled to use their property the way they see fit.
Tom Redfield 31273 Ganado Drive stated that there are many RVs throughout the City that are parked in unsightly or dangerous manners. He understood why the RV owners are concerned about the issue tonight, but felt that the true issue has been misrepresented and blown out of proportion. He did not think mediation was a practical idea and he was sure that people with abandon cars or large unsightly motor homes would not work with neighbors or anyone else to solve the problem. He felt this is why the City should step in with stricter regulations.
Henry Falkenstein 6401 Via de Anzar stated that he was not in favor of overly restricting RV parking and was in favor of keeping the current parking regulations. He felt that there should be some mechanism to deal with extreme cases.
Tom Ewald 32315 Forrestal Drive stated that he was a boat owner and had also done a lot of work on his property to responsibly store his boat. He felt that the issue before the Planning Commission was a visual problem, not a safety problem. In looking at the RV in the slide, he felt the issue was the size and disrepair of the vehicle. He questioned how the City could write an Ordinance to address these extreme cases without negatively impacting all of the other people. He felt that the idea of parking the RV on perpendicular to the street would not work for several people who currently have their RVs parked in an acceptable manner. He felt that the solutions must be objective and not subjective and that the solution should be focused on responsibility, reasonableness, and compromise.
Evie Jeung stated that she was representing her uncle, Joseph White, whose RV was depicted on the slide. She stated that her uncle was against the proposed Ordinance as he had bought his residence with the understanding that it was legal to park the RV on the property. She stated that he was not violating any traffic laws or any Rancho Palos Verdes laws. She explained that her uncle uses the RV quite regularly for family trips so it is not permanently parked on the property. She stated that her uncle had tried many times to work things out with the neighbor with no success.
Commissioner Cartwright asked if there was electricity connected to the RV.
Ms. Jeung answered that there is a small generator in the RV.
Commissioner Cartwright asked if it would be possible to park the RV perpendicular to the street.
Ms. Jeung responded that it would be difficult because the front yard is very short.
Commissioner Tomblin asked Ms. Jeung if her uncle would agree to binding arbitration regarding the RV.
Ms. Jeung answered that she would have to speak to her uncle before answering the question.
Chairman Long asked Ms. Jeung if she or her uncle had ever been to any of the neighbors properties to see what the RV looked like from their property.
Ms. Jeung answered that she and her uncle had not.
Joe Lavachek 6910 Grovespring Drive felt that the current parking regulations were very clear and felt the problem may be that they are not being enforced. He felt the proposed regulations were too restrictive and wondered if they too would be enforced.
Chairman Long asked Mr. Lavachek, if the current restrictions were left in place, would he like to have the RV pictured in the slide next door to him.
Mr. Lavachek answered that he would not like to live next to it, however he did not think any property values have decreased in the past five years because of that vehicle being parked where it is.
Chairman Long closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Lyon stated that when he reads the Code he finds a legal way to take care of this situation. He referred to Section 8.24.060 entitled Prohibited Activities and Unlawful Conditions. He read the first paragraph to the Planning Commission and felt that all that needs to be said to the satisfaction of the Code Enforcement official is that there are neighbors to the property in question whose enjoyment of their property is being compromised. The Code Enforcement Official could then declare the RV a public nuisance, which would then get rid of the problem. He agreed that the City needs to proceed with the evolution of fair and reasonable RV parking codes.
City Attorney Lynch stated that she preferred to have a regulation that is sufficiently defined that if the City has to take it to court, a judge is going to stand behind it. She felt that code enforcement cases were some of the toughest cases because criminal and civil judges do not want to deal with them. She explained that there are judges who will deal with view restoration cases because the City has established standards and Resolutions that are adopted by the View Restoration Commission. She did not think the court would stand behind the section quoted by Commissioner Lyon, and felt that it would be a simple manner to amend the code to say that a vehicle will be required to be parked on a paved surface and could not overhang the surface. She felt this would solve many of the problems and have a minimal impact on the rest of the residents in the City.
Commissioner Lyon stated that he had learned a great deal from reading the various e-mails and from the public testimony and while being all for implementing a reasonable law that covers the situation, he was not for over regulating the situation.
Commissioner Cartwright agreed that the e-mail correspondence and public testimony had been very educational, and as a result he felt it would be important to review the minutes of the meeting to review the various comments made before making any type of a decision. He felt that there were RVs in the City that are too big for the Planning Commission to not step up and address, however he was not sure what the answer was. He felt that most of what the staff drafted seems to be acceptable, but he did have some concerns. He thought there should be some way to make the perpendicular parking issue work and also felt the City should think about some sort of permit process for guest parking. He acknowledged that whatever the City decides would dissatisfy some portion of the people.
Commissioner Cote stated that this was a very difficult and important issue and did not think there would be any quick solution. She was very concerned that whatever Ordinance or Codes are currently in place should be enforced, and that whatever amendments are made are enforceable. She felt there were some very problematic situations that needed a remedy, however she did not want to over-react and over regulate the situation or do any kind of quick fix for the situation which may create more problems.
Commissioner Tomblin felt if was very difficult for HOAs to enforce regulations they may have regarding RV parking. He very much liked the idea of mediation and felt it was a very effective way to solve some problems. He hoped that staff, working with Good Sam, would find some resolutions to some of the problems in a more non-restrictive way. He also felt it was important to have variances available for people to apply for, as there are many different situations regarding RV parking, especially on the smaller lots. He liked the idea of permit parking for guests, and also felt that the 72-hour law should be looked at more carefully. He felt screening was a favorable solution as well as allowing some type of special permit to allow RV parking on a non-developed lot.
Vice Chairman Mueller felt that Commissioner Cote expressed most of his concerns. He felt that something good will come from these discussions and that the Planning Commission will be able to come up with a very good solution. He felt that the definition of an RV should be broadened to include other vehicles as suggested in the staff report. He was reluctant to be too restrictive, and noted that if an RV could not be parked on a driveway in such a way it does not overhang the sidewalk or landscaping, he did not think it should then be in the front yard area, even if it was fully enclosed. He did not think it was necessary to regulate the RV to the point of making it something similar to a permanent structure, and would like to leave it as more of a motor vehicle, and it should be treated as a motor vehicle. He did not think it was necessary to require the RV be perpendicular to the street. He did not think the City should create more restrictive provisions just for the sake of doing it, as having only a few complaints a year did not make this a large issue. He felt that minor modifications were needed, and that the City should be cautious and conservative when changing the Codes on RV parking.
Chairman Long felt that the staff proposal has many good ideas in it, but it is only a starting point and will need further work and further input. He was very interested in what the Good Sam representative has to say regarding some of the ordinances of other cities. He felt this presented a difficult set of issues, and these issues vary considerably from property to property and from neighborhood to neighborhood. He stated that whatever decisions are made there needs to be a mechanism to grant a variance to it, and questioned what criteria would be necessary to grant that variance. He added that there should also be a mechanism to grandfather in some of the RVs whose parking may not meet the technical requirements of whatever rules are established, but whose neighbors are not complaining and for whom it would be a hardship to meet the technical requirements. He did not think that the Ordinance should be dependent on CC&Rís or interplay with them, as it should be up to each HOA whether or not to enforce the CC&Rís and how to enforce them. He did not think that the number of complaints received truly reflects the problem, as he felt that many people have just not called to make the complaint. He would like staff to look into screening the vehicles and how that would be accomplished. He liked the idea of temporary permits for visitors. He felt there was an issue with how properties are sold within the City, and would very much like to see a staff report explore the possibility of whether or not the City can prevent real estate agents from selling and representing property as having RV parking that doesnít have suitable RV parking. He felt a new staff report would be necessary and that he would like to hear more comments from residents before he could make any type of a decision.
Commissioner Lyon addressed the questions on page 4 of the staff report, and endorsed only one of the five suggestions, that being no. 4, establishing a maximum number of RVs that can be parked on a property. He recommended that the answer be only one.
Chairman Long felt that some of the suggestions on page 4 would establish rules that are too rigid, especially if there is no variance procedure. He felt that depending on the size of the lot, there could conceivably be more than one RV on the lot. He felt that suggestion number 5 should be explored a little further.
Vice Chairman Mueller agreed that suggestions 1 Ė3 are difficult to enforce in the City because of the size of the lots. He agreed that the size of the RV and the size of the lot should be considered when determining how many RVs could be allowed on the property.
Commissioner Lyon clarified that he was referring to RVs as defined in the staff report, and was not referring to the entire class, only motor homes. He was not including boats, trailers, etc.
Commissioner Cartwright did not agree with the suggestions, and was not sure how he felt about number 4, as he has seen trailers and boats that are larger than some RVs. He therefore was reluctant to put any type of number on how many could be stored on the property. He thought that it would be helpful to ensure that there is some screening of these vehicles.
Commissioner Cote felt that the number of RVs that could be stored on a lot may differ from lot to lot. She did not think any of the suggestions might be needed, as they may be overly restrictive.
Commissioner Tomblin agreed that the suggestions may be too restrictive. However, regarding number 4, he felt that it would be helpful to have some type of restrictions so that if a variance process were in place or a mediation process, there would be some basis to start the process from. He stated that he would also like to see an item in the staff report addressing guidelines or restrictions on street parking.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the Traffic Committee would address this subject.
Director/Secretary Rojas responded that the Director of Public Works had stated that the Traffic Committee deals with RV parking on streets solely on a case by case basis, and it would only be for cases of RVs obstructing traffic or site distances or similar situations and would not consider aesthetics or size of the vehicles. He stated that if this was an issue with the Planning Commission they could recommend to the City Council that the Traffic Committee be involved.
Chairman Long suggested staff explore with the Director of Public Works and/or the Traffic Committee what regulations and guidelines exist for RV parking on streets, and what jurisdiction does the Traffic Committee have and what kinds of issues would it look at if it were to have this item on its agenda.
Chairman Long moved to direct staff to provide an additional staff report and continue the item to the meeting of March 11, 2003, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin. Approved, (6-0).
RECESS AND RECONVENE
At 12:00 a.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 12:10 a.m. at which time they reconvened.
4. Insurance Requirements
Commissioner Cartwright moved to suspend the Planning Commission rules to hear a new item after 11:00 p.m., seconded by Commissioner Tomblin. (6-0).
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that this item was on the Agenda because it is scheduled to be on the joint meeting agenda. He stated that this staff report addresses some of the issues involved with the proposed insurance requirement, however from a staff perspective, if the Commission is seeking an answer to the question of whether or not insurance is available and economically feasible to applicants, then staff recommends that the Planning Commission recommend to the City Council that the City obtain the services of a consultant to do that research, as it is more research than staff can do and it is out of staffís field of expertise.
Chairman Long stated that his concern all along has been primarily, not if the City is adequately insured for its liability, but rather that when there is grading on one private property owners property that there is an exposure to injury to an adjoining property owner and there are not adequate assets to answer for it. He felt that most responsible grading contractors and soils engineers already have insurance that will meet whatever reasonable requirements the City might set. He stated that the only question will be developing the standards for what that insurance will be and whether or not to have the applicant/property owner named as an additional insured.
Commissioner Cartwright recommended looking at Alternative 1 in the staff report which was to receive and file the report, and not take it to the City Council. He felt that the insurance issue was a solution in search of a problem. He acknowledged that there was a feeling that there is some risk to adjacent homeowners under certain circumstances, and insurance might be the appropriate vehicle to deal with that. However, one could not talk about when and where the occurrence would be applied, as there is no criteria, no triggers, and the Planning Commission could not point to any private development where insurance might have been appropriate in the past. He noted that staff could not find any other City who has this type of requirement, and he did not feel staff was enthusiastic about the requirement. He stated that it was not right to say to someone that the Planning Commission was going to approve their project, but feel there is significant risk to the point of requiring insurance. He felt it said there was no integrity in the process, because if there were the project would not be approved. Therefore, he felt the Planning Commission would look foolish if they were to take this item to the City Council, as the City Council would be asking all of the same questions the Commissioners were asking, and the Commission would not have any answers.
Chairman Long responded that if he received a permit to do grading on his property his neighbor, who has no stake in his development, would be required to undertake the risk that the engineer might be wrong. He questioned why the neighbor should have to take that risk, and that is the reason for the insurance. He did not think it would require the City to do more than obtain copies of insurance certificates which are routinely obtained. He stated that by the time the City can articulate precise reasons and conclude why insurance is needed, it is too late by definition.
Commissioner Cartwright felt that a risk of this sort should be assigned by experts, such as engineers, and not left to the Planning Commission or staff to determine if a project is of significant risk to require insurance.
Chairman Long responded that it would be perfectly acceptable for the City Engineer to develop a standard that would say when insurance would be required and when it would not be required.
City Attorney Lynch did not think it was a good idea to have the City Engineer in a position of trying to assign or allocate risk, and was very reluctant to have a staff member try to take on that type of duty. She felt it would be better to set some type of a standard where an applicant passes certain thresholds then a requirement would be established where the contractor and soils engineer would be required to have professional liability policy at a certain amount and the contractor to have insurance of a specific amount. She felt this established a uniform requirement and the Planning Commission would not start to call out particular projects they were concerned about.
Commissioner Lyon agreed with Commissioner Cartwrightís comments and added that by doing nothing, it was not precluding the Planning Commission from putting in an insurance requirement in any case they deemed necessary.
Commissioner Cote stated that she has had difficulty with this issue from day one. She felt this should be a matter of two private property owners in litigation between two private property owners, and did not think this was something the City should become involved with. She had not seen enough cases where she felt the insurance requirement was a real issue and did not think it was necessary at this point in time.
Commissioner Tomblin agreed and added that banks, lenders, and homeowners all make sure there is insurance on the property. He did not think it was an issue that the City should become involved with and supported Alternative No. 1 in the staff report.
Vice Chairman Mueller agreed that the City should not be involved in this issue at this time. He felt that the City will spend more time and funds solving the problem that has not really been identified. He felt the complications would come in private developments where each development is unique, and he did not see how the threshold would be set. In addition, the staff report identified that additional expertise may have to be hired to pursue the issue, he was reluctant to submit the item to the City Council, and was inclined to accept Alternative No. 1 of the staff report.
Chairman Long felt the judgment of his fellow Commissioners was mistaken and explained that the homeowners policies written on most homes has been carefully written by the insurance carriers to exclude the risks most likely to happen, and noted that there is an earth movement and subsidence exclusion in the policies. Therefore, if a neighbor has done grading that has caused a slope failure, which destroys the neighborís home, it will not be covered by the homeowners insurance. He did not think the potential risk should be borne by the adjoining property owner.
Commissioner Cote did not think it should be a function of the City to regulate the insurance coverage of applicants and/or homeowners.
Chairman Long answered that the City was issuing the building permit to the property owner.
Commissioner Lyon moved to adopt Alternative 1 of the staff report, thereby tabling the insurance issue, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Approved, (5-1) with Chairman Long dissenting.
1. Minutes of January 14, 2003
Commissioner Cartwright felt there was a statement he made omitted from the minutes and asked the Recording Secretary to check the tape. On the same page he noted another statement he made that should be added to the minutes.
Commissioner Lyon noted a clarification to his statement on page 6 of the minutes.
Vice Chairman Mueller noted a typo on page 2 of the minutes. On page 6 of the minutes he felt there were some comments omitted and asked the Recording Secretary to review the tape.
Chairman Long noted a typo on page 5 of the minutes, and suggested a clarification to Commissioner Lyonís agreement to the proposed amendment.
Commissioner Cartwright moved to approve the minutes as amended, seconded by Vice Chairman Mueller. Approved, (6-0).
The meeting was adjourned at 12:55 a.m. to the joint workshop on Saturday February 8, 2003.