CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CALIFORNIA
TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMISSION
JUNE 26, 2006
CALL TO ORDER: Chair Shepherd called the meeting to order at 7:15 PM at Rancho Palos Verdes Community Room
ROLL CALL: PRESENT: Chair Shepherd, Commissioners Bilezerian, Klein, Mevers, Parfenov, and Vice Chair Willens (arrived at 8:40 PM)
ABSENT: Commissioner Wright
ALSO PRESENT: Jack Rydell, Traffic Engineer, Wildan; Ron Dragoo, Senior Engineer, Public Works; Sgt. Paul Creason, Sheriff's Department; Frances M. Mooney, Recording Secretary
FLAG SALUTE: Commissioner Klein led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Chair Shepherd requested that the order of Items 1 and 2 under New Business be reversed because Commissioner Willens is on the way to the meeting and will arrive around 8:30 pm.
Commissioner Bilezerian moved to reverse the order of Items 1 and 2 of New Business, seconded by Commissioner Klein.
Chair Shepherd apologized to the Commission and the audience for her tardiness due to illness, and commented that this is the first time she has been late in her history of serving the City.
SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT REPORT:
Sgt. Creason reported that the Sheriff’s Department has been working on seat belt enforcement with a grant through the Office of Traffic Safety that ran May 15 through June 4, 2006. He reported that they wrote 370 seat belt violation citations in the City in over 205 hours. He compared this with 200 hours for Rolling Hills Estates and 261 citations, and 190 hours and 301 citations in Lomita.
Sgt. Creason reported that on Saturday, June 24, 2006 around noon there was a fatal traffic collision on Crestridge going westbound. He explained that an older gentleman driving a Toyota at approximately 65 mph veered off the roadway, slid across the lawn of a church on the north side, pitching the truck sideways. He explained that the truck hit the curb of the church driveway, the truck flipped over and slammed into the trees, and the driver died in the hospital later in the day. The cause of the accident is still being investigated.
Commissioner Mevers asked if seat belt checks have been done in the past and, if so, are the results about the same.
Sgt. Creason responded that they have done seat belt checks in the past, and that the Deputies tell him that it is getting tougher to find violations, especially during the last few days.
Commissioner Mevers asked if violations are age-related.
Sgt. Creason responded that it includes all ages. He stated that many are passengers and drivers not wearing seat belts, and the Deputies do not write many child-safety-type violations.
2. SPEED ZONE SURVEY PALOS VERDES DRIVE SOUTH
1. Retain the existing 45 mph speed limit on Palos Verdes Drive South East between Palos Verdes Drive West and a point 1,500 feet east of Seacove Drive.
2. Establish a 35 mph speed limit on Palos Verdes Drive South between a point 1,500 feet east of Seacove Drive and a point 1,300 feet west of Schooner Drive.
3. Establish a 40 mph speed limit on Palos Verdes Drive South between a point 1,300 feet west of Schooner Drive and the east City Limit.
Traffic Engineer’s Report
Traffic Engineer Rydell reviewed the Staff report. He explained that on Palos Verdes Drive South, between Palos Verdes Drive West and the east City limits at 25th Street in the City of Los Angeles, there are two different speed limits; most are 45 mph, with posted speed limits of 40 mph to the landslide area. He reported that studies were performed in July 2002 and adopted by the City Council in February 2003. Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that the City will typically allow speed limits to be in effect for either five, seven, or ten years per the California Vehicle Code (CVC), following procedures outlined in the 2003 Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and the California Supplement to this manual (which replaced the California Traffic Manual in May 2004). Exceptions to extend five years to seven years would be made if certain criteria are met; and, if there have been no substantial changes in the roadway or development, the speed limits can be extended for up to ten years.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that when roadway conditions change it is appropriate for an agency to re-evaluate the speed limits, and that Palos Verdes Drive South is a good example of that. He pointed out that due to the ongoing and substantial changes to roadway conditions on Palos Verdes Drive South, especially in the vicinity of the Portuguese Bend landslide, it is appropriate to re-survey this roadway to ensure that the legal speed limit is appropriate and safe. He explained that this approach is supported by the MUTCD and California Supplement, which state, as shown at the bottom of circle page 34: “At least once every five years, States and local agencies should re-evaluate non-statutory speed limits on segments of their roadways that have undergone a significant change in roadway characteristics or surrounding land use since the last review.”
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to Attachment A of the Staff report, which was displayed as a slide, and pointed out that it shows the existing and proposed speed limits for the area under discussion. He explained that Palos Verdes Drive South is divided into five distinct segments as follows:
45 mph Hawthorne Boulevard to Seawolf Drive
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that previously all five segments were surveyed independently, and suggested that it is more segments than necessary and could be consolidated into segments that have similar characteristics. He pointed out on the slide that he has divided the area into three segments as follows:
45 mph Hawthorne Boulevard 1500’ e/o Seacove Drive
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to circle page 35 which explains why he believes each segment has similar characteristics, and he reviewed them as follows:
West Segment is generally divided by a raised median and has two travel lanes in each direction. It is approximately 1.8 miles long.
Center Segment is generally undivided and has one travel lane in each direction. It approximately corresponds to the Portuguese Bend landslide area, but extends the existing landslide area segment easterly to enhance awareness of the change in roadway conditions. This segment is approximately 1.4 miles long.
East Segment is generally divided by a raised median and has one travel lane in each direction. It is approximately 1.8 miles long.
Traffic Engineer Rydell pointed out that it is not necessary to review the details of the survey contained in the Staff report. However, he stated that it is necessary for the Commission to understand that the CVC and 2003 MUTCD California Supplement have very specific requirements for how speed limits are set, and it has changed in the past couple of years. He explained that the new requirement is that speed limits are set at the nearest 5 mph of the 85th percentile speed; and, depending on if there is justification based on conditions, the speed may be lowered 5 mph, and he emphasized that the new rules are more restrictive on downward speed. He explained that based on the rules, Staff can justify 45 mph for the West Segment, 35 mph in the landslide area, and 40 mph for the East Segment. He stated that it is important to know that Palos Verdes Drive West, which is west of the adjusted segments, is 45 mph, so it is consistent with that; and in the City of Los Angeles, east of the East Segment, the speed limit is 40 mph and is consistent as well.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to circle page 46 (Attachment B-1), the Engineering and Traffic Survey sheet for the Western Segment, and pointed out that the 85th percentile speed is 52 mph; that based on guidelines Staff would start with a speed limit of 50 mph, which is the nearest 5 mph increment. He read from the comment section of this page as follows:
“This portion of roadway is heavily used by bicyclists creating the potential for significant conflict with vehicles traveling at relatively high speeds. Additionally, the horizontal and vertical curves in the alignment limit visibility for vehicles exiting side streets and driveways onto Palos Verdes Drive South. The speed limit on the adjacent roadway (Palos Verdes Drive West) is posted at 45 mph. Considering these factors and CVC Section 627, which specifies that bicyclist safety be considered in an Engineering and Traffic Survey, it is appropriate to apply a 5 mph reduction from the 85th percentile speed in order to establish a reasonable and safe speed limit.”
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that based on that criteria, 45 mph was recommended for the Western Segment.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to the Engineering and Traffic Survey on circle page 47 which reports on the Center Segment, which is the landslide area, and pointed out that the 85th percentile speed is 38 mph; that based on guidelines Staff would start with a speed limit of 40 mph, which is the nearest 5 mph increment. He read from the comment section of this page as follows:
“This portion of roadway is subject to ongoing landslide movement, creating new dips and bumps on a regular basis. In addition, it is heavily used by bicyclists creating the potential for significant conflict with vehicles. Although the accident rate is lower than average, most accidents involve excessive speeds. Considering these factors and CVC Section 627, which specifies that bicyclist safety be considered in an Engineering and Traffic Survey, it is appropriate to apply a 5 mph reduction from the 85th percentile speed in order to establish a reasonable and safe speed limit.”
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that based on that criteria, 35 mph was recommended for the Center Segment.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to the Engineering and Traffic Survey on circle page 48 that reports on the East Segment, and pointed out that the 85th percentile speed is 47 mph; that based on guidelines Staff would start with a speed limit of 45 mph, which is the nearest 5 mph increment. He read from the comment section of this page as follows:
“This portion of roadway is heavily used by bicyclists creating the potential for significant conflict with vehicles traveling at relatively high speeds. Additionally, the horizontal and vertical curves in the alignment limit visibility for vehicles exiting side streets and driveways onto Palos Verdes Drive South. The speed limit on the adjacent roadway (25th St) is posted at 40 mph. Considering these factors and CVC Section 627, which specifies that bicyclist safety be considered in an Engineering and Traffic Survey, it is appropriate to apply a 5 mph reduction from the 85th percentile speed in order to establish a reasonable and safe speed limit.”
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that based on that criteria, 40 mph was recommended for the East Segment.
Commissioner Klein referred to the Center Segment, the landslide area, and asked about Traffic Engineer Rydell’s comment about the accident rate being lower than average. He asked what is the accident rate on the East Segment on circle page 48.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that on the Eastern portion there are 0.36 accidents per million vehicle miles, which compares to a CALTRANS District 7, which is Los Angeles County, average rate for this type of roadway of 1.98 accidents per million vehicle miles.
Chair Shepherd asked specifically how many accidents were reported.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that for the last two years through April 2006 there were five midblock accidents and three involved speeding.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked about two years versus five years for accident studies.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that the traffic manual talks about two years; that he has actually gone with a larger period when he has low volume and extremely short segments. He explained that the lower the volume and the shorter the segments, the less accuracy; that one accident can make a huge difference, so he typically goes three to five years on those. He explained that on this one (East Segment) there are fairly high volumes at 10,500 as of 5/11/06, a segment length of 1 ½ miles, and two years is standard as specified in the traffic manual.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked when evaluating accidents, whether Staff holds as much credence to a single vehicle drunk driver accident as they would for someone who is speeding and hits another car.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that if it is a midblock accident, Staff counts that as an accident and identifies it as a DUI or appropriate category. He explained that he uses the accident rate as an order of magnitude; that if the expected accident rate is 1.98 and Staff gets 1.6, it is about where expected, however, if it is 4.0, Staff would see that differently. He explained that in this case they are already applying a five-mile reduction, so the accidents do not come into play because Staff could not have changed the speed limit from what they recommended.
Commissioner Bilezerian explained that he wanted to address the concern because sometimes DUI accidents are considered as unpreventable compared to a rear-end accident which involves driver awareness, and he wanted to be sure that there is no reason to change it based on the merits.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that this is something he would definitely consider if that were the case. He explained that if the speed limit was not being reduced for any other reason than DUIs comprising a majority of the midblock accidents, Staff would definitely have to consider that because, as Commissioner Bilezerian said, there is not much that can be done except enforcement because Staff cannot engineer around it.
Commissioner Mevers asked, after completion of the traffic survey and selection of a speed limit, if is it mandatory to use that speed limit.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that those are the guidelines/requirements in the California Traffic Manual.
Commissioner Mevers questioned whether it is a requirement, not a guideline.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that the manual is very instructive on how to set speed limits, and it is a requirement. He explained that if the City wants to use radar or laser enforcement the CVC, to make sure there is not a speedtrap, requires that an Engineering and Traffic Survey be conducted in accordance with the guidelines of the State agency, which explains very clearly what is required in conducting a traffic survey.
Commissioner Mevers reiterated, asking if Staff must use the speed limit determined by the survey.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded no, that the City does not have to use that speed limit, commenting that most agencies do not; but they cannot enforce by radar or laser if that speed limit is not used.
Commissioner Mevers referred to the landslide area, and stated that from his experience traffic speeds are not consistent because of construction projects; he asked if Staff would take another measurement after the current construction when traffic speeds up.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the locations where measurements within the three segments were taken were very carefully determined; that he looked for a location where the vehicles are traveling at free-flow conditions and are not affected by horizontal curves, vertical curves, stop signs, and traffic signals, and commented that this information is contained in the report. He stated that if this is not done, tickets could be thrown out of court because radar was taken where drivers had to slow down to 20 mph, and that is not indicative of the majority of the speed of free-flow traffic in that segment, using going over a speed hump as an example.
Commissioner Mevers questioned if Traffic Engineer Rydell’s opinion is that, even when the road is in good repair, that speed would be the same and would not change.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that he does not believe that the location where he took the measurement is significantly affected by the weekly changes in roadway conditions.
Commissioner Mevers clarified that he does not mean weekly; he means that every two or three years a lot of money is spent to secure that road, make it smooth and easy to traverse, and speed does increase. He explained that what he hears is that Traffic Engineer Rydell thinks that the speed will not change on that particular section of the road even though the road is repaired and is now nice and smooth.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that he cannot say that because he has no idea what kind of roadwork may be done two or three years from now. He explained that if something significant is done in two or three years, he would come back to the Commission to request a re-evaluation.
Commissioner Mevers stated that he is surprised that on the Eastern Segment Staff reduced the speed because there are so few accidents reported and it is multi-lanes; he acknowledged that there is bicycle traffic and people jogging on weekends, but there is no apparent history of any severe problems.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that Staff had several reasons for reducing the speed: (1) There is one lane in each direction separated by a median; (2) There are conditions where more motorists come into Palos Verdes Drive South, especially because of Trump golf course. He explained that the accident information is for two years through April 2006; that two years ago they did not have that issue with the golf course and the same kind of traffic coming in from Ocean Trails. He stated that it might not be reflected in the accident history, but because of the bicycle lanes going from lane to route, he believes it is appropriate to keep the speeds lower. In addition, he explained that there is a 35 mph zone on one side, which he believes the Commission agrees is appropriate; there is a 40 mph zone in the City of Angeles, and consistency is important. He stated that it makes more sense to him to go from 40 mph to 35 mph than to go from 40 mph to 45 mph to 35 mph to 45 mph, which constantly changes the motorists expectations of the speed limits.
Commissioner Mevers commented that Los Angeles has a reason for their reduced speeds in the area because there are houses on both sides; they actually have a place where people park Recreational Vehicles (RVs) on the side of the road. He stated that he can see why they would want a reduced speed limit, but once drivers cross into Rancho Palos Verdes, there is a clear roadway. Commissioner Mevers stated that he gathers what Traffic Engineer Rydell is saying is that he expects to see the accident history go up in the future if they do not reduce the speed.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that he is not saying that at all; he is saying that conditions have changed during the period when the accident history was evaluated and may continue to change. He pointed out that there are new turnouts on Palos Verdes Drive South, there is additional traffic, and there is substantial bicycle traffic on this roadway. He explained that Staff wants to be consistent with the speeds on either end of the segments, and when adding these factors together it is justified to apply the 5 mph reduction to the 85th percentile speed of 40 mph.
Commissioner Mevers stated that he could appreciate that.
Commissioner Parfenov referred to the 24-hour speed measurements, and asked if the measurements were taken with plastic tubes or radar.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that measurements were taken with pneumatic tubes for 24 hours, and there is a reason for that. He stated that he used hand-held radar to take the other speeds because they want free-flow conditions. He explained that pneumatic tubes are fine to take speed counts that have low volumes and when there is not a lot of platooning. He explained that Palos Verdes Drive South experiences significant amounts of vehicle platooning where vehicles are in groups, and that is not free-flow. He explained that the only car that is free-flow is the first car, and everyone else is being abducted by the car in front of it. Because of that, he explained that he would rather use the hand-held radar so he can get cars traveling at free-flow conditions that are not being influenced by other vehicles. He stated that it is a more accurate method of determining a speed limit for this type of roadway.
Commissioner Parfenov referred to Traffic Engineer Rydell’s comment about consistency with speeds on other streets, mentioning Palos Verdes Drive West (45 mph), Western, Palos Verdes Drive East approaching Miraleste (30-35 mph), and asked how they would compensate for each other.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that the streets mentioned are intersecting streets—not a continuous travel ground.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked if there is any concern with going from 45 mph to 35 mph coming from west to east.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that he has given this much thought, and would be more comfortable if it was not a 10 mph difference, but feels very strongly that the landslide needs to be 35 mph, and 40 mph is not in the best interest of the City from a safety standpoint.
Chair Shepherd opened the Public Hearing.
Bob Mucha, 32460 Searaven Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes 90275, stated that he is a member of the Ladera Linda Homeowners Association and is currently the Outreach Chairman, but is not at the meeting acting for them because they have not taken votes. He explained that he is here to get information specifically to take back to them to explain what the Commission has explained. Mr. Mucha commented that he wished some of this had been on the website so that he could have come prepared, but believes he understands the Commission’s explanation. He stated that the homeowners are concerned primarily with the intersection of Palos Verdes Drive South and Forrestal, explaining that it is the critical area; that there are traffic lights, speed concerns, traffic calming concerns, pedestrian concerns, and many others that were brought up at their annual meeting. He stated that the HOA had no answers for the homeowners, so he is here to get some answers for his constituents. Mr. Mucha stated that his position as an individual, based on what he sees, is that regulations or rules established by good standards or guidelines that are published are the way to go, and what he has heard today says that—that Staff has established a survey and it sounds like these have been established that way. He stated that would be his personal position on the issue, and he would personally recommend that the new traffic limits be adopted. Mr. Mucha commented on a related traffic-speed posting in the slide area, saying that there are three different yellow speed caution signs in the slide area. He strongly recommended that those signs and speed limit signs be changed to something uniform or precautionary measure; or that no limit be established if there are no guidelines for establishing a speed limit of 10, 15, or 20 mph advisories and they should be eliminated. He suggested a simple sign reading, “Travel at your own risk” or words to that effect, because they do not know where the slide bump will occur next, and how do you relate 20 mph to a bump.
Chair Shepherd closed the Public Hearing.
Commissioner Mevers referred to Mr. Mucha’s comment about a warning on the slide area, and suggested that most people who drive on that roadway on a daily basis do not need a warning because they know how bad it is. He stated that he is certain that people who are not used to it really do not suspect what they are getting into, and he does not know whether that is appropriate or not.
Senior Engineer Dragoo explained that Staff is looking into warning signs in the slide area.
Tom Redfield asked that the Staff and Commissioners speak up much louder so the audience can hear because he gets about half of what is said.
Chair Shepherd asked that if the audience could not hear, stop them and let them know.
Commissioner Klein referred to e-mail from Barry Hildebrand who suggested that the speed limit be set at 45 mph throughout all three segments, saying that traffic conditions alone in the Portuguese Bend area will limit the speed of vehicles. He stated that he wanted this noted in the Minutes.
Chair Shepherd asked how Staff feels about keeping one consistent speed limit throughout this area from east to west.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that Staff would not use one consistency because there are very different situations, and asked if Chair Shepherd is talking about landslide signing.
Chair Shepherd responded that the e-mail was based on maintaining a consistent speed limit across the three segments, and she is asking how Staff feels about that.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that, because the roadway characteristics change so substantially across the three segments, he believes it is appropriate to have separate speed limits unless the surveys produced different results. He explained that the landslide is 40 mph, and he does not believe it is in the City’s best interest to increase that speed limit; that legally they could not reduce the Western Segment below 45.
Chair Shepherd stated that, from the Staff standpoint, they are going from two separate mph to three. She asked what that does to the psyche of the motorist and the ability to enforce when there are three changes in that area as opposed to the previous two. She asked if it is setting up a speedtrap.
Sgt. Creason responded that he does not think it is a speedtrap, and it would not be fair for the Deputies to sit where the speed limit changes from 45 mph to 35 mph either, and common sense is called for when issuing citations.
Chair Shepherd suggested that the City is hoping that the Deputies will have common sense, and it would not be standard operating procedure.
Sgt. Creason explained that if it does happen, he is sure the person will go to court and fight it, and the Sheriff will let the judge decide.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that these speeds are consistent with the guidelines, he believes they are appropriate and safe, and he believes 40 mph for the East Segment is an appropriate speed limit based especially on the bicyclists’ safety. He explained that is specifically why the CVC was changed to add pedestrian and bicyclist safety as something for local agencies to consider in establishing speed limits.
Chair Shepherd stated that she is just expressing the concerns of residents who travel the switchbacks and the increased speed over the years at the intersection of Palos Verdes Drive South and Palos Verdes Drive East, and they have discussed eventually installing some type of traffic signal. She suggested that slowing it down would make some people happy.
Commissioner Parfenov referred to comments about warning signs on the Portuguese Bend landslide area and asked if Staff could elaborate on that.
Senior Engineer Dragoo responded that Staff is evaluating those signs now, and there may be changes that come forth to the Commission, but he does not know what the changes might be.
Commissioner Parfenov asked if they will be consistent so that there will be no overlap of speed limit signs.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that this issue would come before the Commission when it is ready. He reported that there is current litigation against the City in this area.
Commissioner Klein commented that on the eastern part of Palos Verdes Drive South there are wide bike lanes since the road was reconstructed, and asked if Staff still thinks bicycles are that much of an issue on that reconstructed portion of the roadway.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that it is an issue because of the number of bicycles, and explained that part of that area is bike routes rather than bike lanes; that there are areas where width was not sufficient to provide a bike lane. He added that the bicyclists ride two and three abreast.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked if the speed limits being proposed, if implemented, would be legally defensible in most cases once the Deputies start citing drivers.
Traffic Engineer Rydell said he is confident that they are legally defensible.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked how motorists will be advised when these changes are made, aside from just posting a new sign, and suggested a grace period for enforcement or a message sign that says “New Speed Zone Ahead”.
Sgt. Creason explained that he informs the Deputies when this type of change is made and they will review the surveys. He stated that the Deputies would usually give warnings for a couple of weeks.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the new speed limits can be put in the newspaper, and Staff could put up signs if the Commission requests them. He explained that sometimes when new “Stop” signs are installed, Staff will put flags on top, and this could be done with the speed limit signs for a while.
Commissioner Bilezerian offered to make a Motion, but asked if the litigation that Traffic Engineer Rydell mentioned could affect what he is proposing.
Traffic Engineer Rydell said no, because what he is proposing is a legal speed limit that is appropriate based on changing conditions, and the other issue involves warning signs.
Commissioner Bilezerian moved that the Commission adopt Recommendations 1, 2, and 3, and that any existing warning signs within the segment proposed for 35 MPH be investigated and modified if necessary in accordance with the proposed speed limit, seconded by Commissioner Parfenov.
Commissioner Klein stated that he is in favor of Recommendations 1, 2, and 3; he is not in favor of warning advisory signs because, if he is right, they have nothing to do with the enforceable speed limit due to road conditions about to occur or limited visibility. He suggested that advisory signs are based on another set of criteria, and he does not think the Commission should mix those two issues.
Commissioner Bilezerian responded to Commissioner Klein’s concern and suggested that the Commission might want Staff to consider advisory signs separately from the issue of speed limits and correct them if necessary.
Commissioner Klein explained that the Motion implies that the warning signs are tied to the speed survey, and stated that they are two separate things.
Chair Shepherd asked if Commissioner Bilezerian would like to amend his motion.
Commissioner Klein suggested that if “in accordance with the proposed speed limit” was deleted the Motion would be satisfactory.
Commissioner Bilezerian amended his Motion to state that the Commission adopt Recommendations 1, 2, and 3, and that any existing warning signs within the segment proposed for 35 MPH be investigated and modified if necessary, seconded by Commissioner Parfenov.
RECESS AND RECONVENE:
The Commission recessed at 8:05 pm and reconvened at 8:20 pm.
1. ON-STREET PARKING OF VEHICLES
1. Consider the comments contained in the attached e-mail from Mr. Ernie Giannioses, representing the Rancho Palos Verdes Parking Rights Coalition, Good Sam, and Family Motor Coach Association (Attachment H).
2. Consider approval of the attached on-street parking restriction ordinance as modified per direction from the Traffic Safety Commission on April 24, 2006 (Attachment A).
3. Consider the merits of the attached on-street parking restriction alternatives that were rejected at the April 24, 2006 Traffic Safety Commission meeting and prepare opinions for each (Attachments B-D).
4. Forward the approved ordinance and the rejected alternatives, with opinions for each, to the City Council for adoption.
Traffic Engineer’s Report
Chair Shepherd asked that Staff provide a PowerPoint handout of the slides in their agenda packet in the future, even if it is waiting at the table on the day of the meeting.
Traffic Engineer Rydell mentioned that the Commission reviewed this issue in April 2006 and approved one of the four draft ordinances that Staff submitted. He explained that the key points of the approved draft ordinance were:
That oversized vehicles could park for 72 hours;
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that, to avoid confusion, the last caveat is included to make sure that anyone with a very large lot cannot keep the vehicle in front of their house all the time—that they must get it off the street. He explained that as part of the approval process the Commission asked Staff to do the following:
1. Make a redefinition of oversized vehicles such that any combination of vehicles that were attached would be included;
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to circle page 6, Attachment A, and stated that this is the ordinance the Commission approved, and he pointed out where the changes were made on circle page 6 under “Definition of Oversized Vehicle” and on circle page 7 under “Prohibition”, Section C. He reported that the same changes were made as appropriate in the ordinances that were rejected so they will be current with what the Commission requested for the approved ordinance.
Chair Shepherd commented that the attachments are not consistent with the attachments provided in April; that Attachment A to this Staff report was Attachment D to the April Staff report. She asked why the attachments were not kept the same.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that it seemed appropriate to him to place the approved ordinance in priority order.
Chair Shepherd stated that Attachment D should be Attachment D at all meetings because it was confusing and time-consuming for her to identify the ordinance that was approved in the new packet because the identification letters were changed from D to A. She explained that because she had not met with Staff she was not aware that it was changed, so she had to read all the ordinances a couple of times to identify the approved ordinance. She explained that she understands what Traffic Engineer Rydell was thinking, but suggested that Staff keep it consistent in the future.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to the Commission’s request for signage ideas, and presented slides with samples and recommended one of them based on size and clarity for use in the City. He presented a slide with fees charged by the City for various services and referred to Attachment F for additional information regarding fees charged by other cities. He read from circle page 4, paragraph 4, “Based on these results, it is Staff’s opinion that any fee established that is consistent with other agencies will not be prohibitively expensive or punitive towards the owners of the oversized vehicles. Therefore the permit fee should not be considered as a significant factor in determining the merits of a permit process…”
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the Commission asked Staff to work with the local Rancho Palos Verdes Parking Rights Coalition, Good Sam’s Club, and Family Motor Coach Association, and he explained that Staff received an e-mail response from Ernie Giannioses, which is included as Attachment H on circle pages 32 and 33. He summarized Mr. Giannioses comments from the e-mail as follows:
He could not approve or support the alternative that was agreed upon by the Traffic Safety Commission;
Traffic Engineer Rydell reported that Staff addressed the issues tasked by the Commission in April, and reviewed the recommendations presented in the Staff report.
Chair Shepherd stated that she made an error or misunderstood the draft ordinance that she voted for in April—that what she voted for needs modification. She referred to Attachment A and explained that her understanding was that one permit would last for six months. She explained that what she understands as she rereads is that a vehicle is allowed to park for 72 hours, move one-tenth of a mile, return for 72 hours, and continuously repeat the cycle. She stated that she is not clear—that six months seems to be a very long time based on research she has done regarding other cities. Chair Shepherd offered copies of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s draft ordinance regarding oversized vehicles to the Commissioners and Staff, and explained that their City Council approved preparation of a draft in April with a vote of 14-0. She stated that the Legislative Analyst recommended that the Commission look at Santa Clarita’s ordinance, and she offered copies of their ordinance and a brochure that explains the ordinance. Chair Shepherd expressed confusion with the 72 hours; that what the Commission voted on does not seem to be much different from the current ordinance, and said it seems to be a waste to go forward to City Council with Attachment A. She stated that if she voted for the ordinance and did not understand what she voted for, she is asking for clarification.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that a six-month permit means that every six months a resident must get a new permit to park an RV, during which time they are allowed to park their oversized vehicle in front of their residence for a period of 72 hours. He stated that they must move it at least one-tenth of a mile for 24 hours—they must get it off the street—because they can only park it in front of their residence for 72 hours.
Chair Shepherd stated that, in reading it, that was not clear when she read the draft in April. She explained that she is confused, and emphasized for the record that possibly, only she is confused, but she is not clear about what this is saying, and she asked Traffic Engineer Rydell to help her understand. She explained that she understands that this is 72 hours, that the resident gets one permit every six months to park their vehicle for 72 hours for travel activity, and at the end of 72 hours it must be moved at least one-tenth of a mile.
Commissioner Klein emphasized that it still must be in front of their residence.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that that is the reason the vehicle must be moved off the street.
Chair Shepherd argued that this is not spelled out in the ordinance, and asked that it be read to her.
Traffic Engineer Rydell referred to circle page 7, under “10.XX 020 Prohibition”, Item 1.
Chair Shepherd read the section:
“1. Adjacent to the residence of the person who owns or has possession, custody or control of the vehicle for a period not to exceed 72 consecutive hours upon issuance of a permit by the City Public Works Department and while conspicuously displaying the permit in the front windshield. A vehicle shall be deemed to be in violation of the permit when such vehicle has not been moved more than one-tenth of a mile under its own power from its original stopped position for a period not less than 24 hours.
Traffic Engineer Rydell reiterated that no one shall park an RV on the streets of Rancho Palos Verdes unless it is adjacent to their residence for a period of 72 consecutive hours. He repeated the provisions that they must have a permit, and the vehicle will be deemed in violation of the permit when the vehicle has not been moved at least one-tenth of a mile under its own power for a period of not less than 24 hours.
Chair Shepherd explained that she is looking for an ordinance that is very simple and easy to understand, and that this one, to her, does not meet that requirement. She stated that the resident moves it one-tenth of a mile and asked someone to tell her what happens after that—it is parked somewhere else; “where is it?”
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that it is off the street.
Chair Shepherd emphasized that it does not say “off the street”.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that it does not need to say that.
Chair Shepherd argued that it has to say that.
Traffic Engineer Rydell reiterated that the vehicle must be parked in front of the resident’s house, it must be moved one-tenth of a mile every 72 hours; that it cannot be parked in front of the house because the lot is not one-tenth of a mile long.
Chair Shepherd stated that it makes sense to Traffic Engineer Rydell as an engineer, but in layman’s terms, someone reading this could challenge it because it is not consistent to what he is saying.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that this wording was taken from other agencies and that is why Staff gave the Commission this version.
Chair Shepherd asked that the ordinance be cleaned up and made more specific, stating that it is open to interpretation to her.
Commissioner Klein asked if there is some other provision in the law that says that an oversized vehicle must be parked on the person’s property such as in the back yard or on the side of the house or in front of the house.
Chair Shepherd responded yes, by City ordinance.
Commissioner Klein stated that that is what is assumed here; that this is granting an exception in the six-month permit process to park in front of your house.
Chair Shepherd stated that she does not read it to say that.
Commissioner Klein added that this exception is only to allow residents to park for 72 hours, and that is the intent of this; because the first part of this is that there is a City ordinance that says you must park it off street, and now this grants an exemption from that ordinance.
Chair Shepherd asked if they are telling her that this permit allows an RV owner to park their vehicle for only 72 hours in a six-month period.
Commissioner Klein said no.
Chair Shepherd clarified that it is allowing residents to bring the vehicle back in front of their house.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that they could bring it back after 24 hours.
Commissioner Klein emphasized that they cannot move it any place, other than off street.
Chair Shepherd pointed out that if they move it for 24 hours and then can move it back for 72 hours, and then they move it again for 24 hours, and keep moving it back after 24 hours, it is not getting the vehicle off the street.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that Staff gave the Commission alternatives that are more restrictive.
Chair Shepherd explained that she understands that, and that is why she is saying she was not clear about this one, and therefore she voted for this one thinking it was something else. She explained that she is trying to clarify if anyone else voting to approve this ordinance had the same understanding that she did, and if so, they were all in error, acknowledging that perhaps the Chair is the only one in error. She explained that based on what she received from Staff, she did not understood it to say that it is ok during that six-month span for the vehicles to repeatedly come and go. She emphasized that that was not what she wanted to vote for, and therefore she is not in agreement with that if that is what this ordinance says. Chair Shepherd explained that that is the only element of it that she disagrees with, and everything else is ok.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked if the Commission has the option to modify the ordinance.
Chair Shepherd responded that the Commission could modify this ordinance or look at the others.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that of the four ordinances that Staff submitted previously, they are not recommending any one of them over the other.
Chair Shepherd distributed a matrix that compares the ordinances, explaining that she prepared it so she could see the elements of each one on one page just for her own clarification. She explained that City of Los Angeles had something similar with pros and cons.
Senior Engineer Dragoo explained, for the benefit of those not familiar with this item from the beginning, that Staff’s position on this item before tonight was that the current method of enforcement of parking of oversized vehicles on the streets of Rancho Palos Verdes is adequate. He stated that Staff does not receive complaints in-house and they have not recommended to this body, and will not recommend to the City Council, that the City make a change to the ordinance currently in place, based on the lack of complaints.
Commissioner Bilezerian commented on the lack of complaints that previously led to discussions regarding residents not calling because they feel intimidated because the City did not respond; therefore, why should they call. He also mentioned the possibility that other cities will be enacting ordinances, and that, unless Rancho Palos Verdes does something, it might become a dumping ground. Commissioner Bilezerian reviewed previous actions, explaining that the Commission decided to recommend something rather than do nothing and approved Attachment D at the April meeting, which is before the Commission tonight as Attachment A, so that they could address the concerns of everyone who has an RV. He reviewed the provisions of Attachment A and information provided in the previous Staff report, including the cost of signs and samples of signs located in other cities, commenting that the Commission wanted to take a proactive approach.
Chair Shepherd agreed, except that the approach she voted on was not proactive because it does not eliminate the vehicles from the streets, it does not do anything that the other cities are doing or are planning to do. She explained that it does not solve it for her, which is giving people the right to service their vehicle and getting the vehicles off the street. She stated that there is no ordinance she has seen in any City around Rancho Palos Verdes, including Santa Clarita, which allows Saturday, Sunday, and holiday parking in front of the resident’s home to prepare for travel, but not during the week unless they have a permit for 72 hours.
Commissioner Klein asked if an RV, per the Municipal Code, does not have a decal, can it be ticketed immediately.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that a resident must have a permit or they are not allowed to park the vehicle—no one is allowed to park and ride.
Commissioner Klein clarified that this would prevent Rancho Palos Verdes from becoming a dumping ground—you could not bring your vehicle and park it.
Chair Shepherd asked what it takes to issue a ticket; is it a citizen’s call, is it two visits, and she referred to one that says two visits, two hours to park to issue a citation.
Commissioner Klein explained that that is for a vehicle with a decal that is parked for more than 72 hours.
Senior Engineer Dragoo referred to circle page 9, Item G, “Vehicles parked in violation of this chapter may be cited immediately…”
Chair Shepherd added that they could be cited with a ticket, and that the Commission must establish fees for that, and at what point they can be towed. She stated that this must be decided later.
Commissioner Bilezerian stated that the fine is $75 for each violation.
Chair Shepherd responded that it could change in this case.
Commissioner Klein commented that people could violate this ordinance in many ways: (1) for not having a decal; (2) having a decal but parking for more than 72 hours, and there are different mechanisms to deal with that.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the draft ordinance approved by the Commission in April was the least restrictive of all those submitted by Staff.
Chair Shepherd commented that she realizes that now, but it was not her intent.
Commissioner Klein explained that he was trying to respond to the concerns of one of the speakers by allowing parking on the street for some period so the vehicle could be serviced.
Chair Shepherd opened the Public Hearing.
Ernest Giannioses, 5344 Manitowoc Drive, explained that he is here representing many people and asked if he could have additional time.
Chair Shepherd responded that he could have additional time only if other speakers donated their time to speak.
Mr. Giannioses explained that initially he agreed with draft D, but after further evaluation and discussion with many people in the Parking Rights Coalition, he stated that it is way too overboard for the needs of the City. He explained that, as is stated, there are one or two complaints a year, and if people were unhappy, they would complain and the complaints would be registered. He recognized that there is opposition here and he believes the Commission should do whatever possible to appease people. Mr. Giannioses’ opinion is to consider what banning on-street parking will do to many people; that it will change a way of life for many people, and many cannot afford $200-plus a month for storage if they can even find it. He stated that the Commission will force many people to change a way of life they have had for many years, that many people are on a fixed income, and not everyone in the community is wealthy. Mr. Giannioses offered a proposition that he believes has almost everything the City needs and requires, except an all-out ban on oversized vehicles. He explained his proposal as follows:
Require registration of the vehicle so the City will know if it belongs here;
Mr. Giannioses believes that, although it was said in jest, many people do not care how it will affect residents; that Rancho Palos Verdes should be sophisticated enough that if there are certain areas, streets, or neighborhoods that do not want RV parking, that street could be posted. He suggested that some streets are narrow, RVs should not be parked there, and signs could be posted, adding that it will be a very small percentage. He commented that $10,000 for signage is what the City will spend for the Engineer to inspect applicants for permits. He suggested that, instead of spending money for something like this when there is no call for it, no complaints, and no reason for it, obviously someone does not care because they are not listening to the community. Mr. Giannioses concluded, saying that he thinks they can look at this, solve the problems, and work together without forcing people to give up a lifestyle they have had for many years.
Chair Shepherd clarified that she was the one that said to Senior Engineer Dragoo that she did not care what Staff said in jest; that she did not say that she does not care about the residents or RV owners.
Mr. Giannioses responded that he heard what she said but other things that were said lead him to believe that the City does not want RVs on the street and asked if he is wrong.
Chair Shepherd responded that Mr. Giannioses would know by how she votes, and her position is not secret; however, it is not because she does not care about the residents of Rancho Palos Verdes, and the only reason she is sitting in her chair is because she cares and it is not a personal issue. Chair Shepherd explained that she had Staff try to contact him for a one-on-one meeting, but she understands that he was not available and he says they were not cooperating. She explained that she tried to do that for several weeks.
Mr. Giannioses questioned in surprise that Chair Shepherd tried to contact him. He stated that he sent an e-mail to Chair Shepherd because he had twice called Mr. Dragoo’s office and asked for an audience with him and asked him to return his call and he received no call. He stated that he received Chair Shepherd’s e-mail and he responded immediately and said yes of course I am interested, please have someone contact me, and no one contacted him.
Chair Shepherd explained there was a the miscommunication, and explained that when she sent back that e-mail she was trying to get in touch with you, and if he tried to send something to her she did not receive it.
Mr. Giannioses questioned that she did not receive his e-mail.
Chair Shepherd responded that she did not. She clarified that she received the first e-mail, but not the response to say that he wanted to meet. She explained that she called Senior Engineer Dragoo a couple of times to ask him; in fact she explained that her e-mail said Senior Engineer Dragoo will get in touch with you, and she asked Mr. Giannioses to contact him for a meeting, and he said he had not heard from you. Chair Shepherd apologized for whatever miscommunication occurred, and assured him that she waned to meet with him to try to develop some kind of partnership to find out his position and whom he represents before this meeting.
Mr. Giannioses explained that he and Senior Engineer Dragoo spoke at the April meeting and they exchanged phone numbers. Mr. Giannioses explained that he left messages twice at the office; one time Mr. Dragoo was in a meeting, and he does not know where he was the other time. He stated that he left word and his number, but he got no calls back. Mr. Giannioses stated that e-mails usually respond that it was accepted or not, and that the e-mail went through, and he does not know what happened after that, and he did not receive a response to that either. He explained that he assumed that when the Commission heard that he or the group was against draft ordinance D, that they were no longer interested in any input from them, and that was his assumption.
Chair Shepherd asked if her e-mail said that she was surprised that he had changed, but since he did, she would like to sit down with him to discuss this.
Mr. Giannioses responded that it did say that, and that is why he responded back that he did very much want to sit down with her.
Senior Engineer Dragoo explained that he did return calls.
Mr. Giannioses explained that he has an answering machine, but he never received any messages.
Senior Engineer Dragoo explained that he left messages, and asked if his machine…
Mr. Giannioses explained that it is voice mail through the phone company; it is not a personal answering machine at his home, and he has never had a complaint about it not picking up a message. He suggested it is possible that Mr. Dragoo got a wrong number or something.
Chair Shepherd explained that they were trying to get Mr. Giannioses’ viewpoint and it is not a one-sided thing; and she apologized that for what did not transpire, and stated that, if necessary, they will try again.
Commissioner Mevers referred to Mr. Giannioses’ statement that the ordinance would change the way of life for many people, and he asked for clarification.
Mr. Giannioses explained that this will force all oversized vehicles off the street—no more on-street parking, which forces anyone who does park on the street to find storage if they do not have the ability to park it on their own property. He stated that anyone who parks on the street who has the ability to park it on their property should be cited every day of the week. He explained that he cannot honestly say that he condones on-street parking; but for many people, if the Commission never walked in the shoes of an RV’er maybe they cannot understand their lifestyle. He compared it to an example of an avid golfer; if you could not play golf ever again, how would you feel. He stated that it is literally what the City will be taking away for many of these people because they cannot afford the $200-plus it will cost to park, and currently the nearest storage is not within 20 miles of the City.
Commissioner Mevers asked if Rancho Palos Verdes has a large number of people who park their RVs on the street in the City.
Mr. Giannioses responded that it is not a huge number; that he cannot give a number because he would just be guessing, but there are enough folks who cannot do anything else, and if they were forced to put their RV in storage they would just have to give it up and that it is a fact of life.
Commissioner Klein asked if folks talked about anything like adding a hardship clause to people on fixed income.
Mr. Giannioses responded that if there is that kind of flexibility that would be wonderful, if it is open for discussion; however, he believes they will have the problem of residents saying, if they can do it then why can’t I. He does not know if that is a feasible option.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked what Mr. Giannioses currently does with his vehicle after 72 hours.
Mr. Giannioses responded that his vehicle is parked on his private property well back on the side of the house, and he does not park on the street so it is not an issue for him.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked what the people he represents who are not here do after 72 hours.
Mr. Giannioses responded that they go on the street; that they have been there for many years, and in most cases the neighbors recognize why it is there, the need for it to be there, and they just let it go.
John Rodin, 1934 Valleta Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes, explained that Mr. Giannioses covered most of what he would say. He added that people who are fortunate enough to have property where they can park their RV are steadfast; and those with property that will not allow them to park an RV are being put in another class in which the City will eventually outlaw the ownership of RVs for them. Mr. Rodin stated that Torrance is considering the same issue and has put everything on hold while they survey the availability of storage. He reported that their first preliminary study showed that there is none around. Mr. Rodin stated that some of them are retired, they enjoy camping, and he has lived in the same neighborhood for 30 years and has never had the Sheriff come out. He explained that his neighbors have never complained, he is courteous and does not park his vehicle where it will impede their driveways or interfere with cross traffic. He stated that he knows the Commission will do what they are going to do, but reiterated that it will force some of them to give up their RVs.
Chair Shepherd stated that he has been in that house for 35 years and she would assume he did not have the RV when he bought the house.
Mr. Rodin stated that he had an RV when he purchased the house.
Chair Shepherd asked if he considered looking for a house that had room to park.
Mr. Rodin said no; that to begin with he did not have the RV when he bought the house, saying that he was 35 years younger and it was not a consideration when he bought the house and he did not even think he would like RVs.
Chair Shepherd questioned if it was because RVs were allowed in the City maybe; she stated that she is trying to understand what happened.
Mr. Rodin explained that the City has always had the 72-hour rule regardless, even when this was Los Angeles County and taken over by Rancho Palos Verdes later on. He stated that he had been there approximately five years when he purchased his RV, and the same neighbors all live there too, with a few exceptions. He stated that the biggest thing is that the City will charge for a permit and force people to pay for storage. He complained that residents would have to have the permit just to bring the RV home—if they can find storage—to park it and get it ready for a trip, and the City is just compounding it for two complaints in two years.
Chair Shepherd explained that some cities have fees and others do not, and the Commission has not discussed the fee structure, so the fee for permitting has not been established and may not be as bad as imagined.
Mr. Rodin asked if, when the Commissioners wanted to go on a trip, they would want to drive 30 miles to get their car to bring it back to their house to pack it.
Chair Shepherd responded that if she had to do that, she just would not have an RV, although she has friends and neighbors who do that. She explained that she does not know where they store it, but when she sees it parked they are getting ready for a trip, and when they come back it is there for three or four days during servicing, and then they go someplace, but she does not know where. Chair Shepherd explained that everyone is different, and how she feels is very different from how Mr. Rodin feels, and she respects that. She stated that her answer would be that she would do it if she really wanted that RV and wanted to travel in it.
Mr. Rodin stated that the Commission must consider the hardship aspect, because not everyone in Rancho Palos Verdes is affluent and some of them are on fixed income.
Norm Olson, 28733 Enrose Avenue, Rancho Palos Verdes, explained that his problem is slightly different because he parks on the side of his house, but sometimes he must park it on the street to enable him to park it beside his house. He stated that he never knows when that will be because, if there are cars parked in front of his house, he must park it on the street until they can be moved. He explained that he would never have a permit before he left because he does not know if someone will park there. He described that he must use the width of two driveways to get it into place; that it is a 40’ motor home, the street is only 40’ wide, he only has about a 10’ slot to enter, and his vehicle is 8’ wide, so he has to be perfectly straight when he enters. He stated that he does not know how the permit process would work for him; that he has never had a complaint from a neighbor, but it is very rare when he must park on the street for a short period.
Chair Shepherd suggested that he could probably get a permit to use when necessary.
Mr. Olson responded that the permit would cover it, but he would have to renew it every six months and may never use it.
Chair Shepherd explained that the Commission would look into that when developing the ordinance.
George Zugsmith, 3746 Hightide Drive, explained that this issue was handed to the precursor of this Commission, the Traffic Committee, approximately four years ago, and he believes that the City Council wanted that body or this one to come up with an ordinance and send it back to them with alternative ordinances. He stated that an ordinance or law must be specific and must convey the information in a common sense, understandable way. He stated that it probably is not the best idea to have an engineer and someone else, who may not be a lawyer, drafting ordinances because this ordinance does not make any sense to him. For instance, he referred to the first word “adjacent” to the residence on circle page 7, Item A-1, and stated that he does not even know what the word means, and the ordinance does not say anything about “parked in front of the house”. He stated that the interpretation that Mr. Rydell gave while inspecting this ordinance does not contain that language, and the only difference he can see between Item A and the existing Vehicle Code is that they want someone, after 72 hours, to move the vehicle one-tenth of a mile or 500’ thereabout. He suggested that, other than the permit, which he said is really gumming it to death because there is a $75 penalty, why doesn’t somebody just not get the permit, and if they are cited then they can go get the permit he supposes. He stated that Item A just does not do it. Mr. Zugsmith explained that residents live in one of four cities around the hill with million dollar homes; no other cities allow RVs, and why should we. He referred to the first speaker who spoke about the community and characterized it as RV owners. He suggested that in our society, there always has to be a balance, and the balance must be in favor of the greater good. He suggested there must be a lot more people in this City who do not own RVs, and if the complaint is that a resident must spend $200 a month for storage, he does not see how they can drive the vehicle with the price of gas today. He explained that he does not know how much it costs to fill an RV with gas, but at $3.11 a gallon it cost him $43 to fill his car, which is a six-cylinder vehicle. He explained that his thought is that this Ordinance A does not do anything, B is the only one he thinks makes any sense, C seems to be the same as A except that it provides for emergency repairs, and D has no movement requirement. In his opinion, none of them does anything except Ordinance B, and that is the direction in which they should be headed.
Lois Karp, 31115 Ganado Drive, explained that she has been involved in coming to the Traffic Committee and then to the Traffic Safety Commission the whole time that they have been doing this, but was out of town in April. She expressed agreement with Chair Shepherd 100%; she read the provision paragraph and to her it does not say anything—adjacent means it could be next door, it could be across the street, it could be anywhere—and she does not think it says that it has to be in front of your house. She also could not make out where it goes after 72 hours. Ms. Karp stated that they had a major problem in their neighborhood; that Staff said nobody has called in, and intimidation was discussed. She explained that they had an RV owner who did intimidate the neighbors; he said if you call and complain about me, that RV goes in front of your house, and that is what it did. Therefore, the City does not get complaints because people do not want it in front of their house. She suggested that the City could not go by who calls in because people are easily intimidated. She suggested that it must be spelled out in very simple language so that people can read it and know how long it can stay there, where it has to go, and if it can come back. She explained that no one is against bringing the vehicle home for and loading and unloading, because if you have a vehicle you are going to use it. She explained that what they do not want is for Rancho Palos Verdes to become a parking lot. She explained that the guy next door has an RV, and the guy next to him has a boat on a trailer, and we have million dollar houses and it looks like a parking lot; and she does not think that is in the best interest of the City. Ms. Karp also agrees with Chair Shepherd regarding moving the vehicle one-tenth of a mile. She stated that this is no different from what they have now, which is the 72 hours where you roll it back and forth; as the gentleman said, what does he do—it stayed in front of his house for years, so obviously that does not do anything. She stated that -they are trying to do something and they would like the vehicles off the street; that all these other cities have been able to figure this out, and she does not think it is such a problem to figure it out. She stated that there are some very good ideas presented such as the permit and time limit; but asked that the Commission be specific in the provisions and say that when you bring it home it must go away, or it has to go onto the driveway. She emphasized that it should not be left to someone to figure it out or guess about it--write it out, and write it clearly. She suggested that Ordinance B seemed to be the only one that was halfway close to accomplishing this.
Tom Redfield, 31273 Ganado Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that overall he is concerned because he has a lot of respect for Mr. Giannioses and his group and thinks they have been very responsible and a great representative, but he senses that there is a parting of the positions on Mr. Giannioses’ part that is not 72 hours. He explained that the fight for the last several years has been on-street parking, loading and unloading, and was always around that. Mr. Redfield stated that he has listened to almost all of the meetings and attended them all. Now he suggested that after 72 hours and there is no place to put the vehicle it will be parked on the streets. He explained that he and his wife bought an RV just before the Commission started the last round of discussions. He said he could see what was coming so they sold it back within three days and took a $30,000 beating on it, so he is sensitive to the issue. He suggested that if the Commission cannot figure out where to put the vehicle, then it should be the responsibility of the owner. Mr. Redfield stated that he is also very disappointed with Staff. He explained that if any Staff member comes before their Coalition and says that they only get one or none or two complaints, the Coalition we could change that. He reported that they get hundreds of them; they could have got thousands of them around one dip in Mediterranea when talking about parking while sitting on the porch. He stated that that has no credibility; they wait until they appear and then make their points. He explained that the point he would like to emphasize is that moving a vehicle, whether it is one-tenth of a mile or half a mile does not specify where you go. He is supportive of what is said about 72 hours in front of their house, and then it does not go on the City street anywhere; it goes on your property or a friend’s property, or wherever you have storage. Mr. Redfield referred to “adjacent”, saying that he knows for sure that they talked about definitions, and that it could be on the side or it could be across the street. He emphasized that their goal is to strongly support that it should be in front of your own house on your side of the street, because if it is not specified, people will park it in someone else’s place and it happens all the time. He explained that the Coalition is still concerned that this does not address a problem that is at least as serious if not more so, of standard size vehicles parking on the streets more than 72 hours, not being used the next day, or guests coming and going, saying that they have no problem with that. However, he stated that there are cars at Mediterranea—probably four or five right now—and complaints come to the homeowner’s association and this does not address that. He explained that some of them do not run and some are not used when the children go off to college.
Chair Shepherd stated that that is another agenda item.
Mr. Redfield stated that they have tried to tie that with this; that they do not want to just have an anti-RV thing; they are trying to work with everyone. We have captured a lot of the oversized, and they appreciate that, but again if the Commission wants a system of logging complaints—many Staff people throw in their fact that they get one a year—he does not know how many complaints they get on these cars and RVs. He explained that he is concerned about the hardening of the position that 72 hours and the heck with it; if we do not have any other place we will park it where we want to. He suggested that the RVs are facing a tough challenge because the price of gas will knock them out more than storage, and he just hopes the City can find a way. Mr. Redfield concluded, saying that the specific things are the word “adjacent”, and moving it off City streets after 72 hours and these are the key points he would like to emphasize. He thanked the Staff and Commission for their hard work.
Dr. Pat Kelsey, 4324 Via Frascati, Rancho Palos Verdes, explained that he has lived at this address for 40 years, and said one of the points that was not addressed was that many motor homes tow vehicles as he does. He stated that he has a place for his motor home on his property so it is not visible from the street, but when he comes home, he cannot back up into that property without disconnecting the vehicle, so he must park in front of his house. He asked if there is a provision in the ordinance to prevent him from being cited while he is disconnecting and moving his vehicle, because he has to move two vehicles and it takes time, usually 20 minutes or so.
Chair Shepherd suggested that the permit would handle that because it handles the 72-hour window.
Dr. Kelsey clarified that he would have to get a permit.
Chair Shepherd responded that he would if this ordinance is approved, and she does not know what will happen.
Dr. Kelsey explained that many residents have already spent many thousands of dollars to be able to park their vehicles on their property because they are required to have a pad for the vehicle; it cannot be parallel to the street, and it must be out of sight.
Chair Shepherd clarified that the Commission would have to work that out in the ordinance, saying that it is not finished; that the Commission must look at what other cities have done and make a decision on the provisions and restrictions, and an ordinance would be written around that. She explained that there is a possibility that, for RV owners like Dr. Kelsey, there could be a provision in the ordinance to address that specifically. She explained that when the Commission concludes their recommendations the City Attorney would address the ordinance.
Dr. Kelsey explained that a motor home is a continually evolving thing, and ten years ago, hardly anyone towed a vehicle other than a trailer, but now 90% tow vehicles.
Commissioner Mevers referred to Dr. Kelsey’s parking situation when he brings the vehicle home and asked how long it takes to disconnect and park both vehicles off the street.
Dr. Kelsey responded that normally it takes approximately 15 minutes.
Commissioner Mevers suggested that it would be hardly enough time for an officer to get to his house.
Dr. Kelsey explained that he wants to comply with the law.
Commissioner Mevers suggested that most of the officers here are probably very reasonable about that, and if they saw him trying to move his vehicles into his yard, it would be no problem.
Dr. Kelsey responded that he agreed, but there are things that happen and he described one instance when he was on the street for almost an hour while he opened the house and had ten emergency messages, and asked what do you do first.
Chair Shepherd suggested that if it is under 24 hours she does not believe it would be an issue that needs to be addressed in the permitting process.
Commissioner Mevers commented that Rancho Palos Verdes would have to have very unreasonable police officers.
Chair Shepherd closed the Public Hearing.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked if the Commission is at a point now, since they took a vote at the previous meeting, to take any other action on what they approved, other than modifying language; are they supposed to consider other alternatives or are they restricted to the draft ordinance they approved in April.
Chair Shepherd responded that the Commission has Staff’s recommendations before them, and they can accept the recommendations, make their own recommendations, make alternate recommendations, or do whatever they want to do.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked what the Commission’s vote meant in April.
Chair Shepherd stated that she can only speak for herself, and what it meant to her was false.
Commissioner Bilezerian stated that the Commission has taken a step forward; are they saying they are going back to reconsider or go forward to the next step.
Chair Shepherd responded that it is up to the Commission to decide as a body, not individually, and it is open for discussion. She acknowledged that the draft ordinance was approved in April with a vote of 5-1. She explained that the nay voter is not present, Commissioner Willens was not present in April, and she was confused in April.
Commissioner Klein explained that he gleans from previous comments that three things must be clarified in this Motion:
Clarify that this is the prohibition—that there are other ordinances that apply;
Chair Shepherd questioned how the vehicle could be moved one-tenth of a mile and still be in front of your house.
Commissioner Klein stated that is the point. You cannot. He explained that he likes what the Commission approved in one sense that they should allow the RV owners to have the vehicle in front of their house for some period like 72 hours: that two or four hours is not enough time to service it. Regarding Dr. Kelsey’s situation, where it might take 20 minutes to disconnect and move his vehicle, he stated that to him that is a non-issue; that the Commission could build into an ordinance a grace period for a short time in similar situations.
Chair Shepherd explained that the discussion suggests that a Motion is needed to continue.
Commissioner Klein responded that he does not know what the Motion would be at this time.
Chair Shepherd cautioned against getting into a gray area between discussing with Staff the issue that they have before the Commission and deliberating on the recommendations. She explained that she asked Senior Engineer Dragoo to get a dictionary so they can discuss “adjacent” and settle that, because wordsmithing is very important when the Commission is discussing a legal document.
Commissioner Klein stated that the City Attorney should do the final wording.
Chair Shepherd stated that she thought the ordinance went to the City Attorney; and, if it did, it came back as presented, and this does not work for her. Chair Shepherd presented as a point of reference the wording in the Los Angeles ordinance: “A permit for loading and unloading shall be issued for a fee… The loading and unloading shall be limited to the area in front of the residence for which the loading or unloading will occur or in reasonable proximity to the front, if the front of the residence is not available for parking.” She explained that the City Attorney’s office had to deal with that. She commented that as large as the City of Los Angeles is, their ordinance has less pages than those presented to this Commission, noting it contained reference to fines, late penalties, second penalty, second violation, and third violation. Chair Shepherd stated that she thinks the ordinance must be very specific, and too many ordinances are interpretive.
Senior Engineer Dragoo read from the dictionary: “Adjacent”: “lying close to or contiguous”.
Commissioner Bilezerian stated that Staff can change words and definitions to make it fit, but he thinks the main thing is that people are concerned with what do they do if they cannot park the vehicle in front of their homes. He suggested that some curb frontage might not allow that, and it would be caught in the permitting process the first time Staff evaluates the residence. He asked if that is correct. He emphasized that the Commission spent much time on this in April, and he is concerned; that Rancho Palos Verdes does not want to invite RVs from other cities to park in Rancho Palos Verdes, and some type of registration or permit to identify RV owners in the City is necessary, whether for a fee or no fee. He suggested that if people assume that they can just continually park their vehicle on the street more than 72 hours in violation of a law that already exists, he thinks there is an issue with that as well—that people must obey the laws in place now. Commissioner Bilezerian stated that he is not sure where the Commission is going, but is not comfortable going back to consider other draft ordinances.
Chair Shepherd explained that she is uncomfortable with the word “Adjacent”, and would like it replaced with something simple such as “in front of”. She is also uncomfortable with the issuance of a permit every six months, and she would like to see the permit happen more regularly and expire sooner than every six months. She suggested that if it was once a year the clause about moving it away and back after 24 hours within that six-month period does not take them far enough outside of the current Municipal Code. She would like a restriction to 72 hours with the permit, and after 72 hours for servicing, it is moved or cited; and if it is not moved after being cited, that it is towed. In addition, she suggested that the permit allows this per permit—not ten times in six months—and most cities have a restriction of how often the vehicle can be parked for 72 hours during a given period, which is not specified in the draft ordinance. She summarized that where the vehicle must be located and how often the permit is given are her issues. Chair Shepherd offered copies of the Los Angeles City Attorney’s ordinance and the Santa Clarita ordinance.
Commissioner Bilezerian commented that the least amount of work required by Staff in permitting is beneficial, whether it is once annually or every six months. He does not think they should restrict the number of times people can go on vacation by saying they can pack or unpack a specific number of times. He questioned if the Commission is concerned with what happens after 72 hours; do they want to treat people equally regardless of the size of their vehicle, which he believes the law already does, while providing a way to determine if they are parking legally and are residents of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. Commissioner Bilezerian suggested, in addition to draft D that is now Attachment A, that the Commission should recommend doing nothing to the City Council to give them a choice; recalling a previous presumption that if they do not want to, they will not. He suggested that the audience might feel better going to the City Council if they have an option of doing nothing because of the lack of complaints.
Chair Shepherd stated that, because of her history on this issue, the Commission was created to make sound decisions on policy recommendations and the Council expected more than to do nothing, unless the Commission is convinced that is what they should do. She restated that she would be embarrassed to do that; that they have Rolling Hills Estates, Palos Verdes Estates, Rolling Hills, Torrance, and the Los Angeles draft ready for City Council, all with ordinances in progress or implemented, and Rancho Palos Verdes is not in a position to do nothing. She emphasized that even if the Commission feels compassion for the residents, they cannot do nothing. Chair Shepherd referred to a speaker at the April meeting who asked why Rancho Palos Verdes should be the dumping ground for all the RVs from surrounding cities.
Traffic Engineer Rydell made the point that the issues lacking in the ordinance approved in April seem to be addressed in the ordinance that was submitted on circle page 16 (Attachment D in this Staff report). He referred to parking only in front of the residence and four permits per year; and stated that the provisions are there, depending on which ordinance the Commission chooses.
Chair Shepherd commented that they could either edit that ordinance or combine Attachments A and D. She stated that that is what they are actually doing—fine tuning one ordinance so there is nothing left to interpretation or misunderstanding.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that he understands about writing ordinances in plain English, but cautioned that they need to be certain that they are specific and comprehensive, and they sometimes need to be longer to avoid misinterpretations. He explained that, as part of the permit process, Staff could hand out a plain-English supplement to the permit process. He explained that the permit would state the rules in very plain English. He stated that the applicants do not have to read the ordinance necessarily, but it is required for enforcement.
Commissioner Klein explained that it is a tough job to try and structure an ordinance on the fly, as the Commission might like to do now. In light of that, Commissioner Klein stated that he would like to propose a Motion.
Commissioner Klein moved that the Traffic Safety Commission, via the Chair, appoint a sub-committee to work with Staff offline to review:
1. The wording. For example, does “adjacent” mean “in front of the house”;
Seconded by Commissioner Willens.
Commissioner Mevers expressed concern about the hardship provision, and commented that someone just spoke about what it takes to fill a 40-gallon tank in an RV. He asked where is the hardship.
Chair Shepherd explained that the Motion was to review that, not to discuss it. She stated that she believes the answers to the questions are already there in the matrix she prepared from draft Ordinances A through D, except for the hardship.
Commissioner Klein stated that he is not sure that the answers the Commission might want are in the draft ordinances, and he can think of other options.
Commissioner Parfenov had no comments.
Commissioner Bilezerian stated that he would speak with his vote.
Commissioner Willens explained that he was not at the April meeting. He stated that if the consensus is that the Commission is trying to tweak something that was already done in April, that is fine and he would stay out of it because he was not part of that discussion, but stated that is not what he hears. He explained that it sounds like the Commission is going back to the beginning and starting over again. He stated that clearly not everyone is happy with what resulted in April for whatever reason, but obviously there are some problems with it and they have heard that tonight from the Commission and the speakers. Commissioner Willens stated that the reason he seconded the Motion was that he sees that all the options are here somewhere, but are all spread out. He questioned if the Commission is in a position at this point to choose different elements and try to put them together, although he definitely has concerns. He stated that he does not think the Commission can do nothing, and he has concerns that the option that was already passed is not a significant enough change to really make a difference. He stated that, if that is what the Commission is trying to do, they should do it in the best way they can, and he does not think that is the best way. He explained that he still questions how this is a traffic safety issue. He stated that if the City Council wants the Commission to decide about RV parking he is happy to do that, and he understands what the safety issues are, but he does not hear anyone talking about it. He hears people talking about a dumping ground and other issues and he agrees with all that, but that is not really a traffic safety issue.
Chair Shepherd stated that it is a parking issue and the Commission deals with parking; a part of what traffic and transportation handle are vehicles and how they move and flow, so it may not all be under the umbrella of safety, but there are elements of it that are. She explained that when going back to the other cities, it all starts with either transportation or traffic committees or commissions, and that most of them actually make the decisions and, in some cases, the City Council has the final say. She asked Commissioner Bilezerian how it is handled in Torrance.
Commissioner Bilezerian explained that, in Torrance, everything goes before the Traffic Commission and ultimately before the City Council because two readings of every ordinance to the public are required, which is considered a hearing and, following that, the Council would adopt it.
Chair Shepherd reiterated that traffic safety involves more elements than safe movement of vehicles, and that there are elements of parking that start with what is safe in the City and what is reasonable. She explained that she is clarifying this for the benefit of the audience who hear Commissioner Willens say that maybe it should not be before the Commission.
Commissioner Willens stated that he did not say it should not be before the Commission, he is saying let’s not pretend it is something different than what it is. He explained that the people who have spoken at this meeting are not talking about traffic safety; they are talking about not wanting to have motor homes in their City, but he understands and agrees with those who do not want Rancho Palos Verdes to become a dumping ground, but it is not about safety—it is about aesthetics. He explained that this is the reason he does not think the Commission is ready to decide on this issue now, that he will be happy to vote on it when the details are worked out, and some people will be happy or unhappy with his vote.
Chair Shepherd circulated a picture of a motor home to illustrate a safety issue when trying to negotiate a left turn. She explained that every RV and boat trailer she has seen causes visibility problems for driveways, and on narrow streets they interfere with two-way traffic. She explained that she took the picture yesterday (June 25) and the RV has been parked for a week, and suggested various reasons why it might be parked there, including some people who might park it there for spite. Chair Shepherd stated that most of the time, these vehicles are a safety hazard because of where they are parked, and she does not believe it is all aesthetics or that aesthetics was the reason it came to the Commission.
Commissioner Willens referred to a speaker’s comment about creating a balance and doing what is best for the greatest good, and he agrees with that. He expressed empathy with people who have difficulty with some of the ideas presented, and with others who would like to go farther and ban all RV parking completely. He suggested, however, that whatever the Commission perceives, whether it be a traffic safety issue or a combination of safety and aesthetics, if the greater majority is in favor of either having or not having RVs with certain restrictions, he thinks the Commission should consider doing things like that. Commissioner Willens acknowledged that it will be tough for some people who end up in the minority, but he does not believe the Commission can do nothing.
Commissioner Parfenov asked for an estimate of the time it would take to develop a sound policy, considering the time the Commission has already spent on it, and stated that in his opinion they can work with what has been presented here, and his question is, how long.
Chair Shepherd responded that no one has an answer to that, and it would be however long it takes a sub-committee.
Commissioner Klein explained that what he has in mind is that it depends on who is appointed and the time availability of members and Staff; that he does not see why it could not be completed by the next meeting.
Chair Shepherd asked if there are elements in the four draft Ordinances A through D, eliminating draft Ordinance E, that address the issues and could be tweaked and inserted into an existing document to solve the issue, with the exception of the hardship issue. She believes that everything else listed in Commissioner Klein’s Motion is already addressed in some way. She pointed out the similarities of some paragraphs in all drafts, and stated that the only differences are under prohibitions and permitting.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that Staff thought the Commission would choose the ordinance they liked best from among those provided, and then tweak that one to address any shortcomings. He explained that Staff has provided ordinances that are very restrictive to least restrictive.
Chair Shepherd explained that she does not remember that the Commission deliberated in that way in a workshop environment, and she believes that this type of agenda item needs to be worked that way.
Traffic Engineer Rydell suggested that a sub-committee is not necessary to evaluate the ordinance; that the Commission has the ideas in front of them, the alternatives, and he thinks it is appropriate to discuss which general approach they want. He stated that the community and the Commission has had to endure going over this for a long time, and he hopes they do not go back to ground zero.
Chair Shepherd agreed, asking if the Commissioners think they have enough before them to develop a draft for Staff to clean up and bring back to the Commission rather than give it to a sub-committee that may take two or three months to come back.
Commissioner Parfenov recalled the April meeting as a workshop environment, and reminded that he proposed such a motion to massage the ordinance and combine it but it died in action.
Traffic Engineer Rydell suggested that if they want to be consistent with the rest of the cities on the hill, why not begin with the one the Commission has.
Motion failed for lack of a majority:
Commissioner Parfenov stated that in looking over the attachments and considering what the public said and Commission discussion at this meeting, he proposed considering Attachment D on circle page 16, which would still restrict parking to 72 hours with a certain number of permits per year for the oversized vehicle users. He explained that this is a proposal and he would like to make changes while the Commission discusses it before making a Motion.
Commissioner Klein stated that he would support the proposal to consider Attachment D on circle page 16, but one thing he does not like is the limiting of the permits to no more than four per year. He suggested removing paragraph C under “Permit Process” on circle page 18. He stated that the Commission should also address the other points that he brought up in his Motion.
Chair Shepherd cautioned that they are now treading on the side of a Motion when discussing specific elements.
Commissioner Bilezerian stated that what they approved previously was to allow people the right to use their motor home whenever they choose—the same as any other vehicle. He explained that the Commission wants them to register the vehicle with the City through a permit process, so RVs from other cities cannot park in Rancho Palos Verdes. The Commission also wants Staff to evaluate the property before issuing a permit to address the traffic safety issues. He believes it is unfair to restrict the vehicle to two hours because speakers tonight and at previous meetings and his knowledge on the subject confirm that two hours is not enough. He stated that one of the options was two hours when comparing draft ordinances as presented at this meeting.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that it is still 72 hours.
Commissioner Bilezerian explained that he is talking about the restriction from 2:00 am to 5:00 am; saying what if they come home at 1:00 am and want to unload the next day, and he does not believe that should be taken away. He explained that if the Commission is going forward with one of the five drafts, and everyone is eliminating nothing, choose the least restrictive that accomplishes something that restricts people in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes—the approved permit holders—and the Commission could establish a zero fee and let the City absorb the cost. He does not believe the Commission needs to interchange time, and suggested that they need to determine what happens after 72 hours.
Chair Shepherd asked what the City of Beverly Hills does, because they do not allow overnight parking.
Traffic Engineer Rydell suggested that they could probably afford to park their vehicle somewhere else.
Commissioner Mevers asked how much time is specified between 72 hours before the vehicle can be moved back for another 72 hours.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that the ordinance they talked about in April was 24 hours.
Commissioner Mevers clarified that the vehicle can be parked for 24 hours, move it away for 24 hours, move it back for 72 hours and the owner could keep doing that if there is no limit on how many times the permit can be used, and asked if that is what Commissioner Bilezerian if that is what he wanted.
Commissioner Bilezerian responded no, that he does not think the Commission should restrict people to four permits a year; that he is not suggesting a number, but does not agree with what was presented. He is not convinced that it is the number of times that people load and unload that is the problem; he thinks the problems are traffic visibility, sight distance issues, unsightliness, and why is someone being allowed to park after 72 hours by moving it a foot, in addition to non-residents bringing their RVs into Rancho Palos Verdes.
Commissioner Mevers reiterated his question whether Commissioner Bilezerian goes along with a vehicle continuously being parked for 72 hours and returned after 24 hours.
Commissioner Bilezerian stated that if it is a problem he thinks they need to solve it, but he is not convinced that it is a problem; he is not sure how many people here actually would come home, unload, reload, and leave in 24 hours.
Commissioner Mevers clarified that they are not talking about loading and unloading; they are talking about a scenario of a continuous 72-hour cycle of parking and 24-hours offsite.
Chair Shepherd restated the question, saying how do they get the RV from permanently parking on the street in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Commissioner Bilezerian suggested increasing the 24 hours to some acceptable period.
Chair Shepherd asked what is acceptable—one month, three months, or a week—and what is reasonable.
Commissioner Bilezerian explained that Chair Shepherd is asking him what he could live with, and he is not so sure there is a problem because he does not know anyone who is repeating the cycle continuously.
Chair Shepherd stated that when the Sheriff chalks the tire of a vehicle, the residents are moving a rotation of the tire.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked if the City could adopt anything here in conjunction with the vehicle code to modify the 24-hour time limit legally.
Sgt. Creason explained that the City could enact an ordinance like the City of Rolling Hills Estates, where overnight parking for any vehicle is prohibited, and he believes that Rancho Palos Verdes could do this.
Commissioner Bilezerian questioned that someone can park a vehicle for 72 hours on the street, move it for 24 hours, and come back, as long as the distance is one foot or more.
Traffic Engineer Rydell explained that they can do that now, but Staff is proposing that they must move it off their property, which is one-tenth of a mile.
Commissioner Bilezerian stated that if the Commission goes with draft Ordinance D, and the resident is not restricted to a number of permits or times that they can repeat the cycle, there would be a problem regarding what kind of further restriction to use.
Commissioner Mevers agreed that it is a potential problem, and like Commissioner Bilezerian, he is not saying that it is happening, but if the Commission is going to be very succinct in their description of what can be done, they should take care of what may be done.
Commissioner Bilezerian reiterated that in April when the Commission was told that there were two complaints he was not sure there was such a problem, and is not sure it is a problem now; however, if the body feels that it is necessary to increase or change this number to a number of permits, then something should be proposed.
Chair Shepherd stated that she is President of a homeowner’s association and she is the one who gets calls about RVs parked for long periods, and the complainants want to hide behind her so that they are not identified as the ones calling on their neighbors. She explained that it is not just RVs because she has called the City Attorney about barking dogs, weed abatement, peeling paint; they call the Board Members of the homeowner’s association asking for help because they do not want to be on the list of callers because of retaliation. She explained that they do not want their neighbor as their enemy, so they live with the problem or try to hide some other authority; they cannot hide behind an ordinance or a code or the Sheriff’s Department because it does not work. Chair Shepherd stated that the number of calls could not be used as a basis for the decision because in this case it does not necessarily mean there is no problem, even though it may not be a problem in your neighborhood. She explained that the residents are not angry with her, although they would like to know the name of the person who complained, so she is the neutral third party who acts as a mediator and tries to help them because they cannot go to the City. She stated that they have done this in many situations, and she goes on record with that. Chair Shepherd stated that she is trying to help the Commissioners understand that in case they were using that as a basis for their decision—that there are no calls, so there is no problem. She suggested that if the City had some weight behind them, and there was something that Staff or the Sheriff could do other than the 72 hour nonsense, she would say that is fine. She emphasized that the Commission will not have the statistics.
Commissioner Bilezerian explained that he is also basing his opinion on the number of people showing up at the meeting, and he was here for the April meeting.
Chair Shepherd explained that they would wait until this issue goes to the City Council for approval. She explained that the Traffic Safety Commission is not an enforcement body that makes policy--it makes recommendations.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked if anyone else is uncomfortable with the 72/24/72 provision.
Chair Shepherd stated that she is not comfortable with it.
Commissioner Bilezerian asked if she thinks there is a problem now, or that a loophole exists.
Chair Shepherd responded that, one, there is a problem now; and two, that loophole exists because a resident can park for 72 hours and come right back after 24 hours and park again, so what have they accomplished.
Commissioner Bilezerian said he has heard people say they leave their vehicle there and do not even abide by the 72-hour rule. He suggested that if the Commission restricts, either by number of permits or increasing the time frame, that seems logical to him.
Chair Shepherd questioned what the Commission is trying to accomplish or have they lost sight of it, and asked if they are trying to have an ordinance to prohibit vehicles from parking permanently on a public street. She suggested that that is what other cities are trying to do, and asked if that is what Rancho Palos Verdes is trying to do and how that can be accomplished. She explained that she thought they were trying to get them off the street, but still allow the owners to reasonably load, unload, and prepare their vehicles for travel in front of their homes.
Commissioner Klein stated that that is one of the things they are trying to do; another is to stop Rancho Palos Verdes from becoming a dumping ground; they only want residents, and if they have a decal, that allows residents to park on the streets permanently under certain circumstances, which he thinks they should not do. He explained that the Commission could define those circumstances very broadly with a grandfather clause, or they could tighten that up—define what they mean by hardship provisions. He suggested looking at Torrance; that they have postponed their ordinance because there is no place to put the RVs.
Chair Shepherd suggested that there are only four or five elements to decide; permitting, time limits, overnight or complete ban, fees, and she does not understand why it should be so difficult.
Commissioner Parfenov stated that he does not want permit parking that will allow permanent parking by means of a continuous cycle of the time limits. He suggested that maybe four permits a year is not sufficient, and referred to successful ordinances in the other Peninsula cities.
Chair Shepherd stated that the Commission must decide what the goal and objective is.
Commissioner Klein spoke for himself, saying that part of it is public comment; and that hearing it again is making him more sensitive to the needs.
Chair Shepherd questioned if they are trying to prohibit vehicles from permanently parking on public streets—yes or no; that when that is decided, they can go to the next question.
Commissioner Bilezerian explained that in answer to his question he would say no.
Chair Shepherd clarified that she is referring to recreational and oversized vehicles.
Commissioner Mevers stated that if Chair Shepherd is referring to people parking permanently on the street he would say yes. Commissioner Mevers stated that the problem is…
Chair Shepherd explained that she is trying to get a consensus, and the next step is what do they do to accomplish that.
Commissioner Bilezerian stated that he thinks they discussed that in April, that they have four options; the 72/24 mechanism is in place, and what do they want to do beyond that. He agrees that maybe 24 hours is too soon to return, so they want to explore the next step and reconsider the number of times and make it more restrictive even in terms of number of permits, or to increase the 24 hour period.
Chair Shepherd suggested that you could not return until you get another permit.
Commissioner Mevers stated that they need something that is measurable, and the 72/24 is not measurable.
Chair Shepherd responded that the only way you measure is by permit; a resident has a permit, which expires in 72 hours, and if it expires, the vehicle should not be there until the owner gets another permit. She stated that that is the easiest way.
RECESS AND RECONVENE:
The Commission recessed at 10:40 pm and reconvened at 10:55 pm.
Commissioner Willens moved that the Traffic Safety Commission recommend to the City Council adoption of the Ordinance identified as Attachment D on circle page 16 with the following modifications:
(1) Under “Prohibition”, Section A-1, the phrase “Adjacent to...“ be changed to “In front of the residence...” rather than “adjacent to the residence”;
Commissioner Parfenov seconded the Motion.
Chair Shepherd stated that this seems to be almost the same as what the Commission approved in April with the exception of the back and forth movement in 24 hours and the permitting process being changed to six permits a year from one a year.
Traffic Engineer Rydell suggested that the enforcement issue is different, because by having a permit that must be issued every time it is used it will have an expiration date, and there are no multiple visits by the Sheriff’s Deputy; that the permit will say when it expires after 72 hours.
Commissioner Klein clarified that this is not a permit lasting six months that allows parking for 72 hours at a time.
Senior Engineer Dragoo asked for clarification, saying if a person obtains a permit to load their vehicle, would they need another permit to unload their vehicle, or would one permit have an end date.
Chair Shepherd suggested that one permit should cover loading and unloading and asked if one permit could be issued to allow 72 hours for loading and 72 hours for unloading.
Traffic Engineer Rydell stated that the number of permits could be adjusted so that the resident could get two permits at one time, but the resident may not know when they are returning.
Chair Shepherd suggested that the City could require payment for the first permit and not the second one. She explained that if it is a financial issue there would be no cost, but it would have to be enforced, so the permit would be needed each time.
Traffic Engineer Rydell suggested that the resident will need a permit to load and Staff will have all the information and can have a permit available for unloading.
Commissioner Klein asked what if the resident returns in the middle of the night or on a weekend.
Traffic Engineer Rydell suggested that Staff would work with this issue, and Chair Shepherd concurred.
Commissioner Klein proposed an amendment to the Motion that the duration of the permit be six months and that each parking situation be limited to not more than 72 hours.
Chair Shepherd asked how that would be enforced if the permit does not expire in 72 hours.
Commissioner Klein responded, just like the Motion they just passed; they get a permit for six months that allows parking in front of the house for not more than 72 hours.
Chair Shepherd responded that the permit does not expire.
Commissioner Klein stated that the Motion passed in April provides a six-month permit allowing parking in front of the house for 72 hours and then moving the vehicle one-tenth of a mile before beginning another 72 hours, and he is trying to put that same thing in here.
Commissioner Willens explained that that was not his intention in making the Motion; that if it was in his discretion to accept it or not, then he does not. He explained that is not what he is trying to accomplish with his Motion—he is trying to accomplish by his Motion that there be a specific number of times that someone can have their vehicle in front of the residence and not just have an open-ended period before bringing it back.
Commissioner Bilezerian suggested a discussion about increasing the number of loading permits to eight or ten or more, because retirees may be traveling more often.
Commissioner Willens suggested that the specific number of permits should not delay the Commission from deliberating on other issues.
Chair Shepherd questioned that if a permit is a trip, it is a round-trip, and that includes loading unloading; how does the Commission work around that to allow leaving and returning to be included in one permit. She suggested that Mr. Giannioses might offer some help with this.
Commissioner Klein stated that he is vehemently opposed to the Motion as stated; that he does not believe the Commission has the right to tell people how many trips a year people can take, that it is an infringement on their liberties.
Commissioner Willens responded that the Commission is not telling them how many trips they can take, they are telling them how many times they can park their RV in front of their house. He asked Commissioner Klein if he would rather have the Commission ban them completely off the street, so they do not have to worry about how many times they can park.
Commissioner Klein stated that he does not want to do either.
Chair Shepherd explained that loading and unloading does not have to be done on the street; the vehicle can be pulled into the driveway for this purpose, so it does not mean that they are restricted from loading and unloading. They cannot park them there permanently unless they have the legal parking requirements, but they can use their driveway temporarily. She asked Commissioner Klein what are other cities doing that he has a problem with when they have a permit process that specifies a number of permits, and it seems to be working.
Commissioner Klein responded that he does not know, for a fact, that people can temporarily tow their RVs up to their house and load it.
Commissioner Mevers reiterated that the Commission needs something that is measurable, and what Commissioner Klein is suggesting is so open-ended that there is no way to measure it, and therefore there is no way to enforce it. Commissioner Mevers suggested talking with RV owners to determine a number of times a year.
Commissioner Klein stated that he would be in favor of that.
Chair Shepherd stated that she will make an exception, since the public hearing is closed, but stipulated that if he attends any other meetings including City Council, once the public hearing is closed, the public is no longer allowed to speak.
Ernie Giannioses, explained that they use their RVs a minimum of 12 times a year, they belong to an RV club and go out once a month; so that would be 12 permits a year just to continue using their RV as they are now, and he is assuming that they have to park on the street. Regarding parking in the driveway, he said that is not practical; that if the driveway was long enough to park an RV they would be parked there instead of on the street—that a 30’ RV will not fit in a 20’ driveway without crossing the sidewalk or being into the street. He explained that with six permits a year he would have to load his car and take supplies to his RV at an offsite location.
Chair Shepherd acknowledged that Mr. Giannioses represents Good Sam’s Club and other organizations, and explained that they are a large membership and not just residents of Rancho Palos Verdes. She questioned that in the other cities where there are restrictions by number of permits, how are the members of those organizations handling that, or does he know.
Mr. Giannioses responded that he cannot answer that question because he does not know. He stated that he has never heard of a City that restricted RV permits, even Torrance. He explained that he went to the Torrance meetings and they were talking 50 permits a year.
Chair Shepherd asked if he has any members in Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates.
Mr. Giannioses responded not in Rolling Hills Estates that he is aware of; he explained that they ban on-street parking for all vehicles, even cars.
Chair Shepherd asked Mr. Giannioses to explain how other members nationwide handle this in other cities that have restrictions.
Mr. Giannioses stated that in most cases there are state laws that prevail over City laws, and in most states it is the 72-hour law, and he knows of no place that has tried to restrict down to a handful of permits a year. He explained that if the Commission says they cannot be back for 72 hours or something similar, they could probably live with that; but to say that they can only come back to their house four or six times a year is not remotely reasonable.
Senior Engineer Dragoo brought up the permit-issuing process, and explained that currently with vehicle permits in permit parking areas, the homeowners’ association issues the permit. He explained that someone in the area goes to their HOA group to obtain the permit. He suggested that perhaps the Commission should consider that; that the City Engineer or the Director of Public Works or his designee would perform the initial evaluation, and once the site is approved for the motor home, the permit would be issued through the HOA where a HOA exists. He explained that that would relieve the City Council’s concern regarding Staff time and Staff involvement in any new permit parking requirements. The HOA would forward the payment to the City.
Chair Shepherd questioned if there is a clause whereby the City will process the permits if there is no HOA, or the HOA does not wish to be liable for processing. She stated that, as a HOA President, she would not want to be responsible for that.
Senior Engineer Dragoo responded that Staff would handle permitting in that situation.
Chair Shepherd asked if there are other cities with a permit process in place, and how that process is working.
Traffic Engineer Rydell responded that Staff does not have that information but will call and find out how it is working.
Commissioner Klein suggested allowing permits 26 times a year and adjust it downward if necessary.
Commissioner Willens suggested, in the interest of time (11:15 pm), putting in a space with the specific intent that the Commission will reconsider next time what the number will be. He suggested that the Commission is obviously not prepared to vote on his Motion without a number, but any number would be questionable.
Chair Shepherd read from a Santa Clarita ordinance under the heading “Permit Duration and Renewal”: “An oversized vehicle parking permit shall be valid for a period not to exceed three consecutive week days (72 hours). Upon expiration of an oversized vehicle parking permit issued under this section, the applicant may apply for and be granted additional oversized vehicle parking permits if the applicant still qualifies under the conditions set forth therein. In no event shall any person and/or designated oversized vehicle owner be issued more than three oversized vehicle parking permits within a 90-day calendar period.” She emphasized that she is not suggesting this exact wording, but that the Commission can put in the ordinance whatever wording will work for the City. She explained that there are other provisions in the Santa Clarita ordinance that explain the conditions that must be met, and that it is not just randomly 12 permits a year.
Commissioner Parfenov commented that if you were only allowed 12 permits a year, you would use them wisely.
Commissioner Willens offered to insert any number that all Commissioners think is reasonable, and stated adamantly that he is not set on a particular number, but he thinks a year is excessive. He suggested that Staff come back to the next meeting and tell the Commission what a reasonable number would be with some rationale so the Commission could articulate why that number was chosen. He explained that the Commission has agreed that four is not enough and fifty is too many. Commissioner Willens suggested that if the Motion is acceptable except for that number, request more input; that at least the Commission would be moving forward and they could pick up where they left off at the next meeting.
Chair Shepherd suggested that Commissioner Willens amend his Motion to include “a number to be determined” or something similar instead of having a space there.
Commissioner Willens amended his Motion, moving that the Traffic Safety Commission recommend to the City Council adoption of the Ordinance set forth as Attachment D on circle page 16 with the following modifications:
1. Under “Prohibition”, Section A-1, the phrase “Adjacent to...“ be changed to “In front of...”
Commissioner Willens explained that the Commission would decide at the next meeting what that number should be. He suggested that this would be the last remaining question mark in this proposed ordinance.
Commissioner Parfenov seconded the Motion.
Commissioner Klein stated that one of the specific issues he has is to go back to Section A under “Definition of Oversized Vehicle” and re-examine especially the length of a vehicle. He explained that the City might capture vehicles that they do not want to capture such as pickup trucks. He referred to Chair Shepherd’s question about what the goal is, and he is concerned about the people who have nowhere else to park. He asked if there is an exception the Commission might want to include to allow on-street parking longer than 72 hours under certain conditions.
Commissioner Bilezerian stated that he could not support the Motion because the Commission has not addressed obtaining the loading permit, the returning permit, and he is uncomfortable restricting people to the number of times they can and cannot go away.
Chair Shepherd asked if Commissioner Bilezerian would be willing to restrict parking from 2:00 am to 6:00 am.
Commissioner Bilezerian stated that he would not be willing to do that.
Chair Shepherd stated that there is still mixed emotion because the Commission has not yet reached a consensus on the goal and objective.
Commissioner Bilezerian suggested that they all concur that a permit process is needed, and asked if that is correct. Some responses were affirmative, but a vote was not taken. Commissioner Bilezerian stated that if 72/24/72 is not working, they need something more restrictive, and asked if that is a fair statement.
Chair Shepherd stated that it is not working now.
Commissioner Bilezerian stated that based on comments from the audience the consensus is that some people are objecting to the 72/24/72; they do not want people to have the right to continuously park their RVs on the street for 72 hours or more and come back. He clarified that the Commission wants to go to the next step to further restrict what is happening now, but not create financial hardship or an unreasonable restriction on the people who want to enjoy their vehicles. He also suggested more enforcement.
Chair Shepherd stated that she has a simpler goal.
Commissioner Bilezerian stated that the Commission must define that.
Commissioner Klein agreed.
Commissioner Mevers questioned how this would be implemented; that the existing law is not enforceable, and the City needs something definable and measurable. He suggested setting a number than can be measured and then it can be enforced.
Commissioner Klein clarified that Commissioner Mevers is saying that the City does not permit any permanent on-street parking of oversized vehicles.
Commissioner Mevers responded yes, definitely.
Commissioner Bilezerian clarified that they are recommending prohibiting oversized vehicles carte blanche.
Commissioner Klein responded they would be prohibited from parking for more than 72 hours, so those who do not have private off-street parking have to find a place to put their vehicle other than their own property.
Commissioner Bilezerian questioned that if Staff did not approve a permit because you may have red curb, a fire hydrant, or driveways too close together, and you cannot park the vehicle in front of your house—what do you do.
Chair Shepherd responded that it is a good question, and asked if anyone knows what other cities are doing that have these laws in place that are working for them.
Commissioner Klein suggested that the City could still allow residents to park for 72 hours. He stated that he is still trying to cope with the question of if the Commission’s goal is to ban on-street parking of oversized vehicles with some exceptions.
Chair Shepherd stated that the majority of Commissioners said yes to that question, and are trying to accomplish that with consideration of litigation and other concerns in the community; that Staff presented draft ordinances based on cities who have successfully done that.
Commissioner Klein suggested that the other side of that is to ignore the concerns of residents who do not have another place to park their oversized vehicles except on the public street.
Chair Shepherd said she does not know if the Commission will ignore that if they can find a way to accommodate; but she explained that in making any decision, the Commission must weigh what they are considering and what they think is best for the City and the residents as a whole. She explained that that is why it takes so long to deliberate, because the Commission is sensitive to all concerns and comments from the community, but at some point a decision must be made that will please some, but not all.
Commissioner Klein commented that he is trying to go step by step and does not want to exclude the fact that some time in the future he might say that on-street parking of oversized vehicles should be banned except to load and unload freight. However, he said an intermediate step was considered to:
1. Require a permit to restrict on-street parking to residents only;
Chair Shepherd asked Commissioner Klein how many people he thinks will say they have no place else to park their vehicle.
Commissioner Klein responded that it might not be a problem for the City in that case if the street is wide enough.
Chair Shepherd stated that anyone can say that, and how do you disprove that.
Commissioner Klein responded that if there is no problem, what is wrong with the vehicle being parked on the street and in front of that person’s house.
Chair Shepherd responded that there is nothing wrong with it if the City’s goal is not to get them off the street.
Commissioner Mevers suggested if that is the case, why not just open it up to everyone.
Commissioner Klein responded, because the Commission does not want the City to become a dumping ground; but asked if residents should not get special consideration.
Chair Shepherd suggested asking the other cities. She explained that the Commission has a Motion on the floor, and the Commissioners have had many opportunities to express themselves. She stated that she must excuse herself at Midnight, and Vice Chair Willens can take over in her absence.
Commissioner Willens stated that he must leave as soon as a vote is taken on the Motion.
Chair Shepherd summarized the Motion as Attachment D with revisions, and amended to remove the number of permits until determined.
Motion approved on the following Roll Call Vote:
This section of the agenda is for audience comments for items not on the agenda.
Stanley and Marilyn Kritzer, 3832 Pirate Drive, Ladera Linda. Mr. Kritzer explained that they are here about the traffic signal at the corner of Forrestal and Palos Verdes Drive South. He stated that they brought this up six months ago, and they want the engineering work that is required before any building or constructing of that signal to start as soon as possible. He explained that they want it done before Mr. Trump’s money disappears and he does not have to do anything. Mrs. Kritzer stated that Mr. Trump is supposed to pay for it. Mr. Kritzer explained that traffic is increasing and will continue to increase; that the first thing that must be done is the engineering work for that site, which he understands has not been done. He explained that they are not asking for the signal, but when they reach that point, they must be ready for it. He explained that they are trying to get this done before the first accident. Mrs. Kritzer explained that the residents of Ladera Linda have only one egress on Forrestal, and no alternative to get to Palos Verdes Drive South. Mr. Kritzer stated that they would come back month-by-month until they get something started. He reported that they represent the Ladera Linda HOA in this respect, and they are the HOA’s source of information.
Chair Shepherd thanked Mr. and Mrs. Kritzer for their patience. She explained that several months ago the Commission talked about the fact that the money runs out at a certain point, and that before the money runs out the City would not have an opportunity to install anything, but could use the money for an engineering study and the preliminaries. She stated that she believes the Commission voted to direct Staff to start the process and spend the money, and asked if that is correct.
Senior Engineer Dragoo responded that it is correct; that Public Works now has an in-house engineer who is helping out a couple of days a week, and he is investigating all items associated with Trump. He explained that it is stated in the conditions of approval that the Trump Organization will pay their fair share of costs involved with traffic signals associated with Forrestal and Palos Verdes Drive South, and a portion of their fair share was paid when the wiring was installed. He explained that the engineer is now evaluating the additional cost associated with that intersection, and a bond was established to insure that Trump does this, but the dollar amount will be determined.
Chair Shepherd recalled that there is a time limit, and the sense of urgency was that if the money was not spent in three years it goes back and the concern was that the clock was ticking.
Senior Engineer Dragoo reported that the clock starts ticking when Public Works accepts his work as complete, and the clock has not started ticking.
In response to Mr. Kritzer’s request, Chair Shepherd directed Staff to address this in a report to the Commission as a Receive and File item at the next meeting.
RECEIVE AND FILE:
Commissioner Willens moved to postpone Informational Items and Approval of the Minutes until the next meeting, seconded by Commissioner Mevers.
The meeting adjourned on Motion by Commissioner Willens at 11:49 PM to the next regular meeting of the Traffic Safety Commission on Monday, July 24, 2006, seconded by Commissioner Mevers, and approved unanimously.