M I N U T E S
SPECIAL MEETING OF THE
OF THE CITY OF SANTA MONICA
|WEDNESDAY, August 16, 2000||CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS|
|6:00 P.M.||ROOM 213, CITY HALL|
1. CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m.
2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Commissioner Loui led the Pledge of Allegiance.
3. ROLL CALL:
Julie Lopez Dad
Kelly Olsen, Chairperson
Laura Beck, AICP, Associate Planner
Kimberly Christensen, AICP, Senior Planner
Kyle Ferstead, Commission Secretary
Paul Foley, Associate Planner
Suzanne Frick, Director of PCD
Donna Jerex, Associate Planner
Roger Kiesel, AICP, Assistant Planner
Tony Kim, Assistant Planner
Jonathan Lait, Associate Planner
Bruce Leach, Associate Planner
Kevin McKeown, City Council Liaison
Brad Misner, Associate Planner
Bobby Ray, AICP, Senior Planner
Barry Rosenbaum, Senior Land Use Attorney
Amanda Schachter, Principal Planner
Regina Szilak, Assistant Planner
Jay M. Trevino, AICP, Planning Manager
4. PLANNING DIRECTOR'S REPORT:
Ms. Frick gave the Director's Report. She announced the following scheduled Commission meeting dates: Wednesday, August 23 and Thursday, August 24 for consideration of the RAND Development Agreement; September 6 and September 20, 2000.
5. PUBLIC HEARING:
5-A. Study Session to review and discuss Planning Commission rules, procedures, and scope of its jurisdiction; Planning and Community Development work priorities; Brown Act requirements; and City policies and regulations related to land use and zoning decisions.
Ms. Frick began the Study Session as an informal dialogue between the Commission and City Planning Staff. Staff was asked to introduce themselves to the Commission. Following the staff introductions, Ms. Frick invited the Commission to give their own introductions and quick biography. Ms. Frick then gave a presentation on the history, goals regulatory framework of planning and the Commission.
[The Commission took a break from 8:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The majority of the City Planning Staff left the Chambers for the evening.]
5-B. Planning Commission discussion and possible adoption of a policy on Planning Commissioner communication with project applicants.
Chair Olsen presented the discussion topic. Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum explained the perimeters of the Commission's authority which includes any land use decision. He stated that due process requirements must be satisfied as the Commission sits as a quasi-judicial authority when it reviews Conditional Use Permits and Tract Maps. He informed the Commission that under Chair Olsen's proposal, disclosure must be made of any contact with the applicant and others connected with the project including site visits, conversations and the like.
Commissioner Loui asked staff if attendance at community open houses should be disclosed. Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum answered in the affirmative.
Commissioner Moyle asked if disclosure would be done at the onset of the hearing, prior to the public hearing. Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum answered in the affirmative. He explained that to do it later would defeat the purpose of the disclosure and the applicant and the public's ability to respond. He stated that the disclosure should also include the substance of the meeting. Commissioner Moyle expressed the opinion that it would then be prudent to forgo all contact prior to the public hearing. Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum stated that this is the City Attorney's recommendation.
Commissioner Dad expressed agreement with the last comments made by Commissioner Moyle and Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum. She asked for confirmation that contact would also include neighborhood groups, neighbors and the applicant. Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum stated that this could be subject to interpretation, however the Commission does act as judge when they review applications.
Commissioner Dad asked how much detail would be needed to reveal for site visits. Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum stated that the courts would require disclosure that the visit occurred and any impact it may have had.
Commissioner Clarke expressed his desire to be "even-handed" when being contacted by both applicants and neighbors. He asked how telephone contact should be addressed. Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum stated that written communications should be encouraged.
Commissioner Brown shared Commissioner Clarke's concerns. She commented that Commission public hearings are different from judicial proceedings in that various interests are disproportionately represented. She stated that she finds site visits very valuable. She expressed her second concern was about where disclosure is to occur in the hearing so that the applicant and the public can address the issues. Ms. Frick stated the Commission can continue public hearings in order to obtain additional information.
Commissioner Dad expressed her concern that the participation is not equal. She noted that applicants have great access to staff during the entire process but the public does not as much access. She questioned whether there was a way to resolve this dilemma.
Commissioner Moyle asked a question about notification to residents. Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum explained area residents and property owners are notified in a variety of ways.
Commissioner Moyle suggested concerned persons should write the Commission as a whole, rather than individually, as the contact can then be entered into the public record.Commissioner Clarke commented that developers are community people also.
Chair Olsen commented that this is opening up a can of worms. He stated that he can hear the conflict developing as the current Commission wants to listen to the public and there is only a short time for the public to hear and review the issues. He asked if the timing of packets could be shifted to allow for more public review. Ms. Frick stated that this would be difficult, however public notices are mailed ten days prior to the public hearing. She stated that staff will try to get packets out on the Wednesday before the public hearing. She also stated that the Planning Commission Caselist is on the City's website. Chair Olsen stated that he applauds the efforts being made by staff, however the majority of people being effected by projects are not involved in the process until it reaches their own neighborhood.
Chair Olsen expressed his agreement with the need for disclosure. He stated that he wants the most information possible and personally finds site visits very valuable. He stated that his policy is not to meet with applicants. He commented that the bottom line is how to get all the information, hear the public comment and maintain distance. He reiterated his preference for receiving information sooner rather than later. Lastly, he stated that he also does not have contact with those associated with the applicant or with neighbors.
Commissioner Moyle stated that her impression from the counsel given by the City Attorney is that disclosure is mandatory. She then expressed confusion regarding getting the staff reports out earlier and how that would benefit the Commission. Chair Olsen stated that the issue is enabling the public to digest the information sooner so that they may submit written comments and participate in the process better.
Chair Olsen asked the Commission if they have reached a consensus on the issue of disclosure. They generally agreed.
Commissioner Clarke commented that workshop formats is the right solution for bringing neighbors and developers together and work out differences. Chair Olsen expressed agreement on parties working together to make a better neighborhood. There was discussion regarding the workshop format. Commissioner Loui commented that project redesigns involve more than design issue, but also life-safety issues.
Commissioner Dad expressed her discomfort with discussing how to help an applicant get approval. She stated that applicants have access to experts including architects, lawyers and City staff. She also stated that the Planning Commission exists to see if projects meet code and if they are compatible with the neighborhood. Lastly, she stated that it is inappropriate for the Commission to redesign an applicant's project.
Commissioner Brown asked staff if a motion was needed to resolve this discussion. Ms. Frick responded that staff will return with an amendment to the Commission's Rules of Order with a new section on full disclosure.
Chair Olsen asked that the amendment return as soon as possible. Ms. Frick stated that it will be tentatively scheduled for September 20, 2000. Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum stated that more discussion may be done when the amended Rules of Order return.
Chair Olsen made a motion to establish a policy on disclosure with applicants or others related to a specific project, that disclosure will include citing of site visits, and that the new language will return on September 20, 2000.
Commissioner Moyle seconded the motion.
Commissioner Brown asked how specific the disclosure should be. Ms. Frick stated that disclosure should include who was contacted and any information received that effects the decision of the Commissioner.
Commissioner Dad stated that she would vote against full disclosure and does not want this formalized because of concerns with the difficulty of adequately disclosing site visits. She stated she would prefer to be guided by her own ethics.
Chair Olsen stated that the issue was raised for discussion and hoped that consensus would be achieved. Commissioner Clarke commented that they can practice disclosure now and felt that the discussion on disclosure had been good. He stated that he is inclined to support the motion.
Commissioner Loui stated that he would prefer to see voluntary disclosure.
The motion was approved by the following vote:
AYES: Brown, Clarke, Dad, Loui, Moyle, Olsen.
5-C. Historic Preservation Element Draft Goals and Objectives. [Planner: Donna Jerex]
Following the staff report, the City's consultant, Christie MacAvoy of Historic Resources Group, made a presentation and then was available to answer questions from the Commission.
[Commissioner Dad made a motion to continue the meeting past 11:00 p.m. Commissioner Clarke seconded the motion, which was approved by voice vote. Chair Olsen expressed irritation regarding this motion. Senior Land Use Attorney cited page 30 of the Commission's Rules of Order. Ms. Frick stated it can be agendized of discussion.]
Chair Olsen thanks Ms. MacAvoy for presentation.
Commissioner Loui commended and congratulated the project manager and consultant for their comprehensive document, which he felt was well balanced. He stated that he liked the integration of recommendations, linking policies with districts to create a strong nexus of policies toward a specific plan. He requested creation of a map of City landmarks. He asked if any thought had been given to creating overlay zones as is done in the City of Los Angeles. Ms. MacAvoy stated that she deliberately used a variety of terms due to the unknowns involved.
Commissioner Dad commented that she enjoyed reading the document. She stated that she had been impressed with the connections made with overlapping policies. She also stated that she liked the way the draft goals and objectives protect more than buildings, but also historic views, landscapes, and streetscapes. She commented that it is an ambitious document, but necessary. She thanked the consultant and staff for the very impressive document.
Chair Olsen expressed agreement with the previous speakers. He stated that he found the draft document very comprehensive. He asked about the 50 year rule for designating historic structures and commented on a significant building (401 Montana Avenue), which was less than 50 years old. Ms. MacAvoy stated that the rule of thumb for dating buildings is a federal standard (50 years), however the window for designation for the California Registry is 40 years and can go as low as 30 years.
Chair Olsen asked how these lower years can be incorporated into the City's policy. Ms. MacAvoy stated that a direction for potential significance of less than 50 years can be made.
Chair Olsen asked about citing a building designed by a notable architect (26th and Wilshire Boulevard). Ms. MacAvoy stated that this can be facilitated.
Ms. Jerex stated that the Draft Historic Preservation Element will return for review by the Planning Commission and Landmarks Commission for a joint meeting in November.
Chair Olsen asked if the Landmarks Commission has reviewed this draft and if they had any significant comments. Ms. Jerex stated that the Landmarks Commission reviewed the document at their last meeting and wants the demolition process changed so they can review permits earlier in the overall process. She also stated that the Architectural Review Board supports the desire of the Landmarks Commission.6. FUTURE COMMISSION AGENDA ITEMS:
Chair Olsen asked that the issue of the "11:00 p.m. rule" be agendized.7. PUBLIC INPUT: None.
8. ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 11:12 p.m.
APPROVED: December 6, 2000