Ventura City Council Meeting
March 12, 2012
Ventura City Hall - 501 Poli Street
To View a listing of the agenda items for this council meeting, go to www.cityofventura.net/meeting/city-council-meeting-105.
Mayor Tracy brought the meeting to order with a call of the roll -- Council Member Andrews was not present. It was then asked of Council Member Brennan to lead in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Community Development Director's Report -- Jeff Lambert introduced Council and the public to a local business known as Ventura Rental Center, Inc. Present owner and GM Ted Cook, a former President of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce, was recently elected President of the American Rental Association in 2011. Ed Summers took over the introductions, saying that as a longtime member of Ventura's Chamber of Commerce, VRC works closely with Ventura Westside Plan administrators along with the mayor, former mayors and former council members (including himself). Owner Ted stepped forward to receive a certificate of appreciation from the council as presented by Mayor Tracy.
Closed Session Report -- Council discussed the City of San Buenaventura versus Richard Fuld, the former CEO of Lehman Brothers. The case was brought forward as a result of losses by the city as impacted through the Wall Street firm's legal difficulties arising through its alleged fraud and subsequent bankruptcy.
Council Communications -- Council Member Brennan thanked the community for turning out and supporting M.B. Hanrahan. The money raised in her honor will be used to help support the arts in Ventura. Steve and Polly Hoganson at Zoe's were thanked for their hosting efforts, along with Moses Mora, Josh Addison, Phil Taggart and Jim Rice along with others who worked hard to pull the event together.
Council Member Monahan asked the meeting be closed in the memory of Martha Reilander who passed away while living in the river bottom as a member of the homeless community. It was also announced that applications for participation in the St. Patrick's day parade have now been closed. The day begins at about 9:30 AM in front of the old mission, were father Tom will deliver the invocation.
[Comment] V-N-C would also like to acknowledge the passing of another homeless person -- Kevin Gudzunas, 11/18/1971 to 3/6/2012 -- for whom a memorial service was held on March 16, 2012, at the Harbor Community Church, 3100 Preble Avenue, Ventura. We hope to see both of these individuals remembered at the Homeless Persons' Memorial, now becoming a fixture in the community during (or near) the third week in December at the gazebo in Plaza Park. When folks asked Kevin where he lived, the reply was always, "at Wachovia." Kevin and his precious little puppy did indeed "live" under a bush at the corner bank in Midtown, so whether or not you believe in the phrase, "There but for the Grace of God go I," it should be a given that while your ATM might be a great place to visit, it's pretty certain that you wouldn't want to live there. [Ed.]
Council Member Weir announced specials in all of the restaurants the morning of St. Patrick's Day.
Regional Boards, Commissions and Committees -- Council Member Morehouse noted again that the bus route number 40 has been suspended permanently.
Consent // Formal Items -- (1) Minutes; (2) Ordinance Amendment Expanding the Citywide Number of Permitted Card Tables; (3) Grant of Easement to Southern California Edison Company and Pacific Bell Telephone Company to Service the New Community Memorial Hospital Building, with one speaker on Consent Item Nos. 2 and 3.
Public Communications -- Brian Rencher supported Consent Items Nos. 2 and 3.
Council Communications -- Council Morehouse moved that the consent items be approved, asking that he be included in the minutes as absent from the meeting of February 23. A second was obtained. Mayor Tracy asked for a call of the roll -- all members voted yes with the exception of Mr. Morehouse on item 1 after having asked for an abstention.
Advance Agenda Item No. 4 -- Public Hearing Item; Comprehensive Plan Amendment and Zone Change to the Local Coastal Program to Change the Land Use From Planned Commercial Tourist Oriented to Planned Mixed Use and Change the Zone from Commercial Tourist Oriented to Coastal Mixed Use to Facilitate the Development of a New 30- Unit Residential Development on the Site Currently Occupied by a Four-Story Parking Structure Located at 2055 Harbor Boulevard, Case No. PROJ-1951; Integrated Capital, Applicant.
Staff's recommendation was to continue Agenda Item No. 4 to May 14, as announced by Community Development Director Jeff Lambert. Mayor Tracy opened the public hearing on the item, and with there being no public speakers the motion to advance the item to May 14 was made by Council Member Weir. A second was obtained thus closing the public hearing as Mayor Tracy called for a roll call vote. All members voted yes.
Agenda Item No. 5 -- Pierpont Transient Occupancy Tax. Jeff Lambert began the presentation by stating Staff's intention to reconfirm Council's policy direction given some time earlier.
Pierpont Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) showing: (1) 2007 -- (1.1) Short-term vacation rental ordinance -- (2) 2008 -- (2.1) Amendmentst to the 2007 ordinance -- (2.2) Transient Occupancy Tax Policy
Short-term Vacation Rental TOT policy, showing: (1) Transient Occupancy Tax derived from short term vacation rentals in the Pierpont area will be used for city programs and actions that directly benefit the Pierpont neighborhood -- (2) Council is prohibited from formally or permanently "earmarking" general fund tax revenue
Pierpont TOT Policy, showing: (1) Input from Pierpont Community Council on priority programs and actions -- (1.1) Tree trimming -- (1.2) Beach trash cans -- (1.3) Bike route signs -- (1.4) "RDA" feasibility -- (1.5) Dog mitts -- (1.6) Warning signs -- (1.7) Showers -- (2) Other input
Next Steps, showing: (1) Council to confirm policy direction tonight -- (2) Further discussions with stakeholders; Pierpont Community Council and South Seaward Property Owners/Merchants -- (3) Price estimates for individual programs and actions -- (4) Prioritize projects -- (5) Build into 2012/13 and 2013/14 budgets -- (6) Implement high priority projects
Mayor Tracy asked that the city attorney reconfirm his opinion (bottom of page 1) that this does not build in any current earmarking for these provisions. Mr. Calonne responded saying that the TOT tax is a general tax that only requires majority approval of the voters. What it does not entail is being able to be transferred by the council to other compulsory spending in any particular way, including that which would bind future Councils to the agreement.
Public Communications -- Brian Rencher spoke to say that the recommendation is not supported because of the language where it was mentioned that “the city council is legally prohibited from formally or permanently earmarking general tax revenue.” Alternative (1) is to be preferred -- “Re-examine the policy of informally earmarking a particular source of funding for a specific geographic area, but instead direct these funds in the same manner as other collections from the Transient Occupancy Tax,” i.e., via the budget process. The speaker claimed that the wording amounts to a "fig leaf" and that with taxes being prohibited for use in any area other than the Pierpont community, the Pierpont Community Council -- a group of unelected officials – is controlling spending using using taxpayer money. It was said that only this Council represents the electoral body. The speaker approved of several of the issues such as trimming of palm fronds, which are falling and creating a public safety hazard. Trash cans on the beach and dog mitts should also be treated with high priority, according to the speaker.
Sandy Bachmann, the next speaker, said that on behalf of the Pierpont Community Council there is a history to this whole project. It was said that for many many years the Pierpont area had no TOT, but that through local activism beginning in about 2008 the city was convinced as to the necessity for the creation of a TOT and one that would benefit the Pierpont area. The speaker felt that beyond the legal aspects being discussed, there is a moral obligation on the part of the citizenry to assist in a long neglected area of the city. The speaker urged the council to approve Staff's recommendations.
Council Member Brennan said that the money being put back into the area where it is needed should be the issue and that such action seemed fair as far as the councilman was concerned. It was said that a roughly $40,000 per year is the total amount that is expected to be raised, and that with this being not a large number in the overall scheme of things where funding is concerned.
Council Member Weir said that the Pierpont area generates a large amount in taxation, with the area of being behind in receiving its fair share of upgrades. With the loss of RDA, it was wondered whether this is being used to replace that lost money when it comes to dealing with stakeholders and their willingness to support some of the technical work that would support some of the P-Bid entailment as was done in Downtown. Confirmation of such was offered by Mr. Lambert.
Deputy Mayor Heitmann expressed support for the proposal, noting that the area has been neglected and that ongoing work in a beach area with the prominence of Pierpont will benefit the city as a whole. The beach cleanup of the Pierpont area drew volunteers from all across the city. Ms. Heitmann thought that to characterize this funding as an "earmark" would be a bit of a misnomer. Deputy Mayor Heitmann moved acceptance of the recommendation. A call of the roll was asked for and passed unanimously.
Agenda Item No. 6 -- Landscape Water Conservation Ordinance. The staff report was begun by Jill Sarick, Environmental Specialist.
Water Issues in California, showing: (1) California's economic prosperity is linked to environmental quality -- (2) Successive drought years -- (3) Outdoor water use accounts for 40 to 60% of total domestic water use -- (4) Water Conservation Landscaping Act of 2006 [AB 1881] [~Require by January, 2010, the adoption of state-mandated guidelines or pass local ordinances that either meet or exceed AB 1881~]
Inefficient Irrigation, showing: (1) Evaporation -- (2) Dry weather runoff = storm water pollution -- (3) Thousands of gallons per minute being wasted
Water Efficiency and Storm Water, showing: [An artist' s rendering was shown of river water flowing toward the ocean]
State Landscape Ordinance, showing: (1) Public agency, private developer projects 2500 ft.² -- (2) Developer-installed, single-family, multi-family projects 2500 ft.² -- (3) Homeowner hired/DIY projects 5000 ft.² -- (4) Existing landscapes 1 acre or greater
Ordinance Intentions -- showing: (1) Stretch our limited water supplies -- (2) Reduce storm water runoff -- (3) Reduce irrigation water waste -- (4) Less property damage -- (5) Climate appropriate landscapes -- (6) Less green waste -- (7) Increased carbon footprint -- (8) Increased drought resistance
Proposed Local Ordinance, Two Substantive Differences, showing: (1) Provides applicants of smaller projects a choice -- (2) Sets homeowner hired/DIY projects at 2500 ft.² versus 5000 ft.²
Design Review -- the Permit Issuance, showing: (1) Single-family residential landscape projects -- (1.1) Prescriptive method -- (1.2) MWELO -- (2) Subdivisions, multi-family, commercial, industrial and landscape projects -- (2.1) MWELO
A tale of Two Landscapes, showing: 58,000 gallons versus 5000 gallons were shown as representative of lawn areas that could be planted with respect to the amount of necessary water.
Water Budgets, showing: (1) Maximum Applied Water Allowance (MAWA) is used for compliance and is based upon landscaped area, plant material and Evaporative Transpiration (ET) will be calculated by designer or landscape architect -- (2) Prescriptive method provides MAWA calculations
State Requirement for Existing Landscapes Over 1 Acre, showing: (1) Good idea -- (2) Landscape audit or survey -- (3) Cost effective -- (4) Performance adherents
Community Partners, showing: (1) Surfrider Ocean Friendly Gardens -- (2) Grey water systems & rain barrels -- (3) Website assistance -- (4) Casitas Municpal Water District -- (5) Nopalito Nursery
Recommendation, showing: Introduce and waive first reading of the ordinance
Watch this space for more to come.