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Cerritos City Council Meeting Minutes

MINUTES OF A REGULAR MEETING OF THE
CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS
HELD MAY 24, 2007

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Cerritos City Hall, 18125 Bloomfield Avenue, Cerritos, California.

INVOCATION

Pastor Bill Ebling of First Baptist Church in Fullerton offered the invocation.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Brownie Junior Troop 1 led the assembly in the salute to the flag.

ROLL CALL

The City Clerk noted attendance of the following Members of the City Council:

Councilman Bruce W. Barrows

Councilman Joseph Cho, Ph.D.

Councilman John F. Crawley

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Edwards

Mayor Laura Lee

PRESENTATIONS

The following proclamations were presented:  Award of Distinction and Award of Excellence from the 33rd Annual National High School Model United Nations Conference to the Cerritos High School Model United Nations students; and Eagle Scouts Benjamin T. Trieu, Michael B. Trieu, Jonathan Nagayama and Rajan Davis.

The Mayor received, from the office of Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, a flag that has flown over the Capitol in memory of former Cerritos resident Bernie Einson.

PUBLIC COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS

Merri Wheaton, Cerritos resident, offered a prayer.

George Ray, Cerritos resident, invited everyone to the Family Arts Festival at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts on June 3, 2007.

CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS

Approval of Register of Demands

MOTION:  It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Edwards and seconded by Councilman Cho to approve the Register of Demands dated May 24, 2007, Checks 90656 through 91038, in the total amount of $6,426,997.20.  The motion carried unanimously.

Approval of Minutes

MOTION:  It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Edwards and seconded by Councilman Cho to approve the Minutes of the May 1, 2007 Joint Special Meeting of the Cerritos City Council and Cerritos Redevelopment Agency with the ABC Unified School District Board of Education, as modified, and the Minutes of the May 10, 2007 Regular City Council Meeting.  The motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

Information, discussion, and consideration to authorize further actions related to a proposed development involving the City of Cerritos/Cerritos Redevelopment Agency and the ABC Unified School District for the construction of an affordable senior housing community for individuals age 55 or older, a senior recreation center, a ±3.78-acre park, and remodel of an existing kitchen/warehouse facility for student lunch preparation located at 16700 Norwalk Boulevard in Cerritos (APN 7012-001-900) and for the construction of an administration building located at 12616 183rd Street in Cerritos (APN 7030-002-902).

Title was read to the foregoing item, the public hearing opened, and staff was called upon for a report.

Community Development Director Contreras reviewed the staff report dated May 24, 2007.

The following points were raised during ensuing comments and discussion:

  • the building materials of the potential administration building component would be determined later in the process, at which time concerns regarding costs and compatibility with surrounding uses would be addressed
  • sale of the potential school district offices to the school district is not being recommended because it would result in proceeds flowing back to the Redevelopment Agency, which is contrary to the benefits of the proposal for the City/Agency
  • an evaluation of proposed park activities to avoid incompatible park uses with nearby senior residents would occur later in the process
  • staff will monitor legislation related to solar panels to ensure a positive cost/benefit for residents of the housing units
  • creating non-profit, public benefit corporations for affordable housing developments is common
  • although not identical to this project, the affordable housing projects mentioned in the staff report were not put on the ballot for voter approval
  • a new legal opinion from the State of California Legislative Counsel's office regarding Article 34 compliance is anticipated in June 2007, at which time it can be reviewed by the Council
  • the lease payment timeline on Page 64 of the staff report is a recommendation only, with final approval and/or modification being addressed at a later time in the process

Interested parties were invited to present testimony.

Rick Renaker, Cerritos resident, spoke in favor of the proposal, noting it is an income source for the school district, is consistent with the 7-11 advisory committee findings, will assist in meeting Regional Housing Needs Assessment requirements, and will provide housing for seniors.

Diosdado De Leon, Cerritos resident, opposed the project and asserted that the proposal will result in the fleecing of money from very low, low and moderate income seniors.

Gavin Riley, Cerritos resident, retired ABC School District teacher, and spokesman for the teacher's union, indicated that the teachers are in favor of the project.  He stated that the park would increase property values and fill the need for a park in the area, and the improvement of the food service facility would benefit students.  Mr. Riley added that the School District has a surplus of land and enrollment is not increasing.

Kamlau Ma, Cerritos resident, expressed that the proposal will lower property values; opined that enrollment is increasing evidenced by oversized classes; and suggested a dialogue with the State with regard to affordable housing requirements.

Andy Lee asked how senior housing would help school enrollment and whether there would be many City employees who would qualify as tenants.  He suggested the formation of a citizens committee and hiring of a third party consultant to conduct plan checking and prepare environmental documents.

Anoop Garg, Cerritos resident, requested and received clarification that a traffic impact report for this project would be conducted and how redevelopment funding relates to housing mandates.  He suggested forming a committee of Cerritos residents to review the proposal.

Ericson Navoa, Cerritos resident, questioned whether school enrollment is declining and indicated the property should be preserved for future school use as the population grows.

Benjamin Ao, Cerritos resident, expressed concern regarding school overcrowding associated with the overlay project; questioned whether the proposed non-profit arrangement meets the intent of the law with regard to privately owned housing; and received clarification that project funding would come from redevelopment funds not the general fund.  He commented on the importance of good communication between the residents and the City.

Jerry Kamashian, Cerritos resident, asked that the long-term ramifications of this project be considered to ensure that the proposal remains financially viable and asked that the proposal be placed on the ballot.

Richard Hong, Cerritos resident, read a statement that was e-mailed to the United Home Owners Alliance that encouraged placing the matter before the electorate.

Sally Havice, Cerritos resident and President of the United Home Owners Alliance, former Assemblywoman and former ABC School Board member, referenced Article 34, indicating that there is no prohibition to taking this matter to the voters and encouraged the Council to place the matter on the ballot.

Sophia Tse, Cerritos resident, asserted that crime is increasing and the level of education is decreasing, and according to a study, the City does not have a problem with aging because young families are moving into the City.  She spoke against using wrought iron for this project and indicated that money should be put into the schools and security.

Dave Taylor, Cerritos resident, expressed that the proposal is not procedurally and financially feasible or proper.  He commented on the source of school district revenues and indicated that some of those funds could have been used to refurbish the district offices.  He estimated that the cost to repair the school district office roof would be less than two hundred thousand dollars.

Dale Brown, Cerritos resident, expressed concern with the lack of control of the revenue provided to the School District and indicated that the Agency can assist the School District in ways other than what is being proposed.  He indicated the proposal does not adequately project the need for schools in the future, noting that the housing currently occupied by seniors will be purchased by families with children.

Dick Lee, Cerritos resident, questioned how the School District could declare its current administrative offices as surplus property when those offices are still in use.  He asserted that there would be a shortfall in rents as occupants age and eventually all renters will be at the very low income level. 

Tom Mulvihill, Cerritos resident, encouraged the Council to put the proposal to a vote.

He expressed concern of what might be 55 years from now with regard to the viability of the School District, falling property values, and the type of element that comes with low income housing.  Mr. Mulvihill also expressed that the number of proposed housing units far exceeds the number of units mandated.

No one else wished to comment and the public hearing was closed.

Councilman Barrows referenced the testimony regarding crime, noting that crime in Cerritos is very low and crime statistics are generally more widely reported for cities with populations of 100,000 or more.  He observed that state legislators are actively forcing housing mandates at the local level, yet they continue to be voted into office, and noted that the financial guarantees and potential impact of the overlay zone are areas that require further review.  He indicated a preference for moving forward with the discussion to allow all facts to come out, and would not vote for any proposal that would harm the City.

Councilman Cho noted that although the concerns of the residents are being taken into consideration, they are not answered one-by-one in this forum, and he invited those with questions to call him to have a discussion.  He expressed assurances that concerns regarding high density associated with the overlay zone will be carefully considered, and in referencing Article 34, he indicated that a new legal opinion from the State of California Legislative Counsel is forthcoming.

Mayor Pro Tem Edwards referenced the success and benefits of previous joint City/School District efforts and the potential benefits of the proposed concept.  He indicated that he had a 35-year tenure with the School District, and that a number of renovations were made to school facilities to benefit the students, noting the administration building was not among them.  He added that while questions remain and additional study and review are necessary, the concept presents an opportunity and that he would not be in favor of anything that would harm the City or lower property values.

Mayor Lee indicated that 15,800 public hearing notices were mailed to all of the households in the City to ensure that everyone was made aware of the proposal and had an opportunity to express their opinion.  She indicated that this is the eighth meeting at which this matter was discussed and thanked those who spoke this evening, noting that there are other residents who have contacted her who are in favor of the project, but did not attend the meetings.  She expressed concern with the lease payment arrangement for the district office building component and could not support such an arrangement as currently proposed, indicating that the present value approach would result in a disadvantage to the City in future years.

Councilman Crawley indicated that this is the fourth hearing on this matter, noting there has been some repetition, and that he would provide additional comments at future hearings.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Crawley and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Edwards to direct that a public hearing on the proposed affordable senior housing development concept and related components be held at the June 14, 2007 City Council meeting.  The motion carried unanimously.

PENDING LEGAL MATTERS

Review and consideration of extending an existing forty-five day moratorium adopted by the Cerritos City Council on April 12, 2007 by way of urgency Ordinance No. 923 suspending all City-related action and consideration of development proposals for a proposed residential overlay zone to be located within the Development Area One (ADP-1) Industrial Zone.

Consideration of A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS EXTENDING ORDINANCE NO. 923 FOR FORTY-FIVE (45) DAYS.

Advance Planning Manager Lopez provided an overview of the staff report dated May 24, 2007.

Discussion ensued regarding clarification of the intent of a moratorium, the review process of the development proposal, and the extent of the environmental impact study, which would encompass the entire build-out of the project as well as threshold phases for mitigation measures.

MOTION:  It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Edwards and seconded by Councilman Cho to end the moratorium of development proposals for a proposed residential overlay zone to be located within the Development Area One (ADP-1) Industrial Zone on Sunday, May 27, which is the end of 45-days set by Ordinance No. 923.  The motion carried unanimously.

REPORT ON PENDING LEGISLATION

The City Manager reported on opposition to SB303, which imposes additional housing mandates on cities.

CITY COUNCIL COMMUNICATIONS/COMMITTEE REPORTS/REPORT ON MEETINGS

Councilman Barrows commented on unfunded mandates related to storm water runoff.  He referenced redevelopment set-aside funds and housing mandates, indicating that some interest has been shown in the possibility of legislation that would allow the use of these funds for classroom shortages that result from the mandates for increased housing.  He also discussed the potential impact of the State of California Legislative Counsel's Article 34 analysis of the affordable senior housing project on state housing mandates.

CONSENSUS:  It was the consensus of the City Council to direct staff to prepare legislation related to the use of redevelopment set-aside funds for classrooms.

Councilman Crawley reported on his attendance at the American Association of Museums Conference and the California Contract Cities annual meeting.

Councilman Cho announced that there will be a flag raising event for long-time resident Bernie Einson at the Cerritos Veterans Memorial on Memorial Day at 8:00 a.m., with a tree planting ceremony to follow at Cerritos Park East.

Mayor Pro Tem Edwards reported on his trip to Sacramento where he had an opportunity to speak in support of AB640 to equalize water pricing resulting in savings to the City.  He also reported on his attendance at the California Contract Cities annual seminar, recognized the efforts of fire fighters and the military in fighting the Avalon fire, commented on the Library's teen contest in poetry, literature, essays and photography, and invited everyone to the Family Arts Festival at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, June 3.

Mayor Lee reiterated that a flag raising event would be held in honor of Bernie Einson at 8:00 a.m. at the Cerritos Veterans Memorial on Memorial Day, and at 10:00 a.m. the Veterans of Foreign Wars would place a wreath at the Memorial.  She suggested consideration of an annual Memorial Day event and the City Manager indicated the suggestion could be a part of the budget presentation.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the City Council, the meeting adjourned at 10:10 p.m.

/s/ Josephine Triggs_______
Josephine Triggs, City Clerk

Attest:

/s/ Laura Lee______
Laura Lee, Mayor/Chair

Approved:  June 14, 2007

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