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Cerritos City Council Meeting Minutes

MINUTES OF A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE
CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS
HELD JANUARY 29, 2009

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 Amy Lunde Whitler of New Life Community Church in Artesia offered the invocation.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Girl Scout Troop 767 led the assembly in the salute to the flag.

ROLL CALL

The following Members of the City Council were in attendance:

Councilwoman Carol Chen
Councilman Joseph Cho, Ph.D.
Councilwoman Laura Lee
Mayor Pro Tem Bruce W. Barrows
Mayor Jim Edwards

PRESENTATIONS

The following proclamations were presented:  American Heart Association's "Go Red For Women Day" on February 6, 2009; Alber Chien's piano fundraising concert for the World Vision's Caregiver Initiative project; and Festival of Friendship participants.

PUBLIC COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS

Lori Kim, representing Assemblymember Tony Mendoza's office, announced a Cash for College Workshop on February 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at John Glenn High School in Norwalk and a Development Forum on February 20 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Norwalk Sports Complex.

Irantzu Puiddas introduced herself as Senator Alan Lowenthal's new liaison.

Jerry Jenson, Cerritos resident, noted he was a victim of a ponzi scheme and indicated that he is scheduled to speak on this matter at the Cerritos Senior Center on July 15 at 1:00 p.m.

Jerry Kamashian, Cerritos resident, asserted that corrections were required of a December 14, 2006 staff report related to code enforcement issues and asked that ten items in a letter he presented to the City Council at its December 11, 2008 meeting regarding this matter be addressed.

Steve Stallings, Cerritos resident, referenced the arterial block wall and Shoemaker Avenue wall issues and asserted the City has utilized the 1983 Towne Center Environmental Impact Report as a basis for evaluating environmental impacts of subsequent development on Shoemaker Avenue residents via negative declarations that reference data and studies that do not exist.  He opined that recent noise measurements taken on Shoemaker Avenue do not meet National Highway Administration Standards.

CONSENT CALENDAR

Approval of Register of Demands

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Lee and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows to approve the Register of Demands dated January 29, 2009, Checks 105827 through 106124, in the total amount of $3,844,399.50.  The motion carried unanimously.

Approval of Minutes

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Lee and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows to approve the Minutes of the Regular Meeting of January 8, 2009.  The motion carried unanimously.

Miscellaneous

Consideration and award of Bid No. 1090-09, printing of the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts 2009-2010 Season Brochures and the 2009-2010 Single Ticket Brochures.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Lee and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows to award Bid No. 1090-09 for the printing of the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts 2009-2010 Season Brochures to Sinclair Printing Co. in the amount of $233,030.19, and the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts 2009-2010 Single Ticket Brochures to Colorgraphics in the amount of $126,140.07 for a grand total of $359,170.26.  The motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC MEETING ITEMS

Review and consideration of the City's policy regarding the repair and replacement of privately owned block walls.

Advance Planning/Redevelopment Manager Lopez reviewed the staff report dated January 29, 2009.

Discussion was held regarding development of block wall engineering standards that would be applicable in most instances in the City and not necessarily the most conservative approach; the inclusion in the standards of a waterproofing component in cases where soil is being retained to prevent the recurrence of erosion from soil and water as well as a retaining wall definition; and a preference to address this matter as a code amendment and not a policy issue.  It was noted during the discussion that property owners would be responsible for curing any sidewalk damage as a result of wall installation and the use of precast concrete walls was also addressed.

It was noted during further discussion that the loan interest rate is based on the City's cumulative portfolio; the loans referenced in the staff report relate only to the walls; and the standard wall details contained as part of the staff report replace previously considered details, are more comprehensive, provide for more options and footing types, and eliminate pilasters.

Steve Stallings, Cerritos resident, requested a continuance of this item as well as Agenda Item 10B, noting that the staff report was lengthy and more time was needed to research, develop counter arguments and address corrections.  He asserted that the public notice for this matter was deficient, opining that the arterial block wall issue affects 3500 residents and only 100 such residents were given notice of this meeting, suggesting that possibly all residents should have been notified.

Randy Economy, Cerritos resident, suggested calling an election in November to place a capital improvement bond on the ballot as a means of addressing the City's aging infrastructure in a comprehensive manner.

Federico Quinto, Cerritos resident, submitted and read a letter dated January 29, 2009 objecting to the depth of the footings; asserting that the standard wall details are over-engineered; questioning the slope calculation; urging the Council to direct staff to further review the standard wall details; and requesting information related to the calculations supporting the standard wall details.

Discussion ensued regarding the public notification process, including publication in the local newspaper; the potential of funding arterial wall replacement through a special tax or a benefit assessment district as a comprehensive approach to this issue; and the Council's previous action not to fund arterial wall replacement given the uncertain economic environment and the lack of urgency to address the matter at this time.

MOTION FAILS:  It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows and seconded by Mayor Edwards to authorize staff to go out to bid for a consultant to facilitate public meetings that would cover the community and come back with recommendations from those meetings as it relates to arterial block walls.  The motion failed with Councilwoman Chen, Councilman Cho and Councilwoman Lee dissenting.

Discussion followed with regard to the proposed City loan program associated with wall replacement/extension and prohibiting the use of vinyl fence extension material for wall extension loans.  Cost thresholds associated with fence construction that would trigger payment of prevailing wage were also addressed during the discussion.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Cho and seconded by Councilwoman Lee that the City Council provide staff with direction to proceed with the development of the following funding options for replacing arterial block walls in the City of Cerritos, as contained in the staff report dated January 29, 2009 as follows:  C.1 Loan program for wall extensions; C.2 Loan program for wall replacement; and D. Cerritos Redevelopment Agency Rehabilitation Program Grant (RAP); with the following options:

A.        Wall Replacement Loan:  The City will offer a loan for the complete replacement of an existing block wall.  The loan will be repayable over 10 years at a 4% interest rate.

B.         Wall Extension Loan:  The City will offer a loan for the extension of an existing block wall.  The extension will take the form of additional courses of block.  The loan would be repayable over 5 years at a 3% interest rate.

The motion carried, with Mayor Pro Tem Barrows and Councilwoman Chen dissenting.

MOTION:  It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows and seconded by Councilman Cho that the City Council direct staff to come back with a municipal code amendment to add the Cerritos Block Wall Repair and Replacement Policy as set forth in the staff report dated January 29, 2009; approve standard wall details A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and V, as contained in the staff report dated January 29, 2009; and with additional direction that the details contain nothing more restrictive than County and State Codes, that more strict requirements can be imposed under special circumstances, and that residents can provide their own engineering drawings.  The motion carried unanimously.

RECESS AND RECONVENE

The meeting recessed at 9:00 p.m. and reconvened at 9:15 p.m. with all Councilmembers in attendance.

Consideration of a request by certain Cerritos residents for City funding for the replacement of arterial block walls adjacent to the public right-of-way on Shoemaker Avenue between 183rd Street and Droxford Street.

Public Works Director Arbogast provided a review of the staff report dated January 29, 2009.

During ensuing discussion it was noted that there are 50 homes abutting Shoemaker Avenue between 183rd Street and Droxford Avenue; a recommended mitigation measure associated with the Environmental Impact Report for the Towne Center resulted in an increased number of pilasters and additional block wall courses to increase the height of the arterial block wall on 183rd Street between Bloomfield Avenue and the Route 91 Freeway, which was accomplished through an agreement with the homeowners and funded through the Redevelopment Agency; staff recommendation would provide for concrete masonry unit (CMU) wall extensions for arterial walls along secondary highways in the City; and a minimum block width would be required to accommodate block wall extensions.

Steve Stallings, Cerritos resident, urged the City Council to ignore the staff report for this item until residents have an opportunity to respond.  He expressed that the staff report contains errors, 1983 Towne Center Environmental Impact Report noise measurements were inaccurate, to which CalTrans wrote a rebuttal, and related public comments were not made until recently because residents were misled that the City was looking after their interests; the October 2008 and January 2009 noise measurement studies are flawed; the staff report does not present valid information from which to make a decision; and residents are tired of presenting facts while City presentations gloss over details.

Jay Gray, Cerritos resident, commented on the inconsistency of wall extensions versus an eight foot wall; commented that trees would be an issue; and noted that the background portion of the staff report is misleading in its reference that property owners want to extend their block walls rather than pointing out that the walls need to be extended because of the Towne Center development.  He questioned the integrity of the City citing lack of data to substantiate environmental evaluations, non-compliance with mandates associated with the California Integrated Waste Management Board; inaccurate reporting that walls are located entirely on private property when some walls encroach into the public right-of-way; inaccurate reporting on the width of Shoemaker Avenue, the type of block wall material, and the height of the block wall; and City interference in when and where to place noise meters for recent sound surveys.  Mr. Gray also questioned the results of the noise study, asserting that a number of measurements were in excess of state standards, residents are unable to carry on conversations in their backyards, and that excessive noise can negatively impact blood pressure and heart function.  He attributed a comment to Councilman Cho related to private Council discussion of this matter and requested clarification.

Ram Kakkar, Cerritos resident, elaborated on City environmental reports, Federal and State noise level standards, and related data in support of his assertion that the staff report is contradictory and misleading with regard to negative noise impacts on residents abutting Shoemaker Avenue.  He asserted that residents have suffered at the expense of the Towne Center development and called on the Council to address this issue.

Federico Quinto, Cerritos resident, referenced a 1984 Environmental Impact Report for the Towne Center and asserted that the findings contained in that report anticipated greater traffic increases on Shoemaker Avenue south of 183rd Street than on 183rd Street east of Bloomfield Avenue, yet fence extensions for residences along that stretch of 183rd Street were built and none were provided for Shoemaker Avenue residences.

In response to comment by Mr. Gray, Councilman Cho clarified that he stated earlier that tonight, finally, we would discuss this agenda item, which did not mean the Council previously, privately met and discussed this matter.

A brief discussion followed regarding the possibility of continuing this matter to allow a thorough review of the staff report and related documentation.

MOTION DIES FOR LACK OF SECOND:  It was then moved by Councilwoman Chen to continue this agenda item to the next meeting so that both sides have an opportunity to review the staff report and related materials.  The motion died for lack of a second.

At the request of the Council, City Manager Gallucci discussed the California Integrated Waste Management Board action to fine the City and he reported that CalMet, the City's trash hauler, paid the fine as a contractual obligation that was not met with regard to meeting waste diversion mandates.

Tim Chung, The Planning Center, noted that noise level is dictated by the noise source and that the results of a 24-hour sample versus a 48-hour sample would be consistent unless there was a substantial change in the amount of traffic equivalent to a doubling of the traffic volume, which would increase levels by three decibels.

Dwayne Mears, The Planning Center, noted the City requested 6 noise monitoring locations for 48 hours, however, The Planning Center was able to provide 5 locations for 24 hours, given the time constraints, and one meter did not work.  He added that there was no conspiracy to hide data.

Preeda Tuwatananurak, Cerritos resident, asked for further clarification with regard to the modifications in the number of noise monitoring locations and the reduced length of time of the noise monitoring.

Jay Gray, Cerritos resident, indicated that his comments with regard to the California Integrated Waste Management Board were related to integrity, not the fine.

In response to Council inquiry, City Attorney Steres commented generally on public input related to General Plan updates.

In response to Council inquiry City Manager Gallucci commented that current revenue generated from the Towne Center approximates in excess of $7 million, and that the 20% affordable housing set-aside funds cannot be used for block walls in this instance, however, Redevelopment Agency funding could be utilized. 

MOTION DIES FOR LACK OF A SECOND:  Following his comments with regard to data contained in the staff report that indicates traffic volume increases on Shoemaker Avenue south of 183rd Street are far in excess of other secondary/arterial streets in and around the Towne Center, the related impact of the Towne Center on Shoemaker Avenue residents, and the City's obligation to these residents given the financial benefit of the Towne Center to the City, Councilman Cho moved that the City Council reject a request for City funding for replacement of privately owned arterial block walls adjacent to the public right-of-way on Shoemaker Avenue between 183rd Street and Droxford Street; that the Municipal Code be amended to allow concrete masonry unit (CMU) extensions, excluding vinyl materials; and that each property owner be awarded a $3,000 Redevelopment Agency rehabilitation grant without restriction. 

Discussion ensued with regard to existing related debt associated with the Towne Center development and the potential precedent a grant might set; the perception that a grant could be looked upon as a gift of public funds, particularly in this time of economic uncertainty; and the likelihood that residents around the Towne Center were aware of the project at the time it was being considered.

The foregoing motion died for lack of a second.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Lee and seconded by Councilwoman Chen that the City Council reject a request for City funding for the replacement of privately owned arterial block walls adjacent to the public right-of-way on Shoemaker Avenue, between 183rd Street and Droxford Street.  The motion carried unanimously.

MOTION:  Following discussion regarding wall height, it was moved by Councilwoman Lee and seconded by Councilman Cho that the City Council direct staff to come back with a Municipal Code amendment to permit concrete masonry unit (CMU) wall extensions for arterial walls to a maximum of eight feet in height and located along secondary highways.  The motion carried unanimously.

PENDING LEGISLATION

The City Manager referenced the State economic crisis, noting that action by the State is still pending and potential impacts to cities are being evaluated.

CITY COUNCIL COMMUNICATIONS/COMMITTEE REPORTS/REPORT ON MEETINGS

Councilwoman Chen commented on her attendance at the City's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. commemoration and noted that Cerritos resident Dr. Mandhir Gupta was involved in the delivery of the octuplets born in Bellflower on January 26, 2009.

Councilwoman Lee noted Chinese Lunar New Year on January 26, Year of the Ox, and she wished everyone a Happy New Year.

Councilman Cho referenced the comments made during the public comments portion of the meeting this evening by Mr. Kamashian, noting that he has met several times in the past with Mr. Kamashian to discuss his concerns and that Mr. Kamashian has not been ignored.  He added that an apology or discussion of the matter at a public meeting was inappropriate for legal reasons.

Mayor Edwards reported he represented the City at the United States Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C., January 17-19, where efforts were made to help cities have a greater presence on the Federal level; commented on the dedication of the H2O=Life art piece at Cerritos Park; and invited everyone to the Los Cerritos Mall on Saturday, February 7 for the Festival of Friendship.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 11:30 p.m.

/s/Josephine Triggs   
Josephine Triggs, City Clerk

ATTEST:

/s/Jim Edwards   
Jim Edwards, Mayor

Approved:  February 12, 2009

 

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