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Cerritos City Council Meeting Minutes

MINUTES OF A REGULAR MEETING OF THE
CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS
HELD JULY 23, 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 Samuel Kuan, a Cerritos resident with the Korean Eden Reformed Church in Artesia, offered the invocation.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Girl Scout Troop 678 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 Jim Edwards
Councilwoman Laura Lee
Mayor Pro Tem Joseph Cho, Ph.D.
Mayor Bruce W. Barrows

PRESENTATIONS

Dustin Kim was presented with a proclamation for attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

With concurrence of the City Council, the following item was taken out of order.

NEW AND OLD BUSINESS

Consideration of an informational report relating to information submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the South Coast Air Quality Management District as it pertains to air quality issues.

City Manager Gallucci commented on the City's response to the air quality issues raised two weeks ago, noting that special counsel and an environmental consultant had been hired to assist in addressing this matter.

Julia C. Lester, PhD, Environ Corp., confirmed that the 2002 National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) used both an incorrect emission from the Heraeus Metal Processing Plant as well as an incorrect plant location and that her analysis is consistent with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) that the risk from Hydrazine is less than one in a million from that facility, noting that SCAQMD monitoring is consistent with best practices, with reliable results.  She indicated progress is underway in attempting to ascertain why these mistakes were made in the first place, where the bad data came from, why procedures were not in place to correct the mistake, and why the mistake was not caught.  Dr. Lester also noted that she is in discussions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the State Air Resources Board and the SCAQMD to prevent a re-occurrence of this mistake, and is in the process of developing written guidelines to respond to public concerns and form public policy in dealing with these agencies.

Discussion ensued regarding the scientific controversy between the USEPA and California State methodology related to diesel particulate matter and it was noted that a fact sheet on this matter is being prepared.

Curtis Coleman, environmental attorney representing the City, addressed his objectives to restore the City's reputation, convince the USEPA to recognize its technical and procedural mistakes, and obtain an apology from the USEPA.

Additional discussion was held regarding ongoing investigation into how the inaccurate data appeared and why it was not corrected; and lack of quality assurance/control and release of non-validated data.  It was also noted that the Heraeus Metal Processing Plant is in the City of Santa Fe Springs, all documentation the City has is being posted on the City's website, and after a tour of the Heraeus Plant, staff met with individuals that operate the plant, and Dr. Lester has been asked to prepare a risk assessment as it relates to the surrounding area.  With regard to the media, it was pointed out that Channel 2 and NBC will be conducting interviews with the Mayor for the purpose of retracting inaccurate reports.

The regular order of the agenda was resumed.

PUBLIC COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS

Tony Anguiano, Cerritos resident, referenced the air quality discussion and suggested a determination of how many Cerritos residents have cancer.

CONSENT CALENDAR

Approval of Register of Demands

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Lee and seconded by Councilman Edwards to approve the Register of Demands dated July 23, 2009, Checks 109832 through 110057, in the total amount of $3,011,757.28.  The motion carried unanimously.

Approval of Minutes

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Lee and seconded by Councilman Edwards to approve the Minutes of the Regular Meeting of July 9, 2009.  The motion carried unanimously.

Ordinance for second reading and adoption.  Reading of ordinance waived and ordinance adopted.

ORDINANCE NO. 949 – AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS AMENDING TITLE 8 OF THE CERRITOS MUNICIPAL CODE BY ADDING CHAPTER 8.13 TO ESTABLISH REGULATIONS FOR EXCESSIVE DOG BARKING.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Lee and seconded by Councilman Edwards to waive reading of and adopt Ordinance No. 949 entitled AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS AMENDING TITLE 8 OF THE CERRITOS MUNICIPAL CODE BY ADDING CHAPTER 8.13 TO ESTABLISH REGULATIONS FOR EXCESSIVE DOG BARKING.  The motion carried by the following vote:

AYES:             Councilmembers – Chen, Edwards, Lee, Cho, Barrows

NOES:             Councilmembers – None

ABSENT:        Councilmembers – None

ABSTAIN:       Councilmembers – None

PUBLIC HEARINGS

An appeal of a decision of the Cerritos Property Preservation Commission denying a request to remove a parkway tree adjacent to the property located

at 19202 Stefani Avenue, Cerritos, California (APN 7054-016-031) – Case No. TR 2009-7 - Appellants:  Robert and Sue Reeder

Appeal to City Council PPC 2009-1

Title was read to the foregoing public hearing item, the public hearing was opened, and staff report presented.

City Attorney Steres noted the staff report contains two letters from Mrs. Reeder's physicians and a two-page customer statement report from 2008-2009 listing her medications.  He commented that although Mrs. Reeder provided the City Clerk with additional back-up information regarding medical treatments she received in 2007, 2008 and 2009 as further evidence regarding the allergies and allergic reaction and asked that it be provided to the City Council, with the knowledge that it would become public, a determination was made to bring the information to the meeting and provide it to the Council if it is needed to help make a decision.  He noted the information consists of a number of pages, mostly insurance claim forms setting forth different treatments over the years related to allergies.  It was also noted that Mrs. Reeder had been tested for allergies.

The following was addressed during ensuing discussion:  there is more debris, pollen and needle growth the less frequently a tree is trimmed; the Commission may approve the removal of up to 50 trees per year; the burden of the tree on the homeowner outweighing the benefit of the tree to the community is one criteria used to determine if a tree should be removed; approximately five to seven trees are removed each year; each tree appeal is evaluated on a case-by-case basis; all of the parkway trees on that street and across the street are the same type of pine tree; typically trees that are removed are replaced with the same species of trees, unless it involves a forestation project or in this case, allergies.  It was also noted that the appellants may not experience the desired outcome because of all of the other pine trees surrounding their home in the neighborhood, and a brief discussion was held regarding the process to change a tree species within an entire neighborhood.

Interested parties were invited to present testimony.

Sue Reeder, appellant, indicated she had developed a severe allergy to her parkway pine tree requiring treatment by doctors through prescriptions, allergy shots and nasal spray because she had developed skin rash, and ear, eye, sinus and urinary tract infections.  Mrs. Reeder commented on her emergency steroid treatments, which she indicated could no longer be administered because the treatment limit had been reached, stated she required liver function monitoring, and indicated her doctor recommended removing the tree.  Mrs. Reeder expressed that she had demonstrated adequately the health hazard posed by the tree, indicating that tree is 12 feet from her front window and drops needles, sap, broken branches, and pine cones in the front and back yards, house, front door and driveway.  In response to Council inquiry, Mrs. Reeder indicated that she had lived in the City since 1986, that in addition to the pollen, direct contact with her parkway pine tree branches, needles, cones, and sap contributed to her allergic reaction, not that of her neighbors', that the doctor recommended removal of her pine tree, and if the tree is not removed the City would be responsible for her life.

In response to Council inquiry regarding liability, City Attorney Steres observed that the City is not liable for a medical condition or treatment or results of a medical condition of the property owner because of a decision by the City not to have a tree removed.  He added that it would be difficult to determine if that particular tree in front of the appellant's house would be the cause of the allergic reaction, and he commented further that in general cities are liable for dangerous conditions of a property for the average reasonable situation and not a unique situation.

It was noted during ensuing discussion that the entire street is populated with parkway trees of the same pine species and Mrs. Reeder responded to an inquiry regarding the possibility of her requesting removal of another tree if the symptoms persist by indicating that her doctor has indicated that the most severe reaction is from contact with the droppings and debris from her parkway pine tree and removal of that specific tree would relieve the allergic reaction.  In response to further inquiry, Mrs. Reeder indicated that she has gardening service once a week and her husband clears the pine tree droppings and debris daily.

Robert Reeder, appellant, asserted that the last time the tree was trimmed it was trimmed half way up the tree and when the tree is trimmed it drops sap.

In response to Council inquiry regarding the possibility of requiring a hold harmless agreement from the appellants in the event the tree removal request were granted, the City Attorney suggested looking at the policy question of whether there are sufficient facts to remove the tree.  He observed that Mrs. Reeder had given assurances that if the City removes the tree she and Mr. Reeder would not be looking to remove any more trees, and that although a guarantee in court could not be made, the City has no liability in this situation.

There were no other speakers and the public hearing was closed.

Discussion was held regarding the health of residents and the severity of the allergic reaction of the appellant; the unique circumstances surrounding this particular situation; the doctors' recommendations to remove the tree; concern that winds may blow pine pollen and debris from neighboring pine trees onto the appellants' property and that removal of one tree may not help this situation since the entire area is populated with pine trees in the parkways; the Property Preservation Commission's recommendation to retain the tree; the possibility of trimming the tree prior to making a decision on its removal to allow for further evaluation; and the potential costs associated with legal action as compared to the cost to remove the tree.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Lee and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Cho to direct staff to remove the parkway tree adjacent to the property located at 19202 Stefani Avenue, as identified in the staff report dated July 23, 2009, and to plant another tree species at that location.  The motion carried with Councilmembers Chen and Edwards dissenting.

RECESS AND RECONVENE

The City Council recessed at 8:57 p.m. and reconvened, with all Councilmembers present, at 9:09 p.m.

A development proposal by Michael Tseng, Perkowitz & Ruth Architects, 111 West Ocean Boulevard, 21st Floor, Long Beach, California, 90802, on behalf of the property owners, G & A Partnership, to remodel the existing buildings and incorporate landscape and vehicular circulation improvements on the subject property located at 11300-11338 South Street, which totals approximately 4.98 acres in area and is zoned CR, Regional Commercial (APN 7049-001-021).

Mitigated Negative Declaration*

Precise Plan 2009-8

*A Mitigated Negative Declaration has been prepared for Precise Plan 2009-8.

Title was read to the foregoing public hearing item, the public hearing opened, and staff report presented.

The following changes to the conditions of approval were noted by staff:

Modify Condition 70

"Elimination of the Existing Pedestrian Access at Bigelow Street. The property owner/developer shall be required to remove the existing pedestrian access/walkway from Bigelow Street to the subject commercial center. The pedestrian access/walkway shall be replaced with landscape comparable to the existing landscape found within the adjacent planter. Additionally, the existing unpermitted metal gates shall be removed and a block wall shall be constructed to match the existing block wall in lieu of said gates subject to the review and approval of the Department of Community Development. Further, the existing unpermitted wrought iron fence extension currently affixed to the subject block wall shall be removed and shall be replaced with a new block wall, rendering the subject block wall segment comparable in height to the existing adjacent block wall, which measures approximately 7'-0" in height. This Condition of Approval shall supersede Condition of Approval 31 of Precise Plan 1974-7 effectually deleting the requirement for pedestrian access to be maintained between the adjacent residential neighborhood and the subject commercial center."

Add Condition 71

Location of Trash Enclosures.  Trash enclosures shall not be permitted to be located along property line walls that are shared or are adjacent to residential uses.

Interested parties were invited to present testimony.

Carl Johnson, Cerritos resident, read a petition that was included in the staff report requesting replacement of the trees on the south side of the property and indicating that these trees are a source of constant maintenance for adjacent residents.

Judy Waters, Cerritos resident, referenced her letter of July 13, 2009 that was included in the staff report addendum and spoke in support of the project as modified.  She opined that the metal gate off of Bigelow Street was installed by the property owner in violation of the Municipal Code, commented on an inoperable truck stored along the westerly block wall, and asked that the property owner discuss problems with the residents through the City.

City Manager Gallucci indicated that the truck had been removed by the property owner.

Robert Tun, representing the applicant, indicated that project completion is anticipated in 4 to 6 months.

Michael Tseng, applicant, objected to the height of the lighting required in Condition 55.

It was noted during ensuing discussion that the City Arborist reviewed the condition of the trees on the site and recommended removal of six trees, with the remaining trees being in stable condition, and following further discussion regarding a review of the lighting addressed in Condition 55, staff suggested removal of the reference to light poles no more than 22 feet in height.

There were no other speakers and the public hearing was closed.

The following modifications to the conditions of approval were noted:

Modify Condition 55

"Light Poles/Illumination.  Any new light poles shall be of a design approved by the Community Development Department and shall not be more than 22 feet in height, and not more than 9 feet in height along the east, south, and west property lines, including the concrete base.  The concrete base shall not be more than 12 inches above the adjacent curb.

Vehicular roads and drive aisles and pedestrian walkways shall have sufficient illumination.  Architectural lighting that complements the architectural style of the building shall be incorporated onto the building facade.  All proposed light fixtures shall be subject to the approval of the Community Development Department.

Illumination levels along the west and south property boundaries shall be maintained so as not to adversely impact adjacent residential uses."

Modify Condition 68

"Alternative Pedestrian Access/Crosswalk(s).  The property owner/developer shall be required to provide alternative pedestrian access from the northwest parking lot to Building "D" by way of a pathway and crosswalk north of the main drive aisle at South Street and a crosswalk south of said drive aisle at the T-intersection located within the subject development.  The design and location of the required pedestrian improvements shall be subject to the review and approval of the Departments of Community Development and Public Works."

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Chen and seconded by Councilwoman Lee that the City Council:

A.        Receive, file, certify and approve the Mitigated Negative Declaration set forth in Cerritos Planning Commission Resolution No. PC 2009-20;

B.         Approve the applicant's request to delete Condition of Approval No. 31 of Precise Plan 1974-7 by way of approving Condition of Approval No. 70 of Precise Plan 2009-8, as modified in the July 23, 2009 staff report addendum; and modify Condition of Approval No. 68 of Precise Plan 2009-8 as noted in the staff report dated July 23, 2009;

C.        Approve Precise Plan 2009-8, making the findings set forth in Planning Commission Resolution No. PC 2009-21;

as recommended in the staff report and staff report addendum dated July 23, 2009, and subject to the addition of Condition 71 as outlined in the July 23, 2009 staff report addendum and the modification of Condition 55 as noted earlier in the meeting.  The motion carried unanimously.

Review and consideration of the Draft 2008-2014 Housing Element Update of the Cerritos General Plan.

Title was read to the foregoing public hearing item, the public hearing was opened, and staff report presented.

The following was addressed during ensuing discussion:  the City can acquire property to meet the Regional Housing Needs Assessment criteria if the Cuesta Villas project is delayed or eliminated; geographic data is from the 2000 census; the current General Plan is up-to-date; the potential impact of SB 375 was referenced; and the City be notified of any potential housing development in the City of Lakewood adjacent to Cerritos.

Interested parties were invited to present testimony.  Hearing no response, the public hearing was closed.

The following modifications were addressed:

Page 18

7. Energy Conservation Program/ Accomplishments/Appropriateness:

Due to the lack of staff and resources, this program was not implemented. The City will review this program during the 2008-2014 Housing Element cycle and explore possibilities of promoting will implement a program of energy conservation and alternative energy sources.

Page 24

14. Lead-Based Paint and Asbestos Reduction Program/Accomplishments/ Effectiveness:

Moderate Successful.  A total of three (3) clients have benefited from this program and the Agency has awarded $11,160.

Page 106

Green Building/Sustainability:

The City of Cerritos has a commitment to protecting the environment, improving quality of life, and promoting green building/sustainability. In order to fulfill this commitment, the City is exploring the opportunity of establishing will implement a voluntary green development program to provide information and resources to encourage the development of a green environment comprised of green buildings and landscaping in Cerritos. The goal in creating a voluntary green development program is to address and promote green development site design and construction resources for residents or businesses interested in healthy, energy- and resource-efficient green development practices. In addition, the City is exploring the option of providing may provide City based incentives to homeowners and business owners who develop environmentally friendly projects. This will also be incorporated into the Energy Conservation and Green Development Program.

Page 117

7. Energy Conservation and Green Development Program

Implement a program that educates the public regarding energy conservation and promotes the use of alternative energy sources and green development through financial reimbursement incentive programs.

 

Objective:

Encourages energy conservation, the use of alternative energy sources and green development.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Chen and seconded by Councilwoman Lee to modify the language of the 2008-2014 Draft Housing Element Update of the Cerritos General Plan, as modified this evening and direct staff to submit the modified 2008-2014 Draft Housing Element to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for formal review and comment.  The motion carried unanimously.

CONSENSUS:  Staff was directed to implement the City's membership in the U.S. Green Building Council.

PUBLIC WORKS ACTIVITIES

Consideration and approval of the City of Cerritos Sewer System Management Plan in compliance with the Statewide General Waste Discharge Requirements for Sanitary Sewer Systems (Order No. 2006-0003).

Paul Bellenbaum, Cerritos resident, commented on sewer treatment.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Lee and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Cho to approve the City of Cerritos Sewer System Management Plan in accordance with the Statewide General Waste Discharge Requirements for Sanitary Sewer Systems, Order No. 2006-0003, as recommended in staff report dated July 23, 2009.  The motion carried unanimously.

Review and consideration of a proposed program for the City of Cerritos to join with other cities across the nation to support the City of Chicago, Illinois in its bid to host the Olympic Games in 2016.

Assistant City Manager Matsumoto and Recreation Superintendent Titus provided an overview of the Fine Arts and Historical Commission and Parks and Recreation Commission joint meeting held for the purpose of considering a project to support the bid of the City of Chicago, Illinois to host the 2016 Olympic Games including information for a community sports event joining with other cities across the nation to honor Olympic Day.  The recommendations of the Commissions were also reviewed, as contained in the staff report dated July 23, 2009, in addition to the status of planning for Cerritos Olympic Day.

Discussion ensued regarding the various efforts toward supporting Chicago for the Olympics including the walk or wall of fame concepts for City Olympians and a sculpture; the possibility of providing non-monetary support in these efforts given the uncertain economic environment and the State financial crisis; and the reluctance to use Art in Public Places trust funding for the recognition program.

MOTION:  It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Cho and seconded by Councilwoman Lee to direct staff to continue planning the Cerritos Olympic Day, to be held in conjunction with Youth Soccer League Awards Night on August 4, 2009.  The motion carried unanimously.

MOTION FAILS:  Following discussion, it was moved by Councilman Edwards and seconded by Mayor Barrows to support the concept of a walk of fame to honor Olympic athletes from the City of Cerritos, and direct staff to review and recommend to the City Council a sports related sculpture to be located at the Cerritos Sports Complex or Cerritos Olympic Swim Center, with related costs and funding sources to be determined.  The motion failed with Councilmembers Chen and Lee and Mayor Pro Tem Cho dissenting.

PENDING LEGISLATION

City Manager Gallucci discussed the status of State budget negotiations, noting the State's anticipated taking of gas tax, property tax and redevelopment fund allocations from local governments and its approximate $10.9 million impact on the City of Cerritos; commented on the possibility of borrowing from the housing set-aside fund in light of this taking; noted potential new, future increment from current building projects; and discussed potential lawsuits associated with the State taking by a variety of entities.

CITY COUNCIL COMMUNICATIONS/COMMITTEE REPORTS/REPORT ON MEETINGS

CONSENSUS:  At the suggestion of Councilman Edwards, staff was directed to report back on reducing or eliminating permit fees for solar heating and electric generation.

CONSENSUS:  At the suggestion of Councilman Edwards, staff was directed to report back regarding the placement of a plaque or monument to be located near the Veterans Memorial in tribute to fallen Marines of the 1st CEB.

Councilman Edwards reported on his attendance at the recent Volunteer Recognition Dinner and Friends of the Library brunch; commented on the City Wide Pride recognition dinner to be held tomorrow evening; asked that the meeting be closed in memory of Cerritos resident Ernie Bellenbaum, who recently passed away, and 1st CEB Marine Sgt. Michael W. Heede, Jr., who was recently lost in the line of duty in Afghanistan; and invited residents to participate in a moment of silence memorial in honor of Sgt. Heede tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. at the City's Veterans Memorial in concurrence with those being held at Camp Pendleton, in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

CONSENSUS:  At the suggestion of Councilwoman Chen, staff was directed to review and monitor AB 1186 related to State regulation of lessor parking spaces for employees and authorize an opposition position following staff analysis.

Councilwoman Chen acknowledged a landmark bill co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Paul Fong and Kevin de Leon and approved by the State Legislature on July 17, 2009 apologizing to the State's Chinese-American community for discriminatory laws enacted as far back as the mid-19th century Gold Rush and recognizing the contributions that Chinese immigrants have made to the State.  She reported on her attendance at the Rancho Bernardo Independent Cities Conference held July 9 through 12, 2009; the Sacramento League of California Cities Local Government Summit on Governance and Fiscal Reform held July 17-18, 2009; the July 11 Community Safety Forum at the First Evangelical Church of Cerritos; and the Cerritos Volunteer Awards Dinner.  She asked that the meeting also be adjourned in memory of Cerritos resident William Ng who recently passed away.

Councilwoman Lee addressed her attendance at the Volunteer Recognition Dinner; Friends of the Library brunch; and the July 15 fraud prevention event at the Cerritos Senior Center presented by Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Jenson.

Councilman Cho noted his participation in the July 12 Keep LA Running 10K Run at Dockweiler Beach in Playa Del Ray sponsored by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 721; and attendance at the Volunteer Recognition Dinner, the July 16 Bixby Marshland Dedication Ceremony in Carson, and Mr. Ernie Bellenbaum's funeral at Holy Family Church.

Mayor Barrows discussed the potential pitfalls for cities associated with the State Constitutional Convention efforts; commented on efforts by Councils of Governments to retain their fair share of Federal transportation funding; noted that residents on the east of Gahr High School have requested a meeting with the City Council and the School Board tentatively scheduled for August 25; and addressed media attempts to rectify the misinformation that was transmitted with regard to air quality in Cerritos.

CLOSED SESSION

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION PURSUANT TO CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 54957 AND LABOR NEGOTIATIONS WITH UNREPRESENTED EMPLOYEES PURSUANT TO CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 54957.6

Title:   City Manager

Agency Designated Representative:           
Art Gallucci

Agency Designated Representatives:         
Mayor Bruce W. Barrows and Mayor Pro Tem Joseph Cho, Ph.D.

There was no closed session held.

CONSIDERATION OF SALARY AND COMPENSATION ADJUSTMENTS FOR CITY CHARTER EMPLOYEES

MOTION:  It was moved by Mayor Barrows and seconded by Councilwoman Chen that the City Manager and City Clerk receive a four percent (4%) cost of living salary adjustment effective July 1, 2008 and retroactive to July 1, 2008, which was previously given to all other City employees July 1, 2008, and with all other terms and conditions of employment remaining the same.  The motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 12:12 a.m., July 24, 2009, in memory of 1st CEB Marine Sgt. Michael W. Heede, Jr., and Cerritos residents Ernie Bellenbaum and William Ng, all of whom recently passed away.

/s/Josephine Triggs                   
Josephine Triggs, City Clerk
 

ATTEST:

/s/Bruce Barrows                     
Bruce Barrows, Mayor

Approved:  August 13, 2009

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