Chair Miller called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
Commissioner Han led the flag salute.
Kathleen Baier-Dalton, Virginia Han, George Miller, Craig Russell, Nancy Spencer, Neil Swanson
Ron Molendyk, Community Services Director; Community Services Managers Pat Trotter, Randy McDaniel, and Grace Miranda; Dan Sereno, Landscape Superintendent; Don Hoppe, Director of Engineering.
Commissioner Dalton made a correction on page 6 of the meeting minutes: Commissioner Molendyk should have read Director Molendyk. She then MOVED to APPROVE the minutes AS CORRECTED. Commissioner Spencer SECONDED the MOTION.
Per Chair Miller, the Minutes stand APPROVED AS CORRECTED.
Director Molendyk introduced the St. Jude Neighborhood Health Center agenda item, noting that the item came before the Community Services Commission on December 13, 2004, and was recommended by Commission. It was then sent to Council on January 18, 2005 with public notice and public input. The Council approved the St. Jude Clinic in concept but wanted more information on the best park site for the clinic. Therefore, the Council sent the item back to the Commission for its February 14, 2005 meeting to review and make a recommendation on the best park site and its reasons.
Director Molendyk said that staff was asked to make a verbal report on the Commissions findings at the February 15, 2005 7:30 p.m. Council meeting.
Showing aerial views of the three parks, Lemon, Independence and Richman parks, Director Molendyk noted that the Commission was taken on a field tour on Thursday, February 10, 2005 at 4:00 p.m. to the parks, Lemon (one site), Independence (two sites) and Richman (three sites) where sites were outlined in white paint by Park Projects Manager McDaniel and a matrix handout provided with pros and cons on each site. Director Molendyk provided a summary of the visit to the different parks and sites, in order of the visits, starting at Lemon Park, then on to Independence Park and ending at Richman Park. He stated that Site #3 on Richman Park was the original site proposed by St. Jude with off-street parking which staff felt would take even more park space. Site #2 was also later recommended by St. Jude. Eventually, Site #1 was considered the most appropriate because it didn't impact the athletic fields located behind Site #1 and Site #2 and didn't affect the residents at the front end of the park. In addition, the school district, in partnership with St. Jude, will be building a new parking lot to mitigate parking problems for both school and St. Jude staff.
Director Molendyk opened the meeting up for Commissioner dialogue and a decision so staff can report to Council the next evening on which park site would be best for the St. Jude clinic and why. He noted that there were representatives from St. Jude as well as staff to answer any commissioner questions. Commissioner Dalton asked if neighbors of the three parks were noticed regarding tonight's meeting or the Council meeting tomorrow. Director Molendyk replied that public notices were posted at all three parks regarding the Commission meeting tonight and that the January 18th City Council meeting was also publicly noticed, which referred attendees to tonights meeting. Commissioner Dalton remarked that only the Richman Park neighbors were noticed but three parks were now being considered. Director Molendyk confirmed this but said that all three parks had public notices posted; however, if at tonights meeting, the Commission chose a park other than Richman, staff would continue the item and publicly notify residents near this other park. He also confirmed Commissioner Daltons statement that no individual public notices were sent regarding tonights or tomorrow nights meetings although all three parks had public notices posted.
Commissioner Swanson asked if Director Molendyk would be making the verbal presentation the next evening at the Council meeting, and Director Molendyk said yes. Commissioner Spencer asked if public notices in a 300-foot radius were required for a site, and Director Molendyk said that was true once a site was actually selected. Although Richman Park was the original site recommended by staff, Council wanted more information at its last meeting. However, the City didn't want to put three neighborhoods through the process, but once a park has been selected, and if its different from Richman, the City will notice the park neighbors. He pointed out that the Commissions assignment tonight was to decide which site was the best. After that, the City would go through all the public notices and steps needed. Commissioner Spencer asked if the decision wasn't going to be made tomorrow night by Council, and Director Molendyk responded that there would still have to go through a public process. Manager McDaniel agreed, saying that even if Richman Park was chosen, there would still be an additional process regarding the specific agreement, RDRC (Redevelopment Design Review Committee) and building elevations, and further community input.
Commissioner Russell said he still needed to clarify what the Commission was doing tonight because he didn't want the Commission to feel pressured to choose Richman only because choosing another park would mean project delays. Director Molendyk answered that the commissioners shouldn't feel pressured to choose Richman Park, even if the project is delayed. He said his job is to make sure the site is chosen and they go through the appropriate steps. He also noted that, technically, they don't have to go through a public process; Commissioner Russell agreed. Director Molendyk said that if commissioners want to look at a fourth or fifth park site, he would be willing to do so, but that wasn't the instructions.
Commissioner Russell asked to begin a review of the parks, noting that while he was against putting a clinic in a park, he was willing to compromise, and that later, in Commissioner Comments, he would talk about what they are using parkland for. He said when he compares Richman versus Lemon, he prefers Lemon because a senior center expansion from the Master Plan was supposed to be built where the proposed Lemon Park St. Jude clinic would also go. He stated that there apparently isn't enough money to build the expansion, so one might as well put the proposed clinic in that spot, rather than putting the building on Richman Park where plans and funding already exist to make significant improvements in the next two to three years.
Commissioner Russell believed the proposed clinic site would divide Richman Park, and that the area between the proposed site and the existing Valencia Center would become useless space. He was also concerned about cutting the park off from the school fields where youth sports with permits are played. He acknowledged residents current concerns regarding that area of the park because it is hidden from the street; however, he said they needed to focus on what that area of the park would look like in a few years due to the planned Richman Park improvements, and not to make plans around a clinic that could be gone in ten or fifteen years. He said he didn't want to give up potential park space that could become picnic or play areas, but would prefer an area behind the Lemon Park senior center where mobile units already go, and where the park was already designed for such use. He also noted that Lemon Park was the original choice, and was the site initially chosen by St. Jude. He felt the only choice was Lemon Park.
Commissioner Dalton asked Randy to discuss what areas of Richman Park would change due to the planned Richman Park improvements. Randy replied that, most likely, the existing playground, most of the trees, and the community center, would remain. The restroom might be changed or relocated; the picnic shelter would be moved out front. Director Molendyk noted that the neighbors didn't like the shelter because of drinking and gambling. He also said that during the Commission parks tour, it was mentioned that the school district will be building a fence directly behind the community center and sites #1 and #2 to separate the park and the school fields. He agreed with Commissioner Spencer that, with the planned fencing, there would not be enough space to put a playing field on the parkland nearby; he said it would just be open space or a grass area.
Commissioner Dalton asked Manager McDaniel if the boulders were coming out, and he said the community would like it but its expensive to take out completely; perhaps some of the boulders could be moved elsewhere. He noted the problems with the boulders including a visual barrier and safety issues due to broken glass. Manager McDaniel confirmed with Commissioner Dalton that the school district will remove the existing fencing on the west side when installing the new fencing in order to regain the space contiguous with the school property.
Commissioner Han referred to the site inspection last Thursday where members of the Valencia Task Force and Richman Park users were present. She expressed her preference for Richman Park, Site #1, describing it as a perfect spot. She noted drawbacks at Lemon Park including a four-way street which could be dangerous for pedestrians and children, and a parking lot which was not large enough. Regarding Independence Park, there would be a lot of traffic during the summer from swimming pool use, and there is already another clinic within walking distance at Brookhurst and Orangethorpe, whereas Site #1 at Richman Park was a centralized location within walking distance for neighbors. Commissioner Han suggested moving the picnic benches and trees from Site #1 to Site #2, so clinic patients could sit and wait for the doctor there. Commissioner Han referred to a list of eight residents from the Richman Park site visit and asked for their input at tonights meeting. She again expressed her support for Richman Park, Site #1.
Commissioner Swanson stated that asking for Richman Park supporters to speak was a nice gesture but there was no one from Lemon Park or Independence Park who would have an opportunity to speak. He asked Manager McDaniel to show the view of Independence Park, stating that he believed Site #2 was the perfect location, due to parking availability, the alleged competition of the other clinic notwithstanding. However, due to concerns with pedestrian crossing there at Valencia Avenue, and the distance from the targeted population, Commission Swanson wanted to consider Lemon Park instead, saying he had visited Lemon Park with the previous Community Services director. He also mentioned the previous plans for building expansion at Lemon and noted that the distance between Lemon and Richman parks is less than one-half mile, so that Richman Park clients could be served there, too. He added that the Lemon Park could service a greater need and we don't infringe upon one of our smallest parks. Commissioner Swanson stated that he was not for giving up parkland but said Lemon Parks site was earmarked for expansion anyway; thus, he was recommending moving the site to Lemon Park.
Commissioner Russell said that the aerial view provided of Lemon Park does not show the entire park; however, one of the things he liked about Lemon Park was that there was parking. He said they've been told that proposed clinic would be primarily walk-up and would relieve pressure from St. Judes emergency room. But, he'd also read and believed that the clinic would also expand to serve North Orange County, i.e., more than walk-up clients. Thus, he felt that Lemon Park was preferable because it had more parking and was twice the size as Richman Park which would mean less impact at Lemon. He also noted that Lemon Park also has a pedestrian overpass, as opposed to Independence Park. He said with the other clinic near Independence Park, and the proposed clinic at Lemon, they would serve as bookends serving everyone in between. He reiterated not wanting to give up park space, but that he would rather give up parkland already earmarked for construction as opposed to parkland intended to be open.
Commissioner Spencer said she had a problem with Lemon Park because it was too busy with the water feature, with not enough parking space. She noted that Richman School is allowing the City to use a fairly sizeable parking area behind the food service building. She said she personally preferred Richman for several reasons: She said she could imagine parents picking up sick kids from Richman School, then walking them to the clinic and leaving their healthy kids at the Community Center. She was also in support of cooperative programs with the schools which were much needed, and also liked Commissioner Hans idea of putting a waiting area between the proposed clinic and Valencia Community Center. She said statistics also show more uninsured in the Richman Park area than any other location in the City, and that Richman Park would be a good site. She also acknowledged Commissioner Russells and Swansons opinions, saying that if one just looked at the site, Lemon Park would appear the better choice; however, during the summer, Lemon Park was quite crowded with activities, and that she preferred Richman Park.
Commissioner Russell commented that they were told that parking was for staff, not for clients. Manager McDaniel responded that he understood that 20 spaces would be for staff and 10 for the St. Jude clinic. St. Jude Vice President Barry Ross said Assistant Superintendent Godfrey said the need for the parking was temporary until late fall during the construction of a multi-purpose building. Although the teachers could park there, she said they probably wont want to use it because its too far away. The Assistant Superintendent estimated that there would be about 20 spaces for use by clinic staff and clients, and that St. Jude would enter into a formal memorandum of understanding for the use.
Commissioner Dalton asked Manager McDaniel for clarification on the park sizes as Lemon Park did not seem to be twice the size of Richman. Manager McDaniel said that while Richman Park was 2.21 acres and Lemon Park was 5.09 acres, he could understand her confusion as there is additional adjoining open space belonging to the school which could be mistaken for Richman Park. He also apologized that the aerial view of Lemon Park did not show the entire park, although part of what was shown was not actually Lemon Park, too.
Chair Miller said that each of the sites had good points as well as detriments. Taking them one at a time, starting with Lemon Park, he said that he had heard that there will be more seniors using community center spaces, and thus, didn't want to take space away from this potential. He said that Lemon already has parking problems which hes experienced, and that street parking wasn't feasible there. He also believed St. Jude is already servicing Lemon Park, plus St. Jude has targeted Richman Park as the area most in need of a clinic. He agreed with Commissioner Swanson that Site #2 at Independence Park had potential because there's parking and its away from the street. However, people would have to cross a very busy street, Valencia. Perhaps a traffic light might make it more desirable. Thus, he was leaning away from Lemon to either Richman or Independence.
Commissioner Russell said he didn't see any parking at Richman Park, although everyone seemed concerned about parking at Lemon Park, even though Lemon has a parking lot and the proposed clinic was supposed to be walk-in anyway. He wasn't sure the school would really allow the average citizen to use the proposed parking area, but perhaps parking shouldn't be such a big issue to the Commission since they were told patients would be walking. Director Molendyk said that St. Judes original submission for Richman Site #2 and Site #3 showed the off-street parking was supposed to pretty much support staff parking only because 98% of clients would be walking.
Commissioner Dalton asked Barry Ross about the numbers and demographics of those currently using the mobile clinics at Lemon and Richman. Mr. Ross said both areas use the clinic, however, he said that he was told by the previous Community Services Director that Lemon Park would be experiencing gentrification; Richman has a much higher density and low-income population. Commissioner Dalton said this confirmed her feelings about the need for services at Richman Park. She then asked Manager McDaniel about the improvements slated for Richman Park, asking if Site #1 could be used for a clinic and creating a quiet, inviting place between the existing Center and the clinic, and if that space could become part of the park improvements. Manager McDaniel assured her that regardless of the clinic site, it would become part of the overall park concept revisions, saying that Site #1 would offer a lot of potential between the two buildings with perhaps a more active courtyard, hard surfacing, or perhaps a picnic area; the Task Force would help to determine the usage.
Commissioner Russell asked what other cities do, and if other cities have clinics in public parks. Barry Ross said the Gary Center provides dental and mental health services in a building in a small city park in La Habra for $1/year. Brea has a mobile clinic that uses the Brea Community Center. He said that Yorba Linda doesn't have the low-income population needed for a community clinic, and that Placentia has no clinic, but mobile clinics serve several sites there.
Chair Miller opened the meeting up to public comments.
Miriam Darrow, Fullerton - A parent living in the Richman Park area for four years and working at Richman School, she said she is a member of the Task Force and meets at the Center once a month. She reminded the commissioners that Richman has a low-income community, and that there is active collaboration between the City and community. She pointed out that there are other parks available to the Richman Park community including Union Pacific and Woodcrest parks, and the school grounds are also available for play. She said she was in favor of the clinic, especially, as Commissioner Spencer noted, she could take her child easily to the clinic instead of spending a whole day at the Sierra Health Center. Ms. Darrow said Site #1 would be perfect and that the Valencia Task Force agreed, and that even the wife of a neighbor, Ron Teti, who lives behind the proposed clinic site and spoke against it at the Council meeting, said Site #1 currently has a casino and drinking. She said they keep their children away from that area. She spoke against Lemon Park because she said it is very busy there during the summer, and that handicapped parking is farther away there.
David DeLeon, 1328 Valley View Drive, Fullerton Came to talk about open space. Works with the City of La Habra and is very familiar with the La Habra site. He is not opposed to a clinic site, grew up in a low-income area in East LA and benefited from a clinic. But opposes the use of open space for a clinic which takes space away for the future, noting that the aerial view of Richman Park looks deceptively large. In Lemon Park, the building was probably planned for recreational or senior services, not a health center. Acknowledged the dilemma to serve the underserved community, and knew St. Jude is making a good business decision with its proposal, but asked the Commission to also make a good business decision. Said hes been to Lemon Park, and that it was too busy with the water park and no parking. He said he was committed enough to call the Mayor, but was still waiting for his call. Asked the commissioners to look at not just current needs, but future needs.
Brian Dietz, 248 W. Rosslyn Avenue, Fullerton - Said he lives well within 300 feet from the proposed project but received no notices or the notice of the site walk. He said the committee in the area doesn't contact anyone in the neighborhood, only contacts each other. Believed the problem of drinking and gambling in the park comes from the rehab center that was allowed into the neighborhood. Said the property was given to the City by the landowner for a park, and asked if the agreement stated it could be used for other purposes. Noted that Independence Park is one-half mile away, and Sierra Health Center is 1.7 miles away. Regarding a prior comment that traffic was dangerous at Lemon Park, he said that children from Maple School cross the street to Lemon every day, and that, like school children at Richman Park, the school children at Maple School could go directly to Lemon Park as well. Also said a new stop sign at the entrance of Independence Park parking lot seems to be working based on the skid marks I see there, and people would still have to cross Valencia without a health center there. Said there is no parking near Richman, especially on the weekends, and that there are bus routes on Lemon Street but no routes on Valencia or Highland. Strongly urged commissioners not to use the Richman site, and said there was less area than it seems at Richman Park and more in Lemon. Said he couldn't see why Independence Park couldn't be used.
Commissioner Russell commented to Ms. Darrow that if they kick me off this Commission since my term is over, he hoped she got on it because he thought she would be a great asset, and he'd be happy about it. He also told Mr. De Leon that he couldn't agree with him more, and was against giving away parkland to something incompatible with park use, but the interpretation was that City Council made a decision and was only considering three parks, so it was going to happen. He said his preference was the use of private land for a clinic and to look for other funding, even if it took more time.
Commissioner Russell MOVED to put the St. Jude clinic at Lemon Park with a five-year lease and two five-year options. He also had two caveats: 1.) A five-year lease with a yearly report from the health center, and 2.) after five years, the City would decide whether to keep the clinic or not. During that five years, the City should set up a task force, which he would agree to participate on, to see if there is another alternative on private property in the community. This would give both parties an incentive: St. Jude an incentive, knowing they could get kicked out, and the Commission because it would try to find private land rather than public space. Another alternative is that a clinic building at Lemon Park could later be converted into a senior center.
Commissioner Swanson SECONDED THE MOTION but wanted to state that Lemon Park and Independence Park neighbors didn't have the opportunity to ask for a clinic on those sites. He acknowledged the need for a clinic serving the Richman Park area but thought a Lemon Park site could serve them as well, being .4 miles away. He also liked Commissioner Russells idea of later converting the proposed clinic at Lemon Park to a senior center, and said parking shouldn't be an issue since most clients are supposed to be walking.
Commissioner Dalton said she believed Lemon Park was one of the least desirable areas for a clinic. She said her preference was to use private property or City-owned land that isn't open space; however, Council made it very clear that the clinic will happen, and choosing the site was the Commissions task. Commissioner Dalton said Lemon Park was a problem because the density at Richman called for a low-income clinic and Lemon Park was too busy, probably due in part to the water feature. She said she visited both parks seven times during the last two weeks during off-hours and Lemon was very busy, while Richman Park was not as busy. She said she also liked Chair Millers thought that there will be more need for a senior center in the future. Thus, she said she wouldn't support the Lemon Park motion.
Commissioner Han said the commissioners have heard many pros and cons regarding the parks, and supports Richman Park strongly.
Commissioner Spencer said she also wouldn't support Lemon due to plans for enlarging the senior center, that it would be very congested during the summer time due to the water feature, and the lack of parking. She also supported Richman Park with the existing Community Center, saying it was contiguous to the school.
Commissioner Swanson said that the commissioners are custodians of our parks, and needed to consider that they were giving up park space for the future. He said that while he hadn't visited the parks as much as Commissioner Dalton, Richman Park was the busiest of any of the parks visited on their tour. He noted again that a health clinic at Lemon Park would also serve nearby school children, too, and that the proposed school fencing at the Richman Park property line would further constrict the park.
Commissioner Russell confirmed with Manager McDaniel that south of Chapman, there should be 250 park acres, but there are 100; north of Chapman there is plenty of open space. He said people seem to be willing to give away more park space south of Chapman even though its more precious. He noted that the park serves many outside the local community, e.g., the soccer games, so that this should also be considered. He said one should give up the park space that is clearly not being used, which was the space at Lemon Park, and which he also didn't believe would be built in the future. Fully mature trees would be moved at Site #1 in Richman Park, Commissioner Russell said, and a part of the park would be destroy[ed] when there are already plans and funding for development.
Commissioner Swanson asked for a compromise of Independence Park, possibly putting in a traffic light to slow traffic. He suggested Site #2 as being still accessible to those served, nothing was there, and the park was the largest park being considered.
Chair Miller said he is still not leaning towards Lemon Park. Director Molendyk reminded commissioners that they had a motion on the floor. Commissioner Russell said he wanted to make a couple of last comments. He said he didn't know what happened, as documentation showed that Lemon Park was the chosen site in May with Barry Ross accepting the offer, and the former director agreeable to Lemon Park. Then nothing happened until December when a decision was made for Richman although there was no written documentation of how the decision was changed to Richman Park. Thus, Commissioner Russell felt that that decision should have been good enough.
Chair Miller called for the vote.
AYES: Russell, Swanson
NOES: Dalton, Han, Miller, Spencer
The MOTION FAILED.
Commissioner Dalton MADE A MOTION to recommend to City Council that the St. Jude medical clinic be placed at Richman Park utilizing Site #1 as the primary choice. Commissioner Spencer SECONDED THE MOTION.
Commissioner Dalton asked Director Molendyk to clarify if Council wanted a ranking of the sites or just the one single best choice. Director Molendyk said he believed Council asked for Commissions recommendation on which park site was the best site and why. However, he said if the Commission wanted to consider one or two or three selections, there might be a healthy discussion at Council tomorrow night. Commissioner Dalton said that, in that case, her motion stood.
Chair Miller called for the vote.
AYES: Dalton, Han, Miller, Spencer
NOES: Russell, Swanson
The MOTION carried.
Director Molendyk introduced the agenda item to approve the 2005-2010 Community Services Five-Year Capital Improvement Program Project Priority Schedule to the City Council, noting that the projects were reviewed in December, and asked Manager Randy McDaniel to make a presentation.
Chair Miller asked if the item was informational or action. Director Molendyk said this was an action item but that they were also providing commissioners with information, and Manager McDaniel agreed, saying that they were requesting Commissions support for the CIP budget based on information provided in December and January as well as meetings since then regarding Lions Clubhouse, Pearl Park, tennis users, Fullerton Aquatic Sports Team, Tri-City Park, and Woodcrest, and a grant submitted for a Parks Road project. Nonetheless, Manager McDaniel said the projects are essentially the same with just some minor adjustments to priorities based on funding and timing, and that there shouldn't be anything Commission would object to. However, he said he could provide more information on Tri-City and Independence parks, as requested at the last meeting, just answer questions, or both.
Commissioner Swanson asked what Fullerton's involvement in Tri-City Park was, what the percentage of involvement of the three cities, Brea, Fullerton and Placentia was, and what the decision-making process was. Manager McDaniel said the there was a formula: Brea - 21.6%, Fullerton - 35.6%, Placentia 42.8%. He said it was based on population and a usage formula. Director Molendyk provided background, saying it was formed as the Tri-City Park Authority, was the first subregional park, and was a separate governmental agency which originally had four partners including the County of Orange, with an Authority Board comprised of elected officials from the three cities and a County representative. It was decided that city administrators would have quarterly meetings. Placentia is the lead agency with the maintenance and scheduling of the Park, Fullerton provides the legal support and Brea provides financial administration.
Landscape Superintendent Dan Sereno, in answering Commissioner Swansons question, said that Fullerton's $80,000 comes from his Maintenance budget, of which $25,000 comes from the water fund. Director Molendyk noted that the $80,000 is Fullertons 35.6% involvement. He agreed with Commissioner Swanson that the needed repairs such as irrigation and water sensors are partially funded through the Citys percentage. Water was an issue because the lake at Tri-City is not a natural lake so there is a lot of evaporation. Director Molendyk noted that the park infrastructure is in serious disrepair so a five-year capital improvement project was developed to repair the soil cement edging around the lake as well as asphalt pathways. He said a separate report will be given to the Commissioners later and that the cities were hoping to each put $100,000/year into Tri-City Park repairs.
Commissioner Spencer asked Manager McDaniel and Superintendent Sereno about the Laguna Lake renovations. Manager McDaniel said staff gave an update to Council which reported that the contractor had drained the lake completely, but they were waiting for the lake to dry, and the rain to stop. The filter is working now, and water still needs to be pumped out. He anticipated change orders with additional costs to be taken from park dwelling funds, noting that Council considered this a top priority with an anticipated completion date at the end of December 2005.
Chair Miller asked if the City was hauling away the sludge even though it was thought to be too expensive, and Manager McDaniel said the original plan was to dredge, but it was going to be too expensive, so they changed the plan, reduced the muck needed to be taken out, and put in an aeration process to reduce the amount of bio mass, decompose it and turn it into gas. He agreed with the commissioners that the same consultants were used who had originally developed the much more expensive plan made changes, and that City staff forced them to come up with a better plan.
Director Molendyk referred to the Independence Park Locker Room Improvements in the CIP Schedule, saying that there was $1.4 million set aside for the improvements. He also noted FAST Coach Kevin Perry in the audience, saying that the City is looking at covering the small pool to have a year-round revenue flow. He said that the working drawings for the locker-room improvements are nearly complete as construction should being in November of this year. Manager McDaniel also noted the pool has two projects: the locker room in the first project and a pool cover in the second. He reminded the commissioners that the schedule was a five-year plan so they did not necessarily have the funding for the pool cover yet, but are looking for ways to assist FAST in increasing revenue. Director Molendyk noted that Maintenance just installed a new filtration system in the small pool, and revamped the entire filtration for the large pool which was just opened last week. Locker room improvements were pushed back until November 2005.
Commissioner Han asked about Pearl Park and where White Park was. Manager McDaniel said the proposed Pearl Park was about one-half acre in size and very close to Placentia, east of State College, and Director Molendyk noted it was behind Garnet Center. Regarding the White Park renovation, Manager McDaniel said it was adjacent to the Amerige Heights development, behind Parks Road Junior High.
Commissioner Spencer asked Manager McDaniel about Project #5, what the traffic control systems at the museum are and renovation of the plaza. He said the proposed traffic control was in response to the Santa Monica market accident, and that the City wanted to put safer, more permanent barriers rather than using trash barrels or cars. Manager Joe Felz told the commissioners that since Santa Monica was partially liable for the accident, all cities were providing temporary barriers at city events. He said they may want to close off Wilshire near the park and plaza to cars, perhaps seasonally. Commissioner Spencer said she saw poles put in street which seemed to work, and Manager Felz said they are looking at those kinds of options. He also said the renovation would be to the street at the plaza rather than the plaza itself.
Commissioner Russell asked for an update on Richman Park and Manager McDaniel said that the park was the number one priority for the bond money with an additional opportunity for CDBG funding of $10,000 for design, scheduled for spring, with a consultant coming on board in about a month. The funding noted in the schedule will follow-through with the design process; $120,000 is budgeted for construction documents, $1,070,000 for construction. Manager McDaniel said the City is on schedule but wants to expedite the design to meet the community's needs. Commissioner Russell asked if the improvements will be done in parallel with other developments in the Richman Park area. Manager McDaniel acknowledged that Development Services also has a project in Richman Park and said he could have someone make a presentation from that department or Engineering; however, he said the Community Services park project can stand alone.
Commissioner Dalton asked if the lack of park dwelling funding after 2007-08 was due to the City being pretty much built out by then. Manager McDaniel answered yes, and that the City would have used up its $12 million in park dwelling funding by then, although there would be some smaller projects amounting to $1 million or $2 million. But after that, the City will probably only receive about $100,000/year to do capital improvements for all 700 acres of parkland. Commissioner Dalton asked if Coyote Hills was excluded, and Randy said definitely, but said they couldn't plan for that project.
Commissioner Dalton MADE A MOTION to recommend that the City Council approve the 2005 2010 Community Services Five-Year Capital Improvement Program Project Priority Schedule. Commissioner Han SECONDED THE MOTION. There was no discussion. Chair Miller called for the vote.
AYES: Dalton, Han, Miller, Russell, Spencer, Swanson NOES: None.
The MOTION CARRIED unanimously.
Director Molendyk introduced the item, saying that Pop Warner Football was making a request to post a new dedication sign at Lions Field. Because of miscommunication, the sign had already been made. He asked Manager McDaniel to make the presentation.
Manager McDaniel said the item came to the Commission because the new sign would be permanently affixed and the Department was concerned because the language on the sign was changed from Jack Hutcherson Field to Pop Warner Welcomes You to Jack Hutcherson Field, which implied ownership by Pop Warner and might alienate other park users. He said that Pop Warner was open to changing the wording if the City was willing to pay the $300 needed; he said the City was willing to do so. He gave the dimensions of the sign (10 x 18) and said he spoke with the sign-makers who agreed they could pull off the letters. Manager McDaniel recommended changing the text back to Jack Hutcherson Field and the City pay the $300.
Director Molendyk said when he discussed this with Manager McDaniel, it was agreed that the City doesn't have a written policy, but the City also doesn't want to give ownership to one team, and allowing the current sign would set a precedent. He added that they also discussed banner signs that say Home of Girls Softball; however, a seasonal banner would be looked at differently than a permanent sign. Commissioner Spencer said there should be a sign policy. Manager McDaniel referred to Zoning Ordinance No. 912.4 prohibiting all signs posted by others in the park. He said if the Commission wanted to change the policy, staff would be looking for the Commissions direction. Or, putting up a sign could also be decided on a case-by-case basis. Commissioner Swanson said the Sports Complex has clear prohibitions against signage, and believed that a case-by-case basis made sense. Commissioner Russell said that its not unusual for cities to allow various groups to have signage for their sport which indicates where they play, e.g., East Fullerton Little League has a sign on its snack stand. He said that helps young families who want to get into a sport find out where to go. Commissioner Swanson also supported a signage policy unless it is to tell youth sports not to put up signs. He asked if there was urgency in putting up the Jack Hutcherson Field sign, or if it could wait until a policy was developed. Manager McDaniel said Pop Warner could respond regarding any urgency it felt, but he noted that the policy must include guidelines on materials, sizes, text, fonts, location, temporary versus permanent, etc., so this would take some time.
James Wright, Fullerton Pop Warner Said there was no real big urgency regarding the sign, and said the sign was made because the score board was renovated since the original sign was rotted. He said he didn't know how Fullerton Pop Warner Welcomes You To got on the sign, but they didn't realize there would be a problem until they spoke with Manager McDaniel. He said that Jack Hutcherson's family and friends have been calling him and were concerned that his name wasn't up. Mr. Wright said hed like to expedite this but that there was no real rush.
Commissioner Russell asked Mr. Wright if could live with the compromise of taking the additional language off the sign, and Mr. Wright said yes, as long as the City covered the cost. He added that he was surprised that anyone would be concerned about the sign since Pop Warner was the only one using the score board, but he could see they were.
Commissioner Swanson asked for and received information on the location of the score board at Lions Field. He said he was sensitive to the issue of signage because of concerns between Softball and Pop Warner about the concession stand area and restrooms, which would come back to the Commission. Mr. Wright said Pop Warner wouldn't be opposed to Softball putting a sign up on their backstop where they now have a banner, and Commissioner Swanson agreed the banners were pretty unsightly. Mr. Wright added that there were financial problems at the snack bar but that those had been taken care of.
When asked, he told Commissioner Russell that they had not talked with Softball about the sign because they didn't know it was a problem until they spoke with Manager McDaniel. Manager McDaniel responded that Manager Grace Miranda spoke with Softball about the signage, and that Softball felt it was unfair but that they weren't going to raise a stink. He added that the issue was not whether Jack Hutcherson should be up there since it was already there; rather, the City wants to develop a sign policy to prevent a helter skelter posting of signs which would make the parks look bad.
Chair Miller asked Manager McDaniel what his recommendation was tonight, and Manager McDaniel said staff would recommend making the compromise on the sign, i.e., allowing the sign to go back up with the wording changed back to the original, or developing a policy before approving a different language. He agreed with Chair Miller that they would not be setting a precedent if they allowed the sign to go back up with the original wording. Chair Miller then suggested that they allow Pop Warner to do so, and then develop a sign policy for future requests. Manager McDaniel agreed, with the proviso that the City agree to pay the $300.
Commissioner Dalton asked if the City would have paid for the sign repair if Pop Warner had come to them first. Director Molendyk said they probably would have agreed to pay for it but not wanted it personalized. Commissioner Dalton expressed concern because there was a clear sign policy against signs in the park, and asked why Pop Warner didn't talk to the City first. Mr. Wright answered that they thought they were merely refurbishing the sign, and took responsibility for the change in the language. Commissioner Dalton suggested that it was easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission, and suggested staff needed to put out a memo saying that users need to check with the City first before putting up a sign. Manager McDaniel responded that the Department had made it very clear that groups are supposed to get permission before making any changes, and that it tries to work with the field users to prevent situations like this.
Commissioner Spencer asked where the policy came from and Manager McDaniel said it was from the Municipal Code. Commissioner Spencer said there had been a lot of work done on signs recently, and Manager McDaniel said that was probably regarding business signs which don't refer to parks at all. Commissioner Spencer asked when the code referring to park signage was last changed, and he said 1959.
Commissioner Russell said he wanted to commend Pop Warner because they fixed the sign, thought it would enhance the property, and only later realized that they had added something they probably shouldn't have. He said he didn't want Pop
Warner to think they weren't appreciated. Director Molendyk concurred, saying that that was why the Department felt comfortable in assisting the league with the costs, and agreed with Commissioner Russell that it probably cost less because the City didn't do it.
Commissioner Swanson agreed the leagues feel they are doing the right thing but sometimes make missteps. He said he would support the recommendation to have it fixed, but suggested developing a signage policy, noting, for example, that Softball seems to think the backstop is theirs and takes down signs belonging to other teams.
Commissioner Swanson MADE A MOTION to accept the recommendation that the City pay the difference to have the sign changed back to Jack Hutcherson Field. Commissioner Russell SECONDED THE MOTION. Commissioner Dalton asked for clarification since staff did not recommend in its agenda letter to take the wording off regarding Pop Warner Football. Manager McDaniel said staff does not really have a recommendation other than to get direction from Commission.
Commissioner Swanson said he would restate his motion, and MADE A MOTION to have the signage corrected to read as before, Jack Hutcherson Field. Commissioner Russell SECONDED THE MOTION. There was no further discussion. Chair Miller called for the vote.
AYES: Dalton, Han, Miller, Russell, Spencer, Swanson NOES: None
The MOTION CARRIED unanimously.
Commissioner Russell asked if Commission wanted to direct staff to develop a standard sign policy. Director Molendyk said that would be appropriate if Commission wanted staff to bring back a policy in the near future. Chair Miller asked if a motion was necessary, and Director Molendyk said he didn't think so; he just needed to be directed, so Commissioner Russell stated that staff was so directed.
INFORMATION ITEMS (Item 5 - 9)
Director Molendyk introduced Deputy City Clerk Eva Bird and said that she would explain the Commission/Committee Direct Appointment Process and conduct the drawing of lots for the new process. Deputy City Clerk Bird noted that of seven Commission members, five would be assigned to council members, and two would be at-large. The order of drawing would be Bankhead, Jones, Nelson, Wilson and Quirk, with the two at-large drawn last. Ms. Bird noted that the at-large members would fulfill their current terms and retire while the others terms would coincide with that of the councilmember to whom they were appointed.
Ms. Bird stated that there are two Commission members whose terms have expired (in December) but that they would be assisting by drawing a lot and fulfilling their duties until another commissioner is appointed through the new process. She and Director Molendyk asked if there were questions. Commissioner Russell said his understanding was that the commissioners whose terms would have expired in December (Nancy Spencer and he) would have new terms that would coincide with that of the councilmember to whom they were appointed. Director Molendyk said he was told by the City Clerks office that the commissioners whose terms have expired would have to reapply and re-interview, and this was confirmed by Deputy City Clerk Bird.
Commissioner Dalton said that this information was not what was told to them before, that this was a one eighty from what was told them before. Commissioner Russell said he didn't mind what the process was, but that they are told one thing one day, and told something different another day. Commission Dalton said she realized Ms. Bird was only the messenger; Commissioner Russell concurred. Ms. Bird said she could have the City Clerk call them the next day to explain the process, but that this was what she was told, and that there were members on other commissions whose terms had also expired. Director Molendyk reiterated that the other commissioners whose terms hadn't expired will stay with the councilmember whose name was drawn for as long as that councilmembers term continued. Ms. Bird confirmed this.
Commissioner Dalton said she also had another problem which Ms. Bird could take back to whomever is appropriate, probably the City Manager. She had understood that the process was changed so councilmembers would have the ability to basically hand-pick committee members as their liaison. Ms. Bird said they would still have to go through the Applicant Review Board and the application process. Commissioner Dalton agreed, but said the councilmembers do get to choose who they want for their liaison. Ms. Bird said that was the case for newly appointed people; however, if they did this for an established committee, this would mean everyone would be released and they would have to start from scratch. Ms. Bird referred to Ordinance No. 3057 which explains the process and said there was nothing in it about hand-picking commissioners. Commissioner Dalton said she believed what Ms. Bird stated, but that the fine print in the ordinance was that councilmembers wanted to handpick the committee/commission members. Director Molendyk then suggested the commissioners go through the drawing of lots, and then the City Clerk could call and clarify the process.
When Commissioner Russell asked why the commissioners with expired terms should draw lots, Ms. Bird said it was to help out in the process; however, she was instructed to draw the lot for any commissioner who didn't want to draw a lot, and was happy to have the City Clerk call the commissioners the next day regarding their questions. Commissioner Russell declined to draw a lot. Commissioner Dalton reiterated that they were not trying to make Ms. Bird feel uncomfortable, but rather to ensure that their concerns regarding a flawed process were made part of the public record.
Deputy City Clerk Bird proceeded with the drawing of lots with the following results:
1 Bankhead: Neil Swanson
2 Jones: Katie Dalton
3 Nelson: Nancy Spencer (term expired 12/31/05)
4 Wilson: Craig Russell (term expired 12/31/05)
5 Quirk: George Miller
At- Large: Virginia Han
At- Large: (vacant)
Chair Miller and the other commissioners thanked Ms. Bird for her assistance, and she left the meeting.
The Landscape Division Monthly Report for December 2004 and January 2005 was received and filed. Landscape Superintendent Dan Sereno noted the Arbor Day flyer for March 12th, saying he toured the area with Fullerton Beautiful President Nancy Spencer, and said that his staff would be across the street at Duane Winters Field assisting in the planting of trees near the south side and the train tracks. He welcomed the commissioners participation, and said he would be presenting this information at the March 1 Council meeting and would be receiving a proclamation regarding Arbor Day. Commissioner Spencer said they had an extensive tour including where redwoods would be planted and places she didn't even know about. She said she couldn't believe all that Superintendent Sereno had to take care of, particularly in the west part and hill area. She said she really congratulates him, especially with the added sports park responsibilities without additional staffing.
Commissioner Han asked how many people show up, and Superintendent Sereno responded that about 50 100 people come, a mixture of families, people, and organizations including Florence Crittendon, Boy and Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Club. Commissioner Han said she sent a flyer to the Korean newspapers last year, suggesting that the City reach out to the Korean community. Dan Sereno said he provides a press release to the Citys Public Information Coordinator Sylvia Palmer, but wasn't sure to whom she sent the release; however, he would ensure that Ms. Palmer would contact the Korean media. Dan Sereno confirmed with Commissioner Swanson that the tree planting would not intrude on any future senior center expansion plans, and said the additional plantings were needed there because some trees had become lerp-infested. The commissioners thanked Dan for his presentation.
Director Molendyk informed the Commission about the Departments February 2nd meeting with field user groups, saying it was his first opportunity to attend the meeting, and complimented the youth groups and staff Grace Miranda and Carol Whitaker for their coordination efforts. He also noted recent pool improvements including pool filters on both pools, thanking the Maintenance Department for its timely efforts.
Director Molendyk said he spoke with Chair Miller about forming a subcommittee to review the non-profit leases including Kiwanis Scout House, Child Guidance Center, and St. Marys parking lot. He asked for input from the Commission through a subcommittee, saying that Chair Miller indicated interest in it, and that one or two more members would be helpful in reviewing leases which probably need to be amended to better support the City. Commissioner Spencer said she would like to serve except her term was up. Director Molendyk said there wasn't an immediate need, and that they could wait until the next meeting. The commissioners were agreeable to this.
Commissioner Dalton asked about the Commission Workshop on February 28th at 6:00 p.m., and Director Molendyk said it was a continuation of the January 31 workshop, to go over some more specific subtitles and to discuss revenues prior to the final budget going to Council. He also noted that they decided to change the workshop location to the Museum instead of the Maintenance Yard.
Commissioner Dalton said she would be unable to attend due to a standing meeting.
No items were discussed.
Commissioner Russell said he had some comments, and that a few things were still bothering him. He said this meeting was the first meeting of year and they should have elected a new chair and vice chair. He said he called the City when he received the agenda and thought there was a mistake, and was told that agenda could be changed or posted again. However, Director Molendyk told him that the City Manager said that due to the changes in the commission process, everything should remain status quo. This seemed reasonable except that every other committee or commission had their election of officers at their first meeting of the year. He said he didn't like being misled by the City Manager and wanted to say for the record that he was upset that he, as a commissioner who calls to suggest that the agenda be changed to be consistent with what is done every year, is told something that isn't true.
Director Molendyk confirmed that he spoke with the City Manager about Commissioner Russells question and was told everything should remain on hold, just as they were told the commission terms would remain the same until the new process went into affect, which seemed reasonable to him. Commissioner Russell said he didn't have a problem with Director Molendyk but that he had a problem with the Director being told something that wasn't true, which also happened with the re-application process. He also suggested that the City Clerk come to the next meeting instead of substitutes, saying that this was the second time someone besides her came and couldn't answer their questions. The other commissioners agreed that they had heard differently regarding the application process from the Assistant to the City Manager. Director Molendyk said he would be happy to pass on their concerns. However, Commissioner Russell said he was concerned about the timing and that he might be off the Commission before they get an answer. Commissioner Swanson said he also had concerns and wondered why all the other commissions had their elections and the Community Services Commission didnt, and asked if they needed to request elections for next month.
Commissioner Dalton asked if the Commission should request that the elections be placed on the agenda, and that the whole thing was a charade. She said she remembered things as vastly different with some things changed behind the curtain, and asked when the details were decided because she attended all the Council meetings and didn't know when some of the changes were made. Director Molendyk said staff would put the election of officers on the next meeting agenda and request that the City Clerk attend the next meeting.
Commissioner Swanson asked if staff could find out if some of the changes were made in closed session. Commissioner Dalton said she had been apparently so uninformed regarding the process that she had thought she might have to resign because council members were handpicking the commissioners and a council member might decide he couldn't work with her when her lot was drawn.
Chair Miller said it was also his impression that if he drew a lot, the councilmember could decide whether he wanted you or not. Other commissioners agreed. Director Molendyk said it was his understanding that the commissioners would continue with the lots that were drawn. Commissioner Spencer asked if the information was in writing, and Director Molendyk said he would provide the ordinance that was referred to, but that he had attended the same meetings the commissioners had.
Commissioner Russell continued with his comments, saying that he was still concerned about the process that led to the Commissions vote on the St. Jude clinic. He said he wasn't going to the Council meeting tomorrow evening although he wasn't happy with the process. However, he wanted to know if Commission could direct staff to make a policy for dealing with parkland, since the City felt it didn't need to come to the Commission or have a public meeting because it didn't involve more than 25% of parkland. He said that perhaps it was legal, but that the Commission should ensure that it gets everything that deals with parks, that there's no question about it, and that it isn't done at the last minute. He also expressed concern that the City Manager at the City Council meeting said that he was doing the commissioners a favor by turning the issue into a public meeting, but that he didn't have to because it involved less than 25% of the parkland. Commissioner Russell then noted tonight's meeting, saying that there were probably some people opposed to the Richman Park site but they didn't know about the meeting tonight or tomorrows Council meeting. He said he felt the whole process was flawed.
Commissioner Russell said he had looked at the documentation he was provided, that he knew he was a pain but that it concerned him (Commissioner Dalton thanked him for it.) He said the Community Services staff should also be concerned about the lack of staff involvement after May even though Lemon Park had apparently been approved by the previous director and St. Jude, although he was verbally told that the previous director didn't approve of the Lemon Park site. Commissioner Russell said there were inconsistencies in what was told to him and wondered why the issue was taken out of Community Services hands and then sent back for a rush decision without many options for use other than public land. He wanted more Commission involvement earlier on, and was bothered that Community Services staff was left out of the loop. He reiterated the need for a policy for what can be done or not done with parkland.
Commissioner Spencer asked if the item hadn't been in Development Services for some time, and Director Molendyk agreed, saying that in fairness to the staff who already left, there should be a policy, and that there are other issues that could be discussed at a workshop about what items related to parks should come through the Community Services staff or the Director. He added that when one looks at Park Projects Manager McDaniels duties, he is primarily seen as a project manager for new parks, but he should also be involved in policy for park management. There should be a discussion regarding what falls under park management, that its not just park design and maintenance, and that Community Services could take a stronger role.
Commissioner Swanson said he wanted to reiterate his earlier comments in December that the project smelled. He said the Commission made a decision they were pressured into. He thanked Craig for the information and running with it. He felt there wasn't enough information to make a good decision and that it was unfortunate. He said he wanted to go on record that this issue does smell. He said they want to get all the information they used to get to make a wise decision.
Director Molendyk acknowledged the Commissions frustration with items going to or not going to commission. He suggested that the Commission have a joint session with the Council to have a clear understanding of what its role is and what items should come to the Commission.
Commissioner Swanson asked if someone would be contacting the commissioners or if they were supposed to contact the councilmembers. Director Molendyk said he would follow up on that question.
The meeting adjourned at 9:18 p.m.
Ron Molendyk, Secretary
*Written Material Attached