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Historical Ordinance Debate Takes City Council Beyond Agenda

city_council_10_25Although not an agenda item the nettlesome Historic Preservation Ordinance dominated discussion at Tuesday night’s city council meeting when Council Member Laurene Weste brought the topic up during the Committee Reports/Council Member Comments portion of the executive meeting.

“I would ask the city council to spend some more time and research and really do on this topic a study across the nation of what other communities have done in order to craft an ordinance to balance the rights of property owners and a community’s desire to keep its heritage and historic, unique character,” said Weste.

She said it was imperative since the city had already spent a great deal of time and money restoring Old Town Newhall and making it a destination location.

Council Member Bob Kellar upon learning that the city staff and the city council has spent 5 years already working on an ordinance said, “At some time we have to say we’ve done our homework.”


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Weste said she didn’t disagree that the city has spent a lot of time on the issue but explained there was no magic number of days or meetings.

“Sometimes it’s common sense,” said Weste.

Kellar insisted the council has heard loud and clear on the issue from the public.

“At some juncture we need to say enough. We can study this thing, we can go national, I guess after that we can go international,” said Kellar.

Kellar said he was not in support of dragging it on any longer.

Council Member Frank Ferry said his position hadn’t changed. He wanted a definition of what is historical. He also said he wasn’t comfortable voting for more study without knowing the Planning Commission’s decision.

Mayor Marsha McLean described it for him:

“What they did was completely dismantle the current historic preservation, it’s gone. And they voted to have an opt-in where the property owner opts in. There is no other, nothing else on the table. It’s just property owner has the right, no one else has the right to say whether their property is historic or not. And they have the right to opt in,” said McLean.

Weste emphasized the danger of not having a preservation ordinance while spending money revitalizing Old Town Newhall.

“Right now, you’re building an Old Town that you have no hope of having anything even close to something old in it,” said Weste.

Council Member Laurie Ender expressed concern that further study would leave 49 property owners in limbo.

Kellar, a Realtor, stated that this would be a disclosure item if the owner decided to sell their property and therefore a hardship.

City Attorney Joe Montes informed the city council that giving direction to city staff in the form of a motion was allowed under the Brown Act, but debate should be saved for the next public hearing on the item.

Having been refocused, the city council voted 4-0 to direct staff to conduct further study. Kellar voted against.

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Alan Ferdman, a Canyon Country resident, was the only dissenting voice on the Strategic Tourism Partnership with William S. Hart Baseball (Item 4).

Under the Tourism Marking District (TMD) arrangement with Hart Baseball the city would authorize $50,000 to increase the economic impact baseball and softball tournaments could have in the city.

Ferdman expressed “nothing but admiration” for the program, but said the question was whether or not to take taxpayer dollars to finance tournaments in Santa Clarita. For Ferdman the numbers didn’t add up.

“We’re talking about in the first year, $50,000 of taxpayer money to draw one tournament and fill 150 hotel rooms. That’s a cost to the taxpayer of $333 per hotel room. The next year, as the number of tournaments increase, it’s reduced to $125 dollars per room. Then $76. Then $55 per room,” said Ferdman.

Ferdman said he wanted to hear why it makes financial sense and have the discussion in a public hearing.

City Manager Ken Pulskamp explained that the funding source derives from a transient occupancy tax increase the council authorized at the request of the hotel owners to put money into a fund that would only be used to generate additional room nights for the tourist industry.

The city feels the investment will generate $100,000 a year initially in additional rooms and amounts that go to the hotel, which doesn’t account for tourist spending in stores and restaurants.

Council Member Laurie Ender said it would also benefit Magic Mountain. She pointed out the benefit baseball tournaments have had on spending at Anaheim theme parks.

“Whatever you have that hooks families for another night all of sudden they’re spending a whole lot more money all over the community rather than if they just come in for a day,” said Pulskamp.

Pulskamp said there was another point worth mentioning:

“These monies only get spent when Hart Pony League matches, so it’s a dollar for dollar match,” said Pulskamp.

The City Council voted to approve Item 4 and the rest of the Consent Calendar which is as follows:

 

Item 3. RENEW CONTRACT FOR CITYWIDE PARKING ENFORCEMENT - The City of Santa Clarita entered into a one (1) year parking enforcement service contract with Data Ticket, Inc. in September 2010. City Council directed that the contract return to the Council after one year of implementation for a decision on whether to renew the contract with Data Ticket, Inc.

Item 5. 2011-12 OVERLAY AND SLURRY SEAL PROGRAM, PROJECT M0084 - AWARD DESIGN CONTRACT - The Annual Overlay and Slurry Seal Program improves various streets throughout the City by resurfacing and sealing surface cracks to enhance skid-resistant properties and increase pavement life. This results in a smoother ride for traffic, an enhanced appearance of the area, and extends the economic life of the roadway.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: City Council award the contract for engineering design services to Pavement Engineering Inc. for the 2011-12 Annual Overlay and Slurry Seal Program, Project M0084, in the amount of $111,000 plus a contingency in the amount of $11,000, for a total contract amount not to exceed $122,000; and authorize the City Manager or designee to execute all documents, subject to City Attorney approval.

Item 6. LYONS AVENUE / INTERSTATE 5 INTERCHANGE BEAUTIFICATION, PROJECT B2010 - AWARD CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT - This project will install an irrigation system and landscaping in the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) right-of-way within the City boundary for the on- and off-ramps at the Interstate 5 and Lyons Avenue intersection. The project will include landscape and irrigation, decorative fencing, and hardscape improvements.
RECOMMENDED ACTION : City Council approve the plans and specifications for the Lyons Avenue / Interstate 5 Interchange Beautification, Project B2010, and award the construction contract to Mariposa Landscape, Inc., in the amount of $606,426 and authorize a contingency in the amount of $121,284, for a total contract amount not to exceed $727,710; authorize a reduction of $4,453 in Landscape Maintenance District funds from Account B2010357-5161.001; and authorize the City Manager or designee to execute all documents, subject to City Attorney approval.

Item 7. AWARD CONTRACTS FOR BID NUMBER LMD-11-12-05, FOR LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE SERVICES IN LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE DISTRICT ZONES T-23A AND T-23B - Results of requests for lowest responsive, responsible bidders from Purchasing bid process.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: City Council award a two-year contract to American Heritage to provide base landscape maintenance services in LMD Zones T-23A (Mountainview Courtyards) and T-23B (Seco Villas) in the amount of $464,400, plus contingency in the amount of $69,660, for a total two-year contract amount not to exceed $534,060; appropriate additional Landscape Maintenance District (LMD) monies from Fund Balance 357 in the amount of $49,918 to account 12513-5161.010, and $38,476 to account 12514-5161.010 to provide adequate funds to support this contract for the remainder of FY 2011/12.; authorize the City Manager or designee to execute all contracts and associated documents, or modify the awards in the event issues of impossibility of performance arise, and execute up to three (3) annual renewal options not to exceed the annual bid amount plus Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustments, contingent upon the appropriation of funds by the City Council in the annual budget for such fiscal year, and execute all documents subject to City Attorney approval.

Item 8. CHECK REGISTER NOS. 20 - Approval of the Check Register.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: City Council approve and ratify for payment the demands presented in Check Register No. 20.

Public Hearing:

Item 9. MASTER CASE 11-116 FOR THE ANNEXATION (ANX 11-003), PREZONE (PRZ 11-002), AND SPHERE OF INFLUENCE AMENDMENT (SOI 11-003) FOR THE 686.16-ACRE SOUTH SAND CANYON ANNEXATION AND MASTER CASE 11-117 FOR AN AMENDMENT TO THE UNIFIED DEVELOPMENT CODE (UDC 11-002) TO CREATE A MOVIE RANCH OVERLAY ZONE IN THE CITY OF SANTA CLARITA - This is a request for the approval of the 686.16-acre, South Sand Canyon Annexation consisting of Master Case 11-116, Annexation 11-003, Prezone 11-002, and Sphere of Influence Amendment 11-003; the approval of Master Case 11-117 for the creation of a Movie Ranch Overlay Zone, and placing the Movie Ranch Overlay on approximately 540 acres of the South Sand Canyon Annexation Area.