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SCVNews.com | Council Roundup: Back to Historic Drawing Board | 09-26-2012
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1891 - Future First Lady Lou Henry (Hoover), 17, poses for photo at R.E. Nickel's Acton store [story]


Three out of four Cty Council members agree (Councilman TimBen Boydston recused himself) the Planning Commission’s amendments to the Historic Preservation Ordinance were not good enough.

“We can do much better than what has been presented to us tonight. We can do something to both preserve property owners rights and help to preserve our historic heritage for future generations when necessary. This ordinance does not do it and we need to work much harder on it,” said Councilwoman Marsha McLean.

After asking a few questions of city staff Mayor Frank Ferry realized the amendments eliminated any type of list of historic properties and that property owners would be allowed to opt-in. Those who opted-in would not be allowed to demolish their property, but those who didn’t could do as they pleased. There was basically no protection of historic properties.

“My concern is this really in my opinion is not an Historic Preservation Ordinance at all,” said Mayor Frank Ferry.

Ferry said he expected to be presented with a list of six properties that the city could make a decision on to buy and/or relocate.

Not satisfied with the city staff’s amendments Councilmember Laurene Weste identified 11 “key structures” from the 45 earmarked by the city last year:

* The Newhall Ice Company, 22502-22510 5th Street;

* Sheriff Substation #6, 24238 Main Street (currently the Canyon Theatre Guild rehearsal space);

* Tom Mix Cottages #1 and #2, 24247-24251 Main Street;

* Melody Ranch Gate, 24757 Oakcreek Avenue;

* The Autry House (and barn, maybe);

* California Star and Standard Oil House, 24148 Pine Street;

* The Santa Clarita Court House, 24307 Railroad Avenue (now the Railroad Café);

* American Legion Hall, 24527 Spruce Street (formerly the American Theatre Company);

* Possibly parts of the blacksmith shop.

“I think those structures reflect the most critical pieces of our history that we have left. They reflect our local history. They are what make the old town old. I hate to have an old town Santa Clarita that has absolutely nothing old in it,” said Weste.

The city council gave new direction to city staff which includes finding more incentives for the owners of historic properties, consulting with the Los Angeles Conservancy for advice on structuring and ordinance and developing a ballpark figure on what it would cost the city to buy the 11 key structures.

Although the council deferred to Councilmember Weste’s expertise in selecting the 11 key structures, some at the meeting mentioned that other cities with historic preservation rdinances have commissions with experts who select the historic properties.

On October 25, 2011, the city council directed staff to conduct a national survey of historic preservation ordinances currently implemented by other municipalities. Staff was also directed to return to the City Council to present the results of the survey.

Fifteen cities across the country were contacted by staff and asked five questions regarding their current Historic Preservation Ordinance:

* Does the city’s ordinance have an exclusive “opt-in” clause?

* Does the city’s ordinance require an Historic Preservation Commission?

* What incentives does the city’s ordinance provide?

* Does the city’s ordinance require a permit for improvements to designated properties?

* Are some types of activities exempted under the city’s ordinance?

Here are the results: (for your own look at the other cities contacted and their response to the survey, click here.)

* All of the cities surveyed allowed nomination of properties for historic designation by the City Council, Historic Preservation Commission, the property owner, and/or the general public. None of the cities surveyed restricted nomination of a historic property to the owner of the property (an “opt-in” clause);

* All of the cities surveyed had a Historic Preservation Commission of some kind, in many cases with a requirement for some of the Commission’s membership to have specific professional credentials. The City’s Planning Commission would continue to function in this capacity under the currently proposed amendments;

* In most cases, cities offered state tax programs, reduced fees, technical assistance, plaque programs, and recognition programs as incentives. These incentives are generally consistent with those offered by the currently proposed amendments;

* In most cases, cities surveyed required a Certificate of Compliance for alterations to designated historic properties. The City would continue to require a Minor Use Permit for alterations to designated structures; and

* In almost all cases, cities surveyed exempted routine maintenance of properties from the permit process. This is consistent with the currently proposed amendments.

The following items were passed unanimously on consent calendar.

 

Item 3.

FEDERAL LEGISLATOR SUPPORT LETTER: STOP FEDERAL 2013 SEQUESTRATION CUTS AND SAVE CALIFORNIA JOBS

The city council adopted the recommendation of the Legislative Committee to send letters to Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Barbara Boxer urging them to support the enactment of legislation to prevent the 2013 Federal sequestration cuts and find a balanced budget compromise.

In 2011, the U.S. Congress enacted a federal spending reduction plan in conjunction with increasing the Federal government’s borrowing authority called the “Budget Control Act of 2011.” This Act placed spending caps on Federal agencies designed to reduce Federal spending by approximately one trillion dollars over the following ten fiscal years. This bill also allowed for the establishment of a joint House and Senate “Supercommittee” charged with finding an additional $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. It is anticipated that California would lead the nation in job loses with 125,000 projected in fiscal year 2013 particularly the defense contractors and their suppliers. There are 69 aerospace and defense contractors located in Santa Clarita Valley alone representing around 4,000 jobs. The annual sales for these contractors in 2010 were $953 million. While it is difficult to project the specific impact to Santa Clarita, clearly local jobs will be impacted.

 

Item 4.

ESTABLISHMENT OF LOADING ZONE IN FRONT OF 24415 WALNUT STREET

The city council approved the establishment of a 20 foot loading zone in front of 24415 Walnut Street at the request of the owners of Egg Plantation so patrons can drop off guests, while continuing to seek convenient parking. Staff conducted a review of the request and recommended the installation of the loading zone.

 

Item 5.

RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE INSTALLATION OF MULTIWAY STOP CONTROLS FOR THE INTERSECTION OF NEWHALL AVENUE AND 14TH STREET

The city council adopted a resolution authorizing the installation of multiway stop controls for the intersection of Newhall Avenue and 14th Street. William S. Hart High School requested the city investigate installing multiway stop controls at the intersection of Newhall Avenue and 14th Street. The school indicated school-age pedestrian and vehicular traffic congestion at this intersection, particularly during the morning arrival and afternoon dismissal school periods. Staff conducted an analysis of the intersection and determined multiway stop controls will reduce pedestrian/vehicle conflict and enhance the pedestrian safety at the intersection.

 

Item 6.

RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE CITY TO ACCEPT THE BEVERAGE CONTAINER GRANT, AUTHORIZE THE PURCHASE OF BIGBELLY RECYCLING UNITS AND APPROPRIATE GRANT FUNDS

City council adopted a resolution authorizing the acceptance of a Beverage Container Grant in the amount of $120,000 from the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery and authorize the purchase of BigBelly recycling units using designated grant funds; increase revenues in Beverage Container Grant by $120,000, and appropriate $120,000 to expenditure account.

 

Item 7.

PRESERVATION OF 5.0 +/- ACRES OF REAL PROPERTY IN WILDWOOD CANYON

The city council approved the purchase of 5.0 +/- acres of real property for open space preservation, located in Wildwood Canyon at a total cost of $32,500 which includes escrow, title, appraisal fees, and due diligence costs.

 

Item 8.

STREAMLINING CITY OF SANTA CLARITA GRANT PROGRAMS

The city council voted to approve the recommended streamlined process for the City of Santa Clarita Grant programs. At the February 28, 2012, city council meeting, council asked staff to evaluate the city’s grant programs in an effort to streamline the application review process for grant programs. Changes are being proposed to ensure that the procedures for both programs are in alignment and that the evaluation and funding processes are completed objectively.

The City of Santa Clarita has two grant programs – Community Services Grants and Arts Grants. The Community Services Grants program is a community outreach program designed to assist community-based, nonprofit organizations with providing services to Santa Clarita residents.

The Arts Grants program has two funding categories. The first category, City of Santa Clarita Presents, is for organizations who utilize the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons for public artistic performances. The second category, Community Arts, is for organizations who provide programs and projects for the benefit of the Santa Clarita community.

 

Item 9.

ASSIGNMENT AGREEMENT WITH YOLO COUNTY TRANSPORTATION DISTRICT AND CONTRACT WITH MOTOR COACH INDUSTRIES FOR THE PURCHASE OF SIX, 45-FOOT COMMUTER BUSES

In order to meet growing demand for commuter services to and from the Santa Clarita Valley, the city’s Transit Division is in need of six 45-foot commuter buses. The city council authorized the City Manager to execute an Assignment Agreement with Yolo County Transportation District, and waive the formal bid process; negotiate and execute a contract with Motor Coach Industries for the purchase of six (6), 45-foot buses, in an amount not to exceed $3,782,170.

 

Item 10.

RECREATION SOFTWARE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM REPLACEMENT

The city council awarded a five-year contract in the amount of $240,000 to Rec1 for recreation software management services, with the option of three, one-year additional renewals. The City’s current system has been in use for more than 11 years, has reached its technical end-of-life effectiveness, and is due for replacement. During Fiscal Year 2011-2012, the City’s Recreation Division processed 45,056 financial transactions, 70% of which took place online. These transactions encompassed recreation programs and activities, facility reservations, memberships, and point-of-sale transactions, generating over $4.3 million in revenues. Recreation-related revenues are primarily responsible for offsetting costs associated with providing such programming to the community and reinforcing the need for a state-of-the-art recreation management system to facilitate these quality-of-life services. Four companies applied to provide the services: Four proposals were submitted on Tuesday, June 3, 2012, and are reflected below:

Rec1 Alpharetta, GA, Active Network San Diego, CA., eTrak-Plus Charleston, SC., US eDirect Bakersfield, CA.

 

Item 11.

JOINT RESOLUTION BETWEEN THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES (COUNTY) AND THE CITY OF SANTA CLARITA

The city council adopted resolutions transferring Landscape Maintenance District (LMD) administration and maintenance responsibilities for LMD Zone T-65 (Fair Oaks Ranch, Phase I), T-65A (Fair Oaks Ranch, Phase II & III) and Zone T-33 (Canyon Park) from the County of Los Angeles to the City of Santa Clarita.

 

Item 14.

RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA CLARITA APPROVING THE ISSUANCE OF REVENUE BONDS BY THE CALIFORNIA STATEWIDE COMMUNITIES DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (CSCDA) TO ALBERT EINSTEIN ACADEMY

At the conclusion of a public hearing the city council voted to adopt a resolution approving the issuance of revenue bonds by the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA) for Albert Einstein Academy.

Albert Einstein Academy currently operates as a middle school teaching students from 7th to 9th grade. The city received a request from the CSCDA to conduct a public hearing as required by the Internal Revenue Code in order to issue tax-exempt revenue bonds in an aggregate amount not to exceed $5.5 million. The proceeds of this bond will be used for the acquisition, improvement, and equipping of the Albert Einstein Academy campus located at 28141 Kelly Johnson Parkway.

The adoption of the resolution will not require the city to be financially obligated nor liable, nor provide any financing for the project at Albert Einstein Academy.

The CSCDA issues bonds on behalf of the CSCDA’s members in whose geographical jurisdiction the projects are to be located, in this case, the City of Santa Clarita.. Since the Albert Einstein Academy is located within the territorial limits of the city, the Santa Clarita City Council is the applicable elected representative required by Section 147(f) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to hold a public hearing and approve the issuance of the tax-exempt revenue bonds.

City staff has reportedly been in contact with representatives of the William S. Hart Union High School District regarding this bond issuance and they did not express any concerns. The City Attorney’s Office and city’s Bond Counsel have approved the council resolution language approving the issuance of revenue bonds by CSCDA for Albert Einstein Academy.

Pursuant to applicable state law, the bonds are issued as limited obligations of the California Statewide Communities Development Authority, not of the city, payable solely out of the revenues and receipts derived from the applicable project.

 

Item 15.

New Business

AUTHORIZE A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT WITH IMPACT SCIENCES, INC., TO PREPARE AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (EIR) FOR THE MASTER’S COLLEGE MASTER PLAN MODIFICATION PROJECT; REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS FOR AN INDEPENDENT LAND USE CONSULTANT

The city council supported city staff’s recommendation that Impact Sciences prepare a Subsequent EIR (for a contract amount of $204,221, plus a 15-percent contingency in the amount of $30,633, for a total not to exceed $234,854) for the Master’s College master plan modification project. City staff is authorized to conduct a request for proposals (RFP) to hire an independent land use consultant to review the proposed master plan modification project and interim access options.

The Master’s College Master Plan was approved in 2009 and required a second access and that Dockweiler Drive be extended after 10,000 square foot building improvements. With the loss of potential funding for Dockweiler Drive and a need to go beyond the 10,000 square foot for 200 new dorm rooms, Master’s College is requesting an interim second entrance.

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