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City Council Chamber

Monday, October 8, 2007

6:30 p.m.



Chair Russell called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m.




Chair Russell led the flag salute.



Present:          Shawna Adam, Sueling Chen, Kathleen Dasney, Craig Russell, Kathleen Shanfield


Absent:           Nancy Spencer and Scott Stanford


Staff:                Parks and Recreation Director Joe Felz, Parks and Recreation Managers Grace Carroll Lowe and Alice Loya; Administrative Analyst Chris Gerry; Building and Facilities Superintendent Lyman Otley; Landscape Superintendent Dennis Quinlivan; Director of Engineering Don Hoppe






CONSENT ITEMS (Items 1 - 3)


Chair Russell requested a motion to approve the Consent Calendar items.   Vice Chair Dasney MADE A MOTION and Commissioner Adam SECONDED the motion to approve the Consent Calendar items.


            AYES:             Adam, Chen, Dasney, Russell, Shanfield,

            NOES:            None

            ABSENT:       Spencer, Stanford


The MOTION PASSED unanimously.



Recommendation to approve the Minutes of the September 10, 2007 Commission Meeting.




Recommendation to receive and file the Landscape Division September 2007 Monthly Report.


Vice Chair Dasney asked Landscape Superintendent Dennis Quinlivan about the area near the tables at the south side of the Hunt Branch dog park, saying it was really muddy around there.  She said there were no sprinklers there and wondered if the Dog Park Committee members were hosing the tables down.  Superintendent Quinlivan said he would look into that.




Recommendation to receive and file the Building and Facilities Division September 2007 Monthly Report.


Vice Chair Dasney asked about the ten light poles taken out with only eight to be installed; Director Joe Felz said staff would explain that when it came up on the agenda.


Vice Chair Dasney complimented the staff responsible for making improvements in the classroom at the Museum.  Director Felz said it was Maintenance who should receive the compliments for the new flooring and paint.


She noted that there was a light out on a walkway outside of the dog park leading to the barranca.






Director Felz introduced the item, saying the Commission is being asked to approve the appointment of officers to the Pooch Park Ad Hoc Committee as part of a routine process to ensure the Committee’s policies and practices are consistent with current City policies and practices.  He said both the City and the Pooch Park Committee want to go in the direction of forming an ad hoc or temporary advisory committee with the potential to form as a non-profit 501(c)3, should the dog park become permanent.  The Advisory Committee was asked to submit a roster of proposed officers as noted on the agenda letter which Parks and Recreation staff were also recommending for appointment:  Chair:  Bill Stefanski; Vice-Chair:  Wendy Gillroy; Treasurer:  Christine Friemel;  Secretary:  Johanna Svensson.  Director Felz added that all eight members of the committee would have the same voting privileges but the officers would set the agenda and run the meetings. 


Vice Chair Dasney referred to the last paragraph of the agenda letter which stated that review of permanent status for the dog park would be part of the 2009/10 budget.  She said this was much longer than the originally anticipated six to twelve months.  Director Felz said the six to twelve month timeline for permanent status was unrealistic, especially given that it would be tied to the budget process.  He confirmed with Vice Chair Dasney that the ad hoc committee would form prior to the 501(c)3 status.  He said the process for approval would start in January 2008 and that besides forming a non-profit, a contractual relationship would have to be negotiated with them.  Commissioner Chen asked if the 501(c)3 status was necessary, and Director Felz said it wasn’t, but since there’s an interest group, it provides the group and the City with better fundraising options, noting that some people prefer to donate to a non-governmental agency.  He said an option was also to form a formal committee like the Sports Field Users Committee that doesn’t have non-profit status or a budget.


Commissioner Chen invited the members of the dog park advisory board to make any comments about how the park is doing.


Bill Stepanski, 1201 W. Valencia Dr., #138, Proposed Chair of the Pooch Park Ad Hoc Committee - Said the dog park and the smaller dog park are being fully and very positively utilized by both City and surrounding residents.  During the week day, there are about a dozen dogs, but at night there are 50 – 60 at a time.  The new small dog park area has been greatly received by small dogs and their owners, which was “heartwarming” to see.  He noted that committee members monitor the park frequently.


Chair Russell asked how staff would be assigned to the ad hoc committee.  Director  Felz said while he does attend the meetings, Administrative Analyst Chris Gerry is the staff representative.  He said staff would recommend adding a few more people, and if a commissioner wants to be part of the committee, this could be done.  Commissioner Shanfield thanked the committee for its work, saying she enjoys the dog park and that her eleven-year old lab acts like a puppy when she takes him there.


Chair Russell asked if a commissioner could be assigned to the ad hoc committee at tonight’s meeting, but Director Felz said procedurally, they would have to wait until it’s on the meeting agenda. Commissioner Chen asked about the ad hoc committee meeting schedule, and was told they meet regularly, about every two weeks on Tuesday evenings at the Hunt Branch Library, but that the meetings would probably go to once a month or every two months, and that the meeting schedule would be provided prior to commissioner appointment to the committee.  Commissioner Shanfield indicated interest in accepting the appointment.  Director Felz said the group would be meeting in two weeks and that staff would try to put a commissioner appointment on the next agenda. 


Vice Chair Dasney MADE A MOTION and Commissioner Chen SECONDED the motion to approve the appointment of the proposed slate of officers for the Pooch Park Ad Hoc Committee.  Chair Russell called for the vote.


AYES:             Adam, Chen, Dasney, Russell, Shanfield,

NOES:            None

ABSENT:       Spencer, Stanford


The MOTION PASSED unanimously.




Director Felz provided an aerial view of the Tennis Center courts, indicating where a light pole had fallen due to strong winds.  He said an inspection, including one below-grade, showed that several of the poles had 60% metal loss.  Staff developed a plan to remove the most damaged poles on courts 1, 6, and 7.  After receiving bids for removal of 11 poles and installation of only 8 poles due to the efficiency of current lighting technology, he said the City chose Musco Lighting, a very reputable company that manages most of the lighting for athletic fields.  Director Felz said staff is trying to fast-track the project and that day use of the courts should not be interrupted; however, he didn’t know the timeline for completion of the pole installation.  He said the dollar figure had also been reduced to $160,000 instead of the previous figure of $207,000.


Director Felz and Administrative Manager Alice Loya provided information on the Children’s League buildings, saying they were constructed in 1962 by Fullerton College through the Children’s League which owned and managed the buildings.  The Child Guidance Center and the Fullerton Community Nursery School lease space there and wish to continue doing so, but  the Children’s League is no longer in business.  Thus, the City had taken ownership of these buildings over the past several months.


Director Felz said the Children’s League lease was in default as they had not adequately maintained the buildings which need significant roofing, heating, air conditioning and ventilation repairs estimated at $70,000.   He noted that staff is currently negotiating a lease, which is going well, with the Child Guidance Center and the Community Nursery School and will include a long-term maintenance agreement for capital items consistent with Maintenance Department standards.  Staff is recommending to Council that the project be completed quickly as the rainy season is coming soon and will cause further damage unless the repairs are completed.  Director Felz said there was adequate funding in the Brea Dam reserve for both the Tennis Center lighting and the Brea Dam building repairs.  The balance in the reserves is about $700,000 so the two projects would bring the balance down to about half a million dollars.  Due to the short timeline, the projects needed to go to Council immediately; however, staff would be glad to forward any commissioner comments to Council.


Director Felz confirmed with Vice Chair Dasney that the lighting costs would still not impact the Tennis Center Pavilion improvements.  He also confirmed with Chair Russell that the Commission did not need to vote on this item due to the emergency nature of the lighting and roof repairs, noting that the lighting poles were seen swaying in some recent Santa Ana winds.


Chair Russell asked about the impact of the lighting replacement on playing time and court availability.  Recreation Manager Grace Carroll Lowe said that due to the one pole being down, courts 6 and 7 haven’t been used for awhile at night.  Court 1 is a favorite so players will be disappointed; however, staff is moving quickly, and players will also be glad to know that vastly improved lighting will be installed.  When Chair Russell asked, Manager Carroll Lowe said there was really no good time for the repairs, and while there was no timeline, they would move as quickly as possible due to the downtime without lights in the evening.  She confirmed with him that the high schools only use the courts during the day so they would not be impacted.  Director Felz showed photos of the courts and the placement and deterioration of the lighting poles, and Vice Chair Dasney added that the previous director took them on a tour, demonstrating that a pen could be poked through some of the metal. 


Commissioner Shanfield asked about the Children’s League building and the radon reported.  Director Felz said the building was retested, that the levels are fine now, and that the tenants are choosing to remain.  When asked, he said the structures were in decent shape, but some basic cleaning, maintenance and repairs were needed such as the roof, new flooring, and walls painted.  Manager Loya confirmed that only the roof would be replaced for now and that the most immediate need was the roof because a heavy rain might cause further leakage and water damage.  She also clarified the placement of the buildings on the aerial photo.


Chair Russell asked whether demolishing the property and building a new facility was considered rather than throwing $70,000 at it, or perhaps selling the property.  Manager Loya said it was Army Corps property and couldn’t be sold.  Director Felz said the building is still viable, the tenants want to stay, and it’s structurally sound even if there are some improvements needed which can be made in the next several years. When asked about the number of youth served, Manager Loya said many people benefited including students referred for counseling from the school districts.  She said she’d received reports of 400 students enrolled with the nursery school and many students receiving counseling, also emphasizing that the building needs a new roof and some cosmetic work but is structurally sound.  She said the price difference between making improvements and building new facilities was enormous.  Director Felz said he went by the property one time and saw 75 – 100 children there.


Chair Russell said it was a shame to keep 50-year old “eyesore” buildings amidst all the new buildings, and Director Felz said the City would definitely be sprucing the area up.  Chair Russell asked whether there’s been any discussion with the YMCA about their utilizing the building, and Director Felz said he hadn’t talk to them yet and believed the YMCA was well focused on its capital campaign.  However, he said he would be meeting with their new director and would bring it up.  Commissioner Shanfield said she’s on the YMCA board and that the YMCA doesn’t have the resources to purchase or use it.  Director Felz agreed with her that the Army Corps wouldn’t want to give the property to St. Jude.


Commissioner Chen asked how the different agencies were related and about the lease, and Director Felz said the Children’s League, which built the buildings, no longer exists, but had leased to the Child Guidance Center and Nursery School.  Thus, the City has adopted a temporary lease with these two entities and is currently negotiating a longer term lease with them.  Manager Loya said that the Children’s League had subleased the buildings from the City for one dollar a year and, in turn, charged the other tenants, who were also non-profits, rent equivalent to the maintenance and operations of the buildings.  However, in the past four or five years, the Children’s League was inconsistent in collecting rent, never raised the rent which was about $1200 monthly for the Child Guidance Center and $500 for the Nursery School.  The lease was supposed to go until 2012 but because it’s in default, the lessees are considered holdovers and the lease is now month-to-month until it is renegotiated.


Commissioner Chen asked how the City would recoup the $70,000 for the roof, and Manager Loya said the building belongs to the City which will have to determine what percentage the lessees should pay to fix the roof.  She added that the rent money had been placed in an escrow account with the City so this could be used for improvements. When she asked, Commissioner Chen was told it had been the Children’s League’s responsibility to maintain the buildings.  Director Felz said the situation there wasn’t ideal but in the renegotiation, the City would charge more rent, based on a market analysis as well as ongoing maintenance costs.  However, the City wouldn’t try to recoup the $70,000 through the lease.  It was confirmed that the two entities have been providing rent at a total of $1700/month and that that money is in an escrow account to be used for repairs after the agreements are renegotiated.




Director Felz noted that the scheduled November Commission meeting of November 12, 2007 was on a holiday, Veteran’s Day.  Although it would still be possible to meet on that day, staff was recommending that the meeting be cancelled, and in lieu of that, a meeting hosted by the Parks and Recreation Commission focusing on the General Plan would be held on October 29, 2007.   Chair Russell asked who would prepare the agenda for the meeting, and Director Felz said he believed the consultant would be working with the Community Development Department to prepare the agenda although Parks and Recreation would also be involved.  Vice Chair Dasney said some contracts were to be addressed in the November meeting, and asked if those would be addressed October 29.  Director Felz said other items could be addressed at the beginning of the October 29 meeting if needed, or could be addressed at the December meeting as the Department was pretty current with their items.  He also confirmed with Commissioner Chen that the commissioners would receive an agenda for the meeting.


Chair Russell asked about meeting notification of groups, and Director Felz said it would be advertised through the normal channels, but that it would be a good idea to contact all the user groups.  Commissioner Shanfield noted that Council Chambers was not conducive to a workshop atmosphere, and Director Felz agreed, saying that would be a consideration and that he would check with the General Plan group to see what format they would prefer.


Vice Chair Dasney MADE A MOTION and Commissioner Shanfield SECONDED the motion to approve a November Commission meeting date change to Monday, October 29, 2007 with the location to be determined.  Commissioner Adam asked if the 6:30 p.m. time would remain the same, and was told yes.  Chair Russell called for the vote.


AYES:             Adam, Chen, Dasney, Russell, Shanfield,

NOES:            None

ABSENT:       Spencer, Stanford


The MOTION PASSED unanimously.




Director Felz said staff is recommending Commission appointees to attend neighborhood meetings during the conceptual stages of a project although the three projects listed were actually more mid-stream.  He briefly reviewed the status of those projects:


West Hiltscher Park Trail – A small extension of Hiltscher Park from Euclid to Fern Drive, primarily used by bike riders and sometimes horse riders, this trail was involved in some controversy due to nearby property owners using it for private or business use.  Council has provided direction to improve the trail and trailhead to better accommodate hikers and horse riders although there is still some interest from others not to use it as a trail.  A resident will be hosting a meeting which should help in clarifying any issues.


Gilman Park – The final approval from City Council is for replacement of one set of play equipment and beginning the master planning process although some residents believe, incorrectly, that there is a larger project ready to happen now.  A neighborhood meeting will be held to get everyone “on the same page” and to discuss some construction with master planning around it if there’s concurrence.  Director Felz characterized Gilman Park as “an extremely challenging environment” and that it would be “a fairly long project.”


Laguna Lake Phase II - Will be considerably smaller than originally planned because all of the grant funding did not come through.  Staff will revisit the project to accomplish two things:  1.) Meet with the formal advisory group which is expecting a $2 million project when, due to actual funding available, it will only be $500,000.  2.)  Emphasize that there will be additional funding for Phase III in two years.  There is a very tight deadline on the current project with all construction and billing to be completed by May 2008.


Chair Russell asked if there should be one or two commissioner appointments for each project, and Director Felz said either would be fine as staff would be responsible for making the presentations, not the commissioners.  Vice Chair Dasney said she would volunteer for Gilman Park, and that Commissioner Spencer might want to be included for the Laguna Lake meetings as she was previously on the Laguna Lake Committee.  The commission was in agreement with Chair Russell’s suggestion that they appoint one commissioner tonight for the Laguna Lake neighborhood meeting, and that Commissioner Spencer could be asked to be the second representative for Laguna Lake. Commissioner Adam agreed to work with Commissioner Dasney at Gilman, Commissioner Shanfield chose Laguna Lake, and commissioners Chen and Stanford were selected to represent Hiltscher.  Chair Russell agreed to be the alternate for all three meetings but would also attend any meetings when possible.


Commissioner Shanfield asked for clarification on the commissioner roles at the neighborhood meetings. Director Felz said their roles would be to respond to questions and to re-emphasize the bigger picture of the projects, from the viewpoint of a non-staff person.  Chair Russell said this answered his desire to have commissioner involvement earlier on in a project, that they’d moved away from this in the last three or four years, but that it would help the Commission be better prepared when items came before it.



Director Felz and Manager Loya said two resolutions were approved by Council to apply for grant funding for Phase II of the Union Pacific Trail from Highland to Richman, with award notification in two months.

Director Felz said the Golf Course Fee Request recommended for approval by Commission was approved by the Council without any questions.




The Hillcrest Park Reservoir Dedication on September 18th went very well.  The view is stunning, and the acreage will be included in the revised master plan.


The Richman Park Rededication on October 2nd was “a big hit” with a lot of positive comments and many park attendees.  The City is almost at the end of the contractor maintenance period and will take over the first week in November.  There are some very minor issues with staffing and the contractor to be resolved.


The recruitment for the Park Projects Manager Position will begin this week with a selection expected in three weeks.


The General Plan Process was discussed earlier, and a General Plan Advisory Committee members list was provided tonight as requested by Commission.


The three neighborhood projects at Adlena, Byerrum and Valencia parks are all on track, concrete is being poured, with a solid contractor and no complaints from the neighbors.  The small dog park has been opened, thanks to everyone including Superintendent Quinlivan and his crew, the dog park advisory committee and Analyst Chris Gerry.


Nora Kuttner Trail Improvements are still a high priority.  Staff is working with community members including Bob Ward and Chris Heusser to ensure the improvements are consistent with their vision of the Bob Ward Nature Center.  There are no legal or other issues with Chevron and its adjoining property; the fencing limiting access is being addressed.  Director Felz will be meeting with interested users including Bob Ward, Chris Heusser, Commissioner Shanfield, and bicyclists before coming to the Commission.


Commissioner Dasney, noting that Bob Ward and Chris Heusser were both involved with the planning of Gilman Park, asked whether their original plans were consulted.  Director Felz said he had spoken with Chris Heusser who agreed that the park does not meet current needs and that changes were in order; he agreed that they should be involved.




Commissioner Adam thanked the Museum for the J. C. Leyendecker exhibit, saying she had learned a lot, and found it fascinating.  She also said Parks and Recreation made her feel very welcome at the Richman ceremony, and that the park was being very well used.


Commissioner Chen said she appreciated that the tennis court lighting replacement project was moving forward quickly.  She also requested that the monthly briefing be provided prior to the Commission meeting and was told this would be done.


Chair Russell asked about an estimated timeline for the Richman Park lighting, and Director Felz said it could be one to four months after the State Architect approves the City’s plan, i.e.,  about ten months or sometime in 2008.


Commissioner Dasney MADE A MOTION to adjourn the meeting.  Chair Russell declared the meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Joe Felz, Secretary


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