Council Votes to Remove Property Requirement

Property ownership should no longer be a requirement to serve on either the Design Review Committee or Planning Commission, the City Council determined in its meeting last week.
On a first reading, the council unanimously agreed to remove from its Municipal Code the stipulation that anyone wishing to serve on either body must own property here.
City Attorney Steve Dorsey cited language in Article 1, Section 22 of the state Constitution, which states that “the right to hold office may not be conditioned by a property qualification.”
Dorsey said he felt membership on either body constitutes a municipal “office,” because the DRC and the Planning Commission can green-light a building project without first running it past an authority such as the City Council. The Recreation Commission and Traffic Advisory Commission, by contrast, act solely in an advisory capacity to the council.
Kevin Cheng, who joined the Design Review Committee as an alternate just three months ago, was promoted to a full-fledged position. He replaces Valerie Flores, who resigned at the end of July in protest of what she termed the city’s “misguided” approach to development.
The City Council approved the appointment of attorney Corinna Wong as an alternate on the DRC.
Before its regularly scheduled meeting, the City Council had a joint session with the Recreation Commission, which included an update on Stoneman School, the city’s recreation headquarters, and the Americans With Disabilities Act upgrades that are being considered there.
Resident Dave Lipp, who lives near the facility, presented a petition signed by 120 residents who object to the city tearing down “part or all” of the complex, which has been showing the ill effects of its age.
Last year, architect Rick Crane assessed the property and informed the city that it would cost less to demolish the building and construct something new than to renovate the existing structures.
The City Council spent an hour listening to back-and-forth about tennis at Lacy Park, related to use of the courts for tennis lessons.
Rather than amending the city’s concession agreement with the San Marino Tennis Foundation, the council volleyed the issue back to the foundation, in the hope that it can come up with a solution internally.
The city will receive $348,692 in Caltrans Emergency Relief funds to offset costs it incurred from the destructive winds of Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2011, according to City Manager John Schaefer. An “arduous process” that required proof of expenditures, time cards and photographs was completed recently, he reported.

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