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Parks and Recreation Commission Minutes

CITY OF FULLERTON

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

MEETING MINUTES

 

City Council Chamber

Monday, February 11, 2008

6:30 p.m.

 

 

CALL TO ORDER

 

Chair Russell called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.

  

FLAG SALUTE

 

Commissioner Adam led the flag salute.


ROLL CALL

 

Present:          Shawna Adam, Sueling Chen, Kathleen Dasney, Craig Russell, Kathleen Shanfield, Nancy Spencer and Scott Stanford

 

Absent:           None

 

Staff:                Parks and Recreation Director Joe Felz, Parks and Recreation Managers Grace Carroll Lowe, Hugo Curiel, Alice Loya and Dannielle Mauk; Landscape Superintendent Dennis Quinlivan, Building and Facilities Superintendent Lyman Otley; Fire Chief Wolfgang Knabe

 

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

 

None.

 

CONSENT ITEMS (Items 1 - 3)

 

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

                                                                                                       

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

            NOES:            None

            ABSENT:       None

 

The MOTION PASSED unanimously.

 
1.         MINUTES OF THE JANUARY 14, 2008 COMMISSION MEETING

           

Recommendation to approve the Minutes of the January 14, 2008 Commission Meeting.

 
2.         LANDSCAPE DIVISION MONTHLY REPORT FOR JANUARY 2008

 

Recommendation to receive and file the Landscape Division January 2008 Monthly Report.

 

Landscape Superintendent Dennis Quinlivan announced the annual Arbor Day celebration at Gilbert Park on March 15th at 9 a.m.  He said about 20 trees will be planted, and welcomed everyone to bring their tools and supplies, and to join in.

 

Commissioner Adam asked about Item #5 on the Landscape Monthly Report, i.e., how the monitoring at Gilbert Park with the runoff was going, and if there was build-up of debris.  Superintendent Quinlivan said there is but Maintenance monitors it to make sure branches and debris aren’t blocking water drainage, especially after a big storm.    

 

He was also asked about the Item #7 cleanup at the Nora Kuttner Trail.  He said his crews clean up every couple of weeks, adding that after the discussion at the last Commission meeting, he visited the trail and noticed some beer cans and evidence of a fire, which was then cleaned up.  He said the trail is not a regular trash can stop for them, but the crews, when working there, do change the liners and patrol it.  Commissioner Shanfield thanked Superintendent Quinlivan for his efforts, and also asked about a good method for cleaning up broken glass that volunteers or staff could use.   Superintendent Quinlivan said his crew could rake up the glass, and that there were some volunteer groups who would be helping soon, so they could also assist with this cleanup.  Commissioner Shanfield thanked him again.

 
3.         BUILDING AND FACILITIES DIVISION MONTHLY REPORT FOR JANUARY 2008

 

Recommendation to receive and file the Building and Facilities Division January 2008 Monthly Report.

 

Vice-Chair Dasney asked about the Children’s League building and the status on the roofing project.   Building and Facilities Superintendent Lyman Otley said work was in progress and should be completed on time, adding that Maintenance was on the roof monitoring on a daily basis, and that the work being done was “outstanding.”

 

Vice-Chair Dasney confirmed the City’s custodial contract ends in June 2008, and asked what the additional services were that were being requested.  Superintendent Otley replied that Maintenance had been meeting with Director Joe Felz and Manager Alice Loya and that they were requesting extra cleaning for Parks and Recreation’s high-use facilities.  Director Felz explained that new facilities have come online since the contract had been signed including the locker room facility, and they needed additional cleaning, especially in the summer months.  He said not all special events were listed either.  Superintendent Otley said Maintenance Services bids the contract for five years, but it is reviewed yearly and can be cancelled within 30 days if the company doesn’t perform.

 

Commissioner Stanford asked for a quick update on the Adlena, Byerrum and Valencia parks project.  Director Felz said he would be reporting on that during his “Director’s Report,” Item 10.

 

REGULAR BUSINESS (Items 4 - 11)

 

4.         FULLERTON RECREATIONAL RIDERS MOU FOR THE USE OF LAGUNA LAKE EQUESTRIAN CENTER

 

Director Felz provided a brief introduction of the Fullerton Recreational Riders, noting that although the Rec Riders have had a long history in and with the City, the proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) to manage the equestrian center would be the Rec Riders’ first formal agreement with the City.  He described the partnership as similar to those the City has with Muckenthaler, the Museum Association and FAST, although not as complex. 

 

Manager Loya provided further details on the deal points of the proposed MOU and introduced Bob Hayden of Rec Riders to answer additional questions.  She said the Rec Riders had been operating the center, which is open to the public, since 1962.  She said the Rec Riders would have non-exclusive use, would be operating the equestrian center on the City’s behalf as they currently do, and that there were would be no exchange of funds.  Any money raised from permits would be re-invested in the equestrian center. 

 

Manager Loya provided an aerial view of the Laguna Lake Equestrian Center and described the facilities which include two large rings, a cook shack, announcer’s booth, restrooms which the City is responsible for cleaning, and a parking area.  She also noted some of the riding events Rec Riders sponsors as well as shows they permit for other groups such as Fullerton College and Future Farmers of America.  The agreement term would be five years with three automatic five-year options to renew if agreeable to both parties, and a 30-day cancellation clause available to either side. 

 

Manager Loya said that in the proposed agreement, the City would continue to maintain the restrooms while the Rec Riders would continue to maintain the cook shack and announcer’s booth, and would also purchase and pay for half of a tractor or about $10,000 to maintain the rings and help maintain the Laguna Lake trails.  The Rec Riders would also do some minor grading as well as animal litter and trash control with the tractor.  The City would conduct audits to ensure compliance and also revise the City’s fee resolution to include the permits and rentals managed by the Rec Riders.

 

Commissioner Spencer asked why the City was formalizing the agreement after 47 years, and was told it was for several reasons, including liability and insurance issues, and to be consistent with other City / volunteer organization relationships.  Vice-Chair Dasney asked about liability insurance, and Manager Loya said the Rec Riders had it for their events, but that, in addition to formalizing their relationship with Rec Riders, the City will now require anyone else using the ring to submit evidence of insurance, just as those using the City’s parks are required to do.  Rec Riders will manage the ring, but the requirements will be the same as the City’s requirements for other rentals.  Manager Loya said the Rec Riders would be showing the property, meeting with renters, ensuring the insurance requirements are met and collecting fees, and Parks and Recreation would, in turn, ensure that Rec Riders is meeting all of the City’s requirements and policies.  She said Rec Riders would keep all the fees because they are doing all the work, and would maintain the equestrian center. 

 

Director Felz added that it was highly unusual for an organization not to have an agreement with the City.  Commissioner Spencer said she had concerns there were other organizations in a similar situation, e.g., Kiwanis.  Manager Loya agreed but said the Rec Riders hadn’t had one since 1962.

 

Commissioner Spencer had concerns about maintenance by volunteers, and Manager Loya assured her that the agreement with the Rec Rider volunteers would be more formal than the Adopt-A-Park Program, and, like the Pooch Park group, volunteers would carry City ID, some training, and be listed on the City’s workers comp program.

 

Commissioner Adam asked about controls to ensure compliance in a timely manner, and Manager Loya said there are default and termination clauses plus a short renewal period of five years.

 

Commissioner Stanford asked about insurance for riders not affiliated with the Rec Riders, and Manager Loya said they would have to submit proof of coverage or purchase event insurance.  He then asked for clarification on the work that Rec Riders would be responsible for, and Manager Loya said it would encompass all of Laguna Lake and the portion of Bud Turner Trail at the lake, crossing Clarion to the equestrian center and ending at Euclid and Lakeside. She added that the City would be reviewing the Rec Riders’ maintenance responsibilities which might expand with the new agreement. 

 

Commissioner Stanford acknowledged the good job Rec Riders had been doing but also asked if those using the tractor are covered by the Rec Riders’ insurance or by the City’s, and if covered by the City, what kind of training they receive.  Manager Loya said Risk Management would advise on the type of training needed.  As for additional costs to the City, he was told the City already has an umbrella liability policy and there may or may not be additional costs to insure the volunteers because the pool of employees and volunteers already insured was so large.

 

Regarding an audit of the Rec Riders, Manager Loya said the City’s Finance Department would conduct it.

 

Commissioner Adam asked who would be responsible for maintenance, for supplies and upkeep, and Manager Loya said those issues hadn’t been ironed out completely, but the Rec Riders currently pay for their own maintenance, except for the landscaping and restrooms.  She confirmed this was the case with the building also, and that it would be monitored.

 

Commissioner Chen expressed her approval that the agreements were being reviewed and formalized. She also asked if the Rec Riders would be required to have insurance, and if renters would have to have insurance, i.e., how the liability would be shared.  Director Felz replied that if it’s a Rec Rider activity, their insurance would cover the activity.  If it is a third party renting, that party would have to provide evidence of coverage.  He further explained that if it is drop-in casual use and there’s an accident, as with any other park activity, someone could file a claim against the City, and the City’s policy would cover it if it were liable. 

 

When Commissioner Chen asked, she was told there was a minimum amount of liability coverage required.  Manager Loya said the other party’s coverage is primary so the City is often not required to cover a claim.  When asked about the tractor, she said it will most likely be owned and maintained by the Rec Riders and covered by their own insurance.  However, if the lease were to end, the City would buy out the Rec Riders’ share of the tractor, thereby, fully owning the tractor.  The tractor operators would be covered by Rec Riders insurance, too.

 

Commissioner Dasney asked about opportunities for public or other use and whether a clause would be included in the agreement.  Manager Loya said a clause could be included but that there were already many public events, which she asked Mr. Hayden of Rec Riders to speak to.  Mr. Hayden said Rec Riders has 14 to 18 of its own events annually, and hopes to expand to 24 events annually; however, with 52 weekends a year, he said this would still allow for a lot of other activities including Cal State Fullerton and high school events.  He added that they are looking into further supporting those groups.

 

Commissioner Dasney asked if a smoking clause would be included in the agreement and how the smoking ban would affect the agreement.  She was told that the agreement would probably go into effect before the ban, but that the proposed ban would have precedence over the agreement regardless of when it was signed.

 

Commissioner Dasney asked if there were any figures on how the Rec Riders’ use and maintenance of the equestrian center impacts the City budget.  Director Felz said he didn’t have any specific figures but assured her that it would be much more costly if the City were to maintain the area.  Commissioner Dasney commented on the City’s  practice of turning over facilities to private groups, e.g. Rec Riders and the Muckenthaler, and Director Felz agreed that that has been the direction in the past ten years which has resulted in more efficient operations, better business relationships and more revenue for the City.  He confirmed that, rather than receiving revenue from the Rec Riders, the City will have reduced expenses; however, if an audit revealed large amounts of revenue, that would be reviewed when their agreement was up for renewal. 

Manager Loya noted that Rec Riders currently maintains the equestrian center at no real cost to the City, and that this would also be the case with the proposed agreement. The Commission was told the Rec Riders recently spent $7,000 for improvements to the arena and also did some major work to the irrigation system.

 

When Commissioner Stanford asked, Manager Loya told him the Rec Riders’ tractor was over 20 years old, and Building and Facilities Superintendent Otley said a low-use tractor’s life expectancy was 15 to 20 years.  Commissioner Shanfield asked about  storage of the tractor, and was told there is a large shed near the ring.  She also asked if a tractor could be used on the trails and was told that while there are trails too narrow for a tractor, there are wider 10’ trails.

 

Commissioner Adam asked whether parking problems in the neighborhood at Laguna Lake would be addressed in the agreement, and Manager Loya said they would, and Director Felz said that mitigating parking problems there would be part of the longer- term project planned for the lake.

 

Commissioner Spencer asked if all users were Fullerton organizations and Mr. Hayden said all the groups are within the City.

 

Commissioner Chen asked whether Rec Riders had a website and Mr. Hayden said he could get her the website address.

 

Chair Russell asked for public comment on the issue and, hearing none, called for the vote.

 

Commissioner Stanford MADE A MOTION to recommend to City Council approval of a memorandum of understanding between the City and the Fullerton Recreational Riders which includes a provision for the City to pay the Recreational Riders $10,000 towards the purchase of a tractor.  Commissioner Chen SECONDED the motion.

                                                                                                       

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

            NOES:            None

            ABSENT:       None

 

The MOTION PASSED unanimously.

 

5.         NO-SMOKING POLICY FOR PARKS AND PARK FACILITIES

 

Staff recommendation that the Parks and Recreation Commission select Option #2 of three proposed no-smoking policy options for City Council approval.

 

Director Felz introduced the no-smoking policy item, saying that this was a continuation from the previous Commission meeting.  Before presenting a brief Power Point overview of the three options for a no-smoking policy, he noted that there would be an overlay of existing state law on all options that would ban smoking within 25 feet of all playgrounds and within 20 feet of open windows and doors at all City facilities.  He also reminded the Commission that facilities and parks include some unique to Fullerton including historic buildings such as the Muckenthaler Cultural Center and the grounds, the Museum, and the Plaza.  He then presented the three no-smoking policy options for Commission consideration:

 

Option #1:

·        This blanket policy would create a ban on smoking at all park and trail properties

·        Exemptions could be made for specific facilities (presented at a subsequent meeting) and defined “smoking allowed” areas in specific parks or facilities, e.g., the dog park and weddings or receptions at the Muckenthaler

·        Commission could also hear from other groups who could be affected by the policy

 

Option #2:

·        Ban on smoking at all athletic fields and facilities as well as high-fire danger areas designated by the Fire Chief who was available tonight for questions.

·        Other “no smoking” areas could also be recommended by the Commission for specific areas.  Existing youth league policies banning smoking at their activities would continue, but a City policy would make a smoking ban more enforceable.  The net effect would be, in most cases, to allow smoking only on the perimeters of parks and in parking lots.

 

Option #3:

·        This option would leave smoking regulations as they now stand with existing state regulations remaining in place.

·        Additional areas could be considered for “no smoking” designations as requested.

·        Sports leagues would continue to enforce “no smoking” policies at the fields.

 

Regardless of the Commission’s decision, Director Felz said staff will return to the Commission with further refinements on their recommendation before going to City Council.

 

Commissioner Spencer asked about other cities’ no smoking policies and their experiences.  Director Felz said most of the information is anecdotal, and while other cities have trails, theirs are not as extensive as Fullerton’s and most of their parks are more contained than, for example, Hillcrest Park.  He noted Laguna Beach has high-fire areas and trails and those have all been designated high-risk where smoking is banned.  He said negative feedback regarding smoking has been minimal.  Commissioner Spencer asked about feedback regarding smoking on trails and Director Felz said people smoke on the trails, but he has only heard a few negative comments.  He suggested that Chief Knabe could respond about fires started due to cigarettes.

 

Chief Knabe stated he had experience working in four counties, and that some cities do have smoking bans, especially in high-fire zones.  He said there have been fires on the trails, although Fullerton hasn’t had any in the recent past, and noted that some massive fires in other areas were due to cigarettes.   Chief Knabe said fire and public safety were his concerns, especially high-fire areas, noting that in July a report, The Wildland Interface Code, would be issued by the State, which would probably dictate high-fire, no-smoking areas.  He also noted that there are seasonal no-smoking bans in certain areas. At minimum, he said he would support Option #2, pointing to impacted areas in Fullerton such as in Coyote Hills and near the Summit House. 

 

Commissioner Spencer expressed concern about homes that back up to areas of dense brush and trees, and Chief Knabe agreed, saying some counties have large fire zones of 200 feet versus Fullerton’s 35 to 100 feet.  Vice-Chair Dasney asked if the trails would automatically come under a high-fire designation, and Chief Knabe replied that it would depend on where the trail was, and that the details in the state code coming out in July were not yet known.

 

Vice-Chair Dasney said she has been on all the trails and considers any trails a fire hazard and would want to post no-smoking signs at all of them.  She noted a sign at Griffith Park that lists all the fire bans, e.g., no smoking, no fires, no barbecues, and would prefer a ban on fires rather than just a specific smoking ban.  Chief Knabe said, as Fire Chief, he could only comment on fire hazard areas he’s familiar with; anything else would be a Council or Commission decision.  However, he agreed with the ban at Griffith Park as he was involved with putting out four fires there.

 

Commissioner Chen asked Director Felz for clarification on the options, saying that options #1 and #2 could be almost the same, depending on how many smoking exclusions or non-smoking areas one identifies.  She asked what would be the most practical way of implementation, commenting that everyone wanted to reduce hazards and support good health. 

 

Director Felz said staff can implement anything the Commission requests, but Option #2 would be the more practical policy and easier to enforce.  He said the reality is that a blanket ban at all parks with some exceptions would be the most difficult to enforce, especially given trails that are miles away from the police; however, both were doable.  Commissioner Chen said she wanted to ensure the policy would be enforceable, address litter from cigarette butts, would include public education, and benefit everyone.  She said if a sign is posted, others could help in enforcing or reminding someone not to smoke.  Director Felz agreed that with larger crowds, e.g., at sports facilities or the dog park, that would be much more likely to happen.

 

Vice-Chair Dasney asked for clarification on Option #2.  She said it appeared that non-smokers were being penalized by being sent to no-smoking areas.  Joe said no, that the net effect would be that smokers would be relegated to fringe zones at the park or in parking lots, and he confirmed for Commissioner Chen that an area, trails, or even the whole park could be designated non-smoking.  He confirmed that nearly the entire trail system would be non-smoking due to the fire danger.  Chief Knabe provided a map of the high fire zones, which showed, essentially, all trails were high fire areas.

 

Commissioner Spencer asked what the areas of exemption from non-smoking would be and if those would be mainly events such as weddings.  Director Felz said, at the least, Commission would probably want to recommend large gatherings, e.g., Muckenthaler events and the equestrian ring.  Commissioner Spencer asked if the exemptions would be based on the fire hazard, but Director Felz replied that not only fire hazard, but also secondhand smoke, would be part of the consideration.

 

Commissioner Adam asked whether cigarette receptacles would be considered, and Director Felz said they would move towards receptacles in certain areas to encourage no-smoking or reduction of cigarette litter.

 

Commissioner Stanford asked what the impetus was for the policy, and Director Felz said a council member made a request, and others had asked about a no-smoking policy, perhaps due to the July 1 enforcement on no-smoking near playgrounds.  Director Felz said there was mostly concern about secondhand smoke, then litter and also some fear from those living near high fire zones.

 

Commissioner Stanford also asked about Director Felz’ previous comment regarding problems with enforcing a smoking ban on trails.  Director Felz said problems with enforcement was one variable to consider, and that the police could not be expected to enforce the ban; however, the Commission should still vote on the policy they believe is correct.

 

When asked by Commissioner Spencer how other cities have enforced a smoking ban and if it’s worked, Director Felz said staff didn’t have that information.  Commissioner Spencer suggested that a survey could be very helpful.  Chief Knabe said from the Fire Department’s perspective, a policy allows for some kind of action, e.g., if someone starts a fire in a no-smoking zone, at least they can cite and prosecute someone who was smoking where not allowed.  Although not everyone can be stopped, he said there could still be some censuring of smokers as a preventative measure.

 

Chair Russell asked about the state regulations on high hazard areas, saying he wanted to prevent a duplication of efforts.  Chief Knabe said they’ve provided input on high-fire hazards, that the State won’t mandate most areas as no-smoking, but will provide mapping to indicate high-risk areas, and that the cities will identify these areas and enforce their own policies.

 

Chair Russell asked if the Commission voted on no-smoking on all trails, if it would be in conflict with the State mandate, but Chief Knabe said no, that the City is usually more restrictive than state.

 

Commissioner Adam asked for clarification on the existing City ordinances, asking if the current ones prohibiting smoking litter and fires wouldn’t address most of the problems.  Director Felz said the proposed policy would take those to the next level, by disallowing smoking at all in certain areas. Chief Knabe said stronger codes would also reduce chances of fires from accidental smoking litter.  Commissioner Adam noted that it would not be possible to prevent smoking in backyards near high fire areas, and Director Felz agreed.

 

Commissioner Shanfield said the difference between Option #1 and #2 could be minimal, but the message is different in #1 if smoking is not allowed in the parks, presenting a stronger message.  She added that although there are many other ordinances that are not completely enforceable, e.g., dog leash laws, speeding, there may still be an effect on one’s subconscious or may allow one to ask someone else not to smoke.

 

Chair Russell said he didn’t like the message in Option #1 because it appears that the desire for revenue seems to allow for smoking, e.g. Muckenthaler and First Night.  He said he liked #2 because it takes care of 90% of secondhand smoke and 100% of high fire areas.

 

Chair Russell opened the meeting to the public which provided the following comments:

 

Julia Monson, 784 Arbolada Drive, Hermosa School Student – Her school group has been studying Laguna Lake for four years, and the cigarette litter clogging the filters and killing animals could nullify the $3 million spent on improvements.   In two visits there, her class found 3,740 butts, thus, she was asking for a smoking ban at Laguna Lake.

 

Sabah Chaudry, 2424 Ramada Plaza, Hermosa School Student – Supported, along with her class, a ban on smoking at all parks, and appreciated the $3 million restoration at Laguna Lake but believed it was negatively impacted by cigarette litter. 

 

Parker Adams, 735 El Mirador Drive, Hermosa School Student - Supported a ban on smoking at Laguna Lake and appreciated the recent restoration.  Felt the ban might not stop all smoking but could reduce it and encourage people to dispose of the butts properly.

 

Michael Allen, 2829 Del Oro Lane, Hermosa School Student – Supported a ban at Laguna Lake or putting receptacles there for smokers, noting that the students were picking up the fishermen’s cigarette butts.

 

Jessica Howchin, 437 Rosary Drive, Hermosa School Student – Has been studying the restoration of Laguna Lake with her class for four years, and wants to keep the lake clean for all to enjoy.

 

Alexa Utholtz, 3250 Las Faldas Drive, Hermosa School Student – Has been going with her class to pick up cigarette butts monthly at Laguna Lake, and the problem is getting worse; is also asking for receptacles.  Doesn’t want the lake restoration destroyed and asked that a new policy be adopted to address the problem.

 

Jim Walker, 3721 Ross Street, Santa Ana, Director of Stop Tobacco Abuse of Minors Pronto and Chair of the Orange County Tobacco Education Coalition (of 35 non-profit organizations) – Said the most important and relevant voices were the previous speakers as tobacco is considered a pediatric disease.  Said cities are sending important messages, noting that there’s less than a 10% chance someone will start smoking if they reach 19 years without starting, and that the average starting age is 11 years old. 

 

Provided other statistics including 3,000 deaths yearly in Orange County, $15.2 billion in tobacco-related costs in California and $1.2 billion in Orange County.  Provided a copy of an article from Reuters about a young person who died immediately from exposure to secondhand smoke.  Showed a photo of the Lake Mission Viejo fire caused by a cigarette and costing $75 million, saying people need to recognize the liability and cost of tobacco, adding that 87% of OC residents don’t smoke and their rights should be protected.  He noted that the airlines’ no-smoking laws work, and that more people are complying with the no-smoking rule than with seat belt rules.  Griffith Park is an example of a successful smoking ban.

 

Asked the Commission to consider the youth who spoke as well as the message the Commission would be sending, saying there had been a failure of leadership for 400 years.  Pointed out that tobacco use is preventable and costs lives, dollars and suffering, said the quality of life was in the Commission’s hands and thanked them for their support.

 

Chair Russell asked Mr. Walker to repeat his affiliation, which he did.  Commissioner Chen asked for the source for the data on youth tobacco use at 11 versus 19 years, and Mr. Walker said he would send this information.

 

Bob Hayden, 2831 Park Vista Court, Recreational Riders Liaison – Addressed Vice-Chair Dasney’s question regarding smoking at the equestrian ring and said the easier and more clear cut the policy is, the easier it will be to enforce, i.e., a complete ban would be easer to understand and enforce, saying he was in favor of Option #1.  Also said he is concerned about horses enhaling smoke as well as the hay and fire hazard, and, thus, supports a total smoking ban, the Marlboro cowboy culture notwithstanding.  Vice-Chair Dasney pointed out that the entire equestrian ring could be designated as no-smoking.  He agreed enforcement is difficult, but a smoking ban might help to change the culture.  

 

Bill Stefanski, Dog Park Advisory Board – As a private citizen, would like to include the Dog Park and the parking area as no-smoking areas because butts were hazardous to both children and dogs as well as others, in addition to being a fire hazard in the wood chip area. 

 

Commissioner Chen asked Mr. Stefanski how many people smoke at the dog park, and he said only a few smoke, perhaps only 10%, but too many in his opinion.

 

As there was no other public comment, Chair Russell brought the issue back to Commission for discussion.  He started by asking for an opinion on Policy #3, the status quo, and, rhetorically, what was wrong with that.  Vice-Chair Dasney said it was wrong because the issue came to Commission from Council through the citizens, and the City Manager had asked them to review this, thus, there was an obligation to look at the issue.

 

Commissioner Chen said sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate and enforce no smoking zones, e.g. 20 feet vs. 25 feet but she also wanted to show concern for the citizens’ well being. Commissioner Spencer said the fires last fall made a big impression on her and the fact that this could happen here, agreeing with Chief Knabe.  She said the fire at Coyote Hills scared her, and noted that hay is kept close to some people’s fences.

 

Chair Russell asked why the State didn’t dictate a ban at public parks, not just 25 feet from tot lots, and if, perhaps, it didn’t have jurisdiction.  Director Felz said he didn’t know, but said that staff could conduct more research if Commission would like and return with the information in two months. 

 

Commissioner Stanford said he had concerns, like Chair Russell, about providing a limited ban which appeared related to revenue whereas he would support a “complete ban” or at least signs making clear certain areas would be off-limits to smoking.

 

Commissioner Chen said she differed in that she advocates protecting the rights of children whereas adults don’t need as much protection, e.g., adults in an adult-related activity could move away from secondhand smoke whereas a child would need to be protected. 

 

Director Felz said there are some unusual facilities under Parks and Recreation’s purview, e.g., Muckenthaler, thus, Commission might want to be able to give some consideration to these unique facilities through exceptions.  He said Commission and staff could take a more serious polling of affected organizations, e.g., Pooch Park, Museum, Muckenthaler, and FAST, by inviting them to speak at the next Commission meeting on a no-smoking policy.  He said they’d heard from two organizations/individuals (Rec Riders and the Pooch Park president who have expressed support for a total ban on smoking.

 

Commissioner Spencer asked Director Felz to respond regarding the incidence of smoking at the Plaza and Beer Garden, and he believed it was higher than the 13% of smokers in Orange County cited by no-smoking advocate Mr. Walker.  Commissioner Spencer asked if a no-smoking area could be established there, and Director Felz said “yes” although the smoke would drift and larger events, e.g., First Night, would be more difficult to enforce. 

 

Commissioner Shanfield asked, rhetorically, how difficult it would be to designate a smoking area, usually in a parking lot or side yard, decided on by the facility management.  Director Felz agreed, saying that was why policies #1 and #2 were proposed.  She also suggested ruling out, by vote, any policies now to eventually end up with one recommended policy, and Commission Spencer agreed.  Commissioner Chen suggested each commissioner could express his/her feelings prior to a vote.

 

Commissioner Stanford said he liked the idea of polling the different organizations in order to make it a good policy, and the impacts of a complete ban or designated smoking. When Commissioner Spencer asked him what groups he was referring to, Commissioner Stanford said groups like Muckenthaler as he felt the no-smoking policy with sports groups was clear.  However, Director Felz said, to be fair, they should do a blanket polling of all the contracted organizations.  Chair Russell agreed, saying it’s still possible to smoke at the Sports Complex.  However, he said he had a concern with polling because there would be too many exceptions, and was wondering how they would rationalize these.  He said his choice would be between policies #2 and #3.

 

Commissioner Stanford said he wanted the polling to see what kind of impact this decision would have on the overall Parks and Recreation system.  Commissioner Adam said she would like to hear from the smokers themselves because they usually only hear from those who don’t like smoking.  She said her experience at Laguna Lake was that smokers feel guilty and that smoking is considered “wrong, evil, it’s a nasty habit,” etc.; instead, she would like to get a full picture by hearing from both sides.  She said she was leaning more towards Policy #3, possibly #2.

 

Commissioner Shanfield suggested perhaps another delineation might be events versus everyday activities and could be written into an ordinance; however, Commissioner Adam thought that might leave things too open.  Director Felz commented that most activities are in the same location, and agreed with Commissioner Adam that trying to regulate events instead of locations might create confusion.  Commissioner Spencer said most of the events were located at buildings and, thus, the exceptions could be at buildings. 

 

Commissioner Adam asked about the trails, and if the City would be liable due to someone starting a fire from a cigarette because there was no ordinance.  Director Felz said he didn’t know, but although anyone could sue the City, he wouldn’t think it would be held liable because it didn’t act in an irresponsible manner.

 

Vice-Chair Dasney asked that the Commission vote for Option #2.  She MADE A MOTION that the Parks and Recreation Commission recommend implementing Policy #2.  Commissioner Chen SECONDED the motion. 

 

Chair Russell asked if there was any further discussion.

 

Commissioner Shanfield said she preferred Option #1, and was against Option #3, but she would not want to hold up Option #2.   Vice-Chair Dasney asked if anyone else could support Option #2, and Commissioner Spencer said she could support #2 although, like Commissioner Shanfield, she preferred Option #1, but felt it would be difficult to get enough votes. 

 

Commissioner Adam agreed that she would support Option #2 because it could allow for smoking at events.  She also said she understood Commissioner Stanford’s desire to ban it entirely or leave it as is.  She felt the community could live with Option #2, but said she wanted to have a list of areas where smoking was allowed as she understood the needs of smokers who had a right to enjoy the parks and “not feel evil.”  Thus, she supported Option #2 along with receptacles at the parks.

 

Commissioner Chen said she supported Option #2 rather than Option #1 as she preferred to specify non-smoking areas.  Otherwise, Option #1 with its smoking areas  might be seen as encouraging people to smoke.  She asked if the decision on non-smoking would be a joint decision between Commission and staff rather than a staff decision, and was told that was correct.

 

Commissioner Shanfield said she wasn’t ready to have the discussion end as she wanted to hear more about what the commissioners saw as differences between options #1 and #2 and why the commissioners were supporting Option #2 instead of #1.  She said with Option #1, areas for smoking could be designated and would be more clear.  Vice-Chair Dasney said there would be too many exceptions with Option #1, and Chair Russell agreed.  He said he wouldn’t support a total ban of smoking in parks and was comfortable with the current state law of a ban within 25 feet of a playground, and sports leagues’ bans within 25 feet of playing fields.  Due to fire hazards, Chair Russell did see a strong need for a ban on the trails and parks with high fire hazards, e.g., Panorama Park, possibly Laguna Lake and the Equestrian Center.   He said he liked the message of Option #2 better than #1.

 

Commissioner Spencer said she preferred Option #1 because it’s a very clear message but didn’t think the group would go along with it; thus, she would support Option #2.

 

Chair Russell called for the vote.

 

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

            NOES:            None

            ABSENT:       None

 

The MOTION PASSED unanimously.

 

Director Felz said staff will move forward to identify and produce an overhead of each park facility with an overlay of what the bans would mean on each facility.  Staff would also poll all the groups and get an assessment which might take until April, and the item could then to go Council in the summer.

 

Commissioner Chen asked about the April meeting as she thought spring break, starting April 7th, might coincide with the Commission meeting.  However, a review of the Commission calendar indicated the Commission meeting would be April 14.  Commissioner Chen wanted verbal or written communication to the stakeholders to attend the meeting.

 

Chair Russell asked if park user groups could make their regulations more stringent.  Director Felz said he would check with the City Attorney on this matter.  Commissioner Shanfield confirmed with Director Felz that the Commission’s policy recommendation would go to Council for its decision, and that Council would receive all the background information that Commission had.

 
6.         CITY COMMISSIONER ATTENDANCE POLICY

           

Director Felz said the review of the City’s Commission Attendance Policy was not a reflection of any problem with the Parks and Recreation Commission, but rather it was just done per the request of the City Clerk and City Manager for all City commissions.

7.         HILLCREST PARK MASTER PLAN COMMITTEE

 

Director Felz said staff is recommending that the Parks and Recreation Department kick off and reinitiate the Hillcrest Park Master Planning effort for remaining improvements to Hillcrest Park, since the Lions Field conceptual plan had been completed and Engineering was moving forward in selecting a consultant.  He said staff would need a consensus from the Commission on how to proceed with the formation of a committee, and that its recommendation would go to City Council for approval.  The recommendation would be to re-form the ad-hoc Hillcrest Park Master Plan Advisory Committee, solicit two additional community members, and appoint two members from the Parks and Recreation Commission to serve on the Master Plan Advisory Committee.   Director Felz noted that there were no real negatives regarding the old Master Plan, and it was “a solid document,” but it was ten years old and needed to be reviewed and updated.

 

Vice-Chair Dasney asked about the community members at-large and had a question about the distinction between community members, residents and neighbors.  She said she would like to have neighbors as members-at-large.  Director Felz said Commission could formalize that, and make it a criterion, as they would make the final determination of members. 

 

Commissioner Spencer said she thought there were already neighborhood members on the old committee; Director Felz said of the two Fullerton residents, Vince Buck was one, but that Chris Heusser was not a neighbor.  He said there may have been other Hillcrest neighbors but the history on this wasn’t clear.  However, he said the committee consisted of the following members:  One from Fullerton Beautiful, Fullerton Heritage, and the Izaak Walton League; two Fullerton residents and two Parks and Recreation commissioners (who are no longer on Commission).  He said he would find out who those commissioners were. 

 

Vice-Chair Dasney suggested the commissioners could be at-large members. She asked about war memorial and veterans representatives, saying there was some previous controversy, or if trail representatives should also be included as there was some move to connect the trails through the park.   She also said she would volunteer to represent the Commission, which was the next agenda item.

 

Vice-Chair Dasney also noted that the architect from RHA Landscape, Laura Mayfield, who did the Hillcrest Master Plan presentations, is no longer with RHA, but does live in Fullerton and would be very knowledgeable.  She said she was trying to find Mayfield’s phone number but she had also changed her name.   Director Felz noted that RHA’s contract is over, so it could be them or another group contracted for the master plan.

 

Commissioner Shanfield said a resident has contacted her to be on the committee.  Director Felz asked that any candidates’ names be forwarded to him and staff would also provide applications, similar to other ad hoc committees.  Vice-Chair Dasney asked for and received clarification on the committee selection process, and Director Felz said an involved organization, e.g., Fullerton Beautiful, would nominate its own member for the Master Plan Advisory Committee and Commission would recommend the Advisory Committee members to Council for its approval.

 

Commissioner Shanfield asked if Izaak Walton League’s membership was shrinking and if they needed to be involved.  Manager Loya said she didn’t know the numbers, but the League was still actively involved, rents out the cabin, and is involved with the Department’s Get Outdoors program.  Commissioner Shanfield said it seemed they were still a viable group.

 

With no further discussion, Vice-Chair Dasney MADE A MOTION for staff to reform the ad-hoc Hillcrest Park Master Plan Advisory Committee and solicit two additional members to serve on the Committee, pending Commission and Council approval, and appoint two Commission members to serve on the Hillcrest Park Master Plan Committee. Commissioner Chen SECONDED the motion.  Chair Russell called for the vote.

 

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

            NOES:            None

            ABSENT:       None

 

The MOTION PASSED unanimously.

 
8.         COMMISSION REPRESENTATIVES FOR COMMITTEES

           

Director Felz noted Parks and Recreation Commission committee appointments would be an ongoing process and that three group representatives were needed for:  Lemon Park and Hillcrest Park improvements, and the Sports Field Users Group Appeals Committee.  He noted that the Field Users committee was formed on direction from the City Council although, fortunately, there had been little need for the committee.

 

Chair Russell said there’s only been one appeal so the involvement would probably not be time-consuming, and that it was Commission’s recommendation in the past that the Commission representative be someone not involved in youth sports; hence, commissioners Adam and Stanford would probably not be appropriate choices.  Director Felz added that the staff on the committee was also not involved with youth leagues, i.e., Manager Loya, and Grounds Maintenance Lead Worker Wayne Elms.

 

Commissioners Shanfield and Dasney agreed to serve on the Hillcrest Park Master Plan Advisory Board.  Chair Russell called for the vote:

 

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

            NOES:            None

            ABSENT:       None

 

The vote PASSED unanimously.

 

Commissioners Stanford and Adam agreed to serve on the Lemon Park Improvements Committee.

 

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

            NOES:            None

            ABSENT:       None

 

The vote PASSED unanimously.

 

Commissioner Chen agreed to serve on the Sports Field Users Appeals Committee

 

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

            NOES:            None

            ABSENT:       None

 

The vote PASSED unanimously.

 
9.         REPORT ON CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEMS

 

Director Felz said there was one item to report, which was Council approval of the Parks Project Specialist position for which it would take about eight weeks to get out announcements.  He said the previous specialist, Chris Gerry, took a position with Anaheim.

 

10.       DIRECTOR’S UPDATE

 

Director Felz said the federal appropriations process, i.e., lobbying, came with him from his previous work with the City Manager’s Office, and also because Parks and Recreation has a number of capital projects.  He said the City’s consultants recommended that the projects be of regional significance, hence, City Council approved Tri-City Park, which is in need of repair, for that process.  He noted that the City would be the lead agency on that project, and also the lead agency for the federal appropriations process which would be good for the department as it would involve meeting and communicating with elected officials, and working  with other departments.

 

Regarding Tri-City Park, Director Felz said initial word from the County is that $200,000 has been appropriated for the master plan process.  He said staff will return to Commission to have a commissioner appointed to a Tri-City committee after Council approvals on the project.

 

He updated the Commission on other projects:

 

·        Tennis Center Lights – Completed, on time and on budget with good reviews.

 

·        Brea Dam Facilities – In the process of roof replacement.  Will also be painted and cleaned up.

 

·        Nora Kuttner Trail Improvements – Separation of bikers and hikers with fencing started last week, thanks to Superintendent Quinlivan.

 

·        Laguna Lake – A $230,000 project which is having a big impact and includes picnic benches and cleaning up of a fence covered in plant material.

 

Commissioner Adam had concerns about kids climbing on the heavy equipment, and Director Felz said it was the contractors’ responsibility and liability.

 

·        Gilman Park – The Parks Project Manager is working with consultants Hirsch & Associates on installing the playground equipment only.

 

·        Vista Park – Maintenance is doing some improvements, maintaining the view corridor (trimming trees), removing brush, and cleanup.  Commission will be involved in approving the cleanup, replanting and landscaping near the restaurant entrance with funds from a cell tower company. 

 

Vice-Chair Dasney asked if the drought-tolerant look would be maintained.  Director Felz said the current thought is to maintain the bulk of the area the same, but to go with turf in the area near the Summit House.  He said there is a conflict between the English Cottage and the natural look but staff is looking to provide an attractive transition, and then turning maintenance over to the Summit House.  They are still meeting on this, which must return to Commission, so no decision has been made.

 

·        Hiltscher Park – The City has an agreement with a family, the Alexander’s, to make a lot line adjustment to their property to make the trail wider.  He said staff will hold a community meeting and then begin the design.

 

·        Community Meetings Report – Staff had its first meeting with the Lemon Park community.

 

·        Snow Day – Went very well, with compliments to Outdoor Recreation Coordinator Yvonne Pedersen of Manager Carroll Lowe’s division.

 

Commissioner Stanford asked for a report on the Adlena, Byerrum and Valencia parks improvements, and was told the Byerrum project is almost complete, with some change orders, and that Adlena and Valencia are a little further behind.  Director Felz said Edison is so backlogged, there is no power at any of the parks to have sprinklers timed or lights turned on.  Commissioner Stanford noted that at Byerrum, the fence is partially down, and teens were hanging out.  Director Felz said it’s almost complete and the fences will be taken down.  The park opening is scheduled for the March 4 Council meeting.

 

Chair Russell said Byerrum was getting such rave reviews, and asked why there shouldn’t be a ribbon cutting at the park instead.  Director Felz said it had been hashed around by staff and Council previously, but he would forward Chair Russell’s comments and would revisit the idea with the City Manager.  Commissioner Adam voiced her support, saying to keep it local, and that some residents might not be able to get to the Council meeting.  Chair Russell said he thought by having a presentation at the Council meeting rather than the park, it gave the impression that the City doesn’t care.  Director Felz assured him that was not the City’s message, that the Council was proud of them, but they were also debating over how to be fair to all three parks.  He thanked the Commission for its comments and said he would forward its recommendation.  He noted, also, that Council had approved extra funding of approximately one million dollars to get the parks done.

 

11.       COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

 

Vice-Chair Dasney pointed out that the Richman Park monument sign was very dark and almost unreadable, and Director Felz agreed it was very outdated and that it would be addressed through the new monument project, and perhaps prioritized.

 

Commissioner Spencer MADE A MOTION and Commissioner Stanford SECONDED the motion, to adjourn the meeting.  Chair Russell adjourned the meeting at 9:15 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

  

Joe Felz

Secretary

 

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