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Council Selects Firms, discusses Sustainability and Ballot Measure

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Health impact and cost-benefit analysis firms selected

The Hermosa Beach City Council approved contracts with McDaniel Lambert to conduct a health impact analysis and Kosmont Company to perform a cost-benefit analysis with regard to the E&B oil-drilling project proposal.

Both will serve as tools for residents who will vote on whether or not to lift the ban on oil drilling.

At the July 23 meeting, City Manager Tom Bakaly said the city will pay for both contracts with money originally set aside for legal fees prior to the settlement the city reached with E&B last year. The health impact analysis will cost $69,385 and the cost benefit analysis will cost $125,000.

While the Environmental Impact Report conducted by Marine Research Specialists will evaluate some of the health impacts of oil, McDaniel Lambert will identify items within the EIR that will affect resident health and evaluate them from several angles. For example, MRS may find that the noise from drilling relates to a particular noise ordinance, while McDaniel Lambert looks at the impact of noise on resident sleep patterns and stress levels.

The cost-benefit analysis will look at all the ways that the proposed project will alter the economic landscape of Hermosa Beach, from potential income generation based on independent production estimates, to the feared decline in property value and sales tax revenue. Impacts of both a yes and a no vote will be reviewed.

Councilmen requested a comprehensive calendar for residents to understand when scoping meetings and events will take place and when draft reports will be available for viewing. They asked city staff to be aware of spacing meetings with adequate rest in between in order to encourage full community participation and respect city staff presence at meetings to avoid burnout by both residents and staff. Community dialogue dates will be released concurrently with oil-related dates.

Environmental sustainability

The City Council unanimously extended fee and permit waivers to encourage environmentally friendly “green” building in Hermosa Beach. The waivers include free preferential parking permits for electric vehicles and building permit fee waivers to upgrade a building structure to provide for electric vehicle charging stations.

Building permit fees for green building techniques, wind energy and energy upgrades may be waived 100 percent or rebated 50 percent.

According to the city staff report, in the last fiscal period, more than $10,000 in waivers and rebates were issued. Staff estimates a similar figure for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The council also approved Hermosa Beach participation in the California HERO program, which will allow property owners in participating cities to finance renewable energy, energy water efficiency improvements and electric vehicle charging infrastructure on their property.

Ballot to reduce downtown business hours

The council voted unanimously to file a ballot measure from resident Jim Lissner to reduce hours on certain downtown businesses to midnight.

Due to an increase in police activity in recent years around closing time at downtown restaurants and bars, Lissner has proposed a measure to limit the operating hours.

Attorney Mike Jenkins will write the neutral summary of the city’s current municipal code and how requiring the businesses to close at midnight closure could impact or change the city legally.

Lissner is expected to write the argument in favor of the ballot initiative.

Councilman Michael DiVirgilio will write the opposing argument on behalf of the City Council, which will sign the opposition as one body. They will seek four additional signatures from residents and the business community to sign off on the statement. DiVirgilio’s argument will be based on the idea that there are better ways to get downtown under control than restrict hours across the board

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