South Bay Digest

Hermosa Beach : Amnesty on Parking Fines Extended to Monday

March 28, 1985

A monthlong parking-fine amnesty that had been scheduled to end Sunday has been extended until 5 p.m. Monday, according to General Services Director Joan Noon.

Noon said the city decided to extend the amnesty through April 1 because the final two days of March fall on a weekend. The city's collection offices are closed on Saturday and Sunday.

During the amnesty period, motorists whose parking fines have increased because they did not pay their tickets within seven days are allowed to pay the original $18 to $20 fines rather than the increased penalty.

The amnesty, however, does not extend to drivers whose registrations have been put on hold by the state Department of Motor Vehicles because of overdue tickets.

Noon said Hermosa Beach residents cannot renew their annual parking permits if they have not paid outstanding parking citations. Although the city granted a similar amnesty period last year, Noon said the City Council does not plan to make it an annual program.

Planning Commission Chairman Stephen Izant, who has served for nearly five years on the seven-member panel, was asked to resign Tuesday by the City Council because of excessive absenteeism.

In a related matter, the council also voted to remove Wilma Burt from her position on a City Council advisory committee on oil drilling.

The dual action followed an exchange of letters between Izant and Burt, both of whom served on the oil drilling committee formed to study drilling proposals in the city.

In a letter written to the council earlier this month, Izant accused Burt of acting improperly when she took a five-day trip on a yacht belonging to Don Macpherson, president of Macpherson Oil. Although Burt paid for the December trip to Hermosa Beach's sister city of Loretto, Mexico, Izant said the use of the yacht could give the appearance of partiality on oil issues.

Burt wrote a letter Tuesday to the City Council defending the trip and charging that Izant, as a member of the Planning Commission, voted for a land-use application that affected the value of his property. The city attorney, however, has ruled that Izant had not acted improperly.

In making the motion to remove the two appointees, Councilman Tony DeBellis agreed that Burt's action could appear to the public as a potential conflict of interest. In addition, DeBellis said Izant should be removed from the Planning Commission because of a city ordinance that automatically declares commission seats vacant when a commissioner misses more than three meetings in one year. According to a report prepared for the City Council, Izant missed three meetings between August and December of last year.

DeBellis said he also plans to invoke the seldom-enforced ordinance on April 9 when he will ask for the resignation of a second planning commissioner, Joel Shapiro.

The motion to oust Izant and Burt passed 2 to 1, with Councilman John Cioffi voting with DeBellis. Mayor Pro Tem Jack Wood, saying the action sounded "vindictive," opposed the motion.

Mayor George Barks and Councilman Gary Brutsch did not attend the meeting because they were at a conference in Washington, D.C.

The City Council gave tentative approval Tuesday to a proposal that would allow the city to charge fees when residents and developers appeal Planning Commission land-use decisions.

The council directed the Planning Commission to review a plan that would charge applicants the entire cost of holding an appeal hearing before the City Council.

Although no cost estimates were discussed at the meeting, Building Director William Grove later estimated that each land-use appeal costs the city at least $200.

Any fee schedule set by the Planning Commission will require final City Council approval.

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