Aerial view of Hatano Farm

Rafu Staff Report

RANCHO PALOS VERDES — At its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 18, the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council will consider the future of the Hatano Farm property.

The 5.5-acre property is the last vestige of the Japanese American farms that once operated throughout the Palos Verdes Peninsula. James Hatano, an Army veteran, started the farm in the early 1950s — about two decades before RPV was incorporated as a city — on land leased from the Army. He died in 2016.

The farm is operated by Martin Martinez, who began working for Hatano in the early 1980s and now pays the city $100 a year for the right to cultivate cactus and flowers for commercial purposes.

Late last year, the City Council voted 4-1 to terminate the lease, with Councilmember David Bradley, who is now mayor, casting the only “no” vote. At the request of Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Ferraro, the council will take up the following item next week:

“Consideration and possible action to reconsider the Nov. 16, 2021, City Council decision to terminate the lease with Mr. Martin Martinez for the agricultural use of Hatano Farm Area at Upper Point Vicente.

“Recommendation: 1) Consider whether the City Council’s Nov. 16, 2021 adopted motion to terminate the lease agreement with Mr. Martin Martinez for the agricultural use of the former Hatano Farm Area at Upper Point Vicente should be reconsidered; and, 2) If the City Council passes a motion to reconsider, direct staff to come back at the Feb. 15, 2022 meeting with information and options, including the options identified in the Nov. 16, 2021 City Council Agenda Report, for the City Council’s consideration.”

Also participating in the meeting will be Councilmembers Eric Alegria, John Cruikshank and Ken Dyda.

If last year’s decision stands, the property would have to be vacated no later than nine months from the date of the motion.

At the November meeting, the City Council also directed staff to work with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy to “explore locations within the city, including the Hatano Farm lease area, as possible locations for a future seed nursery and to return to the City Council with a preferred location.”

Public participation in the Jan. 18 meeting, which starts at 7 p.m., will be limited to the virtual platform only. To  maximize  public  safety  while  maintaining  transparency  and  public  access, members of the public wishing to participate in City Council meetings are encouraged to do so in one of the following ways:

1. Virtual platform (Zoom): If you wish to speak during the meeting, fill out the online request form at http://rpvca.gov/participate by 5 p.m. on Jan. 18. Upon successful submission, you will receive an email with further instructions on how to connect to the meeting.

2. Comments on non-agenda and specific agenda item(s): If you simply wish to make a comment, submit via email to cityclerk@rpvca.gov or by mail to 30940 Hawthorne Blvd., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. Comments received by 4 p.m. on Jan. 18 will be forwarded to the City Council prior to the meeting for consideration. Otherwise, they will be included as late correspondence the following day. 

Comments on non-agenda or specific agenda item(s) during the live meeting: If you are watching the meeting live and wish to make a comment on an agenda item as it is being heard, you may submit your brief comment using the methods below. Your comment will be read or heard during the meeting, if received in real time and prior to the commencement of that item. Otherwise, it will be included as late correspondence the following day.

a. Email: Comments will be accepted via email to cityclerk@rpvca.gov during the meeting, prior to the close of the public comment portion on an item or during public comments for non-agenda items, and read aloud into the record with a maximum allowance of three minutes per individual comment, subject to the mayor’s discretion.

b. Voicemail: You may leave a comment at (310) 544-5217 using the city’s voicemail system prior to the close of the public comment portion on an item or during public comments for non-agenda items, and your message will be heard by the City Council with a maximum allowance of three minutes per individual comment, subject to the mayor’s discretion.

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