Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

TO:

MEMORANDUM

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: DECEMBER 17, 2002

SUBJECT: LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM EXCEPTION PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2002-00347), FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 38 CINNAMON LANE. (Applicant: MS. ROBYN FRIEND & MR. NEIL SIEGEL)

Staff Coordinator: Beilin Yu, Assistant Planner

RECOMMENDATION

Adopt Resolution No. 2002-___, thereby denying, without prejudice the Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00347).

BACKGROUND

On July 11, 2002, the applicants submitted a letter requesting a Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit (LME) for property located at 38 Cinnamon Lane. The LME is a request to allow the submittal of all the necessary applications to the Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Department for the construction of 1,181 square feet of additions to an existing 3,030 square foot single-family residence. The application, including approval of the geology report, was deemed complete on October 31, 2002.

On September 17, 2002, in response to a report that was prepared by Cotton, Shires and Associates, which is discussed below, the City Council directed Staff to formulate revisions to the Municipal Code in order to clarify the City’s landslide moratorium exception regulations as they apply to additions to existing structures and to accessory structures and uses. On November 5, 2002, the City Council adopted urgency Ordinance No. 382U amending Chapter 15.20 (Moratorium on Land Use Permits) of the City’s Municipal Code. The ordinance generally limits additions to existing residential structures or other lawfully existing non-residential structures to a cumulative total of 600 square feet per parcel.

As adopted, the Ordinance applies to all Landslide Moratorium Exception Permits applications submitted on or after the date of the Ordinance, and all applications that were not deemed complete prior to the effective date of the Ordinance (November 5, 2002). As stated above, the subject application was deemed complete on October 31, 2002, which was prior to the effective date of the Ordinance. As a result, the application is not subject to the recently amended Moratorium Ordinance and therefore will be processed under the pre-exiting Moratorium Ordinance. It should be noted that this is the only remaining application that would be processed under the pre-existing Moratorium Ordinance.

Prior to the adoption of Urgency Ordinance No. 382U, Municipal Code Section No. 15.20.040(H) required any application for a LME, which proposed to add a cumulative project total of over 600 square feet per parcel to be reviewed by the City Council. Since the proposed addition is for 1,181 square feet, Council consideration of this LME is required.

The subject site is a 21,780 square foot parcel located within the Portuguese Bend Community and is zoned RS-2. The site is currently improved with a 3,030 square foot single story residence.

DISCUSSION

The proposed Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit request is to allow improvements within the City’s designated Landslide Moratorium area, for which the subject property is located. According to the applicant’s proposal, the Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit is to allow the filing of appropriate applications with the Planning Department for the construction of 618 square feet of first story additions and the construction of a new 563 square foot mezzanine addition.

The City has established a moratorium prohibiting the filing, processing, and approval of building, grading and other land use permits within the Landslide Moratorium Area. Municipal Code Section No. 15.20.040 establishes exceptions to the Landslide Moratorium. Pre-existing, Section 15.20.040(H) allows for submittal of applications to the Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Department for additions to existing structures, provided the applicant provides sufficient evidence to the City that the addition will not aggravate the landslide and a Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit is approved.

On May 26, 1993 Dr. Perry L. Ehlig, City Geologist, submitted a memorandum to the Director of Public Works, which classified this property in Zone 2. On September 17, 2002, the City Council held a public hearing for a 1,977 square foot addition to an existing 3,183 square foot single-family residence, also located within the Landslide Moratorium Area. At that hearing, the City Council found that based on the technical review of geologic/geotechnical data submitted by Cotton, Shires, and Associates, there is insufficient data about the geologic condition that is beneath the area known as Zone 2 to quantitatively judge the degree of stability in Zone 2, and that there is an undetermined amount of risk to reactivating the landslide mass underlying Zone 2 if the City approves new development.

At that meeting, it was also determined that the proposed 1,977 square foot addition was roughly equivalent to the average size of the single family homes in the area, and as such, the proposed addition was more equivalent to development of a new single-family residence than an addition to an existing residence. Based, on these discussions, the City Council denied the Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit for the 1,977 square foot addition.

Based on the same findings that the City Council made during the September 17, 2002 public hearing, Staff is of the opinion that the findings for the proposed Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit for the proposed 1,181 square feet of additions cannot be made. The subject property is located in Zone 2, and as stated above, the technical review of geologic/geotechnical data submitted by Cotton, Shires, & Associates in January 2002, indicates that there is insufficient data to quantitatively judge the degree of stability in Zone 2, and that there is an undetermined amount of risk to reactivating the landslide mass underlying Zone 2, if the City approves new development. Similar to the previous Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit, Staff is of the opinion that the proposed addition is relatively equivalent to the development of a new single family residence in the area, since the addition is 1,181 square feet, and the average size of the 10 closest homes in the area is approximately 2,080 square feet, especially when the proposed addition is combined with the square footage of the existing home.

As such, although the geology report submitted by the applicant and approved by the City’s Geotechnical Consultant concluded that the proposed addition could be engineered, such that it would not aggravate the landslide conditions, Staff is of the opinion that there is insufficient data about the geologic conditions in the entire Zone 2 area to warrant approval of an addition of the proposed size.

CONCLUSION

Based on the above analysis, staff recommends that the City Council deny, without prejudice the Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00347).

FISCAL IMPACT

The City Council’s action in this matter will have no fiscal impact upon the City.

ALTERNATIVES

In addition to Staff’s recommendation, the following alternatives are available for the City Council’s consideration:

  1. Approve with conditions the Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00347), thereby allowing the applicants to submit the necessary planning applications to the Planning Department for the construction of 618 square feet of first story addition, and a new 563 square foot mezzanine; or,
  2. Approve with conditions the Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00247) for a smaller addition; or,
  3. Identify any issues or concerns with the proposed project, and provide the applicant with direction in modifying the project, and continue the hearing to a date certain.

Respectfully submitted:
Joel Rojas, aicp, Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement

Reviewed:
Les Evans, City Manager

Attachments:

  • Resolution No. 2002-__
  • Application letter, dated July 6, 2002
  • Geotechnical Report from Dale Hinkle, P.E. Inc., dated September 5, 2002
  • Geotechnical Report Review Checklist with items of correction from Zeiser Kling, dated September 19, 2002
  • Addendum to Geotechnical Report from Dale Hinkle, P.E. Inc., dated October 15, 2002
  • Geotechnical approval-in-concept, dated October 29, 2002
  • Project plans (Distributed to City Council on December 12, 2002)

RESOLUTION NO. 2002-__

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DENYING, WITHOUT PREJUDICE, LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM EXCEPTION PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2002-00347), FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 38 CINNAMON LANE.

WHEREAS, on May 26, 1993 Dr. Perry L. Ehling, City Geologist, submitted a memorandum to the Director of Public Works, which classifies this property in Zone 2, of the area that is governed by the City’s Landslide Moratorium; and,

WHEREAS, on January 14, 2002, Cotton, Shires & Associates submitted a Technical Review of Geologic/Geotechnical Data to the City, which focused on the geologic conditions that are beneath the area that Dr. Ehlig referred to as Zone 2 of the moratorium. This report concluded that there is insufficient data to quantitatively judge the degree of stability in Zone 2, and that there is an undetermined amount of risk, to reactivating the landslide mass underlying Zone 2, if the City approves new development; and,

WHEREAS, on July 6, 2002, the applicants submitted a letter requesting a Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit (LME) for property located at 38 Cinnamon Lane, and on September 5, 2002, the applicants submitted the required geology report. The LME is a request to allow the submittal of all the necessary applications to the Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Department for the construction of 1,181 square feet of additions to an existing 3,030 square foot single-family residence. The application, including approval of the geology report, was deemed complete on October 31, 2002; and,

WHEREAS, on September 17, 2002, the City Council directed Staff to formulate revisions to the Municipal Code in order to clarify the City’s landslide moratorium exception regulations as they apply to additions to existing structures and to accessory structures and uses in response to the conclusions set forth in the Cotton Shires report; and,

WHEREAS, on November 5, 2002, the City Council adopted urgency Ordinance No. 382U amending Chapter 15.20 (Moratorium on Land Use Permits) of the City’s Municipal Code, which limits additions to existing residential structures or other lawfully existing non-residential structures to a cumulative of 600 square feet per parcel; and,

WHEREAS, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on December 17, 2002, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence;

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: That based on the Technical Review of Geologic/Geotechnical Data submitted by Cotton, Shires and Associates, there is insufficient data to quantitatively judge the degree of stability in Zone 2; and that there is an undetermined amount of risk to reactivating the landslide mass underlying Zone 2, if the City approves new development.

Section 2: The proposed addition is relatively equivalent to the development of a new single family residence in the area, since the total number of square feet of the proposed addition is 1,181 square feet, and the average size of the ten closest homes in the area is approximately 2,080 square feet. Therefore, the proposed addition is more equivalent to the development of a new single-family residence, especially when it is combined with the existing square footage of the residence, which is not allowed without the approval of a Moratorium Exclusion application, than an expansion of an existing single-family dwelling pursuant to a Moratorium Exception.

Section 3: For the foregoing reasons and based on the information included in the Staff Report, Minutes and other records of proceedings, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby denies, without prejudice, a Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00347) for property located at 38 Cinnamon Lane.

Section 4: The time within which the judicial review of the decision reflected in this Resolution, if available, must be sought is governed by Section 1094.6 of the California Code of Civil Procedure and other applicable short periods of limitation.

PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED, this 17th day of December 2002.

_______________________
Mayor

ATTEST:

____________________
City Clerk

State of California )
County of Los Angeles ) ss
City of Rancho Palos Verdes )

I, JO PURCELL, City Clerk of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, hereby certify that the above Resolution No. 2002-__ was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting thereof held on December 17, 2002.

_________________________________
City Clerk