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TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL
FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING & CODE ENFORCEMENT
DATE: JULY 15, 2003
SUBJECT: AWARD OF CONTRACT FOR SERVICES TO PREPARE AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT FOR LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM EXCLUSION NO. 10 AND A POSSIBLE FUTURE 84-HOME RESIDENTIAL PLANNED DEVELOPMENT ON THE POINT VIEW PROPERTY (6001 PALOS VERDES DRIVE SOUTH)
Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, aicp, Senior Planner
Authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to sign a professional services agreement in an amount not to exceed $188,218 with PCR Services Corporation to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Point View project, located at 6001 Palos Verdes Drive South.
The Point View property (known alternately as "Lower Filiorum") is located along the south-central coastline of the City at 6001 Palos Verdes Drive South. The subject property is approximately 94 acres in area, and is designated by the City’s Land Use Policy Map and Zoning Map for single-family residential use at densities of 1 to 2 units per acre. Approximately 60 acres of the site are located within the City’s Landslide Moratorium Area (LMA), with the remaining 34 acres outside of the LMA and, therefore, not subject to the development restrictions imposed upon undeveloped property. The site is subject to the development standards and performance criteria established by the Urban and Natural overlay control districts (Chapter 17.40 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code). The site is also adjacent to the City’s proposed NCCP Preserve, with portions of the property identified as ‘NCCP Preserve’ (post-development) on the City’s latest NCCP map. The subject property is not located within the City’s Coastal Specific Plan district.
On May 17, 1996, the project proponent, York Long Point Associates (YLPA), submitted the original application for Moratorium Exclusion No. 10 and Environmental Assessment No. 684, requesting the exclusion of the Point View property from the City’s Landslide Moratorium Area. Shortly after the application was submitted, the City advised YLPA that approved geologic and geotechnical studies would be required before the project could move forward, and YLPA was also advised that an EIR would be required for the moratorium exclusion request. For the next several years, the application remained incomplete as YLPA prepared the geologic and geotechnical studies in support of the requested exclusion.
On December 18, 2001, the geologic and geotechnical studies—and by extension, the entire application—were deemed complete, although not yet approved. YLPA continued to refine the geologic and geotechnical studies throughout 2002 in an effort to obtain their approval by the City’s geotechnical consultant, ATC Associates (formerly known as Bing Yen Associates). Also, with the application deemed complete, the City faced a one-year deadline for the completion of the EIR for the project. However, throughout 2002, YLPA asserted that the moratorium exclusion request was not a "project" under CEQA and that the EIR should be deferred until a specific entitlement request was submitted to the City.
On December 11, 2002, facing the decision deadline for an EIR that had not been prepared, YLPA requested a 90-day extension of the decision deadline for the EIR. Staff granted this request, and the new decision deadline was set for March 18, 2003. In the meantime, YLPA continued to refine the geologic and geotechnical studies in order to obtain approval from ATC, but did not move forward with the preparation of the EIR.
Again facing a decision deadline without an EIR prepared, on February 27, 2003, YLPA submitted a revised application for Moratorium Exclusion No. 10 and Environmental Assessment No. 684. The revised application reflects revisions to the proposed project that have resulted from the refinement of the geologic and geotechnical studies over the past six years. The submittal of the revised application "stopped the clock" on the review of the original May 1996 application, thereby giving the City at least another year to complete the EIR for the project. Also, on March 3, 2003, ATC conditionally approved the geologic and geotechnical studies for the project, and the City agreed to rely upon and accept this approval as a part of the revised application for Moratorium Exclusion No. 10. The revised application for Moratorium Exclusion No. 10 was subsequently deemed complete on March 26, 2003. YLPA has now agreed to the preparation of an EIR that will, in a sense, serve as a "program EIR" for both the moratorium exclusion request and the subsequent development proposal.
Section 15.20.100 of the Municipal Code establishes the process for requesting an exclusion from the City’s landslide moratorium regulations. As discussed above, the application for Moratorium Exclusion No. 10 has been deemed complete and the City’s geotechnical consultant has conceptually approved the project’s geology. If approved, Moratorium Exclusion No. 10 would remove up to 60 acres of the Point View property from the LMA, which would allow YLPA to formally submit and pursue the development proposal discussed below.
Future Development Proposal
Based upon the information provided by YLPA, the City expects that the development of the subject property after its exclusion from the LMA would require the approval of a Grading Approval, a Tentative Tract Map and a Conditional Use Permit. The proposed future development proposal includes the following:
As discussed above, the application for Moratorium Exclusion No. 10 and Environmental Assessment No. 684 was deemed complete on March 26, 2003. Staff subsequently reviewed all of the application materials and determined that an EIR would be required for the project. On April 24, 2003, Staff advised YLPA of this determination and provided YLPA with the opportunity to appeal it to the City Council. YLPA did not appeal Staff’s determination. Subsequently, a request for proposals (RFP) to prepare the EIR was prepared and distributed on May 9, 2003. In response to the RFP, on June 9, 2003 Staff received proposals to prepare the Point View EIR from four (4) firms: ESA, Impact Sciences, PCR Services Corporation and RBF Consulting.
Upon reviewing all of these proposals, Staff found that all four (4) firms had fulfilled the requirements of the RFP and clearly had the necessary resources and experience to prepare an EIR that would comply with State law and meet the City’s basic needs. At this point, Staff focused on the issues unique to this project and ranked each of the proposals accordingly. The matrix below summarizes the issues analyzed and Staff’s weighted ranking of each proposal. In order of descending significance, the issues considered included geological analysis (60%); biological analysis (25%); the firm’s familiarity with and experience in the City (5%); the project manager’s familiarity with and experience in the City (5%); and total cost (5%). The highest overall ranking is assigned to the firm with the weighted score that is closest to 1.00, while the lowest overall ranking is assigned to the firm with a weighted score that is closest to 4.00.
Given the nature of the moratorium exclusion process, Staff anticipates that the geological analysis in the EIR will be the most critical (as well as the most closely scrutinized) component of the document. Staff was very impressed with PCR’s proposal in this respect because it includes the participation of GeoSyntec Consultants to prepare the geologic impacts analysis. GeoSyntec is a highly-regarded firm, with recent experience in the City with the Ocean Trails and San Ramon landslides. GeoSyntec also has extensive experience in 3rd-party review of geology, which, although not within the scope of the current EIR proposal, may be of use to the City as the review of the EIR progresses. Staff was also very impressed with RBF’s proposal, which includes the participation of D. Scott Magorien, who has provided similar services in the preparation of the Long Point and Marymount EIR’s. Although Staff believes both PCR and RBF are nearly equal in terms of geological analysis, GeoSyntec’s experience, resources and reputation gave the PCR the proposal a slight advantage over the RBF proposal. The scores for each firm were calculated by assigning a weight of sixty percent (60%) to their respective rankings.
As discussed above, the subject property is adjacent to the City’s proposed NCCP Preserve, with portions of the property expected to be dedicated to the Preserve post-development if the moratorium exclusion and subsequent development applications are approved. All of the proposals included the evaluation of existing biological surveys and additional field studies to confirm these studies. While all of the proposals were generally equal, Staff was most impressed with RBF’s proposal, which proposed to use BonTerra Consulting, a firm with experience in recent habitat surveys and restoration in the City. The scores for each firm were calculated by assigning a weight of twenty-five percent (25%) to their respective rankings.
Familiarity with and Experience in Rancho Palos Verdes
RBF and its project management team of Glenn Lajoie and Rita Garcia ranked highest in terms of their familiarity with and experience in the City, based upon their past work on the Long Point and Marymount EIR’s. Impact Sciences also fared well in these categories, based upon its previous experience with the preparation of the Abalone Cove Sewer EIR and the preparation of an Initial Study for the original 1996 application for Moratorium Exclusion No. 10 (the City eventually directed Impact Sciences to hold off further preparation of the EIR due to the incomplete geologic review). PCR had some experience in the City in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, but no recent involvement in major development projects. However, PCR’s project manager, Jay Ziff, had experience with the Kajima project on Crest Road (i.e., Seabreeze) while he was employed at another consulting firm several years ago. He has also had recent experience as an EIR project manager in the City of Murrieta for the past several years, where, according to the PCR proposal, "[nearly] all of the projects involved undeveloped sites where geology and grading, biological and cultural resources and aesthetics/views were of paramount concern." Staff contacted the City of Murrieta Planning Manager, who confirmed that PCR’s and Mr. Ziff’s performance for the City of Murrieta had been excellent. The scores for each firm were calculated by assigning a weight of five percent (5%) apiece to the respective rankings for the firm as a whole and the project manager(s), for an overall weighting of ten percent (10%).
The total cost estimates for the four EIR proposals were as follows:
The optional items proposed by PCR included $5,000 for additional air quality analyses and $12,166 for a public outreach program. The additional air quality analyses are beyond the scope of the current South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD) CEQA Handbook, and the public outreach program basically consists of the facilitation of the EIR scoping meeting and another public EIR workshop by Moore Iacofano Goltsman, Inc. (MIG). Staff does not see the necessity of including these items in the scope of the contract. The optional items proposed by RBF are visual simulations of the proposed development. Staff believes that the preparation of visual simulations will be an important component of the EIR, and will assist the City in evaluating the view and aesthetic impacts of any future grading and development of the site. Since visual simulations were included in the base costs of the other three proposals, Staff suggests including this option in the RBF proposal. In this way, the overall costs estimates of all of the proposals can be evaluated on an equal basis. The scores for each firm were calculated by assigning a weight of five percent (5%) of their respective rankings.
Based upon the foregoing discussion and the weighted rankings, RBF and PCR each achieved scores of 1.65, with a score of 1.00 equivalent to the "ideal" candidate. Given the anticipated sensitivity and controversy associated with the geological review in this EIR and the strength of PCR’s proposed geological analysis, Staff believes that the proposal by PCR Services Corporation most closely matches the City’s needs for the preparation of the Point View EIR.
With the execution of this contract, PCR will begin the preparation of the Initial Study (IS) and Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the Point View EIR. Staff anticipates that the IS and NOP will be released for a 30-day public review and comment period by late August or early September 2003. During the 30-day comment period, the City will hold a public scoping meeting to solicit input regarding the issues to be addressed in the EIR. The Draft EIR is expected to be released for a 45-day public review and comment period in early January 2004, with the Final EIR completed and ready for the City Council’s consideration by late March 2004.
As discussed above, PCR’s proposal included optional air quality analysis and public outreach components totaling $17,166. Although Staff does not believe that it is necessary of including these items in the scope of the contract at this time, the City Council may wish to consider whether to include these optional items. The additional air quality analyses are beyond the scope of current SCAQMD requirements, and the public outreach program consists of the professional facilitation of the EIR scoping meeting and another public EIR workshop by a sub-consultant. If either or both of these optional activities were included, the contract total would be adjusted from $188,218 to a maximum of $205,384.
For the reasons noted above, Staff recommends that the City Council authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to sign a professional services agreement in an amount not to exceed $188,218 with PCR Services Corporation to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Point View project, located at 6001 Palos Verdes Drive South.
The project applicant and PCR Services Corporation have been advised of the City Council’s consideration of this matter. In addition, Staff has notified a number of other parties who have previously expressed interested in this project.
The preparation of an EIR for the proposed Point View project will have no fiscal impact to the City in that all costs associated with the preparation of the EIR will be incurred by the project applicant, York Long Point Associates.
Joel Rojas, aicp, Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement
Les Evans, City Manager
Draft Professional Services Agreement
Proposal by PCR Services Corporation