Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: OCTOBER 7, 2003

SUBJECT: LONG POINT RESORT HOTEL PROJECT (CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 215, ET. AL.)

Prepared By: Ara Michael Mihranian, AICP, Senior Planner

RECOMMENDATION

Review the Coastal Commission’s adopted Conditions of Approval and revisions to the Long Point Resort Hotel project, and if deemed acceptable, approve the final project, which includes acceptance of the Coastal Commission’s conditions of approval.

BACKGROUND

On August 28, 2002, the Long Point Resort Hotel project was unanimously approved by the City Council after several public hearings. Soon after, on September 17, 2002, representatives from the California Coastal Commission informed City Staff that the City Council’s August 28, 2002 decision was appealed. The appeal (A-5-RPV-02-324) was filed by several parties that included: Robert Hasse Jr., the Palos Verdes South Bay Group, the Sierra Club, and Coastal Commissioners Sara Wan and Shirley Dettloff. On November 5, 2002, the "Substantial Issues" hearing on the appeal was heard by the Coastal Commission, who unanimously found that a "Substantial Issue" exists with respect to the grounds of the appeal and that the City approved project may be in conflict with the City’s certified Local Coastal Program (LCP). Therefore, the Coastal Commission determined that the City approved project would have to be reviewed at a de novo hearing.

On June 11, 2003, the Coastal Commission held its de novo hearing on the Long Point Resort Hotel project appeal. At the hearing, the Commission was considering Coastal Staff’s recommendation against the applicant’s request to construct the lower pool facility on a previously graded bench pad that formerly housed a water holding tank for Marineland. Additionally, Coastal Staff was recommending against any on-site irrigated grass turf areas, other than the proposed golf areas, and that no invasive plants be used anywhere on site. The Coastal Commission heard public testimony from thirty interested parties, including Mayor Stern, Councilman McTaggart, and City Staff. The City representatives gave public testimony on the extensive City review process that was involved in the processing of the project application, which included several public hearings at both the Planning Commission and City Council level, the consideration of numerous public comments and several meetings between the project applicant and local interest groups. Furthermore, the importance of the Lower Pool Facility was stressed, as it was noted that the City would not have considered the applicant’s request to develop this portion of the site with a pool facility unless the geology could unequivocally support such construction.

After hearing several public comments, the Coastal Commission seemed convinced that the City approved the best possible project and subsequently approved the Long Point Resort Hotel project by a 9-2 vote. In addition, the Commission, by a vote of 9-2, agreed to allow the development of the Lower Pool Facility and irrigated turf area surrounding the hotel buildings, provided that no irrigated turf areas or golf putting greens be permitted seaward of the Coastal Setback Line. Furthermore, the Commission, by a 8-3 vote, adopted an additional amendment to allow the existing Canary Palms to remain on the site despite being categorized as an invasive plant species. Because the Coastal Commission approved a project that was slightly different than its Staff’s recommendation, similar to City procedure, a revised resolution and conditions of approval had to be brought back to the Commission for final adoption. Therefore, revised findings and conditions of approval for the Long Point Resort Hotel project were approved by the Coastal Commission at its August 7, 2003 meeting. Attached for the Council’s review are the conditions of approval (as contained in the Coastal Commission August 7, 2003 Staff Report) that were adopted by the Coastal Commission. Also attached are modifications to the conditions that were presented to the Coastal Commission in an addendum to the August 7, 2003 Staff Report and approved by the Coastal Commission.

Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Coastal Commission’s final action, the approval includes a "special condition" that requires the City to review and approve the final version of the project prior to the issuance of the Coastal Development Permit. Therefore, as a final procedural step, the City Council is to review and adopt the Coastal Commission’s twenty-nine additional conditions of approval.

DISCUSSION

PROJECT SITE MODIFICATIONS

As previously noted, the Coastal Commission’s approval of the Long Point Resort Hotel project essentially reflects the City Council’s August 28, 2002 approval. Notwithstanding, there are some notable modifications to the Council’s approved project. As such, the following discussion summarizes the major modifications between the City approved project and the Coastal Commission’s approval. A revised site plan and architectural plans are being transmitted to the City Council as a separate attachment to facilitate the following discussion. It should also be noted that since the attached site plan reflects the final version of the project, as approved by the City Council and the Coastal Commission, the attached plans will become the final City "wet-stamped" plans on file for the project.

Public Trails

In addition to the public trails approved by the City Council, the Coastal Commission required an additional link that connects the existing Vanderlip Trail to the proposed East Casitas and adjoining dedicated public parking lot. In essence, the additional trail link required by the Coastal Commission creates a complete trail loop of the project.

Lower Pool Facility – No Turf Allowed

As previously noted, Coastal Staff was recommending that the Lower Pool Facility be eliminated from the project plans. The Coastal Commission disagreed with its Staff, and felt that because the site of the pool was previously improved, this area, as with the entire project, should be considered a re-development project. As such, the Commission felt the Lower Pool Facility was acceptable, but felt that turf should not be permitted in and around the Lower Pool Facility.

Coastal Sage Scrub Re-Vegetation

The Commission is requiring that the area in and around the switch back trail from the proposed parking lot to the rocky beach should be re-vegetated with Coastal Sage Scrub.

Non-Invasive and Native Plant Material

The Commission’s project conditions allow landscaping surrounding the project area to include a combination of turf, ornamentals, non-invasive and native vegetation. Notwithstanding, the City’s Condition No. 78 requires the applicant to submit a Landscape Plan and Ornamental Landscape Plan for review and approval by the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement, as well as local interest groups such as the California Native Plant Society, prior to issuance of building or grading permits. The City’s condition also limits the use of invasive plant species in the plant palette to six (6) species: Eucalyptus, Nerium Oleander, Olea Europia (olive tree), Phoenix (all species), Shinus Molle (California Pepper Tree), Shinus Terebinthifolius (Florida Pepper Tree).

Integrated Pest Management Plan

In order to address potential impacts to protected habitat caused by pests, such as the Fire and Argentine Ants, the Commission is requiring that an Integrated Pest Management Plan be implemented for the Golf Practice and Learning Facility. This requirement is more comprehensive than the City’s condition (Condition No. 171) that requires a similar Plan be implemented as part of the Water Quality Management Plan.

Public Access Signs

The Commission is requiring that the applicant install directional and informational signs that notify the general public of public parking areas and public trails throughout the hotel facility, as well as along Palos Verdes Drive South. This requirement is somewhat more comprehensive than the City’s Condition No. 86, which requires the City Council approve a Uniform Sign Program, at a duly noticed public hearing. According to Condition No. 86, signs for public parking, public trails, public park areas, public safety signs, and educational signs on habitat and wildlife are required.

Standard Urban Stormwater Mitigation Program

Similar to the City Council’s approval, a Standard Urban Stormwater Mitigation Program (SUSMP) is required for on-site water quality treatment. City Staff believes that the City’s Condition No. 171 is more restrictive than the Coastal Commission’s condition, in that the City is requiring a detailed Plan be submitted for review and approval by the City Council at a duly noticed public hearing. Notwithstanding, the City and the Coastal Commission are requiring that the Plan address Best Management Practices (BMP) for each and every component of the project, including Stormwater treatment, and daily on-site maintenance and operations to name a few.

Putting Greens

According to the Coastal Commission’s approval, the putting greens located seaward of the Coastal Setback Line near the eastern facade of the Hotel building must be eliminated. However, the putting greens located landward from the Coastal Setback Line (identified as a white dashed line on the attached site plan) can remain.

Storm Filter Outlets

In order to enhance the visual appearance of the coastal bluffs, as viewed from the sea, public trails and beach area, the Coastal Commission is requiring that the storm filter outlets be designed so that the pipes are not visible.

Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Area

Similar to the City, the Commission is also requiring the submittal of a Habitat Enhancement Management Plan for review and approval prior to issuance of permits. Unlike the City’s adopted Mitigation Monitoring Program and Conditions of Approval, the Coastal Commission is requiring that the eastern bluff portion of the property, seaward of the Coastal Setback Line, be re-vegetated with coastal bluff scrub including Eriogonum Cinereum. The exception to the re-vegetation requirements are the area surrounding the Lower Pool Facility, the Lookout Bar, drainage devices, and the ADA-compliant trail.

NEW CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL

In approving the Long Point Resort Hotel project, the Coastal Commission adopted a total of twenty-nine (29) additional conditions of approval. Some of the new conditions address the project modifications described above, whereas others are similar to existing City conditions of approval, but somewhat more comprehensive. In general, the Commission’s conditions address matters pertaining to Public Trails and Parks, Parking, Management and Maintenance (Operations) of the Resort Hotel, Restoration and Enhancement of Habitat Areas, Landscaping, Pest Management, Signs, Lighting, Geology, Erosion Control, and Water Quality to name a few.

The Coastal Commission’s twenty-nine (29) conditions of approval are attached to this Staff Report immediately following the City’s conditions of approval for the Council’s review. If the Council finds the Coastal Commission’s modified project acceptable, then Staff respectfully requests that the Council adopt the Coastal Commission’s conditions, which will then be made a part of the final City Council conditions of approval. If the Council does not want to accept some or all of the Coastal Commission’s modifications or conditions of approval, the City Council’s action will then be transmitted to the Coastal Commission. The Coastal Commission will then have the ability to appeal the City’s final decision.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Final Approval Date

Since the City Council’s approval of the project was appealed to the Coastal Commission, the final project approval date will be based on the date the City Council accepts the Coastal Commission’s adopted conditions of approval. That is, if the Council finds the Commission’s conditions acceptable at this evening’s meeting, then the final project approval date will be filed as October 7, 2003.

Stricter Conditions of Approval

The adoption of the Coastal Commission’s conditions will result in a final comprehensive set of conditions. Notwithstanding, there may be cases where the City’s conditions and the Coastal Commission’s conditions will both address a particular aspect of the project. In such cases, the stricter condition or mitigation measure shall govern. Specifically, City Condition No. 7 states that "in the event that a condition of approval is in conflict or is inconsistent with any mitigation measure for this project, this stricter shall govern."

Future City Review of Specialized Plans

Pursuant to the adopted conditions, the applicant is required to submit various Plans to the City for review by either the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement, the Public Works Director or the City Council prior to issuance of grading or building permits. Specifically, the Plans that are to be reviewed in the near future include: a Landscape Plan, a Habitat Enhancement Management Plan, a Public Amenities Plan, a Public Trails Plan, an Ornamental Landscape Plan, a Lighting Plan, a Uniform Sign Program, a Uniform Fencing Plan, an Integrated Waste Management Plan, an Emergency Evacuation Plan, a Parking Lot Plan, and a Water Quality Management Plan. The Plans that are required to be approved by the City Council will be reviewed by the Council at a duly noticed public hearing, as specified in the attached conditions. Furthermore, special interest groups will have an opportunity to review and comment on the Plans.

Final Parcel Map and Tentative Tract Map

The project approved by the City Council included a Tentative Parcel Map. The approved parcel map will eventually (when recorded with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office) split the existing lot into four lots that will each accommodate the hotel building and golf practice facility, the villas, the western casitas, and the eastern casitas. Prior to recordation of the Parcel Map, the applicant will have to comply with the City’s Parkland Dedication and Affordable Housing requirements, which will be reviewed and approved by the City Council.

Additionally, according to Condition No. 40, prior to issuance of building permits for the villas and casitas, the applicant is required to process a tract map and record specific deed restrictions regarding the sale and operation of the villas and casitas. The tract map in question will also have to be reviewed and approved by the City Council at a duly noticed public hearing.

Public Comments

As noted earlier, the adoption of the Coastal Commission’s conditions of approval is considered a procedural matter, therefore a public hearing is not required. Notwithstanding, on September 23, 2003 a courtesy notice was mailed to all interested parties, sent to list-serve subscribers, and posted on the City’s website informing the public of tonight’s meeting and inviting public comments. At this time, no public comments have been submitted to the City. In the event comments are submitted after the transmittal of this report, they will be provided to the City Council the night of the meeting.

FISCAL IMPACT

The processing of the proposed project applications will have no significant fiscal impact on the General Fund in that the applicant is paying for all costs associated with the City’s review of the project.

CONCLUSION

Based on the foregoing analysis, Staff respectfully requests that the City Council review the Coastal Commission’s final approved project and adopted conditions of approval, and if deemed acceptable, adopt the conditions, which will then be made a part of the final City Council conditions of approval.

ALTERNATIVES

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

  1. Identify any issues of concern pertaining to the Coastal Commission’s adopted conditions of approval, and provide the applicant and City Staff with further direction, and continue the hearing to a date certain.
  2. Reject some or all of the Coastal Commission’s modifications or conditions of approval, and forward the City Council’s action to the Coastal Commission as the City’s final decision on the project.

Respectfully submitted,

Joel Rojas

Director of Planning, Building and

Code Enforcement

Reviewed by:

Les Evans

City Manager

ATTACHMENTS (the following attachments are not available electronically. Please contact Planning Staff at City Hall to view the following attachments):

  • Resolution No. 2002-71, (City Council Conditions of Approval)
  • Coastal Commission Conditions of Approval (Nos. 1 – 29), as listed in the August 7, 2003 Coastal Commission Staff Report
  • Revision to certain Coastal Commission Conditions of Approval, as listed in the August 7, 2003 Coastal Commission Addendum Staff Report
  • Revised Site Plan (as a separate attachment to the City Council only)