Rancho Palos Verdes City Council





Staff Coordinator: Gregory Pfost, AICP, Deputy Planning Director


That the City Council authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to enter into an agreement between the City and Ocean Trails pertaining to the installation and maintenance of a proposed sewer line.


In June 1992, the City Council approved the Ocean Trails project, which, at that time, included an 18-hole golf course, clubhouse, public open space and 83 single-family residential lots. The project as currently entitled includes an 18-hole golf course, 75 single-family residential lots, 4 on-site affordable housing units, a Clubhouse, Maintenance Building, open space lots, and a variety of public amenities.

Currently, Phase I Grading, which is composed of the golf course and all of Tract No. 50667, including the residential lots located on the east side of the Ocean Trails project, is nearing completion. Additionally, since the final map for Tract 50667 has been approved by the City Council and recorded, and the grading for the residential lots within Tract No. 50667 has been completed, the developer can begin selling and building units from that tract. Phase II grading, which encompasses the housing portion of VTTM 50666, located on the west side of the project site, is currently under construction.

Construction on the landslide repair is moving forward. In fact, the rough grading has been completed, and the developer is in the process of conducting the finish contouring for this portion of the golf course. Ocean Trails projects that the full 18-hole golf course, with all recent modifications completed (waterfalls, tee and green changes) will be open in June 2004.

In addition to Landslide C, an existing ancient landslide (Landslide A) is also located within the boundaries of VTTM 50666. A portion of the golf course (Holes #10 and #11) is located on Landslide A. Staff has informed the developer that because there are uncertainties as to the exact location of the boundaries of Landslide A and the respective foundation setback line, which determines where residential homes may be constructed in proximity to Landslide A, this issue will need to be addressed prior to City Council approval of the Final Map for Tract 50666. On September 2, 2003, the City Council approved agreements with two independent geologists and one independent geotechnical engineer to form a third party Peer Review Board to review this issue and render a decision as to which party's geologist (either Converse Consultants representing Ocean Trails, or Cotton Shires Associates representing the City) has the correct interpretation regarding the location of the foundation setback line. The Peer Review Board is currently reviewing background data pertaining to the issue.


Currently, construction of the project's affordable housing units and maintenance building is nearing completion. Amongst other requirements, the affordable housing units need to be completed and ready for occupancy prior to opening of the completed 18-hole golf course. Naturally, both facilities require sewer hook up prior to occupancy. As is the standard procedure, the Developer has prepared a set of sewer plans that have been plan checked by the County and reviewed by the Public Works Department. Although the County has indicated that the plans can be approved, they are reluctant to sign them because the proposed sewer line would be constructed in general proximity to Landslide A (see "Background" discussion above). The County has indicated that they desire that the Peer Review Board render their decision first before the County issues their approval. Since Ocean Trails desires to open the full 18-hole course as soon as possible, and recognizing that there will not be enough time to wait for the Peer Review Board's decision in order to obtain the County's approval and still construct the sewer line prior to the time when the full 18-hole course is ready to open, Ocean Trails has requested that the City issue a building permit for the proposed sewer line. Ocean Trails has indicated that they will construct the sewer line as per plan and maintain it until the County accepts it.

The proposed underground sewer line would begin at the affordable housing/maintenance building sites, cross Ocean Trails Drive (a future public right of way), and then progress down the cul-de-sac street (future public right of way) that serves the residential lots located above and north of the Clubhouse Building. The line will service these future residential lots and then will travel down the slope between the Clubhouse and said residential lots, where it will connect with the existing sewer line that services the Clubhouse.

As noted, the County would normally issue approval for the installation of the proposed sewer line as well as maintain it. However, given the County's reluctance to approve the plans, and Ocean Trails' need to continue moving forward with the project, Staff recognizes the importance of finding an alternative solution to this issue. As such, Staff informed the Developer that Staff could issue a building permit for installation of the sewer line provided that an Agreement is entered into between Ocean Trails and the City concerning the installation and maintenance of said line. Attached is a draft Agreement prepared by the City Attorney, of which its content has been agreed to by Ocean Trails. The Agreement provides for the following:

  • Ensures that the construction of the sewer line will be in accordance with the approved plans and all applicable standards of the County.
  • Ensures that until the City and County accept the improvements and until the maintenance of said improvements are transferred to the County the developer shall be responsible for the care and maintenance of the improvements and shall bear all risks of loss or damage to the improvements.
  • Ensures that the installation will be properly inspected by the City.
  • Ensures that the Peer Review Board's review of Landslide A and the safety of developing single-family homes is completed prior to final inspection by the City and acceptance of the sewer line by the County.
  • Ensures that if it is determined by the City that the sewer line needs to be relocated due to geologic conditions of the property related to landslide concerns, then the Developer shall obtain all necessary permits and relocate the line.
  • Indemnification to the City.

For the reasons noted in this report, Staff recommends that the City Council authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the proposed agreement.


In addition to the staff recommendation, the City Council may also wish to consider the following alternatives:

1. Decline to execute an agreement with Ocean Trails. This may cause significant delays in the opening of the 18-hole course.

2. Identify any issues of concern with the process or the agreements, provide Staff with any direction, and continue the item to the next Council meeting.


There are no Fiscal Impacts to the City as a result of this decision.

Respectfully submitted:

Joel Rojas, AICP, Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement

Reviewed By:

Les Evans, City Manager


Agreement between the City and Ocean Trails