Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: MARCH 2, 2004

SUBJECT: ZON2003-00417 (16-FOOT HEIGHT CODE AMENDMENT)

Staff Coordinator: Ara Michael Mihranian, Senior Planner

RECOMMENDATION

Adopt Ordinance No. 401, to enact amendments to Title 17 of the City’s Municipal Code regarding the 16-foot height limitation for residentially zoned properties and clarifying the findings required for Height Variation and Grading Permit applications.

DISCUSSION

On February 17, 2003 the City Council reviewed and approved the proposed code amendment language, and introduced Ordinance No. 401, amending Title 17 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code as it pertains to the 16-foot height requirement and clarifying the findings for Height Variation and Grading permits. The introduction of Ordinance 401 at the February 17th meeting constituted the first reading of Ordinance No. 401. If the second reading of Ordinance No. 401 is adopted by the City Council at its March 2nd meeting, the effective date of the Ordinance will be April 2, 2004, which is thirty (30) days from the adoption date.

In order for the proposed code amendment language to become effective immediately, the City Council also adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 400-U and Resolution No. 2004-12 at its February 17, 2003 meeting. The language contained in Urgency Ordinance No. 400-U mirrors Ordinance No. 401. Since an urgency ordinance was adopted at the February 17th meeting, the new code requirements will be applicable to all residential development project applications where a final decision was not rendered by February 17, 2004.

CONCLUSION

Staff recommends that the City Council adopt Ordinance No. 401 to enact the respective amended language.

Respectfully submitted:

Joel Rojas, aicp

Director of Planning, Building

and Code Enforcement

Reviewed,

Les Evans

City Manager

ATTACHMENTS:

  • Ordinance No. 401
  • Exhibit ‘A’ – Environmental Assessment No. 694 Addendum No. 10

ORDINANCE NO. 401

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING TITLE 17 OF THE CITY’S MUNICIPAL CODE REGARDING THE 16-FOOT HEIGHT LIMITATION FOR RESIDENTIALLY ZONED PROPERTIES AND CLARIFYING THE FINDINGS REQUIRED FOR HEIGHT VARIATION AND GRADING PERMIT APPLICATIONS

WHEREAS, on November 25, 1975, the City’s first Municipal Code was adopted establishing the City’s 16-foot height limit and establishing a discretionary review process for any individuals seeking to construct a residence exceeding 16-feet (Height Variation Permit process); and,

WHEREAS, in 1979, the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code (the "Municipal Code") was amended to clarify that the Height Variation Permit process applies to both new residences and additions to existing residences; and,

WHEREAS, on November 7, 1989, the voters of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes approved Proposition M (Cooperative Preservation and Restoration Ordinance) which was incorporated into the Municipal Code; and,

WHEREAS, between 1996 and 1997, the City approved a major update and overhaul Title 17 (Zoning) of the Municipal Code, which among other things, clarified how to measure the 16-foot height limit on pad lots; and,

WHEREAS, on February 8, 2003 the City Council held a joint workshop with the Planning Commission to discuss, among other things, the interpretation of existing codes and the Height Variation Permit Findings involving the protection of residents’ views from proposed construction. At the meeting, the City Council directed Staff to bring forward ideas to the Council at a future meeting to clarify or resolve the issues; and,

WHEREAS, on June 24, 2003, the Planning Commission was asked to review and provide feedback on the content and format of a draft Staff Report to the City Council regarding the clarification and interpretation of existing codes and the Height Variation Permit findings. The Planning Commission continued the discussion and directed Staff to come back with more information regarding the historical interpretation and application of the 16-foot height limit and the Height Variation Permit findings; and,

WHEREAS, on July 15, 2003, the City Council, at the request of a Council member, discussed the issues pertaining to the existing Municipal Code and the Height Variation Permit findings. At the meeting, the City Council unanimously reaffirmed the historic interpretation and application of the 16-foot height, measured as set forth in the Municipal Code based on the type of lot involved, as being a "by-right" height limit for all residential properties in the City and clarified the interpretation of specific Height Variation Permit Findings; and,

WHEREAS, at its July 15th meeting, the City Council initiated code amendment proceedings in order to codify its interpretation and clarification of the 16-foot height limit and the Height Variation Permit Findings; and,

WHEREAS, on August 9, 2003 a notice of an August 26, 2003 public hearing to be held by the Planning Commission regarding proposed amendment of the Municipal Code regarding height issues was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News; and,

WHEREAS, on August 26, 2003, the Planning Commission, without discussion, continued the public hearing to its September 9, 2003 meeting, at which time the item was again continued to its September 23, 2003 meeting; and,

WHEREAS, after notices issued pursuant to the provisions of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, the Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on September 23, 2003 at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence regarding said amendments to Title 17 of the Municipal Code as set forth in the Planning Commission Staff Report of that date; and,

WHEREAS, after reviewing the proposed text amendments, the Commission directed Staff to prepare precise language for consideration at its October 28, 2003 meeting and continued the public hearing; and,

WHEREAS, at its October 28, 2003, the Planning Commission continued the public hearing, without discussion, and again on November 25, 2003, continued the hearing to its December 9, 2003 meeting; and,

WHEREAS, on December 11, 2003 the Planning Commission continued the public hearing proceedings, and reviewed and considered the proposed code amendments to Title 17, and adopted P.C. Resolution No. 2003-62 forwarding its recommendations to the City Council for its consideration, and;

WHEREAS, on January 31, 2004, a notice of a public hearing on the code amendment was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News; and

WHEREAS, after notices issued pursuant to the requirements of Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on February 17, 2004, at which time all interested parties were given the opportunity to be heard and present evidence.

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

Section 1: The City Council has reviewed and considered the amendments to Title 17 of the Municipal Code.

Section 2: The amendments to Title 17 of the Municipal Code are consistent with California Government Code Section 65853, zoning amendment procedures.

Section 3: The City Council finds that the amendments to Title 17 of the Municipal Code are consistent with the Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan and Coastal Specific Plan in that they uphold, and do not hinder, the goals and policies of those plans, in particular to carefully control and direct future growth towards making a positive contribution to all elements of the community.

Section 4: The City Council finds that the amendments to Title 17 of the Municipal Code are substantially the same as previous provisions of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code or any other ordinance repealed, amended or superseded upon the enactment of this ordinance and that the amendments to Title 17 shall be construed as a restatement and continuation of the previous provisions and as new enactment.

Section 5: The City Council further finds that there is no substantial evidence that the amendments to Title 17 of the Municipal Code would result in new significant environmental effects, or a substantial increase in the severity of the effects, as previously identified in Environmental Assessment No. 694 and the Negative Declaration, adopted through Resolution No. 97-25 in conjunction with Ordinance No. 320 for amendments to Titles 16 and 17 of the Municipal Code, since the new amendments reaffirm the historic interpretation and application of the 16-foot height requirement and clarify the Height Variation Findings. An Addendum (No. 10) to the prior Negative Declaration has been prepared and is attached hereto as Exhibit ‘A’. The City Council hereby finds, based on its own independent judgment, that the facts stated in the Addendum are true because the minor revisions to Title 17 of the Municipal Code will strengthen the Code and will not result in greater environmental impacts in the City.

Section 6: The City Council finds that the amendments to Title 17 of the Municipal Code are necessary to preserve the public health, safety, and general welfare in the area.

Section 7: The first paragraph of Paragraph B of Section 17.02.040 of Chapter 17.02 of Title 17 of the Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows, with all remaining portions of Paragraph B of Section 17.02.040 of Chapter 17.02 of Title 17 of the Municipal Code retained without amendment:

17.02.040 View Preservation and Restoration.

B. Regulations.

1. Building Height. Any individual or persons desiring to build a new structure or an addition to an existing structure shall be permitted to build up to sixteen feet in height pursuant to Section 17.02.040(B) of this Chapter provided there is no grading, as defined in Section 17.76.040 of this Chapter, to be performed in connection with the proposed construction, and further provided that no Height Variation is required, and all applicable residential development standards are or will be met. Approval for proposed structures or additions to existing structures exceeding sixteen feet in height, may be sought through application for a height variation permit, which, if granted pursuant to the procedures contained herein, will permit the individual to build a structure not exceeding twenty-six feet in height, except as provided in Section 17.02.040(B)(1)(d) of this chapter, or such lower height as approved by the city, measured as follows:

Section 8: Paragraph C subsection (1)(e) of Section 17.02.040 of Chapter 17.02 of Title 17 of the Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

C. Procedures and Requirements

1. Preservation of Views Where Structures are Involved

e. A Height Variation application to build a new structure or an addition to an existing structure at a height that exceeds the sixteen foot height limit up to the maximum height permitted in Section 17.02.040(B)(1) of this chapter may be granted, with or without conditions, if the following findings can be made:

i. The applicant has complied with the early neighbor consultation process established by the city;

ii. The structure does not significantly impair a view from public property (parks, major thoroughfares, bike ways, walkways or equestrian trails) which has been identified in the city’s general plan or coastal specific plan, as city-designated viewing areas;

iii. The proposed structure is not located on a ridge or a promontory;

iv. The area of a proposed new structure or addition to an existing structure when considering both the new area that is above sixteen feet and the new area that is below sixteen feet, as defined in Section 17.02.040(B) of this Chapter, when considered exclusive of existing foliage, does not significantly impair a view from the viewing area of another parcel. If the viewing area is located in a structure, the viewing area shall be located in a portion of a structure which was constructed without a height variation permit or variance, or which would not have required a height variation or variance when originally constructed had this section, as approved by the voters on November 7, 1989, been in effect at the time the structure was constructed, unless the viewing area located in the portion of the existing structure which required a height variation permit or variance constitutes the primary living area (living room, family room, dining room or kitchen) of the residence;

v. If view impairment exists but it is determined not to be significant, as described in Finding No. iv, is the proposed new structure or proposed addition to an existing structure designed and situated in such a manner as to reasonably minimize the impairment of a view;

vi. There is no significant cumulative view impairment caused by granting the application. Cumulative view impairment shall be determined by: (a) considering the amount of view impairment caused by the proposed structure; and (b) considering the amount of view impairment that would be caused by the construction on other parcels of structures similar to the proposed structure;

vii. The proposed structure complies with all other code requirements;

viii. The proposed structure is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character;

ix. The proposed structure does not result in an unreasonable infringement of the privacy of the occupants of abutting residences.

Section 9: Table 02-A: Single-Family Residential Development Standards of Section 17.02.040 of Chapter 17.02 of Title 17 of the Municipal Code is hereby amended to delete footnote number 8, which currently reads "8. The front and side setback for those portions of structures over sixteen feet in height shall be a minimum of twenty–five feet in all residential zoned districts.", as shown in the amended Table 02-A attached hereto as Exhibit ‘B’.

Section 10: Subparagraph 2 of paragraph E of Section 17.76.040 of chapter 17.76 of Title 17 of the Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

The proposed grading and/or related construction does not significantly adversely affect the visual relationships with, nor the views from the "viewing area" of neighboring properties. This finding shall not apply when the proposed grading will lower the grade of the lot and will result in a structure that will create less view impairment than a structure that could have been built in the same location on the lot to the maximum building heights described in Section 17.02.040(B) of this Title;

Section 11: The rights given by any approval granted under the terms of Title 17 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code prior to the effective date of the adoption of said ordinance shall not be affected by the amendments to Title 17 by this ordinance and shall continue in effect until and unless they are modified, revoked, expired or are otherwise terminated according to the terms of the approval or the terms of Title 17 as they existed prior to the effective date of this ordinance.

Section 12: The amendments to Title 17 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code as identified herein shall apply to all development applications that have not been finally acted upon as of the effective date of this ordinance.

Section 13: For the foregoing reasons, and based on the information and findings included in the Staff Report, Minutes, and other records of proceedings, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby adopts t he foregoing amendments to Title 17 of the Municipal Code.

Section 14: The City Clerk is directed to certify to the passage and adoption of this ordinance and to cause the full text of this ordinance to be published as required by law.

PASSED, APPROVED, ADOPTED, and ORDERED this 2nd day of March, 2004, by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTENTION:

ABSENT:

_____________________

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 Ordinance No. 401 was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting thereof held on March 2, 2004.