Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND COUNCILMEMBERS

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING & CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: APRIL 6, 2004

SUBJECT: BORDER ISSUES STATUS REPORT

Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, AICP, Senior Planner

RECOMMENDATION

Review the current status of border issues and provide direction to Staff, as appropriate.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This month’s report includes:

  • A copy of the final comments to the County on the Draft EIR for the proposed South Coast County Golf Course;
  • A report on a community meeting with representatives of the Navy and Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s office regarding the status of the former Navy housing sites in San Pedro;
  • A report on a community workshop and a request for City Council input on draft comments regarding the County’s proposed updates to its General Plan;
  • A report on a community workshop regarding the proposed Rolling Hills Estates Downtown Master Plan;
  • A report on a new proposal to establish a "semi-commercial" costume rental business on Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District property in Rolling Hills;
  • The release of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Draft Program EIR for the New School Construction Program and a request for City Council input on draft comments on the Draft PEIR.
  • A status report on the Los Angeles Zoning Administrator’s hearing regarding the Garden Village shopping center in San Pedro.

BACKGROUND

The following is the regular monthly report to the City Council on various "border issues" potentially affecting the residents of Rancho Palos Verdes. The complete text of the current status report is available for review on the City’s website at:

http://www.palosverdes.com/rpv/planning/content/20040406_BorderIssues_StatusRpt.cfm

DISCUSSION

Current Border Issues

South Coast County Golf Course, Los Angeles County/Rolling Hills Estates

The final version of the City’s comment letter (see attachments) was faxed and hand-delivered to the County on March 4, 2004. The letter is also available for review on the City’s website at:

http://www.palosverdes.com/rpv/planning/content/EI_Comments_Final.cfm

San Pedro Facility Restoration Advisory Board, US Navy/Los Angeles (San Pedro)

On March 10, 2004, Staff and Councilman Wolowicz attended a meeting with Navy representatives to discuss the status of the transfer of the former Navy housing site with 25 to 30 concerned residents in the area, including Rancho Palos Verdes residents from the Rolling Hills Riviera and Palo de Encino neighborhoods. The meeting featured Elise Swanson of Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s office, John Hill and Kimberly Kessler with the Navy and Chad Mulliner of U.S. Congresswoman Jane Harman’s office.

Mr. Hill briefly recapped the history of the 1999 reuse plan and its rejection by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in August 2003. He reported that the educational conveyances of portions of the Palos Verdes site to Marymount College and Rolling Hills Preparatory School were moving forward. He noted that the conveyance of 76 units of the Palos Verdes site to South Bay Crossings for homeless housing was still held up with HUD, which is assessing South Bay Crossings’ ability (financial and otherwise) to implement their proposed project. He also reconfirmed that the San Pedro site would be put up for public bid auction this summer, with the winning bidder obligated to provide 76 units of homeless housing for Volunteers of America (VOA). This obligation could be met by providing these units on site, or negotiating to "buy out" VOA for the value of all or a part of these units. Mr. Hill also stated that, in the event that HUD does not "sign off" South Bay Crossings’ proposal, the 76 units on the Palos Verdes site would also be awarded to VOA.

In response to many attendees’ concerns about VOA’s intentions regarding the San Pedro site, Ms. Swanson stated Councilwoman Hahn has been working actively with VOA to find an alternative off-site location for these 76 units of homeless housing. She said that the Councilwoman has met with VOA and representatives of a church in Watts to discuss such an alternative, and that VOA has expressed interest in other site options for these units.

Many attendees questioned HUD’s determination rejecting the 1999 reuse plan, and asked what (if anything) could be done now to change this determination. It was the consensus of Mr. Hill, Ms. Kessler and Ms. Swanson that there was little or no chance of changing HUD’s determination. Mr. Hill stated that the Navy would not question or challenge HUD’s determination regarding the additional 76 homeless units because the Federal statute regulating the procedures for base closures gave this authority to HUD, while the Navy has no expertise in homeless housing matters. He also stated that this was the only case of which he was aware where HUD rejected the reuse plan for former Navy property, and that there were no provisions in the Federal statute to allow the community to formally "step back into" the process if a reuse plan is rejected. In response to questions from attendees, Mr. Mulliner stated that he would try to find out the basis for HUD’s selection of 76 as the number of additional homeless units needed, which appeared to be an arbitrary number to many people.

Los Angeles County General Plan Update, Unincorporated Areas of the Peninsula

On March 9, 2004 the County held a public workshop to discuss the proposed comprehensive amendments to the County’s general plan, which has not been substantially updated since its initial adoption in 1980. County Staff presented an overview of the general plan update process, and attached to tonight’s report is a copy of the County’s Shaping the Future 2025, which presents County Staff’s draft language for the general plan goals and policies. Several more workshops were held during March 2004, and two more will be held during April 2004. Additional information is available for review on-line at:

http://planning.co.la.ca.us/gp_update/drp_gp_home.cfm

The deadline for comments on the initial Draft General Plan Goals and Polices is June 1, 2004. County Staff expects to have a draft of the General Plan and EIR prepared by the end of this year, with hearings before the Regional Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors in 2005. Attached to tonight’s report are Staff’s draft comments on the County General Plan update for the City Council’s review. Staff intends to bring back a final version of these comments (if there are any City Council-suggested revisions) for the City Council’s final consideration in the May 4, 2004 Border Issues report.

New Border Issues

Downtown Master Plan, Rolling Hills Estates

On February 25, 2004, the City Council and Planning Commission of Rolling Hills Estates convened a joint meeting for a presentation and roundtable discussion of the proposed Rolling Hills Estates Downtown Master Plan. The City of Rolling Hills Estates began the preparation of the master plan in Fall 2003, engaging the services of the world-renowned Pasadena-based urban design firm Moule & Polyzoides. The roundtable was well attended by residents, business owners, developers, real estate professionals and other stakeholders in the Peninsula Center area.

As currently conceived, the master plan proposes to reinvigorate the easterly portion of the Peninsula Center district (between Crenshaw Boulevard and the Avenue of the Peninsula shopping mall) with higher-density, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented development, focusing on the area around Deep Valley Drive. The master plan also envisions the future evolution of the commercial properties along "Little" Silver Spur Road into mixed-use (i.e., residential and non-residential) developments. Staff intends to focus its review on this component of the plan since the "Little" Silver Spur Road area is located directly adjacent to and downslope from properties and residences in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

The City of Rolling Hills Estates anticipates that the master plan would be implemented through a specific plan covering the easterly portion of the Peninsula Center. Such a specific plan will require Planning Commission and City Council approval, as well as the preparation of an EIR in compliance with CEQA.

As a result of comments made at the February 25th meeting, Staff was recently made aware that residents in the Peninsula Rim neighborhood (on Golden Arrow Drive) are concerned about a proposed mixed-use project on the site of the former ARCO station at 828 Silver Spur Road. According to the Rolling Hills Estates Planning Director David Wahba, the plans for this site are at a very preliminary stage of development. The property owner has met a couple of times with Rolling Hills Estates’ Mixed-Use Subcommittee to discuss development concepts. At the Downtown Master Plan workshop, the property owner mentioned that he was contemplating a mixed-use building with ground-floor commercial and multiple floors of residential units above. However, such a proposal is likely to require a Mitigated Negative Declaration or an EIR, which Staff and nearby residents will have the opportunity to review well in advance of any action on the project by the City of Rolling Hills Estates.

PVPUSD’s "Costume Closet," Rolling Hills

On March 8, 2004, the City received notification of a proposed Negative Declaration, Site Plan Review and Conditional Use Permit application to establish the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District’s "Costume Closet" on District property at 38 Crest Road West in the City of Rolling Hills. The "Costume Closet," which is operated by the fundraising committee of the Palos Verdes Peninsula PTA, stores and rents costumes for school use for no fee, and rents costumes to the general public for a minimal fee. The Rolling Hills City Council recently adopted a code amendment to allow this type of use in a residential zone with the approval of a conditional use permit.

The District proposes to install a 7,200-square-foot, 15½-foot-tall prefabricated metal building, conduct 545 cubic yards of grading and resurface existing parking areas on the site. The "Costume Closet" would be open for limited hours throughout the year, with the greatest demand during a 3-week period each year around Halloween. In addition to the proposed use, the District property currently includes facilities for the Palos Verdes Transit Authority (PVTA), the District’s Rancho del Mar Continuation High School and other District maintenance and operations functions. The "Costume Closet" building would be located adjacent to the existing PVTA parking and maintenance area, which is within 150 to 200 feet of Rancho Palos Verdes residents in the Del Cerro and The Countryside neighborhoods.

On March 16, 2004, the Rolling Hills Planning Commission began the public hearing process for this project. At the meeting, a resident of the Del Cerro neighborhood expressed her concerns to the Planning Commission regarding increased traffic, construction-related dust and visual screening of the building. Staff also addressed the Planning Commission, echoing our resident’s concerns. Following the meeting, Staff forwarded the attached comments to the City of Rolling Hills on March 18, 2004, focusing on concerns regarding aesthetic, air quality, noise and transportation/traffic impacts.

The Rolling Hills Planning Commission is scheduled to conduct a visit to the project site on the afternoon on April 20, 2004, and to discuss this application again that evening at its regular meeting. Staff intends to follow the progress of this application and report back to the City Council in the May 4, 2004 Border Issues report.

LAUSD’s New School Construction Program, Eastview Area of the City

On March 15, 2004, the City received a copy of the Draft Program EIR for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s New School Construction Program. LAUSD is preparing a Program EIR (PEIR) for a phased, District-wide program to construct new schools, modernize existing campuses and provide up to 200,000 new classroom seats by the year 2020. The City’s Eastview area is within the boundaries of LAUSD District K, which also serves Carson, Gardena, Harbor City, Lomita, San Pedro and Wilmington. LAUSD’s Rudecinda Sepulveda Dodson Middle School is located in the Rolling Hills Riviera neighborhood, while Crestwood Street Elementary School is located in the Harbor Heights neighborhood.

The Draft PEIR does not provide information regarding any specific new school and modernization projects in the City. Instead, the Draft PEIR generally identifies standard thresholds of significance, mitigation measures, and construction and operational standards that would be applied on a site-specific basis to future new school and modernization projects District-wide. The program description does note that the Crestwood campus is projected to have available "seats" to accommodate expected demand through the year 2020, while the Dodson campus is projected to need additional "seats" to accommodate the future demand anticipated. As the City Council may recall, the Rolling Hills Riviera community has expressed concern in the past regarding increasing enrollment at Dodson Middle School, particularly with respect to the placement of additional portable classroom buildings on the campus.

Staff has prepared draft comments on the Draft PEIR for the City Council’s review, focusing on impacts related to transportation/traffic, noise, land use planning, recreation and aesthetics. Staff intends to finalize these comments for submittal to the District by April 23, 2004, which is the end of the 45-day public comment period.

Previous Border Issues

Garden Village Shopping Center, Los Angeles (San Pedro)

On February 25, 2004, City of Los Angeles Zoning Administrator found that the shopping center’s renovations and operations were consistent with the project’s conditions of approval. The Zoning Administrator directed the shopping center’s owner to make some minor modifications, and a condition of approval was modified to allow the Zoning Administrator to review the permit again in the future if there is documented evidence of violations of the conditions of approval. The appeal period for the Zoning Administrator’s decision ended on March 11, 2004 without any appeal being filed.

 

Respectfully submitted:

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

Reviewed by:

Les Evans, City Manager

 

Attachments:

Final comment letter on the South Coast County Golf Course Draft EIR

Shaping the Future 2025, County of Los Angeles Department of Regional Planning

Draft comments on the County General Plan Update

Public notice, Staff report and comments on the "Costume Closet" project in Rolling Hills

Executive summary and draft comments on LAUSD’s New School Construction Program