Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: APRIL 20, 2004

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

Staff Coordinator: Ara Michael Mihranian, Senior Planner

RECOMMENDATION

  1. Introduce Ordinance No. ___, a City initiated proposal to amend Title 17 of the City’s Municipal Code affirming the City’s historical interpretation of the 16-foot height requirement and clarifying the "view" finding as it relates to the Height Variation and Grading applications.
  2. Adopt Resolution No. 2004-__ , thereby amending the Height Variation Guidelines and the Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook to make the language consistent with the proposed code amendments.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On April 6, 2004, the City Council adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 404U, repealing Urgency Ordinance No. 400U and providing Staff with Specific direction for amending the Development Code to affirm the application of the 16-foot height limit and clarify the application of the Height Variation and Grading Permit Findings. The Council directed Staff to bring back precise code amendment language for consideration at its April 20, 2004 meeting. Pursuant to Council direction, Staff has prepared the respective code amendment language and respectfully requests Council direction on the proposed language.

Additionally, Staff respectfully requests Council direction on proposed amendments to the Height Variation Guidelines and the Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook that will emulate the new proposed code amendment language.

 

 

BACKGROUND

On April 6, 2004, the City Council opened the public hearing to receive public testimony on the matter related to the Height Variation permit findings. After considering the comments made by the Planning Commission at its March 23rd meeting, receiving public testimony, and further discussing the matter, the Council, with a vote of 4-1, adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 404U, which repealed Urgency Ordinance No. 400U. The Council directed Staff to come back at its April 20, 2004 meeting with specific code language that affirms the historic application of the 16-foot height limit as being a "by-right" height limit for all citywide residential properties. The draft minutes from the April 6, 2004 City Council meeting are under separate cover. Given the Council’s action, attached is the draft ordinance that contains the language directed by the Council and the draft resolution that will make the language contained in the Height Variation Guidelines and Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook consistent with the proposed code amendment language. In order to review the specific draft code amendment language, please refer to the attached ordinance and resolution.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

In accordance with the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Staff has determined that the proposed code amendments to the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code will require an addendum to the Environmental Assessment and Negative Declaration prepared and approved by the City Council under Resolution No. 97-25 for amendments to Titles 16 and 17 of the City’s Municipal Code. At the time the City Council adopted the Negative Declaration, it found: 1) that there would be no significant adverse environmental impacts resulting from the adoption of the amendments; 2) that many of the amendments were clarifications and minor non-substantive revisions; and 3) that the new amendments reaffirm the historic interpretation and application of the 16-foot height requirement and clarify the Height Variation and Grading Permit Findings.

Staff believes that the proposed amendments clarify the existing Code requirements and provide the decision makers, Staff and the public with direction on how to process residential development applications. As such, Staff is of the opinion that said amendments to the Code will not result in any new significant environmental effects, but rather serve to reduce impacts upon the environment. As a result, no further environmental review will be is necessary other than the adoption of Addendum No. 10 to Environmental Assessment No. 694 and Negative Declaration.

DISCUSSION

Code Amendments

Pursuant to the Council’s adopted motion at its April 6, 2004 meeting, the following section contains a summary of the code amendments being presented to the Council for consideration this evening. To view the specific code amendment language, please see the attached draft ordinance that contains underlined text representing added language, and strike through text representing deleted language.

  1. Height Variation Findings

For the purpose of the view and privacy findings required for a Height Variation application, the Council agreed that only proposed portions above 16-feet are to be analyzed. To implement this direction, Height Variation Findings Nos. 2, 4, 5, 6, and 9 of Section 17.02.040(C)(1) are proposed to be amended (see pages 5 and 6 of the attached draft ordinance).

2. Two-Story Structures Under 16-feet

According to Section 17.02.040(B)(1)(c) of the RPVMC, a Height Variation permit is required for a structure on a pad lot that exceeds one-story even if it is within the 16-foot height limit (it should be noted that the Municipal Code does not limit the number of stories). This requirement was added in 1996 to close a loophole in the pre-existing Development Code that was allowing two-story homes to be built without the benefit of a Height Variation application review. Since this requirement has caused confusion in the past and is no longer necessary because of the established maximum height measurements from existing and finished grades, the Council agreed to eliminate this Height Variation application trigger. As such, a Height Variation permit will no longer be required for projects involving two-stories, which are under 16-feet in height. In order to implement this direction, Section 17.02.040(B)(1)(c) will be amended accordingly (see page 5 of the attached draft Ordinance).

3. Grading View Finding

As originally recommended by the Planning Commission and approved by the City Council, in cases where grading is proposed, if the proposed earth movement results in a lower grade elevation under the proposed building footprint, then the view finding (referred to as Grading Finding No. 2) does not apply. Conversely, in cases where grading is proposed that will raise the existing grade elevation, either under the building footprint or elsewhere on the lot, then the view finding will apply (see page 6 of the attached draft Ordinance). It should be noted that as drafted, the view finding will apply when the existing grade is raised regardless of whether the resulting structure is within the height limits described in Section 17.02.040.

4. Tear-down Rebuild Structures

Currently, Section 17.84.060(A)(2) of the RPVMC allows structures damaged or destroyed due to an involuntary act to be replaced, repaired or restored to their original condition. The Council directed that this allowance also be applied to structures that are voluntarily demolished like "tear-down/rebuild" projects. However, this requirement only applies in situations where the proposed structure will be constructed within the same maximum building height, square footage and general location as the original structure. Furthermore, in terms of view analysis, the Council agreed that a structure proposed to be rebuilt must be within the same envelope as the original structure, whether demolished voluntarily or involuntarily, will not be subject to a view analysis, even if the replacement structure is above 16-feet in height. However, the view analysis will apply to portions of a proposed structure that extend beyond the original structure envelope and that are above 16-feet in height (see page 4 of the attached draft Ordinance).

5. Table 02-A: Single-Family Residential Development Standards

In addition to the above text amendments, as an administration "clean-up" item that was overlooked at the time the Development Code was updated in 1997, Footnote No. 8 is proposed to be deleted. At the time the Council considered updating the Development Code, the second story 25-foot setback requirement was replaced with a trigger that requires the Planning Commission’s review of projects that are closer than 25-feet from the front or street-side property line. Furthermore, the trigger for new single-family residences exceeding 16-feet in height was inadvertently left off the table and is now proposed to be added. As such, Table 02-A of the RPVMC is proposed to be amended accordingly, as depicted in Exhibit B of the attached draft Ordinance. This clean-up amendment was reviewed and recommended by the Planning Commission and was previously presented to the Council which resulted in no comments.

Amendment to the Height Variation Guidelines and Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook

In order to ensure that the Height Variation Guidelines and Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook emulate the code amendment language being considered by the Council, the following changes are proposed to be made to the following documents (to view the specific amendments, please see Exhibit A of the attached draft Resolution. The amended sections are shaded.):

Height Variation Guidelines

  • The "Purpose" section is proposed to be amended to reiterate the Code’s 16-foot height limit requirement.
  • The "Building Height" and "Criteria for Review" sections are proposed to be amended to reflect the respective language amendments to Title 17.
  • The "Mandatory Findings" section is proposed to be amended to clarify the intent of Finding No. iv so as to reasonably minimize an impairment of a view.
  • The order of Findings iv and vi is being amended.

Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook

  • The text in the Mass and Scale section pertaining to "Neighbor’s Views" and the Height of Structures section of the Handbook is proposed to be amended to clarify the City’s 16-foot "by-right" height limit.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Effective Date

In the event the City Council finds the proposed language acceptable and the proposed code amendment is introduced this evening, the ordinance will be brought back to the City Council for a second reading and adoption at its May 4th meeting. The ordinance will go into effect 30-days from the second reading (May 4, 2004), on June 4, 2004. It should be noted that since Urgency Ordinance No. 400U was repealed by Urgency Ordinance No. 404U at the April 6, 2004 Council meeting, in the interim the regulations contained in the current Development Code (existing prior to the Urgency Ordinance) are to be applied to Height Variation applications that necessitate decisions by the Planning Director or the Planning Commission.

ALTERNATIVES

The following alternative is available for the City Council’s consideration in addition to Staff’s recommendation:

  1. Identify any issues of concern with the proposed amendments, and provide Staff with modifications, and continue the public hearing to a date certain.

FISCAL IMPACT

If the City Council approves the proposed code amendment, Staff anticipates that there will be no direct impact to the City’s General Fund nor will it have a fiscal impact to the City.

Respectfully submitted,

Joel Rojas, AICP

Director of Planning, Building and

Code Enforcement

Reviewed by:

Les Evans

City Manager

ATTACHMENTS (some attachments are not available electronically and may only be viewed at City Hall)

  • Draft Ordinance No. ____
  • Exhibit ‘A’ – Addendum No. 10 to Environmental Assessment No. 694
  • Exhibit ‘B’ – Amended Table 02-A – Residential Development Standards Table
  • Draft Resolution No. 2004-___
  • Exhibit ‘A’ – Amended Excerpts from the Height Variation Guidelines and Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook
  • Commissioner Knight’s Comment Letter (late correspondence)

ORDINANCE NO. ___

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, 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. After considering the Planning Commission’s recommendation and public testimony, the Council adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 400U and introduced Ordinance No. 401 that among other things, required a view analysis for portions above and below 16-feet in height when a Height Variations application is requested; and

WHEREAS, on March 2, 2004 the City Council was scheduled to adopt the second reading of Ordinance No. 401 when it was brought to the council’s attention that the Planning Commission had expressed a concern with the application of the new requirements. Therefore, the Council agreed to continue the discussion to its April 6, 2004 meeting so that the Commission can further review the code language being considered and provide the Council with additional comments; and

WHEREAS, on March 6, 2004, a notice of a Planning Commission public hearing on the code amendment was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News; and

WHEREAS, on March 23, 2004, the Planning Commission briefly reviewed the code amendment language being considered by the Council. Due to time constraints, the Commission, with a vote of 5-1, recommended that the Council continue its discussion from April 6, 2004 to a later date to allow the Commission a second opportunity to further review the proposed code language and provide a more comprehensive recommendation; and,

WHEREAS, on March 20, 2004, a notice of a City Council public hearing on the code amendment was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News; and

WHEREAS, on April 6, 2004, notwithstanding the Planning Commission’s recommendation, the City Council opened the public hearing. After considering the comments made by the Planning Commission at its March 23rd meeting, receiving public testimony, and further discussing the matter, the Council, with a vote of 4-1, adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 404U, which repealed Urgency Ordinance No. 400U. Because the Planning Commission already had discussed and considered this issue on several occasions, the Council directed Staff to come back at its April 20, 2004 meeting with specific code language that affirms the historic application of the 16-foot height limit as being a "by-right" height limit for all citywide residential properties; and

WHEREAS, after notices issued pursuant to the requirements of Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a continued duly noticed public hearing on April 20, 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 ORDAIN 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 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 revisions to Title 17 of the Municipal Code 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 and sub-section (1)(c) 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 exceeding 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. In cases where an existing structure is voluntarily demolished or is demolished as a result of an involuntary event, a Height Variation application will not be required to exceed sixteen feet in height, provided that the replacement structure will have the same square footage and maximum building height as the existing structure and will be reconstructed within the building envelope and footprint of the pre-existing structure. 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:

17.02.040(B)(1)(c):

For lots with a "building pad" at street level or at a different level than the street or lot configurations not previously discussed, the height shall be measured from the pre-construction (existing) grade at the highest elevation of the existing building pad area covered by the structure to the ridge line or highest point of the structure, as illustrated in Figure 3 below. Portions of a structure which extend beyond the "building pad" area of a lot shall not qualify as the highest elevation covered by the structure, for the purposes of determining maximum building height. Structures allowed pursuant to this subsection shall contain no more than one-story (cellars and basements are exempted from this requirement) and shall not exceed twenty-feet in height, as measured from the point where the lowest foundation or slab meets finished grade, to the ridgeline or highest point of the structure. Otherwise a height variation permit shall be required.

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. An 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 proposed structure or addition to a structure that is above sixteen feet in height 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;

vi iv. The area of a proposed new structure or addition to an existing structure that is above sixteen feet in height, 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;

iv v. If view impairment exists from the viewing area of another parcel but it is determined not to be significant, as described in Finding No. iv, is the proposed new the structure is or addition to an existing structure that is above sixteen feet in height designed and situated in such a manner as to reasonably minimize the impairment of a view;

v 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 that would be caused by the proposed structure or addition to a structure that is above sixteen feet in height; and (b) considering the amount of view impairment that would be caused by the construction on other parcels of structures or additions that exceed sixteen feet in height, and are 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 new structure or addition to an existing structure that is above sixteen feet 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. In cases where grading is proposed for a new residence or an addition to an existing residence, this finding shall be satisfied when the proposed grading results in a lower finished grade under the building footprint such that the height of the proposed structure, as measured pursuant to Section 17.02.040(B) of this Title, is lower than a structure that could have been built in the same location on the lot if measured from pre-construction (existing) grade;

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 the 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 20th day of April, 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. ___ was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting thereof held on April 20, 2004.

__________________________

City Clerk

RESOLUTION NO. 2004-__

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING THE HEIGHT VARIATION GUIDELINES AND THE NEIGHBORHOOD COMPATIBILITY HANDBOOK IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADOPTION OF ORDINANCE NO. ___ AMENDING TITLE 17 OF THE CITY’S MUNICIPAL CODE REGARDING THE 16-FOOT HEIGHT LIMITATION FOR RESIDENTIALLY ZONED PROPERTIES AND CLARIFYING THE HEIGHT VARIATION AND GRADING FINDINGS

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, 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. After considering the Planning Commission’s recommendation and public testimony, the Council adopted Ordinance No. 400U and introduced Ordinance No. 401 that among other things, required a view analysis for portions above and below 16-feet in height when a Height Variation application is requested; and,

WHEREAS, on March 2, 2004 the City Council was scheduled to adopt the second reading of Ordinance No. 401 when it was brought to the Council’s attention that the Planning Commission had expressed a concern with the application of the new requirements. Therefore, the Council agreed to continue the discussion to its April 6, 2004 meeting so that the Commission can further review the code language being considered and provide the Council with additional comments; and,

WHEREAS, on March 6, 2004, a notice of a Planning Commission public hearing on the code amendment was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News; and,

WHEREAS, on March 23, 2004, the Planning Commission briefly reviewed the code amendment language being considered by the Council. Due to time constraints, the Commission, with a vote of 5-1, recommended that the Council continue its discussion from April 6, 2004 to a later date to allow the Commission a second opportunity to further review the proposed code language and provide a more comprehensive recommendation; and,

WHEREAS, on March 20, 2004, a notice of a City Council public hearing on the code amendment was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News; and

WHEREAS, on April 6, 2004, notwithstanding the Planning Commission’s recommendation, the City Council opened the public hearing. After considering the comments made by the Planning Commission at its March 23rd meeting, receiving public testimony, and further discussing the matter, the Council, with a vote of 4-1, adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 404U, which repealed Urgency Ordinance No. 400U. Because the Planning Commission already had discussed and considered this issue on several occasions, the Council directed Staff to come back at its April 20, 2004 meeting with specific code language that affirms the historic application of the 16-foot height limit as being a "by-right" height limit for all citywide residential properties; and,

WHEREAS, after notices issued pursuant to the requirements of Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a continued duly noticed public hearing on April 20, 2004, at which time all interested parties were given the opportunity to be heard and present evidence.

WHEREAS, after receiving public testimony at the public hearing, on April 20, 2004, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. ___ amending Title 17 of the Municipal Code affirming the City’s historical interpretation and application of the 16-foot height requirement and clarifying the Height Variation and Grading findings for Citywide residential zoned neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS, in the adoption of Ordinance No. ___, the City Council further found that there is no substantial evidence that the amendments to Title 17 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 historical interpretation and application of the 16-foot height requirement and clarify the Height Variation Findings. An Addendum (No. 10) to the prior Negative Declaration was prepared and attached as Exhibit ‘A’ to Ordinance No. ___. The City Council hereby finds, based on its own independent judgment, that the facts stated in the Addendum are true because the revisions to Title 17 of the Municipal Code will not result in greater environmental impacts in the City.

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

Section 1: The City Council finds that the Height Variation Guidelines and the Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook, as set forth in Exhibit ‘A’ hereto, shall be amended to reflect the amendments to Title 17 of the Municipal Code adopted under Ordinance No. 389.

Section 2: The City Council finds that the amendments to the Height Variation Guidelines, as set forth in Exhibit ‘A’ attached hereto, results in substantially the same intent as the document adopted by the City Council on June 3, 1996, which was developed in response to the November 17, 1989 voter approval of Proposition M.

Section 3: The City Council finds that the amendments to the Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook, as set forth in Exhibit ‘A’ attached hereto, results in substantially the same intent as the document adopted by the City Council on May 6, 2003.

Section 4: The amendments to the Height Variation Guidelines and the Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook shall be effective immediately from the date of the adoption of Ordinance No. ___.

PASSED, APPROVED and ADOPTED this 20th day of April, 2004.

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Peter C. Gardiner

Mayor

 

ATTEST:

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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, do hereby certify that the above Resolution No. 2004-__ was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at regular meeting thereof held on April 20, 2004.

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City Clerk