Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: CITY ATTORNEY AND DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: APRIL 20, 2004

SUBJECT: CODE AMENDMENT (PLANNING CASE NO. ZON2004-00142): LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM EXCEPTION CLARIFICATION AND REVISIONS

Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, AICP, Senior Planner

RECOMMENDATION

1) Provide direction to Staff regarding the City Council’s intent with respect to the cumulative 600-square-foot limitation for landslide moratorium exception requests and, if deemed appropriate; 2) adopt Ordinance No. ___U, adopting Revisions to Chapter 15.20 (Moratorium on Land Use Permits) of the Municipal Code and declaring the urgency thereof; and 3) introduce Ordinance No. ___ to adopt Revisions to Chapter 15.20 (Moratorium on Land Use Permits) of the Municipal Code.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

A recent request for landslide moratorium exception (LME) permit has called into question the City Council’s intent in imposing a 600-square-foot cumulative limitation on additions and permanent detached accessory structures. Specifically, it is not entirely clear whether the City Council intended the 600-square-foot limitation to apply cumulatively to both additions and permanent detached accessory structures combined, or to each of these exception categories individually. Staff seeks direction from the City Council, and offers suggested revisions to the landslide moratorium regulations to clarify this issue.

BACKGROUND

On September 5, 1978, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 108U, thereby enacting a moratorium on land use permits within the City’s landslide moratorium area. Ordinance No.108U provided for exceptions to the landslide moratorium under the following circumstances:

  • Repairs or renovation of existing structures or facilities which do not increase the land coverage of those facilities or add to the water usage of those facilities.
  • Reconstruction of an existing building or structure where a portion not to exceed fifty percent (50%) of the value thereof has been damaged or destroyed by fire or other casualty.
  • Permits for previously existing structures.
  • City-directed Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Report.
  • Any City-approved project to mitigate the potential for landslide.

Over the next seven years, the landslide moratorium regulations were amended many times (see the attached landslide moratorium ordinance history). These amendments included expansion and refinement of the various categories of exempt projects in the landslide moratorium area. On January 14, 1988, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 223, which amended Ordinance No. 108U and provided for an additional exception category for "minor projects not involving new buildings, and one detached garage per parcel, not exceeding an area of six hundred (600) square feet, without windows, with water service and drainage limited to minor fixtures (no bathroom or kitchen fixtures)…."

The City’s landslide moratorium regulations were eventually codified in Title 15 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code (RPVMC). Over the next twelve years, the above-mentioned exception was refined and expanded to allow the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement to review LME requests up to the 600-square-foot threshold and requiring City Council review of requests exceeding this threshold. In addition to the 600-square-feet of minor additions, owners of developed properties could also seek approval for a detached garage not to exceed six hundred square-feet (600 SF) in size (Section 15.20.040(H)). The Code therefore allowed, and continues to allow, garages separately from other minor projects to resolve situations where parking requirements are not met. On June 6, 2000, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 357, which included (among other things) a new exception category (Section 15.20.040(L)) for "permanent detached accessory structures which do not exceed a cumulative project(s) total of six hundred square feet per parcel, on lots which are currently developed with a residential structure or other lawfully existing non-residential structure…."

On September 17, 2002, the City Council considered a request for an LME permit for a proposed 1,977-square-foot addition to an existing single-family residence in the Portuguese Bend community. The City Council noted that the size of the proposed addition was equivalent to the size of some existing homes in the Portuguese Bend community, and expressed concern regarding unknown geologic substructure conditions as noted in the recent report by geotechnical consultants Cotton-Shires. The City Council also noted that additions of the magnitude proposed in this LME approximated the size of some new structures, causing concern regarding resultant geologic impacts that would likely be akin to the impacts accompanying development of vacant properties with new residences, if the landslide moratorium area did not prohibit new development of that magnitude. The City Council ultimately denied this LME request without prejudice, and directed Staff to prepare a revision to the landslide moratorium regulations to limit the maximum size of proposed additions to six hundred square feet (600 SF).

On November 5, 2002, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 382U and introduced Ordinance 383, which revised Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code (RPVMC) Sections 15.20.040(H) and 15.20.040(L) by deleting the following sentence from each section:

A landslide moratorium exception permit for a project in excess of six hundred square feet per parcel, which would otherwise meet the criteria of this subsection and Section 15.20.050 of this chapter, may be approved by the city council under the standards set forth in this subsection.

These revisions, which are currently in effect, allow the Director to continue to review LME requests, but do not allow these requests to exceed the 600-square-foot threshold. This change also effectively took away the City Council’s authority to approve LME requests for projects of any magnitude without limitation. Both Sections 15.20.040(H) and 15.20.040(L) include language allowing minor projects and construction of permanent detached accessory structures that "do not exceed a cumulative project(s) total of six hundred square feet per parcel." Recently, however, the intent of this language has been called into question by another LME request in the Portuguese Bend community that proposes 590-square-foot additions to the main residence and construction of both a new 600-square-foot detached garage and a new 575-square-foot permanent detached accessory structure (i.e., a barn). Therefore, Staff is proposing a code amendment to clarify the City Council’s intent in re-establishing the 600-square-foot cumulative limitation for additions and new construction.

DISCUSSION

The City Council Minutes of September 17, 2002, note that "Staff was directed to prepare a revised ordinance that reasserts the 1993 limitation of 600 square feet additions as the maximum allowed in the Landslide Moratorium area." In the City Council Minutes for November 5, 2002, there is extensive discussion of the origin of the 600-square-foot per parcel limitation and its appropriateness, including questions about the cumulative limitations on additions to developed properties. In drafting Ordinance 382U, Staff believed that the City Council’s direction was captured by the inclusion of language preventing projects that "exceed a cumulative project(s) total of six hundred square feet per parcel" in both Sections 15.20.040(H) and 15.20.040(L). However, this language does not provide an explicit "cross-reference" between the two sections, so it is possible and reasonable to interpret that the 600-square-foot cumulative limitation applies to each section individually. It is Staff’s belief that this was not the City Council’s intention in adopting Ordinance Nos. 382U and 383.

Once the possible ambiguity in the language of Sections 15.20.040(H) and 15.20.040(L) was identified, Staff reviewed the City’s actions on recent LME requests to determine how these exception categories had been applied in the past (see attached table). This review focused upon LME requests reviewed during the period between the enactment of Section 15.20.040(L) and the re-establishment of the 600-square-foot limit (July 6, 2000 to November 4, 2002), and those acted upon after the 600-square-foot limit was re-established (November 5, 2002 to the present). Excluded from this review were LME requests for properties in the Seaview community because additions and new construction in this neighborhood are covered under a separate exception category (Section 15.20.040(K)) that does not impose size limitations on projects. This review revealed that there has only been one LME request made under Section 15.20.040(L), and it did not exceed the 600-square-foot threshold or involve concurrent additions to the main residence. The City has yet to act upon an LME request involving simultaneous exceptions under Sections 15.20.040(H) and 15.20.040(L). As such, the past review of LME requests does not provide much guidance in this matter.

In the absence of clear direction from past LME requests, the table below summarizes the alternative maximum cumulative project(s) total per parcel that could result under "liberal" and "conservative" interpretations of the current language of Sections 15.20.040(H) and 15.20.040(L) of the Municipal Code. The "liberal" interpretation assumes that the 600-square-foot limitations apply individually to each exception category, while the "conservative" approach assumes that the 600-square-foot limitation for additions and permanent detached accessory structures are combined. Both approaches assume that the construction of a detached garage up to the 600-square-foot limit is allowed individually since the Development Code requires single-family residences to have garages.

Current Exception Category

Description

"Liberal" Cumulative Total Allowed w/ LME

"Conservative" Cumulative Total Allowed w/ LME

H

Additions to existing structure(s), decks or enclosed patios

600 SF

600 SF

L

Permanent detached accessory structure(s), except for garage(s)

600 SF

H

Detached garage

600 SF

600 SF

Maximum Cumulative Project(s) Total per Parcel

1,800 SF

1,200 SF

As mentioned above, Staff believes that it was the City Council’s intent to take the "conservative" approach in applying the maximum cumulative project area, thereby limiting the maximum cumulative square footage of project additions to one thousand two hundred square feet (1,200 SF) per parcel. A clearer "cross-reference" in the Code language would reduce confusion regarding the applicability of the maximum cumulative project area to both additions and accessory structures. Another possible correction to clarify the City Council’s intent would be to group the various minor projects subject to the 600-square-foot maximum cumulative project area under a single exception category. In addition, Staff believes that restricting the construction of new garages on developed lots to only detached garages serves no useful purpose that furthers the goals of the City’s landslide moratorium regulations. It has been Staff’s experience that among the most common type of recent addition and remodel project proposed in the City—both in and out of the landslide moratorium area—is converting an existing attached garage to living area and then constructing a new attached garage to replace it. Staff believes that placing the regulations regarding such garages in their own exception category would also help to clarify the City Council’s intention.

Based upon the foregoing discussion, Staff suggests the following revisions to Sections 15.20.040(H) and 15.20.040(L) (additions underlined and deletions struck out):

Section 15.20.040(H)

Minor projects on those a lots that which are currently is developed with a residential structure or other lawfully existing non-residential structure, that and involves an additions to an existing structures, decks or enclosed patios, conversion of an existing garage to habitable space, or construction of a permanent attached or detached accessory structure, and does not exceed a cumulative project(s) total of six hundred square feet per parcel, and do not involve any new buildings; provided that the a landslide moratorium exception permit is approved by the director, and provided that the project complies with the criteria set forth in Section 15.20.050 of this chapter and does not include any additional plumbing fixtures, unless the lot is served by a sanitary sewer system. The six-hundred-square-foot limitation on cumulative projects that can be approved on a lot pursuant to this Paragraph H does not include the construction of a new garage, which can be approved pursuant to Paragraph L of this Section. In addition to the six hundred square feet of additional floor area for residential structures and for other permanent detached accessory structures, the director may approve a landslide moratorium exception permit for one detached garage per parcel, which does not exceed an area of six hundred square feet, without windows or any plumbing fixtures. If the lot is served by a sanitary sewer system the permit may allow the installation of windows and plumbing fixtures. All permits Minor projects involving the construction of an enclosed permanent detached accessory structure shall include a requirement that a use restriction covenant in a form acceptable to the city, which prevents the garage enclosed permanent detached accessory structure from being used for any purpose other than parking of vehicles and storage of personal property as a separate dwelling unit is recorded with the Los Angeles County register-recorder. Such covenant shall be submitted to the director prior to the issuance of a building permit. Prior to the approval of a landslide moratorium exception permit for such minor projects, the applicant shall submit to the director any geological or geotechnical studies reasonably required by the city to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the city geotechnical staff that the proposed project will not aggravate the existing situation.

Section 15.20.040(L)

Construction of permanent detached accessory structures which do not exceed a cumulative project(s) total, of six hundred square feet per parcel one attached or detached garage per parcel, which does not exceed an area of six hundred square feet, without windows or any plumbing fixtures, on a lots which that are currently is developed with a residential structure or other lawfully existing non-residential structure; provided that a landslide moratorium exception permit is approved by the director, and provided that the project complies with the criteria set forth in Section 15.20.050 of this chapter and does not include any additional plumbing fixtures, unless the lot is served by a sanitary sewer system. If the lot is served by a sanitary sewer system, the permit may allow the installation of windows and plumbing fixtures in the garage. The approval of a landslide moratorium exception permit for such a project shall be conditioned to require that a use restriction covenant in a form acceptable to the city, which prevents the permanent detached accessory structure garage from being used as a separate dwelling unit for any purpose other than parking of vehicles and storage of personal property, is recorded with the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder. Such covenant shall be submitted to the director prior to the issuance of a building permit. Prior to the approval of a landslide moratorium exception permit for such permanent detached accessory structure garage, the applicant shall submit to the director any geological or geotechnical studies reasonably required by the city to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the city geotechnical staff that the proposed project will not aggravate the existing situation.

Staff believes that these revisions will correct the missing "cross-reference" between Sections 15.20.040(H) and 15.20.040(L) in the current Code language, making it clear that the 600-square-foot per parcel limitation would apply cumulatively to projects involving both current exception categories combined. The various minor projects subject to the cumulative 600-square-foot limitation would be grouped in Section 15.20.040(H), while the separate 600-square-foot allowance for the garage would be covered in Section 15.20.040(L). The effect of these revisions would be to limit cumulative future total expansion of developed properties in the Landslide Moratorium Area (except for the Seaview area) to one thousand two hundred square feet (1,200 SF) per parcel, consisting of:

  • Six hundred square feet (600 SF) of additions to main structures, patio enclosures, conversion of existing garages to habitable space, and construction of and additions to permanent attached and detached accessory structures; and,
  • Six hundred square feet (600 SF) for a new attached or detached garage.

Staff has prepared both urgency and non-urgency ordinances for this code amendment. This amendment will apply to any LME requests submitted on or after the effective dates of the ordinances.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

On March 31, 2004, public hearing notices were mailed to forty-three (43) interested parties and nineteen (19) homeowners’ associations and special districts within or adjacent to the landslide moratorium area. On April 3, 2004, a ⅛-page public notice of the April 20, 2004 public hearing for this matter was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News. As of the date that this Staff report was completed, no comments had been received regarding the proposed revisions.

Staff has reviewed the proposed code amendment for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Accordingly, Staff has prepared an addendum to the Negative Declaration prepared for the last major landslide moratorium revisions in June 2000 (see attached copy). This addendum is included as Exhibit ‘A’ to the attached draft Ordinances.

Included in the list of interested parties are the applicants for three (3) pending LME applications currently on file to the Planning Division. Two of these applications are for property in the Seaview community, which has its own exception category for additions and new construction under the City’s landslide moratorium regulations (Section 15.20.040(K)), without any set limit the maximum size of projects that may be proposed under an LME request. The proposed revisions to Chapter 15.20 will not affect these applications because no changes to Section 15.20.040(K) are proposed.

The third pending LME application is for a property located in the Portuguese Bend community. As described above, this application requests permission to construct additions to the main residence and both a new detached garage and a new barn pursuant to exceptions listed in Sections 15.20.040(H) and 15.20.040(L) of the current Code. These Code sections are the subject of Staff’s suggested revisions to the City’s moratorium regulations, and future LME requests similar to this proposal would be affected by these revisions. However, since the draft urgency ordinance enacting Staff’s suggested revisions only applies to LME applications submitted on or after the date of its adoption and this application was submitted on February 19, 2004, it would not be affected by the proposed changes to these Code sections and would proceed under the "liberal" interpretation of the current Code as described above (i.e., allowing up to one thousand eight hundred square feet (1,800 SF) of additions and new construction). The treatment of this pending case is similar to the City Council’s treatment of an LME application that was pending at the time that Ordinance No. 382U was adopted in November 2002. In that case, the City Council allowed the LME request to proceed—even though it exceeded the cumulative 600-square-foot threshold re-established by Ordinance No. 382U—because the application had already been deemed complete and plans had been prepared based upon the Code in effect up until that time.

CONCLUSION

Planning Staff and the City Attorney’s office have prepared the attached draft ordinances in order to clarify previous City Council direction. As currently proposed, these ordinances will clarify the maximum 600-square-foot cumulative limitation on LME requests that was re-established in November 2002. Therefore, based upon the information and analysis provided above, Staff recommends that the City Council adopt Ordinance No. ___U, adopting revisions to Chapter 15.20 (Moratorium on Land Use Permits) of the Municipal Code and declaring the urgency thereof; and 2) introduce Ordinance No. ___ to adopt revisions to Chapter 15.20 (Moratorium on Land Use Permits) of the Municipal Code.

FISCAL IMPACT

There will be no fiscal impact to the City as a result of the City Council’s action in this matter.

ALTERNATIVES

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

  1. Based upon City Council discussion and public testimony, the City Council may direct Staff to revise the draft Ordinances, and re-agendize the revised draft Ordinances for introduction and first reading on a future date certain.
  2. Based upon City Council discussion and public testimony, the City Council may provide additional direction to Staff, and remand the draft Ordinances back to Staff for further review and refinement.
  3. The City Council may decide to take no action on the draft Ordinances, thereby disapproving this code amendment.

Respectfully submitted:

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

Reviewed:

Les Evans, City Manager

Attachments:

Draft Ordinance No. ___U

Draft Ordinance No. ___

Ordinance Nos. 382U and 383

Landslide Moratorium Ordinance History

Summary of LME requests from July 2, 2000 to present

Negative Declaration prepared for Code Amendment No. 45

City Council Minutes of September 17, 2002 and November 5, 2002 (excerpts)

ORDINANCE NO. ___U

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ADOPTING AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 15.20 (MORATORIUM ON LAND USE PERMITS) OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE, AND DECLARING THE URGENCY THEREOF

WHEREAS, on September 17, 2002, the City Council directed Staff to formulate revisions to the Municipal Code in order to clarify the City’s landslide moratorium exception regulations as they apply to additions to existing structures and to accessory structures and uses; and,

WHEREAS, on November 5, 2002, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 382U, thereby re-establishing a maximum cumulative area of six hundred square feet per parcel for additions to existing structures and for construction of permanent detached accessory structures; and,

WHEREAS, between November 5, 2002 and February 18, 2004, the City received only one application for a landslide moratorium exception permit involving new permanent detached accessory structures, and no such applications involving both additions to existing structures and construction of new permanent detached accessory structures were submitted during this period; and,

WHEREAS, on February 19, 2004, the City received an application for a landslide moratorium exception involving both additions to existing structures and construction of new detached accessory structures that, considered individually, did not exceed six hundred square feet each, but when combined, exceeded a cumulative total of six hundred square feet for the project; and,

WHEREAS, this application called into question Staff’s interpretation of the City Council’s intent in adopting Ordinance 382U and, therefore, Staff has proposed revisions to Chapter 15.20 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code to clarify what it believes to be the City Council’s intent; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et seq. ("CEQA"), the State’s CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 15000 et seq., the City’s Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), the City determined that only minor technical changes or additions are necessary to the Negative Declaration for Code Amendment No. 45/Environmental Assessment No. 714, which made miscellaneous amendments to Chapter 15.20 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, on June 6, 2000. The ordinance amendment proposed herein clarifies existing controls on granting certain exceptions to the Landslide Moratorium consistent with Code Amendment No. 45, with the goal of limiting the size and correlative impact of certain additional development on previously developed properties undertaken in the Landslide Moratorium Area. Therefore, under CEQA Guidelines §15164 and the City’s Local CEQA Guidelines §VI. B., preparation of an addendum to the Negative Declaration adopted for Code Amendment No. 45 is deemed proper.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: The City Council has reviewed and considered the amendments to Sections 15.20.040 H. and L. of Chapter 15.20 of Title 15 of the Municipal Code.

Section 2: The City Council finds that the amendments to Sections 15.20.040 H. and L. of Chapter 15.20 of Title 15 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 balance the rights of owners of developed properties within the Landslide Moratorium Area to make limited, reasonable improvements while limiting the potential impacts resulting from these improvements upon landslide movement, soil stability and public safety within and adjacent to the Landslide Moratorium Area.

Section 3: The City Council further finds that the amendments to Sections 15.20.040 H. and L. of Chapter 15.20 of Title 15 of the Municipal Code clarify and are consistent with the City Council’s intent in adopting Ordinance 382U on November 5, 2002, in that the cumulative maximum square footage of additions to existing structures and construction of permanent detached accessory structures, when combined together, would not exceed six hundred square feet per parcel.

Section 4: The City Council further finds that there is no substantial evidence that the amendments to Sections 15.20.040 H. and L. of Chapter 15.20 of Title 15 of the Municipal Code would result in significant environmental effects, or a substantial increase in the severity of such effects, because the minor clarification to the Municipal Code will provide for limited, reasonable improvement of existing, developed properties without weakening the current landslide moratorium or increasing the potential for environmental impacts of future development in the City. The City Council considered the Negative Declaration adopted for Code Amendment No. 45/Environmental Assessment No. 714, and Addendum No. 2, which is attached hereto as Exhibit ‘A’, prior to making its decision regarding the code amendments contemplated herein.

Section 5: The City Council further finds that the amendments to Sections 15.20.040 H. and L. of Chapter 15.20 of Title 15 of the Municipal Code are necessary to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare in the area.

Section 6: Based on the foregoing, Sections 15.20.040 (Exceptions) H. and L. of Chapter 15.20 of Title 15 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code are amended to read as follows:

15.20.040 H. Minor projects on a lot that currently is developed with a residential structure or other lawfully existing non-residential structure and involves an addition to an existing structure, enclosed patio, conversion of an existing garage to habitable space, or construction of a permanent attached or detached accessory structure, and does not exceed a cumulative project(s) total, of six hundred square feet per parcel; provided that a landslide moratorium exception permit is approved by the director, and provided that the project complies with the criteria set forth in Section 15.20.050 of this chapter and does not include any additional plumbing fixtures, unless the lot is served by a sanitary sewer system. The six hundred square foot limitation on cumulative projects that can be approved on a lot pursuant to this Paragraph H does not include the construction of a new garage, which can be approved pursuant to Paragraph L of this Section. Minor projects involving the construction of an enclosed permanent detached accessory structure shall include a requirement that a use restriction covenant in a form acceptable to the city, which prevents the enclosed permanent detached accessory structure from being used as a separate dwelling unit is recorded with the Los Angeles County register-recorder. Such covenant shall be submitted to the director prior to the issuance of a building permit. Prior to the approval of a landslide moratorium exception permit for such minor projects, the applicant shall submit to the director any geological or geotechnical studies reasonably required by the city to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the city geotechnical staff that the proposed project will not aggravate the existing situation.

15.20.040 L. Construction of one attached or detached garage per parcel, which does not exceed an area of six hundred square feet, without windows or any plumbing fixtures, on a lot that currently is developed with a residential structure or other lawfully existing non-residential structure; provided that a landslide moratorium exception permit is approved by the director, and provided that the project complies with the criteria set forth in Section 15.20.050 of this chapter. If the lot is served by a sanitary sewer system, the permit may allow the installation of windows and plumbing fixtures in the garage. The approval of a landslide moratorium exception permit for such a project shall be conditioned to require that a use restriction covenant in a form acceptable to the city, which prevents the garage from being used for any purpose other than parking of vehicles and storage of personal property, is recorded with the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder. Such covenant shall be submitted to the director prior to the issuance of a building permit. Prior to the approval of a landslide moratorium exception permit for such garage, the applicant shall submit to the director any geological or geotechnical studies reasonably required by the city to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the city geotechnical staff that the proposed project will not aggravate the existing situation.

Section 7: After the effective date of this Ordinance, it shall apply to all landslide moratorium exception permits and any subsequent development applications submitted on or after the effective date of this Ordinance.

Section 8: In order to protect the public health, safety and welfare it was necessary for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes to adopt an urgency ordinance establishing a moratorium on certain permits in that area of the City identified as the "Landslide Moratorium Area" due to the presence of landsides and the potential that new development could further destabilize the area. These amendments are necessary to clarify the ambiguity in the 2002 code amendment, which was prepared in response to the recent report by Cotton, Shires & Associates. This report clarified that the geologic substructure underneath one of the areas within the Landslide Moratorium has not been ascertained, which makes large additions to existing structures more problematic. The amendments herein will clarify the scope of additions or expansions of existing homes within the Landslide Moratorium area, which will enhance and maintain land stability, and avoid adverse health, safety and welfare impacts that could result from active land movement in the area. Therefore, this ordinance is necessary for the public health, safety and welfare and shall take effect immediately upon adoption as an urgency ordinance.

Section 9: The City Clerk shall certify to the adoption of this Ordinance and shall cause the same to be posted in the manner prescribed by law.

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED THIS __TH DAY OF _____ 2004.

_________________________________

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, do hereby certify that the whole number of members of the City Council of said City is five; the foregoing Urgency Ordinance No. ___U was duly and regularly adopted by the City Council of said City at a regular meeting thereof held on __________, 2004, and that the same was passed and adopted by the following roll call vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSENT:

ABSTAIN:

__________________________________

CITY CLERK

EXHIBIT ‘A’ TO ORDINANCE NO. ___U

ADDENDUM NO. 2 TO ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT/

NEGATIVE DECLARATION (EA/ND) NO. 714

April 20, 2004

On June 6, 2000, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 2000-35, thereby adopting a Negative Declaration for Environmental Assessment No. 714 and Code Amendment No. 45, amending Chapter 15.20 (Moratorium on Land Use Permits) of the City's Municipal Code. The amendments were intended to allow for limited, reasonable use of developed properties within the Landslide Moratorium Area by expanding the variety of development projects that could be excepted from the moratorium without jeopardizing the public health, safety and general welfare. The amendments also included a requirement for the connection of existing developed properties to new sanitary sewer systems, with the intent of reducing the infiltration of wastewater into the active and inactive landslides, and improving gross soil stability within the entire Landslide Moratorium Area. Prior to its adoption, the Negative Declaration was circulated for public comment from April 19, 2002 through May 18, 2002 and no substantive comments were received from any persons or responsible agencies. In adopting the Negative Declaration, the City Council found: 1) that there would be no significant adverse environmental impacts resulting from the adoption of the amendments; and 2) that, although the adoption of the code amendment would serve only to effectuate changes to the language of the existing Municipal Code, the City Council recognized that separate environmental review would be performed for any projects to which Chapter 15.20 applied, prior to receiving any approvals from the City.

The City Council is currently considering the adoption of an Ordinance that would further amend Chapter 15.20 by clarifying that the maximum cumulative project(s) total square footage for additions to existing structures and construction of permanent detached accessory structures is six hundred square feet per parcel for both types of project(s) combined, rather than for each type of project(s) individually. The proposed amendment would maintain the current Code provisions to allow the construction of a new garage up to six hundred square feet in area on a developed parcel. The effect of these revisions would be to limit the expansion of developed properties within the Landslide Moratorium Area—except for those properties located within the Landslide Moratorium Area "outlined in blue" (i.e., subject to the exception under Section 15.20.040 (K) of the Municipal Code)—to one thousand two hundred square feet per parcel, consisting of:

  • Six hundred square feet (600 SF) of additions to main structures, patio enclosures, conversion of existing garages to habitable space, and construction of and additions to permanent attached and detached accessory structures; and,
  • Six hundred square feet (600 SF) for a new attached or detached garage.

Without the adoption of this Ordinance, the current language of Sections 15.20 040 (H) and (L) could be interpreted to allow up to one thousand eight hundred square feet of expansion to developed properties because the totals for additions to existing structures and for new permanent detached accessory structures would not be combined for the purposes of determining the cumulative project(s) square footage. As such, the City Council has determined that the proposed amendment would not result in new significant environmental effects, but would actually serve to reduce potential adverse impacts upon the environment by clarifying the limitations on the scope of future expansions to developed properties within the Landslide Moratorium Area. Furthermore, the City Council believes that the amendment is within the scope of EA/ND No. 714 that was prepared and adopted in conjunction with Code Amendment No. 45’s amendments to Chapter 15.20 that were adopted on June 6, 2000. As a result, no further environmental review of this code amendment is necessary.

ORDINANCE NO. ___

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ADOPTING AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 15.20 (MORATORIUM ON LAND USE PERMITS) OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE

WHEREAS, on September 17, 2002, the City Council directed Staff to formulate revisions to the Municipal Code in order to clarify the City’s landslide moratorium exception regulations as they apply to additions to existing structures and to accessory structures and uses; and,

WHEREAS, on November 5, 2002, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 382U, thereby re-establishing a maximum cumulative area of six hundred square feet per parcel for additions to existing structures and for construction of permanent detached accessory structures; and,

WHEREAS, between November 5, 2002 and February 18, 2004, the City received only one application for a landslide moratorium exception permit involving new permanent detached accessory structures, and no such applications involving both additions to existing structures and construction of new permanent detached accessory structures were submitted during this period; and,

WHEREAS, on February 19, 2004, the City received an application for a landslide moratorium exception involving both additions to existing structures and construction of new detached accessory structures that, considered individually, did not exceed six hundred square feet each, but when combined, exceeded a cumulative total of six hundred square feet for the project; and,

WHEREAS, this application called into question Staff’s interpretation of the City Council’s intent in adopting Ordinance 382U and, therefore, Staff has proposed revisions to Chapter 15.20 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code to clarify what it believes to be the City Council’s intent; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et seq. ("CEQA"), the State’s CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 15000 et seq., the City’s Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), the City determined that only minor technical changes or additions are necessary to the Negative Declaration for Code Amendment No. 45/Environmental Assessment No. 714, which made miscellaneous amendments to Chapter 15.20 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, on June 6, 2000. The ordinance amendment proposed herein clarifies existing controls on granting certain exceptions to the Landslide Moratorium consistent with Code Amendment No. 45, with the goal of limiting the size and correlative impact of certain additional development on previously developed properties undertaken in the Landslide Moratorium Area. Therefore, under CEQA Guidelines §15164 and the City’s Local CEQA Guidelines §VI. B., preparation of an addendum to the Negative Declaration adopted for Code Amendment No. 45 is deemed proper.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: The City Council has reviewed and considered the amendments to Sections 15.20.040 H. and L. of Chapter 15.20 of Title 15 of the Municipal Code.

Section 2: The City Council finds that the amendments to Sections 15.20.040 H. and L. of Chapter 15.20 of Title 15 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 balance the rights of owners of developed properties within the Landslide Moratorium Area to make limited, reasonable improvements while limiting the potential impacts resulting from these improvements upon landslide movement, soil stability and public safety within and adjacent to the Landslide Moratorium Area.

Section 3: The City Council further finds that the amendments to Sections 15.20.040 H. and L. of Chapter 15.20 of Title 15 of the Municipal Code clarify and are consistent with the City Council’s intent in adopting Ordinance 382U on November 5, 2002, in that the cumulative maximum square footage of additions to existing structures and construction of permanent detached accessory structures, when combined together, would not exceed six hundred square feet per parcel.

Section 4: The City Council further finds that there is no substantial evidence that the amendments to Sections 15.20.040 H. and L. of Chapter 15.20 of Title 15 of the Municipal Code would result in significant environmental effects, or a substantial increase in the severity of such effects, because the minor clarifications to the Municipal Code will provide for limited, reasonable improvement of existing, developed properties without weakening the current landslide moratorium or increasing the potential for environmental impacts of future development in the City. The City Council considered the Negative Declaration adopted for Code Amendment No. 45/Environmental Assessment No. 714, and Addendum No. 2, which is attached hereto as Exhibit ‘A’, prior to making its decision regarding the code amendments contemplated herein.

Section 5: The City Council further finds that the amendments to Sections 15.20.040 H. and L. of Chapter 15.20 of Title 15 of the Municipal Code are necessary to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare in the area.

Section 6: Based on the foregoing, Sections 15.20.040 (Exceptions) H. and L. of Chapter 15.20 of Title 15 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code are amended to read as follows:

15.20.040 H. Minor projects on a lot that currently is developed with a residential structure or other lawfully existing non-residential structure and involves an addition to an existing structure, enclosed patio, conversion of an existing garage to habitable space, or construction of a permanent attached or detached accessory structure, and does not exceed a cumulative project(s) total, of six hundred square feet per parcel; provided that a landslide moratorium exception permit is approved by the director, and provided that the project complies with the criteria set forth in Section 15.20.050 of this chapter and does not include any additional plumbing fixtures, unless the lot is served by a sanitary sewer system. The six hundred square foot limitation on cumulative projects that can be approved on a lot pursuant to this Paragraph H does not include the construction of a new garage, which can be approved pursuant to Paragraph L of this Section. Minor projects involving the construction of an enclosed permanent detached accessory structure shall include a requirement that a use restriction covenant in a form acceptable to the city, which prevents the enclosed permanent detached accessory structure from being used as a separate dwelling unit is recorded with the Los Angeles County register-recorder. Such covenant shall be submitted to the director prior to the issuance of a building permit. Prior to the approval of a landslide moratorium exception permit for such minor projects, the applicant shall submit to the director any geological or geotechnical studies reasonably required by the city to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the city geotechnical staff that the proposed project will not aggravate the existing situation.

15.20.040 L. Construction of one attached or detached garage per parcel, which does not exceed an area of six hundred square feet, without windows or any plumbing fixtures, on a lot that currently is developed with a residential structure or other lawfully existing non-residential structure; provided that a landslide moratorium exception permit is approved by the director, and provided that the project complies with the criteria set forth in Section 15.20.050 of this chapter. If the lot is served by a sanitary sewer system, the permit may allow the installation of windows and plumbing fixtures in the garage. The approval of a landslide moratorium exception permit for such a project shall be conditioned to require that a use restriction covenant in a form acceptable to the city, which prevents the garage from being used for any purpose other than parking of vehicles and storage of personal property, is recorded with the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder. Such covenant shall be submitted to the director prior to the issuance of a building permit. Prior to the approval of a landslide moratorium exception permit for such garage, the applicant shall submit to the director any geological or geotechnical studies reasonably required by the city to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the city geotechnical staff that the proposed project will not aggravate the existing situation.

Section 7: After the effective date of this Ordinance, it shall apply to all landslide moratorium exception permits and any subsequent development applications submitted on or after the effective date of this Ordinance.

Section 8: The City Clerk shall certify to the adoption of this Ordinance and shall cause the same to be posted in the manner prescribed by law.

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED THIS __TH DAY OF _____ 2004.

_________________________________

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, do hereby certify that the whole number of members of the City Council of said City is five; the foregoing Ordinance No. ___ passed first reading on __________, 2004, was duly and regularly adopted by the City Council of said City at a regular meeting thereof held on __________, 2004, and that the same was passed and adopted by the following roll call vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSENT:

ABSTAIN:

__________________________________

CITY CLERK

EXHIBIT ‘A’ TO ORDINANCE NO. ___

ADDENDUM NO. 2 TO ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT/

NEGATIVE DECLARATION (EA/ND) NO. 714

April 20, 2004

On June 6, 2000, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 2000-35, thereby adopting a Negative Declaration for Environmental Assessment No. 714 and Code Amendment No. 45, amending Chapter 15.20 (Moratorium on Land Use Permits) of the City's Municipal Code. The amendments were intended to allow for limited, reasonable use of developed properties within the Landslide Moratorium Area by expanding the variety of development projects that could be excepted from the moratorium without jeopardizing the public health, safety and general welfare. The amendments also included a requirement for the connection of existing developed properties to new sanitary sewer systems, with the intent of reducing the infiltration of wastewater into the active and inactive landslides, and improving gross soil stability within the entire Landslide Moratorium Area. Prior to its adoption, the Negative Declaration was circulated for public comment from April 19, 2002 through May 18, 2002 and no substantive comments were received from any persons or responsible agencies. In adopting the Negative Declaration, the City Council found: 1) that there would be no significant adverse environmental impacts resulting from the adoption of the amendments; and 2) that, although the adoption of the code amendment would serve only to effectuate changes to the language of the existing Municipal Code, the City Council recognized that separate environmental review would be performed for any projects to which Chapter 15.20 applied, prior to receiving any approvals from the City.

The City Council is currently considering the adoption of an Ordinance that would further amend Chapter 15.20 by clarifying that the maximum cumulative project(s) total square footage for additions to existing structures and construction of permanent detached accessory structures is six hundred square feet per parcel for both types of project(s) combined, rather than for each type of project(s) individually. The proposed amendment would maintain the current Code provisions to allow the construction of a new garage up to six hundred square feet in area on a developed parcel. The effect of these revisions would be to limit the expansion of developed properties within the Landslide Moratorium Area—except for those properties located within the Landslide Moratorium Area "outlined in blue" (i.e., subject to the exception under Section 15.20.040 (K) of the Municipal Code)—to one thousand two hundred square feet per parcel, consisting of:

  • Six hundred square feet (600 SF) of additions to main structures, patio enclosures, conversion of existing garages to habitable space, and construction of and additions to permanent attached and detached accessory structures; and,
  • Six hundred square feet (600 SF) for a new attached or detached garage.

Without the adoption of this Ordinance, the current language of Sections 15.20 040 (H) and (L) could be interpreted to allow up to one thousand eight hundred square feet of expansion to developed properties because the totals for additions to existing structures and for new permanent detached accessory structures would not be combined for the purposes of determining the cumulative project(s) square footage. As such, the City Council has determined that the proposed amendment would not result in new significant environmental effects, but would actually serve to reduce potential adverse impacts upon the environment by clarifying the limitations on the scope of future expansions to developed properties within the Landslide Moratorium Area. Furthermore, the City Council believes that the amendment is within the scope of EA/ND No. 714 that was prepared and adopted in conjunction with Code Amendment No. 45’s amendments to Chapter 15.20 that were adopted on June 6, 2000. As a result, no further environmental review of this code amendment is necessary.