Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

JUNE 1, 2004 CODE AMENDMENT (PLANNING CASE NO. ZON2004-00142): LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM EXCEPTION CLARIFICATION AND REVISIONS

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

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

DATE: JUNE 1, 2004

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

Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, AICP, Senior Planner

RECOMMENDATION

Adopt Ordinance No. 407, enacting revisions to Chapter 15.20 (Moratorium on Land Use Permits) of the Municipal Code and rescinding Urgency Ordinance No. 406U.

DISCUSSION

On May 18, 2004, the City Council reintroduced Ordinance No. 407 to adopt revisions to clarify the City’s landslide moratorium regulations and rescind Urgency Ordinance No. 406U. Therefore, Staff recommends that the City Council adopt Ordinance No. 407.

Respectfully submitted:

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

Reviewed:

Les Evans, City Manager

Attachments:

Draft Ordinance No. 407

ORDINANCE NO. 407

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 RESCINDING URGENCY ORDINANCE NO. 406U

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 that had not been deemed complete by the City as of the effective date of this Ordinance.

Section 8: Urgency Ordinance No. 406U as adopted by the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council on April 20, 2004 is hereby rescinded as of the effective date of this 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 1ST DAY OF JUNE 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. 407 passed first reading on May 18, 2004, was duly and regularly adopted by the City Council of said City at a regular meeting thereof held on June 1, 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. 407

ADDENDUM NO. 2 TO ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT/

NEGATIVE DECLARATION (EA/ND) NO. 714

__________, 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.