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RESOLUTION NO. 2004-
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES CERTIFYING THE FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT FOR THE NATURAL COMMUNITIES CONSERVATION PLAN PROGRAM, ADOPTING MITIGATION MEASURES, AND CERTAIN FINDINGS AND FACTS IN SUPPORT OF FINDINGS AS REQUIRED BY THE CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT ("CEQA"), IN CONNECTION WITH THE APPROVAL AND ADOPTION OF THE CITY SUBAREA PLAN AND IMPLEMENTING AGREEMENT
WHEREAS, the Natural Communities Conservation Plan (NCCP) Act of 1991 provides for the preparation and implementation of large-scale natural resource conservation plans that identify and provide for the protection and perpetuation of natural wildlife diversity, while allowing for compatible and appropriate development and growth, and while providing comprehensive management and conservation of multiple species; and,
WHEREAS, the City has entered into an NCCP agreement with the California Department of Fish and Game and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to develop an NCCP subarea plan that would encompass the entire City; and,
WHEREAS, the Proposed Project includes adoption of the City Subarea Plan and implementation of an NCCP Reserve, and adoption of an Implementing Agreement that sets forth the responsibilities of all the parties involved with the City’s NCCP; and,
WHEREAS, a description and summary of the draft NCCP Plan was presented to the City Council on February 4, 2003, at which time the City Council directed staff to complete the Draft NCCP Plan; and,
WHEREAS, the Draft NCCP Subarea Plan was completed and made available to the public in June 2003; and,
WHEREAS, the City analyzed the Proposed Project’s potential impacts on the environment in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Cal. Pub. Res. Code § 21000 et seq.) and the State CEQA Guidelines (Guidelines) (14 Cal. Code Regs. § 15000 et seq.) promulgated with respect thereto; and,
WHEREAS, the City prepared an Initial Environmental Study (Initial Study) for the Project pursuant to Section 15063 of the Guidelines, which concluded that there was evidence that the Project may have a significant environmental impact on specifically identified resources, including biological resources, land use/planning, and recreation; and,
WHEREAS, based upon the information contained in the Initial Study, the City ordered the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Project in accordance with the provisions of Guidelines Sections 15064 and 15081; and,
WHEREAS, a Notice of Preparation (NOP) was prepared and circulated from June 25, 2003 to July 25, 2003, in order to receive public comments on what should be included in the analysis of the EIR; and,
WHEREAS, the City sent the NOP to the State Clearinghouse in the Office of Planning and Research for the State of California (State Clearinghouse) and to other interested agencies and groups in accordance with Guidelines Section 15082(a); and,
WHEREAS, a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) was prepared and circulated for 60 days from February 20, 2004 to April 20, 2004, in order to receive written comments on the adequacy of the document from responsible agencies and the public; and,
WHEREAS, during the public review and comment process the City received more than 575 comments regarding the Proposed Project, including written comments; and,
WHEREAS, the City prepared written responses to the comments on the DEIR and made revisions and additions to the DEIR, and distributed those responses to commenting agencies and the public in accordance with the provisions of Public Resources Code Section 21092.5; and,
WHEREAS, the City Council has independently reviewed the Final EIR documentation completed for the Proposed Project,
NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1: The Final EIR (FEIR) for the Proposed Project is comprised of one volume: the FEIR (July 30, 2004), which includes the Draft EIR as modified in response to comments, all comments, and the responses to those comments. The findings made in this Resolution are based upon the information and evidence set forth in the FEIR and upon other substantial evidence that has been presented in the record of this proceeding. The documents, staff reports, technical studies, appendices, plans, specifications, and other materials that constitute the record of proceedings on which this Resolution is based are on file and available for public examination during normal business hours with the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement, who serves as the custodian of these records.
Section 2: The City Council finds that pursuant to Guideline Sections 15087(e) and 15105, agencies and interested members of the public have been afforded ample notice and opportunity to comment on the FEIR by providing a 60-day public review period, as well as holding a public meeting on March 16, 2004, to provide a venue for the public to comment on the DEIR.
Section 3: The City Council has independently reviewed and considered the contents of the FEIR pursuant to Guidelines Section 15084(e). The City Council hereby finds that the FEIR reflects the independent judgment of the City and the City Council. The City Council further finds that the additional information provided in staff reports, and in responses to comments received after circulation of the DEIR, does not constitute new information requiring a recirculation of the FEIR under CEQA. The public has not been deprived of a meaningful opportunity to comment upon a substantial environmental impact of the Proposed Project or a feasible mitigation measure or alternative that the City has declined to implement. All feasible mitigation measures suggested in the FEIR have been considered. Those measures, as applicable, shall be incorporated as conditions of project approval for any approval under this EIR and shall be fully enforceable through the Implementing Agreement. No additional feasible mitigation measures or alternatives have been identified.
Section 4: The City Council finds that the comments on the DEIR received during the public comment period, and the responses to those comments, have been received by the City. The City Council hereby certifies that the FEIR has been completed in compliance with CEQA, pursuant to Guidelines Section 15090.
Section 5: Based upon the Initial Study and the record before the City Council, the City Council finds that the Proposed Project would not cause significant environmental impacts in the areas of Aesthetics, Agricultural Resources, Air Quality, Cultural Resources, Geology and Soils, Hazards and Hazardous Materials, Hydrology and Water Quality, Mineral Resources, Noise, Population and Housing, Public Services, Transportation and Traffic, and Utilities and Service Systems. Explanations for why the City Council determined that the Proposed Project will have no impact or will cause a less than significant impact to the foregoing resources are contained in the Initial Study (included as Appendix A to the FEIR) and in Section 8.0 of the FEIR in accordance with the provisions of Guidelines Section 15128.
Section 6: Based upon the FEIR and the record before the City Council, the City Council finds that the Proposed Project, as mitigated, would not cause significant environmental impacts in the areas of Biological Resources, Land Use/Planning, and Recreation. Explanations for why the foregoing impacts were found to be insignificant are fully discussed Section 5.0 of the FEIR, and a chart of the mitigation measures appears as Table 2-1 in Section 2.0 of the FEIR, and is attached hereto as Exhibit "A." The identified mitigation measures avoid or substantially reduce the potential impacts in these areas.
Section 7: Based upon the FEIR and the record before the City Council, the City Council finds that the Proposed Project’s cumulative impacts are not significant. Further explanation for this determination may be found in Sections 4.0, 5.1.3, 5.2.3, and 5.3.3 of the FEIR.
Section 8: Section 7.0 of the FEIR describes, and the City Council has fully considered, a reasonable range of alternatives to the Proposed Project that might fulfill the basic objectives of the Proposed Project. These alternatives include "Alternative 7.2 – No Project/No Action Alternative," "Alternative 7.3 – Alternative A, Environmentally Preferred Alternative," and "Alternative 7.4 – Alternative B, Landowner Alternative." The City Council further finds that the alternatives identified in the FEIR would not sufficiently achieve the basic objectives of the Proposed Project to provide for the protection and perpetuation of natural wildlife diversity, while allowing for compatible and appropriate development and growth, and while providing comprehensive management and conservation of multiple species, as discussed below:
No Project/No Action Alternative: Under this alternative, the existing land use and environmental regulations process would continue and be required for all public and private projects proposed in the City. Existing regulatory practices require mitigation for impacts to sensitive species and habitats, resulting in lands being set aside for open-space preservation. The configuration of preserved lands under this alternative would, however, be implemented project-by-project and be characterized, as it is currently, by fragmentation, potentially poor Reserve design or constrained habitat linkages, and isolated island preserves, resulting in increasing the risk of species decline and local extirpation. This project-by-project pattern of planning would likely occur on both public and private lands within the Subarea Plan under the No Project/No Action Alternative.
Alternative 1 – Environmentally Preferred Alternative: This alternative would minimize the amount of future development, resulting in 91.0 percent of the existing naturalized vegetation being conserved. This alternative includes 13.9 fewer acres of coastal sage scrub habitat but 36.3 more acres in total compared to the Proposed Project. This alternative is larger than the Proposed Project in terms of proportion of conserved naturalized habitats (91.0 percent versus 87.4 percent), and the locations of potential future development are different. This alternative conserves all key habitat linkages in the city and linkages to adjacent jurisdictions. Relatively isolated habitat areas of public lands are excluded in this Alternative. The City Council does not find this alternative to be feasible, because it does not meet NCCP’s objective of balancing development and preservation. Further, without any development, the financial feasibility of the project becomes questionable, which would undermine its implementation.
Alternative 2 – Landowner Alternative: This alternative would conserve 78.3 percent of existing naturalized vegetation. It would greatly fragment the most contiguous habitat areas and constrain habitat linkages between the larger blocks of coastal sage scrub and the linkage to habitats in Palos Verdes Estates. More privately owned lands would be used as mitigation for development impacts, and less private land would need to be acquired. The City Council does not find this alternative to be feasible, because a smaller amount of land is preserved, and the long term viability of the sensitive species could be undermined.
Section 8: The mitigation measures in the FEIR that correspond to the environmental impacts which may result from the Proposed Project are hereby adopted and made a condition of approval of, or incorporated into, the Proposed Project. The City Council also hereby adopts the "Mitigation Monitoring Plan" attached hereto as Exhibit "A." The Mitigation Monitoring Plan will be used to monitor compliance with the mitigation measures and conditions that have been adopted or made a condition of Proposed Project approval as set forth in this Section of this Resolution and in the Mitigation Monitoring Plan.
Section 9: For the foregoing reasons and based on the information and findings contained in the staff reports, minutes, and evidence presented at the public hearings, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby approves the FEIR as the environmental document for the Proposed Project approving and adopting the City Subarea Plan and the Implementing Agreement.
Section 10: City staff shall file a Notice of Determination pursuant to Public Resources Code section 21152.
PASSED, APPROVED, and ADOPTED this 31st day of August 2004.
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 Resolution No. 2004-__ was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting held on August 31, 2004.