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TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND COUNCILMEMBERS
FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING & CODE ENFORCEMENT
DATE: OCTOBER 5, 2004
SUBJECT: GEOTECHNICAL BOARD OF APPEALS
Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, AICP, Senior Planner
Adopt Ordinance No. 413, adopting amendments to Chapter 2.40 (Geotechnical Board of Appeals) of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code.
On September 21, 2004, the City Council introduced Ordinance No. 413 for proposed amendments to Chapter 2.40 (Geotechnical Board of Appeals) of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code. Therefore, Staff recommends adoption of Ordinance No. 413.
Joel Rojas, AICP, Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement
Les Evans, City Manager
Ordinance No. 413
ORDINANCE NO. 413
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ADOPTING AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 2.40 (GEOTECHNICAL BOARD OF APPEALS) OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE
WHEREAS, on August 15, 1986, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 210, thereby establishing a Geotechnical Board of Appeals for the purpose of hearing appeals from the determinations of the City Engineer as to whether or not, by reason of geologic or soils conditions, a building site or proposed grading work is unsafe, or a geologic or soils report is required before the safety of such site or work can be determined; and,
WHEREAS, on September 2, 1986, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 86-57 establishing a $1,100 fee (trust deposit) for appeals to the Board; and,
WHEREAS, on January 19, 1987, the City Council appointed the first Geotechnical Board of Appeals to 3-year terms and subsequently re-appointed the Board members to 3-year terms on February 20, 1990; and,
WHEREAS, there is no record in City files of Board Minutes, Agendas or Staff reports, nor has there been any other reference to the Board in City files since December 18, 1990, when the late Dr. Perry Ehlig was reappointed as Board chairman; and,
WHEREAS, the appeal fee established by Resolution No. 86-57 has not appeared in any City fee schedule since July 7, 1992; and,
WHEREAS, on August 17, 2004, the City received a timely appeal of the City geotechnical consultant’s conceptual approval of the geology and geotechnical reports for a new home on a bluff-top lot in the Lunada Pointe neighborhood, pursuant to the provisions of Ordinance No. 210, as codified in Chapter 2.40 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code; and,
WHEREAS, although the Geotechnical Board of Appeals has been disbanded, in effect if not in fact, it is necessary to revise the provisions of Chapter 2.40 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code that are outdated and no longer applicable so that a new Board may be appointed to hear this pending appeal.
NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1: Chapter 2.40 of Title 2 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
GEOTECHNICAL BOARD OF APPEALS
2.40.040 Record of Board Actions.
A geotechnical board of appeals is created and established to hear appeals from the determinations of the city engineer or the city geologist as to whether or not, by reason of geologic or soils conditions, a building site or proposed grading work is safe or unsafe; a geologic or soils report is required before the safety of such site or work can be determined, or to resolve a dispute between two or more geotechnical engineers or geologists about the geologic conditions that are present on a particular site or the actions that a project applicant must take to address the site conditions as part of the development of the proposed project. Such geotechnical board of appeals is hereinafter in this chapter referred to as the board. The board shall serve as a board of review of the adequacy of geological and soils reports and shall provide for interpretations of data, opinions, conclusions or any one or more thereof contained in such reports. As an alternative to the process established by this chapter, the City Council may appoint a panel of geotechnical experts to address significant and ongoing geologic issues that affect just a particular property.
The board shall consist of three members and two alternates who shall be appointed by a majority of the entire city council and who shall serve at the pleasure of the city council. Two of the members and one alternate shall be qualified by education, state registration, training, experience and prominence in the field of engineering geology, and one regular member and one alternate shall be qualified by education and state registration as civil engineers, and by training, experience and prominence in the field of soils engineering. The term of office for each board member and alternate is four years, and shall continue thereafter until a qualified successor has been appointed by the city council. Should any vacancy exist on the board, an appointment shall be made in like manner for the unexpired portion of the term. The director of planning, building and code enforcement, in consultation with the city attorney, shall designate the three members of the panel that will address a particular appeal as follows: at least one of the panel members shall be qualified by education, state registration, training, experience and prominence in the field of engineering geology, and at least one panel member shall be qualified by education and state registration as a civil engineer, and by training, experience and prominence in the field of soils engineering. After consulting with the two members of the panel from each of the aforementioned disciplines and the city attorney, the director shall designate the third member of the panel from the discipline that is most relevant to the issues that were raised by the appeal. No two members of any panel shall be affiliated with each other, and no panel member shall be affiliated with any of the parties to the appeal or any of their experts. The director’s decision regarding the members of each panel shall be final.
The board shall hold at least one regular meeting during each calendar year at such time and place as is designated in the rules and regulations of the board. Special meetings may be called by the chairperson or by a majority of the board. If any regular member is absent from any meeting or, by reason of disqualification or otherwise, does not participate in a particular case, the alternate member shall serve in his or her place at such meeting and in such case shall be deemed a regular member.
2.40.040 Record of Board Actions.
The director of planning, building, and code enforcement, or his or her designee, shall act as the secretary of the board. The board may adopt rules and regulations for the transaction of its business and shall keep a record of all its resolutions, actions, findings and determinations. Minutes, resolutions, and official records shall be filed with the city clerk.
Each member of the board shall receive compensation to review reports that have been prepared regarding particular projects and to attend meetings of the board at the hourly rate that said member typically charges to perform similar work for its clients, which shall be set forth as an exhibit to the board member’s agreement with the city. The rates to perform work as a board member shall be within a reasonable range of rates that are typically charged by other experts in the particular discipline. Board members shall be reimbursed for transportation and meals pursuant to the same policy guidelines that are applicable to city employees. Invoices for work performed and allowable expenditures shall be submitted monthly for the preceding month and shall be supported by adequate documentation, as determined by the director of finance or his or her designee. Undisputed invoices shall be paid within thirty calendar days of receipt.
A quorum shall consist of three members of the board. A majority vote of the members of the board shall be required for board action.
A. Appeal. An appeal may be filed by any person dissatisfied with a decision or decisions of the city engineer or city geologist as to whether or not, by reason of geologic or soils conditions, a building site or grading work is safe or unsafe; a geologic or soils report is required before the safety of such site or work can be determined, or to resolve a dispute between two or more geotechnical engineers or geologists about the geologic conditions that are present on a particular site or the actions that a project applicant must take to address the site conditions as part of the development of the proposed project. Such appeal shall be filed in writing with the secretary of the board within thirty days after the date of the city engineer’s or city geologist’s decision and must be supported by a written opinion or letter from a geotechnical engineer or an engineering geologist, which must be submitted to the secretary concurrently with the appeal. At the time of filing the appeal, the appellant shall pay the filing fee established by resolution of the city council and shall deposit funds to be held in trust by the city, as estimated by city staff, to pay for the full cost of having the board review the disputed decision. Appellant shall deposit such additional amounts to be held in trust, following written notice from city staff that additional funds are necessary to pay for the full cost of having the board review the disputed decision.
B. The form and notice of the appeal shall include the name and address of appellant, the street address or legal description and location of the premises covered by the appeal, and a statement of the grounds of the appeal or how there is an error in the decision being appealed.
C. Hearing. Upon accepting a notice of a complete appeal, the secretary of the board shall set the matter for consideration before the board not more than ninety days after the acceptance of the notice of appeal. The secretary shall give notice in writing to the appellant and any affected party not less than ten days prior to the hearing. At the meeting on appeal, the board shall hear the appellant and any affected party and shall consider the testimony and any other written evidence, which in its opinion is material. The city engineer or city geologist or his or her authorized representative shall attend said meeting to explain the basis for the decision being appealed.
D. Decision. Based upon the evidence presented at the hearing, the board shall affirm, reverse or modify the disputed decision. Said decision shall be rendered within thirty days following the last meeting at which the board considered the appeal. Within ten days after the decision of the board is rendered, the secretary shall notify the appellant and any other affected party of the decision."
Section 2: After the effective date of this Ordinance, it shall apply to the review of geology and/or geotechnical engineering reports for any project or site, and any subsequent or pending development applications, that had not been acted upon by the City as of the effective date of this Ordinance.
Section 3: 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 OCTOBER 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, do hereby certify that the whole number of members of the City Council of said City is five; the foregoing Ordinance No. 413 passed first reading on September 21, 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: