Rancho Palos Verdes City Council







1) Adopt Resolution No. 2004 - ; Adopting the Joint Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan; and 2) Direct staff to submit the adopted Joint Plan to the state Office of Emergency Services and FEMA by November 1, 2004.


Since 1993, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has spent more than $20 billion in over 5,000 counties on disaster recovery. This time last year, the residents of Southern California were reminded of the high cost of natural disasters during the wildfires that raged through the counties of San Diego, Riverside, Ventura, Los Angeles and San Bernardino in October 2003, and the 6.5 earthquake that jolted Paso Robles in December 2003.

To encourage local communities to undertake more pre-disaster mitigation planning, Congress passed the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA2K). This legislation requires every city, county, special district and state government to prepare a Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan by November 1, 2004. This process includes: 1) conducting an assessment of the potential natural hazards; 2) determining the vulnerability to these identified hazards; 3) creating a plan to mitigate the hazards; and 4) implementing a plan to reduce the impacts of natural disasters.

Jurisdictions that do not have a certifiable plan in place by the November 1, 2004 deadline will be ineligible to receive post-disaster funding from FEMA. In addition, adopting the attached Draft Joint Plan is the first step in an ongoing process of implementing strategies to mitigate the effects of natural hazards. Jurisdictions are required to review and update their Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan every five years.


Local jurisdictions in Los Angeles County were briefed on the requirements of the law in January 2004, giving them less than one year to complete their Natural Hazard Mitigation Plans before the November 1st deadline. Therefore, it was necessary for the City to adopt a very streamlined approach to preparing the document in order to meet the federal deadline. The streamlined process included:

  • Partnering with the adjacent City of Rolling Hills Estates to prepare a joint plan covering both jurisdictions in order to pool common resources and minimize redundancy of effort;
  • Using a plan template prepared by the Los Angeles County Disaster Management Area Coordinators (DMAC) that was based on mitigation plan that had already received federal approval;
  • Hiring an experienced contractor, Emergency Planning Consultants, to coordinate the planning process and prepare the draft document.
  • Using existing documents and maps to prepare the draft Joint Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan, including the City’s General Plan, SEMS Multi-Hazard Functional Plan and other planning documents; and,
  • Using a Joint Planning Team consisting of key staff members from each City, as well as representative from public safety, local schools, the utility companies and the business community, to provide input on the preparation of the draft document.

Work began on the project began on April 29, 2004 with the first Joint Planning Team meeting. A little over four months later, on September 10, 2004, the Draft Plan was released for public review and comment. In addition to being available at each City Hall and the Peninsula Center and Miraleste Public Libraries, the Draft Joint Plan was posted on both Cities’ websites. Notice of the document’s availability was published in the Peninsula News on September 11th and 16th in a large ad format, an email list serve notice was sent out to "Breaking News" and "Emergency Preparedness" subscribers, letters were mailed to each Homeowners Association and the City Manager made an announcement at the September 21st City Council meeting.

The RPV Emergency Preparedness Committee and the RHE Planning Commission reviewed the Draft Joint Plan simultaneously on September 20, 2004. The RHE City Council adopted the Joint Draft Plan on September 28, 2004. The input received through these three public meetings is summarized in the attached Exhibit "A" and is discussed in the next section below. Following RPV City Council adoption of the Plan, staff will incorporate all the changes into the document and forward it to the State Office of Emergency Services (OES) and FEMA for concurrent review prior to the November 1, 2004 submission deadline.


The Draft Joint Plan is broken into three parts. Part 1 contains information on hazard identification, risk assessment and vulnerability analysis for the two cities. Part 2 includes information on mitigation actions for both cities. Part 3 includes resources to implement and update the Joint Plan. Parts 1 and 2 are discussed in more detail below.

Hazard Analysis

In Part 1 (Sections 1-8) includes a overview of the planning process used to create the Draft Joint Plan, the history of natural disasters that have impacted the planning area and larger Southern California region, a profile of the planning area (the two cities), a risk assessment (with particular attention given to how different disasters would impact critical and essential public facilities that are key to providing emergency response to the community) and a discussion of each of the four following types of natural disasters:

  • Earthquakes
  • Wildfires
  • Landslides
  • Tsunami Waves (RPV only)

Pursuant to the federal law, the Draft Joint Plan focuses on natural disasters that have the greatest potential of impacting the Palos Verdes Peninsula, such as earthquakes and brush fires, and does not include man-made disasters, such as chemical spills or terrorism. However, due to time constraints, the Draft Joint Plan does not include all natural hazards that could potentially befall the planning area, such as droughts, severe weather and disease, such as West Nile Virus. Instead, the Draft Plan concentrates on the natural disasters that will have the most significant impact on human life, cause the most property damage and have the greatest potential for overwhelming the cities’ ability to adequately respond to the disaster.

Mitigation Actions

Part 2 of the Plan (Sections 9-10) contains information on mitigation actions for both cities, as well as information on how the Joint Plan will be implemented and updated.

Of particular importance are the Mitigation Action Items identified in the matrixes, which list all of the multi-hazard and hazard specific actions that the two cities will undertake to reduce the planning areas’ risk and exposure to natural hazards. This matrix can also be found in Section 9 of the Draft Joint Plan. It should be noted that the Tsunami Mitigation Action Items only apply to the City of Rancho Palos Verdes because this natural hazard only applies to our coastal environment. It is also important to realize that the Cities are already engaged in a number of activities that mitigate our risk, such as existing building codes that strengthen structures and make them more fire resistant, zoning codes that limit development is hazardous areas, such as active landslides and areas prone to cliff erosion, and infrastructure renewal which reduce the risk of leaks and breakage in storm drains and sewer systems that may cause earth movement.

In addition to some minor grammatical changes and typographical corrections which will be made to the document before it is submitted to OES and FEMA, the RPV Emergency Preparedness Committee and the RHE Planning Commission have recommended additional changes to the document. Of particular importance are the recommended modifications to the Mitigation Action Items Matrix, which are shown in bold in the attached Exhibit "A." Other recommended changes to the narrative of the document are summarized in the attached Exhibit "B."

Once the Joint Plan is adopted, these mitigation measures contained in the Mitigation Action Items matrix will be further analyzed, refined and monitored by the RPV/RHE Hazard Mitigation Committee. The matrix also identifies the agency or department that will be responsible for implementing each action item, as well as an expected timeline for implementing each task.


The Draft Joint Plan was completed within the $13,000 budget previously authorized by City Council in April 2004, which is well within the $65,885 the City had remaining in the FY 03-04 Emergency Preparedness program for Professional/Technical Services.

For the first edition of the Joint Plan, the mitigation measures were crafted in general and broad terms, providing the two Cities the flexibility to further examine the various options and their economic considerations before implementing a specific course of action on each item. Some mitigation measures may build on existing programs or will be relatively easy and quick to implement. However, others may take considerable time and effort to realize. The most likely source of funding for mitigation program is the City’s General fund, although some mitigation measures may be funded through user fees (such as building plan check fees) and in some cases, state and federal grants may also be available. The City Council will have the opportunity to review the relative costs as part of the annual budget cycle.

Respectfully submitted,

Carolynn Petru

Assistant City Manager


Les Evans

City Manager


Resolution No. 2004 - ;

Proposed Changes to Mitigation Action Items Matrix (changes in bold)

Proposed Text Revisions to the Narrative of the Plan

Draft Joint RPV/RHE Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan: www.palosverdes.com/rpv/citymanager




WHEREAS, the federal Disaster Management Act of 2000 ("DMA2K"), which amended the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Services Act, requires all government agencies to have an approved Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan ("Plan") by November 1, 2004 in order to be eligible for future mitigation funding from FEMA in the event of a natural disaster; and,

WHEREAS, the City is interested in protecting the safety and welfare of its citizens and infrastructure in the event of a natural disaster and wishes to comply with the requirements of DMA2K; and,

WHEREAS, the City has prepared a Joint Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan in partnership with the City of Rolling Hills Estates that focuses on potential impacts of earthquakes, wildfires, landslide and tsunamis, and includes an assessment of these natural hazards, a plan to mitigate them, and methods of monitoring, evaluating, and updating the Plan at least every fire years; and,

WHEREAS, the City has used a variety of methods to educate the public about the need to mitigate for natural disasters, as well as to solicit public input during the Plan preparation and approval process. Further, the RPV Emergency Preparedness Committee and the RHE Planning Commission have reviewed the Plan at public meetings held on September 20, 2004, and forwarded recommended changes, clarifications and revisions to the document to the City Council for consideration.


Section 1: That the Joint Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan is an important document for the safety and security of the City.

Section 2: That the City Council hereby adopts the Joint Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan.

Section 3: The City Manager’s Office shall transmit the Joint Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan to the State of California, Office of Emergency Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for review and approval by November 1, 2004.

Section 4: The City Clerk shall certify to the passage and adoption of this Resolution.

PASSED, APPROVED, and ADOPTED this 5th 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, 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 October 5, 2004.






(Changes in bold)

MH #1-13 (modified)

Develop policy for government to determine what reconstruction criteria should be applied to structures damaged during a disaster. Develop additional zoning, building and reconstruction policies and requirements in the local government development code and building code for post-disaster situations.

MH #1-15 (modified)

Place information on RPV and RHE websites and cable access channels that includes information specific to residents, building codes information, and educational information on damage prevention. Encourage reduction of nonstructural and structural earthquake hazards in homes, schools, businesses, and government offices.

MH #1-19 (new)

Coordinate with the Los Angeles County Sanitation District to ensure than an appropriate mitigation action plan and disaster response plan is in place for the Palos Verdes Landfill.


MH # 1-20 (new)

Consider expanding the Joint Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan to include other natural disasters, such as severe weather or drought, in conjunction with future updates.

LS #4-4 (new)

Develop public information programs regarding proper maintenance of steep slopes and surface drainage structures located on private property.


Proposed Text Revisions

to the Draft Joint Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan




Executive Summary


In the "Introduction" section, insert before the first paragraph: "Congress passed the Disaster Mitigation of Act of 2000 (DMA2K) to encourage local communities to engage in more pre-disaster planning. The DMA2K requires local jurisdictions to adopt a Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan by November 1, 2004. Jurisdictions that fail to adopt a certifiable plan by this deadline will be ineligible to receive post disaster funding from FEMA."



Include a reference in "Stakeholder Input" that the California Water Service Company participated on the Joint Planning Team.

Planning Area Profile


Under "Climate," add the following paragraph at the end of this section: "According to the RPV General Plan, the Palos Verdes Peninsula enjoys a climate considered as being among the ideal climates of the world. However, that does not mean that the planning area is immune to severe weather hazards, which have ranged from long periods of drought that have affected the entire Southern California region, torrential winter storms that have caused flood inundations and landslides, to a freak localized tornado that damaged the roof of a house at the top of San Ramon Canyon in RPV (source: Peninsula News)."

Planning Area Profile


Modify Table 3-2 under Development Type to indicate that RPV has 71% residential, 9% commercial/industrial and 20% open space. Source: RPV Planning Department.

Planning Area Profile


Under "Transportation and Commuting Patterns" add the sentence: "Although there are no bridges within the planning area, there are two equestrian tunnels that run underneath Hawthorne Boulevard and Crenshaw Boulevard just north of Palos Verdes Drive North in the City of Rolling Hills Estates."

Risk Assessment


Add the Edison Communication Facility on Crestridge Road in RPV to the list of Critical Facilities in Table 4-2, which would be subject to earthquake hazard.



Modify Table 5-1 to include the 2003 Paso Robles Earthquake (magnitude 6.5) to the list of Earthquakes in the Southern California Region.



In the "Coordination Among Building Officials" section, add a sentence at the end of the first paragraph that reads: "Buildings that are significantly damaged or destroyed by an earthquake are also required to be rebuilt to comply with the higher seismic standard."



Under "Particularly Hazardous Landslide Areas" add Item No. 7 "old engineered slopes with poorly maintained bench drains or swales."



Under "Changes in Vegetation" add "Planting inappropriate vegetation with shallow root systems on steep slopes can also increase the risk of landslide."



Under "Infrastructure" insert the following sentence at the end of the first paragraph: "For example, the Los Angeles County Sanitation District’s main sewage outfall structure is located on the coastline at White Point in the adjacent City of Los Angeles. A tsunami could significantly damage this facility, severely impacting the entire region’s sewage disposal system and overall ability to recover from the incident."

Plan Maintenance


In the "Coordinating Body" section add the following as potential members of the RPV/RHE Hazard Mitigation Committee: "A representative from local transit agencies" and "A former local elected official."

Plan Maintenance


Under "Implementation through Existing Programs" the first sentence of the fourth paragraph is modified to read: "The recommendations in Section 9 will be incorporated into the process of existing planning mechanisms at the City level after formal adoption of the Joint Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan."

Plan Maintenance


Add a new paragraph to "Implementation through Existing Programs" that reads: "The goals and action items in the mitigation plan can be further advanced by sharing the adopted mitigation plan with the Cities’ appointed Committees, Commissions and Task Forces to consider in their recommendations and decisions, as appropriate."