Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

NOVEMBER 16, 2004 APPEAL OF SITE PLAN REVIEW CASE NO. ZON2003-00280 SUNSHINE, 6 LIMETREE LANE NOVEMBER 16, 2004 APPEAL OF SITE PLAN REVIEW CASE NO. ZON2003-00280 SUNSHINE, 6 LIMETREE LANE

 

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING & CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: NOVEMBER 16, 2004

SUBJECT: APPEAL OF SITE PLAN REVIEW CASE NO. ZON2003-00280

APPELLANT: SUNSHINE, 6 LIMETREE LANE

APPLICANT: ROB CASTELAO, 5 ROCKINGHORSE ROAD

Staff Coordinator: Beilin Yu, Assistant Planner

The Staff Report for this item was transmitted to the City Council in advance of the agenda packet, on November 3, 2004. Since the writing of the Staff Report, the City has not received any additional correspondence pertaining to the subject project. As such, the analysis and recommendation contained in the Staff Report remains the same.

Attached is the complete Staff Report, including the Resolution, which was not attached to the Staff Report transmitted on November 3, 2004.

 

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING & CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: NOVEMBER 16, 2004

SUBJECT: APPEAL OF SITE PLAN REVIEW CASE NO. ZON2003-00280

APPELLANT: SUNSHINE, 6 LIMETREE LANE

APPLICANT: ROB CASTELAO, 5 ROCKINGHORSE ROAD

Staff Coordinator: Beilin Yu, Assistant Planner

RECOMMENDATION

Adopt Resolution No. 2004-__, denying the appeal, thereby upholding the Planning Commission’s decision to approve, with conditions, Site Plan Review Case No. ZON2003-00280.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This item is being brought before the City Council for consideration due to an appeal, which has been filed by the appellant, Sunshine, of the Planning Commission’s decision to approve an addition to an existing residence. Based on the analysis in this report, Staff feels that there is no new evidence or information provided by the appellant to warrant overturning the Planning Commission’s approval of the project. As such, Staff is recommending that the City Council deny the appeal.

BACKGROUND

On May 29, 2003 the subject application, Site Plan Review Case No. ZON2003-00280 was submitted to the Planning Department for review. The application was a request to allow the construction of 3,174 square feet of first-story additions to the existing 2,423 square foot residence (including garage area). Because of the nature of the proposal, Neighborhood Compatibility review was required.

On March 4, 2004 the required public notice was mailed to property owners within a 500’ foot radius of the subject property informing them of the proposed project and inviting any public comments. Additionally, the required notice was published in the Peninsula News on March 6, 2004. During the fifteen (15) day noticing period the City received no correspondence pertaining to the proposed project.

On April 26, 2004, the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement approved, with conditions, the requested application. On May 12, 2004, within the 15-day appeal period, Ms. Rose Marie DiSanto, resident at 13 Cayuse Lane, appealed the Planning Director’s decision to the Planning Commission. According to the appeal letter submitted by Ms. DiSanto, the basis of her appeal was an existing wooden fence and a proposed 6" high curb within the road easement. Ms. DiSanto noted in her letter that the City’s Conceptual Trails Plan indicates that the "Bronco Roadside Trail Loop" is located within the private road easement and therefore the fence is encroaching into said trail.

After learning about the appeal of the Director’s decision, the applicant voluntarily removed part of the pre-existing wood fencing located within the street easement. Staff noted in the July 27, 2004 Planning Commission Staff Report that the fencing was removed. After reviewing the Staff Report, the appellant informed Staff that there was still fencing within the street easement, and the fencing was covered by existing ivy. At the July 27, 2004 Planning Commission meeting, the applicant volunteered to remove the remainder of the fence during the landscaping phase of the proposed project. The applicant indicated that he did not wish to remove the remainder of the fence at this time due to erosion concerns. Given the applicant’s willingness to remove additional fencing, the Planning Commission added a condition requiring the applicant to remove the remaining fencing and landscape from the street easement prior to the issuance of the certificate of occupancy for the proposed additions.

On July 27, 2004, after taking public testimony, the Planning Commission denied the appeal, and approved the requested Site Plan Review, with the additional condition, as described above.

On August 11, 2004, the appellant, Sunshine, filed a timely appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision, requesting that the City Council reconsider the Planning Commission’s approval of the Site Plan Review (see attached appeal letter, dated August 11, 2004).

On November 1, 2004, notice of the City Council public hearing was sent to all property owners within a 500’ radius of the subject site. Additionally, the notice was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News on November 4, 2004.

SITE AND PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Rockinghorse Road is a private road, accessed from Palos Verdes Drive East. The subject property contains a 30’-0" wide easement for utility and access purposes along the front of the property. The subject property is a rectangular shaped, interior lot, with 148’ front and rear property lines and 154’ and 147’ side property lines for a total lot size of 22,438 square feet.

The Site Plan Review Application, which is the subject of the appeal, is to allow the construction of 3,174 square feet of first story additions to the existing 2,423 square foot residence (including garage area) at a height of 15.98’, as measured from the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade (111.97’), and 15.25’, as measured from the highest grade covered by structure (112.70’) to the top of the proposed ridge (127.45’).

A detailed background, project description and staff analysis of the proposed Site Plan Review application is contained in the attached Staff Report, dated April 20, 2004. In addition, the Planning Commission Staff Report dated July 27, 2004 (including attachments and correspondences) and minute excerpts from the Planning Commission’s July 27, 2004 meeting are attached. Therefore, the body of the "Discussion" section below will focus on the issues raised by Sunshine at the Planning Commission public hearing and in her appeal letter.

DISCUSSION

During the July 27, 2004 public hearing, the current appellant, Sunshine, spoke on behalf of Ms. DiSanto (the appellant of the Director’s decision). Sunshine stated that the Director should not have approved the proposed project since an existing fence was shown on the submitted plans as being located within the front setback area in excess of the City allowed height limit, and therefore the plans should have been deemed incomplete and not processed. Sunshine also felt that the project should be conditioned to require the applicant to clear and maintain the unpaved portion of the road easement on his property "by removing all fences, vegetation, and anything else that interferes with the passage over the area". Furthermore, Sunshine felt that the City should implement the Conceptual Trails Plan, parcel by parcel, by requiring each property owner that requests an addition to record a trail easement on their property, since creating a trail along Rockinghorse Road is a long-term goal.

During its deliberation, the Planning Commission discussed the implementation of the Conceptual Trails Plan and if there is a nexus to require the applicant to dedicate a trail easement so the City could implement the Plan. The majority of the Commission believed that there was not a nexus between the proposed project and the requirement for an easement dedication. Furthermore, the majority of the Commission believed that since the applicant had removed most of the fencing located within the private easement, and had volunteered to remove the remainder of the fence, Ms. DiSanto’s concern would be addressed. Therefore, the Planning Commission dismissed the appeal thereby approving the project, as conditioned, by a 4-2 vote, with Commissioners Knight and Tetreault dissenting.

Sunshine filed an appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision. A copy of the appeal letter is attached. A summary of the appellant’s concerns is provided below along with Staff’s responses.

  1. The appellant believes that the application should not have been approved since the plans did not indicate the location of all fences located within the roadway easement. Specifically, the plans did not indicate the fencing located under some existing landscaping.
  2. Staff Response: It is Staff’s opinion that the plans contained sufficient information to process the application, since the application was for an addition to an existing residence and the applicant was not proposing to make any modifications to any existing fencing. Although the plans did indicate some fencing within the roadway easement, a portion of fence located under some existing landscaping was not shown. Staff did not believe the deleted fence portion was pertinent to the proposed request.

    Although the City’s Development Code does not allow construction or improvements within legal easements, the City does not get involved with the legality of any existing improvements within private easements as they are civil matters which are resolved between the property owner and the easement holder. As such, the City does not have the authority to require the removal of any existing improvements on private easements as part of an approval. In this case the Planning Commission conditioned that the remainder of the fence within the private easement be removed only because the applicant agreed to the condition.

  3. The appellant believes that the lot coverage calculation of the immediate neighborhood should have been analyzed in more detail. The information provided by the applicant should indicate the square footage for the private roadway easement, private roadway, driveway located within the easement and the driveway outside of the easement.
  4. Staff Response: The City’s Development Code requires that driveway area, outdoor parking area and private roadways area on a private property be included in the lot coverage calculation. As such, a breakdown of the square footage of the driveway area located within and outside the easement was not required from the applicant.

    The lot coverage analysis for the subject property was provided in the Staff Report dated April 20, 2004. Staff is not able to calculate the neighboring properties’ lot coverage since information regarding other properties, such as building footprint and square footage of outdoor parking and driveway area is not available to Staff. Based on Staff’s analysis of the proposed project, Staff determined and the Planning Commission agreed, that the proposed lot coverage of 38.6%, will be compatible with the lot coverage found in the immediate neighborhood, as it will not exceed the maximum 40% allowed by the Development Code.

  5. Lastly, the appellant believes that the project should be given special consideration because the subject site is located within the Equestrian Overlay Zone and the street is listed in the Trails Network Plan.

Staff Response: The subject property is located within an Equestrian Overlay Zone and on a street that accommodates a conceptual trail identified in the City’s Conceptual Trails Plan (CTP). Specifically, the CTP identifies the "Bronco Roadside Loop Trail" as a Pedestrian/Equestrian specific course trail (see attached CTP excerpt pages) that follows Rockinghorse Road. The CTP defines a specific course trail as a proposed trail route, which (1) is confined to a particular course or corridor due to development, topography, or other conditions, or (2) follows the course of existing, but undedicated trails. For this particular segment, the "Bronco Roadside Loop Trail" is confined to Rockinghorse Road and according to the CTP, the trail is in the street right-of-way.

As discussed at the July 27, 2004 Planning Commission meeting, the street easement along the front of the subject property is for utility and access purposes and not for trail purposes. There is no dedicated trail easement within or as part of the existing private road easement. In addition, the City Attorney has previously advised Staff that there is a lack of a nexus to require property owners wishing to improve their property with additions to dedicate an easement to the City and improve the easement for trail purposes. Furthermore, the CTP does not recommend that private property owners along Rockinghorse Road dedicate trail easements to accommodate the "Bronco Roadside Loop Trail" as the CTP acknowledges that the trail is in the street right-of-way.

As noted above and described in the attached Planning Commission minute excerpts, the Commission voted 4-2 to approve the project. In their approval, the Commission found that the added condition of requiring that the applicant remove the last portion of a non-conforming structure from the private easement would satisfactory address the appellant’s concerns. The Commission also found that there is no nexus between the proposed project and the requirement for a trail easement dedication by the property owner. Staff believes that there is no new evidence or information provided by the appellant to warrant overturning the Planning Commission’s approval of the project. As such, Staff is recommending that the City Council deny the appeal.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Prior to the July 27, 2004 Planning Commission appeal hearing, Sunshine, submitted a comment letter to the City. The letter is attached to the July 27, 2004 Staff Report. At the Planning Commission meeting, the applicant submitted 11 letters in support of the proposed project. These letters are also attached to the July 27, 2004 Staff Report.

On August 10, 2004, the appellant of the Director’s decision, Ms. DiSanto, submitted a letter stating that by adding the additional Condition of Approval for the proposed project, the Planning Commission upheld her appeal and therefore a full refund of her appeal fee should be returned to her. Staff determined that by approving the project and adding the additional condition, the Planning Commission did not uphold the appeal but instead modified the Director’s approval, and therefore, pursuant to the Development Code, half of the amount of the appeal fee was refunded to the appellant (see attached letter and receipt).

FISCAL IMPACT

The appellant has paid a $700.00 appeal fee to cover the cost of processing the appeal. Should the City Council uphold the appeal, this fee will be refunded to the appellant, thus the cost of processing the appeal will be borne by the City. Additionally, should the City Council revise the Planning Commission’s approval, of the appeal fee ($350.00) will be refunded to the appellant.

ALTERNATIVES

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

  1. Uphold the appeal, thereby overturning the Planning Commission’s approval of the Site Plan Review (Case No. ZON2003-00280) and direct Staff to bring back a Resolution of project denial at the next meeting; or,
  2. Identify any issues or concerns with the proposed project, and provide the applicant with direction in modifying the project, and continue the hearing to a date certain.
  3. Identify any issues or concerns with the proposed project, and remand the project back to Planning Commission for further review and analysis.

 

Respectfully submitted:

 

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

Reviewed:

 

Les Evans, City Manager

 

Attachments:

  • Draft Resolution No. 2004-__ (to be provided with the November 16, 2004 agenda packet)
  • Letter of Appeal from Sunshine, 6 Limetree Lane, dated August 11, 2004
  • Planning Commission Staff Report, dated July 27, 2004 (with comment letters)
  • Planning Commission Minute Excerpt, dated July 27, 2004
  • P.C. Resolution No. 2004-30
  • Staff Report, dated April 20, 2004
  • Project Plans
  • Letter to Rose Marie DiSanto, dated August 10, 2004
  • Memorandum to Finance Department regarding appeal fee refund
  • Letter from Rose Marie DiSanto, 13 Cayuse Lane, dated August 10, 2004
  • Excerpt from City’s Conceptual Trails Plan

 

 

RESOLUTION NO. 2004-__

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DENYING AN APPEAL, THEREBY UPHOLDING THE PLANNING COMMISSION’S APPROVAL OF A SITE PLAN REVIEW (CASE NO. ZON2003-00280), FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 5 ROCKINGHORSE ROAD.

WHEREAS, on May 29, 2003 the applicant submitted an application for a Site Plan Review (Case No. ZON2003-00280) requesting to construct 3,174 square feet of first-story additions to the existing 2,423 square foot residence located at 5 Rockinghorse Road. On June 25, 2004, staff completed the initial review of the proposed plans, at which time the application was deemed incomplete due to missing information on the project plans and/or applications. The applicant submitted the additional information to the City on February 12, 2004; and,

WHEREAS, the Site Plan Review application was deemed complete by staff on February 26, 2004; and,

WHEREAS, on March 4, 2004 the required public notice was mailed to property owners within a 500’ foot radius of the subject property and the required notice was published in the Peninsula News on March 6, 2004; and,

WHEREAS, on April 26, 2004 the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement conditionally approved the requested application, and a Notice of Decision was prepared and distributed to all interested parties; and,

WHEREAS, on May 12, 2004, within fifteen (15) days following the Director’s Notice of Decision, Ms. Rose Marie DiSanto, from 13 Cayuse Lane submitted an appeal letter and the associated fee to appeal the Planning Director’s decision to the Planning Commission based upon the belief that the City should not have granted the approval of the additions on a property containing fences in the roadway easement located to the front of the subject property; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on July 27, 2004, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence.

WHEREAS, on July 27, 2004, after taking public testimony, the Planning Commission denied the appeal, and approved the requested Site Plan Review, with one additional condition of approval; and,

WHEREAS, on August 11, 2004, within fifteen (15) days following the Planning Commission’s Notice of Decision, Sunshine, from 6 Limetree Lane, filed a timely appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision, requesting that the City Council reconsider the Planning Commission’s approval of the Site Plan Review; 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 Regulation, Title 14, Section 15000 et. seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), Staff found no evidence that Case No. ZON2003-00280 would have a significant effect on the environment and, therefore, the proposed project has been found to be categorically exempt under Class 1 (Section 15303) since the site is developed with a single-family residence and the proposed project consists of a minor alteration to the existing structure on the subject property, with no significant additional site disturbance; and,

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY CONCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: The City Council upholds the Planning Commission’s conditional approval of Site Plan Review (Case No. ZON2003-00280), and finds as follows:

    1. That the proposed additions comply with the RS-2 Residential Development Standards in terms of setback, lot coverage, and height requirements.
    2. The proposed structure’s scale is compatible with the scale of surrounding properties, in that it will be within the range of the structure sizes found within the twenty (20) closest properties, in that the apparent bulk and mass will be compatible since the structure will remain a single story structure and the flat front façade is a design found in the surrounding residences.
    3. The proposed structure’s architectural style will be compatible with the architectural style of the surrounding residences in that the proposed residence will maintain a hip-pitched roof with clay-tile roofing materials, wood siding and brick details and these are materials that are common in the neighborhood.
    4. The proposed structure’s front, side and rear yard setback will be compatible with the setbacks found in the surrounding properties since most homes in the immediate neighborhood are smaller than the proposed residence, the neighboring lots are comparable in size to the subject property, and the proposed project will maintain the required setbacks for lots created after the City’s incorporation, which is larger than other lots in the immediate neighborhood.

Section 2: The time within which the judicial review of the decision reflected in this Resolution, if available, must be sought is governed by Section 1094.6 of the California Code of Civil Procedure and other applicable short periods of limitation.

Section 3: For the foregoing reasons, and based on the information and findings included in the Staff Report, Minutes and other records of proceedings (dated April 20, 2004, July 27, 2004, and November 26, 2004), the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby denies the appeal, thereby upholding the Planning Commission’s conditional approval of the Site Plan Review Case No. ZON2003-00280 to allow the construction of 3,174 square feet of first-story additions to the existing 2,423 square foot residence; subject to the conditions of approval contained in Exhibit "A", attached hereto and made a part hereof, which are necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare in the area.

PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this 16th day of November 2004.

 

_______________________

Peter Gardiner, Mayor

 

 

 

ATTEST:

 

____________________
Jo Purcell, 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, hereby certify that the above Resolution No. 2004-__ was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting thereof held on November 16, 2004.

 

 

_________________________________

City Clerk

 

 

 

 

Exhibit "A"

Conditions of Approval

Site Plan Review

Case No. ZON2003-00280

 

  1. The applicant/property owner shall submit to the City a statement, in writing that they have read, understand and agree to all conditions of approval listed below. Failure to provide said written statement within ninety (90) days of the effective date of approval shall render this approval null and void.
  2. The approval shall become null and void after 180 days from the date of approval unless the approved plans are submitted to the Building and Safety Division to initiate the "plan check" review process, pursuant to Section 17.86.070 of the City’s Development Code. This approval shall become null and void if, after initiating the "plan check" review process, or receiving a building permit to begin construction, said "plan check" or permit is allowed to expire or is withdrawn by the applicant.
  3. The Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement is authorized to make minor modifications to the approved preliminary plans or any of the conditions if such modifications shall achieve substantially the same results as would strict compliance with said plans and conditions.
  4. Approval of Site Plan Review Case No. ZON2003-00280 is for the construction of a 3,174 square foot first-story addition to the existing residence. PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY, SUBJECT TO REVIEW AND APPROVAL BY THE DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING, AND CODE ENFORCEMENT AND THE BUILDING OFFICIAL, A STRUCTURE SIZE CERTIFICATION BY A CERTIFIED CIVIL ENGINEER OR SURVEYOR SHALL BE SUBMITTED.
  5. The proposed structure shall maintain the following minimum setbacks:
  6. Front: 20’-0" (proposed: 20’-2")

    West Side: 10’-0" (proposed: 22’-8")

    East Side: 10’-0" (proposed: 27’-0")

    Rear: 20’-0" (proposed: 20’-0")

    PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY, SUBJECT TO REVIEW AND APPROVAL BY THE DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING, AND CODE ENFORCEMENT AND THE BUILDING OFFICIAL, FRONT AND REAR YARD SETBACK CERTIFICATION BY A CERTIFIED CIVIL ENGINEER OR SURVEYOR SHALL BE SUBMITTED.

  7. The proposed structure shall not exceed 15.98’ in height, as measured from the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade (111.97’), and 15.25’, as measured from the highest grade covered by structure (112.70’) to the top of the proposed ridge (127.45’).
  8. PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY, SUBJECT TO REVIEW AND APPROVAL BY THE DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING, AND CODE ENFORCEMENT AND THE BUILDING OFFICIAL, A HEIGHT CERTIFICATION, BY A CERTIFIED CIVIL ENGINEER OR SURVEYOR SHALL BE SUBMITTED.

  9. The subject property shall not exceed a maximum lot coverage of forty (40) percent, as required by the RS-2 zoning district (proposed 38.6%).
  10. All structures located within the required twenty (20) foot front yard setback area shall not exceed a height of forty-two (42) inches in height.
  11. The required twenty (20) foot front yard setback area shall be at least fifty (50) percent landscaped.
  12. The proposed garage must maintain an unobstructed ground space of no less than eighteen (18) feet in width by twenty (20) feet in depth, with a minimum of seven (7) feet of vertical clearance over the space.
  13. No improvements shall be permitted on "extreme slopes" (35% or greater).
  14. Based on a site visit, Staff found that there is no foliage on the subject property that exceeds sixteen (16) feet in height and significantly impairs views from neighboring properties. Therefore, Staff finds that no foliage shall be removed under this application request.
  15. The project shall substantially conform to the plans stamped approved with the effective date of this approval.
  16. Permitted hours of construction are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. No work is permitted on Sundays or legal holidays.
  17. The construction site and adjacent public and private properties shall be kept free of all loose materials resembling trash and debris in excess of that material used for immediate construction purposes. Such excess material may include, but is not limited to: the accumulation of debris, garbage, lumber, scrap metal, concrete, asphalt, piles of earth, salvage materials, abandoned or discarded furniture, appliances or other household fixtures.
  18. In the event that a Planning requirement and a Building & Safety requirement are in conflict with one another, the stricter standard shall apply.
  19. No grading is approved or allowed under this permit approval.
  20. All applicable soils/geotechnical reports required by the Building and Safety Division shall be obtained by the applicant and approved by the City's geologist prior to building permit issuance.
  21. All applicable permits required by the Building and Safety Division shall be obtained by the applicant.
  22. PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY, SUBJECT TO REVIEW AND APPROVAL BY THE DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING, AND CODE ENFORCEMENT, the applicant shall remove all existing fences and ivy from the road and utility easement located to the front of the subject property.