MARCH 1, 2005 CITY TREE REVIEW PERMIT PROCEDURE CODE AMENDMENT (Case No. ZON2004-00160) MARCH 1, 2005 CITY TREE REVIEW PERMIT PROCEDURE CODE AMENDMENT (Case No. ZON2004-00160)

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: MARCH 1, 2005

SUBJECT: CITY TREE REVIEW PERMIT PROCEDURE CODE AMENDMENT (Case No. ZON2004-00160)

Staff Coordinator: John Alvarez, View Restoration Coordinator

RECOMMENDATION

Adopt Ordinance No. 415, to enact amendments to Title 17 of the City’s Municipal Code streamlining the City Tree Review Permit process.

DISCUSSION

On February 15, 2005, the City Council introduced Ordinance No. 415, amending Title 17 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code streamlining the City Tree Review Permit process. The introduction of Ordinance No. 415 constituted the first reading of the Ordinance. At that meeting, the City Council made one minor change to Section 17.76.100 (F)(1)(c)(iv). These changes to Section 17.76.100 (F)(1)(c)(iv) enable notified residents of an approved City tree permit the ability to adopt a City tree(s) upon written consent of the property owner abutting the affected tree(s). At this time, Staff has incorporated the changes as requested by the City Council at the February 15, 2005 meeting. Ordinance No. 415 is now attached for the second reading.

If the second reading of Ordinance No. 415 is adopted by the City Council at its March 1st meeting, the effective date of the Ordinance will be April 1, 2005, which is thirty (30) days from the adoption date. Furthermore, the new code procedures will be applicable to all City Tree Review Permit applications where a final decision has not been rendered as of the effective date of the adopted Ordinance (April 1, 2005).

CONCLUSION

Staff recommends that the City Council adopt Ordinance No. 415 to enact the respective amended language.

Respectfully submitted,

Joel Rojas, AICP

Director of Planning, Building and

Code Enforcement

Reviewed,

Les Evans

City Manager

ATTACHMENTS:

ORDINANCE NO. 415

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES REGARDING CITY TREE REVIEW PERMITS AND AMENDING TITLE 17 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE.

WHEREAS, Section 17.76.100 of Title 17 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code (the "Municipal Code") sets forth various procedures and regulations regarding City Tree Review Permits; and,

WHEREAS, in June 17, 2003, after public review of the cost reduction proposal for view restoration services, the City Council directed Staff to initiate a code amendment to streamline the City Tree Review Permit process contained in Section 17.76.100; and,

WHEREAS, on March 27, 2004, notice of a public hearing on the proposed amendments to Section 17.76.100 of the Municipal Code was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News; and,

WHEREAS, after notice was issued pursuant to the provisions of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, the Planning Commission conducted public hearings on April 27, 2004 and June 22, 2004, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence regarding said amendments to Section 17.76.100; and,

WHEREAS, the Planning Commission reviewed and considered the proposed code amendments to Section 17.76.100 and forwarded its recommendations to the City Council for its consideration; and,

WHEREAS, on October, 30 2004, a notice of a City Council public hearing on this code amendment was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News; and,

WHEREAS, at its December 7, 2004 and February 1, 2005 meeting, the City Council continued the public hearing, without discussion, to its February 15, 2005 meeting to allow the matter to be heard in conjunction with a forthcoming City-wide Fee Study report; and,

WHEREAS, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on the proposed amendments to the Municipal Code on February 15, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given the opportunity to be heard and present evidence, and after making certain minor amendments to the ordinance, the City Council introduced the ordinance for first reading;

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 Section 17.76.100 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code.

Section 2. The City Council finds that the proposed amendments to Chapter 76.100 of Title 17 are consistent with the purposes and intent of Proposition M in that the revisions concerning the City Tree Review Permit policy further the goals of Proposition M and merely streamline the process and reduce the costs associated with that process.

Section 3: The City Council further finds, based upon its own independent review, that there is no substantial evidence that the amendments to Title 17 would result in new significant environmental effects, or a substantial increase in the severity of the effects, as previously identified in Environmental Assessment No. 694 and the Negative Declaration adopted through Resolution No. 97-25 in conjunction with Ordinance No. 320 for amendments to Titles 16 and 17 of the Municipal Code, because the new amendments are minor language revisions that establish a permit application fee and streamline the review criteria for the City Tree Review Permit application process. Part of the amendment will also require removal of City tree(s) upon approval of the City Tree Review Permit, however the replanting of tree(s) as a condition of approval for the City Tree Review Permit shall mitigate any impact caused by such removal. Accordingly, the Council hereby finds that Addendum (No. 13) to the prior Negative Declaration, which is attached hereto as Exhibit "A," complies with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act.

Section 4. Section 17.76.100 of Chapter 17.76 of Title 17 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

17.76.100 City tree review permit.

A. Purpose. This chapter provides a procedure for the pruning and/or removal of trees and/or foliage which are located on city property, a city easement or within the public right-of-way in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare by preventing the needless impairment of views from vista points and view lots.

B. Approval Required. A city tree review permit is required prior to the pruning and/or removal of any tree and/or foliage, located on city property, a city easement or within the public right-of-way, for the purposes of view restoration.

C. Exemption. Trees and/or foliage located within the boundaries of the Miraleste recreation and park district shall not be subject to the provisions of this section.

D. City Tree Review Permit Application. Any person owning land in the city may file an application for a city tree review permit. An application for a city tree review permit shall be made to the director on forms provided by the city, and shall include the following items:

  1. A completed application form signed by the property owner of the property where the view is impaired; and
  2. A plan or map, drawn to the satisfaction of the director, which clearly shows the location of each tree and/or foliage located on city property, a city easement, or within the public right-of-way that is impairing the view of the applicant; and
  3. A current photograph of the alleged view impairment taken from the applicant’s viewing area; and
  4. An application fee, as established by City Council resolution.

E. Review Criteria. The director or the director's designee shall either grant, or conditionally grant the city tree review permit if, after conducting an investigation of the applicant's property, it is determined that trees and/or foliage located on City property, a City easement or in the public right-of-way are significantly impairing a view from a viewing area of the applicant's lot, as defined in Section 17.02.040 (Single-Family Residential Districts) of this title.

F. Conditions of Permit Issuance. In granting any approval under this section, the director may impose such conditions thereon as may be reasonably necessary to prevent danger to public or private property; to prevent the tree removal or pruning from being conducted in a manner that is likely to create a nuisance; or to preserve the intent of any goal or policy of the general plan. No person shall violate any conditions so imposed by the director. Such conditions may include, but shall not be limited to, the following:

  1. For a city tree and/or foliage that is located within the parkway and roadway median, or within any other city property or city easement (except city parks):
    1. A view-impairing tree and/or foliage shall be removed and replaced with a similar 24-inch box size tree by the City. The City shall pay for all costs of tree and/or foliage removal and replacement. Trees and/or foliage that are removed shall not be replaced if the following conditions exist:
    1. The replacement tree or foliage will immediately cause a significant impairment of the view from the applicant’s viewing area;
    2. The Director of Public Works determines a replacement tree would cause damage to the improvements in the public right-of-way (street, curb, sidewalk, etc.) or obscure traffic visibility or create an impediment to pedestrian access within the public right-of-way;
    1. The City shall make the final determination as to the type and number of replacement trees and/or foliage, if any.
    2. If a person who has received notification of the Director's decision files a written request to not remove the tree or foliage (within 7 days of the notification), then the tree and/or foliage may be pruned instead of removed, provided the following conditions can be met:
    1. The Director determines that the pruning of the subject tree and/or foliage will eliminate the significant impairment of the applicant's view;
    2. The Director determines that the pruning of the subject tree and/or foliage will not result in an unsightly tree and /or likely kill or weaken the tree;
    3. The Director of Public Works determines that the tree and/or foliage has not, and will not, cause damage to improvements in the public right-of-way (street, curb, sidewalk, etc.);
    4. Upon receipt of the written agreement of the owner(s) of the property directly abutting or underlying the public right-of-way or parkway where the tree and/or foliage is located, the City and any of the parties who were notified pursuant to Subsection G1 enter into an agreement that is recorded on the title of the agreeing party’s property, binding that property owner and any future owners of that property to maintain the trees and/or foliage so as to prevent future significant view impairment by such tree and/or foliage. The agreement between the City and the property owner shall specify the maximum time interval, as determined to be appropriate by the Director, within which the property owner shall undertake and pay for such maintenance;
    5. Should the property owner, who has entered into an agreement with the City to maintain a City tree or foliage, within 30 days of receiving a notice from the City requesting maintenance, fail to adhere to the maintenance provisions of the agreement, then the City shall terminate the agreement and shall remove the subject tree(s)/foliage at the City’s expense.
  1. For trees and/or foliage located within a city park:

a. If the City determines that the tree and/or foliage needs to be removed in order to restore the applicant's view, the City shall determine whether the tree and/or foliage shall be replaced, and shall make the final determination as to the type and number of replacement trees and/or foliage.

b. If the City determines that the tree and/or foliage can be pruned to restore the applicant's view without damaging or killing the tree or foliage, the City shall maintain the tree and/or foliage so as to prevent future view impairment by the tree and/or foliage.

c. The City shall pay for all costs of tree and/or foliage pruning, removal and/or replacement. The City shall make the final determination as to the type and number of replacement trees and/or foliage. Whenever work is to be performed, it shall be performed by the City.

G. Notification. When the director makes a determination regarding a City tree review permit, written notice of the decision shall be given as follows:

  1. When the foliage is located on a City street or easement, a notice of the determination to grant the application shall be sent to the applicant(s), the appropriate Homeowners Association, and the ten (10) closest adjacent properties including the owner(s) of the property directly abutting or underlying the public right-of-way where the subject tree(s) and/or foliage are located. Adjacent properties shall include the ten (10) closest lots, which are on the same street, directly abutting and adjacent to the property where the tree and/or foliage are located. Notice of denial shall be given only to the applicant.
  2. When the foliage is located in a City park, notice of the director’s decision shall be given only to the applicant.

H. Appeals. Any interested person receiving notice of the director's decision may appeal the decision to the planning commission, in writing, within fifteen calendar days of the director's decision. Pursuant to Section 17.02.040(C)(2)(g) of the Municipal Code, the decision of the planning commission on such an appeal may be appealed to the City Council. Any appeal must be accompanied by payment of the appropriate appeal fee, as established by City Council resolution. No city tree review permit shall be effective until all applicable appeal periods have been exhausted.

Section 5: The amendments to Section 17.76.100 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code as identified herein shall apply to all City Tree Review Permit applications submitted after the effective date of the adoption of said ordinance and to all City Tree Review Permit applications that have not been deemed complete prior to the effective date of the adoption of said ordinance.

Section 6: The City Clerk shall certify to the adoption of this ordinance and shall cause the full text of this ordinance to be posted in the manner prescribed by law.

PASSED, APPROVED and ADOPTED this 1st day of March 2005.

_______________________
Mayor

ATTEST:

_______________________
City Clerk

STATE OF CALIFORNIA )

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES )ss
CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES )

I, Carolynn Petru, 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. 415 was duly and regularly adopted by the City Council of said City at a regular meeting thereof held on March 1, 2005, and that the same was passed and adopted by the following roll call vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSENT:

ABSTAIN:

___________________________
City Clerk

ADDENDUM NO. 13 TO ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT/

NEGATIVE DECLARATION (EA/ND) NO. 694

March 1, 2005

On April 1, 1997, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 97-25, thereby adopting a Negative Declaration for Environmental Assessment No. 694 for amendments to Titles 16 and 17 of the City's Municipal Code. Prior to its adoption, the Negative Declaration was circulated for public comment from March 4 through March 24, 1997 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; 2) that many of the amendments were clarifications and minor non-substantive revisions; and 3) that the substantive amendments would reduce impacts on the environment since the requirements and regulations governing development in the City would generally be strengthened, thereby further reducing any adverse impacts to adjacent properties and upon the environment.

The City Council has reviewed the amendments to Title 17 of the Development Code that streamlines the City Tree Review Permit application process and establishes an application fee. Based upon its own independent review, the City Council finds that there is no substantial evidence that the amendments to Title 17 would result in new significant environmental effects, or a substantial increase in the severity of the effects, as previously identified in Environmental Assessment No. 694 and the Negative Declaration, adopted through Resolution No. 97-25 in conjunction with Ordinance No. 320 for amendments to Titles 16 and 17 of the Municipal Code. The new amendments are minor language revisions that establish a permit application fee and streamline the review criteria for the City Tree Review Permit application process. Part of the amendment will also require removal of City tree(s) upon approval of the City Tree Review Permit, however the replanting of tree(s) as a condition of approval for the City Tree Review Permit shall mitigate any impact caused by such removal. Accordingly, pursuant to the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act, the City Council finds that no further environmental review is necessary other than the adoption of this Addendum No. 13.