MARCH 15, 2005 2004-2005 RAINY SEASON STORM DAMAGE FEE AND PERMIT WAIVER RESOLUTION MARCH 15, 2005 2004-2005 RAINY SEASON STORM DAMAGE FEE AND PERMIT WAIVER RESOLUTION

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND COUNCILMEMBERS

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING & CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: MARCH 15, 2005

SUBJECT: 2004-2005 RAINY SEASON STORM DAMAGE FEE AND PERMIT WAIVER RESOLUTION

Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, AICP, Senior Planner

RECOMMENDATION

Adopt Resolution No. 2005-__, thereby waiving certain fee and permit requirements for the repair of damage to slopes and retaining walls resulting from the rainstorms of the 2004-2005 rainy season.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On February 15, 2005, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 2005-14 waiving certain fee and permit requirements for the repair of slopes and retaining walls damaged by the rainstorms of early-January 2005. The City subsequently experienced significant damage as a result of another series of storms over the Presidents’ Day weekend in mid-February 2005. Since this damage was not covered by Resolution No. 2005-14, Staff has prepared the attached Resolution waiving certain fee and permit requirements for the repair of damage to slopes and retaining walls resulting from these and any subsequent storms this rainy season.

BACKGROUND

Another series of severe rainstorms struck the Palos Verdes Peninsula in mid-February 2005, which resulted in damage to private slopes and retaining walls, and the creation of dangerous conditions at several locations in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. The City Council previously adopted a Resolution to waive certain fee and permit requirements for the repair of damage related to the rainstorms of early-January 2005, but this Resolution did not cover the more recent storm events. In addition, with the current saturation of the City’s soils and the likelihood of additional heavy rain this spring, property owners may continue to experience slope and retaining wall failures for the next couple of months. Therefore, Staff has prepared the attached Resolution to expand the fee and permit waivers to cover both the most recent storm damage and any subsequent damage that may occur later in this rainy season.

DISCUSSION

Section 17.78.010(B)(3) of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code (RPVMC) allows the City Council to grant fee waivers, based upon a finding that "[the] applicant has demonstrated a financial hardship, as determined by the City Council, on a case-by-case basis." In adopting Resolution No. 2005-14 on February 15, 2005 (see attachments), the City Council found that the costs of slope and retaining wall repairs were likely to constitute a significant financial hardship to individual homeowners if not covered by homeowners’ insurance. Staff believes that the damage resulting from the 2004-2005 rainy season storms is likely to pose a similar hardship for affected property owners, thereby warranting the granting of a fee waiver. However, it should be noted that the attached draft Resolution requires property owners seeking a fee waiver to provide written verification that the damage and repairs are not covered by their homeowners’ insurance. Staff recommends that the waiver continue through the end of 2005.

In addition to waiving Planning application fees, Staff also recommends expediting the Planning Division’s review of the slope and retaining wall repairs as an "over the counter" permit where the slopes and/or walls would be restored substantially to their pre-existing conditions and appearance. The pre-failure conditions on a given site could be documented through information in the City’s files, including the City’s recent aerial photographs and topographic data. Expedited Planning review would also be available in the event that the pre-existing slope and/or retaining walls cannot be restored due to Building Code requirements or geotechnical considerations. This will allow Staff to ensure that the aesthetic impacts of the restored walls and slopes are addressed through landscape screening; wall finishes and materials; and other reasonable conditions. However, if an affected property owner voluntarily chooses to expand the scope of any pre-existing slopes and/or retaining walls or conduct other non-remedial grading—when such expansions are not required due to Building Code or geotechnical considerations—expedited Planning review and fee waivers would not be available.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

At the time that this report was prepared, Staff had identified approximately twenty-five (25) incidents of slope and/or retaining wall failures resulting from the February 2005 storms that would be eligible for fee and permit waivers. The owners of these properties have been advised of the City Council’s consideration of this matter.

FISCAL IMPACT

As mentioned above, Staff has identified approximately twenty-five (25) eligible incidents of slope and/or retaining wall failures resulting from the February 2005 storms. Staff estimates that the total Planning, Building and geotechnical permit and review fees for a typical slope and retaining wall repair scenario would be approximately two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) per incident, or a total of approximately sixty-two thousand five hundred dollars ($62,500). This amount may increase if additional private property damage is incurred later in the current rainy season. In addition, Staff previously estimated the value of waived permit fees for damage from the January 2005 storms at twenty thousand dollars ($20,000). If the fee waiver resolution were adopted as currently proposed, all of these costs would be borne by the City’s General Fund.

CONCLUSION

Based upon the foregoing discussion, Staff recommends that the City Council adopt the attached Resolution, thereby waiving certain fee and permit requirements for the repair of damage to slopes and retaining walls resulting from the rainstorms of the 2004-2005 rainy season.

ALTERNATIVES

In addition to Staff’s recommendation, the alternatives available for the City Council’s consideration include:

1. Do not adopt the attached draft Resolution.

2. Continue this matter to a future City Council meeting.

Respectfully submitted:

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

Reviewed by:

Les Evans, City Manager

Attachments:

Resolution No. 2005-__

Resolution No. 2005-14 (adopted February 15, 2005)

RESOLUTION NO. 2005-__

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES WAIVING CERTAIN FEE AND PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR THE REPAIR OF DAMAGE TO SLOPES AND RETAINING WALLS RESULTING FROM THE RAINSTORMS OF THE 2004-2005 RAINY SEASON

WHEREAS, on February 15, 2005, the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council adopted Resolution No. 2005-14, thereby waiving certain fee and permit requirements for the repair of damage to slopes and retaining walls resulting from the rainstorms of early-January 2005; and,

WHEREAS, a few days later over the Presidents’ Day weekend, another series of severe rainstorms struck the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, causing extreme damage to private slopes and retaining walls and other dangerous conditions on adjoining private and public property throughout the City; and,

WHEREAS, the repair of this damage to private slopes and retaining walls will require the review of grading plans and soils reports and the issuance of remedial grading permits by the City’s Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Department; and,

WHEREAS, the types of property damage sustained as a result of the storms of January and February of 2005 are generally not covered by homeowners’ insurance, so that the cost of repairing this damage—including the cost of obtaining the necessary approvals and permits to complete the repairs—is likely to constitute a significant financial hardship for individual property owners; and,

WHEREAS, with the current saturation of the City’s soils and the likelihood of additional heavy rain this spring, property owners may continue to experience slope and retaining wall failures for the remainder of the current rainy season, which "officially" ends on April 15, 2005; and,

WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of the affected property owners and the City as a whole to expedite the review and approval of the necessary plans to repair the damaged slopes and retaining walls as quickly as possible to avoid further damage to the affected properties and to adjacent private and public properties.

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

Section 1: The Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement and his designees are hereby directed to expedite processing of applications for remedial grading permits necessary to repair or remediate damage or dangerous conditions resulting from the storms of the 2004-2005 rainy season occurring on or before April 15, 2005, and involving legal pre-existing slopes or retaining walls, insofar as the repaired slopes and walls are substantially the same configuration, location and height as the pre-existing slopes and walls. Such applications shall be processed as an expedited, "over-the-counter" review whenever possible. In the event that the repaired slopes and walls cannot be restored to their pre-existing configuration, location and height due to Building Code and/or geotechnical considerations, the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement and his designees shall also expedite the review of such remedial grading permit applications in accordance with the criteria and purposes established in Section 17.76.040(A) of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, and may impose reasonable conditions on said permits.

Section 2: The provisions of Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code Sections 15.18.060, 17.76.040(D)(5) and 17.76.040(H), relating to application, permit and appeal fees, are hereby waived for any application for a remedial grading permit necessary to repair or remediate damage or dangerous conditions resulting from the storms of the 2004-2005 rainy season occurring on or before April 15, 2005, involving legal pre-existing slopes or retaining walls where the applicant demonstrates that there will be a financial hardship because the damage and repairs are not covered by insurance. Residents seeking a fee waiver shall provide written verification that the damage and repairs are not covered by insurance.

Section 3: This Resolution shall apply only to those applications for remedial grading permits necessary to repair or remediate damage or dangerous conditions resulting from the storms of the 2004-2005 rainy season occurring on or before April 15, 2005, involving legal pre-existing slopes or retaining walls. Such applications must be completed and submitted to the Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Department not later than December 31, 2005. The applicant shall complete any work approved by the Department within one hundred eighty (180) days of the approval of the application.

Section 4: This Resolution shall not apply to applications for voluntary expansion or intensification of any storm-damaged slope or retaining wall that is not required in order to comply with current Building Code and/or geotechnical requirements nor shall it apply to any other non-remedial grading, which shall be subject to the normal review processes specified in Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code Section 17.76.040.

Section 5: The provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) do not apply to this Resolution, or to any of the actions authorized subsequent hereto, pursuant to Public Resources Code Section 21172 ("Exempts projects within state of emergency areas proclaimed by the Governor") and CEQA Guidelines Section 15269 ("Emergency Projects").

PASSED, APPROVED, and ADOPTED this ___ day of _________ 2005.

_________________________

Larry Clark, Mayor

_________________________

Carolynn Petru, 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, hereby certify that the above Resolution No. 2005-__ was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting held on ___________, 2005.

________________________

City Clerk