Rancho Palos Verdes City Council




DATE: APRIL 5, 2005


Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, AICP, Senior Planner


Review the current status of border issues and provide direction to Staff, as appropriate.


This month’s report includes:

  • A brief report on recent issues related to the former Palos Verdes Landfill site;

  • An update on the conclusion of the auction of the former Navy housing site (Ponte Vista) on Western Avenue in San Pedro;

  • A report on a second joint City Council/Planning Commission workshop in Rolling Hills Estates regarding the Peninsula Village Overlay Zone (formerly known as the Downtown Master Plan); and,

  • A report on the "first look" presentation of proposed utility infrastructure projects in and along Palos Verdes Drive North to the Rolling Hills Estates City Council.


The following is the regular monthly report to the City Council on various "border issues" potentially affecting the residents of Rancho Palos Verdes. The complete text of the current status report is available for review on the City’s website at:



Current Border Issues

South Coast County Golf Course, County of Los Angeles/Rolling Hills Estates

On March 7, 2005, Councilmember Gardiner forwarded the attached e-mail from the president of the Country Hills Homeowners’ Association to the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), requesting information about the composition of the existing landfill cap. Country Hills is the Torrance neighborhood located to the north of and directly below the former Palos Verdes Landfill site. Staff has also received the attached additional e-mails and information from Joan Davidson of South Bay CARES. The attached "letter to the editor" from the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts appeared in the March 12, 2005 issue of the Peninsula News. Finally, Staff received the attached response from DTSC to our letter of February 17, 2005.

Ponte Vista Project at Former Navy Housing Site, Los Angeles (San Pedro)

The Navy issued another amendment to the Invitation for Bids (IFB) on February 25, 2005, to increase the minimum bid increment from $500,000 to $1,000,000, again in an apparent effort to end the auction more quickly. Shortly thereafter, more than three (3) months after it began, the on-line auction for the Ponte Vista property ended on March 7, 2005. The high bid of $88,000,000—which equates to nearly $2,100,000 per acre—was submitted by "guildmortge" and the second highest bidder was "richmar." The high bidder is only guaranteed to receive a 41.95-acre portion of the 61.53-acre property, with the remaining balance of the property to be conveyed to the designated homeless services providers (HSPs) unless alternate agreements are reached between the high bidder and the HSPs. The actual identities of the two highest bidders had not been revealed by the time this report was completed. Also, in the attached Daily Breeze article of March 9, 2005, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn—in whose district the Ponte Vista property is located—was quoted as supporting the inclusion of Little League fields in the future residential development project. Staff will continue to monitor the progress of the sale through the close of the 60-day escrow period, including the status of any alternate agreements that may be reached between the final high bidder and the HSPs.

Peninsula Village Overlay Zone, Rolling Hills Estates

On February 28, 2005, the City Council and Planning Commission of Rolling Hills Estates held a second joint meeting to discuss the development standards and design guidelines for the proposed Peninsula Village Overlay Zone (PVOZ), formerly known as the Downtown Master Plan (see attached Daily Breeze and Peninsula News articles). The meeting was well attended by residents, business owners, developers, real estate professionals and other stakeholders in and surrounding the Peninsula Center area. The City Council and Planning Commission were asked to review and comment upon the latest proposal for development standards and design guidelines, and to direct Staff to initiate the preparation of a Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) to evaluate the environmental impacts of the PVOZ.

With respect to the proposed development standards for the PVOZ, the Peninsula Center area is still proposed to be divided into four (4) districts with differing development standards based upon the orientation of the parcels in each district to the existing major roadways (i.e., Silver Spur Road and Deep Valley Drive). The properties fronting "Little" Silver Spur Road are proposed to be designated as District 1 (see attached development standards and diagram). Rancho Palos Verdes residents live immediately north of District 1 in the Peninsula Rim community. As currently proposed, the District 1 standards would allow residential densities of up to forty (40) units per acre and structures up to forty-four feet (44’) in height (reduced from the previous proposal of sixty-five feet (65’)). Other properties along the north side of Silver Spur Road—including the former Cal Fed and ARCO sites—would now be included in District 3, which would allow residential densities of up to thirty-five (35) units per acre and structures up to forty-four feet (44’) in height. Currently, RHE mixed-use development standards would allow residential densities of up to twenty-two (22) units per acre and structures up to forty-four feet (44’) in height in Districts 1 and 3. The PVOZ development standards also propose to establish a minimum lot coverage requirement in Districts 1 and 3 that is at least one-third (⅓) higher than the maximum lot coverage currently allowed.

The RHE City Council and Planning Commission discussed the proposed PVOZ development standards and design guidelines at some length, and heard testimony from several attendees (including Rancho Palos Verdes residents and Staff). They eventually directed their Staff to initiate the PEIR for the proposal, but asked that the project description be amended to limit District 2 (i.e., the existing Town & Country shopping center) to only commercial uses; to remove the current mixed-use overlay zoning for the remainder of the Peninsula Center area (including the Peninsula Center shopping center and the Avenue of the Peninsula mall); and to include minimum commercial area requirements and additional property line setbacks in District 1. The RHE City Council was expected to review and approve the revised project description on March 22, 2005.

New Border Issues

Joint Cal Water-West Basin MWD-Edison Infrastructure Project, Rolling Hills Estates

The City Council may recall that California Water Service Company (CWSC) made a presentation regarding its master plan for the Palos Verdes District on February 17, 2004. Part of this plan envisioned placing two (2) new water mains under Palos Verdes Drive North to replace an existing line serving the westerly Peninsula (the so-called "D-500 System"); and to supplement existing supply lines to the existing reservoirs at the top of the Peninsula (the so-called "Ridge System"). The Council may also recall that a previous Border Issue upon which the City commented in 2003 was the Harbor-South Bay Water Recycling Project, proposed jointly by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and the West Basin Municipal Water District (WBMWD) to provide reclaimed water for irrigation purposes. One of the proposed lines for this project (Lateral 6B) would be placed under Palos Verdes Drive North to serve existing and proposed golf courses and parks in Rolling Hills Estates, Palos Verdes Estates and County territory, as well as Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes. Adding to these water line projects is a plan by Southern California Edison (SCE) to underground existing utility lines along Palos Verdes Drive North between Rolling Hills Road and Montecillo Drive. All of these projects would require construction within the public right-of-way of Palos Verdes Drive North, which is already severely impacted by traffic during peak-hour periods.

On February 22, 2005, the Rolling Hills Estates City Council heard a joint presentation by CWSC, WBMWD and SCE representatives of plans to coordinate these three infrastructure projects as a single, large project (see attached Daily Breeze and Peninsula News articles). The traffic control measures proposed to accomplish these combined projects would involve phased closures of segments of Palos Verdes Drive North over a period of at least fifteen (15) months, assuming 2-shift, 16-hour workdays. Although controlled local access to residences, businesses and schools along Palos Verdes Drive North would be maintained throughout the project, both local and through traffic would be detoured at various times onto Hawthorne Boulevard, Crenshaw Boulevard, Rolling Hills Road, Palos Verdes Drive East/Narbonne Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway.

Both the RHE City Council and members of the public had significant concerns about the proposed project. Of primary concern were the justification for elements of the project; and the number and scope of possible alternatives considered. At the conclusion of the workshop, it was the City Council’s consensus that additional public workshops were necessary, as was the preparation of a formal Initial Study (IS) to identify all of the environmental effects of the proposed project. Staff intends to continue to monitor this project, and to review and comment upon the IS once it is completed.

Respectfully submitted:

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

Reviewed by:

Les Evans, City Manager


E-mail from David Henseler to Tom Cota, DTSC (dated 3/5/05)

E-mail and information from Joan Davidson (received 3/10/05)

"Letter to the Editor" from Sanitation Districts (published 3/12/05)

Response letter from DTSC (received 3/21/05)

IFB Amendment No. 3 for Ponte Vista auction (issued 2/25/05)

Daily Breeze article regarding Ponte Vista auction (dated 3/9/05)

Daily Breeze and Peninsula News articles regarding PVOZ (dated 3/2/05 & 3/5/05)

Development Standards comparison table for Peninsula Village Overlay Zone (PVOZ)

RHE Staff Report for Peninsula Village Overlay Zone (dated 2/28/05)

Daily Breeze and Peninsula News articles regarding PVDN project (dated 2/24/05)