Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

APRIL 5, 2005 APPEAL OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION’S DENIAL OF A HEIGHT VARIATION (case no. ZON2004-00087) APRIL 5, 2005 APPEAL OF THE PLANNING COMMISSIONíS DENIAL OF A HEIGHT VARIATION (case no. ZON2004-00087)



TO:
HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: APRIL 5, 2005

SUBJECT: APPEAL OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION’S DENIAL OF A HEIGHT VARIATION (case no. ZON2004-00087), FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 28129 ELLA ROAD. (Applicant: Stan Anderson, for AEG Architects; Property Owner: Jaime Anvaripour; Appellant: Moss & Associates, on behalf of Jaime Anvaripour)

Staff Coordinator: Dave Blumenthal, Associate Planner

This item was continued, at the request of the property owner, from the City Council meeting of March 1, 2005. The staff report (attached) for this item was originally transmitted to the City Council in advance of the March 1, 2005 agenda packet, on February 16, 2005. Since the writing of the staff report, staff received two comment letters, which are attached to the staff report, along with previous correspondence.

The comment letters are from Young Oh, property owner of 28215 Lomo Drive, and Ishver and Vidya Naik, property owners of 28327 Lomo Drive. Both of these letters cite the neighbors concerns with the view impairment caused by the proposed project. As discussed in the staff report, significant cumulative view impairment was the reason for the Planning Commission’s denial of the appellant’s request. It is staff’s opinion that this letter does not raise any new issues, which have not already been analyzed in the previous staff reports. As such, the analysis and recommendation contained in the staff report remains the same.

Attached is the complete staff report and all its attachments, including the resolution, which was not attached to the staff report when it was transmitted to the Council on February 16, 2005.

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: MARCH 1, 2005

SUBJECT: APPEAL OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION’S DENIAL OF A HEIGHT VARIATION (case no. ZON2004-00087), FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 28129 ELLA ROAD. (Applicant: Stan Anderson, for AEG Architects; Property Owner: Jaime Anvaripour; Appellant: Moss & Associates, on behalf of Jaime Anvaripour)

Staff Coordinator: Dave Blumenthal, Associate Planner

RECOMMENDATION

Adopt Resolution No. 2005-__, denying the appeal, thereby upholding the Planning Commission’s denial of a Height Variation (Case No. ZON2004-00087).

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This item is being brought before the City Council for consideration due to an appeal, which has been filed on behalf of the project applicant, of the Planning Commission’s decision to deny, without prejudice, a Height Variation (Case No. ZON2004-00087). The proposed Height Variation is a request to construct a 1,246 square foot addition to an existing 2,282 square foot single-family residence. Based on the analysis in this report, staff feels that there is no new evidence or information provided by the appellants to warrant overturning the Planning Commission’s denial of the revision. As such, staff is recommending that the City Council deny the appeal.

BACKGROUND

On February 25, 2004, the applicant submitted a Height Variation application requesting to construct a 1,246 square foot two-story addition to the existing single-family residence. This application was deemed complete by staff on May 27, 2004.

On July 13, 2004, the Planning Commission conducted a duly noticed public hearing to consider the Height Variation. After considering all written and oral testimony, the Planning Commission continued the public hearing until August 10, 2004, and directed the applicant to redesign the project to address the Commission’s concerns of significant and significant cumulative view impairment that the project was creating. At the request of the applicant, on August 10, 2004, the Planning Commission again continued to the public hearing to the regular Planning Commission meeting on October 12, 2004.

On September 20, 2004, the applicant submitted a revised project that included revisions to the plate heights and roof pitch, thereby reducing the proposed structure’s height by an additional 4’-0".

On October 12, 2004, after considering all written and oral testimony on the revised project, the Planning Commission denied the project due to concerns about the project causing significant cumulative view impairment to properties located on Lomo Road. The Planning Commission adopted P.C. Resolution No. 2004-44, formalizing their decision, on October 26, 2004.

On November 9, 2004, the applicant filed a timely appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision, requesting that the City Council reconsider the Planning Commission’s denial of the Height Variation (see attached appeal letter).

On January 20, 2005, notice of the City Council public hearing was sent to all property owners within 500’ of the subject site. Additionally, the notice was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News on January 22, 2005.

SITE & PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The subject property is a 12,275 square foot parcel within the single-family residential (RS-4) zone. The site is currently improved with a 2,282 square foot single-family residence, which currently has a maximum height of 15.3’, as measured from the lowest grade adjacent to the building foundation/slab (102.5’) to the highest ridgeline of the residence (117.8), and 14.53’, as measured from the highest elevation of existing building pad covered by structure (103.27’) to the highest ridgeline of the residence.

The applicant’s request is to construct a 182 square foot addition to the eastern side on the existing first floor and construct a new 1,064 square foot second floor on the residence. Additionally, the applicant is proposing to construct a 100 square foot roof deck on the southwest corner of the residence. As revised, the proposed residence would have a maximum height of 21’, as measured from the lowest grade adjacent to the building foundation/slab (102.5’) to the highest ridgeline of the residence (123.5’), and 20.23’, as measured from the highest elevation of existing building pad covered by structure (103.27’) to the highest ridgeline of the residence.

 

DISCUSSION

A detailed background, site description, code consideration, and staff analysis of the Height Variation application is contained in the attached Planning Commission staff reports, dated July 13, 2004, August 10, 2004, October 12, 2004, and October 26, 2004. In addition, the minute excerpts from these Planning Commission meetings are attached hereto. Therefore, the body of this "Discussion" section will focus on the issues raised by the Planning Commission in their review of the revised project.

When considering the revised project, the Planning Commission felt that the revised project created significant cumulative view impairment. According to the Municipal Code, "Cumulative view impairment shall be determined by: (a) considering the amount of view impairment that would be caused by the proposed new structure that is above sixteen feet in height or addition to a structure that is above sixteen feet in height; and (b) considering the amount of view impairment that would be caused by the construction on other parcels of similar new structures or additions that exceed sixteen feet in height." Additionally, according the Height Variation Guidelines, as amended by the City Council on April 20, 2004, cumulative view impairment should be considered with other nearby parcels within the view shed, usually not to extend beyond three or four parcels. When analyzing the cumulative view impairment, the Planning Commission considered the combined effects caused by the proposed project and if the properties located at 28203, 28211, and 28303 Ella Road would construct additions at the same height of the proposed project. In their deliberations, the Planning Commission noted that they felt that the cumulative effect would cause significant view impairment to the properties located at 28327 and 28221 Lomo. As such, the Planning Commission denied the Height Variation (Case No. ZON2004-00087), by a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Karp dissenting.

In the appeal letter (attached), the appellant states that they are appealing the denial for the City Council’s consideration because the Commission did not rely on staff’s evaluation, the Commission did not rely on actual observations of the site, the Commission was shown photographs at previous hearings that prejudiced the outcome, there was a significant reduction in the height and mass of the structure, the property owner is being deprived the right to build a second story, the applicant was deprived due process, there was no evidence to support the Planning Commission’s decision, and not all Commissioners observed the silhouette from the viewing area of the other homes.

As previously noted, the Planning Commission denied, without prejudice, the request by a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Karp dissenting. Based on a review of the Planning Commission’s minute excerpts from all of the meetings (attached), the Commission’s main concern with the proposed structure was the view impairment created by the second story. The Commission’s decision was derived from their consideration of all of the evidence before them, which included staff’s analysis, all written and oral testimony, photographs of the site and the view impairment, the project plans and constructed silhouette, and the Planning Commission’s personal observations of the project. Furthermore, in staff’s opinion, the appellant’s statement of the property owner being deprived of their due process right is inaccurate. As noted in the Planning Commission minute excerpts, the property owner and their representatives were given time to present their case to the Planning Commission, including time for a rebuttal after all other verbal testimony was given.

Notwithstanding staff’s recommendation for approval, at the conclusion of the October 12, 2004 public hearing, the majority of the Planning Commission felt that while the applicant had worked hard to reduce the impacts, the proposed second story addition would create significant cumulative view impairment upon the properties located at 28327 and 28221 Lomo, and therefore denied the applicant’s request.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Correspondence Received:

All correspondence received prior to the Planning Commission hearings (attached) have been analyzed in the attached Planning Commission Staff Reports. Nevertheless, staff has received one comment letter regarding the appeal, which was sent from Mr. and Mrs. Brewster, property owners of 28221 Lomo Drive. In their letter, they state that they are opposed to the proposed project because it will block their ocean view.

FISCAL IMPACT

The appellants have paid $940.00 in appeal fees to cover the cost of processing the appeal. Should the City Council uphold the appeal, these fees will be refunded to the appellant, thus the cost of processing the appeal will be borne by the City.

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 denial of a Height Variation (Case No. ZON2004-00087); 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. 2005-__
  • Letter of Appeal
  • Planning Commission Staff Reports, dated July 13, 2004, August 10, 2004, October 12, 2004, and October 26, 2004
  • Planning Commission Minute Excerpts, dated July 13, 2004, August 10, 2004, October 12, 2004, and October 26, 2004
  • P.C. Resolution No. 2004-44
  • Project Plans
  • Correspondence Received