TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND COUNCILMEMBERS
FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING & CODE ENFORCEMENT
DATE: AUGUST 2, 2005
SUBJECT: BORDER ISSUES STATUS REPORT
Staff Coordinator: Gregory Pfost, aicp, Deputy Planning Director
Review the current status of border issues, and provide direction to Staff, as appropriate.
This month’s report includes:
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
New Residence at 717 Via La Cuesta, Palos Verdes Estates
As previously reported to the City Council, a new single-family residence located in the City of Palos Verdes Estates (PVE) is being considered by their Planning Commission. The subject property is located immediately adjacent to the City boundary line abutting Grandview Park. As a result of the project silhouette many Rancho Palos Verdes residents attended the May 17, 2005 PVE Planning Commission meeting to express their opposition to the project. The concerns expressed by the project’s opponents included its size and height, compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood, and its impact to views (specifically from Grandview Park). As a result of the public testimony, the PVE Planning Commission directed the applicant to respond to the concerns expressed by revising the project plans and continued the public hearing.
Staff received revised project plans from the project applicant. While the revised project, which included lowering of the highest roof ridgeline and the building pad elevation, improved the view impacts from Grandview Park, Staff still had concerns regarding view impairment from Grandview Park. Staff expressed those concerns in a letter to the PVE Planning Commission. Additionally, Staff attended the July 19, 2005 PVE Planning Commission meeting and verbally expressed those concerns. At the Planning Commission meeting, the Commission heard testimony from the Applicant as well as eleven (including RPV Staff) opponents to the proposed project. The Commission directed the Applicant to make additional modifications to consider view, grading, topography and bulk/mass issues. The Planning Commission then continued the public hearing to a date uncertain. Staff will continue to monitor this proposed project and keep the Council informed as to its progress.
New Border Issues
George F. Canyon Preserve and Nature Center, Rolling Hills Estates
On July 18, 2005, Staff received the attached Notice, Project Description, and Initial Study/Environmental Checklist for a proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) that would permit Habitat Restoration/Enhancement, Spur Trail Enhancement and a Native Plant Demonstration Garden in the existing George F. Canyon Preserve. The subject site is located in the City of Rolling Hills Estates at the southwest corner of Palos Verdes Drive East and Palos Verdes Drive North. The proposed project will accomplish the following objectives; provide habitat enhancement of existing riparian and coastal sage scrub and protection from invasive non-native plants; restore heavily infested disturbed areas with coastal sage scrub and grassland ecotones; raise public awareness and of the importance of native plan conservation through development of a native plant demonstration garden; and enhance public access to the preserve by widening and enhancing the spur trail connecting the nature center to the Stein-Hale trailhead. There will be no changes to the existing public access (with exception to some improvements to an existing trail), or existing hours of operation for the Nature Center. Staff has reviewed the MND and does not feel that there will be any significant impacts to residents or property within the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. Therefore, unless requested by the City Council, Staff does not plan on commenting on the MND. The 30-day comment period ends on August 5, 2005.
Former Border Issues
Ponte Vista Project at Former Navy Housing Site, Los Angeles (San Pedro)
In a July 13, 2005 Daily Breeze article, it was reported that the new owner of the subject property, Bisno Development Company of Century City, was preparing to submit an application to develop the former Navy housing site with 2,300 townhouses and condominiums on 62-acres (see attachment). As part of the project, a portion of the development would be dedicated for senior housing and a senior housing recreation center. Additionally, it was reported that the developer was proposing to set aside 40% of the project site as open space landscaped area, as well as construct 4-baseball diamonds for San Pedro’s Eastview Little League.
According to the article, the proposed project plans were expected to be submitted to the City of Los Angeles Planning Department the week of July 18th. At this time, Staff has not been able to contact City Officials to ascertain an update on the project or a detailed description of the project. Nevertheless, based on the density of the proposed project, it was reported by the Daily Breeze that concerns from neighboring home associations and from Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s office regarding the scale of the project and the potential impacts the project will have on the environment and surrounding neighborhoods will require that the project undergo extreme scrutiny by the City of Los Angeles. Staff will continue to monitor the status of the project with the anticipation of commenting on the potential impacts the project may have on the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. As information becomes available Staff will provide the Council with status updates.
Condominium Project at Former Fitness Center Site, 28000 South Western Avenue (City of Los Angeles/San Pedro)
As the Council may recall, the proposed project involves the demolition of a pre-existing health club that was gutted by fire years ago to accommodate the development of a 140-unit market-rate condominium project with four levels of 1- and 2-bedroom units with a subterranean parking garage. As proposed, the project requires the Los Angeles City Planning Commission review and approve the following applications: a Zone Change, a General Plan Amendment, a Variance, a Setback Adjustment, and a Site Plan Review.
It was last reported that as a precursor to a public hearing before the Los Angeles City Planning Commission, a Hearing Officer would conduct a meeting to receive testimony on the proposed project. On May 27, 2005, the Hearing Officer conducted a meeting at which time Staff commented on the potential impacts the proposed project would have on the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, particularly as it relates to traffic impacts on Western Avenue. Additionally, comments were received in response to the project’s Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) that states the project has the potential to significantly impact: aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, hazards and hazardous material, hydrology and water quality, land use, noise, population and housing, public services, recreation, transportation and traffic, and utilities and service systems. Upon the Hearing Officer’s review of the project, the project was forwarded to the Los Angeles City Planning Commission.
On July 14, 2005, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on the proposed project at City Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. Based on the attached Staff Report, it was recommended that the Planning Commission approve aspects of the project with modifications as stated in the proposed conditions of approval (see attachment). Furthermore, it was recommended that the Planning Commission deny the Plan Amendment to exceed 3-floors, deny the Variance to reduce the required total useable open space requirement, deny the setback reduction request, and deny the Site Plan Review application. The Los Angeles City Planning Commission, at its July 14th meeting, conditionally approved the proposed project. As conditioned, several changes to the site plan and the design of the buildings are to be incorporated to the project. At this time, Staff was informed that the Planning Commission’s final decision has not been released with the details of the conditioned changes for the project. As soon as the final decision is released, a 15-day appeal period will commence. Staff will continue to monitor and update the Council on the status of this project and the release of the final decision.
Proposed Butcher Ranch Subdivision, Palos Verdes Drive North between Palos Verdes Drive East and Montecillo Drive (City of Rolling Hills Estates
On July 10, 2002, the City received a Notice of Preparation (NOP) and Initial Study for the proposed Butcher residential subdivision in the City of Rolling Hills Estates. The developer was proposing to create twelve residential lots and a private street parallel to Palos Verdes Drive North. An Initial Study was prepared and identified a number of potentially significant environmental impacts in the areas of land use and planning, earth resources, water, air quality, transportation and circulation, biological resources, risk of upset, noise, utilities, aesthetics and cultural resources. On August 12, 2002, Staff forwarded NOP comments (see attached) to the City of Rolling Hills Estates. These comments identified potential issues of concern in the areas of biological resources, transportation/traffic, hazards and land use planning. In July 2003, the proposed project had been withdrawn and was being re-designed to address issues raised in the original Initial Study (IS).
The proposed project has now been revised to include the RE/MAX property at 2483 Palos Verdes Drive North. The revised project now proposes thirteen (13) residential lots, a commercial recreation lot adjacent to the existing Jack Kramer Tennis Club and a new local street connecting to Montecillo Drive. The City of Rolling Hills Estates has prepared a revised Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (attached) identifying a number of potentially significant environmental impacts in the areas of Aesthetics, Biological Resources, Utilities, Cultural Resources, Air Quality, Geology/Soils, Land Use/Planning and Transportation/Traffic.
Staff expects to comment on the revised Initial Study with comments similar to Staff's prior comment letter. The MND comment period ends on August 9, 2005. If the Council wishes to add additional comments to the comment letter, then Staff requests that the Council direct those comments to Staff at the August 2nd Council meeting.
Joel Rojas, aicp
Director of Planning, Building
and Code Enforcement
MND for George F. Canyon Preserve and Nature Center
Daily Breeze Article on the Ponte Vista Project at Former Navy Housing Site, dated 7/13/05
City of L.A. Staff Report on the Condominium Project at Former Fitness Centaer Site
MND for Proposed Butcher Ranch Subdivision
August 12, 2002 Comment Letter on the previously Proposed Butcher Ranch Subdivision