TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND COUNCILMEMBERS
FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING & CODE ENFORCEMENT
DATE: SEPTEMBER 6, 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 monthís 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 Cityís website at:
Current Border Issues
New Residence at 717 Via La Cuesta, Palos Verdes Estates
The Palos Verdes Estatesí Planning Commission has been reviewing the new single-family residence to be constructed adjacent to the City-owned Grandview Park for the last three months. During the Planning Commissionís review of the proposed residence, concerns were expressed by neighboring property owners, including representatives from the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, with issues relating to the massing and size of the proposed structure, the structureís compatibility with the neighborhood, and the impacts to views from neighboring properties, including the Cityís Grandview Park. As a result of these concerns, the PVE Planning Commission directed the property owner to revise the project by lowering the structureís height and lowering the pad elevation, as a means of addressing these concerns.
On August 16, 2005, the PVE Planning Commission conducted its third public hearing on the proposed residence. The PVE Planning Commission and applicant have been generally receptive to the concerns raised by the public and the City and has been proactive in directing the property owner to lower the overall height of the proposed residence. In response to the PVE Planning Commissionís direction, the overall height of the structure was lowered and the view impairment from neighboring properties, including Grandview Park, has been substantially minimized. However, view impairment resulting from the project fencing and foliage remain. To address this concern, City Staff attended the August 16th meeting and suggested that the height of the projectís rear yard privacy fence and any foliage on the slope be limited to 36" (the minimum height required for a guard rail), as measured from existing grade on the Grandview Park side. Staff felt that this would allow views to be maintained laterally over the fence from the Grandview Park area, while providing a security and privacy barrier for the applicant.
After considering public testimony, the PVE Planning Commission unanimously approved the project with a condition that limits the height of the property fencing to 6-feet, limits the foliage adjacent to the property fencing to the top of the fence, and limits the height of foliage around the property to the maximum ridgeline height of the structure. Since a 6-foot high fence would likely cause some view impairment from the Cityís Grandview Park, some RPV residents inquired of Staff whether the City was going to appeal the decision.
On August 30th, a special meeting was convened by the City Council to consider whether an appeal should be filed to the Palos Verdes Estates City Council. The outcome of that meeting was not known in time for inclusion in this report.
New Border Issues
There are no new border issues to report at this time.
Former Border Issues
Ponte Vista Project at Former Navy Housing Site, Los Angeles (San Pedro)
As the Council may recall, 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.
On August 22nd, City Staff (City Manager Evans and Senior Planner Mihranian) attended a meeting with the developerís representatives on the project site. At that meeting, City Staff was informed that project plans were in fact submitted to the City of Los Angeles Planning Department and were currently being reviewed for completeness. According the developerís representatives, they expect the environmental assessment to begin circulation within the next sixty days, at which time the public, including the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, will have an opportunity to comment on the projectís potential impacts to the surrounding neighborhood and environment.
As reported in the Daily Breeze article, the developerís representatives informed Staff that as proposed, the project consists of the construction of 1,725 single-family housing units and 575 senior housing units for a total of 2,300 housing units on a site that previously maintained 245 duplex units. In addition to the housing component of the project, a senior recreation center would be constructed, 40% of the project site would be dedicated as open space landscaped area, and 4-baseball diamonds would be constructed for San Pedroís Eastview Little League. Furthermore, a road off Western Avenue will be constructed across the lower portion of the project site as a means to access the future site of the Mary Star High School, which is currently under construction with an anticipated opening date of Fall 2006. City Staff was informed at the meeting that the homeless facility was no longer a part of the project and that the facility was being relocated to the north side of the former Navy Housing site near the facilities for Rolling Hills Preparatory and Marymount College.
After hearing the developerís presentation, City Staff raised brief concerns regarding impacts to Western Avenue, specifically in regards to traffic volumes caused by the high density of the project and the design of the street entry points to the project site. The representatives informed City Staff that an advisory board, consisting of the project team and community members would be created to address public concerns. When Staff asked if a community representative from the City was on the Advisory Board, the answer was yes, but they could not recall the individualís name at that time. To date, it is still unknown who is serving on the Advisory Board from the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. It should also be noted that the developerís representatives intend to participate on the Western Avenue Task Force.
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 Hahnís 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 meet with the developerís representatives and 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 projectís 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 Officerís 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. It was recommended that the Planning Commission approve aspects of the project with modifications as stated in the proposed conditions of approval. 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, the Planning Commissionís final decision has not been released with the details of the conditioned changes. 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 September 15, 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 September 6th Council meeting.
Joel Rojas, aicp
Director of Planning, Building
and Code Enforcement
MND for Proposed Butcher Ranch Subdivision
August 12, 2002 Comment Letter on Proposed Butcher Ranch Subdivision