SEPTEMBER 6, 2005 DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (DEIR) FOR THE POINT VIEW PROJECT SEPTEMBER 6, 2005 DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (DEIR) FOR THE POINT VIEW PROJECT SEPTEMBER 6, 2005 DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (DEIR) FOR THE POINT VIEW PROJECT

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING, AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: SEPTEMBER 6, 2005

SUBJECT: DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (DEIR) FOR THE POINT VIEW PROJECT

Prepared By: Ara Michael Mihranian, Senior Planner

RECOMMENDATION

Conduct a public hearing for the sole purpose of obtaining public comments on the Point View Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The DEIR for the Point View project was completed and released to the public on July 6, 2005 for review and comment. In accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the DEIR must circulate to the public for a minimum 45 days, during which public agencies, organizations and any interested persons have the opportunity to provide written comments on the content of the DEIR. Due to the complexity of the project, a 72-day comment period was established for the DEIR that ends on September 16, 2005. Staff has been accepting written comments on the DEIR since July 6th and the purpose of this meeting is solely to provide the public with an opportunity to provide oral comments on the DEIR in a public forum. All verbal comments and questions received at the meeting, along with all written comments, submitted through September 16, 2005 will be responded to in the Final EIR document that is expected to be completed some time in early 2006.

BACKGROUND

Moratorium Exclusion Permit No. 10 was originally submitted by the project applicant (YLPA) on May 17, 1996. The applicant was informed at the time of submittal that an Environmental Impact Report would be required for the moratorium exclusion request. The project application remained incomplete as geologic and geotechnical studies in support of the requested exclusion were being prepared.

On February 27, 2003, a revised application was submitted to the City in response to the information gleaned from the geologic and geotechnical studies prepared for the original project. On March 3, 2003, the City’s Geotechnical Consultant conceptually approved the project’s geology and on March 26, 2003, the project application was deemed complete for processing. Subsequently, it was determined by Staff that the application would require the preparation of an EIR. Although the applicant originally objected to the determination, the applicant ultimately agreed to prepare the EIR. Therefore, on July 15, 2003, after an RFP review process, the City Council approved the selection of PCR Services Corporation as the EIR consultant responsible for preparing the EIR.

In accordance with CEQA, a DEIR has been prepared and circulated for public review and comment. The purpose of this item is to conduct a public hearing to allow the public to provide comments on the DEIR in a public forum. No other action on the project is to be taken. All comments presented this evening, as well as written comments received during the public comment period, will be responded to in writing in the Final EIR. Consultants and others will not be responding orally at the meeting to the comments.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The project applicant, York Long Point Associates (YLPA), is requesting to exclude 60-acres from the City’s landslide moratorium (Landslide Moratorium Exclusion No. 10). If excluded, the applicant intends on submitting project applications to develop the excluded area and the adjoining area not subject to the moratorium (a total project area of 94-acres) with 84 single-family homes under a residential planned development. In order to exclude the project area from the moratorium, the applicant proposes to conduct approximately 4 million cubic yards of remedial grading. The DEIR was prepared as a Program-Level EIR. This means that the document provides the appropriate level of detail to address the environmental implications associated with the removal of approximately 60 acres from the landslide moratorium boundary limits, as well as implications of the remedial grading and the subject development. If the applicant is successful in his exclusion request, future development applications will be subject to additional CEQA review. The level of the additional CEQA review depends on how closely future development applications match the development scenarios identified in the current DEIR.

DISCUSSION

The DEIR Scoping Process

The City and its environmental consultant (PCR Services) began the CEQA review process by evaluating the project’s potential impacts based on an environmental checklist. As a result, an Initial Study was prepared in accordance with CEQA. The City distributed the Initial Study to the public, accompanied by a Notice of Preparation (NOP) for preparation of the EIR, on October 13, 2003, initiating a 30-day public scoping period that concluded on November 11, 2003. The purpose of the NOP was to indicate formally that the City was preparing a DEIR for the Point View project and, as Lead Agency, to solicit input regarding the scope and content of the DEIR. The NOP was distributed to all Responsible Agencies, as well as other agencies and members of the public who may have an interest in the Point View project. Approximately 80 written comment letters were received from persons, agencies, or organizations in response to the NOP. Copies of these letters can be found in Volume II Appendix A of the DEIR. The following agencies and organizations provided comments during the scoping period:

The remaining comments were received from individuals who reside in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes or neighboring jurisdictions.

After the NOP comment period ended, the DEIR was prepared taking various comments into account. After completing the DEIR, the document was made available to the public on July 6th for a 72-day public comment period. The environmental concerns raised during the NOP comment period are addressed in the DEIR. The DEIR contains a summary of the environmental concerns raised during the scoping period and where they are addressed in the document (page II-3 of the DEIR). In addition, copies of the NOP, distribution list, and letters received in response to the NOP are included in Appendix A of the DEIR. Copies of the DEIR have been provided to the City Council under separate cover.

DEIR Analysis and Conclusions

Through the scoping process and preparation of the Initial Study, ten environmental factors were considered potentially significant and are analyzed in detail in Section IV of the DEIR. The impacts and mitigation measures related to these environmental factors are summarized in Table II-1 of the DEIR (a copy of the summary table is attached for easy reference). The conclusions of the impact analyses for these factors are summarized as follows:

The DEIR identifies visual impacts that may arise during construction and changes in views from Palos Verdes Drive South, Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, and adjacent roadside turnouts. These visual impacts are associated with the change from a rural appearance to a developed appearance and are considered significant and unavoidable. Mitigation measures are being considered that would reduce visual impacts to neighboring residential properties to less than significant (the analysis discussion can be found on pages IV.A-1 through 28 in the DEIR).

The DEIR identifies impacts relating to air quality based on short-term impacts resulting from project construction and long-term impacts resulting from the project implementation. In terms of long-term impacts, the DEIR states that the project will not result in significant impacts, therefore no mitigation measures are recommended. However, the DEIR states that in terms of short-term impacts, mitigation measures can reduce the impacts to a level of less than significant with the exception of two impacts that would remain significant and unavoidable. These short-term impacts are related to project construction and pertain to daily emissions of Nitrogen Oxide and Particular Matter (the analysis discussion can be found on pages IV.B-1 through 31 in the DEIR).

The DEIR identifies impacts to habitat linkages, vegetation, sensitive species and edge effects and concludes that the impacts would be significant. However, with the implementation of the recommended mitigation measures, impacts, both on a long-term and short-term level, are expected to be less than significant (the analysis discussion can be found on pages IV.C-1 through 58 in the DEIR).

The DEIR evaluates potential impacts to cultural resources as it relates to paleontological and archaeological resources. According to the DEIR, with the implementation of the recommended mitigation measures, impacts to cultural resources will be less than significant. The mitigation measures provide for on-site monitoring during grading activities and identifies a process for recovering and archiving important resources if found. The DEIR states that benefits from the recovery of fossils and other cultural resources could help answer questions regarding the geographic distribution, stratigraphic position, and the age of fossilferous sediments within the project area (the analysis discussion can be found on pages IV.D-1 through 20 in the DEIR).

The DEIR evaluates geologic and soil conditions in terms of slope stability, erosion, soil contamination, faulting and seismicity, liquefaction, and bedrock subsidence. Based on the DEIR, with the implementation of recommended mitigation measures, the impacts identified could be reduced to a level of insignificance (the analysis discussion can be found on pages IV.E- 1 through 48 in the DEIR).

The DEIR evaluates potential impacts on hydrology, water quality and water supply as it relates to existing conditions and changes resulting from the project. The DEIR also evaluates the conditions relating to hydrology and water quality on a short-term and long-term basis. Mitigation measures are recommended that are intended to reduce the impacts to a level of insignificance. Such mitigation measures deal with construction related impacts and measures to minimize sediment discharge (the analysis discussion can be found on pages IV.F-1 through 43 in the DEIR).

The DEIR concludes that even with the implementation of mitigation measures, impacts on views would remain significant and unavoidable as well as the associated land use inconsistency with the Urban Appearance Control District Criterion (the analysis discussion can be found on pages IV.G-1 through 38 in the DEIR).

The DEIR evaluates potential impacts relating to noise on a short-term (construction impacts) and long-term basis. The analysis describes existing noise conditions within the project area and estimates future noise levels based on noise modeling. Based on the analysis conducted, the DEIR concludes that noise related impacts, on a long-term basis could be reduced to a level of insignificance with the implementation of the recommended mitigation measures. However, short-term impacts resulting of project construction would remain significant and unavoidable even with the implementation of mitigation measures (the analysis discussion can be found on pages IV.H-1 through 25 in the DEIR).

The DEIR concludes that with the incorporation of mitigation measures and subsequent plan review by the Los Angeles County Fire Department, impacts associated with the development of the proposed project would be less than significant (the analysis discussion can be found on pages IV.I-1 through 10 in the DEIR).

The DEIR evaluates the potential for the proposed project to result in significant impacts on traffic and circulation during construction and operation, including the local and regional roadway system, intersections, and ingress/egress to the project site entrance. The analysis contained in the DEIR is based on a traffic study prepared by Kaku Associates (See Appendix H in Volume III of the DEIR). The DEIR concludes that cumulative impacts resulting from project-generated traffic on regional freeways and intersections currently experiencing, or projected to experience, traffic congestion would be considered significant and unavoidable (the analysis discussion can be found on pages IV.I-1 through 28 in the DEIR).

DEIR Comment Period

The DEIR is currently being circulated for public review and comment for 72 days, which exceeds the 45-day review period required by CEQA. The DEIR became available on Wednesday, July 6, 2005 and the comment period will end on Friday, September 16, 2005. A Notice of Availability of the Draft EIR (attached) has been transmitted to the State Clearinghouse, Responsible Agencies, local interested parties, and listserve subscribers. Hard copies of the DEIR are available to review and/or purchase at City Hall. In addition, copies are available for viewing at Hesse Park and the local libraries. Furthermore, the document is available on the City’s website to view and/or download.

It should be noted that due to the size of the geology and soils reports, the DEIR Appendix E-1 does not contain the reports but rather directs the reader to the City’s Planning Department where hard copies are available for viewing. In addition, the numerous geology reports have been placed on a cd that is available for purchase at City Hall for $25.00.

The comment period will conclude on Friday, September 16, 2005. Until then, all interested agencies and parties have the opportunity to provide written comments on the content of the DEIR. In addition, the public has an opportunity this evening to provide comments on the NOP in a public forum. All written comments received by the City will be given equal consideration as any oral comments received this evening.

All written comments and oral testimony received during the comment period will be provided to the City’s environmental consultant for response in the Final EIR. The Final EIR will contain formal responses to the comments received during the DEIR comment period, including any changes to the EIR text as a result of the comments. As noted in the time schedule in the next section of this Staff Report, Staff anticipates that the Final EIR will be completed by early 2006, after which time, it will be presented to the City Council, along with the application for the Landslide Moratorium Exclusion permit.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Comments Received Thus Far

To date, the City has received 28 comments from the public. These comments are attached to this report for Council information. In the event additional comments are received before the September 6th Council meeting, those comments will be provided to the Council that evening.

Estimated Processing Steps and Timeline

At the conclusion of the DEIR comments period, all verbal and written comments will be reviewed, assessed and responded to in the Final EIR. Provided below is a summary of the processing steps that will follow this evening’s meeting. This timeline is an estimate and may be subject to changes based on the number of comments received and the scope of the issues raised.

It should be noted that although the EIR consultants estimated that it would take one month to complete the FEIR, Staff’s estimate is based on the comments received thus far and the delays caused by the holiday season.

The projected date assumes that at least three Council meetings will be needed to address the merits of the proposed Moratorium Exclusion project. If the Moratorium Exclusion request were granted, the applicant would need to file applications to develop the property, which would be considered by the Planning Commission and City Council.

FISCAL IMPACT

No fiscal impact would result, as no action or approval, other than the solicitation of public comment on the DEIR, is being proposed at this time.

Respectfully submitted,

Joel Rojas

Director of Planning, Building,

and Code Enforcement

Reviewed by:

Les Evans

City Manager

Attachments (The following attachments are not available electronically. To view the following attachments please see City Staff at City Hall Planning Department):

Table II-1 from DEIR

Notice of Availability

DEIR (under separate cover to City Council only)

Public Comments