TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND COUNCILMEMBERS
FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING & CODE ENFORCEMENT
DATE: OCTOBER 4, 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
Ponte Vista Project at Former Navy Housing Site, Los Angeles (San Pedro)
As part of the September Border Issues report to the City Council, Staff reported that a developer, Bisno Development Company, submitted an application with the City of Los Angeles Planning Department to develop the former Navy Housing site with 2,300 townhouses and condominiums on approximately 62-acres. This week the City received a Notice of Preparation (NOP) from the City of Los Angeles notifying interested parties that an EIR will be prepared for the project and that a public scoping meeting will be held (NOP Attached). Pursuant to CEQA, the purpose of the NOP is to provide a comment period for interested parties to identify what issues should be addressed in the forthcoming Draft EIR.
According to the NOP, public comments will be accepted through October 14, 2005. In addition, the City of L.A. will conduct a public scoping meeting on Thursday, October 6, 2005 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ports O’Call Restaurant located at 76-Berth San Pedro. Staff is planning on attending the scoping meeting and submitting formal written comments in response to the NOP. Staff intends to draft a comment letter after attending the October 6th scoping meeting, which will be forwarded to the Council in the weekly administrative report ("Friday Report") before it is finally submitted to the City of Los Angeles.
Staff will provide any additional information regarding this project in the next Border Issues report, which will be presented to the City Council at its November 1st meeting.
New Border Issues
710 Via La Cuesta, Palos Verdes Estates
On September 13, 2005, the City received a public notice (attached) from the City of Palos Verdes Estates (PVE) notifying the City of a Planning Commission meeting on September 21, 2005 to consider a new, 8,955 square foot, single-family residence located at 710 Via La Cuesta. The City received the public notice because the proposed residence is located on property that is within 300-feet from the City-owned Grandview Park.
Based on Staff’s review of the project plans, the subject property is located at an elevation that is significantly lower than the grade elevation of the park. Therefore, Staff determined that the proposed project would not be visible from the park nor would it result in any adverse impacts to the park. In addition, Staff has not been contacted by any RPV residents with comments about the project. For those reasons, Staff did not submit written comments nor attend the September 21st PVE Planning Commission meeting.
Former Border Issues
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 City of Los Angeles Planning Commission to 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 City of Los Angeles 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 City of Los Angeles Planning Commission.
On July 14, 2005, the City of Los Angeles 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 City of Los Angeles 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 Commission’s 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
As stated in the September Border Issues Report, the proposed project has 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 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 submitted a comment letter (see attached September 15, 2005 letter) on the revised Initial Study requesting that construction related truck trips/haul routes be analyzed, and if any potential impacts are identified that they be mitigated. The project was heard before the Rolling Hills Estates Planning Commission on September 19th. At that meeting, the Planning Commission continued the project to a date uncertain so as to allow the City's environmental consultant to respond to comments from the California Department of Fish and Game, and to allow the Applicant to look at the potential of reducing the amount of proposed grading. In regards to our City Staff's comment letter, RHE Staff indicated that the grading operation would be balanced on site and that there would be no import or export of material and thus there would be no impacts resulting from construction related truck traffic. Staff will continue to keep the Council updated on the progress of this project.
New Residence at 717 Via La Cuesta, Palos Verdes Estates
The Palos Verdes Estates’ 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. 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 Commission’s 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 project’s 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 City’s 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. At the meeting, the property owner offered to modify the grade elevation of the Grandview Park adjacent to his property so that views of the Pacific Ocean and the City basin can be seen laterally over the boundary fence. After discussing the property owner’s proposal with the City Council and neighboring property owners, a "minor modification" was executed that evening by the Palos Verdes Estates Planning Director, (Allan Rigg). Furthermore, an agreement was prepared by the City Attorney that spells out the terms of the "minor modification", such as who prepares and reviews the grading plan and who conducts the earth work. The agreement has been sent by the City Attorney's office to the property owner. As such, no appeal was filed and the matter was resolved to the satisfaction of the interested parties.
Joel Rojas, aicp
Director of Planning, Building
and Code Enforcement
NOP for the Ponte Vista project
Notice of the September 21, 2005 PVE Planning Commission meeting
September 15, 2005 Comment Letter on Proposed Butcher Ranch Subdivision