TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND COUNCILMEMBERS
FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING & CODE ENFORCEMENT
DATE: NOVEMBER 1, 2005
SUBJECT: BORDER ISSUES STATUS REPORT
Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, AICP, Senior Planner
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
San Pedro Facility Restoration Advisory Board, US Navy/Los Angeles (San Pedro)
On October 27, 2005, the San Pedro Facility Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) held its annual meeting (see attached agenda). Staff attended the meeting and will provide a written summary of the issues discussed in the December 6, 2005 Border Issues report.
Ponte Vista Project at Former Navy Housing Site, Los Angeles (San Pedro)
The scoping meeting for the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Ponte Vista project was held on October 6, 2005, at the Ports o’ Call Restaurant in San Pedro. The meeting was well attended and many Rancho Palos Verdes, San Pedro and Harbor City residents expressed their concerns about the project. These concerns included (but were not limited to): traffic impacts related to existing and proposed development surrounding the project site; proposed residential density that is nearly ten (10) times the number of existing units on the project site; impacts upon local schools and other public services and infrastructure; the gating of the community and limiting public access to the project’s recreational amenities; the close proximity of the proposed Little League fields to the adjoining condominiums and other issues related to the design of the site; air quality impacts to surrounding residences during and after project construction; and hazardous materials issues and the close proximity of the site to the adjoining Navy fuel depot.
At the October 6th scoping meeting, the City of Los Angeles also announced that the public comment period for the Notice of Preparation/Initial Study (NOP/IS) would be extended to November 30, 2005 (it was originally scheduled to end on October 14, 2005). Staff has prepared the attached draft comments on the NOP/IS for the City Council’s review and input. The major issues identified by Staff include Aesthetics, Biological Resources, Geology/Soils, Hydrology/Water Quality, Land Use/Planning, Public Services and Transportation/Traffic. Staff requests input from the City Council regarding these comments so that they may be finalized and forwarded to the City of Los Angeles prior to November 30, 2005.
New Border Issues
New Residence at 1424 Via Castilla, Palos Verdes Estates
As the City Council may recall, a year ago Staff reported that the City of Palos Verdes Estates had swapped ownership of an undeveloped park property on Via Castilla for a commercial property in Lunada Bay. The Lunada Bay property has recently been developed as a park, while a new 2-story home is being proposed on the lot at 1424 Via Castilla, which directly abuts the City of Rancho Palos Verdes’ Clovercliff Park at 28801 Golden Meadow Drive. Although we were not provided with the required public notice of this application under Palos Verdes Estates’ Neighborhood Compatibility Ordinance, we were advised of it by a Rancho Palos Verdes resident on October 11, 2005.
Staff has inspected the project silhouette and reviewed the project plans. Based upon this, the attached letter was sent to the City of Palos Verdes Estates on October 12, 2005. Clovercliff Park provides a walking trail, which provides access for Palos Verdes Estates children who attend Vista Grande Elementary School in Rancho Palos Verdes, and a distant westward ocean view as its main features. With respect to impacts to the ocean view from Clovercliff Park, it seems clear that any structure on the subject property would block this view. However, under similar circumstances in our City, Staff would generally find that such a view was not protected. With respect to impacts to the walking trail connection with Palos Verdes Estates, Staff was concerned that although the City of Palos Verdes Estates retained a trail easement on the property at 1424 Via Castilla as a condition of the land swap, the location of the trail easement in Palos Verdes Estates would not be aligned with the end of the existing trail in Rancho Palos Verdes. However, Palos Verdes Estates Planning Director Allan Rigg has assured Staff that, based upon discussions with former Public Works Director Dean Allison, Palos Verdes Estates informally agreed to make the necessary modifications to the City’s existing trail in Clovercliff Park so that it will be properly aligned with access easements that Palos Verdes Estates has obtained along the common side property line between the properties at 1420 and 1424 Via Castilla.
The Palos Verdes Estates Planning Commission heard this matter on October 18, 2005. Although Staff was unable to attend the hearing due to a conflict with another meeting, Palos Verdes Estates Planning Staff informs us that the project was conditionally approved with some minor modifications. A couple of Rancho Palos Verdes residents spoke in opposition to the project. The trail issue was also discussed but was not included as a condition of the project’s approval since the easement was dedicated to the City of Palos Verdes Estates as a condition of the land swap, and the City of Palos Verdes Estates—not the project proponent—will be responsible for constructing the trail. The 15-day appeal period for this project will end on November 2, 2005. Staff intends to send a letter to the City of Palos Verdes Estates memorializing their previous assurances that our trail will be realigned to meet up with their trail easements, and directing them to work with our Director of Public Works to coordinate this realignment and resolve any interjurisdictional issues that may arise.
Site Selection for LAUSD’s Proposed South Region High School No. 14, San Pedro
The City Council may recall that, on April 6, 2004, Staff presented draft comments on the Program EIR (PEIR) for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD’s) District-wide New School Construction Program. Our final comments on the PEIR focused on issues related to the possible further expansion and development of LAUSD’s Dodson and Crestwood campuses within the City. The LAUSD Board subsequently certified the PEIR on June 16, 2004.
As a part of the next phase in this process, on October 18, 2005, LAUSD hosted a community meeting at Dodson Middle School to announce the District Staff’s preferred alternative site for a new 2,025-seat high school to relieve overcrowding at Narbonne and San Pedro high schools (see attached agenda and exhibits). The preferred location is a 15-acre portion of the former San Pedro Navy housing site, currently proposed for development as the 2,300-unit Ponte Vista project. The exact portion of the Ponte Vista site that LAUSD wants has not been identified yet, so the impact of this selection upon the Ponte Vista project is unclear. The other two (2) sites considered but rejected each included the former DiCarlo bakery property on Gaffey Street at Westmont Drive, which is currently slated for development as a Target store. One alternative included the DiCarlo site and a portion of the adjacent business park to the north, while the other included the DiCarlo site and thirty-five (35) single-family homes in an adjoining San Pedro neighborhood to the west.
Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn and LAUSD Boardmember Mike Lansing both attended the meeting. Councilwoman Hahn voiced support for the selection of the Ponte Vista site because it would not require the taking of existing homes or businesses, and would reduce the number of new housing units that could be built at Ponte Vista. She also observed that the analysis of the traffic impacts of the project would be critical, and suggested working with the Navy to acquire access rights to the site from Gaffey Street. Boardmember Lansing also supported the avoidance of taking any existing homes or businesses for the new high school. He noted that the school was needed because Narbonne and San Pedro high schools are each 1,100 students over capacity.
Many San Pedro, Rancho Palos Verdes and Harbor City residents expressed their concerns about the preferred site. These concerns included the cost of acquisition for the land (estimated to be $30 million); the apparent "over-concentration" of high schools in the area of San Pedro/Harbor City, when considered with LAUSD’s Cooper High School, Mary Star-of-the-Sea High School, and the new campus of Rolling Hills Preparatory School; the additional traffic impacts upon Western Avenue; the possible school and gang rivalry problems that could arise from combining students from Narbonne and San Pedro high schools at a single campus; and the possible environmental hazard issues at the Ponte Vista site and at the adjacent Navy fuel depot (i.e., Defense Fuel Support Point San Pedro). In response to this last issue, City Staff suggested that LAUSD should become involved with the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) for the fuel depot, and provided contact information to the District for the RAB meeting on October 27, 2005.
The next steps in this process involve LAUSD Staff formally recommending the Ponte Vista site to the Board of Education, and the commencement of a feasibility study and preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The entire process is expected to take approximately six (6) years. Staff will continue to monitor this project in the future, both in conjunction with the Ponte Vista project and as a separate Border Issue.
Joel Rojas, AICP, Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement
Les Evans, City Manager
Agenda for the San Pedro Facility Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) meeting
Initial Study (IS) for the Ponte Vista project
Draft comments on the IS for the Ponte Vista project
Letter to PVE regarding proposed house at 1424 Via Castilla
Agenda and exhibits for LAUSD high school site selection community meeting