NOVEMBER 15, 2005 CASE NO. ZON2003-00520 (GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT, ZONE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT); Applicant: City of Rancho Palos Verdes; Property Addresses: The upper portion of San Ramon Canyon, which encompasses the following properties: 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive. NOVEMBER 15, 2005 CASE NO. ZON2003-00520 (GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT, ZONE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT); Applicant: City of Rancho Palos Verdes; Property Addresses: The upper portion of San Ramon Canyon, which encompasses the following properties: 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive. NOVEMBER 15, 2005 CASE NO. ZON2003-00520 (GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT, ZONE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT); Applicant: City of Rancho Palos Verdes; Property Addresses: The upper portion of San Ramon Canyon, which encompasses the following properties: 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive.

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: NOVEMBER 15, 2005

SUBJECT: CASE NO. ZON2003-00520 (GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT, ZONE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT); Applicant: City of Rancho Palos Verdes; Property Addresses: The upper portion of San Ramon Canyon, which encompasses the following properties: 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive.

Staff Coordinator: Eduardo Schonborn, aicp, Associate Planner

RECOMMENDATION

1) Adopt Resolution No. 2005-__, certifying the Negative Declaration; (2) Adopt Resolution No. 2005-__, approving the General Plan Amendment; and (3) Introduce Ordinance No. ___, approving the Zone Change.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This item is before the City Council because the project includes a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change, which require approval by the City Council. The project involves changing the "Hazard" General Plan Land Use and Zoning designations for the developed portions of the 15 properties in Upper San Ramon Canyon area to reflect the improved stability of the canyon achieved through the City’s San Ramon Canyon landslide stabilization project. The Planning Commission reviewed this project at their February 22, 2005 meeting, and recommended that the City Council certify the Negative Declaration and approve the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change.

On September 20, 2005, the City Council authorized the City Geologist to conduct a 3rd party review of the geotechnical data and information that was compiled for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization project and the conclusions for the zone change. The City Geologist has completed his review and determined that the conclusions made by the stabilization project geologist (AMEC) are sound and the open space hazard/residential zone boundary can be adjusted to follow the limits of grading that occurred for the stabilization project.

BACKGROUND

The project includes: 1) an Environmental Assessment, 2) a General Plan Amendment, and 3) a Zone Change to modify the "Hazard" General Plan Land Use and Zoning designations for the developed portions of the 15 properties in Upper San Ramon Canyon area. Specifically, the upper San Ramon Canyon project area encompasses 15 properties located at 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive. This request will divide the zoning on these properties and will rezone as residential only the developed area of each residential lot, which generally is located between the head of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East. Further, the zoning on the slopes along the rear of some of these properties that create the rim at the head of the San Ramon Canyon and extend down into the Canyon will not be changed, nor will the canyon itself.

This item was originally brought before the City Council on June 7, 2005, and after hearing public testimony and discussion on the item, the City Council continued the item to the August 16, 2005 meeting and asked that Staff further address certain issues regarding the Open Space Hazard Zoning; the geotechnical information that was being used to derive the factor of safety for the area; the status of the inclinometer; the petition that was submitted to the City; and existing utility lines in the area. The Council heard testimony and discussion on these issues at the August 16th meeting, but continued the item pending additional review of the geotechnical information and requested that the City Geologist present a cost proposal for consideration by the City Council to conduct a 3rd party review of the geotechnical data and information that was compiled for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization project and the conclusions for the zone change. The proposal was approved by the City Council on September 20, 2005, thereby authorizing the City Geologist to conduct a 3rd party review of the geotechnical data and information that was compiled for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization project and the conclusions for the zone change. Further, on September 20, 2005, the City Council continued the public hearing of this item to tonight’s meeting.

All the previous Planning Commission and City Council staff reports, along with their related attachments such as geology reports and public correspondence, have been attached for the Council’s reference.

DISCUSSION

At the August 16th City Council meeting, Staff addressed questions and issues that arose at the June 7th meeting regarding the characteristics that pertain to an Open Space Hazard zone; the geotechnical information that was being used to derive the factor of safety for the area; the status of the inclinometer; the petition that was submitted to the City signed by over 70 people in opposition to the zone change; and the existing utility lines in the area that are 4-feet above the ground, which seem to demonstrate significant land movement in the area. These items were addressed in the August 16th City Council Staff Report and discussed at the August 16th meeting. At that time, the Council continued to raise questions regarding the geotechnical information that was compiled for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization project and the conclusions for the zone change. As such, the Council requested that the City Geologist conduct a formal 3rd party review of the geotechnical data and information that was compiled for the stabilization project and the conclusions for the zone change, and continued the item.

The City Geologist has completed the requested 3rd party review of the data and information compiled for the stabilization project, the as-built report, and the information for the proposed zone change, all of which were compiled by AMEC Earth and Environmental. As described in the attached letter from the City geologist dated November 4, 2005, the City geologist has concluded the following:

· The City’s stabilization project was constructed in accordance with the recommendations of AMEC Earth and Environmental.

· The City’s stabilization project should provide long-term gross stability to the slope and properties located at the top of slope (i.e., a 1.5 factor of safety).

· Although some of the pre-existing material, consisting of old fill-material and landslide debris, may be subject to settlement over time, this should not affect the gross stability of the City’s buttress fill repair.

As such, the City Geologist has determined that the open space hazard/residential zone boundary can be adjusted to follow the limits of grading that occurred for the stabilization project. Given this independent conclusion, Staff believes that the improved stability of the upper canyon achieved through the City’s San Ramon Canyon landslide stabilization project, justifies a modification of the OH zoning boundary in upper San Ramon Canyon, as recommended by the Planning Commission.

FISCAL IMPACT

At the time the City Council agreed to initiate the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the Upper San Ramon Canyon on September 7, 2004, Staff estimated that the cost of the geologic review for the zone change would be $850.00, all of which would be borne from the City’s general fund. To date, the cost of the geotechnical review has been $3,450.00. The increase in cost was mostly to address questions that came out of the June 7, 2005 City Council meeting. The increase in cost was paid from the Department’s fiscal year 2004-2005 budget. On September 20, 2005, the City Council authorized the City Geologist to conduct the 3rd party review, resulting in an additional expense of $3,500.00. With the additional review, the total consultant cost for the San Ramon Zone Change project has been $6,950.

ALTERNATIVES

The following alternatives are available for the City Council’s consideration:

  1. 1) Adopt Resolution No. 2005-__, certifying the Negative Declaration; (2) Adopt Resolution No. 2005-__, approving the General Plan Amendment; and (3) Introduce Ordinance No. ___, approving the Zone Change; or,
  2. Identify any issues of concern with the proposed project, provide Staff with direction, and continue the public hearing to a date certain; or,
  3. Deny the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change (Case No. ZON2003-00520), and direct Staff to take no further action.

Respectfully submitted:

Joel Rojas, aicp,

Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement

Reviewed:

Les Evans

City Manager

Attachments:

 

RESOLUTION NO. 2005-

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES CERTIFYING A NEGATIVE DECLARATION PURSUANT TO THE CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT FOR CASE NO. ZON2003-00520, A GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT AND ZONE CHANGE FOR THE UPPER SAN RAMON CANYON AREA (15 PROPERTIES LOCATED BETWEEN THE HEAD OF SAN RAMON CANYON AND PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, ADDRESSED AS 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, AND 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 SAN RAMON DRIVE).

WHEREAS, in June 2003, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes officially completed a drainage and slope stabilization project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area. The project addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by a storm drain backup and overflow that occurred in 1998; and,

WHEREAS, on September 7, 2004, the City Council approved a General Plan Amendment Initiation Request (GPAIR), thereby directing Staff to proceed with a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the 15 properties that create the Upper San Ramon Canyon project area, located between the head of the canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (1 to 2 dwelling units per acre) and from Open Space Hazard (OH) zoning to Single Family Residential (RS-2) zoning for the portions of those properties that are relatively flat, outside of the Canyon itself and are developed with residential structures; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on February 22, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence; and,

WHEREAS, on February 22, 2005, the Planning Commission adopted P.C. Resolution No. 2005-09 and P.C. Resolution No. 2005-10, recommending that the City Council certify a Negative Declaration for Case No. ZON2003-00520 with inclusion of an addendum with regards to the NCCP and the re-vegetation required by the San Ramon Stabilization project, hereby referenced to as Addendum No. 1 to the Environmental Assessment/Negative Declaration, and recommending that the City Council approve a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the Upper San Ramon Canyon area; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on June 7, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence, and the City Council gave direction to Staff regarding geotechnical issues and additional information that arose from the public, and continued the hearing to August 16, 2005; and,

WHEREAS, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on August 16, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence and the City Council gave direction to Staff regarding geotechnical issues, and directed that the City Geologist present a cost proposal for consideration by the City Council to conduct a 3rd party review of the geotechnical data and information that was compiled for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization project and the conclusions for the zone change, and continued the hearing to September 20, 2005; and,

WHEREAS, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on September 20, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence and the City Council authorized the City Geologist to conduct a 3rd party review of the geotechnical information for the proposed zone change for the upper San Ramon Canyon area and approved a budget adjustment in an amount of $3,500.00 to pay for the additional review, and continued the hearing to November 15, 2005; and,

WHEREAS, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on November 15, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: The Negative Declaration for the proposed project is now comprised of the Initial Study, the comments which were received by the City regarding the Negative Declaration, and the City's written responses to comments raised in the public review and comment process, including Addendum No. 1 to the Environmental Assessment/Negative Declaration incorporated herein by this reference.

Section 2: The findings made in this Resolution are based upon the information and evidence set forth in the Negative Declaration, as defined in Section 1 and upon other substantial evidence, which has been presented in the record of this proceeding. The documents, staff reports, technical studies, appendices, plans, specifications, and other materials that constitute the record of proceedings on which this Resolution is based and the Negative Declaration for the Project are on file and available for public examination during normal business hours in the Office of the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes, California 90275. The custodian of said records is the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

Section 3: The City Council finds that the public and government agencies have been afforded ample notice and opportunity to comment on the Negative Declaration.

Section 4: The City Council finds, pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15074(b) that the Negative Declaration has been independently reviewed and analyzed by the City Council and its Staff, and that said documents represent the independent judgment of the City Council with respect to the Project.

Section 5: The City Council finds that there are no sensitive natural habitat areas on the subject site, and any future development of the site will be required to comply with the City’s Development Code standards. No site disturbance and/or alteration of any kind will result from the approval of General Plan Amendment and Zone Change. Therefore, the project will have no individual or cumulative adverse impacts upon resources, as defined in Section 711.2 of the State Fish and Game Code.

Section 6: Based upon the information and analysis contained in Negative Declaration, as defined in Section 1, and the record of these proceedings, the City Council finds that there is no substantial evidence that the project will have a significant effect on the environment.

Section 7: Case No. ZON2003-00520 for a General Plan Amendment is internally consistent with the General Plan and that the Residential land use would not be contrary to the goals and policies of the General Plan.

Section 8: Case No. ZON2003-00520 for a Zone Change would be consistent with the other properties along San Ramon Drive, Palos Verdes Drive East and Calle Aventura. Further, the zoning would be consistent with the residential developments that already exist on the subject properties of the project area. Furthermore, the Zone Change would ensure the zoning’s consistency with the General Plan.

Section 9: The time within which the judicial review of the decision reflected in this Resolution, if available, must be sought is governed by Section 1094.6 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, Public Resource Code Section 21167, and other applicable short periods of limitation

Section 10: Based upon the foregoing findings, the adoption of the proposed Negative Declaration is in the public interest.

Section 11: For the foregoing reasons and based on the information and findings included in the Staff Report, Environmental Assessment and other components of the legislative record, the proposed Negative Declaration, and the public comments received by the Commission, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby certifies the Negative Declaration, including Addendum No. 1 to the Environmental Assessment/Negative Declaration incorporated herein by this reference, in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this 15th day of November 2005:

_______________________

Larry Clark, Mayor

ATTEST:

____________________
Carolynn Petru, City Clerk

State of California )
County of Los Angeles ) ss
City of Rancho Palos Verdes )

I, Carolynn Petru, City Clerk of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, do hereby certify that the above Resolution No. 2005-__ was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting held on November 15, 2005.

City Clerk

RESOLUTION NO. 2005-

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING A GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT (CASE NO. ZON2003-00520) FOR THE UPPER SAN RAMON CANYON AREA (15 PROPERTIES LOCATED BETWEEN THE HEAD OF THE SAN RAMON CANYON AND PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, ADDRESSED AS 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, AND 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 SAN RAMON DRIVE).

WHEREAS, on June 26, 1975, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 75-43, thereby adopting the General Plan of the City of Ranch Palos Verdes. With the adoption of the General Plan, a land use designation of Natural Environment/Hazard was applied to the entire San Ramon Canyon, including the upper San Ramon Canyon project area that encompasses 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive; and,

WHEREAS, in June 2003, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes officially completed a drainage and slope stabilization project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area, located at the head of the San Ramon Canyon. The project addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by a storm drain backup and overflow that occurred in 1998; and,

WHEREAS, on September 7, 2004, the City Council approved a General Plan Amendment Initiation Request (GPAIR), thereby directing Staff to proceed with a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the 15 properties that create the Upper San Ramon Canyon project area, located between the head of the canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (1 to 2 dwelling units per acre) and from Open Space Hazard (OH) zoning to Single Family Residential (RS-2) zoning for the portions of those properties that are relatively flat, outside of the Canyon itself and are developed with residential structures; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on February 22, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence; and,

WHEREAS, on February 22, 2005, the Planning Commission adopted P.C. Resolution No. 2005-09 and P.C. Resolution No. 2005-10, recommending that the City Council certify a Negative Declaration for Case No. ZON2003-00520 with inclusion of an addendum with regards to the NCCP and the re-vegetation required by the San Ramon Stabilization project, hereby referenced to as Addendum No. 1 to the Environmental Assessment/Negative Declaration, and recommending that the City Council approve a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the Upper San Ramon Canyon area; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et. seq. ("CEQA"), the State's CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 15000 et. seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), the City Council independently reviewed and certified that the Negative Declaration was prepared in compliance with the provisions of CEQA by the adoption of Resolution No. 2005-__; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on June 7, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence, and the City Council gave direction to Staff regarding geotechnical issues and additional information that arose from the public, and continued the hearing to August 16, 2005; and,

WHEREAS, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on August 16, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence and the City Council gave direction to Staff regarding geotechnical issues, and directed that the City Geologist present a cost proposal for consideration by the City Council to conduct a 3rd party review of the geotechnical data and information that was compiled for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization project and the conclusions for the zone change, and continued the hearing to September 20, 2005; and,

WHEREAS, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on September 20, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence and the City Council authorized the City Geologist to conduct a 3rd party review of the geotechnical information for the proposed zone change for the upper San Ramon Canyon area and approved a budget adjustment in an amount of $3,500.00 to pay for the additional review, and continued the hearing to November 15, 2005; and,

WHEREAS, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on November 15, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: The proposed change in the General Plan Land Use Designation is warranted, since the proposed amendment is internally consistent with the General Plan. Further, the site conditions are not consistent with the existing Natural Environment/Hazard land use designation since this area, which is developed with single-family residences, does not contain the extreme physical constraints described in the "Natural Environment/Hazard Areas" section of the City’s General Plan (page 194) or illustrated in the City’s General Plan (Figures 5, 11, & 14). Therefore, inasmuch as the proposed residential land use designation is consistent with the existing topography and residential development on the relatively flat portions of these properties, the proposed change of the general plan designation is consistent with other residential properties in the area. Accordingly, the proposed change is consistent with the General Plan.

Section 2: The proposed change in the General Plan Land Use Designation is warranted since this area has been developed with, and currently maintains residential structures that were approved prior to the City’s incorporation, when the properties were zoned R-A-10,000 (Residential). In addition, the City’s Public Works Department has recently completed the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area, which addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by the storm drain backup and overflow in 1998. The site conditions in the area that is to be re-designated are not consistent with the existing Natural Environment/Hazard land use designation, since this area, which is developed with single-family residences, does not contain the extreme physical constraints described in the "Natural Environment/Hazard Areas" section of the City’s General Plan (page 194) or illustrated in the City’s General Plan (Figures 5, 11, & 14). Thus, the Land Use Designation of the slopes along the rear of some of these properties that create the head of the canyon, which do have physical constraints, would not be changed by this amendment.

Section 3: The proposed General Plan Amendment is in the interest of the property owners within the project area because this would enable them to construct improvement projects that can be constructed by other property owners with residences on properties that are relatively flat that are within a Residential Land Use Designation, which are in the immediate vicinity.

Section 4: For the foregoing reasons and based upon the information and findings included in the Staff Report, Initial Study, Minutes and other records of these proceedings, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby approves the General Plan Amendment, thereby amending the General Plan Land Use Designations of the upper San Ramon Canyon project area encompassing the properties located at 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive, specifically only the flat area of these properties located between the head of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East as depicted in Exhibit A attached hereto, from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (2-4 dwelling units per acre).

Section 5: The time within which the judicial review of the decision reflected in this Resolution, if available, must be sought is governed by Section 1094.6 of the California Code of Civil Procedure and other applicable short periods of limitation.

PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this 15th day of November 2005:

_______________________

Mayor

ATTEST:

____________________
City Clerk

State of California )
County of Los Angeles ) ss
City of Rancho Palos Verdes )

I, Carolynn Petru, City Clerk of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, do hereby certify that the above Resolution No. 2005-__ was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting held on November 15, 2005.

City Clerk

ORDINANCE NO. ___

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING A ZONE CHANGE (CASE NO. ZON2003-00520) FOR THE UPPER SAN RAMON CANYON AREA (THE PORTION OF THE 15 PROPERTIES LOCATED BETWEEN THE HEAD OF THE SAN RAMON CANYON AND PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, ADDRESSED AS 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, AND 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 SAN RAMON DRIVE), FROM OPEN SPACE HAZARD (OH) TO SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL (RS-2).

WHEREAS, on June 26, 1975, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 75-43, thereby adopting the General Plan of the City of Ranch Palos Verdes. With the adoption of the General Plan, a land use designation of Natural Environment/Hazard was applied to the entire San Ramon Canyon, including the upper San Ramon Canyon project area that encompasses 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive; and,

WHEREAS, in June 2003, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes officially completed a drainage and slope stabilization project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area, located at the head of the San Ramon Canyon. The project addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by a storm drain backup and overflow that occurred in 1998; and,

WHEREAS, on September 7, 2004, the City Council approved a General Plan Amendment Initiation Request (GPAIR), thereby directing Staff to proceed with a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the 15 properties that create the Upper San Ramon Canyon project area, located between the head of the canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (1 to 2 dwelling units per acre) and from Open Space Hazard (OH) zoning to Single Family Residential (RS-2) zoning for the portions of those properties that are relatively flat, outside of the Canyon itself and are developed with residential structures; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on February 22, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence; and,

WHEREAS, on February 22, 2005, the Planning Commission adopted P.C. Resolution No. 2005-09 and P.C. Resolution No. 2005-10, recommending that the City Council certify a Negative Declaration for Case No. ZON2003-00520 with inclusion of an addendum with regards to the NCCP and the re-vegetation required by the San Ramon Stabilization project, hereby referenced to as Addendum No. 1 to the Environmental Assessment/Negative Declaration, and recommending that the City Council approve a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the Upper San Ramon Canyon area; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on June 7, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et. seq. ("CEQA"), the State's CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 15000 et. seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), the City Council independently reviewed and certified that the Negative Declaration was prepared in compliance with the provisions of CEQA by the adoption of Resolution No. 2005-__; and,

WHEREAS, the City Council has adopted Resolutions No. 2005-__ and No. 2005-__, adopting a Negative Declaration and General Plan Amendment (Case No. ZON2003-00520), which are related to the Zone Change described herein.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: This approval is for a change in zoning designation for the flat portions of the 15 properties located between the head of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, addressed as 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East, and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive, from the existing Zoning Use Designation of Open Space Hazard (OH) to a new Zoning Designation of Residential, RS-2 as set forth in Exhibits A and B attached hereto. Specifically, so that the existing residential structures on the relatively flat areas of the properties are located outside of the OH boundary, and so that the new OH boundary follows the top head of the San Ramon Canyon where the stabilization project was completed as illustrated in Exhibits A and B.

Section 2: The City Council finds that the proposed zone change would not result in any significant adverse environmental impacts in addition to or beyond those already associated with the existing use of the sites since the zone change reflects existing conditions on these properties, and therefore has adopted Resolution No. 2005-__, certifying a Negative Declaration for a Zone Change, General Plan Amendment and Environmental Assessment (Case No. ZON2003-00520).

Section 3: The City Council finds that the approval of the Zone Change will not result in significant adverse environmental impacts because the zoning designations would be consistent with the existing use and topography of the sites, which currently maintain residential structures that were approved prior to the City’s incorporation when the properties were zoned R-A-10,000 (Residential). Furthermore, the zone change reflects the fact that the City’s Public Works Department has recently completed the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area, which addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by the storm drain backup and overflow in 1998, so the existing residential structures can be safely maintained on these lots.

Section 4: The City Council finds that the approval of the Zone Change is in the interest of the property owners within the project area because this would enable them to construct improvement projects that can be constructed by other property owners with residences that are within a Residential Land Use Designation, which are in the immediate vicinity.

Section 5: The time within which the judicial review of the decision reflected in this Ordinance, if available, must be sought is governed by Section 1094.6 of the California Code of Civil Procedure and other applicable short periods of limitation.

Section 6: Based upon the facts contained in this Ordinance, in the Staff Report and other components of the legislative record, in the adopted Negative Declaration, and in the public comments received by the Planning Commission and the City Council, the City Council hereby approves the Zone Change of Case No. ZON2003-00520 to change the zoning designation for the flat portions of the 15 properties located between the head of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, addressed as 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East, and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive, from the existing Zoning Use Designation of Open Space Hazard (OH) to a new Zoning Designation of Residential, RS-2, such that the new OH boundary follows the top head of the San Ramon Canyon where the stabilization project was completed as illustrated in Exhibits A and B attached hereto, which are incorporated herein by this reference.

Section 7: The City Council hereby directs the City Clerk to cause the changes set forth herein to be made to the Official Zoning Map, as illustrated in Exhibits A and B.

PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this 15th day of November 2005:

_______________________

Mayor

ATTEST:

____________________
City Clerk

State of California )
County of Los Angeles ) ss
City of Rancho Palos Verdes )

I, Carolynn Petru, City Clerk of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, do hereby certify that the above Ordinance No. __ was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting held on November 15, 2005.

City Clerk

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: AUGUST 16, 2005

SUBJECT: CASE NO. ZON2003-00520 (GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT, ZONE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT); Applicant: City of Rancho Palos Verdes; Property Addresses: The upper portion of San Ramon Canyon, which encompasses the following properties: 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive.

Staff Coordinator: Eduardo Schonborn, aicp, Associate Planner

RECOMMENDATION

1) Adopt Resolution No. 2005-__, certifying the Negative Declaration; (2) Adopt Resolution No. 2005-__, approving the General Plan Amendment; and (3) Introduce Ordinance No. ___, approving the Zone Change.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This item is before the City Council because the project includes a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change, which require approval by the City Council. The project involves changing the "Hazard" General Plan Land Use and Zoning designations for the developed portions of the 15 properties in Upper San Ramon Canyon area to reflect the improved stability of the canyon achieved through the City’s recently completed San Ramon Canyon landslide stabilization project. The Planning Commission reviewed this project at their February 22, 2005 meeting, and recommended that the City Council certify the Negative Declaration and approve the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change.

BACKGROUND

The project includes: 1) an Environmental Assessment, 2) a General Plan Amendment, and 3) a Zone Change to eliminate the "Hazard" General Plan Land Use and Zoning designations for the developed portions of the 15 properties in Upper San Ramon Canyon area. Specifically, the upper San Ramon Canyon project area encompasses 15 properties located at 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive. This request will divide the zoning on these properties and will rezone as residential only the developed area of each residential lot, which generally is located between the head of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East. Further, the zoning on the slopes along the rear of some of these properties that create the rim at the head of the San Ramon Canyon and extend down into the Canyon will not be changed, nor will the canyon itself.

This item was originally brought before the City Council on June 7, 2005, and after hearing public testimony and discussion on the item, the City Council continued the item to the August 16, 2005 meeting and asked that Staff further address certain issues. A copy of the June 7, 2005 City Council Staff Report (along with all of the attachments) is attached. Also attached are the correspondence received at and after the June 7th meeting.

DISCUSSION

At the June 7th City Council meeting, questions were raised regarding the characteristics that pertain to an Open Space Hazard zone; the geotechnical information that was being used to derive the factor of safety for the area; the status of the inclinometer; and the petition that was submitted to the City signed by over 70 people in opposition to the zone change. Further, an issue was raised regarding existing utility lines in the area that are 4-feet above the ground, which seemed to demonstrate significant land movement in the area. These issues are addressed below:

Open Space Hazard Zoning

The characteristics of the Open Space Hazard zone are contained within Section 17.32.020 of the City’s Development Code, which states the following:

"Lands shall be placed in the open space hazard district when the use of said land would endanger the public health, safety and welfare. Open space hazard districts shall include:

A.    Areas where the existing natural slope exceeds thirty-five percent, areas experiencing downslope movement, areas unstable for development, areas where grading or development of the land may endanger the public health and safety due to erosion or flooding, and the ocean bluffs; and

     B.    Areas subject to flooding or inundation from stormwater."

The area under consideration for this zone change includes only the residentially developed area located between the rim at the head of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East. The zoning on the slopes along the rear of the properties that rim the head of San Ramon Canyon and extend into the Canyon will not be changed. Thus, with the exception of the manmade transitional slopes between developed lots, existing natural slopes exceeding thirty-five percent do not characterize the project area.

As further explained below, the City’s geotechnical consultant for the City’s stabilization project has clarified that the fill slope used to stabilize the canyon along with the four residential properties located at the top of the new fill slope have a factor of safety of at least 1.5. Based on this slope stability determination, the City’s geotechnical consultant has concluded that the residential properties farther upslope within the project area would have an even higher factor of safety. Furthermore, on August 23, 2003, the Planning Commission upheld, on appeal, the Director’s conditional approval for a new 3,220 square foot one-story residence and attached garage on property located at 30650 Palos Verdes Drive East, which is one of the four lots located at the head of the canyon. As part of this review, the necessary geotechnical reports, which were reviewed and approved by the City Geologist, demonstrated that the project could be constructed without creating adverse geologic conditions and that the site is stable for development. Based upon this collective information, Staff believes that the project area is not characterized by downslope movement or areas that are not unsuitable for development.

The project area experienced flooding in 1998 during a high intensity storm, where runoff from the San Ramon Drain System backed up and flowed to the surface from the manhole located in the front yard at 30680 Palos Verdes Drive East. The overflow eventually spilled over the slope that creates the head of the San Ramon Canyon causing extensive erosion damage, and resulting in the drainage and slope stabilization project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area that was completed in June 2003. With completion of the City project, the project area is not endangered by erosion or flooding.

Therefore, for the reasons described above, Staff does not believe that the project area subject to the proposed zone change contains any of the characteristics of an Open Space Hazard district, as described in the City’s Development Code.

Geotechnical Information in Support of the Factor of Safety

At the June 7th City Council meeting, a concern was expressed that the geotechnical report prepared for the proposed zone change, which was prepared by the City’s geotechnical consultant for the City’s San Ramon stabilization project (AMEC), did not clearly address the resultant factor of safety for the residential area above the fill slope created by the San Ramon stabilization project. Although it was conveyed to the Council that AMEC verbally indicated that the stabilized fill slope and the area upslope of the stabilized fill slope has a factor of safety greater than 1.5, the Council requested that it be clarified in the written report. On August 9, 2005, AMEC submitted an addendum that clarifies the factor of safety for the area adjacent and upslope of the fill slope created by the stabilization project. As noted in the addendum report, AMEC states that the residential properties between the rim/head of the canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East (the project area), which are proposed to be rezoned Residential, have a factor of safety greater than 1.5. A representative from AMEC and the City Geologist will be at the meeting to answer any questions regarding the geology of the project area. It should be noted that AMEC’s determination is for purposes of gross slope stability. If the zone change is approved, any further additions or teardown/rebuild projects proposed within the project area would be subject to geological/soils review to ensure other geotechnical issues (including soil conditions, fill slope conditions, etc.) are addressed before construction projects are approved.

Inclinometer

As part of the City’s stabilization project, an inclinometer was installed near the outside edge of the access road near the boundary between properties located at 30650 and 30676 Palos Verdes Drive East. On August 4, 2005, Staff verified that the inclinometer continues to be in place. According to the City’s consulting geologist for the stabilization project, the inclinometer was installed to monitor the slope during the time the adverse landslide conditions were first identified and the stabilization project could be completed. According to the consulting geologist, after the stabilization project was satisfactorily completed there was no reason to monitor the inclinometer.

Petition

On February 22, 2005, the Planning Commission conducted a public hearing to consider written and oral testimony on the matter. On the day of the meeting, a petition was submitted to Staff, which was also submitted directly to the Planning Commissioners in the late afternoon of the previous day. Although pursuant to the Planning Commission’s rules, it was considered late correspondence and could have been rejected, the Planning Commission agreed to accept and consider the petition. Further, at the Planning Commission meeting, additional information and signatures were submitted and accepted by the Commission. In total, the petition (a copy of which is attached) is signed by 70 individuals.

Since the last City Council meeting, Staff has been in contact with several property owners that signed the petition and reside in the project area. It was conveyed to Staff that their concern with the proposed zone change was that the rezoning would allow the canyon itself to be developed, which resulted in them signing the petition. However, as indicated above, only the flat portion between the rim at the head of the canyon to Palos Verdes Drive East will be rezoned, and the canyon itself will remain with the Open Space zoning designation. Further, Staff received an email (attached) from someone whose name appears on the petition, clarifying that he is not in opposition to the proposed zone change for the flat area between the rim at the head of the canyon to Palos Verdes Drive East. Lastly, although there are 70 signatures on the petition, which include many signatures from the immediate area of the project, some of the signatures are from residents in the Portuguese Bend area and the western side of the City, and from people who live in other cities, such as Palos Verdes Estates, Redondo Beach, and Torrance. The petition and relevant information is attached for the Council’s review. Nonetheless, all of the signatures of the petition are considered interested parties; hence they have received a copy of the staff report on this item.

Utility Lines

Staff investigated the concern involving existing utility lines that are 4-feet above the ground. This issue was raised by the public at the February 22, 2005 Planning Commission meeting, and also raised by the Council on June 7, 2005. Utility lines do not traverse the proposed zone change project area. According to the statements made at the previous Planning Commission meeting, the area that was referred as having utility lines 4-feet above the ground is the Tarapaca landslide area, which does not have any direct connection with the project area.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

On August 8, 2005, Staff received an email (attached) from resident Clara Duran Reed, with a list of questions regarding the proposed zone change. Regarding review of the work conducted by the two geotechnical consultants (including the City Geologist), Staff has not retained a third firm to review the work. For purposes of determining whether the proposed zone change is feasible Staff retained the services of AMEC Earth and Environmental, since AMEC had completed the geotechnical reports for the City’s stabilization project located downslope of the project area. AMEC produced the November 9, 2004 letter that attested to the feasibility of the proposed zone change. The work and information was subsequently reviewed by the City Geologist (Zeiser-Kling), resulting in their agreement with the conclusions produced by AMEC. Subsequently, there has not been another firm to review the work produced by the City Geologist.

As indicated above, AMEC produced an addendum (dated August 9, 2005) to their November 9, 2004 report, which clarifies the factor of safety for the area adjacent and upslope of the fill slope created by the stabilization project. As noted in the addendum report, AMEC states that the residential properties between the rim/head of the canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, which are proposed to be rezoned Residential, have a factor of safety greater than 1.5.

Staff has not retained the services of a geologist to perform a study on all of the homes within the project area. However, as indicated above, a new 3,220 square foot one-story residence and attached garage on property located at 30650 Palos Verdes Drive East, which is one of the four lots located at the head of the canyon was approved by the Planning Commission. As part of this review, the necessary geotechnical reports, which were reviewed and approved by the City Geologist, demonstrated that the project could be constructed without creating adverse geologic conditions and that the site is not unstable for development. Thus, there is collective information that the project area is not characterized by downslope movement or areas that are unsuitable for development.

Ms. Duran Reed also questions rezoning of the canyon; however, as indicated above, the City is not rezoning the Canyon.  The Canyon area is not affected by this request and will remain in the OH Zone due to its steep topography. Lastly, The OH Zones were established on small scale maps that attempted to address general topographic conditions in the vicinity.  In the past, the City has rezoned areas that were within the OH Zone when subsequent geologic reports have demonstrated that all or a portion of a property should not have been included within the OH Zone or when all or a portion of the property does not comply with the criteria for inclusion within the OH Zone.

FISCAL IMPACT

None.

ALTERNATIVES

The following alternatives are available for the City Council’s consideration:

  1. 1) Adopt Resolution No. 2005-__, certifying the Negative Declaration; (2) Adopt Resolution No. 2005-__, approving the General Plan Amendment; and (3) Introduce Ordinance No. ___, approving the Zone Change; or,
  2. Identify any issues of concern with the proposed project, provide Staff with direction, and continue the public hearing to a date certain; or,
  3. Deny the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change (Case No. ZON2003-00520), and direct Staff to take no further action.

Respectfully submitted:

Joel Rojas, aicp,

Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement

Reviewed:

Les Evans

City Manager

Attachments:

RESOLUTION NO. 2005-

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES CERTIFYING A NEGATIVE DECLARATION PURSUANT TO THE CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT FOR CASE NO. ZON2003-00520, A GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT AND ZONE CHANGE FOR THE UPPER SAN RAMON CANYON AREA (15 PROPERTIES LOCATED BETWEEN THE HEAD OF SAN RAMON CANYON AND PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, ADDRESSED AS 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, AND 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 SAN RAMON DRIVE).

WHEREAS, in June 2003, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes officially completed a drainage and slope stabilization project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area. The project addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by a storm drain backup and overflow that occurred in 1998; and,

WHEREAS, on September 7, 2004, the City Council approved a General Plan Amendment Initiation Request (GPAIR), thereby directing Staff to proceed with a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the 15 properties that create the Upper San Ramon Canyon project area, located between the head of the canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (1 to 2 dwelling units per acre) and from Open Space Hazard (OH) zoning to Single Family Residential (RS-2) zoning for the portions of those properties that are relatively flat, outside of the Canyon itself and are developed with residential structures; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on February 22, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence; and,

WHEREAS, on February 22, 2005, the Planning Commission adopted P.C. Resolution No. 2005-09 and P.C. Resolution No. 2005-10, recommending that the City Council certify a Negative Declaration for Case No. ZON2003-00520 with inclusion of an addendum with regards to the NCCP and the re-vegetation required by the San Ramon Stabilization project, hereby referenced to as Addendum No. 1 to the Environmental Assessment/Negative Declaration, and recommending that the City Council approve a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the Upper San Ramon Canyon area; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on June 7, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: The Negative Declaration for the proposed project is now comprised of the Initial Study, the comments which were received by the City regarding the Negative Declaration, and the City's written responses to comments raised in the public review and comment process, including Addendum No. 1 to the Environmental Assessment/Negative Declaration incorporated herein by this reference.

Section 2: The findings made in this Resolution are based upon the information and evidence set forth in the Negative Declaration, as defined in Section 1 and upon other substantial evidence, which has been presented in the record of this proceeding. The documents, staff reports, technical studies, appendices, plans, specifications, and other materials that constitute the record of proceedings on which this Resolution is based and the Negative Declaration for the Project are on file and available for public examination during normal business hours in the Office of the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes, California 90275. The custodian of said records is the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

Section 3: The City Council finds that the public and government agencies have been afforded ample notice and opportunity to comment on the Negative Declaration.

Section 4: The City Council finds, pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15074(b) that the Negative Declaration has been independently reviewed and analyzed by the City Council and its Staff, and that said documents represent the independent judgment of the City Council with respect to the Project.

Section 5: The City Council finds that there are no sensitive natural habitat areas on the subject site, and any future development of the site will be required to comply with the City’s Development Code standards. No site disturbance and/or alteration of any kind will result from the approval of General Plan Amendment and Zone Change. Therefore, the project will have no individual or cumulative adverse impacts upon resources, as defined in Section 711.2 of the State Fish and Game Code.

Section 6: Based upon the information and analysis contained in Negative Declaration, as defined in Section 1, and the record of these proceedings, the City Council finds that there is no substantial evidence that the project will have a significant effect on the environment.

Section 7: Case No. ZON2003-00520 for a General Plan Amendment is internally consistent with the General Plan and that the Residential land use would not be contrary to the goals and policies of the General Plan.

Section 8: Case No. ZON2003-00520 for a Zone Change would be consistent with the other properties along San Ramon Drive, Palos Verdes Drive East and Calle Aventura. Further, the zoning would be consistent with the residential developments that already exist on the subject properties of the project area. Furthermore, the Zone Change would ensure the zoning’s consistency with the General Plan.

Section 9: The time within which the judicial review of the decision reflected in this Resolution, if available, must be sought is governed by Section 1094.6 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, Public Resource Code Section 21167, and other applicable short periods of limitation

Section 10: Based upon the foregoing findings, the adoption of the proposed Negative Declaration is in the public interest.

Section 11: For the foregoing reasons and based on the information and findings included in the Staff Report, Environmental Assessment and other components of the legislative record, the proposed Negative Declaration, and the public comments received by the Commission, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby certifies the Negative Declaration, including Addendum No. 1 to the Environmental Assessment/Negative Declaration incorporated herein by this reference, in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this 7th day of June:

_______________________

Mayor

ATTEST:

____________________
City Clerk

State of California )
County of Los Angeles ) ss
City of Rancho Palos Verdes )

I, Carolynn Petru, City Clerk of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, do hereby certify that the above Resolution No. 2005-__ was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting held on June 7, 2005.

City Clerk

RESOLUTION NO. 2005-

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING A GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT (CASE NO. ZON2003-00520) FOR THE UPPER SAN RAMON CANYON AREA (15 PROPERTIES LOCATED BETWEEN THE HEAD OF THE SAN RAMON CANYON AND PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, ADDRESSED AS 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, AND 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 SAN RAMON DRIVE).

WHEREAS, on June 26, 1975, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 75-43, thereby adopting the General Plan of the City of Ranch Palos Verdes. With the adoption of the General Plan, a land use designation of Natural Environment/Hazard was applied to the entire San Ramon Canyon, including the upper San Ramon Canyon project area that encompasses 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive; and,

WHEREAS, in June 2003, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes officially completed a drainage and slope stabilization project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area, located at the head of the San Ramon Canyon. The project addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by a storm drain backup and overflow that occurred in 1998; and,

WHEREAS, on September 7, 2004, the City Council approved a General Plan Amendment Initiation Request (GPAIR), thereby directing Staff to proceed with a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the 15 properties that create the Upper San Ramon Canyon project area, located between the head of the canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (1 to 2 dwelling units per acre) and from Open Space Hazard (OH) zoning to Single Family Residential (RS-2) zoning for the portions of those properties that are relatively flat, outside of the Canyon itself and are developed with residential structures; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on February 22, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence; and,

WHEREAS, on February 22, 2005, the Planning Commission adopted P.C. Resolution No. 2005-09 and P.C. Resolution No. 2005-10, recommending that the City Council certify a Negative Declaration for Case No. ZON2003-00520 with inclusion of an addendum with regards to the NCCP and the re-vegetation required by the San Ramon Stabilization project, hereby referenced to as Addendum No. 1 to the Environmental Assessment/Negative Declaration, and recommending that the City Council approve a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the Upper San Ramon Canyon area; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et. seq. ("CEQA"), the State's CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 15000 et. seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), the City Council independently reviewed and certified that the Negative Declaration was prepared in compliance with the provisions of CEQA by the adoption of Resolution No. 2005-__; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on June 7, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: The proposed change in the General Plan Land Use Designation is warranted, since the proposed amendment is internally consistent with the General Plan. Further, the site conditions are not consistent with the existing Natural Environment/Hazard land use designation since this area, which is developed with single-family residences, does not contain the extreme physical constraints described in the "Natural Environment/Hazard Areas" section of the City’s General Plan (page 194) or illustrated in the City’s General Plan (Figures 5, 11, & 14). Therefore, inasmuch as the proposed residential land use designation is consistent with the existing topography and residential development on the relatively flat portions of these properties, the proposed change of the general plan designation is consistent with other residential properties in the area. Accordingly, the proposed change is consistent with the General Plan.

Section 2: The proposed change in the General Plan Land Use Designation is warranted since this area has been developed with, and currently maintains residential structures that were approved prior to the City’s incorporation, when the properties were zoned R-A-10,000 (Residential). In addition, the City’s Public Works Department has recently completed the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area, which addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by the storm drain backup and overflow in 1998. The site conditions in the area that is to be re-designated are not consistent with the existing Natural Environment/Hazard land use designation, since this area, which is developed with single-family residences, does not contain the extreme physical constraints described in the "Natural Environment/Hazard Areas" section of the City’s General Plan (page 194) or illustrated in the City’s General Plan (Figures 5, 11, & 14). Thus, the Land Use Designation of the slopes along the rear of some of these properties that create the head of the canyon, which do have physical constraints, would not be changed by this amendment.

Section 3: The proposed General Plan Amendment is in the interest of the property owners within the project area because this would enable them to construct improvement projects that can be constructed by other property owners with residences on properties that are relatively flat that are within a Residential Land Use Designation, which are in the immediate vicinity.

Section 4: For the foregoing reasons and based upon the information and findings included in the Staff Report, Initial Study, Minutes and other records of these proceedings, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby approves the General Plan Amendment, thereby amending the General Plan Land Use Designations of the upper San Ramon Canyon project area encompassing the properties located at 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive, specifically only the flat area of these properties located between the head of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East as depicted in Exhibit A attached hereto, from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (2-4 dwelling units per acre).

Section 5: The time within which the judicial review of the decision reflected in this Resolution, if available, must be sought is governed by Section 1094.6 of the California Code of Civil Procedure and other applicable short periods of limitation.

PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this 7th day of June:

_______________________

Mayor

ATTEST:

____________________
City Clerk

State of California )
County of Los Angeles ) ss
City of Rancho Palos Verdes )

I, Carolynn Petru, City Clerk of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, do hereby certify that the above Resolution No. 2005-__ was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting held on June 7, 2005.

City Clerk

ORDINANCE NO. ___

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING A ZONE CHANGE (CASE NO. ZON2003-00520) FOR THE UPPER SAN RAMON CANYON AREA (THE FLAT PORTION OF THE 15 PROPERTIES LOCATED BETWEEN THE HEAD OF THE SAN RAMON CANYON AND PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, ADDRESSED AS 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, AND 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 SAN RAMON DRIVE), FROM OPEN SPACE HAZARD (OH) TO SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL (RS-2).

WHEREAS, on June 26, 1975, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 75-43, thereby adopting the General Plan of the City of Ranch Palos Verdes. With the adoption of the General Plan, a land use designation of Natural Environment/Hazard was applied to the entire San Ramon Canyon, including the upper San Ramon Canyon project area that encompasses 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive; and,

WHEREAS, in June 2003, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes officially completed a drainage and slope stabilization project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area, located at the head of the San Ramon Canyon. The project addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by a storm drain backup and overflow that occurred in 1998; and,

WHEREAS, on September 7, 2004, the City Council approved a General Plan Amendment Initiation Request (GPAIR), thereby directing Staff to proceed with a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the 15 properties that create the Upper San Ramon Canyon project area, located between the head of the canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (1 to 2 dwelling units per acre) and from Open Space Hazard (OH) zoning to Single Family Residential (RS-2) zoning for the portions of those properties that are relatively flat, outside of the Canyon itself and are developed with residential structures; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on February 22, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence; and,

WHEREAS, on February 22, 2005, the Planning Commission adopted P.C. Resolution No. 2005-09 and P.C. Resolution No. 2005-10, recommending that the City Council certify a Negative Declaration for Case No. ZON2003-00520 with inclusion of an addendum with regards to the NCCP and the re-vegetation required by the San Ramon Stabilization project, hereby referenced to as Addendum No. 1 to the Environmental Assessment/Negative Declaration, and recommending that the City Council approve a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the Upper San Ramon Canyon area; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on June 7, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et. seq. ("CEQA"), the State's CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 15000 et. seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), the City Council independently reviewed and certified that the Negative Declaration was prepared in compliance with the provisions of CEQA by the adoption of Resolution No. 2005-__; and,

WHEREAS, the City Council has adopted Resolutions No. 2005-__ and No. 2005-__, adopting a Negative Declaration and General Plan Amendment (Case No. ZON2003-00520), which are related to the Zone Change described herein.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: This approval is for a change in zoning designation for the flat portions of the 15 properties located between the head of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, addressed as 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East, and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive, from the existing Zoning Use Designation of Open Space Hazard (OH) to a new Zoning Designation of Residential, RS-2 as set forth in Exhibits A and B attached hereto. Specifically, so that the existing residential structures on the relatively flat areas of the properties are located outside of the OH boundary, and so that the new OH boundary follows the top head of the San Ramon Canyon where the stabilization project was completed as illustrated in Exhibits A and B.

Section 2: The City Council finds that the proposed zone change would not result in any significant adverse environmental impacts in addition to or beyond those already associated with the existing use of the sites since the zone change reflects existing conditions on these properties, and therefore has adopted Resolution No. 2005-__, certifying a Negative Declaration for a Zone Change, General Plan Amendment and Environmental Assessment (Case No. ZON2003-00520).

Section 3: The City Council finds that the approval of the Zone Change will not result in significant adverse environmental impacts because the zoning designations would be consistent with the existing use and topography of the sites, which currently maintain residential structures that were approved prior to the City’s incorporation when the properties were zoned R-A-10,000 (Residential). Furthermore, the zone change reflects the fact that the City’s Public Works Department has recently completed the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area, which addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by the storm drain backup and overflow in 1998, so the existing residential structures can be safely maintained on these lots.

Section 4: The City Council finds that the approval of the Zone Change is in the interest of the property owners within the project area because this would enable them to construct improvement projects that can be constructed by other property owners with residences that are within a Residential Land Use Designation, which are in the immediate vicinity.

Section 5: The time within which the judicial review of the decision reflected in this Ordinance, if available, must be sought is governed by Section 1094.6 of the California Code of Civil Procedure and other applicable short periods of limitation.

Section 6: Based upon the facts contained in this Ordinance, in the Staff Report and other components of the legislative record, in the adopted Negative Declaration, and in the public comments received by the Planning Commission and the City Council, the City Council hereby approves the Zone Change of Case No. ZON2003-00520 to change the zoning designation for the flat portions of the 15 properties located between the head of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, addressed as 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East, and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive, from the existing Zoning Use Designation of Open Space Hazard (OH) to a new Zoning Designation of Residential, RS-2, such that the new OH boundary follows the top head of the San Ramon Canyon where the stabilization project was completed as illustrated in Exhibits A and B attached hereto, which are incorporated herein by this reference.

Section 7: The City Council hereby directs the City Clerk to cause the changes set forth herein to be made to the Official Zoning Map, as illustrated in Exhibits A and B.

PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this 7th day of June:

_______________________

Mayor

ATTEST:

____________________
City Clerk

State of California )
County of Los Angeles ) ss
City of Rancho Palos Verdes )

I, Carolynn Petru, City Clerk of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, do hereby certify that the above Ordinance No. __ was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting held on June 7, 2005.

City Clerk

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: JUNE 7, 2005

SUBJECT: CASE NO. ZON2003-00520 (GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT, ZONE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT); Applicant: City of Rancho Palos Verdes; Property Addresses: The upper portion of San Ramon Canyon, which encompasses the following properties: 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive.

Staff Coordinator: Eduardo Schonborn, aicp, Associate Planner

RECOMMENDATION

1) Adopt Resolution No. 2005-__, certifying the Negative Declaration; (2) Adopt Resolution No. 2005-__, approving the General Plan Amendment; and (3) Introduce Ordinance No. ___, approving the Zone Change.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Case No. ZON2003-00520 includes 1) an Environmental Assessment, 2) a General Plan Amendment, and 3) a Zone Change to eliminate the "Hazard" General Plan Land Use and Zoning designations for the Upper San Ramon Canyon area. Specifically, the upper San Ramon Canyon project area encompasses 15 properties located at 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive. Only the flat area of these properties located between the head of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East will be changed to Residential, while the slopes along the rear of some of these properties that create the rim of the canyon will not be changed.

This item is before the City Council because the project includes a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change, which require approval by the City Council. The Planning Commission reviewed this project at their February 22, 2005 meeting, and adopted P.C. Resolutions No. 2005-09 and No. 2005-10, recommending that the City Council certify the Negative Declaration and approve the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change.

BACKGROUND

When the City of Rancho Palos Verdes incorporated in 1973, properties within the City were classified under various zoning designations based upon certain physical and topographical conditions. Although the majority of the City is zoned Residential and most residential lots are completely within a Residential zone, there are certain areas within the City where residential lots are completely zoned Open Space Hazard (OH) or have a "dual zoning" designation, where a portion of the lot is zoned Residential and a portion is zoned Open Space Hazard. This typically occurs in situations where residential lots are in or adjacent to natural canyons. These designations currently exist for some properties along San Ramon Canyon, particularly those at the upper San Ramon Canyon (in the vicinity of Palos Verdes Drive East and the head of the Canyon).

According to the City’s Zoning Map, the properties at the upper San Ramon Canyon area are either wholly designated OH (Open Space Hazard), or contain dual designations whereby the rear yard maintains an "Open Space Hazard" designation while the portion where the residential structures are located maintain "Residential" designations. Prior to the City’s incorporation, the upper San Ramon Canyon area was zoned R-A-10,000 (Residential) by Los Angeles County. The Open Space Hazard designation over these properties was established in 1975 upon adoption of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes Zoning Map.

In June 2003, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes officially completed a drainage and slope stabilization project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area. The project addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by the storm drain backup and overflow that occurred in 1998.

On September 7, 2004, Staff forwarded a General Plan Amendment Initiation Request (GPAIR) to the City Council for considering whether to proceed with a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the Upper San Ramon Canyon between the head of the canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East (excerpted City Council Minutes attached). The City Council then directed Staff to proceed with the proposed change in General Plan Land Use Designation for the subject area from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (1 to 2 dwelling units per acre); and a proposed change in the zoning from Open Space Hazard (OH) to Single Family Residential (RS-2).

On January 24, 2005, upon completion of an Initial Study of the proposed project pursuant to the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Staff mailed notices of the proposed project and public hearing to all property owners within a 500-foot radius of the project area, to the Los Angeles County Recorders Office and all interested parties. Subsequently, the notice was published in the Peninsula News on January 27, 2005.

On February 22, 2005, the Planning Commission conducted a public hearing to consider written and oral testimony on the matter. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Planning Commission voted 3-1-1, with Chairman Tetreault dissenting and Commissioner Perestam recused, to recommend approval of the requested action to the City Council.

On May 20, 2005, Staff mailed notices of the pending public hearing to all property owners within a 500-foot radius of the project area, to the Los Angeles County Recorders Office and all interested parties. Additionally, the notice was published in the Peninsula News on May 21, 2005.

SITE AND PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The upper San Ramon Canyon area consists of a total of 15 properties, each developed with a single-family residential structure. The properties include 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive. This area is generally located between the head of the San Ramon Canyon on the southeast, Palos Verdes Drive East on the northwest, Calle Aventura on the northeast and San Ramon Drive on the southwest. All residential structures on these 15 properties were approved prior to the City’s incorporation, and the City has approved minor additions to some of the existing structures.

This project consists of changing the Land Use Designation and Zoning for the 15 properties located at the upper San Ramon Canyon so that they are consistent with the existing development of the area. Specifically, changing the General Plan Land Use Designation of certain properties or portions of properties from Natural Environment/Hazard, to Residential; and changing the zoning on said properties from OH (Open Space Hazard), to RS-2 (Single Family Residential). It should be noted that of the 15 properties, 4 properties will have the Open Space Hazard (OH) line adjusted to the rim of the San Ramon Canyon and continue to traverse the properties, but the residential structures will be wholly located outside of the OH area. The remaining 11 properties will be entirely rezoned and redesignated to Residential. As illustrated in Exhibits A and B of the attached Draft Ordinance No. ___, the new OH boundary line will follow the head of the San Ramon Canyon, specifically following the top of slope where the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization project occurred.

Environmental Assessment

The Planning Commission reviewed the attached Initial Study. Although there were no comment letters on the Initial Study received from the general public prior to the February 22nd Planning Commission meeting, the Commission requested that additional statements be included in the "Land Use and Planning" section of the Initial Study, regarding the NCCP and the re-vegetation required by the San Ramon Stabilization project.

Staff Response:

With regards to the NCCP, there will be no conflict with the wildlife corridor created by the Ocean Trails site (a.k.a Trump National), Shoreline Park, the Palos Verdes Drive East switchbacks, and the San Ramon Canyon. The General Plan Amendment and Zone Change will only occur to the properties located at 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive, which is only the flat area of these properties located between the head of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East. Thus, the Land Use Designation of the slopes along the rear of some of these properties that create the rim of the San Ramon Canyon would not be changed.

With regards to native vegetation, the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change will not impact the re-vegetation requirement that resulted from the San Ramon Stabilization project. The re-vegetation occurred on the hillside of the canyon that was stabilized, while the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change are specific to the flat area located between the rim of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East.

As such, Staff has determined that the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change will continue to have a less than significant impact and will not result in any significant environmental effects as further elaborated above. Furthermore, these statements have been made part of the attached Draft Resolution certifying the Negative Declaration, as Addendum No. 1. As such, since Staff has determined that the NCCP and the re-vegetation required by the San Ramon Stabilization are within the scope of the Environmental Assessment, no further environmental review is necessary.

GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT & ZONE CHANGE

A detailed analysis of the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change is contained in the attached Planning Commission Staff Report, dated February 22, 2005. According to Government Code Section No. 65353 & 65453, the Planning Commission is required to conduct a public hearing on all General Plan amendments and make a recommendation to the City Council, while Municipal Code Section No. 17.68.040 requires the Planning Commission to conduct a public hearing on Zone Changes. As such, the Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on February 22, 2005 (see attached Planning Commission minute excerpts). During the public hearing, two residents (James Reed and Clara Duran Reed) who are owners of one of the affected properties located at 30652 Palos Verdes Drive East, spoke in opposition to the proposed project. The Reeds expressed geotechnical concerns regarding the impacts that the zone change and General Plan Amendment would have upon the Tarapacca and Shoreline Landslides, and expressed a belief that the zone change and amendment would encourage residents to build larger homes that may encroach into the canyon.

With regards to the geotechnical concerns, the City’s Public Works Department has completed the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area in June 2003. The project addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by the storm drain backup and overflow in 1998. In assessing the feasibility of this potential zone change, Staff communicated with the City’s engineering firm of record for the project (AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc.). AMEC has provided written evidence that a General Plan Amendment and zone change would not be unadvisable if the new OH boundary were to follow the boundary of the San Ramon stabilization project, such that it follows the rim of the canyon so that the canyon itself continues to remain OH. Further, the City Geologist reviewed this information and the geotechnical information for the stabilization project and also concluded that a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change can be approved for the Upper San Ramon Canyon area. The statements from AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc. and from the City’s Geologist (Zeiser Kling Consultants, Inc.) were made part of the Initial Study compiled for this project. Lastly, there is no evidence that the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change will impact the stability of the area since any future development of new residences, large additions, or additions on the flat areas near the rim of the canyon, would require geotechnical approval from the City Geologist prior to issuance of building permits.

With regards to building of larger residences, this area has been developed with, and currently maintains residential structures that were approved prior to the City’s incorporation, when the properties were zoned R-A-10,000 (Residential). Each property contains a residence, and the re-zoning would not result in additional residential structures within the project area. Although the City has approved additions, improvements and maintenance permits (i.e., plumbing permits, electrical permits, etc) for some of these residences, the properties where the residential structures are presently wholly in the OH zone cannot add to their residences, nor can they demolish and rebuild a new residence. Thus, the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change will be in the interest of the property owners within the project area, as it would enable them to conduct improvement projects similar to other property owners with residences that are within a Residential Land Use Designation. Lastly, since the OH boundary would be adjusted to the rim of the canyon, development of residences into the canyon or onto slopes that are 35-percent or steeper will not be allowed.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

As part of the Planning Commission’s decision, the Commission directed Staff to ensure that the recommendations contained in the geotechnical report prepared for the stabilization project were implemented. The Public Works Department, who oversaw the stabilization project, has provided a written statement that the San Ramon Stabilization project implemented the recommendations of the geotechnical report, and that representatives were present during construction to ensure implementation (see attached Memorandum, dated May 12, 2005).

The Planning Commission also directed Staff to have the water and sewer lines in the area checked to make sure that there are no leaks. Public Works Staff has contacted the Los Angeles County Sanitation District regarding the sewer lines. Planning Department Staff contacted California Water Service Company to request that the water lines be checked for leaks. According to the company’s representative, an inspection will be conducted in the near future.

It should be noted, according to Government Code Section No. 65358, any mandatory element of the General Plan may be modified a maximum of four times per calendar year. Should the requested General Plan amendment be approved, it would represent this year’s first amendment to the mandatory "Land Use Element" of the General Plan.

CONCLUSION

Based on the written and oral testimony received during the public hearing conducted on February 22, 2005, the Planning Commission is recommending the City Council certify the Negative Declaration and approve the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change (Case Nos. ZON2003-00520).

FISCAL IMPACT

None

ALTERNATIVES

The following alternatives are available for the City Council’s consideration:

  1. 1) Adopt Resolution No. 2005-__, certifying the Negative Declaration; (2) Adopt Resolution No. 2005-__, approving the General Plan Amendment; and (3) Introduce Ordinance No. ___, approving the Zone Change; or,
  2. Identify any issues of concern with the proposed project, provide Staff with direction, and continue the public hearing to a date certain; or,
  3. Deny the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change (Case No. ZON2003-00520).

Respectfully submitted:

Joel Rojas, aicp,

Director of Planning,

Building and Code Enforcement

Reviewed:

Les Evans

City Manager

Attachments:

STAFF REPORT

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: FEBRUARY 22, 2005

SUBJECT:CASE NO. ZON2003-00520 (GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT, ZONE CHANGE, & ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT)

PROJECT ADDRESS:UPPER SAN RAMON CANYON, BETWEEN THE HEAD OF SAN RAMON CANYON AND PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST (30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST; & 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 SAN RAMON DRIVE) - (THOMAS GUIDE PAGE 823, F-5)

APPLICANT:CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES

PHONE: (310) 544-5228

STAFF COORDINATOR: EDUARDO SCHONBORN, AICP, ASSOCIATE PLANNER

REQUESTED ACTION: ALLOW A GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT TO CHANGE THE GENERAL PLAN LAND USE DESIGNATION OF CERTAIN PROPERTIES OR PORTIONS OF PROPERTIES FROM NATURAL ENVIRONMENT/HAZARD, TO RESIDENTIAL; AND ALLOW A CHANGE IN ZONING ON SAID PROPERTIES FROM OH (OPEN SPACE HAZARD), TO RS-2 (SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL).

RECOMMENDATION: ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2005-__, RECOMMENDING TO THE CITY COUNCIL CERTIFICATION OF THE NEGATIVE DECLARATION, AND ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2005.__, RECOMMENDING TO THE CITY COUNCIL APPROVAL OF THE GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT AND ZONE CHANGE (CASE NO. ZON2003-00520)

REFERENCES:

ZONING: OH

LAND USE: SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCES

CODE SECTIONS: 17.32, 17.68

GENERAL PLAN: NATURAL ENVIRONMENT/HAZARD

TRAILS PLAN: N/A

SPECIFIC PLAN: N/A

CEQA STATUS: NEGATIVE DECLARATION

ACTION DEADLINE: JUNE 30, 2005

P.C. MEMBERS

WITHIN 500’ RADIUS: COMMISSIONER PERESTAM

BACKGROUND

When the City of Rancho Palos Verdes incorporated in 1973, properties within the City were classified under various zoning designations based upon certain physical and topographical conditions. Although the majority of the City is zoned Residential and most residential lots are completely within a Residential zone, there are certain areas within the City where residential lots are completely zoned Open Space Hazard (OH) or have a "dual zoning" designation, where a portion of the lot is zoned Residential and a portion is zoned Open Space Hazard. This typically occurs in situations where residential lots are in or adjacent to natural canyons. These designations currently exist for some properties along San Ramon Canyon, particularly those at the upper San Ramon Canyon (in the vicinity of Palos Verdes Drive East and the head of the Canyon).

According to the City’s Zoning Map, the properties at the upper San Ramon Canyon area are either wholly designated OH (Open Space Hazard), or contain dual designations whereby the rear yard maintains an "Open Space Hazard" designation while the portion where the residential structures are located maintain "Residential" designations. Prior to the City’s incorporation, the upper San Ramon Canyon area was zoned R-A-10,000 (Residential) by Los Angeles County. The Open Space Hazard designation over these properties was established in 1975 upon adoption of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes Zoning Map.

In June 2003, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes officially completed a drainage and slope stabilization project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area. The project addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by the storm drain backup and overflow that occurred in 1998.

On September 7, 2004, Staff forwarded a General Plan Amendment Initiation Request (GPAIR) to the City Council for considering whether to proceed with a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the Upper San Ramon Canyon between the head of the canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East (excerpted City Council Minutes attached). The City Council then directed Staff to proceed with the proposed change in General Plan Land Use Designation for the subject area from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (1 to 2 dwelling units per acre); and a proposed change in the zoning from Open Space Hazard (OH) to Single Family Residential (RS-2).

On January 24, 2005, upon completion of an Initial Study of the proposed project pursuant to the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Staff mailed notices of the proposed project and public hearing to all property owners within a 500-foot radius of the project area, to the Los Angeles County Recorders Office and all interested parties. Subsequently, the notice was published in the Peninsula News on January 27, 2005.

SITE AND PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The upper San Ramon Canyon area consists of a total of 15 properties, each developed with a single-family residential structure. The properties include 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive. This area is generally located between the head of the San Ramon Canyon on the southeast, Palos Verdes Drive East on the northwest, Calle Aventura on the northeast and San Ramon Drive on the southwest. All residential structures on these 15 properties were approved prior to the City’s incorporation, and the City has approved minor additions to some of the existing structures.

This project consists of changing the Land Use Designation and Zoning for the 15 properties located at the upper San Ramon Canyon so that they are consistent with the existing development of the area. Specifically, changing the General Plan Land Use Designation of certain properties or portions of properties from Natural Environment/Hazard, to Residential; and changing the zoning on said properties from OH (Open Space Hazard), to RS-2 (Single Family Residential). It should be noted that of the 15 properties, 4 properties will have the Open Space Hazard (OH) line adjusted to the rim of the San Ramon Canyon and continue to traverse the properties, but the residential structures will be wholly located outside of the OH area. The remaining 11 properties will be entirely rezoned and redesignated to Residential. As illustrated in Exhibits A and B of the attached P.C. Resolution, the existing OH boundary line is proposed to be adjusted so that it follows the head of the San Ramon Canyon, specifically following the top of slope where the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization project occurred.

CODE CONSIDERATION AND ANALYSIS

According to Government Code Section Nos. 65353 & 65453 the Planning Commission is required to conduct a public hearing on all General Plan amendments and make a recommendation to the City Council.

Environmental Assessment

In accordance with the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Staff prepared an Initial Study of the project’s environmental impacts (see attached Environmental Checklist Form). Although CEQA contains categorical exemptions from the preparation of environmental documents, the Initial Study and subsequent Negative Declaration were prepared since the proposed General Plan Amendment and Zone Change do not qualify for an exemption. Nonetheless, as a result of the Initial Study, Staff determined that the proposed project would not have a significant effect on the environment, resulting in the preparation of a Negative Declaration. The Negative Declaration was circulated to the County Recorder on January 24, 2005 for a posting and comment period of at least twenty days (as required by CEQA). Additional public notice was provided as described in the "Additional Information" section below. Nonetheless, Staff received no written correspondence to the Negative Declaration and Notice.

As shown in the attached Initial Study, the project will not result in or create any significant impacts to Population and Housing, Hydrology and Water Quality, Air Quality, Transportation and Circulation, Energy and Mineral Resources, Hazards and Hazardous Material, Noise, Public Services, Utilities and Service Systems, Aesthetics, Cultural Resources, Recreation, or Agricultural Resources.

With regards to Land Use and Planning, as indicated in the attached Initial Study, the project will not conflict with any adopted policy of the City’s General Plan or natural community conservation plan. Although the City’s General Plan depicts the San Ramon Canyon as an area of extreme slope, the project area abuts the physical rim of the canyon and the existing residences are developed on building pads and are not constructed into any hillside. Lastly, no natural habitat (i.e., vegetation) has been identified in the Upper San Ramon Canyon project area. Thus, there is no significant impact upon the Land Use and Planning of the project area resulting from the land use and zone changes.

With regards to Geology and Soils, the project area is upslope of where the City completed the San Ramon Drainage and Stabilization Project, which included modification of the existing storm drain to mitigate canyon erosion and anticipated storm flow, repair of the fill erosion damaged slope and stabilization of the landslide that resulted from a high intensity storm that occurred in 1998. However, these factors have been mitigated by the San Ramon drainage and stabilization project adjacent to the project area, which was completed in June 2003, and the zone change will not impact the drainage and stabilization project. Thus, there is no significant impact upon the Geology and Soils of the Upper San Ramon Canyon project area resulting from the land use and zone changes.

With regards to Biological Resources, the proposed project does not include any physical modifications or alteration of the project area. There are no wetlands within the project area and no natural habitat has been identified within the project area. Thus, there is no significant impact upon the Biological Resources of the Upper San Ramon Canyon project area resulting from the land use and zone changes.

Therefore, based upon the Initial Study, Staff believes that the proposed General Plan Amendment and Zone Change of the upper San Ramon Canyon area will not have an impact to the environment. As such, Staff is recommending that the Planning Commission forward a recommendation to the City Council to certify the Negative Declaration for this project.

General Plan Amendment:

The project includes changing the General Plan Land Use Designation of the Upper San Ramon Canyon project area from Natural Environment/Hazard, to Residential. Thus, the General Plan Land Use designation for the portions of the 15 identified properties that contain residential structures would be changed (see attached map). Specifically, it would change for the area between the head of San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East. In order to approve a General Plan Amendment, the City must find that the proposal is internally consistent with the General Plan and is in the public’s interest. Staff believes that the change should be pursued for the following three reasons.

First, this area has been developed with, and currently maintains residential structures that were approved prior to the City’s incorporation, when the properties were zoned R-A-10,000 (Residential). Further, over the years the City has approved additions, improvements and maintenance permits (i.e., plumbing permits, electrical permits, etc) for some of these residences. Lastly, Staff believes that the proposed General Plan Amendment would be in the interest of the property owners within the project area, as it would enable them to conduct improvement projects similar to other property owners with residences that are within a Residential Land Use Designation.

Second, the City’s Public Works Department has completed the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area in June 2003. The project addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by the storm drain backup and overflow in 1998. In assessing the feasibility of this potential zone change, Staff communicated with the City’s engineering firm of record for the project (AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc.). AMEC has provided written evidence that a General Plan Amendment and zone change would not be unadvisable if the new OH boundary were to follow the boundary of the San Ramon stabilization project. Further, the City Geologist reviewed this information and the geotechnical information for the stabilization project and also concluded that a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change can be approved for the Upper San Ramon Canyon area. The statements from AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc. and from the City’s Geologist (Zeiser Kling Consultants, Inc.) were made part of the Initial Study compiled for this project and are attached to said Initial Study as Exhibit B and Exhibit C, respectively.

Lastly, Staff believes that the site conditions are not consistent with the existing OH Land Use designation since this area, which is developed with single-family residences, does not contain the extreme physical constraints described in the "Natural Environment/Hazard Areas" section of the City’s General Plan (page 194) or illustrated in the City’s General Plan (Figures 5, 11, & 14).

Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed General Plan Amendment is internally consistent with the General Plan and that the Residential land use would not be contrary to the goals and policies of the General Plan. As such, Staff believes that the General Plan Amendment is appropriate.

It should be noted, according to Government Code Section No. 65358, any mandatory element of the General Plan may be modified a maximum of four times per calendar year. Should the requested General Plan amendment be approved, it would represent this year’s first amendment to the mandatory "Land Use Element" of the General Plan.

Zone Change:

In order to bring the zoning in compliance with the proposed General Plan Land Use Designation, the project includes changing the zoning of the Upper San Ramon Canyon project area from OH (Open Space Hazard), to RS-2 (Single Family Residential).

According to Municipal Code Section No. 17.02.010, the purpose of the single-family residential district (RS) is to provide for individual homes on separate lots, each for the occupancy of one family, at various minimum lot sizes, to provide for a range of yard and lot sizes which are based on the General Plan of the City, and to provide for other uses that are associated and compatible with residential uses designated in this title.

The zoning boundary of the OH and RS-2 would be adjusted so that the boundary is located at the head of the San Ramon Canyon. Thus, all the residential structures of the 15 identified properties would be wholly located outside of the OH zoning district and be zoned RS-2. By changing the zoning, the project area would be consistent with the other properties along San Ramon Drive, Palos Verdes Drive East and Calle Aventura. Further, the zoning would be consistent with the residential developments that already exist on the subject properties of the project area. Furthermore, should the General Plan Amendment be approved, the Zone Change would be required in order to maintain the zoning’s consistency with the General Plan.

For the reasons stated above in the General Plan Amendment section, staff believes that a single-family residential zoning (RS-2) would be a suitable land use for the project area. As such, Staff believes that the proposed zone change is consistent with the proposed General Plan Amendment and therefore believes that the zone change is appropriate.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Planning Commission advisory role:

According to the Development Code, the Planning Commission’s negative determination on Zone Changes and Zone Text Amendments is final, unless appealed to the City Council, whereas positive recommendations are automatically forwarded to the City Council for consideration. However, state law requires that the City Council conduct a public hearing on the General Plan Amendment. Therefore, since all applications must be reviewed as one package, the Planning Commission’s role in this matter is advisory only and its recommendation will be automatically forwarded to the City Council, regardless of a positive or negative determination.

New proposed residence in the project area:

On August 23, 2003, the Planning Commission upheld, on appeal, the Director’s conditional approval for a new 3,220 square foot one-story residence and attached garage on property located at 30650 Palos Verdes Drive East. As stated by a condition of approval, "Due to the OH (Open Space Hazard) zoning of a portion of the subject property where this project is proposed, this approval shall not be effective until a zone change is approved so that the new residence is no longer in the OH Zone." Although this approval is contingent upon a zone change, the proposed General Plan Amendment and Zone Change are not based upon the new proposed residence. Rather, it had been envisioned that a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change would be pursued for this general area after completion of the landslide stabilization project.

CONCLUSION

Based on the information in the attached Initial Study and in the discussion above, staff has concluded that a Negative Declaration is warranted for the proposed project. Furthermore, staff has concluded that the proposed change in the General Plan Land Use Designation and Zoning are warranted in order to change the land use of the Upper San Ramon project area to Single-Family Residential. As such, staff is recommending that the Planning Commission recommend to the City Council certification of the Negative Declaration and recommend that the City Council approve the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change (Case No. ZON2003-00520).

ALTERNATIVES

In addition to staff’s recommendation, the following alternative is available for the Planning Commission to act on:

  1. Deny, the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change (Case No. ZON2003-00520).

ATTACHMENTS

P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2005-09

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES RECOMMENDING THAT THE CITY COUNCIL CERTIFY A NEGATIVE DECLARATION PURSUANT TO THE CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT FOR CASE NO. ZON2003-00520, A GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT AND ZONE CHANGE FOR THE UPPER SAN RAMON CANYON AREA (15 PROPERTIES LOCATED BETWEEN THE HEAD OF SAN RAMON CANYON AND PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, ADDRESSED AS 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, AND 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 SAN RAMON DRIVE).

WHEREAS, in June 2003, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes officially completed a drainage and slope stabilization project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area. The project addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by a storm drain backup and overflow that occurred in 1998; and,

WHEREAS, on September 7, 2004, the City Council approved a General Plan Amendment Initiation Request (GPAIR), thereby directing Staff to proceed with a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the Upper San Ramon Canyon between the head of the canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (1 to 2 dwelling units per acre) and from Open Space Hazard (OH) zoning to Single Family Residential (RS-2) zoning; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et. seq. ("CEQA"), the State's CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulation, Title 14, Section 15000 et. seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), the City of Rancho Palos Verdes prepared an Initial Study and determined that there is no substantial evidence that the approval of ZON2003-00520 would result in a significant adverse effect upon the environment and, therefore, a Negative Declaration has been prepared and notice of same was given in the manner required by law; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on February 22, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: The Planning Commission has independently reviewed and considered the proposed Negative Declaration, the public comments upon it, and other evidence before the Commission prior to taking action on the proposed project and finds that the Negative Declaration was prepared in the manner required by law and that there is no substantial evidence that the approval of Case No. ZON2003-00520, a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change, would result in a significant adverse effect upon the environment.

Section 2: Case No. ZON2003-00520 for a General Plan Amendment is internally consistent with the General Plan and that the Residential land use would not be contrary to the goals and policies of the General Plan.

Section 3: Case No. ZON2003-00520 for a Zone Change would be consistent with the other properties along San Ramon Drive, Palos Verdes Drive East and Calle Aventura. Further, the zoning would be consistent with the residential developments that already exist on the subject properties of the project area. Furthermore, the Zone Change would ensure the zoning’s consistency with the General Plan.

Section 4: No site disturbance or alteration will result from the approval of Case No. ZON2003-00520 for a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change since the project area is already built-out with residential structures and uses; and therefore, the project will have no individual or cumulative adverse impacts upon resources, as defined in Section 711.2 of the State Fish and Game Code.

Section 5: Based upon the foregoing findings, the adoption of the proposed Negative Declaration is in the public interest.

Section 6: For the foregoing reasons and based on the information and findings included in the Staff Report, Environmental Assessment and other components of the legislative record, the proposed Negative Declaration, and the public comments received by the Commission, the Planning Commission of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby recommends that the City Council certify that the Negative Declaration (attached as Exhibit A) has been prepared in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this 22nd day of February 2005, by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTENTIONS:

ABSENT:

_______________________

Paul Tetreault

Planning Commission Vice Chairman

_____________________________

Joel Rojas, aicp

Director of Planning, Building and

Code Enforcement; and, Secretary

to the Planning Commission

P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2005-10

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES RECOMMENDING THAT THE CITY COUNCIL APPROVE CASE NO. ZON2003-00520, A GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT AND ZONE CHANGE FOR THE UPPER SAN RAMON CANYON AREA (15 PROPERTIES LOCATED BETWEEN THE HEAD OF THE SAN RAMON CANYON AND PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, ADDRESSED AS 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST, AND 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 SAN RAMON DRIVE).

WHEREAS, on June 26, 1975, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 75-43, thereby adopting the General Plan of the City of Ranch Palos Verdes. With the adoption of the General Plan, a land use designation of Natural Environment/Hazard was applied to the entire San Ramon Canyon, including the upper San Ramon Canyon project area that encompasses 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive; and,

WHEREAS, in June 2003, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes officially completed a drainage and slope stabilization project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area, located at the head of the San Ramon Canyon. The project addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by a storm drain backup and overflow that occurred in 1998; and,

WHEREAS, on September 7, 2004, the City Council approved a General Plan Amendment Initiation Request (GPAIR), thereby directing Staff to proceed with a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change for the 15 properties that create the Upper San Ramon Canyon project area, located between the head of the canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (1 to 2 dwelling units per acre) and from Open Space Hazard (OH) zoning to Single Family Residential (RS-2) zoning; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et. seq. ("CEQA"), the State's CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 15000 et. seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), the City of Rancho Palos Verdes has prepared an Initial Study and determined that there is no substantial evidence that approval of the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change would result in a significant adverse effect on the environment, and therefore, a Negative Declaration has been prepared and notice of the fact was given in the manner required by law; and,

WHEREAS, after notice was issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on February 22, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence; and,

NOW, THEREFORE, THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: The proposed change in the General Plan Land Use Designation is warranted since the proposed amendment is internally consistent with the General Plan. Further, the site conditions are not consistent with the existing land use designation since this area, which is developed with single-family residences, does not contain the extreme physical constraints described in the "Natural Environment/Hazard Areas" section of the City’s General Plan (page 194) or illustrated in the City’s General Plan (Figures 5, 11, & 14). Therefore, inasmuch as the proposed residential land use is consistent with other properties in the area, the proposed change is consistent with the General Plan.

Section 2: The proposed change in the General Plan Land Use Designation is warranted since this area has been developed with, and currently maintains residential structures that were approved prior to the City’s incorporation, when the properties were zoned R-A-10,000 (Residential); the City’s Public Works Department has recently completed the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area, which addressed the canyon erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by the storm drain backup and overflow in 1998; and the site conditions are not consistent with the existing land use designation since this area, which is developed with single-family residences, does not contain the extreme physical constraints described in the "Natural Environment/Hazard Areas" section of the City’s General Plan (page 194) or illustrated in the City’s General Plan (Figures 5, 11, & 14).

Section 3: The proposed General Plan Amendment is in the interest of the property owners within the project area because this would enable them to conduct improvement projects that are afforded to other property owners with residences that are within a Residential Land Use Designation, which are in the immediate vicinity.

Section 4: The proposed Zone Change is warranted since it is consistent with the General Plan. With the change in the General Plan Land Use Designation from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential, the change in zoning from Open Space Hazard (OH) to Single Family Residential (RS-2) is required to keep the zoning consistent with the General Plan Land Use Designation.

Section 5: For the foregoing reasons and based upon the information and findings included in the Staff Report, Initial Study, Minutes and other records of these proceedings, the Planning Commission of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby recommends that the City Council:

    1. Approve the General Plan Amendment, thereby changing the General Plan Land Use Designations of the upper San Ramon Canyon project area encompassing properties located at 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive, specifically the area located between the head of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (2-4 dwelling units per acre) as illustrated in Exhibits A and B; and,
    2. Approve the Zone Change, thereby rezoning the properties and portions of properties from Open Space Hazard (OH) to Single Family Residential (RS-2) so that the residential structures are located outside of the OH boundary and so that the OH boundary follows the top head of the San Ramon Canyon where the stabilization project was completed as illustrated in Exhibits A and B.

Section 6: The Planning Commission action on this matter is advisory only; with the final action on the matter being taken by the City Council at a future duly noticed public hearing. Nonetheless, any interested person aggrieved by this decision or any portion of this decision may appeal it to the City Council. Pursuant to Sections 17.60.060, 17.76.040(H) and 17.80.070 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, any such appeal must be filed with the City, in writing, and with the appropriate appeal fee, no later than March 9, 2005.

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED this 22nd day of February 2005, by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTENTIONS:

ABSENT:

________________________

Paul Tetreault

Chairman

_______________________

Joel Rojas, aicp

Director of Planning,

Building and Code Enforcement; and,

Secretary to the Planning Commission

City of Rancho Palos Verdes

ENVIRONMENTAL CHECKLIST FORM

1. Project title:

Upper San Ramon Canyon Zone Change

2. Lead agency name/ address:

City of Rancho Palos Verdes

Department of Planning, Building & Code Enforcement

30940 Hawthorne Boulevard

Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

3. Contact person and phone number:

Eduardo Schonborn, aicp, Associate Planner

City of Rancho Palos Verdes

(310) 544-5228

4. Project location:

The upper portions of San Ramon Canyon, which is generally located between the head of the San Ramon Canyon on the southeast, Palos Verdes Drive East on the northwest, Calle Aventura on the northeast and San Ramon Drive on the southwest. The project encompasses the following properties: 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive.

5. Project sponsor's name and address:

City of Rancho Palos Verdes

30940 Hawthorne Boulevard

Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

6. General plan designation:

Natural Environment/Hazard

7. Coastal plan designation:

None – this project is not located within the coastal zone.

8. Zoning:

Open Space Hazard (OH)

9. Description of project:

The proposed project includes a change in the General Plan Land Use Designation for the subject area from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (1 to 2 dwelling units per acre); and a proposed change in the zoning from Open Space Hazard (OH) to Single Family Residential (RS-2).

10. Description of project site (as it currently exists):

The upper San Ramon Canyon area consists of a total of 15 properties, each developed with a single-family residential structure. Although each single-family residence is constructed upon building pads, approximately 6 properties contain slopes at the rear of the properties that slope down to the San Ramon Canyon and create the rim of the Canyon. The project area proposed for changes in zoning and general plan land use designation is the flat area where the residential structures located, which is between the rim of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, as illustrated in Exhibit A. All residential structures on these 15 properties were approved prior to the City’s incorporation, and the City has approved minor additions, improvements and maintenance permits (i.e., plumbing permits, electrical permits, etc) for some of these residences.

11. Surrounding land uses and setting:

Land Uses 2

Significant Features 2

On-site

Single-family residential structures

The general area is accessed via Palos Verdes Drive East, and all properties were created and developed under authority of Los Angeles County, prior to incorporation of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. Although each single-family residence is constructed upon building pads, which create the rim of the San Ramon Canyon, approximately 6 properties contain slopes at the rear of the properties that slope down to the San Ramon Canyon and create the head of said canyon.

North

Palos Verdes Drive East – public right-of-way

None

South

San Ramon Canyon

The rear portions of the properties along San Ramon Drive and Calle Aventura slope down to create the San Ramon Canyon; hence the canyon is not public property. The canyon contains steep topography, and extends in a southerly direction from the project site. The canyon provides for a natural drainage course.

In June 2003, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes officially completed a drainage and slope stabilization project for the upper San Ramon Canyon area, at the head of the canyon. The project addressed erosion, drainage for the area, repair of the erosion-damaged slope, and stabilization of the landslide caused by the storm drain backup and overflow that occurred in 1998.

East

Single-family residential

These residential structures were constructed under authority of Los Angeles County, prior to incorporation of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

West

Singe-family residential

These residential structures were constructed under authority of Los Angeles County, prior to incorporation of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

10. Other public agencies whose approval is required:

None

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS POTENTIALLY AFFECTED:

The environmental factors checked below would be potentially affected by this project, involving at least one impact that is a "Potentially Significant Impact" as indicted by the checklist on the following pages.

 

Land Use and Planning

 

Biological Resources

 

Aesthetics

 
 

Population and Housing

 

Energy/Mineral Resources

 

Cultural Resources

 
 

Geology and Soils

 

Hazards and Hazardous Material

 

Recreation

 
 

Hydrology and Water Quality

 

Noise

 

Agricultural Resources

 

Air Quality

Public Services

Mandatory Findings of Significance

 

Transportation and Circulation

 

Utilities and Service Systems

   

DETERMINATION:

On the basis of this initial evaluation:

X

I find that the project COULD NOT have a significant effect on the environment, and a NEGATIVE DECLARATION will be prepared.

I find that although the proposed project could not have a significant effect on the environment, there will not be a significant effect in this case because the mitigation measures described on an attached sheet have been added to the project. A MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION will be prepared.

I find that the proposed project MAY have a significant effect on the environment, and an ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT is required.

I find that the proposed project MAY have a significant effect(s) on the environment, but at least one effect 1) has been adequately analyzed in an earlier document pursuant to applicable legal standards, and 2) has been addressed by mitigation measures based on earlier analysis as described on attached sheets, if the effect is a "potentially significant impact" or " potentially significant unless mitigated". An ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT is required but must analyze only the effects that remain to be addressed.

I find that although the proposed project could have a significant effect on the environment, there WILL NOT be a significant effect in this case because all potentially significant effect (a) have been analyzed adequately in an earlier EIR pursuant to applicable standards, and (b) have been avoided or mitigated pursuant to that earlier EIR, including revisions or mitigation measures that are imposed on the proposed project

 

Signature:

 

Date:

 
 

Printed Name:

Eduardo Schonborn

For:

City of Rancho Palos Verdes

EVALUATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS:

Issues and Supporting Information Sources

Sources

Potentially Significant Issues

Potentially Significant Unless Mitigation Incorporated

Less Than Significant Impact

No Impact

1. LAND USE AND PLANNING. Would the proposal:

a) Conflict with any applicable land use plan, policy, or regulation including, but not limited to the general plan, specific plan, local coastal plan, or zoning ordinance?

1, 2, 10

   

X

 

b) Conflict with applicable environmental plans or policies adopted by agencies with jurisdiction over the project?

       

X

c) Be incompatible with existing land use in the vicinity?

       

X

d) Conflict with any applicable habitat conservation plan or natural community conservation plan?

8, 9

   

X

 

e) Disrupt or divide the physical arrangement of an established community (including a low-income or minority community)?

       

X

Comments: The proposed project is for a change in the land use designation and zoning of the Upper San Ramon Canyon area from Open Space Hazard to Residential such that the residential structures located on 15 parcels are wholly located outside of the Open Space Hazard area, and does not involve any physical alteration. The project will result in the zoning and land use designation being consistent with the existing development in the Upper San Ramon Canyon area. The project will not conflict with any adopted policy of the City’s General Plan or the natural community conservation plan.

According to the Slope analysis figure 5 in the City’s General Plan, the San Ramon Canyon is depicted as an area of extreme slope. However, the project area abuts the physical rim of the canyon and the existing residences are not constructed into any hillside. Rather, the existing residences are developed on building pads that were created prior to the City’s incorporation, and the new zoning boundary would follow the rim of the canyon such that the canyon remains Open Space Hazard and the 15 residences are wholly zoned Residential.

According to the Biotic Resources figure 11 in the City’s General Plan, the San Ramon Canyon is depicted as an area of vegetation community. However, no natural habitat (i.e. vegetation) has been identified in the project area that is proposed to be zoned Residential at the Upper San Ramon Canyon. This is according to a more detailed assessment contained in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes Natural Communities Conservation Planning Subarea Plan: July 2004, and a biological survey prepared by HELIX Environmental Planning Inc., dated September 8, 2000.

According to the Natural Environment Element figure 14 of the City’s General Plan, the San Ramon Canyon is depicted as an area of extreme slope (RM 2), high slope (RM 3), old land slide area (RM 5), hydrologic factors (RM 6), and natural vegetation (RM 9). The project area is constructed with residential structures on building pads and does not contain extreme or high slopes. The old landslide and hydrologic factors have been mitigated by the San Ramon drainage and stabilization project adjacent to the project area, which was completed in June 2003. Lastly, no natural habitat (i.e. vegetation) has been identified in the project area at the Upper San Ramon Canyon area according to a more detailed assessment contained in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes Natural Communities Conservation Planning Subarea Plan: July 2004.

2. POPULATION AND HOUSING. Would the proposal:

a) Cumulatively exceed official regional or local population projections?

1

     

X

b) Induce substantial growth in an area either directly or indirectly (e.g. through projects in an undeveloped area or major infrastructure)?

       

X

c) Displace existing housing, especially affordable housing?

       

X

d) Displace substantial numbers of people, necessitating the construction of replacement housing elsewhere?

       

X

Comments: The proposed project is for a change in the land use designation and zoning of the Upper San Ramon Canyon area from Open Space Hazard to Residential. The area is currently built-out with residential structures and is a developed area where all the major infrastructure is in place. The change will result in a land use designation and zoning that is consistent with the existing development of the site. Further, since the project does not create additional housing or result in loss of housing, it does not represent significant growth inducing development. As such, there will be no significant impacts to population and housing as a result of the proposed zone change.

3. GEOLOGY AND SOILS. Would the proposal:

a) Expose people or structure to potential substantial adverse effects, including the risk of loss, injury, or death involving:

 

i) Rupture of a known earthquake fault, as delineated on the most recent Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Map issued by the State Geologist for the area or based on other substantial evidence of a known fault?

X

ii) Strong seismic ground shaking?

       

X

iii) Seismic-related ground failure, including liquefaction?

6

     

X

iv) Landslides?

4

     

X

b) Result in substantial soil erosion or the loss of topsoil?

       

X

c) Be located on a geological unit or soil that is unstable, or that would become unstable as a result of the project, and potentially result in on or off site landslide, lateral spreading, subsidence, liquefaction or collapse?

10, 11, 12

   

X

 

d) Be located on expansive soil, as defined in the Uniform Building Code, thus creating substantial risks to life or property?

       

X

  1. Have soils incapable or adequately supporting the use of septic tanks or alternative wastewater disposal systems, where sewers are not available for the disposal of wastewater?
       

X

Comments: Although the potential exists for people and property to be exposed to the hazards of seismic activity in most of California, the proposed zone change will not increase the potential occurrence of earthquakes. The Upper San Ramon Canyon project area is currently developed with residential structures with all major infrastructures in place, including sewer system. Expansive soil is evident throughout the City; however, since the zone change would allow for new construction within the project area, any new construction proposed in the future would be subject to complying with all construction standards contained in the Uniform Building Code.

All properties involved with the zone change are currently developed with residential structures that were approved and constructed prior to the City’s incorporation. The project area is upslope of where the City completed the San Ramon drainage and stabilization project, which included modification of the existing storm drain to mitigate canyon erosion and anticipated storm flow, repair of the fill erosion damaged slope and stabilization of the landslide that resulted from a high intensity storm that occurred in 1998. However, these factors have been mitigated by the San Ramon drainage and stabilization project adjacent to the project area, which was completed in June 2003, and the zone change will not impact the drainage and stabilization project. As such, there will be no significant impacts upon the geology and soils of the project area resulting from the proposed zone change.

4. HYDROLOGY AND WATER QUALITY. Would the proposal:

a) Violate any water quality standard or wastewater discharge requirements?

       

X

b) Substantially deplete groundwater supplies or interfere substantially with groundwater recharge such that there would be a net deficit in aquifer volume or a lowering of the local groundwater?

       

X

c) Substantially alter the existing drainage pattern of the site or areas, including through the alteration of the course of a stream or river, in a manner, which would result in substantial erosion or siltation on or off site?

       

X

d) Substantially alter the existing drainage pattern of the site or areas including through the alteration of the course of a stream or river, or substantially increase the rate or amount of surface runoff in a manner that would result in flooding on or off site?

       

X

e) Create or contribute runoff water which would exceed the capacity of existing or planned storm water drainage systems or provide substantial additional sources of polluted runoff?

       

X

f) Otherwise substantially degrade water quality?

       

X

g) Place housing within a 100-year flood hazard area, as mapped on a Federal Flood Hazard Boundary or Flood Insurance Rate map or other flood hazard delineation map?

       

X

h) Place within a 100-year flood hazard area, structures which would impede or redirect flood flows?

       

X

i) Expose people or structures to a significant risk of loss, injury, or death involving flooding, including flooding as a result of the failure of a levee or dam?

       

X

j) Expose people or property to inundation by seiche, tsunami, or mudflow?

       

X

k) Have construction impact on storm water runoff?

       

X

l) Have post construction activity impact on storm water runoff?

       

X

Comments: The proposed project is for a change in the land use designation and zoning of the Upper San Ramon Canyon area from Open Space Hazard to Residential. The City recently completed a drainage and stabilization project adjacent to the project area; however, the project will not alter the site and will not impact storm water drainage systems in the area. The project will not change the currents, or the course of direction of water movements in either marine or fresh waters, as the project is not located in a marine or fresh water setting. Further, the new land use designation and zoning of the project area will not change absorption rates, drainage patterns, or surface run-off. Lastly, drainage from any future additions or structures built in the project area would be controlled by building regulations and directed towards the City’s existing streets, channels, storm drains and catch basins. As such, there will be no significant impacts to water as a result of the proposed zone change.

5. AIR QUALITY. Would the proposal:

a) Violate any air quality standard or contribute to an existing or projected air quality violation?

5

     

X

b) Expose sensitive receptors to substantial pollutant concentrations?

       

X

c) Result in a cumulatively considerable net increase of any criteria pollutant for which the project region is non-attainment under an applicable federal or state ambient air quality standard (including releasing emissions that exceed quantitative thresholds for ozone precursors)?

       

X

d) Create objectionable odors affecting a substantial number of people?

       

X

e) Conflict with or obstruct the implementation of any applicable air quality plan?

       

X

Comments: The proposed project is for a change in the land use designation and zoning of the Upper San Ramon Canyon area from Open Space Hazard to Residential, in an area that is already built-out with residential structures. The change does not meet any threshold that may create a significant air quality impact as described in the SCAQMD "CEQA Air Quality Handbook." As such, there will be no significant impacts to air quality as a result of the proposed zone change.

6. TRANSPORTATION/CIRCULATION. Would the proposal:

a) Cause an increase in traffic that is substantial in relation to the existing traffic load and capacity of the street system?

       

X

b) Exceed either individually or cumulatively, a level of service standard established by the county congestion management agency for designated roads or highways?

       

X

c) Result in inadequate emergency access or inadequate access to nearby uses?

       

X

d) Result in insufficient parking capacity on-site or off-site?

       

X

e) Result in a change in air traffic patterns, including either an increase in traffic levels or a change in location that results in substantial safety risks?

       

X

f) Conflicts with adopted policies, plans, or programs supporting alternative transportation (e.g. bus turnouts, bicycle racks)?

       

X

g) Substantially increase hazards due to a design feature (e.g. sharp curves or dangerous intersections) or incompatible uses (e.g. farm equipment?

       

X

Comments: The proposed project is for a change in the land use designation and zoning of the Upper San Ramon Canyon area from Open Space Hazard to Residential, in an area that is already built-out with residential structures. The change will not result in any traffic impacts, will not change any traffic patterns, and will not change any circulation pattern within the project area. As such, there will be no impacts upon the transportation/circulation of the project area as a result of the proposed zone change.

7. BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES. Would the proposal result in:

a) Have a substantial adverse effect, either directly or through habitat modifications, on any species identified as a candidate, sensitive, or special status species in local or regional plans, policies, or regulations, or by the California Department of fish and Game or US Fish and Wildlife Service?

8, 9

   

X

 

b) Have a substantial adverse effect on any riparian habitat or other sensitive natural community identified in local or regional plans, policies, regulations or by the California Department of Fish and Game or US Fish and Wildlife Service?

8, 9

   

X

 

c) Have a substantial adverse effect on federally protected wetlands, as defined by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (including, but not limited to, marsh, vernal pool, coastal, etc…), through direct removal, filling, hydrological interruption, or other means?

       

X

d) Interfere substantially with the movement of any native resident or migratory fish or wildlife species or with established native resident or migratory wildlife corridors, or impede the use of native wildlife nursery sites?

       

X

e) Conflict with any local polices or ordinances protecting biological resources, such as tree preservation policy or ordinance?

       

X

f) Conflict with the provisions of an adopted Habitat Conservation Plan or Natural Community Conservation Plan, or other approved local, regional, or state habitat conservation plan?

8, 9

     

X

Comments: The proposed project is for a change in the land use designation and zoning of the Upper San Ramon Canyon area from Open Space Hazard to Residential, in an area that is already built-out with residential structures and all the major infrastructure is in place. The adjacent stabilization project area, which occurred below the rim of the canyon and below the project area, contained coastal sage scrub habitat. The stabilization project resulted in a 0.92-acre loss of coastal sage scrub habitat; however, the City made the necessary findings for the issuance of a 4(d) Interim Habitat Loss Permit from the United States Fish and Game, on August 16, 2001. Although there was habitat loss as a result of the stabilization project, a coastal sage scrub habitat restoration project was conducted to replace the habitat loss.

Nonetheless, the proposed project does not include any physical modifications or alteration of the project area. Further, there are no wetlands in the project area and no natural habitat has been identified in the project area according to the biological surveys and assessments conducted for the general area. As such, there will be no impacts to biological resources as a result of the proposed zone change.

8. ENERGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES. Would the proposal:

a) Conflict with adopted energy conservation plans?

       

X

b) Use non-renewable resources in a wasteful and inefficient manner?

       

X

c) Result in the loss of availability of a known mineral resource that would be of future value to the region and the residents of the State?

       

X

c) Result in the loss of availability of a locally important mineral resource recovery site delineated on a local General Plan, Specific Plan, or other land use plan?

       

X

Comments: The proposed project is for a change in the land use designation and zoning of the Upper San Ramon Canyon area from Open Space Hazard to Residential, in an area that is already built-out with residential structures and all the major infrastructure is in place. The project will not increase or affect the demand upon energy sources or require new sources of energy. Further, there are no known significant mineral resources associated with the site. As such, there will be no significant impacts to energy and mineral resources as a result of the proposed zone change.

9. HAZARDS AND HAZARDOUS MATERIAL. Would the proposal involve:

a) Create a significant hazard to the public or the environment through the routine transport, use, or disposal of hazardous material?

       

X

b) Create a significant hazard to the public or the environment through reasonably foreseeable upset and accident conditions involving the release of hazardous materials into the environment?

       

X

c) Emit hazardous emissions or handle hazardous or acutely hazardous materials, substances, or waste within one-quarter mile of and existing or proposed school?

       

X

d) Be located on a site, which is included on a list of hazardous materials sites complied pursuant to Government Code Section 65962.5 and, as a result, would create a significant hazard to the public or the environment?

       

X

e) For a project located within an airport land use plan or, where such a plan has not been adopted, within two miles of a public airport or public use airport, would the project result in a safety hazard for people residing or working in the project area?

       

X

f) For a project within the vicinity of a private airstrip, would the project result in a safety hazard for people residing or working in the project area?

       

X

g) Impair implementation of, or physically interfere with, an adopted emergency response plan or emergency evacuation plan?

       

X

h) Expose people or structures to a significant risk of loss, injury, or death involving wildland fires, including where wildlands are adjacent to urbanized areas or where residences are intermixed with wildlands?

       

X

Comments: The proposed project is for a change in the land use designation and zoning of the Upper San Ramon Canyon area from Open Space Hazard to Residential, in an area that is already built-out with residential structures. The project poses no significant risk to the public. The project does not involve the use or storage of hazardous substances. Further, there is no evidence that the project area has been used for underground storage of hazardous materials and no evidence that the project area contains contaminated soils. Lastly, the residential uses that occupy the project area are not known to create significant health hazards. As such, there will be no risk of exposure to hazardous conditions or materials as a result of the proposed zone change.

10. NOISE. Would the proposal result in:

a) Exposure of persons to or generation of noise levels in excess of standards established in the local General Plan or noise ordinance, or applicable standards of other agencies?

       

X

b) Exposure of persons to or generation of excessive groundbourne vibration or groundbourne noise levels?

       

X

c) A substantial permanent increase in ambient noise levels in the project vicinity above levels existing without the project?

       

X

d) A substantial temporary or periodic increase in ambient noise levels in the project vicinity above levels existing without the project?

       

X

e) For a project located within an airport land use plan or, where such a plan has not been adopted, within two miles of a public airport or a public use airport, would the project expose people residing or working in the project area to excessive noise levels?

       

X

f) For a project within the vicinity of a private airstrip, would the project expose people residing or working in the project area to excessive noise levels?

       

X

Comments: The proposed project is for a change in the land use designation and zoning of the Upper San Ramon Canyon area from Open Space Hazard to Residential, in an area that is already built-out with residential structures. Thus, there will not be an increase in ambient noise in the short and long-term as a result of the project.

11. PUBLIC SERVICES.

a) Would the project result in substantial adverse physical impacts associated with the provisions of new or physically altered governmental facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental impacts, in order to maintain acceptable service ratios, response times or other performance objectives for any of the following public services:

 

i) Fire protection?

       

X

ii) Police protection?

       

X

iii) Schools?

       

X

iv) Parks?

       

X

v) Other public facilities?

       

X

Comments: The proposed project is for a change in the land use designation and zoning of the Upper San Ramon Canyon area from Open Space Hazard to Residential, in an area that is already built-out with residential structures. The project does not include any physical modifications or alterations of the existing project area, and the project area has been adequately served by the existing public services since initial build-out of the project area. As such, there will be no significant impacts upon the demand for public services as a result of the proposed project.

12. UTILITIES AND SERVICE SYSTEMS. Would the project:

a) Exceed wastewater treatment requirements of the applicable Regional Water Quality Control Board?

       

X

b) Require or result in the construction of new water or wastewater treatment facilities or expansion of existing facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental effects?

       

X

c) Require or result in the construction of new storm water drainage facilities or expansion of existing facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental effects?

       

X

d) Have sufficient water supplies available to serve the project from existing entitlements and resources, or are new or expanded entitlements needed?

       

X

e) Result in a determination by the wastewater treatment provider, which serves or may serve the project, that it has adequate capacity to serve the project’s projected demand in addition to the provider’s existing commitments?

       

X

f) Be served by a landfill with sufficient permitted capacity to accommodate the project’s solid waste disposal needs?

       

X

g) Comply with federal, state, and local statures and regulations related to solid waste?

       

X

Comments: The proposed project is for a change in the land use designation and zoning of the Upper San Ramon Canyon area from Open Space Hazard to Residential, in an area that is already built-out with residential structures. The project does not include any physical modifications or alterations of the existing project area, and the project area has been adequately served by the existing public services since initial build-out of the project area. As such, there will be no impacts upon the demand for utilities and service systems as a result of the proposed project.

13. AESTHETICS. Would the proposal:

a) Have a substantial effect on a scenic vista?

       

X

b) Substantially damage scenic resources, including, but not limited to, trees, rock outcroppings, and historical buildings, within a state scenic highways?

       

X

c) Substantially degrade the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings?

       

X

d) Create a new source of substantial light or glare, which would adversely affect day or nighttime views in the area?

       

X

Comments: The proposed project is for a change in the land use designation and zoning of the Upper San Ramon Canyon area from Open Space Hazard to Residential, in an area that is already built-out with residential structures. The project will facilitate new construction on properties that are already developed; however, the City has adopted standards stipulating that certain development projects require neighborhood compatibility, view analyses or both. As such, the proposed zone change will not impact the aesthetics of the project area.

14. CULTURAL RESOURCES. Would the proposal:

a) Cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of a historical resource as defined in §15064.5 of the State CEQA Guidelines?

       

X

b) Cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of an archaeological resource pursuant to §15064.5 of the State CEQA Guidelines?

7

     

X

c) Directly or indirectly destroy a unique paleontological resource or site or unique geological feature?

       

X

e) Disturbed any human remains, including those interred outside of formal cemeteries?

       

X

Comments: According to the City’s Archaeology Map, the subject site is not within a probable area of archaeological resources. Further, the project does not involve grading or alteration of topography. Thus, there will be no impacts upon any cultural resources as a result of the proposed zone change.

15. RECREATION.

a) Would the project increase the use of neighborhood and regional parks or other recreational facilities, such that substantial physical deterioration of the facility would occur or be accelerated?

       

X

b) Does the project include recreational facilities or require the construction or expansion of recreational facilities, which might have an adverse physical effect on the environment?

       

X

Comments: The proposed project does not involve additional housing to the area, and each of the 15 properties within the project area is already developed with a single-family residence. The proposed project does not increase the population and does not involve developing new residential structures. Thus, the proposed zone change will not impact the demand for recreational opportunities.

16. AGRICULTURE RESOURCES: Would the project:

a) Convert Prime Farmland, Unique Farmland, or Farmland of Statewide Importance (Farmland), as shown on the maps prepared pursuant to the Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program of the California Resource Agency, to non-agricultural use?

       

X

b) Conflict with existing zoning for agricultural use, or a Williamson Act contract?

       

X

c) Involve other changes in the existing environment that, due to their location or nature, could result in conversion of Farmland, to a non-agricultural use?

       

X

Comments: The Upper San Ramon Canyon project area does not consist of any farmland, and each of the 15 properties within the project area is developed with an existing single-family residence. The proposed project entails a zone change for the Upper San Ramon Canyon area from Open Space Hazard to Residential, which is not an agricultural zoning. Since the site is currently improved with residential structures, does not consist of any farmland, and is not in conflict with the Williamson Act, the proposed zone change revision will not result in an impact to any agricultural resources in the City.

17. MANDATORY FINDINGS OF SIGNIFICANCE.

a) Does the project have the potential to degrade the quality of the environment, substantially reduce the habitat of a fish or wildlife species, cause a fish or wildlife population to drop below self-sustaining levels, threaten to eliminate a plant or animal community, reduce the number or restrict the range of a rare or endangered plant or animal or eliminate important examples of the major periods of California history or prehistory?

       

X

Comments: The proposed zone change for the Upper San Ramon Canyon area will not degrade the quality of the environment, substantially reduce the habitat of a fish or wildlife species, cause a fish or wildlife population to drop below self-sustaining levels, threaten to eliminate a plant or animal community, reduce the number or restrict the range of a rare or endangered plant or animal or eliminate important examples of the major periods of California history or pre-history.

b) Does the project have impacts that are individually limited, but cumulatively considerable? ("Cumulatively considerable" means that the incremental effects of a project are considerable when viewed in connection with the effects of the past projects, the effects of other current projects, and the effects of probable future projects)?

       

X

Comments: After review of the City’s cumulative project list, it is not anticipated that the proposed zone change of the Upper San Ramon Canyon area will contribute to a cumulative impact to the area.

c) Does the project have environmental effects, which will cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly?

     

X

 

Comments: The subject proposal consists of a zone change for the Upper San Ramon Canyon area, which will not have any significant adverse environmental impacts, and therefore, will not have a significant impact to living human beings.

18. EARLIER ANALYSES.

Earlier analysis may be used where, pursuant to the tiering, program EIR, or other CEQA process, one or more effects have been adequately analyzed in an earlier EIR or Negative Declaration. Section 15063 (c) (3) (D). In this case a discussion should identify the following items:

a) Earlier analysis used. Identify earlier analyses and state where they are available for review.

Comments: - A geotechnical report was compiled by AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc. for the San Ramon drainage and landslide stabilization project. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the geotechnical conditions at the drainage and stabilization project site, provide the design of a new storm drain system, repair of the erosion-damaged fill slope at the head of the canyon and remedial grading/mitigation of the active landslide situated on the northerly flank of the canyon. The report was augmented by a letter from AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc., dated November 9, 2004, which provided a geotechnical review of proposed zone change for the Upper San Ramon Canyon area, used the previous geotechnical report to make the conclusion that the proposed zone change is feasible from a geotechnical standpoint and that the new Open Space Hazard boundary line should be adjusted to the limits of the stabilization project. An additional letter was provided by the City’s Geologist, Zeiser Kling Consultants, Inc., dated December 22, 2004, that reviewed the information provided by AMEC Earth & Environmental in their letter dated November 9, 2004.

The aforementioned report, titled as "Geotechnical Report San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project" and dated August 23, 2001, is on file in the Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Department at 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes, and is available for review from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday thru Thursday, and from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm on Friday.

The San Ramon Canyon Biology Survey, prepared by HELIX Environmental Planning, Inc., dated September 8, 2000, is on file in the Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Department at 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes, and is available for review from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday thru Thursday, and from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm on Friday.

The two letters from have been attached as part of this document, Exhibit B and Exhibit C.

Lastly, a Natural Communities Conservation Planning Subarea Plan, dated July 29, 2004, was compiled by URS for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. The Plan is on file in the Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Department at 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes, and is available for review from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday thru Thursday, and from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm on Friday.

b) Impacts adequately addressed. Identify which effects from the above checklist were within the scope of and adequately analyzed in an earlier document pursuant to applicable legal standards, and state whether such effects were addressed by mitigation measures based on the earlier analysis.

Comments: The effects that were within the scope of and adequately analyzed in the Natural Communities Conservation Planning Subarea Plan, dated July 29, 2004, is Land Use and Planning.

The effects that were within the scope of and adequately analyzed in the Geotechnical Report San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project, dated August 23, 2001, are Geology and Soils, and Hydrology and Water.

c) Mitigation measures. For effects that are "Less than Significant with Mitigation Incorporated," describe the mitigation measures, which were incorporated or refined from the earlier document and the extent to which they address site-specific conditions of the project.

Authority: Public Resources Code Sections 21083 and 21087.

Reference: Public Resources Code Sections 21080 (c), 21080.1, 21080.3, 21082.1, 21083, 21083.3, 21093, 321094, 21151; Sundstrom v. County of Mendocino, 202 Cal. App. 3d 296 (1988); Leonofff v. Monterey Board of Supervisors, 222 Cal. App. 3d 1337 (1990).

19. SOURCE REFERENCES

1

City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan, and associated Environmental Impact Report. Rancho Palos Verdes, California as amended through August 2001.

2

City of Rancho Palos Verdes Zoning Map

3

City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Coastal Specific Plan and associated Environmental Impact Report. Rancho Palos Verdes, California: December 1978.

4

City of Rancho Palos Verdes Land Slide Area Map and Moratorium Area as established by Ordinance No. 106u, and amended by Ordinances 139u and 148u.

5

South Coast Air Quality Management District. CEQA AIR Quality Handbook. Diamond Bar, California: November 1993.

6

Official Maps of Seismic Hazard Zones provided by the Department of Conservation of the State of California, Division of Mines and Geology.

7

City of Rancho Palos Verdes Archeology Map.

8

City of Rancho Palos Verdes Natural Communities Conservation Planning Subarea Plan: July 2004, prepared by URS.

9

San Ramon Canyon Biology Survey, prepared by HELIX Environmental Planning, Inc., dated September 8, 2000.

10

Geotechnical Report San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project, prepared by AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc., dated August 23, 2001.

11

Letter – Geotechnical Review of Proposed Zone Change Upper San Ramon Canyon, dated November 9, 2004, prepared by AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc. (Attached to this document as Exhibit B).

12

Letter – Proposed Open Space Hazard Zone Change, Upper San Ramon Canyon (referencing AMEC Earth & Environmental Geotechnical Review of proposed Zone Change, dated November 9, 2004), prepared by Zeiser Kling Consultants, Inc., dated December 22, 2004. (Attached to this document as Exhibit C)

ADDENDUM NO. 1 TO ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT/

NEGATIVE DECLARATION (EA/ND) FOR CASE NO. ZON2003-00520

August 16, 2005

On February 22, 2005, the Planning Commission adopted P.C. Resolution No. 2005-09, thereby recommending that the City Council certify a Negative Declaration for Case No. ZON2003-00520, for a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change to the upper San Ramon Canyon project area encompassing the properties located at 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive, specifically only the flat area of these properties located between the head of San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East, from Natural Environment/Hazard to Residential (2-4 dwelling units per acre). Thus, the Land Use Designation of the slopes along the rear of some of these properties that create the head of the canyon will not be changed by this zone change.

Prior to its adoption, the Negative Declaration was circulated for public comment from January 24 through February 14, 2005. All comments received from persons and responsible agencies were addressed. In addition to the commenting period for the Negative Declaration, the Planning Commission at the February 22, 2005 meeting incorporated additional statements into the "Land Use and Planning" section of the Initial Study with regards to the NCCP and the re-vegetation required by the San Ramon Stabilization project.

With regards to the NCCP, there will be no conflict with the wildlife corridor created by the Ocean Trails site (a.k.a Trump National), Shoreline Park, the Palos Verdes Drive East switchbacks, and the San Ramon Canyon. The General Plan Amendment and Zone Change will only occur to the properties located at 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30682 Palos Verdes Drive East; and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive, which is only the flat area of these properties located between the head of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East. Thus, the Land Use Designation of the slopes along the rear of some of these properties that create the rim of the San Ramon Canyon will not be changed.

With regards to native vegetation, the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change will not impact the re-vegetation requirement that resulted from the San Ramon Stabilization project. The re-vegetation occurred on the hillside of the canyon that was stabilized, while the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change are specific to the flat area located between the rim of the San Ramon Canyon and Palos Verdes Drive East. Thus, the proposed zone change will not affect the hillside area that was stabilized.

As such, the City Council has determined that the General Plan Amendment and Zone Change will continue to have a less than significant impact and will not result in any significant environmental effects as further elaborated above. Furthermore, the City Council finds that the additional statements incorporated into the "Land Use and Planning" section of the Initial Study with regards to the NCCP and the re-vegetation required by the San Ramon Stabilization are within the scope of the Environmental Assessment. As a result, no further environmental review is necessary.

November 4, 2004

Job No. 0-212-303700

City of Rancho Palos Verdes

Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement

30940 Hawthorne Boulevard

Rancho Palos Verdes, California 90275-5391

Attention: Mr. Eduardo Schonborn, AICP

Re: Geotechnical Review of Proposed Zone Change

Upper San Ramon Canyon

Rancho Palos Verdes, California

1 INTRODUCTION

This letter presents the results of AMEC Earth & Environmental’s (AMEC’s) geotechnical evaluation of the proposed zoning change within the immediate vicinity the San Ramon Storm Drain and Landslide Stabilization Project. The San Ramon Storm Drain and Landslide Stabilization Project is located at the head of a narrow steep sided canyon just southwest of Palos Verdes Drive East in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. Based on the successful completion of the project, the City is now considering changing the current zoning designation from Open Space Hazard to Residential.

The purpose of AMEC’s study, as initially outlined in the City’s RFP dated November 21, 2003 and subsequent discussions with Mr. Schonborn of the City’s Planning department, is to provide a geotechnical opinion as to whether the proposed zone change is justified from a geotechnical perspective. The conditions, conclusions and opinions presented in this report are based on the geologic and geotechnical data established as a result of the initial investigation for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization report dated August 30,2001 and the subsequent report of Geotechnical Services dated April 2, 2003.

2 SCOPE OF WORK

The scope of work performed in the course of this evaluation included:

The scope of work does not include a determination as to the geologic or geotechnical suitability of the residential properties affected by the proposed zone change or their existing and future site improvements.

3 LOCAL GEOLOGIC CONDITIONS

The sedimentary bedrock in the vicinity of the San Ramon Storm Drain and Landslide Project has been assigned to the Altamira Shale Member of the Monterey Formation of Miocene age and marine origin. Throughout most of the Palos Verdes Peninsula the Altamira Shale forms a thick, stratigraphically continuous sequence of distinctly layered rocks. Within the project, the Altamira shale consists predominantly of siltstone interbedded with varying amounts of siliceous shale, sandstone and carbonates. The siltstone is thinly to moderately bedded varying in color from light gray-to-gray, and tan to yellowish brown and is diatomaceous and somewhat clayey. The siliceous or porcellanite interbeds are generally laminated to medium-bedded, microcrystalline rocks that vary from dark gray to tan and brown to reddish brown in color. Due to their siliceous nature, these rocks are hard and conchoidally fractured. The sandstone interbeds are typically very thinly bedded and are fine to medium grained. They are soft to moderately hard and their color ranges from tan to reddish brown. The carbonate rocks include both limestone and dolostone that have for the most part been silicified. Typically, these rocks are medium to thickly bedded and are very hard and resistant to erosion. Exposed outcrops of these rocks vary in color from light gray to nearly white. Included within these rocks are thin clay beds and clay seams.

Residual soil and colluvial deposits cover the natural slopes in the vicinity of the project. The residual soils typically consist of dark brown to dark gray mixtures of clay and silt, interspersed with angular fragments of tan to white siliceous shale and siltstone resulting from the in-place weathering and decomposition of the underlying bedrock. The residual soil mantel that covers the bedrock exposed in the northeasterly side of the canyon is poorly developed. Significant deposits of colluvium consisting of incoherent accumulations of residual soil and weathered rock debris that have migrated down the slope by the process of creep, slope wash and shallow surficial failure have accumulated on the southwesterly canyon slopes.

Typically the bedrock situated in the vicinity of the San Ramon Project is inclined at angles varying from 15 to 25 degrees below the horizontal, dipping toward the south and southwest. However, the attitude of bedding within these rocks can be quite variable with local variations attributed to folding, faulting and volcanic intrusion. Locally the bedrock is covered with marine and nonmarine terrace deposits that were deposited on extensive wave-cut platforms that have been elevated above the current level of the sea.

The geotechnical conditions in the immediate vicinity of the San Ramon Project that are largely responsible for recognized slope instabilities include the following:

These conditions have resulted in a relatively unstable slope condition along the northeasterly side of the San Ramon Canyon downstream from the City’s storm drain and landslide repair. From a geologic perspective the occurrence of shallow sliding on the northeasterly side of the canyon has been so prevalent in the recent geologic past that the development of a residual soil or colluvial profile on these slopes is almost nonexistent. Typically erosion and undercutting of the stream bank results in shallow failures along bedding that can in some cases extend rapidly up slope to the point where the canyon slope intersects the more gently sloping terrace surface now occupied by residential properties that are accessed by Calle Aventura.

In contrast the steep slopes along the southwesterly side of the canyon are, from a geologic perspective more stable, in that the bedding planes, the planes of weakness along which down slope slides tends to occur, dip into the southwesterly slope that ascends from the bottom of the canyon. As such, the relatively stable slopes on this side of the canyon are typically covered with a relatively thick mantle of residual soil and colluvial deposits. Erosion and undercutting of the stream bank results in a general migration of the soil cover down slope and occasional surficial failures.

4 EXISTING OPEN SPACE HAZARD BOUNDARY AND HISTORY OF DEVELOPMENT

The existing boundary, between areas zoned as Open Space Hazard and Residential, is typically positioned along the edge of the nearly level building sites that overlook the steep natural slopes that descend to the bottom of the San Ramon Canyon. The exception to the general pattern is at the northwesterly end of the canyon where the boundary extends through portions of Lots 43, 44, 45 and 46 of Tract 23335, the rear portion of Lots 1 through 7 of Tract 25051 and includes most of Lots 1 through 4 of P.M. 4424. The boundary within these lots appears to be related to the occurrence of ancient landslides situated in the head of the canyon that were reactivated during grading operations for development Tract 23335.

Residential development of the area adjacent to Palos Verdes Drive East and the San Ramon storm drain began in the mid to late 1950's. By 1957 grading for development of Tract 23335, east of the San Ramon Canyon had been completed. However, as grading of the tract progressed, an ancient landslide positioned on the northeasterly side of the canyon began to move into the canyon causing significant ground cracking within Lots 44, 45 and 46. To effectively buttress the landslide and arrest movement, the portion of San Ramon Canyon roughly 300 feet down stream of Palos Verdes Drive East was filled to an elevation of roughly 870 feet. The resulting fill slope that descended to the bottom of the canyon was approximately 95 feet high inclined at gradients varying from 1.5:1(horizontal:vertical) to nearly 1:1. This slope was constructed without the benefit of any surface drainage improvements. Filling the canyon appears to have produced the desired effect, even though a significant portion of the ancient landslide remained unsupported on the natural slope that descended from Lot 44 of Tract 23335. The position of the ancient landslide is clearly visible on aerial photographs and topographic maps that depict the topographic conditions of the area prior to development.

As a consequence of the grading to buttress the landslide, the existing storm drain beneath Palos Verdes Drive East was extended and the level area between Tracts 23335 and 25051 was developed as Lots 1 through 4 of Parcel Map 44-24. Based upon the available reports on file at the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, it appears that residential construction on Lots 44 through 46 of Tract 23335 was completed some time after 1971 and the residences on Lots 1 through 4 of Parcel Map 44-24 were completed some time after 1974.

Subsequent to completion of the developments, a significant amount of erosion occurred along the bottom and sides of the canyon, down stream of the storm drain outlet. The erosion removed the alluvium along the canyon bottom, and cut a relatively deep scar into the underlying siltstone bedrock. At the storm drain outlet, the near vertical incision exposed 10 to 15 feet of bedrock on the southerly side of the canyon. Along the northerly side of the canyon, the erosion undercut the bedding within the exposed bedrock to the extent that a landslide developed in the ascending slope threatening the access road leading to Lots 1 through 4 of Parcel Map 44-24 and the residential improvements on Lot 44 of Tract 23335. Evidence of landslide development was apparently recognized some time after the heavy rainfall that occurred during the winter and spring of 1997-98.

During a relatively high intensity storm that occurred in 1998, runoff from the San Ramon Storm Drain System backed up and flowed to the surface from the manhole located in the front yard of Lot 1 of Parcel Map 44-24. The overflow eventually spilled over the fill slope that descended from the rear of Lots 3 and 4 causing extensive erosion damage. At places, the resulting scar was 30 feet wide and 5 to 10 feet deep.

As a result of these conditions the City of Rancho Palos Verdes initiated the geologic and geotechnical studies that ultimately resulted in the construction of the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project. Completion of the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization Project resulted in the following:

5 PROPOSED ZONE CHANGE

Based on the obvious benefits provided by the successful completion the San Ramon Storm Drain and Landslide Stabilization Project as planned, the City is now considering changing the Open Space Hazard boundary so that it on longer includes the portions of Lots 43, 44, 45 and 46 of Tract 23335, the rear portion of Lots 1 through 7 of Tract 25051 and most of Lots 1 through 4 of P.M. 4424. The proposed boundary would extend across the northerly end of the canyon roughly coincident with the down slope property boundary of Lots 43 an 44 of Tract 23335 and Lot 3 of P.M. 4424 and then along the top of the slope that descends from the rear of Lot 4 of P.M.4424.

6 CONCLUSIONS

The completed San Ramon Storm Drain and Landslide Stabilization Project has effectively stabilized the landslide conditions that previously threatened the residential properties situated at the head of the canyon (Lots 43and 44 of Tract 23335 and Lots 3 and 4 of P.M. 4424). The resulting graded slope has a factor of safety that is greater than 1.5 for both the gross and surficial stability.

The new storm drain system is designed to minimize the type of erosion that in the past has undercut the shallow dipping bedding plane exposed within the canyon slopes and initiated landsliding.

The gross stability of the natural canyon slopes downstream from the repair area is directly related to the underlying geologic structure. The geologic structure on the southwesterly side of the San Ramon canyon is such that the bedding dips back into slope creating a relatively stable condition from a geologic perspective. The properties on the east side of San Ramon Drive enjoy the benefits of this stability in spite of the steepness of the canyon walls. The stability of the slopes along this side of the canyon is controlled by the configuration and strength of the mantel of colluvium and residual soil. This is in contrast to the northeasterly canyon slopes, which are underlain by bedrock that dips toward the canyon. These slopes are susceptible to bedrock failures induced by erosion that undercuts bedding along the bottom of the canyon.

Although construction of the proposed buttress fill has created an additional level area that extends as much as 10 feet beyond the top of the existing slope in the rear yards of Lots 3 & 4, along the outside edge of the access road within Lot 44 and along the side yard of Lot 43, these areas are considered unsuitable for the support of residential structures. Due to the limited ability to fully remove landslide debris and unsuitable surficial materials encountered during grading, these areas should be considered unbuildable without further geotechnical investigation, analysis and design. The use of these areas for landscape purposes including concrete walkways, patio slabs, low retaining structures and/or walls at the top-of-slope may be acceptable if the existing geotechnical conditions and the potential for future ground deformation are evaluated and considered in design. It should be noted that soils meeting the strength requirements for surficial stability for this project have the potential of being moderately to highly expansive and any improvements, particularly those planned near the top of slope, in the above mentioned areas should take this into account.

The proposed boundary for the Open Space Hazard Zone is located on the slope below Lots 43 and 44 of Tract 23335 and Lot 3 of P.M. 4424. Typically slopes inclined at a gradient of 2:1 are not considered suitable as sites for construction of residential structures. As such it is recommended that the proposed boundary be moved to a position coincident with the top of the existing slope. This configuration is consistent with the existing boundary at other locations along the top of the natural slopes that descend to the floor of the canyon and eliminates the need to address potentially difficult geotechnical constraints associated with construction on the face of steep compacted fill slopes.

5 LIMITATIONS

AMEC’s work was performed using the degree of care and skill ordinarily exercised, under similar circumstances, by reputable geotechnical consultants practicing in this or similar localities. No other warranty, expressed or implied, is made as to the findings, conclusions and professional opinions that may be presented by AMEC.

The findings, conclusions and recommendations that AMEC presents are based in part upon data obtained from a necessarily limited number of observations, site visits, excavations, samples and tests, including by others. Such information can be obtained only with respect to the specific locations explored, and therefore may not completely define all subsurface conditions throughout the site. Differing geotechnical or geological conditions can occur within small distances and under varying climatic conditions. Furthermore, changes in subsurface conditions can and do occur over time.

If you have any questions regarding the contents of this letter, please feel free to contact this firm.

Respectfully submitted,

Mark W. McLarty Douglas R. Bell

Principal Engineering Geologist Principal Engineer

MWM/DB/dc

Encl.: None

c: Mr. Eduardo Schonborn, Addressee (2)

August 9, 2005

Job No. 0-212-303700

City of Rancho Palos Verdes

Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement

30940 Hawthorne Boulevard

Rancho Palos Verdes, California 90275-5391

Attention: Mr. Eduardo Schonborn, AICP

Re: Slope Stability Concerns

Proposed Zone Change

Upper San Ramon Canyon

Rancho Palos Verdes, California

1 INTRODUCTION

Based upon conversations with personnel for the City of Rancho Palos Verde’s Planning Department, it is AMEC Earth & Environmental’s (AMEC’s) understanding that members of the City Council have expressed concern regarding the stability of the slope constructed during the San Ramon Storm Drain and Landslide Stabilization Project and the "stability" of the immediate residential properties. This letter presents a brief discussion regarding the stability analysis conducted during design and construction of the slope and the resulting assumptions that can be made regarding the "stability" of the adjacent residential properties and their associated improvements. The purpose of AMEC’s brief discussion is to provide the City Council with sufficient information so that an informed decision can be made regarding the proposed zone change within the upper portion of San Ramon Canyon.

The conditions, conclusions and opinions presented in this letter are based on the geologic and geotechnical data established as a result of the initial investigation for the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization report dated August 30, 2001 and the subsequent report of Geotechnical Services dated April 2, 2003.

2 SLOPE STABILITY ANALYIS

The concerns of the City Council appear to be based on the first paragraph of section 6 CONCLUSIONS of the AMEC letter dated November 9, 2004 that states;

"The completed San Ramon Storm Drain and Landslide Stabilization Project has effectively stabilized the landslide conditions that previously threatened the residential properties situated at the head of the canyon (Lots 43 and 44 of Tract 23335 and Lots 3 and 4 of P.M. 4424). The resulting graded slope has a factor of safety that is greater than 1.5 for both the gross and surficial stability."

The slope stability analysis conducted during design and construction of the San Ramon Drainage and Landslide Stabilization project included both shallow surficial stability and gross stability. The shallow surficial stability is based on an infinite slope model in which the potential failure path is approximately 3 to 4-feet deep and is inclined roughly parallel to the slope surface. The gross stability analysis included circular failure paths through proposed and preexisting earth fill materials and potential block or wedge failures based on the recognized structural configuration of the underlying bedrock. The gross stability analysis were extended into the slope until a pattern of increasing factor of safety with depth was clearly established for potential failure paths that could daylight in the vicinity of the reconstructed slope. All of the analysis conducted indicated the reconstructed slope had a factor of safety greater than 1.5 for both surficial and gross stability. The methodology employed to evaluate the gross stability of the slope indicated that the deeper the potential failure path extended into the slope the more the factor of safety exceeds 1.5. As such, the following comments can be provided regarding the slope stability properties in the immediate vicinity of the reconstructed slope.

• Residential properties situated at the top of the reconstructed slope (Lots 43 and 44 of Tract 23335 and Lots 3 and 4 of P.M. 4424) all have a factor of safety greater than 1.5 with respect to potential failures within the portion of the canyon that was repaired.

• Residential properties, that are furthest from the slope, (Lots 45 and 46 of Tract 23335 and Lots1 and 2 of P.M. 4424) have factors of safety that are significantly greater than 1.5 with respect to potential failures within the portion of the canyon that was repaired.

The concept of increasing factor of safety with increasing depth of the potential failure path can only be assumed for properties in the immediate vicinity of the reconstructed slope as outlined above. Significantly deeper failure paths that would include upslope residential areas and undeveloped terrain down canyon have not been evaluated and are beyond the scope of AMEC’s investigation.

In addition, AMEC’s scope of work did not include a determination as to the geologic or geotechnical suitability of the existing residential properties affected by the proposed zone change or any future site improvements. It is also understood that any additional modifications, improvements, remodeling or reconstruction of the lots discussed above will require additional site specific geotechnical investigation and evaluation prior to approval by the City.

3 CLOSING

It is hoped that the above discussion regarding the methodology utilized to evaluate the stability of the reconstructed slope and its affect on the "stability" of the adjacent ground, from a slope stability perspective, has been sufficient to the point that a decision regarding the proposed zone change can be made.

If you have any questions regarding the contents of this letter, please feel free to contact this firm.

Respectfully submitted,

Mark W. McLarty Douglas R. Bell

Principal Engineering Geologist Principal Engineer

Encl.: None

c: Mr. Eduardo Schonborn, Addressee (2)