Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, AICP, Senior Planner


Review the current status of border issues, and provide direction to Staff, as appropriate.


This month’s report includes:


The following is the regular monthly report to the City Council on various "border issues" potentially affecting the residents of Rancho Palos Verdes. The complete text of the current status report is available for review on the City’s website at:


Current Border Issues

South Coast County Golf Course, County of Los Angeles/Rolling Hills Estates

On October 27, 2005, Staff attended a tour of the former Palos Verdes landfill conducted by the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts (LACSD). The tour was intended to provide information on the work that has been going on at the landfill to comply with the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan and to view the remediation efforts. David Rothbart of the Sanitation Districts lead a tour of approximately ten (10) people from various organizations, including the cities of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, a Rolling Hills Estates homeowners’ association president and residents of Rolling Hills Estates, and South Bay CARES President Joan Davidson.

The tour group was introduced to the newly installed rainwater diversion system, which includes three new swales (sumps) located along Crenshaw Boulevard, Hawthorne Boulevard and at a central location of the landfill. The sumps have been installed to divert rainwater to the sewer system rather than the storm drain. The capacity of the sumps ranges from 1,500 to 4,000 gallons of water over a 24-hour period. The sumps were installed to respond to potential spills in a more efficient manner by pumping the storm water to treatment facilities and gradually releasing the treated water into the sewer system. A Rolling Hills Estates resident had concerns regarding the sewer system performing over its capacity, but Mr. Rothbart stated that the process is gradual and does not overwhelm the sewer system.

Other issues raised by concerned residents included the fear of potential spills. Mr. Rothbart stated that the system would shut down when it detects a spill, therefore preventing it from reaching the sewer system prior to treatment. Residents questioned the location of the sumps and the proximity of the sumps to nearby foliage. Mr. Rothbart mentioned that the sumps were strategically placed within and surrounding the landfill in areas where rainwater runoff is greatest. With regard to the foliage, Mr. Rothbart stated that staff manually cleans out the sumps, but that some obstruction due to foliage is inevitable. Residents also mentioned the proposed golf course development, but Mr. Rothbart did not comment, stating that the tour was intended to address storm water control only. Although questions regarding the golf course persisted, Mr. Rothbart reiterated that he was not associated with the application for the proposed golf course.

Finally, Mr. Rothbart explained the method of sampling water contaminants. Within the first hour of the first two rainstorm of the season, staff members collect water samples to determine the level of contaminants. Residents asked about the level of toxicity in the previous rainstorms this year, but Mr. Rothbart stated that staff members were unable to sample the rainwater in those incidents because the rainstorms occurred late at night on a weekend. When questioned about their sampling methods, Mr. Rothbart stated that the Districts are unable to collect samples outside of work hours, and that sampling after the first hour of the first two rainstorms would not accurately depict the toxins in the runoff water.

On November 25, 2005, the City was advised that the Department of Solid Waste Management for the County has asked the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) to conduct a landfill gas investigation (see attached e-mail and letter). This investigation is scheduled to take place during the week of December 5, 2005.

Butcher Ranch Subdivision, Rolling Hills Estates

On November 1, 2005, the Rolling Hills Estates Planning Commission again considered this proposed 12-home subdivision at the northeast corner of Palos Verdes Drive North and Palos Verdes Drive East. The Planning Commission sent the project back to the developer again for further redesign. Staff expects that the revised project will be re-noticed for public review and comment some time in early 2006.

San Pedro Facility Restoration Advisory Board, US Navy/Los Angeles (San Pedro)

On October 27, 2005, the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) held its annual meeting. Staff attended the meeting, at which Navy personnel presented updates on a variety of on-going soil remediation programs on the site, including:

At the conclusion of the meeting, the RAB members in attendance agreed to receive annual updates on these issues from the Navy, but to only meet biannually. As such, the next RAB meeting is expected to be held in Fall 2007.

Ponte Vista Project at Former Navy Housing Site, Los Angeles (San Pedro)

On November 9, 2005, a second community meeting was held for the Ponte Vista project (see attached fliers). No new project information was presented at this meeting, which served primarily to give the developer’s project team an opportunity to present information to the public about the project. It was also interesting to note that the developer was actively soliciting public opposition (in the form a petition) to the selection of the Ponte Vista site as the preferred site for a new public high school (see item below), and that the Ponte Vista Community Advisory Board was characterized to Staff by the community outreach coordinator as "friends of Ponte Vista." Staff asked to be provided with the names of the Rancho Palos Verdes representatives to the Advisory Board, but the developer had not done so by the date that this report was completed. Therefore, in response to the City Council’s direction on November 1, 2005, the attached comments on the scope of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Ponte Vista project were forwarded to the City of Los Angeles on November 14, 2005. The public comment period on the scope of the EIR ended on November 30, 2005. Staff expects that a draft EIR for the project may be available for public review and comment by the second quarter of 2006.

Condominiums at 28000 South Western Avenue, Los Angeles (San Pedro)

On October 4, 2005, the City of Los Angeles released the final determination by the Los Angeles City Planning Commission regarding the proposed condominiums on Western Avenue (see attachments), although Staff was not made aware of this until October 25, 2005. The appeal period ended on October 24, 2005, with no appeal filed during the 20-day appeal period. As conditionally approved, the project was reduced from one hundred forty (140) to one hundred thirty-six (136) units, but was otherwise generally approved as originally proposed by the developer. The developer expects to complete the project by early 2007. Staff intends to remove this item from the regular Border Issues report, unless directed to do otherwise by the City Council.

Montrose Settlements Restoration Program, Offshore from Palos Verdes Peninsula

On November 16, 2005, the California Coastal Commission was scheduled review and find that certain habitat restoration actions proposed under the draft Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP) were consistent with the policies of the California Coastal Management Program (see attached Staff report). This type of consistency determination is common for Federal agencies proposing projects within the State’s coastal zone. None of the habitat restoration actions covered by this consistency determination has a direct impact upon the City. However, the Coastal Commission had questions about some of the proposed restoration actions, and continued the matter to its December 14-16, 2005 meeting in San Francisco. Also, on November 18, 2005, the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (FPEIS/EIR) for the MSRP was scheduled for release for a 30-day public review and comment period. Staff intends to review the FPEIS/EIR to see if our previous comments on the draft document were adequately addressed, and will continue to monitor this project in the future.

New Residence at 717 Via La Cuesta, Palos Verdes Estates

The City Attorney and the attorney for the Chopras, the owners of the property at 717 Via La Cuesta in Palos Verdes Estates, have agreed upon the language for the agreement to allow the Chopras to conduct off-site grading in Grandview Park so as to minimize the view impacts of the proposed residence (see attached agreement). The agreement has been signed and executed by Mayor Clark and the City Clerk, and has been forwarded to the Chopras and their attorney for their respective signatures. Staff will continue to monitor this project as the grading plan for Grandview Park is submitted for our review and approval.

New Residence at 1424 Via Castilla, Palos Verdes Estates

The appeal period for this project expired on November 2, 2005, with no appeal filed during the 15-day appeal period. As a follow-up to Staff’s previous comments on October 12, 2005, the attached letter was sent to the City of Palos Verdes Estates on October 25, 2005, asking the City to honor its informal agreement regarding the trail connection to Clovercliff Park. As of the date that this report was prepared, the City of Palos Verdes Estates had already begun discussions with our Public Works and Recreation and Parks departments regarding the trail issue. Staff intends to remove this item from the regular Border Issues report, unless directed to do otherwise by the City Council.

Site Selection for LAUSD’s Proposed South Region High School No. 14, Los Angeles (San Pedro)

On November 4, 2005, the City received official notice that LAUSD Staff would present its recommendation to designate a 15-acre portion of the Ponte Vista site as the preferred site for a new high school to the LAUSD Facilities Committee and the Board of Education. The Facilities Committee meeting was held on November 10, 2005, and Staff attended and addressed the Committee (see attached transcript of Staff’s comments). The Committee also received comments from representatives of Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s office, the Western Avenue Task Force, the Rolling Hills Riviera homeowners’ association, Mary Star-of-the-Sea High School, Ponte Vista developer Bob Bisno, and residents of San Pedro and Harbor City. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Committee accepted LAUSD Staff’s recommendation and forwarded it to the Board of Education. The Board is scheduled to consider this recommendation on December 13, 2005. Staff has prepared the attached draft comments to Board of Education for the City Council’s review, intends to attend the December 13th meeting, and will continue to monitor this project in the future.

New Border Issues

Mixed-Use Condos at 627 Deep Valley Drive, Rolling Hills Estates

On October 21, 2005, the City received the attached Notice of Intent to adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for a proposal to demolish the existing car wash at 627 Deep Valley Drive in Rolling Hills Estates and replace it with a 58-unit mixed-use condominium project. The request includes a General Plan Amendment and Zone Text Amendment (GPA/ZTA) to increase the maximum allowable density in the existing Mixed-Use Overlay District from 22 DU/acre to 40 DU/acre. This is the same maximum density that has been proposed for this site (but not yet adopted) pursuant to the proposed Peninsula Village Overlay Zone (PVOZ). Staff was concerned that this increased density would apply throughout the Mixed-Use Overlay District, including those commercial properties along "Little" Silver Spur Road located downslope from Rancho Palos Verdes residents in the Peninsula Rim community. However, Rolling Hills Estates Planning Staff has confirmed that the GPA/ZTA, if approved, would apply only to the subject property.

Staff prepared the attached comments on the MND and forwarded them to the City of Rolling Hills Estates on October 27, 2005. In addition to expressing Staff’s concerns regarding the possible "piecemeal" implementation of the PVOZ standards, the letter also addressed the aesthetic impacts of a proposed electrical transformer along Indian Peak Road; noise and air quality impacts during construction; geology and soils impacts related to the proximity of the site to the recent landslide; and the use of the City’s public right-of-way (i.e., Indian Peak Road) during construction.

The Rolling Hills Estates Planning Commission considered this project on November 14, 2005. At that meeting, the Planning Commission approved the project, incorporating conditions of approval to address our concerns regarding the location of the proposed transformer and the use of the City’s public right-of-way during construction. The Rolling Hills Estates City Council is scheduled to take action on the GPA/ZTA components of the project in January 2006.

Respectfully submitted:

Joel Rojas, AICP, Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement

Reviewed by:

Les Evans, City Manager