Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

JANUARY 17, 2006 CASE NO. ZON2004-00409 (Revision to Height Variation No. 884 and Grading Permit No. 2154) Applicant/Property Owner: Sal Ahamed; Subject Property: 6270 Ocean Terrace Drive Lot 20, Tract 31617 (Thomas Guide Page 822, J-3). JANUARY 17, 2006 CASE NO. ZON2004-00409 (Revision to Height Variation No. 884 and Grading Permit No. 2154) Applicant/Property Owner: Sal Ahamed; Subject Property: 6270 Ocean Terrace Drive Lot 20, Tract 31617 (Thomas Guide Page 822, J-3). JANUARY 17, 2006 CASE NO. ZON2004-00409 (Revision to Height Variation No. 884 and Grading Permit No. 2154) Applicant/Property Owner: Sal Ahamed; Subject Property: 6270 Ocean Terrace Drive Lot 20, Tract 31617 (Thomas Guide Page 822, J-3).


TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: JANUARY 17, 2006

SUBJECT: CASE NO. ZON2004-00409 (Revision to Height Variation No. 884 and Grading Permit No. 2154) Applicant/Property Owner: Sal Ahamed; Subject Property: 6270 Ocean Terrace Drive Lot 20, Tract 31617 (Thomas Guide Page 822, J-3).

Staff Coordinator: Eduardo Schonborn, AICP, Associate Planner

RECOMMENDATION

Adopt Resolution No. 2006-__, conditionally approving Case No. ZON2004-00409, revisions to Height Variation No. 884 and Grading Permit No. 2154.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This item was initially considered at the November 1, 2005 City Council meeting. At that time, the applicant presented his proposal to make certain modifications to his property, which would render a tract amendment unnecessary and thus eliminate the need for the applicant to redesign the trail along the rear of his property. The Council continued the item to tonight’s meeting to allow the applicant time to submit formal plans of the proposed modifications for Staff evaluation, and allow time for the applicant to obtain permission from York Long Point Associates (YLPA) to remove the fill that was inadvertently placed on YLPA’s Upper Filiorum property during construction of the applicant’s house. Staff has reviewed the applicant’s plans and believes that the modifications are minor, would not create additional impacts to surrounding neighbors, and are consistent with all previous findings made for the original project. As such, Staff is recommending approval of the proposed modifications, with conditions.

BACKGROUND

On August 2, 2005, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 2005-83, approving Case No. 2004-00409 for a revision to an approved Height Variation and an amendment to Tract No. 31617. The approval allows Mr. Ahamed’s residence to remain in the location where it was erroneously constructed, with a condition that requires removal of 10-feet of the rear yard balcony to ensure that a 15-foot setback is maintained between the trail easement line and the balcony structure. Further, the amendment allows two balcony support columns and grading on a slope steeper than 10-percent to remain beyond the Tract’s Building-Grading Restriction (BGR) line.

In addition, the Council’s decision included a condition of approval which requires the applicant to enter into an agreement with the City to either relocate the existing trail easement and trail entirely on his property, or acquire a portion of the adjoining Upper Filiorum property to maintain the trail in its current location.

On November 1, 2005, the City Council reviewed modifications proposed by Mr. Ahamed that would render a tract amendment no longer necessary, thereby eliminating the need to require the applicant to enter into an agreement to realign the trail. Although the City Council did not raise a concern with the proposal, the Council continued the hearing to January 20, 2006 to allow the applicant to submit a formal revised plan for Staff’s evaluation and the City Council’s final review.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Mr. Ahamed is proposing to not only remove 10-feet of the balcony, as directed by the August 2, 2005 City Council decision on his after-the-fact applications, but to also take certain additional actions on his property that would no longer make the approval of a tract amendment necessary. Specifically, Mr. Ahamed is proposing to remove a total of 538 cubic yards of fill material. The fill material was inadvertently placed within the City’s trail easement, on the slope adjacent to the building pad that is steeper than 10-percent, and on the adjacent Upper Filiorum property to the south. Further, the project includes removing all vertical support columns projecting beyond the tract’s Building and Grading Restriction (BGR) line.

In addition to conducting this work, Mr. Ahamed is proposing a 495.5 square foot addition to the residence. The addition is proposed along the rear of the residence at the location under what will be the remaining portion of the balcony. More specifically, the rear façade on the first story will be moved towards the south by 10-feet, along the entire width of the structure, so that the residence maintains the required 15-foot setback from the trail easement. The addition will enlarge the kitchen and family room on the first floor, and will not be located any closer to the easement line than allowed by the Tract’s conditions of approval and the City Council’s August 2, 2005 action.

DISCUSSION

GRADING:

Grading Permit No. 2154 approved a total of 1,616 cubic yards of remedial grading, which included 856 cubic yards of removal, 760 cubic yards of re-compaction and 96 cubic yards of export in conjunction with construction of the original residence in December 1999. The approved grading was limited to the building footprint area to prepare the site for construction of the new residence. However, construction of the residence in the unapproved location also resulted in fill being inadvertently placed within the City’s trail easement and on a portion of the neighboring property to the south (i.e., Upper Filiorum). The applicant is now proposing to excavate (i.e., remove) the fill that resulted in a larger flat area southwest of the residence on the subject property, remove the fill placed in the trail easement and slope, and remove the fill placed on the adjacent Upper Filiorum property. A total of 538 cubic yards of grading is proposed to restore the area to preconstruction conditions. All fill will be removed and exported from the site. Staff has reviewed the grading plan and believes that the grading is necessary to restore the site to preconstruction contours, is not excessive, and will make the project more consistent with the originally approved Grading Permit.

According to the plans, it is the applicant’s intention to remove the fill placed on a portion of the Upper Filiorum property. Mr. Ahamed has been trying to contact the property owner York Long Point Associates (YLPA) to obtain permission to remove the grading from the ±1,500 square foot portion of the site (see attached letters from Mr. Ahamed dated November 16, and December 22, 2005). As of the date of preparation of this report, YLPA has not granted permission to remove the fill from the Upper Filiorum property. While the City cannot approve work conducted on property where the owner has not granted permission or is not an applicant, the ideal situation for restoring the pre-existing grade would be to remove the fill on both on Mr. Ahamed’s property and the YLPA property. This is because if fill is removed from Mr. Ahamed’s property and not the YLPA property, an unpermitted 4-foot cut would remain at the property line, along the existing trail easement. As a result, Staff is recommending through a condition of approval (condition no. 5) that the fill removal on both properties be performed together provided Mr. Ahamed obtains permission from YLPA by July 17, 2006 (6 months). If Mr. Ahamed is unable to secure YLPA permission by that date, Mr. Ahamed would be allowed to remove only the fill on his property provided he submits a grading plan for City approval for removal of the fill in a manner that would ensure that access through the existing trail easement is functional.

HEIGHT VARIATION:

Height Variation No. 884 was approved by the Planning Commission in August 1999, granting approval for a new two-story single-family residence measuring 6,696 square feet in total area (habitable and garage area included). In doing so, the Planning Commission was able to make all the necessary findings, including that the residence is compatible with the immediate neighborhood, would not create significant view impairment, and would not create an unreasonable infringement of privacy to any surrounding residences (July 27, 1999 Planning Commission Staff Report and Resolution attached).

Since a 495.5 square foot addition is now being proposed as a revision to the approved Height Variation, Staff conducted an additional review of the proposal to ensure that all the applicable findings can still be made. As a result, Staff believes that the findings of neighborhood compatibility can still be made as the resulting structure size (7,191.5 square feet) continues to be within the structure size range of the immediate neighborhood; the architectural style of the addition will be consistent with the existing residence and that of the immediate neighborhood; and, the addition will not deviate from an existing setback since the addition will comply with the rear yard setback required by the Tract and allowed by the City Council. Furthermore, Staff believes that the proposed revision would not significantly impair a view as the addition would be within the 16-foot height limit and would not create privacy impacts as the addition is an expansion to the first floor only. In summary, Staff believes that all the applicable findings for allowing the Height Variation revision can be met.

FISCAL IMPACT

None

ALTERNATIVES

In addition to Staff’s recommendation, the following alternatives are available for the City Council’s consideration:

1. Identify any issues of concern and continue the request to a future meeting to allow Staff and/or the applicant to provide additional information; or,

Respectfully submitted:

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

Reviewed:

Les Evans
City Manager

Attachment:

 Resolution
 Letters from Mr. Ahamed to YLPA
 Staff Report dated July 27, 1999 and PC Resolution approving the new residence

RESOLUTION NO. 2006-

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING CASE NO. ZON2004-00409, FOR REVISIONS TO HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 884 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2154, APPROVING THE NEW LOCATION OF THE TWO-STORY RESIDENCE, REQUIRE THE REMOVAL OF A PORTION OF THE SECOND STORY BALCONY TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE WITH THE TRACT SETBACK REQUIREMENT, REMOVE THE ADDITIONAL GRADING PLACED ON THE SITE DURING CONSTRUCTION OF THE RESIDENCE, AND ALLOWING A 495.5 SQUARE FOOT ONE STORY ADDITION ALONG THE REAR OF THE RESIDENCE, FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 6270 OCEAN TERRACE DRIVE (LOT 20/TRACT 31617).

WHEREAS, on April 5, 1977, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 77-22, thereby approving Tract No. 31617 and establishing a BGR line in the rear yards of the eighty (80) single-family residential lots. The purpose of the BGR line was for “grading and visual” purposes to articulate the view of the development as seen from below and to prevent grading and construction from encroaching into the slope and the trail easement located at the rear of the properties; and,

WHEREAS, on October 5, 1993, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 93-86, Amendment No. 1 to Tract No. 31617 to allow at-grade accessory uses outside the BGR line; and,

WHEREAS, on August 24, 1999, the Planning Commission approved Height Variation No. 884, allowing the construction of a new two-story, single-family residence with attached garage measuring a total of 6,696 square feet, on a vacant parcel located at the end of the Ocean Terrace Drive cul-de-sac. The proposed height was 22’-3” as measured from the highest pre-construction (existing) pad elevation on the rear of the lot to be covered by the structure to the ridge line of the structure, and 25-feet high as measured from the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade to the ridge line of the structure for the property located at 6270 Ocean Terrace Drive (Tract 31617/Lot 20); and,

WHEREAS, consistent with the Tract’s requirement for development of the subject property, the residence was conditioned to maintain a 15-foot setback from the 15-foot wide trail easement along the south (rear) property line; and,

WHEREAS, on October 20, 1999, the City issued a building permit for construction of the new residence; and,

WHEREAS, as the site was prepared for construction of the new residence and the foundation was being prepared, the applicant’s Registered Engineer of record, submitted certified documentation attesting that he had measured features of the new residence and certified that the building location was consistent with the approved plans. Further evidence, in the form of an inspection report from the Engineer’s firm conducted on December 21, 1999, confirmed that “set backs are per approved plans and construction staging by this firm”. Since the documentation, which was prepared and certified by the applicant’s Engineer, stated that the improvements to this property were per the approved plans bearing the stamp of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, the Building and Safety Division conducted the required inspections related to plumbing, mechanical, electrical and structural work throughout calendar year 2000; and,

WHEREAS, on January 27, 2000, Grading Permit No. 2154 was approved by the Planning Commission during construction of the residence for a total of 1,616 cubic yards of remedial grading under the building footprint, which included 856 cubic yards of removal, 760 cubic yards of re-compaction and 96 cubic yards of export; and,

WHEREAS, during final inspection, it was noticed that the building pad was not in compliance with the approved plans. Staff then requested that the owner, Mr. Ahamed, prepare and submit an as-built plan; and,

WHEREAS, on March 2, 2001, Mr. Ahamed submitted an as-built plan prepared by his Engineer, and it was discovered that the extent of the grading went beyond the approved boundaries on the property into the City’s trail easement and onto an adjacent property that was not encompassed within the approval. It was also discovered that the house encroached into the setback from the trail easement, and a rear balcony extended beyond the tract’s building/grading restriction (BGR) line; and,

WHEREAS, it was also determined that the existing trail (i.e., McBride trail) was not located entirely within the established trail easement on the subject property, so that a portion of the trail traverses the adjacent, separately owned, Upper Filiorum property; and,

WHEREAS, the subject property owner submitted the necessary applications and fees on July 28, 2004; and,

WHEREAS, the City deemed the applications complete on August 12, 2004; 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), Staff found no evidence that Case No. ZON2004-00409 would have a significant effect on the environment and, therefore, the proposed project has been found to be categorically exempt under Class 1 (Section 15301), since the project does not intensify the use of the lot because the property currently is developed with a single-family residence; and,

WHEREAS, on September 14, 2004, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission continued the item to October 26, 2004; and,

WHEREAS, on October 26, 2004, the Planning Commission continued the item to the November 23, 2004; and,

WHEREAS, on November 23, 2004, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence; and,

WHEREAS, on November 23, 2004, the Planning Commission found that since the balcony encroaches into the required setback, the location results in an unreasonable privacy infringement upon the residence at 6264 Ocean Terrace Drive, that the two southernmost windows along the eastern façade of the second story must contain translucent material, and that the balcony support columns and grading beyond the BGR line were appropriate. As such, conditions were incorporated to remove that portion of the balcony that encroaches into the required 15-foot setback and require that other than up to two support columns, all portions of the balcony maintain the required 15-foot setback, and require the two most southerly windows along the eastern façade of the second floor to be modified to contain translucent glazing; and,

WHEREAS, on December 14, 2004, the Planning Commission adopted P.C. Resolution No. 2004-51 and 2004-52, recommending that the City Council approved Case No. ZON2004-00409 for a revision to Height Variation No. 884 and Amendment No. 2 to Tract No. 31617, provided that the balcony be modified to ensure compliance with the required setback from the trail easement, provided that the two southernmost windows along the eastern façade of the second story contain translucent material, and provided the applicant enter into an agreement with the City; and,

WHEREAS, after notice was issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on March 15, 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 the content of a proposed resolution and agreement to be considered by the City Council in conjunction with the adoption of the resolution; and,

WHEREAS, after notice was issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the continued public hearing was conducted by the City Council on July 19, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present additional evidence, and the City Council gave additional direction to Staff regarding the content of the a proposed resolution and agreement to be considered by the City Council in conjunction with the adoption of the resolution; and,

WHEREAS, on August 2, 2005, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 2005-83, approving Case No. 2004-00409 for a revision to an approved Height Variation and an amendment to Tract No. 31617. The approval allowed Mr. Ahamed’s residence to remain in the location where it was erroneously constructed, with a condition that requires removal of 10-feet of the rear yard balcony to ensure that a 15-foot setback is maintained between the trail easement line and the balcony structure. Further, the amendment allows two balcony support columns and grading on a slope steeper than 10-percent to remain beyond the BGR line; and,

WHEREAS, after notice was issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on November 1, 2005, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence, and the City Council considered revisions proposed by the applicant that included removing 10-feet of the second story balcony along the rear (south) elevation so that the balcony maintains a minimum 15-foot setback from the trail easement line, removing the fill material southwest of the residence, and adding a 495.5 square foot one-story addition along the rear of the residence under the remaining portion of the balcony and continued the item to the January 17, 2006 City Council meeting; and,

WHEREAS, on December 9, 2005, Mr. Ahamed formally submitted plans for consideration by the City Council, depicting the revisions that were considered at the November 1, 2005 City Council meeting.

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

Section 1: The Revision to Height Variation No. 884 approves the “as-built” location of the new residence, which was constructed 15-feet farther towards the rear of the property. The Revision also requires the removal of 10-feet of the balcony with 5-feet to remain, thereby resulting in a 15-foot setback from the trail easement line. Lastly, the Revision approves a 495.5 square foot one-story addition along the rear of the residence under the remaining 5-foot portion of the balcony. The City Council hereby finds that as revised, the residential structure continues to be compatible with the immediate neighborhood, and the structure size continues to be within the structure size range founding the immediate neighborhood. Furthermore, the new location of the residential structure does not result in significant view impairment from the viewing area of another parcel.

Section 2: Since the residence was constructed 15-feet farther south, 10-feet of the balcony is required to be removed and the two most southerly windows along the eastern façade of the second floor shall be modified to contain frosted/translucent glazing to address privacy infringement upon the adjacent property to the east, located at 6264 Ocean Terrace Drive. As such, approval of the Revision to Height Variation No. 884 incorporates conditions to require removal of a portion of the balcony and that the two most southerly windows along the eastern façade of the second floor to be modified to contain translucent glazing.

Section 3: The Revision to Grading Permit No. 2154 approves the removal of up to 538 cubic yards of fill material to restore the area southwest of the residence to preconstruction conditions.

Section 4: The work approved under the Revisions to Height Variation No. 884 and Grading Permit No. 2154 does not require a tract map amendment, thus, there is no longer a nexus to require the applicant to improve or provide for a better trail solution on adjacent properties or require the applicant to enter into an agreement with the City to make off-site improvements to the trail.

Section 5: For the foregoing reasons and based on the information and findings included in the Staff Report, Minutes and other records of these proceedings, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby approves Case No. ZON2004-00409, a Revision to Height Variation No. 884 to approve the new location of the two-story residence and allowing a 495.5 square foot one-story addition along the rear under the remaining five feet of the balcony, and a revision to Grading Permit No. 2154 to conduct up to 538 cubic yards of grading to restore the slope area to the southwest of the residence, subject to the conditions contained in Exhibit “A”, attached hereto and made a part hereof, which are necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.

Section 6: 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 17th day of January 2006.

_______________________
Mayor
ATTEST:

____________________
City Clerk

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

I, __________, City Clerk of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, hereby certify that the above Resolution No. 2006-__ was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting thereof held on January 17, 2006.

_________________________________
City Clerk

Exhibit “A”
Conditions of Approval
Case No. ZON2004-00409

1. Except as expressly amended by the following conditions, all conditions of approval associated with Tract No. 31617 (illustrated in Resolution No. 77-22) and associated with Amendment No. 1 to Tract No. 31617 (illustrated in Resolution No. 93-86) shall remain in full force and effect.

2. A minimum of 10-feet of the second story balcony along the rear (south) elevation shall be removed so that the balcony maintains a minimum 15-foot setback from the trail easement line, which is equivalent to a 30-foot setback from the rear (south) property line, as such line existed at the time the Planning Commission approved Height Variation No. 884 (August 24, 1999), within 180 days of this approval. SUBJECT TO REVIEW AND APPROVAL BY THE BUILDING OFFICIAL, A REAR SETBACK CERTIFICATION IS REQUIRED BY A LICENSED LAND SURVEYOR OR ENGINEER PRIOR TO THE POURING OF FOOTINGS.

3. Revision to Height Variation No. 884 allows a 495.5 square foot one-story addition along the rear of the residence, under the remaining balcony as modified by condition no. 2 above. SUBJECT TO REVIEW AND APPROVAL BY THE BUILDING OFFICIAL, A REAR SETBACK CERTIFICATION IS REQUIRED BY A LICENSED LAND SURVEYOR OR ENGINEER PRIOR TO THE POURING OF FOOTINGS.

4. The two most southerly windows along the eastern façade of the second floor shall be modified to contain frosted/translucent glazing within 90 days of the date of this approval, subject to the satisfaction of the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement.

5. Revision to Grading Permit No. 2154 requires up to 538 cubic yards of grading to remove the fill material on the slope on the subject property, which includes the City’s trail easement located southwest of the residence, and the adjacent property to the south. The area shall be restored to preconstruction topography, as illustrated on the plans approved by the City Council by October 17, 2006. However, if the adjacent property owner to the south does not grant permission to the applicant to remove the fill material from the property to the south by July 17, 2006, then Mr. Ahamed shall submit plans that are satisfactory to the City by October 17, 2006, to remove the fill that was placed on the subject property at 6270 Ocean Terrace, including the City’ trail easement that traverses the property. The plans must include any necessary retaining walls or improvements, as required by the Public Works Department to ensure that public access through the trail easement on the subject property is properly designed and functional. Said plans shall be submitted to the Public Works Department for review and approval. The applicant shall complete the work in accordance with the approved plans within 90-days of Public Works approval of the plans.

6. The applicant shall comply obtain all necessary permits and approvals required by the Building Department and City Geologist.