Rancho Palos Verdes City Council




DATE: APRIL 4, 2006


Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, AICP, Associate Planner


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


This month’s report includes:

- A report on recent issues related to the former Palos Verdes landfill site;
- A brief follow-up report on the Butcher Ranch subdivision at Palos Verdes Drive North and Palos Verdes Drive East in Rolling Hills Estates;
- A report on recent issues related to the Ponte Vista project on Western Avenue at the former Navy housing site;
- An update report on proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in the Port of Long beach and offshore of the South Bay and the Palos Verdes Peninsula;
- An update report on the status of the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP);
- A follow-up report regarding the status of the agreement between the City and the owner of the property at 717 Via La Cuesta in Palos Verdes Estates;
- A final report on a new, 58-unit mixed-use condominium project on the site of an existing car wash at 627 Deep Valley Drive in Rolling Hills Estates; and,
- An update on the approved 136-unit condominium project on Western Avenue.


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 March 8, 2006, the City received the attached letter from the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Division, regarding the canceled landfill gas investigation at the Disposal Gardens site in the City of Torrance. The letter states that the County has asked the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) to reinstate the work plan for this investigation. The re-scheduled investigation was expected to begin on March 27, 2006, and take up to five (5) days to complete.

Butcher Ranch Subdivision, Rolling Hills Estates

On January 17, 2006, the Rolling Hills Estates Planning Commission recommended denial of the proposed Butcher Ranch subdivision to the Rolling Hills Estates City Council on the basis that the proposed grading of 41,600 cubic yards was excessive and did not retain the natural topography of the existing site; the project design proposed undesirably small lot widths in the westerly portion of the proposed tract; the project design should have avoided filling of the ravine area in the westerly portion of the project site or included off-site mitigation for the loss of the ravine area; and additional environmental review should have been performed specifically related to the loss of the ravine area, which might warrant the preparation of a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) rather than a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND). The Rolling Hills Estates City Council was scheduled to act on this recommendation on February 14, 2006 but, at the project proponent’s request, the matter was continued to a date uncertain to allow further re-design of the project. Staff will continue to monitor this proposal in the future.

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

As the Council may recall, in December 2005 Mayor Wolowicz sent a letter to Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn expressing concern about the role and function of the developer’s Ponte Vista Advisory Board. The letter suggested “opening [a] direct dialogue [with] Councilman Larry Clark…[as] a more effective means to ensure that the concerns of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes are accurately conveyed to the developer.” However, as of the date that this report was prepared, Staff is not aware of any response from the Councilwoman or her Staff on this issue. In the meantime, on March 22, 2006, the City received the attached newsletter from the Ponte Vista developer, announcing (among other things) the formation of the Ponte Vista Advisory Board. The Board members are characterized as “goodwill ambassadors to the community” who “assist in selecting recipients of the Ponte Vista community contribution grants.”

In addition to the Ponte Vista project, Staff has been recently made aware of two other projects in the northwest San Pedro area that may have impacts upon congestion in the Western Avenue corridor. On March 13, 2006, the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council (NWSPNC) received a preliminary presentation regarding the proposed Target store on the former DiCarlo Bakery site at the northwest corner of Capitol Drive and North Gaffey Street. In addition, on March 17, 2006, the City received the attached public hearing notice for a proposed 134-unit condominium project on the former Kinder-Morgan tank farm site near the southwest corner of Capitol Drive and North Gaffey Street. Staff will continue to monitor these projects in the future.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Import Terminal, Port of Long Beach

Over the past several months, the proposed LNG terminal in the Port of Long Beach has received extensive public scrutiny. Local citizens, environmental groups and local, State and Federal agencies have openly expressed their reservations about the project. In addition, it is likely to be a significant issue in the upcoming City Council and Mayoral elections in the City of Long Beach.

Perhaps as a result of this opposition to an on-shore LNG terminal, a proposal for an off-shore proposal was recently revealed in the Daily Breeze on March 16, 2006 (see attached article). This project proposes a 34-mile-long underwater pipeline from the LAX area to an off-shore terminal located approximately 23½ miles from the Peninsula. Staff will continue to monitor this proposal as well as the one in the Port of Long Beach.

Montrose Settlements Restoration Program, Offshore from Palos Verdes Peninsula

On March 15, 2006, the Los Angeles Times reported that the approval of the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP) had been announced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on March 13, 2006. The Times article focused on the component of the program that called for the cessation of Federal funding of the bald eagle breeding program on Santa Catalina Island, in spite of the Coastal Commission’s conditional concurrence with the MSRP only with continued funding of this program. Staff will continue to monitor this program for any future restoration projects that may directly affect the City.

New Residence at 717 Via La Cuesta, Palos Verdes Estates

As of the date that this report was completed, the Chopras engineer was still responding to drainage concerns raised by the City Engineer and Building Official. Although the Chopras have signed the agreement for off-site grading on Grandview Park, the agreement is being held “in escrow” by the City Attorney, and the off-site grading plans have not yet been approved by Planning Staff, the Building Official or the City Engineer.

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

Following the March 7, 2006 City Council meeting, Staff forwarded the attached letter to the City of Rolling Hills Estates regarding the screening of the proposed electrical transformer for the project. The Rolling Hills Estates City Council considered the resolutions and ordinance for the project on March 14, 2006, but as of the date that this report was prepared, Staff had yet to confirm whether the final language of the conditions of approval had been revised as the City Council requested.

New Border Issues

There are no new Border Issues on which to report at this time.

Former Border Issues

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

As Staff last reported on December 6, 2005, the 136-unit condominium project (now known as Sea Port Condominiums) received final approval from the City of Los Angeles in October 2005. At a recent meeting of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council (NWSPNC), it was noted that the former fitness club building had been demolished and construction of the condominiums will begin shortly. In addition, the developer will be redesigning the site ingress/egress at Fitness Drive, and will be contributing financially toward upgrading some traffic signals on Western Avenue.

Respectfully submitted:
Joel Rojas, AICP, Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement

Reviewed by:
Les Evans, City Manager


Letter from County Public Health Department regarding landfill gas investigation
Ponte Vista newsletter
Public notice for Harbor Highlands project
Daily Breeze article regarding off-shore LNG terminal
Los Angeles Times article regarding the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program
Letter to Rolling Hills Estates regarding 627 Deep Valley Drive