Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

JUNE 20, 2006 PROPOSED MORATORIUM ON CERTAIN DEVELOPMENT WITHIN THE ENTIRE LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM AREA OUTLINED IN RED AND BLUE PENDING REVIEW OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND AN UPCOMING STUDY SESSION JUNE 20, 2006 PROPOSED MORATORIUM ON CERTAIN DEVELOPMENT WITHIN THE ENTIRE LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM AREA OUTLINED IN RED AND BLUE PENDING REVIEW OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND AN UPCOMING STUDY SESSION

JUNE 20, 2006 PROPOSED MORATORIUM ON CERTAIN DEVELOPMENT WITHIN THE ENTIRE LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM AREA OUTLINED IN RED AND BLUE PENDING REVIEW OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND AN UPCOMING STUDY SESSION



TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS

FROM: THE CITY ATTORNEY AND THE DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING & CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: JUNE 20, 2006

SUBJECT: PROPOSED MORATORIUM ON CERTAIN DEVELOPMENT WITHIN THE ENTIRE LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM AREA OUTLINED IN RED AND BLUE PENDING REVIEW OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND AN UPCOMING STUDY SESSION

RECOMMENDATION:

1) ADOPT ORDINANCE NO. ______U, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES EXTENDING URGENCY ORDINANCE NO. 427U AND URGENCY ORDINANCE NO. 439U TO OCTOBER 25, 2006, THEREBY ESTABLISHING A MORATORIUM ON THE ISSUANCE OF CERTAIN PERMITS AND THE PROCESSING OF PLANNING APPROVALS; SUSPENDING CERTAIN PREVIOUSLY ISSUED BUILDING PERMITS AND APPROVALS IN THE LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM AREA OUTLINED IN RED AND BLUE ON THE LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM MAP ON FILE IN THE CITY’S PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT DEPARTMENT; EXEMPTING CERTAIN PREVIOUSLY CONSTRUCTED PROJECTS FROM SAID MORATORIUM; AND DECLARING THE URGENCY THEREOF.
2) RESCHEDULE THE STUDY SESSION TO SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7, OR SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2006.

INTRODUCTION

At the April City Council meetings, the City Council heard testimony about the recent movement of the Klondike Canyon Landslide. At the meeting that was held on April 18th, a majority of the Members of the City Council stated that they wished to have staff bring back an ordinance restricting development within the larger portion of the Landslide Moratorium Area (“the Red Area”) so that development within the Red and Blue Areas would be treated similarly. The City Council also stated that the Council would like to schedule a future workshop to occur within sixty days to discuss the regulation of development within the entire Moratorium Area, and the scientific distinctions that can be drawn between the various portions of the Moratorium Area.

BACKGROUND

On November 15, 2005, the City Council adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 427U, which established a 60-day moratorium on the processing and issuance of building, grading or other permits, and landslide moratorium exception permits and the processing or approval of Environmental Assessments, Environmental Impact Reports, Conditional Use Permits, height variation applications, tentative maps or parcel maps in the Blue Area and temporarily suspended Section 15.20.040 K of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code. These actions were taken to allow time for the completion of collection of new geological data to determine whether construction in the Blue Area is safe in light of the newly observed cracks in the street, or if the proposed development could adversely impact the stability of said Area, or if new structures in the Blue Area will be adversely impacted by the recent increase of movement of the Klondike Canyon Landslide.

Ordinance No. 427 U has been extended three times, once in order for additional time to collect more GPS data and for the City’s Geologist to be able to review and evaluate that data and prepare a report to the City Council; a second time so that the City Council and the public would have adequate time to review the report from the City’s Geologist, and a third time so that the City’s geologic experts could prepare reports for a study session that the City Council would like to conduct regarding construction within the entire Moratorium Area. The third extension of Ordinance No. 427 U, which was adopted by Ordinance No. 439U, will expire on June 30, 2006.

DISCUSSION

In the meantime, the City has been engaged in litigation with the owners of certain undeveloped properties within the portion of the Moratorium that has been referred to as Zone 2. As part of that litigation, information is being prepared for submittal to the City that appears to be relevant to the issue of the stability of the Zone 2 area of the Moratorium. Because of the litigation and the generation of additional information regarding the stability of certain portions of the Moratorium Area in connection with that litigation, it was not possible for City Staff and the City’s geologic consultants to complete their review of all of the information regarding the stability of the Moratorium Area in time to prepare comprehensive reports for the City Council for the study session that had been scheduled to occur on June 3, 2006. As such, on May 16, 2006, the City Council agreed to postpone the study session to a future, yet to be determined, date.

Additional time is required to submit the information to the City for review and analysis by the City’s geologic consultants. Also, it is uncertain when the additional information will be submitted to the City and how long it will take the City’s consultants to review and analyze the information so that it can be presented to the City Council as part of the workshop.

Accordingly, it is necessary for the Moratorium to continue so that the status quo will be preserved while the City is preparing for and conducting the study session. For these
reasons, it is necessary to extend Ordinance No. 427U, as previously amended by Ordinance No. 439U, again. The attached Urgency Ordinance extends the provisions of Ordinance No. 427 U and 439U for an additional one hundred seventeen days, to October 25, 2006. This additional time is required so that there will be adequate time: (1) for the City to receive the information; (2) to have the information analyzed by the City’s geologic consultants; (3) to have the information included in the reports that will be prepared for the City Council in connection with the study session, if appropriate; (4) to have the City Council hold upcoming study session, and (5) to have the City Council give direction to Staff about how the Council wishes to proceed.

This means that pursuant to Ordinance No. 427U, the City will continue to refrain from issuing permits for construction of additions or new structures within the Blue Area, pursuant to the special exception that was created for the Blue Area that is codified in Section 15.20.040 K of the Municipal Code. Pursuant to Ordinance No. 439U, the City also will continue to refrain from approving new additions to existing homes within the Red Area, pursuant to Sections 15.20.040 H and L of the Municipal Code.

As previously directed by the City Council at the April 18, 2006 City Council meeting, the Moratorium imposed by Ordinance No. 427U and Ordinance 439U will not apply to applications processed under Paragraphs A, B, C, D, E, F, G, I, J, M, N and O of Section 15.02.040 of the Municipal Code.

The City Council also directed that the Moratorium would not apply to certain minor projects that already had been constructed in violation of the existing provisions of the Municipal Code so that they could be legalized and brought into compliance with the Code. Staff previously stated that it was aware of two such projects that the Code Enforcement Division had been pursuing. (There may be other situations of which Staff is not aware.) One involves a 104 square-foot addition at 82 Narcissa Drive, and the second involves an unpermitted second story addition at 4335 Admirable Drive. Both of these additions to existing structures are relatively modest, and both homes are connected to a sewer system. Section 4 of the attached Ordinance memorializes this exception to the Moratorium.

In addition, the City Council previously exempted several projects that have received Moratorium Exception permits because they also have received a building permit from the City and have commenced construction. That exemption also is continued in the attached ordinance.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Projects that are subject to exemption categories H, K and L of Municipal Code Section 15.20.040, and have not received building permits and/or are not yet under construction, will be subject to the Moratorium. Because these projects have not received a building permit, they do not have a vested right to start and complete the construction. Staff is aware of four such projects. One of these projects is in the Blue Area, and three are in the Red Area. They are:

-----------------, which is the construction of a new single-family residence. This project has received planning approval but is currently in plan check in the Building and Safety Division.

86 Yacht Harbor Drive (Peusich), which is an addition to an existing home and the construction of a new deck. This project has received planning approval but is in plan check in the Building and Safety Division.

38 Cinnamon Lane (Siegel/Friend), which is a replacement of a single-family residence that was demolished with additional floor area. This application is currently in the planning review process and is not complete.

31 Narcissa Drive (De La Tore), which is a proposal to add a 596 square-foot addition accompanied by 28 cubic yards of grading. This application is currently in the planning review process and is not complete.

There also are two property owners that were in the planning process when the City Council established the initial temporary moratorium in November 2005. One is the property owner at 4394 Dauntless Drive (Matura), who was seeking approval of a second story addition by the Planning Commission. The other is the property owner at 4380 Dauntless Drive (Arregoces) who was seeking a Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit for first and second story additions. Both applications were denied without prejudice after the temporary moratorium was enacted on November 15, 2005. These projects also do not have a vested right to proceed with development.

CONCLUSION

Staff recommends that the City Council review this report and reschedule the study session after the end of the summer vacation season so that a majority of the affected property owners will be able to attend the study session and have their opinions considered. Also new geologic information is expected to be submitted to the City by the Zone 2 plaintiffs sometime this summer. As such, to allow enough time for staff and its consultants to review and report on the new geologic information to the Council, Staff believes that the study session should occur in early October. Therefore, Staff is recommending that the
City Council reschedule the study session to Saturday, October 7 or Saturday, October 14, 2006.

Respectfully submitted:

Joel Rojas, AICP Carol Lynch
Director of Planning, Building City Attorney
and Code Enforcement

Reviewed by:

Les Evans
City Manager

ORDINANCE NO. ___ U

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES EXTENDING URGENCY ORDINANCE NO. 427U AND URGENCY ORDINANCE NO. 439U TO OCTOBER 25, 2006, THEREBY ESTABLISHING A MORATORIUM ON THE ISSUANCE OF CERTAIN PERMITS AND THE PROCESSING OF PLANNING APPROVALS AND SUSPENDING CERTAIN PREVIOUSLY ISSUED BUILDING PERMITS AND APPROVALS, IN THE LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM AREA OUTLINED IN RED AND BLUE ON THE LANDSLIDE MORATORIUM MAP ON FILE IN THE CITY’S PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT DEPARTMENT, EXEMPTING CERTAIN PREVIOUSLY CONSTRUCTED PROJECTS FROM SAID MORATORIUM AND DECLARING THE URGENCY THEREOF

WHEREAS, in September 1978, the City Council adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 108U, which established the Landslide Moratorium Area in a portion of the City, as depicted on a map that is on file in the City’s Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement; and

WHEREAS, in February 1981, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 139U, which added the area known as Klondike Canyon to the Landslide Moratorium Area, which is described as the area outlined in red on the map that is on file in the City’s Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement; and

WHEREAS, in September 1989, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 247, which added a new provision to the Landslide Moratorium Ordinance that provided the possibility for more intense development than previously was permitted in the Klondike Canyon Area, as outlined in blue on the map that is on file in the City’s Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement (“Blue Area”); and

WHEREAS, in May 2005, following the unusual winter rains during the winter of 2004-2005, the first indications that the Blue Area may be experiencing landslide movement appeared; and

WHEREAS, in October 2005, the City received a report from the City Geologist, who was reviewing a proposed development in the Blue Area, that discussed the issue of landslide movement in the Blue Area; and

WHEREAS, based on the new evidence of landslide movement in the Blue Area, the City Council has asked the City Geologist to determine whether the more flexible development standards that had been allowed in the Blue Area since 1989 should be repealed so that the Blue Area will be subject to the same development criteria that are applicable to the other areas that are subject to the Landslide Moratorium Ordinance, as was the case from February 1981 through September 1989; and,

WHEREAS, on November 15, 2005, the City Council adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 427U, which established a 60-day moratorium on the processing and issuance of building, grading or other permits, and landslide moratorium exception permits and the processing or approval of Environmental Assessments, Environmental Impact Reports, Conditional Use Permits, height variation applications, tentative maps or parcel maps in the Blue Area and temporarily suspended Section 15.20.040 K of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code pending the completion of new geological data to determine whether construction in the Blue Area is safe in light of the newly observed instability or if the proposed development could adversely impact the stability of said Area; and,

WHEREAS, because the Global Positioning System (“GPS”) Data still was being collected, and the City Geologist still was in the process of completing the review of that data to assess the potential impacts of construction in the Blue Area upon the overall stability of said Area and upon the public health, safety and welfare and, accordingly, needed additional time to complete that review before determining if the moratorium imposed by Ordinance 427 U should be lifted, the moratorium was extended by the City Council to March 21, 2006; and

WHEREAS, because the City Geologist’s report has been completed and was presented to the City Council, but the City Council would like to conduct a study session to discuss the entire Moratorium Area and the geologic issues that are relevant to development of new structures and additions to existing structures within the Moratorium Area before determining whether to amend the Chapter 15.20 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code; and

WHEREAS, due to ongoing litigation regarding development in a portion of the Moratorium Area and the generation of additional information regarding the stability of certain portions of the Moratorium Area in connection with that litigation, which may be relevant to the analysis of the issues that the City Council would like to have addressed at the upcoming study session, it was not possible for City Staff and the City’s geologic consultants to complete their review of all of the information regarding the stability of portions of the Moratorium Area in time to prepare comprehensive reports for the City Council for the study session that had been scheduled to occur on June 3, 2006; and

WHEREAS, because additional time is required for certain information, which may be relevant to the geologic workshop, to be submitted to the City for review and analysis by the City’s geotechnical consultants, and because it is uncertain when the additional information will be submitted to the City and how long it will take the City’s consultants to review and analyze that information so that it can be presented to the City Council as part of the workshop, it is necessary to further extend the Moratorium that was established by Ordinance 427U and Ordinance No. 439U;

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. The City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby extends Urgency Ordinance No. 427U and Urgency Ordinance No. 439 U for an additional 117 days, until October 25, 2006. Except as previously modified by Urgency Ordinance 439 U, and except as modified herein, all provisions of Urgency Ordinance No. 427U shall remain in full force and effect through and including October 25, 2006, unless earlier rescinded or extended by another ordinance adopted by the City Council.

SECTION 2. In addition to suspending the provisions of Section 15.20.040 K of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, the provisions of Paragraphs H and L of Section 15.20.040 have been suspended, and no permits or approvals shall be processed or granted by the City pursuant to any of those Paragraphs.

SECTION 3. Notwithstanding any other ordinance or code of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, no application for a building permit, grading permit, conditional use permit, height variation, tentative map or parcel map for the subdivision of land, or other any other permit to develop property, or for a Landslide Exception Permit shall be accepted for filing, processed or approved as to any land within the Landslide Moratorium Area, as outlined in Red or Blue on the Map that is on file in the City’s Planning Building and Code Enforcement Department, and no such permit shall be issued, for any project for which a landslide moratorium exception permit had been issued previously by the City pursuant to Paragraphs H, K and L of Section 15.20.040 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code.

SECTION 4. Other than the building permit and other permits that have been issued by the City to construct the home at 4369 Dauntless Drive and any other home where above-ground construction work has been performed in substantial reliance on a building permit that has been issued by the City, which shall not be affected by the provisions of this Ordinance, any building or grading permit, landslide moratorium exception permit, or other permit for new construction in the Landslide Moratorium Area, which has been previously granted by the City but which has not been acted upon in substantial reliance by the holder thereof, is suspended indefinitely. Construction in reliance on any such suspended permit shall be prohibited unless and until the City lifts the suspension. This Ordinance, Ordinance No. 427U and Ordinance No. 439 U shall not prevent the processing and issuance of permits to legalize the construction of two minor additions to existing residential structures at 82 Narcissa Drive and 4335 Admirable Drive, which were completed prior to October 1, 2005, because those structures were completed and connected to a functioning sewer system prior to the adoption of Ordinance No. 427U, and the issuance of the permits will bring them into compliance with the Municipal Code.

SECTION 5. It has recently come to the attention of the City Council that the land identified in the Blue Area, which was previously thought to be stable, may in fact be experiencing current landslide movement. In order to protect the public health, safety and welfare, the City Geologist was to review recently collected GPS Data to determine the stability of the land in question and to whether development of new structures on undeveloped lots or parcels, substantial additions to existing homes, or the construction of certain accessory structures on properties in the Blue Area should be allowed. The City Geologist’s report has been completed and has been submitted to the City Council. However, additional time is needed for new information to be submitted to the City for review by the City’s geotechnical consultants regarding the stability of other portions of the Moratorium Area. Additional time also is required for the City’s consultants to include the analysis of that information into reports that will be prepared for the City Council in connection with the upcoming City Council study session that will be held to discuss the Moratorium Area and the geologic issues that are relevant to development of new structures and additions to existing structures within the Moratorium Area. The City Council has stated that it would like to hold the study session before determining whether to amend the Chapter 15.20 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code. Thus, the City’s geologic experts and the City Council needs additional time to review all of the reports and information and determine whether additional controls on development are necessary to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare from the harmful effects associated with slope failure. The City Council finds that continued development in the Landslide Moratorium Area during this additional time could expose residents to undue health hazards and safety risks and could pose a current and immediate threat to the public health, safety, or general welfare and approval of additional entitlements for development inconsistent with the provisions of Urgency Ordinances No. 427U and 439U and would frustrate the City’s ability to protect the public health, safety and welfare by minimizing the adverse effects of slope failure. This ordinance is therefore necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, safety and welfare and shall take effect immediately upon adoption as an urgency ordinance. This ordinance is effective until 11:59 p.m. on October 25, 2006, unless further extended by the City Council by the adoption of another ordinance.

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED this 20th day of June 2006, by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSENT

______________________________
MAYOR

ATTEST:

__________________________________
CAROLYNN A. PETRU, CITY CLERK

I HEREBY CERTIFY that the foregoing is true and correct copy of Ordinance No. ___U approved and adopted by the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes at a meeting thereof held on the 20th day of June, 2006.

__________________________________
CAROLYNN A. PETRU, CITY CLERK