Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

SEPTEMBER 19, 2006 RANCHO RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL AGENDA - AN APPEAL OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION'S DECISION DENYING CASE NO. ZON2006-00328 (REVISION BB TO CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 163/VARIANCE), WHICH IS A REQUEST TO PERMIT AN "AFTER-THE-FACT" 70' TALL FLAG POLE LOCATED AT THE BACK TEE OF HOLE #1 OF THE TRUMP NATIONAL GOLF COURSE SEPTEMBER 19, 2006 RANCHO RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL AGENDA - AN APPEAL OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION'S DECISION DENYING CASE NO. ZON2006-00328 (REVISION BB TO CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 163/VARIANCE), WHICH IS A REQUEST TO PERMIT AN "AFTER-THE-FACT" 70' TALL FLAG POLE LOCATED AT THE BACK TEE OF HOLE #1 OF THE TRUMP NATIONAL GOLF COURSE SEPTEMBER 19, 2006 RANCHO RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL AGENDA -AN APPEAL OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION'S DECISION DENYING CASE NO. ZON2006-00328 (REVISION BB TO CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 163/VARIANCE), WHICH IS A REQUEST TO PERMIT AN "AFTER-THE-FACT" 70' TALL FLAG POLE LOCATED AT THE BACK TEE OF HOLE #1 OF THE TRUMP NATIONAL GOLF COURSE



TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: SEPTEMBER 19, 2006

SUBJECT: AN APPEAL OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION'S DECISION DENYING CASE NO. ZON2006-00328 (REVISION BB TO CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 163/VARIANCE), WHICH IS A REQUEST TO PERMIT AN "AFTER-THE-FACT" 70' TALL FLAG POLE LOCATED AT THE BACK TEE OF HOLE #1 OF THE TRUMP NATIONAL GOLF COURSE

Staff Coordinator: Gregory Pfost, AICP, Deputy Planning Director

RECOMMENDATION

Adopt Resolution No. 2006-__, denying the appeal and upholding the Planning Commission's decision to deny Revision "BB" (Case No. ZON2006-00328) for a request to permit a 70' high flagpole located at the back tee of Hole #1 of the Trump National Golf Course.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On July 25, 2006, the Planning Commission heard a request from V.H. Property Corp. for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) Revision and Variance to allow an existing "after-the-fact" 70' tall flagpole to be located at the back tee of Hole #1 of the Trump National Golf Course. The proposed project requires a CUP revision and Variance because existing CUP No. 163, Condition F-6, requires approval of a CUP revision and Variance for all accessory structures proposed over 16' in height. At the meeting, the Planning Commission did not feel that it could make all the applicable findings for approval of the CUP revision and Variance. As such, the Planning Commission adopted the attached P.C. Resolution No. 2006-37, denying the Applicant's request.

On August 9, 2006, the Applicant filed the attached letter, appealing the Planning Commission's decision to the City Council. As noted in the letter, the Applicant felt that "The grounds for the appeal are that the Planning Commission drew inappropriate factual and legal conclusions from the record before it in making its decision". The City Attorney and Staff disagree with this conclusion and therefore recommend that the City Council deny the appeal and uphold the Planning Commission's decision to deny the project, without prejudice.

BACKGROUND

On June 19, 2006, City Staff became aware that the Applicant had constructed a 70' high flagpole at the project site. Based upon a review of the conditions of approval, Staff determined that the flagpole constituted an accessory structure subject to the restrictions imposed by Conditional Use Permit No. 163, Condition No. F-6. The Applicant constructed the flagpole without obtaining approval of a CUP amendment and a Variance as required by Condition No. F-6. Additionally, no Building Permit was obtained. Staff notified the Applicant that a CUP amendment, Variance and Building Permit were required for the flagpole. Subsequently, on June 22, 2006, the Applicant submitted "after-the-fact" applications for a CUP amendment and Variance to permit the existing flagpole. The project was deemed complete on July 5, 2006. On July 25, 2006, after hearing public testimony and discussing the merits of the proposed project, the Planning Commission denied the Applicant's request, "without prejudice".

On August 9, 2006, the Applicant filed an appeal of the Planning Commission's decision. Public notice of the appeal was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News on August 19, 2006, and mailed to all property owners within a 500' radius of the project site and to an interested parties list. After the public hearing notice was mailed and published, Staff was informed that at least one Councilmember and possibly two would not be able to attend the September 5, 2006 City Council meeting and therefore would not be able to participate in the subject hearing. Subsequently, the Mayor made a request to Staff that this item be continued to a subsequent meeting. As there is no action deadline related to the subject appeal, at the September 5th Council meeting, Staff recommended that the Council continue the public hearing without discussion to the September 19, 2006 City Council meeting. At the September 5th Council meeting, the Council heard testimony from one person and then continued the item to the September 19, 2006 City Council meeting.

DISCUSSION

For the reasons identified in attached Planning Commission adopted Resolution, which are supported through the attached Staff Report and Minutes from the July 25, 2006 Planning Commission meeting, after listening to public testimony, the Planning Commission denied, without prejudice, the Applicant's request for a 70' high flagpole on the subject property.

In denying the Applicant's request, the Planning Commission felt that only one of the eight applicable findings for approval of the requested Conditional Use Permit and Variance for the project as currently proposed could be adopted. Briefly, the Planning Commission found that:

 The proposed flagpole at 70' tall is too high to be considered "integrated" with the adjacent land and surrounding neighborhood.

 The proposed project will have a significant adverse effect on adjacent property because the proposed project will impair views, although not significantly, of the ocean, Catalina Island, the coastline and points west of the project site.

 The proposed use is contrary to the general plan because the General Plan (Page 189 - Figure 41) has identified views and vistas that overlook the project site and a goal of the General Plan (Page 176) describes these views and the need to preserve such views for the public benefit, whereas the proposed project at the proposed location is inconsistent with preserving views.

 The proposed project is not consistent with the purpose of the Urban Appearance Overlay Control District, as the project does not preserve, protect and maintain significant views and vistas from major public view corridors because the project will result in an improvement which would block, alter or impair a major view, vista or viewshed in such a way as to materially and irrevocably alter the quality of the view.

 There are no exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applicable to the property involved that would warrant approval of the Variance for the proposed 70' high flagpole at the proposed location, because the proposed flagpole is too high given the low-lying golf course, and is not integrated with other structures or the topography of the site, that would help reduce the overall appearance and view impacts.

 The proposed Variance is not necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right of the Applicant, which right is possessed by other property owners under like conditions in the same zoning district because a 70' high flagpole is something that would not typically be permitted at other non-residential establishments in the City as the 70' height would be significantly higher than the Clubhouse structure.

While the Planning Commission denied the Applicant's request, it is important to note that as identified in the attached July 25, 2006 Planning Commission Minutes, the members of the Planning Commission felt that a Conditional Use Permit and a Variance could be approved for a flagpole higher than 16' tall at the subject site but that the flagpole should be located in a different location, possibly closer to the Clubhouse Building.

As shown in the attached letter of appeal, dated August 9, 2006, Mr. Mike van der Goes, General Manager/Director of Golf for the Golf Course indicates that "The grounds for the appeal are that the Planning Commission drew inappropriate factual and legal conclusions from the record before it in making its decision". The City Attorney's office has reviewed the Planning Commission Staff Report, Resolution and Minutes and has determined that it does not appear that there were any inappropriate legal conclusions drawn in regards to this project. Additionally, Staff is not aware of any inappropriate facts that were presented. As such, Staff does not believe that the grounds for appeal as stated in Mr. van der Goes' August 9th letter warrant any change to the Planning Commission's decision.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Installation of Flagpole Without Permits
On August 10, 2006, Councilman Stern sent the attached letter to Mr. van der Goes requesting the name of the company and the contractor who sold and installed the flagpole as well as the contact information of the person that advised the Trump Organization that a permit would not be needed to install the flagpole. Hearing nothing, Staff followed up by sending Mr. van der Goes the attached follow-up letters dated August 24, 2006 and September 6, 2006. On September 12, 2006, Mr. van der Goes sent an email to the Council with the name and contact information of the individual that according to Mr. van der Goes "sold and erected the Flag Pole and construction of the base". Staff contacted the individual who verified that it was his company that provided the flagpole. However, he also noted that the paperwork pertaining to the sale of the flagpole indicated that it is to be "permit by other," meaning that someone else was responsible for the permit if one were required. Additionally, the individual noted to Staff that although he was in attendance during the construction of the flagpole, his company was not responsible for said construction.

Staff has received photographs that were taken by the Trump Organization during the installation of the flagpole, and a copy of the installation instructions used to install the flagpole. The City's Building Official has reviewed these documents and feels that the flagpole appears to have been safely installed. However, if the current flag pole is ultimately approved at the current location, as part of the required building permit, the Building Official would request that the Applicant's civil engineer and soils engineer sign and stamp a letter indicating that the flagpole was installed correctly.

Coastal Permit
The Trump National Golf Course project originally obtained a Coastal Permit through the California Coastal Commission. Staff verified with Coastal Commission Staff that the proposed 70' high flagpole at its current location would require an amendment to the Coastal Permit issued by the California Coastal Commission. As such, if the City approved the CUP amendment and Variance, the Applicant will still need to obtain approval of a Coastal Permit from the California Coastal Commission.

Public Notice
Notice of the public hearing for this project was mailed to all property owners within a 500' radius of the project site, to all neighboring Homeowner Associations, and the Trump National Interested Parties List on August 16, 2006. Said Notice was also published in the Peninsula News on August 19, 2006. Notice of the continuance of this item from the September 5, 2006 City Council meeting was also posted to the City's "List-serve Group" for the Trump National Golf Club. As a result of the notification, the City received 106 comment letters/emails pertaining to this project. All of the written communications are attached in chronological order. Generally, the issues brought up in the attached comment letters/emails focus on view impairment and visual impacts or lack thereof depending upon if the commenter is opposed or in favor of the proposed project.

FISCAL IMPACT

The appellant paid an appeal fee that covered the cost of processing the appeal to the City Council. In the event the City Council overturns the Planning Commission’s decision, thereby approving the appellant’s request, all appeal fees shall be refunded to the appellant. An appellant is considered successful if a decision by the City Council is rendered granting his appeal. If an appeal results in a modification to the project, other than changes specifically requested in the appeal, then one-half of the appeal fee shall be refunded to the successful appellant.

Respectfully submitted:

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

Reviewed By:

Les Evans
City Manager

ATTACHMENTS
Draft Resolution
August 9, 2006 Letter of Appeal from Mr. van der Goes
P.C. Resolution No. 2006-37
July 25, 2006 Planning Commission Minutes
July 25, 2006 Planning Commission Staff Report
Correspondence Received
August 10, 2006 Letter from Councilman Stern to Mr. van der goes
August 24, 2006 Letter from Staff to Mr. van der Goes
September 6, 2006 Letter from Staff to Mr. van der Goes

RESOLUTION NO. 2006-

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DENYING AN APPEAL AND UPHOLDING THE PLANNING COMMISSION'S DECISION TO DENY REVISION "BB" - A REQUEST FOR AN AMENDMENT TO CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 163 AND A VARIANCE TO PERMIT AN 'AFTER-THE-FACT' 70' TALL FLAGPOLE LOCATED AT THE BACK TEE OF HOLE #1 OF THE TRUMP NATIONAL GOLF COURSE, WHICH IS LOCATED AT ONE OCEAN TRAILS DRIVE (CASE NO. ZON2006-00328)

WHEREAS, on June 1, 1992, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes adopted Resolution No. 92-53, certifying Environmental Impact Report No. 36 and adopted Resolution Nos. 92-54, 92-55, 92-56 and 92-57, respectively approving Vesting Tentative Tract Map Nos. 50666 and 50667, Tentative Parcel Map Nos. 20970 and 23004, Conditional Use Permit Nos. 162 and 163, Coastal Permit No. 103 and Grading Permit No. 1541 for a Residential Planned Development consisting of a total of eighty-three (83) single family dwelling units, an 18 hole public golf course and public open space on 261.4 acres in Coastal Subregion Nos. 7 and 8; and,

WHEREAS, on August 12, 1992, after finding that an appeal of the City's approval of the project raised substantial issue, the California Coastal Commission denied Coastal Permit No. 103, directed the landowners to redesign the project to address the concerns raised by the Coastal Commission Staff and remanded the project back to the City of Rancho Palos Verdes for reconsideration; and,

WHEREAS, on December 7, 1992, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes adopted Resolution No. 92-115 approving the Addendum to Environmental Impact Report No. 36 and adopted Resolution Nos. 92-116, 92-117, 92-118 and 92-119 approving Revisions to Vesting Tentative Tract Map Nos. 50666 and 50667, Tentative Parcel Map Nos. 20970 and 23004, Conditional Use Permit Nos. 162 and 163, Coastal Permit No. 103, and Grading Permit No. 1541 in order to address concerns raised by the Coastal Commission with regard to adequate provisions for public open space, public access and habitat preservation; and,

WHEREAS, on April 15, 1993, the California Coastal Commission approved Coastal Development Permit No. A-5-RPV-93-5 (i.e. Coastal Permit No. 103), subject to additional conditions of approval; and,

WHEREAS, on October 5, 1993, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes adopted Resolution No. 93-89 approving a second Addendum to Environmental Impact Report No. 36 and adopted Resolution Nos. 93-90, 93-91, 93-92 and 93-93 respectively re-approving Vesting Tentative Tract Map Nos. 50666 and 50667, Tentative Parcel Map Nos. 20970 and 23004, Conditional Use Permit Nos. 162 and 163, and Grading Permit No. 1541 in order to comply with a Court mandate to provide affordable housing in conjunction with the project, pursuant to Government Code Section 65590; and,

WHEREAS, on September 6, 1994, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes adopted Resolution No. 94-71 approving a third Addendum to Environmental Impact Report No. 36 and Adopted Resolution Nos. 94-72, 94-73, 94-74, 94-75, 94-76 and 94-77, respectively, approving Revision "A" to the approved Ocean Trails project, including, but not limited to, relocation of the golf course clubhouse from the area southwest of the School District property to an area north of Half Way Point, locating the golf course maintenance facility and four (4) affordable housing units southeast of the corner of Palos Verdes Drive South and Paseo Del Mar, reducing the number of single family residential lots from eighty-three (83) to seventy-five (75) and increasing the height of the golf course clubhouse from thirty (30) feet to forty-eight (48) feet; and,

WHEREAS, between September 6, 1994 and July 18, 2006, the City Council approved various other amendments to the Ocean Trails project, which is now known as the Trump National Golf Club project; and,

WHEREAS, on June 22, 2006, the owner, V.H. Property Corp., submitted an application requesting approval of an amendment to Conditional Use Permit No. 163 and a Variance to accommodate a new 70' flagpole located at the back tee of Hole #1; and,

WHEREAS, on July 5, 2006, said application was deemed complete for processing; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provision of the California Quality Act, Public Resources Code Section 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), said application for an amendment to Conditional Use Permit No. 163 and a Variance (Case No. 2006-00328) has been found to be statutorily exempt (Section 15270 - Projects Which are Disapproved); and,

WHEREAS, on July 25, 2006, after notice issued pursuant to the provisions of the Development Code, the Planning Commission held a public hearing to consider the request (Case No. ZON2006-00328), at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence; and,

WHEREAS, on July 25, 2006 after hearing public testimony, the Planning Commission adopted P.C. Resolution No. 2006-37, denying, without prejudice, the Applicant's request (Case No. ZON2006-00328) for a 70' tall flagpole located at the back tee of Hole #1 of the Trump National Golf Course; and,

WHEREAS, on August 9, 2006, the Applicant filed a timely appeal of the Planning Commission's decision; and,

WHEREAS, on September 19, 2006, after notice issued pursuant to the provisions of the Development Code, the City Council held a public hearing to consider the request (Case No. ZON2006-00328), 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 site is not adequate in size and shape to accommodate the proposed use and for all of the yards, setbacks, walls, fences, landscaping and other features required by this title or by conditions imposed under this section to integrate said use with those on adjacent land and within the neighborhood because the proposed flag pole at 70' tall is too high to be considered "integrated" with the adjacent land and surrounding neighborhood. More specifically, when the development of the Trump National Golf Course project (formally known as Ocean Trails) was initially considered by the City Council in 1992 there was much effort to ensure that the development of the project would be integrated with uses upon adjacent land and within the surrounding neighborhoods to ensure that the project would not result in adverse impacts to the views over the project site. The General Plan, (Page 189, Figure 41) identifies Vistas and Views over the subject site from Palos Verdes Drive South. Additionally, the City's Coastal Specific Plan (Page C-10, Figure 26) and the Coastal Development and Design Guidelines for Subregions 1 and 7 (Page 38, Figure 7) identify View Corridors and development "Height Zones" that traverse the property. The intent of these View Corridors and "Height Zones" are to keep structures at a relatively low height to preserve the view over the project site. When this project was initially approved, development on the property was restricted to specific height requirements that are consistent with the aforementioned documents. The "Height Zone" established in the Coastal Development and Design Guidelines for Subregion 7 of the City's Coastal Specific Plan indicates that the proposed flagpole is located in a "Height Zone" that would permit a 30' high structure. The proposed 70' high flagpole at its current location is over twice the size of what was envisioned for development to be successfully integrated into the site.

Section 2. The proposed project will have a significant adverse effect on adjacent property because the proposed project impairs views. More specifically, the project will fall within the existing views of the ocean, Catalina Island, and the coastline and points west of the project site. Additionally, the 70' height of the flag pole is inconsistent with the design of the project's low lying structures and golf course as originally envisioned through the Coastal Development and Design Guidelines for Subregion 7.

Section 3. The proposed use is contrary to the general plan because the General Plan (Page 189 - Figure 41) has identified views and vistas that overlook the project site and a Goal of the General Plan (Page 176) states,

"Palos Verdes Peninsula is graced with views and vistas of the surrounding Los Angeles basin and coastal region. Because of its unique geographic form and coastal resources, these views and vistas are a significant resource to residents and to many visitors, as they provide a rare means of experiencing the beauty of the peninsula and the Los Angeles region. It is the responsibility of the City to preserve these views and vistas for the public benefit and, where appropriate, the City should strive to enhance and restore these resources, the visual character of the City, and provide and maintain access for the benefit and enjoyment of the public.

A flagpole at a height of 70' at the proposed location is inconsistent with this Goal, especially when taken in the context of the pole's inconsistency with the Coastal Development and Guidelines for Subregion 7.

Section 4. The proposed project is not consistent with the purpose of the Urban Appearance Overlay Control District, as the project does not:

"…2. Preserve, protect and maintain significant views and vistas from major public view corridors and public lands and waters within the city which characterize the city’s appearance as defined in the visual aspects portion of the general plan and the corridors element of the coastal specific plan…"

and does not

"3. Ensure that site planning, grading and landscape techniques, as well as improvement planning, design and construction will preserve, protect and enhance the visual character of the city’s predominant land forms, urban form, vegetation and other distinctive features, as identified in the general plan and the coastal specific plan; and…"

Specifically, the proposed project is not consistent with this purpose because in reviewing the criteria of the Urban Appearance Overlay Control District, the proposed project will:

"1. Result in the change in elevation of the land or construction of any improvement which would block, alter or impair major views, vistas or viewsheds in existence from designated view corridors, view sites or view points at the dates of adoption of the general plan and the coastal specific plan in such a way as to materially and irrevocably alter the quality of the view as to arc (horizontal and vertical), primary orientation or other characteristics;…

and;

"8. Result in changes in topography or the construction of improvements which would block, alter or otherwise materially change significant views, vistas and viewshed areas available from major private residential areas of the community which characterize the visual appearance, urban form and economic value of these areas."

Section 5. There are no exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applicable to the property involved that would warrant approval of the Variance for the proposed 70' high flagpole at the proposed location, because the proposed flagpole is too high given the low-lying golf course, and not integrated with other structures or the topography of the site wherein that would help reduce the overall appearance and view impacts.

Section 6. The proposed Variance is not necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right of the Applicant, which right is possessed by other property owners under like conditions in the same zoning district because a 70' high flagpole is something that would not typically be permitted at other non-residential establishments in the City as the 70' height would be significantly higher than the structure.

Section 7: For the foregoing reasons, and based on the information and findings included in the Staff Report, Minutes, and other records of proceedings, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby denies the appeal and upholds the Planning Commission's decision to deny, without prejudice, Revision "BB" - an amendment to Conditional Use Permit No. 163 and a Variance (Case No. 2006-00328) for a proposed 70' high flagpole located adjacent to the back tee of Hole #1.

PASSED, APPROVED, and ADOPTED this 19th day of September 2006.


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, hereby certify that the above Resolution No. 2006- was duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting held on September 19, 2006.

__________________________
City Clerk