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FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING & CODE ENFORCEMENT
DATE: OCTOBER 3, 2006
SUBJECT: BORDER ISSUES STATUS REPORT
Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, AICP, Associate Planner
Review the current status of border issues.
This month’s report includes:
A report regarding replacement of a gas flare by the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts at the former Palos Verdes Landfill;
A report on the latest meetings of Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s Ponte Vista Advisory Group;
A follow-up report on the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission’s South Bay Watershed Coordination and Outreach project;
A brief report of the Draft EIS/EIR for the Berth 97-109 Container Terminal Project (China Shipping) in the Port of Los Angeles; and,
A follow-up report on the Seaport condominium project on site of the former fitness center at 29000 South Western Avenue in San Pedro.
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
Former Palos Verdes Landfill, County of Los Angeles/Rolling Hills Estates
The attached e-mail from Joan Davidson refers to a Negative Declaration prepared by the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts for replacement of an existing gas flare at the former Palos Verdes Landfill. Staff obtained a copy of the Final Negative Declaration from the Sanitation Districts. The Draft Negative Declaration was circulated for a 30-day public comment period from February 22, 2006 through March 23, 2006. Notice was sent to the cities of Rolling Hills Estates and Torrance, but not to Rancho Palos Verdes. State CEQA Guidelines require that Notice of Intent to Adopt a Negative Declaration be provided to the public, responsible agencies, trustee agencies and the county clerk. The State CEQA Guidelines only require public notification of contiguous properties to the project site. The City of Rancho Palos Verdes is neither a responsible agency (i.e., a public agency other than the lead agency with discretionary approval power over the proposed project) nor a trustee agency (i.e., a State agency with jurisdiction over natural resources affected by the proposed project) in this matter, nor is it contiguous to the project site. The Sanitation Districts certified the Final Negative Declaration on April 26, 2006, and its approval is now final.
According to Sanitation Districts Staff, the new flare has not yet been installed, pending issuance of a permit by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). It is not expected to be in service until some time in 2007.
Also attached to tonight’s report is a copy of an August 25, 2006, letter from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein to the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) regarding the recent landfill gas investigations at the Disposal Gardens site in the City of Torrance.
Ponte Vista Project at Former Navy Housing Site, Los Angeles (San Pedro)
On September 14 and 21, 2006, the Ponte Vista Community Advisory Committee (PVCAC) held its second and third meetings, respectively. Staff was not able to attend the September 14th meeting, but from the agenda, we understand that it was primarily a “team building” meeting for PVCAC and its facilitator to identify general goals and objectives and work out how future meetings would be conducted.
The September 21st PVCAC meeting began with the distribution of a meeting schedule for the PVCAC that was prepared by the developer and the PVCAC chairman and facilitator. The schedule was immediately criticized as too aggressive, calling upon PVCAC to complete its review of the project’s specific plan by March 2007. The developer distributed a binder of information submitted to the City of Los Angeles for its proposed general plan amendment, community plan amendment and zone change. Staff obtained one of these binders, and it is available for review during regular Planning Division public counter hours. The developer also stated that this information will be posted on the Ponte Vista website (http://www.pontevista.com). Los Angeles City Planning Staff also provided a brief overview of the specific plan process, although no specific plan documents have yet been provided to PVCAC. There was also discussion about the availability of the project’s traffic study for public review. The developer stated that he was awaiting authorization from the City of Los Angeles Planning Department and Department of Transportation (LADOT) before releasing the study.
The next PVCAC meetings are scheduled for October 12, 2006, and November 9, 2006. The topics for discussion at the October 2006 meeting are expected to include a planning presentation of the Ponte Vista project, and housing needs and the current community plan. Staff will continue to attend and report upon these meetings.
Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission’s South Bay Watershed Coordination and Outreach Project
As reported in the September 5, 2006, Border Issues Status Report, the third and final stakeholder meeting for the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission’s (SMBRC) South Bay Watershed Coordination and Outreach Project was held in August. The result of this process was a list of possible watershed improvement projects in the South Bay, which SMBRC intends to use to match up local jurisdictions with funding sources to implement these watershed improvement projects.
SMBRC has decided to pursue three (3) projects on the Palos Verdes Peninsula as its lead projects to obtain funding. The first of these projects, sponsored by SEA Lab, would involve restoring abalone to Abalone Cove. The goal of this project would be to grow green abalone at the SEA Lab facility and utilize these abalone in replenishing wild populations to higher levels. This project at Abalone Cove would be a pilot study for expanding abalone replenishment to additional coves along the Palos Verdes Peninsula shoreline. The other two (2) projects are sponsored by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (PVPLC). One is for habitat and public access improvements at the City’s Point Vicente Fishing Access, and the other is for habitat and storm drain improvements in White Point Canyon in the White Point Nature Preserve in San Pedro.
Mayor Pro Tem Long will be assisting the presentation of the SMBRC South Bay Watershed Coordination and Outreach Project recommendations to the SMBRC Governing Board later this month. In addition, there is a separate item on tonight’s agenda requesting a letter of support from the City Council for the SEA Lab project at Abalone Cove.
New Border Issues
Berth 97-109 Container Terminal Project, Port of Los Angeles
On September 25, 2006, the City received an e-mail from Jody James regarding the end of the public comment period for the Draft EIS/EIR for the China Shipping project. The project, which was partially completed in 2003, is located along the main channel just north of the Vincent Thomas Bridge and the cruise ship terminal (see attached Executive Summary). There was a public hearing to receive comments on September 21, 2006, but the City was not aware of it, nor were we aware of the release of the Draft EIS/EIR in late August of this year. To Staff’s knowledge, the City has never been notified of this project at any point during the environmental review. At this point, Staff does not have adequate time to review and comment upon the Draft EIS/EIR prior to the October 5, 2006, deadline. However, we are reasonably certain that residents of San Pedro, who are closer to and more directly impacted by the project, have raised and will raise issues of concern about the project that would be shared by our residents.
Former Border Issues
Seaport Condominiums at 29000 South Western Avenue, Los Angeles (San Pedro)
The attached e-mail from April Sandell indicates that she had been told by someone with the Ponte Vista organization that the developer of the Seaport condominiums was working with our City on traffic issues. The City’s Traffic Engineer stated that he has spoken with the consultant working with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) regarding traffic issues related to the proposed high school on the Ponte Vista site, but not with the developer for either Ponte Vista or the Seaport condominium project. Staff contacted Elise Swanson, Ponte Vista’s Vice President of Public Affairs, who stated that she told Mrs. Sandell that, when she formerly worked for Councilwoman Janice Hahn, the Councilwoman had encouraged the Seaport developer to work with our City and CalTrans regarding Western Avenue traffic improvements. Staff also contacted the Seaport developer, who recalls no conversations with our City Staff about traffic improvements.
E-mail from Joan Davidson with printout from State CEQA website