Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

October 7, 2006 RANCHO RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL AGENDA - Landslide Workshop- Geologic Review Process for Projects in the Landslide Moratorium Area October 7, 2006 RANCHO RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL AGENDA - Landslide Workshop-Geologic Review Process for Projects in the Landslide Moratorium Area October 7, 2006 RANCHO RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL AGENDA - Landslide Workshop-Geologic Review Process for Projects in the Landslide Moratorium Area

Geologic Review Process for Projects in the Landslide Moratorium Area

The Landslide Moratorium Exception Process

The City’s Landslide Moratorium Ordinance (Municipal Code Chapter 15.20) prohibits the issuance of permits for new construction on all properties located within the Landslide Moratorium area. However, the ordinance also establishes 15 exception categories, whereby if a proposed project falls into one of the exception categories, it can proceed through the standard planning/building review process after an exception is granted. Most of the exception categories involve City projects, maintenance projects and other minor projects or applications. If a proposed project meets one of these exception categories it is subject to review by Staff with no formal application or review. However, there are 4 exception categories that require a proposed project applicant to submit a formal Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit application. The projects allowed under these 4 exception categories are summarized as follows:

1) The replacement, repair, or restoration of a residential structure that has been damaged by a hazard, geotechnical or otherwise [Section 15.20.040(B)];

2) Minor projects which involve additions to existing residential structures, enclosed patios, conversion of non-habitable space to habitable space, or attached/detached accessory structures not exceeding a cumulative total area of six hundred square feet per parcel [Section 15.20.040(H)];

3) Construction of new residential buildings, accessory structures, pools/spas, and grading in the portion of the Landslide Moratorium Area "outlined in blue" (A more detailed discussion of the area outlined in blue in relation to the remainder of the landslide area is contained below) [Section 15.20.040(K)]; and,

4) The construction of one attached or detached garage per parcel, not exceeding six hundred square feet [Section 15.20.040(L)].

In order to grant a Moratorium Exception Permit for these four types of projects, the applicant has to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the City’s geotechnical staff (Zeiser Kling Consultants Inc.) that the proposed project will not aggravate the existing situation. This is the review standard explicitly stated in the moratorium ordinance. Therefore, project applicants must submit information satisfactory to the City's Geotechnical Staff, including, but not limited to, geological, geotechnical, soils, or other reports to demonstrate that the proposed project will not aggravate the existing landslide situation, along with the appropriate filing fee to pay for the City's review of the submitted geotechnical reports/information. Once the City's Geotechnical Staff is satisfied through a site visit and/or the review of the submitted reports that the proposed project will not aggravate the existing landslide situation, the City’s geotechnical staff alerts the planning staff and the Landslide Moratorium Exception permit is approved with the following standard conditions:

  • If lot drainage deficiencies are identified by the Director of Public Works, all such deficiencies shall be corrected by the applicant.

  • If the project involves additional plumbing fixtures, or additions of habitable space, which exceed 200 square feet, or could be used as a new bedroom, bathroom, laundry room or kitchen, and if the lot or parcel is not served by sanitary sewers, septic systems shall be replaced with approved holding tank systems in which to dispose of on-site wastewater. The capacity of the required holding tank system shall be subject to the review and approval of the City's Building Official. For the purposes of this subsection, the addition of a sink to an existing bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room shall not be construed to be an additional plumbing fixture. For those projects which involve additions of less than 200 square feet in total area and which are not to be used as a new bedroom, bathroom, laundry room or kitchen, the applicant shall submit for recordation a covenant specifically agreeing that the addition of the habitable space will not be used for those purposes. Such covenant shall be submitted to the Director for recordation prior to the issuance of a Building Permit.

  • Roof runoff from all buildings and structures on the site shall be contained and directed to the streets or an approved drainage course.

  • If required by the City's Geotechnical Staff, the applicant shall submit a soils report, and/or a geotechnical report, for the review and approval of the City's Geotechnical Staff.

  • If the lot or parcel is not served by sanitary sewers, the applicant shall submit for recordation a covenant agreeing to support and participate in existing or future sewer and/or storm drain assessment districts and any other geological and geotechnical hazard abatement measures required by the City. Such covenant shall be submitted to the Director prior to the issuance of a building permit.

  • If the lot or parcel is not served by sanitary sewers, the applicant shall submit for recordation a covenant agreeing to an irrevocable offer to dedicate to the City a sewer and storm drain easement on the subject property, as well as any other easement required by the City to mitigate landslide conditions. Such covenant shall be submitted to the Director prior to the issuance of a building permit.

  • A hold harmless agreement satisfactory to the City Attorney promising to defend, indemnify, and hold the City harmless from any claims or damages resulting from the requested project. Such agreement shall be submitted to the Director prior to the issuance of a building permit.

  • The applicant shall submit for recordation a covenant agreeing to construct the project strictly in accordance with the approved plans; and agreeing to prohibit further projects on the subject site without first filing an application with the director pursuant to the terms of Municipal Code Chapter 15.20. Such covenant shall be submitted to the Director for recordation prior to the issuance of a building permit.

  • All landscaping irrigation systems shall be part of a water management system approved by the Director of Public Works. Irrigation for landscaping shall be permitted only as necessary to maintain the yard and garden.

  • If the project involves pools and/or spas, a leak detection system approved by the City's Building Official shall be installed.

  • All other necessary permits and approvals required pursuant to the City or any other applicable statute, law or ordinance shall be obtained.

The granting of a Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit does not constitute planning approval of a specific project request, but simply grants the property owner the ability to submit the appropriate Planning Division application(s) for consideration of a specific project request (i.e. Site Plan Review Application, Conditional Use Permit Application, Height Variation Application, Variance Application, etc.). Therefore, once the Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit is granted, the applicant may proceed through the planning process and then on through the Building and Safety plan check process, in the same manner as applicants for projects outside the moratorium area.

Temporary Moratorium on Certain Exception Projects

Following the heavy rains that occurred in the 2004-05 rainy season, City Staff noticed new street cracks in the Seaview tract near the intersection of Dauntless Drive and Exultant Drive in May 2005. Furthermore, in a report to City staff in October 2005, the City’s geologist noted that the tension cracks on Dauntless Drive are indicative of landslide movement. As a result, on November 15, 2005, the City Council adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 427U, which placed a temporary moratorium on the issuance of permits in the "blue area" of the landslide moratorium area (exception category K) to allow the City Geologist to further study the issue. The City Council extended the temporary moratorium twice, and on April 18, 2006, adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 439U, which expanded the temporary moratorium to apply to the issuance of permits for additions to existing homes in the remainder of the landslide moratorium area (exception categories H and L). This temporary moratorium also applied to projects that had received planning approval but had not received a building permit or begun construction. On June 20, 2006, the City Council extended the temporary moratorium on new construction in the landslide area to October 25, 2006.

Landslide Moratorium Areas in "Red" and in "Blue"

The City’s Landslide Moratorium Ordinance establishes two separate areas within the overall landslide moratorium area, each with differing restrictions. Almost all the mapped landslide moratorium area is referred to as the area "outlined in red" (the "Red Area"). There is also a small area on the eastern side of the moratorium area described as the area "outlined in blue" (the "Blue Area"). Most of the Blue Area consists of the eastern portion (37 lots) of the Seaview tract, which is affected by the Klondike Canyon landslide

As noted earlier, there are certain projects that may proceed with the approval of formal Landslide Moratorium Exception Permits. However, prior to the temporary moratorium established by Urgency Ordinance No. 427U in November 2005, the types of projects that qualify for exceptions varied between the areas outlined in red and the area outlined in blue. The differences in the types of improvements that the moratorium ordinance allowed in both areas are summarized in the table below.

Type of Improvement

Area Outlined in Red

Area Outlined in Blue

New single-family residence

Not permitted

Permitted

Addition to existing single-family residence

Permitted, but cumulative project(s) per parcel may not exceed 600 square feet total, and no additional plumbing fixtures are allowed unless the lot is served by sewers

Permitted, with no individual or cumulative size limitations, or restrictions regarding additional plumbing fixtures

Patio enclosure

Attached or detached accessory structures

Conversion of existing garage to living area

New garage

Permitted, but limited to 600 square feet, and no windows or plumbing fixtures are allowed unless the lot is served by sewers

Permitted, with no size limitations or restrictions regarding windows or additional plumbing fixtures

Swimming pool and/or spa

Not permitted

Permitted

Grading

Permitted, but limited to minor grading

Permitted, whether minor or major grading

Unlike the Red Area, the owners of properties in the Blue Area were allowed, subject to certain conditions, to develop residential buildings and accessory structures on vacant lots, build pools/spas, and perform grading. The more lenient restrictions in the Blue Area were adopted in September 1989, based on the fact that this area had been subdivided previously and was almost completely developed (only one or two lots were not developed) and included a sewer system, along with a lack of indicators of movement in the Blue Area. These factors distinguished this area from the remainder of the landslide moratorium area. However, with the observation of movement in that area in 2005 and thereafter in 2006, the previously perceived basis underlying the distinction between the red and blue areas may no longer be valid.

Landslide Moratorium Exclusion Process

The City’s landslide moratorium ordinance also establishes a procedure for a parcel of land to be excluded from the landslide moratorium area. Pursuant to section 15.20.100, a landowner, or his/her designated agent, may apply for a parcel of land to be excluded from the landslide moratorium area to the City Council. To obtain such an exclusion, the City Council shall find as follows:

1) The exclusion is consistent with the general plan and coastal plan of the City.

2) The exclusion promotes the health, safety and welfare of the community.

3) The exclusion shall not aggravate any existing geologic conditions in the area.

Among other things, a Moratorium Exclusion applicant must submit geological or geotechnical reports or geologic studies, as requested by the City's geotechnical staff, to demonstrate that the proposed project will not aggravate the existing geologic situation in the area. In 2002, the City Council clarified that a factor of safety analysis is relevant to that determination. The exclusion request application cannot be deemed complete to begin processing until all required geology studies have been completed and review has been completed by the City's geotechnical staff.

If a Moratorium Exclusion is granted for a subject parcel, the parcel would no longer be considered to be within the landslide moratorium area and would be treated as any other parcel in the City, subject to all the City’s existing zoning development restrictions.