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FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT
DATE: OCTOBER 17, 2006
SUBJECT: APPEAL OF APPROVAL OF PLANNING CASE NO. ZON2006-00227 (NON-COMMERCIAL AMATEUR RADIO ANTENNA PERMIT): REQUEST TO OVERTURN THE PLANNING COMMISSION’S APPROVAL OF A 69.8-FOOT-TALL AMATEUR RADIO ANTENNA TOWER AND 280-SQUARE-FOOT EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS CENTER ADJACENT TO THE “PALOS VERDES ON THE NET” STUDIO BUILDING IN UPPER POINT VICENTE PARK
Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, AICP, Associate Planner
Adopt Resolution No. 2006-__, denying the appeal, upholding the Planning Commission’s approval (Planning Case No. ZON2006-00227), and remanding the application to the Planning Commission for consideration of an antenna tower and array with a nesting tower height of 55 feet that will nest at no more than 69.8 feet in overall height, but may be extended up to 100 feet in overall height in the event of a declared emergency.
At the conclusion of the public hearing on October 3, 2006, the City Council took the following action on the appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of Planning Case No. ZON2006-00227:
1. Denied the appeal by the La Cresta Pointe Homeowners’ Association;
Staff has prepared the attached resolution to reflect this action. Since the Emergency Preparedness Committee will need to prepare revised plans for the taller, retractable antenna tower for Staff’s review and analysis, it is unknown when the Planning Commission will consider the revised proposal. However, it will be considered at a duly-noticed public hearing, with published and mailed notification to be provided to all property owners within a 500-foot radius of the project site and to all other interested parties. In the meantime, the approval of the 69.8-foot-tall tower (Planning Case No. ZON2006-00227) will stand.
Staff recommends that the City Council adopt Resolution No. 2006-__, denying the appeal, upholding the Planning Commission’s approval (Planning Case No. ZON2006-00227), and remanding the application to the Planning Commission for consideration of an antenna tower and array that will nest at no more than 69.8 feet in overall height, but may be extended to up to 100 feet in overall height in the event of a declared emergency.
Resolution No. 2006-__
RESOLUTION NO. 2006-__
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DENYING THE APPEAL AND UPHOLDING THE PLANNING COMMISSION’S APPROVAL OF A NON-COMMERCIAL AMATEUR RADIO ANTENNA PERMIT (PLANNING CASE NO. ZON2006-00227) FOR THE ERECTION OF A 69.8-FOOT-TALL AMATEUR RADIO ANTENNA TOWER AND 280-SQUARE-FOOT EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS CENTER ADJACENT TO THE “PALOS VERDES ON THE NET” STUDIO BUILDING AT POINT VICENTE PARK AND CIVIC CENTER, LOCATED AT 30938 HAWTHORNE BOULEVARD
WHEREAS, on April 20, 2006, the City Manager’s office submitted an application for Planning Case No. ZON2006-00227 for an amateur radio antenna tower and emergency communications center at Point Vicente Park and Civic Center; and,
WHEREAS, on June 23, 2006, the application for Planning Case No. ZON2006-00227 was deemed complete by Staff; and,
WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et. seq. ("CEQA"), the State's CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 15000 et. seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), Staff found no evidence that the approval of the requested non-commercial amateur radio antenna permit would have a significant effect on the environment and, therefore, the proposed project has been found to be categorically exempt (Section 15303); and,
WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly-noticed public hearing on August 8, 2006, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence; and,
WHEREAS, on August 8, 2006, the Planning Commission adopted P.C. Resolution No. 2006-41, thereby conditionally approving the requested non-commercial amateur radio antenna permit; and,
WHEREAS, on August 23, 2006, the La Cresta Pointe Homeowners’ Association filed a timely appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of this non-commercial amateur radio antenna permit to the City Council; and,
WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a duly-noticed public hearing to consider the appellant’s appeal on October 3, 2006, and October 17, 2006, 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 City Council finds that the La Cresta Pointe Homeowners’ Association’s appeal is unwarranted and is, therefore, denied. The City Council finds that the view impacts of a 69.8-foot-tall amateur radio antenna tower and array upon residents in the La Cresta Pointe community would be less-than-significant. Furthermore, the City Council finds that the Upper Point Vicente Park and Civic Center site is the best location for such an antenna tower due to its close proximity to the City’s Emergency Operation Center at City Hall. Finally, the City Council finds that the less-than-significant visual impacts of a 69.8-foot-tall amateur radio antenna tower and array upon residents in the La Cresta Pointe community are outweighed by the greater public benefit provided to the entire City by improved emergency communications capabilities.
Section 2: There is no denial of due process or conflict of interest in this instance arising from the fact that the City is both the applicant and the trier of fact. A duly noticed hearing was held, and all interested parties were given an opportunity to speak. In addition, this process complies with the provisions of the Government Code; the State Legislature did not create a different process or review board when the local entity is the applicant for a permit to conduct a use or construct a structure within that entity's boundaries. Such actions do not create a conflict of interest under State Law.
Section 3: The appellant's objection to the antenna is, in reality, an objection about the aesthetic condition of the City Hall property, which is zoned Institutional, not Residential. Accordingly, the appellant's citation to the FCC's interpretation of the provisions of PRB-1 and its application to antennas that are located in residential zones is misplaced.
Section 4: The City Council finds that all applicable findings for the approval of the requested non-commercial amateur radio antenna permit were made by the Planning Commission and reaffirms these findings, to wit:
A. The proposed antenna assembly does not significantly impair a view, as defined in Section 17.02.040 of the Development Code, from a surrounding lot. The City used a “cherry picker” to assess the view impacts of the proposed antenna tower and prepared photographic simulations of these impacts upon homes in the 30900-block of Via La Cresta (La Cresta Pointe), which appeared to be the most likely to experience significant view impacts as a result of the proposed project. Based upon these simulations, the City Council finds that, although the antenna assembly will be visible from surrounding properties, the location and height of the assembly will not significantly impair views of the ocean or Santa Catalina Island. The tower will not extend higher than the distant ocean horizon as viewed from the La Cresta Pointe community.
B. The City Council’s action considers the degree to which refusing or conditioning the permit would interfere with the applicant’s ability to receive and/or transmit radio signals on amateur frequencies. There are several existing amateur radio antennae on or near the studio building. Currently, these antenna provide inadequate coverage and connectivity to the Lomita sheriff’s station due to the height of the antennae and the topography of the Peninsula. The proposed antenna tower would accommodate many of these existing antennae at higher elevations that would provide effective communications with the north and east sides of the city. In addition, long-distance communications to Sacramento and out-of-state would be possible, rather than relying solely on the Lomita sheriff’s station to relay the City’s communications in an emergency. The proposed antenna tower is the lowest tower that will allow for these emergency communications. In addition, since the antennae on the tower will be tested on a weekly basis and should be available for immediate use in the event of an emergency, the tower will not be retracted when not in use, although it would be physically possible to do so. However, the City Council’s approval of this proposal is conditioned upon limits to the height, color, finish and lighting of the antenna tower, and to require the maintenance of foliage as visual screening. The City Council finds that these conditions reasonably accommodate the applicant’s ability to receive and/or transmit radio signals on amateur frequencies and appropriately balances that right with the goals of the City’s General Plan and Development Code.
C. Adequate provision is made for safety, and all applicable Building Code requirements—such as wind load and seismic design criteria—and Development Code requirements—such as setbacks—are met. Prior to its erection, the antenna tower will require review and approval by the City’s Building Official, who will consider issues such as wind load, seismic design and soils conditions. The location of the proposed antenna tower complies with the development standards of the I district, which is the zoning designation for the portion of the Point Vicente Park and Civic Center site on which it is to be located.
D. Appropriate conditions to minimize significant view impairment and to promote the goals of the General Plan and Development Code have been imposed, such as location restrictions, array size restrictions, mass of tower restrictions, height restrictions, and elimination of guy wires. Specific conditions include requiring the approval of the City’s Building Official and geotechnical consultant; specifying the color and finish of the antenna tower; prohibiting any lighting unless required by the Federal; Aviation Administration (FAA); and maintaining existing foliage to provide visual screening. The City Council finds that these conditions will minimize view impairment, protect public health, safety and welfare, and reasonably accommodate the use of the tower for amateur radio purposes.
Therefore, the City Council remands the application for the Non-Commercial Amateur Radio Antenna Permit (Planning Case No. ZON2006-00227) to the Planning Commission for consideration of a revised project with a nesting tower height of fifty-five feet (55’) and overall height of 69.8 feet to the top of the antenna, which can be raised to a maximum overall height of one hundred feet (100’) feet only during a declared emergency; provided, however, if the City does not wish to amend its application to allow the antenna to be extended to one hundred feet (100’) in the event of an emergency, due to cost, or for any other reason, then this decision is final, and no further proceedings before the Planning Commission shall be required.
Section 5: The City Council finds that the conditions of approval adopted by the Planning Commission pursuant to P.C. Resolution No. 2006-41 serve to protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public while reasonably accommodating amateur communications with the minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the City’s legitimate purpose, with the exception of the condition requiring the antenna tower to be painted black, which has been deleted.
Section 6: The City Council finds that, based upon written and oral testimony provided at the public hearing on October 3, 2006, an antenna tower and array that extends up to one hundred feet (100’) in overall height would provide even better emergency communications capabilities than would the 69.8-foot-tall proposal originally reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission. Therefore, the City Council remands the application for the Non-Commercial Amateur Radio Antenna Permit (Planning Case No. ZON2006-00227) to the Planning Commission for consideration of a revised project with a nesting tower height of fifty-five feet (55’) and overall height of 69.8 feet to the top of the antenna, which can be raised to a maximum overall height of one hundred feet (100’) feet only during a declared emergency. The City Council further directs the Planning Commission that, if approved, the revised antenna tower and array should not be painted but left instead with a galvanized metal finish.
Section 7: The time within which the judicial review of the decision reflected in this Resolution, if available, must be sought is governed by Section 1094.6 of the California Code of Civil Procedure and other applicable short periods of limitation.
Section 8: 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 approval of a non-commercial amateur radio antenna permit (Planning Case No. ZON2006-00227) for the erection of a 69.8-foot-tall amateur radio antenna tower and 280-square-foot emergency communications center adjacent to the “Palos Verdes on the Net” studio building at Point Vicente Park and Civic Center, located at 30938 Hawthorne Boulevard, subject to the conditions of approval in the attached Exhibit ’A’.
PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this __th day of October 2006.
State of California )
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 thereof held on ________, 2006.
1. Prior to the submittal of plans into Building and Safety plan check, the applicant and the property owner shall submit to the City a statement, in writing, that they have read, understand, and agree to all conditions of approval contained in this Resolution. Failure to provide said written statement within ninety (90) days following date of this approval shall render this approval null and void.
2. Approval of this permit shall not be construed as a waiver of applicable and appropriate zoning regulations, or any Federal, State, County and/or City laws and regulations. Unless otherwise expressly specified, all other requirements of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code shall apply.
3. This approval is for a 69.8-foot-tall amateur radio antenna tower and 280-square-foot emergency communications center. The Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement is authorized to make minor modifications to the approved plans and any of the conditions of approval if such modifications will achieve substantially the same results as would strict compliance with the approved plans and conditions. Otherwise, any substantive change to the project shall require approval of a revision to the non-commercial amateur radio antenna permit by the Planning Commission and shall require new and separate environmental review.
4. All project development on the site shall conform to the specific standards contained in these conditions of approval or, if not addressed herein, in the I district development standards of the City's Municipal Code.
9. The construction site and adjacent public and private properties and streets shall be kept free of all loose materials resembling trash and debris in excess of that material used for immediate construction purposes. Such excess material may include, but not be limited to: the accumulation of debris, garbage, lumber, scrap metal, concrete asphalt, piles of earth, salvage materials, abandoned or discarded furniture, appliances or other household fixtures.
10. Permitted hours and days for construction activity are 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday through Saturday, with no construction activity permitted on Sundays or on the legal holidays specified in Section 17.96.920 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code. Trucks and other construction vehicles shall not park, queue and/or idle at the project site or in the adjoining public rights-of-way before 7:00 AM, Monday through Saturday, in accordance with the permitted hours of construction stated above.
Non-Commercial Amateur Radio Antenna Permit Conditions:
11. The erection of the approved antenna tower and the installation of the approved emergency communications center shall be subject to the review and approval of the City’s Building Official and geotechnical consultant.
12. The maximum overall height of the antenna tower and attached antennae is 69.8’ above grade at the base of the tower. The tower itself shall be a triangular lattice-type tower, tapering from eighteen inches (18”) across at its base to twelve-and-one-half inches (12½”) across at its top. A maximum of three (3) 2-inch diameter vertical antenna elements will be attached to the antenna tower. In addition, an 82-foot-long wire antenna would also be strung from the antenna tower (at the 39-foot level) to a 10-foot-tall support pole on the nearby earthen berm. No other additional radiating elements may be attached to the tower without the approval of the Planning Commission. No commercial use of the antenna tower or any radiating elements is permitted.
13. The antenna tower shall be a neutral, non-reflective color such as gray or gray-blue so as to blend with the background sky and ocean.
14. No lights may be placed upon the antenna tower, nor may it be otherwise illuminated in any manner, unless the applicant is required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to illuminate any portion of the antenna tower in order to comply with the provisions of 14 CFR Part 77 or any other applicable State or Federal regulations.
15. The maximum height of the 280-square-foot modular building serving as the emergency communication center shall be 11’ to 13’ above grade, depending upon the method of installation/anchoring. The emergency communications center shall be painted to match the adjacent studio building. Any exterior mechanical equipment shall be visually screened with landscaping, lattice panels or fencing, or other means satisfactory to the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement. Skirting shall be provided around the perimeter of building in order to visually screen any support piers or pylons.
16. The existing foliage surrounding the studio building, antenna tower and emergency communications center shall be maintained so as to provide visual screening of the antenna tower and emergency communications center, to the extent that such foliage does not now or in the future significantly impair the view from the viewing area of a nearby residence, as defined in Section 17.02.040 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code.