City Council Minutes JANUARY 13, 2004 CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING JANUARY 13, 2004 CALL TO ORDER The meeting was called to order by Vice Chairman Mueller at 7:05 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard. FLAG SALUTE Commissioner Duran Reed led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance. ATTENDANCE Present: Commissioners Cartwright, Cote, Duran Reed, Lyon, Vice Chairman Mueller Absent: None Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas (arrived at 8:15 p.m.), Associate Planner Schonborn, Project Coordinator Alvarez, and Recording Secretary Peterson. APPROVAL OF AGENDA The agenda was unanimously approved as presented. COMMUNICATIONS Associate Planner Schonborn stated that Director/Secretary Rojas would be arriving at the Planning Commission meeting at approximately 8:30. Commissioner Duran Reed announced that she would be resigning from the Planning Commission, effective immediately. Commissioners Cartwright and Lyon also announced that they would not be re-applying for the Planning Commission and this would be their last meeting. Vice Chairman Mueller and staff thanked Commissioners Duran Reed, Cartwright, and Lyon for their time and contributions to the Planning Commission. Commissioner Duran Reed left the meeting at 7:20 p.m. COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (regarding non-agenda items) None CONSENT CALENDAR 1. Variance and Site Plan Review Permit (Case ZON2003-00312): 4043 Admirable Drive Commissioner Cartwright moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2004-01 thereby approving, as presented, the Variance and Site Plan Review (Case ZON2003-00312), seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (4-0). CONTINUED BUSINESS 2. Grading Permit, Conditional Use Permit, and Site Plan Review Permit (Case ZON2002-00505): 20 Headland Drive Associate Planner Schonborn presented a brief staff report, explaining the applicant was continuing to revise the project to address some of the concerns expressed by the neighbors and Planning Commission, and therefore the plans have not yet been submitted to staff. Therefore, staff was recommending the item be continued to the meeting of February 24, 2004. Commissioner Lyon moved to continue the item to February 24, 2004, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Approved, (4-0). 3. Grading Permit (Case ZON2002-00239): 30120 Cartier Drive Associate Planner Schonborn presented the staff report, explaining the applicant is redesigning the project to address concerns expressed by staff, and therefore staff was recommending continuance until January 27, 2004. Commissioner Cote moved to continue the item to the meeting of January 27, 2004, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (4-0). 4. Height Variation Permit and Site Plan Review (Case ZON2003-00335): 27820 Palos Verdes Drive East Associate Planner Schonborn presented the staff report, explaining that the applicant has redesigned the project. He demonstrated on a power point presentation the differences between the original proposal and the current proposal. He also clarified in condition no. 9 that the third tree was identified as a coffee berry tree and will be identified as such in the condition of approval. He explained that staff was recommending the Planning Commission review the revised design of the proposed project and determine whether the modifications adequately address the Planning Commission’s concerns. Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the pepper tree was located on the applicant’s property or on a neighboring property Associate Planner Schonborn answered that there was some confusion as to whose property the tree was located on, however staff felt that the tree was located on the applicant’s property. Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the proposed chimney met all Code requirements. Associate Planner Schonborn responded that the proposed chimney meets all Code requirements, however pointed out a feature drawn on the chimney that staff would be asking Building and Safety to assess whether it is an architectural feature, and if it is an architectural feature staff has included a condition that the chimney not be any taller than the minimum required by the Uniform Building Code. Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing. Kristi Skelton 24 Buckskin Lane RHE (architect) discussed the changes that have been made to the proposed project and noted that the roof pitch has been reduced to 3:12, which is the lowest acceptable pitch for roof material manufacturers to guarantee their products. Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the fireplace had been part of the previous design. Ms. Skelton answered that the fireplace had been recently added, and that the fireplace helps break up the side of the house. She noted that the chimney would be kept at the minimum height allowed. Boyd Zack 27820 Palos Verdes Drive East (applicant) discussed the trees shown in the power point presentation and clarified the tall tree is a silk oak tree located on the property line and the pepper tree to the north of the silk oak is located on his neighbor’s property. He stated that his neighbor has no objection to having the pepper tree lowered as long as he covers the expenses associated in lowering that tree. He discussed the bulk and mass of the home, showing slides of homes in the immediate neighborhood, and did not think that the proposed addition to the house would create a home that was larger than the average size of the homes in the neighborhood. He stated that because of the location of his home, the appearance of bulk and mass would be greatly reduced. Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Zack if he had shown the re-designed plan to the Vennings. Mr. Zack stated that he had not had a conversation with the Vennings regarding the redesign. Commissioner Cartwright stated that at the previous Planning Commission meeting there had been quite a discussion on the use of foliage to help minimize the perception of the addition, and asked Mr. Zack if that had been taken into consideration. Mr. Zack explained that he has been looking in his backyard as to where he would be able to locate foliage where it wouldn’t be a problem with the structure but would help reduce the Venning’s view of the structure. He felt there were some locations on the hill that would be satisfactory. Cynthia Venning 28032 Palos Verdes Drive East stated that she lives directly behind the Zack’s property and is the neighbor most affected by this proposed addition. She explained that the reason she purchased her home was because of the openness of the view. She stated that her living room is the primary viewing area and is the room which is most affected by the second story addition. She noted that the Zacks have lowered the proposed ridgeline by 10 inches and moved a wall in six feet, but have added a new chimney that goes higher than the ridgeline and is in the middle of the viewing area. She did not see how this was an improvement to the previous design. She stated that she was very unhappy about the second story addition and there are other neighbors who feel the same way, but are older and not willing to make waves in the neighborhood. She felt this proposed second story addition is an invitation to the rest of the neighborhood to add a second story on to their home, and noted that all of the homes in her neighborhood are single story with the exception of two split-level homes. She did not feel the Zack’s addition was compatible with the rest of the neighborhood, and asked the Planning Commission deny the request for the second story addition. Commissioner Cartwright stated that it was his recollection that this second story addition would not be in the Venning’s view frame, but below the view frame. Ms. Venning stated that she could see the addition from her living room. Commissioner Cartwright asked if the chimney would be sticking up into the Venning’s view frame. Ms. Venning answered that she wasn’t sure from viewing the silhouette, and reiterated that the reason she bought her home was for the openness of the view. Commissioner Cartwright felt that could be mitigated with foliage, where foliage could be added to block the house but not be high enough to be in her view frame. Ms. Venning responded that foliage may work, as long as it is kept trimmed, and noted that there is currently foliage on the Zack’s property that is untrimmed and blocking portions of her view. Commissioner Cartwright asked Ms. Venning if she felt there was a view that came down as low as the ridgeline on the silhouette. Ms. Venning answered that there would be a view if the mass of trees were removed, and noted that the problem was also the massiveness of the house looking out from her living room. Mr. Zack (in rebuttal) showed a map that has all of the two story homes in the 100-foot and 500-foot radius color-coded orange, showing that his proposed second story would not be setting a precedence for other two-story homes in the neighborhood. He felt it was very possible to plant foliage that would block a tremendous amount of the Venning’s view of his home without blocking any of the view of the City. Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Zack why the existing foliage on his property was not currently trimmed to meet the requirements of the City. Mr. Zack answered that the oak tree in the foreground was trimmed last year to a height of approximately 12 feet Vice Chairman Mueller felt it was difficult to see the silhouette over and through the existing foliage, which indicates to him that the foliage is above the ridgeline. He noted that the existing foliage will be required to be trimmed to sixteen feet or the ridgeline, whichever is lower, to preserve the view from the Venning property. Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Zack if he was comfortable with the staff recommendation of raising the crown of the oak tree, or if he was open to the suggestion of lowering the crown to open up more of a view from the Venning’s property. Mr. Zack answered that he was comfortable with the staff recommendation to raise the crown, and hoped the tree wouldn’t look like a q-tip. He noted that the tree has been trimmed significantly since he has lived in the house and that he has already removed a eucalyptus tree that significantly blocked the view from the Venning property. He added that he was open to the idea of trimming down the tree, but felt that rather than trimming, the tree would have to be removed, and that he and the Vennings would prefer not to have the tree removed. Commissioner Cote asked Mr. Zack why, after the discussion at the previous Planning Commission meeting, he had not worked with the Vennings in redesigning the proposed addition to address some of the mass and bulk issues. Mr. Zack answered that he did not understand that it was a requirement to work with the Vennings on the bulk and mass issues. Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Zack to point out on the picture where the chimney would be located. Mr. Zack pointed to the location on the slide. Commissioner Cartwright asked staff to delineate the view frame on the slide. Associate Planner Schonborn depicted where the view frame would be on the slide. Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if they felt the chimney would be in the view frame. Associate Planner Schonborn felt the top of the chimney would be close to the view frame, but not be in the view frame. Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing. Commissioner Lyon began by stating that the City has very carefully crafted Ordinances that protect ones view, but does not have an Ordinance or Code that prohibits one from building a house that can be seen by the neighbor. Therefore, he did not see this proposed addition as a problem, as the addition does not project into the view frame. He also did not think the chimney was a problem. Therefore, he stated his support for the proposed project. Commissioner Cartwright agreed with Commissioner Lyon’s comments, noting that anyone would rather look at foliage rather than a structure. However, he noted that the Code restricts the Planning Commission to restoring views as described in the view ordinance. He felt that applicant has done a number of things the Planning Commission asked him to do to try to soften the scale and mass of the structure. He did not feel the chimney projects into the view frame and helps add some articulation to the rear wall. He stated that he would like to see a condition added to require additional foliage be planted at the rear to help soften the appearance of the addition from the Venning property, subject to the Director’s approval. Commissioner Cote stated that she had felt the original submittal was too bulky and massive in appearance and that the architect had addressed this issue in the revised plan. She agreed that foliage could also address the issue of mass and bulk, and agreed with Commissioner Cartwright’s suggestion regarding foliage. She therefore was in support of the revised project. Vice Chairman Mueller agreed with the comments of the other Commissioners and added that the modifications made to articulate the structure have reduced his concerns regarding mass and bulk. He discussed the chimney, noting the concerns raised by the Vennings, however he felt the Planning Commission was somewhat restricted in how it can deal with the chimney, as it does not appear to impair the view. He noted, however, that the chimney was added to help articulate the back wall area, it could be taken completely out of the design and therefore would greatly benefit the Vennings. He was reluctant to advocate putting foliage behind the structure, as the existing foliage appears difficult to maintain. He felt that subsequent owners might not trim the foliage and create a new problem for the Vennings and noted that the Vennings could plant foliage on their property to obscure the structure. He asked staff if the Planning Commission could ask the applicant to remove the chimney, even though it was not in the view frame. Associate Planner Schonborn answered that the chimney is part of the design to articulate the structure, and therefore was in the purview of the Planning Commission. Commissioner Lyon moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2004-02, approving Case No. ZON2003-00335 for the Height Variation and Site Plan Review, as presented, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Approved, (4-0). RECESS AND RECONVENE At 8:15 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 8:30 p.m. at which time they reconvened. Director/Secretary Rojas arrived at 8:15 p.m. CONTINUED BUSINESS (continued) 5. View Restoration Permit No. 159: 6 La Vista Verde Director/Secretary Rojas polled the Commissioners as to whether they had visited the site. All Commissioners had visited the site. Project Coordinator Alvarez presented the staff report, giving a brief history of the case. He discussed the trees involved and the staff recommendations for trimming the trees to restore the view from 6 La Vista Verde. He noted that staff felt that trimming to the recommended levels would not infringe on the privacy of the foliage owner’s property since most of the trees could be trimmed to the ridgeline level, thus maintaining an existing amount of foliage used for screening. Therefore, staff was recommending the Planning Commission approve VRP No. 159 and adopt the draft Resolution. Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing. Walter Boehm 6 La Vista Verde (foliage owner) stated that he has read the staff report and agrees with the recommendations. Jere Morgan 29 Avenida de Corona stated he was very concerned about the trees on the foliage owner’s property, and noted that if tree no. 9 gets as big as tree no. 6, he will loose the view out of his bay window, a view he has had for over 45 years. He noted that the trees currently block approximately 30 percent of the view out of that window. He explained that the foliage owner has been to his home to see the blockage, but has not been willing to trim down his trees. Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Morgan if tree no. 8 caused him a problem. Mr. Morgan answered that tree no. 8 was not a concern to him, only trees 6 and 9. Commissioner Cartwright noted that that the foliage owner was concerned that trimming tree no. 9 would cause a privacy issue, and asked Mr. Morgan what view he would have of the foliage owner’s property if the tree were removed. Mr. Morgan did not feel he would have any view into the foliage owner’s yard if tree no. 9 were removed. Director/Secretary Rojas noted that Mr. Morgan is not a formal applicant. Dierk Hagemann 32 Avenida Corona (foliage owner) felt that the applicant has a significant view, much of the same view they had when they bought the home. He stated that the trees on his property are approximately 25 years, and did not think the applicant has lost any significant view since they bought the house. He stated that the trees on his property provide him with privacy and shade. He questioned why his trees were singled out by the applicant and not the trees of his neighbors. He felt that tree nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8 can be trimmed without a problem, however tree nos. 7 and 9 will look like awkward and tree no. 3 will die. He stated that tree nos. 3, 7, and 9 shade all of the rooms of his home. He felt that if trees 7 and 9 were trimmed his house would be exposed to sun all day, and he does not have ample electrical power to run an air conditioner. He stated that if tree no. 3 is cut down, it will most likely die and he will lose his privacy. Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Hagemann if he had read the staff report. Mr. Hagemann answered that he had read the staff report. Commissioner Cartwright explained that there are certain findings that the Planning Commission must make, and asked Mr. Hagemann if he disagreed with the staff’s assessment that the foliage on his property that exceeds 16 feet or the roofline significantly impairs the view from his neighbor’s property. Mr. Hagemann agreed that the foliage exceeds 16 feet in height, but he did not think it causes a significant view impairment from the neighbor’s property. Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Hagemann about the options for the foliage presented in the staff report, specifically regarding tree nos. 3 and 6. Mr. Hagemann responded that he did not object to trimming trees 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8 to the roofline. He stated that tree no. 3 covers the roof of his house and the plants in his yard with shade and privacy. He did not think tree no. 3 could be cut to the ridgeline and survive. He felt that tree no. 7 would be all right if it was trimmed to the ridgeline. Regarding tree no. 9, he felt that trimming it to the ridgeline would make the tree look awful and will expose his house to the sun. Commissioner Cote asked staff if the Planning Commission should be taking into consideration the views from Mr. Morgan’s property since he is not the applicant in this case. Director/Secretary Rojas answered that there is only one applicant for this application and Mr. Murphy could be considered an interested party who could benefit from the decision made by the Planning Commission, however the Planning Commission is required to only take into consideration the applicant’s situation. Jo Boehm 6 La Vista Verde (applicant) stated that there are several neighbors who are impacted by the trees on the foliage owner’s property and noted that the neighbor at 60 Avenida Corona will be filing a view restoration case against Mr. Hagemann. She stated that she has had a view from her property since she moved into the home in 1974, and the trees are not only growing taller they are growing wider. Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mrs. Boehm if she agreed with the recommendations in the staff report. Mrs. Boehm answered that she did agree with the recommendations in the staff report. Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing. Commissioner Cote asked if tree no. 3 were removed, if it would qualify for a replacement tree to be supplied by the applicant under the Guidelines. Director/Secretary Rojas answered that given the testimony and the fact that the tree does provide shade and privacy to the applicant’s property as well as it being an integral part of the landscaping, it does meet the findings for replacement foliage. Commissioner Cartwright asked if that justification would also apply to tree no. 6. Project Coordinator Alvarez answered that tree no. 6 could have a determination made that it qualifies for replacement foliage if it is removed with the owner’s consent. The Planning Commission discussed the Guidelines in terms or removal and replacement of trees and Commissioner Cote felt that tree nos. 3, 6, and 7 were the trees on the property that met the requirements per the Guidelines for removal and replacement. Vice Chairman Mueller felt it would be best to ask the foliage owner if he would be willing to have these trees removed and replaced. Vice Chairman Mueller re-opened the public hearing. Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Hagemann, after hearing the Planning Commission’s discussion, if he would agree to the removal and replacement of tree no. 3, 6, and 7. Mr. Hagemann stated that tree no. 6 is not an issue and he agreed that the tree could be removed and replaced or trimmed. He opposed to the cutting of tree no. 3 as it provides shade to his home and the plants in his yard and the landscaping is built around that tree. He explained that he did not mind if trees are removed, however the replacement foliage should at least be a green wall, as it currently is, at 16 feet in height or lower. Commissioner Cartwright noted that for tree no. 7 staff was recommending the crown be reduced to a height not to exceed the ridgeline, and asked Mr. Hagemann if he would prefer to have the tree removed and replaced with foliage. Mr. Hagemann noted that reducing the crown of tree no. 7 as recommended by staff would cut approximately 2/3 of the tree down. He questioned how there could be replacement foliage that would cover the 60 to 70 feet the existing tree currently covers. Commissioner Cartwright asked staff the typical size of replacement trees. Project Coordinator Alvarez answered that the maximum size of replacement trees is a 24-inch box tree. Director/Secretary Rojas added that the Planning Commission was not limited to a one for one replacement of foliage. Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Hagemann if he would rather have tree no. 7 removed and replaced or trimmed to the ridgeline. Mr. Hagemann answered that he would prefer to have tree no. 7 removed and replaced if the applicant furnished enough foliage to cover the 70 feet of open space. If the applicant does not agree to that, he will not agree to have the tree removed. Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing. Commissioner Cartwright moved to accept the staff recommendations for tree nos. 1 and 2, to remove and replace tree no. 3, staff recommendation for tree nos. 4 and 5, remove and replace tree no. 6, staff recommendation for tree nos. 7, 8 and 9, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Director/Secretary Rojas noted that he Planning Commission should specify the number of trees that would replace the trees removed. Project Coordinator Alvarez added that staff felt that two replacement trees would be adequate for the removal of tree no. 7, and that a one-for-one replacement would be adequate for trees 3 and 6. Commissioner Cartwright noted that his motion was not to remove tree no. 7 but rather to raise the crown of the tree, as he did not feel the applicant agreed to the removal of the tree. Director/Secretary Rojas asked for clarification on the direction for tree no. 3, as he did not think that the foliage owner gave verbal consent to the removal of tree no. 3. He stated that the foliage owner will have to agree, in writing, to the removal of any trees before the action occurs. Commissioner Cartwright amended the motion to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2004-03 thereby approving VRP No. 159 as recommended by staff for all of the trees, however if the foliage owner agrees in writing to remove tree nos. 3 and 6 it will be a one-for-one replacement with a 24-inch box tree, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (4-0). 6. Minutes of November 25, 2003 Commissioner Cartwright noted that on page 18, last paragraph, he had made the statement rather than Commissioner Duran Reed. Vice Chairman Mueller noted a typo on page 19 of the minutes. Commissioner Cartwright moved to approve the minutes as amended, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (3-0-1) with Commissioner Cote abstaining since she was absent from that meeting. PUBLIC HEARINGS 7. Height Variation Permit and Site Plan Review (Case ZON2003-00452): 30003 Matisse Drive Director/Secretary Rojas began the staff report giving a brief description of the project and stating that staff believes all of the findings can be made except for the finding regarding the view. He displayed a power point presentation and explained that staff felt the proposed second story impairs some ocean view and that this impairment is significant, and could therefore not make the required finding. Associate Planner Schonborn continued, showing several slides of the proposed addition and the area of view impairment. He noted that there is also a proposed single story addition which staff does not feel creates any compatibility or impairment issues. Therefore, staff is recommending the Planning Commission deny, without prejudice, the Height Variation and approve the Site Plan Review. Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if the determination that the view impairment is significant was based on the fact that it is impacting the ocean view. Associate Planner Schonborn answered that the determination was made due to the impact on the ocean view in relation to the scope of view in the view frame. He explained that staff felt that because the view is very narrow in that area, raising the ridgeline would significantly impact the view. Commissioner Cartwright asked if the picture displayed was taken from a standing or a sitting position. Associate Planner Schonborn answered that the photo was taken from a standing position. Commissioner Cartwright asked staff how they felt the proposed second story addition could be modified so as not to impair the view. Associate Planner Schonborn pointed to an area on the power point slide, explaining the area could be redesigned. He also felt that providing access to the upper level from within the structure would then eliminate the need for the ridgeline to be raised. Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing. Kurt Beckmeyer 1151 El Centro St, So. Pasadena (architect) explained that the homeowners felt they needed a game room for their growing family, a larger and more functional kitchen and dining room, and most importantly, a new entry area. He noted that currently there is no entry statement and he has created a street level approach, and in doing so maintained a minimum plate line as low as 6’8" and ceiling heights in the mezzanine of only 7’2" maximum. He explained that he utilized the shallowest slope possible for the roof and was therefore able to create the necessary second level with the minimal increase in ridgeline. To address the needs of the game room, he included this space on the new second level in the least obstructive position possible, which is behind and below the ridgeline of the existing garage. He noted that the proposed kitchen and dining room expansions extend from the rear of the house on the first level and have no impact. He also stated there was a tree to the left of the applicant’s home that the applicant would have removed to help the view from the neighbor’s home. Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Beckmeyer if he disagreed with the staff recommendations regarding view impairment. Mr. Beckmeyer disagreed with the concern that he did not try to minimize any potential view impairment. He did not feel the proposed addition created a significant view impact to the neighboring property, as it would not obstruct any of the mountain, coastline, or bay view. He felt that the only obstruction was the amount of water that could be seen, and noted that at night it is a black area anyway. Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Beckmeyer why he could not lower the height of the entry. Mr. Beckmeyer explained that the entry height is somewhat independent of the mezzanine height, and was established as a design feature to maintain the horizontal lines of the building. He felt that the entry could be designed at a slightly lower height that is compatible with the street location, and this would change the design of the elevations. Commissioner Lyon asked Mr. Beckmeyer if the tree that was offered to be removed was the pine tree shown on the slide. Mr. Beckmeyer pointed to the pine tree in the photo that is to the left of the garage, acknowledging that was the tree to be removed. Commissioner Lyon asked if he felt the removal of that tree would cause a direct view of the ocean. Mr. Beckmeyer answered that the removal of the pine tree would give the neighbor a direct view of the ocean through that area. Commissioner Lyon noted that the pine tree in question would most likely be required to be trimmed if the project was approved, as it exceeds the ridgeline of the existing house. Marc Kaiser 30003 Matisse Drive (applicant) stated that the goal of the addition was to enhance the value of the property and it’s compatibility with the neighborhood. He felt the project, if approved, would allow his home to better conform with the other homes in the neighborhood, significantly improve the curb appeal of the property, and would enhance overall property values in the neighborhood. He felt that the existing sunken entry was a cause of concern with regards to safety, especially during nighttime access, and creating a street level entrance would establish a much more open and safer condition. He stated that his property is the only one on the ocean side of Matisse Drive that is a single level home, and this application would bring his home into parity with others on the block. Vicki Poponi 30003 Matisse Drive (applicant) began by explaining during the early neighborhood consultation process she received a lot of favorable feedback, but was not able to reach Mr. Faries as the residence is a rental property. She stated that the only disagreement she had with staff was the definition of significant. She showed photographs taken of the view, showing the mountains, bay, coastline, and blue water. She stated that the reason she did not think the view impact was significant was because her proposed addition would be taking only a small portion of the view, the blue water portion. She noted that Mr. Faries would maintain his view of the coastline, bay, and mountains. Commissioner Cartwright asked Ms. Poponi if she has read the View Restoration Guidelines. Ms. Poponi answered that she has read the Guidelines, but it has been quite awhile since she read them. Commissioner Cartwright explained that the View Restoration Guidelines talk about the difference between a single view and a multi-component view, and noted that in this situation there was a multi-component view. He explained that taking away part of the blue water view in a multi-component view could be considered significant, even though it doesn’t affect the mountains or shoreline view. He asked Ms. Poponi if she would be willing to make some changes to the plans to help preserve the water view of her neighbor. Ms. Poponi answered that she and her husband are open to working through the problems to get a resolution. Robert Faries 30004 Matisse Drive stated the he agrees with the staff report that there is significant view impairment from his home resulting from this proposed addition. He noted that the pictures displayed were taken from a standing position, and most people enjoy the view from a sitting position. Therefore, the view impact would be even greater than displayed in the photographs. He appreciated the fact that the applicant wants to improve his property, however it should not be done at his expense. He asked the Planning Commission to not approve the proposed second story addition. Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Faries if lowering the ridgeline over the proposed entryway and removing the pine tree to the left of the home would be a satisfactory solution. Mr. Faries answered that if the applicant can design an addition that does not exceed the height of the current home, he would have no problem with the proposal. Mr. Beckmeyer (in rebuttal) stated that there is flexibility in the entryway area and it may be designed to be very near the existing ridgeline height. The portion where the mezzanine crosses over that will be difficult to adjust, as the plate line is already extremely low, and moving the stair access to the interior was not part of the design concept. Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the plate height being discussed was on the upper floor or the lower floor area. Mr. Beckmeyer answered that the 6’8" plate height discussed would be on the new upper level at the mezzanine. Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Beckmeyer if he had considered lowering the ceiling on the first floor. Mr. Beckmeyer answered that the ceiling on the first floor is only 8 feet now, however it could be lowered, but it would complicate the project. Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing. Commissioner Lyon stated that he could appreciate both desires and viewpoints of the applicant and Mr. Faries. He felt that, as currently designed, he would judge the view impact to be significant. However, if the portion of the ridgeline over the entry foyer were brought down to the existing ridgeline and the pine tree to the left of the home was removed, the view impact may then not be significant and the Planning Commission may then be able to make the appropriate findings to approve the project. Commissioner Cote agreed with Commissioner Lyon’s comments and was interested to see how the architect could redesign the proposed entryway to minimize the view impact. She explained that if there were efforts taken to minimize the view impact, there was a possibility that the view impact would not be significant. She would therefore recommend the Planning Commission consider continuing the item to allow the neighbor and the applicant to work together to redesign the project to address the concerns. Commissioner Cartwright agreed with the comments from Commissioners Lyon and Cote. He complimented the architect on the design of the addition, as he felt it was compatible with the neighborhood, and the only real issue was that of view impairment. He agreed that if the piece over the entryway were reduced and the tree removed, the view impact would most likely not be significant. Vice Chairman Mueller agreed that the entryway could be lowered to reduce the view impact from the neighbor’s property. However, he was not convinced that the sacrifice of the neighbor’s view of the bay on the left of the property in favor of an expansion of the applicant’s home was equitable. He noted that the architect had indicated there were other ways to provide an entry to the home that were not as convenient, which he felt should be explored. Commissioner Lyon moved to continue the hearing to the meeting of February 24, 2004 to allow the applicant time to address the concerns expressed by the Planning Commission regarding the view obstruction, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Director/Secretary Rojas noted that the applicant will have to grant a 90-day extension to allow the item to be continued. Vice Chairman Mueller re-opened the public hearing. Vice Chairman Mueller asked the applicant if they would grant a 90-day extension in order to continue the item. Mr. Beckmeyer (applicant) asked if the continuance would come before a whole new planning commission. Director/Secretary Rojas answered there will be five new Planning Commissioners at the February 24 meeting. Mr. Beckmeyer stated that, if at all possible, he would prefer to get conditions sufficient enough to satisfy the concerns of the current Planning Commission and not have to continue the item to a new Commission. Director/Secretary Rojas explained that unless there is a consensus for approval at this meeting and no extension is granted, the Planning Commission may be faced with having to deny the project if there is no consensus for approval. He noted that if there is a 2-2 vote, the project would be deemed denied. Mr. Beckmeyer suggested that the first choice would be to try to approve the project tonight with strict parameters for a redesign, and if that could not be achieved, he would agree to a 90-day extension and continuing the project. Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing. Commissioner Lyon withdrew his motion of continuance, and Commissioner Cartwright withdrew his second to the motion. Commissioner Lyon moved to approve the project with the following conditions (aided by a picture of the subject property and silhouette): 1) completely eliminate the portion of the proposed roof line over the proposed entry and bring it down to the existing ridgeline; and, 2) that the tree on the left side of the picture be lowered so as to not obstruct the view, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Commissioner Lyon felt that this motion depicts what the new plan would have to be and from a view standpoint there would be no uncertainty as to what the Planning Commission has done. Commissioner Cartwright felt that one of the advantages of doing this was to help avoid confusion when this is heard before an entirely new Planning Commission, and in the meantime guidance has been given to the applicant to redesign their project. Vice Chairman Mueller was not concerned that the new Planning Commission would be able to hear this continued item without confusion and be able to make an educated decision. He was concerned, however, about approving an addition when there are view issues involved without seeing the finished design and the impact it will have on the neighbor’s views. Commissioner Cote agreed that she could not approve a project that could have significant view impact to a neighboring property without seeing the finished design. Commissioner Lyon withdrew his motion to approve the project and moved to continue the item to the February 24, 2004 Planning Commission meeting to allow the applicant time to address the concerns raised by the Planning Commission, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Approved, (4-0) APPROVAL OF MINUTES 8. Minutes of December 11, 2003 Commissioner Lyon moved to approve the minutes as presented, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Approved, (3-0-1) with Commissioner Cote abstaining since she was absent from that meeting. ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS Commissioner Cote noted that she would not be at the January 27, 2004 meeting. Director/Secretary Rojas thanked outgoing Commissioners Cartwright and Lyon for their many years of service to the City as Planning Commissioners. He also noted that there will be an orientation for the new Planning Commissioners at 7:00 at the January 27 meeting, with the regular meeting beginning at 8:30. ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 p.m. City Council Minutes JANUARY 13, 2004 CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES

CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES

PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

JANUARY 13, 2004

 

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Vice Chairman Mueller at 7:05 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.

FLAG SALUTE

Commissioner Duran Reed led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ATTENDANCE

Present: Commissioners Cartwright, Cote, Duran Reed, Lyon, Vice Chairman Mueller

Absent: None

Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas (arrived at 8:15 p.m.), Associate Planner Schonborn, Project Coordinator Alvarez, and Recording Secretary Peterson.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

The agenda was unanimously approved as presented.

COMMUNICATIONS

Associate Planner Schonborn stated that Director/Secretary Rojas would be arriving at the Planning Commission meeting at approximately 8:30.

Commissioner Duran Reed announced that she would be resigning from the Planning Commission, effective immediately.

Commissioners Cartwright and Lyon also announced that they would not be re-applying for the Planning Commission and this would be their last meeting.

Vice Chairman Mueller and staff thanked Commissioners Duran Reed, Cartwright, and Lyon for their time and contributions to the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Duran Reed left the meeting at 7:20 p.m.

 

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (regarding non-agenda items)

None

CONSENT CALENDAR

1. Variance and Site Plan Review Permit (Case ZON2003-00312): 4043 Admirable Drive

Commissioner Cartwright moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2004-01 thereby approving, as presented, the Variance and Site Plan Review (Case ZON2003-00312), seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (4-0).

CONTINUED BUSINESS

2. Grading Permit, Conditional Use Permit, and Site Plan Review Permit (Case ZON2002-00505): 20 Headland Drive

Associate Planner Schonborn presented a brief staff report, explaining the applicant was continuing to revise the project to address some of the concerns expressed by the neighbors and Planning Commission, and therefore the plans have not yet been submitted to staff. Therefore, staff was recommending the item be continued to the meeting of February 24, 2004.

Commissioner Lyon moved to continue the item to February 24, 2004, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Approved, (4-0).

3. Grading Permit (Case ZON2002-00239): 30120 Cartier Drive

Associate Planner Schonborn presented the staff report, explaining the applicant is redesigning the project to address concerns expressed by staff, and therefore staff was recommending continuance until January 27, 2004.

Commissioner Cote moved to continue the item to the meeting of January 27, 2004, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (4-0).

4. Height Variation Permit and Site Plan Review (Case ZON2003-00335): 27820 Palos Verdes Drive East

Associate Planner Schonborn presented the staff report, explaining that the applicant has redesigned the project. He demonstrated on a power point presentation the differences between the original proposal and the current proposal. He also clarified in condition no. 9 that the third tree was identified as a coffee berry tree and will be identified as such in the condition of approval. He explained that staff was recommending the Planning Commission review the revised design of the proposed project and determine whether the modifications adequately address the Planning Commission’s concerns.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the pepper tree was located on the applicant’s property or on a neighboring property

Associate Planner Schonborn answered that there was some confusion as to whose property the tree was located on, however staff felt that the tree was located on the applicant’s property.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the proposed chimney met all Code requirements.

Associate Planner Schonborn responded that the proposed chimney meets all Code requirements, however pointed out a feature drawn on the chimney that staff would be asking Building and Safety to assess whether it is an architectural feature, and if it is an architectural feature staff has included a condition that the chimney not be any taller than the minimum required by the Uniform Building Code.

Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.

Kristi Skelton 24 Buckskin Lane RHE (architect) discussed the changes that have been made to the proposed project and noted that the roof pitch has been reduced to 3:12, which is the lowest acceptable pitch for roof material manufacturers to guarantee their products.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the fireplace had been part of the previous design.

Ms. Skelton answered that the fireplace had been recently added, and that the fireplace helps break up the side of the house. She noted that the chimney would be kept at the minimum height allowed.

Boyd Zack 27820 Palos Verdes Drive East (applicant) discussed the trees shown in the power point presentation and clarified the tall tree is a silk oak tree located on the property line and the pepper tree to the north of the silk oak is located on his neighbor’s property. He stated that his neighbor has no objection to having the pepper tree lowered as long as he covers the expenses associated in lowering that tree. He discussed the bulk and mass of the home, showing slides of homes in the immediate neighborhood, and did not think that the proposed addition to the house would create a home that was larger than the average size of the homes in the neighborhood. He stated that because of the location of his home, the appearance of bulk and mass would be greatly reduced.

Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Zack if he had shown the re-designed plan to the Vennings.

Mr. Zack stated that he had not had a conversation with the Vennings regarding the redesign.

Commissioner Cartwright stated that at the previous Planning Commission meeting there had been quite a discussion on the use of foliage to help minimize the perception of the addition, and asked Mr. Zack if that had been taken into consideration.

Mr. Zack explained that he has been looking in his backyard as to where he would be able to locate foliage where it wouldn’t be a problem with the structure but would help reduce the Venning’s view of the structure. He felt there were some locations on the hill that would be satisfactory.

Cynthia Venning 28032 Palos Verdes Drive East stated that she lives directly behind the Zack’s property and is the neighbor most affected by this proposed addition. She explained that the reason she purchased her home was because of the openness of the view. She stated that her living room is the primary viewing area and is the room which is most affected by the second story addition. She noted that the Zacks have lowered the proposed ridgeline by 10 inches and moved a wall in six feet, but have added a new chimney that goes higher than the ridgeline and is in the middle of the viewing area. She did not see how this was an improvement to the previous design. She stated that she was very unhappy about the second story addition and there are other neighbors who feel the same way, but are older and not willing to make waves in the neighborhood. She felt this proposed second story addition is an invitation to the rest of the neighborhood to add a second story on to their home, and noted that all of the homes in her neighborhood are single story with the exception of two split-level homes. She did not feel the Zack’s addition was compatible with the rest of the neighborhood, and asked the Planning Commission deny the request for the second story addition.

Commissioner Cartwright stated that it was his recollection that this second story addition would not be in the Venning’s view frame, but below the view frame.

Ms. Venning stated that she could see the addition from her living room.

Commissioner Cartwright asked if the chimney would be sticking up into the Venning’s view frame.

Ms. Venning answered that she wasn’t sure from viewing the silhouette, and reiterated that the reason she bought her home was for the openness of the view.

Commissioner Cartwright felt that could be mitigated with foliage, where foliage could be added to block the house but not be high enough to be in her view frame.

Ms. Venning responded that foliage may work, as long as it is kept trimmed, and noted that there is currently foliage on the Zack’s property that is untrimmed and blocking portions of her view.

Commissioner Cartwright asked Ms. Venning if she felt there was a view that came down as low as the ridgeline on the silhouette.

Ms. Venning answered that there would be a view if the mass of trees were removed, and noted that the problem was also the massiveness of the house looking out from her living room.

Mr. Zack (in rebuttal) showed a map that has all of the two story homes in the 100-foot and 500-foot radius color-coded orange, showing that his proposed second story would not be setting a precedence for other two-story homes in the neighborhood. He felt it was very possible to plant foliage that would block a tremendous amount of the Venning’s view of his home without blocking any of the view of the City.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Zack why the existing foliage on his property was not currently trimmed to meet the requirements of the City.

Mr. Zack answered that the oak tree in the foreground was trimmed last year to a height of approximately 12 feet

Vice Chairman Mueller felt it was difficult to see the silhouette over and through the existing foliage, which indicates to him that the foliage is above the ridgeline. He noted that the existing foliage will be required to be trimmed to sixteen feet or the ridgeline, whichever is lower, to preserve the view from the Venning property.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Zack if he was comfortable with the staff recommendation of raising the crown of the oak tree, or if he was open to the suggestion of lowering the crown to open up more of a view from the Venning’s property.

Mr. Zack answered that he was comfortable with the staff recommendation to raise the crown, and hoped the tree wouldn’t look like a q-tip. He noted that the tree has been trimmed significantly since he has lived in the house and that he has already removed a eucalyptus tree that significantly blocked the view from the Venning property. He added that he was open to the idea of trimming down the tree, but felt that rather than trimming, the tree would have to be removed, and that he and the Vennings would prefer not to have the tree removed.

Commissioner Cote asked Mr. Zack why, after the discussion at the previous Planning Commission meeting, he had not worked with the Vennings in redesigning the proposed addition to address some of the mass and bulk issues.

Mr. Zack answered that he did not understand that it was a requirement to work with the Vennings on the bulk and mass issues.

Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Zack to point out on the picture where the chimney would be located.

Mr. Zack pointed to the location on the slide.

Commissioner Cartwright asked staff to delineate the view frame on the slide.

Associate Planner Schonborn depicted where the view frame would be on the slide.

Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if they felt the chimney would be in the view frame.

Associate Planner Schonborn felt the top of the chimney would be close to the view frame, but not be in the view frame.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Lyon began by stating that the City has very carefully crafted Ordinances that protect ones view, but does not have an Ordinance or Code that prohibits one from building a house that can be seen by the neighbor. Therefore, he did not see this proposed addition as a problem, as the addition does not project into the view frame. He also did not think the chimney was a problem. Therefore, he stated his support for the proposed project.

Commissioner Cartwright agreed with Commissioner Lyon’s comments, noting that anyone would rather look at foliage rather than a structure. However, he noted that the Code restricts the Planning Commission to restoring views as described in the view ordinance. He felt that applicant has done a number of things the Planning Commission asked him to do to try to soften the scale and mass of the structure. He did not feel the chimney projects into the view frame and helps add some articulation to the rear wall. He stated that he would like to see a condition added to require additional foliage be planted at the rear to help soften the appearance of the addition from the Venning property, subject to the Director’s approval.

Commissioner Cote stated that she had felt the original submittal was too bulky and massive in appearance and that the architect had addressed this issue in the revised plan. She agreed that foliage could also address the issue of mass and bulk, and agreed with Commissioner Cartwright’s suggestion regarding foliage. She therefore was in support of the revised project.

Vice Chairman Mueller agreed with the comments of the other Commissioners and added that the modifications made to articulate the structure have reduced his concerns regarding mass and bulk. He discussed the chimney, noting the concerns raised by the Vennings, however he felt the Planning Commission was somewhat restricted in how it can deal with the chimney, as it does not appear to impair the view. He noted, however, that the chimney was added to help articulate the back wall area, it could be taken completely out of the design and therefore would greatly benefit the Vennings. He was reluctant to advocate putting foliage behind the structure, as the existing foliage appears difficult to maintain. He felt that subsequent owners might not trim the foliage and create a new problem for the Vennings and noted that the Vennings could plant foliage on their property to obscure the structure. He asked staff if the Planning Commission could ask the applicant to remove the chimney, even though it was not in the view frame.

Associate Planner Schonborn answered that the chimney is part of the design to articulate the structure, and therefore was in the purview of the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Lyon moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2004-02, approving Case No. ZON2003-00335 for the Height Variation and Site Plan Review, as presented, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Approved, (4-0).

RECESS AND RECONVENE

At 8:15 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 8:30 p.m. at which time they reconvened.

Director/Secretary Rojas arrived at 8:15 p.m.

CONTINUED BUSINESS (continued)

5. View Restoration Permit No. 159: 6 La Vista Verde

Director/Secretary Rojas polled the Commissioners as to whether they had visited the site. All Commissioners had visited the site.

Project Coordinator Alvarez presented the staff report, giving a brief history of the case. He discussed the trees involved and the staff recommendations for trimming the trees to restore the view from 6 La Vista Verde. He noted that staff felt that trimming to the recommended levels would not infringe on the privacy of the foliage owner’s property since most of the trees could be trimmed to the ridgeline level, thus maintaining an existing amount of foliage used for screening. Therefore, staff was recommending the Planning Commission approve VRP No. 159 and adopt the draft Resolution.

Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.

Walter Boehm 6 La Vista Verde (foliage owner) stated that he has read the staff report and agrees with the recommendations.

Jere Morgan 29 Avenida de Corona stated he was very concerned about the trees on the foliage owner’s property, and noted that if tree no. 9 gets as big as tree no. 6, he will loose the view out of his bay window, a view he has had for over 45 years. He noted that the trees currently block approximately 30 percent of the view out of that window. He explained that the foliage owner has been to his home to see the blockage, but has not been willing to trim down his trees.

Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Morgan if tree no. 8 caused him a problem.

Mr. Morgan answered that tree no. 8 was not a concern to him, only trees 6 and 9.

Commissioner Cartwright noted that that the foliage owner was concerned that trimming tree no. 9 would cause a privacy issue, and asked Mr. Morgan what view he would have of the foliage owner’s property if the tree were removed.

Mr. Morgan did not feel he would have any view into the foliage owner’s yard if tree no. 9 were removed.

Director/Secretary Rojas noted that Mr. Morgan is not a formal applicant.

Dierk Hagemann 32 Avenida Corona (foliage owner) felt that the applicant has a significant view, much of the same view they had when they bought the home. He stated that the trees on his property are approximately 25 years, and did not think the applicant has lost any significant view since they bought the house. He stated that the trees on his property provide him with privacy and shade. He questioned why his trees were singled out by the applicant and not the trees of his neighbors. He felt that tree nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8 can be trimmed without a problem, however tree nos. 7 and 9 will look like awkward and tree no. 3 will die. He stated that tree nos. 3, 7, and 9 shade all of the rooms of his home. He felt that if trees 7 and 9 were trimmed his house would be exposed to sun all day, and he does not have ample electrical power to run an air conditioner. He stated that if tree no. 3 is cut down, it will most likely die and he will lose his privacy.

Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Hagemann if he had read the staff report.

Mr. Hagemann answered that he had read the staff report.

Commissioner Cartwright explained that there are certain findings that the Planning Commission must make, and asked Mr. Hagemann if he disagreed with the staff’s assessment that the foliage on his property that exceeds 16 feet or the roofline significantly impairs the view from his neighbor’s property.

Mr. Hagemann agreed that the foliage exceeds 16 feet in height, but he did not think it causes a significant view impairment from the neighbor’s property.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Hagemann about the options for the foliage presented in the staff report, specifically regarding tree nos. 3 and 6.

Mr. Hagemann responded that he did not object to trimming trees 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8 to the roofline. He stated that tree no. 3 covers the roof of his house and the plants in his yard with shade and privacy. He did not think tree no. 3 could be cut to the ridgeline and survive. He felt that tree no. 7 would be all right if it was trimmed to the ridgeline. Regarding tree no. 9, he felt that trimming it to the ridgeline would make the tree look awful and will expose his house to the sun.

Commissioner Cote asked staff if the Planning Commission should be taking into consideration the views from Mr. Morgan’s property since he is not the applicant in this case.

Director/Secretary Rojas answered that there is only one applicant for this application and Mr. Murphy could be considered an interested party who could benefit from the decision made by the Planning Commission, however the Planning Commission is required to only take into consideration the applicant’s situation.

Jo Boehm 6 La Vista Verde (applicant) stated that there are several neighbors who are impacted by the trees on the foliage owner’s property and noted that the neighbor at 60 Avenida Corona will be filing a view restoration case against Mr. Hagemann. She stated that she has had a view from her property since she moved into the home in 1974, and the trees are not only growing taller they are growing wider.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mrs. Boehm if she agreed with the recommendations in the staff report.

Mrs. Boehm answered that she did agree with the recommendations in the staff report.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Cote asked if tree no. 3 were removed, if it would qualify for a replacement tree to be supplied by the applicant under the Guidelines.

Director/Secretary Rojas answered that given the testimony and the fact that the tree does provide shade and privacy to the applicant’s property as well as it being an integral part of the landscaping, it does meet the findings for replacement foliage.

Commissioner Cartwright asked if that justification would also apply to tree no. 6.

Project Coordinator Alvarez answered that tree no. 6 could have a determination made that it qualifies for replacement foliage if it is removed with the owner’s consent.

The Planning Commission discussed the Guidelines in terms or removal and replacement of trees and Commissioner Cote felt that tree nos. 3, 6, and 7 were the trees on the property that met the requirements per the Guidelines for removal and replacement.

Vice Chairman Mueller felt it would be best to ask the foliage owner if he would be willing to have these trees removed and replaced.

Vice Chairman Mueller re-opened the public hearing.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Hagemann, after hearing the Planning Commission’s discussion, if he would agree to the removal and replacement of tree no. 3, 6, and 7.

Mr. Hagemann stated that tree no. 6 is not an issue and he agreed that the tree could be removed and replaced or trimmed. He opposed to the cutting of tree no. 3 as it provides shade to his home and the plants in his yard and the landscaping is built around that tree. He explained that he did not mind if trees are removed, however the replacement foliage should at least be a green wall, as it currently is, at 16 feet in height or lower.

Commissioner Cartwright noted that for tree no. 7 staff was recommending the crown be reduced to a height not to exceed the ridgeline, and asked Mr. Hagemann if he would prefer to have the tree removed and replaced with foliage.

Mr. Hagemann noted that reducing the crown of tree no. 7 as recommended by staff would cut approximately 2/3 of the tree down. He questioned how there could be replacement foliage that would cover the 60 to 70 feet the existing tree currently covers.

Commissioner Cartwright asked staff the typical size of replacement trees.

Project Coordinator Alvarez answered that the maximum size of replacement trees is a 24-inch box tree.

Director/Secretary Rojas added that the Planning Commission was not limited to a one for one replacement of foliage.

Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Hagemann if he would rather have tree no. 7 removed and replaced or trimmed to the ridgeline.

Mr. Hagemann answered that he would prefer to have tree no. 7 removed and replaced if the applicant furnished enough foliage to cover the 70 feet of open space. If the applicant does not agree to that, he will not agree to have the tree removed.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Cartwright moved to accept the staff recommendations for tree nos. 1 and 2, to remove and replace tree no. 3, staff recommendation for tree nos. 4 and 5, remove and replace tree no. 6, staff recommendation for tree nos. 7, 8 and 9, seconded by Commissioner Lyon.

Director/Secretary Rojas noted that he Planning Commission should specify the number of trees that would replace the trees removed.

Project Coordinator Alvarez added that staff felt that two replacement trees would be adequate for the removal of tree no. 7, and that a one-for-one replacement would be adequate for trees 3 and 6.

Commissioner Cartwright noted that his motion was not to remove tree no. 7 but rather to raise the crown of the tree, as he did not feel the applicant agreed to the removal of the tree.

Director/Secretary Rojas asked for clarification on the direction for tree no. 3, as he did not think that the foliage owner gave verbal consent to the removal of tree no. 3. He stated that the foliage owner will have to agree, in writing, to the removal of any trees before the action occurs.

Commissioner Cartwright amended the motion to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2004-03 thereby approving VRP No. 159 as recommended by staff for all of the trees, however if the foliage owner agrees in writing to remove tree nos. 3 and 6 it will be a one-for-one replacement with a 24-inch box tree, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (4-0).

6. Minutes of November 25, 2003

Commissioner Cartwright noted that on page 18, last paragraph, he had made the statement rather than Commissioner Duran Reed.

Vice Chairman Mueller noted a typo on page 19 of the minutes.

Commissioner Cartwright moved to approve the minutes as amended, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (3-0-1) with Commissioner Cote abstaining since she was absent from that meeting.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

7. Height Variation Permit and Site Plan Review (Case ZON2003-00452): 30003 Matisse Drive

Director/Secretary Rojas began the staff report giving a brief description of the project and stating that staff believes all of the findings can be made except for the finding regarding the view. He displayed a power point presentation and explained that staff felt the proposed second story impairs some ocean view and that this impairment is significant, and could therefore not make the required finding.

Associate Planner Schonborn continued, showing several slides of the proposed addition and the area of view impairment. He noted that there is also a proposed single story addition which staff does not feel creates any compatibility or impairment issues. Therefore, staff is recommending the Planning Commission deny, without prejudice, the Height Variation and approve the Site Plan Review.

Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if the determination that the view impairment is significant was based on the fact that it is impacting the ocean view.

Associate Planner Schonborn answered that the determination was made due to the impact on the ocean view in relation to the scope of view in the view frame. He explained that staff felt that because the view is very narrow in that area, raising the ridgeline would significantly impact the view.

Commissioner Cartwright asked if the picture displayed was taken from a standing or a sitting position.

Associate Planner Schonborn answered that the photo was taken from a standing position.

Commissioner Cartwright asked staff how they felt the proposed second story addition could be modified so as not to impair the view.

Associate Planner Schonborn pointed to an area on the power point slide, explaining the area could be redesigned. He also felt that providing access to the upper level from within the structure would then eliminate the need for the ridgeline to be raised.

Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.

Kurt Beckmeyer 1151 El Centro St, So. Pasadena (architect) explained that the homeowners felt they needed a game room for their growing family, a larger and more functional kitchen and dining room, and most importantly, a new entry area. He noted that currently there is no entry statement and he has created a street level approach, and in doing so maintained a minimum plate line as low as 6’8" and ceiling heights in the mezzanine of only 7’2" maximum. He explained that he utilized the shallowest slope possible for the roof and was therefore able to create the necessary second level with the minimal increase in ridgeline. To address the needs of the game room, he included this space on the new second level in the least obstructive position possible, which is behind and below the ridgeline of the existing garage. He noted that the proposed kitchen and dining room expansions extend from the rear of the house on the first level and have no impact. He also stated there was a tree to the left of the applicant’s home that the applicant would have removed to help the view from the neighbor’s home.

Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Beckmeyer if he disagreed with the staff recommendations regarding view impairment.

Mr. Beckmeyer disagreed with the concern that he did not try to minimize any potential view impairment. He did not feel the proposed addition created a significant view impact to the neighboring property, as it would not obstruct any of the mountain, coastline, or bay view. He felt that the only obstruction was the amount of water that could be seen, and noted that at night it is a black area anyway.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Beckmeyer why he could not lower the height of the entry.

Mr. Beckmeyer explained that the entry height is somewhat independent of the mezzanine height, and was established as a design feature to maintain the horizontal lines of the building. He felt that the entry could be designed at a slightly lower height that is compatible with the street location, and this would change the design of the elevations.

Commissioner Lyon asked Mr. Beckmeyer if the tree that was offered to be removed was the pine tree shown on the slide.

Mr. Beckmeyer pointed to the pine tree in the photo that is to the left of the garage, acknowledging that was the tree to be removed.

Commissioner Lyon asked if he felt the removal of that tree would cause a direct view of the ocean.

Mr. Beckmeyer answered that the removal of the pine tree would give the neighbor a direct view of the ocean through that area.

Commissioner Lyon noted that the pine tree in question would most likely be required to be trimmed if the project was approved, as it exceeds the ridgeline of the existing house.

Marc Kaiser 30003 Matisse Drive (applicant) stated that the goal of the addition was to enhance the value of the property and it’s compatibility with the neighborhood. He felt the project, if approved, would allow his home to better conform with the other homes in the neighborhood, significantly improve the curb appeal of the property, and would enhance overall property values in the neighborhood. He felt that the existing sunken entry was a cause of concern with regards to safety, especially during nighttime access, and creating a street level entrance would establish a much more open and safer condition. He stated that his property is the only one on the ocean side of Matisse Drive that is a single level home, and this application would bring his home into parity with others on the block.

Vicki Poponi 30003 Matisse Drive (applicant) began by explaining during the early neighborhood consultation process she received a lot of favorable feedback, but was not able to reach Mr. Faries as the residence is a rental property. She stated that the only disagreement she had with staff was the definition of significant. She showed photographs taken of the view, showing the mountains, bay, coastline, and blue water. She stated that the reason she did not think the view impact was significant was because her proposed addition would be taking only a small portion of the view, the blue water portion. She noted that Mr. Faries would maintain his view of the coastline, bay, and mountains.

Commissioner Cartwright asked Ms. Poponi if she has read the View Restoration Guidelines.

Ms. Poponi answered that she has read the Guidelines, but it has been quite awhile since she read them.

Commissioner Cartwright explained that the View Restoration Guidelines talk about the difference between a single view and a multi-component view, and noted that in this situation there was a multi-component view. He explained that taking away part of the blue water view in a multi-component view could be considered significant, even though it doesn’t affect the mountains or shoreline view. He asked Ms. Poponi if she would be willing to make some changes to the plans to help preserve the water view of her neighbor.

Ms. Poponi answered that she and her husband are open to working through the problems to get a resolution.

Robert Faries 30004 Matisse Drive stated the he agrees with the staff report that there is significant view impairment from his home resulting from this proposed addition. He noted that the pictures displayed were taken from a standing position, and most people enjoy the view from a sitting position. Therefore, the view impact would be even greater than displayed in the photographs. He appreciated the fact that the applicant wants to improve his property, however it should not be done at his expense. He asked the Planning Commission to not approve the proposed second story addition.

Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Faries if lowering the ridgeline over the proposed entryway and removing the pine tree to the left of the home would be a satisfactory solution.

Mr. Faries answered that if the applicant can design an addition that does not exceed the height of the current home, he would have no problem with the proposal.

Mr. Beckmeyer (in rebuttal) stated that there is flexibility in the entryway area and it may be designed to be very near the existing ridgeline height. The portion where the mezzanine crosses over that will be difficult to adjust, as the plate line is already extremely low, and moving the stair access to the interior was not part of the design concept.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the plate height being discussed was on the upper floor or the lower floor area.

Mr. Beckmeyer answered that the 6’8" plate height discussed would be on the new upper level at the mezzanine.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Beckmeyer if he had considered lowering the ceiling on the first floor.

Mr. Beckmeyer answered that the ceiling on the first floor is only 8 feet now, however it could be lowered, but it would complicate the project.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Lyon stated that he could appreciate both desires and viewpoints of the applicant and Mr. Faries. He felt that, as currently designed, he would judge the view impact to be significant. However, if the portion of the ridgeline over the entry foyer were brought down to the existing ridgeline and the pine tree to the left of the home was removed, the view impact may then not be significant and the Planning Commission may then be able to make the appropriate findings to approve the project.

Commissioner Cote agreed with Commissioner Lyon’s comments and was interested to see how the architect could redesign the proposed entryway to minimize the view impact. She explained that if there were efforts taken to minimize the view impact, there was a possibility that the view impact would not be significant. She would therefore recommend the Planning Commission consider continuing the item to allow the neighbor and the applicant to work together to redesign the project to address the concerns.

Commissioner Cartwright agreed with the comments from Commissioners Lyon and Cote. He complimented the architect on the design of the addition, as he felt it was compatible with the neighborhood, and the only real issue was that of view impairment. He agreed that if the piece over the entryway were reduced and the tree removed, the view impact would most likely not be significant.

Vice Chairman Mueller agreed that the entryway could be lowered to reduce the view impact from the neighbor’s property. However, he was not convinced that the sacrifice of the neighbor’s view of the bay on the left of the property in favor of an expansion of the applicant’s home was equitable. He noted that the architect had indicated there were other ways to provide an entry to the home that were not as convenient, which he felt should be explored.

Commissioner Lyon moved to continue the hearing to the meeting of February 24, 2004 to allow the applicant time to address the concerns expressed by the Planning Commission regarding the view obstruction, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright.

Director/Secretary Rojas noted that the applicant will have to grant a 90-day extension to allow the item to be continued.

Vice Chairman Mueller re-opened the public hearing.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked the applicant if they would grant a 90-day extension in order to continue the item.

Mr. Beckmeyer (applicant) asked if the continuance would come before a whole new planning commission.

Director/Secretary Rojas answered there will be five new Planning Commissioners at the February 24 meeting.

Mr. Beckmeyer stated that, if at all possible, he would prefer to get conditions sufficient enough to satisfy the concerns of the current Planning Commission and not have to continue the item to a new Commission.

Director/Secretary Rojas explained that unless there is a consensus for approval at this meeting and no extension is granted, the Planning Commission may be faced with having to deny the project if there is no consensus for approval. He noted that if there is a 2-2 vote, the project would be deemed denied.

Mr. Beckmeyer suggested that the first choice would be to try to approve the project tonight with strict parameters for a redesign, and if that could not be achieved, he would agree to a 90-day extension and continuing the project.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Lyon withdrew his motion of continuance, and Commissioner Cartwright withdrew his second to the motion.

Commissioner Lyon moved to approve the project with the following conditions (aided by a picture of the subject property and silhouette): 1) completely eliminate the portion of the proposed roof line over the proposed entry and bring it down to the existing ridgeline; and, 2) that the tree on the left side of the picture be lowered so as to not obstruct the view, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright.

Commissioner Lyon felt that this motion depicts what the new plan would have to be and from a view standpoint there would be no uncertainty as to what the Planning Commission has done.

Commissioner Cartwright felt that one of the advantages of doing this was to help avoid confusion when this is heard before an entirely new Planning Commission, and in the meantime guidance has been given to the applicant to redesign their project.

Vice Chairman Mueller was not concerned that the new Planning Commission would be able to hear this continued item without confusion and be able to make an educated decision. He was concerned, however, about approving an addition when there are view issues involved without seeing the finished design and the impact it will have on the neighbor’s views.

Commissioner Cote agreed that she could not approve a project that could have significant view impact to a neighboring property without seeing the finished design.

Commissioner Lyon withdrew his motion to approve the project and moved to continue the item to the February 24, 2004 Planning Commission meeting to allow the applicant time to address the concerns raised by the Planning Commission, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Approved, (4-0)

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

8. Minutes of December 11, 2003

Commissioner Lyon moved to approve the minutes as presented, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Approved, (3-0-1) with Commissioner Cote abstaining since she was absent from that meeting.

ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS

Commissioner Cote noted that she would not be at the January 27, 2004 meeting.

Director/Secretary Rojas thanked outgoing Commissioners Cartwright and Lyon for their many years of service to the City as Planning Commissioners. He also noted that there will be an orientation for the new Planning Commissioners at 7:00 at the January 27 meeting, with the regular meeting beginning at 8:30.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 p.m.