RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
JUNE 7, 2005
The meeting was called to order at 7:02 P.M. by Mayor pro tem Wolowicz at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes. Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Gardiner, Stern, Mayor pro tem Wolowicz
ABSENT: Long, Mayor Clark
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz advised that both Mayor Clark and Councilman Long would not be able to attend the meeting.
Also present were City Manager Evans; City Attorney Lynch; Director of Public Works Allison; Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Rojas; Finance Director McLean; Deputy Planning Director Pfost; Senior Planner Fox; Associate Planner Schonborn; Deputy City Clerk Morreale; and Recording Secretary Bothe.
City Manager Evans led the flag salute.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz presented the Mayor’s Did You Know Facts, with the topic covering the number of motor vehicles in RPV. He stated that there were 178 households in RPV which do not have any motor vehicles; that there were 3,315 households in RPV which have one motor vehicle; that there were 8,194 households which have two cars; and that there were 3,546 households which have three or more motor vehicles.
City Manager Evans stated these statistics were taken from the 15,233 homes in RPV.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz highlighted the statistics with the number of vehicles compared to population on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, noting that the population over the age of 18 had a total number of 58,287 registered vehicles; stated that RPV had at least 30,341 motor vehicles; and that almost 54 percent of the households on the peninsula had two or more vehicles.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz announced the name of the recycler winner from the May 31st Council meeting, Mr. Raul; stated that all winners receive a check for $250, which represented a year of free refuse service; and encouraged everyone to recycle.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to approve the Agenda as submitted. Without objection, Mayor pro tem Wolowicz so ordered.
Lois Larue, RPV, commented on an unmarked piece of property near the Seaview area that was being used as a turn-around area for motorists; and advised that pedestrians and horses were entering through this fence into the landslide area.
Tom Redfield, RPV, stated that with the large amount of rain this year, there had been a significant growth spike in the vegetation in Ocean Front Estates Park; advised that the vegetation was crossing over the walking paths; and encouraged the Public Works Department to allocate more resources to manicure this overgrown vegetation.
Barbara Sattler, RPV, stated that she had received several inquiries regarding the use of chainsaws in the lower Filiorum area; asked if there had been a gnatcatcher survey done on this site beforehand; and asked if biological monitors have been on site while this vegetation was being removed. She noted that she had just learned that the City had approved a building permit for this same site, believes that there were less stringent conditions in place; and advised that the permit allowed grading on the site and that the conditions did not seem to be as carefully crafted or as specific for weed abatement. Ms. Sattler noted her concern that even though both the Sierra Club and the California Native Plant Society were known to be interested parties with what goes on in the lower Filiorum area, neither group was notified of this filming permit; and mentioned that she only found out about it by attending a homeowner’s association meeting.
City Manager Evans advised that a film permit had been issued to film the second part of the Pirates of the Caribbean; stated that traffic, engineering, geology, and habitat studies were performed; that staff went through the entire process necessary for issuing a permit; and that based on the information presented, staff applied mitigation measures and issued that film permit.
Councilman Stern asked if this permit allowed grading.
City Manager Evans indicated that grading activities would take place, noting that a roadway was being worked on in order to allow the equipment to be transported to the site. He mentioned that this information was included in Council’s Friday report.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz questioned if any weed abatement activities were being done on the Lower Filiorum property.
Director Rojas responded that he was not aware of any City approved weed abatement activities in this area; noted that he would visit the site the next day to determine what, if anything, was taking place; and explained that if they were only cutting acacia or eucalyptus trees, which were invasive plants, those activities were not subject to the weed abatement conditions. He advised that before the proposed weed abatement activities would begin on the 54 acres, a monitor would have to be brought on board.
With regard to the complaints received by Ms. Sattler, Councilman Gardiner asked if the City had made sure the activities were in compliance with the issued permit.
City Manager Evans indicated yes.
Director Rojas reiterated that staff would investigate the activities and report back to Council.
City Manager Evans mentioned that prior to issuing the film permit, staff required the filming company to comply with the City’s Ordinance for habitat and endangered species.
Councilman Stern questioned if a monitoring system was in place to make sure the filming activities maintain compliance.
Director Rojas stated that a biological monitor must be on site during filming activities.
Clara Duran Reed, RPV, asked that Agenda Item No. 15, Case No. ZON2003-00520 (General Plan Amendment, Zone Change and Environmental Assessment) [Applicant: City of Rancho Palos Verdes] [Property Address: The upper portion of San Ramon Canyon, which encompasses the following properties: 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30683 Palos Verdes Drive East, and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive], be moved up on the Agenda or that it be continued, expressing her belief Council did not have adequate information that evening to consider this matter. She expressed her belief Council did not have all comments submitted from the residents.
Councilman Stern noted that he received Ms. Duran Reed’s communication yesterday and stated he had a chance to review all information.
Ms. Duran Reed expressed her belief the full Council had not had adequate time to read the material; and noted her desire to see all five Council Members present to discuss this matter.
CITY MANAGER’S REPORT
City Manager Evans announced that the City now had its own television channel in place, Channel 33; stated that while this channel was in the test period, residents would see the reader board displayed, which would gradually contain various messages; advised that during this test period, past City Talk programs would be aired on this channel; and explained that once PV on the Net believed all controls were in place, the channel would branch out into other programming.
Councilman Gardiner stated that the official Cable Channel Subcommittee would meet the first Friday of each month at 11:00 A.M., invited the residents to these meetings; and noted that the subcommittee would be making its recommendations to Council for the grand opening celebrations.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz reminded viewers they could view previously discussed and continued items on the City’s website at www.palosverdes.com/rpv.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Councilman Stern moved to accept the Consent Calendar as presented. This motion was ultimately withdrawn.
Deputy City Clerk Morreale advised that three speaker cards had been received for Consent Calendar Item No. 3, Amendment No. 2 for Contract to Prepare the Environmental Impact Report for the Point View Project (6001 Palos Verdes Drive South); and that late correspondence had been distributed to Council regarding Item No. 3.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve the Consent Calendar as amended. This motion carried as follows:
AYES: Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz
ABSENT: Clark, Long
Motion to Waive Full Reading
Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all Ordinances presented at this meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all Council Members after the reading of the title.
Repair of the Tarapaca Storm Drain (604 x 1204)
Reviewed and reconfirmed by a four/fifths (4/5) vote the Council's previous action on December 21, 2004, to authorize staff to conduct an informal bid process to repair the Tarapaca Storm Drain.
Ord. No. 421: ZON2005-00233 (Public Trail Use Ordinance) (1201 x 701)
ADOPTED ORDINANCE NO. 421, A CITY INITIATED PROPOSAL TO AMEND TITLE 12 SECTION 12.16.080 OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE ESTABLISHING REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE USE OF PUBLIC PARKS AND OPEN SPACE BY EQUESTRIANS, BICYCLISTS, AND PEDESTRIANS.
Purchase of Emergency Generator for Abalone Cove Sewer Lift Station (1900)
1) Authorized an equipment purchase under the provisions of Municipal Code 2.44.140 (d) to Sun Electric, Inc., to obtain an emergency generator and propane tank at a cost of $16,800 and authorized staff to spend an additional $876 for possible additional work or unforeseen conditions, for a total authorization not to exceed $17,676; and, 2) Authorized the Director of Public Works to enter into a purchase agreement with Sun Electric, Inc., for an amount not to exceed $17,676.
Professional Services Agreement with Emergency Planning Consultants to Update the City's SEMS Multi-Hazard Functional Plan (401)
1) Awarded a Professional Services Agreement to Emergency Planning Consultants in an amount of $15,000 to update the City's SEMS Multi-Hazard Functional Plan; and 2) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the Agreement with Emergency Planning Consultants.
Reso. Nos. 2005-55, 2005-56, and 2005-57: November 8th General Municipal Election (501)
1) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2005-55, CALLING AND GIVING NOTICE OF THE HOLDING OF A GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION TO BE HELD IN SAID CITY ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2005, FOR THE ELECTION OF CERTAIN OFFICERS AS REQUIRED BY THE PROVISIONS OF THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA RELATING TO GENERAL LAW CITIES; 2) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2005-56, REQUESTING THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES TO CONSOLIDATE A GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION OF SAID CITY TO BE HELD ON NOVEMBER 8, 2005, WITH THE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND LIBRARY DISTRICT ELECTIONS TO BE HELD ON SAID DATE PURSUANT TO SECTION 10403 OF THE ELECTIONS CODE; and, 3) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2005-57, ADOPTING REGULATIONS FOR CANDIDATES FOR ELECTIVE OFFICE, PERTAINING TO MATERAILS SUBMITTED TO THE ELECTORATE OF AND THE COSTS THEREOF FOR THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION TO BE HELD IN SAID CITY ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2005.
Reso. No. 2005-58: Budget Adjustment for Palos Verdes Drive South Roadway Maintenance (1405)
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2005-58, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2004-45, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2004-05, FOR A BUDGET ADJUSTMENT TO THE CITY'S STREET MAINTENANCE-PAVEMENT MANAGEMENT PROGRAM.
Reso. No. 2005-59: Revised Resolution for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Three-Year Cooperation Agreement (601)
1) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2005-59, APPROVING AND AUTHORIZING A COOPERATION AGREEMENT BY AND BETWEEN THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AND THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES TO PARTICIPATE IN THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM, HOME INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIPS PROGRAM, AND RESCINDING RESOLUTION NO. 2005-34; and, 2) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the proposed Cooperation Agreement with the County of Los Angeles Community Development Commission (CDC).
Rancho Palos Verdes Storm Drain Rehabilitation, Inspection Services (604)
1) Awarded a contract to PSOMAS for Construction Inspection Services in an amount not to exceed $18,400; and 2) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a contract with PSOMAS.
Reso. No. 2005-60: Annual Appropriation Limit for FY 05-06 (602)
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2005-60, ESTABLISHING THE CITY'S APPROPRIATION LIMIT FOR FY 05-06.
April 2005 Treasurer's Report (602)
Received and filed the April 2005 Treasurer's Report for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Reso. No. 2005-61: Register of Demands
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2005-61, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ALLOWING CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEMANDS AND SPECIFYING FUNDS FROM WHICH THE SAME ARE TO BE PAID.
ITEM PULLED FROM THE CONSENT CALENDAR:
Amendment No. 2 for Contract to Prepare the Environmental Impact Report for the Point View Project (6001 Palos Verdes Drive South) (1801)
The staff report of June 7, 2005, recommended Council authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to sign an amendment to the professional services agreement with PCR Services Corporation (PCR) in an amount not to exceed $63,434 to complete the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Point View project, located at 6001 Palos Verdes Drive South.
Lois Larue, RPV, noted her opposition to the additional funding being requested and stated she did not understand why the extra money was being charged.
Senior Planner Fox explained that the City was not paying for this fee, that it was a pass-through cost from the York Long Point Associates trust deposit.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz added that the City charges a 10-percent administrative fee for each invoice submitted.
Lowell Wedemeyer, RPV, President of the West Portuguese Bend Community Association, stated there were 81 parcels on the ocean side of Palos Verdes Drive South; highlighted the streets of Seacove, Clipper, Barkentine, and Packet, noted these were downhill and downstream from the Point View project; addressed his concern that the toe of this association had an active landslide area located in RPV; and stated that it was immediately on the ocean side of 8 and 12 Seacove, just outside of their subdivision, but at the very toe of their association. He stated that the residents were deeply concerned with the safety of their homes; advised that they have obtained and reviewed the reports available to date, but pointed out that it was difficult for the residents to understand the potential risks when the reports were not easily understood. He stated that the purpose of the report was to inform the City and public of the risks so that the residents could learn what the project entailed and to allow the City to make a discretionary decision on whether the risks were justified and interests served by the developer. He added that the extra reports, which were designed to meet the California Environmental Quality Act, should be understandable by lay people who sit on Council and by members of the public who were to be protected so they could express their interest to Council, adding that these reports were not only to be read and understood by experts.
Mr. Wedemeyer added that the reports had a systematic, fundamental defect, often stating conclusions in numbers; advised that the reports rarely or never stated the range of error; that they rarely or never showed that an error analysis had been done; and that they did not state confidence limits either for the calculation itself nor did they state confidence limits for the raw data that was used for these reports. He expressed his belief that the reports were useless from a scientific and engineering point of view; advised that it was impossible to analyze the risk or the error analysis; and that it was impossible to understand the significance. He urged Council to insist these reports come back with standards that include an engineering analysis of error, range of confidence and numerical significant digits with answers stated in notes. He highlighted one of the conflicting figures in the reports concerning a 2-million-cubic-yard difference in the figures. He stated the residents want to see science and engineering used to the fullest extent to address this problem so that rational results were obtained – pointing out that this was not possible with these results. Mr. Wedemeyer stated that it was especially important if they were using computer programs to make their calculations, knowing from experience that computer programmers do not disclose their source code. He stated that it was impossible for the user, without special information, to know the algorithm correctly and the type of rounding off used in the computer program; and therefore, it was mathematically impossible to state confidence limits, range of error, and significant digits. He stated his anticipation that there would be two objections: 1) that it would cost too much to do this, but he pointed out that they already ought to be doing the error analysis on their calculations because this is a mandatory step learned in the first year of engineering school; and 2) that they cannot do it because geology is more art than science. He stated that this was exactly what he wanted them to be saying because the difference between art and science was what produced the recent Bluebird Canyon landslide in Laguna Beach. He pointed out that this was why he wanted the information.
Councilman Gardiner stated that in another setting there was an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) being prepared, which includes approximately 3,000 questions; stated that many of the answers to those questions were approved by proclamation; and noted that one cannot get behind that type of statement to find out how they arrived at that answer and pointed out that he was not in favor of the proclamations. He questioned what the City’s process was, and if the residents had an opportunity to review, comment on, criticize, and have their comments satisfactorily addressed.
Director Rojas advised that the Draft EIR (DEIR) would be available July 6th and that everyone would have a chance to comment on it during the minimum 45-day comment period.
Councilman Gardiner urged those who have an interest in this to carefully read the DEIR and pose their questions; noted that the residents could email him questions regarding the DEIR; and stated that the residents may contact him if they feel any question has not been satisfactorily answered in the final report.
Councilman Stern questioned whether the City’s website will display the DEIR in a PDF file.
Director Rojas indicated that it would and added that the full noticing process would be utilized, including a public workshop during the public comment period where residents would be able to voice their concerns.
Councilman Gardiner questioned if Council should expect to be provided an error analysis as part of the materials.
Director Rojas explained that the consultant looked at the studies which have been done and that they form conclusions based on those studies; and that if there were two to four million cubic yards of earth movement, that consultant would analyze the worst-case scenario of four million and provide all impacts that would result, such as traffic, noise, and air quality. He stated that the consultants would be performing an independent review of the geology reports put forward thus far to see if there were any fatal flaws. He also reported that they would be using their own consultants to perform traffic and air quality reports.
Councilman Gardiner questioned if Council could require the consultant to perform the confidence intervals and the error analysis.
Director Rojas stated that at this point, the best approach would be to wait for the DEIR to be received; for comments to be addressed, and if the public felt the level of scrutiny needed to be increased or an error analysis was needed, a request could be presented to Council for a budget increase to perform additional work.
Director Rojas noted for Councilman Stern that the DEIR would circulate this summer and stated that staff expected a lot of comments and anticipated the need for additional time to respond to those comments. He further commented that he anticipated a Final EIR and projected that the hearing process might begin in early 2006.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz expressed his desire that the information be easily understandable by most, that statistical information should be provided, and that the City should let the consultants know their expectations for documents that are understandable.
Councilman Gardiner asked that all questions raised during the comment period be addressed in the Final EIR.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to authorize the Mayor and the City Clerk to sign an amendment to the professional services agreement with PCR Services Corporation (PCR) in an amount not to exceed $63,434 to complete the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Point View project, located at 6001 Palos Verdes Drive South. The motion included a request that the concerns for clarity in the documents be passed on to the consultants and the developer. The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz
ABSENT: Clark, Long
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Deputy City Clerk Morreale noted that late correspondence was provided to Council this evening in regard to this matter.
Reso. Nos. 2005-62, 2005-63, 2005-64, 2005-65, and 2005-66: Revision "W" to the Trump National Golf Club for a Proposed Driving Range (1411)
With the aid of a Power Point presentation, Deputy Planning Director Pfost presented a brief staff report.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost pointed out that Council received a staff memo from Director Rojas as part of the late correspondence regarding an extension of the Vesting Tentative Tract Map, which technically expired April 15th; advised that the developer submitted a request to extend the map an additional year; and stated that staff is requesting one of the resolutions be modified, as noted in the memorandum, to provide for a one-year extension. He advised that staff attached a comment letter from the resource agencies who have reviewed and supported this project, subject to certain conditions being implemented; stated that staff was recommending the conditions be incorporated into the Resolution on circle page 129 of Council’s packet; and noted there were a variety of some fairly minor changes to the Conditions of Approval to this project which would be included.
Councilman Stern asked what the requirement was for the side setbacks between the homes and asked if the setbacks between the homes was accurate in staff’s view.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost explained that there was a combined 30-foot setback requirement, with a minimum of a 10-foot requirement on each side; and stated that in staff’s opinion the houses were probably a little larger than what the representation showed.
Councilman Stern requested additional input on the proposed netting and poles to be used during tournaments.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost explained that the netting and poles will be temporarily erected for major tournaments and that these items would be removed once the tournament was over.
Councilman Stern questioned why the proposal for low-impact balls had disappeared from the proposal.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost explained that the developer believed the use of low-impact balls would hinder a golfer from being able to test his/her skill on the driving range so the developer had withdrawn that proposal. Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated that a condition had been added to require low-impact balls should a safety issue arise.
Councilman Stern expressed his belief that they should start out using low-impact balls and once it was determined there were no safety issues, the low-impact ball requirement could be deleted from the conditions. He inquired if staff had any samples or renderings of the proposed decorative fencing.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost advised that the developer had not provided any description of the decorative fencing.
With regard to the setback issue on the two homes (Lot Nos. 22 and 23), Councilman Stern questioned if the developer explained why they wished to build beyond the original setback lines.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost explained that this was done to increase the size of the buildable area of that lot and stated that with setbacks at 35 feet, the buildable area was restricted quite a bit. He pointed out that he had included a table in the report which described the differences in buildable area between the existing plan and the developer’s new request.
Councilman Stern requested additional input regarding the overflow drainage being directed to Forrestal Canyon.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost explained that the driving range would have less impervious area than the residential area with two public streets and that all the drainage from the house lots, which typically would be directed to the streets, would instead be directed to Forrestal Canyon.
Councilman Gardiner queried if the access road was part of what Council was being asked to approve in this revision.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated that it was in the sense that this was the access road to the residences and was the same access point that was part of the current approval with the current entitlements.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he had been invited to visit the site and commented on the foliage along the road which suddenly stops where the access road begins. He raised his concerns regarding the safety of the road and the privacy to the adjacent neighbors’ homes. He stated he understood there was a wall proposed in the vicinity and asked if there was sufficient flexibility to move the road approximately 50 feet farther down.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated that staff had been communicating with the surrounding neighbors to listen to their concerns; and noted he spoke with the developer’s engineer regarding moving the access road, but indicated that the engineer felt that it was not possible to move the road over because the slope becomes steeper. Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated there was a wall required between the Portuguese Bend Club as well as Ocean Trails along that portion of the entire property line and a 42-inch high wall along the entry roadway to help guard against headlights shining into the residents’ homes.
Councilman Gardiner questioned if the walls were part of what Council was being asked to approve that evening.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated no, that the wall was part of a prior Council condition of approval. He noted for Councilman Gardiner that Council might make changes to the wall if it so desires, but that the wall would still be required.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz questioned if there was a turnout area prior to the access road. He suggested if there was none that the access road could be moved over enabling the addition of a turnout could be included to assist the flow of cars abruptly exiting the main road.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated there was no right turn into this roadway, only a left-turn pocket in from the median.
Addressing drainage issues, Mayor pro tem Wolowicz questioned if there had been any conversations about additional dewatering wells or ways to ensure slippage would not occur.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated that as part of this project, the developer needed to obtain geological approval from the City’s geologist. He advised that a geology report had been submitted by the developer’s geologist, but that it had not yet been approved by the City’s geologist. He added there were mitigation measures requiring the approval of the geological report prior to the issuance of permits and noted the geological report would address the need for dewatering wells as well as the underlying geologic stability.
Councilman Gardiner asked if the access road is a public road and if so, what would prevent people from parking along this area.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated that the road was a public road and that there was nothing to keep people from parking along this road.
Councilman Gardiner queried if there were portions of the City where overnight parking was allowed by permit only.
City Manager Evans stated yes.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost noted for Councilman Gardiner that the developer had not requested anything along that line to date.
With regard to plans for errant golf balls, Mayor pro tem Wolowicz expressed his belief the developer had adequately addressed the southern slope with the berm and fencing but indicated that he was a little concerned with the other side where the homes were located and questioned if a similar berm was being proposed. He questioned what was being done to protect the people who would be living in those homes.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost explained that there was a slight grade difference at that location and there would be a fence at the top along the edge. He noted that the curving shape of the tee area would help to minimize errant golf balls, and added that golfers would be using a shorter type of club to hit in this area. He added that the developers were required to inform the new homeowners they would be living next to a driving range.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz opened the public hearing.
Vince Stellio, Executive Vice-President of Development for the Trump organization, stated that the item before Council was a change in the Phase II plans, reducing the residential component and adding a driving range. He stated that the driving range was created using an analysis created according to the U.S. Golf Association’s (USGA) shot disbursement for a bogey golfer; and advised that this information was also sent to the City’s golf course consultant who reviewed the design and shot disbursement area. With the aid of slides, he noted that area C on the map was where the long drivers would be allowed, the upper area was where the shorter irons would be allowed, and the longer to intermediate irons in another area. He clarified that they were using the term "driving range" so people would know what they were talking about, but in reality they had designed a practice facility for golf shots. He stated the area was not designed like a typical range where one hits the ball a far distance, but instead it was designed with targets at specific distances so one could practice a specific shot with a specific club. He explained that the center of the area would be contoured to simulate a fairway with a green at the end so one could practice bump-and-roll shots and advised the area also has specific target greens for the utilization of other clubs. Mr. Stellio stated that golf professionals would be staffed on the range all day when in operation to monitor whether people were using the proper clubs for each area of play. He expressed his belief that there was more than enough space from the houses. He added that with professional tournaments, they would probably need to put up some temporary netting and poles that would be removed once the tournament was completed. He stated a great deal of consideration had gone into the safety of the design, noting the bowl shape design would keep the hitting area below two berms and advised they would be adding a wall and a fence along the side to ensure that people were safe along the trail.
With the golf project as now proposed, Mr. Stellio mentioned there were trails passing directly through active golf holes and stated that staff would be present to ensure that if someone was not hitting the ball correctly, they would either be asked to use a different club or shifted to another location where they would have better control. He pointed out that the City’s consultant reviewed the plans and expressed his opinion that there was adequate width in this area. He mentioned that the USGA says that a bogey golfer would miss 14 yards in either direction and stated they were well within the confines of this range. He stated that the homeowners would be advised they live near the driving range, but reiterated that adequate safeguards were in place to control errant golf balls. He stated that this would be continuously monitored and that adjustments would be made when necessary.
Mr. Stellio explained that if low-impact balls were required off the back, the golfers would have no real gauge of their short game and as a result they were suggesting the installation of fencing, the berms, the additional width and length to help with errant balls. He reiterated that staff would be monitoring these activities and asked that this plan be given a chance. He noted that if there were issues with balls leaving the range, they could adjust very easily to the low-impact balls. He pointed out they were very aware of the liability issues and assured everyone that this design considered the safety concerns. Mr. Stellio stated that the tee area in front of the fence would be used for private lessons in the belief that it was better to segregate the beginner golfers.
Mr. Stellio stated that the new plan was a reduction of 16 homes from the originally approved project and explained that Lots 22 and 23 would help offset the reduction in housing. In response to Councilman Gardiner’s issues with the road, Mr. Stellio stated that the road had been approved in its present location. He advised they had looked at other options for the wall, but noted that a portion of the wall would be right up against the first home because of the way it fell on the lot line. He stated he was conditioned to put the wall on the property line, but was working with staff to see if they could move the wall toward the project side giving more relief to the homeowner. He pointed out that he had been very flexible throughout this process and he had no objections to moving the wall to the east or the west. He advised that there were limitations with the road due to the grade and noted there was a major storm drain line being installed that would skirt the outside of this area. He mentioned that new hydrology studies had been required by the County since the original studies were 10 years old and that after they received County approval of the storm line the system would be put in place. He noted that this line would collect all the water from the range and the homes and that it would be piped into the main line then into a dissipater at the bottom of the canyon and then out to sea. He advised that all the low flow golf drainage is going to be collected and connected to the existing low flow lines on Hole Nos. 10 and 11 and eventually pumped into their lake. He stated they were going to utilize the same type of drainage for the driving range that they have been conditioned to utilize on the golf course.
Mr. Stellio stated that as far as views were concerned, they did an extensive view analysis, which was reviewed by the City consultant. The City consultant gave instructions to the developer’s engineers to get the pads as low as they possibly could at any location available; explained that there were some areas where the pads have stayed the same and some areas where the pads were able to be lowered; but stated that because of proper drainage flows and gravity lines for sewer, some of the pads were not able to be lowered. He pointed out that because of the reduction in the number of homes, the views have been improved and noted that the views get worse as one gets closer to the ocean. He stated that the homes closer to the road were less visible because they were below the grade of the road; noted that the homes were below the horizon line on all views; and stated that the lots were at the maximum 16 feet from the ridge height, if not lower. He stated they made every attempt to lower the pads of the homes.
Councilman Gardiner asked Mr. Stellio if he was willing to talk with the neighbors about the exact location of the wall/fence and its height.
Mr. Stellio stated that the wall would be concrete and that it will be a minimum height of 5 feet and a maximum height of 6 feet. He advised that he had been speaking with the neighbors for approximately one to two months regarding this matter and noted he would continue to be flexible wherever possible. He added that this issue would have to go before the Coastal Commission for approval, since they had picked up .4 acres of open space that was added to the current open space lot of one acre. Mr. Stellio expressed his belief that the road issue would be resolved and explained that the road was actually higher than the house. He noted that when a car is on the road the headlights would shine over the house. He reiterated that he was completely flexible with the wall, noted that because he must maintain a certain amount of open space, his property line could be moved to the other side of the open space.
Councilman Gardiner expressed his concern regarding the requested setback adjustments for Lot Nos. 22 and 23. He stated that he was ambivalent concerning the one lot but felt that the building envelope was being pushed to the limit on the triangular shaped Lot No. 23.
Mr. Stellio responded that they were requesting some setback adjustments on these particular lots since they were giving up 16 oceanfront lots for a driving range and noted these two lots helped to minimize the loss of the 16 homes. He expressed his desire to work with the City on the setback issues and possibly adjust the actual house size to make it comfortably fit on the lot. He added that Lot No. 1 on the other side is similarly shaped and sized. eHHH
Councilman Stern echoed Councilman Gardiner’s concern that Lot 23 was going to be overbuilt. He pointed out that the staff report reflected that while the developer was asking for this proposed change, they were also requesting to have the option to revert to the original approval if the driving range has to be closed.
Mr. Stellio explained that if for some reason the driving range needed to be closed, or the City exercised its right to close the driving range for safety reasons, he would like to retain the option to develop it as it once was approved.
Councilman Stern questioned if this desire was expressed to staff.
Mr. Stellio stated he discussed the idea with staff that day and staff indicated they would need to consult with the City Attorney on the matter. He noted his desire if the driving range were to close, to be able to develop the originally approved lots without having to start the process over again and incur additional cost and time.
Councilman Stern pointed out that the properties would not be configured the same and would not be consistent with that prior approval.
Mr. Stellio stated they would probably have to perform a new environmental impact statement and then reconfigure and re-grade the land in order to return to the prior condition. He added that there would be no import or export of fill and that it would only be a rebalancing of the lots.
Councilman Stern stated he was not inclined to agree with that request because the roads and lots would be in different locations and there would be material modifications to a significant portion of the plans.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he would be supportive of some plan if the driving range should be closed down, but noted they could not revert to the prior plan because it would no longer work.
Mr. Stellio clarified that they would need to do something similar, but it was their intent to minimize the long process.
Councilman Gardiner questioned if there were any time constraints he was operating under for use of this range.
Mr. Stellio noted that an LPGA tournament was scheduled for the end of September but he expressed his belief that they would probably not be able to clear all of the conditions and have enough time to construct the course for that event. He advised that he had been in contact with the Department of Fish and Game and the Coastal Commission and noted that the Coastal Commission was considering allowing them to build the driving range in a temporary fashion so they could have the course ready for the September tournament and then continue the process and get all of the necessary approvals based on the City’s approvals.
Mr. Stellio noted for Mayor pro tem Wolowicz that the developers were proposing a 6-foot high ornamental fence on the property line along the backyards to the homes and stated this would provide some protection from errant balls. He reiterated they would keep a very close eye on the driving range activities and that if a problem developed it would be immediately addressed and solved.
Councilman Stern queried if there was a clay cap requirement with the approval of the driving range.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost indicated that all of these issues would be spelled out in the geology report and noted that the report prepared by the developer’s geologist has specified a clay cap.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz recessed the meeting at 8:55 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 9:06 P.M.
Jabe Kahnke, RPV, stated that the City was now at the crux of the very same issue he started with back in 1997 when he bought his home on PVDS. He referred to the hearing notice which said, "The split-level pad elevations, none of which will have a building ridge elevation higher than the elevation of PVDS," and stated that this concerned him because this was exactly what he relied on when he bought his house. He noted that he spoke to Ms. Petru when she was in charge of the project at the time and was told none of the ridgelines would be above PVDS and that there would be no view impact. As a result of that communication, he stated he bought his house. He stated that he had attended numerous hearings related to this project and noted that Ms. Petru presented to Council a very complex view analysis which reflected no houses higher than PVDS. Mr. Kahnke stated that the neighbors became more involved when they proposed the clubhouse; the neighbors analyzed the validity of the view impact study originally performed. He asked that Council be provided a copy of Ms. Petru’s view analysis from that time and urged the City to require the developer to erect a silhouette to show the residents the view impact from the houses and the berm before they approved this project. He stated that Deputy Planning Director Pfost indicated this view analysis was based on houses that were of a different size then the ones now being proposed, and because of this Mr. Kahnke noted the homeowners were unable to trust what was being proposed for views. He pointed out that he was in favor of this project, that he wanted it to be successful, but that he was concerned with what the long-term, eternal view impact was going to be.
Councilman Stern asked Mr. Kahnke if he would rather have Council approve what they were now proposing or would he rather they build what was previously approved.
Mr. Kahnke stated that it did not matter what their prior approvals were because they were based on a faulty view analysis; and he stated that this view process needed to start all over again using accurate data.
Laurie Hughes, RPV, Vice-President of the Seaview Residents Association, stated that the association sent out emails to its residents seeking input on this project and advised that out of 160 emails/letters, 25 percent of the responses were positive/favorable. She stated that those who responded were not opposed to the project but indicated some concern with view impact and that the neighbors would like to see a silhouette erected. She stated that other issues of concern were errant golf balls, parking on the neighboring residential streets, and impact from vehicle lighting.
Jessica Leeds, RPV, member of the Portuguese Bend Club, stated there were a number of people who live off PVDS who were concerned about the safety on this road and the access road. She stated that the access road would enter the project 50 feet from their property line and that the road enters beyond the trees and fence. She noted that some of the trees belong to Portuguese Bend and some to the City and noted that the residents wanted the trees to remain to further protect their privacy. She stated that the residents were concerned for the safety of people turning right or left into this property, mainly right as they come down PVDS; stated that the road was 15 feet higher than their elevation; and expressed her belief this difference would create a condition whereby people would be looking down onto their properties. She asked that this privacy issue be further mitigated. She indicated that the residents were in favor of the driving range.
Bill James, RPV, President of the Seacliff Hills Homeowner’s Association, noted that he was speaking on behalf of the association of residents that live directly across PVDS from the Trump project and spoke in favor of the practice range. He stated the association was satisfied the developer had adequately addressed the access questions, the land stabilization questions, and the view issues; he further expressed the association’s belief the golf course would benefit from the driving range. He stated that he was a golfer and noted his opposition to starting off with low-impact golf balls and urged the City to allow the developer to proceed with the project since construction activities have been taking place for a long time.
Mary Casaburi, RPV, distributed to Council a newspaper article from August 8, 2000, a June 2, 2004 letter she wrote to the City and Council, and an email she sent to Council one day earlier. She stated she had been involved in two orientation meetings at Trump National, noted that their representatives have been very hospitable and stated that the overall atmosphere was much better than with the previous developer. She stated that a prior Council had indicated that all future projects would require silhouettes and stated that since the CUP was open they were allowed to request a silhouette be erected. She highlighted her June 2, 2004 letter which was written the day after Mr. Stellio introduced the project to Council and noted that at a meeting with an Ocean Trails’ representative on May 12th, there was an indication silhouettes would be erected all along PVDS and as much as possible at the berm. She displayed photographs of the project from her home and explained why she believed computer generated view analyses did not adequately or correctly reflect the view impact and urged Council to require the placement of silhouettes.
Joseph Wang, RPV, stated he was in support of the driving range but noted his desire to see silhouettes erected to determine the view impact.
Richard Casaburi, RPV, urged Council to support the placement of silhouettes.
Uday Patil, RPV, resident of the Seaview community, asked that silhouettes be erected so residents knew exactly what the view impact would be and asked if the berm would be as high as the houses; he queried why the berm was necessary. He suggested the developer consider other options for this berm, inquired if the stability issues had been adequately addressed and if the weight of the berm would have an impact on the stability of the landslide area. He noted his understanding that the berm was to be a temporary berm and expressed his belief that it encroached into the view area. He added that no calculations had been provided and, therefore, he was not able to check on the accuracy of the calculations. He stated that all the deficiencies needed to be solved before approval.
Councilman Stern asked if the landslide issues near the Seaview homes had been resolved.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated that the issues concerning Landslide A were still on-going and stated that the City’s geologist would thoroughly review the geologic and clay cap issues. Deputy Planning Director Pfost explained that issues related to Landslide A were primarily dealing with foundation setback lines where one could build residential lots/houses and that it mainly affected the lower tier of the existing project. He noted that this was the area of dispute between the developer’s geologist and the City’s geologist. He explained that the developer’s geologist used data which the City’s geologist disagreed with. He added that the issue regarding the berm and the weight of the berm would need to be addressed from a geologic standpoint and stated that once the project was approved, the developer would need to have an approved geological report before they could begin construction. He stated that the approval of the project was contingent upon the approval of the geologic study.
Mr. Stellio stated that his geologist and the City geologist would be meeting the following day to iron out the differences. He stated that his geologist and the City geologist only have an issue with this tract and its setback line and noted that peer review had been brought in to resolve that issue. With regard to the silhouettes, he advised that what was currently on the slides/screen was what had been approved to be built regardless of silhouettes. He stated they were not trying to hide anything and that he was fully aware of all the issues of his predecessor involving grading and view issues and reiterated that he had spoken to numerous neighbors and provided them with updates. He stated that the elimination of the 16 lots was the best way of resolving view issues and repeated that the engineers were directed to lower the pads wherever possible. He pointed out some areas were reduced by up to one foot, some by 6 inches, and in some areas no reduction was possible because of the storm water and sewer systems.
Councilman Gardiner asked staff for clarification on whether the entire CUP was being reopened this evening.
With respect to the CUPs, City Attorney Lynch explained that Tract No. 50667, located on the other side of the driving range project was final and had no issues. With respect to Tract No. 50666, located on the other end, she indicated that it was reopened and explained that if Council did not approve the revision, Mr. Stellio still had entitlement to proceed with the project, subject to the resolution of all the geologic issues. She further stated that he would not have to put up silhouettes.
City Attorney Lynch explained for Mayor pro tem Wolowicz that a Vesting Tentative Tract Map locked the City in to the laws that were in effect at the time the application was approved. She advised that all of the approvals issued for this project have always been contingent upon the City geologist’s approval of the proposed developments for the site.
Councilman Stern expressed his belief this proposal was an improvement over what had previously been approved and noted his appreciation for Mr. Stellio’s efforts in working with the community. He asked Mr. Stellio if he were willing to erect silhouettes.
Mr. Stellio explained that the problem he faced was that he did not currently have a design concept for the houses and that there could be a different view impact depending on the width of the houses. He pointed out that the grades which were proposed were either below or at the approved grades; and stated there was no way that the new proposal was going to impact anyone’s view more than it had already been impacted.
City Attorney Lynch reiterated that the developer could build what had previously been approved and not have to erect a single silhouette.
Councilman Gardiner expressed his belief that with the developer taking out a batch of houses the new proposal was an improvement over the old.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated that in some locations, toward the bottom two lots, the berm would be a bit higher than in other locations. He noted that it was lower further west and then raised to be at about the same height as the ridge in the middle. He stated the height of the berm in the tee area was actually a bit higher than the original ridge height.
Mr. Stellio stated that the horizon line was not visible with the three layers of homes and expressed his belief that with the reduction in the number of homes the view impact was lessened.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated that the City hired a consultant to check the work of the developer’s consultant and noted that the City’s consultant confirmed that the simulations were correct, verifying the accuracy of the red lines on the simulations.
Craig Douglass, RPV, Nautilus Homeowner’s Association, noted his support for erecting silhouettes, but suggested a compromise, that the developer put up one continuous line at the 16-foot level across the entire length of the view area.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated that would be a little difficult with the houses because they range in elevations and that there would not be one continuous edge.
Elizabeth Sax, RPV, stated that Trump National had made a good faith effort to work with the residents, thanked Deputy Planning Director Pfost for answering her questions, and thanked Council for taking a proactive position with this project. She noted her support for silhouettes or one continuous line and noted her opposition to decrease the setbacks on Lot Nos. 22 and 23. She asked for clarification regarding the location of netting and poles during a tournament. Ms. Sax suggested that should the driving range be closed for any reason, a public hearing be scheduled to address the applicant’s desire to revert to the old plan or a new plan.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost stated that the net and poles would only be used for LPGA type events and would go down after the tournament and stated they were not to be used for routine golfing events.
Chip Zelt, RPV, Portuguese Bend Club, stated that he lived right up against the longest part of the range and reported that the developer had been very open with the plans for the site. He stated his neighbors were happy with the way things have proceeded. He urged Council to support the developer’s request and stated he was eager to see the construction activities end. He added that he did not feel there was a need to erect a silhouette at this point.
Jim Beck, RPV, noted his support for the project and echoed the comments made by Mr. Zelt.
David Gakenheimer, RPV, representing the Board for the Portuguese Bend Club, stated that all members signed a petition in full support of the proposal to build the driving range in place of 16 homes and advised that Mr. Stellio had made a couple of presentations to the club and had spent a great deal of time with the homeowners who would be affected the most who live along the property line. He stated that the driving range was an improvement for his community and noted there was more privacy with the new proposal than with the previous proposal. He expressed his belief the Trump organization had done its best to analyze what the trajectories would be on the driving range and noted that if there were problems the developer had indicated the problems would be fixed immediately. He expressed his belief the Trump organization had enough imagination and creativity to come up with a solution to the issues of concern. Mr. Gakenheimer stated that the Club at some time in the future intended to address with the developer the remaining issues dealing with the wall that was to be built along their property line. He noted his understanding that it was not a subject being addressed in this amended proposal.
Councilman Stern questioned whether the wall would be the subject of a future hearing.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost explained that about five years ago, previous Council action had approved a wall and that because ownership of the property had changed, the matter would come back to this Council.
Erwin Bucy, RPV, Seaview resident, stated that he was in support of the overall project and that he was pleased with the progress at this location. He stated he was concerned with reversion of entitlements in the event the driving range is closed down and expressed his belief it would be necessary to go through the hearing process again if that situation arose. He requested that the hours of operation for the driving range be limited from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. and that approval of this project be subject to a one-year review to make sure the conditions were being met and to address any problems that may arise during that timeframe. He noted his support for the placement of silhouettes.
George Fink, RPV, president of the Ladera Linda Homeowners’ Association, spoke in support of the project. He stated he was pleased to see an explicit prescription for the lighting of the driving range and would like to see an explicit prescription that permanent netting would not be allowed. He stated he would be happy to see the completion of the project so that he would not have to deal with the dust problems any longer.
J.J.D. McLaren, RPV, noted his support for a one-year review process and stated that the developer should put up one continuous line at the 16-foot level across the entire length of the view area to help satisfy the residents’ concerns.
Councilman Gardiner noted his support for a one-year review period.
Mr. Stellio stated he would be amenable to the one-year review of the conditions, but mentioned that there was already an ongoing liaison effort among between him, his staff, City Manager Evans, Mayor Clark and Councilman Stern where the concerns of the residents were addressed when communicated and he reiterated that they were always open to making adjustments as the project progresses. With regard to the silhouettes, he reiterated that his engineers had been instructed to lower the lots wherever possible and because of the location of the sewer system and storm drains, some lots remained at the permitted height and were not able to be lowered. He expressed his belief that there would be nothing to gain with the placement of the silhouettes and that he if the driving range were not approved, he would have no course of action to take other than the development of the 26 lots. He expressed his belief that the proposal of 16 less homes was a positive step and less of an impact to views and stated he was well aware of the issues of concern to the residents. He noted that not every concern could be resolved, but that they tried to resolve as many as possible.
Mr. Stellio noted for Councilman Gardiner that he was correct, none of the lots were higher than what was originally approved.
There being no further input, the public hearing was closed.
Councilman Stern expressed his belief that the project proposal eliminating many homes was an improvement over what was originally proposed. He stated the project would benefit the community and noted his opposition to reducing the setbacks because the houses would be too large for the lots. He noted his opposition to any kind of reversion should the range be closed. Councilman Stern stated that if the driving range were to be closed, he would expect the applicant to come in with a new proposal to be evaluated and be required to go through the public hearing process. He noted his support for a one-year review period on the conditions of approval even with the liaison committee already in place and pointed out the review period gives the City the entitlement to review and change the conditions if necessary. He asked that an explicit condition be added to make it clear that permanent netting would not be permitted.
Councilman Stern moved to 1) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-62, CERTIFYING A MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION; 2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-63, APPROVING AN AMENDMENT TO CUP NO. 162; 3) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-64, APPROVING AN AMENDMENT TO CUP NO. 163; 4) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-65, APPROVING AN AMENDMENT TO VESTING TENTATIVE TRACT MAP NO. 50666; and 5) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-66, APPROVING AN AMENDMENT TO GRADING PERMIT NO. 1541; FOR REVISION "W" (CASE NO. SUB2004-00008) TO THE TRUMP NATIONAL GOLF CLUB, WHICH IS TO REPLACE SOME OF THE PREVIOUSLY APPROVED RESIDENTIAL LOTS WITH A NEW DRIVING RANGE IN TRACT NO. 50666. He moved to deny the request for reduced setbacks on Lot Nos. 22 and 23; to deny any reversion to the old plan if the driving range should be closed; that a condition be added for a one-year review of this project; that no permanent netting be permitted; and, that temporary netting come down immediately following a tournament.
Mr. Stellio explained that they envisioned putting in some type of sleeving in the ground for the poles and noted this would be designed by an engineer and approved by the geologist. He stated the netting would have rings for a rope pulley system and explained that if they were using the nets for two hours in the morning of a multi-day tournament, the nets would be dropped, but that the poles would still be visible and noted a crane may have to be used to move the poles. He stated that at the end of the multi-day tournament the poles and netting would be completely removed until the next major tournament. He suggested that 24 hours would be a reasonable timeframe to remove the poles after a tournament unless it falls on a Sunday.
Councilman Gardiner stated he would second Councilman Stern’s motion if he were to consider allowing the reduced setback on Lot No. 22 and noted his opposition to reducing the setback on Lot No. 23, suggesting the applicant go back and work on its redesign.
Councilman Stern noted his strong opposition to reducing the setback on Lot No. 23 and stated that all of the homes have the same setback and that he did not see any real benefit to tinkering with the setbacks and expressed his belief that reducing the setback would add to the already narrowing feel on the front of the street.
Mr. Stellio stated that the requested setback reduction is on an awkwardly shaped triangular lot; and explained that they are trying to minimize the loss in reducing the number of homes, suggesting that the requested setback reduction of five feet is minimal, basically the width of the sidewalk.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz stated that he saw an overall lowering of view impact across the board on the project proposal and, therefore, would not support the placement of the silhouettes. He asked if the proposed height of the berm had been deemed accurate.
Deputy Planning Director Pfost confirmed that the City’s consultant studied the grading plans, related materials and new simulations of Trump’s consultants and determined the applicant’s view assumptions were correct.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz stated he was willing to support the proposal based on the evidence presented in the staff report, information discussed during the public hearing, and based on the findings and conclusions of the City’s consultants.
City Attorney Lynch stated that if Council were concerned about these matters and were seeking more information they should continue the matter.
Mr. Stellio stated he could be flexible on the berm issue and explained that the pads were different because of the sewers, storm drains, etc., and that his consultant could verify the calculations with the City’s consultant. He stated that if they needed a little tweaking and as long as they felt comfortable from a safety aspect the berm could be lowered 6 inches to a foot. He stated that they would work on the issue with staff. He added that as long as safety was not compromised, the berm and the wall/fence could be adjusted where possible and stated he was more than willing to work with staff on any issues that arose.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz noted his support for the one-year review period and stated that should the driving range be closed, a new hearing process commence, and noted he would support some type of setback adjustment on the back area of Lot No. 22.
Councilman Gardiner expressed his belief that a small adjustment on Lot No. 22 would be appropriate because of the applicant’s reduction of 16 lots.
With the aid of the simulations, Deputy Planning Director Pfost explained that a small reduction in setback on Lot No. 22 would be relatively unnoticeable.
There was Council consensus to allow a reduction of 5 feet in the setback area in the back of Lot No. 22.
The amended motion carried as follows:
AYES: Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz
ABSENT: Clark, Long
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz recessed the meeting at 10:35 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 10:41 P.M.
Case No. ZON2003-00520 (General Plan Amendment, Zone Change and Environmental Assessment) [Applicant: City of Rancho Palos Verdes] [Property Address: The upper portion of San Ramon Canyon, which encompasses the following properties: 30648, 30650, 30652, 30658, 30676, 30678, 30680, 30683 Palos Verdes Drive East, and 2803, 2809, 2817, 2823, 2829, 2837, 2845 San Ramon Drive] (701 x 604)
The staff report of June 7, 2005 recommended that Council 1) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-__, CERTIFYING THE NEGATIVE DECLARATION; 2) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-__, APPROVING THE GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT; and 3) INTRODUCE ORDINANCE NO. ___, APPROVING THE ZONE CHANGE.
Councilman Gardiner noted he would request a continuance of this matter because there was not sufficient geological information available and stated there was no geologist present to answer his questions.
Councilman Stern stated that from his perspective, when he looked to see whether something was zoned Open Space Hazard (OH), he would like to know in the City’s definition of OH what characteristic a particular property must have to mandate it be treated as that. He stated that if it does not have the characteristics that define OH, he did not believe it was appropriate to mislabel property. He stated that one of his concerns was qualifying the distinction if residents were opposing the rezoning into residential because the property should remain OH because it has those characteristics, or were they opposing it because they believed it was a mechanism by which they could achieve a different result to keep people from building in a way that they found undesirable. He stated that the City would do a tremendous disservice to its residents if property were mislabeled if it did not meet the characteristics of OH. He stated the City should use the proper tools to achieve the proper results, highlighting the City’s Zoning Ordinances and related processes and stated that Council needed to get a better understanding of the property’s characteristics.
Councilman Gardiner questioned if one of the characteristics of OH was the safety factor and if so, he inquired as to the standard for that determination and who the City hired and how that person would arrive at the conclusion to support OH.
Director Rojas explained that unfortunately neither geologist was available to attend the meeting to answer these questions.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz questioned if there might be some designation in between OH and Residential for similar properties and stated that he would like the issue addressed when this matter returned to Council.
The public hearing was opened.
Clara Duran Reed, RPV, expressed her concern that Council was not given adequate information in a timely manner and urged the City to have a geologist present at the next hearing where this matter was considered. She asked that Council be provided all comments received by the City related to this issue, including the petition and advised she would be submitting additional materials from people who were opposed to this rezoning and stated there were 73 people on the list. She stated there were major problems with the report and that it did not address the factor of safety for anything other than the actual slope, which was well below the edge of the properties that were going to be affected. She stated there was nothing in the report specifically discussing factor of safety for all properties which were deemed to change in zoning from OH to Residential and stated she wanted clarification on the distinct characteristics for the properties deemed OH before she made her comments.
Councilman Stern noted that OH was defined in the City’s Ordinance.
Ms. Duran Reed expressed her belief the City could not make the assumptive conclusion that the area was safe to be rezoned from OH to Residential simply because a report stated it was okay to be resolved. She questioned what the conclusion was based on, what kind of analysis was done, and if there were any type of borings made on the properties. She pointed out that nothing could be built in Portuguese Bend if it did not have a 1.5 factor of safety and questioned if this should not be the same in this circumstance, where the land is abutted by two landslide areas. She questioned the adequacy of review by Zeiser Kling Consultants and stated that the Negative Declaration should not be certified until the City determined that there were no problems with the water pipes and the sewer system and that the General Plan Amendment, Zone Change or the Environmental Assessment should not be approved at this time. She reiterated that there were 73 homeowners who were opposed to the project and two thirds of the 15 affected homeowners in and around San Ramon Canyon who were clearly opposed to the rezoning. She stated there was only one homeowner who was in favor of the rezoning and suggested that only this one person’s property be rezoned. She reiterated that Council should have all information well ahead of the meeting.
Councilman Stern asked Ms. Duran Reed to assume the evidence ended up demonstrating the property did not have the physical characteristics that were consistent with OH and inquired if the City should maintain its designation as OH.
Ms. Duran Reed stated that the property was zoned OH in 1975 and that she had not seen a satisfactory reason why it should not be zoned OH. She stated she did not see how the City could zone the property Residential if it did not meet the safety factor that has been a threshold for other properties.
John Franklin, RPV, asked that a specific geologist report be done for the lot and expressed his belief people had a right to safely build on their land. He stated that he did not want the City to put any more money into this canyon, highlighting the $3 or $4 million that was spent on stabilizing efforts in ‘93 or ’95 that was done without the benefit of a proper geology report.
Councilman Stern inquired of staff that if this area were rezoned Residential would a property owner have to submit a geology report if they wanted to build.
Director Rojas stated it would depend on what the property owner wanted to build and noted that a geologist had prepared a geology report specifically looking at this zone change and had concluded a 1.5 factor of safety for all properties up slope.
City Attorney Lynch pointed out that this was not rezoning the canyon, that it was rezoning the portions of the lots outside of the stabilization project that were flat and already developed with houses. She stated that this was not allowing land which was previously not able to be developed to now become developed. She clarified that it was basically allowing someone who had a home to possibly do the same type of additions that others have done with flat portions of property.
Councilman Gardiner stated that there appeared to be some contradictory information in the materials with regard to the 1.5 factor of safety in a localized area.
Director Rojas clarified that on Page 86 of the geologist’s report, under "Conclusions" the geologist was stating the San Ramon project had effectively stabilized the landslide conditions that previously threatened the residential properties situated at the head of the canyon, specifically listing four lots.
Councilman Gardiner stated that the resulting grade of slope had a factor of safety that was greater than 1.5 and did not say anything about the residential properties.
Director Rojas noted for Councilman Gardiner that this was what needed to be clarified through a supplemental report. He expressed his understanding that the consultant was saying they knew the slope was 1.5, which lead them to conclude the four properties next to the slope were also 1.5.
Councilman Gardiner asked that staff verify whether the inclinometers were still in place, verify what the geology was with the open space criteria, and verify if all the residents were opposed to this change.
James Wolf, RPV, noted his concern that the City may be applying a different standard here than was applied to the rest of the community. He stated that all of the lots have been developed with residential buildings and that it was a residential community. He stated there were no lots left to develop in this area and stated that it had been a residential community for quite some time and expressed his belief this was why it should be zoned Residential. He stated that when an application was submitted to build, that was the time when the City should make a decision on whether it were safe to build and he felt that should be true of whatever the zoning determination was prior to submittal. He noted that the actual safety should be something that was reviewed by the Building & Safety Department for that particular property. He expressed his belief the present zoning of OH was specifically set to keep people from building down the hill and impacting the views of the neighborhood and that it was not based upon safety considerations at that time. He urged the City to zone this area Residential but to maintain the same high standard everywhere for building safety.
Nagy Bakhoum, Obelisk Architects, stated that he had been working on a project in this canyon since 2001, the project was approved by Council approximately a year and half ago, and that they were waiting for the zone change so they could proceed with this project. He stated they were waiting to find out the determination of all the work that was done, whether it was done properly and safely and advised that their soils and geological report used this data to supplement the data of the specific site. They stated they were not looking at this situation in a vacuum, but were looking at this as a specific area and noted that the geological study that was done for their specific property related to other geological studies that were done in the area. He stated that when the City talked about the geological report covering all the residential lots, that was what the clients hired geological professionals to do, but they included the report that staff had directed them to do for the OH zone. He stated that in their specific case, they have a site that has terrible soil and is near the edge of OH, but that the house itself would have caissons and other creative foundation solutions to further improve the situation. He stated the factor of safety was intact and that their consultants have reviewed the geological reports and have deemed that portion of the property to be safe for building. He expressed his belief that this was only being challenged because the project impacted a resident’s view and stated that the signatures on the petition were from people who did not live in this zone and who were not impacted by this project. He stated that those immediately affected were the residents who have been working on their homes and drains since 2001 and he requested that the City consider these people who have been trying to get their projects completed. He stated it would be appropriate for Council to get more information if they felt it necessary to make a fully informed decision, but stated that at the same time, he did not think that meant they need to conduct further studies on their property, stating they had done the appropriate studies as they have proceeded through the process to develop.
Councilman Stern reiterated that if, in fact, this property and these surrounding parcels did not have the characteristics under the City’s Code, he did not believe it was appropriate for the City to keep them in that characteristic and limit people’s right to use the property knowing that it was mislabeled. He stated property owners were entitled to have the rights consistent with the property under the Ordinance.
Councilman Gardiner questioned what the City was to do with the potential landslide problems, knowing there were moratoriums all over the place and if OH turned out not to be the right designation what zoning label the City would have as a cautionary label to address the issues of concern when a property may be in an area where it is not safe to build and where it may not meet the current requirements of OH.
Councilman Stern suggested that if there was a belief the City’s Ordinance did not adequately address problem properties the Ordinance should be amended.
City Attorney Lynch defined land subject to OH as the following: areas where the existing natural slope exceeds 35 percent; areas experiencing down-slope movement; areas unstable for development; areas where grading or development of the land may endanger the public health and safety due to erosion or flooding and the ocean bluffs; and areas subject to flooding or inundation from storm water and noted that any one of these categories would make land subject to OH.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz stated there should be some designation in between. He stated that if a home were built that was too big that caused a slide, this definition may not be as inclusive as it should be.
City Attorney Lynch expressed her belief this definition would cover that type of situation.
City Manager Evans suggested this matter be continued to the second meeting in August.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Stern to continue this matter to the August 16, 2005, City Council meeting.
Without objection, Mayor pro tem Wolowicz so ordered.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
Emergency Preparedness Committee Progress Report (Chair Hughes) (401)
The staff report of June 7, 2005, recommended Council receive and file the oral report.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to continue this matter to the next meeting. Without objection, Mayor pro tem Wolowicz so ordered.
Border Issues Status Report (310)
The staff report of June 7, 2005, recommended Council review the current status of border issues and provide direction to staff regarding the proposed construction of a new residence adjacent to Grandview Park at 717 Via La Cuesta in Palos Verdes Estates.
Deputy City Clerk Morreale advised that late correspondence was received and distributed to Council.
Bernie Slotnick, RPV, stated that a gentleman in Palos Verdes Estates had proposed building a 20,000-square-foot house that blocked out the entire view of the top of the hill and advised that concerned residents from RPV attended the PVE Planning Commission meeting where this application had been considered. He advised that the applicant was directed to make some alterations to his proposal. He asked for the City’s assistance in protecting the view of the Grandview Park’s undeveloped area. He stated that the Grandview residents have shared two opinions with what should be done with this undeveloped area - that it either be turned over to the Land Conservancy and handled as Open Space, creating a tranquil area to be viewed from Grandview Park; or that the property be left in its current state. He addressed his concern with the lack of vegetation limitations in PVE and noted that the house across the street from his had a couple of trees that were 30 feet high and were now coming over the crest of the hill, which means if they continue to grow, a number of the Grandview residents would lose their views. He asked for the City’s help in protecting the views of several hundred people.
Michael Neilson, RPV, President of the Grandview Estates Homeowner’s Association, advised that this tract directly abuts the north border of PVE and part of RPV’s western border, with the remaining border next to Grandview Park. He stated that because of PVE’s decision, there technically was no project at this time for 717 Via La Cuesta but noted that the property owner had a right to build something at this site and that it was probable that a project at this location would impact views. He asked for Council’s assistance and support in the matter and requested that networking efforts with PVE be undertaken to protect RPV’s views. He advised that the Grandview Association would work with the City in this effort.
Councilman Gardiner moved that RPV appoint someone from City staff to attend PVE’s public hearings related to these issues to represent RPV’s interest.
Director Rojas stated that City staff was attending these meetings and asked if Council was taking a position against the project or just recommending City staff monitor the meetings.
Councilman Stern stated that Council should do more than monitor this situation and should voice its concern for its residents noting that this massive project was of significant interest to RPV. Since there technically was no project pending, he asked that staff monitor and evaluate this matter for purposes of hopefully making constructive suggestions as to how it could be made better to maximize RPV’s views and minimize the impacts.
City Manager Evans suggested that along those lines, Council direct staff to monitor the project and express on behalf of Council the views that RPV would have if this same project were built in RPV.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz noted that Council should be prepared to do something along these lines and stated it would be appropriate for staff to speak on behalf of RPV’s City Council.
Director Rojas advised that this revised project would go back to PVE’s Planning Commission on July 19th and stated staff would keep Council apprised of this situation.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to direct City Manager Evans to establish a suitable liaison to reflect Council’s interest and concerns and report back to Council. Without objection, Mayor pro tem Wolowicz so ordered.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to concur with staff’s recommendation to file the report. Without objection, Mayor pro tem Wolowicz so ordered.
At 11:35 P.M. the meeting was formally adjourned.
/s/ Stefan Wolowicz
/s/ Carolynn Petru