ORDINANCE NO. 408U
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES FURTHER EXTENDING ORDINANCE NO. 391U, AN INTERIM ORDINANCE RELATED TO THE CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT OF COASTAL SAGE SCRUB HABITAT, ESTABLISHING REGULATIONS AND PROCEDURES APPLICABLE THERETO, AMENDING THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE AND DECLARING THE URGENCY THEREOF.
WHEREAS, on May 20, 2003, the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes adopted Ordinance No. 391U, which adopted an interim ordinance related to the conservation and management of coastal sage scrub habitat, established regulations and procedures applicable thereto, and amending the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code; and
WHEREAS, in accordance with the provisions of Government Code Section 65858, a public hearing was duly noticed, pursuant to the provisions of Government Code Section 65090, to be held at the regular City Council meeting of July 1, 2003, so that the City Council could receive public testimony regarding the Ordinance; and
WHEREAS, the Planning Commission held a duly notice public hearing regarding the adoption of a permanent Coastal Sage Scrub Conservation and Management ordinance on June 24, 2003, at which time the Planning Commission continued the discussion of the ordinance to a future meeting; and
WHEREAS, Ordinance No. 391U was set to expire on July 4, 2003, unless otherwise extended pursuant to Government Code Section 65858; and
WHEREAS, on July 1, 2003, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 395U which extended Ordinance No. 391U for 10 months and 15 days, to allow for continued deliberations by staff, the Planning Commission and the City Council regarding a permanent Coastal Sage Scrub Conservation and Management ordinance; and
WHEREAS, Ordinance No. 391U, as extended by Ordinance No. 395U, will expire on May 16, 2004 unless otherwise extended pursuant to Government Code Section 65858; and
WHEREAS, the Planning Commission has not yet concluded its deliberations regarding the text of a permanent Coastal Sage Scrub Conservation and Management ordinance, but intends to forward a recommendation to the City Council in the future after deliberations have concluded; and
WHEREAS, the City Council has yet to consider the text of a permanent Coastal Sage Scrub Conservation and Management ordinance, but intends do so after receiving a recommendation from the Planning Commission; and
WHEREAS, the City has been advised that owners of certain properties in the City have removed CSS previously, and that these property owners will continue to remove CSS habitat in the future; and
WHEREAS, the City was informed by a letter dated May 16, 2003, from York Long Point Associates that that organization intended to "mow grass/weeds", or conduct "weed abatement activities," on an approximately 90 to 100 acre area that has been previously shown to contain CSS plant communities, and which has the potential to be occupied by the Gnatcatcher, and without completion of a biological survey of the site to ascertain whether the 90 to 100 acre weed abatement area is currently occupied by the Gnatcatcher, it is possible that the weed abatement activity could violate the City’s NCCCP 4(d) permit requirements and the Federal Endangered Species Act; and
WHEREAS, because a permanent Coastal Sage Scrub Conservation and Management ordinance has not yet been enacted, a one year extension from the date of the adoption of Ordinance No. 391U is necessary to provide sufficient time to enact a permanent ordinance; and
WHEREAS, on April 17, 2004, the City caused to be published notification of a public hearing to consider the extension of Ordinance No. 391U in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News, and on the same date the City mailed notice to all interested parties.
NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Ordinance No. 391U, adopted on May 20, 2003, is hereby extended for an additional year from May 16, 2004, the date on which Ordinance No. 391U would otherwise expire.
Section 2. Ordinance No. 391U is extended for the period specified in Section 1, so that the City will be able to prepare and adopt a permanent Coastal Sage Scrub Conservation and Management ordinance.
Section 3. The City Council finds and determines that the immediate preservation of the public health, safety and welfare requires the extension of Ordinance No. 391U, and that this interim ordinance is enacted as an urgency ordinance pursuant to Government Code Section 65858 and shall take effect immediately upon adoption. Said finding and determination is based upon the recitals set forth above and the following:
A. Pursuant to the authority provided by the Natural Community Conservation Planning Act of 1991(commencing with Section 2800 of the California Fish and Game Code), the City has entered into a formal planning agreement with the California Department of Fish and Game ("DFG") for the purpose of implementing a natural community conservation plan ("NCCP") to provide for the regional protection and perpetuation of natural wildlife diversity while allowing compatible land use and appropriate development and growth in areas where there is coastal sage scrub ("CSS") habitat.
B. The City is actively engaged in the planning and preparation of a NCCP pursuant to the planning agreement. During the planning period, it is desirable to ensure that activity in the City is consistent with the goals, objectives, and efforts of the NCCP process through the adoption of regulations that both respect property rights and protect the public health, safety and general welfare.
C. CSS habitat supports a unique diversity of plant and wildlife species and is a valuable natural resource for the City and its residents. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service ("FWS") has identified CSS habitat as critical habitat essential to the conservation of several endangered and threatened species, including the coastal California gnatcatcher (the "gnatcatcher").
D. Unregulated removal of CSS, results in the elimination of critical habitat, reduces the natural species diversity in the City, and appreciably reduces the likelihood of the continued survival of the gnatcatcher, particularly if such removal occurs during the breeding season of the gnatcatcher, which occurs annually between February 15 and August 31.
E. CSS conservation and management is consistent with the efforts of the City and the requirements of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game and will support the natural resource management activities of the City in its role as lead agency in the preparation of the sub-regional NCCP for the Palos Verdes Peninsula Sub-area.
F. Despite the delay in adoption of a permanent Coastal Sage Scrub Conservation and Management ordinance, the paramount issue is the prevention of unregulated removal of a locally important environmental resource, and each of the foregoing urgency findings made in support of the initial adoption and prior extension of Ordinance No. 391U remain equally valid as of the date of adoption of this ordinance.
G. The Planning Commission must review the permanent Coastal Sage Scrub Conservation and Management ordinance, and has commenced but not yet completed its review because of outstanding issues which must be researched and analyzed, and because preparation of the urgency ordinance was placed on hold while a specific weed abatement request pursuant to the provisions of Ordinance 391U was processed. The Planning Commission must consider the various important competing interests implicated by a permanent ordinance, including those of private property owners and those related to conservation and preservation of natural resources including the interests in furthering the City’s ongoing NCCP process. Further, the appointment of new Planning Commissioners and the volume of time sensitive projects that are subject to the State Permit Streamlining Act has resulted in full Planning Commission meeting agendas in the recent past, and has precluded Planning Commission consideration and action on a permanent ordinance.
Section 4. The City Council declares that the provisions of this interim ordinance are severable. If, for any reason, any sentence, paragraph, or section of this interim ordinance is determined by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such determination will not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of this interim ordinance.
PASSED, APPROVED and ADOPTED this 5th day of May 2004.
/s/ Peter C. Gardiner
/s/ Jo Purcell
STATE OF CALIFORNIA )
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES )ss
CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES )
I, JO PURCELL, City Clerk of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, do hereby certify that the whole number of members of the City Council of said City is five; the foregoing Ordinance No. 408U was duly and regularly adopted by the City Council of said City at a regular meeting thereof held on May 5, 2004, and that the same was passed and adopted by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Gardiner