CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
MAY 8, 2001
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Lyon at 7:07 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.
Commissioner Vannorsdall led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Present: Commissioners Cartwright, Long, Mueller, Paulson, Vannorsdall, Vice Chairman Clark, Chairman Lyon.
Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, Acting Principal Planner Pfost, Senior Planner Fox, and Recording Secretary Peterson.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Without objection, the agenda was approved as presented.
Director/Secretary Rojas reported that at the last City Council meeting: 1) the Planning Commission decision regarding the Montessori School at Golden Cove had been appealed and would be heard by the City Council on May 23, 2001; and, 2) the City Council authorized staff to research the feasibility of softball fields on the Lower Point Vicente site.
Director/Secretary Rojas distributed 2 items of late correspondence regarding Agenda Item No. 3 and 6 items of late correspondence regarding Agenda Item No. 4.
Commissioner Vannorsdall reported that he had reviewed the video tapes and read the minutes of the three meetings he had missed and felt that he was able to participate in all future meetings regarding the items.
Without objection, the minutes were approved as presented, (5-0-2) with Commissioners Long and Vannorsdall abstaining since they were not present at that meeting.
Without objection the minutes were approved as presented, (5-0-1) with Commissioner Vannorsdall abstaining since he was not present at that meeting.
Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report. He gave a brief history of the property and a description of the proposed project. He explained that staff believed that all six findings required for the Conditional Use Permit could be made. He stated that a traffic study had been prepared and presented to the Traffic Committee last October. He explained that the study demonstrated that the proposed project would not add significant additional traffic to the immediate area, and the Traffic Committee endorsed the study. He noted that the Traffic Committee did recommend restricting U Turns on Western Avenue to vehicles less than 26 feet in length. The applicant agreed to include in the lease agreement a prohibition against the use of vehicles more than 26 feet in length. He stated that a significant impact identified by staff was the aesthetic impact of the project as initially proposed. In response, the applicant agreed to modify the project by eliminating the third floor of above ground storage. Based upon this modification, staff believes the aesthetic impacts of the project are less than significant. In discussing the Variance application, Mr. Fox stated that staff believed that all four findings could be made. He explained that the physical constraints imposed by the trapezoidal shape of the lot and substandard size and depth are exceptional conditions that warrant the consideration of a Variance. He stated that the major limitation that is imposed by reducing the setbacks is reduced areas for landscape buffers around the site. However, he noted that the rear and side property lines abut a private street and common open space areas in the adjacent townhome community which do provide some buffer for residences of these homes from the facility. In addition, the developer has agreed to work with the homeowners association of the Strathmore Townhomes to enhance the landscaping along the site and in the adjacent common area open space to further screen the appearance of the proposed structure. In discussing the proposed grading, Mr. Fox noted that most of the 13,000 cubic yards of grading was for cut within the building footprint for the subterranean storage levels. He stated that there were nine findings required for the grading permit and staff believed that all of them could be made. Mr. Fox explained that a Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration was prepared for this project, public notice was provided, and it was circulated for a 30 day comment period. He stated that the City received five written comments during this period. Finally, Mr. Fox pointed out one correction in the staff report. He suggested making a modification in Condition No. 8 of the draft Resolution for the Conditional Use, Variance, and Grading Permit to include a requirement to establish a 6-month review period and process.
Vice Chairman Clark stated that he was concerned with the small setbacks proposed by the project and was interested in what the applicant had to say relative to why he thinks he needs this degree of coverage of the lot.
Commissioner Cartwright asked what the setback was of the existing wall at the back of the property. He also asked if there was any plan to connect the new facility to the existing wall owned by homeowners association.
Senior Planner Fox answered that the existing wall was on the property line. He noted that Condition 18 required the developer to provide an enclosure to the site to connect with the homeowners association fence.
Chairman Lyon opened the public hearing.
Gary Smith (applicant) 22582 Avenida Empresa, Rancho Santa Margarita, began by stating he and his partner did not think of themselves as developers, but rather that they were in the storage business and built their own buildings. He stated that this project of 44,000 square feet is the smallest project he has ever done and that most of his projects are between 75,000 and 100,000 square feet. He explained that the access to the project was very carefully designed so that the cars coming in off Western Avenue would not disturb adjacent property owners. He discussed the architecture of the project and explained that this project was designed for the long term. He then discussed landscaping. He stated that a vast majority of his projects are built on zero lot line. He explained that zero lot line was used for security purposes, which prevents access ways for people to get around the buildings. He stated that he has agreed to bring an arborist in to save and protect trees in the Strathmore green belt area and he has agreed to relandscape the entire area around the project. He discussed the demand for a storage facility and noted that typically a City of the size of Rancho Palos Verdes would have 6 to 8 storage facilities.
Gwen Butterfield 19300 S. Hamilton Ave, Gardena, stated she was involved with the community relations and had been working closely with the Strathmore Homeowners Association as well as the Lutheran Church, and many other homeowners associations. She noted that most of the people that wrote letters of support for the project were also those who had opposed previous projects proposed for the site. She stated that the biggest reason for this support was that this project would produce very little traffic, produce very little noise, and have very limited hours of operation.
Commissioner Mueller asked Mr. Smith to explain the procedure when a customer entered the facility.
Mr. Smith explained how the cars would enter, how the clients would sign a lease agreement at the office, and briefly explained that access to most of the units was from the elevators. He explained there was a security lock on each elevator.
Commissioner Mueller asked about the function of the office and if there was security on site 24 hours.
Mr. Smith answered that the office would be approximately 600 square feet with a desk. This is where all of the transactions would take place. There would be always be someone on site during business hours. After hours the security would all be electronic.
Commissioner Vannorsdall noted that grading was going to go down 20 feet. He asked the applicant if he had researched the sewer location and depth in the area.
Mr. Smith answered that he had done thorough studies of the sewer and soils on the property.
Commissioner Vannorsdall asked if there would be a fire alarm system on the property.
Mr. Smith responded that it would be alarmed and fully sprinkled.
Vice Chairman Clark stated he was particularly interested in the zero lot line setback. He understood that the primary reason for that was to minimize potential vandalism and graffiti. He asked Mr. Smith to explain this in more detail,
Mr. Smith answered that it made more sense to build a building on a zero property line and use the greenbelt area located on the Strathmore property to the benefit of both properties.
Vice Chairman Clark asked Mr. Smith to locate on a drawing any walls that will be associated with the project.
Mr. Smith responded that walls were one of the issues in one of the conditions of approval. He explained that Strathmore has requested some type of security so that pedestrians cannot walk from his property and cross the greenbelt. He stated that he has no problem in working with Strathmore to come up with something that is agreeable.
Brian Livingston 1723 Hollifield Ct. stated he was in favor of the project. He stated that there were other projects proposed for the area in the past and this proposal was the most favorable. He felt this project would generate much less traffic and be much quieter than any of the previous proposals. He asked if there was going to be mechanical equipment on the roof and asked that it be screened. He thought that planting some type of vines on the block walls would look very attractive.
Commissioner Paulson stated that Condition No. 19 addressed Mr. Livingston’s concerns about mechanical equipment on the roof.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Livingston if he was representing the homeowners association.
Mr. Livingston responded that he was not speaking on behalf of the Strathmore Homeowners Association.
Mary Saldana 1728 Oldstone Court, stated that the president of the Strathmore Homeowners Association had asked her to come to the meeting. She felt that Mr. Livingston’s comments were consistent with the feelings of the Homeowners Association.
Chairman Lyon closed the public hearing.
Chairman Lyon felt the project was extremely well planned and there had been quite a bit of interaction with the neighbors. He felt that even though there was a zero lot line situation, because of the specifics of the case it did not seem to be a problem.
Vice Chairman Clark stated that, based on the information presented at the meeting, he agreed that the zero lot line would not be a problem.
Commissioner Cartwright agreed with Vice Chairman Clark stating that there were extraordinary circumstances associated with this project. He felt that between the size of the property and the fact that it was adjacent the residential property restricts it to very few development opportunities. He was impressed with the effort the owner had made to cooperate with the neighbors.
Commissioner Paulson moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2001-09, certifying the Mitigated Declaration prepared pursuant to Environmental Assessment No. 716; and adopt P.C. Resolution NO. 2001-10, conditionally approving Conditional Use Permit No. 211, Variance No. 468 and Grading Permit No. 2202, as presented by staff, and with the addition of a condition requiring a 6-month review as suggested by staff, seconded by Vice Chairman Clark. Approved, (7-0).
4. General Plan Amendment NO. 27, Zone Change No. 30, Conditional Use Permit No. 210, Grading Permit No. 2163 for the proposed Indian Ridgecrest Gardens Senior Housing Project.
Acting Principal Planner Pfost presented the staff report. He gave a brief history of the proposed project and it’s several revisions. He described the project site, including the current and proposed zoning and topography. Mr. Pfost described the proposed project and the components of the project. He explained the different applications required for the proposal and the reasons for these applications, and that a Draft Supplemental EIR was prepared for the project and circulated for public review. During the review period staff received 46 comments on the Supplemental EIR and two additional comments outside the comment period, one from the California Department of Fish and Game and one from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He stated all comments would be included in the Final Supplemental EIR. Mr. Pfost gave a detailed description of the proposed grading and crib walls on the site. He stated that if the developer proceeds with the northerly portion of the structure encroaching onto an existing extreme slope, staff feels the project will require recirculation of the Draft Supplemental EIR, as this was not an issue identified in the current Draft Supplemental EIR.
Staff felt there were at least three issues of concern that the Planning Commission should consider in regards to grading: the actual amount of grading proposed, the proposed crib walls along Crestridge Road and Crenshaw Boulevard, and the development over the extreme slope. He stated that given the design opportunities afforded to the developer with the vacant land, staff felt there may be other methods the developer can look at to make sure the development is not proposed over the extreme slope. Regarding visual and aesthetic issues, Mr. Pfost explained that these impacts will be significant. He stated that this was partially due to the development of a new structure on a vacant parcel, but also due to the issue of the bulk and mass of the structure. Although the applicant has attempted to address the bulk and mass impacts by revising the design of the project, there were still some issues involved. He explained that there are three stairwell towers proposed which extend beyond the ridge height of the proposed structure. Additionally, he stated it does not appear the project has been designed in consideration of the existing topography, which generally slopes downward towards the north. He noted this was evident by the large building height that could be seen on the north elevation as well as the elevation view from Crestridge Road. Regarding geology, Mr. Pfost explained that the City geologist has indicated the project may be developed on the subject site and has included a variety of mitigation measures.
Mr. Pfost discussed traffic and noted that the proposed project has been presented to the Traffic Committee twice. The Traffic Committee has recommended updated traffic counts be taken on the project, as they were concerned about the traffic counts presented in the traffic study they had received. In conclusion, Mr. Pfost stated that staff recommended the Planning Commission receive public testimony, review the issues noted throughout the report, and provide direction to staff and the applicant in regards to any concerns of the Planning Commission. Staff then recommended the Planning Commission continue the public hearing to a date certain that is agreed upon by the applicant.
Chairman Lyon stated that there were two very important elements for this item, the presentation by the applicant and the input from the public. He proposed to hear the presentation by the applicant, hear the public testimony, and address the issues raised in the staff report. He stated it was important to understand the importance of developing this project at this site and at this time. He felt if there were any uncertainties or questions regarding that matter he asked that a representative of the City attend the next meeting and explain it to the Commission. He felt it was important the public understand why this project was proposed as there may be quite a bit of misunderstanding.
Chairman Lyon opened the public hearing.
Charles Brumbaugh (applicant) 100 W. Broadway #1250, Glendale stated that there were two units at the very end of the project proposed over the extreme slope. He stated that these two units were going to be eliminated and therefore there would be no need to apply for a Variance. He discussed the stairway towers and stated they were architectural features whose height could be lowered. He further stated that the project would be modified to include only 52 units of which 24 would be two bedroom units and 28 would be three bedroom units. He discussed grading on the site and noted that approximately 8,900 cubic yards of loose fill would have to be removed regardless of what is built on the site. He stated that the remaining grading stems from the building of the subterranean garage. With a power point presentation Mr. Brumbaugh described the architecture and layout of the project. Mr. Brumbaugh realized that the project had gone through many revisions and, while that may cause some confusion, he explained they were trying to be sensitive to the community in addressing concerns.
Vice Chairman Clark asked if there was ever any consideration given to the idea of offering units for sale rather than for rent.
Mr. Brumbaugh answered that the company had very recently reviewed that concept and it was something that would be viable. He stated he had not discussed this concept with staff.
Chairman Lyon asked if it made any difference how many affordable housing units the City required and if that would change the design of the structure.
Mr. Brumbaugh responded that the building would probably be reduced to less than 50 units, but the changes would be minor.
Vice Chairman Clark asked why the developer was proposing 13 affordable housing units.
Mr. Brumbaugh answered that this was the direction given to him by the City Council.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
At 8:50 p.m. the Commission took a short recess until 9:05 p.m. at which time they reconvened.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (CONT)
Glenn Arbuthnot 28856 Crestridge Road discussed his objections to the crib walls and the stair towers proposed at the site. He expressed his frustrations at the many changes that had made to the project. He was concerned with demand on electricity the project would create and felt it would be prudent to wait until the electrical issues were resolved in the state before allowing the construction of such a massive project.
Russel Herrington stated he was speaking on behalf of the Peninsula Seniors. He stated that the Peninsula Seniors has no position regarding the use of property for senior affordable housing. He stated that in December, 2000 the Peninsula Seniors withdrew from participation of the project solely because the proposed design for a senior facility within the building did not meet their requirements. He explained that on April 3, 2001 the Peninsula Seniors submitted a request that the site be considered as a possible site for the senior center. He stated that this request was part of an ongoing search for a location and not in any way was intended to oppose the affordable housing project.
Commissioner Vannorsdall asked if the Peninsula Seniors had any other sites in the City that they were currently considering for their senior center.
Mr. Herrington answered that the Peninsula Seniors would be holding a public meeting on May 15 in which they would be discussing all possible sites for the senior center.
Bill Brandlin 5201 Middlecrest Road began by stating there are a number of ways the affordable housing can be provided without building something new. He disputed the number of units being proposed, and stated there were only 5 additional affordable housing units necessary under the mandate of the state of California. He noted that if the affordable housing project does not get built then the City’s next housing element amendment would only have to indicate that the project was not completed. He then discussed the proposed project adjacent to this project called Crestridge Villas, which was the proposal of 100 condominiums. He stated that Crestridge Villas has filed an application to the City which is currently incomplete. He stated that in the letter sent to the applicant from the City there was a statement which said that this project would be subject to the requirements of the City’s affordable housing program. He stated that if this project chose to provide affordable housing units then the project before the Commission tonight would not have to provide any affordable units. He did not understand why there was such a rush to approve this project. He stated he had attended two Planning Commission meetings, several City Council meetings, and two Traffic Committee hearings regarding this project and he has yet to see anyone from the audience speak in favor of the project.
Barbara Arbuthnot 28856 Crestridge Road stated that the proposed project need only contain 5 affordable housing units. She felt the project was completely without merit. She objected to the three stairwell towers and their massive heights. She was in favor of using the site for a senior center where it would be available to the whole community for the community’s use.
Linda Puentes 5575 Mistridge Drive stated that in looking at the project from her property, the project was very massive and covered the entire lot. She questioned if the silhouette at the property was accurate. She felt the noise from the property would carry into her backyard. She objected to having to look out at such a massive structure.
Ross Anderson 28870 Crestridge Rd stated that he represents the Hilltop Association, which is made up of members from many different communities in the area. He felt the project was too big for the parcel of land. He did not feel the many changes submitted by the applicant mitigate the fact that there is an enormous project on a very small pad. He was concerned that there would be an increase in the risk of some type of geological disturbance due to the engineering of the proposed crib walls on Crenshaw Blvd. and Crestridge Road, coupled with the 35-degree slopes. He stated he had retained an attorney and a geologist, and the geologist felt that there were a collection of issues that had not yet been addressed and were being delayed towards the end of the project. Mr. Anderson felt the Planning Commission should make sure the City’s geologist has studied the project from a geologic viewpoint very thoroughly.
Commissioner Paulson asked if the comments raised by Mr. Anderson concerning geology have been forwarded to staff.
Acting Principal Planner Pfost answered that the comments have been forwarded to staff in the form of a comment letter on the Draft Supplemental EIR. He stated that at the next meeting the City Geologist could be available to answer questions and concerns from the Planning Commission.
Vice Chairman Clark asked Mr. Anderson what he would like to see happen at the site.
Mr. Anderson felt this was a perfect location for some kind of open space area. He did not think the property was suitable for any type of structures. He noted the area on the property that was designated as open space hazard. He felt that for this project the City was bending or breaking every rule, be it zoning or open space hazard, to fit this massive project on the site.
Marilouise Jackson 5219 Middlecrest Road stated that she had not seen any letters or heard anyone speak in favor of this project. She commented on the City’s involvement with the project as it currently owned the land. She felt that if the City were to sell the property back to the developer it would be the same as an interest free loan. She noted in the staff report that staff did not believe the City was interested in owning the project site nor managing the units. She questioned why the City bought the property in the first place.
Yola Gerst 28829 Crestridge Road stated she was against the entire project. She stated that the heaviest and largest portion of the project was on the near extreme north slope. She stated that underneath this was the nursery school and was concerned that when the land moved it may move down onto the nursery school.
Shawn Gillis 5400 Meadowdale Lane stated he moved to this area to be near and around open space. He realized that these were personal issues and not the technical issues that had been heard by the Planning Commission, but he stated this was a concern to him and why he invested the amount of money he did to live in this area. He was concerned about the traffic at the intersection of Crestridge Road and Crenshaw Blvd. and felt it could only get worse over the next several years. He stated he would be interested in seeing a park or open space area at the site.
Commissioner Cartwright stated that much of the property along Crestridge Road has been approved for development and asked Mr. Gillis if he was aware of this when he bought his home.
Mr. Gillis answered that the information most likely would have been available to him had he researched it.
Jim Reed 30652 Palos Verdes Drive East stated he was opposed to the project. He did not understand why the City would consider building any project with more than 5 affordable housing units. He felt that if the City subsidized current housing there would be no need for any new units. He stated that Mr. Brumbaugh was here to make money as a developer but did not think this was the right piece of land to do this. He did not think that there would be adequate parking at the site. Mr. Reed was concerned with the demand of electricity this project would generate and did not think the Planning Commission should approve such a project with the current energy situation in the State. He did not think any of the Planning Commissioners had to live around this type of project and thought they might be receiving some type of kickback from the developer.
Commissioner Cartwright stated that speakers were entitled to stand and say most anything they wanted to, but implying that Commissioners may be taking kickbacks was uncalled for. He reminded everyone that the Planning Commissioners were citizens and homeowners of Rancho Palos Verdes and were volunteering to do a public service.
Vice Chairman Clark agreed and added that he took this type of accusation as personally and professionally demeaning.
Commissioners Long agreed and reminded everyone that the Planning Commission was charged with gathering information needed to make a decision on the findings and whether or not these findings warranted approving the project.
Jim Hathaway 28955 Crestridge Road stated that the property in question belongs to the City and not Mr. Brumbaugh. He felt that the citizens of Rancho Palos Verdes should be able to use this property as they see fit. He felt this land was zoned institutional and open space hazard because the city founding members were worried about traffic corridors and future growth. He requested the City form a sub-committee to create a citywide affordable plan. He suggested investigating existing apartments or condominiums to see which ones needed improvements. The owners could be contacted about the possibility of setting aside one or two units designated as affordable housing units. In exchange, the RDA could use the existing money to redevelop the interior or exterior of the building. He also suggested using available money from the state to create a museum on the subject property.
Luella Wike 29172 Oceanridge Drive concurred with the staff report in regards to the extreme slope and the height of towers. She was very concerned with the traffic issues and felt they had not been sufficiently addressed. Another issue was that of meals. She stated that many seniors move into facilities such as this and look to have meals as an option. She did not see any plan for a main dining room where they could give this option to their residents. She felt a senior project such as this needs to provide a main dining room and offer one or two meals as an option to its residents. Ms. Wike suggested that the Planning Commission recommend to the City Council that this project and others in the area be placed on hold until the Planning Commission and the Traffic Committee, or a separate committee appointed by City Council, review the total impacts of all of the projects. She stated that each project by itself was not a problem, but the cumulative effect of all the projects was. She felt this was the time for the City to listen to the residents and make changes and re-examine the process.
Chuck Taylor 5441 Middlecrest Road stated that he was probably the closest resident to the proposed project. He stated that he was very much in favor of low cost affordable housing and he was also very much in favor of prisons, but not in his backyard. He stated that this structure would be the first thing seen when entering Rancho Palos Verdes and felt it was a crime to put something like this on such a beautiful site. He was concerned about the amount of grading proposed for the site. He felt that there was sufficient opposition to the project that the Planning Commission should deny the project.
Commissioner Vannorsdall asked Mr. Brumbaugh if there was an entrance on one side only, as the other three sides were facing extreme slopes.
Mr. Brumbaugh stated that was correct, but the fire department has required staircases going up along Crenshaw Blvd. and an access around the entire building to allow the fire department to service the building.
Commissioner Vannorsdall stated that he was concerned about adequate exiting for senior citizens in case of a fire.
Mr. Brumbaugh answered that they could use the same routes the fire department would use. He noted that the building would be fully sprinkled.
Commissioner Vannorsdall commented that this facility was being built for a dual purpose, for senior housing and to supply some affordable units to seniors. He felt it was important to remember this when discussing the project.
Commissioner Mueller discussed parking. He noted that Mr. Brumbaugh had commented that some of the other projects he had done had required much less parking. Mr. Mueller asked if those developments were similar to this type of use and if they were for rent or more a home for the aged.
Mr. Brumbaugh answered that senior type projects tend to have fewer cars. He stated that in this project there is more parking than ordinarily supplied for a project of this nature because there is a market rate component, meaning that the tenants do not have income restrictions. He stated that he has attempted to provide one parking space for a one-bedroom unit and 2 parking spaces for a two-bedroom unit, plus the guest parking.
Commissioner Mueller asked if the center was going to provide any type of transportation to the residents.
Mr. Brumbaugh answered that he was anticipating having a van available to the residents approximately 3 days a week.
Chairman Lyon closed the public hearing.
Chairman Lyon explained that the Planning Commission was charged with making decisions on projects based on land use. He stated it was a little complicated in this situation as the City Council was party to this project. He stated he was unclear on the City Council’s objectives in terms of the number of low cost units to be included with this project and this needed to be clarified. He felt the Planning Commission had heard a number of very good comments and the speakers had identified a number of issues that make good sense. He assured the audience that no decisions would be made until the Planning Commission had fully explored all outstanding and unclear issues. Lastly, he commented on the number of times the project has changed. He felt this was a good sign, as it showed the developer was trying to respond to the concerns of the city and the residents. He suggested the Commission discuss their concerns and the concerns expressed by staff in the staff report and provide some direction to the applicant and staff.
Acting Principal Planner Pfost stated one area of concern was the grading on the site, which staff felt was excessive. He also discussed the crib walls proposed and whether or not they were visually obtrusive and if there were other things the developer could look at in reducing the crib walls or mitigating the visual impacts of the walls. Thirdly, there was the issue of developing over an extreme slope and if the project should look at decreasing the bulk and mass and get off of the extreme slope.
Commissioner Cartwright noted that the applicant had said earlier in the meeting that he was not going to build out over the extreme slope and therefore would not need to apply for a variance. Therefore, that issue did not need to be discussed. He felt the developer could change the outline of the structure to better fit the topography of the lot.
Chairman Lyon re-opened the public hearing.
Chairman Lyon asked Mr. Brumbaugh if he felt he needed any further direction from the City Council with regards to the number of low cost units in order to proceed with his planning.
Mr. Brumbaugh stated that any question that could be answered or any direction given would be a tremendous help, irrespective of what the issue was.
Chairman Lyon asked what specific questions he had.
Mr. Brumbaugh asked if he eliminated the extreme slope issue and clipped the end of the building, would the design of the building be aesthetically pleasing to the Commission or were they looking for something different.
Commissioner Paulson stated that staff had raised the problem of the towers and their overall height.
Mr. Brumbaugh did not disagree and stated that the towers were architectural features that could be lowered or removed if needed.
Mr. Brumbaugh stated there were questions regarding geology that would be addressed at the next meeting. He noted that the affordable housing units were an important issue that needed clarification.
Chairman Lyon addressed the crib walls and felt that some type of screening would help the aesthetics of the wall.
Mr. Brumbaugh stated that any landscaping and design issues could be worked out during the process. He stated that the walls were important in providing stability to the land.
Chairman Lyon commented that one of issues raised many times was the mass of the building, especially when driving up Crenshaw Blvd. He asked if there was a way to soften the impact of the building.
Mr. Brumbaugh answered that there would be a tremendous amount of landscaping involved with the project and that would help soften the mass of the building. He felt they could also put in one or two landscaping walls that would step up the actual terrain which would further mitigate any visual impacts coming up Crenshaw Blvd.
Commissioner Cartwright felt it would be helpful if the developer could present something to the Commission that simulated the design and the changes proposed.
Chairman Lyon closed the public hearing.
Chairman Lyon asked if there was a way to restrict the occupants of the low cost housing to Rancho Palos Verdes residents.
Acting Principal Planner Pfost answered that based on meetings with the City Attorney he did not believe there was a way to restrict the residency. He stated he would have the City Attorney prepare a memo for the Planning Commission regarding that topic.
Chairman Lyon continued commenting that geology was a major issue among all of the Commissioners but would be discussed in detail at the next meeting.
Vice Chairman Clark stated he was particularly interested in the comments Ross Anderson had made regarding the geologist that the Hilltop Association had hired. He encouraged Hilltop Association to have their geologist at the meeting when the geology was discussed.
Commissioner Cartwright felt it would be helpful for the Hilltop Association’s geologist to provide his concerns to staff so that the City Geologist would be prepared to answer the concerns at the public hearing.
Chairman Lyon noted that the last issue addressed in the staff report was traffic. He noted that the Traffic Committee was scheduled to continue discussion of the project at their next meeting.
Commissioner Mueller asked if there was a reason that the opening of a second high school was not addressed in the traffic study.
Acting Principal Planner Pfost did not know why it was not included, but would find out and discuss it at the next meeting.
Vice Chairman Clark stated that this was a thorough list of topics for the applicant to consider, however he did tell the applicant not to presume that topics not discussed presently may not at a later date become topics of concern.
Chairman Lyon asked if the applicant and staff could accomplish what needed to be accomplished by the May 22, 2001 meeting.
Mr. Brumbaugh felt he could have all of the information ready for the May 22 meeting.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that the applicant had been given direction on a number of issues and he was concerned that the applicant could not get the plans to staff in time for staff to review the plans, make comments, and prepare a staff report in time for the May 22 meeting.
Mr. Brumbaugh responded that his architect would be able to meet with staff in the next two days.
Chairman Lyon felt the applicant needed to know exactly how many low cost housing units were going to be required by the City.
Director/Secretary Rojas responded that this was a policy issue that the City Council needed to act on. He explained that there had been a discussion and it was noted that the number of units required by the state may be adjusted and increased. It was felt that there should be a cushion to deal with the possibility of the increase in number.
Chairman Lyon stated there was five years to worry about this issue, and even after five years the state does not penalize the City if nothing has been done. He felt the City should have a plan to implement based on the requirements in place today. He noted that the City does not get credit in the next five year period for what was done in this five year period. He did not understand why, if the City only needed five affordable units, the
City was considering more than 5 units.
Commissioner Paulson stated he was beginning to develop the position that he did not care how many affordable units were proposed. He was more interested in whether the project was suitable for the land use designated for the site. He felt the number of affordable units should be decided by the City Council.
Commissioner Long agreed that this not was an issue that the Planning Commission had to deal with as it was a City Council policy decision.
Director/Secretary Rojas added that the applicant had indicated in past discussions that he was flexible with the number of affordable housing units. Staff has proceeded with this project and thought of the number of affordable housing units as a non-issue at this point. He stated that the number of units would be determined by the City Council.
Chairman Lyon stated that at some point in the near future an architect would have to design the specifics of the project and would need to know exactly how many units were to be for affordable housing.
Commissioner Cartwright asked if the affordable units were going to be smaller than the other one-bedroom units.
Mr. Brumbaugh answered that all of the one-bedroom units would be the same size. He stated that because he had quite a bit of flexibility on that question he did not think that it needed to be decided at any time before the final approval.
In light of Mr. Brumbaugh’s comments Chairman Lyon withdrew his suggestion to have a city representative explain to the Planning Commission their reason for requiring 13 affordable housing units with this project.
Chairman Lyon felt that the issues had been addressed as much as possible at this meeting and stated that the public hearing would be continued to May 22, 2001.
ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS
Vice Chairman Clark stated he did not see where staff had scheduled in the future for the Public Works Director to provide the Planning Commission with the same presentation that was provided to the City Council and Finance Committee on the storm drains in the City.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated he had spoken with the Director of Public Works about the presentation to the Planning Commission. Mr. Rojas stated that the presentation could be put on whatever agenda the Planning Commission desired.
Chairman Lyon asked the item be added to the May 22 agenda. Mr. Lyon stated he would be absent from the May 22 meeting.
There being no objection, Chairman Lyon adjourned the meeting at 11:18 p.m.