10/09/2001 Planning Commission Agenda October, 2001, 10/09/2001, Planning, Commission, Meeting, Agenda, 29635 Stonecrest Road stated that he has written two letters to the Planning Commission regarding the project. He stated he was horrified to learn California Water Service Company had sold their site to a developer and that homes were being planned 10 feet from his rear yard boundary. He did not think the developer was showing any sensitivity to the existing homeowners. He explained that the residents along Stonecrest, Scotwood and Sunmist have enjoyed privacy and park-like ambiance for nearly 40 years. He felt that there were a number of environmental issues in the mitigated negative declaration that are not adequately addressed. He stressed that because the project met the technical code requirements of lot size, setbacks, etc., it still does not mean the project is a good one, makes sense, or is compatible with the neighborhood. He felt the mitigated negative declaration was very vague on the proposed treatment of vegetation and landscaping. The 10/09/2001 RPV Planning Commission Meeting Agenda
Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission Agenda October 9, 2001
October 09 , 2001

DISCLAIMER

The following Planning Commission agenda includes text only version of the staff reports associated with the business matters to be brought before for the Planning Commission at its Regular Meeting of this date. Changes to the staff reports may be necessary prior to the actual Planning Commission meeting. The Planning Commission may elect to delete or continue business matters at the beginning of the Planning Commission Meeting. Additionally, staff reports attachments, including but not limited to, pictures, plans, drawings, spreadsheet presentations, financial statements and correspondences are not included. The attachments are available for review with the official agenda package at the Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Department.

...end of disclaimer...

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BEGINNING OF PLANNING COMMISSION AGENDA

This agenda has been prepared for the orderly progression of Planning Commission business. The Planning Commission is very interested in hearing your comments and encourages your participation in the meeting. These agenda instructions are intended to familiarize you with how the meeting will be conducted, what to expect and how to most effectively participate in the process.

Staff Reports

Detailed staff reports on the items contained in this agenda are available from the Planning Department the Friday before the meeting and are posted for public viewing immediately prior to the meeting in the hallway outside the chambers. The Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Department is located at City Hall at 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes. The Department's public counter hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The telephone number is (310) 377-6008.

Organization of the Agenda

The Planning Commission agenda is divided into the following sections:

Consent Calendar: This section consists of routine items, which, unless a request has been received from the public, a Commission member or Staff to remove a particular item for discussion, are enacted by one motion of the Planning Commission.
Continued Business: This section consists of items that were held over from a previous Planning Commission meetings and for which a decision has not yet been made.
Public Hearings: This section is devoted to noticed public hearings which have not been previously heard by the Commission.
New Business: This section is for items that do not require a noticed public hearing. Pursuant to adopted Planning Commission procedure, the Commission will, except under exceptional circumstances and with the consent of the majority of the Commission, adjourn its meetings on or before 12:00 a.m. and not consider new business items after 11:00 p.m., with any unfinished business being continued to the next regular, adjourned, or special meeting.
Audience Comments: This part of the agenda is reserved for making comments on matters which are NOT on the agenda. Comments must be limited to matters within the jurisdiction of the Planning Commission. Due to State law, no action can be taken on matters brought up under Audience Comments. If action by the Commission is necessary, the matter may be placed on a future agenda, or referred to Staff, as determined by the Commission.

Presentation of Agenda Items

Unless the Chairperson in his or her discretion should direct otherwise, the order of the presentation is generally as follows:

(a) Presentation of staff report, including any environmental analysis or recommendation.
(b) Questions of staff by members of Planning Commission.
(c) Public hearing opened.
(d) Presentation of the applicant(s) or appellant(s).
(e) Presentation of persons in favor of the requested action.
(f) Presentation of persons in opposition to the requested action.
(g) Rebuttal comments by the applicant(s) or appellant(s), if requested.
(h) Closing comments by staff.
(i) Public hearing closed.

How to Speak on an Item

 In order to speak on an item, please completely fill out a Request to Speak form and return it to the recording secretary. These half-sheet forms (which are printed on colored paper) are available on the table in the hallway outside the chambers or from the recording secretary, who is seated on the left-hand side of the dais (the table with the blue skirt at the front of the meeting room), next to the light timer. Requests to speak on an item must be submitted to the recording secretary prior to the completion of the remarks of the first speaker on the item. No request forms to speak on the particular item will be accepted after that time.

 After your name is called by the recording secretary, please approach the lectern and speak clearly into the microphone. The height of the microphone may be adjusted by hand if necessary. Before beginning your comments on the item, please state your name and address for the record.

 The length of time that each person is allowed to speak on individual items is determined by the Chairman and is usually based on the number of speakers on the particular item. Normally, the applicants and appellants are limited to a five (5) minute presentation and a three (3) minute rebuttal (if requested). All other persons are generally limited to three (3) minutes per person.

 Submittal of Written Correspondence

 You may submit written evidence to the Planning Commission through the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement and request that the Commission receive copies of the submitted materials prior to the meeting. However, such written evidence must be submitted by 12:00 noon on the Monday prior to the Planning Commission meeting. If any written evidence is submitted after the Monday noon deadline, the Commission will not consider it at the meeting. However, it will be distributed as part of the agenda packet for any forthcoming meeting, provided that the item is continued. This does not prevent you from reading written comments that are submitted late into the record as part of oral comments, in accordance with the time limits discussed above.

Conduct at the Meeting

The Planning Commission has adopted a set of rules for conduct during Planning Commission meetings. Although it is a very rare occurrence, the Chairperson may order from the Planning Commission Chambers any person(s) who commit the following acts with respect to a regular or special meeting of the Planning Commission:

1. Disorderly, contemptuous or insolent behavior toward the Commission or any member thereof, which interrupts the due and orderly course of said meeting.
2. A breach of the peace, boisterous conduct or violent disturbance, which interrupts the due and orderly course of said meeting.
3. Disobedience of any lawful order of the Chairperson which shall include an order to be seated or refrain from addressing the Commission.
4. Any other interference with the due and orderly course of the meeting.

Your cooperation in making the Planning Commission meeting run smoothly and fairly for all participants in greatly appreciated.


RANCHO PALOS VERDES PLANNING COMMISSION

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2001

FRED HESSE COMMUNITY PARK, 29301 HAWTHORNE BOULEVARD

REGULAR MEETING

7:00 P.M.


SCHEDULING NOTES

REQUESTS TO SPEAK ON AN ITEM MUST BE SUBMITTED TO THE RECORDING SECRETARY PRIOR TO THE COMPLETION OF THE REMARKS OF THE FIRST SPEAKER ON THE ITEM. NO REQUEST FORMS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THAT TIME.

PURSUANT TO ADOPTED PLANNING COMMISSION PROCEDURE, NEW BUSINESS ITEMS NOT HEARD BEFORE ll:00 P.M. WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY CONTINUED AND WILL BE HEARD ON THE NEXT COMMISSION AGENDA.

NEXT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2001-33


 

CALL TO ORDER:

FLAG SALUTE:

ROLL CALL:

APPROVAL OF AGENDA:

COMMUNICATIONS:

Council Policy Items (Excerpt Minutes):

NONE

Staff:

Commission:

CONSENT CALENDAR:



1. MINUTES OF SEPTEMBER 25, 2001


2. CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 136, GRADING PERMIT NO. 1246, and LOT LINE ADJUSTMENT NO. 38: York Long Point Associates, (applicants), 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South.

Recommendation: Approve the requested one (1) year extension via Minute Order, thereby setting the expiration date as September 11, 2002 with all conditions of approval remaining in full force and effect.

RECESS/COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (regarding non-agenda items) at APPROXIMATELY 8:30 P.M.:


PUBLIC HEARINGS:



3. HEIGHT VARIATION PERMIT NO. 936: Mr. & Mrs. Samer Mistry, (applicant), 6756 Birchman Drive. (BY)


Requested Action:
Allow the enclosure of an existing 162 square foot second story balcony and the conversion of the addition into habitable space. The maximum height of the proposed addition is 19'-0", as measured from the highest elevation point covered by structure.

Recommendation: Adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2001 - ___; approving, with conditions, Height Variation Permit No. 936.



4. CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 229, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2283, and ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO. 740: Verizon Wireless Services, represented by Lorena Martinez at TetraTech Wireless. (ES)

Requested Action: Allow the replacement of an existing 35-foot-high flagpole with a 45-foot-high, 20-inch in diameter pole, supporting six antenna panels mounted inside the pole for Verizon Wireless, located at the southern end of the track and field area of the school. Also allow 15 cubic yards of grading to provide a 14-foot deep caisson foundation for the pole; and a 240 square foot, 12-foot-high, prefabricated equipment structure with a roof-mounted GPS antenna 75-feet west of the new antenna pole, which will be surrounded by a protective fence and hedge.

Recommendation: Adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2001- ___, certifying the Mitigated Negative Declaration; and adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2001 - ___, conditionally approving Conditional Use Permit No. 229 and Grading Permit No. 2283.



5. CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 226, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2296 and ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO. 742: Verizon Wireless Services, represented by John Koos at TetraTech Wireless. (ES)

Requested Action: Allow the construction of a new 30-foot-tall simulated power pole, 20 inches in diameter, to accommodate the placement of four (4) antenna panels inside the pole, located in a field to the west (upslope) of the existing Ladera Linda Community Center buildings, to the north (at top of slope) of the existing residences on Helm Place, and east of the existing tennis courts. Also allow 15 cubic yards of grading to provide for a 14-foot deep caisson foundation for the pole; and a 240-square foot, 12-foot high, prefabricated equipment structure with a roof-mounted GPS antenna adjacent to the north of the new antenna pole, which will be surrounded by a 6-foot high protective fence and hedge.

Recommendation: Adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2001- ___, denying Conditional Use Permit No. 226, Grading Permit No. 2296 and Environmental Assessment No. 742.


6. GRADING PERMIT NO. 2191: Mr. and Mrs. Heru Wiredja, 3815 Palos Verdes Drive South. (AM)

Requested Action: Allow the construction of a new 7,691 square foot, two-story, single-family residence with a three-car garage, at a proposed height of 9'-6", as measured from the highest existing grade covered by structure to the top of the highest roof ridgeline, and 30' in height, as measured from the lowest finished grade covered by structure to the top of the highest roof ridgeline. The Grading Permit is to allow 1,643 cubic yards of associated earth movement to prepare the undeveloped project site for the proposed residence.

Recommendation:Adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2001-___; approving, with conditions, Grading Permit No. 2191.


7. COASTAL PERMIT NO. 170 and GRADING PERMIT NO. 2260 and COASTAL PERMIT NO. 172 and GRADING PERMIT NO. 2281: Eric Johnson, (applicant), 2 Yacht Harbor Drive. (KF)

Requested Action: Allow 1) the construction a new, 12-foot-tall single-family residence and subterranean garage, guest house, studio and swimming pool, totaling 22,715 square feet of habitable and non-habitable space, on an 18.88-acre bluff-top site in the Portuguese Bend Club community; and 2) the realignment of a portion of the private street right-of-way of Yacht Harbor Drive across the site.

Recommendation: Adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2001-___, conditionally approving Coastal Permit No. 170 and Grading Permit No. 2260 for the proposed residence; and adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2001-___, conditionally approving Coastal Permit No. 172 and Grading Permit No. 2281 for the proposed realignment of Yacht Harbor Drive.


CONTINUED BUSINESS:



8. LONG POINT RESORT: Consisting of Coastal Permit No. 166, General Plan Amendment No. 28, Conditional Use Permit No. 215, Conditional Use Permit No. 216, Parcel Map No. 26073, Grading Permit No. 2229, Grading Permit No. 2230, and the associated Final Environmental Impact Report; Destination Development Corporation, (applicant), 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South and 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard. (AM)

Requested Action: Approve Coastal Permit No. 166, Conditional Use Permit No. 215, Grading Permit No. 2229, Conditional Use Permit No. 216, Tentative Parcel Map No. 26703, Grading Permit No. 2230 and General Plan Amendment No. 28 for the Long Point Resort.

Recommendation:Staff recommends that the Planning Commission: 1) Review and discuss the project's EIR and draft Resolution, and forward a recommendation to the City Council for certification at their November 7th meeting; 2) Review and discuss the draft Resolutions and Conditions of Approval for the project applications; and 3) If deemed appropriate, forward a recommendation to the City Council for consideration at their November 17th meeting.


NEW BUSINESS:(NO ITEMS)


ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS:


Staff



9. PRE-AGENDA FOR THE MEETING OF OCTOBER 23, 2001.

Commission


ADJOURNMENT:


The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday,
October 23, 2001, 7:00 P.M. at Hesse Park.



AGENDA

RANCHO PALOS VERDES PLANNING COMMISSION

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2001

FRED HESSE COMMUNITY PARK, 29301 HAWTHORNE BOULEVARD

REGULAR MEETING

7:00 P.M.


SCHEDULING NOTES

REQUESTS TO SPEAK ON AN ITEM MUST BE SUBMITTED TO THE RECORDING SECRETARY PRIOR TO THE COMPLETION OF THE REMARKS OF THE FIRST SPEAKER ON THE ITEM. NO REQUEST FORMS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THAT TIME.

PURSUANT TO ADOPTED PLANNING COMMISSION PROCEDURE, NEW BUSINESS ITEMS NOT HEARD BEFORE ll:00 P.M. WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY CONTINUED AND WILL BE HEARD ON THE NEXT COMMISSION AGENDA.

NEXT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2001-33


 

CALL TO ORDER:

FLAG SALUTE:

ROLL CALL:


APPROVAL OF AGENDA:


COMMUNICATIONS:


Council Policy Items (Excerpt Minutes):

NONE

Staff:

Commission:

 


CONSENT CALENDAR:



1. MINUTES OF SEPTEMBER 25, 2001

DRAFT

CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES

PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

SEPTEMBER 25, 2001

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Lyon at 7:03 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.

FLAG SALUTE

Commissioner Long led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ATTENDANCE

Present:Commissioners Cartwright, Long, Mueller, Paulson, Vannorsdall, Vice Chairman Clark, Chairman Lyon

Absent:None

Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, Senior Planner Fox, Senior Planner Mihranian, Assistant City Attorney Pittman, and Recording Secretary Peterson.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Chairman Lyon suggested changing the order to hear item 4 before item 3. The Commission unanimously agreed.

COMMUNICATIONS

Director Rojas distributed 2 items of correspondence relating to Agenda Item No. 3 and 11 items of correspondence relating to Agenda Item No. 5.

Commissioner Long reported he had received a letter from Dena Friedson expressing concerns over the zoning of Upper Point Vicente.

CONSENT CALENDAR

1. Minutes of September 11, 2001

Vice Chairman Clark requested that the minutes reflect the reason he was absent from the last meeting was because on the night of September 11,2001 he was on special alert status duty associated with his status in the United States Air Force.

Commissioner Long noted a clarification to his statement on page 20 of the minutes.

Commissioner Mueller suggested a clarification to his statement on page 6 of the minutes.

Commissioner Cartwright noted a typo on page 16 of the minutes. He also noted a clarification to his statement on page 16.

Commissioner Paulson noted a typo on page 18 and a clarification on page 21 of the minutes.

Without objection, the minutes were approved as amended, (6-0-1) with Vice Chairman Clark abstaining since he was not at that meeting.


PUBLIC HEARINGS


2. Conditional Use Permit No. 158 - Revision 'E': Makallon RPV Associates LLC, Tract NO. 46628 (Oceanfront)

Commissioner Long noted that Capitol Pacific Holdings is a client with the law firm for which he is employed and, as he has done in the past, he recused himself from this item.

Vice Chairman Clark stated that he had recently held a campaign event at Oceanfront Estates and would therefore recuse himself from this item.

Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report. He noted that currently the only accessory structures allowed to encroach into the setback areas were in-ground pools and spas. He stated the purpose of the existing restriction was to maintain and protect visual corridors along and through the rear yards of the homes in the community. However, several of the new property owners have expressed interest in constructing additional accessory structures, such as built in barbecues and low planter walls, in the rear yard setback area. Therefore, the developer made the request for the revision on behalf of the current and future homeowners of the Oceanfront Community. He stated that staff had determined that all of the necessary findings for the Conditional Use Permit Revision could be made. He noted that in a recent telephone conversation with the developer's representative there was also a request made to include fire pits. Staff reviewed the request and felt these fire pits would be similar to low walls, as long as the fire pit did not exceed 30 inches in height. He stated that the developer had expressed concern about the proposed condition Q-6 which would prohibit placing accessory structures on the slope areas of the rear and side yards. He stated that staff felt it was important to include this restriction to maintain the integrity of the slope areas and protect the rear yard visual corridors.

Commissioner Paulson asked if there had been a discussion about including these types of structures in the original approval of the project.

Senior Planner Fox stated that he believed there was discussion regarding these types of structures, and that is why the condition was written the way it was so as not allow accessory structures to encroach into the setback area. He felt the concern of the Commission at that time was having large freestanding types of accessory structures such as trellises in the rear yards. He noted that staff now believes, that based on the limited height and the types of the structures being proposed, they will not have adverse visual impacts for those on the loop road or view impacts from homes that are adjacent. He stated that the types of structures proposed in this revision were those that are not constituted as lot coverage and frequently do not require a building permit. He stated that these types of structures are allowed to encroach into setbacks in other areas of the City.

Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Fox if he felt these exclusions in the language of the conditions were unintentional.

Senior Planner Fox stated that staff felt the language was overly broad in the original condition.

Director/Secretary Rojas stated he was not directly involved in original discussions for the project, however he felt these modifications meet the intent of the original condition.

Commissioner Mueller felt the original condition was meant to keep structures in the backyard flush with the ground so as to consider the look of the bluffs and the view corridor. He felt that adding structures such as those proposed was deviating from the City's original intention. He asked if the Planning Commission that approved this project had discussions regarding barbecues in the backyard.

Senior Planner Fox answered that staff was not aware of any specific discussions regarding barbecues. He stated that he had talked to the former staff project manager and her recollection was there was not a specific discussion regarding built in barbecues. She felt the focus was on larger structures, such as freestanding patio covers and gazebos.

Chairman Lyon opened the public hearing.

Tim Hamilton 4100 MacArthur Blvd., Newport Beach (applicant) distributed a handout for the Commissioners to review. After researching the question, Mr. Hamilton felt sure that the conditions did not mean to prevent homeowners from having a barbecue or gas fired fire pit in their backyard. He stated that currently the City has denied a small, 6-inch high fire pit and a $16,000 barbecue that is almost hidden from view. He asked the Commission to review the condition in light that the homeowners are anxious to improve their backyards and make them look as attractive as possible. He stated that CPH has set up an architectural committee that has to approve every landscaping plan in the Oceanfront community. He concluded by asking the Planning Commission to support the staff's recommendations.

Commissioner Cartwright asked if there were currently any accessory structures built on any of the 12 homes that are currently occupied.

Mr. Hamilton answered that in the model complex there are some barbecues and fire pits built, but thought the City previously approved these.

Senior Planner Fox stated that the improvements in the model homes are covered through the Special Use Permit for the models.

Trevor Dodson 17320 Redhill Ave Irvine stated he was with MDS Consulting, the civil engineers for the project. He stated that what was proposed could be easily done and urged the Planning Commission to approve the staff's recommendations.

John Hoffman 65 Via del Cielo stated he was in the final stages of developing his home in Oceanfront Estates and beginning the landscaping process. He stated he was surprised to learn he could not build a barbecue when he submitted his landscape plans to the City. He stated that the only place he could build a barbecue under the current conditions of approval was a very narrow area to the side of the home where the stairs come down. He did not think this was an area anyone would want to have a barbecue. He noted that the barbecue proposed was consistent with the one built at the model home and is very tasteful. He felt this proposed barbecue would not only enhance the living experience, but also the outside view from anyone driving or walking by on the road.

Chairman Lyon closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Cartwright stated that it was hard for him to believe that the intent of the condition was to restrict any kind of accessory structure. He felt this condition severely restricted how homeowners could use their backyards. He felt barbecues and fire pits were typical in homes, and not the exception. He felt this amendment was a reasonable request and he could support the request.

Chairman Lyon agreed that this was an expected amenity in any home.

Commissioner Mueller asked if there could be restrictions in the amendment stating these structures could not be contiguous. He felt it would be possible for a type of wall to be built when two or three of these structures were built side by side.

Senior Planner Fox answered that there might be some type of wording to reflect this concern.

Commissioner Cartwright stated that there was nothing restricting a homeowner from building planters under 30 inches in height one next to another. He felt it would be very difficult to prevent the building of something that looks like a planter wall.

Commissioner Lyon moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2001-31, approving Conditional Use Permit No. 158 - Revision 'E' with the amendment that fire pits up to 30 inches be included as well as pool equipment up to 42 inches tall with a three foot setback from any property line, seconded by Commissioner Vannorsdall. Approved, (5-0-2) with Commissioner Long and Vice Chairman Clark abstaining.


4. Variance No. 475, Minor Exception Permit No. 572, Grading Permit No. 2228, Site Plan Review No. 8808 Revision 'A', Coastal Permit No. 161 Revision 'A': 33 Marguerite Drive

Commissioner Long stated that he would recuse himself from this application, as the owner of the property was a judge. He stated that he had not had a case before this judge but there was no way of knowing if he would be before him in the future.


Senior Planner Mihranian presented the staff report. He explained the various applications and the need for these applications. He stated that staff had determined that applicable findings could be made and therefore recommended approval of the project.

There being no concerns from the Planning Commission, Chairman Lyon asked if there was any audience member who wished to speak. There was nobody in the audience who requested to speak.

Commissioner Mueller asked the difference between a guesthouse and a second unit.

Senior Planner Mihranian clarified that a second unit has food preparation facilities where as a guesthouse has only sleeping quarters. He noted that on this plan a guesthouse was proposed that would be attached to the existing second unit. He stated that although attached, there was no internal access between the two structures. Therefore, staff considered them two separate uses.

Commissioner Cartwright moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2001-32 thereby approving Variance No. 475, Minor Exception Permit No. 572, Grading Permit No. 2228, Site plan Review No. 8808 Revision 'A', and Coastal Permit No. 161 Revision 'A' as presented by staff, seconded by Commissioner Paulson. Approved, (6-0-1) with Commissioner Long abstaining.


3. Tentative Tract Map No. 53305, Conditional Use Permit No. 228, Grading Permit No. 2242 and Environmental Assessment No. 738: California Water Service & JCC Homes, 5837 Crest Road

Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report. He explained the request and how the proposed residential lots would be used. He also explained the size of the proposed lots as well as the size of the proposed houses. Mr. Fox discussed Lot 7, which contains the underground reservoir and pump station would be retained as open space and the developer would be required to pay an in-lieu park fee upon City Council approval. He noted that the General Plan land use designation for the California Water Service Company site was Infrastructure Facility while the zoning designation was RS-4. He stated that the City Attorney felt that there would be the need to add a General Plan Amendment to this project before it moves forward to the City Council. He explained that staff felt this could be accomplished by renoticing prior to the next meeting. Mr. Fox stated that most of the required findings for a residential planned development could be made, however both staff and surrounding residents have concerns about the project consistency to some of the required findings. He explained that typical homes in the surrounding neighborhoods are approximately 2,400 square feet in size on lots approximately 9,000 square feet. The homes proposed by the developer range in size from 5,600 to 6,500 square feet in living area on a lot size of approximately 12,000 square feet. He stated that at this time staff was recommending the Planning Commission accept public testimony on the proposed project and the draft Mitigated Negative Declaration provide staff and the applicant with direction on key issues of concerns with the project, and continue the project to the meeting of October 9, 2001. He noted that staff has received a total of 10 letters in opposition to the project.

Commissioner Cartwright noted that there were some very large Monterey Pines located on the California Water Service Company property. He asked if there was any concern regarding view impairment from those trees.

Senior Planner Fox stated there are concerns about view impairment, however there are also concerns about retaining those trees as a buffer between the development and the existing residences.

Commissioner Paulson asked what was proposed to happen with the activities and the garaging facilities located on the property.

Senior Planner Fox stated that California Water Service Company would be relocating most of their operations to a new facility in Torrance.

Chairman Lyon opened the public hearing.

Kurt Nelson 3480 Torrance Blvd., Torrance (applicant) stated he has taken the time to review the staff report, the recommendations for the mitigated negative declaration, and the letters sent in opposition very thoroughly. He felt it was possible to address any reasonable issues of any significant view impairment, preservation or replacement of landscaping, and the redesign of the house on lot 9 (as recommended in the staff report) could be adequately addressed at the next Planning Commission meeting. He stated he would like to listen to the public and Commission comments made at this meeting so that he could provide a possible solution at the next meeting.

Vice Chairman Clark asked Mr. Nelson why JCC Homes was proposing such large homes on these lots, which was tripling the size of homes on similar lots in the area. He was especially concerned with the cumulative effect of that kind of massing on lots.

Mr. Nelson answered that the surrounding neighborhood had homes of approximately 2,500 square feet, where the homes proposed by JCC were approximately double that size rather than triple the size. He noted that the lots for the proposed homes were significantly larger than the lots in the surrounding neighborhood. He also stated that, for better or worse, larger homes are what the market desires.

Commissioner Paulson stated that he had visited the site and studied the plans, and felt that he was looking at two separate areas. He stated that there was a residential development proposed with 6 lots. Across from California Water Service, almost as an afterthought, there was another piece of property (lot 9) thrown in to make a little extra money. He was very uncomfortable with this type of approach to the development.

Tim Racisz 3480 Torrance Blvd, Torrance, stated he was the architect for the project and was at the meeting to gather information and answer any questions.

Robert Allen 5822 Scotwood Drive stated his property was located behind the proposed lots 4 and 5. He stated that, based on the silhouettes placed on those lots, he will lose 90 percent of his view of Catalina. He stated the proposed houses would be much taller than the existing foliage on the property. He did not feel it was right for a resident who had lived in their home for 27 years to lose an entire view.

Chairman Lyon asked Mr. Allen if he had any basis to know if the portion of the view obstructed would be higher than 16 feet above the existing grade.

Mr. Allen stated he did not do any measuring. He simply stood in his backyard and felt he would only be able to see the top inch of Catalina rather than the entire view he has now.

Chairman Lyon noted that the property owner has a right to build up to 16 feet in height, but not higher than that if there is a view obstruction.

Vice Chairman Clark asked Mr. Allen if he had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Nelson or anyone from JCC Homes.

Mr. Allen said he had not talked with anyone from JCC Homes.

Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Allen if his view was over the southern border of the development and if the trees on the property obstructed his view.

Mr. Allen answered that the trees did not obstruct his view as he could see the ocean and all of Catalina Island.

Carolynn Tuttle 29541 Oceanport Road stated she currently has a view of Catalina Island. She stated that she currently lives in a 2,400 square foot home and does not think the proposed 5,000 to 7,000 square foot homes are in any way compatible with the neighborhood. She was very concerned about the loss of her view of Catalina. She felt the Planning Commission should find out if there is a diver who periodically goes into the existing reservoir to seal leaks. She stated that swimming pools get fissures and leak after an earthquake. She wondered what would happen to the surrounding area if there were a leak in the reservoir. She felt the Commission should ask for extreme geological studies of the land. She stated she would much rather be listening to how the water company would propose added security around the facility rather than a chain link fence.

Commissioner Cartwright asked Ms. Tuttle if she had the opportunity to read the staff report.

Ms. Tuttle replied that she had not had the opportunity to read the staff report.

Commissioner Cartwright explained that for lot 9 staff had recommended structures be limited to a height of 16 and the square footage and setbacks were also restricted. He asked if what the staff was recommending would satisfy Ms. Tuttle's concerns.

Ms. Tuttle stated that the lower structure would allow her to see the top of Catalina, however she would not be able to see the water line. She stated that the area of the proposed home was her only viewing area. She was also very concerned with chimneys obstructing her view.

Greg Johnson 29643 Stonecrest Road stated that he was deeply concerned with this proposed development. He stated that instead of looking at beautiful trees 10 feet behind his back fence, he would be looking at mini-mansions. He stated that it appeared that all along Stonecrest Road there are two or three of the houses in the new development which will represent a gross discontinuity between Mesa Palos Verdes and the big houses in the new development. He was disappointed that the developer did not put up silhouettes to give the neighbors an idea of what was proposed. He felt that as a minimum, the six houses should be moved back more than 10 feet from the back fences of the people who live on Stonecrest Road. He stated that all of the foliage and trees along Stonecrest Road currently affords definition and privacy to the backyards should remain. He felt the new homes should not block existing views and they should be compatible in size and style.

Dorothe Turley 5814 Scotwood Drive stated she currently has an end to end view of Catalina and has had that view since she moved into the home in 1964. She stated that she picked this lot because it had a pristine view of Catalina and would always have that view. She felt that if these houses were built she would have lost the rest of her end-to-end view of Catalina. She explained that she had endured 19 months of construction during the building of the existing reservoir in the 1970's. She stated it was dirty, noisy, and very disconcerting. She stated she did not complain at the time because she knew when she bought her property that the California Water Service Company property was set aside for a water reservoir. She was now concerned that trucks and equipment for California Water Service use was now going to be parked behind her home.

Ray Mathys 5738 Whitecliff Drive stated that normally a developer will work to contact the neighboring property owners and work out any concerns and differences there may be with the proposed project. He stated that he was not aware of any such effort made with this project. He was very concerned with the size of the proposed homes and felt they were in no way compatible with the neighborhood. He was concerned with the existing reservoir and the water lines to the reservoir. He felt the moving of dirt, compaction, and vibration of heavy equipment could cause damage to the underground water and sewage lines. He requested the project be redesigned to provide a landscape buffer, those comparable to what exist today, and require the physical inspection needed to ensure no leaks will occur from the tanks or water lines as a result of the work performed on the property.

Vice Chairman Clark noted that Mr. Mathys was president of the Mesa Homeowners Association and asked if the board or homeowners association had taken a position on this project.

Mr. Mathys answered that the board had not discussed the matter for the simple reason that it was never brought to their attention, which is one of his main objections.

Vice Chairman Clark asked Mr. Mathys what he would like to see at the California Water Service Company site.

Mr. Mathys stated the project was not compatible with the neighborhood and asked the developer to redesign the project and take into consideration the concerns and complaints of the neighbors.

Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if the early neighborhood notification process applied to this project.

Senior Planner Fox stated that it did not because this was not a height variation application. He explained the height was being reviewed through the conditional use permit for the residential planned development rather than a height variation.

Robert Shirley 29635 Stonecrest Road stated that he has written two letters to the Planning Commission regarding the project. He stated he was horrified to learn California Water Service Company had sold their site to a developer and that homes were being planned 10 feet from his rear yard boundary. He did not think the developer was showing any sensitivity to the existing homeowners. He explained that the residents along Stonecrest, Scotwood and Sunmist have enjoyed privacy and park-like ambiance for nearly 40 years. He felt that there were a number of environmental issues in the mitigated negative declaration that are not adequately addressed. He stressed that because the project met the technical code requirements of lot size, setbacks, etc., it still does not mean the project is a good one, makes sense, or is compatible with the neighborhood. He felt the mitigated negative declaration was very vague on the proposed treatment of vegetation and landscaping.

Issac Huang 29538 Oceanport Road discussed the issue of traffic and stated he was very concerned with the safety of the children and adults in the immediate area during construction. He stated there was already an increase in traffic in the area from the Seabreeze community, especially in the mornings and afternoons.

Charles Joo 5840 Scotwood Drive stated he has enjoyed a beautiful ocean view and a view of Catalina. He stated he strongly objected to and was opposed to this proposed development. He discussed Proposition M and felt its intent was to protect views for the citizens of Rancho Palos Verde. He stated the approval of this project would produce entirely the opposite effect of what the legislation and the intent of Proposition M.

Chairman Lyon felt that the Planning Commission had heard some very good comments and legitimate concerns from the speakers. He felt what was needed was what the staff was recommending, a healthy discussion between the applicant and the concerned neighbors. He felt that with a positive attitude going into the discussions, he felt some progress could be made in accommodating the concerns.

Commissioner Paulson asked staff to see if there was any City vegetation in the public right-of-way that may be causing view problems in the neighborhood.

Commissioner Cartwright felt there should be some representation of what the water company expects to do with the property they intend to retain.

Commissioner Vannorsdall felt this was one of the poorest planned proposals he had seen presented to the Planning Commission. He felt the houses were too crowded onto the lots and there were too many outstanding view issues. He felt the project should be totally redesigned.

Vice Chairman Clark felt the size of these proposed deserved lots of one-quarter to one-half acre, not the size lots of this proposed development. He also stated that although one could technically say these homes were within the zoning requirements that do not make it compatible with the general neighborhood. He stated he had serious reservations about the proposal and unless it was changed dramatically he could not support the project.

Commissioner Long asked staff what constitutes open space. He asked when something was considered open space and when something was not considered open space. He did not feel space used as commercial, industrial, or utility use could be considered open space.

Director/Secretary Rojas stated there was a discussion of open spaces as they refer to residential plan developments and staff will discuss this in their next staff report.

Senior Planner Fox stated that the zoning was residential, however the General Plan designation was Infrastructure Facility.

Mr. Nelson (in rebuttal) suggested the people who spoke at the meeting leave their names and telephone numbers with staff so that he could contact them, visit their homes, and look at the view angles from their properties. He did not believe there was a view impact created by the lots, other than lot 9, and felt it may be his company's fault for the misunderstanding by getting together with these neighbors sooner. He stated that this was not a park site, but private property, however he would try to preserve as many trees as possible. Mr. Nelson stated that the proposed lots were quarter-acre lots that he felt could support the size home proposed. He stated he had listened to the speakers and the Planning Commission and felt he could come back in two weeks with an improved project.

Commissioner Paulson cautioned Mr. Nelson to not limit his discussion of the project only to those people who have voiced a concern at the meeting, as a different neighbor may show up at the next meeting unless he talks to him before hand.

Carolyn Tuttle stated that she did not give permission to the City to give her phone number to the developer.

Don Jensen stated he was the district manager for California Water Service Company. He stated that over the next two weeks that any staff, developer, or resident who wished to visit the facility was more than welcome, however he asked that they first check in with California Water Service Company office.

Commissioner Mueller asked Mr. Jensen about lot 9 and the company's intention regarding that lot.

Mr. Jensen answered that the company identified a certain amount of square footage as surplus on the property. He noted that approximately one third of the staff at the site was being moved to Torrance and this facility would be used strictly for maintenance.

Commissioner Vannorsdall asked Mr. Jensen to address the issue of leaks in the reservoir.

Mr. Jensen explained the reservoir was an earthen and concrete reservoir whose structural integrity was monitored on a yearly, monthly, and weekly basis. He stated that a diver was sent down periodically to ensure that any leakage is inspected, contained, and held to a minimum.

Chairman Lyon closed the public hearing.

Director/Secretary Rojas felt that based on the scope of issues which needed to be addressed at the next meeting, it would be prudent to continue the item to the October 23 meeting.

Commissioner Long moved to continue the matter to the Planning Commission meeting of October 23, 2001, seconded by Commissioner Mueller. Approved, (7-0).


RECESS AND RECONVENE


At 9:25 p.m. the Commission took a short recess to 9:40 p.m. at which time they reconvened.


COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (REGARDING NON-AGENDA ITEMS)


Lois Larue 3136 Barkentine Road addressed the Chairman of the Planning Commission and stated that he discounts audience comments. She stated that what the citizens have to say to the Planning Commission is very important and should not be discounted.

Bob Nelson 6612 Channelview Court discussed Jim York as his next-door neighbor and what a good neighbor he feels he is.


CONTINUED BUSINESS


5.Long Point Resort Consisting of Coastal Permit No. 166, General Plan Amendment No. 28, Conditional Use Permit NO. 215, Conditional Use Permit No. 216, Parcel Map No. 26073, Grading Permit No. 2229, Grading Permit No. 2230, and the associated Final Environmental Impact Report: Destination Development Corporation (applicant), 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South and 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard.


Senior Planner Mihranian presented the staff report. He briefly discussed the content of the draft Resolutions and stated the contents of the Resolutions are comprised of what was given to the Commission in regards to the findings. He stated they are a summary of what is contained in the findings. In regards to the draft conditions, he stated that condition no. 8 (page 2 of 23) will be revised to include language that pertains to public park improvements, so in the event the project is approved the applicant will be responsible for improving the Upper Point Vicente area with amenities that consist of grading, vegetation, and irrigation. He stated the environmental consultant team was available for questions. He also noted that the response to comments on the recirculation of the biological resource section of the EIR was given to the Planning Commission earlier in the meeting. He reminded the Commission of the time sensitive nature of the EIR and sought direction pertaining to the certification of the EIR. Pursuant to CEQA, if desired and if the Commission forwards a recommendation, the City Council must certify the EIR by October 17, 2001. He stated that, per Planning Commission direction, the grading findings have been revised to reflect the most current plans.

Glen Lajoie RBF Consultants (preparers of the EIR and documentation) stated that the City of Rancho Palos Verdes has fully complied with CEQA in terms of documentation of the process which has led to this evenings hearing. He discussed and briefly explained the five volumes that make up the Final EIR documentation. He stated that the City of Rancho Palos Verdes has fully complied with their obligations to CEQA in terms of the process. He then briefly discussed the process involved, included public notices and public hearings. Mr. Lajoie then briefly summarized some of the key issues addressed in the EIR. He stated there were two impacts that could not be mitigated to below a significant level: air quality and noise. He stated that if the project should be approved a Statement of Overriding Considerations will be required by the City Council pursuant to CEQA.

Vice Chairman Clark stated that the Planning Commission had just received Volume 5 at the break. He noted that at the end of the document there is wording indicating the document had been presented to the Planning Commission for their review. He stated it was not possible for the Planning Commission to have reviewed this document.

Chairman Lyon stated that it was his understanding that it was not a necessity that the Planning Commission review the response to comments section of the EIR before a recommendation is forwarded to the City Council. He stated that the reason for this was the Planning Commission was not the approving body for the project.

Assistant City Attorney Pittman that the Planning Commission was required to look at the body of the EIR and they have had the comments to the EIR. He stated that if the Planning Commissioners had specific concerns about comments that were raised which will impact their ability to make a recommendation, there was an opportunity to direct specific questions to which may or may not allay these concerns. He stated that in the event the Commission could not resolve any concerns entirely, a recommendation may be made to the City Council contingent upon the response to comments.

Commissioner Long asked staff about the status of the current entitlements on the Long Point property.

Senior Planner Mihranian stated staff had received a request for an extension to the current entitlements, and it will be on the October 9 meeting as a consent calendar item.

Commission Long asked what was meant by staff when they said the EIR was time sensitive and wondered if staff was suggesting the Commission approve something they have not yet fully reviewed.

Assistant City Attorney Pittman stated that there are statutory time limits for the preparation of the environmental review documents. He stated the City has received a one-time 90-day extension for the certification of the EIR, and therefore the certification deadline is October 17, 2001.

Commissioner Long asked what the consequences were if the City failed to certify or not certify the EIR before October 17, 2001.

Assistant City Attorney Pittman stated that CEQA does not set forth any specific penalties for that action, however permits would not be deemed approved because the deadline had not been met.

Commissioner Cartwright asked when the re-circulated document made available to the Planning Commission.

Senior Planner Mihranian responded that it had been given to the Planning Commission in late July.

Commissioner Cartwright stated that it was his understanding that as long as the Planning Commission reviewed the re-circulated document, it was not necessary to review the response to comments document prior to forwarding a recommendation about the EIR to the City Council.

Senior Planner Mihranian stated that was correct.

Vice Chairman Clark asked why the Planning Commission should even receive the response to comments and why should the EIR consultant say to the public when responding, that upon completion the responses will be provided to the Planning Commission for their review.

Director/Secretary Rojas stated that the Planning Commission has been on a schedule to certify the EIR before the response to comments was to be completed and staff did not anticipate the Planning Commission even seeing the document before then. Since the document is now available, staff would be remiss in not giving the Planning Commission the document since the consultant brought it to the meeting. He stated that the preparation of this document was necessary to complete the CEQA process. However, it is the City Council that needs to see and review the document before the EIR is certified, not the Planning Commission.

Vice Chairman Clark stated that there now a focus on what the Planning Commission should do in terms of certification of the EIR and what to do about attention to the responses and comments from the public to the biological revised EIR.

Commissioner Long agreed and felt that even though review of the comments may not be technically required, if it is part of the spirit of the process why would they not at least take a look at the document and take it into account.

Commissioner Paulson asked what the latest date was that a recommendation from the Planning Commission could get to the City Council concerning the EIR certification where it could be agendized for the October 16 meeting.

Director/Secretary Rojas stated staff would have to send out notices for the October 16 City Council meeting, however conceivably staff could publish a notice that the City Council was going to take action on the EIR on October 16 while the Planning Commission waits until October 9 to make their recommendation on the EIR.

Commission Paulson stated there were several consultants available at the meeting for the Planning Commission to question and he felt the Commission should take advantage of this. He also stated that it was obvious to him that a majority of the Commissioners was not willing to proceed in sending a recommendation for EIR certification to the Planning Commission without having read the responses to comments. He therefore proposed the Planning Commission proceed with any questions they may have for the consultants who are available at the meeting and that the Planning Commission schedule a meeting at which the time the Commission will have had time to read and understand the response to comments document. At that time the Planning Commission should be able to make a recommendation to the City Council.

Commissioner Mueller agreed with Commissioner Paulson's idea as he felt very uncomfortable with making decisions about documents that are handed to him at the meeting. He stated he was able to read the Resolutions but did not think he had a good set of comments on them at this time.

Chairman Lyon felt the Planning Commission was being painted into a corner, which was not comfortable. He felt the Commission should revert to the truth and pass along to the City Council a statement that although the Planning Commission has had the EIR documents for many months, they have not had the opportunity to review the response to comments and therefore forward the EIR to the City Council for their certification.

Commissioner Vannorsdall supported the Chairman's approach.

Commissioner Long supported staff's approach in that the matter could be agendized and properly noticed for the City Council meeting of October 16. The Planning Commission could discuss and make their decision on October 9. If, however, the Planning Commission could not make a decision on October 9, then the Chairman's approach may be the best approach.

Commissioner Paulson moved to proceed at this meeting with discussing questions and concerns with the experts available at the meeting and make a determination of the recommendation of certification of the EIR at the next regular Planning Commission meeting, seconded by Commissioner Long. The motion was unanimously approved, (7-0).

Commissioner Paulson indicated a trail system on the map that lead down to the overlook area near the Coast Guard site and the area dedicated to holes 3 and 4. He stated that he has concerns with the trails system as it interferes with a habitat area. He asked if the City's Biological Resources Sub-consultant if the trail should be removed.

Ann Johnson felt that the trail system should be removed.

Commissioner Paulson stated there had been many discussion about an uninterrupted habitat area and asked if holes 3 and 4 were built as proposed with the mitigating measures that have been proposed, and asked if that offset the concerns of having the continuous habitat nearby.

Ms. Johnson stated that it would offset the concerns of having the continuous habitat.

Commissioner Paulson proposed the elimination of the trail leading down to the overlook just to the south edge of the Coast Guard site.

Commissioner Long stated that he did not want to be on record as supporting deletions or additions of trails in land that he is opposed to being used by private developers. He suggested amending a condition of approval, which he might be able to support.

Commissioner Mueller asked what trails on the proposal shouldn't be removed and did not interfere with habitat. He stated he would like to understand why this one particular trail interferes with the habitat.

Commissioner Long asked if there was a suitable place for a replacement trail.

Ann Johnson stated that the trail was proposed to go through a large contiguous area of coastal sage scrub and was one of the largest pieces of intact coastal sage scrub that will be retained on site. She stated the proposed trail splits the coastal sage scrub area.

Commissioner Long asked if this trail was particularly worse than other trails proposed on the site.

Ms. Johnson stated the trail occurs in one of the most sensitive habitat areas for the gnatcatcher.

Commissioner Paulson asked if the trail were eliminated, then would the parking spaces be necessary on the cul-de-sac adjacent to St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

Senior Planner Mihranian stated that was at the Commission's discretion. He explained that staff believed that the parking area at the cul-de-sac would allow the public an enhanced opportunity to access the site with its remaining trails from Palos Verdes Drive South.

Commissioner Paulson discussed water runoff, drainage issues, and collection of water that may have pesticides. He asked for an explanation of the process that guarantees the City that those waters are collected, handled in a manner that is environmentally correct, and what permitting process is required.

Rita Garcia, RBF Consultants, answered that in regards to the issue of water runoff, the project will be required to comply with State, County and City guidelines for ensuring the quality of the runoff and the impacts associated with the runoff will be reduced to a level of less than significant. She referred to the response to comments documents that reiterates the discussion in the water quality section of the Draft EIR.

Commissioner Paulson asked what permitting requirements the applicant must comply with in order to meet the water quality standard requirements.

Glen Lajoie answered that the Final EIR specifies that the project must comply with best management practices in accordance with the Regional Water Quality Control Board requirements. He stated there are also State, County, and City requirements that project must adhere to. He stated there was also a permitting sequence that would be required.

Commissioner Paulson stated that he had questions for the representative from the California Department of Fish and Game, but wondered if the public hearing had to be open for this to happen.

Assistant City Attorney Pittman stated that the public hearing could be opened for the sole purpose of questioning a particular individual only.

Chairman Lyon opened the public hearing to question Mr. Bill Tippets of California Department of Fish and Game.

Chairman Lyon asked Mr. Tippets if there were any misunderstandings or misquotes of his position that the Planning Commission heard at the last meeting.

Bill Tippets representing California Department of Fish and Game, 4949 Viewridge Ave., San Diego, stated that he did not have the transcript of the last meeting so he did not know if he was misquoted or not. He stated that he has had discussions with the City and the applicant regarding the project. He stated he could comment on an article in the Peninsula News which reflected upon the conversations between the applicant, the City, and Department of Fish and Game. He stated that the Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which was not at this meeting however he was speaking on their behalf, included in their April 5 letter to the City regarding the EIR their feelings that there were significant unmitigated affects from the project as proposed. He requested that prior to the City Council certifying the project, the departments have the opportunity to meet with the applicant and the City to discuss the differences. He stated the meeting took place and at the meeting he was given drawings of the latest proposal. He explained that at the meeting he was asked if this new plan was biologically acceptable. He stated that from the initial look the project did not appear to accommodate the concerns addressed in the April 5 letter. In particular, habitat was still fractured at Upper Point Vicente which creates pockets of habitat. His concern was that, because there are four gnatcatcher locations identified in the area, the golf paths and/or walking paths would go through the gnatcatcher territory. He stated that while the gnatcatcher can accommodate some amount of disturbance, he felt this plan provided excessive disturbance and not consistent with what the Department would expect to see in conservation of a federally threatened species.

Therefore, Mr. Tippets stated that the Department of Fish and Game and U.S. Fish and Wildlife's recommendation was to remove and relocate holes 2, 3, and 4 on to the RHA area. He stated that if all of the golf could not be removed then, at a minimum, a large block of habitat should remain. He stated that in relocating holes 2, 3, and 4 it would necessitate eliminating or relocating the golf practice range and remove the villas. He stated that this would allow for the preservation of the four known locations of the gnatcatcher and allow for conservation and restoration to occur throughout the area.

Commissioner Paulson asked if that also meant eliminating trails in the area.

Mr. Tippets stated that trails would be needed to access holes 5 and 6, however the trails could be predominately away from the gnatcatcher locations.

Commissioner Cartwright asked if revegetation was an acceptable mitigation measures.

Mr. Tippets responded that revegetation was an accepted mitigation measure.

Commissioner Cartwright asked if extensive revegetation were proposed if it would impact his decisions.

Mr. Tippets responded that the areas around holes 3 and 4 would be good areas to look at some restoration of coastal sage scrub.

Chairman Lyon closed the public hearing.

Director/Secretary Rojas explained that ultimately the resources agencies are going to have to issue a take permit for the project. He stated that if the Planning Commission concurs with the consultants then the Commission would make a recommendation to the City Council that the project can be mitigated as advised by the consultants. If the City Council agrees with the recommendation, then there is an impasse that needs to be resolved between the City Council and the resource agencies. Conversely, the Planning Commission or City Council could lean more toward the resource agencies point of view. He noted that the responsibility of the City was to make a determination as to whether the impacts can be mitigated. The resource agencies role is to issue a permit for the take of the land and they may have a different set of criteria that they consider.

Commissioner Paulson stated there had been discussions at a previous meeting about the need for a water tank to be installed at the Upper Point Vicente property relative to this project and other community water needs. He asked staff if they had any further information regarding this water tank.

Senior Planner Mihranian answered that representatives of California Water Service had indicated in response to the circulation of the Draft EIR that there was a concern regarding the water supply and reservoir for the City of Palos Verdes Estates and had indicated an interest in locating a tank on City property. He stated that the water tank was not specifically recommended or required for the Long Point project.

The Commissioners discussed elimination of the trail and wanted to ask the applicant if he agreed to the removal of the trail.

Chairman Lyon opened the public hearing to ask the applicant about the trail.

Mike Mohler (Destination Resorts) stated that with regards to the segment of trail being discussed, the Planning Commission should be aware that there are existing trails that go around and through the area on the Coast Guard property.

Chairman Lyon closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Paulson stated that in an attempt to meet trail needs a habitat area was being impacted without a real rationale of why when there are other trails existing in the area that does not impact the habitat. He did not think the proposed trail served any practical purpose.

Assistant City Attorney Pittman suggested the following language: No trail shall be located in a proposed habitat area between the Coast Guard property and hole no. 2 as shown on plans dated September 6, 2001. If the applicant relocates the proposed trail, said trail shall be located outside the habitat area subject to review and approval of the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement.

Chairman Lyon felt it was time to discuss the two exhibits (D and G) concerning the grading permits. He stated the Commission now has the updated findings for review.

The Commission reviewed the findings page by page.

Commissioner Mueller questioned page 4 of the staff report regarding grading. He stated that the comment was made that the additional earth movement was a result of changes made to the golf course and practice facility based on recommendations of the City's golf safety consultant and the direction from the Planning Commission. He questioned why direction from the Planning Commission revised the grading plans. He did not recall ever recommending more earth be excavated to accommodate the lowering of the building pads. He felt there were other options, such as relocating the buildings, reduce the height of the buildings, or remove the villas from the property.

Director/Secretary Rojas felt there was discussion at the meeting to reduce the height of the villas by lowering the building pads.

Commissioner Mueller recalled that the direction was to bring the ridgeline down to the level of Palos Verdes Drive South and he did not think there was direction on how to do that.

Chairman Lyon stated he had specifically raised questions regarding golf safety that led to comments about making the trails safer by changing the grade of the area.

Commissioner Mueller repeated that he did not feel the grading plan, in respect to the Villas, was changed because of a direction given by the Planning Commission. He stated that his concern was the view corridors from Palos Verdes Drive South and the way to protect these corridors was to prevent ridgelines from extending above Palos Verdes Drive South. He did not think how this was to be accomplished was discussed. Mr. Mueller stated that he did not want to be on record supporting anything to do with villas on the property.

After going through each page of Exhibit D it was determined that all findings could be made for the Grading Permit in the resort hotel area.

Commissioner Lyon then began the page-by-page review of Exhibit G, the grading permit in the Upper Point Vicente area.

Commissioner Long stated that on page one he had difficulty with the phrase "permitted primary use of the property". He asked what the permitted primary use of the lot was.

Chairman Lyon stated that the presumption in the Exhibit is that the General Plan Amendment has been approved.

Commissioner Long stated that since he opposes the General Plan Amendment he couldn't support the finding.

Commissioner Mueller discussed the leveling of the public park area and in looking at the grading plan he did not think the area was level.

Senior Planner Mihranian clarified that staff's statement was pertaining to the area adjacent to the City Hall site where the Commission directed the applicant to remove hole no. 5.

Chairman Lyon felt that the plan reflects exactly what the Planning Commission directed. He noted that the specific contours are yet to be worked out within a development agreement that the City Council will negotiate with the applicant. He felt that the condition referred to a relatively level public park area. He stated the area was relatively level compared with the bluffs on the property.

Director/Secretary Rojas stated the finding could be clarified or a condition could be added that the area not exceed a certain gradient.

Commissioner Paulson suggested staff reword the condition to recognize that relatively level is not appropriate for the total area.

The Commission reviewed the remaining pages of Exhibit G without comment.

Assistant City Attorney Pittman stated that the reason the grading findings in Exhibit G were revised was to reflect the revisions that had already been made to the plan. He stated that the only decision the Planning Commission would be making on Exhibit G was whether or not they agreed with staff, that based on the plans submitted, the findings could be made. He stated that the Planning Commission would not be making a recommendation or a motion at this point on the actual project.

Director/Secretary Rojas stated that staff would clarify the language in the findings regarding the relatively flat area.

Chairman Lyon asked for a roll call vote on whether the Commissioners agreed or disagreed with the staff's findings. On a vote of 4-3, with Commissioners Long, Mueller, and Vice Chairman Clark dissenting the Planning Commission conditionally approved the staff recommendations for Exhibit G.

Chairman Lyon stated that with that vote the Planning Commission has now conditionally approved the staff recommendations on all of the findings. He stated that it might be helpful, before discussing the conditions of approval for the project, for each Commissioner to express their view of the project.

Commissioner Paulson began by stating that if he had to vote tonight, based on the answers he has received from the resource specialists, he would most likely vote to approve the site plan minus the trail near the Coast Guard property and minus holes 3 and 4.

Commissioner Cartwright stated that if he were to vote at this time he would find the site plan, with the trail removed, acceptable. He felt the differences between the staff and the resources agency was most likely a common occurrence with this type of project and he did not feel comfortable removing holes 3 and 4 because of this. He felt that with continued discussions between staff, the resource agencies, and City Council that options and/or mitigations for holes 3 and 4 could be worked out.

Commissioner Vannorsdall agreed with the comments of Commissioner Cartwright.

Commissioner Long stated his position was the same as it has always been. He stated that he will not and cannot support any site plan that makes any use of the Upper Point Vicente land for golf.

Commissioner Mueller stated did not think the Upper Point Vicente land was useful for golf, however he did think there were other uses that could be put there. He stated he would find it very hard to support the present plan or a plan that removes a couple of holes.

Vice Chairman Clark began by stating he took particular note of the lead resource agency's spokesman and his comments on how the agency felt about the project and that there were, in his opinion, significant unmitigated impacts associated with the use of Upper Point Vicente. He also noted that the agency's preference was no golf at Upper Point Vicente. He felt this further weakens the argument of a viable golf course at Upper Point Vicente. He stated his decision has been reinforced, based on what he has heard tonight, that there should not be any golf at Upper Point Vicente.

Chairman Lyon stated that his thinking centered around the need for a 9-hole golf course, which is a very difficult question to answer. He was not sure that anyone could realistically state that this project needs a 9-hole golf course to make it a viable project. He was very concerned that the current par 32 was not a sufficient challenge. In looking at the current plan, he did not think it meant the realistic criteria of a 9-hole golf course. He would suggest to the applicant to replace the driving range with a par-4 golf hole. He would suggest hole no. 4 be eliminated, which would create more habitat at Upper Point Vicente. He suggested moving the tee for hole no. 3 back down toward Palos Verdes Drive South, thereby creating a dog- leg hole that could easily become par-5. He stated that this creates a par-34 golf course, which he felt met the criteria of a reasonable 9-hole golf course. His solution to the elimination of the driving range was to use the driving range at Los Verdes. He stated, based on this scenario, the Planning Commission could conceptually approve the project as modified in this manner and send it to the City Council.

Chairman Lyon stated that another scenario which was that a 9-hole golf course is not needed for the project. In making that conclusion, the Commission would then deny the use of golf at Upper Point Vicente, retain the golf academy on the resort hotel area, keep the driving range, and keep 2 or 3 practice holes. He felt that was a reasonable amenity that would also serve as an attraction to the hotel. If the Commission believes the course is not needed, he would propose the Planning Commission conceptually approve the project on Long Point property only with the amendments.

Chairman Lyon stated that his preference was to have a plan that as a middle ground for the City Council to use to make a decision.

Commissioner Long stated that it was clear there are three Commissioners who do not support the use of public land for golf, and four Commissioners who do. However, he felt that these Commissioners were a minority of four in that they have been unable to come to any agreement on any acceptable site plan and there is no reasonable prospect that they will. In light of that, he suggested these Commissioners give up and vote for no use of public land for golf.

Commissioner Paulson asked Vice Chairman Clark if the golf community would consider a par-32 golf course much of a challenge.

Vice Chairman Clark answered that most golfers would consider it an executive golf course and may not be a draw to the hotel.

Commissioner Cartwright believed that the marketing plan the developer has put forth says they need a certain number of amenities in order to be competitive for large corporations and organizations business. The intent of the golf was not to attract people who want challenging courses, but rather to attract large corporations with a potpourri of amenities.

Commissioner Paulson felt the driving range and the golf amenities at Lower Point Vicente were critical as an amenity to the hotel. He stated he would support a motion to approve the plan as submitted, with holes 3 and 4 included and the deletion of the trial, and send the project to the City Council.

Commissioner Long thought Commissioner Paulson had favored removing holes 3 and 4, and asked what had changed to cause him to change his mind.

Commissioner Paulson answered there was a toss-up between the regional concerns and the mitigating measures of the EIR. He stated this would all be worked out before the City Council and he did not want to send to the City Council a recommendation to deny the project.

Chairman Lyon moved to conditionally approve the project, as submitted, and send it to the City Council.

Commissioner Cartwright asked the Chairman if he would amend his motion to eliminate the trail.

Chairman Lyon amended his motion to eliminate the trail down to the overlook at the southern end of the Coast Guard property. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Vannorsdall.

Commissioner Paulson asked why the Planning Commission doesn't review the conditions of approval and send them to the City Council,

Chairman Lyon felt the conditions of approval must be reviewed very thoroughly carefully and it would take several meetings to do that.

Commissioner Cartwright felt that sending the conditions of approval to the City Council would complete the package. He felt that the Planning Commissioners should be able to come back at the next meeting and address the conditions.

Chairman Lyon did not think the conditions could be addressed during one meeting.

Vice Chairman Clark stated that the Planning Commission must also address the certification of the EIR at the next meeting.

Commissioner Paulson felt that at the next meeting the Planning Commission could make a decision on the certification of the EIR and review the conditions of approval.

Commissioner Cartwright felt the Commission should vote on the overall project with the understanding that at the next meeting the Commission would discuss the certification of the EIR and the conditions of approval.

Chairman Lyon amended his motion to say that by October 9, 2001 the Planning Commission will define the conditions of approval and forward a recommendation to the City Council for their consideration. Commissioner Vannorsdall seconded the motion. The motion passed (4-3) with Commissioners Long, Mueller, and Vice Chairman Clark dissenting.

Vice Chairman Clark wanted to make it very clear that, even though he voted no on the motion, he supports Long Point resort on the Long Point property with golf amenities on their property.

Chairman Lyon thanked the audience who remained for their patience, understanding, and many good comments.


ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS

Director/Secretary Rojas clarified that at the next meeting staff would have the Resolutions for Long Point with the conditions of approval. Staff will also prepare the draft Resolution for certification of the EIR.

As far as other agenda items, he explained that staff had informed applicants that their project may be re-scheduled if Long Point was continued. He noted that the projects have been noticed and will have to be on the agenda, however staff will make sure the projects with strict deadlines are heard while the others may have to be continued.


ADJOURNMENT


The meeting was adjourned at 12:58 a.m.




2. CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 136, GRADING PERMIT NO. 1246, and LOT LINE ADJUSTMENT NO. 38: York Long Point Associates, (applicants), 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South.


TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING & CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: OCTOBER 9, 2001

SUBJECT: TIME EXTENSION REQUEST: CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 136, GRADING PERMIT NO. 1246, AND LOT LINE ADJUSTMENT NO. 38. (YORK LONG POINT ASSOCIATES, 6610 PALOS VERDES DRIVE SOUTH)

Staff Coordinator: Ara Michael Mihranian, Senior Planner

RECOMMENDATION:

Approve the requested one (1) year extension via Minute Order, thereby setting the expiration date as September 11, 2002 with all conditions of approval remaining in full force and effect.

BACKGROUND

On September 12, 2000, the Planning Commission granted York Long Point Associates a one-year extension for the proposed resort hotel project that includes a 9-hole golf course. The one-year extension set the expiration date as September 11, 2001. Similar one-year extensions were granted each year from 1992 through 2000. Therefore, the current request (see attached letter) represents the tenth Time Extension Request made since the original permit issuance in 1991. The applicant's extension request was filed prior to the expiration of the approval (August 21, 2001).

DISCUSSION

At the time York Long Point Associates acquired the property from the Resolution Trust Corporation in March of 1995, steps were taken to clean up the property, including removal of the Sky Tower from the site. The property owner has also obtained a conditional use permit (approved by the Planning Commission in May 1995) allowing operation of the Catalina Room for private parties, and has actively marketed the property for commercial filming activities.

The property owner continues to consider whether to proceed with existing entitlement as granted by Conditional Use Permit Number 136 and associated cases. However, applications for an expanded project are currently being reviewed for consideration by the City. These applications include Coastal Permit No. 166, Conditional Use Permit No. 215, Parcel Map No. 26073, and Grading Permit No. 2229 on the Long Point property at 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South; and General Plan Amendment No. 28, Conditional Use Permit No. 216 and Grading Permit No. 2230 for the Upper Point Vicente property at 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard. Additionally, the Final Environmental Impact Report, consisting of Volumes I through V, have been completed and provided to the City for consideration of certification.

Regardless of the proposal currently under consideration by the City, the applicant would like to maintain the current approvals in case it becomes feasible or desirable to build the approved hotel and 9-hole golf course project.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The project proponent has filed for an extension from the California Coastal Commission for the related Coastal Permit. Extension by the Coastal Commission is required in addition to any extension granted by the City.

CONCLUSION

Since its initial approval in 1991, the City has continued to express interest in seeing this project move forward. York Long Point Associates has owned the property for five and a half years and has taken steps to improve the appearance, security, and viability of the property until such time as development occurs. Included in these efforts was the bluff face repair undertaken to control materials from falling into the public coastal access trail as a result of illegal mining in various areas.

Should the Commission approve the requested extension, the expiration date will become September 11, 2002.

ATTACHMENTS
Time Extension Letter from York Long Point Associates, dated August 21, 2001



RECESS/COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (regarding non-agenda items) at APPROXIMATELY 8:30 P.M.:


PUBLIC HEARINGS:






3.HEIGHT VARIATION PERMIT NO. 936: Mr. & Mrs. Samer Mistry, (applicant), 6756 Birchman Drive. (BY)



TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: OCTOBER 9, 2001

SUBJECT: HEIGHT VARIATION PERMIT NO. 936

PROJECT ADDRESS: 6756 BIRCHMAN DRIVE

APPLICANT: MR. & MRS. SAMEER MISTRY

6756 BIRCHMAN DRIVE

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA 90275

PHONE: 310-541-1231

LANDOWNER: SAME

PHONE: SAME

STAFF COORDINATOR: BEILIN YU, ASSISTANT PLANNER

REQUESTED ACTION: A REQUEST TO ALLOW THE ENCLOSURE OF AN EXISTING 162 SQUARE FOOT SECOND STORY BALCONY AND THE CONVERSION OF THE ADDITION INTO HABITABLE SPACE. THE MAXIMUM HEIGHT OF THE PROPOSED ADDITION IS 19'-0", AS MEASURED FROM THE HIGHEST ELEVATION POINT COVERED BY STRUCTURE.

RECOMMENDATION: ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2001-___; APPROVING, WITH CONDITIONS, HEIGHT VARIATION PERMIT NO. 936

REFERENCES:

ZONING: SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL - RS-4

LAND USE: SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL

CODE SECTIONS: 17.02 and 17.48

GENERAL PLAN: SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL

TRAILS PLAN: N/A

SPECIFIC PLAN: N/A

CEQA: CATEGORICALLY EXEMPT (CLASS 1)

ACTION DEADLINE: OCTOBER 18, 2001

BACKGROUND

On June 19, 2001, Height Variation Permit No. 936 was submitted to the Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Department for processing. The request was for the enclosure of an existing 162 square foot second story balcony and conversion of the addition into habitable space. The addition is proposed at a maximum height of 19'-0" as measured from the highest point of existing grade covered by the structure. The subject height variation requires review by the Planning Commission, as stated in Section 17.02.040(C), since the second story footprint exceeds seventy-five percent of the first story footprint area (including area of the attached garage).

Additional information was submitted to the City on July 17, 2001, however the application was deemed incomplete on August 16, 2001 due to insufficient information on the submitted plans. Upon the submittal of needed information on August 17, 2001, the application package was deemed complete on August 20, 2001. The required 30-day notice was sent to 97 property owners within the 500 foot radius on August 23, 2001 and published in the Peninsula News on August 25, 2001. An additional notice was sent to the property owners within the 500 foot radius on September 20, 2001, clarifying that the application requires Planning Commission decision. The notice was also published in the Peninsula News on September 22, 2001. During the thirty (30) day noticing period the City received no correspondence pertaining to the proposed project

SITE DESCRIPTION

The subject property is located at 6756 Birchman Drive, located in the west end of a cul-de-sac, in the west end of the City. The parcel is an irregular shaped interior lot with six property lines and an overall lot area measuring 8,900 square feet. The parcel is zoned single-family residential, RS-4, and is currently improved with a two-story 2,983 square foot single-family residence, with an 894 square foot basement and an attached 441 square foot two-car garage, for an overall structure size of 4,318 square feet.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicants propose to enclose an existing 162 square foot second story balcony and to convert the addition into habitable space, resulting in a 162 square foot addition to their existing single-family residence. This would bring the total square footage of the dwelling to 4,480 square feet (including garage and basement area). The proposed addition includes expanding three existing bedrooms and one existing bathroom. The proposed addition is proposed at a maximum height of 19'-0", as measured from the highest point of existing grade covered by the structure to the ridge.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

The project qualifies for a Class 1 Categorical Exemption under the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Guideline Section 15301.

Class 1 exempts from the preparation of an environmental document projects consisting of any alteration to the existing structure or topography that involves no significant expansion or use beyond that previously existing. Staff made this determination since the site is developed with a single-family residence and the proposed project consists of a minor alteration to the existing structure on the subject property, with no significant additional site disturbance.

CODE CONSIDERATION AND ANALYSIS

The RS-4 zoning district permits additions up to 16 feet in height by right through a Site Plan Review application. Pursuant to Section 17.02.040 (C)(1) of the Municipal Code, a property owner may request approval of a Height Variation to exceed the height of 16 feet up to a maximum height of 26 feet. For pad lots, such as the project site, the height is measured from the highest existing elevation of the existing pad covered by structure to the highest point of the structure. Since the proposed project exceeds the maximum height of 16 feet, it is subject to the Height Variation application process.

A Height Variation application must be reviewed by the Planning Commission or Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement depending on the location and square footage of the second story. If the proposed second story: 1) extends closer than 25 feet from the front or street-side property line; 2) exceeds 75% of the first story footprint area (residence and attached garage); 3) covers 60% or more of the existing garage footprint; or 4) has the potential to significantly impair a view as determined by the Director based on an initial site visit, the application must be reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission. Planning Commission review is required for this application since the second story footprint exceeds seventy-five percent of the first story footprint area (including area of the attached garage).

In considering a Height Variation application, Section 17.02.040(C)(1)(e) requires that the Planning Commission make the nine findings in reference to the property and project under consideration (the City's Municipal Code language appears in boldface type, followed by Staff's analysis in normal type).

  1. That the applicant has complied with the Early Neighborhood Consultation process established by the City.
  2. The applicant completed the Early Neighborhood Consultation process by canvassing the property owners within 500 feet of the subject property and informing them of the proposed addition. The applicant is required under the Early Neighborhood Consultation process to obtain signatures of at least 60% of the property owners within a 500 foot radius or signatures of at least 25% of the property owners within 500 feet and at least 70% within 100 feet of the subject property. Staff reviewed the number of property owners that were consulted and found that the applicant complies with the early neighbor consultation because signatures of 25 of the 97 properties were obtained within the 500' radius, which is 26%, and 9 of the 11 properties within the 100' radius, which is 82%. Therefore, the applicant has complied with the Early Neighborhood Consultation process.

  3. That the structure does not significantly impair a view from public property which has been identified in the City's General Plan or Coastal Specific Plan as City designated viewing areas.
  4. There are no public viewing areas identified in the City's General Plan within the vicinity of the subject property. In addition, the subject property is not located within the Coastal Specific Plan area. Therefore, Staff determined that the proposed structure will not significantly impair a view from a City designated viewing area.

  5. That the proposed structure is not located on a ridge or promontory.
  6. The subject property is not located on a ridge, which is defined as a elongated crest or linear series of crest of hills, bluffs or highlands. In addition, the subject property is not located on a promontory, which is defined as a prominent mass of land that overlooks or projects onto a lowland or body of water on at least two sides. Therefore, Staff determined that the proposed structure is not located on a ridge or promontory.

  7. That the proposed structure when considered exclusive of foliage, does not significantly impair a view from the viewing area of another parcel.
  8. A "viewing area" as defined in the Section 17.02.040(A)(15) of the City's Municipal Code means that area of a structure (excluding bathrooms, hallways, garages or closets) or that area of a lot (excluding setback areas) where the owner and City determine the best and most important view exists. In structures, the finished floor elevation of any viewing area must be at or above existing grade adjacent to the exterior wall of the part of the building nearest to said viewing area.

    Additionally, according to the Development Code and the Height Variation Guidelines, a "protected viewing area" is established from the primary living spaces, such as the living room, dining room, kitchen or family room, located on the level nearest grade. The only exception is when a residence is designed so that the primary living spaces are contained within the upper level of the structure. Furthermore, a master bedroom is considered a "viewing area" only when it is the only view from a residence and is located on the same level as the primary living spaces.

    The residential structures within the immediate vicinity located on Birchman Drive and Braidwood Drive are constructed on pad lots at equal or slightly higher elevations. The majority of the homes within the surrounding neighborhood are two stories, with the primary "viewing areas" located on the lower level. Since the building pads are graded so that they gradually increase in height from the end of the cul-de-sac to Braidwood Drive, the primary living spaces, which are located on the lower level, are currently impaired by the homes at a slightly lower elevation.

    Furthermore, the proposed addition is located along the front elevation of the existing building, which is on the east side of the existing residence. The views are directed toward the south and west. The view from the residence located to the north (6762 Birchman Drive) is directed toward the west and does not have any windows oriented toward the south through the proposed addition, therefore the proposed addition will not impact the view of 6762 Birchman Drive. The view from the residence located to the east of the subject property (6754 Birchman Drive) is directed toward the west and south, however, the proposed addition will be located entirely in front of the existing residence and any view that 6754 Birchman Drive may have through the subject property is already impaired by the existing residence.

    Based on the above analysis, Staff determined that the proposed addition will not significantly impair a view from the viewing area of another parcel.

  9. That there is no significant cumulative view impairment caused by granting the application.
  10. As indicated in Finding No. 4 above, the residential structures within the immediate vicinity of the proposed project located on Birchman Drive and Braidwood Drive are constructed on pad lots at equal or higher elevations than the subject property with the primary "viewing areas" located on the lower level and currently being impaired by adjoining homes located at a slightly lower elevation. Therefore, the proposed addition and any future additions of the same nature will not cause significant cumulative view impairment.

  11. That the structure is designed in such a manner as to minimize impairment of a view.
  12. The proposed addition will be located under the existing roof eaves and at the location of an existing second story balcony, which contains railings, therefore not changing the height of the existing residence or the general footprint of the existing second story. Therefore, the proposed addition is designed in such a way that will not greatly alter the design of the house and therefore minimize impairment of view.

  13. That the proposed structure complies with all other Code requirements.
  14. Staff reviewed the proposed addition for compliance with the RS-4 Residential Development Standards as shown in the table below.

    Table 1

DEVELOPMENT STANDARD

REQUIREMENT

EXISTING

PROPOSED

Front Yard Setback

20'-0"

20'-0"

31'-0"

Rear Yard Setback

15'-0"

20'-0"

20'-0"

Side Yard Setback (North)

5'-0"

19'-0"

19'0"

Side Yard Setback (Northeast)

5'-0"

9'-0"

9'-0"

Side Yard Setback (East)

5'-0"

10'-6"

6'-9"

Side Yard Setback (South)

5'-0"

19'-0"

19'-0"

Max. Lot Coverage

50%

33%

33%

Building Height

16'

24'-6"

24'-6"


According to the above table, the existing structure complies with all the setback requirements, and the proposed addition fully complies with the RS-4 development standards.

In regards to lot coverage, the first story footprint is 1,497 square feet, the garage footprint is 441 square feet, and the cantilevered portion of the second story balcony is 162 square feet for a total footprint of 2,100 square feet. The existing driveway and outside parking area is 837 square feet, for an existing total lot coverage calculation of 2,937 square feet, which is 33% of the 8,900 square foot lot. The proposed addition will not increase the existing lot coverage because it will be located on the existing second story balcony. The maximum lot coverage allowed for properties located in the RS-4 zone is 50%, therefore the proposed structure will comply with the lot coverage requirement.

The proposed addition will be constructed at a maximum height of 19'-0" as measured from the highest grade elevation to be covered by structure. It will be located under the existing roof eave, therefore will not alter the existing roof design. As such Staff determined that the proposed addition, if approved, will be constructed in accordance with the residential development guidelines of the City's Municipal Code.

  1. That the proposed structure is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character.
  2. Staff analyzed the surrounding neighborhood to determine the compatibility of the proposed residence. In accordance with the Development Code's definition of "neighborhood character", the analysis was based on the following criteria of review: the scale of the surrounding residences, architectural style, and front yard setbacks.

    To determine whether or not the proposed addition is compatible with the existing neighborhood character, Staff compared the project to existing structures within the immediate neighborhood, which is comprised of the 10 closest properties, as shown in Table 2 below.

    Table 2

Address

Lot Size*

Structure Size (existing)

No. of Stories

Front Yard Setback

6716 Birchman Drive

8,270 sq.ft.

2,280 sq.ft.

Two

20'

6742 Birchman Drive

8,150 sq.ft.

3,132 sq.ft.

Two

20'

6745 Birchman Drive

13,330 sq.ft.

2,945 sq.ft.

Two

20'

6748 Birchman Drive

8,040 sq.ft.

2,748 sq.ft.

Two

20'

6754 Birchman Drive

7,100 sq.ft.

2,748 sq.ft.

Two

20'

6755 Birchman Drive

10,400 sq.ft.

4,043 sq.ft.

Two

20'

6757 Birchman Drive

8,670 sq.ft.

3,132 sq.ft.

Two

20'

6762 Birchman Drive

7,580 sq.ft.

3,636 sq.ft.

Two

20'

28073 Braidwood Drive

9,100 sq.ft.

2,220 sq.ft.

One

20'

28103 Braidwood Drive

9,600 sq.ft.

3,142 sq.ft.

Two

20'

Average

9,024 sq.ft.

3,003 sq.ft.

Two

20'

6756 Birchman Drive

8,900 sq.ft.

4,318 sq.ft.

(existing w/ garage)

Two

31'

4,480 sq.ft.

(proposed w/ garage)

Two

31'


* The lot sizes indicated in this column are based on information obtained from the Los Angles County Tax Roll (TRW database).

1. Scale of surrounding properties, including total square footage and lot coverage of the residence and all ancillary structures.

According to the above table, the total structure sizes (including garage area) of the neighboring homes range from 2,220 square feet to 4,043 square feet, with an average size of 3,003 square feet for the ten (10) closest developed properties. As previously mentioned, the subject residence is currently 4,318 square feet (garage included). After the proposed addition is constructed, the total size of the structure (garage area included) will be 4,480 square feet. In relation to the neighboring properties, the subject residence will be approximately 1,477 square feet larger than the average structure size and will be 437 square foot greater than the largest home in the neighborhood (6755 Birchman Drive).

Although the final square footage for the proposed project will be larger than the average structure size within the immediate neighborhood, Staff is of the opinion that the proposed structure will be compatible with the scale of the neighborhood because the proposed addition will not be a significant addition to the existing house. Furthermore, the addition will be located under the existing roof eave and will be located at the location of an existing second story balcony therefore it will not increase the apparent bulk and mass of the structure.

Although the final structure's square footage will be larger than the average square footage for the surrounding residences and the subject lot is slightly smaller than the average lot size found in the surrounding neighborhood, Staff is of the opinion that the proposed lot coverage is not a significant deviation from the immediate neighborhood because as mentioned in Finding No. 7 above, the proposal will not increase the existing lot coverage, which complies with the 50% lot coverage allowed by the Development Code.

No accessory structures are proposed with this project, therefore this portion of this finding does not apply.

2. Architectural styles, including facade treatment, structure height, open space between structure, roof designs, the apparent bulk and mass of the structure, number of stories, and building materials.

The subject residence is located in a neighborhood comprised of other two-story residences that are similar in architectural style, building materials, mass and bulk. The surrounding homes consist mainly of stucco finish with wood siding, brick or rock details. The roof material is mainly red tile roof or wood shake. The homes consist mainly of a combination of hip roofs and gable roofs.

The existing structure has a stucco finish with red tile roof material. The roof design consists of one gable roof over the two-story residence and one gable roof over the attached garage. The applicant is proposing to construct the proposed addition under the existing roof eaves, therefore not modifying the existing roof design.

The finish material for the proposed addition is stucco, which will be compatible with the existing home, as well as the surrounding residences. As such, Staff is of the opinion that the proposed additions will be compatible with the neighborhood character, as well as the existing residence.

The proposed addition will not increase the apparent bulk and mass of the existing structure because it will be located where there is currently a second story balcony with railings. Additionally, most of the two-story residences found in the neighborhood, have second story façades flush with the first story façade or cantilevering over the first, similar to the proposed addition. Therefore, Staff is of the opinion that the design of the proposed second story addition will be compatible with the design of the other second stories found in the neighborhood.

As discussed in Finding No. 7 above, the proposed additions will comply with the required setback requirements for the RS-4 zone, and therefore will maintain adequate open space between the proposed additions and the property lines, and as such this finding can be made.

3. Front yard setbacks

No portions of the proposed addition will project into the required 20 foot front yard setback and the second story addition will be located approximately 40 feet from the front property line, at its closest point. Therefore, the structure meets this finding.

  1. That the proposed structure does not result in an unreasonable infringement of privacy of the occupants of abutting residences.

The proposed addition will not result in an unreasonable infringement of privacy of the property located to the east because there is currently a balcony at the proposed addition location, which could be used as a gathering space. Additionally, the proposed windows will be facing the front yard of the property located to the east, and not facing directly into any living area windows or rear yard. Therefore Staff is of the opinion that the proposed addition will not result in an unreasonable infringement of privacy.

CONCLUSION

Based upon the above analysis, Staff determined that the nine findings for granting a Height Variation can be made to allow the second story addition to exceed the 16 foot height limit. The proposed second story addition will not significantly impair any protected view from the surrounding residences. Also, there will be no significant impact to the privacy of the adjacent properties, and the addition to the existing residence will be compatible with the structures in the immediate neighborhood. Therefore, Staff recommends adoption of P.C. Resolution No. 2001-__, conditionally approving Height Variation Permit No. 936.

ALTERNATIVES

In addition to the Staff recommendation, the following alternatives are available for the Planning Commission's consideration:

1. Approve Height Variation Permit No. 936 with further modifications, and direct Staff to prepare an appropriate P.C. Resolution and conditions of approval for Planning Commission consideration at the next meeting.

2. Deny Height Variation Permit No. 936 as proposed, and direct Staff to prepare an appropriate P.C. Resolution for Planning Commission consideration at the next meeting.

3. Identify any issues of concern with the proposed project, provide Staff and/or the applicant with direction in modifying the project and/or conditions of approval, and continue the public hearing to a date certain.

ATTACHMENTS

  • Draft P.C. Resolution No. 2001-__

  • Conditions of Approval
  • Floor plan and Site Plan



4. CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 229, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2283, and ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO. 740: Verizon Wireless Services, represented by Lorena Martinez at TetraTech Wireless. (ES)

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: OCTOBER 9, 2001

SUBJECT: CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 229, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2283, & ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO. 740

PROJECT

ADDRESS:
29323 PALOS VERDES DR. EAST - MIRALESTE INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL
(THOMAS GUIDE PAGE 823, G-3)

APPLICANT:
VERIZON WIRELESS
C/O TETRATECH (ATTN: LORENA MARTINEZ)
357 VAN NESS, #150
TORRANCE, CA 90501
PHONE: (310) 783-6444

LANDOWNER:
PV PENINSULA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (PVPUSD)
3801 VIA LA SELVA
PALOS VERDES ESTATES, CA 90274
PHONE:(310) 378-9966

STAFF COORDINATOR:EDUARDO SCHONBORN, AICP, ASSOCIATE PLANNER

REQUESTED ACTION: ALLOW THE REPLACEMENT OF AN EXISTING 35-FOOT-HIGH FLAGPOLE WITH A 45-FOOT-HIGH, 20-INCHES IN DIAMETER, POLE SUPPORTING SIX ANTENNA PANELS MOUNTED INSIDE THE POLE FOR VERIZON WIRELESS, LOCATED AT THE SOUTHERN END OF THE TRACK AND FIELD AREA OF THE SCHOOL. ALSO ALLOW 15 CUBIC YARDS OF GRADING TO PROVIDE FOR A 14-FOOT DEEP CAISSON FOUNDATION FOR THE POLE; AND A 240 SQUARE FOOT, 12-FOOT-HIGH, PREFABRICATED EQUIPMENT STRUCTURE WITH A ROOF-MOUNTED GPS ANTENNA 75-FEET WEST OF THE NEW ANTENNA POLE, WHICH WILL BE SURROUNDED BY A PROTECTIVE FENCE AND HEDGE.

RECOMMENDATION: ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2001-__, CERTIFYING THE MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION; AND ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2001-__, CONDITIONALLY APPROVING CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 229 & GRADING PERMIT NO. 2283.

REFERENCES:

ZONING: I (INSTITUTIONAL)

LAND USE: SCHOOL SITE

CODE SECTIONS: 17.60, 17.76.020, 17.76.040, & WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS ANTENNA DEVELOPMENT GUIDELINES

GENERAL PLAN: EDUCATIONAL

TRAILS PLAN: N/A

SPECIFIC PLAN: N/A

CEQA STATUS: MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION

ACTION DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 16, 2002

BACKGROUND

On January 10, 2001, Conditional Use Permit No. 229 was submitted to the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement. The request was for the demolition of the existing steel 35-foot-high flagpole and reconstruction of a new steel pole at the same location, initially measuring 55-feet high and with six antenna panels mounted inside the pole. A prefabricated equipment structure was also part of the proposal. The application was deemed incomplete pending the submittal of additional information and applications. After the submittal of additional information, reduction to the proposed height, the submittal of a grading application and an environmental assessment, Staff deemed the project generally complete on August 20, 2001.

SITE AND PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The subject property is known as the Miraleste Intermediate School, and measures 24.82-acres. The school is bounded on the east by Palos Verdes Drive East; on the west by the City border with the City of Rolling Hills; on the north by single-family residences; and on the south by property owned by California Water Services Company, which contains above-ground water tanks. The school site is improved with school buildings, classrooms, offices, and several recreational areas, which includes a track and field stadium on the southeast portion of the school site. There is an existing 35-foot-high flagpole at the southern portion of the existing track and field stadium and associated bleachers. Parking on site includes several hundred spaces (including handicapped spaces) in parking lots northwest of the stadium area and to the south of the existing school buildings.

The applicant is proposing to replace the existing 35-foot-high flagpole with a new 45-foot-high pole at the same location and with hardware that can accommodate placement of a flag. The pole will measure 20-inches in diameter, and will accommodate six antenna panels mounted inside the pole, each measuring 5'-0"H x 6"W x 2"D in size. Three antenna panels will be mounted at a maximum height of 43'-6", and three panels will be mounted at a maximum height of 38'-6". To accommodate the new pole, a 14-foot deep caisson foundation is also proposed. Lastly, a 240 square foot prefabricated equipment shelter is proposed to be located 75 feet west of the new pole, adjacent to (southeast of) the existing bleachers. An 18-inch tall GPS antenna will be mounted on the roof of the shelter, which will be surrounded by a protective fence and hedge.

CODE CONSIDERATIONS AND ANALYSIS

Environmental Assessment No. 740

In accordance with the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Staff prepared an Initial Study of the project's environmental impacts (see attached Environmental Checklist Form). Although CEQA contains categorical exemptions from the preparation of environmental documents, the Initial Study and subsequent Mitigated Negative Declaration were prepared since the proposed commercial antenna did not qualify for an exemption. Nonetheless, as a result of the Initial Study, Staff determined that the proposed project would not have a significant effect on the environment unless mitigation is incorporated, and a Mitigated Negative Declaration was prepared. The Mitigated Negative Declaration was circulated to the County Recorder on September 7, 2001 for a posting and comment period of at least twenty days (as required by CEQA). Additional public notice was provided as described in the "Additional Information" section below. Nonetheless, Staff received no written correspondence to the Negative Declaration.

As shown in the attached Initial Study, the project will not result in or create any significant impacts to Land Use and Planning, Population and Housing, Geologic Problems, Water, Air Quality, Transportation and Circulation, Biological Resources, Energy and Mineral Resources, or Recreation. However, it was identified that the project may create an aesthetic impact with regards to the creation of glare created by the reflection of light off of the pole. This impact from glare has led Staff to incorporate conditions that require the new pole to be constructed and/or painted with a material and/or color that minimizes glare. Incorporation of the mitigation measure will result in a less than significant impact. As such, Staff has concluded that a Mitigated Negative Declaration can be approved for this project.

Conditional Use Permit No. 229

The establishment of a commercial antenna in an Institutional district is permitted subject to the approval of a conditional use permit. In considering a conditional use permit application, Development Code Section 17.60.050 requires the Planning Commission to make eight findings in reference to the property and use under consideration. In addition, Development Code Section 17.76.020(12)(a) requires one of two special findings for new commercial antennae (Development Code language is boldface, followed by Staff's analysis in normal type):

  1. The site is adequate in size and shape to accommodate said use and for all of the yards, setbacks, walls or fences, landscaping and other features required by this title [Title 17 "Zoning"] or by conditions imposed under this section [Section 17.60.050] to adjust said use to those on abutting land and within the neighborhood.
  2. The proposed pole, antennae and related support equipment will occupy a 400 square foot lease area on the school's 24.82-acre site. Specifically, the pole will be located at the southern end of the existing track and field stadium, and will replace an existing flagpole at the same location. The existing pole measures 35-feet-high and 8-inches in diameter, and the new pole will measure 45-feet-high and 20-inches in diameter. The Development Code requires a minimum 25-foot setback for monopoles under 100-feet in height. The new pole will be constructed at the same location as the existing flagpole, and will maintain a ± 140-foot setback from the access road along the south property line and a ± 360-foot setback from Palos Verdes Drive East along the east property line. Since there are no residences adjacent to the track and field stadium area, there are no concerns regarding close proximity of the new pole to residential structures. Nonetheless, the closest residence to the east is located ± 300 feet, while the closest residence to the south is located over 550 feet from the location of the new pole. The existing landscaping of the Miraleste area will provide screening and buffer of the replacement pole from the surrounding area, such that the new replacement pole will not be apparent from surrounding vantage points. The new pole and equipment will not alter the track and field area nor the school buildings, since the use will be wholly contained in an area to the south of the track and will not encroach into the track, field or school building areas.

    Fencing and landscaping will also be provided to screen the prefabricated equipment structure, which will be located to the east of the new pole in an area that is screened by the existing stadium bleachers and the existing foliage in the immediate area. As such, the replacement of the flagpole with a new pole and the related equipment structure will not alter or interfere with the existing use of the site. Therefore, Staff finds that the site is adequate in size and configuration to accommodate the proposed relocation and associated equipment.

  3. The site for the proposed use relates to streets and highways sufficient to carry the type and quantity of traffic generated by the subject use.
  4. Access to the project site is provided via a driveway from an access road for the school, which is the main entrance to the school from Palos Verdes Drive East. This driveway provides separate and direct access to the field area where the new antenna and related equipment will be constructed. Palos Verdes Drive East is identified in the City's General Plan as a major arterial roadway that is capable of accommodating the types of service vehicles likely to visit the site (i.e., vans, small trucks, etc.). Aside from normal traffic to the subject site, which is predominantly student drop-off and pick-up, the only additional traffic that is related to the proposed project is an occasional service vehicle for monthly or bimonthly maintenance of the commercial antenna on the site. These visits will be infrequent and will rarely involve large trucks or other equipment that would adversely affect traffic for any extended period of time. Thus, Staff believes that the project will not result in any significant change to the existing level of service to the adjacent streets and highways, which are sufficient to carry the type and quantity of traffic generated by the proposed use.

  5. In approving the subject use at the specific location, there will be no significant adverse effect on adjacent property or the permitted use thereof.
  6. The existing 35-foot high flagpole is visible from both public and private property in the area of the project site. However, the pole is not apparent due to the foliage within the Miraleste area. The proposed pole will be 10-feet taller than the existing pole (overall height of 45-feet), and will be 1-foot wider (20-inches in diameter). The pole will be slimmer than typical monopoles used in the past, which were normally 28- to 32-inches in diameter; but the antenna panels will be mounted inside the pole, which eliminates the visual appearance of projecting arrays and panels. Thus, since the pole will not have any projecting elements, the pole will continue to substantially appear as a flagpole. Further, since there is an existing pole at the same location that is substantially visible to the public, the new replacement pole will not be apparent and will not substantially alter the appearance of the area.

    The residences in the vicinity that have views over the track and field area of the school are located along Crownview Drive, which are over 550-feet from the pole and are at least 110-feet higher than the subject area. During field visits, Staff conducted view analyses to determine if the new pole would be apparent or would project into the views from along Crownview Drive or the residences on the downslope side of the street. Staff has determined that the top of the new pole will be substantially lower than the residences along Crownview Drive. Due to the difference in elevation, coupled with the direction and angle of views from along Crownview Drive, the new pole will not project into the views of the Los Angeles basin. Further, as indicated above, the new pole will not be apparent nor be obtrusive since there is an existing flagpole and there is existing foliage in the Miraleste area that obscures visibility of the pole. As such, Staff believes that the new pole will not create any view impairment.

    As indicated in the attached Initial Study, it was identified that the project may create an aesthetic impact with regards to the creation of glare created by the reflection of light off of the pole. However, Staff has incorporated a condition that requires the new pole to be constructed and/or painted with a material and/or color that minimizes glare, which will mitigate the impact. Therefore, Staff believes that there will be no significant adverse affects to adjacent property resulting from the new pole.

  7. The proposed use is not contrary to the General Plan.
  8. The City's General Plan states that "[it] shall be the goal of the City to ensure adequate public utilities and communication services to all residents, while maintaining the quality of the environment" (page 100). The unique topography of the peninsula limits the number of sites available to meet all of the technical specifications for providing services. Additionally, many of the available sites may be designated for residential land uses by virtue of the predominance of this type of land use in the City and on the Peninsula as a whole. Thus, the City must balance the need to accommodate wireless communications coverage in the community with the need to protect and maintain the quality of the environment for residents.

    The subject property is designated Institutional-Educational in the City's General Plan. This land use designation is intended to accommodate educational-type uses and structures. The existing use of the site by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District as a school predates incorporation of the City. The existing structures and amenities, which include the track and field stadium and the flagpole, have not been modified by the school district. The proposed project will not change the existing overall land use for the site, and would continue to be subordinate to the primary use of the property as an intermediate school. Further, since there is an existing flagpole, replacement with a new pole will not be apparent and does not create a new aesthetic feature that was not previously at the site.

    Infrastructure Policy No. 8 of the General Plan "[requires] adequate landscaping or buffering techniques for all new and existing facilities and networks, in order to reduce the visual impact of many infrastructure facilities and networks" (page 138). The new antenna panels will not be visible nor project from the pole since they will be mounted inside of the pole. The proposed new pole will not create a visual impact since there is an existing flagpole at the site that will be replaced with the new pole at the same location. Thus, the perceived visual impact is not significant because there is an existing pole. Further, it has been conditioned that the new pole will be constructed and/or painted with a material and/or color that minimizes glare, which further reduces the visual impact. Lastly, the replacement pole will not be readily apparent from residences and from the public rights-of-way due to the existing foliage found in the Miraleste area.

    The prefabricated equipment building will not be visible from the street, nor from any residences due to the location of the building. The area adjacent to the proposed structure contains trees that will not be removed. The trees are mature and will provide a canopy screening over the building, which reduces visibility of the structure from the residences that are currently at a substantially higher elevation. The structure will also be surrounded by a protective fence and hedge.

    Therefore, the new commercial antenna facility, including required setbacks, distance and location from residences, height, color, landscape screening and fencing, and existing foliage in the Miraleste area ensure that the project blends harmoniously with land uses on the subject property and adjacent properties. Further, since an existing flagpole will be replaced with a new pole with no projecting arrays, the visual impact of the new pole will not be significant. Lastly, since the project will provide the community with improved wireless communication services, would not alter the primary use of the subject property, and would not result in any significant adverse impacts to surrounding properties, Staff believes that the proposed project is consistent with the goals and objectives of the General Plan.

  9. If the site of the proposed use is within any of the overlay control districts established by Chapter 17.40 (Overlay Control Districts) of this title [Title 17 "Zoning"], the proposed use complies with all applicable requirements of that chapter.
  10. The subject property is not within an overlay control district. Therefore, this finding is not applicable to the project.

  11. Conditions regarding any of the requirements listed in this paragraph, which the Planning Commission finds to be necessary to protect the health, safety and general welfare, have been imposed [including but not limited to]: setbacks and buffers; fences or walls; lighting; vehicular ingress and egress; noise, vibration, odors and similar emissions; landscaping; maintenance of structures, grounds or signs; service roads or alleys; and such other conditions as will make possible development of the City in an orderly and efficient manner and in conformity with the intent and purposes set forth in this title [Title 17 "Zoning'].
  12. As indicated above, screening of the new pole, antennae and equipment will be accomplished directly through a combination of existing trees and proposed landscaping adjacent to the antenna facility. Additionally, due to the existing situation, which includes the proximity of the pole from residences, the difference in elevation between the residences and the pole, and the proposed replacement pole being similar in design to the existing pole, the proposed project will not create a significant visual impact, nor create a significant impairment of public or private views. As such, Staff believes that the project, as conditioned, will provide the necessary safeguards to protect the health, safety and general welfare.

    Pursuant to Section 17.76 (Commercial Antennas) of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, an additional finding must be made by the Planning Commission when reviewing a conditional use permit for a commercial antenna facility. (Development Code language is boldface, followed by Staff's analysis in normal type):

  13. That no existing or planned tower approved after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter (Chapter 17.76 "Commercial Antennas") can accommodate the applicant's proposed antenna and/or proposed service area.

Other existing towers in the City may be able to physically support the proposed antenna panels, but due to technical constraints on the spacing and separation of carriers for wireless communications systems, the subject site best serves Verizon's coverage area in this part of the City and on the Peninsula. There are no existing towers in the Miraleste area or in the vicinity of the school. The subject property is the site of an existing tower (i.e., flagpole), but the existing flagpole is physically inadequate to support the proposed antenna panels. As such, Staff believes that the proposal complies with the intent of this finding.

Wireless Communications Antenna Development Guidelines

On May 27, 1997, the Planning Commission adopted the Wireless Communications Antenna Development Guidelines (attached). Below, Staff has identified the nine adopted Guidelines and provided an analysis of how each Guideline has been addressed.

Guideline 1: Expeditious Processing of Applications - The application was initially submitted in January 2001, but the project was incomplete for several months as the applicant was responding to Staff's comments. Nonetheless, this application is being heard within 50 days from the date that it was deemed complete for processing.

Guideline 2: Preference for Existing, Non-Single-Family Structures as Antenna Sites - The Miraleste Intermediate School site is a non-single-family use, zoned Institutional.

Guideline 3: Encourage Co-Location - This application is for a new pole for one wireless communication provider. However, a condition has been incorporated that requires the submittal of agreements to negotiate in good faith with other providers to create co-location opportunities. Thus, it is consistent with the Commissions' guidelines.

Guideline 4: Preservation of View Corridors - As concluded in the above conditional use permit analysis, the new pole will not project into the views of the Los Angeles basin from the residences on the downslope side of Crownview Drive or any other residences. The residences are at least 110 feet higher in elevation than antenna site, and the existing foliage of the Miraleste area provides screening such that the pole is not apparent.

Guideline 5: Balance of Public and Private Costs and Benefits - There is no evidence that this project will disproportionately benefit the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District and/or the co-locating wireless providers at a significant adverse financial, aesthetic or environmental expense to the general public. There is an existing pole that will be replaced at the same location, which reduces the perception and visual impacts of a "new" pole.

Guideline 6: Submittal of Network Master Plan - The applicant has submitted a Network Master Plan for Verizon.

Guideline 7: Photographic Simulations and Full-Scale Mock-ups Required - Attached are photographic simulations. The applicant has also erected a mock-up of the proposed monopole depicting the height of the new pole.

Guideline 8: Periodic Updates on Wireless Communications Technology Required - Staff has added a condition of approval that will require the applicant to submit the periodic updates on a 3 - 5 year basis as noted in the guidelines.

Guideline 9: Screening of Support Equipment and Structures Required - The proposed project includes a prefabricated equipment structure, which will be surrounded by a protective fence and hedge. However, as indicated above in the conditional use permit analysis, the equipment building will not be visible from the street, nor from any residences due to the location of the building, the topography of the area, and the existing foliage adjacent to the location of the equipment structure.

Based upon the summary above, Staff believes that the proposed project is consistent with all of the Guidelines.

Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 U.S.C. 332(c)(7))

The following provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 established limitations upon the City's authority to regulate certain aspects of commercial antenna applications:

  • Subsections 4747 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(B)(i)(I) and (II) state that the City's regulation of commercial antennae "shall not unreasonably discriminate among providers of functionally equivalent services; and.shall not prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the provision of personal wireless services." In approving the proposed project, the City would be fostering competition between wireless service providers, without discriminating against any particular service provider.

  • Subsection 4747 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(B)(ii) requires the City to "act on any request for authorization to place, construct, or modify personal wireless service facilities within a reasonable period of time after the request is duly filed with such government or instrumentality, taking into account the nature and scope of such request." This application has been processed in a timely fashion and in accordance with the time lines established by the State Permit Streamlining Act and CEQA.

  • Subsection 4747 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(B)(iii) states that "[any] decision.to deny a request to place, construct, or modify personal wireless service facilities shall be in writing and supported by substantial evidence contained in a written record." Staff does not recommend the denial of the proposed project. However, if the Planning Commission chooses to deny these applications, such action would be supported by a written record, consisting of this Staff report, the Minutes of these proceedings, the project plans and applications, public correspondence and testimony, and a final Planning Commission Resolution.

  • Subsection 4747 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(B)(iv) prohibits the City from "[regulating] the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission's regulations concerning such emissions." Although radio frequency emissions are identified as an environmental effect, they are not within the City's purview to consider or regulate.

Based upon the foregoing discussion, Staff believes that the City's review of Conditional Use Permit No. 229 is consistent with the local zoning authority reserved to the City under the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Grading Permit No. 2283

Development Code Section 17.76.040 requires approval of a minor grading application for caisson foundations for a foundation ten feet or more below existing grade. Grading Permit No. 2283 is for the proposed 14-foot-deep caisson foundation of the new pole. Staff believes that the grading is minimal and is necessary for the proper and safe construction of the new pole. Thus, grading permit can be approved as part of the overall project, in accordance with the City's Development Code.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

As described above and pursuant to CEQA, a Mitigated Negative Declaration has been prepared for this project. Public notice of the Mitigated Negative Declaration (which included notice of the October 9, 2001 Planning Commission hearing) was prepared on September 7, 2001 and circulated to the County Recorder for a minimum 20-day posting and comment period. Subsequently, the public notices were mailed to 111 property owners within a 500-foot radius of the subject parcel, and to the appropriate interested parties. On September 8, 2001, public notice of the Mitigated Negative Declaration and public hearing was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News. During the comment period, the Planning Department received no written correspondence in response to the notice.

CONCLUSION

Based on the analysis above, Staff believes that the mandatory findings can be made to grant approval of Conditional Use Permit No. 229, and Grading Permit No. 2283, and for certification of the Mitigated Negative Declaration. Staff believes that the replacement pole creates no significant adverse impacts to the community in terms of public health, safety, welfare, aesthetic or view impairment. Additionally, the project complies with the Development Code standards of both the Institutional Zoning District and Chapter 17.76 "Commercial Antennas". Therefore, Staff recommends that the Planning Commission certify the Mitigated Negative Declaration, and approve Conditional Use Permit No. 229 and Grading Permit No. 2283 for the commercial antenna facility, subject to the conditions contained in the attached Exhibit "B".

ALTERNATIVES

In addition to Staff's recommendation, the following alternatives are available for consideration by the Planning Commission:

  1. Identify any issues of concern with the proposed project, provide Staff and/or the applicant with direction in modifying the project, and continue the public hearing to a date certain; or
  2. Deny Conditional Use Permit No. 229 and Grading Permit No. 2283, and direct Staff to prepare and return to the next Planning Commission meeting with an appropriate Resolution.

Please note that in the event that this item is continued beyond the February 16, 2002 action deadline, the applicant must agree to a one-time 90-day extension of that deadline, and extend the time limits of the Permit Streamlining Act.

ATTACHMENTS

  • P.C. Resolution No. 2001-__ (certifying the Mitigated Negative Declaration)

  • P.C. Resolution No. 2001-__ (conditionally approving Conditional Use Permit No. 229 and Grading Permit No. 2283
  • Initial Study for Environmental Assessment No. 740

  • Wireless Communications Antenna Development Guidelines
  • Photograph Simulations
  • Project Plans

P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2001-

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES CERTIFYING A MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION PURSUANT TO THE CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT FOR CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 229 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2283 FOR A COMMERCIAL ANTENNA FACILITY CONSISTING OF THE REPLACEMENT OF AN EXISTING 35-FOOT-HIGH FLAGPOLE WITH A 45-FOOT-HIGH POLE SUPPORTING THREE ANTENNA ARRAYS (SIX ANTENNA PANELS MOUNTED INSIDE THE POLE) AND RELATED EQUIPMENT FOR VERIZON WIRELESS, LOCATED AT THE SOUTHERN END OF THE TRACK AND FIELD STADIUM AREA AT 29323 PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST (APN 7566-023-902).

WHEREAS, on January 10, 2001, the applicant TetraTech, representing Verizon Wireless, submitted an application for Conditional Use Permit No. 229 to allow the installation of a commercial antenna facility at the Miraleste Intermediate School, located at 29323 Palos Verdes Drive East (APN 7566-023-902); and,

WHEREAS, on January 17, 2001, the application was deemed incomplete by Staff pending the submittal of additional information and applications; and,

WHEREAS, on August 20, 2001, upon submittal of Environmental Assessment No. 740 and Grading Permit No. 2283, the applications, including Conditional Use Permit No. 229, were deemed complete by Staff; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et. seq. ("CEQA"), the State's CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulation, Title 14, Section 15000 et. seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), the City of Rancho Palos Verdes prepared an Initial Study and determined that with appropriate mitigation, there is no substantial evidence that the approval of Conditional Use Permit No. 229 and Grading Permit No. 2283 would result in a significant adverse effect upon the environment and, therefore, a Mitigated Negative Declaration has been prepared and notice of same was given in the manner required by law; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on October 9, 2001, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1:The Planning Commission has independently reviewed and considered the proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration, the public comments upon it, and other evidence before the Commission prior to taking action on the proposed project and finds that the Mitigated Negative Declaration was prepared in the manner required by law and that there is no substantial evidence that, with appropriate mitigation measures, the approval of Conditional Use Permit No. 229 and Grading Permit No. 2283 would result in a significant adverse effect upon the environment.

Section 2:Conditional Use Permit No. 229 and Grading Permit No. 2283 is consistent with the Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan and with the underlying Institutional-Educational land use designations, which will not be changed as a result of the approval of the map.

Section 3:There are no sensitive natural habitat areas on the subject site. Thus, no site disturbance or alteration will result from the approval of Conditional Use Permit No. 229 and Grading Permit No. 2283; and therefore, the project will have no individual or cumulative adverse impacts upon resources, as defined in Section 711.2 of the State Fish and Game Code.

Section 4:That with the appropriate mitigation measure that requires the new pole to be constructed and/or painted with a material and/or color that minimizes glare, the new pole will not have a significant impact in the creation of light or glare off of the new pole.

Section 5:Based upon the foregoing findings, the adoption of the proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration is in the public interest.

Section 6:For the foregoing reasons and based on the information and findings included in the Staff Report, Environmental Assessment and other components of the legislative record, in the proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration, and in the public comments received by the Commission, the Planning Commission of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby certifies that the Mitigated Negative Declaration has been prepared in compliance with CEQA and adopts the attached Mitigation Monitoring Program (Exhibit "A") associated with Environmental Assessment No. 740 for Conditional Use Permit No. 229 and Grading Permit No. 2283 for a new commercial antenna facility at the southern end of the track and field stadium area of the Miraleste Intermediate School located at 29323 Palos Verdes Drive East (APN 7566-023-902).

PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this 9th day of October 2001, by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTENTIONS:

ABSENT:

_______________________
Frank Lyon
Planning Commission Chairman

 

_____________________________
Joel Rojas, aicp
Director of Planning, Building and
Code Enforcement; and,
Secretary
to the Planning Commission


Exhibit A

Mitigation Monitoring Program

 

Project: Environmental Assessment No. 740/Conditional Use Permit 229/Grading Permit No. 2283

Location:
29323 Palos Verdes Drive East (APN 7566-023-902)
Miraleste Intermediate School
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

Applicant: TetraTech, representing Verizon Wireless

Landowner: Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Introduction....2

II. Management of the Mitigation Monitoring Program....3

Roles and Responsibilities....3
Mitigation and Monitoring Program Procedures....3
Mitigation Monitoring Operations....3

III. Mitigation Monitoring Program Checklist....5

IV. Mitigation Monitoring Summary Table....6

I. INTRODUCTION

PURPOSE

This Mitigation Monitoring Program (MMP), is to allow the following project at Miraleste Intermediate School, located at 29323 Palos Verdes Drive East in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes: replacement of an existing 35-foot-high flagpole with a new 45-foot-high pole, 20-inches in diameter, supporting three antenna arrays and six antenna panels mounted inside the pole for Verizon Wireless. The new pole will replace the existing flagpole at the same location, at the southern end of the track and field stadium area of Miraleste Intermediate School. The project also includes 15 cubic yards of grading to provide for a 14-foot-deep caisson foundation for the new pole; and a 240 square foot, 12-foot high prefabricated equipment structure with a roof-mounted GPS antenna contained within a 400 square foot lease area 75-feet west of the new antenna pole, which will be surrounded by a protective fence and hedge. The MMP responds to Section 21081.6 of the Public Resources Code, which requires a lead or responsible agency that approves or carries out a project where a Mitigated Negative Declaration has identified significant environmental effects, to adopt a "reporting or monitoring program for adopted or required changes to mitigate or avoid significant environmental effects." The City of Rancho Palos Verdes is acting as lead agency for the project.

An Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration was prepared to address the potential environmental impacts of the project. Where appropriate, this environmental document recommended mitigation measures to mitigate or avoid impacts identified. Consistent with Section 21080 (2)(c) of the Public Resources Code, a mitigation reporting or monitoring program is required to ensure that the adopted mitigation measures under the jurisdiction of the City are implemented. The City will adopt this MMP when adopting the Mitigated Negative Declaration.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROCEDURES

This MMP has been prepared in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act of 1970 (CEQA), as amended (Public Resources Code Section 21000 et seq.) and the State Guidelines for Implementation of CEQA (CEQA Guidelines), as amended (California Administrative Code Section 15000 et seq.). This MMP complies with the rules, regulations, and procedures adopted by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes for implementation of CEQA.

MITIGATION MONITORING PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

Section 21081.6 of the Public Resources Code states: "When making the findings required by subdivision (a) of Section 21081 or when adopting a negative declaration pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) of Section 21081, the public agency shall adopt a reporting or monitoring program for the changes to the project which it has adopted or made a condition of project approval in order to mitigate or avoid significant effects on the environment. The reporting or monitoring program shall be designed to ensure compliance during project implementation. For those changes which have been required or incorporated into the project at the request of an agency having jurisdiction by law over natural resources affected by the project, that agency shall, if so requested by the lead or responsible agency, prepare and submit a proposed reporting or monitoring program."

II. MANAGEMENT OF THE MITIGATION MONITORING PROGRAM

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The MMP for the project will be in place through all phases of the project including final design, pre-grading, construction, and operation. The City will have the primary enforcement role for the mitigation measures.

MITIGATION MONITORING PROGRAM PROCEDURES

The mitigation monitoring procedures for this MMP consists of, filing requirements, and compliance verification. The Mitigation Monitoring Checklist and procedures for its use are outlined below.

Mitigation Monitoring Program Checklist

The MMP Checklist provides a comprehensive list of the required mitigation measures. In addition, the Mitigation Monitoring Checklist includes: the implementing action when the mitigation measure will occur; the method of verification of compliance; the timing of verification; the department or agency responsible for implementing the mitigation measures; and compliance verification. Section III provides the MMP Checklist.

Mitigation Monitoring Program Files

Files shall be established to document and retain the records of this MMP. The files shall be established, organized, and retained by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes department of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement.

Compliance Verification

The MMP Checklist shall be signed when compliance of the mitigation measure is met according to the City of Rancho Palos Verdes Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement. The compliance verification section of the MMP Checklist shall be signed, for mitigation measures requiring ongoing monitoring, and when the monitoring of a mitigation measure is completed.

MITIGATION MONITORING OPERATIONS

The following steps shall be followed for implementation, monitoring, and verification of each mitigation measure:

1. The City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement shall designate a party responsible for monitoring of the mitigation measures.

2. The City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement shall provide to the party responsible for the monitoring of a given mitigation measure, a copy of the MMP Checklist indicating the mitigation measures for which the person is responsible and other pertinent information.

  1. The party responsible for monitoring shall then verify compliance and sign the Compliance Verification column of the MMP Checklist for the appropriate mitigation measures.

    Mitigation measures shall be implemented as specified by the MMP Checklist. During any project phase, unanticipated circumstances may arise requiring the refinement or addition of mitigation measures. The City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement with advice from Staff or another City department, is responsible for recommending changes to the mitigation measures, if needed. If mitigation measures are refined, the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement would document the change and shall notify the appropriate design, construction, or operations personnel about refined requirements.

III. MITIGATION MONITORING PROGRAM CHECKLIST

INTRODUCTION

This section provides the MMP Checklist for the project as approved by the Planning Commission of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes on October 9, 2001. Mitigation measures are listed in the order in which they appear in the Initial Study.

*Types of measures are project design, construction, operational, or cumulative.

*Time of Implementation indicates when the measure is to be implemented.

*Responsible Entity indicates who is responsible for implementation.

*Compliance Verification provides space for future reference and notation that compliance has been monitored, verified, and is consistent with these mitigation measures.

MITIGATION MEASURES

TYPE

TIME OF
IMPLEMENTATION

RESPONSIBLE
ENTITY

COMPLIANCE
VERIFICATION

13 AESTHETICS

 

 

A-1) The pole and the antenna panel screening canister shall be constructed with a material that reduces, to the furthest extent feasible, glare created by the reflection of light. If no such material can be obtained, then the pole shall be painted with a color that blends in with the immediate surroundings.

Construction / Operational

Prior to construction and/or grading for any improvements, and prior to final permit and/or certificate of use and occupancy.

TetraTech and Verizon Wireless.

Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement.

 

P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2001-

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 229 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2283 FOR A COMMERCIAL ANTENNA FACILITY CONSISTING OF THE REPLACEMENT OF AN EXISTING 35-FOOT-HIGH FLAGPOLE WITH A 45-FOOT-HIGH POLE SUPPORTING THREE ANTENNA ARRAYS (SIX ANTENNA PANELS MOUNTED INSIDE THE POLE) AND RELATED EQUIPMENT FOR VERIZON WIRELESS, LOCATED AT THE SOUTHERN END OF THE TRACK AND FIELD STADIUM AREA AT 29323 PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST (APN 7566-023-902).

WHEREAS, on January 10, 2001, the applicant TetraTech, representing Verizon Wireless, submitted an application for Conditional Use Permit No. 229 to allow the installation of a commercial antenna facility at the Miraleste Intermediate School, located at 29323 Palos Verdes Drive East (APN 7566-023-902); and,

 

WHEREAS, on January 17, 2001, the application was deemed incomplete by Staff pending the submittal of additional information and applications; and,

WHEREAS, on August 20, 2001, upon submittal of Environmental Assessment No. 740 and Grading Permit No. 2283, the applications, including Conditional Use Permit No. 229, were deemed complete by Staff; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et. seq. ("CEQA"), the State's CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulation, Title 14, Section 15000 et. seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), the City of Rancho Palos Verdes prepared an Initial Study and determined that with appropriate mitigation, there is no substantial evidence that the approval of Conditional Use Permit No. 229 and Grading Permit No. 2283 would result in a significant adverse effect upon the environment and, therefore, a Mitigated Negative Declaration has been prepared and notice of same was given in the manner required by law; and,

WHEREAS, the Planning Commission has adopted P.C. Resolution No. 2001-__, certifying said Mitigated Negative Declaration and adopted a Mitigation Monitoring Program; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on October 9, 2001, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: The site for the intended use is adequate in size and shape to accommodate said use because it has been found that the location of the proposed pole will replace an existing pole at the same location, the location of the replacement pole exceeds the minimum 25-foot setback required by the Development Code, adequate off-street parking for the antenna facility is provided, and fencing and landscaping to screen the structures and equipment will be provided. Further, the closest residence to the pole is 300 feet to the east, separated by Palos Verdes Drive East and Miraleste park; and the closest southerly residence to the pole is over 550 feet and is located at least 110 feet higher in elevation.

Section 2: The site for the proposed use relates to streets and highways property designed to carry the type and quantity of traffic generated by the subject use because the site is served by a driveway from an access road that is the main entrance to the school from Palos Verdes Drive East. Palos Verdes Drive East is identified as a major arterial roadway, and the proposed use will generate negligible additional trips to and from the site, and there will be no adverse effect upon existing levels of service for abutting public streets or nearby intersections since an occasional small service vehicle (i.e., van or small truck) will visit the site on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.

Section 3: There will be no significant adverse effect on adjacent property or the permitted use because the antenna panels will be mounted inside the pole, eliminating the visual appearance of projecting arrays and panels and continuing the substantial appearance of a flagpole. Further, since there is an existing pole at the same location that is substantially visible to the public, the new replacement pole will not be apparent and will not substantially alter the appearance of the area. Due to the difference in elevation, coupled with the direction and angle of views from along Crownview Drive, which is at least 110 feet higher in elevation, the new pole will not project into the views of the Los Angeles basin; and the new pole will not be apparent nor be obtrusive since there is an existing flagpole and there is existing foliage in the Miraleste area that obscures visibility of the pole. Lastly, although it was identified that the project may create an aesthetic impact with regards to the creation of glare created by the reflection of light off of the pole, a mitigation measure has been incorporated that requires the new pole to be constructed and/or painted with a material and/or color that minimizes glare, which will mitigate the impact. Therefore, there will be no significant adverse affects to adjacent property resulting from the new pole.

Section 4: The proposed use is not contrary to the General Plan because, as proposed and conditioned, the project implements goals and policies of the General Plan to "ensure adequate public utilities and communication services to all residents, while maintaining the quality of the environment" and "[require] adequate landscaping or buffering techniques for all new and existing facilities and networks"; and is consistent with the existing use of the site as a school, the underlying land use designation of Institutional, and the surrounding area. The proposed project will not change the existing overall land use for the site, which would be subordinate to the primary use of the property as an intermediate school. Further, since there is an existing flagpole, replacing it with a new pole will not be apparent and does not create a new aesthetic feature that was not previously at the site.

Section 5: The site is not within any of the overlay control districts, so there is no need to ensure that the proposed use complies with the requirements of the chapter.

Section 6: Conditions have been imposed to protect the health, safety and general welfare, which includes setback and buffers, fencing, landscaping, maintenance of structures, and other conditions, as identified in Exhibit "A" hereto. Further, since there is an existing pole, there will not be a perception that there is a "new" pole.

Section 7: The proposed antenna facility is consistent with the Wireless Communications Antenna Development Guidelines adopted on May 27, 1997 by the Planning Commission.

Section 8: The City's review of Conditional Use Permit No. 229 is consistent with the local zoning authority reserved to the City under the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Section 9: The grading permit application for the 14-foot-deep caisson foundation complies with Development Code Section 17.76.040, which allows caisson foundations of 10-feet or more below existing grade with a minor grading permit.

Section 10: Any interested person aggrieved by this decision or by any portion of this decision may appeal to the City Council. Pursuant to Chapter 17.80 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, any such appeal must be filed with the City, in writing and with the appropriate appeal fee, no later than fifteen (15) days following October 9, 2001, the date of the Planning Commission's final action.

Section 10: For the foregoing reasons and based on information and findings contained in the Staff Reports, minutes, and records of the proceedings, the Planning Commission hereby approves Conditional Use Permit No. 229 and Grading Permit No. 2283, subject to the conditions of approval contained in the attached Exhibit "A", attached hereto and made a part hereof, which are necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.

PASSED, APPROVED, and ADOPTED this 9th day of October 2001 by the following roll call vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTENTIONS:

ABSENT:

_______________________
Frank Lyon
Chairman

_____________________________
Joel Rojas, aicp
Director of Planning, Building and
Code Enforcement; and, Secretary
to the Planning Commission


PC RESOLUTION NO. 2001-

EXHIBIT 'A'

CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL

CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 229

&

GRADING PERMIT NO. 2283

General Conditions:

  1. Prior to any improvements, construction or grading, the applicant and/or property owner shall submit to the City a statement, in writing, that they have read, understand and agree to all conditions of approval contained in this approval. Failure to provide said written statement within ninety (90) days following the date of this approval shall render this approval null and void.
  2. Approval of Conditional Use Permit No. 229 and Grading Permit No. 2283 allows for the following project: replacement of an existing 35-foot-high flagpole with a new 45-foot-high pole, 20-inches in diameter, supporting three antenna arrays and six antenna panels mounted inside the pole for Verizon Wireless. The new pole will replace the existing flagpole at the same location, at the southern end of the track and field stadium area of Miraleste Intermediate School. The project also includes 15 cubic yards of grading to provide for a 14-foot-deep caisson foundation for the new pole; and a 240 square foot, 12-foot high prefabricated equipment structure with a roof-mounted GPS antenna contained within a 400 square foot lease area 75-feet west of the new antenna pole, which will be surrounded by a protective fence and hedge.
  3. Since the construction of this facility is on property owned by a school district (Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District), building permit issuance is conducted by the Office of the State Architect. The applicant shall be required to submit copies of all building permits and approvals issued by the Office of the State Architect within 30-days of completion of the facility. Failure to comply with and adhere to this condition may be cause to revoke the approval of the project by the Planning Commission after conducting a public hearing on the matter.
  4. The maximum height of the new pole shall not exceed 45-feet as measured from existing grade. EXISTING GRADE ELEVATION MUST BE CERTIFIED BY A REGISTERED CIVIL ENGINEER PRIOR TO COMMENCING WORK ON THE SITE, AND HEIGHT CERTIFICATION OF THE POLE REQUIRED BY A REGISTERED CIVIL ENGINEER PRIOR TO BUILDING PERMIT FINAL.

  5. The maximum diameter of the new pole shall not exceed 20-inches.
  6. A maximum of six (6) antenna panels are approved under this permit, which must be mounted inside the new pole and not be visible.
  7. The new pole shall not have any projecting arrays or elements.
  8. All cables, wires and cable chases shall be mounted and installed inside the new pole, and shall not be exposed or mounted on the exterior at any point.
  9. The cables, wires and cable chases from the equipment cabinet to the new pole shall be undergrounded and shall not be visible or exposed. The area where the undergrounding occurs shall be replaced to substantially its preexisting conditions. Since the area where the project is approved is a grass area, the grass shall be replaced over the undergrounded cables, wires and cable chases. Further, since there will be a 14-foot deep and 15-foot wide caisson foundation under the pole, grass shall be installed over caisson such that the top of the caisson is not exposed.
  10. The prefabricated equipment building is limited to 240 square feet, and shall be located adjacent to the existing retaining wall to the south of the existing stadium bleachers.
  11. The equipment building shall be limited to a maximum overall height of 12-feet and shall maintain the setbacks depicted on the plans stamped as approved with the effective date of this approval.
  12. The color and material of the equipment building shall be consistent and compatible with the surrounding environment.
  13. The proposed fence surrounding the equipment structure shall not exceed 8-feet in height, while the proposed landscape hedge shall not exceed 12-feet in height.
  14. Failure to comply with and adhere to all of these conditions of approval may be cause to revoke the approval of the project by the Planning Commission after conducting a public hearing on the matter.
  15. If the facility has not been established (i.e., building permits obtained) within one year of the approval of this permit by the Planning Commission, the approval shall become null and void, unless a written request for extension is filed with the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement and approved by the Planning Commission. Otherwise, a conditional use permit revision must be approved prior to further development.
  16. A maximum 14-foot deep caisson foundation is approved under Grading Permit No. 2283.
  17. In the event that any of these conditions conflict with the recommendations and/or requirements of another permitting agency or City department, the stricter shall apply.
  18. The hours of construction shall be limited to 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. No construction shall be permitted on Sundays or on legal holidays.
  19. The pole and the antenna panel screening canister shall be constructed with a material that reduces, to the furthest extent feasible, glare created by the reflection of light. If no such material can be obtained, then the pole shall be painted with a color that blends in with the immediate surroundings. Prior to construction and/or grading for any improvements, such material and/or color shall be subject to review and approval by the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement.
  20. Prior to construction and/or grading for any improvements, the applicant and landowner shall agree, in writing, to cooperate in possible future co-location of additional PCS and other wireless communications facilities on this monopole. Under the terms of this agreement, the applicant and landowner shall be obligated to:

    1. Respond in a timely, comprehensive manner to a request for information from a potential shared-use applicant; and
    2. Negotiate in good faith for shared use by third parties.

  1. Prior to issuance of a final permit and/or certificate of use and occupancy, Planning Staff shall conduct a site visit to the subject property to ensure that the conditions of approval 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 19, specified above, are complied with and adhered to.
  2. The applicant shall obtain all required permits, including demolition permits, from the appropriate public agencies.

 


City of Rancho Palos Verdes

ENVIRONMENTAL CHECKLIST FORM

1. Project title:
Conditional Use Permit No. 229, Grading Permit No. 2283, and Environmental Assessment No. 740

2. Lead agency name/ address:
The City of Rancho Palos Verdes
Dept. of Planning, Building & Code Enforcement.
30940 Hawthorne Boulevard
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

3. Contact person and phone number:
Eduardo Schonborn, aicp - Associate Planner
City of Rancho Palos Verdes

(310) 544-5228

4. Project location:
Miraleste Intermediate School, located at 29323 Palos Verdes Drive East
(APN 7566-023-902)
City of Rancho Palos Verdes
County of Los Angeles

5. Project sponsor's name and address:
Verizon Wireless Services, represented by TetraTech Wireless
Attn: Lorena Martinez
357 Van Ness, #150
Torrance, CA 90501

6. General plan designation:

I (Institutional/Educational)

6a. Coastal plan designation:

None - this project is not located within the coastal zone.

7. Zoning:

Institutional

8. Description of project:

The proposed project includes the replacement of an existing 35-foot-high flagpole with a 45-foot-high, 20-inches in diameter, pole supporting three antenna arrays (six antenna panels mounted inside the pole) for Verizon Wireless, located at the eastern end of the track and field area of Miraleste Intermediate School. A total of 15 cubic yards of grading will be conducted to provide for a 14-foot deep caisson foundation. Further, a 240 square foot, 12-foot-high, prefabricated equipment structure with a roof-mounted GPS antenna is proposed 75-feet south of the new antenna pole, and will be surrounded by a protective fence and hedge.

9. Surrounding land uses and setting:

 

Land Uses

Significant Features

On-site

Intermediate School.

Site is accessed from Palos Verdes Drive East, and is developed with an intermediate school and sports field that serve 1,100 student.

North

Existing Single Family Dwellings

None

South

Existing Water Tank (California Water Service Company)

None

East

Miraleste Elementary School Site

Elementary School is located downslope from the Miraleste Intermediate school site, and is separated by Palos Verdes Drive East

West

City of Rolling Hills

None


10. Other public agencies whose approval is required:

None.

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS POTENTIALLY AFFECTED:

The environmental factors checked below would be potentially affected by this project, involving at least one impact that is a "Potentially Significant Impact" as indicted by the checklist on the following pages.

___ Land Use and Planning
___ Population and Housing
___ Geological Problems
___ Water
___ Air Quality
___Transportation/Circulation
___ Biological Resources
___ Energy/Mineral Resources
___ Hazards
___ Noise
___ Mandatory Findings of Significance
___Public Services
___ Utilities & Service Systems
_X_ Aesthetics
___ Cultural Resources
___ Recreation

DETERMINATION:

On the basis of this initial evaluation:

___I find that the project COULD NOT have a significant effect on the environment, and a NEGATIVE DECLARATION will be prepared.

_X_I find that although the proposed project could not have a significant effect on the environment, there will not be a significant effect in this case because the mitigation measures described on an attached sheet have been added to the project. A MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION will be prepared.

___I find that the proposed project MAY have a significant effect on the environment, and an ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT is required.

___I find that the proposed project MAY have a significant effect(s) on the environment, but at least one effect 1) has been adequately analyzed in an earlier document pursuant to applicable legal standards, and 2) has been addressed by mitigation measures based on earlier analysis as described on attached sheets, if the effect is a "potentially significant impact" or " potentially significant unless mitigated". An ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT is required but must analyze only the effects that remain to be addressed.

___I find that although the proposed project could have a significant effect on the environment, there WILL NOT be a significant effect in this case because all potentially significant effect (a) have been analyzed adequately in an earlier EIR pursuant to applicable standards, and (b) have been avoided or mitigated pursuant to that earlier EIR, including revisions or mitigation measures that are imposed on the proposed project.

 

Signature:_____________________ Date:___________________________

Printed Name: Eduardo SchonbornFor: City of Rancho Palos Verdes

 

Issues and Supporting Information Sources

Sources

Potentially Significant Issues

Potentially Significant Unless Mitigation Incorporated

Less Than Significant Impact

No Impact

1. LAND USE AND PLANNING. Would the proposal:

a)Conflict with general plan designation or zoning?

1,2

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Conflict with applicable environmental plans or policies adopted by agencies with jurisdiction over the project?

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Be incompatible with existing land use in the vicinity?

1

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Affect agricultural resources or operations (e.g. impact to soils or farmlands, or impacts from incompatible land uses)?

1

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Disrupt or divide the physical arrangement of an established community (including a low-income or minority community)?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed project includes the replacement of an existing flagpole with a new antenna pole with similar slim design and appearance. The new pole will measure 45 feet high and 20-inches in diameter; and contain a decorative cap at the top and decorative base. There are no land use or planning impacts associated with the new pole since no change is proposed to the land use designation of the area and the subject site, which will continue to operate as a school site and is consistent with the City's General Plan. Although the new pole will be 10 feet higher than the existing pole, the pole and the related prefabricated equipment structure will comply with the setback requirements of the City's Development Code. No agricultural resources are located on the subject property. As such, there will be no significant impacts to land use and planning as a result of this project.

2.POPULATION AND HOUSING. Would the proposal:

a)Cumulatively exceed official regional or local population projections?

1

 

 

 

 

X

b)Induce substantial growth in an area either directly or indirectly (e.g. through projects in an undeveloped area or major infrastructure?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Displace existing housing, especially affordable housing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed project is for the construction of a 45-foot high pole to replace an existing 35-foot high flagpole. Since the project does not create additional housing or result in loss of housing, it does not represent significant growth inducing development. As such, there will be no significant impacts to population and housing as a result of this project.

3.GEOLOGIC PROBLEMS. Would the proposal result in or expose people to potential impacts involving:

a)Fault rupture?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Seismic ground shaking?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Seismic ground failure, including liquefaction?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Seiche, tsunami, or volcanic hazard?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

  1. Landslides or mudflows?

4, 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

f)Erosion, changes in topography or unstable soil conditions from excavation, grading or fill?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

g)Subsidence of the land?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

h)Expansive soils?

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

i)Unique geologic or physical features?

7

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed project involves the replacement of a 35-foot high flagpole at the sports field of the existing school site with a 45-foot high pole of similar design, and does not include any physical modifications or alterations of the existing developed site. As such, there will be no exposure to geological risks as a result of the proposed subdivision. Nonetheless, a geotechnical engineering report of the project site has identified that the site is suitable to support the prefabricated equipment building and the proposed pole support, including the 14-foot deep footing of the new pole. According to the Official Maps of Seismic Hazard Zones provided by the State of California Department of Conservation, the site is not located within an earthquake-induced landslide zone nor within a liquefaction zone. Lastly, the site is not located within an Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zone. As such, there will be no significant impacts to geologic problems.

4.WATER. Would the proposal result in:

a)Changes in absorption rates, drainage patterns, or the rate and amount of surface runoff?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Exposure of people or property to water related hazards such as flooding?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Discharge into surface waters or other alteration of surface water quality (e.g. temperature, dissolved oxygen or turbidity?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Changes in the amount of surface water in any water body?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Changes in currents, or the course or direction of water movements?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

f)Change in the quantity of ground waters, either through direct additions or withdrawals, or through interception of an aquifer by cuts or excavations or through substantial loss of groundwater recharge capability?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

g)Altered direction or rate of flow of groundwater?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

h)Impacts to groundwater quality?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

i)Substantial reduction in the amount of groundwater otherwise available for public water supplies?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

j)Storm Water system discharges from areas for materials storage, vehicle or equipment fueling, vehicle or equipment maintenance (including washing), waste handling, hazardous materials handling or storage delivery or loading docks, or other outdoor work areas?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

k)A significantly environmentally harmful increase in the flow rate or volume of storm water runoff?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

l)A significantly environmentally harmful increase in erosion of the project site or surrounding areas?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

m)Storm water discharges that would significantly impair the beneficial uses of receiving waters or areas that provide water quality benefits (e.g. riparian corridors, wetlands, etc.)?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

n)Harm to the biological integrity of drainage systems and water bodies?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed pole replacement will not alter the site and will not impact stormwater drainage systems in the area. The project will not change the currents, or the course of direction of water movements in either marine or fresh waters, as the project is not located in a marine or fresh water setting. Further, the new antenna pole and related prefabricated equipment building will not change absorption rates, drainage patterns, or surface run-off. As such, there will be no significant impacts to water as a result of the project.

5.AIR QUALITY. Would the proposal:

a)Violate any air quality standard or contribute to an existing or projected air quality violation?

5

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Expose sensitive receptors to pollutants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Alter air movement, moisture, or temperature, or cause any change in climate?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Create objectionable odors?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed project is smaller than the threshold for commercial projects which may create a significant air quality impact as described in the SCAQMD "CEQA Air Quality Handbook." As such, there will be no significant impacts to air quality as a result of the project.

6.TRANSPORTATION/CIRCULATION. Would the proposal result in:

a)Increased vehicle trips or traffic congestion?

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

b)Hazards to safety from design features (e.g. sharp curves or dangerous intersections) or incompatible uses (e.g. farm equipment))?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Inadequate emergency access or access to nearby uses?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Insufficient parking capacity on-site or off-site?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Hazards or barriers for pedestrians or bicyclists?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

f)Conflicts with adopted policies supporting alternative transportation (e.g. bus turnouts, bicycle racks)?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

g)Rail, waterborne or air traffic impacts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Access to the project site is served by Palos Verdes Drive East, which is identified in the Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan as a major arterial roadway that is capable of accommodating the types of service vehicles likely to visit the site (i.e., vans, small trucks, etc.). Aside from normal traffic to the subject site, which is predominantly student drop-off and pickup, the only additional traffic that is related to the proposed project is an occasional service vehicle (i.e., vans, small trucks, etc.) for monthly or bimonthly maintenance of the commercial antenna on the site. These visits will be infrequent and will rarely involve large trucks or other equipment that would adversely affect traffic for any extended period of time. Thus, the project will not result in any significant change to the existing level of service, and are sufficient to carry the type and quantity of traffic generated by the proposed use. As such, there will be no significant impacts to traffic and circulation as result of the project.

7.BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES. Would the proposal result in:

a)Endangered, threatened or rare species or their habitats (including but not limited to plants, fish, insects, animals or birds)?

1, 3

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Locally designated species (e.g. heritage trees)?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Locally designated natural communities (e.g. oak forest, coastal habitat, etc.)?

1, 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

  1. Wetland habitat (e.g. marsh, riparian and vernal pool?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Wildlife dispersal or migration corridors?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed new antenna pole does not include any physical modifications or alteration of the existing school site. Further, the 14-foot deep footing will only be conducted for the new pole and will not alter the remaining site. Further, there are no wetlands in the area and no natural habitat has been identified on site. As such, there will be no impacts to biological resources as a result of the proposed project.

8.ENERGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES. Would the proposal:

a)Conflict with adopted energy conservation plans?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Use non-renewable resources in a wasteful and inefficient manner?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Result in the loss of availability of a known mineral resource that would be of future value to the region and the residents of the State?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Energy to the site will be for the operation of an antenna for wireless service. Use will not be conducted in a wasteful manner, and the project will not significantly increase or effect the demand upon energy sources or require new sources of energy. Further, there are no known significant mineral resources associated with the site. As such, there will be no significant impacts to energy and mineral resources as a result of the proposed project.

9.HAZARDS. Would the proposal involve:

a)A risk of accidental explosion or release of hazardous substances (including, but not limited to: oil, pesticides, chemicals or radiation)?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Possible interference with an emergency response plan or emergency evacuation plan?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)The creation of any health hazard or potential health hazard?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Exposure of people to existing sources of potential health hazards?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Increased fire hazard in areas with flammable brush, grass of trees?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The use of the site for wireless telecommunications purposes poses no significant risk to the public. Subsection 4747 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(B)(iv) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)) prohibits the City from "[regulating] the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission's regulations concerning such emissions." Although radio frequency emissions are identified as an environmental effect, they are not within the City's purview to consider or regulate. As such, there will be no increased risk of exposure to hazardous conditions or materials.

10. NOISE. Would the proposal result in:

a)Increase in existing noise levels?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Exposure of people to severe noise levels?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Although noise levels may be temporarily elevated during construction and installation, there will not be significant noise impacts resulting from the proposed antenna. The related mechanical equipment will be located in an enclosed prefabricated structure, minimizing noise. Further, there are no residential uses in close proximity to the site and are located approximately 500-feet from the site, while the school buildings are on another part of the campus. Furthermore, the City's Development Code limits noise levels from said equipment to 65 dBA from the property line of the subject property. As such, there will be no adverse noise impacts as a result of the proposed project.

11. PUBLIC SERVICES. Would the proposal have an effect upon, or result in a need for new or altered government services in any of the following areas:

a)Fire protection?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Police protection?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Schools?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Maintenance of public facilities, including roads?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Other governmental services?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed project does not include any physical modifications or alterations of the existing site. The project can be adequately served by existing public services. As such, there will be no significant impacts upon demand for public services as a result of the proposed project.

12. UTILITIES AND SERVICE SYSTEMS. Would the proposal result in a need for new systems or supplies, or substantial alterations to the following utilities:

a)Power or natural gas?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Communications systems?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Local or regional water treatment or distribution facilities?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Sewer or septic tanks?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

e)Storm water drainage?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

f)Solid waste disposal?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

g)Local or regional water supplies?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The project does not require additional water supply and can be adequately served by existing utilities and services. As such, there will be no significant impacts upon demand for utilities and service systems as a result of the proposed project.

13. AESTHETICS. Would the proposal:

a)Affect a scenic vista or scenic highway?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Have a demonstrable negative aesthetic effect?

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

c)Create light or glare?

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

The project may create an aesthetic impact with regards to the creation of glare created by the reflection of light off of the pole. Although the project includes the replacement of an existing 35-foot high flagpole with a new 45-foot high antenna pole for a wireless telecommunications facility, the material of the new pole would be different from that of the existing pole. This impact from glare has led staff to incorporate conditions that requires the new pole to be constructed and/or painted with a material and/or color that minimizes glare. The condition is as follows:

A-1: The pole and the antenna panel screening canister shall be constructed with a material that reduces, to the furthest extent feasible glare created by the reflection of light. If no such material can be obtained, then the pole shall be painted with a color that blends in with the immediate surroundings. Such material and/or color shall be subject to review and approval by the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement prior to the issuance of building permits.

The new pole will maintain a similar appearance as the existing flagpole, with a 20-inch diameter and the antennae panels mounted on the inside of the pole; thus, the antenna panels will not be visible. The top of the pole will contain a decorative capping while a decorative base will be installed. Lastly, the 12-foot high prefabricated building will be located 75 feet south of the pole and will be screened by the existing topography and foliage in the area, and will not be readily visible from the sports field or the bleacher seating. As such, there will be no significant aesthetic impacts as a result of the proposed project.

14. CULTURAL RESOURCES. Would the proposal:

a)Disturb paleontological resources?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Disturb archaeological resources?

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Affect historical resources?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Have the potential to cause a physical change which would affect unique ethnic cultural values?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Restrict existing religious or sacred uses within the potential impact area?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

According to files at the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, the proposed project site is not located in the proximity of a known pre-historic or historic archeological site. As a result, no potentially significant impacts to cultural resources are expected.

15. RECREATION. Would the proposal:

a)Increase the demand for neighborhood or regional parks or other recreational facilities?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Affect existing recreational opportunities?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed wireless telecommunications facility does not include any physical modification or alteration of the existing recreational sports field. The new antenna pole will replace an existing flagpole, and the prefabricated building will be constructed on the east end of the campus and sports field, and will not be located within the sports field area. The existing sports field will continue to be utilized for active recreational purposes and will not be altered due to the new pole and equipment structure. As such, there will be no impacts upon demand for, or availability of recreational resources as a result of the proposed project.

16. MANDATORY FINDINGS OF SIGNIFICANCE.

a)Does the project have the potential to degrade the quality of the environment, substantially reduce the habitat of a fish or wildlife species, cause a fish or wildlife population to drop below self-sustaining levels, threaten to eliminate a plant or animal community, reduce the number or restrict the range of a rare or endangered plant or animal or eliminate important examples of the major periods of California history or prehistory?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Does the project have the potential to achieve short-term, to the disadvantage of long-term, environmental goals?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Does the project have impacts that are individually limited, but cumulatively considerable? ("Cumulatively considerable" means that the incremental effects of a project are considerable when viewed in connection with the effects of the past projects, the effects of other current projects, and the effects of probable future projects)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Does the project have environmental effects which will cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed project is located in the sports field of an existing Intermediate School campus where no known fish or wildlife habitat exists. A new 45-foot high antenna pole will replace the existing flagpole, which was erected as part of the construction of the school site. The new pole will be constructed at the same location as the existing pole and will contain a similar design. Further, the location is not adjacent to residential uses and will not encroach into areas of the sports field that is utilized for recreational activities. Therefore, the use and related improvements will not degrade the quality of the environment; will not adversely effect long-term environmental goals; will not have considerable cumulative impacts; and will not cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly.

17. EARLIER ANALYSES.

Earlier analysis may be used where, pursuant to the tiering, program EIR, or other CEQA process, one or more effects have been adequately analyzed in an earlier EIR or Negative Declaration. Section 15063 (c) (3) (D). In this case a discussion should identify the following items:

a)Earlier analysis used. Identify earlier analyses and state where they are available for review.

- There has been no earlier analysis done for the proposed project.

b)Impacts adequately addressed. Identify which effects from the above checklist were within the scope of and adequately analyzed in an earlier document pursuant to applicable legal standards, and state whether such effects were addressed by mitigation measures based on the earlier analysis.

- Not applicable, see a) above.

c)Mitigation measures. For effects that are "Less than Significant with Mitigation Incorporated," describe the mitigation measures which were incorporated or refined from the earlier document and the extent to which they address site-specific conditions of the project.

- Not applicable, see a) above.

Authority: Public Resources Code Sections 21083 and 21087.

Reference: Public Resources Code Sections 21080 (c), 21080.1, 21080.3, 21082.1, 21083, 21083.3, 21093, 321094, 21151; Sundstrom v. County of Mendocino, 202 Cal. App. 3d 296 (1988); Leonofff v. Monterey Board of Supervisors, 222 Cal. App. 3d 1337 (1990).

18. SOURCE REFERENCES

1

City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan, and associated Environmental Impact Report. Rancho Palos Verdes, California as amended through June 1988.

2

City of Rancho Palos Verdes Zoning Map

3

City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Coastal Specific Plan and associated Environmental Impact Report. Rancho Palos Verdes, California: December 1978

4

City of Rancho Palos Verdes Land Slide Area Map and Moratorium Area as established by Ordinance No. 106u, and amended by Ordinances 139u and 148u.

5

 

South Coast Air Quality Management District. CEQA AIR Quality Handbook. Diamond Bar, California: April 1993

6

City of Rancho Palos Verdes Specific Plan III

7

Official Maps of Seismic Hazard Zones, provided by the Department of Conservation of the State of California, Division of Mines and Geology.

8

City of Rancho Palos Verdes Archeology Map.




5.CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 226, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2296 and ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO. 742: Verizon Wireless Services, represented by John Koos at TetraTech Wireless. (ES)

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: OCTOBER 9, 2001

SUBJECT: CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 226, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2296, & ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO. 742

PROJECTADDRESS:
32201 FORRESTAL DRIVE - LADERA LINDA COMMUNITY CENTER
(THOMAS GUIDE PAGE 823, D-5)

APPLICANT:
VERIZON WIRELESS
C/O TETRATECH (ATTN: JOHN KOOS)
357 VAN NESS, #150
TORRANCE, CA 90501
PHONE: (310) 783-6444

LANDOWNER: CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES

STAFF COORDINATOR: EDUARDO SCHONBORN, AICP, ASSOCIATE PLANNER

REQUESTED ACTION: ALLOW THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW 30-FOOT-TALL SIMULATED POWER POLE, 20-INCHES IN DIAMETER, TO ACCOMMODATE THE PLACEMENT OF FOUR (4) ANTENNA PANELS INSIDE THE POLE, LOCATED IN A FIELD TO THE WEST (UPSLOPE) OF THE EXISTING LADERA LINDA COMMUNITY CENTER BUILDINGS, TO THE NORTH (AT TOP OF SLOPE) OF THE EXISTING RESIDENCES ON HELM PLACE, AND EAST OF THE EXISTING TENNIS COURTS. ALSO ALLOW 15 CUBIC YARDS OF GRADING TO PROVIDE FOR A 14-FOOT DEEP CAISSON FOUNDATION FOR THE POLE; AND A 240 SQUARE FOOT, 12-FOOT-HIGH, PREFABRICATED EQUIPMENT STRUCTURE WITH A ROOF-MOUNTED GPS ANTENNA ADJACENT TO THE NORTH NEW ANTENNA POLE, WHICH WILL BE SURROUNDED BY A 6-FOOT HIGH PROTECTIVE FENCE AND HEDGE.

RECOMMENDATION: ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2001-__, DENYING CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 226, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2296 & ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO. 742.

REFERENCES:

ZONING: I (INSTITUTIONAL)

LAND USE: ACTIVE/COMMUNITY PARK

CODE SECTIONS: 17.60, 17.76.020, 17.76.040, & WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS ANTENNA DEVELOPMENT GUIDELINES

GENERAL PLAN: EDUCATIONAL

TRAILS PLAN: STALWART SECTION (SECTION 3-A14)

SPECIFIC PLAN: N/A

CEQA STATUS: N/A

ACTION DEADLINE: OCTOBER 22, 2001

BACKGROUND

On September 19, 2000, Conditional Use Permit No. 226 was submitted to the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement. The request was for the construction of a new 30-foot high pole and associated equipment enclosure at the Ladera Linda Community Center property. However, the submittal was not considered to be official, since authorization had not been granted by the City Council for filing of an application on City property. On January 16, 2001, the City Council authorized the City Manager to sign the conditional use permit application on behalf of the City for a proposed wireless telecommunications facility at Ladera Linda Community Center, thereby allowing the applications to proceed through the required permit review process. Thus, on February 15, 2001, the application and related plans were officially submitted to the Department.

The application was deemed incomplete on March 5, 2001, pending the submittal of additional information and applications. Although additional information was submitted on May 11, 2001 and subsequently Environmental Assessment No. 742 was submitted on June 6, 2001, not all of the requested applications and information was submitted, and the application was deemed incomplete on June 8, 2001. After submittal of Grading Permit No. 2296 and the placement of a mock-up silhouette, Staff deemed the project generally complete on August 23, 2001.

SITE AND PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The subject property is directly accessed via Forrestal Drive. The site is bounded on the north and west by natural open space areas, which include pedestrian trails that traverse the areas, and bounded on the east and south by residential properties. The site is known as the former Ladera Linda Elementary School, which was utilized as an elementary school for 338 students, until the District closed the school in June 1980. The site was subsequently purchased by the City in 1985, and named the Ladera Linda Community Center. The Ladera Linda Community Center is an 11-acre site that is currently designated and utilized as an active/community park. Since an elementary school previously occupied the site, classroom, offices and restrooms remain on the property in five "bungalow-type" structures. Recreational facilities on-site include a playground and basketball courts to the east of the Community Center buildings, tennis courts to the west (upslope) of the Community Center buildings, and soccer fields (Portuguese Bend Fields) at the westernmost portion of the site.

The applicant is proposing to locate the commercial antenna facility on the pad area located between the Community Center buildings and the soccer fields. This pad area is also located adjacently upslope to the north of existing residences on Helm and Valdor Places. Existing improvements on this portion of the site include a large unpaved parking area located closest to the driveway towards the north, tennis courts near the center of the pad area and lawn area adjacent to the top of the slope overlooking the ocean. Verizon is proposing to locate the new pole and equipment enclosure in the southeast corner of the lawn area. The new pole is proposed to be a simulated power pole measuring 30-feet tall, 20-inches in diameter, and contain four (4) antenna panels mounted inside the pole; while the prefabricated equipment building measures 12-feet tall, 240 square feet in area and would be located adjacently north of the new pole. The facility (pole and structure) will be surrounded by a protective 8-foot tall fence, and will be located at the southwest corner of the lawn area, at the top of the transitional slope.

CODE CONSIDERATIONS AND ANALYSIS

Environmental Assessment No. 742

In accordance with the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Staff prepared an Initial Study of the project's environmental impacts (see attached Environmental Checklist Form). Although CEQA contains categorical exemptions from the preparation of environmental documents, the Initial Study was prepared since the proposed commercial antenna did not qualify for an exemption. As a result of the Initial Study, Staff determined that there are potentially significant impacts from the proposed project that can be mitigated with regards to expansive soils and noise. However, Staff also determined that there are potentially significant impacts to the aesthetic environment that cannot be mitigated with the project as currently proposed.

The project may create a potentially significant issue with regards to affecting a scenic vista. The project includes a new monopole, simulated as a utility power pole. Since the views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Catalina Island are in a westerly direction from the Stalwart Trail along Forrestal Drive towards the new antenna facility, the new pole will project into the ocean views from the pedestrian trail along Forrestal Drive. Although the trail is at a higher elevation than the antenna facility, the new antenna pole will be in the foreground of the view, thereby degrading the existing view, and the unique natural visual quality of the site and its surroundings.

The project may also create a potentially significant issue with regards to having a demonstrable negative aesthetic effect. The adjacent residences are located downslope of the antenna facility. Since the antenna facility will be located near the top of the transitional slope, the antenna pole will be apparent to the residences along, and from the rights-of-way of Helm Place, Valor Place and Admirable Drive. The appearance of the new facility will be exacerbated by the topography and location of the new facility at the top of the transitional slope. Thus, Staff believes that the antenna pole will be readily visible from the rights-of-way and residences on Dauntless Drive, Helm Place and Valor Place.

The new antenna pole will simulate a utility power pole. Although power poles are found within the Seaview Tract, the existing poles in the immediate area are located predominantly along the toe of the slope, and not at the top-of-slope. Additionally, the proposal is not consistent with the intent and purpose of the City's Development Code, to "maximize use of an existing transmission tower to minimize the need to construct new towers". Lastly, according to the City's General Plan, a goal of the City is to ensure adequate public utilities and communications services to all residents, while maintaining the quality of the environment. A way in which the City and its residents have been improving the quality of the aesthetic environment is to pursue the under grounding of existing utility lines, which is described as Infrastructure Policies in the General Plan (page 138). The General Plan acknowledges that overhead cables, and the associated poles, create adverse visual qualities (page 114). As such, Staff believes that there will be potentially significant aesthetic impacts as a result of the proposed project.

Conditional Use Permit No. 229

The establishment of a commercial antenna in an Institutional district is permitted subject to the approval of a conditional use permit. In considering a conditional use permit application, Development Code Section 17.60.050 requires the Planning Commission to make eight findings in reference to the property and use under consideration. In addition, Development Code Section 17.76.020(12)(a) requires one of two special findings for new commercial antennae (Development Code language is boldface, followed by Staff's analysis in normal type):

  1. The site is adequate in size and shape to accommodate said use and for all of the yards, setbacks, walls or fences, landscaping and other features required by this title [Title 17 "Zoning"] or by conditions imposed under this section [Section 17.60.050] to adjust said use to those on abutting land and within the neighborhood.
  2. The proposed pole, antennae and related support equipment will occupy a 500 square foot lease area on the Ladera Linda's 11-acre site. The new pole will measure 30-feet in height and 20-inches in diameter. Although the new pole will be located ± 8 feet from the top of the transitional slope, the pole will be located 100 feet from the nearest property line, which is the rear property line of the adjacent residence. The 100 foot setback complies with the Development Code's 25-foot minimum setback for monopoles under 100-feet in height. The associated prefabricated equipment building will be located adjacent and to the north of the new pole, approximately 15 feet from the top of the transitional slope. The facility (pole and equipment structure) will be surrounded by an 8-foot high fence and hedge to screen the facility and provide an apparent boundary of the facility. Although the proposal complies with setback standards, Staff believes that it would need additional significant setback from the top of the transitional slope to adequately address the visual and aesthetic impacts discussed above. However, the applicant has indicated that the farther from the slope the pole is located, the taller the pole must be to adequately provide for wireless coverage. As such, based upon the visual and aesthetic impacts, and the inability of the applicant to locate the pole on the property without causing said impacts, Staff believes that the site is not adequate in size and configuration to accommodate the proposed use (antenna and associated equipment); and, therefore, this finding cannot be made.

  3. The site for the proposed use relates to streets and highways sufficient to carry the type and quantity of traffic generated by the subject use.
  4. Forrestal Drive serves access to the Ladera Linda Community Center property. Forrestal Drive is a public residential street that is accessed via Palos Verdes Drive South. Aside from normal traffic to the subject site, which is predominantly student drop-off and pick-up for the Montessori School that serves 112 students and use on weekends due to youth sporting events or other special events, the only additional traffic that is related to the proposed project is an occasional service vehicle for monthly or bimonthly maintenance of the commercial antenna on the site. These visits will be infrequent and will rarely involve large trucks or other equipment that would adversely affect onsite circulation. Thus, Staff believes that the project will not result in any significant change to the existing level of service to the adjacent streets and highways, which are sufficient to carry the type and quantity of traffic generated by the proposed use.

  5. In approving the subject use at the specific location, there will be no significant adverse effect on adjacent property or the permitted use thereof.
  6. As indicated above and in the Initial Study, Staff determined that there are potentially significant impacts to the aesthetic environment that cannot be mitigated; and thus, approving the subject use at the specific location, there will be significant adverse effects upon adjacent property.

    Specifically, as indicated in the Environmental Assessment analysis above, Staff believes that the project will have a significant adverse impact with regards to affecting a scenic vista of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Catalina Island in a westerly direction from the Stalwart Trail along Forrestal Drive. Although the trail is at a higher elevation than the antenna facility, the new antenna pole will be in the foreground of the view and project into the ocean view. Thus, Staff believes that this effect degrades the existing view, and the natural visual quality of the site and its surroundings.

    Further, Staff also believes that the project will have a significant adverse impact with regards to having a demonstrable negative aesthetic effect. As mentioned above, a protective fence and hedge will surround the facility; however, Staff believes that the pole will continue to "pop out" from behind the landscaped area and will not blend in with the surrounding area. The appearance of the new facility will be exacerbated by the topography and location of the new facility at the top of the transitional slope. Thus, Staff believes that the antenna pole will be readily visible from the area and will have a significant visual impact from the residences and the rights-of-way of Helm Place, Valor Place and Dauntless Drive.

    Therefore, Staff believes that approving the proposed project at the specific location, there will be significant adverse effects upon adjacent property and trails; and, as such, this finding cannot be made nor adopted.

  7. The proposed use is not contrary to the General Plan.
  8. Infrastructure Policy No. 8 of the General Plan "[requires] adequate landscaping or buffering techniques for all new and existing facilities and networks, in order to reduce the visual impact of many infrastructure facilities and networks" (page 138). The new antenna panels will not be visible since they will be mounted inside of the pole. However, as indicated above, Staff believes that the facility will not blend with the surrounding environment, creating a visual impact. The visual impact will be significant because this will be a new pole at a specific location that currently does not have a pole.

    Additionally, although power poles are found within the Seaview Tract, the existing poles in the immediate area are located predominantly along the toe of the slope, and not at the top-of-slope. This is not consistent with the intent and purpose City's Development Code to "maximize use of an existing transmission tower to minimize the need to construct new towers".

    Lastly, according to the City's General Plan, a goal of the City is to ensure adequate public utilities and communications services to all residents, while maintaining the quality of the environment (page preceding page 101). Additionally, the General Plan acknowledges that overhead cables, and the associated poles, create adverse visual qualities (page 114). A way in which the City and its residents have been improving the quality of the aesthetic environment is to pursue under grounding of utility lines, which is described within Infrastructure Policies of the General Plan (page 138). However, the proposal includes construction of a new antenna pole, simulated as a power pole. Staff believes that this is inconsistent with General Plan Policies to underground utilities. Additionally, as noted above, there will be potentially significant aesthetic impacts as a result of the proposed project. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed project is contrary to the goals and policies of the City's General Plan; and, as such, this finding cannot be made nor adopted.

  9. If the site of the proposed use is within any of the overlay control districts established by Chapter 17.40 (Overlay Control Districts) of this title [Title 17 "Zoning"], the proposed use complies with all applicable requirements of that chapter.
  10. The subject property is not within an overlay control district. Therefore, this finding is not applicable to the project.

  11. Conditions regarding any of the requirements listed in this paragraph, which the Planning Commission finds to be necessary to protect the health, safety and general welfare, have been imposed [including but not limited to]: setbacks and buffers; fences or walls; lighting; vehicular ingress and egress; noise, vibration, odors and similar emissions; landscaping; maintenance of structures, grounds or signs; service roads or alleys; and such other conditions as will make possible development of the City in an orderly and efficient manner and in conformity with the intent and purposes set forth in this title [Title 17 "Zoning'].
  12. Since Staff is not recommending approval of the requested application, this finding is not applicable to the project.

    Pursuant to Section 17.76.020 (Commercial Antennas) of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, one of two additional findings must be made by the Planning Commission when reviewing a conditional use permit for a commercial antenna facility. (Development Code language is boldface, followed by Staff's analysis in normal type):

  13. That no existing or planned tower approved after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter (Chapter 17.76 "Commercial Antennas") can accommodate the applicant's proposed antenna and/or proposed service area.

There are existing towers throughout the City that may be able to physically support the proposed antenna, but according to the applicant, due to technical constraints on the spacing and separation of carriers for wireless communications systems, the subject site best serves Verizon's coverage area in this part of the City and on the Peninsula. There are no existing towers in the Forrestal area, nor is there a planned tower recently approved in the area. Since, according to the applicant, a new tower is the most feasible method to provide the necessary coverage in the area and along Palos Verdes Drive South; and since there is no existing or planned tower that can accommodate the proposed antenna or service area, Staff believes this finding can be made.

Wireless Communications Antenna Development Guidelines

On May 27, 1997, the Planning Commission adopted the Wireless Communications Antenna Development Guidelines (attached). Below, Staff has identified the nine adopted Guidelines and provided an analysis of how each Guideline has been addressed.

Guideline 1: Expeditious Processing of Applications - Official submittal of the application was on February 15, 2001, but the project was incomplete for several months as the applicant was responding to Staff's comments. Nonetheless, this application is being heard within 50 days from the date that it was deemed complete for processing.

Guideline 2: Preference for Existing, Non-Single-Family Structures as Antenna Sites - The Ladera Linda Community Center property is a non-single-family use, zoned Institutional.

Guideline 3: Encourage Co-Location - This application is for a new tower in an area that does not contain an existing monopole tower; thus, there are no opportunities to co-locate the proposed antennae on an existing tower.

Guideline 4: Preservation of View Corridors - As concluded in the above conditional use permit analysis, the new pole will project into the views of the ocean from the Stalwart Trail along Forrestal Drive. The trail is, at a minimum, 25 feet higher in elevation and ± 350 feet from the specific location of the proposed facility. However, although the trail is higher, it is not sufficiently higher, and the proposed tower will project higher than the existing trees in the immediate area and will project into the view of the ocean. As such, Staff believes that the proposal is not consistent with this guideline.

Guideline 5: Balance of Public and Private Costs and Benefits - There is no evidence that this project will disproportionately benefit the City of Rancho Palos Verdes and/or the wireless providers at a significant adverse financial expense to the general public. However, Staff believes that the project may have an aesthetic expense (impact) upon the adjacent residences that are downslope of the proposed facility, since the facility will dominate the landscape and will create a visual impact as concluded in the conditional use permit analysis above. Further, the Ladera Linda site and the Forrestal property have not been improved with additional structures and have been kept in a natural state to the greatest extent feasible. The vistas, scenery and natural setting of these areas are evident, especially from along the trails in the area. Staff believes that this amenity is a benefit to the community and the general public, and installation of the new facility will detract from the natural environment and create an adverse visual impact. Thus, Staff believes that the proposed antenna facility will provide disproportionate cost to the general public by affecting the natural visual amenities of the area. As such, Staff believes that the proposal is not consistent with this guideline.

Guideline 6: Submittal of Network Master Plan - The applicant has submitted a Network Master Plan for Verizon.

Guideline 7: Photographic Simulations and Full-Scale Mock-ups Required - Attached are photographic simulations. The applicant has also erected a mock-up of the proposed monopole depicting the height of the new pole.

Guideline 8: Periodic Updates on Wireless Communications Technology Required - If the Planning Commission approves this application, Staff will add a condition of approval that will require the applicant to submit the periodic updates on a 3 - 5 year basis as noted in the guidelines.

Guideline 9: Screening of Support Equipment and Structures Required - Since the proposed project includes a prefabricated equipment structure, a protective fence and hedge will surround the facility; however, Staff believes that the pole will continue to "pop out" from behind the landscaped area and will not blend in with the surrounding area.

Based upon the summary above, Staff believes that the proposed project is not consistent with all of the Guidelines.

Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 U.S.C. 332(c)(7))

The following provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 established limitations upon the City's authority to regulate certain aspects of commercial antenna applications:

  • Subsections 4747 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(B)(i)(I) and (II) state that the City's regulation of commercial antennae "shall not unreasonably discriminate among providers of functionally equivalent services; and.shall not prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the provision of personal wireless services." In approving the proposed project, the City would be fostering competition between wireless service providers, without discriminating against any particular service provider.

  • Subsection 4747 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(B)(ii) requires the City to "act on any request for authorization to place, construct, or modify personal wireless service facilities within a reasonable period of time after the request is duly filed with such government or instrumentality, taking into account the nature and scope of such request." This application has been processed in a timely fashion and in accordance with the time lines established by the State Permit Streamlining Act.

  • Subsection 4747 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(B)(iii) states that "[any] decision.to deny a request to place, construct, or modify personal wireless service facilities shall be in writing and supported by substantial evidence contained in a written record." Staff is recommending denial of the proposed project. If the Planning Commission denies these applications, such action will be supported by a written record, consisting of this Staff report, the Minutes of these proceedings, the project plans and applications, public correspondence and testimony, and the final Planning Commission Resolution.

  • Subsection 4747 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(B)(iv) prohibits the City from "[regulating] the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission's regulations concerning such emissions." Although radio frequency emissions are identified as an environmental effect, and are grounds for opposing the project by some of the residents in the area, they are not within the City's purview to consider or regulate.

Based upon the foregoing discussion, Staff believes that the City's review of Conditional Use Permit No. 226 is consistent with the local zoning authority reserved to the City under the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Grading Permit No. 2296

Development Code Section 17.76.040 requires approval of a minor grading application for caisson foundations for a foundation ten feet or more below existing grade. Grading Permit No. 2296 is for the proposed 14-foot-deep caisson foundation of the new pole. Staff believes that the grading is minimal and is necessary for the proper and safe construction of the new pole. However, since the grading permit is associated with the overall project, Staff is recommending denial of Grading Permit No. 2296.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

On September 27, 2001, TetraTech submitted photographs of a monopine (simulated tree antenna pole) that has been constructed in another City (photos attached), which they believe could be an alternative that can be constructed at the subject property in lieu of the simulated wooden power pole. The monopine simulates a pine tree by incorporating projecting elements and arrays that simulate branches, and by incorporating other simulated materials and elements that are typical of pine trees; thus, the pole and the antennae appear to be a pine tree. Although the pine tree may reduce the impacts of a dominating pole at the top of the slope as viewed from Helm Place, Valor Place and Dauntless Drive, and the residences on those streets, Staff believes that a monopine would continue to have visual impacts from the trails along Forrestal Drive. The monopine would continue to project up into the ocean views, and would be substantially wider than the pole design due to the projecting arrays and elements that simulate branches of a tree. Therefore, Staff believes that the alternative design will create the similar impacts as the proposed power pole design.

As indicated above, on January 19, 2001, the City Council authorized the City Manager to sign the conditional use permit application on behalf of the City for the proposed wireless telecommunications facility at Ladera Linda Community Center. The authorization allowed the applications to proceed through the required permit review process, which includes Planning Commission review. If the Planning Commission approves the conditional use permit, a lease agreement must be negotiated between the City and Verizon Wireless, and the City Manager would prepare the lease agreement. Thus, the lease agreement must be executed prior to commencing construction.

On September 7, 2001, notices of the public hearing were mailed to 136 property owners within a 500-foot radius of the subject parcel. Subsequently, on September 8, 2001, the public notice was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News. During the comment period, the Planning Department received eight written correspondences stating concerns with and opposition to the proposed project. The concerns have been addressed and noted within the body of the Staff Report.

CONCLUSION

According to the applicant, a new tower is the most feasible method to provide the necessary coverage for Verizon Wireless in the area and along Palos Verdes Drive South. However, based on the analysis above, Staff believes that not all of the mandatory findings can be made in a positive manner to grant approval of Conditional Use Permit No. 226. Specifically, Staff believes that the proposed antenna pole will create significant adverse visual impacts, and is not consistent with the goals of the City's General Plan, nor the Wireless Communications Antenna Development Guidelines as approved by the Planning Commission on May 27, 1997. Further, Staff believes that the proposed facility does not preserve a view corridor from public trails, and there will be a disproportionate cost to the general public by impacting the natural scenery of the Forrestal and Ladera Linda areas. Lastly, Staff believes that there may be other alternative methods to provide for the desired level of service to the area that may not require the construction of a new tower. For these reasons, Staff recommends that the Planning Commission deny Conditional Use Permit No. 226, Grading Permit no. 2296 and Environmental Assessment No. 742.

ALTERNATIVES

The following alternatives are available for consideration by the Planning Commission:

  1. Identify any issues of concern with the proposed project, provide Staff and/or the applicant with direction in modifying the project, and continue the public hearing to a date certain; or
  2. Approve Conditional Use Permit No. 226, Grading Permit No. 2296 and Environmental Assessment No. 742, and direct Staff to prepare and circulate a Mitigated Negative Declaration and return to a future Planning Commission meeting with an appropriate Resolutions.

Please note that in the event that this item is continued beyond the October 22, 2001 action deadline, the applicant must agree to a one-time 90-day extension of that deadline, and extend the time limits of the Permit Streamlining Act.

ATTACHMENTS

  • P.C. Resolution No. 2001-__
  • Letters of Objection
  • Initial Study for Environmental Assessment No. 742

  • Photograph Simulations
  • Wireless Communications Antenna Development Guidelines

  • Photographs of a "monopine"

  • Project Plans

P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2001-

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DENYING CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 226, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2296 AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO. 742 FOR A COMMERCIAL ANTENNA FACILITY CONSISTING OF A NEW 30-FOOT-HIGH SIMULATED UTILITY POLE WITH FOUR (4) ANTENNA PANELS MOUNTED INSIDE THE POLE AND RELATED EQUIPMENT FOR VERIZON WIRELESS, LOCATED AT THE SOUTHEAST CORNER OF AN EXISTING PAD AREA BETWEEN THE COMMUNITY CENTER BUILDINGS AND THE TENNIS COURTS AT THE LADERA LINDA COMMUNITY CENTER LOCATED AT 32201 FORRESTAL DRIVE (APN 7564-001-912).

WHEREAS, on September 19, 2000, the applicant TetraTech, representing Verizon Wireless, unofficially submitted an application for Conditional Use Permit No. 229 to allow the installation of a commercial antenna facility at the ladera Linda Community Center, located at 32201 Forrestal Drive (APN 7564-001-912); and,

WHEREAS, on January 16, 2001, the City Council authorized the City Manager to sign conditional use permit application on behalf of the City, and allowing the applications to proceed through the required permit review process; and,

WHEREAS, on February 15, 2001, Conditional Use Permit no. 226 and related plans were officially submitted to the Department; and,

WHEREAS, on August 23, 2001, upon submittal of Grading Permit No. 2296 and placement of the temporary mock-up silhouette, the applications were deemed complete; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et. seq. ("CEQA"), the State's CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulation, Title 14, Section 15000 et. seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), the City of Rancho Palos Verdes prepared an Initial Study and determined that there is substantial evidence that the approval of Conditional Use Permit No. 226 and Grading Permit No. 2296 would result in a significant adverse effect upon the environment. Specifically, with regards to affecting a scenic vista and having a demonstrable negative aesthetic effect; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on October 9, 2001, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1:Although the proposal complies with setback standards, it would need additional significant setback from the top of the transitional slope to adequately address visual and aesthetic impacts. Due to the visual and aesthetic impacts, and the inability of the applicant to locate the pole on the property without causing said impacts, the site is not adequate in size and configuration to accommodate the proposed use (antenna and associated equipment).

Section 2:The site for the proposed use relates to streets and highways sufficient to carry the type and quantity of traffic generated by the subject use because the site is accessed via Forrestal Drive, which is a public residential street that connects to Palos Verdes Drive South, the proposed use will generate negligible additional trips to and from the site, and there will be no adverse effect upon existing levels of service for abutting public streets or nearby intersections.

Section 3:The project will have a significant adverse impact with regards to affecting a scenic vista. The project includes a new monopole, simulated as a utility power pole. Since the views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Catalina Island are in a westerly direction from the Stalwart Trail along Forrestal Drive towards the new antenna facility, the new pole will project into the ocean views from the pedestrian trail along Forrestal Drive. The new antenna pole will be in the foreground of the view and will be taller than the existing trees in the immediate area, which further amplifies the appearance of the pole because it will project higher into the ocean view.

The project will also have a demonstrable negative aesthetic effect upon the adjacent residences that are located downslope of the antenna facility. The new pole will be constructed approximately 120 feet from the closest residential structure and at the top of the transitional slope, the new pole will be significantly apparent from the residences and from the rights-of-way along Helm Place, Valor Place and Dauntless Drive. Although a protective fence and hedge will surround the facility, the pole will continue to "pop out" from behind the landscaped area, and the appearance of the new facility will be exacerbated by the topography and location of the new facility at the top of the transitional slope.

Section 4:The proposed use is contrary to the General Plan because a goal of the City is to ensure adequate public utilities and communications services to all residents, while maintaining the quality of the environment. A way in which the City and its residents have been improving the quality of the aesthetic environment is to underground utility lines, which is described as Infrastructure Policies in the General Plan (page 138). The General Plan acknowledges that overhead cables, and the associated poles, create adverse visual qualities (page 114). Since the proposal includes the construction of a new pole, simulated as a power pole, this is not consistent with the City's General Plan policy to underground utilities, and there will be significant aesthetic impacts as a result of the proposed project.

Section 5:The proposed antenna facility is not consistent with the Wireless Communications Antenna Development Guidelines adopted on May 27, 1997 by the Planning Commission. The proposed tower will project higher than the existing trees in the immediate area and will project into the view of the ocean from Stalwart Trail. Thus, the proposal does not preserve the view corridor. The project may also have an aesthetic expense (impact) upon the adjacent residences that are downslope of the proposed facility, since the facility will dominate the landscape and will create a visual impact as concluded in the conditional use permit analysis. Further, the Ladera Linda site and the Forrestal property have been kept in a natural state to the greatest extent feasible. The vistas, scenery and natural setting of these areas are evident, especially from along the trails in the area. This amenity is a benefit to the community and the general public, and installation of the new facility will detract from the natural environment and create an adverse visual impact. Thus, the proposed antenna facility will provide disproportionate cost to the general public by affecting the natural visual amenities of the area.

Section 6:The City's review of Conditional Use Permit No. 229 is consistent with the local zoning authority reserved to the City under the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Section 7:The grading permit application for the 14-foot-deep caisson foundation complies with Development Code Section 17.76.040, which allows caisson foundations of 10-feet or more below existing grade with a minor grading permit. However, it is associated with Conditional Use Permit No. 226 and Environmental Assessment No. 742, and cannot be granted.

Section 8:Any interested person aggrieved by this decision or by any portion of this decision may appeal to the City Council. Pursuant to Chapter 17.80 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, any such appeal must be filed with the City, in writing and with the appropriate appeal fee, no later than fifteen (15) days following October 9, 2001, the date of the Planning Commission's final action.

Section 9:For the foregoing reasons and based on information and findings contained in the Staff Reports, minutes, and records of the proceedings, the Planning Commission hereby denies Conditional Use Permit No. 226, Grading Permit No. 2296 and Environmental Assessment No. 742.

PASSED, APPROVED, and ADOPTED this 9th day of October 2001 by the following roll call vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTENTIONS:

ABSENT:

_______________________
Frank Lyon
Chairman

___________________________
Joel Rojas, aicp
Director of Planning, Building and
Code Enforcement; and, Secretary
to the Planning Commission


City of Rancho Palos Verdes

ENVIRONMENTAL CHECKLIST FORM

 

1. Project title:
Conditional Use Permit No. 226, Grading Permit No. 2296, and Environmental Assessment No. 742

2. Lead agency name/ address:
The City of Rancho Palos Verdes
Dept. of Planning, Building & Code Enforcement.
30940 Hawthorne Boulevard
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

3. Contact person and phone number:
Eduardo Schonborn, aicp - Associate Planner
City of Rancho Palos Verdes
(310) 544-5228

4. Project location:
Ladera Linda Community Center, located at 32201 Forrestal Drive
(APN 7564-001-912)
City of Rancho Palos Verdes
County of Los Angeles

5. Project sponsor's name and address:
Verizon Wireless Services, represented by TetraTech Wireless
Attn: John Koos
357 Van Ness, #150
Torrance, CA 90501

6. General plan designation:
I (Institutional/Educational)

6a. Coastal plan designation:
None - this project is not located within the coastal zone.

7. Zoning:

Institutional

8. Description of project:

The proposed project includes the construction of a new 30-foot-tall simulated power pole, to accommodate the placement of 4 panel antennae inside the pole, located in a field to the west (upslope) of the existing Ladera Linda Community Center buildings, and east of the existing tennis courts. A total of 15 cubic yards of grading will be conducted to provide for a 14-foot deep caisson foundation. Further, a 240-square foot, 12-foot high, prefabricated equipment structure is proposed adjacent to the new antenna pole, and will be surrounded by a protective fence.

9. Surrounding land uses and setting:

 

Land Uses

Significant Features

On-site

Ladera Linda Community Center of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

Site is accessed from Forrestal Drive, and is an 11-acre site designated and utilized as an active/community park. Since an elementary school previously occupied the site, classrooms, offices and restrooms remain on the property in five "bungalow-type" structures. The major tenant is the Montessori School of Rancho Palos Verdes, a private preschool with a maximum enrollment of 112 students. Recreational facilities on-site include a playground, open fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, and soccer and softball fields.

North

Open space areas and trails.

Trails traverse the area to the north of the site that overlook the subject property, which provide recreational opportunities and vista points towards the coastline, ocean and Santa Catalina Island.

South

Single-family residential.

Residential structures are located approximately 40 feet down slope, and approximately 75 feet from the proposed antenna location.

East

Open space.

Soccer and softball fields providing active recreational opportunities.

West

Single-family residential.

Residential structures are located approximately 500 feet from the proposed antenna location, with the Ladera Linda Community Center buildings and parking lot in between.


10. Other public agencies whose approval is required:

None.

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS POTENTIALLY AFFECTED:

The environmental factors checked below would be potentially affected by this project, involving at least one impact that is a "Potentially Significant Impact" as indicted by the checklist on the following pages.

___ Land Use and Planning
___ Population and Housing
_X_ Geological Problems
___ Water
___ Air Quality
___Transportation/Circulation
___ Biological Resources
___ Energy/Mineral Resources
___ Hazards
_X_ Noise
___ Mandatory Findings of Significance
___Public Services
___ Utilities & Service Systems
_X_ Aesthetics
___ Cultural Resources
___ Recreation

DETERMINATION:

On the basis of this initial evaluation:

___I find that the project COULD NOT have a significant effect on the environment, and a NEGATIVE DECLARATION will be prepared.

___I find that although the proposed project could not have a significant effect on the environment, there will not be a significant effect in this case because the mitigation measures described on an attached sheet have been added to the project. A MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION will be prepared.

___I find that the proposed project MAY have a significant effect on the environment, and an ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT is required.

___I find that the proposed project MAY have a significant effect(s) on the environment, but at least one effect 1) has been adequately analyzed in an earlier document pursuant to applicable legal standards, and 2) has been addressed by mitigation measures based on earlier analysis as described on attached sheets, if the effect is a "potentially significant impact" or " potentially significant unless mitigated". An ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT is required but must analyze only the effects that remain to be addressed.

___I find that although the proposed project could have a significant effect on the environment, there WILL NOT be a significant effect in this case because all potentially significant effect (a) have been analyzed adequately in an earlier EIR pursuant to applicable standards, and (b) have been avoided or mitigated pursuant to that earlier EIR, including revisions or mitigation measures that are imposed on the proposed project.

 

Signature:_____________________ Date:___________________________

Printed Name: Eduardo Schonborn For: City of Rancho Palos Verdes

Issues and Supporting Information Sources

Sources

Potentially Significant Issues

Potentially Significant Unless Mitigation Incorporated

Less Than Significant Impact

No Impact

1. LAND USE AND PLANNING. Would the proposal:

a)Conflict with general plan designation or zoning?

1,2

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Conflict with applicable environmental plans or policies adopted by agencies with jurisdiction over the project?

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Be incompatible with existing land use in the vicinity?

1

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Affect agricultural resources or operations (e.g. impact to soils or farmlands, or impacts from incompatible land uses)?

1

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Disrupt or divide the physical arrangement of an established community (including a low-income or minority community)?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed project includes the construction of a new antenna monopole simulated to appear as a utility power pole, which will accommodate the placement of 4 antenna panels mounted inside the pole. The new pole will measure 30 feet high and 24-inches in diameter, contain simulated wood exterior to simulate a power pole, while an imitation cable "power pole" will connect the new pole to an existing power pole located at the toe of the slope. A 240 square foot, 12-foot high, prefabricated equipment building will also be located adjacent to the new pole. The antenna facility will be located to the west (upslope) of the existing Ladera Linda Community Center buildings and east of the existing tennis courts, in an open field at the top of a slope.

There are no land use or planning impacts associated with the new pole since no change is proposed to the land use designation of the area and the subject site. The site will continue to operate as a school site, will maintain the existing recreational facilities and opportunities, and will maintain an Institutional zoning designation, which is consistent with the City's General Plan. The new pole and related prefabricated equipment structure will comply with the setback requirements of the City's Development Code, as it will be located 112 feet from the property line, which is located downslope of the site. Lastly, no agricultural resources are located on the subject property. As such, there will be no significant impacts to land use and planning as a result of this project.

2.POPULATION AND HOUSING. Would the proposal:

a)Cumulatively exceed official regional or local population projections?

1

 

 

 

 

X

b)Induce substantial growth in an area either directly or indirectly (e.g. through projects in an undeveloped area or major infrastructure?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Displace existing housing, especially affordable housing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed project is for the construction of a new 30-foot high pole. Since the project does not create additional housing or result in loss of housing, it does not represent significant growth inducing development. As such, there will be no significant impacts to population and housing as a result of this project.

3.GEOLOGIC PROBLEMS. Would the proposal result in or expose people to potential impacts involving:

a)Fault rupture?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Seismic ground shaking?

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Seismic ground failure, including liquefaction?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Seiche, tsunami, or volcanic hazard?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Landslides or mudflows?

4, 7

 

 

 

 

 

X

f)Erosion, changes in topography or unstable soil conditions from excavation, grading or fill?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

g)Subsidence of the land?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

h)Expansive soils?

 

 

X

 

 

 

i)Unique geologic or physical features?

7

 

 

 

X

The proposed project involves the construction of a new 30-foot high monopole, simulated as a utility power pole, at the open space area between the existing tennis courts and the Community Center buildings. The proposal does not include any physical modifications or alterations of the existing site. As such, there will be no exposure to geological risks as a result of the proposed subdivision. The City's Building and Safety Division will require geotechnical engineering reports that evaluate the soils condition to ensure that the site is suitable to support the prefabricated equipment building and the proposed pole support, including the 14-foot deep footing of the new pole. According to the Official Maps of Seismic Hazard Zones provided by the State of California Department of Conservation, the site is located within an earthquake-induced landslide zone. This is defined as an area where previous occurrence of landslide movement, or local topographic, geological, geotechnical and subsurface water conditions indicate a potential for permanent ground displacements such that mitigation as defined in Public Resources Code Section 2693.c is required. Thus, the mitigation measure is as follows:

GP-1: The commercial antenna facility, including the new pole and prefabricated building, shall be subject to and shall be constructed in accordance with a geological/soils report approved by the City Geologist and with the measures identified in Public Resources Code Section 2693.c.

Lastly, the site is not located within an Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zone. As such, with incorporation of the aforementioned condition, there will be no significant impacts to geologic problems.

4.WATER. Would the proposal result in:

a)Changes in absorption rates, drainage patterns, or the rate and amount of surface runoff?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Exposure of people or property to water related hazards such as flooding?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Discharge into surface waters or other alteration of surface water quality (e.g. temperature, dissolved oxygen or turbidity?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Changes in the amount of surface water in any water body?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Changes in currents, or the course or direction of water movements?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

f)Change in the quantity of ground waters, either through direct additions or withdrawals, or through interception of an aquifer by cuts or excavations or through substantial loss of groundwater recharge capability?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

g)Altered direction or rate of flow of groundwater?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

h)Impacts to groundwater quality?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

i)Substantial reduction in the amount of groundwater otherwise available for public water supplies?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

j)Storm Water system discharges from areas for materials storage, vehicle or equipment fueling, vehicle or equipment maintenance (including washing), waste handling, hazardous materials handling or storage delivery or loading docks, or other outdoor work areas?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

k)A significantly environmentally harmful increase in the flow rate or volume of storm water runoff?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

l)A significantly environmentally harmful increase in erosion of the project site or surrounding areas?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

m)Storm water discharges that would significantly impair the beneficial uses of receiving waters or areas that provide water quality benefits (e.g. riparian corridors, wetlands, etc.)?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

n)Harm to the biological integrity of drainage systems and water bodies?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed pole will not alter the site and will not impact storm water drainage systems in the area. The project will not change the currents, or the course of direction of water movements in either marine or fresh waters, as the project is not located in a marine or fresh water setting. Further, the new antenna pole and related prefabricated equipment building will not change absorption rates, drainage patterns, or surface run-off. As such, there will be no significant impacts to water as a result of the project.

5.AIR QUALITY. Would the proposal:

a)Violate any air quality standard or contribute to an existing or projected air quality violation?

5

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Expose sensitive receptors to pollutants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Alter air movement, moisture, or temperature, or cause any change in climate?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Create objectionable odors?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed project is smaller than the threshold for commercial projects which may create a significant air quality impact as described in the SCAQMD "CEQA Air Quality Handbook." As such, there will be no significant impacts to air quality as a result of the project.

6.TRANSPORTATION/CIRCULATION. Would the proposal result in:

a)Increased vehicle trips or traffic congestion?

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

b)Hazards to safety from design features (e.g. sharp curves or dangerous intersections) or incompatible uses (e.g. farm equipment))?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Inadequate emergency access or access to nearby uses?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Insufficient parking capacity on-site or off-site?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Hazards or barriers for pedestrians or bicyclists?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

f)Conflicts with adopted policies supporting alternative transportation (e.g. bus turnouts, bicycle racks)?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

g)Rail, waterborne or air traffic impacts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The school site, including ingress and egress, was designed to accommodate a maximum capacity of 338 students. Access to the project site is served by Forrestal Drive, which is a public residential street that is accessed via Palos Verdes Drive South. Aside from normal traffic, which is predominantly residential traffic, and student drop-off and pickup, the only additional traffic that is related to the proposed project is an occasional service vehicle (i.e., vans, small trucks, etc.) for monthly or bimonthly maintenance of the commercial antenna on the site. These visits will be infrequent and will rarely involve large trucks or other equipment that would adversely affect traffic for any extended period of time. Thus, the project will not result in any significant change to the existing level of service, and are sufficient to carry the type and quantity of traffic generated by the proposed use. As such, there will be no significant impacts to traffic and circulation as result of the project.

7.BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES. Would the proposal result in:

a)Endangered, threatened or rare species or their habitats (including but not limited to plants, fish, insects, animals or birds)?

1, 2

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Locally designated species (e.g. heritage trees)?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Locally designated natural communities (e.g. oak forest, coastal habitat, etc.)?

1, 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Wetland habitat (e.g. marsh, riparian and vernal pool?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Wildlife dispersal or migration corridors?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed new antenna pole does not include any physical modifications or alteration of the existing school site. Further, the 14-foot deep footing will only be constructed under the new pole and will not alter the remaining site. Further, there are no wetlands in the area and no natural habitat has been identified on site. As such, there will be no impacts to biological resources as a result of the proposed project.

8.ENERGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES. Would the proposal:

a)Conflict with adopted energy conservation plans?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Use non-renewable resources in a wasteful and inefficient manner?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Result in the loss of availability of a known mineral resource that would be of future value to the region and the residents of the State?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Energy to the site will be for the operation of an antenna for wireless service. Use will not be conducted in a wasteful manner, and the project will not significantly increase or effect the demand upon energy sources or require new sources of energy. Further, there are no known significant mineral resources associated with the site. As such, there will be no significant impacts to energy and mineral resources as a result of the proposed project.

9.HAZARDS. Would the proposal involve:

a)A risk of accidental explosion or release of hazardous substances (including, but not limited to: oil, pesticides, chemicals or radiation)?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Possible interference with an emergency response plan or emergency evacuation plan?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)The creation of any health hazard or potential health hazard?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Exposure of people to existing sources of potential health hazards?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Increased fire hazard in areas with flammable brush, grass of trees?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The use of the site for wireless telecommunications purposes poses no significant risk to the public. Subsection 4747 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(B)(iv) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)) prohibits the City from "[regulating] the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission's regulations concerning such emissions." Although radio frequency emissions are identified as an environmental effect, they are not within the City's purview to consider or regulate. As such, there will be no increased risk of exposure to hazardous conditions or materials.

10. NOISE. Would the proposal result in:

a)Increase in existing noise levels?

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

b)Exposure of people to severe noise levels?

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

Although noise levels may be temporarily elevated during construction and installation, these are short-term impacts and there will not be significant noise impacts resulting from the proposed antenna. The related mechanical equipment will be located in an enclosed prefabricated structure, minimizing noise; however, the air conditioning units for the building will be partially mounted on the exterior façade of the building and may create a noise impact with regards to increasing the existing noise levels. There are residences located adjacent (downslope) to the property, and the proposed antenna facility will be located 112-feet from the common property line. This close proximity of the prefabricated equipment building and air conditioning units to residential structures will create an increase in the existing noise levels. To minimize the impacts from noise and to ensure that the noise levels are within the allowable noise level established by the City's Development Code, a mitigation measure is as follows:

N-1: The noise levels from the mechanical equipment shall not exceed sixty-five (65) dBA, as measured from the closest property line.

As such, with incorporation of the aforementioned condition, there will be no adverse noise impacts as a result of the proposed project.

11. PUBLIC SERVICES. Would the proposal have an effect upon, or result in a need for new or altered government services in any of the following areas:

a)Fire protection?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Police protection?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Schools?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Maintenance of public facilities, including roads?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Other governmental services?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed project does not include any physical modifications or alterations of the existing site. The project can be adequately served by existing public services. As such, there will be no significant impacts upon demand for public services as a result of the proposed project.

12. UTILITIES AND SERVICE SYSTEMS. Would the proposal result in a need for new systems or supplies, or substantial alterations to the following utilities:

a)Power or natural gas?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Communications systems?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Local or regional water treatment or distribution facilities?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Sewer or septic tanks?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Storm water drainage?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

f)Solid waste disposal?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

g)Local or regional water supplies?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The project does not require additional water supply and can be adequately served by existing utilities and services. As such, there will be no significant impacts upon demand for utilities and service systems as a result of the proposed project.

13. AESTHETICS. Would the proposal:

a)Affect a scenic vista or scenic highway?

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

b)Have a demonstrable negative aesthetic effect?

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

c)Create light or glare?

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

The project may create a potentially significant issue with regards to affecting a scenic vista. The project includes a new monopole, simulated as a utility power pole. Since the views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Catalina Island are in a westerly direction from the pedestrian trail along Forrestal Drive towards the new antenna facility, the new pole will project into the ocean views from the pedestrian trail along Forrestal Drive. Although the trail is at a higher elevation than the antenna facility, the new antenna pole will be in the foreground of the view, thereby substantially degrading the existing view, the visual quality of the site and its surroundings.

The project may also create a potentially significant issue with regards to having a demonstrable negative aesthetic effect. The adjacent residences are located downslope of the antenna facility. Since the antenna facility will be located near the top of the transitional slope, the antenna pole will be apparent to the residences along, and from the right-of-way of Helm Place and Admirable Drive. Thus, the antenna pole will dominate the appearance from the street and the residences on Helm Place.

The new antenna pole will simulate a utility power pole. Although power poles are evident in the area, the existing poles are located predominantly along the toe of the slope, and not at the top-of-slope. The proposal is not consistent with the intent and purpose City's Development Code to "maximize use of an existing transmission tower to minimize the need to construct new towers". Lastly, according to the City's General Plan, a goal of the City is to ensure adequate public utilities and communications services to all residents, while maintaining the quality of the environment. A way in which the City and its residents have been improving the quality of the aesthetic environment is to underground utility lines, which is described as Infrastructure Policies in the General Plan (page 138). The General Plan acknowledges that overhead cables, and the associated poles, create adverse visual qualities (page 114). As such, there will be potentially significant aesthetic impacts as a result of the proposed project.

14. CULTURAL RESOURCES. Would the proposal:

a)Disturb paleontological resources?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Disturb archaeological resources?

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Affect historical resources?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Have the potential to cause a physical change which would affect unique ethnic cultural values?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

e)Restrict existing religious or sacred uses within the potential impact area?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

According to files at the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, the proposed project site is not located in the proximity of a known pre-historic or historic archeological site. As a result, no potentially significant impacts to cultural resources are expected.

15. RECREATION. Would the proposal:

a)Increase the demand for neighborhood or regional parks or other recreational facilities?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Affect existing recreational opportunities?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

The proposed wireless telecommunications facility does not include any physical modification or alteration of the existing recreational sports fields. The new antenna pole and the prefabricated building will be constructed away from the existing tennis courts and will not be located within the sports field areas. The existing sports field will continue to be utilized for active recreational purposes and will not be altered due to the new pole and equipment structure. As such, there will be no impacts upon demand for, or availability of recreational resources as a result of the proposed project.

16. MANDATORY FINDINGS OF SIGNIFICANCE.

a)Does the project have the potential to degrade the quality of the environment, substantially reduce the habitat of a fish or wildlife species, cause a fish or wildlife population to drop below self-sustaining levels, threaten to eliminate a plant or animal community, reduce the number or restrict the range of a rare or endangered plant or animal or eliminate important examples of the major periods of California history or prehistory?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

b)Does the project have the potential to achieve short-term, to the disadvantage of long-term, environmental goals?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

c)Does the project have impacts that are individually limited, but cumulatively considerable? ("Cumulatively considerable" means that the incremental effects of a project are considerable when viewed in connection with the effects of the past projects, the effects of other current projects, and the effects of probable future projects)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

d)Does the project have environmental effects which will cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly?

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

The proposed project is located in an open field of the existing Ladera Linda Community Center where no known fish or wildlife habitat exists. A new 30-foot high antenna pole will be constructed to simulate a utility power pole. The new pole will be constructed at the south of the site, west (upslope) of the Community Center buildings, and east of the existing tennis courts. However, the facility will be located upslope from existing residences to the south along Helm Place and Admirable Drive, and 112 feet from said residences. Further, the new pole will create the appearance of an additional utility power pole, which is not consistent with the City's General Plan. The new pole will also project into the view of the ocean as viewed from the trail along Forrestal Drive. Thus, the use and related improvements will degrade the quality of the aesthetic environment and hinder the possibility of under-grounding utility lines within the City.

17. EARLIER ANALYSES.

Earlier analysis may be used where, pursuant to the tiering, program EIR, or other CEQA process, one or more effects have been adequately analyzed in an earlier EIR or Negative Declaration. Section 15063 (c) (3) (D). In this case a discussion should identify the following items:

a) Earlier analysis used. Identify earlier analyses and state where they are available for review.

- There has been no earlier analysis done for the proposed project.

b) Impacts adequately addressed. Identify which effects from the above checklist were within the scope of and adequately analyzed in an earlier document pursuant to applicable legal standards, and state whether such effects were addressed by mitigation measures based on the earlier analysis.

- Not applicable, see a) above.

c) Mitigation measures. For effects that are "Less than Significant with Mitigation Incorporated," describe the mitigation measures which were incorporated or refined from the earlier document and the extent to which they address site-specific conditions of the project.

- Not applicable, see a) above.

Authority: Public Resources Code Sections 21083 and 21087.
Reference: Public Resources Code Sections 21080 (c), 21080.1, 21080.3, 21082.1, 21083, 21083.3, 21093, 321094, 21151; Sundstrom v. County of Mendocino, 202 Cal. App. 3d 296 (1988); Leonofff v. Monterey Board of Supervisors, 222 Cal. App. 3d 1337 (1990).

18. SOURCE REFERENCES

1

City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan, and associated Environmental Impact Report. Rancho Palos Verdes, California as amended through June 1988.

2

City of Rancho Palos Verdes Zoning Map

3

City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Coastal Specific Plan and associated Environmental Impact Report. Rancho Palos Verdes, California: December 1978

4

City of Rancho Palos Verdes Land Slide Area Map and Moratorium Area as established by Ordinance No. 106u, and amended by Ordinances 139u and 148u.

5

South Coast Air Quality Management District. CEQA AIR Quality Handbook. Diamond Bar, California: April 1993

6

City of Rancho Palos Verdes Specific Plan III

7

Official Maps of Seismic Hazard Zones, provided by the Department of Conservation of the State of California, Division of Mines and Geology.

8

City of Rancho Palos Verdes Archeology Map.



6. GRADING PERMIT NO. 2191: Mr. and Mrs. Heru Wiredja, 3815 Palos Verdes Drive South. (AM)

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: OCTOBER 9, 2001

SUBJECT: GRADING PERMIT NO. 2191

 

PROJECT ADRESS:
3815 PALOS VERDES DRIVE SOUTH

APPLICANT:
LARRY PEHA
PEHA AND ASSOCIATES
67-14TH STREET
HERMOSA BEACH, CA 90254
PHONE: 310-372--1755

LANDOWNER:
MR. AND MRS. HERU WIREDJA
949 HAMPTON ROAD
ARCADIA, CA 91007
PHONE: 626-375-5843

STAFF COORDINATOR: ARA MICHAEL MIHRANIAN, SENIOR PLANNER

THOMAS BROTHERS GUIDE: PAGE 823 / E-6

 

REQUESTED ACTION:- A REQUEST TO ALLOW THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW 7,691 SQUARE FOOT, TWO-STORY, SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE WITH A THREE-CAR GARAGE, AT A PROPOSED HEIGHT OF 9'-6", AS MEASURED FROM THE HIGHEST EXISTING GRADE COVERED BY STRUCTURE TO THE TOP OF THE HIGHEST ROOF RIDGELINE, AND 30' IN HEIGHT, AS MEASURED FROM THE LOWEST FINISHED GRADE COVERED BY STRUCTURE TO THE TOP OF THE HIGHEST ROOF RIDGELINE. THE GRADING PERMIT IS TO ALLOW 1,643 CUBIC YARDS OF ASSOCIATED EARTH MOVEMENT TO PREPARE THE UNDEVELOPED PROJECT SITE FOR THE PROPOSED RESIDENCE.

RECOMMENDATION: ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2001-___; APPROVING, WITH CONDITIONS, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2191.

REFERENCES: ZONING: RS-1

LAND USE: SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL

CODE SECTIONS: 17.02, 17.48, 17.70, and 17.76.040

GENERAL PLAN: RESIDENTIAL 1 DWELLING UNIT PER ACRE

TRAILS PLAN: N/A

SPECIFIC PLAN: N/A

CEQA: CATEGORICALLY EXEMPT (CLASS 3)

ACTION DEADLINE: NOVEMBER 3, 2001

BACKGROUND

On April 4, 2000, the subject application was submitted to the Planning Department by the property owners, Mr. and Mrs. Heru Wirdeja, to allow the construction of a new single-family residence on an undeveloped lot. After an initial review of the application and architectural plans, the subject application was deemed incomplete by Staff, with a request for further information. Furthermore, at the time Staff reviewed the original proposal, a concern was raised with respect to the size and location of the structure as it relates to the surrounding neighborhood and the City's "Neighborhood Compatibility" findings. After several meetings with the property owners and their architect, revised plans were submitted that adequately addressed Staff's concerns, which will be discussed later in this report. The project application was eventually deemed complete by Staff on September 4, 2001. Soon thereafter, the required public notice, indicating the date, time and location of the public hearing, was mailed to property owners within 500' radius of the subject property, all interested parties, and published in the Peninsula News informing the general public of the proposed project and inviting any comments for consideration. The City received ten (10) letters from neighboring properties expressing concern with the proposed project (see attachment). The content of their concerns will be discussed later in this report. Pursuant to the Permit Streamlining Act, a decision must be made by November 4, 2001, which is sixty days from the date of completeness.

SITE DESCRIPTION

The subject property is located at 3815 Palos Verdes Drive South, which is at the northeast corner of Forrestal Drive and Palos Verdes Drive South, in an area designated by the City's Zoning Map as a RS-1 (Single-Family Residential) zoning district. The subject property is an approximately 77,347 square foot corner lot that is bound between the Seaview Residential Tract to the west, the Seacliff Hills Residential Tract to the east, the Ladera Linda Residential Tract to the north and the Ocean Trails development to the south.

The subject property is considered an "upslope lot" in that the lot gradually ascends from the front property line, which abuts Palos Verdes Drive South, to the rear property line. The majority of the lot consists of slopes that are less than 35%, except for the slope located along the side property line along Forrestal Drive and the upper most portion of the lot. The lot does not contain any mature vegetation or foliage that has the potential to impair surrounding views, but does contain invasive grasses and shrubs. The unique orientation of the lot towards the south provides unobstructed views of Catalina Island and the Pacific Ocean from the project site, as well as the lots abutting the rear property line.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The proposed project is to allow the construction of a new, 7,691 square foot, single-family residence consisting of 3,292 square feet on the lower level, 3,579 square feet on the upper level and an attached 820 square foot three-car garage. The proposed residence will be constructed at a height of 9'-6", as measured from the highest existing grade elevation covered by structure (366') to the highest roof ridgeline (375.5'), and 30' in height as measured from the lowest finished grade elevation covered by structure (346') to the top of the highest roof ridgeline (375.5'). In order to prepare the project site for development, the applicants request to conduct 1,643 cubic yards of grading. The proposed grading consists of 570 cubic yards of earth movement under the building footprint, 562 cubic yards of earth movement outside the building footprint for the driveway access and yard improvements and 511 cubic yards of earth removal and recompaction. For the grading under the building footprint, the applicants request to cut into the hillside by approximately 570 cubic yards to accommodate the proposed residence. In regards to grading improvements conducted outside the building footprint, the applicants request to conduct 394 cubic yards of cut and 168 cubic yards of fill. Since the grading quantity between cut and fill is not balanced, approximately 796 cubic yards of earth will be exported off-site. The applicants have not indicated where the excess earth will be exported.

In addition to the above, included in the application request are ancillary improvements consisting of garden walls, not to exceed a height of 42 inches, along the front property line and the entrance driveway, a preliminary landscape plan, and a drainage plan.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

In accordance with the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Staff has determined this project to be categorically exempt under Class 3 - new construction or conversion of small structures.

Class 3 exempts from the preparation of environmental documents the construction of single-family residences not in conjunction with the building of two or more such units. In urbanized areas, up to three single-family residences may be constructed or converted under this exemption. Since the proposed project consists of the construction of a new single-family residence within an area developed with single-family residences comparable to the proposed project, Staff has determined that the proposed project is a Class 3 Categorically Exemption.

CODE CONSIDERATION AND ANALYSIS

The following discussion will cover the Grading Permit application. Each subsection will apply the appropriate findings required under that application (bold type) along with Staff's analysis (standard type), needed to render a decision. Additionally, if applicable, Staff's analysis will include those concerns expressed in correspondence received during the public notification period under the appropriate finding.

GRADING

Pursuant to Section 17.76.040(B)(2) of the City's Development Code, the proposed project requires a Major Grading Permit, subject to review by the Planning Commission, because a total of 1,643 cubic yards of earth movement is requested by the applicants which exceeds the 1,000 cubic yard threshold requirement. As previously indicated under the project description, the proposed earth movement consists of 964 cubic yards of cut, 168 cubic yards of fill and 511 cubic yards of removal and recompaction. The proposed grading quantities are for improvements under and outside the proposed building footprint, and include the construction of several low profile retaining walls and an 8 foot retaining wall between the lower and upper levels, as required by the Development Code for an "up-sloping" residence. The following discussion consists of Staff's analysis of the required findings of fact needed for a major grading permit, as stated in Section 17.76.04(E) of the City's Development Code.

1. The grading does not exceed that which is necessary for the permitted primary use of the lot.

The subject property is located in an area designated by the City's Zoning Map as a RS-1 zoning district. According to the City's General Plan and the Development Code, a single-family residence is classified as a permitted primary use in the RS Zoning Districts. As proposed, the grading is to accommodate the construction of a new single-family residence and related site improvements on an undeveloped lot. As proposed, the grading request is for 1,643 cubic yards of earth movement, consisting of a total of 964 cubic yards of cut, 168 cubic yards of fill and 511 cubic yards of removal and recompaction. All but 796 cubic yards of the proposed earth movement will be balanced on-site, with the surplus of earth exported off-site.

It should be noted that in reviewing the applicants' proposal, Staff recognized that the amount of earth movement may be considered excessive for the nature of the development. Under the original proposal, prior to Staff's recommended modifications, the applicants proposed to conduct approximately 2,000 cubic yards of earth movement (including removal and recompaction). In an attempt to reduce the quantity of earth movement as well as addressing height and visual impacts, which will be discussed later in this report, Staff recommended that the applicants relocate the proposed residence further down-slope from its original location which was approximately 80 feet from the rear property line. According to the revised plans (see attachment) the proposed residence was relocated approximately 30 feet down-slope from its original location. By relocating the proposed residence, the grading quantities of earth movement was reduced to 1,132 cubic yards. However, according to the geotechnical reports, the top soil in the general vicinity of the proposed construction activities warrants the removal and recompaction of approximately 511 cubic yards of earth. Although removal and recompaction is considered earth movement, its net impacts to the site are minimal in that the earth is removed and replaced in the same general location without altering the topography of the site. Nevertheless, Staff believes that any development on the subject property will require substantial grading for a residence and driveway because of the unique topography of the site. Therefore, based on the above discussion Staff believes that the proposed grading is considered necessary for the permitted primary use of the lot.

2. The grading and/or related construction does not significantly adversely affect the visual relationships nor the views from neighboring properties.

As mentioned in the previous finding, Staff identified a concern with the location of the original proposed residence and its potential to adversely affect properties to the immediate north, along the rear property line. According to the applicants' site plan, the top of the slope along the rear property line, which abuts the neighboring properties located on Searaven Drive, ranges between an elevation of 395' and 400'. Since the residences on Searaven Drive that abut the subject property currently have unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean to the south, Staff was concerned that the original location of the residence, on the upper portion of the lot, would result in a potential view impairment from these properties. Therefore, to address these concerns along with Staff's concern regarding excessive grading, the applicants relocated the proposed residence approximately 30 feet down-slope from its original location. This not only reduced the amount or earth movement, but also resulted in a maximum roof ridgeline elevation of 375.5', which is approximately 20 feet lower in elevation than the building pads of the properties that abut the rear property line.

In addition to the above, Staff believes that ancillary site improvements, such as fencing and vegetation, may also result in a potential impairment of views from the properties to the immediate north on Searaven Drive. A letter submitted by a property owner residing at 32353 Searaven Drive, directly behind the subject property, expressed a similar concern with regard to potential view impacts caused by fencing and foliage. Therefore, Staff recommends that a condition be imposed on the project that restricts the construction of fencing or the planting of vegetation that may exceed an elevation of 395', which is the lowest building pad elevation for an abutting property on Searaven Drive.

Therefore, with the revised location of the proposed residence and the imposition of appropriate conditions, Staff finds that the subject grading will not significantly adversely affect the visual relationship from neighboring properties and can make this finding.

3. The nature of grading minimizes disturbance to the natural contours and finished contours are reasonably natural.

According to the grading plans, the majority of the proposed grading is to prepare the subject property for the construction of a new residence with adequate vehicular access. In order to minimize disturbance to the natural contours of the site, the applicant was required to limit the quantity of earth movement to the area directly related to the building footprint and the immediate area surrounding the proposed residence for a driveway turnaround and small rear yard area. Furthermore, Staff advised the applicant that any grading requested to create a large level yard area would likely be considered excessive and would significantly alter the natural contours of the site. As a result, the applicant revised the original grading plans so that the requested earth movement directly relates to the area below the proposed building footprint and the area immediately adjacent to the residence and its garage. Furthermore, the applicants' original request included grading to create a large level yard area along the rear portion of the residence to accommodate the construction of a pool/spa and cabana. These structures were eventually removed from the scope of the proposed project because of Staff's concern pertaining to excessive grading and significant site alterations to a sloping lot, and replaced with a spa and minor yard improvements. Such improvements include planters, garden walls and terraced walkways that are located immediately adjacent to the proposed residence. It should also be noted that approximately 511 cubic yards of grading is for removal and recompaction, that will not alter the natural contours of the site. Therefore, by designing the structure to respect the natural contours of the site by stepping the structure, Staff believes that this finding can be made in that the proposed grading minimizes the disturbance of the natural contours.

4. The grading takes into account the preservation of natural topographic features and appearances by means of land sculpturing so as to blend any man-made or manufactured slope into natural topography.

According to the slope analysis map submitted to the Planning Department, the portion of the subject property being developed consists of slopes that are less than 35% and ascend from Palos Verdes Drive South to the rear property line. As proposed, the applicants request to construct a new single-family residence with a serpentine shaped driveway, not to exceed a gradient of 20%, and other minor site improvements. Based on the applicants' plans, the proposed grading is basically divided between the areas located under the building footprint (570 cubic yards) and grading for the driveway located outside the building footprint (562 cubic yards). The grading that occurs under the building footprint will not affect the remaining natural topographic features of the site. The requested earth movement has been designed to respect the natural contours of the site by notching the proposed residence into the hillside as opposed to grading the entire site to create a building pad. The proposed residence consists of varying finished floor elevations that step upward from the front to the rear of the residence mimicking the site's natural contours. Outside the building footprint, the majority of the natural contours are preserved except for the driveway and minor site alterations to accommodate improvements such as planters and walkways. Therefore, Staff believes that this finding can be made.

5. For new single-family residences, the grading and/or related construction is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character.

The following discussion consists of an analysis of the proposed project in relation to the immediate neighborhood for the "Neighborhood Compatibility" finding and the project's compliance with the Residential Development Guidelines for the RS-1 zoning district. The discussion on Neighborhood Compatibility" will assess the proposed project in relation to the immediate neighborhood based on the following criteria of review: architectural style, front yard setbacks, and the scale of the surrounding residences.

  1. Scale of surrounding properties, including total square footage and lot coverage of the residence and all ancillary structures.

The analysis of this criteria includes a comparison of the proposed project with the total square footage, for both lot and floor area, of the immediate neighborhood. For the purposes of addressing the "Neighborhood Compatibility", Staff assessed the ten (10) surrounding residences, as shown in the following table.

TABLE 1

PROPERTY

ADDRESS

LOT

SIZE*

BUILDING SQ. FT.**

(garage excluded)

NO. OF STORIES

32415 Nautilus Drive

13,175 sq. ft.

4,332 sq. ft.

2

32410 Nautilus Drive

12,969 sq. ft.

6,500 sq. ft.

2

32420 Nautilus Drive

13,062 sq. ft.

6,050 sq. ft.

2

32430 Nautilus Drive

12,982 sq. ft.

4,994 sq. ft.

2

32424 Aqua Vista Drive

19,790 sq. ft.

4,216 sq. ft.

2

32433 Aqua Vista Drive

29,550 sq. ft.

6,234 sq. ft.

2

32425 Aqua Vista Drive

32,160 sq. ft.

4,298 sq. ft.

2

32415 Aqua Vista Drive

20,310 sq. ft.

4,491 sq. ft.

2

32405 Aqua Vista Drive

14,490 sq. ft.

4,481 sq. ft.

2

32401 Aqua Vista Drive

28,380 sq. ft.

5,512 sq. ft.

2

AVERAGE

19,736 sq. ft.

5,111 sq. ft.

2

3815 Palos Verdes Drive South

77,347 sq. ft.

6,871 sq. ft.

(proposed without garage)

2

* The lot sizes indicated in this column are based on information obtained from the Los Angles County Tax Roll (TRW database).

** Although the square footage calculations mentioned in the above analysis do not include the garage area, since most of the surrounding residences are improved with a three car-garage similar to the proposed residence, the square footage calculations will be adjusted in a manner that results in a generally similar outcome.

According to the above table, the size of the neighboring homes range from 4,216 sq. ft. to 6,500 sq. ft., with the average size being 5,111 square feet for the ten (10) closest developed properties. As such, the proposed residence will be 6,871 square feet, excluding the garage (The proposed 820 square foot, attached three-car garage, will result in a total structure size of 7,691 square fee). In comparison to the neighboring properties, the proposed residence will be 371 square feet larger than the largest home (32410 Nautilus Drive) and 1,760 square feet larger than the average structure size. Although the proposed residence is comparable in area to the largest home within the immediate neighborhood, the structure is considerably larger than the average structure size. However, it should be noted that the project site is approximately four (4) times larger in area than the average lot area of the immediate neighborhood.

Earlier in this report, Staff indicated a concern with the applicants' original proposal regarding the size and its location near the upper most portion of the lot. Staff felt that the size of the original proposal did not reasonably reflect the size of homes within the immediate neighborhood. Furthermore, Staff informed the applicants that the original location of the proposed residence, near the upper most portion of the lot, would not only adversely impact views from neighboring properties on Searaven Drive, but also have an adverse visual impact from Palos Verdes Drive South, specifically from vehicles traveling eastbound, towards San Pedro, on Palos Verdes Drive South.

In response to Staff's initial concerns, the applicants' revised the plans by reducing the size of the structure by approximately 1,000 square feet and relocating the structure lower on the lot. Staff believes that with the modifications to the size and location, together with the integration of articulation along the street facing facade, as discussed in the next sub-section, the design of the proposed residence will appear more compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. Staff believes that because of the unique location of the project site in relation Palos Verdes Drive South, any residence built on this lot will have a pronounced visual appearance. Therefore, to further minimize potential aesthetic impacts, Staff believes that a condition should be imposed on the project that prohibits the use of white paint as the primary color of the structure. Rather, Staff believes the structure should be finished in an earth tone color that better resembles the surrounding terrain. The use of muted color tones will prevent the structure from dominating the landscape and appearing intrusive from Palos Verdes Drive South. Furthermore, Staff believes that a condition should also be imposed on the project that requires the submittal of a landscape plan, for review and approval by the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement, that adequately mitigates visual impacts from Palos Verdes Drive South with the use of landscaping. Therefore, Staff believes that with the imposition of appropriate conditions, the proposed project will be compatible with the scale of the neighborhood.

  1. Architectural styles, including facade treatment, structure height, open space between structure, roof designs, the apparent bulk and mass of the structure, number of stories, and building materials.

The subject residence is located in a neighborhood that is comprised of custom built single-family residences that are constructed in unique architectural styles that range between Mediterranean, Contemporary and Colonial themes. The majority of the neighboring homes are relatively new and contain modern features that have also been included in the design of the proposed residence to reflect the character of the surrounding neighborhood. Such features include the use of exterior moldings, custom windows, window trims, lighting, wrought iron and other architectural details. As stated in the previous sub-section, Staff recommends that the proposed structure be finished in an earth tone stucco that reflects the surrounding terrain and is similar to tones found in the immediate neighborhood, as well as the use of appropriate landscaping, to visually screen the structure and soften its appearance from Palos Verdes Drive South. In regards to the number of stories, all of the immediate area homes, as identified in the above section, are two stories, as is the proposed residence.

With respect to mass and bulk, Staff has worked with the applicants' architect to design a structure that integrates a great deal of articulation between the lower and upper levels in an attempt to soften the structure's visual appearance, specifically from Palos Verdes Drive South. As such, the proposed residence has been designed in a manner where the building footprint undulates rather than follow a continuous line. The use of an undulating floor plan results in a building facade that adds a rhythmic element of interest to the exterior of the structure, while softening the structure's overall appearance. Furthermore, the proposed structure is designed to respect the Development Code's requirements for an "upslope" lot by integrating varying elevation facades that mitigate the massive appearance found on traditional box styled homes. Furthermore, balconies and varied roof planes provide articulation that enhance the character of the structure while creating a meaningful relationship between the lower and upper levels, as well as the components of the building's forms and materials.

In regards to the roof, the proposed residence's roof style varies depending on the view of the elevation. According to the architectural plans, the street facing facade is designed with a pitched roof system, in the form of a Mansard roof, consisting of Spanish tiles, while along the rear facing facade, the structure is comprised of a flat roof. With respect to aesthetic value, Staff does not believe the flat roof along the rear facing facade will result in an adverse condition since the roof plane will not be visible by most in that the structure is tucked towards the hillside in this general location. Nevertheless, to enhance the aesthetic value of the flat roof from the vantage point of the neighboring properties abutting the rear property line, Staff recommends a condition be imposed on the project that requires the flat rooftop material be of earth tone color to naturally blend with the surrounding setting. Furthermore, the Development Code prohibits the placement of mechanical equipment on the roof. Staff does have a concern with the proposed flat roof over the living room rotunda and main entrance facade oriented towards Palos Verdes Drive South. Staff believes the proposed flat roof element disrupts the structure's cohesive appearance and deters from Staff's desire to soften the overall appearance of the structure. Staff recommends that the Commission impose a condition that requires the applicant to remove the flat roof from these two areas of the structure and redesign the facade to include a pitched roof. Staff believes that the use of a pitch roof will not only aesthetically enhance the structure's appearance, but will also minimize the structure's linear appearance.

Based on the above analysis, Staff believes that the project is designed to blend with the surrounding neighborhood by incorporating architectural elements seen throughout the surrounding neighborhood.

  1. Front yard setbacks

The subject residence is located in the RS-1 zoning district that requires a 20-foot front yard setback. According to the applicants' plans, the proposed residence will be located approximately 130 feet from the front property line. Although the proposed front yard setback exceeds the 20 foot minimum setback requirement, Staff informed the applicants that the surrounding properties are developed in a manner that is closer to the 20 foot setback requirement, and that proposed structure may be setback too far from the front property line, thus resulting in an incompatible front yard setback. As such, Staff recommended that the applicants relocate the residence further down slope to respect the 20 foot requirement. In considering Staff's recommendation to relocate the structure, the applicants informed Staff that their investigation into the possibility of this revision revealed that from a geotechnical standpoint, the location of the structure closer to the street would situate the house on unstable soil, thus requiring the construction of a deep caisson foundation system. The City's Geotechnical consultant reviewed the applicants' geotechnical reports and concurred that the lower portion of the lot was not the ideal location for a structure. Although a structure could be built along the lower portion of the lot, the required caisson foundation would result in a significant added cost to the applicants as well as significant grading. With that in mind, Staff felt that the structure should be designed in a manner that best resembles the close proximity to the front property line of the existing residences on Aqua Vista. As such, the applicants relocated the house to basically align with the residences on Aqua Vista while avoiding the unstable portion of the lot. Therefore, Staff believes that the site plan for the proposed residence has been revised to adequately make this finding.

Therefore, based on the above discussion Staff believes that the proposed residence is designed to be compatible with the immediate neighborhood and can make this finding.

6. In new residential tracts, the grading includes provisions for the preservation and introduction of plant materials so as to protect slopes from erosion and slippage and minimizes the visual effects of grading and construction on hillside areas.

This finding does not apply in that the proposed project is not a new residential tract.

7. The grading utilizes street design and improvements which serve to minimize grading alternatives and harmonize with the natural contours and character of the hillside.

This finding is intended to apply to new subdivisions, therefore this finding does not apply.

8. The grading would not cause excessive and unnecessary disturbance of the natural landscape or wildlife habitat through removal of vegetation.

The proposed project will not disturb any natural landscape or wildlife in that the proposed grading will occur on a lot that does not contain any natural landscape or protect habitat, as depicted in the City's Natural Conservation Communities Plan (NCCP). Therefore, Staff feels that the proposed grading will not significantly impact any natural vegetation or wildlife habitat.

9. The grading conforms to the following standards for: grading on slopes, height of cut/fill, and retaining walls.

According to the City's Development Code, grading on slopes over thirty-five (35%) percent is permitted if the lot was recorded and legally subdivided as of November 25, 1975. According to the grading plans, no earth movement will occur on slopes equal to or greater than 35% nor will the grading result in slopes exceeding a 50% gradient. Furthermore, the proposed access driveway will not exceed a gradient of 20%, the maximum slope permitted by the Development Code. With respect to the depth of cut of fill, the grading conducted outside the building footprint will exceed a height of five (5) feet. Therefore, although the proposed grading will not occur on slopes equal to or greater than thirty-five (35) percent, the depth of cut or fill exceeds five (5) feet in height, thus requiring the analysis of the tenth (10th) finding.

10. The Planning Director or the Planning Commission may grant a grading permit for development in excess of that permissible under the findings of the above section (E.9) upon finding the following:

  1. The criteria of subsection 1 through 8 are satisfied.
  2. According to Staff's analysis within Subsection 1 through 8, it has been determined that the proposed grading project does meet the required findings as stated in the discussion under the Code Analysis Section for a Grading Permit.

  3. The approval is consistent with the purposes of a Grading Permit, as stated in Subsection A.

  4. According to the Development Code, the purpose of a Grading Permit is to promote public health, safety and welfare when it comes to reasonable land development. A Grading Permit will ensure that the maximum preservation of the natural scenic character is maintained with the reasonable economic use of the property and that development occurs in a manner that is harmonious with adjacent land as to minimize problems of flooding, drainage, erosion, earth movement, and similar hazards that do not comply with the goals and objectives of the General Plan. As proposed, the grading will be conducted on a property that has been developed in compliance with the City's development standards and the goals and objectives of the General Plan. The proposed 1,643 cubic yards of earth movement is to accommodate the development of a vacant lot for the construction of a new residence and access driveway. Although the City's Geotechnical Consultant has preliminarily approved the proposed project in the Planning Stage, prior to obtaining grading and/or building permits, the City's Geotechnical Consultant will have to review and approve further geotechnical reports and studies. Furthermore, the proposed development, including the residence and related retaining walls, will have to be engineered in compliance with the Uniform Building Code prior to obtaining grading and/or building permits. Both the Division of Building and Safety and the City Geotechnical consultant will be reviewing the proposed project, after approvals are issued by the Planning Commission. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed grading project is consistent with the purposes set forth under the Grading Permit Section of the Development Code in that the grading will be sensitive to the natural topography and will minimize any potential hazards to the terrain and the public.

  5. Departure from the standards in subsection 9 of this section will not constitute a grant of special privilege inconsistent with the limitations of other properties in the vicinity.
  6. Staff believes that granting the proposed project will not be a special privilege in that the grading is deemed necessary to prepare the project side for residential development, which is considered the primary use of the lot. Furthermore, as proposed, the grading will be limited to the area of residential development and the access driveway. In regards to the surrounding properties, Staff has analyzed the proposed project and found that other sloping properties within the immediate vicinity have also required grading similar in nature to the proposal to accommodate development. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed project will not grant a special privilege.

  7. Departure from the standards of subsection 9 of this section will not be detrimental to the public safety nor to other property.
  8. According to the grading plans submitted to the Planning Department, Staff believes that the proposed project will not be detrimental to the public's safety nor to other property in that the proposed grading is to accommodate a new single-family residence on vacant parcel of land zoned for such a use. As previously mentioned, the proposed grading will be conducted in a manner that prevents disruption to neighboring properties and is designed to ensure the highest level of public safety. As such, the proposed project will require approvals by both the Building Official and the City's Geotechnical Consultant prior to issuance of grading and/or building permits. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed project will not be detrimental to the public's safety and the surrounding properties, and this finding can be made.

  9. Notice of such decision shall be given to the applicant and to all property adjacent to the subject property. A Notice of Denial shall be given to only the applicant. Any interested person may appeal the Planning Director's decision to the Planning Commission and the Planning Commission's decision to the City Council.

Since a decision of the proposed project will be made by the Planning Commission, Staff will prepare a Notice of Decision for the applicant, interested parties and the adjacent property owners, informing them of the decision and the process and filing fee required to submit an appeal.

Based on the above analysis, Staff believes that the proposed grading project complies with the requirements set forth in Development Code and conforms with the goals and objectives of the General Plan. Therefore, Staff recommends that the Planning Commission conditionally approve Grading Permit No. 2191.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Residential Development Criteria

Notwithstanding the above analysis, Staff has also reviewed the proposed residence for compliance with the RS-1 Residential Development Standards as shown in the table below.

TABLE 2

DEVELOPMENT STANDARD

REQUIREMENT

PROPOSED

FRONT YARD SETBACK

20'

130'

REAR YARD SETBACK

15'

110'

SIDE YARD SETBACK

5'

12'

MAX. LOT COVERAGE

25%

11.8%

BUILDING HEIGHT

16'/30'

9'-6"/30'


In regards to lot coverage, according to the applicant's calculation the proposed building footprint is 4,112 square feet and the outdoor parking and driveway area is 5,000 square feet, for a total lot coverage calculation of 9,112 square feet, which is 11.8% of the 77,347 square foot lot. Staff believes that the proposed site improvements comply with the 25% maximum lot coverage requirement of the City's Residential Development Standards for the RS-1 zoning district. In terms of setbacks, Staff has determined that the proposed site improvements, as shown on the site plan and in the above table, comply with the setbacks established for lots under the City's RS-1 zoning district.

According to the City's residential parking standards, a single-family residential dwelling unit less than 5,000 square feet of habitable floor area (garage excluded) requires two (2) enclosed parking spaces, whereas a residence exceeding that square footage threshold would require three (3) spaces. Since the primary residence will be 6,871 square feet (garage not included), the Development Code requires that the subject property contain three (3) enclosed parking spaces. As such, the applicants propose to construct a three (3) car garage in compliance with the parking criteria for the primary residence, with a minimum of 9' (wide) by 20' (deep) parking stalls, as measured from the finished interior walls.

In addition to the parking criteria, Section 17.02.030(E)(6)(b) of the Development Code states that a paved 25 foot turning radius shall be provided between the garage or other parking area and the street of access for driveways which have an average slope of 10% or more, and are 50 feet or more in length. According to the applicants' site plan, the proposed driveway exceeds an average slope of 10% and is greater than 50 feet in length, and therefore requires a turning radius, which has been provided in the area directly in front of the proposed garage.

Based on the above table, Staff believes that the proposed development, including the construction of a new pool and spa, comply with the City's Residential Development Standards for the RS-1 zoning district.

NPDES

In accordance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), the City's Urban Storm Water Discharge Engineer has reviewed and conceptually approved the applicants' proposal to implement an appropriate storm water collection system that will minimize certain pollutants from entering the City's storm drains.

City's Geotechnical Review

The City's Geotechnical Engineer has reviewed the applicants' geotechnical reports and conceptually approved the project in the Planning Stage on August 6, 2001.

Future Road Improvements

As part of the mitigation measures for the Ocean Trails project, Palos Verdes Drive South will be realigned to mitigate project related traffic impacts. As a result of the realignment of Palos Verdes Drive South, the existing Aqua Vista Drive will no longer directly intersect with Palos Verdes Drive South. Aqua Vista Drive will be extended by continuing the road so that it turns and runs parallel to Palos Verdes Drive South directly in front of the subject property (see attachment). Once constructed, Aqua Vista Drive will serve the subject property and will intersect Forrestal Drive. A landscape median, similar to that within the neighboring Seaview Tract, between the new Aqua Vista Drive and Palos Verdes Drive South will create a physical barrier to ensure public safety. The proposed improvements have been reviewed by the City's Public Works Department and are anticipated to be completed in the summer of 2002.

Foliage

In regards to foliage, the subject property does not contain any mature vegetation that may significantly impair views from neighboring properties. Needless to say, the project site, which contains non-native grasses will be cleared and landscaped as part of the site improvements. As previously stated, Staff recommends a condition be imposed on the project that prohibits all future landscaping from exceeding a maximum elevation height of 395' to prevent potential view impacts to surrounding properties

Public Noticing

According to the noticing procedure stated in the Development Code, a public notice was mailed to property owners within a 500 foot radius from the subject property and was published in the Peninsula News. During the fifteen (15) day noticing period, the Planning Department received ten (10) public comments (see attachment). The concerns raised generally pertain to view impacts, structure size, grading impacts to neighboring properties, and the request to construct a silhouette. Staff has addressed these concerns throughout the body of this report except for the silhouette. With respect to the requests to erect a silhouette, the City does not have a mechanism to require a silhouette under a grading application in that a structure on a sloping lot is permitted to be constructed at a "by right" height limit of 16', as measured from the highest existing grade covered by structure to the top of the highest roof ridgeline, and 30' in height, as measured from the lowest finished grade covered by structure to the top of the highest roof ridgeline. A silhouette is only required under a Height Variation application, whenever a request to develop results in an overall height that exceeds 16' or the development is in the form of a two-story structure on a "building pad." Therefore, the applicants are not required to erect a silhouette as requested by neighboring property owners. Furthermore, as indicated in this report, Staff does not believe the proposed residence will result in a view impairment from neighboring properties because the highest roof ridgeline is approximately 20 feet lower in elevation than the neighboring properties located above the subject property. Nonetheless, if the Commission believes that view impacts cannot be ascertained without a silhouette, the Commission may require the applicants to construct a silhouette before rendering a decision on the project.

Permit Streamlining

In regards to the Permit Streamlining Act, since the proposed application was deemed complete on September 4, 2001, a decision must rendered within sixty (60) days, which is November 4, 2001.

CONCLUSION

Based on the above discussion and analysis of this report, Staff recommends that the Planning Commission conditionally approve Grading Permit No. 2191 to allow the construction of a new 7,691 square foot (garage included) single-family residence at a proposed height of 9'-6", as measured from the highest existing grade covered by structure to the highest roof ridgeline, and 30' in height, as measured from the lowest finished grade covered by structure to the top of the highest roof ridgeline, with 1,643 cubic yards of associated grading.

ALTERNATIVES

The following alternatives are available for the Planning Commission's consideration in addition to Staff's recommendation (see page 1):

  1. Deny Grading Permit No. 2191; or,
  2. Identify any issues of concern with the proposed project, and provide the applicant with direction in modifying the project, and continue the public hearing to a date certain.

ATTACHMENTS:

  • Draft P.C. Resolution and Conditions of Approval
  • Site Plan and Architectural Plans
  • Public Comments
  • Aqua Vista Dive Road Improvement Plan

 

RESOLUTION NO. 2001-__

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING, WITH CONDITIONS, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2191 TO ALLOW THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW 7,691 SQUARE FOOT, SPLIT LEVEL, SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE AT A HEIGHT OF 9'-6", AS MEASURED FROM THE HIGHEST EXISTING GRADE COVERED BY STRUCTURE TO THE TOP OF THE HIGHEST ROOF RIDGELINE, AND 30' IN HEIGHT, AS MEASURED FROM THE LOWEST FINISHED GRADE ELEVATION COVERED BY STRUCTURE TO THE TOP OF THE HIGHEST ROOF RIDGELINE. SAID APPROVALS INCLUDE 1,643 CUBIC YARDS OF ASSOCIATED GRADING ON PROPERTY LOCATED AT 3815 PALOS VERDES DRIVE SOUTH.

WHEREAS, on April 4, 2000 the subject application, Grading Permit No. 2191 was submitted to the Planning Department by the property owners, Mr. and Mrs. Heru Wiredja of 3815 Palos Verdes Drive South, to allow the construction of a new 7,691 square foot single-family residence with 1,643 cubic yards of associated grading; and,

WHEREAS, on August 6, 2001 the City's Geotechnical Engineer reviewed and conditionally approved the applicants' geotechnical reports and studies; and,

WHEREAS, after several meetings attended by Staff and the property owners and their architect, revised plans were submitted and deemed complete for processing on September 4, 2001; and,

WHEREAS, on September 20, 2001, the required public notices for the October 9, 2001 Planning Commission meeting were mailed to property owners within a 500 foot radius of the subject property, and a notice was published in the Peninsula News on September 22, 2001; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Quality Act, Public Resources Code Section 21000 et.seq. ("CEQA"), the State's CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 15000 et.seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(F) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), Staff found no evidence that Grading Permit No. 2191 would have a significant effect on the environment and, therefore the proposed project has been found to be categorically exempt (Class 3); and,

WHEREAS, after notices issued pursuant to the requirements of Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on October 9, 2001, at which all interested parties were given the opportunity to be heard and present evidence.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1:The grading does not exceed that which is necessary for the permitted primary use of the lot in that the proposed 1,643 cubic yards of associated grading is necessary to prepare the project site for the construction of a new single-family residence within the RS-1 zoning district, which is considered the permitted primary use of the property. The applicants' grading request consists of 964 cubic yards of cut, 168 cubic yards of fill and 511 cubic yards of removal and recompaction. Although 1,643 cubic yards of earth movement is proposed, 511 cubic yards consists of removal and recompaction which will not result in net impacts to the project site in that the topography of the site will remain unaltered since the grading will occur in the same general location to stabilize the ground.

Section 2:The grading and/or related construction does not significantly adversely affect visual relationships nor the views from neighboring properties since the proposed grading will not result in a higher grade elevation for the structure, but rather cuts into portions of the existing hillside to accommodate the new residence. Furthermore, the location of the residence on the project site and the structure's maximum roof ridgeline will be approximately 20 feet lower in elevation than the properties to the immediate north abutting the subject property's rear property line, on Searaven Drive, will maintain ocean views laterally over the subject property.

Section 3:The nature of grading minimizes disturbance to the natural contours and finished contours are reasonably natural in that the proposed grading is limited to the area directly related to the new residence and the area immediately surrounding the proposed residence for a driveway, driveway turnaround and small yard area. Furthermore, approximately 511 cubic yards of the proposed grading is for removal and recompaction that will not result in a drastic alteration of the existing topography of the site.

Section 4:The grading takes into account the preservation of natural topographic features and appearances so as to blend any man-made or manufactured slopes into the natural topography in that the proposed residence has been designed to respect the natural contours of the site by notching the proposed residence into the hillside as opposed to grading the entire site to create a level building pad. Furthermore, the majority of the grading occurs either under the building footprint or in an area outside the building footprint that is necessary to provide adequate access to the proposed residence.

Section 5:The grading will not cause excessive and unnecessary disturbance of the natural landscape or wildlife habitat through removal of vegetation in that the proposed grading is located on a lot that is devoid of native vegetation according to the City's NCCP map.

Section 6:The proposed residence at 7,691 square feet (garage included) is compatible with the character of the immediate neighborhood in that the proposed residence will be 371 square feet larger than the largest home (32410 Nautilus Drive) within the immediate neighborhood. In regards to the average structure size, the proposed residence will only be 1,760 square feet larger than the average structure size within the immediate neighborhood for which specific design elements, such as facade articulation, varying roof planes, and balconies, were integrated into the overall appearance of the structure in order to mitigate a massive appearing structure more commonly found with traditional boxed style homes. Landscaping will also be used throughout the project site that will visually screen the residence and soften its overall appearance from Palos Verdes Drive South. Furthermore, design features such as earth tone color stucco, wrought iron details, Spanish tiles, custom windows and exterior moldings have been incorporated into the design of the structure to resemble the character of the developed properties within the immediate neighborhood. Additionally, the proposed structure will be constructed at a 110' front yard setback, which exceeds the 20' requirement set forth in the Development Code and is comparable to the alignment of neighboring homes.

Section 7:The grading conforms with the Development Code's standards pertaining to grading on slopes, height of cut/fill and retaining walls in that the grading requested is necessary for the development of the subject property and complies with the Development Code's criteria in that no earth movement will occur on slopes equal to or greater than 35% nor will the grading result in slopes exceeding a 50% gradient. In regards to the depth of cut or fill, in addition to the excavation required for the proposed structure, the cut or fill on the lot outside the building footprint will exceed a height of five (5) feet and thereby required further analysis.

Section 8:The grading quantities requested are necessary for the development of the subject property and do not constitute a special privilege since 1,643 cubic yards of earth movement is required to prepare the project site for the construction of a split level residence with an adequate and safe access driveway from the public right-of-way.

Section 9:The proposed project complies with the Residential Development Guidelines for the RS-1 zoning district in that the required setbacks for the front, rear and side yards are adhered to, and that the proposed lot coverage, at 11.8%, is less than the 25% maximum permitted under the requirements set forth in the Development Code. Additionally, the Development Code requires that structures with habitable floor area exceeding 5,000 square feet maintain a minimum of a three (3) car garage, and according to the plans, a three (3) car garage will be constructed.

Section 10:A Notice of Decision shall be given to the applicant, to all property owners adjacent to the subject property and any interested party informing them of the Planning Commission's decision.

Section 11:Any interested party may appeal this decision or any portion of this decision to the City Council. Pursuant to Section 17.02.040(C)(1)(j) of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, any such appeal must be filed with the city, in writing, and with the appropriate appeal fee, no later than fifteen (15) days following the date of the Planning Commission's adoption of this resolution.

Section 12:For the foregoing reasons, and based on the information and findings included in the Staff Report, Minutes, and other records of proceedings, the Planning Commission of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby approves Grading Permit No. 2191, thereby approving the construction of a new 7,691 square foot, two-story, single-family residence consisting of 3,292 square feet on the lower level, 3,579 square feet on the upper level and an 820 square foot attached three car garage at a height of 9'-6", as measured from the highest existing grade covered by structure (366') to the top of the highest roof ridgeline (375.5'), and 30', as measured from the lowest finished grade covered by structure (246') to the top of the highest roof ridgeline (375.5'). Furthermore, said approvals include 1,643 cubic yards of associated grading to prepare the project site for development, subject to the conditions of approval in Exhibit "A".

PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this 9th day of October, 2001, by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTENTIONS:

ABSENT:

_____________________
Frank Lyon
Chairman

_______________________________
Joel Rojas, AICP
Director of Planning, Building
and Code Enforcement; and,
Secretary to the Planning Commission


EXHIBIT 'A'

CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL

GRADING PERMIT NO. 2191

GENERAL

  1. Prior to the submittal of plans into Building and Safety plan check, the applicant and/or property owner shall submit to the City a statement, in writing, that they have read, understand and agree to all conditions of approval contained in this approval. Failure to provide said written statement within ninety (90) days following the date of this approval shall render this approval null and void.
  2. The approval shall become null and void after one (1) year from the date of approval by the City, unless the approved plans are submitted to the Building and Safety Division to initiate the "plan check" review process.
  3. The proposed project shall be constructed in substantial compliance with the plans approved and stamped by the Planning Department with the effective date of this approval.
  4. The Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement is authorized to make minor modifications to the approved plans or any of the conditions if such modifications achieve substantially the same results as would strict compliance with said plans and conditions.
  5. In the event that a Planning requirement and a Building & Safety requirement are in conflict with one another, the stricter standard shall apply.
  6. The hours of construction shall be limited to 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. No construction shall be permitted on Sundays or on legal holidays.
  7. The construction site shall be kept free of all loose materials resembling trash and debris in excess of that material used for immediate construction purposes. Such excess material may include, but is not limited to: the accumulation of debris, garbage, lumber, scrap metal, concrete, asphalt, piles of earth, salvage materials, abandoned or discarded furniture, appliances or other household fixtures.
  8. The subject property shall be securely enclosed with a temporary construction fence, not to exceed six (6) feet in height, during the duration of construction.
  9. GRADING PERMIT

  10. The grading shall not exceed 1,643 cubic yards of earth movement, of which 964 cubic yards consists of cut, 168 cubic yards consists of fill and 511 cubic yards of removal and recompaction. The remaining 796 cubic yards of cut shall be exported off-site.

  11. The Director of Public Works shall review and approve a haul route for all exported earth prior to issuance of grading permits.
  12. The maximum depth of cut shall not exceed 5' in height (retaining walls integrated into the actual height of the structure shall be excluded).
  13. The residence shall not exceed 7,691 square feet, of which 820 square feet will be in the form of a three car attached garage, 3,292 square feet will be situated on the lower level and 3,579 square feet on the upper level. A SQUARE FOOTAGE CERTIFICATION PREPARED BY A REGISTERED SURVEYOR INDICATING THAT THE NEW RESIDENCE DOES NOT EXCEED 7,691 SQUARE FEET, SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE BUILDING AND SAFETY DIVISION, PRIOR TO A FRAMING INSPECTION.
  14. The structure shall be constructed at a height of 9'-6", as measured from the highest existing grade elevation covered by structure (366') to the top of the highest roof ridgeline (375.5') and 30' in height, as measured from the lowest finished grade elevation covered by structure (346') to the top of the highest roof ridgeline (375.5'). A BUILDING HEIGHT CERTIFICATION IS REQUIRED.
  15. The lot coverage requirement for the subject property located in the RS-1 zoning district shall not exceed 25%. The proposed Lot Coverage is 11.8% (see approved plans for calculation breakdown).
  16. The following minimum setbacks shall be maintained for the proposed addition:
  17. Front Yard: 20'-0" minimum (proposed: 130')
    Side Yard: 10'-0" minimum (proposed: 12')
    Rear Yard: 20'-0" minimum (proposed: 110')

  18. A minimum of a three car garage shall be maintained at all times with a minimum depth of twenty (20) feet, a minimum width of twenty-seven (27) feet and a minimum vertical clearance of seven (7) feet, as measured from the interior finished walls.
  19. The proposed driveway shall not exceed a maximum gradient of 20%, as required by the City's Development Code.
  20. The roof above the living room rotunda and entry feature shall be redesigned with a pitched roof to the satisfaction of the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement.
  21. The proposed residence and flat roof shall be finished in an earth tone color deemed acceptable by the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement prior to issuance of building permits.
  22. The proposed trash enclosure shall be visually screened from neighboring properties and the public right-of-way.
  23. Future privacy fences/walls located along the rear property line shall not exceed six (6) feet in height and shall not exceed a maximum elevation height of 395'.
  24. The proposed spa shall be enclosed with a minimum 5' high fence, with a self-closing device and a self-latching device located no closer than 4' above the ground.
  25. The proposed fence along the front property line shall not exceed 42 inches in height, as measured from the lowest adjacent grade.
  26. All mechanical equipment, including but not limited to the spa equipment and air conditioning condenser units, shall be no closer than three (3) feet from the interior side property line and shall not exceed 6' in height. Said equipment shall be adequately screened from the neighboring properties and the right of way.
  27. No mechanical equipment shall be permitted on the roof.
  28. All hardscape improvements, including the driveway curb cut, located within the public right-of-way (Palos Verdes Drive South) shall require review and approvals from the Director of Public Works prior to issuance of building permits.
  29. A Landscape Plan shall be submitted to the Planning Department for approval prior to issuance of building permits. The Landscape Plan shall indicate the location and type of vegetation proposed for the subject property and how the landscaping will visually screen the structure from Palos Verdes Drive South. Additionally, the plans shall indicate the mature height of all foliage, which shall not exceed sixteen (16) feet in height or a maximum elevation height of 395', whichever is more restrictive.
  30. Prior to issuance of grading permits, the property owner shall obtain approvals by the City of an Urban Stormwater Plan that is in conformance with the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).
  31. Prior to issuance of grading permits, approvals shall be obtained from the Los Angeles County Fire Department for the proposed project.
  32. A lighting plan shall be submitted to the Planning Department for review and approval by the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement prior to issuance of building permits. No outdoor lighting shall be permitted that is directed towards a parcel of property other than that upon which such light source is physically located. Additionally, no lighting shall be permitted where the light source or fixture, if located on a building, above the line of the eaves, or if located on a standard or pole, more than ten (10) feet above grade. Individual, nonreflector, incandescent light bulbs shall not exceed 150 watts per bulb or an aggregate of 1,000 watts for a lot.


7. COASTAL PERMIT NO. 170 and GRADING PERMIT NO. 2260 and COASTAL PERMIT NO. 172 and GRADING PERMIT NO. 2281: Eric Johnson, (applicant), 2 Yacht Harbor Drive. (KF)

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: OCTOBER 9, 2001

SUBJECT: COASTAL PERMIT NO. 170 & GRADING PERMIT NO. 2260, AND COASTAL NO. 172 & GRADING PERMIT NO. 2281

PROJECT

ADDRESS: 2 YACHT HARBOR DRIVE

APPLICANT: MARMOL & RADZINER

2902 NEBRASKA AVE.

SANTA MONICA, CA 90404

PHONE: (310) 264-1814

LANDOWNER: ERIC JOHNSON

92 YACHT HARBOR DR.

RPV, CA 90275

PHONE: (310) 519-9500

STAFF COORDINATOR: KIT FOX, aicp, SENIOR PLANNER

REQUESTED ACTION: ALLOW 1) THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW, 12-FOOT-TALL SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE AND SUBTERRANEAN GARAGE, GUEST HOUSE, STUDIO AND SWIMMING POOL, TOTALING 22,715 SQUARE FEET OF HABITABLE AND NON-HABITABLE SPACE, ON AN 18.88-ACRE BLUFF-TOP SITE IN THE PORTUGUESE BEND CLUB COMMUNITY; AND 2) THE REALIGNMENT OF A PORTION OF THE PRIVATE STREET RIGHT-OF-WAY OF YACHT HARBOR DRIVE ACROSS THE SITE.

RECOMMENDATION: ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2001-__, CONDITIONALLY APPROVING COASTAL PERMIT NO. 170 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2260 FOR THE PROPOSED RESIDENCE; AND ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2001-__, CONDITIONALLY APPROVING COASTAL PERMIT NO. 172 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2281 FOR THE REALIGNMENT OF YACHT HARBOR DRIVE

REFERENCES:

ZONING: RS-5

LAND USE: VACANT LAND WITH EXISTING PRIVATE STREET

CODE SECTIONS: 17.02.030(B)(2), 17.72.090, 17.76.040

GENERAL PLAN: RESIDENTIAL, ≤ 1 DU/ACRE

TRAILS PLAN: N/A

SPECIFIC PLAN: COASTAL, SUBREGION 6

CEQA STATUS: CATEGORICALLY EXEMPT (CLASS 3)

ACTION DEADLINE: OCTOBER 26, 2001

BACKGROUND

On January 19, 2001, the project applicant, Eric Johnson, submitted a request for Coastal Permit No. 170 and Grading Permit No. 2260 to the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement. The applicant's request is a proposal to construct a new, single-family residence on an 18.88-acre bluff-top site in the Portuguese Bend Club community. The application was deemed incomplete on February 19, 2001, pending geotechnical approval and submittal of addition information. On May 3, 2001, Mr. Johnson submitted a request for Coastal Permit No. 172 and Grading Permit No. 2281 to the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement*. This request was for the realignment of a portion of Yacht Harbor Drive in conjunction with the proposed single-family residence. This application was deemed incomplete on June 1, 2001, pending geotechnical approval. Both applications received conceptual approval by the City's geotechnical consultant on August 22, 2001, and the applications were subsequently deemed complete on August 27, 2001.

* Although Staff would normally process the review of all components of a development project as a single application, the applicant has requested that the proposed house (Coastal Permit No. 170 and Grading Permit No. 2260) and the proposed road realignment (Coastal Permit No. 172 and Grading Permit No. 2281) be reviewed as separate applications. However, in the interest of reducing redundancy in the review of these applications, they are being presented to the Planning Commission as a single Staff report.

SITE AND PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The subject property is an 18.88-acre site in the Portuguese Bend Club community, located generally southwest of the intersection of Palos Verdes Drive South and Yacht Harbor Drive. The property is currently vacant, with the exception of the improved right-of-way of Yacht Harbor Drive. It should be noted that a 5.51-acre portion of the site is located within the City's landslide moratorium area, but no construction is proposed within this portion of the site. The site is surrounded by detached single-family residences (Portuguese Bend Club and Seaview) to the north, east and west, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The land use and zoning designations for the site are Residential ≤ 1 DU/acre and RS-5, respectively. The site is also located within Subregion 6 of the City's Coastal Specific Plan.

The applicant's proposal requests permission to construct a new, 12-foot-tall single-family residence and subterranean garage, guest house, studio and swimming pool, totaling 22,715 square feet of habitable and non-habitable space. In conjunction with this residence and accessory structures, the applicant also proposes to realign Yacht Harbor Drive to pass on the landward side of the house. All proposed residential development would occur outside of the landslide moratorium area and the coastal structure setback area on the site. The entire project would also require approximately 50,500 cubic yards of earth movement (including remedial grading), of which 40,900 cubic yards are associated with the construction of the house and 9,600 cubic yards are associated with the road realignment.

CODE CONSIDERATIONS AND ANALYSIS

The proposed project involves coastal permits and grading permits. Each of these applications is discussed separately below.

Coastal Permit No. 170 (House) and Coastal Permit No. 172 (Road Realignment)

The subject property is located within the appealable portion of the City's coastal zone.  Any application in this area that requires Planning Commission review will also require the approval of a coastal permit. Due to the quantity of grading proposed, both the house and the road realignment require Planning Commission review. It is also important to note that the City's action on these coastal permit applications will be appealable to the California Coastal Commission.

In considering a coastal permit application, Section 17.72.090 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code (RPVDC) requires the Planning Commission to make two findings in reference to the property and project under consideration (RPVDC language is boldface, followed by Staff's analysis in normal type):

1. The proposed development is consistent with the Coastal Specific Plan.

The subject property is located within Subregion 6 of the City's Coastal Specific Plan. This subregion is bordered by the active Portuguese Bend landslide to the west (Subregion 5) and the Ocean Trails project to the east (Subregions 7 and 8). The Coastal Specific Plan land use designation for the portion of the subject property proposed for development is Residential 4-6 DU/acre. This 4-acre "buildable" area is located landward of the coastal setback line and outside of the landslide moratorium area. The remaining portion of the site is designated Residential 1-2 DU/acre and Hazard Area. The development of one single-family residence on the site is consistent with the underlying land use and zoning designations of the Coastal Specific Plan, the General Plan and the Development Code*. The realignment of Yacht Harbor Drive will also include the realignment of related infrastructure easements and improvements to existing drainage facilities that traverse the site. This is consistent with Coastal Specific Plan Policy No. 4 for Subregion 6, which calls upon the City to "[ensure] that flood control improvements within Subregion 6 are carried out in a manner that is consistent with applicable General Plan and Coastal Specific Plan policies regarding preservation of natural habitat, visual character and flood control."

* In 1992, the City approved the Transamerica project (Tentative Tract Map 49067, et al.) on this site, which would have allowed the construction of ten (10) new single-family residences within the "buildable" area of the property. These entitlements expired in 1997.

The discussion of socio-cultural resources in Subregion 6 notes the possibility of archaeological resources existing on the site. This issue was investigated in conjunction with the previous Transamerica project on the site, and no resources were noted in a survey conducted in 1986. However, as a condition of approval for this project, Staff recommends including conditions of approval requiring the applicant to have an archaeologist present during site grading so that any resources found can be protected, catalogued and/or removed as appropriate.

The Corridors Element of the City's Coastal Specific Plan identifies specific visual corridors from Palos Verdes Drive South and Palos Verdes Drive West toward the ocean. These corridors exist across the Ocean Trails project (Subregions 7 and 8), the Long Point site (Subregion 2) and the Oceanfront and Lunada Pointe projects (Subregion 1). The intent of these corridors is to protect public views by establishing differing building height zones on the properties within the corridors. The subject property is not located with a specific visual corridor identified in the Coastal Specific Plan. In areas that are not within designated view corridors, the Coastal Specific Plan recommends that structures not encroach into a zone measured two degrees (2) below horizontal as measured from a public viewing point. The proposed residence would encroach a maximum of about five feet (5'0") into the 2-degree down-arc zone, but in this case the structure is already four feet (4'0") below the 16-foot height limit (see sections in the attached plans). Although the City has generally enforced the 2-degree down-arc rule for properties located within a specific view corridor (such as Long Point) or for projects requesting to exceed the 16-foot height limit (as with a height variation), the City has generally permitted structures that are not within a specific view corridor and that comply with the 16-foot height limit to encroach into the 2-degree down-arc zone*. However, the Planning Commission may consider directing the applicant to lower the house further through additional site grading so as to minimize encroachment into this zone.

* Recent approved projects that exceeded the 2-degree down-arc but were not located in a specific view corridor include 3300 Palos Verdes Drive West, 3344 Palos Verdes Drive West (not built) and 6 Marguerite Drive.

Staff has driven and walked by the site many times to assess the likely impact of the project upon public views. From westbound Palos Verdes Drive South, Staff believes that the view of Long Point and Sacred Cove will not be significantly impaired for motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians. From eastbound Palos Verdes Drive South, Santa Catalina Island and the proposed project would be blocked from view by the existing topography until one is almost abreast of the house, and the view would then be quickly blocked again by the existing homes in the upper Portuguese Bend Club community. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed project is consistent with the Corridors Element and with all other applicable sections of the Coastal Specific Plan.

2. The proposed development, when located between the sea and the first public road, is consistent with applicable public access and recreation policies of the Coastal Act.

The subject property is located between the sea and the first public road paralleling the sea (i.e., Palos Verdes Drive South). Section 30211 of the Coastal Act states that "[development] shall not interfere with the public's right of access to the sea where acquired through use or legislative authorization." The Portuguese Bend Club is a private community that provides coastal access to its residents, members and their guests. Since no general public access currently exists in Subregion 6, the proposed project will have no impact upon the public's existing right of access. Although the proposed project meets the definition of "new development" as specified in 30212(b) of the Coastal Act, Staff believes that the project should not be required to provide public access from Palos Verdes Drive South to the shoreline because there exists adequate public access nearby (Coastal Act, Section 30212(a)(2)). Specifically, the Ocean Trails project to the east (Subregions 7 and 8) provides public parking areas and an extensive network of public trails, including trails down the bluff face to the shoreline, while the City's Abalone Cove Beach Park (Subregion 5) to the west also provides parking and trail access. However, Staff recommends that the applicant be required to offer for dedication a 25-foot-wide lateral public access easement at the mean high-tide line to facilitate the public's ability to traverse the public tidelands below the site.

The policies in Article 3 of the Coastal Act deal with the preservation and enhancement of water-oriented recreational facilities. As mentioned above, the Portuguese Bend Club provides coastal access to its residents, members and guests. This includes such amenities as a sandy beach, picnic areas and game courts. The proposed project will have no impact upon these existing recreational facilities. Therefore, based upon the foregoing discussion, Staff believes that the proposed project is consistent with the applicable public access and recreation policies of the Coastal Act.

Grading Permit No. 2260 (House) and Grading Permit No. 2281 (Road Realignment)

The table below summarizes the proposed grading associated with this project:

Area

Cut

Fill

Total Earth Movement

Net Earth Movement

House

11,500 CY

8,765 CY

20,265 CY

<2,735 CY>

Road

4,800 CY

4,800 CY

9,600 CY

0 CY

Remedial

10,350 CY

10,350 CY

20,700 CY

0 CY

Total

26,650 CY

23,915 CY

50,565 CY

<2,735 CY>


Based upon the remedial grading proposed, the maximum depth of cut is twenty-five feet (25') within the footprint of the proposed house and the maximum depth of fill proposed is nine feet (9'). The maximum depths of cut and fill for the road realignment are twelve feet (12') and seven feet (7'), respectively. Retaining walls are proposed adjacent to the ramps to the underground garage and elsewhere within the building footprint, but no large retaining walls are proposed outside of the house or in conjunction with the road realignment.

In considering a grading permit application, RPVDC Section 17.76.040(E) requires the Planning Commission to make nine findings in reference to the property and project under consideration (RPVDC language is boldface, followed by Staff's analysis in normal type):

1. The grading does not exceed that which is necessary for the permitted primary use of the lot, as defined in Section 17.96.2210 of the Development Code.

The proposed project encompasses 29,865 cubic yards of non-remedial grading and 20,700 cubic yards of remedial grading. Of the non-remedial grading, 12,000 cubic yards is within the building footprint and the remainder is outside the building footprint. Clearly, these are significant quantities of earth movement. However, the size of the proposed house is quite large while the quantity of material to be exported from the site is relatively small (2,735 cubic yards). All of the proposed grading will occur within the 4-acre "buildable" area of the site that is located landward of the coastal setback line and outside of the landslide moratorium area. The applicants will not be permitted to alter the existing topography seaward of the coastal setback line. Therefore, given the proposed scope of the project, Staff believes that this finding could be made.

2. The grading and/or related construction does not significantly adversely affect the visual relationships with, nor the views from, neighboring properties.

As discussed above, the proposed residence would not significantly impair protected public views from Palos Verdes Drive South. The proposed residence is consistent with the 16-foot height limit for downslope lots, which is measured from the average elevation at the front set-back line of the property*. Based upon the realignment of Yacht Harbor Drive, this is an elevation of 218.0' above mean sea level (MSL), which would result in a maximum ridgeline elevation of 234.0'. The highest portions of the roof of the structure will not exceed an elevation of 230.0'-four feet (4') below the maximum allowable elevation-and many portions of the house will be much lower. The proposed 230.0' maximum ridgeline is approximately three to five feet above the curb of eastbound Palos Verdes Drive South, and is located two to three hundred feet away. The pad elevations of all of the homes across Palos Verdes Drive South in the Seaview community are higher than the 230.0' elevation. In addition, the proposed detached guest house will not exceed twelve feet (12') in height above the lowest adjacent grade of 208.0', which is the maximum allowable height for such structures.

* It is important to note that if Yacht Harbor Drive were not being realigned, the property would be an upslope lot from the existing street right-of-way. However, the 16-foot height limit would still be measured from the high (i.e., inland) side of the lot and structure, so the difference in the maximum allowable ridgeline elevation would be minimal, and it could be even higher than currently proposed.

The proposed grading of the site allows the house to be set back into the slope rather than projecting above it. The varied roof planes of the house provide for views over the structure. There are no large walls proposed along the front of the building site. In addition, Staff recommends including a condition of approval requiring the applicant to replace the existing chain-link fence along Palos Verdes Drive South with open wrought-iron or similar fence-no more than six feet tall-to enhance views over the site. Staff acknowledges that some private views from homes across Palos Verdes Drive South may be adversely affected by the proposed 12-foot-tall structure, but similar or even greater obstruction would result from a house that was built up to the 16-foot "by right" height limit. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed 12-foot-tall project and related construction will not adversely affect views from neighboring properties any more significantly than would a 16-foot-tall structure that could be permitted "by right."

3. The nature of the grading minimizes disturbance to the natural contours, and finished contours are reasonably natural.

The site is generally flat, with an average slope of less than ten percent (10%). With the completion of the proposed grading and construction, the site will maintain this generally flat profile. Therefore, Staff believes that this finding could be made for the proposed project.

4. The grading takes into account the preservation of natural topographic features and appearances by means of land sculpting so as to blend any man-made or manufactured slope into the natural topography.

There is a raised plateau on the west end of the site along Palos Verdes Drive South. However, most of this plateau is located within the landslide moratorium area and will not be altered. Therefore, Staff believes that this finding could be made for the proposed project.

5. For new single-family residences, the grading and/or related construction is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character, as defined in Section 17.02.040(A)(6) of the Development Code.

Pursuant to RPVDC Section 17.02.030(B)(2), the components of neighborhood character include front-yard setbacks, architectural styles and materials, and the scale of surrounding residences. The proposed residence would encompass 22,715 square feet of enclosed area, both habitable and non-habitable. This includes an 8,555-square-foot main house, a 1,400-square-foot attached studio, a 1,215-square-foot detached guest house (with no food preparation facilities) and an 11,545-square-foot subterranean garage and basement. The gross area of the project site is 18.88 acres, but the "buildable" portion of the site is approximately four acres. The subject property is zoned RS-5 and the proposed structures comply with the setbacks, lot coverage and building height standards for this zone.

By comparison, the adjacent upper Portuguese Bend Club community is also zoned RS-5, but the average property consists of a 1,700-square-foot home on a 7,100-square-foot lot. The average property in the lower Portuguese Bend Club community, which is zoned RS-2, is a 1,300-square-foot house on a 5,000-square-foot lot. Finally, the homes in the Seaview community across Palos Verdes Drive South are zoned RS-4, with a typical 2,100-square-foot home on a 10,500-square-foot lot. The proposed residence is located approximately 600 feet from the nearest home in the lower Portuguese Bend Club community, 400 feet from the nearest home in the upper Portuguese Bend Club community, and 250 feet from the nearest home in the Seaview community.

The proposed residence significantly exceeds the minimum 20-foot front setback from the realigned Yacht Harbor Drive, and the only features allowed within this setback area are low, 42-inch-tall walls. By comparison, most homes in the Portuguese Bend Club do not meet the 20-foot front-yard setback due to their very small lot sizes, while most homes in Seaview comply with the required 20-foot setback. Given the diversity of setbacks in the surrounding neighborhoods and the fact that the proposed project meets the underlying RS-5 standards, Staff believes that the proposed project is generally consistent with surrounding residences in terms of the front-yard setback.

With respect to architectural style and materials, the proposed project incorporates a very contemporary design, with extensive use of glass, concrete, Palos Verdes stone veneer and metal roofing. Many of the recently-remodeled homes in the Portuguese Bend Club community have incorporated more contemporary design features that depart from the beach cottage architecture that predominated when these homes were first built. In addition, the proposed residence is set significantly apart from these surrounding homes by virtue of the large site. As such, the proposed house is not seen "in context" with the other Portuguese Bend Club homes, so the difference in architectural style and materials is much less jarring than it might have been if the homes were immediately adjacent to one another. With respect to the Seaview community, these houses have largely retained the characteristic features of late-50's ranch-style tract homes, and the neighborhood has a high level of internal consistency. The proposed house is located at least 250 feet away from the nearest homes on Palos Verdes Drive South, which in this area is a 130-foot-wide divided roadway and frontage street with two landscaped medians. As such, the architecture of the proposed house is not seen in direct context with that of the Seaview homes. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed architectural style and materials, although very different from that of the surrounding residences, does not detract from the architectural character of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Address

Lot Size

Lot Type

Stories

Structure Size

Structure/Lot Ratio

2 Yacht Harbor

822,430 (gross)

Downslope

2

22,715 (total)

0.03

11,170(living)

0.01

169,085 (net)

22,715 (total)

0.13

11,170 (living)

0.07

98 Yacht Harbor

7,871

Downslope

1

1,004

0.13

130 Spindrift

7,050

Downslope

1

1,314

0.19

4187 Maritime

9,060

Pad

1

2,240

0.25

4194 Maritime

9,147

Pad

1

1,936

0.21

4156 PVDS

5,052

Pad

1

1,384

0.27

4225 PVDS

10,431

Pad

1

1,671

0.16

4235 PVDS

10,083

Pad

1

1,797

0.18

4245 PVDS

9,970

Pad

1

1,837

0.18

4255 PVDS

10,640

Pad

1

1,652

0.16

4265 PVDS

11,155

Pad

1

1,865

0.17

Average

9,046

   

1,670

0.18


The overall size of the proposed residence is clearly much larger than the ten nearest homes in the Portuguese Bend Club and Seaview communities, as depicted in the table above. However, considering the significantly larger lot size-even exclusive of the non-buildable areas of the site-the scale of the proposed house in proportion to its lot is about the same as in the surrounding neighborhoods. Approximately one-half of the area of the proposed house is subterranean, and the portions above ground are broken into smaller units. The guest house and studio units are about the same size as some of the typical homes in the surrounding neighborhoods. The larger main house is set back into the slope of the lot so that the two-story facade is presented to the bluff and not to the homes behind and across Palos Verdes Drive South. In addition, the proposed house is set well apart from the nearest homes so that the mass of the structure is not seen in direct context with these other homes. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed project is compatible with the scale and character of the surrounding neighborhoods.

6. In new residential tracts, the grading includes provisions for the preservation and introduction of plant materials so as to protect slopes from soil erosion and slippage, and minimize visual effects of grading and construction on hillside areas.

The proposed project is not a new residential tract. Therefore, this finding is not applicable to the proposed project.

7. The grading utilizes street designs and improvements which serve to minimize grading alternatives and harmonize with the natural contours and character of the hillside.

The proposed project involves the realignment of Yacht Harbor Drive, but the site is not located in a hillside area. Nonetheless, the grading for the private street comprises a fairly small portion of the overall grading proposed. The realigned street will be approximately ten feet (10') lower than Palos Verdes Drive West for the portions where the two streets run parallel to one another. Therefore, Staff believes that this finding could be made for the proposed project.

8. The grading would not cause excessive and unnecessary disturbance of natural landscape or wildlife habitat through removal of vegetation.

There is no sensitive natural habitat within the portion of the property proposed for development. Therefore, this finding is not applicable to the proposed project.

9. The grading conforms with the minimum standards for finished slope, depth of cut and/or fill, retaining wall location and height, and driveway slope established under Section 17.76.040(E)(9) of the Development Code.

The driveways and the realigned portion of Yacht Harbor Drive will not exceed the maximum 20-percent slope allowed. The excavation within the footprint is for over-excavation/re-compaction and for the construction of the basement and subterranean garage. As such, the proposed depth of cut is allowed to exceed the 5-foot standard pursuant to RPVDC Section 17.76.040(E)(9)(c). No retaining walls are proposed in any of the required setback areas of the lot. The new slope areas adjacent to the private driveways and the realigned street will not exceed the maximum 1:1 slope allowed pursuant to RPVDC Section 17.76.040(E)(9)(f)(ii). Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed grading conforms with the minimum grading standards of Section 17.76.040(E)(9) the Development Code.

In conclusion, Staff believes that all of the applicable grading findings could be made for the project.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

On September 19, 2001, public notices were mailed to the applicant, the property owner and one hundred seventy-two other property owners within a 500-foot radius of the project site. On September 22, 2001, public notice of the October 9, 2001 public hearing for these applications was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News. As of the date this report was completed, Staff had received a large number of letters from Seaview residents in opposition to this application, which are attached to this report*. The issues of concern raised in these letters include:

  • The size of the house relative to surrounding homes

  • The height of the structures and impairment of private views, and the economic impact of this impairment upon property values

  • Damage to nearby homes due to vibration and earth movement during construction

  • Impacts upon land movement in the adjacent landslide moratorium area

  • Headlights from vehicles on the realigned portion of Yacht Harbor Drive

  • Road noise reflecting off the proposed structures

  • Future development potential of the property

  • Agreements between Seaview residents and the previous developer (Transamerica) regarding structure heights

*As of the date this report was completed, the City had recieved no comments on this proposal from any residents in the Portuguese Bend Club Community.

Staff is currently prepared to present draft P.C. Resolutions for the approval of these applications. However, based upon the concerns raised by the neighbors in the attached correspondence and in oral testimony, the Planning Commission could consider directing the applicant and the neighbors to try to work out these issues before final action is taken on the applications. The applicant has also previously expressed a desire to Staff that the Planning Commission-if so inclined-first approve the applications related to the road realignment, since this will need to be completed before the house could be built, and then deal with the applications related to the house.

CONCLUSION

Based on the discussion presented above, Staff believes that the proposed project meets all of the required findings for the approval of the respective coastal permits and grading permits. However, it is clear that there is significant public opposition to the project from residents in the Seaview community. Staff is prepared to present draft P.C. Resolutions for the approval of this project as proposed. However, as mentioned above, the Planning Commission could direct the applicant and the Seaview residents to try to resolve their outstanding issues before the Planning Commission takes final action.

ALTERNATIVES

In addition to the Staff recommendation, the following alternatives are available for the Planning Commission's consideration:

  1. Approve the proposed project with modifications, and direct Staff to prepare and return with appropriate P.C. Resolutions on a future date certain.
  2. Deny the proposed project, and direct Staff to prepare and return with appropriate P.C. Resolutions on a future date certain.
  3. Identify any issues of concern with the proposed project, provide Staff and/or the applicant with direction in modifying the project and/or conditions of approval, and continue the public hearing to a date certain.

Please note that it will be necessary to obtain an extension of the action deadline from the project applicant if this project is continued beyond the current October 23, 2001 action deadline.

Attachments:

Draft P.C. Resolutions
Public correspondence
Project applications and supplemental information
Geotechnical clearance (dated August 22, 2001)
Project plans

P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2001-__

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING THE REQUEST FOR COASTAL PERMIT NO. 170 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2260 FOR A NEW, 12-FOOT-TALL, SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE, SUBTERRANEAN GARAGE, STUDIO, DETACHED GUEST HOUSE AND SWIMMING POOL, TOTALING 22,715 SQUARE FEET OF HABITABLE AND NON-HABITABLE ENCLOSED AREA, ON AN 18.88-ACRE SITE IN THE PORTUGUESE BEND CLUB COMMUNITY, LOCATED AT 2 YACHT HARBOR DRIVE

WHEREAS, on January 19, 2001, the applicant, Eric Johnson, submitted applications for Coastal Permit No. 170 and Grading Permit No. 2260 to allow the construction of a new, single-family residential compound on an 18.88-acre bluff-top lot in the Portuguese Bend Club community; and,

WHEREAS, on August 27, 2001, the applications for Coastal Permit No. 170 and Grading Permit No. 2260 were deemed complete by Staff; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et. seq. ("CEQA"), the State's CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 15000 et. seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), Staff found no evidence that Coastal Permit No. 170 and Grading Permit No. 2260 would have a significant effect on the environment and, therefore, the proposed project has been found to be categorically exempt (Class 3, Section 15303(a)); and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly-noticed public hearing on October 9, 2001, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE PLANNING COMMISSION DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1:The Planning Commission makes the following findings of fact with respect to the applications for Coastal Permit No. 170 and Grading Permit No. 2260 for the proposed single-family residence and accessory structures:

A. The proposed development is consistent with the Coastal Specific Plan because the development of a single-family residence and accessory structures is consistent with the Coastal Specific Plan land use designation for the portion of the subject property proposed for development, which is Residential 4-6 DU/acre. The 4-acre "buildable" area of the site is located landward of the coastal setback line and outside of the landslide moratorium area. While the discussion of socio-cultural resources in Subregion 6 of the Coastal Specific Plan notes the possibility of archaeological resources extant on the site, previous surveys have revealed no sensitive resources. The subject property is not located with a specific visual corridor identified in the Coastal Specific Plan. The proposed residence would encroach into the 2-degree down-arc zone discussed in the Coastal Specific Plan, but in this case the proposed structure complies with the 16-foot height limit. Views for motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians on Palos Verdes Drive South will not be significantly impaired by the proposed project. Therefore, the Planning Commission finds that the proposed project is consistent with the applicable provisions of the Coastal Specific Plan.

B. The proposed development, when located between the sea and the first public road, is consistent with applicable public access and recreation policies of the Coastal Act. Section 30211 of the Coastal Act states that "[development] shall not interfere with the public's right of access to the sea where acquired through use or legislative authorization." The Portuguese Bend Club is a private community that provides coastal access to its residents, members and their guests, but since no general public access currently exists, the proposed project will have no impact upon the public's existing right of access. Although the proposed project meets the definition of "new development" as specified in 30212(b) of the Coastal Act, the Planning Commission finds that the project should not be required to provide public access from Palos Verdes Drive South to the shoreline because there exists adequate public access nearby at the Ocean Trails project to the east and the City's Abalone Cove Beach Park to the west. The Portuguese Bend Club also provides recreational amenities such as a sandy beach, picnic areas and game courts for its residents, members and guests. The proposed project will have no impact upon these existing recreational facilities. Therefore, the Planning Commission finds that the proposed project is consistent with the applicable public access and recreation policies of the Coastal Act.

C. The grading does not exceed that which is necessary for the permitted primary use of the lot, as defined in Section 17.96.2210 of the Development Code. The proposed project encompasses 20,700 cubic yards of remedial grading and 29,765 cubic yards of non-remedial grading. Of the non-remedial grading, 12,000 cubic yards is within the building footprint and the remainder is outside the building footprint. Although these are significant quantities of earth movement, the size of the proposed house is quite large while the quantity of material to be exported from the site is relatively small (2,735 cubic yards). All of the proposed grading will occur within the 4-acre "buildable" area of the site that is located landward of the coastal setback line and outside of the landslide moratorium area.

D. The grading and/or related construction does not significantly adversely affect the visual relationships with, nor the views from, neighboring properties. The proposed residence is consistent with the 16-foot height limit for downslope lots. The highest portions of the roof of the structure will not exceed an elevation of 230.0'-four feet (4') below the maximum allowable elevation-and many portions of the house will be much lower. The proposed 230.0' maximum ridgeline is approximately three to five feet above the curb of eastbound Palos Verdes Drive South, and is located two to three hundred feet away, while the pad elevations of all of the homes across Palos Verdes Drive South in the Seaview community are higher than the 230.0' elevation. The proposed grading of the site allows the house to be set back into the slope rather than projecting above it, and the varied roof planes of the house provide for views over the structure.

E. The nature of the grading minimizes disturbance to the natural contours, and finished contours are reasonably natural because the site is generally flat, with an average slope of less than ten percent (10%), and will retain this generally flat profile upon completion of the proposed grading.

F. The grading takes into account the preservation of natural topographic features and appearances by means of land sculpting so as to blend any man-made or manufactured slope into the natural topography. The raised plateau on the west end of the site along Palos Verdes Drive South is the most prominent topographic feature of the site, but most of this plateau is located within the landslide moratorium area and will not be altered.

G. For new single-family residences, the grading and/or related construction is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character, as defined in Section 17.02.040(A)(6) of the Development Code. The components of neighborhood character include front-yard setbacks, architectural styles and materials, and the scale of surrounding residences. The proposed residence significantly exceeds the minimum 20-foot front setback from the realigned Yacht Harbor Drive. By comparison, most homes in the Portuguese Bend Club do not meet the 20-foot front-yard setback due to their very small lot sizes, while most homes in Seaview comply with the required 20-foot setback. With respect to architectural style and materials, the proposed project incorporates a very contemporary design, with extensive use of glass, concrete, Palos Verdes stone veneer and metal roofing. Many of the recently-remodeled homes in the Portuguese Bend Club community have incorporated contemporary design features that depart from the beach cottage architecture that predominated when these homes were first built. In addition, the proposed residence is set significantly apart from these surrounding homes by virtue of the large site and is not seen "in context" with the other Portuguese Bend Club homes. With respect to the Seaview community, which has largely retained the characteristic features of late-50's ranch-style tract homes, the proposed house is located at least 250 feet away from the nearest homes on Palos Verdes Drive South, which in this area is a 130-foot-wide divided roadway and frontage street with two landscaped medians. As such, the architecture of the proposed house is not seen in direct context with that of the Seaview homes. Finally, the overall size of the proposed residence is clearly much larger than the ten nearest homes in the Portuguese Bend Club and Seaview communities. However, considering the significantly larger lot size-even exclusive of the non-buildable areas of the site-the scale of the proposed house in proportion to its lot is about the same as in the surrounding neighborhoods. Approximately one-half of the area of the proposed house is subterranean, and the portions above ground are broken into smaller units that are more comparable in size to surrounding residences, particularly the guest house and studio. The larger main house is set back into the slope of the lot so that the two-story facade is presented to the bluff and not to the homes behind and across Palos Verdes Drive South. In addition, the proposed house is set well apart from the nearest homes so that the mass of the structure is not seen in direct context with these other homes.

H. The required finding that in new residential tracts, the grading includes provisions for the preservation and introduction of plant materials so as to protect slopes from soil erosion and slippage, and minimize visual effects of grading and construction on hillside areas, is not applicable to the proposed project.

I. The required finding that the grading utilizes street designs and improvements which serve to minimize grading alternatives and harmonize with the natural contours and character of the hillside is not applicable to the proposed project.

J. The required finding that the grading would not cause excessive and unnecessary disturbance of natural landscape or wildlife habitat through removal of vegetation is not applicable to the proposed project.

K. The grading conforms with the minimum standards for finished slope, depth of cut and/or fill, retaining wall location and height, and driveway slope established under Section 17.76.040(E)(9) of the Development Code.

Section 2: Any interested person aggrieved by this decision or by any portion of this decision may appeal to the City Council. Pursuant to Sections 17.72.100 and 17.76.040(H) of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, any such appeal must be filed with the City, in writing, and with the appropriate appeal fee, no later than fifteen (15) days following October 9, 2001, the date of the Planning Commission's final action.

Section 3: For the foregoing reasons and based on the information and findings included in the Staff Report, Minutes and other records of proceedings, the Planning Commission of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby approves Coastal Permit No. 170 and Grading Permit No. 2260 for a new, 12-foot-tall, single-family residence, subterranean garage, studio, detached guest house and swimming pool, totaling 22,715 square feet of habitable and non-habitable enclosed area, on an 18.88-acre site in the Portuguese Bend Club community, located at 2 Yacht Harbor Drive, subject to the conditions contained in Exhibit 'A', attached hereto and made a part hereof, which are necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare in the area.

PASSED, APPROVED and ADOPTED this 9th day of October 2001, by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTENTIONS:

ABSENT:

 

_______________________
Frank Lyon
Chairman

_____________________________
Joel Rojas, aicp
Director of Planning, Building
and Code Enforcement; and Secretary
to the Planning Commission


EXHIBIT 'A'

CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL

FOR COASTAL PERMIT NO. 170 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2260

(Johnson, 2 Yacht Harbor Drive)

General

  1. Prior to the submittal of plans into Building and Safety plan check, the applicant and the property owner shall submit to the City a statement, in writing, that they have read, understand, and agree to all conditions of approval contained in this Resolution. Failure to provide said written statement within ninety (90) days following date of this approval shall render this approval null and void.
  2. This approval is for the construction of a new 12-foot-tall, single-family residence, subterranean garage, studio, detached guest house and swimming pool, totaling 22,715 square feet of habitable and non-habitable enclosed area, on an 18.88-acre site in the Portuguese Bend Club community, located at 2 Yacht Harbor Drive.  The maximum ridgeline elevation of the house shall be 230.0' above mean sea level. The total grading quantities permitted in conjunction with the proposed residence and accessory structures is 20,700 cubic yards of remedial grading (over-excavation and re-compaction) and 29,865 cubic yards of non-remedial grading. The Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement is authorized to make minor modifications to the approved plans and any of the conditions of approval if such modifications will achieve substantially the same results as would strict compliance with the approved plans and conditions. Otherwise, any substantive change to the project shall require approval of a revision to Coastal Permit No. 170 and/or Grading Permit No. 2260 by the Planning Commission and shall require new and separate environmental review.
  3. All project development on the site shall conform to the specific standards contained in these conditions of approval or, if not addressed herein, in the RS-5 district development standards of the City's Municipal Code.
  4. Failure to comply with and adhere to all of these conditions of approval may be cause to revoke the approval of the project by the Planning Commission after conducting a public hearing on the matter.
  5. If the project has not been established (i.e., building permits obtained) within one year of the final effective date of this Resolution, or if construction has not commenced within one hundred eighty (180) days of the issuance of building permits, approval of the project shall expire and be of no further effect unless, prior to expiration, a written request for extension is filed with the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement and approved by the Director. Otherwise, a coastal permit and grading permit revision must be approved prior to further development.
  6. In the event that any of these conditions conflict with the recommendations and/or requirements of another permitting agency or City department, the stricter standard shall apply.
  7. Unless otherwise designated in these conditions, all construction shall be completed in substantial conformance with the plans stamped approved by the City with the effective date of this Resolution.
  8. Coastal Permit No. 170

  9. Prior to grading or building permit issuance, whichever occurs first, the applicant shall offer for dedication to the City a 25-foot-wide lateral access easement, extending inland from the mean high-tide line, in a form acceptable to the City Attorney and the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement.
  10. Prior to building permit final, the applicant shall remove existing foliage along the northerly property line abutting Palos Verdes Drive South and replace the existing chain-link fence in this location with a wrought-iron, tubular steel or similar fence, subject to the review and approval of the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement. The maximum fence height shall be six feet (6'0") above existing grade. If solid pilasters are proposed, the footprint of the pilasters shall not exceed two feet(2'0") square. The fence and any pilasters shall be designed to maintain at least 80-percent openness for the passage of light and air. Hedges or solid walls will not be permitted.
  11. Prior to building permit issuance, the applicant shall submit a site landscape plan for the review and approval of the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement. The landscape plan shall incorporate drought-tolerant plant species and low water use irrigation systems. No irrigation lines are permitted seaward of the coastal setback line. All trees and shrubs shall be of varieties that can be maintained so as not to exceed a height of 16 feet or the highest point of the proposed residence, whichever is lower.
  12. Notwithstanding the plans and applications:

    1. Only minor architectural features and structures, minor equipment and grading are permitted within the 25-foot-wide coastal structure setback zone; and,
    2. Only grading involving less than 20 cubic yards of material and less than 3 feet for cut and/or fill is permitted in the coastal setback zone (i.e., seaward of the coastal setback line).

Grading Permit No. 2260

  1. The maximum height of the main house and attached studio shall not exceed an elevation of 230.0' above mean sea level. Ridge height certification required.
  2. The maximum height of the detached guest house studio shall not exceed an elevation of 222.0' above mean sea level. Ridge height certification required.
  3. The project shall comply with the setbacks depicted on the approved plans. In no case shall the setbacks be less than:

    1. 20 feet from the private street right-of-way of Yacht Harbor Drive; and,
    2. 25 feet inland from the coastal setback line.

Building setback certification required.

  1. The approved project shall maintain a maximum of 52% lot coverage (3% proposed).
  2. The maximum height of any walls or fences located between the private street right-of-way of Yacht Harbor Drive and the nearest portion of the structure shall be 42 inches.
  3. The pool and spa area shall be enclosed with a fence, consistent with the standards of Section 17.76.030(E)(3) of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code.
  4. The permitted grading quantities shall be as follows:
  5. Area

    Cut

    Fill

    Total Earth Movement

    Net Earth Movement

    House

    11,500 CY

    8,765 CY

    20,265 CY

    <2,735 CY>

    Remedial

    10,350 CY

    10,350 CY

    20,700 CY

    0 CY

    Total

    21,850 CY

    19,115 CY

    40,965 CY

    <2,735 CY>


    The maximum depth of cut shall be 25 feet and the maximum depth of fill shall be 9 feet. Rough and final grade certification required.

  6. Maximum driveway slopes shall not exceed 20 percent.
  7. During rough grading, the applicant shall have an archeologist on site to monitor the grading activity. Any archeological resources unearthed shall be catalogued, removed and/or protected in place as appropriate. The applicant shall provide a report from the archeologist, which summarizes any findings at the completion of rough grading.
  8. The applicant shall furnish the City with copies of landfill receipts for the approved export of 2,735 cubic yards of material prior to Building Permit final.
  9. The City's Geotechnical Engineer and Building Official shall review and approve the geotechnical report prepared for the project prior to issuance of project grading or building permits.
  10. The project applicant will implement all of the recommendations in the project geotechnical report.
  11. Subject to review and approval of the Director of Public Works and the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement, the project developer shall submit a drainage plan prior to the issuance of grading permits which shows the on-site and off-site stormwater conveyance systems that will be constructed by the project proponent for the purpose of safely conveying stormwater off the project site. These drainage structures shall be designed in accordance with the most current standards and criteria of the City Engineer and Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (LACDPW) to ensure that adequate drainage capacity is maintained.
  12. In accordance with the Clean Water Act, the project proponent shall coordinate with the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) regarding the requirements of the Clean Water Act and the project proponent will obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, if such a permit is required by the RWQCB.
  13. Prior to the issuance of grading permits, the applicant shall demonstrate to the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement that dust generated by grading activities shall comply with the South Coast Air Quality Management District Rule 403 and the City Municipal Code requirements, which require watering for the control of dust.
  14. During construction, all grading activities shall cease during periods of high winds (i.e., greater than 30 MPH). To assure compliance with this measure, grading activities are subject to periodic inspections by City staff.
  15. Construction equipment shall be kept in proper operating condition. All project construction equipment shall be properly maintained to assure that no additional noise, due to worn or improperly maintained parts is generated.
  16. The project developer shall prepare a haul route plan for trucks hauling spoils from the project site to where this material will be disposed. The plan shall be approved by the Director of Public Works before the City issues the project a grading permit.
  17. Haul routes used to transport soil exported from the project site shall be approved by the City's Director of Public Works to minimize exposure of sensitive receptors to potential adverse noise levels from hauling operations.
  18. Exterior residential lighting shall be in compliance with the standards of Section 17.56.030 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, and shall not exceed 2,000 W incandescent (or equivalent). No single lighting fixture may exceed 150 W incandescent (or equivalent).
  19. The construction site shall be kept free of all loose materials resembling trash and debris in excess of that material used for immediate construction purposes. Such excess material may include, but not be limited to: the accumulation of debris, garbage, lumber, scrap metal, concrete asphalt, piles of earth, salvage materials, abandoned or discarded furniture, appliances or other household fixtures.
  20. Permitted hours and days for construction activity are 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday through Saturday, with no construction activity permitted on Sundays or on the legal holidays specified in Section 17.96.920 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code.

P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2001-__

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING THE REQUEST FOR COASTAL PERMIT NO. 172 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2281 FOR THE REALIGNMENT OF A PORTION OF YACHT HARBOR DRIVE IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE ON AN 18.88-ACRE SITE IN THE PORTUGUESE BEND CLUB COMMUNITY

WHEREAS, on May 3, 2001, the applicant, Eric Johnson, submitted applications for Coastal Permit No. 172 and Grading Permit No. 2281 to allow the realignment of a portion of Yacht Harbor Drive across an 18.88-acre bluff-top lot in the Portuguese Bend Club community; and,

WHEREAS, on August 27, 2001, the applications for Coastal Permit No. 172 and Grading Permit No. 2281 were deemed complete by Staff; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et. seq. ("CEQA"), the State's CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 15000 et. seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), Staff found no evidence that Coastal Permit No. 172 and Grading Permit No. 2281 would have a significant effect on the environment and, therefore, the proposed project has been found to be categorically exempt (Class 1, Section 15301(c)); and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly-noticed public hearing on October 9, 2001, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE PLANNING COMMISSION DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1:The Planning Commission makes the following findings of fact with respect to the applications for Coastal Permit No. 172 and Grading Permit No. 2281 for the proposed realignment of a portion of Yacht Harbor Drive:

A. The proposed development is consistent with the Coastal Specific Plan because the development of a private street right-of-way is consistent with the Coastal Specific Plan land use designation for the portion of the subject property proposed for development, which is Residential 4-6 DU/acre. The realignment of Yacht Harbor Drive will also include the realignment of related infrastructure easements and improvements to existing drainage facilities that traverse the site. This is consistent with Coastal Specific Plan Policy No. 4 for Subregion 6, which calls upon the City to "[ensure] that flood control improvements within Subregion 6 are carried out in a manner that is consistent with applicable General Plan and Coastal Specific Plan policies regarding preservation of natural habitat, visual character and flood control." While the discussion of socio-cultural resources in Subregion 6 of the Coastal Specific Plan notes the possibility of archaeological resources extant on the site, previous surveys have revealed no sensitive resources. Therefore, the Planning Commission finds that the proposed project is consistent with the applicable provisions of the Coastal Specific Plan.

B. The proposed development, when located between the sea and the first public road, is consistent with applicable public access and recreation policies of the Coastal Act. Section 30211 of the Coastal Act states that "[development] shall not interfere with the public's right of access to the sea where acquired through use or legislative authorization." The Portuguese Bend Club is a private community that provides coastal access to its residents, members and their guests, but since no general public access currently exists, the proposed project will have no impact upon the public's existing right of access. Although the proposed project meets the definition of "new development" as specified in 30212(b) of the Coastal Act, the Planning Commission finds that the project should not be required to provide public access from Palos Verdes Drive South to the shoreline because there exists adequate public access nearby at the Ocean Trails project to the east and the City's Abalone Cove Beach Park to the west. The Portuguese Bend Club also provides recreational amenities such as a sandy beach, picnic areas and game courts for its residents, members and guests. The proposed project will have no impact upon these existing recreational facilities. Therefore, the Planning Commission finds that the proposed project is consistent with the applicable public access and recreation policies of the Coastal Act.

C. The grading does not exceed that which is necessary for the permitted primary use of the lot, as defined in Section 17.96.2210 of the Development Code. The proposed project encompasses 9,600 cubic yards of grading. All of the proposed grading will occur within the 4-acre "buildable" area of the site that is located landward of the coastal setback line and outside of the landslide moratorium area.

D. The grading and/or related construction does not significantly adversely affect the visual relationships with, nor the views from, neighboring properties. The realignment of Yacht Harbor Drive establishes an elevation of 218.0' above mean sea level (MSL) as the benchmark for the height of the proposed downslope residence. However, it is important to note that if Yacht Harbor Drive were not realigned, the property would be an upslope lot from the existing street right-of-way. The 16-foot height limit would still be measured from the high (i.e., inland) side of the lot and structure, so the difference in the maximum allowable ridgeline elevation would be minimal, and it could be even higher than currently proposed with the road realignment.

E. The nature of the grading minimizes disturbance to the natural contours, and finished contours are reasonably natural because the site is generally flat, with an average slope of less than ten percent (10%), and will retain this generally flat profile upon completion of the proposed grading.

F.The grading takes into account the preservation of natural topographic features and appearances by means of land sculpting so as to blend any man-made or manufactured slope into the natural topography. The raised plateau on the west end of the site along Palos Verdes Drive South is the most prominent topographic feature of the site, but most of this plateau is located within the landslide moratorium area and will not be altered.

G. The required finding that, for new single-family residences, the grading and/or related construction is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character, as defined in Section 17.02.040(A)(6) of the Development Code, is not applicable to this project.

H. The required finding that in new residential tracts, the grading includes provisions for the preservation and introduction of plant materials so as to protect slopes from soil erosion and slippage, and minimize visual effects of grading and construction on hillside areas, is not applicable to the proposed project.

I. The grading utilizes street designs and improvements which serve to minimize grading alternatives and harmonize with the natural contours and character of the hillside. The proposed project involves the realignment of Yacht Harbor Drive, but the site is not located in a hillside area. Nonetheless, the grading for the private street comprises a fairly small portion of the overall grading proposed. The realigned street will be approximately ten feet (10') lower than Palos Verdes Drive West for the portions where the two streets run parallel to one another.

J.The required finding that the grading would not cause excessive and unnecessary disturbance of natural landscape or wildlife habitat through removal of vegetation is not applicable to the proposed project.

K.The grading conforms with the minimum standards for finished slope, depth of cut and/or fill, retaining wall location and height, and driveway slope established under Section 17.76.040(E)(9) of the Development Code.

Section 2: Any interested person aggrieved by this decision or by any portion of this decision may appeal to the City Council. Pursuant to Sections 17.72.100 and 17.76.040(H) of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, any such appeal must be filed with the City, in writing, and with the appropriate appeal fee, no later than fifteen (15) days following October 9, 2001, the date of the Planning Commission's final action.

Section 3: For the foregoing reasons and based on the information and findings included in the Staff Report, Minutes and other records of proceedings, the Planning Commission of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby approves Coastal Permit No. 172 and Grading Permit No. 2281 for the realignment of a portion of Yacht Harbor Drive in conjunction with the construction of a new single-family residence on an 18.88-acre site in the Portuguese Bend Club community, subject to the conditions contained in Exhibit 'A', attached hereto and made a part hereof, which are necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare in the area.

PASSED, APPROVED and ADOPTED this 9th day of October 2001, by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTENTIONS:

ABSENT:

_______________________
Frank Lyon
Chairman

_____________________________
Joel Rojas, aicp
Director of Planning, Building
and Code Enforcement; and Secretary
to the Planning Commission


EXHIBIT 'A'

CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL

FOR COASTAL PERMIT NO. 172 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2281

(Johnson, 2 Yacht Harbor Drive)

General

1. Prior to the submittal of plans into Building and Safety plan check, the applicant and the property owner shall submit to the City a statement, in writing, that they have read, understand, and agree to all conditions of approval contained in this Resolution. Failure to provide said written statement within ninety (90) days following date of this approval shall render this approval null and void.<

2. This approval is for the realignment of a portion of the existing private right-of-way of Yacht Harbor Drive across an 18.88-acre site in the Portuguese Bend Club community, located at 2 Yacht Harbor Drive.   The total grading quantity permitted in conjunction with the road realignment is 9,600 cubic yards. The Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement is authorized to make minor modifications to the approved plans and any of the conditions of approval if such modifications will achieve substantially the same results as would strict compliance with the approved plans and conditions. Otherwise, any substantive change to the project shall require approval of a revision to Coastal Permit No. 172 and/or Grading Permit No. 2281 by the Planning Commission and shall require new and separate environmental review.

3. All project development on the site shall conform to the specific standards contained in these conditions of approval or, if not addressed herein, in the RS-5 district development standards of the City's Municipal Code.

4. Failure to comply with and adhere to all of these conditions of approval may be cause to revoke the approval of the project by the Planning Commission after conducting a public hearing on the matter.

5. If the project has not been established (i.e., building permits obtained) within one year of the final effective date of this Resolution, or if construction has not commenced within one hundred eighty (180) days of the issuance of building permits, approval of the project shall expire and be of no further effect unless, prior to expiration, a written request for extension is filed with the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement and approved by the Director. Otherwise, a coastal permit and grading permit revision must be approved prior to further development.

6. In the event that any of these conditions conflict with the recommendations and/or requirements of another permitting agency or City department, the stricter standard shall apply.

7. Unless otherwise designated in these conditions, all construction shall be completed in substantial conformance with the plans stamped approved by the City with the effective date of this Resolution.

Coastal Permit No. 172 and Grading Permit No. 2281

8. The permitted grading quantities shall be as follows:

Area

Cut

Fill

Total Earth Movement

Net Earth Movement

Road

4,800 CY

4,800 CY

9,600 CY

0 CY

The maximum depth of cut shall be 12 feet and the maximum depth of fill shall be 7 feet. Rough and final grade certification required.

9. Maximum private roadway slopes shall not exceed 20 percent (maximum 10 percent slope proposed).

10. The maximum new slope adjacent to the roadway shall be 67 percent (maximum 50 percent proposed).

11. Prior to the issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall submit the street and storm drain improvement plans to the Director of Public Works for review and approval.

12. The applicant shall be responsible for obtaining the appropriate approvals for the relocation of other utility infrastructure and/or easements in conjunction with the road realignment, including but not limited to: electric, gas, sewer, water, telephone and cable television. The applicant shall provide evidence of authorization from the affected utility providers to the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement and the Director of Public Works prior to grading permit issuance.

13. The applicant shall coordinate traffic control with the homeowners' associations in the upper and lower Portuguese Bend Club communities so as to minimize inconvenience to residents during the grading for the new road alignment.

14. During rough grading, the applicant shall have an archeologist on site to monitor the grading activity. Any archeological resources unearthed shall be catalogued, removed and/or protected in place as appropriate. The applicant shall provide a report from the archeologist, which summarizes any findings at the completion of rough grading.

15. The City's Geotechnical Engineer and Building Official shall review and approve the geotechnical report prepared for the project prior to issuance of project grading or building permits.

16. The project applicant will implement all of the recommendations in the project geotechnical report.

17. Subject to review and approval of the Director of Public Works and the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement, the project developer shall submit a drainage plan prior to the issuance of grading permits which shows the on-site and off-site stormwater conveyance systems that will be constructed by the project proponent for the purpose of safely conveying stormwater off the project site. These drainage structures shall be designed in accordance with the most current standards and criteria of the City Engineer and Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (LACDPW) to ensure that adequate drainage capacity is maintained.

18. In accordance with the Clean Water Act, the project proponent shall coordinate with the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) regarding the requirements of the Clean Water Act and the project proponent will obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, if such a permit is required by the RWQCB.

19. Prior to the issuance of grading permits, the applicant shall demonstrate to the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement that dust generated by grading activities shall comply with the South Coast Air Quality Management District Rule 403 and the City Municipal Code requirements, which require watering for the control of dust.

20. During construction, all grading activities shall cease during periods of high winds (i.e., greater than 30 MPH). To assure compliance with this measure, grading activities are subject to periodic inspections by City staff.

21. Construction equipment shall be kept in proper operating condition. All project construction equipment shall be properly maintained to assure that no additional noise, due to worn or improperly maintained parts is generated.

22. The project developer shall prepare a haul route plan for trucks hauling spoils from the project site to where this material will be disposed. The plan shall be approved by the Director of Public Works before the City issues the project a grading permit.

23. Haul routes used to transport soil exported from the project site shall be approved by the City's Director of Public Works to minimize exposure of sensitive receptors to potential adverse noise levels from hauling operations.

24. The construction site shall be kept free of all loose materials resembling trash and debris in excess of that material used for immediate construction purposes. Such excess material may include, but not be limited to: the accumulation of debris, garbage, lumber, scrap metal, concrete asphalt, piles of earth, salvage materials, abandoned or discarded furniture, appliances or other household fixtures.

25. Permitted hours and days for construction activity are 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday through Saturday, with no construction activity permitted on Sundays or on the legal holidays specified in Section 17.96.920 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code.


CONTINUED BUSINESS:



8. LONG POINT RESORT: Consisting of Coastal Permit No. 166, General Plan Amendment No. 28, Conditional Use Permit No. 215, Conditional Use Permit No. 216, Parcel Map No. 26073, Grading Permit No. 2229, Grading Permit No. 2230, and the associated Final Environmental Impact Report; Destination Development Corporation, (applicant), 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South and 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard. (AM)

TO: HONORABLE CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: OCTOBER 9, 2001

SUBJECT: LONG POINT RESORT PROJECT - CONTINUED PUBLIC HEARING

Staff Coordinators: Ara Michael Mihranian, AICP, Senior Planner

RECOMMENDATION:

Staff recommends that the Planning Commission: 1) Review and discuss the project's EIR Resolution and forward a recommendation to the City Council for certification; and 2) Review and discuss the draft resolutions and conditions of approval for the project applications and forward a recommendation to the City Council for consideration at their November 7th meeting.

PROJECT BACKGROUND:

The project applicant, Destination Development Corporation, has submitted applications for the Long Point Resort*. This proposal involves a mix of uses including a 9-hole public golf course and practice facility, a 400 room hotel (including some bungalow units), 50 casita units with a maximum of 3 keys per unit, 32 single key resort villa units, conference center, related commercial uses, restaurants, trails, public park areas, coastal access points and parking, and natural open space and habitat areas. The overall acreage of the proposed project is approximately 168.4 acres. This includes the privately owned Long Point site (old Marine Land site at 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South) and the publicly owned Upper Point Vicente property (the areas surrounding the Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall buildings at 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard).

* The applications include Coastal Permit No. 166, Conditional Use Permit No. 215, Tentative Parcel Map No. 26073, and Grading Permit No. 2229 on the York Long Point Associates owned Long Point property,

The public hearing on the Long Point project was initially opened at the Planning Commission's April 10, 2001 regularly scheduled meeting and was continued to a site visit held on Saturday, April 14, 2001. The hearing was continued from the April 14th meeting to the Planning Commission's April 24th, May 17th, June 12th, July 10th, July 24th, August 14th, August 28th, September 11th, September 25th meetings, and most recently to October 9, 2001.

At the September 25th meeting, the Commission was provided with the Response to Comments on the re-circulated Biological Resources Section (Volume V). The Commission began to discuss the project's EIR and felt that additional time was needed to review the Response to Comments (Volume V) prior to forwarding a recommendation to the City Council. As such, the Commission adopted a motion to continue the discussion on the certification of the project's EIR to their October 9th meeting. The Commission then began to discuss the revised grading findings for both the Resort Hotel Area (RHA) and the Upper Point Vicente Area (UPVA), and was eventually able to conditionally make all the findings for the proposed project. Prior to discussing the draft resolutions and conditions of approval for the project, the Commissioners began to individually express their views on the project, especially in light of comments received by Bill Tippets of the Department of Fish and Game earlier that evening. After much discussion on the merits of the proposed project, a motion was made to conditionally approve the project with the elimination of the trail segment located between the Coast Guard Property and Hole No. 2 on the UPVA. The motion passed with a 4-3 vote. As approved, the proposed project includes 5 golf holes and a 9.3 acre open space area (for active and passive recreational uses which are to be determined at a later date by the City) on the Upper Point Vicente property and 4 golf holes, a practice facility, and the resort hotel (including resort villas) on the Long Point property. Furthermore, included in the approved motion was a decision to continue the Commission discussion on the project's resolutions and conditions to the October 9th meeting.

DISCUSSION

The following discussion encompasses a summary of the attachments contained herein for consideration by the Commission.

Environmental Impact Report

In the September 25th Staff Report, it was indicated that pursuant to Section 15107 of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the City Council must certify the project's EIR by October 17, 2001, which is within the permitted time frame of one (1) year from the date of completeness, including a one time ninety (90) day time extension by the applicant. Since the City Council is the governing body who will consider all public comments and information regarding the EIR and its certification, Staff recommended that the Planning Commission review and forward a recommendation on the EIR at its September 25th meeting to allow the Council to take action on the EIR at its October 16, 2001 meeting.

As previously indicated, at the September 25th meeting, the Commission expressed concern that they did not have adequate time to review the Response to Comments on the re-circulated Biological Resources Section (Volume V) to forward a recommendation to the City Council by their October 16th meeting. The Commission asked Staff what ramifications would occur if a decision on the EIR went beyond the required time frame of October 17th. The Assistant City Attorney indicated that CEQA does not set forth any specific penalties for going beyond the required action date. Furthermore, the Assistant City Attorney stated that the project would not be deemed approved because the action deadline was not met. In light of the Assistant City Attorney's clarification on the CEQA time limits for an EIR, the Commission moved to continue their discussion on the project's EIR to their October 9th meeting. As such, representatives from the City's Environmental Consultant team, including the traffic and biological resources sub-consultants, will be in attendance at the October 9th meeting to assist the Commission in their discussion of the project's EIR and the certification process.

It should be noted that upon further discussion with the applicant and the City Attorney after the September 25th Commission meeting, it has become Staff's position that the City Council need not rush to take action on the EIR before October 17th. This is because the City Attorney believes that there would be no automatic penalties or negative consequences, such as a de facto project approval, if the EIR is certified after October 17, 2001. Furthermore, the applicant has indicated no objection with going beyond the October 17th deadline (see attachment).

Resolutions

Attached to this report are the draft resolutions for the project applications for consideration by the Commission. A separate resolution exists for the project's EIR, the General Plan Amendment, and the development applications for the UPVA and the RHA.

Conditions of Approval

In addition to the resolutions, attached to this report are the project's draft conditions of approval. The attached draft conditions have once again been modified since the last distribution to include the Commission's comments provided to Staff at the September 25th meeting. It should be noted that the draft conditions are separated into two documents, one for the UPVA and the other for the RHA and are in the form of an exhibit to the appropriate project resolutions. Furthermore, the conditions have been categorized according to the development applications requested by the applicant and are in a draft format, in the event the Commission desires to add, modify, or delete conditions.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

City Council Meetings

In light of the Commission's adopted motion on September 25th and with the anticipation that a recommendation on the project will be forwarded to the City Council in the near future, the City Council was presented with an agenda item at their October 2nd meeting seeking staff direction as to when and where to hear the Long point project applications. The City Council unanimously approved a motion to begin the public hearing on the Long Point project at their regularly scheduled November 7th meeting, the day after the City's election (provided the Commission forwards a recommendation on October 9th). Furthermore, the City Council decided to conduct the public hearing at Miraleste Intermediate School since this venue can accommodate approximately 450 persons.

Public Comments

Attached to this report are all public comments received by the City at and after the September 25th meeting. The comments submitted were received either via regular mail, e-mail or hand delivery.

 

ATTACHMENTS:

  • Draft Resolutions and Draft Conditions of Approval
  • Applicant's Letter
  • Public Comments

P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2001- ___

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES MAKING ENVIRONMENTAL FINDINGS PURSUANT TO THE CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT AND RECOMMENDING THAT THE CITY COUNCIL CERTIFY THE FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT, ADOPT A STATEMENT OF OVERRIDING CONSIDERATIONS, AND ADOPT A MITIGATION MONITORING PROGRAM IN CONNECTION WITH GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT NO. 28, CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 215, CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 216, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2229, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2230, COASTAL DEVELOPMENT PERMIT NO. 166, AND TENTATIVE PARCEL MAP NO. 26073 FOR A PROPOSED HOTEL AND GOLF COURSE TO BE KNOWN AS THE LONG POINT RESORT.

WHEREAS, a formal application was filed by Destination Development Corporation (the "Developer") requesting approval of conditional use permits, grading permits, a coastal development permit and a tentative parcel map (collectively the "discretionary permits") and a general plan amendment to allow construction of a 550-room resort hotel and conference center, 32 private villas, and a 9-hole golf course on 103.5 acres of land generally located at 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South and 64.9 acres of land generally located at 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard, as more fully described in Exhibit A attached hereto (the "Project"); and,

WHEREAS, a portion of the Project calls for the use of 64.9 acres of publicly-owned land generally located at 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard and commonly known as Upper Point Vicente Area ("UPVA") while the remainder will be located on 103.5 acres of privately-owned land generally located at 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South and formerly occupied by Marineland (the "Resort Hotel Area" or "RHA"); and,

WHEREAS, the City analyzed the Project's potential impacts on the environment in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") (Cal. Pub. Res. Code 21000 et seq.), the State CEQA Guidelines (the "Guidelines") (14 Cal. Code Regs. 15000 et seq.) promulgated with respect thereto, and the City's local CEQA Guidelines; and,

WHEREAS, the City prepared an Initial Environmental Study (the "Initial Study") for the Project pursuant to Section 15063 of the Guidelines; and,

WHEREAS, the Initial Study concluded that there was evidence that the Project might have a significant environmental impact on several specifically identified resources and governmental services, including aesthetics, air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, geology and soils, hydrology and water quality, land-use and planning, noise, public services, recreation, transportation, and utilities and service systems; and,

WHEREAS, based upon the information contained in the Initial Study, the City ordered the preparation of an environmental impact report (the "EIR") for the Project in accordance with the provisions of Guidelines Sections 15064 and 15081; and,

WHEREAS, the City prepared and circulated a Notice of Preparation of the EIR from July 20, 2000, through September 4, 2000, for an extended 45-day comment period in order to receive written comments on the appropriate scope of the EIR; and,

WHEREAS, the City sent the Notice of Preparation to the State Clearinghouse in the Office of Planning and Research for the State of California (the "State Clearinghouse") and to other responsible, trustee, and/or interested agencies and persons in accordance with Guidelines Section 15082(a); and,

WHEREAS, in accordance with Guidelines Section 15083, the Planning Commission conducted a duly noticed public scoping session concerning the EIR on August 22, 2000, to provide an introduction to the Project and the CEQA process and to afford an opportunity for the public and interested agencies to comment on the issues to be analyzed in the EIR; and,

WHEREAS, the scoping session was noticed by publication in the local press, by mailing to all residents within a 500-foot radius of the Project and by posting at City Hall, Hesse Park, and the Ladera Linda Community Center and was attended by the applicant, representatives of various agencies, and members of the general public; and,

WHEREAS, the Draft Environmental Impact Report (the "DEIR"), together with those certain technical appendices (the "Appendices"), was completed on February 2, 2001; and,

WHEREAS, the City circulated the DEIR and the Appendices to the public, the State Clearinghouse, and other interested persons between February 6, 2001, and April 6, 2001, for an expanded 60-day comment period pursuant to Guidelines Section 15087(c); and,

WHEREAS, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on March 23, 2001, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence regarding the DEIR; and,

WHEREAS, the Planning Commission held duly noticed public hearings on April 10, 2001, April 14, 2001, April 24, 2001, May 17, 2001, June 12, 2001, July 10, 2001, and July 24, 2001, at which times all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence regarding the Project and the DEIR; and,

WHEREAS, during the public review and comment process, the City received over 30 hours of public testimony and more than 300 written and oral comments regarding the Project and the adequacy of the DEIR; and,

WHEREAS, the City prepared written responses to all comments and made revisions and additions to the DEIR in response to the comments; and,

WHEREAS, the City completed the responses to comments on the DEIR and preliminary revisions to the DEIR in July 2001 and distributed those responses to commenting agencies and the public in accordance with the provisions of Public Resources Code Section 21092.5; and,

WHEREAS, after reviewing the responses to comments and the revisions to the DEIR, City staff concluded that the revised material in the biological resources analysis (Section 5.3 of the DEIR) constituted new information requiring recirculation of the biological resources analysis of the DEIR pursuant to Public Resources Code Section 21092.1 and Guidelines Section 15088.5; and,

WHEREAS, the City recirculated the Revised Biological Resources Analysis to the public, the State Clearinghouse, and other interest persons between August 1, 2001, and August 30, 2001, for a shortened 30-day comment period pursuant to State CEQA Guidelines Sections 15087(c) and 15105(a) (the "Second Public Review and Comment Period"); and,

WHEREAS, the Planning Commission further held duly noticed public hearings on August 14, 2001, August 28, 2001, and September 11, 2001, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence regarding the Project, the DEIR, and the Revised Biological Resources Analysis; and,

WHEREAS, during the Second Public Review and Comment Period, the City received several hours of testimony and 15 written and oral comments regarding the Project and the adequacy of the Revised Biological Resources Analysis; and,

WHEREAS, the City prepared written responses to all comments and made revisions and additions to the Revised Biological Resources Analysis where appropriate in response to the comments received during the Second Public Review and Comment Period; and,

WHEREAS, the City completed the Responses to Comments on the Revised Biological Resources Analysis on September 24, 2001, and distributed those responses to commenting agencies and the public at least ten (10) days prior to considering the Final Environmental Impact Report (the "FEIR"); and,

WHEREAS, on October 9, 2001, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public meeting to consider the FEIR.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE PLANNING COMMISSION OR THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. The Final Environmental Impact Report (the "FEIR") will be comprised of five volumes: Volume 1 is the FEIR dated July 9, 2001; Volume 2 contains the Technical Appendices in support of the FEIR; Volume 3 contains the Responses to Comments on the DEIR; Volume 4 is the Revised Biological Resources Analysis, and Volume 5 contains the Responses to Comments on the Revised Biological Resources Analysis. The Planning Commission reviewed the FEIR at a duly noticed public meeting on October 9, 2001 (the "Hearing") at which time evidence, both written and oral, was presented to and considered by the Planning Commission. Notice of the time, place and purpose of the Hearing was provided in accordance with applicable law. Based upon the record of the Hearing, the Planning Commission voted to recommend that the City Council certify the completeness and adequacy of the FEIR and to recommend approval of the general plan amendment and the discretionary permits for the Project to the City Council.

Section 2. The findings made in this Resolution are based upon the information and evidence set forth in the FEIR and upon other substantial evidence which has been presented in the record of this proceeding. The documents, staff reports, technical studies, appendices, plans, specifications, and other materials that constitute the record of proceedings on which this Resolution is based are on file and available for public examination during normal business hours with the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement, who serves as the custodian of these records.

Section 3. The Planning Commission finds that pursuant to Guideline Sections 15087(e) and 15105, agencies and interested members of the public have been afforded ample notice and opportunity to comment on the FEIR.

Section 4. The Planning Commission has independently reviewed and considered the contents of the FEIR prior to deciding whether to recommend approval of the Project pursuant to Guidelines Section 15084(e). The Planning Commission hereby finds that the FEIR reflects the independent judgement of the City and the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission further finds that the additional information provided in the staff reports, in the responses to comments received after recirculation of the Revised Biological Resources Analysis, and in the evidence presented in written and oral testimony at the Hearing, does not constitute new information requiring a second recirculation of the FEIR under CEQA. None of the information presented to the Planning Commission after recirculation of the Revised Biological Resources Analysis has deprived the public of a meaningful opportunity to comment upon a substantial environmental impact of the Project or a feasible mitigation measure or alternative that the City has declined to implement. All feasible mitigation measures suggested in the FEIR have been considered and the Planning Commission will recommend that such mitigation measures be adopted by the City Council and incorporated into the Project as a condition of Project approval. No additional feasible mitigation measures or alternatives have been identified.

Section 5. The Planning Commission finds that the comments regarding the DEIR, the Revised Biological Resources Analysis, and the responses to those comments have been received by the City; that the Planning Commission has received public testimony regarding the adequacy of the FEIR; and that the Planning Commission has reviewed and considered all such documents and testimony prior to making its recommendation to the City Council on the Project. The Planning Commission hereby recommends that the City Council certify that the FEIR has been completed in compliance with CEQA pursuant to Guidelines Section 15090.

Section 6. Based upon the Initial Study and the record before the Planning Commission, the Planning Commission finds that the Project will not cause significant environmental impacts in the areas of Agricultural Resources, Mineral Resources, Objectionable Odors, Hazards and Hazardous Materials and Population and Housing. Explanations for why the Planning Commission determined that the Project will have no impact or will cause a less than a significant impact to the foregoing resources are contained in the Initial Study (included as Appendix 15.1 to the FEIR) and in Section 10.0 of the FEIR in accordance with the provisions of Guidelines Section 15128.

Section 7. Based upon the FEIR and the record before the Planning Commission, the Planning Commission finds that the Project, as mitigated, will not cause significant environmental impacts in the areas of Aesthetics/Light and Glare, Biological Resources, Cultural Resources, Geology, Soils and Seismicity, Hydrology and Drainage, Land Use and Relevant Planning, Marine Resources, Noise, Public Health and Safety, Public Services and Utilities, Traffic and Circulation, and Recreational Facilities. Explanations for why the foregoing impacts were found to be insignificant are fully discussed in the "Statement of Findings and Facts In Support of Findings" set forth in Exhibit A, attached hereto and incorporated herein by this reference, Section 5.0 of the FEIR, the Revised Biological Resources Analysis, and the Initial Study (included as Appendix 15.1 to the FEIR).

Section 8. Based upon the FEIR and the record before the Planning Commission, the Planning Commission finds that the Project will create significant unavoidable impacts in the impact categories of Air Quality (short-term air pollutants and long-term operational impacts) and Noise (long-term impacts). These significant impacts are further described in the "Statement of Findings and Facts In Support of Findings" set forth in Exhibit A, and in Section 5.0 of the FEIR. The construction-related significant impacts to Air Quality arising from Project are associated with construction equipment and grading activities and will be temporary in nature, while the operational significant impacts to Air Quality will be long term in nature. The long-term significant impacts to Noise are attributable to Project-related traffic. Although the Project's individual contribution would not be significant, the existing ambient noise levels exceed State standards; when Project-generated and cumulative vehicular noise are combine, the result would cause a significant and unavoidable noise impact on a cumulative level. All feasible mitigation measures have been considered, and changes or alterations will be required in, or incorporated into, the Project which will substantially lessen the level of significance of the significant environmental impacts identified but will not reduce them below a level of significance. The changes or alterations required in, or incorporated into, the Project, and a brief explanation of the rationale for this finding with regard to each impact, are contained in Exhibit A. Further explanation for these determinations may be found in Section 5.0 of the FEIR.

Section 9. Based upon the FEIR and the record before the Planning Commission, the Planning Commission finds that the Project's cumulative impacts, with the exception of the impacts to Noise and Air Quality, are not significant. Further explanation for this determination may be found in Section 5.0 of the FEIR and the Revised Biological Resources Analysis.

Section 10. Section 7.0 of the FEIR describes, and the Planning Commission has fully considered, a reasonable range of alternatives to the Project which might fulfill the basic objectives of the Project. These alternatives include "Alternative 7.1 - No Development Alternative," "Alternative 7.2 - No Project Alternative," "Alternative 7.3 - With Coast Guard Site Alternative," "Alternative 7.4 - Relocate Practice Facility - Option 'A' Alternative," "Alternative 7.5 - Relocate Practice Facility - Option 'B' Alternative," "Alternative 7.6 - No Resort Villas - Option 'A' Alternative," "Alternative 7.7 - No Resort Villas - Option 'B' Alternative," "Alternative 7.8 - Program of Utilization Alternative," "Alternative 7.9 - Point Vicente Park Enhancement Alternative," and "Alternative 7.10 - Point Vicente Park Enhancement and Existing Entitlement Alternative." With respect the each of the Project Alternatives analyzed in the FEIR, the Planning Commission hereby makes the findings set forth in Exhibit A. The Planning Commission expressly finds that, with the exception of Alternative 7.5, each of the alternatives identified in the FEIR either would not sufficiently achieve the basic objectives of the Project or would do so only with unacceptable adverse environmental impacts. The Planning Commission further finds that the Project, as proposed, also results in unacceptable adverse environmental impacts. Accordingly, and for any one of the reasons set forth in Exhibit A, attached hereto and incorporated herein by this reference, or set forth in the FEIR, the Planning Commission finds that specific economic, social, or other considerations make infeasible the Project, as proposed, and each of the Project alternatives identified in the FEIR except Alternative 7.5, and each is hereby rejected. The Planning Commission finds that Alternative 7.5, with the incorporation of modifications recommended by the Planning Commission, represents the preferred Project design and hereby recommends Alternative 7.5, as modified, to the City Council. The Planning Commission further finds that a good faith effort was made to incorporate alternatives into the preparation of the FEIR, and that all reasonable alternatives were considered in the review process of the FEIR and the Planning Commission ultimate recommendation on the Project.

Section 11. For the environmental impacts identified in the FEIR as "significant and unavoidable," namely in the impact areas of Air Quality and Noise, the Planning Commission hereby recommends that the City Council adopt the "Statement of Overriding Considerations" set forth in Exhibit B, attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference. The Planning Commission further recommends that the City Council adopt each of the mitigation measures identified in the FEIR and set forth in Exhibit C, attached hereto and incorporated herein by this reference, and impose each mitigation measure as a condition of Project approval. Finally, the Planning Commission hereby recommends that the City Council adopt the "Mitigation Monitoring Program" which is presented in Exhibit C.

PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this 9th day of October, 2001, by the following vote:

 

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTENTION:

ABSENT:

_________________________
FRANK LYON, Chairman
Attest:

___________________________________
JOEL ROJAS
Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement
Secretary to the Planning Commission


EXHIBIT 'A'
Statement of Findings and Facts In Support Of Findings

Article I. Introduction.

The California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") and the State CEQA Guidelines (the "Guidelines") provide that no public agency shall approve or carry out a project for which an environmental impact report has been certified which identifies one or more significant effects on the environment that would occur if the project is approved or carried out unless the public agency makes one or more of the following findings:

  1. Changes or alterations have been required in, or incorporated into, the project which avoid or substantially lessen the significant environmental effects identified in the EIR.
  2. Such changes or alterations are within the responsibility or jurisdiction of another public agency and not the agency making the finding. Such changes have been adopted by such other agency or can and should be adopted by such other agency.
  3. Specific economic, social, or other considerations make infeasible the mitigation measures or project alternatives identified in the EIR.*

* Cal. Public Resources Code #21081; 14 Cal. Code Regs. #15091

Pursuant the requirements of CEQA, the Planning Commission hereby makes the environmental findings set forth in this statement with regard to the potentially significant environmental effects in connection with the proposed construction of a 550-room resort hotel and conference center, 32 privately-owned villas, and a 9-hole golf course on 168.4 acres of land generally located at 30490 Hawthorne Boulevard and 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South to be known as the "Long Point Resort" (the "Project"). The Project is more fully described below and in Section 3.0 of the FEIR. These findings are based upon evidence presented in the record of these proceedings, both written and oral, the FEIR and all of its contents including, without limitation, the Initial Study, the DEIR, the Appendices, the Response to Comments on the DEIR, the Revised Biological Resources Analysis, the Response to Comments on the Revised Biological Resources Analysis, and staff and consultants' reports prepared and presented to the Planning Commission.

Article II. Project Description.

The Project encompasses approximately 168.4 acres in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The Project site generally involves two geographical areas including 103.5 acres of privately-owned land generally located at 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South and referred to herein as the Resort Hotel Area (RHA) and 64.9 acres of publicly-owned land immediately adjacent to Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall commonly known as Upper Point Vicente (UPVA).

The Project is intended to be a multi-faceted destination resort. The cornerstone of the Project is a full-service hotel and conference center. The Project includes a resort hotel with 400 rooms in the main building and bungalows, 50 resort casita units (which will be multiple-keyed for an additional total of 150 overnight accommodations), 32 resort villas (which will be privately-owned but included in the Project's visitor-serving accommodations pool), a 68,000 square foot conference and meeting center, a 25,000 square-foot full-service health spa and fitness center, and related amenities. In addition to the resort and conference center, the Project will provide a habitat preserve (with both conserved and enhanced habitat) and public open space and recreation facilities (including a public golf practice facility, a 9-hole public-use golf course, 100 parking spaces for use by the general public, two shoreline access ramps, seven public parks and overlooks, and an 11.1 mile series of public walkways, jogging paths, hiking trails and bike trails linking visitor-serving areas of the RHA with public facilities within the surrounding area).

The Project will also involve off-site improvements to City-owned property, including proposed improvements to reconfigure the City Hall parking area and to relocate the City's existing Corporate Yard. The off-site improvements to the City-owned property would be processed through separate permits.

The Project applications consist of requests for a conditional use permit to allow development of a portion of the proposed golf course and related ancillary uses on Upper Point Vicente ("UPVA") within the Open Space Recreational District and Institutional District (CUP 216), a conditional use permit to allow construction of the proposed resort hotel and conference center, 32 privately-owned villas, a portion of the golf course and a proposed golf school and practice facility on the Resort Hotel Area (the "RHA") (CUP 215), a grading permit to allow grading for master grading and infrastructure improvements on UPVA (GRP No. 2230), a grading permit to allow grading for subdivision, master grading, and infrastructure improvements on the RHA (GRP No. 2229), a coastal development permit to allow construction of the proposed resort hotel and conference center, villas, and golf facilities on the RHA within Subregion 2 of the City's Coastal Specific Plan (CDP No. 166) and a tentative parcel map to allow the redefinition of land parcels on the RHA (TPM No. 26073) (collectively referred to herein as the "discretionary approvals"). The Project also involves a request for an amendment to the General Plan to change the land use designation on UPVA from Recreational Passive to Recreational Active (GPA No. 28)

Article III. Project Objectives.

As set forth in Section 3.4 of the FEIR, the objectives which the Project applicant seeks to achieve with this Project (the "Project Objectives") are as follows:

    1. To establish a successful destination resort that provides a mix of hotel and resort accommodations, recreational amenities, health facilities, restaurants, meeting rooms, and other related visitor-serving uses on the RHA site as the core of a successful destination coastal resort;
    2. To provide a variety of hotel/resort accommodations that serve the needs of a wide range of coastal visitors;
    3. To provide a high-quality, on-site golf experience as an integral part of the destination resort, and ensure that the golf course and related practice and teaching facilities are open to the general public;
    4. To provide for a variety of public open space, including natural and active open space areas, trails, and general public recreation within the Project;
    5. To provide for expanded public coastal access, including (i) 100 off-street parking spaces for use by the general public, (ii) vertical access from Palos Verdes Drive South, through the proposed resort, to the shoreline, and (iii) continuous horizontal access comprised of a bluff-top trail and scenic overlooks along the full length of the coastal bluff;
    6. To design a destination coastal resort facility that is architecturally and visually compatible with the surrounding landscape;
    7. To provide for implementation of the City's Master Plan of Trails in all areas adjacent to the resort, including connections to existing trails, the City's Point Vicente Interpretive Center, and a safe crossing under Palos Verdes Drive South to connect the RHA with UPVA;
    8. To protect sensitive coastal bluffs on the RHA, and limit the degradation of marine resources on or adjacent to the Project, that may occur with increased public access and use of the area;
    9. To provide additional public trails and recreational facilities on publicly-owned UPVA, in conjunction with a reevaluation of the Program of Utilization for the former military site;
    10. To provide for a project which, in its entirety, is financially feasible for the private sector to develop, operate, and maintain on a sustainable basis and for the benefit of the City, its residents and the surrounding community;
    11. To protect the ecological values of the off-shore marine areas through creation of a conservation area adjacent to the Fisherman's Access Area that would include protection of native vegetation, including a transitional planting area (ecotone) between the bluff edge and the adjacent public park and provisions to direct drainage and surface runoff away from the bluff;

    12. To provide for the long-term protection, enhancement and increase of coastal sage scrub and native vegetation that would be consistent with the City's proposed Natural Communities Conservation Plan and state and federal requirements;
    13. To improve water quality through construction and implementation of a Runoff management and Water Quality Management Plan;
    14. To provide for the redevelopment of the former Marineland site (the RHA) with visitor-serving uses that would attract new visitors to the area and provide economic benefits to the City.

Article IV.Potential Environmental Effects Determined to be Insignificant.

The Initial Study identified potentially significant environmental impacts of the Project in the following impact categories of Aesthetics/Light and Glare, Biological Resources, Cultural Resources, Geology, Soils and Seismicity, Land Use and Relevant Planning, Marine Resources, Noise, Public Health and Safety, Public Services and Utilities, and Recreational Facilities. Section 5.0 of the FEIR fully analyzed these identified impact areas. Based on substantial evidence presented in the record of these proceedings (including the FEIR, the Technical Appendices, the Initial Study, and oral and written evidence, including staff and consultant reports) the Planning Commission finds that the record amply demonstrates the Project will have a less than significant impact in the areas discussed in this Article IV.

A. Aesthetics/Light and Glare.

1. Potential Impacts

Section 5.1 of the FEIR analyzes the potential for significant impacts to aesthetics in the form of both short-term and long-term impacts to views, potential loss of visual resources or scenic vistas, alteration of the visual character of the site, creation of new sources of light and glare, and increased urbanization of the Project site. Construction activities will temporarily disrupt views across the Project site from surrounding properties and public rights-of-way, while full implementation of the Project will permanently alter the existing view from neighboring properties and will clearly change the visual character of the site. Additionally, the Project has the potential to disrupt scenic vistas and views in recognized visual corridors. These views and vistas are visual resources and help define and add visual character to the City. Finally, the Project will add new sources of light and glare to the environment and add to the overall urbanization of the area. These potential impacts were fully analyzed in Section 5.1 of the FEIR.

2. Findings

The short term nature of the construction-related impacts and compliance with applicable City Codes would make the Project's impacts less than significant in these areas.

3. Facts in Support of Findings

a. Short term impacts. Construction activities associated with implementing the Project will temporarily degrade the visual character of the Project site and disrupt views across the site from surrounding areas. Graded surfaces, construction debris, construction equipment and truck traffic would be visible. Soil would be stockpiled and equipment for grading activities would be staged at various locations throughout the Project sites. These impacts would be short-term and cease upon Project completion. These impacts would be considered as less than significant through compliance with Section 17.56.020 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code which regulates conduct of construction and landscaping activities. Section 17.56.020 will require the installation of temporary fencing to screen the construction activities from view. Further, construction-related impacts are not considered significant as they are anticipated to be short-term and would cease upon Project completion. The Planning Commission finds that the record demonstrates that any construction-related impacts to views are less than significant.

b. Visual Character. Implementation of the Project will forever alter the visual character of the site. However, the transformation of the site resulting from these proposed improvements would not be considered a degradation to the visual character of the site or its surroundings. Therefore, a significant impact would not occur in this regard. UPVA would remain in an "open" condition, similar in character to the existing site condition and visually compatible with existing surrounding land uses. Further, the proposed Project would be in compliance with each of the zoning districts on the UPVA (refer to discussion in Section 5.7, Land Use and Relevant Planning, of the FEIR) and would be required to demonstrate compliance with the specified development standards for each district regarding lot size, building height, lot coverage and parking. Additionally, it should be noted that no netting of the golf course or practice facility is proposed and utility lines would be placed underground in accordance with the City's Development Code. Compliance with applicable Development Codes for each zoning district would reduce impacts to a less than significant level. The existing character of the site of an abandoned land use containing vast parking lots and dilapidated structures over grown with weeds and unkempt vegetation would be replaced with new buildings, a golf course, parking areas and landscaping throughout. Additionally, undeveloped lands vegetated with disturbed and non-native grassland habitat would be replaced with manicured lawns. Thus, implementation of the proposed Project on the RHA would be considered an aesthetic enhancement to the site. Finally, project design, height and architecture would be subject to review by the City to ensure conformance with applicable Development Codes, thus, reducing any potential impacts to less than significant levels.

c. Scenic vistas and/or visual resources. As illustrated in Exhibit 5.1-3 of the FEIR, two vistas are identified in the Project area, both oriented toward what was once the location of the Marineland Aquatic Park. These vistas, which were directed to the Marineland Tower as a structural focal point, no longer exist since the Tower was previously removed. Since the closure of Marineland, the remaining facilities are in a degraded state. Thus, the Project has no impact on this vista as it no longer exists. The Project site includes other man-made structural focal points, including the Nike Missile site on UPVA, the Golden Cove shopping center, the Point Vicente Lighthouse, and Wayfarers Chapel. Similarly, the hotel proposed on the RHA will become a structural focal point. Although the proposed resort hotel would not be the focal point referenced in the General Plan, the Marineland Tower has been removed and the concept of a man-made focal point on the RHA would not be foreign to this site. Therefore, this impact is considered less than significant.

A majority of the Nike Missile site located on the UPVA has been removed. Currently only the concrete pads and railing associated with the missile silos remain (additional facilities exist underground). This remaining portion of the Missile site is limited in its representation of the original facility and is degraded in nature. The portions of the Nike Missile Site which remain at surface level would be covered with a golf course, thus removing the view of this structural focal point. However, due to the degraded condition of the existing structures, Project implementation would not result in a significant impact in this regard. Further, habitat restoration would occur within and along the perimeters of the proposed golf course, changing the weedy disturbed areas to conditions native to Coastal Southern California, thus creating a beneficial visual impact to the scenic resources in this area. Additionally, the Project will restore much of the native vegetation and will implement a landscaping plan which is compatible with the natural surrounding. The vehicular view corridors of Point Fermin and Catalina Island identified in the General Plan will be preserved. While the casitas and the resort hotel will be visible in the background, the development would not intrude on the overall panoramic view of the seacoast, Pacific Ocean or Catalina Island. Additionally, the design, landscape, building height, and architecture of the Project would be subject to design review by the City to ensure conformance with applicable Development Codes and height restrictions. Thus, no significant impact is anticipated.

d. Light/Glare. The Project site is currently vacant, and surrounding land uses are not affected by light or glare from the site. Implementation of the Project will create general nighttime building lighting, security lighting, and landscape lighting. This lighting will be detectable from surrounding sites. This impact will be reduced by the incorporation of both Project design features and the incorporation of appropriate design conditions. No lighting of the golf course or practice facility is proposed or required. Finally, the Project must comply with Section 17.56.040 of the Municipal Code which regulates outdoor lighting for all non-residential uses. Section 17.56.040 requires a Lighting Plan detailing the location, height, number of lights, wattage, estimates of maximum illumination on site and spill/glare at property lines. Compliance with this provision will reduce potential impacts to less than significant levels.

e. Urbanization. Cumulative construction of currently approved and pending projects in the vicinity would permanently alter the nature and appearance of the area through the loss of undeveloped areas. Security and street lighting would introduce light and glare potential to the area. Impacts are typically mitigated separately on a project by project basis. Cumulative impacts can be mitigated to less than significant levels with use of building materials that are consistent with the general character of the area, landscaping design, and proper lighting techniques to direct light on-site and away from adjacent properties. The proposed Project would contribute to the cumulative loss of undeveloped land within the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. However, redevelopment of the Marineland site actually removes a blight condition replacing it with a manicured golf course and resort complex. Additionally, UPVA would be more manicured, but would also be augmented with better quality and more attractive natural vegetation. Thus, the appearance of urbanization would be evident, but moderated due to the inclusion of the natural areas. The proposed development complies with applicable zoning restrictions and a less than significant impact would occur in this regard.

B. Biological Resources.

1.Potential Impacts

Section 5.3 of the FEIR, contained in Volume IV, identifies the potential for significant impacts to various special status species (both plant and wildlife), to critical habitat areas, wildlife movement, local environmental policies, and overall biological resources. Project implementation could potentially displace special status species and disturb critical habitat necessary for the survival of sensitive species. Fencing, grading, and other improvements associated with Project implementation could interfere with the movement of native or migratory wildlife species. Further, the loss of undeveloped land has the potential to conflict with local habitat conservation plans. Finally, the Project may lead to the cumulative loss of the City's biological resources.

2. Finding

Analysis and substantial evidence contained in the record demonstrates that the Project's impacts will be less than significant in these areas.

3. Facts in Support of Finding

a. Special status species. Although the FEIR identified potential impacts to the California box-thorn and the wooly sea-blite, two special status plant species found on the Project site, as significant, the project is designed to avoid these plants. In addition, while these plants are considered relatively common in the region, they will be included in the seed mixes used for revegetation of the coastal bluff scrub which is proposed as a project design feature. A focused study for the Palos Verdes Blue butterfly conducted in Spring 2001 did not observe this species on site; therefore, Project implementation would not result in any impacts to this species. Project impacts to several special status reptile species are considered less than significant because the Project would protect 14.63 acres of existing scrub habitat (critical habitat for these species), and would replace the 4.91 acres of habitat impacted by development with 16.80 acres of created coastal sage, thereby providing more than 31 acres of suitable habitat for these reptiles. With the exception of the gnatcatcher (discussed in Article VI, below), the only two threatened or endangered species identified as likely to occur on site are the California Brown Pelican and the Peregrine Falcon. The proposed Project would not directly impact roosting or breeding habitat for the pelican since the rocky shore habitat on the RHA that is used for roosting would not be impacted. Therefore, no mitigation would be required for the California brown pelican. The peregrine falcon is known to occur in the vicinity and has a high potential to occur on the Project site. Suitable foraging habitat for the peregrine falcon is present on the Project site; however, due to the small size of the Project, relative to the amount of available foraging habitat in the region, the potential loss of foraging habitat for this species is not considered significant. Potentially suitable nesting habitat is present along the cliffs in the RHA. Since the cliff area (RHA) would not be impacted by the proposed Project, the Project would not directly impact nesting habitat for the peregrine falcon. Focused studies for the endangered Pacific Pocket Mouse concluded that this species is not expected to occur on site due to a lack of suitable habitat. Finally, the Project does reduce foraging ground and potentially suitable impacts to various bat species. However, these impacts are not considered significant since these species are considered relatively common in the Project area. Indirect impacts associated with noise and increased human activity on site would not be significant or cause a substantial reduction in common wildlife populations in the region.

b. Sensitive natural communities/habitats.

c. Wildlife movement.

d. Local policies and ordinances.

e. Cumulative impacts.

C.Cultural Resources.

[TO BE PROVIDED]

Article V. Potentially Significant Environmental Effects Determined to be Reduced to a Level of Insignificance.

The FEIR identified potentially significant environmental impacts of the Project in the following impact categories of Aesthetics/Light and Glare, Air Quality, Biological Resources, Cultural Resources, Geology, Soils and Seismicity, Hydrology and Drainage, Land Use and Relevant Planning, Marine Resources, Noise, Public Health and Safety, Public Services and Utilities, Traffic and Circulation, and Recreational Facilities. Except as discussed in Article VI below, measures were identified that would mitigate these impacts to a level of insignificance.

The potentially significant adverse environmental impacts are discussed below. The Planning Commission finds, based on substantial evidence presented in the record of these proceedings, that the mitigation measures identified in the FEIR are feasible and, with the exception of the impacts identified in Article V below, would reduce the Project's impacts to a level of insignificance. The Planning Commission recommends that the City Council adopt all of the mitigation measures described in the FEIR as conditions of approval of the Project and incorporate those mitigation measures into the Project.

A. Aesthetics/Light and Glare.

[TO BE PROVIDED]

 

Article VI. Significant and Unavoidable Environmental Impacts.

A. Impacts that Cannot Be Mitigated to a Level of Insignificance

The FEIR identified three impacts as potentially significant and unavoidable. Based on the information provided in the FEIR and the record of decision, the Planning Commission finds that each of these impacts can be mitigated to some degree, but that such mitigation would not reduce the impacts to a level of insignificance and further mitigation is infeasible. Therefore, as required by Section 21081 of CEQA, and as shown below in more detail, the Planning Commission finds that specific economic, legal, social, technological, or other considerations make infeasible any additional mitigation measures or alternatives identified in the FEIR. The significant and unavoidable impacts of the Project are described below, along with measures that would partially mitigate the impacts.

Air Quality

The Project will result in both temporary (construction-related) and long-term (operational) air quality impacts which will remain significant with respect to PM10, NOx, ROG, and CO emissions even after implementation of mitigation. These impacts may result in the Project conflicting with the Air Quality Management Plan and Regional Comprehensive Plan and Guide with respect to these emissions.

Noise

Project-generated traffic would result in significant and unavoidable cumulative noise impacts along several roadways. These impacts are expected to occur with or without implementation of the Project, and no feasible mitigation measures were identified which would reduce these impacts to level of insignificance.

B. Additional Impacts Which May Not Be Fully Mitigated

The Planning Commission finds that all feasible mitigation measures have been applied, and that based on the record before the Planning Commission all significant impacts will be mitigated to a level of insignificance except for temporary air quality impacts resulting from construction, long-term air quality impacts related to Project-related traffic and Project operations, and long-term noise impacts resulting from increased traffic on adjacent roadways. In the event that any other environmental impact identified in the FEIR can not, through full compliance with mitigation measures imposed herein, be fully mitigated over time, the Planning Commission finds that specific economic, legal, social, technological, or other considerations make infeasible any additional mitigation measures or alternatives identified in the record and that the Statement of Overriding Considerations recommended concurrently herewith applies with equal force and effect to such impacts.

Article VII. Project Alternatives.

With the exception of Alternative 7.5 (Relocate Practice Facility - Option B), the alternatives identified in the FEIR either would not sufficiently achieve the basic objectives of the Project or would do so only with unacceptable adverse environmental impacts. Accordingly, and for any one of the reasons set forth below or in the FEIR, the Planning Commission finds that specific economic, social, or other considerations make infeasible each of the Project alternatives identified in the FEIR except Alternative 7.5, and each is hereby rejected. The Planning Commission also finds that the Project, as proposed, will result in unacceptable adverse impacts and, for any one of the reasons set forth below, finds that specific economic, social, or other considerations make infeasible the Project, as proposed, and it is hereby rejected as proposed. Finally, the Planning Commission finds that Alternative 7.5, with the incorporation of the changes and modifications recommended by the Planning Commission, represents the preferred Project design and hereby recommends that the City Council adopt Alternative 7.5, as modified. The Planning Commission further finds that a good faith effort was made to incorporate alternatives into the preparation of the FEIR, and that all reasonable alternatives were considered in the review process of the FEIR and the ultimate decision on the Project.

CEQA requires agencies reviewing the environmental impacts of a project to consider a range of reasonable alternatives (CEQA Guidelines Section 15126(d), 14 Cal. Code of Reg.  15126(d)). The range of alternatives considered in an FEIR should include those which can feasibly attain most of the basic objectives of the project. As defined by CEQA, "feasible" means "capable of being accomplished in a successful manner within a reasonable period of time, taking into account economic, environmental, legal, social, and technological factors." (CEQA Guidelines Section 15365, 14 Cal. Code of Reg.  15365.)

The FEIR analyzed a total of ten alternatives to the proposed Project. The alternatives considered were: "Alternative 7.1 - No Development Alternative," "Alternative 7.2 - No Project Alternative," "Alternative 7.3 - With Coast Guard Site Alternative," "Alternative 7.4 - Relocate Practice Facility - Option 'A' Alternative," "Alternative 7.5 - Relocate Practice Facility - Option 'B' Alternative," "Alternative 7.6 - No Resort Villas B Option 'A' Alternative," "Alternative 7.4 - No Resort Villas - Option 'B' Alternative," "Alternative 7.8 - Program of Utilization Alternative," "Alternative 7.9 - Point Vicente Park Enhancement Alternative," and "Alternative 7.10 - Point Vicente Park Enhancement and Existing Entitlement Alternative."

The Planning Commission has carefully considered the attributes and environmental impacts of all of the alternatives analyzed in the FEIR and has compared them with those of the proposed Project. As required by CEQA, the Planning Commission finds that each of the alternatives except Alternative 7.5 is infeasible for various environmental, economic, technical, social and other reasons set forth below. The Planning Commission further finds that the Project as proposed is also infeasible for various environmental, economic, technical, social and other reasons set forth below. Alternative 7.5, as modified by the Planning Commission, represents the combination of features that, in the Planning Commission's opinion, best achieves the Project's objectives while minimizing environmental impacts. Each alternative analyzed in the FEIR is discussed separately below.

A. Alternative 7.1 (No Development Alternative)

1. Summary of Alternative

Under the No Development Alternative, the Project would not be constructed and the project site would remain in its current condition.

2.Reasons For Rejecting Alternative

Because the No Development Alternative would not permit any development, it would result in the least amount of environmental impacts compared to the proposed Project and the other alternatives. However, the No Development Alternative would not fulfill any of the proposed Project's objectives (e.g., establishing a successful destination coastal resort, providing a high quality golf experience, providing additional public trails and recreational facilities, as well as the additional objectives identified in Section 3.4, Project Objectives, of the FEIR) and would not provide the same benefits as the project (i.e. creation of jobs, increased revenue to the city, removal of blight, etc.).

For any one of these reasons, the Planning Commission has determined the No Development Alternative to be infeasible.

B. Alternative 7.2 (No Project Alternative)

1. Summary of Alternative

The "No Project" Alternative involves development of the RHA only based upon the existing entitlements. In 1991, the City and the Coastal Commission approved a conditional use permit and coastal development permit to allow development of 102.2 acres of land on the RHA. The roughly 1.5 acre parcel owned by Cigna, which is included as part of the RHA in the current proposal, was not part of the prior entitlements. The entitlements issued permit development of a resort hotel and conference facility on consisting of a 400-room hotel facility, 50 casitas, a 9-hole golf course, a 30,000 square-foot conference center, rehabilitation of the Galley West Restaurant, a 25,000 square-foot spa/fitness center, 8 tennis courts, and a 30,000 square foot country-market/café.

2. Reasons For Rejecting Alternative

The No Project Alternative would be generally similar to the proposed Project, however, it would exclude the use of UPVA, resulting in a more intensified use of the RHA. The majority of the proposed Project components would be developed, as well as additional land uses not currently proposed by the Project. Overall, this Alternative would involve more intensive development (i.e., a five-story building of a larger scale and mass and more concentrated development on the RHA site), contained in a smaller geographical area, than the proposed Project. Implementation of this Alternative would fulfill the majority of the objectives identified in Section 3.4, Project Objectives, of the Final EIR, on the RHA. However, this Alternative would only partially fulfill the objectives to provide for a variety of public open spaces, proved for implementation of the City's Master Plan of Trails, and development of public trails and recreation facilities on UPVA. Moreover, the increased intensity of development on the RHA could potentially increase impacts to the federally-protected El Segundo Blue butterfly (which was observed on the RHA site during focused surveys in June 2001) and the sensitive coastal bluffs on the RHA. The Planning Commission has determined Alternative 7.2 (the No Project Alternative) to be infeasible and not environmentally superior.

C.Alternative 7.3 (With Coast Guard Site Alternative)

1. Summary of Alternative

This alternative would add to the Project the approximately 3.9-acre site on the UPVA that was retained by the U.S. Coast Guard when the federal government transferred ownership of the bulk of the UPVA to the City in 1975 (refer to Exhibit 7-1, With Coast Guard Site Alternative of the FEIR). Existing uses at this site include asphalt walkways, remnants of a World War II military battery and undeveloped lands. Implementation of this alternative would increase the size of the Project's UPVA area from 64.9 to 68.8 acres (an increase of approximately six percent). The additional acreage would be used to (i) add approximately 1.8 acres of native habitat to the preserved/restored/created habitat currently proposed; (ii) expand the proposed City Hall Park Expansion by approximately 0.9-; and (iii) add approximately 1.2 acres to the golf design.

2. Reasons For Rejecting Alternative

Implementation of this alternative would fulfill all the objectives identified in Section 3.4 (Project Objectives) of the FEIR and would have impacts similar to the Project as proposed. However, during the public review and comment period on the DEIR, the Coast Guard indicated that inclusion of its site was not an option and directed the City to cease further consideration of this alternative. Accordingly, Planning Commission has determined Alternative 7.3 (the With Coast Guard Site Alternative) to be infeasible

D. Alternative 7.4 (Relocate Practice Facility - Option A Alternative)

1. Summary of Alternative