04/09/2002 Planning Commission Agenda April, 2002, 04/09/2002, Planning, Commission, Meeting, Agenda, request to allow the construction of a new, 3-story, 4,257-square-foot (including 917-square-foot garage) single-family residence, which is proposed to measure 3.00’ from the highest point of existing grade covered by the structure, and 26.00’ from the finished grade adjacent to the lowest foundation. The project also proposes 2,131 cubic yards of grading for the residence and driveway., Planning Commission to select two members to participate on the City Council appointed General Plan Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will be a 15-member committee comprised of representatives from various City advisory Committees and Commissions as well as representatives from various organizations on the Peninsula. The 04/09/2002 RPV Planning Commission Meeting Agenda
Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission Agenda April 9, 2002

April 9, 2002

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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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.


BEGINNING OF PLANNING COMMISSION AGENDA

RANCHO PALOS VERDES PLANNING COMMISSION

TUESDAY, APRIL 9, 2002

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. 2002-04


CALL TO ORDER:

FLAG SALUTE:

ROLL CALL:


APPROVAL OF AGENDA:



COMMUNICATIONS:

Council Policy Items (Excerpt Minutes):

  • None

Staff:

Commission:



1. Selection of vice-chairman of the planning commission (JR)

Recommendation: Select a Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission by simple majority vote.


CONSENT CALENDAR:



2. MINUTES OF MARCH 26, 2002


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



CONTINUED BUSINESS: (NO ITEMS)



PUBLIC HEARINGS:



3. HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 941 and GRADING PERMIT NO. 2286: 3261 Crownview Drive / Iskander (KF)

Request: A request to allow the construction of a new, 3-story, 4,257-square-foot (including 917-square-foot garage) single-family residence, which is proposed to measure 3.00’ from the highest point of existing grade covered by the structure, and 26.00’ from the finished grade adjacent to the lowest foundation. The project also proposes 2,131 cubic yards of grading for the residence and driveway.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission continue this matter to the Planning Commission meeting of May 14, 2002.



4. HEIGHT VARIATION (CASE NO. ZON2001-00015): 4155 Palos Verdes Drive South / Lenders (RL)

Request: A request to allow an additional 1,584 square-feet of living space to an existing 2,335 square-foot one-story single-family residence. The addition will include 896 square-feet on the first floor and 688 square-feet on the proposed new second floor. The total structure size will increase from 2,335 square-feet to 3,919 square-feet. The height of the proposed new second story will measure 19’-1" as measured from highest existing (pre-construction) grade to be covered by the structure to ridge, and a maximum overall height of 20-6"’ as measured from lowest finished grade to ridge.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt Resolution No. 2002-__, approving with conditions Height Variation (Case No. ZON2001-00015).



5. HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 928, VARIANCE NO. 487, MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT NO. 586, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2276, SITE PLAN REVIEW NO. 9127: 4206 Admirable Drive / Barez (DB)

Request: A request to allow the construction of a 2,083 square foot addition to an existing single story residence, which is proposed to measure 15.83’ from the highest point of finished grade covered by structure and 25.93’ from the lowest point of finished grade covered by structure; to allow a 16-foot front yard setback, 52% lot coverage, and a six-foot tall block wall in the street side setback (along Schooner Drive); to allow 188 cubic yards of cut and 219 cubic yards of fill, for a total of 407 cubic yards of earth moved; and to deviate from the Municipal Code prohibition on grading and construction over extreme slopes.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt Resolution No. 2002-___; approving, with conditions, Site Plan Review No. 9127 and portions of Minor Exception Permit No. 586; and denying, without prejudice, Height Variation Permit No. 928, Grading Permit no. 2276, Variance No. 487, and portions of Minor Exception Permit No. 586.


NEW BUSINESS:



6. DISCUSSION OF DEVELOPMENT CODE DEFINITIONS OF "BUILDING" AND "STORY" (JR)

Recommendation: Review and discuss the Development Code Definitions of "Building" and "Story" and provide Staff with direction as to whether to initiate a Code Amendment or issue an "Interpretation Determination" to clear up any ambiguities in the definitions.


ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS:

Staff



7. PRE-AGENDA FOR THE MEETING OF APRIL 23, 2002.

Commission


ADJOURNMENT:

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday,
April 23, 2002, 7:00 P.M. at Hesse Park.


AGENDA

RANCHO PALOS VERDES PLANNING COMMISSION

TUESDAY, APRIL 9, 2002

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. 2002-04


CALL TO ORDER:

FLAG SALUTE:

ROLL CALL:


APPROVAL OF AGENDA:



COMMUNICATIONS:

Council Policy Items (Excerpt Minutes):

  • None

Staff:

Commission:



1. Selection of vice-chairman of the planning commission (JR)

Recommendation: Select a Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission by simple majority vote.


CONSENT CALENDAR:





2. MINUTES OF MARCH 26, 2002

CITY OR RANCHO PALOS VERDES
PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
MARCH 26, 2002


CALL TO ORDER

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


FLAG SALUTE

City Attorney Lynch led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.


ROLL CALL

Present: Commissioners Cartwright, Cote, Duran Reed, Long, Mueller, Tomblin, and Chairman Lyon
Absent: None

Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, City Attorney Lynch, Deputy Director Pfost, Associate Planner Hurwitz, Assistant Planner Yu, and Recording Secretary Peterson.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Without objection, the agenda was approved as presented.


COMMUNICATIONS

Director/Secretary Rojas distributed a pamphlet from the Livable Communities Group and a memo regarding the expense reports for the Commissioners who attended the Monterey Conference.

Commissioner Long reported that he had met with a Commissioner from the City of Danville, which had recently approved a senior affordable housing project. He stated that the Commissioner would be sending information to the City on that project.

Commissioner Cartwright thanked the City for the opportunity to attend the Monterey conference.

Commissioner Duran Reed also thanked the City for the opportunity as well as her colleagues for their support. She reported that she had contacted the CCC/ME and Marymount College for additional information regarding their project and has passed some information on to the City.

Chairman Lyon noted errors on the Planning Commission roster and reported on an e- mail he had received from Mitchell Hahn regarding Marymount College. He stated he would share this information with the Planning Department to include in their analysis.


NEW BUSINESS

1. Planning Commission Orientation – Procedures and Informational Materials

The Planning Commissioners introduced themselves and gave a brief overview of their education and background.

Director/Secretary Rojas gave a brief overview of the Planning Department organization and responsibilities. He discussed the agendas and how they are prepared as well as the current Planning Commission policy regarding late correspondence.

City Attorney Lynch distributed an orientation manual to the Planning Commission and discussed the Brown Act, due process issues, CEQA and how it applies to the City, and the conflicts of interest rules.


CONSENT CALENDAR

2. Minutes of March 12, 2002

Commissioners Long and Mueller noted clarifications on page 11 of the minutes.

Commissioner Duran Reed noted two clarifications to the minutes on page 12.

Commissioner Tomblin noted a clarification on page 12 of the minutes.

The minutes were approved as amended, (7-0).

3. Permit Extension Request (Case No. ZON2002-00100): Gene and Terry Rolle (applicants) 38 Seacove Drive

Commissioner Tomblin moved to grant a 1-year extension thereby setting the final expiration date of Variance No. 461-Revision ‘A’, Coastal Permit No. 159-Revision ‘A’ and Grading Permit No. 2144 as March 26, 2003, with all conditions of approval contained in P.C. Resolution NO. 2000-17 remaining in full force and effect, seconded by Commissioner Long. Approved, (7-0).


RECESS AND RECONVENE

At 8:35 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess to 8:50 p.m. at which time they reconvened.


CONTINUED BUSINESS

4. Coastal Permit, Variance, and Site Plan Review Case No. ZON2001-00032: 120 Spindrift Lane.

Assistant Planner Yu presented the staff report. She explained the scope of the project and stated that staff found that the four findings to approve a Variance could be made to warrant approval to reduce the front, side and rear setbacks; to exceed the maximum allowable lot coverage; to waive the replacement of a two-garage with a two-car carport; and exceed the 250 square foot addition limit in the coastal zone. Additionally, staff found that the two findings for granting a Coastal Permit could be made to allow the existing structure to extend within the Coastal Zone, and that the proposed addition would be compatible with the immediate neighborhood in terms of scale, architectural design, and front yard setback. As such, staff recommends the Planning Commission approve, with conditions, the Variance, Coastal Permit, and Site plan Review.

Commissioner Mueller was concerned with the height and size of the proposed structure and wondered what section of the Development Code was being cited when discussing building height. He noted sections of the Development Code that discuss building height and the desire to build a structure as an addition to existing structure exceeding 16 feet in height.

Director/Secretary Rojas stated that the staff referred to Section 17.02.040(B) of the Development Code, which discusses building heights as well as diagrams on page 218-25.

Commissioner Mueller stated that the staff report refers to a "building" and he did not find any reference to a "building" in the Development Code when referring to the need for a height variation.

Director/Secretary Rojas explained that the Development Code sets height limits, in this case the height limit is 16 feet. He stated that this project meets the height limits, therefore by measuring the height of the project it does not require a height variation. However, in the Development Code on page 218-24b, there is a sentence saying that structures allowed pursuant to this subsection shall contain no more than one story.

Commissioner Mueller argued that the definition is still "structure" and not "building". He felt the carport was a structure and not a building and noted the definition of a structure in the Development Code. He therefore did not follow the logic that the proposed addition does not require a height variation.

Director/Secretary Rojas explained that staff had tried to answer the Development Code limitation to one story. He noted that there was a limitation that there shall be no more than one story, and therefore the question was whether a carport was a story. He explained that the Development Code’s definition of a "story" led to the definition of a "building", which led staff to conclude that the carport was a structure and not a building and therefore not a story.

Commissioner Long echoed Commissioner Mueller’s concerns and added that he was concerned this interpretation would allow anyone to place something on top of a platform.

Director/Secretary added that this situation with the carport was very rare, as staff has seen very few carports in the City.

Commissioner Mueller felt the staff report suggested that a height variation was not needed in this situation because the addition would be placed over a carport, which is not a building. He did not agree with this interpretation.

Commissioner Long stated that the staff analysis was dependent on two things: 1) that because the structure was below 16 feet no height variation was required by virtue of the height of the proposed project; and 2) based on staff’s reasoning the project is only 1 story and therefore no height variation is required.

Director/Secretary Rojas added that the Variance gives staff the discretion to identify any adverse impacts to surrounding residences, including view impacts.

Commissioner Long asked if the Planning Commission could amend the existing application to require a height variation.

Director/Secretary Rojas explained that if the Commission determines that a height variation should be applied for then the applicant would have to submit the application, pay the fees, get the required signatures of the neighbors, and place the silhouette.

Commissioner Mueller did not agree with staff’s interpretation and felt that a height variation application was crucial to protect what is left of the area.

Commissioner Cartwright asked if the concerns over the lack of a height variation was because of the findings regarding views and neighborhood compatibility.

Commissioner Long felt that the process of a silhouette being erected to make the findings on view should be followed. He continued by noting that the Development Code definition of "building" specifically states that a building shall not mean a mobile home or trailer. He felt that if the Development Code specifically excludes mobile homes and trailers it would have excluded carports as well. He concluded that since carports were not specifically excluded then "building" includes carports, and if a carport is a building then the carport is a story and therefore a height variation is required for the proposed addition.

Commissioner Mueller stated he was looking at an interpretation of the Development Code that was rather straightforward and the Planning Commission should stick to the Development Code in a very straightforward way. He was very concerned that the Planning Commission follow the Development Code and if they didn’t there would be other cases which may have significant view impairment from structures or stories which are located on top of carports or any platform attached to the ground. He felt the Development Code was something that should be adhered to regardless of what the outcome is as far as view impairment, which he felt was a separate issue.

Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if the height variation was triggered by a second story or by some portion of the structure being in excess of 16 feet, and what staff was trying to accomplish by not making this proposed addition a second story.

Director/Secretary Rojas stated that in this case the trigger was both. He explained that staff had pointed out the one sentence to the applicant that staff felt was problematic in avoiding the height variation, however as pointed out by the applicant, the carport does not have walls and staff relied on the definition of building. He also noted that staff was originally concerned that by circumventing the height variation process certain things were not going to be looked at that would be looked at through the height variation process. However, he noted that in doing the analysis for the variance the same impacts such as views, neighborhood compatibility and privacy were analyzed.

Chairman Lyon wondered if too much was being made from a technicality. He noted that staff had gone through the procedures in terms of impacts on the neighborhood that would have been done if the application had been a height variation. He felt the applicant had consulted with the neighbors many times and had made extensive modifications and compromises to accommodate their concerns. He also noted that the staff report indicated that there were no objections to the proposed addition. He felt the Planning Commission should do what is right, which was still entirely within the Code.

Commissioner Duran Reed felt that the Development Code definition was problematic and felt that by simply glossing over any particular problems in the Development Code and issuing a finding without having a clear and appropriate definition, the Planning Commission could be setting a very dangerous precedent. She noted that there may be other carports and structures in other neighborhoods and while in this situation no problems might be created, what would happen down the line with other similar applications in different neighborhoods. She felt the proper process and steps should be followed for the proposed addition. She discussed the neighborhood consultation process and felt this was an important process that should be done with this application.

Commissioner Cote agreed that it was very difficult to justify that an addition above a carport was not a second story and that if a height variation is necessary all of the associated steps should be followed.

Chairman Lyon opened the public hearing.

Jim Maniscalco (applicant) 120 Spindrift Lane stated that his house is much lower than the surrounding homes and he was shocked to learn that his plans had raised concerns. He noted that over 15 people and the HOA were significantly opposed to the plans when they were first drawn. He and the architect worked for eight months to design a project that was acceptable to the neighbors and the HOA. He noted that he had originally applied for a height variation which was still on file with the City and had done a silhouette and the early neighborhood consultation process. He stated that there were a number of people in the neighborhood that were vehemently opposed to a height variation, not because of any view concerns, but because of the label. He therefore consulted with staff to see what project he could design that would not require a height variation. He stated that even if he designed the exact same building with the exact same silhouette and called it a height variation, the neighbors would then object. He explained that quite often there is an entryway or entry courtyard into a house that is below a portion of the house, which was not considered a story. He felt it was clear that if they built the exact structure as shown on the plans it would not require a height variation if cars were not going to be parked there. He questioned why this would change if cars were then parked there and why this would change the nature of the structure.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked Mr. Maniscalco if he planned on living in the residence after the remodel.

Mr. Maniscalco assured the Commission that he loves his home and had no intention of leaving it.

Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Maniscalco if he had kept the signatures from the early neighborhood consultation process and if so, had he submitted them to the City.

Mr. Maniscalco responded that he had the signatures and would submit them to staff.

Commissioner Cartwright noted that Mr. Maniscalco had mentioned there was a silhouette erected at the site and asked what happened to that silhouette.

Mr. Maniscalco responded that the silhouette had been erected, but taken down after the project was revised, as the new project was lower and smaller than the silhouette indicated.

Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if their view analysis was done while the silhouette was up or after it was taken down.

Assistant Planner Yu stated that the view analysis was done after the silhouette had been taken down.

Miles Pritzkat (architect) explained that a height variation had originally been applied for, however based upon the neighborhood meeting, there seemed to be quite a bit of opposition to the label of height variation, regardless of the height of the building. He stated he has worked very hard to accommodate the neighbors as well as accomplish what the applicants wished to accomplish. Mr. Pritzkat submitted to staff the signatures received from the early neighborhood consultation process.

Commissioner Mueller noted that there had originally been quite a bit of opposition to the project and asked Mr. Pritzkat what alternatives he had looked at to come up with the current design.

Mr. Pritzkat responded that he was limited in what could be done on the lot because of the size and shape of the lot. He stated that he has lowered the proposed ridge height down to the lowest possible elevation, which was 5.6 feet lower that the original proposal.

Commissioner Mueller asked if he had considered moving the addition away back toward the hillside of the property.

Mr. Pritzkat answered that if the addition were moved more toward the rear of the property it would have to be placed on top of the existing structure and he felt that would make a greater impact upon the neighbors.

Mike Fabian 124 Spindrift Lane stated he was pro building, however he was opposed to the addition over the carport as it would impact his west facing view of Inspiration Point, Portuguese Bend anchorage, and the landslide point. Given the current trend of beach view land speculation going on in the Portuguese Bend Club, he felt it was prudent to oppose the project at this point. He reminded the Commission of the unstable land in the Beach Club and that there was quite a bit of building happening in the area, which concerned him.

Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Fabian if he was still concerned with the view even though the ridgeline has been lowered to 16 feet.

Mr. Fabian answered that he currently can sit on his couch and look out at the point and cove, and when the addition is completed he will be looking at the roof.

Chairman Lyon asked Mr. Fabian what portion of his view would be obscured with this addition.

Mr. Fabian answered that the west-facing portion would be obscured, which was approximately 3 percent of his 180-degree view.

Commissioner Mueller noted that there were other additions in the neighborhood and asked Mr. Fabian if any of those additions impaired his view in any way.

Mr. Fabian responded that they only impaired his view of the volleyball court on the beach.

Commissioner Mueller asked if the 3 percent loss of view was more significant to Mr. Fabian than the loss of the beach view.

Mr. Fabian answered that it was much more significant.

Randee Wood 111 Spindrift Drive explained that she lived behind and across the street from the proposed project. She stated that the applicant has been very open and accommodating throughout the project, and adjusted their plans to minimize any view impairment. She stated that she was very much opposed to a height variation that would take away her beach view. She felt that if a height variation were required the applicant could and possibly would move the project back up to the original height, which would obscure her view.

Commissioner Duran Reed stated that there seemed to be concern that if a height variation application were submitted the applicant would then raise the height of the proposed structure. She asked the applicant if this was something they would possibly do.

Mr. Maniscalco answered that he has worked very hard to accommodate the neighbors and that if he had to apply for a height variation would not change the project. He was very concerned, however, that the neighbors were very much opposed to granting a height variation in the neighborhood, even if it did not obstruct any views.

Chairman Lyon closed the public hearing.

Chairman Lyon felt there were two ways to look at the project, the first being the legalistic view by looking at the letter of the law. He felt that in doing that there was a gray area in some of the definitions. However, the other way to look at the project was to consider what serves the best interests of the applicant, the neighbors, and the City. In this particular case the neighbors have been very clear in saying they are opposed to the use of the term height variation in this application. He noted that all of the procedures associated with a height variation have been followed, and did not feel any precedent would be set by using staff’s interpretation on building and story. He did not think there was anything about the Portuguese Bend area that would ever establish precedence anywhere else in the City. He felt it was important to listen to the neighbors on this project and noted that the neighbors, with one exception, were satisfied with the project as proposed. Therefore, he would support the approval of the request as submitted, with the interpretation that the staff has made.

Commissioner Long shared the concept that the Planning Commission should be concerned with what was best for the applicant, neighbors, and City as a whole. He acknowledged that a lot of thought has gone into the project and did not feel there was anything wrong with the project. However, he felt that the project should be considered under a height variation application. He did not think all of the procedures for a height variation had been followed, as a silhouette had not been erected to do a proper view analysis. Because of this, he had not had the opportunity to do a proper view analysis at the site to determine if there was significant view impairment. He also noted that while the views of the neighbors are very important, applications are not approved by the vote of the neighborhood. He stated that the way planning is done is through consistent and logical application of the ordinances and consistent logical application of the ordinances compels the conclusion that a carport designed to hold property is a building, not withstanding staff’s interpretation to the contrary. If the carport is a building, then what goes on top of it is a second story and if what goes on top of the carport is a second story, a height variation is required. He felt it was unfortunate that this may inconvenience the applicant, as he felt the applicant had done an outstanding job of trying to accommodate the concerns of neighbors. Nevertheless, he felt that a height variation application was an extremely important thing, and the fact that some people are concerned about the label and they do not want the label of height variation permits attached to something does not justify misapplying the ordinance in a way that is not consistent and logical. He suggested finding the application incomplete because of the lack of a height variation with the hope that the applicant will then apply for a height variation permit and the Planning Commission will then be able to go through the process of looking at a silhouette that matches the project and assess whether view impairments, if any, are significant.

Commissioner Cartwright felt the Planning Commission had the responsibility of trying to balance the interests of the applicant with the concerns of the neighbors and concerns of the City. He also felt the Planning Commission was bound by the Development Code, even though there was the discretion of using common sense and compassion when appropriate. He felt the Development Code in this instance lends itself to multiple interpretations, one being that a height variation is required and the other that there may be a way to approve the project and then go back and clarify the Development Code. He did not know what could be done as far as view impacts, as the proposed structure was under sixteen feet in height. He did think a silhouette would be helpful at the site to assess the actual structure. He also thought it would be helpful to review other structures within Portuguese Bend that have this type of carport with a structure on them and if they received height variation or Planning Commission approval. He did not feel that approving a height variation application would in any way set precedence, as every application was reviewed on its own merits. He added that he was concerned with the geology in the area and asked if there was a 1.5 safety factor at the site.

Director/Secretary Rojas responded that the Moratorium Exception process was contingent upon the City Geologist making a finding that the project will not aggravate the landslide. He stated that the City Geologist has made that finding. In terms of the 1.5 factor of safety, he noted that this was the moratorium area and he did not believe the 1.5 factor of safety could be achieved.

Commissioner Mueller explained that he first looks at the General Plan, then the Development Code and guidelines. He stated that he holds that above any of the opinions of the staff, neighbors, and Planning Commission. He stated that he would not like to see Portuguese Bend as a model on how to fine tune the Development Code, as it is a very unique area. He felt that a height variation should be required and a silhouette should be constructed at the site. He felt that the only way the neighbors could be sure of the impact the project would have on them would be through the silhouette. He felt that the neighbors who did not want a height variation application in the Portuguese Bend Club were trying to circumvent the City procedures that were put into place to help protect the views of the neighbors. He felt that by looking at what the concerns of all the interested parties are and ignoring the Development Code was serving the best interest of the applicant, neighbors, and the City.

Commissioner Duran Reed felt the applicants had done a very thorough job with their application to try to reach an agreement with their neighbors. She felt if the Development Code were not followed a precedent would be established, which concerned her. She noted that there were multiple interpretations of the Development Code which could lead to inconsistency and the purpose of having laws is to be able to follow the letter of the law and use it as a guideline. While not wanting to see the applicant have to go back and do additional work, she did feel it was important for a silhouette to be constructed to get a clear picture of the impact of the project to the neighborhood as required by the Development Code.

Commissioner Cote commended the applicant for working with their neighbors. She noted that the applicant had already applied for the height variation and gone through the process involved with the application and that the only thing that had to be done was construct a silhouette to reflect the project as currently proposed. She asked if there was a way to expedite the height variation process so as not to delay the applicant unnecessarily.

Director/Secretary Rojas noted that the applicant had submitted the height variation application and paid the fee, however had asked staff not to process the application. In terms of expediting the process, there is a 30-day notice required for a height variation and the notice could not be sent out until the silhouette has been constructed. If the applicants could erect the silhouette over the weekend the notices could be sent out Thursday and published in the newspaper on Saturday. Therefore, May 14 was the earliest the Planning Commission could hear the new application.

Commissioner Tomblin felt there was a process established in the Development Code for this type of situation and that the process should be followed. He encouraged the staff to work with the applicant and expedite the height variation process.

Chairman Lyon did not feel that anyone was proposing or suggesting that the process not be followed. He felt the differences of opinion had to do with interpretation of some words in the Code, and while they need to be clarified in the future, staff has made an interpretation, which he agrees with. He was not suggesting in any way that the Development Code not be followed

Commissioner Long agreed with the Chairman, however felt that in this case the staff’s interpretation of the language was not as reasonable as the one he proposed. He stated that the Planning Commission was not here to review and accept the recommendation of staff, but to apply their own judgment. He asked the Planning Commission to use their own judgment to determine whether a carport was a building or not.

Commissioner Mueller moved to deny the application without prejudice and require the applicant to submit a height variation and instruct staff to expedite the process with the exception of the duly required public notice period, seconded by Commissioner Long.

Commissioner Cartwright did not disagree with the intent of the motion, however felt that if the application were denied the applicant must then reapply for all of the applications associated with the project. He suggested the Planning Commission deem the application incomplete and continue the application to a future meeting, giving the applicant the opportunity to process a height variation.

Director/Secretary Rojas noted that in denying the project a Resolution of denial would be required, which would have to come before the Planning Commission at their next meeting. He felt the most efficient way to expedite the process was to ask the applicant for a 90 day extension, make the determination that the carport is a building and requires a height variation, ask the applicant to submit a height variation application which the staff will duly notice. This application can then be heard as early as May 14.

Chairman Lyon re-opened the public hearing.

Commissioner Long asked Mr. Maniscalco if he would agree to a 90-day extension of his project.

Mr. Maniscalco agreed to the 90-day extension, and asked that they be put on the May 14 Planning Commission agenda.

Chairman Lyon closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Long proposed to amend the motion to deem the application incomplete because it lacks a height variation permit application and instruct staff to expedite any application that may be made for a height variation permit as quickly as is possible consistent with the Code.

Commissioner Mueller accepted the amendment to the motion, seconded by Commissioner Long.

Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if they had any concerns with the motion.

Director/Secretary felt the motion accomplishes the motion maker’s intention. Although he felt that situations should be avoided where applications are deemed complete and then incomplete, the Planning Commission has made a decision that is supported by evidence and in addition an extension has been granted by the applicant. Therefore his concerns were alleviated.

Chairman Lyon explained that voting no on the motion would allow for a follow up motion that would be to approve the project as recommended by staff, and in so doing the Commission would be adopting the staff’s interpretation of the verbiage in the Code relating to what is a building and what is a story, but with full recognition that the Planning Commission intends to clean up those words so that there is not this problem again.

The motion passed with a vote of (6-1) with Chairman Lyon dissenting.

Commissioner Cartwright acknowledged that there were different interpretation of the verbiage in the Code as well as different interpretations on how it should be resolved. He agreed with the Chairman in much of what he said, however he supported the motion.

Commissioner Cote appreciated the need to expedite the process for the applicant.

Commissioner Duran Reed stated that she would like to see the Code clarified so that in the future there will be no question on the interpretation.

5. Conditional Use Permit No. 226, Grading Permit No. 2296, and Environmental Assessment No. 742: Verizon Wireless Services, Mr. John Koos (applicant) 32201 Forrestal Drive.

Associate Planner Hurwitz presented a brief staff report explaining the history of the proposed project. He stated that the applicant has not been able to meet with the residents nor address the issues identified by the Planning Commission. As such, since there has been no visible progress since the January 22 Planning Commission meeting, staff is again recommending denial without prejudice of the application. He noted that staff had received a fax from the applicant requesting a continuance as well as 90-day time extension.

Commissioner Cartwright asked if staff had taken the request for continuance and extension into consideration when making the recommendation for denial, and if the staff recommendation would be different because of the request.

Director/Secretary Rojas answered that staff had taken the request into consideration, however the recommendation of denial would not change.

Chairman Lyon moved to accept staff recommendation to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-03 thereby denying without prejudice Conditional Use Permit No. 226, Grading Permit No. 2296, and Environmental Assessment No. 742, seconded by Commissioner Long. Approved, (7-0).


NEW BUSINESS

6. Issues to be discussed at the joint meeting with the City Council and Finance Advisory Committee concerning the Crestridge properties.

Chairman Lyon explained that the staff report outlined six questions that the Planning Commission asked the City Council to address in a joint workshop. He felt that the process needed some organization and felt that there were three separate and distinct fundamental questions that should be addressed in this and perhaps subsequent workshops. He stated that the three different issues were: 1) what are acceptable uses of these properties, 2) what are the needs for senior citizen housing on the peninsula and what sites in the City can help accommodate that need, and 3) what sites in the City would be suitable for affordable housing. He then discussed the issues that would fall under each of the three questions. He suggested the Planning Commission propose to the City Council that the first question be addressed in the upcoming workshop, as he did not think there would be time to begin discussion on questions 2 and 3.

Commissioner Long felt that the discussion should include what are the needs for senior housing, what are the needs for affordable housing, how can they best be met, and if not with the Crestridge property then where. He felt that a bigger picture of where should senior housing be, where should affordable housing be, and where should parks be should be asked so that the inter-relationship of the questions could be understood and discussed.

Director/Secretary Rojas explained that at their next meeting the City Council would be discussing and defining the objectives of the joint meeting. He stated that this was an opportunity for the Planning Commission to give their input to the City Council. He noted that the joint meeting will focus on the needs of the Crestridge properties and that the City Council would also be discussing a General Plan update in the future that will address the bigger picture and look at the entire City.

Given that explanation, Commissioner Long agreed that the issues should be limited to the Crestridge property and agreed with Chairman Lyon’s approach.

The Commission agreed to revise staff’s proposed list of issues by condensing it into three main issues that should be addressed in sequential order at the workshop. The Commission also identified six specific sub-categories that should be discussed pertaining to the first issue.


ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS

7. Pre-Agenda for the meeting of April 9, 2002

Commissioner Long requested a discussion on the definitions of "building" and "story" and how to clarify the Development Code.


ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 11:55 p.m.


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



CONTINUED BUSINESS: (NO ITEMS)



PUBLIC HEARINGS:










3. HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 941 and GRADING PERMIT NO. 2286: 3261 Crownview Drive / Iskander (KF)

Request: A request to allow the construction of a new, 3-story, 4,257-square-foot (including 917-square-foot garage) single-family residence, which is proposed to measure 3.00’ from the highest point of existing grade covered by the structure, and 26.00’ from the finished grade adjacent to the lowest foundation. The project also proposes 2,131 cubic yards of grading for the residence and driveway.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission continue this matter to the Planning Commission meeting of May 14, 2002.

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: APRIL 9, 2002

SUBJECT:HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 941 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2286: REQUEST TO CONSTRUCT A NEW, 3-STORY, 4,257-SQUARE-FOOT SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE AND 2,131 CUBIC YARDS OF RELATED GRADING (ISKANDER, 3261 CROWNVIEW DRIVE)

Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, aicp, Senior Planner

RECOMMENDATION

Continue this matter to the Planning Commission meeting of May 14, 2002.

BACKGROUND

When this matter was deemed complete on February 27, 2002, the Staff Coordinator was not aware of a conflict between this Planning Commission meeting date and an out-of-town conference for the City’s permit tracking system, Tidemark, for which he is the City’s project manager. Staff apologizes to the applicant, Samuel Iskander, and to the Planning Commission for this oversight. Mr. Iskander has graciously agreed to a continuance of this matter so that the Staff Coordinator will be available to attend the meeting. Unfortunately, Mr. Iskander is unable to attend the April 23, 2002 meeting, so the next available agenda is on May 14, 2002. Please note that only one notified property owner contacted Staff during the 30-day public comment period for this application, and Staff has advised that property owner of the new hearing date.

CONCLUSION

Staff recommends that the Planning Commission continue this matter to the meeting of May 14, 2002.



4. HEIGHT VARIATION (CASE NO. ZON2001-00015): 4155 Palos Verdes Drive South / Lenders (RL)

Request: A request to allow an additional 1,584 square-feet of living space to an existing 2,335 square-foot one-story single-family residence. The addition will include 896 square-feet on the first floor and 688 square-feet on the proposed new second floor. The total structure size will increase from 2,335 square-feet to 3,919 square-feet. The height of the proposed new second story will measure 19’-1" as measured from highest existing (pre-construction) grade to be covered by the structure to ridge, and a maximum overall height of 20-6"’ as measured from lowest finished grade to ridge.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt Resolution No. 2002-__, approving with conditions Height Variation (Case No. ZON2001-00015).

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: APRIL 9, 2002

SUBJECT: HEIGHT VARIATION (CASE NO. ZON2001-00015)

PROJECT ADDRESS: 124155 PALOS VERDES DRIVE SOUTH

APPLICANT:
ROD & KRISTEN LENDERS

4155 PALOS VERDES DRIVE SOUTH
RANCHO PALOS VERDES CA 90275

PHONE: 310-377-7604

LANDOWNER:
ROD & KRISTEN LENDERS
4155 PALOS VERDES DRIVE SOUTH

RANCHO PALOS VERDES CA 90275

PHONE: 310-377-7604

STAFF RYAN LUCKERT

COORDINATOR: ASSISTANT PLANNER

REQUESTED ACTION: A REQUEST TO ALLOW an additional 1,584 square-feet of living space to an existing 2,335 square-foot one-story single-family residence. The addition will include 896 square-feet on the first floor and 688 square-feet on the proposed new second floor. Therefore, the total structure size will increase from 2,335 square-feet to 3,919 square-feet. The height of the proposed new second story will measure 19’-1" as measured from highest existing (preconstruction) grade to be covered by the structure to ridge, and a maximum overall height of 20-6"’ as measured from lowest finished grade to ridge.

RECOMMENDATION: ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2002__ , CONDITIONALLY APPROVING HEIGHT VARIATION (CASE NO. ZON2001-00015)

REFERENCES:

ZONING: RS-4

LAND USE: SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE

CODE SECTIONS: SECTIONS 17.02.040(B)(1), 17.02.040(A)(8)

GENERAL PLAN: RESIDETNIAL 1-2 DU/ACRE

TRAILS PLAN: N/A

SPECIFIC PLAN: N/A

CEQA STATUS: CATEGORICALLY EXEMPT (CLASS 1)

ACTION DEADLINE: APRIL 27, 2002

P.C. MEMBERS WITHIN 500’ RADIUS: 0

BACKGROUND

On August 18, 2001, the applicants, Mr. And Mrs. Lenders, submitted an application for a Height Variation (Case No. ZON2001-00015) to the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement. Staff deemed the application incomplete pending the submittal of additional information and clarification. Upon submittal of the necessary information and the construction of the temporary frame silhouette, Staff deemed the application generally complete on February 25, 2002.

On February 28, 2002, the City mailed notices to property owners within a 500-foot radius from the subject property. Subsequently, a notice of public hearing was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News on Thursday, February 28, 2002. As of the drafting of the staff report, Staff received one (1) letter from a concerned residence. The letter received will be discussed in detail below.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

In accordance with the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Staff had determined this project to be categorically exempt under Class 1 – Existing Structures; therefore, no further environmental review is required.

Class 1 exempts projects that consist of alterations to existing structures from the preparation of environmental documents. The proposed project does not involve significant expansion of use beyond that previously existing. Staff has made this determination because 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 lot.

SITE DESCRIPTION

The subject property is located at 4155 Palos Verdes Drive South, at the corner of Palos Verdes Drive South and Schooner Drive. The lot is currently a gently sloping lot, which slopes slightly down from the northeast side of the lot to the southwest side, towards the ocean and Palos Verdes Drive South. The site is accessed off Schooner Drive, which terminates at the intersection of Palos Verdes Drive South. The property is located in the Seaview Tract, a residential community that lies just north (landward) of the City’s Coastal Zone and just east of the Portuguese Bend Club Community. The Seaview tract is also located just east of the City’s Landslide Moratorium area, with only a handful of properties in the Seaview tract actually located in the moratorium area (the properties outlined in blue on the City’s official moratorium map). Nonetheless, the subject property is not located within the landslide moratorium area and Coastal Zone. The subject parcel measures 10,149 square-feet in area, and is developed with a 1,876 square-foot one (1) story single-family residence and a 460 square-foot detached two (2) car garage. The detached garage is currently accessed by a direct driveway off of Schooner Drive. The lot contains seventy-seven (77) feet of street frontage on the southern side (Palos Verdes Drive South), an average lot depth of one hundred fifteen (115) feet, and eighty-five (85) feet along the northern rear property line. The lot is zoned RS-4, and is adjacent to other residential lots that are currently developed with one (1) story single-family residences with attached and detached garages.

From Palos Verdes Drive South, a gentle front yard slopes upward towards the existing residence and detached two- (2) car garage. The rear of the residence begins to drastically slope upward (northeast) to the rear of the property at a slope between 40- and 50- percent where no structure is currently located. The residence and detached garage is currently setback 11’-2" (required 10’) from the Schooner street side property line and approximately 16’ (required 20’) from the Palos Verdes Drive front side property line. The front yard setback is currently non-conforming but legal since the residence was built at that location before the incorporation of the City. The easterly side of the residence is currently conforming to a side setback of 5’-0". The existing open space on the property is 75%, which is conforming with the City’s Development Code minimum of 50%, RS-4 open space standard.

The Seaview tract is mostly developed with one-story, single-family residential structures, with a few two-story residences scattered within. The properties to the rear (northeast) of the subject lot are located on Admirable Drive and are located upslope at a height difference of approximately 25-30 feet. The properties on the landward side of Palos Verdes Drive South are located at substantially the same pad elevations, while the properties on the seaward side of Palos Verdes Drive South are located downslope and are oriented in a southerly direction overlooking the ocean and coast.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The application represents a request to allow an additional 1,584 square-feet of living space to an existing 1,876 square-foot one-story single-family residence and a 460 square-foot detached garage. The addition will include 896 square-feet on the first floor and 688 square-feet on the proposed new second floor. Specifically, the applicant is proposing to connect the existing residential one-story structure to the detached garage, and thus, turning it into an attached garage. The proposed second story will be partially located directly above the garage and new added living space on the first floor. The second story will not cover the entire existing residence but will only cover 688 square-feet of the first floor. Therefore, the total structure size will increase from 2,335 square-feet to 3,919 square-feet. The height of the proposed new second story will measure 19’-1" as measured from highest existing (preconstruction) grade to be covered by the structure to ridge, and a maximum overall height of 20-6"’ as measured from lowest finished grade to ridge.

The resulting open space after construction will be 62%, which meets the City’s Development Code RS-4 minimum standards for open space of 50%. The addition to the first story will respect street side setbacks and will measure 11’-6"’ from the nearest street side property line while the proposed second story will be setback an additional 9’, making the second story setback 20’-6" from Schooner Drive. The proposed first and second story additions will also respect hillside setback requirements by measuring over 15’ from the toe of a 50% extreme slope at the rear of the residence.

In addition, the applicant is proposing to remodel the exterior façade of the residence, which includes the remodeling of the front porch area and walkway, the replacement of all existing windows of the residence, new stucco to various exterior portions of the residence, and the construction of a new roof covering the existing and proposed structures. The areas of the residence that will stay a single story will enjoy a new roof and alternate design and will remain under the maximum allowable height of 16-feet. The subject height variation requires review by the Planning Commission since the proposal entails the construction of a new second story that extends closer than 25-feet from the street side property line and covers more than 60% of the garage.

CODE CONSIDERATION AND ANALYSIS

The RS-4 zoning district standards, in conjunction with the development standards for pad lots, regulate structure height, for which structures up to 16’ in height are allowed "by right". On a pad lot such as the subject property, this allows for construction of structures or additions up to 16’ high, as measured from the highest point of the pad covered by the structure; however, a residence shall not exceed 20’ in height as measured from the point where the lowest foundation or slab meets finished grade to the highest point of the structure. Pursuant to Section 17.02.040.C.1 of the Development Code, a property owner may request approval of a height variation to allow a second story addition up to a 26-foot maximum height. Since part of the proposal is an addition in the form of a second story, and which exceeds the height limitation of 16-feet, it is currently subject to review and approval of a Height Variation application.

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

  1. The applicant has complied with the Early Neighbor Consultation process established by the City.

The applicant was successful in obtaining the necessary number of signatures to satisfy this criterion through the initial door-to-door contact method. The Development Code requires owner signatures from at least 25% of the property owners within a 500-foot radius of the subject property and the signatures of at least 70% of the property owners within a 100-foot radius of the subject property. The applicant obtained 30% and 83% of the owner signatures within 500’ and 100’, respectively; thereby complying with the requirement. As such, this finding can be adopted.

  1. The structure does not significantly impair a view from public property (parks, major thoroughfares, bikeways, walkways or equestrian trails), which has been identified in the City's General Plan or Coastal Specific Plan, as City-designated viewing areas.

The subject property is not overlooked by any park, major thoroughfare, bikeway, walkway, or equestrian trail identified in the City's General Plan. In addition, the property is not located in the Coastal Zone. Therefore, since the proposed project on the subject property cannot significantly impair a view from any of these public properties, this finding can be adopted.

  1. The proposed structure is not located on a ridge or promontory.

The subject property is located within a developed area with varying pad elevations for each lot. Schooner Drive slopes upward in a northeasterly direction away from the subject property. Further, there are transitional slopes from the subject property to the adjacent property to the northeast. Thus, the subject property is not considered to be on a ridge as there are adjacent lots with homes located at varying pad elevations, above and below the subject property. In addition, the lot is not located on a promontory since it is not located along the coastal bluffs. Therefore, this finding can be adopted.

  1. The proposed structure is designed and situated in such a manner as to minimize impairment of a view.

Staff has determined that the proposed 688 square-foot second story addition and resulting ridgeline elevation will not significantly impair a view from the viewing area of another parcel. The property to the southwest (seaward) is downslope from the subject property at 4155 Palos Verdes Drive South and cannot see the subject property and addition. The neighbor to the east and the neighbor to the west across Schooner Drive are oriented in a southerly direction, and their protected views are to the south, and not over or through the subject property. The properties located on Admirable, which are to the north of 4155 Palos Verdes Drive South, are approximately 25 to 35 feet higher, and in some cases more, than the subject property, and contain a view over the subject property in a southwesterly and southeasterly direction. Thus, there are no view impairments to the aforementioned property’s resulting from the proposed second story addition measuring 20’-6" in height from the lowest point covered by structure to ridge. Additionally, Staff has determined that no other residences in the area contain views, as defined by the Development Code, over the subject property due to the orientation of these residences and the subject residence. Therefore, since there is no significant view impairment, this finding can be made and adopted.

  1. There is no significant cumulative view impairment caused by granting the application. Cumulative view impairment shall be determined by: (a) considering the amount of view impairment caused by the proposed structure; and (b) considering the amount of view impairment that would be caused by the construction on other parcels of structures similar to the proposed structure.

As discussed above, the properties that contain views will not be affected by the proposed second story addition, nor from the resulting ridgeline because many of the view corridors are currently located above the existing residence and proposed additions. If the neighbor to the east of the subject lot were to construct a second story similar to the current proposal, the view impairment would be minimal, if not non-existent, due to the pad elevations of the residences located above on Admirable Drive. Currently, the view corridors of the residences on Admirable Drive are located above the structures below on the landward side of Palos Verdes Drive South. Therefore, the proposed addition to the second floor will not alter their views in any way, since the addition will be located below the line of sight of the ocean and coast.

Further, the neighbor to the east at 4145 Palos Verdes Drive South and the neighbor across Schooner Drive (4207 Palos Verdes Drive South) to the northwest from the subject property are at similar pad elevations and currently do not contain significant views that will be impacted by the proposed second story addition since their protected views are in a southerly direction. Additionally, no other residences contain views as defined by the Development Code, and construction on other parcels could not fully contribute to cumulative view impairment since the parcels in the neighborhood are at varying pad elevations. Therefore, since there are no views in the direction of the subject property that will be significantly impaired, this finding can be made and adopted.

  1. The proposed structure, when considered exclusive of foliage, does not significantly impair a view from the viewing area of another parcel.

As determined above, there will be no significant view impairment from the viewing area of another parcel, and there is no evidence of significant view impairment exclusive of foliage. Currently there is no foliage in the direction and in the line of sight on the subject property, which currently impairs or has the potential to impair a significant view from neighboring properties. Foliage located South of the property and on the landward side of Palos Verdes Drive South currently impairs views of various neighbors located in the Seabreeze tract. The addition, however, will not be located in the line of sight of this foliage and will not significantly impair a view. Therefore, Staff determined that the structure is designed in such a manner as to minimize impairment of a view, exclusive of foliage.

  1. The proposed structure complies with all other Code requirements.

Pursuant to the development standards contained in Table 2-A (Single-Family Residential Development Standards) of Chapter 17.02, of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, for lots of record, existing as of November 25, 1975, the proposed addition will result in compliance with the applicable standards. The existing lot coverage is 25%, which is below the maximum allowable of 50% for the subject property. However, as part of the proposed project, the applicant will connect the existing residence to the existing detached garage, thus, completely covering the area between them and, thereby resulting in a 38% lot coverage and compliance with the maximum allowable lot coverage. Further, the addition will result in compliance with the minimum rear and street side setbacks. Lastly, a hillside setback is required since the existing topographical situation meets the threshold for requiring a hillside setback between the residence and the adjacent slope. The proposed addition will be setback greater than 15-feet from the toe of a slope greater than 50%, in the rear of the property, approximately the same distance, and in some cases greater, as existing structures on adjacent lots who have the same slope at the rear of their own properties. Therefore, Staff believes this finding can be made and adopted.

  1. The proposed structure is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character

Pursuant to Section 17.02.040.A.6 of the Municipal Code, "Neighborhood Character" is defined to consider the existing physical characteristics of an area. The below-mentioned properties have been identified as comprising the immediate neighborhood. The Code language is boldface, and Staff's analysis is in normal type:

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

    Compatibility with neighborhood character is based on a comparison to the other structures in the immediate area, which is comprised of the ten closest properties. Table No. 1 below illustrates the ten properties and structures in the immediate neighborhood.

    Table No. 1

    Address

    Lot Size

    Structure Size

    Number of Stories

    4135 PV Dr. South

    10,309 s.f.

    1,860 s.f.

    One

    4207 PV Dr. South

    10,380 s.f.

    2,261 s.f.

    One

    4145 PV Dr. South

    10,425 s.f.

    3,432 s.f.

    One

    4140 Admirable

    10,620 s.f.

    2,455 s.f.

    One

    4207 Admirable

    10,130 s.f.

    2,746 s.f.

    One

    4206 Admirable

    10,880 s.f.

    2,544 s.f.

    One

    4128 Admirable

    10,934 s.f.

    2,203 s.f.

    One

    4137 Admirable

    10,730 s.f.

    2,306 s.f.

    One

    4140 Exultant

    10,600 s.f.

    2,455 s.f.

    One

    4206 Exultant

    10,980 s.f.

    2,254 s.f.

    One

    Average

    10,598 s.f.

    2,452 s.f.

    N/a

    Existing structure size

    10,150 s.f.

    2,336 s.f.

    Two

    Proposed structure size

    N/A

    3,919 s.f.

    Two

    Note: The above calculations for lot size were obtained from the Los Angeles County Tax Assessors information. The above calculations for structure size are based on building permits on file with the City and include the garage area, which, if not documented on the building permit, was calculated based on the Development Code’s requirement for two (2) parking spaces with minimum dimensions for each individual parking stall being 9’x20’ (180 sq. ft.).

    According to the above table, the total structure size (garage area included) of the neighboring homes ranges from 1,860 square-feet to 3,432 square-feet, with the average size being 2,452 square feet for the ten (10) closest developed properties. The existing structure size is 2,336 square-feet, which is within the range of structure sizes within the immediate neighborhood as illustrated above. The proposed additions totaling 1,584 square-feet will result in an overall structure size of 3,919 square-feet, which is 487 square-feet larger than the largest structure in the immediate neighborhood. The proposal meets all of the development standards for the RS-4, Single-Family Residential, zone in which it is located, including lot coverage. The maximum lot coverage permitted within the RS-4 zone is 50%. The lot coverage for the proposed residence will increase from 25% to 38%. This is a result of the proposed addition on the first floor connecting the existing main part of the residence to the existing detached garage. As a result, the existing lot coverage will increase and the residence will then have an attached garage.

    Therefore, although the residence will be the largest in the immediate neighborhood, Staff believes that the proposed additions will not result in a residential structure that is out of scale with the surrounding neighborhood. The second story addition will be 688 square-feet and will not alter the existing lot coverage or existing setbacks due to the second story addition being setback 9’-4" from the front façade of the first story along Schooner Drive and being concentrated over the existing garage and first floor of the residence. Nonetheless, the subject residence is requesting a second story due to the limited buildable area on the lot because of the severe transitional slope located at the rear (north) of the property. Since lot coverage is constrained to 50% for the lot, the only reasonable area to add living space is above the existing residence. Further, due to the variety of floor plans in this neighborhood, the subject home will not deviate from any established design but, rather, add to the variety that currently exists in the Seaview tract. As such, this finding can be made.

    1. Architectural styles, including facade treatments, structure height, open space between structures, roof design, the apparent bulk or mass of the structure, number of stories, and building materials.

    The architectural style of the existing residence is consistent with the architecture of the other homes in the immediate neighborhood. The architectural features that are predominately found in the immediate neighborhood include ranch-style homes, exterior finishes of wood siding or stucco, roofing materials of clay tile or wood shake, and a mix of gable and hip-pitch roof designs. The proposed project will not introduce any new exterior materials to the neighborhood. The existing and proposed portions of the home will have a design that includes wood siding and gable roofline.

    The appearance of the home from the public right-of-way, specifically Schooner Drive, will change slightly with the addition of a second story. Of the ten (10) closest residences analyzed by Staff, all of them were single story structures. Since the subject property is at a lower pad elevation than neighbors to the northeast, a higher pad elevation than neighbors across Palos Verdes Drive South, and will not encroach closer to any street side or front side setback, Staff feels the correct design and articulation has been carried out to accommodate a second story in the Seaview tract. The open space between adjacent structures has not been proposed to change. Furthermore, the structure is proposed at a height of 20’-6" as measured from lowest point covered by structure to ridge. According to the City’s Development Code, a single family one-story residence may be constructed up to 16’ as measured from highest point covered by structure to ridge and 20’ as measured from the lowest point covered by structure to ridge, without the approval of a height variation application. In comparison, the proposed second story addition will be 6" higher than what is allowed by right for a one-story residence at this particular lot. As such, this finding can be made.

    1. Front yard setbacks.

The proposed second story addition will not result in a change of the existing front yard setback area, since the addition will be located at the rear of the residence. The existing legal non-conforming residential structure is setback approximately 16-feet from the front property line. The proposed first story addition will be setback approximately 25’ from the front setback line and will thereby, not intensify the non-conformity. When compared with other residences in the surrounding Seaview tract, the proposed front setback will be at a distance that is the same, and in many cases greater, than neighboring front yard setbacks. As such, this finding can be made.

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

The proposed second story addition will not infringe upon the privacy of the adjacent properties. Largely, since the proposed addition will be located on the corner of Schooner and Palos Verdes Drive South. This is in correlation with the proposed location of the addition and the fact that there are varying pad elevations between the subject property and neighbors. In addition, the proposed second story will be located on the Schooner street side and will not have a direct view of any neighbors rear yard or living space, thus alleviating Staff’s concern with the potential for privacy infringement. As such, this finding can be made and adopted.

Additional Information

Staff received a correspondence from the property owner at 4207 Palos Verdes Drive South, located directly across Schooner at the corner of Palos Verdes Drive South. The letter expressed concerns of privacy. The owner stated that that there are currently no windows on the first floor of the subject property and that the proposed second story and first story additions will contain windows that will face into their kitchen-dining window. They also expressed concerns of the potential loss of morning sun through their kitchen window due to the proposed second story. After a site visit to the property, Staff determined that no privacy infringement would result from the addition of windows since the property is located across the street and at a significant distance, approximately 85-feet, from the property at 4207 Palos Verdes Drive South. According to the City’s Development Code, "privacy" is defined as reasonable protection from intrusive visual observation. Due to the distance between properties and this being the only window on the east side of the residence at 4207 Palos Verdes Drive South, Staff feels there will not be a loss of reasonable protection from intrusive visual observation. Furthermore, According to the City’s development code, the potential loss of morning sun is not considered a significant impact.

CONCLUSION

Based on the above analysis, Staff has determined that all the applicable findings for Height Variation (Case No. ZON2001-00015) can be made to warrant approval of the two-story addition that will result in a two-story structure that is 20’-6" in height as measured from the lowest point covered by structure to ridge and 19’-1" in height, measured from the highest point covered by structure. Staff believes that the proposed addition will not significantly impair any views; will result in a structure that is compatible with the immediate neighborhood; and will not result in an infringement of privacy. Further, the additions to the first and second floors comply with the standards contained in the City’s Development Code. Therefore, Staff recommends approval of Height Variation (Case No. ZON2001-00015), based upon the evidence and the findings contained within the Staff Report, and subject to the conditions contained in Exhibit "A".

ALTERNATIVES

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

  1. Deny Height Variation (Case No. ZON2001-00015) with prejudice.
  2. 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.

Please note that in the event that this item is continued beyond the April 27, 2002 action deadline, the applicant must agree to a 90-day extension of that deadline.

ATTACHMENTS:

  • P.C. Resolution No. 2002-______
  • Conditions of Approval for Height Variation (Case No. ZON2001-00015) - Exhibit "A"
  • Letters of Correspondence to the City
  • Project Plans


P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2002-__

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING HEIGHT VARIATION (CASE NO. ZON2001-00015), THEREBY PERMITTING an additional 1,584 square-feet of living space to an existing 2,335 square-foot one-story single-family residence. The addition will include 896 square-feet on the first floor and 688 square-feet on the proposed new second floor, LOCATED AT 4155 PALOS VERDES DRIVE SOUTH.

WHEREAS, on August 13, 2001, the applicant, Mr. & Mrs. Lenders, submitted a Height Variation (Case No. 2001-00015), requesting approval to construct an additional 1,584 square-feet of living space to an existing 2,335 square-foot one-story single-family residence, which will include 896 square-feet on the first floor and 688 square-feet on the proposed new second floor; and,

WHEREAS, on February 25, 2002, upon verification of the temporary frame silhouette, Staff deemed the applications generally complete for processing; 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 Height Variation (Case No. 2001-00015) would have a significant effect on the environment and, therefore, the proposed project has been found to be categorically exempt under Class 1 (Section 15301); and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Ranchos Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on April 9, 2002, 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: That the approved project includes the construction of an additional 1,584 square-feet of living space to an existing 2,335 square-foot one-story single-family residence, which will include 896 square-feet on the first floor and 688 square-feet on the proposed new second floor.

Section 2: The applicant has complied with the Early Neighborhood Consultation process established by the City by obtaining acknowledgement signatures from 83% of the property owners within 100-feet of the subject property and 30% of the property owners within 500-feet of the subject property, who have reviewed the plans.

Section 3: The proposed two-story addition and roofline modifications do not significantly impair a view from public property which have been identified in the City’s General Plan or Coastal Specific Plan as a City-designated viewing area because there are no such areas that overlook the subject property.

Section 4: The property is not located on a ridge and promontory as there are other parcels with varying pad elevations, the subject parcel is not located on a hilltop or elongated crest, and it is not located on a mass of land which overlooks or projects onto a lowland.

Section 5: The proposed two-story addition and roof ridgeline modifications are designed and situated in a manner that minimizes view impairment due to the topography of the area, where adjacent parcels at the same pad level contain views in a southerly direction. Parcels located northerly of the property are at higher pad elevations and have a line of sight over the proposed second story addition.

Section 6: There is no significant cumulative view impairment caused by granting the application since the view analysis of individual lots surrounding the project site determined that the view corridors from adjacent properties are located above the residence and proposed second story addition due to the variation in pad heights between neighboring properties.

Section 7: The proposed two-story addition and roof ridgeline modifications, when considered exclusive of foliage, will not significantly impair a view from the viewing area of another parcel, due primarily to the orientation of the lots within the neighborhood and the fact that there is no foliage currently in the line of sight where the second story addition is proposed.

Section 8: The proposed two-story addition and roof ridgeline modifications comply with all other Code requirements in that all the development standards of the RS-4 district are met and the minimum setback and lot coverage requirements are met.

Section 9: The proposed structure is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character and will blend with the existing varied architectural features found in the neighborhood, and the exterior finish materials will be consistent with the existing materials.

Section 10: The proposed two-story addition and roof ridgeline modifications do not create an unreasonable infringement on the privacy of the occupants of abutting residences. Largely, since the proposed addition will be located on the corner of Schooner and Palos Verdes Drive South. This is in correlation with the proposed location of the addition and the fact that there are varying pad elevations between the subject property and neighbors. In addition, no privacy infringement would result from the addition of windows on the first and second stories, since neighboring properties are located across the street and at a significant distance, approximately 85-feet, from 4155 Palos Verdes Drive South.

Section 11: Any interested person 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 final action.

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 Height Variation (Case No. ZON2001-00015) for the construction of an additional 1,584 square-feet of living space to an existing 2,335 square-foot one-story single-family residence, which will include 896 square-feet on the first floor and 688 square-feet on the proposed new second floor, subject to the conditions contained in the attached Exhibit "A".

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED this 9th day of April 2002, by the following vote:

AYES

NOES:

ABSTENTIONS:

ABSENT:

 

________________________
John S. Cartwright,
Chairman

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



Exhibit "A"
Conditions of Approval

Height Variation (Case No. ZON2001-00015)
Resolution No. 2002 - ___

General

  1. The applicant/property owner shall submit to the City a statement, in writing that they have read, understand and agree to all conditions of approval listed below. Failure to provide said written statement within ninety (90) days of the effective date of 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 Planning Commission, unless the approved plans are submitted to the Building and Safety Division to initiate the "plan check" review process.
  3. Approval of Height Variation (Case No. ZON2001-00015) is for the construction of an additional 1,584 square-feet of living space to an existing 2,335 square-foot one-story single-family residence, which will include 896 square-feet on the first floor and 688 square-feet on the proposed new second floor.
  4. The maximum height of the improvement shall not exceed 20’-6", as measured from the finished grade adjacent to the lowest foundation to ridge. Additionally, the proposed second story addition is at a height of 19’-1" as measured from adjacent grade to the highest foundation to ridge. The lowest pad elevation is located at the front (southwest) side of the residence. RIDGE HEIGHT CERTIFICATION REQUIRED BY A LICENSED CIVIL ENGINEER OR SURVEYOR.
  5. Unless modified in the future by another discretionary City approval, the improvement shall maintain the following minimum setbacks:

    • 20’-0" front yard
    • 15’-0" rear yard
    • 10’-0" street side
    • 5’-0" side yard

  1. The project shall substantially conform to the plans stamped approved with the effective date of this approval.
  2. Due to the RS-4 zoning of the subject property, a maximum of fifty (50%) percent lot coverage is allowed on the lot (proposed 38%).
  3. A foliage analysis was conducted by Staff and found that there will be no significant view impairment from the viewing area of another parcel, and there is no evidence of significant view impairment exclusive of foliage.
  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. Permitted hours of construction are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. No work is permitted on Sundays or legal holidays as specified in Section 17.96.920 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code.
  6. 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.
  7. In the event that a Planning requirement and a Building & Safety requirement are in conflict with one another, the stricter standard shall apply.
  8. No grading is approved or allowed under this permit approval.
  9. All applicable soils/geotechnical reports required by the Building and Safety Division shall be obtained by the applicant and approved by the City's geologist prior to building permit issuance.
  10. All applicable permits required by the Building and Safety Division, shall be obtained by the applicant.



5. HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 928, VARIANCE NO. 487, MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT NO. 586, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2276, SITE PLAN REVIEW NO. 9127: 4206 Admirable Drive / Barez (DB)

Request: A request to allow the construction of a 2,083 square foot addition to an existing single story residence, which is proposed to measure 15.83’ from the highest point of finished grade covered by structure and 25.93’ from the lowest point of finished grade covered by structure; to allow a 16-foot front yard setback, 52% lot coverage, and a six-foot tall block wall in the street side setback (along Schooner Drive); to allow 188 cubic yards of cut and 219 cubic yards of fill, for a total of 407 cubic yards of earth moved; and to deviate from the Municipal Code prohibition on grading and construction over extreme slopes.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt Resolution No. 2002-___; approving, with conditions, Site Plan Review No. 9127 and portions of Minor Exception Permit No. 586; and denying, without prejudice, Height Variation Permit No. 928, Grading Permit no. 2276, Variance No. 487, and portions of Minor Exception Permit No. 586.

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: April 9, 2002

SUBJECT: Height Variation No. 928, Grading Permit NO. 2276, Site Plan Review No. 9127, Minor Exception Permit No. 586, & Variance No. 487.

PROJECT ADDRESS: 4206 ADMIRABLE DRIVE

APPLICANT:
RUSSELL E. BARTO
3 MALAGA COVE PLAZA #202
PALOS VERDES ESTATE, CA 90274

PHONE: 310-378-1355

LANDOWNER:
MR. & MRS. BRAD BAREZ
4206 ADMIRABLE DRIVE
RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA 90275

PHONE: 310-544-5671

STAFF COORDINATOR:
DAVE BLUMENTHAL
ASSOCIATE PLANNER

REQUESTED ACTION: A request to allow the construction of 2,083 square foot addition to an existing single story residence, which is proposed to measure 15.83’ from the highest point of finished grade covered by structure and 25.93’ from the lowest point of finished grade covered by structure; to allow a REDUCED front yard setback, 52% lot coverage, and a six-foot tall FENCE in the street side setback (along Schooner Drive); to allow 188 cubic yards of cut and 219 cubic yards of fill, for a total of 407 cubic yards of earth moved; and to deviate from the Municipal Code prohibition on grading and construction over extreme slopes.

RECOMMENDATION: ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2002-___; APPROVING, WITH CONDITIONS, SITE PLAN REVIEW NO. 9127 AND PORTIONS OF MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT NO. 586; AND DENYING, WITHOUT PREJUDICE, HEIGHT VARIATION PERMIT NO. 928, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2276, VARIANCE NO. 487, AND PORTIONS OF MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT NO. 586.

REFERENCES:

ZONING: SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL – RS-4

LAND USE: SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL

CODE SECTIONS: 17.02, 17.48, 17.64, 17.66, 17.70, 17.76, &17.96

GENERAL PLAN: SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL

TRAILS PLAN: N/A

SPECIFIC PLAN: N/A

CEQA: CATEGORICALLY EXEMPT (CLASS 3)

ACTION DEADLINE: APRIL 21, 2002

PLANNING COMMISSION MEMBERS RESIDING WITHIN 500’ OF SUBJECT PROPERTY: NONE

BACKGROUND

On April 20, 2001, an application for a Height Variation, Minor Exception Permit, Grading Permit, and Site Plan Review was submitted to the Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Department for review. The request is to allow the construction of a 2,083 square foot addition to an existing single story residence, which is proposed to measure 15.83’ from the highest point of finished grade covered by structure and 25.93’ from the lowest point of finished grade covered by structure; to allow a 16-foot front yard setback, and to allow 188 cubic yards of cut and 219 cubic yards of fill, for a total of 407 cubic yards of earth moved.

On May 16, 2001, staff determined the application to be incomplete and sent notice to the applicant and property owner. This determination was made due to missing and incomplete information, including requirements for a Variance application to allow grading over an extreme slope and the need to modify the Minor Exception Permit to include the proposed wall along the side property line and increase in lot coverage. On February 15, 2002, the applicant submitted the remaining information requested.

On February 20, 2002, staff completed the review of all the information submitted and determined that the application was complete and sufficient for processing. Legal notices were sent to the 78 properties within the 500-foot radius on February 20, 2002. Furthermore, the legal notice was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News on February 23, 2002.

SITE DESCRIPTION

The subject property, located at 4206 Admirable Drive, is a 10,880 square foot rectangular shaped parcel, which approximately measures 98-feet wide by 115-feet deep. The property is a corner lot with the front property line on Admirable Drive and street side property line on Schooner Drive. The property is relatively flat except for a transitional slope along the rear property line and the south corner of the lot, which ranges from a 40% to 60% downslope (extreme slope).

The subject parcel is currently improved with a 2,217 square foot single story residence and a 417 square foot detached garage. The dwelling unit currently provides the following setbacks: front – 20’, side – 6’-8", street side – 10’-4", rear – 48’-6". The detached garage is located to the rear of the residence and takes access from Schooner Drive. Currently the garage provides a 10’ street side setback, a 15’6" rear setback, and a 12’ separation between the garage and the main residence.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant is proposing to demolish the existing garage and construct a 2,083 square foot addition, which will result in a two story u-shaped residence. The proposed addition includes 1,756 square feet of living area and a 744 square foot, three-car garage. The 744 square foot garage includes 417 square feet of area that was currently occupied by the existing garage.

The addition will be to three areas of the house. The first addition area is located on the southwest corner of the existing residence. This will be a two-story addition, which includes a new kitchen and family room on the upper floor, and a laundry room, storage room, wine cellar, and three-car garage in the lower level. The garage is accessed from Schooner Drive. In order to meet Municipal Code Section No. 17.02.030(E), the new garage has been setback 20 feet from the street side property line. This setback has facilitated a design that allows the upper floor to cantilever ten feet over the driveway. The addition measures 25.83’ from the lowest finished grade adjacent to foundation/slab to the highest ridgeline.

The second addition area of the house is located on the northwest corner. This portion of the addition is a single story consisting of a master bedroom, with bath. The addition measures 16.92’ from the lowest finished grade adjacent to foundation/slab to the highest ridgeline. The third area is a one-story addition that is located on the northeast side of the residence. This addition includes a 63 square foot room addition and a 100 square foot covered porch.

The addition will be finished with stucco siding to match the existing house and a tiled gable roof. Additionally, the applicant has used recessed sections, columns, and garden windows to break up the appearance of the elevations.

Project Statistics:

CRITERIA

REQUIRED

PROPOSED

     

Lot Size

10,000 s.f.

10,880 s.f.

     

Building Size

N/A

4,300 s.f.

     

Setbacks

   

Front

20’

16’ (Minor Exception Permit Requested)

Side

5’

5’

Street Side

10’

10’-4"

Rear

15’

15’

     

Lot Coverage

50%

52% (Minor Exception Permit Requested)

     

Enclosed Parking

2 spaces

3 spaces

     

Building Height

   

Highest elevation of building pad covered by structure to highest ridge of building.

16’

15.83’

Lowest elevation of building pad covered by structure to highest ridge of building.

20’

25.83’ (Height Variation Requested)

Table 1

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

Staff has reviewed the proposed application for compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Upon completion of this review, it has been determined that this request is categorically exempt from CEQA, pursuant to Guideline Section No. 15303 (New Construction or Conversion of Small Structures).

Categorical Exemptions are projects, which have determined not to have a significant effect on the environment and have been exempted from the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act. "Class 3 consists of construction and location of limited numbers of new, small facilities or structures." This section is meant to include the construction of one single-family residence.

CODE CONSIDERATION AND ANALYSIS

HEIGHT VARIATION

The subject lot is considered a pad lot. The City of Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code Section 17.02.040(B)(1)(c) allows the construction of a single-family residence on pad lots within the RS-4 zone that do not to exceed the height of 16-feet as measured from the highest elevation adjacent to the building foundation/slab to the highest point of the house, or 20-feet as measured from the lowest elevation adjacent to the building foundation/slab to the highest point of the house. Municipal Code Section No. 17.02.040(B)(1) allows these heights to be increased to 26-feet with the approval of a Height Variation. The applicant’s proposal includes heights of 15.83’ and 25.83’.

Pursuant to Municipal Code Section No. 17.02.040(C)(1)(a), the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement is required to refer the Height Variation to the Planning Commission when any portion of the building, which exceeds 16-feet in height, is closer than 25 feet to the front and/or street side property line, or more than 60% of the garage is covered by structure. Municipal Code Section No. 17.02.040(C)(1)(e) sets forth the findings required in order for the Planning Commission to approve a Height Variation. A discussion of these findings (in bold type) follows:

  1. The applicant has complied with the early neighborhood consultation process established by the city.
  2. The City of Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code requires the applicant to take all necessary steps to consult with the property owners within 500 feet of the project site. The City has established the following guidelines to conform with this requirement, "if the signatures of at least 60% of the landowners within 500 feet; or 70% of the landowners within 100 feet and 25% of the total number of landowners within 500 feet (including those within 100 feet) is obtained."

    With exception to the project site, there are ten properties within the 100 feet and 69 parcels within the 500 feet of the site. The applicant has obtained seven signatures from properties within 100 feet (70%) and 20 signatures of landowners within 500 feet (29%) of the project site. In as much as the applicant meets the requirement to notify 70% of landowners within 100 feet and 25% of the landowners within 500 feet, they have complied with the early notification consultation process, and this finding can be adopted.

  3. The structure does not significantly impair a view from public property (parks, major thoroughfares, bike ways, walkways, or equestrian trails), which have been identified in the City’s General Plan or Coastal Plan, as a city-designated viewing area.
  4. The City of Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan, adopted June 26, 1975, identifies views and vistas from public property within the city. A view is defined as a scene observed from a given vantage point (i.e. Catalina Island); whereas, a vista is defined as a confined view, which is usually, directed toward a terminal or dominate element or feature (i.e. lighthouse).

    As pertaining to views from public property, the General Plan identifies one view and one vista in the vicinity of the project site. The view is identified from Palos Verdes Drive South and overlooks the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. The vista is also identified from Palos Verdes Drive South and overlooks Inspiration Point and Portuguese Point. However, because the project site is not located between these viewing areas and their respective view and therefore will not impair these views, this finding can be adopted.

  5. The proposed structure is not located on a ridge or promontory.
  6. A ridge is defined as, "an elongated crest or a linear series of crests of hills, bluffs, or highlands." A promontory is defined as, "a prominent mass of land, large enough to support development, which overlooks or projects onto a lowland or body of water on at least two sides." The subject property is located within a fully developed single-family residential tract. The tract is not located on a ridge or a promontory, as defined in the Municipal Code, and therefore this finding can be adopted.

  7. The structure is designed and situated in such a manner as to minimize impairment of a view.
  8. The structure, as proposed, has been designed with portions of the house that exceed 16-feet in height impairing a view from 4137 and 4140 Admirable Drive. The view impaired from 4137 Admirable is of the Pacific Ocean, as viewed from the living room; while the view impaired from 4140 Admirable is of a natural setting on the peninsula, as viewed from the living room and adjoining patio. Photos showing these view impairments will be available for viewing at the Planning Commission meeting. Staff feels that it may be possible to minimize the view impairment by redesigning the structure to eliminate the portions of the building, which are above 16 feet high, or by relocating the southwestern wall of this portion of the building. Because, the structure creates significant view impairment and has not been designed to minimize the impairments of view staff, feels that this finding cannot be adopted.

  9. There is no significant cumulative view impairment caused by granting the application.
  10. The subject lot is located in a residential subdivision, which was designed to orient views southwesterly towards the ocean and Catalina Island. Unfortunately, due to the design and topography of this residential subdivision, second-story additions have the ability to contribute towards significant cumulative view impairment for properties located upslope. As noted in the discussion above and below, the proposed addition causes a significant view impact. Therefore, staff feels that this finding cannot be adopted.

  11. The proposed structure, when considered exclusively of existing foliage, does not significantly impair a view from the viewing area of another parcel.
  12. As noted in the discussion above, approval of this project will cause view impairment to the property located at 4140 Admirable. This property has a 180-degree view of Long Point, the peninsula, and the Pacific Ocean, including Catalina Island. The proposed addition will block a portion of a natural setting on the peninsula (an area upslope from Long Point), but will not impede the view of the Long Point or the coastline. Since the proposed addition does not block the view of Long Point, the coastline, or Catalina Island, staff does not consider this view impairment as significant.

    However, the property at 4137 Admirable Drive has a view of the Pacific Ocean from the living room, which is the only view from this residence. This view extends horizontally from the house at 4140 Admirable Drive to the existing residence at the subject property. The proposed two-story addition will encroach into this view, thereby reducing the view by approximately 40%. In as much as this is the only view from this residence, and approval of the Height Variation will significantly reduce this view, approval of the proposed structure will significantly impair the view from the viewing area of another property. As such, staff feels that this finding cannot be adopted. There are no other view impacts caused by this proposal since other properties in the area have views in other directions, or have no view since they are at the same level of the subject property.

  13. The proposed structure complies with all other code requirements.
  14. Even though the proposal does not meet the minimum front yard setback, the maximum lot size, and the maximum allowable height for a fence in the street side setback, the applicant has requested a Minor Exception Permit to allow these deviations. As noted below, the findings required by Municipal Code Section No. 17.66 can be made in order to approve a Minor Exception Permit. With approval of the Minor Exception Permit, the requested deviations are considered to adhere to the Municipal Code.

    In addition to the previous mentioned deviations, the applicant is requesting to construct the two-story portion of the addition over an extreme slope. The City of Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code Section No. 17.48.060 prohibits any development constructed over extreme slopes. The applicant has requested a Variance to allow the deviation from the code prohibition of construction on an extreme slope. However, as noted below (under the Variance discussion), all of the required findings for a Variance cannot be made. Without approval of the Variance, the project does not meet the all code requirements. As such, staff feels that this finding cannot be adopted.

  15. The proposed structure is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character.
  16. The Municipal Code defines neighborhood character as the scale of surrounding residences, architectural styles and materials, and front yard setbacks. The Height Variation Guidelines state the ten closest homes shall be reviewed to determine if a proposal is compatible with the neighborhood.

    Architectural Style and Materials:

    The neighborhood consists of one and two story homes, the majority of which are single story houses. In comparing the architectural style of the ten nearest homes, staff has found that they mostly have stucco siding, though some wood siding was noted, and have a variety of window and roof styles. Housing color and roofing material varied on all ten homes compared. The proposal includes using stucco siding with a tile gable roof, which will match the existing siding and roof. Since the proposed additions will match the existing home, and they are consistent with the ten nearest homes, the architectural style and material of the proposal is compatible with the neighborhood character.

    Scale of Surrounding Residences:

    The homes compared, along with the lot size, structure size, number of stories, and front yard setbacks are listed in the following table (Table 2). It should be noted that structure size and setback information was obtained by researching building permits on file with the city. Lot sizes were obtained from the original tract map.

    Address

    Lot Size

    Structure Size

    Number of Stories

    4155 Palos Verdes Drive South

    10,150 s.f.

    2,306 s.f.

    One

    4207 Palos Verdes Drive South

    10,380 s.f.

    1,801 s.f.

    One

    4215 Palos Verdes Drive South

    10,544 s.f.

    2,727 s.f.

    One

    4137 Admirable Drive

    10,730 s.f.

    2,306 s.f.

    One

    4140 Admirable Drive

    10,620 s.f.

    2,455 s.f.

    One

    4207 Admirable Drive

    10,130 s.f.

    2,746 s.f.

    Two

    4212 Admirable Drive

    10,225 s.f.

    3,115 s.f.

    Two

    4213 Admirable Drive

    10,532 s.f.

    2,522 s.f.

    One

    4220 Admirable Drive

    10,814 s.f.

    2,742 s.f.

    One

    4225 Admirable Drive

    10,932 s.f.

    2,281 s.f.

    One

    Average

    10,506 s.f.

    2,500 s.f.

     
           

    4206 Admirable Drive

    Existing

    10,880 s.f.

    2,217 s.f.

    One

    Proposed

    4,300 s.f.

    Two

    Table 2

    As noted in Table 2, the average structure size is 2,500 square feet and the largest structure is 3,115 square feet. The existing house is 2,217 square feet and the proposed addition is 2,083 square feet, which will bring the proposed home to 4,300 square feet. This size of a home is 72% larger than the average home surveyed and is 38% larger than the largest house surveyed. In addition to the square footage of the proposed house, there is no articulation between the upper and lower floors on the rear (southwest) side of the two-story addition, and on the street (southeast) side the upper floor projects beyond the lower floor of the two-story structure. This lack of articulation on one side and projection on another causes the two-story addition to have an apparent larger bulk and mass than other homes in the area. Staff does not consider this type of square footage increase or the bulk and mass of the proposed structure as compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

    Front Yard Setback:

    Of the ten homes surveyed, the front yard setbacks all measured 20-feet except for one, which is 19’-4". The majority of the subject residence meets the 20’ front yard setback, except for the planned covered porch, which is proposed to have a 16’ front yard; and a portion of the room addition, which is proposed to have a 18’-6" front yard setback. The covered porch is not considered a significant difference in setback since only two columns and the roof will extend out this difference. Even though the proposed project does not match the setback of surrounding properties, staff considers the project consistent with the neighborhood character, since a majority of the residence will maintain the required setback.

    Based on the analysis above, it can be found that the proposal is compatible with the character of the neighborhood with regards to the architectural style and material and with regards to the front yard setback. However, due to the requested increase in the size and mass of the residence, staff feels that the addition is not compatible with the neighborhood character with respects to scale. For this reason, staff feels that this finding cannot be adopted.

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

Chapter 17.02 of the Municipal Code defines privacy as the reasonable protection from visual intrusion. The proposal includes a two-story addition that will be setback 15 feet from the rear property line. Included with this addition is a large garden window that faces southwesterly, towards the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. Since this window is located at a higher elevation than the neighboring property, there is the potential for this window to look down into the adjoining property’s (4207 Palos Verdes Drive South) rear yard as well as the residence’s kitchen and bedroom. Therefore, by allowing the proposed addition, staff believes there may be a reasonable infringement onto the privacy of the occupants of the abutting residence. Therefore staff feels this finding cannot be adopted.

VARIANCE

The two-story portion of the addition is located in an area of the lot, which has slopes that range from 40% to 60%. Section No. 17.48.060 of the Municipal Code defines any slope 35% or greater as an extreme slope. This section of the Municipal Code prohibits construction of any structure on an extreme slope. The applicant has requested a Variance in order to deviate from this standard.

Municipal Code Section No. 17.64 sets forth four required findings that must be made in order for the Planning Commission to approve the Variance. A discussion of each of these findings (in bold type) follows. Following the finding, the applicant has included comments on each finding (in italic type) with their application. Staff’s analysis (in normal text) follows the applicant’s discussion.

  1. There are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applicable to the property involved, or to the intended use of the property, which do not apply generally to other property in the same zoning district.
  2. Applicant’s Analysis:

    The extreme slopes involved in this application are located on the interior of the lot and affect 20% of the lot area, thereby restricting the development and full use of the property in an extraordinary manner. Other lots in the area do not have extreme slopes on the interior of the lot, which restrict development as these slopes do.

    Staff’s Analysis:

    The subject property is fairly rectangular and a sufficient size (10,880 square feet) to meet the minimum development standards of the zone. However, the subject property includes areas with extreme slopes on the south corner of the lot. This area occupies approximately 25% of the buildable portion of the parcel. While other properties in the vicinity have extreme slopes, they are usually transition slopes between two adjoining properties and located in the setback area, thereby not affecting the buildable portion of the lots. Since this property has an extreme slope that occupies a significant portion of the lot, it can be found that there is an extraordinary circumstance on the property, which is not generally found on other parcels in the vicinity and zone of the subject lot. As such, staff feels that this finding can be made.

  3. That such variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right of the applicant, which right is possessed by other property owners under like conditions in the same zoning district.
  4. Applicant’s Analysis:

    I calculate that 25% of the developable area of this lot (lot area within the four setbacks) is rendered useless due to the interior extreme slopes. This situation is unique to this lot. Granting the Variance is necessary to allow development opportunities on this lot similar to those enjoyed by most other lots in this neighborhood.

    Staff’s Analysis:

    The subject property is fairly rectangular and a sufficient size (10,880 square feet) to meet the minimum development standards of the zone. Currently, the subject property is improved with a 2,217 square foot single-family residence and detached garage. As noted in the neighborhood compatibility finding, the average size home in the surrounding area is 2,500 square feet. Seeing as there are other areas on the property in which additions can be done (outside the extreme slope area), and that the existing residence is within 9% of the average home size of the area, staff feels that the Variance is not needed in order for the property to enjoy a property right, which is maintained by other properties in the area. As such, staff feels that this finding cannot be adopted.

  5. That granting the variance will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to property and improvements in the area in which the property is located.
  6. Applicant’s Analysis:

    The proposed development is consistent with the General Plan and is intended for single-family residential use. Property and improvements in the area will not be affected by the elimination of the extreme slopes in question. The proposed development is compatible with existing development in the neighborhood and is a logical extension of the existing development of this lot.

    Staff’s Analysis:

    Construction on extreme slopes is typically prohibited to minimize impacts to public safety. However, due to the minimal height difference between the top and toe of the extreme slopes (approximately six feet) in combination with the use of retaining walls, along the rear property line and within the lower floor of the residence, impacts to property and the public can be mitigated so that they will not be materially detrimental. Furthermore, the applicant has had a geology and soils report prepared for the propose project. This report has been reviewed and approved by the City’s Geologist.

    Conversely, approval of the Variance will permit a two-story structure to be built. As noted in the Height Variation findings, the proposed addition will have a significant impact to a view from another property. In staff’s opinion, approval of the Variance will have a detrimental impact to properties in the area since it will allow for a structure to be built that will impact a view from another property. Since this impact will occur, staff feels that this finding cannot be adopted.

  7. That granting the variance will not be contrary to the objectives of the general plan or the policies and requirements of the coastal specific plan.

Applicant’s Analysis:

The proposed use of this property is consistent with the objectives of the General Plan and complies with current zoning codes and ordinances governing this single-family residential neighborhood.

Staff’s Analysis:

The City of Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan designates extreme slopes as Resource Management District 2 (RM 2). The General Plan states, "Practices distorting the topography of hillsides in any fashions should be prohibited. Only nonstructured uses such as passive park, trails, agriculture, etc., should be permitted." Furthermore, it is a policy of the General Plan to "Allow only low intensity activities within Resource Management Districts of extreme slopes (RM 2)." In this case, as the property is already developed, and there is room for more additions, without building on an extreme slope, staff feels that it would be contrary to this policy and to the overall objective of the of the RM 2 district to grant the Variance and allow the construction over the extreme slope. Therefore, staff feels that this finding cannot be adopted.

GRADING PERMIT

In addition to the proposed structures, the applicant is requesting a Major Grading Permit. The applicant is proposing to cut 188 cubic yards of earth (175 cubic yards under the building and 13 cubic yards outside the building footprint); and fill 219 cubic yards of earth (26 cubic yards under the building and 193 cubic yards outside the building foot print) for a total of 407 cubic yards of earth moved. A discussion of the required criteria (in bold type) follows:

  1. The grading does not exceed that which is necessary for the permitted primary use of the lot, as defined in Chapter 17.96 of the Municipal Code.
  2. The subject property is located in the RS-4 zone and is currently improved with a 2,217 square foot single-family residential unit. The permitted primary use in the RS-4 zone is single-family residential dwelling units. While the proposed grading is for an addition to a single-family residential dwelling unit, it is not considered necessary since the property is already improved with the primary use. Furthermore, there are other portions on the property, which would permit additions without requiring grading, and without building over an extreme slope. As Such, staff feels that this criterion has not been met.

  3. The grading and/or related construction does not significantly adversely affect the visual relationships with, nor the views from, neighboring properties.
  4. As noted in the Height Variation findings listed above, the proposed addition that requires grading will impact the views from neighboring properties. This includes significant and cumulative view impacts. As Such, staff feels that this criterion has not been met.

  5. The nature of the grading minimizes disturbances to the natural contours and finished counters are reasonably natural.
  6. The proposed grading, and subsequent construction, is located in the southwest side of the subject parcel. This area includes extreme slopes, while the remainder of the lot is relatively flat. In the areas of the proposed grading, all natural contours will be removed and the finished grade will be relatively flat. Therefore, the nature of the grading will not minimize disturbances to the natural contours. As Such, staff feels that this criterion has not been met.

  7. The grading takes into account the preservation of natural topographical features and appearances by means of land sculpturing so as to blend any man-made or manufactured slope into natural topography.
  8. As noted in the previous finding, the proposed grading does not preserve any of the natural contours. In fact, the proposed grading will convert all natural contours into a relatively flat man-made contour. As Such, staff feels that this criterion has not been met.

  9. For new single-family residences, the grading and/or related construction is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character, as defined in Chapter 17.02.
  10. The proposed construction is not considered a new single-family residence; therefore, this criterion is not applicable.

  11. 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 the visual effects of grading and construction on hillsides areas.
  12. This proposal is not a new residential tract; therefore, this criterion is not applicable.

  13. The grading utilizes street designs and improvements, which serve to minimize grading alternative and harmonize with the natural contours and character of the hillside.
  14. This proposal does not include any grading for streets or other public improvements; therefore, this finding is not applicable.

  15. The grading would not cause excessive and unnecessary disturbance of the natural landscape or wildlife habitat through removal of vegetation.
  16. Natural landscape is usually considered wild flowers, low coastal sage scrub, chaparral, and grasslands. The vegetation that exists in the proposed grading area consists primarily of ivy. The ivy is not considered part of the natural vegetation of the area and does not serve as a wildlife habitat. As Such, staff feels that this criterion has been met.

  17. Grading conforms to the standards for grading on slopes, height of cut and fill, and height of retaining walls.

The subject property is located within Tract No. 22835, which was recorded on August 22, 1956. The Municipal Code allows grading on slopes that exceed 35%, provided they do not exceed 50%, for parcels that were legally subdivided before November 25, 1975. Additionally, the Municipal Code limits cut or fill, for areas outside of the building footprint, to five feet unless adjacent to a driveway. The code further restricts downslope retaining walls to three and one-half feet.

While the grading that takes place over an extreme slope and not under the building footprint may be permitted, some of the grading outside of the building footprint is being proposed over slopes that exceed the allowable 50%. The applicant is also proposing two downslope retaining walls (five foot and three foot), which do not meet the maximum allowable three and one-half foot height. Therefore, the proposed grading does not conform to the Municipal Code standards for grading on slopes, height of cut and fill, and height of retaining walls. In order to approve the grading that deviates from this criterion (#9), the Planning Commission must adopt the following findings.

    1. The first finding is that the first eight criteria have been met. As noted in the discussion above, staff’s opinion is that five of the eight criteria cannot be met, while the other three are not applicable to this request; therefore, this finding cannot be adopted.

    2. The second finding is that the request is consistent with the purpose of Municipal Code Section No. 17.46.040. The purpose of the chapter is to provide reasonable development of land, ensure the maximum preservation of the scenic character of the area, ensure that the development of properties occurs in a manner harmonious to adjoining properties, and that the project complies with the goals and polices of the General Plan. Staff feels that the proposed grading is not consistent with any the aforementioned purposes, and therefore this finding cannot be met.

    3. The third finding is that approval of the grading permit will not constitute a special privilege with the limitations upon other properties in the vicinity. As noted above in the Variance findings, an extraordinary circumstance exists on the property, which justifies the proposed addition. In staff’s opinion, approval of the grading permit will not constitute a special privilege, inasmuch as there is the extraordinary circumstance that applies to this property, which does not generally apply to other properties in the area. Therefore, staff feels that this finding can be adopted.

    4. The final finding is that departures from the standards will not be detrimental to the public safety nor to other property. As noted above, in the Variance findings, while the proposed grading and subsequent addition will not have a detrimental impact to public safety, it will impact a view from other properties. As such, staff feels that this finding cannot be adopted.

Staff’s opinion is that three of the four required findings cannot be adopted in order to approve the Grading Permit in excess of the standards set forth in the Municipal Code. As such, staff feels that the grading permit cannot be approved.

MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT

The Minor Exception Permit has been requested to allow a reduced front yard setback, increase in lot coverage, and a six-foot tall fence in the street side setback. The required front yard setback for properties in the RS-4 zone is 20-feet. The applicant is requesting to reduce this setback and allow an addition to the residence that will encroach 1’-6" into the setback, thus providing an 18’-6’ setback; and build a covered porch that will encroach into the setback 4’-0", thus providing a 16-foot setback. The maximum allowable lot coverage for the RS-4 zone is 50%. The applicant is requesting to increase the allowable lot coverage to 52%. Finally, the maximum allowable height for a fence in the street side setback is 42-inches, the applicant is requesting to construct a six foot tall fence within this setback. For purposes of the analysis, the Municipal Code defines a fence to allow at least 80% light admitted, while a wall is a solid and does not admit light. A discussion of the required finding (in bold type) follows:

  1. The Minor Exception Permit is warranted by practical difficulties, or an unnecessary hardship, or is necessary to avoid inconsistencies with the general intent of the zoning code.

Covered Porch into Front Yard Setback:

A practical difficulty exists for the proposed covered porch. The majority of the existing residence is constructed to the front setback line. This does not allow for any type of porch area or formal entry to the house. Approval of the Minor Exception Permit will permit the property owner to create this front porch area and designate a formal entry into the house. Furthermore, the proposed porch will enhance the architecture of the house. As such, staff feels that this finding can be adopted for the front porch.

Room Addition into Front Yard Setback:

While staff is under the opinion there is a practical difficulty that warrants the front porch; the proposed room addition, however, is not justified by a practical difficulty, an unnecessary hardship, or inconsistency with the development code. The proposed room addition encroaches 1’-6" into the setback. It is staff’s opinion that the applicant can modify the proposal to accommodate the setback requirements of the Municipal Code. Therefore, staff feels that this finding cannot be adopted for the room addition.

Exceeding Required Lot Coverage:

Due to the design of the proposal, the applicant has created a large courtyard in the center of the property. The Municipal Code requires that this courtyard be counted towards lot coverage. In staff’s opinion this increased lot coverage is caused by the design of the proposal, not by a practical difficulty, unnecessary hardship, or inconsistency with the code. Since the proposal can be redesigned to eliminate this request, staff feels that this finding cannot be adopted. It should be noted, if the Planning Commission denies the requested Height Variation, Grading Permit, and Variance, the proposed lot coverage will meet the Municipal Code requirements and the Minor Exception Permit will not be necessary for lot coverage.

6’-0" high fence in the street side setback:

An inconsistency with the general intent of the zoning code exists with the proposed fence in the street side yard setback. The intent of limiting fence height to 42-inches within a street side setback is to ensure that visibility is maintained and that there will be no detrimental impact to the public safety, health, and/or welfare. The proposed fence is located adjacent to a driveway, which could cause a visibility conflict with pedestrians on the sidewalk. However, this impact is alleviated by the Municipal Code requirement that 80% of the fence be open to air and light. This provision will insure that person backing out of the driveway will see any pedestrians utilizing the sidewalk. Therefore, staff feels that this finding can be adopted for the 6’-0" high fence in the street side setback.

SITE PLAN REVIEW

In addition to the two-story addition that requires the Height Variation, there are two single story additions being proposed to the house. The first of these is a master bedroom with bath, located on the northwest corner of the house. The addition measures 16.92’ from the lowest finished grade adjacent to foundation/slab to the highest ridgeline. The second one-story addition is located on the northeast side of the residence. This addition includes a 63 square foot room addition and a 100 square foot covered porch.

To approve these additions the proposal must be consistent with the provisions of Title 17 of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code. These additions comply with all requirements and provision of Title 17 of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, except for the required 20’ front setback. The applicant has requested a Minor Exception Permit in order to allow the deviation from this requirement and provide a 16’ setback for a covered porch. As noted above, the Minor Exception Permit is warranted and can be granted, thus making the proposed 16’ setback for a covered porch consistent with Title 17. Therefore staff feels that the Site Plan Review can be approved.

The proposed Site Plan Review is to allow the construction of 743 square feet of habitable area, which is a 33.5% increase over the existing 2,217 square foot residence. A neighborhood compatibility finding is required when a 25% increase over the original house size is proposed. As noted above in the Height Variation findings, staff feels that the proposed home is compatible within the neighborhood with regards to architectural style and material, and front yard setbacks. Additionally, staff noted that the proposal was not compatible to the character of the neighborhood regarding the size and mass of the proposed residence. Taking into account the recommended denial of the Height Variation, Grading Permit, and Variance, the proposed house with the 743 square foot one-story addition will be 2,960 square feet. Since this size is less than the largest residence (3,115 s.f.) and is only approximately 15% larger than the average home size (2,500 s.f.), staff feels that this size of the house is compatible with the character of the neighborhood. Furthermore, only a small portion of the one-story addition will occur to the front of the house, while the remainder will occur to the rear of the house. These additions will not increase the apparent bulk and mass of the house. Therefore, the staff feels that the proposed house with only the one-story additions is compatible with the character of the neighborhood and the neighborhood compatibility finding can be adopted.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The intersection visibility triangle is "the area formed by the intersection of extended curblines and a line joining points on the curb sixty feet (measured along the curblines) from the point of intersection of the curbline extensions." Approximately eight square feet of the existing house and 16.5 square feet of the proposed addition (which staff is recommending denial of a portion of because in encroaches in the front yard setback) are located within the intersection visibility triangle. Municipal Code Section No. 17.48.070 prohibits construction of any structures within the intersection visibility triangle. However, the Municipal Code allows the Planning Commission to approve structures in the intersection visibility triangle upon determination by the Director of Public Works that the location and/or height of the existing or proposed structure within the intersection visibility triangle allows for the safe view of on-coming traffic by a driver approaching an intersection, and thus no intersection visibility impacts would result. The Director of Public Works has determined that proposed construction within the intersection visibility triangle will have no impact to the intersection visibility. As such, if the Planning Commission is inclined to approve the Minor Exception Permit for the room addition that encroaches into the front yard setback, there will be no impacts to intersection visibility.

On March 7, 2002, staff received an email from the property owner of 4207 Palos Verdes Drive South, which is adjacent to the property on the southwest. The property owner had several concerns about the proposed addition including privacy and blocking views. As noted in the Height Variation findings, staff is under the opinion that the proposed two-story addition will create an infringement of privacy to this neighbor. With respects to view, the house at 4207 Palos Verdes Drive South has a primary view from the living room, which faces southwesterly looking at the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. It should be noted that this viewing area does not see the proposed addition. The view the respondent is concerned with is from the kitchen and bedroom, which is a near view looking at a hill (natural setting) on the peninsula. In staff’s opinion, this is not a protected view since it is not the primary view from the property; therefore the proposed addition does not cause significant view impairment to this property. In addition to privacy and view, the property owner questioned about the neighborhood compatibility and has concerns about the grading of the project. These issues have been addressed in the findings for neighborhood capability and grading.

On March 11, 2002, staff received a comment letter from the property owner at 4140 Admirable Drive. The property owner is concerned about loss of view from his home and disturbance to the neighborhood caused by construction. The view the property owner is concerned with is looking westerly, towards Long Point. The proposed addition will block a portion of the peninsula, but will not impede the view of the point or the coastline. Additionally, the property has a 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean, including Catalina Island. Since the proposed addition does not block the view of Long Point, the coastline, and Catalina Island, staff does not consider this view impairment as significant. With respects to neighborhood disruption caused by construction, the conditions of approval will minimize impacts to the neighborhood caused by construction.

On March 20, 2002, staff received an email from the property owner at 4206 Stalwart Drive. The property owner’s stated that they were opposed to the Height Variation because any home in the tract that is built over 16 feet tall would impair the view of the ocean. Staff sent an email to the homeowners to setup an appointment so that staff can verify any view impairment to this property; there was no response to staff’s email. Additionally, staff conducted a site visit of the property on March 26, 2002 to check for view impairments; there was no answer at the door. During the site visit, staff noted that there was no apparent view impairment from the exterior of the home.

CONCLUSION

Based on the above analysis of the required findings, staff concludes that only three of the required nine findings for the Height Variation can be made; only one of the required four findings for the Variance can be made; four (three of which are not applicable) of the required ten criteria for the Grading Permit can be made; the findings for the Minor Exception Permit can be made for the reduced front setback for the porch and the increase in fence height in the street side setback, but cannot be made for reduced front setback for the room addition and the increase in lot coverage; and all of the criteria for approving the Site Plan Review can be made.

In order for the Planning Commission to approve an application, all the findings, as required by the Municipal Code, need to be made. This lack of being able to make the findings and the potential of impact to view and privacy caused by the two-story portion of the requested addition has caused staff’s recommendation of denial of the Height Variation, Grading Permit, Variance, and portions of the Minor Exception Permit. In staff’s opinion, this area cannot be redesigned to meet these requirements. The applicant has expressed to staff that the renovations are needed to provide a useable garage on the property. Staff feels that the existing garage can be demolished and a new detached garage can be constructed that will meet the applicants needs, as well as, address the concerns of the staff and the neighbors.

As for the request for a Minor Exception Permit in order to decrease the front yard setback for a covered porch and to allow the six-foot high fence in the street side setback, staff feels that the required findings can be adopted. With regards to the Site Plan Review, staff feels the proposal in consistent with the provisions of the development code. Therefore staff is recommending that the Planning Commission approve this portion of the application. No impacts to the neighboring properties have been identified from these portions of the request.

ALTERNATIVES

The following alternatives are available for the Planning Commission to act on:

  1. Deny without prejudice Height Variation Permit No. 928, Grading Permit No. 2276, Variance No. 487, and the portion of Minor Exception Permit No. 586, regarding the request for increased lot coverage and reduced front setback for the room addition; and approve, with conditions, Site Plan Review No. 9127 and a portion of Minor Exception Permit No. 586 regarding the request for a reduced front setback for a covered porch and for a six foot high fence in the street side setback. (Staff’s Recommendation)

  2. Approve Height Variation Permit No. 928, Grading Permit No. 2276, Variance No. 487, Site Plan Review No. 9127, and Minor Exception Permit No. 586, with conditions, and direct Staff to prepare an appropriate P.C. Resolution and conditions of approval 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 continue the public hearing to a date certain.

ATTACHMENTS

  • Draft Planning Commission Resolution No. 2002-__
  • Conditions of Approval
  • Letter from Mr. & Mrs. Barez, 4206 Admirable Drive
  • Letter from Mr. & Mrs. Lindorfer, 4207 Palos Verdes Drive South
  • Letter from Milton Rosen, 4140 Admirable Drive
  • Letter from Mr. & Mrs. Johnson, 4206 Stalwart Drive

P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2002-__

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING SITE PLAN NO. 9127 AND PORTIONS OF MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT NO. 586, AND DENYING HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 928, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2276, VARIANCE NO. 487, AND PORTIONS OF MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT NO. 586, THEREBY PERMITTING A 743 SQUARE FOOT SINGLE STORY ROOM ADDITION, A 100 SQUARE FOOT COVERED PORCH WITH A 16-FOOT FRONT SETBACK, AND A SIX FOOT HIGH FENCE IN THE STREET SIDE SETBACK, FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 4206 ADMIRABLE DRIVE.

WHEREAS, on April 20, 2001, the applicant, Mr. Russell Barto, submitted Height Variation No. 928, Grading Permit No. 2276, Site Plan Review No. 9127, and Minor Exception Permit No. 586. On June 21, 2001 the applicant submitted Variance No. 487. The applications are a request to allow the construction of 2,083 square foot addition to an existing single story residence, which is proposed to measure 15.83’ from the highest point of finished grade covered by structure and 25.93’ from the lowest point of finished grade covered by structure; to allow a 16-foot front yard setback, 52% lot coverage, and a six-foot tall fence in the street side setback (along Schooner Drive); to allow 188 cubic yards of cut and 219 cubic yards of fill, for a total of 407 cubic yards of earth moved; and to deviate from the Municipal Code standard which restricts construction of structures over extreme slopes; and,

WHEREAS, on February 20, 2002, the applications for Height Variation No. 928, Grading Permit No. 2276, Site Plan Review No. 9127, Minor Exception Permit No. 586 and Variance No. 487 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 Height Variation No. 928, Grading Permit No. 2276, Site Plan Review No. 9127, Minor Exception Permit No. 586 and Variance No. 487 would have a significant effect on the environment and, therefore, the proposed project has been found to be categorically exempt under Class 3 (Section 15303); and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Ranchos Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on April 9, 2002, 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: That the approved project includes the construction of 743 square foot single-story room addition, a 100 square foot covered porch that encroaches four feet into the front setback, and a six foot tall fence in the street side setback.

Section 2: The proposed site plan is consistent with the provisions of Title 17 of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code. The additions comply with all requirements and provision of Title 17 of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, except for the required 20’ front setback. The applicant has requested a Minor Exception Permit in order to allow the deviation from this requirement and provide a 16’ setback for a covered porch. As noted in Section 3, the Minor Exception Permit is warranted and can be granted, thus making the proposed reduced front yard setback consistent with Title 17.

Section 3: The Minor Exception Permit for the covered porch is warranted by a practical difficulty because the majority of the existing residence is constructed to the front setback line. This does not allow for any type of porch area or formal entry to the house. Approval of the Minor Exception Permit will permit the property owner to create this front porch area and designate a formal entry into the house. Furthermore, the proposed porch will enhance the architecture of the house.

Section 4: The Minor Exception Permit for a six-foot tall fence in the street warranted because of an inconsistency with the general intent of the zoning code. The intent of limiting fence height to 42-inches within a street side setback is to insure that visibility is maintained and that there will be no detrimental impact to the public safety, health, and/or welfare. The proposed fence is located adjacent to a driveway, which could cause a visibility conflict with pedestrians on the sidewalk. However, this impact is alleviated by the Municipal Code requirement that 80% of the fence be open to air and light. This provision will insure that person backing out of the driveway will see any pedestrians utilizing the sidewalk.

Section 5: The Minor Exception Permit for the proposed room addition to encroach 1’-6" into the front yard setback is not warranted by a practical difficulty, unnecessary hardship, or inconsistency with the development code, because the proposal can be modified to accommodate the setback requirements of the Municipal Code.

Section 6: The Minor Exception Permit to allow 52% lot coverage in the RS-4 zone is not warranted by a practical difficulty, unnecessary hardship, or inconsistency with the development code, because the applicant’s design of the residence has facilitated this excess in lot coverage. The proposal can be redesigned to reduce the lot coverage to below 50%, therefore meeting the Municipal Code requirements. Furthermore, with the denial the requested Height Variation, Grading Permit, and Variance, the proposed lot coverage will meet the Municipal Code requirements and this portion of the Minor Exception Permit will not be necessary.

Section 7: The Height Variation for the second story structure is not designed and situated in such a manner as to minimize impairment of a view. The structure, as proposed, has been designed with portions of the house that exceed 16-feet in height impairing the view from 4137 and 4140 Admirable Drive. It is possible to redesign the structure to reduce view impairment by eliminating portions of the building, which are above 16 feet high, or by relocating the southwestern wall of this portion of the building, thus reducing the size structure. However, this would significantly change the project.

Section 8: The Height Variation is not warranted because there would be a significant cumulative view impairment caused by granting the application. The subject lot is located in a residential subdivision, which was designed to orient views southwesterly towards the ocean and Catalina Island. Due to the design and topography of this residential subdivision, any second-story addition has the ability to contribute towards significant cumulative view impairment for properties located upslope of the subject property. Additionally, as noted in Section 7 and 9, the addition causes a significant view impact.

Section 9: The Height Variation is not warranted because the proposed second story structure, when considered exclusively of existing foliage, significantly impairs a view from the viewing area of another parcel. The property at 4137 Admirable Drive has a view of the Pacific Ocean from the living room, which is the only view from this residence. This view extends horizontally from the house at 4140 Admirable Drive to the existing residence at the subject property. The proposed two-story addition will encroach into this view, thereby reducing the view by approximately 40%.

Section 10: The Height Variation is not warranted because the proposed second story structure does not comply with all other code requirements. The City of Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code Section No. 17.48.060 prohibits any development or construction over extreme slopes. The applicant has requested a Variance to allow a deviation from this code standard. However, all of the required findings for a Variance cannot be made and thereby the Variance is denied.

Section 11: The Height Variation is not warranted, as the proposed second story structure is not compatible with the immediate neighborhood character because of the requested increase in the size and mass of the residence. Specifically, the proposed project will result in a 4,300 square foot residence, which is 72% larger than the average home surveyed and is 38% larger than the largest house surveyed; further, the design of the two-story structure will have an apparent larger bulk and mass than other homes in the area.

Section 12: The Height Variation is not warranted, as the proposed structure will result in an unreasonable infringement of the privacy of the occupants of abutting residences because the proposal includes a large garden window that faces southwesterly, towards the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. Since this window is located at a higher elevation than the neighboring property, there is the potential for this window to look down into the adjoining property’s rear yard as well as the residence’s kitchen and bedroom. Therefore, by allowing the proposed addition, there can be a reasonable infringement onto the privacy of the occupants of the abutting residence.

Section 13: The Variance for construction over an extreme slope is not necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right of the applicant, which right is possessed by other property owners under like conditions in the same zoning district because the subject property is fairly rectangular and a sufficient size (10,880 square feet) to meet the minimum development standards of the zone. Currently, the subject property is improved with a 2,217 square foot single-family residence and detached garage. As noted in the neighbor compatibility finding, the average size home in the surrounding area is 2,500 square feet. Seeing as there are other areas on the property in which additions can be done (outside the extreme slope area), and that the existing residence is within 9% of the average home size of the area, the Variance is not needed in order for the property enjoy a property right, which is maintained by other properties in the area.

Section 14: Granting a Variance for construction over an extreme slope will be contrary to the objectives of the general plan or the policies and requirements of the coastal specific plan because the City of Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan designates extreme slopes as Resource Management District 2 (RM 2), and the General Plan states, "Practices distorting the topography of hillsides in any fashions should be prohibited. Only nonstructured uses such as passive park, trails, agriculture, etc., should be permitted." Furthermore, it is a policy of the General Plan to "Allow only low intensity activities within Resource Management Districts of extreme slopes (RM 2)." It would be contrary to this policy and to the overall objective of the RM 2 district to grant the Variance and allow the construction over the extreme slope.

Section 15: The grading exceeds that which is necessary for the permitted primary use of the lot, as defined in Chapter 17.96 of the Municipal Code because while the proposed grading is for an addition to a single-family residential dwelling unit, it is not considered necessary since the property is already improved with the primary use. Furthermore, there are other portions on the property, which would permit additions without requiring grading.

Section 16: The grading and/or related construction significantly adversely affects the views from neighboring properties. As noted in Sections 7, 8, and 9 above, the proposed second story addition, that requires grading, will impact the views from neighboring properties.

Section 17: The nature of the grading does not minimize disturbances to the natural contours because in the areas of the proposed grading, all natural contours will be removed and the finished grade will be relatively flat.

Section 18: The grading does not take into account the preservation of natural topographical features and appearances by means of land sculpturing so as to blend any man-made or manufactured slope into natural topography because the proposed grading does not preserve any of the natural contours. In fact, the proposed grading will convert all natural contours into a relatively flat man-made contour.

Section 19: Grading does not conform to the standards for grading on slopes, height of cut and fill, and height of retaining walls. The Municipal Code allows grading on slopes that exceed 35%, provided they do not exceed 50%. While the grading that takes place over an extreme slope is permitted, some of the grading is being proposed over slopes that exceed the allowable 50%. The applicant is also proposing two downslope retaining walls (five foot and three foot), which does not meet the maximum allowable of one downslope retaining wall at three and one-half foot height. Therefore, the proposed grading does not conform to the Municipal Code standards for grading on slopes, height of cut and fill, and height of retaining walls.

Although the Municipal Code allows for an approval of a Grading Permit that deviates from the standards listed in the previous paragraph, these deviations can not be approved because a) five of the first eight grading criteria cannot be met, b) the request is not consistent with the purpose of Municipal Code Section 17.46.040, c) the deviation will constitute a special privilege, and d) the deviation will be detrimental to other property.

Section 17: Any interested person aggrieved by this decision or any portion of this decision may appeal to the City Council. Pursuant to Sections 17.02.040, 17.74.060, 17.66.060, 17.70.030, 17.76.040(H) and 17.80.070 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 April 24, 2002.

Section 18: 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 Site Plan No. 9127 and portions of Minor Exception Permit No. 586 (to allow a 16’ front setback for a 100 square foot covered patio and a six foot high fence in the street side setback); and denies Height Variation No. 928, Grading Permit No. 2276, Variance No. 487, and portions of Minor Exception Permit No. 586 (request to allow a 18’-6" setback for a room addition and 52% lot coverage in the RS-4 zone); thereby permitting a 743 square foot single story room addition, a 100 square foot covered porch, that encroaches four feet into the front yard setback, and six foot high fence in the street side setback; 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 April 2002, by the following vote:

AYES

NOES:

ABSTENTIONS:

ABSENT:

 

________________________
Jon S. Cartwright,
Chairman

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


Exhibit "A"
Conditions of Approval
(Planning Commission Resolution No. 2002-__)

Site Plan Review No. 9127
Minor Exception Permit No. 586

  1. The applicant/property owner shall submit to the City a statement, in writing that they have read, understand and agree to all conditions of approval listed below. Failure to provide said written statement within ninety (90) days of the effective date of approval shall render this approval null and void.
  2. The approval shall become null and void after 180 days from the date of approval unless the approved plans are submitted to the Building and Safety Division to initiate the "plan check" review process, pursuant to Section 17.86.070 of the City’s Development Code. This approval shall become null and void if, after initiating the "plan check" review process, or receiving a building permit to begin construction, said "plan check" or permit is allowed to expire or is withdrawn by the applicant.
  3. The Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement is authorized to make minor modifications to the approved preliminary plans or any of the conditions if such modifications shall achieve substantially the same results as would strict compliance with said plans and conditions.
  4. The applicant shall submit three sets of plans to the Planning Department, for approval, that reflect the approved portions of the application only. The proposed two-story addition, which was denied (HV 928, GR 2276, VAR 487), shall be omitted from the plans.
  5. Minor Exception Permit

  6. Approval of Minor Exception Permit No. 586 allows a 20% reduction in the minimum required front yard setback for a 100 square foot covered porch, and allows a six-foot high fence in the street side setback. The covered porch shall be setback a minimum of 16’ from the front property line.
  7. The proposed fence in the street side setback shall not exceed six-feet high and shall be constructed out of wrought iron or other similar material so that it may admit a minimum of 80% light. Prior to constructing the fence, the applicant shall obtain approval from the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement for the material of the fence. There shall be no material placed adjacent to the fence that will hinder visibility through the fence.
  8. A one-foot landscape area shall be provided between the fence and the sidewalk. The applicant shall submit a landscape plan to the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement for approval. Said plan shall be submitted and approved prior to the installation of the fence, and all landscaping shall be installed prior to building permits being finaled. No landscaping planted adjacent to the fence shall be allowed to exceed 42" high or restrict visibility through the fence.
  9. The 100 square foot covered porch shall not be enclosed.
  10. Site Plan Review

  11. Approval of Site Plan Review No. 9127 is for the construction of 853 square feet of first-story additions. Specifically, approval is for the construction of a 690 square foot master bedroom and bathroom addition located on the northwestern (rear) corner of the existing house; and a 63 square foot room addition and 100 square foot covered porch to northeast side (front) of the house.
  12. The proposed structure shall maintain the following minimum setbacks:
  13. 15’-0" rear (proposed: 31’-10")
    5’-0" interior side (proposed: 5’-0")
    10’-0" street side (proposed: 10’-0")
    20’-0" front for the residence and 16’-0" for the covered porch (proposed for the porch is: 16’-0")

    SETBACK CERTIFICATION IS REQUIRED, BY A LICENSED CIVIL ENGINEER OR SURVEYOR, FOR ALL SETBACKS. CERTIFICATION SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE CITY’S BUILDING OFFICIAL FOR REVIEW AND APPROVAL PRIOR TO THE POURING OF THE FOUNDATIONS.

  14. The maximum height of the proposed structure shall not exceed sixteen (16) feet, as measured from the highest elevation of existing building pad covered by structure, and twenty (20) feet, as measured from the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade. The additions are proposed at a maximum height of 15.83’ as measured from the highest elevation of the existing building pad to be covered by structure (199.57’) to the highest ridgeline (215.33’), and 16.92’, as measured from the highest ridgeline to the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade (198.41’). BUILDING RIDGE HEIGHT CERTIFICATION IS REQUIRED. CERTIFICATION SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE CITY’S BUILDING OFFICIAL FOR REVIEW AND APPROVAL PRIOR TO THE BUILDING PERMIT BEING FINALED.
  15. All structures located within the required twenty (20) foot front yard setback area and the ten (10) foot street side setback shall not exceed a height of forty-two (42) inches in height, with exception of the approved six (6) foot high fence in the street side setback. This condition shall not apply to the proposed covered front porch, which is permitted under Minor Exception Permit No. 586.
  16. The approved project shall maintain a maximum 50% lot coverage.
  17. The required twenty (20) foot front yard setback area shall be at least fifty (50) percent landscaped.
  18. No improvements shall be permitted on "extreme slopes" (35% or greater).
  19. Based on a site visit, Staff found that there is no foliage on the subject property that exceeds sixteen (16) feet in height and significantly impairs views from neighboring properties. Therefore, Staff finds that no foliage shall be removed under this application request.
  20. The project shall substantially conform to the plans stamped, and dated the effective date of this approval, approved by the Planning Department.
  21. Permitted hours of construction are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. No work is permitted on Sundays or legal holidays.
  22. 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.
  23. In the event that a Planning requirement and a Building & Safety requirement are in conflict with one another, the stricter standard shall apply.
  24. No grading is approved or allowed under this permit approval.
  25. All applicable soils/geotechnical reports required by the Building and Safety Division shall be obtained by the applicant and approved by the City's geologist prior to building permit issuance.
  26. All applicable permits required by the Building and Safety Division shall be obtained by the applicant prior to the commencement of construction.

NEW BUSINESS:



6. DISCUSSION OF DEVELOPMENT CODE DEFINITIONS OF "BUILDING" AND "STORY" (JR)

Recommendation: Review and discuss the Development Code Definitions of "Building" and "Story" and provide Staff with direction as to whether to initiate a Code Amendment or issue an "Interpretation Determination" to clear up any ambiguities in the definitions.

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING, AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: APRIL 9, 2002

SUBJECT: DISCUSSION OF THE DEVELOPMENT CODE DEFINITIONS OF "BUILDING" AND "STORY"

RECOMMENDATION

Review and discuss the Development Code definitions of "Building" and "Story" and provide Staff with direction as to whether to initiate a Code Amendment or issue an "Interpretation Determination" to clear up any ambiguities in the definitions.

BACKGROUND

At the March 26, 2002 Planning Commission meeting, the Planning Commission considered an application that involved the interpretation of the definitions of "Building " and "Story" contained in the City’s Development Code (definitions attached). Specifically, the issue involved whether a carport should be considered a "building" or a "story". The Commission felt that there was an ambiguity with both definitions that should be clarified. As a result, the Commission asked that this item be placed on this agenda for discussion.

DISCUSSION

If the Commission agrees that one, or both, of the definitions contained in the Code need(s) to be clarified, Staff believes that there are two methods for achieving this. One option is to amend the definition language. This would require the approval of a Code Amendment by the City Council. The process for initiating a Code Amendment request, as described in the Development Code, is attached. The second option would be to render an interpretation that would clarify the intent of the definition(s) pursuant to the "Interpretation Procedure" contained in the Development Code (procedure attached).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

At the time the Planning Commission directed Staff to agendize this item, the Commission also requested copies of all "interpretations" rendered thus far pursuant to the Interpretation Procedure. Since the procedure was adopted into the Code in 1997,

only two interpretations have been made (one of which has been made moot by a subsequent code amendment). Both interpretations are attached.


ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS:

Staff



7. PRE-AGENDA FOR THE MEETING OF APRIL 23, 2002.

PLANNING COMMISSION
PRE-AGENDA
TUESDAY, APRIL 23, 2002


CONSENT CALENDAR:



1. MINUTES OF APRIL 9, 2002


CONTINUED BUSINESS: (NO ITEMS)



PUBLIC HEARINGS:



2. 6 MONTH REVIEW OF CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT NO. 206 REVISION "A": 31100 Palos Verdes Drive West/Krikorian (AM)

The Planning Commission’s review of the applicant’s compliance with the adopted Conditions of Approval for P.C. Resolution No. 2001-08 that permitted the operation of the Peninsula Montessori School at the Golden Cove Shopping Center.


NEW BUSINESS:



3. SITE PLAN REVIEW (CASE NO. ZON2002-00054): 5618 Sunmist Drive/ Joe (BY)

A request by the applicant to modify an existing flat roof to a gable roof, at a maximum height of 24’-0", as measured from the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade to the highest ridgeline elevation and 19’-6", as measured from the highest ridgeline to the highest elevation of building pad covered by structure. Additionally, the application is to allow a 179 square foot addition located to the rear of the existing residence, at a height of 19’-6", as measured from the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade to the highest point in the addition and 15’-0", as measured from the highest point in the addition to the highest elevation of building pad covered by structure.


4. SELECTION OF TWO PLANNING COMMISSIONERS FOR THE GENERAL PLAN STEERING COMMITTEE: (GP)

A request of the Planning Commission to select two members to participate on the City Council appointed General Plan Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will be a 15-member committee comprised of representatives from various City advisory Committees and Commissions as well as representatives from various organizations on the Peninsula.

*Please note that that the actual Agenda may well expand, or possibly contract, based upon conditions (such as Continuances of public hearings, Withdrawals, etc.) prior to this meeting.

Date prepared: Thursday, April 4, 2002

Commission


ADJOURNMENT:

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday,
April 23, 2002, 7:00 P.M. at Hesse Park.