05/14/2002 Planning Commission Agenda May, 2002, 05/14/2002, Planning, Commission, Meeting, Agenda, A request to allow the construction of a new garage and a 526 square foot addition to an existing single family residence and the replacement of an existing carport with a new 480 square foot garage. The proposed addition is proposed to be located above the proposed garage, at a height of 18.08’, as measured from the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade (102.51’) to the top of the highest ridge (120.59’), and 11.27’, as measured from the highest elevation of the existing pad covered by structure (109.32’) to the highest ridge, Adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-__, adopting the Mitigated Negative Declaration and Mitigation Monitoring Program; and adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-___; approving, with conditions, Height Variation No. 899, Grading Permit No. 2151, Minor Exception Permit No. 573 and Environmental Assessment No. 745 The 05/14/2002 RPV Planning Commission Meeting Agenda
Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commission Agenda May 14, 2002
May 14, 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...

** CLICK HERE FOR PLANNING COMMISSION AGENDA
**CLICK HERE FOR PLANNING COMMISSION AGENDA STAFF REPORTS



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, MAY 14, 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. 2002-05


CALL TO ORDER:

FLAG SALUTE:

ROLL CALL:


APPROVAL OF AGENDA:



COMMUNICATIONS:

Council Policy Items (Excerpt Minutes):

  • None

Staff:

Commission:


COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (regarding non-agenda items):



CONSENT CALENDAR:



1. MINUTES OF APRIL 23, 2002


2. ADOPTION OF NEW PLANNING COMMISSION RULES AND PROCEDURES RESOLUTION: (JR)

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt P.C. Resolution 2002-__; approving minor amendments to the Planning Commission’s rules and procedures.


CONTINUED BUSINESS:



3. COASTAL PERMIT, VARIANCE, SITE PLAN REVIEW, and HEIGHT VARIATION (CASE NO. ZON2001-00032): 120 Spindrift Lane / Maniscalco (BY)

Request: A request to allow the construction of a new garage and a 526 square foot addition to an existing single family residence and the replacement of an existing carport with a new 480 square foot garage. The proposed addition is proposed to be located above the proposed garage, at a height of 18.08’, as measured from the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade (102.51’) to the top of the highest ridge (120.59’), and 11.27’, as measured from the highest elevation of the existing pad covered by structure (109.32’) to the highest ridge.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-___; approving with conditions, Height Variation, Coastal Permit, and Variance (Case No. ZON2001-00032).



4. 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 adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-__, conditionally approving Height Variation No. 941 and Grading Permit No. 2286.


PUBLIC HEARINGS:



5. VARIANCE, SITE PLAN REVIEW and MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2002-00108): 28304 Golden Meadow / Thayer (KF)

Request: A request for 1) a 20-square-foot addition to the existing indirect-access garage that would be reconfigured into a direct-access garage and would encroach one foot (1’) into the required 20-foot front-yard setback area; 2) a proposed 858-square-foot addition that would encroach upon the intersection visibility triangle at the southeast corner of Golden Meadow Drive and Cherty Drive; and 3) a 32-square-foot covered porch and a 1-square-foot portion of the proposed 858-square-foot addition that would encroach no more than 20% into the required front-yard setback area.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-__, conditionally approving a Variance, Site Plan Review and Minor Exception Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00108).



6. HEIGHT VARIATION, GRADING PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2002-00029): 6 Headland Drive / Shanazarian (DB)

Request: A request to construct a 4,232 square foot addition to an existing 4,721 square foot single-family residential dwelling unit. The Height Variation and Site Plan Review are to allow the proposed addition that will measure 25.9’ from the lowest elevation where the finished grade is adjacent to the building foundation/slab (702.6’) to the highest roof ridgeline (728.5’), and 16.5’ from the highest elevation where the finished grade is adjacent to the building foundation/slab (712’) to the highest roof ridgeline. The Grading Permit is to allow for 447 cubic yards of cut and 310 cubic yards of fill, a total of 757 cubic yards of grading. The Minor Exception Permit is to allow 41% lot coverage (40% is maximum allowable) in the RS-2 zone.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-__, approving, with conditions, the Height Variation, Grading Permit, and Site Plan Review; and denying without prejudice the Minor Exception Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00029)



7. HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 899, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2151, MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT NO. 573, AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO. 745 3787 Coolheights Drive / Nassari (AM)

Request: A request to allow the construction of a new 5,409 square foot (garage included), two-story, single-family residence on an unimproved lot. The proposed residence will be constructed off the existing building pad at a height of 26’, as measured from the highest pre-construction grade elevation (752.00’) of the building pad, to the top of the highest roof ridgeline (778.00’) of the proposed structure. Additionally the applicants propose to conduct 819 cubic yards of associated grading (combined cut and fill calculations) and construct a new 6’ high combination fence/wall along the front property line with a Minor Exception Permit.

Recommendation: Adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-__, adopting the Mitigated Negative Declaration and Mitigation Monitoring Program; and adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-___; approving, with conditions, Height Variation No. 899, Grading Permit No. 2151, Minor Exception Permit No. 573 and Environmental Assessment No. 745.


NEW BUSINESS:



8. INSTITUTIONAL MEMORY TABLE: (JR)

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission review the staff prepared decision summaries and provide direction on the content and format that is to be used for future summaries.


ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS:

Staff



9. PRE-AGENDA FOR THE MEETING OF MAY 28, 2002.

Commission


ADJOURNMENT:

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday,
May 28, 2002, 7:00 P.M. at Hesse Park.


AGENDA

RANCHO PALOS VERDES PLANNING COMMISSION

TUESDAY, MAY 14, 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. 2002-05


CALL TO ORDER:

FLAG SALUTE:

ROLL CALL:


APPROVAL OF AGENDA:



COMMUNICATIONS:

Council Policy Items (Excerpt Minutes):

  • None

Staff:

Commission:


COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (regarding non-agenda items):



CONSENT CALENDAR:



1. MINUTES OF APRIL 23, 2002

CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
APRIL 23, 2002


CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Cartwright at 7:00 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.


FLAG SALUTE

Commissioner Tomblin led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.


ROLL CALL

Present: Commissioners Duran Reed, Lyon, Mueller, Tomblin, Vice Chairman Long, and Chairman Cartwright
Absent: Commissioner Cote was excused

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


APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Chairman Cartwright suggested moving Audience Comments to the Communications section of the Agenda. The Planning Commissioners agreed.


COMMUNICATIONS

Director/Secretary Rojas distributed three items of correspondence: 1) A letter from the City Attorney in response to a request for information that is not public; 2) A flyer for a League of Cities seminar that the Mayor was inviting all Commissioners to attend; and 3) An attachment to the staff report for Agenda Item No. 7.

Director/Secretary Rojas also noted that at the last City Council meeting the City Council upheld the Planning commission decision in the appeal of Mr. Kay’s antenna.

Commissioner Mueller appreciated being able to e-mail in his comments to the minutes when he was not able to attend the Planning Commission meeting. He also stated that he had watched the tape and reviewed the minutes and felt that he was able to participate in the future meetings regarding the continued items.

Commissioner Tomblin reported that, in reference with his involvement with the Peninsula Youth Sports Council, he had met with Don Knabe and several others in reference to youth sports on the peninsula.


AUDIENCE COMMENTS

There were no audience comments.


CONSENT CALENDAR



1. Minutes of March 26, 2002

Commissioner Mueller noted typos on pages 3 and 4 of the minutes.

Commissioner Duran Reed made a clarification to page 6 of the minutes

Commissioner Mueller moved to approve the minutes as amended, seconded by Commissioner Duran Reed. Approved, (6-0).


2. Minutes of April 9, 2002

Vice Chairman Long noted a clarification on pages 2 and 3 of the minutes.

Commissioner Lyon noted clarifications on pages 12 and 13 of the minutes.

Chairman Cartwright asked for a clarification on pages 10 and 11 of the minutes.

Commissioner Tomblin moved to approve the minutes as amended, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (4-0-2) with Commissioners Duran Reed and Mueller abstaining since they were not at that meeting.


CONTINUED BUSINESS



3. Interpretation determination to clarify the definition of a "story"

Director/Secretary Rojas presented a brief staff report and read the interpretation to the Planning Commission.

Vice Chairman Long asked why the phrase "gathering place" was used in the definition and felt that there was room for misinterpretation in the way it was written.

Commissioner Lyon felt that adding a comma after "covered patio" would eliminate the problem.

Commissioner Mueller agreed with the suggestion but stated he would go a little further and suggested deleting the words "carport" and "covered patio" as well as "that may be used as a gathering area" and insert "any unclosed structure." He felt this would prevent someone from elevating their living area above the ground, and the Planning Commission does not really care what is below the living area but the position of the area being added on.

After a brief discussion, Chairman Cartwright felt the original suggestion to add a comma after "covered patio" would be the best solution.

Vice Chairman Long agreed, and noted that by trying to be more precise it only added confusion to the issue.

Commissioner Lyon moved to accept staff’s interpretation, as amended, to add a comma after the word "patio", seconded by Commission Tomblin.

Commissioner Mueller suggested an amendment to the motion to remove the phrase "that may be used as a gathering area". He felt this made the interpretation a little broader and did not conflict with the definition of carport.

Commissioner Lyon did not accept the motion as he felt the amendment would allow the inclusion of a crawl space under a house.

Vice Chairman Long felt that the interpretation was designed to address the particular difficulty the Planning Commission had when hearing the application at 120 Spindrift. Rather than trying to hypothesize future problems the Planning Commission should focus the interpretation on the existing problem, and he felt the pending motion does that.

The motion passed, (5-1) with Commissioner Mueller dissenting.


PUBLIC HEARINGS



4. Six month review of Conditional Use Permit NO. 206 – Revision "A": Peninsula Montessori School 31100 Palos Verdes Drive West

Senior Planner Mihranian presented a brief staff report. He explained that the six-month review allows the Planning Commission a mechanism to add, delete, or modify any conditions on the project based on its current operation. As such, staff has reviewed the operation of the school since it opened, and based on staff’s analysis and site visits feels the school is operating in compliance with the Conditions of Approval. He noted that staff has received only one letter regarding the school since it opened, and that was in support of the project. As such, staff was recommending the Planning Commission determine the school is operating in compliance with the original Conditions of Approval, via minute order.

Vice Chairman Long noted that the comment letter suggested that it would be a good idea to place a warning sign on Hawthorne Blvd. approaching the building. He asked if staff had an opinion on the suggestion.

Senior Planner Mihranian explained that the item was originally raised at the time the Planning Commission was considering the application, however there was not a decision made as to whether the sign was necessary. At this point, staff did not feel there was enough traffic or any situations that would warrant the placement of the sign. However, if the Planning Commission desires the placing of a sign, staff could contact the Public Works Department.

Commissioner Lyon felt the suggestion was a good one, however was not one that has anything to do with the conditions of approval of the school, and suggested it be referred to the Director of Public Works for his consideration and not be something that would encumber the current permit.

Commissioner Mueller discussed the enrollment of the school and noted that the number of staff members had stayed fairly constant, however the number of students had grown quite a bit. He asked if there were plans for a larger staff and how this would affect the parking at Golden Cove.

Senior Planner Mihranian responded that the parking study considered 40 faculty and staff members, therefore the school was operating under the maximum cap and the parking was not affected.

Chairman Cartwright opened the public hearing.

Commissioner Mueller asked the applicant about the enrollment of the school and asked if the enrollment and/or faculty was expected to grow.

Claudia Krikorian 1821 Paseo del Sol, PVE, explained that no new staff would be added and the current faculty included teachers and all of the part time staff. She explained that in applying for the Conditional Use Permit she put the enrollment at 400, which was the maximum enrollment that the school could ever possibly be.

Chairman Cartwright asked Ms. Krikorian if she had any comments regarding the placement of a warning sign.

Ms. Krikorian did not feel the sign was necessary, as she had never seen a back up going into the center. However she had no objection to the sign.

Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Mueller moved to approve the staff report and determine the Peninsula Montessori School at Golden Cove Shopping Center is operating in compliance with the conditions of approval of P.C. Resolution No. 2001-08, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (6-0).


RECESS AND RECONVENE

At 8:00 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess to 8:10 p.m. at which time they reconvened.


NEW BUSINESS



5. Site Plan Review (Case No. ZON2002-00054): 5618 Sunmist Drive

Assistant Planner Yu presented the staff report. She gave a brief description of the proposed project and noted that staff had determined the proposed roof design will not impact views from adjacent properties and the proposed addition meets the Development Code standards. As such, staff recommends the Planning Commission approve the proposed project.

Chairman Cartwright noted that a gable roof was much more compatible with the neighborhood than a flat roof, and supported the project.

Commissioner Tomblin questioned condition of approval no. 15 regarding keeping the construction site and the adjacent street clean and wondered if that was the language the Planning Commission had agreed upon.

Chairman Cartwright recalled the Planning Commission had suggested the language be modified to say the construction site and the adjacent properties shall be kept free of all loose materials.

Vice Chairman Long agreed with the Chairman.

Commissioner Tomblin moved to approve the project, with the amendment to Condition of Approval No. 15, seconded by Commissioner Mueller. Approved, (6-0).


6. Selection of two Planning Commissioners for the General Plan Steering Committee

Director/Secretary Rojas briefly explained what the intention of the General Plan Steering Committee was and how it would be made up.

Commissioner Lyon added that this Committee presented a good opportunity to take a look at the General Plan and make any modifications that the majority of the residents feel would be in their best interest. He nominated Commissioner Cote and Vice Chairman Long to be the Planning Commission members of the committee. He explained that Vice Chairman Long had extensive leadership experience on the View Restoration Commission and had active participation in the Planning Commission activities over the years. Further, Commissioner Cote had volunteered to serve on the Committee and has an academic background in planning. He added that if Commissioner Cote was unable to sit on the Committee because of business conflicts, he suggested Commissioner Tomblin as an alternate.

Vice Chairman Long agreed that the City should make use of Commissioner Cote’s expertise. He stated that he would be willing to serve on the Committee, but suggested Commissioner Mueller serve on the Committee. He felt that the Planning Commission needed to cultivate responsibilities for the Commission’s duties across the board among a number of people.

Commissioner Mueller stated that he did have an interest in serving on this Committee, however he would defer if someone else on the Commission had an interest as he is involved community activities and has an unpredictable travel schedule.

Commissioner Duran Reed agreed with the idea of having an experienced Commissioner as well as a newer Commissioner serve on the Committee and supported Commissioner Cote as well as Commissioner Mueller or Vice Chairman Long.

Commissioner Tomblin expressed interest in serving on the Committee, and stated if Commissioner Cote had difficulties serving because of her work schedule he would be willing to take her place.

The Commission unanimously selected Commissioner Cote and Vice Chairman Long to represent the Planning Commission on the General Plan Steering Committee.


7. Amendment of Planning Commission rules and procedures

Director/Secretary Rojas explained that what had prompted this item to be placed on the Agenda was that a new state law had gone into effect that governs the eligibility of voting members regarding applications. He referred to P.C. Resolution 2000-18, page 2 and noted the City Attorney suggested changing "300" to "500", and deleting the second paragraph.

Chairman Cartwright stated that the Planning Commission had discussed at the last meeting the inclusion of language that the Planning Commissioners should contact staff directly if they had questions regarding the staff reports.

Director/Secretary Rojas responded that language would be added to reflect that.

Commissioner Duran Reed questioned how the meetings were being recorded and asked if the language should be modified so that it was not restricted to "tape recording".

Director/Secretary Rojas explained that the audio tape recording was still the official recording of the meeting until the minutes were approved.

The Planning Commissioners discussed what documents were necessary to review when a Planning Commissioner was absent from a meeting. Chairman Cartwright suggested adding language to the rules and procedures reflecting that a Commissioner could review the minutes or listen to the tape recording of the meeting or view the video. The Commission agreed.

The Planning Commission discussed the minutes and what they wanted to get out of the minutes. Chairman Cartwright explained that the minutes were the official record of the meeting and should have enough information in them that an interested party could read them and understand the action taken and why it was taken.

Director/Secretary Rojas asked the Commission if they wanted to add language to the rules and procedures to reflect the procedure currently used in accepting late correspondence. He noted that the rules and procedures state that correspondence received after the Monday deadline it will not be considered at the meeting, however the practice has been that the Chairman has allowed the late correspondence to be distributed to the Commission.

Vice Chairman Long did not think the change needed to be made, as there is currently a rule that a two-thirds majority of the Commission can suspend the rules. He felt the rule should stay as written to help communicate to the public how important it is to get the correspondence in on time.

Director/Secretary Rojas explained that a new Resolution was necessary to reflect the changes discussed by the Planning Commission and it would have to be brought back to the Planning Commission for their formal adoption.

Commissioner Duran Reed moved to conceptually approve the changes made to the rules and procedures, seconded by Chairman Cartwright. Approved, (6-0).


ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS

Chairman Cartwright asked that on future agendas the audience comments be placed after communications.


ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.






2. ADOPTION OF NEW PLANNING COMMISSION RULES AND PROCEDURES RESOLUTION: (JR)

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt P.C. Resolution 2002-__; approving minor amendments to the Planning Commission’s rules and procedures.

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING, AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: MAY 14, 2002

SUBJECT: AMENDMENT OF PLANNING COMMISSION’S RULES AND PROCEDURES

RECOMMENDATION

Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt P.C. Resolution 2002-05, approving minor amendments to the Planning Commission’s rules and procedures.

DISCUSSION

At the last Planning Commission meeting, the Commission conceptually approved certain amendments to the Planning Commission’s Rules and Procedures. The amendments involved:1) the eligibility of Commissioners to vote based on the proximity of their residence to a proposed project; 2) clarification that Commissioners should contact Staff if they have questions on a Staff Report; and 3) adding video tape to the list of acceptable methods to review proceedings of previous meetings. The amendments have been incorporated into the attached Resolution for the Commission’s adoption this evening.

Attachments
PC Rules and Procedures (PC Resolution 2002-05)


P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2002-05

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ADOPTING RULES AND PROCEDURES FOR THE CONDUCT OF HEARINGS ON LAND USE MATTERS AND OTHER BUSINESS

WHEREAS, California Government Code Section 65804 requires the City to develop and publish procedural rules for the conduct of zoning and planning hearings, so that all interested parties will have advance knowledge of the procedures to be followed; and,

WHEREAS, the Planning Commission serves as an advisory agency to the City Council with respect to the processing of parcel and tentative maps under the Subdivision Map Act; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to the requirements of the California Government Code and the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, the Planning Commission desires to specify procedural rules to govern the conduct of hearings on the land use matters, including but not limited to, zone changes and zoning text amendments, variances, conditional use and other permit applications, subdivision requests and appeals of administrative decisions; and,

WHEREAS, the Planning Commission finds clarification of time allocations for presentation of oral evidence at Commission meetings;

WHEREAS, new State regulations, promulgated by the Fair Political Practices Commission, that restrict the eligibility of Commissioners to participate in deliberations or a vote went into effect on January 1, 2002.

BE IT RESOLVED that the following procedural rules shall, insofar as consistent with applicable State laws and City ordinances, govern the conduct of all business, including but not limited to land use hearings, before the Planning Commission of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes:

1. MEETINGS, STUDY SESSIONS, AGENDAS, AND STAFF REPORTS

1.1 Appointment:

Pursuant to Municipal Code Section 2.20.020, the Planning Commission consists of seven regular members appointed by the City Council. The Chairperson is appointed by the Council and the Vice Chairperson shall be elected by a majority of the members of the Planning Commission.

1.2 Quorum:

A quorum to conduct business shall consist of a minimum total of four members of the Commission.

Commission members who live or own property within 500 300 feet of a property that is under review by the Planning Commission are not eligible to participate in deliberations or vote on that item, as specified by the regulations promulgated by the Fair Political Practices Commission.

Commission members who live more than 500 feet but in close proximity to or own property from 300 to 2,500 feet of a property that is under review by the Planning Commission shall determine, after consultation with the City Attorney, if the project would affect them in the amount established by the Political Reform Act and, if so, shall notify the Staff to disqualify them from deliberations on that item.

1.3 Regular Meetings:

Regular meetings of the Planning Commission shall be held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. If the regular meeting date falls on a City holiday, then the meeting will generally be rescheduled to the next business day. All regular meetings of the Planning Commission will be called to order at 7:00 p.m., unless advertised otherwise, canceled, or rescheduled.

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. The City Clerk, or his or her deputy, will post notice of any continued hearing or other unfinished business, as required by law.

1.4 Special Meetings:

A special meeting may be called at any time by the Chairperson of the Planning Commission, or by a majority of its membership on its own motion, or at the direction of the City Council. Written notice shall be sent by mail at least twenty-four (24) hours before the time of a special meeting to each member and to each local newspaper of general circulation, to each radio or television station, or cable television operator, which has previously submitted a written request for notice and any other person entitled to notice under the Ralph M. Brown Act. The notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted. No other business shall be considered at the meeting. Written notice may be dispensed to any member who at, or before, the time of the meeting files an oral or written waiver of notice with the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement. The waiver may also be given by telegram or electronic means, such as by fax or e-mail, so that the waiver can be printed and kept in the City's files. Written notice will also be dispensed with as to any member who is actually present at the meeting at the time it convenes.

1.5 Adjourned Meetings:

The Planning Commission may adjourn any regular, adjourned regular, special, or adjourned special meeting to a time and place specified in the order of adjournment pursuant to the procedures set forth in the Ralph M. Brown Act, Government Code Section 54950, et seq.

1.6 Study Sessions:

The Planning Commission may hold a study session (workshop) as part of a regular, adjourned, or special meeting. When a matter is set for a study session, public testimony on each item will generally be limited to five (5) minutes or more per person, at the discretion of the Chairperson. Public notice for study sessions on specific matters for which public hearings are anticipated in the future will be given in the same manner as that required for public hearings, and a record of the study session shall be entered into the minutes of any such future public hearings.

1.7 Open and Closed Sessions:

Except as otherwise provided in the Ralph M. Brown Act, all meetings of the Planning Commission shall be open and public, and all persons shall be permitted to attend. The Planning Commission may, upon the advice of and with the presence of the City Attorney or his or her assistant, hold a closed session during a regular or special meeting, or at any time otherwise authorized by law, to consider or hear any matter which it is authorized by State law to hear or consider in closed session.

1.8 Agendas:

At least seventy-two (72) hours before a regular meeting, copies of the Planning Commission's agenda shall be posted and made available at the office of the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement. In accordance with the Ralph M. Brown Act, the Commission may not take action on any item that did not appear on the posted agenda, unless an exception is made as permitted under Government Code Section 54954.2. The Chairperson may rearrange the order of presentation of items appearing on the agenda as he or she may deem necessary or desirable for the conduct of the meeting. No person shall be entitled to rely upon the order in which public hearing items appear on the posted agenda, and any public hearing on any agenda may commence immediately upon the time the meeting is called to order.

1.9 Staff Reports:

When staff reports exist, they shall be made public whenever they are distributed to the Planning Commission, except in the case of attorney/client privilege memorandum. Staff reports shall be prepared with recommendations and shall include the basis for these recommendations, and included in the hearing record on any application for a change of zone for a parcel of ten acres or more. Reports or recommendations on tentative subdivision maps shall be in writing and shall be served on the subdivider at least three (3) days before any hearing or action on the map by the Planning Commission.

If in reviewing a Staff Report, a Commission member sees omissions, has questions, or is looking for specific information, it is advisable that the Commissioner contact the Director or Staff Planner directly prior to the hearing. Notwithstanding, any explicit direction to the Staff should come through the Chairperson or as a result of a consensus of the Planning Commission.

2. PRESENTATION OF AGENDA ITEMS

2.1 Minutes and Recording:

Hearings shall generally be recorded by electronic device and the tape recording shall be preserved a minimum of 30 days following the hearing or longer, as is necessary, to allow the Recording Secretary, or his or her deputy, to prepare minutes of the hearing and to have them approved by the Commission. During that 30-day period, the tape recording shall be available for inspection by the public.

When a matter is contested and a request to copy and preserve the recorded proceedings is made in writing to the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement, the minutes shall be duly preserved. A copy of any such recording may be purchased at its reproduction cost. Members of the public may also record audio or video tapes of meetings without permission from the Chairperson. In no way shall any such recording be deemed the "official minutes" of the meeting.

2.2 Order of Presentation:

Unless the Chairperson in his or her discretion should direct otherwise, the order of the presentation should be 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.

Public hearings may be reopened by a motion of a Commissioner and approval by the Commission majority at any time during the meeting to permit additional testimony and evidence, either to permit reconsideration of an action or for any other reason. Any questions of the applicant or appellant, or of the interested public, shall be made during the public hearing.

2.3 Rules of Evidence:

Hearings and meetings before the Planning Commission need not be conducted according to formal rules of evidence. Any relevant evidence may be considered if it is the sort of evidence upon which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs. The Chairperson may exclude irrelevant or redundant testimony and may make such other rulings as may be necessary for the orderly conduct of the proceedings while ensuring basic fairness and full consideration of the issues involved. Any Commissioner may raise a point of order with the Chairperson to exclude irrelevant or out-of-order testimony from the public. Evidentiary objections shall be deemed waived unless made in a timely fashion before the Planning Commission.

2.4 Burden of Proof:

The burden of proof of all legal prerequisites to the granting of the relief or action sought shall be upon the party requesting such relief or action.

2.5 Written Evidence

Any citizen 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, provided such written evidence is submitted by 12:00 p.m. on the Monday prior to the Planning Commission meeting. If any written evidence 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 shall not prevent any citizen from reading written comments that are submitted late into the record as part of their oral comments, in accordance with the time limits and procedures set forth in Section 2.6.

2.6 Oral Evidence, Time Limits, and Number of Speakers:

A request to speak on an item must be submitted to the Planning Commission Secretary prior to the completion of the remarks of the first speaker on the item. No request forms will be accepted after that time and no additional speakers will be allowed to speak on the item being discussed.

The Chairperson's instructions to the audience will generally follow these guidelines:

1. Any person desiring to speak must first be recognized by the Chairperson.

2. All participants must speak from the podium.

3. All speakers must first state their full names and the names of any persons in whose behalf they are appearing (if any), and are requested to give their addresses.

4. All comments must be made clearly and audibly.

5. All comments shall be directed to the Planning Commission as a body, and not to any particular member.

6. No person, other than members of the Planning Commission, Staff and the person having the floor shall be permitted to enter into the discussion.

7. No questions shall be asked of Commission members, except through the Chairperson.

8. Repetition of comments should be avoided and speakers will be discouraged from reading a submission which has been copied and distributed to the Commission or is contained in the agenda packet.

9. Normally, the applicants and appellants will be limited to a five (5) minute presentation and a three (3) minute rebuttal (if requested). All other persons in favor or opposed to the requested action will be generally limited to a three (3) minute presentation each.

10. Except when necessary for immediate clarification of a particular point, no person shall be allowed to speak a second time until all others wishing to speak have had an opportunity to do so, and then only at the discretion of the Chairperson.

11. Due to unusual complexity of a particular item, the Chairperson, at his or her discretion, may allocate more than five (5) minutes to an applicant or appellant and more than three (3) minutes to all other speakers. Due to a large number of speakers on a particular item, the Chairperson, at his or her discretion, may allocate a specific amount of time to each side, and allow those wishing to speak on each side to designate a spokesperson or to divide the allotted time among themselves.

2.7 Questioning of Speakers:

Any person, other than a Commission member, desiring to direct a question to a speaker or staff member shall submit the question to the Chairperson, who shall determine whether the question is relevant to the subject of the hearing and whether or not it should be answered by the speaker or staff member. Direct questioning of speakers or staff members may be allowed only in extraordinary circumstances, at the discretion of the Chairperson.

2.8 Evidence Received Outside a Hearing:

The Commission does not encourage the receipt of information or evidence on a particular pending matter outside of hearings. If any Commission member receives information during a site visit or through any other means, which he or she feels is pertinent to a pending matter, he or she shall disclose the information or evidence so received during the hearing on the matter. The applicant or appellant shall have the opportunity to supplement or rebut the information or evidence so disclosed, and failure to do so shall be deemed a waiver of any objection regarding the information or evidence.

2.9 City Attorney:

The Chairperson (or any member of the Commission via the Chairperson) may request the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement to request the City Attorney (or his or her assistant) to explain, either in writing or orally to Staff, as appropriate, a legal opinion on a particular matter. The City Attorney or his or her assistant may further advise the Chairperson on matters of evidence and procedure which may arise, including, but not limited to, the desirability of closed sessions to discuss pending or potential litigation.

Commission members are able to contact the City Attorney directly with regard to any concerns about potential conflicts of interest.

3. MOTIONS

3.1 Motions - Second:

Action upon an order, resolution, ordinance, or any other action of the Commission may be proposed by any member by a motion. The Chairperson may make a motion only after all other members of the Planning Commission present have had an opportunity to make a motion on the question. Before a motion can be considered or debated it must be seconded, at which time it shall be on the floor and must be considered. If not seconded, the motion is lost for lack of a second and shall be so declared by the Chairperson.

3.2 Amendment of a Motion:

A motion on the floor may be amended at any time before adoption or rejection. When an amendment is offered, the Planning Commission will debate and take action on the amendment before acting on the original motion. If the amendment is not adopted, the original motion will then be considered. If the amendment is adopted, the original motion as amended will then be considered.

3.3 Withdrawal of Motion or Second:

A motion may be withdrawn by the maker at any time before adoption or rejection, with consent of the second. A second to a motion may be withdrawn by the seconding member at any time before adoption or rejection of the motion. The motion will then be lost for lack of a second and so declared by the Chairperson unless seconded by another person.

3.4 Tabling a Motion:

At any time after a motion has been seconded, any member may move to table a motion. If the tabling motion is adopted, the original motion will remain on the floor but may not again be considered at the meeting at which it was made. The original motion will be considered and voted upon at a regular meeting of the Planning Commission, specified in the motion, unless again tabled at that time. If not considered at such meeting, it will be deemed lost. If the tabling motion is not adopted, consideration of the original motion will continue.

3.5 Discussion, Closure, and Question:

After a motion has been seconded, any member may discuss or comment on the subject of the motion. The Chairperson will recognize members of the Planning Commission with the desire to speak, beginning with the motion's maker, and will protect each speaker from disturbance or interference. When no member wishes to discuss or comment further, the Chairperson will call for a vote on the motion. Any member of the Planning Commission may at any time move to close the debate.

3.6 Motions for Reconsideration:

Motions for reconsideration of a matter may be made by any member who voted with the prevailing majority on the matter to be reconsidered. Any member of the Planning Commission may second a motion to reconsider. Motions to reconsider shall be made at the same meeting as the original motion or an adjourned meeting on the succeeding day. If the matter to be reconsidered was considered at a public hearing, the public hearing will be reopened before additional evidence is received.

4. DECISION-MAKING

4.1 Voting:

Approval of any motion on a general matter brought before the Planning Commission shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of the members present.

4.1.1 Tie Votes:

Any tie vote shall constitute a denial of the motion and may be reconsidered by a motion offered by any member who voted on the matter. If there is no action by an affirmative vote, the result is denial. If the matter involves an appeal and an affirmative vote does not occur, the result is that the decision appealed stands as decided by the decision-maker from which the appeal was taken.

4.1.2 Abstentions:

Abstentions shall not count as votes for the purpose of determining whether there has been an affirmative vote of a majority of the members present, but shall be counted for the purpose of determining whether a quorum is present, unless the abstention was due to a conflict of interest, in which case the Commission member cannot be included in the quorum.

4.1.3 Roll Call:

Voting upon a motion may, at the discretion of the Chairperson, and shall, upon the request of any member, be by roll call. When voting is not by roll call, the Chairperson may, in the absence of objection by any member of the Planning Commission, declare an item to be unanimously approved.

4.1.4 Motions Include Staff Recommendations:

A motion to adopt or approve staff recommendations or simply to approve the action under consideration shall, unless otherwise particularly specified, be deemed to include adoption of all proposed findings and execution of all actions recommended in both the written staff report on file on the matter and any oral staff report presented during the hearing.

4.1.5 Absentees:

A Planning Commission member who is absent from any portion of a hearing conducted by the Planning Commission may vote on the matter at the time it is acted upon provided that he or she has either reviewed the approved minutes of the hearing, or listened to the staff tape recording or viewed the video recording of the entire portion of the hearing from which he or she was absent, provided that a tape recording exists, and if she or he has examined all of the staff report or minutes presented during the portion of the hearing from which he or she was absent and states for the record before voting that the member deems himself or herself to be as familiar with the record and with the evidence presented at the hearing as he or she would have been had he or she personally attended the entire hearing.

4.2 Findings:

On any matter for which state law or City ordinance requires the preparation of written findings, the staff report submitted on the matter will contain findings proposed for adoption by the Planning Commission. Any motion directly or impliedly rejecting the proposed findings should include a statement of alternative or modified findings or a direction that the matter under consideration be continued for a reasonable period of time in order for staff to prepare a new set of proposed findings consistent with the evidence which has been presented and the decision which is anticipated.

4.3 Consent Items:

Items that require little or no discussion by the Planning Commission may be considered as consent items. The Planning Commission will act on these items in one motion at the beginning of the meeting. Approval by the of consent items means that the staff recommendation was approved along with the findings and conditions set forth in the staff report. Any member of the Planning Commission may request that consent items be considered in their regular order on the agenda. Removal of an item from the consent calendar is subject to approval by a majority of the Commission members present.

4.4 Continuances:

Upon a showing of good cause and by request of the applicant, member of the public, or member of the Planning Commission, the Chairperson, at the time set for a hearing on a particular item, may order the hearing to be continued to a specified date and time. Upon the request of any member of the Planning Commission, continuance decisions shall be made by a motion and roll call vote of all members present.

5. CONSTRUCTION AND EFFECT

5.1 Construction:

These procedural rules shall be construed and applied so as to ensure a full and fair hearing of relevant evidence which is offered on a land use matter and to facilitate an orderly analysis of evidence and issues by the Planning Commission. Adoption and implementation of these rules is intended to be consistent with the provisions of California Government Code Section 65010(b).

5.2 Chairperson's Rules of Order:

After issuing a warning, 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.

When there is no provision of these rules of procedure applicable to the conduct of the meeting or hearing of the Planning Commission, the Chairperson shall devise appropriate rules and make final decisions on any points of order which may arise with the concurrence of the majority of the Commission.

PASSED, APPROVED, and ADOPTED this 14th day of May, 2002 by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSENT:

ABSTENTIONS:


_______________________
Jon S. Cartwright
Chairman

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


CONTINUED BUSINESS:



3. COASTAL PERMIT, VARIANCE, SITE PLAN REVIEW, and HEIGHT VARIATION (CASE NO. ZON2001-00032): 120 Spindrift Lane / Maniscalco (BY)

Request: A request to allow the construction of a new garage and a 526 square foot addition to an existing single family residence and the replacement of an existing carport with a new 480 square foot garage. The proposed addition is proposed to be located above the proposed garage, at a height of 18.08’, as measured from the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade (102.51’) to the top of the highest ridge (120.59’), and 11.27’, as measured from the highest elevation of the existing pad covered by structure (109.32’) to the highest ridge.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-___; approving with conditions, Height Variation, Coastal Permit, and Variance (Case No. ZON2001-00032).

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: MAY 14, 2002

SUBJECT: HEIGHT VARIATION, COASTAL PERMIT, AND VARIANCE (CASE NO. ZON2001-00032)

ADDRESS: 120 SPINDRIFT LANE

APPLICANT:
EDWARD CARSON BEALL AND ASSOCIATES, MILES PRITSKAT
23727 HAWTHORNE BLVD.
TORRANCE, CA 90505

PHONE: 310-378-1280 X34

HOMEOWNERS:
MR. & MRS. JIM MANISCALCO
133 SO. GRAND AVE., RM LA 4565
LOS ANGELES, CA 90071-3197

PHONE: 213-229-7398

STAFF: BEILIN YU

COORDINATOR ASSISTANT PLANNER

REQUESTED ACTION: A REQUEST TO ALLOW THE CONSTRUCTION OF A 526 SQUARE FOOT ADDITION TO AN EXISTING SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCE AND THE REPLACEMENT OF AN EXISTING CARPORT WITH A NEW 480 SQUARE FOOT GARAGE. THE PROPOSED ADDITION IS PROPOSED TO BE LOCATED ABOVE THE PROPOSED GARAGE, AT A HEIGHT OF 18.08’, AS MEASURED FROM THE POINT WHERE THE LOWEST FOUNDATION MEETS FINISHED GRADE (102.51’) TO THE TOP OF THE HIGHEST RIDGE (120.59’), AND 11.27’, AS MEASURED FROM THE HIGHEST ELEVATION OF THE EXISTING PAD COVERED BY STRUCTURE (109.32’) TO THE HIGHEST RIDGE.

RECOMMENDATION: ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2002-___; APPROVING WITH CONDITIONS HEIGHT VARIATION, COASTAL PERMIT, AND VARIANCE (CASE NO. ZON2001-00032).

REFERENCES:

ZONING: SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL – RS-2

LAND USE: SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL

CODE SECTIONS: 17.02, 17.48, 17.64, AND 17.72

GENERAL PLAN: SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL

TRAILS PLAN: N/A

SPECIFIC PLAN: COASTAL SPECIFIC PLAN (SUBREGION 6)

CEQA: CATEGORICALLY EXEMPT (CLASS 1)

ACTION DEADLINE: JULY 1, 2002

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

BACKGROUND

On August 21, 2001, Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit No. 41 was approved by the City Council to allow the submittal of the necessary Planning Department applications to request approval for the construction of a 1,179 square foot two-story addition.

On August 23, 2001, the applicant submitted applications for a Variance, Costal Permit, Height Variation, and Site Plan Review to the Planning, Building and Code Enforcement for processing. The request was for the construction of a 644 square foot garage and storage addition built to the front property line, and a 535 square foot addition to the residence and over the proposed garage.

After initial submittal of the plans, the City received many letters in opposition to the proposed project from the surrounding neighbors (see attached letters). The letters indicated concerns in regards to view impairment, setback of the addition from the property lines, and size. In order to address the view concerns of the neighbors, the applicants revised the proposed project and on January 28, 2002 the applicants submitted revised plans. The revised plans included an open carport, instead of the previously proposed two-car enclosed garage. As a result, the proposed project included the construction of a new 470 square foot carport at the same location of the existing carport, a 103 square foot crawl space, and a 526 square foot addition to the residence over the proposed carport. Subsequently, Staff deemed the applications complete on February 7, 2002.

On February 7, 2002, the City mailed the required public hearing notices to 55 property owners within a 500-foot radius from the subject property, the Portuguese Bend Club Homeowner’s Association, and the California Coastal Commission. Subsequently, a notice of public hearing was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News on February 9, 2002.

After additional concerns were raised by Staff, the applicants requested to continue the public hearing from the February 26, 2002 Planning Commission meeting to the March 26, 2002 meeting to allow them additional time to redesign the proposed project and address Staff’s concerns.

To address Staff’s concerns in regards to view impairment, the applicants redesigned the addition and lowered the ridgeline from 122.84’ elevation to 120.59’ elevation, lowering the addition by 2.25’. Additionally, to address the Homeowner’s Association’s concerns, the applicants redesigned the additions, so that the additions will be setback 2’-0" from the front property line and 2’-6" from the west side property line.

At the March 26, 2002 Planning Commission meeting, the Planning Commission directed the applicant to submit a Height Variation application (see attached minutes). A Height Variation application was not part of the application reviewed by the Planning Commission on March 26, 2002 because the Director of Planning determined that the proposed carport did not constitute a "story" in a building, as defined in the Development Code. The Planning Commission disagreed with the Director of Planning’s interpretation of a "story", and as such directed the applicant to apply for a Height Variation application.

On April 3, 2002, Staff conducted a site inspection and determined that the silhouette required as part of the Height Variation approval has been correctly erected. On April 4, 2002, a new notice was mailed to 55 property owners within a 500-foot radius from the subject property, the Portuguese Bend Club Homeowner’s Association, and the California Coastal Commission. Subsequently, the notice of public hearing was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News on April 6, 2002. The revised notice informed the property owners of the required Height Variation application and the slight modification to the plans.

The project presented to the Planning Commission on March 26, 2002 has been modified to include a 480 square foot garage instead of the 470 square foot carport. As such the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade has been revised from the side of the carport (102.84’) to the front of the garage (102.51’), which is slightly lower than the side of the carport (by 0.33’). Since the height is measured from the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade to the highest point in the ridge, the height of the proposed addition has been modified by 0.33’. Please note however, that the elevation for the highest ridge (120.59’) has not been modified.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

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

Class 1 exempts projects that consist of the minor alteration of private structures and expansion of uses beyond that previously existing. The proposed project involves an addition to an existing residential structure. Therefore, Staff has made this determination because the proposed project consists of a minor alteration to an existing residential structure.

SITE DESCRIPTION

The subject property is an RS-2 (Single Family Residential) zoned lot located at 120 Spindrift Lane within the Portuguese Bend Club, which is within the City’s Landslide Moratorium Area and Coastal Setback Zone. The property is a rectangular-shaped parcel measuring 3,611 square feet in area.

According to the applicant, the parcel is currently developed with a 1,509 square foot single-story single-family residence with a detached 456 square foot carport, for a total area of 1,965 square feet. Additionally, the property is improved with a 357 square foot deck area at the rear of the structure, and a 380 square foot patio area at the front of the structure, resulting in a 2,702 square foot building footprint. A portion of the rear deck (25 square feet) is encroaching into the neighboring property to the north. The structure is non-conforming since the original residence was constructed in approximately 1950 under the authority of Los Angeles County with a 1’-0" side yard setback and a 4’-2" front yard setback, where the City’s Development Code requires 5’-0" and 20’-0" minimum respectively. Additionally, the subject property is non-conforming because the existing lot coverage on the subject property is 74%, which exceeds the maximum 40% lot coverage allowed by the Development Code. Furthermore, the deck area at the side of the structure encroaches into the neighboring property to the rear (north).

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant proposes construction of a 480 square foot garage at the same location as the existing carport, the construction of a crawl space to the east side of the garage and a laundry room to the rear of the garage, totaling 104 square feet, the construction of a 526 square foot addition to the existing residence located above the proposed garage and partially (180 sq. ft.) over the existing front deck, and the construction of a bay window addition to the dining area (over the existing rear deck). The applicant is also proposing to remove the portion of the deck which is encroaching into the neighboring property to the north. In addition, the applicant is proposing to expand the deck by 31 square feet, in the area located between the existing deck and the proposed addition.

The proposed addition is proposed at a height of 18.08’, as measured from the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade (102.51’) to the top of the highest ridge (120.59’), and 11.27’, as measured from the highest elevation of the existing pad covered by structure (109.32’) to the highest ridge.

The proposed bay window addition will maintain more than the required 5’-0" side yard setback, but will encroach 9’-4" into the 15’-0" required rear setback area, maintaining only a 5’-8" rear yard setback. The proposed addition is proposed to be located 4’-0" from the side property line, and a portion of the addition (the master bedroom) is proposed to be located 3’-6" from the front property line. Another portion of the addition (the master bathroom) is proposed to be located 2’-0" from the front property line. The applicant is also proposing a 67 square foot balcony around the proposed addition, which will be setback 2’-6" from the side property line and 2’-0" from the front property line.

The addition to the residence will allow for a new master bedroom, a new bathroom, and a new closet. The proposed addition to the residence will result in 2,035 square feet of habitable area. With the proposed garage, storage area and laundry room, the overall square feet of the residence will be 2,619 square feet. However, since the proposed garage will be located at the same location as the existing carport, the laundry room and storage will be located under the existing residence, and the addition will be located above the proposed garage and portion of the front patio, which is already counted toward lot coverage, the proposed improvements will only result in an additional 55 square feet of building footprint (31 sq. ft. from the rear deck addition and 24 sq. ft. from the additional carport area), for a total of 2,732 square feet, which is 75.7% of the 3,611 square foot lot.

CODE CONSIDERATIONS AND ANALYSIS

As discussed in the background section above, the applicant is requesting approval of a Height Variation application, to allow the construction of a 480 square foot garage and the construction of a 526 square foot addition to the existing residence located above the proposed garage and partially (180 sq. ft.) over the existing front deck. Pursuant to Section 17.02.040 (C)(1) of the Municipal Code, a property owner may request approval of a Height Variation to exceed the height of 16 feet up to a maximum height of 26 feet. For lots sloping with the street of access, such as the project site, the height is measured from the highest existing elevation of the existing pad covered by structure to the highest point of the structure, and from the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade to the highest point of the structure. Since the proposed project exceeds the maximum height of 16 feet, it is subject to the Height Variation application process.

As discussed in the site description section above, the existing residence and carport are non-conforming structures because the existing residence and carport, which were constructed under the authority of Los Angeles County, do not meet the current setback and lot coverage requirements. As stated above, the applicant is requesting to replace the existing non-conforming carport with a new garage. However, the new garage does not comply with the minimum dimensions of a two-car garage, as required by Section 17.02.025(E). Pursuant to Section 17.02.025(E)(5), an enclosed parking space shall have an unobstructed ground space of no less then nine feet in width by twenty feet in depth, with a minimum of seven feet of vertical clearance over the space. The existing fireplace encroaches approximately 3 square feet into the garage, reducing the depth of one of the spaces to 18’-6", (along a width of 3’-6"), instead of the required 20’-0". As such, the applicant is requesting a Variance to construct the substandard parking space.

Furthermore, as described in the project description section above, the applicant is proposing a 2’-0" front yard setback for the garage. According to Development Code Section 17.02.030(E)(3), a garage with a direct access driveway from the street of access shall not be located less than twenty feet from the front. As such this request will require approval of a Variance from the requirement to maintain a twenty foot setback.

As discussed in the project description section above, the proposed bay window addition will maintain more than the required 5’-0" side yard setback, but will encroach 9’-4" into the 15’-0" required rear setback area, maintaining only a 5’-8" rear yard setback. The proposed addition is proposed to be located 4’-0" from the side property line, and a portion of the addition (the master bedroom) is proposed to be located 3’-6" from the front property line, and another portion of the addition (the master bathroom) is proposed to be located 2’-0" from the front property line. The proposed balcony around the addition is proposed to be located 2’-6" from the side property line and 2’-0" from the front property line. The City’s Development Code requires 5’-0" and 20’-0" minimum for the side and front yard setback respectively. As such a Variance application is required to encroach into the front and side yard setback area.

As discussed in the background section above, the subject lot is non-conforming because the existing lot coverage on the subject property is 74%, which exceeds the maximum 40% lot coverage allowed by the Development Code. The proposed project will increase the existing lot coverage on the subject lot to 75.7%. As such, the applicants are requesting a Variance to deviate from the maximum allowable lot coverage thus allowing them to increase the lot coverage to 75.7%.

Lastly, the subject property is located within the appealable area of the City’s Coastal Zone. The proposed project does not meet the established criteria to be exempt from obtaining a Coastal Permit; thus, a permit is required. In addition, Section 17.72.040(C) allows one minor addition to each residence that is located partially or completely in the Coastal Setback Zone, provided that the addition is less than two hundred and fifty square feet. A Variance application is required since the applicants are requesting to exceed the addition square footage limitation in the Coastal Zone.

The Height Variation, Variance, and Coastal Permit findings will be discussed below.

Height Variation

A Height Variation application must be reviewed by the Planning Commission or Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement (Director) depending on the location and square footage of the second story. If the proposed second story: 1) extends closer than 25 feet from the front or street-side property line; 2) exceeds 75% of the first story footprint area (residence and attached garage); 3) covers 60% or more of the existing garage footprint; or 4) has the potential to significantly impair a view as determined by the Director based on an initial site visit, the application must be reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission. Planning Commission review is required for this application since the project triggers three of the four criteria described above. In considering a Height Variation application, Section 17.02.040(C)(1)(e) requires that the Planning Commission make the nine findings in reference to the property and project under consideration (the City's Municipal Code language appears in boldface type, followed by Staff's analysis in normal type).

  1. That the applicant has complied with the Early Neighborhood Consultation process established by the City.
  2. The applicants completed the Early Neighborhood Consultation process by canvassing the property owners within 500 feet of the subject property and informing them of the proposed addition. The applicants are required under the Early Neighborhood Consultation process to obtain signatures of at least 60% of the property owners within a 500 foot radius, or signatures of at least 25% of the property owners within 500 feet and at least 70% within 100 feet of the subject property. Staff reviewed the number of property owners that were consulted and found that the applicants comply with the early neighbor consultation because signatures of 4 of the 5 properties within the 100’ radius and 22 out of 55 properties were obtained within the 500’ radius, which is 80% and 40% respectively. As such, this finding can be made.

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

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

  7. That the proposed structure when considered exclusive of foliage, does not significantly impair a view from the viewing area of another parcel.
  8. The subject property is located on a cul-de-sac, which steeply slopes up from the end of the cul-de-sac to the intersecting street (Spindrift Drive). The view of the ocean is oriented toward the end of the cul-de-sac. The properties located on the street and the subject property slope with the street of access. As such the properties located up the street from the subject property are located on a much higher elevation than the subject property.

    The existing residence is at a height of 16.79’, as measured from the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade (102.51’) to the top of the highest ridge (119.3’), and 11.27’, as measured from the highest elevation of the existing pad covered by structure (109.32’) to the highest ridge. The proposed second story addition will only be 1.29’ higher than the existing residence, and below the line of sight of the property located to the east (108 Spindrift Lane), which is upslope from the subject property. As such, Staff found that the proposed addition does not significantly impair the ocean view from 108 Spindrift Lane.

    Additionally, the proposed project will not significantly impair the view of the property located diagonally from the subject property (124 Spindrift Lane) because 124 Spindrift Lane contains a view of the ocean toward the west and a view of the coastline toward the northwest in the direction of the subject property. However, the view of the coastline is not through the location of the proposed addition, but just to the left of the addition. As such Staff found that the proposed addition does not significantly impair the view from 124 Spindrift Lane.

    As discussed in the additional information section below, the property owner of 124 Spindrift Lane, Mr. Mike Fabian, spoke at the last Planning Commission meeting regarding the impacts the proposed project will have to his coastline view. During a site inspection, Mr. Fabian informed Staff that after the silhouette was constructed, he no longer has a concern with view impact.

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

  9. That there is no significant cumulative view impairment caused by granting the application.
  10. As discussed in Finding No. 3 above, the proposed addition is only 1.29’ higher than the existing residence. Staff is of the opinion that any future 1.29’ high additions to surrounding existing structures will not cumulatively cause a view impairment in the neighborhood.

  11. That the structure is designed in such a manner as to minimize impairment of a view.
  12. As discussed in the background section above, the applicant redesigned the originally proposed second story addition and lowered the ridgeline from 122.84’ elevation to 120.59’ elevation, lowering the addition by 2.25’. As a result of the most current redesign, the highest ridgeline elevation has not changed and remains at 120.59’ elevation. As proposed the second story addition is only 1.29’ higher than the existing residence. Additionally, the proposed garage and addition are proposed on the lower portion of the property, which minimizes the impairment of view from adjacent properties. As such, Staff is of the opinion that the proposed structure is designed in such a manner as to minimize impairment of a view.

  13. That the proposed structure complies with all other Code requirements.
  14. As discussed in the site description and project description sections of the report, the subject structure and the proposed structure do not comply with the front, side and rear setback requirements, lot coverage requirement, minimum parking space size, and the required twenty foot setback for direct access garage. As such the application includes request for approval of a Variance to allow the noncompliant setbacks, lot coverage, garage parking space size, and the setback for a direct access garage. As such Staff determined that if the Variance is approved, the proposed addition will be constructed in accordance with the residential development guidelines of the City's Municipal Code.

  15. That the proposed structure is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character.

The Neighborhood Compatibility finding involves the analysis of the ten (10) closest homes to the subject property, in terms of scale (total structure size), architectural style, and front yard setbacks. The following table provides a summary of the 10 closest homes to the subject property.

TABLE 2

PROPERTY ADDRESS

LOT SQ. FT.*

BUILDING SQ. FT.
(garage/carport included)

NO. OF STORIES

102 Spindrift Drive

2,797 sq. ft.

1,876 sq. ft.

SPLIT LEVEL

104 Spindrift Drive

3,289 sq. ft.

1,593 sq. ft.

SPLIT LEVEL

105 Spindrift Drive

6,233 sq. ft.

1,020 sq. ft.

SPLIT LEVEL

108 Spindrift Drive

3,228 sq. ft.

1,189 sq. ft.

TWO

109 Spindrift Drive

3,520 sq. ft.

1,438 sq. ft.

ONE

118 Spindrift Drive

4,835 sq. ft.

1,599 sq. ft.

SPLIT LEVEL

121 Spindrift Lane

2,801 sq. ft.

1,418 sq. ft.

ONE

122 Spindrift Drive

4,896 sq. ft.

1,326 sq. ft.

ONE

124 Spindrift Drive

3,881 sq. ft.

1,500 sq. ft.

SPLIT LEVEL

125 Spindrift Drive

4,321 sq. ft.

1,670 sq. ft.

SPLIT LEVEL

Average

3,980 sq. ft.

1,463 sq. ft.

SPLIT LEVEL

120 Spindrift Lane

3,737 sq. ft.

1,965 sq. ft.
(existing w/ carport)

SPLIT LEVEL

2,619 sq. ft.
(proposed w/ garage)

SPLIT LEVEL

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

  1. Scale of surrounding properties, including total square footage and lot coverage of the residence and all ancillary structures.
  2. According to the above table, the total structure sizes (including garage area) of the neighboring homes range from 1,020 sq. ft. to 1,876 sq. ft., with an average size 1,463 square feet for the ten (10) closest developed properties. As previously mentioned, the subject residence is currently 1,965 square feet (carport included). After the proposed addition is constructed, the total size of the structure (garage area included) will be 2,619 square feet. In relation to the neighboring properties, the subject residence will be approximately 1,156 square feet larger than the average structure size, and approximately 743 square foot larger than the largest home (102 Spindrift Lane).

    The proposed structure size will be larger than the 10 surveyed homes, however, the surrounding properties are downslope or upslope lots, which contain split level homes, many of which are two stories along the street of access. As such, the apparent bulk and mass of the proposed addition above the garage, will be compatible with the split level homes found in the neighborhood.

    Additionally, the Planning Commission recently approved substantial additions to homes in the Portuguese Bend Club. On September 26, 2000, the Planning Commission approved a 1,567square foot addition to a 1,588 square foot residence, for a resulting structure size of 3,155 square feet. And on October 12, 1999, the Planning Commission approved a 1,434, square foot addition to a 1,809 square foot residence, for a resulting structure size of 3,243 square feet. As such, Staff is of the opinion that the proposed structure is within the range of structure sizes recently approved in the Portuguese Bend Club, and this finding can be made.

  1. Architectural styles, including facade treatment, structure height, open space between structure, roof designs, the apparent bulk and mass of the structure, number of stories, and building materials.
  2. The Portuguese Bend Club Community is developed mainly with beach cottages. They employ simple construction, flat roofs, and stucco with wood siding. Most of the homes are situated on downslope and upslope lots. However, the lots at the end of the cul-de-sac are situated on pad lots, or lots sloping with the street, such as the subject property. The proposed project incorporates beach cottage architecture, such as the flat roof, with plastered concrete, which is similar to stucco. Staff believes that the proposed materials and architectural style will be compatible with the materials and architectural style found in the neighborhood.

    Based on the discussion above, Staff is of the opinion that the proposed residence will be compatible with the character of the immediate neighborhood and as such this finding can be made.

  3. Front yard setbacks

None of the homes in the surrounding neighborhood appear to comply with the required 20’ front yard setback. By maintaining a 2’-0" front yard setback and not building up to the property line, the proposed addition will be compatible with the immediate surrounding properties. As such, Staff is of the opinion that the proposed front setback for this project is compatible with the surrounding residences.

Based upon the foregoing discussion, Staff believes that the proposed project is compatible with the immediate neighborhood.

  1. That 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 result in an unreasonable infringement of privacy to the surrounding neighbors because the proposed master bedroom addition is located toward the front of the subject property which will be abutting the front yard of surrounding properties, which are not used as gathering areas. As such, Staff is of the opinion that this finding can be made.

Variance

Section 17.64.010 of the Development Code allows for a Variance from the strict interpretation of any development regulations or standards which promotes the intent and purposes of the Development Code, as determined by the Planning Commission. In this case, the applicant’s proposal requires a Variance for five different Development Code standards that are proposed to be exceeded. The code standards for which the Variance is proposed are:

  1. To reduce the side, front and rear yard setbacks
  2. To exceed the maximum allowed lot coverage
  3. To waive the requirement for a 20 foot setback for direct access driveway
  4. To reduce the size of one of the two required parking spaces
  5. To exceed the 250 square foot addition limit allowed in the Coastal Zone

In granting a Variance, the City’s Development Code requires that the Planning Commission make four (4) findings in reference to the property under consideration (the City’s Municipal Code language appears in boldface type, followed by Staff’s analysis in normal type). In order to grant the applicant’s Variance request all four findings have to be made for all five components of the application. As such, the Staff Report has been structured so that the discussion for each component is discussed under each numbered finding. Please note that the Variance discussion below is divided into the following categories: a) to reduce the side yard setback from 5’-0" to 2’-6", the front yard setback from 20’-0" to 2’-0", and the rear yard setback from 15’-0" to 5’-8"; b) to exceed the maximum lot coverage of 40% by 35.7% (to 75.7%); c) to reduce the required 20’-0" front setback for direct access garages to 2’-0"; d) to reduce the minimum required parking space size from 9’-0" by 20’-0" to 9’-0" by 18’-6"; and e) to exceed the 250 square foot limitation for additions located within the Coastal Setback Zone with a 526 square foot addition and 480 square foot garage.

  1. That 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.

  1. Reduction of Front, Side and Rear Setback
  2. The subject property is an RS-2 zoned lot, which requires a minimum lot size of 20,000 square feet. Due to the size of the lot (3,611 square feet), the size of the residence, and the existing site and floor plan configuration of the residence, the proposed garage and addition located to the front of the structure is in a feasible location. Further, the proposed garage will be located at the same location as the existing carport, and the rear of the lot contains a very small triangular yard area (approximately 430 square feet in size), which is not sufficiently large enough to accommodate the proposed addition. Thus, there are physical constraints due to the small size of the subject parcel that act as exceptional circumstances to the property involved, which do not generally apply to other property in the same zoning district throughout the City.

    The existing carport is currently built to the front and side property lines. The existing front deck is also built up to the front property line. The applicant is proposing to build a portion of the addition over the front deck maintaining a 2’-0" front setback. Therefore, since the addition will not project beyond the existing carport and front deck, and the existing front yard setback will remain, Staff believes there will be no additional impacts than what currently exist. Further, as discussed above, Staff believes that the lot has exceptional circumstances since the Portuguese Bend Club was developed with small lot sizes that limit side and front yard areas. As such, this finding can be made and adopted.

  3. Exceedance of Lot Coverage
  4. The subject lot currently does not meet the maximum allowable lot coverage requirement of 40%. As stated in the site description above, the current lot coverage on the subject property is 74% and the proposed improvements will increase the lot coverage to 75.7%. The proposed garage is proposed to be located at the same location as the existing carport. The proposed addition is proposed to be located above the proposed garage and partially over the existing front deck, which are calculated into the current lot coverage. The only additional lot coverage resulting from the proposed improvements is the 31 square feet of additional deck and the additional 24 square feet of garage area. Since the additional lot coverage will only increase the existing lot coverage by 1.7%, Staff believes that the lot has exceptional circumstances since the Portuguese Bend Club was developed with lots of much smaller size than that required in the RS-2 zoning district, and the current lot coverage already exceeds the allowable lot coverage. As such, this finding can be made.

  5. Lack of a 20’ setback for the direct access driveway
  6. The subject lot currently contains a 456 square foot carport. The applicant is proposing to replace the existing carport with a new 480 square foot garage. Because of the size of the property and the configuration of the property, the proposed location for the carport is the most feasible location to locate the garage. As stated in Finding No.1a. above, Staff believes that the lot has exceptional circumstances since the Portuguese Bend Club was developed with small lot sizes that limit front yard setback areas, therefore, the lot would not be able to accommodate a garage with the required 20’-0" setback for direct access garages. As such, this finding can be made.

  7. Reduction of one parking space size
  8. As stated in the project description, the proposed garage will be located at the same location as the existing carport, and as discussed in the background section, the applicant revised the proposed project to include a 2’-0" front yard setback to address the Homeowner’s Association’s concern. The proposed parking spaces will generally maintain the required 20’-0" depth, however, since there is an existing fireplace which encroaches into the rear right corner of the garage, one of the parking spaces will not maintain a 20’-0" depth at its entire length. A small 3 square feet area at the corner of the space will only be 18’-6" in length. Staff is of the opinion that because of the location of the existing residence, and the 2’-0" front setback to address the Homeowner’s Association’s concern, the subject property contains an exceptional condition, which does not generally apply to other properties. Further, the fireplace encroachment constitutes approximately 3 square feet, which Staff does not believe is a substantial reduction of the required parking space. As such, this finding can be made.

  9. Exceedance of the 250 square foot addition limit

The applicant proposes to exceed the 250 square foot limit for additions located partially or entirely within the Coastal Setback Zone by 276 square feet. Staff believes that there are exceptional and extraordinary circumstances for the additions to exceed the 250 square foot limitation due to the fact that the entire property is located within the coastal setback zone, whereas most other residences in the City’s Coastal Zone are either not in the coastal setback zone or partially located within the coastal setback zone. As a result there is no flexibility to allow additions outside the coastal setback zone that are not subject to the 250 square foot limitation. Furthermore, Staff believes that the size of the addition over the 250 square foot limit is warranted since the size of the addition is within the range of other Variances granted by the City to exceed the 250 square foot limit in the Portuguese Bend Club. Please note that the overall size of the home has been discussed above under the Neighborhood Compatibility Section. As such, this finding can be made.

  1. 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.

  1. Reduction of Front, Side and Rear Setback
  2. A majority of the lots within the Portuguese Bend Club do not meet the minimum setback requirements for the front, sides, or rear. Therefore, since the proposed addition will not project beyond the existing building footprint, the requested variance would not provide the landowner a special privilege that is not currently enjoyed by other property owners in the area. As such, this finding can be made and adopted.

  3. Exceedance of Lot Coverage
  4. Since the majority of the residences within the Portuguese Bend Club do not respect the maximum allowed lot coverage requirements, the Variance will not provide the landowners a special privilege currently not enjoyed by other property owners. Additionally, the applicant is requesting to increase the existing lot coverage by only 55 square feet, which 1.7% of the lot. As such, the applicant is requesting to maintain similar condition on the subject property, a privilege currently enjoyed by the property owner. As such, this finding can be made.

  5. Lack of a 20’ setback for the direct access driveway
  6. The subject property and the majority of the properties in the Portuguese Bend Club are currently improved with carports or garages, that do not meet the setback requirements, including the required 20’ setback for the direct access driveways. The current carport does not meet the required 20’ front setback for direct access driveways. The granting of the 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 and is currently possessed by the property owner. As such, this finding can be made.

  7. Reduction of one parking space size
  8. The majority of the homes in the Portuguese Bend Club contain carports or substandard parking spaces due to the small lot sizes in the neighborhood. Therefore, Staff is of the opinion that the Variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right possessed by other property owners, under like conditions. As such, this finding can be made.

  9. Exceedance of the 250 square foot addition limit

As mentioned in Finding No. 1 above, Staff believes that the size of the addition over the 250 square foot limit is warranted since the size of the addition is within the range of other Variances granted by the City to exceed the 250 square foot limit. As such, the granting of the Variance will not provide the landowners a special privilege currently not enjoyed by other property owners. As such, this finding can be made.

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

  1. Reduction of Front, Side and Rear Setback
  2. As mentioned earlier, the proposed garage and master bedroom addition will not project beyond the existing building footprint, therefore the reduction of the side and front setback would not be materially detrimental or injurious to the public welfare since the lot currently does not meet the minimum setbacks. Additionally, the proposed addition will not significantly impair any view from the surrounding properties, since the proposed addition is proposed to be 1.29’ higher than the existing highest ridgeline.

    The granting of the Variance to allow the proposed bay window to encroach into the required rear yard setback by 9’-4" will not be detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to the surrounding properties because the proposed bay window will not project closer to the rear property line than the existing building and the proposed bay window will not exceed the existing ridgeline, therefore, not impairing the surrounding property’s ocean view. As such, this finding can be made.

  3. Exceedance of Lot Coverage
  4. The granting of the Variance to allow the excess lot coverage on the subject property will not be detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to the properties in the area. The majority of the proposed improvements are proposed at the same locations as existing improvements, therefore not significantly increasing the lot coverage on the subject property. The existing excess lot coverage is currently not detrimental to the public welfare and injurious to the properties in the area, as such the proposed lot coverage will also not be detrimental to the surrounding properties. As such, and this finding can be adopted.

  5. Lack of a 20’ setback for the direct access driveway
  6. The purpose of the required 20’ setback for direct access driveways is to allow parking on the driveway. The subject lot and the majority of the lots in Portuguese Bend Club do not contain the required setback, however, the majority of the homes in the Portuguese Bend Club contain carports or garages to accommodate off street parking. As mentioned in Finding No. 1.c. above, the subject property and the majority of the properties in Portuguese Bend Club are not able to accommodate a 20’ long driveway due to the small sizes of the lots. As such, Staff is of the opinion that by proving the required two car garage to accommodate off street parking, the granting of the Variance to waive the 20’ driveway will not be detrimental to the public’s welfare and injurious to properties in the area. As such this finding can be made.

  7. Reduction of one parking space size
  8. The granting of the Variance will not be detrimental to the public’s welfare and injurious to property and improvement in the area in which the property is located because the reduction constitutes approximately a 3 square feet reduction to the rear corner of the garage space, such that the reduction is not substantial and that the parking space will still be able to accommodate a car, therefore providing the required two car spaces, and eliminating on-street parking. As such, this finding can be made.

  9. Exceedance of the 250 square foot addition limit

As discussed in Finding 3a. above, the proposed addition will not be detrimental to the public welfare or injurious to the property since the proposed addition will not create significant or cumulative view impairment from adjacent neighbors. Also the upper story does not cause a significant infringement of privacy to the surrounding neighbors because the proposed master bedroom addition is located toward the front of the subject property which will be abutting the front yard of surrounding properties, which are not used as gathering areas. Furthermore, the proposed addition will be architecturally compatible with the neighborhood, as discussed in Finding No. 8 of the Height Variation Section of this report. As such, the Variance to allow the addition to exceed the 250 square foot addition limit will not be materially detrimental or injurious to the public welfare, and this finding can be made.

  1. 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.

The General Plan land use designation for the neighborhood within which the subject property is located is Residential, 1-2 DU/acre. The development of accessory structures and additions for single-family residences is consistent with this underlying land use designation. In addition, the improvement is consistent with the General Plan’s goal "to require … suitable and adequate landscaping, open space and other design amenities to meet community standards for environmental quality" (General plan, p. 78), since the proposed improvements are compatible with the immediate neighborhood. Further, the proposed addition does not significantly impact the ocean views from the surrounding properties, therefore, complying with the General Plan’s goal to "prohibit encroachment on existing scenic views reasonably expected by neighboring residences" (General Plan p. 78). As such, Staff believes that granting the Variance will not be contrary to the City’s General Plan, and this finding can be made.

Further, the subject property is located within the City’s Coastal Zone, and is subject to the goals and policies of the Coastal Specific Plan. The proposed improvements will not be contrary to the objectives of the Coastal Specific Plan as discussed in the Coastal Permit Section below.

Coastal Permit:

In considering a Coastal Permit application, Section 17.72.090 of the Municipal Code requires that the Planning Commission make two findings (Development Code language is boldface, followed by Staff's analysis in normal type):

1. That the proposed development is consistent with the coastal specific plan.

The subject property is located within Subregion 6 of the Coastal Specific Plan, which is solely developed as a single-family community, within the confines of the Portuguese Bend Club. The subject property is identified for residential land use in the City’s Coastal Specific Plan. The proposed addition is consistent with the Coastal Specific Plan land use designation of residential since the project involves an addition at an existing single-family residence, which will not alter the existing primary use or density of the property.

The Coastal Specific Plan indicates that a portion of Subregion 6 is located within a geologic hazard area. The property is located within the coastal structure setback zone and within the City’s Landslide Moratorium area. As such, new permanent structures in this zone are not prohibited, but limited to one minor addition that does not exceed 250 square feet. If approved, the proposed project will be consistent with the Coastal Specific Plan, since the addition will not aggravate the existing geologic hazard, even if the overall square footage of the addition will exceed the 250 square feet limitation.

As an initial requirement for properties within the City’s landslide moratorium area, a Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit (LME No. 41) was approved on August 21, 2001. As required by Section 15.20 and by the City’s Coastal Permit ordinance, geotechnical reports were submitted, reviewed and approved by the City’s Geotechnical Consultant. The consultant determined that the project would not aggravate the landslide situation, and that the subject property is suitable for the proposed project. Further, the proposed project will be reviewed, inspected and approved by the Building and Safety Division to ensure compliance with all safety standards of the Uniform Building Code. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed project is consistent with the Coastal Specific Plan, and this finding can be adopted.

2. That the proposed development, when located between the sea and the first public road, is consistent with applicable public access and recreation policies of the Coastal Act.

The project site is located between the sea and the first public road paralleling the sea (i.e., Palos Verdes Drive South). Section 30212(a) of the Coastal Act states that "public access from the nearest public roadway to the shoreline and along the coast shall be provided in new development projects." The proposed project meets the definition of a "new" development" under Section 30212(b) of the Coastal Act. However, this project is exempt from the requirement to provide public coastal access (pursuant to Section 30212(a)(2)) because adequate public coastal access already exists nearby, at the City’s Abalone Beach Park and at the Ocean Trails project. In addition, the subject property is relatively small and does not directly abut the beach or a public road, so providing public access through or across the lot would be infeasible. The project site is a developed, single-family residence and is unsuitable for water-oriented recreational activities (Section 30220 of the Coastal Act). However, the Portuguese Bend Club community does provide opportunities for water-oriented recreation for its residents, members and their public guests. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed project is consistent with the applicable public access and recreation policies of Article 2 and 3 of Chapter 3 of the Coastal Act.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

As mentioned in the Background Section above, the City received many letters of opposition to this project. The letters indicate concerns in regards to view impairment, setback of the addition from the property lines and size. These letters were received before the revised plans were submitted to the City on January 28, 2002. After the notice of public hearing was sent to the properties owners within 500’ radius of the subject property, the City received more letters, and many neighbors contacted the City in regards to the proposed project expressing similar concerns as those expressed in the letters received by the City prior to the revisions to the proposed project. As such, Staff conducted site inspections to determine view impacts from 108 Spindrift Lane, 111 Spindrift Lane, 118 Spindrift Lane, and 124 Spindrift Lane. Staff found that the original project would have a significant view impact from the viewing area of 118 Spindrift Lane, but not from the viewing areas of the other properties.

As such, the applicants requested that this item be continued from the February 26, 2002 Planning Commission meeting to the March 26, 2002 Planning Commission meeting to allow them more time to redesign the proposed project and address the neighbors’, as well as Staff’s concerns. As discussed above, the applicants redesigned the proposed addition by lowering the addition by 2.25’. Staff conducted a subsequent view analysis site inspection from 118 Spindrift Lane and found that, as revised, the proposed addition will not significantly impair the view of the ocean from 118 Spindrift Lane. Additionally, the property owner of 118 Spindrift Lane has also submitted a letter to the City, stating that, as revised, the proposed project addresses the concerns he raised in his previous letters. The City has not received any other correspondences since the revision of the proposed project.

Further, the City has received comment letters from the Portuguese Bend Club Homeowner Association. In the last letter received by the City on March 20, 2002, the Homeowner’s Association expressed their support of the proposed project since the applicants addressed the Homeowner’s Association’s concerns regarding setbacks, parking, and height.

At the last Planning Commission meeting, the property owner of 124 Spindrift Lane, Mr. Mike Fabian, had concerns that the proposed addition would impact the view of the coastline from his living room and deck. After the silhouette was constructed, Staff conducted a site inspection and found that the proposed addition will not impact the view of the coastline from his living room and deck. Additionally, Mr. Fabian informed Staff that he no longer have a concern regarding impacts to his view.

After the new notice with the modifications to the application was sent, the City received one additional letter (attached). The correspondence is from Mr. Irwin Helford, owner of properties located at 122 Spindrift Lane, 127 Spindrift Drive, and 129 Spindrift Drive. Mr. Helford stated that he has no objections to the proposed project.

CONCLUSION

Based upon the discussion and analysis, Staff determined that the four findings for granting a Variance can be made in a positive manner to warrant approval for the following: a) to reduce the side, front and rear setbacks; b) to exceed the maximum allowed lot coverage; c) to waive the requirement for a 20’ setback for direct access driveway; d) to reduce the garage space size; and e) to exceed the 250 square foot addition limit allowed in the Coastal Zone.

Additionally, the nine findings for granting a Height Variation and the two findings for granting a Coastal Permit can be made to allow the existing structure to expand within the Coastal Zone. Therefore, Staff recommends that the Planning Commission approve with conditions the Height Variation, Coastal Permit, and Variance (Case No. ZON2001-00032).

ALTERNATIVES

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

  1. Deny Height Variation, Coastal Permit, and Variance (Case No. ZON2001-00032); or
  2. Provide the applicant with direction regarding re-design of the proposed project, and continue the project to allow the applicant time to revise the proposal.

ATTACHMENTS

  • P.C. Resolution No. 2002 - __
  • Conditions of Approval
  • Comment Letters
  • Minutes from the March 26, 2002 P.C. Meeting

P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2002-__

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING WITH CONDITIONS A HEIGHT VARIATION, VARIANCE, AND COASTAL PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2001-00032) FOR THE REPLACEMENT OF AN EXISTING CARPORT WITH A NEW 480 SQUARE FOOT GARAGE AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF A 526 SQUARE FOOT ADDITION LOCATED ABOVE THE NEW GARAGE, AT 120 SPINDRIFT LANE, WHICH IS LOCATED WITHIN THE APPEALABLE AREA OF THE CITY’S COASTAL ZONE.

WHEREAS, on August 21, 2001, the City Council approved Landslide Moratorium Exception Permit No. 42 (LME No. 42) for a 1,179 square foot addition. The approval thereby allowed the applicant to submit the required Variance, Site Plan Review and Coastal Permit applications for consideration and,

WHEREAS, on August 23, 2001, the applicant, Miles Pritskat, representing property owners Jim and Susan Maniscalco, submitted applications for Variance, Coastal Permit and Site Plan Review (Case No. ZON2001-00019), requesting approval for a 644 square foot garage and storage addition to the front of the residence, abutting the side and front property lines, and a 535 square foot addition to the residence over the proposed garage for property located within the Appealable portion of the City’s Coastal Zone at 120 Spindrift Lane; and,

WHEREAS, on January 28, 2002, the applicants submitted revised plans to the City, requesting approval for a 470 square foot carport, a 103 square foot crawl space, and a 526 square foot addition to the residence over the proposed carport; and,

WHEREAS, on February 7, 2002, the applications were deemed complete by Staff; and,

WHEREAS, on February 7, 2002 the required public notices for the February 26, 2002 Planning Commission meeting were mailed to property owners within a 500 foot radius of the subject property, and a notice was published in the Peninsula News on February 9, 2002; and,

WHEREAS, on February 21, 2002, the applicants requested that the public hearing be continued from the February 26, 2002 Planning Commission meeting to the March 26, 2002 Planning Commission meeting; and,

WHEREAS, on February 26, 2002, the Planning Commission continued the public hearing to the March 26, 2002 Planning Commission meeting; and,

WHEREAS, on March 26, 2002, the Planning Commission directed the applicant to file for an Height Variation application and continued the public hearing to the May 14, 2002 Planning Commission meeting; and

WHEREAS, on April 3, 2002, Staff conducted a site inspection and determined that the silhouette required as part of the Height Variation approval has been correctly erected; and

WHEREAS, on April 4, 2002, a new notice informed the property owners of the required Height Variation application and the modification of the plans was mailed to 55 property owners within a 500-foot radius from the subject property, the Portuguese Bend Club Homeowner’s Association, and the California Coastal Commission; and

WHEREAS, on April 6, 2002, the notice of public hearing was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et. seq. ("CEQA"), the State's CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulation, Title 14, Section 15000 et. seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), Staff found no evidence that the Variance, Coastal Permit, and Site Plan Review (Case No. ZON2001-00032) would have a significant effect on the environment and, therefore, the proposed project has been found to be categorically exempt under Class 1 (Existing Structures) since the project involves an addition to an existing residential structure; and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on May 14, 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 applicant successfully completed the Early Neighborhood Consultation process by obtaining 22 of the 55 properties within the 500’ radius, which is 40%, and 4 of the 5 properties within the 100’ radius, which is 80%.

Section 2: The subject lot is not located in an area designated by the City’s General Plan and the City’s Coastal Specific Plan as a viewing area and therefore the proposed structure does not impair any public views.

Section 3: The subject lot not located on a ridge, which is defined as an elongated crest or linear series of crest of hills, bluffs or highlands. In addition, the subject property is not located on a promontory, which is defined as a prominent mass of land that overlooks or projects onto a lowland or body of water on at least two sides.

Section 4: The proposed project will not create a view impairment from surrounding properties the because properties located up the street from the subject property are located on a much higher elevation than the subject property. Additionally, the proposed second story addition will only be 1.29’ higher than the existing residence, and below the line of sight of the property located to the east (108 Spindrift Lane), which is upslope from the subject property.

Section 5: The proposed addition will not cause a cumulative view impairment because the proposed addition is only 1.29’ higher than the existing residence, and any future additions to surrounding existing structures will not cumulatively cause a view impairment in the neighborhood.

Section 6: The proposed structure has been designed to minimize the impairment of views from surrounding properties because the second story addition is only 1.29’ higher than the existing residence, and because the proposed garage and addition are proposed on the lower portion of the property, which minimizes the impairment of view from adjacent properties.

Section 7: The proposed structure does not comply with the front, side and rear setback requirements, as well as the lot coverage and height requirement. However, with the approval of the Variances and the Height Variation, the proposed addition will be constructed in accordance with the residential development guidelines of the City's Municipal Code. Furthermore, in addition to obtaining Planning approval, building permits must also be obtained for compliance with the Uniform Building Code, the Development Code and the City’s Municipal Code.

Section 8: The proposed project is compatible with the scale of surrounding residences because an analysis of the surrounding residences shows that although the proposed project will be larger than the 10 closest homes, the surrounding lots are downslope and upslope lots, which contains split level homes, many of which are two stories along the street of access. As such, the apparent bulk and mass of the proposed addition above the garage will be compatible with the apparent bulk and mass of the split level homes found in the neighborhood. Therefore, although the proposed home will be larger than the surrounding homes, the design of the proposed project creates an apparent bulk, mass and scale that are in keeping with the scale of the surrounding residences.

Section 9: The proposed project is compatible with the architectural style and material of the surrounding residences because the surrounding homes are developed as beach cottages composed of flat roof and stucco with wood siding. The proposed project incorporates similar beach cottage architecture, such as the flat roof and plastered concrete, which is similar to stucco.

Section 10: The proposed project is compatible with the front yard setbacks of the surrounding residences because none of the homes in the surrounding neighborhood appears to comply with the required 20’ front yard setback. Although the surrounding residences do not appear to be built up to the front property line, many homes have high fences near the front property line, which has a similar effect as the proposed addition located along the front property line. According to the layout of the proposed addition in relation to the surrounding neighboring, the proposed project will not result in an unreasonable infringement of privacy since the proposed master bedroom addition is located toward the front of the subject property which will be abutting the front yard of surrounding properties, which are not used as gathering areas.

Section 11: The requested Variance is warranted to exceed the maximum allowed lot coverage because the subject lot is much smaller than the minimum 20,000 square foot lot required by the RS-2 zoning district standards, the current lot coverage of the subject property already exceeds the allowable lot coverage, and the proposed addition and the proposed carport will not significantly increase the lot coverage. These factors constitute exceptional or extraordinary circumstances that do not generally apply to other RS-2 zoned properties in the City.

Section 12: The requested Variance is warranted to exceed the maximum allowed lot coverage because the majority of the residences within the Portuguese Bend Club do not respect the maximum allowed lot coverage requirements, as such the Variance will not provide the landowners a special privilege currently not enjoyed by other property owners under like conditions.

Section 13: The requested Variance is warranted to exceed the maximum lot coverage because the current lot on the subject property already exceeds the allowable lot coverage and the current lot coverage is not detrimental to the public’s welfare or properties in the area, as such, the proposed lot coverage will also not be detrimental to the public’s welfare or properties in the area.

Section 14: The requested Variance is warranted to encroach into the required front, side and rear setback areas since the tract was developed with small lot sizes that limit the side, front and rear yard areas.

Section 15: The requested Variance is warranted to encroach into the required front, side and rear setback areas since the subject property and the majority of the lots within the Portuguese Bend Club do not meet the minimum setback requirements, and the requested Variance will not provide a special privilege currently enjoyed by the property owners and other property owners in the area.

Section 16: The requested Variance is warranted to encroach into the required front and side setback areas since the proposed addition will not adversely impact the ocean view of the surrounding properties, as such, the Variance will not be materially detrimental to the properties and improvements in the area.

Section 17: The requested Variance is warranted to exceed the 250 square foot addition threshold in the City’s Coastal Area because the entire property is located within the Coastal Zone and there is no flexibility to allow additions that are not subject to the 250 square foot threshold.

Section 18: The requested Variance is warranted to exceed the 250 square foot addition threshold in the City’s Coastal Area because the size of the addition is within the range of other Variances granted by the City in the Portuguese Bend Club Area, therefore, the Variance will not provide the landowners a special privilege currently not enjoyed by other property owners.

Section 19: The requested Variance is warranted to exceed the 250 square foot addition threshold in the City’s Coastal Area because the portion of the addition which exceeds the 250 square foot threshold does not impair the ocean view of the surrounding neighbors, and therefore, the addition which exceeds the 250 square foot threshold will not be detrimental to the public welfare and injurious to the properties in the area.

Section 20: The requested Variance is warranted to waive the requirement for a 20’ setback for direct access driveway because the size and configuration of the property, the proposed location for the carport is the most feasible location to locate the garage and the small lot sizes limit front yard setback areas.

Section 21: The requested Variance is warranted to waive the requirement for a 20’ setback for direct access driveway because the majority of the residences in the Portuguese Bend Club do not meet the setback requirements, including the required 20’ setback for the direct access driveways, and the current carport does not meet the required 20’ front setback for direct access driveways, as such, the requested Variance will not provide a special privilege currently enjoyed by the property owners and other property owners in the area.

Section 22: The requested Variance is warranted to waive the requirement for a 20’ setback for direct access driveway because the required 20’ setback for direct access driveways is to allow parking on the driveway and because the subject property and the majority of the properties in Portuguese Bend Club are not able to accommodate a 20’ long driveway due to the small sizes of the lots, by providing the required two car garage to accommodate off street parking, the granting of the Variance to waive the 20’ driveway will not be detrimental to the public’s welfare and injurious to properties in the area.

Section 23: The requested Variance is warranted to reduce the size of a garage space because the location of the existing residence and the 2’-0" front setback to address the Homeowner’s Association’s concern, one of the parking spaces will not maintain a 20’-0" depth at its entire length, as such the subject property contains an exceptional condition, which does not generally apply to other properties.

Section 24: The requested Variance is warranted to reduce the size of a garage space because the majority of the homes in the Portuguese Bend Club contain carports or substandard parking spaces due to the small lot sizes in the neighborhood, and the Variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right possessed by other property owners, under like conditions.

Section 25: The requested Variance is warranted to reduce the size of a parking space because the reduction constitutes approximately a 3 square feet reduction to the rear corner of the garage space, such that the reduction is not substantial and that the parking space will still be able to accommodate a car, therefore providing the required two car spaces, and eliminating on-street parking.

Section 26: The requested Variance is warranted because is not contrary to the objectives of the General Plan or the policies and requirements of the Coastal Specific Plan in that the addition does not significantly impact the ocean views from the surrounding properties, therefore, complying with the General Plan’s goal to "prohibit encroachment on existing scenic views reasonably expected by neighboring residences" (General Plan p. 78).

Section 27: The proposal is consistent with the City’s Coastal Specific Plan since the addition will not alter the existing primary use or density of the property, and will be consistent with the residential uses in the area.

Section 28: The subject property, which is located between the sea and the first public road, is consistent with applicable public access and recreation policies of the Coastal Act because, although the proposed project meets the definition of "new development" under Section 30212(b) of the Coastal Act, no provisions of public access are required of this project since adequate nearby public coastal access exists at the City’s nearby Abalone Cove Beach Park and at Ocean Trails project. The project site is a developed, single-family residence and is unsuitable for water oriented recreational activities. Therefore, the proposed project is consistent with the applicable public access and recreation policies of Article 2 and 3 of Chapter 3 of the Coastal Act.

Section 29: 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 with conditions Height Variation, Variance, and Coastal Permit (Case No. 2001-00032) for the replacement of an existing carport with a new 480 square foot garage, and the construction of a 526 square foot addition to the existing residence, located above the proposed garage.

Section 30: Any interested person aggrieved by this decision or by any portion of this decision may appeal to the City Council. Pursuant to Section 17.80 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, any such appeal must be filed with the City, in writing and with the appropriate appeal fee, no later than fifteen (15) days following May 14, 2002, the date of the Planning Commission’s final action.

PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this 14th day of May 2002, by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTENTIONS:

ABSENT:


_______________________
Jon S. Cartwright
Planning Commission Chairman

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


EXHIBIT "A"
CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL

HEIGHT VARIATION, VARIANCE,
COASTAL PERMIT, & SITE PLAN REVIEW
(CASE NO. ZON2001-00032)

  1. The approval shall become null and void after one (1) year from the date of approval unless the approved plans are submitted to the Building and Safety Division in 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 process or receiving a building permit to begin construction, said plan check or permit is allowed to expire or is withdrawn by the applicant.
  2. The abandonment or non-use of this approval after a period of one (1) year shall terminate the approval and any privileges hereunder shall become null and void.
  3. 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 shall achieve substantially the same results as would strict compliance with said plans and conditions.
  4. In the event that a Planning requirement and a Building & Safety requirement are in conflict with one another, the stricter standard shall apply.
  5. The hours of construction shall be limited to 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. No construction shall be permitted on Sundays or on legal holidays.
  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. Approval of Variance, Coastal Permit, and Site Plan Review (Case No. ZON2001-00032) allow for the construction of a 480 square foot garage at the same location as the existing carport, the construction of a 91 square foot crawl space to the east side of the garage, the construction of a 60 square foot laundry room to the rear of the garage, the construction of a 526 square foot addition to the existing residence located above the proposed garage and partially (180 sq. ft.) over the existing front deck, and the construction of a bay window addition to the dining area (over the existing rear deck). In order to correct the encroachment into the neighboring property to the north, the applicant is proposing to remove the portion of the deck which is encroaching into the neighboring property. In addition, the applicant is proposing to expand the deck by 31 square feet, in an area located between the existing deck and the proposed addition. PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY, SUBJECT TO REVIEW AND APPROVAL BY THE DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING, AND CODE ENFORCEMENT AND THE BUILDING OFFICIAL, A STRUCTURE SIZE CERTIFICATION BY A CERTIFIED CIVIL ENGINEER OR SURVEYOR SHALL BE SUBMITTED.
  8. The proposed garage is proposed to be located 2’-6" from the side property line and 2’-0" from the front property line. The proposed master bedroom addition shall be located 4’-0" from the side property line and 4’-0" from the front property line. The master bathroom addition shall be located 2’-0" from the front property line. The proposed bay window is proposed to be located 5’-8" from the rear property line. PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY, SUBJECT TO REVIEW AND APPROVAL BY THE DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING, AND CODE ENFORCEMENT AND THE BUILDING OFFICIAL, A SETBACK CERTIFICATION BY A CERTIFIED CIVIL ENGINEER OR SURVEYOR SHALL BE SUBMITTED.
  9. The proposed addition shall not exceed a height of 18.08’, as measured from the point where the lowest foundation meets finished grade (102.51’) to the top of the highest ridge (120.59’), and 11.27’, as measured from the highest elevation of the existing pad covered by structure (109.32’) to the highest ridge. PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY, SUBJECT TO REVIEW AND APPROVAL BY THE DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING, AND CODE ENFORCEMENT AND THE BUILDING OFFICIAL, A HEIGHT CERTIFICATION BY A CERTIFIED CIVIL ENGINEER OR SURVEYOR SHALL BE SUBMITTED.
  10. The proposed garage shall permanently maintain two parking spaces. One space shall have a minimum unobstructed ground space of no less than nine feet in width by twenty feet in depth. The other space shall have a minimum unobstructed space of no less than nine feet in width by eighteen feet and six inches in depth. Both spaces shall have a minimum of seven feet of vertical clearance over the space.
  11. The Variance application is to allow the proposed lot coverage to exceed the maximum allowed lot coverage thus increasing the lot coverage to 77.6%.
  12. No grading is permitted with this approval.
  13. Construction of the project shall substantially conform to the plans stamped as approved by the Planning Department with the effective date of this approval.
  14. Pursuant to a foliage analysis conducted by Staff in February 2002, there is no foliage on the subject property that significantly impairs a view from the viewing area of another parcel.
  15. If lot drainage deficiencies are identified by the director of public works as part of subsequent approvals, all such deficiencies shall be corrected by the applicant.
  16. Roof runoff from all buildings and structures on the site shall be contained and directed to the streets or an approved drainage course.
  17. If required by the city geotechnical staff, the applicant shall submit a soils report, and/or a geotechnical report, for the review and approval of the city geotechnical staff, prior to issuance of any future building permits.
  18. A hold harmless agreement satisfactory to the city attorney promising to defend, indemnify and hold the city harmless from any claims or damages resulting from the requested project. Such agreement shall be submitted to the director prior to the issuance of a building permit.
  19. The applicant shall submit for recordation a covenant agreeing to construct the project strictly in accordance with the approved plans; and agreeing to prohibit further projects on the subject site without first filing an application with the director pursuant to the terms of this chapter. Such covenant shall be submitted to the director for recordation prior to the issuance of a building permit.
  20. All landscaping irrigation systems shall be part of a water management system approved by the director of public works. Irrigation for landscaping shall be permitted only as necessary to maintain the yard and garden.
  21. All other necessary permits and approvals required pursuant to this code or any other applicable statute, law or ordinance shall be obtained.



4. 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 adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-__, conditionally approving Height Variation No. 941 and Grading Permit No. 2286.

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: MAY 14, 2002

SUBJECT: HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 941 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2286 PROJECT

ADDRESS: 3261 CROWNVIEW DRIVE

APPLICANT:
SAMUEL R. ISKANDER
1901 FLOURNOY RD.
MB, CA 90266

PHONE: (310) 546-6763

LANDOWNER: SAME AS APPLICANT

PHONE: SAME AS ABOVE

STAFF COORDINATOR: KIT FOX, aicp, SENIOR PLANNER

REQUESTED ACTION: ALLOW THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW 4,257-SQUARE-FOOT, 3-STORY, 26-FOOT-TALL SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE AND 2,131 CUBIC YARDS OF RELATED GRADING ON A VACANT LOT IN THE MIRALESTE HILLS COMMUNITY

RECOMMENDATION: ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2002-__, CONDITIONALLY APPROVING HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 941 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2286

REFERENCES:

ZONING: RS-2 & OH

LAND USE: VACANT RESIDENTIAL LOT

CODE SECTIONS: 17.02.040, 17.76.040

GENERAL PLAN: RESIDENTIAL 1-2 DU/ACRE & HAZARD AREA

TRAILS PLAN: N/A

SPECIFIC PLAN: N/A

CEQA STATUS: CATEGORICALLY EXEMPT (CLASS 3)

ACTION DEADLINE: AUGUST 3, 2002

PLANNING COMMISSIONERS WITHIN 500-FOOT NOTIFICATION RADIUS: NONE

BACKGROUND

On June 25, 2001, the project applicant, Samuel Iskander, submitted a request for Grading Permit No. 2286 to the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement. The applicant requested approval of a new, single-family residence on a vacant lot in the Miraleste Hills community. The application was deemed incomplete on July 12, 2001, pending the submittal of a height variation application and additional information. Additional information, an application for Height Variation No. 941 and revised plans were submitted to the City on October 11, 2001, December 10, 2001 and January 28, 2002. In addition, the applicant submitted a geotechnical report to the City on October 11, 2001, which was conceptually approved by the City’s geotechnical consultant on January 3, 2002. The silhouette was erected on January 28, 2002 and the application was deemed complete on February 27, 2002. This application was previously agendized for the Planning Commission’s review on April 9, 2002, but was continued to tonight’s meeting by mutual agreement of the applicant and Staff.

SITE AND PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The subject property is a vacant, 25,540-square-foot lot on Crownview Drive in the Miraleste Hills community. The site is surrounded by single-family residences to the north, south and east, and Miraleste Canyon to the west. The land use and zoning designations for the developable portion of the site are Residential, 1-2 DU/acre and RS-2, respectively. The land use and zoning designations for the sloped portion of the site in Miraleste Canyon are Hazard Area and OH, respectively.

The applicant's proposal requests a height variation and grading permit for the construction of a new, single-family residence. The home is proposed to encompass 4,257 square feet of habitable and non-habitable space on three levels. A total of 2,131 cubic yards of grading is also proposed for the house and access driveway. With the exception of the increased structure height proposed under Height Variation No. 941, the proposed project complies with all other development standards of the RS-2 zoning district, as depicted in the table below.

Development Standard

Permitted

Proposed

Maximum Height

16' from highest point (EG)
20’ from lowest point (FG)

3’ from highest point (EG)
26’ from lowest point (FG)

Maximum Lot Coverage

25%

23%

Front Setback

20'

20'

Rear Setback

RS-2/OH boundary

RS-2/OH boundary

Side Setbacks

5'/5’

5’/52½’

Required Parking

2 spaces

4 spaces

Max. Ret. Wall Height

3½’

7’

Max. Driveway Slope

20%

20%

CODE CONSIDERATIONS AND ANALYSIS

Each element of the proposed project—the height variation and the grading permit—requires unique findings for approval. Each of these aspects of the project is discussed separately below.

Height Variation No. 941

In considering a height variation, Section 17.02.040(C)(1)(e) of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code (RPVDC) requires the Planning Commission to consider nine findings in reference to the property and project under consideration (RPVDC language is boldface, followed by Staff's analysis in normal type):

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

The applicant has submitted the necessary signatures to demonstrate compliance with the City’s Early Neighbor Consultation process.

2. The structure does not significantly impair a view from public property which has been identified in the City's General Plan or Coastal Specific Plan as a City-designated viewing area.

There are no designated public viewing areas that overlook the subject property such that any public views would be adversely affected.

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

The proposed structure would be located on what appears to be a ridge between Crownview Drive and Miraleste Canyon. However, this apparent ridge is the only portion of the site that is developable, once the setback areas and open space hazard (OH) areas of the lot are excluded. The subject property is a legally subdivided lot—created prior to the City’s incorporation—and all proposed development will occur within the portion of the lot zoned RS-2. There are other 2-story homes in this same apparent ridgeline, some of which were approved by the City through earlier height variation applications. Therefore, Staff believes that it is appropriate to allow the applicant to propose a height variation for the subject property.

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

The two homes that directly overlook the subject property and have the greatest potential for view impairment are the Saz residence at 3281 Crownview Drive and the Dundov residence at 3285 Crownview Drive. The viewing areas on the first floors of both of these homes are at a significantly higher elevation than the roof of the proposed residence at 3261 Crownview Drive. Both homes have northeasterly views of the inner harbor area and Los Angeles basin, and the proposed project has no impact whatsoever upon these views. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed project will not significantly impair the protected view from any other properties.

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

As discussed above, the proposed project will not impair views from any surrounding properties. The design of the project helps to accomplish this by grading down into the site, rather than building the structure up from the existing grade.

6. There is no significant cumulative view impairment caused by granting the application.

As discussed above, the proposed project will not impair views from any surrounding properties. Therefore, it will not contribute to any cumulative view impairment in this area.

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

The proposed residence complies with all of the other RS-2 development standards from the Development Code. In addition, the proposed grading associated with the project is also consistent with City standards, as described below.

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

Pursuant to RPVDC Section 17.02.030(B), the following are the required components of neighborhood compatibility (RPVDC language is boldface, followed by Staff's analysis in normal type):

a. Scale of Surrounding Residences

The table below summarizes the proposed project, as compared to the nearest ten surrounding residences. The size of the proposed home is about average for the surrounding neighborhood. There are no other 3-story homes in the immediate vicinity, but the slope of the lot allows for the garage level to be tucked under the two floors of living area so that it is partially subterranean. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed scale of the proposed project is compatible with the character of the immediate neighborhood.

Address

Lot Size

Lot Type

Stories

Structure Size

Structure/Lot Ratio

3261 Crownview
(proposed)

25,540

Pad

3

4,257

0.17

3249 Crownview

14,570

Pad

2

3,360

0.23

3235 Crownview

21,150

Pad

2

3,560

0.17

3268 Crownview

20,600

Pad

2

3,469

0.17

3266 Crownview

19,850

Pad

1

2,760

0.14

3276 Crownview

21,150

Pad

2

2,704

0.13

3300 Crownview

21,740

Pad

2

4,058

0.19

3303 Crownview

47,920

Pad

2

7,234

0.15

3293 Crownview

19,400

Pad

1

4,156

0.21

3285 Crownview

36,155

Pad

1

4,530

0.13

3281 Crownview

19,120

Upslope

2

5,806

0.30

Average

24,290

   

4,164

0.17

b. Architectural Styles and Materials

The applicants propose a contemporary architectural style for the proposed home. The surrounding homes display a wide variety of architectural styles, including Mediterranean, traditional and contemporary. This variety of architectural styles is apparent throughout the Miraleste Hills community. Staff believes that the proposed project will complement its surroundings and will, therefore, be compatible with the diverse character of the immediate neighborhood.

c. Front-yard Setbacks

The proposed project complies with the required 20-foot front-yard setback, which is generally observed throughout the neighborhood. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed front-yard setback is compatible with the character of the immediate neighborhood.

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

The nearest abutting residence is the Wan residence at 3249 Crownview Drive. The proposed project will be at a significantly higher elevation than the Wan residence and will overlook it. However, there are no windows on the portions of the Wan residence closest to the side property line and facing the subject property, so the privacy of the interior living areas of the house will not be infringed.

For all of the above-mentioned reasons, Staff believes that the requested height variation should be granted.

Grading Permit No. 2286

In considering a grading permit, RPVDC Section 17.76.040(E) requires the Planning Commission to consider nine findings in reference to the property and project under consideration (RPVDC language is boldface, followed by Staff's analysis in normal type):

1. The grading does not exceed that which is necessary for the permitted primary use of the lot, as defined in Chapter 17.96 of the Development Code.

The table below summarizes the grading quantities that are proposed by this project. Approximately one-third of the proposed grading would occur within the building footprint. This grading allows the house to be set down into the slope, which in turn minimizes the potential for view impacts. The remaining two-thirds of the grading would occur outside of the building footprint, mostly for the grading of the access driveway and turnaround. The quantity of grading attributable to the driveway is comparatively large because a long "switchback" driveway is necessary in order to ensure that the driveway does not exceed 20-percent slope. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed grading is not excessive for the development of this property.

Cut

Fill

Total

Net

1,793

338

2,131

<1,455>

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

As discussed above, the proposed project will have no adverse impacts upon views from surrounding properties.

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

The front portions of the existing site were modified as a part of the original mass grading of this area of Miraleste Hills community and the construction of Crownview Drive. Although the grading for the house and driveway will alter portions of the existing 1½:1 front slope, the final grade of these slopes will resemble the current existing conditions. The natural portion of the site—which is also the portion that is zoned OH—will not be altered by this project. Therefore, Staff believes that this finding can be made for the proposed grading.

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

As mentioned above, the natural portion of the property will not be altered by this project. Therefore, Staff believes that this finding can be made for the proposed grading.

5. For new single-family residences, the grading and/or related construction is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character, as defined in Chapter 17.02 of the Development Code.

As discussed above, the proposed project will be compatible with the character of the immediate neighborhood.

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

This finding is not application to the proposed project because it does not involve the development of a new residential tract.

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

This finding is not applicable to the proposed project because it does not involve the creation of new streets.

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

This finding is not applicable to the proposed project because there is no natural landscape or wildlife habitat in the area of the lot proposed for development.

9. The grading conforms to the standards for creation of new slopes, depth of cut and fill, height of retaining walls and driveway slopes, as specified in Section 17.76.040(E)(9) of the Development Code.

New slope areas will not exceed the Development Code standards of 1½:1 slope adjacent to driveways and 2:1 slope elsewhere on the site. The new driveway will not exceed 20% slope. However, the proposed 7-foot-tall downslope retaining wall along the northerly side property line will exceed the 3½-foot standard specified in the Development Code. RPVDC Section 17.76.040(E)(10) allows deviations from the base grading standards of the Development Code if the following additional findings can be made:

a. The criteria of subsections (E)(1) through (E)(8) of Section 17.76.040 are satisfied.

As discussed above, Staff believes that all of the other findings for the approval of the proposed grading can be made for this project.

b. The approval is consistent with the purposes set forth in subsection A of Section 17.76.040.

Among the stated purposes of the City’s grading regulations are "[ensuring] that development of each parcel of land…occurs in a manner harmonious with adjacent lands…" (RPVDC Section 17.76.040(A)(3)). The increased retaining wall height is needed in order to provide an access driveway to the subject property, which is necessary for its development with a single-family residence. Therefore, Staff believes that the increased wall height is consistent with the purposes of the City’s grading regulations.

c. Departure from the standards in subsection (E)(9) of Section 17.76.040 will not constitute a grant of special privileges inconsistent with the limitations upon other properties in the vicinity.

Over-height retaining walls are not unusual in the Miraleste Hills community or in other similar hillside neighborhoods in the City. They are frequently necessary due to steep topographic conditions, both natural and man-made. As such, Staff does not believe that the increased wall height in this case constitutes a grant of special privileges.

d. Departure from the standards of subsection (E)(9) of Section 17.76.040 will not be detrimental to the public safety nor to other property.

Before the application was deemed complete, the City’s geotechnical consultant reviewed and conceptually approved the geotechnical report provided by the applicant. Prior to building permit issuance, the proposed grading and retaining walls will be reviewed again by the City’s building official and geotechnical consultant to ensure that they are constructed in a manner that protects the safety of the subject property, as well as adjacent private properties and public right-of-way. Therefore, Staff believes that the requested increase in wall height will not be detrimental to public safety.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

On February 27, 2002, public notices were mailed to the applicant, the Miraleste Hills homeowners’ association and forty-six other property owners within a 500-foot radius of the project site. On March 2, 2002, public notice of the April 9, 2002 public hearing for Height Variation No.941 and Grading Permit No. 2286 was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News. The silhouette was erected on the site and the 30-day public comment period ended on March 29, 2002. The public hearing was originally scheduled for this matter on April 9, 2002, but was continued to tonight’s meeting by mutual agreement of the applicant and Staff.

Staff has received two public comments on this project (see attachments). Dr. & Mrs. Lawrence Wan, the owners of the adjacent property at 3249 Crownview Drive, have expressed concern about the geology of the site. As noted above, the applicant’s geotechnical consultant prepared a report that was submitted to the City for review before this application was deemed complete. A copy of the clearance from the City’s geotechnical consultant is attached to this report. It is also important to note that final geotechnical approval will be required prior to building permit issuance for the project.

Staff also received an anonymous comment, claiming that the project does not comply with the 20-foot front-yard setback. However, the site plan demonstrates that the project does meet this requirement. In addition, Staff suggests conditioning the approval of the project to require setback certification, a standard condition of approval for new residences.

CONCLUSION

Based on the discussion presented above, Staff believes that all of the required findings for the approval of a height variation and grading permit can be made for the proposed project. Therefore, Staff recommends adoption of P.C. Resolution No. 2002-__, conditionally approving Height Variation No. 941 and Grading Permit No. 2286.

ALTERNATIVES

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

  1. Approve Height Variation No. 941 and Grading Permit No. 2286 with further modifications, and direct Staff to prepare an appropriate P.C. Resolution and conditions of approval for Planning Commission consideration at the next meeting.
  2. Deny Height Variation No. 941 and Grading Permit No. 2286, and direct Staff to prepare an appropriate P.C. Resolution for Planning Commission consideration at the next meeting.
  3. Identify any issues of concern with the proposed project, provide Staff and/or the applicant with direction in modifying the project, and continue the public hearing to a date certain.

Please note that the action deadline for this project was already been extended for ninety (90) days by mutual agreement of the applicant and Staff, and cannot be extended beyond August 3, 2002.

Attachments:
P.C. Resolution No. 2002-__
Clearance from the City’s geotechnical consultant
Public comments
Project plans


P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2002-__

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING THE REQUEST FOR HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 941 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2286 FOR A NEW, 3-STORY, 4,257-SQUARE-FOOT SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE AND 2,131 CUBIC YARDS OF RELATED GRADING ON A VACANT LOT IN THE MIRALESTE HILLS COMMUNITY, LOCATED AT 3261 CROWNVIEW DRIVE

WHEREAS, on June 25, 2001, the applicant, Samuel Iskander, submitted an application for Grading Permit No. 2286 to allow the construction of a new, single-family residence on Crownview Drive in the Miraleste Hills community; and,

WHEREAS, on October 11, 2001, the applicant submitted an application for Height Variation No. 941 for the same project to allow the proposed house to exceed the City’s 16-foot height limit; and,

WHEREAS, on February 27, 2002, the applications for Height Variation No. 941 and Grading Permit No. 2286 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. 941 and Grading Permit No. 2286 would have a significant effect on the environment and, therefore, the proposed project has been found to be categorically exempt (Class 3, Section 15303(a)); and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly-noticed public hearing on April 9, 2002 and May 14, 2002, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE PLANNING COMMISSION DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: The Planning Commission makes the following findings of fact with respect to the application for a height variation to allow a 4,257-square-foot, 3-story single-family residence in excess of the 16-foot height limit:

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

B. The structure does not significantly impair a view from public property which has been identified in the City's General Plan or Coastal Specific Plan as a City-designated viewing area because there are no designated public viewing areas that overlook the subject property.

C. The proposed structure is located on a ridge. However, this ridge is the only portion of the site that is developable, once the setback areas and open space hazard (OH) areas of the lot are excluded. The subject property is a legally subdivided lot—created prior to the City’s incorporation—and all proposed development will occur within the portion of the lot zoned RS-2.

D. The proposed structure, when considered exclusive of existing foliage, does not significantly impair a view from the viewing area of another parcel. The two homes that directly overlook the subject property and have the greatest potential for view impairment are at a significantly higher elevation than the roof of the proposed residence at 3261 Crownview Drive. Both homes have northeasterly views of the inner harbor area and Los Angeles basin, and the proposed project has no impact whatsoever upon these views.

E. The structure is designed and situated in such a manner as to minimize impairment of a view. The design of the project helps to accomplish this by grading down into the site, rather than building the structure up from the existing grade.

F. There is no significant cumulative view impairment caused by granting the application because there is no view impairment as a result of this project.

G. The proposed structure complies with all other RS-2 development standards from the Development Code.

H. The proposed structure is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character. In terms of the scale of surrounding residences, the size of the proposed home is about average for the surrounding neighborhood. Although there are no other 3-story homes in the immediate vicinity, the slope of the lot allows for the garage level to be tucked under the two floors of living area so that it is partially subterranean. In terms of architectural styles and materials, the applicant proposes a contemporary architectural style for the proposed home. The surrounding homes display a wide variety of architectural styles, including Mediterranean, traditional and contemporary, which is typical of the Miraleste Hills community. Finally, in terms of front-yard setbacks, the proposed project complies with the required 20-foot front-yard setback.

I. The proposed structure does not result in an unreasonable infringement of the privacy of the occupants of abutting residences. The nearest abutting residence is the Wan residence at 3249 Crownview Drive. The proposed project will be at a significantly higher elevation than the Wan residence, but there are no windows on the portions of the Wan residence closest to the side property line and facing the subject property.

Section 2: The Planning Commission makes the following findings of fact with respect to the application for a grading permit to allow 2,131 cubic yards for a single-family residence and access driveway:

A. 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 Development Code. Approximately one-third of the proposed grading would occur within the building footprint. This grading allows the house to be set down into the slope, which in turn minimizes the potential for view impacts. The remaining two-thirds of the grading would occur outside of the building footprint, mostly for the grading of the access driveway and turnaround. The quantity of grading attributable to the driveway is comparatively large because a long "switchback" driveway is necessary in order to ensure that the driveway does not exceed 20-percent slope.

B. The grading and/or related construction does not significantly adversely affect the visual relationships with, nor the views from, neighboring properties, as discussed under Height Variation Findings D, E and F above.

C. The nature of the grading minimizes disturbance to the natural contours and finished contours are reasonably natural. The front portions of the existing site were modified as a part of the original mass grading of this area of Miraleste Hills community and the construction of Crownview Drive. Although the grading for the house and driveway will alter portions of the existing 1½:1 front slope, the final grade of these slopes will resemble the current existing conditions. The natural portion of the site—which is also the portion that is zoned OH—will not be altered by this project.

D. The grading takes into account the preservation of natural topographic features and appearances by means of land sculpturing so as to blend any man-made or manufactured slope into the natural topography. The natural portion of the property will not be altered by this project.

E. For new single-family residences, the grading and/or related construction is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character, as defined in Chapter 17.02 of the Development Code, as discussed in Height Variation Finding H above.

F. The required finding that, in new residential tracts, the grading includes provisions for the preservation and introduction of plant materials so as to protect slopes from soil erosion and slippage and minimize the visual effects of grading and construction on hillside areas, is not applicable to the proposed project because it does not involve the development of a new residential tract.

G. The required finding that the grading utilizes street designs and improvements which serve to minimize grading alternatives and harmonize with the natural contours and character of the hillside is not applicable to the proposed project because it does not involve the creation of new streets.

H. The required finding that the grading would not cause excessive and unnecessary disturbance of the natural landscape or wildlife habitat through removal of vegetation is not applicable to the proposed project because there is no natural landscape or wildlife habitat in the area of the lot proposed for development.

I. The grading conforms to the Development Code standards for creation of new slopes, depth of cut and fill and driveway slopes, as specified in Section 17.76.040(E)(9) of the Development Code.

J. The grading does not conform to the Development Code standards for downslope retaining wall height, as specified in Section 17.76.040(E)(9) of the Development Code. However, the increased wall height—from 3½ feet to 7 feet—is warranted because:

i. All of the grading criteria of subsections (E)(1) through (E)(8) of Section 17.76.040 are satisfied.

ii. The approval is consistent with the purposes set forth in subsection A of Section 17.76.040 because among the stated purposes of the City’s grading regulations are "[ensuring] that development of each parcel of land…occurs in a manner harmonious with adjacent lands…", and the increased retaining wall height is needed in order to provide an access driveway to the subject property, which is necessary for its development with a single-family residence.

iii. Departure from the standards in subsection (E)(9) of Section 17.76.040 will not constitute a grant of special privileges inconsistent with the limitations upon other properties in the vicinity because over-height retaining walls are not unusual in the Miraleste Hills community or in other similar hillside neighborhoods in the City, where they are frequently necessary due to steep topographic conditions, both natural and man-made.

iv. Departure from the standards of subsection (E)(9) of Section 17.76.040 will not be detrimental to the public safety nor to other property because, prior to building permit issuance, the proposed retaining walls will be reviewed by the City’s building official and geotechnical consultant to ensure that they are constructed in a manner that protects the safety of the subject property, as well as adjacent private properties and public right-of-way.

Section 3: Any interested person aggrieved by this decision or by any portion of this decision may appeal to the City Council. Pursuant to Sections 17.02.040(C)(1)(j) and 17.76.040(D)(10)(e) 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 May 14, 2002, the date of the Planning Commission’s final action.

Section 4: 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 No. 941 and Grading Permit No. 2286 for a new, 3-story, 4,257-square-foot single-family residence and 2,131 cubic yards of related grading on a vacant lot in the Miraleste Hills community, located at 3261 Crownview Drive, subject to the conditions contained in Exhibit 'A', attached hereto and made a part hereof, which are necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare in the area.

PASSED, APPROVED and ADOPTED this 14th day of May 2002, by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTENTIONS:

ABSENT:


_______________________
Jon S. Cartwright
Chairma

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


EXHIBIT 'A'
CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL
FOR HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 941 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2286
(Iskander, 3261 Crownview Drive)

General Conditions:

  1. Prior to the submittal of plans into Building and Safety plan check, the applicant and the property owner shall submit to the City a statement, in writing, that they have read, understand, and agree to all conditions of approval contained in this Resolution. Failure to provide said written statement within ninety (90) days following date of this approval shall render this approval null and void.
  2. This approval is for the construction of a 3-story, 4,257-square-foot single-family residence and 2,131 cubic yards of related grading on a vacant lot in the Miraleste Hills community, located at 3261 Crownview Drive. The Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement is authorized to make minor modifications to the approved plans and any of the conditions of approval if such modifications will achieve substantially the same results as would strict compliance with the approved plans and conditions. Otherwise, any substantive change to the project shall require approval of a revision to the height variation and/or grading permit by the Planning Commission and shall require new and separate environmental review.
  3. All project development on the site shall conform to the specific standards contained in these conditions of approval or, if not addressed herein, in the RS-2 district development standards of the City's Municipal Code.
  4. Failure to comply with and adhere to all of these conditions of approval may be cause to revoke the approval of the project by the Planning Commission after conducting a public hearing on the matter.
  5. If the project has not been established (i.e., building permits obtained) within one year of the final effective date of this Resolution, or if construction has not commenced within one hundred eighty (180) days of the issuance of building permits, approval of the project shall expire and be of no further effect unless, prior to expiration, a written request for extension is filed with the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement and approved by the Director. Otherwise, a height variation and grading permit revision must be approved prior to further development.
  6. In the event that any of these conditions conflict with the recommendations and/or requirements of another permitting agency or City department, the stricter standard shall apply.
  7. Unless otherwise designated in these conditions, all construction shall be completed in substantial conformance with the plans stamped approved by the City with the effective date of this Resolution.
  8. The construction site and adjacent public and private properties and streets shall be kept free of all loose materials resembling trash and debris in excess of that material used for immediate construction purposes. Such excess material may include, but not be limited to: the accumulation of debris, garbage, lumber, scrap metal, concrete asphalt, piles of earth, salvage materials, abandoned or discarded furniture, appliances or other household fixtures.
  9. Permitted hours and days for construction activity are 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday through Saturday, with no construction activity permitted on Sundays or on the legal holidays specified in Section 17.96.920 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code.
  10. Exterior residential lighting shall be in compliance with the standards of Section 17.56.030 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, and shall not exceed 1,700 W incandescent (or equivalent). No single lighting fixture may exceed 150 W incandescent (or equivalent).

Height Variation No. 941:

  1. The maximum height of the house shall not exceed an elevation of 3’ above the highest point of existing grade covered by the structure (157’) and 26’ above the lowest point of finished grade covered by the structure (134’). The maximum elevation of the finished roof surface shall be 160’. Roof height certification required.
  2. This approval is for a total of 4,257 square feet of enclosed area, consisting of a 917-square-foot garage on the first floor, 1,187 square feet of living area and 244 square feet of decks on the second floor, and 2,153 square feet of living area and 377 square feet of decks on the third floor. The roof of the house may not be used as a deck or other outdoor living area.
  3. The garage shall maintain interior dimensions of at least twenty feet (20’0") in depth and eighteen feet (18’0") in width. At least two garage spaces must be maintained at all times for the parking of motor vehicles.
  4. During and after construction, the applicant shall take all reasonable steps to avoid adversely affecting the existing foliage along the northerly side property line (located at 3249 Crownview Drive) so as to maintain the privacy of the residents of the adjacent home.

Grading Permit No. 2286:

  1. The approved grading quantities are as follows:
  2. Cut

    Fill

    Total

    Net

    1,793

    338

    2,131

    <1,455>

    Prior to building permit final, the applicant shall provide dump receipts for the export of 1,455 cubic yards of material form the site.

  3. The maximum height of the downslope retaining wall at the northerly side property line and along the front property line shall be 7’.

  1. The maximum driveway slope shall not exceed 20% (20% proposed).
  2. The project shall comply with the setbacks depicted on the approved plans. In no case shall the setbacks be less than:
    1. 20 feet from the public right-of-way of Crownview Drive;
    2. 5 feet from the southerly side property line;
    3. 52½ feet from the northerly side property line (except for the retaining wall and driveway); and,
    4. No construction is allowed to encroach upon the Open Space Hazard (OH) portion of the property.

Building setback certification required at foundation forms inspection.

  1. The approved project shall maintain a maximum of 25% lot coverage (23% proposed).
  2. During grading and construction, the applicant shall install and maintain temporary construction fencing around the project perimeter, and particularly along the northerly side property line so as to prevent construction debris from falling onto the adjacent, downslope property.
  3. Prior to building permit issuance, the applicant shall obtain final approval of the project from the City’s geotechnical consultant.
  4. The applicant shall obtain an encroachment permit from the Public Works Department prior to any work within the right-of-way of Crownview Drive.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:



5. VARIANCE, SITE PLAN REVIEW and MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2002-00108): 28304 Golden Meadow / Thayer (KF)

Request: A request for 1) a 20-square-foot addition to the existing indirect-access garage that would be reconfigured into a direct-access garage and would encroach one foot (1’) into the required 20-foot front-yard setback area; 2) a proposed 858-square-foot addition that would encroach upon the intersection visibility triangle at the southeast corner of Golden Meadow Drive and Cherty Drive; and 3) a 32-square-foot covered porch and a 1-square-foot portion of the proposed 858-square-foot addition that would encroach no more than 20% into the required front-yard setback area.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-__, conditionally approving a Variance, Site Plan Review and Minor Exception Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00108).

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: MAY 14, 2002

SUBJECT: CASE NO. ZON2002-00108 (VARIANCE, SITE PLAN REVIEW AND MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT) PROJECT

ADDRESS: 28304 GOLDEN MEADOW DRIVE

APPLICANT:
ROSS & PAMELA THAYER
28304 GOLDEN MEADOW DR.
RPV, CA 90275

PHONE: (310) 544-9663

LANDOWNER: SAME AS APPLICANT

PHONE: SAME AS ABOVE

STAFF COORDINATOR: KIT FOX, aicp, SENIOR PLANNER

REQUESTED ACTION: ALLOW THE CONVERSION OF AN INDIRECT-ACCESS GARAGE TO A DIRECT-ACCESS GARAGE ENCROACHING ONE FOOT INTO THE 20-FOOT FRONT-YARD SETBACK, AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF AN 858-SQUARE-FOOT ADDITION AND 32-SQUARE-FOOT PORCH ENCROACHING INTO THE INTERSECTION VISIBILITY TRIANGLE AT THE SOUTHEAST CORNER OF GOLDEN MEADOW DRIVE AND CHERTY DRIVE AND THE FRONT-YARD SETBACK AREA

RECOMMENDATION: ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2002-__, CONDITIONALLY APPROVING A VARIANCE, SITE PLAN REVIEW AND MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2002-00108)

REFERENCES:

ZONING: RS-4

LAND USE: SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE

CODE SECTIONS: 17.48.070, 17.64.050, 17.66.050

GENERAL PLAN: RESIDENTIAL 2-4 DU/ACRE

TRAILS PLAN: N/A

SPECIFIC PLAN: N/A

CEQA STATUS: CATEGORICALLY EXEMPT (CLASS 1)

ACTION DEADLINE: JUNE 24, 2002

PLANNING COMMISSIONERS WITHIN 500-FOOT NOTIFICATION RADIUS: NONE

BACKGROUND

On March 5, 2002, the project applicants, Ross and Pamela Thayer, submitted a request for a variance and site plan review to the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement. The applicants’ request proposes a 20-square-foot addition to the existing indirect-access garage that would be reconfigured into a direct-access garage and would encroach one foot (1’0") into the required 20-foot front-yard setback area, as well as a proposed 858-square-foot addition and 32-square-foot porch that would encroach upon the intersection visibility triangle at the southeast corner of Golden Meadow Drive and Cherty Drive. The application was deemed complete on April 25, 2002.

After the application was deemed complete, Staff noted that the proposed porch and a small portion of the 858-square-foot addition would also encroach upon the 20-foot front-yard setback. Therefore, the application has been amended to include a minor exception permit for these elements.

SITE AND PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The subject property is an existing single-family residence at the southeast corner of Golden Meadow Drive and Cherty Drive in the Palos Verdes Village community. The site is surrounded by single-family residences. The land use and zoning designations for the site are Residential, 2-4 DU/acre and RS-4, respectively.

The applicant's proposal requests a variance to allow the reconfigured garage to encroach upon the required 20-foot front-yard setback area, and site plan review to allow the 858-square-foot single-story addition to encroach upon the intersection visibility triangle. A minor exception permit is required for the 32-square-foot covered porch (which would encroach four feet (4’0") into the 20-foot front-yard setback) and a 1-square-foot portion of the 858-square-foot addition (which would encroach one foot (1’0") into the 20-foot front-yard setback). Due to the combined size of the proposed additions, both neighborhood compatibility and foliage analyses are required. With the exception of the encroachments described above, the proposed project complies with all other development standards of the RS-4 zoning district, as depicted in the table below.

Development Standard

Existing

Permitted

Proposed

Maximum Height

14’

16'

15½’

Maximum Lot Coverage

36%

50%

36%

Front Setback

20’

20'

19'

Rear Setback

36’

15’

36’

Side Setbacks

8¾’ interior side
17’ street side

5' interior side
10’ street side

8¾’ interior side
15’ street side

Required Parking

2 spaces

2 spaces

2 spaces

CODE CONSIDERATIONS AND ANALYSIS

Each element of the proposed project—the variance, site plan review, minor exception permit, neighborhood compatibility analysis and foliage analysis—requires unique findings for approval. Each of these aspects of the project is discussed separately below.

Variance

In considering a variance, Section 17.64.050 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code (RPVDC) requires the Planning Commission to make all of four findings in reference to the property and project under consideration (RPVDC language is boldface, followed by Staff's analysis in normal type):

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.

As an indirect-access garage, the existing garage provides the minimum interior dimensions necessary for the parking of two vehicles. However, if the existing garage is converted to direct access without modifying its size, it does not provide the minimum 20-foot depth required for each parking space. The applicants have considered several options to address this condition. The garage dimensions could be left "as is," which would still require the approval of a variance. However, Staff is concerned that this option could render the new garage less useable for parking vehicles, which is the primary purpose in providing a garage in the first place. Another option would involve extending the garage into the living area of the house to provide the minimum 20-foot depth, but this would require major structural modifications to the living area of the house. The third option is to extend the garage toward the street to provide the minimum 20-foot interior depth, which is the option chosen by the applicants. Staff believes that this option would provide a garage that meets the requirements of the Development Code, while also providing a reasonable front-yard setback that is consistent with neighborhood standards (see discussion below). Staff further believes that the lack of reasonable options to the proposed project constitutes an exceptional circumstance that does not generally apply to other properties in the RS-4 zoning district. Therefore, Staff believes that this finding can be made for the proposed project.

2. 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.

As depicted in the table below*, most of the homes in the immediate vicinity of the subject property have front-yard setbacks that are less than the 20-foot standard mandated by the RS-4 development standards. Four of these surrounding homes have direct-access garages with front-yard setbacks of ten feet (10’). Staff has found that these reduced front-yard setbacks for both direct- and indirect-access garages are commonplace in the Palos Verdes Village community, which was developed under the County’s jurisdiction in the early 1960’s. Staff believes that the reduced front-yard setbacks on many other properties in this neighborhood constitute a substantial property right that the applicants are unable to enjoy without the approval of a variance. Therefore, Staff believes that this finding can be made for the proposed project.

*The data in this table is based upon information provided by the applicant and verified in the City's building permit records.

Address

Front Setback

Type of Garage Access

28304 Golden Meadow
(existing)

20’

Indirect

28304 Golden Meadow
(proposed)

19’

Direct

28312 Golden Meadow

10’

Direct

28318 Golden Meadow

10’

Direct

28311 Golden Meadow

10’

Direct

28303 Golden Meadow

10’

Indirect

28239 Golden Meadow

10’

Indirect

28231 Golden Meadow

10’

Direct

28228 Golden Meadow

14’

Indirect

28236 Golden Meadow

15’

Indirect

7025 Cherty

19’

Indirect

7028 Cherty

20’

Indirect

3. 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.

The one-foot reduction in the front-yard setback will provide a 19-foot-long driveway for the residence, which is still long enough to provide off-street parking for most passenger vehicles without infringing upon the City’s sidewalk and right-of-way. As such, Staff believes that this finding can be made for the proposed project.

4. Granting the variance will not be contrary to the objectives of the General Plan or the policies and requirements of the Coastal Specific Plan.

The General Plan land use designation for the subject property is Residential, 2-4 DU/acre. The development and improvement of single-family residences are among the primary permitted uses within this land use designation. This is also reflected in Housing Activity Policy No. 3 of the General Plan (p. 78), which calls upon the City to "[encourage] and assist in the maintenance and improvement of all existing residential neighborhoods so as to maintain optimum local standards of housing quality and design." Staff believes that the proposed project implements this policy. Therefore, Staff believes that this finding can be made for the proposed project.

Site Plan Review

In considering a site plan review for encroachment into an intersection visibility triangle, RPVDC Section 17.48.070 requires the Director of Public Works to review the proposed encroachment and determined if the proposed project will result in any traffic safety hazards for motorists or pedestrians. The City’s Senior Engineer conducted a site inspection on April 26, 2002 and determined that the proposed 858-square-foot addition would not adversely affect public safety (see attached e-mail). Therefore, Staff recommends that the Planning Commission approve the requested encroachment.

Minor Exception Permit

In considering a minor exception permit for a maximum 20-percent reduction in the front-yard setback, RPVDC Section 17.66.050(A) requires the Planning Commission to make at least one of the following three findings in reference to the property and project under consideration (RPVDC language is boldface, followed by Staff's analysis in normal type):

1. The requested minor exception is warranted by practical difficulties.

With respect to the 1-square-foot portion of the 858-square-foot addition, which constitutes a 5-percent reduction in the 20-foot front-yard setback, the encroaching portion of the addition encompasses a tiny, triangular area at the northwest corner of the proposed addition. This corner would have to be notched or angled in order to avoid this 1-foot encroachment, which would lead to more complicated structural engineering for this corner of the house. Staff believes that the additional effort and expense to eliminate this 1-square-foot encroachment would constitute a practical difficulty for the applicant.

2. The requested minor exception is warranted by an unnecessary hardship.

As discussed in the variance findings above, many other homes in the immediate vicinity are located much closer to the front property line than the home on the subject property is. Staff believes that this condition may impose an unnecessary hardship upon the subject property.

3. The requested minor exception is necessary to avoid inconsistencies with the general intent of the Development Code.

With respect to the 32-square-foot covered porch, which constitutes a 20-percent reduction in the 20-foot front-yard setback, the Development Code generally encourages the articulation of front façades in order to provide visual interest to homes and neighborhoods. The inclusion of the proposed porch helps to provide such articulation to this addition. Staff believes that the articulation provided by the porch is warranted in order to avoid a flat façade and to maintain consistency with the general provisions of the Development Code.

Neighborhood Compatibility Analysis

Pursuant to RPVDC Section 17.02.030(B), the following are the required components of neighborhood compatibility (RPVDC language is boldface, followed by Staff's analysis in normal type):

a. Scale of Surrounding Residences

The table below summarizes the existing and proposed conditions on the subject property, as compared to the nearest ten surrounding residences. Currently, the home on the subject property is one of the smallest in the immediate vicinity. The two largest homes in the immediate vicinity (28312 and 28318 Golden Meadow Drive) are located next door and immediately south of the subject property. With the additional square footage proposed by the applicants, the subject residence will be comparable in size to these adjacent homes, which are larger than average-sized homes in the immediate vicinity. However, Staff believes that the proposed home at 28304 Golden Meadow Drive will not appear disproportionately large compared to surrounding homes because the proposed additions are one story and the typical front setbacks for the neighborhood will still be generally observed (with the exception of the items discussed under the minor exception permit above). Therefore, Staff believes that the scale of the proposed project is compatible with the character of the immediate neighborhood.

Address

Lot Size

Lot Type

Stories

Structure Size

Structure/Lot Ratio

28304 Golden Meadow
(existing)

9,143

Pad

1

2,122

0.23

28304 Golden Meadow
(proposed)

3,000

0.33

28312 Golden Meadow

9,017

Pad

1

2,978

0.33

28318 Golden Meadow

9,021

Pad

1

2,888

0.32

28311 Golden Meadow

9,017

Pad

1

2,002

0.22

28303 Golden Meadow

9,017

Pad

1

2,585

0.29

28239 Golden Meadow

9,017

Pad

1

2,326

0.26

28231 Golden Meadow

9,017

Pad

1

2,193

0.24

28228 Golden Meadow

9,100

Pad

1

2,303

0.25

28236 Golden Meadow

9,100

Pad

1

1,942

0.21

7025 Cherty

9,827

Pad

1

2,193

0.22

7028 Cherty

9,836

Pad

1

2,232

0.23

Average

9,192

   

2,342

0.25

b. Architectural Styles and Materials

The applicants propose a Mediterranean architectural style for the proposed renovations to their home. This is different from the existing architectural style, which is basically a ranch-style tract home. However, the roof lines and gables of the remodeled house will be similar to the existing roof. Although the architectural materials proposed—stucco and a fiberglass tile roof—are different from many surrounding homes, they are not without precedent elsewhere in the Palos Verdes Village community and are reflective of a growing trend toward "modernization" of these 40-year-old homes. Staff believes that the proposed project will complement its surroundings and will, therefore, be compatible with the character of the immediate neighborhood.

c. Front-Yard Setbacks

As discussed above in the variance and minor exception permit findings, Staff believes that the requested front-yard setback reductions are warranted, and are not inconsistent with front-yard setbacks that are common in the surrounding neighborhood. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed front-yard setback is compatible with the character of the immediate neighborhood.

Foliage Analysis

Staff has reviewed the subject property and determined that there is no existing foliage that significantly impairs a protected view from any nearby properties. As such, Staff recommends that no foliage trimming or removal be required as a condition of the approval of this project.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

On April 24, 2002, public notices were mailed to the applicants and ninety-four other property owners within a 500-foot radius of the project site. On April 27, 2002, public notice of the May 14, 2002 public hearing for Case No. ZON2002-00108 was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News. As of the date this report was completed, Staff had received no comments in response to the public notice for this project.

CONCLUSION

Based on the discussion presented above, Staff believes that all of the required findings for the approval of a variance, site plan review and minor exception permit can be made for the proposed project. Therefore, Staff recommends adoption of P.C. Resolution No. 2002-__, conditionally approving the variance, site plan review and minor exception permit requested (Case No. ZON2002-00108).

ALTERNATIVES

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

  1. Approve the variance and site plan review with further modifications, and direct Staff to prepare an appropriate P.C. Resolution and conditions of approval for Planning Commission consideration at the next meeting.
  2. Deny the variance, the site plan review and/or the minor exception permit, and direct Staff to prepare an appropriate P.C. Resolution for Planning Commission consideration at the next meeting.
  3. Deny the variance, the site plan review and the minor exception permit, and direct Staff to prepare an appropriate P.C. Resolution for Planning Commission consideration at the next meeting.
  4. 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 it will be necessary to obtain an extension of the action deadline from the project applicant if this project is continued beyond the current June 24, 2002 action deadline.

Attachments:
P.C. Resolution No. 2002-__
E-mail from Senior Engineer Nicole Jules
Project plans


P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2002-__

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING THE REQUEST FOR A VARIANCE TO ALLOW A 20-SQUARE-FOOT GARAGE ADDITION TO ENCROACH INTO THE FRONT-YARD SETBACK AREA, SITE PLAN REVIEW TO ALLOW AN 858-SQUARE-FOOT LIVING AREA ADDITION TO ENCROACH INTO THE INTERSECTION VISIBILITY TRIANGLE AT THE SOUTHEAST CORNER OF GOLDEN MEADOW DRIVE AND CHERTY DRIVE, AND A MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT TO ALLOW A 32-SQUARE-FOOT PORCH AND A 1-SQUARE-FOOT PORTION OF THE 858-SQUARE-FOOT ADDITION TO ENCROACH INTO THE FRONT-YARD SETBACK AREA OF AN EXISTING SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE IN THE PALOS VERDES VILLAGE COMMUNITY, LOCATED AT 28304 GOLDEN MEADOW DRIVE

WHEREAS, on March 5, 2002, the applicants, Ross and Pamela Thayer, submitted an application for Planning Case No. ZON2002-00108 for a variance and site plan review to allow the construction of additions to their existing, single-family residence on Golden Meadow Drive in the Palos Verdes Village community; and,

WHEREAS, on April 25, 2002, the application for Planning Case No. ZON2002-00108 was deemed complete by Staff; and,

WHEREAS, after the application was deemed complete, Staff determined that a minor exception permit was also necessary for the encroachment of a porch and a small portion of the addition into the front-yard setback area; 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 the requested variance, site plan review and minor exception permit would have a significant effect on the environment and, therefore, the proposed project has been found to be categorically exempt (Class 1, Section 15301(e)); and,

WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly-noticed public hearing on May 14, 2002, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE PLANNING COMMISSION DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1: The Planning Commission makes the following findings of fact with respect to the application for a variance to allow the 20-square-foot garage addition to encroach one foot (1’0") into the required 20-foot-front-yard setback area:

A. 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. The applicants have considered several options to address the inadequate depth of the garage. The alternatives to either leave the garage dimensions "as is" or the garage into the living area of the house to provide the minimum 20-foot depth are not feasible because they would render the new garage less useable for parking vehicles or require major structural modifications to the living area of the house, respectively. The remaining option to extend the garage toward the street would provide a garage that meets the requirements of the Development Code, while also providing a reasonable front-yard setback that is consistent with neighborhood standards. The Planning Commission finds that the lack of reasonable options to the proposed project constitutes an exceptional circumstance that does not generally apply to other properties in the RS-4 zoning district.

B. 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. Most of the homes in the immediate vicinity of the subject property have front-yard setbacks that are less than the 20-foot standard mandated by the RS-4 development standards. These reduced front-yard setbacks for both direct- and indirect-access garages are commonplace in the Palos Verdes Village community, which was developed under the County’s jurisdiction in the early 1960’s. The Planning Commission finds that the reduced front-yard setbacks on many other properties in this neighborhood constitute a substantial property right that the applicants are unable to enjoy without the approval of a variance.

C. 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. The Planning Commission finds that the one-foot reduction in the front-yard setback will provide a 19-foot-long driveway for the residence, which is still long enough to provide off-street parking for most passenger vehicles without infringing upon the City’s sidewalk and right-of-way.

D. Granting the variance will not be contrary to the objectives of the General Plan or the policies and requirements of the Coastal Specific Plan. The development and improvement of single-family residences are among the primary permitted uses within the Residential, 2-4 DU/acre land use designation of the General Plan. The proposed project is also consistent with Housing Activity Policy No. 3 of the General Plan, which calls upon the City to "[encourage] and assist in the maintenance and improvement of all existing residential neighborhoods so as to maintain optimum local standards of housing quality and design."

Section 2: The Planning Commission makes the following findings of fact with respect to the application for site plan review to allow an 858-square-foot single-story addition to encroach into the intersection visibility triangle at the southeast corner of Golden Meadow Drive and Cherty Drive:

A. The Director of Public Works has reviewed the proposed encroachment and determined that the proposed project will not result in any traffic safety hazards for motorists or pedestrians. The Planning Commission therefore finds that the proposed project meets all other development standards of the RS-4 zoning district and will not create a hazard to public safety.

Section 3: The Planning Commission makes the following findings of fact with respect to the compatibility of the proposed project with the character of the immediate neighborhood:

A. Currently, the home on the subject property is one of the smallest in the immediate vicinity, while the two homes to the immediate south are the largest in the vicinity. With the additional square footage proposed by the applicants, the subject residence will be comparable in size to these adjacent larger homes. However, the proposed home at 28304 Golden Meadow Drive will not appear disproportionately large compared to surrounding homes because the proposed additions are single story and the typical front setbacks for the neighborhood will still be observed. Therefore, the Planning Commission finds that the scale of the proposed project is compatible with the character of the immediate neighborhood.

B. The applicants propose a Mediterranean architectural style for the proposed renovations to their home, which is different from the current ranch-style of the home. However, the roof lines and gables of the remodeled house will be similar to the existing roof. Although the architectural materials proposed—stucco and a fiberglass tile roof—are different from many surrounding homes, they are not without precedent elsewhere in the Palos Verdes Village community and are reflective of a trend toward "modernization" of these 40-year-old homes. Therefore, the Planning Commission finds that the architectural style and materials of the proposed project will be compatible with the character of the immediate neighborhood.

C. As discussed in the variance findings above, the Planning Commission finds that the proposed front-yard setback is compatible with the character of the immediate neighborhood.

Section 4: The Planning Commission makes the following findings of fact with respect to the application for a minor exception permit to allow the 32-square-foot porch to encroach four feet (4’0") into the required 20-foot-front-yard setback area and a 1-square-foot portion of the 858-square-foot addition to encroach one foot (1’0") into the required 20-foot-front-yard setback area:

A. The requested minor exception is warranted by practical difficulties. The encroaching portion of the 858-square-foot addition, which constitutes a 5-percent reduction in the 20-foot front-yard setback, encompasses a tiny, triangular area at the northwest corner of the proposed addition. This corner would have to be notched or angled in order to avoid this 1-foot encroachment, which would lead to more complicated structural engineering for this corner of the house and would constitute a practical difficulty for the applicant.

B. The requested minor exception is warranted by an unnecessary hardship. As discussed in the variance findings above, many other homes in the immediate vicinity are located much closer to the front property line than the home on the subject property is. This condition imposes an unnecessary hardship upon the subject property.

C. The requested minor exception is necessary to avoid inconsistencies with the general intent of the Development Code. The 32-square-foot covered porch, which constitutes a 20-percent reduction in the 20-foot front-yard setback, provides articulation of the front façade of the home. The Development Code generally encourages the articulation of front façades in order to provide visual interest to homes and neighborhoods. The articulation provided by the porch is warranted in order to avoid a flat façade and to maintain consistency with the general provisions of the Development Code.

Section 5: Any interested person aggrieved by this decision or by any portion of this decision may appeal to the City Council. Pursuant to Sections 17.48.070(D) and 17.64.060 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 May 14, 2002, the date of the Planning Commission’s final action.

Section 6: 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 a variance to allow a 20-square-foot garage addition to encroach into the front-yard setback area, site plan review to allow an 858-square-foot living area addition to encroach into the intersection visibility triangle at the southeast corner of Golden Meadow Drive and Cherty Drive, and a minor exception permit to allow a 32-square-foot porch and a 1-square-foot portion of the 858-square-foot addition to encroach into the front-yard setback area of an existing single-family residence in the Palos Verdes Village community, located at 28304 Golden Meadow Drive, subject to the conditions contained in Exhibit 'A', attached hereto and made a part hereof, which are necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare in the area.

PASSED, APPROVED and ADOPTED this 14th day of May 2002, by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTENTIONS:

ABSENT:


_______________________
Jon S. Cartwright
Chairma

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


EXHIBIT 'A'
CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL
FOR PLANNING CASE NO. ZON2002-00108
(Thayer, 28304 Golden Meadow Drive)

General Conditions:

  1. Prior to the submittal of plans into Building and Safety plan check, the applicant and the property owner shall submit to the City a statement, in writing, that they have read, understand, and agree to all conditions of approval contained in this Resolution. Failure to provide said written statement within ninety (90) days following date of this approval shall render this approval null and void.
  2. This approval is for the construction of a 20-square-foot garage addition encroaching into the front-yard setback area, an 858-square-foot living area addition encroaching into the front-yard setback area and the intersection visibility triangle at the southeast corner of Golden Meadow Drive and Cherty Drive, and a 32-square-foot covered porch encroaching into the front-yard setback area of an existing single-family residence in the Palos Verdes Village community, located at 28304 Golden Meadow Drive. The Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement is authorized to make minor modifications to the approved plans and any of the conditions of approval if such modifications will achieve substantially the same results as would strict compliance with the approved plans and conditions. Otherwise, any substantive change to the project shall require approval of a revision to the variance, site plan review and/or minor exception permit by the Planning Commission and shall require new and separate environmental review.
  3. All project development on the site shall conform to the specific standards contained in these conditions of approval or, if not addressed herein, in the RS-4 district development standards of the City's Municipal Code.
  4. Failure to comply with and adhere to all of these conditions of approval may be cause to revoke the approval of the project by the Planning Commission after conducting a public hearing on the matter.
  5. If the project has not been established (i.e., building permits obtained) within one year of the final effective date of this Resolution, or if construction has not commenced within one hundred eighty (180) days of the issuance of building permits, approval of the project shall expire and be of no further effect unless, prior to expiration, a written request for extension is filed with the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement and approved by the Director. Otherwise, a variance, site plan review and minor exception permit revision must be approved prior to further development.
  6. In the event that any of these conditions conflict with the recommendations and/or requirements of another permitting agency or City department, the stricter standard shall apply.
  7. Unless otherwise designated in these conditions, all construction shall be completed in substantial conformance with the plans stamped approved by the City with the effective date of this Resolution.
  8. The construction site and adjacent public and private properties and streets shall be kept free of all loose materials resembling trash and debris in excess of that material used for immediate construction purposes. Such excess material may include, but not be limited to: the accumulation of debris, garbage, lumber, scrap metal, concrete asphalt, piles of earth, salvage materials, abandoned or discarded furniture, appliances or other household fixtures.
  9. Permitted hours and days for construction activity are 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday through Saturday, with no construction activity permitted on Sundays or on the legal holidays specified in Section 17.96.920 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code.

Site Plan Review Conditions:

  1. The maximum height of the additions to the house shall not exceed an elevation of 15½’, as depicted on the approved plans. Ridge height certification required.
  2. The approved project shall maintain a maximum of 50% lot coverage (36% proposed).
  3. No grading is approved by this action.
  4. Exterior residential lighting shall be in compliance with the standards of Section 17.56.030 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, and shall not exceed 1,000 W incandescent (or equivalent). No single lighting fixture may exceed 150 W incandescent (or equivalent).
  5. The maximum height of any walls, fences or landscaping located within the intersection visibility triangle shall not exceed a height of 30" above the curb elevations of Golden Meadow Drive or Cherty Drive.

Variance Conditions:

  1. The project shall comply with the setbacks depicted on the approved plans. In no case shall the setbacks be less than:

d. 19 feet from the public right-of-way of Golden Meadow Drive for the garage;

b. 20 feet from the public right-of-way of Golden Meadow Drive for any new living area, except as noted in Condition No. 17 below; and,

b.15 feet from the public right-of-way of Cherty Drive for any new living area.

Building setback certification required.

  1. The garage shall maintain interior dimensions of twenty feet (20’0") in depth and eighteen feet (18’0") in width.

Minor Exception Permit Conditions:

  1. The project shall comply with the setbacks depicted on the approved plans. In no case shall the setbacks be less than:

e. 19 feet from the public right-of-way of Golden Meadow Drive to the northwest corner of the 858-square-foot addition, measured from the midpoint of the curved portion of the front/street-side property line; and,

b.16 feet from the public right-of-way of Golden Meadow Drive to the closest portion of the covered porch, including the roof.

Building setback certification required.



6. HEIGHT VARIATION, GRADING PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2002-00029): 6 Headland Drive / Shanazarian (DB)

Request: A request to construct a 4,232 square foot addition to an existing 4,721 square foot single-family residential dwelling unit. The Height Variation and Site Plan Review are to allow the proposed addition that will measure 25.9’ from the lowest elevation where the finished grade is adjacent to the building foundation/slab (702.6’) to the highest roof ridgeline (728.5’), and 16.5’ from the highest elevation where the finished grade is adjacent to the building foundation/slab (712’) to the highest roof ridgeline. The Grading Permit is to allow for 447 cubic yards of cut and 310 cubic yards of fill, a total of 757 cubic yards of grading. The Minor Exception Permit is to allow 41% lot coverage (40% is maximum allowable) in the RS-2 zone.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-__, approving, with conditions, the Height Variation, Grading Permit, and Site Plan Review; and denying without prejudice the Minor Exception Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00029)

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: MAY 14, 2002

SUBJECT: Height Variation, Grading Permit, Site Plan Review, Minor Exception Permit (Case No. zon2002-00029)

PROJECT ADDRESS: 6 HEADLAND DRIVE

APPLICANT:
ROSA VELAZQUEZ
1842 S. ELENA AVENUE, SUITE 4F
REDONDO BEACH, CA, 90277

PHONE: 310-792-1793

LANDOWNER:
MR. & MRS. SHAHNAZARIAN
6 HEADLAND DRIVE
RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA 90275

PHONE: 310-832-2523

STAFF COORDINATOR:
DAVE BLUMENTHAL
ASSOCIATE PLANNER

REQUESTED ACTION: A request to construct a 4,232 square foot addition to an existing 4,721 square foot single-family residential dwelling unit. The Height Variation and Site Plan Review are to allow the proposed addition that will measure 25.9’ from the lowest elevation where the finished grade is adjacent to the building foundation/slab (702.6’) to the highest roof ridgeline (728.5’), and 16.5’ from the highest elevation where the finished grade is adjacent to the building foundation/slab (712’) to the highest roof ridgeline. The Grading Permit is to allow for 447 cubic yards of cut and 310 cubic yards of fill, a total of 757 cubic yards of grading. The Minor Exception Permit is to allow 41% lot coverage (40% is maximum allowable) in the RS-2 zone.

RECOMMENDATION: ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2002-___; APPROVING, WITH CONDITIONS, THE HEIGHT VARIATION, GRADING PERMIT, AND SITE PLAN REVIEW; AND DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE THE MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT. (CASE NO. ZON2002-00029)

REFERENCES:

ZONING: SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL – RS-2

LAND USE: SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL

CODE SECTIONS: 17.02, 17.48, 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: MAY 26, 2002

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

BACKGROUND

On January 16, 2002, the applicant submitted an application for a Height Variation Permit and Grading Permit. The applications are a request to construct a 4,232 square foot room addition to an existing 4,721 square foot single-family residence and to grade 757 cubic yards of earth (447 cubic yards of cut and 310 cubic yards of fill).

On January 24, 2002, staff completed the preliminary review of the application and deemed that the application was incomplete for processing. This determination was made due to incomplete and/or inconsistent information on the plans; the applicant had to obtain approval of a geology report; and a Site Plan Review and Minor Exception Permit application were required to process the request. The requested information was submitted to the City on February 25, 2002.

On March 27, 2002, staff completed the review of the re-submittal and determined that the application was complete. Legal notices were sent out to all 56 properties owners and two homeowners associations located within the 500’ notification area on April 4, 2002. Additionally, the notice was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News on April 6, 2002. It should be noted that the notice stated that the proposed addition was 3,301 square feet, whereas the proposed size of the addition is 4,232 square feet. Staff felt that since the purpose of the notice is to provide "a general explanation of the matter to be considered" and that the discrepancy was minor, as compared to the project as a whole, a new notice would not be required.

SITE DESCRIPTION

The subject property is a 50,676 square foot wedge shaped property, which is currently improved with a 4,721 square foot two story single-family dwelling unit. The property slopes upwards approximately 10% from the street to the building pad and approximately 7% from the building pad to the rear property line. The design of the house is u-shaped, which creates a large courtyard in the center of the property. A 722 square foot swimming pool is located within this courtyard. On the south side of the residence is an existing paddle tennis court. On the east side of the residence (front) is a thirteen-foot wide circular driveway.

The existing house is a two-story residence, with a two car subterranean garage. The architectural style of the house consists of stucco siding, aluminum framed windows, and wood shake roof. The house currently has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, and a family room.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The applicant is proposing to add to several areas of the existing residence. The first of these areas is located on the southeast corner of the house. Here the applicant is proposing to construct a two-story addition, which will consist of a 962 square foot addition on the ground floor and a three-car subterranean garage. In addition to this new area, the existing garage will be converted to habitable area and used as a family/game room.

The second portion of the addition is located on the southwest corner of the house. This addition is a 476 square foot single-story room addition, which will consist of a bedroom and two bathrooms. One of the bathrooms will only have exterior access so that it can be used from the swimming pool area.

The third portion of the addition is located on the northwest corner of the house. This is a 979 square foot single story room addition that will become the master bedroom and master bath. The fourth portion of the addition is a 441 square foot single story room addition to accommodate the new living room. The design of the third and fourth portions of the room additions creates a small courtyard on the north side of the residence. The applicant is proposing to construct a small concrete deck and water fountain within this courtyard.

The final portion of the addition is located along the front (east side) of the house. This portion of the addition is 206 square feet on the ground floor and 206 square feet in the new family/game room.

In addition to constructing the room additions, the applicant is also proposing to widen the driveway to 18-feet wide, increase the swimming pool to 1,200 square feet, and grade a small terrace in the back yard.

Project Statistics:

CRITERIA

REQUIRED

PROPOSED

     

Lot Size

20,000 s.f.

50,676 s.f.

     

Building Size

N/A

8,953 s.f.

Setbacks

   

Front

20’

53’-11"

Side (north)

5’

9’-3"

Side (south)

5’

33’-6"

Rear

15’

89’

     

Lot Coverage

40%

41% (Minor Exception Permit Requested)

     

Enclosed Parking

3 spaces

3 spaces

     

Building Height

   

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

16’

16.5’ (Height Variation Requested)

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

20’

25.9’ (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-2 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 16.5’, as measured from the highest elevation of building pad covered by structure to highest ridge of building, and 25.9’, as measured from the lowest elevation of building pad covered by structure to highest ridge of building.

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 that exceeds 16-feet in height covers more than 60% of the garage. 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 11 properties within the 100 feet and 56 parcels within the 500 feet of the site. The applicant has obtained eight signatures from properties within 100 feet (73%) and 24 signatures of landowners within 500 feet (43%) 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. Both the view and vista originate east of the project site from Palos Verdes Drive East. The view is looking northeasterly over the Los Angeles Basin, while the vista is looking northwesterly towards Downtown Los Angeles. The project site is located such that it will not impair the view from either of these viewing areas; therefore, staff feels 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 proposed design of the addition will raise the existing ridgeline of the building by two feet. This increase in ridgeline height is being requested to increase the pitch of the roof, which is necessary to accommodate the Uniform Building Code (UBC) requirements for minimum roof pitch for clay tile roofs. Additionally, the addition has been designed to be constructed at the same level, or below, as the existing house and would not exceed the existing ridgeline height, if the applicant were not proposing to re-roof the entire residence. On April 30, 2002, staff conducted a site visit to adjoining properties, in which it was noted that there is no view impact caused by the proposed structure. Since the design of the remodel minimizes increases to the height of the structure and no view impacts were noted from adjoining properties, staff feels that this finding can be adopted.

  9. There is no significant cumulative view impairment caused by granting the application.
  10. On April 30, 2002, staff conducted a site visit of adjoining properties. During the site visit, it was noted that properties in the vicinity have a view looking north and east, which overlook the Los Angeles Basin. As noted in the previous finding, the proposed addition does not impact any views from other properties. As such, staff feels that this finding can 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 previous two findings, staff did not note any view impairment to other properties caused by the proposed structure. Therefore, staff feels that this finding can be adopted.

  13. The proposed structure complies with all other code requirements.
  14. As noted in Table 1 above, the proposed structure meets all the requirements of the development code, with exception to the maximum lot coverage for properties in the RS-2 zone. This requested increase of 1% of lot coverage, which equates to 786 square feet, is permitted with the approval of a Minor Exception Permit, in which the applicant has applied. If the Planning Commission should decide to approve the requested Minor Exception Permit, the proposed lot coverage would be considered to comply with the development code. If the Planning Commission should decide not to approve the Minor Exception Permit, then reducing the driveway area can reduce the lot coverage to meet the development code requirements. Therefore, since the structure meets all code requirements, and the excess lot coverage can be addressed through means other than changing the size of the building, staff feels that this finding can 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 a combination of one and two story homes. In comparing the architectural style of the ten nearest homes, staff has found that they mostly have stucco siding 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, which will match the existing house, and replacing the roof with a tile hip roof. Since the proposed additions will match the existing home, and they are consistent with the ten nearest homes, staff considers the architectural style and material of the proposal to be compatible with the neighborhood character.

    Scale of Surrounding Residences:

    The homes compared, along with the lot size, structure size, and number of stories, 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

    28335 Palos Verdes Drive East

    20,040 s.f.

    3,280 s.f.

    Two

    2 Headland Drive

    23,960 s.f.

    4,469 s.f.

    Two

    7 Headland Drive

    43,560 s.f.

    3,284 s.f.

    One

    13 Headland Drive

    43,560 s.f.

    5,858 s.f.

    One

    14 Headland Drive

    23,090 s.f.

    2,240 s.f.

    One

    15 Headland Drive

    43,560 s.f.

    3,025 s.f.

    One

    16 Headland Drive

    20,470 s.f.

    2,940 s.f.

    Two

    20 Headland Drive

    43,560 s.f.

    3,300 s.f.

    One

    25 Headland Drive

    43,560 s.f.

    3,000 s.f.

    One

    26 Headland Drive

    43,560 s.f.

    2,740 s.f.

    One

    Average

    34,892 s.f.

    3,414 s.f.

     
           

    6 Headland Drive

    Existing

    43,560 s.f.

    4,721 s.f.

    Two

    Proposed

    8,953 s.f.

    Table 2

    As noted above in Table 2, the average residence size is 3,414 square feet, while the largest house is 5,858 square feet. The proposed residence exceeds the average residence size by 5,539 square feet and the largest by 3,095 square feet. With respects to bulk and mass, the proposed addition is located to the rear of the house and to a subterranean area on the front. With this design, the proposed home will maintain appearance of a single story house, as viewed from the street.

    Typically, this size of a home, as compared to other homes in the neighborhood, raises concerns about its compatibility. In staff’s opinion, however, the design of the house is a model for addressing neighborhood compatibility size, bulk, and mass issues. While the home is large, the applicant has designed it so that that majority of the addition is either located to the rear of the existing house, or below the grade of the front yard. This design allows the house to maintain a single story appearance, as viewed from the street. Furthermore, the applicant is providing a 53’-11" front yard setback, which further contributes to the smaller bulk and mass appearance of the home. As such, staff feels that the overall size of the home is not an issue for this project and that the bulk and mass of the home is compatible with the character of the neighborhood.

    Front Yard Setback:

    Of the ten homes surveyed it appears that all homes provide a minimum 20-foot front yard setback or greater. With this proposal, the residence will provide a 53’-11" front yard setback, which exceeds the code requirements and that of surrounding residences.

    Based on the analysis above, it can be found that the proposed residence complies with the neighborhood character with respects to architectural style and materials, scale of the surrounding residences, and front yard setback. Therefore, staff feels that this finding can 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 design of the house is such that it maintains a single story appearance so that the house does not look down into neighboring yards and/or homes. Furthermore, the property is sufficient size so that all building setbacks exceed what is required by the development code. Therefore, staff feels that this finding can be adopted.

GRADING PERMIT

In addition to the proposed structures, the applicant is requesting a Major Grading Permit. The grading is being requested to accommodate the new garage, the new swimming pool, and the terracing in the rear yard. The applicant is proposing to cut 447 cubic yards of earth (160 cubic yards under the building and 287 cubic yards outside the building footprint of which 192 cubic yards is for the swimming pool); and fill 310 cubic yards of earth (11 cubic yards under the building and 299 cubic yards outside the building foot print) for a total of 757 cubic yards of earth moved.

Area to be graded

Cubic Yards of Grading

Cut

Fill

Total

Under building footprint

160

11

171

Swimming pool

192

0

192

Rear yard

37

238

275

Garage access area

58

0

58

Courtyard on north side of residence

0

18

18

Deck and porch east side of residence

0

43

43

Total

447

310

757

Table 3

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. Chapter 17.96 defines the permitted primary use of properties in the RS-2 zone as single-family residences. The requested grading is to allow for the construction of the addition and swimming pool. In as much as the single-family residence is the primary use and the swimming pool is an ancillary use, the proposed grading does not exceed that which is necessary for the permitted primary use of the lot. Therefore, staff feels that this criterion has 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, no view impairment was noted with the proposed project. As such, staff feels that this criterion has been met.

  5. The nature of the grading minimizes disturbances to the natural contours and finished counters are reasonably natural.
  6. Even though the majority of the grading has been limited to what is needed in order to construct the proposed addition without disturbing natural contours, the applicant is proposing conduct 233 cubic yards of fill to create a small terrace in the rear yard. As shown on the cross-section of Sheet No. 8 of the attached plans, the finished contours, however, have been designed to reasonably match the natural contours of the property and do not constitute a reasonable alteration to the natural topography. Furthermore, this terracing is not visible from the street. Therefore staff feels that this criterion has 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. Within the rear yard of the property, there is a natural slope of approximately 7%, as measured from the building pad to the rear property line. As noted in the previous finding, the applicant is proposing to create a small terrace with the rear yard. This terrace has been sculpted so as to reasonably match the natural contours and preserve a natural appearance in the rear yard. Since the proposed grading only minimally alters the existing slope and the terrace has been designed to reasonable match natural contours, staff feels that this criterion has 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. A house is considered a new residence when greater than 50% of the existing walls are demolished and/or rebuilt. The proposal includes demolishing approximately 57% of the existing wall; therefore this house is considered a new residence. As noted above in the Height Variation findings, staff feels that this proposed additions meets all the criteria needed to consider the residence compatible with the character of the neighborhood. As such, staff feels that this criterion has been met.

  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 criterion 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, jacaranda, and grass. The ivy and grass 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 development code limits grading over extreme slopes (slopes greater than 35%), limits heights of cuts and fill outside the building footprint, and limits the overall height and number of retaining walls on a property. The proposal does not include any grading over any extreme slopes, but does include a cut and retaining wall greater than five feet adjacent to the driveway, along the south property line. This area will have a maximum cut of 8.4 feet and will include an 8.4-foot tall retaining wall.

As the application is proposed, this grading is necessary to accommodate the driveway and garage access. However, since the proposed grading does not conform to the Municipal Code standards for height of cut and height of retaining walls, the Planning Commission must adopt the following findings in order to approve the grading that deviates from this criterion (#9).

    1. The first finding is that the first eight criteria have been met. As noted in the discussion above, staff’s opinion is that all eight criteria can be met; therefore, this finding can be adopted.
    2. The second finding is that the request is consistent with the purpose of Municipal Code Section No. 17.76.040. 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 requested in order to complete the development of the single-family residence, while minimizing visual impacts to other properties in the area, except for the grading for the driveway/garage access area located on the south side of the residence. This area is being proposed with a six-foot chain link fence located on top of the eight-foot tall retaining wall, which will be visible from the street and adjoining properties. Accordingly, staff is recommending a condition of approval to mitigate these potential visual impacts. The condition of approval will require that the applicant relocate the chain link fence three feet to the west and plant a row of hedges within this three-foot area, which is similar to the existing wall and landscaping. Additionally, the condition of approval will require that the applicant landscape the front yard to help screen this area from the street. Therefore, with the recommended condition of approval, it is staff’s opinion that the requested grading is consistent with the aforementioned purposes, and this finding can be adopted.
    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. The proposed grading is necessary to provide proper access to the garage. This necessity is facilitated by the existing design of the residence. Currently, there is a subterranean indirect access garage, which is accessed from the south side of the residence. This location and access to the garage allows the residence to maintain a single story appearance, as viewed from the street. The grading is necessary for the house to maintain the garage on this level, while maintaining the single-story appearance of the house. No other properties in the area were noted to have the same type of limitations and therefore granting the request will not constitute a special privilege. As such, 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 in the previous finding, the proposed grading is necessary to provide proper access to the garage and maintain the single story appearance of the house. This necessity is facilitated by the existing design of the residence. To insure there are no impacts to public safety, the applicant has submitted a Geology Report to the City, which has been reviewed and approved by the City’s Geologist. Furthermore, as noted in the second finding above (#b), a condition of approval has been recommended such that visual impacts of the eight-foot high retaining wall will be mitigated. Provided that the applicant obtains all necessary building permits there will be no detrimental impacts to public safety, or to other properties. As such, staff feels that this finding can be adopted.

Staff’s opinion is that all four required findings can be adopted in order to approve the deviations from Criterion No. 9 and therefore all nine criteria for the Grading Permit can be met. As such, staff feels that the Grading Permit can be approved.

MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT

The Minor Exception Permit is being requested in order to allow 41% lot coverage in the RS-2 zone (40% is maximum allowed). The subject property is 50,676 square feet in size, which would allow a total of 20,270 square feet of lot coverage. The applicant is requesting to exceed this square footage by 786 square feet. In a letter to staff (dated May 3, 2002) the applicant explains that this excess lot coverage is needed in order to allow for a driveway that is wide enough to allow a car to pass a parked car on the driveway; and that they are penalized in lot coverage because the two courtyards are counted towards lot coverage. 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.

There are no noted practical difficulties, unnecessary hardship, or inconsistencies with the development code that apply to the subject property. The existing driveway is 13’-6" wide and covers 4,729 square feet. As part of the proposal, the applicant is requesting to increase the width of the driveway to 18-feet, which will then cover an additional 1,130 square feet are lot area. It is staff’s opinion that the maximum allowable lot coverage for the RS-2 zone can be met by simply reducing the size of the driveway. Additionally, there is the potential for the addition to be redesigned and/or reduced to meet the lot coverage. As such, staff feels that this finding cannot be adopted and the Minor Exception Permit should be denied.

SITE PLAN REVIEW

In addition to the two-story addition that requires the Height Variation, there are several single story additions being proposed to the house. As described in the project description section above, these additions are located on southwest, northwest, and northeast corners of the residence. Since these additions are not part of the Height Variation application, the applicant was required to apply for a Site Plan Review.

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. Therefore staff feels that the Site Plan Review can be approved.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

On April 25, 2002, staff received a letter from Mr. and Mrs. Ryan, 28328 Palos Verdes Drive East. The letter stated that they have a concern that approval of the Height Variation will impact views from other properties and that the petition they signed stated that the addition would not increase the height of the house. On April 29, 2002, staff called Mrs. Ryan to clarify their concerns and set an appointment to check for potential view impacts. During the phone conversation, staff was informed that there is no view impact from this property; however, the Ryan’s were concerned that they signed an approval for project, which might impact other properties in the area. Staff explained to Mrs. Ryan that the form she and her husband signed is a neighborhood notification form, in which the signature only acknowledges that they were notified of the proposal not that they are supporting, or in opposition to, the request. In regards to Mrs. Ryan’s concerns pertaining to potential view impairment, as noted through out this report, the proposed project will not impair any views.

During a site visit, staff noted view impacts to the property located at 98 Headland Drive, which is caused by foliage on the subject property. Accordingly staff has recommended a condition that requires the California Pepper Tree (Schinus molle), located on the southwest corner of the property, be trimmed so that the crown of the tree is 20 feet above the base of the tree.

On May 8, 2002, staff received eight additional letters for the project. One of the letters was from the property owner’s explaining why they are requesting the increase in lot coverage. The other seven letters are from other property owners in the area, in which all seven are supporting for the proposed project.

CONCLUSION

Based on the above analysis of the required findings, staff concludes that all nine of the required findings can be adopted for the Height Variation and the proposed grading meets all nine of the criteria for approving a Grading Permit, including the four findings to allow the grading to deviate from the development code standards. Furthermore, staff finds that all of the development code requirements are met. Therefore, staff is recommending that the Planning Commission approve the Height Variation, Grading Permit, and Site Plan Review.

With regards to the Minor Exception Permit application, staff has found that there is no practical difficulties, unnecessary hardship, or inconsistencies with the development code that apply to the subject property. Therefore staff is recommending that the Planning Commission deny the Minor Exception Permit.

ALTERNATIVES

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

  1. Approve, with conditions, the Height Variation, Grading Permit, and Site Plan Review; and deny without prejudice the Minor Exception Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00029) (Staff’s Recommendation)
  2. Approve the Height Variation, Grading Permit, Site Plan Review, and Minor Exception Permit as submitted.
  3. Deny without prejudice the Height Variation, Grading Permit, Site Plan Review, and Minor Exception Permit.
  4. 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
  • Correspondence received

P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2002-__

A RESOLUTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES APPROVING THE HEIGHT VARIATION, GRADING PERMIT, AND SITE PLAN REVIEW, AND DENYING THE MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2002-00029), THEREBY PERMITTING A 4,232 SQUARE FOOT ROOM ADDITION, AND 757 CUBIC YARDS OF GRADING, FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 6 HEADLAND DRIVE.

Whereas, on January 16, 2002, the applicant, Ms. Rosa Velazquez, submitted an application for a Height Variation Permit and Grading Permit. On February 25, 2002, additional information was submitted to the city including a Site Plan Review and a Minor Exception Permit application. The applications are a request to construct a 4,232 square foot addition to an existing 4,721 square foot single-family residential dwelling unit. The Height Variation and Site Plan Review are to allow the proposed addition that will measure 25.9’ from the lowest elevation where the finished grade is adjacent to the building foundation/slab (702.6’) to the highest roof ridgeline (728.5’), and 16.5’ from the highest elevation where the finished grade is adjacent to the building foundation/slab (712’) to the highest roof ridgeline. The Grading Permit is to allow for 447 cubic yards of cut and 310 cubic yards of fill, a total of 757 cubic yards of grading. The Minor Exception Permit is to allow 41% lot coverage (40% is maximum allowable) in the RS-2 zone; and,

WHEREAS, on March 27, 2002, the applications for Height Variation, Grading Permit, Site Plan Review, and Minor Exception Permit 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, Grading Permit, Site Plan Review, and Minor Exception Permit 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 May 14, 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 a 4,232 square foot addition to an existing 4,721 square foot single-family residential dwelling unit and 757 cubic yards of grading.

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.

Section 3: The Height Variation is warranted since the applicant has complied with the early neighborhood consultation process established by the city by obtaining 73% of the property owners’ signatures within 100 feet and 43% of the signatures of the property owners’ signature within 500 feet of the subject site.

Section 4: The Height Variation is warranted since the structure does not significantly impair a view from public property (parks, major thoroughfares, bike ways, walkways, or equestrian trails), which has been identified in the City’s General Plan or Coastal Plan, as a city-designated viewing area.

Section 5: The Height Variation is warranted since the proposed structure is not located on a ridge or promontory. 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.

Section 6: The Height Variation is warranted since the structure is designed and situated in such a manner as to minimize impairment of a view. Even though the proposed design of the addition will raise the existing ridgeline of the building two feet. However, the addition has been design to be constructed at the same level, or below, as the existing house. Furthermore, there are no view impacts caused by the structure to adjoining properties.

Section 7: The Height Variation is warranted since there is no significant cumulative view impairment caused by granting the application. As noted in the previous section the proposed addition does not impact any views from other properties.

Section 8: The Height Variation is warranted since the proposed structure, when considered exclusively of existing foliage, does not significantly impair a view from the viewing area of another parcel. As noted in the previous two sections no view impairment to other properties is caused by the structure.

Section 9: The Height Variation is warranted since the proposed structure complies with all other code requirements, in as much as the proposal meets all requirements of Title 17 of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code.

Section 10: The Height Variation is warranted since the proposed structure is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character. The proposed structure the proposed residence complies with the neighborhood character with respects to architectural style and materials, scale of the surrounding residences, and front yard setback.

Section 11: The Height Variation is warranted since the proposed structure does not result in an unreasonable infringement of the privacy of the occupants of abutting residences. The design of the house is such that it maintains a single story appearance so that the house does not look down into neighboring yards and/or homes. Furthermore, the property is of sufficient size so that all building setbacks exceed what is required by the development code.

Section 12: 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. The permitted primary use of the property is single-family residential. The grading permit is to allow an expansion of the single-family residence.

Section 13: The grading and/or related construction does not significantly adversely affect the visual relationships with, or the views from, neighboring properties. As noted in Sections 6, 7, and 8, there will be no view impairment with the proposed project.

Section 14: The nature of the grading minimizes disturbances to the natural contours and finished counters are reasonably natural. The finished contours have been designed to reasonably match the natural contours of the property and do not constitute a reasonable alteration to the natural topography.

Section 15: 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. The proposed grading has been sculpted as to reasonably match the natural contours and preserve a natural appearance in the rear yard.

Section 16: For new single-family residences, the grading and/or related construction is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character, as defined in Chapter 17.02. As noted in Section 10, the proposed additions meets all the criteria needed to consider the residence compatible with the character of the neighborhood.

Section 17: The grading would not cause excessive and unnecessary disturbance of the natural landscape or wildlife habitat through removal of vegetation. The vegetation that exists in the proposed grading area consists primarily of ivy, jacaranda trees, and grass. The ivy, jacaranda trees and grass are not considered part of the natural vegetation of the area and do not serve as a wildlife habitat.

Section 18: Grading conforms to the standards for grading on slopes. The development code limits grading over extreme slopes (slopes greater than 35%). The proposal does not include any grading over any extreme slopes.

Section 19: The grading does not meet the Municipal Code standards for height of cut and height of retaining walls, but is warranted since the first eight criteria have been met (Sections 12 through 18); the requested grading is consistent with the purpose of Municipal Code Section No. 17.76.040, since the grading is being proposed, in conjunction with the conditions of approval, 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; the grading permit will not constitute a special privilege with the limitations upon other properties in the vicinity; and granting the Grading Permit will not be detrimental to the public safety, nor to other property.

Section 20: The Minor Exception Permit is not warranted by practical difficulties, or an unnecessary hardship, or is necessary to avoid inconsistencies with the general intent of the zoning code. The maximum allowable lot coverage for the RS-2 zone can be met by reducing the size of the driveway or redesigning and/or reducing the building to meet the lot coverage.

Section 21: 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 May 29, 2002.

Section 22: 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 the Height Variation, Grading Permit, Site Plan Review to allow for the construction of a 4,232 square foot room addition and 757 cubic yards of grading and denies the Minor Exception Permit (Case NO. ZON2002-00029); 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 14th day of May 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-__)

Height Variation, Grading Permit, and Site Plan Review
(Case No. ZON2002-00029)

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 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 driveway and parking areas shall be revised so that the property shall conform to the lot coverage requirements of the RS-2 zone.
  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.
  6. The project shall substantially conform to the plans stamped, and dated the effective date of this approval, approved by the Planning Department.
  7. The construction site, adjacent public and private properties, and streets shall be kept free of all loose materials resembling trash and debris in excess of that material used for immediate construction purposes. Such excess material may include, but not be limited to: the accumulation of debris, garbage, lumber, scrap metal, concrete asphalt, piles of earth, salvage materials, abandoned or discarded furniture, appliances or other household fixtures.
  8. In the event that a Planning requirement and a Building & Safety requirement are in conflict with one another, the stricter standard shall apply.
  9. All applicable permits required by the Building and Safety Division shall be obtained by the applicant prior to the commencement of construction.
  10. Based on a site visit, Staff found that there is foliage on the subject property that exceeds sixteen (16) feet in height and significantly impairs views from neighboring properties. Therefore, prior to the issuance of building permits the California Pepper Tree (Schinus molle) located on the southwest corner of the lot shall be trimmed to raise the bottom of the crown (trim all foliage - greenery and small branches) up to a height not to be less than 20' above the base of the tree.
  11. The approved project shall maintain a maximum 40% lot coverage.
  12. All structures located within the required twenty (20) foot front yard setback area shall not exceed a height of forty-two (42) inches in height.
  13. The required twenty (20) foot front yard setback area shall be at least fifty (50) percent landscaped.
  14. The proposed structure shall maintain the following minimum setbacks:
  15. 15’-0" rear (proposed: 89’-0")
    5’-0" side (proposed: 9’-3" on north and 33’-6" on south)
    20’-0" front (proposed: 50’-11")

  16. CERTIFICATION OF THE LOCATION AND SIZE OF ALL DRIVEWAYS AND PARKING AREAS SHALL BE PROVIDED. A LICENSED CIVIL ENGINEER OR SURVEYOR SHALL PREPARE THE CERTIFICATION. SAID CERTIFICATION SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE DIRECTOR OF PLANNING BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT, FOR REVIEW AND APPROVAL, PRIOR TO THE POURING OF THE DRIVEWAYS AND PARKING AREAS.

Height Variation

  1. The proposed Height Variation is for a 1,924 square foot two-story addition on the southeast corner of the existing house and a 412 square foot two-story on the east side of the house.
  2. The proposed additions shall not exceed 25.9’, as measured from the lowest elevation of building pad covered by structure to highest ridge of building. BUILDING HEIGHT CERTIFICATION IS REQUIRED. A LICENSED CIVIL ENGINEER OR SURVEYOR SHALL PREPARE THE CERTIFICATION. CERTIFICATION SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE CITY’S BUILDING OFFICIAL FOR REVIEW AND APPROVAL PRIOR TO THE BUILDING PERMIT FINAL.

Site Plan Review

  1. Approval of Site Plan Review is for the construction of 476 square foot single story addition to the southwest corner of the house, a 979 square foot single story addition to the northwest corner of the house, and a 441 square foot addition to the northeast corner of the house.
  2. The pool equipment and surrounding screening wall shall not exceed six feet in height and maintain a minimum three foot setback from the side and rear property lines.
  3. The fountain located on the north side of the residence shall not exceed 12-feet in height.

Grading Permit

  1. Grading shall not exceed 447 cubic yards of cut (160 cubic yards under the building and 287 cubic yards outside the building footprint); and 310 cubic yards of fill (11 cubic yards under the building and 299 cubic yards outside the building foot print) for a total of 447 cubic yards of grading.
  2. The new retaining along the south property line shall not exceed 8.4-feet tall, as measured from the lowest adjacent finished grade to the top of the wall.
  3. In order to mitigate visual impacts from the Headland Drive of the proposed retaining wall, the applicant shall provide sufficient landscaping within the front yard and on the south side of the house. Prior to the issuance of building permits, the applicant shall submit a landscape plan to the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement for review and approval. The landscape plan shall include the following.

    1. A minimum three-foot landscape area shall be provided into of the north/south retaining wall, which is located on the south side of the residence. This will require the proposed fence located on top of the retaining wall to be relocated a minimum of three feet to the west. A hedge screen shall be planted in this landscape area. Said hedges shall not be allowed to exceed the height of eight feet, as measured from the top of the retaining wall.
    2. Low bushes shall be planted within the front yard to assist in screening the garage access area, located on the south side of the residence, from Headland Drive.



7. HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 899, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2151, MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT NO. 573, AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO. 745 3787 Coolheights Drive / Nassari (AM)

Request: A request to allow the construction of a new 5,409 square foot (garage included), two-story, single-family residence on an unimproved lot. The proposed residence will be constructed off the existing building pad at a height of 26’, as measured from the highest pre-construction grade elevation (752.00’) of the building pad, to the top of the highest roof ridgeline (778.00’) of the proposed structure. Additionally the applicants propose to conduct 819 cubic yards of associated grading (combined cut and fill calculations) and construct a new 6’ high combination fence/wall along the front property line with a Minor Exception Permit.

Recommendation: Adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-__, adopting the Mitigated Negative Declaration and Mitigation Monitoring Program; and adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-___; approving, with conditions, Height Variation No. 899, Grading Permit No. 2151, Minor Exception Permit No. 573 and Environmental Assessment No. 745.

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: MAY 14, 2002

SUBJECT: HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 899, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2151, MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT NO. 573, AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO. 745.

PROJECT ADDRESS: 3787 COOLHEIGHTS DRIVE

APPLICANT:
ALEX CHANG
DESIGN INSPIRATION GROUP
8730 HUNTINGTON DRIVE
SAN GABRIEL, CA 91775

PHONE: 626-287-1859

LANDOWNER: MR. AND MRS. JOE NASSIRI
3100 BANDINI ROAD
VERNON, CA 90023

PHONE: 323-266-6655

STAFF COORDINATOR: ARA MICHAEL MIHRANIAN, SENIOR PLANNER

REQUESTED ACTION: TO ALLOW THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW 5,409 SQUARE FOOT (GARAGE INCLUDED), TWO-STORY, SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE ON AN UNIMPROVED LOT. THE PROPOSED RESIDENCE WILL BE CONSTRUCTED OFF THE EXISTING BUILDING PAD AT A HEIGHT OF 26’, AS MEASURED FROM THE HIGHEST PRE-CONSTRUCTION GRADE ELEVATION (752.00’) OF THE BUILDING PAD, TO THE TOP OF THE HIGHEST ROOF RIDGELINE (778.00’) OF THE PROPOSED STRUCTURE. ADDITIONALLY THE APPLICANTS PROPOSE TO CONDUCT 819 CUBIC YARDS OF ASSOCIATED GRADING (COMBINED CUT AND FILL CALCULATIONS) AND CONSTRUCT A NEW 6’ HIGH COMBINATION FENCE/WALL ALONG THE FRONT PROPERTY LINE WITH A MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT.

RECOMMENDATION: ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION 2002-__, ADOPTING THE MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION AND MITIGATION MONITORING PROGRAM; AND ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2002-___; APPROVING, WITH CONDITIONS, HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 899, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2151, MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT NO. 573 AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO. 475.

REFERENCES:

ZONING: RS-1

LAND USE: SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL

CODE SECTIONS: 17.02, 17.40, 17.48, 17.56, 17.66, 17.70, 17.76.030. and 17.76.040

GENERAL PLAN: RESIDENTIAL 1 DWELLING UNIT PER ACRE

TRAILS PLAN: SECTION 3 – PIRATE (A15), GANADO (A16), AND FLYING MANE (L4) TRAIL SEGMENTS

SPECIFIC PLAN: NONE

OVERLAY: NATURAL AND URBAN

CEQA: MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION

ACTION DEADLINE: 60 DAYS FROM THE ADOPTION OF THE MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION

PLANNING COMMISSIONERS RESIDING WITHIN 500 FEET OF SUBJECT PROPERTY: NONE

BACKGROUND

In 1982, the City conditionally approved Tentative Tract Map No. 37885, to allow a 47 lot Residential Planned Development (RPD), which included a 2.46 acre lot at the terminus of Coolheights Drive. In December 1996, the City purchased approximately 160 acres of Tract Map No. 37885, currently referred to as the Forrestal Property, for the purposes of passive recreational opportunities, as well as the preservation of natural habitat. Excluded in the City’s purchase was a 2.46 acre lot located at the terminus of Coolheights Drive, which the developers, Diamond Brothers Three, at the time intended on developing with a single-family residence. Soon thereafter, the 2.46 acre lot was sold by the developer, and in September 1998, the City entered into a Settlement Agreement (see attachment) to resolve a land dispute involving the adjacent property owner, Mr. Ralph Otolano Jr. According to the Settlement Agreement, approximately 0.26 acres (6,906 square feet) of the 2.46 acre lot and approximately 0.19 acres (8,474 square feet) of the City owned Forrestal Property was conveyed to Mr. Ortolano Jr. Furthermore, the Agreement implies that the remaining portion of the 2.46 acre lot, referred herein as the subject property, could be developed with a single-family residence, as well as a City approved hammerhead turnaround and trail easement.

On November 17, 1999, Height Variation No. 899, Grading Permit No. 2151 and Minor Exception Permit No. 575 were submitted to the Planning Department by Alex Chang on behalf of the property owners, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Nassiri, to allow the construction of a new, two-story, single-family residence on the undeveloped lot located at the terminus of Coolheights Drive. After an initial review of the project applications and architectural plans, the subject applications were deemed incomplete by Staff, with a request for further information. At that time, Staff also informed the applicants that the City had concerns with respect to potential view impacts and the size of the proposed structure as it relates to the surrounding neighborhood. After several meetings with the applicant, as well as revisions to the size and design of the proposed structure, the project applications were deemed complete for processing on September 26, 2000.

The subject applications were originally scheduled to be considered by the Planning Commission at its November 14, 2000 meeting. During the public noticing period, Staff received several comment letters from surrounding property owners expressing concerns with the proposed development. The concerns raised pertained to potential view impairment, trail access, brush clearance, habitat impacts, and street turnaround improvements. As such, Staff determined that further investigation and additional studies would be required to provide the Commission with sufficient information needed to render a decision on the proposed project. Therefore, at the November 14, 2000 Planning Commission meeting, Staff recommended that the Commission table the public hearing to an uncertain date to allow the applicant and staff adequate time to address the outstanding issues.

As a result if the additional investigation conducted by Staff to address the concerns raised by the public, it was determined that the Fire Department’s mandatory brush clearance requirement for the proposed project would remove Coastal Sage Scrub habitat, which is considered protected habitat. Therefore, pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the proposed project could no longer be considered Categorically Exempt from CEQA, thus requiring the preparation of an Initial Study to determine the level of significance related to the habitat impacts, along with any mitigation that may be required.

Subsequent to the determination that an Initial Study was warranted, the applicants submitted revised plans and additional information for consideration by the City. The revised plans were reviewed by Staff and subsequently deemed complete for processing on October 9, 2002. As a result of the Initial Study, Staff determined a Mitigated Negative Declaration would be required for the proposed project. In accordance with CEQA, a Mitigated Negative Declaration should be prepared within 180 days from the date of completeness, unless a one-time ninety (90) day time extension is processed. As such, on April 6, 2002 the applicant verbally agreed to the ninety day time extension, and subsequently submitted the extension request in writing on May 6, 2002 (see attachment). It should be noted that pursuant to the Permit Streamlining Act, the action deadline date for a decision on the project applications is sixty (60) days after the Mitigated Negative Declaration is adopted.

Although the project was originally noticed for its November 14, 2000 meeting, a new public notice was distributed once the Mitigated Negative Declaration was completed. The new notice, which indicated the date, time and location of the public hearing, was mailed to property owners within a 500 foot radius of the subject property, all interested parties, and published in the Peninsula News informing the general public of the proposed project and inviting any new comments for consideration. All comment letters submitted to the City since the public notice for the November 14, 2000 meeting, will be provided to the Commission for their consideration, as well as discussed throughout this Staff Report. It should be noted that as a result of the new notice, the City received several additional letters from neighboring property owners expressing similar concerns with the proposed project and its potential impacts to the surrounding environment and neighboring properties (see attachment). The content of the additional letters will also be discussed in this Report.

SITE DESCRIPTION

The subject property is located at 3787 Coolheights Drive, which is in the southeastern portion of the City, at the terminus of Coolheights Drive and the northwestern portion of the "Mediterrania" tract*. According to the City’s Zoning Map, the subject property is designated as a RS-1 (Single-Family Residential) zoning district as it is on an approximately 2.30 acre irregular shaped lot. Furthermore, the subject property contains Natural and Urban Overlay Control District designations.

*The Mediterrania tract is comprised of single-family residences developed in the 1960's, however the subject property is not a part of that tract.

According to the applicant’s site plan, the 2.30 acre site is predominantly comprised of extreme slopes (35% or greater), except for the area immediately off Coolheights Drive, which consists of gradients that are less than 5%, or otherwise defined as a "building pad" by the City’s Development Code. The "building pad" portion of the project site was originally disturbed at the time the Mediterrania tract was developed and is surrounded on two sides by natural habitat and two (2) concrete drainage swales. The "building pad" portion of the site consists of weedy grasses that are routinely cleared by the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The project site is adjacent to existing residences to the immediate east, the City owned Forrestal property to the west, north and south. It should be noted that the subject property abuts a dedicated City trail easement which is located along the southeastern portion of the property, along the part of the lot that was created under the Settlement Agreement discussed in the Background section of this Staff Report (see attachment). Additionally, there are trail segments identified in the City’s Conceptual Trails Plan, as well as the City’s adopted Forrestal Management Plan, that traverse the subject property.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The proposed project involves the construction of a new 5,409 square foot (garage included), two-story, single-family residence. According to the architectural plans, the proposed residence will consist of 2,243 square feet on the lower level, 2,486 square feet on the upper level, and a 680 square foot attached three car garage. The proposed residence will be constructed at the northeastern portion of the project site, at a height of 26’, as measured from the highest pre-construction grade elevation (752.00’) of the building pad to the top of the highest roof ridgeline (778.00’). As proposed, the structure will be constructed off the building pad on the slope located between the building pad and the lower drainage swale. Nonetheless, pursuant to the Development Code, the height of the structure has been taken from the building pad. The exterior finish of the proposed residence will be an earth tone colored stucco with Mission Style roof tile.

As part of the project, the applicants request a Grading Permit to conduct 819 cubic yards of earth movement, consisting of 668 cubic yards of cut and 151 cubic yards of fill. The proposed grading is to accommodate the new structure and driveway. Additionally the applicants request a Minor Exception Permit to allow the construction of a six (6) foot high fence with block columns along the front property line, which is defined as the eastern property line that is perpendicular to Coolheights Drive.

In addition to the above, the applicants are required by the Settlement Agreement to improve the terminus of Coolheights Drive with a hammerhead turnaround. The turnaround will consist of a six inch concrete base, designed and constructed to the specifications required by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes Public Works Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department. A public access easement through this turnaround will be granted to the City for purposes of maintaining public access (i.e. for motorist, emergency vehicles or City service vehicles/trucks) and for providing public access to the Ganado and Pirate trail segments of the Forrestal Property (see attachment) from Coolheights Drive. Additionally the City is seeking a trail easement for the Flying Mane Trail that traverses the rear portion of the subject property.

According to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the subject property is located within a high fire zone and the development of the site with a single-family residence will require brush clearance. As such, the applicants have prepared a Fuel Modification Plan that identifies the various Zones specified by the Los Angeles County Fire Department that are subject to fuel modification* (see attached Site Plan). The Fuel Modification Plan was reviewed and received conceptual approval from the Fire Department on August 15, 2001. However, as a result of the required brush clearance, protected Coastal Sage Scrub habitat will be impacted. In order to mitigate impacts to habitat, the applicant proposes to convey to the City an Open Space Conservation Easement as a mitigation measure. The portion of the project site situated beyond the proposed residence, on the slopes exceeding 35%, would be retained as open space after project implementation. An Open Space Conservation Easement would be granted to the City by the applicants to mitigate the habitat impacts caused by the required brush clearance.

*A fuel modification zone is a strip of land where combustible native or ornamental vegetation has been modified and/or partially or totally replaced with drought tolerant and fire resistant plants.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

In accordance with the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Staff has determined that this project has the potential to adversely impact the surrounding environment. Therefore, an Initial Study was completed, which determined that the appropriate environmental document for the project is a Mitigated Negative Declaration.

In compliance with CEQA, the proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration was prepared and distributed on April 11, 2002 for a 30-day review period commencing on April 11, 2002 and concluding on May 13, 2002. At the time this Report was prepared, one (1) comment letter from the Los Angeles County Fire Department (see attachment) was submitted to the City from a local or state agency pertaining to the Mitigated Negative Declaration. Notwithstanding, the City did receive several comment letters from surrounding neighbors (see attachments). Any comments received after completion of this Report, but prior to the expiration of the Comment period on May 13, 2002, will be provided to the Commission at the meeting.

The attached Initial Study determined that the project may create potential impacts in the areas of Biological Resources, Geology, and Recreation. However, as noted in the attached Initial Study and Mitigation Monitoring Program, these potential impacts are either insignificant or can be mitigated to a level of insignificance provided that the appropriate mitigation measures are imposed on the project. Therefore, Staff recommends that a Mitigated Negative Declaration be approved for this project.

CODE CONSIDERATION AND ANALYSIS

The following discussion will cover the Height Variation, Grading Permit and Minor Exception Permit applications as they relate to the standards set forth in the City’s Development Code for an RS-1 zoning district as well as the overlay control districts. Each subsection will apply the appropriate findings required under that application (bold type) along with Staff’s analysis (standard type), needed to render a decision. Additionally, if applicable, Staff’s analysis will include those concerns expressed in correspondence received during the public notification period under the appropriate finding.

A. HEIGHT VARIATION

Pursuant to Section 17.02.040(C)(1)(e) of the City’s Development Code, in order for the Planning Commission to consider a project that exceeds the sixteen (16) foot "by right" height limit, the following nine findings must be positively made.

  1. That the applicant has complied with the Early Neighborhood Consultation Process established by the City.

The applicant has completed the Early Neighborhood Consultation process by canvassing property owners within 500’ of the subject property, informing them of the proposed project. Under the Early Neighborhood Consultation process, the applicants are required to obtain signatures from 60% of the property owners within the 500’ radius or obtain signatures from 25% of the property owners within 500’ and 70% within the 100’ radius of the subject property. Based on documentation the City received by the applicant at the time the project applications were submitted, Staff determined that 17 of the 28 properties (60%), excluding the applicant, within the 500’ radius of the subject property, and 5 of the 6 property owners (83%) within the 100’ radius, signed the required form. Therefore, the Early Neighborhood Consultation process was adequately completed.

  1. That the structure does not significantly impair a view from the public property which has been identified in the City’s General Plan or Coastal Specific Plan as City-designated viewing areas.

Although the City obtained the adjacent Forrestal Property after the General Plan and Coastal Specific Plan were adopted, Staff analyzed the proposed residence’s potential impacts to public views from the publicly owned Forrestal Property because the General Plan identifies the Forrestal Property as Natural Land Area with respect to visual aspects. Staff determined that the location of the proposed structure is in an area of the project site that is significantly lower in elevation than the public trails that traverse the Forrestal Property. Furthermore, the proposed residence will be notched into the hillside, between the building pad and the northern most drainage swale, thereby visually screening the proposed residence from the public trails, which maintain public views and vistas in the opposite direction that the proposed residence.

With regard to the City’s Coastal Specific Plan, the subject property is not located in the City’s Coastal District. Therefore, based on the above discussion, the proposed project will not significantly impair a view from public property.

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

According to the Development Code, a ridge is defined as an elongated crest or linear series of crests of hills, bluffs, or highlands, while 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 proposed residence will be located on a portion of the site that was previously graded when the neighboring tract was developed, and is therefore not on a ridge or promontory. Therefore, Staff believes that this finding can be made.

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

At the time the proposed project was originally submitted to the City, Staff informed the applicants that the location of the residence within the defined "building pad" and the proposed earth movement may result in view impacts to neighboring properties. As such, the applicants and their architect modified the design of the structure to minimize potential view impacts from neighboring properties. The design modifications include the following:

  1. Building Location – Although the subject property maintains a building pad immediately off the terminus of Coolheights Drive, Staff expressed a concern that the placement of the proposed residence on the building pad may result in an impairment of views from the neighboring properties. As such, the applicants opted to locate the proposed residence off the building pad, towards the northeastern portion of the property, notching the structure into the slope located between the building pad and the lower drainage swale. Although the placement of the proposed residence in this location requires additional earth movement, as opposed to building a residence on the building pad, the structure will minimize view impacts to neighboring properties.
  2. Grading – According to the original grading plan, the applicants proposed to conduct approximately 1,100 cubic yards of earth movement, which involved raising the elevation of the building pad by approximately three feet above the street elevation. By increasing the height of the building pad, the proposed residence would maintain a higher roof ridgeline elevation, thereby causing a greater potential to impair views from neighboring properties. Furthermore, increasing the building pad would significantly alter the residence’s appearance from neighboring properties on Coolheights Drive.
  3. Therefore, as recommended by Staff, the applicants reduced the amount of earth movement to 819 cubic yards of combined cut and fill. The reduction in earth movement primarily eliminated the amount of proposed fill on the building pad, thereby maintaining a similar grade elevation to the neighboring properties as well as reducing the proposed residence’s roof ridgeline height.

  4. Articulation – To further enhance the design of the structure, while minimizing potential view impacts to neighboring properties, the applicants designed the structure so that the upper level steps back from the lower level footprint. The proposed articulation allows views to be maintained laterally over the proposed lower level from the neighboring property at 3777 Coolheights Drive. Further discussion on the design of the structure may be found under the Neighborhood Compatibility section of this Report.

Therefore, Staff believes that the design modifications implemented by the applicants minimize any potential view impairment from a neighboring property and that this finding can be made.

  1. That there is no significant cumulative view impairment caused by granting the application.

The design of the neighboring tract created two types of lots, those with ocean views and those without views. Furthermore, the majority of the neighboring tract is developed with two-story residences. Staff believes that a project consisting of a second story residence located on a "view lot" would not result in a cumulative view impairment. Notwithstanding, Staff does not believe that the proposed structure, at a height of 26 feet, will result in a cumulative view impairment because the location of the structure, in relation to the surrounding neighborhood, would be on the "non-view" side of the street. Additionally, the 26 foot height request by the applicants is similar in height to the existing homes within the neighboring tract. As such, Staff believes that the granting of the proposed project will not cause a significant cumulative view impairment and can therefore make this finding.

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

The project silhouette has allowed Staff to analyze the proposed project as it pertains to view impacts from neighboring properties. The following discussion includes Staff’s analysis on potential view impacts from surrounding properties.

NORTH – The property to the immediate north is the City owned Forrestal Property that is at a significantly higher elevation than the subject property and does not accommodate residential development that may be impaired by the proposed project. Therefore, Staff does not believe the proposed project significantly impairs views from properties to the north.

SOUTH – The property to the immediate south is also the City owned Forrestal Property that is at a significantly lower elevation than the subject property and does not accommodate residential development that may be impaired by the proposed project. Therefore, Staff does not believe that the proposed project significantly impairs views from properties to the south.

EAST – The subject property abuts a developed residential tract to the immediate east that is at a similar elevation to the subject property. Based on a site visit conducted by Staff, the proposed project has the potential to impact views from the three (3) properties along the eastern most property line. As such, the following discussion encompasses Staff’s analysis from these three properties:

    1. 3777 Coolheights Drive (Mr. and Mrs. Muhammad Farooq / 310-377-7736): According to a site visit conducted by Staff, this residence is a split level home with the primary living spaces on the upper level. From the primary living spaces on the upper level, the proposed residence will be visible from the dining room, which contains a window that overlooks the project site. Based on Staff’s analysis, the proposed project will impair approximately five (5) percent of the view of the ocean taken from this viewing area, as seen from the northern edge of the viewing frame. As such, Staff does not believe that the proposed residence creates a significant view impairment from this property. It should be noted that in the property owners’ letter, a concern was raised with regard to view impacts from the rear yard, as well as the proposed front yard fence. With respect to the rear yard, Staff does not consider this to be the primary viewing of the residence. As for the front yard fence, a detailed discussion on potential view impacts may be found under the Minor Exception Permit Section of this Report.
    2. 3767 Coolheights Drive – (Mr. and Mrs. Ralph J. Ortolano / 310-377-1490): According to a site visit conducted by Staff, this property contains a viewing area from the dining room, family room, and kitchen area. Based on the layout of this residence, the proposed project will not be visible from the family room or the kitchen area. However, from the dining room, which contains a window that overlooks the project site, impacts to views may have occurred if the proposed residence were located on the building pad. Since the proposed residence will be located on the northern slope between the building pad and lower drainage swale, Staff does not believe the proposed residence will be visible in a manner that impairs views. It should be noted that the property owners have expressed a concern with potential view impacts that may occur with the proposed front yard fence. As noted above, a detailed discussion may be found later in this Staff Report.
    3. 3778 Coolheights Drive – (Mr. Ralph Ortolano Jr. / 310-377-1490): This undevelopable lot was created as a result of a Settlement Agreement, which stipulates specific requirements that restrict the lot from being developed with a single-family residence. Nonetheless, views taken from the vacant lot would not be impaired by the proposed development.

WEST – The property to the immediate west is also considered the City owned Forrestal Property that is at a slightly higher elevation than the subject property and does not accommodate residential development that may be impaired by the proposed project. Therefore, Staff does not believe that the proposed project significantly impairs views from properties to the west.

Based on the above analysis, Staff believes that the proposed project will not significantly impair views from the viewing areas of properties to the north, south, east or west of the subject property. The photographs taken by Staff for use in the above view analysis will be made available to the Commission at the meeting. Therefore, Staff believes that this finding can be made.

  1. That the proposed structure complies with all other code requirements.

Staff has determined that the proposed project will comply with the current Development Code requirements for residential development in the RS-1 zoning district. Additionally, the project is located within the City’s designated Urban and Natural Overlay Control Districts which is subject to specific performance criteria. Pursuant to Section 17.40 of the Development Code, Staff has determined that by plotting the proposed project within the disturbed area of the subject property and away from the natural slopes and habitat, the project complies with the performance criteria for the designated Overlay Control Districts. A detailed discussion on these matters occur under the Additional Information Section of this Report.

Furthermore, since the proposed project is considered new construction, the City’s Geotechnical Engineer has reviewed the required geotechnical reports and conceptually approved the project in the Planning stage (see attachment). In addition to obtaining entitlements from the Planning Department, the applicant will be required to obtain approvals from the City’s Division of Building and Safety for compliance with the safety standards of the Uniform Building Code, prior to issuance of building permits. As for the required public turnaround improvement at the end of Coolheights Drive, the City’s Public Works Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department have approved the design of the proposed turnaround (see attachment). Furthermore, as part of the Settlement Agreement, the applicants are required to dedicate the turnaround for public access. With regards to brush clearance, the Los Angeles County Fire Department has approved a Fuel Modification Plan that is discussed in greater detail later in this Staff Report. Therefore, Staff believes that this finding can be made in that the proposed residence will be constructed in compliance with the City’s General Plan, Development Code and all applicable State and Federal laws.

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

As previously mentioned, the subject property is not a part of the neighboring residential tract and was originally intended to be developed in association with the subdivision that was to be built at the end of Forrestal Drive. Nonetheless, in assessing the project’s compatibility with the character of an immediate neighborhood, Staff has utilized the homes located on Coolheights Drive to assess neighborhood compatibility because of their close proximity to the project site. In accordance with the Development Code’s definition of "neighborhood character," Staff’s analysis is based on the following criteria:

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

The following table outlines the lot sizes, structure sizes and number of stories, along with the average lot and structure sizes, for the ten (10) closest lots located on Coolheights Drive.

PROPERTY ADDRESS

LOT SQ. FT.*

BUILDING SQ. FT. *

# OF STORIES

3777 Coolheights Drive

15,780 sq. ft.

3,036 sq. ft.

2

3767 Coolheights Drive

12,495 sq. ft.

3,063 sq. ft.

2

3759 Coolheights Drive

12,397 sq. ft.

3,199 sq. ft.

2

3751 Coolheights Drive

12,183 sq. ft.

3,063 sq. ft.

2

3741 Coolheights Drive

12,684 sq. ft.

3,014 sq. ft.

2

3776 Coolheights Drive

12,025 sq. ft.

3,014 sq. ft.

2

3770 Coolheights Drive

14,000 sq. ft.

2,784 sq. ft.

2

3764 Coolheights Drive

19,010 sq. ft.

2,482 sq. ft.

2

3756 Coolheights Drive

17,096 sq. ft.

2,784 sq. ft.

2

3748 Coolheights Drive

15,246 sq. ft.

3,014 sq. ft.

2

AVERAGE

14,292 sq. ft.

2,945 sq. ft.

N/A

3787 Coolheights (proposed project)

100,491 sq. ft. (2.30 acres)

5,409 sq. ft.
(garage included)

2

* The above lot calculations were obtained from the Los Angeles County Tax Assessors information.

** Please note that the above calculations for structure size include the garage area, which if not documented, was calculated based on the Development Code’s minimum dimensions for an individual parking stall of 9’x20’ (180 sq. ft.).

According to the above table, the ten (10) closest residences located on Coolheights Drive range between 2,482 square feet and 3,199 square feet (garage area included), and the majority of the residences are two stories. The subject lot is currently unimproved, and the applicants propose to improve the site with a 5,409 square foot, two-story, single-family residence (garage included). With respect to square footage, the proposed residence will be 2,210 square feet larger than the largest home (3759 Coolheights Drive) and 2,464 square feet larger than the average total structure size for the ten (10) closest homes on Coolheights Drive. Although the proposed residence will further increase the average structure size within the defined neighborhood, Staff does not believe that the project creates an incompatible structure within the surrounding neighborhood because it will be located at the end of the street on a lot that is distinctively different than the neighboring lots. Notwithstanding, the proposed residence, although larger than the neighboring homes, will also be aligned with the homes on the "non-view’ side of the street in order to assimilate the character of the existing neighborhood. Furthermore, by integrating design elements that characterize the surrounding neighborhood, which will be discussed in the next section, and restricting the location of the structure, Staff believes that although the proposed structure will be the largest home within the defined neighborhood, that the proposed project meets this criteria.

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

The subject property is adjacent to, but not a part of, a residential tract that was developed in the early 1960’s with single-family residences that vary between one and two-story California Ranch style homes. Throughout the years, several of these homes have been upgraded or renovated in a manner that resembles more of a Mediterranean architectural style. Notwithstanding, Staff has analyzed the design of the proposed project in relation to the homes within the abutting residential tract in terms of architectural style, height, and massing.

According to Staff’s analysis, the proposed structure has been designed to blend with the immediate neighborhood through the use of similar facade and roof materials, architectural details, and color. As such, the design of the proposed residence is of Mediterranean style that includes the use of Mission Style roof tile, exposed roof rafters, smooth earth tone stucco, decorative wrought iron, vinyl windows and doors, and wood railing. The architectural elements used on the proposed residence can be found throughout the immediate neighborhood on both older and recently remodeled structures.

As proposed, the structure will have an overall height of 26’, as measured from the highest pre-construction grade of the building pad to the top of the highest roof ridge line. Although the proposed height is not uncommon within the immediate neighborhood, Staff believes that to minimize potential view impacts from neighboring properties the proposed residence should be notched into the slope abutting the building pad, as proposed by the applicant. This not only minimizes potential view impacts from neighboring properties, but since the height is measured from the building pad, the height of the proposed structure, if measured from adjacent grade, would measure equal to or less than the homes within the immediate neighborhood.

Pursuant to the RS-1 Residential Development Standards, the maximum lot coverage for the subject property is 25%. According to the plans, the proposed building footprint and deck is 3,377 square feet (garage included) and the parking motor courtyard and driveway area is 1,689 square feet, for a total of 5,066 square feet of lot coverage. In relation to the 100,491 square foot lot (2.30 acres), the proposed lot coverage is 5% of the lot, which is 20% less than the maximum 25% lot coverage allowed.

With respect to the mass and bulk of the structure, Staff believes that the proposed residence has been designed in a manner that resembles the surrounding neighborhood while integrating the project site’s unique configuration into the design of the structure. Based on Staff’s analysis of the immediate neighborhood, several of the homes are two-story structures with minimal articulation between the lower and upper levels, and clearly visible from the street. As a way of minimizing the appearance of a massive and bulky structure, the architect has designed the structure so that from the rear, the residence appears as a single-story structure despite its two-story floor plan. Furthermore, the layout of the building footprint does not resemble a typical rectangle or square, but rather varies in its geometric form by integrating a center rotunda as an entry feature between the living spaces. As for the building elevations oriented towards the street and the neighboring properties, the upper floor has been stepped back from the lower level as a means of balancing the perceived height of the structure.

It should be noted that the project site is distinctively different than neighboring tract because of its larger lot area and unique lot configuration. As such, Staff believes that the proposed residence, although clearly larger than the neighboring properties, will not be detrimental to the character of the immediate neighborhood because of the architectural elements integrated into the design of the structure, as well as its minimal appearance from the street and the fact that the structure is located at the end of Coolheights Drive, notched away from the street’s perspective. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed project will be consistent with the immediate neighborhood.

C. Front yard setbacks.

As previously mentioned, the proposed residence is located at the terminus of Coolheights Drive on a lot that is distinctively different than the developed lots within the immediate neighborhood. According to Staff’s analysis, the immediate neighborhood has been developed with a twenty (20) foot front yard setback, as measured from the street. With respect to the project site, it is significantly larger in area than the neighboring properties and is configured in a manner where Staff has determined that the front property line runs along the side yards of the two (2) neighboring properties to the east. Nonetheless, the proposed residence aligns with the residence at 3777 Coolheights Drive, while meeting the Code’s required twenty (20) foot front yard setback, as measured from the common property line between the project site and the neighboring properties’ side yards. Therefore, as proposed, the structure will be compatible with the required front yard setback set forth in the Development Code and for the surrounding neighborhood. As such, Staff believes that the proposed residence is compatible with the immediate neighborhood, and can therefore make this finding.

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

According to Height Variation Guidelines, "privacy is defined as the reasonable protection from intrusive visual observation." During the public noticing period, the property owners to the immediate east indicated in their comment letters (see attachments) that the proposed residence will infringe on their privacy, which is discussed below:

3776 Coolheights Drive – Based on Staff’s analysis, the proposed project does not result in an infringement of privacy because although the neighbor’s property is at a similar grade elevation as the project site, the proposed residence will be situated at the northern most portion of the property. By situating the residence at the proposed location, a potential privacy infringement is avoided because the windows of the proposed residence are not oriented in a manner that look into the neighbor’s residence or rear yard. Although this is not a consideration under the Height Variation application, the applicants are proposing to construct a six (6) foot high fence along the easterly property line. The neighbors have expressed a concern with a potential view impairment resulting from the fence and any proposed vegetation. This will be discussed in greater detail later in this Report under the Minor Exception Permit section.

3777 Coolheights Drive – Based on Staff’s analysis, the proposed project will not result in an infringement of privacy because of an adequate distance between structures. According to the architectural plans, the design of the proposed residence’s building elevation oriented towards the adjacent property is twenty (20) feet from the property line, while the closest point of the neighbor’s residence is approximately twenty (20) feet from the common property line. With the combined setbacks, the proposed residence will be setback approximately forty (40) feet from the neighbor’s residence. Furthermore, the upper level is setback an additional eight (8) feet from the lower level, thereby increasing the upper level’s distance from the neighbor’s property to forty-eight (48) feet. Additionally, pursuant to the Height Variation Guidelines, "greater weight is given to protecting outdoor privacy than indoor privacy." Based on the architectural plans of the proposed residence, Staff believes that the design of the structure minimizes the placement of windows that may overlook the rear yard of the neighbor’s property. Furthermore, the placement of the windows along the eastern elevation of the proposed residence, that overlooks the neighbor’s rear yard are designed as clerestory windows that limit the visibility from the interior of the proposed residence.

Therefore, based on the above discussion, Staff believes that the proposed project will not create an infringement of privacy and can make this finding.

Based on the above discussion regarding the required nine (9) findings for a Height Variation application, Staff believes that the required findings can be made and is thus recommending approval, with conditions, of Height Variation No. 899.

  1. GRADING

Pursuant to Section 17.76.040(B)(2) of the City's Development Code, the proposed project requires a major grading permit because a total of 819 cubic yards of grading is requested by the applicants, consisting of 668 cubic yards of cut and 151 cubic yards of fill. The following discussion consists of Staff’s analysis of the required nine (9) criteria needed for a major grading permit, as stated in Section 17.76.04(E) of the City's Development Code.

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

The subject property is located in an area designated by the City’s Zoning Map as a RS-1 zoning district. According to the City’s General Plan and the Development Code, a single-family residence is classified as a permitted primary use in the RS Zoning Districts. As proposed, the 819 cubic yards of grading is to prepare the undeveloped lot for the construction of a new single-family residence and driveway. Out of the 819 cubic yards of grading, 668 cubic yards will consist of cut, while 151 cubic yards will consist of fill. Because most of the proposed earth movement occurs as cut, in order to notch the proposed residence into the hillside between the building pad and the lower drainage swale, approximately 517 cubic yards of earth will be exported to an off-site location. It should be noted that Staff discouraged the applicants from balancing the earth movement on-site because of potential impacts to neighboring views that may occur when the height of the existing building pad is increased. Therefore, based on Staff’s analysis and the property’s residential zoning designation, Staff believes that this finding can be made.

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

As previously mentioned, Staff expressed a concern to the applicants early in the development process that grading the project site in a manner that increases the height of the existing building pad may result in view impacts to neighboring properties and would not be supported by Staff. Staff also informed the applicants to be mindful of neighboring views when plotting the proposed structure. As such, the applicants opted to align the proposed structure with the existing residences on the "non-view" side of Coolheights Drive, so that views may be maintained laterally over the project site. Although the placement of the proposed residence in this area minimizes view impacts to neighboring properties, it requires additional grading because the structure will be located off the existing building pad on the slope between the building pad and the lower drainage swale. Therefore, Staff feels that the proposed grading will not adversely impact any views from surrounding properties in that the proposed grading will not raise the height of the building pad, but rather cut into portions of the site to situate the proposed residence in an area that minimizes view impacts from neighboring properties.

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

The proposed grading is located on a portion of the subject lot that was previously graded when the neighboring tract was developed in the early 1960’s. Although the project site contains a "building pad" that is large enough in area to accommodate the proposed residence, it was determined that in order to minimize the impairment of views from neighboring properties, the ideal location for the placement of the proposed structure would be off the building pad. The placement of the proposed structure off the building pad requires grading, predominantly in the form of cut, since the proposed residence will be notched into the hillside. Nonetheless, the majority of the proposed grading will be conducted entirely below the proposed building footprint in an area that was previously graded so that the project will not significantly impact any natural or finished contours. Furthermore, the amount of grading proposed has been limited in area and limited to approximately 819 cubic yards, which may be considered minor in nature because it will not drastically alter the topography of the site. Therefore, Staff believes that the nature of the proposed grading minimizes the disturbance of the natural and finished contours.

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

The grading request is required to prepare the subject lot for construction by notching the proposed residence into the slope located between the building pad and the lower drainage swale. In regards to land sculpturing that will blend the man-made or manufactured slopes into the natural topography, the majority of the requested grading will be conducted under the proposed building footprint to create a finished floor elevation that is relatively similar to the existing building pad elevation. Although the majority of the project site’s 2.30 acres consists of undisturbed natural terrain, the proposed residence and grading is to occur in an area that was previously disturbed and graded with slopes less than 35% so that the proposed grading will not significantly alter the natural contours. Therefore, Staff believes that this criteria has been met.

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

The proposed project is for the construction of a new single-family residence in a neighborhood that consists of lots developed with single-family residences similar to the proposed structure. As indicated in the Height Variation section of this report, the project was determined to be compatible with the immediate neighborhood.

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

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

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

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

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

As proposed, the grading required to prepare the project site for the proposed residence will not occur in an area that will disturb any natural landscape or wildlife. Nonetheless, the proposed residence will be located in an area that is almost completely surrounded by protected habitat, as depicted in the City’s Natural Conservation Communities Plan (NCCP), that will be impacted by the related brush clearance required by the Los Angeles County Fire Department. A detailed discussion on this matter occurs under the Additional Information Section of this Report. Therefore, Staff feels that the proposed grading will not significantly impact any natural vegetation or wildlife habitat.

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

According to the City’s Development Code, grading on slopes over thirty-five (35%) percent is permitted if the lot was recorded and legally subdivided as of November 25, 1975. According to the grading plans, no earth movement will occur on slopes equal to or greater than 35% nor will the grading result in slopes exceeding a 50% gradient. Furthermore, the proposed access driveway will not exceed a gradient of 20%, the maximum slope permitted by the Development Code. With respect to the depth of cut of fill, the grading conducted outside the building footprint will not exceed a height of five (5) feet. However, it should be noted that the depth of cut under the building footprint exceeds five (5) feet in height, but is permissible by the Development Code because the retaining walls are an integral part of the structure, which has been verified by Staff. Therefore, as proposed, this criteria has been met because the project grading has been designed to comply with the Development Code.

Based on the aforementioned analysis, Staff recommends that the Planning Commission conditionally approve Grading Permit No. 2151.

MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT

The Development Code currently prohibits privacy walls within the area between the front property line and the closest structure facade to the right-of-way. The Code only permits walls or fences up to 42" in height within this front yard area. The intent of this section of the Development Code is to prevent the fortification of residential neighborhoods, to regulate the aesthetic value of walls or fences, as seen from the right-of-way, and to maintain a feeling of openness between the front yard and the residence. The subject property is distinctively different than the developed lots in the Mediterrania tract because of its significantly larger lot area and unique lot configuration. Furthermore, the subject property has been identified by the City’s Conceptual Trails Plan as the connecting point between Coolheights Drive and the trails located on the City owned Forrestal Property. Therefore, in order to physically identify the property lines, while maintaining a level of security from potential trespassers seeking use of the public trails located within the Forrestal Property, the applicants respectfully request to construct a five (5) foot high wrought iron fence with six (6) foot high columns in an area that the Development Code currently restricts the height of a wall or fence to forty-two (42) inches.

According to Section 17.76.030(C)(1) of the Development Code, the area for which the proposed fence/wall will be located is limited to a height of forty-two (42) inches, unless a Minor Exception Permit is granted. A Minor Exception Permit may be granted provided that one of three findings listed in Section 17.66.050 of the Development Code is positively made. The following is a discussion related to the required findings needed to grant the Minor Exception Permit:

1. The requested Minor Exception Permit is necessary to avoid inconsistencies with the general intent of this Title.

Staff believes that the applicants’ request for a Minor Exception Permit is warranted since prohibiting the proposed fence would be inconsistent with the general intent of the Code to provide general health and safety. This is because Staff believes that the property owner will be subject to heightened trespassing occurrence, due to the location and proximity to public trails. Furthermore, the proposed fence will be constructed from wrought iron that will allow the fence to remain predominantly open, preventing a fortification feeling from the street. This is achieved by designing the fence so that at least eighty (80) percent of it is open to light and air. Therefore, Staff believes that this finding can be made.

In addition to the above finding, Section 17.76.030(D)(2) of the Development Code requires that the following criteria to be considered when assessing a Minor Exception Permit for a fence, wall or hedge:

  1. The height of the fence, wall or hedge will not be detrimental to the public’s safety or welfare.

The proposed fence will not exceed a height of six (6) feet, as measured from adjacent grade and will be located along the front property line and outside the required turn-around easement. Staff does not believe that the proposed fence will be detrimental to the public’s safety or welfare in that the subject property is not located on a corner lot where the proposed fence may impair the line of sight of on-coming vehicles, nor will the proposed fence obstruct the flow of pedestrian traffic since it will be located outside of the public trail easements. Furthermore, the applicants propose to landscape the area adjacent to the proposed combination fence/wall to soften the overall appearance of the fence from the public’s perspective. Nonetheless, Staff has a concern with regard to lighting on the proposed fence/wall and its potential to spill over onto neighboring properties and/or creating a halo in the nighttime sky. As such, Staff recommends that a condition be imposed that prohibits the placement of lighting on the proposed fence/wall in the area outside the proposed turnaround easement. Therefore, Staff believes that this finding can be made, provided that the appropriate conditions are imposed.

  1. The line of sight over or through the fence is adequate for safety and does not significantly impair a view from the viewing area of an adjacent parcel.

As previously mentioned, Staff believes that the location of the proposed fence on the subject property will not impede on the public’s safety because the fence will be located along the front property line, which is considered the side property line for the two neighboring properties. In regards to view impairment from surrounding properties, a concern was raised by the two immediate neighbors to the east, that the proposed fence will result in a view impairment. Based on Staff’s analysis, a potential view impairment may occur from the dining room window of the property at 3776 Coolheights Drive. In order to minimize potential view impacts from this property, Staff recommends that a condition be imposed on the project that limits the height of all vegetation planting along the fence to 42 inches in height. By restricting the height of vegetation to a similar height of the fence, views may be maintained laterally across the subject property while balancing a sense of privacy for the applicants. Therefore, Staff believes that the proposed fence complies with this requirement.

  1. On corner lots, intersection visibility as identified in Section 17.48.070 of the Development Code is not obstructed.

The subject property is not located on a corner lot. Therefore, this development criteria does not apply.

  1. The height of the retaining wall portion does not exceed the grading limits set forth in Section 17.76.040 of the Development Code.

As proposed, a portion of the fence/wall does include a retaining wall in the area immediately adjacent to the property line with 3777 Coolheights Drive. The proposed retaining wall abuts the proposed driveway and ranges from two (2) to six (6) feet in height as the driveway notches into the northeastern most slope. Pursuant to the criteria set forth in the Development Code, Staff recommends that a condition be imposed on the project that requires the applicant reduce the height of the driveway retaining walls to no higher than five (5) feet, which is the maximum permitted height for retaining walls along a driveway. It should also be noted that a condition be imposed on the project that limits the combined height of any fencing on top of a retaining wall to a maximum height of six (6) feet, as measured from adjacent finished grade. This condition will ensure that the proposed combination retaining wall/fence complies with the criteria set forth in the Development Code and minimizes aesthetic impacts to neighboring properties. As such, based on the above, Staff believes with the appropriate conditions, this finding can be made.

Based on the above analysis, Staff believes that Minor Exception Permit No. 575 complies with the City’s development guidelines and should be permitted to allow the construction of a five (5) foot high wrought iron fence with a six (6) foot high column along the front property line and the outside edge of the turnaround easement line.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Residential Development Criteria

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

DEVELOPMENT STANDARD

REQUIREMENT

PROPOSED

FRONT YARD SETBACK

20’

20’

REAR YARD SETBACK

20’

220’

SIDE YARD SETBACK

10’

78’

MAX. LOT COVERAGE

25%

5%

BUILDING HEIGHT

16’

26’

PARKING

2 Spaces

3 Spaces

Based on the above table, Staff believes that the proposed development complies with the City’s Residential Development Standards for the RS-1 zoning district.

It should be noted that a concern was raised with regard to the proposed spa’s close proximity to slopes that contain protected habitat. Because State law requires the spa be fenced and the potential for chlorinated water splashing onto habitat, Staff recommends imposing a minimum setback condition of 10 feet from the top of slope.

Overlay Control Districts

According to the Zoning Map, the subject property is located within the City’s designated Natural and Urban Overlay Control Districts. Pursuant to Section 17.40 of the Development Code, the Overlay Control Districts provide criteria to reduce potential impacts directly created or indirectly induced by proposed or existing development in sensitive areas of the City. These overlay areas are identified as sensitive in the City’s General Plan based on unique characteristics contributing to the City’s form, appearance, natural setting, and historical and cultural heritage. As such, the Overlay Control Districts regulate the manner in which development occurs, as well as identify criteria by which sensitive areas are to be maintained and enhanced.

Pursuant to the performance criteria set forth in the Development Code for the Natural and Urban Overlay Control Districts, Staff believes that the proposed residence has been designed and sited in a manner that respects the surrounding environment by limiting the development to the area previously disturbed at the time the neighboring tract was developed. Furthermore, the proposed residence has been sited toward the surrounding residences, minimizing potential impacts to natural drainage courses, slopes and other sensitive land forms. With regard to land alteration, as identified in the Grading section of this Staff Report, it is believed that the proposed project minimizes impacts to natural contours and does not result in a building pad elevation change that impairs views from neighboring properties or public viewing and vista points or corridors. As for drainage, since the project site is in close proximity to protected habitat and sensitive land forms, Staff recommends that a condition be placed on the project that requires a drainage plan be prepared and submitted to the Department of Building and Safety prior to issuance of grading or building permits. The drainage plan should identify how all project related run-off is diverted away from the abutting slopes and canyons, to the street’s storm drains. The plan should also incorporate the appropriate Best Management Practices pursuant to the Non-Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).

As noted earlier With regard to the Los Angeles County Fire Department is requiring that brush clearance occur on the slopes surrounding the proposed residence. Based on the analysis in the attached Initial Study, the slopes that require the brush clearance contain protected habitat. According to the City’s Overlay Controls Districts, sensitive vegetation should be protected from development impacts. Notwithstanding, pursuant to Section 17.40.020 of the Development Code, the removal or clearing of vegetation is exempt from the Overlay Control District’s performance criteria, provided that approvals are obtained by the Fire Department, as well as Local, State and Federal agencies, which will be discussed later in this Report.

Brush Clearance

As mentioned in the above discussion, since the project site is located within a High Fire Hazard Area, the Los Angeles County Fire Department is requiring the removal or thinning of brush on the slopes that extend beyond the project site’s building pad. Pursuant to the Fire Department’s Fuel Modification Guidelines (see attachment), the applicants have prepared a Fuel Modification Plan that was reviewed and approved by the Los Angeles County Fire Department on August 15, 2001 (see attached Initial Study). The purpose of a Fuel Modification Plan is to identify various Zones within the project site which are subject to fuel modification. A fuel modification zone is defined as a strip of land where combustible native or ornamental vegetation has been modified and/or partially or totally replaced with drought tolerant, fire resistant plants. The fuel modification zones generally involve the following criteria:

  • Zone A "Setback Zone" - Minimum 20 feet beyond the edge of a combustible structure and selective vegetation;
  • Zone B "Irrigated Zone" – Minimum of 100 feet beyond the edge of combustible structure and selective vegetation; and
  • Zone C "Thinning Zone" – Minimum of 200 feet beyond the edge of the combustible structure or bottom of canyon, includes partial removal of vegetation.

Because of the impacts the project related brush removal or thinning will cause to protected habitat, the Fire Department reduced its setback requirements in order to minimize such impacts. The approved Fuel Modification Plan for the proposed project may be reviewed in detail in the attached Initial Study. However, in summary, Zone B was reduced to a minimum setback of 80 feet, while Zone C was reduced to a minimum setback of 100 feet. There was no change to the Zone A setback requirement.

Protected Habitat

As discussed in the project Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), there is 1.93 acres of Coastal Sage Scrub habitat (including .28 acres of disturbed habitat) on the 2.3 acre lot. Coastal Sage Scrub habitat (CSS) is considered the habitat of the Coastal California Gnatcatcher, a Federally listed Threatened species. As a result, CSS habitat is a protected habitat that should be avoided when possible. Impacts to occupied CSS habitat are considered "take" under the Federal Endangered Species Act and a Federal "take" permit could be required before habitat impacts can occur. Typically, a Federal "take" (Section 10A) permit is issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, However, because the City of Rancho Palos Verdes is in the process of preparing a Natural Communities Conservation Plan (NCCP) for the City, which is designed to permanently conserve extensive areas of CSS in the City, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes has the authority to issue an "interim take" or "4d" permit for any habitat losses that occur while the NCCP is being prepared. However, pursuant to a Resource Agency policy memo issued on February 2, 1995 (see attachment), CSS losses that are the result of mandated health and safety orders (e.g. weed abatement) are exempt from the interim habitat loss process and do not require mitigation. Therefore, in this case, mitigation pursuant to the Federal Endangered Species Act is not required.

As a result of the required Fire Department brush clearance, 1.13 acres of protected CSS habitat will be impacted by development of the vacant lot. The Fire Department reduced its original setback requirements recognizing the need to minimize impacts to CSS habitat. The CSS impact identified in the MND is a result of the reduced Fire Department setback. Although mitigation for CSS impacts resulting from mandated health and safety orders is not necessary (pursuant to State and Federal Resource Agency policy), the environmental analysis completed pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) concluded that mitigation would still be necessary as a result of this development project. The need for the brush clearance results from the proposed new residence, not from a change in clearance zone requirements applicable to existing residences. Therefore, mitigation is appropriate in this case because of the clearance impacts would not occur were it not for the construction of the new residence. As a result, the MND concluded that impacts to habitat would be reduced to a level of insignificance provided that the appropriate mitigation measures are adopted. Such mitigation would involve either the applicants restoring offsite habitat at a 3:1 ratio or by providing permanent protection for existing on-site habitat at a ratio of 1:1. On-site habitat preservation may be achieved by conveying an Open Space Conservation Easement on the project site to the City. Staff believes that the Conservation Easement would be the preferred choice because the lot contains extreme slopes and CSS habitat that should be preserved in perpetuity along with the abutting City owned Forrestal Property.

It should be noted that relocating the proposed residence or reducing its size would not eliminate or reduce impacts to habitat, but rather shift the Fuel Modification setback zones. Furthermore, the subject property is a legal developable lot, and whether a structure is built today or in the future, unless Fire regulations change, brush clearance will be required.

Turnaround

At the time the Settlement Agreement was being finalized in 1998, a concern was raised regarding the street’s inability to accommodate the turnaround of emergency and service vehicles. Since a cul-de-sac at the end of Coolheights Drive was not developed when the residential tract was constructed, the City recognized the need to develop an appropriate turnaround. As such, an agreement was reached, as identified in the Settlement Agreement, between the various parties involved and the City to improve the terminus of Coolheights Drive with a hammerhead turnaround. The original proposal was to construct a hammerhead turnaround at a 20 foot depth and a 70 foot width, with the proposed residence directly behind the turnaround (see design in Settlement Agreement). However, when Staff raised a concern that potential view impacts could result if the residence was located on the building pad area, the applicants opted to relocate the residence, which necessitated a re-design of the turnaround.

The applicants approached the City and the Los Angeles County Fire Department with a request to modify the layout of the hammerhead turnaround. After reviewing the revised layout, on October 19, 2000, the Los Angeles County Fire Department approved the turnaround and the placement of a new fire hydrant (see attachment). At the same time, the applicants asked Staff if the turnaround could remain on the applicants’ property rather than dedicated to the City, and improved with colored concrete to resemble a driveway entrance feature. Staff felt that any improvements to the turnaround should be limited to decorative paving that would have to meet the City’s and Los Angeles County Fire Department’s specifications for a public street (see attached Memo from Public Works). Furthermore, if the turnaround is to remain on private property, Staff informed the applicants that a public access easement would be required to ensure access to all, including but not limited to, emergency and service vehicles, pedestrians, and other users of Coolheights Drive. The applicants have agreed to convey such an easement to the City.

It should be noted that several neighbors have expressed a concern that a turnaround designed in color concrete would be misleading to the general public and give the appearance of a private driveway. Therefore, Staff is recommending that conditions be imposed on the project that require the surface of the turnaround match the surface of the adjacent public street, as deemed acceptable to the Director of Public Works, and that signs be posted at the entrance of the turnaround that state "public access." Furthermore, Staff also recommends that a sign be posted at the Ganado Trailhead informing the public of the public trail. Said signs should be reviewed and approved by the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement and the City Attorney prior to issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy. Further, the appropriate turnaround easements, acceptable to the City Attorney and the Director of Public Works, must be conveyed to the City prior to issuance of building permits.

Trails

As previously noted, there are trail segments that are identified in the City’s Conceptual Trails Plan and the City’s Forrestal Management Plan that traverse the subject property. As such, public trail easements are proposed to be conveyed to the City for the following trail segments that traverse the subject property:

    1. The Flying Mane Trail Segment (No. L4)*;
    2. The Ganado Trail (A16) linkage between Coolheights Drive and the Pirate Trail Segment (No. A15), as identified in the Settlement Agreement; and,
    3. The Ganado Trail (A16) segment to the City of Rolling Hills.

*It should be noted that a small area of the easement for this segment may be labeled as the Pirate Trail (No. A15) in the Trails Plan.

It should be noted that the specific location of the Ganado Trail (A16) segment from the project site has not been determined as this point. This is because in order to reduce impacts to habitat, it is desired that the trails be located within the area to be impacted by the Fire Department’s required brush clearance. Notwithstanding, attached to the Conditions of Approval is a site plan that sets parameters for the location of said trails. The site plan excludes the "residential" area of the project site from consideration. This is to help the privacy of the applicants’ residence and yard area, as well as to provide a trail experience that is in a more natural setting. Staff is recommending that a condition of approval be adopted to clearly state where the trail location can be located. Furthermore, the Settlement Agreement did identify the specific location of the trail linkage from Coolheights Drive to the Forrestal Property. The required trail easement for this linkage is pending recordation with the Los Angeles County Recorders Office. Furthermore, the City’s Forrestal Steering Committee is currently considering the implementation of the Forrestal Management Plan approved by the City Council and is aware of the proposed project.

City’s Geotechnical Review

The City’s Geotechnical Engineer has reviewed the applicants’ geotechnical reports and conceptually approved the project in the Planning Stage on February 24, 2000 (see attachment).

Public Noticing

According to the noticing procedure stated in the Development Code, a public notice was mailed to property owners within a 500 foot radius from the subject property and was published in the Peninsula News. During the thirty (30) day noticing period, the Planning Department received several public comments (see attachment). The concerns raised generally pertain to view impacts, structure size, neighborhood compatibility, potential impacts to habitat as a result of brush clearance and the fire department turnaround requirement. Staff has addressed these concerns throughout the body of this report.

CONCLUSION

Based on the above discussion and analysis of this report, Staff recommends that the Planning Commission conditionally approve Height Variation No. 899, Grading Permit No. 2151 and Minor Exception Permit No. 575, to allow the construction of a new 5,409 square foot (garage included) single-family residence and 819 cubic yards of associated grading.

ALTERNATIVES

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

  1. Deny Height Variation No. 899, Grading Permit No. 2151, and Minor Exception Permit No. 573; or,
  2. Approve Height Variation No. 899 and Grading Permit No. 2151, denying Minor Exception Permit No. 573; or,
  3. Deny Height Variation No. 899, and approve Grading Permit No. 2151 and Minor Exception Permit No. 573; or,
  4. Identify any additional issues of concern with the proposed project, and provide the applicant with further direction in modifying the project, and continue the public hearing to a date certain to review the project modifications.

ATTACHMENTS:

  • Draft P.C. Resolution adopting a Mitigated Negative Declaration
  • Draft P.C. Resolution and Conditions of Approval
  • Initial Study / Mitigated Negative Declaration
  • Settlement Agreement
  • Public Works Memo
  • Fire Department Approval Letters
  • L.A. County Fire Department Fuel Modification Guidelines
  • Resource Agency Memo on Habitat Impacts
  • Public Comments
  • Geology Approval
  • Time Extension Letter
  • Site Plan and Architectural Plans

EXHIBIT ‘A’
CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL
HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 899, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2151,
MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT NO. 573, AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO. 745

GENERAL

  1. Prior to the submittal of plans into Building and Safety plan check, the applicant and/or property owner shall submit to the City a statement, in writing, that they have read, understand and agree to all conditions of approval contained in this approval. Failure to provide said written statement within ninety (90) days following the date of this approval shall render this approval null and void.
  2. The approval shall become null and void after one (1) year from the date of approval by the City, unless the approved plans are submitted to the Building and Safety Division to initiate the "plan check" review process.
  3. The proposed project shall be constructed in substantial compliance with the plans approved and stamped by the Planning Department with the effective date of this approval.
  4. All mitigation measures contained in the adopted Mitigated Negative Declaration shall be incorporated into the implementation of the proposed project and adhered to, and are incorporated herein by reference.
  5. 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.
  6. In the event that a Planning requirement and a Building & Safety requirement are in conflict with one another, the stricter standard shall apply.
  7. The hours of construction shall be limited to 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. No construction shall be permitted on Sundays or on legal holidays.
  8. The construction site and neighboring public and private properties 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.
  9. The project site shall be securely enclosed with a temporary construction fence, not to exceed six (6) feet in height, during the duration of construction.

HEIGHT VARIATION

  1. The proposed structure, shall not exceed 26 feet in height as measured from the highest pre-construction grade (752’) to the top of the highest roof ridgeline (778’). A BUILDING HEIGHT CERTIFICATION, PREPARED BY A REGISTERED ENGINEER, SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE BUILDING AND SAFETY DIVISION, PRIOR TO THE FINAL FRAMING INSPECTION.
  2. The project silhouette shall be removed no later than seven (7) calendar days after the expiration of the appeal period, unless an appeal if filed with the City.

GRADING PERMIT

  1. The project related grading shall not exceed 819 cubic yards of earth movement, consisting of 668 cubic yards of cut and 151 cubic yards of fill. All excess cut (517 cubic yards) shall be exported off-site.
  2. The maximum depth of cut/fill shall not exceed 5’ in height, except for the excavation required for the retaining walls integrated with the building footprint.
  3. The retaining wall located along the driveway shall not exceed five (5) feet in height, as measured from the lowest finished grade. When a retaining wall is combined with a fence on the top of the wall, the maximum height shall not exceed six (6) feet, as measured from finished adjacent grade. Furthermore, the retaining walls shall maintain a minimum separation of three (3) feet, as measured from the interior of the walls.
  4. The City’s Geotechnical Consultant shall review the project in the "plan check" stage to determine whether further reports and investigation shall be required prior to issuance of building permits.
  5. Prior to issuance of grading permits, the Director of Public Works shall review and approve a haul route for all exported earth.

MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT

  1. The proposed fence/wall located along the front property line shall not exceed six (6) feet in height, as measured from the lowest finished grade adjacent to the wall and shall be eighty (80) percent open to light and air.
  2. No architectural elements shall be permitted on the fence/wall that exceeds the permitted height of six (6) feet, as defined in the above condition.
  3. No lighting may be permitted on the proposed fence/wall that is located outside the area designated as the hammerhead turnaround.
  4. The area located immediately adjacent to the combination fence/wall shall be landscaped with vegetation that does not exceed 42" in height.

MISCELLANEOUS

  1. The residence shall not exceed 5,409 square feet, of which 680 square feet will be in the form of a three car attached garage, 2,243 square feet will be situated on the lower level and 2,486 square feet on the upper level. A SQUARE FOOTAGE CERTIFICATION PREPARED BY A REGISTERED SURVEYOR INDICATING THAT THE NEW RESIDENCE DOES NOT EXCEED 5,409 SQUARE FEET, SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE BUILDING AND SAFETY DIVISION, PRIOR TO A FRAMING INSPECTION.
  2. The lot coverage requirement for the subject property located in the RS-1 zoning district shall not exceed 25%. The proposed Lot Coverage is 5%.
  3. The following minimum setbacks shall be maintained for the proposed residence:
  4. Front Yard: 20'-0" minimum (proposed: 20’)
    Rear Yard: 20’-0" minimum (proposed 220’)
    Side Yard: 10'-0" minimum (proposed: 78’)

    A SETBACK CERTIFICATION SHALL BE PREPARED BY A LICENSED SURVEYOR AND SUBMITTED TO THE BUILDING AND SAFETY DIVISION, INDICATING COMPLIANCE WITH THE APPROVED FRONT YARD SETBACK PRIOR TO A FOUNDATION INSPECTION.

  5. A minimum of a two car garage shall be maintained at all times with a minimum depth of twenty (20) feet, a minimum width of eighteen (18) feet and a minimum vertical clearance of seven (7) feet, as measured from the interior finished walls (proposed: three car).
  6. The proposed spa shall be maintained a minimum of ten (10) feet away from the top of the slope.
  7. The proposed spa area shall be enclosed with a minimum 5’ high fence, with a self-closing device and a self-latching device located no closer than 4’ above the ground.
  8. The proposed driveway shall not exceed a maximum gradient of 20%, as required by the City’s Development Code.
  9. Prior to issuance of grading or building permits, the applicants shall convey, to the satisfaction of the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement and the City Attorney, a public trail easement for the Ganado (A16), Pirate (A15), and the Flying Mane (L4) trails. The required trail easements shall be recorded with the Los Angeles County Recorders Office prior to issuance of grading or building permits. The required trail easements shall be limited to the areas of the project site that are outside the "residential" portion of the lot, as identified in the attached Exhibit "B".
  10. Prior to issuance of grading or building permits, the applicants shall convey, to the satisfaction of the Director of Public Works and the City Attorney, a public access easement for the hammerhead turnaround. Said easement shall permit public use of the hammerhead turnaround by motorists and pedestrians at all times.
  11. Prior to issuance of grading or building permits, the specifications for the required hammerhead turnaround shall be reviewed and approved by the Director of Public Works. The turnaround shall be constructed in full compliance with the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s October 19, 2000 approval.
  12. The required hammerhead turnaround shall match the surface of the adjacent public street. The use of decorative asphalt within the hammerhead turnaround shall be permitted, provided the Director of Public Works determines such material is acceptable.
  13. The area located within the hammerhead turnaround shall be red-curbed with a sign stating "no parking at all times," as required by the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
  14. Prior to issuance of grading or building permits, the hammerhead turnaround, as described in the above condition, and the Ganado Trail link from Coolheights Drive, shall be posted with a sign, to the satisfaction of the Director of Public Works and the City Attorney, that ensures public access at all times.
  15. The proposed residence shall be finished in an earth tone color deemed acceptable by the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement prior to the Certificate of Occupancy by Building and Safety.
  16. The applicants shall visually screen the trash enclosure from neighboring properties and the public right-of-way prior to issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy by Building and Safety.
  17. All mechanical equipment, including but not limited to the spa equipment and air conditioning condenser units, shall be no closer than three (3) feet from the interior side property line and shall not exceed 6’ in height. Said equipment shall be adequately screened from the neighboring properties and the right of way.
  18. No mechanical equipment shall be permitted on the roof.
  19. A Landscape Plan shall be submitted to the Planning Department for approval prior to issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy by Building and Safety. The Landscape Plan shall indicate the location and type of vegetation proposed for the subject property. Additionally, the plans shall indicate the mature height of all foliage, which shall not exceed sixteen (16) feet in height or the top of the highest roof ridgeline, whichever is lower.
  20. Prior to issuance of grading permits, the property owner shall obtain approvals by the City of an Urban Stormwater Plan that is in conformance with the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).
  21. No outdoor lighting shall be permitted that is directed towards a parcel of property other than that upon which such light source is physically located. Additionally, no lighting shall be permitted where the light source or fixture, if located on a building, above the line of the eaves, or if located on a standard or pole, more than ten (10) feet above grade. Individual, non-reflector, incandescent light bulbs shall not exceed 150 watts per bulb or an aggregate of 1,000 watts for a lot.

NEW BUSINESS:



8. INSTITUTIONAL MEMORY TABLE: (JR)

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission review the staff prepared decision summaries and provide direction on the content and format that is to be used for future summaries.


ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS:

Staff



9. PRE-AGENDA FOR THE MEETING OF MAY 28, 2002.

PLANNING COMMISSION
PRE-AGENDA
TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2002


CONSENT CALENDAR:



1. MINUTES OF MAY 14, 2002


CONTINUED BUSINESS: (NO ITEMS)



PUBLIC HEARINGS:



2. APPEAL OF FENCE, WALL AND HEDGE PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2001-00032): 32451 Searaven Drive / Foster (BY)

An appeal of the Director's decision to allow an existing hedge located along the east property line to remain, with the condition that a portion of the hedge be lowered to 2’-6" in height.


3. HEIGHT VARIATION, COASTAL PERMIT, VARIANCE, MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2002-00035): 112 Spindrift Drive / Wynn (DB)

A request to construct a 575 square foot addition to an existing 1,652 square foot home. The Height Variation is to allow an addition that has a maximum height of 30-feet, as measured from the lowest elevation (104.8’) where the building foundation/slab is adjacent to the finished grade, to the highest point on the roof (134.8’); and has a height of 18-feet, as measured from the highest elevation covered by structure (116.8’) to the highest point on the roof (134.8’). The coastal permit is to allow the addition to an existing residence located within an appealable area of the coastal zone. The Minor Exception Permit is to allow the proposed addition to encroach three feet into the required 20-foot front setback and to allow 46% lot coverage in the RS-2 zone. The Variance is a request to allow the addition to encroach two-feet into the required five-foot side yard setback, thus providing a three foot side yard setback; and to allow an addition greater than 275 square feet to an existing residence located within the coastal setback zone.


4. HEIGHT VARIATION, COASTAL PERMIT, VARIANCE, MINOR EXCEPTION PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2002-00036): 113 Spindrift Drive / Wynn (DB)

A request to construct a 1,045 square foot addition to an existing 1,248 square foot home. The Height Variation is to allow an addition that has a maximum height of 29.1-feet, as measured from the lowest elevation (109.6’) where the building foundation/slab is adjacent to the finished grade, to the highest point on the roof (138.7’); and has a height of 20.1-feet, as measured from the highest elevation covered by structure (118.6’) to the highest point on the roof (138.7’). The coastal permit is to allow the addition to an existing residence located within an appealable area of the coastal zone. The Minor Exception Permit is to allow the top floor of the proposed addition to encroach 1’-9" into the required 20-foot front setback. The Variance is a request to allow the middle floor addition to encroach ten-feet into the required front yard setback, to allow an addition greater than 275 square feet to an existing residence located within the coastal setback zone, to allow 49% lot coverage in the RS-2 zone, and to allow a one car garage for a single family residence.


5. GOLDEN COVE SIGN PROGRAM (CASE NO. ZON2001-00090): 31212-31244 Hawthorne Boulevard / Golden Cove LLC (AM)

A request to approve a Master Sign Program for the Golden Cove shopping center.


NEW BUSINESS: (NO ITEMS)

*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, May 9, 2002

Commission


ADJOURNMENT:

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday,
May 28, 2002, 7:00 P.M. at Hesse Park.