06/25/2002 Planning Commission Agenda June, 2002, 06/25/2002, Planning, Commission, Meeting, Agenda, 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 The 06/25/2002 RPV Planning Commission Meeting Agenda
Ranch Palos Verdes Planning Commission Agenda June 25, 2002
June 25, 2002

DISCLAIMER

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

...end of disclaimer...

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

Staff Reports

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

Organization of the Agenda

The Planning Commission agenda is divided into the following sections:

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

Presentation of Agenda Items

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

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


How to Speak on an Item

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

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

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

 Submittal of Written Correspondence

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

Conduct at the Meeting

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

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

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


BEGINNING OF PLANNING COMMISSION AGENDA

RANCHO PALOS VERDES PLANNING COMMISSION

TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2002

FRED HESSE COMMUNITY PARK, 29301 HAWTHORNE BOULEVARD

REGULARMEETING

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. 2002-14


CALL TO ORDER:

FLAG SALUTE:

ROLL CALL:


APPROVAL OF AGENDA:



COMMUNICATIONS:

1. Council Policy Items (Excerpt Minutes):

2. Staff:

3. Commission:


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



CONSENT CALENDAR:



1. MINUTES OF JUNE 11, 2002


CONTINUED BUSINESS:



2. 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: Continue the public hearing to the July 9, 2002 Planning Commission meeting.



3. APPEAL OF FENCE, WALL AND HEDGE PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2001-00122): 32451 Searaven Drive / Foster (BY)

Request: 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.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission deny the appeal, thereby upholding the Planning Director’s decision to approve with conditions, Fence, Wall and Hedge Permit Case No. ZON2001-00122.


RECESS (approximately 8:30 P.M.):



PUBLIC HEARINGS:



4. VARIANCE/ GRADING PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2001-00176): 3340 Palos Verdes Drive East / Farrar (BY)

Request: A request to legalize two existing mechanical equipment (HVAC units) and related ducting located on the rooftop of an existing single-family residence, to allow the construction of a 2’-0" high perimeter parapet wall along the existing roof’s edge, the construction of two pyramids on the roof to enclose the existing HVAC units, to legalize a series of retaining walls located in the side and front yard, to legalize the associated 225 cubic yards of grading, and to allow the construction of a 387 square foot shed at a maximum height of 10.4’.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission continue the public hearing to the July 9, 2002 Planning Commission meeting.


NEW BUSINESS: (NO ITEMS)



ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS:

Staff



5. PRE-AGENDA FOR THE MEETING OF JULY 9, 2002.

Commission


ADJOURNMENT:

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday,
July 9, 2002, 7:00 P.M. at Hesse Park.


AGENDA

RANCHO PALOS VERDES PLANNING COMMISSION

TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 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. 2002-14


CALL TO ORDER:

FLAG SALUTE:

ROLL CALL:


APPROVAL OF AGENDA:



COMMUNICATIONS:

1. Council Policy Items (Excerpt Minutes):

2. Staff:

3. Commission:


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



CONSENT CALENDAR:



1. MINUTES OF JUNE 11, 2002

CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
JUNE 11, 2002
CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Cartwright at 7:02 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.


FLAG SALUTE

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


ROLL CALL

Present: Commissioners Cote, Mueller, Tomblin, Vice Chairman Long, Chairman Cartwright. Commissioner Duran Reed arrived at 7:40 p.m.

Absent:
Commissioner Lyon was excused.

Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, Director of Public Works Allison, City Attorney Lynch, Senior Planner Mihranian, Senior Planner Fox, and Recording Secretary Peterson.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA

The Commission agreed to hear the items in the following order: 6, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 1, 2, and 9.


COMMUNICATIONS

Director/Secretary distributed 7 items of correspondence relating to Agenda Item No. 7 and one item of late correspondence relating to Agenda Item No. 7.

Commissioner Tomblin reported that he had discussions with the Ortolanos.

Chairman Cartwright also reported that he had a discussion with Mr. Ortolano Jr. regarding availability of staff reports on the website.

City Attorney Lynch clarified that the only requirement under the Brown Act is that the agenda be posted 72 hours in advance of the meeting and any item that is distributed to the Planning Commission be available for public review at the same time. She explained that since the staff report was available for public review and could be picked up at City Hall the obligation was discharged. She noted that the website is an additional courtesy that the City provides to the public.


CONTINUED BUSINESS



6. Height Variation No. 899, Grading Permit No. 2151, Minor Exception Permit No. 573, and Environmental Assessment No. 745: 3787 Coolheights Drive

Senior Planner Mihranian presented the staff report. He briefly reviewed the scope and history of the project and stated that at the direction of the Planning Commission staff contacted a City hired Engineer to come up with design alternatives in regards to the turnaround at the end of Coolheights Drive. On a PowerPoint display, Mr. Mihranian showed two hammerhead designs, and various cul-de-sac designs. He explained the criteria used to analyze the various design alternatives, focusing on issues with regard to the Settlement Agreement, Fire Department approval, Waste Management approval, cost of construction, square footage of encroachment onto the subject property, the square footage of encroachment onto neighboring property, parking availability, pedestrian accessibility, and whether a street easement would be required. He discussed the different alternatives beginning with the hammerhead design in Alternatives A and B. He next discussed Alternatives C, D, E, F, and G which are cul-de-sac designs at a 32 and 42-foot radius. He explained that the difference between a 32-foot radius and a 42-foot radius is that the 42-foot radius allows for parking in the cul-de-sac and the 32-foot radius would be red curbed. He also explained that under today’s standards, a new cul-de-sac terminating at the end of a street which is more than 28 feet wide, would have to maintain a 42-foot radius.

Senior Planner Mihranian stated there had been concerns raised regarding the project silhouette and its accuracy. He stated that staff has re-measured the silhouette and determined that it is at the correct height. He discussed the brush clearance and certain government codes, and noted that the State codes in question pertain to existing occupied structures. He explained that the Los Angeles County Fire Department adopted regulations that require all new hillside construction to prepare a fuel modification plan, which the applicant has done. He noted that the Fire Department has reviewed and approved this plan, and reduced the required setbacks because of the impacts to the habitat.

Regarding trail easements, Mr. Mihranian stated that staff was recommending imposing a condition that requires that a blanket trail area off the building pad of the property be made available for future trail easements, as shown in Exhibit B of the draft Conditions of Approval. He also noted that the City’s Forestall Committee is currently reviewing the trails in this area.

Commissioner Mueller asked about the 32 and 42-foot turnarounds in the cul-de-sac and how a 42-foot turnaround applies in a residential neighborhood.

Senior Planner Mihranian stated that a 32-foot turnaround normally applies to a private street or driveway, while a 42-foot radius standard would typically apply to a multi-family zoning district. He noted that these standards are for turnarounds and that the Fire Department has indicated that an actual cul-de-sac for a new sub-division would require a 42-foot radius because the street width is greater than 28 feet. He also noted that the Fire Department can deviate from the typical standards and the Fire Department addresses this on a case by case basis.

Commissioner Mueller asked if a 42-foot cul-de-sac was used in the City and if it was always required for new development.

Director Allison answered that the City does require a 42-foot cul-de-sac and noted that this was the normal Fire Department requirement.

Commissioner Mueller asked if the 32-foot turnaround satisfied the requirements of the Fire Department as long as it was red curbed.

Senior Planner Mihranian answered that all seven turnaround alternatives presented comply with the Fire Department’s requirements.

Commissioner Mueller asked about the difference between a public street easement and a public access easement.

City Attorney Lynch answered that a public access easement is any type of easement other than a street easement, and noted an example of a public access easement would be a trail. She stated that if the City is going to require a turnaround that will provide access to vehicles that will be maintained by the City as a street, it should be a public street easement.

Vice Chairman Long asked if the Settlement Agreement limited the City to install a hammerhead turnaround.

City Attorney Lynch answered that the Settlement Agreement contemplated a hammerhead turnaround. Therefore, if the City required a cul-de-sac turnaround, it was her view that the property owner would only be required to dedicate and provide free of charge that portion of his property that would have been required for a hammerhead. If the City wants a larger turnaround for a cul-de-sac, the City would most likely have to pay the difference between the cost of a hammerhead and a cul-de-sac.

Vice Chairman Long asked, in looking at the view issue from the neighboring property, if staff felt the project as proposed significantly impairs the views from viewing areas below the sixteen foot height limit from the adjoining property.

Senior Planner Mihranian answered that staff did not believe views below the sixteen-foot height limit at the adjoining property would be significantly impaired.

Commissioner Tomblin referred to Alternative E and asked staff if they had considered moving the cul-de-sac down the street slightly which would take away some of the sidewalk and having some encroachment on Mr. Ortolano Jr.’s property and Mr. Ortolano’s property.

City Attorney Lynch answered that with respect to Lots 110 and 111, it appears that the only impact would be within the area subject to the public right-of-way easement.

Director Allison added that by moving the cul-de-sac downhill slightly there was a tradeoff of impacts to the applicant’s property and impacts to Lots 110 and 111. He stated that staff had not analyzed this idea and felt it was something staff may want to look at.

City Attorney Lynch added that if the City steps outside the dedicated right-of-way area the City would be obliged to pay compensation to the property owners for whatever area is outside of the current dedicated street area. She noted Mr. Ortolano Jr. has indicated in correspondence that he would be willing to give up some of his property for the cul-de-sac provided the City were willing to lift the development restrictions that have been placed on his property.

Commissioner Cote asked about the City’s liability involved with the public street easement.

City Attorney Lynch answered that as long as the City designs a street turnaround that is safe and complies with the standards set forth by the Fire Department, from a liability perspective, the City would be fine. She stated that the Traffic Engineer has indicated that the design alternatives presented were acceptable from that perspective.

Director Allison stated that regarding site and appearance he felt that the City could make a hammerhead look and feel like a public street, even though he could not cite another example of this type of hammerhead design in the City. Regarding maintenance, a cul-de-sac was much easier to sweep and maintain, as there were no corners. He felt there would be little difference between a hammerhead and a cul-de-sac when considering street repairs and overlays.

Commissioner Cote asked if a cul-de-sac were approved, did the City Attorney feel that an amendment to the Settlement Agreement was necessary.

City Attorney Lynch answered that it would depend upon which alternative was chosen. She stated that the Settlement Agreement did not specify that a specific design must be used, however it does state that there would be no objection by Mr. Ortolano Jr. to the use of a hammerhead. She stated that a design that uses part of Mr. Ortolano Jr.’s property would most likely require an amendment to the Settlement Agreement, as Mr. Ortolano Jr. has expressed in correspondence that if that happens he would like the development restrictions on his property removed.

Vice Chairman Long asked if the City could condemn part of Mr. Ortolano Jr.’s property for a portion of the cul-de-sac design.

City Attorney Lynch answered that the City could do this, however she felt that Mr. Ortolano Jr. might assert as a defense to the condemnation action, that the Settlement Agreement must be amended. She felt, however, that the action would not require an amendment and that any time the City needs to require property for public purpose, that it could do so if they paid the fair market value for the property.

Commissioner Cote discussed view impairment and the "by right" 16-foot height limit. She asked what was meant by "by right" and where in the Development Code that was discussed.

Senior Planner Mihranian explained that this was a pad lot, and pursuant to the Development Code a property owner can build up to 16-feet in height without having to adhere to the discretion of the view ordinance, and this is why it is considered "by right".

Director/Secretary Rojas further explained that if someone were to build to a height of 16 feet, and it obstructed a view, there would be no need to apply for a height variation, whose requirements were discussed in Section17.02.040 of the Code.

Chairman Cartwright asked if a cul-de-sac design could be approved without an amendment to the Settlement Agreement.

City Attorney Lynch answered that, in her view, if a hammerhead design were built it clearly would not need an amendment to the Settlement Agreement. However, anything beyond that was arguable as to whether an amendment to the Settlement Agreement would be necessary. She noted that even if she did not think an amendment was necessary, she did not know how a court would decide the issue.

Chairman Cartwright asked what the criteria was for determining the necessary dimensions for a hammerhead turnaround.

City Attorney Lynch responded that the criteria was to design a turnaround that would comply with Fire Department, Waste Management, and engineering principles that would allow larger trucks to turn around safely.

Chairman Cartwright asked if there were any other streets in the City that end without provisions for a turnaround.

Director Allison noted that there were a few such streets in the City, such as the street below Coolheights Drive, which was referred to as Hightide.

Chairman Cartwright asked the City Attorney if the Planning Commission had the authority to recommend to the City Council that the City take a portion of property to build a cul-de-sac and how long of a process would it be to acquire the property.

City Attorney Lynch stated that the Planning Commission did have the authority to make that recommendation. She explained that the acquisition of property could be quite lengthy, however if the City were in a hurry to put in a public improvement they could get an Order of Immediate Possession within 30 days.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked staff where in the Code it references the 16-foot by right height limit.

Senior Planner Mihranian referred to Section 17.02.

In looking at Section 17.02, Commissioner Duran Reed stated that she did not see anything stating that there was a "by right" building height limit.

Director/Secretary Rojas noted that Section 17.02.040 contained a discussion on building height.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked if there was specific language stating that if one was building up to 16-feet in height, they could do so by right.

Director/Secretary Rojas stated there was no such specific language, however this is how the staff, Planning Commission, and City Council has interpreted the Code since it was written.

Vice Chairman Long stated there was nothing in the Ordinance that stated one should ignore the portion of the view that is under 16-feet in height when making the findings for a height variation.

Chairman Cartwright felt the Planning Commission has had this discussion many times, and each time the Planning Commission has agreed with staff’s interpretation.

Vice Chairman Cartwright did not think that the Planning Commission had always agreed with staff’s interpretation and asked what language in the Ordinance tells the Planning Commission and staff to ignore the portion of the view below 16 feet.

Director/Secretary Rojas answered that the findings in the Code apply to the portion of the structure that is over 16 feet in height, and that there was no specific language that says to ignore the view below 16 feet.

Chairman Cartwright asked if it was the policy of the City to allow one to build a structure up to 16 feet in height on a developable lot.

City Attorney Lynch answered that it was the policy of the City, and pointed out on page 218-24 of the Code which contained language regarding height variations that the City uses.

Director/Secretary Rojas further referred to a Table 02 in the Code that sets the residential development standards. He noted that in the Table it set a 16-foot maximum height standard.

Commissioner Duran Reed discussed far views and near views and asked if these views could be protected.

Chairman Cartwright added that it was his understanding that only the most significant view could be protected, and if there were a near view and a far view the City would determine the primary view.

City Attorney Lynch responded the determination was made of the view from the viewing area, and that the best and most important view would then be established. She stated that this could be both a near and far view, one or the other, a panoramic view, or a more restrictive view, depending on the area of the home from which the best and most important view was taken.

Commissioner Mueller noted staff’s recommendation on the placement of the spa, and asked what staff’s original concern was.

Senior Planner Mihranian answered that staff was concerned with the close proximity of the spa to the top of the slope, and staff would like to see some type of a setback from the slope. He felt there were privacy issues from the trail users as well as impacts to the slope from a structural standpoint.

Commissioner Mueller asked if the sheds on Mr. Ortolano Jr.’s property were permanent structures.

City Attorney Lynch responded that, pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Mr. Ortolano Jr. was allowed to maintain the sheds in the current locations.

Chairman Cartwright opened the public hearing.

Joe Nassiri 6910 Los Verdes Drive stated that in the last 4 ½ years he has compromised with the City on every request made. He stated he has made the proposed house much smaller than originally proposed, moved it to a less desirable location on the property, given part of the property for public easement to trails, and was willing to give another easement for two additional trails. He also has given an open space easement that consisted of approximately half of his property. He stated there were several dead-end streets without cul-de-sacs in the City, and Coolheights Drive was only one of them. The hammerhead turnaround that he has proposed was designed with the safety of the street in mind. He felt the street has been safe for over 30 years and this turnaround would only increase the safety of the street. He stated that it was very difficult for a family to have a 64-foot cul-de-sac in the middle of their front yard. He felt the cul-de-sac would destroy the view and value of his property, as well as making in impossible to put a swimming pool on the property in the future. He asked the Planning Commission to approve the proposed hammerhead turnaround.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked Mr. Nassiri how a cul-de-sac would destroy his view.

Mr. Nassiri responded that all of the bedrooms are proposed to be downstairs and the yard landscaped with flowers so that when sitting in the bedrooms there would be a view of a flowering landscape. He stated putting in a cul-de-sac would give one a view of asphalt and traffic from the bedrooms.

Commissioner Tomblin asked Mr. Nassiri if, when purchasing the property, he was under the impression that a hammerhead turnaround would be installed.

Mr. Nassiri answered that one of the conditions in purchasing the property was that the issue of the hammerhead turnaround be settled. He stated that when he did purchase the property he thought the issue was settled. He stated that the issue of the cul-de-sac was brought up by only one neighbor.

Commissioner Mueller asked if the purchase of the property was contingent upon the Settlement Agreement.

Mr. Nassiri stated that his agreement regarding the hammerhead was between him and the previous owners.

Commissioner Mueller asked, if the purchase of the property was contingent upon the Settlement Agreement, and if the Settlement Agreement changes, would Mr. Nassiri be eligible to go back and re-negotiate the purchase of the property.

City Attorney Lynch did not know, as she had never seen the document that conveyed the property from the previous owners to Mr. Nassiri. She stated that the Settlement Agreement does not mention any future conveyance.

Commissioner Mueller asked if painting the curb red on the cul-de-sac would help the situation.

Mr. Nassiri responded that however the cul-de-sac was built, this was the best part of his property.

Chairman Cartwright asked if the idea of a hammerhead was included in the agreement between the City and the previous lot owner.

City Attorney Lynch answered that it was not specifically spelled out, only contemplated. However, the feeling was that if the lot was to be a developable lot, then the City would minimize the impact to the developability while still assuring that a turnaround would be provided that would meet Fire Department standards as well as general Public Works safety standards.

Chairman Cartwright asked if, when the lot was excluded from the Forrestal property, it contained a provision for a turnaround of some sort.

City Attorney Lynch responded that a number of years ago a tract map did propose to improve the terminus of Coolheights Drive with a cul-de-sac. She noted that this tentative tract map had expired when the City purchased the site.

Alex Chang 8730 Huntington Drive, San Gabriel stated he was the architect for the project. He stated that several years ago, when starting the project, he had gone to the City to find out all of the requirements and restrictions for the lot. At that time he was told he would have to obtain the Fire Department’s approval, which has been done. He now feels that he is being asked to go back to where he started from. He did not think the question was how much it would cost to build a cul-de-sac, but rather the land that would be lost and how to re-design the house to accommodate the location of the cul-de-sac. He stated that the site was almost 4 acres but the actual building site was very limited.

Chairman Cartwright summarized that if the 42 foot cul-de-sac was adopted the applicant felt it would significantly impact the value of the land. He asked if that were also true for the 32-foot cul-de-sac.

Mr. Chang answered that any of the cul-de-sac options would require modifications that would cause a loss of privacy and land for his client. He felt the best option was Option A.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked what the square footage of the proposed residence was.

Senior Planner Mihranian answered that currently it was approximately 5,400 square feet.

Mr. Chang stated that 5,400 square feet includes the garage, decks, and balconies and that the actual home was a little over 4,000 square feet.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked if the house could be set back on the property a little farther so that it would not be so near the cul-de-sac.

Mr. Chang stated that there was a drainage channel directly behind the house and that he had placed the house as far back on the property as he could.

Commissioner Duran Reed suggested taking some square footage off the front of the house.

Mr. Chang felt that three feet could be taken off the front of the house, however he felt it would destroy the design of the house and did not think that would help the view impact from the bedroom windows. However, he stated he could look at the possibility again.

At this point Commissioner Mueller apologized as he had to leave to catch an airplane. He commented that a hammerhead turnaround would be the first in the City and there was an example of a 32-foot cul-de-sac in the immediate area.

Sidney Croft 3858 W Carson St. Torrance, stated he was the attorney for Mr. Nassiri. He reiterated that Mr. Nassiri had done everything possible to accommodate every request that they could. He stated that the main issue was the hammerhead turnaround versus the cul-de-sac. He stated that Alternative B was not acceptable as there was no setback and the pavement would go all the way up to the window of the residence. He stated that Alternative A was not the applicant’s proposal, but rather the applicant’s proposal as modified by the City Engineer. He stated that Alternative A was acceptable and far superior to any cul-de-sac design. He respectfully asked that the Planning Commission adopt Alternative A and adopt the Resolution to allow the project to proceed.

Chairman Cartwright asked if the Fire Department had approved Alternative A or if they had approved the applicant’s design for the hammerhead.

Mr. Croft stated that the Fire Department had approved the applicant’s design, however Alternative A was basically the same as the applicant’s design, just slightly larger. He did not think the Fire Department would object to a larger turnaround.

Senior Planner Mihranian clarified that Alternative A is slightly larger because the City Engineer included a 2-½ foot space between the edge of the pavement and the easement edge so that one could open car doors. Other than that, the plan was the same.


RECESS AND RECONVENE

At 8:55 p.m. the Planning Commission took a brief recess to 9:10 p.m. at which time they reconvened.


CONTINUED BUSINESS (cont)

Allen Fischer 3770 Coolheights Drive stated that his primary concern was the cul-de-sac and did not think that Alternatives A and B were sufficiently safe. He felt that if there were a fire on the hillside there needs to be the best possible access to the hillside by safety and emergency vehicles. He felt the hammerhead design limited the accessibility of fire trucks and equipment. He did not think the hammerhead looked like a turnaround and that vehicles would continue to back down the street or use other driveways to turn around. He felt that the issue of safety should override the issue of cost.

Chairman Cartwright asked Mr. Fischer who he felt should make the determination as to which of the alternatives were safe and which were not.

Mr. Fischer answered that Planning Commission should make that determination.

Barbara Sattler 1904 Avenida Aprenda stated that she was speaking as a member of the California Native Plant Society. She stated that comments have previously been submitted to the Planning Commission regarding their concerns about impacts on habitat. She asked the Planning Commission to note Section 51184 of the California Code and she provided copies to the Planning Commission of this Code. She noted that staff had stated this code only applies to existing structures and stated that she did not see that detail in the actual code. Additionally, the California Native Plant Society felt this project’s proposed conservation easement does not serve as an adequate mitigation, as there will be a considerable loss of habitat as a result of the proposed project. She referred to the letter dated May 13, 2002 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where they recommend a minimum of 3:1 mitigation.

Chairman Cartwright asked staff to comment on the California Code referred to by Ms. Sattler.

Senior Planner Mihranian stated that the California Code refers to "occupied dwellings or occupied structures" and not new construction. He explained that the applicant has submitted a fuel modification plan to the Fire Department which has been reviewed and approved. Because of the sensitive area and the habitat, the Fire Department has reduced the required fuel modification setbacks.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked staff to clarify the mitigation ratio in the Mitigated Negative Declaration Report.

Director/Secretary Rojas stated that Mitigated Negative Declaration identifies two options for mitigation: onsite at a 1:1 ratio, or offsite at a 3:1 ratio. He stated that it was staff’s position that there would be a benefit to conserving the onsite habitat as it would compliment the adjacent Forrestal property, which also has a conservation easement on it. Also, pursuant to Fish and Game and Fish and Wildlife policy memos, habitat loss that results from fire orders does not need to be mitigated. Notwithstanding, staff is proposing mitigation that would ensure that the remainder of the applicant’s parcel will be conserved in perpetuity for habitat purposes.

Tom Redfield 31273 Ganado Drive stated he was speaking as a member of the Mediterrania Board of Directors. He felt that safety should be considered the primary concern and the City should focus on the safety of the neighborhood. He did not think the City should be overly concerned about the cost. He felt that the Fire Department should have the best possible access in the event of a fire. He discussed parking, and asked that the Planning Commission or Traffic Committee study the parking situation thoroughly, no matter what alternative is chosen. He asked that the Mediterrania HOA have the opportunity to have input on the parking in the area. He emphasized how important it was regarding neighborhood compatibility that the applicant, public, and everyone else has a clear understanding of what was being done. Finally, he was concerned about the overall impact on flora and fauna, habitat, and trails.

Regarding parking, Commissioner Cote asked Mr. Redfield if his concern has to do with parking restrictions.

Mr. Redfield answered that the HOA would like to have some input on the proposals for parking hours, red zones, and any other parking concerns which may affect the residents of the Mediterranea area. He also stated that all residents have access to the trails and hoped that whoever was considering the parking issue kept that in mind.

Chairman Cartwright asked if the subject property was part of the Mediterranea HOA.

Mr. Redfield stated that the answer was yes and no. He explained that the applicant’s property and Mr. Ortolano’s lot are just outside the HOA area, however the issues of trails, parking, and safe turnarounds involve all residents.

Senior Planner Mihranian stated that whatever terminus is approved for Coolheights, a portion of it would have to be red curbed since a new fire hydrant would be installed.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked if the Planning Commission was going to look at the parking issue.

Director/Secretary Rojas stated that the Traffic Committee looks at parking on residential streets.

Ward Harman 3748 Coolheights Drive stated that there was a great need for an adequate turnaround at the end of Coolheights, whether it be a hammerhead or a cul-de-sac, as long as it could handle the trash trucks and emergency vehicles. He stated that it was very dangerous as currently existed, with the trucks backing all of the way down Coolheights Drive.

Joan McGovern 3807 Pirate Drive stated that this property was adjacent to a canyon and her home was at the mouth of this canyon. She was very concerned with the drainage from the applicant’s property. She stated that the canyon originally had no swales in it when she first moved in. She explained that flood control monitors drainage from her property whenever it rains. She stated that the Planning Department has assured her that her drainage issues will be addressed, but she wanted to state her concerns regarding the drainage on the record. She hoped that the Planning Department and Building Department would be absolutely sure there were no drainage issues once this home was built.

Joan Ortolano 3776 Coolheights Drive stated that she had filed a letter with the City the day before pointing out that the need for a cul-de-sac was a neighborhood safety issue and not a personal issue. She discussed Alternative E and the idea of moving a part of the cul-de-sac down to use more of her developed property. She stated that she currently looks down at the street and sidewalk from her bedroom windows but she can still see her garden and she does not think there is any particular burden to the applicant. She stated that the last time she spoke to the Planning Commission she focused on the issue of whether the street extension would be private property with an easement for public access or whether it would be a publicly dedicated street, and she discussed some very practical problems including jurisdiction for any future problems. She explained that her understanding of a publicly dedicated street, which is what she is proposing, in contrast to an easement for public use is that the City retains the ownership of the street. She asked staff and the City Attorney to explain what rights go to the City and citizens from a public street easement and whether those rights are any greater or any less for the City as compared to a public dedication of the street.

City Attorney Lynch stated that a public access easement would allow public use for such things as public trail access. She continued to state that with a public street easement, in a typical scenario there are two lots on either side of the street and the property lines of the lots actually go to the center line of the street and the public street easement is imposed on top of the two properties with each sharing half of the street. She stated this was very typical as to how streets used to be designed, and there is no difference from a City perspective as to whether it is an easement for street purposes or whether it is a fee dedication. Either way the City has ownership of the street area, maintenance responsibility, and can enforce requirements of the vehicle code.

Chairman Cartwright asked what the difference was between this and the public access easement.

City Attorney Lynch answered that a public access easement was not a public street easement, but rather an easement for other public use such as trails.

Mrs. Ortolano stated that if there was no practical difference, then she would have no objection to the public street easement.

Ralph Ortolano Jr. 3776 Coolheights Drive stated that he had initially fought for a cul-de-sac as a street turnaround, but eventually accepted a hammerhead. He stated that what he had accepted was a standard Fire Department turnaround as defined in the Fire Department Guidelines within a 30 x 70 foot box. To ensure that it remained in a 30 x 70 foot box he insisted that his property go up and include the little finger shape at the top. The only reason the actual dimensions were not defined in the Settlement Agreement was because he had a dispute with the City Attorney as to whether the turnaround should be big enough to accommodate parking. In settling this disagreement he relied on the understanding that at a later date the Department of Public Works would resolve the issue as to whether it would be big enough to accommodate parking or not. He stated that he has taken Alternative B and moved the cul-de-sac down to where he felt it should have been and noted that there was still adequate setbacks. As far as the trail access, his only concern was a small portion between the non-trail area and the trail area of the lot, where his easement crosses over with the City easement and over to Mr. Nassiri’s property. He felt that moving this down slightly does not impact Mr. Nassiri’s privacy and yet it allows for a trail that is existing, which he built, that goes down to the end of the bench drain. He stated that he has compromised with this project as he has given up 25 feet from the western edge of his property for the agreement. He agreed with Mr. McGuire regarding drainage and that there should be an adequate requirement that there are downspouts from the ends of the bench drains at the north side of the lot before any habitat is removed. Lastly, he requested the Planning Commission require the current trail accesses remain open until whatever future trails are created.

Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Ortolano to clarify what portion of his land he had built the trail on.

Mr. Ortolano Jr. answered that it was on the western edge of the lot.

Ralph Ortolano 3776 Coolheights Drive discussed Alternative E. He displayed an enlargement of Alternative E which he felt showed that one could increase the space between the house and the cul-de-sac by pulling the cul-de-sac down the street. He explained that it could be pulled down even further if he gives up a portion of his lot, which he stated he was willing to do in order to get the issue resolved and in order to increase the clearance between the house and the property. He felt that what was originally proposed for Alternative A has been improved by the City’s engineer. His objections to the remaining features of Alternative A are that it is not in compliance with streets anywhere else in the City or Peninsula and requires any large truck entering the street to back up in order to turn around and is less safe than a cul-de-sac. It would continue to make Coolheights Drive the only non-outlet street in the City over 1/10 of a mile long without a cul-de-sac. He felt that the configuration in Alternative B needs to be moved 2 ½ feet southwest and 2 ½ feet southeast in order to accommodate the perimeter the staff engineer added for parking. Alternative C he felt was acceptable, but not the best of the seven offered because it impacts the planned structure. Alternative D was also acceptable but not the best choice because it unnecessarily impacts the neighboring lot. He felt that Alternative E was the simplest form of the cul-de-sac and utilizes already available park strip and sidewalk and is the most efficient of the cul-de-sac alternatives by using less space and materials. Mr. Ortolano felt there were discrepancies in the matrix in the staff report. He concluded by stating his choice for the turnaround was Alternative E, his seconded choice was Alternative B, his third choice was Alternative D, and his fourth choice was Alternative A.

Chairman Cartwright questioned how Hightide Drive was different than Coolheights Drive, in that there was also no outlet on Hightide Drive. He stated that there was no turnaround on Hightide and one had to back up to get off of Hightide Drive.

Mr. Ortolano said it was different because it was less than 1/10 of a mile in length. Further, one could turn on Oceangrove to turn around. He felt that if the residents on Hightide could propose a cul-de-sac that he would not argue against it.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked about Mr. Ortolano’s proposal to pull the cul-de-sac in Alternative E further down the street and asked if he was expecting compensation for the land he would be losing.

Mr. Ortolano answered that he would have to see what would happen, as he was already worried about one of his trees.

Mrs. Ortolano added that they were not contemplating compensation, but they were also concerned as to how far down the cul-de-sac would go. She stated there was a very large coral tree that may have to come down for safety reasons.

Doris Penalosa 3520 Coolheights Drive was very concerned with the fire danger and would like to see room for more than one emergency vehicle, and felt the cul-de-sac was the best was to accommodate this request.

Barry Holchin 3949 Via Valmonte, PVE, stated that he has been running and hiking on the trails in the area for over 30 years and still hikes on the trails at least twice a month. He asked that the trails remain open during construction and that there is access to the trails. He felt the trails should be as natural and unobtrusive as possible and there be no concrete steps on the natural trails.

Mohammad Farooq 3777 Coolheights Drive did not want to have parking along the cul-de-sac and felt it should be painted red. He was very concerned with the accuracy of the silhouette, as it had been redone several times. He felt the lot should be surveyed and the silhouette placed according to the survey. He stated that in addition to the silhouette, there were other structures on the property that measured 16-feet in height that could affect his view. He asked that the entire structure be depicted with a silhouette. He stated that the view impact to his property was significant and asked the applicant lower the height of his proposed residence. He appreciated the applicant’s concerns regarding his property values, but noted that he had the same concerns regarding his property. He felt his property value would go down because he would lose significant portions of his view. He discussed the trees and the fence and objected to having to look through them to see what was left of his view. He asked that the fence be lowered and the City limit the height of the fence to 42 inches. He felt that moving the proposed house three feet back it would save much of his view. He distributed pictures to the Planning Commissioners showing how his view would be obstructed.

Chairman Cartwright asked where people currently park when using the trails.

Mr. Farooq answered that they park along the street.

Chairman Cartwright asked how this would change after the home is approved and built as people would park in the same place then as they do now.

Mr. Farooq responded that two or three people park in the turnaround area which will not be available after the curb is painted red.

Chairman Cartwright noted that Mr. Farooq was very concerned about his view and that the applicant has relocated the house to help preserve the views. He asked Mr. Farooq if the present location of the proposed house helped minimize the impact on his views.

Mr. Farooq answered that he has not seen the latest plan, but on the last plan he had seen there were still view impacts.

Chairman Cartwright asked if the silhouette had been certified.

Senior Planner Mihranian answered that the silhouette had not been certified, but could be if the Planning Commission so desired.

Commissioner Tomblin asked if moving the house back two to three feet would satisfy Mr. Farooq’s view issues.

Mr. Farooq responded that it would.

Commissioner Tomblin also asked if Mr. Farooq would be willing to give a portion of his property for the cul-de-sac.

Mr. Farooq answered that he would, other than the area of his driveway.

Nick Trutanich 3751 Coolheights Drive stated that there were several children in the neighborhood and would like to see the Traffic Committee get involved with this project. He stated that he supported the cul-de-sac design over the hammerhead design.

Chairman Cartwright asked how he would like to see the Traffic Committee involved.

Mr. Trutanich answered that the Traffic Committee could do a traffic count and gather statistics about the street that would help in the decision regarding the turnaround.

Commissioner Tomblin noted that if there are more trails on the property that could generate more traffic in the neighborhood.

Mr. Trutanich responded that most people who use the trails are those that live locally and do not drive to the trails.

Jim Knight 5 Cinnamon Lane discussed concerns on the environmental assessments. He referred to a letter from Fish and Wildlife which raised issues regarding protocol surveys of the Gnatcatcher. He asked if there would be a Take Permit would be required. In terms of fuel modification, he asked if the fencing and decks be of combustible material and if so would the fuel modifications be set from the deck or fence. He asked that staff make sure all habitat impacts follow the NCCP conservation guidelines. He suggested the drainage of the spa go into a closed system such as a sewer system, rather than into the canyon or storm drains.

Vice Chairman Long asked how the spa was proposed to be drained.

Senior Planner Mihranian stated that the drainage would be addressed through the NPDES guidelines and a condition was included in the conditions of approval. He added that the mitigation measures address some of the issues discussed by Mr. Knight. He stated there was a discrepancy in regards to the dates in which the thinning of the vegetation should occur, however staff can modify the dates according to the resource agencies’ letter.

Vice Chairman Long asked about the decking and fences discussed by Mr. Knight.

Senior Planner Mihranian stated that there was no decking proposed with the project and no fence proposed. He stated that if a fence were later proposed staff would most likely require it to be a wrought iron fence.

Sunshine 6 Limetree Lane stated that there are no new trails being proposed and therefore no additional impact to the traffic in the neighborhood. She explained that the proposal was simply to relocate a small portion of an existing trail around Mr. Nassiri’s property. She agreed that it was mostly the local community that used these trails as there was no established trailhead in the area. She agreed that the trails should stay open during the construction and that they are natural pathways. She stated that concrete stairs are not trails. She felt that it would be wiser to relocate the trail and then do the legal definition of the trail, rather than the other way around.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked if there would be any difficulties in leaving the trails open during construction.

Senior Planner Mihranian answered that he did not foresee any problems.

Commissioner Cote asked staff to clarify Mr. Ortolano Jr.’s request regarding the trail easement.

Senior Planner Mihranian referred to Exhibit B of the Resolution which showed the trail easement on Mr. Nassiri’s property. He described the proposed trail zone and explained that Mr. Ortolano was requesting the trail be angled so that there is more room at the beginning of the trail.

Sue Soldoff 3414 Coolheights Drive stated that she and her husband were both in favor of the cul-de-sac design and felt that safety issues should be the most important issues when considering the design.

Sidney Croft (in rebuttal) did not feel it was right, fair, or necessary to introduce the idea of a cul-de-sac this late in the process. He stated that the Fire Department and Waste Management had both said the hammerhead turnaround was adequate for their needs. He respectfully asked that the Planning Commission adopt the hammerhead turnaround.

Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.

Chairman Cartwright was concerned that this item was not near completion and felt that the Planning Commission should stop and hear the remainder of the agenda before continuing on with this hearing. The Planning Commission agreed.


3. Appeal of Fence, Wall, and Hedge Permit (Case ZON2001-00122): 32451 Searaven Drive

Vice Chairman Long moved to continue this item to the June 25, 2002 Planning Commission meeting as recommended by staff, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin. Approved, (5-0).


PUBLIC HEARINGS



4. Height Variation No. 928, Grading Permit No. 2276, Variance No. 487, Minor Exception Permit No. 586 and Site Plan Review No. 9127: 4206 Admirable Drive

Vice Chairman Long moved to receive and file the request to withdraw the application as recommended by staff, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin. Approved, (5-0).


5. Wind Energy Ordinance (Case No. ZON2002-00228)

Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report. He explained that all California cities were required to adopt an Ordinance to provide guidelines for small wind energy systems by July 1, 2002 and if they fail to do so they must approve applications for small wind energy systems by right if they comply with the terms set forward in the Assembly Bill. He described the small wind energy system and noted that this action is not intended to allow large-scale power generation facilities and are limited to non-urbanized areas. He explained that Section 17.76.150 would be added to the Municipal Code which would allow small wind energy systems on properties of an acre and over and commercial, institutional, cemetery, and open space recreational districts. The systems would not be allowed as currently proposed in residential, open space hazard, or coastal zones. The development standards would be similar to those of antenna towers. He stated that staff was recommending the Planning Commission review the Ordinance and forward their recommendations to the City Council.

City Attorney Lynch stated there were a few other changes that could be made to the Ordinance to make it more restrictive. She stated there was a provision that prohibits any roof mounting on residential structures, and the Planning Commission could omit the word "residential: so that it would prohibit mounting on any structures. She also recommended deleting the words "significantly" so that the structures would not impair views to any degree, and "protected" so that there would be no aesthetic or view impact on any adjacent property.

Vice Chairman Long agreed with the changes suggested by the City Attorney. He asked how the standards for the Wind Energy Ordinance would be similar to those of the Antenna Code.

City Attorney Lynch answered that it was the approval process that was similar. She explained that these small wind energy systems are designed to provide an alternate on-site energy source and would not have the same economic impacts or incentives that are involved with commercial antennas.

Chairman Cartwright noted that these systems would not be allowed in residential areas.

Vice Chairman Long felt that with the added suggestions from the City Attorney, this Ordinance did not allow for any chance of commercial windmill developments.

Commissioner Tomblin moved to accept the recommendations of staff and the City Attorney regarding the Wind Ordinance and to forward the recommendations to the City Council, seconded by Vice Chairman Long. Approved, (5-0).


RECESS AND RECONVENE

At 10:50 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 11:00 p.m. at which time they reconvened.


CONTINUED BUSINESS (cont)



6. Height Variation No. 899, Grading Permit No. 2151, Minor Exception Permit No. 573, and Environmental Assessment No. 745: (Cont.)

Chairman Cartwright suggested continuing this item to the next meeting of June 25, 2002, as the hour was late and there not the full seven members of the Planning Commission present. He felt this was an important issue that deserved more time.

Vice Chairman Long agreed, and did not feel all of the items that should be discussed could be completed by midnight.

The Commission directed the planning staff and the Director of Public Works to meet with the applicant and the neighbors to address the turnaround issue, as well as other issues identified during the public hearing.

Commissioner Duran Reed moved to continue the item to the meeting of June 25, 2002, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin. Approved, (5-0).


7. Height Variation No. 941 and Grading Permit No. 2286: 3261 Crownview Dr.

Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report stating that the Planning Commission had previously conceptually approved the new house. There was a stipulation to incorporate the conditions of approval from the City’s geotechnical consultant into the project conditions, which had been done in Condition No. 21 of the draft Resolution. The second issue was research on the availability and financial feasibility of requiring the applicant to obtain liability insurance or a bond to indemnify the downslope property owners. He stated that there were no past instances in the City where the City has required the developer of one single family home to provide such proof of insurance, although there have been a few instances where larger commercial projects were required to provide such insurance. He explained that staff had looked into the cost of liability insurance, which they found to be approximately $2,500 to $3,000 for $1 million of coverage. As an alternative, the applicant suggested including himself as an additional insured on the liability insurance policies that are carried by his geotechnical consultant, his grading contractor, and other contractors involved in the construction of the house. Staff felt that requiring the applicant to provide this type of insurance certificate would be equivalent and less expensive than having him procure such coverage on his own.

Vice Chairman Long noted that there were different guides for rating insurance companies, such as Standard and Poors and Moodys, and asked if staff had given thought in all of the insurance conditions to having requirements for Standard and Poors and Moodys in place of Best, or in addition to Best. He suggested writing a condition that a certain rating be maintained at at least two different rating agencies. Regarding the additional insured endorsement, he felt a separate condition might have to be added for the geotechnical consultant who will have professional liability insurance, as opposed to the grading contractor who will have CGL. He also felt that there should be a specification on the CGL insurance that there be completed operations coverage, and unless that was specified it most likely would not be provided. He asked if the policy limits specified in the additional insured endorsement will apply separately to this particular location.

Commissioner Duran Reed endorsed the Vice Chairman’s comments, and explained that her concern was to make sure there was coverage during the construction as well as subsequent to the construction.

Chairman Cartwright opened the public hearing.

Samuel Iskander 1901 Flournoy Road, Manhattan Beach, stated that he understood the concerns of the Wans and was aware of his responsibilities to ensure that there would be no damage to his neighbor’s property while he was constructing his home. He therefore contacted an insurance company and found that he and the City of Rancho Palos Verdes could be added as additional insured on the insurance provided by his geotechnical consultant and grading contractor. He felt that this would be more than adequate coverage. He stated, however, that all necessary precautions have been taken as far as thorough soil investigation and testing and the plans and specifications have been thoroughly reviewed by engineers. He stated that the plans meet all construction standards. He realized there have been a few instances of landslides that have occurred in the City. He hoped these unfortunate incidents do not make potential builders provide insurance for everything they want to build. He felt this insurance requirement undermines the experience and judgment of so many professionals. He did not think a landslide in one area was sufficient reason to change the policy to require landslide insurance. He noted that it has been determined that there are no unusual conditions or reports of landslides in the immediate area of Miraleste, he has a soils report that has been reviewed and approved by the City’s geotechnical consultant, and the project will be subject to regular inspections by the City’s building and safety department. He also noted that the retaining walls will add to the stability of the upslope area and will improve the value of the adjoining property.

Lourdes Wan 3249 Crownview Drive stated she was concerned about the stability of the steep slope and for the safety of her yard and home during construction of the proposed residence. She was also concerned that the retaining wall was excessively high. She stated that the City had denied a previous request for a deck on her property on geotechnical grounds.

Lawrence Wan 3249 Crownview Drive felt it was an unusual practice to have a client named as an additional insured on a geotechnical engineer’s liability insurance. He also wondered who the grading contractor would be on the site, and pointed out a sentence in the geotechnical report stating that the contractor is solely responsible for the safety during the construction.

Mr. Iskander (in rebuttal) stated that this insurance requirement could be very costly for a homeowner and the City should rely on the experts when they say the area is safe. However, he stated he would do whatever the City asked to ensure that his neighbor felt safe during the construction of his home.

Commissioner Tomblin asked Mr. Iskander if he had tried to obtain insurance, but had encountered difficulty, and therefore chose this route of insurance.

Mr. Iskander responded that this route was his choice.

Vice Chairman Long asked Mr. Iskander who his grading contractor was.

Mr. Iskander answered that he had not yet chosen a grading contractor.

Vice Chairman Long asked Mr. Iskander if he knew whether the limits of insurance specified by the insurance broker for Applied Earth Sciences applied separately to each work site.

Mr. Iskander did not know.

Vice Chairman Long asked if the policy had a subsidence or earth movement exclusion.

Mr. Iskander did not know.

Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.

Director/Secretary Rojas clarified that staff was responding to Commission direction to research this insurance information and staff was not recommending that this condition be added. Staff was bringing this condition before the Planning Commission and asking for direction as to whether to add the condition.

Commissioner Cote stated she was willing to consider the insurance requirement as long as the applicant could be added as an additional insured on the contractor’s policy.

Commissioner Tomblin felt this was a topic that could be discussed to no end and agreed with Commissioner Cote that requiring the applicant to provide an insurance policy made him uncomfortable. He was satisfied with the additional insured option along with the million-dollar coverage.

Commissioner Duran Reed stated her initial concern was to make sure everyone was protected. She felt that having insurance with everyone involved was very important and the one million dollar coverage was adequate. She stated that she had done some research and called some insurance companies and was told that a million dollar insurance policy would only be approximately $200 - $300 per year. She stated that her concern was that the applicant and adjoining homeowner be thoroughly protected at all times, not just during grading and construction, but afterwards as well.

Vice Chairman Long felt that adding the property owner as an additional insured to the appropriate insurance was a good and cost effective way to go. He felt it was important at some point in the future for the Planning Commission to discuss guidelines as to when insurance should be required. He felt that in this case where someone is modifying a retaining wall that supports the property of his neighbor, he would not want the risk of failure to be transferred to that neighbor. He stated that, as a practical matter, if the property owner does not have enough insurance to pay the possible cost of damage, then the risk has been transferred to the neighbor. He did not think it was appropriate for the Planning Commission to allow people who want to develop their properties to transfer that risk to their neighbors. He stated that insurance was the free market’s way of determining what the risk is, what the value of the risk is, and what the cost of the risk is. He stated that he has reviewed the certificate of insurance provided by the applicant and the form of additional insured endorsement, and provided there can be some assurance that the policy does not contain a subsidence or earth movement exclusion and that the limits apply separately to each work site, then there is a very good degree of protection for the property owner.

Chairman Cartwright felt it was important to have a cost assessment of what it would cost to acquire insurance of this type. His main concern was that with this action the Planning Commission would be setting a precedent that he felt sets the City on a course for automatic insurance. He stated that the reasons given for asking for the insurance on this case was to make the downslope neighbor feel better. He did not think this was the kind of precedent setting project that would allow the Planning Commission to pick and choose when insurance is needed. He felt that if this was the criterion, then everyone who is exposed to grading would certainly feel better if there was insurance involved. In looking at this project he felt the geotechnical assessment was sound and he did not see anything that was unusual with the grading or the construction. He felt that in this case the requirement of insurance undermines the integrity and credibility of the development process. He felt there were many things that could be required other than insurance, such as bonds. He was terribly concerned that the Planning Commission was establishing a policy which would permit the City to get into the insurance business for most of the projects in the City.

Vice Chairman Long shared the Chairman’s concern about defining when insurance should be required, and did not think it was appropriate to require applicants to get insurance to make their neighbors feel better. He did not know where to draw the line, as on one hand the City should not be involved in the minutia of the projects, yet on the other hand he felt an individual property owner’s rights to use their property as they see fit are circumscribed by the fact that if they do it in a way that poses risk to their neighbors and they are not capable of answering for that risk, that what they are effectively doing is deciding that their neighbors are joining them in taking a risk. He stated that pieces of paper can be empty promises and professionals do make mistakes.

Commissioner Duran Reed felt that the Planning staff were most likely the best judges as to when insurance may be necessary based on the conditions at the subject property. She noted that in this case the Wan’s deck raised a red flag to her. She felt it was preposterous to require insurance on a project to make the neighbors feel good. She did not think it was a burden to ask an applicant to provide insurance, and noted that in this case it did not cost the applicant any money to do so.

Chairman Cartwright agreed that requiring insurance to make neighbors feel good was preposterous, and that in this case that is exactly what was happening. He referred to past minutes where the neighbor was asked if they would feel better if insurance were required, and the speaker said yes. He did not feel there were any other reasons that were stated on the record that justify insurance. He felt that if the Planning Commission was going to require insurance it should be for very specific reasons and it has not been defined in this instance. He noted that the geology seemed sound, there was nothing unique in the geotechnical report, and the lot was buildable.

Commissioner Tomblin moved to accept the staff’s condition and accept the $1 million policy on the project.

Vice Chairman Long amended the motion to adopt the recommendation for an insurance condition specifying $1 million, specifying the applicant be added as an additional insured to the policy, and specify if possible that the limits be made available separately to the work site and that subsidence and earth movement exclusions be excluded as well.

Commissioner Tomblin accepted the amendment and noted that this motion and these conditions would apply to this project only and did not want this to apply to any other project, as there were many issues that needed further discussion by the Planning Commission.

Vice Chairman Long agreed, and seconded the motion.

Commissioner Cote suggested that staff research how other cities in areas that have similar geologic concerns handle the issue of insurance.

Vice Chairman Long agreed with the suggestion.

Chairman Cartwright stated that he was terribly concerned with the idea of requiring insurance, especially when there was no set criteria of when it should be required.

Senior Planner Fox asked if the following language should be added to proposed condition no. 23 in the staff report: If possible the limits of such insurance shall apply to each job site separately and shall not include an exclusion for subsidence and earth movement.

Vice Chairman Long suggested that condition 23 should read: Prior to issuance of a grading permit by Building and Safety the applicant shall submit to the City a certificate of liability insurance for the applicant’s geotechnical consultant and grading contractor demonstrating that the applicant is listed as additional insured on general liability policies for the geotechnical consultant and grading contractor in an amount of not less that $1 million per occurrence and in the aggregate applying separately to the project site cover awards for loss or damage arising out of the grading or construction of this project by the applicant and his consultant or contractors. Said insurance policy must be issued by an insurer admitted to do business in the State of California with a minimum rating of A-7 by Best Insurance Guide and equivalent or better ratings from either Standard and Poors or Moody’s. Said insurance shall not be canceled or reduced during the grading or construction work and without providing at least 30 days prior written notice to the City. Said additional insured endorsement will be on a form providing completed operations coverage such as the insurance services office form CG201010-93.

Commissioner Tomblin accepted the language added to his motion, seconded by Vice Chairman Long. Approved, (4-1) with Chairman Cartwright dissenting.


PUBLIC HEARINGS (CONT)



8. Height Variation (Case No. ZON2002-00038): 27725 Longhill Drive

The Planning Commission unanimously waived the reading of the staff report.

Chairman Cartwright opened the public hearing.

John Hamilton stated he was the architect for the project. He questioned the recommendation for a translucent window on the second story addition. He did not feel there was a privacy issue involved and noted that there were other two-story homes in the immediate neighborhood that did not have translucent windows on the upper floors. He stated there had been no complaints from neighbors regarding privacy issues.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked what a translucent window was.

Mr. Hamilton answered that a translucent window allows light to come in but you cannot see out of them.

Chairman Cartwright noted that the neighbor to the east has not expressed a concern regarding privacy, yet staff does have a concern. He asked why staff had the concern if the neighbor did not.

Director/Secretary Rojas explained that it was a situation where the staff planner went to the site and noted that the new project would have a window closer to the residence and would look down into the backyard. He felt this situation could be mitigated through a different window design.

Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Tomblin moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-13 thereby approving Height Variation (Case No. ZON2002-00038) as recommended by staff, seconded by Commissioner Duran Reed.

Vice Chairman Long suggested amending the motion to remove the condition that the window be a translucent window. There was no second to the amendment.

Commissioner Duran Reed suggested amending the motion to require either a translucent window or a window that is partially translucent.

Chairman Cartwright re-opened the public hearing.

Commissioner Tomblin asked Mr. Hamilton if the neighbors have seen the plan and understand that a window will be looking into their backyard.

Mr. Hamilton answered that these particular neighbors have not seen the plan.

Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.

Given that information, Commissioner Tomblin did not accept the amendment made by Commissioner Duran Reed.

After a roll call vote, the motion passed (5-0).


CONSENT CALENDAR



1. Minutes of May 28, 2002

Vice Chairman Long noted a typo on page 7 of the minutes, three word changes on page 8, a clarification on page 16, and a typo on page 17.

Chairman Cartwright noted a clarifications on page 16.


2. Page 23 of Minutes of May 14, 2002

Commissioner Tomblin moved to accept both sets of minutes as amended, seconded by Commissioner Duran Reed. Approved, (5-0).


ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS

Vice Chairman Long stated that he had items he would like to add to a future agenda, which did not necessarily have to be the June 25 meeting. He felt there was a need to consider the issue of insurance requirements and what criteria should be used if insurance was going to be required. He agreed with Commissioner Cote’s suggestion to check with other cities to see if they had any insurance requirements and what their criteria was. He suggested contacting cities such as Malibu and Santa Barbara and others that have similar topography as Rancho Palos Verdes.

Vice Chairman Long suggested a possible future agenda item to discuss amending the antenna ordinance. He also asked that an item be added to clarify how findings 4 and 6 are dealt with for height variation permits.

Chairman Cartwright noted that the City Council was scheduled to discuss the term "significant" at a future meeting and suggested the Planning Commission wait until the City Council has their discussion before agendizing this topic.

Vice Chairman Long stated that his suggestion was a different issue but he agreed that the discussion be postponed until after the City Council has concluded their discussions.


ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 12:40 a.m.


CONTINUED BUSINESS:







2. 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: Continue the public hearing to the July 9, 2002 Planning Commission meeting.

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: JUNE 25, 2002

SUBJECT: HEIGHT VARIATION NO. 899, ET. AL. / 3787 COOLHEIGHTS DRIVE (THOMAS GUIDE PAGE: 823 / E-5)

Staff Coordinator:Ara Michael Mihranian, Senior Planner

RECOMMENDATION

Continue the public hearing to the July 9, 2002 Planning Commission meeting.

DISCUSSION

On May 14, 2002, the Planning Commission opened the public hearing on the subject applications. At the meeting, concerns were raised regarding the design of the applicant’s proposed hammerhead turnaround, as well as potential view impacts, public trail access, and brush clearance. As a result, the Commission unanimously moved to continue the public hearing to its May 28th meeting so that Staff may further research the concerns raised at the public hearing. Specifically, the Commission directed Staff to consider alternatives to the applicant’s hammerhead turnaround, including the design of a cul-de-sac at the terminus of Coolheights Drive. Additionally, in continuing the public hearing, the Commission directed Staff to conduct a meeting with the applicant and neighboring property owners to consider the feasibility of the alternative "turnaround" designs.

As such, the City had seven turnaround design alternatives prepared, consisting of two hammerhead designs, three 32-foot radius cul-de-sac designs, and two 42-foot radius cul-de-sac designs. The design alternatives were presented to the neighbors at a meeting held on June 5, 2002, in hope that a general consensus would be reached on the preferred design. However, during the neighborhood meeting, an agreement could not be reached between the applicant and the neighbors because of differing opinions as to which design alternative serves as the most optimal. Therefore, Staff prepared a presentation on the design alternatives to the Commission for its consideration.

At its June 11, 2002 meeting, the Planning Commission were presented with the seven turnaround design alternatives for improving the terminus of Coolheights Drive. In order to assist the Commission in its analysis of the design alternatives, Staff prepared a matrix that identified various criteria that could be used in determining the most optimal design. Such criteria included: construction cost, Fire Department approval, parking, public accessibility, and encroachment onto the applicant’s and neighboring properties. After reviewing the various alternatives and hearing public testimony, the Commission continued the public hearing to its June 25th meeting, and directed Staff to once again meet with the neighbors to address the turnaround issue, as well as other issues identified during the public hearing.

On June 17, 2002, Staff met with the applicant and the neighbors to address the outstanding issues. As a result of the meeting, it appeared that a general consensus may be reached as to a preferred turnaround design. However, additional time is needed to prepare the appropriate plans. Therefore, Staff respectfully requests that the Planning Commission continue the public hearing to its July 9, 2002 meeting. The additional time will enable Staff to meet with the neighbors once again to review a revised set of turnaround design alternatives.

It should be noted that in addition to addressing the turnaround issue, Staff is also working with the applicant and the neighbors at 3777 Coolheights Drive to address the potential view impairment issue. Furthermore, Staff will report to the Commission at the July 9th meeting, further information regarding trails, brush clearance, and other issues identified at the June 11th Commission meeting.

Time Limits

As the Commission may recall, pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), July 9, 2002 is the action deadline date for consideration of the Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND). Furthermore, it should be noted that according to CEQA, once the environmental document (Mitigated Negative Declaration) is adopted, the clock for the Permit Streamlining Act is triggered, which requires the City to render a decision on the project applications within sixty (60) days from the adoption of the Mitigated Negative Declaration. If deemed necessary, the additional time will allow the Planning Commission to continue its discussion on the merits of the project applications beyond July 9th. Notwithstanding, adoption of the MND will need to occur on July 9th.

Noticing

In light of Staff’s request to continue the public hearing, Staff has contacted the applicant and the neighboring property owners (3777, 3776, and 3778 Coolheights Drive) informing them of the proposed continuance to the July 9, 2002 public hearing.

CONCLUSION

Based on the above discussion, Staff respectfully requests that the Planning Commission continue the public hearing for this item to its July 9, 2002 meeting.



3. APPEAL OF FENCE, WALL AND HEDGE PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2001-00122): 32451 Searaven Drive / Foster (BY)

Request: 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.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission deny the appeal, thereby upholding the Planning Director’s decision to approve with conditions, Fence, Wall and Hedge Permit Case No. ZON2001-00122.

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: JUNE 25, 2002

SUBJECT: FENCE, WALL AND HEDGE PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2001-00122)

PROJECT ADDRESS: 32451 SEARAVEN DRIVE

APPLICNT:
MR. & MRS. BILL FOSTER
32451 SEARAEN DRIVE
RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA 90275

PHONE: 310-541-7395

ADJACENT NEIGHBOR:
MR. RAY RAMAL
32459 SEARAVEN DRIVE
RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA 90275

HOME PHONE: 310-265-0507

WORK PHONE: 562-633-9125

STAFF COORDINATOR: BEILIN YU, ASSISTANT PLANNER

REQUESTED ACTION: A REQUEST BY THE APPELANT TO MAINTAIN THE EXISTING 5’-0" HIGH HEDGE LOCATED ALONG THE EAST SIDE PROPERTY LINE.

RECOMMENDATION: ADOPT P.C. RESOLUTION NO. 2002-___; DENYING THE APPEAL THEREBY UPHOLDING THE DIRECTOR’S APPROVAL, WITH CONDITIONS, OF THE FENCE, WALL, AND HEDGE PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2001-00122).

REFERENCES:

ZONING: SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL – RS-3

LAND USE: SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL

CODE SECTIONS: 17.76.030

GENERAL PLAN: SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL

TRAILS PLAN: N/A

SPECIFIC PLAN: N/A

CEQA: CATEGORICALLY EXEMPT (CLASS 1)

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

BACKGROUND

On September 5, 2001, the City received a complaint regarding a hedge which was impairing the view of the City’s coastline. Based on a site inspection by the Senior Code Enforcement Officer, it was revealed that the subject property contained a hedge, which would not be allowed by the Development Code without the approval of a Fence, Wall, and Hedge Permit.

As such, on October 15, 2001 the subject application, Fence, Wall, and Hedge Permit (Case No. ZON2001-00122), was submitted to the Planning Department. The application, submitted by the property owners, Mr. and Mrs. Foster, requests permission to maintain an existing 5’-0" high hedge located along the east side property line.

On April 12, 2002, the Planning Director conditionally approved the application with a condition requiring that the portion of the hedge located closest to Mr. and Mrs. Foster’s residence be lowered to and maintained at a maximum height of 2’-6", as measured from the higher adjacent grade.

On April 29, 2002, Mr. and Mrs. Foster submitted the attached letter and the associated fee to appeal the Planning Director’s decision to the Planning Commission.

The required public hearing notice was sent to property owners adjacent to the subject property on May 9, 2002, informing them of the public hearing date and time scheduled for May 28, 2002. During the noticing period the City received no correspondences pertaining to the proposed project.

On May 17, 2002, the City received a correspondence from Mr. and Mrs. Foster requesting that their application be continued from the May 28, 2002 meeting to the June 11, 2002 meeting. As such, on May 28, 2002, the Planning Commission continued this item to June 11, 2002 meeting.

On June 4, 2002, the City received another correspondence from Mr. and Mrs. Foster requesting that their application be continued from the June 11, 2002 meeting to the June 25, 2002 meeting. As such, on June 11, 2002, the Planning Commission continued this item to tonight’s meeting.

CODE CONSIDERATIONS AND ANALYSIS

According to the Development Code Section 17.76.030 a Fence, Wall and Hedge Permit is required for any wall or hedge placed within the side yard setback. An exception to the permit requirement applies in situations where the grade differential between building pads of adjacent lots is less than 2 feet. The purpose of the permit is to ensure that there will not be any significant impacts to view.

The subject property contains an existing 5 foot high hedge that is subject to a Fence, Wall and Hedge Permit. Pursuant to Section 17.76.030(2) of the City’s Development Code, a Fence, Wall and Hedge Permit may be approved if the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement makes four (4) findings. In reviewing the applicant’s request, the Director found that two of the four required findings (#1 and #3) could not be made, unless a portion of the existing hedge is reduced in height. Staff’s analysis and discussion of the 4 findings is contained in the attached Staff Report dated April 10, 2002 and is repeated below for the Commission’s review.

  1. That the fence, wall or hedge would not significantly impair a view from the viewing area, as defined in Chapter 17.02 (Single Family Residential Districts), of another property or view from public property which has been identified in the City’s General Plan or Coastal Specific Plan, as a city-designated viewing area.
  2. The houses on the south side of Searaven Drive are oriented toward the south with a view of the Pacific Ocean oriented toward the south and the City’s coastline oriented toward the west. The property adjacent and east of the subject property, 32459 Searaven Drive, is at a higher pad elevation and is developed with a single-story residence and an attached garage. The floor plan contains a family room and a living room, both of which are oriented toward the south. Staff determined the living room to be the viewing area of the residence because it has a better and larger view than the family room.

    A portion of the existing hedge located along the east side property line of the subject property and along the west side property line of the adjacent parcel currently significantly impairs the upslope neighbor’s view of the coastline, which is oriented toward the west. The view of the Pacific Ocean oriented toward the south is largely unimpaired by the hedge. The coastline view is impaired by the portion of the hedge closest to the house. Staff conducted a site inspection, and determined that the portion of the hedge between the end of the wooden wall and the third pole of the chain link fence, which is 16’-0" from the top of the slope located in the rear of the property (see attached exhibit), should be trimmed down. Staff believes that lowering this portion of the hedge to a height of 2’-6" would improve the view of the coastline from the viewing area of the neighboring property at 32459 Searaven Drive. The portion of the hedge that would remain, is located between the third chain link fence pole and the top of the slope. This segment is approximately 16’-0" in length. The remaining hedge would impair a relatively small portion of ocean view, which was determined not to be significant, since the property at 32459 Searaven Drive contains an expansive unobstructed view of the ocean toward the south.

    In summary, as proposed (5’-0" high hedge), Staff feels that this finding cannot be made, unless the portion of the hedge which impairs the coastline view of the neighboring property is reduced to and maintained at a maximum height of 2’-6", as measured from the higher adjacent grade.

  3. That all foliage on the applicant’s lot which exceeds sixteen feet or the ridgeline of the primary structure, whichever is lower, and impairs a view from the viewing area of another parcel, as defined in Chapter 17.02 (Single Family Residential Districts) or 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, shall be removed prior to the permit approval.
  4. On December 18, 2001 and January 7, 2002 Staff conducted a foliage analysis on the subject property and determined that there is no existing foliage on the subject property that exceeds 16’ in height, and which significantly impairs views from neighboring properties. Therefore, no foliage exceeding 16’ in height will have to be trimmed, laced or removed under this application, and as such, this finding can be made.

  5. That placement or construction of the fence, wall or hedge shall comply with all applicable standards and requirements of the City’s Municipal Code and General Plan.
  6. The Development Code allows for placement of hedges up to a maximum height of 16’ along the side property line (Section 17.76.030(C)(1)(b)(ii)). Where the pad of the adjacent neighbor is more than 2’ higher than the subject parcel, the hedge can be allowed with the approval of a Fence, Wall, and Hedge Permit, to ensure that there will not be any significant impacts to view. As discussed in Finding No.1 above, portions of the subject hedge significantly impair a view of the coastline from the viewing area of the adjacent property. Additionally, since the subject hedge impacts the ocean view from 32459 Searaven Drive, it does not comply 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 the current hedge does not comply with the City’s General Plan.

    In summary, as proposed (5’-0" high hedge), Staff feels that this finding cannot be approved, unless the portion of the hedge which impairs the coastline view of the neighboring property is reduced to and maintained at a maximum height of 2’-6", as measured from the higher adjacent grade.

  7. That notwithstanding finding (1) the applicant's request shall be approved if the Director determines that findings (2) and (3) listed above can be made and either:


    1. Denial would constitute an unreasonable invasion of the privacy of the occupants of the applicant's property and there is no method by which the property owner can create such privacy through some other means permitted by this title that would not significantly impair a view from a viewing area of another property, or

    2. Denial would prevent compliance with the swimming pool fencing requirements and there is no reasonable method to comply with the swimming pool fencing requirements that would not significantly impair a view from a viewing area of another property.

As discussed in Finding No. 1 above, Staff is of the opinion that Finding No. 1 can be adopted if the hedge is lowered to a height of 2’-6", as such Finding No. 4 does not apply. However, Staff will discuss Finding No. 4 in response to the appellants’ (Mr. and Mrs. Foster) concerns that the complete removal of the hedge would create privacy impacts.

Staff’s analysis of privacy impacts is based on the same criteria that is used for Height Variation applications. The Height Variation Guidelines Section IX.9.b states that "given the variety and number of options which are available to preserve indoor privacy, greater weight generally will be given to protecting outdoor privacy, than protecting indoor privacy". As such, Staff believes that lowering the hedge to 2’-6" in height would not constitute an unreasonable invasion of the privacy of Mr. and Mrs. Foster’s residence, since there are other methods by which the property owners (Mr. and Mrs. Foster) can create privacy, such as window coverings. Also, Staff determined that although Mr. and Mrs. Foster’s residence would be visible from the upslope neighbor’s rear yard, it would not be readily visible from the viewing area of the property, which is located in the living room.

However, Staff believes that complete removal of the hedge would constitute an unreasonable infringement of privacy of the rear yard of the subject property, especially of the spa area located on the south east portion of the level rear yard. Additionally, Staff is of the opinion that complete removal of the hedge will not allow any more view of the City’s coastline from the viewing area of 32459 Searaven Drive than if only part of the hedge is removed as proposed by Staff. Therefore, in order to mitigate rear yard privacy infringement concerns, Staff is of the opinion that a portion of the hedge may be maintained above the height limit of 2’-6", as measured from the higher adjacent grade. Specifically, only the portion of the hedge that is located between the end of the wooden wall and the 3rd pole of the chain link fence should be required to be trimmed to a maximum height of 2’-6", as measured from the higher adjacent grade. Staff believes that by allowing the rear 16’-0" linear portion of the hedge to remain, the existing spa located in the rear yard will not be visible from the viewing area of 32459 Searaven Drive, thereby maintaining privacy.

CONCLUSION

In summary, Staff found that the portion of the subject hedge located closest to Mr. and Mrs. Foster’s residence significantly impairs the view of the City’s coastline from the living room of the property located at 32459 Searaven Drive. The living room at 32459 Searaven Drive was determined to be the viewing area since it is the where the best and most important view exists. Staff determined that by lowering a portion of the hedge on Mr. and Mrs. Foster’s property to 2’-6" in height would improve the view of the coastline.

Additionally, Staff determined that by allowing the portion of the hedge farthest away from the residence to remain, the spa on Mr. and Mrs. Foster’s property, which is located in the southeast corner of the rear yard, would not be visible from the viewing area of 32459 Searaven Drive, and therefore not constitute an unreasonable invasion of the privacy of the spa users.

Staff also determined that lowering the hedge to 2’-6" in height would not constitute an unreasonable invasion of the privacy of Mr. and Mrs. Foster’s residence, since there are other methods by which the property owners (Mr. and Mrs. Foster) can create privacy, such as window coverings. Also, Staff determined that the Mr. and Mrs. Foster’s residence would not be readily visible from the viewing area of the property, located in the living room at 32459 Searaven Drive.

Based on the discussion above, Staff recommends that the Planning Commission deny the appeal, upholding the Director’s decision to approve Fence, Wall and Hedge Permit (Case No. ZON2001-00122), with conditions, including a condition requiring the portion of the hedge closest to the residence to be lowered to and maintained to a maximum height of 2’-6", as measured from the higher adjacent grade.

ALTERNATIVES

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

  1. Approve the appeal, thereby allowing the applicant to maintain the existing hedge at a height of 5’-0", as measured from the higher adjacent grade; or
  2. Provide the applicant and Staff with direction regarding the height of the hedge.

ATTACHMENTS

  • P.C. Resolution No. 2002 - __
  • Exhibit "A" - Conditions of Approval
  • Staff Report dated April 10, 2002
  • Appeal letter from Mr. and Mrs. Foster dated April 29, 2002
  • Correspondence from Mrs. Foster (no date)
  • Correspondence from Mrs. Foster dated February 21, 2002

RECESS (approximately 8:30 P.M.):



PUBLIC HEARINGS:



4. VARIANCE/ GRADING PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2001-00176): 3340 Palos Verdes Drive East / Farrar (BY)

Request: A request to legalize two existing mechanical equipment (HVAC units) and related ducting located on the rooftop of an existing single-family residence, to allow the construction of a 2’-0" high perimeter parapet wall along the existing roof’s edge, the construction of two pyramids on the roof to enclose the existing HVAC units, to legalize a series of retaining walls located in the side and front yard, to legalize the associated 225 cubic yards of grading, and to allow the construction of a 387 square foot shed at a maximum height of 10.4’.

Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Planning Commission continue the public hearing to the July 9, 2002 Planning Commission meeting.

TO: CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION

FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT

DATE: JUNE 25, 2002

SUBJECT: VARIANCE AND GRADING PERMIT, CASE NO. ZON2001-00176 (FARRAR, 3340 PALOS VERDES DRIVE EAST)

Staff Coordinator: Beilin Yu, Assistant Planner

RECOMMENDATION

Continue the item to the July 9, 2002 Planning Commission meeting.

BACKGROUND

The Variance Permit is a request to legalize two existing HVAC units and the related ducting located on the roof, and the Grading Permit is a request to legalize a series of existing retaining walls and the associated 225 cubic yards of grading. The Grading Permit is also a request to construct a 387 square foot shed at a maximum height of 10.4’.

The application was deemed complete on May 24, 2002 for processing. The required public hearing notice was sent to 41 property owners within the 500 foot radius on June 6, 2002 and published in the Peninsula News on June 8, 2002. Thus far, City Staff received six written comments pertaining to the project. If more comments are submitted to the City after distribution of this report, they will be provided to the Commissioners at the public hearing.

DISCUSSION

During the noticing period, Staff received letters of concern from adjacent neighbors. In order to address the adjacent neighbors’ and Staff’s concerns, the applicant met with Staff to discuss alternative methods of enclosing and screening the mechanical equipments and related ducting. After the meeting, on June 19, 2002, the applicant submitted the attached letter requesting that the public hearing be continued from tonight’s meeting to the July 9, 2002 Planning Commission meeting, to allow the applicant time to redesign the enclosures and address the neighbors’ and Staff’s concerns.

As such, Staff recommends that the Planning Commission continue the subject application to the July 9, 2002 Planning Commission meeting.


NEW BUSINESS: (NO ITEMS)



ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS:

Staff




PLANNING COMMISSION
PRE-AGENDA
TUESDAY, JULY 9, 2002


CONSENT CALENDAR:


1. MINUTES OF JUNE 25, 2002


CONTINUED BUSINESS:


2. 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.


3. VARIANCE / GRADING PERMIT (CASE NO. ZON2001-00176): 3340 Palos Verdes Drive East / Farrar (BY)

Request: A request to legalize two existing mechanical equipment (HVAC units) and related ducting located on the rooftop of an existing single-family residence, to allow the construction of a 2’-0" high perimeter parapet wall along the existing roof’s edge, the construction of two pyramids on the roof to enclose the existing HVAC units, to legalize a series of retaining walls located in the side and front yard, to legalize the associated 225 cubic yards of grading, and to allow the construction of a 387 square foot shed at a maximum height of 10.4’.


PUBLIC HEARINGS:


4. HEIGHT VARIATION NO.940, GRADING PERMIT NO. 2293: 2033 Santa Rena / Bocarski (RL)

Request: a request to allow an additional 1,063 square-feet of living space to an existing 1,776 square-foot one-story single-family residence. Specifically, the application includes the excavation and fill of approximately 268 cubic yards of earth for the proposed new 2-car garage, which will be located under the proposed new second story (existing first story). Therefore, the total structure size will increase from 1,776 square-feet to 3,499 square-feet. The height of the proposed addition will measure 16’-0" as measured from highest existing (preconstruction) grade to be covered by the structure to ridge, and a maximum overall height of 21’-7"’ as measured from lowest finished grade to ridge.


5. VARIANCE NO. 489: 6601 Palos Verdes Drive South / York Long Point Properties and Destination Development Corporation (AM).

Request: A request to allow the construction of a new, 1,400 square foot cabana, as well as a new swimming pool and spa, within the City’s designated Coastal District. The proposed structure will be constructed at a height of 16 feet, as measured from the lowest adjacent finished grade, and will provide restroom facilities for both the general public and hotel guests.


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, June 20, 2002

Commission


ADJOURNMENT:

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday,
July 9, 2002, 7:00 P.M. at Hesse Park.