OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Lyon at 7:09 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.
Deputy Director Snow led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Present: Commissioners Cartwright, Long, Mueller, Vannorsdall, Vice Chairman Clark, Chairman Lyon
Absent: Commissioner Paulson (excused)
Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, Deputy Director Snow, Associate Planner Mihranian, Assistant City Attorney Robert Pittman, City Consultants Glen LaJoy and Kipp Schulties, and Recording Secretary Peterson.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Without objection, the agenda was approved as presented.
Director/Secretary Rojas reported that at the meeting of May 15, 2001 the City Council had: 1) granted a temporary lease extension for the Montessori School at Ladera Linda. He stated that the Conditional Use Permit for the Montessori School would be before the Commission in a few months; and, 2) approved a Landslide Moratorium Exception on Exultant Drive. He also reported that the appeal for the Montessori School at Golden Cove had been withdrawn.
Director/Secretary Rojas distributed two items of late correspondence relating to Agenda Item No. 1.
Chairman Lyon reported that he had received a request to publish the staff reports on the internet. He stated that he had discussed the request with staff and was told that money had recently been budgeted to do this and staff reports will be on the City website starting in July.
1. Long Point Resort: Consisting of Coastal Permit No. 166, General Plan Amendment No. 28, Conditional Use Permit No. 215, Conditional Use Permit No. 216, Parcel Map No. 26073, Grading Permit No. 2229, Grading Permit No. 2230, and the associated Draft Environmental Impact Report: Destination Development Corporation (applicant), 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South and 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard.
Chairman Lyon noted that there were over 30 people who had requested to speak on this agenda item. He stated that the Commission was very interested in new information and new facts and hoped that the speakers were presenting new information that the Commission had not heard before and not repeating what had been said at previous meetings.
Deputy Director Snow presented the staff report. He summarized the proposal for the hotel resort project, including the building height. He discussed the massing of the project and how different it would appear depending on which vantagepoint it was viewed from. Regarding view issues, he stated there were two main view issues. He explained there were view corridors from Channelview Court along Palos Verdes Drive South as well as from the fishing access area along Palos Verdes Drive South. He explained the height restrictions associated with this view corridor. He explained that the second corridor runs from the entry and looking out towards Catalina Island. He explained the three sections in this corridor and the height restrictions. Mr. Snow stated that staff continues to work on the final Environmental Impact Report and the responses to comments. He felt the responses would most likely be presented to the Planning Commission in late June. He stated that the City Attorney had prepared a memorandum discussing certain aspects of the discretionary review process that the Planning Commission is undergoing. Finally, Mr. Snow reported that at the next Planning Commission staff was hoping to have available the feedback from the Traffic Committee, which would be meeting on May 31.
Vice Chairman Clark asked that a member of the Traffic Committee be present at the Planning Commission meeting to answer any questions the Commission may have.
Deputy Director Snow stated that there would be a member of the Traffic Committee available for questions.
Commissioner Long questioned the application for grading on City property. He felt that the applicant was actually the City, as the application could only be signed by the owner or the ownerís agent. He did not feel the developer could be the applicant. He asked to what extent, if at all, does this affect any of the governing rules in the decision that has to be made.
City Attorney Pittman responded that because the City owns the property this does not change the development process. He stated that the Planning Commission was obligated to make the same findings with respect to the grading permit on City property as it would with any other permit application.
Commissioner Long asked if there was any greater discretion to deny the permit since the Commission was reviewing the Cityís own application.
City Attorney Pittman did not believe the Commission picked up any additional authority that would allow the Commission to do that just because the City owns the property. He stated there were two components of the use of the City owned property: the land use component and whether or not it was compatible with the zoning and General Plan and the issue of the use of the City land by the developer. He stated that this was clearly an issue where the City has complete discretion on whether or not they will permit the use of the land. As far as the application process for the grading, he stated the Commission was bound by the required findings.
Commissioner Cartwright stated there was discussion in the staff report about the staff presenting analysis, findings, or recommendations to the Commission to be used during the deliberation process. He felt the staff report indicated this would be done only if directed to do so by the Commission. He stated that if that were correct he would like to open this open for discussion.
Chairman Lyon stated that the staff wants and needs direction from the Planning Commission as to what alternative or plans they should prepare findings for. He stated the Planning Commission needs to give staff direction on that along with some conditions that might shape the plans.
Chairman Lyon discussed his questions regarding holes 3 and 4, between Villa Capri and the Coast Guard site. He asked Mr. Schulties, the Cityís sub-consultant on golf safety, if the configuration was safe or if it could be made safe so as not to jeopardize the safety of the players as well as the people at Villa Capri.
Mr. Schulties responded that the business of golf course design is unique in that there are not many rules, regulations, or written standards. He stated there were many understood guidelines which were used. He stated that as a basic minimum most golf architects agree from the center of landing area to the edge of property boundary and from the edge of the green to edge of property boundary the absolute minimum should be 150 feet, subject to elevation, vegetation, and wind. In regards to holes 3 and 4 and their relationship to the outside property boundary, he felt there was plenty of separation. He had a concern on how the two holes interface themselves. He noted that between center line the closest line was 150 feet. However, with the topography of the area he noted that there was a safety buffer in the elevation. He felt there were opportunities, based on existing plans, to possibly move the tees slightly uphill which will have the potential to achieve the 200 feet between center lines.
Chairman Lyon stated that he was convinced that holes 3 and 4 could be made safe.
Vice Chairman Clark was concerned about the par 4 at hole 3 and the ability of golfers to reach the Villa Capri property by errant shots. He noted that Mr. Schulties recommended in his report to move the landing area 50 to 60 feet to the west and noted that adjustment would leave 60 yards to the property line. He asked if that was a potential issue.
Mr. Schulties responded that would then meet the industry standards. He stated that would allow for a 150 foot minimum with a 35 foot buffer. Additionally, the area should be replanted so that any ball that would land there would not roll and be caught in the tall grasses.
Vice Chairman Clark asked Mr. Schulties if it was feasible for golf balls to reach Villa Capri with the adjustments he had recommended.
Mr. Schulties answered that nothing is impossible and there is no way to guarantee behavior, but he did not think it was very likely.
Chairman Lyon asked if there was any risk of balls being hooked onto Palos Verdes Drive South from hole no. 2.
Mr. Schulties stated that there was quite a bit of wind on that hole that will help keep the ball from being errant to the left. He stated that a simple solution would be to put some collection bunkers to the left and make sure the tees are aligned in such a way where one would hit towards the supporting slope and not towards the green. He stated very small details in the design will resolve any issues with this hole. Furthermore, he did not see any need for netting.
Chairman Lyon asked if hole no. 5 could be developed without jeopardizing the safety of pedestrians, tennis players, and vehicles on the entryway.
Mr. Schulties said it could not and was not feasible as presented. He stated there was no vision down the fairway which created a point of error for the shot. He stated that typically the point beyond the landing area could be cut down so that there would be full vision of the landing area of the next shot. Creating this view corridor would reduce the concerns with errant shots. He pointed out that the landing area was very close to the pedestrian area, putting pedestrians in the direct path of shots. He stated the landing area needs to be modified so that the landing is150 to 170 feet from the property line. He noted it is currently only 60 feet away.
Chairman Lyon discussed hole no. 8. He was concerned that the roadway and the villas were not safe from errant shots.
Mr. Schulties stated he was not concerned with the first landing area, which is just short of the villas. He stated the second landing area could be moved down away from the property line. He stated the green was too close to the road and could be moved back.
Chairman Lyon asked if there was enough space between the fairway of hole no. 9 and the residences, as well as its proximity to the driving ranges.
Mr. Schulties stated the green was within 100 feet of the properties to the left and could be adjusted easily to meet safety requirements.
Chairman Lyon asked about the practice facility. He asked if dense vegetation could be planted that would be high enough to serve as a golf screen and not obstruct views.
Mr. Schulties answered that the range could be cut into the slope which will create a natural berm on both sides without building it up. He stated native planting material could be added to the slope that would create a physical barrier without impacting view corridors.
Chairman Lyon asked Mr. Schulties if, based on his experience, he felt that there was adequate space on the two properties to construct a regulation 9-hole golf course while safely protecting the public and the golfers.
Mr. Schulties answered that there was adequate space to construct a 9-hole golf course.
Vice Chairman Clark asked what the difference in yardage was between a regulation 9-hole golf course and an executive course.
Mr. Schulties did not know but could find out for the Commission. He stated this golf course design was a good par 34 golf course. He felt there were some fair landing areas and was not too narrow.
Commissioner Cartwright asked if some of the modifications suggested would impact the pedestrian or golf trails.
Mr. Schulties answered that he took all of the pedestrian and golf cart trails into consideration when making his recommendations and did not think they would be impacted.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
At 8:40 p.m. the Commission took a short recess to 8:50 p.m. at which time they reconvened.
CONTINUED BUSINESS (CONT)
Mike Mohler 11777 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles stated that on April 10, 2001 the public hearings were started on this project and reviewed the many hearings and meetings that had occurred since that time. He discussed the need to have golf at the hotel site and read statements from several consultants confirming that. He stated that he had five speakers that would discuss the project this evening.
Gage Davis Scottsdale, AZ, stated he was a land planning consultant, architect, and landscape architect. He quoted statistics which showed the number of golfers in the United States and the direct annual spending by these golfers. He stated golfing was the second most significant industry in the United States in terms of expenditure. He felt there was a very strong correlation between the profile of the golfer and demographics and the potential hotel guests. He felt that golf was essential to the success of this project. He listed many upscale resort hotels and stated that they have one common denominator, which was golf. He stated that the developer for this project was highly respected and had an exceptional track record in terms of developing projects and had management that was highly recognized in the hotel industry. He stated the architect was part of an internationally recognized architectural firm responsible for some of the most dramatic hotels in the United States. Mr. Davis discussed a resort hotel recently built in Santa Barbara whose application for a golf course with the resort had been denied. He felt the visitation levels at the hotel have suffered significantly with the absence of the golf course, even though there was an excellent public golf course only a few minutes away. He felt if there was golf at that hotel it would be a very successful hotel. He concluded by saying that it was his opinion that golf was a very important aspect of this project.
Vice Chairman Clark asked Mr. Gage if a 9-hole course would be a sufficient enough attraction from a golf perspective.
Mr. Gage felt this could be an exceptional 9-hole golf course to play. He felt that expanding the practice facility to include a learning center and an academy would be very well received.
Mike Asmundson Scottsdale, AZ stated he was a golf course designer and had been involved in this project for over three years. He felt this golf course was well adapted to the site. He noted that this project was unique in that it was a land plan that takes into consideration the publicís interest and other public related types of recreation activities as well as the development component of this project. He felt the most important aspect of the golf course was that it was well adapted and a viable product. He stated he would take Mr. Schulties suggestions seriously and it was good to get input from other sources and would evaluate other alternatives. Mr. Asmundson discussed holes 3 and 4 and felt an option there may be, in addition to gaining more separation, to reverse the two holes. This would offset the landing areas in the key positions where there was the internal safety issues. He discussed holes 5 and 6 and agreed that they do not work as presently designed. He recommended changing hole 5 to become a par 5 and make hole no. 6 a par 3. This would allow the two holes to be moved away from the main access road and trail. Mr. Asmundson discussed hole no. 8 and stated it could not be a par 5 and stay where it is located and suggested changing it to a par 4 hole. He stated with minor adjustments such as these the course was very viable and something the community would be very proud of.
Chairman Lyon asked Mr. Asmundson if he felt there was adequate space on the Long Point property for a 9-hole golf course if the villas were eliminated.
Mr. Asmundson responded that there was absolutely not enough space on the Long Point property for a regulation 9-hole golf course if the villas and practice facility were both eliminated from the plan. He discussed the layout of the course and stated that a unique quality of the plan was that with multiple tees they were creating an 18- hole experience within a 9-hole golf course.
Bruce Baltin 811 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, stated his firm has had the opportunity to work on most of the major resort properties in the southwest at various times. He stated that for this site to work it must be developed as a resort. He stated that for a resort hotel to be successful it must have a major draw to the property. He noted that this property has no natural amenities, therefore golf was vital to its success.
Vice Chairman Clark stated that many of the top of the line resorts have started to emphasize as an attraction amenity a fully conditioned spa facility. He noted that the Long Point plan has a very dramatically expansive spa facility and wondered why Mr. Baltin did not discuss the spa facility as a draw to the site.
Mr. Baltin stated that he did not discuss the spa because spas are a given in the marketplace today. He stated that spas are the major draw to a 50 or 75-room property, but for a larger resort it is considered an amenity.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Baltin if he felt a quality 9-hole golf course was essential to the success of the hotel, and did he feel a 9-hole golf course could be put on the Long Point property.
Mr. Baltin responded that the 9-hole golf was essential and he did not believe a 9-hole course was viable solely on the Long Point property.
Vice Chairman Clark asked Mr. Baltin if he could name another resort on the caliber of the proposed Long Point project that has only a 9-hole golf course.
Mr. Baltin responded that he did not know of one, but felt that the quality of these 9-holes would present a challenge to golfers.
David Renker stated he was the Vice President in charge of sales for Destination Resorts and oversees the portfolio west of the Mississippi for the company. He stated his primary role with the Long Point Resort would be driving revenue into the hotel facility. He explained that group business makes up approximately 70 percent of the business that comes into the hotel. He explained the different segments of group business and explained that a critical component to getting group businesses to come to the resort is having tennis and golf on site. He stated that for Long Point to compete successfully in the marketplace the resort will have a very difficult time reaching its potential if there is not golf on site.
Vice Chairman Clark stated that Ocean Trails should someday be a world class championship 18-hole golf course and asked why Mr. Renker did not see that as a solution for golfers staying at the Long Point resort.
Mr. Renker answered that Ocean Trails was a partial solution to the issue. He did not think it was ideal and explained that they could not have guaranteed access to the tee times needed.
Paul Edwards 17500 Redhill, Irvine stated he was the team leader representing this project for FORMA. He explained that he was looking at the habitat on the site and showed a series of slides relating to the habitat. He also stated that a natural community management program had been developed for the site, in particular for the Upper Point Vicente site. He explained that trade-offs and the ability of uses complimenting one another is the prime measure of the success of a project.
Mike Mohler stated that he would like to get to the point where they could hear from the Commission and if there was anything that they have not brought to their attention he would like to hear what it is.
Linda Lawler Freitag 22 Via Capri, was unable to stay at the meeting and her written statement was read to the Commission. In that she stated that there is a large, silent majority of supporters in favor of the project who find it very difficult to attend the Planning Commission meetings to speak. She stated this was a win-win project for the City, the community, and the environment and urged the Planning Commission to approve the project.
Angelika Brinkman-Busi 2141 W 35th St., San Pedro was unable to stay at the meeting and her written statement was read to the Commission. She stated that the Draft EIR had not yet been approved and only measures in that EIR could be implemented. She did not think these restoration measures were sufficient. She explained that there were many different types of habitat and was a very general term. She felt that too much habitat would be lost on the Upper Point Vicente property with the development of the golf course. She felt the standards for preservation should be higher for the publicly owned City Hall site than for private property.
Bob Nelson 6612 Channelview Court stated it was time to close the public hearing as expeditiously as possible. He felt the Planning Commission had heard from the public and now it was time for the public to hear from the Planning Commission.
Barbara Sattler 1904 Avenida Aprenda stated that the golf course changes discussed could provide significant potential impacts to some of the existing high quality habitat. She felt that the numbers provided in the Draft EIR will no longer be accurate. She stated that the 9.6 acres promised to be restored before grading was never mentioned in the Draft EIR. She disputed the amount of habitat the developer was proposing to add to the site and stated that the newly created habitat was merely landscaping around the golf course and would be too narrow and disturbed by golfers to function as real habitat. She felt the developer artificially skewed their numbers so that the proposal seems better for wildlife than it actually is. She felt the land at Upper Point Vicente deserves to be truly preserved and protected for its own sake and the enjoyment and education of future generations.
Ross Kroeker 408 S. Irena, Redondo Beach stated he was a golf professional living in the area. He stated he has looked at the plans and walked the site and stated this course will be one to be proud of. He did not think there were any safety issues that canít be addressed with the design of the course. He stated there was quite a demand for golf in the community that was not being met and this facility would add a lot of opportunity for junior golf as well as local opportunity for all.
Marianne Hunter 1 Cinnamon Lane felt that a little creativity could be used to fit the project onto the Long Point property and leave the public land out of the issue. She noted that many people do not golf and do not feel a golf course is the best use for the public land. She questioned whether the paid experts and consultants could say anything that would go against Destination Resorts viewpoints that they need the Upper Point Vicente land. She stated that there were many constituents that do not think this proposed use of Upper Point Vicente land would be a great asset to the community.
Donald Pehrson 8 Shadow Lane, RHE, felt the proposed plan was feasible and should not run into the problems the Monahan plan encountered. He felt the project was good for the City and the entire peninsula.
Betty Marler 32724 Coastsite Drive #208 stated that if this project is approved there was not a single person in the audience, whether for or against the project, that wonít take advantage of the beautiful trails, spectacular views offered from the property, eat in the restaurants, and use many of the other amenities offered.
Barbara Gleghorn 28850 Crestridge Road stated that for the past year SOC II has been asking and hoping that the Long Point developers or the City Council would withdraw the inclusion of the Upper Point Vicente Park as part of the proposed resort development. She stated that this has not yet happened and the responsibility for the decision has been put before the Planning Commission. She stated that the Planning Commission now has only the option of denying the approval of the Long Point project or approving it, including the Upper Point Vicente Park. She stated that the procedures that have been established by the City Council now means that unless the project is denied, the city park goes. She asked the Planning Commission to deny the proposed project so that the developer can submit a more realistic and acceptable plan using their own land. She stated the current plan before the Commission does not conform nor is compatible with the Cityís General Plan or Coastal Specific Plan. She felt the Coastal Specific Plan would be especially violated by the height of some of the proposed resort buildings. She stated that any project that includes the park should be rejected. Further, the one alternative that does honor the agreement with the Federal Government and permits the construction of the resort hotel, is the Monahan plan. It does not include the villas, but does describe the 9-hole golf course all on Long Point property.
Sonja Hayes 64 Via Capri stated that the Planning Commission has received testimony regarding the project at many meetings, has received letters and e-mails and felt it was now time to make a decision regarding the project. She felt this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that the City will never see again if this project is denied. She stated that the Planning Commission has been listening long enough and deliberation amongst the Planning Commission should begin now.
George Gleghorn 28850 Crestridge Road discussed contingencies and asked what would happen in the event that the resort and golf course failed. He stated that the Planning Commission needs to protect the interests of the citizens of Rancho Palos Verdes and consider several possible contingents.
Joseph Picarelli 30311 Via Borica stated he was representing St. Paulís Lutheran Church. He felt the project would be a nuisance to the church and Villa Capri. He stated that 50,000 golfers would be passing through this course each year. He felt that this golf course was being built under old safety standards. He stated that current safety standards recommended 210 feet from the center line to the property line and didnít think the old standards should be followed.
Alfred Sattler 1904 Avenida Aprenda stated that the Planning Commission has given the developer almost unlimited time to do their presentation and he felt the public should be given the same. He asked if the golf consultant was informed that this development was being marketed for beginning golfers and would that information affect the safety margins on the course. He stated that the developers employees and consultants all said very quickly that there was no way to fit a golf course onto the Long Point property and that Point Vicente land was absolutely necessary for the golf course. He pointed out that Monahan had a fully approved development with a 9-hole golf course on their land without the use of City land.
Jim Knight 5 Cinnamon Lane noted the Santa Ana winds will very much affect the flight of golf balls at hole no. 2. He stated that nobody had addressed the specific biological issues brought forth by Fish and Wildlife and Fish and Game. He felt the Planning Commission should hear the concerns from these two agencies. He stated that part of the project has been mapped by the Department of Conservation Division of Mines and Geology as being in or near seismic hazard zones. He distributed a map and stated that it clearly shows an area with potential landslide movement and the area is also within 5 miles of the Palos Verdes fault. He saw nowhere in the reports where this is referenced. He stated that there is cemented sandstone below this area and at present there is no underground water discovered there. He stated that the geology report does not address what will happen with the introduction of artificial water to the area.
Dena Friedson 1737 Via Boronada, PVE, stated that a very substantial and important impact that should be considered was the loss to the general public of the many views from Point Vicente area at any time of day. She discussed the approved program of utilization and that the property was for the use by the general public. She asked how the Planning Commission and City Council could justify taking over 65 acres of Upper Point Vicente for golf, a use that is not only incompatible, unrelated, and inconsistent with the preservation of natural space, but is also a use with will exclude most of the general public from the enjoyment of the public park.
Gloria Anderson 6818 Los Verdes stated this site is too remote, there are not enough attractions, and it is too difficult to get to. She did not think the location would work for a destination type resort.
Barry Holchin 3949 Via Valmonte, PVE, stated he was the registration chairman for the Sierra Club South Bay. He stated that the Palos Verdes South Bay group of the Sierra Club was opposed to any consideration of the use of the publicly owned property at Upper Point Vicente for the use of a private developer. He was concerned over the loss of habitat and the displacement of native species. He stated that Upper Point Vicente must have a plan which will protect it and preserve it for future generations.
Scotty Wuerker 4036 Via Dima, PVE, stated that nobody has more responsibility for the future character of the peninsula than the Planning Commission. She stated that it was the cumulative effect of their decisions that will determine the future ambiance of the City. She urged the Planning Commission to deny the request to use Upper Point Vicente for the use of golf.
Stasys Petravicins 15 Seacove Drive stated he supported the SOC II position and felt Upper Point Vicente Park was too valuable a property which all residents can use to rent out for a few golf holes. He felt the City has inadequate recreation facilities for the non-golfing public. He felt there were a lot of children on the peninsula who deserved a little more attention than they were getting in terms of recreation facilities provided by the City. He felt the City should take a survey and see what the residents want at the Upper Point Vicente site.
William Tolliffe 6347 Tarragon Road stated he had not heard much from the developer regarding general public use. He felt it appeared that most of the use will be by the resort patrons with priority tee times. He felt the City would have a certain amount of liability regarding the proposed underground tunnel and should require safeguards and maintenance to offset any vandalism, earth movement, or water damage.
Ann Shaw 30036 Via Borica discussed the 9-hole golf course and felt a course should be built that could be accommodated on the applicantís own land. She felt if the guests of the hotel wanted a real golf course they could be shuttled to Ocean Trails. She felt Destination Resorts was asking the citizens of Rancho Palos Verdes to give up their 65 acres of public land for a marginal enhancement of their project. She stated that the golf course on the old Monahan plan was 3,160 yards compared to the Draft EIR figure for this proposed project of 3,056 yards. She questioned why this shorter golf course could not be put entirely on the Long Point property.
Barbara Walsh 34 Oceanaire Drive displayed a newspaper article which discussed how a non-profit group raised enough money to purchase undeveloped coastal land for preservation. She stated that the City did not need to purchase undeveloped coastal land as they already owned it and urged the Planning Commission to deny the proposed project.
Mark Pfeil 2565 Chelsea Road, PVE, stated he has driven by the Upper Point Vicente many times on weekends and sees very little participation of the public on the site. He felt it was time to let the developer use the land. He felt that the residents would benefit because of the revenue generated, the shops would benefit because of the hotel guests, and the walkers could walk the trails.
Chairman Lyon closed the public hearing.
Vice Chairman Clark stated that the Planning Commission was still lacking quite a bit of information to make any type of decision on the project. He noted that they still did not have any input from the Traffic Committee or the Financial Committee. He did think it was time, after five public hearings, to start to articulate points of view, perspectives, and concerns.
Chairman Lyon explained that in a normal process staff would present an analysis and findings on a proposal to the Planning Commission and the Planning Commission would then decide whether they agree or disagree with the findings and make their decision. He stated that this project was different as there was a major issue facing the Commission, which was the use of City land. He stated that this issue had nothing to do with findings. He felt the Planning Commission should try to narrow down the alternatives and try to present a reasonable number that the staff can then analyze and present their analysis and findings on these alternatives. He presented a slide showing four basic alternatives. He emphasized that these alternatives were not fixed alternatives, but rather conceptual alternatives he had developed. He explained that the first alternative was to deny the application and direct the applicant to work with their existing entitlement. The second alternative was to approve the application, which involves using the Upper Point Vicente land for up to six golf holes. The third alternative was to modify the project with no use of City land and have the applicant tell the City what he wishes to do under that condition. The fourth alternative was to allow the developer to use some of the Upper Point Vicente property, but not all of it. He stated there were subsets of options under each of alternatives 3 and 4. He felt if the Commission could narrow down the options they could provide some meaningful guidance to the staff. He felt the applicantís thoughts on the alternatives were also very important.
Commissioner Long did not feel the structure of this decision making process was consistent with the memo received from the assistant city attorney. He felt the fundamental problem was the proposition that the Planning Commission has the power to go through and make a set of choices. He felt the Planning Commission had a set of findings they had to make in order to issue the various permits. He stated the Commission did not yet have the facts necessary to support any of the alternatives at this point.
Chairman Lyon disagreed. He felt this was an appropriate way to proceed. He stated that some of the alternatives presume the City is going to let the applicant use the Upper Point Vicente land and that is not the case. He felt this must be resolved before the Planning Commission could review any findings. He did not feel there was any point in coming up with findings before knowing if the applicant could use City land or not.
Commissioner Long agreed, but did not feel that was the Planning Commissionís decision but rather that of City Council.
Chairman Lyon disagreed and felt the Planning Commission had the obligation to decide in their recommendation to the City Council whether or not the use of any or all City land is reasonable.
Vice Chairman Clark stated that the City Council has said in public hearings that they have entrusted to the Planning Commission the responsibility to analyze the project, which includes the decision of the use of City land.
Commissioner Cartwright did not feel comfortable dealing with options at this point. He felt there was too much information still outstanding that they had not heard. He felt the Planning Commission had an obligation to understand the motives of the applicant, what their goals and objectives are, and follow the facts on the proposal before them.
Commissioner Long stated there were two applicants involved in this project which caused some confusion.
Vice Chairman Clark asked the city attorney for clarification.
City Attorney Pittman stated that there was only one applicant, Destination Resorts. He stated that the property owners signature was needed on the application but was not considered the applicant.
Commissioner Long stated that the Ordinance read that the applicant signs as the agent for the property owner. He felt that the City, as the property owner, was the applicant.
Commissioner Vannorsdall felt the Commission should decide whether to accept the application as a package or modify the package in some way.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that if the Commission preferred, staff could do an analysis of the proposed project in relation to the findings. He felt this would give the Planning Commission some basis for their discussion on the components of the project.
Commissioner Cartwright felt that would give the Planning Commission a frame of reference as well as being beneficial to the public and applicant. He further did not think all of the facts were before the Commission and felt it was better to wait until all of the facts had been presented before starting a discussion.
The Commissioners discussed whether or not the applicant would be willing to go forth with the project if golf was not part of the approval and if the applicant was willing to work with the City if use of the Upper Point Vicente Park area was denied.
Chairman Lyon opened the public hearing and asked Mr. Mohler to respond to the discussion.
Mr. Mohler felt that staff should write up their findings and present them to the Planning Commission as a basis for discussion. He stated that he has told the Planning Commission what Destination Resorts thinks they need to run the project and the risks involved without a 9-hole golf course. He stated that without the 9-hole golf course the risks were too great and they probably would not proceed with the project. He stated that Destination Resorts has laid the entire project out before the Planning Commission. He felt it would be helpful for staff to create a report and findings based on the proposed project as it is and the issues raised.
Chairman Lyon asked Mr. Mohler if they would be amenable to some type of compromise solutions to some of the issues.
Mr. Mohler responded that he would listen to any suggestions made by the Planning Commission. He stated that Destination Resorts has not drawn a line in the sand.
Vice Chairman Clark asked Mr. Mohler for his reaction to the comments and recommendations made by Mr. Schulties regarding the re-arrangement of some of the golf holes.
Mr. Mohler responded that Mr. Schulties suggestions had been analyzed and he believed, if it were the Commissions desire to implement his ideas, they could be implemented within the same grading footprint that exists today. He felt flipping holes 3 and 4 was a good idea and agreed with the suggestions for holes 5 and 6. He also agreed that hole no. 8 should be shortened to a long par 4 and the green is too close to the road.
Vice Chairman Clark asked Mr. Mohler to respond to the concerns that there are not enough trails proposed.
Mr. Mohler disagreed and stated that 11 miles of trails was quite a bit of trails.
Vice Chairman Clark stated that Ocean Trails has multi-use trails within the golf course that in some cases are also the golf cart paths. He asked Mr. Mohler to re-look at the golf course layout based on the testimony heard at the meeting and look at the trail plan within the Upper Point Vicente Park area to see what types of opportunities are presented.
Mr. Mohler responded that that was a fair request.
Chairman Lyon closed the public hearing.
Chairman Lyon moved that the Planning Commission direct the applicant to come to the next meeting with a revised conceptual golf plan reflecting the discussions that have taken place. Further, direct staff to prepare an analysis of the applicantís proposal as amended.
Commissioner Cartwright added he would like staff to analyze some of the issues that were raised in the current staff report. He also requested new maps that reflected any changes made to the golf course.
Chairman Lyon amended his motion to include the comments made by Commissioner Cartwright. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Cartwright.
Commissioner Vannorsdall asked staff to recommend to the Traffic Committee that the traffic analysis include all projects in the area that do now or may in the future impact the traffic.
Commissioner Mueller asked to amend the motion to include the view corridor. He stated that the villas were especially high on the elevation map and asked staff to look into that with the applicant and consider lowering or eliminating the villas to open the view corridor.
Commissioner Long asked for an amendment to the motion. He still felt there was conflicting direction on what the Planning Commission was to do. He asked if they were expected to evaluate the permit applications and make recommendations or were they going to be looking at the financial issues and could they ask questions about them, along with making a recommendation regarding the use of City land. He asked that staff clarify this issue.
Commissioner Mueller seconded the amendment to the motion.
On a raise of hands the amendment to the motion failed, (3-3).
Chairman Lyon repeated the motion to direct the applicant to come to the next meeting with a revised conceptual golf plan reflecting the discussion that have taken place, direct staff to prepare an analysis of the applicantís proposal as amended, direct staff to analyze issues raised in the current staff report, and provide new maps that reflect any changes made to the golf course, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. The motion passed (5-1) with Commissioner Long dissenting.
Mr. Pitman discussed Commissioner Longís concerns. He stated that the Planning Commission should analyze the applications as they would any other application. He stated there were certain financial aspects that were interwoven in the application but other underlying financial issues were pure economic issues and did not have anything to do with the land use. Regarding the issue on what the appropriate land use was for the Upper Point Vicente area the Commission has statutory rights and duty to decide on the proper use of public and city owned land and to propose the implementation of the General Plan or amendment to the General Plan.
There being no objection Chairman Lyon adjourned the meeting at 12:08 a.m.