11/15/2001 Planning Commission Minutes 11/15/2001, 2001, November, Planning, Commission, Minutes, Meeting, City Attorney Lynch explained that the reason staff did not attempt to restrict the use of the antennas on the interior versus the exterior of the house was because there was no way to monitor this type of restriction. She explained that it was only possible to establish the coordinates from where the transmissions emanate from, and it cannot be determined which antennas the transmissions are coming from. Further, because staff could not periodically access the interior of the house, staff chose not to limit the placement of any antennas inside the house on the lower floor versus the upper floor, leaving the placement inside the residence to the discretion of the applicant. She stated that FCC regulations do control the maximum amount of radio frequency emission that can occur from a property. The 11/15/2001 RPV Planning Commission Meeting Minutes
City of Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Commssion Adjourned Meeting Minutes November 15, 2001

CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
PLANNING COMMISSION
ADJOURNED MEETING
NOVEMBER 15, 2001

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by Chairman Lyon at the Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall Community Room, 30940 Hawthorne Boulevard.

FLAG SALUTE

Director/Secretary Rojas led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL

Present: Commissioners Long, Mueller, Paulson, Vannorsdall, Chairman Lyon

Absent: Commissioner Cartwright and Vice Chairman Clark were excused

Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, Senior Planner Fox, and City Attorney Lynch.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Without objection, the agenda was approved as presented.

COMMUNICATIONS

City Attorney Lynch reported that a revised Resolution had been distributed to the Planning Commission and the applicant’s representative. She asked that the Planning Commission take action on the revised Resolution.

CONSENT CALENDAR

1. Adoption of Resolution for Conditional Use Permit No. 230 and Environmental Assessment No. 744: 26708 Indian Peak Road

City Attorney Lynch stated that there were two speakers, however the public hearing had been closed at the last meeting. She explained that the speakers could comment on the text of the Resolution, as this meeting was to adopt the Resolution memorializing the Commission’s actions at the last meeting.

City Attorney Lynch stated that, other than changes in language, the only substantive change made was to add a definition of the parameters of the television antennas so that they suddenly did not become huge antennas.

Chairman Lyon opened the public hearing.

Larry Helfman 26716 Indian Peak Road stated that page 1 of Exhibit A described four antennas that are allowed, two of which are described as TV type antennas. He thought the Planning Commission had agreed at their last meeting that only two antennas for commercial use on the exterior of the property would be allowed. He also noted that in Section 1 of the Resolution, paragraph 2 grants the property owner the authority to have as many antennas as he wants inside the house. He was not sure that was the intent of the Planning Commission. In reviewing the findings, he discussed the occasional service vehicle traffic that was discussed. He stated that the testimony given at the public hearing was that there were adverse impacts to the neighborhood in terms of service and maintenance vehicles. He discussed Section 1 – F which discussed the General Plan and stated he did not understand what the finding was. He did not know what evidence was presented that this application would benefit any public entity other than the applicant.

Larry Miner 29350 Pacific Coast Hwy Malibu, noted on page 1 of the Resolution a City’s reference to the exemption granted by staff for the facility when the antenna changed. He felt there might be some confusion as to which point in time the term "existing antennas" was meant to refer to.

Chairman Lyon closed the public hearing.

Chairman Lyon suggested reviewing the Resolution and Conditions of Approval.

City Attorney Lynch explained that the reason staff did not attempt to restrict the use of the antennas on the interior versus the exterior of the house was because there was no way to monitor this type of restriction. She explained that it was only possible to establish the coordinates from where the transmissions emanate from, and it cannot be determined which antennas the transmissions are coming from. Further, because staff could not periodically access the interior of the house, staff chose not to limit the placement of any antennas inside the house on the lower floor versus the upper floor, leaving the placement inside the residence to the discretion of the applicant. She stated that FCC regulations do control the maximum amount of radio frequency emission that can occur from a property.

Commissioner Long felt there would be some limits to the number of antennas in the interior to the extent necessary to comply with the conditions of approval and the Building Code. He stated that the number of antennas will be defined by conditions that establish that the primary use of the property will be residential.

Commissioner Mueller was concerned that the City might develop conditions that could not be enforced, but thought there may be techniques that the City’s radio consultant, Dr. Richter, was not aware of that could pinpoint where the signal was emanating from. He thought the Planning Commission had decided to try to keep the commercial antennas inside the house, as the City code allowed for two amateur antennas as well as two television antennas on the outside of the house. He did not want to see the applicant benefit financially from putting the commercial antennas on the roof.

Commissioner Long recalled a discussion from the last Planning Commission meeting that there would be the removal of commercial use from the roof in exchange for granting the Conditional Use Permit to allow commercial use in the interior of the structure. He recognized that ultimately there may be problems in enforcement as to whether the existing technology allows the City to enforce the condition in a cost effective way. He felt the condition should be written as the Planning Commission intended and perhaps acknowledge the condition may change due to financial constraints.

City Attorney Lynch stated there was no evidence that there was ever any commercial use of antennas on the roof. She stated there was evidence of commercial use from the property, however the applicant has stated that the commercial use was from the antennas on the interior of the building.

Chairman Lyon stated he had no comments on the first three pages of the Resolution.

Commissioner Long commented that Section 1-a should be reworded to say: "For the purposes of this determination on the subject application and throughout this resolution . . . ." The Commission agreed.

Commissioner Long suggested that Section 1-b could say "Although there is existing foliage on adjacent properties and rights of way, this foliage does not adequately screen the existing roof mounted antenna support structure and array or the additional antennas added by the applicant subsequent to June 21, 2001 from view."

Commissioner Long then commented on Section 1-c. He suggested adding the sentence "Any adverse affects of any additional traffic are mitigated by the conditions of approval contained in this Resolution."

Chairman Lyon disagreed with the statement in Section 1-f that the commercial antennas would provide a service to the City residents. He felt it was more likely a service provided to people who work in Los Angeles County.

City Attorney Lynch agreed that it does not currently provide a service to the City. However the concern that she had was that Mr. Kay currently has 153 commercial applications pending with the FCC and if any are used for the Nextel Direct Connect type service, that was the type of personal wireless services envisioned by the 1996 Telecommunications Act and are services that could be provided to the public. She stated it was hard to know what type of services were envisioned by the applicant. She stated this was a finding that could help the City to show the City was trying to accommodate those types of services under the Telecommunications Act.

Chairman Lyon then noted in Section 1-f if language could be added that says "No evidence has been provided indicating that the current owner has ever resided at this property." At the end of the paragraph he suggested taking out the word "eliminating".

Commissioner Long had a comment on Section 1-j. He stated that depending on how the Commission was going to resolve the issue of commercial antennas being on the outside, the wording should read "By permitting some of the existing antennas to remain on the roof of the residence and by permitting commercial antennas to be located in the interior."

Chairman Lyon asked what was wrong with allowing commercial frequencies to emanate from the two antennas permitted on the roof.

Commissioner Paulson stated that it goes back to the basic premise of what was the purpose of the two antennas under the code.

City Attorney Lynch stated that the issue being litigated in the Abrams case was Mr. Abrams contention that the conversion of his exterior amateur radio antenna radio structure to commercial use, in and of itself, ought not trigger any change that would interest the City.

Commissioner Long added that the City was concerned about applicants lying to the City as to whether the use of their antennas was for amateur or commercial uses.

Chairman Lyon stated he did not have any problems with Sections 2, 3, 4, and 5 and noted a small typo in Section 6.

In reviewing Exhibit A, Chairman Lyon suggested changing the first line in No. 2 to read "This approval is for the use of the limited roof mounted and interior antennas."

Chairman Lyon also suggested adding, "up to four" before "each of the two masts may have antenna fixed thereon".

City Attorney Lynch added "which shall be used solely for non-commercial purposes" should be added.

Commissioner Long suggested adding a new paragraph after the first sentence of paragraph 2 which stated "The commercial use of the property is conditioned upon the following modifications to the roof mounted equipment which shall be used solely for amateur purposes:" and then continue with the modifications, which is the rest of the paragraph.

In a discussion regarding the regulation of the commercial antennas, City Attorney Lynch stated that in addition to the enforcement issue the City was walking into the potential argument that it was going too far under the Telecommunications Act and PRB 1 and the balance that has to be made under PRB 1. She explained that under PRB 1 the City has to use the least restrictive means possible to regulate amateur antennas.

Commissioner Long did not think the City was restricting the amateur use, only conditioning the commercial use. He felt the restriction of the amateur use was purely incidental and anytime an applicant wanted the full exemption they were entitled to under the Code, all they had to do was switch off the commercial use.

Chairman Lyon asked again what was wrong with allowing the applicant to use the roof-mounted antennas for commercial versus amateur frequencies.

City Attorney Lynch answered that she did not know, and from the neighbors perspective there would be no visual aesthetic difference.

Commissioner Long felt that this would be encouraging a loophole and every time someone came in and stated they were an amateur radio operator and had two amateur antennas, then could make them commercial with a flip of a switch. He felt that this was encouraging people to lie to the Planning Commission and the City.

Commissioner Mueller stated that the Planning Commission has already voted on how to handle this application and this meeting was to be held to check the language of the Resolution and Conditions of Approval. He did not think the Planning Commission should now change their decision.

Commissioner Long stated that his position was similar to that of Commissioner Paulson’s and that the City Attorney was being cautious, as she appropriately should be. He felt he would like to take a stand on this type of situation unless the City Attorney’s advice was that the standing being taken is unreasonable, unwarranted, unjustified, or dangerous. He felt the City Attorney’s advice was that her preference would be that a more cautious route would be something different.

City Attorney Lynch agreed.

Chairman Lyon concluded that the Planning Commission’s desire was then to let stand what was in the Resolution and Conditions of Approval.

Chairman Lyon made minor word changes to the last sentence of paragraph 2.

Chairman Lyon noted Condition No. 7 to read "May be retained or erected pursuant to this approval." He also added the language "The applicant shall obtain a building permit and any other approval required by the building department to modify or construct the masts and attached antenna."

Chairman Lyon noted a modification to condition 12 to change the word "any" to "all".

Commissioner Paulson requested that "existing horizontal support structure" be added to the condition.

Chairman Lyon asked that in condition 16 the word "additional" be deleted from line 3.

Chairman Lyon asked if, in condition 18, it was reasonable to require that there must be interior window coverings on all windows visible from the road when the City does not require that from vacant homes in the community.

Commissioner Paulson agreed, and felt it was selective enforcement.

The Commission agreed to remove the condition.

Chairman Lyon also noted that the third line of the condition specified that the residence shall be occupied by the applicant. He felt that should be changed to owner, as in some situations the applicant might be the applicant or contractor or someone chosen by the owner. The Commission agreed to the change.

Chairman Lyon noted slight word changes to conditions 20, and 21. He also noted in condition no. 22 that the word "within" 6 months should be changed to "at" approximately 6 months.

Commissioner Long moved to adopt the Consent Calendar as amended, seconded by Commissioner Mueller. (5-0).

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 8:16 p.m.