MAY 28, 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.
Commissioner Duran Reed led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commissioners Cote, Duran Reed, Mueller, Tomblin, Vice Chairman Long,
and Chairman Cartwright. Commissioner Lyon arrived at 8:20 p.m.
Also present were Associate Planner Blumenthal, Assistant Planner Yu, Director of Planning Building and Code Enforcement Rojas, and Recording Secretary Peterson
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Commissioner Mueller asked that item 2 be taken off of the consent calendar and put at the end of the agenda.
Chairman Cartwright also asked that items 1 and 4 be added to the end of the agenda.
The Planning Commission agreed to the changes.
Director/Secretary Rojas distributed a copy of a letter from Mr. Freeman regarding public information requests and a copy of an e-mail received at email@example.com.
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that the City Council had heard an item on RV parking and requested that the item be agendized to the Planning Commission at a future date.
3. Height Variation No. 899, Grading Permit No. 2151, Minor Exception Permit NO. 573, and Environmental Assessment NO. 745: 3787 Coolheights Dr
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that at the last meeting there had been discussions about looking at alternatives, therefore the Director of Public Works has retained the services of a consultant to look at different cul-de-sac designs, therefore more time was needed and the continuance was requested.
Commissioner Duran Reed moved to continue the item to June 11, 2002, seconded by Commissioner Mueller. Approved, (6-0).
5. Appeal of Fence, Wall and Hedge Permit (Case No. ZON2001-00032): 32451 Searaven Drive
Director/Secretary Rojas reported that the appellant had requested an extension to the meeting of June 11, therefore staff was recommending the continuance.
Commissioner Tomblin moved to continue the item to June 11, 2002, seconded by Commissioner Duran Reed. Approved, (6-0).
6. Golden Cove Sign Program (Case ZON2001-00090): 31212-31244 Hawthorne Boulevard
Assistant Planner Yu presented the staff report. She stated that staff reviewed the proposed sign program and found that it was generally consistent with the intent and purposes of the sign permit section of the Development Code, however staff had a few recommendations. She stated that staff felt the reader board should remain and not be replaced with individual tenant panels as proposed by the applicant and noted that the City Council had, in 1985, approved the non-conforming signs so that the reader board could be made available for community announcements. Additionally, for the freestanding signs, the applicant was proposing the face panels to be plexiglass with a vinyl background, however staff was proposing the face panels be aluminum covered with texcote with routed out letters. She showed examples of the two types of signs on a power point display and explained that the texcote would give a stucco appearance to the sign itself and the routed out letters would allow the light to shine through the letters only and not through the entire panel. She discussed the wall signs and stated that staff was recommending the signs to be reversed channel letters as opposed to the proposal of individual channel and flat aluminum letters and showed examples of the two. She discussed the colors of the signs and stated that staff felt the proposed colors were not compatible with the approved architectural style of the shopping center which allows for earth tone colors. Therefore, staff was recommending the sign colors be limited to teal, terra cota, and the trademark colors. She showed examples of the colors the applicant was proposing. She also stated that staff was suggesting that exposed neon not be allowed on the signs. She concluded by stating that overall staff felt the proposed sign program would be an enhancement to the shopping center and as such was recommending the Planning Commission approve the sign program subject to the staff recommendations as outlined in the conditions of approval.
Vice Chairman Long asked staff to clarify what they meant by the trademark colors.
Assistant Planner Yu explained that trademark colors were those colors used by businesses that were recognized nationally. She stated that the colors being recommended by staff were for businesses that do not have trademark colors.
Vice Chairman Long asked if the trademark being discussed would be a federally registered trademark or a state registered trademark, as a state registered trademark was simply a matter of sending in a fee.
Director/Secretary Rojas clarified that staff’s proposal was intended to apply to nationally recognized businesses with federally registered trademarks but that it was up to the Planning Commission as to how that would be structured.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked why the Admiral Risty was not included in the sign program.
Assistant Planner Yu explained that when the shopping center remodel was approved in 1999 the Admiral Risty was not included in the remodel and as such the sign program does not apply to the Admiral Risty at this time. However, when they decide to remodel the building they will be subject to the sign program.
Commissioner Duran Reed compared the two new signs on pages 3 and 5 of 19 in the staff report and noted they were slightly different in design and proportion, and asked why that was and why they could not be built to be proportional.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that if the Planning Commission wants the two signs to be proportional, they can require that.
Commissioner Tomblin asked if there was any applicable code that regulated the square footage and height of the freestanding signs, as he felt the signs could be lowered.
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that staff had looked at past approvals and found that in 1985 the City Council had acknowledged that the monument sign does not meet the code, as such signs are limited to a height of 16 feet in height for centers of this type and let the sign remain as is, and therefore staff did not take issue with the height of the signs. However, he explained that it was at the discretion of the Planning Commission if they wished to modify the signs.
Vice Chairman Long asked what the Ordinance was that allowed the Planning Commission to regulate the signs and what discretion was given to the Planning Commission. He asked what findings had to be made to approve the signs.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that the discretion was in the sign code and read the subsection regarding sign programs and sign criteria as well as the required findings.
Vice Chairman Long noted that there was not a finding to determine the size of a sign nor was there a finding regarding the grandfathering of signs in existence before City incorporation.
Chairman Cartwright asked if the monument signs existed before the City incorporated.
Assistant Planner Yu answered that the signs were existing before incorporation.
Commissioner Cote asked staff to clarify how they envisioned the reader board would look so that it would be compatible with the shopping center.
Assistant Planner Yu answered that it was mainly the color of the reader board that staff was concerned with. She explained that it was currently a white board with black letters, and she suggested the board could be a teal color with white letters.
Commissioner Cote asked if staff had considered an electronic reader board.
Assistant Planner Yu explained that staff did not have specific recommendations for the reader board as long as the board was compatible with the freestanding sign.
Chairman Cartwright opened the public hearing.
Gus Navarro 701 N. Lakme Avenue, Wilmington discussed the reader board and did not feel a teal background with white letters would be readable at night. He discussed the Golden Cove sign which staff recommended an aluminum covered panel background with texcoated finish which he felt was fine, however he pointed out that being so close to the ocean would cause a high maintenance problem. He stated that staff was recommending cable illuminated letters which he also felt would cause a high maintenance problem being so close to the ocean and the moisture along the coast.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked what some of the typical problems were on the type of signs the staff was recommending and who typically takes care of the maintenance of the signs.
Mr. Navarro answered that in individual lit signs, each letters has its own individual neon system and each one can blow at any time. He stated that typically tenants are responsible for the maintenance of their signs.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked Mr. Navarro about the signs depicted on pages 3 and 5 of 19 of the sign program. She did not feel the sign logos were consistent and asked if there was a reason for that.
Mr. Navarro responded that the sign on page 3 was in a 12 foot by 12 foot established sign cabinet and the sign on page 5 was not quite as large. He explained that in order to integrate the logo into the smaller sign it had to be designed slightly differently.
Commissioner Duran Reed felt it was important to have consistency in the two signs and suggested raising the piling a little higher on the sign on page 3 of 19 and lowering the piling on the sign on page 5 of 19.
Mr. Navarro felt that could be done without a problem.
Commissioner Tomblin asked Mr. Navarro if he weren’t trying to maintain the 20-foot sign, what would have been a more effective sign design if he had to start over with a new sign.
Mr. Navarro answered that, without knowing the wishes of the tenants, he would design a monument sign that said "Golden Cove Center" without the tenants on it. He felt the existing tenant sign lettering was very small and ineffective.
Commissioner Cote asked Mr. Navarro about the reader board and any suggestions he may have for it.
Mr. Navarro responded that almost all reader boards are white with colored letters so that it is easily read at night. He was concerned that a teal reader board with white lettering would be very blurry and ineffective at night.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked if it were possible to have a teal reader board with white lettering, but have a light shine up on the board rather than from behind the board.
Mr. Navarro stated that was called eyebrow lighting, and that it was a possibility.
Chairman Cartwright asked Mr. Navarro if he was representing the management company or the architect, or was he at the meeting to give his technical insight on the signage.
Mr. Navarro responded that he was the sign contractor and at the meeting to offer his technical knowledge on the signs.
Hannibal Petrossi stated he was the architect for the Golden Cove project and explained that the sign program was designed to blend in with the architecture of the redesigned shopping center. He explained that the way the building was designed on the first floor there was no room to have a box or channel letters lit from the back of the fascia of the building. That was why they had designed the signs to be accessible from outside. On the second floor, he had no problem with the suggestions made by staff. He reminded the Planning Commission that the Admiral Risty was not part of this program and the Golden Lotus would be remodeling soon after the sign program was in effect.
Chairman Cartwright asked Mr. Petrossi how he would feel to a continuance of the sign program issue while the Planning Commission worked out incorporating changes into the proposed program or would he rather the Planning Commission work with the proposal in front of the Commission this evening.
Mr. Petrossi answered that he preferred the Planning Commission work with the current proposal and approve a sign program at this meeting. He explained that he and the tenants were anxious to begin work on the renovation of the Golden Cove Center, which could not be done until the sign program was approved.
Director/Secretary Rojas clarified that when the Planning Commission approved the Golden Cove renovation plan there was a condition stating that a building permit could not be issued for the renovation of the two-story building until a sign program was approved for the entire center.
Commissioner Mueller asked Mr. Petrossi what the maximum height of the buildings in the shopping center was.
Mr. Petrossi responded that the maximum height was 35 feet.
Vice Chairman Long asked where in the code was the size of the monument signs discussed.
Director/Secretary Rojas read the section of the code stating that the Director may approve a sign up to 16-feet in height if it is the only feasible method of identification for a shopping center containing 4 or more individual establishments.
Chairman Cartwright asked if it was staff’s contention that the changes being proposed were significant or that the changes are not sufficient to require that the signs be brought into compliance with the code.
Assistant Planner Yu responded that it was staff’s opinion that the applicant was proposing to refurbish the existing signs and noted that the poles and faces on the existing signs are going to remain, and the changes were the color of the face of the signs and stucco the poles. She stated that staff felt the height and square footage of the signs would not change.
Vice Chairman Long asked staff if they felt the restrictions of the code did not apply as the Planning Commission was not approving a new sign but rather the refurbishment of existing approved signs.
Director/Secretary Rojas agreed with Commissioner Long’s statement and added that staff felt the sign was not intensifying or adding to the non-conformity.
Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Mueller agreed with staff’s interpretation that the existing sign was being refurbished. He felt that Golden Cove Center was fairly well known but agreed that two signs were needed for the shopping center, one on Hawthorne Blvd. and the other on Palos Verdes Drive West and also felt it was important to have the individual tenant signs. He felt the Planning Commission should consider what type of illumination to allow for the reader board. He agreed with staff’s suggestions for the lighting of the other signs. He felt it was important to define exactly what type of trademark signage would be allowed.
Commissioner Duran Reed also agreed with staff’s recommendations regarding the signs and the retention of the reader board, however she suggested the eyebrow lighting for the reader board to make it easier to read at night. She felt consistency in the logo was important as well as the pylons in the sign be proportional. She too felt the tenant signs should remain. She too felt it would be nice to have a lower sign, but agreed that the sign was existing and that the proposal was a refurbishment.
Commissioner Tomblin felt that the Planning Commission and City Council spend quite a bit of time trying to blend in some of the things that happened during the County time that were not necessarily the right things for the City. He did not think the current 40-foot sign was working since the owner has applied for three more restaurant signs where the reader board is currently located. He felt the 40-foot sign was a huge albatross that lights up the sky at night, which was not effective for the tenant, the City, or anyone else. He would rather see two smaller pylon signs in its place, which would allow more signs for the tenants, be less obtrusive, and blend in to a higher quality center. He felt that if the Planning Commission was going to consider a sign program, they should consider one that would be beneficial to the tenants, owners, and City and felt that the current signs should be taken down and all new signs be constructed. He would not be opposed to allowing the applicant to go forward with the construction while the Planning Commission was working out the sign situation to make sure the signs were appropriate.
Commissioner Cote agreed with Commissioner Tomblin’s concerns regarding the signs. She felt a lot had happened in the Golden Cove area since the City Council originally approved the large sign and reader board at Golden Cove such as Ocean Trails, the Oceanfront Estates development, and the proposed Long Point development. She wondered if the City Council would approve the same sort of sign today if it were before them and wondered if the reader board was still an important element to the City and wondered if it was still needed.
Vice Chairman Long stated that one of his primary concerns has been satisfied and the Planning Commission has more latitude than he originally thought they had. He was torn on the issue, however he felt he could suggest a precise condition for allowing trademark owners to use colors. He suggested allowing the trademark owners use the colors as reflected in the registered trademark with the Federal Patent and Trademark Office and that the trademark whose colors are being used should be on the principle register and the manner in which the trademark should be used by the sign owner should be for one of the same classes of goods or services as is reflected on the registered mark. Further, the trademark colors could only be used for so long as the trademark is validly registered. He was very much undecided on the rest of the aspects of the sign program. He understood Commissioner Tomblin’s point of view and was inclined to agree that it might be better if all of the signs were redesigned, but was not sure that sort of a decision was in the scope of the Planning Commission’s discretion.
Chairman Cartwright also felt that it might be best to scrap the current signs and start all over, however the signs have existed for quite a while and were considered legal, non-conforming signs approved by the City. He felt that the applicant had designed the modifications to the signs based on an understanding that if they didn’t significantly change the signs that the height and square footage would be approved. He felt it was a little late in the game for the Planning Commission to require the applicant to redesign the signs. Therefore, he would support the existing height of the signs. He agreed with the Vice Chairman’s suggestions for the trademark colors. He also felt the eyebrow lighting for the reader board was a good suggestion.
Director/Secretary Rojas discussed the Planning Commission’s latitude to reduce the height of the signs. He explained that the signs were non-conforming structures and that there was no longer a section in the Code discussing non-conforming signs. He stated that staff was relying on was the general code section regarding non-conforming structures which says that no physical changes or enlargements can be done. Staff felt that these signs did not increase the non-conformity.
Vice Chairman Long stated that if a proposal were to be made for a house that had non-conforming construction and the proposal was made in such a way that the changes that were going to be made were not going to be sufficient so as to trigger a requirement to make the house conforming, then the Planning Commission could not require the applicant to bring the house into conformance. Similarly, if the same general standard were applied to this application and the Planning Commission determined what is being done to the signs is just a refurbishment that does not increase the degree by which they are non-conforming, then the same principle would apply.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked if it was possible to allow the remodel of the two-story structure to begin while the Planning Commission works out the details of the sign permit.
Director/Secretary Rojas responded that the sign program was a condition of the Conditional Use Permit for the Golden Cove Center, which was not before the Planning Commission at this time. To waive a condition of the Conditional Use Permit would require a public notice and it could not be done at this meeting.
Commissioner Cote felt that the Planning Commission had the latitude to ask the applicant to design signs that were conforming and more acceptable. She did not understand why the Planning Commission, in approving the redevelopment of the shopping center, did not allow for latitude in approval of the sign program.
Vice Chairman Long stated that if the applicant had proposed a sign program that had new and different signs as opposed to simply refurbishing the existing signs, then the Planning Commission would have the latitude to impose all of the requirements of the Ordinance.
Chairman Cartwright recalled the Planning Commission, at the time of approval of the Golden Cove refurbishment, was concerned with signage and therefore had conditioned the approval that signage be approved prior to the issuance of building permits. He felt that the Planning Commission did have some latitude as far as the signage in regards to the lighting, the colors, and the type of signs allowed.
Commissioner Tomblin asked if the applicant could place two 16-foot signs on Palos Verdes Drive West.
Director/Secretary Rojas felt it would be difficult as there are three building that have yet to be built in the shopping center along Palos Verdes Drive West.
Chairman Cartwright re-opened the public hearing.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked Mr. Petrossi if he would voluntarily lower the height of the sign at the center.
Mr. Petrossi answered that a 16-foot high sign would only be visible to traffic traveling west on Palos Verdes Drive West, as there is an approximate 4-foot elevation difference between the west bound traffic and the east bound traffic. He did not think that would be satisfactory and did not think the owner of the shopping center would agree to lowering the height of the sign.
Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Mueller felt that the one big sign could be seen from a distance from both directions of travel on Palos Verdes Drive West and that a lower sign would get lost and possibly blocked by the new buildings. He also felt it was important to maintain an open view with the tall sign. He also did not feel the Planning Commission could ask the applicant to lower the sign as it was considered legal, non-conforming. He felt that the wording suggested by the Vice Chairman in regards to the trademark signs should be incorporated into the Resolution.
Commissioner Mueller moved to adopt staff’s recommendations regarding the reader board, lighting, and colors, as well as to incorporate the language suggested by Vice Chairman Long regarding the trademark signs and colors, seconded by Vice Chairman Long.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked Commissioner Mueller if his motion included the use of eyebrow lighting for the reader board.
Commissioner Mueller responded that eyebrow lighting was sufficient but would like to allow flexibility to allow staff the discretion to determine the best lighting for the reader board.
Chairman Cartwright suggested an amendment to the condition indicating that the reader board have eyebrow lighting or other suitable lighting as approved by the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement.
Commissioner Mueller agreed to the amendment, as did the Vice Chairman.
Commissioner Duran Reed discussed the consistency and proportionality of the two signs and proposed an amendment that language be included that the design of the signs be consistent and the pylon edges of the two signs be proportional, making the two signs appear more similar.
Commissioner Mueller was leery to add a condition that would dictate that the pylons would have to go 2/3 of the way up the sign and felt the current sign proposal looked reasonably symmetric.
Commissioner Tomblin seconded the proposed amendment made by Commissioner Duran Reed. The proposed amendment to the motion failed by a vote of 3-3, with Commissioners Cote and Mueller, and Chairman Cartwright dissenting.
Director/Secretary Rojas repeated the motion for the Planning Commission, stating that the motion was for the approval of the sign program with the recommendations by staff and with the language regarding trademark colors as suggested by Vice Chairman Long. Also that the reader board have a teal background with eyebrow or other lighting at the Director’s discretion.
Vice Chairman Long stated that the wording should be that the trademark colors shall be only those that are a federal trademark that are registered in the principal register with the patent trademark office for the class of goods or services as used by the tenant and in effect at the time that the tenant is using said colors.
Director/Secretary Rojas noted that there was no condition included addressing the hours the signs could be on at night, and suggested language be added that the lighting be turned off at the time that the last tenant closes at night, as the closing of the businesses are staggered throughout the evening.
Vice Chairman Long suggested an amendment to the motion to add a condition that the lights are to be turned off no later than the time of the closing of the tenant and shall not be turned back on until the opening of the first tenant on the following day.
Commissioner Mueller accepted the amendment to the motion.
The motion passed on a roll call vote of 4-2 with Commissioners Cote and Tomblin dissenting.
Commissioner Cote explained that she had voted no because she felt the Commission had more discretion in the approval of the sign program, and that the height of the non-conforming sign should have been addressed. She did not agree with the thought process that the sign was non-conforming and therefore the Planning Commission had to leave the sign at the current height.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
At 8:55 p.m. the Commission to a short recess to 9:15 p.m. at which time they reconvened.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (CONT)
7. Height Variation, Coastal Permit, Variance, Minor Exception Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00035): 112 Spindrift Drive
Associate Planner Blumenthal presented the staff report. He described the project and the need for the various applications. He explained that typically the height limitations of the Municipal Code cannot accommodate construction of three story homes. However the existing flat roof of the house, in conjunction with the proposed new flat roof, accommodates a design which a three-story house can built, and it should be noted that the first floor of the structure consists entirely of a subterranean garage. He stated that all findings for the Height Variation could be made as well as the findings for the Variance and the Minor Exception Permit. He explained that the subject property is located on the seaward side of Palos Verdes Drive South and therefore located within the Coastal Specific Plan. Accordingly, a Coastal Permit is required for approval of an addition to the subject property and staff has determined that the required findings could be supported for approval of the Coastal Permit. Therefore, staff was recommending the Planning Commission approve the project, subject to the conditions of approval.
Chairman Cartwright opened the public hearing.
Gary Wynn 27525 Valley Center Road, Valley Center, stated that he was the engineer for the proposed project as well as the property located next door to the project. He stated that the project was designed to maintain the privacy and views of the neighbors. He pointed out that there were open space areas behind both the projects which helped minimize any impacts from these projects. He stated that both projects have the approval of the Portuguese Bend Club HOA architectural review committee.
Andrew Ely 112 Spindrift Drive explained that he was proposing the addition to accommodate his growing family and was available to answer any questions.
Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.
Commissioners Cote and Tomblin were both impressed with the way the privacy issues were dealt with and saw no view impairment issues at the site. Therefore, they were in favor of the project.
Commissioner Duran Reed felt the neighborhood was changing, but had no issues with the project.
Commissioner Mueller asked about the vacant parcel behind the subject property. He noted that it was owned by the Homeowners Association and wondered if the land was preserved as open space for as long as the HOA owned the property.
Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that the HOA ownership of the parcel, in conjunction with the moratorium on new buildings in that area, would preserve the area as open space.
Commissioner Mueller wondered if the moratorium were lifted and the HOA were to sell the property, if the land could then be built on. He asked if the Planning Commission had any obligation to preserve the views from the vacant parcel, which at this point in time is not developable only because no new structures can be built in the area.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that it would first have to be determined if they were legal conforming lots. He stated that the view ordinance does protect views from vacant property, however from staff’s perspective this was not developable property under the current code and therefore there was no view that needed to be protected.
Vice Chairman Long noted that the vacant properties were on a substantial slope and even if there were any building ever allowed on the lots they would most likely be at a significantly higher elevation. He stated that he had driven around the area and saw no issues with potential view impairment or potential privacy issues.
Given staff’s explanation, Commissioner Mueller agreed with their analysis regarding the vacant property behind the residence. He questioned why staff had not included the lot sizes when doing their analysis of the project.
Associate Planner Blumenthal explained that in that area of the Portuguese Bend Club the houses sometimes traverse the lot lines and there may be multiple houses on a single lot. He stated that the information staff has is the taken from the County Assessor maps and the County Assessor’s tax information which does not coincide with each other or with the information provided by the applicant. Therefore, the lot size information was omitted.
Chairman Cartwright re-opened the public hearing.
Gary Wynn explained that the boundaries in the Bend Club were determined subsequently by a Record of Survey, where the property lines were basically retrofitted where they felt the fence lines were located. He also clarified that the CC&R’s for the area specified that the open spaces would be held forever as open space.
Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Lyon stated that he had walked the property and had specifically noted a substantial grid separation between the house and the property behind it and therefore had no doubt there would be no view impact if there were ever anything developed on the vacant lot.
Chairman Cartwright also could see no view impairment or privacy issues and agreed with the staff’s analysis.
Commissioner Lyon moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-09 thereby approving the Height Variation, Coastal Permit, Variance and Minor Exception Permit as presented by staff, seconded by Commissioner Duran Reed. Approved, (7-0).
8. Height Variation, Coastal Permit, Variance, Minor Exception Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00036): 113 Spindrift Drive
Associate Planner Blumenthal presented the staff report. He explained the project and the need for the various applications. He noted that the entire first floor was a subterranean garage, which does not have access to the interior of the house. He noted that all necessary findings could be made for the applications and staff was recommending approval, with conditions.
Chairman Cartwright opened the public hearing.
Gary Wynn 27525 Valley Center Drive, Valley Center, stated that one thing unique to this project was the Variance for the one-car garage. He stated that it was just short of a two-car garage and the reason they applied for the Variance was because where the foundations currently fall it would be a tremendous hardship to move one wall one foot and another wall three feet in order to comply with the code. Although the garage was being represented as a one-car garage he felt it could be considered a small two-car garage.
Commissioner Mueller asked about the large tree on the north side of the property.
Mr. Wynn stated that the tree would be removed, as it was too close to the foundation and impedes with the proposed upper level.
Kathy Cushman 113 Spindrift Drive stated that she too was requesting the addition to her residence to accommodate the size of her family. She felt she has worked hard with her engineer and neighbors to conserve everyone’s view, make the house more beautiful, and improve the neighborhood in general.
Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.
Chairman Cartwright asked if the removal of the tree on the property should have been included in the conditions of approval.
Associate Planner responded that staff had not noted any view impact caused by the tree and therefore did not include it in the conditions of approval.
Commissioner Mueller asked why staff had used the phrase enclosed parking used in the staff report. He asked if that was the same as a one-car garage.
Associate Planner Blumenthal explained that the proposed garage does not qualify in dimensions as a two-car garage. He stated that the proposed garage would have a single garage door. He stated that the term, enclosed parking space is used interchangeably with the term one-car garage.
Commissioner Lyon moved to adopt P.C. Resolution NO. 2002-10 thereby approving the Height Variation, Coastal Permit, Variance and Minor Exception Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00036) as presented by staff, seconded by Commissioner Mueller. Approved, (7-0).
Chairman Cartwright noted that during his 6 years on the Planning Commission there have been numerous applications for modifications in the Portuguese Bend area and in his memory there has never been one without some type of issue from someone in the neighborhood. He noted that the applications at 112 and 113 Spindrift had no outstanding concerns or issues from the neighbors or HOA, and he congratulated the applicants and Mr. Wynn on the work they had done.
1. Minutes of May 14, 2002
Chairman Cartwright noted an e-mail from Commissioner Duran Reed regarding her requested changes to the minutes.
The Commissioners discussed the procedure to be used on e-mailing suggested revisions to the minutes prior to the meeting. It was determined that the Planning Commissioners e-mail their proposed changes to firstname.lastname@example.org so that the revisions could be viewed by all Commissioners and they could be addressed at the meeting.
Commissioner Lyon briefly discussed his concern that the Planning Commission continues to spend more time reviewing the minutes than necessary. He reminded the Commission that changes made to the minutes should only be to correct what was said at the meeting and not what one intended to say.
Chairman Cartwright stated that e-mailing suggested modifications to the minutes was merely an attempt to try and not use quality meeting time to debate the minutes.
Vice Chairman Long noted an omission on page 8 of the minutes.
Director/Secretary Rojas reviewed the e-mailed comments from Commissioner Cote regarding a typo on page 11 of the minutes and change the word "acceptable" to "reasonable" on page 21 of the minutes.
Chairman Cartwright referred to page 9 of the minutes and read a sentence from a statement by Commissioner Duran Reed. He then asked Commissioner Duran Reed if this is what she recalled saying.
Commissioner Duran Reed felt the minutes reflected what she had said.
Commissioner Mueller noted one clarification to page 1 of the minutes.
Vice Chairman Long discussed the e-mail from Commissioner Reed discussing the changes on page 23 of the minutes. He agreed with her proposed addition regarding view obstruction below sixteen feet in height.
Director/Secretary Rojas clarified that rather than no response, he had stated that Section 17.02 of the Height Variation Guidelines states that views apply only to portions over 16 feet in height.
Commissioner Lyon felt a statement should be added that this was an issue that had been discussed previously.
Commissioner Duran Reed and Vice Chairman Long agreed to the two changes.
Commissioner Lyon felt that the recording secretary should listen to the tape of the meeting and record what was said at this point in the hearing rather than taking what someone has drafted. He felt that the minutes should reflect the record of the meeting rather than what someone recalls.
Chairman Cartwright felt that in this case, since it was a quick exchange, it may make sense for the recording secretary to listen to the tape of the meeting for the accurate exchange of conversation.
Vice Chairman Long agreed.
Vice Chairman Long moved to adopt the minutes as amended, with the exception of the last item discussed, and instruct staff to listen to the tape of the meeting and bring the minutes back on the next Consent Calendar for the Planning Commission to look solely at that paragraph, seconded by Commissioner Duran Reed. Approved without objection.
2. Adoption of new Planning Commission Rules and Procedures Resolution
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that the material received in this packet was identical to the material received in the last packet. He noted that all changes had been conceptually approved by the Planning Commission at the last meeting and to be brought back at this meeting in written form so that the Commission could review and agree on the language.
Commissioner Mueller discussed page 4 regarding staff reports and direction to staff. He questioned the section that stated that any explicit direction should come through the Chairperson as a result of the consensus of the Planning Commission. He did not like the word "consensus", as in the past the Commission has been allowed to direct staff provided there was a majority of the Commissioners present that felt that was important to do. He felt the word "consensus" could allow one or two Commissioners to disagree with a direction and not allow the remaining part of the Commission to gather additional information to understand an issue. Therefore, he suggested deleting the word "consensus" and adding "or as a result of a majority of the Planning Commissioners present".
Chairman Cartwright explained that he had made the suggestion for the wording. He explained that the reason for the wording was so that staff would not be confused when one of the Commissioners requested something and the rest of the Commission did not say anything. He felt the Chairman needs the latitude to be able to give the staff direction and he had used the term consensus to mean most or all, as there could not be a consensus with less than the majority of the members.
Vice Chairman Long suggested adding to the end of the statement "or by formal motion" so that the option is available. He noted that this does not address the specific comment made by Commissioner Mueller regarding "minority" views. He felt that even if a minority of the Commissioners want information that other Commissioners feel they don’t need, they should be allowed that information.
Chairman Cartwright suggested adding the wording "or a majority " to the wording as he believed the Commission always has the latitude to put something to a formal vote.
Commissioner Lyon agreed with Commissioner Mueller’s thought, however he did not think the last sentence belonged in the paragraph it was currently in or even under the heading of Staff Reports and should be in a separate heading of its own. He felt it should be put in a new paragraph and suggested titling the paragraph "Direction to the Staff". He read consensus to mean a majority of the people present and didn’t see a problem with the word.
Commissioner Mueller felt that replacing the word "consensus" with the word "majority" would make the meaning much more clear.
Vice Chairman Long discussed the issue of the minority of the Commission requesting information, and stated that if called upon to vote as to whether the information should be obtained, he would judge his vote by two questions: 1) is the information relevant to him and, 2) even if he doesn’t think the information is relevant to him does he think that at least one of the other Commissioners believes it is relevant and is it unreasonable or unduly expensive for the staff to gather that information.
Commissioner Duran Reed added that having a formal vote on a motion will address the minority issue.
Vice Chairman Long moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-11 thereby approving minor amendments to the Planning Commission Rues and Procedures, with the amendment to move the second sentence of the second paragraph under Staff Reports be moved to its own section and titled "Direction to Staff" and restating "any explicit direction to staff should come through the Chairperson or as a result of a consensus of the Planning Commission or by formal motion." Seconded by Commissioner Duran. Approved, (7-0).
Commissioner Lyon discussed the problem of introducing a new concept or thought in a public hearing or in front of an applicant that is new to the Commission. He felt it was more appropriate to discuss the new concept separately and not in a context of whether the Planning Commission approves or disapproves a specific application.
Vice Chairman Long felt that including in the rules the concept that the Planning Commission could not discuss something new that has never been discussed before would so unduly limit the Commission when forming conditions that the Planning Commission would be hogtied beyond belief and be extremely damaging.
Commissioner Duran Reed agreed and felt that new ideas could not be looked at in a vacuum and new ideas come from applications before the Planning Commission and if the Planning Commission knew all of the answers they would have written them down. She felt it was very important to be able to discuss new ideas during a meeting.
Commissioner Lyon clarified that he was not proposing this as a Planning Commission rule, but rather as a point of discussion and procedural matter.
Commissioner Cote commented that if a Commissioner had a new approach or new way to deal with an issue or a questions, that could be discussed with staff prior to the meeting and staff could then give the rest of the Commissioners notice that the Commissioner would be bring the subject up at the meeting. This would give the Commissioners some forewarning about what new issues may be discussed during the hearing.
Commissioner Tomblin agreed that it would be good to know ahead of time if new issues were going to be brought up, but acknowledged that new issues and ideas will periodically come up during the meeting.
Commissioner Mueller did not want to be restricted on anything new during the meeting as the creativity and ideas that the Commissioners come up with during the meeting may be stifled. He felt that if this issue was going to be further discussed, it should be agendized at a future meeting so that it can be thoroughly discussed.
Chairman Cartwright stated he agreed with everything that had been said and that it was important for the Commissioners to inform staff if they know they are going to introduce something new during the meeting. He felt it was extremely important that the Planning Commission understand what their authority is and the discretion the Commission has. He did not feel there was a consensus to make any changes to the rules and procedures regarding this topic at this time.
Commissioner Lyon repeated that he was not suggesting the rules and procedures be changed, but merely that the Planning Commission discuss the issue. To that end, he felt that the Planning Commission had accomplished everything that he had in mind.
Vice Chairman Long stated that it was very difficult and not unusual that, after reading the staff report, all of his comments on a project may not be formulated until the day of the meeting. He agreed that, to the extent the Commissioner could do so, the more in advance of a meeting the comments were made available the better. He hoped that in the future the Planning Commissioners would give thought to how they could share with the other Commissioners the important issues before them, to the extent they could do so.
CONTINUED BUSINESS (CONT)
4. Institutional Memory Table
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that staff had been directed by the Planning Commission to create an institutional memory file and that staff should create some type of summary. He distributed a handout showing a sample of staff’s idea of what the summary should consist of. He stated that staff was seeking direction as to whether this should be incorporated into the follow-up agenda or if it should be a separate type of file.
Chairman Cartwright felt it should be made part of the follow-up agenda, as it would save time in duplication of generating two very similar things.
Vice Chairman Long agreed, and felt that the summary distributed was an excellent summary. He acknowledged that the follow-up agenda may be slightly longer, but it will have a very succinct synopsis that may help people understand what happened without having to read the more lengthy minutes. He felt staff should have a way to access the information off of the follow-up agendas for use in the future.
Director/Secretary Rojas felt some type of sort could be done using key words or key addresses.
Commissioner Duran Reed felt this would help others in the future to understand and look at what had been done.
Commissioner Cote felt staff had created a very good summary and wondered if there was a way to summarize a staff report and include the overall findings of the report in the summary.
Commissioner Mueller agreed that the summary was a good idea and felt that there should be a short discussion at the end of the end of the Planning Commission meetings to discuss the summary to add any pertinent information.
Director/Secretary Rojas felt that if more information was required other than what was in the summary, then one could go to the minutes of the meeting for that information.
Commissioner Duran Reed stated that the institutional memory would be used as a research tool and that the summary should be sufficient and if, after reviewing the institutional memory, one felt they needed more information they could then review the minutes.
Vice Chairman Long agreed that the institutional memory was not the official record of the meeting, and unless the Planning Commission felt that staff was not doing a good job in writing the summary, let the summary staff writes stand.
Chairman Cartwright felt this was a good beginning to the institutional memory process.
ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS
Commissioner Tomblin questioned the upcoming wind energy ordinance and what it was.
Director/Secretary Rojas responded that there was a recent Assembly Bill passed that says if a City fails to adopt the Wind Energy Ordinance by July 1, 2002 it must then approve applications for small wind energy systems by right if they comply with the criteria in the Assembly Bill. Therefore, the City Attorney has drafted something so that the City will not lose local control and can regulate the wind energy systems.
Commissioner Mueller asked if the Planning Commission could get a draft of the Wind Ordinance as soon as it was available.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated he would try to get it to the Planning Commissioners as soon as possible.
Commissioner Lyon reported that he would not be at the next Planning Commission meeting of June 11, 2002.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 p.m.