CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
JULY 23, 2002
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Cartwright at 7:00 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.
Commissioner Cote led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Present: Commissioners Cote, Lyon, Mueller, Tomblin, Chairman Cartwright
Absent: Commissioner Duran Reed and Vice Chairman Long were excused.
Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, Senior Planner Mihranian, Associate Planner Blumenthal, Assistant Planner Luckert, and Recording Secretary Peterson.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
The Planning Commission unanimously approved the Agenda as presented.
Director/Secretary Rojas distributed two items of correspondence regarding Agenda Item No. 7 and a letter from the City Attorney regarding a request for public records. He also reported that the City Council had began to hear the revised Long Point applications and had directed Staff to prepare draft Conditions of Approval for review at the Council’s next meeting of August 6.
Commissioner Mueller reported that he had attended the Mayor’s Breakfast.
1. Minutes of June 25, 2002
Commissioner Lyon moved to approve the minutes as presented, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin. Approved, (3-0-2) with Commissioners Cote and Mueller recused as they were absent from that meeting.
2. Minutes of July 9, 2002
Commissioner Lyon noted a minor change on page 7 of the minutes.
Commissioner Mueller moved to adopt the minutes as amended, seconded by Commissioner Cote. Approved, (4-0-1) with Commissioner Tomblin recused as he was absent from that meeting.
3. Height Variation NO. 899, Grading Permit No. 2151, Minor Exception Permit No. 573, and Environmental Assessment No. 745: 3787 Coolheights Drive
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that staff was requesting the item be continued to August 27 so that staff could continue working with the City’s engineering consultant in preparing the various design alternatives for the turn around at the end of Coolheights Drive.
Commissioner Mueller asked what alternatives were being discussed with the parties involved and if they were different from the ones summarized at the last meeting.
Senior Planner Mihranian stated that a street survey was completed for the immediate area adjacent to the terminus of Coolheights Drive and stated that five alternatives were currently being discussed by staff, the applicant, and the neighbors. He stated that the City consultant has not completed the drawings for the alternatives, and since the applicant will be out of town for the next meeting, staff was requesting the item be continued to August 27.
Director/Secretary Rojas added that the last direction from the Planning Commission to staff was to try to get a consensus with the neighbors in terms of an agreement as to the design of the turn around. Staff, as well as the Director of Public Works, believe that a consensus can still be achieved.
Commissioner Mueller stated that there was no direction given to not bring the item back until a consensus was achieved.
Chairman Cartwright agreed, and added that the Planning Commission should be involved and would not like to see a solution worked out that was not acceptable to the Planning Commission.
Commissioner Mueller felt it would be beneficial for the Staff and neighbors to have concluded its meetings before the next Planning Commission meeting. He asked that staff prepare a report for the Planning Commission at the next meeting so that the Commission will have time to review the alternatives before the August 27 meeting.
The Commission agreed that staff should present a status report of the project at the next meeting.
Commissioner Mueller moved to continue the public hearing to August 13 so that staff could present a status report to the Planning Commission, seconded by Commissioner Cote. Approved, (5-0).
4. Variance No. 489: 6601 Palos Verdes Drive South / York Long Point Properties and Destination Development Corporation
Commissioner Cote stated that she would recuse herself from this public hearing item and explained that her home, although located outside the 500-foot radius, was located close to the subject property.
Commissioner Tomblin noted that he had mentioned at an earlier meeting that he had done a small consultant job at Long Point, which he has disclosed to the City Clerk and City Attorney.
Senior Planner Mihranian presented the staff report. He explained that the Variance request was to allow the construction of a lower pool facility within the City’s Coastal Setback Zone. He showed various plans and drawings of the proposed project on a power point presentation. He explained that the Planning Commission must first consider the applicant’s Variance request for the pool before any action or decision can be considered by the City Council as a part of the entire development application currently being reviewed by the City Council. He noted that the pool was proposed on a relatively flat pad area that was previously graded by the operators of Marineland to accommodate a water holding tank. Mr. Mihranian displayed a drawing of the proposed lower pool that was included in the July 9 staff report. He explained that staff had raised a concern with the design and layout of the original proposal which included a limited amount of area dedicated to the public. As a result, the applicant took staff’s recommendations and modified the design of the lower pool area. He displayed a drawing showing the modified proposal. He explained the modified proposal includes an expanded public area which now includes a food bar and additional areas for public amenities such as tables and chairs. He explained that the re-design allowed for unobstructed views of the coastline. Therefore, staff felt the modified proposal before the Planning Commission adequately addresses staff’s concerns.
Mr. Mihranian explained that since the pool was proposed within the City’s Coastal Setback Zone, a concern was raised with respect to the geologic feasibility of the site. He explained that Coastal Setback Zone and that it was originally designed based on geologic information available at the City at the time the Coastal Specific Plan was prepared in 1978. He explained that the Coastal Setback Line serves two primary functions: a geologic slope stability line and a coastal bluff preservation line. He explained that the City’s geotechnical consultant must review reports submitted by the applicant and determined that the structure will not create any geologic hazard or public health and safety concerns. He stated that at this time the City’s geotechnical consultant had not completed their review of the geotechnical reports. Mr. Mihranian therefore explained that, because of the nature of the project and the fact that the City Council was currently reviewing the project, staff felt the Planning Commission could review the proposed design and determine if the Variance findings could be made, aside from geologic concerns. The item would then be continued to the next meeting where staff would report to the Planning Commission the result of the City’s geotechnical review of the area.
Chairman Cartwright asked if there was going to be additional grading with the new proposal and also how deep the proposed pool would be.
Senior Planner Mihranian answered that there was additional grading being proposed in that area of approximately 800 cubic yards, which was combined cut and fill. He stated that the depth of the pool was approximately four to five feet.
Chairman Cartwright asked if there had been any prior geological studies that indicated this area might not be suitable for development.
Senior Planner Mihranian answered that he was not aware of any specific studies.
Chairman Cartwright opened the public hearing.
Mike Mohler 11777 San Vicente Blvd., L.A. stated that he had shown the City Council a public amenities plan on a power point presentation that allowed them to appreciate what the lower pool facility was in the greater context to the project. He asked if he could show this same presentation to the Planning Commission.
The Planning Commission agreed to see the presentation.
Mr. Mohler first referred to the staff report, and noted that on page 9 there was a sentence under the public safety heading that the word "any" should be deleted from when discussing the prevention of vandalism or crime.
Mr. Mohler presented the power point presentation and explained the various trails, and public amenities that are currently proposed for the site.
Commissioner Mueller questioned if the newly designed pool had relocated closer to the ocean.
Mr. Mohler answered that the pool is bigger, however the facility was moved back into the slope a little more to accommodate the extra width of the pool.
Commissioner Mueller asked what type of fencing would be used to surround the pool.
Mr. Mohler stated it would be constructed of some type of material that could be seen through, such as wrought iron.
Commissioner Mueller asked if this pool would be open to the public.
Mr. Mohler answered that the spa pool would be available to the public on a daily fee basis, but the other pools on the property would be reserved for the hotel guests.
Chairman Cartwright asked Mr. Mohler if there were some type of alternative amenity plan if it turns out the geology in this pool area turns out not to meet the City’s safety standards. He asked if the pool could not be built in this area, would that jeopardize the financial success of the project.
Mr. Mohler answered that it was extremely important to have this pool overlooking the coastline, especially since there really wasn’t a beach element associated with the property. Regarding the geology, he was very confident that there would be no problems and was sure the appropriate factor of safety could be obtained.
Chairman Cartwright felt that the geology was one of the most important issues, especially since the structure was proposed inside the Coastal Setback Line.
William Tolliffe 6347 Tarragon Road stated that the proposed pool was intruding into an area in which a Variance is required and where the geology has not been determined safe, he felt it would be prudent to use an alternative site where a variance is not required and the geology has been determined safe for the necessary cut and fill. He felt that denying the Variance request would eliminate two things that could result in troublesome or catastrophic consequences: the setting of a precedent in granting a Variance to build in the Coastal Setback Zone and the creation of a geologic disturbance at the site which could cause problems similar to those seen elsewhere on the peninsula.
Ann Shaw 30036 Via Borica noted that the beach at Long Point was dirt and rock and used as an access point for scuba divers and snorklers. She realized the geology was very important and that the Coastal Setback Zone was created where it was for a reason. She felt it was irrelevant that an above ground water tank was located on this pad in the past. She was very concerned about the cut and fill so close to the existing bluff and the fact that there would be a swimming pool located at the site. She felt the top of the land was most likely stable, however questioned what would happen if there were a rupture in the swimming pool located so close to the bluffs.
Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Tomblin explained that he has recently returned from a trip to Hawaii where he stayed at a resort very similar to what was being proposed at Long Point. He explained that he had read an article in which it stated there was an approximate 29 percent hotel vacancy rate on the Big Island, however the resort he was at had 100 percent occupancy for the summer. He explained that the resort was built on a peninsula similar to Long Point and built on an old lava flow, so there was no beach available. He stated his family enjoys the resort because of the swimming pools, the putting greens, and the quiet and calm atmosphere on the property. He noted that he was very much for the project and the proposed swimming pool, however he was addressing this without the benefit of the geology and if the geology were to come back saying that the pool was unfeasible, he would agree with the geologist’s recommendations.
Commissioner Mueller stated that he was very interested in preserving view corridors and felt this current proposal provided a corridor which might allow the public to see things they would normally not be able to see. He was very pleased that the developer was considering ADA access to the trails. He felt the fence surrounding the proposed pool should be kept at five feet in height, as he did not think it was necessary to have a pool fence any higher than required by law. He also had the desire to keep the height of the fence between the pool and the ocean to the lowest height possible. He also felt it was important to keep the fence open-air so that visual access would be maintained by the public. He noted that all of his comments were conditioned on the approval of the geology. He felt that there should be some conditions placed on the pool so that there is some type of secondary liner so that there will not be any issues if the pool does leak. He did not think it was absolutely necessary to the financial viability of the hotel to have the pool at this location, however he did think it would be very desirable to the public to have this amenity at this particular location.
Commissioner Lyon felt that geology was a major issue, and the Planning Commission must make sure the geologic stability of the vicinity is studied very carefully and the geologists are sure the area is safe. He wasn’t sure that a pool was needed in that area, but it was hard for him to decide if that pool was necessary without considering what other amenities are included on the site. He felt that decision would be made by the City Council, and he would defer to the City Council in terms of deciding whether that particular pool was necessary to the project.
Chairman Cartwright stated that he could support the comments made by the other Commissioners. He was particularly impressed with Commissioner Mueller’s idea that there should be some additional protection in case the pool leaked. He was pleased with the modified proposal by the applicant and felt it balanced the needs of the public and the hotel guests. He felt that the four findings necessary to approve the Variance could be made with the exception of those pending the outcome of the geologic studies. He did not think any of the Planning Commissioners would be willing to make a decision until they had the outcome of the geologic study. He felt that all Commissioners reserved the right to change their opinions at the next meeting in light of the geologic studies.
Commissioner Mueller moved to continue the public hearing to the Planning Commission meeting of August 13, 2002, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (4-0-1) with Commissioner Cote recused.
5. Height Variation / Grading Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00082) 2554 Colt Road
Director/Secretary Rojas presented the staff report. He displayed a photo board and explained the scope of the project and the need for the height variation and grading permits. He stated that staff was able to make all of the findings for the height variation permit in a positive manner. He noted that staff had a concern regarding bulk and mass, and the applicant was able to modify the project by stepping the second story back from the street and lowering the height of the portion of the project closest to the street. Staff believes that with this revised design, the bulk and mass issues have been addressed and is therefore recommending approval, subject to the conditions in the attached resolution.
Commissioner Cote asked if there were any privacy issues involved with the proposed project.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that staff had concluded there were no privacy issues to warrant conditions of approval.
Commissioner Mueller asked staff how this application would have been handled if it had been proposed when the City was first incorporated.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that there was a height variation process in place at that time and the findings were essentially the same as they are now. He stated that he believed there was no neighborhood compatibility finding at that time, however he would need to verify that.
Commissioner Mueller noted that by enclosing the balcony in the back of the house any articulation of the house has been lost, and he asked if Staff had given that any consideration.
Director/Secretary Rojas responded that Staff’s primary objective concerning articulation is from the street, and staff relies on neighbors to raise concerns to Staff if they have concerns regarding the articulation in the rear of the home. He noted that there have been no comments received from neighbors regarding this project.
Chairman Cartwright opened the public hearing. There being no speakers, Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Cote stated that when she had visited the applicant’s property she was initially concerned with the mass and bulk of the proposed project, and was pleased with the revised plans. She stated she had spoken to the surrounding neighbors and was very pleased to hear the applicants had gone out of their way to include the neighbors when designing the project. She felt all findings for the applications could be made, and supported Staff’s recommendations.
Commissioner Lyon stated that he supported the project as presented by Staff.
Commissioner Mueller stated his initial concern was the size of the house, but was now satisfied with the design. He felt the findings could be made for the height variation and grading permits, and therefore supported the project.
Chairman Cartwright noted that he had spent considerable time driving in the neighborhood and felt that the proposal was compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. He was pleased with the modifications to the plans and felt that all findings could be made to support the project.
Chairman Cartwright asked if all of the Commissioners were able to visit the site. All Commissioners had visited the site.
Commissioner Mueller moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-16 thereby approving the Height Variation Case No. ZON2002-00082, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (5-0).
6. Conditional Use Permit /Grading Permit /Variance Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00010: 2 Burrell Lane
Assistant Planner Luckert presented the staff report. He explained the project and the reasons for the different applications. He noted that the revision to the Conditional Use Permit was required because the original CUP that was approved required the homeowner to apply for a revision to the CUP if they wished to deviate from the originally approved footprint area of the house. He explained that staff could not make all of the findings to support the Variance, as staff did not think there were exceptional or extraordinary circumstances applicable to the subject lot, and felt there were other options available to the homeowner to comply with the City’s Development Code. He noted that the proposed addition could be moved approximately 2 to 3 feet south and could be slightly smaller so as not to encroach onto the extreme slope area of the lot. Staff did not feel the site was adequate in size and shape to accommodate the proposed addition. Staff did not think the findings for the grading application could be made and did not support approval of the grading application. Staff, however, does support the proposed retaining walls and the other portions of the project, excluding the addition on the extreme slope. He stated that if the applicant were to submit plans proposing an addition not on the extreme slope, the applicant would no longer need a Variance application and staff felt they could approve the grading and Conditional Use Permit. However, as proposed, staff was recommending denial of the Variance and Grading applications.
Commissioner Cote asked staff to clarify if the applicant was willing to move the addition 2 to 3 feet so as not to require a Variance.
Assistant Planner Luckert stated that the applicant was willing to move the addition, however the applicant had stated he wanted to discuss the current proposal with the Planning Commission.
Commissioner Tomblin asked what difference it would make by moving the addition over three feet.
Assistant Planner Luckert stated that by moving the addition south three feet, the addition will not be where an extreme slope was before the grading had taken place.
Commissioner Mueller asked how staff determined where the extreme slope was prior to the grading.
Assistant Planner Luckert answered that the applicant had submitted a survey of pre-existing conditions to staff.
Chairman Cartwright opened the public hearing.
Janak Raval 2 Burrell Lane (applicant) explained that the reason they were requesting the addition was for a place for his elderly, disabled mother to have a place to live. He felt the proposed location of the addition was the least intrusive and would maintain a presence that would enhance the property value. He explained that their lot on Burrell Lane was unique in that it was the lowest lot on the street. He felt this put them in a unique situation in that they had a large manmade extreme slope between their property and the west neighbor. He questioned how extreme the slope actually was. He stated that he was requesting a Variance to build over a very small area of what he feels is potentially an extreme slope. He did not feel there was a safety issue involved and noted that the proposed addition would not block any neighbor’s views. He stated he was willing to work with the Planning Department to move the structure three feet south if that was the direction given, however he felt that from a visual and useable standpoint that would limit what he could do with the area and preferred to try to get the Variance.
Commissioner Tomblin noted that there was a code enforcement complaint on the property and asked what the nature of that complaint was.
Mr. Raval explained that his contractor had contacted the Planning Department and was told that an extreme slope was a slope of 50 percent or greater. He had subsequently found out that he was given the wrong information. He stated that while he was on vacation, his contractor had graded into the slope. When the inspectors had come to look at his gas line for the bbq it was noted that he had graded into the slope.
Chairman Cartwright asked Mr. Raval why he didn’t first go to the City before starting his grading.
Mr. Raval answered that he was not aware that he needed permits to begin the grading and he did not realize that this was an extreme slope.
Chairman Cartwright explained that the Planning Commission was bound by the Development Code when making its decisions and in order to approve a Variance there are four findings that must be made. He asked Mr. Raval what was extraordinary or exceptional about his property that would allow for a Variance.
Mr. Raval answered that his lot was unique in the neighborhood in that it had a manmade extreme slope on the side.
Chairman Cartwright noted that the addition could still be built if it were moved approximately three feet, and asked what was extraordinary about the lot that the addition had to be built in the location proposed.
Mr. Raval answered that the proposed location would allow for them to get the size of addition that they felt they needed. He also noted that moving the addition three feet would start to block the view from the kitchen window.
Commissioner Mueller asked Mr. Raval if he had consulted with an architect to try to come up with some different options and locations for the addition, and if the architect had informed him that he was proposing to build on an extreme slope.
Mr. Raval explained that he had met with an architect and he had agreed that this was the best location for the addition. He stated that his architect did not mention anything about building on an extreme slope, and he was not aware that this was an extreme slope.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that when the applicant came in for the original application in October, the plan submitted at that time showed the pre-existing condition that indicated the slope contours. He noted that Staff marked plans to exclude approval of the addition and a condition was placed that no grading is permitted on any existing slope area that is 35 percent slope or steeper which is an extreme slope. He explained that approximately one week after receiving approval for the bbq staff received a complaint regarding illegal grading on the slope.
Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Tomblin stated that there seemed to be more and more contractors and/or homeowners who are now beginning construction without proper City approvals and permits and that it was time for the Planning Commission to take a stand and send a message that the Planning Commission cannot tolerate this type of waste of Staff and Commissioner’s time. He felt this was a clear violation of the City code and he would have to recommend the Planning Commission deny the Variance request.
Commissioner Mueller stated that his consideration of this application will not be affected by any prior application and will not have an affect on any future application. He stated he could not make the findings necessary for the Variance and suggested the addition be built but shortened by approximately 3 feet. He felt there were other alternatives to adding on to this property which may be more expensive and require additional design, but it could be done. He stated that he too could not make the findings necessary to approve the Variance application.
Commissioner Lyon stated that when he thinks of an extreme slope, he thinks of a down slope and the code is oriented towards maintaining a safe condition on a down slope, even though the code does not distinguish between upslope and down slope. He noted that in this case the extreme slope was an upward slope and he did not think there was a safety issue involved. He felt this request to go three feet into the extreme slope area was fairly harmless, however it does violate the code. He felt that the reasonable solution was to move the addition back three feet, if possible, and live within the Code.
Commissioner Cote was troubled that both the applicant and his contractor were not aware of the City code when doing the development on the property. She too could not make the necessary findings to support the Variance and felt that it should therefore be denied.
Chairman Cartwright did not think there were any extraordinary or unique features to the applicant’s property that would warrant the approval of a Variance request. He asked Staff if the applicant were to redesign the project to no longer require a Variance, if it would have to be heard by the Planning Commission.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that it would still require a CUP revision which would have to come before the Planning Commission.
Commissioner Mueller moved deny the Variance without prejudice, which would allow the applicant return with a revised plan which shortens the addition by three feet.
Commissioner Lyon asked if the Variance could be denied and the grading permit approved to allow the applicant to finish construction of the retaining wall.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that staff does not have a revised plan showing the construction of the retaining wall and without that the Planning Commission should not approve the Grading application.
Commissioner Tomblin was uncomfortable with placing conditions on the redesign of the project as proposed in the motion.
Chairman Cartwright agreed, and felt that by placing no conditions of the redesign it would allow the applicant many options in their redesign. He asked Commissioner Mueller to consider an amendment to the motion that would remove the restriction to shorten the addition by three feet, thereby allowing the applicant to consider all of the options available.
Commissioner Mueller amended the motion to deny the Variance without prejudice to allow the applicant to redesign the project away from the extreme slope area, and continue the hearing public hearing, seconded by Commissioner Lyon.
Chairman Cartwright asked if there was a time limit placed on the application.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that the application deadline was July 27 and that if the applicant submitted revised plans to staff by July 27 then the deadline would be met.
Chairman Cartwright re-opened the public hearing.
Chairman Cartwright asked Mr. Raval if wanted to submit revised plans to the Planning Department by July 27, or did he want to request a 90-day extension.
Mr. Raval answered that he preferred to have a 90-day extension.
Director/Secretary Rojas asked Mr. Raval to submit a written extension request to the Planning Department before the end of the week.
Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.
The motion to deny the Variance without prejudice and continue the public hearing passed, (5-0).
RECESS AND RECONVENE
At 9:40 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 9:50 p.m. at which time they reconvened.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (cont)
7. Conditional Use Permit/ Grading/ Environmental Assessment Permit (Case No. ZON2001-00055) 5701 Crestridge Road
Associate Planner Blumenthal presented the staff report. He explained the history of the project and the scope of the approvals given by the City Council in 1999. He explained that the applicant had discovered that the entitlements granted could not be constructed due to sub-surface rock conditions and accordingly they submitted applications to revise the Conditional Use Permit and the Grading Permit. He explained that the new proposed grading would encompass 153,052 cubic yards of earth movement. Additionally, Belmont Corporation was proposing minor modifications to the building, including modifying the building shape, increasing the size of the building, decreasing the building length along Crestridge Road, and increasing the building depth. He stated that the proposed architecture was the same as the originally approved, a Mediterranean style building. He explained that as part of the analysis of the project, a supplement to the Final Environmental Impact Report was prepared and focused on the geology and grading, transportation and circulation, and air quality and noise. He stated that all of the other environmental impacts caused by the proposed modifications were found not to be significant. He explained the findings in the supplemental Final Environmental Impact Report. He explained that staff found that all of the findings could be made for the revisions to the Conditional Use Permit, as well the nine criteria for the grading permit. He stated that the Traffic Committee held public hearings regarding this matter, and on a vote of 7-0, decided that the proposed facility would not result in significant adverse traffic impacts that could not be mitigated through the use of conditions of approval. He noted that the conditions of approval for the project were approved by the City Council in 1999 and requires that the City Council give their approval for the proposed modifications. As such, the role of the Planning Commission in this matter would be advisory only. He concluded by stating that staff was recommending the Planning Commission recommend to the City Council to certify the supplement to the Final EIR and that the City Council approve the CUP revision and the Grading Permit revision.
Commissioner Cote asked what specific conditions of approval were recommended by the Traffic Committee.
Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that the Traffic Committee recommended Conditions of Approval Nos. 64 through 72.
Commissioner Cote asked if Staff could give an example in the City where the traffic level was at a Level D.
Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that according to the Traffic Study that he existing level of service at Hawthorne Boulevard and Highridge Road in the morning was at a Level D level of service.
Commissioner Cote asked if there were any other sites in the City where there was an export of dirt of a comparable magnitude.
Associate Planner Blumenthal stated, that even though not in Rancho Palos Verdes, the construction site at the corner of Crest Road and Hawthorne Boulevard has exported quite a bit of dirt and material, but he was not sure of the amount.
Commissioner Mueller questioned page 14 of the staff report and the finding which states that the grading minimizes the disturbances to the natural contours, yet in the next sentence states that the grading will remove most of the natural contours.
Associate Planner Blumenthal explained that the grading would remove the contours, however the finished contours are reasonably natural. He stated that in order to develop the site, grading would remove the contours regardless of how the site will be developed, as there is no set building pad on the property at this time.
Chairman Cartwright opened the public hearing.
David Hale (Belmont Corporation) 8550 Katy Freeway, Houston Texas gave a brief explanation of the Belmont Corporation. He discussed Assisted Living Housing for Seniors and explained that it is a housing project that provides services to seniors that have care and mobility limitations. He discussed some of the amenities offered by the Belmont Corporation to the seniors living in the facilities. He felt the building proposed was very compatible with the community.
Anthony Segreto 5677 Mistridge Drive stated that the Marriott Corporation had proposed to build a similar type structure in Palm Springs, however the City denied the proposal. He stated that the facility was denied for the same reasons he objected to this project: that it was not in keeping with the aesthetics of the area, the monolithic type structure was out of date, and a building of that size would obstruct views. He felt that the amount of export leaving the site would create too much traffic at the site, which he estimated would take approximately one year with a truck leaving the site every ten minutes. He stated that there has never been that much soil on the peninsula that has been moved that distance. He stated that the Canterbury has been in operation for 20 years and operates at an 80 percent capacity.
Ken Dyda 5715 Capeswood Drive stated that the proposal before the Commission not only solves the current, but future needs of the peninsula. He stated that the average age in the South Bay is 36, however on the Peninsula the average age is 46. He stated that currently 20 percent of the people on the peninsula are 65 or older. He felt this proposal met a current need on the peninsula in an area that is already zoned institutional. He felt this was something that should be recommended to the City Council for approval.
Ray Mathys 5738 Whitecliff Drive requested that the Planning Commission adopt the Resolutions to approve the CUP and Grading permits for the facility as requested by staff. He stated the facility was needed and he would like to see the facility move along a rapidly as possible.
Chairman Cartwright asked Mr. Mathys if he was representing the Homeowners Association or himself.
Mr. Mathys answered that he was representing himself.
Chairman Cartwright asked staff about the export being proposed at the site, and if staff felt the export was excessive.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that there have been projects on the peninsula with significantly more export, such as the Tramanto tract.
Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Lyon stated that he was very familiar with this project, as a one-time neighbor and as a Planning Commissioner, and supported the project completely, as there is a great need for this type of housing in the community. He felt it was time to move on with the project.
Commissioner Cote stated that she narrowed her focus on the changes in the project rather than the overall basic concept of the project. She felt the two major issues were the change in the actual layout of the project and the amount of export from the site. She was satisfied that the new layout of the project was beneficial to the residents. However, based on the information provided by staff and the public comments, she had a better appreciation for the issues and was satisfied with the project. She was concerned with the prospective trails on the site, and noted there were comments received from the community. She wanted to make sure that the City Council addressed the issue of trails.
Commissioner Tomblin stated that he would support the project.
Commissioner Mueller felt this project addresses a need of the community, and felt that the new layout was an improvement to the project. He was concerned about the amount of dirt being exported, but felt that the staff would determine the best haul routes and would monitor the progress. He too was concerned that trails be provided on the property.
Chairman Cartwright stated he too was very familiar with the project. He felt the proposed modifications were very reasonable and in the case of the grading, necessary. He felt that the environmental concerns of traffic, noise, and air quality appeared to be short term and could be mitigated. He was very much in favor of recommending to the City Council that they approve the project. He asked staff for input on the issue of the trails on the property.
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that it was staff’s intention that there be some type of trail connection between Crestridge Road, particularly the school, and the Peninsula Center. He explained that Staff felt it would be more beneficial to have the trail placed on the adjoining property.
Chairman Cartwright was concerned that there may be no development on the adjoining property for quite some time and asked how this concern could be identified to the City Council.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that staff would identify the concern in the staff report. He felt it would be possible to work with the applicant to determine if there was any way to include a trail on the property.
Chairman Cartwright re-opened the public hearing.
Tom Daly , Vice President of Architecture for Belmont Corporation, explained that the area to the right of the development was a fire access which would be planted with grass so that it would become a combination of a fire lane and green area. He noted on the plans an area that was intended to be an exercise/walking area for the residents. He stated that he would be more than happy to study a possible integration of that with something over the top of the hill that would connect with the peninsula center.
Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Lyon moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2002-17, recommending that the City Council certify the Supplement to the Final Environmental Impact Report No. 27; and adopt Resolution No. 2002-18, recommending that the City Council approve, with conditions, Conditional Use Permit No. 195, Revision ‘A’ and Grading Permit No. 1903, Revision ‘A’ (Case No. ZON2001-00055). Further, staff would be directed to bring to the attention of the City Council the concern for a connecting trail on the site and that staff work with the applicant to try to develop a trail system on the property, seconded by Commissioner Mueller. Approved, (5-0).
ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS
Commissioner Cote stated that she would not be attending the meeting of August 13.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:53 p.m.