CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
SEPTEMBER 10, 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 Duran Reed led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Present: Commissioners Cote, Duran Reed, Lyon, Tomblin, Chairman Cartwright
Absent: Commissioner Mueller and Vice Chairman Long were excused
Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, Senior Planner Fox, and Recording Secretary Peterson.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
After a brief discussion the agenda was modified to hear items 3, 4, 5, 1, and 2.
Director/Secretary Rojas reported that at the City Council meeting of August 28, the City Council approved the Belmont Development as well as the Long Point project. He also stated that the request by CPH to alter four lots into pad lots was being appealed to the City Council.
Director/Secretary Rojas distributed an excerpt from the administrative report regarding a tentative fall workshop with the City Council and the Planning Commission. He explained that a date and agenda had not yet been set.
COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (REGARDING NON-AGENDA ITEMS
3. Conditional Use Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00160): 28915 Northbay Road AT&T/Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District
Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report. He explained that AT&T Wireless was proposing the installation of six antenna panels and related support equipment on the roof of the auditorium building at Ridgecrest Intermediate School. He stated that the antenna panels and equipment would be visually screened by both the existing roof parapet and additional proposed four to eight foot tall screen walls. He explained that staff believes all applicable findings for the approval of the CUP could be made, as it complies with the development standards that commercial antenna installations must meet. He stated that the addition of commercial antenna panels on the roof the building was ancillary to the use of the property for educational purposes, and was therefore consistent with the institutional land use designation of the Citys General Plan. He displayed the applicants photographic simulations of the proposed antennas through a Power Point presentation. He stated that the parapet walls would create no significant view impacts to the homes on Whitley Collins Drive. He stated that staff has reviewed the proposal for consistency with the Wireless Antenna Guidelines and felt that the project was consistent with the Planning Commissions preference for sites that are not single family residences. He stated a master plan had been submitted by AT&T. Finally, he noted that the provisions of the Telecommunications Act place limitations on the Citys authority to regulate certain aspects of commercial antenna applications. He noted that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 specifically preempts local jurisdictions from considering the affects from radio frequency emissions in making decisions on applications for commercial antennas. In conclusion, Mr. Fox stated that staff believed all of the required findings for the approval of the proposed project could be made, and approval of the proposed project was consistent with the Wireless Communications Antenna Development Guidelines, and the Telecommunications Act and was therefore recommending adoption of the draft Resolution presented.
Chairman Cartwright asked if there were other commercial antennas on the Ridgecrest School site.
Senior Planner Fox answered that there were none that staff was aware of.
Commissioner Cote asked if the coverage for the immediate residents of the proposed area would be improved with the new antennas.
Senior Planner Fox answered staff would have to assume that coverage would improve, but suggested asking that question of the applicant.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked staff to share their responses to the letters of concern that had been submitted by the neighbors.
Senior Planner Fox answered that he had responded to the neighbors concern as to whether the proposed use was for commercial or amateur purposes by explaining that this was a commercial antenna application. He stated that both letters had concerns with interference and health issues and explained that those factors were not within the purvue of the City to review and could not be part of any deliberation made on the application for a commercial antenna.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked how staff could be sure the applicant was complying with the FCC regulations.
Senior Planner Fox answered that AT&T currently has an FCC license and therefore staff must assume that they are complying with FCC regulations.
Chairman Cartwright opened the pubic hearing.
Michael Collier 5 Park Plaza #1400, Irvine, stated that he was the agent for Delta Groups which was the agent for AT&T Wireless and that he was very supportive of the staff report. He stated that coverage would improve for the neighbors in the area of the school.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked what type of coverage radius the area would receive with the new antennas.
Mr. Collier answered that he would supply the City with an "after map" which would accurately depict the coverage area. He stated that since this was a fairly low site the coverage would be approximately ˝ to 1 mile radius.
Commissioner Cote stated that she would like to see the submittal of this type of after map included as a condition of approval.
Commissioner Tomblin asked if any of the neighbors would be looking down on this equipment and if the proposed screening was sufficient.
Senior Planner Fox answered that staff felt the proposed screen wall would be tall enough to screen the antennas and equipment.
Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.
Chairman Lyon moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2002-26 thereby approving the requested Conditional Use Permit as presented by staff, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin.
Commissioner Duran Reed felt that the language in Condition No. 15 should be amended to clarify "temporary" lighting. She noted that the condition stated that there was not to be any permanent lighting, however there was no clarification under what conditions temporary lighting be allowed and for what period of time. She was not opposed to temporary emergency lighting, however she noted there were projects in the City that had temporary conditions that have lasted well over a year. She added that since there was no definition of temporary, she would suggest leaving the decision as to how long the temporary lighting was needed to the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement.
Commissioner Lyon accepted the amendment to the motion, as well as Commissioner Tomblin.
Commissioner Cote suggested amending the motion to add a condition to require the applicant to supply to the City with an "after" map which identifies the coverage associated with the new antennas.
Commissioner Lyon accepted the amendment.
The motion to adopt P.C. Resolution 2002-26 thereby approving the requested Conditional Use Permit as modified was approved, (5-0).
4. Conditional Use Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00341): 32201 Forrestal Drive, Verizon/Palos Verdes Unified School District
Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report. He explained that the Planning Commission had previously denied without prejudice a Conditional Use Permit application by Verizon for the adjacent City property. He explained the new proposal and showed the new location on a Power Point presentation. He stated that staff felt all applicable findings could be made to approve the Conditional Use Permit and noted that staff had recommended conditions of approval to require the antenna panels to be painted to blend in with the fence and foliage, to require the foliage to be maintained in a manner that would provide visual continue screening, and limit the days and hours of routine maintenance of the facility. He stated that staff had carefully reviewed the appearance of the proposal and that Verizon has installed mock-ups of the proposed antenna panels on the fence. He showed these mock-ups on the Power Point presentation, stating that based on these mock-ups and photographic simulations provided by Verizon, staff believes that the proposed project will be visually unobtrusive and have no adverse aesthetic impact to surrounding properties. He stated that staff reviewed the project for consistency with the Antenna Guidelines and believed the project was consistent with those guidelines. He also noted that Verizon had provided staff with before and after anticipated coverage areas surrounding the project. He reminded the Commission of the Telecommunications Act and what is not within the purvue of the City to consider. In conclusion, he stated that staff felt the required findings for the approval of the project could be made, it was consistent with the Antenna Guidelines, and was consistent with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and therefore recommended adoption of the draft Resolution.
Commissioner Tomblin understood that the project was located on school district property but asked if this plan had been reviewed by the Open Space and Parks and Recreation Committee to see how it would impact the playing fields.
Senior Planner Fox answered that the committee had not reviewed the plan and did not think they had any authority under City codes to do so. He stated that the school district does own the property and has the final authority to allow this use.
Commissioner Tomblin was concerned that the equipment, antennas, and any foliage or covering that may be necessary to screen the equipment may take away space from the playing fields, and he felt that there are far too few playing fields on the Peninsula as it is.
Senior Planner Fox clarified that the foliage referred to was existing foliage on the slope adjacent to the site. He explained that there was no proposal or suggestion by staff at this time to require any additional foliage be planted that would interfere with the use of the fields any more than currently occurs. With respect to the equipment enclosure, he noted there was a condition of approval that it be a chain link type of enclosure with slats so that it would not be visible.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked about a concern expressed in one of the letters to staff regarding the potential for fire.
Senior Planner Fox answered that from staffs perspective there are existing above- ground utilities throughout the area, and staff didnt believe the addition of this facility posed any more threat of an ignition source for brush fire than the existing above ground utilities already present at the site.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked if the City has ever required the applicant to plant foliage to screen antennas or equipment in past applications.
Senior Planner Fox answered that the City has placed that requirement on other applications, and gave the monopole at the California Water Service site as an example.
Commissioner Cote asked staff to review the before and after coverage maps provided by the applicant.
Senior Planner Fox displayed both maps and clarified the areas shown on the map and noted that the coverage would appear to improve on Palos Verdes Drive South as well as in the Seaview and Ladera Linda neighborhoods.
Chairman Cartwright opened the public hearing.
John Koos 970 W. 190th Street, Los Angeles, stated that he worked for Tetratech Wireless which was the agent for Verizon Wireless. He explained that this new location would be able to achieve the same coverage as the original proposal with the antennas on the monopine because they were at approximately the same elevation. He stated that he would be willing to work with the City if the City required additional landscaping around the equipment closure. He felt the staff report was very thorough and he was very pleased with their recommendations.
Commissioner Tomblin asked if it were possible to move the equipment down the slope, or on to another property.
Mr. Koos stated that the property line was immediately adjacent to the chain link fence and Verizon did not generally like to split leases between two property owners. He felt that the equipment set up against the fence was positioned so as to use the least amount of useable space as possible.
Chairman Cartwright felt that this proposal from Verizon was far superior to the earlier submittal for the site. He felt that if the mock-up is indicative of what the actual antenna will look like he felt that impacts to the neighborhood were very minimal. He noted that the foliage was existing and there was no proposal to plant any new foliage.
Commissioner Tomblin stated that he was not concerned with the antennas, and felt that the location of the antennas was very practical. His concern was with the location of the equipment and the impact of the equipment to the fields.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked if the equipment had any fire danger associated with it, and if Verizon had any fire problems with their equipment in the past.
Mr. Koos answered that the only fire related problem had come from vandalism to the equipment, and there was only one instance in the past several years that he could recall. He explained that in terms of their actual function, the equipment was cooled by fans that were very quiet.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked if it were possible to move the antennas to an area on the fence that has existing trees nearby that would screen the antennas from the neighbors and those using the fields.
Mr. Koos felt that would be a problem, in that vegetation very close to the antennas would cause an obstruction of the signal. He explained that the existing location was even slightly beyond the normal comfort level of the Verizon engineers with the proximity to the trees in the area.
Tom Hollingsworth 3648 Vigilance Drive asked about vehicle access to the equipment area and if trucks would drive over the grass or if there would be improvements made to the access road.
Senior Planner Fox answered there was no proposal or recommendation by staff to improve the access road. He stated that the access would most likely be along Forrestal Drive and back behind the softball diamond or possibly parking by the tennis courts and walking up the existing stairs to the equipment area.
Ed Diffendal 3704 Vigilance Drive stated he was speaking on behalf of the Ladera Linda HOA. He stated that he too was concerned about vehicle access to the equipment and also asked about the two off-street parking spaces mentioned in the staff report.
Senior Planner Fox responded that there is an existing parking area on the lower area adjacent to the tennis courts that will not be improved any further, as well as a dirt area at the end of the access road at the upper end that can be used for parking vehicles. He stated that if the Planning Commission wishes, staff can condition the approval that any maintenance vehicles will not drive across the playfields.
Mr. Diffendal asked if there was an impact on the Vitacourse, specifically station number 9, which was adjacent to the proposed panel.
Senior Planner Fox stated that there would be no impact to station 9.
Mr. Diffendal asked that Verizon work with the HOA regarding any foliage that is to be planted in the area.
Mr. Koos asked that if the Planning Commission were to condition the vehicular access, he asked that there be an allowance for any type of emergency situation. He felt there could be an emergency situation where heavy equipment would have to be driven directly to the equipment, for whatever reason.
Peter Lyons 912 10th Street, Hermosa Beach stated he was representing the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District. He discussed the playing field and noted that the area that the equipment and antennas is proposed for is in the area of the drainage for the field and he felt it was an area that most likely could not be developed into any type of a playing field.
Commissioner Tomblin asked Mr. Lyons if planting some foliage around the equipment would hamper any future plans for the site by the school district.
Mr. Lyons answered that the school district thoroughly researched the placement of the equipment and antennas and he did not see anything that bothered him. He noted that the fields do not go towards that corner and there are already trees in the area. He stated that everything slopes in that area towards a drainage break and he did not think there was anything the school district could do with that area.
Chairman Cartwright asked if the school district had looked at the proposal and was comfortable with it.
Mr. Lyons answered that the school district had reviewed the proposal and was comfortable with it.
Commissioner Cote asked if the school district had any problems with the applicant planting foliage around the maintenance facility.
Mr. Lyons stated that there would be no problem with that.
Commissioner Tomblin stated that he was satisfied with the access location of the equipment and asked if there was any provision for a cover or trellis over the equipment. He also asked how far out staff would ask for foliage and what type of foliage would be requested.
Senior Planner Fox answered that there was no type of cover or trellis currently proposed. He explained that staff felt the eight-foot high chain link fence with slats would be tall enough to substantially screen the equipment from Forrestal Drive and the trails on the site. He stated that there was no specific foliage recommendations at this time, but staff would identify appropriate foliage at the appropriate time.
Chairman Cartwright closed the public hearing.
Chairman Cartwright felt that a trellis built over the equipment would have to be a fairly substantial structure and would probably impact views far more than the equipment itself.
Commissioner Lyon felt that Mr. Koos and Verizon had worked very well to respond to the Planning Commissions earlier directions by avoiding problems with the neighbors and accommodating the concerns of the staff and the Planning Commission.
Commissioner Lyon moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2002-27 thereby approving the Conditional Use Permit with the amendment that a condition be added stating that to the extent the applicant and the property owner desire screening type of landscaping, or the staff desires it in order to respond to concerns of the neighbors, that such landscaping be approved by the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin.
Commissioner Tomblin suggested an amendment that some type of cover or trellis be added over the top of the equipment, as determined by staff.
Commissioner Lyon felt that was within the intent of his additional condition, and therefore accepted the motion.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked to amend the motion to add language describing the temporary lighting and how long the temporary lighting would be allowed, similar to the condition added to the previous application at Ridgecrest Intermediate School.
Commissioner Lyon accepted the amendment to the motion.
Commissioner Cote asked that a condition be added that clarified the ingress and egress of service vehicles, specifically not driving on the playing field unless it is an emergency situation and staff to work with the applicant in situations where heavy equipment would need to be installed. She also added that parking would be limited to the area at the tennis courts or the area off of Forrestal Drive.
Commissioner Lyon accepted the amendment to the motion.
The motion to adopt P.C. Resolution 2002-27 to approve the Conditional Use Permit as amended was approved, (5-0).
ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS
Commissioner Lyon stated that he would not be able to attend the meeting of September 24.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that he also would not be attending the meeting, and Deputy Director Pfost would be attending the meeting in his absence.
1. Minutes of August 13, 2002
Commissioner Duran Reed felt that since two Commissioners were absent it might be best to make any changes necessary to the minutes and continue the minutes to the next meeting.
Chairman Cartwright noted that Commissioner Mueller had sent an email stating that he was satisfied with the minutes of August 13, 2002. He proposed approving the minutes of August 13.
Commissioner Lyon noted a correction on page 36 of the minutes.
Commissioner Tomblin moved to approved the minutes as amended, seconded by Chairman Cartwright. Approved, (3-0-2) with Commissioners Cote and Duran Reed abstaining since they were absent from that meeting.
2. Minutes of August 27, 2002
Commissioner Cote noted that two Commissioners were not present at this meeting to review the minutes and recommended the minutes be continued to the meeting of September 24, 2002.
Commissioner Duran Reed noted a correction on page 10 of the minutes. She also noted a typo on page 13.
Commissioner Cote stated she had a number of corrections that she would e-mail to the staff.
Commissioner Lyon noted a typo on page 8 of the minutes.
Chairman Cartwright stated that as a rule he did not like to carry the approval of minutes over to another meeting if Commissioners are absent and if possible the minutes should be approved with or without changes when placed on the Consent Calendar. He asked that a discussion be added to the next agenda to clarify the issue of the approval of the minutes which should include a review of the previously agreed upon procedures regarding corrections to the minutes.
The Planning Commission unanimously agreed to add the item to the next agenda and to continue the minutes to the meeting of September 24, 2002
The meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m.