CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
FEBRUARY 11, 2003
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Long at 7:03 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.
Commissioner Cote led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Present:Commissioners Cartwright, Cote, Duran Reed, Lyon, Vice Chairman Mueller, Chairman Long. Commissioner Tomblin arrived at 7:10 p.m.
Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, Associate Planner Blumenthal, Assistant Planner Yu, Assistant Planner Luckert, and Recording Secretary Peterson.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Commissioner Cote moved to approve the agenda as amended to hear items 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, and 6, seconded by Commissioner Duran Reed. Approved without objection.
Director/Secretary Rojas distributed two items of late correspondence regarding agenda item no. 3; noted that there had been e-mail correspondence relating to the grading at the project at 2 Yacht Harbor, which staff was working with the residents to obtain a solution; and that any Commissioner wishing to attend the Planners Institute Conference should contact his office to make arrangements for registration.
Vice Chairman Mueller requested that there be a monthly update regarding the General Plan Steering Committee.
COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (REGARDING NON-AGENDA ITEMS)
2.Height Variation Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00249): 30778 Ganado Drive
Associate Planner Blumenthal presented the staff report, explaining that the item had been continued to this meeting because of concerns raised at the last public hearing regarding potential view impairment from second story bedroom windows on the adjacent property. He stated that the architect has now reduced the plate height of room from 8 feet 1 inch to 7 feet 6 inches and reduced the roof pitch. This allowed the overall height of the addition to be reduced by approximately 2 feet. In addition to the reduction of the height, he explained that the architect has reduced the size of the addition to meet the front yard setback. He stated that staff has determined that all nine findings could be made for the height variation, and as such staff was recommending the Planning Commission adopt the height variation as presented, subject to conditions of approval.
Commissioner Duran Reed noted there were several trees in the back of the home which currently are below the sixteen-foot ridgeline of the home. She asked if there was anything in the Development Code that would allow the Planning Commission to place a condition on the application that would make sure the trees don’t ultimately block the view of the neighbors next to the applicant.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that the current Ordinance does not give the ability to regulate trees until they are over the threshold that triggers review, which is sixteen feet or the ridgeline, whichever is lower.
She asked if the applicant could voluntarily agree to have such a condition placed on his application.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that the applicant could agree to keep the trees cut below 16 feet.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked if there was any difficultly with the Building Code allowing a plate height to be only 7 feet 6 inches.
Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that the Building Code has a minimum plate height of 7 feet.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the proposed window facing the north side would be translucent.
Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that the bathroom window on the north side would be required to be opaque glass.
Chairman Long opened the public hearing.
Mike Sverdlov 30778 Ganado Drive (applicant) stated that his architect has redesigned the plan in accordance with the recommendations of the Planning Commission, and felt that the new design should work for everyone involved.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked Mr. Sverdlov if he would be willing, on a voluntary basis, to keep his trees trimmed below his ridgeline.
Mr. Sverdlov answered that he has always kept his trees cut low and did not think there would be a problem in the future, however he was not willing to agree to have that as a condition of his approval.
Maches Grinell (architect) stated that from the beginning she had attempted to design an addition that would give the same sense of design and the same type of roof as the original home so that it did not look like an addition. Given the opportunity to redesign she was able to lower the roof two and one half feet lower than originally designed, and noted that she would not be able to lower the roof any further.
Vice Chairman Mueller was encouraged that the architect had moved the front of the façade back out of the setback area and asked what was gained by adding the additional foot at the north side of the home.
Ms. Grinell answered that it was added on to the master bedroom and bathroom, and noted that it does not affect any views or the setback area.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked if it was common to reduce the plate height in order to reduce the roof height.
Ms. Grinell answered that it was not the best way to reduce the roof height, as it would cause much of the materials to have to be cut down during construction, and there would be other adjustments that would have to be made.
Joan Barry 30770 Ganado Drive stated that due to the suggested alterations to the proposed addition, she and her husband find the proposed addition acceptable. Her only concern was that the staff report stated the height reduction was 2.05 feet, and as she had no way of knowing how to gauge the measurement, she wanted to make sure the silhouette as it now exists would be what the actual addition would be when built.
Chairman Long closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Tomblin had no problem with the proposed addition and agreed with the findings in the staff report.
Commissioner Cote stated that her initial concerns were with finding no. 4, that requires the proposed structure to be designed and situated in such a manner to minimize the impairment of the view. She felt that this had been addressed with the current proposed design. She did want to see something in the Resolution requiring the bathroom window be of translucent glass.
Commissioner Duran Reed also supported the staff recommendations and felt this was an excellent example of what happens when neighbors get together and analyze and discuss the plans to see if there are any potential problems.
Commissioner Lyon stated that as long as the Barry’s have no objection to the project, he was satisfied.
Commissioner Cartwright could find no significant view impairment with the proposed addition. He felt that lowering the ceiling to 7 feet 6 inches was a real compromise, and commended the applicant for going the extra step. He felt the project as designed was consistent and compatible with the neighborhood and the privacy concern will be mitigated with the treatment of the bathroom window. He therefore supported the staff recommendations and the approval of the project.
Vice Chairman Mueller was very pleased that the ridgeline had been lowered and the front façade had been moved away from the street, making the addition look less like a pop-up. He felt that adding the one foot to the north side of the home was a better solution than adding into the setback area. He suggested that the bathroom window be of translucent glass to protect the privacy of the Barrys.
Chairman Long agreed with the comments of the other Commissioners and voiced his support of the proposed project.
Vice Chairman Mueller moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2003-01 thereby approving the Height Variation Permit (Case No.ZON2002-00249) with the amendment that the Resolution require translucent glass in the bathroom window on the north side of the addition, seconded by Commissioner Cote. Approved, (7-0).
3.Height Variation and Site Plan Review Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00605): 4362 Exultant Drive
Assistant Planner Yu presented the staff report. She explained the scope of the project, and noted that the applicant had applied for a height variation application in the past, which was reviewed by the Planning Commission in December 2001 as well as February 2002. She stated that the Planning Commission had found that the previously proposed project created significant view impairment from the residence at 4343 Dauntless Drive, and therefore was not able to make the findings in a positive manner to approve the project. She explained that the current application has been modified to address the Planning Commission concerns in regards to the view impact. She stated that staff has determined that the proposed project does not significantly impair the ocean views from 4343 Dauntless Drive. She explained that during the review of the previous project the Planning Commission had directed staff to analyze homes beyond the immediate neighborhood. In light of that direction, staff provided a similar analysis for this application, and based on the extended analysis staff found the proposed addition was compatible with the neighborhood. She noted that during the comment period staff had received a letter from a neighbor expressing concern regarding privacy. Based on a site inspection, staff determined that the proposed addition would result in privacy impact to the neighbor to the rear of the residence. Therefore staff was recommending a condition that the proposed rear window be modified so that it is above eye level or that the applicant plant vegetation along the top of the transitional slope such that the neighbor’s pool is screened from the second story window. Therefore, staff was recommending that the Planning Commission approve with conditions the proposed height variation application.
Commissioner Cartwright asked for clarification as to which window the staff was recommending be modified.
Assistant Planner Yu showed the Planning Commission photos to clarify the window in question.
Commissioner Tomblin noted that there was also a deck and french doors at the back of the addition and asked if there was a privacy concern with these.
Assistant Planner Yu answered that staff had determined that, as the deck is only 3 feet wide and 10 feet long, it would not be much of a privacy concern. She explained that the privacy concern was when the applicant was using the living room and could look out of the window and see the swimming pool area. Ms. Yu noted that the same applied to the french doors. She noted that there was currently a deck at the rear of the property.
Director/Secretary Rojas added that privacy issues were very difficult and there was a lot of balancing that needed to be done. He explained that staff tried to give weight to different areas of the proposed project to assess privacy impacts, and therefore felt that there was more likelihood of a loss of privacy from a large window that is part of the living room rather than walking out onto a small deck.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked if making the railing along the proposed balcony of a solid material, if that would protect the privacy of the neighbors.
Director/Secretary Rojas felt that the view impacts would still exist if someone were standing on the deck and did not believe that making the railing solid would afford much additional protection.
Commissioner Cartwright asked staff to explain how planting foliage along the top of the slope would help the privacy impacts.
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that in looking at the photographs and trying to gauge the line of sight from the windows to the lower property owner’s swimming pool area, staff felt that if the applicant were to plant some foliage towards the bottom of his property line, the foliage would not have to be too high and will still afford some screening of the pool area.
Vice Chairman Mueller discussed the analysis in the staff report in comparing the property with surrounding properties, specifically the discussion of lot coverage. He stated that he did not see any discussion on what the lot coverage was and how it compared to other homes in the neighborhood.
Assistant Planner Yu responded that the lot coverage for this proposal was 42%, however staff did not calculate lot coverage of the surrounding lots as staff does not have the necessary information regarding the square footage of improvements on these other lots.
Chairman Long opened the public hearing.
Jeff Younggren 4362 Exultant Drive (applicant) stated that this was the third time before the Planning Commission with the project and he was a little surprised by the development of a new problem at the rear of the project. He explained the revisions he had made to the project, at the direction of the Planning Commission, to come up with the current design. He stated that through all of the revisions of the plan, the back of the house has always been exactly the same and no changes have been made from the original proposal, which the Planning Commission reviewed. He stated that he was unaware of an objection to the privacy issues until staff notified him approximately 10 days ago. He understood the issues of the neighbors and was happy to try to cooperate with the privacy issue. He requested that the Planning Commission allow him to keep the proposed window, and he would gladly plant and maintain a hedge on the lower lot line next to the pool. He noted that his home, by the way the homes were originally built, overlooks the property below him and privacy is an issue because the lots are tiered. He stated that the existing deck at the rear of the property has been there since they bought the home in 1976.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Younggren to clarify where the existing deck was on his property.
Mr. Younggren clarified on a photograph where his existing deck is located.
Commissioner Cote noted that the members of the Planning Commission had changed since Mr. Younggren had originally applied for his height variation and that she had not been given the minutes from the previous meetings to help her in understanding the background and direction given previously. Therefore, she asked staff to clarify whether this was a new privacy issue or if it was an issue that had not been properly addressed.
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that staff had reviewed privacy as part of the original application and had not thought it was an issue. However, with this latest submittal staff had received a letter from the neighbor below calling out some very specific privacy concerns about her pool area. Staff visited the pool area, and based on that site visit determined that there was indeed a privacy concern.
Debra Meffert 4380 Dauntless Drive stated that the privacy situation was brought to her attention because she has recently put her house on the market for sale. She stated that there had been quite a few people who wanted to purchase her home but changed their mind when they came into the home and saw the silhouette above. She stated that she was not aware that there was going to be such a large window looking down into her yard. She noted that this window and addition not only look into her pool area, but into the large window in her kitchen, the large sliding glass door in her master bedroom, and her master bathroom. She felt that these were larger privacy issues than the pool area.
Chairman Long asked Ms. Meffert if planting the foliage would be a satisfactory solution.
Ms. Meffert felt there would still be a problem, as she had not realized what a concern this addition was for the potential buyers of her property.
Chairman Long understood the concern, however explained that the Planning Commission’s concern was for the issue of privacy and what the real issue of privacy is, rather than what any potential buyers might think. He asked Ms. Meffert if the privacy, in her opinion, would be adequately protected if the shrubbery is in place.
Ms. Meffert did not think the foliage would be adequate to protect her privacy, and it still affects the value of her property.
Chairman Long asked Ms. Meffert how the proposed deck and the exposure of portions of her house to the deck compare to the privacy issues of the existing deck.
Ms. Meffert explained that the existing deck is at ground level and there is a retaining wall around that deck. She stated that when the applicant is sitting on that deck she can only see the tops of their heads.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Ms. Meffert her opinion of raising the level of the proposed window, as proposed by staff.
Ms. Meffert responded that she would not have a problem with that suggestion.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked Ms. Meffert if she felt the french doors would create a privacy issue.
Ms. Meffert stated that she had not seen the complete plan, but did not think the french doors would create a privacy issue. She added that she was not trying to be difficult and create a problem for the Younggrens and therefore she was focusing her concern on the proposed window.
Director/Secretary Rojas clarified that the Guidelines state that given the variety and number of options that are available to preserve indoor privacy, greater weight generally will be given to protecting outdoor privacy than to protecting indoor privacy. He stated that this was why staff’s discussion was regarding the outdoor privacy.
Lisa Matura 4394 Dauntless Drive stated that she had said nothing about her concerns earlier because she had been under the assumption that because she had signed the papers saying she had seen the plans, she had signed away her rights to any comments about the project. She stated that she also had not seen a picture of what the back of the house would look like. She stated that her concern was with the balcony which looks down into her property and into her master bedroom and kitchen.
Chairman Long asked Ms. Matura if she would be satisfied with planting foliage along the bottom of Mr. Younggren’s property.
Ms. Matura did not see how planting foliage would help with her privacy issues.
Chairman Long asked Ms. Matura if she now understood she was not signing away any rights to object to the project.
Ms. Matura responded that she understood that now, but learned of that only recently. She added that Commissioner Duran Reed’s suggestion regarding solid balcony railings was a good one and that may help her privacy issues.
Commissioner Cartwright asked if the Younggrens could currently look down onto her property.
Ms. Matura answered that they could. She showed the Commissioners some additional photographs that she took that she felt would show her privacy concerns.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
At 8:20 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 8:45 p.m. at which time they reconvened.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (CONT)
Laurie Younggren 4362 Exultant Drive clarified that her existing deck is not at ground level, but is elevated three feet. She stated that unfortunately the way the homes were originally built, they are terraced and she can easily look into the homes below her. She stated that she would very much like to keep the window as proposed because of the ocean view that it offered.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Mrs. Younggren if she could currently look into the pool area of her neighbor.
Mrs. Younggren answered that she can currently look into her neighbor’s pool area.
Mr. Younggren (in rebuttal) stated that to say he was a little frustrated was an understatement, as he felt he had done what staff and the previous Commission had asked, had not changed the rear of the design, and now new problems have surfaced that didn’t exist before. He felt that the resolution was for him to plant a hedge and agreeing to keep the top of the hedge level with the railing of the current existing deck.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Younggren how he would maintain the hedges if that was what the Planning Commission asked him to do.
Mr. Younggren answered that he would buy a hedge that would grow 10 to 13 feet tall and he felt he would be able to maintain this hedge with no problem.
Debra Meffert stated that there was soil and railroad ties above her pool area and questioned what would happen to her pool area if hedges were planted above it and watered. She felt it might cause dirt and mud to come into her deck and pool area.
Chairman Long stated that the Younggrens would have the obligation, through their homeowners insurance, to repair any damage that may be caused. He asked staff if they had any concerns that the foliage might cause that problem.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that there were many instances of foliage being planted on slopes, but noted that it needs to be maintained properly and not over-watered.
Chairman Long closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Lyon noted that because the way the lots were created, there was no way to alleviate viewing from a higher property onto a lower property. He did not think altering the window as suggested in the staff report would do anything to provide privacy. He stated that there were two other equally accessible areas in the family room to look down on the property if someone were inclined to do so. He felt the best solution was to provide a hedge of adequate height to reduce or obscure the direct vision into the rear yards at 4380 and 4394 Dauntless Drive. He felt this was an effective and reasonable solution. He reminded the Commission that the Code requires the Planning Commission to give prime consideration to the exterior of the house, even though that is not of the primary concern to the neighbors in this case.
Commissioner Cartwright agreed with Commissioner Lyon’s comments. In addition, he felt that all of the findings could be made to support the proposed project. He could not find any concern with cumulative view impairment, and believed that what was being proposed was consistent and compatible with the surrounding neighborhood. He felt that the idea of the hedge would allow privacy to the neighbors below.
Commissioner Duran Reed stated that after viewing the photographs of the properties she felt that the proposed wood railing on the deck outside of the family was set back far enough that it should not create a privacy issue to the Matura residence. Discussing the privacy concerns of Ms. Meffert, she did not think that reducing the size of the windows would completely solve her privacy concerns, specifically because there is a door to the left and a french door to the right of the window. She felt that planting the vegetation would be the best alternative and would solve the privacy issues, as long as it was planted sufficiently high enough to protect the privacy of both neighbors while at the same time providing the views that the applicant would like. Therefore, she stated she would support the staff recommendations with the modification that the vegetation be planted to a sufficient height to afford privacy to the neighbors and protect the view of the applicant. She felt that the height of the vegetation could be determined by the Director.
Commissioner Cote felt that there had been a process breakdown concerning this application. She was very frustrated that several issues had been brought out late in the process, making if difficult for the Commissioners to go to the site to view first hand what these issues entailed. She further felt that while the applicant takes the plans to the neighbors for their viewing, the neighbors should also contact the applicants to see what is going on and how the proposed addition may affect their property. She felt it was important for architects to be at Planning Commission meetings and that the neighbors have reviewed the plans prior to the meeting. With that being said, she stated that she had been to the site and viewed the various view impacts and felt that there was no significant view impact and also felt that the project was compatible with the neighborhood. Regarding the privacy issue, she stated that it was clear to her, because of the topography of the neighborhood, that there was an existing set of circumstances with the existing deck that created privacy issues. She stated that she was attempting to balance the approach to deal with what the new addition might bring rather than trying to solve existing privacy issues. With that in mind, she felt it was clear that compromise was needed from all parties and that the proposal to plant the hedge at an appropriate height would afford such a compromise. She therefore supported the staff recommendations with the added condition to plant a hedge for privacy to the neighbors pool area.
Commissioner Tomblin stated that he supported and agreed with the comments of the other Commissioners, and added that he would like to see staff have the discretion of being able to set the height of the hedges and that the initial planting be of more mature plants.
Vice Chairman Mueller acknowledged that the back of the proposed addition had not changed much from the past submittals, however the attention had now moved from the front of the addition to the back. He felt that was a good thing, in that staff and the Planning Commission should consider the impact of the structure to the entire immediate neighborhood. He felt that the staff had made a reasonable effort to provide several alternatives. He sympathized with the applicant regarding the issue of the window, as he understood the desire to have a window that would support a reasonable view. He felt that if planting the foliage on the slope would help block the view down to the neighbor’s yard, then that was the preferred solution.
Chairman Long felt that this new design did not significantly impair views from the neighboring properties and was compatible with the neighborhood. He noted that the project is not much smaller than it was before, however the lots in the neighborhood have large building pads and the proposed lot coverage is within the allowable limits. He felt the redesign very significantly reduced the apparent mass of the project from the street. He was very pleased with the applicant’s suggestion to plant vegetation on the slope, and noted that it was a very good and fair compromise to the privacy concerns. He did not think that the window in question on the applicant’s proposal should be modified in any way.
Commissioner Lyon moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2003-02, thereby approving the staff report’s recommendation to approve the height variation, site plan review, and minor exception permit, with the amendment to plant and maintain a hedge of sufficient height and density to provide reasonable privacy to properties at 4380 and 4394 Exultant Drive, to be approved by the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright.
Commissioner Cartwright suggested an amendment that the Director will approve this hedge prior to the issuance of the final building permit. There being no objection, the motion was amended.
Commissioner Tomblin suggested the planting of the hedges begin immediately so that there is evidence that something is being planted to help mitigate the privacy situation and that there be some indication to staff of the minimum size of the plants that are initially planted.
Chairman Long felt that the motion empowers the Director to require larger plants be initially planted.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that such a condition has been required in the past, and at that time the applicant planted the foliage early in the construction process, and while the construction was proceeding the plants were growing, and prior to final he went to the site to make sure the foliage was effective. He stated that the condition should contain a phrase that the foliage be maintained at the height determined to be adequate.
The motion was approved, (7-0).
4.Height Variation Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00539): 44 Headland Drive
Assistant Planner Luckert presented the staff report, explaining that staff felt all nine findings could be made to support the approval of the height variation. He noted that staff did not think the proposed metal roof would be compatible with the immediate neighborhood, however staff was recommending that the Planning Commission approve the application with modifications and conditions that before building permits are issued the applicant receive Director approval of an alternative roofing material that is compatible with the immediate neighborhood.
Commissioner Cote asked what type of roofing material would be more compatible with the immediate neighborhood.
Assistant Planner Luckert answered that most of the homes in the immediate neighborhood contain shake, shingle, and gravel roofs.
Director/Secretary Rojas added that staff looks at elements that exist in the immediate neighborhood and if there is not an element to match, staff will determine it is not compatible. Therefore, whatever roofing material is proposed, if it exists somewhere in the neighborhood, staff will most likely determine it to be compatible.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked if metal roofs were permitted in the City and if there were any currently in the City.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that there were currently metal roofs in the city, just not in this neighborhood.
Chairman Long asked, if this project were built with a rock roof, could the applicant later tear off the rock roof and replace it with a metal roof, and would that be acceptable.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that would be allowed as long as there were no conditions on the project that they would have to maintain a certain type of roof.
Commissioner Tomblin felt that it was not only the roofing material that was not compatible with the neighborhood, but that this was a radical design change that would be different than the rest of the neighborhood.
Commissioner Lyon felt that the strict interpretation of not finding another metal roof in the neighborhood was not reasonable, as it would preclude any technological advances that may allow a much better roof to be put into the neighborhood.
Chairman Long opened the public hearing.
David Berman 44 Headland Drive (applicant) showed the Planning Commission some sketches of metal roofs, a picture of a house with a metal roof, and samples of the roofing material. He explained that he bought the house with the intention of doing a major remodel, however he wanted to live there for some period of time to get the feel of the neighborhood. He explained that in that time there has been many changes and improvements on the street with a range of architectural styles and sizes. He explained that he and his wife enjoy the country feel of their home and have asked their architect to try to preserve that. He noted that they have taken a number of steps to plant a lot of trees and preserve a lot of open space around the house. He stated that the metal roof will cost him more but felt that it will increase the value of the house, as well as enhancing the value of the other houses on the street. Further, because of the proposed pitch of the roof the only roofing materials available, other than the metal, would be a gravel roof, which he did not like. In conclusion, he felt that the proposed home will fit well into the neighborhood.
Commissioner Tomblin asked if the neighbors were aware that the residence would have the metal roof and if they had seen the illustrations of what the roof would look like.
Mr. Berman answered that he had not shown the picture to the neighbors, as at the time he was planning a different type of roof material.
Observing the examples of roofing material provided by the applicant, Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Berman which of the two colors he was proposing to use.
Mr. Berman answered that he preferred to use the natural zinc color over the terra cotta color. He noted that the natural zinc color was not painted on and the finish will become a little grayer over time. He stated that the roof should last for the life of the house without maintenance, as there would be no peeling, cracking, or chipping.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked if there were different ways the roofing material could be applied to the roof, as the picture showed long sheets of metal on the roof.
Mr. Berman did not know, but noted that he would rather apply the metal in sheets to make it more durable.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Berman if he had any alternative materials to be considered.
Mr. Berman answered that he would let the architect answer that question.
Mark Von Wodke 510 W. 10th Street, Claremont stated that he was the architect for the project. He felt that in addressing the roof, it must be put into the context of the site. He noted that it was a one-acre site with a lot of vegetation, and the house has been designed to sit very comfortably on the site. He felt that the issue regarding compatibility was more with the colors chosen, as the house will not be visible to the surrounding neighbors. He distributed a color material board so the Commissioners could see how the zinc colored roof will gain a patina over time and blend into the context of the other colors selected. He stated that it was not really possible to apply the metal roof in any other way but strips, as the wind can get under the roof if applied any other way. He felt that the metal roof was a very good solution for this property.
Commissioner Cote noted that she has seen this type of roof in snow country and asked if that was where this type of roof was normally found.
Mr. Von Wodke answered that this type of roof is used quite a bit in snow country but is not limited to that. He felt that this type of roof works very well in warm weather climates.
Commissioner Tomblin noted that the roofline was nearly flat and asked if this was done to prevent blockage of views or was it the applicant’s selection for the design of the house.
Mr. Von Wodke answered that they wanted to keep the roofline as low as possible mainly because they wanted the house to nestle into the site and not be intrusive.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked what type of architecture this house would be considered.
Mr. Von Wodke answered that he characterized it as a healthy greenhouse, as it was designed for natural day lighting, ventilation, passive solar, etc. However he felt it was also a clean, contemporary design that was not something that was trying to call attention to itself.
Commissioner Cartwright asked how long it will take the zinc roof to weather to a softer gray color.
Mr. Von Wodke felt that within a year much of the shine will dissipate and there will be a grayer, warmer color of roof.
Commissioner Cartwright asked if the roof was highly reflective when first installed.
Mr. Von Wodke did not think it would reflect light.
Commissioner Cartwright asked why the applicant chose a metal roof.
Mr. Von Wodke responded that the metal roof was environmentally friendly, durable, and was a very compatible roof.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked if the applicant would accept the terracotta color of roof.
Mr. Von Wodke answered that the preference was the zinc roof, however he would accept the terracotta.
Tracy Ely 24219 Neece Avenue Torrance stated that he was the general contractor for the proposed project. He felt that the type of roof proposed was one of the most efficient roofs made and knew of several similar roofs on the peninsula. He noted that there are also many metal roofs in the beach cities, as the metal stands up well in the salt air. He discussed the type of material used for the proposed home and noted that it comes in 15 inch heights and it was much more desirable to keep the blocks in solid dimensions rather than having to cut the top of the blocks. Therefore it was desirable to add five inches to the ridge height of the home. He noted that the house sits back quite a ways from the street, and felt that any roof put on the home will most likely not be visible from the street.
Mr. Berman (in rebuttal) felt that was being proposed was an unconventional house within a fairly conventional design. He stated that the house would be a showcase for environmental design, as it would be built with the most energy efficient materials, materials that would have the least impact on the environment, passive solar design, passive solar features, and energy it will be energy efficient. He emphasized that the house will be set back 50 feet from the street, there will a lot of plantings and trees, and the roof would most likely not be visible from the street.
Chairman Long closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Duran Reed stated that her only issue with the project was finding no. 8, whether the proposed structure was compatible with the immediate neighborhood. She noted that the architect had described it as a contemporary style of home and that there was at least one other contemporary home in the neighborhood. She also looked at the roof colors in the neighborhood, as she felt color was an issue when considering neighborhood compatibility, and did not see any other silver or gray roofs in the immediate neighborhood. She agreed with Commissioner Lyon that the City should not limit the types of roofing materials to those that currently exist in the neighborhood, as she felt that was doing a disservice to the homeowners. She did not have any issue with the metal roof, but felt that if the roof were the terra cotta color it would blend in more with the neighborhood.
Commissioner Lyon agreed with Commissioner Duran Reed’s comments and felt that neighborhood compatibility was very important when there are a series of homes that are visible from the street. In this case, however, the house is virtually by itself on a one-acre lot and is very difficult to see from the street. Therefore, he tended to downgrade the importance of neighborhood compatibility in this case, and had no problem with the metal roof. He also felt that what was important in neighborhood compatibility was what the home will look like, not what it is made of. He particularly liked the option of the terra cotta color of the metal roof, as it could very much look like a tile roof and be compatible with the neighborhood. He had no other problems with the architectural features of the proposed home and would be in favor of approving the project.
Commissioner Cote also felt that the neighborhood compatibility finding was the one which gave her the most thought. She stated she was somewhat concerned with the total square footage, lot coverage, and mass of the structure, however she felt that the architect had taken considerable effort in the design to minimize the mass and look of the home. She was also pleased that the house was set back from the street 50 to 60 feet. Regarding the metal roof, she was concerned that there were no other gray color roofs in the neighborhood, but agreed that if the roof were the terra cotta color it would look more like a tile roof and blend in more with the neighborhood. She stated that she was intrigued with the environmental aspects of the home and that, with the change in color of the roof, could approve the project.
Commissioner Tomblin stated he was not in support of the project, as he did not think the neighbors really understood what was being built. He stated that he would be much more comfortable if a rendering, color board, and color scheme were made available for all of the neighbors to view. He felt that if the neighbors then had no major oppositions to the project, he would be more comfortable in supporting the project. He was very uncomfortable supporting a project without the neighborhood really understanding what was being built.
Vice Chairman Mueller felt the important thing to keep in mind is that the house itself appears to be designed to fit into a large, tucked away lot. He was convinced that the neighbors saw the design of the house and are familiar with the construction of the house, with the exception of the roof. He felt that the terra cotta or a dark slate color roof would be a better alternative than using the zinc roof, as he felt that might look more like a commercial roof. He discussed the finding regarding neighborhood, and did not think it was necessary to go the extra step of having the neighbors review a rendering and materials.
Chairman Long felt the only issue was neighborhood compatibility, and he felt the finding was affected by a number of issues. He agreed with Commissioner Lyon’s suggestion that in looking at neighborhood compatibility it makes a difference whether one is looking at a neighborhood where materials are all very similar and houses are very close together on small lots and are seen together, as opposed to a neighborhood where there is a large difference in the types of houses and the lots are very large. He felt that the way the house was designed and situated on this lot that size was not an issue. He did not think that the zinc roof was compatible with the neighborhood, but felt the terra cotta roof would be. He felt the 5-inch change in the ridgeline of the roof was also acceptable. He felt he could support the project with the caveat that the roof be of the terra cotta color.
Commissioner Cartwright did not think it was necessary to send the project back so that the neighbors for further review. He too felt the zinc roof looked like a commercial roof, but could support the project if it were a terra cotta color. He noted that the original proposal called for a terra cotta color roof, however the owner had changed his mind and wanted the zinc color. Therefore, he felt that the neighbors might already be expecting the terra cotta colored roof.
Commissioner Cote asked staff if the original plan shown to the neighbors specified a metal roof.
Assistant Planner Luckert responded that he did not recall the original plans specifying a metal roof, however the applicant expressed to him at a later date that the material would be metal.
Both Commissioner Cartwright and Vice Chairman Mueller stated their surprise that the original plans did not specify the type or color of the roofing material, but felt that the terra cotta color was close enough to a tile look that they could support the project.
Commissioner Lyon moved to approve the proposed project as presented, thereby adopting P.C. Resolution 2003-03, with the understanding that the metal roof material will be the terra cotta color and that the ridgeline will be raised by 5 inches, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Approved, (6-1) with Commissioner Tomblin dissenting.
Chairman Long noted that it was 11:00 and asked whether the Planning Commission wished to suspend the rules to take up new business after 11:00. There being no objection, the rule was suspended.
Commissioner Duran Reed left the meeting at 11:00 p.m.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
At 11:00 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 11:10 p.m. at which time they reconvened.
5.Site Plan Review Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00570): 28500 Western Ave
Chairman Long asked the Planning Commission if they wished to waive the staff report. There being no objection, the Planning Commission waived the staff report.
Chairman Long opened the public hearing.
Louie Aurelio stated that he was the project architect for Smart N Final stated that there was a concern regarding the noise of the air conditioning units on the roof, and explained that based on OSHA the allowable noise from an 8 hour time span is 80 decibels however his roof equipment will be at 85 decibels, per manufacturers specifications.
Commissioner Cartwright asked staff to clarify if the City code requires the equipment be at 65 decibels.
Assistant Planner Luckert stated that the code requires the equipment run at no louder than 65 decibels between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., 7 days a week.
Commissioner Cartwright asked if the existing units comply with that code.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that there was no noise analysis data on the existing units, however from previous staff reports it was staff’s impression that the units were most likely operating at less than 70 decibels.
Chairman Long asked Mr. Aurelio if he could take steps to comply with the City requirement.
Mr. Aurelio answered that the manufacturer’s specifications called out for 85 decibels, however there will be screen walls around the units which will decrease the noise issues. He noted that 85 decibels is measured right in front of the unit, and the noise reading of 65 decibels will be taken from the property line.
Commissioner Cartwright stated that staff has recommended a noise study after 3 months and if the units are not in compliance with the Code they will have to be brought to compliance, and asked Mr. Aurelio if there would be a problem doing that.
Mr. Aurelio did not think there would be a problem meeting the City Code requirements.
Jeff Forman 600 Citadel Drive, stated he was a representative for Smart N Final and that there were no objections to the staff report and recommendations and that they will make sure the units meet the 65 decibel requirement at the property line.
Commissioner Cartwright moved to approve the staff recommendations, subject to the conditions, thereby adopting P.C. Resolution 2003-04, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (6-0).
1.Minutes of January 28, 2003
Commissioner Cote noted a typo on page 11 of the minutes.
Vice Chairman Mueller added some wording for clarify to a paragraph on page 12 of the minutes.
The minutes were approved, as amended, without objection. (6-0).
ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS
6.Pre-Agenda for the meeting of February 25, 2003
The meeting was adjourned at 11:22 p.m.