CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
MAY 27, 2003
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Long at 7:05 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.
Commissioner Tomblin led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Present: Commissioners Cartwright, Cote, Duran Reed, Lyon, Tomblin, and Chairman Long
Absent: Vice Chairman Mueller was excused
Also present were Deputy Director Pfost, Associate Planner Schonborn, Assistant Planner Yu, Project Coordinator Nelson, and Recording Secretary Peterson
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Chairman Long stated that he and Commissioner Duran Reed would have to leave the meeting at approximately 8:30, and noted that there would still be a quorum present after they left.
Commissioner Tomblin stated that he had not visited the property at 75 Narcissa Drive (Agenda Item No. 5), and he was not sure he felt comfortable voting on the project. Therefore, he felt the item should be moved up on the Agenda so that if he did not vote, there would still be a quorum.
Commissioner Cartwright moved to modify the Agenda to hear item 5 before item 3 on the Agenda, seconded by Commissioner Cote. Approved without objection.
Commissioner Tomblin moved that Commissioner Cartwright act as Vice Chair for this meeting after the Chairman leaves at approximately 8:30, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved without objection.
Deputy Director Pfost distributed one item of correspondence regarding Agenda Item No. 6. He also explained that the issue regarding view impairment and structures built to Development Code permitted height would not be going to the City Council on June 3, as originally reported to the Planning Commission, however on June 10 Director/Secretary Rojas will present to the Planning Commission a draft staff report for the City Council regarding the issue.
Commissioner Cartwright stated that he would not be at the June 10 meeting.
COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (REGARDING NON-AGENDA ITEMS)
1. Variance, Height Variation, and Grading Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00388): 6512 Nancy Road
Associate Planner Schonborn presented the staff report explaining that the item was a Resolution which formalizes the Planning Commission decision of May 13, 2003, denying the Variance and continuing the Planning Commission hearing of the Height Variation and Grading Permit to the June 10 meeting.
Commissioner Tomblin moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2003-19; thereby denying the Variance application of Case No. ZON2002-00388 and continuing the Height Variation and Grading Permit to the June 10, 2003 Planning Commission meeting, seconded by Commissioner Cote. Approved, (5-0-1) with Commissioner Duran Reed abstaining since she was absent from the May 27 meeting.
2. Vesting Tentative Parcel Map (Case SUB2002-00005): 7455 Via Lorado
Deputy Director Pfost presented the staff report stating that at the March 27 meeting the Planning Commission had requested the driveway access be removed from the Tentative Map. Therefore, the Planning Commission would adopt the Resolution for the Mitigated Negative Declaration and Tentative Parcel Map, adding condition No. 8 removing the driveway access from the map and requires the owner to get approval from the Public Works Department for the access ingress/egress at a later date, prior to issuance of any permits on the property.
Commissioner Cartwright moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2003-20, certifying the Mitigated Negative Declaration; and adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2003-21, conditionally approving Vesting Tentative Parcel Map No. 26692 (Case No. SUB2002-00005), seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (5-0-1) with Commissioner Duran Reed abstaining since she was absent from the May 27 meeting.
5. Site Plan Review Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00528): 75 Narcissa Drive
Assistant Planner Yu presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project. She stated that staff had analyzed the project in accordance with the Development Code, and determined that the proposed garage and architectural features may be allowed to exceed the height limit since they will not cause significant view impairment from any adjacent property. She stated that Staff determined that the proposed architectural style of the residence will not be compatible with the immediate neighborhood, noting that the immediate neighborhood was comprised mainly of ranch style homes. She noted that Staff felt if the architectural style was modified to a style more similar to those in the immediate neighborhood staff would be able to support the project, however, staff recommends that the Planning Commission deny the current application without prejudice.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked staff how they looked at architectural committee findings for projects and if those findings are taken into consideration when staff makes their recommendations.
Assistant Planner Yu responded that staff has to make their findings based on their analysis, which is based on the 10 closest homes. She stated that staff understood there were other homes with a similar architectural style throughout the neighborhood, however based on the current guidelines staff did have to do their analysis based on the 10 closest homes.
Commissioner Cartwright asked if the new neighborhood compatibility guidelines have been approved.
Deputy Director Pfost answered that they had been approved and would go into effect on June 19, and would expand the analysis radius to at least 20 homes.
Commissioner Cartwright commented that this house will be almost totally invisible from any view on the street that goes by and from any neighboring properties, and did not think the whole concept of neighborhood compatibility really fit in this situation, as this home could be considered a neighborhood unto itself.
Chairman Long noted that in the past the Planning Commission had considered both more and less than 10 homes when discussing neighborhood compatibility.
Chairman Long opened the public hearing.
James DeRosa 1753 Arlington Ave, Torrance, stated that he was the architect for the project. He stated that the proposed residence complies with all of the RS-2 zoning requirements, and felt that the Planning Commission should approve the plan based solely on these criteria. He did not think that the architectural style should be a Planning Department issue, and noted that the Portuguese Bend Community Association architectural committee has approved the proposed plan. He felt that, contrary to the staff report, the architectural features are ranch style. Further, he did not think that staff has an appropriate understanding of this style of architecture and therefore should not make a judgment based on style. In conclusion, he stated that the applicant has complied with all of the requirements of the Planning Department, met all of the aesthetic criteria of the Portuguese Bend Community Association, and has been unanimously approved by the Architectural Committee.
Commissioner Cote stated that she found it interesting that there is a waiver in the landslide moratorium area to allow individuals who have lost their homes due to fire to rebuild, and questioned why it has taken 30 years to apply for this waiver and if the waiver had to be applied for by the original owner.
Deputy Director Pfost noted that this application was consistent with the Development Code which allowed one to rebuild a structure that has been damaged by fire, and does not differentiate between property owners or give a time limit.
Commissioner Cartwright clarified that the staff does understand the styles of architecture in the Portuguese Bend area, however are bound by the neighborhood compatibility guidelines which directs them to look at the 10 closest homes, which they have done in this case. He explained that the Portuguese Bend Community Association Architectural Committee looks at all of the homes in the community in doing their analysis.
Chairman Long closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Duran Reed stated that she looked at all of the properties in the area, including the 10 closest homes. She found it interesting that the 10 closest homes are very different from the proposed architecture in this case, however there are other homes in the neighborhood that are compatible. She felt that in this case it would be appropriate to expand on the 10 closest homes, especially given that the new neighborhood compatibility guidelines would be going into affect very soon. She stated that she would be in favor of supporting the staff recommendations with the exception of the neighborhood compatibility, and would approve the project.
Commissioner Lyon felt this was an easy decision, as the Planning Commission has the obligation to do what they believe is correct and felt that looking at only the 10 closest homes was not the correct thing to do. He did not think there was any neighborhood character in Portuguese Bend, as there are many different styles of homes in the area. Further, even if this home were very different architecturally, he did not think anyone could see the home. He disagreed with staff recommendations and felt that the Planning Commission should approve the project.
Commissioner Cote agreed with Commissioner Duran Reed’s comments to go beyond looking at only the 10 closest homes. She understood the limitations that the current guidelines had on the staff, and agreed that the review area should be broadened. She was troubled with the way in which the waiver was applied for as it had been 30 years since the home had burned down, however understood the waiver was per the code.
Commissioner Tomblin stated that he supported all that had been said. He asked if a condition should be added that indemnifies the City in case there is some type of slide triggered as a result of this construction.
Chairman Long stated that all that the City was doing was issuing a permit and the property owner was building in this area at their own peril. He asked staff what had been done in this area in the past.
Deputy Director Pfost stated that when a Landslide Moratorium Permit is issued there is a requirement in the Municipal Code that the applicant submit some sort of indemnity on geologic issues, which would be incorporated into the Conditions of Approval.
Chairman Long asked staff to have the City Attorney comment on the question and review that particular condition.
Commissioner Cartwright noted that the proposed structure is going in the same footprint as the previous structure and he did not think there would be much grading that one normally associates with land movement. He felt the proposed home was compatible with homes throughout the area, and noted that the Planning Commission has the latitude to expand what is considered the immediate neighborhood. He felt this was a nice piece of property that has been under utilized for the last 30 years, and supported the project.
Chairman Long also questioned the structure of the waiver, however noted that at this point in time the Planning Commission was bound by the Code concerning the waiver. He felt that staff correctly analyzed the ten closest homes, and agreed that those ten closest homes were different than the proposed structure. He agreed that the Planning Commission had the latitude to look at more than ten homes or less than ten homes in their analysis. He also gave weight to the fact that the architectural committee of the HOA had approved the design of the home. Therefore, he was in favor of approval of the project.
Commissioner Lyon moved to approve the project as presented by the applicant, subject to the appropriate conditions, with a Resolution for approval to be brought to the Planning Commission at the next meeting, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Approved, (6-0).
3. Height Variation Permit (Case No. ZON2002-00525): 2138 General Street
Associate Planner Schonborn presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the
project and the need for the height variation. He stated that staff had found that all of the findings for the height variation could be made and recommended approval of the project, subject to the conditions attached to the Resolution.
Commissioner Lyon moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2003-22 thereby conditionally approving Case No. ZON2002-00525 as presented by staff, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin.
Commissioner Duran Reed referred to page 5 of Exhibit A in Conditions of Approval, noting that the condition requires that the trees have to be trimmed to a height of 16 feet. She asked if this was saying that the trees that currently exist have to be maintained at that height or was that also saying that any tree in the future would have to be maintained at that height.
Associate Planner Schonborn answered that any tree that currently exists would have to be maintained at that height.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked to amend the motion to take out the word "the" so that the condition reads "further, trees between the front property line of the residence shall be maintained at a height of 16 feet above the pad elevation of the subject property." She felt this would help avoid a view restoration issue possibly coming before the Planning Commission.
Commissioners Lyon and Tomblin accepted the amendment to the motion.
Chairman Long stated that he supported the motion, however felt that the lot was really too small for the proposed addition. He felt that the house will end up looking all right on the lot, and noted that it will be a neighborhood-by-neighborhood decision as to what is compatible in terms of size. He hoped that some time in the future the City Council will discuss a set of guidelines that will have maximum house sizes for lots.
The amended motion was approved by a vote of (6-0).
4. Variance Permit (Case No. ZON2003-00230): 27026 Freeport Road
Associate Planner Schonborn explained that the Planning Commission had originally approved the Variance, Height Variation, and Fence Wall and Hedge Permit applications in December 1999. He stated that at the time of the approval the applicant’s plan indicated that the addition and existing residence were located six feet from the side property line and that the proposed addition would continue that. After the project and plans were submitted to Building and Safety it was discovered through a survey that the structure actually maintains a 4.7 foot side yard setback, meaning the new addition would be too close to the east side yard property line. He stated that because the project was originally approved by the Planning Commission and the change results in a change to the east side yard setback, staff believed that the Planning Commission should consider the modification. He noted that the revision does not physically alter the additions that were approved, only recognizes that the location of the addition is less than first thought. He stated that staff could make the applicable findings for the Variance revision and recommended approval by the Planning Commission.
Commissioner Tomblin asked if the existing house and existing walls were built 4.7 feet from the survey line.
Associate Planner Schonborn answered that was correct.
Commissioner Cote asked how the Planning Commission could originally approve the project being only 4.7 feet from the side yard property line.
Associate Planner Schonborn answered that the plans drawn by the architect illustrated a 6-foot setback, and with that staff believed it complied with Development Code standards.
Commissioner Cartwright asked what the original Variance approved by the Planning Commission was for.
Associate Planner Schonborn explained that the Variance was for a roof deck and to exceed the maximum structure size.
Commissioner Cartwright asked if the construction has begun on the area in question.
Associate Planner Schonborn answered that the footings have been dug.
Chairman Long opened the public hearing.
Carlos Amezcua 27026 Freeport Road (applicant) explained that the setback issue came to his attention at the time a survey was done. He stated that no new construction has begun; only the footings have been dug. He added that the survey had told him that the way things were measured in many of these homes was to the foundation footing, which would explain the discrepancy.
Chairman Long closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Cartwright moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2003-23, thereby conditionally approving Case No. ZON2003-00230, as presented by staff, seconded by Commissioner Duran Reed. Approved, (6-0).
6. Conditional Use Permit (Case No. ZON2003-00019): 29000 Western Ave
Assistant Planner Yu presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project. She stated that staff had analyzed the proposed project and was of the opinion that the panel antennas and the condensing units will be adequately screened and all of the required findings can be made in a positive manner to approve the proposed project. In addition, staff found that the proposed project complies with the Wireless Communications Antenna Development Guidelines adopted by the Planning Commission.
Commissioner Duran Reed noted that on the building there were what appeared to be antennas, and asked if these were existing antennas or mock-ups of the proposed antennas.
Assistant Planner Yu explained that there are existing antennas on the building, and explained where the new antenna mock-ups were placed.
Commissioner Cartwright stated that the mock-ups do not have a screen and felt that when the required screen is placed and painted the appropriate color one would not be able to see the individual antennas.
Commissioner Tomblin asked what type of material would be used for the screening.
Assistant Planner Yu answered that they were stealth screen panels.
Chairman Long opened the public hearing.
Ed Gala (Nextel Communications) 310 Commerce Drive, Irvine, stated that he had read the staff report and concurred with all recommendations. He explained that the screen would be made of a transparent fiberglass material that will be painted to blend in with the building.
Commissioner Tomblin asked if there were provisions for maintenance on the antennas.
Mr. Gala answered that Nextel would come out to the site at least once a month to maintain the equipment in the basement and adjust the antennas.
Chairman Long closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Duran Reed moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2003-24, thereby approving Conditional Use Permit Case No. ZON2003-00012, as presented by staff, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (6-0).
RECESS AND RECONVENE
At 8:20 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 8:35 p.m. at which time they reconvened.
Commissioner Duran Reed and Chairman Long left at 8:30 p.m.
7. View Restoration Guidelines (Review of Guidelines conceptually approved at Joint Workshop held February 8, 2003
Project Coordinator Nelson presented the staff report, explaining that the Guidelines were before the Planning Commission and City Council at a joint workshop in February, at which time both bodies conceptually approved the document. She stated that what was before the Planning Commission were the revisions that staff was directed to make as a result of that meeting, as well as a summary of what occurred at the meeting with regard to the eight issue areas that were presented before the View Restoration Commission disbanded. She explained that staff was directed to look at the issue of ridgeline and trimming foliage to ridgeline and the issue of view corridors. She explained that language was added to clarify the ridgeline issue in Section 5(b) and that staff and the City Attorney had agreed that language could not be added to deal with the view corridor issue without changing the Ordinance. Staff and the City Attorney felt that this issue could be successfully handled through a Fence Wall and Hedge Permit.
Commissioner Lyon felt there was an error on page 26 and noted that the third line under "b" which says "grow to a height which is" is not correct and should say "grow to a height exceeding the lesser of . . ."
Project Coordinator Nelson explained that the bold language in the text of the guidelines is the actual language from the Ordinance. She did not think making the suggested change made a radical difference, and she would discuss the change with the Director and City Attorney.
A discussion followed regarding the Fence Wall and Hedge Permit and when it was required and issues of privacy and views. Project Coordinator Nelson explained that View Restoration does not handle the Fence Wall and Hedge Permit complaints, which are given to the Code Enforcement Officer.
Commissioner Cartwright stated that it was a policy of the View Restoration Commission to require trimming below 16 feet or the ridgeline for aesthetic reasons, but only with the foliage owner’s consent. He stated that there was a discussion regarding this issue at the workshop and he thought the language was going to be changed so that it was more consistent.
Project Coordinator Nelson stated that staff was instructed to change the language so that the foliage owner would be giving consent to do that rather than say they didn’t want to do that. She referred the Planning Commission to page 21 of the draft guidelines, letter "d".
Commissioner Lyon moved that the Planning Commission recommend that the draft guidelines be submitted to the City Council for their approval, with the one modification discussed on page 26, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin. Approved, (4-0).
Deputy Director Pfost presented the staff report, giving a brief background of the project and the many approvals involved. He stated that at the April 29 City Council meeting Ocean Trails gave a presentation to the City Council and the public in regards to the variety of amendments they are proposing to the project. At that meeting the City Council determined what review process each of the proposed amendments would go through, and defined, based upon the existing conditions of approvals, that some of the amendments would go through the Director for approval, some through the Planning Commission, and some to the City Council. He explained that the City Council determined that most of the proposed golf course changes are fairly minor and can be reviewed and approved by the Director, while three of the proposed improvements, including new waterfalls, would be approved by the City Council. He explained that what was before the Planning Commission was for informational purposes. He noted that once any changes to the golf course have been approved by the Director, he will then report those changes to the Planning Commission, and noted that the already approved minor changes were included in the staff report.
Commissioner Lyon asked what body would be approving the driving range.
Deputy Director Pfost stated that the driving range would be approved by the City Council, as it is an amendment to the Vesting Tentative Tract Map as well as the Conditional Use Permit.
Commissioner Lyon moved to accept the staff recommendation to receive and file the report, seconded by Commissioner Cote. Approved, (4-0).
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Commissioner Tomblin clarified a statement on page 21 of the minutes
Commissioner Cartwright clarified statements on page 3 and page 21 of the minutes.
Commissioner Tomblin moved to adopt the minutes as amended, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (4-0).
ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS
Commissioner Tomblin noted that he would be late for the June 10 meeting and suggested that the minutes be heard first so that he could participate in the hearings for the other projects.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 p.m.