CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING
NOVEMBER 11, 2003

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Long at 7:01 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.

FLAG SALUTE

Director/Secretary Rojas led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ATTENDANCE

Present: Commissioners Cote, Duran Reed, Lyon, Tomblin, Vice Chairman Mueller, and Chairman Long.

Absent: Commissioner Cartwright was excused.

Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, Associate Planner Blumenthal, Associate Planner Schonborn, and Assistant Planner Yu.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Director/Secretary Rojas noted that Agenda Item 11 was a view restoration item, and that Planning Commissioners are required to visit the applicant’s home in order to hear the item. He asked if it was possible to check if there was a voting quorum for the item. He noted if there isn’t a quorum, the item could be continued to the next meeting.

Chairman Long noted that he had not visited the site since he was not planning on hearing the item.

Commissioners Cote and Duran Reed noted that they did not have an opportunity to visit the site.

Vice Chairman Mueller moved to amend the agenda to move item no. 11 before item no. 1 so that the item could be continued due to a lack of a quorum, seconded by Commissioner Duran Reed. Approved without objection.


COMMUNICATIONS

Director/Secretary Rojas distributed one item of correspondence for agenda item no. 4, one item for agenda item no. 8, and 2 items for agenda item no. 11. He also distributed Vice Chairman Mueller’s proposed changes to the minutes of October 14 and October 28.

Chairman Long announced that he would be resigning from the Planning Commission and recused himself from all further matters to be heard throughout November. He stated that his resignation would become effective upon his swearing in as a City Councilman and contingent upon that.

Chairman Long left the meeting at 7:10 p.m.

Commissioner Duran Reed stated that she had received a letter from Marymount College.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE REGARDING NON-AGENDA ITEMS

None.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

11. View Restoration Permit No. 138: 2 Paseo de Castana

Vice Chairman Mueller moved to continue the item to the meeting of November 25, 2003 due to a lack of a voting quorum, seconded by Commissioner Duran Reed. The item was continued without objection.

CONSENT CALENDAR

1. Site Plan Review (Case ZON2003-00470): 30468 Camino Porvenir

2. Site Plan Review (Case ZON2003-00591): s/w corner of Sea Hill Drive and Palos Verdes Drive South

Commissioner Tomblin moved to approve the consent calendar as presented, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (5-0).

CONTINUED BUSINESS

3. Conditional Use Permit (Case ZON2003-00282): 6510 Ocean Crest Drive

Commissioner Lyon recused himself from the item, as he lives within 500 feet of the project.

Associate Planner Blumenthal presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project and showing a diagram of the placement of the proposed antennas on the building. He showed the photo simulations of the proposed project as well as photos of the mock-ups that are currently on the building. He stated that, in staff’s opinion, all six of the necessary findings for the Conditional Use Permit could be made, as well as the necessary findings under the Commercial Antenna Ordinance and the Wireless Communications Antenna Development Guidelines. Therefore, staff was recommending approval of the project, subject to the recommended conditions of approval.

Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.

Adan Madrid 3010 Old Ranch Pkwy, Seal Beach, (applicant) stated that he agreed with the staff report and the proposed conditions of approval. He felt the new design was a vast improvement over the original proposal and was available for any questions from the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked how far the antenna housing protruded from the building and if that would affect any views from the adjacent windows.

Mr. Madrid answered that the housing protrudes 12 inches from the building, and that he did not believe any views were impacted.

Commissioner Cote asked about coverage once these antennas were installed.

Associate Planner Blumenthal showed a diagram depicting the before and after coverage.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the coverage with this new proposal was identical to the coverage that would have been offered with the original proposal.

Mr. Madrid answered that the coverage was nearly identical. He stated that this new design meets Sprint’s coverage objectives.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Duran Reed moved to adopt P.C. Resolution NO. 2003-52, thereby approving the Conditional Use Permit (Case ZON2003-00282) as presented by staff, seconded by Commissioner Cote.

Vice Chairman Mueller was pleased that the design of the project could be modified to satisfy the concerns of the neighbors with regards to the view, yet maintain adequate coverage for the installation and was impressed by how well the antennas were hidden.

Commissioner Cote agreed and was pleased that the applicant had listened to the concerns of the neighbors and Planning Commission.

The motion to adopt the Resolution was approved, (4-0-1) with Commissioner Lyon abstaining.

4. Variance and Site Plan Review Permit (Case ZON2003-00312): 4043 Admirable Drive

Associate Planner Blumenthal presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project and the need for the Variance. He stated that staff has reviewed the four necessary findings, noting that staff could not make the necessary finding that there was an exceptional or extraordinary circumstance that applied to this property that does not apply to other properties in the area. He stated that staff also could not make the finding that the deviation was necessary to for the property owner to preserve or enjoy a substantial property right other property owners have. He stated that staff felt the property could be added on to without the need for the Variance and staff felt there were other alternatives available to the applicant. He explained that staff felt the other two findings for the Variance could be made. Therefore, staff was recommending the Planning Commission deny the Variance with prejudice and approve the Site Plan Review with the conditions of approval.

Commissioner Tomblin asked staff how the property could be added on to without the need for the Variance.

Associate Planner Blumenthal explained that staff felt there is substantial area in the rear yard, that with some redesign in the house and floor plan, the addition could be popped out a little further and still achieve the same size addition. Regarding the fence height, staff felt there were two alternatives: either not provide the raised deck in the side yard setback or plant a hedge along the property line, which can be up to 16 feet in height per the Code.

Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.

Robert Sherman 4043 Admirable Drive (applicant) stated that he has reviewed the staff report and respectfully disagrees with the findings regarding the Variance. He stated that the staff report states his roof his 16 feet in height, but noted that it is no more than 12 feet in height and is a flat roof. He also noted that in his statements included in the packet, he states that streets in the Seaview area are 40 feet wide, when in fact some streets are actually 54 feet wide. He stated that the Planning Commission has the ability to allow true neighborhood diversity. He noted that the original design layout of his home has the master bedroom right on the property line and in order to remodel there is no other way other than to go up, which he chooses not to do. He stated that the Variance only encompasses an addition of 145 square feet and the entire remodel is only 600 square feet, and to redesign the proposal creates a hardship. He felt that adding a second story would impact the views of his neighbors and he did not want to do that. He felt that he does not enjoy the same rights as other neighbors in that other home layouts in the neighborhood enjoy the ability to remodel the main part of the house without encroaching into the setback, as they are designed far from the setback, and noted that is not true in his situation. He stated that Admirable Drive is a 60-foot wide drive and includes parkways and sidewalks, and other streets in the Seaview area are 54 feet wide and many do not have parkways and sidewalks. He felt that encroachment into a setback is a much more serious issue into a 54 foot street than it is into a 60 foot street. He stated that there is precedent for encroaching into a setback, and showed pictures of homes that encroach into the setback. He stated that there were several letters in support of his project and no negative letters for the proposal. He asked the Planning Commission to pay attention to the public most affected by neighborhood issues.

Commissioner Lyon asked Mr. Sherman what he was proposing for the existing hedge that currently lies between the stakes for the proposal and the sidewalk.

Mr. Sherman answered that the hedge will be removed.

Commissioner Lyon asked what kind of landscaping or screening was proposed to hide the portion of the addition that is encroaching into the setback.

Mr. Sherman answered that he has designed a front face that is pleasing, not imposing, and adds to the beauty of the neighborhood. He stated there will be a lawn and plants in the front area.

Commissioner Lyon asked if the neighbors are aware that he will be encroaching into the front setback area.

Mr. Sherman answered that all of his neighbors are aware that he will be encroaching into the setback areas, as he notified every one of them.

Commissioner Cote asked Mr. Sherman to clarify what was extraordinary or exceptional about is property that would allow for the approval of the Variance. She also noted that staff has suggested alternative designs that did not require the addition to go up and asked Mr. Sherman why these were not considered.

Mr. Sherman stated that the exceptional circumstance wasn’t remodeling the master bedroom, but rather that the way the house was designed by the original developer the master bedroom and bathroom lie within inches of the setback. He stated that many other neighbors in the tract do not have that circumstance, and therefore he felt that this house is layed out in such a manner that to improve it to today’s standards he has no option other than to encroach into the setback unless he builds up, which may block views of his neighbors.

Commissioner Tomblin noted that Mr. Sherman has a large backyard, and asked what the distance was of the flat area of that yard was to the slope, and asked Mr. Sherman why he did not want to build into the backyard area.

Mr. Sherman answered that his objective was to do a modest remodel of less than 600 square feet. He felt that to put the addition near the rear he would have to take out the central hallway and move it to another section, which would cause him to have to remove a 40-year-old Pepper Tree that he did not want to remove. He felt that would be a hardship in terms of landscaping and the surroundings of his yard, and noted that he is taking out other trees on the property.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked Mr. Sherman if he would be willing to put up a hedge rather than a wall.

Mr. Sherman responded that he had no problem with a six-foot wall with a 7-foot hedge.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked Mr. Sherman if there are other homes in the tract that have the same setback as he does.

Mr. Sherman answered that there are other homes in the tract that have the same setback he has, noting that there are seven floor plans in the original tract, and estimated that there are 10 to 15 homes in the tract with his same floor plan.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked what the exceptional or extraordinary circumstance that applies to his home versus the other 10 to 15 homes that have a similar setback line.

Mr. Sherman stated that the other homes would have the same hardship he has if they choose to remodel. He stated the other models in the tract enjoy a different right, as they can remodel without having to apply for a Variance.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Tomblin asked staff if they could confirm Admirable drive was a 60-foot street, while the others are 54 feet.

Associate Planner Blumenthal responded that staff does not know the width of Admirable Drive or the other streets in the tract.

Vice Chairman Mueller added that the 60 feet appears to include the sidewalk and additional property, and asked what the width of the street would be if measured from curb to curb.

Director/Secretary Rojas answered that streets vary throughout the City and staff does not have that dimension for Admirable Drive.

Commissioner Tomblin asked staff what the typical width of a street would be measured from curb to curb.

Director/Secretary Rojas estimated the width would be approximately 36 feet.

Commissioner Cote asked staff how many square feet the applicant could add to his property before neighborhood compatibility guidelines would be triggered.

Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that at this particular property, the addition of 579 square feet would trigger neighborhood compatibility, and the proposed addition was at 574 square feet.

Commissioner Cote asked what types of things would be looked at in neighborhood compatibility that aren’t being addressed at this time.

Associate Planner Blumenthal explained that with neighborhood compatibility analysis the bulk and mass, architectural style and material, as well as setbacks would be compared. He noted that staff has no way of knowing if those findings could be made without doing the analysis.

Vice Chairman Mueller noted that the addition could be expanded towards the back of the property, maintain the same size, and not have the need for neighborhood compatibility.

Commissioner Duran Reed moved to accept the staff recommendation to deny the Variance with prejudice and approve the Site Plan Review. The motion failed due to the lack of a second.

Commissioner Lyon stated that the Site Plan Review is not the issue, as the real issue is the Variance and the encroachment into the front setback area. He felt that normally he is very sensitive to this type of issue, however in this case all of the people who are directly affected by that action have indicated their approval of this project, and noted that the addition will only encroach 6 feet into the setback. He therefore supported the Variance, since all of the people directly affected approve of the project.

Commissioner Tomblin stated that he worries about setting a precedence when approving a Variance, and noted that there have been several controversial projects in this neighborhood. He felt that in this situation the neighbors do not have an objection to the proposed project and that this particular street is exceptionally wide, which makes the addition much less offensive than if it were on a narrower street.

Commissioner Cote stated that she was having trouble understanding what was exceptional or extraordinary about this property that would allow for the approval of a Variance. She noted that there are several other homes in the general neighborhood that have the same design as the applicant’s and she did not think she could make this finding.

Commissioner Duran Reed stated the she too could not make the finding that there were exceptional or extraordinary circumstances on this property to allow for the approval of a Variance. She did not think the property was unique, as there are other homes in the neighborhood that have the same floor plan. She also did not think she could make the second finding for the Variance, and agreed with the staff findings in the staff report.

Vice Chairman Mueller also could not make the necessary findings for approval of the Variance. He noted that there are alternatives, and that moving the addition to the rear of the property was a reasonable approach. He understood the argument regarding the width of the street, but felt it was a nice thing to maintain the front yard setbacks. He was therefore inclined to agree with the staff’s recommendations.

Commissioner Tomblin stated that he too lives on a wide street and agreed that it is nice to maintain the front yard setback, and felt that there were alternatives to the addition.

Commissioner Lyon stated that he understood the difficulty making the first two findings of the Variance and asked staff, if the addition is in the best interest of the applicant, neighbors, and community because it makes good sense yet the appropriate findings cannot be made, is it permissible to use a little imagination to the interpretation of a finding so that it can be made.

Director/Secretary Rojas answered that all applicable findings have to be made to approve a Variance.

Commissioner Lyon stated that this property has a wall 20 feet away from the street, right up against the setback, and contended that does not generally apply to other properties in the area. He noted that it applies to some other properties, but not generally.

Commissioner Cote asked staff, based on the logic presented by Commissioner Lyon, how many other properties on Admirable Drive or in the tract have the same design with a wall up against the front setback.

Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that staff does not know how many homes within a tract were built under this same floor plan, let alone how many are built on this particular street, but that this information could be researched.

Commissioner Lyon moved to approve the Variance and the Site Plan Review, with the conditions recommended by staff, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin. The motion failed, (2-3) with Commissioners Duran Reed, Cote, and Vice Chairman Mueller dissenting.

Commissioner Cote moved to continue the item to allow staff to obtain more data on how many other structures in the neighborhood have the same floor plan with the same setback issues, seconded by Commissioner Duran Reed.

Commissioner Lyon questioned whether having specific data will be of substantial value to the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Tomblin felt that knowing the width of Admirable Drive would be helpful.

Vice Chairman Mueller felt the Planning Commission had been presented with all of the information necessary to make a decision. He felt it was very difficult to categorize the width of the street, as there are many different widths of streets in the City. He also felt it was very difficult to base the decision on the majority of the homes in the neighborhood, as it could sway the decision either way. He was also concerned that, if this Variance were approved, this applicant or a subsequent owner could then request a height variation to expand the size of the home. He therefore felt that the Planning Commission should look at what is going to be preserved in the neighborhood and how is the neighborhood going to look, and noted that the General Plan has specific direction regarding front yard setbacks. He therefore was reluctant to support the motion to continue the item, as he felt there was sufficient information before the Planning Commission to make a decision.

Commissioner Tomblin stated that he supports the motion to continue the item, and sees an opportunity for new direction in the neighborhood to possibly get away from some of the mega-structures that are being built or are proposed to be built.

Director/Secretary Rojas asked if it was possible to ask the applicant if he would be willing to grant a time extension since there would be difficulty with the Permit Streamlining Act if the application is continued beyond tonight.

Mr. Sherman stated that he would consent to a one time, 90-day extension.

The motion to continue the public hearing to the meeting of December 9, 2003 to allow staff to research additional information passed (4-1) with Vice Chairman Mueller dissenting.

RECESS AND RECONVENE

At 8:30 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 8:40 p.m. at which time they reconvened.

CONTINUED BUSINESS (CONT)

5. Conditional Use Permit Revision (Case ZON2003-00205): 5845 Crestridge Road

Associate Planner Schonborn presented the staff report. He explained that the applicant had submitted a slight revision to the proposal, which is reflected in the memorandum dated November 11, 2003, which was distributed to the Planning Commission. He explained the revision requests that two light standards be removed, leaving the remaining four for security lighting. He stated that staff continues to believe, that with appropriate conditions, any potential impacts could be sufficiently mitigated. He stated that the applicant has requested Condition No. 3, regarding the height of the light standards, be modified and will discuss this further with the Planning Commission. He stated that staff feels that all of the appropriate findings can be made and is recommending that the Resolutions to certify the Mitigated Negative Declaration and approve the Conditional Use Permit Revision be adopted.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked staff to clarify what lights were being discussed in Condition No. 3.

Associate Planner Schonborn clarified on a power point slide which lights were proposed to be removed and which lights were proposed to remain as security lighting. He also clarified which lights were being requested by the applicant to be increased in height to 15 feet.

Commissioner Tomblin stated that he was very sensitive to the height of light standards, and noted that the photometric plan included in the staff report shows the light spillover from the fifteen foot high light standards will go significantly over the property line. He was concerned with that, even with the foliage, and asked staff how that would be mitigated.

Associate Planner Schonborn stated that the conditions of approval state that the type of light fixtures used shall be those that are inset into a casing, rather than having a light bulb that projects out from the fixture. He felt this would direct the light down. He stated that staff has also recommended the height of the light standards be no higher than the top of the wall, which would also mitigate the impact of the lights.

Commissioner Tomblin stated that he was not comfortable with the proposed higher light standards.

Commissioner Duran Reed referred to condition of approval no. 3 as well as the environmental checklist mitigation measures. She noted that the mitigation measures suggest limiting the wattage of the light fixtures, the height of the light standards, and when the rear parking lot can be lit. She asked what the wattage of the current light fixtures was.

Associate Planner Schonborn explained that each of the luminaries are 70 watts and there are two to three luminaries in each of the light fixtures. He stated that the new light standards would be a maximum of 150 watts.

Commissioner Duran Reed noted that one of the mitigation measures is to limit the height of the light standards, and asked how increasing the height from 7 feet to 15 feet was limiting the height.

Associate Planner Schonborn answered that increasing the height was to light a greater surface area. He stated that limiting the height to what is proposed was to try to ensure that spillover is reduced to a point of insignificance. He felt that this could be done by limiting the light standard to a height not taller than the existing wall, which is 12 to 15 feet in height, as measured from the parking lot surface.

Commissioner Duran Reed did not understand how the spillover is being mitigated if the height of the standards are increasing from 7 feet to 12 to 15 feet.

Associate Planner Schonborn explained that, although some light standards were increasing in height, staff was limiting the new height to be no taller than the top of the adjacent wall in order to avoid impact to the neighbors. He noted that overall there will be less lighting fixtures utilized because of the few standards that are increasing in height.

Vice Chairman Mueller noted that in a nighttime site visit many of the lights were turned off or burned out. He asked staff if, in doing their mitigation study, they were basing their analysis on a fully illuminated parking lot or if they were using the current lighting conditions of the parking area.

Associate Planner Schonborn stated that staff was analyzing the impacts of the proposed modified lighting as indicated in their photometric plan.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the parking lot could be illuminated with more lights that are a lower height, and achieve the same illumination of the parking lot.

Associate Planner Schonborn stated it was possible to illuminate the parking lot with more lights at a lower height.

Commissioner Tomblin referred to the lighting plan and asked if the spillover shown on the plan was with the light fixture shields or without the shields.

Associate Planner Schonborn answered that he was not sure and the question should be referred to the applicant.

Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.

Shirl Cornwall 234 N. El Molino, Pasadena (applicant) stated the church is a fast growing congregation, and has found through experience what is best for membership in terms of safety, comfort, and convenience, which includes parking lots. He stated that the church, through its experience, has determined what the best layout is for parking lot lighting and the type of fixture that seems to be most satisfactory. He stated that the application before the Planning Commission encompasses the guidelines that the church gives for parking lot lighting. He stated that the church likes to be a good neighbor and has selected a light fixture which is similar to the fixtures in the parking lot at Hesse Park. He explained that when the church was originally approved through a Conditional Use Permit, lighting was an issue and explained that a condition was added that the foliage and planting along the north property line be increased, which is what is in place currently. He asked that the height of the fixtures be changed to one that is more efficient and useful, explaining that the current 7 foot high fixtures came from the 1987 CUP modification. Because of a change in conditions, mainly the growth of the foliage, he felt it was quite clear that the foliage does a very good job of shielding the church and its lights from the neighbor’s property. He stated that the 15-foot lights will be well below the height of the foliage. Further, he explained that the type of light fixture is constructed in a manner where there are two means of shielding the light from the neighboring property. He stated there is a reflector that will shield the light in addition to a piece of sheet metal that can be wrapped around the back of the light, and therefore did not think the lights would be of a problem to the neighbors.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked Mr. Cornwall if he could increase the current wattage on the current light standards to illuminate the area of the parking lot that is dimly lit, and would that solve the security issues of the church.

Mr. Cornwall answered that it would be possible to increase the wattage in the current light standards, however the spread of the light would be diminished. He noted that some of the fixtures proposed were to take care of the dimly lit area, as well as a deterrent to youths who cause problems in the parking lot after hours.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked if the shrubs in the parking area along the north of the property are deciduous so that they lose their leaves.

Mr. Cornwall answered that the shrubs do not lose their leaves.

Commissioner Tomblin asked if the plan shows the throw of light after the shields are in place.

Mr. Cornwall answered that the plan shows the throw of light before the shields are in place. Further, there is a 45-degree slope and a property line wall above that, and the throw of the light will be on the wall and not across the property line.

Commissioner Tomblin asked Mr. Cornwall if he would agree to a condition that the lights will be shielded.

Mr. Cornwall felt that there was already a condition that the lights be shielded in the conditions of approval, which he agrees to.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the shielding was depicted in any of the plans.

Mr. Cornwall answered that the shielding was not depicted in the plans, but it will be done.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked if there have been any incidents in the parking lot, other than the youth gathering after hours, that has prompted the need for the security lighting.

Mr. Cornwall answered that there have not been any specific incidents that he is aware of.

Vice Chairman Mueller stated that several of the lights are currently not working in the parking lot and was concerned that the church may be solving a problem that is not really a problem, and asked when the last time the parking lot was fully lit with all of the lights working.

Mr. Cornwall did not know.

Vice Chairman Mueller felt that the 15 foot lights out near Crestridge Road were a reasonable approach to providing the needed illumination, however he was concerned with the lights on the north side of the parking area because of the residences directly adjacent to the property. He asked if the lights along the north side could be maintained at the current height and fully lit.

Mr. Cornwall answered that there are a couple of the current lights that will be left, however the light only goes partially out to the first parking space and does not cover very much of the parking area.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the fixtures could be changed so the light goes out further.

Mr. Cornwall stated that you need height to get spread, which is why 15 feet is a good height for the spread needed in the parking lot.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked why he could not leave all of the existing lighting in place and increase the wattage. He felt these lights, placed closer together with a higher voltage should supply sufficient light coverage.

Mr. Cornwall stated that it will not project the light out where it is needed in the parking lot.

Commissioner Cote referred to a comment letter received which suggested the lights be limited to a height of 12 feet, and asked Mr. Cornwall to comment on that suggestion.

Mr. Cornwall clarified that the resident wanted the light to be at 12 feet at his particular location according to his measurement. Elsewhere along that north property line the height of the wall varies from 10 feet to 16 feet, and he would like to keep the lights at 15 feet in height. He felt that the heavy foliage will sufficiently block any light spillover to neighboring properties.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked Mr. Cornwall if he understood that if, when this lighting plan is brought back before the Planning Commission, it is determined that the 15 foot lights are not adequately shielding the adjacent properties, the light standards may have to be lowered.

Mr. Cornwall stated that he was aware that this was in the conditions of approval, and that the applicant must agree and sign these conditions of approval.

Roger Bost 30511 Cartier Drive stated that he has volunteered to do maintenance work at the church and that a number of the lights in the parking lot get broken due to parties in the parking lot after hours. He stated that the parking lot is not very well lit and that the lights tend to get broken out because they are so low.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Duran Reed referred to condition no. 7 regarding the shielding of the lights and asked staff if it was their understanding that if the light fixtures do not allow for adequate shielding to adjacent properties, they would have to be lowered.

Associate Planner Schonborn explained that condition no. 8 requires a three month review of the lighting, and if the lighting is not adequately screened the applicant will have to modify the lighting in some way.

Commissioner Duran Reed was concerned that the lighting be acceptable when it is installed, not three months down the line.

Director/Secretary Rojas explained that the condition is worded such that the applicant cannot get a final on their building permit until the Planning Department is satisfied that the lighting is correctly shielded.

Commissioner Tomblin felt it was important to modify condition no. 7 to state that a photometric plan be included that shows the shielding for the lights on the north side of the parking area.

Commissioner Lyon moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2003-53 certifying the mitigated negative declaration and adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2003-54 approving case No. ZON2003-00205 for a Conditional Use Permit Revision, seconded by Commissioner Cote.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked staff if it was possible to add a condition of approval to require some type of screening over the light so that the lights could not be knocked out by vandalism.

Associate Planner Schonborn stated that this type of condition could be added, but wondered if it is technically feasible.

Commissioner Tomblin agreed with Commissioner Duran Reed’s comments, however he was not sure it was feasible as it may affect illumination of the parking lot.

Vice Chairman Mueller discussed condition no. 3 and noted that the neighbors had written a letter stating that they would be satisfied with a light at 12 feet in height with a timer. He asked staff if a light at 12 feet tall would prevent the neighbors from seeing the lights from their apartments.

Associate Planner Schonborn did not think, in either scenario, the neighbor would see the light source.

Commissioner Lyon repeated his motion, with the addition that condition no. 7 be modified to require, that prior to issuance of the permit, a photometric plan by the lighting manufacturer be submitted showing that the house light shields and other defusers eliminate any spillover of lighting to the adjacent neighbors on the north side. Approved, (5-0).

6. Minutes of September 23, 2003

Commissioner Duran Reed noted a typo on page 14, and a clarification on page 16 of the minutes.

Commissioner Lyon moved to approve the minutes, as amended, seconded by Commissioner Duran Reed. Approved, (5-0).

7. Minutes of October 14, 2003

Vice Chairman Mueller stated that he submitted his corrections via e-mail, which have been distributed to the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Duran Reed moved to approve the minutes, as amended, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (4-0-1) with Commissioner Cote abstaining since she was absent from that meeting.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

8. Conditional Use Permit (Case ZON2003-00508): 31212 Palos Verdes Drive West

Assistant Planner Luckert presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the proposed project. He stated that the specific findings for the Conditional Use could be made and that the use will not adversely affect the traffic patterns around the site. Staff found that the proposed fitness center is not contrary to the City’s General Plan, which says the Golden Cove Shopping Center should be redesigned and revitalized based on convenience and need of the immediate neighbors. Staff felt that all findings could be made to warrant approval of the revision to the Conditional Use Permit, and recommends approval of the project.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked staff if the proposed conditions of approval for this project are the same as those for the Pilates Studio that was previously approved by the Planning Commission.

Assistant Planner Luckert answered that the conditions are the same with the exception that this project will not require a review of the decibel level and employees will not be required to park in the rear of the structure, as they are with the Pilates Studio.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked why there is no condition for a decibel level placed on the fitness center, as music will be played.

Director/Secretary Rojas answered that the main difference was that at the Pilates Studio there was going to be organized workout classes set to music, while at the fitness center people will be coming and going and using the equipment available with softer background music, and staff did not feel this would generate the same type of noise.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked if the fitness center would have to return to the staff or Planning Commission if they wanted to do a workout class.

Director/Secretary Rojas stated that a condition could be added that any changes would have to be approved by the Director or the Planning Commission.

Vice Chairman Mueller noted that the staff report notes there will be continuous music played from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and asked how this is different from the Pilates Studio.

Assistant Planner Luckert answered that this is very similar to the Pilates Studio.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked if there was a 65 db level limit placed on the Pilates Studio.

Assistant Planner Luckert answered that there is a 65 db level limit placed on the Pilates Studio subject to a 6-month review, and that the same condition could be put on this project.

Commissioner Tomblin noted that the Pilates Studio is upstairs, while this is downstairs, and the Pilates Studio has two rear exists, while this has only one. He also noted that Pilates has quite a few things happening at the rear of the studio as well as a rear balcony, while this has very little activity towards the back of the building.

Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.

Barbara Patman 4187 Maritime Road (applicant) explained that there are 24 exercise stations, 12 of which are non-electric type of machines that make no noise and work by resistance. She stated that the music is background music and there will be no amplified music, and stressed that she is very noise conscious, noting that there will be a massage therapist at the site who would not be able to work if loud music was playing. She stated that the center will be air conditioned and have ceiling fans running, so the doors will not be left open. She stated that she wants to be a good neighbor and that her business will be an asset to the Golden Cove Center and the community.

Commissioner Duran Reed asked Ms. Patman if she had an objection to limiting the noise level to 65 db.

Ms. Patman stated that she did not know how loud 65 db was, but she would comply with whatever the Planning Commission directed.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked if air conditioning would be adequate for a facility of this type.

Ms. Patman answered that she was planning on installing air conditioning, as it is one of the conditions of her lease and that she would not need to have the doors open.

Matt Hammond Coreland Companies, 17524 E. 17th Street, Tustin, stated that he was representing the owners and that the parking was not an issue as people would be coming and going throughout the day. He stated that the air conditioning for the building is new and therefore quiet and efficient. He stated that these uses have been very successful in shopping centers and there have been no complaints.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Duran Reed moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2003-55 thereby approving Revision "C” to Conditional Use Permit 205, with the additional condition that the volume of music that emanates from the fitness center not exceed a maximum of 65 db and the doors be kept closed during business hours, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin. Approved, (5-0).

9. Height Variation Permit (Case ZON2003-00304): 5900 Clint Place

Commissioner Duran Reed left the meeting at 9:55 p.m.

Associate Planner Blumenthal presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project and the need for the height variation application. He stated that the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement determined this application should be referred to the Planning Commission because of the potential for view impairment. In reviewing the findings of the proposed project, staff noted that due to the location of the residence and the direction of the views, the proposed project does not create a view impairment from the viewing area of other properties. Furthermore, staff determined that all 9 of the findings for the height variation could be made, and was recommending approval of the project subject to the conditions of approval.

Vice Chairman Mueller discussed condition no. 3 and asked staff to clarify how staff was able to make the finding that the lot was not located on a ridge or promontory.

Associate Planner Blumenthal displayed a photo of the residence and noted the definition of promontory. He explained that this property, along the rear property line, has a transition slope down to Finecrest Drive, which is only on one side that looks down to other parcels rather than two sides.

Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.

Robert Tavasci 320 Pine Ave, Long Beach, stated the he is the architect for the project and was available to answer any questions regarding the project.

Vice Chairman Mueller discussed the columns depicted on the plans, and felt the columns would make the structure look even taller from the street. He asked if there was anything in the design that requires the columns and if there was any way to reduce the façade or appearance of the tallness of the structure from the street.

Mr. Tavasci stated that the entry structure is less that one story and the columns are just a little over 8 feet in height. He explained that he was trying to be sensitive to the height of the structure by starting the second story addition approximately 45 feet from the property line. He felt that from the street one would see very little of the structure.

Kevin Rehm 5925 Clint Place did not understand why this project had to come before the Planning Commission, when there turns out to be no view impairment. He also questioned what the possible view impairment would be, since the view was of the San Gabriel Mountains and he did not think that distant mountains that are seldom seen are considered part of the view. Therefore, he questioned why this was before the Planning Commission, and felt that architecture was in the eyes of the beholder. He noted an error in the staff report which said his residence 5925 Clint Place is 2,300 square feet, when it is actually 4,200 square feet. He asked the Planning Commission approve the project.

Al Mashouf 5901 Clint Place stated that if anyone is affected by this project it would be him. He stated that he has a column similar to the one proposed for this project. He noted that there are 11 homes on Clint Place and 8 or 9 of them already have second story additions, and the subject property already has a second story addition on it. He stated that nobody’s view would be affected by this project and encouraged the Planning Commission to approve the project.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Cote asked staff to clarify the size of the structure that was approved at 5925 Clint Place.

Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that staff’s research indicated the size of the home that is indicated in the staff report, however staff could go back and research to make sure they didn’t miss a permit for an addition.

Commissioner Cote asked staff to clarify why this project came before the Planning Commission.

Director/Secretary Rojas explained that there are four triggers that require Planning Commission review of height variation applications, one being the potential of a view impairment, and if there is any potential at all for view impairment, the case will go before the Planning Commission to allow an opportunity for anyone who feels their views may be impacted, to have their cases addressed in a public hearing forum. In this case, however, once the analysis was performed staff did not feel there would be a significant view impact.

Commissioner Lyon moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2003-56 thereby approving the height variation as presented by staff, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin. Approved, (4-0)

10. Conditional Use Permit – Revision “D” (Case ZON2003-00381): 5975 Armaga Spring Road

Assistant Planner Yu presented the staff report, explaining the project was for a proposed expansion to an existing playground by 4,730 square feet and to conduct the annual review of the parking plan. She stated that the proposed project does not include an increase in the number of students attending the preschool, the number of staff members, or the number of students who will be on the playground at one time. She stated that staff determined that the site is adequate in size to accommodate the proposed playground expansion, the proposed expansion will not have a significant adverse on adjacent properties, the proposed use is not contrary to the General Plan, and the proposed project has been designed to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare. Therefore, staff feels all of the findings can be made and recommends the Planning Commission approve the project as presented by staff.

Commissioner Tomblin asked if the playground will be ADA compliant.

Assistant Planner Yu stated that the plans show ADA accessibility.

Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.

Jacqueline Ignon 843 Ave C, Redondo Beach (applicant) stated that she was representing Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and was available to answer any questions.

Commissioner Cote discussed the comment letter include in the packet regarding the lighting of the sign.

Ms. Ignon stated that the lighting of the sign was not part of the scope of her work on the project and was not considered in this application.

William Scar 3154 Deluna Drive, stated that he is the pastor for the Mount Olive Lutheran Church and that the sign was previously approved and constructed to conform to the City’s requirements. He stated that the church is intending to put a timer on the sign to save electricity, which will partially address the neighbor’s comments.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Tomblin moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2003-57 approving Conditional Use Permit as presented by staff, seconded by Commissioner Cote. Approved (4-0).

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

12. Minutes of October 28, 2003

Vice Chairman Mueller stated that he submitted his corrections to the minutes via e-mail, and a copy has been distributed to the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Cote moved to approve the minutes as amended, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin. Approved, (3-0-1) with Commissioner Lyon abstaining since he was absent from that meeting.

ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS

Commissioner Cote stated that she would not be at the November 25th meeting.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 10:48 p.m.