CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
NOVEMBER 25, 2003
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Vice Chairman Mueller at 7:08 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.
Commissioner Lyon led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Present: Commissioners Cartwright, Duran Reed, Lyon, Tomblin, Vice Chairman Mueller.
Absent: Chairman Long and Commissioner Cote were excused.
Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, Senior Planner Fox, Associate Planner Blumenthal, Assistant Planner Yu, Project Coordinator Nelson, Project Coordinator Alvarez, and Recording Secretary Peterson.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Commissioner Cartwright moved to approve the agenda as presented, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved without objection.
Director/Secretary Rojas distributed one item of correspondence for Agenda Item No. 5, one item for Agenda Item. No. 6, and the staff report for the view restoration item scheduled to be heard at the December 9 Planning Commission meeting. He also noted that a view restoration application item that the Planning Commission had heard has been appealed to the City Council and is scheduled to be heard on December 16.
Director/Secretary Rojas congratulated Commissioner Tomblin on his election to the School Board and noted this would be his last Planning Commission meeting.
COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE REGARDING NON-AGENDA ITEMS
1. Tentative Parcel Map No. 25896: 3340 Via Campesina
Commissioner Tomblin moved to approve the requested 1-year time extension via minute order, thereby setting the final expiration date of Tentative Parcel Map No. 25896 as November 28, 2004, with all conditions of approval remaining in full force and effect, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Approved, (5-0)
2. View Restoration Permit No. 116: 4222 Dauntless Drive and 4122 Dauntless Drive
Director/Secretary Rojas polled the Commission as to who had visited the applicants’ site. All Commissioners had made the site visit.
Staff Coordinator Alvarez presented the staff report, giving a brief history of the case, noting that staff has identified a total of eleven trees on Mr. Mueller’s property that impair the ocean view and Catalina Island view from the applicants’ viewing areas. He displayed photographs showing the trees and views from the applicants’ properties and explained the staff recommendations for trimming the trees on Mr. Mueller’s property to restore the views.
Commissioner Cartwright referred to a memo included in the staff report from the neighbors in the community, indicating that Mr. Alvarez suggested the neighbors provide a document requesting the Planning Commission go further than what staff is recommending in terms of trimming the trees. He noted that the neighbors are requesting the trees on Mr. Mueller’s property be removed. He asked Mr. Alvarez if it was correct that he suggested this document be prepared.
Project Coordinator Alvarez explained that there are numerous homeowners on Dauntless Drive that are affected by Mr. Mueller’s trees, however Mr. Lee and Mr. Lauck were the only two that formally filed for view restoration, thus providing only two vantage points to assess the effect of the trimming. Mr. Lauck and Mr. Lee proposed that staff recommend removal of the trees in order to benefit all of the view owners on Dauntless Drive, and Mr. Alvarez explained that he had asked Mr. Lauck to present his ideas in writing to the Planning Commission.
Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if they were recommending removal of all of the trees or what was recommended in the staff report.
Project Coordinator Alvarez answered that staff was recommending only what is presented in the staff report.
Commissioner Cartwright referred to a letter dated October 27 from Mr. Mueller in which Mr. Mueller gives his opinion as to what should be done with each of the trees. He asked staff if they were in agreement with Mr. Mueller’s comments, and if not, what areas did they disagree with.
Project Coordinator Alvarez explained that staff discussed the recommendations in the memo with Mr. Mueller. He agreed with the basic concept that some of the height estimations done by staff needed to be reanalyzed and agreed with Mr. Mueller in terms of the height estimation of the crown raising levels. He stated that it was very difficult for staff to agree or disagree with Mr. Mueller’s comments, as the memo was mainly comments made regarding the staff report. He noted that Mr. Mueller was offering to remove trees that staff had suggested be trimmed, and noted that this was taken into account in the revised Table 1 and revised Exhibit B.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked staff if the applicant would be responsible to replace any trees on the foliage owner’s property if they were to die as a result of trimming.
Project Coordinator Alvarez explained that if a tree dies within a one-year period as a result of trimming, the applicant is responsible for a replacement tree.
Commissioner Cartwright asked what happens if the foliage owner requests the tree not be removed and the tree dies within one year of trimming, would the applicant still be responsible for a replacement tree.
Director/Secretary Rojas read from the Guidelines, stating that if the City Arborist determines culling, lacing, or trimming a tree will, in all probability, cause the tree to die, and the foliage owner chooses not to accept removal and replacement as an option, then the applicant will not be responsible for providing a replacement tree to the foliage owner.
Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.
Bob Lauck 4122 Dauntless Drive (applicant) stated that the other applicants, the Lees, were not able to attend the meeting, and he will be including their thoughts in his remarks. He stated that there are a dozen or more homeowners in the neighborhood have views impacted by the foliage at Mr. Mueller’s property. He submitted photographs from his property and the Lee’s property illustrating the multi-component views and the prominent landmark features. He felt that crowing up of the trees would still block the multi-component and prominent landmarks from his viewing area. Furthermore, without clear definition of which branches of the trees will be removed, it could very well be that he will have minimal restoration of his view. He felt the uncertainty would also make it difficult to acquire a fair, itemized estimate and cost which he is required to submit to the City. He asked the Planning Commission to make a finding that restores his views by trimming down to a height of 16 feet or the ridgeline, all of the Eucalyptus trees, or removal of any or all of them with the foliage owner’s consent (option 2 or 3 for tree nos. 2-8 in the revised table in the staff report). If only partial restoration is considered, then along with Mr. Mueller’s recommendation to remove Eucalyptus trees 3, 4, and 6, he strongly recommended tree no. 7 be removed and all large branches on all of the remaining trees, especially the northwest branch of tree no. 8, be removed. He felt this would be the minimum necessary to provide modest restoration of his view. He stated that this would leave three large Eucalyptus trees at the east, center, and west points of Mr. Mueller’s property. He stated that regarding the remaining trees nos. 1, 9, 10, and 11, any of the actions recommended in the staff report are acceptable.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked Mr. Lauck to address the suggestion made by Mr. Mueller regarding page 4 of the letter to the Planning Commission, indicating the limb proposed to be removed on the north portion of tree no. 8.
Mr. Lauck answered that this is part of the northwest branch he earlier discussed. He felt that Mr. Mueller was recommending that some of the branches higher up be removed, but the main branch coming off of the trunk remain. He stated that those branches are below 16 feet, all the way up to 32 feet in height. He explained that branch is right along his view line of the shoreline and retaining that branch might allow for a picket fence effect of view restoration.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Lauck if he understood that the staff report addresses only the perspectives of the applicants and not of any other neighbor who might be affected by the foliage.
Mr. Lauck understood that, and the issues of the neighbors are the same as his, that crowning up will still create a condition where one would be looking through trunks and underneath foliage to see a view.
Ted Spiegel 4114 Dauntless Drive felt the issue in this situation is prominent landmarks. He felt that following some of the recommendations in the staff report would create a picket fence type of situation with the view from his property. He felt that the crowns left on many of the trees would be in the middle of the prominent landmark, the shoreline, and in some cases these picket fences may merge creating a solid line of trees. He therefore preferred lowering the trees so that he will have a view of the prominent landmark.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Spiegel if he was in agreement with the staff report.
Mr. Spiegel answered that the staff report had a variety of suggestions, and he agreed with the portion of the staff’s report that recommends lowering all of the trees.
Irwin Gebroe 4230 Dauntless Drive stated that there has been a problem with the foliage for many years in the neighborhood. He felt that crowning the trees would help some of the homeowners, but not all of them. He stated that he has been a real estate agent for many years and knows that homes with a view sell for a higher price than those without a view, and did not understand why Mr. Mueller would not cooperate with the wishes of the neighbors.
Mike Beauvais 4121 Dauntless Drive stated that he was in support of the two additional recommendations by Mr. Lauck to remove the two additional trees where raising the crown may not be effective. He felt that the crowning of the trees would still leave the view impacted from several properties in the neighborhood.
Hubert Mueller 4222 Stalwart Drive (foliage owner) distributed additional pictures and information to the Planning Commission, and felt that some of the pictures in the staff report were outdated and inaccurate. He agreed to remove the north limbs on the large Eucalyptus tree and requested the option to raise the crown on the Aleppo pine tree and that he would take responsibility for the tree dying within the first year. He requested that the view from the applicant’s property be taken as the Guidelines state, which is taken from inside the house in a seated position. He felt if this is done it will be obvious that it is more than adequate restoration that he is proposing. He felt it would be much easier and more efficient to use his flat roof as a reference point when raising the crown of the trees.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Mueller if he was proposing to raise the crown of tree no. 2 to a maximum of 20 feet above the flat roof.
Mr. Mueller answered that was correct, and noted that staff was recommending raising the crown of the tree to be 32 feet from the ground, which is 21 feet above the flat roof, and he stated that he would be willing to raise the crown a maximum of 32 feet.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Mueller if he was, therefore, in agreement with the staff report.
Mr. Mueller answered that he was in agreement with the staff recommendations.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked Mr. Mueller if he understood that the City Arborist recommended removal of the Aleppo pine rather than trimming.
Mr. Mueller answered that he understood the City Arborist’s recommendation and that he would accept the responsibility if the tree were to die within one year of trimming.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked how raising the crown of the trees would affect the views from the neighboring properties.
Mr. Mueller stated that the trees are not close together and that the neighbors would be able to see through them.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Mueller if he agreed with the staff’s recommendation to trim the Yucca down to the ridgeline.
Mr. Mueller stated that he agrees to trim the Yucca down to the ridgeline.
Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if the only difference between what staff is recommending and what the foliage owner is recommending regarding the foliage is that the foliage owner is recommending removal of tree no. 1 and tree no. 4.
Project Coordinator Alvarez stated that staff had not had a chance to review the foliage owner’s recent submittal, but it appears that is correct.
Commissioner Tomblin asked staff if they could accept a measurement taken from the flat roof, as suggested by the foliage owner.
Project Coordinator Alvarez did not think it made a difference.
Mr. Lauck (in rebuttal) stated that it was his understanding that the crown raising, if it were to be done, would be accomplished to a certain height, and staff would have to be viewing the foliage from his property as it was being trimmed to determine the view has been opened up from his primary viewing area. He felt that as long as that was done, the actual height was not important. He stated that he was open to trimming the foliage to 16 feet or the ridgeline, or removal of any of the foliage, and he would be happy to pay the difference for the removal and pay for a replacement tree where appropriate.
Commissioner Cartwright noted that the foliage owner has recommended removing trees 1 and 4, and asked Mr. Lauck if he would be willing to do that.
Mr. Lauck answered that he did not care if trees no. 1 and 4 were trimmed or removed.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked Mr. Lauck if he would be satisfied if trees 2, 5, 9, 10, and 11 were crown raised and the rest removed.
Mr. Lauck stated that he agrees with the staff recommendation that tree no. 11 be reduced to 16 feet or the ridgeline or removed. He felt that crowning tree no. 11 would create as much of a problem as trimming any other of the Eucalyptus trees. He agreed that trees 2, 5, 9, and 10 could be crowned. He also noted that tree no. 8 could be retained and crown raised if the large branches were removed.
Commissioner Lyon asked Mr. Lauck if he would accept the trimming recommendations for trees 2, 5, 7, and 8.
Mr. Lauck answered that his strong preference was that all of the trees be reduced to the ridgeline or 16 feet or removed to restore the view.
Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if they were comfortable with the foliage owner’s recommendations.
Project Coordinator Alvarez answered that, in terms of opening the applicants’ views, it further expands staff’s recommendations for view restoration, and therefore he agreed with Mr. Mueller’s suggestions.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked staff if the Planning Commission should take into consideration the views from other neighboring properties that are not part of this application. She noted that there are a lot of people involved, though not directly through the application, but could be directly involved in the future. She felt it would be more efficient to have an abbreviated process rather than a delayed one where this same issue may come before the Planning Commission with different applicants and the same foliage owner.
Director/Secretary Rojas responded that staff is aware of the situation in the neighborhood, however there are two applicants and staff must focus on their specific requests. He noted that by doing so, there will be some benefit to the neighborhood, however if there are still trees blocking another neighbor’s view, that neighbor will have to file a view restoration application to get remedy as a result of that tree.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked staff what the procedure would be if the trees are trimmed or removed as directed and once it is finished it is determined that there is still foliage blocking the view from the applicants’ property.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that there are conditions of approval included stating that after the trimming is completed if additional foliage on the property is found to be impairing the view, the offending foliage shall be trimmed to a height so as not to impair the view from the applicant’s property. In addition, there is a maintenance schedule in the conditions of approval.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked staff, if the Planning Commission were to recommend trimming of the Eucalyptus trees, did staff feel the arborists recommendations are severe enough that staff was comfortable with the recommendations.
Project Coordinator Alvarez clarified that the arborist stated, in his memo, that trimming of the Eucalyptus trees down to a 16 foot level or the ridgeline would create the need for constant maintenance and at the same time thinning the trees would create brittle branches that are characteristic of Eucalyptus trees and could break off during severe winds.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the Eucalyptus trees (trees 7 and 8) were removed, would they suggest replacement trees.
Project Coordinator Alvarez answered that if the Eucalyptus trees were removed staff would recommend replacement of the trees with a type of tree that does not grow as tall.
Vice Chairman Mueller re-opened the public hearing.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Mueller if he would agree to the removal and replacement of trees 7 and 8.
Mr. Mueller responded that he would not consider that option, as tree no. 7 is not very large and crowning the tree would work very nicely. He also did not want to remove and replace tree no. 8.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Mueller his opinion on the applicant’s suggestion to completely remove the northwest branch of the tree.
Mr. Mueller stated that the branches are on a main trunk and to remove this would completely unbalance the tree.
Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Tomblin stated that he was leaning towards a motion that would accept Mr. Mueller’s recommendations, as he was willing to remove four trees, raise the crowns of four trees, take care of the Yucca trees, and remove two significant branches of tree no. 11. He felt that Mr. Mueller’s suggestions build on the staff recommendations, and exceeds the recommendations of the arborist.
Commissioner Tomblin moved to accept Mr. Mueller’s recommendations as stated in his memo dated November 24, 2003, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright.
Vice Chairman Mueller was concerned about tree no. 11, and felt that staff’s recommendation to trim the tree to 16 feet in height was a more acceptable solution to tree no. 11. He felt that this type of tree was better trimmed, as pointed out by the City Arborist, and asked staff their opinion.
Project Coordinator Alvarez explained that when he initially observed the tree he did not think there was enough crown on the top to justify raising the crown, and consulted with the City Arborist for options, which is when he was informed that trimming the tree would likely kill it. With respect to Mr. Mueller’s recommendations, Mr. Alvarez felt that if Mr. Mueller wanted to assume the responsibility to save the tree by trimming one large branch to the south and keeping the north branch and raising that crown, then staff could support this suggestion.
Commissioner Lyon moved to amend the motion regarding tree no. 11, to select option no. 1 of the staff report, which is to trim down the crown of the tree to a height not to exceed 16 feet, and on tree no. 8 to remove the northwest branch in it’s entirety, seconded by Vice Chairman Mueller.
Commissioner Duran Reed liked the idea of the amendment, however her concern was that if trees 5 and 7 were permitted to remain, because they are so close together, they would form a clump and would not open up the view in that area.
Commissioner Duran Reed moved to amend the motion to trim tree no. 5 down to 16 feet or the ridgeline, whichever is lower (option 2 of the staff report), seconded by Vice Chairman Mueller.
Director/Secretary Rojas clarified that the motion made by Commissioner Tomblin to consider Mr. Mueller’s suggestions and a possible amendment to consider a deviation from Mr. Mueller’s recommendations for trees 8 and 11. Further, there is another possible amendment regarding tree no. 5 to trim it down to a height of 16 feet or the ridgeline.
The amendment to trim tree no. 5 down to 16 feet or the ridgeline (option 2 of the staff report) passed, (4-1) with Commissioner Tomblin dissenting.
The amendment to remove the northwest branch of tree no. 8 and trim the crown of tree 11 to 16 feet or the ridgeline passed, (4-1) with Commissioner Tomblin dissenting.
The amended motion to accept Mr. Mueller’s recommendations as stated in his November 24, 2003 memo, with the amendment to remove the northwest branch of tree no. 8, trim the crown of tree no. 11 to 16 feet in height, and trim tree no. 5 to 16 feet in height or the ridgeline, whichever is lower, passed, (5-0)
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that the Resolution reflecting the Planning Commission decision would be brought back on the Consent Calendar of the December 9 Planning Commission meeting.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
At 9:10 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 9:20 p.m. at which time they reconvened.
CONTINUED BUSINESS (cont)
3. Site Plan Review (Case ZON2003-00470): 30468 Camino Porvenir
Assistant Planner Yu presented a staff report explaining the scope of the project and the need for Planning Commission approval. She stated that staff was recommending the Planning Commission approve the Site Plan Review, subject to the conditions in the staff report.
There being no speakers, the public hearing was opened and closed.
Commissioner Duran Reed moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2003-58, thereby approving the Site Plan Review Case No. ZON2003-00470 as presented, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (5-0).
4. View Restoration Permit No. 138: 2 Paseo de Castana
Director/Secretary Rojas polled the Planning Commission as to who had visited the site. All of the Commissioners had visited the site.
Project Coordinator Nelson presented the staff report, giving a history of the project. She showed photographs taken from a cherry picker used by staff to determine what view was on the other side of the trees in question, as well as photographs of the trees seen from the applicant’s property. She explained that staff recommendations were listed in Table 1 of the staff report.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked staff to clarify what trees were shown obstructing the view in the pictures taken from the cherry picker.
Project Coordinator Nelson explained that the Eucalyptus trees shown are on the Perrault’s property, who were originally foliage owners on the application, and that they have indicated to the applicant and staff that should the Planning Commission take action on the Homeowners Association trees, they would be willing to trim those trees down in order to open up the coastline view.
Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.
Reginal Qualls 2 Paseo de Castana (applicant) stated that the prices in his area are based on the views, and he is trying to go through the due process to obtain the legal rights to obtain the view he is entitled to. He stated that he has tried many times to negotiate a solution with the architectural review committee, but to no avail. He explained that staff and the architectural review committee have been to his home numerous times and have gone to his upstairs area to see what the view will be from the downstairs viewing area once the foliage has been cleared. He felt that the view restoration would not only increase the value of his home, but other homes in the area as well. He stated that he agreed with the recommendations in the staff report, and would accept the decision of the Planning Commission
Katherine Campbell 12 Paseo de Pino stated she was speaking as a resident and as the chairman of the architectural review committee for the homeowners association. She felt the staff report failed to make the mandatory finding that the foliage impairing the view did not exist when the lot from which the view was taken was created. She explained that the developer, S&S Construction, had to rezone the development in the early 1980’s to single family residential and a condition of approval of the project was that the developer had to submit a new grading and landscaping plan, both of which required approval from the Planning Commission and the City Council. She noted that the landscaping plan was a pre-requisite to the approval of the entire development, and that grading could not begin until after the landscaping plans were approved on or about October 1983. She stated that the City has supervised the entire project from the beginning. Further, she did not think that there is a significant view impairment from the applicant’s viewing area. She stated that the Ordinance is designed to resolve conflicts between residential property owners, and the homeowners association is not a residential property owner, and felt that makes if difficult to apply the Ordinance to this case. She noted that each of the 75 residences in the community has an ownership interest in the trees in this application. She did not think the applicant could argue that he has a view which must be restored because he has expressly consented to the view impairment by signing a waiver, as a condition of purchase. Secondly, view obstructions are handled within the provisions of the CC&Rs, and there is a subsequent agreement to maintain the integrity of the entryway trees that was granted as a condition of constructing a non-conforming block wall. She stated that the HOA has acted in the past to restore views under the CC&Rs, and the cases where the HOA has failed to find a view obstruction has uniformly involved instances where the homeowner has wanted to acquire, improve, or enhance their view at the expense of the entire community by destroying community assets for personal gain. She did not think it was reasonable to purchase a residence without a view and then seek to acquire a view, especially after signing a waiver, the CC&Rs, and an agreement to maintain the integrity of the entryway trees. She stated that the staff report alludes to other legal remedies which are available to the HOA, and pointed out that once the trees are cut there is no legal remedy to bring the trees back.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked for clarification as to the a document the applicant had to sign in order to build a block wall.
Ms. Campbell explained that the applicant had made a request to build a non-conforming block wall on the southwest border of his property, and because the architectural review committee must approve installation, the architectural review committee included a condition regarding the entryway trees.
Commissioner Cartwright asked staff what the reason was for including old geotechnical reports in the staff report.
Project Coordinator Nelson explained that the geology files for the tract are always included in the staff reports, and that staff goes through these files to see if there is anything that would indicate what the site looked like at the time the original tract grading occurred. She explained that there is currently a member of staff who was the case planner on this project, who indicated that the project changed from that described in the geology report, however what is indicated in the geology report as site conditions and vegetation present at the time of grading would not change. She explained that the entryway landscaping was brought in after the lots were subdivided.
Commissioner Cartwright stated that as far as the HOA was concerned there is no view from the applicant’s property, however he felt that it was very clear that there was a view, and asked Ms. Campbell to clarify.
Ms. Campbell explained that there is a panoramic view from the applicant’s property with five trees obscuring a very small portion of that view. She stated that there is no view of the ocean that can be restored by removing or trimming the entryway trees.
Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if, from the City’s standpoint, HOAs are exempt from the view restoration permit process.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that staff consulted with the city attorney, and she did not believe the HOA was exempt from the process.
Project Coordinator Nelson thought that there have been two previous cases that involve the HOA that the View Restoration Commission took action on.
Commissioner Tomblin noted a section in the CC&Rs which states that the HOA must maintain vegetation and have the vegetation cut at such intervals so that the view of any owner is not unreasonably obstructed. He asked Ms. Campbell if the HOA trims any of the trees, and at what interval.
Ms. Campbell explained that there are many trees in the development and they are trimmed on a rotating schedule. She also noted that any homeowner in the development can contact the architectural review committee if they feel the trees are causing a view obstruction, and noted that there have been several instances where the HOA has trimmed specific foliage obstructing a homeowner’s view. In this instance, she did not feel that a view existed at the time the applicant purchased his lot, and that if the entryway trees were trimmed there would be further foliage behind that would continue to obstruct the view.
Vice Chairman Mueller noted that it had been commented that if the trees are trimmed or laced, there was additional foliage behind this foliage that would obstruct the view and stated that there is language in Prop M which states that one cannot consider the foliage beyond the view obstructing foliage. Further, it was his understanding the applicant had an agreement with the party involved with the other foliage that it would be trimmed if the Planning Commission orders the HOA trees be trimmed. He asked Ms. Campbell how this other foliage was relevant to the case.
Ms. Campbell felt that there was a misunderstanding as to what that agreement was and that those homeowners would be speaking on that issue.
Commissioner Tomblin asked Ms. Campbell what the homeowners association was willing to do with the trees in question to help restore Mr. Quall’s view.
Ms. Campbell explained that the HOA was willing to remove tree no. 1, which would expand the view tremendously. With respect to trees 3, 4, and 5, the HOA would like those trees to remain intact. She was not prepared to speak on the other trees.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Ms. Campbell if she felt that when this development was landscaped the intent of the developer was to block the view of some of the residences.
Ms. Campbell felt that was the intent of the developer, and noted that in the staff report there is some archive information from 1988 which documents lots at different prices, and those prices reflect the premium that some of the lots are located on a bluff with no view obstruction and other lots are more interior lots with landscaped green belts that obstruct views. She noted that every tree planted on HOA property was required to be planted by the City and part of the landscaping plan. She added that there was a specific discussion with the developer for the applicant’s lot because of the entryway trees.
Ron Melendez 44 Paseo de Castana distributed photographs to the Planning Commission and stated that he is the president of the RPV Estates HOA. He stated that the HOA has always agreed that tree no.1 was in the center of the field of the city view and that the tree could be cut down, and that the trees in the entryway are more prized and the HOA was not willing to remove these trees. He stated that it is very difficult to get a clear enough day to take photographs from the applicant’s property and noted that even if there is a view from his property, it is a view that is almost never seen because of the marine layer, fog, and tree obstruction in that direction. He felt that led to the question of quality of view and not just view. He referred to the pictures submitted by staff that were taken from the cherry picker, and felt that the pictures misrepresent the view, as the cherry picker was placed at a level higher than the Quall’s living room. He did not think the applicant’s house was ever built to take advantage of an ocean view and he did not think there was ever an ocean view from the home. Therefore, he did not think this application was restoring a view that was ever available to the home. He concluded by explaining that the HOA has always been willing to restore the majority of the city light view by removing tree no. 1 and that trees 2 and 3 are in the periphery of the view and the trees should remain intact. He stated that if the Planning Commission determines that a significant ocean view does exist, the HOA would like to be given the opportunity to pay for another cherry picker to more accurately illustrate what view is there.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked Mr. Melendez when was the first time the HOA decided tree no. 1 should be removed.
Mr. Melendez answered that was during the first pre-arbitration meeting.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked if, under the CC&Rs, the HOA would be required to remove that tree at that time, and why the HOA has not yet removed the tree.
Mr. Melendez explained that the HOA had decided that, since the applicant was going to file a formal application, it would be better to leave the tree to see what would happen once the view restoration case was filed.
Commissioner Cartwright stated that the CC&Rs state that the architectural review committee shall ensure that vegetation in the common area is cut at such intervals so that the view of any owner is immediately obstructed. He questioned how the HOA could say that the applicant is not entitled to a view when the CC&Rs say that he might be.
Mr. Melendez stated that the HOA is not saying the applicant is not entitled to a view, however if there was never a view to begin with, what was the applicant trying to accomplish.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Mr. Melendez if he had proof that there was no view from the applicant’s property when the property was developed.
Mr. Melendez acknowledged that the applicant had more of a city view when the house was developed, however there was never an ocean view from the property. He noted that he does not have a picture to prove that point.
Commissioner Tomblin asked Mr. Melendez where the pictures he distributed were taken from in relation to the pictures taken by staff in the cherry picker.
Mr. Melendez explained that the HOA was not involved with the pictures taken from the cherry picker and did not know where they were taken from. However, the pictures he distributed were taken at the corner of Crest Road and Paseo de Pino, and the bottom of the cherry picker basket was at the top of the grade of the slope, twenty two and a half feet off of Crest Road, and felt that his photos more accurately represent what the view is beyond the pine trees.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Melendez if he has visited the applicant’s property at night to see the city light view.
Mr. Melendez answered that he is around the area quite often, however he does not believe he has been at the applicant’s viewing area at nighttime.
Karen Perrault 3845 Crest Road stated that she was originally listed as a foliage owner in the original application, but is not listed in this current application and that her property is across the street from the Quall’s property. She stated that in December 2002 she had her two Eucalyptus trees trimmed, which she does periodically, and explained that the Qualls were satisfied with the trimming. She explained that she does not mind trimming the trees every couple of years, but has no intention of removing them, as they act as they block the headlights of the cars coming down Crest Road and act as a sound barrier. She stressed that there is no agreement between herself and the Qualls in regards to trimming the trees.
Mr. Qualls (in rebuttal) stated that the trees at the entrance have not been trimmed since he has lived in his home, over four years. He stated that he had no knowledge of the pictures taken by the architectural review committee and does not know where they were taken from. He did not think the developer had trees planted to initially block any of the views from the homes in the development.
Commissioner Tomblin asked Mr. Qualls how much of a view he had when he bought the house.
Mr. Qualls answered that he had considerably more view than he does now, as the trees have grown tremendously in four years.
Commissioner Tomblin asked Mr. Qualls if he would have more of a view with the trees trimmed than he did when he first moved into the home.
Mr. Qualls responded that he would have more of a view if the Planning Commission adopted the staff recommendations than he did when he first bought the property.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Qualls if he agreed with the staff recommendations.
Mr. Qualls answered that he agreed with the staff report, however he preferred to have trees 1-3 removed and trees 4 and 5 heavily laced to restore the view he feels he is entitled to.
Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Tomblin asked staff to clarify the Ordinance in reference to existing trees.
Project Coordinator Nelson explained that the finding that needs to be made is that trees did not exist on the property at the time the lot was created, which is when the map was recorded. She noted that the map was recorded in 1979 for this tract.
Commissioner Lyon was not in favor of raising crowns on trees, and questioned how raising the crown would be beneficial. He was also sensitive to the aesthetics of an entryway and did not think anything should be done to seriously harm the aesthetics of the entry gate. However, he felt that all of the trees in the entryway are in need of trimming and lacing.
Commissioner Lyon moved to remove tree no. 1, lace and shape trees 2 and 3, and take no specific action on trees 4 and 5, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin.
Vice Chairman Mueller noted that the Planning Commission cannot recommend removal of a tree without the consent of the foliage owner, which he did not feel they had. He asked Commission Lyon if he was recommending any guideline as to how far trees 2 and 3 should be trimmed and laced.
Commissioner Lyon explained that he did not see any benefit of lowering the crown 3 to 4 feet for trees 2 and 3, however he did see the benefit of giving the trees a healthy trimming. He did not think that lowering the crown of these two trees would open up any more of a view of the city lights or ocean than trimming would.
Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if the Planning Commission had the authority to require trimming of a tree if it is not impairing a view.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that any mandated trimming by the City would have to be for view restoration purposes.
Commissioner Cartwright asked how lowering the crown of trees 2 and 3 would restore some view.
Project Coordinator Nelson explained that the recommendation was done, in part, to try to balance the emotions on both sides of the issue. She stated that the reference in the staff report to trim the trees was an approximation and more in keeping with shaping and lacing the entire tree, and noted that the view is through the trees. She stated that the recommendation for trees 2 and 3 could be changed to lace and shape.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked staff if the City Arborist had been consulted regarding trees 2 and 3.
Project Coordinator Nelson explained that the City Arborist is only consulted if staff has questions regarding specific trees, and in this situation if the trees are cut to a level of approximately 16 feet they will most likely die, as more than one third of the crown will have to be removed. Therefore, staff did not look at that type of trimming as an option.
Commissioner Cartwright asked where the ocean view would be in terms of the trees.
Project Coordinator Nelson referred to Exhibit C and referenced a small opening between trees 4 and 5 as the location of the possible ocean view.
Commissioner Cartwright noted that raising the crown of the trees would open up the ocean view, and asked Commissioner Lyon why he did not think raising the crown of those trees was a viable solution.
Commissioner Lyon responded that he did not like raising the crowns of trees.
Vice Chairman Mueller re-opened the public hearing.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Melendez if the HOA would be willing to remove tree no. 1.
Mr. Melendez answered that the HOA has always been open the removal of tree no. 1, however that is contingent on not destroying the trees at the entryway.
Commissioner Cartwright asked MR. Melendez if the HOA would agree to raise the crowns on trees 4 and 5 to restore the ocean view.
Mr. Melendez felt that was a problem in that in order to raise the crown sufficiently to restore the view would make the trees look like mushrooms, as much more than one third of the tree would have to be removed.
Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Duran Reed moved to amend the motion so that tree no. 1 is removed , trees 2 and 3 are laced heavily and shaped, and accept staff recommendation for trees 4 and 5 to raise the crown as indicated, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright.
Commissioner Tomblin did not think raising the crowns would accomplish anything that heavy lacing could accomplish, and felt the trees would look better laced rather than crowned.
Commissioner Lyon agreed that crown raising trees 4 and 5 was not a good solution and that lacing was a better solution.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Commissioner Duran Reed if she would consider changing her recommendation for trees 4 and 5 to be laced heavily rather than crown raised.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked staff what their opinion was regarding lacing or crown raising of trees 4 and 5.
Project Coordinator Nelson stated that there are not a lot of branches that would have to be removed in order to raise the crown of the tree and disagreed that a third of the tree would be removed from the bottom. She felt that lacing would work and be a viable option, however the foliage may grow back fairly quickly, where removing the branches would eliminate that problem.
Commissioner Duran Reed felt that she would rather leave the motion to raise the crown of trees 4 and 5, rather than lace.
Vice Chairman Mueller agreed with Commissioner Duran Reed’s suggestion, and did not think lacing trees 4 and 5 would restore the view.
Commissioner Lyon did not agree with staff’s comments and that there is a tremendous amount of branches on trees 4 and 5 that would have to be removed to crown the tree.
Commissioner Duran Reed stated that she was convinced that the foliage was present at the time the lots were recorded, that the HOA was not exempt from the view restoration process.
The amendment to the motion to remove tree no. 1, lace heavily and shape trees 2 and 3, and accept staff’s recommendation for trees 4 and 5 to raise the crown as indicated passed, (3-2) with Commissioners Lyon and Tomblin dissenting.
Commission Tomblin stated that the applicant is getting much more of a view than when he moved in and was concerned that the aesthetics of the entryway trees would be harmed, and that lacing could achieve the goals.
Vice Chairman Mueller noted that the motion should include language for tree no. 1 regarding the removal and an option if the HOA does not want to remove that tree.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that the Planning Commission could recommend removal of tree no. 1 with the consent of the foliage owner, however if the HOA does not give consent to the removal of the tree then the Planning Commission could require the tree to be trimmed down, and if the tree dies within one year because of the action, a replacement tree could be offered.
Commissioner Duran Reed noted that the CC&Rs state that any vegetation shall be removed if it is obstructing a view, therefore tree 1 should be removed per the CC&Rs.
Vice Chairman Mueller re-opened the public hearing.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Melendez and Mr. Qualls about the option of removing tree no. 1 versus trimming and lacing the tree.
Mr. Melendez stated that as long as trees 2-5 were laced then the HOA would be willing to remove tree no. 1; however, if they will be required to raise the crown of trees 4 and 5, they may not be willing to remove tree no. 1.
Mr. Qualls stated that he was satisfied with the amended motion, however if tree no. 1 is not removed he would be satisfied if it is trimmed down to the point where he will have a view.
Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Cartwright moved to amend the motion to remove tree no 1 with the owner’s consent, and if the owner does not consent to the removal, to reduce the crown of the tree by 3 to 5 feet and lace heavily and shape; trees 2 and 3 shall be laced heavily and shaped; and follow the staff recommendations regarding trees 4 and 5 to raise the crowns, seconded by Vice Chairman Mueller.
Commissioner Lyon moved to amend the motion to remove tree no. 1 with the owner’s consent and heavily lace and shape trees 2 through 5. Further, if the foliage owner does not agree to the removal of tree no. 1, then the crown of tree no. 1 shall be reduced by 3-5 and laced and the crown on trees 4 and 5 shall be raised as recommended by staff, seconded by Commissioner Duran Reed.
Vice Chairman Mueller moved to amend the motion that if tree no. 1 is not removed it be trimmed down to the height of the fence in the backyard, seconded by Commissioner Duran Reed.
Director/Secretary Rojas summarized the motion: to remove tree no. 1 with the owners consent, and if the owner does not consent, to trim the height of the tree to the level of the fence and to heavily lace and shape the tree. Further, if tree no. 1 is not removed, then the crown on trees 4 and 5 shall be raised per the recommendation in the staff report. Trees 2-5 shall be heavily laced and shaped.
The amended motion as summarized by the Director was approved, (5-0).
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that the Resolution reflecting the decision of the Planning Commission would be presented for approval on the December 9, 2003 consent calendar.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
At 11:25 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 11:35 p.m. at which time they reconvened.
It being after 11:00, Commissioner Duran Reed moved to continue items 7 and 8 to the next available meeting, seconded by Commissioner Cartwright. Approved, (5-0).
5. Grading Permit – Revision (Case ZON2003-00497): 3261 Crownview Drive
Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report, explaining that in the course of Building and Safety plan check it was found that there was a need for additional retaining walls to be constructed in the front slope area in order to support the 11/2:1 slope and explained the requested revisions to the grading permit. He stated that staff felt the necessary findings could be made, and recommended the adoption of the Resolution.
There being no public speakers, Vice Chairman Mueller opened and closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Cartwright moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2003-59, thereby approving the requested grading permit revision (Case ZON2003-00497) as presented by staff, seconded by Commissioner Lyon. Approved, (5-0).
6. Grading Permit, Conditional Use Permit, and Site Plan Review Permit (Case ZON2002-00595): 20 Headland Drive
Associate Planner Blumenthal presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project. He stated that staff had received concerns regarding the proposed architectural feature from three neighbors of the project, however in doing the view analysis staff concluded that there was no significant view impairment caused by the proposed architectural feature. He stated that staff has determined that all necessary findings could be made and was recommending approval of the project, subject to the recommended conditions of approval.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked if the architect or applicant has presented any changes or modifications to the proposed project.
Associate Planner Blumenthal responded that there may be a minor modification presented by the architect in his presentation this evening.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked if any of the proposed changes would affect staff’s recommendations for the project.
Associate Planner Blumenthal did not think the proposed changes would affect staff’s recommendations for the project.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked if this lot was considered a pad lot or a slope lot.
Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that this lot was considered a pad lot.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked staff to clarify the 16/20 foot building envelope.
Associate Planner Blumenthal explained the 16/20 foot building envelope allowances and how it applies to this property.
Vice Chairman Mueller noted that this lot would be graded down and asked if the proposed second unit foundation was at the same height as the main house.
Associate Planner Blumenthal explained that the foundation of the proposed second unit was slightly higher than the main house because there is a slight change in grade between the structure and the main house, however the ridgelines of the two structures would be at the same level.
Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.
Doug Leach 119 Torrance Blvd, Redondo Beach (architect) explained that the proposed revision distributed to the Planning Commission was for the architectural element and a roofing change. He stated that he has read and agreed with the staff report. He noted that the subject lot is the largest parcel in the area and that the proposed house and guest house are within the 16/20 foot building envelope. Further, the house and guesthouse exceed all required setbacks. He explained that the proposed revision would allow for removal of some roof area and reduce the width of the architectural feature from 9 feet to 4 feet, and that the front elevation would change accordingly. He explained that the silhouette erected at the site does not accurately reflect the height and size of the proposed architectural feature.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked if the proposed change will open up the view through the driveway.
Mr. Leach answered that was the intent of the change.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked if there had been any thought to grading down at the front of the house in order to maintain the view from other properties.
Mr. Leach explained that he was trying to keep the existing pool, and the pool elevation is established and shown on the site plan, and that mandates where the first floor elevation needs to be.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked if there was a reason the proposed roof height was higher than the roof height of the existing home.
Mr. Leach answered that mathematically, the proposed height is what it is, and that he has lowered the pitch of the roof as much as he feels he can.
Commissioner Cartwright asked what the net result was in narrowing the architectural feature.
Mr. Leach stated that the architectural feature has been reduced from 9 feet in width to 4 feet.
Julie Jones 20 Headland Drive gave a brief history of the process she has gone through to get to this point. She stated that she intends to build a quality home and intends to live in it the rest of her life, and that once the house is built it will be evident that it is compatible with and an asset to the neighborhood.
Ajanta Naidu 26 Headland Drive stated that she was concerned that the silhouette was incomplete and the full impact of the architectural feature is unclear. She was concerned that a height variation permit had not been filed, as the architectural feature is over the allowable height of 16 feet, and this feature impairs several of the neighbors’ views. She was concerned with the bulk of the construction and felt it was incompatible with the neighborhood and imposes unreasonable infringement on her indoor and outdoor privacy. She discussed her best and most important view that will be lost from the bulk and height of the proposed construction, which will also obstruct the view from several of her neighbor’s properties. She strongly disagreed with the staff report analysis of impact of the proposed remodeling on her views as being minimal. She stated that the architectural feature presents a formidable obstruction of the most important views from her living areas, the ocean view. She felt this would also damage her property value and investment and set dangerous precedent for violation of view preservation. She noted that she is in the process of going through the view restoration process to have vegetation cut or removed to restore her view that is currently blocked. She asked the Planning Commission to consider recommending scaling back the magnitude of the addition and eliminate the proposed architectural feature from the plans to ensure protection and preservation of all of the neighbor’s views.
Commissioner Cartwright asked Ms. Naidu if she had seen the proposed changes submitted by the architect, as he felt that the change appears to open up quite a bit of the view from her property at 26 Headland Drive.
Ms. Naidu answered that she had not had the opportunity to see the proposed changes.
Mr. Leach gave Ms. Naidu a copy of the proposed changes.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked Ms. Naidu where her main viewing areas are located.
Ms. Naidr answered that she has several viewing areas, including the kitchen area, the family room, and the patio, and she distributed pictures taken from these areas.
David Berman 44 Headland Drive felt that the proposed construction is incompatible with the neighborhood and will significantly impair the view from his house. He was concerned that the silhouette is not complete, and the section that is missing delineates a major portion of the northeast wing of the structure, which makes it impossible to appreciate the mass of the proposed structure and the full impact on his view. He asked that the Planning Commission require the applicant to complete the silhouette prior to acting on the application. He distributed photographs to show the impacts of the proposed structure on the views from his primary living area, and noted that the neighborhood compatibility handbook states that a structure should be carefully designed to respect views from neighboring properties, and he did not think the structure does not respect views from neighboring properties. He asked that the Planning Commission not approve the project at this time.
Commissioner Cartwright stated that the Development Code allows a resident to build up to 16 feet in height and view is not a consideration, and asked Mr. Berman why the Planning Commission should deny a project that is below 16 feet in height, noting that Mr. Berman’s view from his property is below the 16 foot level.
Mr. Berman answered that the development severely affects his view, and his interpretation of the code is that if any portion of the proposed structure is over 16 feet then the entire structure can be taken into account when looking at views. He stated that when he designed his home he went to great lengths to design it in such a way that it would not interfere with any of his neighbor’s views, and he felt the applicant could re-design the house to preserve more of his and his neighbors’ views.
Commissioner Cartwright noted that there was not a height variation permit required for this proposed structure and that views do not have to be considered in the analysis.
Mr. Berman felt that the neighbors’ views should be taken into consideration when the Planning Commission discusses this structure.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Berman to explain why he felt that the silhouette at the site is inaccurate.
Mr. Berman explained that 50 percent of the bedroom wing is not illustrated in the silhouette, and he was asking that the correct silhouette be erected.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked staff if the silhouette accurately depicts the proposed house.
Associate Planner Blumenthal displayed a picture of the silhouette, explaining that there are flags connecting the main architectural feature to the peak of the ridgeline that are lying flat, and staff was able to use the digital camera to make the connection digitally to make a fair analysis of the project.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked how someone in the neighborhood without the digital software would be able to visualize what the proposed structure would look like.
Associate Planner Blumenthal explained that there is one flag connection missing from the peak of the architectural feature down to the ridgeline, and it was not difficult to visualize the structure.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the proposed revision was reflected in the silhouette.
Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that it was not, as staff has not seen the revisions until this evening.
Mr. Berman disagreed, stating that there are not flags that have fallen down, but rather there are sections of flags missing from the silhouette, and that 50 percent of the structure is missing. He did not think that neighbors should have to hypothetically guess what a proposed home would look like.
Madhu Berman 44 Headland Drive stated that her main objection was that the applicant will have a 180-degree view, while she will be losing her view. She felt that her view was more important that the ambiance of the applicant’s home.
Kathy Setka 16 Headland Drive distributed photographs to the Planning Commission. She stated that she has been a licensed real estate appraiser for over 20 years and that a home with a view is worth substantially more than a home without a view. She explained that in appraising a property, the view is more important than the square footage of the property and the bedroom or bathroom count when establishing the value of a property. She stated that the proposed residence will cause her to lose a substantial portion of her view as well as marketability and value. Because this project is new construction and not a remodel, she felt that the applicant has the option of grading her land, as the existing home sits well above the street grade and grading the property will allow the applicant to keep her entire view while allowing the neighbors to continue to enjoy their view unobstructed. She stated that the increase in roofline is not to add a second story, but to accommodate skylights for additional light, as natural light is obstructed by the large covered porch in front of the home. She felt it was unfair to pit her view against skylights and a turret that does not conform with the neighborhood. She felt that the taking of any view is unjust and she asked the Planning Commission to deny the application.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked Ms. Setka if she had seen the modifications to the plans.
Ms. Setka responded that she had just looked at the modifications, and does not think the modifications are enough to justify losing her view. She felt the property could be graded down, and the pool discussed by Mr. Leach should not be a consideration as to whether the land could be graded or not.
Steve Setka 16 Headland Drive stated that technically this home can be built up to 20 feet because the slope is not completely flat, however he felt that was a technicality because the pad is flat and the lot slopes up at the back of the lot. He felt that the architectural feature and the ridgeline were not necessary and if the entire structure were dropped to 16 feet in height the applicant could still have a beautiful home and the neighbors could preserve their views.
Charlene O’Neil 38 Headland stated that it seems this dream house proposed by the applicant is creating a nightmare on the street, as neighbors are losing so much of their views, and she felt there must be something with neighborhood compatibility that can help the neighbors keep their views. She felt that grading the lot down was a viable solution.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked Ms. Naidu to return to the podium, and asked her if she had a chance to review the revision to the plan and if she had any comments.
Ms. Naidu responded that she has reviewed the revision, however she does not understand how it will affect her view, and without a silhouette in place reflecting the proposed change, she did not feel she could comment on the revision at this time.
Commissioner Cartwright referred to the revised plan and asked Mr. Leach if the portion of the roof being removed will help the view from Ms. Naidu’s property.
Mr. Leach answered that it would improve the view from 44 Headland Drive.
Mr. Leach (in rebuttal) felt that many of the issues addressed by the speakers are adequately addressed in the staff report. With respect to the neighbor at 44 Headland Drive, he quoted the minutes of the public hearing in which the architect stated that the home was surrounded by vegetation and would not be visible to the neighbors. Mr. Leach noted that the house at 44 Headland Drive was not, according to the architect, built to be a view house, but now there are issues of view. He felt that the issues of the second unit were addressed in the staff report and the General Plan. He noted that the 16 foot/20 foot rule allows this house to be built as reflected in the plans.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked Mr. Leach if the roof was at the current height to accommodate installation of skylights, as suggested by one of the speakers.
Mr. Leach responded that the height of the roof is a function of the math of a 4:12 pitch roof over the width of the house.
Commissioner Duran Reed asked if the pitch of the roof could be changed to accommodate some of the concerns of the neighbors.
Mr. Leach questioned why this was being asked, as they are under the 16 foot/20 foot rule. He noted that a 4:12 pitch roof was appropriate for this type of ranch style architecture. He stated that the lowest he could go would be 3 ½:12 pitch, which would reduce the ridge by approximately nine inches.
Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Cartwright asked staff if the ridgeline of the second unit is impairing views from the neighboring homes.
Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that the view from 44 Headland Drive was slightly impaired by the ridgeline of the second unit, as indicated on the power point slide.
Commissioner Cartwright asked if there is a view finding that the Planning Commission must make on a Site Plan Review application.
Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that there is typically no view finding on a Site Plan Review, and in this case the only view finding necessary was for the architectural feature and the section of the structure where grading was occurring.
Vice Chairman Mueller referred to the architectural feature and the view from 44 Headland Drive, and asked staff how they concluded the view was not significantly impaired. He noted that behind the architectural feature is a city view right in the middle of the viewing area.
Associate Planner Blumenthal explained that when analyzing view impairment staff looks at the entire view and how much of the view only the architectural feature is impairing.
Vice Chairman Mueller understood, however he noted that the architectural feature is in the middle of the view frame, which causes him concern. He discussed the second unit and that the ridgeline of the second unit is slightly higher than the main house and asked staff how this is allowed per the Code.
Director/Secretary Rojas clarified that the ridgeline of the second unit is slightly higher than that of the main house, however the second unit ordinance in the Code states that whether the second unit is attached or detached the second unit may not exceed 16 feet without a height variation.
Vice Chairman Mueller asked if there was anything in that ordinance that would allow the Planning Commission to require the ridgeline to be lowered so that it was at the same height as the main house and won’t interfere with the view from the neighbors’ homes.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that there is a finding for the Conditional Use Permit which states the Planning Commission must find the project will have no significant adverse affect to adjacent properties. Therefore, if the Planning Commission felt that any impairment caused by the second unit is significant, they may not be able to make that finding and require the ridgeline of the second unit be reduced.
Commissioner Lyon felt there was sufficient objection from the neighbors that it may be wise for the applicant to work further with the neighbors, and moved to continue the item to the meeting of January 13, 2004, seconded by Commissioner Tomblin.
Vice Chairman Mueller also felt that it was important to have a more accurate silhouette erected to show the true scope of the project.
Commissioner Cartwright felt it would be helpful to have better pictures showing the views from the neighboring properties and how those views cross the ridgeline of the proposed residence.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that it would be necessary for the applicant to request a one-time 90 day extension to the Permit Streamlining Act.
Mr. Leach agreed to the one-time 90 day extension to the Permit Streamlining Act.
The item was continued to the meeting of January 13, 2004, (5-0).
7. View Restoration Permit No. 159: 6 La Vista Verde
Continued to the meeting of January 13, 2004, (5-0).
8. Code amendment to clarify the application of the 16-foot height limit and the view findings for height variation and grading applications
Continued to the meeting of December 9, 2003.
9. Planning Commission’s representation to the General Plan Update Steering Committee
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that the Steering Committee has lost Mr. Long due to his election to the City Council, therefore a new member must be selected to the committee.
Commissioner Cartwright nominated Vice Chairman Mueller to the General Plan Update Steering Committee to act as the chairman, seconded by Commissioner Duran Reed. Unanimously approved.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
10. Minutes of November 11, 2003
Continued to December 9, 2003.
ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS
11. Pre-Agenda for the meeting of December 9, 2003
The meeting was adjourned at 1:15 a.m.