CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
OCTOBER 26, 2004
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Mueller at 7:00 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.
Commissioner Perestam led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Present: Commissioners Gerstner, Karp, Perestam, Tetreault, and Chairman Mueller
Absent: Commissioner Knight and Vice Chair Cote were excused
Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, Associate Planner Blumenthal, Associate Planner Schonborn, Assistant Planner Yu, and Recording Secretary Peterson
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
The Agenda was approved, as modified, to move items 6 and 7 to the end of the Agenda and hear item 4 after item 5.
Director/Secretary Rojas reported that three items of correspondence had been distributed to the Planning Commission regarding Agenda Item. No. 4, one item for Agenda Item No. 5, and a copy of an email from Commissioner Knight with his comments on the minutes.
COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (regarding non-agenda items)
1. Equestrian Code Amendment (Case ZON2004-00264)
Commissioner Karp moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2004-42, thereby denying the Code Amendment (Case ZON2004-00264) that would require all properties in the City’s four Equestrian Overlay zones to maintain an 800 square foot area for keeping of large domestic animals, seconded by Commissioner Tetreault. Approved, (3-0-1) with Commissioner Perestam abstaining and Commissioner Gerstner recused.
2. Revision to Height Variation Permit (Case ZON2004-00366): 6512 Nancy Road
Commissioner Karp moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2004-43 thereby conditionally approving Case No. ZON2004-00366, seconded by Commissioner Tetreault. Approved, (2-1-2) with Chairman Mueller dissenting and Commissioners Tetreault and Perestam abstaining since they were not present at that meeting.
3. Height Variation Permit (Case ZON2004-00087): 28129 Ella Road
Commissioner Gerstner moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2004-44 thereby denying the Height Variation (Case No. ZON2004-00098), seconded by Commissioner Karp. Approved, 3-0-2, with Commissioners Tetreault and Perestam abstaining since they were absent from that meeting.
5. Wireless Communications Antenna Development Guidelines (Case ZON2004-00345)
Associate Planner Blumenthal presented the staff report. He explained that at the direction of the Planning Commission, staff modified Guideline No. 6 for the Network Master Plan to require master plans show the location of all existing wireless antennas, any proposed antennas, and any antennas that are obsolete and can be removed. He explained that, if the Planning Commission adopts the new Guidelines, the requirement will be applicable to all new applications. With regard to creating a standard condition of approval for antennas that are obsolete and be removed, staff has a concern with the enforcement of such a condition as staff would have difficulty in determining when antennas are obsolete. Therefore, after consulting with the City Attorney, staff is proposing the addition of a tenth guideline to the Wireless Development Guidelines, as noted in the staff report. He stated that staff and the City Attorney believe this added guideline will give the City the ability to review approved antennas after a reasonable time frame and require they be removed or allow changes in the antenna to reflect the most current technology at the time of the review. Therefore, staff is recommending the Planning Commission review the proposed amendment, accept any testimony provided, and make any modifications to the Guidelines that the Commission deems appropriate.
Commissioner Karp referred to the Development Guidelines, item No. 2, and asked why the word "discouraged" was used and not "prohibited" when referring to residential areas.
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that these are Guidelines, not the Code, and in discussing this issue with the City Attorney, she explained that the courts have found that the Codes cannot be structured in such a way that would make it very difficult to allow any antennas in the City. Therefore, in a City such as Rancho Palos Verdes, which is almost 90 percent residential, to say that antennas are not allowed in residential areas might provide for the opportunity for someone to claim they are not being provided reasonable alternative sites to place antennas in the City.
Director/Secretary Rojas further explained that these Guidelines are for commercial antennas on private property that come before the Planning Commission for approval of a Conditional Use Permit, as opposed to antennas that are attached to utility poles and other structures in the public right-of-way. He explained that those types of antennas are subject to a review from the Public Works Department and have a different set of criteria they must meet.
Chairman Mueller asked if it was staff’s intention that if an antenna is determined to be obsolete and removed, that the pole also be removed if possible.
Associate Planner Blumenthal explained that it was staff’s intention that any support structure associated with the obsolete antenna be removed if at all possible.
Commissioner Karp asked if was possible to require the antennas be camouflaged in some way.
Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that the Planning Commission can, when a new antenna is being added to an existing pole, take in the aesthetics of the entire pole and require it to be camouflaged. He noted that antennas in new applications are required by staff to be hidden in some manner.
Commissioner Gerstner moved to adopt the changes, as submitted by staff, to the Wireless Communications and Antenna Development Guidelines, seconded by Commissioner Tetreault. Approved, (4-0-1) with Commissioner Perestam abstaining.
4. Height Variation and Tract Map Amendment (Case ZON2004-00409): 6270 Ocean Terrace Drive
Associate Planner Schonborn presented the staff report explaining the applicant was requesting a modification to the previously approved Height Variation, as well as a Tract Map amendment. He gave a brief history of the project, noting that the engineer of record submitted an inspection report and certified documentation that the building location was consistent with the approved plans. However, during the final inspection it was noted that the grading pad and structure did not appear to be in compliance with the approved plans, and the City requested the applicant submit an as-built site plan prepared by a registered engineer. He explained that at that time it was noted that the house encroached 10 feet into the established trail easement and two corners of the rear deck extended past the BGR line. Therefore, a final certificate of occupancy was not issued until all issues are addressed. He illustrated on a power point slide the location of the current house and the approved location of the house. He pointed out the trail easement and noted that a portion of the trail now goes onto the adjacent the Upper Filiorum property. He noted that the City did not construct the existing trail, as it was established over time by continued public use of the trail. He explained that York Long Point was concerned with grading done on their property and the applicant had tried to resolve the issue with York Long Point. He stated that no agreement was reached between the two parties, and since the City is actively pursing the acquisition of the Upper Filiorum property as part of the City’s proposed NCCP, staff believes these issues can be resolved if the City is successful in acquiring the property. However, if the City is not successful in acquiring the property, staff believes the applicant should be responsible for re-aligning the trail so that the trail is contained within the easement located on the subject property. Mr. Schonborn also explained that when the original height variation was processed an assessment was conducted to determine if the new residence would create significant impacts upon the neighboring properties. He explained that staff and the Planning Commission were able to make all of the necessary findings to approve the height variation at that time. He also explained that, even with the house located in a different position, staff believes the necessary findings for the height variation with regards to views, neighborhood compatibility, and privacy can be made. He noted that staff was concerned with the privacy to the neighboring property, specifically into their deck area. He stated that staff believes adding a roof area over the southeast portion of the applicant’s balcony can mitigate the infringement of privacy. Therefore, based on the previous assessment and current analysis staff has determined that the revision and amendments can be approved subject to some modifications to the balcony to address privacy concerns, and recommends the Planning Condition approve the project.
Commissioner Karp referred to a drawing in the staff report, and asked if the swimming pool on the neighboring Butterworth property was encroaching into the easement, and if this area was part of the area the Butterworths were concerned with in regards to loss of their privacy.
Associate Planner Schonborn answered that, according to the applicant’s survey, the Butterworth’s swimming pool and deck are is in the easement area and that this is part of the area that the Butterworths were concerned with in terms of loss of privacy.
Commissioner Karp questioned if it was fair to assume that an area encroaching into the public easement should have the right of privacy.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered no.
Commissioner Tetreault noted that it appears that all of the southern property lines of the homes in the area line up fairly consistently, except for the applicant’s property, which appears to jut out approximately 5 feet farther than the other properties. He asked if there was any type of timing issues involved in this application, referring to the NCCP and the acquisition of the Upper Filiorum property.
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that staff does not know the timing of the proposed acquisition, however it is noted in the staff report that a condition has been established that within two years of the final approval of the application, one of the two options regarding the trail must be implemented by the applicant.
Commissioner Tetreault asked if that meant that within two years a choice of options would have to be made, but not that the work had to be completed.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that was correct.
Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.
Sultan Ahamed 6270 Ocean Terrace Drive (applicant) stated that he was requesting the Planning Commission approve the residence in the present location, as recommended by the City staff. He explained that it was not until his final building inspection that it was realized the house was built in the wrong location and that the engineer had made a mistake in his survey. He stated that since that time he has been working diligently with staff to find solutions to this problem, and the result is the recommendations in the staff report. Referring to the privacy issue, he stated that there is a condition of approval in the original application that foliage be planted to preserve the privacy and that condition is still in effect. He felt that there is sufficient foliage at the site to maintain the neighbor’s privacy.
Chairman Mueller asked if a site survey was done on the lot prior to the house being placed on the lot.
Mr. Ahamed answered that a site survey had been done.
Chairman Mueller asked if it was the engineer that had done the site survey.
Mr. Ahamed answered that it was the engineer that had done the site survey, however he now has a new engineer for the project.
Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Ahmed if he was aware of the 15-foot setback requirement when he was building the house.
Mr. Ahamed answered that he was aware of the 15-foot setback requirement.
Michael Nichols 1010 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance (Lanco Engineering) stated that he is the new engineer for Mr. Ahamed. He stated that the house does not encroach into the trail easement, but the setback for the trail easement. He also felt that the 1997 photograph shown by staff shows the trail in question existed well off of the pad and on the Filiorum property. He stated that condition No. 3, requiring a roof element on a section of the balcony, would attack the structure of the house and would be expensive. Regarding the privacy issue, he stated that the forms for the new house were certified in December 1999 and the slabs were poured immediately after that. He stated that the framing was well along in April 2000 and the Butterworths closed escrow in April 2000. Therefore, Mr. Nichols felt that when escrow closed, what Mr. Butterworth saw was what he got, and there has been no privacy concerns expressed since that time. He felt that the concerns now raised are a bit opportunistic and requested the Planning Commission approve the house as it has been for the past 3 ½ years.
Commissioner Karp asked Mr. Nichols if the Butterworth family had bought the house after the framing was constructed on the subject property.
Mr. Nichols answered that was correct, that escrow had closed after the framing had been completed.
Commissioner Tetreault asked if there was any way of re-establishing the required setbacks with the house in its present location.
Mr. Nichols answered that there was not a way to re-establish those setbacks without removing a good portion of the house or the balcony.
Minaz Ahamed 6270 Ocean Terrace stated that one of the issues is what is a protected area in terms of privacy. He felt that the deck and pool area in Mr. Butterworth’s yard are out in the open and next to a public trail and questioned how much privacy was expected in these areas. He felt that the foliage between the properties is sufficient and did not feel there was a privacy issue regarding the deck. He also noted that the foliage continues to grow and provides more privacy than it did when the house was first built.
Bill Butterworth 6264 Ocean Terrace Drive stated that the subject residence was not constructed as approved, and the balcony has a significant impact on him from the living room, master bedroom, deck, and pool area and that he has had to trade foliage for view, which he feels is unreasonable. He displayed photographs taken that show the foliage and the deck. He stated that staff made the finding that there was no view impairment when they were doing their original review, which he agrees with. However, with the house in it’s current location there is a significant view impact. He stated that he is now in the position where he has to grow foliage to protect his privacy, which affects his views.
Commissioner Gerstner stated that testimony was heard regarding the infringement of privacy, and that he understood that was from the pool, backyard space, and from the balcony. However, after hearing Mr. Butterworth speak, it seemed his primary concern was the view corridor being diminished and also the privacy in the backyard.
Mr. Butterworth explained that the privacy issue was not just from the backyard and pool area, but also from the master bedroom, the master bedroom sitting area, and the living room. He showed pictures taken from these areas.
Commissioner Gerstner asked Mr. Butterworth if the foliage is on his property.
Mr. Butterworth answered that the foliage is on his property.
Commissioner Gerstner asked Mr. Butterworth if he had been a part of this process all along.
Mr. Butterworth explained that he was not aware of the problems until August. He explained that when he agreed to buy his home, the applicant’s home had not yet been framed, so he went to the City to view the plans. At that time staff had said that everything being done was per Code so he did not have issues with the view.
Commissioner Gerstner asked if he was in support of the staff’s recommendations for the adjustments to the house.
Mr. Butterworth answered that he was not in agreement with the recommendations of the staff, as the proposed roof at the deck will help on the privacy issue right next to the house, but makes a much more visual impact from the bedroom and living room. He stated that there will be a bright red roof instead of a grey deck and transparent railings, and does nothing to improve the views he once had.
Commissioner Karp asked Mr. Butterworth if he was claiming that his hot tub and other equipment were not in the public right-of-way, and if the view is being diminished from these areas.
Mr. Butterworth felt that the pool, hot tub area, and pool equipment were all on his property and not in the easement, however in the setback to the easement.
Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Butterworth if the views he is discussing are from viewing areas as determined by staff in their original staff report.
Mr. Butterworth answered that he has reviewed the original staff report, and agrees with that report if the house were built in the proper location. However, he stated that the house is not in the proper location and he therefore has concerns with his view and privacy.
Gary Weber 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South (representing York Long Point) stated that he was not before the Planning Commission to discuss the Height Variation or the Tract Map Amendment, but rather the illegal grading that occurred on the adjacent Upper Filiorum property in 2001. He stated that since April 2001 he has been working with staff and the applicant to resolve the problem at this site. He stated that his issues are very simple, that grading has illegally occurred on the Upper Filiorum property owned by York Long Point property and allows trespassing. He felt that the options for the City and the applicant to consider are to: 1) immediately restore the grading to the original pre-existing topography and place the trail in the easement; 2) for Mr. Ahamed to purchase the portion of the property that was graded, or; 3) York Long Point to restore the grading, put the trail in the easement, and bill Mr. Ahamed for the cost.
Commissioner Gerstner asked if there was some physical characteristic of the slope that would make it impossible to move the trail back to where it belongs in the easement.
Mr. Weber stated that staff has provided a solution to restore the topography to its pre-existing condition with a retaining wall, which would allow for placement of the trail in the easement.
Commissioner Karp felt that Mr. Weber has legitimate concerns and issues, but questioned whether this issue was part of the discussion before the Planning Commission on this Agenda.
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that related to this project there was grading that transpired beyond the applicant’s property, and York Long Point is asking what the remedy to that will be. He explained that staff’s position has always been that the City is actively working on purchasing that property, which will then remedy the problem. Therefore, staff feels the concerns are relevant, as the Planning Commission is being asked to recommend approval of a project with a reduced distance from the trail. He added that the Planning Commission can proceed because the issue is being addressed by requesting the applicant to enter into an agreement that would mitigate the trail and grading situation. This would address the concerns presented by Mr. Weber, as the agreement would have to be approved by the City Council.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
At 8:35 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 8:50 p.m. at which time they reconvened.
CONTINUED BUSINESS (cont)
At 8:35 p.m. Chairman Mueller excused himself from the meeting and Commissioner Tetreault became the acting Chairman.
Commissioner Tetreault asked Mr. Weber whether he felt the negotiations to sell the Upper Filiorum property to the City would eventually bear fruit at some point.
Mr. Weber answered that he did not know, however it is a viable option.
Mr. Ahamed (in rebuttal) stated that several years ago he was prepared to restore the grading on the York property, however the owners of the property would not give him permission to go on to their property to make the repairs. He stated that he also tried to purchase the property from York Long Point, however they could not come to terms on a fair price. Mr. Ahamed discussed the privacy issues, noting that Mr. Butterworth’s house sits approximately 3 feet higher than his property and he did not think his balcony could create an obstruction to his view. He concluded by stating that he has been in his house for 3 ½ years and there has never been an issue with privacy. Therefore, his concern was that because he now has to go before the Planning Commission the privacy and view are now becoming an issue.
Commissioner Tetreault closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Gerstner stated that testimony had been heard that there are not only issues regarding privacy, but also loss of view, and asked staff if a view analysis had been done from Mr. Butterworth’s primary viewing areas to see if the structure in the current location has impacts on his view.
Associate Planner Schonborn stated that staff had visited Mr. Butterworth’s property, and although a formal view assessment was not described in the staff report, staff did look at the area where the original view analysis had been done, and staff felt that the residence as currently located does not create a significant view impairment to the Butterworth property.
Commissioner Gerstner felt that if Mr. Butterworth is concerned about view, in this situation he felt that the City had an obligation to do a view analysis from the primary viewing area.
Associate Planner Schonborn explained that staff has concluded that the original analysis still holds true and the structure being pushed up 15 feet does not create a significant view impairment.
Commissioner Gerstner was concerned that this issue has been unresolved for such a long period and asked, if over the past three years, an analysis had been done of adjusting the house to fit into the required setbacks or adjusting the house so that portions of the house fits into the setback.
Associate Planner Schonborn explained that staff has approached the applicant in terms of alternatives, including cutting the deck back, however the applicant chose to pursue the option before the Planning Commission.
Director/Secretary Rojas added that when this error was discovered staff and the applicant considered many solutions to the problem, including demolishing a portion of the house. He noted that it became clear, however, that the City was getting very close to the acquisition of the section of the Upper Filiorum property, and why go through the expense of moving the trail or house if the City was going to purchase the land and the trail would be able to remain where it is. He stated that when the notices for the project went out, the first response from the neighbor was the issue of privacy, which is why staff focused on that issue. During the course of time, the neighbor then brought up the issue of views, and when staff looked at the property they determined that there was not a view issue. He stated that if the Planning Commission would like staff to do a more formal view analysis from the neighboring property, they could certainly do that.
Commissioner Tetreault asked who has the right of review when determining whether or not someone can encroach the setback in these circumstances.
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that the City Council approved this tract in the 1970s with certain conditions that are unique to the tract, and therefore the City Council would have to approve amendments to the original tract conditions.
Commissioner Tetreault asked why this amendment was before the Planning Commission.
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that the Planning Commission is being asked to make a recommendation to the City Council that they amend the condition.
Commissioner Tetreault asked the purpose for the 15-foot trail setback.
Associate Planner Schonborn stated that when reviewing the minutes of the public hearing when the tract was developed and the tract files there was nothing indicating the intent of having the 15-foot trail setback.
Director/Secretary Rojas added that staff concluded that the 15-foot trail setback may have been established to provide privacy to the homeowners and the trail users.
Commissioner Tetreault asked how this 15-foot trail setback was different or similar to other trail easements in the City.
Associate Planner Schonborn answered that this setback condition is unique to this tract.
Commissioner Karp felt there were three issues before the Planning Commission: 1) The issue of the illegal grading on the York Long Point property, which, while it is an important issue, he did not feel was on the Agenda and should not be discussed at this time; 2) Encroachment into the public right-of-way or easements of the trails; and 3) Is the house, as now constructed, causing a privacy or view issue to the neighbors. He noted that the staff report deals with privacy, and the issue of views seems to only have come up at the meeting. He felt that he needed to visit the Butterworth property to be able to make an informed decision regarding the view issue, and therefore felt it would be in everyone’s best interest to continue the item.
Commissioner Perestam agreed with Commissioner Karp’s comments, and felt that when the Commissioners are at the Butterworth residence they should not only look at view issues, but the privacy issues as well.
Commissioner Gerstner also agreed, as he did not think he could make an informed decision without having a view analysis from staff. Regarding privacy, he stated that privacy always falls secondary to the view and he felt there were many ways to screen the privacy. Therefore, he too would like to see a formal view analysis in the report and have the opportunity to visit the property.
Commissioner Tetreault stated that the Planning Commission is very narrowly focused on what it can do. He explained that the Commission cannot resolve the problem for the York Long Point property owners, as he felt that was a private matter that would be best dealt with in a private fashion. Similarly, the house being built 15 feet in the wrong direction is not a matter of the City’s creation and the applicant is taking the appropriate steps to remedy that in the appropriate forum. He stated that his concern is that there is a trail and an easement, and there are homes that are basically lined up along that tract, except for the applicant’s home which juts out beyond the line of the other homes in the area. He felt that in so doing, this house may reduce the peripheral view of the house next door. He stated that he was more in favor of removing a portion of the balcony to eliminate the problem with the setback, as he felt the setback was there for a good reason. He did not think putting a roof element in the corner helps the problem, as there will still be the problems with the setback. He realized that cutting back the deck is unfortunate for the owners of the property, however the remedy for the innocent property owner is with the party who made the mistake. He realized that this would not restore the house to the way the property owners wanted it and the way it was envisioned, however he felt this was a significant problem that needs to be more directly addressed rather than accommodated.
Commissioner Gerstner moved to continue the public hearing to November 23, 2004 to allow staff to perform an additional view and privacy analysis from the neighboring property and allow the Planning Commission to re-visit the neighboring property; to suggest to York Long Point that they not expect the Planning Commission to solve their encroachment problem and that they more aggressively pursue this on their own; and to suggest to the applicant that he look at what the ramifications would be if part of the balcony were to come off if the Planning Commission felt that there is a view impact to the neighboring property, seconded by Commissioner Karp. Approved, (4-0).
8. Height Variation Permit (Case ZON2003-00566): 28224 San Nicolas Drive
Associate Planner Blumenthal presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project and the need for the Height Variation. He stated that staff was able to make all of the necessary findings and was recommending approval of the project with conditions.
Commissioner Tetreault opened the public hearing.
Stan Kalanter and Grace Lee 28224 San Nicholas Drive (applicants) explained that they currently have 4 very small bedrooms and 2 small bathrooms and need to expand the house for their growing family, and asked the Planning Commission to consider the approval of their project.
Commissioner Tetreault closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Gerstner asked staff what the lot coverage would be with this proposed addition.
Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that with the proposed addition the lot coverage would be at 25 percent.
Commissioner Karp did not feel the addition would impact anyone’s views or privacy and was not opposed to the proposed project.
Commissioner Tetreault agreed, noting that other homes in the neighborhood have a similar floor plan, and also was in favor of the project.
Commissioner Karp moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2004-45 thereby approving the Height Variation as presented by staff, seconded by Commissioner Gerstner. Approved, (3-0-1) with Commissioner Perestam abstaining.
9. Site Plan Review, Variance, Minor Exception Permit (Case ZON2004-00072): 1949 Jaybrook Drive
Assistant Planner Yu presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project and the need for the requested applications. She stated that staff was able to make all of the necessary findings and was recommending approval of the project, with the recommended conditions of approval
Commissioner Karp stated that every house he observed in the neighborhood had a garage and asked if this would be the only house without a garage.
Assistant Planner Yu stated that in reviewing the files there appears to be other permits for garage conversions in the neighborhood and there were permits to add a carport or garage to these residences, however staff does not know how many of those carports exist today or if they have been removed.
Commissioner Karp asked if the Planning Commission had the authority to convert the converted garage back to a garage area.
Assistant Planner Yu explained that according to the Code, if the applicant was adding more than 50 percent of the existing structure size, they could be required to convert the garage back or add a two-car garage. She noted that the applicant was not adding more than 50 percent of the existing square footage, however they are requesting to remove the carport, and this is why they are requesting a Variance.
Commissioner Gerstner asked if the applicant would be able to build a carport or garage at the end of the driveway.
Assistant Planner Yu answered that staff did not feel that there was room at that location for the applicant to build a garage or a carport without encroaching into the setback area.
Director/Secretary Rojas stated that the County allowed the owners to build a carport, which no longer functions as a carport, and if the City requires the applicant to place a garage or carport, there is no way to do so without a Variance. Further, staff determined that the only place a carport or garage could be placed on the property would likely cause more of an impact to the neighbor as it would end up very close to the property line.
Commissioner Karp asked staff what was wrong with approving the garage in the setback area if the neighbor has no objections.
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that the neighbor is already located approximately 5 feet from the property line and the new garage would be less than 5 feet from the property line to meet minimum garage dimensions, and therefore there would be less than 10 feet between the neighbor’s house and the garage.
Commissioner Karp asked where on the property the applicant would be able to park their vehicles.
Assistant Planner Yu answered that without a garage the applicant would be able to park one vehicle at the side of the house and one vehicle in the back.
Commissioner Karp asked if there was a way to condition the approval that these areas be left for parking of vehicles rather than for something else.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that it is possible to create a condition of approval that states these spaces are always to be maintained as parking spaces.
Commissioner Karp referred to the power point slide and noted that where the original garage was there is a concrete driveway and he asked if it were possible to require the old driveway to be removed and landscaped and the curb cut removed and replaced.
Assistant Planner Yu answered that the Planning Commission had the ability to make that a condition of approval.
Commissioner Tetreault opened the public hearing.
John Shea 1300 S. Beacon St, San Pedro stated he was representing the owner and was available for any questions.
Commissioner Gerstner asked if there had been any discussions regarding the old driveway where the old garage used to be and possibly removing the driveway and re-landscaping the area.
Mr. Shea answered that he was not aware of any discussions regarding this.
Commissioner Tetreault closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Karp felt that this house is not compatible with the neighborhood, however he did not want to discourage the owner from improving their house. He was disturbed that there was not a garage, however if the Planning Commission could get some assurance that that the parking places remain as parking and the former driveway and curb cut are removed and the former driveway is landscaped, he would be able to approve this application.
Commissioner Gerstner agreed this was a difficult project, however he felt that the proposed addition would make the house more compatible with the neighborhood than it is now. He agreed with the suggestion made by Commissioner Karp regarding the old driveway and re-landscaping that area.
Commissioner Perestam asked if the Planning Commission had the ability to convert the driveway back and restore the curb cut.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that that was possible. He explained that the applicant can get an encroachment permit from the Public Works Department to do a curb cut in the right-of-way.
Commissioner Tetreault re-opened the public hearing,
Mr. Shea stated that the owner has agreed to removing the existing driveway area and re-landscaping that area. The owner also noted that the curb and sidewalk area in front of her residence is only one of three homes in the neighborhood that has any curb or sidewalk left at all.
Commissioner Gerstner asked if the applicant would like to remove the sidewalk and landscape the area.
Mr. Shea answered that was her hope.
Commissioner Tetreault closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Gerstner asked staff if there was any type of plan to put sidewalks in this area.
Director/Secretary Rojas did not believe there was any plan to put sidewalks in this area, however he noted that the applicant would have to get the approval of the Public Works Department to remove the sidewalk. He also explained that if a Condition of Approval were added regarding landscaping it could only be within the property and not beyond their property.
Commissioner Tetreault asked if the Planning Commission can recommend a condition of approval for the restoration of the curb and the removal of the driveway, but cannot make the recommendation of the removal of the sidewalk.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered yes.
Commissioner Karp moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2004- 46, thereby approving the Variance, Site Plan Review, and Minor Exception Permit with the added conditions that the former concrete driveway be removed and the curb be re-instated, the hardscape be replaced with landscaping, that a covenant be recorded permitting only parking in the designated parking areas, and no storage be permitted in those areas, seconded by Commissioner Gerstner.
Commissioner Gerstner moved to amend the motion to add to condition no. 24 the definition of the two required parking spaces be completely contained behind the front facade of the residence which is 18 feet 6 inches from the front property line, seconded by Commissioner Karp.
The motion to amend the motion was approved, (4-0)
The amended motion to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2004-46 was approved, (4-0).
10. Re-establishment of the View Restoration Commission
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that currently there are three view restoration cases waiting to be heard by the Planning Commission and six pending pre-application meetings. He also noted that at the next City Council meeting there is an item on the Agenda recommending the City Council obtain the services of a professional mediator to be involved with the pre-application meetings.
Commissioner Karp stated that view restoration items take an enormous amount of time for the Planning Commission to hear, and the agendas have been very full. He felt that hiring a professional mediator, and if the mediator is successful, a View Restoration Committee may not be necessary. He suggested that rather than burden the City with more committees he suggested the idea be tabled and re-evaluated in six months to assess the success of the new mediator.
Commissioner Gerstner suggested that the Planning Commission make a recommendation to the City Council that the City hire the professional mediator.
The Planning Commission unanimously agreed that staff should make this recommendation to the City Council and the item be tabled and re-evaluated in six months.
11. Disclosure of CC&Rs
Commissioner Karp began by stating that he did not way to imply that the City should enforce CC&Rs, but that when the Planning Department receives an application they hand something to the applicant that explains there may be recorded restrictions on their property and that even though the Planning Department or Planning Commission has approved the project the HOA may not approve the project and they may be prohibited from doing their addition. He felt that most people were not aware of CC&Rs and it would be advantageous to the property owner for the City to make them aware of this possibility.
Commissioner Gerstner asked staff if they have discussed this issue with the City Attorney.
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that he has briefly discussed this with the City Attorney, however he wanted to wait until this meeting and the discussion to fully understand the request before he consulted with the City Attorney.
Commissioner Gerstner suggested that as part of the planning process the applicant be asked to read and sign a statement that said they are aware that CC&Rs might be existing on the property and what those CC&Rs are, and they represent that their application to the City for the improvement to their property, to the best of their knowledge, is in compliance with their CC&Rs.
Director/Secretary Rojas explained that the City Attorney would most likely have a concern with such an approach, and that if that was the recommendation he suggested the City Attorney attend a future meeting to explain why that approach could not be taken.
Commissioner Gerstner did not feel the City Attorney had to attend the meeting, but would be satisfied with a written comment from the City Attorney.
Commissioner Tetreault asked if the City had some type of registry of the CC&Rs throughout the City.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that the City has no type of inventory regarding CC&Rs, as CC&Rs are private agreements between property owners and the Homeowners Association.
Commissioner Tetreault asked staff if they have ever seen an instance where the City has approved a project and the HOA has stopped the project because it does not conform to the local CC&Rs.
Director/Secretary Rojas answered that staff does not keep track of these type of situations and really had no idea how often this type of situation occurs.
Commissioner Karp stated that he would like to get some suggestions from the City Attorney on this issue and what can and cannot be done.
Director/Secretary Rojas felt it would be best for the City Attorney to attend a Planning Commission meeting for discussion and would discuss with her when she would be available to attend a meeting.
The Planning Commission unanimously agreed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
12. Minutes of October 12, 2004
Commissioner Tetreault suggested continuing the minutes to the next meeting when more of the Planning Commissioners could review and vote on the approval of the minutes.
The Planning Commission unanimously agreed.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
Commissioner Karp moved to approve the minutes as presented, seconded by Commissioner Gerstner. Approved, (3-0-1) with Commissioner Perestam abstaining.
Director/Secretary Rojas noted that Commissioner Knight had submitted suggested changes to the minutes.
Commissioner Karp moved to approve the minutes as amended, seconded by Commissioner Gerstner. Approved, (3-0-1) with Commissioner Perestam abstaining.
ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS
13. Pre-Agenda for the meeting of November 9, 2004
The Planning Commission had no comments on the Pre-Agenda.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:45 p.m.