CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Knight at 7:08 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.
Commissioner Lewis led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Present: Commissioners Karp, Lewis, Perestam, Ruttenberg, Vice Chairman Gerstner, and Chairman Knight.
Absent: Commissioner Tetreault was excused.
Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, City Attorney Carol Lynch, Associate Planner Dudman, Associate Planner Fox, and Assistant Planner Mikhail.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
The Agenda was unanimously approved as presented.
Staff distributed letters related to Agenda Item No. 3 and one letter regarding Agenda Item No. 5. Director/Secretary Rojas noted that on August 15th, the City council continued the proposed cargo container Ordinance to October 3rd and continued the proposed View Guideline Amendments to September 19th. He also noted that on September 5th the City Council will hear an appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision on an addition on Bayridge Road.
Commissioner Lewis noted that he visited the applicant’s property for Item No. 1 with staff and did a subsequent visit to the foliage owner’s property by himself.
COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (regarding non-agenda items)
1. View Restoration Permit No. 203: 3642 Vigilance Drive
Director/Secretary Rojas polled the Commission as to who had visited the applicant and foliage owners’ sites. All Commissioners noted they had visited the sites.
Associate Planner Dudman presented the staff report, explaining there were four issues the Planning Commission had asked clarification for: 1) Re-examine the primary viewing area; 2) Re-examine the recommended trimming for the Brazilian Pepper tree; 3) Address the appropriateness of the viewing area with regards to the Melaleuca tree, and; 4) Clarify the 16-foot measurement method used based on the Guidelines. She explained that staff returned to the applicant’s property to re-examine the primary viewing area, and concluded that the sunroom is the primary viewing area for the property, based on the definition of a viewing area in the Guidelines and the Municipal Code. In re-examining the recommended trimming for the Brazilian Pepper tree, staff believes that further lacing of the tree would not remove the significant impairment, based on the trees extensive trunk system. Ms. Dudman showed pictures taken from the other rooms in the house and the view from those rooms, and discussed the trimming options if the view were to be taken from each of these rooms. She clarified that the measurement of a tree to the 16-foot level is started at the base of the tree from where it emerges from the ground.
Commissioner Perestam noted that over the last several weeks quite a bit of foliage had grown on the foliage owner’s property. He asked staff what the impact the miscellaneous vegetation will have on the applicant’s property.
Associate Planner Dudman explained that under the Conditions of Approval there is a statement that discusses unidentified foliage that grows into the view, which can then be addressed by staff who may require it be trimmed out of the viewing area.
Commissioner Ruttenberg referred to Condition of Approval No. 4, and questioned if the foliage is not specifically identified in the application can it then be required to be trimmed out of the viewing area. He felt that was directing a foliage owner to remove foliage without a hearing before the Planning Commission with regards to if that foliage created a significant view impairment. He asked if that would create a due process issue.
City Attorney Lynch explained that the way she and staff have interpreted this condition is that any additional foliage discovered after the required trees were trimmed would have to be in the same view plane as the foliage the Planning Commission directed to be removed or trimmed because they caused significant view impairment. She felt if this were the situation there would be no problem with due process.
Commissioner Ruttenberg understood, but questioned if the foliage revealed would then be considered significant or not, and wondered if it should be a separate issue that should be addressed and if it might cause due process issues.
City Attorney Lynch answered that potentially it could, however felt that if the area being reanalyzed were limited to the area where the Planning Commission has already made a determination of significant view impairment, there would not be a due process issue.
Commissioner Perestam asked staff how the situation would be handled where the required trimming has been done and now there is foliage revealed that is not currently in the view frame, but potentially could be very soon because of the rapid growth of that foliage.
Director Rojas explained that once a decision is made there is a documentation of the view and that view should be preserved. Therefore, if foliage grows up into that view, there is a follow up procedure for staff. He added that there is currently a clarification needed to the Guidelines concerning whether any foliage growing into the view plane should be trimmed, or if it is foliage that grows into the view plane which significantly impairs the view.
Chairman Knight asked if the chain link fence in the picture is the property line, or if the property line is located in a different location.
Associate Planner Dudman answered that the chain link fence is the approximate property line, and it has been presented to staff that it may not be the exact property line, however a survey would have to be performed to determine the exact property line.
Chairman Knight noted from previous minutes that the foliage owner’s arborist has stated that trimming the tree may cause it to die, however the City arborist does not think that trimming the tree will cause it to die. He asked what the Planning Commission should rely on in terms of a determination.
Director Rojas answered that staff is relying on the City arborist’s opinion. He stated that staff has not seen an opinion from another arborist that contradicts the City arborist’s opinion.
Chairman Knight opened the public hearing.
Yo Aelony 3632 Vigilance Drive stated that his gorgeous view of Catalina and the coast has been obliterated over the years and is asking for the removal of the three or four main trees in order to restore his view. He stated that he has paid for the trimming of the Melaleuca tree three times over the past ten years. He stated that, regarding the property line, he was told when purchasing the property that there is one to two feet of his property on the other side of the existing fence and the berm of the hill is the demarcation of the property. He stated he would like the removal of both the pepper trees and the pine tree, if possible, to give the best view. He noted that he will listen to offers of compromise. He felt the compromise suggested by staff to lace the pepper tree goes at least half way, but was not sure how far that would go in restoring the view. Regarding the nectarine tree, he felt that he showed in photographs that the lowest branch of the tree is above Catalina Island and is not an important issue because he trims that tree every year.
Mrs. Aelony 3632 Vigilance Drive stated that she has gone through many delays and continuances and would like to have a decision regarding the trees as soon as possible. She explained that when she moved into her house there was a beautiful view and she would like to have that view restored without any further delays.
Paul Kuljis 3642 Vigilance Drive stated that regardless of which room the view is taken from, he feels it is still possible to lace the Brazilian pepper tree and raise the canopy so that the view will be restored. He asked that he be held to the same standards as the applicant has set, noting the applicant has allowed their own foliage to partially block their own view. He asked that the option of raising the canopy of the tree be included. He did not feel the Melaleuca tree should be included, as it was not in the original application and the view orientation from inside the sunroom is not towards the front of the house. He suggested that, if there is trimming to be done, the pine tree be trimmed first in November or December and then see what view impact the Pepper tree has, and reassess the Pepper tree at that time.
Mr. Aelony in rebuttal) stated that, in regards to the Nectarine tree on his property, it was his understanding that the sky view is not protected and therefore the Ordinance does not apply. He stated that the Nectarine tree as viewed from the sunroom does not block their view. He was disturbed by the suggestion that the Pepper tree not be trimmed immediately, as he has been discussing options with the Kuljises for quite some time and this would just further delay the tree’s trimming. He felt stated the lower bushes and foliage have not been trimmed for over a year and felt that this lack of trimming on the Kuljis property was in retaliation for the actions he is taking through the view restoration process.
Paul Kuljis (in rebuttal) showed a picture he had taken showing the view impairment by the Nectarine tree from the applicant’s sunroom.
Chairman Knight closed the public hearing.
Chairman Knight stated that there were four main issues raised at the initial meeting, and he would like to focus comments and questions on those four issues. He asked the Commission if they agreed with staff’s recommendation of the viewing area.
Commissioner Perestam did not disagree with the sunroom as a viewing area, but felt that the family room should also be included as a viewing area.
Commissioner Lewis agreed.
Chairman Knight asked the Commission if they had any concerns with staff’s recommendation for the Brazilian pepper tree.
Commissioner Ruttenberg stated that he favors staff’s recommendation, however he was curious as to what the Planning Commissioners felt about raising the canopy of the tree.
Chairman Knight noted that in the staff report there was a discussion about the large trunk area of the Brazilian pepper, and he felt that because of this large trunk area raising the canopy of the tree would not help in the view restoration. He stated that he agreed with staff’s recommendation regarding the Brazilian pepper tree.
Chairman Knight stated the next issue was the re-examination of the viewing area in regards to the Melaleuca tree and asked the Commission if they still had concerns and questions regarding this issue.
Commissioner Ruttenberg felt that if the Planning Commission agrees that the sunroom is the main viewing area, then the Melaleuca tree does create a significant view impairment.
Finally, Chairman Knight stated that there was an issue with where the 16 foot measurement was taken from and asked the Planning Commission if they had any other questions. He stated that he still did not feel this measurement was clear in the staff report.
Associate Planner Dudman stated that staff can clarify the language so that option B, to remove the pepper tree, to clarify that what staff means by 16 feet in terms of shrubs or plants on the slope, is that it will not block the view as viewed from the pad level. She stated that the language should also be clarified regarding the Melaleuca tree to state the applicant will have the option to trim the tree.
Chairman Knight supported that language.
Commissioner Ruttenberg stated that his initial concerns were with paragraphs 3 and 4 with regards to the Melaleuca tree and due process. He stated that his concerns have been addressed by the City Attorney and understands that the paragraphs are important to include. He therefore supports staff’s recommendations.
Commissioners Karp and Lewis agreed with staff’s recommendations.
Vice Chairman Gerstner stated that he would be abstaining from the vote, as there seem to be many issues that he was not aware of, as he was absent from the original public hearing.
Commissioner Perestam moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2006-43 thereby approving staff’s recommendations, as amended, to add a statement to address the new growth in the defined viewing area, to add the statement “at the option of the foliage owner” to Item No. 3, seconded by Commissioner Lewis. Approved, (5-0-1) with Vice Chairman Gerstner abstaining.
2. Conditional Use Permit (Case No. ZON2006-00395): 30800 Palos Verdes Drive East
Director Rojas presented a brief staff report explaining this application for an antenna at Marymount College requires a Conditional Use Permit, however Marymount College has its own Conditional Use Permit which requires that the CUP be amended to allow subleasing. Therefore, staff has determined that Marymount College must submit a CUP amendment to be acted on concurrently with Cingular’s CUP, and therefore staff is recommending a continuance on this item.
The Planning Commission agreed to a continuance, (5-0-1) with Commissioner Karp recused, as there is a conflict of interest.
3. Lot Line Adjustment, Conditional Use Permit Revision, Grading Approval, and Environmental Assessment (Case Nos. SUB2005-00007 and ZON2004-00232): 5640 Crestridge Road
Associate Planner Fox presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project and the need for the various applications. He showed various pictures of the existing church and vacant lot as well as renderings of the proposed project. He explained that because the comment period for the Mitigated Negative Declaration ends this evening, if there are additional comments received this evening during the public testimony that the Commission believes have not been addressed adequately in the proposed mitigation measures, staff recommends the Planning Commission continue the public hearing to a date certain to allow staff to analyze and respond appropriately and determine if it is necessary to add any further mitigation measures. He stated that staff was able to make all of the necessary findings for the various applications and was recommending the Planning Commission certify the Mitigation Negative Declaration and approve the various applications as presented by staff.
Commissioner Karp asked, if the property were not converted to a parking lot, what other use could it be put to in its present state.
Associate Planner Fox answered that the property is zoned Institutional, noting however that it is an awkward piece of property due to its shape.
Chairman Knight asked staff if any deed restrictions on either lot would remain in affect when the lots are joined.
City Attorney Lynch answered that the deed restrictions on either lot would most likely remain in affect, depending on what the deed restrictions are.
Chairman Knight noted that in other applications where there are issues of light and glare the illumination plan has been tied into the Conditions of Approval, however he did not see this in this application.
Associate Planner Fox stated that it would be perfectly appropriate to make reference to the lighting plan in the Conditions of Approval.
Nagy Bakhoum 3800 PCH, Torrance (architect for the project) stated that the primary goal of this project is to get the cars off of the street and safety to the people coming to the church. He stated that the City Geologist has approved this project. He also stated that he has read the staff report and agrees with the recommendations made by staff. He pointed out in the staff report the section discussing lighting and the lighting plan. He noted that the lights are very mild in terms of brightness.
Chairman Knight noted there are conditions that the lighting be turned off by 10:00 p.m. and the playground use stop by 9:00 p.m. and asked if there are any objections to that.
Mr. Bakhoum answered that he agrees with these conditions.
Herbert Roberts 5693 Mistridge Drive stated he is not opposed, in concept, to creating additional parking for the churches needs on this vacant parcel of land. He felt that this proposal is generally in keeping with what is a proper and appropriate use of the land. However, after reading the Negative Declaration he has concerns about the amount of grading proposed. He hoped that, in carrying out that kind of grading, full compliance will be made with all appropriate engineer and geological controls and that nothing would be allowed that would undermine the stability of the slope. He was also concerned about the 16-foot tall light fixtures, as he felt it would result in an excessive amount of light that will have a pollution affect to the darkness that he now enjoys at night.
Mr. Bakhoum (in rebuttal) explained that the area being cut is the fill that was placed on the property at some time in the past, and needs to be removed and recompacted, which will make it a better and safer environment. In regards to the lights, he felt that there are no lights in line with Mr. Roberts’s residence and the lights and wattage is very low. He stated that the lights are not intended to be a high level light and not intended to be on when things are not happening at the church.
Chairman Knight stated that the Development Code allows a light up to 10 feet in height by right but can go higher if there are safety concerns. He asked if he had any study or indication of why these lights are proposed at 16 feet.
Mr. Bakhoum explained that the issue is quantity, explaining that as the height of the light increases the quantity of lights can be reduced.
Chairman Knight closed the public hearing.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
At 9:00 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 9:10 p.m. at which time they reconvened.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (cont)
Chairman Knight noted that the Code allows lights at 10 feet in height by right and the Planning Commission can make a finding to allow taller lights if there is a safety issue. However, he felt the applicant was talking more about aesthetics in regards to the taller lights.
Director Rojas agreed, however he noted that staff felt if a lot is better lit it is safer, thus the finding can be made.
Commissioner Perestam asked staff about the 15-foot corridor behind the building in regards to safety and also questioned if that area was lit.
Associate Planner Fox stated that a minimum size for a one-way drive aisle is 10 feet and therefore staff felt that 15 feet was more than adequate. He stated that the lighting plan does not show any lighting in that area, however he felt that the area would be used more for circulation purposes during daylight hours after church services or for the pre-school.
Commissioner Karp saw no reason not to approve the project. He felt this is a useless piece of property and this proposal would be a productive use of the lot. He felt the architect showed sensitivity to the neighbors in regards to the lighting and was in favor of approving the project.
Vice Chairman Gerstner also had no objection to the project, noting his concern would be with the lighting. He also felt the architect did a good job with the lighting plan and was in favor of approval.
Commissioner Ruttenberg was also in favor of the project.
Commissioner Perestam was satisfied with staff’s answer regarding the 10-foot drive aisle and was therefore in favor of the project.
Chairman Knight stated he was also in favor of the proposed project. He referred to Condition 12 regarding the hours of operation of the lighting. He felt that the condition was worded so that it was up to the church when the lights would be turned off at night and he preferred to set some sort of time limit on the use of the lighting.
Commissioner Ruttenberg noted that the applicant has agreed to change the 10 p.m. reference to 9 p.m.
Commissioner Perestam suggested adding a condition that no service vehicles be allowed to use that back connecting driveway.
Nagy Bakhoum noted that currently Edison drives their trucks up the existing dirt road where this driveway will be located to service the power lines between the properties, and most likely would like to continue to do that.
Associate Planner Fox explained that if there is an easement that Edison is using to service their equipment then Edison has the right to use the driveway.
City Attorney Lynch suggested looking at this issue at the 3-month review to see if the neighbors have had any problems with noise in that area.
Commissioner Perestam agreed with that suggestion.
Chairman Knight moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2006-44, as amended to change the hours in Condition No. 12 from 10 p.m. to 9 p.m. and to include in Condition No. 15 the lighting plan that is part of the application, and adopt P.C. Resolution 2006-45 thereby certifying the Negative Declaration, seconded by Commissioner Karp. Approved, (6-0)
4. Variance, Minor Exception Permit, and Site Plan Review (Case No. ZON2006-00078): 1958 Homeworth Drive
Commissioner Lewis stated he would recuse himself from this discussion, as he did not have the opportunity to visit the site.
Associate Planner Fox presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project and the need for the various applications. He stated that staff felt all of the necessary findings could be made to approve the project, and therefore was recommending approval as conditioned in the staff report.
Chairman Knight asked if this was the first Variance request in the neighborhood for the garage and also if the other illegal garages in the neighborhood are similar to the one on this property.
Associate Planner Fox answered that this is the first property in the neighborhood to request a Variance for the garage. He noted that most of the detached garages in the neighborhood are very similar to the one before the Planning Commission.
Chairman Knight asked how this proposal fit in with the suggestions of the Residential Standards Committee.
Commissioner Perestam explained that there is a proposal to change the zoning on this street which would change the maximum lot coverage from 50 to 52 percent. The other change suggested is to encourage the use of the property without restricting the lot use to force a second story addition. He felt this proposal is something that the Residential Standards Committee would encourage.
Chairman Knight opened the public hearing.
Bruce Krause 777 Silver Spur Road (architect) stated that he has read the staff report and agrees with the findings. He stated that he was available for any questions.
Vice Chairman Gerstner asked if any consideration had been given to tearing out the abandon driveway approach that comes up into the lawn.
Mr. Krause stated that the owner would be willing to take out the old driveway approach if that were something the Planning Commission requested.
Commissioner Perestam felt there were other hardscape modifications that can be made to bring the property very close to conforming lot coverage. He noted the first was to remove the abandoned driveway approach. He also felt that removal of the original walkway that parallel to the original driveway as well as removal of walkways across the front of the house.
Mr. Krause noted that the abandoned approach is on the public right-of-way and would not count towards his lot coverage.
Chairman Knight closed the public hearing.
Associate Planner Fox noted that, in addition to the abandoned driveway approach, the walkways identified are not in the lot coverage calculations. He explained that the only things counted in lot coverage allowed in terms of hardscape are driveways and parking areas.
Vice Chairman Gerstner felt the applicant was working in the spirit of what the City is trying to encourage and asked that the abandoned driveway approach be removed. He stated he was in favor of approving the project.
Commissioner Ruttenberg agreed, adding that this type of project is not only acceptable, but also desirable.
Commissioner Perestam stated he would like to see the removal of the concrete walkways in the areas he noted earlier. He stated that he was fully in support of the proposed project.
Commissioner Perestam moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2006-46 thereby approving the Variance, Minor Exception Permit, and Site Plan Review as amended to eliminate the hardscape of the paved area in the parkway, as well as the three paved areas in front of both sides of the house and along the right sideyard, seconded by Commissioner Karp. Approved, (5-0-1) with Commissioner Lewis abstaining.
5. Appeal of Certificate of Compliance (SUB06-00004: Elkmont Canyon
Associate Planner Fox presented the staff report, explaining the history of the project and the location of the project. He explained that the appellant asserts that the property does indeed consist of 13 separate legal lots in his appeal. As part of his appeal the appellant submitted additional deeds, property tax bills, and ballot stubs for the City’s storm drain user fee election. He stated that in respect to the additional deeds submitted, many of them were included in the materials originally reviewed by the City Attorney and the City Engineer and therefore shed no new light or provided no new information. He stated that of the handful of the deeds that were not in the original submittal of information, staff reviewed them and found that none of them appear to have any bearing or provide any new information that would change the Director’s determination. With respect to the various property tax bills and ballot stubs, he explained that there has never been any question that there are 13 separate tax parcels in the canyon, which would explain the reason for 13 separate ballots and tax bills. He explained that the mere existence of these separate tax parcels does not automatically lead to the creation of separate legal lots. Therefore, staff felt that the appeal raised no new issues or provided any additional information to warrant overturning the Director’s determination, and staff was recommending the Planning Commission deny Mr. Khakwani’s appeal and dismiss the Ransom appeal as being untimely and uphold the Director’s determination.
Commissioner Perestam asked staff, if the owner’s wanted to sell one of the 13 lots, would they have the ability to do so without a formal subdivision.
City Attorney Lynch answered that the owner could reconvey it by deed, as they have been doing so over time.
Commissioner Ruttenberg stated that at one point there were 13 separate lots in this area, however now the determination has been made that there is only one lot and not 13 lots. He asked how staff went from 13 lots back to 1 lot.
Associate Planner Fox explained that staff relied on the manner in which the property had been conveyed through time. He stated that the property had not been conveyed individually through a series of 13 owners and gradually went to one owner, but rather it had been conveyed as a group of 13 parcels from the original subdivider through a series of subsequent owners.
City Attorney Lynch added that Commissioner Ruttenberg raised a very interesting question, explaining the question is in the legal gray area. She explained that staff had debated whether 1 certificate or 13 certificates should be issued. However, staff ultimately determined that when the 13 lots were illegally subdivided into 26, and then held as one and reconveyed as one through the years, the issuance of a single certificate was chosen as staff’s determination.
Commissioner Ruttenberg asked why it was illegal to subdivide the 13 lots.
City Attorney Lynch explained that to subdivide the 13 lots a second subdivision map would have been required. She noted that several of the lots were less than 10,000 square feet, which is the legal minimum lot size.
Commissioner Ruttenberg asked if the fact that there are 13 tax parcels at least some evidence in favor of a finding of 13 lots as opposed to one.
City Attorney Lynch answered that was correct, however she felt there was a stronger argument for one.
Commissioner Ruttenberg stated that some, or many, of the 13 lots may be undevelopable and questioned if he was being asked to make the determination as to whether there is one lot or 13 lots, and if he can’t make the finding there are 13 does he affirm the Director’s decision of one.
Associate Planner Fox explained that the decision should be either one lot or 13 lots, noting that staff has not done any type of analysis to determine how many lots are truly developable.
Commissioner Ruttenberg stated that the burden of this appeal is on the appellant to show what number he should find. He stated that the appellant has asked for 13 lots and if he can’t find 13 lots then the appellant hasn’t met their burden.
Chairman Knight referred to the discussion in the staff report regarding a Los Angeles County Ordinance which states that a property shown on the latest adopted County tax roll as a unit or as a contiguous unit. He felt the “or” states that either one applies. Therefore, if either one applies, if the appellant shows us a tax parcel how can the City tell him it’s not a legal lot.
City Attorney Lynch agreed, explaining if the Planning Commission approves the thirteen conditional certificates of compliance, that is a very legally sustainable position and does not impact the concerns of the neighbors.
Vice Chairman Gerstner felt that approving the 13 Conditional Certificates of Compliance allows for a reconveyence of those lots back to the property owners that own houses that are accessible in a much easier and simpler manner than having to take the parcel as one lot and having to then subdivide it in order to sell parts of it back. He felt that the property could not be legally subdivided, as all of the conditions of the City most likely cannot be met. Therefore, he felt that allowing the 13 lots is a cleaner legal solution and does not open the door for anything the City doesn’t want and could possibly lead to something better than we have now.
City Attorney Lynch did not disagree.
Commissioner Ruttenberg asked if the person who owns the landlocked parcel under discussion could purchase one of the homes around it to get access to the street.
City Attorney Lynch answered that they could, which has been a concern of the City.
Chairman Knight opened the public hearing.
June Davison 5227 Elkmont Drive explained the canyon is a natural drainage area and there are very large storm drains at the bottom of the canyon. She also noted that the canyon is quite narrow and the slopes are very unstable.
Beverly Teresinski: 5129 Elkmont Drive stated that many years ago she had tried to purchase the canyon property behind her home but the owner would not sell. She said that recently she received a letter offering to let her buy the property for quite a high price. She did not see how any access onto Hawthorne Blvd. could be safe, as cars travel so fast in that area.
Jennifer Boudreau 5235 Elkmont Drive stated that the slopes to the canyon are all fill and noted that the canyon is a natural drainage area. She also stated that Silver Spur Road and Hawthorne Boulevard, which are both high traffic areas, abut the neighborhood. She stated that the canyon is a tight canyon and the density is already great, as there are many small houses in the neighborhood.
Chairman Knight closed the public hearing.
Vice Chairman Gerstner asked staff, if the Planning Commissioner were to decide to uphold the appeal but wanted to add conditions to the approval, what type of procedure would be followed. He noted that there would be many added conditions and he was not sure the Planning Commission was prepared to list and discuss these conditions.
City Attorney Lynch suggested the Chairman re-open the pubic hearing, continue it for a month, and allow staff to bring back a revised decision with the proposed conditions.
Commissioner Lewis stated that this began with an illegal subdivision of land and felt that if the Planning Commission blesses that illegal subdivision what is the more likely outcome, that the neighbors will be permitted to buy the adjoining properties or that the land will continue to be bought by people who think they’re going to be able to develop the thirteen lots. He felt that the Planning Commission should uphold the Director’s decision.
Commissioner Perestam asked if the area could be rezoned, noting that a case could be made for rezoning the area to Open Space Hazard.
City Attorney Lynch stated that was a possible solution, noting that if the City were to go that route they should do so before the Anderson Initiative is voted on in the November election, explaining that if the Anderson Initiative passes it will dramatically alter land regulating use in the State.
Chairman Knight questioned if the Planning Commission should consider a continuance of the public hearing to allow staff to do additional research on the types of conditions that may be placed on the property if the Planning Commission were to overturn the Director’s determination.
Commissioner Ruttenberg stated that there is a single issue before the Planning Commission, to determine whether or not to overturn the Director’s determination that 13 assessor’s parcels in the canyon do not constitute 13 lots. He did not feel the appellant has met his burden of proof to overturn the Director’s determination.
Chairman Knight disagreed, as he felt there was evidence discussed in the staff report that the Planning Commission could make the determination that there are 13 lots. He also noted that the Planning Commission has the ability to add conditions to the decision.
Vice Chairman Gerstner also did not feel the appellant has presented enough evidence to support overturning the Director’s determination, and was therefore in favor of denying the appeal.
Commissioner Perestam asked the City Attorney if she had an opinion on which direction to proceed.
City Attorney Lynch answered that either direction would be satisfactory.
Commissioner Lewis referred to Section 1 of the Resolution where it states there was an appeal and no new information was provided. He felt the section should clearly state that there was an appeal, new information was provided, however none of the new information warranted a denial or overturning of the Director’s determination.
Commissioner Lewis moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2006-27 thereby denying the appeal and upholding the Director’s determination with the modification to Section 1 of the Resolution to add the sentence “warrants overturning the Director’s determination”, strike out phrase “was not previously considered by the Director in determining” and strike out “new” before information or evidence, seconded by Vice Chairman Gerstner.
Chairman Knight stated that he was in favor of the motion, even though there are certain sections in various Codes that could arguably support 13 separate lots. He noted that since the City Attorney felt that going with 13 lots or just one would make no significant difference, that he was comfortable in supporting the motion.
The motion to deny the appeal was approved, (6-0).
6. General Plan Implementation Report
It being after 11:00 p.m. Commissioner Lewis moved to suspend the Planning Commission rules and hear new business after 11:00, seconded by Commissioner Karp. Approved without objection.
Assistant Planner Mikhail presented the staff report, explaining this report is an annual requirement from the State. She stated that staff believes that the goals and policies of the City’s General Plan continue to be implemented through the recent developments and actions taken by the City while ensuring that the needs and best interests of the community are met. Therefore, staff is recommending the Planning Commission approve, via minute order, the forwarding of the 2005/2006 annual report to the City Council.
The Planning Commission unanimously agreed to forward the report to the City Council.
ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS
7. Pre-Agenda for the September 12, 2006 meeting
Commissioner Perestam stated that he would like to see added to the Agenda the proposal to send to the City Council the proposal to rezone the land area along Hawthorne Boulevard that was discussed at this meeting.
The Planning Commission unanimously agreed.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:22 p.m.