SEPTEMBER 12, 2006 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES

CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
REGULAR MEETING
SEPTEMBER 12, 2006

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Knight at 7:07 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.

FLAG SALUTE

Commissioner Ruttenberg led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL

Present: Commissioners Karp, Lewis, Perestam, Ruttenberg, Tetreault, Vice Chairman Gerstner, Chairman Knight

Absent: None

Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, Associate Planner Sohn, and Associate Planner Fox.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Commissioner Ruttenberg suggested considering whether or not to grant the continuance for Agenda Item No. 3 before hearing Agenda Item No. 1. Approved without objection.

COMMUNICATIONS

Director/Secretary Rojas distributed the letter requesting a continuance for Agenda Item No. 3. He also reported that the City Council denied the appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision for an addition on Bayridge Road and that the Trump flagpole appeal is scheduled to be heard at the City Council’s September 19th meeting.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (regarding non-agenda items)

None

PUBLIC HEARINGS

3. Height Variation and Site Plan Review (Case No. ZON2005-00610): 5437 Midddlecrest Road

Chairman Knight noted the applicant had submitted a letter requesting a continuance of the public hearing to the following meeting and asked the Planning Commissioners for their thoughts.

Commissioner Ruttenberg noted that the applicant requested a continuance because she would be out of the country, however the letters in opposition to the project were submitted in a timely manner, and because the architect and many speakers are at this meeting, he felt the item should be heard.

Commissioner Tetreault agreed, noting that the speakers present should be given the opportunity to speak and the applicant has the ability to watch the video of the meeting to hear and understand the objections to the project.

Chairman Knight agreed, noting that the public hearing can be opened to allow the speakers, and then the Planning Commission can continue the item to the next meeting to allow the applicant to address certain items.

The Commissioners agreed.

Associate Planner Fox presented the staff report explaining the scope of the project and the need for the various applications. He explained that staff was able to make all of the necessary findings to approve the Height Variation and Site Plan Review, however the owners of several surrounding properties have expressed concerns about the proposed project with respect to neighborhood compatibility and privacy impacts. He stated that staff felt the necessary findings could be made and was recommending approval of the project, as conditioned in the staff report.

Commissioner Karp noted that the staff report states the property is not on a ridge, however he felt that it is on a ridge, and asked staff to explain how they made their finding.

Associate Planner Fox explained that staff it is staff’s interpretation of the definition of a ridge from the Development Code does not apply to this residence.

Commissioner Karp asked staff if they felt the total square footage of addition requested could be built on the first floor of this residence.

Associate Planner Fox felt that was possible, as there is room at the front and rear of the house to expand.

Chairman Knight stated that he drove through the neighborhood and noted that the houses staff identified as two-story he felt were actually split level homes. He questioned whether a full two-story home would be compatible with the neighborhood.

Associate Planner Fox stated that if this proposal were made for another home on the street where the home is located much closer to the street, staff may then share the Chairman’s concerns. However, he noted the applicant’s residence is on a flag lot and set back from the street quite a distance, and unless one were driving down the street and making an effort to look up the driveway to see the property, a two-story home would not detract from the overall appearance of single story homes on the street.

Chairman Knight questioned if this proposal would be introducing a new element into the neighborhood by being a two-story home rather than a split-level home.

Associate Planner Fox agreed that in looking at the closest 20 homes, this would be the only full two-story home. However, staff felt that given the unique circumstance of the flag lot that this two-story home would not create an impact to the neighborhood.

Director/Secretary Rojas added that there have been cases in the past where the Planning Commission has approved a two-story house in a neighborhood of single story homes through the neighborhood compatibility process.

Commissioner Karp felt it was very important to determine whether or not this home is on a ridge, noting that if the Planning Commission agrees it is on a ridge then they cannot approve the Height Variation.

Chairman Knight explained he would like to hear from the public before making that determination.

Chairman Knight opened the public hearing.

Sonia Rodrigues 2360 Plaza Del Amo, Torrance (architect) stated that the owner is out of the country, however she had called yesterday and was very surprised by the number of letters received in opposition to her project. Therefore, she had asked the Planning Commission for a continuance to allow time to address these concerns. She explained that at the beginning of this project the neighbors were invited to the house and at that time they did express concerns regarding privacy and the design was modified to address those concerns. She therefore felt that the privacy issues have been addressed and should no longer be of concern. In regards to neighborhood compatibility, she noted this house is currently the second smallest house in the neighborhood on one of the largest lots. She did not feel the house could be built much further back on grade, as there is a hillside in the back and is not buildable. She stated that she and the owner agree with every aspect of the staff report and the recommendations.

Commissioner Lewis asked Ms. Rodrigues if she felt this property was on a ridge.

Ms. Rodrigues answered that she did not believe the property is on a ridge, agreeing with the discussion in the staff report regarding ridges and promontories. She felt that if a pad is developed on a crest of a hill that precludes the finding that it is a ridge.

Commissioner Lewis noted that the notice of the public hearing was published in the paper on July 31st and asked Ms. Rodrigues if the property owner had, at that time, planned on attending this meeting.

Ms. Rodrigues answered that the homeowner had planned on attending this hearing, however she had to leave the Country to attend to a family matter.

Commissioner Karp asked Ms. Rodrigues if she had attempted to expand this house on grade rather than go up to a two-story home.

Ms. Rodrigues explained that to expand the house towards the front would take away the turning radius driveway, and because the lot is a flag lot that would make it difficult for the homeowner to maneuver down the driveway. She explained that the backyard is very close to hillside and the addition would have to be put on caissons and would be very expansive. Therefore, she decided to add on to the middle of the house and try to conceal, as much as possible, the second story addition.

Val Celineau: 6430 Middlecrest Road stated he was concerned that the proposed two-story addition would set a precedent in the neighborhood, but was told by City staff that each plan goes through its own City review and no precedent would be set, however he had no guarantee of that. He felt that this home sits on a ridge and is the second highest lot on the ridge, which is why there is no view obstruction due to this proposed addition. He noted that all eleven neighbors in the 500-foot radius have signed a petition in opposition to this project. He stated that he fully supports the Bonello’s right to add on to their house and improve their property, however he does not want it to impact the neighborhood or the neighbors. He felt that the Bonellos could build out further on their pad and achieve a suitable addition without affecting their neighbors. He asked that the Planning Commission deny this application.

Chairman Knight asked Mr. Celineau if he would have any objections to the applicant proposing a split-level home.

Mr. Celineau answered that he did not know how they could build a split-level on their pad without lowering the pad level, and noted that he would have no objection to that.

Nicolette Gill 5450 Middlecrest Road stated that she thought it was a given that the applicant’s property is on a ridge. She explained that she attending the early neighborhood meeting at the applicant’s home and at that time she had asked the applicant if she had considered a single story addition rather going up to a second floor. She stated that Mrs. Bonello had responded that she did not want to lose any of her backyard. She explained that her husband had climbed onto the applicant’s roof and it was very clear the addition would cause a privacy concern to the surrounding neighbors. She stated that the height of this proposed addition is so tall that she would lose all of her blue sky view from her kitchen window, which is across the street. She noted that the proposed addition is taller than most of the trees in the neighborhood. She stated that there are no other two-story homes in the neighborhood, and certainly none that violate height requirements, obstruct views, or impact neighbors privacy. She stated she does not oppose an addition to the home, only those that don’t affect privacy, height.

Brent Barnes stated he was an attorney representing the adjoining neighbors on either side of the proposed development and the adjoining neighbor one house removed from the property (5457, 5441, and 5435 Middlecrest Road). He distributed photographs to the Planning Commission to view while he was speaking. He explained that he has an unusual relationship with the applicant’s property in that he previously lived at 5430 Middlecrest and purchased 5414 Middlecrest and restored both of the homes without enlarging the square footage of the properties. He stated that the HOA was not contacted by the homeowner regarding the proposed addition, even though it is a requirement in the CC&Rs, and noted that the name of the HOA is Ridgecrest HOA. He stated that the applicant’s property is on a ridge, and it is a formation that is obvious. He discussed the photographs he distributed, noting the applicant’s property and the surrounding properties. He stated that there has to be another way to improve the applicant’s property without adding a full second story, as there are 28,000 square feet on the property. He felt the proposed addition does not fit the neighborhood compatibility as it will be the only two-story home in the neighborhood. He stated that the neighborhood is single-family ranch homes and he hoped the Planning Commission will keep this in mind when discussing neighborhood compatibility.

Commissioner Ruttenberg asked Mr. Barnes if he was concerned about the bathroom window, even though it is conditioned to be non-openable and frosted or opaque.

Mr. Barnes stated that he is still concerned with the bathroom window, noting that frosting the window is not an answer to the second story sitting on top of Taylor’s property.

Perry Cockreham, 5201 Middlecrest Road stated that he is the President of the Ridgecrest HOA but is not speaking on their behalf. He did not agree with the staff report, noting that 5405 Middlecrest Road is a split-level home and 5417 Middlecrest Road could be debatable but is not a stand-alone two-story home. He stated that the applicant’s home is on the highest point of the segment of Middlecrest, and if a 40-foot high mound of earth, as viewed from the street, with a home on top of it is not a ridge then he seeks clarification of what constitutes a ridge. He stated that he has strong concerns regarding the impact of a roof top deck on a two-story home unless all of the decks would allow the individual walking on the deck to remain below the Height Variation being sought. He stated that enhancement of a neighborhood is desirable by everyone in the community, but intrusion on your fellow neighbors is not. He stated that there is ample room on the applicant’s lot to store both a boat and an RV and the turnaround area is significantly larger than many homes in the neighborhood, therefore he felt there is ample room to expand the residence out without going up. He noted that there is currently another home in the neighborhood that is applying for a second story addition, and felt that approval of this project will establish precedence and open the door to major transformation of the neighborhood, and therefore asked the Planning Commission to deny this project.

Patricia Zigrang 5417 Middlecrest Road stated she lives in one of the so-called two story homes on the street. She explained that her lot is very steep and each room in the house is on the grade and therefore is not considered a two-story home, and it was never considered so. She explained that the same is true of the neighboring split-level home. She stated that she was very concerned about the privacy to her neighbors if this proposed addition is built.

Sonia Rodrigues (in rebuttal) stated that she would be able to make a wall on the balcony in question which is similar to the one being proposed for the other balcony, and felt this would eliminate any privacy concerns. She felt that the bathroom window could be frosted and not openable, and that adding a skylight might help the lighting issue for the bathroom. She felt that privacy is very important and in no way did she want the neighbors to lose their privacy, and therefore she was very open to any modifications suggested that would mitigate the privacy issues for the neighbors.

Chairman Knight closed the public hearing.

Chairman Knight asked staff to clarify the Code definition of a second story.

Director Rojas acknowledged that the two homes are split level homes, however under the City’s Development Code these houses have two stories, as the Code defines a story as one floor over another. He explained that this issue has been discussed before and has been dealt with on a previous appeal to the City Council.

Commissioner Ruttenberg asked staff to explain why they felt the subject property is not on a ridge or promontory.

Director Rojas acknowledged that this property is the high point in the tract, however staff did not believe it met the definition of a promontory, which is a prominent piece of land. He further stated that staff felt it wasn’t on a ridge as staff recognized ridges. He stated that if the Planning Commission feels this is a ridge or promontory the Height Variation Guidelines go on to explain what the Planning Commission should be assessing. He explained that staff did not explain this in the staff report, as staff did not feel this was a ridge or promontory, however if the Commission feels it is then staff can return with further analysis consistent with the Guidelines.

Commissioner Perestam felt that since the area within the tract has been subdivided and there have been pad lots for the last 40 years, he did not think this property constituted a ridgeline.

Commissioner Ruttenberg also did not think this property constituted a ridgeline.

Commissioner Karp stated that standing in the public right-of-way and looking up, he felt this property was on a ridgeline.

Vice Chairman Gerstner felt that, per the definition in the Development Code, he did not think this property was on a ridgeline.

Commissioner Tetreault felt that if this were undeveloped property then he might be able to consider it on a ridge, however the area is already built out and he was not sure anyone could see a natural ridge anymore. He was therefore uncomfortable making the determination that this property is on a ridge.

Commissioner Lewis felt by the definition of a ridge in the Code, he felt this property is on a ridge. However, his hesitancy comes from the Height Variation Guidelines. He felt there is some inconsistency between the Guidelines and Code, but going by the wording in the Development Code this property is on a ridgeline.

Commissioner Tetreault moved to continue the public hearing to the next Planning Commission meeting to allow the applicant to participate in the public hearing, as requested by the applicant, seconded by Vice Chairman Gerstner.

Vice Chairman Gerstner felt that, because of the discussion between the Planning Commissioners and after hearing the comments from the public, he would like to revisit the site. He stated that items have been discussed which he did not consider when he visited the site.

Chairman Knight agreed that the applicant has written a letter requesting the item be continued so that she may participate in the public hearing and regardless of whether this is considered a ridge or promontory, there are other issues that need to be addressed in conjunction with this proposal. He therefore was in favor of a continuance.

The motion to continue the public hearing to the next Planning Commission meeting was approved, (6-1) with Commissioner Ruttenberg dissenting.

RECESS AND RECONVENE

At 8:35 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 8:45 p.m. at which time they reconvened.

CONTINUED BUSINESS
1. Height Variation Permit (Case No. ZON2006-00136: 4941 Blackhorse Drive

Associate Planner Sohn presented the staff report, explaining the history of the project and noting that the plans before the Planning Commission are revised plans. She discussed the changes made by the applicant. She stated that staff believes the changes made by the applicant sufficiently address the concerns raised by staff and the Planning Commission and staff is now able to make the necessary findings to recommend approval of the proposed project, as conditioned in the staff report.

Chairman Knight asked staff to review and clarify how the modifications have reduced the affect of the view and the privacy to the neighbors.

Associate Planner Sohn explained that at the previous meeting staff had pointed out that the proposed second story addition caused view impairment as seen from the residence across the street. She also noted that staff had pointed out that the view from the residence is not actually a protected view, as the view can only be had from the second story bedroom. She stated that with this revision staff contacted the same property owners across the street to notify them of the revisions and that their view will still be impaired.

Chairman Knight opened the public hearing.

Olympia Greer 80034 Camino Santa Alis, Indio (architect) stated that the majority of her concentration on revising the plans was to break up the mass and bulk of the proposed second story addition. She explained that she turned the ridge of the roof to run north to south, which opened up more views in the view corridor. She noted one typographical error in the staff on page 4 of the Resolution with regards to an address that should be changed.

Chairman Knight closed the public hearing.

Chairman Knight and Commissioner Lewis both stated that they were absent from the first public hearing, but have read the minutes and reviewed the tape and feel qualified to participate in this hearing.

Commissioner Perestam recalled that at the first public hearing the Planning Commission had issues with the size of the proposed addition and the bulk and mass. He felt that in this new proposal the overall size has been reduced minimally as well as the mass. He felt that this proposal was basically the same design, and without re-flagging the project it is difficult to determine if the proposal has really changed.

Commissioner Ruttenberg agreed that without re-flagging the project it is very difficult to see the end result. He stated that he was very concerned about the overall size of the house, as it will be much larger than any other house in the neighborhood. He felt this issue was not addressed in the revised plan, as the overall size has only been reduced by 52 square feet.

Commissioner Karp stated that the current trend in real estate is to expand their houses, and the question should be, regardless of the size, does the proposal fit the lot and is it compatible with the neighborhood.

Commissioner Tetreault stated that his concern had been with the bulk and mass of the house, especially towards the street. He had concerns with the entry tower and did not feel it was consistent with the look of the neighborhood. As redesigned, he felt there was an obvious effort to address his concerns and the he was now able to make the necessary findings in order to approve the project.

Commissioner Lewis stated that his concerns are the same as those of Commissioner Ruttenberg’s in terms of size as well as mass and bulk.

Chairman Knight felt that the original plan with the entry tower made the house very massive and bulky and the redesign with articulation on the second story helps to take some of that away. He was concerned that taking the tree out of the front yard will make the house stand out even more, and felt that tree should be required to be replaced. He also stated that he was currently unsure on the issue of neighborhood compatibility.

Commissioner Tetreault moved to approve the project as recommended by staff with the modification to correct a typographical error as pointed out by the architect, seconded by Commissioner Karp.

Commissioner Ruttenberg still felt that the proposed residence is too large for the lot. He was also concerned that the project had not been re-flagged, and without re-flagging he could not support the project.

Commissioner Perestam felt that, architecturally, the changes that were made are positive. However, he was concerned that the mass and bulk of the house will be more obvious with the loss of the tree.

Chairman Knight was concerned whether the lot can handle this large of a structure and would be more in favor of an additional reduction in the bulk and mass of the house.

The motion to approve the project as recommended by staff failed, (2-4) with Commissioners Ruttenberg, Perestam, Lewis, and Chairman Knight dissenting.

Chairman Knight re-opened the public hearing in order to ask questions of the architect.

Olympia Greer explained that when she first spoke she had not gone into great detail with the Planning Commission on the changes that were made because the project had full support from the staff and they had made a very positive recommendation of approval to the Planning Commission. She stated that she understood the comments and concerns from the last meeting and did not take them lightly, noting that this is a major redesign from the previous project, and listed nine substantial items that had been changed. She stated that this newly designed project meets all of the objectives and criteria for approval. She stressed that the majority of this proposed addition is on the pad level, with only 1,000 square feet being added on the second floor.

Commissioner Ruttenberg appreciated the changes made, however he stated that his concern was still with the overall size of the project. He explained that the Planning Commission does not feel it can approve the project as currently proposed and asked Ms. Greer if she would prefer a continuance to address the Commission’s concerns or if she would rather accept denial and appeal the project to the City Council and take her chances there.

Ms. Greer answered that she does not like to appeal decisions to the City Council, as her goal is to work with staff and the Planning Commission in reaching a compromise. She felt that a continuance would be the preferable choice. She asked the Planning Commission if their concerns lay with the 1,000 square foot second story addition or some other aspect of the project.

Commissioner Ruttenberg stated that he felt a 4,000 square foot home on a 7,300 square foot lot is too large.

Chairman Knight felt there was too much bulk and mass at the front of the house.

Commissioner Lewis stated that his concern was that this would be the largest home in the neighborhood, while the lot is rather small. He agreed, however, that by re-flagging the lot the Planning Commission would have a better idea of the bulk and mass of the proposed project.

Commissioner Karp noted that if this house were proposed to be a single story it would most likely not come before the Planning Commission.

Scott McGee 4941 Blackhorse Road (owner) stated that he had come to this meeting thinking that all of the major issues raised by the Planning Commission at the previous meeting had been addressed. He was frustrated, noting that there are objective criteria in the Development Code which he has met. He stated he had heard a lot of comments that what he is proposing is too big for the lot and the neighborhood, however he noted that the proposed home meets all of the criteria. He felt he was being told that what was being proposed just doesn’t look good to the Commissioners or doesn’t look like the other houses in the neighborhood. He stated that he has a neighborhood that has reviewed the proposed plans and have wholeheartedly encouraged and supported the project. He questioned whom the Planning Commission was trying to protect, as he has addressed the concerns of the neighbors and now has support from the entire neighborhood.

Chairman Knight closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Perestam stated that he would better be able to make a decision once he sees the new silhouette in place and a landscape plan to see how the landscaping will help shield the bulk and mass of the house.

Commissioner Tetreault agreed that this is a large house for the neighborhood, however he noted the setbacks are not being changed and adding a second story is not adding a new element to the neighborhood, as there are many two-story homes in the neighborhood.

Commissioner Lewis asked staff if the footprint of the house on this new proposal has been increased.

Associate Planner Sohn answered that the footprint of the house will increase by 795 square feet.

Commissioner Perestam moved to continue the public hearing to October 10, 2006 to provide the opportunity for the applicant to revise the silhouette and further address the Planning Commission’s concerns, seconded by Commissioner Lewis. Approved, (6-0).

2. Height Variation and Site Plan Review (Case No. ZON2005-00015): 2701 San Ramon Drive.

Associate Planner Fox explained that the applicant had advised him before the meeting that their architect had taken ill and was unable to attend the meeting, and therefore they were interested in possibly continuing the discussion of this item to a future meeting. He stated that the architect’s associate is here, however he is not as familiar with the project and the applicants were concerned that if there are technical questions about modification of the project they may not be able to adequately answer those questions.

Associate Planner Fox then presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project and the need for the Height Variation. He explained that staff was able to make several of the necessary findings, however was unable to make the findings regarding individual and cumulative view impact as well as neighborhood compatibility. He displayed several photographs depicting the potential view impacts, both individual and cumulative. With respect to neighborhood compatibility, he explained that the proposed project presents a nearly unbroken two-story façade that faces towards the abutting properties across the driveway. In addition, given the project sites prominent location at the end of the San Ramon cul-de-sac, and the single story homes that immediately surround it, staff believes the proposed project creates something of a looming presence over this portion of the neighborhood. Therefore, staff believes the project is inconsistent with the immediate neighborhood in terms of its apparent bulk and mass and deviates from the established pattern of setbacks for the lot and immediate neighborhood. Therefore, he stated that staff was recommending denial without prejudice, noting that staff believes that many of the issues may be addressed by a revised project.

Commissioner Ruttenberg noted that there are several large trees in the neighborhood, and asked staff if the Planning Commission should evaluate views as if the trees are not present.

Associate Planner Fox answered that was correct.

Commissioner Perestam noted there are a number of trees on the street that probably have a larger impact today on the views than the proposed second story. He asked if their view analysis on views above 16 feet was inclusive or exclusive of all of the other trees.

Associate Planner Fox answered that it is exclusive of all foliage, noting that a few of the large trees are on the subject property. He added that if staff were recommending approval of the application there would be conditions added to deal with any foliage on the property that block views.

Chairman Knight asked if any proposed second story addition on the property would create a trigger for cumulative view impact finding.

Associate Planner Fox explained that staff felt that a smaller and lower second story addition would have less individual and cumulative view impact.

Chairman Knight opened the public hearing.

Bill Pratley 2701 San Ramon Drive (applicant) stated that he agrees that trees on his property do block a portion of the view from 2727 San Ramon Drive and will be trimmed or removed. Regarding 2749 San Ramon Drive, he stated that the owner was not particularly concerned with the proposed project and noted that he has not seen anything in writing from that owner objecting to the project. He stated that he has the smallest house on the largest lot on San Ramon Drive and it is set back significantly from the street, and felt that should be taken into consideration in terms of a looming presence. He stated it was hard for him to address the cumulative view impact, as he did not know if his surrounding neighbors were planning additions or if future neighbors are planning additions.

Commissioner Karp asked Mr. Pratley if he ever considered expanding his home on grade rather than going up to a second story, and if not, why not. He stated that he did not necessarily want an answer now, since the architect is not present, but would like one at the next hearing.

Commissioner Tetreault noted that there had been a verbal request to continue the public hearing because the architect was not able to attend the meeting. He asked Mr. Pratley if he was still requesting a continuance.

Mr. Pratley answered that he was not necessarily requesting a continuance, noting his main concern was that there may be technical questions that only his architect could answer.

Brett Andrus 2723 San Ramon Drive stated he is not in favor of the project, as it takes away a significant amount of his view of the harbor and city.

Commissioner Tetreault noted that the staff report does not address any potential view impacts to 2723 San Ramon Drive. He asked Mr. Andrus what rooms he sees his views from.

Mr. Andrus answered that he has a view from his backyard, the kitchen, and primarily from the upstairs entertainment room.

Commissioner Tetreault asked if the entry to the home and the kitchen are downstairs.

Mr. Andrus answered that both are downstairs. He distributed photographs showing the views from his home.

Commissioner Karp asked staff if the view from the second floor is a protected view.

Associate Planner Fox answered that it is probably not.

Chairman Knight asked staff why this property was not discussed in the staff report.

Associate Planner Fox explained that in doing the permit research, staff determined that the second story addition had been added before the City’s incorporation, and therefore had not gone through a Height Variation procedure. Therefore, staff assumed that any view taken from the second story would not be protected. Further, looking at the orientation of the house, staff assumed the views would be out the back and more towards the northeast. He also noted that staff had received no comments from this property owner during the comment period. He stated that, if the public hearing is continued, staff can certainly go to the property and take photographs and make an assessment from this property.

John Feyk 2727 San Ramon Drive stated he has mixed emotions regarding this addition, however his general feeling is he does not want to see second stories dominate the small street. He stated that he would be more in favor of the addition if there were a reason the applicant could not build his addition on grade. He discussed the trees on the applicant’s property and asked that they be trimmed or removed if this addition is approved, so that he can get the view he lost back.

Bill Pratley (in rebuttal) stated that he did not know about the objection from Mr. Andrus, however questioned if the view from Mr. Andrus’ second story is protected. He stated that he understood the view concerns from other neighbors, but questioned how staff determined significant view impairment.

Chairman Knight closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Karp stated that until the architect or homeowner convinces him that it is not feasible to expand the house on grade, he cannot support the proposed project.

Commissioner Perestam felt the Planning Commission should stop their discussion on the application at this point and continue the discussion when there is more information available, such as photographs from 2749 San Ramon Drive, an analysis of the view from 2723 San Ramon Drive, and the applicant’s architect is available to answer questions.

Commissioner Ruttenberg agreed, noting that the architect may want to consider redesigning the project by lowering the second story addition and trying to put more of the addition on the ground level.

Commissioner Tetreault stated that he was very unsure on how he felt about this proposed addition, as the view impairment issues are unclear to him. He stated that he is very uncomfortable saying that a view that a homeowner isn’t concerned about should be protected to the extent that a neighboring property owner can’t build.

Commissioner Lewis discussed the apparent bulk and mass of the proposed project, stating he would have trouble at this time supporting the project without efforts to soften the apparent size and bulk. He also shared Commissioner Tetreault’s comments regarding the view issue, stating that he could not conclude there was a view issue without seeing more information.

Chairman Knight discussed the view issue, noting that the Code is specific on what is a protected view, and that the Code is set up to protect these views, stating that these views are very important to the community. He stated that even though an individual owner may not care for the view, the Code is set up such that the community has a consistent and protective application of the new Ordinance. He felt the project looms quite a bit over the street, and did not think the two-story element was compatible with the neighborhood. He also felt there was quite a bit of rear yard that could be expanded on. Therefore, he could not support the project as presented.

Commissioner Perestam moved to continue the public hearing to October 24, 2006 to allow the applicant to address the Planning Commission’s concerns and staff to conduct an additional view analysis, seconded by Commissioner Karp. Approved, (6-0).

PUBLIC HEARINGS

4. Height Variation (Case No. ZON2006-00124): 32202 Phantom Drive

Associate Planner Fox presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project and the need for the Height Variation application. He stated that staff was able to make all of the necessary findings to approve the Height Variation. He noted that no comments were received during the public comment period and staff was recommending approval of the project as conditioned in the staff report.

Chairman Knight asked if the privacy issues had been addressed.

Associate Planner Fox noted that there are windows that face in both directions, towards the houses at 3801 Pirate Drive and 32210 Phantom Drive, however staff did not believe there were privacy impacts for either house.

Chairman Knight opened the public hearing.

Terry Slaven 1525 Aviation Blvd., Redondo Beach (architect) noted that she had letters from the adjacent neighbors stating they are in favor of the project. She stated that she has read the staff report and agrees with the findings.

Tom Good 32202 Phantom Drive (applicant) stated that his growing family is running out of room and the intent of the addition is to provide more room for the family. He stated that the addition was designed to take the neighbors into consideration, and there are letters of support for the addition from the neighbors.

Chairman Knight closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Lewis moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2006-48 thereby approving the requested Height Variation as presented by staff, seconded by Commissioner Tetreault. Approved, (6-0).

NEW BUSINESS

5. Discussion of possible re-zoning of Elkmont Canyon from RS-4 to OH

It being after 11:00 p.m. Commissioner Lewis moved to take no new business other than adopting the minutes and the Pre-Agenda, seconded by Commissioner Karp. Approved, (6-0).

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

6. Minutes of July 25, 2006

Commissioner Karp noted a typo on page 22 of the minutes.

Commissioner Ruttenberg noted a typo on page 8 of the minutes.

Commissioner Tetreault moved to approve the minutes as amended, seconded by Commissioner Karp. Approved, (5-0-1) with Chairman Knight abstaining since he was absent from that meeting.

7. Minutes of August 8, 2006

Commissioner Lewis noted a typo on page 11.

Commissioner Tetreault moved to approve the minutes as amended, seconded by Commissioner Perestam. Approved, (6-0).

ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS

The Planning Commission discussed and approved the pre-agenda.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 11:12 p.m.