Phase 1: Monks Plaintiffs’ Lots
The proposed “Zone 2 Landslide Moratorium Ordinance Revisions” would create a new exception category in the City’s Landslide Moratorium Ordinance (Chapter 15.20 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code) to allow the development of undeveloped lots in Zone 2 of the City’s Landslide Moratorium Area. This action is in response to the California State Court of Appeal’s decision in the case of Monks v. Rancho Palos Verdes, which found that the City’s prohibition against the development of undeveloped lots in Zone 2 was a taking and an impermissible impediment to the development of the plaintiffs’ lots. Within Zone 2, there are currently forty-seven (47) undeveloped lots, of which sixteen (16) lots are owned by the plaintiffs in the Monks case.
After reviewing the Initial Study and any applicable mitigating measures for the project, the Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement has determined that this project will not have a significant effect on the environment. Accordingly, a MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION has been prepared. Public comments will be received by the City prior to final approval of the MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION and action on the project, for a period of at least 30 days. A public meeting was held before the City Council to discuss the proposed project, including the proposed MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION, on Tuesday, March 3, 2009, at 7:00 PM at Hesse Park Community Building, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes.
At the public meeting on March 3, 2009, the City Council received public testimony on the project and proposed MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION. At the conclusion of the meeting, the City Council received and filed Staff’s report but took no action.
On June 2, 2009, Staff presented an update on the Zone 2 Landslide Moratorium Ordinance Revisions to the City Council. Based upon further analysis and discussions with legal counsel for the Monks plaintiffs and the Portuguese Bend Alliance for Safety (PBAS), Staff recommended the preparation of an ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT rather than a MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION. However, the City Council directed Staff to prepare a REVISED MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION for the sixteen (16) Monks plaintiffs’ lots and an ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT for all forty-seven (47) undeveloped lots in Zone 2 in a parallel “two-track” process.
On September 1, 2009, Staff presented the REVISED MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION for the Monks plaintiff’s sixteen (16) undeveloped lots, along with the draft Ordinance to create an exception category applicable to only those properties. The City Council received public testimony on the REVISED MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION, introduced the draft Ordinance and continued the matter to September 15, 2009. The 30-day public comment period for the REVISED MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION ended on September 9, 2009. On September 15, 2009, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 2009-72, certifying the REVISED MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION and the Mitigation Monitoring Program (MMP); and adopted Ordinance No. 498, “AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ADOPTING AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 15.20 (MORATORIUM ON LAND USE PERMITS) OF THE RANCHO PALOS VERDES MUNICIPAL CODE TO ESTABLISH AN EXCEPTION CATEGORY TO ALLOW FOR THE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SIXTEEN (16) MONKS PLAINTIFFS’ UNDEVELOPED LOTS IN ZONE 2.”
With the adoption of Ordinance No. 498, the owners of the sixteen (16) Monks plaintiffs’ lots will be eligible to apply for Landslide Moratorium Exceptions (LMEs) to develop new homes on their lots, beginning on the effective date of the ordinance (i.e., October 15, 2009). It is important to note that the adoption of Ordinance No. 498 did not “lift” the moratorium or remove the Monks plaintiffs’ lots from the Landslide Moratorium Area. The application packet for an LME is available on the City’s website. The approval of an LME does not constitute Planning Department approval for a proposed home, but rather simply allows the property owner to submit the appropriate Planning applications for approval of a specific project request.
Phase 2: Non-Monks Lots
As the second phase of this process, the City is preparing an EIR to address the environmental effects of allowing the owners of the remaining thirty-one (31) undeveloped non-Monks lots in Zone 2 to apply for LMEs. An Initial Study for this second phase has been prepared, and will be circulated for public review and comment for thirty (30) days from January 3, 2011 to February 2, 2011. A public Scoping Meeting for the proposed EIR will be held at the regular City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 1, 2011, at 7:00 PM at Hesse Park Community Building, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes.
Project Site Description
The project site measures approximately one hundred twelve (112) acres and consists of one hundred eleven (111) lots, of which sixty-four (64) lots are developed and forty-seven (47) lots are undeveloped. The vast majority of the developed lots are improved with single-family residences and related accessory structures and uses. The largest developed lot in Zone 2 is occupied by the Portuguese Bend Riding Club, a nonconforming commercial stable that was established prior to the City’s incorporation in 1973. Private streets within Zone 2 are maintained by the Portuguese Bend Community Association. The majority of the undeveloped lots contain non-native vegetation, and some have small, non-habitable structures (i.e., sheds, stables, fences, etc.) for horsekeeping or horticultural uses. Sixteen (16) of the undeveloped lots in Zone 2 are owned by Monks plaintiffs, and it is these lots that were the subject of the first phase of revisions to the City’s Landslide Moratorium Ordinance in 2009. The remaining thirty-one (31) undeveloped lots in Zone 2 are the subject of the second phase of revisions to the City’s Landslide Moratorium Ordinance.
Proposed Project Description
Phase 1: Monks Plaintiffs’ Lots
The proposed substantive revisions to the Landslide Moratorium Ordinance include the addition of subsection P to Section 15.20.040 (Exceptions), to wit:
The construction of residential buildings, accessory structures, and minor grading (as defined in Section 17.76.040.B.1 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code) on the sixteen (16) undeveloped lots in Zone 2 of the "Landslide Moratorium Area" as outlined in green on the landslide moratorium map on file in the Director’s office, identified as belonging to the plaintiffs in the case “Monks v. City of Rancho Palos Verdes, 167 Cal. App. 4th 263, 84 Cal. Rptr. 3d 75 (Cal. App. 2 Dist., 2008)”; provided, that a landslide moratorium exception permit is approved by the Director, and provided that the project complies with the criteria set forth in Section 15.20.050 of this Chapter. Such projects shall qualify for a landslide moratorium exception permit only if all applicable requirements of this Code are satisfied, and the parcel is served by a sanitary sewer system. Prior to the issuance of a landslide moratorium exception permit, the applicant shall submit to the Director any geological or geotechnical studies reasonably required by the City to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the City geotechnical staff that the proposed project will not aggravate the existing situation.
Non-substantive revisions to the Landslide Moratorium Ordinance that are also proposed include the addition of cross-references to the new subsection P and the map of Zone 2 in Sections 15.20.050 (Landslide Mitigation Measures Required), 15.20.060 (Application) and 15.20.110 (Required Connection to Operational Sanitary Sewer System).
Phase 2: Non-Monks Lots
The proposed substantive revisions to the Landslide Moratorium Ordinance would include the revision of subsection P to Section 15.20.040 (Exceptions) to wit apply to all forty-seven (47) undeveloped lots in Zone 2. With respect to the EIR assumptions for assessing the potential future impacts of the development of the remaining undeveloped lots, they include:
- Forty-seven single-story, ranch-style residences with attached or detached three-car garages, with minimum living area of 1,500 square feet and maximum living area of 4,000 square feet or 15% of gross lot area, whichever is less;
- Less than 1,000 cubic yards of grading (cut and fill combined) per lot, with no more than 50 cubic yards of imported fill per lot;
- Maximum 25% (RS-1) or 40% (RS-2) net lot coverage;
- Maximum building height of 16 feet for residences and 12 feet for detached accessory structures;
- Minimum front setbacks of 20 feet, minimum rear setbacks of 15 feet, minimum street-side setbacks of 10 feet, and minimum interior side setbacks of five feet, with setbacks along private street rights-of-way measured from the easement line rather than the property line; and
- No subdivision of existing lots within Zone 2.
Below is an aerial photograph depicting the boundary of Zone 2 and the locations of the Monks plaintiffs’ sixteen (16) lots and the other thirty-one (31) undeveloped lots in Zone 2.
On January 3, 2011, an Initial Study (IS) and Notice of Preparation (NOP) of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was circulated for a 30-day period to public agencies, property owners in and within a 500-foot radius of Zone 2, and other interested parties. A public Scoping Meeting for the proposed EIR was held before the City Council on February 1, 2011, to receive public comment on the scope of issues to be addressed in the proposed EIR. After the public comment period closed on February 2, 2011, the City compiled all of the scoping comments submitted and began the preparation of the Draft EIR (DEIR).
On September 21, 2012, a Notice of Availability (NOA) of a DEIR was circulated for a 60-day period to public agencies, property owners in and within a 500-foot radius of Zone 2, and other interested parties. This exceeds the minimum 45-day public review and comment period required pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) . On-line links to the NOA and the DEIR and technical appendices are provided below. Copies of the DEIR and technical appendices are also available for public review during regular business hours at:
- Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall, Community Development Department, 30940 Hawthorne Blvd., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
- Hesse Park Community Building, 29301 Hawthorne Blvd., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
- Palos Verdes Peninsula Main Library, 650 Deep Valley Dr., Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274
- Palos Verdes Peninsula Miraleste Branch Library, 29089 Palos Verdes Dr. E., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
The DEIR identified significant environmental impacts of the project that can be mitigated to less-than-significant levels in the following issue areas:
- Air Quality
- Biological Resources
- Cultural Resources
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Fire Protection
- Hydrology and Water Quality
- Traffic and Circulation
- Utilities and Service Systems
The DEIR further identified environmental impacts of the project that are significant and unavoidable in the following issue areas:
- Traffic and Circulation impacts at the intersections of Seahill Drive/Tramonto Drive and Palos Verdes Drive South; and Forrestal Drive/Trump National Drive and Palos Verdes Drive South
A public meeting to receive comments on the DEIR will be held before the City Council on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 7:00 PM at Hesse Park Community Building, 29301 Hawthorne Blvd., Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. At the public meeting, the City Council will receive comments but will not take action on the DEIR. After the 60-day public comment period ends, a Final EIR (FEIR) will be prepared, which will include written responses to all comments received on the DEIR. The City Council will then consider the certification of the FEIR and the adoption of the related revisions to the Landslide Moratorium Ordinance at a future public meeting on a date to be determined.
The City requests that all comments on the DEIR be submitted no later than 5:30 PM on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 to:
Eduardo Schonborn, Senior Planner
Planning Division, Community Development Department
City of Rancho Palos Verdes
30940 Hawthorne Blvd.
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
FAX: (310) 544-5293
For further information about the Zone 2 Landslide Moratorium Ordinance Revisions, please contact Eduardo Schonborn with the City of Rancho Palos Verdes at (310) 544-5228 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- September 15, 2009 City Council Staff report
- Late Correspondence from the September 15, 2009 City Council meeting
- Landslide Moratorium Exception Permi application packett
- Ordinance 498
- Resolution 2009-72
- September 1, 2009 City Council Staff report
- Late Correspondence from the September 1, 2009 City Council meeting
- August 10, 2009 Public Hearing Notice
- Revised Initial Study
- Public Notice - No. 2009021050
- Revised Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration
- June 2, 2009, City Council Staff report
- Public Notice-No. ZON2009-00007
- Initial Study/Proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration
- March 3, 2009, City Council Staff report
- Late Correspondence presented on March 3, 2009
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