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FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT
DATE: FEBRUARY 20, 2007
SUBJECT: APPEAL OF GRADING PERMIT AND SITE PLAN REVIEW (CASE NO. ZON2005-00593), LANDOWNER: JAMIE BLESSUM; APPELLANTS: ROD AND REBECCA WHITE, HARRY & PEGGY FUSSGANGER, RUPERTO & LULA ELPUSAN; SITE ADDRESS: 29664 GRANDPOINT LANE
Staff Coordinator: Kristen Sohn, Associate Planner
Adopt Resolution No. 2007-__, thereby denying the appeal and upholding the Planning Commission’s conditional approval of Case No. ZON2005-00593, to allow the construction of a new residence, associated grading and retaining walls at 29664 Grandpoint Lane.
In May 2004, it was brought to the City’s attention that an alleged illegal grading activity had occurred on the subject site. Staff inspected the matter and processed a code enforcement case against the applicant to address the unpermitted grading on-site. Eventually, the applicant submitted the appropriate applications to obtain after-the-fact approval of the unpermitted retaining wall construction in conjunction with a proposal for a new residence and three additional retaining walls. The project was conditionally approved by the Planning Director on July 7, 2006, which was then appealed to the Planning Commission by three appellants. On November 28, 2006, the Planning Commission denied the appeal, thereby upholding the Director’s conditional approval of the project with some modifications to the existing retaining wall. The Planning Commission’s conditional approval of the project has been appealed to the City Council by the same appellants. Staff believes that the appellants raised no new issues to warrant a change to the Planning Commission’s decision and therefore is recommending that the appeal be denied.
On May 14, 2004, Staff received a code violation complaint alleging unpermitted grading and the construction of two retaining walls on the west and east sides of the subject parcel. Staff investigated the matter and determined that retaining walls had been constructed on the vacant parcel without City approval. As such, there was numerous correspondence between the City’s Code Enforcement Staff and the property owner to either remove the unpermitted walls or seek after-the-fact approval so that they can remain. After 15 months (May 24, 2004 to August 1, 2005) and eight letters sent from the Planning Department, the property owner submitted Site Plan Review and Grading Permit applications (hereinafter referred to as Case No. ZON2005-00593) to the Planning department to legalize the unpermitted construction of two existing retaining walls in conjunction with a request to construct a new one-story single-family residence and a series of new retaining walls on the existing vacant lot.
After the receipt of all required materials, the application was deemed complete for processing on May 3, 2006 and a notice of the proposed project was mailed to the property owners within a 500-ft radius from the subject property. Staff received comments about the proposed project from adjacent residents regarding illegal grading, drainage, compaction of the pad, and the orientation of the proposed residence. After reviewing the submitted public comments and the proposed project, the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement conditionally approved the project on July 7, 2006 (July 6, 2006 staff report to the Director is attached).
On July 20, 2006, the property owners at 2952, 2960, and 3070 Crownview Drive filed an appeal of the Director’s conditional approval requesting that the Planning Commission deny the proposed project. On September 7, 2006, the City mailed a public hearing notice announcing the appeal hearing to property owners within a 500’ radius of the subject property, which was then subsequently published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News on September 9, 2006. A public hearing was held on September 26, 2006, at which time the Planning Commission considered the appellants’ request. At the hearing, the Planning Commission continued the discussion of the item to November 28, 2006 to allow Staff to further investigate the scope of the illegal work performed by the project applicant (see attached September 26, 2006 staff report and the excerpted meeting minutes). At the November 28, 2006 public hearing, the Planning Commission upheld the Director’s decision, with some modifications to the existing walls, thereby denying the appellants’ request (4-0, with Chair Knight, Commissioner Perestam, and Commissioner Lewis absent (excused). The November 28, 206 staff report and the excerpted minutes of the November 28, 2006 meeting are attached).
The appellants filed an appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision on December 12, 2006. On February 1, 2007, the City mailed a public hearing notice announcing the City Council appeal hearing to property owners within a 500’ radius of the subject property, which was subsequently published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News on February 3, 2007. The appeal is now before the City Council.
The July 6, 2006 staff report to the Director, along with the September 26, 2006 and the November 28, 2006 staff reports to the Planning Commission (attached) contain a complete analysis of the proposed project. In summary, the scope of the applicant’s proposed project includes the following:
- After-the-fact approval of:
- Approval of the following new construction:
In reviewing the original application, the Director determined that the proposed 5,306 square foot one-story residence, measuring 12’ high, would be compatible with the immediate neighborhood, complies with the standards of the City’s Development Code, and with the appropriate conditions, concerns regarding the geotechnical and structural integrity of the grading and the retaining walls would be addressed. Additionally, the Director determined that the proposed retaining walls and grading have been designed in a manner that, when completed, would appear to blend in with the existing topography.
At the November 28, 2006 public hearing, the appellants raised concerns with regards to the walls constructed without permits (appeal letter to the Planning Commission is attached). In response, the Planning Commission modified the conditions of approval directed at the two walls constructed without a permit on the northeast portion of the subject site. Specifically, the Commission required that one of the walls, measuring 4’-6” high, be demolished and the preexisting extreme slope be restored and the other wall, measuring 8’ high, be modified so as not to exceed the maximum code allowed height of 3’-6” for a downslope retaining wall.
In their appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision to the City Council, the appellants raise generally the same issues as they raised to the Planning Commission. Below is a summary of the appellants’ main issues, as noted in the attached December 12, 2006 appeal package, followed by Staff’s comments.
Mr. & Mrs. White: The proposed project results in the destruction of the natural contour of the hill;
According to the applicant, approximately 26 cubic yards of excavation was conducted in constructing the existing non-permitted walls on the subject property. According to the City’s Building Official who first inspected the site in response to the code violation case, he did not find evidence that the slope integrity has been compromised by the non-permitted work. In conjunction with the legalization of the two existing walls on the property, the applicant is also proposing to construct a new single-family residence and three additional retaining walls associated with the residential construction. The proposed grading for the residence is planned on a sloped area (non-extreme slope) to accommodate the construction of the west and the south portions of the new residence, hence, the proposal for 388 cubic yards of grading associated with the project. Additionally, although some grading is proposed on the small transitional extreme slopes located on the south and north sides of the proposed residence, the amount of grading in these areas has been limited to the construction of upslope retaining walls which measure up to 5’ and 4’-6” high, respectively, to provide some usable level areas around the new residence.
As noted in the attached PC Resolution 2006-59, the Planning Commission is of the opinion that the grading quantity proposed for the construction of the new residence is not excessive; the proposed grading does not adversely affect the visual relationship with, nor the views from, the viewing area of neighboring properties; the proposed grading minimizes disturbance to the natural contours and the finished contours are reasonably natural; the proposed grading appears to blend in with the existing hillside; and the proposed grading does not cause excessive and unnecessary disturbance of the natural landscape or wildlife habitat through removal of vegetation as there have been no wildlife habitat identified on the subject site.
The proposed project, including the walls constructed without permits, has been reviewed and conceptually approved by the City’s Geotechnical Staff. Although the west wall retains less than 3’ and as such, by definition, is a garden wall and therefore not subject to Planning Department approval, it does have a surcharge and thus requires the approval of the Building & Safety Division for compliance with the Uniform Building Code. As such, inasmuch as the applicant is proposing to construct a series of retaining walls near the west side of the subject property, all components of the proposed development, including the garden wall, will be reviewed for structural feasibility by the Building & Safety Division for compliance with the Uniform Building Code. Lastly, additional comprehensive soils and geology reports shall be required of the applicant for the City’s Geotechnical Staff’s review and inspection.
Mr. & Mrs. White: Gross underestimation of lot coverage, which results in the appearance of bulk and mass;
The lot coverage of the proposed project is comprised of the 5,306 square foot residence, 472 square foot interior court, and a 1,270 square foot driveway on a 19,960 square foot lot resulting in a lot coverage of 35%: [5,306 + 472 + 1,270 = 7,048 7,048 / 19,960 = 35%]. The resulting lot coverage falls under the Development Code limitation of 40%. A study of the aerial photographs show that residences in the immediate vicinity of the subject parcel appear to have comparable amount of open space resulting from the existing structures, large driveways, impermeable surfaces in the front setback area, and detached accessory structures.
As discussed in the original July 6, 2006 staff report (attached), Staff believes that with regards to bulk and mass, the proposed residence has been designed so that a substantial amount of the floor area will be situated behind the front façade of the residence. Given that the subject parcel is accessed off of a private driveway, when viewed from the street of access (Crownview Drive), the shorter length of the residence will be visible, thus reducing the apparent bulk and mass.
Mr. & Mrs. White: The mischaracterization of the illegal retaining wall, being described as a garden wall, therefore creating major hazard issues.
The appellants are referring to one of the two walls constructed without a permit, specifically the west wall that measures 114’ in length and up to 2’-11” in height. Pursuant to the Development Code, a wall that retains less than 3’ of earth is below the threshold that requires grading permit approval, and as such, is considered a garden wall by Staff. Conversely, a wall which retains 3’ or more of earth is referred to as a retaining wall and requires a Grading Permit. As such, the west wall has been referred to as a garden wall in the original staff report. Although the construction of a garden wall does not require Planning approval as discussed earlier, because the wall is on a slope, a building permit is required and the wall must be reviewed by the City’s Building & Safety Division. Due to nature of the reported code enforcement case, all components of the project, including the garden wall, were reviewed, inspected, and approved by the City’s Geotechnical Staff. Once Planning approval is secured, all components of the proposed project shall be reviewed by the City’s Geotechnical Staff and the City’s Building Official for structural feasibility and compliance with the Uniform Building Code.
Mr. & Mrs. White: Why do the homes to the west of the subject site, (i.e., the Whites’, the Fussgangers’, and Mr. Elpusan’s and Ms. Bullale’s) face the east, whereas the subject site is oriented to the north?
Unlike the homes to the west of the subject site which actually abut Crownview Drive, the subject lot does not abut Crownview Drive. Due to the unusual lot configuration, in 1988, the Director of Environmental Services (present day Director of Planning) made a property line determination for the subject lot which designated the northerly property line, that is the lot line connected to the access driveway, as the front property line. As such, the applicant designed the proposed residence facing the northerly property line.
Mr. & Mrs. Fussganger: Why is the address of the subject lot Grandpoint Lane and not Crownview Drive?
The properties owned by the Fussgangers, Mr. Elpusan and Ms. Bullale, and the Whites abut Crownview Drive, and thus have a Crownview Drive address. The subject property abuts Grandpoint Lane and thus has a Grandpoint Lane address.
Mr. & Mrs. Fussganger: The contractor/owner/builder graded the lot a year ago without permits. He cut into the hills and expanded the size of the lot with fill.
Staff acknowledges that at the time the applicant/contractor/owner/builder submitted the Site Plan Review and Grading Permit application to the City to construct a new residence, a Code Enforcement Case was being pursued against the property owner for the unauthorized construction of the garden wall on the west and the retaining wall on the east side of the site. In order to process the request for the new residence, the applicant was also required to apply for the after-the-fact approval of the west garden wall and the east retaining wall. With regards to alleged illegal grading to expand the building pad, Staff has studied the original tentative tract map (prepared in 1963) that contains the pre-existing contours of the subject site, as well as the City’s composite map, and determined that the present building pad on-site may actually be smaller and narrower than the pad shown to exist on either map. As such, Staff does not believe that illegal grading was performed specifically to augment the size of the existing pad on-site.
Mr. & Mrs. Fussganger: Concerns for adequate drainage.
Although the issue of drainage is outside of Staff’s purview during the planning process, if the project is approved, the applicant will be required to submit a drainage plan to the satisfaction of the City’s Building Official prior to issuance of the building permit. The Building Official’s responsibility in reviewing the proposed development drainage plan is to ensure strict adherence pursuant to the Building Code requirement for drainage.
Mr. & Mrs. Fussganger: Concern for improper compaction.
Because the applicant is proposing a new residence on a vacant lot, a review of the geotechnical report submitted by the applicant was required by the City’s Geotechnical staff. At the present time, applicant’s geotechnical request was conditionally approved by the City’s Geotechnical staff for planning purposes. If the project is approved, the applicant will be required to provide additional information to the City’s Geotechnical staff during the plan check process to ensure proper compaction of the site and structural feasibility of the proposed development.
Mr. & Mrs. Fussganger: Big house proposed on a small lot.
This issue is addressed in the Code Consideration and Analysis section of the July 6, 2006 staff report. In summary, in considering the proposed residence with those in the immediate neighborhood, Staff took into consideration the issue of the proposed size, architectural style, bulk and mass, lot coverage, setbacks, and height. Although the subject site has a legally nonconforming lot size at 19,960 square feet, where 20,000 square feet is the minimum in the RS-2 zone, the proposed lot coverage, i.e., the percentage of the lot to be covered by the structure, driveway, and the interior court, the proposed development on the site, to be 34.8%, which is below the 40% restriction. Additionally, the proposed 5,306 square foot residence would be situated in a neighborhood where the residential sizes range from 2,676 square feet to 8,518 square feet.
Mr. & Mrs. Fussganger: The absence of a real yard. The house will be constructed on a hill against the abutting lot to the west.
The applicant is proposing an interior court yard which will be used in addition to the limited yard area outside of the building footprint. The construction of the west portion of the residence will be accommodated with the excavation of a non-extreme slope. Once completed, the residence will be set back from the abutting lot to the west by 6’-6”. The minimum setback on the west elevation is 5’.
Mr. Elpusan & Ms. Bullale: Potential destabilizing effect on the neighboring homes by the proposed project.
The proposed development was conceptually approved by the City’s Geotechnical staff. Once approved, the applicant will be required to supply additional information to the City’s Building Official and the Geotechnical staff to demonstrate the structural feasibility of the proposed construction.
Mr. Elpusan & Ms. Bullale: Proper drainage.
The applicant shall be required to provide adequate drainage to the satisfaction of the City’s Building Official. Moreover, the City’s Building Official has visited the site and is cognizant of the importance of providing proper drainage solution on the subject site.
Mr. Elpusan & Ms. Bullale: Construction shall not obstruct driveway access of the existing private street.
One of the conditions of approval included is that the applicant will be required to maintain the private driveway free of any equipment and vehicles related to the construction of the proposed development to ensure the use of the driveway is not inhibited.
Mr. Elpusan & Ms. Bullale: Proposed size and the setbacks.
These items have been discussed in the Code Consideration and Analysis section of the staff report dated July 6, 2006. Also, as mentioned in response to the Fussgangers’ concern, the proposed size is within the neighborhood range. In terms of setbacks, the applicant is proposing front – 24’-8”, rear – 15’, west side – 6’-6”, and the east side – 20’-6”. The proposed development will be constructed outside of the minimum setback distances of front – 20’, rear – 15’, side – 5’.
Staff believes that the findings to warrant the approval of the Site Plan Review and Grading Permit were made in the affirmative manner by the Planning Commission. As a result of the appeal, Staff believes that the appellants have introduced no new evidence or facts to warrant a change to the Planning Commission’s decision. Therefore, Staff recommends that the City Council deny the appeal and uphold the Planning Commission’s decision to uphold the Director’s conditional approval of Site Plan Review Case No. ZON2005-00593.
The appellants paid an appeal fee which covered the cost of processing the appeal to the City Council. In the event the City Council overturns the Planning Commission’s decision, thereby approving the appellants’ request, all appeal fees shall be refunded to the appellants. Appellants are considered successful if a decision by the City Council is rendered granting their appeal. If an appeal results in a modification to the project, other than changes specifically requested in the appeal, then one-half of the appeal fee shall be refunded to the successful appellants.
The following alternatives are available for the City Council to consider:
1) Uphold the appeal, thereby overturning the Planning Commission’s decision to uphold the Director’s approval of Case No. ZON2005-00593, and direct Staff to prepare the appropriate Resolution for consideration at the next scheduled City Council meeting; or
2) Identify any issues of concern with the project, provide Staff and/or the appellant with direction in modifying the project, and continue the public hearing to a date certain; or,
3) Identify any issues of concern with the Planning Commission’s decision and remand the project back to the Planning Commission for reconsideration.
- Resolution No. 2007-__
RESOLUTION NO. 2007-
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DENYING THE APPEAL AND UPHOLDING THE PLANNING COMMISSION’S DECISION TO APPROVE, WITH CONDITIONS, SITE PLAN REVIEW AND GRADING CASE NO. ZON2005-00593 FOR: A 5,306 SQUARE FOOT ONE-STORY RESIDENCE WITH AN OVERALL HEIGHT OF 12’; AN UPSLOPE RETAINING WALL BEGINNING ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE LOT TO THE SOUTH SIDE, MEASURING 137’ IN LENGTH AND UP TO 7’ IN HEIGHT; AN UPSLOPE RETAINING WALL ON AN EXTREME SLOPE ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE PROPERTY, MEASURING 57’ IN LENGTH AND UP TO 5’ IN HEIGHT; AN UPSLOPE RETAINING WALL ON AN EXTREME SLOPE ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE LOT, MEASURING 34’ IN LENGTH AND UP TO 4’-6” IN HEIGHT; AN AFTER-THE-FACT CONSTRUCTION OF ONE DOWNSLOPE RETAINING WALL ON THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTY, MEASURING NO HIGHER THAN 3’-6” IN HEIGHT, ON A VACANT LOT LOCATED AT 29664 GRANDPOINT LANE.
WHEREAS, on May 14, 2004, a code violation complaint regarding the construction of two walls on the west and the east side of the property was received by Staff; and,
WHEREAS, on November 10, 2005, the applicant formally submitted Grading Permit and Site Plan Review applications for a new 5,306 square foot one-story single-family residence with an overall height of 12’; an upslope retaining wall beginning on the west side of the lot to the south side, measuring 137’ in length and up to 7’ in height; an upslope retaining wall on an extreme slope on the south side of the property, measuring 57’ in length and up to 5’ in height; an upslope retaining wall on an extreme slope on the north side of the lot, measuring 34’ in length and up to 5’ in height; an upslope retaining wall on an extreme slope on the north side of the lot, measuring 34’ in length and up to 4’-6” in height; and an after-the-fact construction of the retaining wall on the east side of the property, measuring 70’ in length and up to 3’-6” in height; and,
WHEREAS, on December 8, 2005 and February 1, 2006, the applications were deemed incomplete, pending the submission of additional materials; and,
WHEREAS, upon submittal of the required information, construction of the temporary silhouette and submittal of the silhouette certification form, the case was deemed complete by Staff on May 3, 2006. Subsequently, a notice of application was mailed to all property owners within 500’ radius of the subject site and the notice was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News on May 6, 2006; and,
WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act, Public Resources Code Sections 21000 et. seq. ("CEQA"), the State's CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulation, Title 14, Section 15000 et. seq., the City's Local CEQA Guidelines, and Government Code Section 65962.5(f) (Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement), Staff found no evidence that Case No. ZON2005-00593 would have a significant effect on the environment and, therefore, the proposed project has been found to be categorically exempt under Class 3 (New Construction or Conversion of Small Structures) since the project involves the construction of a new residence on a vacant lot; and,
WHEREAS, on July 7, 2006, the Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement reviewed and approved Case No. ZON2005-00593, and a Notice of Decision was prepared and distributed to all interested parties; and,
WHEREAS, on July 20, 2006, within fifteen (15) days following the Director’s Notice of Decision, Rod and Rebecca White, Harry and Peggy Fussganger, and Ruperto and Lula Elpusan (hereinafter referred to as Appellants), filed an appeal to the Planning Commission requesting that the Planning Commission overturn the Director’s approval of Case No. ZON2005-00593 based on the belief that the proposed grading to accommodate the construction of the new single-family residence, retaining walls, and one retaining wall and one garden wall constructed without permits result in the destruction of the natural contour of the hill; the gross underestimation of lot coverage results in the appearance of bulk and mass; and the mischaracterization of the illegal retaining wall being described as a garden wall, therefore creating major hazard issues; and,
WHEREAS, after notice was issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on September 26, 2006 at which time an Appellant produced photographic evidence to the Planning Commission that suggested misrepresentation of the retaining wall constructed on the northeast corner of the subject parcel without Planning approval on the plans submitted by the applicant and subsequently presented to the Planning Commission; and,
WHEREAS, the Planning Commission continued the meeting to November 28, 2006 to allow Staff the opportunity to research and review the information regarding the accuracy of the retaining wall constructed on the northeast corner of the subject parcel; and,
WHEREAS, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing on November 28, 2006, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence. Furthermore, Staff presented evidence indicating that instead of one 4’ high retaining wall constructed on the northeast corner of the property, there are actually two connected downslope retaining walls with heights of 4.5’ and 8’ with a horizontal separation exceeding 3’ between said walls. The Planning Commission considered the application and conditionally approved the project, thereby upholding the Director’s approval of Case No. ZON2005-00593, and a Notice of Decision was prepared and distributed to all interested parties; and,
WHEREAS, on December 12, 2006, within 15 days following the Planning Commission’s decision, the appellants, Rod and Rebecca White, Harry and Peggy Fussganger, Ruperto and Lula Elpusan, filed an appeal to the City Council requesting that the City Council overturn the Planning Commission’s decision, thereby overturning the Director’s conditional approval of Case No. ZON2005-00593, based on the belief that the proposed grading to accommodate the construction of the new single-family residence, retaining walls, and one retaining wall and one garden wall constructed without permits result in the destruction of the natural contour of the hill; the gross underestimation of lot coverage results in the appearance of bulk and mass; and the mischaracterization of the illegal retaining wall being described as a garden wall, therefore creating major hazard issues; and,
WHEREAS, after notice issued pursuant to the requirements of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on February 20, 2007, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be heard and present evidence.
NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1: The proposed residence and resulting appearance will not significantly change the appearance of the immediate neighborhood and the residence will be compatible with the immediate neighborhood. The architectural style, roofing material, exterior finishes, and building materials will be consistent with other homes in the neighborhood. Although the resulting 5,306 square foot residence will be 1,406 square feet greater than the neighborhood average, the size of the proposed residence is found to be within the range of the homes in the immediate neighborhood, which range from 2,676 square feet to 8,518 square feet, therefore the size is not a substantial deviation from the neighborhood range. Further, the proposed construction of the residence on the south side of the property, behind the front façade of the proposed residence as seen from the streeet of access, mitigates the potential concern for creating bulk and mass. Lastly, the building setbacks from the corresponding property lines are found to be comparable with the residences found in the immediate neighborhood.
Section 2: The proposed grading does not exceed that which is necessary for the permitted primary use of the lot. The proposed grading will accommodate construction of the new residence. The quantity of earth movement is not excessive, as it will be utilized for the permitted primary use of the lot.
Section 3: The grading and related construction will not significantly adversely affect the visual relationships nor the views from neighboring properties. From the existing elevation (935’), an excavation with a cut measuring up to 7’ is proposed, resulting in a finished grade elevation ranging from 928.5’ to 929’ on the west side of the subject lot. The proposed 12’ high residence on the finished grade (928.5~929’) will be lower in height, than a structure which would have been constructed at the existing grade (935’).
Section 4: The proposed grading minimizes disturbance to the natural contours and finished contours are reasonably natural. The proposed grading for the residence will occur on a non-extreme slope area to accommodate the construction of the west and south portions of the residence, with the remainder of the property maintaining in its natural condition and topography. Grading proposed on the extreme slopes on the south and north portions of the lot are limited to constructing upslope retaining walls to create flat areas devoid of habitable structures. The grading proposed on the property is limited to the construction of the new residence and the associated retaining walls adjacent to the residence; as such, the resulting appearance of the residential structure and the retaining walls will appear to be blended with the natural contours.
As for the two downslope retaining walls on the northeast corner of the parcel constructed without permits on the northeast corner of the subject parcel, the walls have been designed and constructed in a manner which causes disturbance to the natural contours and finished contours do not appear to be natural as seen from adjoining residences.
Section 5: The proposed grading takes into account the preservation of natural topographic features and appearances by means of land sculpturing so as to blend any man-made or manufactured slope into natural topography. The proposed residence was designed to follow the natural topography on the subject site. In accommodating the construction of the new residence, grading is proposed on the non-extreme slope located on the west and south elevations. The resulting upslope retaining wall will range in height from 2’-6” to 7’ in height. Outside of this retaining wall, the applicant is proposing two retaining walls on the south and the north sides, measuring 2’ to 5’, and 4’-6” respectively, to provide a flat area. The proposed flat area on the south side is about 3’ wide, and on the north side, ranges from 3’ to 5’ wide. The site will be landscaped to soften the appearance of grading.
As for the two downslope retaining walls constructed without permits on the northeast corner of the subject parcel, the walls have been designed and constructed in a manner which does not take into account the preservation of natural topographic features and do not appear to blend in with the existing hillside.
Section 6: The proposed grading would not cause excessive and unnecessary disturbance of the natural landscape or wildlife habitat through removal of vegetation as no wildlife habitats have been identified on the subject site.
Section 7: The grading application is consistent with the purpose and intent of Section 17.76.040.A, since grading on slopes over 35% is permitted if the lot was recorded and legally subdivided on or before November 25, 1975. Furthermore, except for the excavation of a basement or cellar, a fill or cut should not exceed a depth of five (5) feet and is not allowed on slopes exceeding fifty (50%) percent, except where the Planning Commission determines that unusual topography, soil conditions, previous grading or other circumstances make such grading reasonable and necessary. Although the applicant’s request for excavation calls out for a cut up to 7’ in depth to construct an upslope retaining wall on a non-extreme slope on the west side of the property where the new residence is proposed, the subject site contains topographical constraints not evident in other lots in the immediate neighborhood. Moreover, the proposed grading is not excessive for that which is permitted for the primary use of the lot; the proposed grading is for the upslope retaining wall associated with the new residence; and the proposed grading is subject to the review, inspection, and approval of the City’s Building Official, hence, will not be detrimental to the public safety or the surrounding properties.
Additionally, the after-the-fact construction of two downslope retaining walls on the northeast corner of the subject parcel measuring 4.5’ high and 8’ high are not consistent with the Grading criteria that provides for one (1) downslope retaining wall not exceeding the 3’-6” in height. These proposed walls cannot be justified as being needed for the proposed use of the lot and there is no basis for allowing the wall to be constructed above the 3’-6” height restriction. Therefore, the project has been conditioned to require that one of the two downslope retaining walls be removed, the slope on which the wall was constructed shall be restored to its preexisting condition, and the height of the remaining wall be reduced to a maximum height of 3’-6”.
Section 9: The time within judicial review of the decision reflected in this Resolution, if available, must be sought is governed by Section 1094.6 of the California Code of Civil Procedure and other applicable short periods of limitation.
PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this 20th day of February 2007.
State of California )
I, Carolynn Petru, City Clerk of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, do hereby certify that the above Resolution No. 2007- as duly and regularly passed and adopted by the said City Council at a regular meeting held on February 20, 2007.
1. Prior to the submittal of plans into Building and Safety plan check, the applicant and the property owner shall submit to the City a statement, in writing, that they have read, understand, and agree to all conditions of approval contained in this Resolution. Failure to provide said written statement within ninety (90) days following the date of this approval shall render this approval null and void.
2. Prior to the submittal of plans into Building and Safety plan check, the applicant shall obtain an encroachment permit from the Director of Public Works for any curb cuts, dumpsters in the street or any other temporary or permanent improvements within the public right-of-way.
3. Approval of this permit shall not be construed as a waiver of applicable and appropriate zoning regulations, or any Federal, State, County and/or City laws and regulations. Unless otherwise expressly specified, all other requirements of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code shall apply.
4. This approval is for the construction of the following:
a. a 5,306 square foot residence and a three-car garage;
5. Of the two downslope retaining walls constructed on the northeast corner of the property, one of the walls shall be demolished and the slope which was graded to construct said wall shall be restored to its original condition.
A GRADING PLAN WHICH CONTAINS THE WALL DEMOLITION AND THE SLOPE RESTORATION SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT FOR THE DIRECTOR’S REVIEW AND APPROVAL PRIOR TO BUILDING PERMIT ISSUANCE.
6. The Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement is authorized to make minor modifications to the approved plans and any of the conditions of approval if such modifications will achieve substantially the same results as would strict compliance with the approved plans and conditions. Otherwise, any substantive changes to the project shall require approval of a revision to the Site Plan Review by the Planning Commission and shall require new and separate environmental review.
7. The project development on the site shall conform to the specific standards contained in these conditions of approval or, if not addressed herein, shall conform to the residential development standards of the City’s Municipal Code, including but not limited to height, setback and lot coverage standards.
8. Failure to comply with and adhere to all of these conditions of approval may be cause to revoke the approval of the project pursuant to the revocation procedures contained in Section 17.86.060 of the City’s Municipal Code.
9. If the applicant has not submitted an application for a building permit for the approved project or not commenced the approved project as described in Section 17.86.070 of the City’s Municipal Code within 180 days of the final effective date of this Resolution, approval of the project shall expire and be of no further effect unless, prior to expiration, a written request for extension is filed with the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement and approved by the Director.
10. In the event that any of these conditions conflict with the recommendations and/or requirements of another City department, the stricter standards shall apply.
11. Unless otherwise designated in these conditions, all construction shall be completed in substantial conformance with the plans stamped APPROVED by the City with the effective date of this resolution.
12. The construction site and adjacent public and private properties and streets shall be kept free of all loose materials resembling trash and debris in excess of that material used for immediate construction purposes. Such excess material may include, but not be limited to: the accumulation of debris, garbage, lumber, scrap metal, concrete asphalt, piles of earth, salvage materials, abandoned or discarded furniture, appliances or other household fixtures.
13. Permitted hours and days of construction activity are 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday through Saturday, with no construction activity permitted on Sundays or on the legal holidays specified in Section 17.96.920 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code. Trucks shall not park, queue and/or idle at the project site or in the adjoining public rights-of-way before 7:00 AM, Monday through Saturday, in accordance with the permitted hours of construction stated in this condition.
14. Maximum hardscape coverage within the 20-foot front yard setback area shall not exceed 50%.
15. A minimum 2-car garage shall be maintained, with each required parking space being individually accessible and maintaining minimum unobstructed dimensions of 9’ in width and 20’ in depth, with minimum 7’ vertical clearance.
16. Exterior residential lighting shall be in compliance with the standards of Section 17.56.030 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Development Code. No outdoor lighting is permitted where the light source is directed toward or results in direct illumination of a parcel of property or properties other than that upon which such light source is physically located.
17. All grading, landscaping and construction activities shall exercise effective dust control techniques, either through screening and/or watering.
18. All construction sites shall be maintained in a secure, safe, neat and orderly manner. Temporary bathrooms shall be provided on a construction site if required by the City’s Building Official. Said portable bathrooms shall be subject to the approval of the City’s Building official and shall be places in a location that will minimize disturbance to the surrounding property owners.
19. The applicant shall obtain an encroachment permit from the Director of Public Works prior to the submittal of plans to the Building and Safety Division for any curb cuts, dumpsters in the street or any other permanent improvements within the public-rights-of-way.
Site Plan Review
20. This approval is for the construction of a 5,306 square foot one-story single-family residence (three-car garage included).
21. Unless modified by the approval of future planning applications, the approved project shall maintain a maximum 40% lot coverage (34.8% proposed) and the following setbacks from the applicable property lines:
Front 20’ (24’-8” proposed)
SETBACK CERTIFICATION IS REQUIRED. A LICENSED CIVIL ENGINEER OR
LOT COVERAGE CERTIFICATION IS REQUIRED. A LICENSED CIVIL ENGINEER OR SURVEYOR SHALL PREPARE THE CERTIFICATION. CERTIFICATION SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE CITY'S BUILDING OFFICIAL FOR REVIEW AND APPROVAL PRIOR TO THE FINAL OF BUILDING PERMITS.
22. The maximum building height shall not exceed 12’, as measured from the lowest elevation on the finished grade (925.5’) to the ridge (937.5’).
BUILDING HEIGHT CERTIFICATION IS REQUIRED. A LICENSED CIVIL ENGINEER OR SURVEYOR SHALL PREPARE THE CERTIFICATION. CERTIFICATION SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE CITY'S BUILDING OFFICIAL FOR REVIEW AND APPROVAL PRIOR TO ROOF FRAMING/SHEETING INSPECTION.
21. A foliage analysis conducted by Staff on April 18, 2006 revealed no existing foliage that significantly impairs the protected view from any surrounding properties.
23. A total of 414 cubic yards of grading is permitted by this approval, consisting of 376 cubic yards of cut and 38 cubic yards of fill. The maximum depth of cut shall be 7’ and the maximum depth of fill shall be 1’.
24. One upslope retaining wall in an L-shape formation, beginning from the west elevation to the south elevation, measuring 137’ in length and up to 7’ in height may be constructed.
25. One upslope retaining wall on an extreme slope on the south elevation, measuring 57’ in length and up to 5’ in height may be constructed.
26. One upslope retaining wall on an extreme slope on the north elevation, measuring 34’ in length and up to 4’-6” in height may be constructed.
27. The remaining downslope retaining wall on the northeast corner of the subject parcel shall be lowered to 3’-6” in height or less.
A GRADING PLAN WHICH CONTAINS THE WALL DEMOLITION AND THE SLOPE RESTORATION SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT FOR THE DIRECTOR’S REVIEW AND APPROVAL PRIOR TO BUILDING PERMIT ISSUANCE.
WALL HEIGHT ELEVATION CERTIFICATION IS REQUIRED. A LICENSED CIVIL ENGINEER OR SURVEYOR SHALL PREPARE THE CERTIFICATION. CERTIFICATION SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE CITY’S BUILDING OFFICIAL FOR REVIEW AND APPROVAL PRIOR TO THE FINAL OF BUILDING PERMITS.
28. This approval includes the after-the-fact construction of the retaining wall on the east elevation, measuring 70’ in length and up to 3’-6” in height.
29. Prior to building permit issuance and/or commencement of grading, whichever occurs first, the applicant shall obtain approval of a haul route from the Director of Public Works.
WALL HEIGHT ELEVATION CERTIFICATION IS REQUIRED. A LICENSED CIVIL
30. Building and Safety’s approval of all the retaining walls shall be required to the satisfaction of the City’s Building Official.