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					MEMORANDUM

TO:              CITY COUNCIL
FROM:            MAYOR PRO TEM TOM LONG
DATE:            May 18, 2010
SUBJECT:         View Restoration Height Variation Permits

      The purpose of this memorandum is to ask the council to consider beginning the
process of amending the view ordinance.

       The City's view ordinance was adopted in "Proposition M" in 1989. As adopted
by the voters, the ordinance allows a resident to build a structure up to 16 feet above
the original grade "by right." Structures in excess of 16 feet require a "height variation
permit." If a height variation permit was required the ordinance (as adopted in
Proposition M) required that the view impairment created by the structure be
considered. Nothing in the ordinance indicated that only the portion of the view
impairment above 16 feet should be considered if a height variation permit was sought.
Nonetheless, a custom developed among staff, the planning commission and many
planning commissioners to ignore that portion of the view below 16 feet anytime a
height variation permit was considered arguing that the view below 16 feet was not a
"protected view." Staff reports often referred to "protected view" in quote marks as
though it was a term defined in the ordinance. The term cannot be found anywhere in
the ordinance as adopted by the voters.

        I raised the concern as a planning commissioner that if a property owner seeks a
height variation permit, the ordinance requires consideration of the entire view. Staff's
view, and that of the majority of other planning commissioners is different. The issue
was brought before the prior city council. Initially, the city council voted 5 to 0 in favor of
my point of view. Upon further reflection and considering the views of other former
planning commissioners, the city council changed its view and voted 4 to 1 to expressly
require that all views below 16 feet be ignored in the consideration of height variation
permits. Since a height variation permit can never seek permission to build a structure
above 26 feet, this means that no more than a 10 foot sliver of view (and typically not
most of the view) is ever considered on a height variation permit application. The vast
majority of height variation permit applications are granted in part because the planning
commission and the city council are now forbidden by the ordinance (as amended by
the city council) from considering most of the view that is impaired by the proposed
structure. The city attorney has opined that the change in the ordinance made by the
city council is a minor change and therefore did not require approval of the voters. I
respectfully disagree.




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May 18, 2010
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        Various fallacies are often advanced as to why the portion of the view below 16
feet should not be considered when there is a height variation permit at issue: first,
some have suggested that views below 16 feet are never protected and should never
be considered under any circumstance. However, the view restoration ordinance
specifically requires that foliage not block views which are above either 16 feet orthe
ridge line of the home, whichever is lower. There are a number of cases of view
restoration involving the removal, trimming and maintenance of trees that are below 16
feet in height.

        Second, considering views below 16 feet will impair a property owner's right to
build up to 16 feet "of right." This is also not true. Any property owner who confines his
or her structure to 16 feet or less in height does not need a height variation permit and
is not subject to any of the requirements of the view restoration ordinance for structures
and can therefore build a structure that totally obliterates a view. However, as originally
adopted by the voters, Proposition M required property owners who wished to build a
structure to more than 16 feet (which is often required in order to build a two-story
structure) to compromise with their neighbors and to take steps to avoid significantly
impairing a view. As adopted by the voters, the entire view would be taken into account
any time a height variation permit was sought. By amending the ordinance and
requiring the planning commission and council to ignore that portion of the view below
16 feet anytime a height variation permit is sought, the council dramatically weakened
the strength of the view ordinance.

       I request that the council instruct the staff to bring back a staff report to offer as
alternatives to the council amending the ordinance in a way that would restore the
original language of Proposition M and would allow consideration of the entire view that
is being lost at the time of height variation permit applications as opposed to only that
portion of the view above 16 feet that is now defined as a "protected view."

       Attachments

       Previous City Council Staff Reports on this issue




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MEMORANDUM
TO:                  HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY
                     COUNCIL
FROM:                DIRECTOR OF          PLANNING,       BUILDING      AND   CODE
                     ENFORCEMENT
DATE:                APRIL 6, 2004
SUBJECT:             ZON2003-00417 (16-FOOT HEIGHT CODE AMENDMENT)

Staff Coordinator: Ara Michael Mihranian, Senior Planner

RECOMMENDATION

Staff respectfully requests Council direction on the following items:

   1.     Determine whether to continue the discussion on the proposed code
          amendment language, as recommended by the Planning Commission, and
          the amendments that were introduced at the City Council meeting, until after
          receiving a comprehensive recommendation from the Planning Commission;
          and,

   2. '   If the Council wishes to discuss the matter this evening, review the Planning
          Commission's concerns, as summarized by Staff, and provide Staff with
          further direction as to any specific language amendments.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On February 17, 2004, the City Council unanimously adopted Urgency Ordinance No.
400U, Resolution No. 2004-12, and Ordinance No. 401 amending the Development
Code, that among other things, clarified the application of two Height Variation Findings.
The Planning Commission, when presented with the new code requirements at its
February 24, 2004 meeting, raised concerns regarding the application of the new
findings. Based on Staff's understanding of the Commission's and the public's
concerns, as discussed in this report, Staff respectfully requests Council direction on
suggested draft code amendment language to address the following issues:

   1) How to allow flexibility in the view analysis of structures below 16-feet in height
      when a significant view impairment exists;
   2) How to treat "tear-down I rebuild" structures;
   3) How to avoid project phasing;
   4) The ambigUity with the term "proposed construction;"
   5) Clarification of the intent of the Grading View Finding; and,




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   6) Whether to repeal the current requirement that two-story structures under 16-feet
      in height go through the Height Variation application process.

BACKGROUND
On February 17, 2004, the City Council conducted a public hearing to consider adopting
a code amendment that would, among other things, clarify the application of two Height
Variation view findings. At the meeting, the Council considered modifications to the
code amendment language recommended by the Planning Commission at its
December 11, 2003 meeting (see attached P.C. Resolution No. 2003-62) and after
discussion, unanimously introduced Ordinance No. 401, which contained the modified
language.

The Planning Commission's proposed language required that the only portion of a
proposed new structure that is Jess than sixteen feet in height that would be analyzed
for view impairment in connection with a height variation permit is the portion directly
under the structure that is proposed to exceed sixteen feet in height. The City Council
revised the language to expand the review to all of the new areas of the structure that
are Jess than sixteen feet in height in connection with a height variation permit. In order
to make the new requirements effective immediately, the Council adopted Urgency
Ordinance No. 400U that evening (the minutes from that meeting are not yet available).
The Urgency Ordinance mirrors Ordinance No. 401 and is attached to this Staff Report
(see attachment).

At the February 24, 2004 Planning Commission meeting, the Commission was informed
of the new Height Variation findings adopted under Urgency Ordinance No. 400U. The
Commission was informed that because an urgency ordinance was adopted, the new
requirements became effective immediately and would have to be applied to two Height
Variation applications on the Commission's agenda that evening. In reviewing the two
proposed projects to determine whether the new findings could be made, the Planning
Commission raised some questions regarding the intent of the new language, as they
felt there was some ambiguity as to what type of "new construction" would be subjected
to the view analysis. Although the Commission went on to make the required findings,
it sought further clarification from the Council on how to apply the new findings for
various scenarios, including "tear-down and re-build" projects.

On March 2, 2004, the City Council was set to adopt the second reading of Ordinance
401. However, at that meeting, it was brought to the Council's attention that the
Planning Commission had expressed some concerns about the application of the new
Height Variation findings language. Since there were questions regarding the code
amendment language, the Council agreed to refrain from formally adopting the new
height variation language and continued the discussion of the matter to its April 6th
meeting. In addition, the Council directed Staff to report back on April 6th with the
Commission's specific concerns regarding the proposed code amendment language
and any suggested new language that may address the Commission's concerns.




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The City Council's modified code amendment language to Height Variation Findings
Nos. 4 and 5 was presented to the Planning Commission at its March 23, 2004 meeting.
Only the language of the Height Variation findings was presented to the Planning
Commission, because this is the only language that was modified by the City Council
after receiving the Planning Commission's recommendations, and the Planning
Commission did not raise any concerns about the other code amendment language
contained in the Urgency Ordinance. Due to other items on the agenda that evening,
which involved members of the public who were waiting to speak, the Commission did
not get to this agenda item until after 11 :00 pm. As a result, the Commission had a very
brief discussion of the matter and heard testimony from only one speaker in attendance,
a resident currently proposing to construct a new residence above 16-feet in height.
Given the circumstances, the Commission, with a vote of 5-1, agreed to continue the
discussion to its April 13, 2004 meeting with a recommendation that the Council
continue its discussion on this matter until after the Commission could thoroughly
discuss the issue and present the Council with a more comprehensive recommendation.
As such, this item is scheduled to be considered by the Planning Commission as the
second item on the agenda of its upcoming April 13, 2004 meeting.

In light of the Commission's recommendation, Staff noted to the Commission that
pursuant to previous Council direction, this item would still be on the April 6th City
Council agenda. Staff noted that the Commission's recommendation would be provided
to the Council, but that it would be at the Council's discretion on whether and how to
proceed. Therefore, notwithstanding the Commission's recommendation, Staff is
presenting this item to the Council with a Staff Report that summarizes the various
issues that have arisen since the Council adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 400U. The
purpose of this report is to facilitate the discussion, if the Council wishes to proceed with
the item this evening.

DISCUSSION

PROPOSED LANGUAGE AT ISSUE

The subject of concern, as expressed by the Planning Commission and certain public
speakers at the Council's March 2, 2004 meeting, is the new language of Height
Variation Findings Nos. 4 and 5.         The precise language is contained in Urgency
Ordinance No. 400U, which is attached to this Staff Report. To assist with the
discussion of the issues, Staff is providing an explanation of each finding below:

1.     Height Variation Finding (No. iv)

According to Urgency Ordinance No. 400U, residential development projects that
require a Height Variation application will be subject to a view analysis finding for new
construction above or below 16-feet in height. The specific language for Height
Variation Finding No. iv is as follows:

The area of a proposed new structure or addition to an existing structure, when
considering both the new area that is above sixteen feet and the new area that is below




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sixteen feet, as defined in Section 17.02.040(8) of this Chapter, when considered
exclusive of existing foliage, does not significantly impair a view from the viewing area
of another parcel.

The following diagram helps illustrates the application of the above finding:



                                                             A'
              ...,;~   _            .
              16'
                                        Existing Residence   A




Based on the diagram, the proposed addition labeled area A' would trigger a Height
Variation application because the proposed addition is above 16-feet in height.
Pursuant to the Urgency Ordinance, the view analysis finding would apply to proposed
additions labeled as areas A', A and B, because together they constitute "new area that
is above sixteen feet and new area that is below sixteen feet."

As a result of concerns raised at the March 2, 2004 City Council meeting, Councilman
Stern inquired whether code language could be drafted that would allow more flexibility
in the analysis of a Height Variation permit when a significant view impairment exists
below 16-feet. Specifically, Councilman Stern is requesting that language be drafted
that would allow a Height Variation permit to be granted if the structure causing the view
impairment below 16-feet in height is designed to reasonably minimize the impairment
of a view. As such, pursuant to Councilman Stern's inquiry, if it is the Council's wish,
the following language can be added as the last sentence to Height Variation Finding
No. iv:

In cases where a significant view impairment exists below 16-feet in height, this finding
can be made if the proposed structure below 16-feet in height is designed and situated
as to reasonably minimize a significant view impairment.

2.     Height Variation Finding (No. v)

According to Urgency Ordinance No. 400U, a Height Variation application being sought
for a residential development project above 16-feet in height will need to be reasonably
designed to minimize a view impairment, even if the previous finding determines that a
significant view impairment does not exist. The exact language reads as follows:

If a view impairment exists, but it is determined not to be significant, as described in
Finding No. iv, is the proposed new structure or proposed addition to an existing




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PAGES

structure designed and situated in such a manner as to reasonable minimize the
impairment of a view.

Based on the above code amendment language, when assessing whether a project is
designed and situated to minimize a view impairment, those portions of the proposed
project that are above and below 16-feet are to be considered in the analysis of this
finding. Using the previous illustrative example, this finding would apply to the proposed
additions labeled as areas A', A and B because they constitute a proposed addition to
an eXisting single-family residence. However, it should be noted that the additions
labeled areas A and B would only be analyzed in situations where the addition labeled
area A' is requested, since it is addition A' that triggers a Height Variation application.
Otherwise, if only additions labeled as areas A and B are requested, whether
collectively or independently, this finding would not apply because a Height Variation
application is not required.

PLANNING COMMISSION INPUT

The following discussion is a summary of Staffs understanding of the concerns raised
by the Commission during its brief discussion on this matter at its March 23 rd meeting.
As previously noted, the Planning Commission did not have enough time to provide
suggestions on possible draft language that could address its concerns. Additionally,
the Commissioners abbreviated their remarks and some did not speak. Therefore, the
Commission is recommending that the Council continue this item to allow a second
opportunity for the Commission to provide more comprehensive input. Notwithstanding
the Commission's recommendation, if it is the Council's desire to discuss this matter this
evening, Staff has summarized the comments made by the Commission below and has
included some draft language for consideration by the Council that may address the
brief concerns expressed by the Commissioners on March 23rd •

1.     Tear-down I Rebuild Structures:

The Commission is concerned that a strict interpretation of the proposed code
amendment language could prohibit a property owner who wishes to demolish an
existing home that exceeds 16-feet in height from rebuilding that home within the same
building envelope, if it is determined that a significant view impairment would result from
the new home. This is because anytime a structure is voluntarily demolished or is
remodeled, such that over 50% of the interior and exterior walls are removed, the
replacement structure is considered a new structure which must receive approval of the
necessary applications in order to be built. Under the historical application of the Height
Variation findings, only the portion over 16-feet of the new replacement structure would
be SUbject to the view analysis. However, under the new language, the entire new
structure would be subject to the view analysis.

In order to address this concern, the Council may wish to consider language that states:

In cases where a Height Variation application is proposed for a structure that replaces
an eXisting structure that has been voluntarily demolished by the property owner, this




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finding will not apply, provided that the proposed replacement structure will be within the
building envelope of the existing structure, meaning that it will have the same square
footage and maximum building height as the existing structure and will be reconstructed
within the footprint of the existing structure.

Furthermore, if such language is added, Staff recommends that the Council also amend
the Code to require that certified plans of the pre-existing residential structure be
submitted to the City prior to issuance of a demolition permit by the Department of
Building and Safety to document said residential structure.

2.    Phasing a Project:

A concern was raised by the Commission that the Council's intent to protect views
below 16-feet when proposing construction above 16-feet, as described in new Height
Variation Finding No. iv, could be circumvented by phasing the project construction. In
other words, based on the language of new Height Variation Finding No. iv (noted
above) and using the diagram below to illustrate this concern, one could conceivably
construct areas A and B (provided they do not exceed 16-feet) as phase 1, without
having to undergo a view analysis and then construct phase 2 later. If a view exists
below 16-feet, said view would be impaired by the phase 1 construction, since said
construction up to 16-feet in height is allowed "by right." Then, as phase 2, one could
submit a Height Variation application to construct area A'. If there is no view impairment
by proposed area A', the Height Variation would likely be approved (provided all other
findings can be made). Since Planning approvals are valid for 6-months (1-year 'if
approved by the Planning Commission), the Phase 1 approval probably would still be
valid when the Phase 2 approval is obtained. The applicant would then combine both
designs and submit the plans to the Building and Safety Department for "plan check"
review and ultimately construct the entire project at the same time. Although more
costly to the applicant in terms of time and money, the end result would be the same as
if the new finding language did not exist.




                                                                   A'
            ....l        ,      , ..
            16'                 .....y::;:...---------.,;:::;...
                                       Existing Residence          A




In order to address this concern, the Council may wish to consider establishing a
minimum time period for applicants to wait between the processing of development
applications. This would prohibit a property owner from submitting more than one
development application during a set time period, thereby discouraging projects from
being phased. However, this could inadvertently penalize property owners who wish to




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upgrade their property after purchasing a home that was recently expanded by a
previous property owner, unless the time period is only applied to the same property
owner.

3.    Ambiguity with the Term "Proposed Construction"

According to the Commission, the Council's clarification of the Height Variation Findings
only apply to Finding Nos. 4 and 5, leaving a question of how the remaining findings
should be applied when referring to "proposed structure" or "structure." For example,
while it is clear that the view analysis performed under Height Variation Finding No. iv
should consider portions of a proposed structure below 16-feet, it is not clear whether
the same analysis should be performed for the "Cumulative View Impact" finding (Height
Variation Finding No. vi in Urgency Ordinance No. 400U). Therefore, in order to
alleviate any ambiguity when applying the Height Variation Findings, the Council may
wish to add the following language to RPVMC Section 17.02.040(C)(1)(e):

e. A Height Variation application to build a new structure or an addition to an existing
structure at a height that exceeds the sixteen foot height limit up to the maximum height
permitted in Section 17.02.040(B)(1) of this chapter may be granted, with or without
conditions, if the following findings can be made. For the purpose of this finding.
"proposed structure" or "structure" shall mean the new area that is above sixteen feet
and the new that is below sixteen feet:

COMMENTS SUBMITTED BY COUNCILMAN LONG

On March 23, 2004, Councilman Long submitted a comment letter to the Planning
Commission that essentially frames some of the various issues that have been raised
with regard to the modified code amendment language (see attachment). Although the
Commission was not able to discuss the various points contained in the comment letter
at its March 23 rd meeting due to time constraints, Staff has reviewed Councilman Long's
letter and would like to address certain points.

1.    Grading Permit and the View Finding

According to Urgency Ordinance N. 400U, in cases where grading is proposed, if the
proposed earth movement results in a lower finished grade elevation, then the view
finding (referred to as Grading Finding No.2) does not apply:

The proposed grading and/or related construction does not significantly adversely affect
the visual relationships with, or the views from the "viewing area" of neighboring
properties. This finding shall not apply when the proposed grading will lower the grade
of the lot and will result in a structure that will create less view impairment than a
structure that could have been built in the same location on the lot to the maximum
building heights described in Section 17.02.040(B) of this Title.




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As noted on page 1, item 2, of Councilman Long's letter, he states that "even if grading
adds to the original grade, if the structure is still below 16 feet from the original grade, it
is my understanding that clarification provided by urgency ordinance No. 400U would
still provide that no view analysis is necessary." After discussing this issue with the City
Attorney, it is Staff's understanding that in a case where a project requires a grading
permit that will raise the existing pad elevation, then the view finding will apply, even if
the resulting structure does not exceed 16-feet in height. As written, the intent of the
finding is to encourage grading that lowers a pad, thereby minimizing the potential to
impair a view, rather than raising a pad, which is more likely to result in a view
impairment. If this is not the intended result of this new finding, then Staff recommends
that the Council clarify the intent at this time.

2.     Structures Destroyed by a Natural Disaster or Involuntary Act

Pursuant to Section 17.84.060(A)(2) of the RPVMC, a residential building damaged or
destroyed due to an involuntary act, or a voluntary act against the structure that is not
the fault of the property owner may be replaced, repaired or restored to its original
condition provided that such construction is limited to the same maximum building
height, square footage and general location on the property. In other words, a structure
destroyed by a fire or earthquake, for example, may be rebuilt within the same envelope
as the original structure without having to go through a comprehensive discretionary
review process, including the view analysis typically required for Height Variation
applications for structures exceeding 16-feet in height.    However, if a damaged or
destroyed structure is proposed to be rebuilt beyond the original envelope, then the
replacement structure would be considered a new structure and would be subject to all
applicable discretionary review applications.

3.     Two-story Structures At or Below 16-Feet

According to Section 17.02.040(B)(1)(c) of the RPVMC, a Height Variation permit is
required for a structure on a pad lot that exceeds one-story even if it is within the 16-foot
height limit (it should be noted that the Municipal Code does not limit the number of
stories). This requirement was added in 1996 to close a loophole in the pre-existing
Development Code that was allowing two-story homes to be built without the benefit of
a Height Variation application review. Prior to the comprehensive amendments to the
Development Code made in 1996, two-story structures were being built within the
permissible 16-foot height limit by lowering the pad elevation through grading. This was
possible because the "old" Code established the 16-foot height limit from existing grade
and made no reference to finished grade. By not triggering the Height Variation review
process, two-story homes were being built without a Neighborhood Compatibility
analysis. Therefore, in order to address this loophole, the Code was amended to
establish a maximum measurement from both existing and finished grades and a
requirement that a two-story structure must go through the Height Variation application
process.

At this time, Staff believes that the two-story trigger for structures that are less than
sixteen feet in height is confusing and no longer necessary because of the




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establishment of the maximum heights based on existing and finished grades.
Furthermore, if a project is proposed to be constructed at 16-feet, the concern would not
focus on the interior floor plan, but rather on the exterior appearance, which would be
reviewed under the Neighborhood Compatibility guidelines, if a project trips one of the
neighborhood compatibility triggers. Therefore, if the Council wishes to eliminate this
Height Variation application trigger and not require a Height Variation permit for projects
involving two-stories, which are under 16-feet in height, then the following language
may be deleted:

Structures allowed pursuant °to this subsection shal! Bontam no more than ono story
(DeIJars and basements are O*9FRPted from this reqf:l!rement) and shall not exceed
twenty-feet in height, as measured from the point where the lowest foundation or slab
meets finished grade, to the ridgeline or highest point of the structure. Otherwise a
height variation permit shall be required.

Based on the above discussion, Staff respectfully requests Council direction on the
matters discussed and the suggested code amendment language. In the event the
Council wishes to continue the discussion on the matter until after receiving a more
comprehensive recommendation from the Planning Commission or to further modify the
code language contemplated, the Council may wish to consider repealing Urgency
Ordinance No. 400U to avoid public confusion.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Discussion of Proposition M by the City Attorney

Section 1 of Proposition M states, in relevant part, that its purpose is to prevent the
needless destruction and impairment of limited vista points and view lots. "Specifically,
this Ordinance:

        "1. Protects, enhances and perpetuates views available to property owners and
visitors because of the unique topographical features of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
These views provide unique and irreplaceable assets to the City and its neighboring
communities and provide for this and future generations examples of the unique
physical surroundings which are characteristic of the City.

       "2. Defines and protects finite visual resources by establishing limits which
construction and plant growth can attain before encroaching onto a view.

       "3. Insures that the development of each parcel of land or additions to
residences or structures occur in a manner which is harmonious and maintains
neighborhood compatibility and the character of contiguous sub-community
development as de~ned in the General Plan.

      "4. Requires the pruning of dense foliage or tree growth which alone, or in
conjunction with construction, exceeds defined limits."




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Section 5 of Proposition M, which is not codified within the Municipal Code, states that
future City Councils may amend its provisions, if such amendments are necessary to
effectuate or enhance its purposes:

       "To the extent the City Council finds that changes to this Ordinance are
necessary to effectuate or enhance the purposes of this Ordinance as stated in Section
1, the City Council may amend this Ordinance, following the procedures, including all
required public hearings, for amending zoning ordinances. The City Council is
empowered to adopt such procedures and rules or regulations as are necessary to
implement this Ordinance."

When then City Attorney Ariel Calonne analyzed the provisions of Proposition M that
are related to structures and compared them to the then-current provisions of the
Municipal Code, he stated:

       "Existing Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code provisions permit construction of,
or additions to, residences of up to sixteen (16) feet in height, as measured in a
specified manner.       Existing Municipal Code provisions further allow residential
structures of up to thirty (30) feet in height, as measured in a specified manner, upon
issuance of a discretionary height variation permit. Before a height variation permit can
be issued under existing Municipal Code provisions, the City must determine, among
other things, that defined view lots are protected from significant view impairment and
that no significant cumulative view impact will result from the height variation.

        "The proposed measure would modify the existing height variation permit
requirements in several ways. The maximum height allowed with a height variation
permit would be reduced to twenty six (26) feet. An early neighborhood consultation
process would be created to require the person seeking the height variation permit to
take reasonable steps to consult with property owners within five hundred (500) feet. If
an interested neighborhood homeowners' association exists, the applicant would be
required to request its position on the application. The proposed measure would require
height variation permits to be supported by a finding that a proposed structure would not
significantly impair views from the viewing area of other parcels.

       "The proposed measure requires height variation permits to be supported by a
finding that the proposal is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character, as
defined to include the scale of development of surrounding residences, architectural
styles and materials, and front yard setbacks."                      .

The amendment to the Code that is set forth in Urgency Ordinance No. 400U would
allow the portion of a proposed development (For purposes of this discussion,
"development" means an entirely new structure or an addition to an existing structure).
that is at or below 16 feet in height to be reviewed for potential view impairment, if a
height variation application is required for a portion of the development that will exceed
16 feet in height. (The amendment does not affect any proposed single-family
residential development project that does not exceed 16 feet in height.)




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The current question that is being posed is whether this amendment effectuates or
enhances the purposes of Proposition M so that the City Council can approve it, or is
voter approval of the amendment required?

One of the overarching purposes of Proposition M was to protect and enhance views,
as stated in the first purpose of Section 1. Allowing the Planning Commission and City
Council to review the portions of a new development that are below 16 feet in height for
potential significant view impairment and adjust any portion of the project, regardless
whether above or below 16 feet in height, to eliminate or minimize a view impairment
clearly advances the purpose of protecting views, so that voter approval of this
amendment should not be required.

On the other hand, it can be argued that this amendment conflicts with the second
purpose of Proposition M, which was to retain the pre-existing right to develop a
structure that did not exceed sixteen feet in height "by establishing limits which
construction and plant growth can attain before encroaching onto a view." (Emphasis
added.) In the impartial analysis of Proposition M, Mr. Calonne discussed the then-
existing Code provisions that allowed development up to 16 feet in height; his analysis
does not state that Proposition M would alter those provisions. However, because the
recent amendment does not affect the right to build a structure that is entirely within the
16-foot height limit, it can be argued that the amendment is consistent with the second
purpose of the Proposition so that voter approval is not required.

Although the amendment and this discussion focus upon the portions of Proposition M
that address the development of structures, a significant portion of the Proposition
addresses foliage and the height limits to which it can grow before someone can file an
application to have it removed so that a view can be restored (sixteen feet or the
ridgeline of the structure, whichever is less). It is interesting to note that under the
recent amendment, some property owners actually could have the right to keep foliage
on their properties that completely obliterates a view (assuming the ridgeline of the
structure is at least sixteen feet tall), but would not have the right to build a new
structure that is less than sixteen feet in height without a height variation because a
portion of the proposed structure will exceed sixteen feet in height. It is doubtful that the
drafters of Proposition M intended this result.

It should also be noted that historically, documented as far back as 1989 (after the
adoption of Proposition M), the practice of the City has been to assess the impact on
views only with respect to the components of a project that are above 16-feet in height
in connection with Height Variation applications. This approach was upheld by both the
Planning Commission and City Council on appeal. 1 In situations when an ordinance is
ambiguous, interpretations of its provisions by city staff and the administrative bodies
that are charged with enforcing and interpreting its provisions are entitled to great

1 Additionally, the submittal requirements for a Height Variation application require a silhouette, depicting
the proposed construction above 16-feet, be erected to assist the decision makers and the pUblic in the
assessment of views, as well as massing of a structure for Neighborhood Compatibility purposes. In fact,
the submittal requirements require that specific color flags be placed that demarcate the 16-foot height
limit, in addition to color flags demarcating the proposed roof ridgeline.




                                                                                                  13-13
CC MEMORANDUM -16 FOOT CODE AMENDMENT
APRIL 6, 2004
PAGE 12

weight by the courts. (Highland Ranch v. Agricultural Labor Relations Board. 29
Ca1.3d848. 859 (1981 ). Based on these prior determinations and interpretations, it
appears that the intent of Proposition M was to analyze only those portions of the
structure that were above sixteen feet.

After performing this analysis, on balance, it appears that the recent amendment, which
was adopted by the City Council in Urgency Ordinance No. 400U, does effectuate and
enhance one of the primary purposes of Proposition M of preserving views from
residential lots in the City. Accordingly, even though the amendment departs from prior
City practice, approval by the voters does not appear to be required. Of course, to
remove all doubt about this conclusion, a ballot measure could be prepared so that this
issue would be presented to the voters.

Historical Information Regarding Height Variation Applications

Since the inception of the Height Variation requirement in 1976, the City has received
approximately 1,031 application requests.        Of that number, approximately 325
applications involved construction above and below 16·feet in height, which is
approximately 31 % of the total number of Height Variation applications submitted to the
City. It should be noted that the information gathered from the City log·books,
especially pre·1983, contained limited information on project descriptions. Therefore,
the figures provided are considered to be estimates.

It should be noted that to date, five Height Variation applications have been processed
under the new findings established by the Urgency Ordinance.              Of these five
applications, only one request was denied because of a view impairment. However, the
denial was based on a view impairment resulting from proposed construction above 16·
feet, as the portion below 16·feet was not visible from the viewing area.

Public Notification

Pursuant to the Development Code, a public notice was published in the Peninsula
News on March 20, 2004 inviting public comments on the proposed code amendment.
To date, two written comments have been submitted to the City and are attached for
Council review. In the event the City receives additional public comments after the
transmittal of this Staff Report, Staff will present the comments at the April 6th public
hearing.

ATTACHMENTS

   •   Urgency Ordinance No. 400U
   •   Councilman Long's March 23, 2004 Comment Letter
   •   P.C. Resolution No. 2003·62
   •   RPVMC Section 17.84.060(A)(2) - Structures Destroyed by a Natural Disaster or
       Involuntary Act
   •   Proposition Land M
   •   Original Height Variation Code Requirement (adopted in 1975)



                                                                               13-14
CC MEMORANDUM -16 FOOT CODE AMENDMENT
APRIL 6, 2004
PAGE 13

   •   Public Comments

Respectfully submitted:



Joel Rojas, AICP
Director of Planning, Building
and Code Enforcement


Reviewed,



Les Evans
City Manager



M:\CODE AMENDMENTS\zON2003-D0417 16 FOOT HEIGHT\CCMEMO 04-DS-04.doc




                                                                      13-15
MEMORANDUM

TO:                 HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY
                    COUNCIL
FROM:               DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE
                    ENFORCEMENT
DATE:               APRIL 20, 2004
SUBJECT:            ZON2003·00417           (16·FOOT         HEIGHT        CODE
                    AMENDMENT).

Staff Coordinator: Ara Michael Mihranian, Senior Planner

RECOMMENDATION

   1.    Introduce Ordinance No. _ , a City initiated proposal to amend Title 17 of
         the City's Municipal Code affirming the City's historical interpretation of the
         16-foot height requirement and clarifying the "view" finding as it relates to the
         Height Variation and Grading applications.

   2.    Adopt Resolution No. 2004-_ , thereby amending the Height Variation
         Guidelines and the Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook to make the
         language consistent with the proposed code amendments.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On April 6, 2004, the City Council adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 404U, repealing
Urgency Ordinance No. 400U and providing Staff with Specific direction for amending
the Development Code to affirm the application of the 16-foot height limit and clarify
the application of the Height Variation and Grading Permit Findings. The Council
directed Staff to bring back precise code amendment language for consideration at its
April 20, 2004 meeting. Pursuant to Council direction, Staff has prepared the
respective code amendment language and respectfully requests Council direction on
the proposed language.

Additionally, Staff respectfully requests Council direction on proposed amendments to
the Height Variation Guidelines and the Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook that
will emulate the new proposed code amendment language.




                                                                                  13-16
CC MEMORANDUM -16 FOOT CODE AMENDMENT
APRil 20, 2004
PAGE 2

BACKGROUND

On April 6, 2004, the City Council opened the pUblic hearing to receive public
testimony on the matter related to the Height Variation permit findings. After
considering the comments made by the Planning Commission at its March 23 rd
meeting, receiving public testimony, and further discussing the matter, the Council,
with a vote of 4-1, adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 404U, which repealed Urgency
Ordinance No. 400U. The Council directed Staff to come back at its April 20, 2004
meeting with specific code language that affirms the historic application of the 16-foot
height limit as being a "by-right" height limit for all citywide residential properties. The
draft minutes from the April 6, 2004 City Council meeting are under separate cover.
Given the Council's action, attached is the draft ordinance that contains the language
directed by the Council and the draft resolution that will make the la.nguage contained
in the Height Variation Guidelines and Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook
consistent with the proposed code amendment language. In order to review the
specific draft code amendment language, please refer to the attached ordinance and
resolution.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

In accordance with the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA),
Staff has determined that the proposed code amendments to the Rancho Palos
Verdes Development Code will require an addendum' to the Environmental
Assessment and Negative Declaration prepared and approved by the City Council
under Resolution No. 97-25 for amendments to Titles 16 and 17 of the City's
Municipal Code. At the time the City Council adopted the Negative Declaration, it
found: 1) that there would be no significant adverse environmental impacts resulting
from the adoption of the amendments; 2) that many of the amendments were
clarifications and minor non-substantive revisions; and 3) that the new amendments
reaffirm the historic interpretation and application of the 16-foot height requirement
and clarify the Height Variation and Grading Permit Findings.

Staff believes that the proposed amendments clarify the existing Code requirements
and provide the decision makers, Staff and the public with direction on how to process
residential development applications. As such, Staff is of the opinion that said
amendments to the Code will not result in any new significant environmental effects,
but rather serve to reduce impacts upon the environment. As a result, no further
environmental review will be is necessary other than the adoption of Addendum No.
10 to Environmental Assessment No. 694 and Negative Declaration.

DISCUSSION

Code Amendments

Pursuant to the Council's adopted motion at its April 6, 2004 meeting, the following
section contains a summary of the code amendments being presented to the Council
for consideration this evening. To view the specific code amendment language,




                                                                                    13-17
CC MEMORANDUM -16 FOOT CODE AMENDMENT
APRIL 20, 2004
PAGE 3

please see the attached draft ordinance that contains underlined text representing
added language, and strike through text representing deleted language.

1.     Height Variation Findings

For the purpose of the view and privacy findings required for a Height Variation
application, the Council agreed that only proposed portions above 16-feet are to be
analyzed. To implement this direction, Height Variation Findings Nos. 2, 4, 5, 6, and
9 of Section 17.02.040(C)(1) are proposed to be amended (see pages 5 and 6 of the
attached draft ordinance).

2.    Two-Story Structures Under 16-feet

According to Section 17.02.040(B)(1)(c) of the RPVMC, a Height Variation permit is
required for a structure on a pad lot that exceeds one-story even if it is within the 16-
foot height limit (it should be noted that the Municipal Code does not limit the number
of stories). This requirement was added in 1996 to close a loophole in the pre-
existing Development Code that was allowing two-story homes to be built without the
benefit of a Height Variation application review. Since this requirement has caused
confusion in the past and is no longer necessary because of the established
maximum height measurements from existing and finished grades, the Council
agreed to eliminate this Height Variation application trigger.       As such, a Height
Variation permit will no longer be required for projects involving two-stories, which are
under 16-feet in height.           In order to implement this direction, Section
17.02.040(B)(1)(c) will be amended accordingly (see page 5 of the attached draft
Ordinance).

3.     Grading View Finding

As originally recommended by the Planning Commission and approved by the City
Council, in cases where grading is proposed, if the proposed earth movement results
in a lower grade elevation under the proposed building footprint, then the view finding
(referred to as Grading Finding No.2) does not apply. Conversely, in cases where
grading is proposed that will raise the existing grade elevation, either under the
building footprint or elsewhere on the lot, then the view finding will apply (see page 6
of the attached draft Ordinance). It should be noted that as drafted, the view finding
will apply when the existing grade is raised regardless of whether the resulting
structure is within the height limits described in Section 17.02.040.

4.     Tear-down Rebuild Structures

Currently, Section 17.84.060(A)(2) of the RPVMC allows structures damaged or
destroyed due to an involuntary act to be replaced, repaired or restored to their
original condition. The Council directed that this allowance also be applied to
structures that are voluntarily demolished like "tear-down/rebuild" projects. However,
this requirement only applies in situations where the proposed structure will be
constructed within the same maximum building height, square footage and general




                                                                                 13-18
CC MEMORANDUM -16 FOOT CODE AMENDMENT
APRIL 20, 2004
PAGE 4

location as the original structure. Furthermore, in terms of view analysis, the Council
agreed that a structure proposed to be rebuilt must be within the same envelope as
the original structure, whether demolished voluntarily or involuntarily,· will not be
subject to a view analysis, even if the replacement structure is above 16-feet in
height. However, the view analysis will apply to portions of a proposed structure that
extend beyond the original structure envelope and that are above 16-feet in height
(see page 4 ofthe attached draft Ordinance).

5.      Table 02-A: Single-Family Residential Development Standards

In addition to the above text amendments, as an administration "clean-up" item that
was overlooked at the time the Development Code was updated in 1997, Footnote
No. 8 is proposed to be deleted. At the time the Council considered updating the
Development Code, the second story 25-foot setback requirement was replaced with
a trigger that requires the Planning Commission's review of projects that are closer
than 25-feet from the front or street-side property line. Furthermore, the trigger for
new single-family residences exceeding 16-feet in height was inadvertently left off the
table and is now proposed to be added. As such, Table 02-A of the RPVMC is
proposed to be amended accordingly, as depicted in Exhibit B of the attached draft
Ordinance. This clean-up amendment was reviewed and recommended by the
Planning Commission and was previously presented to the Council which resulted in
no comments.

Amendment to the Height Variation Guidelines and Neighborhood Compatibility
Handbook

In order to ensure that the Height Variation Guidelines and Neighborhood
Compatibility Handbook emulate the code amendment language being considered by
the Council, the following changes are proposed to be made to the following
documents (to view the specific amendments, please see Exhibit A of the attached
draft Resolution. The amended sections are shaded.):

Height Variation Guidelines

•    The "Purpose" section is proposed to be amended to reiterate the Code's 16-foot
     height limit requirement.
•    The "Building Height" and "Criteria for Review" sections are proposed to be
     amended to re~ect the respective language amendments to Title 17.
•    The "Mandatory Findings" section is proposed to be amended to clarify the intent
     of Finding No. iv so as to reasonably minimize an impairment of a view.
•    The order of Findings iv and vi is being amended.

Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook

•    The text in the Mass and Scale section pertaining to "Neighbor's Views" and the
     Height of Structures section of the Handbook is proposed to be amended to clarify
     the City's 16-foot "by-right" height limit.



                                                                                13-19
CC MEMORANDUM -16 FOOT CODE AMENDMENT
APRIL 20, 2004
PAGES



ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Effective Date

In the event the City Council finds the proposed language acceptable and the
proposed code amendment is introduced this evening, the ordinance will be brought
back to the City Council for a second reading and adoption at its May 4th meeting.
The ordinance will go into effect 30-days from the second reading (May 4, 2004), on
June 4, 2004. It should be noted that since Urgency Ordinance No. 400U was
repealed by Urgency Ordinance No. 404U at the April 6, 2004 Council meeting, in the
interim the regulations contained in the current Development Code (existing prior to
the Urgency Ordinance) are to be applied to Height Variation applications that
necessitate decisions by the Planning Director or the Planning Commission.

ALTERNATIVES

The following alternative is available for the City Council's consideration in addition to
Staff's recommendation:

1.     Identify any issues of concern with the proposed amendments, and provide
       Staff with modifications, and continue the public hearing to a date certain.

FISCAL IMPACT

If the City CounCil approves the proposed code amendment, Staff anticipates that
there will be no direct impact to the City's General Fund nor will it have a fiscal impact
to the City.


Respectfully submitted,



Joel Rojas, AICP
Director of Planning, Building and
Code Enforcement


Reviewed by:



Les Evans
City Manager




                                                                                  13-20
CC MEMORANDUM -16 FOOT CODE AMENDMENT
APRIL 20, 2004
PAGE 6



ATTACHMENTS

•   Draft Ordinance No.
    • Exhibit 'A' - Addendum No.1 0 to Environmental Assessment No. 694
    • .Exhibit 'B' - Amended Table 02-A - Residential Development Standards
       Table
•   Draft Resolution No. 2004-_
    • Exhibit 'A' - Amended Excerpts from the Height Variation Guidelines and
       Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook
•   Commissioner Knight's Comment Letter (late correspondence)
M:\CODE AMENDMENTS\ZON2003-00417 16 FOOT HEIGH1\CCMEMO 04-20-04.doc




                                                                       13-21
                             ORDINANCE NO. _


       AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
       AMENDING TITLE 17 OF THE CITY'S MUNICIPAL CODE REGARDING
       THE 16-FOOT HEIGHT LIMITATION FOR RESIDENTIALLY ZONED
       PROPERTIES AND CLARIFYING THE FINDINGS REQUIRED FOR
       HEIGHT VARIATION AND GRADING PERMIT APPLICATIONS

        WHEREAS, on November 25,1975, the City's first Municipal Code was adopted
 establishing the City's 16-foot height limit and establishing a discretionary review
 process for any individuals seeking to construct a residence exceeding 16-feet (Height
 Variation Permit process); and,

       WHEREAS, in 1979, the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code (the "Municipal
 Code") was amended to clarify that the Height Variation Permit process applies to both
 new residences and additions to existing residences; and,

       WHEREAS, on November 7, 1989, the voters of the City of Rancho Palos
 Verdes approved Proposition M (Cooperative Preservation and Restoration Ordinance)
 which was incorporated into the Municipal Code; and,                           ~

       WHEREAS, between 1996 and 1997, the City approved a major update and
 overhaul Title 17 (Zoning) of the Municipal Code, which among other things, clarified
 how to measure the 16-foot height limit on pad lots; and,

        WHEREAS, on February 8, 2003 the City Council held a joint workshop with the
 Planning Commission to discuss, among other things, the interpretation of existing
 codes and the Height Variation Permit Findings involving the protection of residents'
 views from proposed construction. At the meeting, the City Council directed Staff to
 bring forward ideas to the Council at a future meeting to clarify or resolve the issues;
 and,

         WHEREAS, on June 24, 2003, the Planning Commission was asked to review
  and provide feedback on the content and format of a draft Staff Report to the City
  Council regarding the clarification and interpretation of existing codes and the Height
  Variation Permit findings. The Planning Commission continued the discussion and
. directed Staff to come back with more information regarding the historical interpretation
  and application of the 16-foot height limit and the Height Variation Permit findings; and,

         WHEREAS, on July 15, 2003, the City Council, at the request of a Council
 member, discussed the issues pertaining to the eXisting Municipal Code and the Height
 Variation Permit findings. At the meeting, the City Council unanimously reaffirmed the
 historic interpretation and application of the 16-foot height, measured as set forth in the
 Municipal Code based on the type of lot involved, as being a "by-right" height limit for all

                                                                         Ordinance No.
                                                                                Page 1 of 7




                                                                                  13-22
                                                  f
residential properties in the City and clarified the interpretation of specific Height
"""ariation Permit Findings; and,

      WHEREAS, at its July 15th meeting, the City Council initiated code amendment
proceedings in order to codify its interpretation and clarification of the 16-foot height limit
and the Height Variation Permit Findings; and,

      WHEREAS, after notices issued pursuant to the provisions of the Rancho Palos
Verdes Municipal Code, the Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on
September 23, 2003, at which time all interested parties were given an opportunity to be
heard and present evidence regarding said amendments to Title 17 of the Municipal
Code as set forth in the Planning Commission Staff Report of that date; and,

       WHEREAS, after reviewing the proposed text amendments, the Commission
directed Staff to prepare precise language for consideration at its October 28, 2003
meeting and continued the pUblic hearing; and,

       WHEREAS, at its October 28, 2003, the Planning Commission continued the
public hearing, without discussion, and again on November 25, 2003, continued the
hearing to its December 9, 2003 meeting; and,

      WHEREAS, on December 11, 2003 the Planning Commission continued the
public hearing proceedings, and reviewed and considered the proposed code
amendments to Title 17, and adopted P.C. Resolution No. 2003-62 forwarding its
recommendations to the City Council for its consideration, and;

     WHEREAS, on January 31, 2004, a notice of a public hearing on the code
amendment was pUblished in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News; and

       WHEREAS, after notices issued pursuant to the requirements of Rancho Palos
Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing on
February 17, 2004, at which time all interested parties were given the opportunity to be
heard and present evidence.          After considering the Planning Commission's
recommendation and public testimony, the Council adopted Urgency Ordinance No.
400U and introduced Ordinance No. 401 that among other things, reqUired a view
analysis for portions above and below 16-feet in height when a Height Variations
application is requested; and

       WHEREAS, on March 2, 2004 the City Council was scheduled to adopt the
second reading of Ordinance No. 401 when it was brought to the council's attention that
the Planning Commission had expressed a concern with the application of the new
requirements. Therefore, the Council agreed to continue the discussion to its April 6,
2004 meeting so that the Commission can further review the code language being
considered and provide the Council with additional comments; and


                                                                          Ordinance No.
                                         @                                      Page 20f7




                                                                                    13-23
       WHEREAS, on March 6, 2004, a notice of a Planning Commission pUblic hearing
on the code amendment was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News; and

      WHEREAS, on March 23, 2004, the Planning Commission briefly reviewed the
code amendment language being considered by the Council. Due to time constraints,
the Commission, with a vote of 5-1, recommended that the Council .continue its
discussion from April 6, 2004 to a later date to allow the Commission a second
opportunity to further review the proposed code language and provide a more
comprehensive recommendation; and,

      WHEREAS, on March 20,2004, a notice of a City Council public hearing on the
code amendment was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News; and

       WHEREAS, on April 6, 2004, notwithstanding the Planning Commission's
recommendation, the City Council opened the public hearing. After considering the
comments made by the Planning Commission at its March 23rd meeting, receiving
public testimony, and further discussing the matter, the Council, with a vote of 4-1,
adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 404U, which repealed Urgency Ordinance No. 400U.
Because the Planning Commission already had discussed and considered this issue on
several occasions, the Council directed Staff to come back at its April 20, 2004 meeting
with specific code language that affirms the historic application of the 16-foot height limit
as being a "by-right" height limit for all citywide residential properties; and

       WHEREAS, after notices issued pursuant to the requirements of Rancho Palos
Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a continued duly noticed public
hearing on April 20, 2004, at which time all interested parties were given the opportunity
to be heard and present evidence;

    NOW, THEREFORE, THE CIIY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS
VERDES DOES HEREBY ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

       Section 1: The City Council has reviewed and considered the amendments to
Title 17 of the Municipal Code.

      Section 2: The amendments to Title 17 of the Municipal Code are consistent
with California Government Code Section 65853, zoning amendment procedures.

       Section 3: The City Council finds that the amendments to Title 17 of the
Municipal Code are consistent with the Rancho Palos Verdes General Plan and Coastal
Specific Plan in that they uphold, and do not hinder, the goals and policies of those
plans, in particular to carefully control and direct future growth towards making a
positive contribution to all elements of the community.

      Section 4: The City Council finds that the amendments to Title 17 of the
Municipal Code are substantially the same as previous provisions of the Rancho Palos

                                                                         Ordinance No.
                                                                                Page 3 of7



                                                                                  13-24
                                                                                            •
Verdes Municipal Code and that the amendments to Title 17 shall be construed as a                   (",_ \
restatement and continuation of the previous provisions and as new enactment.                           .,

       Section 5: The City Council further finds that there is no substantial evidence
that the amendments to Title 17 of the Municipal Code would result in new significant
environmental effects, or a substantial increase in the severity of the effects, as
previously identified in Environmental Assessment No. 694 and the Negative
Declaration, adopted through Resolution No. 97-25 in conjunction with Ordinance No.
320 for amendments to Titles 16 and 17 of the Municipal Code, since the new
amendments reaffirm the historic interpretation and application of the 16-foot height
requirement and clarify the Height Variation Findings. An Addendum (No. 10) to the
prior Negative Declaration has been prepared and is attached hereto as Exhibit 'A'. The
City Council hereby finds, based on its own independent judgment, that the facts stated
in the Addendum are true because the revisions to Title 17 of the Municipal Code will
not result in greater environmental impacts in the.City.

        Section 6: The City Council finds that the amendments to Title 17 of the
Municipal Code are necessary to preserve the public health, safety, and general welfare
in the area.

      Section 7: The first paragraph of Paragraph 8 and sub-section (1 )(c) of
Paragraph 8 of Section 17.02.040 of Chapter 17.02 of Title 17 of the Municipal Code is
hereby amended to read as follows, with all remaining portions of Paragraph 8 of
Section 17.02.040 of Chapter 17.02 of Title 17 of the Municipal Code retained without
amendment:

17.02.040     View Preservation and Restoration.
B. Regulations.
   1. Building Height. Any individual or persons desiring to build a ~ structure or an addition
   to an existing structure eKeeeGiBg shall be permitted to build up to sixteen feet in height
   pursuant to Section 17.02.040(8) ofthis Chapter provided there is no grading. as defined in
   Section 17.76.040 of this Chapter. to be performed in connection with the proposed
   construction. and further provided that no Height Variation is required. and all applicable
   residential development standards are or will be met. In cases where an existing structure is
   voluntarily demolished or is demolished as a result of an involuntary event a Height
   Variation application will not be required to exceed sixteen feet in height, provided that the
   replacement structure will have the same square footage and maximum building height as the
   existing structure and will be reconstructed within the building envelope and footprint ofthe
   pre-existing structure. Approval for proposed structures or additions to existing structures
   exceeding sixteen feet in height, may be sought through application for a Height Variation
   permit, which, if granted pursuant to the procedures contained herein, will permit the
   individual to build a structure not exceeding twenty-six feet in height, except as provided in
   Section l7.02.040(B)(I)(d) ofthis chapter, or such lower height as approved by the city,
   measured as follows:

                                                                            Ordinance No.
                                                                                   Page 4 of7




                                                                                      13-25
17.02.040(B)(1)(c):

   For lots with a "building pad" at street level or at a different level than the street or lot
   configurations not previously discussed, the height shall be measured from the pre-
   construction (existing) grade at the highest elevation ofthe existing building pad area
   covered by the structure to the ridge line or highest point of the structure, as illustrated in
   Figure 3 below. Portions of a structure which extend beyond the ''building pad" area of a lot
   shall not qualify as the highest elevation covered by the structure, for the purposes of
   determining maximum building height. Structures allowed pursuant to this subsection sh:aH:
   eOfltain Be mere tha:B: eBe &tel)' (Genal'S aBel aaseBleats Bfe exeB3.fltetl from this reE):1:1:iTemeat)
   a:aE1 shall not exceed twenty-feet in height, as measured from the point where the lowest
   foundation or slab meets finished grade, to the ridgeline or highest point of the structure.
   Otherwise a height variation permit shall be required.                                         .

      Section 8: Paragraph C subsection (1)(e) of Section 17.02.040 of Chapter
17.02 of Title 17 of the Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

C. Procedures and Requirements
   1. Preservation of Views Where Structures are Involved
       e. AB. Height Variation application to build a new structure or an addition to an existing
       structure at a height that exceeds the sixteen foot height limit up to the maximum·height
       permitted in Section 17.02.04O(B)(1) ofthis chapter may be granted, with or without
       conditions, if the following findings can be made:

       i. The applicant has complied with the early neighbor consultation process established by
       the city;

       ii. The proposed structure or addition to a structure that is above sixteen feet in heigh,t
       does not significantly impair a view from public property (parks, major thoroughfares,
       bike ways, walkways or equestrian trails) which has been identified in the city's general
       plan or coastal specific plan, as city-designated viewing areas;

       iii. The proposed structure is not located on a ridge or a promontory;
              the area of a proposed ~ structure or addition to an existing structure that is
       :y:i. iv.
       above sixteen feet in height, as deflned in Section 17.02.040(8) of this Chapter, when
       considered exclusive of existing foliage, does not significantly impair a view from the
       viewing area of another parcel. Ifthe viewing area is located in a structure, the viewing
       area shall be located in a portion of a structure which was constructed without a height
       variation permit or variance, or which would not have required a height variation or
       variance when originally constructed had this section, as approved by the voters on
       November 7, 1989, been in effect at the time the structure was constructed, unless the
       viewing area located in the portion of the existing structure which required a height
       variation permit or variance constitutes the primary living area (living room, family
       room, dining room or kitchen) of the residence;


                                                                                    Ordinance No.
                                                                                           Page 50f7




                                                                                                13-26
       y. If view im airment exists from the viewin area of
       fy:
    determined not to be si ·ficant ..... described in Findin No. i    e ro osed new the             0:
    structure is or addition to an existing structure that is above sixteen feet in height
 ®~igned and situated in such a manner as to reasonably minimize the impairment of a
    VIew;
       ¥ vi. There is no significant cumulative view impairment caused by granting the
       application. Cuplulative view impairment shall be determined by: (a) considering the
       amount ofview impairment that would be caused by the proposed structure or addition
       to a structure that is above sixteen feet in height; and (b) considering the amount ofview
       impairment that would be caused by the construction on other parcels of structures or
       additions that exceed sixteen feet in height, ~e simHftf to the prOp~ swet1.lre;
        ..
       Vll.   The proposed structure comp Ii·th a11 0 ther co de reqUIrements;
                                           es WI                     .           ~'\j""'\\'~
       viii. The proposed structure is compatible with the immediate neighborhood character;
       ix. The propo~ed new structure or addition to an existing structure that is above sixteen
       feet does not result in an unreasonable infringement of the privacy ofthe occupants of
       abutting residences.

       Section 9: Table 02-A: Single-Family Residential Development Standards of
Section 17.02.040 of Chapter 17.02 of Title 17 of the Municipal Code is hereby
amended to delete footnote number 8, which currently reads "8. The front and side
setback for those portions of structures over sixteen feet in height shall be a minimum of
twenty-five feet in all residential zoned districts.", as shown in the amended Table 02-A
attached hereto as Exhibit 'B'.

      Section 10: SUbparagraph 2 of paragraph E of Section 17.76.040 of chapter
17.76 of Title 17 of the Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

The proposed grading and/or related construction does not significantly adversely affect the
visual relationships with, nor the views from the viewing area ofneighboring properties. In
cases where grading is proposed for a new residence or an addition to an existing residence. this
finding shall be satisfied when the proposed grading results in a lower finished grade under the
building footprint such that the height of the proposed structure, as measured pursuant to Section
17.02.040(B) ofthis Title, is lower than a structure that could have been built in the same
location on the lot ifmeasured from pre-construction (existing) grade;

        Section 11: The rights given by any approval granted under the terms of Title
17 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code prior to the effective date of the
adoption of said ordinance shall not be affected by the amendments to Title 17 by this
ordinance and shall continue in effect until and unless they are modified, revoked,
expired or are otherwise terminated according to the terms of the approval or the terms
of Title 17 as they existed prior to the effective date of this ordinance.




                                                          ,_' - ')           Ordinance No.
                                                                                    Page 6 of?

                                 (1lit/
                                    . .....
                                     ~        '   ,   .
                                                           .,-

                                                                                           13-27
             Section 12: The amendments to Title 17 of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal
     Code as identified herein shall apply to all development applications that have not been
     finally acted upon as of the effective date of this ordinance.

            Section 13: For the foregoing reasons, and based on the information and
     findings included in the Staff Report, Minutes, and other records of proceedings, the
     City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes hereby adopts the fo~egoing
     amendments to Title 17 of the Municipal Code.

            Section 14: The City Clerk is directed to certify to the passage and adoption of
     this ordinance and to cause the full text of this ordinance to be published as required by
     law.


     PASSED, APPROVED, ADOPTED, and ORDERED this 20th day of April, 2004, by
     the following vote:

     AYES:

     NOES:

     ABSTENTION:

     ABSENT:


                                                             Mayor

     ATIEST:



                  City Clerk

     State of California                )
     County of Los Angeles              ) ss
     City of Rancho Palos Verdes        )


                     I, JO PURCELL, City Clerk of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, hereby
     certify that the above Ordinance No. _ was duly and regularly passed and adopted by
     the said City Council at a regular meeting thereof held on April 20, 2004.



i.                                                          City Clerk
'-

                                                                            Ordinance No.
                                                                                   Page 7 of 7




                                                                                      13-28
                                                                                             .
             ADDENDUM NO. 10 TO ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTI
                  NEGATIVE DECLARATION (EAlND) NO. 694

                                     April 20, 2004

On Aprn 1, 1997, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 97-25, thereby adopting a
Negative Declaration for Environmental Assessment No. 694 for amendments to Titles
16 and 17 of the City's Municipal Code. Prior to its adoption, the Negative Declaration
was circulated for public comment from March 4 through March 24, 1997 and no
substantive comments were received from any persons or responsible agencies. In
adopting the Negative Declaration, the City Council found: 1) that there would be no
significant adverse environmental impacts resulting from the adoption of the
amendments; 2) that many of the amendments were clarifications and minor non-
substantive revisions; and 3) that the substantive amendments would not cause impacts
on the environment since the requirements and regulations goveming development in
the City would be clarified, thereby minimizing adverse impacts to adjacent properties
and upon the environment.

The City Council is currently considering amendments to Title 17 of the Development
Code, as it pertains to affirming the historical interpretation and application of the 16-
foot height limit and clarifying the Height Variation and Grading Permit findings. The
proposed amendments clarify the existing Code requirements and provide the decision
makers, Staff and the public with clearer direction on how to process residential
development applications. As such, the City Council has independently reviewed this
item and determined that the proposed amendments will not result in any new
significant environmental effects.     Furthermore, the City Council finds that the
amendments are within the scope of EA/ND No. 694 that were prepared and adopted in
conjunction with the amendments to Titles 16 and 17, that were adopted on April 19,
1997 by the City Council. As a result, no further environmental review is necessary
other than the adoption of this Addendum No. 10.




                                                                              Exhibit "A"
                                                                      Ordinance No.
                                                                             Page 1 of 1




                                                                                 13-29
                                                                TABLE 01-A: SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS

        For exceptions and explanatoIy descriptions of these standards and for other development standards that apply to single-family residential areas, see Articles Vl and VII of this title. The number which
        follows an "RS-" designation indicates the maximum number oflots per acre permitted in the zone; the ''RS-A'' number indicates the minimum number of acres per lot permitted.




                                                                                                                      MINIMUM SElBACKS2,3.6                     MAXIMUM
                                 LOT                               MINIMUM SElBACKS3•6•1                                                                                 MAXIMUM       PARKING
         DISTRICT                                                                                                  FOR LOTS CREATED PRIOR TO                       LOT
                             DIMENSIONS l                         FOR CITY CREATED LOTS
                                                                                                                  INCORPORAnON I ANNEXAnON
                                                                                                                                                                         HEIGHT3•••7 REQUIREMENTs
                                                                                                                                                                COVERAGE
                                                                                                              FRONT       INTERIOR         STREET       REAR                                   less than 5,000 s.f.
                                                                         INTERIOR       STREET                              SIDE            SIDE
                        AREA       WIDTH DEPTH FRONT                                           REAR                                                                                            of habitable space
                                                                           SIDE          SIDE
                                                                                                                                                                                               = 2 enclosed ga-
                                                                    TTL                                                                                                                        rage spaces
                                                                               ONE
                                                                   BOTH
                                                                               SIDE                                                                                                            5,000 s.t: or more
                                                                   SIDES
                                                                                                                                                                                               ofhabitable space
        RS-AS          5 acres      200        300        20         30          10        20         20         20            5               10         IS         6%               16       - 3 enclosed ga-
                                                                                                                                                                                               rage spaces
        RS-I            1 acre      100        ISO        20         25          10        20         20         20             5              10         15         25%              16

        RS-2          20,000 sf      90        120        20         20          10        20         20         20            5               10         15         40%              16




                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~
        RS-3          13,000 sf      80        110        20         20          10        20         IS         20            5               10         15         45%              16

        RS-4           10,000 sf     75        100        20         20          10        20         15         20             5              10         15         50010            16

        RS-5           8,000 sf      65        100        20         20          10        20         IS         20             5              10         15         52%              16



        1.   For an existing lot which does not meet these standards, see Chapter 17.84 (Nonconformities).
        2.   Lots ofrecord, existing as ofNovember 25,1975 (adoption of this code), or within Eastview and existing as ofJanuary 5,1983 (annexation), shall use these development standards for minimum
             setbacks.
        3.   For description, clarification and exceptions, see Chapter 17.48 (Lots, Setbacks, Open Space Area and Building Height).
        4.   For a description ofheight measurement methods and the height variation process, see Section 17.02.040 of this chapter. A height variation application shall be referred directly to the planning
                                                                    ,S
             commission for consideration, if any of the following proposed:
             A. Any portion ofa structure which exceeds sixteen (16) feet in height extends closer than twenty-five (25) feet from the front or street-side property line.
             B. The area of the structure which exceeds sixteen (l6) feet in height (second story footprint) exceeds seventy-five percent (75%) of the existing first story footprint area (residence and garage);
                 and
             C. Sixty percent (60%) or more ofan existing garage footprint is covt:ed by a structure which exceeds sixteen (16) feet in height (a second story).
             D. The portion ofa structure that exceeds sixteen feet in height is heir.g developed as part ofa new single-family residence; or
             E. Based on an initial site visit, the director determines that any portion of a structure which is proposed to exceed sixteen (16) feet in height may significantly impair a view as defined in this
                 chapter.
        5.   For parking development standards, see Section 17.02.030(8) ofthis chapter.
        6.   A garage with direct access driveway from the street ofaccess shall not be less than twenty feet from the front or street-side property line, which ever is the street ofaccess.
13-30




        7.   Exterior stairs to an upper story are prohibited, unless leading to and/or connected to a common hallway, deck or entry rather than a specific room.
        8.   The !feat ed street side setaael. feF t!lese jlafliaRS afBwetuFes a'lel' SilEtellft feet ill height shalllJe a Il'IiRiHllllft af t\'/llllty H'Ie feet iR all FIlSideRtial i!BRiIIR distrie15.

                                                                                                                                                                                           Exhibit "S"
                                                                                                                                                                                    Ordinance No.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Page 1 of 1
                           RESOLUTION NO. 2004~_


      A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO
      PALOS VERDES AMENDING THE HEIGHT VARIATION GUIDELINES
      AND THE NEIGHBORHOOD COMPATIBILITY HANDBOOK IN
      CONNECTION WITH THE ADOPTION OF ORDINANCE NO.
      AMENDING TITLE 17 OF THE CITY'S MUNICIPAL CODE REGARDING
      THE 16·FOOT HEIGHT LIMITATION FOR RESIDENTIALLY ZONED
      PROPERTIES AND CLARIFYING THE HEIGHT VARIATION AND
      GRADING FINDINGS

       WHEREAS, on November 25,1975, the City's first Municipal Code was adopted
establishing the City's 16-foot height limit and establishing a discretionary review
process for any individuals seeking to construct a residence exceeding 16-feet (Height
Variation Permit process); and,

      WHEREAS, in 1979, the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code (the "Municipal
Code") was amended to clarify that the Height Variation Permit process applies to both
new residences and additi~ns to existing residences; and,

      WHEREAS, on November 7, 1989, the voters of the City of Rancho Palos
Verdes approved Proposition M (Cooperative Preservation and Restoration Ordinance)
which was incorporated into the Municipal Code; and,

      WHEREAS, between 1996 and 1997, the City approved a major update and
overhaul Title 17 (Zoning) of the Municipal Code, which among other things, clarified
how to measure the 16-foot height limit on pad lots; and,

       WHEREAS, on February 8, 2003 the City Council held a joint workshop with the
Planning Commission to discuss, among other things, the interpretation of existing
codes and the Height Variation Permit Findings involving the protection of residents'
views from proposed construction. At the meeting, the City Council directed Staff to
bring forward ideas to the Council at a future meeting to clarify or resolve the issues;
and,

.      WHEREAS, on June 24, 2003, the Planning Commission was asked to review
and provide feedback on the content and format of a draft Staff Report to the City
Council regarding the clarification and interpretation of existing codes and the Height
Variation Permit findings. The Planning Commission continued the discussion and
directed Staff to come back with more information regarding the historical interpretation
and application of the 16-foot height limit and the Height Variation Permit findings; and,

       WHEREAS, on July 15, 2003, the City Council, at the request of a Council
member, discussed the issues pertaining to the existing Municipal Code and the Height
Variation Permit findings. At the meeting, the City Council unanimously reaffirmed the

                                                                 Resolution No. 2004-_
                                                                             Page 1 of 5


                                                                                 13-31
historic interpretation and application of the 16-foot height,.measured as set forth in the
Municipal Code based on the type of lot involved, as being a "by-right" height limit for all
residential properties in the City. and clarified the interpretation of specific Height
Variation Permit Findings; and,

      WHEREAS, at its JUly 15th meeting, the City Council initiated code ~mendment
proceedings in order to codify its interpretation and clarification of the 16-foot height limit
and the Height Variation Permit Findings; and,

      WHEREAS, after· notices issued pursuant to the provisions of the Rancho Palos
Verdes Municipal Code, the.Planning ·.Commission conducted a public hearing on
September 23, 2003 atwhichtimeaUinterestedpartIes •were given an opportunity to be
heard and present evidence regarding said· amendments to Title 17 of the Municipal
Code as set forth In the Planning Commission StaffReport of that date; and,

       WHEREAS, after reviewing the proposed text amendments, the Commission
directed Staff to prepare pre.cise language for consideration at its October 28, 2003
meeting and continued the pUblic hearing; and,

       WHEREAS, .at • its October .·28, ·2003, the Planning COO1mission continued the
public hearing, withoufdiscussion, and again on November 25, 2003, continued the
hearing toItsOecember.g, 2003 meeting; and,

       WHEREAS, .on December 11,2003 the Planning Commission continued the
publi.c hearing proceedings, and reviewed and considered the proposed code
amendments to Title 17,. andadopted>P.C.. Resolution No. 2003-62 forwarding its
recommendations to the City Council fur ii$consideration, and,

     WHEREAS, on .January. 31, .2004, a notice of a public hearing on the code
amendment was pUblished in the Pa/o$ Verdes Peninsula News; and,

         WHEREAS, after notices issued. pursuant to the requirements of Rancho Palos
Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a duly noticed pUblic hearing on
February 17, 2004, at which time aU interested parties were given the opportunity to be
heard and present evidence.         After considering the Planning Commission's
recommendation and public testimony, the Council adopted Ordinance No. 400U and
il'ltroduced Ordinance No. 401 that among other things, required a view analysis for
portions above and below 16-feet in height when a Height Variation application is
requested; and,

       WHEREAS, on March 2, 2004 the City Council was scheduled to adopt the
second reading of Ordinance No. 401 when it was brought to the Council's attention that
the Planning Commission had expressed a concern with the application of the new
requirements. Therefore, the Council agreed to continue the discussion to its April 6,
2004 meeting so that the Commission can further review the code language being
considered and provide the Council with additional comments; and,

                                                                     Resolution No. 2004-_
                                                                                Page 20f5



                                                                                     13-32
       WHEREAS, on March 6, 2004, a notice of a Planning Commission public hearing
on the code amendment was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News; and,

      WHEREAS, on March 23, 2004, the Planning Commission briefly reviewed the
code amendment language being considered by the Council. Due to time constraints,
the Commission, with a vote of 5-1, recommended that the Council continue its
discussion from April 6, 2004 to a later date to allow the Commission a second
opportunity to further review the proposed code language and provide a more
comprehensive recommendation; and,

      WHEREAS, on March 20, 2004, a notice of a City Council public hearing on the
code amendment was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News; and

       WHEREAS, on April 6, 2004, notwithstanding the Planning Commission's
recommendation, the City Council opened the public hearing. After considering the
comments made by the Planning Commission at its March 23~ meeting, receiving
public testimony, and further discussing the matter, the Council, with a vote of 4-1,
adopted Urgency Ordinance No. 404U, which repealed Urgency Ordinance No. 400U.
Because the Planning Commission already had discussed and considered this issue on
several occasions, the Council directed Staff to come back at its April 20, 2004 meeting
with specific code language that affirms the historic application of the 16-foot height limit
as being a "by-right" height limit for all citywide residential properties; and,

       WHEREAS, after notices issued pursuant to the requirements of Rancho Palos
Verdes Development Code, the City Council held a continued duly noticed pUblic
hearing on April 20, 2004, at which time all interested parties were given the opportunity
to be heard and present evidence.

       WHEREAS, after receiving pUblic testimony at the public hearing, on April 20,
2004, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. _ amending Title 17 of the Municipal
Code affirming the City's historical interpretation and application of the 16-foot height
requirement and clarifying the Height Variation and Grading findings for Citywide
residential zoned neighborhoods; and

       WHEREAS, in the adoption of Ordinance No. _ ' the City Council further found
that there is no substantial evidence that the amendments to Title 17 would result in
new significant environmental effects, or a substantial increase in the severity of the
effects, as previously identified in Environmental Assessment No. 694 and the Negative
Declaration, adopted through Resolution No. 97-25 in conjunction with Ordinance No.
320 for amendments to Titles 16 and 17 of the Municipal Code, since the new
amendments reaffirm the historical interpretation and application of the 16-foot height
requirement and clarify the Height Variation Findings. An Addendum (No. 10) to the
prior Negative Declaration was prepared and attached as Exhibit 'A' to Ordinance No.
_      The City Council hereby finds, based on its own independent judgment, that the


                                                                    Resolution No. 2004-_
                                                                                Page 3 of 5



                                                                                   13-33
facts stated in the Addendum are true because the revisions to Title 17 of the Municipal
Code will not result in greater environmental in'l""dcts in the City.

    NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS
VERDES DOES HEREBY FIND, DETERMINE, AND RESOLVE AS FOLLOWS:

      Section 1: The City Council finds that the Height Variation Guidelines and the
Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook, as set forth in Exhibit 'A' hereto, shall be
amended to reflect the amendments to Title 17 of the Municipal Code adopted under
Ordinance No. 389.

       Section 2: The City Council finds that the amendments to the Height Variation
Guidelines, as set forth in Exhibit 'A' attached hereto, results in substantially the same
intent as the document adopted by the City Council on June 3, 1996, which was
developed in response to the November 17,1989 voter approval of Proposition M.

      Section 3: The City Council finds that the amendments to the Neighborhood
Compatibility Handbook, as set forth in Exhibit 'A' attached hereto, results in
substantially the same intent as the document adopted by the City Council on May 6,
2003.

      Section 4: The amendments to the Height Variation Guidelines and the
Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook shall be effective immediately from the date of
the adoption of Ordinance No. _ .


      PASSED, APPROVED and ADOPTED this 20th day of April, 2004.




                                         Peter C. Gardiner
                                         Mayor




ATTEST:




             City Clerk




                                                                 Resolution No. 2004-_
                                                                            Page40f5


                                                                                 13-34
State of California              )
County of Los Angeles            ) ss
City of Rancho Palos Verdes      )



              I, JO PURCELL, City Clerk of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, do
hereby certify that the above Resolution No. 2004-_ was duly and regularly passed
and adopted by the said City Council at regular meeting thereof held on April 20, 2004.




                                              City Clerk




                                                               Resolution No. 2004-_
                                                                           Page 5 of 5


                                                                              13-35
("




               AMENDED EXCERPTS OF
          THE HEIGHT VARIATION GUIDELINES
                       AND
     THE NEIGHBORHOOD COMPATIBILITY HANDBOOK




               Resolution No. 2004-_
                     Exhibit 'A'




                                               13-36
Height Variation Guidelines
May 6, 2003

I.    PURPOSE

  \           The intent of this document is to provide guidelines and procedures for
protecting views which may be impaired by development of new residential structures or
additions to existing residential structures. As specified in Proposition M, which was
passed by the voters of Rancho Palos Verdes and became effective on November 17,
1989, the purposes for the regulations are to:

             a.     Protect, enhance and perpetuate views available to property
owners and visitors because of the unique topographical features of the Palos Verdes
Peninsula. These views provide unique and irreplaceable assets to the City and its
neighboring communities and provide for this and future generations examples of the
unique physical surroundings which are characteristic of the City.

             b.     Define and protect finite visual resources by establishing limits
which construction and plant growth can attain before encroaching onto a view.

             c.      Insure that the development of each parcel of land or additions to .
residences or structures occur in a manner which is harmonious and maintains
neighborhood compatibility and the character of contiguous subcommunity development
in the General Plan.

              d.     Require the pruning of dense foliage or tree growth which alone, or
in conjunction with construction, exceeds defined limits.

               These guidelines and procedures apply to any _
~onstruct a residential structure above the sixteen foot height ~ ~ ~
                                                          except that paragraph H of
Section 2 - Removal of Foliage as Condition of Permit Issuance, a lies to an
residential struct~re, re ardless .of hei ht.                          .




II.    DEFINITIONS

      A.      Viewing Area

              Section 17.02.040 (A)(15) of the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code
defines "viewing area" as follows:

            "'Viewing area' means that area of a structure (excluding bathrooms,
hallways, garages or closets) or that area of a lot (excluding the setback areas)


                                                                                   Page 1



                                                                                 13-37
     Height Variation Guidelines
     May 6, 2003

     are not acceptable. An application will not be considered "complete" for processing
     without an adequately constructed silhouette in place.

                   5.     The frame must remain in place and be maintained in good
     condition throughout the required notice period for the Height Variation
     application or the Neighborhood Compatibilitv analysis process. the decision
     process and. if necessary, any appeal periods. The frame may not be removed until
     the City's appeal process has been exhausted and a final decision has been rendered.
     The applicant must remove'the frame within seven (7) days after a final decision
     has been rendered and the City's appeal process has been exhausted•.

     VI.    BUILDING HEIGHT

                  1.      Proposed residential building height cannot exceed 26 feet. If a
     greater height is desired, a Variance application is required, rather than a Height
     Variation Permit.
                  Section 17.02.040(B)(1) of the Municipal Code states that:




                   2.      Height is measured based on whether the SUbject lot is considered
     an uphill, downhill, or other (pad) lot relative to the street of access, and based on the
'.   extent to which the structure slopes with the lot. Section 17.012.040(B)(1) of the Code
     defines height measurements as follows:


                                                                                         Page 7



                                                                                       13-38
                                                                 .',   ;':r~',.,."   ...... \-0 ••




Height Variation Guidelines
May 6, 2003




       (d)   "On sloping lots described in sections 17.02.040(8) (1)(a) and
             17.02.040(8)(1 )(b), the foundation of the structure shall contain a
             minimum eight (8) foot step with the slope of the lot. However, no
             portion of the structure shall exceed thirty (30) feet in height, when
             measured from the point where the lowest foundation or slab meets
             finished grade to the ridge line or highest point of the structure.
             The thirty (30) foot height shall not exceed a horizontally projected
             sixteen (16) foot height line (from the high point of the uphill step of
             the structure)." (See figure below): If there is not a minimum eight
             (8) foot step in the structure's foundation, a Height Variation Permit
             and/or a Variance will be required.

VII.   SET8ACKS FOR SLOPING LOTS

             Section 17.02.040(8)(2) of the Municipal Code requires that:

       "On lots sloping uphill from the street of access and where the
       height of a structure is in excess of sixteen (16) feet above the point
       where the lowest foundation or slab meets the ground, areas in
       excess of the sixteen (16) foot height limit shall be set back one (1)
       foot from the exterior building facade of the first story, most parallel
       and closest to the front property line, for every foot of height in


                                                                                                      Page 9



                                                                                                     13-39
Height Variation Guidelines
May 6, 2003

                            b. The area of the structure which exceeds sixteen (16)
feet In height (the second story footprint) exceeds seventy-five percent (75%) of
the existing first story footprint area (residence and attached garage);

                          c. Sixty percent (60%) or more of an existing garage
footprint is covered by a structure which exceeds sixteen (16) feet in height (a
second story); or



                          e. Based on an initial site visit, the Director determines
that any portion of a structure which is proposed to exceed sixteen (16) feet in
height may significantly impair a view as defined in this Chapter."

IX.    MANDATORY FINDINGS




            1.    "The applicant has complied with the early neighbor
consultation process established by the City."

             Staff will review the submittal to be sure that the methods of early
neighbor consultation, as outlined above on pages 4 and 5 of these Guidelines, are
adequate.




               Any public park or right-of way will be considered for view analysis under
this provision. Other sites will be limited to those specifically delineated in the General
Plan, Coastal Specific Plan, or areas specifically set aside as public viewing areas.
"Significantly impair" is defined in section (6) below.

              3.     "The proposed structure is not located on a ridge or
promontory."




                                                                                    Page 11



                                                                                   13-40
Height Variation Guidelines
May 6, 2003                                                                                  •

               A ridge is defined in Section 17.96.1550 as "an elongated crest or a linear
series of crests of hills, bluffs, or highlands". A promontory is defined in Section
17.96.1420 as "a prominent mass of land, large enough to support development, which
overlooks, or projects onto a lowland or body of water on at least two sides". The
analysis of ridges and promontories relates to protection of public views and vistas
overlooking or looking up at ridges or promontories. The Director or Planning
Commission will make a determination as to the degree of visual impact associated with
construction over 16 feet in height on a "ridge or promontory" when viewed from a park,
public roadway, or a designated public viewing point.

              The "ridge or promontory" must be prominent in relation to the 16 to 26
foot range of heights permitted under the Height Variation Permit process. Geologic
structures which would not be noticeable in relation to the size of the proposed structure
probably will not be affected by development of a proposed structure, and accordingly
no public view benefit would be provided by prohibiting construction on such ridges or
promontories.




                      (a)    "Significant view impairment" will be determined by the
Director or Planning Commission based on (a) the severity (extent, magnitude, etc.) of
impairment of an existing view, and/or (b) the impairment of features of significance,
including but not limited to Catalina Island and other offshore islands, Point Fermin or
other notable coastal promontories, or the Vincent Thomas bridge or other prominent
manmade landmarks, etc.                     .

                      (b)    The "viewing area" may only be located on a second (or
higher) story of a structure if:

             i. The construction of that portion of the structure did not require approval
             of a Height Variation Permit or Variance, pursuant to Chapter 17.02.040 of
             the Rancho Palos Verdes Municipal Code, or would not have required              •



                                                                                 Page 12



                                                                                 13-41
Height Variation Guidelines
May 6, 2003

              such a permit if that Section had been in effect at the time that portion of
              the structure was constructed; or

              ii. The viewing area is located in a part of the structure that constitutes.the
              primary living area of the house, which is the living room, family room,
              dining room or kitchen.

                     (c)    If a master bedroom exists on the same level as the primary
living area of the house, and if no views are enjoyed from the other primary living areas,
views from the master bedroom will be considered.

                      (d)   Views will be analyzed without respect to foliage existing on
properties within 1000 feet of the property from which the view is taken. The impact of a
proposed structure if the foliage did not exist will be estimated as best as can be
determined. However, if the foliage blocking the view is located on the property from
which the view is taken, such foliage must be removed prior to the view analysis or that
foliage will be considered as remaining in the view.




                      (b)   View impairment may be minimized by redesigning a
structure to relocate or reduce the size of the portion of the addition over 16 feet in
height to lessen the view impact.

                     (c)     Redesign to minimize view impairment may include
relocation or reorientation of the addition, deletion of a balcony, revised roof pitch, or
other measures which generally maintain the scope of the addition.




                                                                                     Page 13


                                                                                    13-42
Height Variation Guidelines
May 6, 2003




                      (a)   Significant cumulative view impairment will be considered
when the individual structure may not significantly impair views, but when the effect of
the structure could, in combination with other similar structures, create significant view
impairment.

                     (b)     The Director or Planning Commission will determine which
other nearby parcels within the viewshed from a particular property or public place may
be developed, consistent with this Section; which would further impair a view. The
evaluation will usually not extend beyond three or four parcels adjacent to the subject
property.

                    (c)   The criteria for determining the significance of the cumulative
view impairment is the same as for significance for the individual structure, as outlined
below in paragraph 6.


              7.     "The proposed structure complies with all other Code
requirements."

               Any proposed structure will be evaluated to assure compliance with
zoning, General Plan, and Specific Plan requirements, including but not limited to
setbacks and open space restrictions, as well as any specific conditions associated with
the pertinent tract approval. If other discretionary permits are required for the second
story addition, approval of the Height Variation Permit shall be contingent on the
approval of those other discretionary permit.

           8.    "The proposed structure is compatible with the immediate
neighborhood character."

              "Neighborhood character" is defined to consider the existing
characteristics of an area, including:

                    (a)   Scale of surrounding residences, including total square
footage and lot coverage of the residence and all ancillary structures.



                                                                                   Page 14



                                                                                   13-43
     Height Variation Guidelines
     May 6, 2003

                         (b)     Architectural styles, including facade treatments, structure
     height, open space between structures, roof design, the apparent bulk or mass of the
     structure, number of stories, and building materials.

                           (c)     Front, side and rear yard setbacks.

                   The Director's or Planning Commission's determination of compatibility
     with neighborhood character will be based on a review of the above criteria relative to
     the immediate neighborhood which is normally considered to be at least the twenty (20)
     closest residences within the same zoning district, and on property owner response to
     the required notification. Increases in scale, height, bulk or mass or decreases in
     setbacks or open space may be considered incompatible.




                     "Privacy is defined as the reasonable protection from intrusive visual
     observation."

                         (a)    The burden of proving an "unreasonable infringement of
     indoor and/or outdoor privacy" shall be on the property owner claiming infringement of
     privacy. The Director or Planning Commission will make a determination on a case by
     case basis.

                          (b)     Given the variety and number of options which are available
     to preserve indoor privacy, greater weight generally will be given to protecting outdoor
     privacy than to protecting indoor privacy.

                   Redesign to minimize invasion of privacy may include using translucent
     material in (upper floor) windows, eliminating windows, reducing and/or relocating
     balconies, or eliminating balconies.

     x.     HEIGHT VARIATION PERMIT PROCEDURES

           A.        Height Variation Permit Application

                   The attached "Height Variation Permit Application" must be submitted to
     the City's Department of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement to initiate a request
     for a Height Variation Permit.

            B.       Height Variation Permit Process
,.

                                                                                        Page 15



                                                                                        13-44
Height Variation Guidelines
May 6, 2003                                                                                         .<

            . The following sequence of steps shall occur in order to process a Height
Variation Permit application:

                   1.        The applicant consults with property owners within 500 feet of the
proposed project.

              2.     The applicant completes and submits an application form to the
City's Department of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement along with the
appropriate fees. The application must be accompanied by proof of early neighbor
consultation (including letter from subject Homeowners Association, if any) and the
waiver form for the temporary frame.

                   3.        The applicant erects the temporary frame and notifies Staff that the
frame is in place.

              4.      Staff reviews the application to assure that it is complete, and
inspects the site to assure that the temporary frame is in place and adequately
constructed. A letter will be sent to the applicant not later than 30 calendar days after .
submittal indicating that the application is complete for review or what additional
information or corrections are required to make the application complete for review.

                   5. The Director shall refer an application for a Height Variation Permit
directly to the Planning Commission for consideration under the same findings, as part
of a public hearing, if any of the following is proposed:

                              a. Any portion of a structure which exceeds sixteen (16) feet
in height extends closer than twenty-five (25) feet from the front or street-side property
line; or
                               b. The area of the structure which exceeds sixteen (16) feet
in height (the second story footprint) exceeds seventy-five percent (75%) of the existing
first story footprint area (residence and attached garage);

                             c. Sixty percent (60%) or more of an existing garage
footprint is covered by a structure which exceeds sixteen (16) feet in height (a second
story); or

            'lit    i   .•




                             e. Based on an initial site visit, the Director determines that
any portion of a structure which is proposed to exceed sixteen (16) feet in height may
significantly impair a view as defined in this chapter."

              6.     Staff mails notice to all property owners within a five hundred foot
radius and to the affected homeowners' association, if any, and informs them that any


                                                                                         Page 16



                                                                                         13-45
r-"',
.
,
        a.   Window materials should be consistent with the original materials.


        9. An addition to an existing residence should appear
                                                                           Design Tip: The privacy of
             as if it were part of the original structure by               your neighbor should be
             incorporating design details that are true to the             preserved by carefully
             architectural style represented in the existing               locating and sizing windows
             structure.                                                    and deckslbalconies.

        10.The use of a blank facade that faces a street should be
           avoided.



        B.      HEIGHT OF STRUCTURES
        The height of a structure should be compatible with the size of a lot, as well as the
        context of the surrounding neighborhood. The City of Rancho Palos Verdes, by the
        vote of the citizens on November 7, 1989, adopted procedures and decision criteria for
        evaluating the height of new residences and additions to existing residences that
        exceed the established height limits. Pursuant to Section 17.02.030(8) of the RPVMC,
        the established height limit is based on the type of lot (upslope, downslope, pad, or
        other). As art of the ado ted rocedures, a Hei ht Variation Permit rocess was
(       created to




        1. The height of a structure should be compatible with the                Design Tip: The
           established building heights in the neighborhood.                      privacy of a neighbor
                                                                                  can be preserved by
        2. The height of a structure should be proportionate to the front         placing windows high
                                                                                  on a wall to provide
           yard setback.                                                          light and ventilation,
                                                                                  but avoid views onto
        3. The second story of a structure should be setback from the             an adjacent property.
           first story.

        4. The height of a structure on a sloping lot should respect the natural topography.

        5. The height ofa structure should be carefully designed to respect views, _
             : ""'f.:,:' " . " . ,-      '-~', f~111 t~e.vi~~i~ ar~a ,of ~~i9,~~~~~, ,ro erties~,
                                                •   ir1   .~;.I   •   ~~    '""    ~   .




        Rancho Palos Verdes Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook                                      20


                                                                                                13-46
3.         Garage
The location and size of a garage should not                 Design Tip: When a residence
dominate the street view of a residence.                     has more than three bedrooms,
                                                             there may be a practical need for
Furthermore, a garage and its driveway (direct               added garage space.
or indirect) should be sited based on the pattern
ofthe neighborhood.
                                                          Design Tip: Energy Conservation
4.     Streetscape Patterns                                  • Use large roof overhangs.
In an established neighborhood, the streetscape              • Plant deciduous trees on
should be preserved, especially if it is.commonly                south and west elevations.
seen throughout the area.                                    • Use windows for maximum
                                                                 natural light.
                                                             • Use windows to create
                                                                 through airflow for natural
                                                                 ventilation.
                                                             • Ventilate attic spaces.
                                                             • Use porches, covered patios
                                                                 and the like to buffer the
                                                                 residence from heat gain.




6.    Grading
Excessive grading used to create a building pad should be avoided. Rather, gra~,            '
should be designed to res ect the natural terrain with minimal site disturbance. ' , .' .'-",'
,.~   ".    ' . - , '                                       '-      ~




Natural features such as the natural slope of the land, significant trees and their root
systems, existing vegetation, and any other natural site attributes should be preserved
and taken advantage of in the design of a project";.._ - - - - - - - - -_ _



B.     LOT COVERAGE
Lot coverage is primarily intended to                      ~        Lot Coverage   -+
regulate the relationship between lot size
and building footprint. A structure should
be designed in a manner that does not
appear too big for the lot. A project that
maximizes the lot coverage requirement,
but is within the Code limit, is discouraged.


                                     ®
Rancho Palos Verdes Neighborhood Compatibility Handbook                                    17



                                                                                      13-47

				
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