Elkmont Canyon

Project Planner: Amy Seeraty, Senior Planner
Contact Information: amys@rpvca.gov / 310-544-5231

Proposed Project

The property owner of the vacant property known as Elkmont Canyon (APN 7576-026-028) submitted a request in 2014 for a new house, driveway and associated grading on this lot.
 


Background

On February 17, 2006, the property owner at that time, Abdul Aziz Khakwani, submitted thirteen (13) certificate of compliance applications (Planning Case Nos. SUB2006-00004 through SUB20006-00016) for thirteen (13) Assessor's Parcels in Elkmont Canyon with the intention of proving that these Assessor's Parcels were each separate legal lots.  Based upon the review and analysis conducted by the City Engineer and City Attorney, the Director of Community Development determined that the applicant/appellant was entitled to a single conditional certificate of compliance for all thirteen (13) Assessor's Parcels as one (1) combined legal lot, rather than thirteen (13) separate certificates of compliance as requested.  The property owner appealed this determination, and this appeal was denied by the Planning Commission.  This decision was memorialized by P.C. Resolution 2006-047, which can be read by clicking here.

The original Tract Map No. 24719 states, “As a dedication to public use while all of Silver Spur Road and Hawthorne Boulevard within and adjacent to this subdivision remain public highways for such time only, we hereby abandon all easements of ingress and egress to the said Silver Spur Road and Hawthorne Boulevard so that owners of lots 1, 2, 71, 23 to 27 inclusive and 52 to 58 inclusive abutting these highways during such time will have no rights of access whatever in the highways as such except the general easement of travel which belongs to the whole public. If any change of alignment or width of such highways results in the vacation of any part thereof within and adjacent to this subdivision, such vacation terminates the above dedication as to the part vacated.”  

Condition No. 1 of  of the Conditional Certification of Compliance (which can be viewed here) states that, "... prior to the development of the parcel…The applicant shall obtain rights of access to the parcel in a manner acceptable to the City of Rancho Palos Verdes."

September 20, 2016 City Council Meeting Follow-Up

On September 20, 2016, the City Council “received and filed” a memo regarding the Elkmont Canyon project regarding the City Attorney’s opinion on the driveway access issue and the appropriate process by which the proposed development application for a new house, associated grading and new driveway access off Hawthorne Blvd should be processed. At the meeting, the applicant’s attorney reiterated a letter submitted to the City indicating that the applicant has withdrawn his access request at this time (but has not withdrawn his proposed development application).  The proposed development application remains incomplete for processing at this time. 

 

  

Click here to view the video of the September 20, 2016 City Council, including public testimony, on this agenda item. 

Click here to view the September 20, 2016 City Council Staff Report
(scroll down to item O) 

Click here to view the August 23, 2016 letter to the City, from the Attorney representing several of the adjacent neighbors. 

Click here to view the September 9, 2016 letter from the City Attorney to the applicant.

Click here to view the September 12, 2016  letter from the City Attorney to the neighbor's attorney, responding to the August 23, 2016 letter.

Click here to view the September 19, 2016 letter from the Applicant's attorney.
    


Separate Request for Access from Hawthorne Blvd Not Applicable


 
Through the development process, it was determined that the property owner of Elkmont Canyon (APN 7576-026-028) must initiate the easement vacation process per City Council Resolution 90-93 to gain access to his vacant lot from Hawthorne Blvd., as there was thought to be tract language prohibiting access to the lot. This initiation request was originally scheduled to be considered by the City Council on July 19, 2016, but the item was then continued to September 20, 2016. 

However, upon the completion of further research, the City Attorney has opined that review Resolution 90-93 is inapplicable to this process because all access to Elkmont Canyon has been abandoned since 1961, and that there is nothing to "vacate" under the terms of this resolution.  Thus, the Staff Report for the September 20th meeting has been modified to a "receive and file" memo, which means that no decision regarding access to the site will be made at this meeting and the access issue will simply be part of the review of the proposed project.
 
An email has been sent to those signed up with the list server group.  To see the Staff Report please click the link below to the September 20, 2016 City Council agenda and scroll down to item "O". 
 
September 20, 2016 City Council Agenda

Geologic Investigation Permit

On March 13, 2017, City Staff was contacted by the project applicant’s geologist inquiring about submitting a Geological Investigation Permit (GIP) application to conduct geologic test pits for the Elkmont Canyon Residential project (APN:  7576-026-028).  A GIP is required for all investigative trenching, boring and/or grading, performed mechanically or by hand, which is typically required to obtain information for preparing a geotechnical reports.  The applicant was informed that prior to issuing a GIP, an Encroachment Permit from the Public Works Department must be obtained in order to temporarily provide vehicular access to the property from Hawthorne Blvd. 

After extensive communication, and meetings with the Applicant, and the attorney for the neighboring property owners, on March 28, 2018, the City issued a Geologic Investigation Permit for geologic investigation work on the Elkmont Canyon site (APN 7576-026-028). Click here to view the permit and the map of the proposed test locations.

The Permit is subject to numerous conditions, including but not limited to, flagging of the proposed test sites and City Geologist review and approval of all proposed test pit and boring locations prior to any work. The applicant also obtained an encroachment permit from the Public Works Department to allow the soil engineers access to the site from Hawthorne Blvd to mark the proposed testing locations, and once final approval is provided by the City Geologist, complete the testing work. Click here to view the encroachment permit. 

On April 18, 2018, City Planning Staff, the City Geologist, and Applicant and his engineer (Hamilton and Associates) visited the site to view the proposed testing locations, which were marked with stakes and yellow ribbon. The work is scheduled to occur on April 24 & 25, 2018. 

Due to some issues with the conditions of approval, the work was postponed, and was rescheduled for June 19th and 20th.  The work has been completed and the City Geologist also walked the entire site on Wednesday June 20, 2018 and found that the applicant had compacted the backfill materials (filled the holes) appropriately and restored the ground at the test pit locations to the pre-excavation grade. He did not see any areas where the canyon drainage had been altered and only saw the typical ground disturbance to be expected in the areas of geologic test pits.

Weed Abatement-2017

In response to a weed abatement order issued by L.A. Agricultural Commissioner Weights & Measures, on April 17, 2017, City Staff met at the Elkmont Canyon site (APN 7576-026-028) with the Mr. Perera (property owner) and his maintenance superintendent, as well as Staff from L.A. County including the Weed Abatement Division (enforces laws requiring the removal of weeds, brush, and debris from vacant properties). The purpose of the meeting was to ensure clarity regarding L.A. County’s requirements for the 2017 weed abatement. According to the County, the weed abatement order pertains to the trimming of only the yellow mustard plants and weeds that have grown since the last trimming. Furthermore, no bushes, brush, and/or trees are required to be trimmed. L.A. County Staff also stated that the plant cuttings may remain on the site, but it was suggested that the cuttings be mulched as much as possible. 

On April 17, 2017, Mr. Perera obtained the required Encroachment Permit (Click here to view) from the City’s Public Works Department which allows vehicular access to the property from Hawthorne Blvd. in order to complete the required weed abatement. The Encroachment Permit expires on May 9, 2017 and is subject to several conditions listed in the document linked above associated with the weed abatement work.

The weed abatement work was conducted on April 28-30 and May 4-7 during the permitted construction/landscaping hours (7AM-6PM on Friday and 9AM-5PM on Saturday) to complete the required work

On May 10, 2017, City and LA County Staff conducted a site visit to the property at Elkmont Canyon and confirmed that the weed abatement work was completed in compliance with the 2017 Weed Abatement Order.

Weed Abatement-2018

On March 23, 2018, Mr. Perera, the owner of the Elkmont Canyon site (APN 7576-026-028), obtained an Encroachment Permit (Click here to view) from the City’s Public Works Department which allows vehicular access to the property from Hawthorne Blvd. in order to complete the annual weed abatement required by the L.A. County Weed Abatement Division (enforces laws requiring the removal of weeds, brush, and debris from vacant properties).  The Encroachment Permit expires on April 15, 2018 and is subject to several conditions listed in the document linked above associated with the weed abatement work.

On Tuesday March 27, 2018, City Staff met with Mr. Perera at the Elkmont Canyon site, as well L.A. County Weed Abatement Staff to ensure clarity regarding L.A. County’s requirements for the 2018 weed abatement.

According to the County, the weed abatement order pertains to the trimming of the weeds, some invasive bushes (castor bean), dead leaves on yucca plants, dead palm fronds within 6’ of the ground, and trimming up low-hanging branches on trees that hang within 6’ of the ground. L.A. County Staff also stated that the plant cuttings may remain on the site, but it was suggested that the cuttings be mulched as much as possible.  Please click here to view photos of foliage that LA County is requiring to be trimmed.

The property owner is completing the trimming over the next several weekends, but also will comply with the landscaping hours required per Municipal Code Section 17.56.020, which is 7:00am-6:00pm Monday through Friday, and Saturdays 9:00am-5:00pm, with no such activity to occur on Sunday or the legal holidays.

LA County confirmed on May 10, 2018 that the work had been completed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

List Server Group


If you would like to be placed on an "interested parties" list to receive any future public hearing notices related to the Elkmont Canyon project via e-mail, you may subscribe by joining the list server group here.