Last updated August 7, 2018
The Question & Answer Page is intended to address community questions and provide accurate information.
The Palos Verdes Library District published a helpful guide to distinguish fake news and determine news accuracy.
Are Emergency Shelters (e.g. Homeless Shelters) allowed in the City of Palos Verdes Estates?
Question added 02/21/2019
- What is an emergency shelter?
Emergency Shelters are defined in State Health and Safety Code Section 50801(e) as: “housing with minimum support services for homeless persons that is limited to occupancy of six months or less by a homeless person. No individual or household may be denied emergency shelter because of an inability to pay.”
- Why must Palos Verdes Estates establish a zoning category allowing emergency shelters?
California Senate Bill 2 (SB 2) became effective in 2008 requiring all cities and counties to provide at least one zoning category in which emergency shelters can be located as a permitted use (i.e. without a public hearing). The zoning category must be identified in the jurisdiction’s Housing Element, include sites with sufficient capacity to serve the community’s local population need for emergency shelters, and be adopted within one year of each jurisdiction’s Housing Element adoption. Most cities in the region already comply with this law.
- How did Palos Verdes Estates establish a zoning category allowing emergency shelters?
In July 2014, the Palos Verdes Estates City Council adopted Ordinance O14-709, amending the Palos Verdes Estates Municipal Code (PVEMC) by adding Chapter 17.44 (Reasonable Accommodation) to Title 17 (Zoning Procedures) to set forth the procedures to request reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities seeking equal access to housing under the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (42 U.S.C. §3601 et seq.), and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (Cal. Gov't Code §12900 et seq.), as any of these statutory provisions now exist or may be amended from time to time (collectively, the "Fair Housing Laws") in the application of zoning laws and other land use regulations, policies and procedures.
Further, Ordinance O14-709 added Chapter 18.72 Special Development Standards to Title 18 (Zoning Regulations) to PVEMC setting forth standards for the establishment and operation of emergency shelter facilities in Commercial Zones.
- What is the Housing Element?
The Housing Element is a required component of each jurisdiction’s General Plan, which is a long-range planning document that guides the use of public and private lands within a community’s boundaries. The Housing Element is adopted every eight (8) years and assesses the housing needs of all economic segments of the community and provides goals, policies and programs for resolving those needs. The State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) certifies Housing Elements for compliance with state housing laws. Palos Verdes Estates Emergency Shelter Overlay area (Commercial areas) was identified in the Housing Element as part of the local adoption process in January 2014.
The Housing Element adopted in January 2014 can be found here.
Why is it important for HCD to certify a jurisdiction’s Housing Element?
In order to qualify for a wide variety of financial grants to plan, design and construct various city improvements, including streets, sidewalks, parks, trails, open space, etc., the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) must certify the jurisdiction’s Housing Element to be compliant with state housing law.
What is Palos Verdes Estates’ population need for emergency shelter?
As reported by Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) during preparation of the current Housing Element, the Census Bureau at that time reported no homeless persons in Palos Verdes Estates
Didn’t Palos Verdes Estates already allow emergency shelters prior to adopting Ordinance 014-709?
Yes, however PVEMC did not comply with SB 2, which requires a zone be identified where emergency shelters may locate without a public hearing. Emergency shelters in Palos Verdes Estates must be located in the Commercial (C) zones, require a Site Plan Permit and Management and Operations Plan.
Does SB 2 require Palos Verdes Estates to develop emergency shelters?
- Does the state restrict where jurisdictions may allow emergency shelters?
Yes, heavy industrial zones, and areas permitting the use of dangerous chemicals and/or materials are not considered compatible for locating emergency shelters. Jurisdictions must also demonstrate that sufficient vacant, for-lease, and/or for-sale properties exist within the area. The state also considers the availability of nearby transit for homeless persons to access services that may be elsewhere in the community.
- Are there any pending plans on file to develop emergency shelters?
No, there are no pending plans within the City.
- What operating standards for emergency shelters are permitted by State law?
Jurisdictions may adopt limited, objective development and management standards for emergency shelters. As specified in SB 2, the permitted standards include a maximum number of beds, size and location of exterior and interior waiting areas, proximity to other shelters, security, provision of on-site management, and length of stay.
State law requires that jurisdictions apply the same development standards for emergency shelters as are required for other businesses operating in the area. For Palos Verdes Estates, this means that emergency shelters must operate within entirely enclosed permanent structures, comply with off-street parking provisions, lighting, noise and all other city regulations that apply to other businesses in the zone.
What are Palos Verdes Estates’ emergency shelter operating standards?
Specific standards of all shelters within Palos Verdes Estates’ Emergency Shelter Overlay include:
a) Maximum length of stay: six months (defined in State law).
b) Maximum number of beds: up to 15.
c) Parking: one (1) one space per (4) four beds, plus one space for each staff person on duty.
d) Separation from other shelters: 300 feet (maximum permitted by state law).
e) Management Plan: site-specific information that describes establish hours of operation, staffing levels, maximum length of stay, size and location of exterior and interior on-site waiting and intake areas, and security procedures etc. Staging for drop-off, intake and pick-up should take place inside the building, at a rear or side entrance, or inner courtyard. Shelters must provide a storage area for refuse and recyclables that is enclosed by a six-foot-high landscape screen, solid wall, or fence, which is accessible to collection vehicles on one side. The storage area must be large enough to accommodate the number of bins that are required to provide the facility with sufficient service so as to avoid the overflow of material outside of the bins provided.
Is a property owner required to sell or lease to someone who wants to operate an emergency shelter on their property?
No, an owner has discretion regarding the sale or lease of his/her property.
What if the City does not maintain an emergency shelter zoning overlay?
If Palos Verdes Estates did not maintain an emergency shelter zoning overlay, the City’s Housing Element would be rendered non-compliant by the State HCD. In such a scenario, an emergency shelter could locate throughout the community without being required to comply with any of the operating standards identified in Question #12 above. Additionally, the City would become ineligible to qualify for a variety of financial grants that benefit the entire community.
What are the rules for posting lawn signs?
Question added 02/08/2018
The City has received a number of questions about the size and placement of lawn signs.
The City respects the public’s First Amendment right to the freedom of expression. Mindful of this protection, the City of Palos Verdes Estates allows lawn signs, but requires the lawn signs on private property to be set back at a minimum of 10-feet from the curb or edge of the roadway. No signs may be posted on public property, such as parks, parklands, trees, sidewalks, parkways, street signs, and rights-of-way. The purpose of this regulation is to control litter produced by unauthorized use and distribution of signs and preserve the natural scenic character and aesthetic appearance of the City of Palos Verdes Estates. We appreciate the public’s support and adherence to these regulations.
In reference to the size and number of signs on private property, the City refers to the regulations of the Palos Verdes Homes Association (PVHA). The PVHA advises that:
- One sign may be displayed on an improved or unimproved (vacant) residential property.
- The size of the sign displayed shall not be larger than 18 inches x 30 inches. The sign frame must be a maximum of 2 inches x 2 inches.
- All signs on the exterior of commercial buildings or located anywhere on the property must be approved by the Palos Verdes Homes Association.
Please consult with the PVHA for more information; the PVHA can be called at (310) 373-6721.
The City encourages voluntary compliance and neighborhood cooperation and communication to maintain compliance with these sign regulations. If signage concerns cannot be addressed among neighbors, they can be reported to the City at (310) 378-0383; however, recognizing the City’s limited resources, the City appreciates the public’s patience and cooperation with enforcement efforts.
Southern California Edison provides the following reminder about posting signs on public utility poles.
The City Municipal Code references signage in the following places: