Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom
— Thomas Jefferson


In 2005, under Allan Rigg's leadership, the City of Palos Verdes Estates staff proposed and the City Council passed Resolution R05-32 which established a clear process for enforcing encroachments on parklands (for the resolution, click here). The 600+ acres of designated parklands in PVE are permanently deed restricted by this clause:

“That, except as provided above, [exceptions are for utility easements] no buildings, structures or concessions shall be erected, maintained or permitted upon said realty, except such as are properly incidental to the convenient and/or proper use of said realty for park and/or recreation purposes.” ¶4 (p 9)                                  (for full document in context, click here)

In 2006 the City identified 40 instances where residents had encroached on adjacent parkland and built structures, and given five years to comply. 39 of those residents removed the offending structures. One was permitted because there was a public benefit (steps along the bluffs). One did not -- Robert Lugliani and that intransigence led to the illegal sale of the parkland to Mr. Lugliani in 2012 -- for more information see discussion of the sale of Panorama parkland here

In 2013, two concerned residents (Ried Schott and John Harbison) walked all the parklands, paths, lanes and alleys in PVE and prepared a report on encroachments.  This report contained maps, photos, and diagrams showing the encroachments, and the report was given to the City for consideration of their enforcement officer. For the report, click here

Since then, the City of PVE has hired a full-time enforcement officer and begun to tackle the list.

In January 2013, there was a Joint Meeting of the PVE City Council, Planning Commission, and Palos Verdes Homes Association to discuss encroachments. For the staff report on this, click here.

In July 2015, the City Council reviewed a draft policy for City Rights of Way and Parklands Encroachment Enforcement Strategy. For the staff report, click here.

In the process of doing so, the City decided it was best to replace the 2005 Resolution R05-32 with a more comprehensive set of procedures that shortened the time for remediation and made other changes. That revisions is still under discussion, but the latest incarnation was discussed in a City Council workshop on January 24, 2017. For that staff report, click here.

A clear policy for encroachments in Rights-of-Way still needs to be done. Rights-of way include:

  • the area between each home and the street, and this can be from 7 feet to 40 feet depending on the lot. This area is owned by the City, but the homeowner is responsible for maintaining landscaping which is limited to 30 inches in height and no structures are allowed unless specifically permitted
  • Paths, Lanes, Alleys. These are typically 20 feet wide and run between private lots. They are used for hiking and easements for utilities. The lanes and alleys are primarily in the Lunada Bay Area and are remnants of an original design that including parking lots and roads to those lots to support a City in Lunada Bay. 

The reason why Rights of way are different is that unlike parkland they are not deed restricted. The restrictions are a matter of policy, and hence enforcement requires cooperation. In general, the City in its enforcement actions is prioritizing areas where the encroachements are most egregious -- such as a wall or fence or dense landscaping that blocks access by the public or presents a safety hazard.

Chronology of Events:

  • 11/8/05 R05-32 Policy approved
  • 2006 40 citations issued to residents that had encroached at least 5 feet into parklands. Each resident was given 5 year to comply and remove the encroachment(s)
  • 2011 all but one (Lugliani on Via Panorama) had been addressed
  • 7/28/15 City Council meeting on City Rights of Way and Parklands Encroachment Enforcement Strategy
  • 1/6/16 Joint Meeting of the PVE City Council, Planning Commission, and Palos Verdes Homes Association to discuss encroachments. This was then discussed again at the City Council meeting the following week on 1/13/16
  • 9/6/13 Two residents prepare and present a report on encroachments in Parklands and Rights-of-way to the City Manager (Tony Dahlerbruch) and the City Planning Director (Allan Rigg)
  • December 2016 - January 2017 Draft policy presented to Parklands Committee, Planning Commission and City Council for comment

Voting Record of Elected Officials:

November 8, 2005 City Council Meeting

Voting For: Dwight Abbott, Flood, Rosemary Humphrey, Joe Sherwood

Voting Against: None

Recused: Jim Goodhart (who was one of the residents cited to remove encroachments and hence affected by the policy)

PVRRG Perspective:

After decades of neglect, other than the initiative in 2005-2007 to remove encroachments on parklands, the City of PVE is moving deliberately to address the issue of encroachments in PVE parklands.  Positive steps have been taken to amend/refine/tighten the processes, and a portion of the encroachments have been removed. Many remain, most of these in Rights-Of-Way, but the City Staff is fairly addressing the situation around encroachments. Sheri Repp-Loadsman and Elisa Hall should be commended for their efforts, as should Alan Rigg (Repp-Loadsman's predecessor). Some members of City Council have resisted these changes by making comments like "We don't want these enforcement actions get between the good relations that the City Council has with our residents"; let's hope that they do not block the proposed refinements of the policies or discourage enforcement.

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