The Rancho Palos Verdes City Council has ruled that Elin Vanderlip, whose family once owned most of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, must abide by zoning regulations on her 11 1/2-acre estate.
After a 2-hour discussion, the council upheld a decision by the Planning Commission that would grant Vanderlip a variance and permit her to keep 11 rental cottages on her 11 1/2-acre estate, if she agrees to 14 conditions.
Vanderlip has acknowledged that she never obtained the proper permits for nearly half of the cottages that she built on her estate, but has resisted city efforts to have her comply with building and safety codes.
Vanderlip said Tuesday night that the council was being “vindictive.”
Among other things, the conditions would require that she eliminate cooking facilities in some of the units, satisfy all Fire Code requirements (including the installation of sprinkler systems and smoke/heat detectors and paving for better access), and install a city and county-approved on-site sewage system.
“These are conditions that every other landlord has to comply with,” Councilman Mel Hughes said in an interview Wednesday.
Hughes said if Vanderlip doesn’t accept the variance, the city must decide what its next step will be, “and it will most probably be prosecution and abatement. But that’s a bridge we hope we don’t have to cross.”
Vanderlip’s attorney, Charles Locko, said Vanderlip needs the rental income from the cottages to maintain the ambiance of the landscaped and spacious estate called Villa Narcissa.
City staff was ordered by the council to draft a resolution on the matter. The council will cast a final vote on the variance when it reconvenes the public hearing on Nov. 1.