|Back To Agenda||Print Page|
FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT
DATE: JUNE 12, 2007
SUBJECT: CODE AMENDMENT (CASE NO. ZON2007-00076): MISCELLANEOUS CODE AMENDMENT
Staff Coordinator: Kit Fox, AICP, Associate Planner
Adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2007-__, thereby forwarding a recommendation of approval of the proposed Miscellaneous Code Amendment to the City Council.
On February 6, 2007, the City Council considered a request for a waiver of the penalty fee associated with an after-the-fact Planning application. In this particular case, the application in question had been previously denied without prejudice by the Planning Commission, and this decision had been upheld on appeal by the City Council. However, when the applicant submitted a revised application for the after-the-fact approval in January 2007, Staff assessed a second penalty fee. Although the City Council ultimately granted the applicant’s request to waive the second penalty fee, the City Council felt that to do so required “stretching” of the Municipal Code provisions regarding fee waivers. Therefore, in granting the applicant’s request, the City Council also directed Staff to initiate an amendment to the City’s fee waiver provisions to include provisions to waive duplicate penalty fees in similar situations.
On February 20, 2007, the City Council considered appeals of the Planning Commission’s affirmation of the Director’s approval of a site plan review application with neighborhood compatibility analysis. This case involved a house that had been destroyed by fire and was being rebuilt, albeit taller but still within the 16-foot height limit. However, this application triggered the neighborhood compatibility analysis because there was about one thousand square feet (1,000 SF) of unaccounted building area that was not reflected in the City’s building permits for the house. The City Council ultimately overturned the neighbors’ appeals, and directed Staff to initiate an amendment to the City’s neighborhood compatibility processes that would expedite and exempt similar cases from review in the future.
Given that Staff was about to proceed with the code amendment process for these two (2) issues, there were a couple of other timely issues that Staff thought could also be addressed at the same time. One issue is the revisions of the City’s attached unit development standards, which deal (in part) with the transmission of sound and vibration through common walls and floors/ceilings of attached residential projects. The other issue is the requirement (or lack thereof) for temporary framework silhouettes for non-single-family-residential projects.
Pursuant to the City’s Development Code, all code amendments must be initiated by the City Council or reviewed by the City Council before proceeding. Therefore, Staff requested initiation of the two (2) additional code amendments that could be considered concurrent with the two (2) City Council-initiated code amendments. On May 1, 2007, the City Council initiated the Miscellaneous Code Amendment (Case No. ZON2007-00076) for all four (4) amendments.
The four (4) components of this code amendment are discussed separately below, accompanied by Staff’s recommended changes to the Development Code language.
Waive Duplicate Penalty Fees for After-the-Fact Planning Applications in Certain Specified Circumstances
The City Council has directed Staff to revise the fee waiver provisions of the Development Code (Section 17.78.010) to allow for the waiver of penalty fees when duplicate after-the-fact applications are submitted. Accordingly, Staff recommends revising Section 17.78.010 as follows (additions underlined and deletions struck out):
“17.78.010 Fee waivers
A. Except for the application fee exemptions described in Sections 17.78.010(DE) and (F) of this chapter, no appeal, application for a permit or approval under Title 15, Title 16 or Title 17 of this Municipal Code may be accepted unless the applicant pays all necessary application, appeal and/or penalty fees as established by the city council. The director may accept requests for waiver of application, appeal and/or penalty fees for presentation to the city council. If a fee waiver request is submitted concurrently with an application or appeal, the application, appeal and/or penalty fee shall be paid by the applicant and the paid fee shall be held by the city until a determination is made on the accompanying fee waiver request.
Expedite Planning Review and Exempt the Reconstruction of Single-Family Residences that are Damaged or Destroyed by Fire from the City’s Neighborhood Compatibility Requirements
The City Council has directed Staff to revise the exemptions from the Neighborhood Compatibility Analysis requirements of the Development Code (Section 17.02.030(B)(2)) to include the reconstruction of single-family homes damaged or destroyed by fire or other involuntary act of the property owner. Consistent with this directive, Staff is also proposing a fee waiver for such cases. The proposed fee waiver language is included in the preceding section of this report. In addition, Staff recommends revising Section 17.02.030(B)(2) as follows to address the Neighborhood Compatibility review changes (additions underlined and deletions struck out):
The projects listed in the following subparagraphs (a through de) shall be exempt from the Neighborhood Compatibility requirements of this subsection. However, no property shall be issued a permit for a project that is subject to the same subparagraph more than once in a two-year period without complying with the Neighborhood Compatibility requirements:
Revise the Noise and Vibration Standards from the City’s Attached Unit Development Standards
The City’s attached unit development standards (Chapter 17.06) were adopted in 1975 as a part of the City’s first zoning code. These standards initially dealt with attenuation of sound and vibration between attached dwelling units, as well as enforcement of fire rating standards. This Code underwent minor modifications and renumbering over the years. Major changes included:
- Adding provisions requiring public utility easements within private streets (1980); and,
Other than these modifications, however, the substantive provisions regarding the attenuation of sound and vibration have not changed for more than thirty (30) years. The City’s records indicate that the City Council discussed these provisions on November 6, 1975, but the Minutes of that meeting do not reflect any specific intent of the City Council at that time. In the past few years, developers of multi-family residential projects have questioned these standards, indicating that they are more stringent than those of many other South Bay and Peninsula jurisdictions (see table below). The major difference appears to be the minimum Impact Insulation Class (IIC) for floors and ceilings, which is fifty (50) or not specified in most jurisdictions, but sixty-five (65) in our city.
Jurisdiction Common Walls Common Floors/Ceilings Notes
The benefit of the current requirements is that they provide for a greater degree of noise and vibration insulation between attached units than the minimum requirements of the Building Code (and those of some other South Bay and Peninsula jurisdictions). This should lead to a quieter interior living environment for future residents. The cost of the current requirements is that conventional wood-frame construction will not meet these sound insulation requirements; concrete construction would be required to meet them. This would increase the cost of construction for developers, a cost that would probably be passed on to the future residents in the form of higher housing prices.
Although the City has not processed a multi-family residential project in quite some time, there are currently two (2) such projects under review that would trigger compliance with the attached unit development standards contained in Chapter 17.06. These include:
- The senior condominium project (Vellana) on Crestridge Road; and,
Based upon the foregoing discussion, Staff believes that the sound and vibration attenuation provisions of Chapter 17.06 may be overly restrictive. For the surveyed jurisdictions that include an IIC standard for common floor/ceiling assemblies, 50 IIC is the most common standard. Therefore, Staff suggests revising this standard as follows to be more consistent with the standards of other nearby jurisdictions (additions underlined and deletions struck out):
“17.06.020 Development Standards.
A. Attenuation of Noise and Vibration.
Add a Requirement for the Construction of Temporary Framework Silhouettes for Multi-Family Residential, Commercial, Institutional and Cemetery Projects Requiring Approval of a Conditional Use Permit
While the City’s Neighborhood Compatibility Guidelines for single-family residential projects require the construction of a project silhouette for all projects requiring neighborhood compatibility analysis, no such silhouette requirement currently exists for multi-family residential and non-residential projects. Although not required, Staff has made it a practice to ask the developers of multi-family residential and non-residential projects that could potentially affect views to erect some type of silhouette structure to assist Staff and the public in assessing view impacts. Past projects where this has been requested include:
- The Belmont Village assisted living facility;
Currently, the City is considering other non-single-family-residential projects for which the assessment of view impacts may be a critical component in the consideration of a conditional use permit. These include:
- The Marymount College expansion project;
Based upon the City’s prior practice of asking for silhouettes for previously-approved non-single-family-residential projects, Staff believes that codifying the requirement for silhouettes for other major non-single-family-residential projects requiring a conditional use permit would be helpful to Staff and the public in understanding and evaluating the impacts of these projects. Therefore, Staff recommends revising the application requirements for conditional use permits (Section 17.60.020) as follows (additions underlined and deletions struck out):
A. The application for a conditional use permit shall be filed on forms provided by the city. A person may not file, and the director shall not accept, an application which is the same as, or substantially the same as, an application upon which final action has been taken by the director, by the planning commission, or by the city council within twelve months prior to the date of said application, unless accepted by motion of the planning commission or city council, or the previous application is denied without prejudice by the planning commission or city council.
The subject of this code amendment is applicable citywide and would require direct notification of more than one thousand (1,000) property owners. Therefore, pursuant to Section 65091(a)(3) of the California Government Code, a one-eighth-page public notice for the June 12, 2007, public hearing on the draft Miscellaneous Code Amendment was published in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News on May 26, 2007. Notice was also posted on the City’s website. As of the date this report was completed, Staff had received no comments in response to the public notification for this item.
Staff believes 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 provide regulations that would reduce undue burdens imposed upon property owners in cases of certain after-the-fact applications and reconstruction of fire-damaged residences. Furthermore, the revisions would protect residents of future attached dwelling units from unreasonable noise and vibration impacts, and help to reduce impacts to properties within the City and the environment by protecting views and the aesthetic quality of the area. An Addendum to the prior Negative Declaration will be prepared for the City Council’s consideration.
Based upon the foregoing discussion, Staff recommends that the Planning Commission forward a recommendation of approval for this miscellaneous code amendment (Case No. ZON2007-00076) to the City Council, via Minute Order.
In addition to Staff’s recommendation, the following alternatives are available for the Planning Commission's consideration:
1. Forward the draft Miscellaneous Code Amendment to the City Council with modifications read into the record of tonight’s meeting.
2. Identify any issues of concern with the draft Miscellaneous Code Amendment, provide Staff with direction for modifications, and continue the public hearing to a date certain.
PC Resolution No. 2007-__