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TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL
FROM: DIRECTOR OF PLANNING, BUILDING AND CODE ENFORCEMENT
DATE: APRIL 20, 2004
SUBJECT: THE RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS STEERING COMMITTEE
Staff Coordinator: Ara Michael Mihranian, Senior Planner
Staff seeks Council review and approval of the Committee’s scope of work.
On June 3, 2003, the City Council, at the recommendation of the former Neighborhood Compatibility Steering Committee, formed a new committee, to review the City’s current residential developments standards. At that time, the Council also agreed that the composition of the newly formed steering committee should follow similar suit to the Neighborhood Compatibility Steering Committee and be comprised of two Council members, two Commissioners, and community representatives. On February 3, 2004, an item was placed on the Council’s agenda seeking direction on the membership criteria and scope of work. Pursuant to Council direction, the newly formed steering committee is comprised of eleven (11) members: two Council representatives (Councilman Long and Wolowicz), the two Commission representatives (Commissioners Mueller and Gertsner) and seven community representatives (Cartwright, Denton, Dyda, Lyon, Karp, Perestram, and Slayden). At the request of Councilman Long, Staff respectfully requests the Council review and approve the Committee’s scope of work before the Committee meets for the first time.
On June 3, 2003 the Council, at the recommendation of the former Neighborhood Compatibility Steering Committee, agreed to form a new committee to review the City’s current residential development standards. At that time, the Council agreed that the formation of the new committee should follow suit with the Neighborhood Compatibility
Steering Committee and should be comprised of two council members, two planning commissioners and five community representatives. The Council then directed Staff to come back at a later date with an agenda item regarding the committee member selection process.
On December 16, 2003, the Council appointed newly elected Councilman Long and Councilman Wolowicz as Council representatives to the Residential Development Standards Committee.
On February 3, 2004, at the request of Mayor Pro Tem Clark, an item was placed on the Council’s agenda seeking direction on the membership criteria and scope of work for the Residential Development Standards Committee. At the meeting, the Council agreed that in addition to the two Council and two Commission representatives, the new Committee should also be comprised of community representatives selected from the pool of former members of the Neighborhood Compatibility Steering Committee (Frank Lyon, Jon Cartwright, Ken Dyda, Lois Karp, Vic Quirarte, Don Schults, and Diane Weinberger) and recent applicants to the Planning Commission that were not selected but received at least one vote (Kristine Denton, Stephen Perestam, and Jim Slayden). The Council directed Staff to inquire whether these individuals were interested in serving as members of the Residential Development Standards Committee.
On February 10, 2004, the Planning Commission appointed Commissioner Mueller and Commissioner Gerstner as Commission representatives to the Residential Development Standards Committee.
Given that the Planning Commission has appointed representatives and Staff has contacted all the prospective community representatives, Staff is prepared to move forward and notify the community representatives of their formal appointment to the Committee within the next week. However, before Staff proceeds, at the request of Councilman Long, this item has been agendized so that the Council can review and agree on the Committee’s scope of work (see attachment).
Given the previous Council action to appoint its representatives, the Commission’s action to appoint its representatives, and the feedback from the ten (10) prospective community representatives, the make-up of the Residential Development Standards Committee is as follows:
City Council Representatives: Councilman Tom Long
Councilman Steve Wolowicz
Planning Commission Representatives: Chairman Craig Mueller
Commissioner Bill Gerstner
Community Representatives: Jon Cartwright
Committee’s Proposed Scope of Work
Based on the issues identified by the Neighborhood Compatibility Steering Committee at the February 8, 2003 joint workshop, a proposed scope of work for the Committee was presented to the City Council on February 3, 2004 for review. At that time, no comments or changes to the scope of work were made (see attached excerpt minutes). Therefore, as recommended on February 3, 2004, Staff is recommending that the newly formed Residential Development Standards Committee review, at a minimum, the following:
A concern was raised by the Neighborhood Compatibility Steering Committee that the latest trend of lot splits and subdivisions being proposed include lot sizes that are incompatible with the size of lots within surrounding neighborhoods. Although it is understood that these proposed subdivisions comply with the City’s existing residential development standards, there was concern that the resultant densities may be incompatible with the character of the neighboring lots.
A concern was raised by the Neighborhood Compatibility Steering Committee that the current maximum lot coverage standards result in smaller lots having greater lot coverage than larger lots. Specifically, in the RS-5 zoning district, the minimum lot size permitted in this zoning district is 8,000 square feet, while the maximum permitted lot coverage is 52% of the lot. Under this scenario, an 8,000 square foot lot could have up to 4,160 square feet of lot coverage, which may result in an overly-built lot because it is more than half of the lot size.
In addition to the lot coverage standards, some Neighborhood Compatibility Steering Committee members also felt that the setback standards may need to be increased so that there is more open space between residences.
A concern was also raised by the Neighborhood Compatibility Steering Committee, as well as several Planning Commissioners at the time, that the residential standards, such as lot coverage, should be applicable to the "buildable" lot area rather than the gross lot area. This would subtract portions of a property that cannot be developed, such as extreme slopes (35% or greater) and setbacks, from specific development calculations.
The proposed scope of work described above is based on information provided at the February 8, 2003 Joint Workshop. However, it can be expected that the scope of work may expand or contract as the Committee begins to deal with the specific issues and Staff input is provided. As such, Staff respectfully requests Council direction on the scope of work, including whether the Council wishes to identify additional issues for review at this time or eliminate issues from the Committee’s review.
Meeting Schedule of the Committee
Based on past experience with the meeting schedule of the Neighborhood Compatibility Steering Committee, Staff believes that the optimal time for the new Committee to meet would be Friday afternoons. This is because Staff found that with the Neighborhood Compatibility Steering Committee most individuals did not have conflicts during that time and working participants were able to attend. In addition, it avoided Staff overtime and other costs associated with having evening or weekend meetings. Notwithstanding, Staff realizes that since the Committee is partially comprised of new members, Friday afternoons may not be the most convenient time to meet. Therefore, Staff anticipates receiving future direction from the City Council’s ad hoc representatives on the Committee’s meeting schedule and a possible date for the "kick-off" meeting.
FISCAL IMPACTThe establishment of an ad hoc steering committee, assigned with the task to review the Development Code’s residential development standards, is not expected to have a fiscal impact on the City’s General Fund unless the Committee meetings occur outside of City Hall business hours. Respectfully submitted: Joel Rojas, aicp Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement
Reviewed, Les EvansCity Manager
ATTACHMENTS (some attachments are not available electronically and may be viewed at City Hall)