CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES

CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES

PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING

FEBRUARY 10, 2004

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Vice Chairman Mueller at 7:05 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.

FLAG SALUTE

Commissioner Van Wagner led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ATTENDANCE

Present: Commissioners Gerstner, Karp, Knight, Tetreault, Van Wagner, Vice Chairman Mueller

Absent: Commissioner Cote was excused

Also present were Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Rojas, Associate Planner Blumenthal, Assistant Planner Luckert, Assistant Planner Yu, Project Coordinator Alvarez, and Recording Secretary Peterson.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Vice Chairman Mueller suggested hearing item no. 5 after item no. 1, as there had been a request to continue the item. The Planning Commission unanimously agreed to hear item no. 5 after item no. 1.

COMMUNICATIONS

Director/Secretary Rojas reported that at the meeting of February 3, 2004 the City Council: 1) approved a fee waiver for a View Restoration project that will be coming before the Planning Commission; 2) affirmed the Planning Commission decision regarding the proposed new home on Calle de Suenos; and 3) identified the date for a possible joint Planning Commission / City Council workshop with no topics identified at this time.

Director/Secretary Rojas distributed one item of correspondence for Agenda Item No. 2 and one item of correspondence for Agenda Item No. 5.

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (regarding non-agenda items)

None

CONTINUED BUSINESS

1. Minutes of January 13, 2004

Vice Chairman Mueller noted the modification to page 1 of the minutes that he had mentioned at the last meeting, and approved the minutes as modified, (1-0-5) with Commissioners Gerstner, Karp, Knight, Tetreault, and Van Wagner abstaining since they were not on the Planning Commission at that time.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

5. Appeal of View Preservation Permit No. 63: 15 Diamonte Lane

Director/Secretary Rojas explained that there has been a continuance request from the foliage owner, and noted that it is the decision of the Planning Commission as to whether to continue the item or not. He advised the Planning Commission and the public speakers to limit their discussion at this time to the issue of the continuance.

Commissioner Karp stated that there is a specific season in which trees should be trimmed, and was concerned that continuing this item would allow that window of opportunity to pass.

Director/Secretary Rojas agreed that there is a specific season to trim certain trees, however noted that the Conditions of Approval establish time periods for the trimming to occur. He noted that the foliage owner has 90 days from the date of the decision to trim the trees, and even if a decision was made at this meeting, the foliage owner may not have certain trees trimmed until the next trimming cycle, which is next winter.

Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.

Gail Lorenzen 15 Diamonte Lane, stated that this issue has been postponed and delayed for several years, noting that the permit was filed over 14 months ago. She felt she has been very tolerant of the delays, but requested that the Planning Commission hear the item at this meeting.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Tetreault stated that when he had visited the foliage owner’s property, Mr. Kaye had expressed willingness to trim 10 to 12 feet from his trees, and noted that this was also staff’s recommendation on the trees. Therefore, he questioned why the hearing should be continued if everyone seems to be in agreement on what should be trimmed.

Vice Chairman Mueller explained that during a public hearing, often times other issues arise, and what has been said by someone in the field may not always hold true.

Commissioner Knight moved to continue the item to the meeting of February 24, 2004, seconded by Commissioner Van Wagner. The item was continued, (5-1) with Commissioner Karp dissenting.

2. Height Variation Permit and Site Plan Review Permit (Case ZON2003-00253): 30758 Ganado Drive

Assistant Planner Luckert presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project and the need for the Height Variation. He explained that staff was able to make all necessary findings and was recommending approval, with conditions, of the proposed project. He noted that staff had distributed to the Planning Commission some minor corrections to numbers 3 and 6 of the Conditions of Approval.

Commissioner Van Wagner asked staff if they had an opportunity to review the letter that had been distributed to the Planning Commission regarding the neighbor’s view.

Assistant Planner Luckert answered that staff has reviewed the letter but has not had the opportunity to go to the neighbor’s property to asses the alleged view impact.

Director/Secretary Rojas noted that the Ordinance and the Guidelines have language that define where views are protected from, and typically views are only protected from the first level or an area under 16 feet, with the exception being if the living room is on the second level. Given that the neighbor is stating in the letter that it is a bedroom on the second level, he did not feel this would be a protected view.

Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.

Pete Galante 30758 Ganado Drive explained the scope of his project to the Planning Commission.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Galante if he felt the proposed second story addition would be blocking the view from his neighbor’s upstairs bedroom and bathroom, as stated in the letter.

Mr. Galante was not aware that his proposed addition would be blocking any ocean view from his neighbor’s upstairs bedroom. He noted that he has not been in his neighbor’s upstairs bedroom, however his wife went to the neighbor’s home and did not feel the addition would infringe on their view.

Commissioner Knight asked if the neighbor had brought this issue up during the early neighborhood consultation process.

Mr. Galante answered that the neighbor had mentioned their concern.

John Peterkovich P.O. Box 6744, San Pedro stated that he is the architect for the project. He noted that the main view from the applicant’s home as well as the neighbor’s home is directly across the street towards the ocean and the City. He felt that the neighbor’s view from the upstairs bedroom was of the trees to the side of the home, and questioned protecting a view taken from a bathroom. He felt the proposed project was very reasonable.

Edward Aguinaldo 30750 Ganado Drive stated that this addition would be blocking his only view from the upstairs area in question.

Commissioner Van Wagner referred Mr. Aguinaldo to a photo of his home and the proposed project, and asked him to clarify what rooms in his home he was discussing.

Mr. Aguinaldo explained that the view from his master bedroom and bathroom would be blocked.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked Mr. Aguinaldo where his living room was located.

Mr. Aguinaldo noted that his living room was on the first floor in the front of the house.

Mrs. Galante (in rebuttal) explained that she has visited her neighbor’s home and that the view in question is actually from a walk through area that goes into the master bedroom. She noted that the view of the ocean is not seen when looking directly out of that window, but rather when looking from a side angle. She felt that the view her proposed addition would be blocking from the bedroom window was a view directly across her neighbor’s property and the canyon.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Director/Secretary Rojas read from the Height Variation Guidelines, which states that the viewing area may only be located on a second story of a structure if that area constitutes the primary living area. However, the viewing area may be located in the master bedroom if a view is not taken from one of the rooms comprising the primary living area and the master bedroom is located on the same story of the house as the primary living area. He noted that the bedrooms of the neighbor’s home are located on the second story and the primary living area is on the first floor. Therefore, given the Guidelines, staff did not feel the view from the master bedroom was a protected view.

Commissioner Gerstner noted that the proposed addition is well back from the front setback and was well in the limits of what could be proposed for the property, and did not think that the proposed addition was infringing on the viewing area of the neighbor.

Commissioner Gerstner moved to adopt P.C. Resolution No. 2004-05, thereby approving the Height Variation and Site Plan, as recommended by staff, seconded by Commissioner Tetreault. Approved, (6-0).

 

 

3. Height Variation Permit (Case ZON2003-00180): 2043 Beecham Drive

Assistant Planner Yu presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project. She stated that staff determined that the proposed project would not impact any views from the surrounding residences, would not result in a negative impact on the privacy of the adjacent properties, and it was compatible with the neighborhood in terms of architectural style and setbacks. However, staff felt that the scale of the proposed structure would not be compatible with the scale of the homes in the immediate neighborhood, since the proposed structure would be approximately 1,500 square feet larger than the average structure size of the neighboring residences. Further, staff felt that the front door entrance is not proportional to the scale of the front door entrances of the homes found in the immediate neighborhood, as it is the only 1½ story front door entrance. Based on staff’s analysis, staff is recommending the Planning Commission identify any issues of concern with the proposed project and provide staff and the applicant with direction to modify the project, and continue the public hearing to a later date.

Vice Chairman Mueller noted a letter from a neighbor regarding a privacy issue, and asked staff to discuss and clarify the privacy issue.

Assistant Planner Yu explained that staff concluded that the proposed addition did not cause an unreasonable intrusion on the privacy of the adjacent neighbors, which is what the finding for the Height Variation calls for, as there is currently a second story balcony on the residence which has a view into the neighbor’s rear yard.

Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.

Joe Padilla 2043 Beecham Drive (applicant) distributed photographs to the Planning Commission of the surrounding neighborhood, noting that many of the homes in the neighborhood are much closer to the property lines than his proposed addition. He felt that many of the homes in the neighborhood are the standard tract homes that have not been modified. He felt that many of the homes in the neighborhood were as large or larger than his proposed residence and that it does not appear massive or excessive large from the sidewalk. He explained that he wanted to make a home that was suitable for family gatherings with an updated, modern floor plan. He felt the proposed addition was an enhancement to the neighborhood and he had been very cautious with the design, as he had taken great measures to communicate with his neighbors and tried to alleviate any of their concerns. He added that he would be willing to remove the windows on the second story east elevation to address his neighbor’s privacy concerns.

Commissioner Van Wagner asked Mr. Padilla to address the issue of the entrance.

Mr. Padilla felt the entrance compliments the house and is within the scale of the architecture. Further, he felt the entrance softens the bulk and mass of the house with the circular feature.

Kristi Skelton 777 Silver Spur Road, RHE (architect) showed two displays depicting the homes in the area that are over 2,500 square feet. She felt that the proposed addition was consistent with the scale of the other homes in the neighborhood. She stated that she has made many design changes to the existing home to maintain an aesthetically pleasing, articulated home that is consistent with the other homes in the area. She explained that she changed the pitch of the roof to lower the roof height, the second story addition over the garage is 10 feet back from the face of the garage, added a balcony to the master suite to further articulate the façade, and removed some windows to alleviate privacy concerns of the neighbors. She noted that the proposed home would be 3,600 square feet, which is a reasonable size home that is typical for today’s current needs. She felt that this addition was comparable to other homes that have recently been approved by the Planning Commission.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked Ms. Skelton to comment on the proposed entrance of the home, and if it could be lowered.

Ms. Skelton explained that currently there is a door with a window above it, which is consistent with the style in the neighborhood. She stated that the entrance could be lowered a few feet, however it would not look as good architecturally, as it would look squatty and slightly out of place, which may make the home look more bulky and massive.

Vice Chairman Mueller discussed the size of the home, noting that staff indicated the home was larger than others in the neighborhood. He asked Ms. Skelton what type of modifications could be made to reduce the proposed square footage of the proposed addition.

Ms. Skelton explained that the 20 closest homes have not been added on to in 40 years, and felt that they were being asked to adhere to the ideals of a 1960’s type home. She acknowledged that the square footage of the home would be larger than those in the immediate neighborhood, it has been articulated further back on the property so that one would not realize the house is any bigger than the others in the neighborhood.

Commissioner Tetreault was concerned that the east wall of the proposed addition goes straight up, is an elevation higher than the home on the east, and is setback only 5’1" from the side property setback. He was concerned that section of the addition would look like it was towering over the neighbor’s house.

Mike O’Brien 2037 Beecham Drive stated that he was in favor of the proposed addition, as it will only add to the property values of the other houses in the neighborhood. He did not think it was inconsistent with others in the neighborhood, and appreciated the larger front yard setback proposed.

Ken Kingdon 2031 Beecham Drive stated that since the applicant has eliminated the privacy concerns he had with the second story window, he is in favor of the project.

Mr. Padilla (in rebuttal) felt that the architect has designed many features into the addition that will minimize the bulk and mass of the home, including the circular features at the garage door, entry door, and balcony. He stated that there will be a small retaining wall, low shrubs planted, and landscaping added in the front that will also minimize any appearance of bulk and mass from the street. He noted that there will be three ridge heights that will soften the bulk of the home. He noted that the colors of the home will be subtle earth tones.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked staff if there concern with the front entrance was because it was too tall or was the concern over the look of the entrance.

Assistant Planner Yu answered that staff was concerned with the entrance mainly because of the height, as it is proposed to be 1 ½ stories tall, and that if it was slightly lowered that could address staff’s concerns.

Vice Chairman Mueller noted that the architect felt the entrance could be lowered in height a few feet, and asked if this would satisfy staff’s concerns.

Assistant Planner Yu felt that staff would have to look at the plans before making that decision.

Commissioner Karp felt that this was a large structure that would be raising the average size of the homes in the neighborhood and that the next proposed addition could be a certain percentage larger than this home, raising the base of comparison for each successive addition. He wondered at what point the size of the additions would stop.

Commissioner Gerstner noted that there is a limit to the size of a house on the property that is defined by the Code.

Director/Secretary Rojas added that the project must go through a neighborhood compatibility analysis, which compares the proposed structure with what is currently existing in the immediate neighborhood, so as not to overwhelm the neighboring properties. He agreed that constantly approving homes that are bigger than the average is steadily raising the average. However, he stated that there is a limit to the size of the home, which is controlled by the existing lot coverage, setback, and height standards that exist. He noted that the issue as to whether that limit is too high will be addressed by the new Residential Development Standards Committee that the City Council recently formed.

Commissioner Knight felt that the proposed addition, based on bulk and mass, was not compatible with the neighborhood. He noted that many of the homes in the neighborhood are L shaped and this design would stand out in the neighborhood.

Vice Chairman Mueller re-opened the public hearing.

Commissioner Gerstner noted that most of the Planning Commission and staff’s comments regarding the proposed addition center around the issues of bulk and mass and the 1 ½ story entrance. He felt that sometimes circular shapes protruding out can make a house look larger as opposed to smaller and asked Ms. Skelton what she felt she could do to address these concerns.

Ms. Skelton responded that lowering the size of the entrance would expose more stucco and make the house seem more massive. She felt she could lower the entrance by a few feet and maintain the architectural integrity. She felt that putting corners rather than circles on the house would make the house angular and have the appearance of a larger home.

Commissioner Gerstner felt that trying or testing other shapes or forms might result in a less bulky appearance, or it may show staff and the Planning Commission that this design is the best in terms of bulk and mass.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Tetreault was still concerned about the east wall of the residence, as it would be on the setback line and go straight up. He felt this gave a towering appearance to the property below this wall. He noted that of the 20 homes surrounding the property, this is the third smallest lot and it will have the largest home of the 20, with almost 50 percent lot coverage.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked staff their opinion on the east wall of the residence.

Assistant Planner Yu stated that staff did not necessarily have a concern with the east wall of the proposed addition.

Commissioner Knight moved to continue the item to the March 9, 2004 meeting to allow the applicant to work with staff to reduce the bulk and size of the residence to make it more compatible with the neighborhood, seconded by Commissioner Karp.

Commissioner Gerstner moved to amend the motion to add that the applicant look specifically at the mass of the residence from the sidewalk, east elevation, and entrance area to reduce the overall mass of the house, not necessarily the square footage of the house, and offer alternative solutions, seconded by Commissioner Van Wagner.

Commissioner Knight moved to amend the motion to also direct the applicant to address the articulation between the house and the garage area, specifically to retain more of the articulation, seconded by Commissioner Tetreault.

Vice Chairman Mueller supported the motion and amendments, as he felt it gave the applicant some direction and flexibility and will help the Planning Commission understand the alternatives.

The motion and the amendments to the motion passed, (6-0).

RECESS AND RECONVENE

At 9:05 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 9:15 p.m. at which time they reconvened.

PUBLIC HEARINGS (cont)

4. Appeal of Grading Permit, Site Plan Review Permit, and Lot Line Adjustment (Case No. ZON2003-00349 and Sub2003-00009): 5251 Rolling Ridge Road

Commissioner Gerstner recused himself from the hearing and left the room, as he lives on Rolling Ridge Road.

Associate Planner Blumenthal presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project. Using a power point presentation, he showed slides of the lot with the elevations of the proposed house. He stated that staff concluded that the proposed project meets all of the criteria necessary to approve the Grading Permit and Lot Line Adjustment. After the Director approved the proposed project, a neighbor appealed the proposed project based on neighborhood compatibility, as the neighbor felt the project is too close to the street, too massive, and the architectural style is incompatible as compared to the other residents in the area. He explained that staff feels the applicant has designed the proposed residence to reduce bulk and mass by incorporating several design features into the residence and that the setback is similar to other residences in the area. In addition, staff feels the architectural style will not cause the residence to stand out in the neighborhood. He showed an aerial photograph of the neighborhood, showing how the lot line will be reconfigured between the two parcels, the silhouette of the structure, and a view of the property from the appellants house.

Commissioner Karp questioned the width of the street, noting that 20 feet is the minimum width for fire department access, and felt this was an opportunity to increase the width of the road, and asked why there is no condition requiring a 20-foot road in this area. He felt the area was currently a safety hazard.

Director/Secretary Rojas noted that Rolling Ridge Road is a private road, and when staff processed the parcel map to split the lot, the Fire Department was consulted and offered no comments or concerns regarding the width of the private road.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked if, with the Lot Line Adjustment, there was still the potential for parcel A to be split.

Associate Planner Blumenthal explained that the minimum lot size in the area is 20,000 square feet, and lot A is 43,000 square feet. Therefore, with or without the Lot Line Adjustment, by zoning regulations there is potential for a split on lot A. He noted, however, that the applicant has explained that there is a Covenant recorded to parcel A that will prohibit it from being split.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked staff if they felt the structure, being close to the street and two stories, was compatible with the neighborhood.

Associate Planner Blumenthal explained that when looking at the homes on Rolling Ridge Road and Via Campesina, staff felt that the two-story home is compatible with the homes in the neighborhood.

Commissioner Knight asked how many of the homes in the area have the side of the house facing the street.

Associate Planner Blumenthal referred to the aerial photograph and noted homes on Rolling Ridge Road and Via Campesina which have the sides of the home facing the street.

Vice Chairman Mueller opened the public hearing.

Diane Wilson 26826 San Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, explained that she was speaking on behalf of her mother, Bettie Slagg (appellant). Ms. Wilson stated that she grew in the home immediately to the south of the subject property. She stated that all of the homes on Rolling Ridge Road were designed to feature gardens and natural spaces and honor the hillside setting. She did not think the proposed structure was consistent with the neighborhood and out of scale with the surrounding residences, and should not set the pattern of this custom home area as existing homes are replaced. She felt that reducing the size of the massive design and bulk and increasing the setback of the street would help bring the home into conformance with the surrounding community. She stated that she is representing her mother and her attempt in asking the Planning Commission to select alternative no. 2 in the staff report. Ms. Wilson referred to a table in the staff report with lot size, and noted that there are discrepancies in the sizes of those lots, and did not think that decisions should be made with inaccurate information.

Bettie Slagg 5287 Rolling Ridge Road (appellant) stated that she has lived in her home since 1953, and was disappointed that the staff did not contact her to see the view impairment of the proposed project from her residence. She stated that the developer is building a very large house on a small lot, and it is not compatible with the neighborhood. She stated that of the 11 homes on the staff’s comparison chart, the proposed home will be built on the smallest lot and will be the largest home in terms of square footage. She hoped the developer would be required to modify the plans so the structure will fit into the neighborhood.

Commissioner Karp asked if anyone had reviewed the recorded CC&Rs for the property.

Ms. Wilson answered that she had not.

Commissioner Karp wondered why nobody had reviewed the CC&Rs which may impact the development of a piece of property, and noted that there could be existing restrictions on the property that may preclude the developer from building anything on either of the parcels, and felt it was important for the CC&Rs to be reviewed.

Bill Gerstner 5317 Rolling Ridge Road began by clarifying there are no CC&Rs for the properties on Rolling Ridge Road. He stated that he did not have an objection to someone building a house on a piece of property that complies with the City requirements. He did not feel the house was excessively large for the piece of property, however he was concerned with neighborhood compatibility. He asked that the developer attempt to reduce the mass or have the house appear to be as small as it can be. He noted that most of the homes on Rolling Ridge Road are mostly ranch style and set back from the street as much as possible and that he expects to see homes built, but felt the mass of the proposed house should be something closer to the ranch style homes in the neighborhood. He was also concerned with the process involved, noting that he did not have the opportunity to view the plans and raise concerns about the design before the project was approved by the City. He felt that the intention of the early neighborhood consultation process was for the neighbors to discuss the project with the applicant and voice their concerns, if any, and he did not feel that the neighbors had that opportunity in this situation.

Commissioner Knight asked Mr. Gerstner if he was concerned about the size of the proposed house as well as the bulk and mass of the house.

Mr. Gerstner answered that he did not think the square footage of the house was in excess, noting that the house will be less than 4,000 square feet on a 20,000 square foot lot. However, building a house that size it would be nice if the house was as compatible with the neighborhood as possible.

Commissioner Tetreault asked staff to clarify the early neighborhood consultation process.

Director/Secretary Rojas explained the noticing process and the early neighborhood consultation process, and noted that the early neighborhood consultation process for this particular application is encouraged by not required.

Richard Johnson 5383 Rolling Ridge Road stated that he has a lot of appreciation for the owner of the property, and as a real estate broker he understands the value of the smaller lot and what can economically be put on that lot. He too was not as concerned about the size of the proposed house as he was with possibly moving the house back or doing something that will make the house more compatible with the neighborhood. He felt that it was important to confirm that the covenant regarding lot A had been recorded with the County. He also felt it was very important for Mr. Florance and the neighbors to meet and discuss some type of compromise, as they all had to live together as neighbors.

Bob Bothner 5040 Palos Verdes Drive North, noting that his house, with the exception of the Slagg’s, is the closest to the proposed residence. He stated that this meeting was the first notice from any organization or person of the proposed structure. He wanted to reinforce was Mr. Gerstner and Mr. Johnson said in that nobody really objects to building a home on the property. He stated that his objection was that the proposed house was too close to the road and could be set back further on the property.

Elaine Florance 6 Rivo Alto Canal, Long Beach, stated that she and her husband are the owners of the property at 5251 Rolling Ridge Road, and for the last year they have been planning their retirement home on this property. She showed the Planning Commission a copy of the Covenant and Agreement stating that lot A cannot be further split. She discussed Rolling Ridge Road, and noted that the houses along Via Campesina are within the 500-foot radius and should be considered under neighborhood compatibility, as many of the lots on that street are very similar to the lot they are proposing to build on. She pointed out on the aerial photograph a house on Rolling Ridge Road that is a similar style to the one they are proposing, and felt that once the vegetation and landscaping that they are planning to install have grown in, their house will be sufficiently shielded from the street. She stated that she has hired a landscape architect who has been instructed to landscape the entire piece of property who is a resident expert in local planting. She noted that staff felt that the proposed residence meets all of the findings necessary for approval.

Kurt Donat 503 32nd Street, Newport Beach, stated that he and the applicant concur with the review process, believing them to be thorough and accurate, and there was no rush to judgment. He stated that the reason this project did not warrant a public hearing was because it does not exceed the developmental building area, lot coverage, or maximum allowable heights, and the application has withstood the scrutiny of the City development standards. He noted that the proposed lot coverage for this project is 37.63 percent, which is less than the 40 percent maximum allowable. He felt that if the appealing party takes issue with the approval, then his quarrel is with the City’s zoning regulations and not with the approved application, and he therefore felt that the project should stand and the appeal should be denied.

Commissioner Karp asked if it would be possible to move the house farther back on the property away from the street.

Mr. Donat answered that it would not be possible without making the house smaller, since one corner of the house touches the required setback, noting that there is a 10 foot setback requirement at that area and he could not push the house any further to the west.

Commissioner Van Wagner asked if the house could be moved back if the lot line was adjusted.

Mr. Donat answered that a slope analysis has been done on the property and anything west of the existing location of the corner will be in the 3:1 slope area, which cannot be built on.

Ron Florance 6 Rivo Alto Canal, Long Beach, felt it was important to define a neighborhood when discussing neighborhood compatibility. He discussed the topography along Rolling Ridge Road, Via Campesina, and Yellowbrick Road. He explained that there are 11 houses in the 500-foot radius, 5 on Rolling Ridge Road, 5 on Via Campesina, and 1 on Palos Verdes Drive North, and that of the 11 closest homes 5 of them are two-story homes. He noted that the lot directly in from of his is not a single lot, but rather three legal lots.

Commissioner Knight asked if the original home on the lot was comparable to the single story ranch style homes found along Rolling Ridge Road.

Mr. Florance answered that the home could be considered Early California Tract.

Commissioner Knight asked when the house was demolished.

Mr. Florance answered that the home was demolished in 1996.

Douglas Trowbridge 5333 Rolling Ridge Road stated that he was very relieved to hear that the Covenant regarding lot A has been received and recorded with the County. He asked that the neighbors be given a copy of that covenant.

Bill Slagg 5814 Flambeau Road felt that the only house that could be considered as large as the applicant’s is the one just in front, which is on 1 ½ acres of land and is a single story house rather than a two-story home.

Diane Wilson (in rebuttal) noted that, per the title report, the house on the three parcels is on the middle parcel and has walls built on the land so that it is designed to have only one house on the land rather than two or three houses.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Van Wagner asked staff to clarify the issue of the lot size at 4241 Rolling Ridge, and asked if the lot is 21,000 square feet, or should it be a larger number.

Associate Planner Blumenthal explained that 21,000 square feet is the size of the lot that the house sits on. He stated that there are three separate and distinct parcels that make up the property and considering all three together, the lot would be 63,000 square feet. He noted that there was no indication that the three parcels were tied together or there are prohibitions to build three separate houses on these parcels.

Commissioner Knight asked staff to clarify why it felt there was no predominant style when considering neighborhood compatibility, when the majority of the homes on Rolling Ridge Road are ranch style homes.

Director/Secretary Rojas explained that staff identified the "immediate neighborhood" as being 11 homes on both Via Campesina and Rolling Ridge Road. Therefore, if the neighborhood is both streets, staff believes there is no predominant style. However, if the Planning Commission feels that the immediate neighborhood is only Rolling Ridge Road, then staff would change it’s position and say the dominant style of homes is ranch style.

Commissioner Knight discussed the chart on page 3 of the staff report, comparing the lot sizes of the homes. He felt that if you took out at the house on Rolling Ridge that is on three lots, the size of the lot on the application is quite a bit smaller than the average lot size in the area and the size of the proposed structure is approximately 50 percent larger than the average home in the area. He did not understand how this could be considered compatible with the existing neighborhood. He asked whether a potential lot subdivision is factored in the review criteria for assessing neighborhood compatibility.

Director/Secretary Rojas answered no and explained that staff focused on the structure size as opposed to lot size because, based on the underlying zoning and the existing lot sizes, many of the lots in the area can be subdivided.

Commissioner Knight stated that he had suggested moving the house back on the lot and asked staff if they were aware that the slope to the west was too steep to build on.

Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that staff had looked at the slope survey that was submitted by the applicant, which was stamped by a civil engineer, and there are portions of the lot that are considered extreme slope, 35 percent slope or more, west of the proposed structure location, which would prohibit the structure from being located on the extreme slope. He felt that if the applicant were to redesign the lot lines, he would be able to push the house up to the extreme slope but not on it.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked if the lot line were adjusted and the house was able to move back, would that change staff’s view analysis.

Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that it was doubtful the view analysis would change, as the height of the house would probably not change too much, and the view in question is above the tree line.

In looking at the covenant that prohibits future subdivision of lot A, Commissioner Tetreault noted that there was a phrase included that says covenant restrictions herein shall be in effect until the City approves its termination. He felt that this suggests there is some process by which the Covenant can be terminated through an application before the City.

Associate Planner Blumenthal answered that any changes to the covenant would have to be approved by the City Council.

Vice Chairman Mueller stated that he was struggling with neighborhood compatibility issues and was having trouble following the logic presented in the staff report. He stated that he understands the Code; the lot split, the zoning, but could not come to a decision regarding the neighborhood compatibility.

Commissioner Karp did not think there was neighborhood compatibility in this area, as they are all isolated houses and each one is it’s own little neighborhood. He felt that the issue was whether the proposed house fits into the community which is mostly Rolling Ridge Road. Regarding the house with three parcels, he felt it should be looked at as one large parcel of property with a large house on it.

Commissioner Knight stated he would like to see the exploration of some kind of lot line adjustment to set the house farther back on the lot away from the structure. He was still concerned that the house will sit on one of the smallest lots and will be 50 percent larger than other homes in the neighborhood.

Commissioner Van Wagner suggested some type of landscaping plan be submitted to the City to ensure softening of the bulk and mass of the house as viewed from the street.

Director/Secretary Rojas answered that when landscaping is an issue, the Planning Commission or staff will direct that certain landscaping be implemented into the plan as opposed to requiring a broad landscaping plan.

Vice Chairman Mueller asked staff if the Planning Commission were to ask the placement of the house be moved slightly to the west, would that tend to move the house more into the hill and therefore appear less massive.

Director/Secretary Rojas answered that, in looking at the topography, placing the house slightly to the west would require more grading. He noted that if the Planning Commission were to direct the placement of the house be moved that they also require that the currently proposed maximum ridge height be maintained to ensure that new view issues are not created.

Commissioner Karp suggested the architect prepare some sketches showing different alternatives for the placement of the house, disregarding the existing lot lines. He felt that this would show the staff and Planning Commission the different alternatives available on the lot.

Vice Chairman Mueller added that one of the criteria would be that the currently proposed ridgeline height be maintained.

 

RECESS AND RECONVENE

At 11:10 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 11:15 p.m. at which time they reconvened.

PUBLIC HEARINGS (CONT)

Vice Chairman Mueller re-opened the public hearing.

Kurt Donut (architect) stated that, in looking at the slope analysis prepared by the Civil Engineer, it would appear that the house could be moved in a westerly direction further from the street. He noted that, while there is a 20-foot setback, there is an 8-foot easement between the setback and the pavement and currently the structure is 28 feet from the edge of the pavement. He stated that using staff’s analysis and the engineer’s analysis the house may be able to be moved approximately 20 feet back, but he was not sure.

Vice Chairman Mueller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Tetreault stated that indications are the owner is not going to develop parcel A, but rather turn it into a garden, and therefore in certain respects this property is similar to 5241 Rolling Ridge Road. He felt that as long as the owners do not build on the second parcel, it will appear as 5241 does, which is a house on a much larger piece of property. He acknowledged that anything can happen to either property, however, but with that in mind he did not have the concerns regarding lot coverage.

Vice Chairman Mueller stated that he was looking for alternatives on what could be done with the house in moving it away from the property line to reduce the bulk and mass of the house.

Commissioner Knight moved to continue the item to the meeting of March 23 to allow the applicant to work with staff to try to set the proposed house farther back to the west to reduce the mass and bulk of the house, to reduce the size of the house, and to adjust the lot lines accordingly, seconded by Commissioner Van Wagner.

Commissioner Van Wagner suggested an amendment to the motion to ask the applicant to provide landscaping plans for the area along Rolling Ridge Road.

The amended motion was approved, (4-1-1) with Commissioner Tetreault dissenting and Commissioner Gerstner recused.

NEW BUSINESS

6. Appointment of Planning Commission representatives to the Residential Development Standards Committee

Vice Chairman Mueller explained the need for two Commissioners to be appointed to the new Residential Development Standards Committee, and expressed his interest in serving on the Committee.

Commissioner Gerstner also expressed his interest in serving on the Committee.

Vice Chairman Mueller was not aware if Commissioner Cote was interested, and if so he stated he would be happy to share the responsibility with her.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

7. Minutes of January 27, 2004

There being no comments, the minutes were unanimously approved as presented.

ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS

8. Pre-agenda for the meeting of February 24, 2004

Director/Secretary Rojas noted that item no. 1 on the Pre-Agenda will most likely be withdrawn and there will be the continued item from this evening’s meeting added to the agenda.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 11:35 p.m.