JULY 11, 2006 PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES

CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES
PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
REGULAR MEETING
JULY 11, 2006

 

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by Commissioner Tetreault at 7:03 p.m. at the Fred Hesse Community Room, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard.

FLAG SALUTE

Commissioner Karp led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ATTENDANCE

Present: Commissioners Karp, Perestam, Ruttenberg, and Tetreault. Vice Chairman Gerstner arrived at 9:15 p.m.

Absent: Commissioner Lewis and Chairman Knight were excused

Also present were Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Rojas, Deputy Director Pfost, Senior Planner Alvarez, Associate Planner Dudman, and Associate Planner Sohn.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Director/Secretary Rojas requested that Items 6, 7, and 8, which are procedural applications that have been improved in concept by the City Council, be moved to the Consent Calendar. He noted that staff has received no public comments and there are no speakers regarding the three items.

Commissioner Perestam suggested moving Item No. 1 to be heard after Item No. 3.

The Planning Commission unanimously agreed to the changes.

COMMUNICATIONS

Director/Secretary Rojas distributed one item of correspondence for Agenda Item No. 1, one item for Agenda Item No. 4, and one item for Agenda Item No. 5

COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE (regarding non-agenda items)

None

CONSENT CALENDAR

Deputy Director Pfost presented a brief staff report addressing all three lots, explaining the City Council has already conceptually approved the addition of a basement and grading over an extreme slope on these lots, however the Code and the Conditional Use Permit require the item come before the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Perestam moved to approve the consent calendar, as presented, and seconded by Commissioner Karp. Approved, (4-0)

6. Grading Permit (Case No. ZON2006-00251): 31991 Emerald View Drive

By approval of the consent calendar, P.C. Resolution 2006-31 was adopted, as presented.

7. Grading Permit (Case No. ZON2006-00298): 31975 Emerald View Drive

By approval of the consent calendar, P.C. Resolution 2006-32 was adopted, as presented.

8. Grading Permit (Case No. ZON2006-00299): 31967 Emerald View Drive

By approval of the consent calendar, P.C. Resolution 2006-33 was adopted, as presented.

CONTINUED BUSINESS

2. View Restoration Permit No. 123 – Annual maintenance Review

Senior Planner Alvarez presented the staff report, giving a brief history of the permit. He explained that after a year of monitoring tree trimming on the properties, staff has identified additional foliage that was not originally placed on the conditions of approval but have now found to be in the view. He explained there are two specific conditions for the Planning Commission to review: the adequacy of the maintenance trimming and the foliage owners ability to maintain the trees. He also noted that staff has determined that some of he conditions of approval need to be amended in order to clarify some of the aspects of the conditions of approval.

Commissioner Ruttenberg stated that one of the trees on the Menjou’s property is not specifically referenced in the language, and asked staff if that tree is therefore not to be considered at this hearing.

Senior Planner Alvarez stated that was correct.

Commissioner Tetreault asked staff to clarify why this particular tree on the Mejou’s property will need a separate application if it is to be considered.

Senior Planner Alvarez explained that, in contrast to the other trees that had been trimmed, while the Monterrey Pine tree is in the view frame, the tree was not specifically mentioned in the original Resolution and Conditions of Approval. Therefore, unlike the other trees that were specifically mentioned in the Resolution, the City Attorney opinioned that the Monterey pine tree is not an item that can be included as an amended condition.

Commissioner Tetreault opened the public hearing.

Jim White stated that the foliage in front of his view was originally so dense and thick he didn’t know what kind of trees were behind it. He explained that when the foliage was finally trimmed, he could see that the Monterey Pine on the Menjou’s property was definitely in his view frame. He stated that since the foliage has been trimmed he has a wonderful view and is very appreciative. He stated that Mr. Zaccaro has never been in compliance with the trimming schedule, and feels that staff and the Planning Commission have no power to enforce the trimming schedule. He asked that the City make Mr. Zaccarro cut what he is supposed to cut to the City required specifications, and to do the trimming when it is supposed to be done.

Jim Menjou, 1 Bronco Drive, did not feel the Monterey Pine should be subject to the original resolution, and agreed with staff’s interpretation. He urged the Planning Commission to follow the recommendations made by both staff and the City Attorney to continue to exclude the Monterey Pine from the discussion regarding amending the conditions.

John Zaccaro 28531 Palos Verdes Drive East, stated that he did major tree trimming on his property. He stated that the reason the scheduled June trimming was not done was because he had knee replacement surgery, and was not able to schedule and supervise the trimming. He stated that he met with his arborist and has trimming scheduled to be performed in two weeks, and this will bring the foliage to what the original recommendation requires. He stated that he has a letter from the City dated January 2006 stating he is in compliance with respect to the Chinese Elm tree. He noted that because of the trimming, he has had to install over $1,000 worth of shades around his home to keep the hot sun out of the house. He stated that he wishes to be in compliance and will meet the staff’s recommendations.

Commissioner Tetreault closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Perestam noted that Mr. Zaccaro has indicated he will have his foliage cut and trimmed in two weeks, and asked staff to give a brief update on what the expectation is for the Planning Commission’s clarification.

Senior Planner Alvarez displayed several photographs taken from the White’s property, showing what staff is asking Mr. Zaccaro to have trimmed to be in compliance.

Commissioner Karp stated that the Planning Commission has already done all of the hard work in determining what foliage needed to be trimmed or removed. Now the foliage owner has stated he is willing to trim the foliage to come into compliance, so there should be no work for the Commission to do other than adopt the Resolution.

Commissioner Ruttenberg moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2006-34 thereby amending Conditions 1 and 2 of the Conditions of Approval contained in City Council Resolution 2004-99 to clarify the trimming maintenance schedule, as presented by staff, seconded by Commissioner Karp. Approved, (4-0)

3. View Restoration Permit No. 203

Director/Secretary Rojas polled the Commissioners as to who had visited the sites, and all Commissioners indicated they had been to the sites.

Associate Planner Dudman presented the staff report, giving a description of the view and the foliage obstructing the view. She concluded with a discussion of the staff’s recommendations for the view obstructing foliage.

Commissioner Karp asked staff if they were sure the fence in the photographs is on the property line.

Associate Planner Dudman acknowledged that staff was not sure and that there is some question as to whether the fence is on the property line or not.

Commissioner Ruttenberg asked why the primary viewing area is taken from the sunroom, which is not a part of the original home but added at a later date.

Associate Planner Dudman explained that staff felt the sunroom is a used as a gathering room and the room that provides the best and most important view.

Commissioner Ruttenberg asked if there is anything that limits the primary viewing area to an original portion of the home.

Director/Secretary Rojas answered that the Code and Guidelines do not make a distinction between the original footprint and an addition for purposes of determining viewing area.

Commissioner Ruttenberg asked how staff made their determination that the primary viewing area is based on a seated position.

Associate Planner Dudman answered that there is a Jacuzzi in the room and the room is enjoyed for reading and relaxing. Therefore, staff felt the room was not meant to be stood in, but rather sat in.

Commissioner Ruttenberg asked if staff recommendations would change if the view was looked at from a standing position rather than a seated position.

Associate Planner Dudman answered that staff’s recommendation would not change.

Commissioner Ruttenberg stated that while at the property he noticed a tree on the applicant’s own property that was affecting their view, and asked if that was relevant to the Planning Commission’s decision.

Associate Planner Dudman answered that it is relevant, explaining that if the Planning Commission felt the tree on the applicant’s property was creating a significant view impairment the tree can be brought into the recommendations or conditions, and the applicant would have to relieve their own view impairment in addition to having the foliage owner remove or trim their foliage.

Commissioner Tetreault opened the public hearing.

Mr. Aelony 3632 Vigilance Drive (applicant) stated that when he bought his home over 30 years ago he had an interrupted view, which is one of the reasons he bought the home. However, over the years there has been a gradual encroachment into that view. He explained that the tree on his property that was discussed is a nectarine tree that only blocks the view of the sky and not the view of the coastline. He stated that he was available for questions.

Commissioner Ruttenberg asked Mr. Aelony if he would have any objection to adding to the Resolution that his own tree be trimmed and maintained.

Mr. Aelony answered that he does not recognize any view impairment from that nectarine tree.

Mrs. Aelony 3632 Vigilance Drive stated that the nectarine tree does not block the view, however it provides shade to the residence during the summer. She stated that it would be very nice to get her view back.

Paul Kuljis3642 Vigilance Drive distributed photographs to the Planning Commission. He stated that the applicants have a tree on their property that significantly impairs their view of the east portion of Catalina Island. Therefore, he must conclude that the applicant does not consider branches overlaying Catalina Island a significant view impairment. He asked that the same standard be applied to his foliage. He felt that a view could be achieved by completing the trimming of the pepper tree, which would include raising the crown while keeping some of the lower branches to help with privacy issues and shade. He stated that the trees on his property provide not only provide much needed privacy and shade, but aesthetics and value as well. He stated that the City Arborist stated the tree would survive but not thrive, and a private arborist felt the tree would linger for a few years before dying. He noted that in Exhibit A Conditions of
Approval, there is a statement that there may be a typo under the Brazilian Pepper tree, as it states the shrubs should be maintained at a 6-foot height, and felt that should have said 16 foot.

Commissioner Perestam asked Mr. Kuljis if he agreed that the Melaleuca tree should be removed and replaced rather than trimmed.

Mr. Kuljis answered that it would be too costly to keep that tree trimmed as directed and agreed to the removal and replacement. He noted, however, that if the Melaleuca tree was not included in the original application that maybe it should not be addressed at all.

Mr. Aelony (in rebuttal) stated that he liked the recommendation of 6 feet, as anything taller would block his view of the ocean. He stated that if he would have to sacrifice the lower branches of his nectarine tree, he certainly would do that.

Commissioner Tetreault closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Ruttenberg discussed the Melaleuca tree and noted that the results of the mediation process should not affect the Planning Commission’s decision. Therefore, he was having trouble seeing how something that may have been brought up in mediation should be a relevant consideration as to the scope of what is before the Planning Commission.

Associate Planner Dudman understood, explaining that she included the Melaleuca tree because of the issue of maintenance. She explained she wanted to try to make a recommendation that would resolve the maintenance issue for the foliage owner.

Commissioner Ruttenberg understood, however he was questioning the scope of what the Planning Commission is allowed to do at this meeting, and the idea that something was brought in during mediation may not be relevant to the Planning Commission.

Director/Secretary Rojas added that from the time the application is filed to the point the Planning Commission makes a decision the scope of the application is being formed. He explained that staff feels it’s their duty when conducting a view analysis to identify all of the significantly impairing vegetation. He noted it is no different than the standard condition added to the Resolution which states that any other foliage not identified in this application shall be trimmed if it impairs the view.

Commissioner Perestam asked staff to walk the Planning Commission through each recommendation with the appropriate photos displayed, which was done by Associate Planner Dudman.

Commissioner Tetreault asked staff to address Mr. Kuljis question regarding the height of the shrubbery and if the condition should read 16 feet rather than 6 feet.

Associate Planner Dudman explained that the reasoning behind staff’s decision to chose 6 feet for the shrubs is that the purpose of the shrubs is privacy and anything higher than 6 feet will take away some of the privacy.

Commissioner Tetreault questioned the choice of six feet, noting that a property owner has a right to have vegetation up to 16 feet in height on their property.

Commissioner Ruttenberg asked if there was any language in the Ordinance that would allow staff to restrict the height of the foliage to six feet.

Associate Planner Dudman answered that there is no language restricting the height of the foliage to six feet.

Commissioner Perestam stated he would like to see a recommendation that includes the applicant’s tree. He felt the Monterey pine can be laced, and noted that he was concerned with the health of the tree. He asked staff if the lacing would occur annually.

Associate Planner Dudman noted that the schedule for the Monterey pine would begin no sooner than November 1st and there be a review of the growth of the Monterey pine after one year to determine the growth, as it may be possible that the tree not need to be trimmed for 2 to 3 years.

Commissioner Perestam discussed the Brazilian Pepper and questioned if there was some way to allow the tree to grow over 16 feet in height and not have a view impact. He stated that he was concerned about how lacing the tree will affect the aesthetics of the tree, and did not think the tree could be properly cut and laced and still look good. He supported staff’s decision regarding the Brazilian Pepper, and he saw no alternative.

Commissioner Ruttenberg agreed with staff’s recommendation for the Monterey Pine. He agreed with Commissioner Perestam that the Brazilian Pepper is the hardest issue, as it is a very beautiful tree, and he very reluctantly agrees with the staff’s recommendation. He felt that the nectarine tree on the applicant’s property should be trimmed. He felt that the sentence regarding trimming and maintaining the shrubs to 6 feet should be deleted, as there is no legitimate basis to allow that sentence. Regarding the Melaleuca tree, he had an issue with it not being part of the application and did not feel comfortable including any action in regards to that tree.

Commissioner Karp felt that if the Melaleuca tree is not addressed now it will be back before the Commission in six months to a year. He felt that the Planning Commission has the latitude to discuss this tree, as staff feels it does cause view impairment.

Commissioner Tetreault stated that he has a problem in establishing the viewing area for the home. He stated that there is a very long room which includes a kitchen, living room, etc., and the room from which the analysis was done is at the very far end. He was having trouble accepting that the applicant’s best view from an important part of their home is what is being shown, especially in regards to the Melaleuca tree. He asked staff where the measurement of the Melaleuca tree was taken, from the base of the tree or from the pad level.

Associate Planner Dudman answered it was taken from the base of the tree, noting that staff felt that the base of the tree was essentially the pad level, as the lot is flat is there really is no slope.

Commissioner Tetreault disagreed, noting that a driveway will slope away from the house for drainage.

Commissioner Ruttenberg asked staff if they looked at the view from the other angle near the kitchen where Commissioner Tetreault was referring.

Associate Planner Dudman answered that staff had not looked at the view from that area.

Director/Secretary Rojas suggested taking a straw vote amongst the Commissioners to see if they agreed that that primary viewing area is the sunroom. If not, the Planning Commission can then direct staff to do an analysis from another room.

Commissioner Perestam felt there were three main issues in questions: 1) Has the proper primary viewing area been identified; 2) Is it appropriate to identify and make a decision on the Melaleuca tree; and 3) What to do with the Brazilian Pepper tree and how to trim or lace the tree so that it will survive. He suggested asking staff to address and reevaluate these three topics specifically and present their findings at a future meeting.

Commissioner Karp agreed, adding that the Commissioners should revisit the site, as he heard things at this meeting that he didn’t take into account when visiting the site. He added that it would be helpful if the entire Commission could meet at the site together, and wondered if there was a way to do this that wouldn’t violate the Brown Act.

Commissioner Ruttenberg also wanted to visit the site again, though he didn’t think he needed to meet with the rest of the Commission at the site.

Commissioner Karp moved to continue the public hearing to the next available meeting, August 22, 2006, and directed staff to provide additional information to the Planning Commission with regards to the questions raised by the Commissioners, seconded by Commissioner Ruttenberg. Approved, (4-0).

 

RECESS AND RECONVENE

At 9:10 p.m. the Planning Commission took a short recess until 9:20 p.m. at which time they reconvened.

CONTINUED BUSINESS (cont)

Vice Chairman Gerstner arrived at 9:10 p.m.
1. Height Variation Permit (Case No. ZON2005-00409): 30831 Rue Langlois

Commissioner Tetreault stated that he was not present when this item was heard before the Planning Commission, however he has read the minutes of the meeting.

Director/Secretary Rojas reminded the Planning Commission that this item was tabled at the last meeting with a motion to deny the permit pending, and that motion needs to be voted on.

Vice Chairman Gerstner stated that the motion on the table is to deny, without prejudice, the height variation.

Senior Planner Alvarez presented a brief staff report, stating that staff cannot make the finding for neighborhood compatibility. He felt that the revised June 27, 2006 plans still do not address the bulk and mass issues identified by staff and the Planning Commission. He also noted that staff could not make the finding regarding privacy. He stated that staff has received correspondence from the applicant that he is considering some extensive changes to the project and he would like the opportunity to make those changes. However, the streamlining act will take affect on July 18th, and therefore the Planning Commission will have to make a decision at this meeting. He briefly described the proposed changes submitted as late correspondence, elevation plans, and conceptual plans. He noted that the changes include revising the roof pitch to 2:12, reducing the roof height by 2 feet 4 inches and reducing the entry trellis height by 8 inches. Also, e stated the applicant wishes to mitigate the privacy issue by proposing a glass screen at the deck.

Commissioner Ruttenberg asked that the Planning Commission not adopt the motion presently on the table, as he would like to open the public hearing and ask the applicant some questions.

Commissioner Perestam agreed, noting that he had some questions regarding the original proposal, the revised plans, and the newly proposed plan.

Director/Secretary Rojas reminded the Planning Commission, that because of the Permit Streamlining Act there are only two options before the Commission: to deny the project without prejudice or approve the project.

Vice Chairman Gerstner opened the public hearing.

Barry Thomas 5816 Washington Ave, Whittier, explained that the only thing that has changed since the last meeting is the change in the roof slope and height. He stated that he would have like to have had more time to show and explain the extensive changes that are being designed for this project. He felt that with the changes before the Planning Commission, the bulk and mass have been significantly reduced and the slope of the roof has been decreased. He reminded the Commission that this is a unique property, as it is on a corner and there are no neighbors on three sides.

Commissioner Perestam asked Mr. Thomas what the dimensions of the proposed balcony are.

Mr. Thomas responded that the balcony is approximately 8 feet long by 5 feet wide.

Kamin Jaafarian 11628 Montana Ave. Los Angeles stated that he is a Registered Civil Engineer speaking on behalf of the owners and would like to address some issues raised at the last meeting. He addressed the issue of bulk and mass and stating that if the City gives specifications on setbacks and heights and the project is well under those specifications, then it should be considered for approval. He stated that the architect is not using a non-compatible roofing material, over-sized columns, or thicker stucco. He asked the Commission to also look at the human side of the project, as this is a couple who are trying to rebuild the home they have been out of for two years because of water damage, and it is uninhabitable.

Vice Chairman Gerstner closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Karp stated he has visited the site many times, and with the current revisions presented tonight he felt he could support the project. He suggested disagreeing with staff and approving the project with the condition that the project be completed as shown on the applicant’s late correspondence elevation plans labeled “after”.

Commissioner Perestam stated his concern was with the deck and he would not like to see the translucent glass be put on the deck, as it will cause the area around the deck to bake in the sun. He felt that with the deck at a depth of 5 feet he could support the proposed project.

Commissioner Ruttenberg stated he has supported the project from the beginning and still supports the project.

Commissioner Tetreault disagreed with the applicant’s comments that this is a unique lot because it is on a corner and will not set a precedent because it is on the corner. He did not think that others in the neighborhood will make the distinction that this house is on a corner and therefore will be viewed differently and is allowed to be larger, bulkier, and more massive than what they would be permitted to do. He also thought that in future Planning Commissions this distinction will not survive, as nobody will recall this is an exception because it is on a corner. He appreciated the changes that were made, however he felt the house will still look too large and bulky for its neighborhood.

Vice Chairman Gerstner stated he has been in favor of this project for some time, and is still in favor of the project. He was pleased with the changes that have been brought forth and stated that have only enhanced the project. He felt that there were four main issues that need to be addressed: the roof slope, the second floor area, the balcony translucent panel, and planting vegetation along the side yard to reduce the mass.

Commissioner Perestam withdrew his concern on privacy with the reduction of the size of the deck.

Commissioners Ruttenberg and Karp agreed.

Commissioner Perestam stated that with the current reductions in square footage to the residence, he is satisfied that the issue of bulk and mass has been addressed. He was also in support of the additional redesign of the roof, as depicted by the applicant’s late correspondence submittal.

Vice Chairman Gerstner asked staff if the newest suggestion is for a 2:12 slope or a 3:12 slope.

Senior Planner Alvarez answered that the latest change on the late correspondence submittal plan is a 2:12 roof slope.

Vice Chairman Gerstner re-opened the public hearing to get clarification on the changes from the architect.

Barry Thomas clarified that on the first submittal the roof slope was 2:12, and there was an issue on what type of roofing material was going to be used. On the second submittal the roof slope went up to 3:12 but there were bulk and mass issues. Now, with further changes to the house the roof slope has again been reduced to 2:12 to help make the house look smaller. He stated that the trellis height has been reduced by 4 inches, the garage has been lowered by another 1-½ feet, and the ridgelines have been lowered. He stated that he would be willing to accept a condition of approval for landscaping and planting on the property.

Vice Chairman Gerstner asked how many trees would be an acceptable number.

Mr. Thomas noted that there are seven trees shown on the conceptual plan and that would be a good number to start with.

Vice Chairman Gerstner closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Tetreault suggested voting on the motion on the floor, and either approve the motion to deny the project or reject the motion and have further discussion on the project.

The tabled motion to deny the project without prejudice was not approved, (1-4) with Commissioners Karp, Ruttenberg, Perestam, and Vice Chairman Knight dissenting.

Commissioner Ruttenberg moved to approve the application as presented at the June 27, 2006 Planning Commission meeting with the following modifications to that application: 1) The roof slope be changed from 3:12 to 2:12; 2) reduce the overall height of the structure by 2 feet 4 inches as proposed; 3) the height of the entry trellis be reduced as reflected in the “after” drawings attached to the July 11, 2006 late correspondence presented to the Planning Commission; 4) the applicant be required to plant 6 trees on the side of the home and that all landscaping comply with City Ordinances. Seconded by Commissioner Perestam.

Commissioner Tetreault wanted to make sure that all of the boilerplate conditions of approval be added as well.

Director/Secretary Rojas suggested that, if approved, the decision will be made official this evening however staff may bring a Resolution to the next meeting for the Commission’s concurrence.

The motion to approve the project as amended was approved, (4-1) with Commissioner Tetreault dissenting.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

4. Height Variation Permit (Case No. ZON2006-00136): 4941 Blackhorse Road

Associate Planner Sohn presented the staff report, explaining the scope of the project and the need for the height variation. Staff noted that the size of the proposed project was much larger than the houses in the neighborhood, being over 800 square feet larger than the largest house in the neighborhood. Staff was also concerned with the proposed architectural style of the proposed house, as most of the two story homes in the neighborhood have the second story either at the rear of the residence or predominately placed on one side or the other of the house. Staff explained that this proposal places the second story on the center of the house, which is not compatible with the neighborhood. Staff also noted that there are no other entry towers in the neighborhood. She stated that staff received a comment from the neighbor across the street at 4929 Blackhorse Road regarding his view. She displayed pictures of the view, taken from the neighbor’s second story bedroom, which showed a large portion of the view that will be blocked by the proposed addition. However, she noted that even though the view will be blocked, it is not a protected view. Staff also received a call from a neighbor at 4929 Blackhorse Road regarding potential privacy impacts, and after visiting the site staff felt that the proposed balcony would create a privacy infringement. Therefore, staff is not able to make the required findings and is recommending denial of the height variation.

Vice Chairman Gerstner opened the public hearing.

Olympia Greer 80034 Camino Santa Alisa, Indio (architect) displayed a revised plan that was the result of staff’s comments and concerns, as well as resolving concerns of the neighbors. She explained the changes that were made, noting that she was limited to expansion on the ground floor because of a slope in the backyard. She explained that the primary reason for locating the second floor addition near the center of the home was to preserve the views of the neighbor to the west. She also set the structure back by 5 feet on each side to allow view corridors and maintain a healthy distance from the adjacent neighbors. She felt that Blackhorse Drive is a neighborhood in transition, noting that the predominant style is ranch but as homes are remodeled and expanded a larger variety of styles are being introduced. She stated that the house proposed is not pretentious and has a simplified country french style. She felt that the hip roof on the second story minimizes massing and opens up views while the gable at the lower level helps articulate the mass and relate to the street scale of the surrounding homes. She stated that at 3,600 square feet this home will still be below the median size of homes on the peninsula.

Scott Magee 4941 Blackhorse Road stated he has run out of space and needs more space. He stated he has been working with his architect for several years to design something that will fit his budget, work for his family, his closest neighbors, and the rest of the neighborhood. He explained that one of the things he likes about his neighborhood is that the houses do not all look the same, as there is quite a variety of styles of homes in the neighborhood. He stated that all of his neighbors have had positive comments about the proposed addition, and he has worked very closely with the neighbors to address any of their concerns.

Ray Roostaeyan 4889 Blackhorse Road stated that the homes in his neighborhood were built in the 1960’s and today everyone in the neighborhood is making changes to their homes. He noted that when driving down Blackhorse there is no predominant style, and while the floor plans may be the same, the styles are not. He stated that he is very much in favor of the proposed addition and the additional will add to the value of the other homes in the neighborhood.

Vice Chairman Gerstner closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Tetreault discussed neighborhood compatibility and asked staff if the Planning Commission is confined to using the same 20 homes in their analysis and comparison as staff used.

Associate Planner Sohn explained that the Guidelines restrict staff to looking at only the 20 closest homes and is limited from looking at the other homes that the applicant looked at when doing their analysis that are beyond the 20 closest. She noted that many of the pictures of homes in the neighborhood submitted by the applicant are outside of the 500-foot radius.

Commissioner Karp felt this proposed addition will result in a house that is too much, too big, and out of character with the neighborhood.

Commissioner Ruttenberg stated that, while he does not feel limited to the 20 closest homes, it does give a strong indication of what the neighborhood is like. He stated that the home being proposed is approximately 50 percent larger than the average home in the neighborhood, but on a lot that is 20 percent smaller than the average lot. While he believed the applicant is entitled to add on to his home and have a larger home, he was concerned about the bulk and mass as the home is presently designed. He did feel modifications could be made that would make the addition acceptable.

Commissioner Perestam was also concerned with the size, bulk, and mass of the proposed home. However, architecturally, he had no objections to the design, as there are many styles of homes seen throughout the neighborhood.

Commissioner Tetreault agreed that this is a neighborhood that doesn’t have a particular look to it, as there is quite a variety of architectural styles in the neighborhood. He felt that most of the bulk of this house has been pushed up towards the street, which he objected to. He did feel that the entry tower was incompatible with the neighborhood, however. He felt that there were things that could be done to the proposed addition that would help reduce the bulk and mass towards the front of the house.

Vice Chairman Gerstner agreed with Commissioner Tetreault. He noted, however, that the applicant pointed out that part of the reason the house was pulled towards the front of the house and put in the middle was to help protect the views from the neighbor’s home. He noted that the design is somewhat appealing to him but needed some redesign to address the bulk and mass issues from the street. He felt that two-story entrances tend to add an appearance of size to the house and makes it seem more massive than it is. He did not object to the size of the proposed house, as a 3,800 square foot home is reasonable. His recommendation was to not approve the addition as currently designed, but allow the applicant to come back with a modified design to meet the bulk and mass concerns expressed by the Planning Commission.

Director/Secretary Rojas felt that the Planning Commission was not going to make a decision on this application at this meeting and noted that the next available meeting will be September 12th. Therefore, the applicant will have to grant an extension to allow a continuance on the application.

Vice Chairman Gerstner re-opened the public hearing.

Vice Chairman Gerstner asked Ms. Greer if she, as the applicant, would be willing to grant a one time 90 day extension on the application to allow continuation of this matter.

Olympia Greer requested the one time 90-day extension for the project.

Vice Chairman Gerstner asked Ms. Greer if there would be any way to move the seconds story addition back and away from the street.

Ms. Greer explained that moving the addition to the rear would impact the views of the neighbor to the west.

Vice Chairman Gerstner noted that the entry element contains the stairs and asked if there would be another place to move the stairs where they would still be functional.

Ms. Greer answered that one of the ideas would be to carry a roof line across where the balcony is which would protect the entry and break the mass of the entry into two.

Vice Chairman Gerstner noted that the Planning Commission respects the fact that the applicant respects the neighbors and is striving to comply with the neighbor’s needs.

Vice Chairman Gerstner closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Karp moved to continue the pubic hearing to the meeting of September 12, 2006 in order to allow the applicant an opportunity to redesign the proposed addition, seconded by Commissioner Ruttenberg. Approved, (5-0).

5. Appeal of site Plan Review (Case No. ZON2005-00656): 5533 Bayridge Rd.

It being after 11:00 p.m. Commissioner Karp moved to suspend the rules to hear Item No. 5, seconded by Commissioner Ruttenberg. Approved, (5-0)

Commissioner Tetreault moved to waive the staff report, seconded by Commissioner Karp. Approved, (5-0)

Vice Chairman Gerstner opened the public hearing.

Rollin Sturgeon 5456 Bayridge Road (appellant) stated the tract was laid out with a balance of compatibility with diversity. He was concerned with the policy which states the City will maintain the existing type of housing, which he felt meant little houses and the houses should not be torn down and replaced with big houses. He also questioned how the City Council came up with neighborhood compatibility and the 20 closest homes. He stated that this house is only 5 feet from the property line rather than 10 feet and that is easily verified. He also felt the house was too far to the front of the property. He objected to the fact that the habitable area is being increased by 100 percent.

Commissioner Perestam asked Mr. Sturgeon if he had an opportunity to read staff’s responses to his concerns.

Mr. Sturgeon answered that he had read staff’s responses.

Domingo Ottolia 5533 Bayridge Road (owner) stated that he needs a larger home as his family is expanding. He explained that he has worked very closely with his neighbors and staff in designing this addition, and has been as sensitive as possible to their concerns. He understood Mr. Stuorgeon's concerns and has tried as hard as possible to design something that will be pleasing to the neighborhood.

Captain Singh 5439 Bayridge Road saw no reason for the request to build the addition be denied, as the house will be very compatible with the neighborhood and there have been many houses in the neighborhood that don’t look good.

Mr. Sturgeon (in rebuttal) noted a letter from the applicant to the staff in which he states that the house will look massive if it is built to the front of the property. He felt it would look massive whether he brings it to the 20-foot line or back to the 38-foot line.

Vice Chairman Gerstner closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Karp stated he is in favor of the Director’s decision, as neighborhoods are changing and getting larger and the housing stock needs to be constantly upgraded.

Commissioner Ruttenberg appreciated Mr. Sturgeon's desire to maintain the neighborhood, however the City Council has provided interpretations, and directives and guidelines as to the interpretations of the Ordinances which the Planning Commission must follow. Under those guidelines and interpretations he felt this project fully complies with all of the guidelines and therefore the project should be approved.

Commissioner Tetreault agreed with Commissioner Ruttenberg’s comments and felt this project meets all of the guidelines and should be approved.

Vice Chairman Gerstner felt the size and scale of the house are very compatible with the neighborhood. He felt this was a successful modification to the existing house and probably the best that can be done on a sub 8,000 square foot lot. He therefore agreed with staff in denying the appeal.

Commissioner Tetreault moved to adopt P.C. Resolution 2006-36 thereby denying the appeal and upholding the Director’s conditional approval of the Site Plan Review, seconded by Commissioner Karp. Approved, (5-0).

NEW BUSINESS

9. Review past decisions on projects approved by the Planning Commission

Continued to a future meeting.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

10. Minutes of June 27, 2006

Commissioner Perestam moved to suspend the rules to review and approve the minutes and discuss the pre-agenda, seconded by Commissioner Ruttenberg. Approved, (5-0).

Commissioner Karp noted a typo on page 13 of the minutes.

Commissioner Perestam moved to approve the minutes as amended, seconded by Commissioner Karp. Approved, (4-0-1) with Commissioner Tetreault abstaining since he was absent from that meeting.

ITEMS TO BE PLACED ON FUTURE AGENDAS

11. Pre-agenda for the meeting of July 25, 2006

The Planning Commission reviewed and approved the pre-agenda.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 p.m.