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PURPOSE

Administrative Design Review Permits allow for administrative design review of project proposals which require a lesser level of design review. These projects include applications that do not require Planning Commission Review for another concurrent application and for sites not listed on the local register and/or located inside the boundaries of the Downtown Historic District. The types of projects that may be approved, conditionally approved or denied by the Community Development Department are listed in Zoning Ordinance Section 10.54.040, and include, but are not limited to, the following projects:

  • Minor additions to multi-family residences, commercial structures, and industrial structures which increase the size of the structure by less than 10%, not to exceed 300 sq. ft., and which are consistent with the architectural style of existing buildings on the site.
  • Encroachment Agreements (improvements in the public right-of-way) for major landscaping, stairs not on grade, driveways involving cut or fill of more than 6’, fences not exceeding 42" in height, and retaining walls not exceeding 6’ in height.
  • Minor revisions to approved projects where the change does not appreciably alter the character and appearance of the project's design.
  • Applications for improvements proposing a change in existing grade greater than six (6) feet in height or that retain an aggregate of six (6) feet or more of slope within any ten (10) foot horizontal interval.

PROCESS

Step 1 - Project Consideration

Early in the consideration of a potential project, the applicant should carefully review what the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance calls for in the location or area affected. It is essential that the proposed use be consistent with the General Plan and the Zoning Ordinance or the application cannot be accepted. Community Development Department personnel should be consulted before filing an application for opinions on compatibility and probable conditions.

Step 2 - Filing of Application

The applicant will submit the completed application, filing fee and other required information (see Application Submittal Requirements at end of this document) to the Community Development Department. Once the application has been filed:

  • A staff planner will be assigned to review the material to make sure all the required information is provided.
  • The applicant will be notified within 30 days after filing as to whether the application is complete or what additional information is required.

The fee for staff design review is established by the City Council and is intended to offset the cost of the number of hours that professional staff spend on the project.

Step 3 - Environmental Review

Projects which are subject to Staff Design Review are categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). If the project is found not to be Categorically Exempt, the project will be required to obtain Planning Commission approval.

Step 4 - Required Noticing

Once the application has been deemed complete, a written notice of a pending staff design review application will be sent to properties that are located within 100' of the subject parcel. Any affected property owner or interested party may review the application file and submit information to staff within twelve (12) days of the notice date. The notice will also be posted in City Hall.

Step 5 - Staff Design Review

Planning Division staff will evaluate the application by conducting an investigation of the site, reviewing its conformance with the City's General Plan and zoning provisions, analyze the potential environmental impacts, and any other issues of the proposed project.

Once the twelve (12) day noticing period has elapsed, a written staff decision will be prepared and mailed to the applicant.

Staff decision will become final, unless an appeal is filed as described in the next section.

Step 6 - Appeals to Planning Commission

Within 10 days after the decision of the Planning Division staff, the applicant, city resident, or affected property owner may submit an appeal of the staff's action to the Planning Commission by filing an appeal letter and appeal fee with the City Clerk.

After the appeal has been filed, a public hearing will be scheduled for the Planning Commission, and at least 10 days prior to the public hearing date, a notice of the time, date and place of the hearing will be mailed to the appellant, the applicant, property owners within a 100 foot radius of the projected site, and to any other person requesting the notice.

Following the public hearing on an appeal, the PC may reverse, affirm or modify the decision of the staff.

The PC decision will become final, unless another appeal is filed as described in the next section.

Step 7 - Appeals to City Council

Within 10 days after the decision of the PC, an applicant, city resident, or affected property owner may submit an appeal of the Board's action to the City Council by filing an appeal form and appeal fee with the City Clerk.

After the appeal has been filed, a public hearing will be scheduled for the City Council, and at least 10 days prior to the public hearing, a notice of the time, date, and place of the hearing will be mailed to the appellant, the applicant, property owners within a 100 foot radius of the project site, and to any other person requesting the notice.

Following the public hearing on an appeal, the Council may refer the matter back to the PC for further consideration or may reverse, affirm or modify the decision of the PC.

The decision of the City Council is final.

ESTIMATED TIME OF PROCESS

The actual time for processing a design review application will vary depending upon the complexity and magnitude of the proposal and staff and Commission workloads, but it is generally estimated as follows:

A. From completed application to staff decision: 2 WEEKS
B. From staff decision to expiration of appeal period: 2 WEEKS
C. Total Estimated Process Time: 4 WEEKS

Application Submittal Requirements

Submittal requirements will be the same as those required of normal Planning Commission applications. HOWEVER, the reviewing member of staff will exercise some discretion in determining the materials necessary for submission. The type and amount of materials requested will be limited to the materials deemed necessary by the reviewing member of staff to assist in the rendering of a decision. 

Last updated: 9/15/2007 11:52:20 AM