COUNTY OF SAN MATEO
ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES AGENCY
December 18, 2001
January 8, 2001
Honorable Board of Supervisors
Marcia Raines, Director of Environmental Services
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Consideration of an appeal of the Planning Commission's denial of a Coastal Development Permit and Design Review to allow construction of a 2,915 sq. ft. residence located at 421 Valencia Avenue near Vallejo Street within the unincorporated El Granada area of San Mateo County. This project is appealable to the California Coastal Commission.
Uphold the Planning Commission's decision and deny the appeal and the Coastal Development Permit and Design Review applications by adopting the findings in Attachment A.
The applicant previously proposed a 2,915 sq. ft., 25.8-foot high residence, which was approved by the Zoning Hearing Officer but denied by the Planning Commission on appeal. The applicant's latest revision, submitted after the Planning Commission's denial, reduces the total house size to 2,790 sq. ft., 125 square feet less than what the Commission considered.
PLANNING COMMISSION ACTION
On September 26, 2001, the Planning Commission voted to grant the appeal and deny the Zoning Hearing Officer's decision to approve the project. In doing so, the Commission made findings with respect to the project's non-compliance with applicable Coastside Design Review standards, including the following:
The design of the project is not in harmony with the size and scale of adjacent buildings in the community, particularly the one-story residence to the south and the prevailing size and scale of development in the immediate neighborhood, particularly as evidenced by the Floor Area Ratio of those houses as compared with the subject house.
Basis of Current Appeal and Response. The applicant appealed the Planning Commission's denial, citing the following: (1) required landscaping and daylight plane compliance, (2) Design Review (DR) standards do not reference height, (3) Design Review standards reference adjacent buildings in the community, not buildings adjacent to the site - there are several homes in the "community" of equal or larger size, (4) the Commission's decision does not comply with that section of the DR Regulations which reads "regulation of design should not be so rigidly interpreted that individual initiative is precluded in the design of any particular building or substantial additional expense incurred...the regulation exercised should only be the minimum necessary to achieve the overall objectives," and (5) the DR process has incurred 18 months of interest payments and property taxes, and four design revisions.
The Planning Commission did not believe that landscaping or the fact that the project complies with the current R-1/S-17 Zoning District's daylight plane requirements addressed their primary concern about its overall size, design and scale compared to surrounding development in the community. This concern was supported by a submitted map and table showing that the project's size was significantly larger than the houses both immediately adjacent to and within 300 feet of the subject site. While the proposed residence actually complies with the FAR limits of the recently approved Mid-Coast zoning regulations, the project is not actually subject to those regulations. However, the project's comparison to the FAR of surrounding houses was a major factor considered by the Planning Commission.
Applicant's Latest Revision. Subsequent to Planning Commission's action, the applicant submitted a revised design, whereby (1) the total floor area was reduced an additional 125 sq. ft., (2) the second story was moved back 8 feet farther from the front, and (3) the chimney on the right side was removed. Staff submitted the revision to both the previous appellant, Mr. Kozak, as well as the Mid-Coast Community Council (MCCC) for their review. Neither of their positions have changed.
Alternative. If your Board finds the revised project acceptable, you may approve it by adopting the findings and conditions in Attachment B.
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