Inter-Departmental Correspondence





March 23, 2009


March 31, 2009


10 days, within 300 ft.





Honorable Board of Supervisors



Lisa Grote, Community Development Director



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Consideration of a Coastside Design Review Permit, pursuant to Sections 6565.4 (Coastal) and 6328.5 of the County Zoning Regulations as they existed in 1999, to construct a new 2,982 sq. ft. single-family residence and 400 sq. ft. detached garage on a 5,000 sq. ft. parcel located on Second Street, in the unincorporated Montara area of the County. (Appeal from decision of the Planning Commission denying the Design Review). This project is not appealable to the California Coastal Commission.



Deny the appeal and uphold the decision of the Planning Commission and deny the Design Review Permit, County File Number PLN 1999-00215, by making the findings of denial as listed in Attachment A. Alternatively, invite the applicant voluntarily to make the project modifications recommended by staff as discussed in the Alternative Section of the staff report, and make the findings in support of Design Review Permit approval as listed in Attachment B.



Commitment: Number 9 (Partnerships), “Effective and Collaborative Government.”

Goal: Number 20, “Government decisions are based on careful consideration of future impact, rather than temporary relief or immediate gain.”


Upholding the decision of the Planning Commission to deny the subject Design Review Permit furthers Commitment 9 and Goal 20 because requiring a project to comply with Design Review standards is a careful consideration of the project’s future impact on a neighborhood’s character. The Planning Commission’s finding that this project does not comply with Design Review standards demonstrates that it was considering the future impacts of the project on the neighborhood character.



Proposal: The applicant is proposing to construct a new 2,982 sq. ft. single-family residence and a 400 sq. ft. detached garage and the removal of three trees on a 5,000 sq. ft. parcel.


The Planning Director approved the subject project’s Design Review Permit in October 2000.


Planning Commission Action: On April 14, 2004, the Planning Commission voted 3-1 to deny the applicant’s appeal and uphold the decision to deny the project.


Board of Supervisors Action: On February 8, 2005 the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to deny the appeal and uphold the decision of the Planning Commission to deny this project.



The project was one of two Design Review (DR) applications (the other PLN 1999-00015) for new single-family homes on two adjacent parcels submitted in 1999. Initially, the subject project’s DR Permit was approved by the Planning Director in October 2000. That decision was appealed by a number of local residents to the Planning Commission in January 2001, which upheld the appeal and denied the DR application. The Planning Commission found that the project did not comply with the 1999 Design Review standards that required: (1) structures to be designed and situated so as to retain and blend with the natural vegetation and landforms of the site and to insure adequate space for light and air to itself and adjacent properties, and (2) structures be designed so that they are appropriate to the use of the property and are in harmony with the shape, size and scale of adjacent building in the community.


Upon appeal by the applicant to the Board of Supervisors in August 2001, the Board of Supervisors remanded the project back to the Planning Commission for redesign and the Planning Commission’s reconsideration. The applicant submitted modifications to the project in the interim. The Planning Commission found that the applicant’s changes were not substantially different from previous iterations and subsequently denied the applicant’s appeal on April 21, 2004.


The applicant appealed that decision to the Board of Supervisors and in December 2004 submitted slightly revised plans. The plans included minor roof articulation improvements but were substantially similar to an earlier version of plans submitted in October 2001. At a hearing on February 8, 2005, the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to deny the applicant’s appeal and uphold the Planning Commission’s decision to deny the Design Review Permit for this project.


Following the Board’s denial of the applicant’s appeal, on May 6, 2005, the applicant filed a Petition for Writ of Administrative Mandamus with a Complaint for other claims including inverse condemnation, civil rights violations, injunction and declaratory relief. A Statement of Decision representing the decision of the Court was issued on March 17, 2008. The Statement of Decision found that the applicant had not been provided a fair administrative hearing at the Board’s hearing of February 8, 2005. The Writ itself was issued in July 2008. The Court set aside the decision of the Board denying the applicant’s appeal, and ordered that the Board rehear the appeal from the decision of the Planning Commission. The impact of the Court’s decision is that the Board is to consider the appeal de novo, as if the prior Board hearing had not occurred.




No fiscal impact.