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 2,548 sq. ft. single-family residence on a 5,000 sq. ft. parcel located at 286 Second Street, in the unincorporated Montara area of the County. (Appeal from decision of the Planning Commission denying the Design Review Permit.) 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 1999-00015, 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 2,548 sq. ft. two-story single-family residence on a 5,000 sq. ft. parcel.


The Planning Director approved the subject project’s Design Review Permit in April 2004.


Planning Commission Action: On November 10, 2004, the Planning Commission voted 4-0 (one Commissioner absent) to uphold the appeal and deny the decision of the Planning Director to approve this 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 San Mateo County Superior Court set aside that decision and required the appeal from the Planning Commission to be reheard.



This project was one of two Design Review applications for new single-family homes on two adjacent parcels submitted by the applicant in 1999. The subject project was approved by the Planning Director in April 2004. That decision was appealed to the Planning Commission by 22 neighbors.


The Planning Commission upheld the appeal and denied the Design Review Permits based on a lack of adequate evidence to support the required findings under two specific Design Review standards from the 1999 Zoning Regulations: (1) a requirement that the house be designed and situated so as to retain and blend with the natural vegetation and landform of the site, and (2) a requirement that the house be in harmony with the shape, size and scale of adjacent buildings in the community. The applicant appealed the Planning Commission’s denial of a Design Review Permit. The Board of Supervisors denied the applicant’s appeal on February 8, 2005.


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 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 project de novo, as if the prior Board hearing had not occurred.



No fiscal impact.