Chapter 9.72
Permit Approval or Disapproval

Sections:

9.72.010    Purpose of Chapter

9.72.020    Certificate of Occupancy

9.72.030    Coastal Development Permit

9.72.040    Design Review

9.72.050    Emergency Permit

9.72.070    Planned Development Permit

9.72.080    Use Permit and Minor Use Permit

9.72.090    Variance

9.72.100    Zoning Clearance

9.72.110    Development Agreements

9.72.010 Purpose of Chapter

A.    Permit review procedures. This Chapter provides procedures for the review, and approval or disapproval of the planning permit applications established by this Land Use Code.

B.    Subdivision review procedures. Procedures and standards for the review and approval of subdivision maps are found in the Article 8 (Subdivision Regulations and Procedures).

C.    Application filing and initial processing. Where applicable, the procedures of this Chapter are carried out after those described in Chapter 9.70 (Permit Application Filing and Processing), for each application.

9.72.020 Certificate of Occupancy

A.    Purpose. A Certificate of Occupancy is intended to ensure that a new use of land or structure complies with this Land Use Code and any other applicable City requirements. The Zoning Administrator, Planning Commission, and/or Council may establish policies, rules, and regulations that further define these procedures.

B.    Applicability. A legal use or occupancy of a structure existing at the time this Land Use Code, or applicable amendment became effective may be continued, but shall not be changed unless a Certificate of Occupancy for a new use is issued by the Building Official.

C.    Certificate of Occupancy required. A Certificate of Occupancy shall be required for:

1.    Occupancy of any use. The occupancy of any use except for agricultural purposes of vacant land in any zoning district established under the provisions of this Land Use Code;

2.    Occupancy of any structure. The occupancy of any use of a new, or structurally altered or moved, structure into or within any zoning district;

3.    Change in character or use. Any change in the character or use of an existing structure including:

a.    The division of a single-family dwelling unit into two or more dwelling units;

b.    The conversion of a residential structure into a commercial use; or

c.    Changes in character or use of a building except as specified in Section 3405 of the California Building Code.

D.    Application. An application for a Certificate of Occupancy shall be filed with the Building Official before land or a structure is occupied or used.

E.    Issuance. A Certificate of Occupancy shall be issued within three days after written notice has been filed by the Building Official that the premises are ready for occupancy or use and that the inspection indicated that the structure or use is in conformity with this Land Use Code, Building and Housing Codes and other applicable City ordinances relating to the health and safety of the residents.

1.    Contents. A Certificate of Occupancy shall contain the following information:

a.    The Building Permit number;

b.    The address of the structure;

c.    The name and address of the owner;

d.    A description of that portion of the structure for which the Certificate was issued; and

e.    The name of the Building Official.

2.    Temporary Certificate of Occupancy. A "temporary" Certificate of Occupancy may be issued by the Building Official for the use of a portion of a new structure before the completion of the structure, or in the case of an existing structure, for a portion of the entire unit before completion of all work required.

3.    Posting of Certificate. The Certificate of Occupancy shall be posted in a conspicuous place of the premises and shall not be removed except by the City’s Building Official.

F.    Revocation. A Certificate of Occupancy or Temporary Certificate may be revoked after written notice for:

1.    A use not specifically authorized by the Certificate of Occupancy;

2.    The discovery of any false statement or misrepresentation by the permittee;

3.    Continued existence of substandard conditions as defined by applicable City ordinances; or

4.    Any condition that jeopardizes public health or safety.

G.    Record of approved Certificates. A record of all Certificates of Occupancy shall be kept on file in the Building Division and copies shall be furnished on request to any person having a proprietary or tenancy interest in the subject use, structure, or land.

9.72.030 Coastal Development Permit

A.    Purpose. All development within the Coastal Zone shall conform with the City’s LCP. (Ord. 1397, eff. 12/4/2009; Ord. 1432, eff. 12/20/2013)

9.72.040 Design Review

A.    Purpose. Design Review is intended to ensure that the design of proposed development and new land uses assists in maintaining and enhancing the natural beauty, historic, and rural character of the community. Therefore, the goals and purposes of these procedures and requirements are to:

1.    Promote the orderly and harmonious development of the City;

2.    Create design guidelines for new and historic buildings;

3.    Ensure that new development is designed to preserve important natural features and scenic resources;

4.    Promote building designs that are well suited to their functions and sites;

5.    Initiate and review a City-wide historic resource inventory;

6.    Create visual environments which are of high aesthetic quality and variety;

7.    Achieve maximum benefit from natural environmental settings;

8.    Ensure that new buildings are designed to fit appropriately within the existing neighborhood context;

9.    Encourage diversity in building design, rather than repetitive design in new subdivisions;

10.    Promote stability of land values and desirability of investment in the City;

11.    Incorporate green building concepts and features (e.g., maximum use of energy efficiency, insulation, native landscaping, natural lighting, permeable surfaces around structures, recycled materials and recycling, solar access, use of toxic-free materials, and minimizing construction waste generation) into new and renovated structures; and

12.    Recognize and preserve historic resources within the City.

B.    Applicability. Design Review shall be required in addition to all of the other planning permit or approval requirements of this Land Use Code and the Municipal Code. The provisions of this Section and the requirements for Design Review shall apply to proposed projects in the following manner:

1.    New construction. Design Review shall be required for all new construction in the City, including all structural modifications in exterior appearance, including paved areas, revegetation plans, and all other exterior work and signs which require a permit from the City, except as exempted in Subsection 9.72.040(B)(7) of this Land Use Code.

2.    Historic districts and structures. Design Review shall be required for any changes to a: HL designated historic resource, noteworthy structure, or a building within the Period of Significance that has been determined historically significant by the City, but not limited to:

a.    Any exterior alterations, including changes in materials.

b.    Interior alterations that would affect the exterior appearance.

c.    Any addition to a structure.

d.    Any construction on a parcel with a designated Historic Landmark.

3.    Neighborhood Conservation Area (NCA). The Design Review process shall be required for each structure proposed within a Neighborhood Conservation Area (NCA), including single-family houses, historic structures, and existing structures with exterior alterations or renovations except as exempted in Subsection 9.72.040(B)(7)(b) of this Land Use Code. Before approval, the Historic and Design Review Commission shall make a finding that the design will be compatible with the existing character of the NCA.

4.    Recycling, solid waste, and outdoor storage. Design Review shall be required for all outside storage including recycling and solid waste areas as specified in Section 9.30.100 (Solid Waste/Recyclable Materials Storage).

5.    Loading areas. Design Review shall be required for all new or altered loading areas.

6.    Other projects requiring Design Review. The Director, Building Inspector, or Director of Public Works may choose to submit any application for development to the Historic and Design Review Commission when they determine that the proposed construction, land use, or parcels may cause a significant effect upon solar access or the aesthetic character of the City, area, or neighborhood.

7.    Exemptions. The following projects shall be exempt from the requirements for Design Review as noted:

a.    Exemption for single-family structures and secondary units. A new single-family structure, secondary unit, or an addition or alteration to an existing single-family structure or secondary unit shall be exempt from the requirements for Design Review, except as required in subsections (B)(2) and (3) of this Section.

b.    Minor repairs consisting of in-kind one to one replacements.

The above exemptions shall not apply if the Zoning Administrator determines that the proposed construction may require modification to fit in with the site or existing unit, and / or neighborhood.

C.    Review authority for Design Review. Design Review shall be conducted by the Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC) or Planning Commission as established by the Council. The HDRC may choose to defer action and refer any Design Review application to the Planning Commission for hearing and decision.

1.    Type “A” Design Review. Type “A” Design Review shall be approved or disapproved by the HDRC for those projects that do not have a concurrent application for which the Planning Commission is the review authority.

2.    Type “B” Design Review. Type “B” Design Review shall be approved or disapproved by the Planning Commission for all projects not determined to be Type “A”. As per subsection (H)(2) of this Section, the HDRC shall provide a recommendation to the Planning Commission for all Type “B” Design Review applications.

3.    Type “C” Design Review. Type “C” Design Review shall be required for those projects resulting from a request for modification of site standards as authorized by Section 9.72.080.B (Use Permit and Minor Use Permit) and shall be approved or disapproved by the HDRC.

D.    Application filing and processing. An application for a Design Review shall be prepared, filed, and processed in compliance with Chapter 9.70 (Permit Application Filing and Processing). The application shall be accompanied by the information identified in the Department handout for Design Review applications.

E.    Preliminary Design Review.

1.    Request for advice. An application for Preliminary Design Review may be filed to request the advice of the Historic and Design Review Commission before filing an application for formal City action or permit issuance.

2.    Design Review authority discretion. The Historic and Design Review Commission may choose to not provide Preliminary Design Review.

3.    Effect of review. Preliminary Design Review is advisory only and shall not be considered as a formal approval or disapproval.

F.    Standards for Design Review. In addition to the purposes of this Section identified in Subsection A., above, the Historic and Design Review Commission shall ensure that the project complies with this Section and Subsection 9.28.060(D)(1) (Considerations for review within the NCA) by:

1.    Providing architectural design, building height and massing, and scale appropriate to and compatible with other structures on the site and in the immediate vicinity of the site;

2.    Providing attractive and desirable site layout and design, including, but not limited to, building arrangement, exterior appearance and setbacks, drainage, fences and walls, grading, landscaping, lighting, signs, etc.;

3.    Providing efficient and safe public access, circulation, and parking;

4.    Providing appropriate open space and landscaping, including the use of water efficient landscaping;

5.    Showing consistency with the General Plan, Local Coastal Program, and any applicable specific plan; and

6.    Complying with any applicable design guidelines or design review policies.

G.    Project review and noticing. Each application for Design Review shall be reviewed by the HDRC to ensure that the proposal complies with all applicable requirements of this Land Use Code. Each project will be listed on an agenda that will be posted at City Hall at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting. Any project referred to the HDRC as a result of subsection (B)(2) or (B)(3) of this Section shall require the applicant to post a notice of a pending permit at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting, on site and along public streets within 100 feet of the subject site’s boundaries and in at least three public places in the City, in compliance with the Department’s handout on public hearing requirements. Otherwise, the following projects shall be noticed in compliance with Chapter 9.74 (Public Hearings).

1.    Type “B” Design Review projects. Any Design Review projects referred to the Planning Commission per subsection (C)(2) of this Section.

2.    Type “C” Design Review projects. Any Design Review projects resulting from a request for modification of site standards as authorized by Section 9.72.080.B. (Use Permit and Minor Use Permit).

3.    Subsection (B)(6) projects. Any project referred to Design Review per subsection (B)(6) of this Section.

4.    Director determination. Any Design Review project determined by the Director to have potential to cause an adverse effect upon the aesthetic character of a Neighborhood Conservation Area or a building within the Period of Significance that has been determined historically significant by the City.

H.    Historic and Design Review Commission action.

1.    Approval or disapproval. For projects not subject to review by the Planning Commission or City Council, the HDRC may approve or disapprove the design as submitted, or suggest alterations, changes, or modifications as appropriate, or impose conditions, all in compliance with the standards identified in this Section, and additional standards as may be adopted and published by the HDRC from time to time.

2.    Recommendation. For projects subject to review and approval by the Planning Commission or City Council (e.g. Planned Developments, Conditional Use Permits, and Subdivisions), the HDRC shall provide a recommendation to the decision-making body. HDRC review shall be conducted prior to review by the Planning Commission or City Council. If the Planning Commission or City Council determines that significant changes have occurred to a major development, the project will be referred back to the HDRC for final recommendations prior to action by the decision-making body.

3.    Deadline for Design Review authority action. The HDRC shall act upon each application within two meetings or 30 days, whichever comes later, from the first consideration of the proposal, unless the applicant consents to further continuances.

I.    Conditions of approval. The Historic and Design Review authority may impose any conditions deemed reasonable and necessary to carry out the purpose of this Section. The violation of any condition so imposed shall constitute a violation of this Section and may constitute grounds for revocation.

J.    Post decision procedures. The procedures and requirements in Chapter 9.76 (Appeals), Chapter 9.79 (Permit Implementation, Time Limits, and Extensions), and those related to revocation in Article 9 (Land Use Code Administration), shall apply following the decision on an application for Design Review. (Ord. 1392, eff. 5/15/2009; Ord. 1419, eff. 10/5/2012; Ord. 1432, eff. 12/20/2013)

9.72.050 Emergency Permit

A.    Purpose. This Section provides procedures for the issuance of Emergency Permits in compliance with the Coastal Act and with the City of Arcata’s Emergency Operation Plan.

B.    Applicability. In the event of an emergency (see definition for "Emergency"), the Zoning Administrator may issue a permit to authorize emergency work in compliance with this Section, Coastal Act Section 30624, and California Code of Regulations Section 13329.

1.    The Zoning Administrator shall not issue an Emergency Permit for any work on any submerged lands, tidelands, or public trust lands, whether filled or unfilled.

2.    A request for emergency work on any submerged lands, tidelands, or public trust lands shall be referred to the Executive Director of the Coastal Commission.

C.    Application. An application for an Emergency Permit shall be filed with the Zoning Administrator in writing if time allows, or in person or by telephone if time does not allow.

D.    Required information. The applicant shall report to the Zoning Administrator the following information, either during or as soon after the emergency as possible:

1.    The date, nature and location of the emergency;

2.    The cause of the emergency, insofar as this can be established;

3.    The remedial, protective, or preventative work required to deal with the emergency; and

4.    The circumstances during the emergency that appeared to justify the courses of action taken, including the probable consequences of failing to take action.

E.    Verification of emergency. The Zoning Administrator shall verify the facts, including the existence and nature of the emergency, as time allows. A Level Three Emergency precludes the requirements of this section and the need for Emergency Permits.

F.    Public notice required. The Zoning Administrator shall provide public notice of the proposed emergency work, with the extent and type of notice determined on the basis of the nature of the emergency.

G.    Findings and decision. The decision to issue an Emergency Permit is at the sole discretion of the Zoning Administrator; provided, that subsequent land use, Building, and Grading Permits required for the project shall comply with all applicable provisions of these regulations. The Zoning Administrator may grant an Emergency Permit if an emergency exists as defined in Article 10 (Glossary), and if the Zoning Administrator first finds that:

1.    An emergency exists that requires action more quickly than allowed by the procedures of this Land Use Code for the permits that would otherwise be required, and the work can and will be completed within 30 days unless otherwise specified by the Emergency Permit;

2.    Public comment on the proposed emergency action has been reviewed, if time allows;

3.    The work proposed is consistent with the Local Coastal Program and with Coastal Act Section 36011 or superceding section; and

4.    The emergency occurred within 30 days of the request for an Emergency Permit, and the emergency was not caused by deferred maintenance.

H.    Emergency Permit contents. If granted, the Emergency Permit shall be subject to reasonable terms and conditions, including:

1.    Language indicating that the work accomplished under an Emergency Permit is considered temporary unless a regular permit is issued for the work;

2.    An expiration date for Emergency Permit; and

3.    A condition specifying the necessity for the submittal of a regular permit application within 30 days of the effective date of the Emergency Permit.

I.    Expiration. An Emergency Permit shall expire and become void within seven days of issuance if it is not exercised, or if the emergency ceases to exist.

J.    Report to Council. For informational purposes only, the Zoning Administrator shall provide the Council with a written report describing the nature of the emergency and the work involved at the Council’s first scheduled meeting after the Emergency Permit has been issued. Copies of the report shall be available at the meeting and shall be mailed to the Executive Director of the Coastal Commission and to all persons who have requested this notification in writing.

K.    Normal permits required. Within 30 days of the date of issuance of the Emergency Permit, the applicant shall apply for all planning permits required by these regulations, and any other permits required by the Municipal Code. Failure to file the applications and obtain the required permits shall result in enforcement action in compliance with Chapter 9.96 (Enforcement and Penalties).

9.72.070 Planned Development Permit

A.    Purpose. This Section provides procedures for the review of Planned Development Permits. Planned Development Permits are intended to:

1.    Provide a method whereby land may be designed and developed as a single unit by taking advantage of modern site planning techniques thereby resulting in a more efficient use of land and a better living environment than is otherwise possible through strict application of the development standards identified in Article 2 (Zoning Districts and Allowable Land Uses); and

2.    Ensure that approved development meets high standards of environmental quality, public health and safety, the efficient use of the City’s resources, and the purpose, intent, goals, policies, programs, and land use designations of the General Plan, the Local Coastal Program, and any applicable specific plan.

B.    Applicability.

1.    Minimum site area. A Planned Development Permit may be requested for any residential, commercial, industrial, or mixed-use development. A Planned Development Permit shall be required for any residential development on sites one acre and larger. All properties that have a :PD Combining Zone overlay shall require an approved Planned Development Permit prior to development.

2.    Timing of Planned Development Permit approval. For projects proposing a Planned Development Permit, a Building or Grading Permit shall not be issued until the Planned Development Permit has been approved in compliance with this Section and the rezoning for a :PD Combining Zone has been achieved.

3.    Scope of Approval.

a.    A Planned Development Permit may authorize a land use activity that is not otherwise allowed in the base zoning district provided that:

(1)    The development will include other uses which are either permitted outright or conditionally permitted in the base zone; and

(2)    The Planning Commission has the review authority to grant a Planned Development Permit for a land use activity that is not otherwise allowed in the base zoning district.

b.    The permit may adjust or modify, where necessary and justifiable, all applicable development standards (e.g. building envelope [coverage, height, and setbacks], fence and wall heights, landscaping, off-street parking [design and ratios], site coverage, street layout, etc.) identified in this Land Use Code.

c.    A residential project may be approved with increased density or intensity in compliance with the State density bonus law (Government Code Section 65915).

C.    Application filing and processing. An application for a Planned Development Permit shall be filed in compliance with Chapter 9.70 (Permit Application Filing and Processing). The application shall be accompanied by the information identified in the Department handout for Planned Development applications. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide evidence in support of the findings, as required by Subsection G (Findings), below.

D.    Planned Development Types. The uses within a Planned Development shall be divided into the following three categories:

1.    Type "A" Planned Developments. Type "A" Planned Developments are those developments that are limited to uses that are permitted outright in the zoning district and involve no exceptions to the development standards of the zoning district;

2.    Type "B" Planned Developments. Type "B" Planned Developments are those developments that are limited to uses which are permitted outright or conditionally permitted in the zoning district and may involve exceptions to the development standards of the zoning district; and

3.    Type "C" Planned Developments. Type "C" Planned Developments may include uses that are not permitted outright or conditionally permitted in the zoning district, provided that the development will include other uses that are either permitted outright or conditionally permitted in the zoning district. Type "C" Planned Developments may involve exceptions to the development standards of the zoning district.

E.    Review Authority. A Planned Development Permit may be granted by the following review authorities:

1.    Zoning Administrator. The Zoning Administrator may grant Type "A" Planned Development Permits that are exempt from CEQA; and

2.    Planning Commission. The Planning Commission may grant Type "A" Planned Development Permits that are not exempt from CEQA reviews, Type "B" and Type "C" Planned Development Permits.

F.    Project Review, Notice and Hearing. Each application shall be reviewed by the Zoning Administrator to ensure that the proposal complies with all applicable requirements of the Land Use Code. Any request for phasing within a Planned Development Permit shall have an application that includes a Comprehensive Development Plan for the entire site.

1.    Type "A" Planned Developments that are Exempt from CEQA. Before a decision on a Type "A" Planned Development Permit that is exempt from CEQA, the City shall provide notice in compliance with Chapter 9.74 (Public Hearings).

a.    The notice shall state that the Zoning Administrator will decide whether to approve or disapprove the Type "A" Planned Development Permit application on the date specified in the notice, and that a public hearing will be held only if requested in writing by any interested person before the specified date for decision.

b.    If a public hearing is requested, the Zoning Administrator shall refer the application to the Planning Commission for a hearing and decision to be conducted in compliance with Chapter 9.74 (Public Hearings). If no public hearing is requested, the Zoning Administrator shall render a decision on the date specified in the notice referred to in Subsection F.1.a, above.

2.    Other Planned Developments Permits. The Planning Commission shall conduct public hearings for all of the following applications:

a.    Type "A" Planned Development Permits that are not exempt from CEQA;

b.    Type "A" Planned Development Permits that the Zoning Administrator chooses to refer to the Planning Commission for hearing and decision;

c.    Type "B" Planned Development Permits; and

d.    Type "C" Planned Development Permits.

Notice of public hearings shall be provided, and the hearings shall be conducted in compliance with Chapter 9.74 (Public Hearings).

G.    Findings. The review authority may approve a Planned Development Permit only after first making the following findings as appropriate for the type of Planned Development Permit.

1.    Findings for Type "A" Planned Development Permits:

a.    The proposed project carries out the policies and intent of the General Plan, Local Coastal Program and any applicable specific plan;

b.    The proposed project is in compliance with all of the applicable provisions of this Land Use Code;

c.    Proper standards and conditions have been imposed to ensure the protection of the public health, safety and welfare;

d.    The proposed project will not circumvent the intent of protecting Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas or significant historic resources, and consideration will be given to impacts on areas with steep slopes, waterways, wetlands or riparian areas, or significant cultural or historic resources; and

e.    The subject site is adequate in terms of size, shape, topography and existing conditions to accommodate the proposed development.

2.    Findings for Type "B" Planned Development Permits:

a.    All findings listed for Type "A" Planned Development Permits in Subsection 9.72.070.G.1, above, except for G.1.b;

b.    The proposed project meets the intent of all applicable provisions of this Land Use Code relating to both on-site and off-site improvements that are necessary to accommodate flexibility in site planning and property development and to carry out the purpose, intent, and requirements of this Section and the respective base zoning district, including prescribed development standards and applicable design guidelines;

c.    The proposed project is designed to ensure compatibility with adjacent uses within the zoning district and general neighborhood of the proposed development;

d.    The proposed project will produce a comprehensive development of superior quality (e.g. appropriate variety of structure placement and orientation opportunities, appropriate mix of structure sizes, high quality architectural design, increased amounts of landscaping and open space, improved solutions to the design and placement of parking facilities, etc.) that might not otherwise occur from more traditional development applications;

e.    Each proposed exception is justifiable and will result in a more desirable development, and development amenities are provided as identified in Subsection H. The possible exceptions listed in Subsection B (Applicability) may be allowed when the review authority first determines that a specific exception will result in a more desirable development; and

f.    Proper on-site traffic circulation and control is designed into the development to ensure interconnectivity with neighborhoods (i.e. vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle), and protection for fire suppression and police surveillance equal to or better than what would normally be created by compliance with the minimum setback and parcel width development standards identified in Article 2 (Zoning Districts and Allowable Land Uses).

3.    Findings for Type "C" Planned Development Permits:

a.    All findings listed for Type "A" except for G.1.b. and Type "B" Planned Development Permits in Subsection 9.72.070.G.2, above;

b.    The design, location, operating characteristics, and size of the proposed development will be compatible with the existing and future land uses in the vicinity, in terms of aesthetic values, character, scale, and view protection; and

c.    The available land supply in the primary zoning district shall be sufficient for other permitted uses, if a use other than that permitted or conditionally permitted is proposed.

H.    Modifications to Development Standards. A Planned Development that proposes an exception to the requirements of this Land Use Code shall provide development amenities that offset any exceptions to an equal or greater degree, as determined by the review authority. These amenities may include the following:

1.    In a residential planned development, the inclusion of housing units for people of moderate, low, or very low income in addition to the number of units required by Chapter 9.32 (Affordable Housing Requirements);

2.    Special attention given to the amount and design of common open space;

3.    Special attention given to minimizing the extent of site disturbance;

4.    Provision of day care facilities or recreational facilities;

5.    Architectural/site design merit;

6.    Energy-efficient construction that exceeds Title 24 requirements by 15%;

7.    Special attention given to the amount and design of proposed landscaping;

8.    Provision of laundry facilities, covered parking, or other special amenities;

9.    Facilities for recycling and storage of garbage, beyond those normally expected. For example, a neighborhood drop-off site for recycled materials would be an amenity; on-site recycling bins would not as these are typically required;

10.    Creation of jobs for people of moderate, low, or very low income;

11.    Provision of bike facilities other than those required by Section 9.36.060, or other provisions of this Land Use Code; and/or

12.    Restoration of Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas, where feasible.

I.    Planned Development Permit project completion.

1.    A Planned Development Permit may specify a time for project completion acceptable to the review authority.

2.    If not specified in the permit, the completion period shall not exceed 36 months unless extensions are granted per Subsection 9.79.070(B)(2) of this code.

3.    If construction of the project has not commenced within the applicable development completion period, the Planned Development Permit shall automatically be terminated and deemed void, with no further action required by the City.

J.    Planned Development Permit Amendment.

1.    Action on requested changes. Any requested change in the Planned Development Permit, other than those allowed by Subsection J.3, below shall be submitted to the review authority (the review authority that originally approved the permit) for review and approval.

2.    Added stipulations deemed reasonable and necessary. The review authority may, as a condition of approval, impose added stipulations, changes or conditions to the Planned Development Permit as it deems reasonable and necessary to carry out the purpose and intent of the original Planned Development Permit and this section.

3.    Minor changes by Zoning Administrator. Minor changes in the Planned Development Permit which do not involve an increase in building area, an increase in the number of dwelling units, decrease in amenities, or a change of use may be approved by the Zoning Administrator in compliance with Section 9.79.080 (Change to an Approved Project).

K.    Conditions of approval. In approving a Planned Development Permit, the review authority may impose any conditions (e.g. the placement, height, nature and extent of the use; buffers, landscaping and maintenance, off-site improvements, performance guarantees, screening, surfacing, etc.) deemed reasonable and necessary to carry out the purposes of this Section and to ensure that the approval will comply with the findings required by Subsection G (Findings), above. The violation of any required condition shall constitute a violation of this Section and may constitute grounds for revocation of the permit.

L.    Coastal Permit required. A Coastal Permit shall be required for all Planned Development Permits located in the Coastal Zone. Procedures for obtaining a Coastal Permit are identified in Section 9.72.030 (Coastal Permits).

M.    Post decision procedures. The procedures and requirements in Chapters 9.76 (Appeals) and 9.79 (Permit Implementation, Time Limits, and Extensions), and those related to revocation in Article 9 (Land Use Code Administration), shall apply following the decision on an application for Planned Development Permit approval.

9.72.080 Use Permit and Minor Use Permit

A.    Purpose. A Use Permit or Minor Use Permit provides a process for reviewing uses and activities that may be appropriate in the applicable zoning district, but whose effects on site and surroundings cannot be determined before being proposed for a specific site.

B.    Applicability. A Use Permit or Minor Use Permit is required to authorize a proposed land use identified by Article 2 (Zoning Districts and Allowable Land Uses) as being allowable in the applicable zoning district subject to the approval of a Use Permit or Minor Use Permit. Where a Minor Use Permit is required for modifications of site standards only, the Zoning Administrator shall determine if a Type “C” Design Review permit may be processed in lieu of the Minor Use Permit. For those site standard modifications, the project will be subject to Section 9.72.040(C)(3) (Design Review).

C.    Review authority.

1.    Use Permit. A Use Permit shall be approved or disapproved by the Planning Commission.

2.    Minor Use Permit. A Minor Use Permit shall be approved or disapproved by the Zoning Administrator, provided that:

a.    The Zoning Administrator may choose to defer action and refer any Minor Use Permit application to the Planning Commission for hearing and decision; and

b.    A Minor Use Permit may be issued by the Zoning Administrator only if the proposed project is exempt from CEQA. If the proposed project is not statutorily or categorically exempt from CEQA, the application shall be referred to the Planning Commission for hearing and decision.

D.    Application filing and processing. An application for a Use Permit or Minor Use Permit shall be completed, filed, and processed in compliance with Chapter 9.70 (Permit Application Filing and Processing). The application shall include the information identified in the Department handout for Use Permit applications. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide evidence in support of the findings required by Subsection F., below.

E.    Project review, notice, and hearing. Each application shall be reviewed by the Zoning Administrator to ensure that the proposal complies with all applicable requirements of this Land Use Code.

1.    Use Permit. The Planning Commission shall conduct a public hearing on an application for a Use Permit before reaching a decision on the application. Notice of the public hearing shall be provided, and the hearing shall be conducted in compliance with Chapter 9.74 (Public Hearings).

2.    Minor Use Permit. The Zoning Administrator or Planning Commission, consistent with subsection (C) of this Section, shall conduct a public hearing on an application for a Minor Use Permit before reaching a decision on the application. Notice of the public hearing shall be provided, and the hearing shall be conducted in compliance with Chapter 9.74 (Public Hearings).

a.    Content of public notice. The notice shall state that the Zoning Administrator or Planning Commission, consistent with subsection (C) of this Section, will conduct a public hearing to approve or disapprove the Minor Use Permit application on a date specified in the notice.

b.    Report to the Planning Commission. The Zoning Administrator decision on a Minor Use Permit shall be reported to the Planning Commission at the next available Planning Commission hearing within the appeal period of the decision on a Minor Use Permit.

F.    Findings and decision. The review authority may approve a Use Permit or Minor Use Permit only after first finding all of the following:

1.    The proposed use is allowed within the applicable zoning district and complies with all other applicable provisions of this Land Use Code and the Municipal Code or is a nonconforming use in compliance with subsection 9.90.020A.1;

2.    The proposed use is consistent with the General Plan, Local Coastal Program, and any applicable specific plan;

3.    The design, location, size, and operating characteristics of the proposed activity are compatible with the existing and potential future land uses in the vicinity;

4.    The site is physically suitable for the type, density and intensity of use being proposed, including access, utilities, and the absence of physical constraints; and

5.    Granting the permit will not be detrimental to the public interest, health, safety, convenience, or welfare, or materially injurious to persons, property, or improvements in the vicinity and zoning district in which the property is located.

G.    Conditions of approval. In approving a Use Permit or Minor Use Permit, the review authority shall impose any conditions (e.g., the placement, height, nature and extent of the use; buffers, landscaping and maintenance, off-site improvements, performance guarantees, screening, surfacing, time limits, etc.) deemed reasonable and necessary to carry out the purposes of this Section and ensure that the approval will comply with the findings required by Subsection F. (Findings and decision), above. The violation of any required condition shall constitute a violation of this Section and may constitute grounds for revocation of the permit.

H.    Coastal Permit required. A Coastal Permit shall be required for all Use Permits located in the Coastal Zone except those specifically excluded from Coastal Permit requirements by Section 9.72.030 (Coastal Permit).

I.    Post decision procedures. The procedures and requirements in Chapters 9.76 (Appeals) and 9.79 (Permit Implementation, Time Limits, and Extensions), and those related to revocation in Article 9 (Land Use Code Administration), shall apply following the decision on an application for Use Permit or Minor Use Permit approval. (Ord. 1419, eff. 10/5/2012)

9.72.090 Variance

A.    Purpose. This Section allows Variances from the development standards of this Land Use Code only when, because of special circumstances applicable to the property, including location, shape, size, surroundings, topography, or other physical conditions, the strict application of the standards denies the property owner privileges enjoyed by other property owners in the vicinity and in the same zoning district.

B.    Applicability. A Variance may be granted to waive or modify any requirement of this Land Use Code except: allowed land uses; residential density; specific prohibitions (for example, prohibited signs), or procedural requirements.

C.    Review authority. A Variance application shall be approved or disapproved by the appropriate review authority.

D.    Application filing and processing. An application for a Variance shall be completed, filed, and processed in compliance with Chapter 9.70 (Permit Application Filing and Processing). The application shall be accompanied by the information identified in the Department handout for Variance applications. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide evidence in support of the findings required by Subsection F., below.

E.    Project review, notice, and hearing. Each application for a Variance shall be reviewed by the Zoning Administrator to ensure that the proposal complies with all applicable requirements of this Land Use Code. The appropriate review authority shall conduct a public hearing on an application for a Variance before a decision on the application. Notice of the public hearing shall be provided, and the hearing shall be conducted in compliance with Chapter 9.74 (Public Hearings).

F.    Findings and decision. The appropriate review authority may approve a Variance with or without conditions, only after first making all of the following findings, as applicable.

1.    General findings.

a.    There are special circumstances applicable to the property (e.g., location, shape, size, surroundings, topography, or other conditions), so that the strict application of this Land Use Code denies the property owner privileges enjoyed by other property owners in the vicinity and within the same zoning district;

b.    Granting the Variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of substantial property rights enjoyed by other property owners in the same vicinity and zoning district and denied to the property owner for which the Variance is sought; and

c.    The Variance is consistent with the General Plan, Local Coastal Program, and any applicable specific plan.

2.    Findings for off-street parking Variances. For a nonresidential development project proposing to locate a portion of the required parking at an off-site location, or provide in-lieu fees or facilities instead of the required on-site parking spaces, the appropriate review authority shall first make both of the following findings in compliance with State law (Government Code Section 65906.5), instead of those required by Subsection F.1 above.

a.    The Variance will be an incentive to, and a benefit for, the subject nonresidential development; and

b.    The Variance will facilitate access to the subject nonresidential development by patrons of public transit facilities.

3.    Finding for reasonable accommodation. The appropriate review authority may also grant a Variance to the site planning or development standards of this Land Use Code in compliance with this Section, based on the finding that the Variance is necessary to accomplish a reasonable accommodation of the needs of a disabled person in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

G.    Conditions of approval. In approving a Variance, the appropriate review authority:

1.    Shall impose conditions to ensure that the Variance does not grant special privileges inconsistent with the limitations on other properties in the vicinity and zoning district in which the property is located; and

2.    May impose any conditions (e.g., the placement, height, nature and extent of the use; buffers, landscaping and maintenance, off-site improvements, performance guarantees, screening, surfacing, etc.) deemed reasonable and necessary to carry out the purposes of this Section and ensure that the approval will comply with the findings required by Subsection F. (Findings and decision), above. The violation of any required condition shall constitute a violation of this Section and may constitute grounds for revocation of the permit.

H.    Coastal Permit required. A Coastal Permit shall be required for all Variances in the Coastal Zone except those specifically excluded from Coastal Permit requirements by Section 9.72.030 (Coastal Permits).

I.    Post decision procedures. The procedures and requirements in Chapters 9.76 (Appeals) and 9.79 (Permit Implementation, Time Limits, and Extensions), and those related to revocation in Article 9 (Land Use Code Administration), shall apply following the decision on an application for a Variance.

9.72.100 Zoning Clearance

A.    Purpose. Zoning Clearance is the procedure used by the City to verify that a proposed structure or land use complies with the list of activities allowed in the applicable zoning district, and the development standards applicable to the use.

B.    Applicability. Where Article 2 (Zoning Districts and Allowable Land Uses) or other provision of this Land Use Code requires a Zoning Clearance as a prerequisite to establishing a land use, the Zoning Clearance shall be required at the time of Department review of any building, grading, or other construction permit, or other authorization required by this Land Use Code for the proposed use.

C.    Issuance.

1.    The Zoning Administrator shall issue the Zoning Clearance after determining that the request complies with all Land Use Code provisions applicable to the proposed use.

2.    An approval may be in the form of a stamp, City staff signature, or other official notation on approved plans, a letter to the applicant, or other certification, at the discretion of the Zoning Administrator.

9.72.110 Development Agreements

A.    Purpose.

1.    Binding Agreement. The purpose of this Chapter is to establish local procedures for the consideration, implementation and administration of development agreements as authorized by Title 7, Division 1, Chapter 4, Article 2.5, commencing with Section 65864 of the California Government Code. A development agreement is a binding agreement entered into between the City and an applicant pursuant to the requirements and procedures of state law and this Chapter.

2.    Substantial Benefit. Development proposals which are eligible for consideration for such an agreement shall be: a) used sparingly; b) limited to projects in which the developer makes a substantial contribution to infrastructure, open space, affordable housing, community facilities, sustainable energy, or other public improvements and amenities of benefit to the City that would not otherwise be obtained through applicable development approval processes.

B.    Applicability.

1.    Sole Discretion. This Chapter authorizes the City of Arcata, at its sole discretion, to enter into a development agreement with any qualified applicant for the development of real property. The provisions of this Chapter are applicable throughout the City of Arcata.

2.    Qualified Applicants. Only qualified applicants, persons who have legal or equitable interest in the real property which is the subject of the development agreement, may file an application to enter into a development agreement. An applicant shall submit written proof of interest in the real property and of the authority of any agent to act for the property owner(s), to the satisfaction of the Director.

3.    Concurrent Permit Review. An application for a development agreement shall only be considered if the application is submitted in conjunction with an application for rezoning, a subdivision, a planned development, or other discretionary planning permit application authorizing the development which is the subject of the proposed development agreement.

4.    Required Finding. The use of a development agreement is solely at the discretion of the City Council upon a finding that the development agreement is appropriate under the stated intent of this Chapter and the circumstances of the project for which the agreement is sought.

C.    Regulations Affecting Property Subject to a Development Agreement.

1.    Vested Development Rights. The development agreement may specify, consistent with State law, the development rights vested by the agreement. Except as otherwise provided by the development agreement, the regulations which apply to the development of the property subject to the agreement shall be as follows:

a.    Terms of Development Agreement. Pursuant to Government Code Section 65866, development of the property shall be subject to the rules, regulations, ordinances, and official policies applicable to such development on the effective date of the development agreement which is the date of recordation. To the extent any future changes in the City’s general plan, certified local coastal program, municipal code, zoning ordinances, or any future rules, ordinances, regulations or policies adopted by the City purport to be applicable to the property but are inconsistent with the terms and conditions of the development agreement, the terms of the development agreement shall prevail, unless the parties thereto mutually agree to amend or modify the development agreement.

b.    New Rules, Regulations and Policies. A development agreement shall not prevent the City, in subsequent actions applicable to the property, from applying new rules, regulations, and policies which do not conflict with the terms and conditions of the development agreement; nor shall a development agreement prevent the City from denying or conditionally approving any subsequent development application on the basis of such existing or new rules, regulations, and policies.

c.    Compliance with State or Federal Laws and Regulations. In the event State or Federal laws or regulations enacted after the effective date of the development agreement prevent or preclude compliance with one or more provisions of the agreement, such provisions of the development agreement shall be modified or suspended as may be necessary to comply with such State or Federal laws or regulations. Said modification or suspension shall be noticed and heard in accordance with the procedures set forth in Subsection 9.72.110.J of this Chapter. The development agreement shall not preclude the City from applying to the property which is the subject of the development agreement those changes in City plans, regulations and policies which are specifically mandated by changes in State or Federal laws or regulations.

d.    Public Health and Safety. Nothing in this Section or in the development agreement shall be construed to limit the authority of the City to impose requirements and conditions on subsequent required approvals or permits if such requirements or conditions are necessary to protect persons or property from situations which create a condition dangerous to health or safety, nor shall this Section or the development agreement be construed to limit the authority of the City to require compliance with building standards, building codes and such other codes, ordinances, and regulations as are necessary to protect against a condition dangerous to the public health or safety.

2.    City Authority. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to limit the authority or obligation of the City to hold necessary public hearings or to limit the discretion of the City or any of its officers or officials with regard to the rules, regulations, ordinances, laws, and entitlements of use which require the exercise of discretion by the City or any of its officers or officials, provided that subsequent discretionary actions shall not conflict with those elements vested as a result of the development agreement.

D.    Application Filing. The application shall be filed in accordance with Chapter 9.70, Permit Application Filing and Processing. A development agreement application shall include all information and materials required by Section 9.70.030 (Application Preparation and Filing), and the following additional information:

1.    The name and address of the applicant and of all persons and entities having any legal or equitable interest in the property which is the subject of the proposed development agreement.

2.    A preliminary title report dated no more than three months prior to the application date, demonstrating that the applicant has a legal or equitable interest in the property which is the subject of the proposed development agreement.

3.    Legal description of the real property and a listing of the Assessor’s parcel numbers for the property, including an approximation of the total area of the property which is the subject of the proposed development agreement.

4.    Information about the current use of the property proposed to be subject to the development agreement.

5.    Any explanatory text, plans, maps, drawings, pictures, and such other documentation, information and supporting data as the Director may need to process the application.

6.    Designation of an agent representing legal ownership of all property proposed to be subject to the development agreement.

7.    Any additional information requested by the Community Development Department.

8.    A separate development agreement application shall be filed for each development project for which a development agreement is requested.

9.    Evidence to the satisfaction of the Director indicating the applicant’s authorization to proceed on behalf of the property owner(s) with the application. In the discretion of the Director one or all of the property owners may be required to sign the application.

10.    A statement as to the eligibility of the proposed project.

11.    Payment of the Preliminary Review Fee and a commitment to pay the Development Agreement processing fee upon a determination of eligibility by the Director.

E.    Application Review.

1.    Pre-application Conference. Prior to application submission, the developer shall attend a pre-application conference with the Director and other City employees or consultants as appropriate.

2.    Application Completeness. The Director shall review the application for completeness and shall determine any additional requirements necessary to make the application complete. The Director may reject the application as incomplete if it does not contain the documentation required by the Director, other City Departments or other responsible agencies.

3.    Application Rejection. The Director may reject the application as ineligible for consideration if it is not made by a qualified applicant or is not made for a development proposal which meets the eligibility standards set forth in previous subsections of this Chapter.

4.    CEQA Review. The Director shall process the development agreement and any associated proposed land use entitlements for environmental review in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

5.    Appeals. If the Director determines that an application is incomplete or ineligible, the Director must provide this determination in writing to the applicant. The applicant may appeal said written determination by the Director pursuant to the appeal procedures set forth in Chapter 9.76.030, Appeals. A decision on appeal will not affect the City Council’s discretion on whether to approve a proposed development agreement.

6.    Negotiation of Terms of Development Agreement. At such time that the Director has determined the application is complete and eligible for consideration, the applicant may enter into negotiations with the City regarding the terms of the development agreement. When the City and the applicant have reached tentative agreement on the terms of the development agreement, the development agreement may be considered by the Planning Commission and the City Council in accordance with the procedures set forth in subsection 9.72.110.G.

7.    Director Negotiations. Negotiations on behalf of the City shall be conducted by the Director, who shall consult with the City Manager and City Attorney, and other City employees or consultants as appropriate.

F.    Contents of the Development Agreement. Each development agreement shall include the following terms, conditions, restrictions, and requirements; if applicable:

1.    Proposed duration of the agreement, including a specified termination date, if appropriate.

2.    Permitted uses of the property.

3.    The density or intensity of uses.

4.    The maximum height and size of proposed buildings.

5.    Provisions for contribution to infrastructure, open space, affordable housing, community facility, sustainable energy, or other public improvements and amenities of benefit to the City, including reservation, dedication, and improvement of land for public purposes.

6.    Such other provisions as the Director may recommend and the City Council may deem appropriate.

G.    Project Review, Notice and Hearing

1.    Noticing.

a.    Public Hearing. A public hearing on an application for a development agreement shall be held by the Planning Commission and the City Council. Public notice of intention to consider adoption of a development agreement shall be given as provided in LUC Section 9.74.020 and California Government Code Sections 65090 and 65091, in addition to any other notice required by law for other actions to be considered concurrently with the development agreement.

b.    Changes in Noticing Requirement. The notice requirements referred to in paragraph a., above, are declaratory of existing law. If state or local law prescribes a different notice requirement, notice shall be given in that manner.

c.    Notice not Received. The failure of any person or entity to receive notice of a hearing shall not affect the authority of the City to enter into a development agreement.

d.    Continuation of Public Hearing. Any public hearing conducted under this Chapter may be continued from time to time.

2.    Planning Commission Review and Recommendation.

a.    Public Hearing Required. The Planning Commission shall conduct at least one public hearing on the proposed development agreement and other proposed land use entitlements to be considered concurrently with the development agreement.

b.    Planning Commission Recommendation. The Planning Commission shall make its written recommendation concerning the proposed development agreement to the City Council. The Planning Commission shall limit its review of the development agreement to the following:

1.    A determination of whether the proposed public benefit is sufficient to warrant entering into a development agreement;

2.    A review and recommendation of the proposed findings as set forth in subsection 9.72.110.H, below; and

3.    A list of discussion points to be forwarded to the City Council.

3.    City Council Review and Decision.

a.    Public Hearing Required. The City Council shall hold at least one noticed public hearing to consider the proposed development agreement.

b.    Findings. The Council may approve or conditionally approve the development agreement based on the findings identified in subsection 9.72.110.H, below. The City Council may add, modify, or eliminate any provision of the development agreement as a condition of approval.

c.    Disapproval of Development Agreement. The City Council, in its sole discretion and without the necessity for making findings, may disapprove a development agreement.

d.    Development Agreement Adopted by Ordinance. If the City Council approves the development agreement, it shall do so by the adoption of an ordinance. Such approval is a legislative act and such ordinance is subject to referendum. After the ordinance approving the development agreement takes effect, the City will enter into the development agreement by signature of the Mayor to said development agreement.

H.    Findings. The City Council shall not approve and enter into a development agreement unless both of the following findings are made:

1.    The development agreement is consistent with the objectives and policies of the General Plan and certified local coastal program.

2.    The development agreement is consistent with the objectives set out in Section 9.72.110.B.3.

I.    Recordation of the Development Agreement.

1.    Required Timeframe for Recordation. No later than ten (10) days after the City enters into a development agreement, the City Clerk shall record with the County Clerk/Recorder, at the expense of the qualified applicant, a fully executed copy of the development agreement, which shall include a legal description of the property subject thereto.

2.    Notice Required for Cancellation. If the parties to the development agreement or their successors in interest amend or cancel the development agreement as hereinafter provided, the Director shall cause notice of such action to be recorded with the County Recorder, at the expense of the canceling party.

3.    Effective Date. A development agreement shall take effect upon the date of recordation with the County Clerk/Recorder following City Council approval.

J.    Amendment or Cancellation of the Development Agreement.

1.    Amendment or Cancellation. Any development agreement may be amended, or canceled in whole or in part, by the mutual consent of the parties to the Agreement or their successors in interest. Any party to the agreement may initiate the amendment or cancellation of a development agreement. The procedure amending or canceling a development agreement shall be the same as the procedure for approval of the agreement, including notice of public hearings on the matter in accordance with subsection 9.72.110.G.1, above. Any amendment to or cancellation of the development agreement shall be approved by ordinance. The findings required for amendment shall be the findings specified in subsection 9.72.110.H, above.

2.    Corrections. Planning staff and the City Attorney are authorized to correct typographical errors, references to attachments and exhibits, statutes and ordinances, page and section numbers, and to correct maps and to make similar clerical non-substantive changes to the development agreement without processing an amendment.

3.    Repeal of Enabling Ordinance. In the event that this enabling ordinance is repealed, any existing development agreements enacted by following the procedures herein shall remain in full force and effect for their specified term and only the provisions of state law shall govern those agreements. (Ord. 1395, eff. 11/6/2009)