Chapter 17.24
ZONING ADMINISTRATION

17.24.100 Zone Changes

A.    Purpose

Whenever the public necessity, convenience, general welfare, or the policies set forth in the General Plan justify such action, zoning boundaries may be amended through the procedures established in this Section.

B.    General provisions

1.    A change in the boundaries of any zone may be initiated by the owner or the authorized agent of the owner of property, by filing an application for a zone change as prescribed in this Section. If the property for which rezoning is proposed is in more than one ownership, all the owners or their authorized agents must join in filing the application. If deemed appropriate by the City to expand the boundaries of any proposed zone change, notice shall be given to all property owners within the proposed expansion boundaries.

2.    A change in the boundaries of any zone may be initiated by the City Council.

3.    An application for a zone change may be filed concurrently with any other application(s) on the same property.

4.    Following the denial of an application for a change in zone, an application for the same or substantially the same change shall not be accepted within one year of the date of denial.

5.    A change in zone shall be indicated on the Zoning Map, along with a notation listing the number and date of each Ordinance amending the Zoning Map, within the revision block of said map.

C.    Application procedure

1.    An application for a change of zone shall be made on a form provided for that purpose by the Planning Department, along with the required fee as established by City Council resolution.

2.    The Planning Director may require additional information if deemed necessary to enable the Planning Commission and City Council to determine whether the change is consistent with the standards of this Zoning Ordinance and the maps and policies of the General Plan.

D.    Action by Planning Commission

1.    The Planning Commission shall hold a public hearing on each application for a zone change. The hearing shall be set and notice given as prescribed in PMC 17.20.020. The hearing may be continued from time to time.

2.    The Planning Commission shall determine whether the proposed zone change is consistent with the required findings for approval as set forth in subsection F of this Section, and, if so, shall recommend to the City Council that the zone change be granted or granted in a modified form. If the Planning Commission determines that the proposed change does not meet the required findings for approval, the Planning Commission shall deny the application and their action is final, unless the matter is set for hearing pursuant to PMC 17.20.110 and Section 65856 of the California Government Code.

3.    When the Commission determines, following a public hearing on a proposed zone change, that a change to a zone classification other than the proposed classification specified in the hearing notice is desirable, the Commission may recommend an alternate classification, following new notice and public hearing. The Commission must determine that the recommended alternative is more appropriate for the subject property and is consistent with the General Plan and the Zoning Ordinance.

E.    Action by the City Council

1.    Upon recommendation of the Planning Commission to approve a proposed zone change, the City Council shall hold a public hearing. The hearing shall be set and notice given as prescribed in PMC 17.20.020. The hearing may be continued from time to time.

2.    Following the closing of a public hearing, the Council shall make specific findings as to whether the change is consistent with the objectives of this Zoning Ordinance and the General Plan. If the Council makes these findings, as contained in subsection F of this Section, it shall introduce an ordinance amending the Zoning Map.

3.    The City Council shall not modify a recommendation of the Planning Commission on a zone change until it has requested and considered a report of the Planning Commission on the modification. Failure of the Commission to report within forty-five (45) calendar days after receipt of the Council request shall be deemed concurrence.

F.    Required findings for approval

Approval of a change of zone shall be based on the following findings:

1.    The proposed change in zone is consistent with the General Plan.

2.    The site of the proposed change in zone is suitable for any of the land uses permitted within the proposed zone district.

3.    The proposed change in zone is reasonable and beneficial at this time.

4.    The proposed change in zone will not have a substantial adverse effect on surrounding properties or the community in general.

G.    Pre-zoning

1.    For the purpose of establishing zone district boundaries to become effective only upon annexation, property outside the corporate boundaries of the City of Palmdale and within the adopted sphere of influence may be classified within one or more zones in the same manner and subject to the same procedural requirements as prescribed for property within the City.

2.    Upon passage of an ordinance establishing the applicable pre-zoning designation for property outside the City, the Zoning Map shall be revised to show the potential or “pre-zoned” classification to become effective upon annexation. The Zoning Map shall also identify each zone or zones applicable to such property with the label “Pre-zoning” or “PZ” in addition to such other map designation as may be applicable.

17.24.110 Zoning Ordinance Amendments

A.    Purpose

These provisions are intended to provide the City Council with a procedure to amend the Zoning Ordinance when deemed necessary or appropriate to protect public health, safety and welfare or to implement the policies of the General Plan.

B.    General provisions

1.    A Zoning Ordinance amendment may be initiated by any person or entity having a legal interest in property within the City. If the amendment is directly related to a parcel of land, the owner or the authorized agent of the owner of property must file the application. Further, if property that is the subject of an application is in more than one ownership, all of the owners or their authorized agents must join in filing the application.

2.    A Zoning Ordinance amendment may be initiated by the City Council.

3.    Following the denial of an application for a Zoning Ordinance amendment, an application for the same or substantially same amendment shall not be accepted within one (1) year of the date of denial, except as initiated by the Planning Commission or City Council.

4.    A Zoning Ordinance amendment adopted by the City Council shall be incorporated into the Zoning Ordinance.

C.    Application procedure

1.    An application shall be made on a form provided for that purpose by the Planning Department. An application initiated by a private person or agency shall be accompanied by a fee established by City Council resolution and all necessary application materials.

2.    The Planning Director may require additional information if necessary to enable the Commission and Council to determine whether the amendment is consistent with the objectives of the City’s General Plan.

D.    Action by Planning Commission

1.    The Planning Commission shall hold a public hearing on each application for a Zoning Ordinance amendment. The hearing shall be set and notice given as prescribed in PMC 17.20.020. The hearing may be continued from time to time.

2.    The Planning Commission shall determine whether the Zoning Ordinance amendment is consistent with the required findings for approval as set forth in subsection F of this Section, and shall recommend to the City Council that the Zoning Ordinance amendment be approved, approved as amended, or denied based upon said findings.

E.    Action by City Council

1.    Upon recommendation of the Planning Commission on a proposed zone change, the City Council shall hold a public hearing. The hearing shall be set and notice given as prescribed in PMC 17.20.020. The hearing may be continued from time to time.

2.    Following the closing of a public hearing, the Council shall determine whether the proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment meets the criteria as set forth in the required findings for approval in subsection F of this Section. If the Council makes these required findings, it shall introduce an Ordinance amending the Zoning Ordinance.

3.    The Council shall not modify a recommendation of the Planning Commission on a Zoning Ordinance amendment until it has requested and considered a report of the Commission on the modification. Failure of the Commission to report within forty-five (45) calendar days after receipt of the Council request shall be deemed a concurrence.

F.    Required findings for approval

Prior to taking an action to approve or recommend approval of a Zoning Ordinance amendment, the reviewing authority shall find as follows:

1.    The proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment conforms with the goals, objectives and policies of the General Plan.

2.    The proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment is necessary to implement the General Plan and to provide for public safety, convenience and/or general welfare.

3.    The proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment conforms with the intent of the Zoning Ordinance and is consistent with all other related provisions thereof.

4.    The proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment is reasonable and beneficial at this time.

17.24.120 Determination on Unlisted Uses

A.    Purpose

The procedures contained in this Section allow the Planning Director upon a written request, or the Planning Commission upon referral by the Planning Director, to determine whether a use not specifically listed as a use that is principally permitted or conditionally permitted in a particular zoning district of the City, should be given such designation based upon a similarity to uses already listed.

B.    General provisions

1.    Where the term “similar uses permitted by Planning Director determination” is mentioned within any zone district, it shall be deemed to mean other uses which, in the judgment of the Planning Director as evidenced by a written decision, are similar to and not more objectionable to the general welfare than those uses specifically listed in the same district.

2.    The Planning Director may refer a determination on an unlisted use to the Planning Commission, pursuant to PMC 17.20.080.

3.    In no instance shall the Planning Director or the Planning Commission determine, nor shall these regulations be so interpreted, that a use shall be permitted in a zone when such use is specifically first listed as permissible in a zone district allowing more intensive uses.

4.    The procedures of this Chapter shall not be substituted for the amendment procedure as a means of adding new uses to the list of permitted or conditional uses.

5.    The Planning Commission may, on its own motion or at the request of any party affected thereby, reconsider and change a written decision regarding uses previously determined by the Planning Commission or by the Planning Director.

6.    The Planning Director’s determination regarding conformance of a use to a zone district may be appealed to the Planning Commission, pursuant to PMC 17.20.110. The Planning Commission’s determination regarding conformance of a use to a zone district may be appealed to the City Council, pursuant to PMC 17.20.110.

C.    Application procedure

Application for a Determination on an Unlisted Use shall be made in writing to the Planning Director, and shall include a detailed description of the proposed use and such other information as may be required to facilitate review of the request, along with the required fee as established by resolution of the City Council.

D.    Investigation and report

The Planning Director shall prepare a report which will address the following, and shall submit copies to the applicant and to the Planning Commission:

1.    Comparison of the proposed use to the type and intensity of other uses principally permitted or conditionally permitted in the same zone district;

2.    Evaluation of the purpose and intent of that zone district;

3.    Review of the General Plan to compare the proposed use characteristics with the applicable goals and objectives.

E.    Determination

The Planning Director, or the Planning Commission upon referral by the Planning Director, shall base the decision upon the following findings:

1.    The use in question is of a similar type and intensity to other principally permitted or conditionally permitted uses in the same zone district.

2.    The use in question meets the purpose and intent of the district in which it is proposed.

3.    The use in question meets and conforms to the applicable policies and maps of the General Plan.