Chapter 2.48
ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW COMMISSION*

Sections:

2.48.010    Established.

2.48.020    Findings and policy.

2.48.030    Terms.

2.48.040    Duties.

2.48.050    Projects subject to architectural review.

2.48.060    Noncompliance with provisions.

2.48.070    Revocation, expiration and extension of approval.

2.48.080    Appeals.

2.48.090    Architectural review procedures.

*    Prior legislation: Prior code §§ 9500.1—9500.3, as amended by Ords. 1010, 1138, 1219, and 1412.

2.48.010 Established.

There is hereby established the San Luis Obispo architectural review commission consisting of seven members appointed by the council. Commissioners are compensated at fifty dollars per meeting with a monthly maximum of two hundred dollars. (Ord. 1417 § 3 (part), 2002)

2.48.020 Findings and policy.

The council finds and declares that:

A. The city of San Luis Obispo is a city with unique characteristics, ideal climate conditions, spectacular natural vistas, and natural dynamic natural features. It is these characteristics which attract a significant number of visitors to San Luis Obispo and which enhance the quality of life of the permanent residents;

B. All of these factors constitute an important economic base for the city, both for those who earn their living and for those who visit the city;

C. The appearance of buildings, structures, and the land, as visible from public streets, places and ways, has a material and substantial relationship to property values and the taxability of property in the city;

D. To protect the economic welfare of the community, it is the policy of the council to protect, maintain and enhance the social and economic values created by past and present investments in the community by requiring all future development to respect these traditions and require that all buildings and structures placed on the land respect the natural land forms, and become a compatible part of the total community environment, both in the local neighborhood and the city as a whole;

E. The policy will be furthered by the creation of an architectural review commission to develop appropriate standards and guidelines for the use of persons planning future developments, to advise and assist both the developers and the city in applying the standards, and to review all proposals for future developments to assure conformance with the policy. (Ord. 1417 § 3 (part), 2002)

2.48.030 Terms.

A. Commissioners shall be appointed for terms of four years which shall commence immediately upon appointment by the council.

B. Commissioners shall serve at the pleasure of the council and may be reappointed; provided, that no appointee shall serve more than two consecutive full terms (eight years). Appointment to a partial term of office following an unscheduled vacancy shall not preclude the appointee from serving two consecutive full terms following completion of the partial term; provided, that the partial term is less than two years.

C. All of the procedures and requirements contained in the council adopted Handbook for Advisory Bodies shall be incorporated in this section by reference. (Ord. 1417 § 3 (part), 2002)

2.48.040 Duties.

A. The commission shall establish appropriate standards and guidelines for the use of persons planning future developments which are subject to architectural review commission approval, the standards and guidelines to be set forth in pictorial and/or narrative form and may illustrate undesirable as well as desirable examples of design. A document containing the standards and guidelines shall be available for public reference in the community development department. The commission shall periodically review these standards and guidelines and may make appropriate amendments.

B. The commission shall make itself available to advise and assist both developers and city staff in the application of its standards and guidelines to projects during schematic and development stages.

C. The commission shall review and approve plans for all structures and physical improvements, and for any relocation, addition, extension, or exterior change to existing buildings, structures and physical improvements, as set forth in Section 2.48.050. Approval by the commission must be obtained before a building permit or other city permit may be issued authorizing construction, alteration, relocation, addition, or extension. This requirement for commission approval shall not apply to work which the director determines to be aesthetically insignificant, or minor or incidental. When, in the opinion of the director, an application for use permit, variance or rezoning may create an architectural impact contrary to the objectives of this chapter, the director may require architectural review prior to any required hearing on the application. (Ord. 1417 § 3 (part), 2002)

2.48.050 Projects subject to architectural review.

A. Architectural review shall be required for all structures and physical improvements except individual-built single-family dwellings and small residential development projects. The exception for the individual single-family dwellings shall not apply: (1) when architectural review is required as a condition of a subdivision, use permit or other discretionary entitlement; (2) when a developer proposes to construct three or more units, and these units do not constitute a “small residential development projects” as defined herein; (3) when the director determines the site is sensitive as set forth in the procedures document; “sensitive sites” shall include, but are not limited to, open space zoning areas designated by resolution of the planning commission, architectural review commission or city council; (4) where the scale or character of the proposed dwelling contrasts significantly with adjacent or neighboring structures; and (5) where any required parking space that is covered is converted to another use and replacement parking is proposed. “Small residential development projects” are projects consisting of the construction, rehabilitation or remodel of less than five dwellings, where the gross floor area of individual dwellings does not exceed one thousand two hundred square feet. The director may require minor or incidental architectural review where necessary to meet the intent of the city’s design guidelines.

B. Architectural review shall be required for all projects, including individual-built single-family dwellings and small residential development projects, located in or along any creek or waterway as defined by the city’s floodplain management policy. Approval shall be granted if a finding can be made that a project complies with the uniform storm design criteria for waterways, all other applicable policies and standards for floodplain management, and otherwise satisfies relevant architectural criteria. Projects involving any building or bridge proposed to be constructed in or over any portion of any of the four major creeks or waterways, as defined by said policy, or any major creek modification project shall be referred to the city council for review and specific directional guidance prior to any architectural review. (Ord. 1461 § 3, 2004: Ord. 1417 § 3 (part), 2002)

2.48.060 Noncompliance with provisions.

A. In addition to any other fines, penalties or enforcement provisions set forth in this chapter, failure to comply in any respect with an approved architectural review application shall constitute grounds for immediate stoppage of the work involved in the noncompliance until the matter is resolved.

B. An occupancy permit shall not be issued in part or whole for any building or group of buildings subject to architectural review unless and until the work specified in the architectural review approval has been completed. (Ord. 1417 § 3 (part), 2002)

2.48.070 Revocation, expiration and extension of approval.

A. In any case wherein demolition or removal of any existing structure is a part of architectural review approval, the demolition or removal shall be completed, and all debris removed from the site, within the specific period of days designated in the architectural review approval, or the entire architectural review approval shall be deemed to have expired for cause.

B. Architectural review approvals will automatically expire in one year unless a different expiration date or unlimited expiration is stipulated at the time of approval. An applicant may at any time apply to the director for an extension of up to one year; provided, that approval not exceed a maximum of two years from the date of original approval. The director may grant the extension if he or she finds that there has been no substantial change in the factual circumstances surrounding the originally approved design. The director may make minor modifications of the approved design at the time of extension. Any further extension beyond two years from the date of original approval shall require submission of a new application for architectural review commission approval. (Ord. 1417 § 3 (part), 2002)

2.48.080 Appeals.

A. Any person may appeal a decision of any official body, except that administrative decisions requiring no discretionary judgment, as provided in Chapter 1.20 of this code, may not be appealed.

B. Appeals must be filed within ten calendar days of the rendering of a decision which is being appealed. If the tenth day is a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the appeal period shall extend to the next business day.

C. Decisions of the director, as in the case of minor or incidental architectural review determinations, shall be appealed to the architectural review commission. Such appeals shall be filed with the director.

D. Decisions of the architectural review commission shall be appealed to the council. Such appeals shall be filed with the city clerk.

E. The appeal shall concern a specific action and shall state the grounds for appeal.

F. Action on appeals shall be considered at the same type of hearing and after the same notice that is required for the original decision.

G. Once an appeal has been filed, it shall be scheduled for the earliest available meeting, considering public notice requirements, unless the appellant agrees to a later date. (Ord. 1417 § 3 (part), 2002)

2.48.090 Architectural review procedures.

The commission shall adopt the procedures document that sets forth the procedures and criteria for architectural review. The document shall be published and dated and shall be approved by the council. A record copy of the current procedures document shall be maintained in the office of the city clerk and in the community development department. Copies shall be available to the general public. (Ord. 1417 § 3 (part), 2002)