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Chapter 17.72
VARIANCES, CONDITIONAL USE PERMITS AND DESIGN REVIEW

Sections:

17.72.010    Initiation of procedure.

17.72.020    Required hearings.

17.72.030    Variance findings.

17.72.040    Conditional use permit findings.

17.72.050    Imposition of conditions.

17.72.060    Effective dates.

17.72.070    Coastal development permits.

17.72.080    Emergency permits.

17.72.090    Revocations.

17.72.100    Appeals.

17.72.110    Application form.

17.72.120    Application fees.

17.72.130    Hearing notification.

17.72.140    Notice of final decision.

17.72.150    Costs of notification to interested persons.

 

17.72.010 Initiation of procedure.

The initiation of a variance, conditional use permit, or design review action, the filing of an application, the payment of fees, and notification of hearings shall be as specified in TMC 17.72.130. [Ord. 166 § 7.06, 1979].

17.72.020 Required hearings.

A. The planning commission or hearings officer shall consider all applications for variances and conditional use permits. The planning commission shall consider all applications for design review.

B. At least one public hearing shall be held on each application for a variance, conditional use permit or design review. Where a development involves applications for a combination of a variance, conditional use permit or design review, the required hearings may be scheduled concurrently.

C. The hearing shall be scheduled for the first regular planning commission or hearings officer meeting occurring more than 10 days from the date of application. At the public hearing the planning commission or hearings officer shall hear any person interested in the proposal. The failure to act within 90 days of the date of the first hearing shall be deemed to be approval of the application on that date. The applicant may waive the time limitation in writing if additional time is needed to consider the application. [Ord. 2001-01 § 9, 2002; Ord. 166 § 7.07, 1979].

17.72.030 Variance findings.

A variance may be granted only upon adoption of written findings showing that all of the following conditions are present:

A. That there are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances applying to the property involved or to the intended use of the property that do not apply generally to other property or uses in the same class or district; and

B. That owing to such exceptional or extraordinary circumstances the literal enforcement of specific provision of this title would result in the practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship not created by or attributable to the applicant or the owner of the property; and

C. That such variance will not constitute a grant of special privilege inconsistent with limitations imposed on similarly zoned properties; and

D. That such variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right of the subject property, possessed by other property in the same class or district; and

E. That the granting of such variance will not be materially detrimental to the public welfare or materially injurious to the property or improvement in the vicinity; and

F. That the granting of such variance will be consistent with the general purpose and intent of this title and will be in conformity with the policies and programs of the general plan and the Trinidad coastal program; and

G. That the variance will not permit a use other than a use permitted in the applicable zoning district; and

H. That either the variance will have no significant adverse environmental impact or there are no feasible alternatives, or feasible mitigation measures, as provided in the California Environmental Quality Act, available which would substantially lessen any significant adverse impact that the actions allowed by the variance may have on the environment;

I. When the subject property is located between the sea and the first public road paralleling the sea or within 300 feet of the inland extent of any beach or the mean high tide line where there is no beach, whichever is the greater, that:

1. The development provides adequate physical access or public or private commercial use and does not interfere with such uses;

2. The development adequately protects public views from any public road or from a recreational area to, and along, the coast;

3. The development is compatible with the established physical scale of the area;

4. The development does not significantly alter existing natural landforms;

5. The development complies with shoreline erosion and geologic setback requirements. [Ord. 166 § 7.08, 1979].

17.72.040 Conditional use permit findings.

A conditional use permit may be granted for any use listed as a conditional use in the applicable zone if the facts establish and written findings are adopted showing:

A. That the proposed use at the size and intensity contemplated, and at the proposed location, will provide a development that is necessary or desirable for, and compatible with, the neighborhood or the community; and

B. That such use as proposed will not be detrimental to the health, safety, convenience or general welfare of persons residing or working in the vicinity, or injurious to property, improvements or potential development in the vicinity, with respect to aspects including but not limited to the following:

1. The nature of the proposed site, including its size and shape, and the proposed size, shape and arrangement of structures;

2. The accessibility and traffic pattern for persons and vehicles, and the type and volume of such traffic, and the adequacy of proposed off-street parking and loading;

3. The safeguards afforded to prevent noxious or offensive emissions such as noise, glare, dust and odor;

4. Treatment given, as appropriate, to such aspects as landscaping, screening, open spaces, parking and loading areas, service areas, lighting and signs; and

C. That such use or feature as proposed will comply with the applicable provisions of this title, will be consistent with the policies and programs of the general plan and will assist in carrying out and be in conformity with the Trinidad coastal program; and

D. That the proposed use or feature will have no significant adverse environmental impact or there are no feasible alternatives, or feasible mitigation measures, as provided in the California Environmental Quality Act, available which would substantially lessen any significant adverse impact that the actions allowed by the conditional use permit may have on the environment; and

E. When the subject property is located between the sea and the first public road paralleling the sea or within 300 feet of the inland extent of any beach or of the mean high tide line where there is no beach, whichever is the greater, that:

1. The development provides adequate physical access or public or private commercial use and does not interfere with such uses;

2. The development adequately protects public views from any public road or from a recreational area to, and along, the coast;

3. The development is compatible with the established physical scale of the area;

4. The development does not significantly alter existing natural landforms;

5. The development complies with shoreline erosion and geologic setback requirements. [Ord. 166 § 7.09, 1979].

17.72.050 Imposition of conditions.

In granting a variance, conditional use permit, or design review, the planning commission shall impose such conditions as deemed necessary to carry out the intent and purpose of this title. [Ord. 2001-01 § 9, 2002; Ord. 166 § 7.10, 1979].

17.72.060 Effective dates.

Planning commission approval of a variance or conditional use permit and design assistance committee approval of a design review application shall become final in 10 working days from the date “Notice of Action Taken” is received by the Coastal Commission, unless an appeal to the city council has been taken within that time. Failure of the planning commission or design assistance committee to act within the time limits established in the Public Resources Code Sections 65950 and 65957 shall be considered approval of the application on the date the time limitation expires, and the approval shall become final 10 working days after Coastal Commission notification unless appealed to the city council. City council action on an appeal shall become final 10 working days from the date the Coastal Commission receives notice of action taken and findings in support of the action are adopted. [Ord. 84-180 § 4, 1984; Ord. 175 § 3, 1981; Ord. 166 § 7.11, 1979].

17.72.070 Coastal development permits.

A. 1. In conformance with Public Resources Code Section 30600, in addition to any other approval or permit required under this title, and except as otherwise required under this title, and except as otherwise required by TMC Title 16, TMC 15.04.070, 15.16.100 or 16.16.140 or as specifically excluded in subsection (B) of this section, a coastal development permit shall be required for any proposed use, building or other development as defined in California Public Resources Code Section 30106. Upon approval of all required variances, conditional use permits or design review for any proposed use or building, a coastal development permit shall be deemed approved and shall take effect 10 working days after the Coastal Commission receives notification unless within that time the approval is appealed to the city council.

2. If a coastal development permit is appealed to the city council, notice as prescribed in TMC 17.72.130 for a conditional use permit shall be provided by the city clerk to all interested persons and the Coastal Commission. Approval of coastal development permit by the city council on appeal shall become effective 10 working days after notice of approval and adoption of findings are received by the Coastal Commission. If a valid appeal is filed with the Coastal Commission within that time, the city approval shall be of no force and effect until the appeal has been decided by the Coastal Commission. Within five working days of receipt of notice from the Coastal Commission of the filing of a valid appeal, the city clerk shall deliver to the Commission staff all relevant documents and materials used by the planning commission and city council in their deliberations. Appeal of a coastal development permit to the Coastal Commission shall be deemed valid if the appellant has exhausted all appeals as provided herein.

B. Except in the area identified in the map proposed as Appendix B, areas not included in exemptions to coastal development permit, the following categories of development shall not require a coastal development permit:

1. Construction of accessory structures or buildings of less than 500 square feet in floor area and less than 15 feet in height, changes in landscaping and site excavation or filling more than 100 feet from any perennial stream which will not change the existing elevation more than two feet at any point.

2. “Accessory structure or building” means a detached and subordinate building or structure other than a sign, the use of which is incidental to that of a main building or use on that lot. On any lot which is located a dwelling, any building or structure which is incidental to the conducting of any agricultural use.

C. The following categories of development shall not require a CDP except in the special environment zone:

1. a. Fences up to six feet and freestanding masonry walls up to 36 inches in height;

b. Standard electrolier not over 35 feet in height above the finish grade;

c. Temporary structures built in conjunction with special events;

2. Any construction, enlargement, alteration, repair, moving, improvement, removal, conversion or demolition of any building or structure less than any of the following criteria:

a. Curbs, retaining walls and planter boxes up to 18 inches in height;

b. A small tool or storage cabinet with not more than 100 square feet of projected roof area. Multiple cabinets shall require approval. Lot line setbacks are to be observed;

c. Television and radio antennas supported on roofs;

d. Low decks, up to 30 inches high, which are not more than 500 square feet in area;

e. Decks inside fenced areas which are not visible from the street;

f. Hot tubs not involving an enclosing structure;

g. Minor remodeling or repair which does not alter the external profile of the structure. This includes:

i. Conversion of windows to sliding glass doors;

ii. Alteration in window size;

iii. Addition of a window where one does not currently exist;

iv. Addition of vinyl or aluminum external siding in the same color and character of the existing siding;

h. Existing porches up to 25 percent increase in area, not to include alterations of existing overhangs, or additions of overhangs;

i. Solar heating systems with fixed solar panels not to exceed 180 square feet in area;

3. Any excavation or fill or combination thereof, less than both of the following criteria:

a. One thousand square feet of surface area including the removal of ground cover. This does not include ground cover removed for agricultural or grading for road and trail maintenance purposes;

b. Fifty cubic yards of material. This shall not apply to any excavation or fill:

i. Within an open space or special environment zone as provided in this title, or outside of the stable area as indicated in the general plan map. This does not include ground cover removal for road and trail maintenance purposes;

ii. Within a public sewer, water main, storm drain or powerline easements;

iii. Which will encroach upon or alter in any way a drainage channel, tidal area watercourse, floodplain or area subject to inundation. This does not include the maintenance of existing ditches.

D. The following types of projects are not development within the meaning of this section or California Public Resources Code Section 30106 and do not require a coastal development permit:

1. Exterior painting and maintenance;

2. Remodeling, which does not affect the external profile or appearance of the structure;

3. Repairs which involve only the replacement of component parts of existing work with similar materials for the purpose of maintenance and which do not aggregate over $2,000 in valuation in any 12-month period and do not affect any electrical or mechanical installations. Repairs exempt from permit requirements shall not include any addition, change or modification in construction, exit facilities or permanent fixtures or equipment. Specifically excepted from permit requirements without limit to valuation are:

a. Painting and decorating;

b. Installation of floor covering;

c. Cabinet work;

d. Reroofing;

4. Awnings projecting not more than six feet attached to the exterior wall of buildings of Group R-3 or M occupancy. [Ord. 84-180 § 5, 1984; Ord. 175 § 4, 1981; Ord. 167 § 12, 1980; Ord. 166 § 7.12, 1979].

17.72.080 Emergency permits.

A. Emergency coastal development permits may be granted at the discretion of a local official designated by the city for projects normally requiring a coastal development permit approval which must be undertaken as emergency measures to prevent loss of or damage to life, health or property, or to restore, repair or maintain public works, utilities and services during and immediately following a natural disaster or serious accident.

B. Applications in cases of emergencies shall be made to the city by letter if time allows, and by telephone or in person if time does not allow.

C. The information to be reported during the emergency, if it is possible to do so, or to be fully reported after the emergency, shall include the following:

1. The nature of the emergency;

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

3. The location of the emergency;

4. The remedial, protective or preventive work required to deal with the emergency; and

5. The circumstances during the emergency that appeared to justify the course(s) of action taken, including the probable consequences of failing to take action.

D. The city may request verification of the nature of and solutions to the emergency situation. Within 30 days of issuance of an emergency permit, the applicant shall submit a complete application for a coastal development permit and any required technical reports.

E. The emergency work authorized under approval of any emergency permit shall be limited to activities necessary to protect the endangered structure or essential public service. [Ord. 84-180 § 8, 1984].

17.72.090 Revocations.

In any case where the terms and conditions of a grant of a variance, conditional use permit, or design review are not complied with, the planning commission shall give notice to the holder of such permit of its intention to revoke such permit. Permits may also be revoked if the planning commission determines that the notification requirements in TMC 17.72.130 were not satisfied by the applicant. Procedures for the revocation of a permit shall be the same as for the original consideration except that the city clerk shall assume all notification responsibility. If a coastal development permit has been appealed to, and approved by, the Coastal Commission, the Commission may also initiate revocation proceedings pursuant to the requirements of the Coastal Act. [Ord. 166 § 7.13, 1979].

17.72.100 Appeals.

In the case of any variance, conditional use permit, design review permit, coastal development permit, or denial of a proposed change in the zoning map by the planning commission, and in the case of any order, requirement, decision or other determination made by any city employee, the procedures for appeals shall be provided as follows:

A. Administrative Actions Appealable. Any person aggrieved by a determination, interpretation, decision, decree, judgment, or similar action taken by a city employee under the provisions of this title may appeal such action to the planning commission within 10 working days of being notified of the decision.

B. Planning Commission or Hearings Officer Actions Appealable. Actions or appellate determinations of the planning commission may be appealed to the city council by those interested persons who have communicated their comments at the planning commission or hearings officer hearing.

C. City Council Actions Appealable. Actions or appellate determinations of the city council representing the approval of a coastal development permit pursuant to TMC 17.72.080 may be appealed to the Coastal Commission for the reasons cited, and if the subject property is located within the area described in Public Resources Code Section 30603. Requirements for appealing decisions shall be as provided in the Coastal Commission regulations.

D. Filing Requirements. Appeals to the planning commission, hearings officer or city council shall be addressed to the appellate body on a prescribed form and shall state the basis of the appeal. Appeals shall be filed in the office of the city clerk within the appeal period provided in TMC 17.72.060. There shall be no fee for filing an appeal. The city clerk shall determine from the records whether the appellant submitted comments on the issue being appealed to each previous appellate body. Only if such comments have been submitted shall an appeal be accepted, unless the appellant can demonstrate that there were valid reasons why he could not attend the hearings or submit written comments.

E. Notice of Hearing. A public hearing shall be conducted on all appeals. The notice and conduct of hearings by the appellate body shall be governed by the provisions of TMC 17.72.110, 17.72.120 and 17.72.130 and shall conform to the manner in which the original notice was given and the original hearings were conducted, if any.

F. Time Limitation and Vote. The planning commission, hearings officer or city council shall determine an appeal not later than 60 days following the date of the hearing. If both the applicant and the appellant consent in writing, the time limitation for a decision may be extended from time to time. The action from which an appeal is taken may be reversed or modified only by the affirmative vote of a majority of the authorized membership of the appellate body.

G. Failure of Appellate Body to Act. Failure of the appellate body to act within the time specified shall be deemed concurrence with the previous decision rendered.

H. Conditions and Findings. The appellate body may impose or prescribe conditions as are in its opinion necessary to serve the objectives of this title. The appellate body shall make a written determination of its decision together with its findings in support of the decision. [Ord. 166 § 7.14, 1979].

17.72.110 Application form.

Applications for variance, conditional use permit, design review, and amendment to the land use map or zoning map shall be submitted to the city clerk’s office upon a prescribed form. Maps, drawings and such other information as specified on the application forms shall be provided in triplicate unless additional copies are specified herein. Each application filed by or on behalf of one or more property owners shall be verified by at least one such owner or his authorized agent, attesting to the truth and correctness of all facts, statements and information presented. [Ord. 166 § 7.15, 1979].

17.72.120 Application fees.

A. The city council shall by resolution establish a schedule of fees, charges and expenses for variances, conditional use permits, design review, coastal development permits and amendments to the zoning map and other matters pertaining to this title. The schedule of fees may be changed or modified only by resolution of the city council.

B. Until all applicable fees, charges, and expenses have been paid in full, no action shall be taken on any application, or other matters for which a fee, charge or payment of expense is required by this title or the fee schedule resolution adopted pursuant thereto.

C. Any municipal, political or governmental corporation, district body, or agency is exempted from payment of any fee or charge in connection with an application for any variance, conditional use permit, design review, coastal development permit, appeal or zoning title amendment.

D. No fee, charge or expense shall be refundable except in any case where the planning commission or hearings officer determines and certifies any such fee or portion thereof has been received in error, in which case the amount received in error may be refunded. [Ord. 166 § 7.16, 1979].

17.72.130 Hearing notification.

A. For actions initiated by one or more property owners for a variance, conditional use, design review or zoning map amendment, the following notification shall be required:

1. a. The applicant shall furnish to the city clerk one stamped envelope addressed to the owner of each parcel of record within 100 feet of each boundary of the subject property for variance, conditional use or design review applications and within 300 feet of each boundary for amendments to the zoning map.

b. The envelopes may be addressed to “owner” at the mailing address of the parcel. The applicant shall ascertain the name and address of the owner from the records of the county assessor. The city clerk shall use the envelopes to mail notice of the hearing at least seven days before the date of the hearing for a variance, conditional use permit, or design review, and at least 10 working days before the date of a hearing on a zoning map amendment.

c. The notice shall indicate that an application has been filed, the number assigned to the application, a description of the development and its proposed location, and the date, time, and place of the hearing. In addition to mailing notice to all those for whom envelopes have been provided, the city clerk shall provide notice to the applicant and to all persons known or thought by the clerk to have a particular interest in the application, including the Coastal Commission staff.

2. Between the time the application is accepted for filing and the date when notices must be mailed, the applicant must post a notice, at a conspicuous place, easily read by the public and as close as possible to the subject property. The city shall furnish the applicant with a standardized form to be used for such posting. In addition, the applicant shall at the same time obtain copies of the hearing notice from the city clerk and shall distribute one to each place of business or residence in the notification area. If the applicant fails to so post the notice form, distribute notices, or to sign the declaration of posting and distribution no less than seven days prior to a variance, conditional use, or design review hearing, and at least 10 working days prior to a zoning title amendment hearing, or it is determined that the application is complete, the city clerk shall withdraw the application from consideration and shall not mail out the hearing notices.

B. For actions initiated by the planning commission or city council, the city clerk shall provide notice as prescribed above and shall post notice of the time, place and purpose of the public hearing for 10 days in three conspicuous public places, to wit, the entrance to City Hall, Trinidad Post Office, and Trinidad Market; provided, however, that if the size of the subject area would require mailing notice to more than 50 property owners such notice may be inserted in the water bill mailing. The city clerk shall place in the file a written declaration of the means of notification used and certification of the date notification was mailed or posted. Other means of notification, in addition to that required herein, may be used by the planning commission if deemed advisable. [Ord. 2001-01 § 9, 2002; Ord. 166 § 7.17, 1979].

17.72.140 Notice of final decision.

A. This section shall not apply to action on any development which is executed pursuant to TMC 17.20.070(B).

B. Within seven calendar days of a final action on any coastal development permit the city clerk shall provide notice of its action by first class mail to the Commission and to any person who specifically requested such notice pursuant to TMC 17.72.150. Such notice shall include conditions of approval, written findings, a location and description of the project, and the procedures for appeal of the local decision to the Coastal Commission.

C. If the city has failed to take a final action on any coastal development permit within the time limits set forth in Government Code Sections 65950 through 65957, thereby approving the development by operation of law, the person claiming a right to proceed pursuant to Government Code Sections 65950 through 65957 shall notify in writing the city clerk and the Commission of his or her claim that the development has been approved by operation of law. Such notice shall specify the application which is claimed to be approved.

D. If the city council determines that the time limits established pursuant to Government Code Sections 65950 through 65957 have expired, the city clerk shall, within seven calendar days of such determination, notify any person entitled to receive notice pursuant to subsection (B) of this section that it has taken final action by operation of law pursuant to Government Code Sections 65950 through 65957. The appeal period for developments approved by operation of law shall begin to run only upon the receipt of the city’s notice in the Commission office. (This section shall also apply to any judicial determination that the development has been approved by operation of law.) [Ord. 167 § 13, 1980].

17.72.150 Costs of notification to interested persons.

Interested persons who wish to be notified of planning commission, hearings officer and city council hearings shall be sent such notice if they provide the city with a deposit to cover such costs. [Ord. 166 § 7.18, 1979].

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The Trinidad Municipal Code is current through Ordinance 2011-02, passed July 13, 2012.

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