Division I. Introduction

Chapter 15.02


15.02.010    Title and purpose.

15.02.020    Applicability of regulations.

15.02.030    General plan density and intensity.

15.02.040    Interpretation of regulations.

15.02.050    Interpretation of language and numbers.

15.02.060    No contravention of state or federal law.

15.02.070    Severability.

15.02.010 Title and purpose.

A. Title. This title may be known and cited as “Title 15: Planning and Zoning,” the “code,” the “zoning code,” the “zoning ordinance” or the “zoning regulations.”

B. Purpose and Intent. This zoning code is established to:

1. Implement the plans, goals, policies and other provisions of the Aliso Viejo general plan.

2. Promote and protect the public health, safety and general welfare of the people of the city.

3. Classify, designate, and regulate the location, use, and construction of buildings, structures, and land for residential, recreational, commercial, industrial, open space and other purposes.

4. Determine the intensity of land use and establish standards for development and protection of community resources and the enjoyment of scenic beauty.

5. Secure for the residents of the city the social and economic advantages resulting from the planned and orderly use of its land resources.

6. Establish conditions which allow the various types of land uses to exist in harmony and to promote the stability of existing land uses by protecting them from harmful intrusion.

7. Prevent undue intensity of land use or development, avoid population overcrowding and maintain a suitable balance between developed land and open space while preventing uncontrolled sprawl.

8. Preserve open space land where designated in the general plan.

9. Ensure that adequate off-street parking and loading facilities are provided and maintained for all land uses.

10. Provide land zoned for schools, parks and other public facilities.

11. Protect and enhance real property values.

C. Components. The zoning code includes the following components:

1. Written regulations establishing various classes of zoning districts and governing the use of land and the placement of buildings and improvements within districts; and

2. A map or set of maps, known as the “official zoning map” or “zoning map,” delineating the boundaries of zoning districts within the city.

D. Where Filed. A copy of the zoning code and the zoning map, together with a record of all amendments, shall be kept on file with the planning director and shall constitute the original record. [Ord. 2010-126 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2010-123 § 3 (Exh. A)].

15.02.020 Applicability of regulations.

A. General Authority. This zoning code is adopted pursuant to Article XI, Section 7 of the Constitution of the state of California and in compliance with the requirements of California Government Code Title 7 (especially Section 65800 et seq.), as last amended or superseded, for the purpose of promoting the public health, safety, and general welfare.

B. Geographic Area. The provisions of this code governing the use of land, buildings and structures, the size of yards, abutting buildings and structures, height and bulk of buildings, standards of performance, and other provisions shall apply to all land within the city’s jurisdiction.

C. Applicability and Effect on Prior Permits. The regulations of this zoning code shall apply to the construction, alteration, use, substitution, expansion, movement of any building or structure, and to the use of any parcel of land, on or after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this zoning code and any subsequently adopted ordinance amending this zoning code, unless a building permit has been lawfully issued by the city for the construction of a project, in which case that project may be completed under the provisions of the zoning code as it may have existed at the time of issuance of the building permit; provided, that construction under the permit must have commenced and been diligently and continuously pursued within the time limit of a building permit or any extension thereof.

D. Effect on Developed Land. The regulations of this zoning code apply to new development as well as to the modification and redevelopment of previously developed property, unless otherwise provided in Chapter 15.86 AVMC. Improvements and development existing on or before the adoption or amendment of these regulations that do not conform to the regulations in this zoning code may continue to exist as provided by this zoning code.

E. Effect within Coastal Zone. Notwithstanding subsection (C) of this section, all uses and structures within the coastal zone may be subject to a coastal development permit approved by the city pursuant to AVMC 15.74.030.

F. Planned Community Text Superseded. The official zoning map, standards, and regulations codified in this zoning code wholly replace the regulations of any previously approved planned community document, including but not limited to the Aliso Viejo planned community development plan and supplemental text. Improvements and development existing on or before the effective date of the ordinance codified in this code that do not conform to the land use, property development or performance standards in this code may continue to exist as provided in Chapter 15.86 AVMC.

G. Conflict with Other Regulations. Where conflict occurs between the regulations of this zoning code and any other title of the municipal code, the more restrictive or specific regulation(s) shall control unless otherwise specified in this zoning code. [Ord. 2018-195 § 2; Ord. 2010-126 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2010-123 § 3 (Exh. A)].

15.02.030 General plan density and intensity.

Notwithstanding any provisions of this zoning code, the limitations on density, unit counts, square footages, floor area ratios, and other similar measures established in the general plan shall constitute the upper limit of development intensity for all land in the city. [Ord. 2010-126 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2010-123 § 3 (Exh. A)].

15.02.040 Interpretation of regulations.

A. Provisions Deemed Minimum Requirements. The provisions of this title are deemed to be the minimum requirements for the promotion of the public health, safety, comfort, convenience and general welfare.

B. Interpretation of Zoning Regulations.

1. Interpretation by Director. Where uncertainty exists regarding the interpretation of any provision of this title or its application to a specific site, the planning director shall determine the intent and application of the provision. Such interpretation may be referred to the city council for review if the director determines on a case-by-case basis that the public interest would be better served by such referral.

2. Appeals. Interpretations of zoning regulations by the director may be appealed to the city council as provided in AVMC 15.70.080 (Appeals and call-up review). [Ord. 2012-141 § 13; Ord. 2010-126 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2010-123 § 3 (Exh. A)].

15.02.050 Interpretation of language and numbers.

A. Language. The following rules for interpretation of language shall apply:

1. The specific shall supersede the general.

2. The word “shall” identifies a mandatory requirement.

3. The word “should” identifies a policy provision which must be followed in the absence of compelling opposing considerations identified by the city decision-making authority.

4. The words “encouraged,” “discouraged,” and “be considered” identify optional, though highly recommended provisions.

5. The word “may” is discretionary.

6. Unless the context clearly indicates the contrary, the following conjunctions shall be interpreted as follows:

a. “And” indicates that all connected words or provisions shall apply.

b. “Or” indicates that the connected words or provisions may apply singularly or in any combination.

c. “Either...or” indicates that the connected words or provisions shall apply singularly but not in combination.

7. In case of conflict between the text and a diagram, the text shall control.

8. All references to the “zoning code” shall mean AVMC Title 15.

9. All references to “municipal code” shall mean the City of Aliso Viejo Municipal Code.

10. All references to departments, boards or other public agencies are to those of the city of Aliso Viejo, unless otherwise indicated.

11. All references to the “state” shall mean the state of California. Any reference to a specific state of California regulation or law shall also mean “as the regulation of law may be subsequently amended by the state of California.”

12. All references to public officials are to those of the city of Aliso Viejo and include designated representative of such officials, unless otherwise indicated.

13. All references to days are to calendar days unless otherwise indicated. If a deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, it shall be extended to the next full day in which the offices of the planning department are open for business.

14. Words used in the present tense shall include the future tense.

15. Title, Chapter, Section. Subsection and paragraph headings contained in this zoning code shall not be deemed to govern, limit, modify or in any manner affect the scope, meaning or intent of any section hereof.

16. The words “activities” and “facilities” include any part thereof.

17. The word “used” shall include arranged, designed, constructed, altered, converted, rented, leased or intended to be used.

18. The words “chapter,” “section,” “subsection” and “paragraph” refer to the Aliso Viejo zoning code unless otherwise noted.

19. All terms shall be construed pursuant to Chapter 15.94 AVMC, Definitions. Terms that are not defined shall be given their common and ordinary meaning.

B. Rounding of Fractional Numbers. If in the application of the requirements of this zoning code, a fractional number is obtained that is less than one-half (0.5), the number shall be rounded down to the nearest whole number. A number that is obtained that is one-half (0.5) or greater shall be rounded up to the next higher whole number, except when calculating density. For example, 4.499 would be rounded to four and 4.500 would be rounded to five. In regard to calculating density, fractional numbers shall be rounded down to the next lower whole number except as permitted in accordance with California Health and Safety Code Section 65915. [Ord. 2011-131 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 2010-126 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2010-123 § 3 (Exh. A)].

15.02.060 No contravention of state or federal law.

Any land use that contravenes state or federal law shall be prohibited in all planning areas, districts or zones within the city. [Ord. 2010-126 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2010-123 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 2006-085].

15.02.070 Severability.

If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this zoning code is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct and independent provision, and such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions thereof. [Ord. 2010-126 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2010-123 § 3 (Exh. A)].