Part 3. Citywide Standards

Chapter 17.48
HEIGHT, SETBACKS, AND FLOOR AREA Revised 6/18

Sections:

17.48.010    Purpose. Revised 6/18

17.48.020    Height measurement and exceptions. Revised 6/18

17.48.030    Setback measurement and exceptions. Revised 6/18

17.48.040    Floor area and floor area ratio. Revised 6/18

17.48.010 Purpose. Revised 6/18

This chapter establishes rules for the measurement of height, setbacks, and floor area, and permitted exceptions to height and setback requirements. (Ord. 1017 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2018)

17.48.020 Height measurement and exceptions. Revised 6/18

A. Measurement of Height.

1. The height of a building is measured as the vertical distance from the assumed ground surface to the highest point of the building.

2. “Assumed ground surface” means a line on the exterior wall of a building that connects the points where the perimeter of the wall meets the finished grade. See Figure 17.48-1.

3. If grading or fill on a property within five years of an application increases the height of the assumed ground surface, height shall be measured using an estimation of the assumed ground surface as it existed prior to the grading or fill.

Figure 17.48-1: Measurement of Maximum Permitted Building Height

B. Height Exceptions. Buildings may exceed the maximum permitted height in the applicable zoning district as shown in Table 17.48-1. These exceptions may not be combined with other height exceptions, including but not limited to allowances for additional height in the MU-V zone or for historic structures.

Table 17.48-1: Allowed Projections Above Height Limits

Structures Allowed Above Height Limit

Maximum Coverage

Maximum Projection Above Height Limit

Nonhabitable decorative features including spires, belfries, cupolas, domes and other similar architectural elements

10% of roof area

3 ft. in the R-1 zoning district;

6 ft. elsewhere

Skylights

20% of roof area

1 ft.

Chimneys not over 6 feet in width

10% of roof area

3 ft. in R-1 zoning district;

6 ft. elsewhere

Flagpoles not over 8 inches in diameter

N/A

3 ft. in R-1 zoning district;

6 ft. elsewhere

Photovoltaic panels and thermal recovery systems

No restriction; subject to California Building Code

4 ft.

Building-mounted telecommunications facilities

See Chapter 17.104

(Ord. 1017 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2018)

17.48.030 Setback measurement and exceptions. Revised 6/18

A. Setback Measurement. Setbacks shall be measured as the distance between the property line and the nearest point of the structure along a line at a right angle to the property line. See Figure 17.48-2.

Figure 17.48-2: Setback Measurement

Note: See specific zoning district for required minimum setback.

B. Yards. When unique circumstances exist, the community development director has the authority to determine the lot configuration based on existing conditions and function of the lot.

C. Projections over Property Lines. Structures may not extend beyond a property line or into the public right-of-way, except when allowed with an encroachment permit.

D. Projections into Required Setback. Features of the primary structure on a lot may project into required setback areas as shown in Table 17.48-2, subject to the requirements of the building code. See Chapter 17.52 (Accessory Structures and Uses) for setback requirements that apply to accessory structures.

Table 17.48-2: Allowed Projections into Required Setbacks 

 

Maximum Projection into Setback

Minimum Distances from Property Lines

Front

Rear

Interior Side

Exterior Side

Roof Projections

Cornices, eaves, canopies, and similar roof projections

4 ft.

4 ft.

2 ft.

2 ft.

All: 3 ft.

Building Wall Projections

Bay windows, balconies, sills, fireplaces, chimneys, and similar wall projections [1]

2 ft.

2 ft.

2 ft.

2 ft.

All: 3 ft.

Entry Features

Stairways and fire escapes or similar features

Not allowed

4 ft.

No max

Not allowed

Front: Not allowed

Exterior Side: Not allowed

Interior Side: 3 ft.

Rear: 5 ft.

At grade flatwork such as concrete paving and patios

No max

No max

No max

No max

All: No min

Landing places, patios, and decks 18 inches or less above grade

No max

No max

No max

No max

Front and Exterior Side: 5 ft.

Interior Side and Rear: 3 ft.

Open and unenclosed entry porches and decks 19 to 30 inches above grade

4 ft.

6 ft.

1/2 of required setback

4 ft.

Front: 10 ft.

Exterior Side and Rear: 5 ft.

Interior Side: 3 ft.

Covered entry porch and decks 19 to 30 inches above grade including roof and roof overhang

5 ft.

Not applicable

Not applicable

4 ft.

Front: 10 ft.

Exterior side: 5 ft.

Interior Side and Rear: Not applicable

Wheelchair ramps and similar features for the disabled

No max

No max

No max

No max

All: No min

Note:

[1] Projecting bay window may not exceed sixty percent of the width of the wall in which it is located.

E. Allowed Encroachments in Setback Areas. The following accessory structures and site improvements may project into required setback areas as shown in Table 17.48-3, subject to the requirements of the building code.

Table 17.48-3: Allowed Encroachments into Required Setbacks 

 

Maximum Projection into Setback

Minimum Distances from Property Lines

Front

Rear

Interior Side

Exterior Side

Decorative Site Features

Trellis structure up to 10 ft. in height open on all sides; arbors with a minimum of 2 open sides utilized over a walkway

No max

No max

No max

No max

All: No min

Trellis structure up to 10 ft. in height open on at least 3 sides, and the walls of the structure are at least 50 percent transparent

Not allowed

No max

No max

Not allowed

Rear and Interior Side: No min

Front and Exterior Side: Not allowed

Planter boxes and masonry planters with a maximum height of 42 inches

No max

No max

No max

No max

All: No min

Decorative ornamental features up to a maximum height of 6 ft. which does not enclose the perimeter of the property

No max

No max

No max

No max

All: No min

Entertainment Features

Hot tubs

Not allowed

No max

Not allowed

Not allowed

Rear: 2 ft.

All Other: Not allowed

Pools

Not allowed

No max

Not allowed

Not allowed

Rear: 5 ft.

All Other: Not allowed

Fire pits up to 30 inches in height

No max

No max

No max

No max

All: 5 ft.

Outdoor kitchens. The kitchen may include gas, electric and plumbing, except electric service may not be 220 volts and drain size may not exceed that allowed for a mini bar. Includes pizza ovens.

Not allowed

No max

Not allowed

Not allowed

Rear: 5 ft.

Other Structures and Equipment

Children’s play equipment, movable dog house, and similar movable objects

No max

No max

No max

No max

All: No min

Rain harvest tanks that do not exceed 8 ft. in height

Not allowed

No max

No max

No max

Front: Not allowed

All Other: No min

Screened mechanical equipment including hot water heaters and air conditioning units

Not allowed

No max

No max

Not allowed

Rear and Interior Side: 3 ft.

Front and Exterior Side: Not allowed

(Ord. 1017 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2018)

17.48.040 Floor area and floor area ratio. Revised 6/18

A. Floor Area Defined. “Floor area” means the sum of the horizontal areas of all floors of an enclosed structure, measured from the outside perimeter of the exterior walls.

B. Floor Area Calculation.

1. Floor area includes all interior area below a roof and within:

a. The outer surface of the exterior walls; or

b. The centerlines of party walls separating buildings or portions thereof; or

c. All area within the roof line of a carport.

2. Floor area includes the entire area in all enclosed structures without deduction for features such as interior walls or storage areas.

3. In the case of a multistory building with covered or enclosed stairways, stairwells or elevator shafts, the horizontal area of such features are counted only once at the floor level of their greatest area of horizontal extent. See Figure 17.48-3.

Figure 17.48-3: FAR Measurement for Stairways

4. Interior area of a building with a floor-to-ceiling height of greater than sixteen feet is counted twice in the floor area calculation.

5. The following features are included in the floor area calculation:

a. All upper floor area greater than four feet in height, measured between the bottom of the upper floor and the top of the ceiling.

b. All accessory structures other than a single building one hundred twenty square feet or less, ten feet or less in height, and without plumbing fixtures.

c. Carports.

6. For all uses, the following features are excluded from the floor area calculation:

a. Covered or uncovered decks and patios.

b. Trellises, porte-cocheres not more than ten feet in height, and similar outdoor space which is open on at least three sides, not including carports.

c. Bay windows, chimneys, and other similar wall projections.

d. Up to two hundred fifty square feet of an enclosed garage on a lot three thousand square feet or less.

e. Underground parking garages not visible from a public street.

f. Basements when all walls are below grade and not visible. Basements are included in calculations of required on-site parking to serve the use.

7. For nonresidential uses, the following features are excluded from the floor area calculation:

a. Outdoor improvements such as patios, decks, courtyards, outdoor dining areas, and other areas used by customers and employees. These features are included in calculations of required on-site parking to serve the use.

b. Arcades, porticoes, and similar open areas that are located at or near street level and are accessible to the general public but are not designed or used as sales, display, storage, service, or production areas.

c. Quasi-public seating areas located in a privately owned shopping center which are open to all of the patrons of all of the businesses of the shopping center and which consists of a seating area or similar area where there are tables, chairs, benches or landscaping or other similar amenities.

C. Floor Area Ratio.

1. Floor area ratio (FAR) is calculated by dividing the total floor area of all buildings on a site as defined in subsection B of this section (Floor Area Calculation) by the net parcel area.

2. Net parcel area excludes:

a. Any recorded easements to allow others to use the surface of the property for access to an adjacent property or other similar use; and

b. Any area under the high water mark that extends into a waterway. (Ord. 1017 § 2 (Exh. A) (part), 2018)