Chapter 18.235
DESIGN REVIEW PERMITS

Sections:

18.235.010    Purpose.

18.235.020    Approval required.

18.235.025    Streamlined approval process for affordable housing.

18.235.030    Application and accompanying material.

18.235.040    Approval authority.

18.235.050    Public notice and hearing – Discretionary design review.

18.235.060    Action and findings by approval authority – Discretionary design review.

18.235.070    Action and finding by approval authority – Ministerial design review.

18.235.080    Effective date – Appeals.

18.235.090    Time limits, expiration and revocation of design review permits.

18.235.100    Amendments to design review permits.

18.235.010 Purpose.

The purpose of design review is to implement the general plan’s land use and aesthetic goals and policies and to ensure compliance with adopted development standards, design rules and guidelines in order to protect health, safety, and general welfare and promote the orderly development of the city by improving the harmony, compatibility, natural and aesthetic quality of architecture, landscape architecture, and engineering design of structures and site design. (Ord. 9-2014 § 32, 3-4-14; Ord. 05-2018 § 25, 3-20-18.)

18.235.020 Approval required.

(a)    Ministerial design review shall be required for the following development projects and uses unless the district regulations require discretionary review, the project requires another discretionary permit from the planning commission, the project is inconsistent with adopted design rules, or the project may affect a potential or designated historic register resource requiring review by the historical architectural review board:

(1)    Single-family homes that would not cause the primary building to exceed 7,500 square feet in area and additions to single-family homes that meet the development standards for the zoning district where they are located and design rules contained in the citywide design guidelines.

(2)    Development of industrial buildings and additions within industrial districts.

(3)    Exterior remodeling (e.g., new windows or doors) and minor additions equal to or less than 10 percent of the existing gross floor area of all other nonresidential buildings.

(4)    Other:

(A)    Accessory structures.

(B)    Accessory dwelling units when consistent with Section 18.190.005.

(C)    Trash enclosures, recycling and waste collection areas, and compactors.

(D)    New and reconfigured parking lots, not including routine pavement repair and maintenance involving no alterations to striping, landscaping, or circulation.

(b)    Discretionary design review shall be required for the following development projects and uses:

(1)    Single-family homes that would cause the primary building to exceed 7,500 square feet in area and new single-family homes or additions to single-family homes that do not meet the design rules contained in the citywide design guidelines.

(2)    Multifamily residential projects to the extent consistent with the requirements of the Housing Accountability Act, except projects proposed under Cal. Gov’t Code § 65913.4, which are subject to ministerial design review in accordance with Section 18.235.025.

(3)    Commercial development projects.

(4)    Any other use requiring another discretionary approval from the planning commission or historical architectural review board wherein exterior building or site improvements are proposed. For purposes of this provision, the term “exterior building or site improvements” excludes the following: (A) anything excluded from the definition of “structure” in Section 18.25.2760; (B) any small structure unsuitable for human habitation, the nature of which either is personal property or was personal property prior to being annexed to realty; and (C) any grading, paving, curb, gutter, sidewalk, drain, utility, or the like that does not materially impact the aesthetics of a built environment.

(c)    Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter and subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (Cal. Pub. Res. Code § 21000 et seq.):

(1)    No application to construct a housing development project shall be denied or conditioned in a manner that would reduce the density of the project or render it economically infeasible if the proposed project complies with all applicable, objective general plan, zoning, subdivision, and design review standards in effect at the time the application is determined to be complete, unless the approval authority makes a written finding that is supported by a preponderance of the evidence on the record that the project would have a specific, adverse impact upon the public health or safety unless disapproved or conditioned accordingly, and there is no other feasible method to satisfactorily mitigate or avoid the adverse impact. For purposes of this subsection, it is the applicant’s burden to show by a preponderance of the evidence that any condition on a housing development project would have the effect of rendering the project economically infeasible.

(2)    No application to construct an emergency shelter or housing development project for very low, low, or moderate income households, including farmworker housing, shall be denied or approved subject to conditions, including design changes, lower density, or a reduction in the percentage of a lot that may be occupied by a building or structure under the applicable planning and zoning in force at the time the application is determined complete, that have an adverse effect on the viability or affordability of the project, unless any of the findings identified in Cal. Gov’t Code § 65589.5(d) is made in writing and is supported by a preponderance of the evidence.

(3)    For purposes of this subsection, the term “housing development project” includes projects containing two or more residential units, mixed-use projects with at least two-thirds of the proposed square footage designated for residential space, and transitional or supportive housing, as defined in Cal. Gov’t Code § 65589.5(h). The term “housing for very low, low, or moderate income households” shall have the meaning ascribed by Cal. Gov’t Code § 65589.5(h), and the term “specific, adverse impact” shall have the meaning ascribed in Cal. Gov’t Code § 65589.5(j). (Ord. 9-2014 § 32, 3-4-14; Ord. 01-2017 § 19, 1-3-17; Ord. 05-2018 § 26, 3-20-18; Ord. 23-2018 § 42, 10-2-18.)

18.235.025 Streamlined approval process for affordable housing.

A development proponent may submit an application for a development that is subject to a streamlined, ministerial approval process if the development satisfies the requirements specified in Cal. Gov’t Code § 65913.4. (Ord. 05-2018 § 27, 3-20-18.)

18.235.030 Application and accompanying material.

An application for design review shall be submitted to the zoning administrator on a form prescribed for that purpose by the city. The application shall include all required fees and/or deposits and all information and materials required by the city, including information and drawings to support the findings required for design review. Applications may only be filed by the property owner or by the owner’s agent with the written consent of the property owner. (Ord. 9-2014 § 32, 3-4-14.)

18.235.040 Approval authority.

(a)    Zoning Administrator. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the zoning administrator shall consider and act upon all applications for design review, except as specified in subsections (b) and (c) of this section.

(1)    The zoning administrator may delegate approval authority for ministerial design review to a member of the community development staff.

(2)    The zoning administrator may also refer an application for design review to the planning commission for decision if the zoning administrator determines that an application warrants consideration by the planning commission.

(b)    Planning Commission. Where an application for design review is required in conjunction with another permit where the planning commission is the approval authority, the planning commission shall consider and act upon the application for design review after a public hearing.

(c)    Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB). Where a development project is located within a historical overlay district (HOD) and review is required in accordance with Chapter 18.135 or where a development project may affect a potential or designated register resource as defined in Chapter 18.175 (Historic Resources), the project shall be reviewed by HARB. (Ord. 9-2014 § 32, 3-4-14.)

18.235.050 Public notice and hearing – Discretionary design review.

The approval authority shall conduct a public hearing on an application for discretionary design review. At least 10 days prior to the public hearing, notice shall be given of the proposed application as set forth in Chapter 18.320. (Ord. 9-2014 § 32, 3-4-14.)

18.235.060 Action and findings by approval authority – Discretionary design review.

The approval authority may approve, conditionally approve, or deny an application for discretionary design review. The approval authority shall approve or conditionally approve an application for discretionary design review only when all of the following findings can be made:

(a)    The proposed project is consistent with the general plan, any applicable community or specific plan, planning and zoning regulations, and any adopted design rules and guidelines;

(b)    When a proposed project is inconsistent with an adopted design rule, the purpose and intent of the design rule is met through alternative means;

(c)    The multifamily residential1 project’s architectural, site, and landscape design will not be detrimental to the public health or safety; or a nonmultifamily project’s architectural, site, and landscape design will not unreasonably interfere with the use and enjoyment of adjacent development nor be detrimental to the public health, safety, or welfare; and

(d)    Where HARB review is required, the proposed project is consistent with the applicable standards and findings required in Chapters 18.135 and 18.175. (Ord. 9-2014 § 32, 3-4-14; Ord. 05-2018 § 28, 3-20-18.)

18.235.070 Action and finding by approval authority – Ministerial design review.

The approval authority shall approve an application for ministerial design review when the zoning administrator or designee finds that the proposed project is consistent with fixed standards set forth in the general plan, any applicable community or specific plan, planning and zoning regulations, and adopted design rules. The zoning administrator or designee may only impose conditions that would make the project conform to adopted standards or design rules. (Ord. 9-2014 § 32, 3-4-14; Ord. 05-2018 § 29, 3-20-18.)

18.235.080 Effective date – Appeals.

A decision of the approval authority shall be effective on the date following the expiration of the appeal period, as described in Chapter 18.300, unless an appeal is timely filed pursuant to Chapter 18.300. No application for discretionary design review shall be granted on appeal unless the findings set forth in Section 18.235.060 are made by the planning commission or city council, as applicable, and no application for ministerial design review shall be granted on appeal unless the finding set forth in Section 18.235.070 is made by the planning commission or city council, as applicable. (Ord. 9-2014 § 32, 3-4-14.)

18.235.090 Time limits, expiration and revocation of design review permits.

(a)    A design review permit shall be considered to be attached to and running with the land unless the permit has expired or has been revoked or modified.

(b)    Time limits, expiration and revocation of design review permits shall be subject to the procedures described in Chapter 18.330. (Ord. 9-2014 § 32, 3-4-14.)

18.235.100 Amendments to design review permits.

The zoning administrator shall have the authority to approve minor modifications to a design review permit approval as long as the modified design substantially complies with the approved design. All other amendments to approved design review permits shall be subject to the same application and review requirements as a new application for design review. (Ord. 9-2014 § 32, 3-4-14; Ord. 23-2018 § 43, 10-2-18.)


1

 For the purposes of this section, “multifamily residential” shall include mixed-use projects wherein two-thirds of the project’s square footage is devoted to residential use.