Chapter 13-31. Performance Standards

Sec. 13-31.100 Purpose.

The purpose of this Chapter is to set forth performance standards for development and uses for specific zoning districts and general performance standards that are applied for all zoning districts. These standards are intended to produce an attractive and safe community environment consistent with the goals, policies and standards of the General Plan. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 31.100.]

Sec. 13-31.200 Applicability.

The performance standards of Section 13-31.300 apply to all uses and development that require Zoning Ordinance permits and approvals. In some cases, the performance standards refer to specific properties within the City. No permit shall be approved unless applicable performance standards are met. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 31.200.]

Sec. 13-31.300 Performance Standards.

1. Archaeological Resources. If previously unknown subsurface cultural resources are discovered during excavation activities, excavation shall be temporarily halted and an archaeologist consulted as to the importance of the resources. Should the archaeologist determine that the resources are important, the project sponsor would follow the procedure described below. The program shall be conducted under the guidance of Appendix K of the CEQA Guidelines.

A. Prior to development on Parcels 1, 2, 3, 4, A, C and I (as identified in the Land Use and Circulation Element EIR (1996)), an attempt shall be made through a combination of archival research and in-field testing to identify areas that may have been used by Native American populations. Areas containing prehistoric deposits will be mapped; evaluation of their significance will be required only in those areas where future development might affect the resources.

B. Prior to excavation and construction in areas of known archaeological sensitivity, the prime construction contractor and any subcontractors shall be cautioned on the legal and/or regulatory implications of knowingly destroying cultural resources or removing artifacts, human remains, bottles, and other cultural materials from the project site.

C. The project sponsor shall identify a qualified archaeologist prior to any demolition, excavation, or construction in areas of known archaeological sensitivity. The City shall approve the project sponsor’s selection for a qualified archaeologist. The archaeologist shall have the authority to temporarily halt excavation and construction activities in the immediate vicinity (10-meter radius) of a find if significant or potentially significant cultural resources are exposed and/or adversely affected by construction operations.

D. Reasonable time would be allowed for the qualified archaeologist to notify the proper authorities for a more detailed inspection and examination of the exposed cultural resources. During this time, excavation and construction shall not be allowed in the immediate vicinity of the find; however, those activities may continue in other areas of the project site.

E. If any find were determined to be significant by the qualified archaeologist, representatives of the project sponsor or construction contractor and the City, the qualified archaeologist, and a representative of the Native American community (if the discover is an aboriginal burial) should meet to determine the appropriate course of action.

F. All cultural materials recovered as part of the monitoring program shall be subject to scientific analysis, professional museum curation, and a report prepared according to current professional standards.

2. Combustibles and Explosives. The use, handling, storage and transportation of combustibles and explosives shall comply with the Uniform Fire Code, the Hazardous Waste Management Plan Element of the General Plan, the Nuisance Abatement Ordinance (Title 4, Chapter 10 of the Municipal Code) and other applicable laws.

3. Dust and Dirt. All uses and development shall be conducted to minimize dust and dirt emissions beyond the project site or property. In addition to complying with the Grading Ordinance (Title 7, Chapter 2 of the Municipal Code), compliance with the following standards shall be required:

A. Property owners, developers and contractors shall be responsible for dust control measures (such as watering graded areas daily) and the immediate clean-up of any materials spilled on city streets as a result of grading, construction or hauling operations.

B. Dust and dirt shall be controlled so that it is not carried by air, water or other means to adjacent or nearby properties.

4. Environmental Resources and Constraints.

A. Development proposals shall be reviewed in terms of natural features in the vicinity that have aesthetic significance. This may include open space or vegetation that serves as a view corridor or has important visual attributes. Development proposals shall be sited to ensure that these features are retained or replaced to the extent feasible, resulting in minimal view impairment.

B. The City shall require project proponents to design facilities to prevent degradation of riparian and wetland communities from urban pollutants in storm runoff.

C. The City shall require project proponents to design construction footprints to avoid any wetlands and CDFG and or COE approved buffer zones around the wetlands in the project area. If avoidance is not possible, projects shall be redesigned so as to impact the least amount of wetlands. Any areas that are classified as wetlands and will be affected by project development shall be recreated either on or off site in accordance with CDFG and COE requirements. A project sponsor shall be required to obtain a Streambed Alteration Agreement from CDFG and/or a Section 404 Corps permit prior to any development or discharge of fill within any wetland or creek.

The small marshland westerly of the Southern Pacific Railroad, adjacent to the waterfront park, should be preserved in its natural state. The only improvement to this area would be an elevated walkway for observation of shorebirds and other wildlife.

D. Design of building footprints along any riparian corridor shall be outside the CDFG and/or COE approved buffer zone. Sensitive riparian habitats shall be marked by a qualified biologist to deter any destruction by equipment during construction.

E. Development along any riparian corridor shall incorporate measures to avoid impacts during construction, including:

1) Construction of any access bridge shall be limited to the bridge footprint area only.

2) Parking of large equipment shall be on the upland grassland area or on the paved street. Construction workers cars shall have designated parking areas.

3) Basins for oil leaks from the equipment shall be installed if equipment is parked on site over night.

F. Development shall be set back from Refugio Creek as required by Chapter 13-22, Refugio Creek Overlay District. West of I-80, the existing low flow channel will be improved to contain 100-year flood flows. The drainage facility shall be designed as a multi-use open space corridor and landscaped to have a natural appearance and enhance wildlife habitat. Designs which reduce water velocity and erosion are encouraged.

G. As much open space as possible within sites proposed for development shall be retained as informal open space for wildlife habitat, rather than as formal, landscaped parks or grounds. Wildlife areas shall be revegetated with native or nonnative grassland and native species of shrubs requiring no irrigation and little management beyond the first year after planting.

1) The extensive side hill in the southeast portion of the City has large areas of dense coyote brush interspersed with live oaks and buckeye and should be left in its natural state except for trails, outlooks and other limited recreational improvements.

2) The oak groves in canyon bottom and side hills shall be preserved in their natural state where possible. Special care should be taken in construction operations to minimize damage to this valuable natural resource.

3) The grass covered hilltops and slopes that are interspersed with residential areas in the easterly portion of the City should be preserved in a natural state as much as practical due to its habitat value for many species of raptors.

5. Erosion and Runoff Control.

A. Runoff increase calculations are required for each proposed development project. The calculations shall identify runoff for the parcel at full build-out as measured against estimates of existing runoff in order to ensure that no flooding will result.

B. Installation of sedimentation and grease basins in the storm drain system in parking lots in accordance with NPDES regulations (Title 5, Chapter 8 of the Municipal Code), is required to minimize pollution downstream from sedimentation. Property owners shall maintain the basins annually, or as required by NPDES regulations. Parking lots shall be swept periodically to decrease the amount of debris that could potentially contaminate the riparian or wetland habitat.

C. Development projects shall prepare and implement a set of best management practices (BMPs) to reduce impacts to water quality. Such practices may include, but are not limited to:

1) Stormwater retention or detention structures;

2) Oil and water separators; and

3) Sediment traps.

6. Geology and Soils. Projects proposed in areas subject to very strong earthquake ground shaking or ground failure shall conduct geotechnical studies and structural design evaluations for all critical facilities, schools, high-population facilities (such as shopping malls) and industries using or generating significant amounts of hazardous materials. If the alternative site feasibility study for a critical facility or school were to indicate that other less hazardous sites are not available for the critical facility, then geotechnical studies and structural design processes for the facility would be conducted in compliance with State of California requirements and recommendations of the Seismic Safety Commission. These should include detailed studies of the geologic materials at the site, seismic event response evaluations to identify design criteria, foundation design criteria and dynamic method analyses of proposed structures, and others.

For the other types of facilities, the alternative site feasibility assessment is an optional requirement, however an alternatives site evaluation may be required under CEQA. A rigorous geotechnical evaluation and structural design process shall be required to ensure that the proposed structures perform in major earthquakes without creating a life safety hazard to occupants or people in surrounding areas.

All development and construction projects shall be consistent with the following standards along with the requirements of the Grading Ordinance.

A. Development and construction shall minimize the potential for creating new landslides or reactivating old ones.

B. Improperly compacted existing fills and backfills should be excavated from areas to be filled.

C. All areas to be graded should be stripped of vegetation and the top few inches of highly organic topsoil.

D. Organic topsoil should be stripped, stockpiled and used for landscaping.

E. Lower valley areas where bay mud deposits are exposed or are blanketed by shallow thicknesses of poorly compacted fill will require detailed studies prior to site grading.

F. Sidehill “sliver” cuts and fills should be avoided.

G. Special consideration should be given to slope stability in the steep hillside areas.

H. Steep sideslopes should be left in their natural condition where possible.

I. Setbacks should be determined based on detailed soils investigations in individual cases opposite landslide prone slopes to reduce the potential for slide damage to improvements.

J. Expansive soils should be considered in the design of road pavement sections.

K. Site planning should consider the potential of differential settlement where compressible soils exist.

L. Areas underlain by soft bay mud will require further detailed soils investigations.

M. Slopes should be planted as soon as possible after completion of construction to develop a protective organic mat.

N. Dense pockets of brush and trees located on steep slopes should be left intact where possible to prevent potential landsliding.

O. The sides of the stream channel in portions of Refugio Valley should be improved to protect erosion induced slumping. Care should be taken to maintain the natural appearance of the water-course in open space areas.

7. Hazardous and Toxic Materials.

A. The use, handling, storage and transportation of hazardous and toxic materials shall comply with the Uniform Fire Code, the Hazardous Waste Management Plan Element of the General Plan, and other applicable laws.

B. The project applicant for each potentially contaminated location within the City, shall have the site inspected by a registered environmental assessor (i.e., a professional environmental scientist or engineer registered as an REA in California) for the presence of hazardous materials and wastes.

8. Historic Resources. Renovations, additions and other changes to historic buildings within the HTC historic town center district and the historic overlay district shall conform to the requirements of these districts in addition to the requirements set forth below. Historic buildings that are outside the above zoning districts shall conform to the requirements set forth below.

A. Prior to development on Parcels 1 and C as identified in the Land Use and Circulation Element EIR (1996), an updated architectural evaluation of the remaining Hercules Powder Company buildings shall be prepared. The elements of architectural evaluation program should include:

1) An architectural evaluation of remaining company buildings by a qualified architectural historian.

2) A determination of whether the remaining buildings are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

3) On the basis of the above findings, the City should take action to commit the eligible buildings to permanent conservation by having them listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Adaptive reuse of listed buildings, including historically sensitive restoration, is encouraged as a means of preserving eligible structures. Restoration and renovation of buildings should be performed in accordance with the “Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.” The standards serve as guidelines for rehabilitation, restoration, preservation, retaining and preserving historic character of the property.

4) If the above findings show that a building is not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, then a Phase II evaluation shall identify historic resources on a parcel, and recommend appropriate mitigation measures to be incorporated into the project design using widely accepted standards for historic resources management, such as the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for Rehabilitation and the State Historic Building Code.

9. Light and Glare. The light and glare potential of uses and new development shall be attenuated on a parcel specific basis, applying the following measures so that glare shall not be visible beyond the property line of the use or development.

A. Screening of parking areas by using vegetation or trees. This will reduce the amount of glare generated from painted and chrome automobile surfaces and prevent expanses of stationary and moving automobiles.

B. Hooded lights for nighttime illumination should be used for parking areas, shipping and receiving docks and industrial development. Hooded lights direct the light beam towards the ground where dark pavement will not reflect light and cause spillage into neighboring uses.

C. Nonreflective windows should be used for research and development, and office park developments.

10. Mechanical Equipment Screening.

A. All exterior mechanical equipment, except within the I industrial district and as specified in subsection (10)(B) of this Section, shall be screened from all sides. Equipment to be screened includes, but is not limited to electrical, heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, plumbing, and ductwork.

B. Utility meters shall be screened from view from public rights-of-way. Meters within a corner front yard or in a side yard adjacent to street shall be enclosed in subsurface vaults.

C. The screening shall be of materials that blend with the building design and any adjacent landscaping.

11. Noise.

A. New residential development projects shall meet acceptable exterior noise level standards. The noise contour map on file at City Hall shall be used to screen projects to determine if acoustical studies will be required. The “normally acceptable” noise standards for new land uses established in Land Use Compatibility for Community Exterior Noise Environments shown in Table 6 shall be modified by the following:

1) The maximum acceptable noise levels in residential areas is a Ldn of 60 dBA. This level shall guide the design and location of future development, and is a goal for the reduction of noise in existing development. A 60 dBA Ldn goal will be applied where outdoor use is a major consideration (e.g., backyards in single-family housing developments and recreation areas in multifamily housing projects). The outdoor standard will not normally be applied to small decks associated with apartments and condominiums, but these will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Where the City determines that providing a Ldn of 60 dBA or lower cannot be achieved after the application of feasible mitigations, a Ldn of 65 dBA may be permitted at the small decks at the discretion of the City Council.

2) Indoor noise level shall not exceed a Ldn of 45 dBA in new housing units. If the noise source is a railroad, then the outdoor noise exposure criterion should be 70 dBA Ldn for future development.

3) Noise levels in new residential development exposed to an exterior Ldn of 60 dBA or greater shall be limited to a maximum instantaneous noise level in bedrooms of 50 dBA. Maximum instantaneous noise levels in all other habitable rooms should not exceed 55 dBA. The typical repetitive maximum instantaneous noise level at each site would be determined by noise monitoring. Examples would include truck passbys on busy streets, train passbys and train warning whistles.

4) Appropriate interior noise levels in commercial, industrial, and office buildings are a function of the use of space and shall be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Interior noise levels in offices generally should be maintained at 45 dBA Leq (hourly average) or less.

5) For nontransportation related noise sources, outdoor noise levels within a residential property should not exceed the limits in Table 76 of the Noise Element of the General Plan. Interior noise levels shall be 15 decibels lower than those shown in Table 7.

B. New nonresidential land development projects shall meet acceptable exterior noise level standards set forth in Table 6 of the Noise Element of the General Plan. The noise contour map on file at City Hall shall be used to screen projects to determine if acoustical studies will be required.

C. Noise created by commercial or industrial sources associated with new projects or developments shall be controlled so as not to exceed the noise level standards set forth in Table 7 of the Noise Element of the General Plan as measured at any affected residential land use.

D. Control the level of noise at noise-sensitive land uses generated by construction activities through implementation of the following measures:

1) For construction near noise-sensitive areas, as determined by the Community Development Department, require that noisy construction activities (including truck traffic) be scheduled for periods, according to construction permit to limit impact on adjacent residents or other sensitive receptors.

2) Require a construction schedule that minimizes potential cumulative construction noise impacts and accommodates particularly noise-sensitive periods for nearby land uses (e.g., for schools, churches, etc.)

3) Where feasible, require that holes for driven piles be predrilled to reduce the level and duration of noise impacts.

4) Where feasible, construct temporary solid noise barriers between source and sensitive receptor(s) to reduce offsite propagation of construction noise. This measure could reduce construction noise by up to 5 decibels.

5) Require internal combustion engines used for construction purposes to be equipped with a properly operating muffler of a type recommended by the manufacturer. Also, require impact tools to be shielded per manufacturer’s specifications.

E. Noise Attenuation Techniques: Where noise levels exceed community noise standards for a proposed land use, 1 or more of the following techniques may be required to reduce the noise to acceptable level.

1) Proper site planning to reduce noise impacts should be investigated for a project. By taking advantage of the natural shape and contours of the site, it is often possible to arrange the buildings and other uses in a manner which will reduce and possibly eliminate noise impact. Site planning techniques include:

A) Increasing the distance between the noise sources and the receiver.

B) Placing nonnoise sensitive structures such as parking lots, maintenance facilities and utility areas between the source and the receiver.

C) Using nonnoise sensitive structures such as garages to shield noise-sensitive areas.

D) Orienting buildings to shield outdoor spaces from a noise source.

2) Architectural Layout. In many cases, noise reduction requirements can be met by giving attention to layout of noise-sensitive spaces. Bedrooms, for example, will be considerably quieter if placed on the side of the house facing away from the freeway. Similarly, balconies facing freeways should be avoided. Quiet outdoor spaces can be provided next to a noisy highway by creating a U-shaped development which faces away from the highway.

3) Noise Barriers. To be effective, a noise barrier must be massive enough to prevent significant noise transmission through it and high enough to shield the receiver from the noise source. The minimum acceptable surface weight for a noise barrier is 4 lbs./sq. ft. (equivalent to 3/4-inch plywood) and the barrier must be carefully constructed so that there are no cracks or openings. To be effective, a barrier must interrupt the line-of-sight between the noise source and the receiver.

12. Odor. No use, except within the I industrial district and the P/QP-C public/quasi-public—city district shall emit any obnoxious odor or fumes. Uses within the I industrial district and the P/QP-C public/quasi-public—city district shall minimize emittance of any obnoxious odor or fumes to the extent feasible.

13. Pipelines and Pipeline Right-of-Way. Consistent with pipeline operators’ standards, no buildings or other structures that could impede access shall be installed in any pipeline right-of-way. Prior to the start of construction on any parcel that includes or is bordered by a pipeline or pipeline right-of-way or easement, the Rodeo-Hercules Fire Protection District and the operators of affected pipelines shall be consulted regarding the adequacy of safety procedures for pipeline accidents. Developers of residential projects adjacent or nearby to pipelines shall notify new homeowners of the presence of the pipeline through a notice in the recorded deed.

14. Storage.

A. There shall be no visible exterior storage of equipment; supplies; motor vehicles, trailers, boats, or their component parts; and refuse, garbage, junk or their receptacles except as allowed within the Zoning Ordinance, Municipal Code and other laws.

B. All allowed exterior storage, except within the I industrial district, shall be screened by landscaping, fences, walls or hedges as per Section 13-30.600.

15. Tree Removal. Tree removal regulations within the City are set forth in Title 4, Chapter 15 of the Municipal Code.

16. Undergrounding Utilities. All utility distribution facilities (including but not limited to electric, communication and cable TV lines), including utility service laterals and equipment, installed in and for the purpose of supplying service to any building or property shall be placed underground, except as follows:

A. Equipment appurtenant to underground facilities, such as surface mounted transformers, pedestal mounted terminal boxes and meter cabinets, and risers from concealed ducts.

B. Poles supporting street lights.

Undergrounding shall be in compliance with Title 10, Chapter 6, Utility Undergrounding.

17. Vibration. No vibration associated with any use shall be discernible beyond the property line of the use. Vibration within a property shall be controlled so that it does not constitute an annoyance or nuisance to other uses within the site.

18. View Corridors. Development shall preserve important view corridors, where feasible. The attributes of the view corridor that characterize its significance as seen from roadways, pedestrian paths or other public vantage points shall be identified and preserved to avoid view obstruction. Buildings shall be sited so as to minimize view obstruction from sensitive viewpoints. The following views, from publicly accessible viewpoints, shall be preserved to the maximum extent feasible:

A. Upper drainage views from higher elevations of the Sycamore site adjacent to City Hall easterly up the floor of Franklin Canyon.

B. Lower drainage views from Hercules Point north across open water to Lone Tree Point and beyond to Solano and Napa Counties.

C. Lower drainage ridge views from the promontory of San Pablo Bay, Lone Tree Point, Franklin Canyon and the Refugio Creek floodplain.

D. San Pablo Avenue views of specimen oak tree stands and, where feasible, of eucalyptus groves.

E. Views of San Pablo Bay and the Hills of Marin, Sonoma and Napa Counties, and inland of the Briones Hills, that are available from various elevation points on undeveloped properties west of I-80 and from the shoreline areas along the Bay.

F. Views from the former Hercules Powder Company offices on the promontory to the west, north and east.

19. Water Conservation.

A. Use of drought-resistant landscaping is required in new developments. Installation of low-flush toilets and other low-flow plumbing fixtures is required for new residential and commercial development.

B. Installation of dual plumbing systems in large developments to accommodate future use of reclaimed wastewater for nondomestic purposes such as landscape irrigation, commercial and industrial process uses and toilet flushing in nonresidential buildings is encouraged. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 31.300.]