Chapter 13-42. Design Review

Sec. 13-42.100 Purpose.

The purposes of the design review Chapter are to:

1. Improve the general standards of orderly development of the City through design review of individual buildings, structures, and their environs.

2. To improve and augment the controls related to planning and building in order to promote development that is in the best interests of the public health, safety and welfare of the City.

3. Establish standards and policies that will promote and enhance good design, site relationships, and other aesthetic considerations in the City.

4. Preserve and enhance property values and the visual character of the community. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 42.100.]

Sec. 13-42.200 Projects Subject to Design Review Approval.

Prior to the issuance of any permit for the erection, construction, or exterior alteration of any public or private building, fence, structure or sign, the applicant shall secure approval of the proposed design from the Planning Commission; except that approval of a proposed design for additions to single-family homes, accessory structures of single-family homes or fences shall be approved by the Community Development Director. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 42.200.]

Sec. 13-42.300 Applications and Required Data.

An application for design review shall be filed with the Community Development Director as per Chapter 13-40, Administration, Applications and Fees. Applications for design review shall be submitted in writing upon the form provided by the Planning Department. A design review application may be filed in conjunction with applications for a tentative subdivision map, environmental impact documents, Zoning Ordinance permits and approvals, and other permits that may be required for the project. The design review application and the data and information required shall be known as the design review plan.

The application shall contain the name and address of the applicant, the owner of the land and his signed approval for submittal of the application as per Section 13-40.300, a description of the property involved, street address, reasons for filing of the application, a description of the project to be undertaken and other information that may be required by the Community Development Director.

If any of the data required by this Section has already been submitted by the applicant in conjunction with an application for approval of a tentative subdivision map, with environmental impact documents, with an application for a permit pursuant to the Zoning Ordinance, or such other permit application, such data need not be submitted again with the design review application.

The application shall be accompanied by copies, in a quantity required by Community Development Director, of site plans, diagrams, photographs, materials or other presentation material as may be necessary for complete design review of the proposed project. Plans shall be drawn to scale of a size as required by the Community Development Director and shall indicate the following data where applicable:

1. Site Plan.

A. Property lines.

B. Existing features on the site and off-site features within 50 feet of the site boundaries, including structures, roads, trees, plant life, streambeds, rock outcroppings, or other significant natural features.

C. Proposed buildings with dimensions.

D. Proposed roads, walks and paths.

E. A grading plan showing finished grade on the site and adjoining sites at the property lines in comparison with the existing grade.

F. Location, number of spaces, dimensions of off-street parking.

G. Pedestrian, vehicular and service ingress and egress, driveway widths.

H. Setbacks.

I. Street dedications and improvements.

J. Location, height and design of all fences or walls.

K. Open space use and landscaped areas.

2. Building Design.

A. All elevations of each building and composite elevation from street if multiple buildings are proposed.

B. Color renderings, if necessary.

C. Perspective drawings to show relationship after development of the building(s) to off-site features.

D. The types and finishes of all the materials to be applied to the exterior surfaces of the proposed structures, walls or additions.

E. The natural colors of the materials to be applied and the colors of any paint or manufactured product on the exterior of the structure, walls or addition.

F. The lighting to be applied to the exterior wall surfaces or to be used for walkways, drives and parking lots, and the light cast by the building’s interior, its signs, etc., which is visible from adjacent or neighboring properties.

G. All identifications and direction signs and graphics visible from the exterior of a proposed structure.

H. All art work, sculpture, fountains and other ornamental or decorative features visible from surrounding properties.

I. All provisions for and design of the following appurtenances if visible from the exterior:

1) Utility lines, meters and boxes.

2) Refuse, storage and pickup areas.

3) Stairs and ramps.

4) Flues, chimneys and exhaust fans.

5) Sun shades, awnings and louvers.

6) Balconies.

7) Mechanical equipment visible from the exterior.

8) Penthouses.

9) Loading docks.

10) Downspouts.

11) Antennas.

3. Landscaping and Irrigation. Landscaping and irrigation plans shall document conformance with the landscaping standards specified in Section 13-30.700. Landscape plans shall indicate the total landscaped area, the area and percentage of drought resistant plantings, and the area and percentage of nondrought resistant plantings.

4. Environmental Form. A completed Environmental Information Form and a written statement which outlines the proposed mitigation measures for potential site development problems such as flooding, access, geologic/seismic hazards, and noise.

5. Additional Data. Other data that may be required to permit the Planning Commission to make the required findings. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 42.300.]

Sec. 13-42.400 Action on Design Review Applications.

A design review application is subject to review and action by either the Community Development Director or the Planning Commission as per Section 13-42.200.

1. Applications Subject to Community Development Director Approval.

A. Community Development Director Review and Action. After determining that an application for design review approval is complete, the Community Development Director shall review the application and shall either approve, approve with conditions or deny the application within 10 working days after the application has been found complete. All actions of the Community Development Director shall take effect after expiration of the 14-day appeal period. Any action by the Community Development Director may be appealed to the Planning Commission as per Section 13-44.600. Such appeal shall be heard at the next available meeting of the Planning Commission.

B. Referral to Planning Commission. When, in the opinion of the Community Development Director, an application for an addition to a single-family home or an accessory structure to a single-family home is of a size, importance or unique nature such that he judges it to be a significant design issue, the Community Development Director may place the application before the Planning Commission for determination as set forth in subsection (2) of this Section.

2. Applications Subject to Planning Commission Approval.

A. Initial Review and Comment by Community Development Director. After determining that an application for design review approval is complete, the Community Development Director shall review the application and prepare and send written comments on the proposed plans to the applicant. The preliminary comments shall be sent to the applicant no later than 10 working days after the application is determined to be complete. Thereafter the applicant shall prepare and submit revised plans, if necessary, responding to the director’s comments.

B. Planning Commission Review and Action. Upon receipt of a complete submittal of revised plans, the Community Development Director shall schedule review of the application by the Planning Commission at the next available Planning Commission meeting. Prior to the Planning Commission meeting or hearing, the Community Development Director shall submit written comments to the Commission regarding the application. The Planning Commission may approve, approve with conditions, or deny an application. In order to approve an application (with or without conditions) the Planning Commission must make the findings stated in this Section. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 42.400.]

Sec. 13-42.500 Required Findings.

The Planning Commission shall make the following findings prior to approving a design review plan:

1. The approval of the design review plan is in compliance with all provisions of this Chapter, pertinent provisions of Zoning Ordinance and applicable zoning and land use regulations, including but not limited to the Hercules General Plan as amended and any specific plan.

2. The approval of the design review plan is in the best interests of the public health, safety, and general welfare.

3. General site considerations, including site layout, open space and topography, orientation and location of buildings, vehicular access, circulation and parking, setbacks, height, walls, fences, public safety and similar elements have been designed to provide a desirable environment for the development.

4. General architectural considerations, including the character, scale, and quality of the design, the architectural relationship with the site and other buildings, building materials, colors, screening of exterior appurtenances, exterior lighting and signing, and similar elements have been incorporated in order to insure the compatibility of this development with its design concept and the character of adjacent buildings.

5. General landscape considerations, including the location, type, size, color, texture and coverage of plant materials at the time of planting and after a 5-year growth period, provision for irrigation, maintenance and protection of landscaped areas and similar elements have been considered to insure visual relief, to complement buildings and structures, and to provide an attractive environment for the enjoyment of the public. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 42.500.]

Sec. 13-42.600 Hearings and Appeals.

The procedures for hearings and appeals are specified in Chapter 13-44, Hearings, Appeals and Judicial Review. [Ord. 522 § 1, 2019; Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 42.600.]

Sec. 13-42.700 Duration of Design Review Approval.

1. Except for vesting tentative maps approved under Title 10, Chapter 2, Article 3.1 of the Municipal Code and development agreements approved under Title 10, Chapter 8 of the Municipal Code, approved design review plans shall expire 1 year from the date of approval unless prior to the expiration a building permit is issued by the Building Official and construction is commenced and diligently pursued toward completion.

2. A design review plan approved in conjunction with approval of a vesting tentative maps or development agreement shall expire concurrently with the expiration of the vesting tentative map or according to the terms of development agreement.

3. Design review approval may be renewed for a maximum of 1 additional year beyond the original date of expiration; provided, that a request for such renewal is submitted to the Planning Department before the date of expiration. The Planning Commission may grant or deny a request for renewal which may be appealed to the City Council. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 42.700.]

Sec. 13-42.800 Modification and Revocation.

1. A design review approval may be modified through submittal of an application for minor modification as per Chapter 13-46. Any minor modifications must meet the required findings of this Chapter. A proposed modification that does not meet minor modification criteria shall be treated as a new application subject to the application, findings and public hearing requirements of this Chapter.

2. A design review approval may be revoked by the Planning Commission as per Section 13-44.800 if the development does not comply with adopted conditions of approval or other regulations of the Zoning Ordinance. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 42.800.]

Sec. 13-42.900 Enforcement of Requirements.

1. Upon final review and approval of a project, all changes, conditions or modifications required by the Community Development Director, Planning Commission or City Council shall be incorporated into the working drawings prior to issuance of a building permit. The Community Development Director shall certify whether the corrected plans incorporate all requirements prior to issuance of a building permit. No certificate of occupancy shall be issued until the project construction complies with all approved plans and requirements. [Ord. 515 § 2, 2018; ZO § 42.900.]