Chapter 17.52


17.52.010    Purpose.

17.52.020    Criteria for merger of contiguous parcels.

17.52.030    Conditions of contiguous parcels permitting merger.

17.52.040    Procedure.

17.52.060    Appeal.

17.52.080    Effect of nonprejudicial error.

17.52.010 Purpose.

This chapter implements the procedures and prescribes the standards pertaining to city-initiated merger of land as authorized by Government Code Sections 66451 through 66451.21. [Ord. 09-1315 § 3 (Exh. A), 2009; Ord. 1059 § 8, 1993; Ord. 962 § 2 (Exh. A), 1989.]

17.52.020 Criteria for merger of contiguous parcels.

A parcel of land may be merged with a contiguous parcel held by the same owner if all of the following requirements are satisfied:

A. The affected parcels are held by the same owner as of the date the notice of intention to determine status is recorded, as provided by Government Code Section 66451.13;

B. One of the affected parcels does not conform to standards for minimum parcel size under the applicable zoning;

C. One of the affected parcels is (1) undeveloped by a structure, or (2) developed only with an accessory structure, or (3) developed with a single structure (other than an accessory structure) that is partially sited on the contiguous parcel with which it is proposed to be merged (i.e., straddles a lot line);

D. With respect to each affected parcel, one or more of the conditions set forth in PMC 17.52.030 is met. (Government Code Section 66451.11.) [Ord. 09-1315 § 3 (Exh. A), 2009; Ord. 962 § 2 (Exh. A), 1989.]

17.52.030 Conditions of contiguous parcels permitting merger.

In addition to the requirements of PMC 17.52.020, in order for affected parcels to be merged, one or more of the following conditions must exist as to each affected parcel:

A. Comprises less than 5,000 square feet in area at the time the merger is determined;

B. Was not created in compliance with applicable laws or ordinances in effect that the time of its creation;

C. Does not meet current standards for sewage disposal and domestic water supply;

D. Does not meet slope stability standards in that soils investigation indicates the presence of critically expansive soils or other soils problems which, if not corrected, would lead to structural defects;

E. Does not have legal access which is adequate for vehicular and safety equipment access and maneuverability to satisfy the requirements relating to the design and specifications for minor streets or private roads, as the case may be, and does not have the approval of the local fire district as meeting its standards for access and maneuverability for fire equipment;

F. Does not have sufficient dimensions to allow development that conforms to applicable ordinance development standards;

G. If developed would create one or more of the following health or safety hazards:

1. Construction is likely to adversely affect the stability of adjoining property, or result in the deposition of debris on a way open to the public, or interfere with an existing drainage course, or is in an area determined to be subject to geological hazard,

2. Surface waters occurring on the affected parcel or flowing onto or through it cannot be conveyed without damage to an improvement, building or dwelling to a natural watercourse having a definable bed and banks, or to an existing adequate storm drainage facility,

3. The site available for development does not provide an appropriate buildable site consistent with the site’s constraints in relation to one or more of the following: the slope, soil characteristics, seismic factors, existing and future residential development in the area of the site, the general plan and the applicable specific plan and zoning ordinance,

4. Development of the site is likely to cause environmental damage or substantially and avoidably injure wildlife or their habitat,

5. The type of improvements proposed for the site will conflict with easements acquired by the public at large for access through a use of the site;

H. Is inconsistent with the general plan or applicable specific plan, other than minimum lot size or density standards.

It is not necessary, however, that the same condition exist with respect to each affected parcel. (Government Code Section 66451.11.) [Ord. 09-1315 § 3 (Exh. A), 2009; Ord. 962 § 2 (Exh. A), 1989.]

17.52.040 Procedure.

A. Notice of Intent to Determine Status of Affected Parcels. The city engineer shall mail a notice of intention to determine the status of the affected parcels by certified mail to the then current owner of record. The notice shall advise the owner that the affected parcels may be merged under the standards specified in this chapter and advise the owner of the opportunity to request a hearing on the determination of status and to present evidence at the hearing that the affected parcels do not meet the criteria for merger. (Government Code Section 66451.13.)

B. Recordation of Notice of Intent. The city engineer shall file the notice of intent to determine status for record with the recorder of Contra Costa County on the date that the notice is mailed to the property owner. (Government Code Section 66451.13.)

C. Hearing. If the property owner files with the city a request for a hearing on determination of status within 30 days after recordation of the notice of intent to determine status, the planning director shall fix the time and date and place for a hearing to be conducted by the planning commission. The planning director shall notify the property owner by certified mail of the hearing. The planning commission shall conduct a hearing not less than 30 days after the city has received the property owner’s request for a hearing. The hearing date may be postponed or continued with the mutual consent of the planning commission and the property owner. (Government Code Sections 66451.14, 66454.15.)

D. Determination of Status Following Hearing. At the hearing, the property owner may present evidence that the affected parcels do not meet the standards for merger specified in this chapter. At the conclusion of the hearing, the planning commission shall determine whether the affected parcels are to be merged or are not to be merged, and shall notify the owner of its determination. (Government Code Section 66451.16.)

E. Recordation of Notice of Merger. The city engineer shall cause a notice of merger specifying the names of the record owners and particularly describing the real property to be recorded within 30 days after conclusion of the hearing. (Government Code Section 66451.16.)

F. Determination of Merger Where No Hearing Requested. If, within the 30-day period after recordation of the notice of intent to determine status, the owner of the affected parcel does not file a request for a hearing, the planning commission may at any time thereafter make a determination that the affected parcels are to be merged or are not to be merged. A notice of merger shall be recorded not later than 90 days after the date when the community development director mailed the notice of intent to determine status. (Government Code Section 66451.17.)

G. Determination Not to Merge. If the planning commission determines that the affected parcels are not to be merged, the city engineer shall have recorded a release of the notice of intent to determine status and shall mail a clearance letter to the then current owner of record. If a property owner initiates or consents in writing to a lot merger, the city engineer may cause the merger of the affected lots without referring to the proposed merger to the planning commission for a public hearing. (Government Code Section 66451.18.) [Ord. 09-1315 § 3 (Exh. A), 2009; Ord. 962 § 2 (Exh. A), 1989.]

17.52.060 Appeal.

The decision of the planning commission made under this chapter may be appealed to the council in the manner provided for the appeal of a decision of the planning commission as provided in PMC 17.16.070. The time for appeal is 10 calendar days from the date of the planning commission decision. [Ord. 09-1315 § 3 (Exh. A), 2009; Ord. 05-1257 § 4, 2005; Ord. 962 § 2 (Exh. A), 1989.]

17.52.080 Effect of nonprejudicial error.

The failure, neglect, informality or omission as to a matter pertaining to notices, findings, reports or recommendations, report, recommendations or any other matter of procedure does not affect the validity of the action taken, unless after the examination of the entire process, it is found the complaining party suffered substantial prejudice. [Ord. 09-1315 § 3 (Exh. A), 2009; Ord. 962 § 2 (Exh. A), 1989.]