Chapter 18.111


18.111.010    Specific purposes.

18.111.020    Applicability.

18.111.030    Procedures – Authority, application, notice and public hearing, decision, effective date, appeal.

18.111.040    Findings.

18.111.050    Conditions of approval.

18.111.060    Lapse of approval.

18.111.070    Changes to plans.

18.111.080    Resubmittal of application.

18.111.010 Specific purposes.

The purposes of this chapter are to:

A. Allow the zoning administrator to grant a minor exception from specified development standards required by this zoning ordinance.

B. Provide an appropriate process to enable the zoning administrator to grant a requested minor exception.

C. Provide appropriate and reasonable findings to allow the zoning administrator to grant a requested minor exception.

D. Ensure that any exceptions granted will be consistent with the purpose and intent of this title. (Ord. 857 § 2, 2011)

18.111.020 Applicability.

A minor exception may be requested for any item identified below:

A. Fence or wall height. An increase in the maximum allowable height of a fence or wall of not more than one foot (see PHMC § 18.20.040.H).

B. Floor area ratio (FAR). A maximum increase of 10% of the existing FAR standard (e.g., if the FAR is 30%, the maximum potential increase would be 3%).

C. Landscaping area. A decrease in minimum landscaping or planting area or dimensional requirements of not more than 20% of the applicable standard (see PHMC §§ 18.20.040.G and 18.25.030).

D. Loading. A decrease in the number of required loading spaces; provided, that it can be demonstrated that the spaces are not needed for the proposed use and the area that was to be used for the loading space(s) shall be used as additional landscaping, parking or open space in addition to minimum ordinance requirements (see PHMC §§ 18.55.020 and 18.55.030).

E. Lot coverage. An increase of not more than 10% of the applicable lot coverage standard (e.g., 30% x 0.10 = 3%) (see PHMC § 18.20.030).

F. Lot depth and/or width. A decrease of not more than 10% of a minimum depth and/or width dimension, only when the minimum required lot area and density requirements are met (e.g., a lot depth requirement of 90 feet may be reduced to 81 feet) (see PHMC § 18.20.030).

G. Open space. A decrease of not more than 10% of the minimum required amount of usable open space on the site (private and/or shared), or open space dimensional requirements (see PHMC §§ 18.20.030 and 18.20.040.E).

H. Projections. An increase of not more than 20% in the allowable projection of cornices, eaves, fireplaces, masonry chimneys, overhangs, and steps into a required setback area (provided, that the projection shall not be closer than three feet to any property line). Projections shall be measured from the required setback (i.e., not from an existing legal nonconforming setback or from a reduced setback that may be granted through a variance or minor exception) (see also PHMC § 18.50.020).

I. Screening of mechanical equipment. Approval of alternative methods of screening, including use of painting or other stealthing or camouflaging techniques, if the zoning administrator determines that other screening methods are not feasible and the alternative methods will provide substantial screening consistent with the intent and purpose of this title (see PHMC § 18.50.090).

J. Minimum yards. A decrease of not more than 20% of the applicable yard setback standard, if consistent with the character of existing development in the surrounding area. In no circumstance shall a minor exception be granted for a main building or accessory structure that reduces yard setbacks to less than the following (see PHMC §§ 18.20.030 and 18.25.030):

1. Front yard: 16 feet (a minimum of 20 feet shall be maintained for any garage facing the street).

2. Side yards: three feet.

3. Rear yard: five feet.

K. Accessory structures.

1. Accessory structures on parcels with existing and ongoing agricultural/horticultural uses that are two acres or larger may exceed the maximum floor area and/or height standards specified in PHMC § 18.20.050.A through 18.20.050.D, provided the accessory structures comply with all other applicable development standards;

2. Any other type of decorative landscape structure/feature(s), not identified in PHMC § 18.20.050.G (e.g., trellis, fountain, column or similar) exceeding three feet in height, and occupying not more than 10% of the required yard area (either individually or cumulatively).

L. Other required dimensions. The zoning administrator may approve minor adjustments in other required dimensions, up to a change of 20% of the required dimension, excluding any increase in maximum building height (see PHMC §§ 18.20.030 and 18.25.030).

M. Other minor adjustments. The zoning administrator may approve other minor adjustments to zoning ordinance standards in addition to those specified above; provided, that all of the findings specified in PHMC § 18.111.040 are satisfied and the planning commission is notified of the proposed minor exception and provided with an opportunity to call the proposed minor exception up for review pursuant to PHMC § 18.130.010.

N. Required variance. A request for an exception that exceeds the limitations identified in this chapter requires the approval of a variance under PHMC Chapter 18.110. Approval of a minor exception and/or eligibility for consideration of approval of a minor exception does not constitute a basis for future approval of a variance. (Ord. 857 § 2, 2011)

18.111.030 Procedures – Authority, application, notice and public hearing, decision, effective date, appeal.

A. Authority. The zoning administrator has the authority to approve minor exceptions. The zoning administrator may, at his or her discretion, refer a minor exception application directly to the planning commission for consideration; except that whenever more than one minor exception is requested for a property (either concurrently or sequentially over time), the minor exception request shall be referred to the planning commission for consideration at a public hearing.

B. Application. The applicant shall submit a request for a minor exception to the zoning administrator, on forms provided by the city. An application is considered to be complete if it is in accordance with PHMC § 18.75.030.

C. Notice and public hearing. The zoning administrator shall, within 20 calendar days after the application is deemed complete, notify all residents and property owners within 300 feet of the project site, and provide notice to the planning commission and city council that a decision will be made by the zoning administrator to approve or disapprove the minor exception application on a date specified in the notice, and that a public hearing will be held only if requested in writing by any interested person before the specified date for the decision. When a hearing is requested, notice of the hearing shall be provided in accordance with PHMC Chapter 18.80. When multiple applications are submitted for a single site in conjunction with a request for a minor exception, and when any of these applications require planning commission review, the zoning administrator shall schedule a combined public hearing for all of the applications before the planning commission. A public hearing may be continued to a definite date and time without additional public notice.

D. Decision. The zoning administrator shall approve, conditionally approve or deny an application within 20 working days after issuance of a public notice as specified in subsection C of this section or within 20 working days after the close of the public hearing, whichever is applicable. The zoning administrator shall mail notice of the decision, including a description of the appeal process as specified in PHMC Chapter 18.130, to the applicant and any other party requesting notice and shall provide electronic mail (email) notice of the decision to the planning commission and city council within 10 calendar days of the decision. In the case of the planning commission, or city council on appeal, the date of the decision is the date the commission or council adopts the resolution approving or denying the application(s).

E. Effective date. A decision under this section takes effect at the end of the time allowed for an appeal, which is 10 calendar days after notice of the decision is mailed.

F. Appeal. A decision of the zoning administrator may be appealed to the planning commission, and a decision of the planning commission may be appealed to the city council, all in accordance with the appeal procedures of PHMC Chapter 18.130.

G. Call for review. A decision of the zoning administrator may be called for review by any member of the planning commission, architectural review commission and/or city council pursuant to the provisions of PHMC Chapter 18.130. (Ord. 857 § 2, 2011)

18.111.040 Findings.

The zoning administrator may approve an application for a minor exception if the following findings can be made, based on the application, plans, materials and any public testimony submitted:

A. No practical alternative exists to the proposed exception;

B. The purpose and intent of the subject zone district will not be substantially compromised;

C. There will be no detrimental impact (aesthetically or otherwise) to the site, adjacent properties or neighborhood;

D. The project will be in substantial conformance with the city-wide design guidelines;

E. The proposed project will otherwise be in compliance with all applicable zoning ordinance standards and requirements, including any applicable specific plan or planned unit development. (Ord. 857 § 2, 2011)

18.111.050 Conditions of approval.

In approving a minor exception, the zoning administrator may impose reasonable conditions necessary to:

A. Achieve the general purposes of this chapter or the specific purposes of the zoning district in which the site is located, and/or to ensure that the request is consistent with the general plan;

B. Protect the public health, safety, and general welfare;

C. Ensure operation and maintenance of the use in a manner compatible with existing and potential uses on adjoining properties or in the surrounding area;

D. Ensure substantial conformance with city-wide design guidelines. (Ord. 857 § 2, 2011)

18.111.060 Lapse of approval.

An exception lapses one year after its date of approval, or at an alternative time specified as a condition of approval, unless one of the following has occurred:

A. A building permit has been issued, substantial money has been expended, and construction diligently pursued; or

B. A certificate of occupancy has been issued; or

C. The exception is renewed by the hearing body which originally approved it. No new notice or public hearing is required for a renewal if the findings required for approval remain valid. (Ord. 857 § 2, 2011)

18.111.070 Changes to plans.

A request for a change in the minor exception or a condition of approval requires a new application for modification of the condition. If the zoning administrator determines that the modification is minor, the zoning administrator may approve that minor modification administratively, and that decision may be appealed to the planning commission. If the zoning administrator determines that the modification is major, then the modification shall be referred for consideration to the final decision-making body that approved the original minor exception. (Ord. 857 § 2, 2011)

18.111.080 Resubmittal of application.

Following denial of a minor exception, no new application for the same, or substantially the same, minor exception shall be accepted within one year of the date of denial, unless the denial was made without prejudice. Upon denial of a minor exception, the applicant may apply for a variance under PHMC Chapter 18.110. (Ord. 857 § 2, 2011)