Chapter 17.23


17.23.010    Purposes.

17.23.020    Permitted and conditional uses – OS-R.

17.23.030    Accessory uses.

17.23.040    Temporary uses.

17.23.050    Property development standards.

17.23.060    General requirements.

17.23.070    Special requirements.

17.23.080    Performance standards.

17.23.090    Accessory structures.

17.23.100    Walls and fences.

17.23.110    Signs.

17.23.120    Rezone restrictions.


*    Prior legislation: Ords. 266, 272 and 283.

17.23.010 Purposes.

A. This zone is intended for low-intensity active-recreational and ancillary commercial needs which could be compatible with residential land uses. These active-recreational opportunities are meant to serve the recreational and social interaction needs of the City residents of all ages, economic situations, and physical conditions. Publicly owned lands, such as parks, may also be included in this zone subject to approval by the City. Only those additional uses are permitted that are complementary to, and can exist in harmony with, the open space-recreation land use and surrounding lands uses. It is the intent that this zone be applied to an entire parcel of land or to a portion of a parcel of land, provided that the remainder of the parcel meets the area requirements for which it is zoned.

B. In addition to the objectives outlined in PMC 17.02.010 (Purpose and scope), the open space-recreation zone is included in the zoning regulations to achieve the following purposes:

1. Provide for compatible recreational uses.

2. Provide public or private active-recreation uses and activities on land within the community.

3. Promote land use compatibility with existing or planned residential, commercial, manufacturing, and open space land uses which surround the OS-R zone activity or land use.

4. Encourage in-fill active-recreation land uses which provide a range of opportunities within the community that service the recreational and social interaction needs of City residents of all ages, economic situations, and physical conditions.

5. Provide for recreational opportunities within planned communities and planned residential developments.

6. Provide for associated building construction and development which is architecturally compatible and sensitive to existing and planned land uses on the same parcel of land and on surrounding properties. (Ord. 372 § 4, 1993)

17.23.020 Permitted and conditional uses – OS-R.

The uses shall be permitted where the symbol “P” appears and subject to a conditional use permit where the symbol “C” appears, and subject to a minor conditional use permit where the symbol “M” appears in the column beneath each zone designation. Where the symbol “X” appears the use is prohibited. A use that is not listed is prohibited. Land uses identified for the zone may be further limited by the presence of a specific plan or other applicable provision of the PMC.

A.    Art galleries (enclosed or open-air)


B.    Baseball fields


C.    Batting cages as accessory use


D.    Botanical and zoological gardens


E.    Churches and other religious institutions


F.    Club houses and pro shops associated with public and private golf courses


G.    Country clubs


H.    Driving range, with or without associated golf course (public and private)


I.    Eighteen-hole golf courses (private and public)


J.    Freestyle/motocross (nonmotorized) bicycle courses


K.    Lawn bowling (public or private)


L.    Museums


M.    Par or running course


N.    Private picnic grounds


O.    Public parks, buildings and grounds


P.    Racquetball/handball court


Q.    Riding academies and stables (public and private)


R.    Restaurant in conjunction with an existing or contemplated recreational use


S.    Riding and hiking staging areas/rest areas


T.    Rodeo arena


U.    Sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages only ancillary to other P or C use


V.    Skateboard parks


W.    Soccer park (public and private)


X.    Swim clubs (public and private)


Y.    Tennis courts (public and private)


Z.    Other open space-recreational uses that the City Council may determine to be similar in nature


AA.    Marijuana: dispensaries, collectives and cooperatives, cultivation, delivery, manufacturing and storage as defined in PMC 17.04.514


BB.    Public utility installations


(Ord. 808 § 16, 2017; Ord. 785 § 16, 2016; Ord. 773 §§ 9, 11, 2015; Ord. 736 § 16, 2012; Ord. 372 § 4, 1993)

17.23.030 Accessory uses.

A.    Accessory structures and uses located on the same site as a permitted use


B.    Accessory structures and uses located on the same site as a conditional use


C.    “Seatainers”


(Ord. 490 § 2(8), 1997; Ord. 372 § 4, 1993)

17.23.040 Temporary uses.

Temporary uses as prescribed in Chapter 17.26 PMC upon issuance of a temporary use permit (TUP). (Ord. 372 § 4, 1993)

17.23.050 Property development standards.

The following regulations shall apply to the site of a permitted or conditional use. The requirements are minimum unless otherwise stated. Where an open space-recreation land use is located on a portion of a larger parcel of land, the area remaining within the larger parcel shall meet the minimum area requirement of the underlying zone. Each building site shall have a minimum 20-foot-wide vehicular access to a public street. (Ord. 372 § 4, 1993)

17.23.060 General requirements.



A.    Density, maximum living units per site, to be utilized for on-site caretaker housing purposes


B.    Width of flag lots (in feet)


C.    Front yard setback (in feet)


D.    Side yard setback (in feet), each side


E.    Side yard setback, street side (in feet)


F.    Rear yard setback (in feet)


G.    Lot coverage, maximum lot coverage shall include all buildings, structures, accessory buildings and structures


H.    Maximum structure height

35 feet or two stories, whichever is less, or as expressly authorized pursuant to an adopted specific plan or as determined by PMC 17.23.070(K) for architectural appurtenances

I.    Off-street parking

(See Chapter 17.42 PMC, to be determined by the City Council)

(Ord. 372 § 4, 1993)

17.23.070 Special requirements.

A. In any OS-R zone, a minimum building setback of 25 feet shall be required whenever a parcel of land in the OS-R zone abuts a lot in any residential zone. The setback area may be used for required open off-street parking areas. The building setback may be increased by the City Council in situations where additional distance would help to mitigate or alleviate potential problems, hazards or environmental concerns.

B. When any property in an OS-R zone abuts a property in a commercial or manufacturing zone, the minimum side and rear yard setbacks may be reduced at the discretion of the City Council, and such reduction shall not constitute a variance.

C. In the OS-R zone, new construction and reconstruction or rehabilitation of existing buildings and/or sites shall be in accordance with the following design criteria:

1. Development Plan. A development plan shall be prepared for the entire site under consideration regardless of whether development is contemplated in the near future. The purpose of the development plan is to show conceptually, where buildings might be located and where and how parking, on-site and off-site circulation will function.

2. Site Development Standards. The site development standards shall be consistent with the requirement of the OS-R zone as indicated in PMC 17.23.050 and herein. The standards shall be reminiscent and reflective of the early farming and rural country character of Poway and consistent with the community design element of the general plan. The site plan should use imaginative, creative, and stimulating architectural design with special consideration given to the provision of the following items where appropriate:

a. Low-intensity lighting;

b. Restrooms and benches;

c. Generous landscaping;

d. Decorative paved walkways;

e. Basic design theme;

f. Separation of pedestrian and vehicular rights-of-way;

g. Architecturally integrated ground-mounted equipment such as trash receptacles and transformers;

h. Bus or transit shelter as determined by the Director of Development Services;

i. Adequate bicycle and motorcycle parking as determined by the City Council;

j. Architectural compatibility with on-site and surrounding structures;

k. Children’s play area with appropriate adult supervision;

l. A park-like landscaped quiet area for passive and family picnic area.

D. All exterior lighting shall be constructed in accordance with PMC 17.08.220(L) and 17.10.150(H).

E. All development in the floodplain shall be in accordance with the National Flood Insurance requirements and local ordinance.

F. A minimum of two toilets and one wash basin is required to be provided for each gender for all buildings and facilities accessible by the public. Additional toilets and wash basins are required for larger buildings and facilities based on the number of people expected to use them.

G. Hours of operation of any land use or activity located in any OS-R zone shall be restricted to between sunrise to 10:00 p.m. weekdays, weekends, and holidays. Any exceptions to these time limits with regard to special events shall be subject to a temporary use permit granted by the City Council.

H. All gambling and the sale and consumption of illegal drugs on-site is strictly prohibited. The sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages shall be prohibited except as permitted by conditional use permit.

I. Where an open space-recreation zoned parcel fronts on more than one street, it shall be considered to have multiple frontages and be required to meet the front yard setback requirement on all street frontages.

J. Driveways in all open space-recreation zones shall be constructed subject to the following standards:

Maximum Grade Break

Maximum Slope

Minimum Surfacing


8% every 20 feet


6" P.C.C. or 3" A.C. on 4" cl. 2 base or as approved by the City Engineer

Min. 16 ft. Max. 35 ft. Fire access – 10 ft. min.

K. Architectural appurtenances to churches or other religious institutions involving a steeple, or cross, or the combination thereof, and clock towers and similar design elements on open space-recreation structures, may exceed the maximum height of 35 feet. Proposals for such appurtenances, however, shall be evaluated through the development review application process on a case-by-case basis so that architectural compatibility and appropriate building scale is achieved and maintained.

L. All public projects and private development projects within the jurisdiction of the City that have the potential to adversely impact sensitive plant species, wildlife species, and associated natural habitats shall either demonstrate that any removal of habitat associated with the proposed development has been authorized by the California Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or comply with the adopted Poway subarea habitat conservation plan, the companion implementing agreement, and the requirements thereof including the compensation mitigation strategy, mitigation ratios, and special development requirements. (Ord. 674 § 32, 2008; Ord. 518, 1999; amended during 8/97 supplement; Ord. 450 § 3, 1995; Ord. 372 § 4, 1993)

17.23.080 Performance standards.

A. Landscaping. In all OS-R zones, required front and street side yards shall be landscaped in accordance with the City landscape guidelines.

B. Energy Conservation. Buildings shall be located on the site to provide adjacent buildings adequate sunlight for solar access. All new construction and remodeling shall be preplumbed for solar hot water heating. Buildings shall be designed to minimize energy consumption requirements, including, but not necessarily limited to, the following conservation measures:

1. Cogeneration;

2. South-facing windows;

3. Eave coverage for windows;

4. Double glazed windows;

5. Earth berming against exterior walls;

6. Green houses;

7. Deciduous shade trees.

C. Where an open space-recreation facility land use abuts property in any commercial or manufacturing zone, fencing and/or walls may be required, as necessary, to mitigate potential negative impacts to adjacent properties.

D. Wherever off-street parking areas are facing the front or side yard of property in a residential zone, a masonry wall or berm three feet in height shall be erected in the landscaped area between the required landscape area and the parking area to adequately screen the parking areas from the residential properties.

E. All utility connections shall be designed to coordinate with the architectural elements of the site so as not to be exposed except where necessary. Pad-mounted transformers and/or meter box locations shall be included in the site plan with any appropriate screening treatment. All new and existing utilities connections within the boundaries of the project shall be placed underground. Transformers, terminal boxes, meter cabinets, pedestals, concealed ducts, and other facilities may be placed above ground but shall be screened from view. The requirement for undergrounding existing utilities shall not apply to any overhead power transmission lines in excess of 34.5KV and long distance and main trunk communication facilities. The requirement for undergrounding existing utility connections may be waived or modified by the City Council in accordance with criteria and provisions for such as adopted by resolution of the City Council.

F. The noise level emanating from any new open space-recreation activity shall not exceed 60 dBA CNEL, as the acceptable outdoor noise exposure level when measured at the property line in accordance with Chapter 8.08 PMC.

G. All ground-mounted mechanical equipment, including heating and air conditioning units, and trash receptacle areas, shall be screened from surrounding properties by use of a wall or fence or shall be enclosed within a building. Structural and design plans for any required screening under the provisions of this section shall be approved by the Development Services Director.

H. All roof appurtenances including, but not limited to air conditioning units, and mechanical equipment shall be shielded and architecturally screened from view from on-site parking areas, adjacent public streets, and adjacent residentially zoned property.

I. Reciprocal ingress and egress, circulation and parking arrangements shall be required to facilitate the ease of vehicular and pedestrian movement between adjoining properties.

J. Odor. No use shall be permitted which creates offensive odor in such quantities as to be readily detectable beyond the boundaries of the site.

K. In any OS-R zone, the regulations regarding nonconforming uses and structures shall be in accordance with Chapter 17.44 PMC. (Ord. 518, 1999; Ord. 372 § 4, 1993)

17.23.090 Accessory structures.

A. Accessory Buildings and Structures. Accessory buildings and structures (attached or detached) shall meet all of the requirements for location of the main structure as constructed or required by the zone, except as herein provided. Where open space-recreation uses abut any residential zone, the following shall apply:

1. Accessory buildings or structures shall be allowed to encroach into the required rear yard setback up to one-half of the distance.

2. An accessory structure shall meet the setback requirements of the main building for the front and street side yard areas.

3. An accessory structure may be located within an interior side yard or rear yard; provided, that such structure is located no closer than five feet to an interior side or rear lot line and is at least 10 feet from the main structure.

4. Swimming Pools. The Uniform Building Code shall govern the placement and fencing of swimming pools, spas and ornamental ponds.

B. Canopies, Patios and Breezeways. Canopies, patios, and breezeways attached to the main building or connecting the main building with a detached accessory building, may extend into a required rear or interior side yard provided that portions of such structures extending into the yard:

1. Shall not exceed 15 feet in height or project closer than five feet to an interior side yard or closer than 10 feet at the rear lot line;

2. Shall be entirely open on at least three sides for patios and canopies except for necessary supporting columns. A roof connecting a main building and an accessory building shall be open on two sides.

C. Other Structures. Porches, steps, architectural features, such as eaves, awnings, chimneys, balconies, stairways, wing walls, or bay windows may project not more than four feet into any required front or rear yard area, nor into any required side yard area more than one-half of the required side yard. (Ord. 372 § 4, 1993)

17.23.100 Walls and fences.

A. In any required street setback area, view-obscuring fencing shall not exceed 30 inches in height, except for retaining walls as approved through the development review process.

B. In any required rear or interior side yard area, a wall or fence shall not exceed six feet in height except as required by subsection E of this section.

C. A wall or fence adjacent to a driveway or street providing vehicular access to an abutting lot or street shall not exceed three feet in height within 15 feet of the intersection of the driveway and the street right-of-way and/or shall comply with CalTrans’s design standards for sight visibility. Corner cut-offs may be required for safety and visibility (see Diagram 17.23.100).

Diagram 17.23.100

D. Fiberglass sheeting, bamboo sheeting or other similar temporary material shall not be permitted as a fencing material in any OS-R zone.

E. 1. Where an open space-recreation land use abuts property in any residential zone, a masonry wall up to eight feet in height from the highest finished grade at the property line shall be erected and maintained between such uses and the residential zone. Where the adjacent grade of the abutting residential property is four feet or more lower or higher than the project site, the masonry wall shall be a minimum of six feet in height. Openings shall be provided in the wall as appropriate to encourage pedestrian access.

2. Other types of fences, such as framed stucco walls, may be permitted in lieu of a masonry wall upon determination by the City Council that the substituted wall is compatible with the proposed project, surrounding property uses, and the noise level requirements herein. No walls are required in front or street side yards unless needed for noise attenuation and/or privacy. In addition, 15-gallon trees, 20 feet on-center, and shrubbery shall be installed and maintained along the inside of the wall in a five-foot-wide, raised landscaped planter to provide a dense landscape screen.

F. A wall or fence up to eight feet in height may be allowed by the Director of Development Services where necessary for noise attenuation from arterial streets or other noise sources. The wall or fence shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the objectives and policies of the general plan community design element.

G. Where barbed wire strands are placed at the top of a wall or fence, such material shall maintain a minimum vertical clearance of six feet above grade and shall be maintained in a safe condition.

H. It is unlawful for an owner of a parcel of land within the City to keep barbed wire or any other type of wire fencing in an unsafe, abandoned or materially dangerous condition. Unmaintained wire fencing, including but not limited to barbed wire, razor wire, and concertina wire (coiled barbed wire), is declared to be public nuisance and shall be subject to the nuisance abatement procedure, Chapter 8.72 PMC. Razor wire and concertina wire (coiled wire) are prohibited.

I. It is unlawful to place electrified fencing, razor, or concertina wire on the rooftop of any building. (Ord. 674 § 33, 2008; Ord. 518, 1999; Ord. 372 § 4, 1993)

17.23.110 Signs.

No sign or outdoor advertising structures shall be permitted in any OS-R zone except as provided in Chapter 17.40 PMC. (Ord. 372 § 4, 1993)

17.23.120 Rezone restrictions.*

No property which was subject to Ordinance 283 shall be rezoned to any zone other than PF, HC, OS-R, or OS-RM, nor shall any amendment to this title be adopted which would increase the residential density on property so zoned or change the uses permitted thereon to allow commercial or manufacturing uses until and unless such rezoning or amendment is approved by ordinance adopted by the voters of the City at a special or general election, or first approved by the Poway City Council and then adopted by the voters of the City at a special or general election. (Ord. 372 § 4, 1993)

*    Editor’s Note: PMC 17.23.120 was added by Ord. 283 and was approved by the voters at a general municipal election November 8, 1988. The language added shall not be modified or rescinded without the approval of a simple majority of the City voting at a special or general election.