Chapter 23.104
APPROVAL AUTHORITY

Sections:

23.104.010    Purpose.

23.104.020    Planning agency.

23.104.030    Recommending and approval authority.

23.104.040    Referrals to council.

23.104.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish the administrative responsibilities of the zoning code and to identify the basic responsibilities of the officials and bodies charged with its administration. This chapter describes which review body makes the final decision on various types of planning and land use entitlement applications. The zoning code uses a combination of nondiscretionary and discretionary reviews to evaluate land use proposals for compliance with the use and development requirements of this code. The nondiscretionary reviews provide the certainty needed in most situations by providing clear and objective criteria. Discretionary reviews provide needed flexibility by allowing more subjective criteria and by providing for the modification of regulations in response to specific site conditions. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 1.2.010)].

23.104.020 Planning agency.

California Government Code Section 65100 requires each jurisdiction to establish a planning agency to carry out the planning and land use functions of the jurisdiction. The functions of the planning agency are assigned as designated by this code. In the absence of an assignment, the council shall retain responsibility and authority to function as the planning agency. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 1.2.020)].

23.104.030 Recommending and approval authority.

A. Approval Types. The zoning code establishes which planning body recommends, makes final determinations, and hears appeals for each planning and land use entitlement request. This approval authority is determined by the type of approval required for each planning and land use entitlement. The approval types are as follows:

1. Nondiscretionary Administrative. Decisions do not require interpretation or exercise of policy or legal judgment in evaluating approval criteria because the decision is made according to specific criteria where no discretion is involved. Permits may be issued over the counter by staff. The director is the approval authority for nondiscretionary actions. The action of the director is not subject to appeal.

2. Limited Discretion. Approval or denial is based on discretionary standards that regulate the physical characteristics of a use or structure. Decisions must be consistent with the adopted criteria. Notice of decision is required with opportunity to request public hearing. The action of the director may be appealed to the council.

3. Discretionary (Quasi-Judicial). Decisions involve the application of discretionary approval standards to site-specific applications. The director makes recommendations to the council for final decisions with specific findings. A public hearing is required. Decisions of the council are not subject to appeal.

4. Discretionary (Legislative). Decisions must be made by the city council. Legislative land use decisions apply to the general population and prescribe policy, requiring the greatest amount of discretion and evaluation of subjective approval criteria. City council is the approval authority for legislative land use permits. The director makes recommendations to the city council. Generally, a recommendation is requested from staff and/or another recommending body on legislative entitlements. A public hearing is required and these decisions cannot be appealed.

B. Public Hearings Required. Table 23.104-1 identifies the type of public hearing required by entitlement, as applicable.

C. Review and Approval Authority. Table 23.104-1 establishes the responsibilities of the city’s decision-making bodies by entitlement:

Table 23.104-1: Approval Authority for Entitlements 

Entitlement

Approval Type

Public Hearing Required

Designated Approval Authority
“F” = Final Approval Authority
“A” = Appeal Body
“R” = Recommendation

Director

Council

Zoning Certification

Nondiscretionary

No

F(2)

 

Temporary Use Permit

Nondiscretionary

No

F

 

Similar Use Determination

Limited Discretion

No

F

A

Unified Sign Program

Limited Discretion

No(1)

F

A

Administrative Use Permit

Limited Discretion

No(1)

F

A

Reasonable Accommodation

Limited Discretion

No(1)

F

A

Adjustment

Limited Discretion

No(1)

F

A

Nonconforming Use Permit

Limited Discretion

No(1)

F

A

Minor Design Review

Limited Discretion

No(1)

F

A

Conditional Use Permit

Discretionary (Quasi-Judicial)

Council

R

F

Major Design Review

Discretionary (Quasi-Judicial)

Council

R

F

Variance

Discretionary (Quasi-Judicial)

Council

R

F

Special Planning Areas

Discretionary (Legislative)

Council

R

F

Zoning Amendments

Discretionary (Legislative)

Council

R

F

Specific Plans

Discretionary (Legislative)

Council

R

F

General Plan Amendments

Discretionary (Legislative)

Council

R

F

Development Agreements

Discretionary (Legislative)

Council

R

F

(1)    Notice of decision is required with the opportunity to request a public hearing. If no public hearing is requested, decision is rendered and notice of decision provided in accordance with Chapter 23.110 RCMC (Application Processing).

(2)    See RCMC 23.113.090.

[Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 13-2013 § 4 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 1.2.030)].

23.104.040 Referrals to council.

The director may refer any entitlement with limited discretion for which the director is the final approval authority to the council for action.

A. Referral. The director may refer any item to council for consideration. The director may refer an item with or without making a final determination or a recommendation for action.

B. Council Review. The council shall review the referred item at a noticed meeting and take one of the following actions:

1. Refer the item back to the director for review and final action. Referral back to the director does not preclude the item being appealed or being called up by council following final action.

2. Cause the item to be scheduled at the next regularly scheduled council meeting, allowing for public hearing notice.

C. Public Hearing Required. A public hearing shall be required for all items referred to and accepted by the council for action in accordance with the following:

1. Public Hearing Notice. A notice for public hearing shall be provided for in accordance with RCMC 23.110.120 (Notice of public hearing).

2. Public Hearing Procedure. A public hearing shall be held in accordance with RCMC 23.110.130 (Public hearing procedures). [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B)].