Chapter 23.110
APPLICATION PROCESSING

Sections:

23.110.010    Purpose and applicability.

23.110.020    Consolidated review.

23.110.030    Initiation of application.

23.110.040    Application requirements.

23.110.050    Determination of completeness.

23.110.060    Withdrawal of land use application.

23.110.070    Extension of land use entitlement.

23.110.080    Environmental assessment.

23.110.090    Pre-application conference.

23.110.100    Neighborhood meeting.

23.110.110    Notice of pending director determination and opportunity to request hearing.

23.110.120    Notice of public hearing.

23.110.130    Public hearing procedures.

23.110.140    Notice of decision.

23.110.150    Transfer of approval rights.

23.110.160    Appeals.

23.110.170    Council call-ups.

23.110.180    Amendments.

23.110.010 Purpose and applicability.

This chapter describes the general procedures that apply to land use entitlement reviews. This chapter applies to all land use entitlement applications, unless stated otherwise. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 1.4.010)].

23.110.020 Consolidated review.

A. Where a proposal involves more than one entitlement for the same property, then all entitlements shall be reviewed in a consolidated manner by the highest review authority.

B. In the event an appeal is filed regarding a decision on one of multiple entitlements concurrently granted for a single project, all concurrently granted city entitlements for the project shall be automatically appealed and shall be considered and acted upon in a consolidated manner. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 13-2013 § 4 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 1.4.020)].

23.110.030 Initiation of application.

Land use entitlement applications may be initiated as follows:

A. General Plan Amendment. An amendment to the General Plan may be initiated by either of the following:

1. A request by any party; or

2. Council action passed by a simple majority of the entire council.

B. All other entitlement requests may be initiated by any of the following:

1. All the owners or all the contract purchasers of the subject property, or any person authorized in writing to act as agent of the owner or contract purchasers;

2. Public agencies or utilities that have statutory rights of eminent domain for projects they have the authority to construct;

3. The director; or

4. Council action passed by a simple majority of the entire council. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 1.4.030)].

23.110.040 Application requirements.

A. Filing. All applications for land use entitlements shall be submitted to the department on an application form provided by the department, together with all fees, plans, maps, and other information required by the department.

B. Fees. The council shall, by resolution, establish a schedule of fees for entitlements pertaining to this zoning code. The schedule of fees may be changed or modified only by resolution of the council. Until all applicable fees have been paid in full, review shall not commence on any application. The city is not required to continue processing any application unless its fees are paid in full. Failure to pay the applicable fees is grounds for determination of incompleteness.

C. New Information. Information submitted by the applicant to the city after the date the application is deemed complete that results in a substantial change from the original application shall require review as a new application. The director shall determine whether a substantial change from the original application has been proposed.

D. Application Denial and Refiling. If an application is denied, a new application for the same or similar request may be accepted with no waiting period. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 13-2013 § 4 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 1.4.040)].

23.110.050 Determination of completeness.

A. Within 30 calendar days of application submittal, the director shall determine whether or not the application is complete in compliance with Government Code Sections 65090 through 65092.

B. The applicant shall be notified in writing if additional information is necessary to complete the application. The correspondence may identify preliminary information regarding the areas in which the submitted plans are not in compliance with city standards and requirements.

C. If additional materials are required and the application is not made complete within six months of the completeness determination letter, the application may be withdrawn pursuant to RCMC 23.110.060 (Withdrawal of land use application).

D. A determination of incompleteness shall be based solely on failure to address and supply information required by the application or this code and/or failure to provide information requested by the director in a pre-application conference or otherwise, as determined necessary to adequately evaluate the proposal. The determination of incompleteness shall not be based on differences of opinion as to quality or accuracy.

E. Acceptance of an application as complete indicates only that the application is ready for review. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 1.4.050)].

23.110.060 Withdrawal of land use application.

The following procedure allows for the withdrawal of land use applications:

A. Request. The director may approve the withdrawal of any application upon written request by the applicant, prior to the final determination on the entitlement.

B. Incomplete Applications. An application determined to be incomplete for a period longer than six months shall be considered withdrawn unless all required materials listed in the incompleteness determination letter are provided. The six-month time period may be extended at the discretion of the director, provided a written request for extension is filed by the applicant prior to conclusion of the six-month period.

C. Fees Refunded. Fees for withdrawn applications may be refunded upon written request by the applicant, less the actual costs incurred by the city in processing the application. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 1.4.060)].

23.110.070 Extension of land use entitlement.

The director, at the applicant’s request, may extend the expiration date of a land use entitlement assuming the following criteria are met:

A. Requests for extension must be filed in writing with the director prior to the expiration date of the original approval or expiration date of an approved extension.

B. No single extension of time shall exceed a one-year period.

C. The cumulative extension time granted shall not exceed three years.

D. Extensions shall not be approved where the effect of the extension would violate any provisions of this code or any amendments made following the effective expiration date.

E. Extensions shall not modify the original decision. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 1.4.070)].

23.110.080 Environmental assessment.

After determination of a complete application, the project shall be reviewed as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to determine whether the project is exempt from the requirements of CEQA or is not a project as defined by CEQA, whether a negative declaration may be issued, or whether an environmental impact report (EIR) shall be required. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 1.4.080)].

23.110.090 Pre-application conference.

A pre-application conference is available to acquaint applicants with the requirements of this code, the General Plan, and other relevant criteria. To schedule a pre-application conference, the applicant shall submit a written request and provide submittal requirements identified by the department. The director shall schedule the pre-application conference with planning staff or with a project review team composed of department and/or agency representatives. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 1.4.090)].

23.110.100 Neighborhood meeting.

A neighborhood meeting may be required for certain entitlements as follows:

A. Purpose. Provide for community outreach early in the application process to involve neighborhood stakeholders in a collaborative review of proposed development applications. The neighborhood meeting is intended to result in an application that is responsive to neighborhood concerns, reducing the likelihood for delays and appeals of the application.

B. Expectations. The city expects an applicant to take the reasonable concerns and recommendations of the neighborhood into consideration when preparing an application. The city expects the neighbors will work with the applicant to provide such input.

C. The director shall require a neighborhood meeting for an entitlement request that has the potential to raise concerns of neighborhood or community impact. The need for the neighborhood meeting shall be determined by the director and shall be decided within seven days of the application being deemed complete.

D. If a neighborhood meeting is required, such meeting shall be conducted before the director will schedule a public hearing for the entitlement request.

E. The director or a designee shall be invited to the neighborhood meeting and may attend, but attendance is not required.

F. Requirements.

1. A sign-in sheet must be completed on the night of the neighborhood meeting and submitted to the city as verification that the meeting was held. The sign-in sheet should indicate the date, time, and location of the meeting, a brief heading describing the subject of the proposal, and the signatures of those in attendance at the meeting.

2. Those notified of the neighborhood meeting shall, at a minimum, include all owners and occupants of properties located within 500 feet of the subject property, active homeowners associations, and any other interested parties identified by the director.

3. A presentation at a neighborhood meeting shall include, at a minimum:

a. Map depicting the location of subject property.

b. Visual description of the project including a site plan and elevation drawings of any structure.

c. A description of the nature of the use including sizes, heights of structures, proposed lot sizes, and densities.

d. The expected or anticipated impacts from development.

e. Any mitigation proposed by applicant to alleviate the expected and anticipated impacts.

f. Opportunity for public comment.

4. Applicants shall provide the city with a summary of the meeting and the above meeting materials for inclusion in the land use file, including public concerns that were raised and if those concerns can be addressed by the proposal and how the concerns were addressed. Applicants are encouraged to reconcile and propose modifications to the project to address public concerns prior to a public hearing. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 1.4.100)].

23.110.110 Notice of pending director determination and opportunity to request hearing.

A. Notice of Pending Determination. Written notice of scheduled date of director determination for an entitlement with limited discretion shall be provided at least seven calendar days prior to the director action. Notice shall be provided to the applicant, interested parties having requested notices in writing, neighborhood associations within proximity of the subject parcel, owners and occupants of real property within 500 feet of the subject parcel as measured from the property line, and members of the council. The notice shall include:

1. The application request;

2. The planned date of determination to be taken by the director;

3. A brief statement explaining the criteria and standards to be considered relevant to the decision;

4. The opportunity to request a public hearing on the matter including deadlines, instructions, and contact information; and

5. Information regarding subsequent follow-up notice of decision and opportunity for appeal. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B)].

23.110.120 Notice of public hearing.

A. Applicability. The following notice of public hearing requirements shall apply to discretionary entitlements decided by the council and limited discretionary decisions by the director as requested in accordance with RCMC 23.110.140 (Notice of decision).

B. Hearing Notice. Unless otherwise required by law, notice of time, date, and place of the hearing, the identity of the hearing body, a general explanation of the matter to be considered, and a general description, in text or by diagram, of the location of real property which is the subject of the hearing, shall be given at least 10 calendar days prior to the hearing by all of the following procedures:

1. By publication once in a newspaper of general circulation within the city.

2. By mailing or delivering to the owner of the subject real property or the owner’s duly authorized agent, and to the project applicant.

3. By mailing or delivering to each local agency expected to provide water, sewerage, streets, roads, schools, or other essential facilities or services to the project, whose ability to provide those facilities and services may be significantly affected.

4. By mailing or delivering to all owners and occupants of real property as shown on the latest equalized assessment roll within 500 feet of the real property that is the subject of the hearing as measured from the property line. If the number of owners to whom notice would be mailed or delivered pursuant to this section is greater than 1,000, a local agency, in lieu of mailed or delivered notice, may provide notice by placing a display advertisement of at least one-eighth page in at least one newspaper of general circulation within the city.

5. By mailing or delivering to neighborhood associations within proximity of the subject site, as determined by the director.

6. By mailing or delivering to any person who has filed a written request with the department.

7. By posting in at least three public places within the boundaries of the city, including one public place in the area directly affected by the proceeding.

8. By any additional manner deemed necessary or desirable, as required by the director.

C. Continuances. Unless otherwise required by law, no additional notice shall be required if the reviewing body, before the adjournment or recess of a duly noticed hearing, continues the hearing by publicly announcing the date, time, and place to which the hearing will be continued.

D. Any applications under this code in which any identified or anticipated use is in any way related to religious exercise should be referred to the city attorney prior to consideration or decision. “Religious exercise” for purposes of this section includes prayer, religious gatherings, religious practices, religious education, and church administration. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B)].

23.110.130 Public hearing procedures.

A. Applicability. The following public hearing procedures shall apply to public hearings by the council and by the director as requested in accordance with RCMC 23.110.140 (Notice of decision):

B. Scheduling of Public Hearing. A public hearing upon an application shall be set before the appropriate reviewing body when:

1. The director has determined that the application complies with all applicable requirements; and

2. All procedures and review required by CEQA have been completed.

C. Public Hearing Procedures.

1. Hearing. A public hearing shall be held at the date, time, and place described in the required public notice.

2. Hearing Comments. During a public hearing, the applicant for a project shall have the right to be represented, provide testimony, and present evidence. All other persons shall have the right to comment on any relevant aspect of the application under consideration.

3. Action. Following the completion of testimony at a public hearing, action shall be taken to approve, approve with conditions, deny, continue, or take under advisement the subject of the public hearing. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B)].

23.110.140 Notice of decision.

A. Director Limited Discretion Decisions. Written notice of decision shall be provided within three business days of the date of decision to the applicant; all parties who submitted comments orally or in writing at or prior to the public hearing or who provided contact information to receive notice; and to members of the council. The notice shall include:

1. The application request as acted upon by the director;

2. The action taken by the director;

3. A brief statement explaining the criteria and standards considered relevant to the decision;

4. A statement of the standards relied upon in rendering the decision;

5. Findings as listed for each entitlement for the decision based on the criteria, standards, and facts set forth; and

6. The deadlines, criteria, and fees for filing an appeal.

B. Council Discretionary Decisions. Written notice of decision shall be provided within three business days of the date of decision to the applicant and all parties who submitted comments orally or in writing at or prior to the public hearing and provided contact information to receive notice. The notice shall include:

1. The application request as acted upon by the council; and

2. The action taken by the council. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B)].

23.110.150 Transfer of approval rights.

Unless stated otherwise in the city’s entitlement decision, any approval granted under this code runs with the land and is transferred with ownership of that land. Any conditions, time limits, or other restrictions imposed with an entitlement approval shall bind all subsequent owners of the property for which the entitlement was granted. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 1.4.140). Formerly 23.110.140].

23.110.160 Appeals.

A. Applicability. Only the following types of decisions are subject to appeal:

1. Limited discretion approval type decisions as listed in Table 23.104-1;

2. Official interpretations of the zoning code made by the director in accordance with RCMC 23.107.030 (Official interpretations); and

3. Any determination by the director in accordance with RCMC 23.110.050 (Determination of completeness) that a permit application is deemed incomplete.

B. Scope of Appeal. An appeal of a decision on an entitlement shall be limited to issues raised at a public hearing, or in writing prior to the final determination, or information that was not known at the time of the decision that is being appealed.

C. Filing. An appeal may be filed by:

1. Any person affected by a decision or action by the director; or

2. Any person who, in person or through a representative, presented testimony at a public hearing in connection with the decision being appealed, or who otherwise informed the city in writing of the nature of their concerns.

D. Timing and Form of Appeal. Appeals shall be filed with the department within 10 calendar days following the date of the final determination being appealed. All appeals shall be submitted in writing, together with the name, address, phone number, and signature of the appellant, and the required filing fee. The written appeal shall specifically state the pertinent facts of the case and the basis for the appeal.

E. Processing.

1. Scheduling of Hearing. After an appeal has been received in accordance with subsection (D) of this section, the city clerk shall schedule the matter for a council hearing within 45 days of receipt of the appeal.

2. Public Hearing Notice. Appeal items shall be noticed for public hearing in accordance with RCMC 23.110.120 (Notice of public hearing). If more than one party files an appeal on a land use action, the appeals shall be consolidated and noticed and heard as one proceeding.

3. Withdrawal of an Appeal. An appeal may be withdrawn, in writing, by an appellant at any time prior to the rendering of a final decision. The appeal proceedings shall terminate as of the date the withdrawal is received by the city. If multiple appeals are received, then withdrawal of all appeals received must be made prior to terminating appeal proceedings.

4. Scope of Review. The council may consider any issue associated with the decision under consideration, in addition to the specific grounds for appeal. The council may also consider any environmental determination applicable to the permit or decision under consideration.

5. New Evidence. If new or different evidence is presented during the appeal hearing, the council may refer the matter back to the original approval authority as applicable for a report on the new or different evidence prior to final decision.

6. Effective Date of Decision. A decision by the council on an appeal is effective as of the date of the decision.

7. The findings, decision, and action of the hearing body shall be final unless otherwise stated in this code. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B)].

23.110.170 Council call-ups.

A. Applicability. The council may elevate only the following types of decisions for review and action:

1. Limited discretion decisions as listed in Table 23.104-1;

2. Official interpretations of the zoning code made by the director in accordance with RCMC 23.107.030 (Official interpretations).

B. Filing. A council call-up may be requested by any member of the council.

C. Timing and Form of Appeal. Requests for call-up shall be filed with the department within 10 calendar days following the date of the final determination being appealed. All requests shall be submitted in writing, together with the name and signature of the council member(s). The written appeal shall specifically state the pertinent facts of the case and the basis for the appeal; but the council member shall not state their opinion on the matter or give any indication of how they intend to vote.

D. Processing.

1. Scheduling of Hearing. After a council call-up request has been received in accordance with subsection (C) of this section, the city clerk shall schedule the matter for the next regularly scheduled council agenda.

2. Public Hearing Notice. Council call-up items shall be noticed for public hearing in accordance with RCMC 23.110.120 (Notice of public hearing). If more than one council member requests to call an item up, the requests shall be consolidated and noticed and heard as one proceeding.

3. Withdrawal of a Request. A request may be withdrawn by the requesting council member at any time prior to the rendering of a final decision. The council call-up proceedings shall terminate as of the date the withdrawal is received by the city. If multiple requests for call-up were received, then withdrawal of all call-up requests received must be made to terminate proceedings.

4. Scope of Review. The council may consider any issue associated with the decision under consideration, in addition to the specific grounds for call-up. The council may also consider any environmental determination applicable to the permit or decision under consideration.

5. New Evidence. If new or different evidence is presented during the call-up hearing, the council may refer the matter back to the original approval authority as applicable for a report on the new or different evidence prior to final decision.

6. Effective Date of Decision. A decision by the council on any item called up for review and action is effective as of the date of the decision.

7. The findings, decision, and action of the council shall be final. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B)].

23.110.180 Amendments.

An applicant may request an amendment to a land use permit after the final written decision is issued. Amendments shall be processed as follows:

A. Substantial Conformance. The director may approve minor changes to a previously approved permit at the administrative level if the proposed changes are in substantial conformance with the existing permit and this code, as determined by the director. This subsection does not apply to changes called out in subsection (B) of this section, Minor Amendment, or subsection (C) of this section, Major Amendment, as defined herein.

B. Minor Amendment. Minor amendments to a previously approved permit shall be processed as follows:

1. Applicability. A minor amendment is a nonsubstantive change of a previously approved plan or permit. Minor amendments include:

a. Floor plan changes which do not result in more than a five percent or 5,000 square foot change in total square footage, whichever is less.

b. Parking and circulation configurations which do not change the basic parking areas or circulation concept and do not reduce the number of parking spaces.

c. Building placements which do not change the general location of the building or layout of the site.

d. Landscape modifications which do not alter the general concept or reduce the effect or amount originally intended.

e. Architectural changes which do not change the basic form and theme of the project.

f. Exterior material or color changes which do not conflict with the original architectural form and theme, and which are consistent and compatible with the original materials and colors.

g. Changes to allow fulfillment of a condition of approval in a manner that may vary from that specified in the original conditions; provided, that the intent and purpose of such original condition is fully met.

h. Other requests similar to the above-listed minor amendments, as determined by the director.

2. Review Process. The director is the approval authority for minor amendments. No public hearing shall be required. A notice of decision shall be issued in accordance with RCMC 23.110.140 (Notice of decision).

C. Major Amendment. Major amendments to a previously approved permit shall be processed as follows:

1. Applicability. A major amendment is a significant change of a previously approved plan or permit. Major amendments include:

a. Floor plan changes which result in more than a five percent or 5,000 square foot change in total square footage, whichever is less.

b. Parking and circulation configurations which change the basic parking areas or circulation concept or result in a reduction of the number of parking spaces.

c. Building placements which change the general location of the building or layout of the site.

d. Landscape modifications which alter the general concept or reduce the effect or amount originally intended.

e. Architectural changes which change the basic form and theme of the project.

f. Exterior material or color changes which conflict with the original architectural form and theme, and which are not consistent and compatible with the original materials and colors.

g. Changes to a condition of approval in a manner that changes the effect of the condition from its original form and intent.

h. All amendments to an approved development agreement.

i. Other requests similar to the above-listed major amendments, as determined by the director.

2. Review Process. A major amendment shall be processed in the same manner and subject to the same standards as the original application. [Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B)].