Chapter 18.33


18.33.010    Purpose.

18.33.020    Applicability.

18.33.030    Procedures.

18.33.040    Required findings.

18.33.050    Conditions of approval.

18.33.060    Appeals—Expiration, extensions, and modifications.

18.33.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish an alternate means of granting relief from the requirements of this title when so doing would be consistent with the purposes of the title and it is not possible or practical to approve a variance. Further to this end, it is the policy of the City to comply with the Federal Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act to provide reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities seeking fair access to housing through waiver of the application of the City’s zoning regulations. This chapter authorizes the Director to grant administrative relief from this title’s dimensional requirements to achieve these and other objectives. (Ord. 1438 § 4 (Exh. A (part)), 2011)

18.33.020 Applicability.

The Director may grant relief from the dimensional requirements specified in this title, not to exceed ten percent of the requirement. The Director also may grant a waiver that would exceed ten percent when such a waiver is necessary to comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of Federal law based on a determination that the specific circumstances of the application warrant such an accommodation. Types of standards for which waivers may be approved by the Director include, but are not limited to:

A.    Setbacks. Front, side, and rear yard setback standards.

B.    Build-To Areas. Standards for building facade location.

C.    Parking. The dimensional standards for parking aisles, driveways, landscaping, garages on sloping lots, and parking facility design.

D.    Fences. Standards for the location, height, and design of fences.

E.    Lot Coverage. Standards for the maximum amount of lot coverage.

F.    Height. Maximum building height or other height limitations.

G.    Landscaping. Standards for required landscaping and plantings.

H.    Transparency. Required ground floor building transparency, up to ten percent of minimum.

I.    Other Standards. Up to ten percent of other development standards not listed in subsection J of this section.

J.    Exclusions. Waivers can not be granted for any of the following standards:

1.    Lot area, width, or depth;

2.    Maximum number of stories;

3.    Minimum number or dimensions of required parking spaces;

4.    Residential density; or

5.    Maximum floor area ratio (FAR). (Ord. 1438 § 4 (Exh. A (part)), 2011)

18.33.030 Procedures.

A.    Authority and Duties. The Director shall approve, conditionally approve, or deny applications for waivers based on consideration of the requirements of this chapter.

B.    Application Requirements. An application for a waiver shall be filed to the Director in accordance with Section 18.27.020, Application forms and fees. The application shall state in writing the nature of the waiver requested and explain why the findings necessary to grant the waiver are satisfied. The applicant shall also submit plans delineating the requested waiver.

C.    Review of Requests for Reasonable Accommodation to Ensure Access to Housing. An application for reasonable accommodation to ensure access to housing will be referred to the Director for review and consideration. The Director shall issue a written decision within forty-five days of the date of the application and may grant the reasonable accommodation request, grant with waivers, or deny the request. All written decisions shall give notice of the right to appeal and to request reasonable accommodation in the appeals process.

D.    Concurrent Processing. If a request for waiver is being submitted in conjunction with an application for another approval, permit, or entitlement under this title, it shall be heard and acted upon at the same time and in the same manner as that application. (Ord. 1438 § 4 (Exh. A (part)), 2011)

18.33.040 Required findings.

A decision to grant a waiver shall be based on the following findings:

A.    The waiver is necessary due to the physical characteristics of the property and the proposed use or structure or other circumstances, including, but not limited to, topography, noise exposure, irregular property boundaries, or other unusual circumstance.

B.    There are no alternatives to the requested waiver that could provide an equivalent level of benefit to the applicant with less potential detriment to surrounding owners and occupants or to the general public.

C.    The granting of the requested waiver will not be detrimental to the health or safety of the public or the occupants of the property or result in a change in land use or density that would be inconsistent with the requirements of this title.

D.    In the RS districts, the review authority must also make the following findings in addition to any other findings that this chapter requires:

1.    There are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances related to the design of the existing house or Uniform Building Code compliance or other code compliance that make it difficult of impossible to enlarge the house within the base requirements, and the addition is of superior design quality and compatible with the existing neighborhood character;

2.    The change is only intended to increase the habitability and function of the structure;

3.    Granting the waiver is desirable for the preservation of an existing architectural style or neighborhood character which would not otherwise be accomplished through the strict application of the provisions of the regulations; and

4.    It can be demonstrated that the design of the proposed addition is of superior quality; compatible with the existing neighborhood character, effective in minimizing the perceived size of the dwelling, not overly intrusive to the privacy of neighboring dwellings and is in substantial compliance with the RS district regulations.

E.    If the waiver requested is to provide reasonable accommodation pursuant to State or Federal law, the review authority must also make the following findings in addition to any other findings that this chapter requires:

1.    That the housing or other property which is the subject of the request for reasonable accommodation will be used by an individual or organization entitled to protection;

2.    If the request for accommodation is to provide fair access to housing, that the request for accommodation is necessary to make specific housing available to an individual protected under State or Federal law;

3.    That the conditions imposed, if any, are necessary to further a compelling public interest and represent the least restrictive means of furthering that interest; and

4.    That denial of the requested waiver would impose a substantial burden on religious exercise or would conflict with any State or Federal statute requiring reasonable accommodation to provide access to housing. (Ord. 1438 § 4 (Exh. A (part)), 2011)

18.33.050 Conditions of approval.

In approving a waiver, the decision-maker may impose reasonable conditions deemed necessary to:

A.    Ensure that the proposal conforms in all significant respects with the General Plan and with any other applicable plans or policies adopted by the City Council;

B.    Achieve the general purposes of this title or the specific purposes of the zoning district in which the project is located;

C.    Achieve the findings for a waiver granted; or

D.    Mitigate any potentially significant impacts identified as a result of review conducted in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act; and

E.    Waivers approved based on State or Federal requirements for reasonable accommodation may be conditioned to provide for rescission or automatic expiration based on a change of occupancy or other relevant change in circumstance.

The Director may require reasonable guarantees and evidence that such conditions are being, or will be, complied with. (Ord. 1438 § 4 (Exh. A (part)), 2011)

18.33.060 Appeals—Expiration, extensions, and modifications.

A.    Appeals. The applicant or any other aggrieved party may appeal a decision on a waiver pursuant to Section 18.27.150, Appeals.

B.    Expiration, Extensions, and Modifications. Waivers granted under this chapter are effective and may only be extended or modified as provided for in Chapter 18.27, Common Procedures. (Ord. 1438 § 4 (Exh. A (part)), 2011)