M I N U T E S
REGULAR MEETING OF THE
OF THE CITY OF SANTA MONICA
WEDNESDAY, December 6, 2000
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS
ROOM 213, CITY HALL
1. CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order at 7:08 p.m.
2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Commissioner Clarke led the Pledge of Allegiance.
3. ROLL CALL:
Present: Barbara Brown
Julie Lopez Dad
Kelly Olsen, Chairperson
Absent: Jay P. Johnson
Art Bashmakian, Associate Planner
Kim Christensen, AICP, Senior Planner
Kyle Ferstead, Commission Secretary
Suzanne Frick, Director of Planning/PCD
Donna Jerex, AICP, Associate Planner
Barry Rosenbaum, Senior Land Use Attorney
Amanda Schachter, Principal Planner
Jay M. Trevino, AICP, Planning Manager
4. PLANNING DIRECTOR'S REPORT:
Ms. Frick gave the Director’s Report. She reported that the City Council had approved the historic designation of the Bay Street bungalows (137-47 Bay Street) on November 28, 2000. In other Council action, they had a first reading for the Green Building Standards on December 5, 2000. She announced that the City Council will be having a discussion on budget priorities on January 9, 2001, and the Commission might like to attend and offer their recommendations. Lastly, the City Council will be considering the appeal of the Target Department Store project in February of 2001. She the announced future Commission meetings as follows: December 13, which considers the Big Blue Bus Facility Master Plan. She also stated that the previously scheduled December 20, 2000 meeting may be cancelled if no items from tonight or next week are continued to that date.
Chair Olsen commented that staff and the consultants should be commended for the historic designation of the Bay Street bungalows and for the adoption of the Sustainable Building Guidelines. City Council Liaison McKeown also thanked staff for their efforts.
5. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Commissioner Moyle made a motion to approve the minutes for August 2, 2000, August 16, 2000, and September 6, 2000 as submitted. Commissioner Dad asked for an amendment to the minutes for August 16 on page five. Commissioner Clarke seconded the motion as amended. The motion was approved by voice vote.
6. STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL ACTION:
6-A. Design Compatibility Permit 00-004 and Vesting Tentative Tract Map 52898 (TM 99-019), 911 Twelfth Street.
Commissioner Moyle made a motion to approve the Statement of Official Action as submitted. The motion was seconded and approved by voice vote.
7. PUBLIC HEARINGS: Consent Calendar
7-A. Resolution of Intention amending Zoning Ordinance Section 9.04.10.02.090 regarding the Hazardous Visual Obstructions area and amending Section 9.04.10.02.080 regarding fence heights for consistency with the Hazardous Visual Obstruction requirements. (Planner: Bruce Leach)
Chair Olsen removed this item from the Consent Calendar. Mr. Leach explained to the Commission that this item will have a full public hearing on January 10, 2001.
Commissioner Brown made a motion to approve the Resolution of Intention. Commissioner Dad seconded the motion.
The motion was approved by the following vote:
AYES: Brown, Clarke, Dad, Loui, Moyle, Olsen; ABSENT: Johnson.
7-B. Conditional Use Permit 00-015, 1251 Third Street Promenade, BSC-1 (Bayside Commercial) District Application to amend the conditions of approval of Conditional Use Permit 99-007, which approved a Type 47 alcohol license for the Gaucho Grill restaurant. The amendment to CUP 99-007 involves the addition of a 107.25 square foot outdoor dining area (11 seats) to the previously approved floor plan and includes the sale and dispensing of alcoholic beverages in conjunction with food service within the new outdoor dining area. A total of 102 seats are proposed including 80 dining seats, 11 counter dining seats, and 11 outdoor dining seats. (Planner: Tony Kim) Applicant: Adolpho Suaya/Gaucho Grill.
Chair Olsen pulled this item from the Consent Calendar. Senior Planner Susan Healy Keene explained that staff has just learned that the applicant has not met the conditions of approval previously approved in CUP 99-007and therefore may not proceed this evening. She informed the Commission that this item will be continued to no date certain. She also stated that a letter will need to be submitted by the applicant to grant a ninety day extension under the Permit Streamlining Act.
Commissioner Moyle made the motion to continue this item. Commissioner Clarke seconded the motion, which was approved by voice vote.
8. PUBLIC HEARINGS:
Following the staff report, Commissioner Clarke asked staff to cite the code section regarding prohibition of pergolas in the front yard setback. Ms. Frick explained that design standards do not allow for structures in the frontyard setback.
Commissioner Moyle expressed concern regarding the architectural style and whether the 1988 second story addition substantially altered the potential historic value of the structure. Mr. Bashmakian stated that according to the 1995 survey completed by the City, this structure was downgraded from a “5D” [contributes to a district] category to a “6” [ineligible for designation] category. Commissioner Moyle commented that the current fence and pergola overpower the view of the house from the street.
Chair Olsen asked staff what findings need to be made to approve the application. Mr. Bashmakian stated that exceptional circumstances must be cited to grant the application. He stated that staff could not cite any such criteria and no hardships are evident.
Commissioner Brown asked when the fence was erected. Mr. Bashmakian stated that it appears to have been erected in 1999 and a complaint was filed in December 1999.
Ms. Frick cited the following code sections in response to Commissioner Clarke’s earlier question: Santa Monica Municipal Code Section 9.04.02.030.775 [definition of setbacks]; Section 9.04.02.10.020.088 [fence heights]; and Section 9.04.10.020.180 [permitted projections].
Commissioner Clarke asked how one determines the height of hedges behind fences. Mr. Bashmakian stated that both fence and hedge maximum heights are the same.
Prior to the public hearing the Commission made their disclosures. Commissioners Brown, Dad, Loui and Moyle had no disclosures to make. Chair Olsen disclosed that he viewed the site on December 6, 2000, and counted the number of frontyard fences in the neighborhood. Commissioner Clarke disclosed he had been in the house twice prior to the purchase by the current owner. He also disclosed that he has toured the area to survey the number of pergolas in frontyards and, as a boardmember for the North of Montana Association (NOMA), discussed the issue of pergolas and arbors in frontyards.
Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum thanked the Commission for the disclosure but stated that Commissioner Clarke’s entire disclosure was not pertinent to this matter.
The applicant/appellant, Audrey Wells, presented her request.
Chair Olsen asked Ms. Wells about her perception of fence height as a deterrent to crime. Ms. Wells stated that, in addition to the fence, there are plantings behind the fence.
Commissioner Brown asked Ms. Wells to address the consistency of enforcement of the fence code regulations. Ms. Wells stated that her pergola should be “grandfathered” in as it was there prior to her purchase of the property and she merely replaced a structure that was deteriorated. She also stated that the fence runs with the topography of the property. She further stated that she believes the fence is consistent with code, that she feels singled out. Lastly she submitted thirteen letters of support.
Commissioner Moyle commented on the hand-out given to the Commission by Ms. Wells, specifically the fence height survey.
One member of the public, Giles Smith, 626 Nineteenth Street, Santa Monica 90402, addressed the Commission regarding the appeal.
Commissioner Clarke stated that he supports the motion.
The motion to deny the project was approved by the following vote:
AYES: Brown, Clarke, Dad, Loui, Moyle, Olsen.
Following the staff report, Commissioner Dad asked staff to explain why a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is needed to legalize the use of a church. Ms. Schachter stated that in Section 9.04.18.030 of the Santa Monica Municipal Code (SMMC), non-conforming uses must comply via a CUP when the use changes or expands. Commissioner Dad asked why not condition the building. Ms. Schachter explained that the building is existing, it is not changing in any manner, but the use of the building is changing.
Commissioner Dad asked staff to explain about the parking lot as part of the expansion. Ms. Frick stated that the addition of the parking lot, the purchase of the land, is the expansion in question. She stated that the code is quite specific as regards non-conforming buildings versus non-conforming uses.
Chair Olsen commented that the staff report did not discuss the current zoning of the parking lot. Ms. Schachter stated that the lot is zoned R-2. Chair Olsen asked if a parking lot use is allowed on an R-2 lot. Ms. Schachter stated that the use is considered part of the church operation. Chair Olsen asked what code section that would fall in. Ms. Frick stated that parking lots are conditionally permitted uses in the R-2 for “places of worship” subject to a CUP. An approval of the application would allow regulation of both the parking lot and church property. Chair Olsen asked if the lot is restricted to use by the church. Ms. Schachter stated that this is covered in Condition #30.
Chair Olsen asked about signage for the lot. Ms. Schachter stated that the only signage will be to remind users to be quiet for the adjacent residential uses.
Chair Olsen asked about landscaping the parking lot. Ms. Schachter stated that 10% landscaping is required for parking lots. Mr. Bashmakian stated that a five-foot landscaping buffer is proposed adjacent to the block wall and residential neighbors.
Chair Olsen asked why the plans show that the parking will be adjacent to the apartment building and not adjacent to the alley. Mr. Bashmakian explained about the alley access and that there will be no access from Yale Street. Ms. Frick further explained that street access in residential areas is being eliminated where possible to maintain street character.
Chair Olsen asked about the hours of operation for the parking lot. Mr. Bashmakian stated that the condition for hours of use states 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Chair Olsen commented that the property across the alley is the Santa Monica Café and suggested that patrons might try to use the lot overnight. Mr. Bashmakian stated that a security gate is proposed along the alley access.
Chair Olsen asked how many parking spaces are existing. Mr. Bashmakian stated there are 14 existing parking spaces.
Commissioner Dad asked for the code required number of parking spaces. Mr. Bashmakian stated that this is not required parking, however 40 spaces are required for the church use if it were a conforming property/use. There was discussion regarding uses and non-conforming issues. Ms. Frick explained that the primary use, the church, is in a legal, conforming building and the legal non-conforming use is allowed to exist without providing parking.
The applicant’s representatives, Pastor Jason Lancaster and Jeff Lerner, were present to discuss the application.
Chair Olsen asked the applicants about the parking lot configuration and why the parking is abutting the apartment building’s wall. Mr. Lerner stated that due to the width of the lot, reversing the parking would allow the apartment dwellers to see the vehicles. Chair Olsen expressed concern regarding the noise and fumes that will impact the neighbors. Mr. Lerner expressed the opinion that reversing the parking would not change the impact very much.
Commissioner Loui asked the applicants about times when large groups of people, seven or more, might be entering the lot at one time. Pastor Lancaster stated that his parishioners will be advised to use wisdom and discernment when using the parking lot.
Commissioner Loui asked about circulation in the parking lot and if flipping the design would impede the circulation. Mr. Lerner stated there would be a impediment.
Chair Olsen asked if the five-foot wide landscape buffer was proposed by the applicant or requested by staff. Mr. Lerner stated that it is part of the application.
Chair Olsen asked staff for the code requirement for a landscape buffer between residential and commercial uses. Ms. Schachter stated that the code states that the buffer be not less than five-feet and not more than eight-feet in height. Ms. Frick reminded the Commission that this is a residential zone.
Chair Olsen closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Moyle made a motion for approval of the project.
Commissioner Clarke seconded the motion.
Chair Olsen recommended a condition be added about signage for the use of the lot. He recommended two additional conditions: that the lot be gated when not in use; and that the gate be closed when not in use. Ms. Frick stated that the gate is not indicated on the plans as being approved.
Chair Olsen recommended a condition that the wall be a minimum of six feet tall.
Commissioner Moyle suggested the addition of a noise baffle at the rear of the lot as was done at the Edgemar site.
Chair Olsen asked for more specifics on the landscaping. Mr. Bashmakian stated that landscaping is only proposed, not specific as to type. He stated that there is a condition to which could be added a requirement for additional trees in the landscape buffer and that the ARB pay particular attention to this item. Commissioner Moyle commented that this would be Condition #7 on page nine of the staff report. Mr. Bashmakian responded in the affirmative.
There was discussion regarding the landscaping and wall. Commissioner Moyle suggested that requiring a six-foot opaque wall would be considered a friendly amendment.
Commissioner Loui asked about the gate requirement and how it would work. Mr. Bashmakian stated that this issue would need to be reviewed by the Transportation Management Division, however it appears it would be possible to have a gate at the specified location for securing the site at night.
Commissioner Dad stated she could not support the motion due to the legal non-conforming use issue. Commissioner Moyle pointed out that the building has not changed since 1968.
Chair Olsen stated that he is uncomfortable with the motion, but would vote for it. He stated that his issue is the change of use of a residential property to a parking lot and the adjacency to an apartment building.
The motion was approved by the following vote:
AYES: Brown, Clarke, Loui, Moyle, Olsen; NOES: Dad; ABSENT: Johnson.
[The Commission took a break from 9:35 p.m. to 9:53 p.m.]
8-C. Conditional Use Permit 99-027, 1140 Seventh Street & 725 California Avenue / R2NW (Low Density Multiple Residential – North of Wilshire) District. Application for a Conditional Use Permit to authorize an existing church, high school and elementary school located at 725 California Avenue and to allow the expansion of the these operations with the construction of a new off-site parking lot having 26 non-required, compact parking spaces. The parking lot is proposed to be located at 1140 Seventh Street in the R2NW Zoning District. The church, elementary school, and high school were constructed prior to Conditional Use Permit requirements. Therefore, expansion of the church operation through the addition of the proposed surface parking lot cannot be authorized without approval of a CUP for the entire church facility. (Planner: Bradley J. Misner) Applicant: St. Monica’s Church.
Following the staff report, the Commission made the following disclosures about the project. Commissioner Clarke disclosed that he walked and drove by the site and the alley adjacent to the site and noted the house currently on the property. Commissioner Loui disclosed that he had visited the site mid-day December 6, 2000. Chair Olsen disclosed that he is a member of the Church and knows the site in question, but has not spoken about the issue before the Commission to anyone connected with the Church. Commissioners Brown, Dad, and Moyle had nothing to disclose.
Chair Olsen asked staff about the issue of parking spaces, which are all compact on a residentially zoned property. Mr. Misner stated that the spaces are all proposed to be compact.
Chair Olsen commented on the adoption of the 40% compact space regulation and asked how the City feels now that sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are so prevalent. Mr. Misner stated that the two issues to focus on are that the proposed parking is not required parking for the church and that the 40% rule applies to required parking spaces. He also stated that this maximizes the number of spaces that can be put on the property. Ms. Frick stated that the Commission can condition that the spaces include standard or universal parking spaces.
The applicant’s representatives, Mike Matolla (St. Monica’s Administrator) and architect Joe Pica of Pica-Sullivan Architects, were present to discuss the project.
Commissioner Loui asked Mr. Pica if he had considered using grasscrete instead of asphalt. Mr. Pica stated that there is the potential for oil contamination.
The following members of the public addressed the Commission: Gene T., Steve S., Jennifer M., Kimberly Metzger, and Jean Gebman.
Mr. Pica spoke in rebuttal to the public comment.
Chair Olsen asked Mr. Pica about the lighting of the lot. Mr. Pica stated that originally there was no plan to light the lot, but lighting may be needed for safety reasons.
Chair Olsen asked about the proposal for all compact parking spaces. Mr. Pica stated that the idea is to provide the maximum number of spaces possible and there is the intent to assign the spaces to compact vehicles only.
Chair Olsen asked if the lot will be open to parishioners. Mr. Pica stated that the lot will be monitored.
Chair Olsen asked about the proposed gate. Mr. Pica stated that the lot will be gated when not in use and will be accessed with a card key system. He also stated that it will be used as overflow parking for major events such as Christmas, Easter, the October Fest, etc. with access available one hour prior to the start of the event to one hour after the event. He commented that the lot is not in an obvious location, so should not cause a problem.
Commissioner Moyle asked if there is a relationship between the current request and a prior parking request for the Church’s Duval Center, which required 27 additional parking spaces be provided within 1000 feet of the Church. The Church Administrator stated that a lot has been leased to fulfill this requirement and the proposed parking lot will be additional parking.
Chair Olsen asked if Church employees have a regular or varied start time. The Church Administrator stated that the teachers arrive between 7:00 a.m. and 7:45 a.m.
Chair Olsen expressed concern regarding the alley access and the lot filling up. He stated a preference for access from Seventh Street. The Church Administrator replied that Seventh Street access would be good, however it is disallowed by the Zoning Ordinance and Transportation Management. Additionally, there is a large tree on the parkway which would preclude a driveway.
Chair Olsen asked staff about having access from Seventh Street. Mr. Misner stated that the code section specifies that there will be no new curb cuts in multi-family districts if an alley is present.
Chair Olsen asked about the proposed fence height. Mr. Misner stated that the frontyard setback is 20-feet with a 42-inch height limit for a fence in the frontyard setback.
Commissioner Loui asked staff if there is any required parking for Reed Park. Mr. Misner stated that he has not observed any parking area lot for users or employees of Reed Park.
Commissioner Loui asked staff if it is typical for a Church to have a TDM program. Ms. Frick stated that if an employer has more than 49 employees, then a TDM program is required; 10-49 employees required the education of employees about alternative transportation.
Commissioner Dad asked staff why this is considered an expansion and not just a parking lot. Mr. Misner explained that it is connected to the Church use.
Commissioner Dad expressed concern regarding the alley access issue. Ms. Frick stated that the City’s policy in the General Plan is to limit curb cuts in both residential and commercial districts. She stated that this is not a unique requirement and is intended to preserve the integrity of pedestrian orientation.
Chair Olsen asked staff about the new market proposed for the Madame Wu’s site and if there will be a new curb cut on 23rd Street. Ms. Frick stated that the standards are related to the number of parking spaces and access requirements. Associate Planner Lait informed the Commission that the Whole Foods Market site has a substandard alley (17 ˝ feet wide) and there is not enough room to accommodate traffic.
Chair Olsen asked if the parking lot would be permitted in the R-2 if this was a commercial site. Ms. Frick answered in the negative and explained that places of worship and schools are permitted to have parking lots in multi-family districts with a CUP.
Chair Olsen asked about using grasscrete for this parking lot. Senior Planner Keene stated that Transportation Management may not approve grasscrete for the entire lot. This issue was discussed by the Commission.
Chair Olsen asked if landscaping, specifically trees, are proposed by the north property line of the parking lot. Mr. Misner stated that five trees are proposed. Chair Olsen stated that he would like to see more trees as a buffer.
Chair Olsen closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Moyle made a motion for approval of the project.
Commissioner Brown seconded the motion.
Chair Olsen expressed concern for those living adjacent to the new parking lot. He stated that the new use goes against his stance as a housing advocate, although he acknowledges that it will help St. Monica’s. He also expressed concern regarding the alley access and usage and the proposal for all compact parking spaces.
Commissioner Clarke suggested a condition requiring the use of grasscrete down the center of the parking lot where cars will not be parking. He also suggested a condition that additional trees be added as a buffer for adjacent neighbors, that the neighbors be consulted on this, and that the ARB carefully review the proposal.
Chair Olsen commented that he thought there had to be a five foot buffer. Mr. Misner stated that only a 2 ˝ foot buffer is required.
Commissioner Loui recommended that low level lighting be added to the parking lot as a good amenity. He also encouraged the applicant to look into alternative forms of transportation for the Church and the addition of bicycle racks. He noted that the Church is adjacent to both Big Blue Bus and Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) bus lines.
Chair Olsen asked about the proposed number of trees for the parking lot. Mr. Misner stated that 12 trees are proposed, but only 5 trees are required. Chair Olsen asked the condition specify trees be “mature.”
Commissioner Clarke asked staff to explain the trees and islands on the plans. Mr. Misner stated that the plans could be redesigned for mature trees.
Commissioner Clarke suggested amending the staff recommendation to require that the trees be uniformly spaced on the north property line with four mature trees and that the trees be a species that provides a nice canopy.
Commissioner Moyle was generally agreeable to the condition however she asked staff for comments. Ms. Frick expressed concern because the approval tonight will lock in the current set of plans. Changing the plans will require a new review by Transportation Management and the Commission. This issue was discussed by the Commission.
Commissioner Brown recommended that the ARB have discretion in the matter of the trees. Commissioner Moyle suggested the condition stated that the landscaping will be enhanced to provide a buffer at north property line. Commissioner Loui suggested a condition that would require the parking lot to have a permeable surface to mitigate heat islands and urban run-off, if ARB so chooses. Chair Olsen asked that the material not be gravel, which is noisy.
Commissioner Clarke recommended that the condition state that the parking surface shall be a non-noisy, permeable material and the center strip shall be grasscrete. Commissioner Moyle was agreeable to this compromise.
Commissioner Clarke suggested that the hours of operation for the parking lot on Saturday and Sundays begin at 8:00 a.m. Commissioners Moyle and Brown were agreeable.
Commissioner Moyle asked for a condition that minimum weekly maintenance of the parking lot be done when least disruptive to neighbors. Senior Planner Keene recommended the hours be specified as business hours, week-days from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Commissioner Loui asked that the TDM condition be included in the approval.
Commissioner Dad stated that she will not support the motion because does not agree with changing the property’s use from residential to a parking lot; and that this is not required parking.
Chair Olsen expressed his support for the motion.
The motion was approved by the following vote:
AYES: Brown, Clarke, Loui, Moyle, Olsen; NOES: Dad; ABSENT: Johnson.
8-D. Design Compatibility Permit 00-003, Vesting Tentative Tract Map #53277, 837-839 18th Street, R2 (Low Density Multiple Residential) District. Design Compatibility Permit and Vesting Tentative Tract Map to allow the construction of a new two-story, five-unit townhouse style condominium development at 837-839 18th Street. Four of the units contain 3 bedrooms with a mezzanine, and one of the units contains 2 bedrooms and a mezzanine. Eleven (11) parking spaces are provided in a semi-subterranean garage accessed from 18th Court. (Planner: Donna Jerex) Applicant: Sia Khajavi/Apex Design Builders.
Commissioner Dad made a motion to continue this item to January 10, 2001. Commissioner Brown seconded the motion, which was approved by voice vote.
ACTION: CONTINUED TO JANUARY 10, 2001.
8-E. Conditional Use Permit 00-006; Performance Standards Permit 00-002, Variance 00VAR-044, 1866 Lincoln Boulevard, [Shell Service Station]. Conditional Use Permit 00CUP-006, Performance Standards Permit 00PSP-002 and a Parking Variance 00VAR-044 to Allow the Construction of a New 24-Hour Self-Serve Automobile Service Station; Mini-Mart; Beer and Wine Off-Sale Alcohol Outlet (Type 20); and, Drive-Through Fast-Food Restaurant. Restaurant seating is provided for 44 patrons and 29 parking spaces are located on-site. (Planner: Jonathan Lait) Applicant/ Property Owner: Equilon Enterprises.
Commissioner Moyle made a motion to continue this item to January 17, 2001, as the first item. Commissioner Clarke seconded the motion. The motion was approved by voice vote.
ACTION: CONTINUED TO JANUARY 17, 2001.
A. Planning Commission Caselist
C. Projects List (G)
D. Information Item: Appeal of Variance 00-002, 330 Alta Avenue
10. FUTURE COMMISSION AGENDA ITEMS
Commissioner Clarke asked that a discussion on initiating a Text Amendment process to permit pergolas in frontyard setbacks and standards for “R-zoned” properties be agendized.
Commissioner Dad asked for three discussion items to be agendized: the appointment of a Commissioner to the Environmental Task Force; information given potential buyers of residential properties; and outdoor dining standards.
11. PUBLIC INPUT:
One member of the public, Chuck Allord, 1543 Tenth Street #7, Santa Monica, addressed the Commission.
12. ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 12:10 a.m., Thursday, December 7, 2000.
APPROVED: September 5, 2001