Planning Commission Meeting: April 23, 2003 Santa Monica, California
TO: The Honorable Planning Commission
FROM: Planning Staff
SUBJECT: Conditional Use Permit 02-027
Address: 3205 Ocean Park Boulevard`
Applicant: Jeanne Axler, M.D.
Action: Application for Conditional Use Permit 02-027 to allow the conversion of an existing 1,309 square-foot tenant space from general office use to medical office. Medical offices require a CUP provided that the use does not exceed 25% of the total square footage of the building or 3,000 square feet, whichever is less. The proposal meets all applicable development standards.
Recommendation: Approve with Conditions.
Permit Streamlining Expiration Date: May 6, 2003
SITE LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION
The subject property consists of two parcels developed together on the north side of Ocean Park Boulevard between 32nd Street and 33 Street. The main parcel fronting on Ocean Park Boulevard and containing the existing office building consists of 17,598 square feet of area and the adjacent parking lot consists of 7,998 square feet for a total of 25,596 square feet. The street frontages along both Ocean Park Boulevard and 32nd Street each measure approximately160 feet. Surrounding uses to the north consist of an adjacent one-story multi-family residential building in an R2 zone, followed by single-family residential uses in an R1 zone; large-scale commercial office, restaurant, retail and health club uses in the Santa Monica Business Park located in the C5 zone to the south across Ocean Park Boulevard; and smaller scale commercial uses in the C2 zone to the east (another office building) and west (auto repair, hotel, cafe). The existing on-site multi-tenant commercial structure includes 10 suites currently approved for general offices.
Zoning District: C2 (Neighborhood Commercial) District (Parking lot zoned R2)
Land Use District: Neighborhood Commercial
Parcel Area: 160’ x 159.98’ = 25,596 sq. ft.
The applicant proposes to change the use of a 1,309 square foot tenant space from general office use to medical office use. The medical office space will include a lobby, a physical therapy room, two treatment rooms and associated office support area. The proposal involves interior tenant improvements and the issuance of a business license. No exterior changes are proposed. There are 55 parking spaces on the property, including 53 in a surface lot and two in an enclosed garage. The proposed use would be the only medical office in the building and represents 8% of the total floor area of the building. All other uses at the site have valid City business licenses. The parking requirement for all current uses is 52 parking spaces, increasing to 53 spaces to accommodate the proposed use. This requirement is met with the 55 parking spaces that are provided on-site.
MUNICIPAL CODE AND GENERAL PLAN CONFORMANCE
The proposed project is consistent with the Municipal Code and in conformity with the General Plan as shown in Attachment A.
The project is categorically exempt from the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to Section 15301 (a), Class 1, of the State Implementation CEQA Guidelines in that the proposed conversion of general office use to medical office use is a negligible expansion of an existing use which involves minor interior alterations, including interior partitions to an existing building.
HISTORIC RESOURCES INVENTORY STATUS
The existing building on the project site was constructed in 1973. The subject property is not listed on the Historic Resources Inventory.
RENT CONTROL STATUS
The project is not subject to any special City Planning related fees.
Pursuant to Municipal Code Section 9.04.20.20.080 and in accordance with the posting requirements set forth by the Zoning Administrator, prior to application filing the applicant posted a sign on the property regarding the subject application. At least 8 weeks prior to the public hearing date, the applicant submitted a photograph to verify the site posting and to demonstrate that the sign provides the following information: Project case number, brief project description, name and telephone number of applicant, site address, date, time and location of public hearing, and the City Planning Division phone number. A copy of the site posting photograph is contained in Attachment B. It is the applicant's responsibility to update the hearing date if it is changed after posting.
In addition, pursuant to Municipal Code Section 9.04.20.22.050, notice of the public hearing was mailed to all owners and residential and commercial tenants of property located within a 500-foot radius of the project and published in the “California” Section of The Los Angeles Times at least ten consecutive calendar days prior to the hearing. A copy of the notice is contained in Attachment C.
On February 11, 2003, the applicant was notified by phone and in writing of the subject hearing date.
The applicant has not reported meeting with any neighborhood groups regarding this request. The subject property is located within the boundaries of the Friends of Sunset Park neighborhood organization.
The applicant is requesting a Conditional Use Permit to legalize the establishment of a medical office in a two-story 15,930 square foot, commercial building with 10 tenant spaces. The building is designed around a small central courtyard, where a second floor exterior balcony provides access to the upper level tenant spaces. The subject tenant space is on the second floor of the structure and does not include any street frontage. The applicant, a medical doctor, leased the subject space, moved into the premises, and on March 12, 2002, submitted an application for a City business license. On March 24, 2002, the Planning Division determined that the license could not be approved because a Conditional Use Permit is required for the use in a C2 zone. The license was denied on May 15, 2002. On October 29, 2002, the subject CUP application was filed, requesting legalization of the medical office.
The subject building was constructed in 1973 per City Building Permit records. A 700 square foot storage/garage structure was built in 1979. The building is currently occupied by several tenants that are classified as general office uses (see Attachment F, page A1). With the exception of the medical office, all of the uses have current business licenses and there are no other medical uses in the existing building. The previous legal use established within the subject tenant space was a general office use.
The applicant has continued to operate a medical office despite the denial of a business license and pending a decision regarding this Conditional Use Permit application. A Code Enforcement case file was opened on March 18, 2003, and further action will be pursued pending the final decision regarding this application.
Conditional Use Permit
Medical and dental offices are permitted by right within the C3, C4, C5 and C6 Districts, but are subject to the approval of a Conditional Use Permit in the C2 District in order to protect and enhance the pedestrian-oriented character of neighborhood commercial areas. A maximum of 25% of the building area or 3,000 square feet, whichever is less, may be devoted to medical and dental offices.
The Conditional Use Permit findings aim to ensure that a proposed use is physically suitable for its site and compatible with other uses on the site as well as those on surrounding properties. The use must comply with the intentions of the General Plan and must not impair the integrity and character of the district or be detrimental to the public interest, health, safety, convenience, or general welfare. Lastly, a proposed use must comply with any specific performance standards in the Zoning Code and must not result in over-concentration of the use in the general vicinity.
There are no specific performance standards in the Zoning Code for medical uses in the C2 zone. The proposed use would be the only medical use at the subject site. Business license records show that in the surrounding blocks, between 3000 and 3400 Ocean Park Boulevard on the north side of the street (C2 zone), there is one dental office, one physician’s office, a chiropractor and ten psychotherapy offices. These uses are generally located in a number of large office blocks located in these four blocks.
The following sections explain aspects of the proposed project that show how it meets all of the Conditional Use Permit findings.
Parking and Circulation
The proposed medical office is an intensification of use because it has a higher parking requirement than the previous general office use. While the 1,309 square-foot space required four parking spaces for general office use (1 space for every 300 square feet of floor area), five spaces are required for the medical office (1 space for every 250 square feet of floor area). The use may be permitted if a sufficient number of parking spaces are supplied on-site for all uses on the property, including the additional space for the proposed use.
In 1973, 54 surface parking spaces were provided for the original office building. In 1979, a building permit was obtained allowing construction of a garage/storage accessory structure and allowing the removal of two of the 54 parking spaces. Thus, the requirement for the site with 100% general office uses is 52 spaces. Presently, there are 53 striped surface spaces and two additional covered spaces in the garage.
The conversion of 1,309 square feet of space to medical office increases the parking requirement to 53 spaces (see calculations, Attachment A). The surface parking lot and a two-car garage that opens into the surface lot on the subject property provide a total of 55 parking spaces. This exceeds the number of parking spaces required to meet the requirements of all uses on the site, including the change of use to medical office. Therefore, the project complies with the parking requirement of the Zoning Code.
The existing parking lot provides adequate circulation through two entrances on Ocean Park Boulevard and on 32nd Street. The surface lot parking spaces are all standard size except for one designated disabled space. All parking spaces are clearly marked and provide wheel-stops as required by Code.
The applicant proposes to operate during normal office hours, generally between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The office would not be open on Saturdays or Sundays.
The limitations on medical office uses in the C2 (Neighborhood Commercial) District are intended to prevent pedestrian-oriented, neighborhood-serving uses from being replaced by medical uses, which are appointment-based and generally not designed to enhance interest on the street. However, these uses are not completely excluded from the zone because in certain circumstances with limited numbers of such uses, they may not negatively impact the neighborhood.
In this case, the proposed medical office is on the second floor of an office building in a space that is not visible from the street. As it is not a pedestrian-oriented space, the change of use does impact the streetscape along Ocean Park Boulevard. It is also the only medical office in the building. The existing medical uses in the surrounding area are small in number as cited above and are also located in larger office buildings where they do not impact the street’s pedestrian orientation. Therefore, there is not an over-concentration of medical office uses in the immediate facility.
Adequate parking is provided in the on-site surface parking lot for staff and customers. The low-scale multi-and single-family residential neighborhood to the north would thus not be impacted by the proposed use.
The applicant serves some patients from the surrounding area in her practice and in this way, the proposed medical office is also a neighborhood-serving use.
The proposed use meets the requirements of the Zoning Code and does not negatively impact the pedestrian-oriented nature of the north side of Ocean Park Boulevard. All required parking is provided on site, and the proposal meets the intentions of the provision allowing for up to 25% of a building or 3,000 square feet, whichever is less, to be occupied with medical office uses.
Other than the recommended action, the Planning Commission may:
Approve 02CUP-027 based upon revised findings and conditions;
Deny 02CUP-027 without prejudice, based upon revised findings; or
Deny 02CUP-027 based upon revised findings.
It is recommended that the Planning Commission approve Conditional Use Permit 02CUP-027, subject to the following findings and conditions:
CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT FINDINGS
1. The proposed use is one conditionally permitted within the subject district and complies with all of the applicable provisions of the "City of Santa Monica Comprehensive Land Use and Zoning Ordinance", in that SMMC Section 9.04.08.16.040(d) allows medical, dental, and optometrist offices subject to the approval of a Conditional Use Permit and provided that the use does not exceed 25% of the total square footage of the building, or 3,000 square feet, whichever is less. Furthermore, the proposed use complies with the Zoning Code’s parking requirement for such uses and no other modifications to the building are proposed.
2. The proposed use would not impair the integrity and character of the district in which it is to be established or located in that the proposed medical office is the only medical office in the existing building and would comprise approximately 8% of the existing office building. Therefore, the proposed medical office use would not sufficiently change the nature of the building’s use. Additionally, the office is on the second floor of the office building and does not impact street activity or pedestrian orientation of any ground floor uses along the street frontages.
3. The subject parcel is physically suitable for the type of land use being proposed in that the proposal does not involve any new construction and the existing building is adequately designed and provides sufficient parking to accommodate the proposed medical office use.
4. The proposed use is compatible with the general office uses presently on the subject parcel in that these are typical office uses whose needs are presently accommodated by the existing parking and amenities provided on the property. The additional needs of the proposed medical office can be absorbed without impacting these office uses because parking is provided to accommodate the intensification of use. The additional site utilization generated by patient visitation is not expected to be high due to the medical office’s relatively small size and limitation of two treatment rooms and one physical therapy room.
5. The proposed use would be compatible with existing and permissible land uses within the district and the general area in which the proposed use is to be located, in that the intensification of the tenant space from general office to medical office is not visible to surrounding uses and requires only a negligible increase in parking demand of one parking space that is provided on-site.
6. There are adequate provisions for water, sanitation, and public utilities and services to ensure that the proposed use would not be detrimental to public health and safety, in that the proposed change of use involves a minor alteration to a relatively small tenant space and no increase in facilities are anticipated.
7. Public access to the proposed use will be adequate, in that the existing parking lot has adequate access from both Ocean Park Boulevard and from 32nd Street, and pedestrian access to the building is provided both from Ocean Park Boulevard and from the parking lot.
8. The physical location or placement of the use on the site is compatible with and relates harmoniously to the surrounding neighborhood, in that the subject tenant space is on the second floor of an existing building and no new construction is proposed.
9. The proposed use is consistent with the goals, objectives, and policies of the General Plan, in that the Neighborhood Commercial land use designation in which the property is located is intended to protect and foster development of neighborhood-serving commercial uses, defined as those uses providing goods and services that cater to the daily or weekly needs of local residents. Although medical office uses are not considered to be neighborhood-serving uses, Policy 1.7.1 requires the majority of ground floor uses to be neighborhood serving, but states, “Other commercial and residential uses shall be permitted above the ground floor or at the rear of a parcel.” The proposed medical office use is on the second floor in an office space that is not street-oriented, and is consistent with this policy.
10. The proposed use would not be detrimental to the public interest, health, safety, convenience, or general welfare, in that the proposal meets all Code requirements, including the provision of parking, and a medical office does not generally result in negative health or public safety impacts that would be detrimental to the public interest or general welfare.
11. The proposed use conforms precisely to the applicable performance standards contained in Subchapter 9.04.12 and special conditions outlined in Subchapter 9.04.14 of the City of Santa Monica Comprehensive Land Use and Zoning Ordinance, in that Subchapter 9.04.12 does not include any special performance standards for medical office use in the C2 Zoning District.
12. The proposed use will not result in an over-concentration of such uses in the immediate vicinity, in that the proposed medical use is the only such use on the property and would occupy only 8% of the total floor area of the building. Furthermore, in the 3000-3400 blocks of Ocean Park Boulevard, there are 13 other uses that are either medical uses or similar, such as psychotherapy, which are generally located in large office buildings. These offices are scattered throughout the office buildings in this area, with no more than four offices in any particular building.
1. This approval is for those plans date-stamped as received on January 6, 2003, a copy of which shall be maintained in the files of the City Planning Division. Project development shall be consistent with such plans, except as otherwise specified in these conditions of approval.
2. The Plans shall comply with all other provisions of Chapter 1, Article IX of the Municipal Code, (Zoning Ordinance) and all other pertinent ordinances and General Plan policies of the City of Santa Monica.
3. Final parking lot layout and specifications shall be subject to the review and approval of the Transportation Management Division.
4. Minor amendments to the plans shall be subject to approval by the Director of Planning. A significant change in the approved concept shall be subject to Planning Commission Review. Construction shall be in conformance with the plans submitted or as modified by the Planning Commission, Architectural Review Board or Director of Planning.
5. Ultra-low flow plumbing fixtures are required on all new development and remodeling where plumbing is to be added. (Maximum 1.6 gallon toilets and 1.0 gallon urinals and low flow showerhead.)
6. To mitigate solid waste impacts, prior to issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy, project owner shall submit a recycling plan to the Department of Environmental and Public Works Management for its approval. The recycling plan shall include 1) list of materials such as white paper, computer paper, metal cans, and glass to be recycled; 2) location of recycling bins; 3) designated recycling coordinator; 4) nature and extent of internal and external pick-up service; 5) pick-up schedule; 6) plan to inform tenants/ occupants of service.
Validity of Permits
7. In the event permittee violates or fails to comply with any conditions of approval of this permit, no further permits, licenses, approvals or certificates of occupancy shall be issued until such violation has been fully remedied.
8. Within ten days of Planning Division transmittal of the Statement of Official Action, project applicant shall sign and return a copy of the Statement of Official Action prepared by the Planning Division, agreeing to the Conditions of approval and acknowledging that failure to comply with such conditions shall constitute grounds for potential revocation of the permit approval. By signing same, applicant shall not thereby waive any legal rights applicant may possess regarding said conditions. The signed Statement shall be returned to the City Planning Division. Failure to comply with this condition shall constitute grounds for potential permit revocation.
9. This determination shall not become effective for a period of fourteen days from the date of determination or, if appealed, until a final determination is made on the appeal. Any appeal must be made in the form required by the Zoning Administrator. The approval of this permit shall expire if the rights granted are not exercised within one year from the permit’s effective date. Exercise of rights shall mean actual commencement of the use granted by the permit. One six-month extension may be permitted if approved by the Director of Planning. Applicant is on notice that time extensions may not be granted if development standards relevant to the project have changed since project approval. Additionally, the rights associated with this approval shall expire if the establishment ceases operation for a period of one year or longer.
10. The permitted hours of operation for the medical office shall be limited to Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. only.
11. The operation shall at all times be conducted in a manner not detrimental to surrounding properties or residents by reason of lights, noise, activities, parking or other actions.
12. No exterior activities such as deliveries, trash disposal or other maintenance activities generating noise audible from the exterior of the building shall be conducted between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. Monday through Friday. No such activities shall occur on Saturday and Sunday when the medical office is closed.
13. Prior to issuance of a Business License, the applicant shall post a notice at the entry to the medical office stating that the site is regulated by a Conditional Use Permit and that the Statement of Official Action, which includes the establishment’s conditions of approval, is available upon request. This notice shall remain posted at all time the establishment is in operation.
Prepared by: Elizabeth Bar-El, AICP, Associate Planner
A. Municipal Code and General Plan Conformance
B. Site Posting Photo
C. Notice of Public Hearing
D. Radius and Location Map
E. Photographs of subject building
F. Plot Plan, Floor Plans
MUNICIPAL CODE AND GENERAL PLAN CONFORMANCE
LAND USE ELEMENT
Medical, dental, and optometrist offices subject to the approval of a Conditional Use Permit and provided that the use does not exceed 25% of the total square footage of the building, or 3,000 square feet, whichever is less.
15,939 x .25 = 3984.75 sq. ft. Therefore, 3,000 square feet is the maximum floor area permitted.
1309 square feet of medical office. The proposed use is the only medical office in the building.
Project complies subject to CUP approval.
% Walls Demolished
No proposal to demolish walls.
% Sq. Ft. Added
No additional floor area is proposed.
Alley access is encouraged when alley exists.
Alley access is required when alley exists, with exceptions per Sec. 9.04.10.08.080.
No alley access. Parking access exists from both Ocean Park Boulevard and 32nd Street.
Parking Space Number
Medical and dental offices and clinics 1,000 square feet or greater:
1 space for each 250 square feet of floor area
1,309 / 250 = 5.236 or 5 spaces
General Office uses:
1 space for each 300 square feet of floor area.
1309 / 300 = 4.36 or 4 spaces
Ž 1 additional space required.
Per Building Permit (1979): 52 spaces required.
52 + 1 = 53 parking spaces
40% of total parking requirement may be compact spaces.
The project site contains 55 parking spaces. 53 spaces are in an existing surface lot and two are in an enclosed garage. No re-striping is necessary. Complies with Zoning Code.
All parking spaces provided are regular spaces.