M I N U T E S
REGULAR MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION
OF THE CITY OF
WEDNESDAY, October 6, 2004
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS
ROOM 213, CITY HALL
1. CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m. by Acting Chairperson Clarke.
2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Commissioner O’Day led the Pledge of Allegiance.
3. ROLL CALL: Present: Darrell Clarke, Acting Chairperson
Arlene Hopkins [arrived at 7:15 p.m.]
Jay P. Johnson
Absent: Barbara Brown, Chairperson
Julie Lopez Dad
Also Present: Kyle Ferstead, Commission Secretary
Paul Foley, Senior Planner
Suzanne Frick, Director of Planning / PCD
Jonathan Lait, AICP, Acting Principal Planner
Kevin McKeown, City Council Liaison
Amanda Schachter, Planning Manager
4. PLANNING DIRECTOR'S REPORT:
Ms. Frick gave the Director’s
Report. Ms. Frick reported that the City Council will be meeting on the
following dates and with the following issues: October 12, 2004 - discussion of
fence and hedge heights and recommendations from the Promenade Parking Task
Force; October 26, 2004 – Joint Meeting with the Planning Commission to discuss
the Land Use Element and Zoning Ordinance updates and Policy Recommendations
from the Matrix Report; November 9, 2004 – public hearing and direction from City Council on the
Downtown Development Standards; a Landmarks Appeal on 125 Pacific Street; and
on November 23, 2004 – an appeal hearing on 2901 Ocean Park Boulevard (Text
Amendment) and an appeal of Gotham Hall’s Conditional Use Permit (CUP)
approval. She also reported that two appeals were filed today, the
Ms. Frick announced the forthcoming Commission meeting dates as follows: October 20, November 3, November 17, December 1 and December 15, 2004.
Acting Chair Clarke stated he would not be present on November 3, 2004.
Commissioner Hopkins arrived at the meeting at this time.
5. PLANNING COMMISSIONER ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Acting Chair Clarke announced that
the Planning Commission will be holding a Special Meeting on Saturday, October
9, 2004, from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the
6. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Consent Calendar
6-A. September 1, 2004
Commissioner Pugh asked for corrections on the following pages: page six, the material is called “Finply,” not Thinply; amend “37 CT rating” to “37 SCT rating,” and on page fourteen, that exists should read “exits” in last line of the third paragraph.
Commissioner Pugh made a motion to approve the minutes as amended. Commissioner O’Day seconded the motion, which was approved by voice vote with Commissioner Hopkins abstaining.
7. STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL ACTION:
Acting Chair Clarke stated for the record that although this item has been appealed, the Statement of Official Action merely certifies the Commission’s action on this item.
Pugh made a motion to approve the Statement of Official Action for
O’Day made a motion to approve the Statement of Official Action for
8. PUBLIC HEARINGS:
Compatibility Permit 04DCP-005;
Commissioner Hopkins disclosed that she was not present at the prior hearing, however she has reviewed the minutes and feels prepared to deliberate on the item.
Senior Planner Paul Foley gave the staff report.
The applicant, Howard Laks, was present to discuss changes to the project.
Commissioner Johnson thanked the applicant for the improvements to the project design. He then asked about the depth of the subterranean parking garage. Mr. Laks stated that the depth will be approximately ten to twelve feet below the slab.
Commissioner Johnson asked Mr. Laks about the type of excavation proposed and how it might effect the adjacent property to the north. Mr. Laks stated that he has not yet obtained the services of a structural engineer, however he expects the excavation will be done using the slot cutting method rather than shoring with soldier piles. He explained the difference between the two methods.
Commissioner Johnson asked about the rear setbacks for the project. Mr. Laks stated that the building is setback fifteen feet from the centerline of the alley and five feet from the rear property line. Additionally, he stated that the rear, second, and third floor balconies are setback ten feet from the property line on the northside.
Commissioner Johnson asked Mr. Laks if the southside setbacks changed. Mr. Laks answered in the negative.
Commissioner Johnson asked Mr. Laks about the 42-inch frontyard wall and staff’s recommendation to lower it. Mr. Laks stated that he is concerned about the 42-inch walls and this issue was discussed with staff. Commissioner Johnson asked about the variable height of the frontyard walls – 42-inches on the northside of the entry and 30-inches on the southside. Mr. Laks explained the berm he has added to the design which lowers the visual height of the wall. He stated that the gate is 30-inches tall and heights were broken-up to add visual interest.
Acting Chair Clarke thanked Mr. Laks for his well organized presentation. He then opened the public hearing.
The following members of the public addressed the Commission: Chuck Allord and Earl Koons.
Mr. Laks spoke in response to the public comment.
Johnson asked Mr. Laks to address the issue raised by Mr. Allord regarding the
Commissioner Pugh asked Mr. Laks about the width of the easement on the property. Mr. Laks stated that there is no easement according to his Tract Map.
Commissioner Johnson asked Mr. Laks about the “back-up” maneuvers required in the subterranean garage to exit certain parking spaces. Mr. Laks stated that the plan is in compliance and has been approved by the Transportation Planning Division and some spaces may require two point turns to exit. He also stated that no one will be backing up the ramp into the alley.
Acting Chair Clarke closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Johnson asked staff to explain Condition #10 on page seven of the staff report which regarding the Architectural Review Board (ARB) and how they interpret the “final plans.” Mr. Foley stated that this is a standard condition and refers to the ARB’s purview over the final color palette and materials.
Commissioner Pugh made a motion to approve the project.
Commissioner Johnson seconded the motion.
Acting Chair Clarke thanked Mr. Laks for his full response to the Commission’s requests at the prior hearing. He then commented on the Land Use Element update and the need to carefully view this area of the City that is zoned R-3 and is made up of pleasant and modest post-war and older buildings.
The motion was approved by the following vote;
AYES: Clarke, Hopkins, Johnson, O’Day, Pugh; ABSENT: Brown, Dad.
[The Commission took a break from 8:03 – 8:07 p.m. so the applicant could review his presentation materials.]
8-B. Design Compatibility Permit
(04DCP-011) and Tentative Parcel Map (04TM-024),
The Commission made the following ex parte communication disclosures regarding the above referenced project: Commissioner O’Day disclosed that he drove by the site at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 6, 2004, and noted the adjacent buildings. Commissioner Clarke, Hopkins, Johnson and Pugh had nothing to disclose.
Acting Principal Planner Jonathan Lait gave the staff report.
Commissioner Johnson asked staff if the applicant met with the Urban Designer regarding this application. Mr. Lait answered in the affirmative and cited page four of the staff report.
Commissioner Johnson asked staff to comment on the undersized alley. Mr. Lait stated that the alley is fifteen feet wide and standard alleys are twenty feet wide. He explained that through the Parcel Map, two and a half feet of land has be dedicated to the City as an easement. Commissioner Johnson asked if this easement is included on the plans. Mr. Lait answered in the affirmative.
Commissioner Johnson commented on the changes in the balcony railings for the previous project and asked if such a discussion had been held for this project. Mr. Lait stated that the plans show pipe railings along the balconies and staff has deemed the railings well placed for the building design.
Commissioner Johnson noted that this project originally came before the Commission on October 10, 2001 and the plans were updated in 2004. Mr. Lait stated that the plans include all changes and requirements since the original approval in 2001.
Commissioner Johnson asked staff about the excavation for the subterranean parking and whether the City does inspections during the excavation process. Mr. Lait stated that a permit is required for excavations and inspections are done during the process. He also stated that during the plan check process, staff reviews the proposed methods of construction and soils reports.
Commissioner Pugh asked staff about the easement. Mr. Lait clarified that the appellant will be required to dedicate 2.5 feet of land to the City.
Commissioner Hopkins commented on the proposed air conditioning units and that the windows appear to be inoperable. Mr. Lait stated that this will be reviewed more thoroughly during the plan check process. Commissioner Pugh commented that per the California Building Code (CBC), there is no option but to have windows operable.
Acting Chair Clarke asked staff if there were any conflicts between the old and new adopted requirements for residential buildings. Mr. Lait stated that this was not reviewed, however the building appears to be in compliance. He noted that the lot is less than 50 feet wide and there are no roof decks.
The applicant’s representative, Luanne Fairbanks, the engineer of record, was present to discuss the project.
Commissioner Johnson commented that the building design “give a flat feeling” and suggested that it could be accented in some way.
As there were no request to speak forms submitted, Acting Chair Clarke closed the public hearing.
Commissioner Johnson stated that the building design needs “work and character” in terms of window treatments, the “portal” and the parapet/balcony walls and pipe detail. He asked the Commission whether this should be forwarded to the ARB or return to the Commission.
Commissioner Pugh commented on the “Streamline Moderne” –like design, which he finds is a reasonably graceful building design. He noted that the building size is compatible with the neighborhood.
Commissioner O’Day expressed agreement with Commissioner Pugh, in that the building is a good size and design. He noted that the design has no mezzanines or roof decks. He then recommended that the ARB deal with the issues raised by Commissioner Johnson.
Commissioner Hopkins expressed sympathy with the application over the planning process. She then stated that she is not comfortable with the building design, but would agree to forward it to the ARB. She stated that the design must include operable windows.
Acting Chair Clarke agreed that the building was compatible with the neighborhood and of a less bulky design that many submissions. He also agreed to forward the project to the ARB for “stylistic upgrades.”
Commissioner Hopkins made a motion for approval with two conditions: (1) that there be improvement to the richness of the architectural design; and (2) that all units have operable windows.
Commissioner Johnson seconded the motion. He asked for a condition regarding the pipe treatment at the front of the building.
Commissioner Pugh suggested that one condition be reworded as a recommendation to ARB, not a mandate, to review the building design.
The motion was approved by the following vote;
AYES: Clarke, Hopkins, Johnson, O’Day, Pugh; ABSENT: Brown, Dad.
[The Commission took a break from 8:37 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.]
8-C. Resolution Amending the
Commission’s Rules of Order 3(b), 3(d), 17(b), 17(e) and 31, and Adding Rule 30 to
Clarify the Procedures to Place Items on the Agenda, Modify the Time Allotment
for Applicants, Appellants and the Public; Specify the Hour at Which New Items
May Not Be Considered, Address the Consideration of Late Written Submittals, and
Clarify the Circumstances Which the Commission Can Consider Not on the Agenda;
Consideration of Modifications to Agenda Policies Consistent with These
Amendments to the Commission’s Rules of Order. [Staff:
Acting Chair Clarke expressed a preference for continuing this item until all Commissioners can be present. There was a brief discussion, then the item was continued to October 20, 2004.
9-A. Discussion and possible direction to staff regarding the creation of a master plan of the existing LMSD district, to include traffic pattern/planning, pedestrian enhancement issues, housing creation, preservation of light manufacturing and the creation, incubation and preservation of artist live / work space, small local businesses and related quality of life and sustainable community issues. Requested via e-mail on March 4, 2004 by Commissioners Clarke, Johnson, Hopkins and Pugh.
Acting Chair Clarke suggested that this discussion item be folded into the Land Use Element and Zoning Ordinance update. The Commission came to consensus on this item.
9-B. Review and discuss
Commissioner Hopkins commented that this discussion item is similar to the prior item and it should be folded into the Land Use Element and Zoning Ordinance update. She also commented on Commissioner O’Day being on the City’s Sustainable Cities Task Force and that he will bring those issue into the update process. The Commission came to consensus on this item.
9-C. Discussion on the possible opportunities to both streamline and improve staff report for Planning Commission cases and meeting minutes. Requested by Commissioners Clarke and Hopkins via e-mail on April 22, 2004.
Ms. Schachter stated that staff is working on this issue and with the recommendations in the Matrix Report and changes should be expected in the next few months. She responded to a query by Acting Chair Clarke by saying that staff is working with prior comments and suggestions made by the Commission. Ms. Frick added that this is a work in progress and staff will welcome feedback by the Commission.
City Council Liaison McKeown recommended including responses from Public Safety Personnel for alcohol license staff reports. Ms. Frick stated that this is already included in alcohol license staff reports. City Council Liaison McKeown asked if a Police Officer could testify at public hearings. Ms. Frick stated this would be possible with advance notice.
City Council Liaison McKeown asked if reference to compliance with the City’s Sustainable Cities Program can be included in staff reports. Ms. Frick stated that this is not a mandatory program, however the issue can be reviewed. Acting Chair Clarke suggested highlighting parts of the project that comply with the voluntary guidelines. Ms. Frick stated that compliance is part of the plan check process. Senior Land Use Attorney Rosenbaum stated that guidelines are not a mandate and if such are included in a staff report, they may be considered a mandate. He suggested this may be adjusted through the Land Use Element update process.
Commissioner Pugh stated a preference for having applicant’s submit a written statement volunteering to comply with the Green Building Guidelines.
10. FUTURE COMMISSION AGENDA ITEMS: None.
11-A. Planning Commission Caselist
11-B. Cumulative Projects List
12. PUBLIC INPUT: None.
13. ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
APPROVED: November 17, 2004