CITY PLANNING DIVISION
STATEMENT OF OFFICIAL ACTION
FINDINGS AND DETERMINATION OF THE ZONING ADMINISTRATOR
CASE NUMBER: Variance 04VAR017
ZONING DISTRICT: R2 (Low Density Multiple Family Residential) District
DIMENSIONS: 4,300 square feet / 50’ x 86’
STATUS: Exempt: three residential units built in 1987
APPLICANT: Gregory Williams
OWNER: Dale & Elva Ephrim
CASE PLANNER: Gina Szilak, Assistant Planner
PRIOR PERMITS: None.
REQUEST: The applicant proposes an approximate 430 square foot addition and requests variance approvals to: (1) reduce the minimum side yard setback along the north and south property lines to five feet and seven feet, respectively; (2) allow an 8% parcel increase to 58% where 50% is allowed; (3) increase the allowable front yard fence height from three and one-half feet to seven and one-half feet adjacent to the parking spaces accessed from the alley; and, (4) encroach five feet into the required 20-foot front yard setback, which is adjacent to the alley, to accommodate a roof over the existing surface parking spaces.
CEQA STATUS: The project is categorically exempt from the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to Section 15303, Class 3 of the State Implementation Guidelines in that the project involves a modest square foot addition to an existing tri-plex located in an urbanized area. This exemption applies to apartments, duplexes or similar multi-family residential structures of not more than six units.
ZONING ADMINISTRATOR ACTION
March 8, 2005
Public Hearing Date.
May 24, 2005
Approved based on findings and subject to conditions.
Denied based on findings.
Effective Date Of Action If Not Appealed:
June 8, 2005
June 8, 2006
Length Of Any Possible Extension:
(a) There are special circumstances or exceptional characteristics applicable to the property involved, including size, shape, topography, location, or surroundings, or to the intended use or development of the property that do not apply to other properties in the vicinity under an identical zoning classification. Specifically, the subject parcel is a substandard lot measuring 86-feet in length by 50-feet in width and having an area of 4,300-square feet. By comparison, a standard R2-zoned parcel has an area of 7,500-square feet and is typically 50-feet wide by 150-feet in depth. The buildable lot area (the area minus the required setbacks) for the subject property is 1,734-square feet compared with a 4,250-square foot buildable area on a standard-sized lot. In addition, the site was subdivided in a manner such that the property’s only public right-of-way frontage is the adjacent alley. In most situations, an alley backs up to a property and a wider public street is located to the front. When the required yard setbacks are applied, the subject property is treated differently than other nearby parcels. This is because a front yard setback is applied to the property’s alley frontage. Neighboring properties, however, have a rear yard setback applied to their alley frontage. This condition also creates a special circumstance different from that typical of the surrounding neighborhood. This subdivision is the only property within a 1,000-foot radius that has no property line fronting a public street. Therefore, the front setback is measured from the alley-adjacent property line whereas the typical parcel has their rear yard setback measured from the center line of alley. The combination of these unique site characteristics strictly limits the site’s development possibilities. The proposed variance for reduced side and rear yards, allowances for additional parcel coverage, and the modification of fence heights will allow the subject parcel to be improved in a manner more consistent with the rights of neighboring properties.
(b) The granting of such variance will not be detrimental nor injurious to the property or improvements in the general vicinity and district in which the property is located. Specifically, the site is currently improved with a tri-plex which will remain but will be modestly expanded. Although the parcel’s front yard is considered the alley under the application of the current Zoning Ordinance, granting the requested variance will allow the parcel to be developed in a manner consistent with neighboring properties where the alley is treated as the rear of the property. Consequently, the proposed seven and one-half fence height along the alley is consistent with adjacent properties where rear yard fences can reach a maximum permitted height of eight feet. The proposed side yard setbacks will not be detrimental to nearby properties because the proposed addition continues the line of the existing building and is angled away from the interior property line. This design creates greater light and air opportunities at the second story. Approval to exceed allowable parcel coverage is reasonable in that application of the required setbacks would result in a narrow and very limited building envelope. The proposed project will not result in detrimental impacts to property or improvements in the general vicinity because the subject property’s improvements are generally consistent with the standards for neighboring properties.
strict application of the provisions of this Chapter would result in practical difficulties
or unnecessary hardships, not including economic difficulties or economic
hardships in that the lot has a substandard 86-foot depth and a 4,300-square
foot lot area and it can not reasonably accommodate both a twenty foot front
yard and fifteen foot rear yard setback.
Applying these requirements to the parcel will result in a building
envelope that is approximately one-half the size of the building envelope that
exists for a standard sized parcel. When
the property was developed in 1987, standards were applied that allowed a ten
foot front yard setback (measured from the property line closest to
The granting of
this variance will not be contrary to or in conflict with the general purposes
and intent of this Chapter, nor to the goals, objectives, and policies of the
General Plan. Specifically, Objective
1.10 and Policy 1.10.1 of the General Plan’s Land Use Element encourages the
expansion of residential uses while protecting the scale and character of
existing neighborhoods. The subject
property is currently improved with a tri-plex that
was constructed in 1987 and has become a part of the neighborhood’s
character. The scope of the request will
result in a modest addition to one unit of this existing structure. With the exception of this variance request,
the project otherwise conforms to the R2 development standards, which implement
the goals and policies of the General Plan.
These standards address such matters as height, parcel coverage, and
other design aspects to ensure compatibility with the existing
neighborhood. Due to the subdivision of
the property, the site only has frontage on the alley. On neighboring properties, however, the alley
is considered the rear and
(e) The variance would not impair the integrity and character of the district in which it is to be located in that the subject property is developed with a tri-plex and this is consistent with the multifamily nature of surrounding land uses. The proposed variance allows the subject parcel to develop according to standards similar to those of the five neighboring properties along Sixteenth Court Alley. This includes granting a fence height allowance for the subject property’s yard abutting the alley that would result in a consistency of fence heights along this public right-of-way. Therefore, the proposal is consistent with the neighborhood character and preserves the integrity of this R2 district.
subject site is physically suitable for the proposed variance in that the
subject parcel is a relatively flat parcel measuring 50-feet wide x 86-feet
deep and is improved with three units.
The scope of the project would add approximately 430 square feet to the
unit adjacent to the alley and enclose the existing parking spaces by adding a
fence and garage doors along the
(g) There are adequate provisions for water, sanitation, and public utilities and services to ensure that the proposed variance would not be detrimental to public health and safety in that the subject property is located within a developed urbanized environment that is adequately served by existing infrastructure, public utilities and services. Approval of the requested variance will not create a need for additional utilities or services because the site is currently adequately served by these types of infrastructure improvements.
will be adequate provisions for public access to serve the subject variance
proposal in that vehicular and pedestrian access is available from
(i) The strict application of the provisions of this Chapter would result in unreasonable deprivation of the use or enjoyment of the property in that due to existing parcel constraints, the location of existing improvements, and/or the placement of adjacent uses, practical use or enjoyment of the subject parcel would not be possible.
CONDITIONS OF APPROVAL
1. This determination shall not become effective for a period of fourteen days from the determination date or, if appealed, until a final determination has been made on the appeal.
2. This approval applies only to the following requests: (1) to reduce the minimum side yard setback along the north and south ground and second floor property lines to five feet and seven feet, respectively; (2) to allow an 8% parcel increase to 58% where 50% is allowed; (3) to increase the allowable front yard fence height from three and one-half feet to seven and one-half feet adjacent to the parking spaces accessed from the alley; and, (4) to encroach five feet into the required 20-foot front yard setback, which is adjacent to the alley, to accommodate a roof over the existing surface parking spaces as shown on the plans dated November 21, 2004. Minor amendments to the plans shall be subject to approval by the Zoning Administrator.
allowances granted by this entitlement, the applicant shall comply with all
other applicable provisions of Article IX, Chapter 9 of the Santa Monica
Municipal Code and all other pertinent ordinances and General Plan policies of
the City of
4. This approval shall expire one year (12 months) from the effective date, unless, in the case of a new development, a building permit has been obtained, or in the case of a change of use, a business license has been issued and the use is in operation prior to the expiration date. This approval shall also expire if the building permit expires or if the rights granted under this approval are not exercised within one year of the earliest to occur of the following: issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy or, if no Certificate of Occupancy is required, the last required final inspection for new construction. Upon the written request from the applicant, prior to expiration, the Zoning Administrator may extend this period up to an additional twelve (12) months. Applicant is on notice that extensions may not be granted if development standards or other requirements relevant to the project have changed since project approval.
5. Within ten (10) days of transmittal of this Statement of Official Action, the project applicant shall sign a copy of the determination and return the document to the City Planning Division. The applicant’s signature constitutes acceptance of the conditions of approval and understanding that failure to comply with such conditions shall constitute grounds for potential revocation.
This decision of the Zoning Administrator may be appealed
to the Planning Commission during a 14 calendar day appeal period following
the decision date. Such an appeal may
be made by filing an official appeal form with the City Planning Division,
Acknowledgement by Permit Holder
I agree to the above conditions of approval and acknowledge that failure to comply with any and all conditions shall constitute grounds for potential revocation of the permit approval.
May 24, 2005