Existing code, Proposed Changes and Comments on Changes

Existing Code

Proposed Changes

Comments

Section 3.        Section 7.14.40 W of the La Habra Heights Municipal Code:

 

W. Parcel Size and Dimensions. For newly created parcels, seventy-five (75) percent of that parcel’s land area must conform to the minimum dimension requirements specified in Exhibit 7-12. For example, a one-acre parcel must have a minimum dimension of one-hundred and fifty (150) feet for seventy-five (75) percent of that parcel’s land area.

Section 3.        Section 7.14.40 W of the La Habra Heights Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

 

"Parcel Size and Dimensions. For newly created parcels, seventy-five (75) percent of that parcel's land area mast conform to the minimum dimension requirements specified in Exhibit 7-12. For example, a portion, of a one acre parcel must have a minimum dimension of one-hundred and fifty (150) feet in all directions and must be at least seventy-five (75) percent of the parcel's land area (or 3/4 of an acre)."

 

Change made because existing language was thought to be unclear.

However, the proposed change describes arcs for property boundaries, and results in lot boundaries that are curved, as seen in a recent planning commission parcel map approval.

 

Poorly worded with unintended consequences.

 

All that was needed was to add some sample diagrams to illustrate what was intended.

 

Hardscape and Grading Exemptions

 

Section 2.        Section 7.17.40 H of the La Habra Heights Municipal Code:

 

"Access and Parking Surfaces. Except as follows, all streets, driveways and vehicle parking areas are considered to be hardscape and may not consist of gravel surfaces where the gravel may be transported into a public road.

 

Section 2.        Section 7.17.40 H of the La Habra Heights Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

 

"Access and Parking Surfaces. Except as follows, all streets, driveways and vehicle parking areas are considered to be hardscape and may not consist of gravel surfaces where the gravel may be transported into a public road:

 

1. The portion of a primary driveway up to 12 feet in width that is more than 35 feet beyond the point of access to the parcel from a public road shall not count as hardscape or graded area.

 

2. Required parking spaces that are constructed of pervious material, are outdoors and ,are not covered by any structure or improvement, shall not count as hardscape.

 

Change prompted because of claims of hardship for those on flag lots, or where optimal area is remote from the street.

However, existing Code allows an additional 660’ of driveway with a Standards Modification, on an acre.

 

Code Committee said this change was unnecessary, and recommended an additional level of finding for those with true hardships. Recommendation was ignored.

 

Result would be extensive additional runoff, erosion, concrete and building without protections of Standards Mod process.

Exemptions should NOT be made.

 

Parking spaces have always been part of city requirements.

 

Pervious materials are, at best, 40% permeable, yet are receiving 100% exemption. Exemption should not be made.

Section 4.        Section 7.17.40 B Šof the La Habra Heights Municipal Code:

 

"Allowable Maximum. Permanent Graded and Hardscape Areas. Allowable permanent graded and hardscape area standards depend upon the size of the parcel as shown in Exhibit 7-13. Permanent graded or hardscape areas include areas such as driveways located within the right of way in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter.

 

With an approved Standards Modification, agricultural grading for orchards, groves or other agricultural, plantings, which does not use retaining walls and is otherwise in conformance with the grading standards of this Chapter applicable to accessory uses, may be excluded in determining permanent graded area.

 

Section 4.        Section 7.17.40 B Šof the La Habra Heights Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

 

"Allowable Maximum. Permanent Graded and Hardscape Areas. Allowable permanent graded and hardscape area standards depend upon the size of the parcel as shown in Exhibit 7-13. Permanent graded or hardscape areas include areas such as driveways located within the right of way in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter. The area of a swimming pool capable of accepting at least 3/4 of an inch of additional water shall not be considered hardscape and shall not be counted towards hardscape area.

1. With an approved Standards Modification, agricultural grading for orchards, groves or other agricultural, plantings, which does not use retaining walls and is otherwise in conformance with the grading standards of this Chapter applicable to accessory uses, may be excluded in determining permanent graded area.

2. In order to use the exclusion provide in section 7.17.40 B.1, a permanent restrictive covenant, requiring that the designated area be limited in use to agricultural purposes only, must be recorded in the Office of the County Recorder against the property.

 

Claim is that swimming pools are a “natural” surface, and are capable of retaining storm water.

 

Reality is that General Plan calls for limits on hardscape for BOTH permeability and aesthetics.

Pools are manmade coverings on the ground, that need to be accounted for.

Regional Water Quality Control Board considers pools impervious coverage that needs to be accounted for.

Code Committee recommended setting an upper limit on the area of a pool that can be exempted from hardscape, but the recommendation was ignored.

As written, one could create a lake of their entire lot.

 

Who will monitor pools to ensure they are not covered in rainy season, or that pools are not pumped out after a rain?

 

Primary result is more runoff, erosion, hardscape and building without protections of Standards Modification process.

Exemption should not be made.

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It is unclear what the intention or result of striking located within the right of way is, since it was only used as an example.

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Permanent agricultural covenant is a good idea, but needs language stating when proof of recording is required.

Also, unless otherwise defined and protected, “permanent” means only until a sympathetic city council lifts the covenant.

No similar provision in current code

Section 5.        Section 7.17.40, I. is hereby added to the La Habra Heights Municipal Code to read as follows:

"Any street, driveway or other road constructed within a driveway easement or private street to another parcel for the purpose of providing access to a public road shall not count towards hardscape or graded area."

 

Intended to remove supposed “hardship” of those on private roads and driveways.

Actual result is more runoff, erosion, grading and concrete on lots abutting private roads and driveways compared to those on public roads, creating “second class” lots not benefiting from the protections of the General Plan in open space, privacy and vegetation.


 

 

Changes Reducing View Protection

 

Section 8.     Section 12.2.10 of Article 12 of the La Habra Heights Municipal :

View Corridor is a physical feature that allows relatively unobstructed views over distances of at least several hundred yards.

 

Section 8.     Section 12.2.10 of Article 12 of the La Habra Heights Municipal Code is hereby amended to delete the definition of "View Corridor" in its entirety.

View Corridor is a physical feature that allows relatively unobstructed views over distances of at least several hundred yards.

 

Prompted by a “brainstorming” session of Planning Commission to “simplify” Code, without checking to see if “view corridor” was actually used in the Code.

“View Corridor” implements a General Plan policy and is purposefully used in the Code. Goal 3 and ERME Policy 31.

“View Corridor” should not be deleted.

Section 1.        Section 7.12.30 A of the La Habra Heights Municipal Code:

 

"View Enhancement and Protection. Landscaping materials shall be located in such a manner as to lessen the visual impact of any new structure or addition by concealing the improvements from streets and view corridors. Protected views enjoyed by residents shall be protected from unnecessary/unreasonable obstruction by any new development's structures or landscape elements."

 

Section 1.        Section 7.12.30 A of the La Habra Heights Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

 

"View Enhancement and Protection. Landscaping materials shall be located in such a manner as to lessen the visual impact of any new structure or addition by concealing the improvements from streets and view corridors a public street Protected views enjoyed by residents shall be protected from unnecessary/unreasonable obstruction by any new development's structures or landscape elements."

 

This change prompted after staff found “view corridor” was actually used in the code, so it had to be deleted and new language created.

Result is that private view corridors are no longer protected, views from private roads are not protected.

 

Result will be larger structures, less screening vegetation, and blockage of existing residents’ views.

 

Existing language should be left alone.

Section 9.     Section 12.2.10 of Article 12 of the La Habra Heights Municipal :

 

View, Local is any view of densely vegetated rolling hills, extensive natural terrain or open space.

 

Section 9.     Section 12.2.10 of Article 12 of the La Habra Heights Municipal Code is hereby amended by amending the definition of "Local View" to read as follows:

View, Local is any view of densely vegetated rolling hills, extensive natural terrain or open space. An "open. space" shall not include vacant land that is developable under this Code.

 

Change prompted to “protect” owners of vacant lots from existing residents seeking to preserve existing views.

In fact, Code is already clear on right to build on vacant lots.

 

It is unclear what result will be, since “land developable under this code” also is land anywhere inside the setbacks, or developable with a standards mod. A “pro builder” council could interpret this to essentially remove view protection.

Unneeded change, poorly worded.


 

Section 10.   Section 12.2.10 of Article 12 of the La Habra Heights Municipal:

"View, Primary means the most significant and impressive Distant View, as determined by the Community Development Director, from either the ground floor of the principal residence (or the primary living area excluding bedrooms, if not located on the ground floor) or abutting outdoor deck or patio area at relatively the same elevation as the ground floor of the principal residence. The . Community Development Director shall determine the Primary View by balancing the nature of the view to be protected and the importance of the area within the structure where the view is taken. The affected property owner. shall be entitled to one Primary View; and once determined for a particular application, the Primary View may not be changed for any subsequent application. In the event the City and owner cannot agree on the Primary View, the decision of the City shall control “

 

Section 10.   Section 12.2.10 of Article 12 of the La Habra Heights Municipal Code is hereby amended by amending the definition of "Primary View" to read as follows:

"View, Primary means the most significant and impressive Distant View, as determined by the Community Development Director, from either the ground floor of the principal residence (or the primary living area excluding bedrooms, if not located on the ground floor) or abutting outdoor deck or patio area at relatively the same elevation as the ground floor of the principal residence. The . Community Development Director shall determine the Primary View by balancing the nature of the view to be protected and the importance of the area within the structure where the view is taken. The affected property owner. shall be entitled to one Primary View; and once determined for a particular application, the Primary View may not be changed for any subsequent application. In the event the City and owner cannot agree on the Primary View, the decision of the City shall control Community Development Director (CDD) and the affected property owner cannot agree on the Primary view, the CDD's decision shall control and the affected property may appeal the decision by appealing the action taken on the application in accordance with the procedures found in Article 8 of the Municipal Code."

 

Determination of view given to staff.

 

Views are valuable and cherished by residents.

 

Views change throughout the day and are weather dependent.

If a staff person comes on a hazy day, “no view” could be the determination.

 

With prior education as to what a “view” is and what long term consequences are, property owners should determine their own view.

This section needs to be revised to better protect views and protect property owners’ right to state what their view is

 

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and the affected property may appeal the decision by appealing the action taken on the application in accordance with the procedures found in Article 8 of the Municipal Code”

 

is awkward. “Property” can’t appeal. Should be changed to:

 

and the affected property owner may appeal the decision taken on the application in accordance with the procedures found in Article 8 of the Municipal Code


 

 

Other Changes

 

No existing provision

Section 6.     Table 7-12 of Article 7 of the La Habra Heights Municipal Code is hereby amended by adding the following second row to the standard modification limits of the Parking and Access Standards:

Additional Access

Total of 2 access

Total of 2 access

Total of three or

Points

points on a single

points on two roads

more access points

 

road

 

on any road or roads

 

 

 

Intent is to allow people to have more driveways to reach accessories uses or to have circular driveways.

 

Policy decision.

 

No real harm except when combined with proposed driveway hardscape and grading exemptions.

Section 7.     Section 8.3.50 of the La Habra Heights Municipal Code:

 

"This section establishes time limits· for Permits and the process for extensions thereof.

A. Time Limits. Unless Conditions of Approval or other provisions of this Municipal Code establish a shorter or longer time limit, any permit not exercised within one year (1) of approval shall expire and become void.

B. Extensions of Time. Upon request by the applicant, the City Manager, or the Community Development Director may extend the time for an approved permit for an additional period of up to one-year unless the terms of approval of the permit state otherwise. The applicant shall submit a written request and applicable fees for an extension at least 10 days prior to the expiration of the permits. The City Manager or Community Development Director shall then determine whether the permittee has made a good faith attempt to comply with the conditions of the permit. The burden of proof is on the permittee to establish that the permit should not expire."

 

Section 7.     Section 8.3.50 of the La Habra Heights Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:

 

"This section establishes time limits· for Permits and the process for extensions thereof.

A. Time Limits. Unless Conditions of Approval or other provisions of this Municipal Code establish a shorter or longer time limit, any permit not exercised within one year (1) two (2) years of approval shall expire and become void.

B. Extensions of Time. Upon request by the applicant, the City Manager, or the Community Development Director may extend the time for an approved permit for an additional period of up to one-year unless the terms of approval of the permit state otherwise. The applicant shall submit a written request and applicable fees for an extension at least 10 days prior to the expiration of the permits. The Planning Commission may grant an additional one (1) year extension. The applicant shall submit a written request and applicable fees for an extension. The City Manager or Community Development Director shall then determine whether the permittee has made a good faith attempt to comply with the conditions of the permit. The burden of proof is on the permittee to establish that the permit should not expire."

 

Change prompted because of concern that applicants don’t have enough time to get their projects done.

 

Biggest problem is that eliminating requirement to apply at least 10 days prior will allow all expired projects and subdivisions to come back to life, even from 20 years ago.

 

Some application requirement prior to expiration is necessary.

 

Misunderstanding that time limit is on time to get a grading or building permit after conceptual approval, not completion of project.

 

Existing code allows up to two years. Change will allow up to 4 years.

 

A policy question, but 3 years including extensions is plenty.

 

Definitions Additions & Changes

 

Section 11.   Section 12.2.1 0 of the La Habra Heights Municipal Code:

 

Agricultural Grading – No definition

 

All-Weather Surface is a specially engineered surface designed to provide maximum drainage. Such surfaces are typically constructed of asphalt, concrete, or other impervious surface materials.

 

Single Story· –No Definition

 

Story is that portion of a building included between the upper surface of any floor and lower surface of

the next floor above.

Section 11.   Section 12.2.1 0 of the La Habra Heights Municipal Code is hereby amended by adding the following definitions to read as follows:

"Agricultural Grading means grubbing, filling, tilling, terracing, trenching, excavation, installation of underground pipes, or any combination thereof for agricultural purposes, which does not require retaining wall or violate City, State, or Federal law.

 

All Weather Surface means any portion of a driveway or road from every building to a public street which is suitable for use by fire apparatus.

 

Single Story· Structure means any structure wherein 75% of the square footage is contained in a structure that is only one story in height.

 

Story is· that portion of a building included between the upper surface of any floor and lower surface of the next floor or roof above

All Weather Surface definition needs to be revised so applicants know what this means. Do they go to the fire department to find out if their driveway is OK?

Why can’t some useable standards be created?

Needs to be rewritten to avoid Applicant and Staff confusion.

 

Single Story Structure, in an Orwellian twist, now can mean a two story house.

This was prompted by a question of how those on sloped lots could take advantage of the greater grading allowances for single story houses as those on flat lots.

 

The Code Committee recommended adding that “for consideration as a single story structure at least 80% must be below 16 feet in height”, but their recommendation was ignored.

 

Result will be more runoff, erosion, building and grading.