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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO.  16

 Meeting Date:   August 8, 2000

Subject/Title:             Application of Tower Energy Group Appealing the Decision of the Planning Commission Denying a Modification to an Approved Conditional Use Permit to Delete a Condition of Approval Regarding Removal of Sign Logos and a Variance to Allow the Installation of Signage Exceeding the Three Maximum Signs Allowed for a Service Station/Convenience Market, Located at 8750 Brentwood Boulevard.  

Submitted by: Mitch Oshinsky, Community Development Director / Lawrence Lew, Associate Planner

Approved by:             Jon Elam, City Manager

RECOMMENDATION

Sustain the decision of the Planning Commission and deny the appeal to modify the Conditional Use Permit and the requested Variance. 

PREVIOUS ACTION

None 

BACKGROUND

On June 6, 2000, the Planning Commission denied the application of Tower Energy Group for a modification to an approved Conditional Use Permit to delete a condition of approval requiring the removal of four sign logos installed in the skylights of an existing retail commercial structure, and for a variance to allow for the installation of signage exceeding the three maximum signs allowed for the existing service station and convenience market located at 8750 Brentwood Boulevard. 

When the Conditional Use Permit for this use was initially granted in 1989, the proposed 4,000 sq. ft. building design did not include skylights with glass signage logos.  In a subsequent application for modification in 1990, the project was revised to a 6,000 sq. ft. building with the skylights and sign logos.  The Planning Commission, in approving the amendment for the enlarged convenience market building, required that the sign logos proposed for the four skylights be eliminated from the final building permit plans.  Without benefit of City authorization, the skylights were, nonetheless, installed with the sign logos when the building was constructed.  The logos have never been removed.  The new owners are requesting that their logos be allowed to replace those of the prior owner. 

As new owners of the existing business, the applicant initially applied for new signage, reflecting the new ownership.  During the review of this application, staff notified the applicant of the need to resolve the outstanding issues regarding signage.  Essentially, the applicant is requesting that the existing CUP be modified, deleting the condition requiring the removal of the sign logos in the skylights and a variance to allow for the installation of signage for the business which exceeds the maximum of three signs allowed by the City’s sign regulations.  This would enable the applicant to proceed with replacing the existing sign logos with their own sign logos.  In addition, the applicant also proposes to remove the existing milk price sign located at the front corner of the project site, consisting of a plastic, freestanding cow and a price caption.  This milk sign has never been authorized by the City and has also been displayed in violation of the City’s sign regulations. 

ANALYSIS

The Planning Commission determined that the request for modification to the CUP was not appropriate and that sufficient findings for granting the variance from the City’s sign regulations could not be made.  The Commission felt the sign logos were not compatible with the design of the structure and that there were no special circumstances or physical conditions of the site that justified the request to have more signage for the business than that allowed by the City’s sign regulations. 

Staff had recommended the modification to the CUP and the variance requests be approved on the basis that the logos contained no lettering or other characters and that there would, therefore, be a minimal difference between the sign logos and a replacement glass mural composition for the skylights and that the unauthorized plastic cow was being removed.  The Planning Commission disagreed with this conclusion and recommendation.

ATTACHMENTS

1.      Letter from Chris Cunan, Architectural Resources Collaborative, Inc., dated stamped received June 20, 2000, appealing the Planning Commission’s denial of the project, on behalf of their clients, Tower Energy Group.

2.      Project plans and elevations

3.      Draft City Council Resolution Granting the Appeal

4.      Draft City Council Resolution Denying the Appeal

RESOLUTION NO.   

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD SUSTAINING THE ACTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION BY DENYING AN APPEAL OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION’S DENIAL OF A MODIFICATION TO AN APPROVED CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT (CUP 89-14) FOR A SERVICE STATION/CONVENIENCE MARKET TO ELIMINATE THE REQUIREMENT THAT SIGN LOGOS ON THE SKYLIGHTS OF THE BUILDING BE REMOVED AND DENYING A VARIANCE FROM THE SIGN REGULATIONS TO ALLOW FOR FOUR ADDITIONAL WALL-MOUNTED SIGNS WHERE A MAXIMUM OF THREE SIGNS IS ALLOWED FOR ONE ESTABLISHMENT LOCATED AT 8750 BRENTWOOD BOULEVARD (APN 010-140-023).           

WHEREAS, Tower Energy Group and Architectural Resources Collaborative, Inc., have submitted a request to modify CUP 89-14 to eliminate the requirement that sign logos be removed from the skylights of the existing retail commercial building and a request for a variance from the City’s sign regulations to allow for the installation of four additional wall-mounted signs where a maximum of three total signs is allowed for one business establishment located at 8750 Brentwood Boulevard; and 

            WHEREAS, said applicants have also offered to remove an existing plastic cow with a milk pricing sign as indicated on the submitted site plan, dated stamped received February 8 and May 25, 2000; and 

            WHEREAS, said requests for modification to Conditional Use Permit and Variance were denied by the Planning Commission at the public hearing held on June 6, 2000; and

             WHEREAS, the applicant appealed said decision of the Planning Commission to the City Council by submitting a written request and required fee within the allowed fourteen-day appeal period; and 

            WHEREAS, a duly noticed public hearing for this appeal was advertised in the Ledger-Dispatch on July 29, 2000, and mailed to property owners within 300 feet of the site as required by City Ordinance and Government Code Section 65090; and 

            WHEREAS, the application is considered to be categorically exempt from the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act because the proposed modification to the CUP does not affect the intensity of the existing land use and the variances are minor alterations to land use limitations, with no further environmental review being necessary; and 

            WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Brentwood held a public hearing on August 8, 2000, reviewed the appeal request for the denial of said conditional use permit modification and variance and the corresponding staff report, considered all public testimony, has studied the compatibility of the applicant’s request with adjacent land uses, and finds that: 

1.      The proposed modification to the approved Conditional Use Permit will adversely affect the continued functions and activities of the existing land use or of the adjacent properties and neighborhood because the sign logos were not intended to be included on the original building composition. 

2.      The strict compliance with the specified regulations will not result in unnecessary hardship because the removal of the logo signs has always been a condition of approval of the building and the responsibilities of the functioning conditional use permit continue with the land and, therefore, the new ownership. 

3.      The strict compliance with the specified regulations would not preclude an effective design solution and weaken the intended consistency of the architectural design and building scale of the project because there are several alternative designs or methods to replacing the sign logos while still retaining the existing form of the building. 

4.      The requested variance to allow the additional signage logos will adversely affect abutting properties or the surrounding area and will be detrimental to the public welfare because the additional sign logos cannot be justified for this particular use and not for other commercial uses, will be considered excessive signage not allowed by the City’s sign regulations, and will, therefore, set an unwanted precedent. 

5.      The requested variance will be a grant of special privilege because there is nothing unique about this commercial use or location where the request for additional signage beyond that allowed by the City’s sign regulations can be justified.           

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Council of the City of Brentwood does hereby take the following actions: 

Sustain the action of the Planning Commission and denies the appeal by Tower Energy Group and Architectural Resources Collaborative, Inc. for the requested modification to Conditional Use Permit No. 89-14B to delete a condition of approval requiring the removal of sign logos from the existing retail commercial building and denies Variance No. 00-03 to allow the installation of four sign logos in addition to the maximum of three signs allowed for the convenience market/service station located at 8750 Brentwood Boulevard. 

ADOPTED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood at its regular meeting on August 8, 2000, by the following vote: 

             RESOLUTION NO.

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD OVERTURNING THE ACTION OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION BY GRANTING AN APPEAL FOR A MODIFICATION TO AN APPROVED CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT (CUP 89-14) FOR A SERVICE STATION/CONVENIENCE MARKET TO ELIMINATE THE REQUIREMENT THAT SIGN LOGOS ON THE SKYLIGHTS OF THE BUILDING AND APPROVING A VARIANCE FROM THE SIGN REGULATIONS TO ALLOW FOR FOUR ADDITIONAL WALL-MOUNTED SIGNS WHERE A MAXIMUM OF THREE SIGNS IS ALLOWED FOR ONE ESTABLISHMENT LOCATED AT 8750 BRENTWOOD BOULEVARD (APN 010-140-023).           

WHEREAS, Tower Energy Group and Architectural Resources Collaborative, Inc., have submitted a request to modify CUP 89-14 to eliminate the requirement that sign logos be removed from the skylights of the existing retail commercial building and a request for a variance from the City’s sign regulations to allow for the installation of four additional wall-mounted signs where a maximum of three total signs is allowed for one business establishment located at 8750 Brentwood Boulevard; and

            WHEREAS, said applicants have also offered to remove an existing plastic cow with a milk pricing sign as indicated on the submitted site plan, dated stamped received February 8, 2000; and 

            WHEREAS, said requests for modification to Conditional Use Permit and Variance were denied by the Planning Commission at the public hearing held on June 6, 2000; and 

            WHEREAS, the applicant appealed said decision of the Planning Commission to the City Council by submitting a written request and required fee within the allowed fourteen-day appeal period; and 

            WHEREAS, a duly noticed public hearing for this request was advertised in the Ledger-Dispatch on July 29, 2000, and mailed to property owners within 300 feet of the site as required by City Ordinance and Government Code Section 65090; and 

            WHEREAS, the application is considered to be categorically exempt from the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act because the proposed modification to the CUP does not affect the intensity of the existing land use and the variances are minor alterations to land use limitations, with no further environmental review being necessary; and 

            WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Brentwood held a public hearing on August 8, 2000, reviewed the request for said conditional use permit modification and variance and the corresponding staff report, considered all public testimony, has studied the compatibility of the applicant’s request with adjacent land uses, and finds that: 

6.      The proposed modification to the approved Conditional Use Permit will not adversely affect the continued functions and activities of the existing land use or of the adjacent properties and neighborhood because the proposed replacement sign logos will not affect the intensity or nature of the existing land use. 

7.      The strict compliance with the specified regulations will result in unnecessary hardship because the appearance of the building would be significantly altered since the skylights are integral to the style of the structure and the roofline was designed with the intent to include skylights at the locations where the sign logos are situated. 

8.      The strict compliance with the specified regulations would preclude an effective design solution and weaken the intended consistency of the architectural design and building scale of the project because the barrel vault design and location of the dormer on the roof was intended to accommodate a skylight opening on all four elements. 

9.      The requested variance to allow the additional signage logos will not adversely affect abutting properties or the surrounding area and will not be detrimental to the public welfare because the additional sign logos will not have any lettering or other characters similar in nature to the sign logos that have existed in the same locations since the construction of the retail commercial building. 

10.  The requested variance will not be a grant of special privilege because the appearance of these specific sign logos, without lettering and pronounced styling, will have a minimal difference in design and texture with any other replacement skylight design utilizing similar materials compatible with the design of the commercial structure. 

            NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Planning Commission of the City of Brentwood does hereby take the following actions: 

Overturns the decision of the Planning Commission and grants the appeal by Tower Energy Group and Architectural Resources Collaborative, Inc. by: 

1.      Approving a modification to Conditional Use Permit No. 89-14B to delete a condition of approval requiring the removal of sign logos from the existing retail commercial building with all other remaining conditions of approval of Conditional Use Permit No. 89-14 remaining in full force and effect; and 

2.      Approving Variance No. 00-03 to allow the installation of four sign logos in addition to the maximum of three signs allowed for the convenience market, subject to the conditions that the plastic cow and milk price sign shall be removed within 30 days of this action and that the sign logos shall substantially conform to the plans and elevations, dated stamped received February 8, 2000, submitted by the applicant in support of the application, on file with the Community Development Department with the following condition: 

a.   The plastic cow and pricing sign shall be removed from the site by September 1, 2000. 

This permit shall terminate on August 8, 2001, one (1) year from the effective date of the granting, unless actual construction under valid permits has begun within said period or written request has been submitted to the City for an extension of time as allowed under the Zoning Ordinance. 

            ADOPTED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood at its regular meeting on August 8, 2000, by the following vote: 

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