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Meeting Date: April 10, 2001

Subject/Title: Public Hearing for Zoning Ordinance Amendment No. RZ 01-03, amending Ordinance Chapter 17.820 (Design and Site Development Review), and adopting Design Guidelines for nonresidential development.

Submitted by: Mitch Oshinsky, AICP, Community Development Director

Approved by: Jon Elam, City Manager

The Planning Commission and staff recommend that the City Council introduce and waive first reading of Ordinance No. ______ to approve Zoning Ordinance Amendment No. RZ 01-03, amending Ordinance Chapter 17.820 (Design and Site Development Review), and adopting Design Guidelines for nonresidential development. 

Council approved an agreement for professional consultant services with Cannon Design Group for the preparation of design guidelines for nonresidential development.

The City Council Economic Development Committee has directed staff to refocus the application review process for commercial projects in order to create a process specifically tailored to streamlining and expediting nonresidential applications, while at the same time ensuring a high level of design quality for these projects. Staff has approached this item in a number of ways, including the ramping up of our in-house design review staff via the addition of a professional consulting architect to provide peer review of nonresidential project design. Staff is also proposing the adoption of Design Guidelines to provide clear, proactive direction on aesthetic design to commercial developers. 

Staff and our architectural consultant, Larry Cannon have worked over the past months to prepare Design Guidelines for nonresidential projects to help give developers additional guidance and early direction on what the City deems acceptable building design. The Draft Guidelines have already gone through several iterations and review by Mike Leana, Howard Sword and myself. In addition, we asked the Chamber of Commerce, and a number of commercial developers and architects to review the Draft, and their comments, along with those of the Planning Commission, have been incorporated into the version now before you.

On February 20, 2001, the Planning Commission held a public hearing and recommended adoption of the Draft Design Guidelines to the City Council via Planning Commission Resolution No. 01-10.

Design Guidelines can be a very positive and helpful device for the public, developers, business people, the City Council, Planning Commission and staff. They can help expedite the City review process by providing direction which allows for creativity, but call for compatibility of design with the existing fabric of the community. They will give guidance to developers up front as to what the City expects of them. They will help developers avoid having to guess what style or appearance will be acceptable to the City. They also make the City’s job easier – both in describing what we want to developers; and as an aid in evaluating development proposals against established standards.

Design is subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, in putting forth basic principles, site planning guidelines, landscape standards, pedestrian emphasis, parking and screening policies, the Guidelines do give somewhat flexible parameters to designers. This will empower them to creatively design high quality projects, and yet not be bound by rigid requirements.

Please note, we specifically included design standards for critical areas, such as Downtown, the Highway 4 Bypass, and big box retail.

The attached Ordinance contains: the necessary findings for adoption of the Guidelines; amendments to the Zoning Code Design Review section needed to reference the new Guidelines; and establishment of the Planning Commission as the Architectural Review Committee for the City – which is actually a duty the Commission has long had. The Code amendment does not convey any additional powers or responsibilities that the Commission does not already exercise. This simply memorializes what already exists.



WHEREAS, The General Plan Community Design Element provides direction for promoting the highest standards of architecture and site design for all development projects as follows:

Policy 1.3.1 – Landscape and Design Standards: Prepare landscape and design standards for residential, industrial, office, commercial developments and streets.

3.1.3 – Architectural and Landscape Guidelines: Prepare and adopt architectural and landscape guidelines for the Downtown area which identify the desired architectural character to be emulated. 

3.2.1 – Architectural Review: Detailed standards, procedures, and guidelines regulating such items as building mass, materials, color, landscape treatment of front yard, etc., shall be used in architectural review of commercial and residential development and corridors; and;

WHEREAS, the City of Brentwood’s history, location and ideal climatic conditions render the aesthetic quality of the City an important asset; and

WHEREAS, all of the above factors constitute an important economic asset for the City, both for those who reside here and for those who earn their living here; and

WHEREAS, the appearance of buildings, structures, and the land, as visible from public and private streets, places and ways, has a material and substantial relationship to property values in the City; and

WHEREAS, to protect the economic welfare of the community, it is the policy of the City Council to protect, maintain and enhance the social and economic values created by past and present investments in the community, by requiring all future nonresidential developments to become a compatible part of the total community environment; and

WHEREAS, said policy will be implemented and maintained by the creation of an Architectural Review Committee to develop appropriate standards and guidelines for all future nonresidential development projects; and

WHEREAS, this amendment is found to be categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) per Section 15305, as allowing minor alterations in land use limitations, in that the amendment consists of minor alterations in land use limitations in areas with an average slope of less than 20%, which do not result in any changes in land use or density; and per Section 15308, as an action taken to assure the maintenance, restoration, enhancement, or protection of the built environment; and

WHEREAS, the Planning Commission conducted a duly noticed public hearing, considered public comment and passed Resolution 01-10 recommending approval of the proposed Rezone 01-03, at its meeting on February 20, 2001; and 

WHEREAS, a Notice of Public Hearing was legally advertised in the Ledger Dispatch, according to City policies and Government Code 65090; and

WHEREAS, the City Council held a public hearing on the proposed amendment on April 10, 2001, for the purpose of reviewing the amendment and the staff recommendation, and considered all public testimony with respect to the proposal; and

WHEREAS, after the close of the public hearing, the City Council considered all public comments received both before and during the public hearing, the presentation by City staff, the staff report, and all other pertinent documents and associated actions regarding the proposed amendment; and 

WHEREAS, the City Council makes the following finding per the Brentwood Municipal Code associated with this amendment:

This amendment is consistent with the General Plan and other applicable City plans, and is appropriate to the public interest, in that it will help implement several General Plan Policies, and protect, maintain and enhance the built and natural environment and economy of Brentwood. 

NOW, THEREFORE, the City Council ordains as follows:

Section 1. The Design and Site Development Review, Chapter 17.820, is hereby amended as follows (added text underlined, deleted text stricken):

17.820.001.B. Purpose: The purpose of these regulations is to allow design and site development review of all developments, signs, buildings, structures and other facilities constructed or modified in any zone where design and site development review is required in order thereby to foster a good design character through consideration of aesthetic and functional relationships to surrounding development, and in order to further enhance the City’s appearance, and the livability and usefulness of properties.

The purpose of the Architectural Review Committee is to recognize the interdependence of land values and aesthetics, and to provide a method by which the City may implement this interdependence to its benefit, and to the benefit of its individual citizens. It is also the purpose of the Committee to preserve and enhance the beauty and environmental amenities of the City by:

1. Stimulating creative design;
2. Encouraging the innovative use of materials, methods and techniques;
3. Preserving balance and harmony;
4. Integrating the functions, appearance, and locations of buildings and improvements, including parking, so as to best achieve a balance between private prerogatives and preferences and the public interest and welfare.


An Architectural Review Committee is hereby established, consisting of the members of the Brentwood Planning Commission, as appointed by the City Council. The Architectural Review Committee shall have the authority to review, conditionally approve and disapprove architectural plans, drawings and sketches. 

The Committee shall establish, and the City Council shall adopt, Design Guidelines which shall be applied by the Committee, the Community Development Director, and on appeal, the City Council, in reviewing applications for development. Said Guidelines are to be set forth in pictorial and/or narrative form and may illustrate undesirable as well as desirable examples of design. A document containing the Guidelines shall be available for public reference in the Community Development Department. The Committee may periodically review these Guidelines and may make appropriate amendments subject, in all cases, to City Council approval.

A. Applications for Design and Site Development Review shall be processed pursuant to Section 17.800.010.

B. All applications shall be submitted to the Planning Commission, however, the Planning Commission may by resolution delegate specific types of projects to the Zoning Administrator and/or an Architectural Review Committee for review and action.

C. Following a determination that an application is complete the Planning Commission or Zoning Administrator shall deny, approve or conditionally approve the application.


A. The Architectural Review Committee shall review and act on architectural plans concurrently with any other land use permit or entitlement application submitted to the City, such as a Conditional Use Permit or Tentative Parcel or Tract Map.

B. The Architectural Review Committee may delegate specific types of projects to the Community Development Director for review and action.

The Planning Commission, Zoning Administrator and/or Architectural Review Committee in consideration of an application shall determine whether the proposed project conforms to the following:

A. The design criteria set forth in Sub-Section 17.820.007.

B. The site development criteria set forth in Sub-Section 17.820.008.

C. Any applicable specific design criteria or standards set out in this title or other City Ordinance.

D. All applicable regulations of the Zoning Ordinance and other City ordinances, policies or resolutions.


The Architectural Review Committee, Community Development Director, and on appeal the City Council, in consideration of all applications for Design and Site Development Review shall determine whether the proposed project conforms to the following criteria:

The following criteria shall be applied in considering all applications for Design and Site Development Review approval:

A. The proposed development shall create a well-composed urban design, harmoniously related to other facilities in the immediate area and to the total setting as seen from key vantage points in the community.

B. Elements of design which have significant relationship to the exterior appearance of structures and facilities shall be given special consideration; these elements may include but are not limited to height, arrangement on the site, texture, lighting, material, color, signs, landscaping, size, bulk and scale, and appurtenances.

C. The proposed development shall be of a quality and character appropriate to, and serving to protect the value of, private and public investments in the immediate area.

D. Where the proposed development is located in an area for which a specific plan, planned development, neighborhood plan or precise plan has been adopted by the City Council, the design of the development shall conform in all significant respects with such plans.

E. The proposed development shall conform with all requirements for landscaping, screening, parking, usable open space and off-street loading as set forth in this title.

F. The site development criteria set forth in Sub-Section 17.820.008.

G. “The City of Brentwood Design Guidelines” Draft, dated February 1, 2001, and any other applicable specific design criteria or standards set out in this title or other City Ordinance.

H. All applicable regulations of the Zoning Ordinance and other City ordinances, policies or resolutions.

Section 2. “The City of Brentwood Design Guidelines” dated March 2001 (incorporated herein by reference), are hereby adopted by the City Council.

B. This Ordinance shall go into effect thirty (30) days after the date of its passage and adoption.

Section 4. In accordance with Government Code Section 65863.5, upon the effective date of this Ordinance, a copy shall be delivered to the County Assessor.

THE FOREGOING ORDINANCE was introduced with first reading waived at a regular meeting of the Brentwood City Council on the 10th day of April, 2001, and adopted at a regular meeting of the Brentwood City Council the 24th day of April, 2001, by the following vote:

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