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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 18

 
MEMORANDUM

DATE: April 12, 2005

TO: Mayor and Council Members

FROM: Community Development Department (H. Sword/J. Zilm)

SUBJECT: General Plan’s Density Transition Policy

During Council’s review of Pinn Brothers’ Marseille project at its February 22, 2005 meeting, Council Member Gutierrez asked staff to review the General Plan Density Transition policy. She wanted staff to bring back to Council information on how many projects had requested exceptions from the Density Transition policy.

Over the past two and one half years the Planning Commission approved 19 tentative subdivision maps creating 2887 lots and within these 19 subdivisions the City Council had to approve 8 subdivision maps creating 85 lots, or 3% of the total lots created, that needed to deviate from the Density Transition Policy. The approved maps requiring the deviations are as follows:

1. TSM 8808 – Mark Taylor – St. Martin Court, 3 lots, ranging in size from 12, 501 sq. ft. to 15, 295 sq. ft., needed a deviation from the 20,000 sq. ft. minimum lot size.

2. TSM 8557 – Western Pacific Housing, 23 lots, ranging in size from 8,250 sq. ft. to 11,283 sq. ft., needed a deviation from the 20,000 sq. ft. minimum lot size.

3. TSM 8534 – Cedarwood – Signature Properties, 23 lots, ranging in size from 7,150 sq. ft. to 9,150 sq. ft., needed a deviation from the 20,000 sq. ft. minimum lot size.

4. TSM 8546 – Sterling Preserve – Meritage, 24 lots, ranging in size from 10,094 sq. ft. to 19,699 sq. ft., needed a deviation from the 20,000 sq. ft. minimum lot size.

5. TSM 8603 – Sterling Pinnacle – Meritage, 5 lots, ranging in size from 8,453 sq. ft. to 11,446 sq. ft., needed a deviation from the 20,000 sq. ft. minimum lot size.

6. TSM 8701 – Horrace Siino, 1 lot, 15, 748 sq. ft. needed a deviation from the 20,000 sq. ft. minimum lot size.

7. TSM 8763 – Ashford Park II – Pringle Homes, 4 lots, ranging in size from 10,143 sq. ft. to 11, 854 sq. ft., needed a deviation from the 20,000 sq. ft. minimum lot size.

8. TSM 8281 – Visions – Warmington Homes, 2 lots, ranging in size from 8,551 sq. ft. to 16,026 sq. ft., needed a deviation from the 20,000 sq. ft. minimum lot size.
Section 2.1.2 Subsection C.2 Density Transition of the City’s General Plan Goal 2: Quality Residential states that it shall be City policy to require buffer lots in new residential developments that abut or face existing large lots as follows: Proposed lots facing or abutting existing residential lots zoned Ranchette Estate (RE) or of one acre or more shall have a minimum area of 20,000 square feet. It goes on to say in Subsection “d” that at the discretion of the Planning Commission during the tentative subdivision map review process, the density transition policy may be modified, following the adoption of specified findings under the following circumstances:

1. When adjacent property has a land use and or zoning designation that would enable the future subdivision of the adjacent property into lots of a size similar to those planned in the proposed subdivision even though the property owner has no present intentions to subdivide their property.

2. When the adjacent property owner is or will be separated by at least 120 feet of right-of-way or a proposed arterial street that includes a 30 foot wide parkway.

3. When the adjacent property is separated by a natural or man-made barrier (i.e., a creek, streambed, river, drainage basin, canal or similar passageway).

When there is a proposal to deviate from the density transition policy, the developer shall make a good faith effort to acquire a letter from all neighboring and or affected parcel owners outlining their positions, either in favor of or in opposition to the modification in the density transition policy.

In all of the above mentioned subdivision maps, Subsection 1 is the rational that was used to allow the Planning Commission and City Council to approve the deviation from the Policy because the developer in each case made a good faith effort to work with the surrounding residents and land owners and acquired a letter from them in favor of the developer’s request to have lots smaller than theirs adjacent to them. Staff would like to point out that by no means have the past deviations been automatic, rather the Council approved them after careful consideration and with virtually no objections from surrounding property owners.

Should the City Council request to change the Density Transition Policy, a General Plan amendment would be necessary. Staff would like to suggest that an amendment could take place as part of the upcoming General Plan technical update if the Council desires to change this policy.  

 

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