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    Santa Paula Planning Commission: General Plan and Custom Hillside Home

    By Sheryl Hamlin

    General Plan Study Session

    The June 25, 2019 Santa Paula Planning Commission meeting included an extra hour starting at 5:00 pm for a discussion of the General Plan Update. Director Mason explained that compared to last week’s public meeting where the public could mingle with planners and ask questions, this meeting was planned to allow discussion between staff and the commission; however, he said, the community could leave comments for subsequent response by staff.

    Director Mason cited changes such as Mill Street and West Main Street where plans conceived 20 years ago will not happen as planned, so the zoning has been changed in these areas to reflect today’s reality. He also said that they are half way through this complex process with the goal of November or December 2019 for a final draft, but an Environmental Review must occur before that point.

    Contract Planner John Douglas presented an overview of the plan. See the entire presentation here: Note that this presentation is more detailed than the one presented to the public previously.

    John Douglas stated that the first EIR (Environmental Impact Review) in Ventura occurred in the mid-1970’s and that CEQA is 50 years old now. The plan attempts to build capacity for dealing with uncertain and change over the next twenty years. The General Plan map (GP) is broader than a simple Zoning Map. He suggested reading the Parcel Specific changes in the Executive Summary. CEQA has changed its measurement for traffic from LOS (Levels of Service) to VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled), so this means that even a LOS D, which was formerly unacceptable is now acceptable if the VMT count is in range of the planning level. July 17th will be a Council Study session. He also noted that after approval of the General Plan, all Development Ordinances must be updated to match the General Plan. Douglas’ Presentation: 2019-06-25_PC slides_final GP Workshop #2

    Commission Questions

    Commissioner Bangs asked about air quality standards, specifically if Santa Paula’s standard differs from the county standards. Douglas explained that the county standard included Green House Gases and regional issues. Santa Paula does not have a Climate Action Plan, he said.

    Commissioner Ikerd commended Planner Douglas for reducing the policy statement from 1000 to 300 (see slide 7) and asked if there had been substantial input from the public about zoning changes, citing the last meeting’s negative comments from the public. Director Mason said comments were generally positive saying a lack of clarity led to the negative perception of the changes. He said the Downtown Overlay does not change zoning, but allows more flexibility. He did not mention the encroachment on the Historic District. Commissioner Ikerd asked if the new Downtown Overlay would change property values, to which Director Mason said values might improve.

    Commission Herber asked about the Expansion Areas. Planner Douglas said that there was an updated area called East Area 3, which was left over from EA1 and EA2.

    There was a question about the Sphere of Influence (SOI). Director Mason said that the SOI was changed by LAFCO because there was no development activity. A plan for an expansion area is very expensive and must be undertaken by a developer and not the city, he said. LAFCO’s rule of thumb is that there must be a project coming to fruition within 5 years to qualify an area for the SOI. Director Mason said after the meeting “there are no potential projects that have approached the city in our expansion areas at this time.”

    Public Comments

    Orlando Muchado (220 South 10th Street) said his family had been in the area since the 1850’s. His property is considered an expansion area for the Santa Paula Police Department. The city changed the zoning so they cannot change the property.

    Anthony Ferreira (Ridgeview) said his neighborhood want clarification about Fagan Canyon, in particular a street going over the hill to Ojai Road. Director Mason said there was no plan, but later said he will investigate the potential sale of the Dickenson property.

    Mrs. Sandoval said they had a nice house, no gangs, but may be impacted.

    Lauren Nichols said she represents affordable housing and would like to advocate for such in the General Plan citing “beautiful, well-maintained properties”.

    Dale King asked if the new Down Town Overlay would coincide with the proposed BID (Business Improvement District). Director Mason said no.

    Regular Agenda: Capital Improvement Program (CIP)

    The Commission approved the compliance of the FY 2019/2019 CIP to the General Plan.

    Regular Agenda: Custom Hillside Home Bader Residence

    Planner Doberneck explained that the hillside neighborhood “Hilsborough Estates” was created in 1995 with 71 hillside lots on 50 acres. This is the last remaining vacant lot. The lot has no trees and is directly above the city’s main water tank. See image following.

    <span style=font family helvetica arial sans seriffont size 12pt>850 Monte Vista Drive source Staff Report<span>

    The pad was created in 1995 with the house situated only 5 feet from the curb due to the challenging slope. There will be an 8 foot retaining wall (three feet buried) across the southern pad boundary. The height is 35 feet with a four car garage. Note that this subdivision carries a minimum square footage of 3000 square feet and requires clay or concrete tile roofs, no asphalt roofs. At 4103 square feet and a tile roof, the Bader Resident complies with these regulations.

    <span style=font family helvetica arial sans seriffont size 12pt>Retaining Wall source Staff Report<span>

    Two public comment letters spoke of loss of views and hillside erosion. The City Engineer Thai Chau, a civil engineer, said there would be a soils test prior to construction to determine the stability of the lot. Planner Doberneck said there would be a required detention basin to collect runoff water and release it slowly to the surrounding area.

    David and Erin Bader were in the audience. Mrs. Bader applied for the vacant council position and noted the house project.

    <span style=font family helvetica arial sans seriffont size 12pt>Source Staff Report<span>

    In Public Comments, Anthony Ferreira said he knew the original owner of this lot who tried for years and years, but could not receive approval, so gave up on the lot. Mr. Ferreria urged approval.

    The project was approved unanimously.

    Planner Doberneck’s presentation: 18-PD-04, 850 Monte Vista Dr, Bader Residence PC Slideshow [2019.06.25]

    To download the materials and listen to the audio, click here.

    For more information on author click sherylhamlin dot com

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