Santa Paula Planning Commission: Luxury Custom Hillside Home

by Sheryl Hamlin

The tract map for this hillside area was approved in 1988, according to Planner Doberneck, who presented the project to the Commission. Thirty two years later someone has decided to undertake the challenge of building on this .4 acre, untouched hillside lot where the rewards will be panoramic views.

The following image is taken from Google Earth™ showing the intersections of Glade and 6th Streets in Santa Paula and a massive view corridor.

593 Glade, as is, source: Google Earth


The staff report describes the house as follows:

A Planned Development permit to authorize a new 4,569-sf two-story hillside house with attached 500-sf 1-bedroom accessory dwelling unit, 901-sf 3-car garage, 1,093-sf 2nd floor deck, and approximately 7,766-sf of landscaped curtilage on a vacant 0.401-acre parcel. Plans included for future ~874-sf swimming pool, spa, and ~1,157-sf concrete pool deck. The applicant also requests a Minor Modification to front and side yard setbacks. Access is proposed off of Glade Drive via an existing shared driveway. The Southwest corner of the lot has an existing Public Works Water Division booster pump station. The project proposes a “multipurpose fire sprinkler” system.

Grading and Design for Challenging Slope

From the front, the house looks like a single story, but from the south, the multiple stories are visible. To build the lower level, the applicant plants to grade into the mountain. The staff report explains as follows:

As proposed, the building massing is informed by maximizing broad scenic views to the west and south while also minimizing earthworks. By grading into the existing hillside, a large portion of the lot will remain undisturbed and earthworks required for construction will be minimized. In compliance with SPMC § 16.13.140 Building Design, “All dwelling units and accessory structures must be designed and constructed to respect and reflect the hillside environment and the terrain existing on individual development sites”.

Viewshed Analysis using Google Earth Pro

An advanced feature of Google Earth Pro allows a user to show using color differentiation the area to be viewed. The applicant presented not only the views out from his proposed home, but the incoming views showing that the home is not intrusive. Commissioner Fourage suggested such 3D presentations be included in future applications.

Commissioner Eickerd said he lives on Monte Vista and neighbors are used to the existing lot but he appreciated the concern taken by the applicant for the surrounding properties.

The item passed unanimously.

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