Friday, September 11, 2009

CGF Comments on an appeal to allow a Coastal Development Permit

(CGF Legislative Advocate Lennie Roberts submitted the letter below opposing an appeal of a decision denying a Coastal Development Permit in San Mateo County. -Brian)

August 24, 2009

President Mark Church and Members
Board of Supervisors
400 County Center
Redwood City, CA 94063

Re: Item #6 on the August 25, 20009 Meeting Agenda: PLN 2003-00226 (Irizarry/Caron) Appeal of the Planning Commission’s Denial of a Coastal Development Permit and Certificate of Compliance (Type B) to legalize a 17,900 square foot parcel, and Use Permit, Coastal Development Permit, and Design Review Permit to construct a single family residence on a parcel within the COSC Zoning District (Burnham Strip), El Granada

Dear President Church and Members of the Board,

Committee for Green Foothills urges you to uphold the Planning Commission’s decision to deny the Coastal Development Permit (CDP) and Certificate of Compliance (CoC), Type B, and to deny the requested variances and Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for the proposed single-family residence. If you choose to approve the CoC, which we do not support, we urge you to include a Finding that the applicable date of recordation of the CoC, for purposes of compliance with the COSC regulations is after August 25, 2009. We further request that any approval of the CDP for the CoC be conditioned to require any development of the parcel to fully comply with the COSC zoning regulations including prohibition of residential uses, as well as with the Visual Resource Policies of the LCP.

Regarding the Certificate of Compliance, Type B: The key issue for this permit is what is the date of recordation of the subject parcel. Clearly, it is 2009, after your Board’s approval of the CoC, Type B, and not back in 1949, when the then-owner, Louise Souza, recorded a Grant Deed to the State of California for the center portion of her larger parcel for the construction of Highway One, leaving two unrecorded parcels – one to the west, and this one to the east. The Staff Report (page 7) correctly points out that the July 8, 1949 Grant Deed from Louise Souza to the State of California for the State Highway physically bisected her property, but did not in fact create a separate legal parcel. “No evidence has been presented that a new property description for these remaining portions was recorded.”

The Staff Report (page 10) further supports the conclusion that the date of recordation of this parcel has not yet occurred. “The very fact that a CoC, Type B, is needed is a recognition that subdivision requirements were not followed in 1949, when a de facto subdivision occurred. As discussed above, however, the fact that the parcel must now be legalized does itself establish that the parcel has not been “recorded” for purposes of Section 6227.b.6.”

The date of recordation is crucial to this issue, since the COSC Zoning District prohibits residential uses on any parcel recorded after 1981. There is no ambiguity with respect to the word “recorded” in Section 6227.b.6, which permits certain uses in the COSC Zoning District subject to a Use Permit including: “6. Division of land, except that no residential uses shall be permitted on a parcel recorded after 12/1/81.”

If the subject parcel had been recorded in 1949 as a separate, legal parcel, the Applicant would not be requesting a CoC, Type B today.

Approval of the single family residence would require multiple variances and exceptions to the zoning regulations, and would result in significant visual impacts. Approval of these variances and exceptions is unacceptable.

COSC Section 6228 (a) Development Standards requires a minimum of 2 acres for a building site; the Caron parcel is less than one-half acre.

COSC Section 6228 (d) Minimum Yards Requires a 50-foot setback from the front property line; the variance requested is for a 24-foot setback (Location B).

COSC Section 6228 (d) Minimum Yards requires a 50-foot setback from the rear property line; the variance requested is for a 39-foot setback (Location B).

The Planning Commission found that the property does not vary substantially from other parcels on the Burnham Strip, as there are two other undeveloped parcels that are as shallow or shallower than this parcel, and where application of the setbacks would also minimize or eliminate their development potential. Therefore, the variance findings cannot be made in this case.

The Planning Commission also found that there were significant adverse impacts on coastal resources, specifically visual resources. The proposed single family residence would result in significant visual intrusion into an area having natural scenic qualities, and would obstruct views from existing public roads, public water bodies, and public lands. These impacts cannot be mitigated, due to the parcels topography and location.

In conclusion, Committee for Green Foothills respectfully requests that you uphold the decision of the Planning Commission, and deny the CoC Type B, and also deny the CDP, Use Permit and Variances for the single family residence.

Thank you very much for consideration of our comments.

Lennie Roberts, Legislative Advocate
Committee for Green Foothills

cc: Lisa Grote, Director of Community Development

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