1 CITY OF LAGUNA BEACH COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT STAFF REPORT HEARING DATE: TO: CASE: APPLICANT: LOCATION: ENVIRONMENTAL STATUS: PREPARED BY: BOARD OF ADJUSTMENTIDESIGN REVIEW BOARD Design Review Variance 7577 John F. McNeely, Inc. - Chad McNeely 876 Canyon View Drive APN # Categorically Exempt, Class 1 Susan Kefer, Associate Planner (949) REQUESTED ACTION: The applicant requests Board of Adjustment / Design Review Board approval for upper level additions (760 square-feet), elevated decks (122 square-feet), roof modifications, skylights, tandem parking, grading and landscaping. A variance is required to encroach into the minimum required 20' front setback, exceed the maximum permitted 30' building height above lowest finish floor and to maintain the existing nonconforming building height. BACKGROUND: The proposed project is located on a 6,716 square-foot lot, north of the intersection at Buena Vista Way. The R-1 Zone is intended for low-density, single-family residential areas, which will provide a suitable environment for family life for residents. The original 2,400 square-foot single-family residence and attached two-car garage was constructed in Per the request of the applicant, this project was continued from the September 11, 2008 Design Review meeting in effort to resolve view issues with uphill neighbors. The project has never been heard. REQUIRED FINDINGS: Design Review Criteria: [XI Access The existing driveway grade is nonconforming; by lowering the garage finish floor the applicant is able to bring the driveway grade into compliance. Page 1 of 4
2 876 Canyon View Drive IXI Design Articulation proposed modifications to the roof structure minimize the encroachment into the Additional Building Setback and reduce building mass at the front of the residence. The proposed shed dormer, located above the stainvelllelevator, provides additional articulation through a varied roof form. The offset wall planes, varied building materials and integration of indoorloutdoor living space contribute to reducing the perceived building mass. The upper level playroom is being created by lowering the garage finish floor to create an adequate ceiling height in an existing volume above the garage. The existing grade along the front elevation at the garage will remain unchanged in effort to minimize the appearance of mass (the garage jnish floor is proposed at an elevation below the adjacent grade). The proposed stone veneer and windows on the playroom and garage level will further articulate the residence and break up the perceived building mass. The applicant proposes the conversion of the existing covered deck area on the middle level to living space and the alterationladdition of elevated decks at the front elevation to provide more functional indoorloutdoor living space. IXI Design Integrity The updated Contemporary Farmhouse architecture proposed by the applicant is accentuated with smooth stucco, stone veneer and glass guard rails. Environmental Context The applicant has designed the residence to minimize the driveway grade, which currently exceeds the City's 10% maximum standard. The subject property has an approximate slope of 37% and the proposed design requires a cut of approximately 13 1 cubic yards (90 cubic yards outside of the building footprint). All grading is proposed within the driveway, front entry landings and garage footprint. IXI General Plan Compliance The applicant requests a variance to encroach into the minimum required 20' front setback, exceed the maximum permitted 30' building height above lowest finish floor and to maintain the existing nonconforming building height. Please reference the variance justifications on page 3 of this report. IXI Landscaping The majority of existing landscaping remains untouched. The applicant proposes new landscaping around the driveway due to the driveway and grade modifications. IXI Neighborhood Compatibility Residences on the uphill side of the street are typically one to two stories above a garagelentry level. Residences on the downhill side of the street typically access the garage from Canyon View Drive and feature structures with one to two additional levels of living space that follow the hillside terrain. The neighborhood consists of an eclectic mix of architectural styles. The proposed improvements to the residence appear to be of similar mass and scale to the neighboring residences. Page 2 of 4
3 876 Canyon View Drive Privacy The steep topography limits the property from having a functional rear yard. Therefore, usable outdoor living space is provided with elevated decks. The proposed improvements include elevated decks which are oriented toward the front of the residence. No adverse privacy impacts are anticipated for surrounding residences. View Equity Many residences in the immediate vicinity enjoy expansive ocean vistas since the terraced streets allow for views over the rooftops below. The proposed improvements have been designed in a manner that does not appear to encroach into neighboring view corridors. The Design Review Board is encouraged to consider view concerns from the perspective of the neighbors - due to the topography and site orientation it is difficult to review the impact to views only from the street. Requested Variances: Municipal Code Section sets forth the required findings of approval for variances. All four findings must be made in order to approve a requested variance. Based on the existing site conditions and goals for the proposed scope of work it appears that the applicant has presented an appropriate design solution. Staff concurs with the applicant's variance justifications to encroach into the minimum required 20' front setback, exceed the maximum permitted 30' building height above lowest finish floor and to maintain the existing nonconforming building height. 1. Special circumstances applicable to the project site: The proposed improvements include bringing the existing non-conforming driveway grade into compliance. The steep topography and existing side entry garage limit alternate design solutions. Additionally, the residence currently encroaches into the front setback (as originally approved in 1976); the proposed improvements do not encroach any hrther into the front setback than the existing structure. 2. Preservation of a substantial property right: Lowering the garage finish floor brings the existing non-conforming driveway grade into compliance and provides the residents with a safer and more accessible front entry; as a result, this improvement creates the need for a variance to exceed building height above the lowest finish floor. The existing structure was previously approved through Design Review and exists with a non-conforming building height. The existing steep topography limits compliance with the required 20' front setback. Requiring compliance with the front setback would require significant hillside excavation and demolition of portions of the existing structure, beyond the scope of the proposed improvements. 3. Granting of the variance will not be detrimental to others: The proposed improvements are generally lower than the existing structure and are designed to create minimal additional building mass. Lowering the garage finish floor creates a more stringent building envelope, but also brings the driveway grade into compliance. Page 3 of 4
4 876 Canyon View Drive A front setback encroachment already exists, the proposed scope of work includes new construction in the front setback that reflects the location of the existing structure; no further encroachment into the front setback is proposed. 4. Not contrary to the objectives of the Zoning Code and General Plan: The proposed improvements include a reduction in existing non-conformities. The proposed building mass located above the maximum building height is due to the grading required to removed the existing non-conforming driveway grade (which allows for safer and more accessible access to the property), the proposed work brings the site closer to overall conformance with the City requirements and policies. COMMUNITY INTEREST: Several property owners have contacted Staff with concerns regarding view, mass/scale and neighborhood compatibility. In particular, one neighbor is concerned that the whitewater views are being eliminated from the master bedroom, kitchen, deck areas and outdoor areas. The applicant continued this project from its original hearing date in effort to resolve view issues with this uphill neighbor. No changes to the submitted plans have been made, but the applicant intends to present these ideas to the Board at the scheduled Design Review Meeting. SUMMARY OF ISSUES: The applicant has designed a project with consideration of the City's Design Review Criteria, adjacent properties and required variance justifications. The applicant intends to improve the safety and functionality of the existing non-conforming driveway grade with the proposed improvements to the driveway and lowered garage finish floor. The Design Review Board must make the required findings for approval of the noted variances. ATTACHMENTS: 1. Pre-Submittal Site Meeting (December 18,2007) 2. Proposed Color and Materials Page 4 of 4
5 City of Laguna Beach - Community Development Department Pre-A~~lication Site Develo~ment Review Meeting Evaluation Evaluation Meeting Number: Date: /07 Planner: Nancy Csira with John McNeely, Architect, Steve Kawarantani, and Brad Barlow, owner. Site Address: 876 Canyon View Drive ZoneISpecific Plan: R- 1 Background: The original 2,400 square-foot single-family residence and attached 2 car garage was built in Design Review Board approval was granted for a grading permit. Assessor Parcel Number: Development Standards: Front Setback: 20 feet (Special street setback) Rear Setback: 20% of the average lot depth (shallow lot) Side Setbacks: 10% of the average lot width (4' min.) Lot slope in percent: > 20% Height: 15 feet above the rear lot line & 30' above natural grade, finished grade, or lowest finished floor, whichever is more restrictive. Parking: 2 covered spaces Design Review Criteria 1. Access: Conflicts between vehicles, pedestrians and other modes of transportation should be minimized by specifically providing for each applicable mode of transportation. The existing driveway grade is nonconforming and the applicant is proposing to lower the existing garage floor to decrease the grade. 2. Design Articulation: Within the allowable envelope, the appearance of building and retaining wall mass should be minimized. Articulation techniques including, but not limited to, separation, offsets, terracing and reducing the size of any one element in the structure may be used to reduce the appearance of mass. 3. Design Integrity: Consistency with the applicant's chosen style of architecture should be achieved by the use of appropriate materials and details. Remodels should be harmonious with the remaining existing architecture.
6 4. Environmental Context: Development should preserve and, where possible, enhance the city's scenic natural setting. Existing terrain should be utilized in the design and grading should be minimized. 5. General Plan Compliance: The development shall comply with all applicable policies of the general plan, including all of its elements and the local coastal program. 6. Landscaping: Landscaping shall be incorporated as an integrated part of the structure's design and relate harmoniously to neighborhood and community landscaping themes. View equity shall be an important consideration in the landscape design. The relevant landscaping guidelines contained in the city's "landscape and scenic highways resource document" should be incorporated, as appropriate, in the design and planned maintenance of proposed landscaping. A landscape plan is required for the proposed upper level additions. 7. Lighting and Glare: Adequate lighting for individual and public safety shall be provided in a manner which does not significantly impact neighboring properties. Reflective materials and appurtenances that cause glare or a negative visual impact should be avoided or mitigated to a level of insignificance in those locations where those surfaces are visible from neighboring properties. 8. Neighborhood Compatibility: Development shall be compatible with the existing development in the neighborhood and respect neighborhood character. Neighborhood character is the sum of the qualities that distinguish areas within the city, including historical patterns of development village atmosphere, landscaping themes and architectural styles. 9. Privacy: The placement of activity areas in locations that would result in a substantial invasion of privacy of neighboring properties should be minimized. 10. View Equity: The development, including its landscaping, shall be designed to protect existing views from neighboring properties without denying the subject property the reasonable opportunity to develop as described and illustrated in the city's "design guidelines." The "design guidelines" are intended to balance preservation of views with there right to develop property. Potential Variance Issues: The current garage encroaches into the required 20' front setback. To lower the garage and add living space above a variance is required to encroach into the front yard setback and possibly the additional build.ing setbacks. Special Processing Requirements: Following zoning plan check, Board of Adjustment/Design Review Board approval will be required. This preliminary evaluation is being provided to applicants and their design advisors to utilize as early as possible in the design stage of a contemplated project so that the ensuing design is more likely to meet the Design review Boards approval before substantial time and resources have been expended. However, this preliminary evaluation provided by staff does not bind the Design Review Board in any manner in its review of or decisions on an application.