The City Council has agreed to pursue a list of ideas for addressing the impacts of redeveloped homes that some residents consider out of scale or out of character with the surrounding neighborhood.
In response to public interest, city staff and the Planning Commission have been working for the past few months to document problems and propose potential solutions to the issues of neighborhood redevelopment compatibility. Based on research and extensive community outreach, the Commission presented preliminary recommendations to the City Council at the Council's July 16 meeting.
Recommendations, corresponding to three major areas of community concern, included:
- Steps to preserve trees and greenscape -- requiring tree retention on redeveloped single family lots, and requiring that front yards include some greenscape.
- Actions to address scale and character of redeveloped homes -- changing height measurement methods, changing requirements for placement of heating and air conditioning units, restricting "pop-up" carports, establishing special standards for homes exceeding a size threshold and restricting lot combinations.
- Steps to address construction impacts -- requiring regular debris removal from building sites and clean-up of abandoned building sites, requiring on-site signage to inform neighbors of construction codes and requirements, avenues for expressing concerns and contact numbers.
In directing the staff and Planning Commission to proceed, the City Council did not approve any code changes, but paved the way for code amendments and other steps to implement the recommendations. Prior to implementation, all recommended actions will receive further study and public input.
Some of the changes -- those that the City Council considered most urgent -- will be considered by the Planning Commission in early fall and could be implemented by early 2008. More complex changes will be considered later in 2008.
Council Members, Planning Commissioners and staff all emphasized that the recommendations aim for balance, fairness and flexibility -- supporting neighborhood investment, while encouraging graceful transitions.
"We're not trying to legislate taste," Councilmember Claudia Balducci noted. The changes, she said, address actions that destroy the privacy, peace and enjoyment of people's homes.
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