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Adopted ordinance to require review permits

SOLANA BEACH — A revised ordinance was adopted with a 4-1 vote at the Oct. 12 meeting that now requires a development review permit for any residential structures or additions greater than 500 square feet. The ordinance was opposed by a handful of residents, including three-time former Mayor Marion Dodson.
But the new law is subject to change as city staff and a council ad hoc committee work to amend the guidelines for development review.
Councilman Dave Roberts said he believes property values and quality of life have been maintained in Solana Beach “because we have carefully balanced the growth of our city.”
“This isn’t set in concrete in perpetuity,” he said. “It’s just something that we’re putting in place … until we can come up with … new information.”
The fact that guidelines are still being created is one reason Joe Kellejian voted against the ordinance change, which he labeled a “500-square-foot burden.”
He said he wasn’t necessarily opposed to the size requirement, but he would rather wait until the rules are set because the new law will cost property owners whose projects trigger development review an additional $3,000.
It will also result in increased work for staff and possibly an additional two dozen projects that may need to come before council for a public review every year.
“I’m probably going to be the lone ranger on this,” Kellejian said before the vote. “I’m really pushing very, very hard for us to reduce some of the zoning criteria.
“If somebody wants to go out and increase the size of their home … it will cost them $3,000 right off the bat,” he said. “I’m looking at the amount of work the city will have to do. … I really think we’re putting the cart before the horse.”
Councilman Mike Nichols said he wasn’t opposed to the additional work. “That’s what we’re here to do,” he said. “That’s our job. Does it cost a little bit more? Yes, it does, but it’s just part of the cost of doing business.”
During the public comment period, a few residents suggested different criteria should be used on homes east of Interstate 5 since they tend to be bigger than those by the beach. Although those additions would trigger development review they would have less impact on community character.
One resident noted that one size fits all may not be the best approach, something Nichols agreed with. As a member of the ad hoc committee with Mayor Lesa Heebner, he said he would consider that as changes are made.
According to the staff report, there has been some confusion as to when a development review permit is necessary so the revised ordinance was proposed for clarification.
Dodson said calling it a clarification is “misleading and false.” She said she believes it is a new ordinance that should have been better noticed, openly discussed and put to a public vote.
The item was introduced during the Sept. 28 meeting and adopted on a second reading Oct. 12. It went into effect 30 days later.
“Having two public hearings is not really telling people who are going to be affected about this ordinance,” Dodson said. “I hope that’s not your intent, but that’s what you did.”
Heebner said an upcoming project at her home will be subject to the revised ordinance.
“It’s just how it goes,” she said. “Our purpose up here is to really preserve community character.
It’s what many of us have promised the community to do.”
Nichols said he hopes to have the new guidelines in place in about six months.