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New layer added to CPP process

DEL MAR — In response to efforts to streamline the process, design review procedures will be a little longer and a bit more expensive.

Council members at the Oct. 17 meeting unanimously agreed to amend the design review ordinance by revising the procedures for the Citizens’ Participation Program, adopted in 2010 to give neighbors a chance to provide input on proposed residential development before a project is presented to the Design Review Board.

The new procedures were recommended by an ad hoc committee created to identify concerns related to the community impacts of new and remodeled homes and then provide solutions that could include changing regulations and procedures.

The new policy makes the CPP a more regulatory and detailed process that includes a formal application and staff oversight.

An informal pre-CPP meeting will be required in an effort to provide information and disclose potential issues early on to neighbors of proposed developments.

Applicants and their representatives must present a conceptual vision of the project and hear concerns about views, primary living spaces and privacy.

Notification for the next step – the formal CPP meeting – must be sent out 28 calendar days in advance, twice the current requirement.

Detailed plans, basic 3-D images as seen from adjoining homes and numbered story poles must be provided at that meeting.

A city planner will be assigned at that point to provide oversight and administer the process. Currently there is little staff involvement and a $50 fee is required when the application is submitted to the Design Review Board.

Applicants must also pay about $130 for notifications.

It is estimated the additional work will require about 18 to 20 hours per project at a cost of $1,620, an amount that could change once the city’s fee schedule is reviewed. A part-time employee may be hired.

“There’s going to be a lot of staff involvement,” senior planner Matt Bator said. “We will be pretty much going hand-in-hand with the project.”

It’s possible that frontloading the process could save the applicants money later on.

The ad hoc committee recommended holding the CPP meetings on weekends and at night so as many people as possible could attend. But with the addition of a staff member, the meetings will take place after 3 p.m. weekdays.

“Having a staff member there outweighed the convenience factor,” committee chairman Harold Feder said.

The new rules will be in place for two years so the city can gather sufficient data to determine if the changes are effective.

The amendments were introduced and approved at a first reading Oct. 17. They will be implemented following adoption at the second reading, likely at the Nov. 21 meeting.