ZDRB: Meeting Notes – Mar. 9th

What I expected to be a long meeting wrapped up in under two hours with the Commissioners’ deciding on two items, one project inching forward and a fourth item pulled from the agenda.

The legal non-conforming garage on Mount St was pulled from the agenda, and based on the observed conversation of the Commissioners and Staff; it was a confusing, messy, and time-consuming issue that was not heard by the Board. All the scope of work that the applicant proposed for the garage is considered maintenance. The exterior modifications for 8 Forrester Lane had five letters in opposition to the second-floor balcony and window addition changes. The application agreed to the Staff’s changes before the hearing. The commissioners voted unanimously to accept the revised proposal, and the new renderings would need to be signed off by Staff to move forward. 

The Board voted unanimously to grant a FAR variance for 1905 Colombard Way. The variance amounted to 54 sq ft. As part of a Master Planned development, the FAR is based on lot size and open space and considers the different housing types.  FAR is .25, and homes in this specific Oak Circle area are allowed. 31. The variance increased FAR to .32. Chair Zagorski and Vice-Chair Miller discussed their concerns with this action setting a precedence for others and in this neighborhood.  There are 13 homes with this design that this variance would affect. The Commissioners made clear they wanted Staff to draft language that would adhere only to these 13 similar properties and not others in the Master Planned community.

2150 Starkey Ave was once again up for review as the original design was continued from the previous meeting. The architect did a much better job this go around to give us a context of how we would view the home from the street and neighboring properties. He also showed photos and design elements from neighboring properties to explain the prairie windows, Arts and Crafts style elements, and the use of stone. He also showed pics of the Gamble House in Pasadena (again, even though he had changed many details). The applicants removed the cantilever effect, and the focus became the brick on the facade and the wrap around to the carport. This brick element represented 12% of the facade. When the brick is viewed head-on, they felt it had a grounding effect. The applicant chose to keep the carport open on the west side, so the “exposed” brick wrapped from the front of the building added to the massing’s visual. 

In fairness to the applicant, I perceive that it can be frustrating when you want to execute your vision and hear the issues discussed that don’t concur. I don’t understand and continue to bristle at being told the list of money spent trying to implement this vision and despairingly referring to a neighbors home as a “monstrosity” to gain the commission’s support. In my years on the ZDRB, Council and now watching the meetings, I have yet to see that angle fully play out. Vice-Chair Cook made a motion to accept the design with the elimination of the brick on the west side of the elevation of the garage. Planning Director Liston clarified to accept the design with the additional condition. Commissioner Pinna seconded, and the motion passed 2-1 with the Chair Zagorski disagreeing and two members still having to recuse themselves due to proximity. The applicant appeared OK with the decision as he announced, “You won’t be disappointed,” as he exited the Zoom.

See the Agenda or watch the recording.

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