Zoning Code Amendments, Policies and Programs
Residential Zoning Code and Design Guidelines Update
In January 2018, the City Council authorized staff to initiate a comprehensive update to the City’s Residential Zoning Code and Design Guidelines. The Planning Commission Chair appointed a subcommittee to work on this project and several workshops have been held. The proposed draft amendments are based on the experiences and issues that the Community Planning and Building Department and Planning Commission have encountered in reviewing Residential Design Study applications. The general rules for building or remodeling a single-family residence in the City remain intact; nonetheless, a number of amendments are proposed that will affect some of the residential design regulations. The City Council will be holding a study session on November 4, 2019, to discuss the project. The most recent staff reports are included below.
Commercial Zoning Code Update
In January 2018, the City Council authorized staff to initiate a comprehensive update to the City’s Commercial Zoning Code. A meeting was held with the Planning Commission on April 24, 2018, and subcommittees were appointed. This project is still in the research phase, and will not commence until the Residential Zoning Code update is near completion. Areas of study will include business land use regulations, development regulations such as parking standards and housing density, design guidelines update, and potential for a downtown specific plan to address the Downtown Conservation District, as well as the City’s cap on hotel units. This project will likely involved an update to the City’s General Plan – Land Use Element.
Downtown Transient Rental (Short-Term Rental) Program
Ordinance 98-17 prohibits transient rentals in the Single-Family Residential (R-1) Zoning District, however, there is no prohibition in the Commercial and Multi-Family Districts. On March 5, 2019, the City Council first reviewed the City’s regulations on transient rentals in the Commercial and Multi-Family Zoning Districts and directed staff to continue studying the issue and report back with additional information. The Council considered the issue at the June, July, September and October 2019 meetings. An Ordinance establish regulations will be considered for adoption at the November 5, 2019 City Council meeting. As drafted, the Ordinance will allowed the permitted units to continue operation as legal nonconforming, and will allow 1 new transient rental in exchange for the creation of 3 new rental units, with one being designated as “low income” and the other as “moderate income”. The third unit may be market rate.
Historic Context Statement Update
The City’s Historic Context Statement (HCS) is an important tool in evaluating which properties potentially qualify for the City’s Historic Inventory. The HCS was last updated in 2008. Staff is currently in the process of updating the HCS. The City has entered into a contract with Brunzell Historical to assist with the projects. The City’s Historic Resources Board has been involved in the process and the Chair appointed a subcommittee to assist. This project will likely be completed in the Spring of 2019.
Beach Fire Pilot Program
Components of the City’s Local Coastal Program (LCP), including Title 17 of the Zoning Code and the Coastal Access and Recreation Element, authorize an unlimited number of (wood-fueled) fires on Carmel Beach between 10th Avenue and Martin Way. The Beach Fire Management Pilot Program was adopted by the City Council in June 2016, in response to growing concerns regarding fires on Carmel Beach and associated air quality, aesthetic and public safety impacts. The Pilot Program expires on November 30, 2020. The City is in the process of preparing a Local Coastal Program Amendment to make permanent changes to the beach fire rules, which will be informed by the Pilot Program.
Climate Action Plan
In June 2019, the City Council adopted the Fiscal Year 2019/20 Capital Improvement Program (CIP), which included the Climate Change and Resilience Plan (Plan). The description of the project was to “ascertain impacts of climate change” and “identify and prioritize specific measures to minimize adverse impacts from climate change.” In August 2019, the City Council opted to have a working group composed of two Council members, two staff members, and up to four members of the public to develop the City’s Plan. Council appointed two Council Members, Mr. Jeff Baron and Ms. Carrie Theis, to lead the working group. Two staff members, Mr. Marc Wiener, Community Planning and Building Director, and Ms. Agnes Martelet, Environmental Compliance Manager, have been appointed to the working group by the City Administrator. Workshops will be held on a regular basis to discuss this project. If you are interested attending one of the upcoming workshops, please click here to see the list of City meetings.
Sidewalk Vending Program – Urgency Ordinance
On September 17, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 946 (SB 946), which establishes statewide governance of vending in the public right-of-way and parks. The purpose of this bill is to create entrepreneurial and economic development opportunities for certain individuals, by removing barriers to selling food and merchandise on public sidewalks and in parks. The bill went into effect on January 1, 2019.
The new law requires that cities allow sidewalk vending, and restrictions may only be imposed when directly related to objective public health, safety, or welfare concerns. Local jurisdictions that wish to regulate sidewalk vending are required to first adopt a program with rules and regulations consistent with SB 946. On January 8, 2019, the City Council adopted Urgency Ordinance 2019-006, establishing the Sidewalk Vending Program. On February 5, 2019, the City Council extended the Urgency Ordinance an additional 10 months and 15 days. The City Council will be considering extending the Urgency Ordinance of an additional year, at the November 5, 2019 meeting.
Federal and State laws are increasingly limiting local land-use discretion over wireless communications facilities. Under the Telecommunications Act, local governments retain their authority to regulate wireless facilities as long as the regulations: 1) Do not prohibit or “effectively prohibit” wireless communications facilities; 2) Do not unreasonably discriminate between communications service providers; or, 3) Do not regulate based on potential environmental impacts associated with radio frequency (RF) emissions. The City will be updating it’s Wireless Telecommunications Ordinance to ensure that it is compliant with Federal and State Laws, while protecting community character. For information on this matter, you may review the staff reports below, which pertain to an application that was submitted by Verizon and denied by both the Planning Commission and City Council.