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  Agenda Item   7.    
Planning Commission
Meeting Date: 11/09/2021  

Subject:
Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment No. 2021-02 (ZOTA 2021-02) to amend Title 20 of the Brea City Code regulating the PD(Precise Development) Zone within the City Of Brea.
 
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The City has initiated an amendment to Title 20 of the Brea City Code (BCC) to facilitate housing development within the PD (Precise Development) Zone. The PD Zone is an additional zone classification that may be applied to any other zone designation that would require review by the Planning Commission. The Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment (ZOTA) aims to implement components of the 6th Cycle Housing Element as well as satisfy the purpose of Senate Bill 2 Planning Grants Program (SB 2 PGP). The SB 2 PGP is geared to help cities and counties prepare, adopt, and implement plans and process improvements that accelerate housing production amidst the State’s housing crisis. This ZOTA was funded by the SB 2 PGP, with the purpose of facilitating housing development and streamlining the public hearing review requirements for by-right, code-compliant, housing development.
 
The ZOTA herein may be referred to as the “Project.”
RECOMMENDATION
Staff recommends that the Planning Commission recommend the City Council take the following actions:
 
  1. Find the project exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15061 (b)(3) and;
 
  1. Adopt Ordinance No. 2021-XXX, approving Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment No. 2021-02, to amend sections of the BCC, regulating the PD (Precise Development) Zone within the City of Brea (Attachment A).





 
BACKGROUND/DISCUSSION
On September 29, 2017, then-Governor Jerry Brown signed the Legislative Housing Package which included 15 bills aimed at addressing California’s housing shortage and high housing costs. Senate Bill 2, Atkins (SB 2 ), also referred to as the “Building Homes and Jobs Act,” established a $75 recording fee on real estate documents. As a one-time component of SB 2, 50 percent of the recording fees collected from all counties in 2018 were allocated to the SB PGP Fund. A total of $123 million of the SB PGP funds were made available through non-competitive local grants intended to aid cities and counties in updating planning and zoning processes that would:
  • Accelerate housing production;
  • Streamline the approval of housing development;
  • Facilitate housing affordability;
  • Promote the development of housing; and
  • Ensure geographic equity in the distribution and expenditure of allocated funds.
 
On December 30, 2019, State’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) awarded the City $160,000 in SB PGP grant funding, the maximum amount for a jurisdiction of Brea’s size. This money was sectioned into the four projects outlined in the SB 2 PGP application as listed below:
  1. Update parking standards
  2. Implement administrative approval process
  3. Design guidance for accessory dwelling units
  4. Affordable housing implementation guide
 
In October 2020, the City disseminated a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking offers from qualified consultants to implement the Project No. 2 objectives identified in the City’s SB 2 Grant application.  Three proposals were received from qualified consultants, and on December 9, 2020, the City executed a Professional Services Agreement (PSA) with Gensler.
 
As a separate item, on September 28, 2021, City staff presented to the Planning Commission ZOTA No. 2021-01 to update the parking standards of multi-family development and remove the public hearing review requirements for multi-family residential projects seeking an off-street parking modification. ZOTA No. 2021-01 is also known as Project IV (previously named Project I) as outlined in the SB 2 PGP application. Then on November 2, 2021, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 1222 regarding exemptions and modifications to off-street parking requirements.

DISCUSSION
Existing Process
Currently, the BCC allows the application of the PD Zone as an additional zone classification. Areas zoned PD are subject to a review of a precise plan of development by the Planning Commission at a public hearing. The PD Zone classification may be applied to a site with any supplemental zoning designation that may range from R-1 (Single-Family Residential) to M-2 (General Industrial). Currently, approval of a precise plan of development would apply to all new development projects, whether if a project complies or request any modifications from the applicable development standards. As part of their review, the Planning Commission may impose conditions of approval in addition to those requirements of the supplemental zone.
 
Currently, there are approximately 2,066 parcels within the City that have PD zone designation, as depicted in Exhibit 1 below. 



Analysis of Proposed Zone Ordinance Text Amendment (ZOTA)
Staff, with assistance from Gensler, assessed the City’s existing PD review process to identify any existing challenges in the development of housing projects in the City. One challenge that was identified by Gensler is the development process of housing projects in residentially zoned and PD zoned sites. If a site has a PD zone designation and complies with all applicable development standards of the BCC, review of a precise plan of development by the Planning Commission is required.
 
The ZOTA proposes language that would expedite the review process for sites located in the PD zone by eliminating the Precise Development entitlement. The Precise Development entitlement is proposed to be replaced with an Administrative Plan Review process that would only apply to sites that comply with all applicable development standards of the PD and supplemental zone. Any project that would request any additional entitlements still requires review by the Planning Commission.  
 
Staff has developed the following scenarios below to provide examples of typical projects that could be submitted to the Community Development Department for processing. These scenarios provide examples of when a project would be subject to an Administrative Plan Review (Director) and when projects would be subject to a Precise Development (Planning Commission) review if this ZOTA were to be approved. It is important to note that given the scale, scope, and level of associated CEQA review, the Director may defer their decision authority to the Planning Commission.
 
  • Scenario 1
    • Project Description: A proposal for an 1,800 square-foot, 4 bedroom, single-family residence with a detached 400 square-foot two-car garage on a 7,200 square-foot property.
    • Zone: R-1 (Single Family Residential) PD (Precise Development) Zone.
    • General Plan: Low-Density Residential (max. 6 du/ac).
    • This project would comply with all applicable development standards of the R-1 Zone that include building height, setbacks, lot coverage and parking.
    • Given the fact that the project is not requesting any entitlements, is exempt from CEQA, meets all applicable BCC development standards and is compatible to the General Plan land use, this request could be reviewed and approved by the Director.
 
 
  • Scenario 2
    • Project Description: A proposal for a three-story 8-unit apartment building with 3 one-bedrooms, 5 two-bedrooms and 17 parking spaces on a 14,500 square-foot property.
    • Zone: R-3 (Multiple Family Residential) PD (Precise Development) Zone
    • General Plan: High-Density Residential (max. 24.89 du/ac)
    • This project site would comply with all applicable development standards of the R-3 Zone that include building height, setbacks, outdoor living space and lot coverage.
    • Given the fact that the project is not requesting any entitlements, is exempt from CEQA, meets all applicable BCC development standards and is compatible to the General Plan land use, this request could be reviewed and approved by the Director.
 
  • Scenario 3
    • Project Description: A proposal for a 3-story, 40-unit apartment complex consisting of 18 one-bedroom units, 12 two-bedroom, 6 three-bedroom and 60 parking spaces on an approximate 2-acre property. The proposed project requires a minimum of 76 off-street parking spaces and exceeds the allowable density.
    • Zone: MU-III (Mixed-Use III) PD (Precise Development) Zone
    • General Plan: Mixed Use III (max. 18 du/ac)
    • As a result, the project proponent is requesting a General Plan Amendment and Zone Change.
    • Given the scale, scope and entitlements requested for the project, discretionary review would be required before the Planning Commission and City Council at a public hearing.
 
Housing Element
The ZOTA would fulfill a new policy from the 6th Cycle (2022-2029) Housing Element. The ZOTA would streamline the development review and permitting process for housing production (Policy 4.3) as outlined below:
  • Policy 4.3 (Objective Development Standards): Establish objective development standards to create greater certainty for developers and streamline the development review and permitting process.
  • Program 13 (Objective Development Standards and Administrative Approval Process): Establish objective development standards and ministerial processing procedures to streamline the house review process. 
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
The proposed project is exempt from the requirement of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to Review for Exemption Section 15061. This exemption is covered by the common-sense exemption that CEQA only applies to projects which have the potential for causing a significant effect on the environment. It can be seen with certainty that there is no possibility that the activity in question may have a significant effect on the environment, the activity is not subject to CEQA. Any future development projects would be subject to CEQA.
 
CONCLUSION
Staff is in support of the ZOTA based on the analysis in conjunction of the implementation components of the 6th Cycle Housing Element and the SB 2 grant objectives to facilitate the production of code-compliant housing development. The new process would instead allow for the administrative review of housing development within residential zones and allow the Community Development Director to apply conditions of approval to protect the public safety and general welfare of the community.
RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED
Jason Killebrew, City Planner
Prepared by: Jose Barriga, Associate Planner
  
Attachments
A. Draft Ordinance
B. Draft Resolution
C. Public Hearing Notice

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