Thursday, June 11, 2015

Latest Development Review Committee Meeting

We thought that now might be a good time to remind our loyal readers what the job of the Development Review Committee and of Planning in general is.  Our jobs revolve around zoning and land use, as spelled out in the Monrovia Municipal Code (i.e., the document that holds the answers to all of life's mysteries).  Some of the questions we ask ourselves are:  "Is this use appropriate?"  "How does this fit with the neighborhood?"  And especially, "What does the Code say?"

The DRC meeting on June 10th had four items on the agenda. The first item up was a review of a front yard fence at 837 Crescent.  This applicant was requesting a 4 foot fence on top of an existing 2 foot stone retaining wall, making the overall height of the structure 6 feet (measurements are always taken from the lowest adjacent grade).  So, the question you might be asking yourself right now is: "What does the Code say?"  And here's the answer.  Our beloved Code says that in a front yard, a residence can have a 3 foot solid wall or fence or a 4 foot wall or fence that is at least 50% open.  The reasoning behind this is two-fold.  First, tall fences in the front yard could obstruct sightlines, which could be dangerous to drivers, pedestrians, and other street users.  Second, it creates a certain amount of uniformity so that our neighborhoods appear cohesive.  In this case, the DRC granted the exception to the height requirement, with the conditions that the new fence is aesthetically pleasing and at least 50% open.

Second up was another fence!  The exclamation point is meant to convey excitement, by they way.  The Monrovia Tennis Club, at 158 North Sunset, was requesting a 6 foot solid vinyl fence with 1 foot of lattice on top, for an overall height of 7 feet in the side yard.  At this point, you may be wondering about height limits in the side yard.  Say it with me folks, "What does the Code say?"  Our revered Code says that a side yard fence cannot be taller than 6 feet as measured from the neighbor's grade.  We guess that sometimes those tennis balls tend to bounce pretty high out of bounds.  Since the neighbor came to the meeting to express his support for a tall fence, this item was approved by the DRC.

Third item - a Conditional Use Permit for the new Merengue at 417 South Myrtle to serve alcohol, both indoors and outdoors.  What does the Code say about this?  The Code, in its infinite wisdom states that the Planning Commission has to make the final decision for a CUP, and so this item was forwarded on to the Planning Commission with a recommendation of approval.  The DRC also reviewed the floor plan, outdoor furnishings and outdoor delineator.  These elements were approved by the DRC.  Looks like we are one step closer to having Merengue back!

Finally, the DRC reviewed a Conditional Use Permit for a drive thru Starbucks at 860 West Foothill.  Since we already know what the Code says about CUPs, I bet you can guess how this one turned out.  That's right, it  was also forwarded on to the Planning Commission with a recommendation of approval.  See some of the renderings below!