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Updating Residential Building Restrictions in Altadena

A subcommittee of the Town Council's has proposed some ideas on how to ease restrictions on residential property construction in Altadena as part of the county process to update Altadena codes.

In the upcoming , the Town Council's Land Use Committee has already issued some recommendations how to update residential requirements in Altadena.

A five member subcommittee took an extensive look at how to make changes that would make building on residential lots easier in Altadena.

The Land Use Committee has experience in the subject since landowners who propose renovations that would require a permit present their plans at the committee before submitting to the county.

Most of the recommendations to ease restrictions on residential construction, and those recommendations are based on case studies of problems that have come in front of the committee.

The full report is available at right.  Below, a quick summary of the changes is available courtesy of Mark Goldschmidt, the head of the Land Use Committee, who summarized the proposals in a written report to the Town Council:

1) Minor additions of 500 square feet or less would be allowed for homes falling within the prevailing average setback, a way to allow owners of small properties situated adjacent to very large properties to add on to their homes. The prevailing setback rule has led to some major frustrations in the past.

2) Minor additions of 500 square feet or less would be allowed to encroach into a side yard setback if the line of the existing house already falls within the setback. Many houses built prior to the CSD do not adhere to the new setback rules of 10% of lot width for a single story, and this change would allow homeowners to build additions without compromising the architectural integrity of their houses.

3) Residential garages on steeply sloping terrain in hillside-zoned areas would be allowed within standard front setbacks to avoid excessive grading.

4) Swimming pools and spas are currently allowed within the rear setback of a lot, or to encroach on the side setback, but cannot be sited in both. We recommend changing this rule to allow pools to be located in either or both setbacks.

Goldschmidt told the Council Tuesday that the committee also discussed possible commercial zoning changes but did not compile a report on them.

Steve Lamb March 22, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Those are much needed changes to the CSD!
Maria Impala March 22, 2012 at 07:12 PM
With regard to construction of a swimming pool, a conditional use permit and a report from a certified arborist is required for any construction or excavation encroaching on the drip line of an oak tree. While I am very much in favor of protecting our oaks, the fees the county charges are excessive (almost punitive) for residents. If one tree is involved, the fee is about $1,000.00. If you own two or more trees the permit fee exceeds $5,000.00. Essentially, a single family homeowner building a pool or home addition with oak trees is charged the same fee as a developer clearing land with multiple trees for a subdivision. The county fees and arborist report to obtain an oak tee permit for a single family home, constructing a small backyard pool with two nearby oak trees, cost $7,000.00 and took over a year to obtain. I would propose the fee structure and review process for residents needing this type of permit be reviewed & revised.
Tunafisher March 25, 2012 at 10:05 PM
What about additions of 3000 square feet? My backyard view has been completely cut off as well as sun exposure for my now defunct veggie garden.

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