The Pacifica Planning Commission continued a hearing on a controversial home on Talbot Avenue that needed a variance from the Hillside Preservation District provisions for its placement on the lot and for not providing a guest parking as required.
The commission continued discussion to see what the ridgetop home would look like from various neighborhoods once it was built.
At the suggestion of Commissioner Lauren Berman, the applicant satisfied the guest parking space requirement by turning an area set aside for landscaping into a parking space at the beginning of the driveway. Engineer Javier Chavarria said that could be accomplished with a retaining wall.
“It’s already disturbed,” said Berman.
They continued the hearing to Sept. 20 so Chavarria, the engineer on the project, could provide renderings to study the look of the home from various vantage points.
Commissioners James Godwin, David Leal and Samantha Hauser asked for directional sitelines from McCarthy Overlook, from Talbot Avenue looking up at the house, down in the East Sharp Park neighborhood looking up, from Milagra Ridge and from Canyon Drive.
Commissioner George Domurat agreed with Hauser that the site was steep, but he said he was comfortable voting that evening on the project. Commission Chair John Nibbelin agreed, but he asked for the vantage point renderings.
“I’m hesitant to deny such a well thought out project,” Nibbelin said. “The parcel is zoned residential.”
Not everyone agreed, however.
“I cannot support this tonight. I want to take a look at how land coverage percentages are awarded under HPD,” she said. “I’m not there right now.”
Berman agreed with Commissioner Hauser.
“This one is hard to swallow. Many aspects of it may be outside our control. I would be more inclined if we had some educational outreach for HPD. There is a lot of concern in the community. Planning Commission is still wrapping their heads around that,” she said. “I don’t feel comfortable with the visual impacts from the ridge and from the adjacent road.
Leal said he was in favor of the project, however.
“There are challenges. The site next to it can be seen across the city,” he said.
One public speaker was in favor of the home and welcomed the new family to the neighborhood. Two were opposed stating fire safety reasons.
Owner Brendan Murphy said he’d love his children to live on the same street as their grandfather.
“We don’t want to be an eyesore. This is a modest family home,” he said.
The staff report prepared by Ranu Aggarwal, contract planner, shows a 2,406-square-foot single-family home with a 425-square-foot two-car garage on an undeveloped 24,149-square-foot parcel.
A general plan amendment is needed to change the density of allowable development from low density residential to very low density residential, Aggarwal said. That has to go to City Council for approval, Aggarwal said. Under HPD, the development proposal would require a zoning reclassification to a planned development district, also requiring City Council approval, she said.
The location is the eastern end of Talbot Avenue. Lands to the north and the east are undeveloped. A single-family home is located to the south, Additional homes are in place to the west of the project site along the south side of Talbot Avenue, Aggarwal said.
The applicant prepared a geotechnical report investigating the soil and geologic conditions by Summit Engineering concluding the house could be safely placed on the lot, Aggarwal said.
Several at the meeting spoke before the Talbot Avenue agenda item asking for more information about HPD and asking the planning commission to be sure to follow HPD rules, including local resident Christine Boles.
“We need to understand our ordinance — improve the process,” she said.