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Planning Commissioners Approve Fitness Facility, Parking Variance for Homeowners

Continued from the last session, Planning Commissioners at a March 13 meeting approved a use permit for the operation of a fitness facility at 1678 Coleman Avenue. BMI Fitness had been using the site without a permit. However the use was found to be compliant with the zoning and General Plan. The approval came with a condition that the number of daytime fitness class participants be limited so as not to strain parking supply. The facility’s owner said that the current attendance is about four people per class.

 

908 Fremont Street

A single family home has been at 908 Fremont Street for about 50 years, prior to the City’s creation of the current zoning districts. When the zoning map was eventually created, the site fell under the Downtown Commercial zoning category, which it remained for decades despite the residence. The home that’s considered to be legal but non-conforming, has new owners who are seeking a rezoning from the existing to Single-Family R1-6L.

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Commission Chair Sudhanshu Jain had floated the idea of exploring a zoning for the property that would allow for either residential or commercial, given the City’s plans to revitalize the downtown as well as the close proximity several businesses. However, Planning Staff were informed that the property owners are applying for a Mills Act exception to maintain the property as a historic resource, precluding the commercial zoning. Commissioners approved the initiation of the process to rezone the property.

 

648 Robin Drive

Also continued from the prior Planning Commission meeting, commissioners deliberated on whether to approve a parking variance at 648 Robin Drive, which would allow an 891 square foot addition to a single family home without adding a second covered parking spot. The home currently has a one-car garage, however code requires a two-car garage for additions over 500 square feet.

Since last session, the home owners were able to secure six letters of support from neighbors indicating that the remodeling wouldn’t cause any negative impact. Although Planning staff hadn’t found unusual conditions on the site warranting the variance, commissioners found that nearby homes with greater square footages only had one-car garages. Furthermore, the home had a large driveway that accommodates two cars. The variance was ultimately approved with the condition that the existing garage remain free for vehicle parking and that overhead storage be added. Commissioner Steve Kelly stressed the importance of the condition given that many garages end up filled with storage with no room left for parking, pressuring demand for curbside spaces.

 

Other Business 

With two vacancies on the Planning Commission, City Council is scheduled to conduct interviews to fill the seats at a special session on April 1. Commissioner Lance Saleme requested that the Council members fully vet the applicants’ dedication and ability to commit to serving, hoping to help reduce the likelihood of future sudden vacancies.

The upcoming session on March 27 has been cancelled. The Planning Commission will meet again on April 10.

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