Solana Beach evaluates View Assessment Ordinance

Solana Beach City Hall
(File photo)

The city of Solana Beach will continue to craft amendments to an ordinance designed to regulate proposed structures that could potentially block views.

According to a report by City Manager Greg Wade, the amendments are designed to further the city’s community character objective “to maintain the small town coastal community charm that respects our beachside setting with consideration for scenic views and scale of development.” It also mentions the goals of promoting an “outdoor lifestyle and walkable/pedestrian scale community.”

The city had a View Assessment Ad Hoc Committee that offered a series of proposed amendments to the View Assessment Ordinance in 2014, following a review process that lasted several years. Wade called the agenda item a “long-anticipated” update to the ordinance.

“The caveat I would put is it’s almost 10 years later,” Solana Beach Mayor David Zito said at the council’s Oct. 23 meeting, referring to the time the ad hoc committee began its review. “So other things have changed and there’s other things coming into the process, but this pretty accurately reflects what we came out with.”

One of the proposed changes to the ordinance would require project applicants to apply for a structure development permit if a new structure, or new addition to a structure, exceeds 16 feet. But Solana Beach City Councilwoman Kelly Harless said some residents have said they want that threshold to be lower.

Harless also mentioned regulations to avoid having vegetation blocking story poles, specifying the radius for mailing notices when work is being completed, clarifying the appeals process and addressing public views from parks, among other concerns to be addressed as the evaluation of the ordinance moves forward.

Other proposed changes to the ordinance the council might consider include developing standards for issuing waivers and other procedural clarifications.

Deputy Mayor Jewel Edson said the finished product should more accurately reflect the discussions committee members previously held.

“We would like to continue to work on this and bring something to staff and meet with staff with the goal of getting this moved forward with that experience,” she said.

City staff and council members will continue to work on provisions to the ordinance, and it will be discussed further at future meetings.