The following objectives and criteria shall be adhered to in all ESOS Combining Districts:
A. To protect the character and quality of the natural environment of critical parcels as identified within the General Plan:
1. The elements of scale, form and color derived from the topography and native vegetation of the land shall be preserved.
2. Development should be located in such a manner that the overall natural features and processes of the land can still be accommodated.
B. Setback Buffers. Unless a reduced setback of no less than 50 feet is determined to be appropriate by the Planning Commission upon review of the resource analysis required by subsection D of this section and in conjunction with the findings required by SMC 17.46.060, a 100-foot minimum setback buffer shall be provided from the edge of a wetland, identified riparian dripline, identified endangered species population, or State Department of Fish and Wildlife Preserve, except on the Laguna Youth Park site where no building shall extend beyond 200 feet from the centerline of Morris Avenue. Up to 20 feet of the required setback may be provided as a landscaped trail area.
C. Objectives. To preserve the quality and integrity of certain unique scenic, ecologic, or biotic environments as identified in the General Plan:
1. Only those land uses shall be allowed which can be executed in a manner sensitive to the existing natural resources and constraints of the land.
2. Only those land uses shall be allowed which do not significantly alter the existing terrain and natural vegetation of the land.
D. Procedures. An application for a conditional use permit in the ESOS Combining District shall not be determined complete until a resource analysis of the visual, vegetative, and biotic characteristics of the property is prepared and undergoes review by the Planning Commission. The resource analysis shall be prepared at the applicant’s expense by an independent professional biologist who has met qualifications established by the City and, as appropriate, other professional consultants selected by, and under the direction of, the City. The Planning Commission shall make findings relative to the development constraints of the site through review of the resource analysis.
The resource analysis shall be prepared pursuant to a methodological guidance document that has been approved by the City Council and shall include the following:
1. Characterization of the significant visual elements of the land in terms of scale, form, color, and relation to surrounding terrain.
2. Characterization of the relative significance of the land in terms of visibility from the primary scenic perspective and existing settlement areas, and considering the relationship to any scenic view corridors identified by the General Plan.
3. If proposed project information is available, characterization of the change in the above which the proposed project may effect, and identify any specific project modifications or conditions that may be appropriate to address identified issues. If proposed project information is not available, such analysis shall be prepared for any subsequent project, which analysis shall be subject to the review process established by this chapter.
4. The resource and constraints analysis will identify and map the following using, where applicable, information collected during the season of potential visibility or availability of the resource:
a. Identify the type and location of threatened or endangered plant and animal species and their habitats;
b. Drainage patterns, creeks, streams, and riparian vegetation on and within 50 feet of subject property;
c. The location and boundaries of wetlands and vernal pools on the site, if applicable, and if such resources are identified, a delineation of them in accordance with standards of and verified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;
d. Potential archaeological resources, if applicable, as identified through records review and a site inspection;
e. Flood hazard areas on the site as identified in Federal Emergency Management Agency and City official maps;
f. Identification of native trees of six inches in diameter or greater, including those protected under Chapter 8.12 SMC, Tree Protection.
5. The resource analysis will contain the following types of investigations and mitigations:
a. Determine, if applicable, the area and location of existing undeveloped land required to preserve, protect, and enhance the continued viability of significant biotic resources, wetlands, and environmentally sensitive areas. (This involves identifying land that is functionally a part of the wetlands ecosystem and which should be preserved in a natural state.)
b. Recommend measures for proposed development that will mitigate impacts on identified resources in the following in order of preference:
i. Avoidance of impacts;
ii. Minimization of impacts;
iii. Removal with on-site mitigation;
iv. Removal with off-site mitigation. Any such measures should have the objective of restoring and enhancing resources to a level equal or better than existing conditions, and should include specific and measurable performance criteria and recommendations for any appropriate monitoring.
6. The above analysis, as well as any other analysis deemed appropriate by the Planning Director, shall be presented to the Planning Commission for review, and if required by the Planning Commission, thereupon to the Design Review Board for review and comment on visual, scenic, and protected tree issues. Review of this analysis shall occur prior to any action by the Planning Commission on a conditional use permit for the proposed project.
7. Notice Requirements. Notice of Planning Commission review of the resource analysis report required under this chapter shall be provided in accordance with Chapter 17.330 SMC.
8. Review of Resource Analysis. The Planning Commission shall review the resource analysis report in relation to the requirements of this chapter. Following a public hearing, the Commission may provide comments regarding the content of and issues identified in the report. In its review, the Commission shall make findings whether the report adequately reviews each of the required topics set forth in this subsection D, and may require revisions to the report if it is incomplete. Such determinations shall be subject to appeal to the City Council under SMC 17.455.020(B). (Ord. 1111, 2018)