SB variance application approved—46 years ago


The Seal Beach Planning Commission was going to have a public hearing on a variance on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

However, the hearing didn’t take place.

The hearing turned out to be unnecessary because the variance had in fact been granted already—in 1964. In a memo to the commission, Senior Planner Jerry Olivera explained that the variance was requested for the house at 700 Ocean Ave.

The applicant requested and received a variance “for maintaining a portion of the existing structure within the street side yard setback area along 7th Street,” Olivera wrote.

The applicant accepted the conditions in January 2006.

However, the applicant never received building permits and the variance approval expired.

“The applicant reapplied for the variance (VAR 10-1) in November 2009.

“While reviewing the application, staff discovered a previous variance from 1964 in the property file that appears to already permit what the applicant was seeking to maintain,” Olivera wrote.

There was no mention of the 1964 variance in the staff report on the 2006 variance that had expired.

“After consulting with Steven Flower about the matter, Steven concluded that the new application was unnecessary, since the variance had already been granted in 1964,” Olivera wrote.

Steven Flower is the assistant city attorney of Seal Beach.

“Although the record from the 1964 decision was thin, Steven felt that there was enough evidence in the record to allow the applicant to rebuild a structure within the existing footprint,” Olivera wrote.

Return of the Zoning Code

That night, the commission received and filed an update on the progress of revising the Zoning Code, also known as Title 11.

“Several unsuccessful attempts have been made in the past to revise Title 11,” said the staff report by Director of Development Services Mark Persico and Development Services Project Consultant Lee Whittenberg.

“Over the last several months, the consultant and staff have met with representatives of Save Our Seal Beach, Seal Beach for Two Stories and the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce,” said the Persico-Whittenberg report.

According to the report, there are no significant changes to the basic lot size, density, set back, height or parking regulations in the revised version of Zoning Code. The revised Title 11 has eliminated the “Floor Area Ratio” standard for all districts except for the current FAR standard for the district located on Seal Beach Boulevard between Electric Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway.

The FAR standard was a source of controversy in 2009 that lead to a referendum campaign against the last proposed revision to the Zoning Code.

The new code will allow the director of Development Services to approve some types of land uses that are now reviewed by the Planning Commission.

Seal Beach staff plans a series of community outreach meetings and roughly $20,000 in advertisements to keep the public informed about the Zoning Code revisions. Neighborhood meetings are scheduled to begin in early March.

Until next time

The commission continued a hearing on a request for an indefinite extension of Main Street Wine Cellar’s conditional use permit. That hearing will continue at the Wednesday, Feb. 3 Planning Commission meeting.

Dog houses on agenda

Planners will also look at the text of a proposed amendment to the Zoning Code dealing with covered roof access structures, also known as “dog houses,” on Wednesday, Feb. 3.


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