Seal Beach planners postpone variance

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The Seal Beach Planning Commission postponed a scheduled public hearing on June 1 regarding a variance request that could affect many local residents who may be considering the same kind of consideration from the city.

Alan and Lorraine Chavez want a 1,555 square foot addition to one building and  an 864 square foot addition to another building, both on the same land parcel on Central Avenue.

Both buildings are non-conforming, so a variance would be required before the city could grant their request.

A variance, an exception to the municipal code, requires a public hearing.

Senior Planner Jerry Olivera’s memo to the Planning Commission did not give a reason for the continuance. The memo simply said the applicants asked for the hearing to be continued to the Wednesday, July 20 Planning Commission meeting.

In other business, planners continued discussing the definition of a patio cover. Olivera said staff will at a future date present the commission with a zoning text amendment. That’s a technical way of saying they will draft a change to the city code to define patio covers and determine whether patio enclosures may be added to non-conforming properties.

Under the current city code, a patio cover is defined as “a roofed structure located between a dwelling and a side or rear property line that shelters an outdoor area.”

The definition most recently proposed by staff would establish the maximum square footage and height of a patio cover. The staff proposal would require a patio to be at least 75 percent open between the top and bottom of the wall on a minimum of two sides.

Staff also recommended that non-conforming structures may not be altered unless the alteration makes the building in question conform to the code.

Olivera told the Sun that staff may need to do “further tweaking” of the language in the proposed amendment before the city law is changed.

Seal Beach planners postpone variance