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2012-01-31 TOWN OF TRUCKEE _ 731 07 ` ZONING ADMINISTRATOR l - i7 Y *1'11;E REGULAR MEETING MINUTES 4. e . 1 o 'e January 1, 2012 • �� a •e +se �. afe �� Town Hall — Administrative Center 10183 Truckee Airport Road, Truckee, CA 1. CALL TO ORDER. The meeting was called to order at 1:02 p.m. by Zoning Administrator, John McLaughlin. Attendees Present: John McLaughlin, Zoning Administrator /Community Development Director; Denyelle Nishimori, Associate Planner; Laura Dabe, Administrative Secretary; Item 4.1: Gavin Ball, Agent; Jake Hudson, Holdrege & Kull, Project Geotechnical Engineer; Charles and Margaret Messner, Adjacent Homeowners. 2. PUBLIC COMMENTS. None. 3. APPROVAL OF MINUTES. 3.1 September 15, 2010 — Regular Meeting Minutes were approved as submitted. 4. PUBLIC HEARINGS. 4.1 Application No. 11- 025 /MUP -VAR (Borowitz Setback Variance); Barry Borowitz, Owner /Applicant. Denyelle Nishimori, Associate Planner. The applicant is requesting Variance approval to allow for existing rock retention walls greater than four feet in height to remain up to approximately 15.6 feet within the required 20 -foot rear yard (eastern) setback and Minor Use Permit approval to allow for existing rock retention walls greater than four feet in height to remain up to two feet within the required northern 10 -foot side yard setback. Staff Recommendation: Staff is recommending a series of conditions, including having someone on site to make recommendations and requiring a building permit; review by the Chief Building Official will ensure there are no Town concerns about safety issues or the long -term life of the retaining wall. APPLICANT PRESENTATION: Gavin Ball stated that he met with the applicants and Jake Hudson of local geotechnical firm Holdrege & Kull to address resolving the nonconformity and fixing the notice filed against the property. From the geotechnical and homeowner perspective, three things need to be addressed: (1) the stability of the current wall, (2) the stability of the end proposal (stepping back of wall at the southeast corner) and (3) how the work gets done in the field in terms of construction. Ball mentioned the requirement (Condition No.12) that Zoning Administrator Meeting — January 31, 2012 Page 1 the designer needs to be on site to reassure the Messners that there will be no safety concerns. Ball also stated support for modifications to Condition No. 10 as proposed by Greg Gatto, attorney for the adjacent property owner, which includes minor improvements not shown on the site plan (e.g. dripline irrigation and a small irrigation box). Ball stated that of the three components, two have neighbor consent and were handled with the support of the property owners. Mrs. Messner stated that the issue was heavily addressed and became a disclosure when the neighbors sold the house. Ball requested modifications to Condition No. 7 (the performance guaranty and requirement for the homeowner to have a surety bond submitted and approved prior to March 1), suggesting alternatives for the timing and type of performance guaranty. Requiring a performance guaranty of 125% of the bid estimate would be a significant amount of money; the owner believes the requirement would be counterproductive to getting the job done this year and would like an alternative to a bond of $100,000. Zoning Administrator McLaughlin asked whether that was an estimate of the work; Ball stated that they do not have a professional estimate yet. Ball agreed that some security is needed to ensure that the job gets done this year, and proposed four possible solutions: 1. The applicants submit a signed contract with the excavator showing a commitment to getting the work done this year; 2. The applicants have a signed contract with the excavator and make a partial prepayment of 50 percent to show confidence that the work will be done; 3. The landowners have a signed contract with the excavator and pay the full amount, which would resolve the issue of dual costs; 4. The date for submitting the bond or surety is moved to October. If the work doesn't get done, then the applicant will post the bond so the work can get done in the spring. Zoning Administrator McLaughlin asked whether it is the applicant's plan to get the work done this coming construction season. Ball questioned whether a performance guarantee or surety can reasonably be submitted or approved prior to March 1, 2012, since an excavator cannot get to the property to review the project. If the performance guaranty requirement remains in effect or is changed to one of signed contract proposals, the applicants hope that more time will be allowed to get a bid, such as a May 1 deadline. Mr. Hudson explained that he was brought in after the walls were built, but is comfortable in stating that the existing walls are stable. He described certain engineering features that. were incorporated into the wall (e.g., rock size and shape, embedment of the first rock on the bottom, etc.) to explain his confidence in the stability of the walls. He will make sure the walls are built in accordance with the same standards. In his professional opinion, rock fall is unlikely based on shape of the rocks (which are not round), the steepness of the slope and the softness of the soil. The wall is built on a slope, and some rocks were not keyed in as deep as he would have liked to see them, but they would have the opportunity to replace those as part of the'reconstructions. PUBLIC COMMENT: Mr. Messner asked if vegetation helps hold rocks or is a hindrance. Mr. Hudson stated he doesn't think it makes a difference; Ball suggested it is more of a visibility issue. Zoning Administrator Meeting - January 31, 2012 Page 2 Mr. Hudson explained that instead of one tall wall, the property will have several terraces. Mrs. Messner asked for clarification about whether the southeast corner will be removed, including all the walls within four feet of the property boundary. Ball clarified that the slope will be terraced from one point to the next will be a four -foot course, then another slope, then another four -foot course. The walls at bottom will not look like the existing condition, but all will not be removed. In addition, a landscape plan will be required; the idea is that the terraces will be planted to help screen /re- vegetate. Ball explained which rocks will remain based on whether they are keyed in, the current condition and height, and whether they are imbedded. Mrs. Messner asked if the four feet referenced was from the base of the imbedded rock; Mr. Hudson explained that the four feet is from the slope /ground surface. Mrs. Messner asked whether the variance addresses the issue of some walls being higher than four feet. Nishimori clarified that it is still six feet tall at the rear height and that the Variance allows for a lesser minimum setback from the property line for the parts that do not comply. The Messners asked about the greenbelt property in back and whether there were any variances with Tahoe Donner or a private owner, and why there was no opportunity to buy the greenbelt. Nishimori explained that it is hard in Tahoe Donner to sell to a private owner because it requires a majority vote of the home owner membership. Mr. Messner asked whether retaining walls can be built into setbacks; Nishimori responded that they can be built in the setback without Variance /Minor Use Permit approval if they are less than four feet tall. Mr. Messner stated that as long as the excavator doesn't lose rocks during construction, they think the proposals are acceptable. Zoning Administrator McLaughlin closed public comment. Zoning Administrator McLaughlin asked whether Jake Hudson will be the on -site geotechnical consultant; Hudson explained that they do not have a signed contract yet, but that it is his understanding from the applicants. Zoning Administrator McLaughlin asked for a ballpark issue of cost. Mr. Hudson stated that his guess would be substantially less than $100,000, but that it is a reasonable preliminary estimate to cover the job. Ball suggested that the majority of the cost is transporting the excavator. Mr. Hudson asked how they will access the property; Nishimori responded that there is a path around the house, sloped for access and wide enough to drive a vehicle through. Mr. Messner observed the excavator came in from Skislope with no problem. Ball explained that there is an on -site access plan but that timing is an issue — getting an excavator there in March when the grass /soil is wet would not work; the ground needs to be stable and dry enough to support the excavator. Zoning Administrator McLaughlin addressed Condition No. 7 (the surety amount), stating that after 10 years and two expired after - the -fact building permits, ensuring that someone takes the project seriously will require more than a contract with an excavator. The owner Zoning Administrator Meeting — January 31, 2012 Page 3 needs to understand that when the work is done, the money will be returned. The bond is not that expensive in the grand scheme of things and the relatively short bond period might not be onerous. He asked Ball whether he understood the sense of urgency regarding completing this project in this coming construction season. Ball stated that some kind of surety to give encouragement is acceptable. He noted that the code enforcement effort to date has been recording a Notice of Non - compliance, which does not motivate anyone beyond noticing. The owners are motivated to get it done, but timing and money are an issue. The variance has a two -year life, and he stated they would accept a shorter life on the variance. However, he suggested that both a shortened period and a performance guaranty would be "double- dipping "; Zoning Administrator McLaughlin disagreed. Ball stated that the applicants are looking for the flexibility to get the work done this year without a large outlay of capital. If a performance guaranty in the form of a surety or bond is needed, that is acceptable. Zoning Administrator McLaughlin acted to determine the project to be categorically exempt from CEQA and approved the Variance and Minor Use Permit based on the findings and conditions of approval contained in the staff report subject to the following modified conditions: ➢ Condition No. 11: Modify to add that the landscaping plan shall be made available to adjoining property owners for review. ➢ Condition No. 10: Modify with language submitted by Mr. Gatto. ➢ Condition No. 7: Modify as follows: o A performance guaranty will be required in the form of a signed contract with an excavator and geotechnical engineer for onsite services, along with a timeline associated with the proposed work. o Given current weather conditions, there should be opportunity for the excavator to get on site in the next two weeks to review the project; Zoning Administrator McLaughlin will not set a timeline for such review, but will note that that timelines exists. o A 50 percent surety /performance bond will be required for the amount of the excavator and geotechnical engineer work. The bond shall be in place by May 1,2012. McLaughlin noted the 10 -day appeal period ending 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 13, 2012. 5. ADJOURNMENT. To the next regularly scheduled meeting on February 15, 2012, at Town Hall in the Upstairs Front Conference Room. Respectfully Submitted, John McLaughlin, Community Development Director By: Laura Dabe, Administrative Secretary Zoning Administrator Meeting — January 31, 2012 Page 4