Thursday, July 28, 2011
Newly proposed residence on Gypsy Hill
Planning Commission criticism: the residential project is still too close to the ridgeline; a different location on the property would be better; redesign the project; underground the second story; there are drainage issues; debris may fall on Sharp Park road; the residence may be visible from somewhere in Pacifica (bad). Commissioner Leon had the right idea to accommodate planning for the owner/residents: if a heritage tree is the cause of obstructing their view, remove the tree.
Pacifica Planning Commission Study Session, 7/18/11: Project Summary, pages 3-5.
"The applicant proposes to develop a 3.5 acre vacant parcel with a 2-story single-family residence that includes a 2nd residential unit at the southwest portion of Gypsy Hill Road in the East Sharp Park neighborhood. The residence will cover approximately 2.1T of the lot (excludes driveways, walkways, landscaping, and uncovered parking areas and reach a maximum height of approximately 30 feet. The 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, single-family residence would contain approximately 3,420 square feet of floor area, exclusive of an 864 square foot 3-car garage, and 576 feet of patio area. The entry level will feature 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, living room, mud room, kitchen/dining area, a deck, and the 3-car garage. The lower level plan will accommodate a den, 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 bathrooms, mechanical/storage area, and second residential unit."
Reported article: Pacifica Tribune/Jane Northrop, 7/28/11. "It wasn't the first time the Pacifica Planning Commission had heard a proposal to build on a ridgeline property on Gypsy Hill Road. The last time a property owner proposed a home, the commissioners told him to move it back from the ridgeline. That owner never followed up on proposing a new plan and told the commissioners they had essentially quashed his project. He eventually sold the property. During a study session July 18, a new owner proposed a home for the same property, but taking a cue from the prior owner, moved the building further back from the ridge. Nevertheless, the commissioners asked for a bigger setback. "I'm concerned about the visual impact from other places in Pacifica," said Commissioner Josh Gordon. "I want to be fair and consistent about the hillside preservation ordinance. I want to ask the same of you as we asked the other applicant. Move it to the east. That would preserve the ridgeline."
The architect who presented the plans is a member of a family who owns the property. She envisions a multi-generational home for her family, including aging parents who would come from Singapore, to live with their daughters who settled in the area and their children. The main home would be 3,500 square-feet with the second unit 864 square feet. There would be a three car garage.
The lot is steep and windy but it affords ocean views. The building would be set to take advantage of views to the west and the south. Drainage is a problem on the lot that needs to be carefully engineered. A landslide on the right part of the lot presents challenges for building there. The project would employ green and sustainable designs. There are three homes and one under construction on Gypsy Hill Road already. The architect picked the location for the home behind a large heritage tree. It would be 28 feet, well under the height limit. One and two story options were reviewed, but the owner prefers the two story option. One of the options would put the lower level below the ground level.
Commissioner Tom Clifford liked the plan with two units, but was also concerned about the visual impact of the building from other parts of Pacifica. He asked the owner to return with photos from the golf course and other locations in Pacifica where the home might be seen on the ridge. Commissioner Chuck Evans didn't much like the design and thought a different one would fit better on the lot. "It's a tough spot," he said. Commissioner Leo Leon wanted to see calculations about moving the building to the eastern part of the property. He said he would prefer the removal of a heritage tree that's in the way over the visibility issues. "Visibility trumps trees. The impact to the ridge is more important," he said. "This is a poster child why the hillside preservation district exists," said Commission Chair Rich Campbell. "We have to make sure debris doesn't flow to Sharp Park Road." He also asked for more photos from the golf course, Mori Point and other places where people would have a view of the ridgeline. "There's more at risk than hillside preservation," he said. Former Planning Commissioner B.J. Nathanson, who was in the audience, said she loved the idea of a multi-generational home, but was concerned about the location on the ridgeline. "This is not the place for that large a home. This seems to be a mega-home on this site," she said."
Posted by Kathy Meeh