At issue was a request for a tentative map waiver for creation of two existing detached dwelling units described as condominiums, which are currently being remodeled on a residentially zoned 0.14-acre site on a cul-de-sac at 1039-1041 Van Nuys St.
Following lengthy debate among PBPG board members, neighbors and the developer, Robert Bateman of Beach Developer, LP, the board voted 9-5 to disapprove the project. Reasons for board opposition to the technically complex project included its unusual configuration, and allegations that it didn’t fit the neighborhood, would set a bad precedent and that it was an end-around zoning requirements maximizing profits at the neighborhood’s expense.
“These two lots are long and skinny,” noted PBPG chair Karl Rand.
Bateman defended his project, pointing out it was on a nonconforming lot caused by the previous street realignment of Van Nuys. “We’re asking to build two single-family homes, but we could have built four units,” he said. “But we didn’t because it wouldn’t have been best for the neighborhood. We wanted to create two single-family homes with yards – not rental units.”
Bateman said affordability was another factor. “We want to sell to young families and they can’t afford market-price homes going for $2 million,” he said, adding both dwellings would be well below that price point. “We did the best we could, and we’re sorry the community is in such an uproar."
Board members Carolyn Chase and Jason Legros questioned Bateman.
“This is an unusual lot-line situation, how many other situations exist like this in the neighborhood?” asked Legros.
“It’s an anomaly, one of a handful of properties in PB like this,” answered Bateman.
Neighbors weighed in against the project.
“If this exception gets pushed through it will be the rule on our street that you can have up to four units, it’s very frightening,” argued one.
“I feel like this guy broke all the rules,” contended another.
“This will set a bad precedent in our neighborhood,” and “one hundred percent of neighbors do not want this project,” were other comments by neighbors addressing the Bateman project.
PBPG board member Eve Anderson, noting the roofs of the two structures are so close together you can almost touch one from the other remarked, “That’s not a healthy way to live.”
Group chair Rand noted the plan group’s recommendation will be forwarded to a hearing officer who will make a decision on the Bateman project, which is appealable to both the City Planning Commission and ultimately, the City Council. He said the public will have input at every governmental level of review.
In other action
• PBPG board overwhelmingly approved a 1,200-square-foot, two-story granny flat at 1304 Emerald St. owned by a family intended for use by their daughter and her child. A couple of neighbors complained of a past history of noise from the main dwelling, which has been both a long- and short-term rental.