PLANNING REVIEW PROCESS

Purpose and Intent

This guide has been prepared as a guide for the review and processing of various development applications within the City of Lomita. It is made available to the public for reference, as a summary of code requirements and explanation of planning terms and processes.

The information provided herein is consistent with the General Plan of the City of Lomita, the current Zoning Code, the California State Subdivision Map Act, and all other applicable state, county and local ordinances, policies and regulations.

Review Process

1. Plot Plan / Staff Review

An Administrative plot plan review is required to show compliance with code requirements for any construction or modifications to existing structures, including construction of fences. If site plan conforms to code, Administrative approval can be given quickly by the Planning Division

In order to obtain a Building Permit, a plan (site plan, floor plan and elevations) must be submitted first to the Planning Division for approval. If zoning requirements are met, the plan will be stamped and signed by the planning staff. Following this approval, two full-size sets of plans, including a plot or site plan, framing plan, floor plan and elevations, must be submitted to Building and Safety, located next to the County Assessor's Office at 24320 Narbonne Avenue, for plan check. Grading plans are required only if grading more than 20 cubic yards, or 3 feet of fill or excavation.

Plan check fees are collected at the time of submission and are based on the valuation of the project, but include school tax and other fees. The plans are reviewed for expansive soil conditions, seismic resistance requirements, and energy saving measures, as well as other building and safety requirements. Building and Safety plan check for a simple addition to a single family residence should take a few weeks, depending on case load. After any required modifications to the plans are made a building permit is issued.

If administrative review shows that a project does not meet code requirements or if a variance, conditional use permit, or zone change is needed, a formal site plan review and Planning Commission approval is required prior to obtaining a building permit.

2. Site Plan / Planning Commission Review

Planning Commission approval is necessary whenever a plan does not clearly meet development standards for the zone. In those cases, a report must be made by staff to the Commission recommending approval or denial and the applicant may make a case before the Commission.

In order to obtain a formal site plan review several items are required which are described in the “Instructions for Filing Site Plans”. The Lomita Planning Commission meets on the second Monday of each month. Plans must be filed 21 days prior to the meeting to be included on the agenda for review. A staff report will be prepared with a recommendation. The applicant may address the Commission regarding the project, and Planning Commission may approve, approve with conditions, or deny a proposed project. Occasionally, Traffic Commission approval will also be required on a proposed project, for example when a parking lot of more than 8 spaces is part of the project. The Traffic Commission meetings are on the 4th Monday of each month, and can be scheduled concurrent with Planning Commission review.

3. Public Hearings

A public hearing is required for zone change, variance, or conditional use permit applications and also may be required for a height variation permit. A public hearing requires notification of surrounding property owners and allows for opposing arguments to be heard. The procedures necessary to schedule a public hearing are detailed in the appropriate instructions. The Planning Commission, after hearing both sides, will determine whether or not the use would be detrimental to the public welfare or the property of others in the vicinity and approve, deny or conditionally approve a project.

4. Appeals / City Council Review

If an applicant is dissatisfied with the administrative review, an appeal may be made to the Planning Commission. A Commission decision may be appealed to City Council. The decision of the City Council upon an appeal from an action of the commission is final and conclusive.

Planning Terms And Processes

1. Conditional Use Permit

A conditional use permit is the method by which the City controls the location and operation of certain types of land uses. Additionally the conditional use permit sets forth the limitations and conditions under which they may operate. A conditional use permit requires a public hearing. An Application Form, Request for Hearing, Radius Map, Certified List, and Affidavit are required. Fees must be submitted with the application.

2. Variance

Variances are intended to permit alterations of development standards as they apply to particular uses when practical difficulties develop from the strict interpretation and enforcement of zoning codes. Zone variances may be granted, or variances may be required in particular cases for building setbacks, height, bulk and density, parking, landscaping, walls, and fencing and business operation.

A variance may be granted to specific uses usually for a determined period of time, which are not ordinarily allowed within the particular zone. The variance does not change the zoning on the subject property but allows the use to exist with conditions.

A variance requires a public hearing. Instructions for a Zone Variance application are the same as for a conditional use permit above.

3. Zone Change

In some cases it is allowable to change the zoning on a particular property. Zone changes are allowed only when the change will not be materially detrimental to the property of other persons located in the vicinity. The zone change is applicable to the subject property only.

A Petition for Change of Zone, Application Form, Request for Hearing, Radius Map, Certified Property Owner's List and affidavit and appropriate fees are required.

4. Height Variation Permit

A Height Variation Permit is required for any residential property south of Pacific Coast Highway proposing new construction, or addition to an existing home exceeding 16' above natural grade. Initially required are:

  1. A completed application form and fee
  2. Signatures of adjacent property owners or tenants acknowledging that construction plans have been shown to them,
  3. A frame of the proposed addition attached to the subject property; and
  4. Notification to adjacent property owners within a 300 foot radius of the subject property.

If less than 5% of those notified object within 14 days of notification, and the Planning Department finds that the proposed construction is designed and situated in such a manner as to minimize view obstruction and meets all other zoning and subdivision requirements of the City, the City Planner may approve the application.

If objections are received from 5% or more of those notified, a public hearing is required, and a Request for Hearing must be filed as for conditional use permit above.

5. Land Subdivisions

In accordance with the Subdivision Map Act, any subdivision of land into 4 lots or units or less requires a parcel map and any subdivision of 5 lots or units or more requires a tract map prepared by a registered civil engineer. Tentative maps are first submitted to the Planning Department with application form and required fees and following approval by the City Planner, are submitted to the Engineering Department of the County of Los Angeles. Comments and corrections required by the county or other departments or agencies will be provided. The tentative map is then scheduled for Planning Commission and City Council for approval. The Commission and Council will review the tentative map for consistency with the applicable general and specific plans.

Final maps are to be completed within the time frame allowed, and are again scheduled for City Council approval.

6. Lot Line Adjustment

A Lot Line Adjustment is a change in the lot lines of 2 or more existing adjacent parcels where the land taken from one parcel is added to an adjacent parcel, and no new lot is created. An application form and appropriate fees are required. The City Planner may approve or conditionally approve the lot line adjustment, although in some cases Planning Commission approval may be required.

7. Lot Merger

A Lot Merger is the combination of two or more contiguous lots into one. At least one of the lots must be undeveloped except with accessory uses. This is usually approved by the Planning Department, but in some cases may require Planning Commission approval.

8. CEQA Requirements

The City is required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to evaluate the environmental impacts of new development and, if necessary, provide mitigation measures prior to development approval. An environmental review is provided for any major projects and others that have the potential to adversely impact the environment.

9. Water Conservation Requirements

In Compliance with AB 325, the City has adopted a water-efficient landscape ordinance for new developments.