A.   Purpose and intent.  The purpose of creating ridgeline preservation standards within the Hillside Residential zone is to ensure the ridgelines that frame the city will be preserved to the greatest extent possible.  Significant ridgeline standards shall be defined, described, and established, along with a map delineating all significant ridgelines in the city, to ensure that the most significant ridgelines will not be developed, for the purpose of preserving the existing and future view that frames the city.  A required three (3)-dimensional visual analysis shall be submitted with the hillside development permit to ensure that the principles of preserving significant ridgelines will be satisfied.
Figure 20.206.080.A
Hill forms and ridgelines create community identity.  Preserving ridgelines provides a natural backdrop to the city’s developed areas and reinforces the community’s connection to the hillsides and open space.
   B.    Significant ridgelines.
      1.   Significant ridgelines are those ridgelines characterized by any combination of the criteria specified below.
         a.   The ridgelines that surround or visually dominate the surrounding valley landscape either through their size in relation to the hillside or mountain terrain of which they are a part.
         b.   Their visual dominance as characterized by a silhouetting appearance against the sky.
         c.   A significant natural backdrop feature or separation of communities.
         d.   Visual dominance due to proximity and view from existing development or major corridors.
         e.   As an area of significant ecological, historical, or cultural importance, such as those which connect park or trail systems.
      2.   The official Significant Ridgeline Map, contained as an exhibit herein and maintained on file as part of the city Geographic Information Systems database, identifies crests of significant ridgelines in the city for the purpose of this chapter and specifically, this section.  The precise delineation of a ridgeline shall be determined at the time a development application is received based on official Significant Ridgeline Map and the criteria in subparagraph B.1. above.
   C.   Ridgeline preservation.
      1.   No grading or improvements shall occur within one hundred (100) feet of a designated and delineated significant ridgeline area, as measured horizontally on a topographic map prior to any grading or improvements.  A significant ridgeline area is determined by the Significant Ridgelines Map on file at the Development Services Department except as approved by a hillside development permit as in compliance with § 20.206.020.  No portion of any structure shall be closer to a designated and delineated significant ridgeline area, as measured fifty (50) feet vertically from a cross section of the area.
      2.   No engineered slopes, housing construction, streets, utilities, excavation, or other permanent human-made features shall be permitted within any significant ridgeline area, as the same is determined by the Significant Ridgelines Map on file at the Development Services Department.  Exceptions may be granted as part of the hillside development permit process if findings are made that encroachment into a significant ridgeline area will be in compliance with the intent and purpose of this chapter and the specific criteria set forth herein and that conditions of approval applied via the hillside development permit will implement the provisions of this chapter.
      3.   Exceptions from the standards set forth in § 20.206.080.C.1 and 2 above may be granted if findings are made that:
         a.   Alternative projects of substantially similar density, as determined under § 20.206.060.C, on a subject property are found to be more environmentally harmful as compared to development on the ridgeline. This consideration may only be achieved through the approval of a development agreement or specific plan (as provided for in state law); or
         b.   Imposing ridgeline preservation standards could preclude a reasonable economic return on the development of the subject property, and the proposed development incorporates measures such as landform grading, berming and landscaping to reduce the visual impact of any structure, wall or fence constructed within the ridgeline area from lower elevation development and any structure, wall or fence constructed within the ridgeline area would not be visible from any roadway categorized on the Brea General Plan Master Plan of Arterial Highways and, the project complies with all other criteria of the Hillside Residential (HR) zoning standards, including exceptions provided for in the zoning standards.
Figure 20.206.080.C
(Ord. 1079, passed 11-2-04; Am. Ord. 1101, passed 5-15-07)