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The goals and purposes of this chapter are to:
(1) Preserve the unique character of Palo Alto neighborhoods;
(2) Promote new construction that is compatible with existing residential neighborhoods;
(3) Encourage respect for the surrounding context in which residential construction and alteration takes place;
(4) Foster consideration of neighbors' concerns with respect to privacy, scale and massing, and streetscape; and
(5) Enable the emergence of new neighborhood design patterns that reflect awareness of each property's effect upon neighboring properties.
This program is intended only to mitigate the effects of second story construction on neighboring homes, and should not be construed to prohibit second story construction when this title would otherwise permit it.
The provisions of this Section 18.12.110 apply to the construction of a new singly developed two-story structure; the construction of a new second story; or the expansion of an existing second story by more than 150 square feet in the R-1 single family residential district. All second-story additions on a site after November 19, 2001 shall be included in calculating whether an addition is over 150 square feet.
(c) Individual Review Guidelines
The director of planning and development services shall issue guidelines to direct staff and project applicants in implementing the goals and purposes and other provisions of this chapter. Guidelines establishing substantive review standards for second story development shall be presented to the planning and transportation commission for their comment prior to adoption or amendment by the director.
Neither the director, nor the city council on appeal, shall grant an individual review approval, unless it is found that the application is consistent with the individual review guidelines.
In granting individual review approvals, reasonable conditions or restrictions may be imposed if appropriate or necessary to protect the public health, safety, general welfare, or convenience, and to secure the purposes of this title (Zoning).
(f) Application Review and Action
Applications for individual review approval shall be reviewed and acted upon as set forth in Section 18.77.075.
(g) Preliminary Meeting with Planning Staff
Project applicants are strongly encouraged, before applying for individual review of a project, to meet with planning staff to discuss designing a project that promotes the goals of this chapter and the individual review guidelines, and to discuss the proposed plans with their neighbors.
(h) Changes to Approved Projects
The director may approve changes to a previously approved individual review project without following the procedure set forth in Section 18.77.075 if those changes do not affect compliance with the individual review guidelines. Examples of such changes include:
(1) Reductions in window or door size, or reductions in the number of windows.
(2) Changes to aspects of the project not reviewed under individual review, such as materials or non-street-facing first story windows.
(3) Changes that do not affect privacy/streetscape.
(4) Increases in setbacks.
(5) Reductions in second floor mass that do not affect privacy or streetscape.
(Ord. 5494 § 3, 2020: Ord. 4869 § 14 (Exh. A [part]), 2005)