In January, a group of 14 nearby residents appealed the Planning Commission's approval of a use permit for the project. The commission had voted 5-2 last December in favor of the project, on the conditions that the property owners add some privacy protections and reduce the building's overall height by a foot. Commissioners Andrew Barnes and Larry Kahle opposed the approval.
The neighbors — mainly residents of Gilbert and Santa Monica avenues — asserted that the commission did not go far enough in addressing their concerns about the proposed home's height. They wrote in their appeal of the commission's decision: "As homeowners on the block, we are happy to see this property improved with a new two story home. However, the proposed height would result in a monolithic structure that is abnormally high compared with surroundings, not compatible in scale with the neighborhood, and that would cause significant visual disharmony and awkwardness."
Area neighbors, in further comments to the City Council on June 5, requested that the proposed house's height be further lowered, and that high-quality finishings be added to the structure. They also wanted the owner to mitigate the harms incurred to a heritage tree on the property that was allegedly "maimed."
The owners have since paid a civil penalty and plan to replace the tree, according to a staff report.
Earlier, city staff said they believed that "the scale, materials and style" of the proposed home would be "compatible with the neighborhood." Under the plan that went before the commission, the house was to be under the 2,800-square-foot limit, and under the maximum permissible height of 28 feet.
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