Here is the code and procedures for obtaining Zoning Permits in Avon Lake.
(a) Zoning Permit Required. No building or other structure, except as provided for in this Code, shall be erected, constructed, reconstructed, enlarged, moved or structurally altered, nor shall any excavation or site improvements be commenced, until a zoning permit has been applied for and received by the owner of the property involved or a person having an interest in such property and acting under written authority of the owner. Such permit shall be issued by the Zoning Administrator only when the Zoning Administrator finds that the application complies with all applicable requirements and standards of this Code, and if applicable;
(1) A site plan as required in this Code has been approved by the Planning Commission according to the procedures set forth in Section1217.03.
(2) A conditional use has been approved by Council based on a recommendation by Planning Commission in accordance with the procedures set forth in Section 1217.04.
(3) A request for a variance from a numerical standard has been approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals in accordance with the limitations, procedures and requirements of Section 1217.07.
(4) The Planning Commission has made a determination in accordance with the procedures in Section 1217.03(g) that a proposed use is substantially similar to a permitted principal or conditional use in such district.
(5) For residential developments subject to site plan review, the recreation impact fee as set forth in Section 1224.03 has been paid and evidence of the same has been submitted in the form of a written receipt from the Director of Finance.
(b) Zoning Permit Application.
(1) Application forms for zoning permits shall be available in the office of the Zoning Administrator. All completed applications shall be accompanied by the required fee and all other applicable submission requirements established in this chapter and shall be submitted to the Zoning Administrator.
(2) Upon receipt of an application, the Zoning Administrator shall, within a reasonable period, review the application and any accompanied proposed plan for completeness. If the requirements have not been satisfied, the application shall be returned to the applicant with the deficiencies noted, and such application shall not be further processed until determined complete by the Zoning Administrator.
(3) When the Zoning Administrator determines the application requires site plan review, it shall be processed according to the regulations set forth in Section 1217.03.
(4) A reoccupancy of an existing structure when there is no change in the bulk of the structure; or in a previously approved site plan; and no change in the parking required is exempt from the site plan review procedures. In such case the Zoning Administrator may issue a zoning permit.
(5) A. When an underground or otherwise minor alteration is proposed to an existing building, structure or site arrangement (on a zoning lot otherwise subject to site plan review pursuant to Section 1217.03 or conditional use approval pursuant to Section 1217.04), the Zoning Administrator and Planning Commission Secretary may make a preliminary determination that such a proposal is not contrary to the Zoning Code, has been reviewed and approved by the Municipal Utilities Department, and will not result in any material adverse impact to the site or to surrounding areas, and therefore such proposal is not subject to site plan review. Such determination shall primarily apply to small incidental construction on zoning lots and when the proposed construction is substantially distant from the adjacent roadways and property lines.
B. When such a decision is made, the Zoning Administrator shall issue a zoning permit and the Planning Commission Secretary shall inform the Planning Commission of the decision at the next regular meeting of the Planning Commission. If the Planning Commission Secretary and Zoning Administrator do not agree with the proposal being a minor alteration, the request shall be subject to a full departmental review and Planning Commission approval per the site plan review requirements of Section 1217.03.
(c) Expiration of Zoning Permits. A zoning permit shall become void at the expiration of one year after the date of issuance unless construction is begun. If no construction is begun or use changed within one year of the date of the permit, a new application and permit shall be required. Construction is deemed to have begun when all necessary excavation and piers or footings for one or more principal buildings included in the plan shall have been completed.
(Ord. 48-02. Passed 2-25-02; Ord. 187-02. Passed 9-23-02; Ord. 19-03. Passed 1-27-03; Ord. 16-05. Passed 2-14-05.)
The purpose of this section is to provide adequate review by the Planning Commission of proposed developments in those zoning districts where the uses permitted are of such a nature, because of their size, scale or effect on surrounding property, that review of specific plans is deemed necessary to protect the public health, safety and general welfare of the community.
(a) Site Plan Review Required. Site plan review shall be required for the following:
(1) New construction of all permitted uses in Commercial and Industrial Districts;
(2) Improvements to public property pursuant to Section 1214.04(c)(7).
(3) All conditional uses in all districts;
(4) Signs except when exempt according to the regulations contained in Section 1217.05(b);
(6) R-2 and R-3 Multi-Family Development.
(7) Any existing or previously approved development meeting the criteria of divisions (a)(1) through (6) of this section which proposes to alter, reconstruct or otherwise modify a use or site, including expanding the floor area of the permitted use, increasing the number of dwelling units in a multi-family development, or changing the use, such as will require an increase in the amount of parking or a change in the site's circulation.
(b) Preliminary Review. The developer or owner of any proposed development, use or structure requiring site plan review pursuant to division (a) of this section may meet informally with the Planning Commission at a Planning Commission work session or with other appropriate City staff to review preliminary plans prior to preparing final plans pursuant to division (c) of this section. The purpose of such preliminary review is to establish a mutual understanding of the provisions of this Code and the development objectives of the City. If the applicant chooses such preliminary review with the Planning Commission, plans should be submitted to the Planning Commission Secretary ten days prior to the next Planning Commission meeting in order for discussion of the preliminary plans to be scheduled on the agenda for the next Planning Commission meeting.
(c) Final Site Plan Submission Requirements. The applicant for a zoning permit or conditional use permit for any use requiring site plan approval shall submit the final development plan to the Planning Commission Secretary along with payment of the required fee. The final development plan shall be prepared by a qualified professional and drawn to an appropriate scale and shall disclose all uses proposed for the development, their location, extent and characteristics, and shall include, unless items are determined by the Planning Commission Secretary to be inapplicable or unnecessary and are waived in writing by the Planning Commission Secretary, the following maps, plans, designs and supplementary documents:
(1) The total areas to be developed showing with dimensions, the setbacks, existing property lines, easements and the location of all existing and proposed buildings, structures, utilities, lighting, driveways, walls, fences, off-street parking areas, topography, abutting street rights-of-way, railroads, highways, loading and unloading areas, watercourses and other topographic features within the property and immediately adjacent thereto:
(2) The permanent parcel numbers of the project area;
(3) The location of existing buildings, parking and driveways for the properties extending 300 feet beyond all property lines;
(4) A vicinity map which indicates the location of the site in relation to the immediate surrounding area or the entire City;
(5) The zoning classification of all adjacent properties;
(6) A separate plan which may be required to show all existing and proposed utilities;
(7) The location, design and type of all signs subject to review pursuant to Section 1217.05(a);
(8) A landscaping plan indicating the location, dimensions, and arrangement of all areas devoted to lawns, trees, and shrubs. The landscaping plan shall include: types of plantings listed by common and biological names; the number of each type; plant spacing; and size at planting.
(9) An artists drawing, or an architect's rendering, including elevations and site plans which depict and show all proposed structures, all of which together shall accurately and sufficiently demonstrate how construction of the proposed project shall ultimately appear;
(10) A description of the proposed operation in sufficient detail to fully describe the nature and the extent of the proposed use. The narrative description should be written upon the technical diagram itself, preferably on the presentation sheet if practical;
(11) A description of the expected traffic pattern as it affects the existing city thoroughfares;
(12) For conditional uses only, the applicant must provide the Planning Commission Secretary with a list of the property owners and the listed addresses of such property owners within 300 feet of the boundaries of the proposed sites as shown upon the current records of the County Recorder:
(13) Plans or reports describing proposed treatment or control of any excess traffic impacts, noise, glare, air or water pollutants;
(14) Plans for the handling or storage of any hazardous gases, liquids or other materials;
(15) Plans or reports showing the types of fuels to be used and the smoke or gas control devices that will be provided;
(16) Storm water management plans in accordance with Chapter 1058 and Chapter 1060 with a list of the best management practices utilized;
(17) Any additional information deemed necessary by the City staff or Planning Commission to determine whether the project is satisfactory relative to all aspects of the City's requirements;
(18) The location and dimensions of all public utility easements (minimum of 20 feet) and private utility easements (electric, telephone, CATV and gas, minimum of 12 feet) and the proposed location of the electric, telephone, CATV and gas lines. For the purpose of this section “public utility easement” shall be identified as waterlines, sanitary sewers and storm sewers dedicated to the City, not including rear yard drains. Said public utilities cover all infrastructures dedicated to the City for use and maintenance over and through privately-owned property;
(19) All plans submitted to the City shall begin with a statement that outlines how the plans, designs, and objectives relate to the elements of the Sustainability Master Plan as found in the Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
(d) Administrative Review.
(1) The Planning Commission Secretary shall review the application for completeness pursuant to division (c) of this section and inform the applicant which items from the final plan submission requirements have not been received or are incomplete. If any submission requirements are incomplete or missing, the application will not be processed further until the necessary items are submitted.
(2) When the Planning Commission Secretary determines that the application is complete, the Planning Commission Secretary shall forward the application to:
A. City departments for their review;
B. The City Architect when:
1. The proposed use is located in a Residential, Business, or Industrial District; and
2. The application proposes to construct, alter, reconstruct or otherwise modify a building or sign.
(3) The Planning Commission Secretary shall advise the applicant of any revisions required as a result of the administrative review. The applicant may:
A. Revise the application as recommended by the Planning Commission Secretary and request that it then be forwarded to the Planning Commission; or
B. Appeal the decision of the Planning Commission Secretary to the Zoning Board of Appeals according to the regulations in Section1217.06.
(4) When an application for site plan review is forwarded to the Planning Commission for review, the Planning Commission Secretary shall prepare an agenda which identifies all projects subject to site plan review and shall post such agenda in public places. Such public places and the number of days prior to a Planning Commission meeting that the agenda is posted shall be determined in the rules and procedures for Planning Commission meetings.
(e) Planning Commission Review Criteria. In reviewing a final site plan the Planning Commission shall consider the location of buildings, parking areas and other features with respect to the topography of the lot and existing natural features such as streams and large trees; the efficiency, adequacy and safety of the proposed layout of internal streets and driveways; the location of the green areas provided, considering the possible effects of irregularly shaped lots; the adequacy of the location, landscaping and screening of the parking lots; and such other matters as the Commission may find to have a material bearing upon the stated standards and objectives of the various district regulations. In approving a site plan, the Planning Commission shall find that:
(1) The proposed site plan is consistent with any plan for the orderly development of the City.
(2) The appropriate use and value of property within and adjacent to the area will be safeguarded.
(3) The site plan will indicate that the proposed development will result in a harmonious grouping of buildings within the proposed development and in relationship to existing and proposed uses on adjacent property.
(4) The development, when completed, will have adequate public service, parking and open spaces.
(5) The plan, to the extent practical, will preserve and be sensitive to the natural characteristics of the site.
(6) Adequate provision is made for safe and efficient pedestrian and vehicular circulation within the site and to adjacent property.
(7) Adequate provision is made for storm drainage within and through the site so as to maintain, as far as practicable, usual and normal swales, watercourses and drainage areas, and shall comply with any applicable regulation or design criteria established by the City.
(8) Site lighting shall be designed to minimize direct light, glare, and excessive glow which unreasonably interferes with the use and enjoyment of adjacent property. If it is determined that, once the project is completed, the lighting does have unreasonable adverse impact on adjacent property, the Planning Commission may order reasonable alterations to the site lighting (such as reduced illumination, shielding, landscaping, etc.) to mitigate such unreasonable impacts.
During the review process, the Planning Commission may ask for additional information and table the application and/or defer action on the application to subsequent work sessions or further discussion.
(f) Continuing Obligation to Comply. Once the project is approved and constructed, the owner and tenants, or assigns, have a continuing obligation to comply with the approved plan, any conditions of approval imposed, and any other applicable ordinances and regulations of the City.
(g) Equivalency Provision. In reviewing the application, the Planning Commission may find that the application either adheres or is equivalent to the requirements of this Code. The Planning Commission may consider a site plan equivalent if:
(1) The proposed site plan substantially complies with all specific requirements and with the purposes, intent and basic objectives of the zoning district;
(2) Through imaginative and skillful design in the arrangement of buildings, open space, street, access drives and other features, as disclosed by the application, the proposal results in a development of equivalent or higher quality than which could be achieved through strict application of such standards and requirements; and
(3) The development, as proposed, shall have no adverse impact upon the surrounding properties or upon the health, safety or general welfare of the community.
It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate to the Planning Commission that the provisions of this section have been satisfied. When evaluating the application with respect to this section, the Planning Commission shall make any finding of equivalency in writing which explains how and why the proposal has satisfied on the above criteria. When making such finding, the Commission may approve the proposed application, including waivers from the numerical standards herein, as if the application were in strict compliance with the standards and requirements in this Code.
(h) Planning Commission Action. Following its review, the Planning Commission shall either approve the application, approve the application with modifications, or deny the application. If the Planning Commission does not act on the application within 60 days from the date the application is initially heard by the Commission, or an extended time period as may be agreed upon, at the election of the applicant it shall be deemed a denial.
(i) Lapse of Approval. An approved plan shall remain valid for a period of 12 months following the date of its approval. If, at the end of that time, construction has not begun, then such plan shall be considered as having lapsed and shall be of no effect unless resubmitted and reapproved by the Planning Commission. Construction is deemed to have begun when all necessary excavation and piers or footings of one or more principal buildings included in the plan shall have been completed.
(Ord. 48-02. Passed 2-25-02; Ord. 94-03. Passed 4-28-03; Ord. 138-2012. Passed 11-14-12.)