Well, those of us in historic districts no longer have to worry about a $500 charge for a major COA to replace or install a fence, as long as city staff determines that it is appropriate for the style of the home.
While the new fence ordinance was item 32 on the agenda, the earlier items went pretty quickly (for a large agenda meeting) and we took up the issue at about 9:00 pm. I had submitted my speaker's card and as soon as the item was announced by the city clerk I was asked to make my statement. I was a little confused as a public hearing is usually proceeded by a staff report on the item, then the public is asked to comment, then the council, then the vote. But it appears that because this item had been to two commissions and a study session that staff didn't feel that a presentation was necessary.
Fortunately, after the comments generated by Ed's original posting on this issue, I took the opportunity to familiarize myself with the report and we were on our way.
I made the arguments that a $500 fee for a major COA might create situations where, as in my own case which I highlighted, a fencing project might only cost $125 to construct, but the COA would boost that cost by over 4 times the amount. I argued that, while wanting to preserve the integrity of our historic neighborhoods, that such fees would actually cause individuals to not upgrade fences or to do them without permits and hope they don't get caught.
Public Participation: I, and Arturo Jimenez, who is on the planning commission and had similar conerns to ming, were the only speakers on the issue (where were you Gilman and Ed?). No reference was made to any written comments, so I don't know if the council had received any or not. I was somewhat surprised as the various comments on the previous posting, particularly by Gilman, warned us about being vigilant and participating.
In the end, the council decided to delete the requirement for a major COA in historic districts, and reduce it to a minor COA which can be done over the counter. Councilwoman Lantz asked that guidelines be created which clearly delineated the appropriate materials and styles for each housing style within the historic districts.
Chain Link: The new ordinance restricts the use of chain link to back yards. It not be permitted in front yards or in back or side yards that face a street. The ordinance states that you can't put in new chain link fencing, nor can you replace/repair chain link fencing of more than 50%. So a damaged chain link fence which requires less than 50% replacement can be repaired, but if a car runs down a chain link fence and it is more than 50% damaged, then it has to be either removed or replaced with appropriate fencing.
Councilwoman Soto asked that chain link be allowed in front yards for the next two to three years due to the problems with the economy, for families who want a place where their children can safely play. She was concerned that other fencing materials might be a financial burden in these troubled times. The rest of the council was not inclined to go along with that approach. Unfortunately, no one explained to Councilwoman Soto that Pomona has a "white picket fence" program which reimburses residents for front yard fencing (vinyl white picket fences), and those in need can get assistance. Councilwoman Carrizosa made a passing reference to it later in the meeting just before the vote.
Now to see what we can do about the major COA costs on tree removal.