Proposal: create 12 single family lots on a 10.64 acre parcel

Location: Lucerne, off the top of Panoramic Dr

Suburban Residential designation in current general plan, R1 zoning.

Applicant: Robert Gardner, PO Box 1978, Lucerne

See Sierra Club comment letter for issues; biological and cultural resources surveys recommended.

On April 26, 2007 the Planning Commission withheld approval for this project -- against the advice of the Community Development Department, which had unaccountably recommended letting it go forward with a mitigated negative declaration (ie no EIR). This small project with a big view -- high above the Lucerne Riviera -- had been tentatively approved more than thirty years ago, when an access road went in and some other grading was done according to prevailing practices that do not meet current standards. Concerns about the project center on erosion and landslide risk, since the average cross slope of the property is approximately 40 percent, it is crossed by a significant seasonal creek, and the flooding that downhill neighbors already experience could be worsened by further soil disturbance on this sensitive site. A geologist's report identified additional hazards including a couple of leaky old water tanks, "building pads" consisting partly of loose uncompacted fill complete with cracks and slumpage, and an access route to the two largest lots that appears to have been built on a base of old tractor tires. After seeing a portfolio of photographs and hearing some pithy details about a number of these special features, the Commissioners decided that until more information (a lot more information) about current conditions and especially about effective mitigation measures was provided they could not give the developer a green light even on a tentative basis. To complicate matters further, although the development is consistent with current zoning, language in the revised Shoreline Area Plan currently in progress would give this site a Rural Lands designation, and because of its steepness sets its minimum lot size at 60 acres, thus precluding any subdivision of the property whatsoever.