Q: Residential density, as well as new building construction mass and height are still areas of concern in Coronado. Are you satisfied with the current R-3 Residential Zone housing standards for multiple-family residential dwellings and the more restrictive R-1 Residential Zone standards? If not, what changes would you like to see implemented?
A: Residential building is always a discussion item in Coronado. In fact a 1914 edition of THE STRAND, Coronado’s first paper, listed in the upper right hand corner of the banner a statistic on the dollar value of building permits that had been issued year to date: As of April 25, 1914 that number was $58,320- a whopping 1.3 Billion with a “B» in 2018 dollars! (Assuming 3% inflation)
As a planning commissioner in 2013 I was always asking why were were being presented with parcel maps to approve when construction of the 4 R-3 areas homes was almost complete. Peter Fait patiently explained that the building permits were already approved at the administrative level yet the parcel maps were a perfunctory necessity prior to sale. That did and still to this day bugs me.
As a Council member I was pleased to support the recommendations of the RSIP III process which limited bulk and mass among other neighborhood friendly design changers including one of two required parking spots to be uncovered. It also added a bonus for submitting residential construction to the Design Review process, a first for Coronado. Also, 43% of Coronado homes in Coronado today are classified as mulit-family.
In addition, I was recently extremely proud of our Council action to approve multiple Mills Act agreements. This is another important tool in our cities’ efforts towards preserving our charm and character.
While the standards are restrictive, we must balance restriction with the need for young families to move to town and who will live full time in their homes to maintain our traditional family friendly character. I contend that in many areas of town, the “density” of full time residents is dropping thus limiting school enrollment, soccer participation and church attendance. What is a town with full property tax accounts but empty civic institutions? That is not the Coronado I grew up in and it is not the Coronado I hope to leave to my children.
The current batch of R-3 homes built to the new standards are coming through the pipeline now and we are closely monitoring trends. Have we gone far enough in limiting floor area ratio? I look forward to that community discussion going forward. Also of interest is the number of Accessory Dwelling Units being added to R-1 lots- by a rough estimate 20-30% of these new projects add an ADU and the impact of these on density must be assessed.