Neighborhood Character

Mission statement:

The goal of this group is to define “the preservation of neighborhood character and appearance” and to develop a process for implementation and/or codification of that definition.

Overlay Zones


The creation of these special zones would respect the character of a defined area, either historically, topographically, environmentally or architecturally. For instance, Deep Well as it is now would set height limits to ten to fifteen feet while Vista Las Palmas (known for its Alexander homes) would have to allow for a peak of 18 feet. That zone in turn is created to provide an officially recognized neighborhood.

An acceptable instrument for reaching “a consensus of acceptability” within those zones is needed; it was agreed that a super-majority would be necessary.....60 or 65%. Again, using Deep Well as an example, the character of that neighborhood now is notable for its lot sizes and the low, flat rooftops. In an overlay zone, that would be a condition of further development.

An application for an overlay zone classification must include the following:

  • Exact borders of the neighborhood

  • Goals/expectations of the association: (for instance)
    • “What is our Character?”
    • “What is our consensus re: landscaping, views, etc.”

  • Set rules as to what constitutes a “consensus”

  • How will the owners be notified?

  • Before approaching the Planning Department with new development, a neighborhood
    committee should first look over the plans of said development in view of the definition of the neighborhood character.

  • How many meetings are required re: new development?

  • What percentage of the homeowners are needed for (dis)approval
    of a project or, indeed, of the goals for the neighborhood?

It was noted that lot sizes vary but the percentage of allowable coverage of lots does not, therefore “bulk” can also be defined within the overlay zone. Protection of views and of the ambience of the neighborhood was of paramount interest.