Why Cities Should Back Off of Setbacks

Why Cities Should Back Off of Setbacks

Josh Stephens on May 16, 2017

©2019 California Planning & Development Report.


Insightful excerpt from an article from 2017.

Setbacks are the currency of anti-development activism. Homeowners who like their cities and their property values just fine don’t care how far away a building is from a street. They’re likely only to see those buildings at 35 miles per hour anyway, and probably from a lane or two away (plus a few feet if there’s a devil strip). But they know how to push planners around.

For them, setbacks are just a bargaining chip – a palpable way to stick it to developers. Setbacks persist because they are quantifiable and negotiable. Once opponents have whittled down the number of units or the amount of floor space in a project, they can bring on the setbacks. The developer wants a setback of zero feet. Neighbors want a setback of ten feet. When it gets settled at five feet, the neighbors chalk up a win.

Why is that a win? Because they don’t care in the first place. They gain nothing, except for a five-foot pain-in-the-ass for the developer and a lousy place to take a stroll. This isn’t advocacy, and it’s certainly not planning. This is urban trolling.

City of Rancho Cordova Standards for off-street parking for private residences.

23.719.130 Standards for off-street parking for private residences.


Off-street parking and driveways for detached dwellings, manufactured homes, single-family attached dwellings, and two-unit attached dwellings shall meet the following requirements:

A. Any vehicle, trailer, or vessel which is inoperable or vehicles that are Certified as Non-Operation or Planned Non-Operation Certified with the Department of Motor Vehicles shall be stored entirely within an enclosed structure, where it is not visible from the street or other public or private property and shall not be parked or stored in any yard within a residential zoning district or neighborhood.

B. Unless specifically permitted by this code, required off-street parking spaces shall not be located within any required front yard or required street side yard setback of any parcel. Required parking must be provided within a fully enclosed garage or carport (see RCMC 23.734.040, Development standards).

C. Parking in excess of the required parking (e.g., driveways) may be provided within the front and street side yard setback, as follows:

1. Vehicle parking (including driveways) within the front yard area or as seen by the public street in residential areas shall be provided on a lasting, durable surface (e.g., concrete, asphalt, or similar material). Permeable paving materials, such as paver stones, pervious concrete, or interlocking grids with gravel, are permitted as an alternative to a standard asphalt or concrete surface. Use of grasscrete, ribbon drive (Hollywood strips) or other acceptable alternatives as determined by the director may be allowed for purposes of a driving surface that leads to a legal parking area outside of the front yard area or as seen by the public street. No parking is allowed on these features within the front yard area or as seen by the public street.

2. Parking areas shall not exceed the maximum impervious surface allowed on a parcel (e.g., impervious surface in front yards is limited to 40 percent coverage).

3. Parking may not occur within any required clear vision triangle area on a corner lot.

D. Each parking space shall be at least eight and one-half feet wide by 18 feet deep.

E. Tandem (end-to-end) parking is allowed to meet the minimum off-street parking requirements.

F. Required parking may be provided in the rear yard only when an alley is available for access.

G. The minimum driveway width is 10 feet. Driveway pavement shall be five feet from the side property line in order to provide an area of landscaping between adjacent lots. Deviations from these standards may be allowed through site plan and architecture review for small-lot single-family developments at the time of master home plan review where these standards cannot be attained due to design. Remaining unpaved portion shall be landscaped, irrigated, and maintained. See Figure 23.716-2 (Nonpervious Surface Limits in Single-Family and Two-Family Residential Zones).

H. The use of structures, temporary canopies, tarps, and other similar types of covering for vehicles is strictly prohibited within the front setback.

I. Commercial vehicles shall not be parked on residential property.

J. Parking of RVs, trailers, and vessels shall conform with the following additional regulations:

1. Parking on a lasting, durable surface (e.g., concrete, asphalt, grasscrete, or permeable paving material) is required.

2. Parking within the clear vision area is prohibited. [Ord. 15-2018 § 4 (Exh. A); Ord. 7-2018 § 3; Ord. 4-2018 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 4-2017 § 3 (Exh. B); Ord. 12-2011 § 3 (Exh. A); Ord. 27-2008 § 1 (Exh. A § 4.7.140)].

Tues 01/08 4:00pm City Work Session: Code Enforcement Priorities

Received this in the January Fresh Events newsletter from City of Rancho Cordova.

UPDATE 1: START TIME 4PM – City Manager Cyrus Abhar has said via email that the start time of this meeting is 4pm. He said he will look into the confusion on the incorrect posting of the start time.

City Manager Cyrus Abhar referenced it during the November 19th and  November 5th City Council meeting Public Comment periods after Sharon Judy, Angel Ball and Walt Myers addressed the City Council about the follow up on RV Parking and Access.

Tuesday, January 8, 5:30 PM: City Council Special Meeting/Work Session
Rancho Cordova City Hall, 2729 Prospect Park Drive
The next City Council Special Meeting/Work Session will occur on January 8.

The topic is Code Enforcement Priorities.

Meeting calendar page (No Agenda yet)

Election Certified – Final Election Results – 5738 votes

I apologize for the late update.  December has been a very busy month so far.

On Friday, November 30th, the County Office of Elections announced the election had been certified.  Our final vote count was 5,738, 17% of votes cast for the race,  remaining in 3rd place.

11302018 November 6, 2018 General Election - City of Rancho Cordova City Council Certified Election Results
11302018 November 6, 2018, General Election – City of Rancho Cordova City Council Certified Election Results

We solidly won one precinct, the “Finger”.

precinct 61411 11302018 update
precinct 61411 11302018 update

Again, Thank You all so much for your support, and thank you to all who voted for city council candidates. Your votes really matter.

Stacy Leitner emailed candidates on 12/03, announcing the certification and the scheduling of the official announcement of the election results during the Monday, December 17th City Council Meeting (Link to Agenda).

During this meeting, Linda Budge and Garret Gatewood will be sworn in, and a new Mayor and Vice Mayor will be chosen.

Related Documents:

Council will also approve Council Member Appointments to Regional Boards, Commissions, and Committees.

Related Documents: