Design standards for Pleasure Point get the go-ahead
Sentinel Staff Report
Article Launched: 12/10/2009 12:00:00 AM PST

By Kurtis Alexander

SANTA CRUZ — Phil Matthews says something you hear often in Pleasure Point: The big homes are crowding out the little ones.

Concerns like these — about the future of a neighborhood known for surf shacks and beach bungalows, not luxury homes — culminated Tuesday with the Planning Commission’s approval of new building rules intended to preserve the community’s small-town charm.

The rules, which still need to be signed off by the Board of Supervisors as well as by the state Coastal Commission, call for a host of design standards that reduce the bulk of new homes and major remodels.

“We want to get these regulations in so we can stop these mega-houses from going in around Pleasure Point,” said Matthews, one of a few dozen area residents who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting and one of the neighbors who helped compose the plan.

Among the proposed rules are smaller second-stories and smaller garages. To offset some of the lost square footage, the rules also permit larger first stories and don’t count front porches toward the total size limit of a home.

The area affected by the regulations encompasses about 1,150 homes bounded by 41st Avenue on the east, Portola Drive on the north, Corcoran Lagoon on the west and the Monterey Bay on the south.

Similar design standards exist in other parts of the county, like the Westside of Santa Cruz.

Responding to some who expressed concern about the proposed regulations, the Planning Commission recommended a handful of small changes to the plan Tuesday, including grandfathering current homeowners who don’t comply, meaning these people can rebuild in the event of natural disaster.

Not everyone was pleased by the new standards, however. Many at the hearing spoke about the irony of trying to legislate a community’s eclectic feel.

“By passing the ordinance, you’re not preserving the character of the neighborhood, you’re destroying it, Keith Adams said.

A Board of Supervisors hearing has not been set.