Home Builder Stumps Agoura Hills Planning Commission
Trying to protect the rural ambiance of Old Agoura, the Planning Commission hesitantly approved new home plans for the corner of Lewis Rd. and Driver Ave. The commission conditioned the approval on the applicant, Avi Siboni, coming up with an alternate design for the perimeter fencing between along the street frontage on two sides of the property. Siboni designed a Mediterranean style one story home, surrounded by a short wall topped with wrought iron. Siboni, an experienced builder, says that no other style of wall would complement the architecture of the home. Siboni also said he was concerned about keeping small pets contained on the property as Driver Ave. is a busy street.
At the June 6 hearing, the planning commission acknowledged the presence of wrought iron on several other homes nearby. They also agreed that a solid wall of vinyl or wood would be less desirable than the open wrought iron fence that Siboni designed. Yet, they were stumped about how to re-design the fence.
The City of Agoura Hills own architectural review panel approved the project, yet the planning commission has difficulty interpreting the Old Agoura Overlay. They asked City Planning Director Mike Kamino for help designing an alternate perimeter fence.
There are homes in Old Agoura that were botched because the Agoura Hills Planning commission either didn't understand the intent of the overlay, or they were clueless about design, or both. One example is a home currently on the market for sale. A contemporary home with flat roof, right angles, and walls of glass was originally proposed to have a smooth stucco facade. Thinking that wood siding would impart a rustic feel, the city required that alteration. The result was a clash of style literally under one roof.
How much power should the city have dictating the design choices for an individual builder? How have they done so far?