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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Home Builder Stumps Agoura Hills Planning Commission
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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?

Posted at 2:04:53 PM
Comments: 5
Dan W on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 1:41 AM

I am fairly sure that if the owner of the home would delete the fence from his plans, once the home is completed, he can build any kind of fence that suits him. That is the fallacy of many of the provisions of the current criteria. The city wants you to spend thousand of dollars on a landscape plan, but immediately after completion one can do what ever one wants, and for the most part the whole plan is left untended. So, what was the point? The planning commission gets all excited about the colors on a house, but has no control once the house is built as evidenced by the purple house on my street, which does not bother me one bit. So why go though all this effort in the first place.
Old Agoura resident on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 1:34 AM

The nature of the fence is immaterial if it is well done and well maintained. Our home has a wrought iron fence that has been left in what I feel is a compatible rust color. It really blends into the landscape. i have never heard a complaint about the fence, and I have heard many compliments on out landscaping, even though it would never be approved by the planning commission. I think that the reason the fence was a problem for the commissioners was that the drawing showing the fence was of poor quality, and there was no landscaping in front of the fence to soften the impact. A row of white iceberg roses in front and some privet bushes behind would effectively screeen the property and hide the fence, but it still would add to the quality of the property presupposing that the landscaping is properly maintained.
Ron W on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 1:27 AM

The criteria that the planning dept. has developed and the Planning Commission tries to implement has been heavily influenced by the Old Agoura Homeowner's Assn and their ideas and views of what is acceptable for this community. The concept that large, quality homes are incompatible with the rural horse keeping nature of the area is flawed in my opinion. Large, well designed homes can live side by side with smaller homes without conflict. People with the ability to build and own large houses can still be horse people.
Matt on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Let the city do their work. But let the people chose a design...
Bob R. on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 8:16 PM

I honestly like having the city help manage the look of a town. I've seen some horrible places!!
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