CLARIFICATIONS OF THE CCCHA BUILDING GUIDELINES
The following are responses to questions that homeowners often inquire about. In any case, the Building Guidelines and the CC&Rs state that the CCCHA has the final say and interpretation. Please feel free to consult with the CCCHA Architectural Committee or the CCCHA’s architect with any questions you may have. Construction may not commence until final approval is obtained from the CCCHA Architectural Committee.
- Where the 28’-0” height limit is taken from.
It should be an average of the finish ground surface perimeter 5’-0” away from the house. This prevents the mounding up of the ground adjacent to the house to gain more height.
- Floor area calculation.
Floor area calculations are measured from the outside perimeter wall or “footprint” of enclosed spaces and not from interior walls. This prevents “thick walls” such as 12” or 18” or any wall thickness from being excluded.
- Second floor 2’-0” stepback.
The guidelines states that the second floor needs to step back 2’-0” from the plane of the first floor so as to avoid a stacked or box-like appearance. It can be argued that the second floor need not step back to avoid a stacked or box-like look by projecting elements on the first floor such as a roof extension, covered porch or an arbor or pergola of some sort, which in some cases have been acceptable in the past, but the second floor has to step back 2’-0” from the first floor as noted. The first floor in this case generally means the first floor wall below.
- Second floor 2’-0” stepback visibility.
The second floor stepback visibility applies to the three sides of the house as seen from the street. That would mean the front of the house and the two sides. The back of the house is typically exempt. A two story condition that occurs on the side, even though it may be located a good distance from the side property line, is still subject to the 2’-0” stepback requirement.
- Balconies and Roof Decks.
Balconies are also subject to the 2’-0” stepback requirement. Roof decks are not permitted, as all houses require a full-pitched roof, the only exception being in the case of roof-mounted air conditioner units, which must be hidden in a roof well. As noted in the CC&Rs and the guidelines, the review committee has the right to reject any element of a proposed plan if it concludes that it is not harmonious with the community generally.
- Bay window projections.
Bay window projections that do not go down to the floor will not count as part of the floor area, such as kitchen garden windows that project out and certain window designs. Note that cantilevered conditions are not permitted. A window seat bay window on the second floor within the 2’-0” stepback from the lower exterior wall would not count if it does not go to the floor, but will count if it does. One way to make this determination would be to see if there is a floor when the window seat or ledge is removed at some future date that can become part of the floor space. Section cuts at those areas are necessary for review.
- Solar Panels
Solar panels laid flat with the slope of the roof are less obtrusive visually and therefore are more desirable. There may be cases where tilting or lifting of solar panels from the roof may be necessary to capture the angle of the sun. In that situation, the committee needs to review it on an individual basis to determine if there are alternatives.
- Mechanical and Pool Equipment location
New or added air conditioning units, condensers, pool and spa equipment, and other mechanical equipment should be located such that it is not visible from the street or a nuisance to neighbors. In a situation where mechanical equipment must be located in a side yard and the city building code permits it, the architectural review committee must review it on an individual basis and determine whether noise buffering or screening is necessary. Mounting of air conditioning equipment on the roof where it is visible is not allowed.
- Hard copy of plans for submittals
With technology today, more and more communication is being handled electronically and digitally. The CCCHA still requires a readable hard copy set of plans for the CCCHA records for reference when the need arises and a computer or other digital device is not otherwise available. Plans may still be submitted via e-mail but a full size set must be submitted as well to both the CCCHA architect and the Chair of the Architectural Committee.
- Basements and Subterranean garages
Basements and subterranean rooms or garage do not count in the floor area calculations, nor are they considered a story as long as the first floor above is no higher than 18” from the finished grade.
- Air Conditioning Units
No AC equipment may be placed on the roof.
- Sky Lights
The skylights must be the flat kind and not the “bubble” kind.