Land Use Element (Public Hearing Draft, 5/1/13)
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General Plan > Elements > Land Use Element > Residential Land Uses
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Residential Land Uses

San Clemente is home to diverse residential neighborhoods, from the planned communities of Talega, Forster Ranch, Rancho San Clemente and Marblehead to the older neighborhoods and subdivisions generally located along the east side of Interstate 5 and the areas west to the Pacific Ocean. Neighborhoods offer a number of single-family and multi-family housing opportunities in a number of settings (e.g. along golf courses, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, in master planned communities with amenities like swimming pools and tennis courts, or in mixed use developments).

While the Focus Areas section of the General Plan provides more specific direction for neighborhoods within these areas, this section of the Land Use Element provides overall direction for residential land uses throughout the City.

Additional policies related to housing, including housing for those with special needs such as senior citizens and the physically challenged, are included in the Housing Element.


Achieve a mix of residential neighborhoods and housing types that meets the diverse economic and physical needs of residents, that is compatible with existing neighborhoods and the surrounding environmental setting and that reflects community expectations for high quality.


LU-1.01. General. We accommodate the development of a variety of housing types, styles, tenure and densities that are accessible to and meet preferences for different neighborhood types (e.g., mixed use pedestrian environments and traditional suburban neighborhoods), physical abilities and income levels, pursuant to the Land Use Plan and Housing Element.
LU-1.02. Access to Amenities. We require residential developments to be designed to promote safe and convenient access to nearby commercial centers, community facilities, parks, open space, transit facilities, bikeways, trails and other amenities, as applicable.
LU-1.03 Maintenance of Neighborhood Character. We maintain elements of re.sidential streets that unify and enhance the character of the neighborhood, including parkways, street trees, and compatible setbacks.
LU-1.04. Single-Family Residential Uses. We require that single-family houses and sites be designed to convey a high level of architectural and landscape quality in accordance with the Urban Design Element and Zoning Code, and in consideration of the following:
  1. Varied and distinct building elevations, facades, and masses (avoiding undifferentiated "box-like" structures);

  2. building scale and massing that is compatible with existing development;

  3. use of extensive site landscaping to complement the architectural designs of structures;

  4. reduced area and width of paving in front yards for driveway and garage access; and

  5. location and design of garages so that they do not dominate the appearance of the dwelling from the street.
LU-1.05. Multi-Family Residential Uses. We require that multi-family residential projects be designed to convey a high level of quality and distinctive neighborhood character in accordance with the Urban Design Element and Zoning Code. New multi-family housing development projects shall:
  1. use building materials, colors, and forms which complement the neighborhood, while allowing flexibility for distinguished design solutions;

  2. design all building elevations to convey the visual character of individual units rather than a single, continuous building mass and volume;

  3. visually hide or buffer subterranean parking garages;

  4. use a well-defined roofline;

  5. include separate, well-defined entries to convey the visual character of individual identity of each residential unit. Entries may be developed onto exterior facades, interior courtyards, and/or common areas;

  6. Locate and design parking areas and garages to be architecturally integrated with and complementary to the main structure;

  7. use adequate site landscaping;

  8. include setbacks, consistent with the surrounding neighborhood, along the street frontage containing landscaping. Building entries shall be connected to public sidewalks to encourage safe and convenient pedestrian access; and

  9. Reduce the length and width driveway paving in relation to landscaping.

  10. Provide on-site open space amenities that are accessible and of sufficient size to be usable by tenants, in common areas and/or with individual units pursuant to the Zoning Code.
LU-1.06. Residential Infill. We require that new residential development in existing residential neighborhoods or along commercial corridors be compatible with existing structures, including the:
  1. mitigation of noise, traffic (automobile and truck), and lighting impacts of abutting commercial uses, where applicable;

  2. use of complementary building materials, colors, and forms, while allowing flexibility for distinguished design solutions.



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