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This information came from three phone conversations with the Orinda Planning Department over the months of June and July, 2016.
Q: What is the zoning district?
A: RL-20 (Residential Low Density 20,000).
Q: What is the allowable coverage? How is it measured?
A: 4,440 Square Feet (parcel size X .2). Coverage is measured at the exterior wall face and includes accessory structures. Covered porches do not count if sufficiently open.
Q: Is there a floor-area ratio (FAR) between the main home and the second unit? What is it?
Q: What is the maximum allowed size for the second unit?
Q: Do chimneys, window boxes, and/or bay windows count toward the square footage of the second unit?
A: Chimneys do. Window boxes and bay windows do not.
Q: Do other structures count toward the existing footprint? What are they?
A: Accessory structures do. Decks do not.
Q: Does the basement and/or attic count toward the floor area of the main home?
A: There is no basement. The attic is excluded where the ceiling height is less than or equal to eight feet.
Q: Can the second unit have two floors?
A: Yes, the house can have two floors.
Q: Can the second unit have a loft, mezzanine, open storage, closed storage, and/or attic?
A: The house can have a loft, a mezzanine, open storage, closed storage, and an attic.
Q: Can the loft be habitable space?
Q: Can the second unit have a basement, workspace, or other area? Do they count toward square footage?
Q: What landscaping requirements and exceptions are there?
A: It’s only required to provide a landscaping plan if there are significant alterations.
Q: Is this a liquefaction zone?
Q: Is this a fire zone?
Q: Is this a flood zone?
Q: Is this an environmental zone?
Setbacks and Dimensions
Q: What is the front setback?
A: 25 feet.
Q: What are the side setbacks?
A: 15 feet.
Q: What is the rear setback?
A: 15 feet.
Q: What are the required setbacks to the main home?
A: See above.
Q: What are any other required setbacks? (Special setbacks may be needed for creeks, power lines, key or corner lots, etc.)
Q: Are there any setback exceptions?
A: Eaves may extend three feet into setbacks. Open stairs may extend four feet into setbacks.
Q: Can the second unit be connected to the main home? If not, how far apart do they have to be?
Q: Can we continue the wall of an existing structure within a setback? Is there a maximum length for walls?
A: A wall may be continued vertically with an exception application. This would likely be granted considering the corner lot condition and existing non-conforming garage.
Q: What is the maximum height limit? Is there a max average height limit? Can we match the height of the existing house?
A: 27 feet above grade. The limit follows the topography. 27 feet is measured to the mid-point of dormers or design elements.
Q: Do we measure from the sidewalk, the property line, or from somewhere else?
A: From the right-of-way.
Q: How many parking spaces are required for the main home? Sizes? Do they need to be covered? What configuration or access must they have?
A: Two enclosed and two unenclosed.
Q: How many more new spaces are required for the property? Sizes? Do they need to be covered? What configuration or access must they have? Do they require a border around them?
Q: Is there a turning radius or other parking rule to test?
Q: Enter any additional notes.
A: This project will require a General Planning Application, a Design Review Application (because of the second-story addition), and an Exception Application (because of vertical extension of existing walls in setback),
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