Duron Insurance Office – City of Watsonville

Issue: My client wished to convert an existing 1,583 square foot dwelling to a commercial office within a commercially zoned area. The existing 12-foot wide driveway did not meet the City’s 20-foot wide commercial driveway standard but, due to site constraints, widening it to the 20-foot standard would have required removal of part of the structure. Other required site improvements had to be located within the right-of-way of a State highway.

A dilapidated dwelling was renovated to an office that harmonized with the mixed use nature of the neighborhood.

Solution: Prepared City permit applications for a Variance and a Design Review approval. Also, prepared an Encroachment Permit application to Caltrans. Conducted extensive consultations with both the City Planning staff and Caltrans staff to find common ground for the approval of the project. A Variance  was approved to allow the reduced 12-foot driveway width without necessitating demolition of any part of the structure. Design Review approval was simultaneously granted allowing the conversion to office use. Caltrans approved installation of the new water meter and handicapped accessible sidewalk improvements within the pedestrian use and landscape strip portions of State Highway 152 (East Lake Avenue). The new commercial office is more compatible with land uses on adjoining properties, which are other commercial uses, but its design retains a residential appearance which is the dominate design in the immediate area.