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A. Purpose. To protect the scenic qualities of public highways designated a scenic highway by the state of California and/or the Board of Supervisors. To protect the recreational, social and economic values derived from the protection and enhancement of the scenic qualities of the county for the benefit of residents and visitors. It is intended that this zone be an overlay zone, and that its provisions shall modify and supplement provisions of the basic underlying zone to assure the inclusion of compatible uses and structures and perpetuation of scenic highway corridors. Further, it is intended that if any regulations specified in this zone are more restrictive than the regulations of the zone overlaid, the regulations of the SC or SH zone shall govern.

B. Permitted Uses. Any use permitted in the underlying zone, except off-site signs, subject to the same conditions and restrictions applicable in such underlying zone and to all requirements and regulations of this zone. All uses shall be conducted entirely within enclosed buildings except agriculture, off-street parking and loading, trailer courts and camps, camping and picnicking facilities, outdoor theatres, and similar uses which are of an open land use type.

C. Conditional Uses. Any use permitted in the underlying zone by any type of use permit; provided, that the Planning Commission, or in the event of an appeal, the Board of Supervisors, determines that such use is consistent with the intent and purpose of the SC or SH zone. A directional panel, not to exceed 32 square feet in area, giving motorists directional information to three or more enterprises, and so located that it is not readable by a person of normal visual acuity from the right-of-way of any scenic highway.

D. Signs.

1. For signs pertaining to uses conducted on the same premises the following restrictions shall be applied in addition to all conditions and restrictions contained in the regulations governing the underlying zone. If the restrictions of the underlying zone are greater they shall apply.

2. The aggregate area of all signs on each lot or parcel shall not exceed 80 square feet, and no single sign shall exceed 40 square feet.

3. One freestanding sign may be erected on each lot or parcel and not to exceed a height of 25 feet.

4. Signs attached to buildings shall not project more than 16 inches from any wall, nor above the parapet or eaves of the building to which attached. No sign visible from the right-of-way of any scenic highway shall display any flashing or intermittent lights, or be animated or appear to be animated.

5. Signs advertising the sale, lease or rental of the use on the lot or parcel or of the lot or parcel shall not exceed an aggregate area of 20 square feet.

E. Sign Defined.

1. “Sign” means any metal, wood, paper, cloth, plastic, paint, material, structure or part thereof, device or other thing whatsoever which is located upon, placed, erected, constructed, posted, painted, tacked, nailed, glued, stuck, carved, fastened or affixed to any building or structure, on the outside or inside of a window or on any awning, canopy, marquee or similar appendage, or on the ground or on any tree, wall, bush, rock, post, fence or any other thing whatsoever in such manner as to be visible out-of-doors and which displays or includes any numeral, letter, word, model, banner, emblem, insignia, symbol, device, light, illuminated device, trademark, or other representation used as, or in the nature of, an announcement, advertisement, attention arrester, direction, warning, or designation of any person, firm, group, organization, place, commodity, product, service, business, profession, enterprise, or industry. Sign shall include any portable sign.

2. Sign shall not mean any directional, warning or informational sign required or authorized by law which is erected by federal, state, county or municipal officials; nor any official notices, issued by a court or public body or office and posted in the performance of a public duty; nor danger signs, railroad crossing signs and signs of public service companies indicating danger and aids to service or safety; nor house number, no trespassing, no parking and similar warning signs.

3. The term off-site sign shall mean any sign as herein defined that does not refer to a use or uses conducted on the same premises, except that signs offering premises for sale, lease or rent shall not be considered off-site signs.

F. Grading. No grading, removal or deposit of natural materials for which a grading permit is required shall take place on any lot or parcel in the SC or SH zone except by a grading permit in connection with a building permit issued for construction which conforms to the provisions of this chapter; or by a grading permit not in connection with construction that is issued with the concurrence of the Planning Commission; or if no grading permit is required, by an application to do minor grading which has been approved by the Planning Commission. The following activities are exempt from the requirements of this section:

1. Tilling or preparation of land for agricultural purposes;

2. Minor excavation or placement of natural materials, incidental to the planting of trees, shrubs, and other plant materials, and to the installation of minor structural features not requiring a grading permit such as fences, walls, walkways, patios and similar elements customarily accessory to permitted use, provided such excavation or placement of materials does not alter the general overall topographical configuration of the land.

G. Site Plans Required. Prior to the issuance of any building permit or commencement of any construction of any building or structure, except one- and two-family dwellings and structures appurtenant thereto which meet all requirements of this zone, a site plan of the proposed development shall be reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission. Applications for site plan approval shall be accompanied by such maps, plans, drawings, and sketches as necessary to show:

1. Boundaries and existing topography of the property and adjoining or nearby streets;

2. Location and height of all existing buildings and structures, stands of trees and specimen trees, and the proposed disposition or use thereof;

3. Location, heights, and proposed use of all proposed structures, including walls, fences, and freestanding signs, and location and extent of individual building sites;

4. Location and dimensions of ingress and egress points, interior roads and driveways, parking areas, and pedestrian walkways;

5. Location and proposed treatment of important drainageways;

6. Proposed grading and removal or placement of natural materials, including finished topography of the site;

7. Proposed landscaping plan.

H. Review of Site Plan by Planning Commission. The Planning Commission shall review applications for site plan approval and in carrying out such review, the Commission shall consider, but not be limited to, the following criteria:

1. All elements of the proposed development shall be consistent with the intent and all requirements of the SC or SH zone.

2. Buildings and structures shall be so designed and located on the site as to create a generally attractive appearance and a harmonious relationship with surrounding development and the natural environment.

3. Buildings, structures and plant materials shall be so constructed, installed or planted so as not to unnecessarily obstruct scenic views visible from the scenic highway.

4. Potentially unsightly features shall be located so as to be inconspicuous from the scenic highway or effectively screened from view by planting and/or fences, walls or grading.

5. Insofar as feasible, natural topography, vegetation and scenic features of the site shall be retained and incorporated into the proposed development.

6. Any grading or earth-moving operation in connection with the proposed development shall be planned and executed so as to blend with the existing terrain both on and adjacent to the site, and vegetation cover shall be provided to hide scars on the land resulting from such operations.

7. Upon completion of its review, the Planning Commission shall approve, conditionally approve or disapprove a site plan.

8. No building permit shall be issued, except for a one- and two-family dwelling or structure appurtenant thereto, for the construction of any building or structure in the SC or SH zone except pursuant to a site plan which has been approved by the Planning Commission.

9. The Planning Commission may waive the requirements of this section when it finds that the provisions of this zone have been or will be fulfilled by the conditions of a special use permit or by other means.

10. Upon request of the applicant, modification of an approved site plan may be made by the Planning Commission if it finds that the modification is consistent with the intent and the requirements of the SC or SH zone.

11. Any approval of a site plan shall expire within one year of such approval except where construction and/or use in reliance on such site plan has commenced prior to its expiration. If construction and/or use in reliance thereupon has not commenced within the one-year period, said period may be extended by the Planning Commission at any time prior to the original expiration date.

I. The following uses shall not be permitted within any scenic corridor or scenic highway zoning district shown on the official county zoning maps: overnight occupancy by any person or persons in any campsite, tent, vehicle, or trailer except within those areas officially designated as federal campgrounds or areas designated by special use permit issued by Sierra County.

Any violation of this chapter is punishable as an infraction pursuant to SCC 1.16.030. (Ord. 572, eff. 2/19/80; Ord. 409, eff. 7/5/73; Prior code §§ 86192 – 86199)