' Sac'to Dictated Density On "Accessory Dwelling Units" (Granny Flats) Draws Extended Discussion; Councilmembers Try To Mitigate Neighborhood Impacts, Make Initial Changes To Staff-Proposed New Ordinance With Add'l Discussion Coming '


Sac'to Dictated Density On "Accessory Dwelling Units" (Granny Flats) Draws Extended Discussion; Councilmembers Try To Mitigate Neighborhood Impacts, Make Initial Changes To Staff-Proposed New Ordinance With Add'l Discussion Coming

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(Oct. 11, 2017. 6:20 a.m.) -- As seen LIVE on Oct. 10, Long Beach City Councilmembers wrestled with ways to try to mitigate the neighborhood impacts of two Sac'to bills passed in 2016 -- SB 1069 and AB 2299 -- that require cities to give rubberstamp ("ministerial"/clerk level) approval to "Accessory Dwelling Units" (ADUs, commonly called "granny flats") which must now meet state-imposed standards. The Sac'to statutes invalidated LB's more restrictive local standards on ADUs (in terms of allowable square footage and parking) and now require the Council to enact a new ADU ordinance that complies with Sac'to's standards. [On AB 2299, Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D, LB-San Pedro) voted "yes" in June 2016 and "no" in August 2016 on final passage; State Senator Ricardo Lara (D, LB-Huntington Park) voted "yes" on AB 2299; state Senator Janet Nguyen (R, SE LB-West OC) voted "no." On SB 1069, Assemblyman O'Donnell and state Senator Lara voted "yes" and state Senator Nguyen voted "no."]

In an extended discussion, Councilmembers made a number of initial changes to a new ADU ordinance text proposed by city staff (staff's proposal can be viewed here.) with additional changes possible when revised ordinance text returns to the Council either in the coming weeks.

Councilwoman Suzie Price moved to reduce maximum allowable ADU size from staff-recommended 1,000 sq. ft. to 800 sq. ft. or 50% of the main home (whichever is smaller.) Another motion increased required lot open space from 25% to 30%. Councilman Darul Supernaw moved to include a preferential parking requirement in some parking impacted areas. Councilwoman Stacy Mungo moved to limit ADUs to lots above 5,200 sq. ft. (instead of above 4,800 sq. ft.)

[Scroll down for further.]

A number of southland cities have adopted ADU limits smaller than 800 sq. ft. In public testimony, Dr. Joe Weinstein (Citizens About Responsible Planning) urged limiting ADUs to 500 sq. ft., calling it a Sacramento fallacy that making parking more scarce would create less traffic. However Maureen Neeley, who heads the Belmont Heights Community Association, supported Price's proposal for an 800 sq, ft. limit, saying she believes it will suffice to protect neighborhoods.

City Attorney Charles Parkin said the Council's changes will be put into new ordinance text and will return to the Council for a new "first reading" (when the Council could make further revisions)...and the eventual outcome is still a work in progress. Councilmembers Supernaw and Mungo both variously indicated that they're not prepared to support what's currently proposed. Councilwoman Mungo indicated she favors (but didn't make a motion to require) withholding action on a new ADU ordinance until Jan. or Feb. since related issues are now being discussed in the context of a new land use element. City Attorney Parkin indicated his ADU text revisions could return to the Council within the next thirty days.

The Sac'to bills could produce de facto increased residential density (to an extent currently speculative) and impact parking...because the Sac'to legislation prohibits requiring parking for ADUs located within one-half mile of "public transit" and city staff's agendizing memo acknowledges that "nearly all residential property is within a one-half mile radius of public transit stops within the City." Accordingly, there's no parking requirement for ADUs proposed outside of the coastal zone or in current parking impacted areas.



City Hall's Mayor-chosen/Council approved Planning Commission recommended that the Council allow ADUs to be no more than 50% of the primary dwelling or up to a maximum of 1,000 square feet, whichever is less. City staff says that while Sac'to requires cities to allow ADUs in single family zones, cities can also allow ADUs in multi-family residential zones. "Areas may be designated based on criteria that can include, but is not limited to, the adequacy of water and sewer services and the impact of ADUs on traffic flow and public safety," city staff's memo states, adding:

The proposed Ordinance would allow ADUs as an accessory use in 17 residential zoning districts, as well as Planned Development Districts, or Specific Plans, or subareas thereof that allow for single-family residential dwellings (refer to Table 31-1 in the City Council Ordinance). Exceptions apply when these areas are within either a designated parking impacted area or the Coastal Zone. An ADU must conform to all development standards of the zone in which the property is located including, but not limited to, lot coverage, floor area ratio, and landscape requirements, except as indicated in the proposed Zoning Code amendment.

City staff notes that state law "prohibits requiring parking for ADUs located within one-half mile of public transit" and -- in a statement arguably pertinent to other Sac'to legislation beyond ADUs -- staff says it "has determined that nearly all residential property is within a one-half mile radius of public transit stops within the City (see Exhibit B - Long Beach Transit Stop Map) and would be exempt from providing parking for an ADU. Therefore, no parking requirement is recommended for ADUs located outside of the Coastal Zone and parking impacted areas. However, replacement parking is recommended in all cases where a garage for the primary unit is converted to an ADU. The City is able to require parking within the Parking Impacted Areas because State law permits cities to determine where ADUs may be allowed based on criteria that includes the impact of ADUs on traffic flow and public safety. Parking Impacted Areas were first established in 1988 by the City Council based on the fact that on-street parking conditions were creating a detrimental condition affecting health, safety, and welfare of the community, in addition to impeding traffic flow."


Staff's memo added: "It is proposed that ADUs without parking be prohibited within parking impacted areas. In addition, parking may be required within the Coastal Zone because the new State regulations pertaining to ADUs do not supersede the California Coastal Act, which seeks to maximize public access to the coast. Allowing AD Us without parking would be inconsistent with the California Coastal Act as inadequate parking resources could negatively impact access to the coast."

Staff also proposes that "To ensure that properties developed with an ADU continue to function as single-family properties, the proposed Ordinance requires a recorded covenant to ensure: 1) the property shall be owner-occupied; 2) the ADU shall not be sold separately from the primary dwelling; 3) continued availability of on-site parking; 4) prohibition of short-term rentals; and, 5) restrictions on status and size of the ADU."



City staff's memo continued:

...As a legislative act, there are no required findings for a Zoning Code amendment. However, a Zoning Code amendment must be consistent with the General Plan. The proposed Ordinance not only implements State law, but is consistent with the Housing Element, Mobility Element, and Local Coastal Program (Exhibit F - General Plan Conformance).

The proposed Ordinance is tailored to the City's local development patterns and conditions. It builds upon State law to establish standards that preserve and protect the character of residential neighborhoods while encouraging the responsible development of ADUs. The Planning Commission recommends that the City Council determine the amendment is consistent with the General Plan and adopt an Ordinance approving Zoning Code Amendment No. 17-010 to amend Title 21 pertaining to Accessory Dwelling Units and the related sections as proposed.

In general, new development creates additional demands for services provided including transportation, police, fire, and parks and recreation facilities. To account for these demands, the City Council has adopted various Development Impact Fees (DIF) to be collected for new construction projects. The State law pertaining to ADUs reestablishes that all impact fees must be charged in accordance with the State Fee Mitigation Act. In response, all affected City Departments that have established DIFs are recommending modifying the fees charged for the construction of ADUs to ensure the fees are commensurate with the expected size of the units and expected occupancy rates of the units. The suggested fees are less than typical fees charged for larger-sized dwelling units. As nexus studies are conducted in the future, there may be further suggested changes to the fee structures for ADUs. These Departments include: 1) Public Works; 2) Parks, Recreation and Marine; 3) Police Department; and, 4) Fire Department. The proposed fees are detailed in Exhibit G...


City Council action is requested on October 10,2017, since the City's current Ordinance is null and void. There are a number of property owners currently awaiting the local regulations to develop an ADU on their property. Long Beach Municipal Code Section 21.25.103.A.1 of the Zoning Regulations requires a hearing on this item by the City Council within 60 days of the Planning Commission hearing, which took place on July 6, 2017. Although October 10, 2017 exceeds 60 days from July 6,2017 this date was the first available opportunity to conduct a hearing.


To ensure that the development impact fees charged for ADUs are proportional to the demand for new services as required by State law, modifications to the established DIF structure are proposed as part of this recommendation (Exhibit G - Interim ADU Development Impact Fees). The proposed Interim ADU DIFs will reduce the total mitigation fees applied to each ADU. The total revenue impact of the proposed fee modifications is not known at this time; however, revenues for each of the four development impact fees that are collected within the Capital Projects Fund (CP) in the Public Works, Fire, Police, and Parks, Recreation and Marine Departments are expected to decline.

A comprehensive update to the ADU DIFs is anticipated later in FY 18. A full assessment of the fiscal impact of further modifications to the fee structure, if any, will be provided to City Council at that time.

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