Following Months of Public Meetings and Hearings, Council Approves Final "Granny Flats" Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance

New changes to Zoning Code bring City into compliance with State Laws

Published : Tuesday, April 17, 2018 | 5:06 AM

Final Approval

Following months of public meetings, hearings and discussion, the Pasadena City Council Monday unanimously approved the final version of an ordinance to amend various provisions of Title 17 of the City’s municipal code and revise the City’s accessory dwelling unit (ADU) regulations.

According to a staff report from the City Attorney’s office, the ordinance will amend the City’s zoning code to implement changes to the City’s accessory dwelling unit regulations and requirements, as voted by the City Council on March 12.

“There will be no more single-family neighborhoods in Pasadena,” said Tornek of the State laws, at the last Council discussion.

The City Council had previously approved a series of Zoning Code amendments to the City’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance last December, and directed staff to include in the ordinance no minimum lot size requirement for Accessory Dwelling Units (ACU) on RM-zoned properties, which remained in the amended motion.

The ordinance further aligns Pasadena’s Municipal Code with recent changes to state law aimed at making accessory dwelling units easier to construct so as to increase housing availability. The City’s Planning and Community Development Department will implement the zoning code amendment.

The City’s existing Accessory Dwelling Unit regulations were amended in January of 2017 to comply with such changes to state law, but the City Council requested more public outreach and debate regarding further changes to the regulations.

The amended ordinance specifically amends various provisions of the Zoning Code of the Pasadena Municipal Code to modify the City’s ADU regulations on the construction of accessory dwelling units on properties zoned for single-family and multi-family development, as per the recently amended State Laws—Assembly Bill 2299 and Senate Bill 1069—as well as subsequent revisions to AB 494 and SB 229.

According to the amended ordinance, one newly constructed accessory dwelling unit may be constructed on any legal parcel in a RS and RM zoning district that includes a proposed or existing single-family dwelling, as long as the accessory dwelling unit is contained within a legally constructed existing space—such as a fully enclosed area, including a garage—of a primary single-family dwelling or structure accessory to a primary single-family dwelling, there is an independent exterior access from the existing residence, side and rear setbacks are sufficient for fire safety, and ll applicable building and safety codes are met.

Only one accessory dwelling unit may exist on the site, according to the ordinance.

One accessory dwelling unit may be constructed on any legal parcel of 7,200 square feet or more in size. In RM zoning districts, one accessory dwelling unit may be constructed on any legal parcel, regardless of lot size.

Newly constructed accessory dwelling units remain prohibited on parcels within the Hillside Overlay District and in Historic Districts.

However, in Historic Districts, they may be allowed if the accessory dwelling unit is a converted accessory dwelling unit or a newly constructed accessory dwelling unit that is not visible from the public right-of-way.

Newly constructed accessory dwelling units will be prohibited on individually designated historic properties. Converted accessory dwelling units will also be permitted on individually designated historic properties, according to the amended ordinance.

In addition, the ordinance states, accessory dwelling units shall only be built when there is an existing single-family residence on the historic site. If a site is vacant, an accessory dwelling unit may be constructed at the same time.

The newly amended ordinance will take effect in 30 days.

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