Apr 27 2017

Accessory Dwelling Units or Second Units Are to be Considered Differently in Piedmont

The Piedmont Planning Department and Planning Commission have been reviewing the recently revised regulation of City Code Chapter 17 to assure compliance with Government Code Section 65852.2 governing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU), also known as Second Units. The City Council will consider the matter on Monday, May 1, 2017, 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

The following PCA questions in bold black were submitted to the City Planning Department and the answers are in blue; questions and answers are reproduced as presented. 

Questions and Answers regarding Accessory Dwelling Units in Piedmont: 

Response to Questions from the Piedmont Civic Association regarding proposed revisions to the regulations for Accessory Dwelling Units for compliance with State laws. Received April 24, 2017.

  1. Will the City have to add more staffing to oversee affordable ADU compliance?    No additional staffing needs are anticipated.
  2. Some cities require affordable ADUs to remain affordable for 20 years rather than Piedmont’s term of 10 years. Why did Piedmont pick a 10 year term for affordability?   Ten years was determined to be appropriate and was sufficient for the State certification of the City’s Housing Element.
  3. Once an ADU no longer falls into the affordable category, will the forgiven parking or other requirements continue to be forgiven or will existing ADUs return for a new permit?   If, after ten years, the termination of the recorded deed restriction is not automatic (by its terms), the City shall record a document terminating the declaration of rent restrictions, upon the written request of the property owner. The accessory dwelling unit permit is not terminated in this process and the ADU will not be required to add additional parking otherwise required by the City’s ADU ordinance.
  4. Does the City have adequate public services for increased demands – street widths, parking needs, public safety, city staffing, schools, etc.?   The City will respond to any needs for increased public services when they arise.
  5. How will ADUs be taxed ?   As an accessory unit to the primary dwelling unit, ADUs may contribute to a parcel’s value and assessment thereby impacting property taxes. If occupied by a tenant, the property owner will need to pay the City rental tax.
  6. Will all Piedmont taxpayers be required to pay more for any increase in public services or will new ADUs trigger a new property tax assessment based on a reappraisal by the County?See responses to questions 4 and 5.
  7. How many new ADUs are projected in Piedmont in the next 5 to 10 years?   From 2005 through 2016, 43 accessory dwelling units were approved. Five of these were never constructed. Thus, the precedent is that 3.45 accessory dwelling units have been developed annually. An increase in the number of applications for accessory dwelling unit permits might be expected in response to the State laws, but the amount of that increase is unknown at this time.
  1. Should the Council and public have been informed State Law 65852.2 would be inconsistent with recently revised Chapter 17 by the Council and Planning Commission such as: parking space sizes, covered parking requirements, parking spaces required, allowing tandem parking, setback requirements, etc.?    Yes. Information on the recently adopted State laws modifying Government Code Section 65852.2 was provided to the City Council and separately the topic was brought up during the study sessions Council held in January on the comprehensive Chapter 17 updates.
  2. If a garage is removed to build an ADU, must the existing house meet the standard parking requirements?    The City can require that the “removed” parking spaces be replaced on-site, but the State laws require local jurisdictions to allow those spaces to be in any configuration (e.g., uncovered, tandem, any location). See Section 17.38.060.B.5.a in the proposed ADU regulations.
  3. Can an accessory structure be built on a property line and then converted to an ADU without a variance?    No, not for new construction. See Sections 17.20.040 and 17.28.040 of the City Code regarding setbacks to accessory structures. However, State laws requires local jurisdictions to allow for the conversion of existing accessory buildings, such as garages, into accessory dwelling units. See Section 17.38.060.B.5.b in the proposed ADU regulations.
  4. What techniques will the City use to identify traffic or safety issues when applications are presented to the City?    State laws prevent the City from requiring on-site parking for accessory dwelling units when the proposed ADU is within 1⁄2 mile of a transit stop or when a proposed ADU is within an existing building. The entire City of Piedmont is within 1⁄2 mile of a transit stop. As a result, vehicular and pedestrian safety are not included in the development standards for accessory dwelling units. See Section 17.38.060.B in the proposed ADU regulations. However, if exterior features are proposed to be modified or newly constructed, a design review permit is required. As set forth in Section 17.66.060 of the City Code, which provides the standards for a design review permit, the proposed design must not adversely affect pedestrian or vehicular safety. Safety concerns are also addressed as part of the review of a building permit application.
  5. With no required notice procedure, how is a neighbor to know if an ADU application has been filed or how to appeal a decision?    California Government Code Section 65852.2 requires that local jurisdictions consider an application for accessory dwelling unit permit ministerially without discretionary review or a hearing if it meets all the standards for approval. Notification of neighboring property owners would occur if the application for accessory dwelling unit permit did not meet all the standards for approval, and might occur if there was a concurrent application for design review permit, depending on the level of proposed design modifications.

13. How will the City know when a neighborhood is overly impacted with additional traffic issues from ADUs?   City staff and Council Members often hear from Piedmont residents on such topics.

14. What will the application and permit fees be for an ADU?  The current fee for an application for accessory dwelling unit permit is $750. Fees for applications for design review permit range from $170 to $1,630 depending on the cost of exterior modifications. Fees for an application for a building permit are approximately 2 percent of the total cost of construction.

15. What are Piedmont’s covered parking requirements for existing and proposed buildings?  Parking requirements are outlined in Division 17.30 of the City Code, which is available on the City’s website and at the Public Works counter in City Hall.

16. Since the School District only taxes parcels, does this mean ADUs will not be taxed for School Bond costs or other previously approved additional property taxes?  ADUs will not be subject to separate parcel or property taxes from those of the primary dwelling unit.

17. Did the City Council take a position on State Law 65852.2 when it was being considered by the legislators and governor?   Assuming that you mean AB 2299 and SB 1069, the two 2016 bills that amended Government Code Section 65852.2 (originally enacted in 1982), no.

The City Council will consider the matter of Accessory Dwelling Units on Monday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers.  Interested persons may observe the First Reading of changes to Piedmont’s recently approved Chapter 17 on the City’s website under videos or on Cable Channel 27. 

The City’s announcement and the actual language of the proposed ordinance can be read below:

Monday, May 1st – 7:30 p.m.
City Council Chambers

In September 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law changes to Government Code Section 65852.2 resulting from the enactment of Assembly Bill 2299 and Senate Bill 1069. These changes limit a local jurisdiction’s ability to regulate Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as Second Units. The provisions affected by the changes to state law include, but are not limited to, off-street parking requirements, unit size limitations, and application approval timelines. The State laws permit cities to adopt ADU ordinances as long as the ordinance is consistent with the State laws and imposes certain local standards. Click to Government Code Section 65852.2.

Planning Commission Recommends Changes to City Code

On April 10, 2017 the Planning Commission voted to recommend proposed revisions to the regulations in the City Code related to Accessory Dwelling Units. Click to read the Planning Commission staff report and minutes of their discussion on this topic. The report prepared by staff for the Planning Commission outlines the proposed code revisions. On May 1, 2017, City Council will consider the Planning Commission’s recommendation to adopt the proposed code revisions. Click to read the Council staff report for this matter.

Residents are invited to engage in this process. Interested members of the public are encouraged to read the staff report and attend the City Council meeting scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on May 1, 2017 in the City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue. Written comments may be submitted to the Piedmont City Council at citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us or by US Mail to John Tulloch, City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA  94611.

Requests to receive email notification of activities related to revisions of City Code provisions related to Accessory Dwelling Units should be sent to Planning Director Kevin Jackson at kjackson@ci.piedmont.ca.us. Comments on paper can also be submitted by hand or by mail to the Piedmont Planning Commission, 120 Vista Avenue,Piedmont,CA 94611.

Comments to be read by other PCA readers may be submitted below.

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