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DearCityCouncil,

ThankyouforyourdiligentworkonsomanychangestotheCitys
MunicipalCodeandZoningOrdinance.Iamformallyrecusingmyselffrom
thisissuebecausemywife,MonicaandIsubmittingplanstoremodelour
housethatincludesaguesthouseandareawaitingapermit.However,the
proposedchangestothesecondaryunitandguesthouseordinanceare
significantandwewantedtoshareourobservationsandopinionswithyou
ontheimportanttopic.
Werespectfullyrequestthatyouconsidereliminatingsomeofthe
restrictionsintheproposedordinancespecifically,1)referencetoAG
exceptions,2)floorareaincludingthegarage,3)prohibiteduseasa
vacationrental,4)covenantagreement,5)guesthouserestriction7500sq
ft.,and,6)noseparaterental.Furtherweaskforyourcareful
considerationinthefollowing1)theacceptanceofexistingsecondary
dwellingunitsandamnesty,2)theopeningstatementandpurposeofthe
SecondaryUnitOrdinance.
WerelieduponGovernmentCode65852.150andPolicyH10asthe
foundationofourcommentandhaveinsertedthembelowforyour
convenience.
65852.150.TheLegislaturefindsanddeclaresthatsecond
unitsareavaluableformofhousinginCalifornia.Second
unitsprovidehousingforfamilymembers,students,the
elderly,inhomehealthcareproviders,thedisabled,and
others,atbelowmarketpriceswithinexisting
neighborhoods.Homeownerswhocreatesecondunitsbenefit
fromaddedincome,andanincreasedsenseofsecurity.
ItistheintentoftheLegislaturethatanysecondunit
ordinancesadoptedbylocalagencieshavetheeffectof
providingforthecreationofsecondunitsandthat
provisionsintheseordinancesrelatingtomatters
includingunitsize,parking,feesandotherrequirements,
arenotsoarbitrary,excessive,orburdensomesoasto

unreasonablyrestricttheabilityofhomeownerstocreate
secondunitsinzonesinwhichtheyareauthorizedbylocal
ordinance.

PolicyH10(SecondaryUnits)
Allow for the development of secondary housing units as an affordable
housing option throughout the city.
ProgramH10.1
To comply with AB 1866, the City will continue to permit secondary
dwelling units ministerially (by right) in all residential zones. An
administrative coastal development permit, which does not require
approval at a Planning Commission hearing but does require noticing, is
required for new secondary units in or outside the coastal appeals
jurisdiction.
ThepointoftheCityssecondaryunitordinanceistocomplywith
GovernmentCode65852.150and65852.2notforthepurposeof
affordablehousing.H10simplystatesallowandoptionnotrequiredfor
thepurposeofaffordablehousing.Itisforthosereasonswerequestthat
theopeningsentenceinthesecondaryunitordinancebestrickenandthe
languageofintentfrom65852.150replaceit.
Furthermorereferencefeesandotherrequirements,arenotso
arbitrary,excessive,orburdensomesoastounreasonably
restricttheabilityofhomeownerstocreatesecondunits
inzonesinwhichtheyareauthorizedbylocalordinance.

Thissectionof65852.150iswhywerequestthefollowingchangestothe
proposeddraftordinance.
1) AsecondarydwellingunitmaybeallowedonanylotzonedAGonlyif

theunitisexpresslydesignatedandusedforfarmlaborerquarters.
Removethissectionentirely.Wedonthavealotofagincitylimitsand
thosethatarewouldsaytheyneedeveryflexibilitytomakeendsmeet.
Maybetheywanttobuildasecondaryunitforafamilymember

2) Thefloorarea,includingagarage,ofanattachedsecondarydwelling

unitshallnotexceedthirtypercentofthelivingareaoftheprimary
singlefamilydwelling.
Removeincludingagarage.Inthepast,thethirtypercentdidnot
includethegarage.Includingthegarage,reducestheamountoflivable
spaceallowedandreducesthefeasibilityofsecondaryunits.Forexample,
thirtypercentofa1800sq.ft.houseis540sq.ft.Ifyousubtractastandard
garage(10x20200squarefeet),thelivablespaceisreducedto360
squarefeet.Uncoveredparkingisallowedinourordinance.
3) ProhibitedUseasVacationRental.

RemoveentirelyfromSecondaryUnitandGuesthouse.MonicaandI
operatedavacationrentalonourpropertyforseveralyearsandnowrent
the625squarefootunitfulltime.Operatingavacationrentalallowedus
theflexibilitytohaveextendedvisitsfromourfamilyandfriendsand
providesusasourceofrevenue.Ahighpercentageofourvacationrental
guestswererelativesandfriendsofourimmediateneighborswhodidnot
havesufficientbedroomsfortheirguests.Assuch,wehadapositive
responsefromneighborswhenweranourvacationrental.Vacation
rentalsinconjunctionwithresidences,shouldbeencouraged,not
discouragedasitprovidesincometooffsethomeownershipcostsand
providedTOTandbusinesslicenserevenuefortheCity.Weseekoutsmall
vacationrentalunitswhenwetravelandpreferthoseadjacenttoowners
residentsastheyaretypicallywellcaredfor,secure,andavailableto
provideguidanceifneeded.
4)CovenantAgreement
Removeentirelythisdoesntappearnecessary,norisitnecessaryfor
newlybuilthomestopreventillegalgarageconversionsIfeelthisfallsinto
theexcessiveandburdensomearea.
5) Acceptanceofexistingsecondarydwellingunitsandamnesty.

PleasecarefullyconsidertheimpactofthisasitfeelsreminiscentofMAS
businesslicenseauditandwillbebiggerthanwethink.Isuggestdelaying
thisandfocusongettingcodeenforcementonstablegroundfirst.
6) Guesthouserestrictionof7500sq.ft.lotsize

Thisisnewlyaddedforreasonsthatarenotcleartome.Thecurrent
ordinancedoesnothavethisrestrictionandIamnotawareofcommunity
outcryoverguesthousesonlotslessthan7500sq.ft.addingnegative
impactstoneighborhoods.Theexistingsetbackandlotcoverage
requirementwillselfregulatethesizeofaguesthouse.The7500sq.ft.
restrictionseemsarbitraryandburdensome.
7) Noseparaterental(guesthouse)

Removeentirely.Realisticallyaguesthousedoesnothaveafullkitchenso
itshouldntberentedoutanyway.However,aguesthousebeingusedfor
familyshouldbeallowedtheflexibilitytoberentedoutasavacationrental
(shorttermstayslikeahoteldoesnotneedakitchen).
8) Guesthouseandsecondaryunitrestrictiononlyone

guesthouse/secondaryunitallowedwithaprimarysinglefamilydwelling
unitononelot.
Changetomaybepermittedinconjunctionwithadwellingunit.Inthe
multifamilyzonethereareopportunitytoaddasecondunitor
guesthouseinathoughtfulwaythatisnicelydesignedandcompatible.
TheexcerptbelowisfromtheDepartmentofHousingandDevelopment.

IsaLocalityRequiredtoAllowSecondUnitsinMultifamilyZones?
Whilesecondunitsmaybeallowedinbothsingleandmultifamily
zones(Sections65852.2(a)(1)and(b)(1)(B)),nothinginthestatute
requiresmorethanonesecondunittobepermittedonasingleparcel.
TheStatestandardsspecificallyrequirethatthelotcontainanexisting
singlefamilydwelling(Section65852.2(b)(1)(C))andlocalitiescould
adoptasimilarrequirement.Alternativelylocalitiescouldpermit
secondunitsonparcelscontaining,forexample,aduplex.Theguiding

principleforthelocalordinanceshouldbetoavoidprovisionsthatare
...soarbitrary,excessiveorburdensomesoastounreasonablyrestrict
theabilityofhomeownerstocreatesecondunitsinzoneswherethey
areauthorizedbylocalordinance.(Section65852.150).Forexample,
secondunitsshouldnotbearbitrarilyexcludedfromappropriate
geographicareas.
9)

Waterserviceandmeterrequirement.

Allowthattobeatthediscretionofthehomeowner.Forsomeitcould
beacostlyrequirementandburdenthatpushestheprojectovertheedge
andmayallowtospendthemoneyinotherareastoenhancetheirproject
orprovideaneededADArampforafamilymemberthatprojectis
beingprovidedfor.Forthemostpartmostpeoplewillwantaseparate
meterandforthefewwhyhavethemgothroughtheextrastepsofan
exceptionprocess.
Ihopeyouconsiderthesecommentsandrequests.Thecompatibilityof
asmallattachedunitordetachedunitservingasavacationrentalinour
experiencebothasatourist,neighbor,andhomeownerhasbeen
overwhelminglypositive.Oneofthemainfocusesofthesecondaryunit
ordinancewasoneoffitandneighborhoodcompatibility.Wehavethe
toolstohelpensureweachievethat.Asresidentsinamultiresidential
zoneneighborhoodwehavehomeswithsecondaryunits,guestquarters,
triplexes,multiplecondominiums,singlefamilyhomesonsmalllots
andlargetoaveragelots,duplexes,andapartments.Allowinga
secondaryunitorguesthouseonalotwithaduplexortwounitsis
completelycompatibleanddoablewithguidanceofdesignstandards
whichwehave.Sayingnotoasecondaryunitorguesthouseonamulti
residentialzonedoesntachievetheoptionofaffordablehousing,the
additionofasmallrentalunit,ortheoriginalintentofprovidinghousing
forafamilymember.
Pleasedontlimitthepossibilitiesofhomeownerswhohavesecondary
unitsorguesthousesordesiretobuildthem.Oursocietyischanging
andweshouldencouragetheuseofsecondaryunitsorguesthousesto

meetfamilysneedaplaceforgrandparentsorotherrelativestostay
whenkidsareyoungandparentsneedingadditionalhelp,aparttime
vacationrentalorfulltimerentaltosupplementagrowingfamilys
needs.aplaceforacaretakerasfamilymembersage.Pleaseallowthe
flexibilityforpositiveoutcomesforboththosewholiveintheseunits
andthosewhoownthem.Asyouconsiderapprovingthisordinance
withmodifications,pleaseaddresswhenitwillbecomeeffectiveand
whatoutreachisnecessaryforthosewithsecondaryunitsorguesthouses
aswellastheimpactonapplicationsfornewsecondaryunitsor
guesthouses,submittedunderthecurrentordinance.Weaskthatthe
ordinancegointoeffectprospectivelyandnotimpactapplications
submittedandplannedundertheexistingordinance.Significanttime,
thoughtandexpensehasbeenputintodesign,utilizingthecurrent
ordinance.
Finally,asuggestionontheimportanttopicofsecondaryunitsas
affordablehousing.Ihavefollowedthesecondaryunitordinancefor
years.Ihaveadvocatedforit,andIhavevotedagainstachange(asa
planningcommissioner)inthesecondaryunitordinance.Ihavealso
beenanadvocateofaffordablehousingandworkforcehousing.Iwould
suggestthatcouncildirectstaffandthePlanningCommissiontoexplore
eitheradditionalmodificationstothesecondaryunitordinanceora
specificstandalonesecondaryunitordinancespecificallydesignedto
incentaffordablehousing.TheCitysHousingElementhasnumerous
policyprogramstoincentworkforcehousingandaffordablehousing
projectsyettheSecondaryUnitordinancedoesnotprovideany
incentivesatall.Anaffordablehousingsecondaryunitordinanceby
designwouldhavespecificcriteriaandshouldhaveincentivesand
restrictions.Incentives,fees,parkingexceptions,andperhapsgrant
fundingtooffsetthecostofdesign.Asanexample,RFPforarchitects
thatwillworkwiththeclient,city,todesignaunitatareducedcost.Or
perhapsgrantfundscanbemadeavailableforthisserviceifaspecial
secondaryunitordinancespecifictoaffordablehousingexists.Withthe
updateoftheGP/LCPaffordablehousingandworkforcehousingzone
opportunitiesshouldbeconsidered.Forsome,havingasecondaryunit

mayallowthemtoaffordtopurchaseorretainahometheoptionof
howtheyuseitwetherforfamilyparttimeandvacationrentalother
timesorperhapsthesimplicityofafulltimerentalshouldbethe
option.MonicaandIrespectfullyrequesttheconsiderationofthe
contentofthislettertocouncil.Thankyouforyourservice.

Sincerely,
MonicaandJamieIrons
598ShastaAve.MB
8055506595