Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are secondary dwelling units that provide complete independent living facilities for one or more persons on the same lot as a primary dwelling unit. Previously, this type of dwelling unit has been defined by state law first as “granny flats” and then as second dwelling units. In 2004, consistent with state requirements at the time, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 163 to establish regulations governing the permissible locations and development standards for second dwelling units. The Ordinance allowed second dwelling units by right, similar to single-family dwelling units, and established regulations governing the development of these units. According to the City’s building permit records, approximately four building permits were issued for the construction of second dwelling units through November 2017.
In 2016, the State of California enacted Senate Bill (SB) 1069 and Assembly Bill (AB) 2299 to encourage and facilitate the development of ADUs in residential zoning districts. These bills amended state law to require the ministerial approval of ADUs within a single-family residential zone, while further limiting the regulations and standards that local agencies can impose on these uses and structures. The provisions of the City’s previously adopted Ordinance No. 163 addressing second dwelling units did not conform to the new provisions in state law and became null and void as of January 1, 2017, the effective date of the bills.
On November 28, 2017, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 321, which established regulations and procedures for the development of ADUs within the City. From the adoption of the ordinance and through the end of 2019, the City received three applications for the construction of ADUs, but no building permits were issued for ADUs during that time frame.
In 2019, the state enacted six statutes pertaining to the permitting and regulation of ADUs, including: Senate Bill 13 and Assembly Bills 68, 587, 670, 671, and 881. (SB 13, AB 68 and AB 881 amended some of the same provisions and overlapped, so only certain sections in each became law.) These statutes created further limitations on the ability of local jurisdictions to impose regulatory requirements on ADUs. Any provisions in the City’s current regulations that do not conform to the amended state law became null and void as of January 1, 2020. As of this report, the City has received thirteen plan check applications and issued three building permits for ADUs and Junior ADUs in 2020.
Assembly Bill 671, requires local agencies to include a plan in the Housing Element that incentivizes and promotes the development of ADUs that can be offered at affordable rent for very low-, low-, and moderate-income households. Upon the receipt of the City’s Final 6th Cycle Regional Housing Needs Assessment allocation, City staff will initiate the preparation of the updated Housing Element. As part of this process, staff will explore potential incentives and programs that both promote the development of ADUs and promote ADUs to be offered at affordable rents. Staff has identified some potential incentives that will be evaluated for inclusion as part of the Housing Element update, including:
- Pre-approved accessory dwelling unit design plans;
- Assigning staff to prioritize the review of accessory dwelling unit applications;
- Creating a webpage to serve as a clearinghouse for accessory dwelling unit requirements, applications, and information; and
- Plan check and building permit fee reductions.
The Planning Commission held three public workshops to review changes in state law pertaining to the regulation of ADUs, receive public input, and provide direction to staff on the preparation of updated ADU regulations intended to provide flexibility for the applicant and protection for the quality and character of residential neighborhoods, while conforming to the provisions of state law. Based on the direction provided by the Planning Commission and with input regarding potential fire safety concerns from the Chino Valley Fire District, staff prepared a draft ordinance to update the City’s ADU regulations. On October 20, 2020, the Planning Commission held a duly noticed public hearing to consider the proposed ordinance and receive public testimony. After receiving public comments and further discussing the proposed ordinance, the Planning Commission adopted a resolution recommending that the City Council adopt the proposed ordinance implementing Municipal Code Amendment 20MCA01 by a unanimous vote, 5-0.
On November 10, 2020, the City Council conducted a duly noticed public hearing to consider the proposed ordinance, at which time all interested persons were given an opportunity to testify in support of, or in opposition to the project. Two residents spoke during the public hearing, seeking clarification and providing input regarding the proposed standards. The City Council discussed the proposed updates to the City’s ADU regulations and voted unanimously to introduce the proposed ordinance.
During the City Council meeting on November 24, 2020, public comments pertaining to the proposed ordinance from two individuals were read into the record. These comments suggested that properties abutting Carbon Canyon Road that are within the ADU Ineligibility District overlay should be exempt from the overlay district’s prohibition on the development of ADUs as the safety concerns cited for the other properties in the overlay are less applicable to these properties given their direct access to Carbon Canyon Road. The City Council discussed the concerns identified in the comments and continued the meeting to January 26, 2021, to provide staff an opportunity to confer with the Chino Valley Fire District and consider amending the proposed ordinance relative to the properties abutting Carbon Canyon Road.
UPDATES TO THE PROPOSED ORDINANCE REGULATING ADUS
In consultation with the Chino Valley Fire District, staff considered the suggestions submitted by the public regarding the properties abutting Carbon Canyon Road. As the access and safety concerns, narrow and topographically constrained streets necessitating the overlay district do not apply to the subject properties in the same manner as the other properties within the overlay district, staff and the Chino Valley Fire District determined that it is reasonable to allow these properties to develop ADUs. A parking requirement is proposed to minimize the potential for vehicles associated with an ADU from being parked along Carbon Canyon Road or the narrow streets of the surrounding community. As previously discussed, the Chino Valley Fire District’s adopted standard for roadway width is 26 feet, so the streets within the overlay district are substandard because most of the streets are 10 to 12 feet in width. Fire Marshal Danielle Barnes states that the parking of any additional vehicles on these substandard streets will further restrict emergency vehicle access to the community and, by contributing to the existing access and emergency response constraints, would represent a threat to public safety. To minimize the potential for vehicles to be parked on the surrounding streets and the attendant impact to public safety, Fire Marshal Barnes recommends that properties provide sufficient onsite parking to accommodate the primary dwelling and proposed ADU to be eligible for the development of the ADU. To incorporate these provisions, staff recommends that the section of the ordinance establishing the overlay district be amended as follows:
Properties Ineligible for Accessory Dwelling Unit Development for Preservation of Public Safety. There shall be established an overlay district, “ADU Ineligibility District” defined by specific locations within the City shown in Figure 20-2 shown below. Accessory dwelling units (detached, attached, and within existing structures) and junior accessory dwelling units shall not be permitted within the ADU Ineligibility District, except for those properties within the overlay district that conform to all of the following criteria:
- The property abuts the Carbon Canyon Road right-of-way;
- The property has direct vehicular access via a private driveway to Carbon Canyon Road; and
- The property has sufficient onsite parking to accommodate the aggregate number of required parking spaces for the primary dwelling and any accessory dwelling units.
[insert Figure 20-2 as shown in Exhibit “B”, attached to, and incorporated into this Ordinance by this reference].
Subsequent to the City Council meeting on November 24, 2020, Assembly Bill 3182 became effective on January 1, 2021. The legislation provides a remedy for an applicant if the City takes more than 60 days to process a completed ADU application: the ADU application will be “deemed granted” if the City fails to act on it within 60 days. Assembly Bill 3182 also specifies that ADUs within common interest developments may be rented or leased regardless of any covenants or restrictions in the governing documents of the development, requires common interest developments to allow the rental or lease of at least 25 percent of the separate interest units in the development, and expands the permissible combinations of ADUs and JADUs on one property. Previously, a JADU could only be combined with a detached, new construction ADU. With the passage of this bill, a JADU may be combined with any one of the following: an ADU within the primary dwelling unit or its attached garage, an ADU within an existing accessory structure, or a newly constructed detached ADU.
Staff recommends that Paragraphs I and R of Section 8 of the proposed ordinance be updated to incorporate the recent changes in state law effectuated by Assembly Bill 3182 as follows:
I. Permissible Accessory Dwelling Units.
1. Properties developed for single-family residential use:
a. One accessory dwelling unit or junior accessory dwelling unit may be permitted on a property with a proposed or existing single-family dwelling unit. The building permit for the accessory dwelling unit on a property with a proposed dwelling unit shall not be issued prior to the issuance of the building permit for the primary dwelling unit.
b. Notwithstanding the foregoing,
one detached accessory dwelling unit with a maximum size of 800 square feet and a maximum height of 16 feet may be combined with one junior accessory dwelling unit may be combined with either:
i. One accessory dwelling unit within the proposed or existing space of a single-family dwelling or the existing space of an accessory structure; or
ii. One Detached accessory dwelling unit with a maximum size of 800 square feet and a maximum height of 16 feet.
- Properties developed for multi-family residential use:
- Multiple accessory dwelling units may be converted within portions of existing multi-family dwelling structures that are not used as livable space, including but not limited to, storage rooms, boiler rooms, passageways, attics, basements, or garages, if each unit complies with state building standards for dwellings. Each unit created pursuant to this provision shall be provided with independent access and shall conform to current City building and fire code requirements. A maximum of one (1) accessory dwelling unit may be converted within an existing multi-family dwelling unit and the aggregate number of such accessory dwelling units shall not exceed 25 percent of the existing multi-family dwelling units. Each unit created pursuant to this provision shall be provided with independent access and shall conform to current City building and fire code requirements.
- Alternatively, a maximum of two (2) detached accessory dwelling units may be located on a lot containing existing multi-family dwelling units, subject to a maximum height of 16 feet and four-foot side and rear setbacks.
- Exempt Accessory Dwelling Units. One of the following types of accessory dwelling units shall be exempt from the provisions of Paragraphs “K” through “N”, inclusive, of this Section per lot:
- One junior accessory dwelling unit per lot within the proposed or existing space of a single-family dwelling; or
- One accessory dwelling unit,
or that may be combined with one junior accessory dwelling unit, per lot within a the proposed or existing space of a single-family dwelling or the existing space of an accessory structure. The accessory dwelling unit may include an expansion for ingress and egress purposes only of not more than 150 square feet beyond the same physical dimensions as the existing accessory structure. The accessory dwelling unit shall have independent exterior access from the primary dwelling unit and shall provide side and rear setbacks sufficient for fire and safety; or
- One detached, new construction, accessory dwelling unit, that may be combined with one junior accessory dwelling unit, per lot, that does not exceed 800 square feet in total floor area, 16 feet in height, or four-foot side and rear yard setbacks with a proposed or existing single-family dwelling; or
- Either of the accessory dwelling units described in subsection (I)(2)(a) or (I)(2)(b) above.
Finally, staff recommends Paragraph S of Section 8 of the ordinance be amended to read as follows (due to the change in Paragraph R above):
- Separate Utilities. Separate utility connections, lines, and meters are required of all accessory dwelling units, except for an accessory dwelling unit described in subsections (R)(1) or (R)(2) above and attached accessory dwelling units, subject to a determination by the Building Official that the existing utility connections are of an adequate size and capacity to serve the accessory dwelling unit.
As required under Government Code § 65860, staff recommends that the City Council find that Chino Hills Municipal Code amendments proposed in Municipal Code Amendment 20MCA01 are consistent with the Chino Hills General Plan as follows:
- The proposed amendment to the Chino Hills Municipal Code conforms to General Plan Goals LU-3, LU-4, H-1, H-2, and H-5, which require the maintenance and promotion of the character, integrity, and excellence of design of the City’s neighborhoods, while providing a broad range of housing types to meet the existing and future needs of all social and economic segments of the community. The proposed amendment would update the applicable ADU development standards within the Municipal Code to ensure compliance with state law, provide opportunity for development of additional housing types, and minimize ADU impacts to the character and integrity of the City’s neighborhoods.
In accordance with Chino Hills Municipal Code § 16.62.040, staff recommends the City Council makes the following findings of fact:
a. FINDING: That the proposed Municipal Code Amendment is consistent with the goals, policies and objectives of the General Plan.
FACT: The proposed amendment to the Chino Hills Municipal Code conforms to General Plan Goals LU-3, LU-4, H-1, H-2, and H-5, which require the maintenance and promotion of the character, integrity, and excellence of design of the City’s neighborhoods, while providing a broad range of housing types to meet the existing and future needs of all social and economic segments of the community. The proposed amendment would update the applicable ADU development standards within the Municipal Code to ensure compliance with state law, provide opportunity for development of additional housing types, and minimize ADU impacts to the character and integrity of the City’s neighborhoods.
b. FINDING: That the proposed Municipal Code Amendment will not adversely affect surrounding properties.
FACT: That proposed Municipal Code Amendment would be effective in single-family and multi-family residential zoning districts throughout the City. The Municipal Code Amendment establishes reasonable standards to regulate the size and location of ADUs to preserve the health, safety, and welfare of the community and ensure surrounding properties are not adversely affected.
As of the writing of this report, staff has not received any public comments concerning the proposed Municipal Code Amendment.