Santa Cruz County
CA

Agenda Item
DOC-2020-105

Public hearing to consider an ordinance and urgency ordinance amending the County Code chapters 7.73, 12.02, 13.10, 14.01 and 17.10 regarding accessory dwelling units (ADUs); and CEQA Notice of Exemption, and take related actions, as outlined in the memorandum of the Planning Director

Information

Department:Planning: Sustainability and Special ProjectsSponsors:Planning Director Kathleen Molloy
Category:PLN SSP - Board LetterFunctions:Land Use & Community Services

Financial Impact

AB 881 removes the ability of agencies to charge impact fees for ADUs less than 750 square feet. This means that the County will continue to process these applications but will receive less revenue in return. The County is also currently engaged in a three-year pilot program where planning fees are not charged for ADUs 640 square feet and smaller, in an effort to make ADU construction more attractive and encourage smaller ADUs that are affordable by design. The new state law provision has the same intent but expands the size of ADUs to be exempted.

Board Letter

Recommended Action(s):

1)   Conduct a public hearing to consider the recommendation for approval in Planning Commission Resolution 2020-01 and proposed amendments to County Code sections 7.73.020, 12.02.020, 13.10.312, 13.10.322, 13.10.323, 13.10.332, 13.10.333, 13.10.352, 13.10.353, 13.10.362, 13.10.363, 13.10.372, 13.10.446, 13.10.552, 13.10.611, 13.10.681, 13.10.700, 14.01.107 and 17.10.020 regarding accessory dwelling units;  (Amendments to Chapters 7.73 and 13.10 are Coastal implementing and will require Coastal Commission certification after County adoption) and

 

2)   Adopt the resolution accepting that the proposed amendments are exempt from CEQA and finding that the amendments are consistent with the California Coastal Act and directing submittal of the proposed LCP amendments to the Coastal Commission for certification; and

 

3)              Adopt the urgency ordinance amending the Santa Cruz County Code 7.73,  12.02, 13.10, 14.01 and 17.10 regarding accessory dwelling units, to go into effect immediately outside of the Coastal Zone; and

 

4)              Adopt the ordinance amending Santa Cruz County Code regarding accessory dwelling units, to go into effect outside of the Coastal Zone in 30 days and inside the Coastal Zone upon certification of the ordinance by the Coastal Commission; and

 

5)   Direct the Clerk of the Board to publish notice of adoption as required by Government Code 25124.

 

Executive Summary

New state laws Assembly Bill (AB) 68, AB 587, AB 881 and Senate Bill (SB) 13 regarding accessory dwelling units (ADUs) took effect beginning January 1, 2020. Key provisions contained in these laws cover the topics of streamlined ADU review, reduced fees, more lenient development standards, lower parking requirements, Junior ADUs (JADUs), multifamily dwelling ADUs, owner occupancy requirements, short-term rentals, nonconformities, code enforcement, and separate sale of ADUs. The proposed ordinance presents local code amendments to align with state law, as recommended by the Planning Commission. Certain development standards are proposed to be different in the Coastal Zone in order to effectively implement the Coastal Act as allowed by state law. This ordinance is exempt from environmental review per statutory CEQA exemptions §15061(b)(3) and §15282(h). A temporary urgency ordinance would go into effect outside of the Coastal Zone immediately upon Board approval; a permanent ordinance would go into effect 30 days after Board approval outside the Coastal Zone; and ADU amendments would go into effect only after Coastal Commission certification within the Coastal Zone.

 

Background

The County’s existing ADU ordinance (Santa Cruz County Code [SCCC] 13.10.681) and other associated portions of the SCCC were updated in 2017 and again in 2018 to be consistent with state laws passed in 2016 and 2017. In 2019, new laws were passed relating to regulation of ADUs that aim to further encourage and streamline ADU construction. These laws went into effect on January 1, 2020. Three of this year’s ADU bills (AB 881, AB 68 and SB 13) require updates to the SCCC.

 

On December 11, 2019, the Planning Commission held a study session to discuss the County’s strategy to implement the new laws. At the study session, the Commission provided feedback to staff on strategies to comply with AB 68, AB 881 and SB 13, and further directed staff to incorporate the optional provisions of a fourth bill, AB 587, to allow separate sale of ADUs under specific circumstances. On January 8, 2020, the Planning Commission held a public hearing and recommended Board approval of the proposed ADU ordinance.  Planning Commission Resolution 2020-01 is provided as Attachment F.

 

Analysis

Following is a summary of key topics covered by the ADU bills, along with associated SCCC amendments to comply with these bills, per Planning Commission direction. The proposed ordinance is provided as Attachments C-D (urgency ordinance and permanent ordinance) and E (strikethrough-underline). Text of the operative provisions of these bills is provided as Attachments G-J.

 

AB 881 (Bloom): ADU Standards and Streamlining. This bill modified Government Code Section 65852.2 regarding ADU development standards and ministerial permit streamlining.

·              Ministerial Approval Timeline. ADU and JADU applications must be approved or denied within 60 days from the date an application is deemed complete, subject to certain exceptions. To comply with this requirement, the review timeline has been reduced from 120 to 60 days in SCCC section 13.10.681(H)(2).

·              ADUs and Multifamily Development. ADUs are now allowed in all zone districts and General Plan designations that allow residential or mixed-use development. Also, jurisdictions must now allow Junior ADUs (JADUs), which are ADUs converted from existing space in a primary dwelling with a maximum size of 500 square feet and an efficiency kitchen.

o              Single Family Dwellings. Single family dwellings may now have one ADU and one JADU. In the proposed ordinance, JADUs are now an allowed use in zones where single-family dwellings are allowed. Also, the definition of “Dwelling Unit” (13.10.700-D) has been updated so that primary dwelling units can still include just one full kitchen and one limited food preparation area, now called an “Efficiency Kitchen,” consistent with state law.

o              Multifamily Dwellings. Lots with multifamily dwellings may now have up to two new construction ADUs plus up to 25% of units can have conversion ADUs created from areas that are not currently livable space (such as storage rooms). This has been updated in the proposed ordinance, SCCC 13.10.681(D)(3)(b).

·              Lot Size. Agencies are no longer allowed to establish minimum lot sizes for ADUs. The SCCC is already in compliance with this rule.

·              ADU Size. Maximum size for detached new construction ADUs is still 1,200 square feet, but there is now no universal maximum size for new construction attached ADUs or conversion ADUs; instead, maximum size for attached and conversion ADUs is 50% of the primary dwelling. As allowed by state law, SCCC 13.10.681[D][6] in the proposed ordinance limits new construction ADUs on parcels smaller than one acre to 850 square feet for studio and one-bedroom ADUs, and 1,000 square feet for multi-bedroom units.

·              Height and Setbacks. Agencies may not impose any development standard that would prevent the development of at least an 800 square foot, 16-foot tall ADU with 4-foot side and rear setbacks. In the proposed ordinance, setbacks and heights have been adjusted to meet this new state requirement. In addition, shorter height limits have been placed on detached ADUs and ADUs over garages within the urban services line, to preserve the character of ADUs in urban neighborhoods as subordinate to primary dwelling units. Also, a shorter height is proposed for ADUs over garages in the Pleasure Point Combining Zone District, to better align with development standards and conditions in that neighborhood. See SCCC 13.10.681[D][7][a], [b] and [c] in the proposed ordinance.

·              Parking. ADUs are now exempt from parking requirements if they are within a half-mile walking distance from any transit stop. Also, no parking replacement can be required for the main dwelling unit when ADUs are converted from covered parking. These requirements have been updated in the draft ordinance (SCCC 13.10.681[D][7][d]), with differing requirements inside the Coastal Zone, as discussed below in “Local Coastal Program Consistency.”

·              ADU Location. ADU geographic location can be limited in local ordinances based on adequacy of water or sewer services and the impact of ADUs on traffic flow and public safety. The SCCC does not limit ADU geographic location in this way, but section 13.10.681(D)(4)(b) has been added to clarify that ADUs and JADUs are subject to environmental buffers and constraints identified in SCCC Title 16. For properties on septic, AB 881 clarifies that a local agency may require a water percolation test to determine whether existing septic capacity can accommodate an ADU. This provision is included in the proposed ordinance as SCCC 13.10.681(D)(10)(b)(iii)(A).

·              Owner Occupancy. Agencies may no longer require owner occupancy on ADU properties. This provision of AB 881 is temporary and expires January 1, 2025. ADUs permitted during these five years shall not thereafter ever be subject to owner occupancy requirements. However, Government Code section 65852.22 requires owner occupancy for primary dwelling units that have JADUs. These requirements have been updated in the draft ordinance as SCCC 13.10.681(G).

·              Short-Term Rentals. Short-term rentals (rentals less than 30-days such as vacation rentals and hosted rentals) are now prohibited by state law in ADUs and JADUs; the SCCC already includes this provision.

·              Nonconforming Conditions. An agency cannot require the correction of nonconforming zoning provisions as a condition for ministerial approval of an ADU or JADU. This has been added in the proposed ordinance as SCCC 13.10.681(E). The rules regarding parking have also been updated to reflect this new provision, clarifying that if the primary dwelling unit has less than the required parking, the primary dwelling’s parking may remain nonconforming (see SCCC 13.10.681[D][7][d][ii][C]).

·              Reduced Fees. Impact fees may not be charged for ADUs less than 750 square feet, and impact fees for larger ADUs must be proportional to ADU size (see draft ordinance, SCCC 13.10.681[H][3]). Utility connection fees may be charged for detached ADUs in proportion to the square footage of the structure or the number of fixtures. ADUs can be considered a new residential use for new utility service fees only if constructed in conjunction with a new dwelling unit (see draft ordinance, SCCC 13.10.681[D][10][b][ii]).

AB 68 (Ting): Junior ADUs. This bill modifies Section 65852.22 of the Government Code regarding JADUs, allowing JADUs to be constructed concurrently with new single-family dwelling units, allowing efficiency kitchens in JADUs, and confirming that JADUs are subject to the same 60-day review time as regular ADUs. As discussed regarding AB 881, the draft SCCC changes incorporate these requirements.

SB 13 (Wieckowski): ADU Code Enforcement. This bill adds new code section 17980.12 to the State Health and Safety Code. At the request of a property owner, an agency must delay code enforcement on ADU properties for up to five years for ADUs built before January 1, 2020. This provision of state law is available to property owners until January 1, 2030. The requirements are included in the proposed ordinance, SCCC 13.10.681(J).  

AB 587 (Friedman): Separate ADU Sale. This bill enables but does not require agencies to pass ordinances allowing separate sale of ADUs under the following conditions:

·              The property was built or developed by a qualified nonprofit corporation.

·              There is a recorded contract between a qualified buyer and qualified nonprofit corporation per requirements in the Revenue and Taxation Code.

·              The property is held in a recorded “tenancy in common” agreement.

·              A grant deed is recorded, and a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report is filed concurrently with this grant deed pursuant the Revenue and Taxation Code.

·              If requested by a utility providing service to the primary residence, the accessory dwelling unit has a separate water, sewer, or electrical connection to that utility.

Per Planning Commission direction, the provisions of AB 587 have been incorporated into the proposed ordinance as SCCC section 13.10.681(G)(2)(a).

 

Other Topics. Beyond the requirements for complying with state law, the proposed ordinance also proposes updates to the organization of SCCC 13.10.681 that aim to make the ordinance more concise and understandable, including minor clarifications made to the ordinance text after the Planning Commission hearing that do not change the substance of the rules as recommended by the Planning Commission but rather state the rules more clearly for the benefit of applicants and staff.

 

Environmental Review

Amendments to the County’s ADU ordinance are exempt from California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review per two statutory requirements. First, the changes proposed per AB 881 are subject to CEQA §15282(h): “adoption of an ordinance regarding second units in a single-family or multifamily residential zone by a city or county  to implement provisions of Sections 65852.1 and 65852.2 of the Government Code as set forth in Section 21080.17 of the Public Resources Code.” Second, the remaining changes are serving to implement provisions of state law that are already in effect statewide, with the exception of AB 587, which only impacts sale of ADUs and not environmental impacts. Therefore, there is no potential for significant environmental impacts and the amendments are exempt from environmental review per CEQA §15061(b)(3). A CEQA Notice of Exemption is provided as Attachment B.

 

LOCAL COASTAL PROGRAM CONSISTENCY

The proposed amendments require a Local Coastal Program Amendment because SCCC Chapters 7.73 and 13.10 are implementing ordinances of the Santa Cruz County Local Coastal Program. Due to the urgent nature of these ADU code updates, the proposed ADU ordinance is bifurcated so that it will go into effect outside the Coastal Zone 30 days after approval by the Board of Supervisors. It will go into effect inside the Coastal Zone after certification by the California Coastal Commission.

State ADU law does not supersede or in any way alter or lessen the effect or application of the Coastal Act. Therefore, local agencies may enact different ADU rules in the Coastal Zone from what is required by state law if it can be demonstrated these the statewide rules will have a negative impact on application of the Coastal Act. Staff reviewed the proposed amendments with respect to the Coastal Act regarding potential loss of agricultural land, negative impacts to public viewsheds, coastal access, and impingement on visitor accommodations within the Coastal Zone. There are two areas where special situations indicate a need for different ADU rules within the Coastal Zone:

·              Parking. Within the Coastal Zone, on-street parking is shared between residents and visitors, and parking supply is often constrained. This is especially true in the visitor accommodation “hot spots” in the Davenport/Swanton, Live Oak, and Seacliff/Aptos Designated Areas that were identified when the Vacation Rental ordinance was established. In these areas, in order to preserve coastal access and reduce impingement on visitor accommodations, the proposed ordinance does not exempt ADUs within 0.5 mile of a transit stop from parking requirements. Also, throughout the Coastal Zone, the proposed ordinance requires replacement parking for the primary dwelling unit when covered parking areas are converted to ADUs.

·              Seascape Beach Estates Combining Zone District. Seascape Beach Estates is a 152-parcel Coastal Special Community with development standards that are dictated in SCCC 13.10.436. These standards, which include structure height, setbacks, FAR and lot coverage, were established through a comprehensive community process for the purpose of preserving coastal views and unique community character. It is appropriate that these development standards should apply throughout the district, including to ADUs. Therefore, the proposed ordinance clarifies that in the Seascape Beach Estates Combining Zone District, ADUs must follow the structure setbacks and height defined for that district in SCCC 13.10.436, and the minimum 800-square foot ADU allowance does not apply in this zone district.

 

 

Body

Strategic Plan Element(s)

The proposed amendments advance the County Strategic Plan’s “Affordable Housing” and “Local Inventory” goals within the “Attainable Housing” focus area by further streamlining the approval process and development standards related to ADUs. These housing units are affordable by design to renters due to their small size, and the income generated by ADUs and JADUs enable property owners to remain in Santa Cruz County amid increasing housing costs.    

 

Meeting History

Jan 28, 2020 9:00 AM Video Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting

1) Public hearing held to consider the recommendation for approval in Planning Commission Resolution 2020-01 and proposed amendments to County Code sections regarding accessory dwelling units (Amendments to Chapters 7.73 and 13.10 are Coastal implementing and will require Coastal Commission certification after County adoption); close the public hearing;

2) ADOPTED Resolution No. 13-2020 accepting that the proposed amendments are exempt from CEQA and finding that the amendments are consistent with the California Coastal Act and directing submittal of the proposed LCP amendments to the Coastal Commission for certification;

3) ADOPTED Urgency Ordinance No. 5325 amending Santa Cruz County Code Chapters 7.73, 12.02, 13.10, 14.01 and 17.10 regarding accessory dwelling units, to go into effect immediately outside of the Coastal Zone;

4) ADOPTED Ordinance No. 5326 amending Santa Cruz County Code regarding accessory dwelling units, to go into effect outside of the Coastal Zone in 30 days and inside the Coastal Zone upon certification of the ordinance by the Coastal Commission; and

5) DIRECTED Clerk of the Board to publish notice of adoption as required by Government Code 25124

RESULT:ADOPTED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:John Leopold, First District Supervisor
SECONDER:Zach Friend, Second District Supervisor
AYES:John Leopold, Zach Friend, Ryan Coonerty, Greg Caput, Bruce McPherson

Discussion