Fullerton Planning Commission defers decision to make the municipal code compliant with State law

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The Fullerton Planning Commission listened to a proposal on Accessory Dwelling Units Wednesday before deciding to defer its decision to the next commission meeting on April 26. (Ashley Haley / Daily Titan)

The Fullerton Planning Commission voted Wednesday to continue the discussion on bringing the Fullerton Municipal code into compliance with State law provisions.

California’s adoption of new provisions for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. An ADU is a secondary dwelling unit on a lot in a single-family or multiple-family zone.

Joan Wolff, senior planner with the community development department, gave a presentation on ADUs, proposed regulations and recommended actions.

“(ADUs) provide opportunities to address unmet demands for new housing. The state is definitely under building in terms of what demand is for housing and so this is seen as one way to try to meet some of that demand,” Wolff said.

ADUs use existing infrastructure, therefore, they are cheaper to build because they don’t require extension or expansion, Wolff said. She said they also reduce commute times because they are located near existing buildings and job centers.

The proposed regulations suggest that detached ADUs on a lot that is less than 10,000 square feet, would have a maximum floor area of 800 square feet, Wolff said. She said lots greater than 10,000 square feet are required to have ADUs no larger than 1200 square feet.

ADUs that are attached to a dwelling and located on lots that are less than 10,000 square feet must not exceed 50 percent of the existing dwelling area, Wolff said.

“(In) the proposed regulation under the new state law, no setback can be required for an existing garage that is converted into an ADU, so if you’ve got a garage that’s on the property line, you can convert it to an ADU but you would have to meet building code requirements,” Wolff said.

Wolff also presented parking requirements in addition to ADUs.

A one-bedroom second unit is required to have one parking space and a two-bedroom second unit should have two parking spaces, Wolff said. Parking for the second unit can be unenclosed but the parking requirements are enforced in addition to the required parking spaces for the primary residence.

After the presentation, commission members asked questions and offered insight about the proposed compliance to the new state code.

Commissioner Kevin Pendergraft said the proposed parking regulations would change the current standard of parking garages.

“If you have a single-family residence that has a garage and that garage is then converted to an ADU, then your parking requirements can go to tandem parking in the driveway with no structure,” Pendergraft said.

Commissioner Ryan Cantor said the plan does not provide local control and said he would vote “No” on the proposal.
Chair Peter Gambino said that he was tempted to vote “No” as well. He said he was also concerned with lack of local control and parking.

However, Pendergraft said the proposal was “well thought out” given the constraints that the state has given the city of Fullerton.

With the opposing views of the planning commission, a motion was passed to further discuss the proposal at the next planning commission meeting on April 26.

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