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TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
FROM: ASSISTANT TO THE CITY MANAGER
DATE: JUNE 15, 2004
SUBJECT: CONSIDER LEGISLATIVE POSITION ON ASSEMBLY BILL 2702 (STEINBERG) LOCAL CONTROL OF SECOND HOUSING UNITS
Consider opposing Assembly Bill 2702 (Steinberg) and authorizing the Mayor to send letters of opposition to the appropriate parties.
In 2002, the State Legislature passed AB 1866 (Wright) which removed the authority of local governments to require conditional use permits and prohibited public hearings on second dwelling unit applications, and provided that a developer of a density bonus project could demand that the local government waive "any ordinance general plan element, specific plan, charter amendment, or other local law, policy of regulation" or face lawsuits. While many cities were faced with having to make changes to their Development Code to implement the new law, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes had already adopted an Ordinance permitting second dwelling units through ministerial action. Additionally, by adopting its own second unit ordinance, the City set its own development standards governing second units in lieu of those set by State Statute. However, Assembly Bill 2702 (Steinberg) proposes to limit development standards that local governments may apply to second dwelling units.
Mayor Pro Tem Larry Clark requested Assembly Bill 2702 (Steinberg) to be placed on the Council agenda for consideration of opposing this legislation. According to sponsors, AB 2702 is an effort to encourage the development of second housing units by addressing "unreasonable obstacles imposed by local governments". Assembly Bill 2702 would pre-empt local authority in several ways including imposing numerous restrictions on local second unit ordinances and reducing parking standards.
The following are some potential impacts of AB 2702 to the City’s development code:
1. Minimum Unit Size. AB 2702 requires a minimum of 550 livable square feet for attached and detached units. The City’s Municipal Code allows up to 1,200 square feet for detached units but restricts attached second units to 30% of the existing structure. As such, the Development Code would need to be modified to allow for the State minimum 550 livable square feet for attached units (example: currently the City's Development Code would permit an 1,800 square foot home to have a maximum 540 square foot attached second unit, which would be in conflict with the State's requirement of a minimum 550 square foot - the smaller the existing home the greater the conflict with the State's requirements). Although the State's requirement may allow for a slightly larger unit, the potential impact is relatively miniscule.
2. Parking. AB 2702 prohibits the City from requiring more than one parking space per unit or bedroom and prohibits covered parking. The City currently requires a minimum of one covered parking space. This would require a change to the Development Code. The potential impact resulting from this proposed change is most severe, as it would force the necessary parking for 2nd units to an uncovered parking space or onto the street.
3. Absentee Landlords: AB 2702 prohibits local ordinance from requiring an owner-occupant to live on the property, where the City’s code currently requires the owner to occupy either the primary or secondary unit. This would require a change to the Development Code. By removing the City's current requirement, the City may find that more residential units in the City become rentals.
The following is an overview of proposed measures under AB 2702:
The League of California Cities has taken the position to oppose AB 2702 and requests cities to oppose AB 2702 because the bill transfers local land use authority to the state and the bill’s one-size-fits-all approach that ignores jurisdictions doing a good job on housing.
AB 2702 has been read for the first time in the Senate and is pending committee assignment in the Senate.
REGISTERED SUPPORT (short list):
California Association of Realtors (co-sponsor)
California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (co-sponsor)
Western Center on Law and Poverty (co-sponsor)
OPPOSITION (short list):
California Chapter of American Planning Association
California State Association of Counties
League of California Cities
Over 59 cities, including:
City of Palos Verdes Estates
City of Torrance
City of Santa Monica
City of Signal Hill
Should City Council move to oppose AB 2702, staff will prepare the attached draft letter for the Mayor’s signature.
No fiscal impact is anticipated due to opposition of this legislation.
Assistant to the City Manager
Attachment: Draft Letter
Honorable Betty Karnette/Edward Vincent
State Capitol, Room XX
RE: AB 2702 (Steinberg) Secondary Housing Unit--OPPOSE
Dear Senator XX:
On behalf of the City Council of Rancho Palos Verdes, I would like to express the City’s strong opposition to AB 2702 (Steinberg) which preempt local land use authority by imposing numerous restrictions on local second housing unit ordinances, such as limiting local ability to prohibit absentee-landlord duplexes to be created in single-family neighborhoods, reducing parking standards, dictating irrational minimum lot and unit sizes regardless of lot dimensions.
As you’re well aware, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes is a small bedroom community and became incorporated in response to the community’s strong will to control local land-use decisions. The "one-size-fits-all" approach of AB 2702 erroneously and unfairly proposes State mandates that are counterintuitive to local government efforts to address the special needs and circumstances impacting the community and the residents they serve. AB 2702 proposes to prohibit local ordinances from requiring an owner-occupant to live on the property in either unit. The City’s current Code requires the owner to occupy either the primary residence or second unit, so interest in the well being of the neighborhood is maintained. This change under AB 2702 sets up the opportunity to create absentee landlord rental situations in single-family neighborhoods. In addition, AB 2702 also proposes to reduce parking requirements to no more than one parking space for unit and prohibits local governments from requiring covered parking. The City’s Municipal Code currently requires one covered space. In some areas of the City, on-street parking will create public safety concerns and/or increase the public’s perception of unsafe right-of-ways as a result of this blanket State mandate.
Although the City of Rancho Palos Verdes is opposed to AB 2702 because its implementation will undermine the City's local planning authority and potentially pose substantial adverse impacts to the existing residential community, it is important to note that the City has a certified Housing Element and strives to provide for low to moderate income housing. In fact, the City has been very proactive in its efforts to encourage the construction of Second Dwelling Units. For example, prior to the passage of last year's AB 1866, the City had already adopted an Ordinance, which permitted Second Dwelling Units through ministerial action. Additionally, the City's General Plan Housing Element, adopted on August 21, 2001 and certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, includes a "Second Dwelling Unit" program to meet the City's moderate-income construction needs. This particular program is very successful in that 50% of the City's moderate housing construction need has already been met \through the construction of Second Dwelling Units in the City, and Staff expects that the remaining 50% will be met prior to the end of the planning period in 2005. Because of the existing program's success, the City does not see a need for the State to impose additional requirements as proposed through AB 2702.
Again, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes strongly urges you to oppose AB 2702 when it reaches the Senate floor. Your attention to this matter is much appreciated.
Peter C. Gardiner
Cc: League of California Cities