Council Votes to Amend ADU Ordinance


Glendale residents filled city hall on Tuesday to voice their opinions on the city’s proposed amendment to an ordinance permitting accessory dwelling units, or ADUs.

Councilmembers voted 4-1 to amend the ordinance – increasing size, allowing conversions and limiting subleasing – which had been laid out last year after a law was passed in 2016 requiring cities to permit the development of secondary units on a property. Councilmember Paula Devine was the lone vote against the amendment citing her concerns with the allowance of renting the entire property without the owner living on the property.

“I really believe we should require the owner to live on the property so my vote is no,” Devine said. “I would have compromised on the 600 square feet, I think that’s fair, but the other I cannot.”

The amendment expands the allowed size from 500 to 600 square feet, which is half of Los Angeles’ maximum size for secondary units.

Many speakers expressed concerns with the development of larger ADUs changing the characteristics of the city from single-family homes into duplexes.

“Five-hundred square feet [added onto] a single-family house is a granny flat; 800 is an apartment. That house is no longer a single-family house, it’s a duplex,” one Glendale resident said during the meeting. “When you begin to turn our residential neighborhoods into collections of duplexes you change the character of the neighborhood.”

Another concern was that if larger ADUs, or as some characterize, duplexes, were allowed it will invite non-resident real estate investors to begin buying up housing throughout the city.

Some residents expressed skepticism with the city’s ability to enforce the ordinance, suggesting the council limit investment interests by limiting the size of an ADU to 500 square feet.

Councilmembers attempted to address these concerns in previous meetings by introducing a provision that would require that the homeowner live on the property, but were again urged to limit rental of the whole property to a single individual or family. The council went further with the limitation by adding a provision prohibiting the subleasing of either the primary or secondary unit.

Councilmember Vrej Agajanian expressed his preference that the units only be allowed to be rented to relatives or family members of the main property owners, barring the subletting or renting to non-family members. This provision was not added, as the city attorney advised such a provision that restricts the rental of property might not be legally permissible.

The council also voted to appoint Joseph Garcia as Glendale’s Housing Authority Tenant commissioner. Garcia studied architecture in Houston and served in the army as a full-time carpenter at West Point. Garcia will serve the board for two years, or until 2020, when he will have the option to seek reappointment. Garcia replaces Joseph Kelley who served from 2015 until 2017 when his term ended and he did not seek reappointment.