Ordinance Installed Limiting ADUs


The Glendale City Council unanimously voted to install an interim urgency ordinance after listening to comments from residents and receiving advice from the city’s Principal Planner for Community Development Laura Stotler regarding the establishment of standards and ministerial process for approving Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

The interim ordinance would limit ADUs to 500 square feet, which would be equal to the maximum square footage for a guesthouse. The temporary ordinance would also bar any new ADUs from being visible from streets in historic districts such as Adams Hill. In order for an ADU to be available to rent, the owner must be a permanent resident of the primary housing unit. Otherwise the entire property must be available for rent as a single property.

Members of the public requested the council approve the interim ordinance as they believe any ordinance would be better than none
at all to stave off any potential negative effects from lack of regulation.

Glendale resident and city realtor Gerri Cragnotti stressed the ordinance’s temporary nature and argued to hold off for a larger discussion on a permanent ordinance when the public can be more informed on the issue and all five seats of the council are filled. A seat on council became vacant late last year after former council member Laura Friedman won the state assembly election to represent California’s 43rd district.

The interim ordinance would be in effect for up to 45 days. Ten days prior to expiration the city staff is required to prepare and present a report on the efficacy of the interim ordinance and what steps have been taken to establish more permanent standards. The interim ordinance, according to local governing code, can be extended two times for a maximum number of two years.

AB 2299, the assembly bill that was signed into law in September of 2016, was intended to help combat rising housing costs and the ongoing housing crisis throughout the state.

The assembly bill nullifies and voids a 1996 ordinance that prohibited secondary dwelling units, or ADUs, since the bill requires local governments provide processes for approving ADUs.

Council member Ara Najarian expressed his dissatisfaction with the bill, stating it would “change the fabric of [Glendale] neighborhoods” by transforming single-family neighborhoods into duplex neighborhoods.

Najarian cited complaints regarding parking and traffic issues that already exist in the city and are feared to be exacerbated by an increase in the density of residential areas. Najarian asked if a moratorium could be placed to allow the city more time to debate and draft a permanent ordinance but such an action was discouraged by the city’s attorney Mike Garcia.

Council member Zareh Sinanyan expressed similar sentiments, but did not suggest a moratorium.

The bill does not require that cities build ADUs but should a developer or resident wish to construct a unit or rent an already existing unit a proper approval process must be in place.