Planning Commission Votes to Restrict ADUs

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The following was written by Max Zeronian, special to the Outlook

The Planning Commission voted last week in favor of an ordinance restricting the building of additional dwelling units within the guidelines set forth by the state.
As specified in state Senate Bill No. 1069 and state Assembly Bill No. 2299, additional regulations would limit the size of lot on which ADUs can be built, requiring owners of properties smaller than 12,000 square feet to convert a garage or other unit to create additional housing if they so choose. Forty-eight percent of San Marino’s residential lots are larger than 12,000 square feet.
“I like the ordinance,” Commissioner Howard Brody said. “It’s about as good as we can get given what was passed by Sacramento and signed by the governor.”
At their meeting on Wednesday, June 28, commissioners heard feedback from residents on both sides of the issue: Those in favor of the ordinance wanted to take full advantage of the wiggle room allowed in the bills and those opposed thought the new bill was a victory for property owners.
Concerns brought forth by the commission pertained mainly to the requirement of a separate address for the ADU and the impact on the San Marino school system.
Under the ordinance, homeowners who add ADUs will keep the same address, which is thought to dissuade people from renting to individuals outside of their family. Commissioner Raymond Cheng said he is concerned that using the same address for both units could confuse first responders in the case of an emergency. His fellow commissioners thought that would be unlikely.
The possibility of students from other school districts coming into the San Marino Unified School District also was discussed.
“We may have a parent and child, for example, and the child is new to this school district,” Vice Chairwoman Susan Jakubowski said. “Could there be a possible initial academic disparity, and how do we address that as a community?”

In other business, the most public commentary was in regard to a proposed Cape Cod style house to be built on Winthrop Road. With mostly disapproval from the neighbors, commissioners and other San Marino residents, the architect was directed to come up with a design that would conform with the standards of neighboring homes.
Also on the agenda was an amendment to the city code that would prohibit all commercial cannabis activity. Consistent with California Prop. 64, limited indoor cultivation would be allowed. The amendment passed with a unanimous vote.

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