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The Granny Flat Gambit: Vigilance and the Struggle for Self-Governance

“A people cannot have the consciousness of being self-governing unless they attend themselves to the things over against their doors.” — Benjamin Ide Wheeler.

Those immortal words of the autocratic president of the University of California 100 years ago do not pop up on google but they are found chiseled on the Main Street facade of City Hall as if a warning to the populace that their values and interests will not be served unless they are vigilant.

It is pretty clear by now to anyone paying attention that the people of LA are becoming more vigilant; that the consciousness of our situation together is growing; that self-governance is within our grasp.

Solar energy, billboards, marijuana stores, DWP rates and many other issues have stalled and forced the connivers at City Hall to redraw the schemes, to back down in some cases and even to reverse course.

In Copenhagen with his entourage at the admitted cost of $120,000 in precious taxpayer dollars, the mayor got aboard the bicycle fancier and bike rights movement agenda back home and peddled as fast as could his love of a more natural lifestyle that consumed less fossil fuel and resources with the exception, of course, of fine wines.

On Friday, the City Planning Department announced in an email to angry mob of homeowners that plans were being abandoned to legalize Accessory Dwelling Unites (ADUs) — granny flats in backyards, converted garages and houses turned into tenements — in every residential neighborhood except those occupied by the hillside-dwelling rich and the open spaces of the equestrian crowd.
           

Friday, December 18, 2009 2:25 PM

From: Gabriela Juarez <Gabriela.Juarez@lacity.org>

Hello,

We are emailing you because you have requested to
be placed on the

Interested Parties List for Accessory Dwelling Units. 
We wanted to

advise you that we have discontinued our work on ADU’s, per the
attached

status update.  The permissive state standards will continue to
apply.

Thank you for your participation in this effort.


Juarez is the point person in the Planning Department who was assigned by her boss Tom Rothman to guide the granny flats ordinance through a public hearing process as quietly as possible so they City Council could approve it unanimously before anyone really knew what it meant.

The strategy might have succeeded a year ago as it has no many times for so many years. But this time the vast network of computers linked by viral email spread the word and the Granny Flat Gambit popped up on OurLA.org and replicated on blogs and suddenly there was an uproar.

They envisioned their single-family housing tracts with people everywhere, cars all over the place, backyards without any privacy.

City Planning documents claimed the ordinance was “mandated” by a six-year-old state law AB 1866 but City Attorney Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich put the lie to that.




He told Neighborhood Council activists at a PlanCheck meeting that nothing in
the state law requires the city to open the floodgates to granny flats
throughout most of the city’s residential areas and that the law
doesn’t “mention minimum lot size or parking requirements or anything
related to restrictions on residential density.”

In fact, cities that enacted their own ordinances under this
law did so to protect single-family neighborhoods — not destroy them.

Planning
chief Gail Goldberg, in an attachment to Juarez’s terse announcement,
explained public sentiment did not register at all with her beyond
showing that it “has become abundantly clear from the public input that
this work program would be time consuming and labor intensive.”

The
granny flat ordinance was being “put on hold” because of city’s
deeteriorating financial situation which has caused “staff reductions”
due to the ERIP retirements and “required furloughs

Her letter Friday (ADU.pdf) to NC members, City Council members and “interested parties” highlights two sentences in bold-face type: 

 

“One
of the programs that will go on indefinite hold is the creation and
adoption of a local ordinance for Accessory Dwelling Units…the city
will comply with the parameters established by state law.”

In
other words, a vigilant community created such a hullabaloo that it
wasn’t worth the time and trouble to take on this fight when the
Council members are so scared to death for their own future employment,
they are paralyzed and panicked that the people will wake up and
realized they’ve been screwing them for years.

Killing the
granny flat measure set off a round of applause and cheers among the
vigilantes on this issue, relieved that city planners gave up the fight
in the face of community opposition. The state law which had not been a
problem would remain the law of the city.

Gerald Silver, the
Encino Homeowners leader and long-time civic vigilante, wasn’t totally
convinced it’s so easy to stop City Hall’s latest attack on the middle
class. He sent out an email blast under this headline:

PLANNING DEPT./S. GAIL
GOLDBERG THROWS IN THE TOWEL
ON ACCESORY DWELLING UNIT
ORDINANCE (ADUs)..at least if seems so!

Another vigilant citizen, Mike Eveloff, was even more skeptical and looked a little deeper.

“They
dropped the ordinance BECAUSE people were going to succeed in putting
political pressure and getting restrictions on ADUs,” he wrote in an
email. “By dropping the ordinance, the city is mandated by AB1866 to
use its VERY permissive guidelines. Planning just thumbed their
collective noses at the community.

.“We didn’t win.  We lost.  Big time.”

What Eveloff pointed to was the guidelines for the state law which applies in the absence of a local ordinance:

b)1)When a local agency which has not adopted an ordinance
governing second units in accordance with subdivision (a) or (c)
receives its first application on or after July 1, 1983, for a permit
pursuant to this subdivision, the local agency shall accept the application and approve or disapprove the application ministerially without discretionary review pursuant to this subdivision unless it adopts an ordinance
in accordance with subdivision (a) or (c) within 120 days after
receiving the application.  Notwithstanding Section 65901 or 65906, every
local agency shall grant a variance or special use permit for the
creation of a second unit if the second unit complies with all of the
following

(A) The unit is not intended for sale and may be rented.

(B) The lot is zoned for single-family or multifamily use.
(C) The lot contains an existing single-family dwelling.
(D) The second unit is either attached to the existing dwelling and located
within the living area of the existing dwelling or detached from the existing
dwelling and located on the same lot as the existing dwelling.
(E) The increased floor area of an attached second unit shall not exceed 30
percent of the existing living area.
(F) The total area of floorspace for a detached second unit shall not exceed
1,200 square feet.
(G) Requirements relating to height, setback, lot coverage, architectural
review, site plan review, fees, charges, and other zoning requirements
generally applicable to residential construction in the zone in which the
property is located.
(H) Local building code requirements which apply to detached dwellings, as
appropriate.
(I) Approval by the local health officer where a private sewage disposal system
is being used, if required.

The
state law hasn’t caused problems yet but whatever forces were at work
to get planners to develop the state’s most permissive local ordinance
suggests they are willing to settle for the state law for now rather
than face a fight that could lead to a restrictive granny flats
ordinance like those enacted in cities where the quality of life of the
residents comes first.

“Pressure needs to be brought to bear to get the council to
put in an ICO to set the lot size limit to 15000 (square feet),” Eveloff said.

“Otherwise, we will end
up with hundreds (thousands?) of ADUs before the city gets around to doing
anything.  Sound familiar?  Think billboards, dispensaries.”

I think Eveloff is right and as he said in his email to me: “You have it completely wrong.”

The
wolves are against our doors, to paraphrase Benjamin Ide Wheeler, which
is what so much of this fight with City Hall is about.

If
we are to achieve “the consciousness of being self-governing” we must
regroup and refuse to let Gail Goldberg three in the towel.

She
brought up the need for a granny flats ordinance and we want one, one
that restricts them from destroying our neighborhoods, one that doesn’t
allow thousands of illegal firetraps to become legal and doesn’t allow
thousands of more to be constructed.

Here’s the officials to email if you want your neighborhood protected:

“Councilwoman
Janice Hahn” <
hahn@council.lacity.org>,
“Councilman Tony Cardenas” <
cardenas@council.lacity.org>,
“Councilman
Tom LaBonge” <
tlabonge@council.lacity.org>,
“Councilman Jose Huizar” <
Jose.huizar@lacity.org>,
“Councilman Richard Alarcon” <councilmember.alarcon@lacity.org>, 

“Councilwoman Jan Perry” <
jperry@council.lacity.org>,
“Councilman Ed Reyes” <councilmember.reyes@lacity.org>,
“Councilman Bernard Parks”
<
parks@council.lacity.org>,
“Councilman Eric Garcetti” <
garcetti@council.lacity.org>,
“Councilman Greig Smith”
<
smith@council.lacity.org>,
“Councilman Herb Wessen” <councilmember.wesson@lacity.org>
“Councilman Paul Koretz”
<paul.koretz@
lacity.org>,
“Councilman Dennis Zine” <
zine@council.lacity.org>,
“Councilman Paul Kerkorian”
“Councilman Bill Rosendahl”
<
councilman.rosendahl@lacity.org>,
“Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa”
mayor@lacity.org,
“S. Gail Goldberg, Planning Director”  
gail.goldberg@lacity.org
 

 

 

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37 Responses to The Granny Flat Gambit: Vigilance and the Struggle for Self-Governance

  1. Anonymous says:

    “What fools we mortals be”, celebrating a “victory” when the Planning Department approves ADUs by right on lots 7,500 sq.ft. and more. Many are built illegally with no enforcement. This issue needs to be revisited.

  2. Anonymous says:

    July 4, 1776,
    The Declaration of Independence
    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That, to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed.
    That, whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such Principles and organizing its Powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
    But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
    (Skip)
    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    (Skip)
    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    The History Place
    http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/revolution/decindep.htm

  3. Jose says:

    The granny flat ordinance is just Ed Reyes way of screwing up the city. He wants to equalize the mayhem of the east side by spreading it to the west side.
    I read elsewhere that Ed Reyes’ stupidity is surpassed only by his ever so fragile ego. I do hope he reads this, but as he cannot understand multi-syllabic words, perhaps one of his sophomoric aides will translate into simple language for him.
    I’ll make it easy for her; Ed Reyes is a moron, a little man with a little brain. Good luck running for anything again, Ed. You’ve made enough enemies who know how to put an end to your political career – just ask Jack Weiss what it’s like to have your ass handed to you on a plate.

  4. Anonymous says:

    LOS ANGELES LACK OF LEADERSHIP COUNCIL/MAYOR
    Court ruling barring LA from sterilizing feral cats stirs controversy
    Animal advocates are heatedly facing off over a recent court ruling that has barred the city of Los Angeles from supporting the sterilization of stray and feral cats.
    In June 2008, Longcore’s group and five others – including the Palos Verdes/South Bay Audubon Society – sued the city for implementing the sterilization program without conducting a state-required review of the policy’s environmental effects.
    On Dec. 4, a judge agreed with the conservation groups that the city had secretly implemented and supported trap-neuter-release – referred to as TNR.
    City officials were tight-lipped about the decision this week, refusing to say whether they would seek an appeal or pursue an environmental review.
    This lawsuit was filed because the city didn’t follow the rules. They started a program without doing an environmental impact report,” said Martin Byhower, a board member with the South Bay Audubon Society group
    LA Daily Breeze http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_14027444?source=rv

  5. Anonymous says:

    I saw the same email with a signature from Gail Goldberg. There is a punitive tone in the letter. Obviously they are thumbing their nose at the Citizens who have the audacity to have their voice heard through direct contact with their representatives in a Democracy.
    Instead of having the “tail wag the dog” the heat needs to be redirected back to these same elected officials (Council and Mayor) on any of these major issues.

  6. Sandy Sand says:

    Good news on the surface, but the skeptics have it right.
    We have to watch “them” every minute of every day!

  7. Anonymous says:

    The good news is the “PEOPLE” have shown their power more then on one occassion. The Bad news is these clowns, morons, illerate fools, or whatever you want to call them should be very afraid of “the people” come 2010. If Reyes, Huizar, LaBonge, Perry and the rest think they are going to run for another political position and not have the “people’s wrath” against them have they sure will be in for a big surprise. The people have the momentum on their side after the Krekorian win. THat momentum has to be further felt in city hall and the next step is the 2010 elections. Let’s get rid of all these old hags and get fresh, new blood of the “real people” of this city who actually care.

  8. Hank says:

    Regarding the Copenhagen gathering of clowns and connivers and other con-men/women:
    The subject is “Gloabl Warming” – right?
    Then why is it snowing there, only the fourth time in the last century that snow has occurred in Copenhagen in December? {And snow is forecast every day for the next 10 days}.
    I don’t remember reading this is the MSM, do you?

  9. Hank says:

    Regarding the Copenhagen gathering of clowns and connivers and other con-men/women:
    The subject is “Global Warming” – right?
    Then why is it snowing there now, only the fourth time in the last century that snow has occurred in Copenhagen in December? {And snow is forecast every day for the next 10 days}.
    I don’t remember reading this is the MSM, do you?

  10. Anonymous says:

    According to the letter, the Planning Department does not have the resources to implement the ordinance. Can’t keep hiding behind excuses forever as a cover-up for incompetence. Need a Director who knows how to utilize existing resources, and produce sensible ordinances to the benefit of the community.

  11. ellen vukovich says:

    Here’s a few other points about duplexes in our neighborhoods.
    1) The state law was enacted in 2003. Only now has the City Council decided it’s time to comply. Read that as “what a good idea to raise revenue.” Because they could have let the state law continue, along with the current guidelines that Planning is using, and it is pretty safe to say, none of us (including speculator/developers) would be the wiser.
    Again, this isn’t about finding a means to promote affordable housing which was the spin generated by the Council when homeowner groups started learning about the ordinance. Think for a minute, given the costs of construction, what property owner (new landlord) isn’t going to rent out the new unit for as much money as the market will bear? And, since living in a single family neighborhood as compared to a multi-family/apartment neighborhood, has more dollar worth (sorry, don’t mean to offend anyone here) then that destroys the “affordable” housing gimmick.
    2) The Council was about to enact the ordinance without any environmental review, which appears to me to have been overlooked in the state law.
    3) The state law makes no provisions for a neighbor to file an appeal against their neighbor’s application to build a duplex. Most homeowners have purchased their homes with the intent of living next to single family homes.
    How will this impact property values?
    This is yet another way of modifying the community and general plans which protect the characterization of neighborhoods.
    4) All of this is the stuff lawyers wait for. Again, no complete review by the city as to potential impacts…above and below ground. No appeal process. Is this a reverse taking?
    5) Why aren’t the cities in California joining forces and telling the state to stop making planning laws that affect municipalities? The one sized fits all mentality is wrong. How many City Council Members (and the Mayor) came down from Sacramento? 6?

  12. Anonymous says:

    1:35, that’s the kind of really scarily idiotic “science” that characterizes the right, the SLAPPERS and many readers of this blog all down the line. Fact that it’s snowing or cold now in one place has nothing to do with global warning – nor does the snowstorm back east. It’s about the patterns over time that have measurably changed.
    Scientists have drilled down into the arctic ice caps and found that the layers have been melting over decades – if this continues, the polar ice cap will be no more. Glaciers are already breaking up much earlier in the year, for example.
    The Himalayan ice caps are also much thinner and melting much earlier every year, which is what causes the flooding in places like the flats of India and Bangladesh, whose rivers are the runoffs from the Himalayas. It’s meant that the lush forests that used to be on the mountains are now much sparser. Scientists document these things over time, whereas the Rush Limbaughs and Kevin James small-town wannabes and all in between, point to some incident that occurs and claims it’s “proof.” That’s as scientific as saying Darwinism can’t be true because no one’s ever seen an ape turn into a human.
    All the rest of your “logic” follows. I’ll bet I know how you feel on all the local issues and who you support and hate.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The state law not only exempted CEQA review, but also prevents cities from considering the growth inducing aspects of doubling density in R1 areas.
    The state needs to stop sending cities mandates without considering the impacts.

  14. Anonymous says:

    3:14, quit painting everyone on this blog with a broad paint brush. No idea, how global warming became an issue on a thread about “granny flats”, as distant as you can get. There are dumb people on all blogs, who must get their message thru, whether pertinent or not.

  15. Anonymous says:

    We have legislative analysts on the city payroll, and half the Councilmembers and the dumb Mayor from the State musical chairs, and more to come, if we don’t stem their mushrooming, on taxpayer’s dime. If they don’t do anything, what is a citizen expected to do? Hope that the Planning Department will save them? They are enablers of the dumb forces. The politicos and the bureaucracies they establish are equally culpable.

  16. Anonymous says:

    DEAR HONORABLE MAYOR, CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT, AND PLANNING DIRECTOR,
    LET ME SUGGEST THAT YOU RE-PRIORITIZE YOUR RESOURCES AND DELAY WORK FOR WEALTHY DEVELOPERS AND FOCUS IN ON THE COMMUNITY SUCH AS THE ISSUE RELATED TO ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS.
    ONCE YOU ARE FINISHED WORKING TOGETHER ON AN ORDINANCE THAT REFLECTS THE NEEDS AND PROTECTS THE COMMUNITY, THEN YOU CAN RESUME WORK FOR MASSIVE DEVELOPMENT ENTITLEMENTS THAT WILL ONLY BE USED TO INCREASE THE VALUE OF THE LAND WHICH WILL HELP THE DEVELOPER INCREASE THEIR PROFIT WHEN THEY SELL THE LAND WITHOUT LIFTING A HAMMER.

  17. Hank says:

    TO anonymous (3:23) – Global warming/Copenhagen became a topic when this blog’s author mentioned it in paragraph 4 above.

  18. KK says:

    There is an easy fix–if not perfect by any means, why doesn’t the city simply adopt the interim ADU requirements as an 0rdinance and amend it going forward as time passes?
    Perphaps, allowing the 35 community plan areas to adopt variations as each community sees fit?
    That is, if city planning actually meant to adopt to protect Single family zoned properties and isn’t being vituperative.
    If city planning won’t, shall we start a petition right now to urge City Council to do just that? Maybe we can call it the proposition u now movement?

  19. ellen vukovich says:

    KK:
    You are on the right track. However, we need more than the interim guidelines, i.e., means to appeal, minimum lot sizes over 7,500 (i.e., 15,000) square feet and lots more to make sure any implementating ordinance won’t be thrown out of court if challenged. (Am thinking about what the Council did with SB1818).

  20. Anonymous says:

    This is the problem facing the City. No one wants to be the bad guy. Which means, tell the truth. Many activists don’t have any idea what they are talking about but no one will tell them different because it is not considered nice. Once the Charter was changed and the GM’s became political positions they must follow the wishes of the elected officials which change with the wind but always follow the money. Planning won’t make a decision it won’t reverse for a developer and Building & Safety is told to be nice “ie. don’t do your job”. Anyone in management at Planning or Building & Safety has sold their souls for their job because anyone with integrity has left in disgust! Only people who “can get the job done” which means make sure the developers and sign companies get what they want are promoted. Anyone trying to do their job is not being business friendly and is not promoted or given the assignments to promote. Why does Building and Safety still have a Case management division when its main purpose is to help the worst developers and violators in city get away with as much as possible. Even when they are caught red handed they are helped for FREE. Can’t help the regular citizens but help the crooks and largest developers for FREE. This does not make sense.

  21. KK says:

    Ellen:
    thanks for the feedback. The question is what can we agree on to get passed quickly? I believe that the city attorney can give us an opinion quickly as to whether he thinks the interim restrictions drwan up by the planning dept in 2003 would withstand a court battle…I think the answer is yes. I would love 15,000 feet minimum…I don’t think it will pass with that
    strigent of a requirement. I simply want the city of LA to be in rough agreement with the surrounding cities, AND WE NEED THIS DONE quickly.

  22. Anonymous says:

    This is hilarious; I only included the first few paragrpahs of Orlovs interview with the ‘completely lost it’ Mayor.
    Villaraigosa points to accomplishments
    OPTIMISTIC: `I think this is one of the best years we’ve had,’ mayor says
    By Rick Orlov, Staff Writer
    Updated: 12/20/2009 06:30:12 PM PST
    Despite all evidence to the contrary, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa insists this past year was one of the best in his nearly six years as the city’s chief executive.
    Forget that he lost his biggest ally and the source of the city’s success in reducing crime with the departure of Police Chief Bill Bratton.
    Don’t pay any attention to the fact that he is overseeing a city government that is shrinking by 2,400 workers, and faces a perennial shortfall in revenue that has stalled his ambitious hiring plan for the Los Angeles Police Department.
    And ignore the low regard the public holds for all levels of government and politicians now, and the lower-than-expected turnout for his re-election this year.
    “I think this is one of the best years we’ve had,” Villaraigosa said during a recent interview. “I love my job and I have it three more years.”
    Villaraigosa’s optimism flies in the face of the problems many see on the horizon, but he remains convinced only better days are ahead.

  23. Anonymous says:

    The Director’s letter to the community is arrogant-let them eat cake. Meanwhile, she lays the welcome mat for developers. And seems to have plenty of time to attend conferences all over the country, but has no time for protection of neighborhoods.

  24. Anonymus says:

    The Director’s respone is arrognat – let them eat Cake, while she lays out the welcome mat for developers. Meanwhile she has all the time in the world to attend conferences all over the country rather than address neighborhood protection.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Jose, you are too harsh on Ed Reyes, but have to agree that his lack of oversight of land use issues and Planning Department with one debacle after another, earns him that reputation.

  26. ellen vukovich says:

    KK – Please send Ron your email addy for me. We can discuss further off this blog. Thanks.
    Pasadena imposed 15,000 as the cut-off.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Sorry for reprinting the whole thing, but the link was too complicated. Here are Pasadena’s ADU requirements:
    17.50.275 – Second Dwelling Units
    Applicability. The following standards apply to the construction of second dwelling units.
    Location and operational standards.
    A second dwelling unit may be constructed on any legal parcel of 15,000 square feet or more in any RS zoning district.
    Second dwelling units are prohibited on properties located within the Hillside and Landmark Overlay Districts.
    Second dwelling units shall only be built when there is an existing single-family residence (e.g., primary residence) on the site. If a site is vacant, a second dwelling unit may be constructed at the same time as the primary residence.
    There shall be a minimum distance of 500 feet between properties with second dwelling units constructed under these provisions. This distance shall be measured from the nearest property line of the parcel on which the second dwelling unit is proposed to the nearest property line of the parcel containing a second dwelling unit.
    The property owner shall occupy one of the two units on the site as a primary residence. If thereafter the owner occupies neither unit, the second dwelling unit shall automatically become a nonhabitable space, shall not be used as a dwelling, and shall not be rented.
    A second dwelling unit is only allowed on a lot that is connected to a public sewer system.
    Existing single-family structures shall not be demolished to allow the construction of a second dwelling unit.
    Trailers or prefabricated housing shall not be allowed to be used as a second dwelling unit.
    No more than 20 new second dwelling units shall be allowed per calendar year within the City boundaries, with no more than 200 allowed within a ten-year period.
    Some flexibility from the standards of this ordinance is allowed for the relocation of a historic resource onto the front of a property with an existing single-family residence. Flexibility could include using the rear house as a second dwelling unit even though it may exceed the maximum size for a second dwelling unit. Waivers from these standards to accommodate the relocation of a historic resource shall be subject to the review and approval of the Director.
    Development standards.
    Except as identified in this Subsection, second dwelling units shall comply with all of the development standards (e.g., encroachment plane, floor area, height, lot coverage, setbacks, etc.) that apply to the primary residence.
    A second dwelling unit shall not be more than 800 square feet in gross floor area.
    A second dwelling unit shall be limited to a height of one story, not to exceed 12 feet to the top plate and 17 feet to the highest ridgeline, and shall not exceed the height of the primary residence.
    A second dwelling unit shall be located behind the rear building line of the primary residence, and be clearly subordinate by location and size.
    A minimum building separation of six feet shall be maintained (eave to eave) between the primary residence and a detached second dwelling unit. A minimum building separation of 10 feet shall be maintained (eave to eave) from the entrance of a second dwelling unit if it is facing the wall of another structure on the property.
    No entry to a second dwelling unit shall be visible from the public right-of-way.
    Parking and circulation standards.
    The primary residence shall provide the required two covered parking spaces on site before allowing a second dwelling unit on the subject property. An additional two covered parking spaces shall be provided on-site for the second dwelling unit.
    No overnight parking permits shall be issued for a property with a second dwelling unit approved under these provisions.
    A second dwelling unit shall share the driveway with the existing primary residence on the site.
    A second driveway shall only be allowed from an alley, if there is an alley that serves the subject site.

  28. Anonymous says:

    What anonymous on December 21, 2009 10:21 AM, said is so true. Since the community has no interest in the internal workings of government, other than that their needs be met, hopefully such comments provide them with a glimmer of the reality workers face daily.
    On another note, today, the Mayor appointed Bud Ovrum, his Deputy Mayor as Department of Building & Safety head. Things will go from bad to worse under this political lackey.

  29. Anonymous says:

    What a bunch of morons you “community activists” are for fighting the city’s efforts to get an ADU ordinance on the books. Now my neighborhood is going to get flooded with new 1,200 square foot granny flats and there is not a god damn thing I can do about it. All the homeowners on my block are salivating over the fact that they can build something bigger than they could last year when the City at least had a policy limiting ADU’s to 640 square feet. Next time you people want to save my neighborhood why don’t you just upzone me to R5 and get it over with. Idiots!

  30. Anonymous says:

    The community activists who have half-baked ideas about planning issues, nevertheless, take actions which only harm them. They should at least try to consult with people who do.

  31. Anonymous says:

    The Planning Department already has dedicated staff who approve ADU’s per the lax state guidelines and now they can continue to rubber stamp these generously sized granny flats. The neighborhood councils and the City Attorney played right into the city’s little trap and now they have carte blanche to double up the city’s density.

  32. Anonymous says:

    The last 3 comments starting with “December 23, 2009 4:16 PM” don’t make sense.
    Our City leaders starting with the Mayor and most of the City Council all have “group think” about believing in the religion of “elegant density, mixed use, transit oriented, and pedestrian friendly.” The basics of this type of planning actually may make sense, but isn’t being practiced by the City of LA.
    In reality, wealthy developers (and their industrial complex of financiers and lawyers) and land speculators are using the City and riding off the backs of the working class to dramatically increase the value of the land that they are holding by getting dramatic zoning variances.
    The “granny flats” issue, like SB1818 fits into the beloved plans of the development community to change the configuration of local neighborhoods.
    For Planning Director Gail Goldberg to say in essence “you won’t go along with our plans, we’ll punish you with the State default standards” is childish, dishonest, and only serves to punish the taxpayers who pay her, the Mayor, and the City Council’s salary.

  33. Anonymous says:

    The recurring theme in most comments is that the Planning Director is “arrogant, childish, dishonest, and uncaring about the needs of the community and protection of single-family neighborhoods. What’s the solution.

  34. Anonymous says:

    write an ordinance ourselves

  35. Anonymous says:

    I think we missed the boat on getting an ordinance on the books. We needed to get a Planning Department proposal to City Council where we might have had some allies. Now it’s over thanks to all your misguided advice of stopping the Planning Department in their tracks. Goodbye R1 zoning.

  36. Paul says:

    How many of you guys here that are against the ADU are apartment building owners???
    Funny.
    But if you ask 9 out of 10 contractors or if you go to the city hall, they will all tell you that you can NOT build an ADU…
    In fact you can, but you need to scream hell, and get the big boss down stairs….
    Fact is that there is no ordinance in LA city and as such state law is in effect. Anything else is a lawsuit against the city and a 100% win for the builder.
    So it seems that city employees, either on purpose told to slow the building process down or out right kill it, or just acting out of stupidity…
    Drive by the city streets in R1, RA, RE zones, on every 10 houses, you will see one ADU…illegal of course…
    1) If you convert that illegal garage conversion to ADU, city will get about $5000 in fees/permits from which $2000-3000 will go to our schools as School fee.. that is one of the reasons the city planning was instructed to do that…
    2) The building/remodeling of ADU will create huge work for builders/contractors….again money…..
    3) Property tax bases will get bumped up…again more money for the state.
    4) Land will immediately appreciate as the ability to put another dwelling makes it “worth” more.
    5) Some (I know not all) of the illegal and unsafe existing garage conversion would actually go through inspections, get repaired and brought to code, making them SAFE to live in.
    On the other hand, I agree that some protections need to be put and some already exist in the state law.
    Ron was saying that that neighbor that was destroying his neighborhood could not put 2 more ADUs on the lot making total of 5 ADUs on one lot….RON, why are you saying that. I know you read the state law, that says clearly that ONLY ONE ADU can be built on a lot!
    Put 10,000-15,000 as the minimum lot size.
    Add that one of the units need to be owner occupied
    Require on site parking space for ADU inside the lot,
    And most of us should be pretty happy.

  37. Great write-up buddie. This has made me look for much more.

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