The Carpinteria City Council today will be asked to adopt an ordinance amending the city’s Local Coastal Program that makes changes to the zoning regulations and zoning map of the municipal code by adding regulations concerning accessory dwelling units and junior accessory dwelling units.
In 2017, the California Legislature passed a package of three bills which generally sought to encourage the development of ADUs and JADUs by streamlining the approval process and limiting local agencies’ authority to regulate ADUs and JADUs.
These bills and subsequent ADU and JADU legislation, however, stated that the state’s laws did not supersede the California Coastal Act (Coastal Act), and thus the city elected not to update its certified Local Coastal Program (LCP) at that time.
Following the city’s decision, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) issued memos, including the most recent memo on Jan. 21, providing guidance on implementation of State ADU Law within the Coastal Zone.
The CCC encouraged coastal jurisdictions to amend their LCPs to implement State ADU Law consistent with the Coastal Act, and also encouraged local governments to develop ADU and JADU standards in a manner that protects wetlands, sensitive habitat, public access, scenic views of the coast, productive agricultural soils and the safety of new ADUs and their occupants.
In response to the initial CCC guidance, the City Council adopted a resolution which, in part, recognized the need to develop city ADU and JADU regulations to promote development of more affordable and market rate housing units and initiated the zoning amendment work necessary to replace its municipal code to allow the ADU and JADU program.
The state legislature continues to identify the production of ADUs and JADUs as an important element to increase housing production and has adopted legislation to promote new ADUs and JADUs. On Jan. 1, 2020 and 2021, new state laws that apply to ADU and JADU regulations went into effect.
Consistent with CCC guidance, local agencies within the Coastal Zone must implement these State ADU Laws that include but are not limited to: ministerial (nondiscretionary) permit review through use of objective development standards; reduction or elimination of development fees; reduced application review timelines; limitations on zoning regulations (e.g., minimum lot size, maximum unit square footage, parking standards, setbacks, etc.); and expansion of ADU and JADU unit count, construction, and/or conversion opportunities for both single family and multi-family residential zones.
The proposed ADU and JADU Program requires compliance with both state housing laws and the Coastal Act, given that the city is located entirely within the Coastal Zone. While many local governments outside of the Coastal Zone are implementing State ADU Law by updating their housing programs or defaulting to the State’s requirements, cities and counties within or partially within the Coastal Zone must also ensure compliance.