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August 14, 2020

Planning Commission to make recommendations on changes to ADU rules

Commissioners asked to approve propane facility, new alcohol license

WATSONVILLE—The Watsonville Planning Commission tonight will see staff’s proposed changes to the city’s rules for accessory dwelling units (ADUs), also known as “granny flats” or “granny units.”

The proposed changes, in short, would bring the city’s rules in alignment with several state housing bills passed over the last four years that have streamlined the construction of ADUs and Junior ADUs, the latter defined as living units that are created within the walls of a proposed or existing single-family residence. 

Those bills included the reduction of parking requirements, application review time and fees collected by municipalities, which must now adopt an ordinance that is consistent with state law.

The city has not updated its rules on ADUs since 2003, according to the staff report.

The meeting will start at 6pm. To participate visit https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/491183797 or call +1 (872) 240-3212 and enter access code 491-183-797.

With housing—especially of the affordable variety—in short supply many lawmakers across the state are touting the tiny developments as big difference makers.

An ADU, the California Department of Housing and Community Development says, is a low-cost project that can provide an additional dependable source of income for homeowners and help house seniors, young people, small families or friends that are looking for cheap, no-frills housing.

City staff is proposing that properties of 10,000 square feet or less be allowed to construct one ADU of varying size (850-1,200 square feet) and maximum bedrooms (1-3 bedrooms). Properties of 12,000 square feet or greater would be allowed to construct one ADU of 1,200 square feet and a maximum of three bedrooms, or two ADUs of 750 square feet and two bedrooms.

A maximum of one off-street parking space is required for every ADU or JADU, though that can be waived if the project meets certain criteria such as its proximity to public transit.

Under the proposed changes, owners who illegally constructed non-permitted ADUs or JADUs before Jan. 1, 2020 can also request a five-year delay in code enforcement if they come forward to legalize their units through the Community Development Department (CDD). Those who do come forward to obtain the proper permits will see a 50% reduction in building fees.

The CDD said between July 2019 and May 2020 it received complaints about 70 illegally constructed ADUs, 90% of which city staff confirmed were constructed without proper permits.

Propane Plant on West Beach 

The Planning Commission will also make a decision on a proposed propane storage and transfer facility set to be constructed at 950 W. Beach St.

If approved, the project would reshape a vacant 0.7-acre lot by installing a new railcar unloading tower and two new tank unloading stations. It would also refurbish and move an already existing 50,000-gallon propane tank. The project has the potential to add four additional 30,000-gallon propane tanks, according to the staff report.

Richard Kojak of Mountain Propane Service in Felton owns the property and is leading the project. David Dauphin of C2G/Civil Consultant Group in Scotts Valley is listed as the applicant.

Hampton Inn & Suites asking for alcohol license

The fast-moving Hampton Inn & Suites hotel on 75 Lee Road is asking the Planning Commission to approve a new Type 70 license from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The license will allow the hotel, which is being constructed by Juggy Tut and Elite Hospitality Group LLC of Watsonville, to sell beer, wine and distilled spirits at its snack shop from 6am to 11pm.

To see the full Planning Commission agenda click here.

Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.

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