January 05, 2007

City Seeks Public Input on New Rules for Accessory Dwelling Units

Community Meeting Set for January 11

Learn about proposed changes to an ordinance that regulates accessory second dwelling units in the City of Chula Vista at a special community meeting Thursday, January 11 at 6 p.m. The public is invited to review and comment on the revisions during the two-hour session, which will be held in the Chula Vista High School cafeteria, located on the south side of K Street, just west of Fourth Avenue.

The intent of the proposed changes is to make second units more compatible with their surrounding neighborhoods. New limits restrictions are being introduced on second units built on single-family residential lots including limits restrictions on height, size and placement. As a result, the proposed changes generally reduce the size of secondary units owners can build. For instance, under the current regulations, property owners are allowed to build a second unit up to 850 square feet — no matter how large their lot may be. The new regulations would limit second units to 450 square feet on smaller lots and introduce a graduated scale that allows larger units on bigger lots. Under the new rules, 850 square foot units could only be constructed on large estate lots.

In 2003, the City of Chula Vista adopted local regulations that were consistent with a state mandate that allowed the construction of accessory second dwelling units in single-family zones. Over the next two years, 50 units were built, mostly on the City’s west side. In a number of cases, neighbors objected to the new units complaining about size and location. City Council directed planners to explore neighbors’ concerns in a series of public workshops with the Planning Commission. Feedback from the workshops led to several recommendations for new requirements. Planners put together a draft ordinance, which is now ready for public review.

“We think the new standards will satisfy everyone—not only the property owners who are building second units, but their neighbors as well,” said Jim Sandoval, Chula Vista’s Planning Director. “By introducing these changes, the City is attempting to balance the need for more housing on the City’s west side with the best interests of the surrounding property owners.”

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