April 8, 2017 Neighborhood Meeting Summary


E-mail and phone reminders


5 members


Susan brought broken bunny scone/cookies. Laura brought mandarin oranges.


Agenda Items:

The meeting began about 11:25 am

  • Accessory Dwelling Unit (aka 2nd unit) regulation process update
    • “Accessory Dwelling Unit” (ADU) is the new state defined terminology for what was formerly called a “2nd unit” or “granny flat”.
    • An “Accessory Dwelling Unit” (ADU) is a second self-contained residential unit on a single family residential lot. Generally it contains living, sleeping, and kitchen spaces, and a bathroom.
    • New state regulations walloped existing City rules –
      • New state legislation enacted in September 2016 and took effect on January 1. It required all local entities to change their local ordinances to be consistent with the new state law or be completely invalid. This forced Pasadena to quickly change its existing ordinance to be consistent or lose any control. We discussed this at our February meeting:
      • Under the new state rules ADUs created by conversion of existing space must be allowed on all single-family lots and no parking can be required.
      • The existing space can be a garage, shed, or other legal accessory structure of at least 150 square feet, whether or not its location conforms to current zoning code for habitable space, as long as it has sufficient setbacks to meet fire safety requirements.
      • If parking for the primary residence is eliminated by conversion of a garage or carport, the only requirement is that the vehicles that would have been able to park there (if it were empty) can still park on the property.
      • The ADU must have an independent exterior door.
      • The ADU must meet all applicable building codes (structural integrity, electrical and plumbing, …)
      • When an ADU is created, property owners must record a covenant to insure compliance with these operational requirements:
        • The property owner must reside in one of the two units on the property. If the property owner stops living on the property, the ADU must be converted to non-habitable space.
        • The ADU cannot be sold separately from the existing single family home.
        • ADUs created after January 1, 2017 cannot be used as short term rentals. (Note, this restriction was not known when the concern about short term rental use was raised previously).
    • Current City regulations that still apply to ADUs that are not created from existing space are much stricter and essentially prohibit them on all but the largest lots in the City. The combination with of old city and new state rules has resulted in a particularly strange mishmash of rules.
    • The new state rules allow those with money to get around city rules intended to preserve neighborhood character, such as setbacks of habitable dwellings, by getting a permit to build a new garage or shed and then pull new permits to convert that “existing space” to an ADU. But it costs more, and as long as those covenants are required on converted space, probably isn’t desirable. Perhaps not worth being very concerned about unless it starts happening. There is no clear way to stop it, except perhaps by changing the rules for setbacks of any accessory building greater than 150 square feet to be the same as for the primary residence.
    • The current mishmash of rules is complicated and difficult for normal folks to navigate. Dropping some or all of the city rules for new ADUs would allow simplification.
    • What to do?
      • The City Council directed planning staff to do community outreach on whether and how the city rules should be changed and come back to them with recommendations by the end of June. There is a large push to allow and encourage ADUs everywhere based on the conjecture that they will provide affordable housing.
      • City planning staff held meetings on April 4 and 6 to get community input. They will now analyze the information they gathered and prepare draft zoning code revisions. Those will be presented at a Public Hearing to the Planning Commission in May. After the Planning Commission provides feedback, they may make some revisions, and then present recommended changes to the City Council in June.
      • If you have comments/questions you’d like considered during the drafting process, you can still do so. The sooner the better.
        Contact Joanne Hwang, Planner, 626-744-7309, [email protected]
      • Questions city planning staff were asking of meeting attendees included:
        • What should the minimum lot size be to allow new ADUs (outside of existing building footprints)?
          • The current city limit is 15,000 square feet, which comprise just 15% of all single family lots in the city. (And some of those lots are currently occupied by other uses such as churches).
          • Other suggested minimum lot sizes are:
            • 10,000 square feet, which would cover 35% of all single family lots.
            • 7,200 square feet, which would cover 73% of all single family lots.
            • Other?
          • In our neighborhood, only Las Lunas and Hermanos were developed with lots of 7200 square feet or more. There are just a few scattered lots elsewhere that are larger.
          • Under the new state rules, there is no restriction on the lot size for ADUs that are created by conversion of existing space.
        • Should the maximum size limit for new ADUs (outside of existing building footprints) be changed from the current 800 square feet? If so, what size, or sizing rule, do you suggest?
          • For reference, a typical new 2-car garage is 400 square feet. A typical home in our neighborhood built in the late1940s or 1950s was originally less than 1000 square feet. Many of the older homes were originally even +
          • smaller.
          • Under the new state rules, there is no restriction on the size of ADUs that are created by conversion of existing space. The ADU could be larger than the primary house.
        • Should new ADUs (outside of existing building footprints) be allowed in Hillside Overlay Districts?
          • The City has some different zoning codes for areas of the city that have hillside lots. This does not apply to our neighborhood.
        • Should new ADUs (outside of existing building footprints) be allowed in Landmark Districts?
          • The City has special zoning regulations in areas that have been declared “landmark” because of having a large number of historic homes. The regulations are intended to preserve the character of the neighborhoods in addition to the individual historic houses. This does not apply to our neighborhood.
  • Short Term Rentals regulations meeting April 12
    • Draft regulations for Short Term Rentals (rentals of housing for less than 30 days) will be presented in a Public Hearing to the Planning Commission:
      Wednesday April 12, 2017
      6:30 pm
      Council Chamber, Room S249 at City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Ave
    • The result of that meeting is then expected to be folded into a recommendation to be taken to the City Council for a Public Hearing and possible decision on April 24 at 7 pm.
    • Preliminary community outreach was held by city planning staff in early December and reported at our December meeting:  eewna.org/meeting-summaries/december-10-2016-neighborhood-meeting-summary/#STRs
    • A second community meeting was held in February.
  • Pasadena Transit survey
    • Take a survey about Pasadena’s local public transit services (Pasadena Transit buses and Dial A Ride).
    • This is part of updating the five year plan.
    • The survey should be available until April 16.
    • cityofpasadena.net/pasadena-transit/
      Start the survey at the top left of the page, the area with the blue background.
  • Input for Regulations on Marijuana
    • City staff will be holding three “open house” style meetings to get community input as to whether retail sales, manufacturing, processing, cultivation, and/or distribution of marijuana should be allowed in Pasadena, and if so, how.
    • Currently the cultivation, processing, manufacturing, distribution and sale of both medicinal and non-medicinal marijuana are prohibited everywhere in the city.
    • The “Marijuana Act” initiative passed by the state’s voters in November, established a system for legalization of non-medical marijuana use. Local governments have some authority to decide whether and where to allow, and to tax, various production and sale activities.
    • All the meetings will be the same, with handouts, poster boards, comment cards and post-it notes, and city staff talking one on one with attendees.
      • Tuesday April 11, 6 – 8 pm, Pasadena Senior Center, 85 E. Holly St.
      • Tuesday April 18, 6 – 8 pm, Pasadena City Hall Basement – S018 Training Room, 100 N. Garfield
      • Thursday April 20, 6 – 8 pm, AGBU Vatche & Tamar Manoukian High School Auditorium, 2495 East Mountain Street
  • Sanitation District rate increase
    • Each homeowner should have received a notice in the mail last week of a proposed increase in the charge that Sanitation District 16 of Los Angeles County puts on your property tax bill.
    • This sanitation district manages the sewage delivered by the local municipal sewers. Transportation, treatment, disposal.
    • Each single family residential lot is charged on the basis of 1 unit of discharge (unless you have applied for and received a 40% low water reduction).
    • The current yearly charge for 1 unit of discharge is $148. The proposal is to raise it by $3 in each of the next four fiscal years.
    • The rate increase can be protested in writing, but it truly is just a protest, since more than 50% of the parcel owners must do so to stop a change.
    • If you did not receive a notice or want to learn more about the regional sewage management system, visit
    • (Note that the local sewer service charges are what appear on your Pasadena Water and Power bills).
    • Rate reduction for low water use
      • Water used on landscaping isn’t using the sewer system. If you use the vast majority of your water in the summer for landscaping, and little to none in the winter, and you have your water bills that show that pattern, you may be able to qualify for a 40% reduction in the charge for the sanitation district on your property tax.
      • For many, the effort to apply won’t be worth their time. But for low income homeowners, saving $60 a year can be meaningful.
      • For details see lacsd.org/wastewater/wastewater_services/proposition_218/lowwaterprogram.asp
  • Healthy Aging Conference April 22
  • City Budget Hearings for FY 2018 start April 19
    • Fiscal Year 2018 is from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018
    • The bulk of the work occurs during  “Special Joint City Council/Finance Committee” meetings that are usually scheduled sometime in the afternoon before a regular City Council meeting. They are labeled as “Special Joint…” because only Finance Committee members are supposed to be at their meetings and other City Council members are not supposed to be there. Doing it this way allow less time to be spent informing the other Council members at regular Council meetings.
    • All these meetings are held in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
    • All should be viewable by the following day on the internet:
    • Joint Finance Committee/Council meetings:
      • April 19, 4:30 pm  –  Capital Improvement Program Budget
      • April 24, 2:30 pm –              “
      • May 8, 4 pm    –   Operating Budget, Schedule of Taxes, Fees, and Charges, General Fee Schedule
      • May 15, 3 pm –               “
      • May 22, 3 pm –               “
      • June 5, 3 pm –                “
      • June 12, 3 pm –              “
    • At the City Council, all scheduled for 7:00 pm. Often there is no actual discussion of the budget at the regular evening Council meeting. The public hearing scheduled for for this meeting allows Public Comment by those who can’t make the afternoon meetings.
      • April 19, continued on April 24:
        • Capital Improvement Program Budget
      • May 8, continued on May 15, May 22, June 5, and June 12:
        • Operating Budget
        • Schedule of Taxes, Fees, and Charges
        • General Fee Schedule
  • Local Crime Summary
    • For the last month, from crimemapping.com:  (note that time is typically when reported, not when it happened)
      • nothing listed in our neighborhood
    • There were five vehicle break-ins reported on Tuesday March 28 across the wash in Daisy Villa.
    • The parking areas used by people going to Eaton Canyon are being heavily targeted. This applies to both the lots and nearby streets. Many people leave valuables in their vehicles while they go hiking and the thieves are well aware of that. Car break-ins are always a problem there, but there has really been a surge lately. If you must leave something in your car, put it out of sight in the trunk or closed storage area before you arrive in the area. At least that reduces the chances of break-in.
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss

Next meeting is May 13, 2017 at 11:15 am, in Hastings Branch Library meeting room

Adjourned about 12:30 pm