PLANNING COMMISSION RECAP, JULY 18
A quick meeting addressing further changes to the City Development Code and Accessory Dwelling Unit requirements.
A brief 34-minute Planning Commission meeting was held on July 18th, 2023 where Commissioners discussed changes to the City Development Code to bring the City in compliance with State of California housing ordinances. The Desert Trumpet recaps all Planning Commission agendas prior to Commission meetings. For further analysis of items that were discussed, read our Agenda Recap here.
Before addressing the required public hearings, Commission Chair Jim Krushat reminded everyone that the Twentynine Palms Historical Society will be resuming their highly popular Old Schoolhouse Lecture Series. Those wishing to stay updated on the upcoming lecture series and Schoolhouse events can check the 29 Palms Historical Society calendar here.
Agenda Item 2: DCA 23-000006 - Chapter 19.72 Density Bonus, Chapter 19.114 Community Care Facilities, Chapter 19.116 Emergency Shelters
Community Development Director Keith Gardner stated that the proposed code amendments were a bundle of ordinance changes meant to comply with State ordinances. Proposed changes to the density provision establish a table of additional units a developer could apply for if a particular development dedicates a certain percentage of their project to low income housing units.
Provisions to the Community Care Facilities Chapter (19.114) remove some bureaucratic red tape regarding community care facilities, including the requirement that a facility be located in a transitional region between residential and non-residential zoned properties. The proposed amendment also removes a distance requirement between those facilities.
According to the Department of Developmental Services, “Community Care Facilities (CCFs) are licensed by the Community Care Licensing Division of the State Department of Social Services to provide 24-hour non-medical residential care to children and adults with developmental disabilities who are in need of personal services, supervision, and/or assistance essential for self-protection or sustaining the activities of daily living.”
Currently, Community Care Facilities are required to be on streets of a certain size. That will no longer be the case once this amendment is adopted by City Council.
Changes to the Emergency Shelters Chapter (19.116) revise the parking requirement to allot one parking space per employee.
Consultant Nicole Criste from Terra Nova Planning & Research Inc. was present at the meeting to discuss these changes to the City’s Development Code and Gardner added that these changes are in line with changes to the Housing Element Update the city revised in 2022 and therefore these changes are exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act. There were no public comments on this agenda item.
Commissioner Max Walker asked if the density bonus included anything that addresses a developer’s ability to build something higher than three floors if certain provisions are met, and Criste clarified that height issues are not addressed in the density bonus.
Commissioner Leslie Paahana also inquired on the issue of building height. Gardner stated that he believed there may a provision in the City Development Code in which developers could build “an additional three stories not to exceed 33 feet,” but he was unable to cite where the Development Code addresses this particular height provision issue at the time. Ultimately, the motion was approved 5-0.
Agenda Item 3: DCA 23-000009 - Accessory Dwelling Units
Amends the City’s Development Code on regulations for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) to comply with State ordinance.
Granting developers, land owners, and home owners the ability to build ADU structures on their property is one way the State of California is attempting to address the State’s housing crisis. In compliance with California State law, all single family lots are now able to have full accessory dwelling units and a junior accessory dwelling unit for a total of three units maximum on every single family lot.
City Staff recommended the Planning Commission approve the following proposed ADU provisions and forward them to City Council for approval:
reduces the minimum size of a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit
Identifies the process for denial of an ADU
Identifies height limitations for various types of ADUs and parking requirements
If an ADU is not in compliance with building and safety standards, the application would not be approved and the City would work with builders to ensure these ADU structures meet building and safety requirements. Community Development Director Keith Gardner clarified that although there is no formal process for denial of an ADU, if other portions of the property are not complying with City Code, unless that particular code violation presents a clear danger to the public, the ADU itself would still be approved. Paahana granted the motion to approve the ADU chapter provisions. After a second by Alexander Garcia, the motion was approved 5-0
Agenda Item 4: DCA Article 2
Amends allowable land use tables to include the following:
Adds Low Barrier Navigation Center as an allowed use
Adds Employee Housing as an allowed use
Amends the permit process for multi-family housing projects
Amends and clarifies land use tables regarding appropriate entitlement processes
California Government Code § 65660 defines Low Barrier Navigation Centers as “Housing First, low-barrier, service-enriched shelters focused on moving people into permanent housing that provides temporary living facilities while case managers connect individuals experiencing homelessness to income, public benefits, health services, shelter, and housing.”
Clarifications on wording in the Development Code were also included, such as revising the naming of commercial zones to General Retail, and introducing Commercial Recreation as a category. The motion was also approved 5-0.
The next City of Twentynine Palms Planning Commission meeting will take place at 5PM August 1st, 2023 at 6136 Adobe Road.
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