Voting on ADU Ordinances

By Denice Spangler Adams

What’s your position? On Tuesday 5/8, the City’s Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance is returning for a second reading prior to adoption. This is a date change from  5/1. The majority of Fire Area properties under discussion are represented by Kristen Sneddon, with some by Jason Dominquez.

At the first reading last week,  both ADUs & JADUs were approved in high fire foothills, and JADUs only in extreme high fire areas on a 4:1 vote (Rowse dissenting).

On 5/8, this matter comes back for a second vote.  Rep Kristen Sneddon must decide whether ADUs can be safely added without jeopardizing evacuation to, or availability of water for existing residents of her high fire foothill areas referred to as Eucalyptus Hill, Alston Road, Riviera, Lower Riviera Barker Pass, APS, and designated mapped Fire Hazard Areas in zip code 93103.

In the Extreme High Fire Area there are 124 residences where it is proposed to allow JADUs up to 300 sqf with parking. Only 1 JADU per residence.

In all other foothill Fire designations, there are 2,837 residences. As proposed, both JADUs, and attached or detached ADUs of up to 1200 sqf can be added to a residence by meeting code and provision for off street parking (unless near bus stop.) again, only 1 additional dwelling unit per parcel may be added. Refer to City of SB webpage, planning services, major planning efforts, ADU.

ADUs can only be excluded from the CA Mandate SB1069 to allow with ministerial approval not to exceed 120* days for fire safety, water availability related issues. (60 days max for permitting proposed in SB831 clean up bill)

RECOMMENDATION: read the highly informative, objective  Public Comment Letter from a UCSB Professor which addresses evacuation safety in high fire areas with only 2 evacuation streets which includes the Riviera, lower & zip 93103. The author does not have the pressure of the Fire Marshall to increase taxable properties to fund payroll and deficits plus other political considerations.

Your comments are requested by all Council members in addition to Rep Sneddon. She needs 4 votes from her peers for whatever is desired by her constituents.

To my knowledge, the  Eucalyptus Hill Improvement Association (EHIA) representing 500+ City homeowners in high fire foothills has not taken a position on City ADUs in its region.  Its annual meeting is 5/6.

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  1. It seems like these issues are usually evaluated in EIRs, maybe the City should pay to have one done to evaluate the traffic increase and effects on the emergency situations? What expertise does the Fire Marshal have on evacuation routing?

  2. Mom built a little house on our property and lived there her last 20 years. It was perfect, we often ate meals together, had family visit all of us. Mom’s last year or so was difficult and we were here to help her so she could stay in her own home. In order to build we had to have room for our cars and her’s off the street and meet all the setbacks required. No we still have family living there.

  3. There is NOTHING racist/hateful about Californians for Population Stabilization. This is simply a group that says that California does not need a population increase from any source. Anybody who has to sit in an LA traffic jam will notice that there is simply too many people there. Before you throw out labels perhaps you should actually do some research.

  4. Sneddon needs to do the right thing for her district; not the right thing for she mistakenly thinks is her own political career within the Democrat Party. It is most unfortunate these two forces are are one and the same. Do right by your voters and your political career is safe. Sell out to special interest instead should get you drummed out of office. The Fire Marshall’s curious and unprofessional opinion giving this scheme the green light is simply one-off. The fire marshal encouraging 2000 extra people to move into in the high fire Riviera and Eucalyptus Hill areas with their narrow, bottle neck roads should be the one jeopardizing his own political career; not Sneddon’s 4th District city council career. if she does not go along with him. Something has gone very wrong here.

  5. District elections divided the city into six population equal districts. Only one – District Four – would qualify as quintessential “wealthy” tax revenue producing Santa Barbara. Five other districts may well be net city tax revenue losers. How long will this disproportionate city budget imbalance last? One district now under attack, District Four, supporting the revenue demands of five other city districts? How about producing those numbers Sneddon, before degrading the one last cash cow district this city has with dangerous over-poplulation numbers.

  6. If one can’t afford to buy into a single-family residence neighborhood, why should they be allowed to turn it into a rental duplex neighborhood for their own personal enrichment at the expense of their neighbors?

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