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Subcommittee meeting on ADUs canceled

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 by Kara Nuzback

A meeting of the Planning Commission Codes and Ordinances Subcommittee was canceled Tuesday because not enough members showed up. Voting members James Nortey, Jean Stevens and Nuria Zaragoza along with ex officio member Jeff Jack waited 30 minutes after the 6 p.m. start time before calling it quits.

Nortey said he would try to organize a special called meeting of the committee to make up for the cancellation.

Nortey said he spoke to committee member Stephen Oliver, who said he would not arrive until after 6:30 p.m. Nortey also called Planning Commission Chair and committee member Danette Chimenti, who told the committee over speakerphone that member Lesley Varghese would soon be resigning from the Planning Commission and moving to the mayor’s office, though she did not say in what capacity Varghese would be working.

“We need at least four [voting members] for a quorum,” Nortey said. If a committee does not have a quorum 30 minutes after the scheduled start time, the meeting must be canceled, he added.

The committee was set to discuss amendments to a city ordinance regarding accessory dwelling units. The amendments would cut the current requirement for the accessory unit to have its own driveway and lift the restriction on parking in the front yard.

Under the ordinance, the secondary apartment must be detached from the principal house or structure, but the amendment would allow apartments within 10 feet of the main structure; currently the ordinance says the unit must be at least 15 feet away.

The amendments add a provision to the ordinance that would require all second-story windows to be constructed above eye level — 66 inches above the floor.

The issue stems from an August 2014 City Council resolution to eliminate obstacles to building, parking and living in tiny houses or single-family, detached homes.

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