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Danville council to discuss new rules for accessory dwelling units

Parks and Rec strategic plan update, farewell to DPD chief also on tap

The Danville Town Council is set to hold a public hearing on a new ordinance that would modify the requirements for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) this Wednesday evening.

Colloquially known as in-law units or granny flats, ADUs are generally a sort of separate and independent living space to a primary residence, either within an existing residence or as a detached structure in the rear yard. The ordinance would address the requirements of a new state law enacted in 2016, one of a series that seeks to support ADUs as a California housing resource.

"These laws have typically established statewide mandates, for both substantive development standards and processing requirements," wrote associate planner Crystal De Castro in her staff report. "These state laws allow local jurisdictions to adopt their own ordinances tailoring those mandates to the individual community."

The most substantial change passed down by the state law would cut down on parking requirements for ADUs.

Right now, Danville's present ordinance mandates one on-site parking space for an ADU, and that space can't block either of the two garage parking spaces required for the primary residence. But the 2016 state law, and Danville's ordinance up for approval, allows ADU parking to be provided on uncovered paved areas, like an extended driveway or through tandem parking on an existing driveway.

Under the new state legislation as well, on-site parking doesn't have to be provided if the ADU is located within half a mile of public transit, if it's located within a historic district, if the ADU has been constructed as part of an existing primary residence or accessory structure, if it's located in a place where on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the ADU residents or if the ADU is located within a block of a car share area.

Since these requirements apply to 79% of all town residential properties, town staff and the Planning Commission recommend that on-site ADU parking not be required in the new ordinance.

Other ordinance changes deriving from the state law include replacing the official term "second dwelling unit" with "accessory dwelling unit," along with taking away the requirement that detached ADUs must maintain a minimum rear and side yard setback of 10 feet.

The council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Town Meeting Hall at 201 Front St. in Danville. The meeting is being held Wednesday, instead of the usual Tuesday, because of Independence Day.

In other business

* The Town Council will consider approving the 2017 Danville Parks, Recreation and Arts Strategic Plan Update.

The update draft has been in the works for the past three years, as a collaboration between the Parks and Leisure Services Commission, Arts Commission and various members of the community.

It builds upon the existing 2006 plan, and "accounts for a changing demographic profile, updated community preferences, and recent national best practices in recreation and arts," wrote Recreation, Arts and Community Services director Henry Perezalonso in his staff report.

* Council members will consider approving a construction contract for trim band repair for the Veterans Memorial Building Capital Maintenance Project. The trim band was painted during the building's renovation in 2012, but not replaced -- Greentech Industry, Inc. was the lowest bidder at $38,000 for the opportunity to do so.

*The council will consider approving three applications for Town co-sponsored events.

All three applicants -- the Danville Children's Musical Theater, the Eugene O'Neill Foundation and Role Players Ensemble Theatre -- are seeking full sponsorship, which would make the Town an equal partner in the programs, activities or events, in terms of decision-making, funding contributions and support, staff and volunteer responsibilities and revenue receipts.

* The council will recognize departing Danville Police Chief Steve Simpkins and his seven years of service to the community.

* July 2017 will be proclaimed as Parks Make Life Better Month.

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