KING CITY — King City Council introduced an ordinance regarding accessory dwelling units (ADUs) during its Aug. 25 meeting, with a second reading to take place at the upcoming Sept. 8 meeting.

Though limited in scope in what the state allows, such municipalities as King City are required to pass their own ordinances regarding ADUs or would be required to use the state’s much looser guidelines.

King City and other cities are not allowed to impose additional fees on the building of ADUs or to require property owners to create additional parking. However, they were able to require an inspection of the sewer lines with an associated inspection fee of an estimated $200.

“Due to the state housing crisis, the state has enacted legislation that enables the construction of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs,” said Doreen Liberto-Blanck, the city’s community development director. “Localities have very little choice in approving ADUs at this point and we have very little discretion in where they’re located and other site design issues.”

“This is a complex issue on a number of levels,” said Robert Cullen, a city council member. “We know we need more affordable housing and that’s a fine line to walk.”

The planning commission recommended a moratorium on all development in a designated area of town due to issues with the city’s sewer system capacity.

“It is not a capacity issue with the city’s treatment plant, but a potential maintenance issue with some of the old clay lines,” Liberto-Blanck said. “The ADU ordinance addresses this.”

The ordinance would require prior to issuance of any building permit for an ADU, that a check of the city’s sewer line constraints would need to be conducted.

Roy Santos, who prepared the draft ordinance, explained the state was restrictive about what authority cities would maintain.

“They pretty much stripped that away,” Santos said. “Unfortunately, in a lot of aspects, our hands are tied on what limitations we can place on ADUs. The state is very, very restrictive on local public agency authority to regulate ADUs.”

Santos said what was included in the King City ordinance was meant to “add reasonable limitations in order to protect health and safety of residents, not only the people who would be living in these ADUs, but neighborhoods in the community at large.”

Parking in King City’s sometimes-packed streets was a concern for city staff, but there was nothing they could do for parking requirements.

“We’re limited in how much parking we can require for them,” Liberto-Blanck said.

“The parking is kind of frustrating,” said Mayor Mike LeBarre. “I just wish there was a way to incorporate either a transit pass or some kind of encouragement to use public transit with those ADUs. We don’t have the ability for additional parking.”

LeBarre said he would like to see a way to impose “some kind of fee that could be applied to public transit uses in the city or additional public transit services.”

Santos responded that the state would not allow such an idea.

“I’m hoping that we’re striking a balance between allowing these to help address housing issues, but in a smart way that doesn’t overwhelm our street with cars or overwhelm our sewer lines,” Cullen said.

One benefit to ADUs is that more buildings per property means less people in each individual building.

“The state also hopes that as part of providing more housing units and ADUs, the people per household will be reduced,” Liberto-Blanck said.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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