News

Pleasanton: City to align ADU impact fees with new state law

Well repair update, lowered speed limit on Stoneridge, parking ban near I-580 soundwall also on tap for council

Proposed changes to the city's master fee schedule for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) will be considered during a public hearing at the Pleasanton City Council's regular online meeting on Tuesday night.

Because local ADU ordinances must conform with recently enacted state law, staff have suggested amending existing regulations "to match the new requirements."

If adopted, there would be no impact to the city budget or public services, and the city would not receive impact fees for ADUs measuring 749 square feet or less. However, reduced impact fees for ADUs totaling 750 square feet or more would be received, as required by the state.

Known also as in-law units, among other names, ADUs may be completely within an existing single-family home, or built as an extension or a detached unit. Junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs) are similar but located completely within a single-family dwelling, and are no more than 500 square feet in size.

The units have been lobbied by many as a viable part of solving the Bay Area housing crisis over the past few years by offering shelter that is quick and affordable to build.

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In a report, staff said, "While much of the new ADU legislation that went into effect in January 2020 and January 2021 is complex and difficult to interpret, it is clear on its intent: provide greater flexibility for the construction and conversion of existing space to ADUs and JADUs, limit the imposition of impact fees, and streamline approvals by eliminating discretionary review of ADUs and JADUs."

Assembly Bill 3182 which builds on legislation passed several years ago and was passed by legislators last year, went into effect on Jan. 1, prompting staff's recommendation to update the Master Fee schedule.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also signed six different bills in 2019 that changed regulations for ADUs and JADUs.

City staff listed the benefits of ADUs in the report, such as being "conducive to on-site independent living space for family members or aging relatives, a convenient place of residence for caregivers; and provide a way for less-abled or aging homeowners to stay in their homes, or simply as another option for rental housing."

The regular council meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 19) via Zoom.

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In other business

* Four months after an outside engineering firm was approved to prepare a basis of design report for treatment of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and rehabilitating three city-owned groundwells, the council will consider an additional $100,000 for the project.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals found in common household solutions and items such as nonstick cookware and paint.

The available fund balance is currently $470,000. If approved, the increase would bring the amended contract total to $537,374. Staff recommends allocating $70,000 from the city's water replacement Capital Improvement program to bring the project fund balance to $540,000.

The fund increase would also push the report's completion from March to May.

Staff recently identified and recommended adding several items to the report, including "the evaluation of treatment technologies to meet potential hexavalent chromium regulations, and a feasibility review of relining or replacing the well casings at Wells 5 and 6."

Lingering concerns about past and present compounds contaminating local water sources, as well as new state testing requirements, have prompted city leaders to seek solutions over the past several years.

During the course of more recent testing, city officials detected in their wells, levels of synthetic compounds in the PFAS family. The city-operated Well 8 has not operated in over a year due to contamination, while a pump motor failure made Well 5 non-operational last year.

In September, the council moved forward with plans to repair a contaminated groundwater well and meet, if not surpass, future water quality standards.

At the time, the council approved a $430,374 contract with Walnut Creek-based Carollo Engineers to prepare the report, which will cover treatment of PFAS and rehabilitation of Wells 5, 6 and 8.

Mayor Karla Brown also suggested the city look to the state and federal government for grants and low-interest loans to help fund the project.

About 25% of Pleasanton public water supply comes from the city ground water wells. The rest is supplied by the Zone 7 Water Agency, which receives most of its water from the State Water Project.

* The speed limit along portions of Stoneridge Drive may drop from 45 mph to 40 mph, among the proposed traffic-related items on the consent agenda on Tuesday.

Each year the city's traffic engineering division reviews and update speed limits as needed.

A recent engineering and traffic survey found support for changing the posted speed limit from 45 to 40 on both Stoneridge between Stoneridge Mall Road and Johnson Drive, and between Johnson and Hopyard Road.

Critical speeds and roadway conditions allow for reduced speed along both portions of Stoneridge, according to staff. However, the state prohibits lowering the speed from 40 mph between Johnson and Hopyard for any reason.

A one-time cost of $2,000 to replace existing speed limit signs is funded through the annual traffic buttons and line markers capital improvement project.

* In another traffic-related item that evening, the council will consider banning oversize vehicle parking on a residential street near the Interstate 580 offramp in northern Pleasanton.

The resolution would prohibit vehicles over 20 feet in length from parking on the north side of the I-580 freeway soundwall on Pimlico Drive, just east of Brockton Drive.

Consisting of multi-family and single-family homes, staff said the north side of Pimlico Drive has "consistently experienced parking of oversized vehicles such as recreational vehicles, moving trucks, oversized commercial vehicles, and long trailers."

As a result, "residents have raised concerns that this section of Pimlico has become a location for vehicle storage which has subsequently resulted in debris and garbage left behind in the area."

The city traffic engineer will post signs giving notice of the new parking restrictions along approximately 1,500 feet of the north side of Pimlico Drive. There are no new costs associated with the changes, and are included in the city's operating budget.

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Pleasanton: City to align ADU impact fees with new state law

Well repair update, lowered speed limit on Stoneridge, parking ban near I-580 soundwall also on tap for council

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Jan 18, 2021, 4:23 pm

Proposed changes to the city's master fee schedule for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) will be considered during a public hearing at the Pleasanton City Council's regular online meeting on Tuesday night.

Because local ADU ordinances must conform with recently enacted state law, staff have suggested amending existing regulations "to match the new requirements."

If adopted, there would be no impact to the city budget or public services, and the city would not receive impact fees for ADUs measuring 749 square feet or less. However, reduced impact fees for ADUs totaling 750 square feet or more would be received, as required by the state.

Known also as in-law units, among other names, ADUs may be completely within an existing single-family home, or built as an extension or a detached unit. Junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs) are similar but located completely within a single-family dwelling, and are no more than 500 square feet in size.

The units have been lobbied by many as a viable part of solving the Bay Area housing crisis over the past few years by offering shelter that is quick and affordable to build.

In a report, staff said, "While much of the new ADU legislation that went into effect in January 2020 and January 2021 is complex and difficult to interpret, it is clear on its intent: provide greater flexibility for the construction and conversion of existing space to ADUs and JADUs, limit the imposition of impact fees, and streamline approvals by eliminating discretionary review of ADUs and JADUs."

Assembly Bill 3182 which builds on legislation passed several years ago and was passed by legislators last year, went into effect on Jan. 1, prompting staff's recommendation to update the Master Fee schedule.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also signed six different bills in 2019 that changed regulations for ADUs and JADUs.

City staff listed the benefits of ADUs in the report, such as being "conducive to on-site independent living space for family members or aging relatives, a convenient place of residence for caregivers; and provide a way for less-abled or aging homeowners to stay in their homes, or simply as another option for rental housing."

The regular council meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 19) via Zoom.

In other business

* Four months after an outside engineering firm was approved to prepare a basis of design report for treatment of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and rehabilitating three city-owned groundwells, the council will consider an additional $100,000 for the project.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals found in common household solutions and items such as nonstick cookware and paint.

The available fund balance is currently $470,000. If approved, the increase would bring the amended contract total to $537,374. Staff recommends allocating $70,000 from the city's water replacement Capital Improvement program to bring the project fund balance to $540,000.

The fund increase would also push the report's completion from March to May.

Staff recently identified and recommended adding several items to the report, including "the evaluation of treatment technologies to meet potential hexavalent chromium regulations, and a feasibility review of relining or replacing the well casings at Wells 5 and 6."

Lingering concerns about past and present compounds contaminating local water sources, as well as new state testing requirements, have prompted city leaders to seek solutions over the past several years.

During the course of more recent testing, city officials detected in their wells, levels of synthetic compounds in the PFAS family. The city-operated Well 8 has not operated in over a year due to contamination, while a pump motor failure made Well 5 non-operational last year.

In September, the council moved forward with plans to repair a contaminated groundwater well and meet, if not surpass, future water quality standards.

At the time, the council approved a $430,374 contract with Walnut Creek-based Carollo Engineers to prepare the report, which will cover treatment of PFAS and rehabilitation of Wells 5, 6 and 8.

Mayor Karla Brown also suggested the city look to the state and federal government for grants and low-interest loans to help fund the project.

About 25% of Pleasanton public water supply comes from the city ground water wells. The rest is supplied by the Zone 7 Water Agency, which receives most of its water from the State Water Project.

* The speed limit along portions of Stoneridge Drive may drop from 45 mph to 40 mph, among the proposed traffic-related items on the consent agenda on Tuesday.

Each year the city's traffic engineering division reviews and update speed limits as needed.

A recent engineering and traffic survey found support for changing the posted speed limit from 45 to 40 on both Stoneridge between Stoneridge Mall Road and Johnson Drive, and between Johnson and Hopyard Road.

Critical speeds and roadway conditions allow for reduced speed along both portions of Stoneridge, according to staff. However, the state prohibits lowering the speed from 40 mph between Johnson and Hopyard for any reason.

A one-time cost of $2,000 to replace existing speed limit signs is funded through the annual traffic buttons and line markers capital improvement project.

* In another traffic-related item that evening, the council will consider banning oversize vehicle parking on a residential street near the Interstate 580 offramp in northern Pleasanton.

The resolution would prohibit vehicles over 20 feet in length from parking on the north side of the I-580 freeway soundwall on Pimlico Drive, just east of Brockton Drive.

Consisting of multi-family and single-family homes, staff said the north side of Pimlico Drive has "consistently experienced parking of oversized vehicles such as recreational vehicles, moving trucks, oversized commercial vehicles, and long trailers."

As a result, "residents have raised concerns that this section of Pimlico has become a location for vehicle storage which has subsequently resulted in debris and garbage left behind in the area."

The city traffic engineer will post signs giving notice of the new parking restrictions along approximately 1,500 feet of the north side of Pimlico Drive. There are no new costs associated with the changes, and are included in the city's operating budget.

Comments

Grumpy
Registered user
Vineyard Avenue
on Jan 18, 2021 at 6:46 pm
Grumpy, Vineyard Avenue
Registered user
on Jan 18, 2021 at 6:46 pm

I’ll start with the speed limit change. Clearly the city and the traffic engineer are trying to take advantage of reduced loads with COVID to drop the speed limit, knowing they won’t have to fix it back up for at least five years.

I don’t know why cities like to do this. It breeds contempt for the city and the traffic cops who are forced to police unfair speed limits.

At least California allows an affirmative defense against speeding tickets. Oh well. Guess we’re powerless otherwise.


Mike
Registered user
Val Vista
on Jan 18, 2021 at 7:49 pm
Mike, Val Vista
Registered user
on Jan 18, 2021 at 7:49 pm

The speed limit change is a joke. Pleasanton police don't enforce the current traffic laws. What does lowering the speed limit do? Nothing. People exiting i680 N @ Stoneridge Drive will continue to run the RED light and cause accidents. Limiting parking of large vehicles does nothing to address the issue of trash and litter. Instead of focusing on making things more restrictive why don't we focus on educating people on their responsibilities as a member of a society of rules, norms and laws. And the PFAS problem, how did we get to this point? How did this chemical get into our water supply to begin with? The bill for remediation needs to be submitted to the point of origination. This stuff began somewhere and we need to address that too.


been there
Registered user
Del Prado
on Jan 19, 2021 at 10:35 am
been there, Del Prado
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2021 at 10:35 am

It would be helpful if the Weekly would cover these issues with some depth and not combine them into one article about the City Council agenda. Presumably they will do this.
ADU fees and regulations need to be adjusted to be LESS restrictive. "limit the imposition of impact fees, and streamline approvals by eliminating discretionary review of ADUs and JADUs." Now that is a joke. The regs are certainly not encouraging the building of ADU's. There is nothing " quick and affordable to build" about the ADU requirements or restrictions as they stand. But it sounds good on paper and in the press.
PFAS is a very complex topic and should have an ongoing column and in-depth report frequently as this contaminant is poisoning our environment and has been for many years. .
As far as throwing more money at a study by Carollo, I'd say council needs to demand more from the engineers in terms of solutions. I knew this would happen. We haven't spent one dime to mitigate, litigate or protect against PFAS . Since this article doesn't give enough detail as to exactly what Carollo wants the additional $100 K to study, I'd say No. I want to see the solid results of their recommendations before we commit to any further funding of feasibility studies. Then the Council can decide which options make the most sense and hire another firm to actually do the mitigation work. These blanket contracts tend to be "blank checks" with never ending projects to be studied or expanded while not addressing the original problem or hazard.


Becky
Registered user
Livermore
on Jan 19, 2021 at 11:25 am
Becky, Livermore
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2021 at 11:25 am

ADU's are going to ruin neighborhoods. Do they require dedicated parking be included? Do they require the owner to live in the main house, or can investors buy up properties and make a bunch of money?
How about the state encourages SV tech companies to build offices in OTHER areas instead of cramming everybody into SV and making surrounding cities subsidize their workforce.


Rich Buckley
Registered user
Livermore
on Jan 23, 2021 at 6:12 am
Rich Buckley, Livermore
Registered user
on Jan 23, 2021 at 6:12 am

I think Becky of Livermore expresses our collective greatest concern. There is a huge tension between the State of California and its political power to write blanket rules ... waiving off-street parking for ADU’s for example....overriding the local building jurisdictions.

On the other hand “in-law-units” are a good example of a planning concept that quickly morphed into a different use where once the in-law left the rental, a perfectly good rental unit stood empty. The in-law concept became the 55 mph speed limit where everyone just decided to drive 65 mph anyway. No blood relative, no problem, owners began renting to whoever seemed good to them. The cities began turning a blind eye. Some cities changed their in-law rules to accommodate the morphed user conditions. In San Francisco, the political forces reached a level of absurdities that 110,000 bootlegged, illegal rented cellars and garages, were granted immunity in mass to continue as long as they let the fire department know the location.

There are networked computer programs being developed Web Link that will give city planners real-time evidence of how rental units, ADU’s, apartment complexes, transit systems, bike lanes, taxi services, ADA facilities actually work. Planners will be able to see what real level of off street parking is sufficient, when it works and when it stops working.

Everyone who broke into the Congressional headquarters probably had no idea they where a dot on an electronic security map that had monitored their every move...for example.

Urban living is confused at the moment. Our planners believe their jobs are dependent on compliance with state mandates. Our state mandates are leaderless, confused, directionless and fear based defaulting on a convoluted notion of following the science...the science ends up with dehumanizing dictatorial, suppressive, hypocritical, political motivations. Running it all are silly-con valley hypocrites with oligarchic powers that hire naive young adults who tell everyone else what’s right and wrong, keeping their oligarch bosses happy. None of this gets solved easily.

In the meantime be calm, your State Governor will let you know what to do if you choose not to try to figure it out for yourself.


Linda Kelly
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Jan 23, 2021 at 11:19 am
Linda Kelly, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Jan 23, 2021 at 11:19 am

What a fascinating can of worms this story has opened! A headline of ADU impact fees suddenly triggers angst regarding speed limits, pandemic influences, contempt for law enforcement, water quality, parking, national security, and even family relationships!
Yet not one commenter has addressed the need for affordable housing in our community, indeed across the state, which brought the subject to the fore in the first place.


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