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May 27, 2017
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The annual Avenue of Flags May 29 at RP Community Center SSU commencement; one for the history books Problem reaching AT&T last weekend? During Rohnert Park City Council meeting protestors unexpectedly take center stage Vehicle pursuit ends with arrest of 14-year-old Ex RP public safety officer pleads no contest to sex offenses Rancho 2017 top 20 Great turnout for RPPSOA pancake breakfast to help Project Grad Gabriella stole the show Town Hall meeting Sheriff's office releases details on SSU officer involved shooting A true celebration of ‘Cinco de Mayo’ Project Grad help in full swing Richard Crane Elementary School Suspect arrested after evading a Cotati Peace Officer Emiri Nomura awarded scholarship Shopping carts ran amok in Cotati last Saturday Ricardo Oliva receives ‘Coach of the year’ for the Northern District Sonoma State University equestrians jump with joy on their way to Kentucky Double Decker Lanes hosts the QubicaAMF Boys and Girl Club employee arrested for child endangerment Armed suspect arrested after resistance RP girl accosted while walking to school And they're off. . . Saddle Up and Ride Community quickly rallies for Project Grad Cotati opposes SB 618 Rohnert Park City Council to host Town Hall meeting on May 3 Graton Tribe makes good on payments Auto burglar arrested by Cotati Police A bit of Uganda A mission to help RP to replace old trees Engineering with Legos at the Ray Miller Community room Bunkers at Foxtail set for repairs RP man arrested for attempted murder CRPUSD OKs two contracts Credo gets used to new digs at SMV Golf Course Drive Crossing concerns may delay SMART train ‘Quiet Zones’ Man busted for DUI after crashing into tree in RP New hands bring subtle changes to Sharing of the Green fundraiser A traditional dance of Japan Shameful time in history RP rejects new self-storage facilities Survey Says: Rohnert Park Residents Love City, but not Traffic Council amends UDSP Body of missing woman found RAFD names part-time fire chief KRCB garners huge windfall from FCC auction Missing Penngrove woman's body found in Marin County Bunfest was hopping with bunny lovers Nonn expected to sue CRPUSD Credo crew marches to new home Cotati delays vote on Valparaiso The Voice enters into 25th year Cotati-reviews midyear budget Two RP Parks getting upgrades A new look for SSU gym RP man reported missing Padre Town Center changes hands Sonoma County to take a look at immigration issue Bomb scare closes RCHS Local Tech High student chosen for Scholars program RP to conduct survey Man arrested after high-speed chase through 3 cities Man gets 11 years in prison for RP knife attack Man who led chase into SF caught Treasurer for Rancho Cotate High Project Grad Arrested for Embezzlement A crab feast at Community Center Taking a pie in her grill RP man busted for possession of meth Cotati OKs water, sewer rate study RP votes to regulate vaping CRPUSD schools now a safe haven for immigrant students RP adds seven to public safety Cotati votes to host shopping cart race Man arrested for attempted murder Defibrillators proving to be invaluable assets Artists ready for art show at library Reilani Peleti Corrections Suspected explosive device at RCHS Seventh-graders in local schools to be taught CPR Voice issues apology to school board, superintendent RP man arrested on drug possession charges

RP makes changes to city code for ADUs

By: Dave Williams
March 31, 2017

The Rohnert Park City Council passed an ordinance to bring its Municipal Code in compliance with state law where accessory dwelling units (ADU) are concerned. The vote was unanimous, but some of the councilmembers gave their yes votes reluctantly.

The ordinance is in response to Gov. Brown last year signing into law two pieces of legislation requiring cities to substantially revise their ADU regulations. Rohnert Park’s second dwelling unit ordinance fell out of compliance at the start of the year because it didn’t comply with state law.

The fact the state even ordered these changes was particularly irksome to Vice Mayor Pam Stafford.

“I’m very disappointed the state is imposing (ordinances) these on the cities,” she said. “I think they’re overstepping what they should be doing. They should allow us to decide for our own cities. I think it’s shameful for them to impose this on us.”

Councilman Joe Callinan, who is a contractor, has built a number of ADUs. He said the new ordinances won’t affect too many people because most of the lots in Rohnert Park are too small for an ADU. That’s not the case with Stafford, who is concerned about the quality of an ADU should someone chose to build one.

“I could put two of these units in my backyard,” Stafford said. “I have a 10,000 sq. ft. backyard. It could change the flavor of a neighborhood. People are going to slap things together and they’re not going to look as good.”

The first change mandated by the state is in the name itself. Municipal codes must now refer to accessory dwelling units rather than secondary dwelling units. Also, the increased floor area of an attached ADU cannot exceed 50 percent of the existing living area, with a maximum increase in floor area of 1,200 sq. ft. And the total area of a detached ADU cannot be more than 1,200 sq. ft.

Under state law, a city may require a new or separate utility connection directly between the ADU and the utility. The connection may be subject to a connection fee or capacity charge based upon either its size or the number of its plumbing fixtures, upon the water or sewer system. 

According to a Rohnert Park city staff report, ADUs for the most part will continue to be subject to the same height, setback and lot coverage requirements that apply to single-family homes in the same zoning district. As will the requirement that the unit is architecturally compatible with the principal residence. A significant change in the state law limits the ability of local agencies to collect water and sewer connection fees for certain new ADUs. The high cost of connection fees is a major obstacle to ADU construction, and this change is expected to lower costs of many new ADUs significantly. Regular detached ADUs may still be charged a reasonable cost for water and sewer connection fees, to the extent that they impact existing infrastructure. However, new ADUs constructed within an already existing building envelope are exempted from providing separate connections or paying associated fees.