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Burbank Planning Board recommends allowing larger granny flats

Burbank Planning Board recommends allowing larger granny flats
The Burbank Planning Board is recommending to the City Council that the proposed rules regulating accessory dwelling units should allow units that are up to 800 square feet. (File Photo)

A proposed zoning amendment regulating accessory dwelling units, or granny flats, would allow Burbank residents to build larger units on their property.

The Burbank Planning Board voted 4-1 Monday to recommend the City Council approve a proposed set of rules that would define how accessory dwelling units can be constructed in the city. Chairman Christopher Rizzotti voted against the regulations.

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The proposed changes to the planning code regulations, which is being established to develop new laws regulating what used to be known as secondary dwelling units, would allow property owners to build an accessory dwelling unit that is up to 800 square feet as long as it does not put the property over the allowable floor-area-ratio, said Maciel Medina, an assistant planner for Burbank.

The dwelling units could be built in all residential zones in Burbank, including the unique R-1-H zone, which allows those who live there to board horses on their property.

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Medina said accessory dwelling units can only be built in an R-1-H zone if the property owner is converting an existing garage, a city-permitted guest dwelling or a portion of the main house. He added that stables, tack rooms or corrals are not allowed to be converted.

Additionally, those who choose to add an accessory dwelling unit must reside either in the main house or in the smaller unit, Medina said.

Should the City Council approve the proposed zoning amendment, it would replace an interim ordinance that council members adopted on April 25, 2017.

Council members are expected to have the first reading of the proposed changes on March 6. The interim ordinance expires on April 22, Medina said.

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The interim ordinance was adopted to give city staff time to develop a more robust set of rules that would oversee the construction of accessory dwelling units. It was also in response to two state measures, SB 1069 and AB 2299, which amended the regulations on granny flats to address the housing shortfall in California.

Under the state laws, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, property owners can construct an accessory dwelling unit up to 1,200 square feet.

However, the interim ordinance capped the size at 500 square feet, which the City Council decided was large enough for the property owner to stay in or rent out.

Rizzotti did not support the proposed zoning amendment, saying that he agreed with the City Council's decision on the 500-square-foot maximum and that an accessory dwelling unit is not meant to be an investment for the property owner.

"It's not supposed to be another house on the property," he said.

Board member Apraham Atteukenian suggested meeting halfway by placing the cap at 650 square feet and reminded Rizzotti that the floor-area-ratio of a property would determine how large of an accessory dwelling unit the owner can build, but Rizzotti opposed the suggestion.

Twitter: @acocarpio

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