OJAI : Council to Consider Guest House Limits

The Ojai City Council on Tuesday will consider new restraints on construction of guest houses, pool cabanas and other auxiliary structures with indoor plumbing.

The city imposed an emergency ban on construction last May to give planners time to research ways to tighten the city’s building code.

Some restraints are needed to curtail the illegal practice of converting the structures into permanent dwellings, officials said.

The council wants public input on the Planning Commission’s recent recommendation to shrink the size limits on new guest houses from 1,000 square feet to 640 square feet.


City planners are also recommending that builders must apply for a special permit before they can install a bathtub or shower in a pool cabana, garage, studio or recreation room.

Planning Director Bill Prince said people will still try to break the law, but it is the city’s responsibility to make it as difficult as possible.

“Short of a police state . . . the twofold program makes such behavior more inconvenient,” Prince said.

Ojai’s 1979 growth-control ordinance allows only 16 new homes to be built each year. The city issued 11 permits for auxiliary structures in 1989. If even a few of them were illegally converted, Prince said the city would greatly exceed the number of new dwellings allowed.