The City Council has approved a series of changes to the city’s zoning codes that allow higher walls while prohibiting certain kinds of staircases.
The changes were proposed by the city’s Planning Department and were based in part on suggestions from residents, said Lee Whittenberg, the planning director.
Under the new codes, outdoor staircases for single-family homes are prohibited. Whittenberg said the rule is designed to discourage people from converting second floors into rentals.
“They take a bedroom and bathroom and block it off, turning it into a bachelor apartment,” said Whittenberg.
Another change allows residents whose homes back against major roads such as Seal Beach Boulevard, Pacific Coast Highway and Lampson Avenue to have walls as high as 10 feet. The old limit was 8 feet.
The 10-foot limit also applies to properties that abut the San Diego Freeway and the 7th Street-San Gabriel River Freeway interchange. Residents requested the changes to reduce noise and for security reasons.
Councilman Frank Laszlo expressed concern that the height change might bring an uneven quality to the back walls that line Lampson Avenue. Some residents might decide to build 10-foot-high walls while others might keep their walls at 8 feet, he said.
“It’s my experience that we could get some complaints on this,” Laszlo said.
The zoning changes were approved unanimously by the council at its meeting last Tuesday.