Garden Grove

Housing tract, “accessory” units approved

CONSTRUCTION of a new 70-unit housing tract was approved by the Garden Grove City Council Tuesday night, along with rules for “accessory housing units.”

By Jim Tortolano

On the same night the Garden Grove City Council enthusiastically approved a 70-unit housing tract, the panel somewhat reluctantly supported an ordinance that could – in theory – bring in thousand of new homes.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the council voted 7-0 to approve a new single-family development at the northwest corner of Garden Grove Boulevard and Lewis Street that would displace the church campus now being used by the Shepherd’s Grove congregation, successor to the former Crystal Cathedral.

“It’s a very positive thing,” said Mayor Steve Jones of the proposed development which would bring a large new stock of upscale two-story homes in a gated community to Garden Grove.

However, council members were not quite so supportive of an ordinance which would adopt regulations regarding “accessory dwelling units” in the city. According to staff reports, a new state law requires that cities throughout California do their share to combat a housing crisis by allowing owners of single-family homes to add more housing in the form of detached buildings or by converting part of their existing homes.

Under the ordinance – eventually passed by the council on a 7-0 vote – such ADU structures would be allowed only in R-1 (single family home) zones, and on lots with a minimum size of 7200 square feet. That would apply to about 16,000 homes now in Garden Grove, according to one estimate.

Council members raised several concerns, including Phat Bui who worried that the change could lead to an “uncontrollable, unmanageable parking problem.” One aspect of the new law states that if such a unit in built on property near a bus route, no additional parking would have to be provided.

City Attorney Omar Sandoval opined that the state was engaging in “social engineering” and “trying to force people to abandon their cars and jump on buses” with regulations that “were rammed down our throat.”

Despite the objections raised, the council was urged to approve the ordinance, or face the possibility of lawsuits and loss of more local control.

Also on Tuesday night, the council approved an ordinance on mortuaries which banned crematoriums from most parts of the city, and brought the city codes in line with new state law allowing residents to cultivate up to six marijuana plants in their homes or adjacent buildings.

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