Bristling under new state law expanding the use of accessory dwelling units, the Garden Grove City Council dug in its heels a bit Tuesday night and declined to give immediate approval to a ordinance incorporating that law into local ordinances.
The council voted 7-0 to postpone for two weeks a decision on the changes to bring city law into line with new state regulations intended to provide more housing in a time of homelessness, as well as encourage people to use public transportation.
An ADU is defined as a secondary house or apartment that shares the building lot of a larger, primary house.
“I think this is a really terrible policy,” said Councilmember George Brietigam (District 1). “It destroys communities.” He predicted the paving over of backyards. “It effectively kills the garden in Garden Grove.”
“Garden Grove will change forever for the worst,” said Councilmember John O’Neill (District 2). “This is being crammed down our throats.”
Phat Bui, councilmember for District 4, suggested that higher fees be charged to help offset the impact of the changes, but was told that state law placed limits on such fees. Bui also raised concerns about how parking issues would be addressed.
On the other hand, Councilmember Kim Nguyen (District 6) said that some people would benefit from the change by providing more housing, although she acknowledged that the impact would be “monumental.”
While new state law does impose specific rules and restrictions, it provides an opening for a city to limit the number of bedrooms in such units.
“We owe it to the residents to do our due diligence,” said Councilmember Stephanie Klopfenstein (District 5), urging more research on the potential limits of the state law.
Finally, Bui moved to postpone the planned public hearing for two weeks to seek ways to “tighten” up the ordinance so it wasn’t any more lenient than the state requirements.
Also on Tuesday night, the council deadlocked 3-3-1 on a motion to approve introduction of a zoning text amendment changing the density bonus and other incentives for affordable housing in residential and mixed-use zones.
Voting yes were Mayor Steve Jones, Kim Nguyen and Thu-Ha Nguyen, with Brietigam, Bui and O’Neill voting no. Klopfenstein abstained.
Also Tuesday night, the council voted 7-0 to support the creation of a Youth Action Committee to get input and involvement from high school-age residents of the community.
Categories: Garden Grove