New ADU ordinance approved

AN ORDINANCE on accessory dwelling units was approved by the Westminster City Council Wednesday night (Shutterstock).

An ordinance on accessory dwelling units – and smaller junior accessory units – to bring the city code in line with state law was approved by the Westminster City Council Wednesday night.

The vote was four council members in favor with one member – Vice Mayor Chi Charlie Nguyen – abstaining.

After lengthy discussion, what the council ended up approving was that an attached ADU would have a maximum size of 1,200 square feet or 50 percent of the main house, whichever is greater. A detached ADU can be built up to 1,200 square feet.

A junior accessory unit would have a limit of 500 square feet, and if a garage were converted to a JADU, the parking area lost would not be required to be replaced.

These units are to be built in areas zoned for single-family residential uses on the same site as an existing house.

During the discussion of the ordinance, it was noted  that any accessory unit added would likely result in increases in property tax to be paid.  Additionally, state law requires solar energy panels to be added to such new construction.

Also on Wednesday night, an update on the proposed sale of Civic Center land to a developer to build a condominium project in exchange for the construction of a new city hall turned into a lengthy discussion on fate of the project.

Three members of the council – Kimberly Ho, Carlos Manzo and Tai Do – voted to ask the city manager, finance director and community development director to prepare for the next council meeting a report on the city’s two-year budget plan and the potential effects on the city if voters don’t choose to renew the Measure SS one-cent sales tax.

Ho and the rest of the majority linked the proposed project with the sales tax on the grounds that a sharp reduction in tax revenue could change city priorities away from a new city hall and that the “visual” of such a building under construction while voters were being asked to approve a sales tax would undercut support for the measure.

Mayor Tri Ta and Nguyen argued there was no connection between developer Steve Sheldon’s Civic Center project and Measure SS but were outvoted.

The next city council meeting is on Wednesday, April 14.


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