The Camarillo City Council reluctantly passed an ordinance in an initial vote Wednesday that expands the zones where accessory dwelling units, or granny flats, can be built.
The unanimous vote was a move to bring the city into compliance with state law. The item will return to the City Council on Oct. 12 for a final vote.
Compelled by state law to pass the ordinance, council members expressed opposition to state encroachment into local governance.
“A community should reflect the wishes and character of its residents and not the wishes and character of someone 600 miles away,” Mayor Shawn Mulchay said Wednesday.
Accessory dwelling units are small, independent residences built to a maximum of 1,200 square feet on property with a single-family or multi-family residence.
The city has issued 186 accessory dwelling unit permits since April 2017, according to city spokesperson Michelle Glueckert D’Anna.
In January 2020, revised state regulations concerning accessory dwellings took effect. Camarillo then went to work updating its ordinance to comply with state law.
The updates clarified language and removed a limitation of two bedrooms per accessory unit and a requirement to install a privacy fence.
The City Council adopted the ordinance in May 2020 and sent it to the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development for review.
The state sent the ordinance back in June 2021 with two mandatory revisions, which the council approved Wednesday.
One revision expands construction of accessory dwelling units to all lots zoned to allow single-family and multi-family dwellings, according to a staff report.
Current municipal code only identifies nine zones that are eligible for the accessory units.
The second revision removes a requirement that the owner of a junior accessory dwelling unit — one built to a maximum of 500 square feet — must annually certify they are living on the property. The change does not affect the larger units.
During Wednesday's discussion, council members were clear they were against the state telling the city how to operate.
“This is a continuing assault on local control based on this incessant one-size-fits-all mentality that afflicts the California Legislature,” Councilman Tony Trembley said.
Councilwoman Charlotte Craven pointed out potential long-term effects of the expanded allowable zones. She said the increase in density would limit available parking and “deteriorate” neighborhoods.
“I will vote for it, because it’s state law,” Craven said. “That doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
Brian J. Varela covers Oxnard, Port Hueneme and Camarillo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805-477-8014. You can also find him on Twitter @BrianVarela805.
This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Camarillo expands zones for granny flats