Brentwood residents have taken to social media to cry foul over a permit approval on an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on Mandarin Ct in the City of Brentwood.
This modular home was recently placed on the properly leaving residents puzzled on how it was approved and say it does not belong in residential neighborhoods. Some are even threatening to move out of the neighborhood or the city altogether. Others are calling it an eye sore and will lower property values and bring potential problems to the area.
- An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is an attached or detached residential dwelling unit which provides complete independent living facilities with permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.
- A Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU) is a residential dwelling unit that is no more than 500 square feet in size and contained entirely within any portion of an existing or proposed single-family dwelling. A JADU may include separate sanitation facilities or share sanitation facilities with the existing structure.
- ADUs and JADUs are allowed in any residential zoning district and must be located on the same lot with an existing or proposed primary dwelling unit. The Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance No. 1021 can be found in its entirety in the Brentwood Municipal Code (BMC 17.100.005).
According to city manager Tim Ogden, the applicant applied for a permit between the new state law going into effect and the City Council updating its own ADU ordinance in January.
“They submitted an application before the January ordinance became effective and therefor the city has to go by the old rules under state law versus the new updated ordinance approved by the council,” explained Ogden who said under the new ordinance by the council, units have to match materials and color of the primary structure and that this one doesn’t quite line up but it also falls under old guidelines.
With the city being provided negative feedback from residents, the city attempted to explain itself online:
In response to concerns about a modular unit permitted to be installed in a residential yard off Mandarin Court, please see this information about Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU). https://www.brentwoodca.gov/…/filebank/blobdload.aspx…
An ADU is an attached or detached residential dwelling unit which provides complete independent living facilities with permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.
ADUs are allowed in any residential zoning district and must be located on the same lot with an existing or proposed primary dwelling unit. The Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance No. 1021, updated in January 2021 to be consistent with State law can be found in its entirety in the Brentwood Municipal Code (BMC 17.100.005).
When asked for further clarification, Ogden said this particular ADU on Mandarin Court received permit approval in March of 2021 and the unit will need to be 4-5 ft set back from side/rear bounds.
“Under the old rules, it had to be 5 ft, the new rules are 4 ft which makes it easier to have ADU’s. Today, its actually easier for applicants when it comes to the set-backs but from aesthetics standpoint it will be harder under city ordinance or until the State changes the law again,” said Ogden. “We cant prohibit them outright, but they have to fit within the code the state is allowing us to use but that could change again.
When asked if this applicant would be approved under the new rules approved by the City Council in January, Ogden said he didn’t believe so but would verify.
He also stated he wanted to address some online comments about owner occupied ADU’s vs rentals. Under the new law, ADU’s no longer have to be owner occupied and but can be rented out and that in all instances, inspections will confirm compliance of ADU’s.
He also said several other applications are in process but did not state how many or timelines as applications are submitted, there is some back and forth until approval. If an applicant does not place the ADU on the property, there are timelines where applications do expire.
Vice Mayor Johnny Rodriquez stated he was aware of the complaints and the issue but is seeking more information from city manager and staff of what they can and cannot do with that project.
Councilmember Susannah Meyer said she understands the frustration of the community.
“In the end, this goes back to transparency and we need to do a better job at that and education for our residents,” stated Meyer who added they were stuck between State Law and a city ordinance.
Councilmember Jovita Mendoza encourages residents to stay up to date on state law and local ordinances but admitted this one has more to do with the issues of State Law than our local ordinance and reminds residents that State Law supersedes any ordinance Brentwood may add on top of a state law.
“I encourage residents of California to pay attention to Senate Bill 9 which will impact every property in the state and I will leave it up to them to read them bill and come up with their own conclusion,” stated Mendoza who said this goes to committee this Thursday. “Our cities our losing our local control and its the state now making the decisions.”
- Brentwood Code on ADU’s: https://www.brentwoodca.gov/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=65909&fbclid=IwAR1kGgMbHn4TT_Ty5vtV_4N6gehmKvZEPq4wSX7QDjP9LV14EDOKQtlfhC4
- State Handbook on ADU’s: https://www.hcd.ca.gov/policy-research/docs/adu_december_2020_handbook.pdf
Attempts to reach Mayor Joel Bryant were unsuccessful prior to publication of this article.