Chapter 16.17
COMMON INTEREST SUBDIVISIONS AND CONDOMINIUM CONVERSIONS

Sections:

16.17.010    Purpose and applicability.

16.17.020    Application requirements for common interest subdivisions.

16.17.030    Property improvement standards for common interest subdivisions.

16.17.040    Application requirements for airspace subdivisions.

16.17.050    Property improvement standards for airspace subdivisions.

16.17.060    Required findings for condominium conversions.

16.17.070    Property improvement standards for condominium conversions.

16.17.080    Condominium conversion limit procedure.

16.17.090    Exceptions to chapter.

16.17.010 Purpose and applicability.

As further described in the definitions section, Section 16.26.035, airspace subdivisions differ from common interest subdivisions in that they do not share interest in a common area within the map boundaries. Instead, airspace subdivisions divide property ownership into three-dimensional spaces, often stacked upon one another. Airspace condominiums in residential zoning districts are not included in this category and are instead regulated by the common interest subdivision standards described above and in Sections 16.17.020 and 16.17.030. Airspace subdivisions are not allowed within residential zoning districts and are intended to serve mixed use, multi-story buildings within all commercial zoning districts. (Ord. 1507 § 3(16), 2007)

16.17.020 Application requirements for common interest subdivisions.

In addition to application submittal requirements for tentative maps provided in Chapter 16.10, the following additional information is required in order to complete an application submittal:

A. Common interest subdivisions are subject to the city’s architectural review process and require a separate application for architectural review. The information required for the architectural review application can be found on the city checklist for architectural review applications and is available at the community development counter. In summary, a development plan that includes the following information will be required:

1. A site plan with proposed building footprints with property boundaries. All dimensions shall be clearly labeled.

2. Proposed building elevations with dimensions and, where pertinent, floor plans shall be provided.

3. A grading and site drainage plan in compliance with the city’s flood damage prevention regulations and the city’s waterways management plan.

4. Parking stalls, driveways and associated public improvements shall be provided and clearly dimensioned in accordance with the city’s parking and driveway standards.

5. A list of property statistics, including any proposed exceptions, shall be provided on the plans. The statistics shall identify how the project complies with private and common open space and recreation standards as listed in Section 16.17.030.

6. A landscape plan.

7. Commonly owned parcels or easements and methods of maintenance (association) shall be clearly identified on the plans.

B. Any other information deemed necessary by the community development director. (Ord. 1490 § 3 (part), 2006)

16.17.030 Property improvement standards for common interest subdivisions.

A. Common Open Space. There shall be provided in each project of five or more units a minimum of one hundred square feet of qualifying open space per unit for projects in the R-3 or R-4 zones and one hundred fifty square feet for projects in the R-2 zone. To qualify, open space shall have a minimum dimension in every direction of ten feet for open space provided at ground level or six feet for open space provided on a balcony or elevated deck, and must be located outside the street yard required by zoning regulations. Common open space need not be located with each unit. (Ord. 1507 § 3(18), 2007)

16.17.040 Application requirements for airspace subdivisions.

In addition to application submittal requirements for tentative maps provided in Chapter 16.10, the following additional information is required in order to complete an application submittal:

A. The tentative map shall provide a cross-sectional drawing showing how the proposed building or buildings are to be divided into ownership boundaries.

B. Airspace subdivisions are subject to the city’s architectural review process and require a separate application for architectural review. The information required for the architectural review application can be found on the city checklist for architectural review applications and is available at the community development counter. In summary, a development plan that includes the following information will be required:

1. A site plan with proposed building footprints with property boundaries. All dimensions shall be clearly labeled.

2. Proposed building elevations with dimensions and floor plans.

3. Parking stalls, driveways and associated public improvements shall be provided and clearly dimensioned in accordance with the city’s parking and driveway standards.

4. A list of property statistics, including any proposed exceptions, shall be provided on the plans. The statistics shall include a list of property development standards such as floor area ratio, coverage, height, and setbacks.

5. Location of easements to allow all lots to access the public right-of-way.

6. Any other information deemed necessary by the community development director. (Ord. 1507 § 3(20), 2007)

16.17.050 Property improvement standards for airspace subdivisions.

A. All tentative maps creating airspace lots, as defined by Section 16.26.035, shall be required to incorporate a deed restriction which ensures the following:

1. Air space lots shall have access to appropriate public rights-of-way by means of one or more easements or other entitlements to use, in a form satisfactory to the public works director and chief building official.

2. Parking requirements, inclusionary housing requirements, building code requirements, all other applicable property development standards required by the zoning regulations, and any other technical code requirements affecting the development of the property, shall be determined for the air space lots as if all lots in the air space subdivision were merged into the same lot.

B. Individual buildings that are subdivided by an airspace map shall be reviewed as a single building for purposes of the building code, zoning code, and general plan policies. Property development standards including, but not limited to, density, lot coverage, floor area ratio, parking, height, and setbacks shall be calculated as if the subdivided building were within one lot. (Ord. 1507 § 3(22), 2007)

16.17.060 Required findings for condominium conversions.

That:

A. Any existing deed-restricted affordable housing units shall remain at affordable rates for the remainder of the recorded agreement; or

B. An equivalent number of new units comparable in affordability and amenities to those being converted are being created as part of the new project; and that low- or moderate-income persons will not be displaced by the proposed conversion. (Ord. 1507 § 3(24), 2007)

16.17.070 Property improvement standards for condominium conversions.

A. Minimum Project Size. Condominium conversion shall not be allowed for projects consisting of less than five residential units.

B. Building and Zoning Regulations. Conversion projects shall substantially comply with the city’s building and housing codes and zoning regulations in effect on the date the conversion project is approved.

C. Smoke Detectors. Each living unit shall be provided with approved smoke detectors mounted on the ceiling or wall at a point centrally located in the area giving access to rooms used for sleeping purposes.

D. Fire Protection Systems. All fire hydrants, fire alarm systems, portable fire extinguishers and other fire protection appliances shall be maintained in operable condition at all times and shall comply with current city standards.

E. Utility Metering. The consumption of gas, electricity and water within each unit shall be separately metered and there shall be circuit breakers and shutoff valves for each unit.

F. Storage. Each dwelling unit shall have provision for at least two hundred cubic feet of enclosed, weatherproof, and lockable private storage space, exclusive of cabinets and closets within the unit. This space shall be for the sole use of the unit owner. The minimum opening shall be two and one-half feet by four feet and the minimum height shall be four feet.

G. Laundry Facilities. A laundry area shall be provided in each unit, or in common laundry space. Common facilities shall consist of at least one washer and dryer for each ten units or fraction thereof.

H. Parking. The number of parking spaces shall be as provided in the zoning regulations. Spaces for the exclusive use of occupants of each unit shall be so marked. Visitor parking and special stopping zones, if any, shall also be marked.

I. Refurbishing and Restoration. All structures, common areas, sidewalks, driveways, landscaped areas and facilities, if defective, shall be refurbished and restored to a safe and usable condition. All deficiencies shall be corrected prior to recordation of a final map.

J. Open Space/Recreation. All condominium conversions shall be subject to the private, common and total open space requirements and recreation facilities listed in Section 16.17.030(B) through (E). (Ord. 1490 § 3 (part), 2006)

16.17.080 Condominium conversion limit procedure.

A. Annual Limit. The city shall not approve conversion projects in any one calendar year resulting in more units being converted than one-half the number of multifamily rental dwellings added to the city’s housing stock during the preceding year. The number of multifamily rental units added in one year shall be determined as follows: From January 1st through December 31st, the total number of multifamily rental units given a final building inspection and occupancy permit minus the number of such units demolished, removed from the city, or converted to nonresidential use.

B. Filing Period. Applications for conversion may be filed during the months of January and February only. No action shall be taken on applications during this period. In order to be accepted by the city for processing, the application must be deemed complete by February 28th. Applications not deemed complete by February 28th shall be rejected until the following year.

C. Project Ranking.

1. If applications on file at the end of the filing period would, when approved, convert more dwelling units than allowed under subsection A of this section, the planning commission shall rank the applications according to the following point criteria:

a. The fractions of tenants not objecting to conversion: deduct one point for each percentage point of objecting tenants. Applicants shall survey tenants and provide tenants an opportunity to respond with a postage-paid envelope addressed to the applicable project planner at the city.

b. Provision of private open space with each dwelling: ten points for every unit that exceeds minimum square feet of qualifying private open space (by at least twenty-five square feet) for a maximum of fifty points. Deduct ten points for every unit that falls below (by at least twenty-five square feet) the minimum private open space standards. No points for projects that meet standards.

c. Project meets or exceeds current parking standards: five points deducted for every parking space below minimum standards, five points added for every parking space above minimum requirements up to twenty-five points.

d. Provision of common open space that meets or exceeds criteria: ten points for every additional one hundred square feet of qualifying and usable common open space above minimum requirements, for a maximum of fifty points).

e. Provision of common recreation amenities that meet or exceed criteria: ten points for high-quality recreation amenities that exceed minimum size requirements by at least two hundred square feet per project.

f. Provision of units which low-income and moderate-income families can afford: twenty points given for each moderate deed-restricted affordable unit proposed in the project; twenty-five points for each low-income unit for a maximum of one hundred points.

g. Provision for energy savings: projects that contain significant solar energy installations capable of supplying at least fifty percent of the project’s energy demand shall receive twenty points.

h. Age of existing apartments: one point for each year an apartment project has been occupied as rental apartments.

i. Discretionary ranking: project quality, design features or overall neighborhood character and compatibility may allow the planning commission to add or deduct up to fifty points.

2. The planning commission’s evaluation shall be a recommendation to the council, which may act on conversion projects based on its own findings, within the numerical limits established under subsection A of this section.

D. Time Limits for Actions. The results of the planning commission’s evaluation should be transmitted to the council by June 30th. The council shall approve, approve subject to conditions, or deny each conversion application by June 1st. If the applications on file at the end of the filing period would not exceed the year’s limit, they shall be forwarded directly to the council, which shall act on the applications by May 31st.

E. Maps. Maps required by the California Subdivision Map Act need not be prepared until an application for conversion has been approved. The tentative map application shall be accompanied by the declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions, articles of incorporation, bylaws and contracts for the maintenance, management or operation of any part of the condominium conversion project, which would be applied on behalf of any and all owners of the condominium units within the project. In addition to the requirements of Civil Code Section 1355 and any requirements which might be imposed by the city consistent with these regulations, the organizational documents shall include provisions concerning the conveyance of units; the assignment of parking; an agreement for common area maintenance, including facilities and landscaping, an estimate of initial fees anticipated for such maintenance, an indication of responsibilities for maintenance of all utility lines and services for each unit. The covenants, conditions and restrictions document shall include a reference to an attached, updated property condition report. (Ord. 1490 § 3 (part), 2006)

16.17.090 Exceptions to chapter.

A. Conversions. Exceptions to the condominium conversion regulations may only be approved by the city council under request by the subdivider when in accordance with the findings noted in subsection C of this section. Exceptions may only be granted to the property improvement standards and not the affordable housing requirements or tenant notification provisions.

B. New Common Interest Subdivisions. Exceptions to the property improvements standards for new common interest subdivisions may be approved by the applicable hearing body (hearing officer, planning commission, or city council) and are subject to the findings noted in subsection C of this section.

C. Findings for Exceptions.

1. There are circumstances of the site, such as size, shape or topography, distinct from land in the same zoning, or compliance would be completely infeasible because of the location or site design.

2. The required property improvement standards would decrease the size or number of units within the project resulting in a significant loss of entitlement. (Note: a loss of one or more density units allowed by density standards or reductions in the floor area of units that still allow for a reasonable floor space may not be considered a significant loss of entitlement. For the purpose of these regulations, a reasonable floor area for a one-bedroom unit is considered to be approximately nine hundred square feet while a reasonable floor area for a two-bedroom unit is considered to be one thousand two hundred square feet.)

3. The exception will not constitute a grant of special privilege; an entitlement inconsistent with the limitations upon other properties in the vicinity with the same zoning.

4. No feasible alternative to authorizing the exception would satisfy the intent of the city policies and regulations. (Ord. 1490 § 3 (part), 2006)