Chapter 17.61


17.61.010    Purpose and intent.

17.61.020    Definitions.

17.61.030    Review authority.

17.61.040    Requests for reasonable accommodation.

17.61.050    Application requirements.

17.61.060    Required findings.

17.61.070    Performance standard.

17.61.080    Conditions of approval.

17.61.090    Appeals.

17.61.010 Purpose and intent.

The reasonable accommodation provisions allow for flexibility in the application of regulations and procedures to ensure equal access to housing. The provisions set forth in this chapter provide a procedure under which a disabled person may request a reasonable accommodation in the application of zoning requirements. This chapter is based on requirements of the federal and state fair housing laws and is designed to eliminate barriers to housing opportunities. (Ord. 1602 § 3 (part), 2014)

17.61.020 Definitions.

A. “Disabled person” means a person who has a medical, physical or mental condition that limits a major life activity, as those terms are defined in California Government Code Section 12926, anyone who is regarded as having such a condition or anyone who has a record of having such a condition. It includes a person or persons, or an authorized representative of a disabled person. The term “disabled person” does not include a person who is currently using illegal substances, unless he or she has a separate disability.

B. “Fair housing laws” means (1) the Federal Fair Housing Act (42 USC Section 3601 and following) and (2) the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (Government Code Section 12955 and following), including amendments to them.

C. “Reasonable accommodation” means providing disabled persons flexibility in the application of land use and zoning regulations and procedures, or even waiving certain requirements, when necessary to eliminate barriers to housing opportunities. It may include adjustments to standards such as yard area modifications for ramps, handrails or other such accessibility improvements; hardscape additions, such as widened driveways, parking area or walkways; building additions for accessibility; tree removal; or reduced off-street parking where the disability clearly limits the number of people operating vehicles. Reasonable accommodation does not include an accommodation which would (1) impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the city or (2) require a fundamental alteration in the nature of the city’s land use and zoning program. (Ord. 1602 § 3 (part), 2014)

17.61.030 Review authority.

A. Community Development Director. Requests for reasonable accommodation shall be reviewed by the community development director, if no approval is sought other than the request for reasonable accommodation. The community development director may refer the matter to any advisory commission or committee, as appropriate.

B. Other Review Authority. Requests for reasonable accommodation submitted for concurrent review with another discretionary land use application shall be reviewed by the authority responsible for reviewing the application. (Ord. 1602 § 3 (part), 2014)

17.61.040 Requests for reasonable accommodation.

A. Request. A request for reasonable accommodation in the application of land use and zoning regulations may be made by a disabled person, his or her representative, or a developer or provider of housing for individuals with disabilities. A request for reasonable accommodation may include a modification or exception to the siting, development and use of housing or housing related facilities that would eliminate regulatory barriers. A reasonable accommodation cannot waive a requirement for a conditional use permit when otherwise required or result in approval of uses otherwise prohibited by the city’s land use and zoning regulations.

B. Assistance. If an applicant needs assistance in making the request, the planning division will endeavor to provide the assistance necessary to ensure that the process is available to the applicant.

C. Balancing Rights and Requirements. The city will attempt to balance (1) the privacy rights and reasonable request of an applicant for confidentiality, with (2) the land use requirements for notice and public hearing, factual findings and rights to appeal, in the city’s request for information, considering an application, preparing written findings and maintaining records for a request for reasonable accommodation. (Ord. 1602 § 3 (part), 2014)

17.61.050 Application requirements.

Whenever a request for reasonable accommodation is submitted for consideration, as a part of said application, sufficient information shall be submitted to the community development department to determine whether the reasonable accommodation request complies with the provisions of this chapter. In addition to the required administrative approval application checklist items, the application shall include the following:

A. The basis for the claim that the individual is considered disabled under the fair housing laws. Identification and description of the disability which is the basis for the request for accommodation, including current, written medical certification and description of disability and its effects on the person’s medical, physical or mental limitations.

B. The rule, policy, practice and/or procedure of the city for which the request for accommodation is being made, including the zoning code regulation from which reasonable accommodation is being requested.

C. Type of accommodation sought.

D. The reason(s) why the accommodation is reasonable and necessary for the needs of the disabled person(s). Where appropriate, include a summary of any potential means and alternatives considered in evaluating the need for the accommodation. (Ord. 1602 § 3 (part), 2014)

17.61.060 Required findings.

The approval of a reasonable accommodation shall require that the review authority first find that:

A. The housing will be used by a disabled person;

B. The requested accommodation is necessary to make housing available to a disabled person;

C. The requested accommodation would not pose an undue financial or administrative burden on the city; and

D. The requested accommodation would not require a fundamental alteration in the nature of a city program or law, including but not limited to land use and zoning. (Ord. 1602 § 3 (part), 2014)

17.61.070 Performance standard.

A. Occupancy. A modification approved under this chapter is considered a personal accommodation for the individual applicant and does not run with the land. (Ord. 1602 § 3 (part), 2014)

17.61.080 Conditions of approval.

Conditions imposed by the review authority may include, but are not limited to, the following:

A. Inspection of the property periodically, as specified, to verify compliance with this chapter and any conditions of approval.

B. Removal of the improvements, where removal would not constitute an unreasonable financial burden, when the need for which the accommodation was granted no longer exists.

C. Time limits and/or expiration of the approval if the need for which the accommodation was granted no longer exists.

D. Recordation of a deed restriction requiring removal of the accommodating feature once the need for it no longer exists.

E. Measures to reduce the impact on surrounding uses.

F. Measures in consideration of the physical attributes of the property and structures.

G. Other reasonable accommodations that may provide an equivalent level of benefit and/or that will not result in an encroachment into required setbacks, exceedance of maximum height, lot coverage or floor area ratio requirements specified for the zone district.

H. Other conditions necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare. (Ord. 1602 § 3 (part), 2014)

17.61.090 Appeals.

The community development director shall administer and interpret these requirements, subject to the applicable codes and city procedures. Decisions of the director or other review authority are appealable subject to the zoning regulations appeal provisions (Chapter 17.66). (Ord. 1602 § 3 (part), 2014)