Chapter 18.265
REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Sections:

18.265.010    Purpose.

18.265.015    Definitions.

18.265.020    Application and accompanying material.

18.265.030    Public notice and hearing.

18.265.040    Public hearing exemptions.

18.265.050    No accommodation for current, illegal use of, or addiction to, controlled substances.

18.265.060    Approval authority.

18.265.070    Action and findings by approval authority – Other requirements.

18.265.080    Effective date – Appeals.

18.265.090    Time limit on approvals – Expiration and revocation of reasonable accommodations.

18.265.010 Purpose.

It is the policy of the city to comply with the federal Fair Housing Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act by providing reasonable accommodation in the application of its zoning regulations for persons with disabilities seeking fair access to housing. The city also recognizes the importance of sustaining and enhancing residential neighborhoods. In determining whether a requested accommodation is reasonable, the city will consider, among other relevant factors, the extent to which the accommodation might be in conflict with the legitimate purposes of its existing zoning regulations, including, where relevant, those regulations aimed at sustaining residential neighborhoods and preserving a suitable environment for family life. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a process for making and acting upon requests for reasonable accommodation. (Ord. 9-2014 § 38, 3-4-14.)

18.265.015 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter:

“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 Cal. Gov’t Code § 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 (42 U.S.C. § 3602(h)).

“Fair housing laws” means (1) the federal Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.) and (2) the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (Cal. Gov’t Code § 12955 et seq.), including amendments to them.

“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 such things 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 that 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. 9-2014 § 38, 3-4-14.)

18.265.020 Application and accompanying material.

(a)    A request for a reasonable accommodation shall be submitted to the community development director on an application form prescribed for that purpose by the city. The application shall include:

(1)    The current actual use of the property;

(2)    The zoning code provision, regulation or policy from which accommodation is being requested;

(3)    The basis for the claim that the person 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;

(4)    The type of accommodation being sought;

(5)    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;

(6)    Copies of memoranda, correspondence, pictures, plans or background information reasonably necessary to reach a decision regarding the need for the accommodation; and

(7)    Such other relevant information as may be requested by the community development director or designee.

(b)    If the project for which the request is being made also requires some other planning permit or approval, then the applicant shall file the request together with the application for such permit or approval. (Ord. 9-2014 § 38, 3-4-14.)

18.265.030 Public notice and hearing.

The approval authority shall conduct a public hearing unless exempted pursuant to Section 18.265.040. At least 10 days prior to the public hearing, notice shall be given of the proposed reasonable accommodation as set forth in Chapter 18.320. (Ord. 9-2014 § 38, 3-4-14.)

18.265.040 Public hearing exemptions.

The public hearing requirement in Section 18.265.030 shall not apply to requests for reasonable accommodation for the following:

(a)    Yard area encroachments for ramps, handrails, or other such accessibility improvements;

(b)    Hardscape additions, such as widened driveways, parking area or walkways that result in noncompliance with required landscaping or open space area provisions;

(c)    Minor building addition(s), strictly for the purpose of providing access to the structure, that results in building setback encroachments;

(d)    Reduced off-street parking where the disability clearly limits the number of persons operating vehicles;

(e)    Any other modification or exception that the community development director finds, pursuant to the requirements set forth in Section 18.265.070, is similar in nature, function or operation to permitted accommodations allowed in this section. (Ord. 9-2014 § 38, 3-4-14.)

18.265.050 No accommodation for current, illegal use of, or addiction to, controlled substances.

Persons who are currently using or addicted to controlled substances are not considered to be disabled and no accommodation shall be granted for such persons pursuant to this chapter. (Ord. 9-2014 § 38, 3-4-14.)

18.265.060 Approval authority.

The community development director or his or her designee shall consider and act upon a reasonable accommodation request. (Ord. 9-2014 § 38, 3-4-14.)

18.265.070 Action and findings by approval authority – Other requirements.

(a)    The community development director may approve or conditionally approve a request for reasonable accommodation if all of the following findings can be made:

(1)    The housing will be used by a disabled person;

(2)    The requested accommodation is necessary to make specific housing available to a disabled person;

(3)    The requested accommodation would not impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the city;

(4)    The requested accommodation would not require a fundamental alteration in the nature of a city program or law, including land use and zoning; and

(5)    The requested accommodation would not result in a concentration of uses otherwise not allowed in a residential neighborhood to the substantial detriment of the residential character of that neighborhood.

If the findings cannot be made, the application shall be denied.

(b)    Other Requirements.

(1)    An approved request for reasonable accommodation is subject to the applicant’s compliance with all other applicable zoning regulations.

(2)    A modification approved under this chapter is considered a personal accommodation for the individual applicant and does not run with the land.

(3)    Where appropriate, the reviewing authority may condition its approval on any or all of the following:

(A)    Inspection of the property periodically, as specified, to verify compliance with this section 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; and

(H)    Other conditions necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare. (Ord. 9-2014 § 38, 3-4-14.)

18.265.080 Effective date – Appeals.

A decision of the approval authority shall be effective on the date following expiration of the appeal period, as described in Chapter 18.300, unless an appeal is timely filed pursuant to Chapter 18.300. Appeals of the approval authority shall be heard by the city council. No reasonable accommodation request shall be granted on appeal unless the findings set forth in Section 18.265.070 are made. (Ord. 9-2014 § 38, 3-4-14.)

18.265.090 Time limit on approvals – Expiration and revocation of reasonable accommodations.

Time limits, expiration and revocation of reasonable accommodations shall be subject to the procedures described in Chapter 18.330. (Ord. 9-2014 § 38, 3-4-14.)