Chapter 17.48


17.48.010    Intent.

17.48.020    Prohibition.

17.48.030    Definition.

17.48.040    Environment.

17.48.050    Development standards and conditions for approval of new second units.

17.48.060    Required findings and conditions.

17.48.070    Procedure for establishing second unit.

17.48.010 Intent.

The intent of this chapter is to provide development standards for second dwelling units on lots that contain single-family dwellings to ensure that second units are compatible with existing neighborhoods. (Ord. 441 § 1, 2000).

17.48.020 Prohibition.

No second dwelling unit shall be constructed by any person who has not first obtained a conditional use permit from the planning commission and paid the fee as set by the city council by resolution. (Ord. 441 § 1, 2000).

17.48.030 Definition.

“Second unit” means a dwelling unit that provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons. (Ord. 441 § 1, 2000).

17.48.040 Environment.

The approval of a second unit in the single-family residential zone is exempt from the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Second units on a block are limited to four in number and shall not be constructed on blocks without alleys for the following reasons:

A. Since the city has approximately four miles citywide of unpaved alleys, second units shall be limited to four in number per block to ensure that no further adverse impacts occur from dust generation, trackout and traffic generation; and

B. Second units shall not be constructed in blocks without alleys since tandem parking of a second unit vehicle is not permitted. (Ord. 441 § 1, 2000).

17.48.050 Development standards and conditions for approval of new second units.

Table 17.48-1 depicts development standards for second dwelling units.

Table 17.48-1

Second Dwelling Units
– Development Standards and Conditions for Approval of New Second Units

Second Dwelling Units

Standards and Conditions

New second dwelling units

Must meet requirements of Chapter 17.20 HMC relating to height, setback, lot coverage, parking, architectural review, site plan review fees and charges


One off-street paved parking space


No more than two stories, with parking in the lower level

Minimum lot area

6,000 square feet (lot shall contain an existing residential dwelling which is owner-occupied)

Maximum unit size

A. 30 percent of the existing residential floor area, if attached

B. Not exceeding 1,200 square feet if detached

In addition to the development standards described in Table 17.48-1, the following development standards also apply to second dwelling units:

A. The second dwelling unit shall meet requirements of the zone in which it is located relating to height, setback, lot coverage, architectural review, site plan review, fees and charges;

B. The second dwelling unit may be constructed within an existing building or detached accessory building;

C. The second living unit shall conform in design, materials and colors consistent with the main living unit, when attached;

D. The owner shall pay to the city all appropriate fees at the time the building permit is obtained;

E. The second unit may not be sold separately. However, the second unit shall be provided separate water and electric meters;

F. Property owners within a 300-foot radius of the site, and property owners within the existing block, will be notified in writing of the proposed second unit, and shall be notified at least 10 days prior to a decision by the planning commission; and

G. In the case where an existing small dwelling unit abuts an alley, the new second dwelling unit maximum size may be larger as long as the total lot coverage does not exceed 50 percent. (Ord. 441 § 1, 2000).

17.48.060 Required findings and conditions.

A conditional use permit in accordance with this chapter shall be required to be issued by the planning commission provided the following findings are made:

A. The proposed second unit is conformity with the standards of the zone and other applicable ordinances;

B. The plan for the second unit reflects sufficient consideration of the relationship between the proposed buildings, structures, traffic demands, parking, and those that already exist or have been approved for the general neighborhood so as to preserve and protect neighborhood character, and once in place will not adversely impact this neighborhood character;

C. The second unit is not so different in its exterior design and appearance from that of other existing structures in the general neighborhood so as to cause the local environs to materially depreciate in appearance and value;

D. All necessary city permits will be obtained prior to construction; and

E. Construction work must begin under the building permit within 12 months after the effective date of the building permit and carried on diligently to completion or the permit shall expire. (Ord. 441 § 1, 2000).

17.48.070 Procedure for establishing second unit.

A second unit must be established through the conditional use permit process described in Chapter 17.60 HMC. (Ord. 441 § 1, 2000).