Chapter 11.43
ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS AND ACCESSORY STRUCTURES*

Sections:

11.43.010    Purpose and intent.

11.43.020    Definitions.

11.43.030    Accessory dwelling unit requirements.

11.43.040    Application process and permit requirements.

11.43.050    Recordation of covenant.

11.43.060    Revocation.

11.43.070    Hearings and appeals.

11.43.080    Responsible persons.

11.43.090    Declaration of nuisance—Enforcement.

11.43.100    No authorization to violate law.

11.43.110    Accessory structures.

*    Prior ordinance history: Ord. 2323.

Code reviser’s note: The amendments of Ord. 2336 as extended by Ord. 2338 are scheduled to expire April 24, 2019.

11.43.010 Purpose and intent.

This chapter of the South Gate Municipal Code (the “chapter”) establishes the standards for permitting accessory dwelling units (“accessory dwelling units”) within the city of South Gate, formerly known as “second dwelling units” on residential properties in accordance with Section 65852.2 of the California Government Code, as amended and effective January 1, 2017.

(Ord. 2338 § 1, 5-23-17; Ord. 2336 § 1 (part), 4-25-17)

11.43.020 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

A.    “Accessory dwelling unit” means an attached or a detached residential dwelling unit that provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons. It shall include permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation on the same parcel as the single-family dwelling is situated. An accessory dwelling unit also includes (i) an efficiency unit, as defined in Section 17958.1 of Health and Safety Code and (ii) a manufactured home, as defined in Section 18007 of the Health and Safety Code.

B.    “Accessory dwelling unit permit” means the formal, written approval of the community development director approving the application for an accessory dwelling unit.

C.    “Application” means an application for an accessory dwelling unit permit.

D.    “Building codes” means all of the requirements for authorization for the construction, alteration, improvement, modification, demolition or removal of any structure within the city of South Gate, including all codes adopted by reference in the municipal code, including but not limited to the California Building Code, the California Electrical Code, the California Plumbing Code, the California Mechanical Code, the California Residential Code and all local amendments thereto as adopted by the city in the municipal code.

E.    “Building permits” means all authorizations and permissions required in accordance with all applicable building codes.

F.    “City” means the city of South Gate.

G.    “Director” means the community development director of the city of South Gate and all of his/her designees.

H.    “Existing structure” for the purposes of defining an allowable space that can be converted to an accessory dwelling unit means within the four walls and roofline of any structure existing on or after January 1, 2017, that can be made safely habitable under local building codes at the determination of the building official regardless of any noncompliance with zoning standards.

I.    “Initiate the use” means to commence occupying the accessory dwelling unit by persons for human habitation.

J.    “Living area” means the interior habitable area of a dwelling unit including basements and attics but does not include a garage or any accessory structure.

K.    “Lot” shall mean the single legal parcel upon which the accessory dwelling unit shall be located.

L.    “Main dwelling” means a lawfully constructed single-family residence existing on the lot where the accessory dwelling unit may be permitted.

M.    “Municipal code” means the municipal code of the city of South Gate.

N.    “Passageway” means a pathway that is unobstructed clear to the sky and extends from a street to one entrance of the accessory dwelling unit.

O.    Other words and phrases used in this chapter shall have the same meaning as provided in the South Gate Municipal Code.

(Ord. 2338 § 1, 5-23-17; Ord. 2336 § 1 (part), 4-25-17)

11.43.030 Accessory dwelling unit requirements.

A.    Location of Accessory Dwelling Units. An accessory dwelling unit for which a valid accessory dwelling unit permit has been issued and that is, at all times, maintained, utilized and improved in accordance with this chapter shall be permitted within the NL zone within the city. The foregoing notwithstanding, accessory dwelling units shall not be established or permitted within a planned community, including but not limited to planned unit developments and condominium projects, unless accessory dwelling units were specifically incorporated into the approved project plans and the recorded covenants, conditions and restrictions or other document reflecting the land use restrictions applicable to the development.

B.    Compliance with Chapter. No accessory dwelling unit may be constructed, maintained, improved, altered, enlarged, modified, permitted or allowed within the city except as provided in this chapter and only in the NL zone.

C.    Residential Use. An accessory dwelling unit shall be used only for residential purposes and no business, enterprise or occupation shall be conducted, permitted or allowed within the accessory dwelling unit.

D.    Applications for Accessory Dwelling Unit Permit. All applications for an accessory dwelling unit permit shall be submitted to the director on the form approved by the director, together with all information and documents requested, which shall include scaled and fully dimensioned plans, and elevations for the lot including the proposed accessory dwelling unit, main dwelling, any other structures on site, parking, setbacks and entrances and driveways.

E.    Building Permits. Building permit(s) shall be required for all accessory dwelling units. All existing building permits for a proposed accessory dwelling unit shall be submitted with the application. In addition, all applications for all building permits or other authorizations and approvals required for the legal use of the structure where the accessory dwelling unit will be located shall be submitted with the application, together with all permit, planning, development or other fees required under the municipal code, except as otherwise expressly provided in this chapter.

F.    Design Compatibility. All accessory dwelling units shall be architecturally compatible with the main dwelling with respect to styling, roofline, window and door treatment, materials, colors, textures, height, scale, and bulk, and shall be compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

G.    Community Impact. The design and establishment of the accessory dwelling unit shall not adversely affect the neighborhood with respect to on-street parking demand and use, traffic noise, or other impacts that could result in adverse impacts on public services and resources.

H.    Continuous Owner Occupancy. At the time that an application for accessory dwelling unit permit is submitted and at all times thereafter at least one of the dwelling units (main dwelling or accessory dwelling unit) on the lot must be occupied by a natural person who is a lawful owner or beneficial interest holder of a lawful trust holding title to the lot. The other dwelling unit may be rented for a period of not less than thirty days. It is the intent of this chapter that once established at least one of the units on the lot shall be owner occupied. In the event that no such person occupies one of the units on the lot, the accessory dwelling unit may not be occupied or rented and shall be deemed to be nonhabitable as provided in Section 11.43.060, in which case all owners and all persons in control, management or possession of the lot shall comply with Section 11.43.060(C).

I.    Minimum Lot Requirements. Accessory dwelling units shall only be permitted on legal parcels that meet all the following lot qualifications:

1.    The lot is located within an NL zone as designated by the South Gate zoning map.

2.    The lot size is equal to or larger than six thousand square feet.

3.    The lot has an existing single-family main dwelling.

4.    The lot does not have an existing accessory dwelling unit on site. Only one accessory dwelling unit, regardless of size or configuration, may exist on a lot at any one time. No more than two dwelling units may exist at any time on a lot containing an accessory dwelling unit.

5.    When an accessory dwelling unit is to be contained within the existing space of a main dwelling or accessory structure it shall have independent exterior access from the existing residence and the side and rear setbacks shall be sufficient for fire safety, including compliance with all applicable fire codes.

J.    Applicability of Other Municipal Code Requirements. The accessory dwelling unit, and any other improvements located on the lot where it is located, shall comply with all applicable building codes and zoning code requirements, except as modified expressly by this chapter. The foregoing notwithstanding, accessory dwelling units shall not be required to be equipped with fire sprinklers, unless they are required for the main dwelling.

K.    Density and Use. The existence of an accessory dwelling unit shall not be deemed to cause a lot to exceed the allowable density for the lot upon which the accessory dwelling unit is located. An accessory dwelling unit shall be considered a residential use consistent with the existing general plan and zoning designation for the lot.

L.    Ownership. An accessory dwelling unit shall, at all times, be held under the same ownership as the remainder of the lot on which it is located. An accessory dwelling unit may not be partitioned from the primary residential unit and may not be sold, transferred or assigned separately from the main dwelling.

M.    Development Standards. An accessory dwelling unit shall at all times comply with the following requirements:

1.    Development Standards. Except as expressly provided herein, all development standards set forth in the municipal code applicable to the main dwelling shall be applicable to all accessory dwelling units.

2.    Maximum Occupancy. Occupancy loads of the accessory dwelling unit shall be the same as applicable to the main dwelling pursuant to applicable regulatory requirements of the municipal code or the state of California, including without limitation all applicable building and fire codes.

3.    Compliance with Building Codes. All construction, alteration, modification, demolition, improvement or other work required to comply with this chapter, the accessory dwelling unit permit or any other condition related thereto, shall be in compliance with all applicable building codes and shall be completed and final inspection requested within one hundred eighty calendar days of the issuance of such permit, approval or authorization. Upon a request made by the applicant prior to the expiration of a permit, approval or authorization and upon good cause having been shown that the work could not reasonably be completed within the said time period, the building official or department issuing such authorization may grant one extension of no more than one hundred eighty days.

4.    Utilities. If the accessory dwelling unit is contained within an existing main dwelling or an existing accessory structure, has independent exterior access from the existing main dwelling, and has side and rear setbacks sufficient for fire safety, then a new or separate utility connection directly between the accessory dwelling unit and the utility shall not be required. In all other cases, an accessory dwelling unit shall be equipped with a new and separate utility connection directly between the accessory dwelling unit and the utility. The city shall charge a connection fee or capacity charge, as applicable to the specific property, that shall be proportionate to the burden of the proposed accessory dwelling unit, based upon either its size or the number of plumbing fixtures, and upon the water or sewer system, as determined by the director; provided, however, that the charge shall not exceed the reasonable cost of providing the service. All newly constructed or installed utilities for the accessory dwelling unit shall be underground and subject to and comply with Section 11.30.060.

5.    Smoke Detectors. Both units (main dwelling and the accessory dwelling unit) shall at all times be equipped with functioning hardwired smoke detectors with battery backup.

6.    Gross Floor Area. The accessory dwelling unit, whether attached, detached or a part of the main dwelling, shall not have a gross floor area greater than six hundred forty square feet or thirty percent of the area of the main dwelling, whichever is less, and shall contain no more than one bedroom.

7.    Unit Size. The accessory dwelling unit shall not be less than two hundred forty square feet in size or the minimum size for an efficiency unit, as defined in California Health and Safety Code Section 17958.1, whichever is greater.

8.    Lot Coverage. The primary residential structure and the accessory dwelling unit, together with all other structures, shall not exceed a total structural lot coverage of forty-five percent.

9.    Location of New Construction Setbacks. In the event that the accessory dwelling unit is to be constructed separate and apart from the main dwelling and not within an existing garage that is to be converted to residential use, the accessory dwelling unit shall be located outside of all setback requirements set forth in the municipal code that are applicable to the main dwelling and shall be located in the rear one-half of the lot. An existing garage that is converted to an accessory dwelling unit shall not be required to have any setback, other than the setback that may be required by building or fire codes for fire or safety purposes. A newly constructed accessory dwelling unit that is located above a garage shall be located at least five feet from the side and rear lot lines. A minimum building separation of ten feet shall be maintained (eave to eave) between the main dwelling and a detached accessory dwelling unit.

10.    Height. The accessory dwelling unit shall be no taller than thirty-four feet or the height of the existing main dwelling, whichever is lower, and may not exceed one story unless the existing main dwelling has at least two stories.

11.    Passageways. No passageway shall be required in conjunction with the construction of an accessory dwelling unit.

12.    Entrance. The accessory dwelling unit shall have a separate entrance from the main dwelling that shall not be visible from the front of the primary residential structure or the public right-of-way.

13.    Parking.

A.    In addition to the parking requirement in the municipal code for the main dwelling, parking shall be provided for the accessory dwelling unit as follows: For units containing one or fewer bedrooms: one space. This parking space, in combination with the other parking spaces required for the lot, may be provided as tandem parking, including on an existing driveway or in setback areas, excluding the nondriveway front yard setback.

B.    When a garage, carport, or covered parking structure is demolished or converted in conjunction with the construction of an accessory dwelling unit, replacement parking shall be required and may be located in any configuration on the same lot as the accessory dwelling unit, except that replacement parking spaces shall not be located within the nondriveway front yard setback. Replacement spaces shall be provided on the same lot as the accessory dwelling unit. The number of replacement parking spaces shall be no fewer than the spaces that were removed. The minimum dimensions for any replacement parking spaces shall be ten feet by twenty feet. Parking spaces shall be maintained in good order and repair and clear of all vegetation, equipment, trash, debris or any other condition that would prevent or impede the use of the spaces for parking.

C.    The parking requirement set forth in this section shall not be required in the following instances:

i.    The accessory dwelling unit is located within one-half mile of a regularly used public transit stop, depot or station.

ii.    The accessory dwelling unit is part of the existing main dwelling or an existing accessory structure that is not being removed to accommodate the accessory dwelling unit.

iii.    The accessory dwelling unit is located within an architecturally and historically significant historic district.

iv.    When on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the occupant of the accessory dwelling unit.

v.    When there is a car share vehicle located within one block of the accessory dwelling unit.

(Ord. 2338 § 1, 5-23-17; Ord. 2336 § 1 (part), 4-25-17)

11.43.040 Application process and permit requirements.

A.    Processing Application. Within one hundred twenty days of receipt of a completed application, submitted with all supporting documentation and, if applicable, all fees required for building permits, development and planning, approvals, authorizations and permissions, in accordance with Government Code Section 66000 et seq., the director shall issue an accessory dwelling unit permit, ministerially, upon making a determination that the proposed accessory dwelling unit would be in compliance with this chapter and that all required approvals, permits, authorizations and permissions exist for the lawful use of the accessory uses or will be issued by the appropriate agency or department. If the director has information or reasonable belief that all such approvals, permits authorization and permissions do not exist and will not be issued within a reasonable time, the director shall deny the application.

B.    Health Official Approval. In the event that the property is served by a functioning private sewage disposal system any application for an accessory dwelling unit must be approved by the health official for the city before an accessory dwelling unit permit may be issued by the director.

C.    Conditions of Approval. The director may include conditions on the accessory dwelling permit that are consistent with this chapter.

D.    Denial of Application. The director shall deny an application for an accessory dwelling unit permit upon making a determination that the requirements of this chapter have not been satisfied and in the event that the director finds that any of the following conditions exist or may occur if the application is granted:

1.    The accessory dwelling unit would be detrimental to the public health and safety or that it would unreasonably impact the privacy of the surrounding properties.

2.    The lot or any structure located thereupon contains any active violations of the municipal code or other applicable regulation or law, except in the event that such violation shall be abated in the course of construction or other activities authorized by permits or other authorizations or permissions granted by the city.

(Ord. 2338 § 1, 5-23-17; Ord. 2336 § 1 (part), 4-25-17)

11.43.050 Recordation of covenant.

Within thirty days of the approval of an application for an accessory dwelling unit permit, the owner of the lot or parcel shall record a covenant (“covenant”) reflecting the obligations, rights and restrictions provided in the permit and in this chapter. The covenant shall “run with the land” and be binding on the property and all owners, lenders, lien holders, occupants and all other persons having an interest or estate in the property, now or in the future. The covenant shall be recorded in the registrar-recorder’s office of Los Angeles County. A copy of the accessory dwelling unit permit shall be incorporated in or attached to the covenant and shall be recorded therewith. A copy of the covenant shall be filed with the city’s planning department. The covenant shall be in a form approved in writing by the city attorney and shall provide the following:

A.    That at all times that an accessory dwelling unit is located on the subject property a natural person who is a lawful owner or beneficial interest holder of a lawful trust holding title to the property must continuously occupy the primary residential structure or the accessory dwelling unit as their principal residence.

B.    At all times there shall be no more than two residential units on any lot containing an accessory dwelling unit.

C.    That the accessory dwelling unit may not be sold separately from the remainder of the parcel and that it shall not be subject to partition or separation from the lot where the main dwelling is located.

D.    That any rental of either the main dwelling or accessory dwelling unit not occupied by an owner of the subject property or the beneficial interest holder must be for a term longer than thirty days.

E.    That the accessory dwelling unit permit for the subject property and each of the terms and conditions set forth therein bind the property and all owners and all beneficial interest holders, lenders, lien holders, occupants and all other persons having an interest or estate in the subject property, now or in the future.

F.    That the use of the accessory dwelling unit is subject to the provisions of this chapter.

G.    That the accessory dwelling unit permit may be subject to revocation in the event of breach of the terms of the covenant or as otherwise provided in this chapter.

(Ord. 2338 § 1, 5-23-17; Ord. 2336 § 1 (part), 4-25-17)

11.43.060 Revocation.

A.    The director may revoke any accessory dwelling unit permit in the event of any of the following:

1.    Misrepresentation or any false, untrue or inaccurate statement in the application or any supporting documentation.

2.    Failure to execute and record the covenant required pursuant to Section 11.43.050.

3.    The accessory dwelling unit ceases to be used for human habitation.

4.    Failure to initiate the use as authorized under the accessory dwelling permit within one hundred eighty days, together with any extension authorized by the director, after final inspection of any applicable building permits or the issuance of the accessory dwelling permit, whichever is later.

5.    The use of the accessory dwelling unit causes detriment or becomes incompatible to the surrounding homes as a result of the manner in which it is maintained.

6.    Parking as required under this chapter is not provided or maintained.

7.    Failure to comply with any condition of approval of the accessory dwelling permit.

8.    The use of the accessory dwelling unit causes or becomes a nuisance, as defined in the municipal code.

9.    If any term or condition of the covenant is violated.

10.    The accessory dwelling unit was not constructed in accordance with the plans and building permits approved by the city that were submitted with the application for the accessory dwelling unit permit. This includes the failure to obtain a final inspection within one hundred eighty days of the issuance of building permits.

11.    Maintenance of the accessory dwelling unit in violation of applicable laws, regulatory codes or the municipal code.

B.    Notification of Revocation. The director shall give written notice of the revocation of the accessory dwelling unit by mail or hand delivery to the property owner and the occupants of the main dwelling and the accessory dwelling unit and by posting a copy of the notice of revocation at the front entrance to each unit.

C.    Effect of Revocation. Within ten days after notice of the revocation is given, human habitation of the accessory dwelling unit must cease. The accessory dwelling unit shall thereafter be deemed nonhabitable space. Within thirty days after notice of the revocation is given, all electrical, plumbing, kitchen and bathroom facilities, fixtures, equipment and appliances shall be removed. To the extent that removal of any of the foregoing cannot be completed without significant risk to the structural integrity of any structure upon the lot, any such facility, equipment, fixture or appliance may, with the consent of the building official, in lieu of removal, be permanently disabled in place. Provided, further, that any such facility, equipment, fixture or appliance shall not be required to be removed if they would otherwise be permitted within an accessory structure within the NL zone pursuant to the municipal code.

(Ord. 2338 § 1, 5-23-17; Ord. 2336 § 1 (part), 4-25-17)

11.43.070 Hearings and appeals.

A.    Director’s Hearing. In the event that the director denies an application for an accessory dwelling unit or revokes an accessory dwelling unit permit, the permittee may request a hearing before the director within ten days of being advised of the decision. If there is a request for a hearing in accordance with this subsection, the order of the director shall be stayed until the director makes his determination after the hearing is concluded. If there is no request for hearing within the ten-day period, or upon a determination of director upholding the revocation, the accessory dwelling unit shall brought into compliance with Section 11.43.060(C), or in the case of a denial of an application, the property shall be brought into compliance with all applicable building and zoning requirements of the municipal code.

B.    Appeal of Director’s Determination After Hearing. If the director does not rescind a denial of the application or the revocation after the hearing, the permittee may appeal to the planning commission in accordance with Section 11.50.040. The accessory dwelling unit may continue to be used until the appeal is decided.

C.    Preclusion of Further Application. In the event that an application is denied or a permit is revoked, no application may be made for an accessory dwelling unit permit for the same lot for a period of one year from the date of the revocation or the conclusion of the appeal process, whichever is later.

(Ord. 2338 § 1, 5-23-17; Ord. 2336 § 1 (part), 4-25-17)

11.43.080 Responsible persons.

All owners, occupants, managers and persons with dominion or control over the accessory dwelling unit or the lot upon which it is located shall comply with the terms of this chapter and all applicable conditions, covenants, permits and restrictions created thereby.

(Ord. 2338 § 1, 5-23-17; Ord. 2336 § 1 (part), 4-25-17)

11.43.090 Declaration of nuisance—Enforcement.

Any condition, construction, improvement, alteration or use that is created, permitted, allowed or maintained in violation of this chapter is declared to be a nuisance and may be abated in accordance with any and all remedies available to the city, whether legal or equitable, civil, criminal or administrative, all of which shall be deemed cumulative. A violation of this chapter shall be subject to enforcement as provided in Chapter 11.56. Any violation of this chapter is declared to be a misdemeanor.

(Ord. 2338 § 1, 5-23-17; Ord. 2336 § 1 (part), 4-25-17)

11.43.100 No authorization to violate law.

Nothing in this chapter allows or permits the violation of any federal or state law or the municipal code. Except as provided hereunder, nothing herein cures or makes legal any illegal condition or use. Any work, improvement, construction or alteration required or permitted by this chapter shall comply with all applicable building permit and regulatory requirements of the municipal code.

(Ord. 2338 § 1, 5-23-17; Ord. 2336 § 1 (part), 4-25-17)

11.43.110 Accessory structures.

The following provisions, in combination with Section 11.43.040 (Application process and permit requirements), are minimum requirements for all accessory structures that are not accessory dwelling units.

A.    Detached Garage. Detached garages shall be limited to accommodating four vehicles and shall conform to all development standards of the NL zone.

B.    Garage Doors. Garage doors shall not comprise more than fifty percent of any single parcel frontage.

(Ord. 2338 § 1, 5-23-17; Ord. 2336 § 1 (part), 4-25-17)