Chapter 14-43


14-43.010    Purpose.

14-43.020    Development standards.

14-43.030    Emergency shelter provider.

14-43.040    Maximum occupancy.

14-43.050    Length of stay.

14-43.060    Management and operation plan.

14-43.070    Staff security.

14-43.010 Purpose.

This chapter establishes use and development regulations for emergency shelter facilities in accordance with State law and the City’s adopted housing element. In accordance with State law, local communities have a responsibility to provide adequate sites for emergency shelters that serve homeless individuals and families. The goal of emergency shelters is to address acute needs of individuals and families by providing basic residential facilities and may include programs which help residents find available social services. Consistent with the findings of the State legislature, the City recognizes the need for and the benefit of temporary housing and services for homeless persons and families. This chapter is intended to allow for the development of emergency shelter facilities in conjunction with specified uses and in particular zoning districts, subject to development and operational standards that minimize potential adverse impacts on nearby properties and the community as a whole.

(§ 1, Ord. 1375-18 (CM), eff. October 11, 2018)

14-43.020 Development standards.

Emergency shelters shall comply with the development standards of the zoning district in which they are located. In addition, the following standards shall be met:

(a)    Lighting. Adequate external lighting shall be provided for security purposes. The lighting shall be stationary, directed away from adjacent properties and public rights-of-way, and of intensity compatible with the neighborhood.

(b)    Vehicle Parking. Off-street vehicle parking shall be provided as follows:

(1)    Shelter facilities within one-quarter (1/4) mile of an existing bus route or rail station shall provide one (1) space per employee (based on highest ratio of staffing on site) and one-eighth (1/8) space per adult client.

(c)    Bicycle Parking. Bicycle racks that allow for the secure storage of bicycles shall be provided. Bicycle racks shall accommodate at least one (1) bicycle storage space for every five (5) adult client beds. All bicycle racks are required to be on site and located in a secure area that is not visible from the public right-of-way.

(d)    Intake Areas. If the intake area occurs on site, an enclosed or screened waiting area, such as provided in a courtyard building configuration, shall be provided between the intake area and the public right-of-way. There shall be no queuing within the public right-of-way. Queuing within any parking lot is allowed only if the parking lot is not visible from the public right-of-way.

(e)    Shower and Toilet Facilities. Toilets, sinks, and showers shall be provided on site. The emergency shelter manager shall be responsible for ensuring that all restroom and shower facilities comply with the City’s building code requirements.

(f)    Separate Housing for Families with Children. Families with children shall be housed separately from other clients and be provided separate restrooms and shower facilities.

(g)    Spacing. An emergency shelter shall not be located within three hundred (300') feet of another parcel or lot with an emergency shelter.

(h)    Refuse. Emergency shelters shall provide a refuse storage area that is in accordance with the requirements of the Public Works Department.

(§ 1, Ord. 1375-18 (CM), eff. October 11, 2018)

14-43.030 Emergency shelter provider.

The agency or organization operating the shelter shall comply with the following requirements:

(a)    Temporary shelter shall be available to residents for no more than six (6) months.

(b)    Security. Facility shall have City-accepted on-site security during hours of operation. Parking and outdoor facilities shall be designed to provide security for residents, visitors, and employees.

(c)    Food Service Areas. The emergency shelter manager shall be responsible for ensuring that any food service or on-site meal preparation areas comply with all applicable requirements of the County Health Department.

(d)    Staff and services shall be provided to assist residents to obtain permanent shelter and income.

(e)    Full Supportive Services. Social services offered at an emergency shelter, with full supportive services, including intake, assessment, and individualized case management services for homeless clients, shall be located on site. Full supportive social services can be offered to persons other than the residents of the shelter. Emergency shelters that provide full supportive services shall allocate sufficient areas to provide the following:

(1)    Food preparation and dining areas;

(2)    Laundry facilities, for emergency shelters providing ten (10) or more beds;

(3)    Restrooms and showers;

(4)    Areas to secure and store client belongings;

(5)    Indoor and outdoor recreational facilities and/or open space; and

(6)    A private area for providing referral services to assist shelter clients in entering programs aimed at obtaining permanent shelter and income. “Referral services” refers to the initial assessment of a homeless client to identify the areas in which assistance is needed and connecting clients with appropriate off-site programs and services depending on their need.

(f)    Grandfathering. Existing emergency shelters that were established by a conditional use permit with adopted conditions of approval for its operation shall continue to operate under those adopted conditions of approval and be supplemented by the provisions of this chapter. Should any conflict(s) arise with any operational requirement, the operational requirement(s) in the conditional use permit adopted conditions of approval shall prevail.

(§ 1, Ord. 1375-18 (CM), eff. October 11, 2018)

14-43.040 Maximum occupancy.

The number of beds or persons permitted to be served by the facility will be limited by the standards set forth in this section and other applicable sections of the Building Code and Zoning Ordinance.

(a)    Emergency Event Temporary Beds. The Community Development Director with the concurrence of the City Manager may authorize a temporary increase in the number of beds and the duration of stay when a severe weather event or other emergency event occurs. The exact number of additional temporary beds shall be determined during the use permit review.

(§ 1, Ord. 1375-18 (CM), eff. October 11, 2018)

14-43.050 Length of stay.

The maximum term of staying at an emergency shelter is six (6) months in a consecutive twelve (12) month period.

(§ 1, Ord. 1375-18 (CM), eff. October 11, 2018)

14-43.060 Management and operation plan.

The applicant or operator shall submit a management and operation plan for the emergency shelter for review and approval by the Zoning Administrator in consultation with the Chief of Police at the time the project is proposed, prior to issuance of permits. If building and/or fire permits are required, then the management and operational plan should be submitted and reviewed concurrently with those applications. The plan shall remain active throughout the life of the facility with any changes subject to review and approval by the Zoning Administrator in consultation with the Chief of Police. The plan shall be based on best practices and, at a minimum, the plan shall contain provisions addressing the topical areas outlined below:

(a)    Eligibility and intake and check out process;

(b)    Operator qualifications—with a list of qualifications of the shelter operator to ensure the operator has demonstrated experience and qualifications to operate a safe and secure emergency shelter;

(c)    City of Watsonville Police Department Coordination Plan—to ensure sufficient beds are available for use by the Watsonville Police Department;

(d)    Hours of operation;

(e)    Ratio of staff to clients;

(f)    Staff training;

(g)    Ongoing outreach plan to the City of Watsonville homeless population;

(h)    The City may inspect the facility at any time for compliance with the facility’s operational plan and other applicable laws and standards. The City Council may establish a fee by resolution to cover the administrative cost of review of the required management plan;

(i)    Security plan—with the emergency shelter operator responsible for ensuring that the approved security plan is implemented at the emergency shelter at all times and staff is fully trained to implement the plan. Security measures shall be sufficient to protect staff, clients, and neighbors;

(j)    Loitering control—with specific measures regarding off-site controls to deter the congregation of homeless clients in the vicinity of the emergency shelter during hours that homeless clients are not allowed on site;

(k)    Management of outdoor areas—including a system for daily admittance and discharge procedures and monitoring of waiting areas with a goal to prevent disruption to nearby land uses. For the purpose of noise abatement, organized outdoor activities may only be conducted between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.;

(l)    Communication plan—with the emergency shelter operator to designate a liaison to coordinate with police, fire, City officials, local businesses, and residents on issues related to the operation of the emergency shelter;

(m)    Screening of homeless clients for admittance eligibility—with objectives to provide priority to City of Watsonville homeless persons;

(n)    List of services offered and organizations offering those services along with any referrals to outside assistance agencies—to ensure a full range of supportive services are offered to assist the residents of the shelter;

(o)    Transportation plan—that addresses bus access, parking lot use, vehicle abandonment, shuttle services, and bicycle usage/storage. The transportation plan shall include details on off-site shuttle pickup locations and times and a plan to minimize the time homeless clients spend waiting at the pickup location to reduce loitering. The selected pickup locations shall take into consideration community impact and safety considerations;

(p)    Litter control—with an objective to provide for the elimination of litter attributable to the emergency shelter and/or homeless clients within the general vicinity of the emergency shelter;

(q)    Lock-out plan—that addresses how to house on-site clients that arrive at the facility inebriated or otherwise violate shelter rules with an objective of keeping both the client and general public safe by not releasing the client back out into the community;

(r)    Pet shelter plan—that addresses the care and sheltering of pets of homeless clients; and

(s)    Temporary beds plan during emergency event—identify the number, location, and spacing of temporary beds and other support equipment for adequate building occupancy clearance by the Fire Marshal and Chief Building Official.

(§ 1, Ord. 1375-18 (CM), eff. October 11, 2018)

14-43.070 Staff security.

Staff and/or security shall be on the premises at all times for emergency shelters open twenty-four (24) hours a day, when shelter guests are present, as detailed and approved in the management and operation plan. A twenty-four (24) hour contact number shall be provided to the Chief of Police to contact in case of emergency.

(§ 1, Ord. 1375-18 (CM), eff. October 11, 2018)