County Code amendments to make accessory dwelling unit regulations compatible with state law will be considered by the Santa Barbara County supervisors when they return from their summer recess Tuesday.

The Board of Supervisors also will consider changes to the Uniform Rules for Agricultural Preserves and Farmland Security Zones that will make the secondary dwellings, sometimes referred to as granny units, a compatible use on lands under ag preserve status.

Supervisors are scheduled to begin their meeting at 9 a.m. in the Board Hearing Room of the County Administration Building in Santa Barbara.

Other issues on the discussion agenda include a nearly $3.2 million loan of federal HOME and Inclusionary Housing Ordinance in-lieu funds to the Residences at Depot Street project in Santa Maria; amendments to the flood plain management section of the County Code; and receive the Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program annual report for 2017.

After state legislation made it easier for homeowners to develop accessory dwelling units, county staff began developing amendments to the County Land Use and Development Code, Montecito Land Use and Development Code and Coastal Zoning Ordinance.

The proposed amendments, which would revise county development standards and permit processes as well as implement state laws, were considered in September 2017 by supervisors, who directed the staff to review six issues, revise the amendments and bring them back.

Recommendations offered by the county and Montecito planning commissions have been reconciled into the amendments to be considered by the board Tuesday.

As recommended by the County Planning Commission, the staff also developed amendments to the Uniform Rules to make accessory dwelling units an allowable use on agricultural land under Williamson Act contracts.

Generally, accessory dwelling units will be considered a compatible use on ag preserve land, but they must be located within the designated nonagricultural development envelope, according to a report to the board.

The state Department of Conservation expressed concern that secondary units on ag preserves might be occupied by people not engaged in agricultural activities, state law does not allow counties to restrict who may live in the units, the report says.

The staff is recommending the permit process be streamlined to allow all accessory dwelling units with an exemption if the unit is located entirely within an existing building and with a zoning clearance if it is located partially in an existing building or in a new building.

In addition, the recommended amendments would give owners of larger parcels greater flexibility in where accessory dwelling units can be located.

Under the proposed amendments, mechanical automobile parking lifts could be used to provide replacement parking when a garage, carport or covered parking structure is converted or demolished for the construction of a new secondary dwelling unit not connected to another structure.

The living area of an accessory unit would be limited to 8 percent of the area of the lot on which it’s located as long as the living area doesn’t exceed 1,200 square feet.

As revised, the amendments specify that removal of and damage to trees for the construction of secondary units should be “avoided to the maximum extent feasible” and that any trees that are damaged or removed should be replaced or relocated on-site.

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News Editor

Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

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