And tonight she’ll apparently be allowed to exercise this serious conflict of interest even more by actually voting on it in open session.
It’s a special privilege for her own neighborhood alone, this exclusion, and one that will probably turn out to be illegal in the end because it attempts to deliberately thwart a new state law that almost literally mandates such an allowable use everywhere in California.
By legal necessity, the council thinks it must cook up an interim ordinance tonight to waylay the effects of a broader state law that encourages the development of granny flats in urban neighborhoods (these are now also known as Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs). If Burbank doesn’t get such a law on the books ASAP it will be forced to abide by the much more liberal terms of the Legislature.
Here’s one aspect of what they’re trying to do:
Permitted zones: ADUs are now allowed as a by-right use in all single family residential zones (i.e., R-1) and multifamily zones (i.e., R2, R3, and R4) that contain an existing single family dwelling unit. Interim Ordinance No. 17-3,892 does not allow ADUs in the City’s R-1-H zone.
The problem with the last sentence is that it’s a completely new rule being slipped into the books in order to circumvent the clear intent of the Legislature in liberalizing the use and construction of ADUs in California. Never before have granny flats actually been illegal in the Rancho district itself, but thanks to Gabel-Luddy’s lobbying that’s exactly what Burbank is trying to accomplish tonight.
This is blatant, wholesale favoritism towards one and only one local neighborhood in Burbank: the Rancho. EGL’s reasoning last month for such an exclusion was specious at best (we can’t have people living near our horses now, can we council members?) But the problem with it legally (besides her obvious COI here) is that Burbank can’t cook up a completely new exclusionary rule that’s designed to circumvent the clear intent and purpose of an already chaptered state law.
That’s exactly what Burbank is trying to do tonight. They don’t like granny flats, the state does, and so let’s do something about it now to keep them out. Problem is, such a blatantly sudden new effort at blocking them in an entire neighborhood zone is illegal.
And why stop with the Rancho? If the council can successfully exclude the R1-H neighborhood, why not all of our R-1 completely? Why not R-2 to R-4 as well?
That’s the reason why this clearly preferential “interim ordinance” will will never hold up in court if challenged. The city can’t make such a sudden huge change in its current practices in order to waylay a state law, and there’s no good public policy reason for the change in the first place, let alone Emily Gabel-Luddy’s serious conflict of interest problem here in trying to ram it through.
Contrary to discussions elsewhere, there is no language in the current Burbank Municipal Code that bans ADUs in the R1-H zone. There’s a chart that implies a non-permitted use, but that’s it.
No? Where is it then? A chart’s not enough.
Albano must be aware of this serious omission, which is why she’s trying to pencil it in tonight in full.
This is all there is currently, which is not a ban. All it does is suggest missing language:
B. SEPARATION FROM R-1-H ZONED PROPERTY.
When too was this “no R1-H” granny flats interpretation developed? In 1989 they were OK.
Here’s an entry from the city’s list of ordinance changes. Notice how Burbank allowed granny flats in R1-H? Apparently they never formally changed it correctly:
Declaring a Temporary Moratorium on the Issuance of Certain Conditional Use Permits for Second Dwelling Units in R-1, R-1-E and R-1-H Zones as an Emergency Measure Pending Further Study of Needed Revisions in Existing Zoning Provisions of the Burbank Municipal Code
Where’s the express language banning granny flats in R1-H? We can’t find it. We also don’t recall any discussions about completely exempting the Rancho District from granny flats — until now — and we’ve been following this issue for years!