Pasadena is a small suburb in the LA region that repeatedly insists it is actually a city. Earlier this year, CaRLA’s ADU unit was investigating the city’s exorbitant impact fees charged for the construction of ADUs. Upwards of $33,000 in development and impact fees to build a backyard dwelling with a fraction of the impact of a full single family home. SB 831, which is working its way through the state legislature and passed out of the Senate earlier this year, aims to rectify this problem by completely doing away with impact fees. This led us to put our investigation on hold as a lawsuit challenging the fees would almost certainly take longer than it would to just pass SB831 and render the case moot.

In the short history of ADUs being legalized in Pasadena, only two ADUs have ever been proposed, and only one managed to file an application. That application was halted once the applicant learned of the $33,000 in fees which the city only informed them of several months later into the process.

Not content with abolishing an important source of affordable housing, Pasadena is now trying to downzone the entire city with what is tantamount to a housing moratorium. CaRLA submitted the following letter in opposition.

Pasadena downzoning (1)

Of particular note is city staff’s own determination that such a downzoning might bring about increased scrutiny of the city’s planning by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development. The staff report suggests that the city may be violating the Housing Accountability Act, No Net Loss law, Housing Element law, and State Density Bonus law, not to mention suggesting that the city might be able to make findings that apartment buildings are a significant threat to human health and safety.

CaRLA is continuing to monitor Pasadena and will be following development of this ordinance closely as the year proceeds. View the full agenda item here:

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