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File #: 2017-4231 (30 minutes)   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 6/20/2017
Title: SUMMARY TITLE: This Ordinance facilitates shared living facilities in certain zoning districts, with a discretionary use permit, to allow private living quarters without private kitchen facilities. Public Hearing to Consider Introduction of Ordinance Amending the Alameda Municipal Code by Amending Chapter XXX (Zoning Ordinance) to Add Shared Living to the Definitions and the Commercial Districts with Approval of a Use Permit in the Neighborhood Business, Central Business, and Community Commercial Districts. The Amendment Allows a Proposed Shared Living Project at 1629 Webster Street. [The proposed amendments are categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15305, Minor Alterations to Land Use Limitations]. (Community Development 481005) [Continued from May 16, 2017]
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Approved Design Plans for 1629 Webster Street, 2. Exhibit 2 - March 27, 2017 Planning Board Staff Report, 3. Ordinance, 4. Presentation

Title

SUMMARY TITLE:  This Ordinance facilitates shared living facilities in certain zoning districts, with a discretionary use permit, to allow private living quarters without private kitchen facilities.

 

Public Hearing to Consider Introduction of Ordinance Amending the Alameda Municipal Code by Amending Chapter XXX (Zoning Ordinance) to Add Shared Living to the Definitions and the Commercial Districts with Approval of a Use Permit in the Neighborhood Business, Central Business, and Community Commercial Districts. The Amendment Allows a Proposed Shared Living Project at 1629 Webster Street. [The proposed amendments are categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15305, Minor Alterations to Land Use Limitations]. (Community Development 481005) [Continued from May 16, 2017]

 

Body

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

From: Jill Keimach, City Manager

 

Re: Public Hearing and Introduction of an Ordinance Amending Chapter XXX of the Alameda Municipal Code (Zoning Ordinance) to Allow Shared Living with Approval of a Use Permit in the Neighborhood Business, Central Business, and Community Commercial Districts [The proposed amendments are categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15305, Minor Alterations to Land Use Limitations]

 

BACKGROUND

 

On March 27, 2017, the Planning Board held a public hearing and recommended that the City Council approve an amendment to the Alameda Municipal Code (AMC) Chapter 30 (“zoning code”) to conditionally permit shared living facilities above the ground floor in Alameda’s mixed use commercial districts. In addition, the Board approved a design review, use permit, and parking waiver (PLN16-0185) to allow a new three-story mixed-use building with ground floor retail and a 16-bed senior shared living facility on the second and third floors at 1629 Webster Street.   The approved project cannot apply for building permits until and unless the City Council amends the zoning code to permit shared living on Webster Street.

 

The approved project includes 12 rooms, with a maximum of 16 total beds for seniors. The project is referred to as a “shared living” facility, because the individual rooms do not include full kitchens, but the facility does include a full service commercial kitchen and a shared dining area, shared living room area, shared gym, and shared  multipurpose spaces.   For informational purposes, Exhibit 1 includes the design plans that the Planning Board approved. The Planning Board staff report is attached as Exhibit 2 and contains additional background information about the project.

 

The CC-Community Commercial District on Webster Street currently allows residential units above the ground floor, but it does not include any provisions for “shared living” facilities.  For that reason, the Planning Board recommended that the City Council approve a zoning text amendment to allow shared living uses in not only the C-C, Community Commercial District, but in all the City’s mixed use commercial districts, which include the NP-G, North Park Street Gateway District, the C-1, Neighborhood Business District, and the C-2, Central Business District with the approval of a use permit.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Currently, the AMC includes five different definitions that describe a variety of similar “shared living” facilities:     

 

                     Boarding house shall mean a residential building, or portion thereof, other than a hotel, where regular meals and lodging for four (4) or more persons are provided for compensation or profit. This definition includes fraternity, sorority and cooperative boarding houses.

 

                     Lodging house shall mean a residential building, or portion thereof, other than a hotel where sleeping quarters for four (4) or more persons or families are provided for compensation or profit. This definition includes "rooming house."

 

                     Rooming house shall mean a residential building or portion thereof, other than a hotel where sleeping quarters for four (4) or more persons or families are provided for compensation or profit. This definition includes lodging house.

 

                     Single room occupancy (SRO) unit means multi-unit housing for very low-income persons that typically consists of a single room and shared bath and also may include a shared common kitchen and common activity area. SROs may be restricted to seniors or be available to persons of all ages.

 

Currently, the AMC does not permit any of these shared living uses in the City’s commercial mixed use districts, despite the fact that: 

 

                     The General Plan and the AMC support pedestrian-oriented retail and service uses on the ground floor level with office and residential uses on the upper levels in these districts.

                     These commercial mixed use districts provide easy and convenient access to the transit services and shopping opportunities that are important to people living in shared living facilities.

 

Therefore, the Planning Board and staff are recommending that the City Council amend the AMC to delete the four nearly identical definitions that are currently in the AMC and create a new single definition of “shared living” that will eliminate redundancy and minimize confusion in the administration of City regulations. The new definition would read as follows:

 

Shared Living shall mean a building, or portion thereof, other than a hotel that provides private living quarters without private, individual kitchen facilities. A shared common kitchen and common activity area may be provided. Shared living facilities also include single room occupancy (SRO) units, which provide housing for individuals including very low-income persons that typically consist of a single room with access to a shared bath. Shared living may be restricted to seniors or be available to persons of all ages. “

 

In addition, the Planning Board and staff are recommending that the City Council amend the AMC to permit “shared living” above the ground floor with a conditional use permit in the CC Community Commercial District (Park Street and Webster Street), NP-G District (North Park Street from Tilden to Blanding), C-1 Neighborhood Commercial District (the “stations”), and the C-2 Central Business District.

 

The conditional use permit process ensures that each proposal will require a public hearing at which the Planning Board and/or the City Council, upon appeal, may impose site-specific conditions of approval which may be needed to ensure compatibility with surrounding uses and facilities.  Examples of conditions which might be added on a case-by-case include conditions requiring: shuttle services, transit passes, and on-site facilities such as open space, additional bathrooms, and/or other facilities.  The conditional use permit process also preserves the ability of the City to determine that any specific proposal or a particular property may not be appropriate for such a use because of project-specific or site-specific existing conditions.

 

Finally, it should be noted that the recommended amendments are not intended to address the City Council’s recent request for revisions to the AMC for “senior assisted living facilities” as a result of the Council’s decision to overturn a Planning Board decision to approve an assisted living facility in the Harbor Bay Business Park.  Staff is working on a proposed revision and definition for “senior assisted living”, which are facilities that are licensed by the State of California and provide specific services for senior living.  The upcoming amendment will also address where such uses should be permitted throughout the City.   

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

There is no financial impact to the General Fund to adopt an ordinance amending Chapter 30 of the Alameda Municipal Code (Zoning Ordinance) to allow shared living within the Neighborhood Business, Central Business, and Community Commercial Districts.

 

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS REFERENCE

 

The Zoning Ordinance is proposed to be amended consistent with the General Plan, Alameda Municipal Code, and State law. The amendments support General Plan policies to consider amendments to the Municipal Code to encourage mixed use development including retention and addition of housing within retail areas.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

The proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance regarding water conservation landscaping are categorically exempt under California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Section 15305 - Minor Amendments to Land Use Limitations.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Introduction of an Ordinance Amending Chapter XXX of the Alameda Municipal Code (Zoning Ordinance) to allow shared living as a conditional use in the C-1, Neighborhood Business, C-2, Central Business, C-C, Community Commercial, and NP-G, North Park Street - Gateway zoning districts.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Debbie Potter, Community Development Director

 

By,

Andrew Thomas, Assistant Community Development Director

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Elena Adair, Finance Director

 

Exhibits:

1.                     Approved Design Plans for 1629 Webster Street

2.                     March 27, 2017 Planning Board Staff Report