Walnut 10, historic home and ADUs discussed at Planning Commission

The Winters Planning Commission discussed Walnut 10, historic home and ADUs at the Feb. 25 meeting.

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More than a dozen residents of the Walnut Lane area of Winters attended the Feb. 25 Planning Commission meeting ready for a fight.

The residents believed the commission was set to vote on a 54-lot development in their neighborhood, known as the Walnut 10—a neighborhood, they pointed out, served by one street.

However, commission chairman Paul Myer assured those in attendance any such vote was still in the future.

The Walnut 10 item on the agenda was only to approve the affordable housing plan associated with the possible development, not any development proper, Myer explained.

Once the agenda item was explained to the members of the ad hoc neighborhood group, the board voted unanimously to approve the affordable housing plan. Commissioner Dan Schrupp recused himself from the discussion and vote because he lives in the Walnut Lane area.

The affordable housing plan allows the developer to pay more than $53,000 to the city in-lieu of building six very low income and low income units in the proposed development

Respecting the past The owners of a Winters house built in 1878 want to add on to their historic home and before they do, they need the approval of the Winters historical commission, aka the Planning Commission.

The owners of the house on 202 Russell St., Nick and Emarie VanGalio, put forth a plan design for a garage and living space addition they felt conforms to the guidelines set by the historical commission to “provide for the protection, enhancement,… and perpetuation…of buildings” in Winters.

Staff recommended approval of the 1,800

square foot, two-story addition.

Commissioner Lisa Baker recognized the couple’s respect for the house’s history in their addition design: “I am thankful for the care in being faithful to the period [the couple took].”

The commission approved the design unanimously. However, Baker abstained from the vote because she was unclear on the legal standard required on a property of its age.

Granny flat update The City Council unanimously agreed to update the city’s municipal code regarding Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to comply with state codes.

The key changes include:

  • The city must approve an ADU, if the ADU complies with the regulations, within 60 days without discretionary review.
  • The city must automatically approve ADUs of 800 square feet or less if it is converted from an existing space in the home or other structure (like a garage) which can be accessed from the exterior or is detached with a maximum height of 16 feet and has a side or rear yard setback.
  • The city cannot require additional off-street parking for an ADU.
  • The city cannot charge impact fees for ADUs under 750 square feet.
  • The city must allow ADUs on lots with multi-family structures.

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