• State-Required Zoning Change Piques Neighbors’ Interest

    Neighbors near a piece of property owned by Pebble Beach Company but within the city limits of Pacific Grove are inquiring about a proposed zoning change which would allow emergency shelter on the land. The item will come up on the Planning Department on February 5. 2015.

    In January, 2008 the California Legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 2 which modified the State Housing Element law to require local planning and zoning regulations to facilitate and encourage “emergency shelters.” Emergency shelters are defined by the State in the Health and Safety Code Section 50801(e) as “housing with minimal supportive services for homeless persons that is limited to occupancy of six months or less by a homeless person.” The  law further states that no individual or household may be denied emergency shelter because they are unable to pay for it.

    Specifically, State law requires that at least one zoning district in each city be identified where emergency shelters will be allowed “by right,” that is without a conditional use permit (CUP) or other discretionary City approval. The zones identified must provide sufficient capacity to meet the City’s identified homeless need. The zones must also have a realistic potential for development or reuse opportunities.

    Pacific Grove’s planning director, Mark Brodeur, explained that state law requires that “if the City’s existing Zoning Code does not allow for emergency shelters by right, then the City is required to adopt a program as part of its General Plan Housing Element which would commit the City to amending its zoning code to meet State requirements within one year of Housing Element adoption. State law allows the City to include objective standards for emergency shelters as part of its zoning code amendment, such as standards for number of beds, parking, length of stay, lighting, and security.”

    City staff reviewed the current zoning map of the city and considered which might be the most appropriate location for such a use. Staff considered the impact such uses can have on residential property values and sought to minimize the impact of such a use in Pacific Grove.

    City staff has identified the “non-coastal” C-2 Zoning (Heavy Commercial) District as the most appropriate location for such a use based on its distance from established residential districts and being close to a mass transit route.

    The only non-coastal C-2 property is located on the corner of 17 Mile Drive and Sunset Drive. The property is owned by the Pebble Beach Company, which states that it has no intention of making it a homeless shelter area. Because it is within the Pacific Grove city limits, Pacific Grove controls the zoning — unlike the property where Pebble Beach seeks to construct high density housing adjacent to the city limits.

    According to the staff report, “It should be noted that this is not a proposal from the Pebble Beach Company to erect an emergency shelter. It is simply “adding” emergency shelter as a permitted use into the long list list of currently permitted uses in the Non Coastal C-2 Zone.”

    posted to Cedar Street Times on January 20, 2015

    Topics: Front PG News

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