Open letter to the Pasadena City Council and Comparative Analysis of the Impact of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in three Pasadena neighborhoods

7 Jan

GPAHG ADU Case Study Comparison

Dear Pasadena City Council,

After your decision on 12-9-2019  to pursue a lawsuit in response to the new ADU policies, and your feelings that the State was making an overreach and deconstructing our neighborhoods, I feel compelled to re-send you the comparative study we did in 2017 which analyzed three Pasadena neighborhoods with upwards to 90 legal ADUs in each one, demonstrating no real impact on these neighborhoods.

We first identified 740 legal ADU in Pasadena, grandfathered in before Pasadena’s restrictive ADU policy in 2003.  We then plotted them on a map and proceeded to analyze these three neighborhoods, one in the southern part of Pasadena, one in the central north and one neighborhood in NW Pasadena. Please carefully read our study. GPAHG ADU Case Study Comparison We put much effort into this and feel that now it the time to re-visit this in light of our concerns about possible negative impacts.

Since there are no demonstrable negative impacts, we’d like to know why some feel that this new state policies would “deconstruct” neighborhoods.  What is the basis for this?

This excellent article I mentioned last week at the city council meeting focuses on housing for the “missing middle” by use of ADUs and a number of other policies in Portland, Boulder (CO), and Cambridge (MA). Helping the “missing middle” has been a deep concern of the City for some time.

Again we thank you in advance for reviewing this before any further discussion about a possible lawsuit. Here is the article: Gentle Infill of ADUs address the missing middle

Additionally, it seemed as if there may have been a misunderstanding about some of the state policies allow. It’s very clear in your staff report and appendixes that Junior ADUs require owner occupancy. This indeed would prevent absentee landlords from buying a home and using it as a “cash cow.”  See number C. 5. on the staff report: Pasadena staff report on State Policies

Thank you for passing many good policies regarding ADUs in recent years. These new state laws propose little variation from what you approved in the past. Let’s wait and see if the concerns you have may actually materialize before preempting them before the community has a chance to help the city provide sorely needed additional housing units.

Jill Shook, Executive Director of MHCH -Making Housing and Community Happen and GPAHG-the Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group

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