5 Resolution Extending Resolution 2014-63 Declaring Intent Not to Enforce Certain Provisions of Livingston Municipal Code Section 5-6-5 to Protect Vacant and Existing Legal Nonconforming Residential Units in the Downtown Commercial (DTC) Zoning District for a Period of Five (5) Years.

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Meeting Date: July 05, 2016

STAFF REPORT

AGENDA ITEM: Resolution Extending Resolution 2014-63 Declaring Intent Not to Enforce Certain Provisions of Livingston Municipal Code Section 5-6-5 to Protect Vacant And Existing Legal Nonconforming Residential Units in the Downtown Commercial (DTC) Zoning District for a Period of Five (5) Years.

MEETING DATE: July 5, 2016

PREPARED BY: Randy Hatch, Contract City Planner

REVIEWED BY: Odi Ortiz, Interim City Manager

RECOMMENDATION:

Adopt a Resolution extending Resolution 2014-63 declaring intent not to enforce certain provisions of Livingston Municipal Code Section 5-6-5 to protect vacant and existing legal nonconforming residential units in the Downtown Commercial (DTC) Zoning District for a period of five (5) years.

BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION:

Council has considered this topic before and has provided relief first in February, 2012 and again in December, 2014 to certain provisions of the City’s nonconforming Municipal Code language.

According to the provisions of the Downtown Commercial (DTC) zoning district, residential uses are not an allowed use.

There are a considerable number of residential uses within the DTC zone and they are considered legal nonconforming uses allowed indefinitely subject to certain Code provisions.

These Code provisions specify that if a residential use becomes vacant for more than six (6) consecutive months or for eighteen months in any three (3) year period it loses its legal nonconforming status and residential use must cease.

Further, no existing residential use may be "enlarged upon, expanded or extended". Further, repairs or maintenance may be done if the cost of such repairs or maintenance does not exceed 25% of the appraised market value of the nonconforming home.

Also, if a nonconforming structure becomes physically unsafe or unlawful due to lack of repairs or maintenance, it shall not be restored, repaired or rebuilt.

Over the course of the recent foreclosure crisis and the economic downturn, Livingston has been negatively affected resulting in vacant housing units in the DTC zone and deferral of normal maintenance and repairs.

This has resulted in meeting the nonconforming Code provisions explained above that could cause certain homes to lose their legal nonconforming status and potentially require demolition or loss of use as a residence.

The City has recognized that residential uses in the Downtown area provide an important housing resource and one that is more affordable. Accordingly, as noted above, the City twice enacted resolutions to provide relief from these certain provisions of the Municipal Code to allow these housing units to remain as legal nonconforming uses.

As the City still has not recovered from the persistent economic downturn, continued relief is needed and justified. The proposed Resolution will provide that relief for five (5) more years.

ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS:

The adoption of this Resolution qualifies for one or more categorical exemptions from further California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) consideration do to the provisions of Class 1, existing facilities, and Class 5, minor alterations in land use limitations as explained within the CEQA Guidelines. The proposed Resolution allows existing residential uses to remain and/or be remodeled, improved, or altered, actions that would still be subject to building permits and other existing regulatory actions that can be seen with certainty that it would result in no significant effect on the environment. A Notice of Exemption in accordance with CEQA will be filed with the Merced County Clerk.

FISCAL IMPACT:

Fiscal Impact is minimal. This Resolution may result in slowing the conversion of residential structures to commercial structures in the DTC, thus delaying the future collection of business license fees, construction permit fees for building remodels, sales tax, and other local benefits related to having new businesses in the community, but as there is no current demand for conversion of these structures or for demolition and building of new commercial buildings this fiscal impact is nil at this time. Further, the loss of affordable housing stock is a far greater negative avoided by passage of this Resolution.

ATTACHMENTS:

1. Resolution 2016-

2. Resolution 2014-63 adopted December 2, 2014

3. Exhibit A (LMC Section 5-6-5)

RESOLUTION NO. 2016-

RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON EXTENDING RESOLUTION 2014-63 DECLARING INTENT NOT TO ENFORCE CERTAIN

PROVISIONS OF LIVINGSTON MUNICIPAL CODE SECTION 5-6-5 TO PROTECT VACANT AND EXISTING LEGAL NONCONFORMING RESIDENTIAL UNITS IN THE DOWNTOWN COMMERCIAL (DTC) ZONING DISTRICT FOR A PERIOD OF FIVE (5) YEARS

WHEREAS, the City of Livingston has been negatively impacted by the foreclosure crisis and economic downturn which is still affecting the City and the Central Valley; and

WHEREAS, the foreclosure crisis and economic downturn created a ripple effect across the community, causing the decline of neighborhoods, reduced tax revenues, diminished home equity, high unemployment rates and other crises for Livingston families losing their homes and jobs; and

WHEREAS, although there has been a slight improvement in economic conditions, the City and the Central Valley have not experienced the level of economic relief as other parts of State; and

WHEREAS, there are still some legal nonconforming residential units in the Downtown Commercial Zoning District (DTC) that are vacant or in need of repair due to foreclosures and/or the economic downturn preventing these residences from converting to a use allowed under the DTC; and

WHEREAS, over the past several years, the City Council has provided property owners in the DTC relief by adopting Resolutions declaring the City’s intent not to enforce the legal nonconforming provisions of the City’s Municipal Code. The last extension of the policy was adopted on December 2, 2014; and

WHEREAS, for the purposes of extending Resolution 2014-63, "legal nonconforming residential units in the DTC" means existing residential uses of land and structures in the DTC which were lawful before being rezoned as Downtown Commercial; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to Livingston Municipal Code ("LMC") Sections 5-6-5(C)(3) and 5-6-5(E)(5), legal nonconforming uses of land and legal nonconforming structures must conform to the regulations of the district in which they are located if the land or structure is vacant for more than six (6) months, or the use ceases for a period of six (6) consecutive months or for eighteen (18) months during any three (3) year period, and pursuant to LMC Section 5-6-5(F) and (G) nonconforming structures that become physically unsafe or unlawful due to a lack of repairs and maintenance may not be altered or restored, except in conformity with the regulations of the district in which they are located; and

WHEREAS, a significant portion of the residential units in the DTC that are vacant due to foreclosures or in need of repair is affordable to people of lower income households; and

WHEREAS, protecting and maintaining housing within the DTC that is affordable to people of lower income households is in the interest of the City of Livingston, the owners and residents of housing units in the DTC, and the community as a whole; and

WHEREAS, by choosing to not enforce LMC Sections 5-6-5(C)(3), 5-6-5(E)(5), 5-6-5 (F) and (G) for an additional period of five (5) years against legal nonconforming residential units in the DTC while the economy improves, the City may be able to prevent the permanent loss of residential units in the DTC

and, therefore, protect the City’s residents and affordable housing stock until an upturn in the economy; and

WHEREAS, during the period this Resolution remains in effect, legal nonconforming residential units in the DTC that are vacant for longer than six (6) months are not required to convert to a commercial use pursuant to LMC Sections 5-6-5(C)(3) and 5-6-5(E)(5) (Exhibit A); and

WHEREAS, during the period this Resolution remains in effect, legal nonconforming residential units in the DTC that become physically unsafe or unlawful due to lack of repair and maintenance may be restored or repaired, regardless of the cost of such repairs or maintenance without being required to convert to a commercial use, pursuant to LMC Sections 5-6-S(F) or (G).

WHEREAS, the adoption of this Resolution qualifies for one or more categorical exemptions from further CEQA consideration do to the provisions of Class 1, existing facilities, and Class 5, minor alterations in land use limitations as explained within the CEQA Guidelines. The proposed Resolution allows existing residential uses to remain and I or be remodeled, improved, or altered, actions that would still be subject to building permits and other existing regulatory actions that can seen with certainty that would result in no significant effect on the environment.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that:

1. As long as this Resolution remains in effect, the City shall not enforce Sections 5-6-5(C)(3) and

5-6-S(E)(S) of the Livingston Municipal Code against vacant legal nonconforming residential units in the DTC.

2. As long as this Resolution remains in effect, the City shall allow legal nonconfonning residential units in the DTC that have become physically unsafe or unlawful due to lack of repair and maintenance to be restored or repaired, regardless of the cost of such repairs or maintenance, without requiring those structures to convert to a commercial use pursuant to LMC Sections 5-6-S(F) or (G).

3. This Resolution shall remain in effect for a period of five (5) years from its adoption, unless a later enacted resolution or ordinance terminates, shortens or extends that period.

Passed and adopted this 5th day of July, 2016 by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSENT:

ABSTAIN:

Rodrigo Espinoza, Mayor of the City of Livingston

ATTEST:

I, hereby certify that the foregoing resolution was regularly introduced, passed and adopted at a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Livingston this 5th day of July, 2016.

Antonio Silva, City Clerk of the City of Livingston

2674955.2

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