San Jacinto council passes urgency ‘granny house’ ordinance amendments, complies with newest state housing mandates

San Jacinto Mayor Andrew Kotyuk passes a plaque to outgoing Mayor Russ Utz recognizing his year of service to the community by attending almost every important city event in the year highly representing the city with from left Councilman Alonso Ledezma, Mayor Pro Tem Crystal Ruiz, Utz, Kotyuk and Councilman Joel Lopez. Valley News/Tony Ault photo

The San Jacinto City Council passed an urgency ordinance Tuesday, Dec. 17, amending the city’s regulations on accessory dwelling units to comply with recent state mandates, without losing the city’s own land use and home occupation rules by Jan. 1.

California’s recently passed Assembly Bill 881, Chapter 659 and Senate Bill 13 governs the location of new, small structures and the conversions on existing small structures from one use to another. Senate Bill 881 was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom recently and requires cities to amend their ordinances regarding accessory dwellings units before Jan. 1, or the state could dictate its own rules governing them.

The bill and an adjacent bill on parking for accessory building occupants did require some changes the city’s ordinances which were put in place to comply with the state mandates.

Mayor Pro Tem Crystal Ruiz voiced criticism of the new state mandates, saying she thought the state was trying to control every city’s housing plans to overcome a statewide alleged housing shortage. The state has already demanded every city amend its zoning ordinances to provide thousands of affordable homes in the next decade, with cities scrambling to meet the state’s goal.

Ruiz questioned the SB 881 mandate.

“Wouldn’t that allow private homes to become apartment complexes… and it’s really going to get bad with parking?” Ruiz said. “Without passing this urgency ordinance, our housing efforts go poof.”

The amendments to the city’s accessory housing and parking municipal codes – Charters 17.215, 17.330, 17.405, 17.430, 17.615 and 17.800 – include: allowing no more than one ADU or a combination of ADU and junior ADU on a single residential lot and no more than two on a multifamily residential lot; no minimum or maximum lot size; attached ADUs shall not exceed 50% of the floor area of the primary residence or 1,200 square feet, whichever is less; detached ADUs shall not exceed 1,000 square feet; junior ADUs shall not exceed 500 square feet; development standards such as lot coverage, floor area ratio, open space and proportionate size limits shall not limit the ability of a property owner to build a unit of less than 800 square feet and a junior ADU must be owner-occupied but ADU does not require owner occupancy.

Details of the changes may be found in the city council minutes from the Dec. 17 meeting.

Parking for those living in the granny houses or ADUs was not limited other than the regular city parking rules.

The amended ordinance is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act.

The urgency ordinance was passed by a 4-1 council vote with Councilman Russ Utz as the only dissenting vote. Utz said he knew it would not change the council’s urgency ordinance approval but just wanted to show his dissention with the state’s newest mandate.

The off-street parking ordinance pertaining to the accessory dwellings will come back to council for a second reading and was passed with a 5-0 vote.

The council on second reading passed an ordinance amending the municipal code regarding the termination of water service to non paying customers and late payment rates and other charges.

Earlier in the meeting sheriff’s Capt. and San Jacinto police Chief John Salisbury, who will be leaving the city to take a command position with the Moreno Valley Police Department, was honored by the council for his three years of service to the city.

Ruiz congratulated the chief on his promotion and said Salisbury was “very supporting of our council and the city.”

Councilman Alonso Ledezma said, “You cared for us just like your own kids.”

Councilman Joel Lopez also thanked the chief for his guidance in the city, while Mayor Andrew Kotyuk presented Salisbury with a special award for his time and service to the community.

Salisbury makes his home in San Jacinto. He told the council he was “extremely grateful” for the award and said he had a good run with the city in the last three years.

“Now, I’m excited to make the new run,” he said.

He gave his praises the San Jacinto fire Chief and Cal Fire Division Chief Bill Wieser who worked with him in keeping the city safe during his time in San Jacinto.

To end the council meeting, the San Jacinto Council relayed their good wishes to city residents with a merry Christmas and happy new year.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at